Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Duck soup

Did you know that ducks sit on their nests for 24-28 days before they eggs hatch.  When I say sit there, I am serious.  Other than the occasional rotation, our mother duck does not leave.  Now, let's think about this for a minute, could you imagine sitting still for 28 days?  That is like the entire month of February, you have to sit still and only occasionally move.  One time a day you can get up and grab a bite to eat.  Ducks are like zen masters, their ability to sit.

It is amazing to me that these animals can do this for a number of reasons.  Not the least of which is the commitment to propagating the species.  Live birth has some advantages, such as not being a sitting duck for folks who might want to eat you.

Eating the duck brings up some questions on my part, anyone have a good duck recipe?  Once the ducklings are born can we eat them?  How about the eggs?  How about the mother?  I had wild duck with a lingon berry sauce when I was in Europe on time.  Duck tends to be a bit dry unless you cook it right.

This duck has proven that ducks are smarter than rabbits, sorry Bugs.  The stupid rabbit had her babies in Wiley's yard, where they were shaken to death by the dog.  At least the duck was smart enough to have her babies in the front, pretty much out of our way.  You really wouldn't know she was there unless you were looking for her.

Ultimately, here is the problem with our friend the duck, it is that next year she will come back.  The return to their nesting places year after year, and then their off-spring will use the same location.  I am not thrilled about the prospect of raising generations of ducks in my yard.  Who said there isn't wild life in the city.  Where is that dang coyote when you need him?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

July Goals

I have another trip planned and I am sure there won't be much time for knitting.  But these are the goals, I hope I can get to all of them.

  • Bella Socks, with Lorna's Laces Hot Pink
  • Finish Cookie A March Mystery Sock in Dream in Color
Other Sock-y things:

  • Finish the Christmas Stocking for Martha
  • 25 squares on my Sock yarn blanket
  • Work on Sock yarn scarf... really need to finish this thing 
I hope I can get all of this done.  I want to finish the stuff I started last month.

Monday, June 28, 2010

June Re-cap

I think my goals should have been a June/July type of situation, because I didn't get as much knitting done as I wanted.  Oh well! :)  I sort of feel bad about the fact that I really didn't get that much done, but hey, I am having fun right?  There is always next month.

SKA Patterns:

  • Make January Club Socks (done)

  • Bella Socks, with Dream in Color -- Didn't even get to start these, but I am also making them in the Lornas not the Dream in Color... oh well!
  • Cookie A March Mystery Sock in Lorna's Hot Pink -- I am making these out of the Dream in Color and am about half way through them.  I have a bit done on the 2nd sock.  Pictures to come.
Other Sock-y things:

  • Christmas Sock #2 for Martha -- I am about 1/2 way done on this too...
  • 25 squares on my Sock yarn blanket I did about 15, oh well... it is still moving along.
  • Work on Sock yarn scarf... really need to finish this thing -- Didn't even get this thing out of the project bag, oh well!
Because I don't want to be socked:

  • A birthday scarf for a friend of mine, who might read this so, if you are someone who might or might not sock me if I don't make you a gift, then you know what you are getting.
    • Finished this and she LOVED it!! Yeah!!  The model is not the recipient.

I also made some dishrags for my aunt!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

While we were gone

Some things that happened while we were gone...

We got our first CSA delivery.  It was not quite as much as I would have wanted, but the season is young.  It was fun to see all the nifty goodies.

We now have a duck and her nest in our yard.  Apparently we are the neighborhood nursery.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Homeward bound

Leaving California is always bittersweet for me.  I am always sad to leave the weather and my family.  But, I am also happy to go back to my friends, my husband and my routine... and leave my family.  Mixed bag that family.

Of course leaving Santa Barbara isn't always so easy.  We flew into LAX, so had to make the 3 hour drive to the airport.  Which is fine, my mom is usually happy to drive us there, but it is still an exhausting start to an already long trip.  When we got to the airport, it was not unusually crowded and we made it through the bag check line pretty quickly.  At this point, I would like say, I love that Southwest does not charge for your bags, not only are they usually the least expensive choice they don't make me pay to check my luggage.  LUV that!

Because someone, my husband, tarried so much in deciding about what to do about coming with us, we were unable to get a cheap fare for the return that did not involve stopping.  So we had to stop in Denver.  We didn't have to change planes, we just stopped.  During the change over, the kids got to hang out with the pilot.  So awesome.  Again, did I mention that I LUV SWA?  United wouldn't let you do that!  They even let me take a picture.  Sam about had a heart attack he was so excited!

To say that there was some weather issues in Chicago, was well an understatement.  There were massive storms, tornado warnings and 80 mph winds.  This of course delayed all the air traffic into Chicago.  When we landed we were told that we were going to get in the air as soon as possible, before they changed their minds!  Concerns about air traffic were top of mind.  When we touched down at Midway, it was 15 minutes late.  Pretty good all things considered.

That is when the trip home gets interesting.  Walking to the baggage claim area involved navigating around a marching band, bag pipe players, a bunch of guys with flags and masses of people.  When we finally made it to our carousel, well, we were in no mood.  Then getting to the car required a mile long hike through the airport, back past the aforementioned hoopla.

When everyone is finally loaded in the car, it takes us 30 minutes to exit the garage.  When we finally leave the parking garage, we learn that the highway on ramps are flooded and that the highway is closed.  We have to find an alternative route home.  Have I mentioned that Midway is not in a great neighborhood, it is 1:00 am, all the power is out so it is dark.  We all know how I feel about driving in the city... I was a little apprehensive.

We finally find the next highway, only it is under construction, so we sat in traffic for an hour trying to make it home.  Traffic at 1:30 am on a Wednesday... wtf.  Every single road we needed to drive on was either closed or under water.  When we finally make it home, over 2 hours after we landed, everyone was COOKED.  Needless to say, it was a long trip home.

Friday, June 25, 2010

In the 'hood

Once we hit Santa Barbara the fun didn't end!  We saw alpacas... yeah, only my kids would think that was cool, but they are about the size of a large dog.  Did you know our dog is old?  Do you see where I am going with this...  Aren't they cute?

We also went to the zoo, the sea center, the beach to collect shells and sea glass, the younger kids had some cosmetic surgery performed by my brother.

We saw cool things at the natural history museum, we played in the water.  We saw family, which was probably the highlight of the trip.  I know it is exhausting for my mother, at 80 years, to hang with my wild brood, but they do love to see her!  She lets them have pizza for breakfast and oj all day long.

I still love wine/whine time and it was a great trip.  I can't wait to go back.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Give a Day, Get a Day

In December, Mac announced that Disney was giving away free tickets to Disneyland.  He wanted to get them so we could go when we were in California.  So, on January 1st, we signed up to volunteer with Project Linus.  When we completed our project we got 4 free one day tickets to Disney.  When we arrived in LA, rather than go to my Mom's in Santa Barbara, we hit Disney!

It was great fun, and the kids loved riding on all the cool rides. They even tolerated Small World for their mother.  The classic picture of the weary kids with their souvenirs near the Mickey flowers.  I had to endure the taking of this picture, it seems fitting that they should too!

We got to see Mickey and Minnie and the posed for a few pictures!  The extra kid is my nephew, not an additional child you didn't know about.

We rode the big kid rides like Space Mountain and the Matterhorn, but we also did some of the little kid rides like Alice and Wonderland.  Bob even rode with his favorite girl.

Disney was great, and I would love to go again. I think next time we might stay for 2 days, but the one day pass we got from the Give a Day Get a Day program, was still good!  Everyone was tired and ready to leave at the end of the day.  Of course there was swimming at the hotel to look forward too!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fire Season

The first day of fire season was Monday.  What makes the 14th of June more likely to be fire prone than say the 13th, I don't know.  Did you know that there was an official season for fires?  All of this was news to me, until I cracked open the paper on Monday morning.

What is someone supposed to do to prepare for fire season?  Well, you are to get your READY SET GO plan together.  Essentially, it is your evacuation plan, where will you meet your other family members in the event you are seperated, etc.  Also, you should have your Grab and Go bag, which has all your important stuff in it.  I guess everyone should just keep their important stuff in a bag, rather than a file cabinets, medicine cabinets or picture frames.  We should all just live in a perpetual state of packed and ready to go.

The Ready Set Go idea is actually good advice for everyone.  If your house was on fire, where would you meet your kids?  The neighbor down the street or around the corner that is your BFF isn't a good choice, because you can not immediately do a quick head count.  Can you see the next door neighbors easily?  My kids meet across the street at a neighbors house, we aren't friendly with them, but I imagine they wouldn't mind if my kids hung out on their driveway while our house burned down.  The house is directly across the street, so I can see who is there and who isn't.  I guess living in California has made me a bit crazy.

The thing is, while I mock the start of fire season, it is a good idea to have a plan for some things that might happen.  Getting seperated on an elevator has always been one of my bigger fears.  We have a plan, and I review it with the kids every time we get on one.  They are getting older now, so it is less of a worry, but imagine if you had a 2 year old on the elevator and you don't make it.

Since it is the offical start of fire season, do you have a plan?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where in the world?

I haven't written much about our vacation, because it has been a whirlwind thus far.  I have not been able to really dedicate the time needed to go into all the awesomely fun stuff we have done so far.  I will tell you though, we went to Disneyland, and it was so much fun!! :)

When I get back home, I will post the pictures of the kids posing with the characters, and go through the whole day.  We really did have an amazing time.  Everyone was exhausted when we left.  I think if my mom hadn't been with us we would have stayed a little bit longer, because this was a one time deal.  I hope some day we can manage to do it again.

Since we have gotten to my mom's house it has been one family event after another.  I don't really know how this happens.  I don't even come when there are family events going on, but when we arrive it seems to be an occasion to have one.  I enjoy seeing everyone, but would prefer to do it one at a time rather than at large parties!

There has been earthquakes south of us, we haven't actually felt anything yet.  It is always concerning when the ground shakes in your general region, as that could trigger a tremblor in your area.  But, there is nothing I can do about that, so I don't worry.  Oh, and the official start of fire season was yesterday.  Did you know there was a fire season?  There is, so get your Ready Set Go plans ready and your grab and go bags.

There are also alpacas, actual live alpacas in our future.  So I hope the fires and earthquakes hold off till then.  Until later...

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I know, it has been quiet over here at the old Parenting blog.  The boss is on vacation and the staffers have failed to keep things up and running.  All you can hear in the offices of Parenting: a special kind of crazy is the chirping of crickets. 

I always think I will be able to come up with things to say while I am on vacation, but the reality is, once I leave all creative thought drains from my brain.  This of course has me thinking about having guest bloggers next time I leave town.  Every couple of days a post will be written by someone else and they will go up to fill the space (and promote some of the other great blogs out there...)  I have seen this done on other blogs, but never thought about doing it on mine.  Because well, my blog is MINE, MINE, MINE, and really I didn't want to share. 

But, since when ever the boss leaves, the crickets take over, well, perhaps there is some value in sharing.  So, if you might be interested in being a guest blogger while I am on vacation again in July, let me know.  Just post in the comments section.  I am making them private for this post, so the whole world won't know your intentions, but if you don't have my email address it is a way for you contact me.

Some ground rules, this is a Parenting blog of sorts, so keep it PG.  My kids read this too!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dancing with the Cars

Driving home from dinner last night, we were blasting the tunes.  I was singing and car dancing.  When I looked in the mirror and noticed my kids were just sitting there.  Not a head bob nor swing of shoulders could be seen.  Occasionally, I could see lips move as they sang along.  It was a Beaver song after all.

Just a small note on the fact that I know who Justin Bieber (aka the Beaver) is.... I can't think of anything other than, perhaps it is time to cash it in.  Truly horrible teenie bopper music.  (The teenie bopper disagrees with my assessment of the Beaver, but I stand by it.)  The kids LOVE him.

When Mac was small, I remember looking back and seeing my darling car dancing while buckled into his car seat.  It was a proud moment.  When did my kids become too cool to car dance? 

Ultimately, I decided that it might be the choice of tuneage.  Perhaps they don't want to dance to the Beaver, perhaps they don't like him.  One can only dream of such a reality. 

As we were about to pull into the 'hood, I wanted to enter with tunes a-blaring.  Something VERY rebellious about driving the mini van with the tunes cranked up so loud folks walking on the sidewalk can sing along.  I choose a fall back song, a fan favorite if you will.

So to the sounds of the drum beats and base guitar, we cruised into the 'hood.  Cuz, baby did a bad thing, yeah baby did a bad bad thing, and I feel like cryin'.  Everyone car danced.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Silly Bandz

Animal Bandz... the big thing with all the kids, boys, girls, little kids, teens, it is crazy.  The Walgreens puts up signs when these bracelets are in stock, because getting them is such a big deal.

I don't really understand some of these things.  We were able to dodge the glitter ball fad, but this one seems to have landed right in our home.  These bracelets are everything I hate, they are small and fragile, so they break.  You have to have more than one, so they will be left all over my house in massive quantities for me to clean up.  The kids will fight over them because some of the designs are rare.  I have no idea what makes one rarer than the other, but apparently there is a pecking order for these things.

The kids' friends were giving their duplicates to my kids at school.  So, even though I hadn't purchased any of these insidious creatures, we still had them.  Of course, they are left laying around the house and there was fighting because someone took one. 

Today, I caved and purchased some of these bands for the kids, as a reward for good behavior at the orthodontists office.  When I told them that was the reward, they were thrilled.  Mac jumped into the air and did an arm pump with joy.  I thought, cool a REALLY cheap way to bribe the kids!

Of course picking them out was a lot more trouble than you might have guessed, but the Wags was on the way home from the ortho's office.  For now, everyone is happy, but we will see how long this lasts.  Until then, I wonder why they like these silly bands.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

On the eve

Here we sit on the eve of Summer Vacation.  I am a bit hesitant, because for the most part the kids and I rocked out the the summer vacation last year.  It was a very mellow, laid back good time.  I am a bit concerned that we won't be able to do that again.

We are doing most of the same things again, going to Cali, the road trip to Connecticut and hanging out poolside.  But this year, we will have more money, because Bob will be working.  Last year we were dealing with the whole job loss situation.  I wonder if that contributed to our general appreciation of the summer last year.  It was a break from all the stress and bad stuff that happened during the winter.  This winter was pretty chill.

Around us, many of our friends, family and extended family are having tough time.  There is job loss, illness, divorce, child custody and other unpleasant things happening.  For us, that summer was last year.  We know what it is like, we were there. 

This year, though, there is nothing really happening to harsh our summer enjoyment.  I wonder though, what will it be like!  I hope we have a good time... but I guess time will tell.  I go on record saying I am ready to not get up in the morning and rush everyone off to school  I will be happy to not have to deal with annoying teachers and homework. 

Tomorrow afternoon, we jump out of the car pool and back into the swimming pool!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Last Knit

Enjoy this video about a person who is obsessed with knitting. It is a bit long and the non-knitters might not like it, but I think it is pretty clever.

I worry that someday, well, that might be me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Family Learning

In early May, at pick-up, I asked one of the other moms if they remembered the kids doing their family learning unit.  No one seemed to remember, but we all figured it was lost in the detritus of our lives. We lamented missing the teachable moments and the chance to let our kids know it is ok to talk to us about sex and what is going on with their bodies.

When I quizzed Mac on the topic he seemed to think they weren't doing family learning this year.  Budget cuts and all. The school board axed family learning in favor of keeping some other program.  That didn't really seem realistic, but the kids had not seen the movie and the days were ticking away.

Friday, in the backpacks we got the letter.   With only 4 1/2 days of school left they decide to do the family learning unit.  Bob finally has to have the discussion with his son about what happens with his body as he matures.  He finally has to discuss where babies come from.  Due to his total lack of willingness to do this, I have had some initial conversations with Mac about it.  Because face it, if I left it to Bob, Mac would have to find out about all this on the internet.

I would like to go on record as saying that the girl movie is WAY more traumatic than the boy movie.  Seriously, they talk about where you are going to get hair on your body in the boy movie. 

Tuesday, Mac saw the movies and was in his words, scared for life.  We had a good conversation about what he saw and I think that he felt comfortable discussing sex and his body with us.  Score one for good parenting.  Then on Wednesday, they had a little Q/A session.  I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to watch the teachers deal with the questions.  I will share a few with you, but please note that this might be a bit graphic in nature.  If you are faint of heart, I would stop reading now.  You have been warned.

One question asked was, "What are testicles?"  The answer given by one of the kids was, "it is a bag for your sperm, sort of like a penis purse."  Can you imagine not cracking up at that answer?  But the teachers have to stay totally calm and collected.  I would have had to bite my cheek not to crack up.

The next question was about how babies were made.  So the teachers talk about how the sperm and egg join together the make the baby.  Most kids know that the baby is in the mother's body, so one kid asks, how did my Dad's sperm get into my Mom?  The answer was, that is one question you will have to ask your parents about.  Mac had wanted to know if he would see that on the movie.  I told him no, I mean really, are they showing porn at school these days?  So there is stands, there is a big question about how the sperm actually makes it to the egg. 

I asked Mac after hearing a bit about the questions his classmates asked, if he found that more or less traumatic than the movies.  He said that the movie was the worst.  Porn and penis purses, and he is scared by seeing a drawing of a naked woman?  Well, at least family learning didn't get axed in the most recent set of budget reductions.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

She changed my life.....

I was reading the newsletter for a club I am in... you know the one that wanted Santa at their Christmas party, and then were allowed to do just that and did.  Yeah, that club.  Anyway, the President is ending her term and the newsletter editor thanked her for all her hard work, which is appropriate.  The part that got me was that she said that this person changed her life.  Guess what, the president of this club changed mine too.

She solidified my position on my family, or rather she polarized me.  As a result I write diatribes in my blog about being in an interfaith family on a pretty regular basis.  These diatribes have resulted in some interesting things, which aren't solidified so I won't talk about them...

She caused me to leave an organization that I before that loved, in a huge puff of smoke.  I was so angry and hurt and generally dismayed by the whole situation and no one has spoken to me since.  I wonder if it was because they were just being nice in the first place or if it was because they are now scared of me.  But, they weren't my "friends" to begin with, and it is interesting to learn that.

She caused me to reach out to other people that were in my periphery, and as a result I have some friends that are actually friends.  I might have ignored them otherwise, but as part of my leaving the club I had to fill the time, and I decided to reach out to other people.

She made me look at myself.  Sure my behavior was not probably very appropriate, but she has to be willing to own her total dismissal of my concerns and complete lack of support.  I don't think she will ever see it that way, and as a result I do not trust her and think that she is not a very good person.  I think she just thinks I have an anger problem.  But who knows.  To think I gave her old toys, and asked her to come to my knitting group.  That will teach me to be more exclusive.

But, at the end of the day, I would not be where I am right now if she hadn't been president of that club.  I am actually pretty happy about where I am right now.  But, I don't think thanking her for being a bigot is exactly where I am at either.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What I learned

When Michael Phelps was a young lad and it became apparent that he was quite the swimmer, he received coaching, access to top notch facilities, trainers dedicated time to him to make him better and most of all he practiced a whole lot.  Tiger Woods, while not such a popular guy right now, spend countless hours practicing golf and being trained in the skills he would need to excel.  The William's girls played tennis every day.  They had a tennis court in their suburban backyard.

All the athletes, while definitely athletically gifted, had to work, practice and had access to top notch trainers and facilities.  They did not get to where they are now by doing nothing.  Their coaches did not say, "Oh, he is athletically gifted, he will be ok, we do not need to focus our energies on him."  Quite the opposite happened, they put MORE resources towards these individuals to help their achieve their potential.

Can some explain to me why this philosophy is not applied to our intellectually gifted children?  When I sit in school board meetings and talk to teachers I am told, "Oh, he is really smart, you don't have to worry about him, he will be ok, just let him work on his own."  The exact opposite of what they say to the athletically gifted individuals.  If we do not harness the brain power of today's youth, we will not find the cures for cancer, world peace and next internet.  We have to train our intellectually gifted children.

When you have a child that is really good at sports, it tends to be ok to talk about little Johnny making All-State or winning an award, but when you kids are really smart it isn't ok to talk about it.  We need to change the way we look at things, we need to start to value smartness too.  Mac is, intellectually, in the top 2% of this country.  He is intellectually gifted in the same way that Michael Phelps is athletically gifted.  It is my belief that he deserves the same type of training as an athlete.

That is what I learned at my meeting.  I also learned how to help him get that training on our own, because until the schools change their philosophy, they will only be part of the solution.  You could argue that the school athletic programs were only part of the solution for Michael Phelps. It is time for me to take a more active role in training him to utilize his full potential.

I am so grateful to my friend who took me to this meeting to help me start to be able to find the resources that I need, and to clarify what steps needed to be taken.  It sounds like bragging to me when I talk about Mac, but it is our reality, and we struggle to figure out how to manage this situation.  Trust me when I say it does not come without its issues.  I remember talking to a friend about Mac, and she has a "traditional" special needs child.  She told me that she just wants her son to reach his full potential, and that is why she needs the extra services.  Well, guess what, so do I. 

So, I learned that I need a training regimen.  Now to create it!