20 June 2013

Boredom is a Beautiful Thing

I am waging a battle against an evil force, a force that seeks to infiltrate and destroy my happy home.  I wake up every morning, drink my coffee in a quiet house, and summon courage and perseverance to fight the good fight.  I must be strong.  I must stand my ground.  I must prevail over the darkness!

I'm talking about TV in the summertime.  *shudder*  I hate that my kids always want to watch TV, and I hate that I'm usually too weak to say no to the uninterrupted quiet time for myself.  Because I can hide from them when the TV is on, and I cannot hide from them at any other time, period.  Trust me, I've tried.

But I'm getting better at just saying no to television.  I'm hearkening back to the days when I had fewer children, more brain cells, heaps more patience, and something called a backbone, and I'm forcing the kids to find other things to do.  Or at least, I'm doing that more often than I used to, and gritting my teeth through the "I'm boreds" and the "What can I dos" and the "Pleaaaaases" and the "There's nothing to do around heres."

And I have been vindicated!  Turns out, boredom does in fact breed creativity!  Which means that for today, at least, I conquered the Disney Channel!

Exhibit A, for your viewing pleasure, from my 12 year old:



Forced to do something besides watch TV, he figured out how to do this with his iPod Touch, frame by frame.  Had I caved, and let them all rot their brains in front of the TV, this gem would not have surfaced.  So pretty much, I can take credit for this great little short.  Yay me!

(If you are on Instagram, and would like to follow his Art postings, you can find him at hashtag_art.  He's pretty amazing, I must say.)

Today was but one battle in a longer war, but it was a victory and I shall take it, and make great speeches on the battlefield, and commemorate the day each year with much pomp and circumstance, and I will use it to embolden me for the days to come, the long hot days of summer.

The truth may set us free, but boredom shall make us create stuff.

* * *

19 June 2013

Because We Do Not Keep Carrier Pigeons

This paper airplane just landed in my lap.  Literally.



Bearing the following note:

"...with a cherry on top" for anyone who
misses the little illustration


Nothing will stop them from being heard.

* * *


San Francisco Love

Early mornings are just the best way to start a day.

Especially early mornings following a late night...because the kids are too thrashed to move.  We went to a San Francisco Giants game last night and got home close to midnight, so even now, at 9am, not a creature is stirring and for me, it still feels like an early morning.  (The teenager is probably stirring.  Or rather, his thumbs are probably stirring. But he's quiet and flying under the radar, so I'm not going to mess with that.)

* * *

Giants games:  Cold.  Loud.  Too crowded.  Sticky.  Cramped seats.  Drunk people.  Expensive food.  Expensive parking.  Lots of walking.

But STILL magic, still fun, still captivating.  The music, the hits, the runs, the kiss-cam, the entire scene: thrilling.

There were two highlights for me last night.  One was watching Romo come in and close a great game (we won!).  The other was watching my kids interact with other Giants fans.  The fans sitting around us wishing my daughter a happy birthday.  Our ticket taker -- an older gentlemen -- asking my 6 year old if she was ready to take the field in case they needed her, and her resounding answer: "YUP!"  Another old timer, watching the Lou Seal mascot literally run away from my kids because he was being mobbed by crowds, who spied my 8 year old in her Dale (Disney chipmunk) hat and said to her: "Who needs a seal!  We got a chipmunk!" He gave her a high five to "seal" the deal.

It seemed like everywhere we went, in addition to the really obnoxious drunk people, we ran into San Francisco gems, cheerful, happy people who offered charm and good will generously to my children.

When we left the park -- cold, tired, gearing up for a long walk back to our car -- we watched a man perform an impressive drum riff on several upturned plastic buckets, using a crate with empty wine bottles sticking out of it and a metal pan of coins to create contrasting sounds.  The cash we dropped in his wind-protected bucket was the best money I spent all night.

I love this city.  I love my kids.  I love the two together.

* * *

This entrance.  Never.  Gets.  Old.

Pretty psyched to see her seat number
matches her soccer jersey number.
Oh, and Alex Morgan's too.

Happened to be at the park on the same night
as my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew!

Me, sandwiched between two slices of ham.

Waiting for Romo.
Thank you San Francisco!

* * *

18 June 2013

Sing It, Dory

Birthdays.

Graduations.

Goodbyes.

Career Changes.

International Travels.

Medical Challenges.

Medical Diagnoses.

More Career Changes.


My family is experiencing a tsunami of major events this June, a month that trembles, as Neruda said, "like a butterfly."  There's really only one thing to do when life throws so many curve balls and momentous events at you all at once.  Dory knows:


I'm swimmin' my way to the SF Giants game tonight, with four of my short people, one of whom I can't call a short person anymore.  But will forever anyway.

For tonight, I will celebrate my new 11 year old and hope our boys deliver a win, and then I will come home, go to sleep, and start swimming again tomorrow morning.

* * *

All I really need to know I learned from Finding Nemo.

* * *




17 June 2013

London is Following Us

There are songs that follow us along the pathways of life.

Consider one morning, five and a half years ago, when The Clash got me through the mundane challenges of school-morning.

And today, that same song sees off my oldest on his first International Adventure.  London is calling, kid.  Today, you answer.


Have a wonderful time, Sam!

* * *


13 June 2013

Spooky

Little T.  She loves me so. She expresses her love by sobbing, whining, hanging on me, and being generally unbearable whenever we must spend the day apart.

Today is one such day.

The tears!  The angst!  The annoyance!

She's almost 7.  I would have hoped this would be slowing down to a crawl by now, but no, it seems rather to be ramping up in intensity.

She is not, however, one to miss an opportunity.  After an hour of pleading and cajoling with me to PLEASE let her come with me today, she settled on the following:

"Then I just want to keep your wallet with me today, to remember you by."

My wallet.  Riiiiiiight.  Opportunistic little monkey.

I would be touched by her need for some momento of me, except for the realization that she just wants to bleed me dry, and if she can't do it physically, then she's just as happy to drain my bank account.

I informed her that I would be taking my wallet with me, but I offered to draw her a picture of the two of us, so she could have something to keep with her today.  Thankfully, she loved the idea, and even expanded on it:

"You draw one for me, and I'll draw one for you!"

Awesome, right?  Well, yes, until this:

"I'm just going to need to know how to draw some spooky hair.  
Ya' know, like yours."

I didn't know I had spooky hair.  I did, however, know that I have a spark plug on my hands with this kid, and that she'll find new ways to remind me of this fact daily.

And now, I'm off to locate my hairbrush.

* * *


* * *

11 June 2013

How Do You Do It?

This is not a rhetorical question.  This is a question seeking real answers, from real people.



How do you get yourself up from the couch and motivate yourself to make and serve dinner, monitor bath times, straighten the house, prepare the entire family for tomorrow's day at the beach, referee the arguments, the endless, endless arguments, ensure that the kids do their chores, in short, do everything that needs to be done, when you're tired, demoralized, otherwise engaged in a pity party, down on everyone (especially your children), and wishing everyone would just go away?

I need something.

I need to be something.

I need to hear something.

I need to get something done.

How do you do it?  When it all needs to get done, and you are the one who needs to do it and you would rather be the one who doesn't have to do a damn thing?

* * *

06 June 2013

Two Sides of Parenting

Good day

Parenting: 18+ years in a front row seat, watching a person unfold her wings and learn to fly.



Bad day

Parenting: 18+ years of cringe-inducing moments.



* * *

May your day be filled with wing-watching!

* * *

05 June 2013

5 Minutes Ago

The older I get, the more I realize that life really is about holding on by your fingernails and hoping for the best.

This week, my little tiny baby boy is graduating from 8th grade.  That can't be.  He's so little!  Look!


If you want to get technical, that picture is a tad old.  But if you want to talk about something non-technical, something much more real, then that picture was taken like five minutes ago, and I can hardly breathe.  Because five minutes has gone by, and this is what he looks like now:



How did that happen?

Grammar school is behind him.  Nine years is a long time.  Nine years of brand new school years each Fall.  Nine years of fresh binders and long, sharpened pencils.  Nine years of renewed commitments -- his and mine -- to be better.  Nine years of watching a wee child grow up, perform Shakespeare, play guitar, win a State Cup soccer championship.  Nine years of listening to his outrage at an unfair world.  Nine years of being proud of his willingness to take risks and do new things.

Four more, and it's launch time.  So tomorrow evening, I'll watch him graduate from 8th grade, I'll wipe a tear or two away, and then I'll crack my knuckles and get ready to hold on for more.

Congratulations Sam!  I look forward to watching you flourish in high school.  Good things await, my son!

* * *