Friday, September 30, 2011

Next time, ear plugs

"You cannot disregard the truth,"  said the man in the chair next to me at the hairdresser today.  He was talking about infant baptism and he was loud.

(Now, look, my point here isn't going to be about baptism.  I've had both my boys baptized as babies, but on those Sundays there was a full-page disclaimer about infant baptism in the bulletin.  It wasn't a big deal to me to have them baptized as infants but it was a big, big, big deal to my in-laws, so why sweat it?)

My chair neighbor got louder.  He was part of a new church which had left their old church because they disagreed with a point of doctrine their denomination established recently.  Perhaps you know what I am talking about.

I tried very hard to focus on my book.  I read the same page over and over.

His hair stylist said, "Well, I never talk about religion or politics.  It just upsets people.  Say! You know (that big church in town)?  Well, they had some big falling out and people got mad and left and their offices are in that building downtown that used to be the library."

Well, first of all, it used to be the post office.

"Hmmmm," said her customer.  "All I know is they aren't (MY denomination)"

Friends and loved ones, there was more to this conversation that got my blood a-boiling, but the bottom line is they were talking about my new little church with the name that continues to make me chuckle to myself.  Now, lookie here.  I can laugh and criticize my new church all I like but how dare, how DARE, HOW DARE they even speak of darling Cataclysm Catalyst without knowing what they are talking about?

Up I sprang from my chair hair dye flying everywhere.  "ExCUSE me, but everyone got along at that church perfectly well.  It was a large church, and we decided to plant a new one." And I turned on my little heel and marched over to the shampoo bowls where I sat with self-righteous indignation and read that same page over and over and over until it was time for my rinse.

Oh, there were so many things I could have said.  I could have quoted scripture.  I could have pointed out that they were gossiping. I could have gone the sweeter route and invited them to see what we are doing or to my home for small group.  (I don't think they would have been interested.)

I could have just sat there and pretended like I couldn't hear and read my page over and over.  How often do I kick myself because there is a time and a place to keep your mouth shut and I don't always know it?

It's too late to go back now, so let's think what we've learned from this:   Leave dear CatStevens Catalyst alone and bring head phones to the salon.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Direct from my kitchen! Live!

I've had my new computer two weeks and just discovered it's got a camera.  I don't know if you can see the little video or not.  I can see it when I am in edit mode but not after I have published.  If you can't that's okay, I should have taken a minute for lip gloss . . .

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

It's not really a poem today.  It's a Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh quote.  Ms. Amber, D's preschool teacher, had it on her weekly note home last week, and I thought we could all do to remember this.

"Promise me you'll always remember:  You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Too Close to Home

Sheri is a truly beloved college friend of mine.  Here she is back in the day walking to class at good ol' Mankato State.  Go Mavs!!

I liked her immediately because Sheri just loved life and rolled with the punches.  I was am not as good at that, and I just loved that she could.  You could not be with Sheri for long and not hear her singing or see her dancing.  That was the way I wanted to live and still do . . .

After college Sheri met and married Shannon.  Brent and I drove across South Dakota on a very, very cold November day to Sheri and Shannon's wedding.

I hadn't met Shannon yet, but what a pair!  If ever there was a man for Sheri -- here he was.  Kind. Loud. Singing away to his own song.  They moved to Virginia and had Ashton, who right around his second or third birthday, developed an aggressive form of childhood leukemia.  Sheri and Shannon had to make hard choices to save their son and today he is 15 years old.  The whole family continued to work very hard to raise money for childhood cancer and last weekend while training for a fundraising bike ride, Shannon collapsed and did not wake up.  His funeral was Friday.

I don't get it, and, frankly, this hits a little too close to home.  Who becomes a widow at age 42? (My grandmother Gigi, for one.)  I don't like it.

Now if you think that as a Christian, I am just sitting here saying things like -- "Well, it must have been his time.  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" -- you're just stinkin' wrong.  That's not what I'm doing at all.  This is where I hold my little fist up to God and say, "What the heck?! Why would you allow such a thing?!  Hasn't this family been through enough?!"

I don't know for sure, but His answer is probably yes and no.  We don't get to pick who has been through enough.  Life on earth isn't always fair. In fact, it hardly ever is.

But if I still know Sheri a little bit, after she is done shaking her fist at God, she will thank Him for her wonderful husband.  She will be grateful that she was married to him for nearly 18 years.  She will continue to love her son and parent him the best way she can.

Here's where character counts.  Here's where faith begins.

She will continue to sing and dance.

Friday, September 23, 2011

True Confession Friday

Sometimes I "mop" by wiping a Clorox wipe over an especially sticky part of the floor and call it good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

School Sales

There was an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday about how much people hate schools selling stuff.  Me too -- and yet I have put a magazine link here because our little music department needs the money and not every parent has enough to just fork over cash.  I prefer that idea.  I think that those who can should just write a check and be done with it.  Otherwise we are just buying things we don't really need or want. That's not really fair, though, because then those who can't afford to write a check or buy the stuff themselves still have to hit the streets peddling magazines.

Of all the sales we've had to do for school, magazines are the least painful.  You just collect and that's the end of it.  The magazines get sent directly to the buyer's home.  I understand there's a Papa Murphy's pizza sale for the preschool later in the year.  I love Papa Murphy's pizza as much as the next gal, but those pizzas are fresh and have to be picked up and delivered in a timely manner.  There's no keeping them in the trunk until you run into the person you sold them to.

I used to buy a Christmas wreath from a highly organized Boy Scout.  The year he grew up and moved away, I put a plea on Facebook for a scout seller and got a phone call from a scout father who seemed angry I wanted to buy one.  He practically threw it on my doorstep.  I think it had been in his trunk for several days because it was near death when I got it.  The next year I bought one at a store.  Didn't feel nearly as good, but I didn't have to deal with a parent who felt like he was doing me a favor.

Another sale I don't enjoy is wrapping paper.  I'm sure you have a room devoted to the creative wrapping of gifts, but I don't.  I usually buy a gift bag at the same time I buy the gift, or I go to the basement and find one of the many hundreds of gift bags I got when Colin was born.  True they are mostly blue and have a baby or Noah's ark on them, but if you put a lot of colorful tissue paper in it sort of masks the bag and the recipient gets all excited to dig in and see what the gift is.

Beware, though, this year your gift might be a fresh pizza.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

I don't think this poem needs much of an introduction . . .

End-Of-Summer Poem
Rowena Bastin Bennett

The little songs of summer are all gone today.
The little insect instruments are all packed away:
The bumblebee's snare drum, the grasshopper's guitar,
The katydid's castanets -- I wonder where they are.
The bullfrog's banjo, the cricket's violin,
The dragonfly's cello have ceased their merry din.
Oh, where is the orchestra? From harpist down to drummer
They've all disappeared with the passing of summer.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Too Quiet

I am having trouble adjusting to the quiet on preschool days.  It doesn't make me sad.  It's just different.  I could turn on the TV or the radio, but I kind of like it.  I don't know exactly what to do with it though.  Is that confusing?  It's just so doggone different.

I thought I would be getting ahead on blog posts or cleaning the oven or giving myself spectacular manicures . . . but I find myself just sitting quietly in the quiet.

I don't think it will last.  Do you?  I think in another week or two, I am going to be a whirling dervish of activity -- radio blaring, daytime TV droning.

D loves, loves, loves preschool by the way.  He is excited to go every day.  I am very glad about this because when Colin was a preschooler, he went one week and then decided he'd "climbed that hill" and didn't need to go again.  Been there.  Done that.

He still feels that way.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

7th Grade

At some point this week, I realized I would be experiencing seventh grade science and social studies again through Colin.  I also realized how little I recall from seventh grade science and social studies.  Up until now when Colin looked to me for homework assistance, I would nod sagely and point him in the right direction.  Homework last week and this week has gone more like this --

Colin: Do you think this is right?

Me:  I have no idea.  Can you look it up?

Now I know that this is the way a parent should help her child with homework.  She should be encouraging him to figure out the answer on his own, and I think I've done a pretty good job with that.  Now, though, it's because I don't know the answer either, and I am finding that way more humbling.

Colin's social studies class, World Geography, is going to be especially challenging because when I took world geography in sixth grade, it was a whole different ballgame.  A large part of Europe/Asia was taken up with the USSR.  Now it's all those little countries that end in "thia" or "stan."  Are you like me?  Do you listen to the news sometimes and hear one of those little countries -- like Tajikistan -- and say, "That's not really a country! Is that really a country?!"

So this is good.  In future I will watch the news and say, "Kyrgyzstan!  Of course!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday on Wednesday

Here's a poem for my little niece who turns one today and is not named Pippa although perhaps she should have been.

Pippa's Song
Robert Browning

The year's at the spring,
And the day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;

The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in His Heaven --
All's right with the world!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Preschooler D Goes to Preschool

We knew this day would come.  I did not have to take to my bed.  It was very, very, very quiet here this morning, though.

All went well.  He was happy to be dropped off and happy to be picked up. Fellow Preschooler Mommy Emily said of her twins, "They didn't cry.  Why should I?"  Very good advice indeed.

But we can be a little melancholy, can't we?  Just today?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crayons at Last

Remember how I was wondering why D didn't need crayons for preschool?  Well, he and I went to preschool open house yesterday and discovered we had been given the wrong supply list.  Argh.  The first five things on the preschool open house scavenger hunt had to do with putting away items we didn't have. So after getting our flu shots at the local clinic (argh again), we got back in the car to head to our local Target.

I don't know if you've noticed, but the school supplies are GONE.  No, not gone if you need to buy a plastic ruler or some double sided sticky tape or a folder in a basic color or a small Spanish dictionary, but if you want a pencil box or a fun wide lined notebook . . . GONE.

Also crayons are back to their normal price.  You know how at the height of school supply time they are 59 cents or something?  Not any more.  And here's another thing.  Our list said 12 crayons.  Crayons don't come in 12, do they?  They come in multiples of 8.  I bought the 24 pack because it's a multiple of 12.  It seemed logical at the time.

Do you think I got frustrated because I am a little nervous about sending my little buddy off into the big, bad preschool world?

I am open to that idea.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Day After the First Day of School

He came in yesterday with a heavy sigh.

*sigh* "That was the longest day ever."

And so began Colin's seventh grade year.

"How many days left?" he asked on his way out the door today.

His encouraging father who seems to have forgotten Colossians 3:21 answered, "Thousands."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

Here's a nice number by good ol' Emily D in honor of the Great State of Minnesota taking our children back today.

Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a grayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Monday, September 5, 2011

School Eve

Last week was spent filling out school forms and double checking the supply list.  My sister, Cyberspace Sarah, had "48 sharpened pencils" on one of her lists.  Really?  That's 5.3 sharpened pencils a month for third grade.  We didn't have anything that exciting on either one of our lists.  Colin must be going to a loose leaf system.  His list didn't come out until last week.  I'd already bought a pile of wide lined notebooks and then panicked because I thought he'd need college rule.  I bought another pile.  He doesn't need any of them.  He needed loose leaf.  I used to prefer loose leaf myself, but now I have a huge pile of notebooks.  We'll need them eventually.

Preschooler D (who is going to become an actual preschooler next week!) needed two jumbo glue sticks and a bottle of glue.  Apparently there is a lot of gluing in preschool . . . but no coloring.  He didn't need crayons. Go figure.

Brent has just been giving a pep talk to Colin.  "Seventh grade is going to be great!  You're going to be doing all kinds of new things!"

"Like what?"  asked Colin.

"Well . . . ah . . . um.  All kinds of new things!!"

No, Colin.  We fear that seventh grade is just going to be sixth grade with harder books, shorter recess and no study hall.  Of course, that's no way to send your child into a new school year. "Whoo-hoo!! Who's ready for seventh grade?!"

These conversations are just hard.  The other night Brent asked D what he was most looking forward to at school.  His answer was, "Learning math."

Oh, son. There's no math at preschool.  Just gluing.

For a little perspective on first day trauma, head over here to Rachel's blog on buying school supplies.  Rachel has lived in Africa many years.  This is the first year her kids will be going to American school.  She also has a great entry yesterday about going to open house.