Monkey Goes to Dallas (maybe)

13 12 2007

We just got a letter saying that one of Monkey’s teachers nominated him to be a 5th grade delegate at the Lone Star Leadership Academy (http://www.educationinaction.org/).   The letter said he was nominated based on his grades and his demonstrated leadership skills.    Participants at the LSLA spend a week in a cool educational program, visiting various Texas sites and performing leadership exercises.   He was proud and excited to have been nominated and selected.  He was NOT so excited when he found out that he’ll have to be there for five days and four nights.   He asked if we could stay in a hotel and pick him up each evening and drop him off each morning.   As exciting as a week-long educational camp is to him, the idea of being away from his family is not.   So.  We’re not sure if he’ll be attending.  We have until early March to persuade him that he should go.





Whew.

17 10 2007

Ze life… she has been so hecteek lately.
(So hectic that I’ve some how contracted a transient French accent….)

Well, let’s seeeeee… ze band.. I mean THE band placed 5th out of 7 in their first pre-contest contest… and 2nd out of 3 in the second pre-contest contest. I have no idea what the cheese the deal is with so many precontests. In MY day, there was ONE contest, and we had to march in it barefoot, uphill both ways… in the snow. (And this is south Texas, so they’d actually truck in snow, just to make sure we’d have really tough marching conditions….) (Okay, not really….)

The “real” contest is coming up on Saturday. Honestly, I’m a little worried. So is Froggie.

Monkey is getting used to his new school. He’s not big on change, so he’s still getting adjusted, these 8 weeks later.

Duckie. Lordy. He’s Duckie. Today he asked for “toast with sour cream.” I thought it sounded gross, so I asked him if that’s what he really wanted… but he took me to the fridge and showed me. Cream cheese. So I said, “Ooohh.. you want cream cheese on your toast..!” Yes. So… a few hours later, he wanted more. So he placed an order for “more toast with sour cheese, please.” Heheh.

Big E is still recovering from surgery. He’s pretty good with the crutches, and can actually get from Point A to Point B quicker than we can sometimes (across parking lots, etc).

And I have been working like mad on my sites. I just put printable grocery coupons one of the sites (http://www.TheGoodBuyGirl.net/coupons).

Ze life… ze life, she is so goot to me.





Eleven

15 09 2007

Monkey turned eleven today.

There are so many things I could say about our Monkey. Above all, though, I’d have to say that I am proud that he is my son.

When I look at his face, I can see the fine man that he will be one day, but I can still see inquisitive toddler that he was (once when he was two years old he came into the living room hours after being put to bed and asked, “Mommy.. I know milk comes out of a cow, but how does it get IN the cow..?”). He fills our lives and hearts with joy and pride. He is brilliant beyond words… but more importantly, he has a heart bigger than any I have ever known.

The principal at the school that Monkey attended for five years recently mailed him a letter. In it, she encouraged him to do well in his new school. She also said that counts him among a few students that she will always remember with true respect because they possess caring and the ability to think of others before themselves. No straight-A report card could ever top knowing that other people recognize in Monkey what we have seen in him since before he was able to walk or talk.

For his birthday, he asked for was a new CD clock radio and a Simpsons sketch book. As soon as he opened the book (and the sketch pad and pencils that Froggie gave him), he started drawing Simpsons characters.

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He was elated when my mother came over in the afternoon. She gave him something that he’s wanted since… well, since before it existed. (To back-pedal: Monkey is a born geek. That’s not an insult in our home. He flies his geek flag proudly. Since before the age of two, he has loved robots. At two years old, he saw a commercial for RAD robot, and fell in love. He studied the commercial, and knew all of the robots capabilities. He wanted it desperately. [The $100 price tag was more than we could afford back then, though. Especially for a two year old.] At Christmas time, a WalMart cashier asked him, “What do you want for Christmas, baby?” She seemed shocked at his detailed, well-spoken answer: “I just want a robot. It’s called RAD robot. It can clean your room and bring you a Coke.”) Since then, he’s owned several robots. A few brought by Santa, and several given to him by my mom, who loves feeding his robot habit. Today, she arrived with a cylindrical package, and I know that he knew what it was. His eyes were too sparkly to not know. And there it was: an R2D2 robot that reponds to voice command.

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Since the package was opened, R2 has danced in my living room. He’s repeated Leia’s plea to ObiWan in my kitchen. He’s carried a bottle of hotsauce from one end of the room to the other. And he’s “patrolled the area” in our entry way and hall. When he was two, it seemed as if Monkey thought robots were a mix of metal and magic. Now, with some understanding of electronics, he still looks at them with such awe and wonder… maybe now he thinks they’re a mix of metal, wire, programming, chips… and magic.

Eleven. My God. He’ll be a man before we know it. And before I’m ready. I am so very happy that this wonderful human is part of my life. He truly is a gift to the world, and I am honored to know him and to call him my child.





season opener

31 08 2007

The season kicked off last night with the GP/King game. GP started weak, got angry and strong and came back… but pulled back in the end and lost. 28-20. Monkey had a sore throat and a cough, so we left after half time. When we left, I was sure they were going to win. Oh well.

It was nice to be back at the stadium. We have season tickets (to watch the band, mainly), and we’re surrounded by the same people every year. There are 3 sweet older men who sit behind us every year, and the really large one likes Duckie. Last year he frequently made comments that Duckie is so cute he wants to eat him up. I’m hoping to heaven that he doesn’t make comments like that this year, because Duckie is likely to believe him at this age (especially considering the man’s size).

My boys are complete opposites at the games. Last night, Monkey got out of the car with a book. Some fantasy novel. I made him put it back, but when we got to our seats, I found out that he had a mini electronic game in his pocket (20 Q), and he played that for the entire duration of the first half. Duckie, on the other hand, LOVES football, and kept whooping and clapping when there was a good play on the field. The only thing that got Monkey excited was when the clock showed 10 seconds to half-time. (He wants to be a drummer, and LOVES watching the band.) He put his 20Q game away when the teams left the field.  Duckie yelled,”Hey! Where are the football teamers going?!” He’s a toddler with limitless energy, so I knew he wouldn’t be able to grasp that they had to go rest. So I told him they all had to go potty really bad. He nodded. That he CAN relate to.

The half time show was really good. GP’s sound and show was SO much stronger than that of King. Am I biased? Yeah. But so what. Once a band geek, always a band geek. (I am having shirts made for E and myself that say, “Proud former G-P band geek”… and the back is going to say, “Old band geeks never die… they just leave after half-time.”) (I had shirts made for Froggie and her two friends that say “GP MARCHING BAND” and in smaller print underneath it says “What’s the football team doing on our field?!”)

After half time, we left so Monkey could get to bed (he took a benadryll at the game, and was crashing). We had to rush out before the teams took the field again, because Duckie would have thrown a fit if he knew the game wasn’t over.

Froggie was excited because it was her first game as a band officer. She got to meet the other band’s officers, and introduce them to the GP band (and she and the other GP officers got introduced to King’s band). It’s a big deal to band geeks, and she was really happy. She was still talking about it this morning.

This morning, Monkey was talking about how cool the drum line looked, and how cool it was that a member of the football team marched with the drum line wearing his football uniform (now that’s a dedicated band geek). The first thing Duckie asked upon waking was, “Is there another football game today?”





summer is officially over

27 08 2007

The older two kids started school today. Froggie, being Froggie, managed to leave in a huff, angry at the world because the dress code is so stupid, and the fact that they’re not allowed to eat lunch in the bandhall this year is stupid. (I’m pretty sure that I heard her declare something I did or said was stupid, too… but I can’t be 100% certain.)

Monkey was super-scared. He started 5th grade today. A new school. When we went to school here (back in the days of the dinosaur), elementary went through 6th grade. E and I walked in with him, got him situated, and helped him learn how to open his locker. Intermediate School is in our old junior high building… and oddly enough, Monkey’s home room class is the same class room in which I met my now-husband. (We weren’t friends then… we just met in there. He was a super-quiet nerd and I was something of a trouble maker. I got excellent grades, but I liked to stir stuff up back then. I recall playing Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” several days in a row, when our VERY overweight male teacher would walk into the room.. just to make everyone laugh.)

Monkey has a tiny little class for home room. He’s one of 10 kids (odd, because a lot of the other classes have 25 kids.) At first we thought it was a class of GT kids, but ends up it’s not. The numbers just worked out that way.

A lot of the parents stuck around for quite a while, and we got to hear the kids introduce themselves to the teacher. She asked them to state their name, and a fact or 2 about themselves. There was the usual “I’m __, and I like baseball,” and the like. Then she asked one kid his name. He answered. Then he couldn’t think of anything to say about himself. So she asked, “Well, what did you do all summer?” He said, “Played video games.” She smiled and said, “My 5 year old daughter loves video games! What kind do you play?” He answered, “Killing games.” Oh. Hm. The look on the teacher’s face was priceless. You could almost hear her telling herself, “Keep smiling… don’t looked shocked.” (The result was a shocked-looking smile.) So then, she said, “Well, I like video games, too, but I don’t play killing games… I like puzzle games.”
“You mean like Brain Age?”
“Yes, like Brain Age.”
“Yeah… I stole that game, but I hardly ever play it.”
And again, with the pasted-on shocked smile. (I didn’t bother to smile.. I was just plain shocked and probably looked it.)

THEN she asked another kid for her name and a fact about herself. “My name is Amber,” [Amber can’t pronouce her Rs] “and I’m named after my mothuh’s fwiend.” (“Oh, that’s so nice… to be named after someone your mom loves.”) “Uh-huh. My mom’s fwiend was named Ambuh, but when they wuh teenaguhs, my mom’s fwiend was on dwugs weal bad, and she couldn’t stop, so the state took her away fwom her mothuh… and my mom nevuh saw her fwiend Ambuh again, so she named me aftuh her.” Geez. Louise. (And again, the teacher smiled through her shock. I think she was making mental notes: “Remember to hug 5 year old daughter extra tight when I get home tonight.”) A few parents introduced themselves too. I WANTED to say, “I’m C.. Monkey’s mom… and apparently my household is very sheltered.” But instead I told the story of meeting my husband in that very classroom. (And made a mental note to hug my kids extra tight today.)





“Coincidences,” reminders, fortitude, and Great Grandma

15 08 2007

I had a dream about Great Grandma last night. Great Grandma is my husband’s grandmother, and my children’s great grandmother. I call her “Great Grandma” because that’s what my kids call her (as a woman might refer to her own mother as “grandma” when speaking to her kids). Great Grandma passed away earlier this year, and I miss her terribly. In my life, there have been very few people who have amazed me with their strength and their love. They are my mother, my husband, my uncle, and Great Grandma.

In my dream, I never said a word. We were alone in a room and she knew something was wrong. She told me not to give up. (In “real life,” I easily have  up to 1000 hours of work to do before 3 projects are “finished.”) She told me (in that kind & raspy voice of hers) that I need to keep going, that things will get better, and that she and I will both “be so heppy when it’s finished.” (That’s not a typo…that’s how she said “happy.”) Then I woke up prematurely, and the dream ended abruptly. I went back to sleep several times, just trying to get back to the dream, so I could see her again, and get her advice. I never got there, and got out of bed feeling incredibly sad.

When I logged on to my computer this morning, there were several emails waiting for me. For some reason, I decided to read Rachel’s first. (Rachel is an pen-pal friend of mine with whom I have exchanged emails for over 8 years… but we have never met.) Rachel sent me a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Life.” The *very first* slide on it said, “In life there are moments when you miss someone so much that you wish you could grab them out of your dreams and hug them tight.” I started bawling as soon as I read that (and am still crying as I “speak”).

Instead of reading anymore email on that account, I decided to check my email accts associated with the projects I’m working on, and the first email there was from a woman in Germany. She is the designer for the wp template I decided to use for one of my sites. The problem, however, was that when I tried using it (5 days ago), it was all written in German. Although the template itself was perfect (PERFECT) for the project, all of the words that I wanted in english were in German… and I don’t know ANY german, so it was impossible for me to know what to translate into what. I found a way to contact her, and wrote to her on a whim. Although her site was entirely in German, I wrote to her in English. (“Dear Alice… I love your template and think it’s perfect for my needs. However, it’s in German. I realize it is a lot to ask, but would it be at all possible for you to translate the CSS to english for me?”) When I sent it, I knew I wouldn’t hear from her, because 1) it was a free template to begin with and 2) she didn’t know me. I scrapped the project I was working on, out of frustration. I’d forgotten that I’d written to her. Then there it was this morning. Right after Great Grandma told me that things will get better. An email from Alice in Germany, whom I have never met:

Hello Cyn,first, my english is verry bad!Here the translated version.I hope everything is right and it works …Kind regards,Alice

I have never believed in coincidences, and probably never will. Somehow, the tumblers in the great cosmic combo lock aligned just right over the last 6 hours. Great Grandma set the ball rolling. Maybe she used the other two virtual strangers to remind me of what she’d said, my goals, and my abilities… and to give me fortitude.

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Great Grandma, quizzing Monkey (age 6) with spelling words





The write stuff

23 07 2007

Recently, I’ve been too busy to post here. I have yet to re-register my old domain name, and am not sure I will put this blog on that domain again anyway. (I’m not keen on people knowing my full name.) Eventually, this will be located SOMEwhere other than the wordpress server. Eventually.

For now, this blog will remain here, while I work on my new sites……………….








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