Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nothing To Worry About. Except Maybe Flooding.

So, after all my stressing about the belt test, it turned out to be much easier than I'd expected, certainly much easier than the last one.  The difference?  Last time my friend J and I were the low belts testing (the higher belts included one guy testing for Black) whereas this time we were the high belts testing and the group was much smaller.  It was still almost two and a half hours long, but the bagwork and sparring elements were minimal and the boardbreaking pretty straightforward.  I wasn't even breathing hard at the end of it, although I was disgustingly hot and had gone through almost half a gallon of ice water.  An unexpected boon and I have to remember that this test was way easier than the norm will be when I'm preparing for the next one, but I'll take it.  At any rate, I earned one of these (below) fair and square.

I have a belt rack for all my old belts; it hangs on the wall in our office and it's always satisfying to add one to it.  Put the Red belt on there yesterday after the test--this is what it looks like now.

Annoyingly, this rack isn't quite big enough...wasn't thinking when I ordered it, apparently.  Guess I'm going to have to stay at Black if I ever get there, since this one only has room for my current Senior Red belt plus Brown and Senior Brown (Black comes next.)  Oh well.

On another note, I logged onto Facebook yesterday morning and saw the following post from a grad school friend who lives in Houston.  Her house was filled with water up to the top of the first-floor wainscoting in the recent floods there, as background info.

Calling all Houston Friends: We need hands hauling stuff out of our house and to the curb. If you can come today, that would be amazing. Our address is XXXX and we'll be there from 9:30am until 9:30pm. Be forewarned, the floodwater included a LOT of sewage so if you're in any way immunocompromised you need to stay away. If you can bring hand soap, bleach, bleach wipes & dishwashing liquid it would be very helpful. Folks have been driving by with food donations and we have a bunch of water. Come party in poop-land!

That actually helped my stress levels a lot.  No matter HOW bad my test was going to be, the day was not going to include cleaning a house that had been inundated with poop-filled water!  As a dose of perspective, it was a whopper.  


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Yeah, This Mama Was Crying Like A Baby

So, my boy?  The one who hasn't been able to hit the broad side of a barn with a baseball bat this spring?  TWO beautiful hits tonight, one run, and not one single strikeout.  Just about fell off the bleachers cheering after the first hit, much to the amusement of the other parents around me.  I did okay until the end of the game, but then the coach awarded him the game ball in the postgame huddle and that was all she wrote for me.  Cue the waterworks behind the dugout.  I could care less if the team wins or loses (they did win, for the record) but that poor kid has been trying so hard all season and not giving up and it made me SO happy to see things finally coming together for him.  Love that coach, too.  He's been nothing but supportive and encouraging all season.

Was talking to another mom after the game.  Her son is a year older than mine but had some of the same batting problems last year.  The kid didn't have a hit the *entire* season.  His last game, they were playing another team from our town, and he struck out in his last at-bat.  The coaches of the two teams looked at each other, and the opposing coach told his pitcher to keep the pitches coming, that they were going to keep throwing to that kid until he got a hit no matter HOW many pitches it took.  He did, the kid finally connected with the ball, and both teams lined up along the fences and cheered for him!  Wish I'd been there to see it...that is what youth sports should be all about.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Final Countdown

Three days till my Senior Red taekwondo belt test. Saturday, 11AM start.  For perspective, in a system where White is belt #1 and Black is belt #12, I'm testing for belt #9.  Getting up there now.  

The primary goal between now and then is not to get hurt!  Went to class tonight, will go again in the morning to review, but then that's it. Won't be learning anything new at this stage of the game, that's for sure.  Fitness is about as good as it's going to get, I know my stuff about as well as I'm going to know it, now it's just time to relax and power through.  Should be a tough 2-2.5 hours but I can do this.  

My usual instructor taught the class tonight, but she won't be there Saturday. She pulled me aside at the end of class for a few last words of advice.  After reminding me to relax and breathe, she told me to make a point of not paying any attention at all to Thing One, who will be testing with me but for a lower belt.  As the mother of two black belts herself, she knows how easy it is to worry too much about how your child is doing at a test to the detriment of your own concentration!  I'll do my best on that, anyway.  He's 11 and eminently capable of handling this.  Thing Two was supposed to test with us as well but had a soccer tournament conflict, thankfully.  He's only 9 and I'm just as happy for him to stick with the lower-stress testing format for a while yet.  He earned his new belt last night--he did a fabulous job and I was so proud watching him.  That kid has come SUCH a long way in the past few years.  

And in the grand scheme of things, all of this is such small potatoes that I'm almost ashamed of having it taking up so much of my thoughts this week!  Close friends from my Houston days are being evacuated from their homes because of flooding as I type...the pictures are terrible.  Floods, drought, riots, wars...little Ms. Buttercup here needs to pull up her socks and get on with it.  As she will, of course.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Well, I'll Be

Was out in the driveway with Thing Two and Petunia earlier.  As we rounded the corner by the front sidewalk, we heard a very loud cawing sound out of the blue, sort of like a crow or raven's call but not quite right for that.  I craned my neck to see what sort of bird was on the garage roof, but seeing none up there, mentally shrugged my shoulders and went on about my business.

A few minutes later, I was back outside hanging the flag on the front porch when I heard the noise again.  It startled the heck out of me.  I turned and saw a tiny rickety baby deer standing in the strip of shrubbery between the house and front walk!  I had no idea deer even *made* noise, let alone noise that loud at such a young age.  I backed away carefully so as not to scare it further, ducked into the house and came back out with my phone.  I didn't want to get too close to it, but did manage to get the pic below using the zoom.

Not the best shot in the world for obvious reasons, but you can see the deer's hind end (the white tail) and hind leg right by the solar light in the middle of the picture.  It's actually looking over its shoulder  back out toward me, but you can't see that in the pic.

As a side note for those who don't happen to live in deer-infested rural areas as we do, it is very common this time of year to see unattended fawns.  The mother deer leave them where they are born during the day for the first few days until they are strong enough to keep up with the mother as she forages, returning for them in the early evening.  As a mother myself, this bothered me a lot when we first moved here (what halfway decent mom leaves her baby alone all day????) but this appears to just be how it's done.  Nature red in tooth and claw and all that. The fawns generally stay still and quiet until she returns--like I said, I've never heard one 'yell' to defend itself before!  This one was actually sheltered, too, which was very considerate of the mother...probably half a dozen times now I've woken up in the morning to discover a brand new fawn bedded down smack in the middle of my front lawn!  The first time that happened I checked on it through my front window all day long, but it never dusk the mother came back and it was gone.  I'm no fan of deer, between the ticks they carry, the devastation they wreak on my garden and the crashes they cause by suddenly dashing onto the road, but I *hate* to see the babies left alone and defenseless.  Hypocrisy?


Saturday, May 23, 2015

It's Official

We will soon have not one, not two, but THREE children playing travel soccer.  As in, one more child than there are parents and cars: this will make for some fun weekend scheduling.  The boys were already old hands at this--they're going into their fifth and third years respectively with this club--and courtesy of the tryouts last week, we now know that Petunia will be joining them come fall.  We surely don't need any more craziness, but it also isn't fair to penalize the youngest because she has busy and talented older siblings...she deserves her fair shot too.

As always, the issue boils down to how we distribute a limited amount of after-school activity time equitably between three children while also making sure that they have downtime and time to get their schoolwork done.  Anybody have a magic wand I can borrow??

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Monday after school was absolutely insane.  Tuesday, likewise.  By last night I'd just had it, but was still looking down the barrel of a third day in a row of running like a crazy woman from place to place and feeding various kids dinner at athletic field snack shacks or from a paper bag in the car as their schedules dictated.  Out of desperation, I texted the kids' piano teacher around nine last night and told her that we were in dire need of an afternoon off today!  Thing Two still had an evening baseball game, but at least the kids could come home on the school bus, do their homework at the kitchen table and eat dinner at home before heading to baseball.  All of this sounds like so little to ask, but believe me, it's not to be taken for granted when things get busy.  And things are much busier now than they EVER have been before...we made a promise and we honored it, but hell itself will freeze over before we sign up for any more baseball.  Ahem.

Good thing we had the extra free time, as it happened.  Thing Two had math homework that was tougher than usual, and I had the time to sit with him and walk through it.  Then Petunia wanted to bake cupcakes, and today I had time.  That poor kid gets dragged all over hell's half acre for her brothers' activities, so it was the least I could do to bake with her when she asked.  It's one of her favorite things to do with me.  As a side note, that child is one of the sweetest little girls to ever walk the earth.  You know the mother's curse, the one that goes "I wish you have children JUST LIKE YOU!!"  I actually said that to her today, and meant it, but in the *good* way...I really hope she does have kids just like her.  She deserves them.

Thing Two's game started poorly for the team, and that child truly can't hit a bull in the ass with a baseball bat (odd given that his hand-eye coordination is generally very good), but he managed to get himself hit by a pitch and then scored a run a few batters later, so he was happy.  The team ended up winning, too.  Himself has a theory that he needs to start teaching the kid to lean in when he bats, since he's been hit three times this season and the team has won all three times.  :)

Oh well.  Had a glass of wine when I came home, threw in some of the ever-present laundry, and started the dishwasher.  All is calm and quiet here now and I am not a lunatic tonight, for which I am profoundly grateful!  I'll take my blessings when I can find them.  'Night, y'all...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Weighty Compliment

Two different people have recently told me (in the course of conversation; believe me, I didn't ask) that I am their best friend.  Both are very close friends of mine, so I guess it really shouldn't have surprised me, but I hadn't previously given it any thought.  There's enough of the guarded kid who moved around a lot in me that I always hold a small piece of myself back out of habit even now, so I think that maybe the thing that surprised me the most was that these friends would put themselves out there enough to say it in the first place?  The interesting thing is that of the three of us, I am by far the most extroverted, although by no means an extrovert per se.   The acquired defense of the peripatetic child, perhaps.

At any rate, these are both people whose real friendship is hard to earn and well worth the earning, so I'm a lucky woman.  I wonder, though: does it make me strange that the label feels like it comes with a sort of pressure??  I could just take the compliment and run with it, but clearly my brain is still working this one through.  After all, this is my hometown now.  Good or bad, I'm here for the duration, and these friends are likely here for the duration too...not at all the way I grew up, so an adjustment for me.

Oh well.  Thoughts from (as Ms. Moon would put it) the Church Of The Batshit Crazy on a rainy Sunday night.  


Friday, May 15, 2015

Sadly, This Is 100% True

Only the people I really like are worth the trouble of messing with them.  ;)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring! Spring!!

Happy dog!  It's finally warm enough to take her out hiking with me, which is her favorite thing to do in all the world.  The trails near me are remote enough that I can usually let her run off leash...she chases squirrels and dashes through every mud puddle and stream that she can find and generally wears herself out completely.  She doesn't ask for much; just food, water, love and some good runs outside.  How could I turn down that face?  And why should I try??  (Yes, there is a dog in that fourth picture down; she's just 50 feet or so ahead of me on the trail.  Pretty area, isn't it?)

Things are finally looking good in the garden, too.  The second round of flowers are blooming (daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses have been and gone already):


These peach-colored irises spontaneously showed up in a bed of yellow irises last year.  Cool, huh??

Bleeding hearts

More azaleas

Lilies of the valley

Pots on the deck!  Tomato, serrano pepper, jalapeƱo pepper, basil, and two flowers of some sort that my younger kids brought home from school for Mother's Day.

Planted the garden over the weekend as well: five more tomato plants, more peppers (sweet and hot), more basil (Thai and Italian), rosemary, cilantro, parsley, cucumbers.  Yum.  Also more azaleas and three new rosebushes--Himself is getting into the act...he's the rose guy.  Too high-maintenance for me!  (The roses, not him.)

Now I just need to mulch it all!!  Ugh.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Hopefully A Few Things Have Changed Since 1984

I grew up listening to the band Chicago and some of their songs bring back vivid high-school era memories even though Peter Cetera was long gone by the time I hit high school.  Was cleaning out the office the other day and found their Greatest Hits 1982-1989 CD, which I promptly stuck into the CD player in my car in a fit of nostalgia.  A couple of the songs still made me very happy (hey, no judging...I am who I am) but the lyrics of Stay The Night made me do a double-take.  I apparently wasn't paying attention back then; that's all I can figure.  What the hell??

I don't want you to misunderstand me
I just wanna say what's on my mind
No need to hit me with an attitude
Because I haven't got the time
I want you to know one thing's for certain
I surely love your company
And I won't take no if that's your answer
At least that's my philosophy
Stay the night
There's room enough here for two
Stay the night
I'd like to spend it with you
Stay the night
Why don't we call it a day?
No one can stop us
Nothing is in the way
Have some friendly conversation
And if you still don't have a clue
Unless there's something else you've got in mind
We've got better things to do
Stay the night
There's room enough here for two
Stay the night
I'd like to spend it with you
Stay the night
Why don't we call it a day?
No one can stop us
Nothing is in the way
Just to have you near me
Here by my side
Just to have you near me
And when I get next to your body
Just to have you near me
Something I can tell you
Make it perfectly clear
We're gonna have a very good time
Stay the night
There's room enough here for two
Stay the night
I'd like to spend it with you
Stay the night
Why don't we call it a day?
No one can stop us
And nothing is in the way
No one can stop us
And nothing is in the way
I don't wanna stay
Stay the night
Stay the night
Stay the night
(lyrics copied from the MetroLyrics site)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day Is Done

It's been a good one; a long hike with the dog on a beautiful leafy trail, lots of kid activities after school, plus a Zumba class in the evening.  I can't dance to save my life, but one nice thing about hitting the ripe old age of 41 is that I no longer really care much what most people think of me, so I can just go and get in a good workout and have fun--if I'm doing some move wrong, so be it.  My next taekwondo belt test is coming (end of the month, or so I'm hearing) so I'm ramping up the cardio and push-ups accordingly--the extra exercise helps me keep from turning into a raging lunatic with the kids' ridiculous after-school schedule as well, as a fringe benefit.

Spring has sprung here: it was gloriously warm and sunny today, and everything's finally green.  Makes it a pleasure to be outside, hence the hike. My Fitbit (love that thing--got it for Christmas and wear it constantly) says I've walked about 25,000 steps today!  No wonder I'm tired...

Friday, May 1, 2015

And, As The Icing On The Cake...

Got a call from the contractor today to tell me that his invoice for the recent floor job was in my mailbox.  When I went to grab it, I saw that he had also put a First Communion card (containing $20!) addressed to Petunia in the mailbox.

So, to recap: he personally made sure that his guys finished the job in time for her party (her First Communion is tomorrow) AND got her a card.  This is a single older guy, mind you--recently divorced--so it's not like he asked his wife to do it...HE did it.  Talk about going above and beyond.  Is it any wonder why I keep having this guy do work at my house??

Time In A Bottle

Okay, time can slow down now, please. When I was a kid, I remember my mother saying that the days were long but the years were short.  I d...