Fall woods

Fall woods

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Boxing Day

Christmas is over.  It was lovely and peaceful and many good gifts were exchanged and a delicious meal was eaten ending with my paternal grandmother's chocolate pie and GOD I'm glad I don't have to listen to any more Christmas music!!  I actually don't mind the old traditionals at all but the constant playing of the pop star of the moment's cover of something annoying like "Santa Baby" makes me want to gouge my ears out with a grapefruit spoon.  Anyway.

Started the morning today with an aikido class (me) and a ten-mile run (Himself.)  We have some British friends in town who hosted a traditional Boxing Day party this afternoon involving soccer and good food and fun games and port-soaked fruitcake and a fun time was had by all.  Now we are watching the other kind of football and chilling on the sofa.  Wishing you all (at least those of you who celebrate Christmas) post-holiday quiet and happiness!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

The kids are nestled all snug in their beds, the presents are out and stockings are hung. Himself and I are watching A Christmas Story, glasses of Pinot Noir in hand. It's almost midnight here but we're enjoying the peace after the craziness of the day. Tomorrow will start early, though, so we need to get to bed soon. The deal with the boys (our resident early birds) is that they cannot wake us up until at least 6:30, so I suspect that at 6:30:01 there will be an almighty ruckus in the hallway!  Petunia will be as groggy as the adults, night owl that she is.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Another Poll

So many thanks to those of you who gave opinions about the Christmas tree lights!  Colored and non-blinking it will be for next year.  :)

On a more serious note, I just spent about two hours wrapping all the Christmas presents.  The last big pre-holiday job bites the dust!  However, Himself and I have the same wrapping-related debate every year and I hereby throw it open to you all as well.  A few years ago I read something on Facebook that really resonated with me, to the effect that big presents for kids should not be from Santa, since it isn't fair for "Santa" to bring an XBOX One to one child and a hat and mittens to his classmate purely as a function of the families' relative economic situation.  Made a lot of sense to me.  The kids are getting a big present this year (a gaming system) and it is from us. That did leave open the question of how much of the other stuff should be from Santa, which is a formal decision since the Santa presents in our house all have the same wrapping paper, which is different from the paper used for the other gifts (yes, I'm nuts.)  Since I was wrapping presents without husbandly input, my solution to the conundrum was to wrap one nice gift for each child in the Santa paper and the rest in the other wrapping paper.   Himself thinks I went too far the other way and that kids should get more than one gift from Santa.  I actually think that they won't notice or care who any gift is from in the heat of the moment and that we are worrying about something that will be a nonevent, but it is what it is regardless this year since I'll be damned if I'm rewrapping anything at this point.  It is also worth bearing in mind that the kids are 8, 10 and 12 now, and that I can't believe the eldest even believes in Santa anymore although we haven't had the conversation.

So, all of this is to say that I would love to hear how you would handle this.  All from Santa?  None from Santa?  If something in between, where would you draw the line?  Ugh.  Too complicated.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Funny

I'm going to see a matinee performance of a Christmas show this week with two of my aikido girlfriends. The husband of another friend is one of the actors, and we discussed bringing flowers to give him after the show. I jokingly suggested that we should throw underwear at him instead, much to the horror of the Indian girlfriend who has apparently never heard of Tom Jones despite living in the US for a good 20 years or so. :)


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hallelujah

Had a Board of Ed subcommittee meeting today, one of those routine ones that usually precedes the full Board meeting by a week or so.   One of the things on our agenda was the standardized test scores our district recently received.  Kids took the test last May, so the delay in getting results back seems pretty damned ridiculous, but it is what it is.  Bureaucracy at its finest.  Anyway, we went through the district and state data as a committee and were relieved to find that our kids' scores matched or exceeded the state average pretty much across the board, and in some cases exceeded it by a lot.  Good news.  Some areas that definitely need work, but still: one of the nice things about this test is that it highlights the kids' educational gaps very clearly for curriculum reworking and backfilling.

We received the overall district scores a month or so ago, but the kids' individual forms only early this week.  They are being mailed home in a day or two, but happened to be sitting in a cardboard box on the principal's desk (ten feet from the table at which our meeting was being held) while we were discussing the stats.  I had a question about the format of the report going home to parents at one point, and the principal got up from the table, walked over to the box and handed me a piece of paper densely covered with writing after digging around for a few seconds.  When my eyes focused, I realized that I was looking at Thing Two's Language Arts score sheet AND THAT HE SCORED CLOSE TO THE NORMAL RANGE HOLY CRAP ON A CRACKER.  Not quite at the expected level for the grade but pretty damned close.  Just below the cutoff score.  My kid with the massively crossed language wires, on his first standardized test ever.  I was fully expecting him to tank the damned thing.  Our principal used to be the Special Ed director and knows him well, and she just laughed when I asked her if a BOE member had ever tap-danced for joy in her office before!  Then she dug around a little more in the box and pulled out his math test results, which showed that he scored solidly into the "passing" range, not as much of a surprise but still pretty cool considering that these math tests are heavy on the word problems.  As the icing on the cake, she then found Thing One's results for me: he blew the doors off both tests, scoring in the highest category for both.  

I understand some of the uproar over standardized testing, but it's pretty much a fact of life.  Not the be all and end all by any means, but there has to be some sort of cross-district and -state yardstick and if it wasn't this test it would be another one.  I told the boys back in May to just relax and do their best but not to worry too much about it, and I meant it, but GEEZ it feels good to have Thing Two within spitting distance of his grade level peers finally and at last!  Poor kid has been busting his tailfeathers with two different speech therapists and with extra reading comprehension exercises and whatnot for years now, and when I got home I told him that he should be proud of himself because all his hard work and determination are paying off.  He beamed.  


  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Success

After months of training, Himself ran a marathon in 3:24:03 this morning.  This was noteworthy for two reasons:

1) it's his fastest time ever by several minutes, and
2) it's a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon for his age group by almost a full minute!

A very big deal on both counts.

For any who don't happen to carry mile splits in their heads (aka non-running, normal people), that's 7:47 miles for 26.2 miles straight.  I can't run one mile that fast.  So happy for him!!

Also, I didn't want to be stuck in a car with him for three hours on the way home tomorrow if he missed his goal.  :)