Monday, November 14, 2005

Of Pimples and Photo Shoots

There are days that I move through where I spend much of the time holding my breath.

Will I forget something?

Will I get to the next appointment on time?

Have I double-booked myself?

Will this next thing go smoothly, or will people scowl at me?

What have I forgotten to put on my calendar?

Like today.

Of course, it would've not been nearly so busy if I hadn't felt the need to stay up to an absurd hour last night playing Master Boggle with Ken, and then forgotten to set the alarm. Ken got up at his usual time, showered, dressed, and hit the road, all while I was squinting my eyes shut, and quietly whispering 'five more minutes, five more minutes'.

And the next thing I knew, it was 7:30, I'd wanted to get up an hour earlier, and the kids were still snoring.

Race around, get the kids up. Feed the kids. Scour the pantry for appropriate lunch-fixings. Approve/disapprove of wardrobe choices. Help Kelly put her shirt on right-side-out, rather than how she had it (hey! At least it wasn't a pyjama shirt). Take the one full can of trash to the street. Make a mental note to fill the second can up and take it to the curb by noon. Realize that it's Half Price Day at the thrift store, and light a fire under the kids to get them to school a few moments early.

Honestly, I would've had all the time in the world if I hadn't felt the need to go buy other folks' cast-offs at half-price in the wee break between dropping the kids at school and showing up at the public library for my volunteer Guitar Lady gig.

But oh! The bargains! Even with Nate hanging onto my leg, I still filled my arms with loot. Lovely baby outfits for a dollar. Yes, it's true, I do NOT have a baby any more... but I love having a stash of "hand-me-downs" to give out to folks who need them. And the dresses?!?! Bliss! Kelly's got a few more nice ones, as does her 10 year old cousin up in Canada. Whenever we go north, the first thing Montana always asks me is "Auntie Kemma, did you find cool stuff at the thrift store?" And of course I want to oblige her, and now I can, when we head up there for Christmas.

But the thrift store needed to be a quick in-and-out, so that I could get to the library at 10:00. It was the last Baby Music sessions this morning, and I wouldn't want to be late. Call me petty and immature, but I was kind of hoping that I might get some little tokens of appreciation from one or more of the 120+ parents that I serve each week.

I came away with a single candle. But hooray for the mom that remembered. It really did make a world of difference.

Fred, the fellow that takes care of Nate while I play guitar, wasn't there today. He'd had a heart attack yesterday, and is in the hospital. Note to self: Get up to the hospital with some flowers tomorrow!

Back home at noon, I discovered that the mom in charge of the 'graduate' portion of the yearbook wants to do all the Class Personalities pictures today. Egads. So much for my afternoon nap. And Nate was pretty bent out of shape, too. But I loaded up with fresh batteries, and a 1G memory stick for the camera, and off we went. Pictures took longer than expected (is anything EVER easier than it looks?), and I was still photographing when Kelly's class got out. She's very easy-going, though, and just waited for things to wrap up. I took the props (yes, I had props for all the personality categories, too) back to the car, and then went into the all purpose room to help Kelly with her homework until Skip's class got out.

And now we are home. The trash collectors threw me for a loop by picking up the trash early in the morning, so I never got that second trash can out to the curb, and I'm just catching a bit of a breath before leaving early for Ragazzi.

Which brings me to the subject of today's entry.

Skip's getting photographed for the cover of the latest CD. It's a vanity cover. There are a number of boys being photographed, and then there will be short runs printed of each photo. Yes, it's a vanity, but when I talked it over with Ken, we decided that Skip *DOES* sing all the songs on the CD in this season's concerts, and he does sing with the group that recorded the CD. And our parents and grandparents will NOT be as with-it when the next CD comes out, so we are striking while the iron is hot, as it were, and will have multiple copies of Skip-On-The-Cover to give out as Christmas presents for the elderly relatives, and the elderly near-relatives (older people who have been LIKE family to Skip, and would be tickled pink to get a CD with his picture on the cover).

But of course, as he gets into the Pilot this afternoon, on the way home from school, I notice... IT!

Yes. IT.

It. It is a ZIT.

And not just one. There are two.

Two zits on his NOSE! Where did THESE COME FROM?

And why TODAY?

It's all I can do not to pull out the concealer stick, and try to work some Ivory Beige magic.

But I know that'd just make it worse. I'll just scrub with a rough cloth, and hope that the white heads aren't as obvious in print as they are to a mother's eye.

And with that, I vanish, as the photo shoot is in 45 minutes.

Friday, October 28, 2005


As luck would have it, last night as I was drifting off, I had this sudden thought "Self! You need to go into your OpenDiary account, and write down the addresses of all those folks who have given you their snail-mail addresses in private notes. You owe a CD to Mollie, and yarn to Jen, and Joy could really use some more Snapea Crisps, and you've had that Starbucks card for Christina in your purse for over a week..."

But then I drift off to sleep, knowing all will be well in the morning.

But it is not well.

Opendiary is non-responsive. My browser times out before reachign the site. And their uptime monitoring site has "suspended monitoring". That can't be a good sign.

So I silently curse my foul luck while I sit here, wishing I'd followed that little voice last night that urged me to go online one last time.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

When we were up in Death Valley last month, I discovered that my little point-n-shoot digital camera was WAY cooler than I thought. By accident, I was fooling around in the settings, and discovered that for the last year, I'd been operating with the 'digital zoom' turned off.
No wonder I couldn't really get all that close to things. I was only working with the optical zoom.
The next thing I know, a whole new world of CLOSE UP stuff is opened up to me.

And it didn't hurt that we had about a zillion and twenty two insects on the door of our room every night, just TRYING to get in. Oh yeah. Take this flash, you pesky critters. And don't you dare think about flying into my hair, lest you perish for certain.

Behold, my first EVER Praying Mantis in the wild. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bohemian Scarves

So here's my latest obsession. I scored some great 'Bohemia' yarn when we were up in Canada in August, and I've been a knitting fool with these loopy scarves ever since. This is my first foray into dropped stitches. The three stitches on either end of the rows are not cast off at the end of the knitting, and then, once you drop the needles, the fun is to make those stitches run like a bad pair of stockings. I wish the picture showed the plush loveliness better. I also wish I had even HALF a clue about how to turn the photo so it was portrait rather than landscape. Alas.

The boutique is coming up in a little over a month. I don't have nearly the stock of scarves that I had last year, although I've branched out, and have some fleece ponchos for kids, and a handful of silk and cashmere baby booties that I'm hoping will go like hotcakes.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sparky couldn't get away in time. Posted by Picasa

This is just a random shot from the week in Death Valley. Poor Sparky. You'd think that he would've noticed the herd of elephants charging up Mosaic Canyon. But perhaps Sparky is a deaf Gecko. He sure didn't run very fast.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Migraine B-gone

Migraine B-gone

(A little something from Wednesday)

Oh, to have a little spray-bomb labelled Migraine B-Gone. It'd be like those Raid foggers, except it'd take away the headache, rather than give you one.

Hooray for Skip, though. I got the kids home for lunch (Wednesday is minimum day), and said "here's lunch. Can you be in charge?" and he took right over. Sometimes I think he's just turning into a sullen entitlement-minded teenager like his peers, and then he has days like today where he really steps up to the plate, and is The Man of the House. I felt completely at ease with going upstairs and sleeping for an hour and a half, and now feel much less desire to drive an ice-pick through my left eye.

Another perk of New Hip Co.

Ken went to a cookbook signing in the cafeteria the other day.

Brought me home a lovely copy of Boulevard. It's a coffee-table sort of book. Beautiful pictures, drool-worthy recipes, and large format. He hands it to me, with the explanation "This is NOT your REAL gift, now. It was free to me, but it was just too cool to pass up." Makes me wonder how he can top it. It's a pretty cool gift, if you ask me.

And better yet? It's signed by the authors with "Happy Birthday, Kemma". (Of course, best of all would be if it was signed "Happy Birthday, Kemma. Please come to our restaurant for a free birthday dinner". But I'll settle for the book.)

Skip went for his final requirement at Ragazzi on Monday night. The last hoop he had to jump through before becoming a Full Fledged member of the Mucky-muck Look-we're-Aled-Jones-without-the-ruffles Touring Choir was to sing a solo in front of the chorus founder.

I made all the arrangements last week, and waited for confirmation of the appointment.

It came at 4pm on Monday.
For a 4:50 appointment.


I don't know, but for some reason, I was just incredibly fragile on Monday afternoon. All the way to the appointment, I was thinking "They have that much respect for me that they wait until 45 minutes before the appointment to confirm that they'll give him the audition? Sheesh. They're happy to get my money, but they're just sweeping Skip under the rug. He's getting NO personal attention in this place. It'd just serve them right if I pulled him Right Now. Yeah. And then think of all the free time we'd have as a family. Oh yeah, baby. Who needs the Crested Blazer, anyways?"

But then a little voice in my head says "Come on, now. It's not really an audition. It's the chance for Skip to have a free voice lesson from the Chorus founder. All the other boys say it's a really good experience. Give them a chance."

So we pull into the venue at 4:45. And rush to the appointment in the piano room...

Where the Chorus Founder is busy. Busy coaching two boys who are getting ready to sing with the SF Opera company.

And we wait. And we wait.

And I get more worked up, and more worked up.

Good grief, I'm practically in tears when I screw up the nerve to poke my head in the door and say "We *DID* have an appointment today, right?" at 4:55.

So she gets him in, and his "half-hour voice lessons" turns into a 3 minute audition, where she muffs up the piano part for his piece, and tells him his pronunciation is wrong in three places. I turned my back to read something on the bulletin board, and when I turned back, she was working with yet another boy who's going to be singing with the Opera, and Skip had vanished.

And that's it?

I had to run into the bathroom and splash water on my face, I was so close to tears. Fortunately, I was able to feign "I was cutting onions for soup before we came here, and accidentally touched my eye" as an excuse when I ran into a friend a few minutes later.

No kidding, I was ready to pull him Then and There.

And then I went looking for him, and found him upstairs, wearing his Crested Blazer.

And he looked so proud.

He'd passed the 'solo audition' with flying colours.

Who knew? I sure didn't.

But man alive, did he look good in that blazer.

I guess I'll be giving the choir another chance.

(And then I got home, and realized that my period had started a few days early. Um, yeah. No WONDER I was fragile as eggshells. Duh!)

Kelly's class is "The Seahorses".

You know how hard it is to find seahorse fabric? Egads.

I told her she'd have to stick with the pink floral fabric Kitty-Head quilt that we're making. Though if you happen to have seahorse-themed anything that you were going to toss out, feel free to toss it at me instead.

One thing at a time. This is my new motto.

Though you'd never know it from what I did yesterday. After depositing Nate in Mollieland (the free childcare at the local chi-chi grocery store), I spent a few minutes with my Starbucks Double Chocolate Chip Blended Creme Frappe in front of the magazines.

Get thee behind me "Get Crafty"! That went in the shopping cart, after I realized it was either do that or take out a pen and paper and start copying out some of the instructions.

And from there, I had to hit Michael's to use my 40% off coupon.

And look at all the cool novelty yarns on sale!!!! And I needed a few different kinds of yarn to make my new project (out of Get Crafty! of course.).

Seriously, the pile didn't look THAT big, but I nearly had a coronary when the (AFTER all the sale discounts) price rang up at $90+.

I hope the boutique next month is a BIG success. It'll have to be to justify THAT expense.

Of course, I partially justify it by saying "Now that Ken isn't going to Starbucks twice a day (like he was at his old job), we're saving nearly seven bucks a day. That's $150 a month that I can put towards, um... myself? OK, that didn't sound that great. But I'm sure it won't be happening again. For a long time.

Apparently, I'm just a girl that can't say no.

Say "Hello" to the new sight-word flash-card quizzing class mom. I'll be there on Wednesdays (after screaming back from my song-leading gig at the Ladies' Bible Study in Not-My-Town), and Fridays (seeing as I'm at the school anyways for Kelly's class library time). And someone shoot me, I told Miss Farthing that if nobody signed up for Thursdays, that I *COULD* come in then, too!

Please remind me that I need to put a giant brightly coloured post-it note on Kyle's Scholastic book order (they came in today) so that his parents (who are new to the area, and I don't have their phone number) will know that I paid the $3 that they shorted me by accident on his order.

I am || <- this close to taking pictures of all the furniture-moving and re-organizing that I've been doing.

Kelly and Nate just came in from the front garden. I finally got around to opening two big bags of top soil (I think I bought the things LAST spring), and put them to work spreading it over the irises. Their reward is orange kool-aid and sliced olives. Their request.

Um... yum?