Thursday, February 28, 2008

It could be worse

About the passports?

I think I am finally calm about things because I know that as of Monday, I'd done everything humanly possible to ensure that Skip could get his passport.  There was no more of this "I'm sure there's something ELSE I should do" worry, that is really the thing that eats me from the inside out.   And everyone that could pray about this, HAS prayed, and continues to pray, and hey, it's out of my hands. 

So there.

And Skip seems remarkably sanguine about things, especially last night, when, while we were out at Kung Fu, and the eleventy-third person asked us the same thing about France and the missing passport, and I said "Well, either we all go, or Ken takes the little ones, and we send Skip to Ireland for the summer."  Sheesh, you should've seen the grin on his face.

Who needs France, anyways?

Of course, that'll put a nearly permanent kink in the yarn budget...

But, anyways, all this to say that things are good on the passport front, even though Skip's passport isn't around, and we have no idea when it'll show.

Besides, it could be worse:

Nate's teacher?  She's flying to Seattle today, renting a car, and driving up across the Canadian border.  She has to, because she's Canadian, and the Immigration Lawyers have been working for more than a year and a half to renew her visa to stay here to teach, and something's glitched in the Visa-Granting department of the USA (good to see that it's not just the Canadian Bureaucratic Machine that sometimes throws a cog), and her visa, which expired last June, FINALLY wore out its welcome on Monday, after the 240 days of grace that are allowed at the end of a visa, and her lawyer very apologetically said that the only way to fix things is for her to cross BACK into the US from Canada, and the process would take about an hour, and then she'd have her brand new shiny visa, so she can get her paycheck TOMORROW, because the school can't LEGALLY pay her, now that her visa's officially expired.

So yeah, it could be worse.

I'll be driving her to the airport after recess.

And then I'll be heading north towards the ONLY Barnes and Noble in the area that is currently carrying this book:

Because Skip is a math nerd, and he *NEEDS* this book, so he can get a better grip on Calculus.

*cough*just like his father*cough*

And on the way home, I was going to stop at a yarn store, and look for fingering-weight  yarn in a zillion colours, so I could make my palette for knitting up Venezia, but I did a bit of math last night, and I have come to a conclusion.

I need to go on a Venezia Diet.

You see, right now, I measured my hips, where I want the bottom of the sweater to lie, and, ahem, apparently I lost my girlish no-hips figure somewhere along the way in the last 18 years. and the thought of casting on THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FOUR stitches (and then knitting for miles and miles on those same NEARLY FOUR HUNDRED STITCHES) made me just a little bit faint.

*fans self*

So I'm going to do a test-swatch (always a good idea, ANYWAYS) with a few different types of yarn that I have kicking around, and just see if this is something that I want to devote a good portion of my adult life to creating.

And while I am doing that, I will feverishly head to the gym, and use the elliiptical machines until they break down, and eat  only fruit and raw vegetables and water (and chocolate and chips and coke and cheese - the 4 C-food groups), and measure myself religiously until I can get under the 350 stitch barrier.

[edited to add:  Oh whew.  Apparently dyslexia, when mixed with an inability to find the reading glasses, can play tricks on what one sees.  Who knew?  Turns out that the frightening number of cast on stitches is only 324.  So now, I want to get under the magic THREE HUNDRED stitch barricade.  Because knitting TWO HUNDRED and something sounds WAY EASIER than knitting THREE HUNDRED and something...]

Today is Taco day at Middle School.  See me there, making 650 tacos from 11:30-12:00, then I'll be off to lunch with the ladies of  my former church.  One of them had chaperoned the Disneyland trip several years back, so I'll be picking her brain for ideas.

Then it's off to Kelly's school library, and more work in the school office (I am going to make myself so indispensible that they will HAVE to make room for Nate in next year's first grade class), and then tutor.

Oh, and Cole (Skip's friend) was sick the entirety of Ski Week.  He came down with a nasty flu on the first day of break, and spent the entire week (and the first two days of school this week) in bed.  Just in time for school to start up, he gave his sister the flu, so now, even though he's weak, his mom is trying to keep him out of the infection zone, so he doesn't get hit again.  "Oh, Kemma, can you take Cole after school today?  K-thanks"

It's not as bad as that.  I did offer to help.  But good golly, miss Molly, he'd BETTER not still be contagious.  So after school, I'll be taking the boys to Kung Fu, then making supper (oh look, it's already in the crock pot), then taking the boys to youth group while Ken and Kelly go off to the Stanford Basketball game (Ken got tickets from a friend who can't go tonight.  I hope the game's really exciting!).

And then I will be casting on a Venezia Swatch.

Count on it.

Or, as Zach Ephron sings... Bet on it (bet on it, bet on it, bet on it)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Skip Bakes

Although I didn't let Mr. Health Teacher know about these, there are 2 more videos up on MeTube.  It took ages and forever-ages to upload them last night, but now they're up, and Mr. Julia Child is ready for his close-up, Mr. Demille.

Then again, with the Puberty Skin getting ready to hit with a vengeance, maybe a close-up isn't the way to go. (J:  that white bottle behind Skip's right elbow with the purple label... or rather, that white bottle with the purple label behind Skip's right elbow... is going to go out in the mail to you...sooner than later, I hope)

How about some rice.  Every bachelor should know how to make rice.

And with that, I am off to bed.  I was going to finish the ironing, but that's just torture.

ps.  Did you know that you cannot apply for a Quebec birth certificate online UNLESS YOU LIVE IN QUEBEC?  Isn't that convenient?  And if you DO apply for one from, say, the United States, you can expedite it for $50, but all that does is make them shuffle the papers a little faster.  They will still RETURN IT BY REGULAR MAIL.  And you can FAX in your application, but they don't recommend it, because they can REJECT an application if the faxed documents don't look legitimate.  Joy.  So let's review.  I can apply for Skip's birth certificate (an EMERGENCY REPLACEMENT), and their recommended way of doing things is for us to MAIL the application in (so they can vet all the documents), and pay EXTRA to expedite the process (so that it takes a week, rather than months), and then they will MAIL it back to me.  Doing the math, I come to the stomach-churning conclusion that the new EMERGENCY REPLACEMENT birth certificate should arrive right around the time we are supposed to RETURN from France.

I'm off to find some Tums.  I've been going through them like candy these days.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nate's Rite of Passage

Last night, we  were getting ready to go out for sushi in celebration of Skip completing the World Vision 30 Hour Famine, when Nate came up to me with a big grin on his face.

"Mom, I can't wait until France" he said.


Some of you might think that he was commenting on how excited he was that he would be going to France in less than a month.  Some of you would think that the excitement was driving him insane.

But you would be wrong.

You see, for the last week, we've been telling Nate that if he doesn't fiddle with his wiggly tooth, he might be able to lose it in France, and wouldn't that be the coolest thing ever if he could leave a part of himself behind in France forever.

But it was not to be.

The baby tooth did NOT want to stick around in the Nate Mouth for a moment longer.

And it was ready to go.  He didn't even bleed.

Which was a good thing, as the tamago and sushi rice would've tasted gross with the metallic tang of hemoglobin infusing every bite.

The owner of the restaurant came by and commented on Nate's new gap, wondering if he was going to get a visit from the Tooth Fairy.

"Oh, I don't believe in the Tooth Fairy... OR Santa Claus.  But I'm still going to put my tooth under my pillow tonight, so I can get a treat."

Yes, that'd be the shrewd pragmatist we're raising.

Skippia Child

So this last week, the schools have been off for "Ski Week" in our district.  Ski week, Reading week, Presidents' Day Extended Holiday, whatever.

Anyways, Skip's had the WHOLE week off.




Last night, just as a throw-away conversation starter, I mildly enquire if Skip has any homework left before Monday.

"Oh yeah.  I've got this little Health Thing to do with Dad tomorrow."

A little health thing?


The "Little" thing?  He has to plan and execute a meal for the whole family.  Plan it, select recipes, work up nutrition information, shop for it, cook it, and arrange a well-balanced non-processed-food healthy meal that the whole family will eat.

*makes a little nonchalant wave of the hand*  Oh, just a little thing, indeed.

So, while Kelly and I were at her dance rehearsal after church, Skip was sweating out the menu online, trying to find things that were not only EASY and do-able, but were tasty, and for our family?  Finding something that all five of us will eat can be a challenge.

At 2:30 he came downstairs with three sheets of paper.  Three recipes that he was going to attempt with dad.

The menu sounded great to me.

Lemon tartlets in Vodka Crust (it's OK for the kids to eat this after it's cooked, right?  Heh)
Salmon filet baked in Miso and Mango
Red Curry Vegetable stir-fry.

I liked the menu.  But those tartlets were going to be a ton of work.  Ouch.  And a shopping trip was mandated because there were a few things that I just don't have lying around.  Like fresh salmon.  And miso paste (which, ironically enough, I had in the fridge until my last big fridge purge last week).  But I sent the boys off to the grocery store with my blessings, and got busy getting the kitchen counters moderately clean for the big shindig.

And when they came home from the grocery store, Skip just happened to mention that if he submitted his menu, recipes, and FAMILY FEEDBACK (egads, it's Homework for Parents!  Joy!) with a MOVIE, that he would get more Extra Credit marks.

(And you know with this Health Class, I have been all about the Extra Credit, as I'm still reeling from the near-failing grade he was assigned at the midterm marks.)

So Skip and Ken took the remainder of the afternoon to put together a most delicious meal.

And we ate it without complaining.

And now I am left to upload a bunch of little 15-20 second vignettes to YouTube, so Skip can get his Extra Credit.

Because I am an overachiever like that.

I will say that I found this rather hilarious.  He'd just gotten all the vegetables together for the stir fry, and I scripted a little "cooking lesson" like you'd see on FoodTV, where he's supposed to say "With a stir fry, you need to get all your vegetables ready ahead of time, because once they hit the pan, things happen quickly."

Unfortunately, he got hit by the Wall of Onion Fumes just as I started recording...

And because I'm such a kind and compassionate parent, I kept filming through the tears.  Heh.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Why I love the DHL man

The doorbell just rang.

Ooh, excitement! It's the DHL man! And he's got a little envelope.

When I got to the door, I was grinning like a fool, and so was he.

"You know, someone in Canada really hacked your address" he said, as way of greetings, "Good thing I recognized your name, and thought to myself "Self, I bet this is the other passport that they're waiting for!" or you would never have gotten this envelope."

And with that he handed me the envelope, addressed to me at the VERY Canadian address of :


Now, many Canadians will look at this address and say "Hey, that's a perfectly good Quebec city, and a wonderful name for a street."

But that is NOT the name of my street. In fact, it's not the name of ANY street in my neighbourhood, my town, or my county. Probably not even in my State.

I gave the DHL guy a heads-up that the envelope he'd delivered on Wednesday had contained Skip's REJECTED passport, and let him know that we were hoping and praying that he would be visiting our house again in the next 2 weeks with one last envelope.

He told me he'd keep his eyes open for it for me.

I love my DHL man.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nervous Knitting

So, when I'm nervous, what do I do?

Well, if I can get away with it, I spend every waking moment playing Scrubbles and Bejeweled2, and checking to see if I have any  notes on my latest entries, but if I have to be away from the computer, I sit on the couch and knit.

And I've been nervous this last while.

So I took out some brown yarn, and I started knitting.

And when I got tired of the brown-ness of it all, I switched to golden yarn.  But that was boring, so I added in some green with the gold.

Ooh, The greenies turned into a little string of hearts.  Speaking of hearts, I *heart* the Shetland Knitter's Handbook that Zappel-Katya sent me.  Such a wealth of patterns, just waiting to be plumbed.

But you can only knit green hearts for so long before that gets boring, and you start thinking "What happens if we NEVER get to go to France...?" so it was time to change colours.  Again.  Grey sounds like a good colour.  Well, it's good for two rounds, and then it gets kind of boring, so bring back the gold.  But not too much gold.  Add in some dark red, too.

And there goes another 10 rounds of knitting so I don't have to think about the passports, while the kids hang from the chandeliers and tape each others' bedroom doors shut.

Diamonds are so very Last Hour, though.  What next?  I'm still liking the red... maybe just  a bit of cream...

Ah, X's and O's.  Classy.  And there go 11 rounds of me not thinking about Not Traveling while watching Perry Mason solve the un-solvable crime.

I'm missing the green, though.  Haven't seen it since the round of hearts.

Aha, time for some little green boxes.

And after all that two-colour knitting, really, how hard could THREE-colour knitting be?

Suddenly, all that nervous energy manifests itself into the big chunk of knitting.

And because it was such a dreadful winter day outside today, I had to take one last photo.

All I need to do is sew up the bottom (the brown end), and make handles (I'm gonna try a new way of making handles), and then toss this puppy into the washer, and I'll have another purse.

Nervous energy.
It's what's for dinner.

I used to think I could knit...

And then I saw this....

Egads!  I just hope some of this knitting was done on a machine, because honestly?  That's a TONNE of knitting.  Actually, because I think it was done in Montreal, that would make it a Metric Tonne of knitting.

Kelly has a sleep-over friend here, so we are off to the Exploratorium.  Skip was going to stay home and "babysit" Nate while I took the girls (read:  He was going to set up StarCraft on the computers, and just play all day) until I told him that I would be making the boys a chore list for while I was gone  (Nate heard "chore list" and suddenly didn't want to stay home any more) that would include "folding all the laundry" and "vacuuming", and suddenly, all the kids want to go to the Exploratorium.

In the rain.

Yikes, I hope that it's not uber-popular this morning there.  I don't want to be elbow to elbow with a bunch of drowned folks who got soaked coming in from the parking lot. (that'll be my lot in life today, I think).

On the passport front, because I know you're all dying to know what's up with that...

My best friend is very well connected in Canadian politics.

Who knew?

Right now, she's bending the ear of some Deputy Minister of some Big Important Domain over there in Ottawa, and I hope that she's not compromising her Neutral Status by going out on a limb for me like this.  And if it works?  I'll be laughing all the way to France.  If it doesn't?  I'll still be laughing that she'd be willing to do this for me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On hold with Passport Canada

After chatting with the 'emergency toll free number' person in Quebec (found on the list of consulates online) who told me they can't do anything until I hear from the consulate, and then after calling the consulate in San Francisco, and getting an answering machine (with the very helpful message of "due to heavy inquiry volume, calls may not be returned for 24-48 hours"), I took all the kids down to Walgreens, where a very helpful gent did a re-take of a most somber Skip (and did it for free when I said the last photo was rejected), now I am on hold with Passport Canada.

(Interesting aside: When you call the 1-800 number for passports, you're given a 4-item menu, and you can ONLY choose between those 4 things. Then, if you choose one of those, you get a very bland automated voice that tells you stuff that you can read for yourself on the web site! Boring. BUT! If you hit 0 0 0, you'll get punted to a real switchboard, and that's where I am now...)

Ooh. There are... 3 callers ahead of me.


There is ONE caller ahead of me....

I am the NEXT caller to be answered....

Back in a jiff... Yay!

Oh crap.

"Well, I am sorry, but all you can do is you can re-submit the application, and it will take six weeks."

Yeah, that's really helpful. But there's a different address to submit the re-submitted passport to, and MAYBE that will get dealt with faster. AND! She gave me an idea. She said if I already have the plane tickets (I DO!), that I should photocopy the ticket, and attach it WITH A LETTER on the application, and it might get processed faster.

Excuse me, I'm off to write a heart-string pulling letter to go along with this re-submitted application.

Passport Update

The DHL guy just came.

Good news?



Skip's passport application was rejected. His "neutral" expression in the photo wasn't neutral enough.

We are now up the proverbial creek. Calls to the Consulate have been made, but not returned.

The one option is for me to fly to Canada to apply in person. Alas, MY passport is still being processed in Ottawa, so I cannot cross the border.

Hello Adrenaline. I hate you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

DHL. Sorry we missed you.

Skip and Kelly are off school this week.

So don't call Child Protective Services, but I left them at home this morning with long lists of "this is what you need to do before you play on the computers", while I went off to the Travel Agent to pick up the airplane tickets and the rental car agreement (for Marseilles!  Did you know they have car rental places in Marseilles?  Yeah, I'm easily amused, and, of course, ridiculously naive in thinking that exotic places like the South of France wouldn't have station wagons or SUVs for the tourists to drive rough-shod across their verdant expanses), and then went out for lunch with a girlfriend.

And what happened while I was away?

DHL came for a visit.

That would be DHL Worldwide Shipping Express...

With an envelope addressed to Skip Parker, requiring a signature.

Unfortunately, when Skip answered the door, the delivery dude said "I'll need your dad to sign for this..." so I've got this lovely "DHL:  Sorry we missed you!  We'll call back tomorrow"  sticker on my desk.

Hmm.  I wonder what might be in that envelope.

It's coming from Ottawa, Ontario...

I will say, though, that this worries me a bit.  While this envelope MAY contain Skip's passport, my credit card was never CHARGED for the processing of his passport.  So, the pessimist in me says "All this envelope contains is the rejected forms for his passport, and we're screwed."

Oh, the joys of being a pessimist.

Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.

Yesterday, thanks to Dead Presidents, Ken had the day off work, and we pulled Nate from school to have a Family Adventure.

We headed off to a place we'd never been before.

The North Bay.

Mount Tamalpais, to be exact.

What a great place.  And the weather was foggy and iffy at home, but lovely up in the North Bay.

And there were cyclists everywhere, thanks to the Tour de California.  We seemed to hit a sweet spot on the tour, in that everywhere we drove, we saw lots of traffic-director types, with the orange vests, and the big tickets on lanyards around their necks, but there was no traffic hold-ups anywhere.  I think we were just ahead of the rush of bikers.

We started at Stinson Beach, watching the surfers.

And I couldn't get enough of the signs everywhere (of course, I didn't take a picture.  Odd!) that said "BEWARE!  Great White Sharks inhabit these waters.  Surf at your own risk"

Seriously!?  When I was growing up, the thought NEVER crossed my mind that I'd be living in a place with signs like that.  I was thinking my type of "local signage" would be something like "Beware, Falling Ice", or "Moose Crossing".

After a bit of beach time, we went up Mount Tam for a random hike.  Pulled into the first parking lot we found, and took the first trail.

Ooh.  Wildlife!

Ooh.  Scenery!

Ooh!  Rocks to climb!

Ooh, random tourists who offer to take a family shot!

And then, once we were all hiked out, we went back to Stinson Beach for lunch, and had the BEST LUNCH EVER at a place called the Parkside Cafe.  Srsly!  Best.  Food.  Evah!  All three kids licked their plates clean.  And we've got picky kids.

Ooh, look!  Spring is right around the corner.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Pet Book

Nate came home from school today with his first published book.

He's pretty darned proud of it.

I am too.

Here's the text

Title: My Pet Book [so I'm thinking "hmm. A book about pets?" Oh, au contraire!]

I have a pet book
He is wild.
He has arms.

He does sign language.
I ride him to school!

He eats soap and toys, but not cards.
He can change to being small.

He only plays "Gulp!" with me.

He is like a flying carpet.
I can read him when I am riding on him.

by Nate.

OK, I know it's no pulitzer, but good golly, I'm pretty proud of the kid. And his imagination. Which he doesn't get from me. Ok, maybe he does.

Now it's off to Kung Fu for all 3 kids, and then a special seminar for Nate on Lion Dancing after supper.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Seen tonight on my online Visa Card Tracking Page:

2/13/2008 2/14/2008 PASSPORT/PASSEPORT GATINEAU ON $97.21
2/14/2008 2/14/2008 INTL SRVC FEE - A FIN CHG $2.92

Of course, that's just the processing fee for *my* passport. If Skip's doesn't come through, I'll still be staying in California with him, come March 21st.

But still, cause for celebration.

Hello Betsy. Redux

Skip and I went out for lunch today with neither of the other siblings.

Because we could.

He decided that maybe the spicy tuna roll wasn't all THAT spicy, so the waiter said "Would you like some spicy sauce?"   Of course, he said "Sure!"

The spicy sauce?  It does not lie.

Meanwhile Kelly, in her alternate identity as Betsy Ross was having a par-tay of her own back in Third Grade.

Oh, and did I mention that there was a prize for the best costume?

Ahem.  There was a prize for the best costume.

Hmm.  I wonder who won it?

Betsy, I'm pretty darned proud of your costume, if I do say so myself.

Pride goes before a fall, though.

Seems I ate a bad ebi at the sushi place at lunch, and I was rewarded with the Ninja Squirts while Skip was at Kung Fu.

But then again, silver lining... the frantic 20 minute drive home was like one long isometric exercise, and my butt has never been so well toned.

Sorry. You didn't need to know that.

Here.  To assuage my guilt, I give you a little tour of how things will be soon in your own garden, if you're one of those trapped-in-the-ice beloved friends of mine.

Soon the sun will shine, and the ground will thaw, and you will be rewarded.

And lest you think that I live in a paradise, I give you my well-decorated Front Porch.

Yup.  The Halloween Pumpkin is now masquerading as the Valentine's Gourd, and the dried-and-crispy wreath from Christmas?  It's the  President's Day Potpourri!

Phone Karma... or not.

OK, I just had a great note, from someone VERY astute on the last entry to the effect of..

"You lost your cell phone? Phone Karma, perhaps?"

(that would be because I LIED to telemarketers all day Tuesday)

And I thought "Good grief! She's RIGHT!"

But just to be safe, before I called Cingular (or AT&T, or whoever owns them now), I would retrace my steps and call the eleventy-three places that I visited yesterday.

Hello, Michaels, did you find a cell phone?
Let's see. Can we put you on hold for a few hours? Great! You still there?.... nope. No cell phones here. Sorry.

Hello, Kmart? Did you find a cell phone in your store?
Let me transfer you, no! Put you on hold! No! Send you to the head office. And back again! And... NO! We don't have any phones in the Lost and Found.

Hello, Safeway? Any cell phones in your lost and found?
Here, listen to some musak... sorry, no cell phones here. Good luck!

Hello Chevron self-serve (and car wash) Any phones turned in to your lost and found yesterday?
Nope. So sorry. So very very sorry. Such bad luck for you.

Hello, Elementary school, I think I might have left my cell phone there yesterday when I was working in the office and the library and the classroom. Anybody turn one in to the office?
Let me look... sorry, Kemma, I don't see one. But you better call your provider. Do you know once my brother lost his phone, and he called and Cingular's customer service phones were out of order, and when he finally found his phone, someone had used it to call MEXICO. FOR TWO HOURS! But he was lucky, because Cingular admitted that their phones had been down, so my brother couldn't cancel his phone right away, so they refunded his money, but if you don't phone... hold on, I've got a call on the other line...

Yes. I think it's the whole pay back for lying on the phone...

Hello butt? Meet teeth of my folly.

So I'm rooting around on my desk, because SOMEWHERE is an old Cingular bill, so I can find the customer service number. Ah, there it is. Let's just make sure that this is the bill for MY cell number... yup. Hey, just for kicks, I'll call my phone one more time. Maybe I was just DEAF the other seventeen times I phoned it last night.






I was caught off guard. I just gaped.

me: Hello?

Them: Hello?

Me: Hey! This is great. Who is this?

Them: Who is this? Who is calling?

Me: This is Kemma! Kemma Parker! (like they should KNOW!)

Them: Hello.

Me: No. I'm the owner of the phone you're holding. I lost it. And now it's found! I'm so happy! Who is this?

(and then I realize that this might be some drug-dealing thug who has taken ownership of my phone, and is only using it for nefarious purposes, and now knows the NAME OF THE OWNER, and I've just interrupted a big multi-thousand-dollar [because thugs around here are probably small-potato types, if they have to resort to using phones that they find on the ground] drug deal, and now I am a MARKED WOMAN. And so I suddenly break out into foul smelling armpit-squirting sweat)

Them: Oh great! This is Middle School. We were just going to phone your home phone that you've got listed on your address book. Shall we hold it for you, or do you want us to give it to your son?

Me: I'll be RIGHT THERE!!!!!!

Can you see me?

I'm doing a happy dance.

It looks suspiciously like the potty dance.

Actually, it *is* the potty dance.

I'll be right back.

Annnnnnnd... she fainted

Because today is one of those days where everything has to fall into place or the house of cards comes tumbling down, and coordinating almost depends completely on keeping in touch with folks at the next event...

THIS would be a good time to lose my cell phone.

DEMMET!  (if I may be allowed to use some of my 'sewing language')

I know I had it when I left the house yesterday.  It was in the pocket of my jacket.

I know that it wasn't in my pocket when I got home after school.

It was fully charged, so it's not just lying dead and idle in the bottom of my purse... but I did check that first.

I walked around the house phoning it while the kids were doing homework.  No go.

I had Ken phone me while I rooted through the car.  No go.

There are a few places that i can check today.  I made 2 grocery-store trips yesterday.  I filled up at Chevron.  I was at Skip's school, and Kelly's school, in the library and the office AND her classroom.  I went to Michael's for craft supplies for Kelly's Class' Valentine's Day Party today and Nate's 100th Day of School party today.  I went to K-mart to grab Valentine's Day goodies for Skip to take in to his English class (egads, I've gotta find those and put them in the car for today's marathon of running-between-schools).  And every one of those places might be the place where that slippery little phone jumped out of my pocket.

Sigh.  Just thinking about the back-tracking I should do is making me tired.

So here's a little shot of what kept me up until nearly midnight last night.

Betsy needed a new bonnet.

It would've taken much less time, but I put it together inside out the first time.  Yes.  Yes, I did.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lying liars, and the lies they tell.

Skip seems to be on track to have a half-decent "No Tobacco" presentation ready to go at 8:30 tomorrow morning. It's gonna be one of those whacky will-it-all-fall-into-place mornings, though. He's got Jazz Band at 7:15, and I've promised one of Nate's classmates' parents that I would take their daughter to school all this week while they're out of the country and Grandma is watching the kids, so I've got the 3-school tango thing going down in the morning, but I have to do it all EARLY because I need to be back at Middle School at 8:25 to get Skip, so he can be in Kelly's class by 8:30, when they come in from the playground for Roll Call.

And crap, I just remembered that I promised a friend that I'd go to the gym with her tomorrow at 9. That ain't happening. Whoopsie.

But I'm pretty sure that things won't go smoothly.


Because I'm a lying liar, and I lie, lie, lie.

Exhibit A:

The phone rings.

Me: Hello?
Phone: long awkward silence, followed by a rustling and a quick, chirpy "Hello!" [nuts, it's the automatic dialer!]
Me: Hello?
Phone: Hello, is this Mrs. Parker?
Me: Sorry, she's out right now, can I take a message?

Exhibit B:

The phone rings.

Me: Hello?
Phone: another long awkward silence, another quick, chirpy "Hello!"
Me: [sigh]
Phone: This is Christie from the Something-or-other Consumer Opinion Something-Something.
Me: [sigh]
Phone: First, I would like to assure you that we are not selling anything, nor trying to sway you in any way, and this call is going to be short. Are you the decision maker in the home?
Me: [oh, I could lie and say no... but I'm remembering Exhibit A from earlier in the day] Yes, I am.
Phone: And for demographic purposes, can I have your age.
Me: Thirty Seven [noting the irony of 'I'm not old... I'm 37' from Monty Python]
(Lightning doesn't strike. Hmm. I just passed a lie)
Phone: Wonderful. And now, all these questions will be about technology in the home. Do you have a working DVD player attached to a working television in your home?
Me: [thinking: ALL THESE QUESTIONS? This is going to take forever...] Oh, I'm sorry, we don't have a DVD player.
Phone: Oh, well thank you for your time. *click*

Now, TECHNICALLY, apart from the blatant lie about my age, I was truthful here. We don't have A DVD player, we have TWO. And more, if you could the fact that the computers can play DVDs.

Exhibit C:

The phone rings.

Me: Hello?
Phone [another awkward silence and chirpy (yet masculine) "Hello!"]
Me: rats
Phone: Is this Mrs. Parker?
Me: um... no... speaky... English... Bye-bye

For those of you playing the "Will Her Passport Come In Time" home game, there is nothing to report. Hmm. Maybe if I was more truthful, I would be rewarded with Passport News.

Putting on the Power Lipstick

Skip jumped into the van on Monday with a grin on his face.

"Mom, we've got another Extra Credit Assignment in Health Class" he began. "And this one is worth more than bringing in glue sticks, I think."

I should hope so. This "extra credit" was to go to an elementary school, and present a project to a class of 4th or 5th graders, detailing the dangers of tobacco use.

Oh, and it had to be done on Thursday.

Yes. Tomorrow.

But he was so jazzed about it, that I decided to help him do whatever it took to make it happen. He'd already spoken with the teacher and asked if he could present to 3rd graders instead, as he really REALLY wanted to go back to Badger Elementary and give his talk to Kelly's class, which is being taught by the woman who taught him 4th grade.

So when we got home, I helped him draft a letter, and I sent it to Kelly's teacher from my email address (any unknown addresses tend to get flagged by the district, and held in limbo before being punted into spam).


Dear Mrs Hawthorn

Do you remember me? I am Kelly's big brother, and you taught me 4th Grade, three years ago.

Today in Health (my elective this trimester), we were given the option to do an activity where we would go to Elementary Schools and talk to kids about the dangers of tobacco. For my class, it is on Valentine's Day, in the morning, right after school starts, like right after Boot Camp for your class.

If you think you have 45 minutes early that day, could I do it for your class? We are supposed to ask teachers if we can come and talk in the morning, but MiddleSchool gets out at lunch that day, and because I have to walk home past Badger Elementary, I could come in the afternoon, too.

This is optional, and you do not have to say "yes".

This is what I would be doing:

First I would introduce myself, and tell them what I am doing (telling them about the dangers of tobacco), and why I am doing it (because I want them to be healthy as they get older). Then I would ask the class what they already know about tobacco, and I would write it up on the white board. If they have ideas that are not right, I would give them the facts (we have just finished a unit on Tobacco in Health Class). I would tell them other facts about tobacco that they might not know, like what products are made from tobacco, and the chemicals in it, too.

I have some short activities that I would do with the kids. One shows them the chemicals that are in smoke, and one shows what one of the smoking diseases is like (emphysema).

Then I would summarize what we've learned with the kids, and remind them that cigarettes are very addicting, and that you can get hooked on them very quickly. I think Mr. HealthTeacher has some things for me to give away to the kids to remind them to stay away from tobacco, and then I would leave.

I'm not sure if Mr. HealthTeacher has stuff to give away, but I'll have stuff to give away if he doesn't.


Skip Parker


So I sent that off on Monday right after school, and hoped for the best.

But I kind of had misgivings. Mrs. Hawthorn is known for packing a LOT of learning into a TINY amount of time, and Thursday afternoon is scheduled to be a Valentine's party, so I imagined her morning would be pretty packed, too. Also, and I told Skip, giving a teacher less than a week's notice is NEVER a good idea, and even though he'd JUST been given this assignment from Mr. Health, there was a good chance that the timing just wouldn't work.

We heard nothing from Mrs. Hawthorn yesterday, and so when I dropped Skip off at school this morning, I said "Honey, I'm sorry, but you're gonna have to assume that Mrs. Hawthorn just can't fit you in. Maybe she'll let you do it another day..."

Of course, irony being what it is, when I got home from running errands this morning, there was an email from her, saying that she would MAKE IT WORK, to help Skip out.


But Skip would be pleased.

So when I went to get Skip, I gave him the good news. "Honey! I heard from Mrs. Hawthorn. She says you can do it tomorrow morning."

His face fell. "But mom, we needed to get special permission slips from Mr. Health this morning, and the kids that HAD heard from teachers got extra instruction from him. I didn't go with the group, because you said that it wasn't going to work.'


OK, Plan B. We'll go back to Badger Elementary, and tell Mrs. Hawthorn thankyou for making room in the schedule for us, but we needed to know earlier, and now Skip doesn't have to equipment and supplies that he'd need to do a good presentation.

Mrs Hawthorn was pleased to see Skip, but worried when she saw his long face.

Within moments, she had pulled up Mr. Health's email, and was letting him know that even though Skip hadn't been in on the 'inner sanctum' talks this morning, that he was welcome AND EXPECTED in her class.

And now I must put on the Power Lipstick, and go down to Middle School to hunt down Mr. Health and find out what exactly Skip is supposed to be presenting at this big (and hyped in Kelly's class today) show tomorrow morning.

Mr. Health better not give me the hairy run-around, or I'll have to ask for my glue sticks back.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hello, Betsy

Kelly came bouncing home from school on Thursday with news.


"Guess what?

On Valentine's Day, we all get to dress up like our Biography Hero.  Isn't that great!?  So I get to dress up like Betsy Ross.  What did she wear?"

Ok, let's think about this.  It's Thursday.  In one week my daughter needs to dress up like a Revolutionary War Figure.


Nope.  I don't happen to have any Revolutionary War era garments just kicking around.  And poop, darn and rats, Joann's Fabrics isn't having their 99-cent pattern sale until the end of the month.  I'm gonna have to...


pay full price for a pattern.

Oh!  The Humanity!

But I suck it up, because I am a good mom like that, and we race off after school yesterday to grab a pattern while Skip is at game club after school, and Nate is still in class. 

"Can I pick out fabric, mom?"

"Nope!  If I have to pay full price for a pattern, I'm not gonna get dinged for the yardage, too.  Oh look!  Simplicity patterns are 40% off, anyways.  Whew.... but you STILL can't buy fabric for the dress.  I'm sure we have something at home... let's go!"

I think it was our fastest Joann's Expedition, ever.

This morning, after coming back from a meeting that Ken and I were invited to attend, I got down to work.

We had this old duvet cover that I'd made a few years back.  I'd made a math error (yes!  Can you believe it?), and the duvet cover had never been quite long enough for our bed, which irked Ken to no end, as his feet would stick out the bottom of the duvet, and get freezing cold every night.  SO when I said "Honey, I'm going to cannibalize this old duvet cover for Kelly's Betsy Ross dress, is that ok?" he was over the moon with joy.

Goodbye, old duvet cover.

11 am.  The pattern comes out.

12pm - 4pm  Let's draw the curtain across the less-than-pretty sight of me fighting with the bodice, and saying unladylike words when the sleeves didn't obey my will.

Please.  YOU would have said unkind words, too.  Those sleeves had DARTS at the elbow!  Darts! 

There are no photos of this fiasco.

5pm:  Hello Betsy Ross. Again.

Side view

Curtsey for the camera

Of course, then I looked up Betsy Ross on the internet, and saw that all the paintings of her have her wearing a very simple Quaker-style black or grey gown with severe white collar and cuffs.  Whoopsie.  Kelly is the "new" Betsy Ross.  The one that left the Quaker church, and was disowned after she married John Ross in the Church of England tradition.  Yup.  That's what she is, all right.

Friday, February 01, 2008

In Other News

I heard from Skip's teacher.

He could bring in glue-sticks for 'extra credit'. Apparently, every assignment is produced on a hand-out, and is glued into the notebook. They go through glue-sticks like water.

When Skip told me he could bring in 3 glue sticks and get a bit of extra credit, I was ALL OVER THAT.

So yesterday, he brought in glue sticks.

And what did that bump his grade up to?


Say what?

Apparently, if he brings in 3 boxes of tissues, he can get MORE extra credit.


Ahem. Does anyone see anything perhaps even marginally wrong with this?