Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday's Feast 9.21.07

From the Friday's Feast meme:

What is your favorite type of art?

I have to admit.... I'm not really "into" art. It's not that I don't like it. More like I just don't "get" it! I guess I'll have to pick dance.

When was the last time you got a free lunch (or breakfast or dinner)? Who paid for it?

My mother took me and the boys out to dinner a few weeks ago.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how emotional are you?

This is tough. I range anywhere from 3 to 7, depending upon the circumstances, the issue, the people involved and how my day was going up until then. I will say that I tend to be more "emotional" about things that don't matter as much. I'm much cooler about the big things in life.

Main Course
Approximately how long do you spend each day responding to emails?

I only spend about 20-30 minutes in a normal day responding to email. I spend much more time reading emails and blogs and cruising the 'net!

To what temperature do you usually set your home’s thermostat?

In the summer, I try to keep it set at about 77 degrees and in the winter, I keep it set to about 68 degrees. When I'm going to be out of the house for awhile, I'll adjust it up or down to save money and energy. Of course, I also try to keep the windows open as much as possible!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Record to beat -- five days!

CutiePie's first five days of Kindergarten/Extended Care at the Elementary School were great! Everyone told me how cute he is, how smart he is, how funny he is.... Each day, he ran to me, excited to shout the good news that he'd had a good day! I knew it wouldn't last. Knew it couldn't last! It didn't.

Yesterday, CutiePie came home from school with a letter from the Extended Care Class addressed to "Parents of CutiePie". I knew it wouldn't be good.

It actually wasn't as bad as I'd feared, but still..... on his SIXTH day, he was in time out for a). not listening, b). using inappropriate language and c). looking under the bathroom stall at another student. (BTW, that was NOT a multiple choice quiz -- he did all THREE of those in ONE afternoon!)


Why do I have to be the mother of the class clown? Class Clowns are born, not made. I may not have given birth to CutiePie, but he's mine now and he was definitely born to be the class clown! I'm starting to realize that I'm going to be on very close relations with ALL the teachers in his schools for the rest of his academic career!

Who knows, though -- maybe we could channel this energy into something good? Perhaps he'll grow up and be the Nittany Lion mascot at Penn State or maybe a rich and famous comedian like Jack Black or John Belushi (but without the drugs and early death, please!) or maybe he'll be a teacher that inspires difficult children. I'm not sure what he'll end up doing, but I am sure that it will involve making people laugh.

I just hope I survive the next 12 years in order to appreciate his humor when it takes a more productive path in the future!

HandsomeBoy strikes to the heart - again!

How is it that HandsomeBoy can say things that just strike me right to the heart? Twice in the past 24 hours, HandsomeBoy has said things that made me absolutely stop in my tracks and catch my breath.

During dinner last night, we were talking about various friends of our family. HB asked about my friend Cingana. He wanted to know if she had any kids. When I told him that she didn't, he authoritatively said that she should get married to a big boy and have kids. I reminded him that she IS married (to Mr. Mike). Once he remembered that, he wanted to know WHY she didn't have kids YET!!! He was really outraged! He told me that she NEEDS to have kids -- NOW!

What he doesn't know is that Cingana is 43. She's been trying for three years to get pregnant. She found out in early May that they had finally succeeded, only to miscarry in June. My heart greived for her and her husband. After two miscarriages, I have an idea of how she felt. Luckily, however, her OB/GYN insisted that she have a complete physical workup before trying to get pregnant again. She did and was shocked when her doctor found that she has an AORTIC ANEURISM!!!! She was a walking time bomb and would have died if she hadn't miscarried (or if, post-miscarriage, her doctor hadn't been so agressive in her testing!)! Right now, she is scheduling the open heart surgery that will save her life.

I didn't know what to say to HandsomeBoy, other than to say that I think she'll be a great mother some day and that I, too, think that she should have kids.

Then, this morning, RockStar and I were talking about our Passports -- he's going to be out of the country for a few days later this year on a business trip. HB asked what a Passport is and we told him that it was a little book with your name and address and photograph that proves who you are and where you live and you use it when you go to visit a different country. We told him that most people only have one, but that he has TWO (meaning his American and Russian passports). I asked him if he knew why he had two and he said very simply, "Because I'm Jewish?".

Stab. An icy cold stab. Maybe this hit me so hard because I'm currently rereading "Night," Elie Wiesel's gutwrenching memoir about the Holocaust. Of course, HB hasn't experienced anti-semitism in his young life; in fact, he probably doesn't even know that anyone could hate someone for being Jewish. He doesn't know that there have been many times and places where Jews were not considered citizens of the countries they lived in, that they had separate passports and fewer rights, if any.

Right now, he knows only good things about being Jewish --
* he knows that we celebrate Shabbat every Friday night with candles, wine, a challah and a delicious family meal...
* he knows that tonight and tomorrow, we will dip fresh sweet apples into honey to celebrate the new year and that we will apologize sincerely to each other for the bad things we've done and then forgive each other for the bad things done to us....
* he knows that at Hanukkah, we will light candles and eat latkes and celebrate the miracle in our lives....
* he knows that at Passover, we will be thankful for the freedoms in our lives...
* he knows that we give tzedukkah to help others who are not as fortunate as we are...

And, somehow, he also has a sliver of vague knowledge that we are somehow a little... different... apart.... that there is or has been or will be or could be a less joyful, less positive, potentially negative aspect to our Jewishness.

I'm sure if I'd asked him why he'd guessed "because I'm Jewish" he wouldn't have been able to tell me why. I'm sure he doesn't actually fear a prejudice that he is unaware exists.

Still, it makes me sad to think that, in even a dark hazy corner of his young mind, there lurks a seed of vague information that will one day develop into an acute awareness of the true horrors of this world -- past, present, but hopefully not future.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tick tock.... tick tock.....

It's almost time!!!!!

The bookbags are packed and sitting by the door.

The forms are filled out and signed. The check for dining services is written and in its envelope.

Lunches are made and in the fridge.

The cute new clothes are nicely folded and laid out on the boys' dressers.

The brand spankin' new alarm clock was early set to lull them to sleep with the sound of the ocean and will wake them at precisely 7am to the sounds of birds chirping happily in a meadow.

Oh, yeah, baby ---- BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!!!!!

I'm finding it very hard to believe that, in just a few short hours, I'm going to be the mother of a Kindergartener and a First Grader!!!! How is that possible? It was three years ago today that we flew off toward Russia, eagerly anticipating meeting our children for the first time. Actually, we were anticipating meeting HandsomeBoy and were crossing our fingers that we would receive a referral for a second child while we were there. Luckily, we did and that little surprise turned out to be CutiePie!

I hope that they are HALF as excited as I am about the start of school! It's a big deal for both of them. They've been attending a local daycare for the past two and a half years (since January 2005) and HandsomeBoy went to Kindergarten there last year. We really liked it and I would have sent CutiePie there, too, but it just seemed pointless to have the boys in two schools needlessly. Besides, the elementary school they'll be going to is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM MY HOUSE! And by that I mean that the crossing guard stands in my driveway! You just can't get much closer than that! It's just too darn easy to have them both going there. Plus, it's a nationally recognized school and they have an Extended Day program to supplement the half-day Kindergarten. So perfect!

So, by the time you read this, my boys will probably be in school, meeting their teachers and new friends, learning where everything is and celebrating the end of mandated afternoon "nap/quiet time"! Oh, and the fact that the playground is HUGE! It's the best playground of any of the elementary schools in our district. The school itself is a little aesthetically dated (it's the same age I am -- gulp!), but it's in good shape and has great teachers!

As Troy and Gabriella (and CutiePie about a thousand times a day) say, "This could be the start of something new"!!!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Not really a shock, is it?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Social Justice Crusader, also known as a rights activist. You believe in equality, fairness, and preventing neo-Confederate conservative troglodytes from rolling back fifty years of civil rights gains.