Thursday, August 28, 2008

Queen of multi-tasking

I reside no longer at the pinnacle of multi-tasking perfection. I have believed...for a long time.... that I AM the ultimate multi-tasker. A ROCK STAR in the multi-tasking world.
I can multi-task in the kitchen. I could probably work for Top Chef.
I can manage 6 washers , which is like 20 loads of laundry at the laundromat. (The laundromat is my friend ...don't tell, but I LIKE the laundromat because it's fast, and all the heat stays there. My family does not share this sentiment.) I can even multi-watch football and any other sport. Amend that to say that I can BE at the Young Son's football game and be doing a few other things. They are all sick of me taking pictures. Maybe approaching angry.
I can plan a party for about 200 people. (Hey, I was teaching school then! Further evidence that I am slipping.)

But what I apparently CANNOT do is teach school and write here at the same time.
That's disappointing, since there are so many things going on in PPP's life, since she's a senior and all that.
I'd love to be writing about The Sophisticate, who is student teaching. Her stories remind me why I ever started teaching. I need reminding.
And BigB? Man, he's had a lot going on. (Stalker pics...absolutely not at all BigB himself. Just so you know.)
The Young Son is playing football this, he's actually practicing football, watching football film, and ...chatting, maybe? That's his summary of it anyway. I am going with 'helmet hair.'I'm horrified at my newfound slacker status. I haven't been able to get it together to:
  • Post grades
  • Post homework

  • Learn our new website/student info system/homework posting place

  • Learn the new on-line everything spot at PPP's school

  • Organize and attend 3 Parent Orientations at my school and one at my own children's school (1 more to go)

  • Teach (4 DIFFERENT classes)

  • Grade papers

  • Coordinate the ordering of 9 bridesmaids dresses for Chili and his Lovely Bride

  • Get the previously prepared dinner out and ready

  • Sleep or wash my hair (kidding, I washed my hair last night)
DEEP BREATH....and write and publish post here. I can do all those other things at the same time, I just can't do those things AND this. I can't figure it out. I'm losing my touch. No longer the queen of multi-tasking. Not me. Not anymore. I surrender the title to someone else.

For now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Homeschool now and then

Today, for sure, I so wish that we were homeschooling again.
To reassure these two shining stars, we aren't. Don't worry. You are safe in your little insulated and nearly-perfect world, preparing for a stellar future. Because you will have to support BigD and me in our later years. Just so you know.

We DID homeschool for a few years. It was the absolute best thing we ever did. Each year, when the minions got lazy and I got tired, I threatened to take them to the school around the corner. At that moment. It was a full-on Mom-size temper tantrum, I had one every year, then I calmed down, we got serious and we made it, for a grand total of 5 years.
Eventually, we all decided it was time to go back to school. We knew what we were giving up and were hopeful about the gains. Going back to school was also the best thing we did, when we did it.

So, here we are, school has started. The first few days have passed and we are exhausted. We have books and supplies; football has already started.
PPP is a big-girl senior with all that entails. I put my camera in my purse this morning, but the battery was dead when I took it out. I missed the tackle my Young Son thinks he might have made. We did the whole big cooking ordeal, and they have already eaten half of it, but we aren't halfway through the week. I forgot to take my healthy food to school, so I ate school food. Also, I ate chocolate, because we teachers have a stash of chocolate for those moments. There were about 18 of those moments today.

Sincerely, right now at this very minute, I wish we still homeschooled - a lot.
1. I don't want to get up early in the morning. Especially in the winter, when it's dark. I hate to wake up my bone-tired babies, and it's harder when I know they haven't had enough sleep for their growing adolescent bodies. They MAY have stayed up too late watching television instead of doing homework. But the Olympics don't count . . . at least until the morning.

2. I hate grades and I don't want any parent teacher conferences. I don't want to troop around the schools on Back-to-School day or Back-to-School NIGHT, when I am missing the season premiere of The Office. I don't like it when another adult thinks he or she know more about my child than I do. Even when they might be right. I don't like to be the teacher in that situation either, trying to tell parents something that they wish they already knew about their child.

3. I don't like homework at all. I don't like how much time we spend at school doing stupid stuff, or waiting for someone else to finish. As a teacher, I try to minimize both homework and stupid stuff, because both re-inforce terrible habits -procrastinating, rushing to have somthing to turn in, last minute cramming, busy work, doing the bare minimum. The homework factor means that when I want to watch Project Runway, I either have no one to watch it with, or else I have to feel guilty that PPP is going to stay up an extra hour on the homework. I feel pretty bad about that a lot. Or lonely watching TV.

4. I want my children at their great moments, along with the not-so-great. I don't want to spend a few hours with exhausted children who have been assaulted by peers and teachers because they aren't as smart, as fast, as popular, as articulate, or whatever the judging criteria may be on that day. I want the best of their day, not just the worst. Sometimes, there is no best, but that's OK. Also, I like for them to watch our favorite TV shows with me. School cuts into that.

5. I hate the juggling that comes from living with school calendars. We juggle many schools - one for PPP, one for our Young Son, and one for me. Also, the Sophisticate is student teaching, so there's that plus the University, and BigB is working with a side order of school. That's a lot of different days of vital importance. I hate it when I find out - after I have already gone to bed - that we need - at 6 am tomorrow - a plain gray tee-shirt, an obscure novel and a dried pinto beans. It makes me crazy.

In fact, those are the top 5 reasons we chose to homeschool. In fact, it looks kind of like we homeschooled because school had gotten stupid, I never buy dried pinto bean, I didn't want to get up in the morning, and I like it when my children join me in watching TV. Yes, I believe that sums it up.

Whatever, they were reason enough to push me over into what I felt like was an abyss. I had no real notion of what to do, but I knew it was time to do it.

Our time in homeschool wasn't perfect, but it was good for us. If nothing else, it was Shakespeare and Critical Thinking Skills. And maybe the Human Body project that took 3 months. I even overheard a conversation about the "old days when we slept late and were through with our work in 3 or 4 hours." Now we are into school - and all that school entails.

I would ALMOST homeschool them now, just for the TV thing. But for now, we are in school.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What's for dinner - the answer

I cooked and lived to tell about it. I am thoroughly impressed with all you folks who manage a gaggle of small children. I did it. Feeding a bunch of young adults is challenging. They are not captives. They can get in the car and drive to Chick-Fil-A.

This is not a recipe site. I don't take pretty step-by-step pictures or even give proportions. There are plenty of those sites, and I am sure you can find them. This is not pretty food. This is not organic food. This is survive-the-week food. I can't stand at the sink and fry up a steak while the minions are pacing and eating dry cereal out of the box. So, I cook for the week on Sunday. We start on Saturday, which I have already covered.

It is possible to shop and cook in one day. POSSIBLE not probable. I know it's possible because we used to do "Once a Month Cooking" and freeze enough meals for a month. The problem was that I forgot what was in the freezer, AND forgot to take it out ahead of time. Supper time came, and we had 27 frozen meals, all in the freezer. When we don't have food for dinner and to make lunches, we are all cranky....make that non-functional. Then we eat fast food every night until people are screaming at me.

This morning we had to finish a little bit of shopping. I had the ground beef from the butcher shop (known source being my criteria) and 2 chickens. The rest of my week's menu depends on 'whatever I see.' Yesterday, I saw Orange Crush - so, we were in need of some more protein. Plus, the new dish this week - Mexican Lasanga - I had forgotten a few ingredients. Like about half of them.

What I found when we stopped after church - and I was lucky on this - was reduced meat. What? Moi? Madame No-Mystery-About-the-Meat Lady? Reduced because of date, which is written on the package. Today, it was pork chops and chicken breast tenders, and they were marked down in price 32% - 50%, yet still 3 days from the expiration date. I'm good - it will all be cooked before the sun goes down.
Who does all this cooking? There are 4 adults (technically speaking) and 2 teenagers, everyone works and/or goes to school - and several of us do both. Everyone has to work together to get the meal thing done.

I run the show. You can stop there because it is the main thing anyone needs to know. I run the cooking show. I am happiest when I have 3 or 4 things going at once because it's all about speed for me. I'm spending an hour before lunch, and then maybe 2 after. No more.

BigD is the expediter. We already know he's a phenomenon in the store. In the kitchen, he keeps the pots and bowls and measuring cups moving - either washed in the sink to be re-used, or loaded in the dishwasher. He also does a good bit of the chopping, for which there is a french culinary term that I just spent a solid 20 minutes looking for, a poor use of my time. They say it on Top Chef. I guess I could watch all eps of all seasons and hear it. Good plan, though not for today.
PPP is an accomplished baker. She does not use mixes and does not much like my lovely Kitchen-Aid mixer. The Sophisticate technically does not live under this roof, and is student teaching, and gets a pass (ever heard of lesson plans?) Our two sons also get a version of a pass on cooking day, because there is only so much room in our kitchen. Traffic flow is better if they are doing something else. Like watching baseball on television, or even *gasp* homework.

Therefore yesterday, they trekked up and down our back stairs with the 147 little plastic bags of groceries, and help break things down. I want everything possible out of the box and into a home container - for space, and to keep the bugs that live in cardboard out of the kitchen. The sons also empty the garbage and that will be at least 3 trips in the cooking seige. This is better than chopping onions and celery and peppers.

I started the hard boiled eggs right off - before I even changed to cooking clothes from church clothes - I wanted that pan again soon. I am not an apronista, because I wipe my hands on my rear end, so I have cooking clothes. Like some people have painting clothes. You can definitely look at my behind and tell that I have been cooking today.

I began with Pork Chops (one of the bargain meats). I seasoned, seared and simmered them on the stove-top for a long time, until they were tender and falling off the bone. I started with them because they were going to cook for a while. It also made the house smell like cooking, which ups the confidence level in MOM.

Once the eggs were done and I got that pan back from BigD's washing frenzy, I chopped a couple of apples, and cooked some real oatmeal with apples. I adapted this from a crock pot recipe , because I don't manage crock pots well. It warms up easily in the microwave with some milk. That whole oats/cholesterol thing? Well, this is my attempt at some kind of noble nutritious cooking.

The meat had already been pulled from the bone of the rotisserie chickens. We did that as part of the putting up of the groceries. It falls off when it's warm, and takes up way less room in the fridge. Also, it did not heat up the kitchen and the house while cooking, because Wal-Mart cooked it. And it's delicious. Half of that went to chicken salad, which BigD made first thing this morning.

I cooked the meat for the Mexican lasagna yesterday afternoon. When we got home this morning with the forgotten ingredients, I put it together. That took the most time, because I was using a new recipe. There is some meat leftover, which is my emergency meal - which will be tacos, again. But I was still done by noon, and one hour is over.

PPP made her oatmeal cookie dough right after church and fridged it so it would be easier to manage when it came time to actually MAKE the cookies.

By now, noon, we went to Mimi's for lunch, because it is Sunday. I admit to feeling disheartened when her kitchen looked like this.

When we got home, PPP's cookie batter was chilled, the pork chops were almost done and we turned on the oven. And there were a few pans and bowls and general mess. Compare that to Mimi's. Where did I come from?
The second half of the rotisserie chicken was mixed with seasoned cream cheese. Refrigerator crescent rolls make a rich crust for this mixture, like little packets. Though it's not particularly healthy, my children love them. It takes assembly - so it won't be football night.

I had used the leftover baked potatoes and made potato salad yesterday.
BIg D made the tuna salad, using the last of the hard-boiled eggs. (Yes, we had a nice day with The Duke.)PPP had plopped out the cookies, and they were baking I was pretty much done, which left PPP plenty of room to make the blueberry muffins. She isn't that good at sharing cooking space yet.

This week, she wanted to take some baked goods to school, so it was oatmeal cookies for EA's birthday, and the blueberry muffins because they are awesome.

So...we ended up with this, done by about 4pm.

  • Pork chops

  • Mexican lasagna

  • Chicken packets almost

  • Chicken tenders oven fried (already mostly gone)

  • Potato Salad, Chicken Salad, and Tuna Salad

  • Oatmeal (healthy me - tomorrow)

  • Blueberry muffins (my dessert tonight)

  • Oatmeal cookies (I ate these for dinner)

  • Lima beans and black-eyed peas (we've survived a week on just these)

  • Fruit and salad
So, I think we can make it through the week, though I did not get the last Crush.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What's for dinner?

This week, since I am a teacher at an actual school, I went back for the part we treasure - inservice. Nothing is more compelling than sitting in meetings all day when children are coming in just a few days, and your room looks like this.
And the halls look like this. School crept up on me - In an alternate reality, I ignored it until the last possible minute. You choose.

I made a huge mistake this week. I didn't cook on the weekend, which is what I usually do during the school year. I cook on the weekend because of two things. I am non-functional when the school day is over and the minions arrive home hungry.These guys show up too - sometimes, when there's food. Especially Goldfish crackers.

After a day of school related minutiae I am barely able to speak. My children however can easily put three words together. Those three words are "What's for dinner?" and I ususally start getting text messages to that effect about 7:15 in the morning. This is an actual text transcript from my Blackberry.

7:15am From BigB: I'm eating at home, what's for dinner?

9:35 am From the Sophisticate: Do you have lima beans? I don't have any food. I'll see you after school.

12:30 pm from the Sophisticate: Will you make rice too? My stomach hurts.

12:45 from BigB: I'm not eating lunch today. What's for dinner?

1:10 pm from PPP: Hi, how's your day? What's for dinner?

1:15pm from PPP: How about enchiladas? What time will it be ready?

1:20 pm from the Young Son: I made a 91 on my Latin quiz, what's for dinner?

1:45 from Big B: What's for dinner?

3:21 from PPP: I have to go to work. What's for dinner?

5:15 from PPP: What's for dinner?

5:17: from BigB: What's for dinner?

5:18: from the Sophisticate: What are y'all having for dinner?

6:32 from Young Son: I'm finished, is dinner ready yet?

I answered none of those.
These people that live here don't all come home at the same time, have a nice little family devotion and Bible reading, and then cheerfully help me prepare a hearty and healthy meal, with placemats. I think we have established that I have lost all my placemats. No - the people that live here start rolling in about 3:30 and continue to stagger their arrival times until 9 or 9:30. P.M. At Night. Past my bedtime. When they walk in the door, regardless of the time, they are starving. That's the reason cereal was created. So, whatever else has to be ready about 5:30 . . . or 10 seconds after I walk in the door, whichever comes first. And it has to stay ready for each person when they get home and ready to eat. It goes on for roughly 6 .5 hours. I do not need any pointers about the value of sitting down at the table at the same time with my whole family. I know the statistics, and the whole spiritual religious thing. I'm on the simplified plan. I provide food. if we're lucky.

To that end, we shop and cook on the weekend, for the week that is coming. If we don't do this, it's bad. This is what happened THIS WEEK, the first week, the one that slipped up on me.

Monday - taco meat was my sole offering. Then I fell asleep at 7. I guess they ate tacos. Perhaps they stood at the stove and just ate hot taco meat right from the skillet. I'm all about the one-dish-meal, though I think others put a bunch of ingredients -specifically including vegetables.

Tuesday: I actually made a chicken casserole. It was 100% gone within 17 minutes. No accompaniments, no fruit, nothing else. The late arrivers got nothing.

Wednesday: I was not here, I was at an 'all-school-social' I have no idea what the people here ate. I ate some American cheese and crackers and a Toaster Strudel.
Thursday: Holy #$%* - I cannot think of what to cook after being in school meetings all day. Hooray! Beans and V-8 juice with leftover taco meat. I can and did make faux - Chili. However, we were phoned at the laundromat (ask no questions) because BigB cannot eat Chili without saltines. Period. I ate some more Toaster Strudel and read the vampiric love story.

Friday: I had a plan, though I don't remember what it was - everyone left to be social teenagers and young adults. BigD brought me a sinfully delicious hamburger from Checkers. I had already fallen asleep when he got home.

So - it's been established that I cannot teach school all day, do whatever it is else I have to do after school - and then cook. It has to be cooked ahead of time. Then I always have an answer to the big text question. But I don't answer them. That's ridiculous. I'm spending some quality teaching time.'s the plan, it works every year. We shop on Saturday and cook on Sunday, and then re-heat during the week, also BigD takes some to his place of employ, which is in a whole different city.

The grocery shop is awful, but BigD is a beast when it comes to shopping. One distraction is that the minions call or text with 'food orders'

From PPP: Molasses and oatmeal.

From BigB: Get cereal and there is a crazy woman in the driveway, yelling at La Petite Jockette, Young Son's GF.

We will get two rotisserie chickens. 5 pounds of hamburger, and two other things that I will think of when I see ithem. I am not sure about the crazy woman. I think PPP is making cookies.

To Wal-Mart for the frozen stuff and the stuff that is always sold in boxes (thus we aren't worried about where it comes from and how long it's been there, because it's all on the label).
We'll go to a little produce store for the Amish cheese, the milk and the vegetables, that we hope have not been in the Wal Mart distribution system for 4 months. Then, somewhere with known meat sources for the meat. I have gotten really skittish about meat and the recalls when the meat packers aren't sure where the tainted meat is - and then guess that it's probably all been eaten, probably 6 months ago. Seriously, you killed thousands of cows or chickens, and packed up the meat and you don't know who you sold it to? I just didn't want to know that. And I don't want to eat that stuff.
Man, BigD is awesome slinging those groceries around. I'm not sure how he felt about me standing in the parking lot taking pictures while he loaded the 127 bags, each with a single item. Miserable-o-meter was way high, and it wasn't just the temperature.

Then we will cook 4 meals and the 'things for the fridge' which serve late arrivers or those who don't like whatever I fix. This week, I am thinking about some things; we'll have to see how it all turns out. It will be really amazing if I can cook and also write about it.

NEW RECIPE ALERT! Because it's Saturday and I am already thinking about it, I am going to try Mexican lasagna that I saw at PW this week. Because it's the first week of school, and I am still standing.

Smash potatoes are possible too - if the little red potatoes are tiny enough. These things reheat into even more delightful crispiness. Post shopping report - there were some tiny Yukon Golds, I will definitely hot smash those. With cheese. This is one of the 'other things' I saw at Wal Mart. It may not be a main dish protein, but it's always a hero's welcome when we bring home Orange Crush. 6 hours later, there are two left in the fridge. Two are hidden. For me, after I cook all that stuff.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Possessed but not crazy.

I never intended to confess anything to anybody here, certainly no religious confessions. But, I am possessed, and I have to confess to somebody, so it may as well be you. But it's faith, not religion. So....I'm only blurring my own boundaries.

The diva in this confessing-to-the-world affair is Pioneer Woman who confesses to her legions of readers about her man, her camera, her hiney-tingle, her kids. I did not intend to do any confessing here.
I intended to post pictures of my daughter , Pretty Pretty Princess, on prom-night to avoid emails of the pictures.Then, it moved past prom pictures, I made the explicit decision not to delve into religion, confirmed by the 3,127,481 blogs of the uber-faithful. I don't speak that lingo, know that vocabulary, speak that language. I. Just. Don't. Amen.

Be clear - I am a woman of faith. Faith in the risen Savior. That's as close to the lingo as I go. I am not a woman of the "praise Jesus, my baby peed in the potty." kind. I just .....can't. I'm not. I won't. Bless each of you beautifully praising women. It won't come out of my mouth. I'm afraid to fail those words - me with my potty mouth and snide tone and all that goes with it.

Here is the confession - I am possessed, in spite of my reluctance to delve into the depths of the lingo. I can be overcome by God, speaking quietly, and moved to do things that surprise me - through no effort of my own. It is an intense and explicit knowledge, that will not let me NOT do it - whatever it is. For a long time, I thought I was just crazy. That is still a possiblity.

Lately, I have been overtaken by a blown-way-out-of-the-water total fixation to pray for a man I don't know - at all, ever, totally not. Stellan's dad. See Stellan's 'button' up there somewhere? His dad. Go figure.It happened first 1990, I was moved to pray for a family who were in the midst of tragedy. I felt it physically. It was unexplained and unexplainable, both the tragedy and the praying. I didn't know them well, but was moved to pray for ONE. By NAME. In pictures. For more than a year. I did not see Jesus' face in a pancake though.
It's not uncommon to pray in a time of loss, or struggle, or difficulty. When it's not your grief, it eventually passes, unless you write it down or something. This compulsion did not pass me, so I prayed, very, very quietly. . . for a solid year and 4 months. Every day it was new and fresh and demanded a response. I told no one, not even my own husband. I hoped it would stop, because it was so weird. A once in a lifetime, almost creepy nudging to pray for someone I barely knew. And then it stopped. Thank the Lord, it stopped, which in itself is awkward. Is God's work in my life creepy?

Then it happened again. 13 year old died in a bike wreck, in route to Vacation Bible School. I was awakened that night to pray (like a presence actually woke me up) years later to learn that I was up and praying in those very moments Cy eased into heaven. That time it lasted for years. Much later I learned that I physically and prayerfully responded to the waves of grief his family encountered. I was moved to take flowers, and food and send cards. Though I hardly knew them, I knew exactly how and when to pray.
Example: Halloweeen, 1992. I'm in the kitchen, fixing dinner, for 5 hooligans under 10. Suddenly, I found myself praying and making banana pudding (which delighted the hooligans, I promise you that) for this family Does that make sense? Not to me, not now, and not 16 years ago. Why banana pudding? It felt right.

Halloween was a banana-pudding-day for several years. Different things, different days, many different ways. When I don't have the time, or money to do anything, much less extra things, somehow I have exactly what I need to accomplish these little "jobs." I didn't choose - I just moved as directed by the little voice in my head. When I resisted, I always felt frantic, until it was done.

I also did a little research on schizophrenia. I'm not that. I felt like a grief-stalker, and wanted to be unseen, anonymous. Always.Eventually, the Mom and I talked about 'IT' - that was a stunning conversation. My prayer and my little 'happies' (too close to the lingo, sorry) were sent to them when they needed it. Sad day? Flowers on the patio table. Were we close friends, me picking up the spoken and unspoken cues? Not at all. God was most often ahead of them. The card mailed 2 days ago arrived on just the right day.

Then it stopped. Thank the Lord, it stopped. It's exhausting. And I was often embarrassed about it, like a sort of tragedy voyeur. By now, I was only talking to BigD about it. My then young children called it 'that thing.' That Mom calls me her 'angel'- still. Today. I can't reconcile that word - angel - with how much I like 'Californication' and 'Sex and the City.'
Oh, $%&# Again. (See, I just don't mix that mouth with the other praising lingo....) I was pushed to pray for a woman dealing with the decline of her parents, in a city far away. Food, flowers, cards, music, for someone I knew only casually. Perhaps she felt like I was stalking her. It stopped too - after a solid 3 years. I was relieved. (Seriously, I was relieved that God was not making me serve this woman. What does that say about me?) Bleh. By this time, I was HOPING to see the face of an angel in a pizza or get stigmata....anything other than borderline personality disorder.This wouldn't be a true confession if I didn't admit that I ignored it sometimes. I have found no club, or small group, or study program for being possessed to make food for people and pray fervently for someone I don't know at all. It remains weird. I like to read Harry Potter, and THAT was certainly not on the uber-Christian agenda. Don't EVEN let the vampires and the werewolves come into play! I have just flat ignored it - more than once. I was thinking that maybe my hamburger might have a cross branded into it and then I'd know it was for real.

Somehow....I came to believe - then and now - that I am doing EXACTLY what God calls me to do. It's a question of having confidence in my ability to hear God and the discipline to do as directed. Because it's ALWAYS specific. Seriously? Me, with the less than holy mouth and the penchant for popular culture? The one who saw God's hand in "Hustle and Flow"? The question is always...HOW do you know....? I don't know. Because I am not a prayer-mystic person. At least not on purpose.And now, I am praying for Stellan's dad. His wife has sought healing prayer for her unborn son. All over the world people are praying for the baby, Stellan, and his heart and Mom's heart and all the charming little tow-heads. I am praying for dad. I don't know his name I don't know what he does, or where he lives. I don't know what kind of music he likes, or what his hobbies are. I've never heard his voice. I don't know his friends, or his parents, or co-workers. Nobody put him on some tangentially connected 'prayer list' because their uncle's father-in-law is a client...I don't even know if he HAS clients. All I know is that am overcome with the compulsion to pray for him, specifically, by name - I guess this name has something to do with him.

I check her blog through the day and the night to check on the baby - but the minute his picture rolls up, it's over and I'm thrown into a praying fervor for him. (Don't worry, it's not speaking in tongues and falling on the floor - that 'thrown' is metaphorical).It doesn't even take a picture. It can be spontaneous possession. I guess that's better than spontaneous combustion, but it almost feels the same. In church, BigD nudged me because he thought I had dozed off (it's happened) or was having trouble with the attention thing (also happened). Nope. It was all about "Father of Stellan - called by God..." and all the other images that come with it.

The prayers come to me, exact and vivid. I pray for him by the name given to me ( not Prince Charming, which she calls him). I pray for him in the morning and at the grocery store and in the middle of an intense teacher training session. I visualize arms around him and the burden he is carrying for his children and his wife and his life. I don't know him. He doesn't know me. The chances of us EVER knowing each other is minimal, which gives me the shield that I long for. But now I am writing somebody might tell him. Psych! That slipped my mind.

So, there you have it. True confessions. It's out there, wherever out there is. It comes to me without my calling for it. I don't beg to be used, though I am sure I should. I don't ask for the burden. I don't look for a cause. I don't fall at the feet of.... or approach the throne of ...(sorry, just can't take it that far.) I don't pick the people. I can't start it or stop it. I just wait. And I don't talk that lingo. But I don't doubt the spiritual whisper. Not the same as hearing voices. Not at all.

So, Father of Stellan, you are loved by God. And if I lived in your town, I would bring banana pudding.


Yes, indeed. School is coming, and it's time to get ready. (FYI - that hazy look - that's what miserable-o-meter 109 looks like). I feel like we have stepped on one of those moving sidewalks in the underground tunnels at the Atlanta airport, where you just stand, and look around, and then you are at the end of the moving sidewalk, and you are where you are supposed to be. We are going to end up IN SCHOOL! YAY! Miserable-o-meter 106 and school starts. Now I remember why we homeschooled all those years. I know school is coming because of football practice. The past two Friday nights, we have had scrimmages, or as I like to call them: faux games. No one keeps score, so why are we parking 4 blocks away? Seriously? Our Young Son, who for his whole LIFETIME has been at least a head taller than his peers - is NOT anymore. Not taller, not heavier, not bigger. Not yet. Not good. No matter how much he eats and sleeps and does magic dances under the light of the moon in the sweltering summer night, he remains...lean. Lean is a word with few negative connotations. If I didn't know he read this thing, I would use the word scrawny. But he reads it. So I can't.
Anyway - we find games, faux or real, an exercise in parental visiting, as the Young Son's lean self is most often found chatting on the sideline . . .. . . WITH BIG RUSS, his lax sidelines buddy. His brother, BigB won't even go. "To where? To do what?On Friday night?" (add screeching to get the full effect.) "I'm not going to sit in those stands to watch this punk ride the pine." Showing your age there, BigB, it's aluminum now. And nobody sits on it, unless they ate 9 brownies before the game.
We have a spotter, Mr. T, Big Russ's dad, who is kind enough to say - "he's in" when he's in, so I look up. Most of the time I need somebody to remind me what our Young Son's number is(70). The rest of the time....mostly talking. I mean really? Warm summer night, boys playing in the grass . . . . moms talking.
This is what my room looks like, and no Photoshop could make it look better. There will be children there all too soon, all excited about the school supplies and the new books and the new big grown up subject, Latin. And, they are assuming that I will be excited too. And I WILL! YAY! So, anyway, THEY are coming, you would think that I would be busy planning bulletin boards, decorating my room with dancing apples and singing stars. It seems like that is what I should be doing. But I'm not. (OK, it is now time to state for the record that I, teacher and mother, do NOT do dancing apples, talking stars or inspirational posters. My posters are from The Office)
And since my pitiful garden is putting forth it's 2 lame little fruits of the vine, it seems that I would be busy pulling weeds. Not me.Nor am I dragging the hose and the jugs of water around to keep my deck plants lush and green and blooming in the heat. Blessedly, BigD does that job, so we are good there.
Since I cook on Sundays for the whole week during the school year, it seems like I would be making those plans. Sorry, not yet. We did go to the Farmer's Market today. I didn't get this stuff. I got black-eyed peas, which do not make a pretty picture.

Oh NO! I am doing two things.

1. Reading. It's all I want to do. I want to lie in my bed, with the fan on, and read. Seriously, it's 106 outside. Don't tell anybody...I found Edward and Bella. I'm dazzled. I'm breathless.

2. Checking on two blogs babies and their families. I found these heart baby blogs on a little round-the-blogosphere trip I took. So....for reasons I don't know, I got all up in these babies' business, particularly this one, Jack. I don't know why. I don't know them. I have never gone to their part of the world, I have way more than 6 degrees separation from them. But, man. I'm waking up in the morning and checking on baby Jack, and I'm checking again before I go to sleep. I'm thinking about how to encourage his mother to keep up the pumping, because she CAN! I suspect his parents are particularly articulate, and I am drawn to their writing. Or I am appointed to pray for them. Or both.

Also, Stellan, whose 'prayer button' is up there somewhere on this blog. I found MckMama's passionate, frenzied, panic-stricken writing a week or so ago, and began to pray . . . in a normal, non-obsessive way.

Once, I did find a medicine that would keep me from singing in my head the theme from Gilligan's Island for days at a time. I need to find that medicine again. It is used for obsessive compulsive disorder. I liked it. A LOT. Because of the song lyrics.

Sadly, it won't stop the moving sidewalk taking me straight to school from inching forward. . . OK, we are to the point of HURTLING forward.