Thursday, July 23, 2015

I swear that we still exist!

It's been a few months.  I promise we're still upright and all that.

We were all busy at the end of school just wrapping things up.  K moved on up to :sigh: going to middle school soon.  She ended 5th grade with perfect attendance for the year, honor roll and a President's Education Award.  We're busy adjusting to what middle school is going to mean and the changes that come with that.

My girlie in middle school.  Let's just sit on that for a second.  Every parent sits and says, "Just yesterday . . . "

I had the church rummage sale that ate most of June.

K has been volunteering at the local library twice a week and she's gone a few weeks with M to work to help him as a program volunteer.

My sister got married.  Wishing the union goes better than the felony charges that the two decided to rack up given their penchant for pot.

M and I have gone to a few more concerts.  You see, people usually go out to eat.  Since M can't eat a lot of what is out and about, we have just gone back to going to some occasional concerts.  We went to J Roddy Walston and the Business at Musica.  Oh, it was so good!  M got me a spot in the center front of the stage.  (Short girls up front!)

We stood in this line at Mayhem Fest for M to meet . . . 

 . . . The band members of Hellyeah.  

He's always wanted to meet Vinnie Paul and this opportunity made his day.

We've been a little bit of everywhere, and everywhere has been busy.  We still have one more month to chip away before the rigors of school kick back in.  

No school uniforms. 


Lightning bug and butterfly catching.

Mosquito bite itching.

Candy tossers in a parade. 

Birthday parties.  

Family walks at night.

Talks by the campfire.

Cool nights.

Hot days.


Goodies from the garden.

Time together.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May . . . it be a month of concerts.

It's a month of concerts.  It was that way on purpose and by happy luck.  

We'll start with Hellyeah.  Yes, I went to a band called Hellyeah.  Hubs won tickets from the local music shop he goes to.  He got 4 tickets, so we took my brother Dumpy and my friend Toni.  

This photo from Hellyeah's Facebook page. 
The concert was at the House of Blues in Cleveland.  Such a wonderful venue!  Hubs went to a different concert there in January.  He went to that one on his own.  He has another at the end of the month to go to on his own.  Sometimes I decline going not because I'm a poop about Hubs' music, but because he gets so concerned about me that he doesn't get to see the concert.  I'm pretty short, he knows I can't see.  He watches the crowd to make sure that I'm safe.  (I always am, by the way.  I stand directly in front of him.  He can easily see over my head.)  

Rob Prior was an artist painting while the band did their gig.  The gig was being taped by Yahoo, so we went upstairs to the balcony to watch.  M wasn't really thrilled about being in a pit of people being taped.  (I don't see that it is up yet.)  He also swore that I'd be squashed like a bug.  

The concert was great.  Truly.  While it isn't music that I'd be apt to plunk into my CD player in the car, the sound was great and the guys were really into it.  All of us had a wonderful time!

On Sunday night, I went to see the Pixies with my friends, Toni and Dave.  (Toni is becoming a regular ticket buddy since she went to Hellyeah, too!)  Hubs isn't so much a Pixies fan, so he had me attend this one with friends. 

Worth every cent.  My gosh.  They truly had a fantastic performance.  30 songs.  2 hours.  No gaps.  No talking.  

This one had the most unusual audience I've ever encountered.  Almost everyone sat there.  Almost everyone looked as if they were watching a movie.  In fact, when the concert started, Dave and I stood up.  (That's what you typically do at a rock concert.  You stand, show your support for the band, dance, sway and enjoy yourself.)  We were asked to sit down.  :(  We did and that was fine.  We did stand for the encore.  Even Toni stood with us.  The encore was 2 songs long.  More people were standing there.  But still.  Even the pit was just standing there.  I was stunned at the lethargy the audience displayed.  

So, Hubs has a concert coming up next week.  He'll see Sepultura.  We'll be seeing J Roddy Walston and the Business in June.  (It's a concert that I chose and it is at a small venue.)  

It's a time for concerts.  Not one we planned.  We haven't attended concerts for a long time, but we were busy being all parental.  Now that K is older, we can now go have some fun together or with friends.  That's not a bad thing at all.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wrapping up the loose ends of being an elementary PTA board member mama.

I have been on the PTA board for 5 of 6 years of my child's elementary school years.  I have been:

Corresponding secretary my first year.
3rd Vice President (fundraising) my second year.
President my third and fourth years.
2nd Vice President (school newsletter) my third, fourth and fifth years.

I have handed over the following chair positions:

Book Fair
100 Book Challenge
Garden Fair
Birthday Book Club

I have trained.  I have written manuals.  I have sent documents via e-mail.

I have shared passwords to accounts.

The last two days were the final BOGO Scholastic Book Fair of K's elementary school career, with her being employed as the "babysitter" of the youngers coming up in her shadow.  She has been raised as a PTA kid.

She has seen me in the halls on a weekly basis.

She is not too shy or too embarrassed to stop and always give me a surprise hug from the back or a quick peck to the cheek.

I think she might actually look forward to my being there.

The staff all knows me.

I leave the school knowing that I've left the PTA in a better condition than it was when I received it.  We were a broken mess that was in the midst of trying to be fixed.

I got our new building to be built bigger than the school district was intending to build it.  They were going to built it for 60 less students than the enrollment at the time because of "2016 projections."  Well, 2016 projections were off because our enrollment remains the same as it has always been-- between 510 - 530 kids.

All those kids?  They basically know me, too.  I praise them over good work.  I tell them how cute their shoes are, how I like their hair doodles, how great they are working together, how nice their smile is and so forth.

I also peek around the corner and bust them for playing in the sinks.  I make them walk when they run down the hall.  I've escorted them back to class after the book fair if they are prone to "wandering."  If they have been unkind to me, I will tell them that they have been unkind.

I and my child have been blessed to have an experience that has been so largely positive in elementary school.  A few years were rough, but the other years were golden enough to knock down the rough spots of the few years of bad.

Soon it will be middle school.  Soon that will be 6th grade.  I'm sure we'll make it, but it makes me sad that this chapter closes.

Gotta let her grow up, though.  I can tell you one thing though, I will never be another PTA board mama.  Oh, I will help.  I have no problem with that.  I would just like to live an existence of being thankful for the wonderful things going on in the school and not have parents continually complain to me about things that they think that the kids should have or do, but about how no one actually wants to help execute their ideas.  This isn't fair or that isn't fair.  I leave a very active and very giving PTA. I'm curious to see how PTAs and parental involvement will continue as K grows older.

Until then, I still have Garden Fair Planting day, cotton candy, baseball game for 5th grade, end of the year picnic, movie day, dance (a very informal one during the school day), 5th Grade Recognition breakfast . . . My duties aren't done yet.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dear Clothing Industry,

I have an 11 year old daughter whom I love more than anything.

She's tall for her age.  She's over 5' 1", which I might add is taller than me.

She is long waisted and the bulk of her weight lands squarely on her torso.  This is not a build that you consider when making clothes. Not everyone is built like a ballerina.

My baby is, well, starting to be a young lady.

When looking for garments for her the other day, I've found that she can wear some in the children's section, but mostly pants.  Shirts are too short.  They give her the Dora the Explorer (first generation) kind of look.  More disturbing though is . . .

. . . why are all of the bras made in junior sizes PADDED?

My baby doesn't need to enhance anything she has.  She needs to be a responsible young lady and to wear proper undergarments, but at 11, she does not need padding, nor does she need wires.  It took me so long to find proper items that I needed for her.

Pajama shopping was a hoot, too.  Children's pajamas are way too short.  Adult pajamas are basically, well, too adult.  I did track some down at Kohl's, but it wasn't without great pains to do so.

It would be great if we had a clothing industry that catered to helping our children to remain CHILDREN and not to enhance what little bits that they have.  I don't believe in having my child dress as an adult.  It would be wonderful if we had an industry who was willing to allow our children to remain kids.  Let kids be kids and not mini adults.  Allow them to dress respectfully, age appropriately and not suggestively.

Just some feedback from a frustrated mama.

Thank you for your consideration,


Monday, May 4, 2015

Letter Carrier Food Drive- Saturday, May 9, 2015

Don't forget to leave a bag of non-perishable food items for the Letter Carrier Food Drive this Saturday!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Walking side-by-side in marriage.

I had a customer in yesterday who really got under my skin.  He came in, I happily told him to let us know if he needs help with anything.  Truly.  That's what we're there for and we are happy to help.

He comes to me.  He starts talking.  It's a bit incoherent.

He speaks of a girl who asked him to marry her.  Of course he had to say yes.

He's married.

He's not married.

How could he marry?

He talks on about artists and art.  I engage in the conversation.  He talks about my boss.  I discuss certain aspects of the work.

He speaks of attending college.  I say something in regard to that and he tells me that he's illiterate.

:tip of the head with the attending college comment:

He continues to talk.  And talk.  And talk.  I can't fully understand him, but I give a bit of a grunt and nod from time to time.  (I can understand the idea he speaks of, but not details.)

Toni comes up.  She had been setting a jewelry case in the back.  He turns.  I kick her in the shin so she knows not to leave.  (I apologized later in case I bruised her.)  He rambles some more, then goes to look around next door.  Later, she told me that she had been keeping an eye on the situation and came to be with me on purpose.

I called next door just to have him followed a bit.  I didn't think he would steal anything, but I had no idea what he would do or what customer or coworker he would corner.  Matt was sent to hang with him.  He later told me, "I didn't know what you had against 'Duck Dynasty' until he opened his mouth.  Then I knew."

About 10 minutes later, the guy comes back through.  He talks of marriage.  He talks of marriage "Being a man and a woman, whites with whites, blacks with blacks and Muslims with Muslims."  :chewing on the inside of my cheek:

"Well, I think it's most important that people marry whoever makes them happy."

His response?  "I think that obedience is most important.  Obedience is more important that happiness, don't you think?"

I may have closed my eyes.

I may have taken a deep breath.

I picked up the phone and called a male coworker over.  He was over faster than I ever thought he could move.

He left almost immediately after Dan arrived.

Here's the thing, I don't pull that trigger all that often.  I'm not the girl to always have a man come to our rescue.  He seemed a little unhinged and I just didn't know which way things would go with him.

What do I think of obedience?  Well, it's great when you are a kid or an animal.  My thoughts and how we are structured in our marriage is that we're equal in this marriage.  My friend will say that she and her husband walk side-by-side.  She said that she doesn't walk behind, but doesn't walk in front, either.  M and I are that way.  There are times one takes the lead a bit more than the other, but we both take care of each other.

Happiness IS most important to both of us.

M's specification before marriage is that we had to enjoy our jobs.  If we didn't enjoy them, we had to move on.  Neither one of us have changed jobs that often in our 18+ years of marriage.  M moved from one permanent park position to another because of continual displeasure with his job.  I moved from the wedding boutique partially out of complete unhappiness and partly because I was trying to find a job art related.

We have a small house that we can manage because that brings happiness to us.  We love our neighborhood.  We love our little plot of earth.

We have basic vehicles that we take care of and own until they die because that brings happiness to us.  Shopping for cars stresses us out.

Neither one of us makes demands of the other.  Instead, we work together-- as a team.  There is no submissive wife.  (He knew that long before marriage.)  There is no submissive husband.  (I wouldn't want that.)  We are helpful mates to each other and I would want nothing more.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Finicky World of Vinyl

We didn't want to pull that trigger.  We tried not to.  We knew that 1.  It was an expensive hobby.  and 2.  We didn't have a turntable.

Bring Christmas and my husband gifts me a turntable.  Turns out that I had put some vinyl on my list, but with the intention of collection only.  He thinks that it is insane to just own vinyl and knows that I'm not a collector.  I'm a user of things.  I hate having a ton of stuff just sitting around and, well, doing nothing.

Fast forward to now.  This was our first official Record Store Day where we owned a turntable that we could use to spin some delightful wax.  RSD was Saturday and though both of us knew about it, M worked and we were helping him with his Earth Day Fishing Derby.

I got a bit of an itch that night though.

"You know, I didn't realize that Slayer put out a 7"."

"I knew."

"Do you want us to see if we can find it?  I have one I'm looking for and we can stop tomorrow before soccer."

A little arm twisting :sarcasm: and we landed at our record store the next day.  Of course, they had what I was looking for plus a 2011 RSD PJ release.  No Slayer for M.  Bummer.

I went home and did, despite other people's choosing, spun my Citizen Dick (one side, of course) and The Frogs version of Rearviewmirror.

M did find his Slayer 45.  He texted me.  It was "cracking and popping" on the one side all over the place.  I did listen to it later.  It has some pretty intense surface noise, but it kind of is what it is.  The pull was limited to 5000 copies worldwide and though contacting the distributor/manufacturer, it seems as if there isn't a really great resolution.  He's received vinyl from this particular outfit before.  It had chunks out of the edges and a big scratch across "his favorite song."

He bought me the Jeff Ament vinyl and it's warped.  The needle rides along like it is on a roller coaster track.  It plays fine.

Surprisingly, my friend purchased a limited edition release that he waited months for.  It arrived and it had two huge skid marks.  They didn't play on his turntable.  They were replaced and since he had the extra, he asked if I would like them.  I said sure and you know what?  They play just fine without skips on my turntable.

We don't just drop the vinyl from the package and onto the turntable.  Nosiree!  There is cleaning to be done.  Then you have to flip the adjustments to make sure that you're running for a 45 and not a 33.

Now, M wants a needle cleaner.

We bought a record cleaner.  Works like a charm.

Here's the thing.  Neither one of us remember doing any of this stuff when we were kids.  We just slapped the filthy vinyl on the turntable, dropped the needle and listened to it.  There could be hunks of peanut butter stuck to it.  It could be skipping all over the place.  We also reached down WITH OUR HANDS and removed the fuzz from the needle.  You mustn't do that now.  YOU'LL RUIN THE NEEDLE!

Has vinyl equipment gotten more finicky over the years, or have we?