May is the new December

IMG_0265About this time a couple years ago, I made what I thought was a funny, innocuous comment, and an instant enemy of the school librarian. Actually, probably the whole elementary school faculty and staff.

I was a chaperone one of Colin’s field trips to a neighboring town. It’s a relic of the Civil War-era Boise Basin gold rush, and its 400 or so current residents go to great lengths to retain its Wild West appearance for tourists.

The kids spent much of the day split into groups with parents who led them around, pointing out general historical stuff while being ignored. Afterward, everyone met in a shop for a scoop of ice cream. On the way out of town, the busses pulled into a picnic area where we roasted hotdogs for lunch.

I sidled up to my friend, the librarian, and made small talk. She’d always been chatty and sociable.

The kids had finished their hotdogs and were chasing each other over picnic tables. We agreed we were looking forward to summer.

“What’s with this whole last month of school, anyway?” I asked. “I mean, there’s not much actual school going on, right?” (more…)

You might not recognize me later

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My not too distant future self? I think I have that sweater.

A few years ago I was having lunch with mom, when I recognized our server. She was about my age, and I couldn’t place her. She could have been a distant relation or someone I see every day in some other context.

She gave us our bill, and I saw her signature in big balloon letters. “Chrystal,” with a cartoon smiley face. I remembered who she was.

“Did you go to grade school over here? Over at Franklin?” I asked, bobbing my head toward the window. “I think we were in, like, second grade together.”

She tucked some hair behind her ear and looked at me, then snapped her fingers and pointed.

“That’s where … I thought. Yeah, I remember you,” she said.

“Beth,” I said, putting out my hand, but she slapped her thigh instead of taking it. (more…)

Family Farmer’s Market Fiasco

marketSaturday I woke the kids with an invitation to the farmer’s market and a bribe of donuts.

Usually these Saturday morning trips are a date thing with Mike and me. We’re up before anyone else (pretty much any time before noon, so don’t be impressed) and heading downtown on bikes.

On this morning, Mike had something else going on, and I had a kind of Pollyanna moment: wouldn’t it be wonderful for a few adolescents who might otherwise not see sunlight all day long to join me in the fresh air for a spell? (more…)

Baby Daddy and the Sitter Dog

Baby bath timeThis was the week for sugar babies at Colin’s school: when sixth graders manage a budget and haul around a five-pound sack of sugar as though it’s a real baby.

Which meant last weekend was probably when other sixth-grader families collected their requisite five pound bags, wrapped them with decorative duct tape to help prevent leaks, dressed them in doll clothes (or in carefully saved baby clothes from their own early years), drew faces with Sharpies, and gathered all the accouterments necessary to make-believe taped-up bags of sweet, short-chained, soluble carbohydrates were real babies.

Of course, the weekend in my house had more to do with a whole bunch of stuff that was not school-related, and then a Sunday 10:30 pm hollering down the stairs:

“Oh my GOD, mom, tomorrow’s sugar baby day.”

By that time I well enough into my cups – as it were – to be tempted to remind Colin that anything school-related after 10 pm on a Sunday is not my circus, therefore not my monkeys.  (more…)

Beer Girl, Wine State

IMG_2555(This could be called something more clever, like The Blog in Which I Out Myself as one of the few non-wine drinkers among moms, writers and social media mavens, but that’s one of those titles that’s going to mess with my SEO in ways I’d prefer not to).

I know there is an etiquette to wine tasting, and I should have looked for an online primer, or something on Saturday before leaving the house. The thought didn’t occur to me until we were at the first winery and I was looking at a pitcher of water, a little bucket and a basket of wafers, and thinking Oh crap, I’m gonna screw this up.

What I had been thinking about before leaving was whether I had enough time for a pedicure, or if I could find some non-frumpy closed-toed shoes to go with my capris. It was going to be warm, and I am woefully undergroomed for late spring.

I ended up procrastinating enough that I had to get in the car with ugly toes and no idea whether I’d stick out as a total outsider: beer girl on a wine tour. (more…)

The dog ate my homework

Terrier Rasberry

I couldn’t remember what I was saying. I turned to the screen, but there weren’t any words.

bark, bark, bark-bark, bark

I thought I’d had bullet points on this slide. Did I bring the wrong slides?

bark-bark, bark

I turned back to the group, I’d lost their attention. Some were staring at their phones. One guy actually had his head down on his desk.

“HEY,” I yelled at him.

bark, bark

The ones still turned to me had blank looks on their faces. No …they actually had blank faces. As in: no features at all. Just smooth surfaces where their eyes, noses and mouths used to be.

This was going to be one of my worst presentations, ever. (more…)

The thrilling life of parents of teens

cowboy_violin

The genesis of cowboy violin.

This weekend we took the kids to a symphony. It’s good for all of us to see a concert once in a while that isn’t either (a) in a school gym, or (b) accented by strobe lights.

We’d seen this orchestra before. Not world famous, but they fill a nearly thousand-seat auditorium. They sponsor an annual competition for young musicians, the three winners of which were the featured soloists on this night.

The performances were amazing, and not “that’s really remarkable for a kid,” kind of good, but these young people were fully capable of pulling off outstanding solos in front of a 70-piece orchestra. Two played the piano and one was a violinist. All teenagers.

Mike leaned over during one standing ovation.

“I’ll bet they never get yelled at to practice,” he said. (more…)

Running is Stupid and Other True Things

stupid_runningThe email came today, the one with the link to the race photos I will not be buying.

Instead I’ll take the image I have in my head of me running. Thank you. There I am, all svelte and speedy, with my toned arms, and shorts that wouldn’t even think about bunching up in my crotch.

In reality, there could be a race photographer every 100 feet of the course, and I could be paced by a team of my own, personal make-up and hair artists, and someone who Photoshops like a boss, and still no one will ever capture the me on film that’s the same as the me in my head. (more…)

If we’re lucky, there’ll also be bears

Yellowstone -2311We’re going to be schlepping the family to Yellowstone this summer, and as you can probably guess, I’m just beside myself with ambivalence.

It’s time, though. On average, about three out of four exchange students will ask to see Yellowstone, and we haven’t even taken our own kids to see this American family vacation icon. I’ve always insisted it’s too far, too expensive. And who wants to sit in a hot car stuffed with crabby kids, driving through a big expanse of nothing on the off chance you’ll see a buffalo in the distance?

I mean, we got all kinds of scenery – trees and everything – right here. And a city zoo. I don’t know if they have buffalo, but I’m sure they have goats and stuff. And guess what? There’s concessions. And no drive. Bam.

This year, though, I’m relenting. I need to stop being such a stick in the mud. (more…)

Musings and Mind Games: A Runner’s Race Day Countdown

skullTomorrow is the Race to Robie Creek, the self-proclaimed toughest race in the northwest.

It’s not so bad. We’ve done it. It’s actually quite a pleasant ascent through a rocky canyon, up a dirt road and over a mountain and back down to a little valley where nudists and tree-huggers and hillbillies live in harmony.

True, the rocks of that little canyon direct heat like a suntan reflector cone right down on that dusty road and the hoards of people ascending more than two thousand feet over 8 miles to the summit. That’s not so pleasant.

Then there’s wildlife. Not the gentle, hoofed kind, either. The kind that coil behind a rock or stalk you from a cliff face. My strategy for avoiding wildlife is that slow thing I do. Think about it. One of little known dangers of being a faster runner is the higher likelihood of getting picked off by carnivores. Because, you know, you’re first.

It does too make sense. (more…)