Sunday, October 31, 2004

Another Milestone in the G.D.L.

Joyce took her segment 1 training, has kept her driving log, took her segment 2 training, and as of yesterday, passed her driving test. Next up, once she's 16 (soon), get her 1st limited license in the Graduated Drivers License program.

She & I have been practicing for her test, and it wasn't going so well. I began getting more frustrated and she began getting more nervous with me. Joyce has a tendency to speed, creeping up and over the speed limit. It drives me crazy. Pun intended. I'm quite vocal when I'm crazy. So Tuesday evening, 'nough was 'nough. I transferred the whole bag over to dad. With his calming influence and natural teaching ability, Joyce passed her test, including parallel parking, with flying colors. The woman testing her said Joyce got one of the best scores she's given -- the lower number, the better, and one must get under 25 to pass -- Joyce got a 10. Way excellent.

I'm so proud of her.

I'm Over It, Really

Halloween is my 3rd favorite holiday. (Yes, I'm predictable, Christmas is 1st and Thanksgiving is 2nd.) Our kids have always, always, had home-invented & home-made costumes. Our daughter is 6 years older than our son, so once Sam was old enough to trick-or-treat, Joyce and Sam sometimes went as a pair of something. We've had an apple tree, a sunflower, a zebra, a jaguar, Fluffy the 3-headed dog (H.P. fans know it), Peter Pan and Tinkerbell... When Joyce was in 1st grade, with no small influence I'm sure from my favorite CD of the moment coupled with her new-found interest in guitars, she went as Patsy Cline. All the adults loved the costume, while none of her classmates got it. It was great. Sam's 2nd grade costume was a headless man carrying his head. I love the Salvation Army store -- I felt kind of bad using such a nice black suit, but hey, it only cost about ten bucks. Last year, Sam went as a "slam dunk" -- his head was a basketball (paper mache) and around his neck was a net. It was really cool to see all the sports dads get a kick out of his costume.

I even have a "Halloween bathroom" -- our half-bath decor is comprised of photos through the years of family in Halloween costumes, trick-or-treating shots and carving pumpkin shots. Folks sometimes spend more time than "necessary" in there just to take it in. I love it.

Anyway, Joyce began shooting up in height, so she already looks older than she is, and 'round about the 3rd grade, she began getting a few comments from the (rude) folks handing out candy... comments such as "isn't she a little old". One woman in particular I just had to walk back to her house and clarify that Joyce was 9 and she should keep her unkind comments to own short self. Grrr.

That Halloween was the turning point. Soon, of course, Joyce no longer had interest in trick-or-treating, or dressing up. Since we live in a very rural area, we usually take our bags of candy into town and do our gig around the grandparents' neighborhood, so Joyce would stay at the house and help pass our candy. It is fun to see all the kiddos come up to the door.

But, boy oh boy, I sure miss seeing my baby girl dressed up for Halloween.

And to top it off, it's starting, kind of, with Sam. He's not as into Halloween this year as in prior years. I began asking him about mid-September, our usual time-frame, what he wanted to be for Halloween. He had nothing, no ideas. Until, of course, about 4 days ago when he decided to be a mummy. A Really Cool Mummy. A mummy costume is actually more complex than one might think. Nix on that. I told him too late, have to save that idea for next year. So Sam and I hit the "dress up trunk."

In our basement, we have a really old (stinky) steamer trunk that my brother gave to me. And it is overflowing with all kinds of quirky stuff for dress up. Anytime I see something weird at garage sales or 2nd hand shops or even antique stores -- where I go specifically for the purpose of looking for dress-up-trunk-stuff -- I buy it. So Sam and I thought he'd be great as an old man. We find the old red-and-cream colored pin stripe suit (circa 1970), the cream colored shiny men's dress shoes, a cane, an old hat... but then.... Sam as an old woman seemed much more interesting. With a big booty and big ol' boobs. Drooping knee hi's, big jewelry and ill-applied red lipstick, with this huge purse perfect for candy. Oh, he's just too funny. We had a test run Thursday evening because his elementary school had a Halloween walk. Socks for boobs won't work, too unstable. So that's my task today -- make boobies for Sam. And 2 pillows instead of 1 for the big booty. Since most everything came out of the dress up trunk, he even smells like an old person.

Tonight will be fun. And I know there won't be any more nights like this. Tonight will likely be our last time trick-or-treating with our kids because next year, Sam wants to have a Halloween party -- where we turn our basement into a haunted house just like we did for Joycie when she was in the 5th grade. At least next year, I can make a mummy costume for my boy.

Sniff, sniff.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Lazy Lazy Lazy

Sundays are supposed to be lazy, right. Today I've spent most of the day trying to build up the inclination to actually get something done. All I've accomplished is baking some cookies. (The kind where the dough comes out of a bucket... from a school fund-raiser.) My plan was to go into the office this weekend and really kick some butt on the stacks and stacks on my desk. No dice. Once I get home, I just don't want to go back there... so I don't. However, I am so far behind and have so much work backed up that spending a weekend in the office would probably make me feel better. Instead, I feel like I always have this big heavy thing hanging over my head. Well, not always, but often enough. Remember those plate spinners that would do their trick on Johnny Carson or Ed Sullivan? Sometimes I feel like that! I have a ton of stuff that I need and want to get done at home, which doesn't really include drinking 2 pots of coffee, baking cookies or watching last week's NYPD Blue on video. Hey, wait, I've done some laundry today, so I'm not a total lazy bones.

Actually, both at work and at home, I've not been very productive lately. I have spent a lot of time rearranging stacks of work and writing and re-writing lists. I think that I have so much to do that it has become too intimidating, like I don't know where to start, thus I don't ever really get started, at least not on anything substantive.

But I wish I had the energy of my son, Sam. He's just gone downstairs to "mom's craft room" and found some paints and brushes, and he's now going out into the woods to paint "stuff" on a fallen oak tree. It's actually a twin oak that fell last year, and the trunk where he's painting is taller than he is. This is an idea he's got that stems from an art project in school where they made "rocks" by stuffing paper and painting glue with sand on them, then painting on them in petroglyphic fashion. They're all sitting on top of the lockers outside of the art room, and they actually look very cool. Sam wanted to go find some rocks to paint, but having none to speak of on our forested land, he's made do with a dead tree. That's my boy.

Kev is on his way out bowhunting, and won't come back in the house until after dark. It's a cool, almost cold, overcast day, and perfect for hunting. The success of past hunting is currently in the oven, where it's been most of the afternoon -- 2 large venison roasts with potatoes, carrots and onions. And our house smells soooo good.

Joycie went over to Nathan's yesterday to spend the weekend with them. She was pretty happy about the plans. I suppose it's only fair, since we've had Nathan for a couple of weekends recently, but I do miss my girl. Not having her here this morning kind of got me a little off kilter.

Last weekend was homecoming, and the dance was on Saturday. Joyce looked so beautiful in her dressy dress. She is amazing. Nathan looked beautiful as well in his new suit. Together, they were... well, beautiful. They both looked so happy. Joycie said that her favorite part was being driven by Nathan with just the 2 of them. She said she felt older. She is a very mature 15-almost-16-year-old, and Nathan is also mature for his age, just 16. I'm proud of the both of them.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

October 4th

Yesterday, October 4th, my Mom turned 68 years old. Happy Birthday to my Mom!

And since my Mom and Dad were married on my Mom's 16th birthday, Happy 52nd Anniversary to my Mom and Dad!

I want to grow up and be just like them.

This Godiva Wants Me

I'm sitting at my desk looking at a Godiva milk chocolate bar. It's calling my name, and my daughter is at her basketball game... so I'm trying real hard not to listen to it! It was in a thank you card from her boyfriend's mama -- what a classy thank you card to give to someone! -- and I promised Joyce she could have it. (She earned it big time by helping me to clean out and vacuum the motorhome.)

The weekend before last, my daughter's boyfriend, Nathan, turned 16 years old. A milestone birthday. He can now obtain a driver's license. We have a deal, however, that he must first drive me around before he can drive Joyce alone. Parents worrying about their teenagers driving is so cliché... because it's so true. I think it would be a rare parent, at least in my neck of the woods, that would have no worries about their freshly licensed teen.

We had a small birthday party for our birthday boy (thus the classy thank you card). I think it made him happy, and we were happy to make him happy. He's such a sweetheart. I think I've gone the gamut of emotions about my daughter having a steady boyfriend, but she sure has made an excellent choice. Yet another reason not to gobble up her promised Godiva. Ah.....

Fall Camping

This past weekend, my 9-year-old son and I went camping at Ludington State Park on the shore of Lake Michigan. It was awesome. The whole experience was so darn much fun. We borrowed my parents' 1986 Toyota Mirage motorhome, which especially made the trip feel like an adventure. The motorhome is small and compact, but there was plenty of room for the 2 of us. We stayed warm and cozy in our little motorhome. It was a beautiful, blue sky sunny weekend, and the nights were cold. The days on the shore were cold, too, and windy. Lake Michigan had white caps each time we saw it. The campground is situated in the midst of pines and hardwoods, and between the camp and the lake are sand dunes. Lots and lots of sand dunes, with all kinds of grasses and other strange looking plants on them. There is no more difficult walking that I have experienced than walking up those sand dunes. And then when you run down the other side, it's like going really fast in slow motion. You feel like you're going to go head over heels, but the sand drags at you and you remain upright (well, mostly). And your shoes get totally filled with sand.

At this park, there are a lot of trails, and some you can take will lead you to the Big Sable Lighthouse. It's the only way to get there -- on foot or bike... us common folks can't use motorized vehicles on the access road to the lighthouse. It's not a very long walk, and it's so well worth the mile and a half.

This camping trip was kinda sorta spur of the moment, if one can think of a couple of weeks as a moment -- anyway, the 2 weeks of planning flew by and we really just threw everything together the night before we left. Then we snagged groceries on our way through town. Just the 2 of us. We've never done anything like this before, and that, too, gave it the feel of an adventure. I think my husband was just slightly worried... but a cell phone and a Visa card denote a decided seal of security-thus-approval.

This was one of those times that, for the rest of my life, will make me feel happy inside every time I think about it, and I know it was a high point for my son. My beautiful, wonderful son.