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Archive for February, 2011

Feb 25 2011

Looking For Guidance and Ignoring It

Posted by Mugs @ 4:17 pm in Family Print This Post Print This Post

This morning, Josiah and I met with the school counselor to discuss Josiah’s next year’s academic schedule. Zeke did not have school today and had to come with me to the appointment. Initially, I told Abby I was going to pull her out of band to keep an eye on Zeke, so she informed her band director of this. Since the band director believes a funeral is the only proper excuse for missing band, he decided to have Zeke sign in at the office as a visitor and attend band with Abby. Zeke brought his triangle to play, but unfortunately, the instructor is a percussionist and a bit of snob about keeping the beat. Zeke’s triangle stayed quiet.

Meanwhile, Josiah and I were going over test results, AP class options, and building his transcript towards college requirements. Junior year, in both high school and college, is when academics get extremely tough. Looking at Josiah’s future schedule was making me sweat. “How many college focused classes are too many?” I asked myself. “Will he be able to handle it?”

Having graduated from a high school which offered “Higher Math” as its top math class. I get skittish at the strong emphasis now for kids to take calculus classes in high school. I still remember (none too fondly) plowing through calculus in college.

After the meeting, I came home to surf the web for college information. I read facts on class size, location, cost, public vs. private, top ranked, best deals, and on and on and on. Sometimes, I get lost in all the information and all the choices.

When Dale comes home, I will tell him this, and he will make me a spread sheet. He will weight the criteria, compile the data and spit me out an answer.

He did this before we attended the housing draw at West Point. When all the data was compiled, he printed out the sheet and informed me, “This is your number one house choice.” I looked at the sheet, pointed to a house farther down the list, and replied, “But I like this one better.”

Feb 24 2011

A Mother By Any Other Name is Still As Embarrassing

Posted by Mugs @ 11:33 am in Family Print This Post Print This Post

Abby is studying the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet in English class. Her teacher has decided it is essential for the students to get a complete understanding of the play by doing a variety of projects. The minute Abby heard of these elaborate projects, she started stressing.

“I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I don’t have any idea how to do that,” she bemoaned.

“Didn’t Josiah do it last year? He’ll tell you what to do,” I replied.

“Nah, we didn’t have to do anything. These graded projects are a new idea,” Josiah unhelpfully answered.

For several weeks, I listened to Abby’s lament.

Then, she got off the bus smiling. She had found a way out. Her teacher informed the class that if the student attended a theater production of Romeo and Juliet, the student would only have to do two of the three projects. Attending the play would count for one.

Conveniently for Abby, but inconveniently for me, Romeo and Juliet was being staged in Richmond (2 hours away). Abby went online and looked at ticket prices, tried to convince her girlfriends to go with her, and pleaded until I gave in.

Because of prior commitments, only one of her friends could attend with us. I suggested to Abby that she ask other students in her class besides her closest friends to see if they wanted to go. This was an appalling idea to her. Apparently, during freshman year of high school, there are set groups and you cannot mix them.

(I imagine by mixing them, something dreadful would happen like discovering that the fabric of high school society will not be damaged by being a part of multiple groups, but what does a mother know?)

Last Saturday, Abby, her friend, and I traveled down to Richmond to watch the play. Abby informed me that another group of students from her class would be there as well. We saw them in line as we entered the theater. I dared to say Hi to one boy who has been Abby’s friend for three and a half years. Abby raised her hand, which was stuck in her coat pocket, at him.

That was it. She didn’t acknowledge any of the others even though several of them, as well as the boy she kinda sorta waved at are nice. They were not with us. They were in a different group and I should keep my opinions to myself.

“Who is that guy? Who is that girl?” I asked.

“Why do you need to know? Why does it matter to you?” You can’t go and talk to them. You don’t know them. You just know ABOUT them.” Abby replied. “You are not my friend, you are my mother. You don’t need to go talk to people who I know that you have never met. Daddy would be better. He would just threaten to talk to them, but never do it. You would do it.”

Her friend then shared the observation that she slowly disappears when her mother starts talking to other students.

This made me laugh.

Throughout the evening, I just made comments and threatened to talk to them, in the hopes that for a night, I could approach Dale’s level of being embarrassing.

Admittedly, Dale being less embarrassing then me was hard to stomach.

We watched the play. As with all productions, some actors shine and others falter and one wins the loudest laughs and applause.

Romeo was aptly lovestruck. Juliet a bit too scattered and hurried. The Friar was played well. I hated Mercutio. Granted, Mercutio is full of nonsense and drunkenness. His lines are already over the top, so the actor does not need to carry it to the excess. The actor for Mercutio made so many rude gestures and crass jokes with props while he was saying his lines that he was excessively offensive. I was relieved to watch the scene when he was killed.

The theater had a man play the part of Juliet’s nurse and he carried it off with an absurd aplomb similar to Robin William’s performance when he disguised himself as an old lady nanny. The Nurse was hilarious. He knew how to get the laugh and he got plenty. He stole the show.

As we left, I managed NOT to tell one kid that I thought it “good show” for having worn a sport jacket. I also managed NOT to talk to the other mother who drove the other group of students. She had been forced to sit in a different row from them because of a lack of chairs.

Thankfully, Abby hadn’t insisted I sit in a different row. Although, I’m quite certain, she probably thinks, next time, it would be a good idea.

Feb 17 2011

Despising Turkey Vultures

Posted by Mugs @ 12:34 pm in Nature Print This Post Print This Post

I walked outside and saw,

The signs of Spring emerge

The daffodil tops peeking through,

And then I heard the dirge.

The turkey vultures soared upon

The currents of the air

Then spotting death, they fast descend

And fix me with a glare.

I turn around and take a path

That goes the other way.

Don’t wish to hear them hiss and peck

The creature in decay.

Feb 15 2011

Gabe’s Murder Mystery

Posted by Mugs @ 10:21 am in Family Print This Post Print This Post

We are still recovering from Gabe’s 11th birthday party which took place more than a week ago. We had seven 11 year old boys running around and screaming throughout the house and yard. It was crazy. When the first guest arrived and the yelling started, Josiah walked quietly up the steps into his room and locked the door.

When the last guest arrived, the Mom pulled into the driveway and told her son, “It doesn’t look like anyone is here.” Just then the front door burst open and a loud swarming mass of boys descended on her car and dragged her son away.

I had tried to talk Gabe out of a house party, because I am lazy and hate cleaning the house. “Don’t you want to go somewhere else where they have a friendly party coordinator and someone besides me mopping the floor?” I pleaded.

He would not be deterred.

He came up with the plan for his party to be a murder mystery with puzzles to solve to help the guests find the answers to the clues. In small print on his invitation, he wrote, “No people or animals will be harmed during this event.”

His friends took this murder mystery seriously. When they deciphered that the murder had taken place in the attic, they jumped up and pounded up the stairs (yelling as usual) in search of a pull down ladder and a hidden body.

When they discovered who the murderer was, they grabbed a hold of him and attempted to lock him in the dog kennel. It was difficult to convince them that it was all just a game.

Anything could set them off into a mad crazed run-a-bout, arms waving over their heads, yelling and screaming. While playing tag, when a new kid was it, off one would go, “JACOB IS IT! JACOB IS IT! JACOB IS IT!” When Josiah was momentarily in sight holding a balloon, off one would go, “BALLOONS! BALLOONS! BALLOONS!”

Maybe I should have thought twice about putting out that giant bowl of skittles.

Gabe's 11th Birthday

Gabe's 11th Birthday

Feb 14 2011

Lovable Huggable Sock Monkey

Posted by Mugs @ 11:07 am in Family Print This Post Print This Post

Last week, a woman at my church decided to coordinate a dinner out at a nice restaurant for couples in celebration of Valentines day. (The dinner was last night.)

On Friday, I called Dale at work. “Are we going to this dinner?” I asked. “I need to call and RSVP. If you have other plans, I won’t call.”

He replied, “Don’t worry. I’ll just cancel all my other plans.”

(All his other plans…my eye)

After church yesterday, I drove Josiah’s friend home and Dale came up with “other plans”  and dashed over to the store with the kids. They wandered about until he found what he needed.

At the Manry home, Valentines are placed on the table by your chair for you to find when you wake up in the morning.

Because Dale gets up earlier than me for work, he was gone when I discovered a surprise waiting for me at my seat.

When my daughter came downstairs, she asked me, “Do you like your lovable huggable sock monkey, Mommy?”

“Couldn’t you help me out here, daughter?”  I asked in disbelief. “You were with him at the store, and you couldn’t talk him out of a lovable huggable sock monkey?”

Luckily for him, the lovable huggable sock monkey was sitting on top of some Lindt chocolate, or he would be in serious need of “other plans.”