Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend '16

Memorial Weekend was just great.

The weather was hot hot hot with the odd shower and mini thunderstorm thrown in.

We took the kids to the pool and we all got burnt. Well that bit wasn't so great. I'm assuming suncream has a life span?

I watched a film "Love & Friendship" and had a little drinkie afterwards with Maureen.

We went to a neighbors BBQ and had fun as usual.

We watched Deadpool finally (LOVED IT!).

We watched ET with the kids. Cried again.

I had a little "meeting" with my friend Heather who made me a rhubarb martini.

We went to Operation Flag at a local cemetery with the Cub Scouts and put flags on veteran's grave sites. For about 15 minutes we lost Daniel and it was the longest 15 minutes of my life. It scared him too, so hopefully he learns not to wander off!

I feel like we did it all.  We respected the reason for the holiday but we also enjoyed life. Perfect.

Here's some pictures from the flag ceremony....

Each pack is designated an area of the cemetery. Each grave that mentions war or service gets a flag. 

3 veterans in our Pack

Danny & his friend

Jack and a friend

Jack & friends

John Bergmann was there. 96 yrs old. Code Breaker who worked at Bletchley Park with Alan Turing. He met Churchill. This man is a legend and it made my year meeting him. 

Falling Back in Love with Their School

I loved the boy's elementary school as soon as I entered it years ago. It's very small, the student population are diverse in their abilities, and the staff bring a family atmosphere.

Over the years that love has waned a little. Being small it was hard for my son to avoid a bully, being so diverse, the teachers are overwhelmed sometimes and communication from them isn't the best. And it's in the public school system, so it isn't exactly Harvard. But I live close by and my kids enjoy it so we've plodded on.

This week changed all that. I took the time to go and participate in their events and realized why I fell in love in the first place. Yes it has it's faults and I'll forever be disappointed in the way the principal  handled some things. But I enjoyed every second of these performances and a shed quite a few tears. On a sad note, we lost one of our special ed students this week. She died on Thursday. The graduating 5th graders dedicated a song to her and brought us all to tears.

Jack has one more year left at this school but Daniel has four, which makes me happy.

Talent Show 2016 from Pam on Vimeo.
Artstravaganza2016 from Pam on Vimeo.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Camping Weekend

The curse of the Cub Scouts continued this spring. It didn't matter that Craig switched the camping dates and we all begged Mother Nature to cooperate - she dumped rain on us during a scout camping weekend again.

Friday night I bailed and came home to drink Pinot Grigio on my porch and let the boys get wet and muddy. Erika joined me and we talked nonsense on my porch as usual. It's my therapy.

Saturday I joined them. In for a penny and all that. I was prepared though. Wore my wellies and a good raincoat and actually it was fun. Overnight was not, it was ungodly cold and I didn't sleep a wink so I looked like death the next day. But I'd say 70% good times for me, 100% for the boys. The boys LOVED it. They hunted for Bigfoot, dug in the mud, played kickball, hung out in the woods with friends. The stuff of childhood memories that I had and I want them to have. Success.

One of the parents, David, donned the Bigfoot suit and the kids hunted for him in the woods Saturday night. They have no idea it's a guy in a suit (well some do, but they still think the real deal is out there). I saw him in action and laughed so hard when he jumped out from behind a bush and chased them. Because of the rain the woodland paths were muddy and he was slipping and sliding, trying to run from the pack of scouts out for his blood. At one point he fell over and he told me afterwards he had to take his muddy suit home to wash it and wondered what his wife might think. Haha! The kids will probably beat him up if they ever catch up to him. Jack told me that Bigfoot chased him & scared him so bad he nearly peed himself but he loved it. Good times.

This is such a great group of people. Once again I find myself in a lucky spot.

Jack is now a Webelos 2. He was so excited to get his hiking stick. 

Daniel is now a wolf. I love being his Akela. 

Digging in the volleyball court. He brought a pound of sand home in his clothes 

My Webelos & Wolf

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jack & His Cello

Jack plays the cello. It wasn't my choice - he WANTED to play the cello when it was offered at school. He begged to play actually and I caved (shut up). It costs me $47/month to rent it but he never practices at home unless I go postal on him. I threaten to stop, but of course I won't because it sounds LOVELY.  The cello is such a wonderful instrument I could listen all day long. Last night I made him play for an hour and he kept rolling his pre-tween eyes at me but I'm so impressed. I can't play a musical instrument to save my life. Can't even whistle without sounding stupid and like I just had a tooth out. When I was Jack's age I mastered the recorder and could play "Greensleeves"  in church but that was the pinnacle of my musical career.

So to lay on the couch and listen to him last night was heavenly. Tonight at the concert he was nervous (he admitted that the last concert his hands were so sweaty he couldn't hold his bow) but I kept giving him thumbs up and big smiles and he did great. 


By the way, I was sat with a music teacher tonight who's kid was also on the stage playing and she said to me "My kid never practices and sounds terrible". And once again I realize we all are just winging this.

He said he wants to carry on. That would be great.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A weekend avoiding the vacuum cleaner

I wish I'd have rung my mum, my dad, my sister and my mate Sue.
I wish I'd have rung Char & Jan and got an update on when they move home.
I wish I'd have driven out and seen Dave & Bobby's new house.
I wish I'd have gone to a Jamberry party at Susan's house.
I wish I'd have weeded, vacuumed, polished and painted.
I wish that I'd made my boys read more.

But I was a slacker and didn't do any of those things.We watched an outdoor movie at the kids' school, watched soccer games, dropped Danny off at a party, went hiking and finished the top part of Danny's quilt.  I definitely should have vacuumed as we have dog hair like tumble weeds all over the house, but nah. Life is too short to worry about such tedious tasks.

A hike at Battelle Derby Creek

At the nature center

Nice beaver

Slinky loving the fire. In May? Only in Ohio ....

Did my Jamberry nails. Now I just have to shave my legs and lose 50 lbs and I'm pool ready! 
Last soccer game of the season was freezing! Danny had fun. 

Love my lads

Daniel went to an awesome BD party

Finished Daniel's quilt! Now the rough work starts; trimming, batting, backing, quilting, then binding! 

Outside movie event at the kids' school.
Note: most kids playing, mostly adults watching. End result? EVERYONE HAPPY. Definite PTA success. 

Monday, May 09, 2016

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes Please

One of my students is doing a work placement in England this summer. She's a farm girl with a fantastic work ethic and a desire to learn. She's worked for me part-time for a year around her studies and I think of her as a daughter. She got to England last week and moved in with the mum of one of her bosses. I'll call him D.

Today we Facetimed and she broke her heart crying. The lady she is living with complained bitterly about her to her son, D, this past weekend. Apparently she's "not paying her way" and "expects to be waited on" and "isn't cleaning up after herself". When my student got in D's car  at 6.45am this morning, on her very first day of work in a different country, he scolded her and then she had to act professional when she got there, the only girl in a couple of dozen men, and try to impress them on her first day. UGH! I'm beyond livid. So mad and so sad that I'll not sleep for a few nights.

My student said they went food shopping on the weekend and the host lady insisted on paying for the food, she also insisted on cooking her meals. My student didn't want her to do all of that but didn't have the courage to speak up and tell her not to. She's terrified of offending or hurting the lady's feelings. The cleaning thing? The lady said she keeps finding her hair. My student is devastated by this and asked  "What can I do, I have long hair"?  I said "Nothing my love. You've done nothing wrong".  She's paying rent and doesn't expect anyone to wait on her. But the host does all this stuff and then bitches about her.   Talk about passive aggressive.  This woman did not have the balls to talk with my student about any of this, but got her son D to destroy her on her first day on the job? Absolutely abhorrent.

I have told my student that she has done nothing wrong & to move out immediately and she and I are working on finding a new place, but I'm absolutely heartbroken by this. She's 23 and alone in a strange country. She's looked forward to this for a year and invested a lot of money. She has no friends and now she's living with and working for a guy who has been very hurtful and ignorant of her situation.

You might say she's a big girl and needs to suck it up. But then you've probably never been in her situation. I have, and I was incredibly lucky to be met by warm, understanding, helpful people that GET IT. That know what it feels like to move and work in a different country.  I can't imagine what she's going through right now and wish I could save her, but I can't. Her mum and dad both called me today and we'll keep an eye on things but ugh.  Sometimes, people are absolute assholes, and I'm ashamed to say that she's having this experience in my beloved England.

More on this subject to come, I'm sure.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Invention Convention & Mother's Day

Jack made it to the regional Invention Convention with his Journey & Camping Kloset (JACK) idea. It was a wagon that turned into a waterproof closet for when we go camping. He didn't win at the regional, so doesn't progress any further, but it was a great experience. I'm hoping he'll get into science, or a green industry career, but we'll have to wait and see.

My little inventor

Today was Mother's Day and I got spoiled rotten. They bought me a lovely necklace with our family saying on "I love you to the moon and back", I got breakfast in bed and lovely cards and lots of hugs. An annual trip to a local nursery resulted in some new herbs. My lavender had been killed off after a couple of brutal winters so I restocked those and got some chocolate mint. For my Pimms of course.
The weather was lovely and it's been a great day. I'm one lucky lady.