Saturday, October 23, 2010

Beginnings, Endings, and Acceptance

Today was the end of an era.

Liam has been in marching band for the last 4 years, and, during those last 4 years, i've been more active as a parent at school than i ever had been for the girls (part of that was that alyse never did anything outside of school, and steph went to west point in the middle of her sophomore year, thus ending soccer). Most of it has been involving the band uniforms. I started helping out about 2 games into it Liam's freshman year, decided to shadow the lady who was doing it during liam's sophomore year because her daughter was a senior, and then ran the whole show myself last year and this year (when i say "ran the whole show, i was in charge. there's NO WAY i could have done it all by myself. i had some magnificent helpers, and i'm going to have to find a way to thank them). This year, i even went so far as to help with other stuff, as well. Part of that was because i wanted to, but the other part was because my work offers a "doers for donations" thing where they donate a certain amount of $$ for a certain # of hours of volunteer service, and volunteering for school stuff counts. this year, however, they were limiting it to one grant, unless the 2nd grant could be turned in by Sept 30. i got enough volunteer hours by the 30th to do it. And that was before the main competition season started.

That was the beginnings. The endings have been happening all week. Tuesday was the last evening practice for the season. I and 3 other moms helped put together gold sashes with 2011 and the seniors' intials on them, so they could wear them for the last home football game. Friday morning was the last zero hour practice (practice before regular class time). Last night was the last football game. And then, today, the final last of all lasts, the last competition of the season. The kids will be donning their uniforms on Monday (but i can't help, i'm out of vacation time, and i have to work) for some professional photos, but the real last was today. It's over. It's done. It's the endings.

However, I think i know why this ending is affecting me more than some have. High school was not easy for me. I excelled in my classes (if i had really WORKED i could have been a straight A student, but i didn't feel like it, so i got a's & b's), but the social aspect of it was an absolute nightmare. My first date was with someone from another town, because there wasn't a single boy in school who either a) f ound me attractive enough to date or b) was willing to buck the jocks and the popular girls to even try to ask, and that wasn't until the summer between my junior & senior year. The kids who are hollering about being bullied nowadays? They don't know this has been going on LONG before they came into the scene. Facebook may put a more open picture on it, but it happened to me in spades. In spanish class, we were allowed to pick our spanish names, and i chose margarita. the kids took to calling me margarine, and then crisco, because i had a hard time keeping my hair from being greasy (poor Sean has the same problem, but somehow it's less indicting for a boy). Anyway, here's why it means more now.

Acceptance. I've been accepted by my peers in a high school setting. One of the band parent organization presidents thinks i'm a genius, because i don't have to measure a kid to figure out what uniform will fit him/her 95% of the time. I work hard on the uniforms. Some of the kids have taken to calling me the pants nazi, or the black sock nazi (the requirement is calf-length black socks, and the band gets docked points if they don't match, perfectly). However, half the band also calls me mom. it's either 'MOM!' or 'mommy' or 'liam's mommy!'. One of Liam's friends calls me his other mother, except i don't sew buttons on his eyes, lol.

The point is, that whle my 'real' high school experience sucked big time, this one kind of replaces it, and eases the pain from those days. i'm liked, i'm wanted, and i'm acknowledged for my skill and work ethic. It feels amazing, and i'm going to miss it. Where's my kleenex?

Sunday, September 12, 2010


i know, it's been MONTHS since i posted. i apologize. the dual time sinks of plurk & facebook have just KILLED my will to post. however, i'm going to TRY to change that.

however, don't expect nearly so much knitting content.

yes, i am still knitting like a mad woman (will probably NEVER stop). however, a lot of what i'm doing is simple st ockinette socks for A4A, and no matter what pretty color they may or may not be, there's only so much "here's another finished pair of socks" posts i can put up before people start unsubscribing in droves (if they haven't already!)

however, i did want to discuss another of my loves. food.

as many of you may know, for a year i was the food columnist at the daily chum. once a week i would wax eloquent on the joys and loves (and yes, even the disasters and sorrows) o f food & cooking. the chum ended about a year ago, and i find myself missing writing about food. the hard part for me was having a schedule. i HAD to have a column written every week (mostly my own pressure, b ut you know how that goes, you're your own worst critic bla b la bla), and i got to the point where i didn't love it so much.

so, here's what i propose. i'll write about food. i'll write about what i'm doing, and what i'm thinking and, of course, what i'm eating. lemme know if you get sick of it.

tonight? shrimp. i just had a friend on plurk tell me that she had the most flavorless meal, and it involved shrimp. i have to say, where seafood comes in, i think my all-time favorite is shrimp. i like lobster, and crab, and most salt-water fish (and even a few fresh water, who knew tilapia (geshundeit) was a fresh-water fish?), but my #1 love is shrimp. there are some TERRIBLE crimes done to shrimp, though. it's easy to over cook (anything that takes 3 MINUTES to cook will do that to ya), it has a subtle flavor that can be masked by too much spice, or other strong tasting foods, and it's just easy to fuck up. i think the #1 crime is boiling it. to me, cold boiled shrimp is akin to eating mock krab. it's ok, and it's in the right direction, but it's kinda drab. it's part of why i don't like shrimp cocktail. while i LOVE a good cocktail sauce, it should be reserved for fried shrimp, which are intensified by the frying process, and the horseradish tends to cut the richness of the fried breading. i think cold shrimp should go with lighter flavors, like a mild remoulade, or even a pina colada sauce like Red Lobster does with their coconut shrimp.

M has been on a smoked meats kick for a month, and recently smoked some shrimp. they were good, but there were 2 problems. 1) they were dry, because he shelled them. he'd gotten to them before i knew it, and lickety split, they were nekkid. 2) the smoke overpowered any shrimp taste, so most of what i got was the seasoning he put on them (he did 2 batches, one lemon garlic and the other cajun), and, of course, smoke. A better choice would have been to smoke them in the shell, which would have preserved the moisture, and screened out some of the smoke, and gone with a milder seasoning in the cajun batch. now mind, i like spicy shriimp, but this was too much in combo with the smoke.

my favorite preparation? sauteed in olive oil/butter mix with garlic. it intensifies the shrimp flavor (you're boiling the internal water OFF the shrimp), and infuses it with the loveliness that is/can be garlic. i like shrimp scampi, especially if it's done well (Red Lobster's is too salty for me, how many times have they boiled that butter?!?).

One quetion for you, dear reader: Do you eat the tails?

Here's my answer: Yes & no. If the shrimp is hot, and either fried or grilled, the tails can crisp up rather nicely, and add a nice texture to the dish (be wary though, i had a friend who got stuck in the gum with the sharp point of a shrimp tail and ended up allergic!) however, NEVER in a cold dish, and NEVER straight out of a bag of cooked shrimp. i have to pat those puppies dry, and hide their sometimes off flavors with coctail sauce.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twas the night

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Particularly my spouse.

The stockings were laying
On the chair with no care
Waiting for mom to get off her ass
And fill them (with what, air?)

Actually, while this is going to be a slim Christmas, a Christmas, it will be. We won't be seeing anyone but those in this house (the boys, mark and i) because of a huge blizzard, but we're together, and we're warm, and we have food.

Additionally, my mom is doing better every day. For those who don't follow on plurk, my mom had a mini-stroke about a month ago, and while she's taking care of herself adequately, i've had to step in in a few ways. I'm monitoring her medications, and helping with the bills, and coordinating any services for her, such as a physical therapist, and home health nurse. the hard part is she is now considered home-bound, so i have to do her grocery shopping. i'm working with my brother on getting power of attorney for both of us, so that i can take care of business on a more legal level (people give me lots of lattitude because i'm her interpreter, but i really want to be able to show a paper saying that i really CAN speak for her), and figuring things out. (the deal with both of us having POA is for his comfort level, not for necessity's sake)

today, however, was a landmark. i drove over there before the storm got too bad, and helped her set her medication up for the next week. when i got there, there was a big red bow on her door. i'd asked her 2 weeks ago if she wanted to decorate for christmas, and she had said no.
when i came in, she had all kinds of boxes pulled out of her closet, and presents and wrapping paper on her bed. i asked her if she wanted any help, and she said no, she was fine.

also, when she signed a check for a bill, her hand-writing was much more eventhan it has been for the last month.

i did do some holiday knitting this year. liam has a girlfriend who is a knitter (she gave him a scarf), so i knit a cowl in her favorite color for him to give to her (he got a big kiss out of that one). i've also made a sweater vest for sean in lion brand woolease chunky (story behind this one: we were watching tv, and he saw a commercial for oldnavy sweater vests. he turned, looked at me, and said "chicks dig sweater vests. i WANT ONE!" how could i not oblige, lol?), and a zippered cabled cardigan for liam in berocco comfort. the unfortunate part? both are GREY. next project i'm casting on is the brightest socks i can find in my stash!

and, in the inimitable words of that jolly old elf


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Late, but still in time

Here are the pictures i've promised since last week:
This is a superwash merino/tencel blend called platinum from C*eye*ber fibers. it's 4 oz of worsted weight yumminess
This is (i think) a natural brown alpaca, sport weight, about 2 ounces (i think,once again, lol)

This is superwash merino,8 ounces of aran-bulky weight from dyeabolical.
Here's the deal. Liam is fund-raising for a band trip in March to Chicago, and they're doing a bowl-a-thon friday night. He needs to raise $100, and so far he's got $50. Here's the deal. Donate $5, and you'll get a thank-you entry into a drawing for all 3 skeins of yarn. $10? 2 entries. Leave me a comment with your email, and i'll send you my paypal address. The colors are relatively true (i had to use my scanner as my camera is borked, lol).
Please help a boy go on such a fantastic trip (they're doing a clinic, and will see the blueman group, go to a blues museum, see the sears tower, and a bunch of other fantastic things)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

i owe you guys and apology

I had promised to post pictures of some of my handspun today, as i'm using them as prizes for sponsoring Liam in a bowl-a-thon for his band trip in March, but life got in the way. Think of this as a place holder, and I'll post t hem when i can (after i take t hem, of course!)

if anyone is interested in sponsoring Liam, leave me your email in the comments, and i'll get back to you.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

whose fault?

13 months ago a boy collapsed at football practice, and died 3 days later. while the community pulled together over this tragedy, the legal system kicked into overdrive. they charged the coach with wanton endangerment and reckless homicide. the coach was acquitted in 90 minutes.

there were a few things that came out in the trial that makes me question the parents. 1)this child was on adderal AND creatine (a muscle building supplement), both of which impair the body's ability to regulate heat. 2) he had not been feeling well the night before, and probably was not fit to practice in the first place.
The laws are being changed. Coaches are now being allowed access to medical information, and parents are required to provide it to schools.

Here's where i get upset. sean is on numerous medications. if it's going in his body, i research it to a fair-thee-well. I don't let him take ANYTHING without knowing how it's going to 1)make him react and 2)interact with his meds. How did these parents not investigate something like a muscle building supplement for their 15-year old? And if they didn't know he was taking it, why the hell not? Fifteen is not so totally independent that you can't find out what's going on.

additionally, why was he allowed to go to practice if he was ill? any coach worth his salt knows that 1) it's counterproductive for an ill child to come to practice and 2) it can cause his whole team to get sick.

the parents are filing a civil suit against the coach. however, he's been shown to have followed all the rules and regulations in place at the time, and has actually been released by the schools superintendent to not only teach but to coach if he so desires, with NO STIPULATIONS. who's investigating the parents?

Friday, September 11, 2009


i went through my posts, and realized i haven't posted about what happened 8 years ago since 2006. it's about time, eh?

i'm going to tell you about how liam reacted to what happened. He was 9. There had been a call put out to give all the kids who lost parents in the bombing? hijacking? let's call it a tragedy, teddy bears, or some kind of stuffed animal. He had heard about it at school. He came downstairs in tears one afternoon, with his favorite teddy bear, and said "mom, i want to give them my teddy bear. i want someone to know that i love them, too." i almost lost it right then and there (and i need a tissue now!). I convinced him that it was ok to keep his teddy bear, and we'd buy a new one.

Steph? She was mad at me for making her turn the tv off that day, but i think later on she understood. i'd have to ask her n ow what she thinks about it all, as now she's older, and may have better perspective (she's 23).

Sean? He was so terribly young (7) when it happened, and i'm not sure he really knew what was going on. However, now, he'll tell you how he feels, in no uncertain terms. He thinks it was wrong, and that the perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. As for the rest? He doesn't say much either.

While Alyse has become a bigger part of my life recently (she just stopped by this morning to drop off rent $$ and to give the boys some lego cars (she works at mcdonald's as a supervisor)), she wasn't living with me at the time, and considering it's a politically charged topic, she and i don't discuss it (she's still a JW, so we steer clear of anything like that).

I still harken back to what my dad would have thought: "those lousy sons of bitches."