Wednesday, August 21, 2013

At the brink

It's been a good start of the school year for both my girls. Today was the first day they left it until morning to make their lunches. I plan to campaign for the evening lunch prep, it makes mornings much less rushed.

Everyone likes their teachers. Kat has at least eight of them so that's saying something. She says she's not sure about the science and gym teachers but still a grand majority get her seal of approval. We staggered through her schedule with her at the open house on Monday evening. She hits all four floors of the school during the course of every day. It's a school that's been expanded several times since it was built in the 20s. It has dedicated up- and down- staircases, an odd little top floor and the sweetest built-in wooden cabinets in some of the older rooms. Katy is going to play percussion in band and is psyched. We need to purchase sticks and a bag and... there's a list. She starts Mandarin Chinese tonight with our multilingual neighbor.

Bun is happy with her 4th grade teacher who "likes to have fun and likes to do arts and crafts". Definitely sounds like my youngest. Bun sewed on a button this summer by herself (she told me about it later) and has made two batches of oatmeal cookies so far. So she gets the homely arts badge. I did take the cookies out of the oven both times because I was scared she might burn her arm.

Next Monday is the start of university classes and in my work group we are fielding lots of questions and requests. The normal state for this time of year. I need to leave for work early on Monday morning so to allow for the traffic and general anthill frenzy that happens on campus.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Nod was telling me that the people who are most likely to post on Facebook about peace and light are those who desperately need it in their lives. I am sometimes confused by people who send out messages about the bliss of the universe. It grates on my own personal experience of existence which contains despair and pain as well as bliss and beauty. I don't want to perceive only one side. If I just concentrate on the pretty side it feels dishonest and discounts part of what makes existence sweet: the unlikeliness of it all. (Cue the Galaxy Song from M Python's Meaning of Life.) I think he's right and it helped me understand why all the overstating.

When I was searching for larger meaning in my life as a 30 y.o. and had set aside Judeo Christianity as untenable I thought about dedicating myself to my own immortal ideals. The three Graces appealed to me and I decided that my three Graces would be Welcome, Generosity and Festivity. It seems clear to me now that I was trying to draw those things to me. Venerating and invoking those qualities still seems like a good idea. And clearly they take effort for my personality, not my first inclinations.

I thought of this when Kat asked if we could add a fourth girl to our long-planned amusement park outing. She asked me the night before and with the girl present. It went against my druthers but I said that we had room in the car and that would be okay, Kat said that 4th girl would pay for her own entrance ticket. Then there was some back and forth because it's hard to tell from the website how much the (whopping) entrance fee is. It seemed that it was settled by bedtime. The next morning I sent Kat over to their RV (temporary situation) to see if 4th girl was ready but they had decided the price was too steep after all. I felt very happy to be back to my preferred three-girls-and-me team and we set out with high spirits. This seems like a clear example of me being ungenerous. I don't regret it, everything worked out like I preferred. But part of me wishes that my first instinct was to include rather than to pick and choose.

The park was great, the weather was not broiling until the sun came out in late afternoon. We hit lots of good rides, some more than once. Bun had a good time on the less thrill seeking rides. I think she said her favorite was the Flying Dutchman which is cute little boat swings on cables that swing in a circle. She closed her eyes and said it was very relaxing. I liked that she tried the Viking water ride that had spooked her initially. She said it wasn't her fave but it didn't terrify and she has a frame of reference now. Kat wanted to go on her first big roller coaster. Her friend Coral turned out to be not so daring so Kat and I hit the Prowler, a fast wooden roller coaster. It was slightly awful on the first two drops but after that was fun. We rode it twice because the line was so short. Kat and Coral enjoyed Spinning Dragons too and talked me into it at the end of the day. I like the name better than the ride experience itself and found it banged my head around too much. We began and ended the day on the Fjord Fjairlane which is whooshy and fun but not wrenching at all. I was proud of all of us for walking all day and managing to get fed and hydrated and not lost. I imagine Kat at thirteen running all over the park and owning it.

Told Nod this morning that now the amusement park is over I need a new goal. Time to plan another trip!