Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thank you Republicans

Ignoring your crappy representation of the past decade, and the fact that you have completely jettisoned the philosophical underpinnings of your party (can you say Laissez Faire? Foreign Policy?), in your recent utterly-transparent efforts to manipulate minority voters (ahem, Sara Palin, cough cough), you have done ONE GOOD THING! You have ensured radical change for the American Executive Branch. No matter who gets elected, America will now see minority representation at the highest levels of government.

(You know what I think would be cool? Condoleeza Rice as a presidential candidate. I think Ol' Boy America would simply abstain from voting...and that's not a bad thing!!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

poor, but in control

Well, not destitute, but my wallet is quite a bit lighter, as are my worries.

Today, I booked tickets to the States, domestic tix within the States, and four hotel days to visit DH's family and do Disneyland. We'll be doing that leg of the trip prior to arriving in New Orleans. This was partly a ploy because this way I can say that we can't purchase too much stuff because we have to carry it all the was to New Orleans and back, AND because we don't want to spend all our spending money at the beginning of the trip and not have any for fun stuff later. Yeah, I am manipulating my children, but Mouschwitz doesn't need our money and we don't need that stuff----but we loooove the experience (totally unWaldorfy, I know).

I haven't been much of a mom this past week, so I have also tried to do more of our normal things. We went to eurythmy today and the class was FULL, and almost entirely of homeschoolers! I met a lady whom I had spoken with via email -- a new Waldorf mom in the area -- and she has two little girls very close in age to my own. AND, the girls all got along (Oh, thank you G-d!). On the downside, we visited our old teacher in her new kindy classroom and, upon departure, the weeny one cried because she wanted to be in THAT class. oh well, ya win some...

Now I want to go check out etsy and find a couple little treasures to have waiting for us when we arrive.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Just a little bit to do....hahaha.

Alrighty, then. My grandmother has passed away. What that means is that I am now the trustee for a property in the US, but there is a slight hitch: I live in NZ! My kids deserve a round of applause because I spent hours on the phone this morning going between American advisors and NZ advisors to ensure that I don't get taxed up the wazoo and that all the legalities between countries is handled before I come to America.

Oh, did I fail to mention that? Yes, I get to fly home. That's normally easy enough and we've done it loads of times before, but this time, I have three US passports expiring in December, one NZ passport expiring in January, and in order to get the most for my money, I need to go ahead and get DH's and my Kiwi citizenship done before we get his new passport, so that we don't have to get his passport "marked" by immigration twice! BUT, (hahahaha, this is why my brain is fried) I have to hand over MY passport to NZ immigration in order to get citizenship and I need to be able to hop on a plane and fly home at any given moment. OMG!!!!

I have no idea how long I will be in the States and I can't even buy a ticket because my mom could call tomorrow and say that she needs me home sooner than expected. (Right now, she's saying October.) AND, I can't even purchase a round trip ticket because I don't know how long I am going to be needed!!!

Wow, brain= mush. This is when people play Tetris, or something.

I'm gonna go see what you ladies have been up to.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This one's gonna be long

This post is a reminder that I blog for myself. I apologise in advance.

Last Friday was my tenth wedding anniversary. I would like to share all the terrific-ness of my courtship and engagement, but I just don't have it in my right now.

To celebrate, my husband took us to Queenstown; for Americans, we went skiing at the Remarkables, where they filmed the snow scenes in LotR (I think). The kids had never skied before and they were, well, Remarkable. Biggie skied for four hours straight and came home with very chapped lips ('cause dumdums mom and dad forgot the chapstick!). Littlie loved it and was so good spirited. DH knows how to ski, which proved to be a good thing because.....Mom (that's me) DID NOT LIKE IT. I was a bit disappointed because I had visions of being such a sophisticate on my skis. Alas, I found the rental boots to be TOO DAMN uncomfortable and the skis were heavy. Sorry, I just don't like being uncomfortable. I've therefore decided to try snowboarding because a) their boots look way more comfy, b) the adults were all enjoying themselves even as they fell over, and c) what's the point in being married to a chiropractor if you can't indulge in some moderately unhealthy pastimes (snowboarders totally tweak their backs). I also spent the entire four days suffering from nausea, much like being pregnant. Since I know pregnancy isn't the cause, I am attributing my illness to Queenstown's heavy fog of diesel smoke, a stench that has never set well with my belly.

Next, we were lucky to leave Queenstown because every other flight was being cancelled due to fog.  And, G-d bless him, DH didn't know that the flight that eventually took us out of QT was a little plane (four seats across) and I spent the entire trip with my head down trying not to vomit on Biggie. Then there was the extra delay at the airport, finally getting home at 11pm with exhausted munchkins, and waking up on Tuesday with the beginnings of a cold.

OOOOOOh, but that's not all.

Tuesday morning, I called my mom to let her know that we returned home safely only to discover that my grandmother died on our departure date and had been buried Tuesday morning. Whoa. Hard start to the week.

Now, before you bust out the hankies on my behalf, I need to talk frankly in a way that may offend. I have spent two days crying over the loss of a life, and over the loss of the last connection to my grandfather, who (whom?) I loved very much. My grandmother is really the last of our family ties to the South, a culture which is a part of me, despite all the ways I hate the South. But what's so sad is that the family is just relieved. My grandmother, even at her healthiest, was not kind. She was never a good mother to my mom and said some pretty hateful things to my sister. She was an old Southern woman, she was judgmental and hurtful. She has been ill for many years now, but her religion wouldn't allow her to simply say, "I'm done."  My mother cared for her for a very long time and in exchange, all she rec'd was meanness. So while my grandmother may have been kind to me (in fact, I was the only family member she was nice to, and only because we had finally learned not to tell her the WHOLE truth about things), I don't doubt that she took years off my mother's life. That having been said, it was a terrible shock to be confronted by both death and burial at the same time.

So perhaps, having talked about that a wee bit, I can find a happier place in my head by forcing myself to share a nice story, about my wonderful husband.

Late in the afternoon on February 14th, 1997, I rec'd a phone call from a friend asking if I wanted to go out on a blind date with a boy she had been trying to set me up with. (forgive the crappy grammar, I'm just not of a mind to fix it). I said, "no friggin way," it was too late in the day and it would take me too long to get home, get changed and get to her house. So after much finagling, the date happened the next night. She and her boyfriend, and this random guy and I went to sushi in Long Beach CA. I was sick as a dog, with black hair (random hair experiment...not attractive  on me) and I had never eaten sushi before. But because I didn't want to look ungracious, I dug in. (I was later told that they only reason there was a second date is because I tried the sake!!!)

The guy was nice enough and I remember saying that there was just no reason to say "no" when he asked me out again. In fact, he was too good to be true and I remember asking on our third date if he was gay (this, after he said he really loved musicals!!!!hahahaha). And, again, more dates and just no reason to say no....

Just before Christmas of that year, we went to sushi at the same place (owned by a family friend) and mid-way through the evening, the sushi chef passed to my fella an ornate sushi sculpture, with flowing rivers of rice noodles and rocks of cucumber, etc. And my guy started telling a story about love and togetherness (with my -- much to my later embarrassment -- heckling him all the while) and then, in the middle of one of the cucumbers, was my ring. I discovered that everyone in the restaurant but me knew what was to transpire that night and that people even stayed in order to see it. And, vain self that I am, I remember that I looked horrible because I had been cramming to take a GRE. Obviously, I said yes.

We did a ton of research and decided on a "planned elopement" in Vegas. We told everyone when we were going and invited them to join us if they wished. We were married at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel on August 15th, 1998. Two weeks later, my mom eloped at that very same chapel; soon thereafter, my sister married there; and we discovered that DH's mom and stepdad had married at that very same place many many years before.

On the following Monday, having skipped the big wedding, we hosted a sumptuous dinner at our favourite restaurant (family members still rave that it was the best meal they've ever eaten *grin*). And six months later we sold everything we owned and left America.

Neither of us still talk to the people who set us up, but I am grateful everyday for that friendship. For all the million little reasons that I adore my husband, right down to him being willing to ask me out a second time, despite the fact that I smoked and drank Diet Coke and had goth black hair. For every goofiness and eccentricity that he tolerates. For daily trips to Wendy's when I was pregnant and there was nothing else to eat at 3pm. For being supportive when I am a bitch, or when I tell him that I've just pulled the girls out of school and we'll be homeschooling. For thinking that I was hot, even when I was so pregnant I couldn't turn over in bed. For just being such a wonderful man. I am grateful. (PS, this IS a Halloween photo...really....I promise!)

girls  headed to US 06 068

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A quick note on the homeschooling front

Despite my lack of routine thanks to the little parasites, I am proud of some of our homeschooling work. A few weeks back, I decided that I would take one handwork "theme" and work with it each day of the week, this sort of afternoon direction being necessary as we have been trapped inside by foul weather. This idea has worked so well that I tho't I would share, altho' it's not as if these ideas are by any means new and original.

First week as Wax. We rolled beeswax candles. We decorated dipped candles with coloured wax cut outs (stockmar). We used our block crayons on hot paper to feel the difference, and then ironed our drawings onto undershirts (Biggie tho't this was the best). We had already made crayons using wax remnants, or else this would have been included as well.

Second week was wool. Day One: Unwound skeins into hanks. 2: Soaked in vinegar and water overnight. 3: Selected preferred colour of Wilton's dye paste and brought yarn to boil/simmer until water turned clear (wow, that was amazing to me. I had no idea that the yarn would literally eat the dye). Left yarn in pot to cool. Note, Wilton's peach, despite it's colour coding, turned out the same colour as their true red. 4: Remove from pot and rinse until water runs clear. Unfortunately, couldn't get the vinegar smell out of the yarn. Any ideas? Left to dry. 5/6: wind into balls.

This is the third week and we are Sewing. Specifically, we are making pouches for the gnomes to take with them underground and carry their stones and gems. What made me laugh about this project is that it came about while I was undertaking the Waldorf-mom task of working on something that she needs to do, not something that she is doing simply so the kids see her doing it (sorry, bad sentence, the eucalyptus smell coming from my hair is affecting my brain). This weekend, I sat down to stitch a few items that Needed to be Done. This turned into forty minutes of threading my girls' needles, etc. There wasn't a ghost of a chance that I was going to accomplish that Needed task. Whatever.

These weeks are helping me learn more about the girls' threshold for work. I am encouraging Biggie to stay a little longer at her tasks and be more precise in her work. I am also having to watch my tendency to get exasperated with the same "mistake" (learning mistake, I know) over and over, such as pulling the needle off the thread. Heehee, makes me wonder who is really being homeschooled?

Oh, before I post, the lice have been responsible for one very wonderful change in our house (other than Littlie now agreeing to put her hair back everyday). I finally embraced ad hoc storytelling, as necessitated by many hours of nitpicking. This is a whole post of its own, but I will say for now, if you haven't tried making up your own stories, please, please, please give it a try. The girls are in love with this story. [of course, there are many elements drawn from fantasy novels and, as I told DH, just think, when the day comes that my girls read Eragon, they will already know that dragon eggs are blue because that's how Mom's story went!!]

OK, time to put the computer away.


To have or not to have????

Aaaargh, I don't know what is worse: thinking that you have lice and not finding any or not thinking that you have 'em and then finding one. Today, as I sat in my bedroom (read: no kid-hair zone), I looked down and saw a dead louse on my hand. So what was my immediate response? Run into the bathroom, grab a nit comb (clean) and run it through the front of my hair....ONLY to see (I guess) a pin-sized bug on the comb. Well, tears, tantrum, etc. -- you see, my hair is the only part of my body that I truly love. I was really upset. But try as I might, I couldn't repeat the experiment. I could find no evidence of nits or bugs anywhere on my head (which of course convinces me that they are there, but hiding!). DH brought home some (mostly-natural, but not-too-bad) lice "stuff" and I saturated my hair with it (mind you, my hair is so thick that the amount in the bottle just b.a.r.e.l.y covered my hair) Still, no evidence of bugginess. I checked every hair that came out while rinsing and no nits.

Now, either I did this all for nothing, or there is bug-ness resident but undiscernible. As I stood in the shower, I tried to get myself to accept that they are just bugs -- in fact, other than the secondary infections that come from scratching, they are totally harmless. We're gonna probably experience them again and they aren't a size of poor hygiene or ill-health. In other words, I wanted to make myself OK with lice....and I just couldn't do it. uggh.