Saturday, May 26, 2007

Parenting Moment

Shhhh. Don't tell him that I'm telling you this, but Monkey Boy is cleaning the house. I didn't ask him to do this. This is totally his own idea. Earlier today he got in trouble for not getting off of his computer when I told him to and then lying about it. He has lost his computer for the weekend (I've put it away in my room). He is now trying to do anything he can think of, including cleaning the house, to soften me up and get his computer back. I did not suggest this, but hey, who am I to stop him?!

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Visiting

Do you visit with your blog, coming to see it even when you don't have anything to post? I do. It has become a dynamic, living scrapbook of my life. I come and visit the photos I upload. I come to visit posts I've made. I visit with the comments that have been added. It has become a very key part of my life and I cherish its contents. Do you feel the same way about your blog?

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Photog Friday - Achievement

"Men are born to succeed, not to fail."
-Henry David Thoreau

Today's quote honors Monkey Boy, who was on this year's All A's honor roll and placed 3rd in a writing competition. He is shown here in the middle of two of his friends.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lost . . . One Porch

Do you remember when I posted pictures of my porch right after I had cleaned it and hung the Chinese lanterns? Those were the good old days when I could call that porch 'my porch.' We are talking about a porch that is off of MY master bedroom. I no longer hold claim to it; my two critters, Monkey Boy and Marco the Psychotically Needy Puppy, have stolen it from me. Here's the evidence:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Presenting . . . Monkey Boy

Monkey Boy auditioned for our local production of Peter Pan. Guess what? He got a principle role as John Darling! This was the first time he's ever auditioned for anything and there were 86 people auditioning for the different parts. He's so excited. I'll try to post photos as the play progresses.

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Jazz by the Lighthouse

This is a post for Reg: Y'all need to come on down for the weekend in that fancy new camper. The first jazz concert by the lighthouse is this Sunday! You bring the wine and I'll bring the food!


Monday, May 21, 2007

Village Life

Have I mentioned how close I live to our little village? I'm less than a block from the main street. We are a resort town and you know what that means -- bars with bands! Monkey Boy and I have gotten in the habit of opening the door to the porch off my master bedroom and listening to music at night. Right now we're listening to what sounds like a middle-age white man sing his interpretation of Prince's classic song "Kiss." Interesting.

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Grassroots Movement

Here is my own attempt at a grassroots movement. I have recently been acquainted with an organization called Equality Now. Equality Now works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world through the mobilization of public pressure. This is important. I'm asking bloggers to include the button you will find in my sidebar as part of their blog page to increase awareness of this organization and their initiatives. I'm not asking you to make a financial contribution (of course, you can if you want). I'm just asking you to include this button in the hope that people will check them out. I have gotten their permission to do this.

Please save the image on your own photo server or service. If you need the HTML I used to set it up, just let me know and I'll send it to you. Also, if you could ask other blogger friends to do this, I would really appreciate it. Let's take the world by storm and take a stand, one blog at a time. Here's the information from the 'About' page at Equality Now:

Equality Now was founded in 1992 to work for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women around the world. Working with national human rights organizations and individual activists, Equality Now documents violence and discrimination against women and mobilizes international action to support their efforts to stop these human rights abuses. Through its Women’s Action Network of concerned groups and individuals around the world, Equality Now:

  • distributes information about human rights violations
  • takes action to protest these violations
  • brings public attention to human rights violations against women

The Women’s Action Network is committed to voicing a worldwide call for justice and equality for women. Issues of urgent concern to Equality Now include rape, domestic violence, reproductive rights, trafficking of women, female genital mutilation, and the denial of equal access to economic opportunity and political participation.

Human rights violations against women have historically been denied the attention and concern of international organizations, national governments, traditional human rights groups and the media. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of girls and women around the globe continue to endure debilitating and often fatal human rights abuses.

  • India: A 10-year-old girl is rescued by a flight attendant who notices her crying. Her father has sold her to the 60-year-old Saudi Arabian man sitting next to her for the equivalent of US$240.
  • Kenya: At a boarding school, 300 boys attack the girls' dormitory. Seventy-one girls are raped. Nineteen are trampled to death in the stampede to escape. The school's vice principal remarks, "The boys never meant any harm against the girls. They just wanted to rape."
  • Brazil: A man who confessed to stabbing his wife and her lover to death is for the second time acquitted of murder by an all-male jury. The acquittal is based on the argument that he acted in legitimate defense of his wronged honor.
  • United States: A 51-year-old woman is stabbed 19 times and killed by her former boyfriend as she waits inside a courthouse to extend an order of protection. Twice before he had been charged with harassment. Both times the charges were dropped.These are only a few instances of abuses which occur every single day.

Human rights violations against women must be documented, publicized--and stopped. We need Equality Now.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Did you know that Peter Pan was a drama?

I didn't. I thought it was a light children's musical, that is until I sat through the hell of watching children audition for the local summer production for 4 and a half hours! There were three classes of 'actors': the truly sucky, the average (Monkey Boy was in this group) and the "why are you here instead of Broadway?" They sang, they danced and they read lines. If parents made any noise we were greeted with a loud "ssshhhhhhhhhhhh" by some teenage intern that was far more disruptive that anything we could have been doing. If I had popcorn, I would have thrown it at them.

I found it interesting how many stereotypes were represented in the crowd of 'actors.' There was the drama queen. She cried and fluttered around whining that she couldn't possibly sing as she didn't prepare her vocal chords. Many of us, yes that includes me, just rolled our eyes. Then there was the drama brat. Drama brat pushed other kids out of his way to get in better light, snatched lyric sheets out of the hands of small children and huffed if someone else messed up a line. There also were a couple of what I would call drama cheerleaders that had been doing the summer production for years and were so cheerful that you were pretty sure that they had eaten way too much sugar and knocked back a couple of large lattes. Of course some were simply charming, including my Monkey Boy! Can't say that he's ready for American Idol in the singing department or will win any dance contests, but he did a really nice job of reading lines. He read for the part of John and kind of had a very proper Harry Potter sound to his interpretation of the part.

After all this, I came home and medicated myself with tequila. I'll let you know on Tuesday which part Monkey Boy will be playing.

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Talk to Me

I've missed you! For a couple of days I wasn't getting comments. So sad. But then the ever so wise liv told me that she had a problem posting comments and I checked and for some reason a few of my posts had been set to "don't allow comments." Yipes! It's been fixed now and I eagerly look forward to my blog sibs visiting and commenting again.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pattern

I have noticed a pattern in my life. When Satan (for newer readers, this is my pet name for my soon-to-be ex) is around I don't breath deeply. I also don't smile much and my laugh, as infrequent as it may be, is high pitch and has a cartoon quality to it. But when he's gone, my breathing is deep, my smile constant and my laughter has a fullness to it.

My friend Ellen says this is a good thing, that it means I am well on my way in the healing process. She says it means I'm over him. Well, I am. I've never understood those people we've all heard about that are still having sex even though they are in the middle of a divorce. What is that about? I don't even want to be in the same room as this person, never mind in the same bed! (However, if Nathan Fillion, Ben Browder, Hugh Grant or George Clooney want to stop by, I'd be OK with it!)

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Disturbing

Let me start by saying that I'm not making this up. On my Yahoo Mail Home tab, I saw the following ad:
Is it just me or does this ad imply that one of the symptoms of an enlarging prostate is that you start looking like a woman? !

Photog Friday - Small Changes

"I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another. "
- Ellen Goodman

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tagged

I've been tagged by the brave and bold Stick. The Rules:
  1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.

  3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.

  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here I go:

  1. I'm half English. My mom is from Yorkshire.

  2. I have loved coffee since I could walk. My mom told me that even as a toddler I would drink coffee if I could get to it. We had a family joke about the old wives tale that coffee stunted your growth. We would say that it was a good thing it did as I'm 5'9"!

  3. I've written 4 computer books and have contributed to 8 others.

  4. I was born on St. Patrick's Day.

  5. My favorite constellation is Orion.

  6. I prefer good bread over chocolate.

  7. I cry really easily at sad movies, tv shows, and even commercials.

  8. Harrison Ford once told me that I was lovely.

Here are my tagged bloggers: Reggie, Sexy, Terri, Liv, Lu, Rick, Tim, and Gigi. There were more that I would have liked to tag but I know some of the people on this list will tag them for me.

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Smoke Gets In My Eyes

It is nasty here on my little island in south Georgia. Wildfires have been burning for weeks to the west and south of us. We haven't been affected by the fires much, but because the winds have calmed, we are being covered with ash and smoke. I swear the entire island smells like a barbeque restaurant!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Additions to Porch de PeachPod

[Please say the following with a voice that is absolutely dripping with a Southern accent.]

I just thought that I would share with y'all some additions we've made to the veranda. Monkey Boy is shown here using the new polka dot quilt and coordinating pillow sham. The ocean breezes make it ever so slightly cool here in the evenings.

[You may now resume your regular accent.]

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Between Us

Want to meet for coffee? No problem, let me find a place that's between us using this cool website called A Place Between Us. You just type in your address and your friend's address and select what kind of place you want to go to. How cool is this?

The blue marker represents you. The red marker is your friend and the green marker is the halfway point. You can even drag the green marker to a different location to get new meeting places. I knew I had to share this geeky goodness with you!

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Monday, May 14, 2007

I grew up?

Will Wheaton shared a list in his blog of some of the things he loved as a kid. I came up with a list of my own:
  1. The sound of an ice cream truck
  2. Sparklers
  3. Cap guns
  4. Coke in a glass bottle
  5. Candy necklaces
  6. Having a ladybug land on you
  7. Running through a sprinkler
  8. Balsa wood gliders
  9. Jolly Rancher candies
  10. Looking for shapes in the clouds
  11. The smell of freshly cut grass
  12. Looking for a 4-leaf clover
  13. Coloring with crayons (I can even remember the way they smell!)
  14. Cutting out and dressing paper dolls
  15. Zotz candies
  16. Colorforms
  17. Gum wrapper chains

Share your list with me.

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Why does this bother me?

I was in the local bookstore a couple of days ago and I noticed a section titled 'Summer Reading Lists.' Hmm, I wonder if Monkey Boy has a summer reading list that he conveniently forgot to tell me about, which wouldn't be a huge surprise. I'm told that next year, as a 5th grader, Monkey Boy will have to read 20 novels. This isn't a huge deal as he read 26 novels during this school year. Wouldn't it make sense for them to get a jump on this over the summer? I fired off an email to his teacher asking if they had a reading list. Here is the response I got:
Good morning, thanks for asking about a reading list. At this time, we don't have one and probably if we did the books wouldn't be at a high enough level for him. My suggestion would be to join the summer library reading program and have him choose books on his level. He will be taking the STAR test today, so I will have a new level for him coming home in his folder. The important thing is for him to continue to read on his level throughout the summer. Thanks for all of your support. Monkey Boy is a bright, cooperative boy. Thanks, Ms. I'm Retiring This Year and It Shows

Why does this bother me? I know part of it is that they don't have a reading list and I'm one of those Nazi parents who feel that children should do something other than play videos and sleep during the summer. I'll make him read anyway because I am a Nazi, but why isn't the school district behind this concept? The other thing that is bothering me is the statement that implied if they had a list, it would basically be useless to him. WTF? I know that several other kids, like Monkey Boy, are reading at high school level. Am I being told there is no possibility of 2 or 3 different reading lists to fit multiple reading levels? I realize that I'm not a teacher yet and I don't know the teaching world, but this seems like commonsense to me.

Why am I letting this bother me so much? Is it because it's an example of why our state's education system is ranked as one of the lowest in the nation? Is it because it is an illustration of the inflexible nature of our education system? Or is it just my anal retentive/ADD/Type A personality flaring up?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Summer is Almost Here!!!

Do the 'Summer is Almost Here Happy Dance' with me! I was talking to Gigi today and we both are already getting excited about our annual 4th of July visit. Here on our little island, the 4th of July is actually busier and bigger than Christmas. We have the Sunshine Festival then, which includes a carnival with rides, the world's best lemonade made by this cool looking Native American guy, an art show, concerts and, of course, fireworks! Monkey Boy and his friend usually have a stand set up to sell sodas to the tourists. One year they made over $70!
I live about 300 feet from where they shoot the fireworks, the largest show in the southeast, so everyone comes to my house and parties. As a matter of fact, one year I wasn't here on the 4th and everyone came to my house anyway. Hmm, maybe I need a better class of friends.
Anyway, a large clump of family camps at one of the nearby islands and we do stuff like eat, talk, go to the beach, ride our bikes, eat, talk, shop, see the sights, golf, eat, talk (did you pick up on the fact that there's a lot of eating and talking?!) Gigi and I were trying to decide if we would run up to Savannah for a day trip. And Reggie and I have been talking about the outdoor Motown concert by the lighthouse we love to go to. Here's a little collage I put together of past 4th of Julys for your viewing pleasure:


Happy Mother's Day


Friday, May 11, 2007

Karma

My 10 year old son made my bed this morning. For those of you who have had or have a 10 year old son, you know that this event is tantamount to the world reversing its rotation. Seriously, I have a hard enough time to getting him to make his own bed. When I asked him why he was doing this, he told me that he had to keep his good karma flowing!

Let me give you some background. First, Monkey Boy is big on the concept of karma. I explained to him about a year ago that according to karma, performing positive actions result in a good condition of one's life experience, whereas negative actions result in a bad condition in your life experience. I like the concept of karma because I feel that when you do good things for others, you enrich your own life both directly and indirectly. I don't personally believe that karma is a concept that only falls into the the belief system of Buddhists. It can be said a dozen different ways including the Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.") This made sense to him and he often talks about things that he did or others have done that will affect karma.

Yesterday, our Internet connection went down. The company we use told us that they couldn't get a truck out to fix it until Monday. This basically ended Monkey Boy's world as he couldn't play the online games to which he is seriously addicted. But this morning, when we woke up, the Internet connection was magically working! Monkey Boy felt he needed to have strong, positive karma so that his precious Internet connection would remain intact for the weekend, and therefore, made my bed!

"Whatever karma I create, whether good or evil, that I shall inherit." The Buddha, Anguttara Nikaya V.57 - Upajjhatthana Sutta

Turning a Corner?

I may be turning a corner on this end of a marriage thing. I have been told over and over again this week how good I look. I don't mean in the hotty kind of way, but in the 'cloud is no longer hovering over you' kind of way. I am being told that I look happy. This is a big deal because I'm feeling happy. It's not the act that apparently I've been unconvincingly putting on for the past few months. I'm not saying that I don't have dark moments, hours, days, but they are fewer and farther apart. Of course I won't breathe easy until I get a teaching job and until the actual finalization of my divorce, but I'll grab happiness when and as often as I can!

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Photog Friday - Reality


"Perception is merely reality filtered through the prism of your soul."
-Christopher A. Ray

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Grrrrr

Satan is driving me insane . . . again. He wants Monkey Boy signed up for some kind of series of classes this summer. I don't mind this as a concept, but for 6 of the 9 weeks of summer, Monkey Boy will either be traveling or at camp. Am I insane to think that signing this child up for a summer series of classes is a waste of money? We have 4 trips to see family and/or friends, a family reunion and a week of camp. Isn't this enough? Anyway, Satan has informed me that Monkey Boy is going to turn into a fat geek.

Let's examine the evidence. Monkey Boy has a career GPA of 4.0. He's in 4th grade but does math at grade 7.6 and reads at grade 9.5. He's a black belt. His weight is below average. He can beat most adults at chess. He can cook a wide variety of dishes (his meatballs and his chili are killer). He's teaching himself to skateboard. He's tested as gifted in reading and math and is expected to test as gifted in science in middle school. He spends anywhere from an hour to two hours a day playing outside. Yes, this is a child who is obviously being harmed by his lifestyle and my parenting choices. Grrrrr.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Photog Friday - Soul

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul."
-Johann von Goethe

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My Porch

I have a covered porch off of my 2nd floor master. I recently bleached and scrubbed it (a spring ritual), painted all the woodwork, set up a hammock and hung Chinese lanterns. I love it! There's also a lounge chair out there. Monkey Boy usually bogarts the hammock and I sit the lounge chair. We sat out there for about an hour last night and just hung out. The wind off the ocean was nice and cool and the humidity was low so it was perfect. I'm sharing a photo with you so that you can pretend you are sitting there with us:

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Watch out teens and small animals

I have a friend who is endlessly amusing to me named Ellen. She is one of those people who, like me, finds constant amusement in her own life. Every school day morning you'll find us on the beach walking. Yesterday Ellen was a little on the agitated side. She was worried that she had lost her prescription sunglasses. As a matter of fact, she was so worried about it that she called her son's school and had him pulled out of homeroom to take her call so she could ask him if he knew where her sunglasses where!! As you may know, being pulled out of homeroom to take a phone call from your mom is akin to death for a shy 13 year-old male. By the time I got home from my walk, Ellen had left a message on my voice mail: "Um, If I didn't have to work today I don't think I would allow myself to be on the road today. I just ran over and killed a snake, which means not only did I kill something, but now I have snake blood on the loaner car from the dealership." Being a supportive, caring friend, I called her back and asked her what the snake look like. After hearing her description I'm pretty sure that it was a rattlesnake (we have a lot of those around here). I then offered to bring her lunch, telling her that I thought it would be best if she didn't drive anymore than she had to as 13 year-old boys and small animals were not safe from her!

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Watch a free video to donate .49 to Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks created a music video of the Five for Fighting song, "World", which features images of children with Autism and their families. The band, is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks for each time the video is viewed & the funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family.

http://www.whatkindofworlddoyouwant.com/videos/view/id/213154