fairjennet: Text only. "In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded." (Default)
The kiddo and I just came home from looking at a rare corpse flower at the museum. Her name is Lois, she's huge, and she's supposed to smell just like rotting flesh when she finally blooms. Isn't that just the coolest thing ever?

Apparently, the blooming of a corpse flower is a huge event in the world of botany, so much so that they're keeping the Cockrell Butterfly Center open twenty-four hours a day until this one finishes doing her thing. We got to wander around in an artificial rainforest in a giant glass pyramid in the middle of the night--so worth the price of the ticket even though the flower was still tightly furled and stink free.

Here's the live web feed: Lois

Oh, and you'll never believe they were showing at the Miller Outdoor Theater across the street from the museum. They scheduled the season's free shows sometime last year, long before anyone knew that Lois was going to bloom, but they just happened to be performing Little Shop of Horrors this week. We got there just in time to hear "Suddenly Seymour" and to watch the puppet gobble up Seymour's dad. God, sometimes I just love life. :D
fairjennet: Text only. "In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded." (Default)
I thought it was about time to write something here, since I really haven't made an entry worth blinking at since March. This one probably won't be worth any vigorous eyelid movements either, but what the hey.

Let's see. Bad stuff first. Work is crappy, just like usual. There's lots of emotional roller-coaster drama and not nearly enough money. It probably seems harder because the fair season starts next month, and that makes freedom look awfully attractive compared to my whining grandmother. It's just that time of year, I guess. Spring, itchy feet, sap rising...homelessness.... Gypsy, what?

We'll be missing almost all of the fairs this year. That isn't such a big deal for me; I'm happy with the dreams in my head no matter what what our lifestyle is like, but I feel really bad for Larry and the kiddo. Larry's not a bad house husband, don't get me wrong. Still. Organizing home is my forte, not his, and he's wasting his potential being tied to the house away from people. And oh boy, the kiddo needs friends the way my houseplants need water. There are no kids for him here. None. Every time we go to the park, he has to make friends all over again. Sometimes I think I was mad to think we could live in a stable place like normal people. We're not normal at all.

What else...I have a few fandom-type things going on online. These days I'm playing a Wraeththu rp game with an original character. Shadow is all new and shiny, and he says things like, "Fuck conformity," and "Oh good, I'd hate to think you'd let just anybody cut your throat," as easily as I would say, "Please pass the butter," so that's fun. Also, I started playing Aredhel at Dreaming Spires again. I love that game even though the format isn't good for my poor psyche. I tend to edit obsessively when the roleplaying isn't done via IM, since I actually have a choice about when to hit the reply button. Oh well, I suppose all that heavy editing is good for my writing skills.

Here's a secret: after re-reading my posts over there, I've decided that I actually know how to write. It's not as good as I want it to be, but it isn't awful. I can really do it if I try hard enough. For real...um. I think.

Speaking of writing, I'm doing it again. Constantly, relentlessly writing, that's what I'm doing--both inside of fandom and out of it. I don't know why I do this to myself, not really. Trying to write something besides the usual rp and journal stuff always makes me feel like I'm hovering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I want to write, oh, with the same results as giving birth...a miracle come from love and dreams, through pain and fear, striving at the very edge of my endurance. Pretty silly, huh? Yeah. I've got the drama queen part down pat, all right. Now all I need is the miracle.

*sigh* I meant this post to be cheerful. Oooh, I know. I read some really awesome books this month. Cassie Clare's latest book didn't suck. Finder by Emma Bull made me fall in love with Bordertown all over again, even if it did make me weep. Elsewhere by Will Shetterly is quite possibly the best book I've read all year. I'm such a sucker for troubled adolescent boys. And speaking of troubled adolescent boys...I swear, every time I re-read Swordspoint I discover something new. This time I obsessed about Michael Godwin in between squeeing over the parts I'd forgotten about Alec; there's all sorts of interesting things going on there that I'd never noticed before. Ellen Kushner is a genius.

And that is all.
fairjennet: Text only. "In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded." (yellow butterfly)
It was a supremely ordinary day today, but a rather nice one. It was full of mom things. I cleaned the house, went to Wal-Mart for groceries, praised crayon drawings, raced the kiddo to the mailbox, and even took him to Target to buy a toy. The trip to the toy aisle reminded me so much of what it was like to be a little kid. I remember bargaining future chores for toy money just like the kiddo did today, and I remember my own mom sighing and saying, "Are you sure you really want this toy? Are you sure you don't want to save your money until you can get something better? It's a whole month of taking out the trash with no allowance..." I felt so much like her when I repeated that little speech. I don't remember my mom very well, so I just love those flashes of memory.

This evening, I cooked dinner and wrote lesson plans. I discovered the best activities over at the BBC school website. This one fits in perfectly with the unit on ancient India in the kiddo's history book. The whole BBC school site is amazing. All I can say is that the Brits must have a better educational system altogether. These activities are designed to fit in with their national curriculum, and the little snippets of curriculum standards they include make me want to download the whole "Key Stages" document. It makes so much more sense than the "Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills." Apparently, Texans are supposed to be essentially confused.

Anyway, we're having fun with his Social Studies/Language Arts stuff. This week was Robin Hood, reviewing European geography, and introducing encyclopedia use. (Funny how much more he liked King Arthur, the little snob! :D )Next week is reading Ananzi stories, writing poems, and a review of African geography. After that we get to do ancient India, more geography review, and then tigers with the encyclopedia. Then on to ancient Greece!

Homeschooling has always been exhausting, and I'm starting to realize how unprepared I am to be a teacher. Sure, I can teach the stuff--it's not rocket science--but I find myself wishing I had studied early childhood education. There must be some sort of secret to making sure everything is taught the way it's supposed to be taught. I don't want to teach him the way I was taught in public school; I want him to be interested. Yet, I also know that we need to cover a bunch of stuff that isn't very interesting--at least it isn't very interesting to me. I'm trying really hard to get Larry to take over the math and science. He actually gets excited about it, and I'm just sitting there saying, "Are you done with your worksheet yet?" *hee* Maybe we should just move to England and stick the kiddo in a public school.
fairjennet: Text only. "In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded." (angst entertaining)
Hey there. Typing is kind of soothing today, with the nice clickity-clack of the keys over the lovely electrical hum of the air conditioner. Something soothing is definitely what I need right about now. Ahhh...electricity. I love, love, love electricity.

Since the hurricane, I've been working double shifts at my Grandma's house. She has no power, and asks me every twenty minutes or so why her lamp/tv/refrigerator doesn't work. Seriously, every twenty minutes except when she's actually sleeping. Since last Saturday.

Yes, I did say Saturday.

It's not her fault that she can't remember, but I swear I'm going to shake her one of these times. Okay, so probably not, but still. Every. Twenty. Minutes. The kiddo, who is coming to her house with me until Dad cleans up from the flooding in his place, ends up arguing with her every time she does it. It always turns into a huge dramatic mess. Luckily, we have some relief nurses coming in now, and I have tomorrow and the next day off. Thank you God.

I can't believe I'm whining about my grandma, who after all is safe, alive, and has a roof over her head--just like the rest of my friends and family here in Houston. Isn't it funny how the little annoyances become so very annoying even though they don't really matter at all? Even after living through something as dangerous as a hurricane? After all the craziness, there are so, so many good things that I should be thanking my stars about. I think I'll make a list.

1. We're alive.

2. The people I love are safe and well (if a bit soggy and temperamental in places).

3. The really big oak tree did not, in fact, crash into my apartment building like the other oak tree did to the people who live two buildings down. I have a roof and intact windows and actually no damage at all. I am so, so, so lucky.

4. I went to the grocery store yesterday. It was open.

5. The neighbors across the street from my grandma's house are very nice. I met them while hauling tree limbs to the curb, thereby getting to talk to someone with a mental age of above ten years. Wheee!

6. I have power! Electrical power is wonderful, I can't stress this enough.

7. Having gas in the tank of my van is pretty wonderful too, even if it did take me an hour and a half to get it.

8. Normally, an hour is entirely too long to wait for a McDonald's hamburger--but it was totally worth it after so many days of eating food out of a can. It tasted sooooo good.

9. I'm here and alive and safe to whine about the little things. Yay for human nature.

Geez, what a list--half complaining, half grateful. It's times like these when I realize what a silly thing I really am. :D
fairjennet: Text only. "In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded." (WTF?! blue)
It was a little after midnight last night when a policeman knocked on the door of our hotel room. He seemed nice--short and cute and blue-eyed--and he couldn't seem to help smiling at me as he poked his head around the doorjamb. He asked oh so politely to come inside. Honestly, I thought he had the wrong room, because I couldn't figure out what on earth he was doing there, so I said sure. Why not? I knew we hadn't done anything illegal.

After he came inside, my polite puzzlement quickly turned to fear. He stopped being friendly. He wouldn't tell us why he was there until we answered his questions, and his questions were all about the kiddo. He wanted to know how old he was and why he wasn't in school. He wanted to know what was wrong with him. That was the scariest question of all, because there was absolutely nothing wrong with him. He was just sleeping. Startled, Larry and I both looked at our kiddo. He looked fine to us, and we said as much. Then we looked at each other--a big, giant WTF?! look--and then turned that look to the cop.

He asked us if we were smoking crack.

Seriously, he thought we were crack heads. Someone had walked past our open window and called CPS because they thought they saw Larry smoking something out of a pipe.

Of course, Larry was doing nothing of the sort. He was, however, making an ocarina. It's small, and maybe it looked like a crack pipe when he held it up to his mouth? I guess he had a cigarette lit, too, which would explain the smoke. Larry demonstrated this to the officer, played the ocarina a bit...and the man was enchanted. There was no more talk of drugs or insinuations child abuse, the barely concealed disgust just vanished. Suddenly we were decent people. The policeman even asked if he could buy an ocarina from us.

Pretty crazy, huh?

None of it seemed real. The cop actually apologized for bothering us before he left. Still, it took me about two hours to calm down enough to go to sleep, and I'm still a little shaky today. The whole situation was just so weird.
fairjennet: Text only. "In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded." (angst entertaining)
A conversation overheard at the sandbox during the fair:

"I have one thing to say, and it is FINAL. This is the worst day of my WHOLE life!"

"Really? The worst day of my life was last month when Mercury was in retrograde. It was AWFUl."

I think I've heard that conversation before somewhere, but never when the speakers were all under the age of seven. :D Who says kids don't listen to their parents?
fairjennet: Text only. "In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded." (yellow daisy)
Okay, so yeah, I'm a pretty lenient parent. I want my kid to grow up to be independent, the kind of adult that takes responsibility for his own actions--not some sheltered guy that totally loses all control at the first sign of freedom. And so I let him pick out his own clothes, brush his own hair (inexpertly), get really dirty, and play outside with his friends without me hovering over his shoulder. He's six. I don't think this is unreasonable.

Apparently, I'm in the minority here. Did you know he was playing outside yesterday? You let him wear that? Really!? Aren't you afraid he'll get sick from playing in the rain? You let him ride his bike WITHOUT A HELMET!?! OMG! he's MUCH too young to be by himself even for a second.

I'm starting to get scared. Is someone going to report me for letting my kid be a kid?

Last year some friends of mine got in trouble with Child Protective Services. I won't go into the whole complex situation here; it involves adoption and a really unorthodox family situation. But here's the main thing: the parents weren't reported because of some kind of abuse. It was because the kids were allowed to go barefoot, their hair was messy, and their clothes were all muddy. Some neighbor saw them walking down the sidewalk with their teenage brother, and she called CPS with a story about suspected neglect.

Now these are the coolest parents I know, and their kids are amazing. These are the kids who taught my kiddo to share when I was ready to beat my head against the wall in frustration. The older ones (10-13 yrs.) come by to chat with me and we end up talking about ancient Rome or WWI or gender roles among teenagers. They're the most well-adjusted kids I've ever met. They're not hungry, they're not cold, they're healthy. Yet, my friends were found guilty of neglect, because the kids were playing outside without an adult. In a suburban neighborhood.

Today, my neighbor came to tell me that the kiddo was riding his bike in the street. I told her thank you, but he was allowed to ride his bike since he knows to watch for cars. I also informed her that he may be small, but he's actually the same age as the other kids riding in the street. She just gave me a LOOK.

So now I'm worried.


fairjennet: Text only. "In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded." (Default)

June 2011

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