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Monday, March 30, 2015

Four Years On (and Eight in Total)

Four years ago I wrote a post about our fourth anniversary,. So it seemed like a nice idea to write today's post, four years on.

Well, four years on tomorrow, anyway.

Miss Leanna is fourteen, in ninth grade, and soon on to high school (which, in our district, is three years until the 2017-18 school year when the new high school is completed). Her recent color change to redhead suits her personality down to the ground, and I just love it on her. Sadly, I do not have a current picture, but maybe her mom will see this post and send me one; I would take one of her but she's down for the count with laryngitis today, and as she lives with her mom I don't have her handy even after school. They live nearby though, which is really nice. Leanna is our Nature Girl.

Miss Abby is twelve, in sixth grade, and on to junior high in the fall (she'll be the first class at the new high school in 2017). She's seriously excited by the prospect of choosing some of her classes, and she has an interesting mix of performing arts and technology as her preferences. This is so Abby it's a little scary; she's the Performer of our three, and she's happiest when singing, acting, or consuming science fiction or light horror media. I have a current picture of her, but it scares the crap out of me because she looks more um... womanly in it than I am comfortable sharing with the world. Yes, it's just a swimsuit but it scares her mother.

Miz Liz, who was still in utero when we got married, is seven and a half. She's bright, quick-tempered, reads like a fourth grader but has the scary-tolerance and attention span of a first grader (the latter of which she is) and hates to write. She can't really explain why, but her grandmother and her first grade teacher and I all think she writes a LOT slower than the ideas come, so she gets impatient and just gives up. Also, ADHD would not surprise me in the least. She's the Engineer of the three (she was good with this once we explained that an engineer is not necessarily someone who drives a train) and the one who likes to take things apart to see what makes them tick.

And us. +Laston Kirkland and +Jenn Kirkland, the nerd and the geek, the scientist and the fantasist, gamers and writers and decent (if messy and poor housekeepers) parents to his, mine, and ours.

It's a nice family.

Happy anniversary, honey.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March has Been... Different

A Random Thoughts Post.

It is Not Okay for a mother to have her oldest child register for Junior High and buy a swimsuit that makes her look like she has an actual figure both in one week.

Because just a couple weeks ago she was selling girl scout cookies for the fifth year in a row. She's just a baby. But she's a twelve-year-old baby who looks fourteen or fifteen in her new swimsuit.

We're not making it to Norwescon for our anniversary this year. We've missed once before (in 2011), but it's still a bit depressing, you know? Mostly this is because Laston's contract does not include paid time off and they required five six furlough days this month, which ate up our extra budget.

But Abby's dad and Leanna's mom will still have their respective kids, and Lizzy is still spending the weekend at Grandma's, and so Laston and I will have a nice date night. Maybe date night-and-day. We just won't have them in the company of 3000 of our favorite nerds. And with Laston's back all screwed up (a legacy of the House Move of Doom) it's probably just as well that he won't be walking all over the SeaTac Doubletree for two days straight.

On that note, those of you who do go, please have a good time, and fee free to text (or Facebook or Google Plus) me anything you think I would particularly enjoy. And if anyone in the Dealers' Room has Laston's book, Copy Me, please think about purchasing a copy. They're good stories!

Sometimes it's a Good Thing to sit and watch stupid TV with the kids all Sunday afternoon. I mean, we have to do enough laundry that no-one goes naked to school tomorrow, and I had to run the dishwasher so we can eat our spaghetti without getting it everywhere. But the rest can wait until tomorrow.

Miz Liz earned eighteen cubes in her Good Behavior trial last week. There was a max possible of twenty-five, and with eighteen she not only earned the Beanie Baby (at twelve cubes, and she chose the Queen of Hearts in a Teacup one), but she earned a sleepover with Miss Nat.

This whole thing was an ingenious invention of her first grade teacher to assist Lizzy in learning to avoid zero-to-sixty snit fits and teenage brat behavior (like rolling her eyes and stomping off in a huff. Wonder where she learned that one).  She starts with five cubes a day, and one gets taken away for each instance of unwanted behavior. Her best day ended with five (yay!) and her worst with two (boo). For every twelve cubes she gets a prize, and the idea is that by the end of this trial she'll have developed better habits.

When living in a house with gamers (and being one), somehow phrases like, "You hit the Laundromat. And it noticed," are par for the course.

I really like my job. This is not sarcasm. It's not really that different from other customer service jobs I have had, but I just feel very very comfy at AT&T.

One should never buy mechanical pencils or razors at the dollar store. The former do not work well and the latter are apparently one-shot.

I'm sleepy.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Sticky Situation

Not a bad one, actually a good one.

Miz Liz is outside looking for sticks. She apparently needs them "really badly" because her first grade class is making Leprechaun Traps. The is a voluntary project, and Lizzy is very very excited by the prospect. Lacking Lucky Charms and gold coins, we have decided that a couple of Thin Mints would be excellent bait.

Miss Abby is also outside looking for sticks. Hers need to be a little bigger, because she needs several to demonstrate and help her sister scouts learn to do a half-hitch knot. That's set for the 12th, but she needs practice, so we're doing this ahead.

And then there's the season.

That's right, folks. As you know, it's...


Misses Abby and Carlie and Carlie's dad and I sold quite a lot of cookies yesterday. So proud of these two girls; they were enterprising and sweet and genuinely nice to their customers. I was especially amused by Abby's repeated question of, "Would you like help transporting these to your vehicle?" For the gentleman who bought eight boxes of Thin Mints that might be needed, but for the average purchaser of two to five boxes it it perhaps not necessary.

Funny though.

And I'm going to have to remember that even though it's been unseasonably warm and dry around here, it's still only early March, and it gets sundown.

Before the cookie sale we went into the store to check in and get change, and while we were in there Abby met a friend. The best thing about this is the name tag. You see, at this store, everyone's name tag has their name and a description about them. Like this:

Jane Smith
Also walks dogs

Except this one, which says:

I am not fast

I have not seen the movie. But I am told this is hilarious.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Drama and Music and Plays (Oh My)

Much drama - and not the adolescent kind, except as below - this week.

First of all, this was our week for our annual play with me, my dad, and my sibling. My brother was sick, so my stepmother came instead, and my sister felt ill by intermission, so it was... odd. Not bad, of course, but different from how it's meant to be. And as the play we saw was Carousel, I had to keep reminding myself of the time in which it was set (about a hundred years ago) and the time in which it was written (about sixty years ago). These combined to cause some values dissonance, and I had a bit of trouble with that.

We discussed it a bit during intermission, and I realized that the reason that kind of sexism and abuse doesn't bother me as much in other offerings from Broadway is because those are set in a culture that is not my own (I'm thinking things like Fiddler on the Roof or The King and I or even Kiss Me Kate). The gist of all this is that I had to keep reminding myself that these days, Carousel is a period piece.

It felt weird.

It is also a little weird that Abby is playing Lady MacB- in The Scottish Play. Well, in a preadolescent-friendly fifteen-minute version of the play in any case. Which means that - as a child who loves her some NuWho, and whose mother has explained that Alex Kingston (River Song in Who) has played Lady MacB- professionally - Abby is channeling her inner River Song into the role. It's both cute and scary, and it was probably not helped much by my suggestion that we listen to March of Cambreadth in the car... just to get into the Angry Scotswoman mindset, you understand.

She is also the Gatekeeper in The Ozzard of Wiz. The performance is this afternoon and I'll check  back in then.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sometimes You Just Have to Have Fun

And today that's exactly what Lizzy (7) and I did.

You see, it's midwinter break in our school district, and Leanna's at her mom's and Abby is in a day camp for drama (at this cool place, where she immediately made a favorable impression on the instructor by wearing a Doctor Who T-shirt).

So Lizzy and I have some alone time, which is nice, because that's usually limited to a half hour or so before bed.

It's 2:30 PM as I write this, and so far we have:

  • dropped Abby off at camp 
  • bought four books at Barnes & Noble; she really likes the Ivy + Bean books, which were recommended by a children's librarian for her last week. Abby liked them in a vague sort of way when she was eight or nine, but not well enough to buy them. Lizzy enjoyed the first one we got at the library so much that we had to go out and get them. Half Price Books next time though.
  • went to the LEGO store and made three minifigs we made to look as much like the cast of The
    Magic Tree House books as possible, given that they had neither "Camelot clothes" for Kathleen (we put her in a breastplate and equipped her with a shield), nor blonde pigtails for Annie (one long brown one was available) Jack has overalls and a pair of binoculars, which we think is appropriate to his character. We also bought a bucket of LEGO pieces with which - together with the ones we already own - we should be able to design and build a passable Tree and Tree House. We'll do that on Wednesday.
  • gotten the oil changed in my car.
  • had our nails done.
  • had lunch - Lizzy chose Mexican food.
  • gotten groceries delivered.
  • emptied, loaded, and run the dishwasher.
Next we plan to:
  • run to Grandma's to drop off a gift (it's her birthday)
  • pick Abby up
  • make dinner
  • do some laundry
  • pack a bag for the girls for tomorrow night, which they will spend at Grandma's (because there is the opportunity for much overtime with a call center down on the east coast? Something like that, and she wanted them to spend one night this week).
Tuesday I work. Wednesday I'll grab the girls from Grandma, take Abby to camp, and Lizzy & I shall veg all day and play with LEGO. Thursday I get to meet a dear friend I haven't seen in ages, and Thursday night is the annual musical theatre night with Dad and sibs. Friday there will be a performance at Abby's drama camp and then I take her to her dad's place.

Even vacation weeks are crazy busy; it's just kind of a slower pace.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's the Most Cookieful Time of the Year...

...or it will be in a few weeks.

But yes, cookies can be preordered now. If you're interested, please drop me a line at this link (unless you work with me or will otherwise see me in the intervening week or so).

A few crumbs (hah!) of news that Abby would like you to know:

  • Thin Mints are vegan
  • Do-si-dos and Tagalongs contain peanuts
  • Savannah Smiles may contain tree nuts (from the almond abstract extract)
  • Trefoils are excellent with jam... or chocolate syrup. Or both.
  • Samoas contain coconut
  • Rah Rah Raisin** cookies are oatmeal with raisins and Greek-yogurt chips
  • Toffeetastic** cookies are not available for preorder as they are in limited quantities. They are, however, gluten free.
All around the neighborhood streets,
The girl scouts sell their cookies,
Ringing doorbells, asking, "Please,
Please buy our cookies!"

**New flavors!