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Thursday, August 20, 2015

It's Time...

...to clean out the laundry room.

This sounds very simple in and of itself.

But the cat has now been missing - presumed dead - for nearly three weeks.

Three weeks, when talking about a 17-year-old, primarily-indoor cat, means she's almost certainly gone for good.

The presence of coyotes in our area just makes it that much more likely.

And the weather has certainly been warm enough that if her body was under the house we would know it by now.

I'm sad and depressed by this, albeit not surprised, because 17 years old, after all.

But Abby will be a wreck if we're still holding out hope in the form of a litter box and food and water and such in the laundry room, when she gets home from her yearly sojourn to her Nana's house. Abby is starting junior high in a couple weeks, and auditioning for another play in about a week, and she doesn't need to be a wreck right now.

So I need to get that all done by Saturday afternoon.

And I don't want to.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lizzyisms, August 2015 edition

She reads very well for her age, but some words are still a little tricky. Hence this conversation:

"Lizzy, could you get me the little white bottle of spray medicine in the bathroom, please?"

"This one? The one that says, "Pain Releasing?" I mean, "Pain Revealing?" I mean..."

"Pain Relieving. Please do not release or reveal my pain."

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I often forget that there are some things - especially brand names - than she may not know:

"I'd rather you used Scotch tape than tacks."

"Can't I use the clear tape?"

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And we must stay aware that her reading level does not always match up with her comprehension level... or her tolerance for scary:

"Goosebumps? Are you kidding? You know I get nightmares!"

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But she understands analogy and character archetype:

"Too Tall Bear is the Bugs Meany of the Berenstain Bears show."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Another August, Another Abbyless Week

As has been pointed out before, Lizzy-without-Abby is a different beast altogether.

But she's two years older than the last time I wrote about this, in that link up there, and the differences are palpable.

For one thing, she can read, and read well above her grade level - going into 2nd - at that.

This is a challenge... finding books that are appropriate both to her reading level (about fifth grade) and her emotional / social level (not quite second). I've written about that before, thanks, Encyclopedia Brown.

But back to Lizzy-without-Abby.

She's far more self-sufficient than she used to be, but she still misses Abby, and she needs something to be self-sufficient with. It's also back-to-school time.

So after dropping Abby with her Nana, Lizzy and I did her back-to school shopping. We got her this great backpack (it comes with a BPA-free water bottle, an insulated lunch bag, and a soft-side pencil case). That white strip in the middle is a reflective strip so drivers can see her if she's walking in rainy weather or dusk (common in the winter around here), and there are matching strips on the straps. We also got the other stuff on her back-to-school list, like crayons and paper and glue sticks.

Additionally, we got her the first four books in the Monster High series. There have been a gazillion posts in the blogosphere about Monster High and body image, but I like to think that my kids are bright enough to grok that the Monster High girls' shapes are not realistic. In fact, we've discussed it, and the general consensus is that Frankiestein and friends are "cartoon-person-shaped" rather than realistic. Same goes for the Ever After High characters and Equestria Girls.

Why not Ever After High, you may ask, since Lizzy is in a girly-princess stage at the moment? That one is easy; Abby has the Ever After High books, and she shares them with Lizzy when she's done.

And although Lizzy is in that girly-princess stage for the most part, that's not all there is to her interests either. Which is why, when she requested an alarm clock, we chose this one, to the left. Ninjago Kai, the Fire Ninja from the LEGO company. He's fully poseable (as much as LEGO figures ever are), and one pushes down on his head for snooze mode and to see the time glowing in the dark.

So cool.

Or hot, as the case may be: Kai is the fire ninja, after all.

He should be a hit at tonight's sleepover, as our sleepover guest introduced Lizzy to Ninjago in the first place.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Moat? What Moat?!

The first showing of Once Upon a Mattress at Studio East was a rousing success; full house sold out and all.

The kids were terrific.

The show seemed... professional.

Thirty kids ages 11-16, some of whom have done mainstage productions before, but some who are completely brand new at this. And the crew... just... wow. No missed cues as far as I could tell, lights and sound effects as appropriate.

And it was super great.

So Friday Night was sold out, as is (I believe) Sunday Matinee.

I don't know if there are any seats left for the Saturday Matinee or Saturday Night.

But it was fabulous.

Here's a clip the director put together as a sort of teaser-trailer. Abby is the lady in waiting in orange with a blue neck scarf.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Where oh Where Redux

Tiger is missing again.

Mind you, the last time she got out (she's a primarily indoor cat) and was freaked out and couldn't find her way back.

That was more than four years ago, when she was merely elderly (13) rather than ancient (17 and a bit).

Since we moved to a real house, she has enjoyed sunning her old bones on the porch, and since she rarely leaves it, we remained unworried. Then she started lying in the warm grass (same goes) unless children (ours or the neighbors') bothered her, in which case she would wander back onto the porch. And we bring her in at sundown whether she likes it or not, because coyotes.

Yesterday she went out to lie in the warm grass and at dusk I couldn't find her. I left the back door open and the porch lights on. At midnight she came in and ate something and drank some water, and by the time I heard her little bell she was disappearing out the back door. I went and looked some more, but it was dark and she clearly wanted nothing of it.

One of the neighbors saw her this morning, in her usual place on the grass.

And we haven't seen her since.

My biggest worry is Abby; to her Tiger is practically a sibling. And if she has just wandered out to find a nice comfy place to die (she is seventeen), Abby'll be crushed.

If she's eaten by coyotes we'll never know.

Send good kitty-finding thoughts our way?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Warm Brownies

Why, you may wonder, is JennTheGamerMom talking about warm brownies (gooey chocolatey brownies, with the frosting melting over the edges and... <ahem!>) in the hottest July on record here in the Seattle suburbs?

Because it's not that kind of brownies.

It's this kind of Brownie.

That's right, Miz Liz has now officially joined the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, and the whole troop celebrated both Lizzy and the other new girl, and the bridging for the other girls; bridging in this context is graduation from Daisy Scout to Brownie Scout.

I expect you all to buy twice the cookies now.

Just kidding.

Mostly.

Thankfully, given that the temperature outside is about human normal (98F as of this writing), our co-leaders had the very good idea of having the bridging ceremony/picnic at a local park,on Lake Sammamish (with lifeguards for extra safety). The Brownies cooled down in the water (after my own little Brownie dashed up once to tell me she was afraid of stepping on crabs (it's fresh water, honey; you don't have to worry about that) and again to tell me she got her skirt wet (which was fine, because, again, fresh water).)

This is a Girl Scout troop made up of people whose parents are practically Boy Scouts, insofar as preparedness goes. They had changes of clothes for everyone, bottled water in addition to the picnic drinks, and sunscreen of varying strengths to refresh any that was waning. And they did it all on the lake shore where I spent a lot of time growing up.

I have a lot of memories of - while not this park specifically - the general area, and Lizzy and I talked about some of these on the way there (in between singing along to this song, on an old CD I bought for Abby about ten years ago).

I remember the White Wave (really the eternal summer motorboat wake) with which my stepbrother used to frighten us (especially my younger sister) while out in our rubber boat, the USS Overloaded.

I remember scaring the crap out of my dad during an informal driving lesson along that road, by turning left into oncoming traffic.That was about 31 years ago.

I remember this (Styrofoam?) airplane that we would catapult into the air at the larger park just north of the one today. It was often weighted in various spots by coins that my dad - an aeronautical engineer - would Scotch-tape on to see what would happen to the flight path. That would have been... almost 40 years ago?

All in all, a good time was had, with paddling in the lake, and crossing a bridge from Daisies (or not-a-scout, in Lizzy's case) to Brownies, and picnics and ice cream and playing and... just fun.

But still, as mentioned? Hace calor.