Friday, May 28, 2010

So, my buddy Betsy (sniff sniff - I miss you already!) tagged me for this extremely prestigious award, and let me know, and yesterday afternoon was the first time that the post in question (i.e. the one explaining what the tagging referred to) has appeared to me when I visit her blog. Soooo, not sure what's up with the time delay and me and Betsy's blog, but oh well. At worst, it makes me look like a procrastinating doofus. Which would not be a crime, nor would it be particularly misleading.

Anyway. Here's what happens as a result of my getting the Circle of Friends Award:

1st of all, thank the dear award giver, no "speech" required. My no speech goes like this: "THANK YOU! I'm SOOOO honored!"

And then, since this is all about spreading the love, I've got three objectives.
1) Save the image above so you can upload it on your own blog without direct linking.
2) List 5 things you absolutely love to do
3) List 5 friendly bloggers, and comment on their blogs to let them know they've received an award!

Thus, I begin:

1. I love to hang out with my husband. This goes without saying, I hope, but it's so true. This is a guy that "gets" me, gets the jokes, makes the jokes, goes along with the jokes, and is absofreakingHILARIOUS when he doesn't get the jokes. I'm all like running around laughing hysterically and he either (a) gets a sweet look on his face like "Aww, look at my child bride outperforming her ritalin" or (b) gets mad and goes internal because he doesn't like to be laughed at. I'd say the reaction pool is split 50/50. We travel, we chill out, we fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon, we text each other while both in the house, and so on. We also enjoy much more meaningful and serious things, but those are the bloggish things.

2. I love to have people over, especially my family (meaning, my biological family, his biological family, people I've known so long they seem like family). For one thing, I don't feel bad about greeting my brother at the door and saying "Hey! Come help me move this big heavy thing!" We grew up as a team, all working together and knowing who has what job and how to be efficient and stuff, and whenever some of my original family comes over, it's like getting back on the court or something. I am slowly assimilating Joe's brothers into my team...

3. I love to make music, in pretty much any fashion. This used to be the defining "thing" about me. Now it's still very important, but I'll be honest (and sad) and admit that less musicness goes on now than used to. I'm getting back into the swing, though.

4. I love to travel. 'Nuff said.

5. I love to make stuff. Unfortunately for me and the closet in the spare room, this love is not accompanied by a love of finishing projects that I start. Draw your own conclusions, but you can imagine, I guess. Quilling, sewing, stamping, knitting, drawing, origami, stitching, papercutting, sculpting, painting, jewelry making, and scrapbooking have all at one point or another been "the thing." I go back to all of the above from time to time, but the clutter police would "poop rainbows" (must whisper, because the guy I like to hang out with hates phrases like that) if they saw that closet.

Ok, and now my bloggers, in no particular order:

1. Sheila - Yet another one of those fun people who are with it enough to post photos and step-by-steps of food making projects. I don't know how you do it, people. I just don't. Also, Sheila is the faithful friend to whom I can go running and say, "Help! I have a bachelor's degree in English, but I don't remember how to spell weird! How do you spell it? And Which is the "its" I want to use, is it "its" or "it's"? Aaaack!" And Sheila will tell me the answer.

2. Conquistadora - Newly minted military wife and B-R-A-V-E soul, poor Coriel seems to get the short end of every stick they've served up since she joined the club. I think this is the "rough patch" at the beginning, when you're still trying to change your name and your address and everything else the government wants to meddle with. I like to read her blog, because she describes things so, well, right. And I've been there, for some of these things...

3. Meredith almost makes me feel, well, backward in a way, because she's do darn SMART. She speaks like about five languages and translates freely between/among them all the time. Also, she understands all that crap that I was supposed to have learned in college about poetry and poetics. Sigh. Reading her blog makes me happy, because I can just hear her voice saying the stuff, especially reading the poetry. I wish all these people weren't in California...

4. Seraphic is not a "friend" in the I've-met-her-before-and-we-be-chillin' kind of way, but her blogs are really fun. The original is mostly informative, based I think out of her book and its following. The blog about her married life is (typically) quite funny. I do just giggle out loud at it sometimes, eh wot?

5. Finally, I'm cheating on the last one, and giving love to my past at the old Quid Hoc Est? This was the blog my two roommates and I, and Joe and his two roommates (yes, all six of us) started during our first semester at college. We've gone many ways since this blog (two of us are now married to another two of us, too) but I like going back to the earliest of earlies and reading from time to time. They are the dearest of friends, are memories.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Briefest Possible Outline of My Day

Wake; drink juice; check news; retrieve now awake child; put cat food back on floor for starving pet; change child; shower; dress; change child again; load car; forget books; go back for books; awful base traffic; Morning Colors; awful base traffic; promotion ceremony; DEERS; feed baby; rain; lawn & garden center; "How can you not have hammers in a tool department?"; main exchange; realize forgot cookies; missed phone call; feed baby; rush from main exchange; terrible base traffic; stuck behind a 7-ton; Combat Engineers School Officer's Course Graduation Ceremony; rain; lunch; feed baby; education center; back to house; rain; change baby; change baby again immediately; start laundry; return phone calls; teach 1 lesson; baby bust gums on coffee table; cancel second lesson; blood; crying; less blood; change baby; feed baby; leave soundly sleeping baby in his bed; frog in house; out of trash bags; reschedule lesson; wait for dishwasher to finish.

And yes, writing a blog post just seemed like the thing to do at this juncture. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm on a roll!

Three days in a row with a post! Don't get used to it. I got approved for financial aid for my master's program, so that will hopefully be starting in the fall or late summer, and I added three new students last week. However, comma, I am re-quitting Facebook at the end of the month, so maybe that will keep me on here a little more. Whatev.

I'm posting this morning because I figured it would be good to go over, again, why exactly it is that I (a female, married, straight mother) have a masculine online entity name thing. It helps a little to note that when I created my id ye long time ago, most of the people that I hung around were complete and total music nerds of the first order--the clientele has changed in the last couple years, though, and I find that fewer and fewer of my friends will catch allusions made to Beethoven's one opera. So, if you "got it" the first time and don't need to know, then pray read no further. If you didn't "get it," well here you go:


Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

ACT I. Spain, eighteenth century. In a prison, Marzelline, daughter of the jailer, Rocco, rejects the attentions of her father's assistant, Jacquino, who hopes to marry her. Her heart is set instead on the new errand boy, Fidelio. The latter, a hardworking lad, arrives with provisions and dispatches and is distressed by Marzelline's interest in him, especially since it has the blessing of Rocco. Fidelio is in fact Leonore, a noblewoman of Seville who has come to the jail disguised as a boy to find her husband, Florestan, a political prisoner languishing somewhere in chains. When Rocco mentions a man lying near death in the vaults below, Leonore, suspecting it might be Florestan, begs Rocco to ; ha take her on his rounds. He agrees, though the governor of the prison, Don Pizarro, allows only Rocco in the lower levels of the dungeon.

As soldiers assemble in the courtyard, Pizarro learns from the dispatches brought to him that Don Fernando, minister of state, is on his way to inspect the fortress. At this news the governor resolves to kill Florestan, his enemy, without delay and orders Rocco to dig a grave for the victim in the dungeon. Leonore, overhearing his plan, realizes Pizarro's evil nature and the plight of his victim. After praying for strength to save her husband and keep up hope, she again begs Rocco to let her accompany him to the condemned man's cell - and also to allow the other prisoners a few moments of air in the courtyard. The gasping men relish their glimpse of freedom but are ordered back by Pizarro, who hurries Rocco off to dig Florestan's grave. With apprehension, Leonore follows him into the dungeon.

ACT II. In one of the lowest cells of the prison, Florestan dreams he sees Leonore arrive to free him. But his vision turns to despair, and he sinks down exhausted. Rocco and Leonore arrive and begin digging the grave. Florestan awakens, not recognizing his wife, and Leonore almost loses her composure at the familiar sound of his voice. Florestan moves the jailer to offer him a drink, and Leonore gives him a bit of bread, urging him not to lose faith. Rocco then blows on his whistle to signal Pizarro that all is ready. The governor advances with dagger drawn to strike, but Leonore stops him with a pistol. At this moment a trumpet sounds from the battlements: Don Fernando has arrived. Rocco leads Pizarro out to meet him as Leonore and Florestan rejoice in each other's arms.

In the prison courtyard, Don Fernando proclaims justice for all. He is amazed when Rocco brings his friend Florestan before him and relates the details of Leonore's heroism. Pizarro is arrested, and Leonore herself removes Florestan's chains. The other prisoners too are freed, and the crowd hails Leonore. (taken wholesale and without permission from the Met)

Monday, May 24, 2010


Not only do I steal other people's ideas, I steal the ideas of even other people from some third party's blog. Thus, I present: a book review from a failed blog that I'm euthanizing today.

Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives

David Gettman
1987, St. Martin's Press

Essentially, the book is everything that the average seller summary claims: a summary of the Montessori Method in it's most basic and easy-to-understand form. I've always liked Montessori, since her philosophy about life is compatible with my own. She was Roman Catholic, and few of the bizarre ideas which modern philosophy and psychology have brought to the educational table are found in her work. Besides all that, it works. I know Montessori kids.

Gettman takes his own personal experience and study with the method and creates a two part book. The beginning is simply an overview of Montessori theory itself. He details the life and studies Maria Montessori completed, and takes her findings as the basis for a "worldview" on early childhood education. Everything about Montessori is, essentially, about holistic something--learning, teaching, thinking, developing--and Gettman is a sincere and devoted subscriber to those ideals and theories.

The second half of the book is divided among the five Montessori learning modules, with each section containing a good sampling of traditional Montessori "work", along with Gettman's very helpful instructions on how to carry out each learning project. I appreciated, more than anything else, his enthusiasm about the method. One often encounters Montessori teachers who are extremely stuffy about the method, and who would never dream of suggesting that anyone but a fully qualified instructor should even attempt to impart Montessori lessons to a child. Gettman has no such delusions of grandeur, but rather strives to convey to the reader that they, too, can give their child or children a valuable exposure to Maria Montessori's carefully-crafted educational system. Speaking from the homeschooling "dark ages" of the 1980s, to hear his voice telling parents to take the reins into their own hands is a surprising thing.

Best part: detailed instructions on creating Montessori materials, environment, and on how to carry out a wide variety of the "classic" Montessori activities

My take away: Helping a child develop is a full-time job, but not one that requires your mouth to be moving or your hands to be interfering. The time that a child spends simply imitating your initial, careful, precise behavior is the time you don't realize he's benefiting from.

Funny thought: Reading this book and seeing how a poor demonstration of technique leads to bad technique in a child, it's no wonder that today's children are unable to properly use the English language. The only time they [might] hear it spoken with precision is in the classroom, meanwhile they've already spend four or five years of their life immersed in an environment of dropped consonants and twangy vowels.

In Real Time

I took this photo, literally, a minute ago. The webcam is an awesome and powerful entity. My child is part Mynock (google it, people--it's a Star Wars thing) and so the kitchen benches are now playing defense for the University of Keep the Baby Out of the Power Cords. I'm behind the line and he wants to come over here. I do not comply with the repeated grunts of request, and so he stays mad at me. However, since the strong association of Gramma comes with the sight of the webcam, I got a huge smile from him when I pulled it out, even though the standard face from beyond the defensive line is, well, "pissed," to use a local expression.

Forgot to mention yesterday that I "discovered" (Thank you, Michael!! I love you, man!) Grooveshark on Friday. Oooooooh lah . I love it. You should discover it, too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Again. So, no spouse at home means an extra day all to myself. Yuk.

We went to the airshow yesterday, all of us with my dad and my brother. It was pretty good fun, despite my brining home a souvenier pair of very sunburnt calves and us walking nearly three [needless] miles to find the car because I took us into the wrong parking lot. The shows were good, my little boy was very brave and didn't mind any of the loudest noises, though the effect of prop-driven aircraft doing performance maneuvers was not his cup of tea. Very hot, very sunny, very much the stuff of my memories growing up. :) During the Blue Angels show, part of the announcer's bit is detailing what aircraft the team has flown over the years--this is their 24th season flying the F-18, which is the longest they've flown any single aircraft since they began in the 1940s.

My dad turned to me and said, "Wow! Jen, we took you to one of the first shows during their first season flying the F-18. It was such a big deal!" Terriffic. I'm like, about 85 in airplane years.

Also this weekend, I'm broadcasting from my "home base" once again. Dad brought his bag of tricks and nuked the hard drive on the desktop ("my" computer), brought it back to life, and has it all functioning again. It's nice to have my electronic space back, though I won't keep it for much longer, I don't think. Despite being new and clean, I think I want something smaller, with fewer cords for my baby to go after.

Child is awake. Goodbye.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Listening to Musak

Have I whined on here about how all I ever do is wait for stuff? ALL I ever do is wait for stuff. (Right now, for example, I'm waiting for a student to come.)

Waiting for financial aid to call me back, waiting for it to be a mealtime so I can eat (sooo darn hungry, all the time), waiting for it to be tomorrow so my spouse will be here, waiting for after 1700 so I can call my dad and see if he's coming this weekend, waiting until I feel like it so I can start practicing Mass music, waiting to register for class, waiting for the baby to talk, waiting for a payraise, waiting for the water to boil, waiting for this duty station to be over, waiting for the deployment to begin, waiting for the deployment to end. And so on. (Obviously my priorities are not in order. Never mind that.) It's like I'm on hold or something. Listening to elevator music, which isn't particularly good but it's better than nothing at all.

I'd like to be doing something, other than sitting at the computer and trying to see through the [very stubborn] cat's [opaque] body. I'd like to be doing many things, but I don't feel like doing any of them. The only stuff I'm motivated to do, I can't do yet because I have to wait. Something tells me that this is my problem, and not the space-time continuum's problem. But there you have it.

I'm waiting for the school year to end so I can add these four new students and shift the afternoon schedule earlier in the day so I don't have to be teaching at 5pm. I'm waiting for a Netflix movie. I'm waiting for tomorrow's mail to see if my gift card is in it. I'm waiting till I save up my own money to buy a notebook because I swore the only way I'd do it (because I really don't need it) was if I saved my own monies and didn't use "the family" monies.

Dude. I got issues, and having the cat's behind in my face while typing is definitely not the most significant of the's just the one that's getting me off here at the moment. If she wasn't so cute, I'd yell and she'd leave for good, but a purring and happy little kitten who wants to give you head butts and loveys is a hard animal to yell at.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

Well, he learned to crawl on Friday night, with Uncle B and Aunt M's help. They were both (posh, sophisticated NYCers that they are) down on their hands and knees bribing him with a DVD and elaborately demonstrating proper crawl technique.

It worked. Nothing in my house is safe, including me.

We've reached that interesting stage, too, where my baby is old enough that people are now giving me advice not just on how to care for him (much wanted and needed) but also how to raise him (also possibly needed but not wanted quite so much). My poor grandmothers, bless the dears, would be appalled at some of the hippie methods I have adopted in the raising department--so I don't spend a lot of time telling them that the baby sleeps in my bed. As does the cat, sometimes. And I let my baby "walk" if he wants to, even though they say it will give him bowed legs. Oh well.

Aside from the wee babby, not much going on this week. I was supposed to go up to VA and be present as someone's Confirmation sponsor, but I've been unable for a week to shake this really unpleasant and foreboding feeling about making the trip. This is unlike me. It isn't really that far, there are all these reasons to go, etc etc etc. But I don't feel peaceful about it. The family told me under no circumstances to feel obligated to make the trip if I was uncomfortable. I think I've decided pretty much not to go, but I have until tomorrow lunch to make a final decision. Never been so wishy-washy about things like this before. Heck, I traveled 18,000 miles last summer.

Still, never disobey the icky stomach feeling. It could save your life.

Friday, May 07, 2010

First Friday

Hmm. Lots of things going on this week and last week. Besides poor Snug, I had Joseph down with strep throat, and V down with extreme post-vaccination crankiness. This week, my mom and sister had a very close call with a kitchen fire, so there's been all the long-distance participation in the aftermath of that. Cleaning of curtains, cleaning of dishes, solemn burial of stove and coffeepot, and of course much email of pictures so I can really get the full experience. They've been pretty brave about it all...not fun to come upstairs and find that, rather than minding its own business, the handle of the teakettle decided to melt itself into a stupor, touch the burner, and go all roman candle on everybody.
This week, less of interest. The piano student scene underwent some dramatic shiftage, which ended me with an almost identical schedule but two students PCSed and two new ones on the roster. Interesting. I double booked two of them, though, for next week so I have to make a phone call. Which I am putting off. I am not a good businesswoman.

Also this week, the "sinful side" of my baby, which Fr. Logan assured me at Easter would come out much sooner than I expected, is showing itself. Mr. Baby now knows that he can resist things being taken away, that he can cry or scream if I give him something he doesn't want (as an exchange for the dangerous/dirty/otherwise inappropriate item I took away), he can throw things, and that he generally can have an influence on his surrounding. It does not bode well for the coming 16 years or so. I'm already worn out and I opened the last can of Patience this morning.

But then, occasionally, he sleeps.