Archive for July 2008

Summer is winding down…..isn’t it?

July 30, 2008

I went in to school today for a meeting about Summer Reading Club – which I volunteered to help out with. It begins next week and I will be absent. Friday morning – bright and early – we are headed for Boston…
determined to have a great time.

I have never been so anal about anything in my entire life. Our ‘vacations’ are usually limited to a weekend of camping or running from one game to the other for a soccer tournament. There have been three weekend trips to Chicago and trips out of town to visit family but this is the first BIG trip to somewhere new. By ourselves. This time we have hotel rooms reserved – and PAID for…tickets to a Red Sox game at Fenway… reservations for the Princess and I to join a whale watch expedition….and Boston Go Cards guaranteed to get us into all the fun sights. We have list after list of the free stuff we wanna do too. Before we get there though, we are stopping at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. And we are diverting our trip home to include a swing through Gettysburg National Park. We are going to have a GREAT time dammit. And I haven’t even packed. I am packing for four because I am the only one in the family able to color coordinate things. REALLY. Ask ANYONE. It’s my fatal flaw.

But BEFORE we go, tomorrow we have reservations for 15-17 immediate family members at a restaurant to celebrate HRH and his twin’s birthday…Thursday the Prince ‘graduates’ from the Youth Police Academy…and right now the Princess is off and running on a brand spanking new motocross bike…10 days shy of her 13th birthday. We are going to be on the road for that momentous day so we gave in and she got it early. Hey wait a minute. Didn’t she flip over the handle bars of a motocross bike and land on her back at ‘the best camp ever’?? With the bike on TOP of her?? How did she sneak that one by us??? Sheesh. I need Tylenol.

The week after our return are four – count ’em FOUR – days of high school soccer team tryouts for the Prince and that is followed by a week of soccer conditioning camp for the Princess. I will be putting in my time with Summer Reading Club for two weeks. Then I think there is a long weekend before I have to report for staff development training. Heh. WHY does all of this stuff have to happen at once??? I think I need a vacation from summer vacation. When does school start again??


July 28, 2008

I thought I had been thoroughly spoiled for pizza. Sorry Dominos, Pizza Hut, Little Ceasars, Jets and Home Town Pizza. Stucci’s has it all over you. That’s a little ice cream shop in town with a pizza take out businees on the side…literally. They have a little personal Chicago style pizza that will knock your socks off. Tasty, full of just the right amount and mix of meat and cheese….yum. Don’t get it much though ’cause it’s a little out of our way. And then I was web crawling over to one of my favorite blogs – The Pioneer Woman – and she posted pictures of a pizza baking experiment. Dang if it didn’t make me hungry to try it. I mean, if she can cook like this for her Marlboro Man and Little Punks….then so can I! And I love my little vegetarian wannabe Princess more than usual on some days. She was totally game to try something new with me. Had to make two pizzas though. Prince and HRH were not so eager to give up their tomato based sauce from a jar. Heh. We started with a premade pizza crust. It was really good but I think I will be experimenting with my own crust recipe next time. Might be a little softer. Brushed that sucker with a little EVOO. Thank you Rachel Ray!! I feel really cool when I say ‘EVOO’……and feel even cooler that I even have ‘extra virgin olive oil’ in my kitchen.
Now three people near and dear to me just had to tell me that this stuff looks like ‘crap’. It smelled delicious. Pesto Sauce. Straight from a jar. Gonna try the fresh made stuff next time. Spread it all around….. Fresh mozarella cheese slices. COVER the pesto sauce. HIDE that ‘crap!’ And yes….I love my cheese! Yum….
Veggies……tried to get the princess to try some fresh mushrooms but we like the soggy ones from the can. Used thin slices of Roma tomatos, thin shards of green pepper and onion this time around.
Add some grated Parmesan to top it off…. And bake…..according to the crust package directions.

Lions and tigers and bears….oh MY! What a difference it makes not to have a tomato based sauce. It’s more….exciting. Smells even better. Yum. And made even MORE special with a brownie sundae chaser. You see, when the Prince saw his sister baking and wanted in on the action, I handed him the brownie mix I keep on hand for those ‘I’m so bored’ summer moments. He is 14, after all. He can read the directions on a box. As for me….I like the pictures. Heh.


July 25, 2008

Two days ago they couldn’t wait to show me the compressions around their wrists from being hand cuffed. There was all kinds of talk about ‘pressure points’ and ‘take down methods’ on the way home. When I picked them up yesterday there were six – no maybe eight – police cars in the parking lot….lights a’flashing. There were 41 7th and 8th graders in their navy blue tees/shorts uniform swarming over the cars, rotating through various traffic stop scenarios. WAY cool. Next week they get to drive through the vehicle training field in golf carts, will do a crime scene investigation and learn to brush for finger prints, travel with the marine unit on a local lake and have a ‘graduation’ ceremony. THIS was the summer activity that was designed with MY kid in mind.

My kid who was a Three Musketeers fanatic at 5 and was D’Artagnian for Halloween that year. My kid who – as a first grader – insisted that his US Marshal costume would NOT be complete without a real bullet proof vest….something accomplished with a piece of blue quilted material, bias tape and ‘magic’ stuff inside that was ‘guaranteed to stop bullets.’ He has wanted to be a police officer for as long as I can remember. He’s lost that goal in recent years. In 5th grade he decided that society would be better served if he were a professional soccer player and sports writer. As an 8th grader he had lost that vision entirely. Doesn’t know what he wants to be. But hopefully this first ever Youth Police Academy in our community will get him back on track toward SOMEthing.

Lordy but I would HATE to be a kid in this day and age trying to find their way. So many things to choose from. So many things to block the way. I just hope he is happy with whatever he does. Oh, and that he will be able to give his old Mom a break when she is caught going too fast down some obscure dirt road…which is where I tend to get MY speeding tickets. Heh.

Her Very First Concert

July 18, 2008

Just got back from taking our Princess to her very first concert. The Prince would have been along but we had dropped him off at soccer camp earlier in the day. We went to the DTE Energy Theater – which will forever be ‘Pine Knob’ to me – and had an absolute blast. We were to see Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith. Both are esteemed Christian singers with quite a resume as song writers and award winners as well. It is very interesting to attend a concert that begins with prayer….and is beleaguered with one power outage after another. I thought the event would be a bit heart wrenching and instead we got to see an awesome entertainer who tried his hardest to put on a show. His first song, the one he said resonated through his head and heart on May 21st when his family lost it’s youngest member to a devastating accident – ‘Blessed Be Your Name’, was the only song he managed to finish before the theater blew a fuse. LOL He laughed a little, prayed a little, danced a little, read the Bible an little and generally kept trying again and again. (There were power outages in surrounding areas that caused the problem.) What a guy! Such courage. Such tenacity. Such a sense of humor!! He declared that ‘electrical power may be iffy but the power of God never goes out.’ And my favorite part was during his second attempt to sing. When the power quit again, his son Will, who was playing the drums, kept wailing away not realizing that his Dad had stopped singing and the other instruments had ceased playing. SCC rolled his eyes at the audience, turned to Will and signaled him to CUT. Very cute. The crowd was patient as lights flickered and they tried one thing after another. At one point we could hear a huge section of the lawn seat patrons singing their own songs. In the end, Michael W. Smith joined Steven Curtis Chapman on stage for a short sing along with the audience, a keyboard, an acoustic guitar and a single spotlight. It was a beautiful ending to what could have been a disappointing evening. I think they both underestimate their talent and their audience. I could have listened to another hour with just the two of them, the keyboard, the acoustic guitar and the audience. Lovely. So. Very. Lovely.

The Princess declared drummer Will and his guitar playing big brother, Caleb, to be ‘hotties’ (and I am still telling myself that she has NO idea what that means yet…please!), went to the bathroom 15 times (okay, so I am exaggerating…maybe), ate her way through a tub of popcorn and a package of candied almonds, drank her way through a bottle of water, a lemonade, a Pepsi and a blue raspberry Icee, and bought a glow in the dark necklace. She also delighted in catching the fireflies that were flitting about in the dark as we waited. On the way out of the parking lot she declared the concert to be ‘lots of fun’. They are going to try to reschedule so we are supposed to hang on to our tickets…..but I wouldn’t have missed this evening for the world. Do you hear that Steven Curtis Chapman and crew?? You totally ROCK!

The Plan

July 14, 2008

We haven’t seen them in 14 months. My folks were going to be at her house from Florida for the 4th of July. The plan was that I would drive down with the kiddos on the Monday after for a few days. We decided to surprise them and drive down on Sunday instead. We left in the morning around 7:30ish. I called my Mom once when we were in southern Ohip and was told to bring some games ‘tomorrow.’ Hee. I called my sister when we were an hour away from her house and told her about the discussion we were having about the correct exit we needed to take. Hee. All the way down we were trying to come up with a funny way to surprise them. Well, around 9:30 pm, my kiddos stood at my sister’s door in South Carolina with their arms full of the Girl Scout cookies that were ordered last winter and…..

In A Perfect World

July 13, 2008

My children are Asian in a Caucasian world. It sounds like such a simple statement. But it’s really not. People who adopt outside of their own race tend to see a child. Not an Asian child or a Black child or a Hispanic child….or any of the combinations in between. We see just a plain old child whose toes we have kissed and whose hair we have learned to style. We see the child that stresses about oatmeal for breakfast and spelling tests and social studies projects. A child.

And since they don’t really see themselves, as a rule, I think it takes a while for a trans racially adopted child to see that their parents are different from them. My son was blessed to attend a small daycare that encompassed a myriad of shades in it’s clientele for a couple of years. The director/teacher tried very hard to foster acceptance and awareness of differences. She worried that my son wasn’t aware of his. After spending a week or two collecting pictures of faces of many races, she set out having her students compile a mural about themselves. They were to select pictures to glue on their posters beginning with a face that looked like theirs. My son looked them all over carefully and then selected one of an adult Black man. His teacher tried to get him to exchange it for the Asian face but he said ‘no’….that the one he had was correct because he had black hair too.

Because we knew the state of things in his elementary school, we started early ‘desensitizing’ him to looks and stares and questions. We hoped that we were giving him tools to help people understand and to make him proud of being ‘different.’ We must have done our job well enough because it never crossed our minds to do the same with our daughter. The first time she was teased about her ‘Chinese Eyes’, it devestated her….and ME. But that moment was just a blip in her expanding world. She is well liked because she is funny and positive and a gifted athlete. My son has a killer sense of humor, a dry wit and is also a gifted athlete. He is a quiet kind of leader, willing to follow and not really understanding that he has others waiting to follow HIS lead.

We were having dinner in a restaurant in my sister’s small southern town recently. I caught a lot of people – especially older people – watching my children. Some, in the same way that I watched the little girls with huge bows and freckled face boys with big eyes at the buffet bar….and some not the same way at all. People wonder. And so do I. I wonder if it is going to matter that they have been raised a minority in a Caucasian world. I wonder if it’s going to matter that they have really shown no interest in learning more about Korea or Russia. I wonder if it will matter that I never forced it on them. I wonder if their birth origins will matter to the people they want to spend time with… date. I wonder if knowing so little about their biological family will matter healthwise. In a perfect world it won’t. And when we can look at another person and not see the Asian face…the Black face…the Hispanic face….or any of the combinations in between….just a person….it will be a perfect world.