Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Unconventional Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  Does it feel to anyone else like they've been wishing people that for 2 weeks now?  I tell you, we sure know how to drag out a holiday.

Tomorrow we are going to my parents for the holiday.  The original plan was turkey breast, sweet potatoes, stuffing, gravy, pumpkin pie, all the usual stuff.  Then late last week my mom was diagnosed with gallstones.  She needs to have surgery for it, but it won't be until December.  In the meantime, to avoid a flare-up which would require emergency surgery she is avoiding all fatty foods.  Alcohol too, but she doesn't drink anyway.  She's on a very limited diet and due to not pleasant symptoms is avoiding most foods.  We let her decide what we'd all eat, if anything.  After all, the holiday should be about getting together with friends and family, not what is on the menu.  I offered to make soup or something light here, but she didn't want to travel and really didn't want to cook.

It has been decided to get subs from Blimpie's.  There's a Blimpie's in the 24-hour Walmart near their house.  She can get a sub and pick out from what she does want to try, and as she put it my dad will happily have anything she decides to pass on.  I have to say, we're all rather excited about the menu.  My dad and Mr. Incredible will go into town to get it.  We never eat at Blimpie's.  Subway is our usual go to sandwich place, but they are all closed.  Well, we think they are.  I called a few that were definitely closed.  Then I called the one that is in between our two towns, and the brain trust that answered the phone said they didn't have the schedule posted yet.  This was on Tuesday.  I said, Thanksgiving is in 2 days, you don't know if you'll be open or not?  She was sorry but she didn't know, and I could call back that morning if I wanted.  Yeah, that won't be happening.  Blimpie's could tell us they'd be open from 9-4, then reopening at 8:30 that night. 

So while yes, it is terrible that the Blimpie's people won't be home with their families tomorrow, my family really appreciates that they will be working.  They are giving us an option that keeps my mom from feeling guilty that she's depriving us all of a Thanksgiving dinner.  And gives the rest of us peace of mind that mom won't overdo it trying to cook for us.  Clean up will be a snap.  And we'll get an Unconventional Thanksgiving to remember.

By the way, I voted for buttered toast, popcorn, jelly beans, and something that looks like cheese doodles (but we can't ever decide from the animation).  But that lost out.  The beagle and little yellow bird will have to serve dinner in a different backyard.

Whatever is on your menu, I hope you have as much fun and laughter as I expect we will!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making Decisions

The other night I realized I'm putting too much pressure on Violet to decide on her own what to do about all her extra curricular activities, what to keep and what to drop.  She hates making decisions, especially if she thinks it will hurt the feelings of others.  So I told her she has complete veto power, but that I'm deciding for her.  She was so relieved.  A couple of days later I told Mr. Incredible what I was doing.  I thought he was going to object.  Which is why I didn't tell him at first.  But he agreed as long as the decisions were what she was going to want.  Which they are.  And she can say no.

First I told her to keep art class.  She loves her art instructor and the kids in her class.  She loves art.  She is never so animated after an activity as she is after art.  She talks about what they are doing in class, what they talk about, what she said in class, what other kids say, what the instructor says.  She is absolutely bubbling over!  It is a keeper.

Also, she's keeping Volunteens at the library.  It is the same thing afterwards, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.  And she talks during it.  She doesn't talk in groups.  But with both of these activities she is opening up.  She likes the kids in Volunteens.  She doesn't know them well, but she likes them.  This one stays.

Juliettes at our house will continue, it wasn't up for debate.  We've committed to the other families to go through May at least.  And we all love that group. We've been with most of those girls for 7 years now! 

Homeschool Girls Club where the do Girl Scout activities is out.  She has never, in the year and a half with this group, been half as excited after a meeting as she is with art and the library.  Many times she's in tears or fighting them off.  I think she likes the girls, but just not in the full group setting. She's uncomfortable with the group.  They meet weekly, for an hour and a half and it is a half an hour away from our house.  That translates to 10 hours a month for a group she is lukewarm about at best.  I've been saying weekly is too much for us, but the other mom doesn't want to reduce it.  We're done with them.  Thank you very much, we'll see you around the homeschool scene.  (I still have to tell the mom.  I'm kind of dreading it.  I'll take any advice you have to offer, I don't break up well.  I'm thinking we'll just miss most of the meetings (or all) between now and Christmas and then say we won't return for next year.) 

As they say in politics, tennis is too close to call.  She's had 3 out of 7 lessons.  She likes it.  But she isn't as enthusiastic about it as art and the library.  I said she should go to the other 4 lessons, then we'll decide.  There is also a tennis/swim class at the same place on another day.  She could do that.  45 minute tennis lesson and 45 minute swim lesson.  She's a great swimmer, but she could always work on her endurance and swim strokes during the swim part.  It is only $3 more per week for that class.  I'm thinking maybe another 7 week session or two before stopping lessons.  Maybe with swimming, maybe not.  The polls don't close on that one for a while yet.

Tomorrow we are going to check out the karate class.  I think I said before that my dad is going with us, and has offered to pay for at least the first month of lessons if she wants to do it.  I'm strongly considering waiting until March or even summer for starting it, if it does look to be a good fit.  I had reservations about adding anything, especially one that will require driving distances in the winter.  But then late last week my mom learned she needs to have surgery for gallstones.  They will have out of pocket expenses for that, no matter what insurance does and doesn't cover.  So I mentioned to her to let my dad know we may postpone lessons to give our schedule a chance to settle down but I hope he won't be disappointed if she doesn't start right away.  I really want to wait to add anything new.  It just has the added benefit of not overloading them with expenses at this time either.

So there you have it.  I haven't gotten a single veto.  I can make the tough decisions so she doesn't have to "disappoint" her friends.  I'm all for kid-led activities.  But sometimes you gotta be the mom.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Busiest Week

This past week was by far the busiest we've had all semester.  We had at least one thing everyday, most days two or more things.  We had the Juliettes here on Monday.  We made black bean and chick pea wraps.  They are high in antioxidants and we were learning which food had those.  We decorated our boxes for the Thanksgiving donations and sorted our canned and boxed foods for them.  On Tuesday, Violet's best friend, Butterfly, came over and they made cookies with a twist.  The twist was they mixed, matched and experimented with add-ins such as chocolate chips, cocoanut, mini marshmallows, pecans and M&M's.  The results were delicious.

On Wednesday Violet had tennis.  The other girls she knows weren't there.  She didn't seem to mind.  That night I had to go to the Girl Scout leader meeting to get the info on the Girl Scout cookie sales.  I got to catch up with my mentor and see a few old friends.  It was nice, I hadn't been to a meeting in 2 years.  I may go to a few more, we'll see.  It is nice not "having" to go.

On Thursday was a tour of a local coffee shop where we learned about coffee production, importation, roasting and brewing.  The owner did a fabulous job.  I hope the mom who set it up coordinates a thank you card for him.  (Whenever I do a tour I make an oversized card and get everyone to sign it, and encourage the girls to decorate as well.  Sorry, I won't do it for someone else's tour.)  On the way home we picked up the candy and nuts from the Fall Product Sale, and went to the grocery store.

Friday was the Golden Dragon Acrobats at our local theater for the school day performance.  They were AMAZING!  I think gravity must have been turned off because there was no way under the laws of physics that they could have done what they did.  Friday night I had to go out to deliver the Thanksgiving boxes to the food pantry.

Tired yet?  We're not done.  Take a quick catnap in the car if you want.  Art class is Saturday morning.  I went to Starbucks and had a cup of their Christmas roast.  No, I didn't go to the independent coffee place that gave us the tour.  It was a bit farther away.  Okay, not unreasonably far away, but gosh darn, I was getting tired of driving.

Our plan was to meet Mr. Incredible after art class and go to lunch at the Chinese place right around the corner from his office.  He called and said we needed a new plan, they don't open until dinnertime on Saturdays.  Oops!  Our friends' Italian restaurant, which is also right by his office, recently stopped serving lunch too!  Bummer.  So we picked up Wendy's and had a picnic in his office.  You see, we were going around the other corner from his office to the movies to see Wreck-It Ralph.  Great flick, we loved it!

Saturday night I finished up work for the week.  I am off until after Thanksgiving weekend.  It stunk to have to work so much on Saturday before I could hang it up, but honestly with all our outings I hadn't logged many hours.  Then this morning, Violet and I drove to my boss' house and delivered her candy and nut order, plus one to take to the office.  But mainly we dropped off my work computer to go in to the IT department for some updates while I'm off.  On Wednesday when she's working from home we'll go back and get it.  Kind of a pain, but much less than having to take it to the office myself.  The IT guy said one of the updates takes 8 hours.  He usually starts it in the afternoon and finishes it the next morning.  So this worked really well.

Finally, to reward ourselves for a busy week, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts and bought a dozen to bring home, and coffee for me and hot chocolate for Violet. 

We're not having another week like that again anytime soon.  That was nuts! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


This morning was art class.  Violet had a good time and was talking up a storm about things the different kids said and so on.  Mr. Incredible had offered to start taking her when I have to go to the office on Saturdays, if she wanted to stay in it.  I told her and I think she might take him up on it.  Seems like she mainly wanted to drop art if she had to switch to an evening class.  I'm glad she might keep it up.  She's really good.  Her art teacher is terrific.  And I haven't heard her talk so excitedly about a group since, well since Volunteens on Thursday!  I think tennis is still history.

I went to Starbucks during art class.  I think Mr. I likes of idea of getting to go there himself while she's in class.  It is such a nice treat.  Coffee, quiet time, wifi, it doesn't get much better than that.  Well, it would be better if I could be in slippers and sweatpants instead of proper shoes and clothes, but those pesky public health regulations don't really support that.

I've cleaned the house and tomorrow will get things set up for our Juliette meeting.  We're making our Thanksgiving box to donate to the local food pantry.  The Girl Scouts in our area do it every year.  And we're going to learn about antioxidants and make a black bean and chick pea pita pocket which is high in antioxidants.  Except ours will be in whole wheat tortillas instead of a pita because we couldn't find pitas at Walmart.  The Juniors are earning the old Looking My Best badge and the new Simple Meals, the Cadettes are earning Eating for Beauty.  We'll also talk about the importance of sleep for looking good.  And we'll list some foods high in fat, sugar and salt and pick one to make at the next meeting, but healthier.  It should be busy and fun.

I have volunteered to coordinate all the cookie sales for Juliettes in our service unit.  I am such a control freak.  I think I'll be happier doing the extra work in order to have more of a say in how they work.  Remind me of that this winter!

We've had super warm weather today and yesterday.  It is supposed to stay the same tomorrow, then turn cold and maybe even snow! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Like the new look?

After my last post I was playing around with Blogger and decided to give Freakmom's Space a new coat of paint.  What do you think?  I kinda like it.  It fits me.

Let's see, yesterday was Volunteens.  Violet REALLY likes it.  On the way home she said she likes it better than the girls' club group she's in (that's the "extra" Girl Scout group she goes to).  She signed up for 2 times to go decorate the library.  One was to decorate for Christmas/winter holidays.  We're not 100% sure what the other decorating will be.  We think it is to do a bulletin board for the winter reading program.  We do know the day and time she's supposed to be there.  At least we have that down.

The kids worked on their storytime.  They chose a theme of "fish".  She said she had fun picking out books and they are doing a craft of fish in a fish bowl.  I think it is a paper craft, I'm not sure.  I'll try to get photos and post.  It isn't until the end of December though, so it will be awhile.  Violet isn't reading stories.  She wasn't comfortable with it at all.  But I'm so thrilled she's going and participating and having fun!

Today I called the karate studio we're thinking of having her join.  I spoke with one of the owners.  He was thrilled when I said who my dad was.  My dad learned from the same grand master as this guy did and Dad had his own studio for years.  Dad, Violet and I are going to the studio to watch a class, and then Violet will get to try a free class.  I'm going to try to find a time to get over there for her to sneak in and watch for a few minutes before then.  Their class dates directly overlap with activities we already have.  Unless we go later in the evening, and I'd rather not.  So I think Violet's pretty much made up her mind that if she likes the looks of karate, tennis is history after this session.  She'll know the basics and will be able to goof around in the park on a tennis court with friends.  That was her main goal.  I think she's also going to take a semester off from art and pick that up again late spring or summer. 

I'm glad things are falling into place slowly.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I was busy with phone calls for work today.  I had mixed feelings, I had to leave the last call early, right when they finally started involving me with questions, etc.  I felt bad that I had to leave, not helping my career or position any.  But, they also started the meeting over a half an hour late.  Not my fault, and they knew ahead of time what time I had to leave.  Oh well, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

This was week 2 of tennis.  Three of Violet's friends were in class this week, none of them had made it last week.  Violet didn't mind that she had the chance last week to learn her way around last week without them there.  She did say the class had about twice as many people this week as last, and she liked it smaller.  She's got 5 weeks left.  I'm not pushing her to take another session or to quit after that.  It is only 5 minutes from our house, which is awesome.  But it does take up a precious time slot and we could funnel the money to something else. 

Tomorrow is Volunteens at the library.  They will be planning the children's storytime session they are putting on during Christmas break.  I'll take a book or my computer and hangout while she's there.  Another one that is only 5 minutes from home.  But this one I do want to see her continue, at least for a while.

The election is over.  Some of my candidates won.  Some lost.  Now comes the waiting to see what actually happens.  But these are politicians we're talking about, nothing will happen.  The economy will still be in the dumpster.  The healthcare system will still suck.  There won't be enough good jobs.  Roads will either be in horrible disrepair or hopelessly blocked off due to construction.  And no one elected will give a rat's ass about me or my family or my concerns, no matter what they say.

Not that I'm bitter or cynical or anything.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lots to do

Busy day today.  We spent the morning running around.  I wanted to go vote (so I can reserve my right to complain).  Violet wanted to buy some Christmas material to make some pillow cases, and I wanted to get the material while it was on sale at JoAnn.  We needed groceries and gas, and needed to pick up some holds at the library.  While we were out and about, in mixed with the rain...snowflakes!  Yikes!  What is up with that?!

I had some work to do.  The boss was back today, I was very happy about that.  Had a short phone call meeting with her.  All is good.  Or least the same as always. 

We were busy with school work.  Violet is kicking math's ass these days.  She's doing Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra and is out of the percents, fractions, etc. stuff and into the real beginning algebra stuff.  She has a brain that works well with that.  She can solve those equations in her head with amazing speed.  Thank goodness, she's struggled with the arithmetic topics.  She's enjoying it much more.

About 4:00 we wrapped things up and played a round of Phase 10.  We love that game.  We don't play 100% by the published rules.  We've altered a couple of things so that they make better sense to us.  For instance, even if you don't phase in a round, you still move on to the next phase in the next hand.  I think we need to get out the rules and learn to play Rummy.  I used to play, but I don't remember how any more.  Violet is really good at Phase 10, so I think she'd enjoy it.

Mr. Incredible is watching election results.  I drift through every once in a while and make fun of the fact that they can declare winners with only 2% of the vote in.  I did peek at the local newspaper's website and I think I'm going to be disappointed with the local elections.  Well, I'd be disappointed if I didn't fully expect my picks to lose.  I don't vote with the majority here in my county.

Tomorrow I have a few phone calls for work, so Violet will get some time off.  Then she has tennis in the afternoon.  Always on the go!

Monday, November 5, 2012


Yes, tomorrow is finally the election.  I know it won't all be over after that, but once the polls close at least part of the madness will end.  There will be weeks, months, years of bickering to come.  But at least by then people will stop trying to tell me how to vote.  Yes, I can make up my own mind.  Crazy, huh?

I have been avoiding some homeschool forums for a few weeks.  I can't take the bickering.  Sorry, no matter how you try to spin it, in my opinion it isn't "educational" discussion, it is soap box fillabustering.  Except I don't have to listen.  I can click to another website.  Or even better, pick up a book and read.

I've been reading So Big by Edna Ferber.  She won a Pulitzer Prize for it.  I read it a long time ago in high school.  I am loving it now.  I think her books are definitely better to read when you are older.  I loved her writing then.  But now I get so much more of it.  If you loved Edna Ferber but haven't read her work lately, I'd highly recommend picking one up again.  She is a master.  If you ask me.  Which you didn't, but this is my blog. 

The weekend was pretty uneventful.  Art class for Violet, turned in Fall Product Sales orders, cleaning, reading, relaxing.  A nice time.  I didn't work at all, even better!  I am pretty caught up on things so I've been coasting along quietly.  The boss has been on vacation and gets back tomorrow.  Things will pick up when she's back.  But I am so glad she's returning.  Bad things happen when she's gone for too long.  Some weird things happened last week.  I'm glad she's coming back before they can turn from weird to bad. 

So happy election day everyone!  Just think, soon we'll be able to answer the phone again!!  (Could this possibly be what our Founding Fathers had in mind?  I keep picturing James Madison rolling in his grave.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tomorrow: A Day Off

Finally, tomorrow we don't have to go anywhere!  I love those days.  And so does Violet.  I think that is another sign we have too many activities this year.

Today was the field trip to the photography studio.  It was fantastic!  She showed us all around.  Did some photos.  Demonstrated some lighting techniques.  Showed us what she does in touch up and computer artistic enhancement.  We learned a lot and had fun.

We've been talking that Violet should take karate or self-defense starting after the first of the year.  My dad is a former karate instructor and had his own studio while I was growing up.  I took classes, of course.  It was really good for me.  I should have been more serious about it, but my parents wanted to be sure not to push me into it.  A little gentle shove would have helped.  Or maybe they were right and that same gentle shove could have been disastrous.  Parents never know.  We do what we can.

Anyway, I think Violet does want to give it a try.  My parents have offered to pay for it if she wants to try it out.  But looking at the schedule something else will have to go.  So in December, we'll sit down and take a hard look at activities.  Violet knows this and is happy to do it.  I've told her she doesn't have to give anything up, but if she does decide to add something, something will need to go just to fit in all in and save our sanity.  She's in agreement.  Like I said, she loves the rare days home and wouldn't mind a few more.  The only thing that can't go is the Juliette group that meets at our house.  We've committed to the girls for the full school year.  And I think it is one of Violet's favorite activities.  I'd really like to see her continue with the volunteer group at the library.  I think that has potential to be really, really good for her.  I think she likes it a lot too.  So that leaves the other Cadette group, art lessons, and tennis. 

We'll have to wait and see. And we all know how good I am at that!  I wanted to go ahead and schedule a photo shoot for high school graduation photos, in four and a half years!  You know, get it on the calendar now while it is fresh in our minds. 

Yes I have a problem. 

Hello, my name is Freakmom and I am a compulsive planner.