Monthly Archives: March 2010

Button, Plant, Trick and Fly

I’m having a late night, it’s so nice to think I won’t have to be up at 5 and driving across town tomorrow morning! Boy 2 didn’t even wake up until 6 today, it felt so good to stay in bed for an extra hour. This picture shows him noshing on a cucumber (grimacing becuse it is very cold), his new favourite food. He ate an incredible amount today not counting breakfast (the usual orgy of toast slathered with peanut butter and cereal) he ahd for lunch a man-sized portion of chicken parmigiana, potatoes and salad, followed by TWO root beer  floats, popcorn and then he asked me very sweetly for some salsa, but I said no. Boy 1 was with his dad today and is staying there overnight, so it is so peaceful, no fights to sort out. We drove into Bennett and I caught up with some paperwork, including filling out the Census (not as much of a hassle as I thought it might be) and we listened to NPR.

National Public Radio is throwing a 3 minute fiction competition – apparently it takes roughly 3 minutes to read 600 words. The short story muct contain the words button, plant, trick and fly, so I have been frowning for much of this weekend, trying to come up with an idea. It’s so long (15 months) that I wrote anything that wasn’t for a magazine, well, not counting my novel which is coming along at a snail’s pace. But I have done it, I have written a short story and edited half of it into the computer, so will have plenty of time to get it sent off as the deadline isn’t until April 11th. I visited a time and place in history that I find fascinating for this story – Victorian London. I read some of the other stories that were on the NPR website this morning though. They were very good, but all were contemporary, I hope mine isn’t too English.

Ann Patchett (is that her last name? She wrote Bel Canto and Run) was interviewed regarding the competition yesterday and she had some very interesting things to say about the short story. I should read her novels (frankly I’ve just thought they sounded rather dull and haven’t been able to work up enough interest) but current reads are We Need to talk About Kevin and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Must get to bed. 

Today . . .

I keep thinking it must be Sunday, it seems so strange to have a day like this with nothing going on in the middle of the week. We have actually done quite a lot . . . Miss W has a part in the upcoming SMA production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so we have been practising her speech, Aunty Joan called and it had been a while so we were able to catch up, I did some yoga for the first time in ages, and me and Miss W played Cadoo, which we think is way too easy.


Spring Storm

I’m cheating a bit with the picture below – we didn’t have quite this much yesterday, but a foot fell in 4 hours and conditions were truly horrible. As I waited for Boy 2’s bus to arrive I stood by my bedroom window watching the thunder and lightning and hoping against hope that I could make it across town before anything too bad happened. It had been windy all day long and everyone in Bennett was talking about the storm and saying “hurry home!”

Boy 2 finally arrived (new bus driver determined to hold me up by telling me all about his vacation in Scotland) and the drive across town wasn’t too bad, snow falling but not sticking, roads not at all slick. However I had to wait ONE HOUR for Miss W, sitting in the car while the snow grew worse and worse. Boy 2 was hungry and near the end of his rope and so was I. I kept getting out of the car and trying to clean the snow off; by the time I was climbing back into car it would be covered again. But I was finally able to leave with Miss W at 6.30 and we should have been home by 7 but nothing was normal – traffic was crawling along at about 20-30 mph and I could barely make out a thing. On Colfax I was swerving all over the place, and then as the snow bucketed down,  I missed my turn off.

I really think that if I hadn’t had Miss W and Boy 2 with me I’d have pulled over and bawled. Miss W got the GPS plugged in and somehow, somehow, we made it home and it was so late. There had been a power outtage but power had been restored, however the phone was out and so was the Internet. I made orange chicken  and noodles and veggies, poor Boy 2 was desperate to go to bed and so was I.

What a relief today to realize that everything is closed and I don’t have to get anywhere! I have made pancakes for breakfast, and the radio is promising that by this afternoon the sun will start to come out.   

Icy Roads, Gummi Bears and Van Morrison

I really would have loved to stay home today and light a candle, bake some cookies and get comfortable with a good book, but it wasn’t to be. The car was coated with ice which I scraped at to no avail until I switched on the engine and then gradually I could chip away at it. It came off in chunks, like glass. But the roads weren’t too bad, got Miss W into town then doubled back, got Boy 2 on his bus and myself off to work.

After work I had to get to Central Library to get my employee badge and don’t ask me how but I somehow took a wrong turn on a drive I have made so many times. Could have been because the snow was swirling down, or becaue I was worried about how I seemed to be running out of petrol.  Whatever, off I went in completely the wrong direction. I did make it to Central and got my badge, hurried home, made a cup of coffee and had some popcorn (I was starving) and then decided to check my phone messages, there were 8, including 1 from Boy 2’s school. It was from earlier in the day and informed me that he had thrown up and his stomach felt hard – could he have a hernia??? Called the school in a panic, but they said he was on the bus now, on his way home. Grabbed him off the bus. He didn’t seem to have a temperature and his stomach felt normal to me. It is actually a minor miracle Boy 2 doesn’t throw up more often the way he’s always rooting around on the ground and popping things into his mouth, he was eating tree bark earlier this week and he has taken a liking to dry cat food. Gave him his meds and off we went back into town, I was so tired of driving at this point I would have paid someone $100 to go get Miss W for me.

It had been snowing non-stop all day at this point. There was an accident on I-70 and there were 2 police cars and an ambulance clustered around 2 vehicles. Roads were icier than they’d been earlier so I had to be very careful and brown slush all up Chambers, another accident and clogged traffic. I kept glancing back at boy 2 but he seemed quite calm. We were listening to Van Morrison and eating gummi bears. Thank goodness didn’t have to wait for Miss W today.

I feel so grateful to be home. Miss W and Boy 1 are watching the new Hot Wheels movie and I’m just finishing up an edit of a story, this week has been quite productive for me. The deadline for this story is Monday at 12, I’ll be ready to send it before I go to bed. it’s definitely a night for my hot water bottle and I’ve got some good books . . . am still reading the Otto Frank biography plus I’m reading a YA novel called Gone and have also been dipping into Slam by Nick Hornby. I don’t usually go back and forth between books like this, I think one thing I will miss when summer arrives is cosy candlelit nights in bed with good books.    

Conversations with Boy 1

Poor Boy 2 is so sleepy this week, he had to be dragged from bed this morning before our drive across town, then he came home. Usually he has breakfast and a bath before the bus arrives, but today he just grabbed his quilt and crashed on the floor. He was snoring. The bus came early, by which time he was awake but groggy. I realized it was a strange bus and a strange driver, a man with at least half his rear end hanging out of his jeans. Boy 2 got himself situated comfortably and I asked where the seat belt/restraint was. Driver did not have one but says, looking at Boy 2, “well, can you manage without a restraint, huh?” I informed him Boy 2 did not speak and bus driver said, “Yes, but he can understand everything I say.” I was extremely impressed at this deduction as he had only met Boy 2 minutes earlier.

He left to get a seat restraint, Boy 2 dealt with the confusion quite well, I was late for work. Boy 1 has had a very good week indeed, his language arts teacher bought him lunch yesterday and today he ran a mile and received much praise. We have had some interesting conversations. . .

This one was a few days ago and was regarding inappropriate behaviour between teachers and students. There was an item in the news about a female teacher texting pictures of herself to a 15 year old student.

Me : So you see how inappropriate that is?

Boy 1 : (disgusted tone) Yes, it’s awful! Who would want to see a 41 year old woman naked?

And yesterday about a teacher at his school . . .

Boy 1: I don’t like that teacher. She has such an unattractive face.

Me: That’s not a nice thing to say. She can’t help her appearance.

Boy 1 : (seriously) She could have plastic surgery.

veggie omelette

Snow is forecast for tomorrow, everyone except me is keeping fingers crossed that there will be at least a foot. But I have to get somewhere tomorrow, and I’d like to go to work too if possible. 

It’s not St Patrick’s Day until tomorrow

It is such a pleasure to drive around, windows rolled down, warbling along to a CD. I so enjoyed my trip into town this morning that is was hard to buckle down and get any writing down (although I did) but then I went out again. Realized half way into Bennett that I had forgotten the library books I’d planned on returning. I bought some corned beef to go with the cabbage I’ve got for St Patrick’s Day. They are now building a Family Dollar store in Bennett, and a High Plains Diner. Both sound like very cheap and cheerful places which we can all enjoy, hopefully the diner will have decent food.

When I arrived at the library I saw that the car park was sealed off – I had to drive around the corner and then attempt to parallel park. I did a really dismal job, was practically in the middle of the road. Was quick in the library, came home, prepared cabbage and attempted to open the can of corned beef. Couldn’t modern technology enable corned beef manufacturers to start using a more efficient can, maybe with a ring pull? The little key unrolled about an inch of the metal strip, then the metal strip just came off. A can opener failed to do the job and I ended up discarding a SECOND can of corned beef, because this exact same thing happened last week. I was so cross, as me and Boy 2 are very partial to corned beef.

Defrosted chicken and slung that in oven and began the wait for Boy 2’s bus so I could drive across town for Miss W. Waited and waited and waited. Called Transportation and was cheerfully informed that bus had broken down and would not arrive for another 20 minutes!!  

Was not sure what to do. I asked Boy 1 to get his brother off the bus and give him his meds, help him wash his hands after using the toilet, then crossed my fingers and left to get Miss W. Traffic wasn’t bad but someone was crawling along in front of me on I-70, so I zipped past them and started whipping along, of course this would be the one time police are lurking. I almost had a breakdown when I spotted them, but they did not come after me, I guess I wasn’t going fast enough.

Picked up Miss W and called Boy 1, who was managing nicely and reported that he had given his brother his meds and a snack. Me and Miss W have now started listening to the last disc on our book on CD. Christine is recovering from Dengi fever and she and the doctor have declared their love, but he doesn’t want to go back to America and Christine doesn’t want to live in Peru, as there are too many spiders there.

Everything OK at home and I gave Boy 1 $3, I am so pleased with him and really let him know it, he did a fantastic job.

Realized half way through supper (cabbage, mashed potatoes, chicken) that it is not St Patrick’s day until tomorrow.

The Sunflower

Well, I didn’t appreciate the cold dark morning drive today, and having to scrape snow and ice off the car. Boy 2 didn’t appreciate being woken up either. Drove into town, only to find that Miss W’s pick-up person was sick, had to make a quick decision – realized that if I drove Miss W straight into Englewood, Boy 2 would miss his morning bus. Groan! Came all the way back, bundled Boy 2 onto bus and then left again for St Mary’s.

Me and Miss W are listening to The Sunflower by Paul Nicholas Evans, an author new to both of us, and someone I have not been at all interested in, however I wanted something family-friendly and non brain-taxing to listen to in the car as NPR can get quite repetitive. We are enjoying The Sunflower, however one of the characters plunged down the side of a mountain just as I was saying “is this where I turn?” So me and Miss W were then going “What happened??”  

This story is about a woman who has been dumped by her fiance (I won’t repeat what Miss W has to say about him) and goes off to Peru, where the spiders are the size of dinner plates. She has now fallen in love with handsome, broody doctor who runs an orphanage. Now the horrible fiance wants her back. Miss W has realized she wants to join the Peace Corps.  

It was after 10 before I arrived home. My plan for today had been to get on with some writing. I was shocked to see that it has been a whole THREE MONTHS since I submitted anything – how did that happen???  I polished up and edited my current work and got that sent off, then did over a 1000 words on new story. Have to get serious again, but it has been so hard this year what with everything going on, plus reading good books – Marian Keyes had a new one, there was the Sarah Waters and I’ve just finished The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, plus American idol has been on and it’s on several times a week early in the season when they’re doing the auditions.  I have been watching movies in the evenings too. Must try not to get so distracted. Had some good news in the mail today – I’ve sold a feature I wrote (Women Are Wonderful!) to True Story ages ago, just for a small amount but I was still pleased – had completely forgotten about it.

Spring Forward

The children all did a wonderful job yesterday of helping clean the car when I got home from work. It was coated with a thick layer of grime and inside it was practically ankle deep in pens, sunflower seeds, gummi bears, coins etc. Miss W gave the outside a thorough rinse, Boy 1 gave the mats a good shake and vacuumed them, Boy 2 relaxed inside the car while we all worked. Results very satisfactory and this morning we all felt like getting out for a short while. Sundays are usually very much at home days and I enjoy not having to drive or be anywhere and avoid taking Boy 2 to King Soopers because he doesn’t seem to deal with it very well. In fact, he sometimes doesn’t deal with being in the car well, and during the afternoon drive across town when he’s so tired and grouchy he has dragged down some of the soft grey stuff that lines the car ceiling. Ugh.  But off we went today  – this was not for a big shop, which I would never attempt with Boy 2 along, and Miss W and Boy 1 were under strict instructions to be very watchful and helpful. And they were. Boy 2 did take a bite out of a plum in the produce section, run off with luncheon meat out of someone’s cart, and demand a 10 lb bag of gummi worms, but I thought these were fairly mild infractions dealt with quite painlessly. I did buy him a small container of gummi worms. Unfortunately there was a line at the check out and I was persuaded to go off to a self checkout. Boy 1 scanned stuff while I tried to stop Boy 2 from pulling it out of the bags. Managed to leave King Soopers feeling it had not gone too badly at all.

We had lasagna for lunch followed by chocolate chip and walnut cookies, which I baked while it sleeted down outside, then I had a lovely, long Face Book chat with Mignon, we have known each other for almost 40 years and had a quiet discussion about spinsterhood and our cats and trips to the library (didn’t we, Mignon?! snigger)  I still need to put the clocks forward or there’s going to be a disaster tomorrow . . .

Finding Our Way

I didn’t mean to go quiet this week, but have been coping with a few issues and the weather has been beautiful so I’ve been outside a little more and doing lots of thinking. Number 1 is seeing a therpaist now to try and help him with everything he’s going through and I am under orders to get out of the house by myself, so next Sunday I’m supposed to go off somewhere for 2 hours. I will probably just go and browse through Barnes and Nobles and have a coffee, maybe do some scribbling . . . I don’t know. Shopping and eating out seem like social activities to me. The big challenge of the week was getting to St Mary’s, I’d been mulling over this endlessly, but thank goodness Danica from the Challenge Foundation showed me this easy way. Off I went with Miss W seated calmly by my side last Thursday on the longer route, up north Chambers and then right onto Iliff Ave for miles, then left onto University Boulevard. Arrived early and safely after a very uneventful drive, and then me and Miss W sat and we were parked near this large dip in the ground. Magpies were swooping back and forth very dramatically and finally gathered, we counted 14. We talked and Miss W made her feelings on some subjects very clear and I realized how much she is growing up. I guess we are all just finding our way right now and it is not always easy.

A Quiet Sort of Sunday

Its so quiet without Miss W. Last night me and Boy 1 watched Valkyrie together, a film I wouldn’t normally have bothered with and my boy pointed out it had had terrible reviews. Well, it was watchable. I’m not sure what it is but there’s something off-putting about Tom Cruise and I don’t care for him, and as for the rest of the cast . . . I kept expecting Bill Nighy to strip of all his clothes and start singing Christmas is all Around Us, I can never take him seriously, and likewise with the other actor who played a high-ranking Nazi who was Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice.  He was so absurd in that role and I couldn’t take him seriously in this either.

Things still cool between me and To The Rescue, but I emailed them yesterday and asked them to send over Leigh-Ann again if possible. She is this woman who has started coming over on Saturdays while I work – and she is fantastic with Boy 2, turns up promptly, is cheerful, goes for long walks and leaves the house clean.  I could see yesterday that she had really made an effort to connect with him, she kissed him and he was smiling, then he cried when she left. I like her too. Wonder how long they’ll manage to keep a person of this calibre.

I was up early this morning because Boy 2 was coughing and he seems to have inherited my sniffles and flu from a few days ago. He just sort of puttered around without any enthusiasm this morning while I rounded up necessary paperwork for my meeting with Social Security next month, then he rolled up in my bedroom rug and fell fast asleep. I looked longingly outside as had been anticipating a walk today, who knows how long this sunshine will last. But read instead next to Boy 2 – finished my library book and have just fixed Miss W’s favourite lunch (quiche) but she’s still not home. No worried as she’s with Susan. Boy 1 looking forward to showing her the Facebook pages our animals set up today – yes, Cloudy, rudy and Emily now are all on Facebook and they have more friends than the rest of us put together.