Life of an Imperial Barbarian
|Basileus Basileon Basileuon Basileonton|
|Feb. 27th, 2015 @ 11:46 am End of an era|
Current Location: dinning room tableLeonard Nimoy died today and I made myself cry by watching the funeral scene from Wrath of Khan. The superior original version, not reboot one. As much as I like Cumberbatch, his Khan was dry and tasteless. Less sexy and compelling Montalban and more like angry Sherlock. Definately not the magnetic brilliant leader who woos people with his charm and conviction. I think there was also something called "whitewashing" going on there.
Current Mood: crushed
Current Music: Kids complaining
But at any rate, Star Trek was pretty formative for me for years and year. I never got his autograph no matter how many conventions I went to (the big three never did table time for fans), but I suppose it didn't matter considering how often I got to hear him speak. I got some nerd street cred going to LA for a weekend by myself for the 50th anniversary. What parent sends their 18 yr old daughter alone to LA?!?
The parents who are just smart enough to realize that I'm probably never going to leave the hotel/convention center the entire time I'm there because what could possibly be more interesting than Star Trek?
Given how much they didn't trust me with anything else in life, I'm still kinda boggled they even considered it for a moment.
The Kirk/Spock partnership also served as a template for my friendship with Meg. Me the hotheaded, rules bending, shoot from the hip and overly emotional captain kept in check by the very logical and brilliant sidekick who would occasionally pull my ass from the fire if I didn't think things through all the way. I can't say the friendship still bears this similarity, but the fact that Leonard Nimoy/Spock is gone, it bears the pain of deep personal loss.
|Feb. 24th, 2015 @ 09:23 am Audio Cues|
Current Location: dinning room tableI had forgotten an observation made by Xander until he had made a second one.
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: suspicious silence
Frozen had been on high rotation in this house for a while. Not surprising given the 3 yr old Princess I had (my 4 yr old Princess is into Book of Life, we have progress). During one of the oft-played songs of "Do you Wanna Build a Snowman", Xander said "Her voice changes and gets deeper as she gets older".
I had been aware of the voice change. Hard to miss when you have the visual of the cartoon toddler aging into the teenager over the course of a few versus. Probably the only reason I was conciously aware of it was due large in part to Les Miserables. I had listed to the soundtrack endlessly (the perils of being a high school theater kid and musicals being all the mainstream rage) but it wasn't until reading an article about how Jean Valjean's part was the most difficult, due to the range requriments. I don't think I had ever realized that in the first act he was singing tenor and by the last act it shifted to baritone. I knew that some of the songs were easier to sing/harmonize with (I sing pretty low for a woman myself) than others but never put much thought into why.
The fact that I had to read this subtle bit of theatrical storytelling well into my high school/college career and Xander casually mentions it at a much younger age stands out to me.
The second is more amusing than anything else, not much on the subtle awareness. I've been watching Outlander in high rotation as I need something to vaguely watch while bulldozing through the last of the tapestry. I loved the books and have been mostly approving of the tv adaptation (some of the changes seem unnecessary as there's not so huge a cast that they need to pare down/cut out side plots) and hey - Scotsmen. Better yet, the lead character is fairly attractive and plays the role well (despite initial misgivings) and I try not to let the fact he's 8 years younger than me bother me as much as it does. I am not comfortable with the era of the Cougar having prefered my men older all my life.
Anywhoo - I had been talking about the show with my friend Barb (who has not yet gotten around to reading the books!) and how funny it was that whenever any sort of vaguely Scots show has a brawl, bagpipes start playing. There's never any bagpipes for actual serious warefare/death (those seem to be more of the airy mystical Celtic Loreena McKinnet styles or Illian pipes) - which is bizarre since supposedly that was when pipes were played in order to put fear into the hearts of their eneimes. For American audiences, bagpipes are the music of happy wars and tension-relieving conflict. Joke fighting. Barb agreed, having noted similar musical themes in things like Firefly - where a bar brawl for character development was perky and almost comical. So, per one such tension reliving moment of conflict, the pipes kick in and Xander - hearing the music from across the room - comes flying over to peak at my lap top.
"Oh," he says, dripping with disappointment. "I thought you were watching Brave and the clans were fighting." He wanders away, because real Scotsmen having a tussle isn't nearly as entertaining as cartoon Scotsmen having a tussle. How he clued into that this bagpipe music was for a fight scene and not just me listing to Pandora's bagpipe station (which I've been known to do) I'm not quite sure, perhaps he heard the undertones of grunting men as they bashed each other's heads the way that Scotsmen do.
|Feb. 20th, 2015 @ 05:18 pm Non Academic Learning Opportunity|
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: dizzy
Current Music: suspicious silence
Xander had gotten a repreive from his teacher to go on the field trip if he could keep his shiznit together. I don't know why we were lucky enough to get this second chance, but I'm wondering if she took pity on him for the change of meds, realizing that we're actually involved parents, or maybe she just likes the kid and figures he's getting a short shift despite working hard to keep it together.
|Feb. 18th, 2015 @ 04:09 pm Carrot's Hair Salon|
Current Location: dinning room tableWe're getting to that point where Xander has to shower on a more regular basis. He's starting to cross over from the vague puppy-like smell that boys get once they stop smelling like cute babies and getting ever so slightly greasy.
Current Mood: enthralled
Current Music: suspicious silence
Of course, basic shower skill are beyond him. Maybe for being a boy, maybe for being 11, maybe just for being being a derp kid that doesn't think all the way through things. He's been known to use half of a brand new bottle of green apple shampoo for coating his head and using it for body wash. I'm glad they like the green apple smell, but there's a reason I buy the $1.99 stuff at Woodman's. If it weren't for the fact the fruity smell would tell me if he actually washed his hair or not (sometimes he just barely dampens his head), I'd make him use a bar of soap on his hair and stop having to buy cheap shampoo by the pallet. It's probably the number one reason those over-scented soft-soap from Bath & Body Works are so popular, your mother can tell if you washed your hands or not just based on whether or not you smell like the perfume counter upon exiting the bathroom.
At any rate, he's gotten better about actually putting soap in his hair, and then actually putting in the correct amount, but not very good at rinsing. He came out of the shower last night and his hair looked about as greasy coming out as he did going in. Smelled like green apples, though. So, I made him bend over the sink so I could re-wash/rinse his hair - taking the opportunity to show him the correct dollop of shampoo. Sera thought this looked like exceptional fun, pushed her footstool over to the sink and helped massage the shampoo into his hair and then scrub it out.
Surprisingly, Xander didn't once object to either my ministrations or Sera's. In fact, I think he was actually enjoying himself, very amused that Sera was trying to shoo me away so she could do it herself. I'd say he was downright patient as she rather haphazardly poured hot water over the back of his head. I know she was disappointed when I declared him cleansed and sent him off to bed after a good toweling and said she wanted to wash my hair. That's way more than the sink could handle (I'm not sure I could bend over far enough to get my head under the faucet) and I told her maybe later.
It's time like these that I remember that I love my children and they're not total monsters.
|Feb. 17th, 2015 @ 10:37 am Speak a word|
Current Location: dinning room tableSeraphina's pre-school teacher pulled me aside, expressing concern on how at least once a week they have to call me in to deal with Seraphia's accident. You'd think pre-school teachers would be like day-care workers and handle the occasional 'whoopsie!', but I suspect that there are all sorts of legalities in place (more for the seeing your kid nekkid than any sort of health care violations) to make this service a thing of the past. The most aggravating thing about it is that 8 times out of 10, Sera will have managed to stay dry all night long, getting up first thing in the morning to run to the bathroom. She's use the bathroom prior to going to school. A lot of times she'll use the bathroom right after we get home from school. Most times she requires no help (I have to anyway, or else she'll use an entire roll of toilet paper at one sitting and it's killing our pipes) or even gives me notice of where she's going.
Current Mood: tired
Current Music: suspicious silence
Almost as if she's saving it up for school and/or enjoys the attention of me showing up in the middle of her 2.5 pre-school class to change and clean her up.
I postulated as much to the teacher, explaining how well she can use the potty at home. I don't think the teacher disbelieved me, but I'm pretty sure she didn't entirely believe me either
It wasn't the only concern on her list. Apparently Seraphina doesn't talk. Like at all. I had this same problem with Liam where at home he never could shut up for a minute, narrating everything he was doing or thinking with absolutely no inner monologue. But away from me? Silent as a stone. I assured the teacher that oh boy-howdy yes, she talks. Not quite as bad as Liam's running commentary, but certainly enjoying a storytelling inner-life the way she plays with her princess castle and has all the little figurines interact with one another. Also, the way she can communicate to her brothers in full sentences, with fairly large vocabulary (with pre-school fumbling of the usual consonants) makes me so not concerned. They're going to test her anyway.
Last concern is that she doesn't play with anyone. Not even parallel play where she sits next to you doing her own thing. She apparently is always off in a corner, ignoring the rest of the kids. I don't know how much more face palming I can do and reassure the teacher that, "Oh trust me, she loves playing with other kids. Especially her brothers. She'll stand at the door and pound and beg to be let in (where they've locked the door against her so she doesn't "ruin" whatever elaborate set up they have mucking up their room). There's no point in arguing against what the teachers are seeing, as they're legit seeing it and I only sound like an anxious denial mommy of a Johnny Angel.
So, let them test. Meanwhile, I'm wondering if it's worth getting videos on my phone to capture the two hour play session of Liam & Sera over the princess castle or the box of kinetic sand, proving that she does actually play with other kids, and plays well (much better than bossy Liam), as well as the lingual skills.
|Feb. 5th, 2015 @ 04:55 pm Let God sort them out|
Current Location: dinning room tableMeasles have shown up in Palatine. It's not that far away from where we live now. Jimm grew up there. My sister lives there now.
Current Mood: murderous rage
Current Music: Liam won't stop talking
I've got a small handful of friends on FB who are all anti-vax on one level or another, from "Absolutely Not!" to "We're practicing a slow/extended schedule".
It makes me so mad I wish I could beat people with a stick until they change their mind. Most boggling of all is the nurse-midwife friend who uses American Scientific Research Journals to back her birthing-advocacy work and is currently going through top-shelf stage four cancer treatment - but vaccines are a hoax and a poison and they don't work. Follow this to a couple of cousins that used Western Medicine for many years of (successful IVF), accepted Western Medicine to find, diagnose, and then treat a bought of skin cancer, but then talks about the evils of Big Pharma and vaccines are just money makers and don't really work.
How. Does. That. Happen.
I just assume that anyone with a certain level of scientific reasoning/understanding/acceptance wouldn't fall prey to such logic fails.
And I have a newborn on the way that can't be vaccinated until his first year. That's May 2016 at the earliest. I don't think anything short of serious child death is going to reverse this trend of stupidity. I've been looking forward to it for years. I want there to be serious mass death. I've been anticipating the shitting-of-bricks with Polio's comeback with malicious glee. Awesome, I might just get my CDC level epic crisis just in time to have the most vulnerable team member in the house. Oddly, it doesn't necessarily have me reverse my anticipation for carnage on a mass scale.
I just realized this is my Death Horseman.
I think I'm looking forward to a plague even more than I was before.
|Feb. 2nd, 2015 @ 10:30 am Education level is too damn high!|
Current Location: dinning room tableSince this summer, Sera has been attached at my hip. Long road trips and no crib essentially had us sharing beds for the duration, mostly so I could keep tabs on her with that ninja-like dead-asleep-to-awake in a heartbeat thing I have. No, motherhood did not grant me that, it's a skill I've always had. Motherhood just made it extra super sensitive, so now I can't even sleep through suspicious house creaking.
Current Mood: aggravated
Current Music: Led Sprials - by Le Castle Vania
At any rate, she now insists on sleeping with me at every turn and - if we leave the baby gate down (in an attempt to make the bathroom acessable to her in the long war of Potty Training) she'll simply come into my room ever ten minutes to badger me into letting her sleep there. I am weak, for she is still small and snuggly, and I am usually too tired to get out of bed and have the argument so I let her in. It's not so bad if she actually has any intention of sleeping, but since she carrys the same Xander-like tendency to do anything to stay awake, my temper flares in short order and I lock her in her room. Really, when you can feel a toddler start to slide into that bonless unconciousness next to you but then feel them jerk awake to have them start rocking or peddling their feet or circling over and over like a small dog to wake up? Makes me want to get out the chloroform. You were almost there, goddamnit. Lay still for another minute and you'll be out cold!
Anyway, sometimes she comes in the early morning - like at 4 am - and wants to talk to me. I sleepily tell her that it's too early to get up and go for that little kid comprehension of "The sun isn't up yet, you have to stay in bed." Then the "whys" start coming.
I never really had to deal with "Whys". Xander either didn't care or intuitively understood the topic at hand and didn't bother with follow up questions. Liam asked me all the questions I wasn't prepared for and debated the issue rather than just asking why. Seraphina has jumped into the deep end of the Why Pool with both feet.
I hated my parents/Mothers telling me "because I said so". It was never a good enough explaination and always seemed high handed, if not arbitraritly unfair, bearing the faint taint of "I have no good reason to deny this knowledge/activity from you save for the feeling that I, as the Parent(tm), need to establish dominance over you, the Child(tm) and am exercising my power to make sure you know your place". So I have made an attempt to indulge in the curious questions, even when my brain power was at an absolute minimum and I wouldn't have been able to put colors in rainbow order if I tried. So when Sera asks why the sun isn't up yet, I tried in my half-sleep (desperately trying to hold on to that half-sleep) explain that the earth moves around the sun at a set pace and that's what makes the sun rise/set. More Whys. Then I explained that it's winter and the earth is turned away, which makes the sun rise later and set earlier, so that's why it's still dark. But why?
Well fuck. I'm awake now, it's 5 am, I've exhausted my knowledge of planetary circuits, Sera is just prompting useless conversation and I'm forced to tell her to shut up and go to sleep. I would have been better off telling her "Because I said so" at the start and rolling over to go to sleep. I would have felt bad about it, but I would have slept better. Maybe.
|Jan. 26th, 2015 @ 04:18 pm Personal Hell|
Current Location: dinning room table
Current Mood: terrified
Current Music: suspicious silence
Got Liam's CogAT scores back. Its how they determine if you get into the Gifted program.
Long story short, his teacher has been waiting for this all year, as Liam ransk 95% in math for the nation. That's more math skill by third grade than I've probably had in all my life.
However, it doesn't look like he'll make the cut for poor verbal skills. The kid literally doesn't shut up. He wakes up narrating his life, he practices conversations in the mirror while washing his hands. He comes home - from friend's houses - while they'r eplaying videso games - to tell me about this apparently awesome thing they just did in Minecraft. I've been known to lock myself in the bathroom for ten minutes just for some peace and quiet, only for him to come fine me after a few minutes and try to talk to me through the door.
Logging on the "help decode the scoring" website suggests the following for improving his Verbal Skills - "Needs to be encouraged to develop and use their speaking, reading, and listening abilities.". Because I need him to talk more. Oh, and Drama helps. Because I want to add Drama to the copious amount of drama he exhibits on a daily basis.
This is your first clue I'm about to develop a drinking problem.
|Jan. 25th, 2015 @ 11:03 am Scattered bits|
Current Location: dinning room tableIn the struggle to keep writing (mostly for my own self), it's some times difficult to take short blurbs and put them here because they're of perfect size/length for FB. And of course there's the feel-good response of people liking/laughing/commenting which is what makes us digital rats come back for more.
Current Mood: conflicted
Current Music: Think - by Kaleida
A couple of thoughts - on Christmas, Sera got to wear her Christmas Photo dress. Mom takes the monsters every years to get photos taken (which are then sent out to all the grandparents and obligatory Christmas cards) and it's taken a few years to get my mother to understand that I prefer the over-the-top parade float dresses rather than anything "Chic" or "Sleek" or "Fashionable". She's fucking four. Dress her like a goddamn princess while you still can. With glitter. Possibly chiffon.
So, we're getting ready to go to Ma Pollis and I pull this red-silk-and-silver-glitter-with-white-f
Xander got his birthday part post-poned and then cancled all together for inability to behave himself with electronics. There wasn't a repeat of the previous inappropriate YouTube viewing, but there was YouTube viewing on my laptop for the whole ten minutes it took me to drive Jimm to the train and then - after agreeing to turn in the Nintendo DS on week days (due to mis-use they were weekend only toys) Xander had snuck his out of the bag (where it was supposed to be charging) and hid it in the bathroom so he could sneak-play it later, only for Seraphina to find it and destroy it. Seriously, she practically ripped the two pieces apart. Either they're much more fragile than I thought or Sera is a lot stronger than I thought. Or, more likely, she doesn't have sensory awareness engaged to realize "Hey, I'm getting resistance here, I should stop trying to force it." So, $200 down the drain and party canceled. It kills me to cancel his birthday. This is the second time in his life we've had to do it and it's just so demoralizing. Both to him and to me. He's been draping around emo style, acting up at school and any time there's any parental correction or explanation (for even the smallest thing) it triggers weeping and self-hate in the flavor of "I'm so stupid! I'm such a failure! I can't do anything right! Why can't I just control myself! Why can't I just follow the rules!"
Kills me. Lots of Parental Feels, most listed under "I've failed as a parent" or "This kid is going to need therapy" headers.
|Jan. 4th, 2015 @ 02:46 pm Carrot's Year in Review|
Current Location: dinning room tableA few days behind, but I wasted most of my New Year's Day morning reading through the year (mostly FB) to see what it was I actually did. Mental note, more LJ less FB.
Current Mood: contented
Current Music: snowblowers next door
I did a lot less new things this year and most of them were taking a parental step back in letting the kids fly free. I'm probably as excited for their accomplishments as I am my own. I really do live in fear of raising helpless children that will be helpless adults, afraid to take chances or defend themselves. I'm afraid for them to fail, but that's supposedly how we all learn. Yesterday, Mom was feeding them the "Secret of riches/success is a good education and working hard" lie which set me on fire. That lie is still truth if you're going in for something that needs to be trained - engineering, medicine, I suppose any hard science. It's just as applicable as any of the serious trades - especially electrician. I do have blue collar bias, but that's been ingraned into me at birth and - well - there are a few blue collar friends/family that I sometimes have a hard time interacting with because they do lack that liberal arts education. It is very possible, however, that our lack of connection is simply for the fact they are not geeks, I am not a sports fan, and they are not avid readers of anything. After all, I have a college drop out cousin who owns his own bar that I don't seem to have any problem talking with whatsoever. So maybe it's not the liberal arts education, but more if they have a liberal mind.
At any rate - less cooking adventures this year. In fact, as I sit here - I cannot remember a single new thing I did. Except for the soft salted caramels for Christmas which I remember only by virtue of being a few weeks ago. I got better at some things I've tried before - I've pulled off a couple of pan sauces and my brother said my Thanksgiving gravey was fucking awesome. Katie said that the turkey I did was the best turkey she ever tasted. I can't get higher praise than that, I think, short of actually cooking for Alton Brown or my extreme foodie friend Karl. So that was a win in my book. I think I did a pie crust - which didn't work very well in terms of look (tasted just fine) but then baking isn't my strong suit - that whole art vs science. A new for food was me drinking canned Mead that Meg got me. It wasn't as bad as you'd think. It was like the light beer of mead - which I get isn't really a selling point for many - but it was light with very little taste, more like a flavored sparkling water. It was one of those things you don't really notice the alcohol until you have to stand up to pee and then it's "Oh - I feel it now. Whoops." I would get it again to have it in the 'fridge for emergency mom nights where I don't want to open a whole bottle of wine/mead. Maybe I should start occasionally getting cider to put in the back of the 'fridge. Maybe I should start sipping at my swing tops.
It seems like the year passed very fast and I ran out of time for a lot of things. The kids never got swim lessons this pass summer - part for lack of time and part for money. I took the kids on an epic road trip - all the way to DC, up to Boston, and back down again, seeing people along the way. That was new. A little rougher than I anticipated. The long hours sitting did a number on the lower back. Yet another haunting proof of Getting Older(tm). I think they enjoyed it. At the very least, there was no car-sick and no weeping and no "I hate it here I want to go home!" I had that going for me. They got Pennsic (Liam and Sera for the first time) - hell I got Pennsic! - and Jimm got knighted. Which - as far as I'm concerned - was the Gold Fucking Star on the year. I was sure it wasn't going to happen for another year easy.
Sewing new things included darning some Goodwill blankets. Harder than it looks and in places where I was repairing very large worn spots it looks like a monkey was at the loom and just crapped thread all over the mend. I mended some SCA boy clothes too and it wasn't so bad, but I obviously need more practice. I suppose that's one of those skills where you did it a lot and thus got really good at it. (back in the day where cloth was expensive and clothes were wealth or it was the Depression and you had 13 children) Not much call for mending in this day and age, so maybe I should be more frugal with some of the Scadian stuff - or my own sweaters - where repairs won't damage my social standing much. Although mending woven and mending knitting are two different mending skills. I made Jimm a last minute caftan. I'd do it differently if I had to do it again - but isn't that what every crafter/artisan thinks? I'd like to make myself one. Maybe some for the kids as they're easier to wear than cloaks. They don't do a whole lot of cold weather Scadian stuff, but for the occasional chilly event, it would probably be worth having.
The shittier parts of 2014 was Bevin getting/dying of Cancer of the Everything, Dagan getting/dying of Cancer of the Everything, and Jacque getting Cancer of the Everything. Fingers crossed she makes it, but things have not been looking good. She is the potential forshadowing of suck for 2015. Then there's my dad disowning me. But not really. After all that rage quit and Awful Things Said That Can Never Be Taken back, we all get Christmas cards with money as well as a crate of Honeybells. Apparently where ever it is that he and the Homewrecker winter in Florida is known for Honeybell citrus. I'm not all that impressed with them (got a case last year) and I'm a little dismayed that he sent us anything at all. Being rage quit by your father meant that it was a done deal and I didn't have to endure it any more. Now that he's back (didn't even have time to miss him) I have to deal with it, and probably more rage quitting at some point in the future when I didn't do something he thinks I should have done.
I had a job this whole year. My work-from-home gig hit it's first anniversary somewhere around Sept/Oct. I still feel incompetent as I run downhill to try and keep up with her. There are projects she sets me to working at that she never asks for again and I never know "Should I actually finish this one or will she forget in a week's time?" as well as the "Is this a task I'm setting up for her to finish or for me? And if I set it up for her - at her direction - should I just do it anyway banking on her forgetting?" She must still find me useful. New things for 2015 will be filing taxes as an Independent Contractor. Here's for hoping that the Feds don't rake me for more than the K I put away for such things. Does that include SS payments or is that a secondary K I never thought to save for? Shit. I'm stressing just thinking about it. This job was to get me out of debt faster and I've not made a dent in the debt I have. Although, doing some math on the 5k I made over the year, that was 5k of gas, groceries, Boy Scouts, Pre-School, birthday parties, occasional car fixes, and pizza every Friday that didn't end up going on the credit card. So, I suppose while it didn't dig me out any fasters, it at least kept us from sinking any deeper. With treading water comes the hope of actually making it to shore.
All in all, a pretty good year. If 2015 is better than 2014, then things will be just straight out awesome.