Jul 25, 2006

All in a Summer's Morning

The blog is very sparse this summer, but stay tuned, dear readers. I have not forgotten you. My boys are only in morning camp, and I'm very committed to exercise, volunteering, pool time, and napping when needed. Two weeks ago I FINALLY finished reading Barack Obama's autobiography. High five. What an important story, reflective, sensitive, funny in places, lyrical at times. A really nuanced discussion of race in a personal context. I started The Bookseller of Kabul the other day.

Anyways, here is what I did yesterday. Some of my numeral keys don't work because I spilled red wine on them, so I'm not putting in times.

Early morning: get up to go running at the local track. Run a little until heels bleed (gotta wear real socks, not footies) and walk until the self-imposed limit of thirty minutes is over.

Before I drink my ritual coffee, Jack wants me to read his "book" that he wrote. More specifically he waves it two inches in front of my face yelling, "I finished it, I finished it!" "STOP THAT!" I yell back. He cries. We cuddle.

Will doesn't want to wear his denim shorts, he wants something "cool." So cargo shorts it is. Olive green shorts with an electric blue T-shirt is painful to see, but he's dressed, hallelujah.

I drive Will to the local preschool day camp while John walks Jack to the grade-school camp.

I pack lunches to take to the pool, which we eat after the boys' 12:00 swim class. We do this every weekday, this week and next. One turkey sandwich, one PBJ sandwich, two cheese sticks, two yogurts in tubes, one fruit salad from the local market for us all to share, bottle of filtered water from our tap.

From 10 to 11 AM on Tues. and Thurs. I help welfare-to-work folks to study for their GEDs. At least, the "Language Arts and Writing" section, which, along with the math, are the most difficult for most students to pass. This all takes place at the Delaware County Literacy Council, in Chester. I make a "lesson plan," which means putting bookmarks in my copy of the study guide and hoping that the ESL teacher isn't hogging the photocopier like last time.

Only Demary shows up, and she's very attentive. I walk her through a sample essay topic, which asks about the effects of advertising in "modern times." I prompt her to think of where she sees advertising, and it's not easy for her to think of it at first. Meanwhile, as I look at her I read the text that's all over her: Her name tattooed on her arm, a T-shirt that says "I don't make mistakes--I date them," a keychain with big plastic photos of her toddler. We struggle to develop a thesis for her essay. She'll write a draft at home and time it.

Back on the road--time to go pick up the boys for swim lessons at the pool.


Now we're getting ready to go to Indiana for our biannual pilgrimage. No cooking for eleven days, hooray!

Jul 5, 2006

Red, White, and Bleary-Eyed

(No, we didn't get drunk yesterday or stay up all night, but I couldn't think of any appropriate word beginning with bl--. ) The fourth of July in my town is a huge exuberant bash, a lovefest, an outdoor sweat-athon. We had races, parades, fire, and water, and don't forget the free doughnuts. Once a year the townsfolk forget their alarm about our nation's arrogance to the rest of the world, and throw themselves into an unapologetic if self-c0ncious celebration of Americana, simplicity, and good old innocent fun.

To get ready, Will and I decorated his bike for the parade, and Jack and Will "practiced" for their respective bike races. You can't really "practice" for an actual race in a driveway, but no matter. Will's bike looked quite patriotic, streamers woven in the spokes, ribbon tied to the handlebars, and various miscellaneous lengths of streamers taped in random places, looking chaotic. Jack came in third for the six-year-old boys' race. Will came in sixth, as he will tell anyone within earshot, but what he doesn't know is--there were only six children racing in his four-year-old category.

The parade, well, that was another story. Let me just say that a little boy yelled a lot and withdrew at the last second, and then changed his mind when it was almost over, then his mom flung the bike back in the dang street for him to ride, and the boy had a tantrum in front of the whole town when he learned they were giving prizes. "You can't have prizes for a PARADE!" Meltdown in the summer heat. Time to go home. We just learned today, officially, that Will is very sensitive to sound and visual stimulus, and also has difficulty with some gross motor skills. So, a bike race and a parade in a crowded town center with an oompah band playing was not the ideal occasion for him to exhibit his considerable charm and ability to cooperate.

Oh yeah, and later John took the boys to this huge water fight with fire hoses, which the boys, especially Will, totally loved. Then we had my brother and his girlfriend and her two older children and my Dad for a cookout and then I was really beat after that. At the end of the evening John tripped over a laundry basket in the dark and yelled, and then, in a completely independent accident, broke an antique mirror. But those two events were past my10:00 PM deadline for reacting, and anyhow he knows where the Band-Aids are.

Then I got up at 5:15 and went running. Because I'm doing that now. OK, maybe I AM bleary-eyed.