Musings from Home

Archive for September, 2011

Twirling Gems

Baton twirling has become a major extracurricular activity in our household lately. Emerald starting twirling a little over a year and a half ago. Sapphire, always striving to keep up with her big sis (and in many ways doing just that) began following along in Emerald’s class, much to the delight of the group’s leader, Ms. Christy. Last January, Sapphire finally got to start twirling officially and Emerald began taking private lessons to start performing solos.

Emerald has always been a performer, but with other activities, she wasn’t so interested in attending class or practicing the skills — until just before the show. Baton is a total other world for her. She practices every night and can’t wait to go to class every weekend and her private lesson every other week. She has come so far in such a short time and she beams every time she gets the chance to show her stuff.

This past Saturday, the girls performed at Emerald’s school’s fall festival. It was Em’s big debut of her solo. She was sooooo excited and sooooo determined to nail it. She practiced extra hard every night for the last few weeks. And since we had plans Friday night to attend Sapphire’s preschool picnic, which meant she wouldn’t have time to practice at home, she asked to bring her batons (she twirls two at once for part of her routine) along to practice at the park.

She wanted to practice as soon as we got to the park, but Mean Mom 🙂 asked her to leave the batons in the car until after our picnic dinner. She ate very little, so excited to get her batons out . . . but she had to wait until we were all finished. Finally, she was allowed to go get those twirling sticks and run through her routine about half a dozen times in a grassy area close to the parking lot and pretty far from the action (with her biggest cheerleader, me, sitting nearby and playing her music on my iPod).

After a short while, a couple of girls wandered over to watch. Then one of them asked her to go play on the playground with her, so we put up the trusty batons and off she went.

Later, after her friend left and as the crowd was thinning out, she asked me to get the batons out of the car again so she could practice some more. Not being one to tell her she can’t practice (isn’t that like telling her she can’t clean her room??), I trudged back to the car to fetch the batons. Practice soon turned into a small show (with most of the people who were left at least periodically glancing in her direction) and then impromptu baton lessons as a few other girls (most of them very close to her age) watched in delight and asked her to show them how to do some tricks. Emerald was in heaven and was a very good teacher. She also had a ball.

When Saturday morning arrived, both girls were very excited. Sapphire was practicing her favorite trick non-stop (the girls get to do a favorite trick when they are introduced) and Emerald was very pumped. She warmed up at home by running through her solo routine three or four times and then again at the school. She was ready.

What a fabulous show all around!! I think Emerald is glad her first ever solo twirling performance (along with the accompanying jitters) is behind her, but she can’t wait for the next time.

Here are my beautiful twirling gems warming up before the show:

What did y’all do this weekend?


Adventures with Trees

Yesterday I told you about what gets me a little freaked out and makes me temporarily lose my marbles. Today I’m going to illustrate that I’m not the only one in my family who can get a little silly when worried. I am talking about my wonderful husband.

But what riles Jim is entirely different from what gets to me. I can’t get along without my e-mail, internet, and cell phone, as you read yesterday. Together they comprise my sense of security and my connection to the world outside of my little corner of it. Jim, although he loves his technology, remains calm, cool, and collected in the face of power outages and down internet, at least for the short-term.

However, impending storms, especially big ones, get him examining every tree around the yard for its potential to come down. I completely understand this, and I agree with his thinking, but on one occasion, which I’m going to tell you about, he lost sight of the forest for the trees, or I should say tree.

It happened on a September day eight years ago, when Emerald was just two. Hurricane Isabel was expected to travel right over our fair town so we were making all the usual preparations. We stocked up on non-perishables, particularly food that we wouldn’t need to cook. We stocked up on water. And we surveyed the yard for trees that might come down on the house. Jim identified one particular very tall dead tree that if felled in the wrong direction would squarely hit our house. That one had to come down in a controlled fashion before the storm, even though it was already 5:30 in the evening (after a long day of work) and almost dark.

So while I was inside with Emerald, Jim went outside to tackle said tree. A long time passed and I became worried that he was still outside. So like any concerned wife, I went to check on him. As I rounded the house, what did I see, but Jim holding a rope he had tied around the tree and pulling it toward himself. Yes, I said toward himself. As I’m sure you can imagine, tact did not enter my head at all. Instead, I hollered, “Jim, what are you doing? Are you crazy?” The sheer panic in my voice stopped him. He then began to explain how he’d lost his head.

It seems this tree took after every living thing in our household and was very, very stubborn. It all started out completely normally. He cut the tree with his chain saw. But he didn’t know that this tree had no intention of going down. So when it was completely severed from its stump, rather than falling over, it hopped upright to another spot adjacent to its original one. Stunned, Jim tried again.

This time, because it wasn’t actually attached to anything, when he tried to make the cut, the tree shifted and pinched the chain saw, trapping it in the middle of the tree. So he went and got his bow saw and began cutting in the other direction to try to get his chain saw out. That saw also got caught in the tree. Since he was now out of saws, he got his ax and tried to chip away at the tree to get the saws out. By now the tree was so wobbly, it kept moving, and the ax got stuck, too.

So now he had two saws and an ax stuck and a still-upright, but no-longer-attached-to-anything, tree. Now he was completely freaked out because if there was any chance this tree would survive Isabel before, there was no chance now that she wouldn’t bring it down, even though he couldn’t.

That’s when he started pushing on the tree to try to knock it down. Now my beloved husband is a fairly big man and very strong, but he was no match for that tree. So now quite agitated, he lost all sense of reason and tied the rope to the tree, got in front of it, and began pulling. Thankfully, that’s when I decided to go outside, and not a few minutes later, although truth be told, I don’t know if he would have actually been able to pull that tree down, given it’s determination to stay “on its feet” so to speak.

By the time he finished his story, cooler heads had prevailed and he decided the best recourse was to tie the unattached tree to a neighboring tree and hope and pray for the best. So that’s what he did (well, he did the tying and we both did the hoping and praying).

The next morning, we were relieved to see that although Isabel did bring down that bull-headed tree as expected, it fell in the right direction and our house was spared. And most importantly, I still had my precious husband. Hopefully, he’s now a bit wiser for it, too.

Note: Jim has read, approved, and encouraged this post. 🙂

Your turn. Is there anything that gets you worried enough that you momentarily stop thinking very well or even resort to being silly?

Count Me Out of Little House

Welcome to my very first ever blog post. I’m starting out with a little story about what happened to me yesterday — and my responses to it. I hope y’all enjoy it.

I have discovered that I would make the worst inhabitant of the “Little House on the Prairie”. What did we ever do before cell phones and internet? I had no idea just how attached to it all I was, or how freaked out I’d be without it — until this particular day.

This particular day, the day I first set up a blog (with the help of a friend). This day, the day that my husband Jim is not coming home from work until about 10:00 p.m. due to Parent Night at the school where he teaches (an hour away from our home). This day when I have a lot of work to do in the afternoon. This day of all days, I come home from setting up this here blog in a coffee shop with a friend and picking up Sapphire from preschool to discover that I have no internet at home. My first thought is that my laptop is no longer connected to our home network because I connected to the network in the coffee shop. Nope, that’s all good.

Then I think maybe it’s our internet so I test this theory by trying to log on via our desktop computer. That doesn’t work either. So I think “modem issue”. As my wonderful techie husband has taught me, I cycle the modem and turn off and back on the wireless router. Still nothing. Having exhausted my tech knowledge, I check Jim’s schedule at school and determine that he is at lunch at that very moment. Excellent! I will have instant tech help.

Hold the phone (literally). I’m not that lucky. I pick up the phone receiver and hear a beeping much like a busy signal. Now I consider myself a rather intelligent person. Surely, I can handle a phone being off the hook (or still turned on). But no, I check all the phones and they are all turned off, but when I pick them up, they all talk to me in the language of beeps. Urrrrgh!

Well, no problem, we have the technology to text, so I text Jim that our phone and internet are down and please call me on my cell if he needs to reach me. That’ll do it. He’ll report the outage and he can get a hold of me if he needs to. It’s all good.

So, having all that settled, but being unable to work (I work online), I decide to take a much needed rest period and actually read a book. Then, after a while I check the clock and see that it’s time for Part 2 of Dr. Phil’s interview with George and Cindy Anthony. Sounds interesting. Nice. Quiet. Afternoon.

During the show, I decide I should actually have my cell phone where I can hear it since it’s the only way anyone can reach me, so I go downstairs to pick it up and inadvertently glance at it. My text wasn’t sent. Hmmmm.

OK, no problem, school is out by now, so I’ll just call Jim and let him know everything’s out but cell service and ask him to report it from work. That’s weird, no signal. I always have signal in my house. No worries. I’ll go outside. One bar if I hold really still. That’ll work. Uh, the bar disappears the instant I raise my phone to my ear. OK, I’ll kneel to the level it was at in my hand originally. No, that doesn’t work. Every time I get enough signal to make a call and the phone begins ringing, it cuts off before Jim answers. Once, I actually get Google Voice and start to leave a message. I get three words out before “beep”; I’m cut off. Once, I actually get Jim, but the call is terminated before I can even say “hello”.

Now, I’m starting to get freaked out. I have no phone, no internet, NO cell service. Aaaaaaah!!! I’m stuck in the land of nowhere with no way to connect to the world! I might as well be on a deserted island! What am I going to do if I can’t call anyone or even check e-mail? What if someone needs to reach me urgently? Keep in mind, I can’t remember the last urgent call I got, but I just know that this day Emerald’s school or Jim or my mother-in-law or my brother or countless others are going to have to call me. And on top of that, how can I ask Jim to please pick up cat food when he goes to the pet store for puppy food? The poor kitties will starve!

Of course, it takes a few minutes for me to realize that I have a car with gasoline in it and can go elsewhere to use my cell phone if necessary. And I can most certainly go out to buy the cat food myself.

Finally my mind stops racing about how horrible this all is and I actually chuckle to myself about how silly I am. Until 15 years ago, I didn’t have internet. Until 13 years ago, I didn’t have a cell phone. I survived just fine. And although I did grow up with landline phone service, I truly talk on the phone once or twice a day at most. It’s really OK. I guess I just needed the adrenaline rush.

Now about that cat food . . .

So what about y’all? Are you as dependent on (and completely lost without) technology as I’m finding I am or are you comfortable without these modern day devices? Which technologies would you miss the most if you didn’t have them?

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