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I know where all the unmatched socks are…

So I says to Master 11, I says “Go look in your room for these two socks – I can’t find their mate.”
He says okay and goes up to look.

“I found one, Mom!” he says, and throws it down to me. It matches neither of the socks I have waiting. “That’s not it – now you have three to find!” I say.

He goes and looks again. “I found two!” He yells, and throws it down. Not only do they not match the three I have in my hand, they’re not even his socks.

“How on earth do you have single socks that aren’t even yours? Go look again!”

“Ok. I’ll go look in my sock drawer,” he says. I laugh and ask “Where were you looking before?”

Then he comes down with 4 socks. We successfully match a few pairs, but we still have some unmatched socks. So I go upstairs and have a hunt through his drawers.

The whole time he is yelling at me about privacy and how I shouldn’t go through his dresser. “Why?” I ask. “Do you have anything private in here?”

“NO!” he yells. “It’s the principle of the thing”

Nevertheless, I persevere and come up with two more socks. I take them downstairs, and continue on my way.

But then I’m back on my way upstairs and he yells “NO YOU ARE NOT GOING THROUGH MY JUNK DRAWER!”

I tell him I wasn’t even aware of his junk drawer and we playfully tussle for a moment while he tells me his junk drawer is completely off limits.

“Why?” I ask. “Do you… <snarf> do you… <giggle> DO YOU HAVE SOCKS IN THERE?”

We both lost it and dissolved into hysterical laughter.

At which point I decided to give up and went downstairs.

Then faintly I hear upstairs …

“Mom? I looked under my bed… I FOUND ANOTHER SOCK!!”

I’m still laughing. And I still have 6 unmatched socks.

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On not feeling lighter

For a year, I basically sat on my ass, doing nothing.  I had no energy.  I was actually very anemic, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I didn’t realise that gasping as I walked up the stairs was not a result of being out of shape and sitting on my ass all day.  I blamed myself.

I didn’t realise that not being able to walk across a soccer field carrying a camping chair without feeling like I was going to faint was not a result of being out of shape and sitting on my ass all day. I blamed myself.

Still, if you sit on your ass all day doing nothing, even if it’s because you’re anemic, you’re going to gain weight.   And I did.

One year on, I’m no longer anemic, and I’m working.  Both these things are good. Doesn’t mean I’m any more off my ass, since it’s a desk job, but it means, at least, that my meals are more regulated and I make sure they’re healthy.

I have also apparently lost weight.  I have no proof of this – only that my doctor and my husband say so (I haven’t been weighed to check) and that I’ve had to take my belt in two notches.

I certainly don’t feel like I’ve lost weight.  I feel just as huge and bloated. I still blame myself.

I don’t feel any lighter.

Just what are they doing in there?

I have to preface this post with the disclaimer that I am very familiar with digestive issues. More than I’d like to be.  I have spent my time in public washrooms doing the “polite flush” and, if necessary, waiting for an empty washroom.

But, ya know, some people seem to take that a bit far.

At my new place of employment, there are two ladies bathrooms.  At any point in time when I visit to do some business, the same shoes and pant legs are in the toilet stall. It’s not just one person – I think there’s 3 or 4 of them.

And they are beyond silent.

As in, they do not even move if someone else enters the washroom. They barely breathe. And they are there for very long periods of time.

One time, a coworker and I were there for a while as she showed me how to put a new roll of paper towels in the dispenser (it’s every person’s responsibility, y’all). The person in the stall didn’t even adjust on the seat.

I’m positive that there was a day when one person was in the toilet for most of the morning. (I had a cuppa.  Black tea is a diuretic, you know! I had to go a bit more often than usual.)

I get the whole “getting paid to poop at work” thing.  I know about constipation.  I know about being embarrassed about noises.  It can’t be that they’re calling people on their mobiles – they’re silent. They could be texting – but this company doesn’t ban personal mobiles or anything. They could do that from their desk.

But a whole morning? How do my coworkers not notice this person missing?  How does their boss not notice their work not being done? How can their legs not fall asleep from sitting like that for so long?

Just what are they doing in there?

Keeping children’s schoolwork and art

boxes

boxes (Photo credit: ejhogbin)

Could you fit your life into 10 boxes or less?

I’m trying.

It’s interesting to recall what I thought were so important the last time I moved overseas, and notice that those things aren’t coming with me for the most part this time around.

The number of things I consider my extra special treasures are diminishing.

And it makes me question why we keep some things.

My mother recently sent me a parcel that contained a lot of my school work and report cards from elementary school.  I read them and was amused, but for the most part, I neither remembered much about them nor felt that the re-addition of them into my life added value.

So then why am I keeping my children’s art and schoolwork?  Is it because I will want to look at it years from now? Is it because I want to give them back to my children eventually?  Will the reintroduction of the work add value to our lives many years later?

Or will I feel better if they’re all gone and forgotten?  It will definitely be one less box to transport and pay for!

What’s on your birthday list?

English: yamaha upright piano

English: yamaha upright piano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Birthday lists are a huge problem for me. And yet, every year the Hubby insists that I make one … probably to make sure whatever he thinks he’s going to get me isn’t on it.

It’s that time of year again, and I’ve been asked for the list.

As per usual, a piano tops the list.  We still don’t have another room for one. So I’ve been told it’s not allowed on my list.

I’ve been pondering and pondering, and I think I know what I shall do for my list this year.

I’m going to list all the intangibles I want. You never know, I might get lucky.

Without further ado… here it is:

1) All the outside garden beds deweeded, re-matted, and re-rocked so that the weeds can’t take over quite so much.

2) A series of appointments to a nutritionist so I can get my food issues (IBS/allergies) sorted.

3) The time and energy to take everything out of my house, remove everything we don’t need/use/want, and then put everything back neat, tidy and decluttered.

4) Guitar/ukulele lessons

5) For our house to sell so we can get a place big enough for a piano! 😉

Not thinking much of my odds, though. 🙂

What I learned from the Chess Tournament

An example of early-style Staunton Chess Set

An example of early-style Staunton Chess Set (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I went as the Parent Supervisor with The Boy and 3 of his schoolmates to the local Chess Championships.

I’m not a chess player, so I knew nothing about what to expect or what was going to happen.

Here’s what I learned:

10) Parents who go to help at a Chess Championship should know how to play chess. I had no idea if our children were being treated fairly or not in their games, and I couldn’t help when they’d ask why certain strategies in the game happened.  I’m really glad the teacher had already taught them the 4 move checkmate though – other children got caught by that!

9) When you’re playing in a championship, the same hand that moves the piece must touch the clock to end your turn.

8) If you touch a piece, you have to move that piece. If you touch someone else’s piece, you must remove it from the game (unless that’s an illegal move.)  If you touch a piece and let go before you move it, your turn is done.

7) A lower rank team has the luxury of playing for fun.  They’re playing to improve and learn, not necessarily playing to win.  Much more fun, less stress. My team came in 14th out of 17 teams and they had a lot of fun!

6) A highly ranked team has stress over keeping their ranking.  Not as much fun, and way more pressure. I was watching the highest ranked teams and there were tears, nerves, complaints, and some poor sportsmanship. Not sure how much learning or improving happened there.

5) Parents need to get over themselves and let their children play and learn.  I’m certain a lot of the stress from #6 actually came from all the parents that stood around the table silently watching and communicating frustration through their non-verbal communications. I did that for the first game, realised how much trouble I was causing, and then purposefully stepped back and away from the tables for the rest of the games.  Less stress for me, and less stress for my team!

4) If you’re setting up a chess championship, it’s better to make it so the toilets, kitchen, and exit are not on the other side of the room, with the only way there is a path through the competition tables.  Talk about interference and distraction!

3) It is impossible to keep a room full of 50-75 adults and children quiet through a full round, waiting after their game has been decided, while other people are still playing. Especially considering point #4.

2) Practice is everything. That’s how a 7 year old (who has been playing since he was three with his parents, since he was 5 with his school and with an after school chess club, and been in the championships 3 years running) beats an 11 year old  (who has only been playing for a year and had never been in a championship).

1) If you walk around one of these events with a clipboard, everyone will assume you’re in charge, even if you’re not. If I had been a bit more on my toes, I could have had a lot of fun! (I was keeping track of my team’s scores!)

What I actually did

You’ll need to read this post first.

I wasn’t comfortable with what happened, at all.  I mentioned it in passing to the Vice Principal, by saying that I wasn’t complaining, and that I had thought about it for a long time, but that I was concerned that the children saw what they did. That had it just been nudes, that was one thing, but a woman playing with herself was inappropriate for the age group. Wouldn’t have bothered me for older kids, but for pre-pubescent children, I was uncomfortable.

I followed that up with an email:

Just further to our conversation – I just looked at The Boy’s art assignment from the Art gallery – his person has one hand picking his nose and the other one putting up a middle finger. I haven’t said anything to judge his picture to him, but frankly, for an 8 year old to think it’s okay to do that in art, that’s just not right. I’m really uncomfortable with it. He’s not allowed to pull the finger at home or at school, so we’re giving him a mixed message by saying it’s okay in art. I am very relieved that the other pictures seemed to go completely over his head – but what if it hadn’t?
I just want to make it clear I’m not trying to lay blame on the school or the teachers. I am thinking that the Art Gallery should have notified the school of the content of their art show for the date the children attended. Surely they didn’t think that was appropriate for 7-9 year olds. Not all parents allow their children to watch inappropriate things on television or listen to inappropriate music!

I am wholly in favour of the children going to the art gallery.  And I think sometimes displays at the art gallery are not appropriate for primary school children. So in future I think it would be a good idea to be aware of the content before they go, and maybe delay the trip where necessary. I also think, in future, the school needs guidelines in place to check the appropriateness of the content before a similar trip is scheduled.

If the Art Gallery doesn’t agree with that, then perhaps we need to find art elsewhere – like, perhaps, the art gallery right here in our town? Or even invite more artists to visit the school. I know both of my children thoroughly enjoyed the artist that visited and drew funny pictures of the teachers!

I understand that art should be controversial and get people to ask questions. And I’d also like to preserve my children’s childhood for as long as possible. Those two things should not be incompatible!

Thank you all of you who took time to comment. It was greatly appreciated!