Sunday, August 30, 2009

all good things...

Tomorrow we rejoin the working world. It's bittersweet, really: I love my job, but it's never easy for summer to end and the real world to be, well, reality. I mean, it's a pretty sweet gig-- 10 weeks of absolute freedom, steady paychecks coming in, giving us the ability to do what we want when we want. In fact, we'd be crazy to look forward to that ending.

I have never had a job that required me to work summers. Sure, I had summer jobs while I was in school, but once I was hired as a full time teacher, summers were as free as when I was 10. When we became parents, summer took on new meaning: it meant the end to schedules and routines and time to relax and play. Now that the kids are in school and involved in all sorts of activities, that free time is even more precious. We know we're spoiled-- not many families have both parents home all summer able to enjoy their children unencumbered by limited vacation time. We don't teach to become rich, but I have to say this fringe benefit is a pretty big deal, and worth the frustrations that come with the overall financial picture.

We've come to the end of another year. (Since I started kindergarten, my years have started in September rather than January. I've never really known it any other way.) We go back to workshops, the kids spending the next 2 days with bestfriends. Bedtimes, lunch boxes, homework, and after school activities will fill our evenings. Days of the week will matter again. Boy starts school sports this year, which brings a new level of involvement. They're in separate schools, too-- another new change to the routine. But as I write this, I'm in a fleece and contemplating closing the windows. Leaves are falling, and it's time to return to the real world. In a week, I'll be back in the swing, happily hanging with my Sunshines during the days and my own kids at night. But if you think for one minute that I'm glad to see summer go, you're insane. I know how lucky I am, and I'm going to enjoy every last minute.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the single life

It is well documented that I do not enjoy being alone. Before kids, a 10 minute shower was enough alone time in a day... now I think somewhere around 45 minutes is perfect. Anyhow, 12 hours is far too long. Auntie gave me what for this summer, saying I need to get used to being alone. Well, thanks for your perspective, but I don't see that happening. She never married nor had kids, so obviously she likes the solitude of an empty house. Me... I did marry and still fill my house with kids at any opportunity. I like people and am and off the charts E, so... yea, people. I like 'em.

Yesterday we went shopping with my mom. Today I have a meeting until 3, so I asked if Gramma and Grandpa would like some visitors for an overnight. This means the kids get spoiled before heading back to the grind and I spend the night alone. Bestfriends saved me for dinner-- they made delicious grilled pizza and filled me with conversation. But let's just say I am looking forward to my meeting way more than is healthy: a room filled with 9 people is just what I need, no matter what we're discussing!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I heart Ms. Mimi!

Probably the best thing about BTS (at least for me, in this moment) is the return of Ms. Mimi posts. I don't read many blogs outside the RVBs (these days that means I'm barely reading anything!) but she is such a Rock Star that every post is guaranteed to score at least one giggle, if not a head shaking 'you go girl'. If you're a teacher, and you don't read her, you should at least check her out. She's got mad blogging skills.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

15s from FB

Books That Stay With You
Here are the rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. They don't have to be the greatest books you've ever read, just the ones that stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee.
2. The View From Saturday, E. L. Konigsburg
3. Wrinkle in Time series, Madeline L'Engle
4. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay
5. The Fionavar Tapestry, GGK
6. A Song of Ice and Fire series, George R. R. Martin
7. Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins
8. I Like It When, Mary Murphy
9. Junie B. Jones, Barbara Park
10. Ramona the Pest, Beverly Cleary
11. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien
12. Hope Was Here, Joan Bauer
13. HP and the Half Blood Prince, J. K. Rowling
14. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
15. Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

15 films
Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen movies you've seen that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.
1. When Harry Met Sally
2. She's Having a Baby
3. The Breakfast Club
4. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
5. LOTR trilogy
6. The Princess Bride
7. Star Wars (the original, before it was retitled A New Hope)
8. Little Miss Sunshine
9. 4 Weddings and a Funeral
10. Finding Nemo
11. March of the Penguins ("And they will never see their parents again.")
12. Moulin Rouge
13. It's A Wonderful Life
14. The Wizard of Oz
15. Chicago

Thursday, August 13, 2009


We had a lovely little trip to the Cape. WB's sister and her 2 youngest boys were there as well, and for 4 days we did nothing but laze around and go to the beach and enjoy good food. You have to be independently wealthy to live on the Cape anymore-- all the locals have basically been driven out by the rich folks. Our ability to go every summer will most likely end when Auntie leaves this world: she told me once (during happy hour, when she let down her guard) that all the remaining family wouldn't be able to pay the taxes. She never married nor had any children, so after her parents died she could afford to keep the house and property they had bought in the late 50s, before it was the hot place to retire.

It's a weird place to be emotionally-- knowing you're enjoying something that most people can't, just because you married someone who has a wealthy relative. It's kind of like trying on a new life and seeing that it still doesn't fit. We'll never be wealthy, and that is completely ok with me. (Gods willing, we'll never be poor either.) I will enjoy our annual trips until they come to their natural end, and know the kids and their cousins will have shared memories of Nauset Beach and marathon Monopoly games and keeping the whiffle balls out of the gardens, and it will be a part of what defines their childhood. If that isn't magic, I don't know what is.

While we were there, Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed. All the local news (which is Boston news) talked about her accomplishments, most famously starting the Special Olympics. The Kennedy's have a huge presence on the Cape, although not near Auntie's house. You got the sense that it wasn't just about a famous person dying, but about a great woman leaving the world better for her having been in it. We were struck by someone coming from such a powerful family using that influence for good. Rest in peace, Mrs. Shriver. You deserve it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

enjoying a day of sandwiches

We visited with WB's high school friend this week. I'm embarrassed to admit it had been 7 years since we'd all gotten together. Sure, they moved a couple of times, and often we'd be gone when they'd come home to visit, but that's just too long to go without seeing great friends.

The kids all got along well, which is something since none of them remembered each other. We sat on the dock (the new one, with 11,000 lbs of flotation) and caught up while the kids jumped in the lake and began to build their own relationships with each other. It was quickly obvious to all that Girly and A could become very good friends.

It's wonderful to see old friends again. Within seconds everyone is back in the swing, and it's like we're neighbors who see each other regularly. Having seen my friend with my sister and now his friend at her parent's camp, it reminds you how vital friendships are. New friends are important-- don't get me wrong-- but being with people who grew up with you and stuck with you over the years is magical. I feel thankful to have these friends who we still love to see (even when we don't do it enough) as well as my friends here, old and new.

Last night we learned that a friend and fellow teacher has cancer. We don't know anymore than that, and that he's had to take a leave of absence from school. I must admit I'd gotten used to not having a sick coworker, and am quite saddened to learn of his illness. It also reminds me of all our mortality, and to enjoy every sandwich. I'm glad we got to see so many people that matter to us this summer-- and we're off to the Cape to visit more family this weekend. It's not like I'm planning on something going wrong or anything, but I guess just aware that life is too short to not spend it with people you love. So don't be surprised to see me knocking on your door anytime soon...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I'm not looking

WB doesn't like July 1: to him it means summer is fleeting. For me, it's August 1. School starts in August. School means routines and schedules and commitments. It's not that I don't want to go back to work-- I love my job. It's just that I love the freedom of summer. Because we're both teachers, we get 10 weeks as a family to do whatever we want. How can you want that to end?

Last night we had dinner with Mike and Katie and celebrated summer. Great food, great margaritas, great company-- everything that is great about summer. We still have a month of summer left, and have no fear that we'll enjoy it. But school planing will start to creep in and before I know it I'll be waking to an alarm clock. Maybe I'll wait a few more days before flipping that page...