Said the Actress to the Bishop…

•January 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Lex_Speak NoDo you remember the first time you swore in front of your parents? Was it like that memorable scene in A Christmas Story (you know the “Oh, Fudge!” scene)? Did you find yourself sitting in the bathroom chopping down on a bar of Ivory Soup? Was it worse than that?

Growing up I don’t remember much swearing. My Father didn’t use such words. It just didn’t happen. The closest he got to it was “Sugar, Honey, Ice, Tea”. Because of this I had to learn it from outside sources. Which wasn’t actually that hard, however a little more difficult than it is now a days.  In those days (I make it sound like I was born a million years ago) “Hell” and “Damn” could get you into enough hot water to make you think twice about saying them in ear shot of an adult, but things have progressively intensified over the years. Television has helped increase the circulation of such profanity and has continued to push the envelope with each new incarnation of views. Where “Family Viewing” times were once a safe zone for some parents and their children, now they are loaded with land mines. Foul language has increased overall in all times slots since 1998. With paid “cable” channels, such as HBO and Showtime the profanity has been taken to a whole new level (if you haven’t, you need to check out Deadwood – the extensive profanity is eloquent). That being said, some amazingly good television has little or no profanity at all – examples of this are: Doctor Who; AMC’s The Walking Dead and Sherlock.

Does this mean that television is to blame for the increased use of such words? I don’t think so. Personally I blame myself for any use of it in my home. In fact when my parents were separated and fighting one time my Mother actually used the “F-word” and when my Father asked her where she learned that, my Mother kindly dropped the bus on me and said “your daughter!” This does not mean I taught it to your Mother or child (please lets keep this in perspective). However I did teach it to our son.

Lex_FrustratedRecently (last week) in fact, our 6 year old (soon to be 7 in a few weeks) was attempting to “parent” his 5 year-old sister. She wasn’t doing what she should be doing and in his frustration (which is usually when I use it) he said “Will you put your Fuckin’ shoes away!” This was not a proud moment for anyone in our house. As soon as the words left his mouth, I think he knew he had made a big mistake in two ways. The first was not letting me or Mad Dog deal with his less then helpful at the time little sister and second he had used one of those words that should never leave his lips. For me, it was the realization what I might say it too often in my frustration and in the madness which is our daily lives sometimes. This outburst resulted in Mad Dog having a long talk with Lex about the how he shouldn’t use that word and a second chance. He was told that use of the word again (or any other bad word) would result his in first “grounding”. How do you ground a 6 year-old in the dead of winter? That question is easier then you think! You take away all his technology. I’m talking Television time, iPad time, Tablet time, Nintendo 3DS time and PS3 time. This can destroy a child especially when in the last few weeks this has become his world. Mad Dog made it clear what would result if Lex took it upon himself to use profanity again and we moved on with bedtime.

Flash forward to this past Sunday evening. Lex and Loki are playing a game in the living room in front of the heater together. Its some Cranium Game and there are different tasks. Sometimes you act out something, other times you have to come up with a word based on the spin of a wheel or flip frogs into a pond. They are playing away and I was chilling out reading. Lex was tasked with one of the word challenges. Because the Gods thought it was funny (or because his sister’s name is Loki), Lex got the letter “F” for his word. What do you think he does? He’s trying really hard to think of an “F-word” and then what pops into this head – the ultimate “F-word”. Wanting to make sure he was correct so he could move on to the next task, he asks for confirmation that his word is indeed valid. Now he can’t ask his little sister who is just in Kindergarten, he has to ask his Mom who would know if he was in fact correct. “Mom, is ‘Fuck’ and ‘F’ word?” I think the look on my face told him he was actually correct, however he was actually mistaken in choosing that particular word.

lex (3 of 3)Thing is, part of me felt bad for the kids. He was playing a game and he was right. But I had to remember I’m a “Parent” and that rules are rules. Also the last thing I need is for him to be saying it elsewhere. He was sent to his room, to prevent me from saying my own profanity and then spoken to a short time later, at which time he recited the exact punishment that Mad Dog had laid out for him if he had used said word again. We had some tears and that has continued for the last 2 days that he has been punished. Loki is taking full advantage of the situation and using his Nintendo 3DS as much as she can, since he can’t.

Will he learn his lesson? I think so (God I hope so). Have I learned my lesson? I think so (I really hope so). I have mentally agreed to talk with Lex later today about my own use of the such words and more importantly my use of them in front of him and his sister. I will be making a promise that every time I use one of “those” words I will be placing some money in a jar. That money will be used to do something fun someday that we can all enjoy. Don’t think there will be a lot of money in the jar? I don’t think you know how me too well and just how much I use “those” words. I have a feeling Lex might be going to Disney sooner than he thinks.

The Eleventh Hour

•December 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

248886_4916732079211_1258408367_nHow do you lose a year? This is a serious question! I guess by not blogging about it, it would mean that I was living it, but I don’t even know if that was the case. Ironically at the end of 2012 my last post was called Whatever You Do, Don’t Blinkthat seems to be the exact issue I had in 2013 – I guess I blinked huh?

I find remembering the past year a hard thing to do sometimes. Usually I rely on my photographs, but as Mad Dog will tell you I didn’t think I did a lot of personal photography this year (Wrong!). I kicked off the year with a personal project, 365: Girl, Female, Woman, You, which I realized by the time school started back up in the fall it was taking me away from my family far too much. Though I loved meeting so many amazing women, I found that I was missing out on the person I was doing the project for – my daughter Loki.

LokiFor Loki it was a amazing year of changes and growing up. She found her love of music and continues to show her love for it every chance she gets. Her long locks became Locks of Love for some little girl. This was all her decision and one we were very proud of. Showing what a strong female she is even at the young age of 4. She had her first school age crush (okay maybe two). Her room was redecorated and our little Loki filled her big girl bed with all her stuffed friends so she wouldn’t feel lonely. She joined Mad Dog in his weekly Library trips to Lex’s school, until she started Kindergarten this past September. Yes, Loki has taken Kindergarten by storm and made a lot of lovely new friends of her own along the way.

School was a huge part of our year in 2013. Mad Dog continued volunteering, became the PTG secretary and even managed to get me to help out with the PTG newsletter (don’t faint). With school came a lot of new friends for us and the kids. We have a new group of Worcester based friends that our family loves spending time with. They have even helped our family grow this past year! 2013 brought a new addition to the family a rambunctious little mischievous kitten called Mister J. Though Zod (our other cat) won’t completely admit it he has made things very interesting for the family and is loved by all (when he is not biting our feet).

Visits to the emergency room were on our 2013 list. With Mad Dog and his Kidney Stones, but more importantly Loki enjoyed the benefits of our Health Insurance. In early February she visited St. Vincent’s Hospital for a bead extraction from her nose and in early October paid them another visit for 5 stitches to her forehead, courtesy of Lex launching her off the couch into the coffee table. Loki Girl came out of each without any tears and hopefully a little wiser! I myself learned that Mad Dog should deal with these types of things (on his own)!

LExLex found himself finishing Kindergarten and jumping right in to first grade. He lost his first two teeth, started to learn to read, became a Cub Scout and was introduced to Tolkien (aka Lord of the Rings). He learned launching little sisters off the couch isn’t the best idea after all and that camping can be an amazing adventure when you think you know what you’re doing. Lex has started to keep a journal of his very own of all the exciting things he does, which I think is very ambitious for a 6 year old. He worked on personal projects about Maple Sugaring (Thank you to Occasional Creek Maple for our exciting day), as well as a school project on Polar, Koala and Panda Bears. He found out he likes cotton candy ice cream and doesn’t like Brussels Sprouts.

MD MEWe did many things as a family in 2013. The kids and I made our Red Balloons video – which was a total experience for us all. We all took art classes at the Worcester Art Musuem in April, spent a ton of time at Old Sturbridge Village (where we are members) and celebrated Equality in NoHo on Free Comic Book Day! We went camping and learned it does matter if the rain guard on the tent is right side up! While we were camping we found out Loki is even more fearless than we thought before, climbing 15 feet up  a rock face with nothing but her own skill. We hit the Eric Carle Musuem and Southwick Zoo with Nana Sandy. Halloween brought out the Superheroes in all of us, with Mad Dog as Blue Beetle, Lex as The Flash, Loki as Batgirl and me as Lady Blackhawk. The family found time to hit Rhode Island Comic-Con as a family after a long season of Comic-Cons – and learned that not all celebrity guests are aging well!

Gabrielle didn’t visit us again this summer, but joined us for Christmas and the end of the year. She has grown so much, and yet Lex and Loki are still a little more independent then she. She surprised Mad Dog with the idea that she doesn’t like living in Wisconsin and wouldn’t mind living in Massachusetts after she finishes Middle School. Yup you read it…I think Mad Dog almost fell over after he saw pigs fly!

Mad DogFor Mad Dog and I, we managed to find a lot of time for ourselves, thanks to the kids being in school, our schedules and my wonderful Mother (thank you Nana Sandy!). We went to New York Comic Con Professional Day, Baltimore Comic-Con and Boston Comic-Con – Yes that is a lot of Convention time! We enjoyed our Tuesday Morning Breakfasts together and even managed a evening or two out at Tastings (thanks to me not sticking around for my whole 20 year High School Reunion). Mad Dog hit his stride with the MythSpoken podcast with the Northampton Team in 2013 and grew his comic collection by leaps and bounds.  I tried blue hair and realized yet again blondes do have more fun!

Road to NowhereThe year has been mostly about friends and family. We found ourselves spending a lot more time in Mansfield with Nana Sandy and Nona. The kids loved this and always can’t wait until the next visit. Our family kicked off 2013 celebrating Love with the wedding of a dear old friend! This year of love continued with us (okay -ME) playing cupid to another set of friends – which I would like to note for the record is working out nicely so far (insert pat on the back). I found time to hit the coast of Maine with old friends and managed to make a very good new friend, who has become a huge part of our family (welcome Angie!). Our trip to Baltimore allowed us to catch-up with old friends from afar and my high school reunion brought friends from afar that much closer!

Does this post mean I’m back on track? Who knows? 2013 found me in a strange mood. It’s time for me to refocus myself. I decided its time for some new energy. Time to get creative and do what I enjoy doing the most…being me. I think that will be the theme of 2014 for all of us. We’ve already started – Lex is looking forward to building his train collection with Mad Dog. Loki is ready to rock her way into 2014 on a project with me. Mad Dog is planning on serious comic organization, while Gigi is looking at High Schools. For me…I’ll just wait and see what’s on the Road to Nowhere! Hope to see you on our travels!

Parental Amnesia

•February 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment

LexThere are some things that should be obvious when you become a parent – and there are. Like that you’re going to have to feed and cloth this small person and that will cost you money (sometimes lots of it). It shouldn’t be a surprise that they are going to cry, need diaper changes and maybe even spit-up on you. Sadly the most obvious thing is usually the thing that strikes the hardest. What is that? That little babies grow up.

Today is February 21st and it is Lex’s 6th Birthday. He’s six. I’m in completely shock. I feel like I have missed everything. This of course is not true. I have documentation in the form of photographs (tons of them), this blog and most importantly the little boy who happens to be sitting behind me on the floor playing with his younger sister. Still I am completely confused by how this happened. 6 years have passed since I called Mad Dog at work to tell him I think I’m in labor.

IMG_7981Of course this post is not about my parental amnesia, but more importantly about Lex. Last year I didn’t write a post about Lex, honestly I don’t know how or why I missed it. Still it didn’t happen for some reason. I looked back to 2 years ago, when Lex was turning four (see post: How Do you Spell Heart? L-E-X). After reading this post I got to thinking about the Lex that stands before me now, two years after that post. He’s different and yet still the same in so many ways. One of my favorite parts of that last post, is the facts you might not know about him. Because of this I think I will share some more for fun.

  • Most of you know that Lex has two monkeys which he sleeps with each night, Jimmy (Olsen – from Superman) and O’Brien (from Monkeyman and O’Brien fame). Thing you might not know is he still confuses who is who after all these years. For reference Jimmy is the big one and O’Brien is the little guy. 
  • Lex still sleeps in a toddler bed. Yes, we know we’re mean. We are actually in the process of buying him a big boy bed, but we’re trying to get through this week (Mad Dog has a Convention this weekend). He reminds me each night when I tuck him in that his feet touch the end.
  • He is very sentimental. Last night he explained to me that he can never get rid of his blue blank, because Nonna made it for him and he loves it because of that reason alone.
  • He is a gamer like his Dad and a video gamer like his Mom. He loves board games and video games a like. Which shows how much he is a mix of the two of us. I think as soon as Lex can read Mad Dog will have him playing Civilization. If he’s anything like me, he’ll kick his butt!
  • Lex is a bit of a hypochondriac. We can’t use the we’ll take you to the hospital as a scare anymore, because he is completely game for a visit to St. Vincent’s at anytime. We think he likes the nurses and attention.
  • He is a very good big brother. Probably too good at time, because Loki isn’t always the nicest little sister. Still he protects her and comes to her defense all the time when we are being “mean” to her (translation we are parenting her).

For a little fun I thought I would ask him the questions from the questionnaire I used 2 years ago on him, to see how he would answer. Here are the results.

  1. What is your favorite word? Cat
  2. What word don’t you like? No
  3. Who is your best friend? Eleanor (from his class)
  4. Where is your favorite place to go? Aquarium or Zoo
  5. Where don’t you like to go? The Amazon Rainforests (Like in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull – where the red ants live)
  6. What are you afraid of? High Places
  7. What makes you happy? When friends come to play with him. 
  8. What makes you sad? Having no friends. 
  9. If you could have any present in the world for your birthday what would it be? The Super Mario 2 3DS Game
  10. What do you want to do when you grow-up? To be a Librarian. 

Whatever You Do, Don’t Blink

•December 30, 2012 • 1 Comment

Michael_Family 2 CIt’s that time again. Like so many blog posts you will read this week, it’s a year in review. To prepare for this post I took a moment to read last year’s On The Cosmic Treadmill to 2012 to get an idea of what not to repeat, but found myself trying to remember what made 2011 so bad that it could even compete with the likes of 2012. Maybe I’m just focusing on the tragic events of December 14th, but I feel there was a lot of sadness in 2012. Please don’t get me wrong, personally Mad Dog and I are very grateful and were very blessed this year, but I can’t help but wish for better times.

In 2012 I lost my focus. Life and work took hold and ran away with me. I found myself blogging less, stressed out more and not feeling like my old self. I didn’t fall into the trend traps and go all Gangnam Style however I didn’t write, read or produce nearly as much as I have in the past. The end result is that I feel at a loss. Though I threw myself into photography more, still I know I have fallen short this year. As many of you know I don’t like the word “resolution” as in “New Year’s Resolutions”, but I do have the hope that 2013 I will re-find my voice.

kidsPart of my lack of drive came from an internal depression I felt with my job. I have mentioned before I work in a cube farm. 2011 brought me a promotion and I was very happy for the recognition, however I didn’t find the reward I was looking for. I don’t mean monetary; I was hoping my new position would allow me to do what I do best. In a lot of ways what that is comes from my creative side. I think outside the box, I strategize. This didn’t happen to the extent I needed to feel happy. I found myself in the daily grind with no reward. Near the end of 2012, I was given an opportunity (along with a new job, new promotion and that monetary part too) to do what I enjoy. I don’t say love, because ACCESS and EXCEL are not really a labor of love, but at least I am allowed to get my geek on day to day. Using my “Google-Fu” (who knew this was in the Urban Dictionary?) I have managed to teach myself some SQL and even impress myself a bit as a self taught hacker.

180Days_1Enough self-introspection. Our family has had a good year. Early in 2012 I became an aunt for the first time (I should say blood aunt, since I am aunt to Mad Dog’s nephew Craig). My brother Sean and his wife Tiffany had their first child, born the day before my birthday! John William or as I like to call him “W” (pronounced “Dubya”) is sweet as can be. Mad Dog was named his Godfather (or as he likes to say GeekFather) and in July of this year we had a visit from them. Along the same lines of life milestones,  while looking back at the opening of 2012 I found that Loki (our youngest) was not potty trained. This seems like ten thousand years ago, but oddly it did happen in 2012. Lex turned 5, got his library card and started Kindergarten (see Cue a Pulse to Begin and Artist in the Making) this past fall. He has grown so much in this year alone. Though he went to school pretty well prepared he has learned so much more, which he is passing on to Loki with each lesson. The amazing opportunity given to him to attend WAMS will now allow Loki to do the same. For this reason and this reason alone we have decided to call Worcester our home for a “while” longer. Dealing with the parking bans and snow is nothing when it comes to the kids having a good school to attend.

With school on the brain, we can talk about Mad Dog’s volunteer work. Mad Dog has joined the Parent Teacher Group at Lex’s school and is one of the two Library  Parents that help out every Friday. With Loki in tow they both enjoy some notoriety among Lex’s classmates.  Loki has already become a bit of a legend, which isn’t surprising given her personality and those amazing eyes of hers.

Michael_Loki Wide COf all of us I think she is the most changed. She has personality exploding from ever part of her being like a Time Lord regenerating (yes we watched ALL of Doctor Who this year to catch up to season 7). Her fashion sense, voice and actions have taken on a will of their own, which promises for some interesting times ahead. These reasons alone have resulted in her being a major focal point in my photography this year. When discussing Loki I have to mention our newest family member, Zod. In July we adopted a little black kitten which we named General Zod (a fictional DC Comics character, who appears as a super-villain in Superman). We’re not sure who took to whom faster, but Loki and Zod have been two peas in a pod ever since. One of the most good natured cats I have ever met, Zod has dealt with Loki’s Abominable Snow Rabbit impersonation one too many times. She does love him – almost to death. Still Zod takes it in stride and though Gabrielle thinks she is saving him from Loki, I think he misses their hug fests.

GigiSpeaking of Gabrielle, she started seventh grade this year and was not with us for Summer Vacation. This was of course a blessing and a curse. Though we miss her as a family, as previously mentioned in past posts our family dynamic is completely different when she is around. On an exciting note she became the Editor of her school newspaper, which we are very proud of. She joined us this Christmas and I was able to take some amazing photos of her in a mini-photo shoot we did just before Christmas to complete a family gift for my Mother-in-Law. (Actually got her to smile a bit!)

IMG_72472012 saw our trip to Disney World. Something which seemed like a long time in the making. We held our secret until we were on the way to the airport. This was completely a decision made with our sanity in mind. If I had to listen to either of them ask when we were going for a whole year, I would have gone insane. The trip had many memorable moments. Lex fighting Darth Vader at The Jedi Training Academy with Loki crying  while sitting on the curb that she wanted to meet Han Solo were just some that come to mind. For me the best moment was Loki meeting Merida from Brave. I thought she was going to explode with excitement. All the planning was worth that moment alone.

Michael_Family Couple Kiss CFor Mad Dog and I, 2012 meant a lot of changes. We have since split duties regarding the kids, with him taking responsibly for Lex while he is in school and me shuttling Loki to and from daycare on my way to and from work. This along with all the quirks of having a child in school means we have had to adjust. Somehow in all the chaos of the kids, life and work we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary this year.  I’m grateful for him in so many ways. Most of all for putting up with some of my craziness, like holding a special photo shoot before Lex started school, our strange Christmas card photo shoots and me insisting on taking the family photos for his mother’s Christmas – but then again I have dealt with his quirky work things too. Like helping him learn and edit the store’s podcast and working with him on the holiday gift giving guide. We have found how to balance each other out pretty nicely after five years of marriage.

What does 2013 have in store for us? Mad Dog has joined a gym. I have decided to get focused again. Lex is looking forward to becoming six and getting that Nintendo DS Santa didn’t give him. Gigi is heading back to WI and we will hopefully see her next summer. Loki is going to be getting ready for Kindergarten in a big way and at the end of the year will have her own library card. Big and little things ahead to look forward to. We hope you will join us next year as we travel down our Road to Nowhere. Happy and Safe New Year to you all!

…(No Clever Title This Week)

•December 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Michael_Loki EyesThis has been a year. I remember when 2011 ended everyone had such hope for 2012. I think it’s in our nature (at least most of you – I’m the other side of that coin) to hope for the best. I feel I have not written much this year and the majority of those times have been because of tragic events. I know there are a lot of blog posts, comments and internet reporting out there regarding the terrible events that happened in Newtown, Connecticut – I don’t know if this post will be another in a long line of ignorant, self-analyzing and unimportant comments on those events, my feelings and our society. What I do know is that I’m numb.

I have watched CNN almost nonstop. Letting it run behind my other windows on my computer, both at work on Friday afternoon and here at home this weekend. Why do I let it run like that, why can’t I shut it off? I don’t know. I did the same thing for the first 24 hours of 9/11 and then I was done listening. I find myself walking through our apartment and randomly bursting out in tears. Today I was yelling at the kids and found myself feeling guilty for being able to yell at my children. I sit on Facebook and read the posts and think “Really? I’m friends with these people?” It’s easy to comment via social media these days and not face the seriousness of the words and the resulting actions. In the aftermath of tragic events, drastic actions are taken (see Gun background checks increase in Colorado) to find a way to deal with events; to shake off the fear. I am not anti-gun. I am not pro-gun. I like violent video games and movies, but that does not make me a violent person. Am I mentally stable? I have never undergone testing. Should I? Is the rest of America thinking like this? Or are they thinking I’m okay, it’s “them” we need to worry about?

We talked about the events of Sandy Hook Elementary School with our children. We told them the basics. We told them what they needed to know, that they were safe and that there were bad people out there that did bad things. We reminded them of what their jobs were. That they were to listen to their Teachers, mind us when it was necessary in an emergency and to keep safe. Children being children, Lex was far more concerned about performing in his holiday show later this week than violence in schools. I’m grateful for that. Like many parents out there, I’m grateful for a lot of things this weekend.

IMG_7489My job as a parent is to keep my children safe. It’s to honor their life with my actions. I don’t know about you, but I want to be their hero. I want them to look up to me and want to be something like me (though maybe they can live their dream better than me). I think I’m okay. I think I have shown them a little survival instinct over their short years with us. I plan on showing them a lot more as they grow.

Do I know what this nation needs? No. Do I have a solution? No. What I have is two children. They are the hope for 2013, 2014, 2015 and so on. I know I need to educate them. This is probably going to sound a little foolish, but there was a quote I read somewhere today that I think fits that idea of educating them. “You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world!” Who said it? Doctor Who! Am I that naive? No. I’m not. But…damn it – I guess I’m turning into an optimist after all. I guess I have to be, because I’m a parent now.

As I Lay Me Down

•September 21, 2012 • 2 Comments

I worry about my children. I think most parents do and the worries don’t stop with age (their aging or ours). For me my worries vary in range from the simple to the extreme and then there is the completely irrational. For Mad Dog this means sometimes talking me down from panic attack that Lex might not ever learn to read or Loki will hate me because I brushed her hair too hard.

I am a parent that cuts her children’s grapes, to prevent a possible choking hazard. I am overly cautious and strict about running or goofing off in the kitchen when I am cooking for fear of the burns they could suffer if they pull over a pot of hot liquid or get splashed with hot oil like I have. I joke about zombie attacks and preparing them for one, but in the end if and when technology really does fail us I hope my overactive imagination helps them through. I torture myself on how to talk to Lex about being more aware of his surroundings, to always know where an exit is and to notice the little things that others may not. I think about how to teach Loki to be brave and act on pure adrenaline when it is needed the most.  How do I show them to be good when there is sometimes so much bad around. How do I teach them all the things I know without scaring them? That’s the trick.

You just do isn’t much of an answer. With all I worry about, this does not stop me from letting them live. It does not stop me from supporting and loving them. If Loki wants to climb the highest mountain, though it scares me to death that she wouldn’t come back I would be the first one to give money to her cause and dream. I find myself asking – did my parents have it this hard? I’m sure they worried. I mean they had Adam Walsh. They had the Unabomber. But how common were tragic events like Columbine or the Colorado Theater shooting?  Our times have changed. In someways we have become so focused on the larger terrors such as school shootings and child snatching pedophiles that we forget all the other things that could take them away from us. Still we have to let go of their hands sometime. They have to learn to cross the street on their own and we have to remember we won’t always be there to protect them.

Last night a very good person, a co-worker and a friend lost her 24-year-old daughter to a drunk driver. The wrong place, the wrong time and the wrong person – in fact it shouldn’t have been any person. She was driving home from a friends house at 10:30 at night and she found herself colliding with the end of her life. Not at her own hand, but at the hand of an ignorant, arrogant person who possibly thought they were smarter or quicker than fate. I’m probably giving him too much poetic narrative, he was a lowlife drunk who got behind the wheel and killed a young girl, a mother, a daughter, a solider and a human being.

I sat today at work and watched co-workers and friends deal with the shock of the day. I saw them think of their children. Some of their children are just a little bit younger than  the poor soul lost last night and others about the same age as my children. Each person couldn’t imagine the pain and heartache the person who sat in the cube a few feet away could be feeling at that moment. It was numbing.

After work I found myself picking Lex up from the bus and running a few errands with both children. We shopped for “spooky” things and crafts to do this weekend while we had a break from work and school. Though I was physically and somewhat emotionally exhausted I found myself a little more patient with them to the point that I took them out to dinner this evening. All this because of that numbing feeling I had earlier today. I woke up. Once again I was reminded that people are not here for as long as we want them to be, but for as long as they are meant to be. That we don’t know when that time will end and each moment is more important than the next. Rather than worry about your children, enjoy them. Enjoy that horrible whining, those taunts of teasing, those tantrums, the giggles and the moments of silence as they drop off to sleep.

It’s possible that some of you don’t know me, my friend or her daughter but will you do me a small favor? Those who do know me, know I’m not a spiritual or religious person but if you would say a little prayer for them both, for their family and her son I would be indebted to you, my constant reader. For those parents out there, sneak into your child’s rooms tonight and give them an extra kiss while they sleep or tomorrow call them on their cell phone to hear their voice. You don’t have to tell them why, or maybe you do-either way just don’t miss those moments.

Artist in the Making

•September 1, 2012 • 1 Comment

The first time your child attends school can be an emotional and stressful time for both the parents and the children. Of course there is much excitement and pride at that time too, but there are so many questions that parents have to face that it can sometimes be a little too much. Will he be prepared enough, will he do well, will he be scared riding the bus and what if he doesn’t want to go in the end? This could make a parent go mad. Add to that a disorganized school system and you have the makings of a television sitcom.

A few weeks back I posted (see Cue the Pulse to Begin) about my frustrations with the Worcester Public School system and us getting Lex ready for Kindergarten. If you read the post you know I was taking deep breaths trying to remain calm about the situation. I had actually calmed down since then and I was all ready for school to start next Tuesday. Thing is, it couldn’t be that easy.

When we registered Lex for Kindergarten earlier in the year we were told that we could put him a lottery for one of the Magnet Schools in Worcester. What is a Magnet School? They are public schools with specialized courses and curriculum.  The term “magnet” refers to how the school draws students from across normal boundaries usually defined by school boards within a school zone. In Worcester they have several Magnet Schools with concentration in science, technology and the arts. We decided to place Lex in the lottery for the Art Magnet School. Lex is very creative and has developed strong drawing skills over the years. His name went in the lottery and we never heard anything after that.

Skip forward to the end of August and all the things we learned about Lex attending Woodland Academy and you find yourself on the Thursday before Lex is to start school. On Thursday he had Kindergarten screening at Woodland. Mad Dog took him and it lasted about an hour. Since Mad Dog was left to sit with Loki outside the classroom, he has no idea what took place with the exception of what Lex was able to tell us. When prompted for details he explained that he played with some blocks and then with a little boy before they asked him to write his name. That was it – or at least as Lex saw it. The next morning (Friday) I asked him for a little more information and Lex said he drew some pictures but again that was all he could remember. I guess first rule of Kindergarten Screening is “Don’t Talk about Kindergarten Screening”.

Later that morning Mad Dog received a call from the Worcester Art Magnet School (WAMS). They had an opening and it was being offered to Lex. This is wonderful! This is great! This is the Friday before a long weekend and the last business day before school starts. Really? Mad Dog called me immediately at work where I was a little short on humor about the situation, but very excited. I asked questions and he said he had no answers because he just wanted to see what I thought before telling them yes or no. HELL YES! If it was possible I wanted him in there.

The rest of Mad Dog’s day consisted of phone calls to the after school program we had set up for Lex, a call back to the school with questions, a visit to the school for a full tour and introduction to the teachers and then a trip to the Worcester Parent Information Center to transfer Lex from Woodland to WAMS. By the time I got home last night things were all worked out. The boys had received a handbook, forms to complete and the school pledge that Lex and Mad Dog had to sign. There are no uniforms at Lex’s new school and that is a whole different story for another time (plus I have finally calmed down about that part of this).  We learned that Lex will be taking classes in the visual arts, dance, voice, music and drama along with gym and all his regular class time. He will learn the recorder in first grade and the violin in second grade. There is a resident artist at the school and this semester they are going to be learning about Pablo Picasso. I couldn’t be more excited. Best of all with Lex being in a Magnet school, their siblings get a preference in the lottery when it comes time for them to attend.

So looking forward to this coming year now and all the exciting things this opportunity will have in store for Lex and our family, I think I have the visual arts part down, we’ll have to see if Mad Dog can pick up the pace on the dance and music part. I think he’s already breaking out his mix tapes (poor Lex).