Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Bell Tolls for Thee

It was an end of an era last night in the Yerem household. 

Neil's been nurturing a snowball in the freezer since Jan. 2, 2011. We had a surprise bit of snow, and Neil made himself a good-sized snowball and stashed it in the freezer. "I'm going to keep it forever!"

Great.

Smack dab in the middle of the middle shelf of our freezer sat his snowball in a plastic container -- hand-packed snow and surrounding bits of grass that came with it. 

Neil would check on it, take it out and admire it and then put it back. January, February, March... I finally scooted it over so actual frozen food could fit on this shelf in the freezer. This is not some Sub Zero monstrosity. This is your average household kitchen freezer attached to a fridge. We needed the space.

April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January, February and into March... The snowball has lived behind frozen fish sticks, popsicles, Pizza Rolls, green beans and various other things for the past 14 1/2 months.

Last night, after being hit in the toe by a frozen block of something falling out of the freezer, I started rearranging shelves. The snowball container was there, but the last remnants of the snowball was only about the size of a marble...

The snowball's time had come.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thanks Dad

I made myself cry the other night.

My seventh-grader made honor society. Jack works hard at school, getting straight A's. He attends the same junior high that I did. We are very proud of him, but it doesn't bring me to tears.

At least no tears until I walked into the junior high auditorium for the installation ceremony.

Suddenly, I was back in seventh grade. This dingy room with brick walls, faded stage curtain and folding chairs in rows brought back my seventh grade honor society installation. I could feel my dad's hand in mine. I could feel the weight of the gigantic (at least in my 12-year-old eyes) corsage that was on my wrist.

My dad had bought the corsage for me. No doubt he spent time carefully picking the yellow rose and carnations that made up the arrangement. My dad was always specific in his floral gifts. There was always meaning. The color, the flower, the arrangement -- it was all a gift of his love.

I was his pride and joy, his only daughter. My daddy adored me. And I had made honor society. HONOR SOCIETY. My dad was born in China to missionaries, joined the Navy and never graduated from high school, had to go to night school to get his GED, made his living as a machinist. This man's daughter had earned recognition for her academics.

My dad was so proud. He was busting at the seems. He couldn't brag enough. He was stopping people in the grocery store, at the park, wherever he went.

Of course, I didn't realize why he was bragging or what it meant to him. I was hitting the teen years, and I was horrified that my father had bought this HUGE, old-fashioned flower thingy that I was supposed to wear. No one else's dad was making them wear something like this. Why was he embarrassing me?

And everyone asked about the corsage... It was torture. I didn't want to hurt my dad's feelings, but how could he not see how difficult this was on me?

How could I not see how much he loved me?

As a parent walking into this year's honor society ceremony, I look at my son. I'm bursting with pride. How did his father and I manage to create something so awesome as this boy? Jack is amazing (so is his brother Neil, but that's another story). I can feel my dad's pride and love. As I stand here with my husband, I think I understand that moment in my father's life. I'd have bought Jack the biggest corsage ever if it would show him how much I love him, how proud I am of him. I'd give him anything, ANYTHING if I thought it could convey the bone-deep, life-altering love I have for him.

But he's 12. He thinks parents always love their kids. He thinks parents are always blessed enough to be with their kids all the time, go to almost every activity. He thinks I'm fussing over him. He thinks it's no big deal. Someday, he'll know. He'll know it is a big deal. HE is a big deal. He's always been a big deal to me just like I know I was a big deal to my daddy.

And I am so thankful for that corsage. It was beautiful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photo NEEDS

There are wants. There are needs. And then there are NEEDS.

Some people (like my mother) have gadget issues. If it was/is made by Ronco, my mother has it... I do not have that issue.

Things from Photojojo are definitely NEEDS. I have a collection of Photojojo items: lens coffee mugs, cute felt camera case, iPhone telephoto lens, instant camera decal that I get loads of compliments on...
There are more, but I'm getting uncomfortable.

But I have needs. I need a flash bounce like this for my DSLR. Definitely not a gadget. Pure quality control. Now if I wanted this camera dolly, that would be a gadget. (I do kind of want it.). This would make my iPhone so much more functional, but it's probably a gadget too.

I need this too. Purely for efficiency. And this for camera safety (the SLR version, please).

As I've said before: Tools, not gadgets. Needs, not wants.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Afternoon

I think I want this for cruising to school and back to pick up the kids...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's not really a new year for you, but it is for me! I believe the next set of PTA officers is at the bank signing paperwork as I type.

I believe I am free!

It's been two loooooong, exhausting years. I quit blogging, most of my freelancing, and the majority of my Facebook posting in the last two years. The blog and FB posts stopped because too many people started reading into things I posted or I couldn't post the things I wanted to write about that were happening at the time. You can't really post about the hate mail, the teacher who yells at you or the fun administration conversations you have had... Well, you can't post it while you are trying to be PTA president. Maybe it's time to start writing.

Here's my Facebook post that sums it up (but doesn't give you the juicy details):
2 years, 40 meetings to lead, about 100 more to attend,
dozens of events, at least $50,000 in funds directly to
our grade school and I'm tapping out as PTA president...

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Julia project

Like so many others who dabble in cooking, I received Julia Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" for Christmas.

Yesterday, I set about making the much-ballyhooed Boeuf Bourguignon. It's all the rage since the movie "Julie & Julia." Everyone is doing it, right?

So I sliced and boiled salt pork. I peeled 18 pearl onions. I rendered the salt pork fat so I could brown the beef. Then transferred everything to another dish so I could brown the vegetables. Then combine it all (this is going MUCH quicker than it did in the kitchen)... then I get to the part about adding the wine. I like this part.

I've chosen a good wine because that's what Julia said to do. Pick one that you drink, not just cooking wine... so I'm thinking that I'm getting a glass of leftover wine when I put this whole thing in the oven to cook for 2-3 hours. I'm going to sit down with my wine and enjoy the moment. It's going to be worth it at that point, right?

Not so much.

The recipe calls for 3 measured cups of wine. Want to know how many cups of wine are in your average, every day bottle?

That's right -- 3 cups!

Why get my hopes up? Why not just say "Add a bottle of wine." Don't let me think there will be leftovers.

Of course, there were other bottles willing to help out...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Jack is wise beyond his years

So fifth grade has lots of group projects. LOTS of group projects. I don't always understand projects ("You need a poster advertising an earthquake?") but I am hearing about them through the filter of a 10-year-old boy.

Right now Jack is in a group working on a project about the early colonies. He is a little frustrated. First the group consisted of him and 4 girls. He's not old enough to appreciate the potential of that situation. The teacher added another boy, Andrew, to the group so Jack wasn't completely overrun by the females.

The group has to come up with a song for their colonies (they have the middle colonies in case you were wondering). I don't quite understand why they need a song, but I'm just a mother. What do I know...

There is some serious in-group conflict right now. The girls can't decide which song best represents their colonies: "It's a Small World"? "New World"? A Taylor Swift song? The Doo-Dah song (Jack's title. I have no idea)?

I naively asked, "What do you and Andrew want as a song?"

"Mom," Jack sighed. "We are boys. We get no say. It's just not natural for the boys to make the decisions..."

The female/wife part of me says he'll have a successful marriage... The mother part of me thinks he might need a male teacher soon...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My favorite time of year, so far

The lovely thing about Southern California in September/October -- when we aren't on fire or dreading mudslides because fire burned up the vegetation that keeps the dirt on the hills -- is the weather. It's still warm (even HOT at times), sunny and divine.

We've been enjoying the pool after school on many days. Yes, we have 18 practices, homework, speeches, Cub Scout events and PTA meetings, but somehow we manage to slip in an hour or so floating in the pool. It's been lovely.

It's my favorite thing right now. Me and my boys just floating and chatting about the day. Rarely is anyone else at the pool. It's calm and cool. We drag out the noodles and cruise around. Neil does his impersonation of Michael Phelps. There's some playing with boats, especially in the jacuzzi.

The boys take turns telling me things: describing PS2 Madden Football plays in detail, reporting on who did what in class today. Sometimes they just swim up to me and I get a kiss or a hug for no reason other than it's a good day.

Who says we don't have seasons in Southern California? Sneaking in pool time before it's gone is the best time of year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PTA

I haven't posted to this blog lately because most of what I have to say involves PTA. That's what takes up the majority of my days. It's 24/7.

And I'm not sure it is fair or right to complain about others, list the outrageous things people say to me or about me, or the times I've been yelled at by teachers, fellow volunteers, etc.

At least I'm guessing you shouldn't when you are in charge... Let's just say: "I HAD NO IDEA!" and when I can mentally justify putting it in print the stories will be good.

Do I just write what happens and let the reader decide? Do I just let it all slide so it doesn't get worse? Does putting it in print on a blog the same as drawing a battle line?

How do I start an anonymous blog?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Neil is a helper

So I'm working at the school book fair after school. The boys -- mine and their friend Travis -- are working on homework in a corner.

Within five minutes, Travis comes over and tells me he has finished all his homework. Now, Travis had a lot of work. The week's homework plus the work he missed in class yesterday when he was out. I'm pretty sure he hasn't finished his homework.

"Let me see it," I say and walk over to where they were working.

Neil sees me coming and proudly jumps up and shows me the pages he finished for Travis, "I did the squirrel pages!"

Great.

Today's life lesson is about cheating.