Monday, November 20, 2006

Just a quickie....

Just wanted to say that I was still here! The craft bazaar went well, and I had a good time. I didn't sell as many bracelets as I expected to, but it was still good, and I met my sales goal. Plus I was able to barter for some fun stuff for me and some gifties for the boys. We've pretty much decided on bunk beds for the boys for Cmas. Not your most exciting gift, but when it'll free up lots of space for play and role-play, and make it easier to keep your room clean, it's a good thing. Plus all H really wants for Cmas is some gamecube games. He's pretty easy to please.

Today I was planning to attack the apples that are still waiting to be made into applesauce. I still may, but for the morning, I am reveling in the quiet. C slept in, so I had NO RESPONSIBILITIES for about an hour. That was very very very very nice! It's a good mental health break for me. I haven't decided if I will laze about all day or go run errands or attack the apples after all. All I know is that it's good to relax, good to not feel like I am neglecting something good for the something I have to take care of right then. I am reveling in the break.

Relaxation, it's a good thing. And that's the other side!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Busy Season

I am smack-dab in the middle of my busy season. Everything seems to happen about this time of the year. I am rehearsing for the big Christmas concert our church puts on for the community (I also am the assistant director and usually I have a solo somewhere in the production), we have the usual family demands on our time, and I am also participating in a couple of Christmas Craft Bazaars in hopes of raising a little extra holiday cash. Last year, I finished my busy season and went "Whew! I survived!" but it was obvious that I needed to let something go for next year--I lucked out and didn't have to teach music at the elementary school this year, since they hired a music teacher and no longer needed the squadron of "Music Moms." Then my son turned eight and started the Scouting program at church.

This I was not ready for. Now I have taekwondo on Mondays, preschool for C on Tuesdays and Thursdays (it's a county preschool to help him catch up w/his speech; he rides the bus home and arrives about 4:30 in the afternoon), church youth group on Wednesdays, Scouts on Thursdays (also at 4:30---that's interesting!) TKD on Fridays and Saturday mornings (when we remember to go). Everything happens in the afternoons. It's chaotic and requires a lot of juggling. At the same time, we are working on finishing homework, household chores (I believe that children need to learn the value of taking care of our home together), and instrument practice.

Here's what we did last Saturday:

8:45--leave for TKD school to prepare for the Veteran's Day parade (Albany has the largest in the nation...)
9:00--get J to school so she can go through their forms for the parade
9:30--get J to the TKD parade slot; get H to the Cub Scout parade float
10:00--realize that I'm parked in a parade float slot and need to move my car to the end of the parade, about two miles away.
10:15--get a decent parking spot, and find a corner to see the parade in. Of course, it's on the edges of a puddle.
10:30--still waiting for the parade to start---it's not long now! But it's raining hard--really hard. Hopefully the kids plastic ponchos are doing their job. I am now standing in a puddle. Good thing I brought my umbrella! Everything on me is pretty dry and warm. The more it rains, the more I tell myself, "After what our Veteran's went through so I could have my freedoms, the least I can do is stand in a puddle!" The parade is really great, and I am filled with emotion and gratitude.
12:00--saw both kids, and walked the six blocks or so to the end of the parade route to catch H (who was ahead of J) and wait for J to finish. Both kids are cold, tired, and wet. We realize that most of the cars that brought the TKD kids to the beginning of the route are still there, two miles away. I pick up a couple of extra kids, and drive to a nearby park to meet Joel w/C so that he can go work "guest services" at the OSU basketball games that day. Joel is late, traffic is weird because many streets are closed off, pedestrians are everywhere, and police are directing traffic. It's a bit stressful.
1:00pm--head back to the TKD school for pizza
1:45--go to the grocery store
2:15--back home. We are all exhausted. All but H head for short naps. We have to be in Corvallis for a nephew's baptism at 4pm.
3:30--everyone gets awakened and changed into church clothes.
4:08--we arrive in Corvallis, things have started, but we haven't missed the good parts. C thinks it's playtime and wants to run all around the church.
5:00--head to Aunt Kathy's for light supper and cousin playtime.
5:45--leave to go to Office Max to get labels for the newly planned 50th anniversary celebration invitation stuffing and mailing party planned for Sunday.
6:00--head back to Albany to pick up pizza for the missionaries. I signed up to feed the missionaries not realizing that no one would be home. Good thing they like pizza!
6:25--pick up pizza. Had to take a detour because the highway home was closed by the cops. Flashing lights and flares are everywhere. I still don't know what happened.
6:35--drop off pizza
6:45--go home and collapse. After about 30 minutes, I realize that nothing has been picked up for a couple of days. I change my clothes and start picking up, doing the dishes, etc., and wait for Aunt Kathy to call to tell me that it's time to meet her halfway to get H and J. I also start chicken and broth/stock for the crockpot potluck during the envelope/invitation stuffing for tomorrow.
8:00--Uncle Mike drops off the kids on his way back home to Vancouver. I put them to work picking up their piles I've made during my picking up.
9:40--Joel is home from working the games. He's been on his feet for the past 8 hours, and he's beat. The kids head for bed. Joel and I have a little couple time and watch the CSI we taped last week.
11:00--Joel heads to bed and to move H to his room. I stay up to finish dishes and stuff so we don't have to wake up Sunday morning to a huge mess.
11:30--I head to bed.

This is the busy season. This week I am pulling out all the stops to get a sizable amount of products to sell at the School Yule Craft Bazaar at the elementary school. Then it's Thanksgiving. Then another, much larger, county craft bazaar. That weekend is also J's 12th birthday. Then it's the church Christmas Concert. Then our anniversary and J's Cmas band concert. Then a Cmas party for the scouts. I still have church youth group each week as well. Then school gets out. Then we have the 50th Anniversary party for Joel's parents. This party will be HUGE. Then Christmas. Funny how you look forward to Christmas day because it's the first real break you get for months! We are thinking of going away and disappearing for about a week to catch our breath.

It's the busy season. And it's not going anywhere. I just have to press on and go through it. And get to the other side.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's Raining, It's pouring

It's a wet, wet day.

I realize that rain in Oregon, especially in the Willamette River Valley, isn't a big surprise. If anything, it's more surprising to find out that it really doesn't rain all the time. But this is what we soggy Oregonians call "real rain." Where you are gently pummeled with raindrops and soaked within seconds. Where it literally rains non-stop for more than twenty four hours. The ground cannot keep up with the deluge and gives up. Many of the drains on the intersections and roads also cannot keep up with the run-off, and they quit trying to pull it away, leaving mysterious looking bodies of water where there was none just a few hours before. Puddles become ponds, and ponds become lakes. People who normally bike to work decide that staying dry is more important than making a statement and crawl into the cars that they normally leave behind. Elementary kids pull on rubber boots instead of their normal shoes. By the end of the day, they've waded through puddles so deep that their boots collect as much water as they deflect, deafeating their purpose. College kids decide that their usual cargo shorts are fine because they'll dry faster, and head out into the constant sheet of water. Umbrellas are everywhere; coats are optional. When it rains this much, it gets very warm anyway, so no one is cold; we are just all wet.

Frogs come out when it's this wet and warm. Their chorus is an added complement to the constant tumbling sound of the rain. I always feel bad for the bugs and other fauna that come out to play in the warm rain because I know that the cold weather isn't too far off. In fact, we've already had our first frost. About ten days or so, we had temperatures that dipped into the 30's during the night. I had to scrape the windshield more than once. (How I long for the day when I can park the car in the garage.....especially when it's this wet outside...but that's another story). Bright and sunny and cold! That was the precursor to all of this wet but warm weather. Just as this warm, thick, wet rain is the precursor to the winter rains. Winter rains are cold, needle sharp and relentless. Worse than these warm rains, even if there is less water being dumped on our heads. No one go anywhere if they can help it. Often there is black ice on the roads. It's a dangerous time.

For now, I'll take the puddles and ponds. And the frogs.

And that's the other side.