Sunday, August 24, 2008

At The Starting Gate

Everyone is on the new school program tomorrow. We've had some trial runs, a few school visits and Max's first 3 days of school. The warm-up has been... well, it's been eye-opening. Eye-opening means that I have no idea how this is going to work, and I am anxious about logistics. Drop-off and pick-up will be daunting points, and consider the work load of adding 3 new cultures to our lives. Schools are micro-societies, mini-fiefdoms, each vying to be the center that our family will revolve around. And I look over my shoulder, when I dare to say those mini-fiefdoms are alarmingly fascist. Many solemn vows and pledges must be made. For this I cringe and squirm. 'Fitting in' is paramount, and I have even been advised to not mention we are renters... in the short-sighted minds of some local citizens, renters are carpetbaggers, freeloaders who do not pay taxes and therefore are unworthy of the bounty of this affluent community. Gee whiz, I figgered my rent pays the landlord's property taxes.

Dear Lord, please help me from being bitter and snarky. Thank you for giving us choices and options and free will, and thank you for my mini-van, whole grain Goldfish Crackers, and resilience. Amen.

I bought 2 calendars and I have them marked and labeled for all school holidays, which incidentally do not match between grade school and high school. All breaks and 3 day weekends are written in glitter ink and well highlighted with stickers. I am resisting the urge to circle pep-rally days as sick days, in advance. I remember pep-rallies. Unless you love it, unless you like to be told when and how to feel peppy, unless you crave any excuse to be away from books, reason and home, unless you just feel good about cheering, well then, it's a colossal waste of time, and irritating. I mean no disrespect to fans of the pep. It's just that some of us 'get it' the first time and then we never, ever need to do it again. Also on the calendar are reminders of tests, meetings, assemblies, functions and assorted obligations that will cause us to strongly consider returning to an agrarian lifestyle, and raising our own children, our own way.

OKay. Good things, just for the sake of positive thinking etc...
1. Alex may get to take a cooking class and join a robotics club
2. Max is excused from learning cursive, because his penmanship is "beautiful."
3. William will be using 3-D Studio Max, again... this cannot be attributed to school, but it's a strong incentive to do well in school.
4. With the boys away and busy, Maria and I will have long hours alone to plan her "princess birthday party with Easter eggs and chocolate butterfly glitter cake." Actually, party planning is a strong-suit of the boys, and Maria was upset already, missing Max, and I am sure she is going to be a sad princess when all of her dear brothers are scarce.
5. Gee, maybe #4 wasn't so good.
6. Maria and I will go to the park more often and we will find a dance class, read stacks of books and snuggle under bed-sheet tents.
7. No school next Monday!!! WooTs!


I have been delighted by all of the great comments coming in, especially from new readers or readers who have been very, very quiet up until now. It's beautiful, comments. I never wanted to be doing this, blogging, all alone, without feedback. Now how do I keep you coming back? Sometimes beautiful things are fragile, delicate and easily lost. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and welcome to our kitchen table... that's one of my favorite metaphors for Chickenblog... just a casual kitchen table where we can gather and commune, where we can share our day and refill our cups. Feel free to bring a pie, or a bag of zucchini. This blog is a lot of things, like a family photo album, a journal, whimsy, scratching the surface, clucking, a love letter, whining, news, blues, and an interaction with the wide, wide world.

On a recent post, there were several inquiries about accents. OKay it was only 2 comments, but "several" sounds so cool. Judy in Kentucky and Lesley, I have an iMac and a few years ago Geoff showed me that accents and all kinds of symbols can be found in the USA flag symbol, in the upper right corner of my screen.

I click on "Show Character Palette"

It shows many options for symbols and language accents, which when selected will appear in whatever text I happen to be currently writing, by hitting "insert."

Very fun. Very helpful. Unless you are not on an iMac... then none of this will help at all.

Gracious, where does the time go? It's afternoon. We are just hanging around the house, amusing ourselves with "Laurel and Hardy" shorts, chess games, and other happy diversions.


amy smith said...

oh natalie! once agian, i am convinced we are more alike than not!
this week, emily was sent home with a paper for her parents to fill out from one of her teachers. it was a "get to know your kid" paper. it made the hairs on my neck stand up.... so when asked how our child views school, and what are her stregnths, i said:

"she is a truth seeker, who view school as a necessary evil in which she is forced to only learn inside the box."

emily was thrilled, and i am sure i am on the teacher's "list"

Anna Banana said...

Here's a song to sing when anyone but your children ask you to volunteer at school: Lalalallala I can't hear you! Here's something to think when you hear comments about renters: Lalalala, I took a vow of sanity! Here's something to remember when it all seems overwhelming: lalalala, I am surrounded by the infinite love of my family and friends!

I'll be singing with you, dear friend.

judy in ky said...

Cool! I do have the character palette on my MacBook.
I had never clicked on that flag before... I had no idea what it could do. Thank you!
As I've mentioned before, you are always opening up new worlds for me on your blog. I may not comment every time, but I do read you every day.

Mama Spark said...

You know me, Natalie. I volunteer at the schools all the time. I drive everywhere and listen while the kids are in the car and at my house. I hope your children will be happy in their new schools and that you and Maria will find a balance for yourselves. It will take time to adjust but look for the positive ways this can affect your families lives (hopefully, anyway!)

Janece said...

Natalie - that picture of Maria at the beach... oh my, she's a stunner. That smile!!

We need a phone-to-phone conversation soon - when the dust settles from the starting of the new school year!

Tilly said...

Hi Natalie, here's some treacle tart...I'll leave it on the table. Is that kettle on yet? Seriously you have some great commenters on here. With support like that you can't go wrong.

Tarie said...

I always enjoy reading your family updates. :o)

Golly, it sounds like you guys don't like school... ? I always loved school! I still do!

d.a. said...

I'm a long-time Mac user and fixer, and yet you just taught me something new! I had to find the option under International in the System Preferences, then tell it to show up on the menu bar, but ta-daaaa!!! Very, very cool.

Now, reach your hand all the way up above your head.
Let your hand/wrist fall at the elbow joint, coming down behind your neck.
Stretch the hand down a little further... and give yourself a pat yourself on the back :-D

Sabine said...

Wow, the option with the characters is something I never noticed before...(I have a belgian flag, never clicked on it ). There are even braille signs!