Friday, April 30, 2010

I've Got the World on a String...

Wednesday night our jazz group performed the one and only time we will perform this semester, as part of a larger symposium of student projects that is presented at the end each term. We have some students in our group, the rest of us are faculty or staff, except for our outstanding upright bass player who is the husband of a staff member, so we get to perform during this event. The evening included 5 groups, the chorus, the a Capella group, our jazz group, the student rhythm and blues band, and then a presentation by a music theory class that was 17 students performing Fantasy by Earth, Wind and Fire. It was hilarious.

The energy in the room was fabulous. All of the groups did a great job and I think everyone had a great night. This is the one creative outlet I have that is just for me, and I have such a good time doing it. Harvey, who leads our little band of merry minstrels is a professional musician, and as a result of working with him over the last two years, I feel I have improved in both my actual singing, but also in my stage presence. I won't lie, it is a rush AND terrifying to perform in front of people. Especially people I work with, students who see me in my professional capacity. Our group aside from Harvey is just a bunch of amateurs who like to perform and we only get to rehearse one hour a week together during the semester. So all things considered, I think we do a fair job of it.

The video is just of one song, I've Got the World on a String, which was hands down my favorite, and I got to sing a good portion of it. So be kind in your review of it. In case you can't figure it out, I am the singer in the middle, bluish shirt.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A boy and some kittens...

For your entertainment, the video from Cooper's visit to kittenland, otherwise known as my friend Jen's house, where she is fostering a mother and her 5 new kittens. The mommy cat and her little tortoise shell kitten remind me of my first cat, Griffin, who passed along after 16 years together about 5 years ago now. If it were not for those demented Schnauzers I would be bringing a cat home. Although I do NOT miss the smell of cat litter AT.ALL. I had embedded this from Facebook, but it seemed to block some people from viewing, so hopefully this time things are easier to view.
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It's 2am...why am I awake?

I rarely have trouble sleeping. Even more so since having had a child. I am usually half asleep on the couch by 10pm most nights and rarely see this side of midnight unless I am up with a sick kid or in the basement during the great flood of 2010.

But tonight, here I am. Awake. With almost nothing creative or useful to say. This blog has been pretty quiet because my life has not been. I am staring a book, Any Given Day, by Dennis Lehane, which I have been trying to read now for months. It seems like my free time comes in 20 minute spurts, and then should be put to use by doing things like washing some dishes or vacuuming instead of something frivolous like reading. For pleasure.

Work is still crazy. I go in with a list of 5 things I need to accomplish that day, and get sidetracked by 12 things I wasn't expecting. Or one BIG thing that I didn't want to spend 5 hours on, but there it went. Time is constantly sucked away by that Big Thing. I am hoping that Big Thing is going to be gone soon, but I am not holding my breath. My boss is hopeful it will go away soon too. We have all spent way too much time on it. I wish I could be more specific about it, but I can say that it has been one of the most frustrating, at time demoralizing and definitely disappointing exercises I have had to participate in. Ever. Hopefully by the end of the summer it will all be done, and maybe I can someday share my frustrations.

In the meantime, Cooper continues to keep us all entertained. We went to visit a friend who is fostering a mother cat and the kittens she just had three weeks ago. I asked Cooper if he likes cats or dogs better. CATS he said without hesitation. Hm. That is inconvenient. We are not getting any cats until most of our dogs are no longer in this life. The Schnauzers believe all cats are part of a major conspiracy and should be destroyed. That is not conducive to peaceful and harmonious home life. So no cats.

He has begun being a real grown up kid. We have watched Chicken Little, a cute animated film about Chicken Little who saves the world from an alien invasion, about 12000 times in the last two weeks. He has picked up from this movie the funny verbal distraction of saying "What were we talking about?" when he doesn't want to do whatever it is we want him to do, or answer the question we have just asked him. It is like he is 12 already. And because it is FUNNY, I laugh. And boy does this kid like to make a person laugh. You can see his eyes light up, and then he keeps trying to make me laugh. Since he loves a good prat fall as much as the next person, and loves to make people laugh, I can see a future as the next Chevy Chase of his generation. I am okay with that as long as we skip the part about addictions to various controlled substances. The Mama will need to be supported in some fashion in her dotage, why not through making people happy?

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Princesses, they are not just for girls anymore...

My son is obsessed with princesses. He has recently watched a variety of shows or movies that feature princesses, and he "luffs them" as he likes to say. The Princess and the Frog showed up in Cooper's Easter basket, and he has watched it many times now. Inside the DVD case was a pamphlet of Disney products, like other movies - Beauty and the Beast has definitely caught his attention - or the other merchandise that goes with the movies. Cooper has carefully kept this around, and looks through it frequently. He tells me every time he "luffs" the Princess and the Frog figurine. "Put it on my list" he will say. The list is the invention our our friend TR, who spends a lot of time with us, and told Cooper when he sees something he would like, he has to add it to his list for birthdays and Christmas. It is quite genius.

Today Cooper and I took a little trip to Whole Foods, to see if they sold the kind of yoga mat I have been considering getting, now that I am going to yoga more often. They don't by the way. On our way to the store, Cooper said that when we got to the store, he wanted to look at phones. "Phones?" I asked. "Phones. Princess phones. I want a princess phone" he responded. WHU? Where do they get these things? Must be TV. He has seen commercials for Barbie, with light up jewelry and shoes (obviously the street walking Bimbo Barbie) and he will say "I LUFF that!" Pretty much if it involves either pretty girls in fancy dresses, or dragons, he loves it. You cannot fault him for being well rounded.

This week we have also had some new adventures in culinary choices with Cooper. He ate a Sweet and Salty peanut butter granola bar - the first time he has eaten peanut butter or peanuts or a really chunky granola bar, and a plain bagel. Just sat down and began chomping on it like he does it every day. Which he does NOT. He has refused to eat bread of any kind since he was 10 months old. It was one of the first solid foods he would gnaw on, and then he just stopped and refused to look any bread in the eye.

Just when you think you understand what is going on, you don't. Cooper also wants to add to his list a princess costume. If a Spiderman costume got me a potty trained toddler, what can a princess costume get me, do think?

Monday, April 12, 2010

This is the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship...

I didn't grab my camera, or my video camera, but I have in my minds eye this image forever. Cooper and "his Liam", the 3 year boy old next door who Cooper loves possibly more than his Spiderman costume, on Cooper's Red Flyer tricycle. Cooper was pedaling, and Liam is sitting on the top step behind him, hanging on to the seat, feet up in the air. There they went, up and down the street, tassels flying on the ends of the handlebars, two little blond headed boys, poised to launch into a life of shared adventures, joys and undoubtedly trouble.

At one point Liam wanted to ride the bike, but Cooper wasn't in the mood to share. Liam was crying, and his dad told him it was Cooper's bike, he had his own which he could ride any time and if he didn't stop crying, he could go inside. Liam trudged his way to the door, scuffing his feet and crying. Cooper was distressed that Liam was leaving, so I told him that Liam was sad because he wouldn't share his bike. If he wanted Liam to stay outside, he might want to tell Liam he could have a turn. "YES!" said Cooper, and he jumped off the bike, and ran as fast as he could to catch up with Liam as he got to his front door. Cooper stopped, put a hand on his side, slightly bent over, catching his breath, and gestured to the bike while saying "Liam, BIKE. Your turn." Just like that, the two were happy, coming back to play. Liam got on, and said in his little froggy, husky voice, "Cooper, get on the back."

And off they went again...now if all of their future negotiations could be solved this simply.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I had brain a minute ago...

Nature is trying to kill me. Compliments of a month of rain of biblical proportions EVERYTHING is blooming right now. Trees, bushes, flowers, fungus of all manner. And they are all producing sneeze and mucus inducing spores. I am not even sure there is enough Claritin or Zyrtek to help. Do you know how hard it is to do yoga when your nose tickles like a rabid flea is up there? HARD.

I thought I had a cold, and it might have started out that way, but now it I am certain it is allergies. And along with all the sneezing and blowing of the nose comes the mental fog. Which is totally counterproductive to what I need to accomplish in my life. Work is off its rocker busy, and I have things on the home front that need attention.

Like swapping all my cold weather clothes for warm weather clothes, because yesterday it decided to be 90 degrees. Whee. Cooper refuses to consider wearing anything short sleeved or shorts instead of long pants. There was a meltdown worthy of John McEnroe in his heyday yesterday, when I attempted to put shorts on him. I hope he gets over that because it will be a long hot summer if he doesn't.

I also need to follow up with the City of Waltham as to why they are charging me another excise tax on my car. I think it is because I bought it in December. They just see it as I bought a new car, so I owe them more money. But it is the same car I had previously, which I leased. So I paid the excise tax on it already. SIGH.

And have I mentioned the dust or the dirt that is living on my floors? Three dogs and one toddler create a lot of gunk. And I need to do a thorough cleaning of the house.

But I begin something, and because I have this snot covered brain fog going on, I cannot remember for longer than 20 seconds what I was doing, or why I walked into a particular room, or why I opened the fridge. To make Cooper's lunch was the answer to the last question. Bob had to tell me.

Eventually the flowers and trees will all finish blooming, and if I live that long, my brain should clear. I am taking tomorrow off, so maybe I will be able to maintain focus long enough to accomplish two of the things on my list.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Things that don't make sense to me...

Why people park their cars on the street directly across from another car parked on the street, so effectively creating a very narrow space between them that other vehicles have to navigate, and which is not wide enough for emergency vehicles, should there be a need.

Why our college softball games have to blast music outside. Seriously. The field is right next to the day care center, and games are alway during the peak napping time for 50 something kids under the age of 5 in that building. Including my kid.

Bullying. In recent local news a high school girl took her life because she had been subjected to relentless harrassment by her fellow students. 9 students have been charged in her death, two boys who were charged with statutory rape, and the other students are primarily girls. The girls in particular, reportedly, bullied the young woman verbally and online, through Facebook.

I am completely without comprehension as to how people do this to each other. I have seen from a distance this happening to a family member, who is high school aged. While I am not directly involved because this is not my child, and I know the child's parents are aware and on top of things, it is disturbing to me that high school students can be so cruel.

I know bullying has gone on since the first Neanderthal walked upright and the others pointed and laughed, but secretly wanted to do the same. But it has become somehow acceptable to do it in such a violent and heartless manner that children are committing suicide. On campus here, civility has been the primary topic and a driving force behind programming. But what is somewhat surprising to people who don't deal with people under the age of 24, is that it is the women who can be the cruelest, and primarily to other women. I think people most often think of bullies as being male, with the stereotype being like that kid from A Christmas Story, who stalked other kids in the alleys on the way to and from school. And that certainly still happens. But it has become more prevelant that it is the girls who are very willing to be physically, verbally and electronically cruel and unrelenting in the harrassment category.

I don't know what we do to change this. Where are they learning this behavior, and why are they learning it is acceptable? What is happening in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our school systems that dignity, respect and caring for our fellow human beings is NOT top of the list of how to behave? I watch a fair amount of TV, and I don't think it is completely to blame. Granted, I do not watch shows like The OC, Jersey Shores, Real Wives of any city and one could argue that what they show us, mirror back to us is bad behavior and we like it. But those shows would not be popular if the behavior they exhibit wasn't in some way already acceptable.

Where have we gone so wrong, and seriously what can we do about it?