Thursday, 24 September 2009

Strings Attached

Today Logan stayed home from school because he had a slight temperature. However, Kim and John are visiting from England and we had already planned to visit San Antonio, so Logan had to come along.

Remember that drought I've been complaining about? Well, since John and Kim arrived from England, it has done nothing BUT rain. So our little hiatus to San Antonio was done between thunderstorms. We visited The Alamo and La Villita then had lunch in the Rivercenter mall. We couldn't ride the river boats because, apparently, they don't run unless the weather is dazzling. Logan was SUPER well behaved during this whole expedition, which made not putting him in a bag and tossing him in the river quite easy.

On our way out of the mall, Kim wandered into a boutique and we, her entourage, followed behind. Inside this little store, Logan amused himself sedately by looking at all the bulk jewelry. He found a large silver heart on a long chain and begged me to buy it. To him, it was the definition of stunning. I asked him why he wanted this necklace and he said, "So I can give it to you, Mommy. It has a love on it." How could I deny him (especially since it was under $10)?

Once the purchase was made, I handed him the necklace and he held onto it during the ride home. After the hour commute, he placed the necklace over my head and told me, "I bought this for you Mommy!"

Now, in case you're dabbing your eyes at this touching display of sweet affection, let me just tell you that he threatens to take it back any time I scold him for misdeeds. Really, the lovely necklace was given conditionally on my behaviour. I've almost lost the priviledge of ownership three times since it's acquisition.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Sage, Not Just For Stuffing

Remember back in February when Hannah was being considered for the Gifted and Talented program before I ruined any chance she had by not being able to fill out the application form? Well, I had been advised that we wouldn't know if she was accepted until August, when school started.

So, here we are, the middle of September and since I hadn't heard a word about Hannah being accepted, I assumed she hadn't. Whatever. Then Hannah showed up yesterday and told me she is in the Sage program. She explains not everyone can go to Sage, just special kids. Teasingly, I ask, "You mean only the dumb ones?"
"No!" she denied emphatically.
"Only the TALL ones?" Again, I offend with the width and depth of my ignorance.
"No Mommy, only the smart ones," she explains, using very simple words so I could understand; knowing with a surity she'll never have to worry about bumping into me at a Sage convention. I asked her when she started going to Sage (a.k.a the Gifted and Talented program) and she informed me, "Since last school year."


Trying not to interrogate her, I asked why she hadn't told me that she had been going to Sage since arriving to Texas. She told me she hadn't known that not everyone got to go. That seemed a reasonable answer--since everything was new to her when she arrived, she didn't question one more new thing. From the Q&A that followed, I learn her first Sage meeting had taken place on Tuesday and that they meet twice a week. During their first meeting they played a get-to-know-you game that consisted of telling two truths and a fib about yourself. Everyone then tries to guess which was the fib. Here were Hannah's 3 things:
1. I adopted a grandfather in England
2. I have never seen a live snake
3. I lived through an earthquake in England

Can you guess which one is the fib?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Souped up Superman

Since starting school three weeks ago, Logan has come home and spontaneously brought up Halloween on several different occations. He has shared with us how excited he is about it and how much he is looking forward to the actual event (I’m doing a rough translation of his animated diatribe consisting of mangled syllables and semi-formed words). This is hugely amazing because Logan is more of a "here and now" sorta guy, so it's exciting to see him bringing up and discussing future events. This morning was one of those times. After he reminded us once more about the finer points of Halloween, Hannah suggested he could be Spiderman (AGAIN--for the third year running). I had other plans. Last week I had gone to the Mega Gi-normous Shop and found a Superman pajama (it even had a cool cape that can Velcros on) which could SO double as a Halloween costume. Naturally, I bought it; I mean, who wouldn't? My plan was to wait until October before showing Logan the costume/pajama, but the moment seemed right and I brought it out for his immediate approval instead. OH! the joy!! Unfortunately, he couldn’t try it on because we had to go to school. No worries, Logan took custody of his new super suit and hung it in the closet.

Twelve hours later, it was time to get ready for bed. Logan lost no time taking off his mild mannered school clothes and replacing them with his Superman jammies looking ever so pleased. When I went in to kiss him goodnight and have prayers, I found my mini man in bed dressed in his fabulous new pajamas--with orange swim goggles placed neatly over his eyes. This swim goggle thing has been happening now for about three nights running, but the Superman costume really pulled the look together. Having seen the ensemble, I’m shocked that Marvel Comics hadn’t thought to outfit Clark Kent’s alter ego with orange tinted swim goggles. HUGE over site on their part.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Now, I'm not going to name names in order to preserve some sense of dignity and anonymity, however today one of my offspring (mind you, I have four) made me laugh at a darling language faux pas.

We had been discussing if it had actually rained that day. It's always exciting to see a little precipitation, especially since Texas is in year two of a severe drought. Having just spent the last three years of our lives in England where rain is a given, we have come to appreciate that horrid, messy, depressing weather as the cooling, refreshing, quiet phenomenon that it is.

Sadly, today's rain was puny, just a few drops really. Un-named offspring said, "It's not really raining right now, it's just slobbering."

Giggling at the mental picture the phrase created, I caught myself and then soberly asked, "You mean drizzling?"

Friday, 4 September 2009

Texas Wildlife, Up Close and Personal

Living in the hill country affords many pleasures that city dwellers don't even know they are missing. For example, the twinge of delight one feels when driving up and finding deer grazing on the front lawn; or when walking the dog at night and realizing that Orion's Belt and the Big Dipper are just out of arms reach. Another amazing perk of country living is this--if I decide to leave my curtains open, nobody's gonna walk by and witness the state of my undress. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved, I assure you.

howEVER...There are one or two drawbacks. The first goes back to those lovely deer grazing in the yard. Those blasted beasts eat EVERYTHING you plant, so unless you have 10 foot fencing surrounding the entire perimeter of your property, don't even bother planting anything besides cactus and sage! Whoa--sorry...I sorta blacked out there for a second...Anyway, as I was saying, there can be some challenges unique to living outside the city. I experienced one of those when I forgot to close the garage door last Friday night. No, there weren't burglars passing through, it was much, much worse. A potential vandal took up residence in the garage. The dog apprised me of the situation Saturday afternoon. At first I thought a field mouse had gotten in. Then, getting on my hands and knees to look under the storage shelves, I saw it was WAY bigger than a mouse. Probably a cat. Then came the smell. We all know what looks like a cat yet smells like a prison outhouse in the middle of August, don't we? A large skunk was in my garage with a dog harassing it and boxes of things I haven't unpacked innocently sitting right at ground zero. Luckily, I was able to get Doggy in the house before we had to torch the garage and all its contents.

How was I going to evict our pungent little guest? Google, baby, Google. Here's what we learned. Skunks are nocturnal. They will leave when night falls to forage for food, so just leave the door open, sprinkle flour on the ground and once you notice his little footprints exiting, you will know he has gone. Oh, yeah, and I forgot one other minor detail...they carry rabies. But, not to worry. If you do happen to get bitten by a skunk, catch it and save the brain so that the hospital can rule out whether or not you are going to die of hydrophobia.

I figured you'd like to know, just in case...knowledge is power, after all.

At night fall, I closed the garage door hoping fervently that Pepe had already gone. Of COURSE I didn't put down flour to see his little foot prints, that's what clever people do.

That night, I tossed and turned and I could smell that unique aroma particular to polecats. Waking early (3 am), I crept to the kitchen and slowly opened the door leading to the garage. The light had been left on and as I peeked inside, there he was, sniffing about, probably wondering where the escape portal had gone. I'm going to tell you something right now: Mr. Disney took liberties when animating the cuteness of skunks. Or perhaps because we haven't developed Surround Smell in theaters, we can't really appreciate how undesirable skunks actually are until we see one eight feet away inside our enclosed property. Slowly, ever so slowly, I closed the door and went outside where the car had been parked. Using the remote, I opened the door from a safe distance. Of course, the pandemonium of opening another dimension caused our friend to duck and cover. I waited, hoping he would smell the fresh air and trot out. Apparently, fresh air is not as important to skunks as it is to the human race; he out waited me. Eventually, I left the garage door open, closing it just before daybreak. And no, I didn't put down any flour, so quit asking!

Here we are, a week later and I'm guessing our little wildlife refuge is closed--at least until I forget to close the garage again.