Monday, April 20, 2009

A friendly reminder (to me.) And it's gonna be a looong post.

You've been warned. It's long and fairly boring.

It is not uncommon for me to berate myself over my 'doing stuff' inadequacies. I often think I'm the biggest slacker mother, housewife, employee, neighbor, friend, relative, etc. Either I'm not doing enough of the things that define 'good' for those categories, or I'm not whole-hearted enough when I actually do those things. Not enthusiastic enough or downright negative and complaining. Heaven forbid! Right?Not smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, ambitious enough, hardworking enough, responsible enough. On and on.

So for me, a benefit of blogging has been showing myself that I do in fact do stuff. Going back through a couple weeks worth of photos or blogs reminds me that we actually have a pretty varied and busy life. We're not world travellers yet or anything, but my kids aren't sheltered and neglected, and I don't sit around watching TV or surfing the Internet all the time.

So what's new these days? Lessee...So we went to the bluegrass concert. We headed back this Friday evening as well. This time with Masi (pronounced Maw-see) & Pops and Uncle Delbert & his lady friend Vic. Sure they're all in their 70's, but you try finding a funner bunch of people to hang out with.

After the show a couple weeks ago, Mark and I had the following evening to ourselves and wandered around in our usual aimless way. Somehow we ended up at one of 'The T' stations and Mark tells me that he's never ridden it. Wha?! Now I've only ridden it a handful of times myself, but it's pretty much a quintessential Pittsburgh thing to do, so we decided to remedy the situation. There we were, 2 bumpkins with no correct change. (I thought Mark would have it.) By some miracle, the driver took pity on us, first asking the other passengers to make change, and then finally making change out of his own pocket. Really! I know! And how embarrassing!

We decided to ride in to Station Square. We walked along the river and checked out the murals on the ramp to the Gateway Clipper. We walked over to the station for The Duquesne Incline, but decided not to take a ride up because the car was full of a bunch of rowdy Yinzers.

So what else...Oh man! First soccer game of the season drama. So Lily's coach this year was formerly Aggie's coach a couple seasons ago. Always seemed like a super nice guy. Very kind, laid back, but still tried to help the kids improve their game. As Mother of the Year runner-up, I have not attended a single practice yet this season for any of our three children. In my defense, the grandparents very happily volunteered to take them to practices because they love any opportunity to hang out with them, and I'd probably get in big trouble if I messed up that routine for them.So the first game is the first time I've been at a soccer function this season. As usual, it was bloody frigid that morning. Those soccer fields reside in their own climate where it is 5 times colder and 10 times windier than anywhere else in the tri-state area. It's taken me a year or so to figure out that just because it's 70 degrees and sunny at your house doesn't mean you shouldn't bring a wool hat and several coats and blankets to the soccer field.So. Hats, gloves, coats, layers, layers, layers, and we're off to the game. I unfold my chair on the sidelines and Lily's game begins. Playing, playing, playing. Lily's been parked on my lap the whole time. Halftime comes. Playing, playing, playing. Lily hasn't been in once. Why won't he put her in the game? She's sitting right here. We're 15 feet from where his wife is sitting, so we're not invisible. He's switched out players several times now. What gives? My mind reels. Is she horribly behaved at practice? Does the coach have something against her/us? He was so nice when Aggie was on his team. What the hell? Finally, with 10 remaining in the game, I tell Lily that if she wants to play, she better go ask the coach to put her in. So she takes off her heavy coat and goes to the sidelines by the coach to ask to play. I see that the coach sees her and I'm guessing she'll go in right away because there are only a few minutes left in the game. She's shivering and smiling when her dad arrives to ask where she is, and I blurt out the whole (perceived) story. Neither one of us is quick to jump to conclusions, but I can see he's as confused/peeved as I am. He sees her shivering alone and waiting, walks her coat over to her, and lo and behold! the coach NOW decides to put her in the game. sigh. A few minutes later the game is over, and I am so weirdly broken-hearted that when the coach pro-actively comes over to apologize, to say that he 'thought that was Lily sitting on my lap, but he wasn't sure,' that he'd be sure she got to play more next game-- I am unable to speak. I simply looked him in the eye and walked away. I just couldn't bring myself to say those magic words: 'Oh, it's OK!', because it would've been a lie. It wasn't OK right then.

Fortunately, for Lily, it was pretty much OK, because I didn't mention any of it to her, and as far as she's concerned 5 minutes of game time is about the same as 55 minutes of game time, so long as she gets to go to the concession stand afterwards.

Now that ample time has passed, I'm much more convinced that it wasn't done with malicious intent. I think it was just a really weird morning for all involved and we gotta move on. So let's move along! What else....The big community Easter Egg hunt that I never knew about in the 8 or so years we've lived here. Turns out it's a very nice affair, very well done, and everyone is there. It is more of a who's who than the Apple Festival, I swear. We didn't know the routine, so I basically plopped my bewildered girls down in the middle of their egg hunts just as the siren signaled Go Time. It was all over in a flash and the girls came away with about 10 pieces of bazooka gum. This is no reflection on the quality of the hunt however, because they were giving away bicycles and I saw other kids running around with bags full of stuff. They must have been old pros. After that: Roller.SKATING! Ya, baby! Why didn't somebody remind me how ridiculously fun that is? (Well, Becky pretty much did.) One of Aggie's BFF's had a birthday party at the Neville Roller Drome on Neville Island. Didn't even know about the Roller Drome. (Shouldn't it be 'Dome' ?) It is like stepping back in time. Good times, that is. Because it is this spacious, delightful rink with goonie rental skates, lockers, 'ladies' skate'/'couples' skate'/'all skate', and a snack bar with nachos and pizza. There is a referee shirt-wearing guy who makes sure every one's skating safely. Probably in his late 30's, he has a pale pockmarked face and thin black hair, but holy cow, can the dude skate! It must be family-run, because there were 2 gray-haired gentlemen in the skate rental booth who had to be brothers, and also a family of 5 that ran the limbo game. At first glance they appeared very-run-of-the-mill Pittsburgh until you saw them skate: they were awesome! ( OK, maybe that is run-of-the-mill Pittsburgh?) The biggest surprise was when one of the older gentleman from the rental booth came out with his I-pod and in line skates. I couldn't stop watching him! He was dancing on skates! To Britney Spears!

As for our fam, this was the first skating venture for all three kids and they were really getting the hang of it by the end of the party. And me? I didn't wipe out once! I came close a couple times but somehow stayed on my feet. Super fun! Then home for birthday supper and cake for Sam's birthday. Masi always makes us whatever cake we want for our birthday. Sam chose chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. Always a good choice.Sunday: We haven't been attending church regularly -for shame ;) .oh, who am I kidding, we haven't been attending at all, I guess mostly because I'm too picky and church-jaded. But we did go to Easter sunrise service to spend some time with Dad. Plus he was helping make the free church breakfast afterward, and who passes up a free church breakfast? Not us, that's who.

Only thing was, sunrise service was outside! And it was 30 degrees. Everyone assumed I knew this, but it came as a terrible surprise when we got there. Aggie was really crabby at me for making her wear a skirt in freezing temperatures, and she wouldn't accept my excuse that I didn't know it was outside, honest! Oh well, breakfast pastries and hot chocolate covered a multitude of sins and all was forgiven.

Onward home, out of churchy clothes and into loungy clothes for the Easter egg hunt up at the neighbors' green houses. They live over the creek and through the woods from our house & their greenhouse business and our farm market business have a nice symbiotic relationship. Plus there is familial relation real and imagined as well. Real and far removed cousinship and the adoptive Uncleship of Uncle Delbert. We love it, don't we?How beautiful it is to come out of the cold Spring breezes and into the fragrant warm air of the greenhouses. All the houses were built as one addition and add-on to the next, so there is no uniformity and seemingly no rhyme or reason, yet it's been working for decades. It is a rabbits' warren of doors and mazes, benches and tables brimming with blooms and baby vegetables. Mechanicals are of salvaged and antique parts and you may find a Hemingway cat lounging amongst the gazing balls. (Another family relation maybe? Our Coco cat has many toes.) And it's a great place for an Easter egg hunt. It's just our kids and the neighbors' so they make out like bandits on their eggs filled with the daddys' loose change and good chocolates. But there's no time to dawdle, as we head over to Mom's house for Easter food extravaganza blow-out extravaganza. That's right. I said extravaganza twice because that's how much food her new Italian in laws bring to Easter dinner, and boy is it good. And boy are they a blast. There's like a million of them first of all. Brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews. And they laugh! Oh, how they laugh. They may been in another room of the house and you have no idea what they're talking about, but you kind of laugh, too, when you hear them. Good people, all of them. And when I gave an Easter flower to Mom's new mother-in-law, as she was one of the matriarchs present, she nearly brought me to tears with her verklempt tears and big kisses of appreciation. Priceless, I tell ya'.
I'm supposed to be remembering more things here. Hmmmm. Remembering what great stress relief it is to spend a few minutes with the horses. Spring is bringing it's abundance of mud and I'm trying to keep the horses' feet from being stinky with thrush. So I've been trying to go out at least every 2 or 3 days and give their feet a good picking. And because Admiral's feet seemed extra yucky, I also took it upon myself to follow the picking with a dousing of apple cider vinegar, and one evening a dressing of triple antibiotic mixed with athlete's foot cream. I don't know whether it was simply the picking, my magic recipe, or if I'd been overly paranoid to begin with, but they seem to be looking better to me. It's probably mostly been my imagination. And a reason to go play with them.
The poopy mud all over my hands, the horses softly farting above my head as I pick their back feet, and the rhythmic hay munching sound is all so soothing.Mark whisked me away on a short horseback ride to the neighbor's farm Thursday night. The neighbor was out grooming his wild bunch of horses and we stopped to chat. He'd bought these 3 horses a couple years ago, thoroughbreds who'd either never made it to the track or didn't do well enough to continue racing. The farrier had just been there and she'd given him the name of a lady to come clean his male horses' sheaths. He said he'd never heard of doing that and was fairly mystified. I said you may well want to pay someone to do it because it's gross. Well, mainly because he didn't know how well his horses would appreciate it.
Admiral is not a huge fan but will tolerate it. All I could think was 'Here I am, takin' a nice horseback ride in the country, bump into my neighbor, and now we're talkin' horse p*nis.'
Thursday and Friday the kids had the Science Olympiad at school. This is Sam's second and Aggie's first. Sam gave me a fair amount of warning that he needed to build a trebuchet, and fortunately for Aggie, when she dropped the 'I need a catapult for tomorrow' bomb the night before, we still had most of Sam's old catapult from 4th grade. And woohoo! Aggie got 2 blue ribbons and Sam got 2 blue ribbons and one 3rd place ribbon. So I was way proud! And then some more stuff happened and we did some other stuff, too. Sunday, I did not do stuff.
Oh. This morning Mark and Pops went to go pick up a cow and calf that Mark bought from a neighbor. ('Neighbor' meaning anyone within a 15 mile radius.) I guess the neighbor for some reason penned the cow up without her calf causing the cow to go berserk and run over Pops as they tried to put her in the trailer. Ran him completely over. By some miracle, he's unhurt other than being smashed into the mud. The cow and calf are still running loose at the neighbor's place, and they'll try to get them loaded maybe tomorrow. I guess we'll be getting a new batch of piggies when we get back from vacation, and I'm hoping to get another flock of hens, too. Right now there are only 2 little silkie hens and their giant red rooster in the coop. Silkies look like this:

Lily's been asking to try out for cheerleading this year. Aggie did it for a year and did really well but decided it wasn't for her. Knowing how half-hearted Lily is about many of her activities, and due to cheerleading's concurrence with soccer and girl scouts, I've been really hesitant to agree. It's killing me because I want to say yes. Mostly because she would look so cute with her little uniform and pompoms! But that is not a reason, and neither was Lily's reason: Because cheerleaders get free hot dogs after the game.

Well, I'm gonna call it a post. I'm feeling pretty 'reminded' that I am not a terrible person.

Even though I spent my entire Sunday lying around watching TV. I'm only human.


ERageK said...

I wish I had horse hoofs and farts to destress to. I cannot believe you posted this today. Jib might be a little disappointed you did not post the "Ribs & Chicken" though.

Annette said...

OK, I've picked myself up off the floor from laughing. You're probably one of the best moms I know, so quit beatin' yourself up over it.

And I'm so looking forward to picking out Admiral's feet while you're on vacation. I need a good dose of horse farts and manure mud under my fingernails to regain my sanity.

And I suppose Mark lengthened my stirrups again. ;-)

Amy said...

Okay, I think I have to go take a nap now. Dang, girl! You cram more into one week than I do in a year! You're amazing. And it just sounds funner--yes, I said funner. Jason wanted us to do a sunrise service this year, and I was like, "Ok, but can we do it at noon?" The free breakfast rocks, though! I bet it was yummy.

I so wanna go roller skating now! I'll skip the horse p*nis part, if that's okay. :)

honeypiehorse said...

Wow. Reading this made me realize that I suck. I can't believe you bought a cow! What more do kids need?

Becky said...

Okay seriously with the spoiling us! How many times do I have to tell you? I mean, soccer, egg hunts, horse penises, Pops getting trampled, and an Uncle Delbert connection all in one post?!? How am I supposed to pick what to comment on?

I will just say: love the idea of a greenhouse egg hunt. Mmm!

I must confess that I hated every minute of the season Laura played soccer. She never scored a goal and rarely helped the team in any way. And it's weird how all the sports/social stuff gets to you--a weird interaction like you had can leave you stewing.

And I'm not clear on the horse sheath cleaning. . .dare I ask for more deets?

Put a piece of cheese on it!

Heidi said...

After all that how DARE You think that you dont do enough with your family!! LOL We didnt even do the Easter egg hunt because I was lazy...yes lazy.
The rollar skating is TOO MUCH!!! The Milk Man and I met rollar skating and I fell in love with him at 13 - he didnt know I was even breathing air.
The green house pictures with the flowers in the back ground - ROCKS!! sure beats the snow we had here.

You are a great gal and I have missed seeing your name and picture over at my place.. your missed my dear. :)

Sara said...

Phew! Re-reading that post was nearly painful! No time for making sound good. Must write down everything. Sputter, mutter...

I *knew* horse farts were something others can appreciate! (And yep, Annette, he messed up your stirrups.)

And I'm certain you all are at least as busy as this. Just maybe not as much roller skating?

Becky, thank you for the soccer confession. Horse sheath cleaning at my house involves KY Jelly. We'll talk about 'the bean' sometime. Um, 'smegma.'
And happy Bloggy B Day!

Heidi: That may be one of the most romantical things I've ever heard. :)