5,000 words

Lego stash unearthed by Baba to add to Small Person's inventory (post-bath):
We started Mother's Day with strawberry picking:
Then continued to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk:
Then finished up with our favorite sushi restaurant:
Small Person's school play:
School's almost out! Most time-consuming job almost done! Almost time to register for Fall classes!


working hard for the money

So, would you rather hear that I'm so busy having a fabulous life that I have no time to post anymore? Or that I'm so busy working two (three?) jobs and volunteering and parenting and trying to plant the garden before it's time to harvest already that I have no time to post? Well, let's just call it one and the same and a day all at once. Does it help that I feel guilty for not posting? Or that apparently I post very ungrammatically?

The good part about all the tasks at hand is that being busy keeps me upbeat and optimistic. Then, there's the fact that I'm making some money lately that I will be able to squirrel away for the Fall when I switch from too much work to too much school. Same amount of busy, though. The bad part is that I don't write, I don't call, I don't visit, I come home, check my email, feed the kid (sort of) and flop into bed. Boooring.

I'm thinking I'll eventually get time off for good behavior, right?


mr. lizard

Between my voracious library habit and history of used bookstore jobs, I've found a lot of odds and ends in books. Old book marks, receipts, notes (and don't get me started in marginal notes on books that don't belong to you!), various bits and pieces. Then there's the sometimes gross biological residue: boogers, dried up bugs and spiders, and the occasional bloody fingerprint. Pretty disgusting, eh? Well, this is definitely the oddest thing I've seen hidden away in a book:
Yep, that's a petrified lizard. It was tucked away between an end cover and an added media packet. My work partner was gaspingly startled and left me to slide the specimen out. Of course, I had to bring it home to document it. It's only a couple inches long, but that's still big enough to give one a start and then wonder how it got there. Its placement was such that it seemed to have crawled in and been slammed away on the shelf for ages. Yuck. But, I still love working at the library.


working girl

I start my new job tomorrow. Did I mention this? Maybe I passed it around so much offline that I forgot to post it here. I got a library job! Okay, before we get too wound up, it's about as entry-level as one can get. Part-time, after hours, temporary position to re-label and tag all the books in all the branches. Given that criteria, the pay rate is rather sad, too. What the heck, I'm not getting into this gig for the wealth it will bring me, right? The late nights mean a couple of missed family dinners, but I'll still be able to pick up Small Person from school and have some afternoons together. It also means my mornings can still be spent at my volunteer shift doing different repetitive library-type tasks. Let's face it: I'm thrilled!

Small Person is back in school after a leisurely Spring Break. We didn't plan anything special, aside from the birthday party and a few days at day camp. The break started me wondering (worrying) about what to do for her Summer vacation. I'm leaning heavily toward the local YMCA day camp. As much as I hated it as a child, Small Person is not me. I know, we can all breathe a sigh of relief! Point is, she's so much more social and eager to participate in new endeavors and really thrives on variety. Even if I was in a position to stay home with her all summer, neither of us would be satisfied with it in this post-kindergarten frame of mind. Not to mention, we would both be pretty annoyed with one another after the first two weeks of mom-projects ran out. I know, it seems early to fiddle with this. I'm still not used to the school-year mode. Seriously, camp sign-ups start this week, and if I'm not on top of it, we'll miss the desirable open slots. Or any slots at all, really.

Other Spring-related news: we have compost! I know, save the dork comments, let's take them as a given, shall we? Anyway, I've been slacking my duties to turn, rotate, turn, lather, rinse, repeat. Ha! It happened anyway. I mean, the pile could use a little sieving, and we'll continue the process, but I'm not going to have to buy any compost for this season's garden. Which we are woefully far behind in planting. I should have had seeds started and stuff in the ground already. Last weekend we cleaned and prepped and tossed some flower seeds around, but the serious veggie planting has yet to begin. Or serious planning. Sigh. That plan has to fall in line behind the dishes.


big island

Small Person's birthday party went off without a hitch. I baked, Auntie T constructed, and it turned out like this:
Extra fabulous, don't you think? We decked the house and ourselves in leis, grass skirts, and various other island-inspired props, put the five hours worth of music I collected on shuffle, and passed around the mocktails. I do admit to one small gripe: why is the RSVP habit an exception nowadays, no longer the norm? I mean, just let me know, no big deal, I see you and your kid at school several times a week, how hard is it to just mention that you're not sure of your plans? So, big appreciation to those who responded, even those who couldn't make it! 
Anyway, Small Person was pretty dang excited. She was way beyond any normal levels of behavior, and her ears just turned right off. I pulled out the mini trampoline to give her a little physical outlet, but eventually just sent her out of the house with the grandparents so we could finish up.
It was a good group. Enough for a boisterous event, but still able to all play together in Small Person's room. We made shell necklaces and magnets, we limboed, we tore through presents in record time. And then, we excavated the volcano.
The carpet is covered in shard of grass skirt, the kitchen floor is sticky with grenadine and frosting; we must have had a good time.

Today is my baby girl's official day of birth. She's on Spring Break, so we get to cuddle and give her our presents and field family phone calls all day. She also gets to pick dinner, so I'm 99% positive we'll be enjoying something starchy and far removed from the vegetable kingdom. And, we have a lot of leftover grenadine, so it will definitely be another umbrella-drink day.

Happy Birthday!


tiny island

This is phase one of the Hawaiian-style birthday extravaganza:
Pretty cute, eh? So I went ahead and made a whole archipelago for Small Person's classmates:
The frosting is dreadful, of course. I did make the cake part from scratch, but frosting is not my forte, except when making crazy crafty fun with it. So, a couple of cans of goo, some graham cracker crumbs, and a box of cocktail umbrellas. Aloha! It's going to be even nuttier for the party at home this weekend. A friend loaned me a bunch of decorations, I went on a dollar store spree, and I have big plans for cake. I know, I'm a little loony; I can't help but take the theme and run with it. Or marathon with it.

This week has been busy in general. I've never been so busy being unemployed before. There's the birthday party errands, the housecleaning, and, fortunately, interviews and applications to complete. Also, I got to join Small Person's class for an excellent field trip. We got to see "Agriculture in Action" at our local fairgrounds in celebration of National Ag Day. Two days of every possible example of local plant and animal husbandry, thousands of school-aged kids streaming through to touch the wool and eat the apples and watch the sheep dogs and horses and cows and pigs and hatching chicks and... whew!
And tractors for photo ops. And lots of free pencils. It was thoroughly exhausting and delightful, in that order. The best part? It's a toss-up; Smokey the Bear, or piglets. I vote for the piglets.


i heart 3.14

Happy pie/pi/3.14(...) day, everyone! Of course, celebration of this day entails eating pie. What could be better? Unfortunately, we'll probably have to postpone our pie until tomorrow, as we're zipping off to another birthday party today.

I've been zipping around all week. There's lots of stuff going on. The biggest is that I've been accepted to grad school. Huzzah! I wish I could start tomorrow, but I'll have to wait until Fall to begin the program for a Master's of Library and Information Science. Heaven knows why it took me so long to determine that's what I want to do and find a way to get into it. Also, I applied for an aide position that opened up at my local library, so let's all keep our fingers crossed for that. I've been running around town arranging minutia for Small Person's birthday party. You know, cocktail umbrellas, faux leis and palm trees. And, I've picked up some house-cleaning jobs this week, too. Yikes! I've got to get my calendar in order before I start double-booking.

In that spirit, I've got to dash. Clothes to wash, gas to get, presents to wrap...


news flash

Just to give everyone the duh update: when I feel boring or lame I don't post very often. It's not that I'm overwhelmingly depressed or more nerdy than usual and embarrassed to share. I am, however, still job-hunting, which is rather sad and dull, and doubly so in the current economy. See, boring + drudgery = even more boring.

So, let's see what I can come up with that is a tad more sparkly...

We're planning Small Person's birthday party. We're going with a Hawaiian theme this year. Last year, her late-March birthday fell on Easter. Bingo! Instant theme, treats, activity, etc. Now I'm in for it; making the first party she remembers so super fabulous, I'm on the hook to over-deliver from now on. Anyway, Hawaii. I'm not sure where it came from, except the recesses of my odd brain. We've invited everyone to join us in their beach attire. We'll turn up the heat, put on the slack guitar tunes, and limbo. Then maybe a craft project involving seashells, some cake (possibly in the shape of a volcano) and everyone sent home with their party favors in a sand bucket. Now, I know, I've spoiled the surprise for all you attendees who also happen to be readers. Oh well, aren't you more excited now?

I did finally find some clothes after my retail marathon. (Good segue, huh?) Old Navy strikes again. Just some basic blouses and pants. Nothing very exciting. But, I did then find a cute pair of shoes. Very unusual for me, mauve, pointed toe, low kitten heel. By far the cutest shoes I've bought in years. From the cheapest of the cheap shoe stores. Whatever, these are interview shoes. Once I have an actual paycheck, I'll upgrade.

Hmm... What else. Made a pretty good cheesecake this weekend. The weather has been sunny enough to do a little spring cleaning in the yard. We're starting to make gardening plans. I'm getting a lot of reading done. So that's it. More to come, as soon as something more interesting happens. Maybe even sooner. Over and out.



My feet are killing me. I've spent the whole day on them, and, since I usually try to spend most of my day on my butt, I'm whiny about it.

I had a three-hour shift at the library today. Often when I'm there I spend the shift checking in items, which means mostly sitting at the computer, with short trips to stack things up. Today, however, I spent most of the time in the fiction stacks shelving, then rolling back downstairs to pick up more stuff to put away. So, lots of time on my feet.

As a totally unrelated aside here, I forgot to report my first library injury! Given my clumsiness, it was only a matter of time. I smashed my little finger between a full book cart and the wall. Boo. It's fine, but still black under the nail.

Then, I went shopping today. Oh, shopping. I'm always optimistic about it, even when it is often the bane of my existence. We all have our little body complaints, plus those items that we really just won't wear, no matter how trendy or cheap. I am very overdue for a wardrobe upgrade, and I need some potential interview clothes as well, so off I went to the big boxes.

I've been able to get by in my jeans and t-shirts uniform for far longer than I thought possible, but I've determined I'm no longer able to pull it off. For one thing, I would like to eventually have a job that is in a better professional tier, so I need some clothes that don't scream "entry-level slacker." Then, there's the undeniable fact that I am no twenty-something hipster. I've given up even the fantasy of ever being a hipster, so it's time to start dressing my age. I admit, I might be watching a little too much What Not to Wear, as well.

I bravely went forth, armed with my tax refund and a conquering attitude, and came home with... not much, actually. Not for lack of trying, mind you. I was out and about for over three hours, pawing through sale racks and trying things on, but nothing seemed to work out. You know how that goes. I did make it out alive with some lovely new undergarments, so all was not in vain. And, as I am a glutton for punishment, and Small Person will be at Baba's tomorrow, I will try, try again.

With better shoes.



A small selection of photos of what we've been up to lately.

Small Person all dressed up for Hawaiian Day at school:
They have these spirit days occasionally, and we try to get into it. I don't remember having this kind of thing until junior high or high school, and then it was usually because of some "big game" or rally of some sort. I don't know how that fits into the kindergarten lexicon, but she finds it fun, so we do it. I got into it a little bit in high school, but only if my costume gave me an excuse to get out of class and head to a rally. If I got sidetracked halfway and ended up at some fast food joint for lunch, well, my bad, but the costumes were still fun.

We've been to a lot of birthday parties lately.The fresh newness of kindergarten means new friends, too, and I've come to the conclusion I must have a popular kid. To me, that means she's outgoing, pleasant to be around, and generally good fun. Yay! That also means I'd better start budgeting a little extra time and money for her social engagements. Three parties in February alone! The last one was really cool. It was at a local gymnastics facility, where the party gets to romp around the floor with an instructor. 
I lost count of the number of trampolines! The instructor gives them some rules, helps with the big equipment, and generally herds them around the camera-wielding parents in a tactful fashion.
We didn't want to leave when our time was up.

Mardi Gras: I made jambalaya in my California-girl way, and dressed Small Person in the contents of her necklace box for dinner.Last, but not least, we've been playing a lot of games lately. The cold and rainy days give us plenty of opportunity. Small Person learned some good card games from her Baba, so sometimes Go Fish is on the menu. More often lately, it's SORRY! 
This is the same set from my childhood, which actually pre-dates me by a few years. It's in pretty good shape still, though I don't think it will outlast Small Person.


diggy, the dancing queen

I love the malapropisms of a five year old. Sadly (for me, not her future communication skills), they are waning. Small Person still mis-hears a lot of things, but is far quicker to catch them nowadays and correct herself. And, she can officially read now. I know! On the first day of kindergarten, her teacher promised that they would be reading on their own by the end of the year, so she's right on target. Even though it kills me a little more every day to see her growing up so damn quickly, I am thrilled. Must indoctrinate more bookworms! Tonight she read the bedtime story (another gem by Mo Willems) while I listened and helped with oddball pronunciations. For example: would, know, going. Those ones are tricky. 


stormy weather

Makes us all crazy. Add a three-day weekend, and that's a real recipe for disaster. Fortunately, Small Person spent part of the weekend at Baba's, and we managed to fill the rest. Crafts! Games! Roller skating! I've been encouraging craft supplies as presents practically since Small Person was born, so we're pretty well stocked. This weekend we painted a "stained glass" picture to hang in her window. You know, the plastic kind with various squeeze bottles of colors to fill in the blanks? That was a hit. An even bigger hit, however was the Hama midi bead kit. Those little plastic rings that you put together on a pegboard and then iron to melt into a solid shape. Voila!
Small Person had sooo much fun with these. She made four or five before we ran out of time, and then happily played make-believe with them while I fixed dinner. Extra thanks to Maya for the present!

Then, today was the highlight of the weekend: Small Person's first roller skating. The local rink has a tiny tots open session where shoes are allowed on the rink. This means lots of parents hanging out with toddlers clinging mightily to their pants legs. Being the daredevil I am, I opted for my own skates and tried to avoid Small Person's groping hands. She made it around twice before tiring. Not too bad for a first try. I consider it a success that she fell well without owies, and I didn't fall at all. Neither of us is quite ready to try out for roller derby, though.


i heart valentines

Okay, not really. But Valentine's Day in kindergarten is the best. Everyone is required to give you a Valentine, so you get to wallow in the passion of cartoon characters and conversation hearts from all of your classmates. The crafty mama that I am, of course we had to make our Valentines. No punch-out and fill-in-the-blanks in this household! Here's what we started with:

We made salt dough, then rolled and cut out cute tiny shapes. We've never played with salt dough before, but it was a huge success. The only drawback, really, was that our cookie cutters were so tiny, we were cutting and cutting and cutting for what seemed like hours. And, we have enough cut and baked to make into next year's xmas ornaments. Anyway, once baked, they are hard and virtually indestructible. It is definitely necessary to poke the holes before baking! We then took them over to a playdate to share the painting part. This is final outcome, painted, strung, and adorned with a Valentine tag:

Twenty little crafty Valentine necklaces for the whole class! As usual, I think I was the most excited and interested in the project itself, but Small Person was very pleased to hand them around and declare that she made them. She came home with a bag of sugary treats, ubiquitous to any school occasion, it seems. Since I've already scarfed my (self-purchased) Valentine chocolates, I think hers are safe.


i told you so

That's what all my friends and relations will say (are saying!) when I tell them how much I loved my first volunteer shift at the library. I got to sort and shelve! Then sort and shelve again! And again! I'm really even nerdier than I thought. Normally, I love browsing through the stacks anyway, but this is more like browsing with a purpose. I am learning the decimal system, for real.

I had  to immediately set rules for personal acquisitions. I've decided I can only check out as many books as I bring back on a given day. That's fair, right? Friday that meant three: Wife of the Chef, a memoir; A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style, by Tim Gunn; The White Death, A History of Tuberculosis.

Next week, I get to learn the scanning and receiving system!


book it

So I kind of got a job. Sort of. Okay, not really, but let's just pretend, okay? I'm starting volunteer shifts at the public library. How cool is that? I get to push a cart around, sort, shelve, organize, tidy, and absorb the dewey decimal system osmotically. Is it wrong to be severely excited by that last part? As if that wasn't enough, they'll even reimburse my parking expenses. Woot!

I had a mini-interview and maxi-orientation on Monday, I think just to make sure I'm reasonably upstanding and don't fear alphabetizing. This is the same downtown central library I've visited and loved since my childhood, so the tour was unnecessary, but still fun. I got to visit the offices behind the "Staff Only" door and see all the inner workings. The book drop conveyer belt! The acquisitions department! The break room with actual librarians raiding the fridge!

Okay, I'll stop with the exclaiming. I'm very pleased and interested to be able to spend this time at the library, even if it is unpaid. I think the only drawback will be the alarmingly large amount of reading material I will start to bring home.


billions and billions

Small Person's 100th day of school is coming up. They make a big to-do about it, partly because one of the achievement milestones for kindergarten is counting to 100, and partly just for fun, it seems. The kids are all bringing in collections of 100 somethings to display and share. Me, being the crazy crafty mom with a suddenly large amount of free time, came up with a doozy of a project. Bring out the hot glue!

First step: count the drawer full of crayons in Small Person's desk. I was pretty sure she had at least 100. Like her mama, she has an artsy-craftsy bent that I encourage. What? Art is life, right? So, yes, she actually had 115 crayonsby our count. We organized into groups of ten, counted and recounted to make sure, then arranged by color into a fabulous array. Way to make homework fun, mom! Then we counted again. After all, wouldn't it be embarrassing to discover we are one short after putting it all together?

Putting it together: ribbon, crayons all lined up, lots and lots of hot glue. The ribbon wraps both sides to keep the crayons secure and try to hide all the glue. So fun! I did the gluing, of course, but not too much of the rest. I try (somewhat successfully) to not get too perfectionist or invested in what is not, ultimately, my work. I'm determined to produce a craft-mate, but I know I'll get nowhere if I don't keep my fingers out of her projects.

We brought it in yesterday, which is also my classroom volunteer day. Hooray! The kids liked it, the teacher liked it, I shut up and let Small Person talk it up. The payoff: when she described the process Small Person was proud and happy and it was obvious she considered it her project that mom had helped with, not the other way around. Phew!


i am not a crook

I was let go from my job this morning; my boss accused me of stealing and showed me the door. Anyone who knows me or has worked with me in a variety of retail establishments knows I am not a thief. I'm sure I don't need to defend myself to you, my devoted blog audience. I'm shocked and hurt and feeling pitiful. I've never lost a job under such circumstances. Whether it was a spurious accusation intended to release my boss from an undesirable employee, or a true belief on her part, I don't know. I don't care.

I'm going to drink tea and mope a bit more, and then I'll start to get feisty again.


no news is good news

I know, I'm very late with the well-wishing. Nothing new there.

We're finally back into the swing of things with our routines. A relief, actually, after this year's holiday madness. Small Person is delighted to be back in school; as am I. We're still getting the tortured complaints about bedtime, but as I anticipate fielding those for the next 15 years, it's just another part of the routine. I'm also back in her classroom once a week again, starting today. The kids are still wild and excited about school and really fun to be around. Once a week is enough for me, though. I help out with the lesson of the day, trying to keep track of and assist seven kids at once with their different needs and try to keep my patience in check. Based on this limited experience, I have validated my opinion that I could never be a teacher. Fun and rewarding, sure, but it requires more creativity and stamina than I am capable of. Thank you to those who do it instead of me!

Work is good and less hectic post-holiday, and my classes haven't started yet, so I'm more calm than I have been in weeks. I've made the annual nebulous health/exercise/time management/self-improvement non-resolutions and am bumbling along with them. So far, so good. And with that in mind, I'm off to finish my list of chores before I retire.