Busy day. Well, moderately busy, but it included socializing at a Christmas party/open house this afternoon, so I am drained.
After breakfast and skyping with TLG’s grandparents, the three of us walked across the street to the front lawn of the high school to pick out our Christmas tree. And then we carried it back across four lanes of traffic (there’s a light; phew) to the house. TLG declared: “This is fun!” Unfortunately, this is only an annual ritual, so he’ll have to wait a whole year to do it again.
Then TLG had tae kwon do class and I stayed home to begin wrapping some presents. We got some lunch. Puttered a bit with the tree, but not too much, and then off to the party. At which TLG discovered the joys of the bowls of chex mix and goldfish crackers. (Poor deprived child – we almost never have those things in our house.) Then home, to dinner and bundling the boy off to bed.
Tomorrow should be less busy, although a new children’s museum opened near us that we might want to go check out after TLG’s swim lesson. And of course we’ll have to put ornaments on the tree.
But for now, I’m beat; time for a podcast and some zzzzzzzs.
Horrible day. My heart goes out to the families in Connecticut who lost their children today.
Here’s the thing: We as a society choose which problems we will attempt to address. And we manifestly do not have the strength of character to even attempt to address the massacre-by-gun problem in this country. It is a national disgrace.
We should all be shamed.
No wonder I’m grumpy – it’s about time for my usual end of year recriminations about how much I did not get done this year. One of my BFFs asked me today why I don’t keep a list of the stuff I did do. I said: “What would be the point of that? That stuff’s done!”
Yeah. Inside my head. Not always a fun place to be.
I am trying to clear a few more decks before 2012 is over, including taming my personal inbox again. For the second time this year I had to resort to setting a calendar item to “reduce personal inbox by net 10″ every day for many days. I’m almost there. Need to do the same thing for @WAITING at work, which just accretes and accretes. Then, in and amongst a bunch of other end of year stuff, I need to figure out what some of my personal projects for next year are going to be. (On the bright side, we already have two family vacations planned.)
A thousand ducks are nibbling me to death at work (metaphor inspired by Londo) – I’m feeling pretty angsty and stressed out about stuff there. And I’m tired, tired, tired. So, a few links today, mostly pulled from my Twitter stream which these days is basically retweets of things to be exasperated, outraged, or amused about.
- I have only paid vague attention to the Wikipedia wars, but this piece by Jason Scott against the Deletionist faction is good in and of itself and also if you want to get a sense of what some of the issues are.
- Atrios (Duncan Black) explains in USA Today why raising the Medicare eligibility age is a terrible, terrible stupid idea. Bad policy. Bad politics. That Obama is even letting this remain part of the discussion, much less actually considering doing it, epitomizes almost everything I have disliked about his Presidency.
- I will not be seeing Zero Dark Thirty. This is…. gross. I just cannot think of another word to better describe this blatantly creepy propaganda effort. Just nauseating.
- I do not approve of the elf on the shelf business. You do what you gotta’ do with your family, but no creepy surveillance state indoctrination in this house.
- Josh Marshall thinks the possibility of a massive government shutdown over the debt limit (aka GOP extremist whackadoos–oh, but I repeat myself–playing chicken with the global economy) is greater than most seem to think. I was not in Washington when Newtie threw his fit and shut down the government in the 90s. And I don’t know what this new potential shutdown would mean for my own work (which is at a DotOrg, but partially supported by government grants). But it’s possible that I’d have a bunch of time to practice on my new piano, I suppose.
- And, for something amusing… no… I don’t have anything amusing right at the moment. Maybe tomorrow.
The piano arrived today – delivered at 8am sharp. I worked at home and it was pretty hard to keep from playing with it all day.
Our house is small and has an open floor plan. One test will be whether TLG can manage to get to and stay asleep upstairs if one of us is playing the piano in the living room. I put the odds at 50-50. Of course, we’ll try to keep our evening tunes to mellow stuff. This evening he passed – I noodled on some Christmas-y lullabyes while TheGuy put TLG to bed. Seemed to go fine. But the experiment was confounded because it was a later than usual bedtime and he was tired. To be continued.
I have vague ambitions to try to learn (or relearn) one piece each month – that is to learn it for real, and not just fake my way through it like I’m doing now with my very stiff and rusty fingers. I know just enough to arpeggiate my way around some chords if I lose track of what I’m actually supposed to be doing.
The piano itself puts most of the rest of the living room furniture to shame. We’d been keeping an old recliner couch and a camp couch & chair combo around while TLG was little (in case of food or … other … accidents) but there haven’t really been any. So maybe it’s time to start thinking about how we might redecorate and upgrade the furniture around the piano. Hehe. Speaking of which, I need to email my interior decorator friend and ask for an hour of his time. (Once we feel recovered from the piano purchase, there are about a dozen other house things needing attention and for which I am basically at a loss – stuck in analysis paralysis.)
Anyway, here’s the piano – we are all very happy about it. TLG called it “our permanent piano.” (They’ve been talking about dentists and baby teeth and permanent teeth at school – I thought that was excellent vocabulary usage!)
Kindergarten for TLG approaches. I am moderately anxious about that. We have been thinking very hard about what to do regarding his primary school education and pretty much every option has been considered (some, such as private school, more seriously than others, such as homeschooling). However, after all that, our current plan is to send him to our neighborhood elementary school, to pay close attention, and to be flexible in case other arrangements need to be made.
I’ve also started slowly getting up to speed on some of the ins and outs and controversies of the day regarding the county school district. I do this the way I try to get a feel for any new thing: I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds (or similar), and dip into them every so often just to see what people are talking about. I came very close to starting to attend local PTA meetings, but decided that was too over the top even for me. I’ll wait until he’s actually enrolled. (However, I do scan their newsletters.)
And, since I don’t feel like I can understand anything unless I understand (at least at a coarse level) the larger system within which it is situated, I’ve also started flowing some national education policy feeds into my information stream. Like probably anyone who has been educated within a given system, I find I have exceedingly strong opinions about these policy matters. But I also recognize that how various policy options end up being instantiated in a given classroom is somewhat unpredictable.
So really, it’s all a great unknown. And I know this post is vague, but this is one of those things I don’t want to write too much in detail about while there’s still so much uncertainty (in my head – about what the right thing to do is). I do have great confidence in TLG’s academic capabilities. But this morning I got a call from his pre-K to let me know that he had had a bit of trauma and upsetness because he’d shoved a rock up his nose.* So there are some other things he still needs to work on, obviously.
* Really, child? A rock up your nose? (I knew to worry about this sort of thing when he was 2 and 3 – and it never happened, but at 4.5 I really thought we’d dodged that particular childhood drama. Sigh.)
Holidailies prompt: What is the thing you most wanted as a child for a holiday gift that you didn’t get?
That’s an easy one for me: for several years I wanted a telescope. Never got it. In fact, now that I think about it, I still kinda’ want a telescope. There’s a bit of light pollution where we live (especially during high school football season – the field is a block away across the street), but I bet we could still see a few things if we tried. Perhaps TLG will want a telescope some day and I can use that as an excuse to get one.
Long work week ahead, and again next week, and then a few days off for the holidays. Somehow gotta’ plod through the next couple of weeks. On the bright side: piano delivery this week and a holiday party at friends’ house this coming weekend.
We ran a family experiment tonight – took the boy out to an 8pm concert at The Barns at Wolf Trap. Schooner Fare — a Maine folk duo (formerly trio) that I’ve known of and enjoyed since I was a teenager — comes to The Barns every year. TheGuy and I have been several times and have been waiting impatiently for the boy to be old enough that we felt we could bring him. Tonight was a bit of a gamble, but it went well. He is familiar with a lot of their music (although they have a large repertoire, so there were songs they played tonight that none of us had heard before) and enjoyed the show. I had packed a few dried cherries and chocolate bits to give him at intermission in hopes a little sugar boost would get him through the second set. It mostly did – he only really started to fade during the last song of the second set and the two encore songs.
Apart from being unsure whether he could make it through the show, tonight is a gamble in another way, too. He has had a really good bedtime-to-sleep routine for a few months (after a few years of not having such a thing). So we’ve been really reluctant to upset that applecart. So tonight is the latest he’s been up in a looooong time. Thus, the experiment is half over – he did well at the concert. But: Can he get to sleep tonight? How long will he sleep? And what will it do to his day tomorrow? Parenting anxieties… (seriously, the PTSD from infancy and toddlerdom is finally fading, but it’s going to take a lot longer for my anxiety about his sleep drama to go away, I think.)
Unrelated to the boy, tonight was also only the second time that we’ve used the brand new 495 express lanes on our side of the Washington Beltway. Considering they start right near our house, were empty (at least tonight), and there’s no charge if you have 3 people in your vehicle, so far we are huge fans! Could work out very well for our little family of three and whatever weekend trips north we wind up taking. To friends of ours who come south on the Beltway on the outer loop to visit us: definitely take the express lanes. Easy, easy drive – at least for now.
TheBoy (some days it seems he’s really not such a LittleGuy anymore) has been sleeping well and solidly lately. He’s growing. But it means that he doesn’t have much time to play games with us on weekday evenings or mornings. This morning when I went in to get him up for school he asked me to wake him up at 5:47 tomorrow. I said, “Why?” He said, “So that we have extra time to play games.” Fortunately, he’s also really tickled to be growing so big and strong, so I reminded him that sleep helps him grow. So he agreed that maybe the games could wait until Saturday.
For months now he’s been doing very well at clearing his own dishes from the table after a meal. Today I ran the experiment of having him set the table for the three of us for dinner. Kinda’ worked. Hurrah! Child labor.
He is very pleased that he won trophies at his tae kwon do tournament. I put them on top of his desk. But he’s very insistent that they be displayed elsewhere in the house. Specifically near the tv (which is in the basement). I don’t know why. But I told him we could consider moving them on the weekend. (He doesn’t spend any time in the basement on weekdays.)
Tonight he asked us how much a Christmas tree costs (we don’t have one up yet). Specifically, if it costs more than $5, which is what he has in his wallet right now. I said, “Oh, the one we get will probably cost around 60 dollars.” He said: “60 with ones on them?” I said “Yeah, or 3 twenties.” But, while we thanked him for the thought, we reassured him that he doesn’t have to buy the Christmas tree with his money. (He has similarly offered to pay for milk.)