Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's Spring! (so declares my daughter)

M gets into the truck this morning, "It's Spring!"   I smile and don't correct her.   Meteorological winter ends tonight.  I keep to myself that it's usually ROBINS who declare when it's springtime (I like to joke that I get to decide).  A neighbor dogwalker says she's assuming this is the last of the snow, "then again, I said that last time." 

A friend says she's looking forward to the rebirth:)

"It has to be Spring.  When else can I wear a short-sleeved shirt and not be cold?"  I'd made her take at least a sweatshirt.   She didn't wear more than that, yesterday, even if snowpeople decorated the school field, the only bits of snow left.

Today, her group will make community lunch.   Manicotti, garlic bread, she can't remember if there's also salad or not, and maybe brownies.   Yum, can I join?  lol (I wouldn't, but am getting hungry).   It'd been delayed since February 7th. 

I could check out the actual weather, but my daily weather checks are based more on how cold I feel in my first morning walk with Daisy, and what the mail carrier is wearing.   Today, he had on a turtleneck under a short-sleeved "official work" polo, the sleeves of the turtleneck pushed up.   He said he had ice on his truck this morning.   Obviously he starts driving much earlier than I do lol.

Coworker says it's warming up nicely, a comparative heat wave.  Hmmm, will it get out of the 50's?  Last day in February.  I don't feel as if it's quite Spring YET.   Even if my coworker from Maine excitedly passed along to me that he'd seen a pileated woodpecker the other week, and I'd heard one the week previous (on a warm day).  And, a flock of robins greeted me one morning, colorful on top of the snow trying to feed (had I left nuts there???).    Nah, when I'm WARM walking outside without a sweater or jacket, then it's Spring:)

Ah, tis gorgeous out, the topic of conversation today among many.   Even if I agree with our mail carrier.   He says he's with M in spirit, but thinks around this area, we have more time left.   Then, expectantly, he tells me it could reach 60F's tomorrow!   Ah, yes, I'll wait for tomorrow, too!

Please note -- a full moon eclipse is predicted for this weekend, March 3rd/Saturday night -- see Guido's post which includes a NASA link.   Date for your diary

(So now I'm singing total eclipse of the sun......   forget what the song name is.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

just another part of the day (ADD)

Certain aspects seem to permeate our lives, M's life and my life.  Dancing seems an obvious aspect right now.  We're heavily into the St. Patrick's SEASON by now, with Irish dance class or rehearsal or gig for one of us almost daily, and it has been, too.   Some would argue that dancing IS life:)  Someday, I'll get around to blogging that topic (my "slushpile" as AOL Journals Editor Joe would say). 
Another aspect is the ADHD / ADD element.  The three people I deal with the most closely, M, Boss, and me, all have this (albeit boss may have ADHD).  My father may have elements of it himself, combined with his dementia.   I worry sometimes, how bad off will I be when I'm older?  (ADD/ADHD seems to mimic early dementia, IMHO.)
M calls me after school to let me know she's been offered to ride (a horse, likely Chance) up at "the" barn, and what timeframe.   We confirm when I'll be there to pick her up, and M asks me, "Is that still time enough to get to Youth Group?"  It is.  "Oh, I don't know if I want to go tonight......." as she has plans whirling in her head.   "We can talk about this later, honey, what homework you have tonight, everything."  "Oh, homework."  There is panic in M's voice.  "I left all my homework [in the classroom at school]."  I pause.  "Oh, wait, I can get in."  I don't ask, but I know BarnAssistant has a key to M's classroom.   I worry how M will do in high school.  We have to get M re-organized, or better organized again before then.  Or, on medications. 
This is not completely unusual.  I realize now that she's not back into the school routine yet, having been on her class trip last week and iced out of classes most of the previous week.   Her class trip where she spent the night before the trip there at school, in the classroom, finalizing plans and details, yet somehow forgot two notebooks and her school journal.   Her luggage packed in a very organized manner, including a list she created and had me review.   She left her rings at home, so they'd not be forgotten on a random sink when she went to wash her hands, as she's apt to do.
This morning worked, but not as smoothly as we'd have liked.   I relent and make M her lunch as Her Sleepiness is moving fast at this point yet won't make everything on time if I don't pack something for her other than riding pants and the jacket I re-wash so that it can be re-dried with three tennis balls to fluff it evenly, that she decides is too heavy for today's warming weather.  "Orange or banana?"  "For what?  Oh, orange."  "Just throw in something microwaveable."   "Wait, what'd you pack me?"  M peeks into the bag, we finish up banging into each other, M gives Daisy an appreciated treat, and we're off "okay."  In the car, "M, you didn't show me what photos you want from your camera.  I can't get them developed by tomorrow if you don't tell me which ones."  Last night on the car ride and otherwise, M told me how she "needs" to have photos developed by Wednesday.  Just neither of us got it written down to prompt us so she could review them with me.  I declined "developing" out well over 100 digital shots, even if I told her how much I liked a couple specific ones.
I entirely forgot, almost every day, I'm misplacing the dustpan.   I have pets, it's almost springtime (read shedding).  I'm sweeping up the carpet and floors regularly, along with laundry, et al.  I do have set places for my eyeglasses to go, when it's a routine thing, such as bedtime, or shower time.  Even if daggone it, they are awfully hard to see when I'm not wearing them.  Me is used to me asking her to PLEASE help me find my glasses.  She knows my routine places, too:)  It's when I stop to, say, change a sweater, or put on more moisturizer, something not so routine, when I happen to place them wherever they get placed, sometimes dropping from that spot.....  Yet, the dustpan can be put almost anywhere while I'm in the middle of sweeping.   This is just part of my life, though.   I have backup really ugly 15 year old glasses I COULD wear, if critical (ack).  Backup plans are always good. 
We don't normally have dance daily (or, nightly), so tonight may be our downtime night.  Oh, wait, *I* may need to go to mine, lol.   Anyway, maybe the scrapbook store, and the photo store, M in a nice long shower as somehow it takes that long, and homework.   I know she'll have math due tomorrow, we talked of it last night.    
Boss and I have some "behavioral" tricks we use to help each other during the work day.  M and I do, also, but she's still developing them.   She also didn't have homework before this year.  She's struggling, not with the difficulty of it as that's not the issue.  The difficulty of homework is handling it, staying on top of it all.   Her report card mentioned her doing well in this area, but, yet at times, it can take forever for her to complete one assignment, longer than it takes others.   This is typical, too.  So, maybe it's time for a re-look, back in a good groove again.
Boss and I talked about medication for our kids.   One of his two girls has ADD/ADHD (I forget which).   I wish to wait until M's grown more fully, until otherwise without it, her life would be too much of a struggle, or if she'd become miserable without it.  He's had similar conversations with his wife.  
Ah, but more on THOSE thoughts later:)   Multitasking yet, by now, I need to run and pick up M.   I almost forgot to stay checking the clock, too.  (It'd be funny, except, I'm serious.  Nicely, if I were to be late, she's fine at the barn, but I prefer to be there when I tell her I will be, yanno?) 
(Just one quick addition -- I do sometimes wonder how the heck I'm to help handle my father's life, when I'm struggling so to stay on top of my own, and M's.)
UPDATE:  BTW, I have NEVER forgotten to pick up M, nor do I tend to be late getting her (and never seriously late, either, other than just a couple behind bad accidents / weather deals in her life).   I'm sometimes even, gasp, early:) 
So, I arrive at "the" barn, get her UGH THIS IS SO HEAVY backpack and light jacket and oh, class photos came!   They look great!   Scrounge to see what food she's left in the backseat I can scarf.   I'm fine waiting.   Sometimes, I need M to come close to when I'm there, so we can race off to her dance or other activity.   Nicely, last night was warm weather, we had an hour before youth group IF she decided to go, been a while since she could just hang there, enjoying.  About 1/2 hour later, I go to call M, and, lol, I'veleft my cell phone, forgotten it.  (This a.m., I get her text to me as to her specific location there.) 
Driving home, we talk of many things, including what homework she has.  I like to ask her earlier in the evening so she (and I) can get a plan as to when she'll do what aspects of it.   Boss says it helps his daughter if they help her break it up into portions.   Yes, that helps, too.   M tells me that she needs to finish journaling and copy her journaling from the New York City trip, into her school journal notebook she'd forgotten to bring.  We talk about just what specifically she needs with the photos she took, ok, camera is at homem, anyway, and I'd like to get Daisy walked, so we'll head there.
Then, I've learned, I will review back to M what she's said to me, and also ask about all her other subjects.   "Math?"  "Oh, yeah, it's in here."  "Spanish?"  Basically, she has one sentence left to translate.   M completed the rest of her Spanish homework on Monday (yeah!), and had done about half of her math already (yeah!).   I'm feeling proud:)
At home, I suggest that M copy over the phone # she'd written on her arm before it wears/washes off.  "Oh, that?"   "That's not a phone #, that's my homework list."
Well, she at least knew enough that she needed to write it down.  Somehow still forgetting some of it in her classroom yesterday instead of bringing it with her (perhaps she should pack it BEFORE she does her end of the day duties, sometimes in other parts of the school, hmmmm).  
M has a school planner I had her pick out.  No point getting her one that she didn't feel would work for her.   Sometimes, she uses it.   Sometimes, I'll see strips of paper with notes on it.   I tend to do that at work, too.   Boss says he's learned that he works better with one main place to write things down on.   My experience is similar.   Just it's hard to always STAY doing that, so little notes in between tend to be "normal."   So M wrote on her hand.  Not ideal, but, at least that part worked out, and, all done by evening, too!

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Sex Ed from the back seat

I've talked with my daughter, M, over the years about growing bodies and relationships.  It starts young, really.  As a single mother, M toddled after me even if I went into the bathroom, so yes, she knew that sanitary pads had something to do with being a woman.  I'm sure my explanation was very, very simple.  Once I told her teachers not to worry, that M had insisted on wearing a pad inside her diaper to school that morning.  She was likely barely 2 years old as she insisted upon being potty trained shortly after, the older kids in her class were all trained so she would be, too (ages 2-6 year old primary Montessori class).  At that toddler age, she was learning the difference between boys and girls, and how to identify with her own gender.   M knew she was a girl "like Mommy," and Mommy sometimes wears those.   Oh, I almost forgot, she wanted a bra, too.   (And would only wear dresses or skirts, until she was in approximately 1st grade, so in the colder days I'd have her wear leggings underneath, figuring oh well, the skirt portion is an extra layer.  I always wanted M to realize the opportunities that people can have, I did not wish her limited to girly-girl things.   Heck, her first babysitter gave M her first doll, and my mother many since then.  I didn't mind, just provided the black and white and red stimulating" toys, and then more gender neutral ones, initially.   Yet, she IS a girl, and loved girly things.   It's okay to embrace femalehood, just IMHO, don't feel limited by ones gender.

Time moves on, the conversations get deeper.  The topic of, um, "playing doctor" and feeling good came up around kindergarten age, so we talked about "alone" time and privacy, that it's not bad but it is personal.  When M was old enough to be trusted in a bath or shower alone, I let her, checking in of course, in the younger years.   A good way to model respect, is to give it, and I do knock on the door before I enter, whether her bedroom door or the bathroom door.   She could be reading, or making "perfume" concoctions with her bath toys and shampoos, in the days of constant 24/7 daycare for children, a few moments alone for "whatever," is important.  (Eventually, that these things can be shared with someone such as a spouse came up, too.   She's not going to wait until she's married, but I can still point out that within a very loving, committed relationship, is best.)

Body parts and friends having siblings, at age 8 years old, her dad's long-term girlfriend, Sh, had their baby, Si.   And animals having babies.  Horses are stabled near M's school, other early elementary animal research included very basic mating information.  M and I think her friend, Md or maybe G, did a very long, possibly 28 pages long, written report on dogs, and a large, detailed clay dog park, when in 2nd year (grade).  (Yes, I then relented that much more into considering us getting a dog, even if I'm more a cat person.)  

Television and movies and books and friends and music.........   I do not and likely will not ever have M have a television in her room.  I don't have one in mine, either.   I think that just separates families (admittedly, it's her and I, not a home with older teens and toddlers, who may be best watching separate shows).   Heck, neither M nor I have much time for television to begin with, and I monitor what M watches, mostly.   Even if I'm in the kitchen making dinner and she's working on something, or it's a downtime yes you may watch 1 hour tonight, pick your show, time, I am aware of what she is watching.   And, we'll talk about it. 

She's now 12 1/2 years old, few shows appropriate for that age, really.  She's loved the show, Arthur, and Comfy Couch, yet neither would really fit her actual needs and interests now, other than nostalgically.   Much of what is on, I find to be "trash" television, really.   Even some of the ads during the SuperBowl (we turned it on for half-time and occasionally keeping up with the score), I thought were very violent, too violent for all the youth likely watching (and too violent for MY tastes).   We'd progressed to watching "Joan of Arcadia."  Great show now off the air.   Right now, the only good one I know of for middle schoolers (and younger, and older, I like it, too!), is "Everybody Hates Chris."  Funny as heck, family show.   Yet, a lot comes on related to sex and relationships, sometimes quite casual sex, even in "family shows" at times, or "Friends," or if "Girlfriends" is the show she choses, and Malcolm in the Middle and Saturday morning girls shows which don't really talk of sex, butdo about relationships at times.   And we'll talk, or I'll at least point out that this is good, this isn't so good, a man should treat a woman this way, not that, or vice versa for the womans actions and reactions.  

I did get hooked on Grey's Anatomy:) (so the only two shows we aim to watch are Grey's Anatomy and Everybody Hates Chris).   Grey's once did a show where four girls are potential young mothers of a discarded, potentially dying infant.   M and I talked a fair bit about that, with me opening up the discussion.   I told her of the Maryland law, that should "any of her friends" ever be in such a situation where she is scared, that the baby could be left in a space place, such as a police station, etc., and the girl wouldn't get in trouble, etc., etc.   M initially looked at me like "why are you telling me this, I'd never do such a thing."   I did remind her that I love her, and if SHE were ever in a bad spot, she'd better let me know, and I'd help her, not to be scared to tell me anything.   But, she heard me.  M notices Dr. Addison Shepard on that show, and the work with infants.   M thinks she wants to be a neonatologist.   A more recent show had a 14-year old, motherless girl scared she'd gotten pregnant the first time she'd had sex -- this didn't require a long lecture or conversation, but a couple sentences here and there, as M's life moves along, isn't a bad thing.

M knows I've checked, and my health insurance will cover the cost of the HPV vaccination, and why I plan for her to get it.  Not all cervical cancers are caused by the HPVirus, and not all HPViruses are prevented with this vaccination, but by golly, especially with guys with HPV oftentimes having no symptons, sheesz, I am not risking my daughter's life by her NOT getting this.  It wasn't a one-time conversation.   M knows I've had pre-cervical cancer myself.   Talking of HPV and cervical cancer is a here and there as the years go on conversation, just as any topic of sexual health is, or, should be, IMHO. 

In Upper Elementary, M's school held a Health Education class.  It focused, appropriately, on body changes and expectations.   I do believe that no child should be left in surprise as to the natural changes that occur in his or her body.   My mother had given M a few books by American Girl, rather mild ones, one more on how to take care of oneself, washing hair and face, etc.   Another mother was concerned about the topics and the class, as her daughter was, well, her daughter! yikes, and did not know anything about menstruation or upcoming body changes at all.  

I'm not sure how much information M obtained that she had not from my mother or me (or C and Sh, perhaps), but she got some information to put away and save, and I talked with her again, too.   These questions, I can talk about:)   I remember letting M know that she could talk with me, but, if she didn't wish to for whatever reason, I asked her if she knew who else she could talk with, gave her ideas, too.   Other adults in her life, from family to school to youth advisors at church.   I felt pretty good about how I'd been handling things in regards to M and her developing self, preparing her in positive ways.  

Recently, I let M know that she could call her doctor's office, or our health insurance, too (she has a copy of our health insurance card), for whatever reasons.   At M's 12-year checkup, I asked M if she wanted me to go in with her or not, and she said yes.   I asked the pediatrician, also, who said it's at age 13 when they have the girls come in separate from the parent.   At her age 14 year checkup, is when I;ll probably have M get the HPV vaccination, still likely premature for M, but that's okay.  

I recently mentioned to M yet again about how I'm still hoping that she waits until after high school to have sex, I forget how the topic came up, a news story or something perhaps, but while we were driving to dance.   It used to be that much of our talks came at bedtime, me tucking M in, now, it's more often in those long drives.  M responded, "Don't you mean until after college?"  She doesn't want to have a child when she's still studying.   Hey, that works for me, even if I believe she'll change her mind about sex long before she's out of college. 

So, yesterday and today, M has Sexual Education.   It's done every 2 years in their combined 7th and 8th grade class, so just happens that she's getting this at 7th grade, not 8th.   The parents note said that it will include discussion of STD's and protection.   I'd laughed with one of M's two teachers,Mo, that maybe they should hold this class BEFORE their trip to New York City.   Mo said she's not seeing any issues or problems in this class, yeah!, I'm so happy for this confirmation.  Me, either, actually.  It's a tight-knit, close, class, really, many growing up together all these years, with a sense almost as if brothers and sisters.  (I used to imagine a kibbutz was like this, in some ways.)   I know that M's not been hanging around any particular guys, even if I do think she still has a crush on J....  or?  I told M that she's having this Sex Ed class now, as some kids throughout the nation DO get involved sexually at this age.

A couple weeks ago, M and I were watching a Tyra Banks show.   Her shows can be a bit too advanced for M, but sometimes not.  They do discuss "real" issues, and Tyra's show on eating disorders including anorexia was great.   M wanted to watch it.   It's on late, but M wouldn't have school the next day, hmmm, good topic, we have talked of previously, yet, I relented.   M and I even got to talk about being accused of being anorexic when not, or name calling for really skinny girls.  That was me, and that's a girlfriend of hers, too, I always super thin and teased for it.  But, for some, it's also an eating disorder.  Tyra seems to aim for a combination of empowering and enlightening.  Then Tyra had an ad on for an upcoming show, I believe with Janet Jackson.   The clip showed Tyra asking asking Janet, if Janet had ever faked an orgasm.   IIRC, Janet laughed, and her answer not shown, of course, teasing us to watch the show to find out.

So, M asks me, "Mom, what's an orgasm."  I have to admit, I was not prepared for THAT question.   I want to be able to answer any question of hers.   I know I've sometimes told youth in youth group that they could not receive an answer then, as it's an adult issue and as mature as she is, she's not an adult (then again, that dealt with the reason for one girls parents divorce).   Yet, this is a legitimate question.   M's not too young for the answer to this question.  If we're able to talk sexual education issues, this IS part of it, just, well, seems so personal.   Talks about pleasure and stuff.........   I ended up telling M that I would answer her, but let's wait until after her sex ed class.   I wanted to give her a timeframe, give me some time to think and prepare, and her perhaps a bit more information in class (which didn't talk of orgasms, but hey).  M asked me again the next morning, and I repeated my response.   I don't like putting her off, but I didn't yet know how to answer her.

So, a couple weeks go by.   M has a last-minute dance rehearsal last night, one of her makeups from weather cancellations Sunday.  What a scramble, switching around her riding lesson (the last week of this session, and she'd missed last week as C wouldn't let her attend, even if my mother had offered to drive her there), getting a fill in for part of the rehearsal until M could get there, ultimately, working out.   We usually chat enroute, unless M is focusing on homework or "resting."  We talked about her Sexual Education class held yesterday.  "Mom, they're not called STD's any more, as people can't catch diseases, but STI's now."  I think that's the reason.  Other more clinical stuff.  How class was with a delay (they missed Physical Expression), how was Chance (who LOVED his treat even if part was cracked and the sweet feed portion was frozen, um, seems her backpack was left outside in the cold at her dad's again??), did she get out and play in the snow Sunday, how she'd downloaded the game, Bejeweled, onto her dad's computer and how excited she is to have obtained a very high score.  On and on.   I love just talking with her sometimes.

"Mom, what's an orgasm?"

Oh, wow, I'd forgotten, but she had not.

So, I answered her.   I started off with the quick reminder, that sex is a gift from God.   He does wish us to use it appropriately and in the right context, but it is from Him.

And, I talked as clinically as I could in explaining what an orgasm is, is for, etc., etc..   M tells me that a male needs to "calm down" after before he can go to the bathroom as the spermem uses the same path.  I correct her, "It's semen, honey, semen includes sperm, but it's semen you mean here."   And I tell her some dating etiquette things (if a boy says he needs to use the restroom even if he just has, just let him go, I was told as a girl, etc.)   And I tell her how I believe faking an orgasm is almost like lying, that it's better to be honest, and few reasons why.   We talk.  I ask her if they have a chance to ask questions anonymously in her sex ed class, and they did yesterday, and will again today.  I tell her that she can ask them, too, what an orgasm is, if she wishes.

"BarnFriend says that in her school, there's a 7th grader who's pregnant, and two 8th graders."  What school does BarnFriend attend, again?  It's a regular, large, local middle-to upper-class public middle school.   "The 7th grader is pregnant by an 11th grader at [high school name]."   Most of these parents are well educated, most would have political beliefs encourging sex education in public classes, etc.   Yet, one potential sexual crime and three pregnancies in one "good" middle school.

Sadly, I'm reminded why these discussions are needed NOW.   M read a several page article last night, in preparation for today.  M said it was mostly about how everything's starting so much earlier.   I read it, too, per her offer, as I do much of her seminar readings.  Society pressures and focus on appearance, for girls and boys, but primarily on girls, sexual pressure, even mentioned that a hospitals used to see most of their eating disorder patients at age 15 and above, now have eating disorder patients starting at ages 5 and 6 years old.   It didn't mention physical maturity happens at an earlier age now, then it did many years ago.  

I tell M what Mo had said about her class.   Oh, I've talked with M about who she may have any interest in, or others, but we chat again.   Some of her friends have "dated," M had one years ago, sitting on the opposite end of the row of seats at the theater, his mom and I sitting further back, lol.   I tell her that I know she's not doing any of this now, hanging out with boys even but I meant sex, and I laugh, "Besides, when would you have time?"   M laughed, too. "Right, when WOULD I have time?"  

This is a particularly busy time, the St. Patrick's SEASON, but, really, keeping a physically-oriented girl involved in healthy, physical activities, is not only more likely to keep her feeling positively about her body, critical in those middle school years, but, can keep her too busy to have a lot of downtime needing filling up......   I don't tell M this, my additionalreasons for keeping her involved in her two main loves:)   It's okay.  I'd tell her if she asks, but, all in time.   She's growing up fast enough as it is.





Sunday, February 25, 2007

Everything's stopped.

Everything's stopped. It's as if on pause. Inches of snow on the branches and limbs. Daisy snoring:) If crews came in NOW, it'd be fine in time for school tomorrow.

I did pray for snow. More specifically, that it wouldn't be ice. Please, Lord, I asked, please have it stay at 32F or below, please have it stay cold enough for this beautifully fluffy thick snow to stay snow, not ice. It was icy sleety hail something this a.m. I didn't want that.

Even while I pondered, looking out at the snow, the big puffy fluffy heavy flakes with the service in the background, if God sometimes just liked to remind us that He is in charge. That if M has to reschedule her rehearsals, if my ceili (dance) gets canceled, it may be part of His plan.

I wanted to go dancing today. I really wanted to, been looking forward to it. I even made cookies YESTERDAY for the potluck dinner break, and I rarely plan ahead that far for it. I got Dad his groceries, nails clipped, socializing, and lightbulbs replaced, yesterday, so I'd be more free for the ceili today. Ironically, I didn't know of the impending ice storm (the prediction) at the time, and the one store wasn't very crowded.

I wanted to go dancing today, whether or not "KuteGuy" would be there again, and yes, he merits a K for Kute, lol, a guy new to "our" big ceili's at last months. He was great fun to talk with, and dance with. Even if he's not there, heck, I go for the natural high, even maybe up for a touch of socializing, great music, and, primarily, to dance.

It's "just" snow, driveable, 5 inches worth by now??? snow. Yet, calling for freezing rain, sleet, other crapola. Safer to have it canceled, and I got an e-mail and a call about it. That's nice of them.

So, Lord, what now? Just a break? Or, are we done here, in this part of the world, in this county? I'd really like M to have school tomorrow! :) A delay is fine.
It's really pretty, Lord. I'm glad M's rehearsal is canceled, helps me feel she's safer, too. But, by tomorrow, can't roads and sidewalks be clear?

Yes, sigh, of course, Lord. Your will be done. Thank you for the snow:) Really. Kids and dogs were playing in it. Laughter (and safety) is good. But, school tomorrow, is that too much to ask, Lord? A delay, maybe, I see it may be up to 43F degrees, so maybe they'll think a delay will warm things up enough? :) Okay, okay, I have things to do, and You'll worry about this. Yes, I'm safe, M's safe, Dad has food and things. But, if you could please, school tomorrow for this county, would be really helpful:) (three four as it requires four words I think)

E TOLD me I wouldn't find anyone to date at a ceili, lol, even if I agree with him, even if, at least months BIG ceili, he was pointing out to me a single guy near his table (he didn't see Kuteguy). Ah, yes, E, I know. Tis okay. I just wanted to dance, and, that apparently is waiting.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Back to "normal."

back to "normal" : hearing wind outside
Daisy helps me unpack M's things. I'm putting her trash into the recycling and the trashcan. Daisy drags out the package of unopened cashews. I put away something else, and Daisy carries out the bag with the bagel in it M told me was in there.

M's written on loose-leaf paper as her journal, having forgotten her actual journal and two notebooks (even though she spent the night at school the night before they departed). Another woman commented upon pick up that M is so organized. I smile. M, and I, both have to work hard at that, or else we're utterly disorganized. M's daypack and suitcase were well organized, clothes folded, this was worn, this hasn't been, toiletries nicely kept in their spot.

I pull out one of M's layered shirt combinations, and Daisy sticks her nose into it, repeatedly. She's more excited over this one than the others, so perhaps M wore this one last. Daisy starts to whimper some. Ahhh, girl, I know. You miss M, too, and I got to see her and you didn't. It's okay, M will be home-home soon! Daisy didn't react like this when M was talking on the phone.

I read until her journal stops abruptly. Their chaperone was lost the first day so M's group joined the Soviet Jews group, visiting St. Patrick's Cathedral, but then a synagogue and Kosher restaurant. She LOVED Hairspray, as did Mr. L. He only had two main comments for me when I asked him how the trip went, and one was how good Hairspray was (possibly his only Broadway show?). (She did get a program, which I'd suggested. I can't find the ticketstub.)  M wrote of her surprise for their second attempt at Five Points, that part of it is now part of Chinatown!

M took over 100 new photos, one real cool Statue of Liberty one with light behind her, just none from Wednesday. Perhaps it didn't occur to M to buy more new batteries until we talked Wednesday night.

I find a metro (subway) card in M's pants pocket. From the DC metro. I readwhere she'd used the New York subway system, but I didn't think they'd traveled to/from Union Station by "the" metro. I suppose M texting me saying she was at (station name) should have clued me in, lol, I thought she meant on the highway near there.

Here's the pink metal "entry fee" pin that "the" MET gives out, a paper with my grandfather's name on it apparently from their Ellis Island trip, a couple receipts.... I see Daisy stretching out her neck, her nose over a pair of M's worn panties, mouth ready to grab it and run. Our eyes lock. HA!, I'm quicker:) (Or, she let me "win.")

It was good to see M:) She appeared to be wearing what she wore when I dropped her off on Monday, lol, but I realized it wasn't. The sweatshirt the same, and the same as Thursday per her photos, lol. Apparently she did find time for a shower, and a touch of mascara that'd worn off. So much "stuff!" M shifted through things, what she wants at school, with her, sending with me. She pulled out a pink "I heart NY" bear for Si, adding to dance shoes and riding pants and treat for Chance and.... a lot.

C, or actually Sh, wasn't there yet when I left, about 20 minutes after the bus was scheduled to arrive, (15 after it had arrived). Many others were there and I knew Sh was enroute. M told me she'd called and talked with Grandma and Bampbob, too, another hug and kiss. They all seemed happy, so I"m glad:)

I hear little scratches. There was once a squirrel who got stuck behind the kitchen cabinets at my father's; it'd dropped down there but couldn't crawl back up. (I tried in vain to break through and save it.) These were similar scratching sounds, just not to the same level of utter desperation.

I had trouble opening up the laundry room door, for the hamper had fallen against it from the inside. A little white Billy appears, pauses, blinks in the light and seeing me there, and runs out as quickly as he could.

Friday, February 23, 2007

and so, I wait

"Getting ready to leave the Hostle" was my morning text message.   M means the Youth Hostel where they'd stayed, checked out, heading back to Maryland. 

"On train got on at (time)."  Good, on time as planned.  I'd checked Amtrak online from Penn station (NY), to Union Station (DC), but I couldn't seem to get just the schedule from previous to the time I was online checking, which would have been when M and her class departed.   We were texting each other asking when her particular train's SCHEDULED to arrive, lol, finally, I call.  She doesn't know, either.  Parent were given an estimate, though, for arrival back at school.  M will call or text me when they arrive at Union station. 

So, I wait.  I got to chat just briefly with M last night, long enough for her to say she wants me to meet her, too.   Her dad, C's, long-term girlfriend, Sh, will pick up M for her weekend with them (and their daughter, Si).   There's a sleeping bag and pillow at the school, and M's luggage and "stuff," to come home, not go with her to school Monday morning.   M has 2 1/2 hours of dance performance rehearsal (or 3 1/2?) so she'll need her step dance shoes, plus riding pants for her horse back riding lesson Monday, especially as C balked at letting her go this past Monday, M will be so eager to see Chance again and give him his Valentine's "cone" treat.   M knows she NEEDS her backpack, too.   I can imagine she has homework to work on, thoughts to write down, whether in her journal or for their upcoming presentations.  Maybe more Algebra, too.

I think that M is missing home, having a blast, just also missing home, people close with her.   The "stuff" switch is a good excuse for her to have me say hi, too, though:)

Last night, M had asked me about Meredith in Grey's Anatomy, mostly via texting with me as she'd also talked with Si twice on the phone.  Meredith, btw, had this uncertainty about whether or not to live or die as if a touch of pseudo-suicide, desire for life winning out after a touching "you are anything but ordinary" hug from her recently deceased mother.   To summarize "I think mere will live but her mother dies" "YEAH!!!!!! BOO!!!!!" didn't seem to do it quite justice.   (On a side note, I hope that the show explores Meredith's depression, suicidal thoughts she'd had, et al, at least a bit more fully.)

M's group did NOT go to "the" wax museum, as it cost "like $25. or something."  She instead joined a friend for their Spanish interview/study, with that chaperone, thought of visiting Little Italy but calculating travel time, may have missed curfew.   Just enough personal choice and rules.   Even if the Met tickets were free, so that does rather balance out the $25. cost for the wax museum, hey, their choice, still well made.

Hmmm.  I thought they'd be departing Union Station by now.....   eh, I'm fine:)  I'll wait for my quick notice, then at school.  Sh shouldn't get upset and should understand (why I'm also there), have to exchange all that stuff.   For my quick contact with M, but, that's okay:)   I do hope she has a grand time this weekend.   Just rather glad she wants to see me quickly, too.   Ahh, what full stories she'll have to tell! 



Thursday, February 22, 2007

"at statue now": days 2&3 of NYCity

M texts me, "Yes at statue now"  Yes means she bought new batteries for her digital camera.  Talking last night, I could hear M glowing as she described the beauty of St. Patrick's Cathedral.   Even if we've visited there twice before, her mini-group must have taken a tour, M filling up as much of her camera with shots as they'd allow.  

Here, the warm wind's been whipping strong, so much so that it blew my eyeglasses off my head while I crossed a street.  The thaw has begun a couple days ago.  I smiled to get M's message, imagining them having ridden on some sort of ferry out to see our nation's welcoming green lady, the Statue of Liberty herself.  

They were to visit Ellis Island as well.   Warmer, windy there, too?   I've tried to check out their weather.   Practically all day today is devoted to these two sites, deservedly so, along with a lunch break.   There is a small golden statue of a girl there, the first immigrant to enter the US via Ellis Island, an Irish immigrant girl leading her younger brother, on to meet their parents already in the states.  I'll repost this site -- is a useful resource -- I could look up my grandfather and his brother with just a bit of information, Grandad's signature, even his ships menu.   My aunt Beth (his daughter) e-mailed me back that she doubted he had the filet mignon.   Ah, but he didn't have to enter servitude for his passage, either, like some did.  

The students have "scheduled free time" today, too.   Last night, M said that her mini-group may go back to Five Points, or visit "the" wax museum, also something on her "to do sometime when in New York City" list.   My early morning text message said, "Going to the Wax museum"   Madame Trousseu's?? (I do not know how it's spelled!) Wax Museum. 

It's a busy schedule, yet with time enough to absorb, and downtime in the midst of it.  It's a good schedule for middle schoolers.   I knew last night would be ice skating in Central Park, Wollman Rink.   "ice skating now" came 1 minute after "we went to the Met today"  

Naturally, these two text messages both came while I was sitting there in church, lol.   I'd meant to text her or turn off my phone.....  I did later, and she called, "(Friend" and I are calling our mom's now."   It was their break time from ice skating.  I always wanted to see Strawberry Fields there in Central Park.  M thought it was close but didn't think she could get a picture of it for me.  Laughter in her voice, talking nonstop about her day and time.  Nothing quite like ice skating outside in New York City, cold enough to feel the breeze, warm enough to be enjoyable, there with their friends. 

Somehow, I didn't hear M call to me on Monday night, cell phone in my purse under my coat, but I RIGHT THERE, out with friends after a bit of attempting to dance the Connemarra.  That night, M sounded tired and disappointed not to talk with me.   I called her back shortly after, but seems she was writing in her journal then.  I missed having missed her call, I missed her not being home, however glad I was to hear that touch in her voice that indicated things were not only alright but good.

"How was Hairspray?"  "Wow" or some similarly happily very impressed description.  "I didn't get to write about that in my journal.  I wrote 6? paragraphs about [the rest of the days events] and was too beat."   I bet, lol.  I can't wait to hear of it, all about it:)  

"The" Met wasn't as grand of a trip as she'd hoped for.   The Timothy O'Sullivan photo had been sold recently enough, that it'd been on their website just Monday, taken down by yesterday for they asked a man there to assist them.   Instead, they saw "a lot of naked people sculptures and The Thinking Man."   M would love to spend a full day in that museum, or days. 

I'd tried to find a seisiun in New York City that they could visit (her attempts unsuccessful).  Here are just two of the sites I looked at:  Irish Pubs in New York; Traditional Irish Music Session Listing, and a bunch of band websites and phone calls:)   Note that some spell it as session.  There IS a seisiun tonight, just at 10:30 p.m., and The Mickey Finn's  Home are playing at 8pm where M's mini-group ate lunch yesterday, The Irish Rogue and Restaurant.  THE IRISH ROGUE | Pub & Restaurant |   Eh, maybe not an evening show in a pub for these kids, lol, but *I* would possibly love it!  :)   Heck, come this weekend, all sorts of good Irish / celtic rock shows, yes, including Black 47 at Connolly's (   I will have to roadtrip sometime.......  with adults.   Scott Carney blogs about his Irish rock band, Bangers and Mash, in Diary of a Bandman:  (

M talked so excitedly when she called last night, lol, Yvonne from The Irish Rogue was the woman whom they interviewed.  Yvonne was born "here" of Irish immigrant parents, her entire family moving back to Ireland, with her moving back 4 years ago.  So, thanks Yvonne.   Seems a bit fancy of a "pub," but if it's in Hell's Kitchen, and check out that menu, it's ethnic enough for 12 and 13-year olds:) 

Ah, what'd I miss?  Yes, something Heights.   They visited (xxxx) Heights, also, for their Spanish class.  M was allowed to use the taperecorder when interviewing someone there.  And, as anticipated, M's chaperone, teacher Mo's friend, is nice. 

Mom e-mails me today that she got to text back and forth some with M yesterday (apparently Mom figured it out, she had trouble at first), and talk a bit, too. 

I just got a text message, "Love ya!"

U 2 sweetie call me when u can

(Actually, I know she will call me if she can; M told me a few times that I HAD to stay home tonight, not go to a mini ceili, but watch Grey's Anatomy as it's the third part of 3, and does Meredith make it or does she die/crown?  I debated taping it, for both of us.  Not that I know HOW.  Not that I know if I have a DVR.   Then E told me it's a dance workshop tonight, not a mini-ceili.  It'll be great, really it will be, but, with me out the past 2 nights?  Hmmm.  Daisy needs me at home.  *I* need me at home.  Watching Grey's, reading the paper, and housework but who likes to think of that.  I'll cry if Meredith dies daggnabbit, don't say "devastating conclusion."  But, the students?  They're fine!   Even if I miss M.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Oh, there are many good reasons to attend an Ash Wednesday service.   Contemplating ones relationship with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.   Praying, burning of the palm fronds I think it is representing our sins, mostly, reflecting upon ourselves and atoning for our sins sort of, preparing ourselves for Lent.

Why is this my second favorite religious service of the year?   Yes, it's to the point.  I love that.  It focuses on real stuff, not that a Sunday morning worship service isn't "real," not that songs of glory aren't wonderful expressions of worship, also, but there is no fru-fru fluff in an Ash Wednesday service, at least, not at the ones I've attended. 

It also concludes, at least in my church, with a recommendation to go in peace and quiet, in reflection.

Gosh, I love that aspect.   I can go and worship, and not really have to talk with anyone.   :)  

I don't even care if that sounds bad.  Sometimes, going to church, as much as I do believe any place of worship should be welcoming and congregations should have a social aspect, should lend its focus on worship.   Sometimes, I don't want to deal with others.  Tonight, that's okay.  

Even if I have tons of thoughts on M's New York trip, and my evening last night which included discussion of singles dating.  I'll get around to posting them.  Oh, yeah, robins greeted me this morning, too.   Ciao. 

Update:  Peace.  It was different from my favorite remembered one from past years, but it was still good.  I imagine it'd appear like a strange ritual for those not clued in, receiving the mark of Christ on our foreheads via ashes, along with a blessing.  Peace.  Thanks, God, for the peace.  For the quiet sometimes, too.  I

I think I like this service in part as it focuses on some of the depth of being a Christian, without the extra distractions in a regular service (I could almost focus on all of it, not quite, it is an hour long give/take).

Few secular/social Christians show up for a Presbyterian congregation's Ash Wednesday service.  And, thankfully, it's okay in our nation these years to have the mark of Christ in ashes on my forehead, hidden by bangs or not, Irish or not, Catholic or not.  M discovered that many Irish Catholics would have their churches burned down in the US; I would have figured that only to happen in Ireland. 

Peace.   Peaceful heart, body, soul, can we have that, a focus on Christ, what does He want of me, this Lenten season?   I'm not a good Christian.  But, there are times I try.

Pharmolo (and others!!) -- thanks for your kind thoughts -- even as a Protestant, however, I personally like this start of Lent for me.  I, too, respect others and therefore respect and understand that many Protestants don't participate in Ash Wednesday services (or mass).


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My daughter's in New York City!

Today's first stop for M's class -- Union Station in DC.  Weather warmer than it has been, excitement level likely very high.  I woke up early, feeling in sync with M.  They were to leave school by 5:00 a.m. and took a school bus to Union Station, where they took Amtrak on to Penn Station.   With all their luggage and the number of people going, I suspect it was easier, and quicker, and cheaper, to just have one of the drivers drop them off, then to handle the metro subway as well.  I'm sure that some of these 7th and 8th graders haven't ridden on an actual train before.   Oh, sure, a few attended M's birthday party years ago, on an excursion train, but this is different.  It feels of commerce and city and commuters.  At least, I imagined it that way for her, there near The Capitol building, bright and early on a Tuesday morning, ready to ride all the way into New York City itself.

I kept checking my computer clock, is it 12:35 p.m. yet, it's 9 minutes away, is it on time, was there ice on the tracks?  I'm really glad that they are going this week, and hadn't gone last week with the icier weather.   "Arrive @ Penn Station as 12:35 p.m."

M was happy and eager to join in the classwork last night there at their school.  The sleepover turned into classroom time, also.   Too much preparation time lost with 6.5 days out of school, lol.  Teacher Mo had called last week to check with M, how was her preparations coming along, did she have questions, did *I* have questions.  

M stayed calling and making arrangements, and back up plans, and trying to finish up her paragraphs on specific areas of study.   Who to interview in person and in New York City, was a pain.  M was so excited for Larry Kirwan, but that's by e-mail, dance teacher, Ma, offered her parents but they live in New Jersey, local friends of mine have Irish immigrant friends, who live HERE, Irish Arts center in NYC wasn't holding any piping or bodhran classes they could watch, and Siobhan, in a strong brogue, told M she'd be happy to be interviewed but would be on vacation, recommending someone who never did call.   Finally, M called the "ethnic" restaurant they'll be visiting, hmm, tomorrow.   The guy said around 6pmish or so, there will be many Irish immigrants there who could be interviewed.   Or, during the day, "the lady at thebar" is Irish, and it was confirmed day and time.   M laughed, "we're interviewing the lady at the bar."   Well, Larry Kirwan is quite an expert, even on Sirius radio Saturday mornings (I couldn't seem to download the free 3-day trial), but restaurant/pubs were social gathering spots.   This could be a "real" interview:)    No seisiuns during the day, either, I helped M check on that one.   Hornpipe magazine (ZandB is now has a byline there!), showed Dempsey's in NYCity holding seisiuns on Tuesday evenings, i.e., where musicians gather just for the fun of playing with and learning from each other.  Fay's shoes is too far away from where they will need to be.  Finally, M found a Timothy O'Sullivan who has some fantastic photographic work, seemingly had been a photographer during the Civil War even, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.   Hmmm.   Well, she can use her free tickets now:)  Irish step dance teacher, Ma, had won them and passed them along to M, as Ma can't use them.   Artwork such as celtic visual arts such as knotwork and animal symbolism show up in various places (much in fabric arts), but apparently not in musueums so much, that we could locate, in NYC.)

Enroute there last night, her two partners specific to Irish immigration, boys Cr and A, had called M's cell phone, just to be sure.   Borrowing my blush as she never did find hers (even if I know she may not even get to wearing it), printed copy of the free Met pass (good for 6), taking her digital camera with reformatted space, a tape recorder from Bampbob (she kept his test singing segment!), a signed medical form (inhaler) I almost lost.......  M tried to remember names, is Daniel Joseph (last name) my grandfather, or his father?  Um, both, honey, and I think only his brother, William, also came through Ellis Island, a quick review of everyone else.  M plopped down her things, and was greeted with hugs.   Then, kiss, hug, have a good time, I left M with others.   Many were huddled in conversations or around a computer, the smell of fresh popcorn in the air.   I'd prepared dinner for M, she started eating it, but was just too nervous.

This morning I see M's mini water pistol she so wanted to bring to the sleepover.   Ah, so perhaps that'll be her item left behind.  There's always something.

I had made myself a fax copy of the "New York City Itinerary" chart that the students were given.   Mo planned to e-mail a more finalized version to parents.   Eh, it's fine, Mo:)   I keep thinking, okay, M is here now, M is there now........ after checking in at their place, they get lunch.   Oops.  "Lunch Brown Bag From Home."  This packed lunch from home was not listed on the packing list sent to parents.  M must not have noticed that previously, either, and I suspect others missed it as well.  LOL.  Others will have to share their lunches, or M has money and can buy something.   Both Grandma (my mom) and I added snacks for her.  Adding packed lunch to items left behind!

I checked the mass schedule for St. Patrick's Cathedral.   M didn't wish to miss Shrove Tuesday at our church, with pancakes, syrup (not "real" syrup), and good sausages, with colored beads of purple, gold, and green, and a talent show she is sometimes in.   I can't imagine attending it tonight without her, but I did sneak into her bag a necklace of jingle bells, some purple, some gold, and some green :)   Very Mardi-Gras, perhaps she'll see it.  After hearing more of the importance of St. Patrick, and the original and current St. Patrick's Cathedral, M hoped that A and Cr would "let" her attend a short mass while they visited.   Mo and I agreed, the group SHOULD, for proper study, but it's up to them.   Ah, well, none is during the afternoon hours when they visited.   It's an amazing Cathedral, really, beautiful and intricate, an architectural wonder not even counting the stained glass windows, and the bells ring so beautifully at nighttime, also, not far off of Broadway.   St. Patricks's Cathedral, New York City has a nice blurb, or go to  Archdiocese of New York - St. Patrick's Cathedral, the official website.   (IIRC, my other post includes a link to the area of The Tenement Museum that mentions the Cathedral and it's importance to the Irish immigrants.)

M's mini-group, chaperoned by Mo's friend, Susan ("with dreadlocks," also visited Five Points neighborhood today.   I had not heard of Five Points previous to her study of Irish Immigration in New York City.  Apparently, this neighborhood was a lively slum, tenement housing with many cramped quarters, residents included many Irish.  It was also where (one of the?) original garmet districts was, nor too surprising to hear as many Irish immigrants worked in that field, including children sometimes pulled from schools to work in cloth mills as their fingers were smaller and more nimble.   I don't, however, really know if there's a connection between any garment district and Irish seamstresses and cloth mills or not.  

Check out this site,  Five Points , and take the tour under "what is five points" and "who lived there."  It's an interesting historical and social summary, and includes archeological links for those inclined.    Update:  Found an interesting one-pager (come on you can read one page) article on Five Points neighborhood -- New York City Walking Tours - Z Travel and Leisure  I never knew this place existed, yet the newly-retired history teacher in the "after dance class" get together knew exactly where I meant.   It seems to have been quite the place in its time; I may need to rent the movie!

I imagine they've finished dinner by now, or will shortly.   Here, the sun has gone and nighttime is upon us.  Hmmm, I should mapquest their address and see just where geographically they are staying.   Have they changed yet into their nice outfits, are they in Broadway, waiting in line to enter the Neil Simon Theater?   All the lights and signs and busyness of Times Square surrounding them?  Hairspray is on for tonight!  :)   M's been wanting to see that for a couple years now.   I told her I wanted her to be able to buy a program if she wanted to.  I imagine her laughing and having a great time, excited for the show, excited to show off a touch from the couple short trips she's had there.

I have no doubt that she'll sleep soundly tonight!   She's growing up.   I'm so proud of her and excited for her.   For all of them. 


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's Hail.

It's HAIL out there.  Or was.  It looks like actual snow now.   I left to get M from school, and it was hailing.   With slushy crap on the streets.  Little bits of ice coming down, ice on my windows.   The driver-side door is frozen shut. 

Partially to M's school, she calls me (she can't use her cell phone during school hours, of course).  "Can I go to (friends) house?"   I had her confirm with the friends mom first, and then called back to remind her to bring home her medical form for the New York trip.   She feels she has a week still, but it requires the pediatrician to sign it, meaning by this Friday, so that M can have her inhaler with her. 

A woman at the bank works at one of the local middle schools.   I overheard her saying that the first lunch shift had to be served at 10:10 a.m.   I suppose that the schools can count it as a full day if the students eat lunch.   Of course, they start their day so doggone early.   I get back outside.   There are icicles on the vehicle closest to the door.   Then I see iciciles on my vehicle.

I call Boss to see if he wants me to pick up some lunch for him, too.  He responds with a no, thanks, as he has to go by the store, anyway, to pick up a card.  I pause.  Just "a" card?  His wife and two girls are really into birthdays.  I KNOW they'd also be really into Valentine's Day.  Roses or flowers would freeze traveling today.... "Maybe you can pick up some chocolates or something, too."  "Or something." 

I come back in to hear several saying that our office is going to be let out early.   Crazy getting word out once it's official.  (At this point, we're closed, just M is over her friends playing.)

I quiz Boss -- the girls got gifts already, Crocs they've been begging for, and he has a thoughtful, small but thoughtful, gift for his wife.   Okay, good:)   

I don't want hail.  I want SNOW!  Of course, I could still get it.  I hope:)

Tags: ,

Snow Day - that isn't, quite, yet.

"School's on time this morning, honey."   M didn't complain.  She doesn't feel or sound too sick anymore, either, just a bit stuffed up.  It's pretty outside.   I wake her up asking her what she wants to drink.   Mumble mumble equates to raspberry hot chocolate.  

"Mooommmmmmmm, did you buy me the green dress???!!!!!"   Wow, she found it already?!   Friend of mine and I had decided that M rarely if ever uses her closet, or, well, goes into it, so that'd be the perfect spot to "hide" her newly bought (used) solo dress.   "THANK YOU!!!"   Heck, I wanted it to be sometime between V. Day and St. Pat's Day, but, that's okay....... I'd put away much of her clothes this past weekend, instead of them folded on her computer desk, and the closet "door" (sheet curtain) was open, the green dress and gold trim glowing in the morning light from where M's bed is.   Oops.  :)

Daisy tried to take off and run and play in the snow falling down and on the ground:)   She enjoys this.   It just wasn't working so well our first morning walk, being my snowboots were in the truck with my "survival kit" of sorts.   Weirdly, if I'd closed my eyes, the falling snow sounded like rain.

M was taking off her Breathe-Right strip, getting dressed, playing with Daisy some.  She insisted on not taking her snow boots I'd brought inside for her, wearing her warm clogs with fake fur lining.   We'd worked a fair bit on her immigration studies last night, "Mom, you ARE helping me with this."   This morning, she felt good about where she was with it. 

Last night, not so much.  This is the heavy get into it part, and it's seeming overwhelming to her right now.   I'd read some of the books with her, rambling off facts I found intriguing, and she said she had hours of notes written down, panicked she couldn't find them.   She starts writing on whatever blank page her notebook opens to, phew.   They were there.   And, this a.m., I found WHERE in the truck I"d left the folder of Tenement Museum pages I'd printed out for her.   The teachers saying that no other homework this week even really matters, especially if today and tomorrow are/were snow days.   Just get this stuff prepared..... NYC is next week.  They have schedules nowand everything:)  

M said last night that she had to call someone.  "Okay, sure.   Um, whom?"  "Someone in New York."   "Someone?"  She has to call the Irish Art Center??? in NYC, for the Irish Immigration group of three are going to try to sit in on a bagpipe class.   I tried not to laugh.  "Honey, does your teacher realize that bagpipes are usually associated with Scotland, not Ireland?"   M is on top of this.  "There are two types, Mom, one with a really funny sounding name, and the other regular ones."  "You mean, uillean bagpipers?"  "Yes, those are the Irish ones."  (For the record, highland bagpipers are the bagpipers more specific to Scotland.  And kilts are really more Scottish, also.)  None of them wanted to make this call, so M traded a paragraph on how the Irish immigrants utilized natural resources (she thinks, in NYC, not in Ireland), to make this call.   "A" offered his cell phone but complained a lot about the minutes left, how it's prepaid and he knows she'll talk too long, that M said, fine, I'll use my own.  lol.   (Note to A, you're not impressing M here, if you still like her.)  Cr had been interested in seeing Irish step dancing (I'll let his mother know of the Big Show M is in coming up in March).   A pennywhistle class is held at a time they can't visit, bodhran's not mentioned.  Okay, uillean bagpiper class sounds intriguing, and, they are planning this themselves.   

This a.m., M doesn't wear her coat while we talk about why this part of the sidewalk is still just wet, even if it's been snowing off and on since yesterday, and this part has snow on it.   (Likely different ground temperatures -- not much stuck yesterday, and today it's a very wet snow in parts.)  She is smiling, eating fresh puffy snow from outside her window.   I don't even have to do much more than start the window wipers.  Dropping M off at school, she asks me if I have a hat with me.  Child, no hat, today?   I ask her about her new black hat.   In her barn locker, it's snug for under her riding helmet.  Um, okay.  "It's covered with hay right now."  lol   She nixes the idea of being seen with the purple hat I have in the "survival kit."  Eh, it's in the 30's I think.   I wasn't even wearingahat.   I just would prefer she be PREPARED.   Plus, what if they go outside to play?  "I WON"T be going outside."  

Funny how many adults were talking yesterday and Sunday in hopes of there being a full shutdown TODAY.   Methinks we've been given 1 more day to prepare:)   I'm feeling less sick now, yet not at all unhappy to think of M and I staying home, enjoying a snow day!   Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.........  (just, please, none of this ice or freezing rain crap, 'kay?  I know it's global warming and all, but can we please still be above (north of) the band where it's iff and 32F-ish?)

Even if I'd like the children in all the classrooms to still enjoy a St. Valentine's Day party tomorrow.   I know my one teacher friend was going to tell her 1st graders yesterday that they'd have their party on Thursday instead if need be.   They'd made boxes and everything, for art projects.  M used to do that in her primary class, and we still have the one BIG box we made for the entire class one year.  I store some of her V. Day things in there.

Ah, early release.   2.5 hours early release.   Dad calls, asks me if I'll be by.   I don't know..... depends upon how the roads are, which he's comfortable with.  I ask him if he's tried on his sweatpants.   Knowing others can hear me, I didn't really want to ask if he'd put ON his pants.  "Oh, I'm wearing them now, they fit great.   They're really warm."  YES! 

Then later, the e-mail, M's school will be 2.75 hours early release.   I've already shifted tomorrow's meetings.  I'm hopeful for a great afternoon, and, well, we'll see about tomorrow!   No rehearsal last night, no class tonight, heat's been working perfectly since the temperatures got back into "normal" winter temperatures.   Can you tell I'm ready for this?  lol

(p.s. -- no word in today's The Washington Post that I could find re: Senior's Boyfriend's trial.   It wasn't murder or anything where anyone was hurt, btw, not that bad, thankfully.  Anyway, it may still be in the more local weekly newspaper tomorrow, but at least, for today, maybe she can find some peace in school, before it lets out.)


Update:   Wednesday, no school, meant Daisy got her St. Valentine's Day cookie from M "in bed."  :)   Also, added a photo of M in her solo dress (from the debut performance over St. Patrick's Day weekend, could have the weekend before in B'more's parade, but, C didn't take M to that).  Not clear shots, but, it's what I have right now.


Monday, February 12, 2007

2 days before Valentine's

"Two days before Valentine's Day, this could either be a really good Valentine's Day or a really sucky one."   I didn't quite connect it until she said those words, until I was driving home, recollecting our conversation and her trying not to cry.  

I've known this girl, a senior in high school, for years now.   Not super well, I know her parents better, seeing them more regularly, but all having danced in my main ceili / set dance group, and Senior having danced at M's Irish step dance school until they closed the local studio after last year.   Small talk at yesterday's fundraiser (for a local St. Patrick's Day parade) had Senior saying she was just too busy with other things this year to do much dancing.  A few hours later, bits and pieces later, she told me why she was worrying so, simply by my asking if she had much homework due today, and being there, not judging her.   

It doesn't help that one of her good friends had her stepfather die this past weekend, having to be taken off of dialysis, funeral later this week.   It doesn't help that Senior's boyfriend's mother "hates" her.   Senior's parents aren't fond of "eh, so'so" Boyfriend, but know enough to not forbid her, that it'd be worse that way, not that they find him a horrible kid, but, and Mom just speaks briefly about it and we chat of other things more.   Boyfriend is abused by his parents, has sometimes sought shelter at Senior's home (and Senior's dad does the legal thing of calling and informing the parent's of Boyfriend).  

Senior has a good heart, right now, a heavy heart, or, well, hopefully right now a thankful one.   I just tried calling her and got the answering machine.  Boyfriend went to court this morning.  It's a big deal event, all over the local newspapers when "it" happened.  "Oh, that's him?"   She didn't really say until I asked a bit more just what this was for, telling me how she'd hide her head and deny when all the others at their high school would ask if, gasp, SHE was the girlfriend of HIM.  Something Senior says was an accident, that the security guards and police both believe Boyfriend in that it was an accident, that he's been honest and cooperative and there's a teacher Boyfriend's worked with for 4 years was going, too, maybe as a character witness.  

Senior believes boyfriend's a good kid in a screwed up homelife (which truly does sound screwed up, even parents of Senior say so.)   Senior was the one called at 3:30 a.m. last weekend by her girlfriend when girlfriend's stepfather died.   Senior's grades this year have been a struggle.   She laughs that her boyfriend has a better chance of graduating, with homeschooling tutors three times a week, then she does.   Twice I hug her.  I tell her that perhaps Boyfriend's mom feels threatened by what Senior represents, the growing lack of control that mom has over her son.   And, twice, I try to tell her, that after she gets through this week, she has to take care of herself.   That even caretakers have to take time to take care of themselves, too.   Not a lesson I needed to hear at 17 years old, learning later in life.  

Two days before Valentine's Day.   Oh, I have two cards for my beautiful Valentine, one from the pets, one from me, and a couple small gifts for her.   13 years ago on Valentine's Day, I had my sonogram.  C didn't go with me, so after, I stopped by a store and picked up two pink roses and dropped by his work, the pink to indicate that we're having a girl.   (He wasn't so excited, in general, but oh well.)   Two days from now, we'll celebrate love, and that we are alive, and sick with colds, but generally healthy, and free people.   St. Valentine's Day the wedding anniversary for cousin like a sister, Stephanie........

Years ago that seem too recently ago, two days before St. Valentine's Day, my late cousin like a very close brother Dougie's wife went to a dance, a singles dance purposefully without him, to celebrate the "lovers holiday."  When she got back to their home, it was a bad night for both of them.   For right now, we'll just write that he died.  The entire thing was all over the local newspapers, front page, at least twice.  Stephanie even went on the television news there, the interview shown at every hour the news was shown.  If people could only know and understand the entire story, but.  (Part of it is that he'd been a victim of domestic abuse, repeatedly, and not uncommon for him to show up at work with bruises and other signs, I was told at Dougie's memorial service by one of his guy coworkers, but, he's a guy, and not exactly perfect himself.)

So, yeah, two days before St. Valentine's Day.   It's a bit sucky of an anniversary, really.   Other than the great thing of late President Abraham Lincoln's birthday:) (I think.)   I really liked him.

I hope that things went better for Senior and Boyfriend today, anyway.   I'm sure it'll be on the news tonight, or at least in tomorrow's paper.   I hope if it's not a snow day tomorrow, that Senior feels strong enough in school to be okay, focus on HER work.

Okay, I'm tired and I'm sick still, my neighbor says it sounds like bronchitis but it's not in my lungs, so Im' not clear how coordinated this all sounds.  I'm meaning to also say, hey, if Dougie can't do it, then I have to stay living life in some part for him, for my daughter, for myself, but feel blessed that I CAN do this.   I am not in jail or juvenile or whatever it's called (nor have I been in jeopardly of being in such a place), I have a home, and food, and a job, a great kid whom I actually like, too, not just love, good things, good blessings.   Even if I can't help but remember Dougie, and mourn him a bit on this day.   And, I really do with Senior and her Boyfriend, both, well.

Update -- Sigh.  Meals on Wheels called.   The delivery went fine, she hastened to relay.   Just that Dad isn't quite himself today, and showed up not fully dressed (was covered but in underwear and a t-shirt, not the pants I'd bought him, any pair of pants I'd gotten him).   That maybe this isn't unusual, the woman wasn't invited in which is fine (ack, yes), and only sees him once a week.  WELL, I had wanted someone else to be able to touch base with him for me, as I can't all the time, and for when my routine visits can't/don't happen, such as this past weekend for me being sick.  I didn't hear from him, though, so.......   I guess we're stopping by tonight (already knew I'd nix my rehearsal), not go in per se to spread germs, or at least re-try calling.  I got to ask her a question I had about snow closings and deliveries (announced in the media in another town oh well), and payment.

I am blessed, I am blessed, I am blessed:)   (Reminding myself here.)  Ah, and M is able to enjoy warmer weather and a riding lesson today and Daisy and will get to enjoy her again, too.   I got to read some of "the" paper today, some of "Tis" last night.  Life is good, I know.  Even if I'm not feeling well and I sure wish some of it was easier at times.  Not like I have the flu, right?!  Right!


Do we know each other?!

I like the community here online.  Well, mostly.  Pharmlo  J-land Chat  hosted a nice chat for aol journal writers Sunday, which I could only join for part of, and it was a lot of fun.   I've come to chat via e-mail with a few people I have "met" solely through our journals.  I like reading journals.   I feel as if I have made online friendships, which I do cherish.   How open, how real, however, IS everyone, can everyone be, publically?

I've had to chose to NOT write about particular things, or relationships with particular people, sometimes people close to my heart even, and that kills me sometimes if a lot is goign on in my heart and head right then.  Oh, I include minutae, but I try to avoid identifable mentions (of my daughter or me) in case of stalkers.   These are choices I've made in chosing to keep this journal public.   I've sometimes struggled with the concept of how much I relay, or how detailed.   We're not living in a George Orwellian1984 situation, or, are we?   I'm not going to write anything untruthful.  Yet, isn't this MY journal?   I had this idea, originally, of this aol journal being a bit like a diary, writing for my own purposes, getting out my thoughts, hopes dreams, hey wasn't this a cool day, or a sucky one, outlet.   I never handwrite anymore, maybe this way, typing online, I'd get my thoughts out.  It's still evolving, less than 1 year old, yet it's not exactly a journal in a diary sense.   I want to be real, to be ME, even if I occasionally have to think, wait, I, ah, should censor this (or not write about......), or add this note for those who are not familiar....  Or not say a slightly racy comment I may mention to a close girlfriend or in a private diary, but would never speak outloud publically.   I don't really like that.   Just as I see only glimpses and some of what makes another blogger that person, in his or her journals, really, how open, utterly open, can we afford to be?  (Yeah, okay, so sometimes, I AM jaded.)

I was reminded of my ponderings on this subject by Jeff Zimmerman's post, And I Am Not Lying, For Real: One Long Wednesday   Thankfully, however, I have no illusions of finding a job via MY blog.   Heck, I'd haveto have the patience to actually go back and edit my entries, requiring reading them.  lol   Jeff, however, is a great writer, laidoff by aol so many of you may recognize his writing.   Would you recognize him, or me, if you happened to be on the same Metro (subway) line, jostled about, trying to keep a hold of the same pole even?   Perhaps, visually, perhaps not.  Still, do we really KNOW know each other?   I'd say, some more than others.  Even if, heck, some of you out there I care about, really, perhaps even prayed for you or your situation, praises or for help, or laughed with you, cheering you on.  

A local radio station had people calling in to announce to their broadcast world what details would not be relayed to their date on a first date, but held off until later.   This isn't exactly the same thing as what does one not post in a journal/blog.   But, it can be similar.  I'd have no problem relaying my birthdate to a date, for example, and who I work for, while I won't on here.   Would I hold off on mentioning my ADD?   Eh, I'm not worried.   The guy will either have to accept it or not, ultimately.  I know I have this, so, shrug, even if I'm much more likely to say I'm a single mother of a wonderful daughter as a first line of introduction.  I'd likely hold off mentioning that I have a "blog," or even this screen name.   Of course, there may be a couple things I'm not ready to just go divulge on here or to a new guy at all, lol. 

Then again, we wouldn't all "know" each other, if we all kept all of our journals private! 

Adding later:   If you can decipher it:) Fred writes about whether or not to let his IRL friend know of his journal / journalling online life:   Fear? No. Not exactly.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I'm feeling almost human again now:) Ahhh, that warm shower felt great.

I woke up at 4:53 p.m. Actually, that's not quite right. I got into the kitchen at 4:53 p.m.. I'd been awake a short while, obviously stirring just enough for the cats to notice. They'd come around me for a combination of snuggling / scratch my neck time, and seeing when I'd get UP and feed them dinner. Daisy had her head on my chest, her body turned so her belly was up. This was on purpose -- she's always love

This was on purpose -- she's always loved belly rubs. I think back to the day M and I picked up Daisy from the shelter. The young vet checked her out one last time, smiling, and holding Daisy belly up. He was rubbing her belly, telling us that she really likes that. That Daisy was a favorite of his, and I could tell. So, yes, she still gets belly rubs. She's still in a home where she is loved.

Daisy even got three walks earlier today, one a long one in the wow, is this a bit of warmth sun, another after my shower which felt colder again, and will get at least one more. She likes Saturdays, too:)

I could have still joined my friends in time to travel the hour to the ceili, after their dinner. I'll let the guy know who coordinated this, though, that I'd really like to another time, I was just sick this time. We'll be having a bit afternoon tomorrow -- fundraiser time -- enjoying great music, and other talented performers we're honored to also be on the set list with. Hmmm, still need to iron that skirt. Iron is a 4-letter word, yanno... :)

Chores this a.m., and the walks, and made myself eat a bit before noon. Amy's frozen food pesto tortellini. Yum:) Read "the" paper. In the real estate section, they provided a website link to a neutral source, for more information on reverse mortgages. Great! I'll go there later. Did NOT get the paperwork done, but ha, glad I didn't bother with one thing -- I got the notice in todays mail I was waiting for and was feeling forced to ask about. I apparently
. I apparently needed the sleep.

Besides, now I get a chance to IM with a good friend, who GOT THE JOB YEAH!!! Albeit, I have a $7. coupon good through today.... so I may still get out yet.

Tis the season for Irish stuff, but that's another entry.....
cough cough ahh, hi Tinker:)

Daisy "protects" me. Her head is on M's pillow, her body on the blanket I put over the clean clothes, to protect them from her until I fold them in a few. She is tired again, but raises her head occasionally, did someone walk by? Just a bit of a muffled bark, thankfully. Beagles can HOWL.
Pretty Boy/Captain is getting a drink from the cat water bowl in the bathroom sink. I keep it there, cuz if I put it on the floor, Daisy drinks it all up. Daisy has a full bowl of water on the kitchen floor (which the cats also "sneak" and use), but Daisy prefers the cats bowl. lol
I'm altering my plans for the day. I can't dare get my father sick. He's refused the flu shot this year, "I don't go anywhere." I tried to tell him that I could bring in germs, or they could be on the grocery bags, or now, via the Wheels on Meals, um, Meals on Wheels, lol, or on the mail. Cough. I'm not horribly sick, aka "justmary" and her flu. Thankfully. But, enough. We were to have him visit me today (I'd pick him up). He doesn't get many outings. He wants to watch a video on reverse mort
reverse mortgages. I'm less thrilled about that, and (mty brother) Doug does NOT want Dad to take out a reverse mortgage. They'd sent a VHS. Megan had to explain to me that our VHS play is still there, but she's pretty certain it doesn't also work, anymore. I should try it. So, Dad has them call me, oy, on my cell as it's the only # of mine he remembers. I ask them to send a DVD of it instead. I'd hoped I could get him to take a shower, or bath, here. He says his shower works fine.
I realize now that he thought it had not, saying he's bathed in the sink. Uh-huh..... sometimes, yes, I can tell. But. He has dementia, see, he is sometimes very lucid again (from my last entry on him), but bathing isn't as regular or seemingly as important. A plumber will come replace his leaking toilet, after Dad finds $500. I sure hope the guy at least turned off the leaking part.
I'm not thrilled with feeling not so great, but I like the idea of having more time. I could still drop off groceries to Dad, or tomorrow, quickly. It's not critical, though. M and I went by there Wednesday with a lot of things; Meals on Wheels had not come by. Perhaps they don't when schools are closed, so I need to check, just so that I know.
It's barely 20F outside now, or wait, AOL is saying 21F. And, not windy. Captain is now on top of a door, looking regal. Tinkerbell is looking sleepy in "her" basket. It was a basket for babydoll Bitty Baby, some years ago when M played with Bitty Baby. The basket faces a window. She looks at me, and then outside. I'm not sure if she can see me this far away, or my shadow. Stinker Tinker likes to sit on top of the computer monitor when one of us is online. I imagine it gets warm.
Billy Boy slept on TOP of the blanket with me last night. Some nights this past week, it's been a one dog/two cat night. I explained to M how the band, Three-dog Night got its name. It may be only in the 20'sF outside, but, that helps take the edge off, that extra bitter cold chill is gone. And the wind is down. Blessedly warmer:) Blessedly, we have heat inside, even if it struggled sometimes in the most bitter weather; I had worried.
My nose and legs would get quite cold in a short time. My uncovered fingers from my fingerless gloves would actually hurt as if getting frostbitten just from my truck to our front door. M didn't fight me about wearing her coat, albeit she sometimes didn't wear quite as many layers as me, her mother, wanted her to. Now, it's "just" winter. A bit of snow left in spots. The cold dry air hurting my throat some when I'd breathe, walking Daisy, my nose now stuffed up.
Doubtful it's strept, though. I KNOW how streptococcus feels in MY body, being quite susceptible to it. My throat isn't killing me, nor did it hurt a TON right away. I can drink orange juice, one of my indicators. Even if those lime-flavored chips scratched. I think it's an unpleasant cold. M had this on Wednesday, and on Thursday a.m. She says she felt better Friday a.m. Hopefully, she is feeling okay now:) M's with her father for the weekend.
M was at her dad's on Wednesday day, too, the snow day! with, per my bosses guess, about 4 inches of snow. Except he went on in to work, and M didn't get to play outside in it. Being she ended up not feeling 100%, I'm glad she didn't go getting herself too cold.
Sigh, so my head hurt ssome, I'd like to go back to sleep. I have tons I can do, though, even without visiting my father (I will call him, whether or not he remembers, and sometimes he really does and he waits for me). paperwork, mine and his (I promised I'd pay his Meals on Wheels and The Washington Post, but it's hard copy bills needing me to write a check, find an envelope, find a stamp, get it in the mailbox.... which is why I typically pay MY bills online:)
I need to call the orthodontist office back -- M's mouth really cannot go waiting to get restarted, per her visit 8 days ago. But, they'll be closed today.

I need to call the woman about the Irish step dance solo dress. I just don't seem to remember "home" things while at work, even if it'd take just a minute or two. We've e-mailed. She held the dress for me to buy for M:) How nice. She even knocked off $50. She re-sent me her number. (I lose numbers, too.) I have to call her, maybe meet

M will be so thrilled:) M can use this solo dress in at least one show coming up. It'll be a surprise for now, though. etc.

I could go to a ceili tonight. Friends are, dinner first. It'd be fun, but I need my energy for Sunday. Sunday afternoon is a big fundraiser for a local St. Patrick's Day parade. My group is one of the ones dancing. Oh, yeah, I need to iron that skirt...... I did find it. I did wash my top:)

I could even catch up on my newspaper reading...... housework. Return really needed shoes that end up not fitting me. Or, nap with Daisy girl, well, not there. So, if you find yourself with a full Saturday to yourself to fill, what do YOU do?! :)
I may just have to rest a little bit longer....... maybe M is, too, then again, I think Si tends to be eager to play with M, and runs in M's room and wakes her up.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Irish Immigration Studies - NYC Bound!

Ah, yes, my daughter's combined 7th-8th grade class is preparing for their trip to New York City, to enhance their study of immigration.   Details are being relayed and other details being worked out more rapidly now.  I even know what color walls and bunks M will have, and what type of place, just not yet the name of the place where they will sleep.  I've known for a bit that they are being encouraged to have their cell phones with them, or borrow one to have.   Yes, great idea, really, having been there just a few times and knowing the crowds make it easy to get apart from others (trying to remember, apart briefly, do not think lost here i.e., start to worry).   I'm also glad, as it'll insure that M and I can stay in touch some while she's there.  

They'll take the train in from Washington, D.C., leaving school way super early to the point where it's been suggested that they stay overnight the night before.  I know most of the chaperones (it'll be about a 1-3/1-4 ratio of adults/youth), NONE are parents of any of the students going, which I think is a good idea at this point.  Officially, us parents have been told simply the dates and times so far.   They'll let us know more.  Much has been planned by teachers Mr. L, and Mo, and much is being planned out now by the students.   I can trust them. 

Last week is when the initial presentations on immigration were given.  The class had been broken into groups.  M's group, with her maybe crush J, and another long-term friend, studied the immigration of Soviet Jews.   Even if I know something about the history behind the story and movie, Anastasia, overall, I feel rather inadequate never having learned much about the history of that particular, entire continent.   M showed me their poster the other night, much work done at school, with their team, nicely.  

After hearing the detailed information from others, every student wrote down their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of specific immigration areas to focus on while in New York City.   M had first choice of Irish, second of Italian, and I think 3rd choice, Soviet Jews.   Other groups include Africans, Germans, and, hmmm, a 6th group:)   M ended up getting "Irish," along with boy A, who she most dislikes in the class but will just have to get over that (he may even like her), and another boy,Cr, whose sister M used to be good friends with.  "A" knew almost nothing about anything Irish, other than that whatever stuff M does with her feet, kicking and tapping and such, in the classroom and kitchen is some sort of Irish dancing.   He had Irish for his initial grouping, focusing on the potato blight of 1845-1847, and apparently found it interesting, so, good for him. 

Everyone has to have a fair amount of new research and writing done by next week, so they visited the library twice last week (not that M remembered the first time soas to bring her library card, or return another book, but she DID bring her card the second visit).  

They are also planning out specific places and such to visit in New York City itself.   This part is fun for her.  The group as a whole will visit places like Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, The Tenement Museum, and, well, it's New York City, they have to, and will see a show on Broadway.  Hairspray is a Broadway show M's been wanting to see since she first heard of it.   That may be a good show for this age.

BTW, if you wish to look up someone who may have come through Ellis Island, a great site is  My late grandfather Daniel Joseph (last name) and some of his immediate family are listed, I could squint really super hard and read his signature (or just order the manifest I think it's called), information on his ship, and where he'd come from.   My grandfather emigrated from County Meath, Ireland, through Venezuela, then on to New York City.   (I found this site from another dance parents work for an upcoming show by our children!   Registering on the site is free.  Not that I remember what password I used.)   To think of being transported on a large ocean liner over such length of time.  I get out the list of names of his parents and siblings, so many.  I'd met a few of them, my favorite was his sister, Brigid.   She gave me a hand-sewn blue cat once, to keep my pajamas in (usually holding other treasures).   She lived in England her latter years, never immigrating here.  I always liked the name Brigid.

Each group in M's class is also supposed to fulfill various elements.  I don'tknow what they all are, but M isin charge of religion, andart, and the group is to interview someone.  They'll also visit Five Points, and an Irish restaurant (probably also a pub in the evenings).  I'd suggested perhaps Connolly's, as Black47 play at one of their spots, forgetting at the time the name of the one, Tir Na Nog, where I'd gone with a girlfriend of mine who lives in New York City.   Ah, they have one in mind:)

The easy way to "fulfill" the religion requirement is to visit St. Patrick's Cathedral.   Harder is learning WHY that particular site is so important to the Irish immigrants who were in New York City.   (I found some nice text on this, )We've been there previously, beautiful place, hauntingly beautiful bells.  M also wants to honor Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.   She's NOT been too happy to miss eating pancakes and sausages at our church on Shrove Tuesday this year, nor the talent show that she sometimes dances in.  She'll get over it:)   Besides, it's about time she attended an Ash Wednesday mass, if she does.  Although we're not Catholic, our ethnic and political heritage via Ireland is Catholic (like my grandfather and many other relatives).   Our Protestant church also has the ashes, et al, my favorite service of the year, other than Christmas eve midnight, actually.   M brought up the ashes subject to me recently, too, what does it mean.

M's thinking for art, that they may just have to visit Fay's shoes, makers of Irish dance shoes. which has their main US site in New York City.   "I could try some on, too, Mom, for size, and maybe get some."  LOL.   Actually, M NEEDS new hard shoes, but she's not willing to admit that yet.  Her feet have grown enough for the next size up, and her Irish step dance teacher wants the tips replaced.  There's a significant cost difference, BUT, I may seriously send M with instructions to contact me for credit card information should she visit there.    I'm thinking that she could check out a local New York City Irish dance school (or performance group, if any), music store, if any, that'd sell bodhrans and penny whistles, etc., or somethingto do with their writing and storytelling.   I have a few books at home of Irish fairy tales.   She'll figure this out:)

Ah, but who to interview?   This is the really exciting part!   Many liking Irish (or Celtic) music, may enjoy bands like U-2, an awesome band, Sinead O'Connor, etc.  Or, perhaps they like the mainstream traditional stuff such as The Chieftians, or The Irish Rovers.   Great stuff, nothing to complain about.   I also like some of the not as commercially known, but excellent Irish bands out there, such as Solas; M's favorite, Teada (; 7 Nations, and Black 47 (and a more local one, Bogwanderers).  All of whom I've had the great pleasure to see live at least once.  

Larry Kirwan is the lead singer and writer for the band, Black47 named after the potato famine of 1845-1847 (  He's also an Irish immigrant, and has a strong background in Irish history, and politics, even writing a play, Mister Parnell (a historical figure in Ireland), and is a fantastic writer, IMHO.   Okay, I got suckered into that band from a festival when M was a toddler, wow, great music.  I started getting their online newsletter and discovered more than I knew I hadn't known.......... visiting them also in some hole in the wall in Baltimore, and even traveled to Gaelic Park, Chicago once to see them and others (and a friend).    Black47 is based out of New York City.   M is surprised to know that I know their e-mail address.   "Do you know-know them?"  Um, they don't know or remember me, honey.   "But, you know their e-mail," eyes and mouth wide open.   Um, yeah.  I just got re-added to their e-mail newsletter, though.   "Do you think you could write them, does he [Larry] still wear green suede shoes, could we interview HIM??"

Gulp.  Ah, sure.   Gulp.  They are nice guys.  He likes to share info on Irish history and story.  (I was not believing the balls I had to write them/him and even ask this.)   I was correct.   Larry himself e-mailed me back, apologizing for how busy he is right now (NOT a surprise, I'd even said I'm sure that he is), and that he's likely to not even be in New York City when the class visits.   (True or not, it's a nice out that M has to understand.  He's famous in some circles, M, please understand that.)   Larry did, however, offer for M, A, and Cr, to interview him by e-mail.   Wow, that's still so very very cool!   Thanks, Larry!  :)   M's disappointed, even if understanding, and teacher Mo is impressed and happy for the connection.   I suggested to M that they come up with some intelligent questions before writing him back, and she asks me again for the Tenement Museum website address.

Get involved in anything Celtic, one eventually finds his or her way into music.  I'm told members of Celtic Thunder are playing outside B'more tonight, including Jessie Winch whom I know from the Bogwanderers, and whom ZandB (blog in my sidebar) told me I should contact for M to interview......   Irish music, Irish dancing.   Both seem to seep into our lives in many fashions, almost becoming our lives at this time of year, perhaps even helping to define the Irish immigrants years ago and now, also.   I'm glad, however, for the Irish community I've found in the great Washington, D.C. / Baltimore area.   I only know it so well, but I like what I know, I've learned a lot, found some friends.  

The most cheerful of the cleaning crew was my desk just now.  (I'm writing this after my time at work has been done, argh, did Grey's just come on, I'm missing the beginning AGAIN?.)   He knows that I know rudimentary Spanish, and he always talks to me, big smile on his face.  He's possibly an immigrant here, part of the current wave, or cycle, of ethnic communities of immigrants to our great country.   He returns to be sure I'm not here much longer, he'll be sure someone else stays in the building (I think?).

To quote Larry Kirwan (Black47 from his St. Patrick's Day message of 2002, yes, I saved it:), "....we still must honor the memory of those who paved the way for us.  Part of that responsibility is that Irish-Americans should never forget the new immigrants from other lands, legal and otherwise.  Many, like our forebears, are fleeing tyrrany, economic and political, and are striving to feed and educate their families.  It would be the ultimate irony if an Irish-American were to look down upon the least of them; for, in my mind, anyway, there is no place in the Irish soul for racism, sectarianism, homophobia, or even dumb old Archie Bunker-type xenophobia." 

Even if I'd known online of a few Irish-Americans in New York City who are outraged that any Catholic church in "their" city would even consider holding some masses in Spanish, and, well, I disjoined their group for all of their very harshly negative comments on blacks and hispanics, using slang I didn't even know.  

Few of us are natives here.   God created us all equal.   Oh, yes, I will celebrate my ethnic heritage and history.   How exciting for M's class to learn in detail of some of the peoples who have come here to our shores in the past, and their history, too:)