Friday, June 20, 2014
Fresh off the baseball win, Smunch attended the school's traditional 6th grade pool party on Monday. I admit, I hadn't given this event a whole lot of thought. There was a pool, there was swimming, Smunch would love it.
I didn't stick around. It no longer seems particularly appropriate. It would be like hanging out at one of his friends' birthday parties.
Wednesday, the 6th graders had their traditional jump rope performance.
They also did a little line dance. I have a feeling Smunch was a little more comfortable with that one, but really, getting a bunch of pre-teens to do such a thing is a small miracle. Many of them looked tortured.
And that just left Thursday, or "Promotion Day". I did the legwork. Got the kid a decent haircut, bought him some acceptable duds for the occasion. Of course, he wouldn't go shopping with me, so that really meant being his personal concierge, but alls well that ends well, I guess.
He hasn't been so certain about graduating from elementary school. He's been at the same school for seven years now, after all. Change is not his favorite item on the menu. He still didn't look so sure as he toted his chair to the front...
All the 6th graders were represented by a star on the "Star Wall".
And what did we do to celebrate? I suppose some kids would ask to go to Disneyland. For a few kids, however, THIS is Disneyland.
So here are some happy thoughts for today. This year, Smunch spent a second baseball season (as is customary) playing in the Bronco division of our local PONY baseball league. Last year, as you may recall, was a stunning success. It would be hard to measure up to that.
The Bronco divison included 10 teams. The playoffs include four games of "pool" play (two pools of five teams each) and then single-elimination bracket play. It meant a lot of baseball between May 29th and June 4th for the Pirates. Nevertheless, at the end of pool play, they were the only team with a 4-0 record. They went on to the semi-finals Friday night where they played a tense game against the Nationals, who they had mysteriously not played against the entire season. The Pirates won 4-3. So, Saturday was the big day of the Championship Game...again. And again, Smunch's team faced the Rangers...who were again, "the dreaded Rangers".
But these weren't the same kids, or even the same coach as the team from a year ago. One of their players, having been warned about he propensity to "truck the catcher" at homeplate, had left the team since the last time the Pirates played them. Another of their players was tragically undergoing treatment for cancer. It almost made you want to root for them...almost.
Last year, I'd had to juggle Mam's travel softball tournament with the championships. This year, I was lucky. The championship fell on a weekend with no softball tournament. So I was there for the entire game. Smunch initiated a wicked-good double play from his knees at second base, but that was the most memorable part of his performance.
These games make me tense. I decided that I would pay attention rather than take pictures. I'm not sure that was a good plan. I need the distraction. The game see-sawed back and forth and it seemed like an eternity before the final out was recorded...the out that gave the Pirates a 5-4 victory.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I was pretty excited to get any kind of recognition for my photography. I saw the runners up. They were really nice photos. Perhaps someone should have told those fantastic photographers of birds and snakes that cute furry critters always win the day.
The irony here, of course, is that I'm feeling a whole lot more like a loser these days. Can't find a job, can't save a failing marriage, sometimes it doesn't seem like I can raise a couple of kids right either.
So, it comes down to this. I take some nice photos. I decorate some impressive cakes. I carve some killer pumpkins. I can even do a great job of managing a dugout of 12 girls and dealing with their parents. What is wrong with this picture. How is it that I have all these things I enjoy and have some talent for and yet...I can't find a job?
And this is the point where I'd tell one of my kids to quit their whining already!
Monday, September 2, 2013
So, I pulled out my secret plan, devised just for this eventuality. And using the very iffy internet connection at the campground general store, I booked a hotel room in Las Vegas. Smunch was ridiculously excited. He couldn't wait to see The Strip. Somewhere along the line, he'd heard about the Luxor and was dying to see the beam of light shooting from the top. Um. O.K.
Smunch also wanted to see the Hoover Dam. And you know what? We don't just drive out to Vegas all the time, so I decided we'd make time for that. It involved driving through Las Vegas, driving to the dam and then driving back to Vegas. We arrived at Hoover Dam around 3:30 in the afternoon, which was just enough time to take a tour. And when it's 110 outside, a tour is really kinda nice. There's a lot of security at the dam and most of the tour revolves around taking a big, gold elevator up and down. Ooh, a big tube!
Of course, Mam really just wanted to get to the hotel and play in the pool. And we did that too. As soon as we checked in, the kids changed into their suits (Mam had packed only half of mine and I didn't think anyone would appreciate my showing up in half a suit) and we found the one pool that was open until 8pm. I let the kids play as I dangled my feet in until 7:45 and then made them get dressed so we could eat some dinner and they could see what they wanted to see before we all crashed for the night. There were lots of "neat" things we didn't see. But they saw one end of the strip at least. Fortunately, we stayed at the same end as the Luxor.
I learned that while Vegas is an interesting curiousity and a convenient place to stop, it's not my kind of place. I do not belong there. I may go back, but I'll just be passing through.
Anxious to get home before dinnertime, we got up early Friday morning, ate a quick breakfast at the most expensive Starbucks on the planet and hit the road.
Back in California, we were all getting bored with the driving and Smunch needed a bathroom. We pulled off where there was a sign advertising the Calico ghost town and although I'd read some things about this place, I made the critical error of asking the kids if they were interested in going to see it. Of course they were! And I wasn't about the dampen their enthusiasm, even though it rapidly became clear that this was going to be the most expensive bathroom stop EVER.
We arrived home just in time to meet the extended family for dinner, find out who the kids' teachers would be for 4th and 6th grade this year and who their classmates would be. They had just 4 days left before the first day of school...
So, we had pretty modest hopes when we set out on the Widforss Trail on Wednesday morning. I'd left this trail for the last day because it was a hike along the rim and relatively easy. After Tuesday's hike, maybe we all needed that. I would have loved to hike to the end of this trail. I'm sure there are some neat sunsets from there...but a 10-mile hike was out of the kids' range that day, for sure. Instead, we kept it to the 5-mile round trip on the nature trail.
After a nice long rest at the outcropping, we headed back up the trail.
It would have been nice to stay at the lodge longer, but not anticipating trouble parking, we had no flashlight (actually, I think we did, but I didn't think it worked!) to use to get back to the mommymobile, way up the road. We walked back as fast as we could and it was still very near dark when we arrived.
And then we set about packing up, so we could leave first thing in the morning...