slice of my life

Friday, June 30, 2006

Words---written and spoken

I have added some cool stuff to my sidebar. Jamie has decided to start a different blog. This one is "Dragons of Reality" based, which he has decided to completely start over. The many stories he spent hours on last year are scrapped. But the good news is, he is renewed in enthusiasm. I found a book in the library called Written and Illustrated by . . . which is a method for getting people (kids in particular) to write and illustrate their own books. I am the president of the publishing company. Anyway, as I had hoped when I found this book, Jamie is letting me try out this book on him this summer. I would like to start an after school club at Jamie's school in the fall. A writing club! The book was written in 1985 (so the methods don't really include a lot of computer use!). It talks about the right brain/left brain idea and how the creative brain needs some room to expand to get good quality work, and how people have great potential within them if they can give it a chance. I already believe all that. It's funny, too, that I wrote a research paper about right brain/left brain theory in about 1988 (high school). I guess it was a hot topic back then!

Jamie also has been playing around on a Star Trek web site and has set up an account for himself there. His friends and Bess are the characters, and he is keeping a "captain's log" on there. I am not sure if this is the intention of the website----but he's added pictures of ST characters on there and pictures of Lego creations of his own that he has built into rooms on his ship "The Conqueror." I don't know how to link to it, or I would.

The other new thing on my sidebar is a visitor counter! I can go to the website and see how many unique visitors I have and how many repeat. I have fixed it so my own viewing doesn't count. I like it! It has all kinds of graphs to look at, so after a few weeks I can go see what days get the most traffic and how many people come back and how many new people I get. So keep on visiting me so I can get my counter up really high!

Also today we went to get Jamie a Headshot for Troupe. We got a free session, and then photos were extra. The photographer let Bess get in a few at the end, so I had to buy some. The headshot looks relaly good---it's him, with a bit of a mischievious look about him. It would probably be against copyright to scan them and post them in when I get some.

We have some summer grouchies over here today. I am taking quarters for bad words and bad attitudes, and at this rate, I'll be buying a CD for myself mid-July. (The CD will counter-act the badness coming in my ears.)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Four Ribbons

Today we went to Bess's final track meet in Bryan for her track club. She FINALLY got some ribbons, and I think it has made the experience so much more enjoyable for her.

The first event she placed in was the softball throw with her personal best, 38 feet. She got 6th place out of probably 20 girls. Yea! Then she got a first place ribbon for the 4x100 meter relay. They are going to take this team to the regionals in Waco. Larry will go with her to run on a track that he ran on in high school.

The relay team's picture is to the right. That is Hannah, Ty (so good at everything she does!), Bess, and Margo (whose mom is going to coach then some more before we go. Have to tackle that tricky stick handoff!). these girls have been doing the track camp all this June.

Then Bess ran the 50 meter (5th place) and the 100 meter (6th place). Those are all a challenge for Bess! She is trying her hardest, and I love that.

We had 3 track meets, the first two in College Station, and this one in Bryan. I am starting to love that track and stadium. That's weird from me, isn't it? I am wondering why the College Station team didn't show for the meet today. Hmmm? We went there two times, and why can't they come up to ol' Bryan for one meet? Maybe their track camp didn't meet this week. Hmmm? This week we still had the Franklin team (all in green) and the Bremond team in attendance. There are some little tiny Franklin girls in Bess's age division that I look forward to seeing compete. Very cute!

I should mention our friends, the Boones, who allowed us to share their shade once more. We've been watching their son Jeremy run in the oldest age division. He did a bunch of first places! He did a personal best long jump today, I think it was 14 feet 9 inches. Bess's best has been right about 5 feet. Isn't that amazing? Jeremy's 4x100 team was the only one in their age group, so they didn't run it---they just handed over some blue ribbons. Another treat---Bess's friend Jonathan and Christine (his Mom) visited with us a little while, too.

No trains today----After being outside all morning, I got food in Jamie and got him to Troupe practice. He is working hard at American-themed music for a set of shows the weekend of the 7th, and the following weekend is a different show. Whew! I hope it isn't too much!

Of note today---this is Larry's brother Rusty's birthday. This is the brother that passed away in April this year. A good day with a sad shadow slipping between some of the cracks.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Locomotives on Parade #19

You might be wondering if we'll ever get done with our train photos. I know I won't take the last ones until at least mid-July when we go to Brenham. There are 4 there, and one is at Blue Bell. It has been convenient to go take a picture right after Bess is done with her track practice every morning, but today was the last practice day. Tomorrow is her last track meet, and we'll be wiped out for the day after we're done with that.

We have taken pictures with eleven trains so far. About one-third done.

Here is the lastest train: Musically Trained on Copperfield Dr. It's sponsored by Godfrey Construction Company. We thought of Poppa when we saw it. It's so colorful and musical. It sits in front of Fountain Plaza, and thankfully it's a safe place to get out and park and walk around it. Of course the kids had to go look at the fountain, too, and throw pennies in for wishes. Bess really took that seriously. She closed her eyes, held her penny close to her heart, and threw it in. She wanted to get it in the top part of the fountain.

I need to stop writing "I was thinking . . ." since everything on here is something I was thinking. Obviously. You may now assume everything I wrote here was something out of my own brain.

List of future topics, possibly
* tan lines
* mid-summer resolutions
* books I have read or want to read
* best things to do while at the pool
* favorite Sonic drink combos
* mantras

Some of these are in research and development. I really need to write about the tan lines. We have some funny conversations around here about that! I had a couple more topics I already forgot. I wrote these down to remind me for later.

I have added a few more blogs to my list at the side. They aren't really time-tested yet, but I liked what I read so far.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Locomotives on Parade #18 and #14

Our latest two train viewings were this morning , both in Bryan. The first one is in front of Sterling Auto, and was sponsored by them and Tasco Auto Color. Which makes me wonder if they used auto paint to decorate the train. Hmmm . . . The title of this artpiece is the Sterling Express. As you can see they have it elevated in the bed of a truck.

The second one here is the Udderly Sublime train. This is one of the ones that people remember. I think the design is bold enough to be appreciated from the car as you go past. Plus, intentionally or not, it refers back to the Cow Project that I think started it all. Isn't it in Chicago where they painted cows in different ways, and then they did stuff like ponies in Houston? I was just thinking this art idea started with cows. At any rate, It makes me think of that. I like the ones with a lot of detail, but thay can only really be appreciated if you get out of the car and take a look. Udderly Sublime is outside of the Scott and White Clinic on University, and sponsored by S&W Health Plan. There's some insurance co-pays at work.

Someone I talked to lately about the train project was relieved to know that all the trains weren't bought by the city---that businesses sponsored them. A couple are bought by Bryan and College Station, but most are private donations to the Pres. Library. So, how much money should be spent on public art? As a person who took art in college---not A&M! UNT----of course I see the value in beautifying the city and exposing the citizens to public art. On the other hand, there are people who go without services needed, or a roads project can't get done because of budget shortfalls, etc. I kinda feel like we ought to do all the "work" before we get to play with art. But all work and no play makes Jenny a crazy person. Just a point to ponder.

At any rate, the trains are being enjoyed by us this summer. Thanks to everyone for public art!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Locomotives on parade #24

Here we are this morning (Monday the 26th), visiting the "Downtown Train." It has a split design, so I had to show you both sides. This one is sponsored by the City of Bryan and was designed by the Bryan High Art Classes.

Words of warning: if you visit this one, there is no really close parking lot. The actual closest one is a St. Joseph building on the westbound side of William Joel Bryan. We parked at Sue Haswell Park and walked on sidewalks to the train at the east side of the split where it goes one way
. (That made no sense!) There is another train at the west end of the park, too. Another bit of advice is that you shouldn't even try this with kids younger than mine. I was pretty nervous walking on the sidewalks to get to the train, and back to the park. The sidewalks are narrow and the traffic is supposed to be going 35 mph. I felt like we needed to walk single file as narrow as the sidewalk was, and then I could not get the children to feel the need to stay as close to the grass as possible---away from the road.

The back of the train was neat, too.

Do you know today it's closer to Christmas 2006 than the old 2005 one? I have been scrapbooking my Christmas 2005 photos this weekend.


Warning: This post is rambling and deeper thoughts (remember Jack Handy?) than my usual day-to-day life. Since it's rambling, it might be kinda hard to follow or if you don't know what I'm wrestling with it might not make sense in parts. But this is my blog, and I have always felt better after getting things in print. Blog Therapy, here we go.

I have been thinking about Loyalty lately. I didn't even think about "loyalty" as one of my driving forces until a friend of mine (Patricia!) told me I was loyal. But as I have been pondering in my free brain time, I can see how loyalty is so much of a driving force inside me, it's a fault! Maybe. I think in general it's still more of a positive than a negative.

But this has been a character point I have had a really long time. I think back to a friend I had in high school who I stuck by through thick and thin. Yes, there were things she did that I thought were weird (but weren't we all?), and a lot of other people gave her a hard time, but I stuck in there. And what happened? Well, she went on to another school! I was sorta mad---she hadn't stayed loyal to the school? I don't know. I just thought at the time that there wasn't anything she did to break that trust I had in her, so we never "broke up." Her faults weren't enough to break up a friendship. But the difficult time she was having with the other kids at school was enough to break her trust in the school and abandon it after she'd been going there all her life.

Then comes the boyfriend issues. (This is taking me in the Way Back Machine.) I know now that I got very committed to a boy I was with, too much so. I just knew that whoever I was with, I could focus on him, I could see myself with him in the future, and the little problems I could work through. Once I had that first relationship established, I was committed, and other options just were not an option. Since I got married at 20, and actually dated only a handful of guys, this might seem like a limited life to some people! I hardly dated at all, but I guess I just didn't go out with anyone I didn't think I could see a future with. I guess. I like to think I was just discriminating.

Larry and I always joked about how neither of us had actually been the one to break up with someone, so that's why we were still together. HaHa! See how that ties into my loyalty issues? I picked my husband with similar loyalty values! We laughed about that back when we were still infatuated with each other. I still laugh, because I'm happy where I am. I still have that vision of the future. And Larry should be secure in his feelings about our marriage, because I value loyalty so much, I'd never leave him. Isn't that what vows are, anyway?

So now where does this lead me today? It's not my marriage I'm really thinking about, but my loyalty, not my loyalty to Christ or even "the Church of Christ" but loyalty to my congregation. I have lots of friends who were in the Church of Christ who have moved onto other denominations or non-denominational options. I always feel kinda sad about that. I can always see their point of view about their choices, and I have no qualms about staying friends with them. (I know some who would!!) But my team I'm committed (loyal) to just lost another player. I have friends who never went to a Church of Christ, and I totally respect their faith and I actually figure they're going to heaven, too (which if you know Church of Christ, this could be a big thing for me to say). I'm very much more liberal in my thinking than I used to be and more than my husband. (We cannot talk about evolution!) I'm loyal to Christ---I am not wavering from that. And I am loyal to the Bible---that one document has to be relied upon, or there is nothing to rely on. What we know of Christ is from the Bible, the Bible first, and then people. But the people have to go back to the Bible and be in accord with the Bible.

So where does that leave me in my current situation? I'm loyal to people, too. But who's loyal to me? Who ought I be in league with? Where should the overwhelming loyalty be? My main partner---Larry---has a lot to do with that. What is the right and wrong of the situation? It's so complicated and convoluted and full of opinions. The people I most respect and look up to---that's where I have been looking. People who aren't swayed by the wind. But I do not want to be so loyal to these that I forsake doing the right thing. But there are several "right" options, several thimgs to consider doing the right thing for. Right for my personal spiritual growth. Right for my husband and me. Right for the children (this is a biggie). Right for my principals (like loyalty or submission to authroity). Even right for the outward looks of something (probably the wrong "right" to look at!). Right in line with God's will for me. Right for my community. If I wasn't so much intertwined in working here, It would be so much easier. If I wasn't giving all the time, I'd have the luxury of walking away easily. But I am doing what I have felt called to do. So that call to the places I have been working seems a big persuading factor for me.

So I am not much decided about this, so I'm waiting and watching. My "vision" isn't being realized the way I want, so to be searching for my "ideal" situation is one option. I watch people who I thought had some loyalty to me not even give me anything at all before departing. Of course I avoid conflict to a fault, too, so I didn't ask for anything. And some did give me something! Thank goodness. In this disheartening time, I do have some friends. But I think my loyalties lie elsewhere, away from these church peers. I have others who are not entangled with all this. I have friends from other venues. And like I said before, my utmost loyalty should be to God. My moments are full of just stepping my way through a day and doing what I can do in this one moment. I am watching. This is my modus operandi. And thinking, processing the situation.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Locomotives on Parade #35

I was really enjoying a moment the other day with Bess. We were up later than we should have been, but she wanted to read a little bit before sleep. I can't say no to that. She is reading Catwings Returns, by Ursula LeGuin, one of a series I didn't know much about before the librarian suggested it. Anyway, Bess is doing a great job reading and sounding the words out, and I was just watching her face. I love this face that will be gone all to quickly. She is a perfect specimen of early elementary school, with her innocent little-girl face, her front teeth half gone, half coming in, with her little voice. I just love the way her teeth look---not a look for her whole life, I know! Her front teeth were gone at the same time, just as they should have been (in my romanticized vision!). Now she has another tooth gone on the bottom and one of the front teeth is coming in half way. It's just so sweet.

Here is another of the trains we've seen this week. This one is called The Reading Railroad, and as you can see in the sign in the background, it is at St.Michael's Academy on College Avenue. So far, I am saying this one is my favorite. All the books on the smokestacks are real book titles, and the pictures of kids reading on the windows on the sides look like they were drawn by kids. I like this shot, too. The kids are winking like the train face is doing, too.

I don't care if the rest of the house is a mess today, I am going to pull out my scrapbooking stuff tonight and get to work! All I really need to clean up is the dining room table to get busy. I have been working with the kids 15 minutes a day (each) to get their rooms back in shape. This is a FlyLady method. FlyLady says it took a while to get the room in a mess this way, so don't expect it to get all cleaned up in one day. One step at a time works better for me and the kids. Then there's time to spend playing! As it should be this summer.

The best $3 I spent this summer: Pop Ice popcicles.

The best $25 I spent this summer: The pool punch pass. 25 swims for $25! Money spent when I had a paycheck, fun at the pool when there's hardly any money in the bank since I just paid the electric bill.

I have to tell about the free date I went on last night. FREE! Larry and I dropped our kids with Penny (free babysitting) and went to the George Bush Presidential Library for their Classic Film Series. We saw North by Northwest for free, and even got Cokes and popcorn for free. What a deal! One tip if you go, though: No food or drinks allowed in the auditorium, so get there early to get snack time in. Someone will get up and introduce the film, tell a bit of history about it. And the crowd is a "bit" more gray-haired than we are, but there were kids in the audience, too. It was fun. It was pretty crowded, too. The next movie is on July 13th, The Narrow Margin. If this town just had a "Shakespeare in the Park"-like event like Fort Worth and Dallas! That was a great romantic free (sorta) event. We didn't try the music series at Wolf Pen this year, but we should have done that, too. Free fun can be had around here.

It got me to thinking about my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films, and Notorious, Rear Window, and Strangers on a Train come to mind. Especially Rear Window. I guess I identify with the guy stuck in his room, watching people through his window. My kids know I look in open windows at night as we drive by houses. And I have always tried to figure out what people are doing by observing them from afar. Rachel and I used to pass the time on our long car trips to Memphis by making up stories about the other passengers in other cars. In rear Window, this guy really does figure out somehthing bad is going on in the apartment across the courtyard. And the bad guys come after him!!

Anyway enough goofing around at the computer!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Locomotives on Parade #20 and #22

Here we are with two more trains on Monday June 19th. This first one is called Straight Tracks, and it is sponsored by Pratt Orthodontics. As you can see we have two extra friends with us this time! This train is one that Jamie's art teacher had mentioned to him during the school year. We had gone to see it up close back in April, and thought it was cool.

This second one is called Edgar and it's sponsored by Stylecraft Builders. That is a rhino on the side if it's hard for you to see.

Joshua and Jericha are staying with us just these two days while mom is out of town and dad works. It's been pretty fun----they seemed to not think going and seeing all these trains is too dorky. We got to go to get ice cream yesterday afternoon. Today we will try to go swimming, weather permitting. I need to even out my crazy tan line/burn line. I have a t-shirt line on my arm that I think is hideous.

We have had rain these past five days or so! Yea! I think yesterday was rain free, but we got some more this morning; it cancelled Bess's track camp for the day. Not as much rain as Houston---that rain has been sitting on them all this time, and we just get a few spinoff showers. It has kept our temps down. I love the rain!! Yea precipitation!

Father's Day

Here are the kids with their father on Father's Day. Larry is wearing a T-shirt from them, and Bess is holding a book she talked me into getting called Daddy's Love by Debbie Leland. We bought the book from the author, who signed it. She was at the Library for one of the reading club events. Bess says the book was for her daddy, but she is the one who really enjoyed it, I think!

I did not do anything for my Dad! What a bad daughter I am. I should have at least sent an e-card. :-( I hope I can make it up to Dad when we visit around the 4th. Sorry Dad!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pool Party

Saturday we went to the pool for Bess's softball team's end-of-year party. Here are 8 of the 12 girls---all but one got to come for part of it. This is before the sun came out! Later we had a perfect afternoon for swimming, but the day started out stormy.

To the right is Bess and Coach John. They got trophies in their bags. Bess is acting silly! We ate pizza and some cookie cake during the 30 minute lightning delay we had to start our visit there. After that there was no more lightning, thank goodness.

The water slide is a fun for all, and here's Larry going down. Bess never did go down, but Jamie did.

Party, dude!

Lucky for us, we have two girls on the team that are within walking distance of our house. we can SEE one of the girls' houses from our front door, even!

As a team, we didn't do so great on the record, but as the year ended I think we were hitting our stride. The last gane was really our best effort, and Bess got her second hit of the season. She started batting left handed there at the end. They are all excited right now about next spring's team. Eight of the girls could play together again, 4 having to move up into the next age bracket.

Here's a happy picture of Bess at the party that was too cute to not include.

She did not burn except a tiny bit on her shoulders, but Jamie got a burned face, Larry a burned head, and me, burned forearms and a small patch on my neck. I have got to get the sunscreen coverage better!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Camp, Camp, and Camp

Here is Jamie, learning how to survey a property line at Cub Scout Day Camp. I like to see this because it is something that I never in my life have done. I like that he's learning things beyond my own base of knowledge----he's becoming his own person, branching out from me. But then again, he has always been his own person!!

Jamie and Larry went to camp and were out in the 90+ degree temps all week. Their only respite came on Friday when some showers came through and cancelled their day a little bit early. They were sad about that though---they're working on badges and needed to finish some things out to earn the badge. But yea for the rain!! We got some more today, Saturday, too. It was fantastic to have rain in June. I had just read an article about how the cotton crops were going to be miserable here in Texas because it's been so dry and hot.

Here's another picture at Day Camp---Jamie earned a Silver Bullet for shooting the BB gun at a target. If you know Jamie, I'm sure you can pick out his profile---he's just above that redhead. Larry took these. He was able to take off work and go every day this week.

And Jamie really wanted to include a picture of the bridge his group built. I guess the Engineering section impressed him this week. he built an arch bridge. I hope he will blog on his own about this.

And in other news, Bess has continued her Track Camp every morning this week, and thank goodness she runs in the earliest group. It has been getting up in the 90s every afternoon (I don't think it's broken the 100 degree mark yet), and the lows are staying in the 70s. I have been determined to walk the stairs or around the track at least a little while she's out there. Since Jamie wasn't with me waiting on Bess, I felt freer to walk the track. On Thursday, I walked a mile, and I hope to do that every morning this next week. I know a mile isn't a lot, but I am proud I did it. I guess spelling it out here also makes me sort of accountable---you guys might ask me if I'm keeping it up. Bess is half-way through Track Camp---two more weeks to go. And what should I do when Camp is over? Walk my neighborhood or come back up to the high school track?

And finally, I have been teaching at the first Sonshine School Camp with Mrs. Penny. We went 5 days, from 9 to noon, with kids ages 3 to 6. It was really difficult for me to deal with such a wide age range!! The wonderful beading activity I had for the older ones turned into ten minutes of cleaning up beads off the floor of the entire room after a 3 year old thought it was cool to dump out the cups of beads and spread them everywhere. Ug. But SSCamp was worth it, all in all, and I got to know some of the kids who I will have in my class next year (probably). And I connected to one of the moms who Larry and I knew from college. We had even gone to Morrilton, Arkansas, together right before Larry and I were married. That was a weeklong trip, to a children's home. Anyway, that was cool.

We had a Softball team party today at the pool, and I'll get those pictures on a blog soon. It was fun, but Jamie and I have sunburns---my arms, and his face! Maybe his will tan. He made it all week at day camp with no burn and one afternoon and he gets a burn. Bess had a lot of fun with her softball buddies.

Was this post too campy?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Memphis Part 2

The Wedding

So now we come to the pictures of Jackie's wedding. This is the reason we took this trip when we did. I think they had been dating three years before they got married. Jackie is my first cousin, my Dad's sister's daughter. She's the first child of my aunt's to get married, and their only daughter. Jackie is 23, I think!

This is the only good picture I got of the bridesmaids dresses. The color was similar to the dresses my cousin Dan had in his wedding last summer. It must be the "in" color. But beautiful! The chapel was a former church, but now is exclusively for a wedding chapel. That is my aunt and uncle sitting on the front row. Bess got to sit by the guest book---like Jackie did at my wedding 15 years ago next month-----and like I think I did at my aunt's wedding, too. This next picture is of my grandparents. I was trying not to mess up the photographer, so this is right after her good shot. Everyone is already moving around. These are my dad's parents. This is my grandmother who send me funny stories and other encouraging stories via e-mail. Technology is wonderful!! I feel lots more in touch with the Memphis family, and especially Granny because I can send something so quickly and share pictures and stuff.

I hadn't said who the groom was! His name is Jonathan Martin, and he's from Memphis, too. I guess technically Whitehaven, if you really want to know. They met through Jackie's friend who married Johnnie's brother.

They are honeymooning in Jamaica this week, but they got to go to The Peabody for the first night (you know, with the famous ducks?). Jackie called back to her parents' house 3 times that evening to tell us all about the room and the snacks they had for them and that they were going to see Cars that night at the movies. They apparently got a really good room, but Johnnie was disappointed that there was not a Memphis Redbirds baseball game going on that night, since he could see right into the field from the hotel.

Back to the wedding itself, we went right to the reception in the same building, and here's a picture of me and the kids. It was a 2:00pm service, and we were in the reception hall at about 2:45. There were heavy snacks. Or you could call it a meal if you got as much meat as Jamie did. Chicken fingers and meatballs and cheese and fruit and the cakes. Jamie did have about 30 Little Smokies cocktail weiners. Oink, oink! But there was plenty to go around, and leftovers that ended up at Aunt Ronda's house afterwards. All the tables had purple tablecloths, and my Dad's shirt matched exactly. Larry said he could have tucked the tablecloth in the neck of his shirt.

Here we are outside the building, and Bess and I made sure we got the bubbles outside to blow at the couple as they departed. No rice in the hair or birdseed in the eyes! Jackie's friend Brandi (a high school friend) caught the bouquet.

Granny always says the only thing that makes weddings different from each other is the little things that go wrong! The first thing was that the Unity candles would not light before the service began. These are the two candles that Jackie and Jonathan were supposed to hold as they together lit the one symbolizing their two lives becoming one. The minister gave his little spiel about the symbolism, and then they turned towards the candles, and all 3 were surprised to see them still unlit. Jackie and Johnnie tried to light them, to no avail, and Jackie turned around to us in the audience and said, "Is this really necessary?" It was funny! Johnnie took a lit candle from the candelabra in the center and stuck it in the place where their lit one was supposed to be. The other thing was that the ring bearer wouldn't come down the aisle. But it was all very short and sweet, and I was touched when Jackie cried coming down the aisle with her Dad.

So, one last picture of Jackie and Bess. It was a good time!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Memphis Part 1

The Children's Museum of Memphis

We drove to Memphis in record time, 11.5 hours. So after getting to Granny's at about midnight, we slept and got up at the kids' normal time 6 am! The sun rises about a half hour earlier than it does where we live, so once it got light, they were up. Plus, they slept in the car really well, so they had slept enough!

After a lunch of Krystal burgers (a childhood favorite!), we went to the museum to play for the afternoon. I think Jamie is about to age out of the place, but we had a great time. Here Jamie is in the cockpit of the airplane they have. This is were I took the most pictures.

I really like the Mississsippi river model they have, where the kids can get their hands in the water and build dams and stuff like that. In this picture, you can see the two bridges in Memphis---the "M bridge" and the "old bridge" as Rachel and I called them. (Bess is by the old one.) Jamie and Larry had made some dams in the river and were looking at how the water was faster running through the small opening than it did when the whole river is opened up. Do you know that the Mississippi river is a mile wide at Memphis? Now that is a river with no equal here in Texas. Behind Jamie in that picture you can see a pump the kids can play with, and a water wheel.

The kids like playing in the human body section---Bess is a doctor here with the x-rays. I liked that they had samples of real human lungs (smoker's lungs and healthy ones) in these little plexiglass boxes. You could pick them up and handle them. And some boxes that said "smell me" and guess what was inside? Cigarette smoke smell! yuck! None of knew for sure what the other box was---maybe potpourri?

I thought I just uploaded three more pictures! I can't see them anyplace.

Anyway, the kids enjoyed the art section, the fire truck, the cowboy exhibit (had to go all the way to Tennessee to learn about that!), the grocery store, and all the other stuff there. I had a picture of Bess climbing in the skyscraper---it's really tall and more sturdy than those McDonald's playplaces!

Our trip wouldn't have been complete without the smashed pennies for 51 cents a piece.

It was fun!!

First Track Meet

I have so many things to blog about, I'm taking it one piece at a time!!

Here is Bess runnning during her first track meet June 9th. This is just her warming up, actually---she's the one in blue.

Here she is doing the first event, the Long Jump. She also did the Softball Throw.

I sorta made the family leave early from the meet---this was the same day we were leaving to drive to Memphis!! I knew we had a 12 hour drive ahead of us still. So we ended up leaving at noon on Thursday, and Bess had to miss the running events. It was hot (of course), and we had a lot of time waiting for events to happen (of course).

It is a lot like Jamie's acting experience: Each player has their small part to play, and you have to do a lot of waiting to get to your part! This is good for Jamie, I always thought. Whereas school is a drag and boring (and he *might* get in trouble!), he has learned at Troupe to sit, keep himself occupied, and wait for his time to go on. I think he even enjoys watching others. Hopefully all those same things will be taught by circumstance to Bess. A lot of life is waiting in line!!

And thinking of that, I have to say that the local DMV got me a new license in less than 6 minutes!! It was unbelievable!! I went in just before noon one day in May, and when I got back in the car, six minutes had passed. I had an eye test, and a picture taken. Can you believe that???

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Locomotives on Parade #10, #13, #12

Here's Jamie by the one he wanted to go see today. (We tried the one at the Linclon Center, but it is in the shop for repairs, they said until the end of the month.) This is the Hot-N-Ready Express sponsored by Little Caesar's Pizza. I's right at Texas and SW Parkway.

This is Foo Foo Choo Choo, sponsored by David Gardner's Jewelry. It is on University. This was Bess's choice for the day. Of course that big tutu is really unique!

And here we are at our last stop of the day, the Iron Horse. It's sponsored by the Hilton (and it sits outside it), and the CSRotary Club. This shot doesn't show it, but the Rotary Club symbol is on some of the trains wheels. This one was also cool because they had train sounds you can turn on from a handheld control in the back. This train has a staircase leading up to the back of it. Here's me! Bess told me to start stepping into it for the picture.

This has been a fun little sightseeing tour of the town so far. It's not just me dragging the kids there, but they want to go, too.

There are 3 in Brenham, so if anyone is interested in going to Brenham with me the week of July 17, maybe we could have a Blue Bell tour and a picnic lunch down there. That week, neither of the kids will be in any kind of camp!

I have to blog about the GT Parent (Gifted and Talented) meeting I went to last night. I am hopeful that there are some plans in the works that at least Bess would benefit from. I think Jamie will, too, but he's further along in the system already. I am excited that they are going to try to cluster the kids at one Junior High, and it seems to fit in with our hopes and dreams for the Dual Language kids as well. The GT coordinator for the district I like very much, since she seems to be interested in the parents' input and help. I like that they are re-evaluating the way they indentify children, to catch more of them, and from a wider variety of backgrounds. We formed a GT Parent group last night, and either Larry or I will be on the steering committee. Probably me.

That's my life yesterday! (Well, that plus Track Club for Bess, shopping at Target, and other stuff here in the house!)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Question of the Day

Here's another of Jamie's questions:
"Which of the following would you use? Why?
A. Laser Cannon
B. Phase Pistol
C. CRM 114"

I pick the Phase Pistol, as you can see in the picture to the left. This is a pictire of Travis Mayweather from Enterprise. I need something I can hold in my hand, something portable.

What would I do with this weapon? I'd set it to "stun" and get some kids moving in the mornings, that's what I'd do. Maybe I'd learn to hunt with it. I'm sure in my present life, I'd rarely have to fire it. But if I was in Star Trek time era, I'd like to go on away missions to the planets' sufaces to check out the new peoples. I still hope I'd never have to really fire it, but I'd want to be prepared.

So, we survived the ol' 6-6-06, and I think it is because we have the seal of God on our foreheads. The devil can't take me!

Yesterday's question was about your favorite Bible Story, and the kids were supposed to write it in a way that little kids could understand it. Jamie wrote about Jezebel getting eaten by dogs (so very boy-ish, and not a real "little kid" story!). Bess wrote a wonderful essay about the death of Jesus. Anyone who's been in a Bible Class of mine ought to know my favorite is about Ruth.

Bess went to another Track Camp session this morning, and they had fun. I am pleased to say that it isn't too hot at 8 a.m. I think she's making a friend of one of the little girls there with her. Today was a bunch of packing and other household chores, and of course, ther was a lot more fussing today because of it.

I forgot to point Bess out in the picture below---she's the one in the middle with the purple shirt on!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday was the first day of Bess's Summer Track Camp at the High School. Fortunately for us, one of the two coaches was her P.E. coach from school! He told her right away that she was going to know all the stretches they were going to do every morning. This camp is Mon.-Thurs. all through June. Jamie and I hung around in the stands, and I used the time to walk up and down the stairs a few times. I figure if I do it some every time we go, I'll have great looking legs soon. Bess enjoyed the running and the jumping. She seems right in the middle of the pack as far as age range, which to me is perfect.

The second sporty thing we did was go swimming after lunch. Two hours had passed before I knew it! The only bad thing----I apparently missed a triangle of skin on my right shoulder when I applied my sunscreen. Ouch! Jamie always has fun on the slides, and they both enjoyed jumping into the deeper water. The day was made more fun because two mom friends of mine and their two kids each were swimming with us. Bought a 25 punch pass! Yahoo, it's summer!

The last sport event of the day was Bess's softball game. And Yahoo again, the Storm team won 2 to nothing. Whew!! They are having a fun time, but it is more fun to win sometimes. They were playing really well tonight.

And now we are home, watching college women's softball world series. I made a really good Jambalaya in the crock pot tonight, and everyone, even my picky little daughter who has sworn off almost all meats as well as tomatoes, really liked it. I am pooped out today, but you may just find us at the pool again tomorrow. It's good to not be sitting on the couch all day.

Locomotives on Parade #30

This is the first of what I hope will be many "Locomotives on Parade" entries into the blog. This train is in front of First Bank of Snook (C.S. branch!) next to Albertson's on University. It is called "Lone Star Express."

Each one of the trains was sponsored by some local business or philanthropist, and then at the end of Sept., they will be auctioned off. The money will go to the Bush Presidential Library for the art collections. There is a train exhibit there, but I haven't seen it yet.

Here is the boy----I am having trouble getting these pictures to load, so I'll stop with just this one. Larry took this one last night. This train is pretty cool from every angle.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Movie Review

I am sort of having a race with Jamie to see who posts more messages. I'm up by two now. He doesn't know I'm racing him, though, and I'm telling you it won't count if you post a bunch of little nothings all in one day, Jamie!!

Larry and I watched "Memoirs of a Geisha" a few nights ago. I really liked it, and I am thinking about the story of it these days later. I'd recomend it. It's not a Christian mindset, the way these lives run, but there is an order there, and it is intesting to me. This is why my minor was Anthropology!

I already love all Amy Tan's books (about China), so another story by another author (Arthur Golden) on Asian topics (Japan) interested me, too. I like having a window into another culture and time, and from looking at the extra features on the DVD, I think the author took time and effort to get it right. The director and others making the movie took liberties with the costumes and makeup, they said, going a little more dramatic and more "fashionista" with the geisha. I'm okay with that. It's one of those beautiful movies. So, after I finish this Fannie Flagg book I'm on now, I might try to get this one at the library.

I enjoy getting your comments on the blog!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Star Trek Question

Which of the following would you like to drive? Why? (Jamie's question, finally)
A. Borg Cube
B. Xindi Superweapon
C. Xindi-Insectoid ship

I would choose to drive a Xindi-Insectoid ship. It looks faster than a cube or a sphere, really. I can imagine myself at the controls, doing rolls or zooming inbetween other vessels in battle. I know the controls would be hard to read---have you seen their alphabet? Or for that matter heard the spoken language? The cube would be no fun because a bunch of other Borg would constantly be on your back making you do what's best for the many. And a Superweapon---it's a little too dangerous for me. To think I had the power to blow up a whole planet would be a little unnerving, and if I did it accidentally (like setting my Coke on top of the button or something), I could never live with myself. But the superweapon looks really cool, with all the layers of metal moving around it. And for that matter, the Borg cube looks cool, too. But the inside is kinda dark. I am not sure if it would be too dark in Insectoid ship, but maybe I could turn the lights up. Jamie says there is a hatchery in there, so maybe I could go play with the little insect babies. (If you know how I feel about cockroaches, you'd understand I might not really do this.) Still, I think this is the most maneuverable, and most fun to drive.

My apologies about any typos or spelling errors. I can't figure out why the spell check isn't working properly.

Ya happy, Jamie??


This is you-know-who in her terrible twos.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Our Daily Scribblings

Okay, I could take a new test every day. Or every hour of every day. I will not post all my tests, but if you like them, you can go to and do as many as your heart desires.

Update on our journals---Jamie is writing his on a blog. With much trepidation, I am letting him have one, and have it set up (I hope) so that he can't get contacted by a child predator. He saw a mom on a talk show that posed as a teenaged girl to check up on her teenaged sons. That mom was just trying to keep them safe, from handing out their locations or phone numbers or whatever. We've discussed it, and he knows I'm out there watching.

Today's writing assignment is to write a short story. This is Bess's idea again. She hasn't written hers yet, and neither have I, but Jamie wrote his in his "Dragons of Reality" series. He went back to Book Two to change the direction of the series. I hope he'll post his story, and since he is writing it in Word, it can be easy. Book one was 6 pages. There's a dragon named Foom and a bad person named Stisis. Jamie is the main character who gets sucked into this alternate universe. It's exciting to see him writing like that!

Let's see, yesterday was a list of people who you love (Bess's idea), so not too fun for a post. What if I left you out?? On purpose or accidentally?

Before that it was "What are some ways you can 'do a good turn' this week?" (My question) This term for good deeds comes from the Boy Scout handbook. Jamie did post his answers. Bess said she could help someone if they fall on the ice rink, hold a door, give a hug, make a card for someone, listen so someone if they're sad, give a coupon to be someone's maid for an hour, and doing something without being told to. Mine were boring!

And the day before that (Bess's question) was "If you could change your name, what would it be?" Jamie's involved "Bob" which is his favorite name. Bess said Milly, Lilly, KK, Kayla, Jenny, Lexy and Alex. I tried to list a name I liked for every letter of the alphabet (overachieving tendencies). So mine is a work in progress. My extra girl's name I'll never use on a real child is Audrey Katherine. So there is A and K.

I am pleased at how long we've kept up with this! I do let them watch some TV or get on the computer before they do the writing (and reading), but at some point in the day, I have the TV off and they have to do this stuff before it comes back on. I haven't done the ticket method of TV watching, which I have considered---two tickets a day (two half-hour shows), plus an extra when they read. Bess has logged 4 and a half hours of reading, Jamie, 3 and a half. One more half hour, and Bess gets a reward at the library.

Bess will start Summer Track Camp on Monday. I tried to go sign her up, but no one was at the place they were supposed to be when they said they would be today. I can still sign her up before class on Monday----8 am, Mon.-Thurs., all of June! But why did I think that this might happen? How come I kinda knew I wouldn't find someone there? I think (I know) I have slight prejudice about "jocks" and guy jocks in particular. I fear what I do not know anything about!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Okay, a few more tests we had to try out. This is me:

You Are Jan Brady
Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.
What Brady Are You?

Jamie's kind of pie:
You Are Apple Pie
You're the perfect combo of comforting and traditional Those who like you crave security
What Kind of Pie Are You?

and mine---I also came out Apple Pie!!
enough! Now on to a Softball game!