Seven degrees of Digression

1. Abra graduated from 6th grade. I remember graduating from 6th grade. They said, "see you next year." Abra got a full scale graduation. With lots of little girls in skimpy prom dresses, balloons, a speaker from the high school who promised them more work, no recess, and no playground. And a DJ, which seems way overblown, but isn't when I tell you he played the same song the whole time.

2. My sister Hannah graduated from high school and is currently drinking tea and eating Jammie Dodgers in England with her friends. I am uber proud of her. And even more proud that she is leaving home (go, Beatles reference) this fall to go to more school.

3. Both of them had birthdays, 12 and 18 respectively. This made me feel old. Like crusty old, especially since I remember when both of them were born. I remember watching them toddle around and Hannah making me watch Barney for the bazillionth time and Abra making me watch an equal number of Blue's Clues. To be sure, Abra's twinged my heart a bit more, but both are equally baffling. How did they get to be that big?

4. Ruth also turned 3. See above.

5. I finished my first year at Feather River and most of the general ed is done. I believe I have to follow around my old nemesis, Math, for a bit longer. Next semester I get to actually start some interesting classes, but now that I've said that, they won't be.

6. Right before the end of term, I did two things: 6a) joined the local roller derby team, making my life both richer and infinitely more complex; and 6b) received an award from my English teacher for writing the best essay she's read in 32 years of teaching. Got my picture in the paper and everything, but of course it helps when your mom works at the paper.

7. Jeff has taken the kiddos out to Utah for three weeks and I, lonely soul that I am, get to stay at my mum's house all that time. By myself, as my mom is currently touring Italy for her anniversary. I know, I was jealous too. However, when first doing calculations on any amount of time I have been without kids, I would have to say see #3. I'll shave some time off for Marine Corps work and a little more good behavior, but mostly, it's 12. Before I begin a whole other year of school and derby and work and kids with no husband two weeks at a time, I need to detox.

And now, six degrees of Kevin Bacon.


The Derby Post

Since I have been skating for about a month, I figured I had better break down and write about derby. I have pictures of all my wicked bruises, but I will save that for a later date.
My high school friend, Vicki, has been skating with the Reno Roller Girls for quite some time. I was uber-jealous. Like seething really. Love her that I do, I thought there's no way that skinny waif can do derby. Seriously, she shops in the kid section for crying out loud. We're talking 100 pounds, maybe, like on Thanksgiving after she's eaten the entire bowl of mashed potatoes. So when I was virtually attacked at one of her bouts by the Plumas Mudslingers who do derby near me, I was stoked.
And then reality kicked in. Wait, I thought, I can't do this. I have school. I have kids, four of them. My husband is not here for two weeks at a time. I have no one to babysit for those two nights a week. And oh yeah, never really worn a pair of skates. Like ever. Never did those team sport activity things. I was too busy getting high behind the drama theatre with my friends. In truth, I was a pretty self-secluded teenager. You know, emo before they had a name for it.
But, oh, I really love this game. It's beautiful, like poetry in motion. I know that's very cliche, but it's true. Watching derby is akin to that same feeling I used to have as a little kid when I would watch Michael Jackson dance. I wanna do that. Please, please, lemme do that. Derby's the only sport I have ever watched and thought that about. Again, like ever. It's eventual, absolutely eventual. You can say whatever you like about Michael.
So, I bought a pair of skates from Vic for $40 and went to a practice. Ohmigosh, what they must have thought of me. No gear, my skates had no toe stops, and the only reason I never fell on my ass was that God liked me that day. It was pathetic. Then we upgraded to toe stops and crap gear and I fell on my ass every two seconds. I bring all my kids to practice when Jeff's not here, I play sick, I play tired, I play sore. Friday, I got two skates to the ribs and a skate to the kneecap and when Shane, the assistant coach, said I was done skating, I actually bawled. I really love this game.
Our first bout is on this Friday, the 23rd. With the exception of my leg being amputated, I will be there, skating. Even if it got amputated, I would still be there skating. Welcome, friends, to my new obsession.

Oh, alright, here's my bruise.

Isn't she lovely.


Hinamatsuri-Girl's Day

Okay, so no have the china dolls that actually started this tradition. And no are actually Japanese. But I like the idea of a day to celebrate girls. March 3 used to be Girl's Day and May 5 was Boy's Day, but then they got combined into Children's Day on May 5th. But we Hawaiians jus' celebrate wheneva. So we borrowed it and I picked up both my girls early from school and we hit the town.
That took about five minutes.
Well, maybe an hour. I gave my girls balloons, instead of peach blossoms, which are for some reason in short supply when it's the middle of winter and snowing. I took them to the toy store where Ruth played with the Thomas trains the whole time but decided on a stuffed panda in a purse to take home instead. Abra wanted to know how much and then picked something under the budget line. It didn't even have to squeak under it. She's making crystals. No, not the meth ones, you nutjobs.
Then we went home and made mochi that probably only I am going to eat, musubi which has nothing to do with Girl's Day but we missed it, and katsu chicken because I thought no one would eat oyako donburi, it being something gross called soup. But no one ate the katsu chicken either. That rice, though, whew it disappeared instantly.
I want to feel that I have trashed a genuine Japanese tradition by making it all haole, but at the same time cannot feel truly sorry for using it to celebrate my girls. All my children suffer from a lack of quality time, I'm sure, but I want them to feel special. If that means giving them an extra holiday out of the year, then so be it. And I think the fact that Japan has a holiday called Children's Day and America is lacking in one, says something about America that I would punch a foreigner for saying (ok, not really). Our children need to feel valued, even if it's only one extra day a year. Fly kites and pick flowers, instead of practice and homework. As a country, we tend to focus on kids as if they are burdens, what with being all capitalist and busy. Love them, yes, but rejoice in them also.
I know. That last bit was a little granola-y, even for me. True, but cheesy nonetheless.
So mark your calendars, you don't have to do both. No worries, one extra day is all.
The Girls' is back in town, yo.


Myself has got a secret

Are you ready? Kay, here goes...I am a horrible mother. No, no, really. I made that really kewl blog for Kekoa's 1st birthday and have been so ridiculously busy that I never made one for Owen when he turned 8 or for Abra when she played the cello in the school talent show. And I have all kinds of really spectacular excuses, but I will refrain from using them because, really, what's the point.
No, forget that. I am using them.
Jeff being gone means: a)I have all the kids, b)I have ALL the kids, c)I have school, d)I have housework, and of course, e)I have ALL THE KIDS and you like have to feed them and clothe them and play with them or they get all snotty and annoying and you love them, but holy crap, I just need five frickin' minutes in the bathroom in the dark so none of you can see me while I scribble my last will and testament on a piece of toilet paper before I die because I must have Alzheimer's or something because I don't remember how all of you got to be mine and I have to be like responsible for you and stuff.
But we still manage to do fun stuff like go to the playground and watch James be totally freaked out by the slide and Ruthie never ever leave the swing and eat ice cream at ridiculous temperatures and times of day and Owen and I are getting very good at Smash Brothers on the Wii. Wii have totally kicked its butt. And Abra is always kicking my butt at the Naruto Wii, but I can still clap the loudest at her school functions and exclaim profusely over how awesome she is getting at cello.
This mothering gig is hard, but I think I might keep it.


New Year Syndrome

After making sure that the kids had a spectacular Christmas, Jeff's unemployment went kaput (hey, Hawaii friends, isn't it interesting how kaput is similar to kapu? weird). And so our New Year begins with Jeff working with his folks all the way out in Utah while we are here patiently waiting for college to start and for him to return for every third week. Maybe.
Okay, I admit it. I had suffered from New Year Syndrome-that dangerous disease that incorporates hope for all things new-I had hoped that the year 2010, an impossible number to me which makes me think fondly of the Giant Hershey Bar from space, would be...well, better. That things would start to move up, that I would finally smack the curveball that is striking us out, that I would at least pass the Go space on the frickin' board and collect my$200. Man, $200. I am almost drooling on that one.
Instead I am sans husband, plus four kids, one college schedule, and up one babysitter. Yes, yes, away my Kekoa goes to Daycare. And I am not so secretly heartbroken. True, I could stop going to school, but what the hell would be the point in a semester's worth of credits? I at least need the paper that says AS for absolutely sh** on it. But, damnit, he's the last one and he's already not a baby anymore and I know it's only half a day, but that's half a day that we don't get to explore and walk to the library and pick up leaves or make snowmen or go to the park or eat lunch at Pangaea or play with the Thomas trains in the toystore or blow raspberries or...wow, I am severely rambling on. Maybe.
In truth, I am happy to be at school, but sad to be away from my husband and kids. Happy to be doing something I procrastinated on a bit, but wish I had finished already. Happy to be learning something new from Cultural Anthropology, but wondering why I have to take English and Computer Lit, hoping I manage to not be lost in Algebra or bored to tears in Philosophy and secretly glad that Jeff being gone meant I dropped that Government & Politics online course-not that I didn't want to take it, just that I thought it was a bit much already on top of everything else.
Believe it or not, I am actually trying to be optimistic here. Here's hoping that the Jefferson's are our new neighbors for 2010.
Cue the Giant Hershey Bar from space.


Jay-Jay is One

Last year I had this...
This year I have this...
For his birthday, we did this...

And cut down this, to put lights on it and make all sparkly, which he would promptly try and remove. Note that all expressions indicate, "Are we done standing here yet? It's really frickin' cold out here."

Two days after his birthday, we got this...

Happy Birthday, son. I am overjoyed to be your mother and I look forward to more Christmases together.