Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Longer Updates


Here we go:
  • Sis's horseback riding competition:  Last weekend, Sis competed in her very first horseback riding competition at a home show at the stable where she takes lessons.  It took some prep because we needed not only the safety helmet but a special shirt and fitted blazer that we got at a special tack shop, Dover Saddlery.  She was so excited!  She spent Saturday prepping the horses and the stable.  And then it was Sunday.  We spent hours at the farm learning all kinds of things about competition--bring your jacket on a coat hanger and put it next to your horse's stall (in their locker in the tack room, Sis says); wear sweatpants or something over your dress pants; have hair up in net, braid, or bun so it doesn't show; check in at the Secretary table, pay your fees, and get your number, which is worn tied around your waist and through the top button hole.  Sis was in the walk, trot, pole division, pretty much beginner, which went in the mid-afternoon.  They go "on court" (or was it "course?") at the same time and do all the movements through the ring as the ringmaster calls them out; then they line up in front of the ring master and await announcement of winners.  Sis looked magnificent astride Brook, a seal bay.  And she did all of her maneuvers with grace and efficiency (at least to my eyes.)  She placed first in equitation, second in maiden pleasure, and second in poling.  All of her scores together meant she was declared Champion of her division, getting an extra-big ribbon and a trophy.  She was so excited; we were so proud.  I know she's absolutely hooked now and will be doing more of these.  A big bonus:  we saw a peregrine falcon and Mama even got a picture.
  • Bud's kung fu competition:  On Saturday, Bud competed at the National Wushu Kung Fu Team trials, which are held every two years.  And his gold in Tong Bei and bronze in Spear--with both scores at 9.0 (he needed a 8.5 to qualify)--qualified him for the national team! Before and after his tong bei form, he and his teammate shook hands, wishing each other luck and then congratulating one another on a job well done. More than that, during his spear form, there was a mix up and the judges stopped him mid-performance because there was a computer glitch.  He had to wait and then do it all over again, a huge disadvantage, but he held it together.  And he still got a 9.0!  He showed real character and perseverance.  So proud of him.
  • Doctor Strange  We went to the movies after church on Sunday, at the fancy theater with the reserved recliner seats.  And the film was great!  I loved all the special effects--the sparking mandalas, the buildings folding in on themselves, the cloak with character!--and the spiritual dimension to the usual Marvel superhero movies.  
  • My hospice patient still gets Botox injections.  Yep, I showed up yesterday and the corner of her eye was cut and bruised.  I thought she'd hit her head or something.  But no, her aide said that the daughter took her mom to get a Botox injection!  She's 80+ and dying of Parkinson's . . . and still worried about wrinkles?  I had wondered if they were accepting and understanding of her mother's condition.  I seem to think this means no.  How is it different from a manicure or going out to dinner, other things people keep doing once they're on hospice?  I think it's the denial and rejection of aging and the obvious risks which nail polish and meals don't have.  
  • Nature's Classroom:  The kids head out to Nature's Classroom tomorrow for three days exploring science and the environment with the entire 6th grade and several teachers.  There are several NC classrooms throughout the northeast, I understand, and the annual trip has been a rite-of-passage for most students for years (some go in 5th, some in 6th, some for 3 days, some for 5.)  The kids are beyond excited and have been packing for days.  They need both cold and wet weather gear, so there are boots, gloves, hats, rain jackets, heavier coats, long sleeves, heavy socks, etc etc etc.  I penned notes for them to receive each day at mail call.  And I've filled out all manner of forms.  The kids asked what we'll be doing while they're gone--but they can't imagine us without them!  Mama and I have some ideas.  More about all of this later!
  • Trunk-or-Treat:  It was our last Halloween event at school, which was definitely bittersweet.  And we participated by decorating my car trunk as the Ghostbuster car with its mobile containment unit.  We had a huge cardboard box painted red with a slot for putting your hand in to get candy.  There was a flashing strobe light illuminating the hole and a "high voltage" box that would make noise, shake, and blink.  Then there was caution tape, orange security cones, and lots of orange extension cords to decorate the area.  And an escape ghost!  It looked great--especially with the twins dressed up as Ghostbusters with their fantastic homemade proton packs!  People really liked our trunk and took photos of their kids with it.  A great way to end school Halloweens.
  • Halloween:  The real Halloween was similarly as exciting.  The kids wore their great Ghostbuster jumpsuits and donned their proton packs.  Mama and the kids had been working on those for a long time, with items from the dollar store spray painted black and lots of fun gadgets, including lights (they got tons of compliments on the costumes at Mama's office party, too.)  Before they left to trick or treat, we had a visit from our friend who works at the deli and who had a fantastic homemade Loki costume, complete with fancy helmet; her boyfriend, who made the helmet and scepter, was dressed as a Power Ranger.  Then, the kiddos went out with a neighbor and wandered our area, getting lots of candy. I passed out candy (using the mobile containment unit for the bigger/braver kids) to all the little goblins, but it was all over before 8 p.m., which was early.  The kids got a lot of great candy--and I got all the Reese's peanut butter cups, peanut M&Ms, Almond Joys, Mr. Goodbars, and any other candy with nuts.  My favorites!  Sis liked Kit Kats, Bud liked chewy Life Savers.
  • Our first snow:  it was a messy, squally, windy, wet day, with rain turning to sleet and then snow and back again for more than an hour.  None of it stuck, but it was nice to see it falling. I had a school tour, soI wore my navy wool cloak with my colonial outfit and felt very warm.
  • A kerfluffle with a docent at the historic house:  Definitely a he-said/she-said situation, with a teacher complaining that a docent was overly harsh and rude to her kids (telling them they couldn't use the bathroom--against our policy--and also that he wasn't going to talk til they were all silent, which isn't too unusual) and with the docent complaining that the teacher did nothing about discipline or control.  I didn't take sides when speaking to them both, assuring them we would address concerns.  The docent was furious, cursing and slamming a door when he left.  The teacher had tears in her eyes.  (And I didn't even talk to them together!)  And so, a week later, with very short notice (I heard about an hour ahead of time), decided not to give his next tour.  Sour grapes.  And some guilt, I think. I'm guessing he'll quit outright.
  • Mother-Daughter book club:  We read Wonder this month, but I didn't finish it (because I was called out to do the aforementioned tour that day!)  It's about a child with craniofacial issues and how he is treated at school. There's even a touching video of real kids with craniofacial issues referring to the book.  I hope to finish it soon, because it sounds great. 
  • Mo the cat is hanging in there, getting his subcutaneous fluids every third day.  He's eating and doing all of his normal cat things, though his new favorite place to sit is in the upstairs bathroom.

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