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one crazy summer

Tomorrow is registration day at the high school. I can hardly believe it’s already time for that. Peter is going to be a sophomore, and it won’t be long before he’s old enough to get his learner’s permit. (I’ve mentioned that his half birthday takes place right around when progress reports arrive. Awesome! More incentive to get a good start this year, am I right?)

And in two weeks, we’ll be back home after moving Moon into her dorm room at U of M. I’m sure we’ll be in tears during the drive home, but oddly enough I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago. Probably because it’s all happening, instead of me stressing and guessing about what might be going on in the kinda-distant future. I know she’s going to be fine. I think I ought to be fine, too.

Seriously, it’s so strange seeing her friends leave one by one. Today we mailed a care package to the first of her friends to go off to college. Moon spent Monday baking four different kinds of cookies, something like 300 total. We’ve been enjoying many of them. She dropped off a bunch at her boyfriend’s house, too.

But there are departures every day, whether we realize it or not. My very dear ALF lost both her parents this summer, less than three weeks apart. ALF is my almost lifetime friend, and obviously I’d known her parents for just as long. It’s a shock, and I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to be in her shoes. She has been in my thoughts pretty much round-the-clock, and my heart goes out to her whole family. I so admire her strength. There have been other huge challenges for her this summer, ones that would put me over the edge.

Our biggest issue right now is that there seems to be a mouse residing in our house. A smart mouse, that is not cooperating with our efforts to corner it in a humane trap. On the up side, we’ve cleaned out some cabinets that hadn’t been touched in a while.

Anyway, I’m just popping in to say I’m still here. So goes it.

she’s 18!

According to Moon, this was her best birthday ever. Which I hope she’ll be able to say every year from now on… happiness increasing on a yearly basis, that would be cool.

I can hardly believe it was 18 years ago that I was in a state of euphoria after completing the most difficult (and nerve-wracking) physical task of my life, rewarded with a jaw-droppingly beautiful newborn girl. (If you didn’t see this picture four years ago, here it is again.)

It’s a privilege and a joy being her mom. She is one of the best people I know, and I’m not even being biased. (I mean it.) A few more pictures. (The cake was delicious, by the way.)

coincidence or no?

The Daily Om for today, Moon’s 18th birthday:

Permanently Parents: The Changing Nest

Once individuals become parents, they are parents forevermore. Their identities change perceptively the moment Mother Nature inaugurates them mom or dad. Yet the role they undertake when they welcome children into their lives is not a fixed one. As children move from one phase of their lives to the next, parental roles change. When these transitions involve a child gaining independence, many parents experience an empty nest feeling. Instead of feeling proud that their children have achieved so much—whether the flight from the nest refers to the first day of kindergarten or the start of college—parents feel they are losing a part of themselves. However, when approached thoughtfully, this new stage of parental life can be an exciting time in which mothers and fathers rediscover themselves and relate to their children in a new way.

As children earn greater levels of independence, their parents often gain unanticipated freedom. Used to being depended upon by and subject to the demands of their children, parents sometimes forget that they are not only mom or dad but also individuals. As the nest empties, parents can alleviate the anxiety and sadness they feel by rediscovering themselves and honoring the immense strides their children have made in life. The simplest way to honor a child undergoing a transition is to allow that child to make decisions and mistakes appropriate to their level of maturity. Freed from the role of disciplinarian, parents of college-age children can befriend their offspring and undertake an advisory position. Those with younger children beginning school or teenagers taking a first job can plan a special day in which they express their pride and explain that they will always be there to offer love and support.

An empty nest can touch other members of the family unit as well. Young people may feel isolated or abandoned when their siblings leave the nest. As this is normal, extra attention can help them feel more secure in their newly less populated home. Spouses with more leisure time on their hands may need to relearn how to be best friends and lovers. Other family members will likely grieve less when they understand the significance of the child’s new phase of life. The more parents both celebrate and honor their children’s life transitions, the less apprehension the children will feel. Parents who embrace their changing nest while still cherishing their offspring can look forward to developing deeper, more mature relationships with them in the future.

hiding out

We finally convinced Peter to work on his German dialog, which is 60% of his final. (Tomorrow is the last day of finals, which were pushed back a few days due to dangerous windchills, school cancellation, blah blah blah.) Moon is helping him, because of course hers is done, despite the fact that she would have an A in the class even if she skipped the final. Because that’s how she rolls.

Anyway, I thought I’d remove myself from the situation because I know if I’m sitting there I will interject unwanted comments, and my deep desire for Peter to pass his classes will emit desperation rays and distract everyone from the task at hand.

This has been a busy weekend. Moon and Pete had master class at Good ‘n Loud yesterday, which was a wild ride of difficult music including Rush’s YYZ. (For some reason, my mind shuts down when I speak that song title. I’ve called it XYZ, XYY and XXY. Hey, there aren’t any lyrics, so it could be about chromosome abnormalities.)

I’ve been knitting as usual and have already finished some new projects. Now I’m back to working on my Cassidy. The back and front panels are done, and I’ve started the first sleeve. At this rate, I won’t finish until spring, but that might be okay. The yarn is kind of an in-between weight.

In other news, I convinced the family to get AT&T U-verse, which means we have (1) DVR, and (2) way more channels than ever before. The DVR thing is way, way better than having to use videotape. And it’s been a culture shock getting used to watching quality programming such as The Colbert Report whenever we’d like. Remember when I eschewed television as opiate for the masses? And was proud that I’d never seen an episode of Friends? Yeah. I kind of think TV is awesome now.


I can’t remember if I mentioned that Moon had a job interview yesterday and was hired on the spot. Her training started right away (last night), so I ended up running around with her trying to get a work permit and not being able to find her social security card, then going to the social security office to apply for a replacement, but having everything work out despite not being able to go to see “Role Models” as we had originally planned. (Peter, who was with us, wasn’t too happy about the turn of events. We’ll try again.)

Today I had swimming lessons and did a small amount of shopping. I’ve been collecting yarn for afghans lately. Acrylic stuff to crochet. I worked on my prayer shawl this afternoon and got quite a bit done. We caught the end of the Wisconsin/Minnesota game on TV. Moon was there in person with Brooke’s family, and seemed to have a good time despite the way the game turned around in the second half. The Paul Bunyan axe stays here. Woo?

And that’s about it. I think I’m back.

finally, the doctor horrible pics

Here’s the whole set (and I really do suggest you look).

This embroidery is my contribution to the ensemble. I was nervous because I don’t really know what I’m doing, and I had to work directly on the finished pocket—which I then had to machine-sew in place. Moon lightly sketched the image for me in pencil.

moon as dr. horrible
She looks pretty good as a blond Evil League of Evil member.

good news

We’re going to be paying the big bucks to University of Minnesota — Twin Cities next year. Moon is a very happy future student.

finally, it’s election day

I can’t remember if I mentioned that Moon signed up to work at the polls today, through a program at school. The thing is, it wasn’t especially well organized, and only half of the kids received an assignment yesterday during school. Moon waited for an email but hadn’t received one this morning. She was up before 5 am to check.

Right before 6, I called the teacher in chrage, hoping that it wasn’t too rude of me. She was up (yay!) and near the phone, and no, she hadn’t heard anything more from the clerk’s office. Her advice was to go to the closest polling place, have Moon tell the person in charge she was trained and sworn in, and hope for the best.

So that’s what we did. Except our polling place already had 15 workers, and the guy in charge wasn’t sure he’d need any more. He gave us the phone number for the clerk’s office. Apparently the office was open already. We might not get an answer, but it was our only hope at that point.

Neither of us had brought our cell phones (hey, it was early) so we borrowed one. And the universe was on our side, because who should pick up the phone but the guy in charge of the high schoolers. I explained the situation and gave him Moon’s name. He looked her up, and told her to report to the police station. I have a feeling he made up her assignment on the fly. Moon was happy, though.

I stopped by at noon to see if she needed anything (such as lunch). I was surprise to see that no one was in line to vote. Sounds like it was busy at first, then slowed down quite a bit. Maybe it’ll pick up again at 5.

As for me, I voted a few weeks ago, but I still stopped by Starbucks for my free coffee. I’ll probably be glued to the TV tonight. My usual inexplicable sense of dread has been replaced with a vague unsettled feeling which is probably normal considering the past few presidential elections.

Fingers crossed, people.

17 years old

Today is Moon’s birthday, and to celebrate, Pete and I opened a checking account for her and switched her “kid-friendly” savings account over to a full-fledged statement savings account. With online access, a debit card and everything.

She was happy to see how much she’s accumulated already. For some reason, this whole banking thing really hits home to me that she is almost an adult. Wow.

We also went out for Chinese food at lunch. I think it’s another birthday-cake-for-dinner night.

we drove, we saw, it’s her #1 choice now

I’ve been sick for the past two days (longer, if you count when my sore throat actually started, which was Sunday). Yesterday was a blur, but today I’m a bit more coherent. A week ago today, Moon and I were in Minneapolis, visiting the U of M Twin Cities. We drove up the night before, stayed in a Radisson on campus, and spent the whole day looking around, hearing presentations, talking to people, etc.

Oh, and the morning we left, Moon developed a creeping red itchy rash on her legs, torso and arms. She insisted on going to school, so I dosed her with Benadryl and called the doctor as soon as their doors opened. I had left the car at the shop for a quick oil change (and, it turns out, 4 new tires and scheduled maintenance to the tune of $640 total, ugh)—so of course the doctor insisted on seeing Moon ASAP. Fortunately, the office is a very easy walking distance from Moon’s school, so I called and had her paged. She wasn’t thrilled, but she obeyed orders. Diagnosis: viral rash. At least it wasn’t a drug allergy as I had feared.

Happy FaceLong story short, it stayed itchy and red until Sunday, despite Zyrtec and Cortizone cream. I’m glad she had the university visit to distract her. The U of M made her very happy, as you can see.

And yes, we bought merchandise. Two t-shirts and a sweatshirt. Not only is the campus beautiful and (to Moon) the perfect size, the school colors rock. That’s always a good thing.

I’m just relieved that she no longer has her heart set on Washington state, because a 5-hour family car trip beats having to buy plane tickets. Now let’s just see what I do when she studies abroad. My fingers will be fused together from all the crossing.

More photos here.

there’s a first time for everything

So, Moon has missed three days of school this week. Turns out she has an ear infection, which was unexpected since she’s never had one until now. In fact, she’s only had antibiotics maybe twice in her life. It’s actually a relief to think that she might feel up for going to school tomorrow.

She’s much more conscientious than I was at that age.

In other news, I’m knitting a Chevron Scarf, and I’ve been working on my YogAhh Pants. And I’ve been trying to figure out what to wear to Sister #3’s wedding in a few weeks. Not to mention the kids, who don’t own a whole heck of a lot of formal wear.

Oh, and Moon and I will be going to Minneapolis for a college visit next week. Let the excitement begin!

next up

I went back to work today, and Moon is starting to show symptoms of the crud. I suggested that she stay home tomorrow, and she argued that she has a presentation to do, her project partner is depending on her, etc. My response (that the teacher would probably grant an extension or something) fell on deaf ears, but I convinced her that I could drop off the materials to her partner before 1st hour tomorrow and the sky probably would not come crashing down upon us.

So she’s finishing up some final touches before heading to bed. I do admire her dedication and her work ethic. I just hope she can keep from stressing out over school. Today’s regret is that she managed to get a B in health class freshman year. I told her she WILL get into the college of her choice despite the mistakes of her youth.

I don’t think she believes me. Aren’t I evidence enough that these things work out?

Anyway. Pete has eight (count ‘em) deadlines to meet tonight, so he’s at work until they’re done or he passes out from fatigue, whichever comes first.

Huh. A tad bit of similarity, much?

little shop

We just returned from the best high school musical production I’ve ever seen: “Little Shop of Horrors.” I thought there might be some mishaps and mess-ups because it was opening night, but the performance was perfect.

Moon was one of the set decorators, and worked many long hours helping transform the auditorium into a skid row flower shop. (Brooke was part of the crew, too.) She’s at the wrap party, and I’m sure there will be much giddiness and celebration.

I can’t think of a better way to start a weekend.

happy birthday elvis (for moon)

Elvis mosaic

winter has arrived

ThinkingSome of us are still cozy despite the heaps of snow covering the ground outside. The kids should have had a snow day on Tuesday, but the school district didn’t agree. When I came home for lunch, I couldn’t get into our driveway, and at least an inch of snow fell while I was eating. Brooke’s mom called and we decided to give permission for Moon and Brooke to miss their last few class periods. The girls arrived while I was still home, and were generous enough to clean the car off for me.

Teenagers can be so awesome.

Tonight Peter had a band concert, which is always enjoyable for us because it’s the only time we actually see him play his instrument. His section sounded pretty good, and he provided much entertainment for us by blowing kisses to the crowd during the applause, etc. And of course he was wearing shorts with his band t-shirt.


Today we had parent-teacher conferences, first with Turbo’s homeroom teacher, and later with each of Moon’s teachers. Lots of running around the school buildings.

We didn’t hear anything new, of course. Turbo’s theme: super bright, tests well, doesn’t turn in the homework. He needs to get a handle on it before high school, so he can get through the system and go to college. I have a feeling he’ll do well in college, just because he picks up knowledge so quickly and effortlessly. But first he needs to achieve a good enough GPA to get accepted.

Good thing he’s still in 8th grade.

As for Moon, she’s awesome and has great ability, and needs to speak up in class a bit more. Two of her Bs would have been As if she had her hand in the air more often. Her teachers in general were highly complimentary. Three of them suggested she should consider pursuing their subject after high school.

All in all, not bad. This must be one of those good years.

dancing heaven

All four of us have been dead tired today, but the SYTYCD show was well worth the extra fatigue. First of all, dinner at Mader’s was most excellent (and not overly filling, because SpiritMan and I split an entree). We all chose filet mignon, and we shared a crab cake appetizer and two desserts (cherry strudel and a rich chocolate fudgy cake thingy). Our show tickets were outstanding. Moon took some terrific photos, and the dancing was every bit as good as I expected it to be.

The only down side was that a weekday concert meant we had to hightail it out of Milwaukee without trying to find the tour bus. We just didn’t have the extra hour or so to spare waiting around. As it was, we didn’t get home until 12:30 a.m. Moon still had her contacts in, Turbo wanted to sleep, and they were both borderline crabby.

Moon and I succumbed to the tour swag, though. I have to say, the merchandise was wayyy improved over last year’s. Especially the cute silhouette t-shirts of each of the top four. I bought Moon the Neil shirt and photos of both Neil and Danny, and we also picked up a show program. I’m hoping to post photos if she cooperates.

Next year, I hope they schedule Milwaukee for a weekend date.


ElfLooking pretty good in pointed ears. Halloween was fun.

Blogged with Flock

elvis, rendered in yarn

Knit ElvisIt’s true. Someone has come up with a pattern for a knitted Elvis. (And a knitted Gandhi, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn …)

Carol Meldrum is the author of Knitted Icons and I have a feeling I’m going to have to get hold of this book so I can help Moon complete her goal of an Elvis-infused bedroom. Seriously, how fun is that?

Of course, I’ve got many other projects queued up first. My nephew admired the socks I made for Sister #1, so I’m going to try and make him some for his birthday. I’m already working on a scarf, I’m planning socks for SpiritMan and Moon, and I was thinking about trying to knit a sweater this month. If only I had a day every week to devote completely to knitting and only knitting. Tomorrow is Moon’s master class at Good ‘n Loud, though, so I should be able to accomplish something while I’m listening to the kids and SpiritMan rock out.

nightwish concert

House of BluesWe made excellent time going to the concert — only 2 hours and 15 minutes from our house to downtown Chicago. The line outside House of Blues was quite long, because security was checking IDs and scanning everyone coming into the building. I didn’t have my ID ready when it was my turn, but the guard took one look and gave me a wristband anyway. I told him I would try not to be too offended.

So, the concert was sold out and standing room only. The kids went up toward the front, and I decided to wander around trying to find somewhere decent to hang out. My feet were tired by the end of the night. Lots of good people watching, though.

Nightwish was quite good live. The new lead singer did a great job and is a terrific performer. Moon thought the guitarist was gorgeous. All the guys have very long hair and look vaguely like vikings. The kids bought t-shirts and are planning to wear them to school tomorrow.

None of us slept on the way home. We were back by about 2 a.m. I’m totally not used to such late nights. The people of Chicago obviously are, though. As we were leaving, we saw many costumed people walking through the streets. There were many slutty girl costumes, a Shrek, and a group of penguins, among others.

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