There's More to Life Than Knitting!

Join Suna as she stops knitting long enough to ponder her life, share her joys and concerns, and comment on the goings on in the world.
You are very welcome here, so feel free to comment and contribute!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trying to Be Cheery

I was saddened to hear that a friend passed away this week. Worried about her husband, their future, etc. Anyway, thinking of Becky's loved ones.

So, to cheer up, here is Beccano's school percussion section playing in a contest. Sure, you can vote for them, if you'd like, but I thought you might enjoy the new band uniforms and his banging (he is the one with all the red hair playing vibraphone).

Yes, marching band season is upon us. The first game was last night, in far-away College Station. We took nice buses, so it was not too bad. The game was really fun--it appeared as if it would be a LONG night, as the other team just scored and scored in the first half. But, then, our team woke up and actually got ahead by a point. But, just for a few minutes. A last-minute try to go back ahead failed, but it was yet another exciting night of Texas high school football. You never know what will happen! The band looked fine, though from the back it was hard to tell what was happening with the show. Next week should be better, and they'll know more. I do enjoy hanging out with the kids. It was so good to be back with "my" bus kids, though I miss the ones that aren't there.

I am glad Lee started his new "real" job. It is a relief to have benefits again. I am wondering how it will go with him traveling so much, but I hope that won't go on too long. It sounds like he will be gone most of October, the big month of band festivals.

And I miss Tuba Boy. I did get to review his first college paper, though, and was quite proud of how well his writing has improved. Still a few too many big words, but I think I wrote like that at 18, myself.

Friday, August 21, 2009

College and Moving On

I guess enough time has passed that I can write about Tuba Boy (back to that name, since I think I may take this blog public soon) going off to college. We actually had a very good weekend, and I believe he and Debate Boy are having a good first week of first-year classes.

Below is a picture of the "learning-living environment," or whatever they are calling dorms these days, where the boys are now ensconced. Their room is the first floor room in the bend of the building, so you can tell they have a nice view of trees and a pathway out their window. We really lucked out in move-in--there is only one room in the whole school closer to the drop-off point, and that is their suitemates' room, which I think hears a lot of door openings and closings at night. I saw so many fathers looking exhausted from carrying their daughters' many possessions up to the third floor. We, on the other hand, took 5 minutes, since each boy had two family members to help, and hardly brought anything (they had us bring a few more things later, and we did go to Target for more supplies--along with half the school).

Here's a bit of an inside view of their room (right after we brought stuff in--it looks nicer now). The odd shape at least makes a room with cinder-block walls and industrial looking furniture slightly more interesting. To the left is the door to their bathroom, which they share with the suitemates (who have turned out to be their new best buds--real nice guys). Not bad at all. They have a small fridge and we got them a nice flat-screen TV, so they are happy. I am impressed, too, that they actually fixed up their rooms a bit. I think the idea that girls might drop by inspired it. The suite has a small sitting area, and one boy's parents got them a couple of chairs, so that is not bad. Anyway, it's a place a parent can feel comfortable leaving their kid near. There is a building under construction nearby, but it looks like they are close to being done with it, so that noise won't last long. Besides, any new building at that place is gorgeous and fancy, so it will be nice to look at when it is finished!
The school does things in a nice way. Kids move in on Friday, and there is a nice dinner in the very snazzy dining hall (featuring a "Dan Rather Room" that is quieter than the rest of the place). Then on Saturday, the kids get IDs and do other busy things, while the parents attend sessions, punctuated by more lovely meals. It is a nice way to gradually separate. Sunday there is more of that kind of thing (we skipped a couple of events, since we went home every night), and plenty of time to also hang out with your kid. You know, so you can give out last minute advice and such, as I am doing below.

Finally, on Sunday, there is a "convocation" ceremony, which is like the reverse of graduation. All the faculty show up in their academic regalia and file in, very solemly, followed by the new students. Then there are wonderful welcome speeches by the President of the University and others. They all pledge to help each other and abide by the honor code, and everybody sings the alma mater. It was really a nice thing, and I like the idea a lot. After that, we went home and I got weepy, but not too badly. Anyway, very dimly pictured below is the convocation (I forgot to put the camera on the "night" setting).

I have managed to get through this week, and have tried not to bother the boys too much. Just one call and a couple of emails. I just like hearing how they are doing, and what their seminar this week was like. Luckily we got all filled in last night, since last night they came to town to hang out with the kids who hadn't left for college yet. We were able to give them the giant remote control we'd bought them for their TV and used DVD player (which had lost its remote). It has camouflage on it and is quite oversized. They got as much of a kick out of it as the cashier at the electronics store did. The guys stayed at our house a half hour or so and filled us in on all they were doing. Between the two of them, there were lots of good stories!

And in the rest of life, Beccano is tentatively back in a band with Parker, and we will see how that goes. Mending fences. He's still in his other band, too. Can't be too busy. He may also start taking karate again, which I think would be good. He would trade for guitar lessons with his old karate teacher. This would mend fences, too. He left karate rather suddenly during his hard times, and it will be good to see them work together again. I hope this year school goes well for him. Fingers are crossed--you just never know, but I do know he's trying!

Lee's contract job ended on Thursday, with a whimper (no farewell) but that will be fine. He is really looking forward to starting his REAL grown-up job next week. How I envy that! I still love my job, but they have stopped mentioning bringing me on permanently. Oh well, what do I expect?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Parenting Milestone

Today is a big day, the day my first child "leaves the nest." It is the day you think will take forever to arrive when you look at that tiny infant they hand you after the birth. You envision an endless stretch of childhood, and way in the distance a separation. But, here it is. It's today. We will take a few boxes and suitcases up the road a ways and deposit Tuba Boy, whose name is you can see on the cake (I think that's OK since it won't show up in a search) in his dorm at college.

It's been a week of as much fun and bonding with friends as possible for him. Here's the cake he and his girlfriend made earlier this week. It surely appears that he has a healthy self image, anyway! They had fun, and I even got them to clean up the mess they made baking it!

While he and Debate Girl have been spending a lot of time together, he has also been doing a lot with his other friends who are moving on. A great deal of game playing has occurred, for example. Every night this week he has been at one friend or another's house playing mostly board games. Below you see my kids playing D&D again, with three other boys who are not pictured. They do seem to be having a lot of fun.

Kynan also went to a farewell dinner with his debate coach. He picked up some fine things to take with him to college, like coffee cups and coasters, plus a giant clock. I know they will all miss each other as they move on to new and fun things.

He's still a bit of a kid though. He just realized Lee was waiting for HIM to do his own laundry for two weeks. So he can't pack until that is done. He didn't know what button to push on the washing machine to get it started, so I had to do that in the middle of weird and wild work events.

Work, yes, it is weird and wild. I will be glad when I can get back in the office, since all sorts of roofs are being put on houses in the neighborhood. And I will be glad when the next couple of projects are done, because folks are getting testy. I am being up-beat, though, knowing that this job is WAY better than any of the others I've done the past few years. I actually enjoy all the hubbub.

Lee and I had a nice dinner with one of his coworkers last night. I am looking forward to more relaxing stuff like that once work calms down. I had to miss my knitting group on Wednesday because I couldn't stop what I was doing!

Well, only 3 hours until we leave. Whee.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hey There! Family Update

Hello from me and Lee! It's hard to believe we are so calm and relaxed with a child going off to college in less than a week and a whole lot of meetings and work stuff in the next week. But, there we were this morning, waiting for the church Steering Committee meeting, looking happy. We are, basically, a happy couple. In two weeks Lee's "real" job starts, and at least I am still working full time as a contractor, so we can smile.

Beccano is going OK, too. He did a great job finishing summer school, survived his visit to North Carolina, even if his attitude wasn't ideal, and he did not have anywhere near as bad of a time with his first week of summer band as he thought he would--he didn't want to play vibraphone, but he is coping. That makes us proud of him. How could you have a bad time looking this spiffy? This is him wearing a fun paisley shirt he found at the Goodwill store, and his favorite shiny belt that I think we got at the same place last year. Disco boy!

I am much happier with the family member below (Rose) than I have been in a long time. Why? Because Lee bought us a Roomba (robot vacuum cleaner), and it cleans up all the black hair without me having to do it. She is still a bit itchy, but Benadryl has helped a lot. She is shedding quite a bit less.

This family member, Buddy, seems to be feeling a lot better lately. He had been practically crippled for a while (we think he pulled out a toenail), but I saw him running today. I think the new dog food that Lee got for all of them has helped him lose weight, and he feels better. He is barking a LOT less, even at Tuba Boy, and the Rooma is also getting his hair. Yay.

And finally (at least for pictured members), comes Scrunchy. His hair is growing back in and he has lost a significant amount of weight. And he seems very happy and playful lately. I think all the itching was really making him grumpy. Next he will have to get his teeth cleaned, I guess. I am relieved that all the animals seem at least marginally better.

And while I have no photo of Tuba Boy, he seems ready for college, though we are all rather sad to see him and Debate Girl leave for college. They are so much fun to talk to. And it is so much fun to have the Roommate and Debate King coming over, too. I had so much fun listening to them playing Dungeons and Dragons last night. Debate King at one point asked me if it was "OK if I use the 's" word?" I told him they were all legal adults and they can say any word they want. OK, Beccano was there, but he's heard that word before. I will really miss all the new college kids when they go, but at least I have holidays to look forward to!

Lee's dad is feeling so much better that he got a new tractor (see his blog, in the sidebar, for more on that). And my parents are OK. Things are as good as they have ever been here. I am hoping for improved job news next week, but am just fine with things the way they are there. The folks are still fun, fun fun, and the work is hard. That is just fine!

Let's see what comes next!