Thursday, June 30, 2011

Snapshot: One More Tall Boy

You know my own personal tall boy, and I have introduced you to my nephew the soldier as well. But my sister has another tall boy -- and he's the bomb-dot-com!

Headed to his first year at the University of Virginia this fall ("Wa-Hoo-Wah!"), he has spent the summer lifeguarding and solidifying his tan: the boy is brown as a bean! His dad is not sure why he's making that goofy face, but we're all pretty sure that this tall boy is all that and a slice of peach pie!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why I suck OR it really does take a whole damned village

OK, so here's the thing: I have so many things I want to tell you that I think my head might explode. We spent a week at the beach so that's a whole lot of fabulous to discuss; and I still owe you a report about the sparkles and glamour that the girl in charge and I experienced at the CAPPIES Gala.

But first I feel obligated to share with you a sort of tragic math equation. It turns out that:

the sum of dogs X (fine and delicate tulle of a ballerina tutu)
minus [absent and oblivious Liz] / the square root of "shoot me now"
= $$$ + Reason #57 why (I SUCK)

See, the sunny girl was supposed to wear this lovely confection of satin and tulle in the big year-end recital. Unfortunately the hellhounds did not receive the memo about how the recital costumes should be wearable for the actual recital. They came upon the fluffy and delicate tutu in the sunny girl's closet and proceeded to dig into its fragile beauty with all eight paws.

What should have looked like this . . . .

. . . ended up looking like this when the hellhounds were done "exploring" the tutu scene.

People, when I saw that tattered tutu, I had a true out-of-body experience; believe it. And the sunny girl cried, which should tell you something , since -- as her nickname implies -- she is typically pretty Pollyanna-ish about the way of the wily world.

I, of course, assured her that I could "totally take care of it" and she immediately regained all of her sunny good humor and faith in humanity.

Meanwhile, I attempted to safety-pin the shredded costume together, and quickly began to hyperventilate, as I realized that 1) I did not have the skill or wherewithal to fix this disastrous situation by myself, and 2) we were scheduled to leave for a week-long beach vacation within 48 hours and would return just in time for the sunny girl to perform in the recital. There was no time built into this schedule for a costume disaster; I needed to make this problem go away -- fast.

And here's the thing: there are so many wonderful people in the world. First, Memere (Lisa's mom -- I named my sunny girl in her honor) immediately and calmly said, "Don't worry, Liz. I've got this." She can fix anything. And then a lovely ballet mom who doesn't even know me said, "Don't worry, loser mom that I don't even know. I've got this." Apparently she can fix anything, too. So this means two people immediately volunteered to repair the tragically damaged costume.

And then the sainted Miss Linda (director of the ballet studio) said, "Don't worry, Liz. I've got this." And Miss Linda got on the phone and worked multiple miracles, and a brand new lovely costume was delivered to the studio within 72 hours, with no drama. And Coleen (who said, "don't worry, Liz. Your friends have got this.") picked up the new tutu and delivered it to my house while I was at the beach.

So the sunny girl and I returned from a relaxing vacation, and she danced in the recital ( she was terrific, of course) and neither one of us even broke a sweat. Because when it comes right down to it, Hillary Clinton was right: it takes an entire fricking village to raise my child -- or at least to get her through a damned ballet recital.

Friday, June 17, 2011

We interrupt this Friday morning . . .

See the tall boy. See the tall, tall boy. See the tall boy wearing a patriotic tie. The tall boy is off to work. Go, cranky not-a-morning-person tall boy, go!

See the bus. Look at the big, big bus. The bus will take the tall boy to the Pentagon. The tall boy is happy because he will sleep on the bus. Go, bus, go!

Look at the Pentagon. The Pentagon is a big, big building. The Pentagon is battle-scarred but strong. No al Qaeda bad guys can keep this Pentagon from re-building itself even stronger. Go, Pentagon, go! The tall boy will get on a train at the Pentagon. He will go under the ground. He will sleep on the train. Sleep, cranky tall boy, sleep!

See the police officers. "Good morning, officer! Thank you for protecting us here in the nation's capital! Thank you for keeping my tall boy safe!"

Oh! Oh! What has happened? Why has the tall boy's bus stopped in the middle of the busy, busy highway? How will the tall boy get to work on time? Look! Look! A douchebag has left a scary backpack. The scary backpack makes the police officers sad. They must stop all the cars and buses and workers. Bad, bad douchebag!
Finally the tall boy is happy. The bus can move again. Soon he will ride the train. The tall boy will ride the train, but only after the sniffer dog at the Pentagon makes sure that the tall boy is not a douchebag. Good sniffer dog! Thank you for not biting my tall boy!

Thank you, police officers! Thank you, soldiers and marines and sailors and airmen! Thank you, sniffer dogs! Thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for making us late for work but not in trouble for it because our bosses were late too. Thank you, thank you!

But not you, douchebag.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wait -- weekends are supposed to be restful, aren't they?

So the girl urchins and I lurched from one swingin' event to the next last weekend. It felt like it was just party, party, party! The tall boy and his dad were left to fend for themselves . . .

. . . while the sunny girl and I went to the eighth grade dance. Or to be more accurate, we went to a festive munchies and get your pictures taken party.

She went on to the dance (theme = masquerade, which is hilarious, isn't it? -- since my whole theory of why middle school sucks is that urchins can't be themselves . . . but I digress, which is typical), while I partied with the mommies (and a couple of daddies).

The next morning the girl in charge and I woke up bright and early to go to the Bulldawgs' commencement exercises, because she had a whole lot of pals who graduated -- including her bestie. Since the entire northern Virginia area was as hot and muggy as a Louisiana swamp, we were so glad the ceremony was held inside!

In the afternoon, we celebrated with the BFF and her family at a swell party (fabulous barbeque, y'all!), where the bestie's mother forced me to drink wine with her. She forced me!

The next adventure involved the sunny girl and her own bestie (except they they call each other "biffle" by which they really mean BFFL -- and I am sure you can all figure out that this means best friend for life, but I feel I should translate because Deacon Emil -- who should know better -- was very worried about the BFF's I was throwing around once; he said, "I know that the B is for best and the second F stands for friend. It's that first F that is really worrying me." But I digress, which is typical.) -- wait. I lost my sentence.

It was a pool party! And they swam until 10:00 at night and when they got out the sunny girl was blue, by which I mean blue in skin tone -- not in sadness. And exhausted, which is what night swimming always does to her.

And while she partied with the biffle, I partied with my own pals -- whose son graduated at another high school. (So many graduations were stacked up in our county that CVS ran out of Kleenex. It's true.) I love them so much and it was a fabulous party and Coleen and Tommy Bahama were there, which was a lovely treat. And I laughed so hard I hurt myself, which is typical.

So this has turned into the longest party post ever, which just goes to show you how much fun we had. And I'm not even done yet, people! -- because on Sunday the girl in charge and I attended a glamour-filled extravaganza. You're going to have to stay right there until tomorrow when I can tell you all about it, though -- because it's time to go pick up the sunny girl and then things will get crazy around here . . . .

But just so you know -- our extravaganza involved sparkly dresses -- and dancing!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Step aside, middle school -- we're all done with you here!

So I don't know about you, but I find middle school to be a very tricky proposition, especially for girls. Academically kids are thrown into multiple classrooms during a day for the first time, and into courses that demand more and more of them -- and they encounter teachers who cut them less and less slack. On top of that, it seems like the "mean girl" phenomenon really kicks in to high gear right about 7th grade, and too many intimidated urchins who once said whatever was in their heads or on their hearts just shut down. Too many of them feel like they have to wear a mask -- all day, every day.

And then there's puberty -- that bitch! She whacks our girls over the head with so many changes all at once that I am convinced most of them feel itchy in their own bodies every minute of the day -- and then she stirs up a big batch of hormone stew that makes our sweet girls cranky and sad and giddy and worried and passionately in love and on the verge of tears -- all at the same time.

Middle school sucks.

And that's why the sunny girl is my hero. My tall and graceful ballerina has danced her way through three years that could have sucked her soul dry. Instead, she laughed, sang, twirled, and went rock climbing -- always knowing when to strike a dramatic pose.

She chose great friends and made good decisions and is more than ready to be a Bulldawg. Look out, C.D. Hylton High School: the sunny girl has three more days of eighth grade left, and I am here to tell you that she kicked middle school's ass.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Small pleasures

I love passing by this building, which is on my path only every once in a while. It sits at the corner of two tree-lined streets in Old Town Alexandria, which is a little north of my daily ramblings.

This building housed the Coca-Cola Bottling Works for the Washington, D.C. area, from 1932 to 1961. Those of you who have known me for a long time will remember that I have an abiding affection for all things Coca-Cola, so you can imagine that I give a little skip every time I walk past this corner on my way to the bank.

Now the structure is the home of several businesses, including a kitchen and bath remodeling center on the first floor, and several smaller office spaces up above. This stained glass window trinket is some sentimental office worker's love note to the building.

Yep -- it just makes my day a little happier.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And the point of these shoes is . . . .?

So all of the girls at the prom wore pretty, pretty shoes because it's important.

Dudes just don't get this, but the best dudes will say (just to be nice), "Hey! Are those new shoes? I love 'em!" Or -- even better! -- "For your birthday I want you to buy those new boots you were looking at." These are the dudes we marry.

The styles varied from funky, to elegant and sparkly, to "dang!" . . .

. . . but the thing was that many of the girls whose shoes I loved said very matter-of-factly, "these bad boys are coming off as soon as I get to the prom."

One pal -- who loved her glamorous, glamorous shoes . . .

. . . . didn't even wait five minutes to kick them off.

Now that's a good boyfriend! I wonder what she did when she got to the restaurant?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Look how lovely!

So the girl in charge went to the prom on Saturday night -- and as you can see she was the most stunning girl for miles around.

She and her bestie got together that afternoon and conspired to produce hair that evoked Pre-Raphaelite paintings and dresses that brought to mind Lily Langtry at her most alluring.

Between the two of them they brought the 21st century to a screeching halt and re-created the Belle Epoque beauty and Edwardian silhouettes that made us all drool when we watched Downton Abbey. Are you looking at the detailing on that shoulder?

And I mean, look at the detail on my girl's dress! So delicately lovely!

It just goes to show that you can wear an utterly gorgeous and sophisticated dress without sacrificing modesty or good taste.

When they got together with the rest of their pals it became clear that every girl there had chosen a dress that was true to her own personal sense of style. You'll note that I don't mention the boys. It is a sad but true prom adage that when it comes to fashion, the dudes are just along for the ride.

tangent: Can I just brag about the young woman on the far left of this picture, who has lost 100 pounds over the past year?! What a knockout!

For one pal, the fashion flair showed itself in a bold floral print that made her eyes glow bluer than seems possible in real life . . . .

. . . while another hipster wore a long skirt that, when pulled over her arm, revealed her inner personality. This dress also cleverly allowed her to be cool when everyone else was moaning about how hot they were. And look at her shoulder ornamentation -- fabulous!

The girl in charge had a great night, spending time with her best friends. Our school's prom was late this year -- just a week before graduation -- so she knows that she needs to make her memories while she can.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Snapshot: sometimes going out to lunch is medicinal

Well, so this time last week Coleen and I were headed to Old Town Alexandria, for a long-postponed, much-anticipated, totally necessary lunch date. We have really been missing each other the past couple of months, since we have both gone off to work and our kids have become more and more self-sufficient.

That sounds counter-intuitive, doesn't it? We both always thought that when our kids could fend for themselves (didn't need a babysitter, didn't need a ride, able to find the Band-aids if a sibling inadvertently amputated a finger), we would be golden -- ready and able to take off on adventures at a moment's notice, with tons of time for those long, relaxing lunches under a festive European umbrella.

Oh, please.

As it turns out, we have a much more difficult time now finding time to be gal-pals than we did when our urchins needed chaperones, den leaders and class mommies. Now that they are more independent, both Coleen and I have found work that we enjoy and -- swell feeling after eighteen years -- that pays us. But while I am fulfilling a lifelong dream by teaching English to college students, Coleen works part-time for the Federal Aviation Administration. Because get this, y'all: Coleen used to be an air traffic controller! She has a pilot's license! She knows everything you might want to know about the air space between California and New Zealand! How cool is that?! And how different from reading Chaucer for fun?!

So because in many ways we are leading different lives right now, when we get the chance to go to lunch together, we run for the car before anyone gets wind of our plans -- our time together is more limited now, so it's much more precious.

The food and wine didn't suck, either.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Peanuts and crackerjacks means a baseball game!

So the husband and I went to a Nats game this weekend with some of our besties -- a fabulous time!

The Nationals lost, which was to be expected, but we had fun for the afternoon anyway. Some of us had traveled down from Delaware, so it was good to catch up with each other and bond in between yelling at the umpires and eating peanuts and funnel cakes. Our cheap seats were under a big pavilion cover, so we were even (relatively) cool on a hot, hot day.

This bestie recently had a medical scare -- and can I just say that as medical scares go, it was the scariest. Doesn't he look great?! A beautiful sight, I'm telling you.

There is something about that beautiful green field, and the crisp white lines glowing in the infield, that makes me really happy. I am not one of those uber-fans who keeps the book and knows the stats for all her favorite teams. I just love me some baseball, though.