Friday, October 24, 2008

Singing Owl at RGBP writes:

My daughter, her husband, and their toddler, Trinity Ann, are moving from Minneapolis, Minnesota to our place. It's a long story, but the short version is that they will be loading a Ryder truck on Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon we will
unload it into a storage unit in our town. They will move themselves, their two cats and their BIG dog into our place. Yes, there will be issues, but this Friday Five isn't really about that. (Prayers for jobs for them and patience for all of us are most welcome, however.) This post is about locations. My husband has lived at 64 addresses in his life so far (16 with me) and he suggested the topic since we have moving trucks on our minds.
Therefore, tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything special happen there?


Wow, 64 places - I can't even imagine....I have lived in three different states, and 9 different places in my life. Not very many, especially because I lived in three of those places for less than 3 months. So, the five favorite:

1. Definitely the co-ed fraternity Epsilon Theta at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I lived from 1984-1988 with about 30 other people in a big Victorian house in Brookline, MA. Always someone to do something with, lots of trips out for ice cream, lots and lots of studying. I met my husband Starman there on the first day I stepped foot into the house, and my two best friends to this day, one of whom Skye is named after. It is a beautiful house, but more than that, I love co-operative living, and we did it well there.

2. For two years after that, I lived with Skye's namesake and two other friends at a neat little apartment in Somerville MA - above the mom of one of our church friends. She was a wonderful landlady, and it was such fun to set up house with good friends.

3. My parents' house, where they still live in a small town north of Boston, is a great place. I had a very small room to myself, a mate's bed with the drawers under it, a desk where I could write, two windows looking out on a big oak tree....I still love going back there.

Can you guess, I miss New England? I love the sea and the mountains, I love the hills and the woods. We go back once a year. It is never enough...But

My last favorite place is where I live now, in the first house Starman and I have ever owned - I love the family we have created with little girls and critters...I love our bedroom up on the third floor where we can go to escape the chaos.

In my dreams, I would live in a snug cabin in the mountains of New Hampshire, near a rushing stream, somewhere like Zealand Falls Hut. It will never happen. But it is a dream.

Thanks Singing Owl!

If you have lived in less than five places, you can tell us a about fantasy location.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Swim test Update!

I am so proud of Skye! After the terrible Monday swim test, she told me she wanted to try again. Tuesday she worked with Miss Mermaid, and Thursday, she, her friend, and I went to a pool that had a 12 foot end. She held on to my back and we swum to the deep end together, then her friend and I went under as far as we could. Then we used kickboards, and finally she did the swim test twice with me - treading water and then swimming to the end. She felt much more confident.

Yesterday, we went back to the pool for the real thing. She tried it once, but got water in her face and couldn't breathe. The instructor let her try again, and she did it! She still stopped about 3 yards from the end of the pool, but the instructor recognized that she was nervous and passed her anyway. She starts practice Monday, and she is excited!

I was so scared that she would freak out again, I was almost beside myself. Miss Mermaid recognized that there is a very deep emotional connection between Skye and me, more than with the other girls. She is my first child to survive, after 5 previous losses, and I have a very fierce love for her. I need to learn how to separate that, and how to separate emotionally from her. I know that.

BUT! I am so happy for her to have succeeded, and glad she took the opportunity to try again. I am hoping she will enjoy the pratcices and understand what it means to be able to trust your body, and to know what she is capable of physically, which is a lot! Yay!

Friday, October 10, 2008

RGBP Friday Five - Business Trip!

Mother Laura over at RGBP writes:

I spent a good bit of time today registering and making travel arrangements for the American Academy of Religion meeting in Chicago at the beginning of November. (Anyone up for a meetup? Shout out, okay?) I'm not presenting this year, so I'm busy sending out resumes and cover letters, but at least I'm not stressing about getting a paper written.

I'll see friends and teachers from grad school, try to resist temptation in the book hall, attend some presentations if time permits, and, God willing, have some preliminary interviews in the everlasting college-teaching-job-search process--prayers welcome, as always. And, thanks to my dear Mom who agreed to babysit and donated some frequent flyer miles, it will also be a busy-but-happy getaway with my sweetheart.

So for today's Friday Five, you're invited to share your experiences with the exciting, challenging world of business travel....

1. Does your job ever call for travel? Is this a joy or a burden?
Typically, I don't travel at all for my job as associate pastor - but the church where I work is 35 miles from our house, so I do commute! The commute is becoming a burden more and more as I spend more hours there, as gas prices go up (and thankfully recently came down) and as I want to be at more of the congregational activities...

2. How about that of your spouse or partner?
Ah, this is different. Starman is an experimental astrophysicist (sounds impressive, doesn't it?) and his current experiment is in Argentina, a long way from the upper midwest US where we live. He has always traveled for his work, from South Africa, to two three-month stints in Australia just before we were married, to Albuquerque where his last experiment was. Because he works with international collaborations, he often goes to meetings overseas - last month he was in Switzerland for a week working at CERN, where the Large Hadron Collider was turned on and then broke right away (nope, he didn't break it!). It is because of his extensive travel (up to one week every month) that I have chosen to dial back my career to half time or less while our three daughters are young.

3. What was the best business trip you ever took?
When I was an environmental engineer, I spent three weeks in Kalamazoo, Michigan, floating down the Kalamazoo River in a small motorized rowboat, doing oversight for the EPA while another group took sediment and water samples. I became good friends with the crew I worked with, and we had a great time together, joking and laughing and getting to know one another on the river, eating and even dancing together in the evenings. That was the time I loved my job the most.

4. ...and the worst, of course?
Hard to say. I like to travel, but I guess the hardest time for me was the month I spent in Detroit, living at my inlaws and working in the city an hour away on a sewer mapping project. I was working by myself, in another consultant's office, and they were not as friendly as my rowboat crew, so I spent my long days alone, poring over maps, and my nights trying to get some sleep away from my new husband and not put out my in-laws (who were very gracious). I was exhausted and bored.

5. What would make your next business trip perfect?
Well, I leave Monday for three days at an Order of St. Luke Convocation/Retreat - but I don't have any close friends in the Order, so I will not have any joyful reunions. I am looking forward to attending the Lectionary Homiletics gathering in the spring, when I hope to be able to meet some RGBPs, see some old friends, and stay with a friend from our Chicago days...springtime in Atlanta sounds just about right!

Thanks Mother Laura!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Swim Test

This is a post that is hard for me to write, but I am trying to work through some things, and I would love to hear any comments or suggestions.

Last night, Freckleface (our 7 year old daughter) and Skye (our 9, almost 10 year old daughter) went to a pool in Next Door Town to "try out" for the swim team. I say try out in quotes because there really was no failing, as far as I could see - all they had to do was tread water for 1 minute and then swim one length of the pool. Now, Skye has been taking a private 15 minute swimming lesson every week for the past 6 years. That's right, 6 years - every Tuesday, we go to a nearby nursing home with a 92 degree pool and all four of us (Brown Eyes included now, she is 4.5) get in the pool, and our wonderful teacher, Miss Mermaid, gives the girls each some part of her time. Every Tuesday.

We had been working with Miss Mermaid for weeks to prepare for this "test" - Skye and Freckleface had been swimming laps, working on strokes, and when they weren't working with Miss Mermaid, I had them swimming laps with me. They were ready.

The pool was a lot bigger than they are used to, but they have swum in big pools before. And all they had to do was get to the other end

Freckleface went first. She easily tread water but had trouble getting to the other end, so she got out and tried again, and made it.

Then Skye got in the pool. She easily treaded water too, but then as soon as she started to swim she stopped. The pool was too deep, she said (12 feet). She didn't want to look down at the bottom.

I told her not to look, but she got out, crying. She got in again, but got out right away, sobbing that she couldn't do it. It was over.

I can't even hardly write about this without crying too. Skye is extremely bright, does very well in school. But she will not push herself phsyically. Or in any other way. She had the chance to take up an instrument this fall, but refused, because she didn't want to practice. She had the chance to play piano and take lessons, since we recently were gifted a piano, but she also refused to practice that. She said she would play soccer this fall, so I bought her cleats and shinguards, and signed her up, and she played for one week and now refuses to play. She can't ride a bike yet, despite many hours of my and Starman's working with her, and now she refuses to try.

I am getting tired of all these refusals. I know she can swim, and I know the team will be a good thing for her. She doesn't need to compete, just practice, no one is forced to enter a meet. I think she needs the physical activity, especially as she heads toward adolescence, and swimming is a sport you never have to give up. In short, I am considering forcing her to keep going to the tryouts until she makes it, and then to keep going to practices.

But part of me just wants to give up. Stop pushing her. Let her face her own consequences.