March 29, 2014

Someone Listened to too Much Pink Floyd

We were really excited about Bones getting into the art school. We are now in the 4th quarter.

I am seriously worried about the quality of our education system. Bones is my only child that I've put through public school.

My older two boys were K-12 private school. There have been ups and downs, but they've gotten a great education. Ringo is in college and doing well and informs me there are times he's kind of horrified by how poorly the kids he knows write.

From grade 6 on we've done public school with Bones, what are considered 'the best schools in the county' and there have been times I've been aggravated and times I've been appalled.

Overall, what I'm finding is... the math departments are terrible. And maybe I'm spoiled because the math department at my older boys' school was really strong, but we are finding misstep after misstep in the math departments of the public schools.

Bones is in Algebra I, a class that has a end of quarter exam. If he doesn't pass it, he has to stay in remedial math until he does. He cannot get a high school diploma without passing it.

And just so you know... passing is about a 50%. They have to curve the test because otherwise, nobody would graduate from high school except that top 20%. I'm not kidding.

Last nine weeks, in his Algebra class, he had homework THREE times and he had ONE test. They had a lot of in class worksheets, so he got a B in the class.

He is GOING to fail the EOC exam. I'm in the process of trying to find him something to help... but he WILL fail. How do you pass if you never have homework? How?

Meanwhile, his English class? I can't go into what a disaster his English teacher is. I could write a book. From losing work, to forgetting important conversations, to being such an airhead, I cannot even believe she survives in the day to day.

He had a vocab test.

No biology tests. FORTUNATELY, his bio teacher is now out on maternity leave and his new biology teacher is a retired... SURGEON. Bones loves him and I suspect he'll learn something in bio now... the LAST nine weeks.

I love his AP Human Geography teacher, but that's not a core class, to be honest.

So that's where we are. I think he's getting a really crappy education. I'm beside myself looking at the big picture.

Bones is in average classes. His AP Human teacher is having him take Honors History next year. He thinks he's ready. Not only is the quality of the student not very good, but they give them the crap teachers, so there really is no hope.

Bones is not going to have the skill set to go to college. He will end up in all remedial classes before he's ready for College English or College Math. His only hope, is the fact that we work with him at home.

And I don't want to hear one more person ever say a word to be about the drugs at the private high school.

EVER.

AGAIN.

Drugs are rampant at his school. The joke I have with one of the subs at his school is, "Short of stabbing someone to death in the middle of campus, you cannot get expelled from his school."

Come to class stoned, drunk, with drugs on you, alcohol on you? No big deal.

Crazy.

I am losing hope for our society.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:07 PM | Comments (7)

March 24, 2014

Cheesy Goodness without Burlesque

Tonight I made the best macaroni and cheese ever, in the history of Mac 'n cheese. I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe as a basis. I used heavy cream and skim milk instead of whole and I used all the various cheeses in my fridge instead of just cheddar.

Bread crumbs on top helped.

Oh... and they had lobster tail on sale at Publix, so I bought 12 oz of tails, quickly boiled the meat, chopped it up in chunks and put that in there too.

Lobster macaroni and cheese. Good Lord.

I made it with my turkey breast, something I think I've perfected.

It was probably one of the best meals I've ever made and I cook a lot.

I've given up simple carbs and dairy, so it was tough to put it out there. I had a spoonful and it was good... a chef has to try it, right?

School starts tomorrow for Bones. Spring break is over. He's excited to see his friends, but we all love Spring Break.

Ringo is coming home this weekend. His girlfriend has extended family coming in town, so she's asked him to come meet them. Yes, I think it sounds serious. Not so much that she wants him to meet them, but that he is willing to get on a bus and come home to meet them.

If you're the praying kind, a prayer for my boss would be great. He left work today with heart issues.

He's been my boss for nearly 9 years and probably one of my best friends for 26. We went to each other's weddings, know each others spouses, and have pretty much been in each other's work lives since we got out of college.

I essentially grew up with him.

If things don't go well tonight, they're going to put him to sleep and shock his heart. It may all seem pretty standard to a cardiologist, but it's kind of scaring the ever living hell out of me.

He's 2 years my senior... he just turned 50. He's an athlete, so this whole thing has us reeling.

Crazy.

I'm going to Vegas in 10 days for work.

On Monday, while at my sister's, I get a call from the travel agency that my company uses. (Oh... background... my boss, another co-worker and I are going for a week, split shift in the back shop at a certain air base. If my boss gets better... )

So I call the Travel Agency back and the woman says to me, "Bou, this is Vivian. I'm calling because I had to change your hotel. You and Bossman won't be staying at the Marriott. We had to move you to The Flamingo."

We had to move you to The Flamingo.

From the Marriott.

Sucks to be me.

I replied, "Oh, I get it. Perfect. Thank you for keeping me posted."

I got off the phone, looked up The Flamingo and even though I know we'll have pretty much no spare time, I had to look at the shows.

Lo and behold... there is a BURLESQUE Show! Woot! I've never been to one of those.

So I send my boss a text and said, "Hey! They're having a burlesque show at The Flamingo!"

*silence*

I continued, "I've never been to a Burlesque Show!!!"

*silence*

Finally from him I get, "I'll be in Orlando, you are in charge on Thursday."

He went on a bit and finally I said tentatively, "The Flamingo is a nicer hotel than where we were staying" to which he replied, "Yeah, they have a better fitness center too."

Completely, totally, ignored my Burlesque references. Totally.

And there is a joke in there folks. You know that old joke about the engineer who tells his buddy that a girl strips off her clothes after throwing her bike on the ground, telling him to take what he wants and he takes the bike? (His buddy's reply is, "Great choice. The clothes wouldn't fit.")

I tell my boss, who is an engineer, that there is a burlesque show in our hotel and he says to me the reason he's excited about this hotel is because it has a better fitness center.

I have been teasing him about this for days...

He needs to get better.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:43 PM | Comments (11)

March 19, 2014

Il Vomit

I have been in Atlanta visiting my nieces this weekend. Oh my goodness... they are so sweet!

Big drama though. BIG. Drama. But sweet.

Today on the drive back, Bones said, "My stomach hurts."

A fighter pilot, the kid will never be. He struggles with stomach issues and I'm going to have to take him to see someone about it.

The kid has a stomach ache and says to me, 'Find a Chick Fil A. They have the cleanest bathrooms."

I wasn't sure when a stomach ache dictated where we stop.

But three minutes later, I felt the window roll down in the back of my car and my ears popped. I was yelling, 'What is up?!' as I started to hear him vomit out the back window at the same time Mr T said, "He's puking all over the side of your car."

That would be 70 mph on I-75S, Bones hanging his head out, puking all over the side of my vehicle.

Meanwhile, I'm rolling down the driver's side window, trying to equilibrate the pressure in my car.

I got off the interstate telling him that Chick Fil A was no longer the priority, as I found a gas station.

As he went inside, I bought baby wipes to wash down the side of my car.

Just a heads up... you know those windshield cleaner things? Don't use those. You don't know if some random person hasn't used it to clean up vomit. I'm just saying.

When we got home, he washed my car. The windshield cleaner/baby wipe bath didn't do it justice.

Blech.

Oh and Bones is taking French on-line this Fall. When he starts conjugating verbs, I'll teach him how to conjugate Vomit/vomir. One thing I remember from Freshman French...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:20 PM | Comments (6)

March 16, 2014

Meeting a Soul that Could Change You

I'm in Atlanta with my sister. At the last minute, they needed an additional chaperone for the band trip, so I went. (The trip was to Atlanta as well and since I was going to be here anyway, I left my husband and Bones at my sister's and I stayed with the trip.)

There is a young man on the trip with mitochondrial disease as well as he has Asperger's. I just knew he was very small and had braces on his legs. I assumed he had Cerebral Palsy, which he may.

He is probably one of the funniest kids I've ever met. He's absolutely brilliant, but perhaps because of his Aspergers, he learned to communicate via the words he's read. So his speech is very deliberate and formal, as if he's speaking out of an English novel.

And there is no filter, which makes him funny.

You know that little voice in your head that may say something you would never repeat? Well if he thinks it, he says it, which is where our stories were this weekend.

I'm not a fan of one of the teachers that was on the trip. I was JUST telling the band director that I don't like this teacher and haven't figured out what his wife (also a teacher) sees in him.

And then on the trip, this kid walked up to the wife and said, "Mrs. M, you are so sweet and you have such a kind Mom face. Then there is Mr. M. He has such a mean face and he's not that nice. I've been trying to figure out what you see in him. Seriously."

She told me that story, and I busted out laughing.

I had hoped to hang with him the next day, although I had fear he was going to say something like, 'Mrs. L, your butt looks big in those jeans". I think he's very fun to talk to and I liked hearing his thought process.

But he had to leave early and upon leaving, he sent a text to one of Mr. T's friends that told them to check their email. This particular friend takes trumpet lessons from one of the premier trumpet players in the State.

T's friend checked his email and there was a note that said, "I am so very sorry I am missing the Symphony tonight. Attached is the .pdf of the score so you can follow along on your cell phone" and sure enough, the kid had downloaded the 162 page score so it could be followed.

We could not quit laughing. How much thought was that... to realize that if anyone would appreciate it, it would be T's friend.

What a great kid.


Posted by Boudicca at 01:53 PM | Comments (2)

March 10, 2014

Everything is AWESOME!

My son's last night in town was last night, so I made a seafood linguine and had his girlfriend over for dinner.

The six of us were sitting around the table talking when it came up that Ringo was taking them to the Lego Movie.

And suddenly I was being asked to go.

On and on and on and on as to WHY I had to see this movie with them. The last thing I wanted to do was go to a Lego movie. The. Last.

But as I sat there explaining to them why I would not be going, it occurred to me that I had a 20 year old, 19 year old, 15 year old, and 14 year old asking me to go see some ridiculous movie with them.

And when would this happen again?

And how many parents have their three teenage kids and a girlfriend begging them to join them?

With this great epiphany, I said yes.

I don't regret it. I was with them.

But, I can't believe I saw this frickin' Lego Movie.

And I can't get this out of my head:

Posted by Boudicca at 09:13 PM | Comments (5)

March 07, 2014

Confirmed

That red robe Bones wanted so much? It is made of polyester. I didn't know they still made clothes out of polyester. Said red robe came out of that plastic bag with wrinkles indicating it had once been folded into a square.

I spent 10 minutes ironing it, slowly increasing the heat, while trying to make sure the dang thing didn't melt.

I remember taking a blow dryer to a Barbie's head when I was a kid and watching her hair melt into a wad of... crinkled plastic. I'm envisioning him walking down the Cathedral aisle with a red robe and one side having a crinkled red iron mark.

I put it into the dryer with a wet towel and it mostly worked. If he was one of the big cheese during Confirmation, he needed to be darn close to wrinkle free.

Since Bones was selected to do one of the readings, he was the first to walk down the aisle with his sponsor. His sponsor, Son#4's Mom who is also his Godmother, was teasing him that since they had to sit facing the Bishop, they really had to behave.

Our Bishop is a good person. He really is. But he always reminds me of a character out of the Princess Bride.

Anyway.

Bones had prepared and did his reading. Halfway through the reading, we saw him pause, do a *ahem* and then keep reading. It turns out that in an effort to look out upon the ENTIRE congregation while reading... he lost his spot.

He'll have to work on that.

Bones Reading.jpg

And my new wallpaper at work...

The boys at Confirmation.jpg

Posted by Boudicca at 10:58 PM | Comments (8)

From Life Experience

I realized the other day that I can pick out Parkinson patients out of crowds without problem.

It's not a skill I am glad to have acquired.

I look at them and know the story and the trials that are coming and my stomach clenches.

It has happened three times this week.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2014

Temporarily out...

I'm sick. I got some respiratory virus that is going around. I spent most of the day in bed.

Food tastes funny. If any of you had this, did you notice that too? Flavors are... heightened.

So I'm not eating. Blech.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:17 PM | Comments (6)

March 04, 2014

Rockin' That Red Robe

Bones' Confirmation was this past Sunday.

THANK.GOD.

I was so sick of the preparation. Last year, it was every Wednesday. He fought me so much, by the end, I wasn't even nice. I'm not the Catholic and I was heard to say near the end, "Look, at this point, I don't care if you become an Atheist. Reallly. I... do... not... care."

It was incessant.

This year, I told my husband, "I'm done. You want him Confirmed, YOU do it."

And so my husband rearranged everything and made sure that this entire year, Bones made it to Confirmation Class.... a class that had moved to Sunday.

It was this year that Bones seemed to hit his stride in Church. He quit fighting it, started to enjoy it and was asked to do a reading at Christmas Eve Mass. He rehearsed that reading for hours... so that when the time came, not only did he say the reading, it was with full inflection and intonation. It was if he was acting it out.

He's been asked to become a regular lector at the church.

The only thing he didn't really love was the instructor. Although she meant well, she was very scattered and admitted she is totally ADHD.

As he complained about her through the year, I just nodded my head knowingly at his great frustration, and grinned.

He chose the name Gregory, because he sings. His sponsor, who is also his Godmother and Son #4's mother, got him a CD of Gregorian Chants as a gift. He loves it.

Anyway, so the end was near, rehearsal was scheduled and as I got ready to take him he said to me, "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom! You know what the BEST part of this whole thing is? All the aggravation. Dealing with Ms. xyz and her disorganization, dealing with just... everything. All totally worth it because I get to keep the robe! I get to keep the red robe!"

I remembered back to when he was just a little guy. If you all recall, he was always into the costumes. When he was 4, he put 5 costumes in the car on Halloween night and would change between houses. He dressed as Hulk once a week in Pre-K 4. He lamented the horrible 'costumes' he would have to wear in Catholic school.

And then once we walked into the Catholic store and he was in awe of all the priests robes. Big blue eyes looked up at me as he said with wonderment, "Mom, look at all the costumes!"

He doesn't remember that, but I do.

This was his reaction when he got his Robe:

Bones and the Robe.jpg

He immediately put it on when he got home, pretending he was a big red ghost.

He reminds him of a choir robe. He loves to wear choir robes.

More tomorrow...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:01 PM | Comments (6)

In Sickness...

My husband has the flu.

This seriously stinks. I'm sleeping on the couch...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:10 AM | Comments (3)

March 03, 2014

March 3rd...

I'm here. I've just been overwhelmed. I got six email today and I'm going to admit, I wasn't sure anyone actually read me anymore so I didn't think other than a couple people, anyone would notice.

I need to write here. So I'm back. This has always been my catharsis...

Today is my eldest son's birthday. He is 19. I've been blogging since he was 9. You all have seen him since he was going into 4th grade and now he's a freshman in college.

He has a girlfriend. The boy we never thought would date... he has a girlfriend. This is the girl that his junior year, insisted he go to prom with him. For the last two years, she has been persistent and finally... I think he realized what a gem she is.

I'm not sure it will last. They are 19 and 20 and there is so much life to experience, but I could not have picked a better first girlfriend. We like her.

She fits in with the boys and they pick on her like she's one of them. I have to remind them, 'This is a girl! You will be nice to her!!!" But when they're on their own, I also see them hugging on her and treating her like a sister.

And funnier still, she feels protective of them. Last week she had T go shopping for Ringo's birthday gift. T met her at some new stores we have down here and it didn't take long. Since it was only a 10 minute gig and she knew it took 30 minutes to get there, she said to him, "I am responsible for you. So, just hang out with me for awhile... You can't stay down here by yourself"

I heard that at Ringo's birthday dinner tonight.

I don't know why, but I was touched by that.

Someone once told me that as your family grows, so does your worry. Your children will find mates, and you will worry for them like they are yours. And then there will be grandchildren and you will worry for them... and it is exponential.

I see that. I worry for her. She has a heart condition and had surgery last year and I've already started doing a ton of research. I like this girl. If they break up on their own, so be it, but I don't want anything happening to her. Not on my watch.

Ringo has been working out a lot. He is so buff... the shoulders so broad, the waist a 26. I get the funniest message for me like, 'I put up 225 today, Ma.' and then he does this things with pound signs like #getting big. I have no clue what it all means, but the kid I tutor laughs whenever I show him and say, "Explain this and what is with this pound sign thing?"

I have a funny picture from my cell phone I need to put out so you all can see the mass confusion that occurs when they use this pound sign stuff.

Crazier still when he drunk snap chats his Mama. But... yeah, that's another story.

Anyway.

He is good. He loves college. He is becoming a man. He is responsible and is dead set he is going to be an orthopedic surgeon. I'm getting him in to shadow someone this summer. He doesn't care that 40000 people apply for 200 slots. That's what he's going to do.

More to come, but for tonight...

And so... to my son, Ringo, on his 19th I say, "Happy Birthday, Ringo. Should all the young men in this world be loved as much as you... I suspect that there would be far fewer problems and this world would be a much better place."

I love you, son.

Ringo age 19.jpg

Ringo at age 10.
ringo Age 11ish.JPG

(And yes, Dad, I took pix with a real camera and I have some good ones for next year's calendar!)

Posted by Boudicca at 11:54 PM | Comments (15)