Saturday, September 08, 2012

9/8/12 Party day

Today, Julian has a birthday party for a new classmate at a nearby park -- always challenging when you don't know the kid, mom or anyone else! But though the birthday boy's mom was occupied, I had a nice chat with his grandmother.

Though she's there for her 3rd-grade grandson, the room arrangement at our school is such that the grandmother walks by the row of rooms where Katrina happens to be. And the racial/ethnic mix is such that if there's a dirty-blonde kid in a class, they stand out. So the grandmother asked me, "Is Julian's sister the one who's always first in line before class starts?" First in line?! I was feeling pretty proud of my conscientious 1st-grader until said 1st-grader grumbled, "Well, yeah, I'm always there early and have to wait forever!"

Later, I attended a "summer party" thrown by our new neighbors. Longtime readers might recall that our neighborhood was weighed down for the first 11 years of our residence here by some unsavory neighbors across the street; an elderly man and an assortment of delinquent sons. They'd been there for decades, but no longer fit into the new neighborhood demographic of young foreign-born families. And the whole neighborhood was very happy when the old man died -- well, not because he died, but because it meant that the whole crew would move. And with a bang - the night before they had to vacate the house was their last violent fight that attracted police and firemen and turned the neighborhood upside down -- for the last time.

And so, a young foreign-born family, with a tenacious real-estate-experienced wife, bought the property and drove a massive total-house remodel in less than 6 months. They just completed a major landscaping project as well, and kindly invited the neighorhood to check it out. So I spent the better part of the afternoon marvelling at the transformation, from outside and in, and chatting with my super-cool-sharp neighbor and getting a full tour of the very very nicely done house. They have a 2-1/2 yo boy, maybe more soon. I remember from our housewarming in 1999 how useful it was to meet the neighbors and get some history, so it was interesting to be in the opposite position now.

Ironically, I have more in common in terms of phase-of-life with the Moms -- and mostly, grandmom -- who I met for moments at Julian's classmate's party, than that of my neighbor in toddler-world who I spent hours yakking with, even though she lives right across the street - but I was very happy for both today!


Sunday, September 02, 2012

9/2/12 Back-to-school gifts

Dear Bonne Maman has a habit of sending back-to-school gifts -- how thoughtful! That takes the edge off of going back to school! Despite all my excuses for being so behind in my blog, the least I could do was get a photo of the kids with their stunning new duds.

The boys are thrilled with their new radios too, and Katrina is already covering herself with butterfly tattoos. Thanks Bonne Maman!!

The trouble with getting behind in a blog is that it's cumulative: the more behind you get, the higher a bar it seems to write and catch up! I know a blog doesn't have to be a play-by-play -- gaps are allowed of course, but I was born a documenter, and it's some effort to wrest my mind away from that mode. Quick notes have always eluded me.

Also, I fret a lot that any concentrated time should be preparing for exams instead of blogging, and in the end, neither gets done!