sticks and . . . sticks

What is the deal with kids - namely boys - and sticks?

The other day, I happened past Stuntman's room and caught this scene: my 10-year-old boy, with an armful of sticks (yes, in the house!), reaching under his bed for - amazingly - more sticks. He then proceeded to hand the sticks through his open window (which I noticed had been freed of its screen) to a friend standing outside in the flowerbeds. "Why," I asked as calmly as possible, "do you have sticks under your bed?" Well, he was only keeping them there because when the pile of sticks was outside, the kid down the street had taken some of the sticks and put them in his own pile, and apparently, this just cannot happen. I pondered the concept of "stick police" for a moment before telling him to return the sticks to the outdoors - through the door, please. He did, but since then, I have seen that pile of sticks in various neighbor kids' front yards. I guess they're saving them for something. Or maybe, by changing their storage place, any stick thieves' plans will be thwarted.

This morning, as I was returning from a run, I noticed another array of sticks littering the yard: one walking stick, made at cub scout camp two summers ago from a broom handle, a few more sticks from the traveling stick pile, and three rulers. Upon closer examination, I realized that the rulers used to be our yardstick, but due to some unfortunate accident, have been reduced to rulers, none of which even measures 12 inches. (They had to be disposed of.) What is this fascination with sticks? Is it a boy thing? Any ideas? Any other stick-hoarders (or parents of them) out there?


pianogal trivia (in response to a tag)

10 Years Ago...

  • Had a 4-month-old (2-month adjusted age) preemie at home
  • Said preemie was attached to a heart rate/breathing monitor that sent me into panic mode whenever it beeped
  • Lived in a 2B/2BA apartment kitty-cornered from the site of multiple drive-by shootings

5 Things on my To-Do list today...

  • Volunteer library duty at boys' school
  • Easter party at Miss Bee's school
  • Guitar lesson
  • Get through homework time without whining (me or the kids)
  • Stake R.S. Auxiliary training meeting

Snacks I enjoy

  • Guacamole and tortilla chips
  • Bowl of cereal
  • Spoonful of PB dipped in chocolate chips
  • Almonds

Things I would do if I were suddenly a billionaire

  • Pay off house/student loans
  • Give husband money to start up a business (probably a bike shop)
  • College fund for kids
  • Donate to Make-A-Wish/St. Jude's/Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • Go on a cruise to Alaska

3 of my bad habits

  • Procrastination
  • Showing frustration a little too easily
  • Eating bowlfuls of guacamole with tortilla chips

Jobs I've had

  • Medical records help in family practice
  • Piano/flute teacher
  • Mystery shopper
  • Waitress
  • Office manager at chiropractor's office

5 Things people don't know about me

  • I once vowed never to use the word "y'all" but have found it sneaking into my vocabulary
  • I mentally edit everything I see for grammar and content (NERD!! you say)
  • I know *everything* (according to my 8-year-old)
  • I secretly dream of sitting around campfires and playing songs on my guitar (with people present)
  • I thought "MMMBop" was kind of catchy


more humble pie, please; thank you

Okay, I just launched the previous tirade and had a "whoops" moment within an hour after clicking "publish." Yesterday, Flip and I miscommunicated about how he was supposed to get home. Both boys rode with a friend to school so I could be on time to a dentist appointment, and I thought they understood that I'd still pick them up. Well, Stuntman did. I got a call while waiting in the carpool line from the school office, asking if Flip was supposed to walk home with the aforementioned friend, because he seemed to think so. He was in a foul mood when I picked him up from carpool, thinking he'd missed out on playing with a friend. No big deal, but DH kindly reminded me that he is only 8, and I can't expect an 8-year-old to automatically understand everything I say. So, reader, I apologize for ranting about teachers not understanding their audiences, because I apparently am the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. Okay, I feel a little better.


contents of my head, vol. 2

Something I just have to get off my chest...

So Stuntman brings home some homework the other day - his first foray into the world of research. It seems that the class is studying the Texas Revolution, and each kid is supposed to research a different battle. He brought home a booklet designed for helping the kids take notes: it asks several broad questions, and he's supposed to use at least 3 sources to find answers and then list them. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Okay, here's one of the questions:

"How would you articulate or explain the emotional mindset of the battle's participants?"

Are you kidding me?!?

Now I'll admit that abstract concepts are still on Stuntman's list of "things I don't quite get yet", and maybe there are fourth graders out there that would understand this question, but is there anything inherently wrong with asking, "How do you think the battle's participants felt?" I mostly have no complaints with the teachers at this school; they exceed expectations in many respects, but they seem to have forgotten they are speaking to 10-year-olds on this assignment. Things like this just make me want to growl.

Okay, I've vented. On with the show.


we got snow, yes we do...

Today was North Texas' annual Day of Snow. For those of you who do not live in North Texas, the Day of Snow is the one day every year we seem to get a snowstorm. It blows in, dumps a couple of inches on us, blows away, and the snow is gone within a day or two. Some years there are 2 Days of Snow, but one is usually the average. Throughout winter, if there is even the slightest possibility of even a flake, all the local news stations' weather forecasters drop hints about it in teasers on TV, building us all up into a frenzy, until the anticipated day arrives, and it usually turns out to be another 50-degree day with "abundant sunshine".

But not today. The long-awaited storm blew in yesterday evening, snowed on us a good part of the night, and we awoke this morning to a good 2-3 inches covering everything (and a nice 5:52 A.M. phone call from the school district's automated info line, saying that school start times would be delayed for 2 hours). Everyone slept in, ate caramel rolls left over from Daddy's early morning seminary class and Pop-Tarts, then bundled up in coats and extra socks and piled outside. I took the camera out and got plenty of snow angels, snowball targets, snow taste tests and assorted white-blanketed items on digital film. Everyone's hands and feet seemed to reach their saturation point at the same time (one snow day a year is not enough to invest in snow boots or snow gloves for anyone), so after a good hike through all yards that did not yet have footprints in them, we all clamored back inside. Somehow we managed to find extra pairs of shoes and socks for everyone, got the boys off to school, and resumed our day - with the 2-hour delay.

True to its name, the Day of Snow did not take long to wear off - snow began melting as soon as the sun surpassed the rooftops, leaving white patches in the shade, lumpy plops falling from trees, and grassy, sagging snowmen in front yards. This did not, however, stop Miss Bee from picking up icy handfuls from every leftover patch we saw throughout the day and tasting each one. (I drew the line at samples from the sidewalk.) It is wistfully, gloriously over, and it is the perfect amount of snow for this Arizona-born girl: no shoveling, no yearly purchase to replace outgrown snow gear, and all gone in a day. That's about all I can handle.