Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Let The Salt Wars Commence

My blog needs a new tagline. It should be, "Nesting Ground: Where Never The Day Is Dull." Or something like that. Some of you know that my crazy father recently experienced yet another one of his dramatic health episodes. A few people have asked me to blog about it, but I shan't do it full-out. For although he is crazy, I need to preserve the man's privacy. A little.

Last week, when I brought my mom home from having an MRI that lasted something like 79 hours, my dad was in bed with the covers pulled up to his chin. "I have a cold," he said. "Call 911." And we all laughed and I went home and the next day was a normal day.

Two days later, though, my crazy father collapsed and my calm mother DID call 911, and the next thing I knew we were living an episode of that insipid show, Grey's Anatomy. Flash forward six days, and everyone is home where they are supposed to be, and doing what they are supposed to be doing which is basically eating no salt and making sure their blood sugar never again takes a deep-sea dive to...hello?...THIRTY-SEVEN. And we will be partaking on new adventures: physical therapy for my mom (as I believe I mentioned earlier) and dialysis for dad.

All the same, we are counting several lucky stars. One of said lucky stars is my dad's generally perky little take on life. For a couple of days, he had the world's most miserable roommate at the hospital. We'd draw the curtains completely and just listen with saucer-eyes as the guy went on and on about how he was just going to "end it" and nobody could stop him and how he was a "World War II vet and can use a gun; you figure it out," and how everything was shot to hell because he couldn't eat apple pie anymore. After listening to that poor man, I realized that maybe my crazy father is not so crazy; maybe he's a peach.

But I have to tell you, I'm not looking forward to the salt arguments that are about to ensue. In fact, I'm just going to refer to 2009 as the year of The Salt Wars.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lions Roar, Church Bells Ring, and a Car Drives Off Into the Distance

I was determined to post today. Unfortunately, I was also determined to get to Ryder Park for my patented (why is it patented when it appears to make no difference whatsoever to my physical being? I don't know) Ryder Park workout, hit up Target and Trader Joe's, register the girls for two camps, pay my bills, prep for teaching art to the first graders on Friday, and write up a lesson plan for tomorrow's baby writer's workshop. Speaking of third grade baby writers, our first session was more fun than a fish fry on a friday night (is a fish fry fun? Is it more fun if it's on a friday night?). It was easy to get them thinking in metaphors/similes. Here are a few of their poems:

Maeve is beautiful as a field of daffodils
She is green as ten forests
Maeve is a cherry red popsicle
She is a very large church bell ringing
- J.M.

My brother is strong as a weed
He is fun as yellow
My brother is sweet as a red cherry
He is a lion roaring
- by K.I.

I am a daisy in spring
I am bright purple
I taste like a ripe orange
I sound like a car driving off into the distance
- R.W.

I don't know; I just think those are super groovy. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Benign Neglect

Your Nesting Ground Mistress is guilty of neglecting her blog; she has been a terrible mistress. But her reasons for doing so are legitimate. You may judge:

1) I finished a story. Let me repeat: I FINISHED A STORY. Since this occurs about as often as leap year, I'm pretty much dancing in my seat, here. I'm not sure what accounted for this sudden and mad desire to reach the end of the thing, but I am not one to argue with literary urges of any kind.

2) My brothers and teenage nephews were here! Very strange to have the delicate balance of my household tipped into The Land of Testosterone. Even stranger to see giant pairs of shoes hovering near the closet. Now they're gone, and I'm melancholy. My youngest nephew, Malakai, is a fan of my green beans (that sounds nonsensical, but not when you stop to consider that I toss them with fried garlic and sprinkle them with Maggi). I made some last night, and I was sad he wasn't here to eat them all up.

3) I was busy making like a steamroller—a STEAM. FREAKING. ROLLER, people!—and was successful in snagging my adored mother an appointment at Stanford Medical Center's esteemed Neurology Clinic. I'm happy to report that our first visit was like something out of a dream, and she is now a patient of a fine, fine, super-fine neurologist who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and clinical research of multiple sclerosis.

* strikes the Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps pose *

4) Softball. Someone save me, already. The girls have moved up an age bracket, and the games are NINETY MINUTES long. They practice 2x a week, also for ninety minutes each time. I know there are families who are used to this type of thing. Families where the kids have to swim every day or get to the gym every day or whatnot, but we are not one of those very impressive families. And so this is not so fun. Adding to the bad news: the fact that I almost single-handedly burned down the snack shack last year has not saved me from the odious task of having to work there for 2 shifts this season.

There are other tiny reasons, reasons which when bundled together add up to a whole bunch of time, but when taken individually sound quite ridiculous. Having to teach a lesson in Chinese landscape painting—of which I know nothing, mind you—to forty third graders, for example. Or sorting through wardrobe choices for next month's trip. Oh, but here's a good one:

5) Little baby writers! Most of my school volunteer time is spent tutoring struggling readers or writers, but beginning this Thursday I have the sweet pleasure of running a little workshop for...glorious! glorious!...a group of six strong writers. I've been finding some fun stuff in the 826 Quarterly's Don't Forget to Write, as well as at the Teachers & Writers Collaborative website. Fun, fun!