Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reflection: Back to school Journal #1

September 5th, 2012

My two daughters went back to school (Kindergarten and 1st grade).  While some mothers were saddened by this event.  I must say I was elated. Please do not get me wrong.  I looove my daughters and they are my world but it was time to go back. I heard the restlessness in their voices when all the summer activities seemed to  slow down (plus at the tail end I was fighting a cold that sucked all my energy).  My older daughter is more studious, so even though I did what I could by homeschooling (and I take pride in being my daughters  first teacher) nothing replaces Mrs. Such-and-So's colorful classroom in academia.  And as for my younger one, she is the adventurous, laid back type that will go for the ride.  As for myself, I need to have some me time again and this time around I have more than just two and half hours of free time that I got when my younger daughter was in PreK. I have six and half hours to do a helluva lot.  I could make doctors appointment, go back to the gym, sit in my favorite coffee shop and write, take driving lessons (yes, finally!), and take an online writing course to help me further a writing project.  Oh, yeah, and deep clean the house into a semi-Feng Shui way.  I've already signed up for an online course starting Monday, found a copy of the written test for a Learner's Permit, already planning on cleaning the basement today, composing a list of appointments I need to make for myself, planning on going to a yoga class next Friday, and the writing is already in place with the coffee shop to follow.


September 12th, 2012

So, today, my younger daughter decides to have a Separation Anxiety attack.  I must say, it took me by surprise.  I thought she would have had it last week but I guess the excitement wore off because as she sat on the toilet this morning, she looked at me with her brown glossy eyes, proclaiming she didn't want to go to school because she misses me.  Well, my eyes started to gloss over too.  As I wiped her (she's only four and doesn't do a great job when she does number two), I reminded her that I will be there to pick her up but that's not good enough because the tears start flowing.  For the next half and hour I try to get her to eat and tell her we have to go to school and drop off her sister.  She asks me after we drop off her to school could she come home with me.  I tell her that I'm going to be doing my work for my class and I would not be able to spend time with her.  My younger daughter says she wouldn't disturb me and then, my older daughter pipes in with, "She could watch TV or play in the playroom."   I try to tell them that everyone must do their job:  Daddy's job was to go to work, my job was to do my school work, and their job was to go to school.   Well, this didn't fly. As she ate her eggs, I went downstairs to call my husband.  When I told him the situation, he said it would be alright for one day.  I thought if I let her not go to school that it would be a domino effect for the next day. He agreed and we both decided that I'll take her backback, lunch  and let her play in the playgound while I talked to her teacher. 

I have to retract what I said earlier about being surprised.  I kind of new something was wrong because for the past two days she didn't eat her lunch.  The first day, I thought because I bought a new thermos to keep her spagetti and meatballs in and she couldn't open it and the second day, I made her a liverwurst sandwich (yes, she likes liverwurst) and she didn't eat.  I thought, she was full because I made french toast that morning (plus at school they have snack at 9:30am and lunch around 11ish-which I don't understand). Also, when she was in line for her class, she had a sad face.  I asked her was everything alright and she said yes.  I just thought, she was sad because two of her 'girlfriends' (that's what she refers to them as) were in front of the line talking to each other. I believe her outburst today was accumulation of everything.

After I spoke to her teacher, we walked to where my older daughter had to line up. I left my older daughter on line with the mother of an old schoolmate from her Pre K school and walked back to my younger daughter's line up area.  My daughter was still crying about staying home with me when I saw one of her girlfriends and said why don't we say Hi.  My daughter was not letting me put her social butterfly wings on her. I even asked her who was her boyfriend ( the boy who sat next to her in Art class and she drew a picture of) but she refused to show me.  I kissed her and said I loved her and I'll be back.  The mother of my daughter's girlfriend  asked if my older daughter did the same.  I said no and confessed I didn't know what to do. She told me wait for the teacher, she'll know what to do.  The bell rang and out came the teacher.  She looked at my daughter and said don't worry as I handed her my daughter's backpack and lunchbag.  I kissed my daughter on the cheek trying to ignore her pleads of coming home with me.  I told the teacher to call me and she said she will.  I walked out the school yard feeling my eyes water.  The mother of my daughter's girlfreind called to me from across the street and said she calmed down a bit.  At this news, I felt a little better.  When I got home, I checked my house phone for any new messages, I did have one from my daughter's teacher.  She said everything is alright and she sat my daughter with her two friends (one was at her table and the other one was behind her at the table next to her).  I was relieved my daughter was surrounded by her girlfriends;0)

As for me, I started my Creative Nonfiction class and it is going well.  I'm doing a lot of reading (I'm taking a break to write this blog post). I must admit I'm a little nervous about the writing assignment (it's due September 30th).  I have two thoughts for a essay that I started and don't know which one to finish for the assignment.  Plus, I hope I have time to complete it because it's not easy to find time to read, write, take care of two girls and a husband (Lol:0).  But, I'll make due;0)



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Reflections: My Mom

Yesterday, marked nine months since my mother past and soon it would be a year when she first became ill.  I think about her often when I'm in the kitchen washing dishes.  The smell of fried chicken clog my nose even when I'm making pasta with red sauce or cooking my daughters hot dogs.  A fried chicken sandwich was the last meal I made for my mother (that she could sit down and enjoy).  I, for one, was not a good chicken fryer but last year I finally got the knack of it.  She even complimenting on it and said,"Humph, you fried it hard.  You know who would enjoy this--your grandmother."  That put a smile on my face.  Because like my mother--my grandmother (like all other grandmothers) could burn in the kitchen.

So, over the chicken sandwich, clanking of dishes, and waiting for Hurricane Irene to touch down the next day, we reminisced about how my mother really enjoyed cooking when I was  growing up.  I remember my mother used to come home from work and go straight into the kitchen still in her work clothes. And it didn't seem to bother her. I remember on Sunday mornings before Abbott and Costello, we had a big breakfast with home-baked corn or blueberry muffins, cheese grits, eggs, bacon or sausage, orange juice, and she even let me have a cup of coffee (at twelve years old).  In fact, I was the only one besides my mother who drank it.  My brother and sister were tea drinkers ( until my sister got a job at Emigrant Bank and all they had was Tetley tea.  She soon became an avid Joe drinker).


My mother's nickname among her friends in the summer time was the Potato Salad Lady opposite her friend Peggy, who was the Barbecue Sauce Lady. For Peggy's barbecues my mother used to make a big bowl of potato salad and everyone would wait until Peggy finished up with her barbecue ribs and get their eats on.  My mother was also, very kind and made us a bowl for home and we appreciated that because it was great left overs with Peggy's ribs.

My mother's favorite holiday was Thanksgiving.  My short story Big Tom:  A Thanksgiving Story is based on a true event that happened.  There are no really embellishments--the incident with the turkey really happened!  You can read it here.

My mother passed away three days before her favorite holiday last year.  It  was rough last year and I know it will be a challenge this year because Thanksgiving is about families coming together.  And it still will be for me because I  know she is with family in heaven  and all of my family is forever present in my heart.

Love you Mom.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reflection: Jams circa 1970's- 1980's

Repost from July 15,2011

Jams were street parties usually held in the back parks of housing developments. The DJ from one of the neighborhood rap crews would supply the music. He came equipped with five milk crates packed with LP’s, two turntables, a microphone, and two re-built five foot high speakers whose woofers were the size of hubcaps—crank them up—and the pavement was thumping. When George Clinton and P-Funadelic’s Flashlight filtered the air: Heads began to nod. Tapping feet spread around the park. Flashlights and lighters— even matches—appeared ready to light the night sky. The DJ would turn the music down so everyone could mimic George Clinton’s ‘Flashlight’ whine in unison. ‘Flashlight’ came from all different directions: Young and loud, old hoarse voices trying to catch up, and slurred incomprehensible noises came from the neighborhood winos. Even the cops felt the groove. They gently patted their feet and nightsticks to the beat singing along with everyone. The party really started jumping when the DJ spun Le Chic’s Good Times and the Sugar Hill Gang’s Rappers Delight on his turntables—scratching and mixing the two 12”vinyls—showing off his style and composing his own music. You could dance the night away or until somebody—who had too much liquor or beer—start spewing accusations of ‘hogging all of the liquor’ to their drinking partner.


“No, I didn’t!”

The first punch was thrown.

The music was lowered and everyone danced to a slower pace. The DJ would go on the microphone to try to get them to break it up. But, there was nothing more entertaining then watching Jack Daniels and Old English 800 malt liquor duking it out.

“Yes you did!”

A bottle was picked up.

Dancing feet lost the beat when the music came to an abrupt halt and the cops moved in. After both parties tried unsuccessfully to plead their case, they eventually left; still fussing at each other as Curtis Blows’ The Breaks softly snuck in and stirred calm feet to frantically search for the beat again.

Halfway through the night, the DJ would spin Denroy Morgan’s I’ll Do Anything for You, while a circle—Soul Train-style—was made for the Freestylers, Breakdancers, and Poplockers to show off their moves. Everyone cheered and chanted when a dancer would slide in the middle of the circle and do his specialty—either spinning on his head and back or do some crazy leg movement that Michael Jackson would envy— then a second dancer would interrupt the first dancer’s flow by showing what he got by tossing a move in the first dancer’s face and a chorus of ‘Challenge’ bellowed from the crowd. The dancers would battle until the crescendo of ‘Ooh’s’ peaked to ‘Ooh, did you see that?’ The winner usually was the one who eased into his slickest choreographic moves without thinking about it. The loser would walk off saying, “Awright, you got that one” and promised a re-match next week with some powerful steps (borrowed from a Dance Fever contestant).

At 3am the party would wound down. The two people that were fighting earlier came back with bottles of Jack Daniels wrapped in brown paper bags. They would sit on the back of a bench, watch couples form to slow-dance, and steal sips from their concealed spirits.

This tranquil state lasted until the dense popping from Heatwave’s Always and Forever; the last song, would dissipate. The DJ packed up his system to the laughter and excitement of everyone walking home.

Jams …were the place to be.