Friday, June 18, 2010

making movies

Holy hollywood! I have been trying to make a couple of movies recently - notably one from the Shakespeare production the kids did in school, and one from Orin's soccer season. WOAH. I guess there are tons of production software options out there for the PC's that are simple and option filled, but NOT so for the MACs. Geesh! I settled on iMovie, though I looked at some online options as well as using the stuff in iPhoto, but alas, they sucked for this purpose. Sigh.

Here's the result of the soccer production - it is FAR from perfect, but it came out close to what I was looking for.

Never mind. The darned thing never uploaded. Tried twice. Thrice. Bupkiss. Disappointment abounds, at the moment, though I was able to put it onto CD's and distribute at the last game of the season. Grrr to the Mac for my frustration - but YAY for the kids, who had a GREAT season!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Moving up

I can clearly remember watching the Jeffersons, the striped carpet beneath my then firm and trim butt, as my brothers shared the couch and my dad did work in his big chair. It was a concession, he found the mildly bigoted humor somewhat entertaining, and it kept us, usually, from bickering in quite as shrill a voice as we sometimes used. The theme song, "Moving on Up" echoes in my imagination - not sure I'd call what's left up there a mind, but that's a different story - along with my younger brother belting it out over the top of the tele. My older brother hitting him. My younger brother singing louder. You get the visual.

Yesterday was a bitter sweet moment for us, as a family. Orin, who came to us a bit late in life (Beckey was 6.5, I was 37, and Jerry was 52) has finished the part time education portion of his childhood. He put in one year of 3 short days a week as a 3-4 year old, and one year of 5 short days a week (actually 2 of those days weren't so short - 9-2:30) as a 4-5 year old, including 11 hrs. per week of Hebrew Immersion with Elinur, whose energy and investment is phenomenal. Orin can speak and listen in Hebrew. He can sing in Hebrew. He knows Hebrew prayers, and can recite them w/out even thinking about it. The program, all full of flouncy tutus and oil pastels, has been awesome for him. He loved the English class, with Micki and Vicki, and the Hebrew class, with Elinur and Vicki, but mostly he just loved Vicki. He came home with me one Friday, after their nifty little Shabbat ceremony in class, and he sat very quietly in the backseat. We carpooled on T-W-Th, so our Monday and Friday drives together were usually special. We'd talk, sing, be silly. Today he was morose, which for a four year old with a pretty charmed life seemed odd. So I asked, and he quite willing told me what the matter was. He proposed to Vicki, and she turned him down. His eyes filled with tears. "She said she's already married!" he whispered. The tears spilled down his soft cheeks. "Oh honey!" I gasped. I knew he loved her, I knew he liked her, I didn't realize he knew that loving someone meant you marry them, I was thinking more along the lines of making them a lovely picture with washable markers. He fell hard for poor Vicki, who wiped his snotty nose for picture day and resolved disputes over legos and trucks with all the charm and love a nursery school teacher SHOULD have. When everybody grows up, they should want to be Vicki. In my world, everybody would be moving up, along with my little graduate, who continues to say that he is making this volcano spewing lava blood for his Vicki (even if he just stuffs them into his drawer for 'that time when we see Vicki' and doesn't ever actually pass them on).

In other news, he made $1.50 selling fresh squeezed lemonade, which he split even-steven with Maia who helped squeeze, stir, and entertain the neighborhood with their incredible antics. I think people were much more willing to pay up for the entertainment than the lemonade, though it was good.

Beckey has been at Nature's Classroom, which has been a lonely thing for me, I do miss my girl!

(gratuitous pic of Beckey)

But I'm sure she's had a brilliant time, she loves just about everything they do there! Two disposable cameras later, I'm sure we'll see the pillow fight and the tail end of someone's tuchas climbing a tree-ladder to walk the high ropes, and possibly an eft found along the nature trail. It's all good there, and she comes home so charged up and full of spirit (and attitude) that it's hard to find fault in her missing an entire week of Aikido. Or two, since last week there were 4 softball games and a concert that filled every SINGLE night of the week. Exhausting.

Life is good, we're movin' on up!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

I can't hear you!

These guys moved into a house right behind us - noisy but cute, we have put up with their flighty behavior for over a month now. We watch them from the kitchen window, while sipping afternoon tea on the deck, and they have given us a great show. They provide for each other and their new come chicks with all kinds of debris from the universe around us. Happily enough, I have actually learned their call. In spite of the fact that I came VERY close to accepting a place at UCT in Ornithology, I really can't tell the difference between very many birds. LBJ's (little blue, little brown, or little black jobbers) and then crows, pigeons, robins, woodpeckers I can distinguish visually and auditorially from other birds, but rarely from each other, red winged blackbirds, and now these fellas - black capped chickadees. There are times I wonder whether it is this pair singing to each other, or perhaps some of the jays, or robins. I really can't tell. I have sat outside listening intently for hours. I have listened online to recordings over and over. I have played with that cool book - the one you get to actually hear the birds sing and see the picture so you can put the two together - if anyone is thinking of a late birthday gift for me - or an early christmas/chanukah one! - this would be IT! I have no ability to distinguish birds by sound. At all. Chick-a-chick-a-dee-dee-dee! Ok, that one I think I've got. But if they didn't live eight inches from me, I wouldn't. Birds are WAY more complex and cool than people give them credit for - most people, anyway. Listen for the birds. They sing of the air, peace in the leaves of the trees, alarm in the grass. Listen, for the birds sing of the air.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Precious limits

There is a very fine line between being precious and believing life is precious. Very fine. A parent who never gets angry at a kid for anything probably isn't doing that kid any favors - they will certainly get the feedback that their behavior (actions, words, or otherwise) isn't copacetic, but from a less loving and forgiving audience. Like classmates. But always getting on your kids' backs about little stuff isn't good for them, or us, either. I find myself short tempered occasionally (ahem.) and finding I have to remind myself (literally, the voice speaks in my head and says: reminder! you have overdue library books and quit yelling at your kids!) to appreciate that they are kids, they are imperfect, they are learning how to do stuff (like not yell at people just 'cause you don't like what they are doing), and frequent yelling really just lowers the bar for everyone. Otoh, if you wait too long, if you don't remind them that you love who they are enough, if you forget to remind them to walk out of the pill popping party, if you forget to yell at them for leaving towels to molder or food under the bed for weeeeeeks, you do risk sending them out into the world unprepared. In the past month, 2 stories of young (young! like 18/19 years old) boys who were smart, athletic, popular, funny, good in and at school, liked by parents and coaches and teachers and kids alike - are dead. Dead from overdosing on pills that they probably didn't even know how to identify. Dead as doornails in their pookashells and board shorts. This one is Henry Louis. One of two, one of I don't know HOW many beautiful boys with futures and potential, families who truly loved them, who did consider them precious in the weave of their family and the fabric of the future. With mothers who nursed them endless hours and woke with them to fever and vomit, who stayed awake for them through proms and dates, who felt their pain of rejection, and their ecstasy in the win. There is so much sadness in these losses, it is so incredibly deep - like the fissures in Greenland that go through the ice and down into the ground, where heat escapes into the air from the bowels of the earth. Something like this brings it's heat and stink into the world irreparably. There is no recovery, the scars never ever go away. Did these parents fail their kids? Did they do enough?

Parents have the job of fledging children, not protecting them indefinitely. There is some place, some time, when a child does separate from their core family, and move into the world on their own. There isn't a prescriptive or correct method to this madness, a new nest gets built, and they have to sleep in it. If they build it out of friable combustible degraded material, it will not support, and a parent should give warning, should offer to assist. But the kid has to, HAS to figure out how to build this nest themselves and build it out of strong friendships, good decisions, and sound direction. It won't be perfect, it won't work every time, because this precious child is also imperfect and will fail sometimes. Their hearts will break, they'll get sick, and they'll make some bad decisions. Kids rebound, but there are limits. The precious limits of toxic overload (usually from mixing (possibly unidentified) pills with or without liquor), of fights that get out of control, of despair. The limits of precious that help us see our children for their imperfect selves, and the possibility that they need help from us, even after they have fledged, though hopefully before you are sitting with them in ICU.

Note to self: return library books, love on my kids a lot.