Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lost Friend

I'm sick of calling my husband to tell him that his friends have died.

Today I found out from a Facebook status update that one of his old ROTC friends has just died. I hadn't talked to him in years but my husband had recently caught up with him via Facebook.

The instant availability of information on the Internet is both wonderful and horrible. It allows old friends to reconnect but it reduces life changing news to a few lines of code.

I used to have nightmares about hearing bad news on CNN. Now I have nightmares about finding out I've lost my husband from my Yahoo home page.

We've lost way too many Air Force friends this past year. I still don't know the details this time around but no matter how his wife and daughter lost him, it is incredibly sad.

Whenever his name came up over the last fourteen years, we always said, "He was such a good guy." Today I'm thinking of his wife and daughter.

A Big Boom

Living on military bases for the better part of the last thirteen years has made us somewhat blasé to loud noises and booms. But we heard something Sunday night that made both of us check on the kids and the neighborhood.

We shrugged it off when we didn't see anything.

But how interesting is this? The boom we heard was falling debris from a Russian rocket.

It's like something out of a movie. It's like the opening scene when something strange but seemingly innocent falls out of the sky. Then later the human race is enslaved by aliens.

And that's what it's like to live in my head.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Summer Loving

When my daughter and I were running out of the house to get to her rehearsal last night, our neighbor (who makes us look bad with all of her landscaping) looked up from her weeding to exclaim, "Wow! You guys never stop running, do you?"

She's right. On school days we're up and practicing violin by six. Then I drive the kids to school and spend my days doing housewifely stuff. By two I'm headed to pick them up again only to rush them around to speech therapy, soccer, baseball, swimming and violin. Then of course there is the hour of homework and the hour of homeschooling-type stuff we do every evening.

My kids go to bed by 7:30 so we have only four hours to fit all that after-school stuff into.

No wonder the neighbors have noticed our constant running.

I swore I would never overschedule my kids. But here we are. Granted, the sports we do are pretty much in separate seasons, but there is some overlap and the kids' sports sometimes conflict.

But after a weekend like this last one (with a soccer tournament, swim clinic, symphony and violin rehearsal), I feel like we just need to stop for a bit.

I just want to sit on the couch and watch a movie with my kids. Except it seems like there is no end in sight.

No wonder my son insists that he doesn't want to go to any camps or take any classes this summer. He says he wants to stay home "and relax!"

I know they'll be bored by mid-July. (And I'll be going stir crazy!)

But they have to go to a violin institute and a week of day camp at their new school in June. And they want to take surf lessons. Plus we have a big vacation planned in August.

But I have promised them to spend more days at the beach. And more days relaxing. And more days having fun.

For the first Spring ever, I'm looking forward to the Summer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The boy had his first real baseball practice tonight and loved it. His coach is great (and I'm picky!) and my son is stoked.

The girl is graduating from Book 2 of her violin training next week. We have worked so hard for this. She's playing five songs solo in a recital to celebrate. And her violin teacher is awesome and one of my favorite people.

I've got a signed contract for their new school and the deposit is paid.

Spring is on its way and my husband has been preparing our lawn.

All of these things make me very, very happy.

In celebration of my happy, here are some happy photos.


The girl in her school talent show.

The boy accepting applause at the school talent show.

The kids and my husband before the Final Mile race at the oceanfront.

The kids on the beach after completing their mile race.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Serious Fun

Almost twenty years into our relationship and I can still learn new things about my husband.

He took the day off work yesterday to take care of some errands. He dropped his car off at the shop and we spent the day together taking care of mundane tasks. I think it says something about us that we can still just enjoy going to Home Depot together or sitting in carpool line.

When we are alone for any stretch of time, I like to torture him by quizzing him about our past and his feelings. He always teases me about dumping him in high school and wearing plaid pants back when I was a skinny little shit.

But yesterday, while teasing him about our pathetic first date I asked him, "So, when you scored your first date with me, were you really excited? Like, woo hoo?"

He glanced at me and asked, "Do you want an honest answer or should I tell you what you want to hear?" He asks me that a lot.

Of course I chose honesty.

"I don't remember," he told me. "But I do remember having a lot of fun with you."

In fact, he went on to tell me that he remembers always having fun with me, more than anyone else.

That amazes me, because if we have ever had any real problem in our marriage it was that we didn't have enough fun together. So much so, that in the last two or three years we have made a serious commitment to have more fun together.

Yes, I just said a serious commitment to have more fun.

He also went on to say that I was always just easy to be with.

"Ha!" I yelled at him. "And you claim that I'm high maintenance."

"No, I don't." he shook his head.

"Oh, my god!" I screeched in that way that only offended females can. "You so do!"

"Well, you're not," he admitted. "You're easy to be with."

I haven't thought of myself as fun or easy to be with in a long time. I'm so glad my husband needed to take a day to get his car fixed and mow the lawn.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Housekeeping Note

Update: If you don't see your link over there ----> don't despaire. I'm typing all of my live links into my template one at a time. And the way I type, that means I only do about five a day.

Oh, and if you have a blog that hasn't been updated in over two months, but you start blogging again, please let me know. Thanks!

I am so over blogrolling. And I used to be a paying customer and a huge fan. But their new version is a huge flop and I'm moving on.

So, please excuse the mess while I update all of my links and some other nagging problems.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ginger Crush in Found Photos

I was just searching for something totally random online when I stumbled across pictures and videos of my own kids.

What the?

There is this boy in our violin group who has come to personify everything bad and chaotic to my children. Apparently his mother is a rather popular and prolific blogger. (Suddenly I am being really careful not to string together the wrong keywords and draw her here.)

She has posted hundreds of violin pictures and videos on flickr.

So, even though we are the lazy, uncaring parents who hardly ever take pictures or video I now have a bunch of them pilfered from flickr.

At our violin workshop last weekend, I noticed that this personification of juvenile evil is always sure to stand next to my daughter. He doesn't pay attention to anything but he always knows when she enters a room. And these new pictures I have discovered of said evil boy always include my daughter.

I think someone has an evil crush.

When I commented as such my son turned to my daughter in absolute desperation. "Please don't marry him!" he implored. "I don't want him to be a part of my life forever!"

Cracked. My. Ass. Up.

Friday, March 20, 2009

These Are Days

The longer I live the more convinced I become that aliens dropped my daughter into our family. She is clearly not from us.

There are days...

Sometimes I wonder why we ever decided to have kids at all. If only it were possible to get to that second easy kid without having to go through the daily drama and agony of dealing with a first-born. I think lots of parents would take that option.

I'm off to eat some doughnuts before I eat my young. Happy Spring.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Speaking of School

Yeah. Um, speaking of school (ahem)...

This week is the beginning of the final trimester for the kids at school. My daughter's teacher called to let me know that they are moving my daughter up into an enrichment level math class.

Um, okay. Seems a little late, but whatever.

I've finally adopted a "whatever" attitude just in time for my daughter to get her first all-A report card ever. I've got to work up more enthusiasm.

The final trimester is also the trimester when my daughter starts her "Strings Exploration". She will be taught basic violin at school and play a concert for the parents in May. This should be interesting.

My son had a very good report card too. What makes me the happiest for him is that he is noted for having outstanding manners and class participation.

He is also very happy because he will have an art piece featured in a show at school this month. Apparently, it's a big deal. It's funny because he is so mathematical that I forget he is artistic too. He won an award at a city-wide art show last year. We're going to the opening this afternoon.

He's so funny because he immediately pointed out to me that his best buddy was not going to be in the show. His best friend is the smartest child I have ever met in real life. His IQ must be through the roof, but he is also a very polite, social, and an all-around good kid. They do math challenges together, but he is ahead of my son in reading. My son feels a little competitive with him, but in a good way. It's nice for him to have a friend who challenges him.

And it's nice for my son to see that he has his own special talents too. And apparently they are in art and writing. According to his report card he is excelling in their first grade writers' workshop. My husband sighed at that. "Great," he said. "That's all I need. Another writer in the family."

He should count his blessings, no matter how wordy they may be.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Five Years

Five years ago today I started this little blog.

In 2004 my daughter was four-years-old and in preschool. She had just started soccer and she did ballet. Now she's getting ready to go to fifth grade in a new school. She's playing advanced soccer and auditioning for an orchestra.

In 2004 my son was two-years-old. He wasn't even potty trained yet. Back then I said, "He is sweet and affectionate. He is also very strong-willed and independent. He's a lot like me, come to think of it." And boy, was I right. He's still all those things but now he reads and writes and does fourth grade math.

In 2004 my husband was at "Top Gun". He was still a captain. Gosh, we were young! Now he's up for a promotion and working at a completely different job at a completely different place. He's a lot more gray and has a lot less hair. And our marriage is better than ever.

In 2004 I was thirty-years-old. That's so young! I was a stay-at-home mom then too but my life was completely different. (My hair is still full and not gray.)

When I think of how much I have grown and changed since then, I am astounded. I am still amazed that people come by and read anything I have to say here on the web.

Every year on my blog-o-versary I thank the three guys who really got me going in this whole blogging world. But this year, all three of them have all closed up shop, at least for the time being.

To be honest, I had been planning for months to join them. I had completely committed to ending my blog today. I went through a whole process of coming to accept the end of Tuna Girl and moving on. Until I talked to my husband about it last night.

As the person who knows me best in the world, he was worried that when he deploys next, I would really miss it. I would miss the connections and the outlet.

I thought and thought about it. And I was tempted to go ahead and go on a hiatus and leave things more open-ended. But I had always promised myself that when I ended it, I'd end it completely.

So, instead I have decided to try and write more freely. Even if no one ever comes by to read what I have to say, it is still good for me to have a place to get everything out.

So once again, for my fifth year in a row on St. Patrick's Day I want to thank Nicky, Mark and Matthew, my friends and family, for getting me started in this crazy blog world and continuing to be so special to me five years in.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thick Envelopes

They got in!

My kids got into our first choice school. Both of them.

Woo fucking hoo!

I am seriously having a hard time taking it all in. I can't remember ever being this happy or proud.

On Saturday, my husband and I were on different flights home from Hawaii. So when I got home, I picked up our car and had about an hour to kill before his flight came in. I drove right home to check our mailbox.

As I was pulling out mounds of mail, I spotted big envelopes from all three of the schools we applied to. But there were thin ones too. I had to take two trips to bring all the mail in and my heart was pumping.

I sat down on my sofa, got comfortable and started going through the envelopes one by one.

Here's a little background information (and then I swear I will never ever talk about schools again.)

When we were moving here, School A was our first choice. It is an academy whose reputation stretched all the way to the Southwest. When my son and I first visited it, I called my husband and said, "This is where I want them to go to school. This is where I wish I went to school." Not only were the facilities unbelievable, but I really liked the academic atmosphere. They were very well-behaved kids very busy learning. Their commitment to the arts is unparalleled. They have the best average SAT scores at 1260 and the most impressive college acceptances. (They are also the most expensive school in this region.) They seemed like the best fit for our family. And we ended up buying a house that is only two minutes away from School A's campus.

School B is the school we ended up going to. The very first day we visited, I just felt...eh. They are the free-spirited school. They are the beach school. They are the sports school. They are the school who just did-away with their lower school computer lab. They are the school without the violin program or any lower school drama program. I was optimistic about the kids going there when it was the only school they both got into, but my first impressions were right. As is well-documented on this blog, I wasn't impressed.

School C is Misty's alma mater. We applied there last April on her recommendation. It's a great school. It is a lot more like our old school than School B. But they were already full for the next year and wait-listed us. The only thing that I didn't like about that school is that the lower school is on a separate campus from the upper school. Both campuses are pretty convenient to home but one of the benefits of sending my kids to private school is always having them in the same place. Plus, they love going to school together.

School D was the one we didn't apply to last year. It seemed too small (it is REALLY small) and too far away. But when I realized that it was only a block away from our violin studio (and we were so unhappy at School B) I decided to check it out. It is a wonderful school. I love their math program and their math enrichment teacher. They have a really great mentoring program and a true family atmosphere. They have a school dog, for goodness sake!

Now, let's break it all down.

School A: We decided to apply there every single year until we moved just to see what would happen. Getting in there is nearly impossible. They never have openings between 2nd and 5th grade and they have 20 to 30 kids applying in each grade for those non-existent spots. They open up another class in 6th grade and we were hoping to get my daughter one of those spots in 2010-2011. This is where we want our kids to go to high school.

School B: We decided to give our current school a chance and attended a transition sales pitch. While this school is a sure thing from now to twelfth grade, the tour and presentation we had that day just cemented to us that we were making the right decision to leave.

School C: Just like last year, they told us right off the bat that with 22 kids per class, their first grade is over-full. But they asked us to please apply anyway, because you never know and they thought our family was a good match for their school. Plus. it was my daughter who really needed a new school the most anyway.

School D: Same situation. Honestly, I think they loved us, but with 22 kids in their first grade, they were beyond full. But the admissions director assured me that strange things sometimes happen over the summer and asked us to apply. And again, this school was a great fit for my daughter.

Now, the envelopes please.

The first one was from School D. My daughter was accepted! Oh. Thank. God. I was so relieved. No matter what else happened in the rest of those envelopes, I knew I'd have my daughter back to her real self. I stood up and danced a little.

Next, my son was wait-listed at School D. With assurances that we shouldn't give up hope. I really think they liked him a lot.

Next, was School A. The envelope was thick. My heart was pounding. And my daughter got in! She did what I thought was impossible. But there was another thick envelope from them somewhere.

And my son got in too! They both got into School A! What the hell are the odds? I have never been so happy or proud in my entire life.

I jumped up and down. I whooped and hollered and danced. I laughed like a nut.

But there were more envelopes.

My daughter also got into School C! She got into every school she applied to. These are not safety schools that you just walk into. These are schools with high standards. And she got into every single one.

But my son was wait-listed there too.

So our decision was easy. Or so one would think. The school I'd been dreaming about wants them. Both of them. I have to admit I spent one sleepless night wondering if we should send my son to School A and my daughter to School D. But we would really only be choosing School D because it was so small she'd feel safer there, and I don't want to limit her the way I limited myself. Besides, School D doesn't have a high school and we'd only be trying to get her into School A later anyhow.

My husband told me I was obsessive and nuts.

We told the kids on Monday. My daughter looked a little stricken when we told her she made it into all three schools but it was only because she was afraid of having to make the choice. But we told them that it was a choice we were responsible for. And we choose School A.

We took them out with Grandma last night to celebrate.

They are so proud of themselves. As they should be. They worked so hard to prepare for the entrance exams. They were so charming and polite in their interviews. They try so hard at everything they do.

They are also relieved and ecstatic that they are going to school together at least until they gradate from high school or we move. Whichever comes first. They are so sweet together and love each other so much. Seeing each other at school is always the highlight of their day.

I feel so much lighter than I've felt in...I don't know...years! I never felt like I got my feet under me after my husband's Iraq deployment. Now I can't stop laughing, dancing or even crying in joy.

They got in.

I am so proud.

And I promise. No more school talk. Until college.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Like a Happy Noodle

Aloha, all! I'm back from my fabulous Hawaiian escape and I'm more relaxed and happy than I have been in ages.

You might have heard about our part of the country getting blasted with snow last Sunday, and we were. But my husband and I managed to sneak out right before that whole mess started. We were on two different flights but it seems that they ended up being the only two flights that got out that day.

When I got to Atlanta for my transfer, it was a ghost town. The board showed canceled, after canceled, after canceled. But somehow I managed to be on the only on time flight out of there too.

My husband and I ended up getting to Hawaii within a half hour of each other. We were on the beach sipping Mai Ties when we got the call that none of his coworkers had made it out of Virginia. In fact, they weren't going to make it out the next morning either. We were going to have a whole day to ourselves on the island!

Woo hoo.

So the next morning, armed with e-mails from Pua, we set off for the North Shore. Pua's local's tour not only showed us some of the most beautiful spots on the island, but it was a culinary tour too. We had brownies, Dole whip, dinner from a shrimp truck, and then...we were too full to eat anything else.

We decided to continue down the Windward side of the island too and spent some time sitting on the beach watching some amazing surfers.

It was like I could feel the stress of the last few months...no...years melting away.

The next morning we went shopping before we had to meet my husband's coworkers for drinks on the beach. That's when I discovered Lava Flows and the rest of my week was a blur of relaxing happiness.

My husband and the guys had to work the next couple of days but I spent them relaxing. By the pool. On our balcony over the ocean. Walking the beach. I relaxed like I've never relaxed before. At night we'd meet the guy for dinner and drinks.

On Friday morning we went to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. It certainly wasn't fun, but it was an amazing thing to see. We also took our own little driving tour of the military bases in the area. Very interesting. And it is always reassuring to see another base that we could stand to live at.

We flew out that afternoon. That was torture. It was a ten-hour, overnight flight. I even took Tylenol PM to try to sleep. But every time I drifted off, I'd twitch myself awake. It reminded me of the hours before giving birth. Torture.

But I slept on and off since Saturday morning (in between pizza and a movie) and now I am right back to being happy and relaxed.

I need to go to the airport and pick up the kids and my mother in an hour. They had a blast. The kids learned how to ski, went to their cousins' birthday party, and saw the Jeff Corwin experience.

And they practiced violin every day.

It's back to real life tomorrow. I am nowhere near ready.