Saturday, June 30, 2007

Summer haze

J enjoys some pool time with our Bangladeshi brothers/neighbors. In the top photo, the one closest is a natural-born athlete (just look at that carved out waist!) and I am so glad they have him enrolled in football this year. He's also been accepted in the same gifted program as J. His brother, older by 11.5 months, is very shy and tough to coax out. J should actually be in his grade, but I'm glad he's in the grade of the younger, who is younger by about four months. I actually got one picture of the shy brother smiling.

As usual, they had a great time together.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Colored pencils

I have wanted to do a wet street scene on black in pastel for forever. I saw this one in a magazine and decided it would be a great first for me in colored pencils; it's on the rough side on Canson and would have done better on the smooth. The original is in oil and is by Andrew McDermott, although he works a lot in pastel. Now I need to try it in pastel.

This very quick sketch, #4 of my 30 for the coming week, was made using watercolor pencil for Memph and watercolor crayons for the bedding.I bought a Derwent watercolor travel kit and it has the coolest water-filled brush, makes it almost dummy-proof. I will probably buy additional pencils and crayons, as the kit is pretty limited, but there's still plenty of room in the pouch for more!

It is a lot fo fun working in new media. This instructor is going to teach me so much. He's so enthusiastic and is such an oddball artist in his looks, typical, I guess. This class will be very expensive, but so very much worth it. Anything that makes me do on a daily basis is good. Anything that provides daily blog entries, well, ditto on the good.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Black-eyed Susans, Fresh-eyed Boy

Waiting for J to finish golf camp, I put the time to good use.

Then I went to get J. He was packing up his clubs and, forgetting about putt putt, I commented that I'd never seen him hit the golf ball. The nearby instructor piped up, verbally fumbling and stammering, kind of like the halting "whoa" of an ogler in a beer commercial, and then croaked in almost a whisper, "He's gooood."

That's my boy. When I later asked him how far he could hit it, he nonchalantly said they went past the 150 sign. I think he's found his sport. Ex looks forward to him buying us houses one day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Minus two cats

I handed off the painting this morning. They are kind of a snooty bunch in this office. The receptionist exclaimed, "That's much better than I thought it would be."

Had to wait a long time before I saw the cats' owner. She was tickled, saying she couldn't wait to show her husband. I kinda had the impression that the showing would be in an "I told ya so" fashion.

I guess I proved myself and that the fruits of a hacker aren't necessarily spoiled.

She sent me this email last night after I emailed her my reference pictures; she'd mentioned previously that she didn't have good pics of her cats.

Hi Cricket,
These are wonderful photos!!! And your painting is the absolute perfect rendering of the two of them. You got them just right! And it didn't take you so long either- I am impressed! And my husband absolutely loved it. Thanks so much- you needn't have done this (but I'm glad you did).
Hugs, Barb

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Updates of the season

The eyes and chin of #2 are much better now. I added a tiny highlight to his left eye since taking this. I feel much better overall. Cat #1 still has too long a jaw, but it is just so Siamese looking, almost qualifying for Mannerism.

On Thursday, the eHar.mony date from last weekend asked me out for Saturday night. We'd spoken on the phone almost daily all week. On Friday, the guy who'd asked for my number at the EEG meeting finally called to ask me out for Saturday as well. Both were mighty late in the week to ask, but I guess #1 "won" out.

I do not know what to think of eHar. He is amazingly polite and perhaps too honest too quickly. We remind each other of each other, except he has some added features. He's almost 2 years a recovering alcoholic/pill addict. He's close to declaring bankruptcy. He's recently moved out of a group home into his sponsor's home. All this time, he's had a job and has wonderful skills in his craft, something I respect very much. Last night, I learned he'd probably been an alcoholic for 30 years, but he says his liver is fine.

He carries on meaningful conversations, has a good sense of humor. He complains of forgetfulness of late and already repeats himself to me. He commented that it is nice to talk to someone normal in the world, that he is around people like him all the time. He asked if I wanted him to stop telling war stories and I responded that he seemed to want to and I would appreciate it, too. That's what I've noticed about the recovering that I've met/dated; they cannot leave their past glories in the past and move on. It must verbally be regaled at every opportunity. Further, apparently he'd been abused as a young child.

It's getting deep.

My brain explodes with the complications. Cute in a very geeky way, he's truly a nice guy who's had some hard knocks, but can I base dating him on what I see in the present? Can't I get a break in this realm? Can I date someone more hard up than I? Remember me talking about throwing out the baby with the bathwater, that maybe it's a good thing? Yeah.

I don't think EEG meeting guy is my cup of tea, either. I will jokingly put on a Southern accent and say things like "ain't," but I never say things like "he don't" and I want to slap myself for being judgmental of him.

But if you aren't judgmental some how, can any opinions be formed or decisions made? He wouldn't tell me what he did for a living. Shade of Ted and honesty and he reminds me of P somehow besides just the height.

I am reading The Surrendered Single and it is helping.

I progressed on the refi on my house last week, as in I started it. Monumental for me. I checked with my bank and using them I have to submit almost nothing - divorce decree and proof of insurance. I sign one thing next week, then wait for the appraisal. Because I now have FHA (somebody explain about the interest due dates for them and if I should get some sort of refund), I want to close before July 21-ish. That should be possible.

Then I'll be right on ordering EEG equipment, software, training, and lap top. I couldn't be more excited. Anybody know of a good computer outlet besides Dell?

All my bills will be paid off, to include car. I am going to trade this @#$Mother%$%Fucking^&)% car (I plan to go to that dealership again this week and make them make good on the peeling front bumper b/c I don't want to be docked on it in a trade), then get something lateral price-wise, even if I have to go back a year. Anybody drive a Hond.a El.ement? They have so many accessories and are great for camping, even if they're funny looking.

I found a guy online who will buy my engagement setting. I will ship that and misc scrap gold out to him next week.

J comes back in the morning and starts golf camp. I go for a repeat visit to my podiatrist in the afternoon - my feet are much better, but not all the way. And I start my colored pencil class tomorrow night. Tuesday morning I go to EEG and I will deliver the painting. Then Tuesday night, J has a cartooning class.

I've been cleaning and rearranging furniture. Although I am spacey and unfocused as hell, something has clicked and I am getting some stuff done.

Summer has finally begun and we have a lot to look forward to.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sanded Siamese

This time, instead of the smooth side of Canson paper, I used Belgian Mist Wallis, a sanded paper. I am much more accustomed to using sanded paper and Wallis is conisdered premium.
This is the enlarged version of the cats. The last was about 8.5x11 and this is about 11x14, much easier to use fat pastels on.

This is more the red-orange backgound she wanted. With it being mottled, I think it'll blend more. I cut off the bottom b/c of my signature, but it is a deeper brown version of these reds.

I think it is funny that the rear one has dark whiskers while the front has light.
I captured them both being crosseyed pretty effectively, although I'm not completely happy with their eyes. These guys coloring was pretty difficult; I believe I captured that well. I'm not sure about their expressions. Sad!e's portrait looks more friendly.

I doubt I'll change it any. Plan to give it to her Tuesday at my next visit.

I think the owner will be happy.

Siamese progress

This is where I tried to transfer the design to the Canson paper. I poked holds along the lines then tried to get pastel to go through. The pastel I used was left over dust I keep on hand for things like this or making a background wash. It looks purplish gray, but you can see the colors involved. I then tried to work thought the holes with blue pastel pencil, but it failed miserably, too. I then made a carbon with some lead and tracing paper that worked beautifully.

Here I am establishing lights and darks. I try to put extra color as an underpainting to make the overpainting more rich.

I wanted to bring in more color than straight cream, so introduced some oranges and pinks. The color orange will also show in the background.

My palate is quite limited.

Establishing more richness of the coat, here I also worked the ears.

They come alive quickly once you put in the eyes. I didn't have the right color for #1, so that's three colors of blue layered. That is also a tiny space. It is tough working such a small space that needs to be so exact. I am fearing smears and their light coats will make mistakes tough to cover.
Do you think I got the light source consistent on both? I tried to imagine deeper right side shadows/greater left side highlights on #2 so they'd match #1.


Almost finished. Needs tweaking for more darkness and definitions on the faces, ears, and front paws. It's hard making their faces so dark without them looking concave instead of convex. Need to orange up the background a little more to match her family room and need to decide on what to do for the lower half's background. Eyes need to be crisper, make both look more crossed. Looks like I might finish it today or perhaps I'll study it a day or two.
What else do they need?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We are Siamese, if you please

We are Siamese, if you don't please.

Besides the body of work by Jiminy Cricket, those singing Siamese hold the special place of being my favorite Disney, bitches that they were.

I took some pictures of some Siamese today for a commission of sorts - it's a gift back for services received. She has two Siamese boys, the first with eyes so crossed it is pathetic. And cute in a perverse way.

(click to enlarge and see his crossed and vivid blue eyes)

How do you like those nails? His are blue and the other's pink. I don't think I'll paint them.

On the left below, the second has grayer eyes and is a little darker even if he is younger. His eyes are definitely crossed, but a little less so.

My client didn't expect the shy second cat to even come out, so she'd anticipated pictures and a portrait of just one cat. She said #2 was flirting with me, to use her phrase. This was the best picture I got of them together, but I wasn't quite satisfied.

After printing and fiddling, this is what I've compiled out of pieces and parts. I used the ear of #1 in the reference for the placement next to #2's body. How does it look to you? Proportional? Realistic?
Thanks for your input....
ETA: Here is another version. #2 in the back is bigger with a better angle. He's also a little lower. I like it better, although I need to extend the back farther to the right. Thanks for your input, Klynn. I want to make a grid and basically do a 1:1 translation of them. I've not done two on one page before, so I really want to get them placed correctly preliminarily. Besides that, once they're done and I get the lighting unified, it'll make a big difference in cohesion. The front has light from the rear and the back is from the right. I hope I can make that work better.

Line drawing

Values sketch (modified since)
It'll be cool having #2's ears with the sun shining through.

Here are more of them, the rest of the non-blurry ones.


#2 - he does have a more flat lion's nose

You can see #2's gray eyes. Both cats have some whites showing and both have a darker edge around them. #2 has larger, saucer eyes.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Julian Pl

Entry Sentry

I went out Saturday afternoon and painted for about 1.5 hours. I used Art Spectrum paper for the first time in a while - have been using gray pastel board 8x10. This one is on elephant color and is 8.5x11.

I think the original looks much better. I have gotten to where my paintings really have a depth and glow from a middle distance. It is a cool thing to be able to do.

Near my house, there is so much construction that it is sad. These bushes are at an entry to a house that no longer exists. Almost all the houses along this section of road have been torn down and are awaiting their mega-mansions. Apparently, this one is part of a combined 10 acre block with some other empty properties.

Well, they're not really empty. Some beautiful trees, shrubs, and vistas remain. And my goal is to depict them with grace, before the bull dozers come.
ETA: I just drove by there and they cut all the trees down today.
These bushes remain.
For now.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

New hobby

Last fall I began a new hobby and I want to share.

I love silver jewelry. And I love leverback, aka European back, earrings, but they are hard to find in retail settings. I often look at the silversmiths at festivals and come away empty, too. Now I have a solution; buy my own backs and change them off myself.

Or, better yet, make my own earrings.

Most of these are glass beads. I like them for their weight and color, although they tend to be inconsistant. I'd like to get more silver beads, crystal, and stones.

I guess I have an affinity for blue. On Saturday, I wore the long blue ones on the top left because they have copper accents and I wore a coral colored blouse.

Oh, yeah. I met girlfriends out at 9 for blues, but a couple hours before that, I squeezed in a date with a guy I've been emailing for quite some time. He's from eHar.mony and was dragging his feet too much not asking me out, so I messaged him that I'd be in his area. It worked. I like him. We're supposed to go out again. The earrings were a success.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Memory lane

If these aren't motivation to do a write up at a Damn The Asshole Boyfriend site, I don't know what would be. Of course, I'm generally wise about what I react to and I always tell you the process as I talk myself out of things. That said, this one year anniversary of breaking up followed on its heels by our two year engagement anniversary (and my 21st wedding anniversary the same day) and, well, I obsess therefore I am.

[image removed]
Smoke much?
[Damn, can't see her wedding rings.]

I finally joined in order to access her account's pictures. This is the stupid picture that was her main image. I know P did the chains and label, as he's the graphic artist type. It's odd to me, because he's not really the possessive, jealous type. Makes for a good joke. A good redneck joke. Where's the beer can?
The caption for the picture said 'to my loving and sweet bride,' (how blase is that for a newlywed? he always called me gorgeous and sexy) to which she added that it was uploaded by her new husband. So, that means he obviously knows about her and the things I knew during our phone call had to have been known by him. When he was incredulous about how much I knew during the call in February, he shouldn't have been. I'd assumed he didn't know about her, but then here he is contributing. He's being the big dummy not monitoring. Man, wouldn't that be a great twist? He doesn't pay enough attention and she cheats on him?

She has not written in my-space since before I found it. Norma thinks perhaps he asked her not to after I confronted him in February for some reason other than my confrontation. She has edited it, though. Her entries are private, only accessible by her, anyway, so there's no need to fear me there. The site doesn't have a counter, so she doesn't know who comes by. (Norma also thinks they are feeding me crap, setting me up, because of what's going on which Shancy's daughter's website, below, but the dates make that impossible. Norma is even more paranoid than I.)

The thing to fear, however, is how I'd misjudged Shancy as a mother and a person. I saw her as vulnerable (greatest fear: being hurt) and loopy in a newlywed, gaga way. Instead, it seems that she's

For the above picture, her daughter saucily provided th only comment, saying that she, "her fucking daughter," took this awesome picture in front of her shower curtain and it was before the daughter partied hardy and puked all over the place, messing up the bathroom that evening. The girl is 16.
The daughter's just came open from being private. One can only wonder her purpose. The girl proudly proclaims and writes about her belief in wh,ite sup.remicy and wh.ite po.wer in terms that are scary and inflammatory.

She also lists her occupation as half time drugger and full time dick examiner. She repeatedly touts sex, drugs, alcohol, and rock and roll as her only passions, well, beyond how superior wh-ites are, that if there is a BET, there should be a WET. Does she not realize how funny and inferior she is?
I figured out that she doesn't live with Shancy, but Shancy must have moved to this tiny town to be with her. Judging by the daughter's HSs listed, Shancy always lives by her, if not with her. Ths HS the daughter attends is the same one as L and they are in the same grade. (I can't figure out the daughter's last name, but I guess she's relatively tight with her father, so she has his surname. Shancy's 23ish yo son, who also carries on about partying and is a band guy, carries her maiden name. Shancy would have been around 21-22yo when she got pregnant with him.)

So, her my-space is open for her mother to read...her mother, who probably bought the libations for alcohol-induced bathroom mess at Thanksgiving. Or purchased by P. Or P's mother. They're peas in a pod with this under aged drinking justified by their own proclivity for the bottle or can.

I had hoped so much that this girl would be a positive and sisterly influence for L, but truth is I think she's even worse. The glaring omission in her writing and friends list is the existence of a step sister, so perhaps that hasn't gelled yet - or maybe she's been through it before and doesn't get too close. The only reference she makes to P is in a comment for one of the pictures below, in which she apologizes for being so difficult when they were starting out. Imagine how difficult she'd be if she learned that someone was cheating on her precious mother.

[image removed]
Do they both have beer guts?

What an absolutely lovely wedding. Could she be more ill-fitted? Would it have killed him to wear a t-shirt underneath? He looks greasy and not particularly happy. In fact, he's not even looking at her. He's nervous, though, squeezing the living shit out of her hands. He subconsciously did the same to me, just hanging out watching TV. Why is he slouching? He usually stood so tall. Is he confident about this?



Stop the fucking presses ............................. Jesus Fucking Christ on a pogo stick!

Last Spring, I spent probably $300-400 at Marshalls for nicer work clothes for him. That's another thing I'd been pissed about - buying him clothes he cheated on me in. It appears that he also got married in. I know bought him that tie and I'm pretty sure the shirt - while we were both fucking with him.

What kind of message is that? I believe I was at that ceremony in any number of ways. I wonder now if she was the one pushing.

I remember it now because the medium blue is electric and I debated the color. All I can say is that is was cheap and it contained his football team color, so that's his prime reason for wanting it or wearing it when I bought it.

Does he have the good graces to be conflicted at least?


There was only one comment on the wedding picture and this woman said something to the effect of "WOWWWWW!!!!!!" concerning this turn of events, so I am thinking that it happened so quickly that it wasn't announced anywhere before the fact. Heck, considering he was still professing his love for me a mere six weeks out, well, I guess he had a quick change of heart. Um, right. He's riding a gravy train with a house.

[image removed] Her face is tear-streaked and she's obviously as happy as she is homely.
I guess she's the influence for the mullet, a throw back to her HS crush days; I always clipped his hair short.

ETA: [image removed

For brite: this is the version I had. This is his mischievous look, me taking a naked picture of him the night we got engaged. His look would vary in cuteness greatly. His smile is as electric as that blue tie. Guess I like them about the same now, too.

[image removed

Us on the cruise three years ago.

[Doing this edit screwed up everybody's comments. Sorry, will try to put back in.]
I think this must be in her new house she bought a year ago. That's a draw to her, a nice house (in the boondocks, shhhhhhhh I drove out there to see it) and a good job making good money.

I believe there could be an additional draw. What sort of person lets their teenager brag about drugs, alcohol, and use to excess? A parent similar to P? A fellow alcoholic?

See, I am beginning to realize with these two, a lot of what I could say at a Damn The Asshole Boyfriend site would roll right off of her. Why would she care if someone like me broke up with him for his family allowing his 15 yo daughter to drink in public?

But she would care about being cheated on, however.

BTW, I am shopping the engagement ring again to consign it - hoping to do the set and not just the center stone. I am curious what kind she got. Probably bought it herself. Goodness knows, most guys can't afford two wedding sets in barely more than a year.

I turned off the flash to capture the detail. This set is so amazingly gorgeous. And sexy.
I am waiting on more, but I have one online quote (I'd have to send the 1ct diamond in) for $1500-2000, which is actually better than the local place where they offered $1475 on consignment for the diamonds and platinum in two rings. If they only buy the center stone, anybody want a gorgeous and oft complimented Celtic-inspired platinum set for say $600, about 1/3 retail? It'd need a center stone and perhaps center prongs.

I need this purge. It'd be funny for me to buy EEG equipment using the proceeds from P's ring. It's only appropriate. One obsession would lead to another, which should then quash all obsessions.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

When your man cheats or beats

I suppose that because most of my regular are married and that you have not seen these sites to warn others of the cold, hard reality of the dating world, but they are an interesting phenomenon and good reads:

Don't Date Him Girl - doesn't require any registration to view pictures, descriptions, or comments, although the search feature is awkward; has a good number of entries for my area; is also referenced in stories at BikerMatchmaking, which makes for good reading;

WomanSavers - has an excellent search, but logging in is required to see more than the name or location; also has a good number of entries for my area;

Out My Ex - covers males and females, although the above sites have some women included; has cutesy canned phrases to use in the descriptions which make they look hysterical, hysterical in a bad way, not funny haha; search is good and looks in a radius of a zip code but has far fewer entries than the above;

Love Fraud - advice for the duped by the duped.

I am on the fence about uploading to a site. One I'd really like to do is Luke, because there is a whole group of women who know his deal, so it couldn't be traced back to me. Doing P would be obvious, although it'd be the juiciest and most fulfilling.

Imagine finding yourself on a site like this and being so guilty so often that you don't know which is responsible. Or if you have an idea, what you might do.

I googled an unusual name of someone's user boyfriend appearing on two sites and the site whose entries came up via search was WomanSavers, but that's the hardest set of listings to get access to read. In fact, I applied to log in and still haven't gotten confirmation, them saying it takes up to 24 hours. It must be a security measure.

Security. I'd appreciate some security. One version or another of security for anyone capable of posting on these sites.

Are there others I am missing?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

At least Mona is happy

My friend first called out, "Heyyy! Are you married and a newlywed yet?"

It could have felt like a punch to the gut, but it didn't.

I''ve talked about Mona here before, but it's been a while. She had three kids where J took TKD, so I spent many hours in the waiting room with her. Mona is saucy and intimidating, but I liked her un-PC self.

The last time I saw her, P was with me. Last April, he'd come to J's test for semi-black belt and Mona's three were up for black.

Boy, was she shocked when I gave her a little run down of my year.

Then she exclaimed over and over how happy she is for me that I didn't have to go through another divorce, happy for me to have gotten away.

It was nice catching up. It was nice somebody being happy for me. While I understand the logic, I'm not happy for me, but didn't say so.

She kept volunteering that I'll find a good man soon.

Yeah, right.

Not with my track record.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Less swimming up stream

Yesterday I went to an EEG meeting for people who train independently. It was my second time going.

I did a temporal lobe session (T3/T4) , often considered the most calming EEG. [I also did an Alpha/Theta at my EEG place today and it was lovely, although not considered straight EEG. I didn't have any profound visions, except to say I was surrounded by scrumptious desserts in my mind for 30 minutes.] I tried a pRO.SHI (these can be magnetic as when I do it at my clinic, but these folks just use the colored glasses), but I couldn't get into it.

The good thing about the failed pRO.SHI was where I was sitting to do it at the opposite end of the table. I'd remembered this guy and his daughter from last month, but I talked to him this time. They were looking at J at the other end of the room playing my phone like a PSP and the daughter, Rene, was intrigued. I talked about me liking to use it when I'm stuck waiting someplace. In fact, I used it while I was at a concert alone downtown - I didn't mention the concert here, but it was one of the best I've ever been to and one of my favorite groups, JBT.

Rene's dad, Pat, took this as his chance to ask me questions like where that club is an what other venues I like to go to. I chatted mindlessly, then he asked if I might like some company some time, if I would mind putting my phone number in his cell phone. Wow! What a shock. I was wearing very baggy old shorts, tennis shoes, and no make up. But I entered my phone.

A little bit later, I was talking to his daughter (she is sweet, but kind of ditsy, so I guess normal for 14 - at least she had no black on) and I glanced at him a few times. He was staring at my legs. I was in shock. Norma had just commented last week how skinny my legs are - I prefer to think increasingly shapely and toned - but it sure was cool to be noticed.

The four of us left at the same time and his daughter was asking for food. I kind of steered clear, as I wasn't ready for a family outing, so we didn't really say goodbye. I hope it was understood.

These pills make me feel better already (although the sleep thing Friday afternoon was an aberration - they don't help me sleep), however the potential for something with a cute, friendly guy about 6'5" tall, well, I won't complain and will just hope there are no side effects.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Be gentle

Life has sucked for me lately.

Losing two grandparents and my 18 year old cat, combined with painful anniversaries and loads of obsessing, have put me over the edge. I cannot tolerate my own anger or morose attitude.

I began on an anti-depressant yesterday, Ab.ilify. It is in the same class as the sleeping med I liked so much, although it is reputed to have less sleep-inducing properties. I made the mistake of taking it yesterday afternoon and slept most of the rest of the day. Side effects and I go hand in hand. Wising up, I will take my second tonight at bedtime. I am to work up to taking two each day, but I think I'd have to take them both at night.

This is meant to be a temporary fix to get me out of this funk. It should last a couple weeks and then I can use them as needed. They work and unwork immediately, so there's no working up to it kicking in or too much to worry about for withdrawals. With this short time on and the low dosage I shouldn't have to worry much about weight gain, glucose increases, or diabetes. Isn't this a great class of drugs? Really good and really bad all at once.

I'll be able to keep some on hand to use as needed when a funk hits, before I get too far down. That means that the PMS that the bcps bring will be vanquished with ease.

The best part is that my doctor had a box of 25 for me to use.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Where's my box?

You know the bar thing that is on the bottom of the screen for MSIE 6.0? If you wave your cursor over a link on a webpage, the information pops up and you can tell where the link goes. It also charts your progress as a webpage loads.

Mine disappeared this last week. Do you know how I can find it again?

PS - I do not want to change to Firefox. I have too many Favorite Places. Also, I could never get it to not do them alphabetical, so I gave up.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Would wearing these help?

Anything would work better than what I have.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A mother's confidence

I cannot say enough how much I liked this NYT article, When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?

First summary: I am right.

Theme summary: later is better, even for the ones academically advanced. An old term applied in a new way, the phenomenon is called "red shirting."

The reasons they gave for starting later, for example, intellectual or emotional immaturity at the front end or prospects for doing better in sports or scholarships toward the end, were not in my mind when holding back my son. I wanted to give him an extra year of childhood. I also wanted him to enter college a year wiser so he'd make better decisions then about choosing his college, his major, and his drinking patterns.

Little did I realize that his reading, spelling, and writing issues would hinder him even as he started late, although he's completely on par and probably ahead now. School is easy. Homework isn't a struggle. He was recently chosen along with one other boy from his class to attend a special after school thing for bright kids. Most of the kids there were from the gifted program, something J just barely missed.

(Although being in the gifted program would look good on paper, I think the confidence he gets from being at the head of his class would be much better than struggling with the rigors of the gifted program. The increased homework would be a nightmare, although I have complained this year that he hasn't gotten enough.)

I've often thought about what it would be like if he were a grade ahead and I think the pressure he'd feel would be comparable to that he'd feel if in the gifted program at present. If he had gone on time, I fear he would have gotten behind in reading and it would have destroyed his confidence. As it is, he knows he's one of the brighter kids in his class and that success breeds more success.

I've seen it in a related realm. Used to be, doing one of the involved book/country/history projects overwhelmed him. Now, he knows what success he's had and knows the work involved. Without prompting, when talking during the project presentation, or even practice for it, he suddenly projects from his diaphragm and the quiet boy turns into a confident public speaker.

Recently, he did a project on his own at school creating a kid's information newspaper about a civilization, complete with data, pictures, captions, games, and puzzles.

He did a country report on Greece in the second grade and that knowledge has been handy in his ancient civilization studies in third grade, too.


I was floored with his third grader detail...

The caption for the temple reads: A Pitcher of the world famous Parthnon.
The caption for the hoplites reads: The Greeks have won another great battle in Turkey.
However, I kind of doubt that the Greeks are thrilled to still be controled by Rome.

cokard = conquered
He's very good at the phonetics of spelling.

I think it is "troy the city" vs. just Troy probably because his grandfather is "Troy the man."

I love this misspelling: Geeks Rule. He thought the News News part was very clever, as if the first news was part of the name, Greeks Rule News, and the media outlet is called News, too. Humor of redundancy.

His detail and artistry never ceases to amaze me. This is the entire back page of the four page creation.

I just don't think he would have this ability if he were up to a year younger than all his classmates.

His test scores should arrive this summer. We worked hard on our reviews. I'm curious if he'll do as well as we anticipate.

As an aside, WaPo has an article today entitled, Scores Up Since 'No Child' Was Signed (I won't link there directly b/c I don't want them to link here), and the report was done by an impartial group. It is a good read.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

If you can see

beyond the cuteness that is my son, isn't it amazing how much ex looks like Steve Mc.Queen? It's even more than the resemblance in this picture.

[image removed]

Oh, I forgot, I do have one other picture of him, back when we were a "happy" family.
[image removed]

Funny about life in the pre-digital age. I have to hunt for a picture of ex and my fucking computer is crawling with pictures of P. It's nice to have to hunt, meaning paper pictures are in an envelope or box somewhere and I'm not exposed.

As it is now and how often I'm in my picture files in Picasa, I see P (etc) constantly in small doses. When my hard drive failed last fall, the repair guy rescued all the pictures into one folder. At present, it still has over 6000 images in it. I weed through it constantly, tossing pictures or looking for plein air references or shots of paintings. Or old pictures of my son or grandmother. I had wanted to create all the old folders again to get organized, but that would take in depth looking at and sorting the images. Many, many are in dupe/trip, so it is quite a task. Although I've weeded a bunch out, a lot of these rescued pictures were from websites I'd visited. One in particular stands out - that website devoted to the hundreds of mothers' well loved and well stretched bodies along with many, many belly shots.

I hate those rescued pictures.

But I generally like ex now and dug around for ones of him for this. I finished doing his MP3 player this morning, has about 525 songs on it. I don't know why I am so fixated on his Father's Day, but I am. He's been good to me this year buying me the camera and a lawnmower, then supervising J mowing or doing it himself.

However, I did have to call him yesterday about something that concerned me. When J got home from his dad's on Monday morning, I noticed he'd had a nose bleed that dried inside his nostril. J balked that it'd happened (I don't remember him ever having a nose bleed before), then we began to clean and he realized it was true. Apparently, the baby at 22 months likes to bounce/sit on his head and will do so repeatedly, slamming down with her backside. He lets her. [It is kind of eerie, because he used to do that to L and she would not make him stop: "that" meaning up close contact from him sitting on the back of the couch behind her, not "that" in hurting her, just kind of scrunching/crushing in an unnecessary fashion.] It has gone too far at ex's. When I called ex, he said he told J to not let her do that, not let a baby beat him up (macho dad!), but ex let it slide and the sibling torture continued.

(Val, it sounded so familiar, but at least he pledged to not let it happen again.)

This morning, I gave J a little pep talk, that his job as a big brother is to show his little sister appropriate behavior. If he lets her do things that hurt him, he is teaching her that it is alright to hurt people. What if she did it to a dog and it bit her? She needs to learn what is polite and what is appropriate play. Yesterday, ex said she's the brute of the family, essentially with more balls than her 9yo half brother or her 16yo half brother combined. One usually thinks of the little sister as the recipient, but she is a dealer. If they let her, the dealing will only continue and get worse.

I'd upload a picture of her, but that's one face I do not have torturing me from the rescue folder. The way I understand it, inserting Steve Mc.Queen would cover her, too.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Fuck you, Courtney

and the guy who called here from two states away at 1:04 AM looking for you.

It's four hours later and there's no hope for sleep, an escape I desperately need.

Contrary to what I thought last week, today is actually the one year anniversary of my engagement break up. I am weathering nothing well. With three significant deaths in the past few months and that other heartbreaking news, I am at wits end. Lower than low. And wearing it on my sleeve.

Sometimes I resent the weekends I have my son and have to be the mom, but it's so much better than being alone. I dread the weeks he's gone this summer, but am glad right now that it isn't going to be in the usual four week block.

I saw Waitress Friday night; I also saw the young, cute, flirty African employee who'd asked me out last summer. I grinned. From ear to ear. Then darted off. I felt so silly. That was a nice transition considering that on the way in, a guy stole my parking place and I had to park a mile away.


Except for it beginning with a POAS ceremony, Waitress was a very good movie. Keri Rus.sell was a tower of strength. My favorite relationship line in the movie was to this effect, "Let's stop this now before there's a body count." Billy, the crazy brother from Soprano's, was plum bat shit as her husband. The Southerner in me loved seeing Andy G.riffith be a cantankerous old man. Cheryl Hines was quite saucy, but I could not stop thinking about Adrienne Sh.elly.

Saturday afternoon, I went to J's scout advancement ceremony. He's so ambivalent about scouting in general, but she sure was proud when presented with his patch and new Weeblos stuff. It made me happy to see him vested.

Then I went camping. Fewer people showed up than I expected, but I am glad I went, although I feel like I had too much vodka and babbled too much. Guess I needed it. Brought my pastels to paint in the morning, but it began to rain shortly after I got up, so I was home around 8:30.

I felt down in the dumps all day, but worked productively on an online photo album project, and Norma called about walking. I declined, but she's good at pushing me when I need it. We walked in the mist. We walked in the drizzle. We walked in the rain. We walked in the downpour. We walked in the deluge. We got very, very wet. In our t-shirts.

For today's weekly EEG, I'm going to ask if they can just reverse the electric flow and fry my brain as a public service. One should not have to try so hard and fail at being happy.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Pictures: the simpleton post

J insisted that Memphie would have his eyes open for one picture. Poor cat, but he is so flexible and sweet. They give the wrong impression, but you can really see his fangs here. Even his vet called him Dracula recently.

Besides my foot, here you can see J's teeth really well, too - braces in a month! Spencie was feeling very playful.

He was so playful, you can see the nail he lost sitting in J's hair!

This is an absolute ruse. Lasted about two seconds. Memphie was purring and fine with it, dared to roll over to get his belly rubbed, and Spencie suddenly behaved like my sister and I in the back seat of the car when one of us crossed The Line of War.

I was drawn to post today, but didn't have much to say. I wrapped up the PO stuff in yesterday's comments and am going to the bank/store to buy an MP3 player today, as I will drive by my "boss's" house to check it while he's gone, and I take my divorce decree to my ex husband one more time as he refinances one more time after he can't find the papers one more time. They refi every six months, I swear. So, to hunt down the papers here, but I'll earn a set of braces off of my efforts.

Tap dancing, I am trying not to think of the bad anniversary tomorrow.
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