At 5:30 AM, I literally sat up straight in bed.  I knew that there was no sleep to be had.  As I shuffled around the bedroom, MK asked me why I was up.  I responded, “Because I am awake.”  My internal alarm had gone off for some reason.  When it goes off, I heed its call!

I had slept well although seem to have experienced strange dreams.  Every so often I would somewhat awaken to mentally rehash the story line of the dream.  At that point, I wasn’t sure whether it was dream or reality.

So, up I am and set to making the coffee and then to a task I didn’t want to do later.  Before going to bed I had thrown a load of wash in.  Our front loading washer is wonderful, but unfortunately we didn’t follow a Koerner tenet, never to buy something when it is a new model.  Despite the fact that the Europeans have been successfully producing front loading washers for what seems like centuries, we Americans are new to it.  Our model works well but it took us a while to figure out its quirks.  One of the quirks is that you cannot leave the door closed as it will begin to take on a musty odor from the moldy matter it must be producing.  We also learned that you can use almost no detergent, it needs to be very small in volume.  Excess soap makes must as well, or so I am told.

So, I went down to the laundry room after my toilette and coffee production to deal with the laundry.  I knew that I had to deal with the issue of folding the laundry in order to place the new laundry on the racks.  That took a bit of time and then I was finally able to install the newly washed whites from last night.

It is now 6:30 AM and I am finally seated with my cup of coffee.  It is time to reflect on yesterday and today.  I got my coffee and took out the recycling and picked up the newspaper which is too large for Ali to deal with.  I almost killed myself on the slippery pavement which is ice covered from Snowmageddon and now has at least an inch of white fluffy snow.  Apparently we are going to have our record beaten this year.  In the past there were never more than three years in a row with over 50 inches of snow.  The past three years were over that limit and we were at 47 inches the other day.  I am guessing this is a “no brainer” and we shall have a new record. 

Yesterday was nice despite the less than auspicious beginning after our exercise foray.  We went to the nursing home to take clothing for MK’s mom.  Once there we learned that she had not been cooperating.  For us, news of this nature is never a surprise.  We dialogued with the nurses and staff, made them aware that we had two charges in the facility, which surprised a good many of them, and we informed them that we understand what they are going through and that we are very supportive.  We told them, as well, that MK’s mom is to get dressed each day and they are to try to make sure she gets in her rehab and tries to socialize a bit.  We even managed to get her to lunch and she seemed to enjoy it.  My mom was her usual self and doing fine with the situation although she hasn’t been eating as much.  She has lost weight and I think she may have gotten into some bad habits while waiting for her mouth to heal and for her new dentures.  Anyway, there is always something.

We saw The King’s Speech in the early part of the afternoon.  It was amazing from so many standpoints.  I was in awe of the way that the film was made and managed to keep you involved despite what seemed to be a very simple plot that wouldn’t be able to hold your attention for the whole film.  The actors, Colin Firth in particular, managed to totally convince the spectator of the seriousness of the undertaking.  The pain of “Bertie,” AKA King George VI, was evident, obvious, and strongly felt by the audience.  It was a great film and managed to keep us awake throughout the whole time, which at my age is how you can measure the interest of a film!

Did I mention it was snowing?  I just opened up the blinds so we can enjoy the beauty of the falling snow which is continuing to come down in a steady, but persistent way.

We ended up last night going to a Tapas Restaurant with one of MK’s colleagues and spouse.  We had a delightful dinner and then returned home.

Yesterday I also completed my tutoring schedule for the coming week.  I am tutoring two girls consistently each week and yesterday I received an e-mail from another who wants to make sure she understands The Stranger by Albert Camus, one of my all time favorite books. 

The kids are supposed to be heading north this morning for a Super Bowl Day of skiing.  I kind of thought that they were on an early schedule, Samantha is to spend time with “Mumma” and Papi today.  We shall see.  That newspaper seems to be inviting me to read it.  Now that I have my world in control and can approach it and see what is going on.

Oh yes, the Super Bowl.  Weirdo that I am, I am probably not watching it.  Honestly, had the Bears been involved, I would have at least attempted to watch a bit, maybe even more than a bit.  I shall be glad when the game is over; I am sure tired of being asked at the grocery store if my stockpiling is due to that celebration!  Traditionally, we always find something to do that is usually crowded, on this Sunday, during the game, crowded venues are amazingly empty and so much more enjoyable!

Time for some more coffee…


Day Thirteen of Daddy Boot Camp

So, we have arrived at day thirteen of Daddy Boot Camp.  Life is settling into the routine that it seems my body and personality so crave.  Am I totally comfortable with the new routine?  Yes and No.  Do I miss the old routine?  Yes and No.  Has it been smooth?  Very, with a minor blip or two along the way.  Frankly, if there were none, I would be worried.

I think that blips are sometimes blown out of proportion.  Blips are a necessary part of the healing process and are part of just about any process. I have counseled countless parents over the years who complained or worried about their “normal” kids because they would have an issue or two, not be as academically motivated as they should, or just not be as “perfect” as the kid next door.  My take is that the mini issues are a normal part of growing up and that the so called perfect ones are the ones I would really worry about. So often that “perfection” hides some very scary things that might surface at a later time.

Although a blip might well be unpleasant, it is necessary and it must be dealt with and not shoved under the proverbial rug.

It is cold outside and the heat seems to be going nonstop since early in the morning when our house started to warm up again after its thermostatic setback for the night.  Ali is sleeping in a semi awake pose at my feet as I look out the window as I write. She is getting ready to greet the rest of the family when they wake up and come downstairs.

Mike has pretty much been cooking up a storm here.  He has always loved to cook and he does it extremely well; it is also a great way to heal as you creatively mold the food items into a sparkling dinner array that soothes the soul, and it really does.

It is going to be a somewhat busy day.  I have three tutoring sessions in French today in the afternoon to attend to.  Tutoring is a most amazing experience at times as you see the light bulb go on in a student’s head as he/she finally understands the concept. It can be deadly as well when you are tutoring someone who is being tutored because the parent is unhappy over the French grades and yet the student hasn’t bought in.  As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink.  One thing I try to impart is the love of the language and culture in general.  Sometimes, that is lost in the usual French class and as a tutor I can actually easily inject that in the one on one situation. 

The most important thing I need to impart when tutoring is confidence which leads to motivation.  When the confidence isn’t there, and it usually isn’t when I have to tutor someone, the language learning is severely impacted. I find so often that the students just really think that they cannot handle it and I remind them that millions of less than brilliant French children learn to speak French every day!  Perhaps they shall not all reach French speaking nirvana, but they can earn to communicate well, if they have the inclination.  For some reason, in our teaching of things, the one thing we could truly work more on is in intimidating them less. 

I have mentioned that things happen for a reason in my life and I am currently reading a book by one of Christian’s friends from high school, Sum Lucid by Jason Shimberg.  Jason explains that the title is in Latin and means “I am sane.” I find it to be a therapeutic moment and my understanding is that his writing served that very purpose for him.  Jason acknowledges the fact that he is bipolar and has had an often frightful journey through life reaching his tender age of the early thirties.  He talks of “incarceration and hospitalization” and helps the reader experience the pain of living in a society that neither understands nor accepts his situation.  Last night as I was lying in my bed with my therapeutic night read before going to sleep I chanced upon a sentence in his book of prose intermingled with poetry that clearly is sitting in my head, “I was in and out of psych wards like balanced people go through socks.”  I just keep wondering about all of the various issues that arise as we journey through life and keep questioning why we cannot learn to better deal with them.

Jason’s book is not one that I would ever normally pick up and read, it is not my genre.  Given that he is a friend of my son’s, I made sure to purchase a copy and see what it is all about.  I am so glad I did.  Not only is it an interesting read, it gives so much insight into the plight of a really good, talented, intelligent individual.  He is trying to make his way through life and finds that there are a million roadblocks above and beyond his actual illness, roadblocks that probably inevitably destroy most people, but as I can see, will not destroy him.  He has the human spirit necessary to heal and to help others at the same time.  He has figured out what he needs to do.  He is helping himself, helping people who are bipolar, and others like me who are dealing with different, yet similar issues.

Mary Kay is up, the little coffee left in my Christmas mug is no longer hot, yet it still tastes good to me as I sip it bit by bit.  Snow is falling lightly and although the sun isn’t shining, it is one beautiful day in the northern suburbs of Chicago.  Life goes on and it is still good!

Happy Feet and Le Petit Prince

As I am watching bits and pieces of the movie Happy Feet, I cannot help but think of some similarities between it and Le Petit Prince.

Not that they are the same, but I find that both are multi-level works.  Each has a decidedly “children” look to it but yet has other levels that are seen by the older crowd.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Le Petit Prince (here are a few of the adult themes that immediately come to mind):

  • organization
  • friendship
  • loss
  • love
  • dealing with problems
  • incomplete people who don’t realize it
  • imagination
  • being stifled by others because of their “tunnel vision” and/or narrow-mindedness
  • creativity
  • art as something for everyone

Happy Feet (some of its adult themes):

  • being different and not accepted
  • learning disabilities
  • ecology and the effects of the modern world on the environment
  • society values which may not encompass all they should
  • loss
  • love
  • dealing with problems
  • incomplete people who don’t realize it
  • imagination
  • being stifled by others because of their “tunnel vision” and/or narrow-mindedness
  • creativity
  • art as something for everyone


As I look at them, I see more and more in common.