Archive for the ‘grandchildren’ Category

Tucson, Mid-July

July 10, 2017

It’s 110° and the clouds are building up over the mountains for our anticipated monsoons, but the humidity is only 9%, so guess it won’t rain tonight.  Yesterday evening had eight drops of rain on my kitchen window!

For the Fourth of July we had BBQ with another family (also with a grandmother included).  The family room had an enormous television on the entire time with a miscellaneous movie.  Some of the kids watched it for ten minutes or so.  The living room was taken up by a jumping castle, kinda like this one.  Six kids, from three to eleven, make an incredible din!

Dinner.  It was much too hot to eat outside so we adults got the dining room, the kids the breakfast room.  The father smokes his own pork, and the pulled pork was incredible delicious. (I didn’t try the ribs.)  My daughter made sangria and marvelous hors d’oeuvres (prosciutto spread with boursin, wrapped around asparagus), I brought watermelon with a cute sculpture on top (which I copied from an internet video, but it’s no longer there!) all of which the kids devoured, and there was coleslaw and a potato salad and a red-white-and-blue cake which I didn’t even taste, I was so full.

Then fireworks in the street.  (In Arizona you’re only allowed fireworks that stay on the ground, so sparklers and smoke bombs are popular.)  After which we drove to a school parking lot above Naranja Park, so we didn’t have to battle for parking, and watched the fireworks with about a dozen other clever families, all with camp chairs.

The coyote wandered by my fence yesterday afternoon, which is no doubt why the ground squirrels are not agilely climbing over my fence today to dine on the wandering jew, with mint for dessert.  (Oops – until just now!)

There was a cactus  longhorn beetle at my door yesterday.  Then are very large, and eat chollas and prickly pear cacti.

Had the grandsons (six and eight) over Friday afternoon, as the rental agency had a guy fixing the leak in the drip system. (! I thought I’d have to do it, so spent two days digging a hole to the PVC pipe in this hard hard dirt.)  The boys got into my games cabinet and I taught them pente, mastermind, and backgammon.  The youngest wants to play monopoly all of the time, but I’ve gotten tired of it.  We played battleship, jenga, and Jamaican-style dominoes at their house the other day.  (You can only spend so much time in the pool!)

Reading

To get my mind off politics, and instead of streaming any more TV series in the evening (except for binging on Anne With an E, and the movie Okja), had read a few scifi.  Got an audio book from the library, an oldie, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein (used to read a lot of his novels), about a lunar colony’s revolt against rule from Earth.  Interesting look at the future.  The guy who does the reading does the many accents very well.  I usually fell asleep to it, then had to figure where I left off.

Next read The Mote in God’s Eye, by Niven and Pournelle, about the first contact between humanity and an alien species.  Creative take on aliens (not limited to two arms and two legs, as the aliens in the “gateway drug”, Star Trek, which were restricted due to budget – except for the tribbles).  Heinlein described the story as “possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read.”

Then I finally got A Man Called Ove,  an international bestseller, recently translated from Swedish, from the library as CD’s, as I enjoy someone reading to me at night.  Loved it!  Laughed and cried (numerous tissues).  Highly recommend it.  It’s now a movie, nominated for two Academy Awards, streaming on Netflix.  Wonder if I’d like that as much as the book…

The New York Times had an article, Summer Reading Books: The Ties That Bind Colleges (college-summer-reading), last Sunday.  Shall put a number of the recommended books (Just Mercy, Hillbilly Elegy, and possibly Silence, which is now a movie, as well as others) on my request list at the library after I get back from my next trip, visiting cousins in Colorado.

Politics

Speaking of which, also in the Times, was a commentary, The Problem With Participatory Democracy Is the Participants.  I was insulted.  You may wish to read it and comment: participatory-democracy

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End of the School Year

May 20, 2017

First there was the kindergarten graduation. (My youngest grandchild’s photo here with his proud parents.)  I think this is beyond silly, but that grandson also had a pre-school graduation!  Interesting that they sang about learning the alphabet, while my grandson has read the entire Adventures of Tintin series.  And they counted to ten in Spanish.  He can add three-digit numbers in his head.  My daughter said that’s because he is a competitive third child.

Then the second grade performance, followed the next week by the middle child’s piano recital. (Pictured here with his instructor.)

Next the fifth grade performance  (granddaughter pictured here at the microphone).  They sang about memories from first grade to fifth, nostalgically.

 

 

The next day was the elementary school orchestra, band, and chorus performance.  (My granddaughter still plays the violin, although she only practices about 3½ minutes a day.)  Two boys, middle school to high school age, sat to my right, both hunched at a 45° angle over their phones, playing video games the  entire time.  While the orchestra and band (which consisted of one clarinet, no flutes, about a dozen trumpets – with no mutes, a sax, and four drums – imagine the cacophony bouncing around that hard-surfaced room) performed from the floor of the multipurpose room, the chorus sat on bleachers on the stage fidgeting, one with her new Fidget Spinner,  another picking at her toenail, some chatting with each other, and no one sitting up straight.  Luckily all of the girls in dresses were also wearing tights, as they they were all sitting with legs akimbo.  Just more than half of the performers were dressed up (my granddaughter in a pink sparkle dress, a few boys in suits and ties), and the others in ragged T-shirts and jeans.  The jeans that the violin soloist wore had holes in the knees.

Finally the oldest boy’s taekwondo finale.  He is now in training to get this black belt, so he can start sparing.  Free classes in the summer for parents or grandparents.  Actually thinking of doing it again, with a few caveats.  I did mess up my left knee four-and-a-half years ago, demonstrating a taekwondo kick for the boys.1

And I’m finished with my last semester teaching at Pima.  This one burned me out.  A class of students just out of high school, who couldn’t be bothered to attend class or do all of their assignments.   Started with 18, then four dropped, and another four pretty much just stopped coming.  Those who did finish seemed positive about the class, and two of the girls actually hugged me, but that’s it.

Seen Today

Those were not dried grasses my mouse had gathered in the storage shed, they were pieces from my broom that it had chewed off!

On my fence this evening – a rosy finch, a male quail (watching over his family from above) and a pair of lovey doveys.  (Okay – I’ve made an adjective into a noun, but those doves do go at it.)

Drug Cartels

On the radio one morning they were discussing a drug cartel in Hermosa, Mexico and I thought they called it the Golf Cartel, so immediately I pictured the drug lords and their minions in golf attire.  Then I realized that they had said the Gulf Cartel.

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/who-would-you-rather-have-babysit-your-children/