Monday, September 17, 2012

Young Tony Danza

Chloe wants to participate in a lot of extra-curricular activities these days. Sadly, we don't have the time or money to do gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, AND dance (to name just a few) while Connor is simultaneously playing the sport of the season.

But recently we opened Chloe's homework folder to find the greatest note ever. A student at Rhodes was offering a free weekly ballet class to students at Snowden! It seems her idea was to have a class for anyone in the community who wanted to experience dance, and she expected maybe a dozen (poor, underserved) kids to show up. Fortunately, she wasn't too upset when all the cheap-ass middle-class moms showed up en masse with their tutu-loving progeny in tow.

I've wanted Chloe to take dance for some time, but New Ballet Ensemble just seemed to expensive and intense for our fickle curiosity and everything else was in a weird location. This is a perfect opportunity for Chloe to get a feel for things and for us to decide if we need to pursue this beyond just buying the outfit. (Can you believe that the leotard was the only thing we already owned?) We'll see where things stand when we have a semester of classes under our belt.

Gidget approves.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fair Day

Memphis City School kids are out on the town today while the teachers have an in-service day. I've heard so many people say, "A day off? Already?" like this is the craziest thing ever. But we've always had a Friday off in September, for as long as I can remember as a parent, teacher, and student. Only back when I was a student, it wasn't called "In-Service Day." It was called "Fair Day," remember? It was marketed like some benevolent holiday that allowed us to experience the Mid-South Fair, instead of a time for teachers to actually get work done without having to stop and yell at us to STFU every ten minutes.

I went to the fair here and there, but I don't remember ever begging my parents to let me go. Part of that is because I had plenty of opportunity to experience that kind of stuff at Libertyland and Camden Park (the amusement park in Huntington, WV, where my people are) so the fair wasn't all that novel. We even made trips to Opryland and Kings Island when I was a kid. Amuesment parks were just a thing we did, so I have ridden rides (and accepted the fact that I just don't love them) my whole life. This is not the case for my children.

A few years ago, Connor went to the fair for a friend's birthday. I think it was when he was five, and he swears he doesn't remember it. (This doesn't surprise me, as he probably doesn't remember what he had for breakfast this morning either.) We've never taken the kids before, because the Delta Fair is around Labor Day and they seem to usually be in Nashville for Labor Day. But now we're at the point where their peers are bragging about the rides and the food and the games and they want to go to the fair already, Mom, why won't you take us?!?!?!?

So we did. And I swear, I'm not exaggerating when I tell you it cost a million dollars (plus $5 for parking). I was prepared for that reality, but I was sort of caught off guard by how the kids approached the fair. I've just always been so used to riding rides that I forgot they had no context for it at all. They couldn't figure out what they should or shouldn't ride, because they had no idea what would be fun or what would be scary. We started them off slowly by riding the smaller of the two Ferris Wheels with them. But they still spent a lot of time running around looking at people riding rides before they were ready to commit to something.

Connor got over it quicker than Chloe. Early on, he rode some swing things that were new to him but fairly tame- not the baby swing ride but not the super-high one, either. But Chloe wanted no part of it, so we just watched Connor. Then, two hours later, she rode the super-high swing ride like it was no big thing. And that made sense- she had literally never ridden a ride in her life. She had to ease into it. So it was fun to watch them progress through the fair and see what they said yes and no to. Almost worth wiping out Chip's retirement fund so we could afford a turkey leg before we left. Don't worry- I've already started saving for next year. Now that they've had a taste of it, there's no turning back.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Memphis Day

Saturday was gorgeous, so we spent it outside. First we went to Rock for Love 6 in Overton Square, to get some lunch and see what was happening. Then we ran over to Rhodes for an hour or so to check out the new football field, before heading back to RFL6 to see the Rock n Romp activities that were set to begin later in the day. It was a fun, busy day.

The kids were especially excited about the Huey's Experience, where you could blow toothpicks through straws to your heart's content, write on the walls, and have your face painted. (Although I don't remember ever having my face painted at Huey's, I have done the other things before!) Chloe was disappointed there were no burgers, as her appetitie for red meat is never sated. But she ended up with some cotton candy, so she was willing to overlook this flaw in the experience.

We saw almost everyone we know at RFL6. It was hard to tear ourselves away to check out the game, but Connor really wanted to see some football in person and we all wanted to check out the new field. We had fun at Rhodes, but couldn't wait to get back to the scene at Overton Square. It was such a great Memphis day- so many friends, great music, a Grizzlies-themed bounce house, the amazing work of the Church Health Center- plus the gorgeous weather. Just wonderful.

Then this happened, and my kids died and begged for their own drum kit and took videos to show Grammy because they could not believe this awesomeness.

The day was so perfect that it almost made me forget that I'm mad it's September and summer is almost over! Memphis does a great job of filling September Saturdays with fun things to do. I look forward to enjoying the rest of them with you!

Monday, September 10, 2012

That's Entertainment

Friday night was movie (and hot fudge sundae) night for Team Chockleyblog. OF COURSE, Connor and Chloe stood at the Redbox for several hours arguing over what to rent. (This is why we got the movie before heading into Kroger for our treats- that ice cream would have been soup by the time this ordeal had finished.) Connor was pushing for The Three Stooges or Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Chloe wanted We Bought a Zoo. I was super-excited that both The Rock and Matt Damon were in play here, so I upped our rental from one movie or two. Then Connor stood there trying to argue that our two movies should be the two he wanted to see. Seriously? The ego on that kid! When pressed to pick ONE, he picked the damn Three Stooges movie. SMH!

If you know anything about We Bought a Zoo, then you aren't suprised to hear that I cried for the entire two hours. ENTIRE. TWO. HOURS. I occasionally had to leave the room to gather my composure and not scare the kids. I was definitely surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The only glaring problem was that 40-something widower Matt Damon, who has two kids, is going to have his rebound relationship with 20-something ScarJo. Who happens to be the head zookeeper. When they break up, things are going to be AWKWARD. I mean, she obviously will have to get a new job, and she's been working there since she was a teenager! She can probably sue him, though, once they get to that point. Probably.

And then, movie #2. I can't rationally discuss the cinematic shit stain that is The Three Stooges. Here are the bits and pieces that my therapist and I have recovered through hypnosis, as I try to salvage parts of my life that were lost that night:
There are nuns in this movie, and they are played by Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, Kate Upton, and Larry David.
Any movie with Sofia Vergara should be rated at least PG-13, just based on her body looking like that.
The entire cast of Jersey Shore is prominently featured in this movie, giving it the timeless quality you would expect from a Three Stooges vehicle.
When Sofia Vergara came on screen, Chloe said, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF THE MEATBALLS! and that was the funniest thing that happened the whole movie.
The DVD was damaged, obviously from someone who extracted revenge on the disc after being subjected to the horrors contained within, and it caused the movie to skip ahead at one point, giving me at least ten minutes of my life back. It's the little things that make family movie night special. From now on, I will include the person who scratched that DVD in my nightly prayers.

Next week? Journey 2: The Mysterious Island! But will I be able to follow the plot if I haven't seen Journey 1?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


The kids went to Nashville this weekend to hang out with their grandparents. Chip and I were home alone! What does one do when there are no kids to take care of? Good question! Let me answer it for you.

Saturday morning Chip drove the kids to Exit 101, halfway to Nashville. I went to Jazzercise instead of accompanying him. As it is, the kids hug and kiss me before each Jazzercise class as if I'm going to be away from them for several days, rather than just an hour, so I figured we could just kill two birds with one stone this time.

After my class, I called Chip to see if he was home yet. Not quite. "Do you need me for any reason?" the mom in me asked. "Nope," he replied. OMG. No one needs me? I went to the Farmer's Market, and then to my mom's house. I got home when I felt like it. No one complained. This is crazy.

When I got home, I fixed lunch for only myself. Then I read a book while Chip processed pictures from a wedding he shot recently. Music played in the background. No one talked. Blissful.

Next, we went to a 901 Day concert at Shangri-La and heard Caleb Sweazy, Jeff Hulet, and Chad Nixon play some songs. Then we went to see The Dark Knight Rises. That movie is not even animated! After the movie, the skies were dark and scary. We went to Sharky's and rode out the storm watching college football in their bar while eating sushi and other seafood-y things. Another meal I did not fix.

The most amazing thing that happened Saturday was that we were flipping channels that night and came across a Sammy Hagar concert. This led us to look him up on the internet (because who is that badass chick playing bass for him?), at which time I learned that Sammy is going to be 65 next month. Sixty-five. As in, YEARS OLD. He was born one year after my mom. How is that possible? My mind is blown.

On Sunday, we slept in. Not even the cat attempted to wake us up early. Have I ever been this lucky? Perhaps sometime around the year 2000, when I didn't have kids or pets. I barely remember that time. Then we both walked the dog, together. Isn't that a weird thing to be excited about? No one had to stay home with the kids, and no whining kids were dragged along on the walk despite their most urgent wishes to be lazy and immobile. Next, we went to brunch with Tiffany and Mark at South of Beale. Then I got to see Chip's new office and we walked around the music festival before heading home. Then we did quiet, solitary things like read, shop, process pictures, etc. There might have been napping. It probably would have been a good time to clean or pay bills, but that just seemed silly.

Sunday night we cooked a good dinner and watched The Hunger Games. Then we went to bed at a decent hour and slept in the next day. Sleep! SO MUCH SLEEP! It was glorious. Then we went and picked up the kids, and not a minute too soon, because I missed them like crazy.