Monday, June 28, 2010

He's Back!

Thing 2 is back from his Washington D.C. adventure! As I went thru his pictures it was obvious that I need to send him to a photography class. But someone took this pic of him and it's my favorite.

I'm going to let him post tomorrow and tell you all about his trip. Because he was there and I wasn't but more importantly because when he reads my blog he's going to see that Thing 1 got to write a guest post and he will throw seven kinds of fits about how that is the most unfair thing in the entire universe. So until tomorrow...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Guest Post

Thing 1 has been driving me batshit crazy asking when I'm going to blog about his flags. I finally told him to do it himself. So here you go.

'Lo, fair people o' th' blogosphere! It's me, Thing 1. What a dippy nickname. Not that I didn't like the book...

Anyhoo, the point is that I'm a big flag buff. I have amassed a collection of twelve flags: eight 3x5 feet, three 12x18 inches, and one triangular flag of my mumsy's University. The ones you can't glimpse in these images are the aforementioned University flag, the 12x18 flags of Merrie England and Brave Scotland, and the 3x5 flags of Iran and Australia. I've got three Iranian: Imperial, Islamic, and Neutral Tricolour. They're simply lovely. Except the Islamic one; it looks like it's got an onion on it.

Some little funny things about flags intrigue me. For example, Libya has the world's simplest and most dreadfully boring flag: plain green, nothing else. Even the near-indistinguishable banners of Poland and Indonesia are more interesting! They're both two horizontal stripes; one red, one white. Look it up and try to memorize the difference. Go on, I dare you.

And without further ado or attempts to spark interest in flags, I give you them in all their glory!

Alright, I fooled you here. Whilst I searched mine humble dwelling-quarters for interesting things to photograph, I thought I might present this globe of mine. It's very useful, but I must remind myself that it gets one detail wrong: In Europe, in presents Yugoslavia, aka Serbia & Montenegro, as a real nation. That loose state union dissolved in 2006, when Montenegro withdrew, leaving Serbia. Then in 2008 the partially-recognized (and ridiculously small) nation of Kosovo seceded, sparking Serbian outrage. Funny, they didn't seem to mind with Montenegro. Maybe it was just the last straw.

Tally ho, chaps! Here's my jolly good Union Jack, eh wot! It cleverly combines the already smashing good flags of England, Scotland, Wales, and (Northern) Ireland! Though not Welsh, I am English-Scottish, meaning I'm technically British, cheerio! It's like a delicious combination of haggis and blood sausage! Oh wait, British food sucks. And I don't drink alcohol... Oh, to bloody hell with the food metaphor!

This TOTALLY RADICAL flag I found on a site known as Not to advertise, but they've got some pretty creative stuff in there, like a USA/Mexico "friendship flag." Anyways, this flag you see above is a combination of those of the United States and Canada, eh? I think it would be awesome to bring to some close-to-the-border city or convention between Americans and Canadians. You want one too, admit it. Come on, you know you do.

In the foreground here might be my favorite, namely an Iranian flag. (You can see my U.S. and Canadian flags behind it.) I have a larger version of this as well in case you weren't paying attention, but this one I prefer because of its portability. So this flag is the one used when the Shah was in power. Not that I exactly like the Shah, but I do like the super-cool Lion & Sun design. It's become more of a patriotic symbol nowadays. Yeah, a badass lion holding a frickin' sword with the sun rising behind it. That beast could kill you just by looking at you. It could also even kill Chuck Norris in a fierce battle. But definitely not Mr. T.

The tricolor bit might be my favorite thing about it. Honestly, what three colors in what combination go together more beautifully? You should see it wave. In fact, you should see me dance. You should see me dance to Thriller. Yeah, baby!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mr. Thing 2 Goes to Washington - Day One

Thing 2 is off with a group of his classmates on a whirlwind trip to Washington D.C. I thought about volunteering to go along as a chaperone until I saw their itinerary. They will stop at every single sight in the greater D.C. area for about seven nanoseconds. I'm pretty sure their schedule would kill me by the second day.

Sea-Tac airport is about an hour away from our house. To catch their 6am flight, the kids had to be at their school at Two. Thirty. A. M.

I got up to say goodbye but Husband drove him. Gag.

When Husband returned from his middle of the night expedition he declared that his son is a super genius.

There are five boys and fifty girls going on this trip. From the moment Thing 2 stepped out of the car at the school he was surrounded with girls. As were the other four boys. Geniuses, all five.

So here are the text messages I've received from him since he left on his adventure...

4:30am Smooth sailing. Just got my boarding pass. Waiting.

I didn't get this until 8am. Since I had gone back to bed and all.

11:53am Arrived at layover city. Busy going from one gate to another. Getting pizza. Forward to Richmond! Will take one Dramamine tablet now. Text if I need to know something.

Wonder if he will eat anything other than pizza for the next five days? Notice how he doesn't know that his layover is in St. Louis.

2:03pm Arrived at Richmond. Slept through most of flight. All okay.

I knew the Dramamine would knock him out. Probably should have given the chaperones enough for all of the kids to have one.

4:43pm and ice cream.

He's gonna come home leaking pizza sauce out of his pores.

7:02pm Bus stopped at hotel. Awaiting my turn. Low battery. Text you again in a few minutes. Took lots of pics today.

7:41pm Dear god, how will I survive the night? My roommates are flatulent, cuss-crazy buffoons.

I miss you too sweetie.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thanks Dad

Thanks for teaching me how to ride a bike.

Thanks for giving me your sarcastic, smart-ass sense of humor.

Thanks for tough love.

Thanks for taking me camping and not making me bathe the whole time.

Thanks for scaring the shit out of me on your little sailboat.

Thanks for showing me how to weld and use the torch for my middle school project.

Thanks for taking me to baseball games and letting me throw the peanut shells on the ground.

Thanks for making me play sports even in the rain because you never let your team down.

Thanks for encouraging me.

Thanks for always loving me and making me feel special.

Thanks for being the first man in my life.

I love you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Fourteen years ago my babies were in incubators. They were super tiny and stayed in the ICU for two weeks. When they came home, outfits in "preemie" size were too big.

Now they are taller than I am, super handsome, and FOURTEEN YEARS OLD!

And I have a lot more gray hair.

Happy birthday Thing 1 and Thing 2, I love you both to the moon and back!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Seven Years in the Making

In 2003 I started taking a class here and a class there at the local community college.

Seven years later, here I am.

It's funny - I didn't cry during the ceremony but now, looking at the pictures, I'm bawling my eyes out. After all the blood, sweat, and tears I finally finished!

Many, many, many times I've wanted to quit. When I had to miss field trips with the kids classes because I had school, when I did homework in the emergency room waiting for Grandmother to be seen by a doctor, when we had to come up with another quarter's tuition and book money, when the kids had to get their own dinner because Husband was working late and I was studying, when, when, when...

But my family got me thru it. Mom and Stepdan were only a short drive away anytime I needed any help at all.

This diploma is for them too.

Dad and Stepmonster Shelly hopped on a plane more than once to help care for Grandmother when I was buried in schoolwork. They let me rant on the phone and always encouraged me to keep going and not give up.

This diploma is for them too.

Super Scientist Genius Brother inspires me to aim higher and take chances.

Grandmother did Thing 1 and Thing 2's laundry and made sure they did their homework when I wasn't home.

The kids were quiet when I had to study, waited patiently for me when I was late picking them up, brought me Diet Coke when I was writing, and gave me love and support when I really needed it.

But it is Husband who has been my rock. Night after night he would come home from working 10 hours and make dinner because I was still studying. He attended band concerts alone during finals week, cleaned the house and did laundry, wrangled the kids into doing their chores and homework on weekends I spent at the library, and never EVER complained. He listened when I needed to talk, hugged me when I got a bad grade, and encouraged me every single step of the way.

This diploma is for him too.

I tell my younger, more 'traditional' classmates, that going to college is a million times easier when you are young and don't have family, home, and business responsibilities - and it's true. But my experience in college, while more difficult logistically, has shown me in a million different ways how amazingly lucky I am.

The diploma may have my name on it but it belongs to my whole family, they have earned it just as much as I have.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Walking on Sunshine

Today THIS is how I'm feeling! (I can't embed the video *pout* but it has been one of my favorite songs forever and is on high rotation in my iPod.)

The letter I received in the mail today starts:

Dear Ms. Whaever,

Congratulations! I have approved your acceptance to the University of Washington Graduate School for Autumn Quarter 2010 as recommended by the graduate admissions committee...

I'm pretty sure that wherever you were when I read that, you heard me scream.

Accepted. To. Grad. School.

Husband - sweet, sweet man that he is - told me that he never doubted I'd get in. I've heard the same thing from other people, including my senior advisor. But I doubted it. I had nagging doubts that maybe I was too old, too out of touch, not quite smart or witty enough - do you know those doubts? Do they sometimes keep you up at night too? I am my own worst critic. No matter how hard I work I think I could do more, do better, go beyond. But not today - today I am silencing my inner critic.

And I'll sleep like a log tonight.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Brutal Honesty

My senior thesis is a play. Yup. When the opportunity presented itself I took the plunge and wrote a play instead of yet another research paper. This from a student who has taken ZERO creative writing courses. I took English 101 and 102 and then lost myself in the awesomeness of history and political science classes.

Naturally my play is historical. It's about the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831. With Malcolm X. Take my word for it, it works. I'll put it out here eventually - my vision is for it to be part of an entire curriculum for high school students about slavery and racism in the United States. For now you just have to take my word for it that it's come together quite nicely.

And that is entirely due to all the amazing feedback I've gotten from real live high school students.

One of the benefits to being a serial volunteer is all the contacts I've made at my kids schools. The drama teacher at the high school is amazing. According to all the performing arts parents he walks on water, and judging from the exceptional quality of his students performances I'm inclined to believe them. He was kind enough to allow me to borrow one of his classes to be guinea pigs for my play. After my first draft was complete I took it in, they did a table reading, and then gave me their feedback.

I was amazed at how articulate, thoughtful, and helpful their comments and notes were. It was exactly what I needed to make my project something that might actually be useful rather than just mental masturbation for a grade.

My re-write was substantial - all based on their feedback. I changed the format, scrapped the ending and wrote a new one, and added dialogue. Today I went back to amazing drama teacher's fifth period class and they did a second reading of my play. (I brought cookies and brownies this time, don't want them to feel unloved and taken advantage of!)

Again they blew me away with their maturity and I now have a kick-ass play. Well - as kick-ass as it can be coming from a non-playwright.

But - my favorite comment of ALL TIME was from one kid who came up to me as they were packing up their stuff in preparation for the bell to ring.

"That was SO much better Ms. Whatever - I actually ENJOYED it this time!"

Brutal honesty. I love it!

University of Washington Rockin' Librarians

Just had to take a minute to share this awesome video made by University of Washington Librarians. THIS my friends is why UW is so freaking awesome!

Thanks for sharing it Seattlejo!