Interstellar Adventures

January 29, 2008

King Solo

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:47 pm

Zed had his Winter Concert tonight, and he had a major solo in one of the pieces. Alright, so I exaggerate. A little. OK, a lot. But he did have a solo.

Thankfully we didn’t have to listen to the Beginner band. That torture was enforced last year when Zed was in Beginner band. I think they take pity on us and don’t require us to listen except at the Spring Concert. It was the ‘Performing bands’ tonight. Concert I, Concert II and Symphonic. I think the word ‘performing’ should be used a little less loosely for some of these kids. *cough* Concert I *cough*. They tried. I know.

Concert II and Symphonic bands were much better. The band directors are a hoot. The Symphonic director looks like George Carlin and takes band directing very seriously. The Concert I/II director is younger, nerdier, and related an awkward story about one of the pieces and a Simpson’s episode.

Zed’s solo came in a piece called “A Day In Space”. A flute lead in, Zed’s clarinet solo, followed by a trumpet, low horns, then the whole band. I couldn’t have been more proud. I’m sure I grinned stupidly the entire time, based on the weird look Nick gave me. At the end of the piece, all the soloists were recognized, and when Zed stood up, he grinned nervously. Poor kid hates attention.

I tried not to take too many pictures or clap too loudly. He is 12 now. Close to 13. Can’t embarass him. But I am so proud!

January 25, 2008

For Children Lost ~ An Appeal to Mothers

Filed under: Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:09 pm

Ms. Indigo dropped by with a link to her site and an appeal to post a message to get the word out about a project a Milwaukee artist has designed. The project sounds like a worthy cause. Read on.

I was reading a book called The Secret Life of Bees.  Fantastic book, you should read it if you haven’t already!  In it, one of the main characters began to build a wailing wall, a place in which she would leave all of her pain.  I immediately felt a connection with this idea and I haven’t been able to let go of it.  I feel this need to make one… and a need to build it for all mothers who have lost a child, regardless of how or how old they were.

I am an artist and mother of two. I have not lost a child, but it is my biggest fear, one that is always there in the back of my mind, and continuously shows up in my work. I could never have imagined that I would feel this kind of need to create such as open, community work based on that fear. Yet, I feel the need to create a place for mothers to go and leave their prayers, pain and fears … and all others who share that pain with them.

I am appealing to mothers who have lost a child of any age. If you or someone you know would be interested in having a space on this wall, please contact me. I will need to have contact information from you, the child’s first name and dates of life. The wall is to be constructed of molded rocks from Lake Michigan, found on the shores of Milwaukee. Each rock will be reconstructed out of clay with the name and dates of each child. Every rock fits in the palm of your hand. I hope to be able to hang the wall at the Cardinal Stritch Art Gallery in May (Cardinal Stritch University). As to what will be done with the wall after the gallery event, I am not sure. I would love to donate the wall to a public space we can all visit … and add more to the wall. Any suggestions are welcomed! Otherwise I would like to return each individual rock from the wall to the mothers that participate.

I can be contaced through email at: If you would like to participate, please contact me there first. Then if you would like to have a written prayer or letter to the child included in the wall, you can send that to: Wailing Wall, c/o Teri Wagner – Art Department, 6801 N. Yates Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53217.

I need to have many mothers respond to make this wall possible. Please tell everyone you know about the wall and how to become a part of it. Responses will be accepted through February 29, 2008.

Thank you,

Julie P., Milwaukee Artist 

January 23, 2008


Filed under: Texas Life,Training — by InterstellarLass @ 8:49 pm

So it seems like we’re all in a deep freeze. I think it’s been in the 30’s or below every night for the past week or more. My lips are chapped. Elle’s face is chapped. I mean, I’m not complaining or anything. We don’t have snow or anything…yet. Friday is supposed to be icy. I hope not. People around here get crazy. Especially people in trucks.

I’m still working out. I mean, I slacked a bit between last Thursday and this Tuesday. But I’m not quitting. I’m still on it. Go me.

January 18, 2008


Filed under: It's Me, Lass,Memes & Quizzes — by InterstellarLass @ 6:40 pm

Perhaps a polite term to define a person who is appealingly odd or otherwise not ordinary. “She’s strange, in that cute, quirky way.” Tagged by Just Cara I was, to describe seven habits/quirks/facts about myself. I’m also supposed to tag seven to do the same, but since I’m not sure seven people even still read here anymore, I think not do it. Of course, that’s ‘against the rules’ but then…

1. I’m a rebel. I can’t stand to be told what to do. I’ve bitten off my nose to spite my face so many damn times just because I was driven to do the exact opposite of what someone wanted me to do. I don’t do it so much anymore, but when I was a kid, whew! Now I have the rebel thoughts, but usually do whatever it was, though sometimes with procrastination.

2. I feel tremendous guilt. Probably part of the dysfunction of my family and a trait seemingly passed down from my mother. I can be mad at someone, rightfully, because of something they said or did that hurt me, but I’ll feel guilty for being mad at them. Or I’ll feel bad for being stupid as in fact #1 above.

3. I don’t like confrontation. I’ll crumple like a wet paper bag if you confront me about something. I mean, eventually, after I’ve stomped and been defensive and am about to be proven wrong.

4. I’m handy. Like I told a friend today, I can change a flat tire in less than 15 minutes, I installed a bug guard on The Ex’s truck (because he spent an hour and a half fiddling with it before admitting defeat), and I can use power tools.

5. I think I’m a pretty darn good mom. Despite my mistakes. I think I missed out on many good years between mid-2000 and early 2005. So much turmoil was happening in my life, and I was so depressed and doing my best to hold together the strings of sanity I had left. I didn’t do enough of playing with, paying attention to, reading to, holding, huging, etc. with my kids. Though I’m not perfect, I spend more quality time with my kids, talk to them, hug them, love them, encourage, and most importantly, give and enforce rules to them. I try to point out ‘life lessons’ (when I see them) to prepare them for the future.

6. I love to have my toes pulled.

7. When I was in kindergarden, my favorite color was brown. That was the only color I would use in art. Why? Because I had brown hair and brown eyes. Why else would any kid choose brown as their favorite color? Clearly crazy already.

So there you go. Hopefully new quirks about me that you didn’t know before. If I didn’t do a good job, well, see item #2.

January 15, 2008

Cutting him off

Filed under: Married Life,Mr. Wonderful — by InterstellarLass @ 10:57 pm

Nick is no longer allowed control of the DVR remote. I nicely requested that he record the AI audition show tonight. He must have just pretended to set the recording, because when I went to watch it…yeah. NO SHOW!

I deserve to watch a good train wreck just as much as the next gal. I don’t watch the competition, just the auditions. It’s always good for a laugh.

This isn’t the first time something I wanted recorded didn’t get recorded. I think there may be a conspiracy against me. So that’s it. No more DVR control.

January 12, 2008

If this is

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 12:04 am

If this is what the year has in store for me, I’m in trouble. I took off the weeks of Christmas and New Years, and so Monday was my first day back. The last five days have felt like a month. Why I’m not consuming mass quantities of alcohol right now, I don’t know. I should be.

Elle got her palate expander on Thursday. It looks like this. The key turns the wheel rod and pushes the plates outward. I have to turn the rod once a day. Check out this creepy video that shows what it does! And it hurts her every time I turn the rod. Which if I don’t turn completely, will get stuck and we’ll have to go to the ortho to get it unstuck.

My poor baby cried when they put it in. She has a sensitive gag reflex and between the choking, and the crying and the tightness of the expander, she was quite upset once it was done. Since she’s on soft foods, she ate mac’n’cheese for dinner. But the macaroni noodles kept getting caught between her palate and the expander. And she broke down crying, asking me to take it out. She’s also having great difficultly talking and being understood, which is frustrating, and she also gets excessive buildup of saliva due to this device, so she’s slurping and drooling. Supposedly she’ll get used to it. I hope so. It’s going to help her tremendously in the future, and that’s what I keep telling her.

This weekend I get to (unexpectedly) go help my grandparents pack to move. My grandmother’s heart condition has gotten worse, and under doctor’s orders she and my grandfather have to move out of their 2-story condo. They bought a single story house, and rather than moving at the end of the month, the guy who owns their condo (that they’ve lived in for 17 years) gave them til the 16th to move out. A couple of 70-somethings, one with a bad heart, and one with diabetes, and they have less than two weeks to pack and move. Not what I wanted to do with my weekend.

And to top it off, the fantastic dinner I had planned tonight went all to hell. The crab cakes burned, the salmon didn’t cook right, the glazed parsnips caramelized to the pan, and my spinach cheese puff wouldn’t set.

Time for me to take a deep breath and hope that next week brings brighter news and events.

January 9, 2008

Ambigous Title Here

Filed under: Adventures,Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 3:01 pm

I get so tired of trying to come up with a catchy title, and more often than not, they suck. Like when I used to have to do last minute copy-writing for these travel emails I used to send for an old employer. No more than 25 characters, but I had to promote at least 2 travel packages and be cute and snappy. Cute and snappy are not two adjectives I choose to describe me.

Zed got braces last week. It was bad enough that he was starting to get that ‘hey you’ve got something on your upper lip oops not really it’s just darkening peach fuzz’ thing going on, and that he has been coughing, clearing his throat, squeaking, sounding hoarse and all that stuff that happens when boys’ voices change. But now. With the braces, he looks like a Genuine Teenager. And he is only a mere 5 months away from turning 13. Where’s my rewind button? He can’t possibly have just suddenly grown up. I must have missed something in between when he started kindergarden and last week. I’ve actually started having those anxiety pangs of ‘omigosh he’s actually going to be leaving me in just a few short years’. I’m hugging him too much, telling him I love him constantly, and looking at him and getting stupid grins on my face that embarass him.*sigh* My baby. I think it must only hurt worse from here on out rather than get better with time.

My other baby is getting a palate expander tomorrow. Whereas Zed has plenty of space between his teeth, Elle has a small, crowded mouth. Funny, she talks so much! So for the next ten months I get to use this little tool to turn her expander to give her a bigger mouth. Our orthodontist is making out like a bandit on us right now! Thank goodness for Health Flex Plans.

Also, I’m giving this whole running thing another go. In my right sidebar I’ve got a little RSS feed setup for easy access. Because I know you want to spend your whole day with me.

Pop’s arm is doing better. He’s got a brace on his arm and a new hospital bed so he can get in and out by himself and doesn’t have to sleep in his chair anymore, and no less than 3 nurses that come visit him once or twice a week each. And they all have to check his bloodpressure and take his temperature every time they come see him. Why for a broken arm, I don’t know. He’s slightly resistant just because he’s so old and stubborn, but we have seen a dramatic improvement in his walking strength and balance, so it seems to be working.

Nick is having fun being Pop’s nurse and the Housekeeper. Hey! I just realized, I’m having an affair with my Housekeeper. How thrilling! I just hope he’s not getting addicted to soaps! And that he doesn’t look in my bottom drawer. 😉

January 7, 2008

Bittersweet Surprises

Filed under: Blast from the Past,Family & Friends — by InterstellarLass @ 10:14 pm

I spent several days over my Christmas break combing through the archives, researching family lines on what seemed like every branch of the tree. On my mom’s side of the family, my great-grandmother had done much geneology work before the technology age. My grandparents have her white leather-bound book somewhere in their stash.

On my dad’s side of the family, I didn’t know much except for my great-grandparents names. And I managed to make it at least 7 generations back on a couple of lines.

I knew that my uncle had been working on rescuing a scrapbook from my great-grandmother, and so after I completed a fair bit of work, I put together a tree for him and emailed it to him last night. But did I ever receive a surprise today! My uncle sent me a CD in the mail, chock full of pictures of my grandaddy from just after Christmas, along with photos of him as a baby, his family, and lots and lots of WWII memorabilia. I knew that my grandaddy had captured a few Nazi soldiers as POWs, but evidently he sent some souveniers home, including a pair of German field glasses, some medals, and what appears to be a wallet/pouch of some kind. The letters of an Army Infantryman are fairly amusing. Complaints about weather, food, an infected toe and all kinds of stuff. Evidently, my grandaddy planned to flatten the German mountains after the war so he never had to climb over them again!

Also included were some photos of my grandaddy and my cousins.  But then I found IT. The Video. And boy did I ever get a good laugh. My grandaddy sat in the back yard, watching my cousins play on the jungle gym that’s been there for well over 30 years at least, probably longer. The youngest cousin that was there is 8, and the oldest there is in his twenties. And they played side by side for a good while. Then the oldest cousin and his brother-in-law started in with some wrestling (that’s rasslin’ for you northern folks). The part that made me laugh the most though is when the two of them stopped shortly into the bout to remove their knife sheaths from their belts, lest someone get stabbed in the tussle. Told y’all I’m ‘highbrow Hillbilly’. Two of my uncles also made special appearances on camera, being silly for a few moments between my cousins flipping like gymnasts on the monkey bars.

Between the old photos and the digital video, I had laugher, tears, smiles and sighs. Some of the memories I spoke of before were there in the photos of pages of my grandaddy’s US Army sponsored walking tour of Europe and in the letters home to his mom, usually signed, I love you mommie, Bub. He traded her Singer sewing needles, procured from who knows where, for packages of cookies and handkerchiefs. He missed a battle where many men in his unit were killed or wounded because he was laid up in the field hospital with an infected toe.

I especially love the photos of my grandaddy with his sister. Their dad died when they were toddlers, and the two of them were very close growing up. All of the pictures of the two of them together in my Nana’s (their mom) scrapbook show them with their arms around one another. I have to beg and bribe my kids to hug like that.

With all that my uncle sent, I now have quite a bit more to update in my family tree.


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