Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Fair, Some Films, and a Fib

Friday evening I took a bunch of students to the County Fair. I've already professed my love for the county fair, so I'll not waste your time. I didn't bring my big camera, but did run across these few things that I just had to share:

Elvis and the confederate flag. But of course.

Look! Even the county fair has "gone green"...

"Lil'" Pardner is bossy. I do like the idea of sandwich board directives, though.

Friday night turned difficult, parenting-wise. I won't go into the complicated details, but my daughter lied to me again. I really wish I knew what goes through her mind when she makes the decision to lie to me. Is it a split-second decision, borne of a selfish desire to call her own shots? Is it planned in advance, calculated and practiced? If so, how far in advance? Doesn't she know how easy it is for me to determine what really happened? SO MANY QUESTIONS and just about the only answer I can get out of her is "I don't know." I've never felt like a more ineffective or clueless parent. Because I did not have a good parenting example set for me when I was a teenager, I feel like I'm just bumbling through the darkness here. I expect there to be difficulties...that's only natural, especially when dealing with adolescence...but how can I take these setbacks and somehow make them learning experiences? How can I tell that she's learning her lessons?

I'm not present enough. I know that's hard on kids. I've been gone too much, working late hours and weekends. I must remedy that as soon and often as possible. And it'll be easy to spend more time with her, seeing as how she's grounded for an as-yet-undetermined amount of time. I'm taking her to our friend Jude's cabin in Mountain View for Labor Day weekend. A girls' retreat. We need it. Time with Jude will only do us both a whole lot of good.

Okay, so that was Friday night. The fair...picking up Stella at 3:30am...right...oh, and D. and I watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I liked the film...but didn't love it. It was, in a word - INTENSE. Maybe it was just a little too Schnabel-y. Artsy scenes full of blinky camera shots, sexy ladies speaking foreign languages, saturated colors, soaring soundtrack numbers...well....okay. It wasn't's just strained in places.

Saturday morning I took students to the Farmers Market and we got caught in a crazy sudden downpour. It left as quickly as it came, though, and we had a sunny, hot afternoon. I decided to have a welcome barbecue for my new students. My work owns the townhouses where the students live as a nice little international community. I had the barbecue in the courtyard of their apartments. We ate traditional American barbecue food and they seemed to get a real kick watching me sweat over the smoky grill. They sipped various native alcohols (something clear, sweet, and Korean, mescal, cachaca, etc), danced under the trees, and bonded as a group. My work here is done!

Sunday was quiet. Stella read all day. She swept and mopped the kitchen. I mowed the yard. We went to see The Rocker. Oy. What a stinker. It wasn't even dumb-funny. It was just dumb. But I like going to the movies even when they're bad so I still had fun.

I hope this week goes well.


AMD said...

Those lil pardner signs are hilarious! Totally bossy!

Re: Lying to parents. I did it when I was a teenager. There's no simple answer as to why I did it. It really wasn't to get out of trouble, I mean, we (me & sis) were already in trouble. It was to get in less trouble. Too, I thought we could pull it off, but, duh, my parents weren't clueless, as my teenage mind perceived them to be. Sometimes I lied so they wouldn't say NO. Sometimes I lied to avoid disapproval -- it always ALWAYS caught up with me, so, it was hard lesson to learn, I finally figured it out.

Hang in there, Mama!

Alannah said...

yeah, I mean...I lied to my parents too. Just about everyone I know did, I'm sure. I lied because I knew they wouldn't approve of what I was doing. FOR GOOD REASON!

ugh, now I'm getting dragged into the junior high BS of "I heard that you said such-and-such" only it's now involving the moms and the daughters. This is insanity!!!

Time for me to start making some calls and addressing this ridiculousness head-on.

Anonymous said...

By the time I have a teenager I think I will be reaching my golden years and will just up the amount of my Geritol addiction every time my teenager lies to me.

I feel for ya hun!

AMD said...

Alannah, what do you do? I mean, for a living? It sounds neat, if not exhausting.

Alannah said...

Well the short version is that I work with international students but the longer, more accurate version is that I work at the intensive English school on campus. My job title is Special Programs Coordinator which means I.....coordinate special programs, meaning students who come here on grants or fellowships. Most of the programs involve learning English during the day and then doing other activities in the afternoons, evenings and weekends. That's where I come in. I take students to various non-profits to volunteer and learn more about how Americans take care of the less fortunate or in need. I arrange service learning and volunteer activities. I help students do everything from open bank accounts to buy laptops. I am their mom/big sister/friend/assistant/nurse/confidant while they are in the states. I love my job but wish I knew how to manage my time and set better boundaries.

Anonymous said...

Ok so i forgot my sign in crap. but hey FLIP here. Thought you would get a kick out of this.Since you enjoy the good foto i am a fan of Ed Templetons

Anonymous said...

oh and that response had nothing to do with lying...its simply gonna happen. I actually think i believe that theory of kids synaptic gaps not firing the same when they are young, and helping with some pretty bad decision making. its the only thing i can think of, that and the fact that no one gets whoopins anymore

AMD said...

I feel that sometimes some ADULTS could use a whoopin' and a nap and a freaking time out.

Alannah, are you the Mrs. Garrett of the program?

Stephanie said...

I second what AMD said about what some adults need :)

And yes, I raise my hand too when it comes to trying to get away with lying when I was a teen. BUt I still say YOU are amazing, an amazing friend, mom, and PERSON. Stella is super lucky. (Have I said this too many times yet? I doubt it. I will keep on saying it! Stella is a lucky girl.)

Alannah said...

Thanks, everyone, really. Parenting is unlike any other exercise or discipline in that you THINK you're doing the right thing but the results are totally unpredictable. Parenting = inexact science. Too many variables!

Also, I guess I AM Mrs. Garrett. I've been working on my hair bun...

carolyn says said...

man that lil pardner, he just makes me feel like throwing out my papers and plastics with the normal trash and doing the opposite of what my parents say, bossy people make me feel contrary!

maybe that's why stella lied. it was an inappropriate reaction to lil pardner.

sometimes i lie, still do to this day, not often and never big ones, just to prove i can, not to gain or get out of anything, but just to do it. it's the same reason i used to shop lift occasionally (like 3 times in my life) just for that ha feeling. this probably has nothing at all to do with why stella is lying but i do think power sometimes has something to do with it as well as getting out of or avoiding trouble. that feeling of getting away with something is intoxicating