Monday, August 5, 2013

Wedding Posts

I moved over to http://wehavethestars.com right around the time Google Reader went away, so I just thought I would remind anyone still following me here. I've been blogging about my wedding and sharing a lot of Missy's pretty pictures over here!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I have moved.

Please follow me to We Have The Stars, my new Wordpress blog built by Taso g.

Love,

Brittan Claire

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Those satisfactions are permanent."

My husband.

Yesterday Taso took me to the Inwood Theater to see a late-night screening of Dr. Strangelove with our friend who manages the theater. It's summer, so I can finally do things like that! We met up with said friend and had a nice, long talk about film. I've so missed those talks. With the exception of a couple conferences, I've only had them with Taso since moving back from New York (which is awesome, but who doesn't love group discussion?). I was feeling pretty good. Excited enough to be there that I didn't notice Taso's somewhat sneaky behavior. It turned out that our friend couldn't watch the movie with us, so the two of us settled in to the best seats in the empty theater and waited for the DCP to load. Instead, a Criterion logo, clearly attached to a Criterion blu-ray, filled the screen, followed by the unmistakable revving of engines. Rather than realize what was going on, I thought surely there had been a mistake -- he had accidentally queued up one of my favorite movies of all of time (not out of the realm of possibility, as the long-awaited blu-ray just came out) and was running to turn it off and start the Kubrick DCP! Typing it now, I feel ridiculous. Nope. My husband had surprised me with an early birthday present, a private screening of Two-Lane Blacktop, one of my Top-5-All-Time-Favorite movies, made even better by the fact that I've spent the last six years trying to get him to watch it with me. It's not a big title, so it's likely that could be my only chance to experience it in a theater (as I think all movies should be experienced). It was wonderful. It gets better every time I watch it. More importantly, I can't think of a better way to see it, or anything I'd like to have more than that for my birthday. And he knew that. He always knows. To be known that way... I can't think of anything better.



(Still from Two-Lane Blacktop, courtesy of DVD Beaver)

Friday, June 7, 2013

The end of elementary school.

Needless to say, I've had some time to prepare for this. I actively worked at it. I spent some time making B a really nice photo book of his school pictures and memories from his elementary school years. I organized his work, got rid of what I could, kept myself busy with starting to get him ready for middle school. (Are you ever really ready for middle school?) It was therapeutic in a way. Since we moved back from New York, I went through a huge, traumatic "MY CHILD IS GROWING UP WHY CAN'T I STOP TIME I'M NOT READY FOR THIS" downward spiral, and then I slowly climbed back up again. I'm okay now. I'm not dreaming about missing his little baby cheeks and hands anymore. I'm coping slightly better with the whole puberty thing. I'm being more understanding about the changes he's going through and more outwardly positive about the future. Do I feel mature enough to have a middle schooler? No way. And yet, maybe. I don't feel old enough, obviously, but I have a very "BRING IT ON" attitude about it now. I'm less afraid. I think I'm being more supportive than ever because I'm better equipped to be than I was when I was struggling to get through college and grad school. Thank god I got that out of the way before he hit 6th grade, right?

We had some pretty stellar luck in 5th grade. We were able to find one of the very-limited-and-hard-to-get-but-affordable condos in a very upscale suburb with fantastic schools. I just happened to drive by it on the day it went up for rent, we pounced and got it that day. That was a little over a year ago and it has been so good for us, despite my culture shock at having to live in the suburbs and missing my beloved Brooklyn. We signed B up for the awesome, highly rated school we are zoned for and then were told that school was overbooked and he would have to go to a different one, one that was less distinguished but had a certain charm I couldn't put my finger on. Wow, did that turn out to be the best possible turn of events. Pinkerton Elementary was the perfect fit for B and gave us the best year he's had since Kindergarten, when he was still in private school. He's always been a straight A student, but rarely has he thrived like this in public school. Pinkerton is becoming an IB school and introduced that curriculum this year. I won't go into all that, but just check this out: 
Our goal at Pinkerton is for all students to have experiences that build positive attitudes, a deep understanding of who they are, what their interests entail, and how they can contribute to an international society.
Through guided inquiry and trans-disciplinary units, students will be challenged to set their own goals for learning and play an active role in the learning process. Our teachers facilitate this learning by asking guiding questions and challenging students to be creators of knowledge through technology and real-world application. 
His classroom this year was a place for topical discussion, question-driven learning, Spanish lessons, tending a garden, building a mock business, and learning responsibility. His teacher was one of those humans who is born to be a teacher and she gave so much of herself to the class. Pinkerton does not have a discipline model in place, allows kids to bring their iPhones and tablets to class (as long as they use them responsibily), and offers a lot of fun days and perks. It sounds weird, but I swear the kids were better behaved and tighter-knit than any classes B's ever been in. What a great year.

The end of the year was a lot of fun, and the 5th graders were celebrated with a graduation ceremony on Tuesday. Each of the three teachers said a few words and the kids got to walk across the stage while their teachers said something about them. B's teacher spoke about her special class this year, and began to cry as she said, "I don't want to let you go." I know how she feels and I cried right along with her. (I'm tearing up now just thinking about it.) My smart kiddo finished up the year with straight A's (two 100s!) and a nice group of friends. We ate lunch in his class room and stuck around for the school talent show (which he refused to participate in, and then majorly regretted -- just as I told him he would). He did get his moment, though. At the end of the show, the entire 5th grade stormed the stage and did the Harlem Shake complete with confetti and silly string. It was ridiculous. 


Yesterday they had a half day to clean out their desks and say goodbyes, and then his friend Joshua's parents threw a pool party for the whole 5th grade. They had endless pizza, a sno cone machine, a photo booth, games, and a candy bar (a full spread like you see at weddings). I had no idea this was a thing, but it was awesome, the best possible way to say hello to summer! 

So yeah, I'm all mommed out with a preteen and no clue what I'm doing, but it's good. Bring on the summer! 

Friday, May 31, 2013

lately

Last week was hard. B had a stomach virus that I spent the week cleaning up after, and that kept us both up all night for several nights. On top of that he had strep throat (yes, at the same time) and had to get a huge shot of penicillin in his leg, as the oral medicine would just make the vomiting worse. He has not yet learned to handle such afflictions gracefully, so the week wore on with whining and moaning and increasingly shortened nerves as the sleep deprivation set in. I have had nearly a week to recover, and I think I finally felt normal again yesterday.

I wrote a loooong, free form draft early in the week and didn't publish it. When I read it again today, it was clear that I'm feeling worlds better. I guess I just needed to get it out, but I'm glad I didn't post it. 

Things have been kind of rough, what with the long, slow, painful job search, and the dragging on of professional projects that just aren't picking up steam like I hoped. But things aren't bad. There is a lot of excitement with B finishing up elementary school (plus a little heartache on both our parts), and getting ready for his upcoming punk shows. We've had some fun with Field Day and class parties. B played Rockstravaganza, a big show in Deep Ellum featuring all the School of Rock bands. He played some Minor Threat, which was cool. 
You can laugh at this if you want, but I'm kind of excited for his 5th grade graduation. Finishing elementary school feels like such a huge accomplishment! I made him the raddest photo book of all his school years thus far as a "graduation" present. If anyone deserves it, it's this kid. For better or worse (worse usually being hyper-criticism of himself and extreme emotions), he worked his butt off, made A Honor Roll year after year, tested into countless GT programs, got put in Manhattan's super-competitive GT program without even having to test, and had to start over at new schools way too many times. He has earned a chance to be recognized and celebrated, if you ask his super-humble, unbiased mom.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Field Day 2013

or, The Most Fun Field Day Yet.
or, I Can't Believe These Are The Last Days Of Elementary School.

Mother's Day

was perfect.
Sweet words.
Flowers.
Hello Holiday.
Favorite brunch.
Everyone happy.
Thanks and love to the sweet boy who made me a mom and the sweet man who loves this mom.

Missy's got a bun in the oven!

Missy and her husband Ryan came to visit on their way to see her family in Louisiana last month. Missy had just found out she was pregnant and told her husband/the world by taking that picture of baby Allen's first toy.

It was really nice to see my friends. Missy is a professional photographer, and she had some sessions booked around the metroplex, but we found time to show Ryan around Dallas. Missy and I met here and spent a lot of our time together until she moved in 2007 (I can't believe it's been that long), but Ryan's only experience with Texas was a quick visit in the dead of brutal, 100+ degree, humid summer, so his memories of it were less fond. The weather ended up nice, maybe even a bit chilly -- perfect for Ryan. We walked around Oak Cliff, stopping in all the little shops and enjoying an awesome brunch at Oddfellows. I showed them downtown Dallas, my alma mater -- SMU, and tried to stretch and sell the few interesting things I know about Dallas. We ate Mexican food and vegged out on the couch. We talked about baby things and I got really excited listening to the two of them talk about their future plans. I've seen Missy go through a lot over the years (and vice versa), and I'm so happy to see her so happy (morning sickness and all).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gregg

For the last 10 years, Gregg -- ever the drama queen -- has been telling me that he would never make it to 30. Well, not only did he make it, but he celebrated with me and Justin, his friends for the last decade. We can never really predict where life is going to take us -- especially in our twenties -- but we can pick out people to take the ride with us, and hold on to them as tightly as we can for as long as we can. For his 30th birthday he had a small party, and we all dressed up (I wore a dress my grandma made for my mom in the 80s, complete with shoulder pads and purple sparkles) and ate rainbow cake. At the end of the night we sent off 30 paper lanterns, one for every year that has shaped my dear friend, with memories and wishes for the future. It was perfect. I look back on our friendship with gratitude that I have a memory for every year of Gregg's twenties, and that he's still here with me and Justin, the same funny, dramatic, loyal, great dancer he's always been.

British Invasion

B's last band covered "British Invasion" music, mostly post-Beatles. It was a good time for everyone in this house because we are big, big fans of The Kinks, The Stones, The Zombies, and so on. Taso and I walked down the aisle at our wedding to The Kinks' "Strangers" and exited the ceremony to "This Time Tomorrow." BIG fans. With the exception of Led Zeppelin and Queen, there is no other era in music history that B loves more than 60s Brit-rock. His primary instrument right now is drums, which he played on "Hold Tight," "Silhouettes," "Not Fade Away" and "I Can Only Give You Everything." He also did backup vocals on "Time of the Season" and played keys on "House of the Rising Sun" -- which he is so obsessed with that I had to buy him the vinyl single so at least, if I have to hear it over and over on constant repeat, it sounds its best. He struggled to learn the "House of the Rising Sun" solo, but it's now his warmup every day when practices piano. B is a perfectionist and a harsh critic of himself, and that artistic temperament can be difficult to deal with in a small house, but I've never seen him as fulfilled and confident as he has been since he started at School of Rock. Every season there are several bands to choose from, so he's always learning new music but still has options. He gets to collaborate and perform at real shows.
SOR also provides him with amazing opportunities, like when he was invited to meet the Zombies at their show in Dallas. We got to watch sound check and he had a chance to really talk with members of the band and the road crew. It was great to see him connect with the people who wrote some of the songs he loves, and to talk instruments with real guitar and drum techs. We stood on the side of the stage for the show, where he danced and sang on the top of his lungs the WHOLE night, much to the entertainment of the band/opening band/crew/crowd. Our good friend Britt, who knows more about music than anyone I've ever known, was also at the show and B was enamored with him. 
^ This is Jim Rodford. He was in the Kinks and then the Zombies. When I told him my name is Brittan he said, "I'm from there!" He also told B to take a picture with him so he could prove he was taller than someone. I repeat, this man was in the Kinks and the Zombies. He also got to meet Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, but our pictures didn't come out...
It was kind of a surreal experience for B to play a couple shows of this music and then go see the real thing. Experiences like this, and how happy they make him, make it worth trying to find a way to pay for lessons every month.