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2008-12-20 - 1:24 p.m.

I love Facebook! When I miss my oldest two kids I go to their facebook sites and see what is going on it their world.

ON Katerina's birthday I was thrilled to go spend the day with her and Soren in Buffalo. I spent the morning with him at his school which was great fun. His teachers actually let him skip class along with a few friends in order to spend some time with me in the library. I intended to wait their until his lunch period so was surprised when they came in.

I am so proud of him as he is one of the good kids at school the teachers clearly like. The same group were allowed to skip class in order to decorate their homeroom door for the door decorating contest the school had. That made the afternoon awesome as I hung out with Soren and friends and observed them. Great teacher as it was THIER project and he had no involvement. I however just couldn't resist when they were trying to figure out how to make presents to stick on the door and the milk cartons they recently had were just sitting there in the trash can. I TRIED to resist the urge to be involved in their project. REALLY I DID! But that idea was just too good to not share...

So I assisted in the washing of the recycled materials from lunch, including styrofoam trays I thought might come in handy.

When I first went to the school libary the librarian introduced me to an eleventh grader working as a page and asked her to keep me company. She was just a delight. I asked her to tell me about Soren and she said "He is a good boy. He hangs out with the good kids, they don't do drugs or drink."

IT was sweet to hear her then go on to describe my thoughtful, kind son who is well liked at school. The girl has been in a show with him (which I have a DVD of) so I look forward to watching it the next time the little girls put it on and looking for her. (ITs a family favorite they watch over and over again! THey are proud of their big brother!)

After the day with Soren, we went to Katerina's school where I was lucky to meet her friends. That was interesting. In particular as one is a daughter of an old acquintence of mine who worked at THE ALLEN DRESS SHOP years ago. I knew her as a little girl. She also was a neighbor to Katerina and Soren in the first apartment their Dad had in Buffalo after we were separated. I brought Katerina to her 4 year birthday celebration! They were friends when small!

What was funny was I was introduced to this high school girl and at first hadn't made the connection of who she was.

The interesting part is that the girls were far more boy crazy than I recall being (or hearing of ) in high school. Struck me as a) NORMAL to a degree but also b) Precocious to a degree.

What struck me was how FREELY they spoke in front of me. There seems to be no boundry distinction between a parent and their girlfriends. I don't know if that is indicative of MY relationship as a parent as I am a distant one who was visiting, OR indicative of this particular GENERATION, or this particular GROUP OF GIRLS. I found it very interesting however.

I did find a few comments made to be disturbing, and am at least glad that Katerina doesn't talk the way a couple of the girls do. I am SURE of that!

HER friends are smart and lovely and seem to be genuinely nice girls. But there was definately not an innocence about them that the Lincoln friends had! Big difference between environments!

I do think there is a difference between urban and rural and how quickly kids grow up. The kids were exposed to MORE and MUCH FASTER once they hit the urban scene than they had been exposed to here in this suburban, semi-rural area of VA.

OF course the dangers and temptations are EVERYWHERE. But the difference seems to be that there they TALK ABOUT IT ALL SO FREELY -- so perhaps that might be a HEALTHIER environment? I am not sure. Perhaps neither is healthier- but just different.

One of the attorney at work said she went to an all girls Church run school and there were more drugs there than she's ever seen. (She commented when I said I was so proud of the report that Soren is a "good boy" which I believe was honest coming from the 11th grader who seems focused herself on getting into college. She did not participate in the recent Musical this time to get her grades up. She said doing a show is too time consuming so she had to focus in order to get into the college she wants.)

After meeting the girl friends, I told KAterina I would take her and her brother out ANYWHERE of her choice for her birthday. She wanted to go out to eat. Back to why I love facebook: I could't recall the name of the lovely Thai place she picked , but lo and behold a friend SAW US THERE and posted such on Katerina' facebook page!
SO know I know it was HERE That we celebrated a wonderful birthday meal:

Indeed it was wonderful food for a reasonable price! I did find the Thai iced tea they made TOO SWEET, but just perfect as an accompaniment to the pot of Jasmine tea which I dumped it into. MMMMM... That was the right ratio of tea and milk and sweetener! Highly recommend trying that if you are not too embarassed to do so in a lovely restaraunt!

(IT was empty but for us when we were there, and early, and not black tie so I didn't hestiate a moment to experiment with the tea!)

After a wonderful meal, we wandered to El Buen Amigo where Katerina found a suprise of a beautiful hat with embroidered flowers, Soren was enchanted by a tiny carved wooden bobble turtle toy he just had to have, and both kids were given a FAIR TRADE lesson by Santiago.

It was wonderful to visit with the owner whom I hadn't seen in at least a dozen years. El Buen Amigo offers preformance space in Buffalo to encourage artists to live and work in Buffalo. I told him to get in touch with THE POET as I thought she might be interested in that if she hadn't been aware of his space. I attended a few wonderful readings there years ago.

We then headed to SWEET TOOTH where the birthday girl wanted to get ice cream. The kids recalled me taking them there when they were very little. (We used to walk from the Richmond Ave apt before they moved their location further downtown.)

Soren shared stories of hanging out with friends in that wonderful Elmwood Ave area. One of his best friend lives literally around the corner from where we used to live. She has grown up in that house, so lived there when we were there! It is the neighborhood he most often hangs out it. (Best in Buffalo which is why I lived there!)

To wrap up our visit, we made one last stop at Target to get the birthday girl some special BED HEAD hair products to tame the wild mane. Her hair is BEAUTIFUL but I noticed she most often just pulls it all up and hides it. I hope that with good hair products and ability to manage it and not worry about it frizzing out she might be comfortable wearing it down a bit more often. BED HEAD was recommended by Rosita years ago, and it turns out Katerina still has the shampoo and conditioner I got her but she hasn't really tried using them much. This time we got a de-frizzing relaxer product which might motivate her!

She is beautiful either way though; even when she hides her hair. One attorney at work commented on her picture "She is beautiful" and another said "I Love her expression. She looks so happy" when they saw her Cheerleading pictures.

I am most thrilled that I saw her cheerleading photos from facebook and was even able to download them! (SO be forewarned anything you post MAY BE DOWNLOADED!)

Relaxer to tame the wild... I think my other girls could use something like that too... but not for hair. Off to see how the PB & J making is going. I figure that is something they can do themselves.

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