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Showing posts from 2009

Not sure WHAT to think!

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As perhaps a sign to my thoughts as to what I want to write this morning, my computer screen went black and published today's entry before I even got a word beyond "think!"

Is big brother watching me?

Read what I am thinking and then YOU decide.

This week some idiot tried to blow up a plane. People have been blowing up planes to make a point for as long as I can remember. As the saying goes "it's statistically the safest way to travel".

I haven't checked the statistics, but I admit I feel pretty safe. Usually. I've had a few incidents over the years where I was terrified, but for the most part I know that it is more likely that I'll die on the way to the airport than in the air. In the car, we are usually distracted as we speed up I 78, in a panic about making a flight - or worrying about what we forgot - or calling the neighbor to make sure we closed the garage door (twice we've forgotten!). That is probably more dangerous than anything el…

Countdown

It's that time of year... the presents are opened and we have started to unpack from the bi-annual Christmas trip to the in-laws, but it's too close to Christmas to take down all signs of yuletide. My mother-in-law kindly shared with me her handmade santa collection hand made by a relative as well as many hearts that MIL sewed back when she was a stay-at-homer like me (I imagine). I've already put them out for all to enjoy.

It is time to think about 2010.

I'll turn 40 this year. I'm still mostly a stay-at-home Mom. I am also quite messy. I am slightly overweight (at least according to WiiFit who still claims "That's overweight" when it has been "measuring"). I'm disorganized. I'm confused. I'm sure there are lots of other things to fix.

But in general I am also happy in this disorganized life. I like that, unlike most people I know, I am happy to blow off household duties to be with my friends. I'm glad that when my kids ask…

It's the night before Christas Eve

Hello dear readers!

It's late. Everyone else is sleeping. I'm watching the snow fall as I enjoy this peaceful & clean house. I'm not. Instead if panic I am enjoying the tree and being grateful for all I have.

I have a wonderful family, incredible friends and a lot of love in my life. I am so blessed with material comforts that I wouldn't know where to begin. Do let me just say the minimum. I'm grateful for this warm and peaceful living room to keep me safe from terrors of the world. I'm loving this tree with the beautiful decorations. MIL and FIL bought it. C and her cousins trimmed it. N added the star with loving help from TÅ.

Merry Christmas, my readers both near, dear and anonymous! I wish you happiness in 2010!

The Shortest Day of The Year... with the LONGEEEEEEEEEST List

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OK - so here it goes... today is the shortest day of the year and as usual I have too many things to do. But let's look at the busy weekend instead of stressing about what return got made and what return got forgotten.... and which gifts I want to get, even though I proclaimed myself as done on Friday.

We finally got snow this weekend. It was one of the only times I couldn't use my favorite expression, "this state doesn't know from snow!"when forecasters predict a lot on our way.


I spent the weekend doing some of my favorite things. N tested for his "high red belt" (1 before black!), then dinner with 2 girl friends, followed by a party, then on Saturday watched C at black belt testing - she didn't test, but was there to be an opponent to others who were. Then I came home, shoveled the driveway - which ended up being a colossal waste of time because it snowed more than I expected through the night - made gingerbread dough, made a great dinner. We watc…

Prom?

Tomorrow night I am invited to a party where the theme is 80's prom.

I am a bit anxious over the whole thing. It is like High School revisited. Unlike in the 1980s, I don't have a date. My husband is refusing to go - and would really be even more adamant about not taking me if he realized the theme was prom.  I can't wear my prom dress... and feel like it is a competition to be able to wear your prom dress from 1980-whatever (although I am guessing lots of the women there went to prom in the 70s). It makes the fact that I am almost 50 pounds more than I was the night of my prom feel even worse when lots of them aren't. And, thanks to the wonderful world of evites I see that I am the ONLY guest going stag. All my insecurities from high school came rushing back to me tonight.

Should I go to a party that is making me feel so bad about myself?

But shouldn't I have the maturity to muster up the balls to show up to something without a date, if for no other reason to show…

Budget update

Originally I was going to blog about Christmas cards. Who is more important - the author or the target audience? (E.g. if you are Christian do you send a Happy Hanukkah card to Jewish friends or do you just send Christmas cards because *you* are Christian it's a greeting from you. Or do you send the watered-down, PC Happy Holidays cards? (I send Merry Christmas - mostly the Ho Ho Ho Santa'ish type)). And then there is the question of a letter. Apparently EVERYTHING is bad form. If you include pictures - if you don't. If you write a letter you are bragging about what you did, and if you don't take the time to write a letter others consider you lazy! This year I had a grammatical error and my pictures upset someone else inadvertently. 'nuf said! I have enough self-inflicted criticism, I don't need to obsess about this!

Luckily something else came up for me to think about so that I don't spend another evening thinking about all the (real or imaginary) reasons …

Scary news in BW....

Nobel

Once in a while I wish I were somewhere else.

This week it was Oslo and Copenhagen. Are you surprised? Probably not.

I loved Barak's speech - the way he faced the irony head on.

Here are pictures from the Norwegian press of the Obama's visiting the King's castles in Oslo. http://www.vg.no/bildespesial/spesial.php?id=7272

Here are pictures of the demonstrations ("down with A-Bombs" "End American imperialism" etc.) But the torches at the later pictures are Pro-Obama images!

http://www.vg.no/bildespesial/spesial.php?id=7271 Here are pictures from the event itself.

Most often it isn't helpful that I know Norway... but this week it was!

A worthy sermon?

I went to church yesterday. The minister talked about a near-miracle he had seen by the patience of bank tellers dealing with the poor and infirm in a meaningful way in Somerville last week. He was impressed that even the people in line around him weren't freaking out by a 30 minute wait. He linked it to the week's readings, so maybe it wasn't quite the stretch I thought....

A few weeks ago I was at Somerset Pediatrics with N. It was an appointment to discuss something, not a regular physical, nor a sickness check. The doctor was fantastic! She really listened to me. She observed N and spent a lot of time with us. When we were leaving, I realized that she'd taken nearly 40 minutes with us and I felt very well cared for! As we returned to the waiting room, the woman who had been sitting next to me with her sick son was complaining loudly about the wait - giving me a dirty look - and ranted about how this took too long. I turned to the nurse and asked her to thank the do…

Wednesday in the news

I knew that if I turned on NPR or read a paper I'd be back in the thick of it. I haven't looked at any BRRSD issues this week, but I don't like what I'm seeing in the papers.

First of all - who cares about whether or not Tiger Woods was unfaithful or if he was fighting with his wife about it? Apparently lots of People!

I also don't care about wedding crashers who sneak themselves into the White House. I don't want to know their names (just like I don't want to know the name of the stupid guy with the hot air balloon stunt), or their motives. Isn't sneaking into the White House a felony???? Crashing a wedding with extra good food a the local Marriott is actually just a little ballsy... but as of today I've never done it (we once had a buffet at a restaurant in Spain that apparently was part of an all inclusive breakfast package at a hotel where we weren't staying... oops).

I am not happy about troop escalations in Afghanistan. Not because I disl…

Who turned out the lights?

Did it suddenly turn dark in Bridgewater? It's like we've turned the globe upside down and suddenly it's a dark Alaskan afternoon, gloomy and sad.

But that is not how I feel. Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. I'm knitting and reading, spending time with my family and my Dad and in relatively good spirits.

Maybe my feelings are due to the fact that I haven't been paying attention to the issues of the day. I haven't been to a board of ed meeting in a month, I haven't even looked at the New York Times that was delivered yesterday and I haven't been checking out the Courier News either. Yes, the economy is still collapsing, there are wars in far away places with lots of death and destruction. And there is a huge pile of laundry needing to be washed... but I'm not stressing about it.

Is this how the happy people normally live?  Blissfully ignorant?

Like any November day in Alaska, there is a storm brewing. It's only a matter of time …

Sick leave

I'm on hiatus. Am in bed with a bug... a flu? a bronchitis? Who knows?! Doctor didn't want to see me - just called in Tamiflu.

Will blog when I'm feeling less sorry for myself.

Misery loves company? N is home today with a fever too. He is downstairs playing video games with his dad right now. Better than medicine!

Except looking at the screen gives me a headache so I'm not up to playing too. I'll stop here. No edits. Just posting a quick update.

Cough, sneeze, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Testing my beliefs

I am 100% against the death penalty. Should someone kill my kids, in theory I would want to believe in forgiveness, but in practice I know that I would probably change my tune. Every time there is a violent murder in the news, I remember my friend, Yngve who was murdered on MIT campus in 1992. This video, by the way, is a one-sided profile of the perpetrators was and by no means is my endorsement for his early release. I think all three of the boys who did this should still be behind bars. But death row? I don't think so.

Tonight someone is being put to death in VA for a string of sniper homicides as well as leading a youth into the plan with him. You can read the NY Times Article here and more information is available on The Washington Post, including a map, click here.

I remember this killing rampage. I remember visiting my family in New York State, hundreds of miles away from the DC area where they took place, waking up from a bad dream believing foolishly that they could ge…

the vortex

You know how you feel like staying home for a week with sick kids is like falling into a vortex?? C has been sick all week, so even though I have had ample time to blog, I've felt I had little in terms of material.

Or have I? You decide:
We had an election, as you know, and Christie won and Governor Corzine had to bite the dust. Lots of Dems didn't vote for him, so it will be interesting to see if any change is good for New Jersey.
I'm taking part in a month long writing campaign called The National Novel Writing Month So far I've written about 7,000 words. As the website says something like, "you know you are writing crap, but the point is to write SOMETHING".
We've been back and forth with the school about N's lack of concentration. They want me to seek medical help, I want them to "deal with it". After watching "The Medicated Child" (click on the link to watch the entire episode!) on Frontline last night there is NO WAY I will me…

The end of an era

My heart is breaking just a little bit. It's going to be a year of lasts. My last evening Halloween party at our elementary school. I got so nostalgic that I wanted to have 4 more kids, but then I remembered how much else I'll have to do and decided it wasn't worth it.

Funny thing is I was never a huge fan of this free-for-all costume party. It's chaotic, noisy, annoying. You can't keep up with the young kids when you need to (kindergartners and 1st graders) and the older ones take off and you can't find them.

Now that it's gone, I'm sad. N wanted to leave early. He felt left out and couldn't get into the groove with his buddies.

My heart broke even a little more by that. It's 9pm. We missed the chaos in the parking lot (Bridgewater police have to patrol!!!), by leaving at 8:30, but I'm sad.

Tomorrow is Halloween. Where did the time go?

new opportunities

Just got back from meeting two friends (separately). I have been thinking after one coffee with B that I am seeing this life I have all wrong. It isn't about choosing between things (stay home OR work OR run for the board of ed OR actively volunteer) it is about picking what I want (stay home and work, etc.).

Our coffee also became a political discussion. B literally knows EVERYONE! It's amazing. She knows three of my former bosses (and has a similar opinion on at least one of them), she knows most of the major political players and their staffers in Trenton, she knows tons of pharma people, including execs, and she keeps them all straight. She has a head on her shoulders and was all around very impressive and funny. I left with completely thoughts about the election.

After 90 minutes sipping my half-caff, skinny, pumpkin spice latte I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on any and all activities...

or maybe it is that the sun is shining brightly and after coffee I spent an ho…

You never know...

...with a sensitive child you never know what will upset him!

We are working on a timeline project for Social Studies. The timeline covers important events in each child's life. We got out N's baby book. One of the things I kept was a copy of the newspaper where his birth was announced (I don't think I ever got a copy - I was in the hospital when it printed).

It said "C has a wonderful little brother. Mom & Dad (our names)"

N was very upset. "WHY DIDN'T I GET MY NAME IN THE PAPER?!"  I wanted to say that I don't think C even had a notice in the paper when she was born.  I know my mother-in-law called her friend who worked at the local paper to get it put in ASAP and maybe she hadn't heard his name yet. I'm not even sure we told everyone yet and lots of people don't list the baby's name. I was very surprised (and happy) to find it in the paper the day after N was born.

Then again, his name was in the paper less than a year lat…

Friday tea

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I went to college at an "All Women's Institution" which was part Ivy League, part A League of One's Own and full of great expectations and great traditions. We had linen tableclothes during my Freshman and Sophomore years on Thursdays for "family style" and TEA on Fridays. It was heaven. Friday at 4pm we came "home" to the living rooms of the "houses" (God Forbid they call them a dorm!) to tea, cookies, treats and my favorites: chocolate squares with peanut butter. It almost made up for the overachievers everywhere and pressure beyond anything I'd ever known before and since.

Well it is Friday at about 4pm. Today my college friend suggested that I owe myself a nice tea after Tuesday's defeat.

Usually I am not one to do something nice for myself, if it isn't really something nice for others too. But this idea was too good to turn down.

Today I woke up to the horrid noise of the dog upchucking, then I spent over 2 hours on a lo…

Something you never get used to...

When I was in High School I wasn't afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve. I liked lots of boys, but one in particular a lot. I didn't have the intelligence to hide it. And of course it never worked out and I spent a lot of time feeling worthless and distressed. It was my first taste of rejection.

About 10 years ago my dream job opened up. I applied for it, but when it went to someone else I cried for several days. I thought I was exceptionally qualified. Turns out, the hiring committee thought someone else was a better fit.

Tonight I didn't get another job I really wanted. While I am quite sure I am about a decade past crying for days over a job, I would be lying if I said I think that the hiring committee hired the easiest candidate and not necessarily the best candidate - there were three of us who I though would have been better than the person they hired. One of my questions was if I didn't get the position, would I try again? A few hours ago I thought I would. Now…

More news next week

I have a lot on my plate. Notes from the teacher about N's neverneverlandness, prep work for The Next Step and visit from my MIL.

So, I'll write more next week...

but this was too unbelievable not to post:

Click here...

God I love John!

changes

Dear readers,

I have changed my blog for the time being to be by invitation only.


If you know of other readers, please advise and I will invite them too. I may return to an open format at a later date, but due to the intimate nature of my thoughts, I'd like to try it this way.


I hope you will still find it to be entertaining and/or informative.

Best regards,

Poppet

NY Times makes me think twice, again!

As my readers know, I am not a stay-at-home Mom because I feel it is the "right thing to do". I am home mostly by fate. So I am always looking for feedback on my situation. Often from the NY Times.

I read two NY Times articles this weekend. One from the Magazine Section is by my old buddy, Lisa Belkin (no, I don't really know her!).

The second was in the Style section. What could I possibly relate to in the Style section?? It's like a pat on the back for staying home and cooking! We eat together as a family probably 5 nights a week (albeit often it is after 8:30 when we finally sit down) - and although apparently this is irrelevant, usually I cook!

Happy reading. Gotta love the juxtaposition of these articles.  The NY Times always keeps me thinking! Just saw this from Michael Pollan. Haven't read it yet, but if VF liked it, it's probably pretty cool!

Firemen rock!

I am NOT a fan of being asked for solicitations from my car (especially from too-perky sorority girls on an early Saturday morning), but recently I saw our firemen/women at work saving a house from certain destruction, and have a new respect for our all volunteer force! Let them solicit all the change they can on Black Friday!!!

Check your calendars and support our valiant Green Knoll fire squad in their quest to fundraise! Read here.

And, of course, I spread the word to help a certain fireman who holds a special place in my heart (don't get the wrong impression!!!!) because he is so patient with me as we schlep each others' kids to Tae Kwan Do year after year. I remember him on that May day. I remember his courage and afterward (to his wife's annoyance, I love her even more!), his pride when they saved the house and irreplaceable things like pictures.

Between my friend who is fighting the Cell Tower by Milltown Road, the money spent on the new municipal complex, the lett…

Too busy for blogging 2

Still busy... today was cleaning. It took me hours to attack my desk. In fact I just found it now (at almost 11pm). Of course I have done other things as well including volunteering at school, driving kids, grocery shopping, making sure the dog got exercise and making dinner.

I wish I had time to read this article in today's NY Times. But it looks like I don't need to. Unless you consider my free-speech thoughts on various political candidates, or my opinion (very unpaid, I promise you!) regarding local soccer programs to be product review, I think I'm in the clear. I certainly haven't been paid to write anything here. I would never turn down money, but I probably only earn enough to buy a tall decaf latte at Starbucks anyway. Is that product promotion? I don't think it qualifies, but in case it does, I'll sign off here. :-)

Time to return to the cleaning of the dining room. The good thing is that except for my desk we rarely use this room, so once it is clean,…

Ouch!

I played in a team sport tonight for the first time...

I am sore in muscles all over the body. But I feel good.

It was a learning experience - the adrenaline, the humiliation, the fun of playing a sport with people who are into it and very good was quite a shock for someone who has spent her life on the sidelines, not on the court/field.

It was a good reminder for my cheering soccer-mom self. When the team blows it occasionally, or I think they should run faster... it's not that easy!

Off to bed. My body desperately needs a good night's sleep!!!

Too busy for blogging

I have a new part time job. It's unpaid but rewarding. It's stressful but fun. And it has kept me away from the computer.

The day after this gig ends, I am going to be hostess for my MIL. Might be hard to get time then either.

Had interesting conversations about the LAL and Math programs. Has anyone tried to use the new programs website to help kids with homework? I didn't find it helpful. Did you?

Saturday

It was a Saturday. Mostly hectic, but some rest. I felt a little dizzy and spent a couple of hours watching TV (the first time this whole week!). It was a treat to be lazy!

Am pondering my next step. I do this a lot - it may be a new project, daydreaming about opening a knitting store (wish I had funds to rent that new space in Somerville...), or wondering what I'm going to be when I grow up.

Thinking about the next step always brings back memories of previous steps. I was thinking about two or three of my most wonderful teachers. Mrs. White (jeez, was that her name???) who taught us the importance of Supreme Court cases during my senior year of high school. I tried to teach N about Brown v. Board of Ed this week and thought of her. Not sure he got it completely. I remembered Mrs. Mix, my favorite teacher who made Latin seem completely relevant. I also remembered Mrs. Hoffman. She's still alive and kicking in my home town. I should look her up!! She was my loving fifth grade t…

Spending time at the kids' schools

I want to plug volunteering at the kids' schools.
I was at N's school the entire day and I learned a lot of things:
Even kindergartners know what they want - and don't want - and they articulate it clearly!
Teachers are part parent, part sergeant, part diplomat, part friend
Always stay on the good side of the janitorial and the administrative staff (we're lucky to have ours)
You never know what you'll find happening in the nurse's officeDon't go back for your purse in a fire drill
STAY AWAY FROM THE EXIT AT RECESS OR AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT'S VERY LOUDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
Large fundraisers take a LOT of people to run, more than you would expect. The majority of parents don't offer to help (less than 10% of households are volunteering at this event, even though we need people in the evening, too), and those who do usually help more than once.It was a very rewarding day. Much more personally rewarding than my last job, and certainly more rewarding than if…

Job opening...

This was in my e-mail this afternoon:


Dear Key Communicators,
The Board of Education and I would like you to know that Christine Schneider has resigned from her position on the Board due to personal reasons.  Christine served on the Board for over 3 years and made many outstanding contributions - her insights and leadership will be missed.
The Board is now seeking candidates to fill out Christine's position through April, 2010.  Please see the attachment for the application and process.  The Board will interview all qualified candidates at a Special Session open to the public on Tuesday, October 20, 2009, 8:00 PM, at the Wade Building.  Applications are due by 4:00 PM on Wednesday, October 14, 2010.
Sincerely,
Mike Schilder
Superintendent



I smell a story? Who quits the BOE mid-year??!!! Better question: WHY?


Just back from back to school night at C's school. Was NOT impressed by the Social Studies teacher who had success …

Dropped ball

I was planning to attend last night's BOE meeting. I wanted to voice my concern about the apparently lack of teacher training in advance of the school year's two new curricula implementations. I also was disappointed by the lack of constructive information on the writing program at the district-organized presentation last week.

Sigh.

I completely forgot the meeting yesterday evening.

Is it worth it to e-mail each BOE member?

Do they find it annoying when parents contact them? Do they care??? It's too late to change it, but they should know how parents feel, shouldn't they? *I* appreciate advice, but I have a feeling now that they are in their terms they don't want to hear from us. Especially if we are complaining about their "results."

I can't get the time back (and neither can the district). It wasn't a bad idea to go to bed at 9:45 last night, I guess. Hopefully the extra sleep has helped my brains to regenerate.

And then there was one...

Nonny was the oldest of seven children. Yesterday the baby of the family died. Aunt L was 89! When did I see her last? Was it in 1988 or 1994? Maybe in 1995? Who's funeral was it? She didn't go to my wedding or my sister's. So I'm guessing it had to be a funeral.

When I was a little girl we saw Aunt L regularly. Seeing "the family", meaning my Mom's family, was my Mom's biggest priority.

As I got older, things Aunt L said made less sense. She once accused me of stealing something from a bedroom. Although I was capable of theft, I didn't do it. I don't think she ever believed me. I cried for days and was afraid of her for a while. I still wonder about that.

She also was upset once about something I said. Growing up I slept in my Mom's 1930s canopy bed. While it was a beautiful antique, it was not very sturdy. L's daughter H and her husband borrowed it one Thanksgiving. I told my cousin H, "don't jump on it! It might break.&quo…

You know it's soccer season when...

...you spend the entire morning looking for a certain numbered jersey (which you eventually find), and spend hours lecturing your daughter on misplaced soccer paraphernalia.

You also know it is soccer season when you are 5 minutes from the away game (which is 1hr 15 minutes from your house) and your daughter announces, meekly, that she left her cleats in Bridgewater.

There are almost no houses nearby when she states this, much less Target stores with size 9 cleats in stock.

I wish I were the type of mom who would shrug and say, "guess that's just part of soccer season". I'm not.

PS Only C is lucky enough that one of the coaches has a pair of worn out cleats in just her size in his gym bag. She got to play! They won 1-0. She played forward for a while and then goalie for the 2nd half.

Overwhelmed soccer mom

It's been a bit much this week. Back to school, major changes in the soccer situation and the information overload (underload?) at last night's presentation has my head spinning. I need to regroup before I can send my thoughts over cyberspace.

I had a very strong reaction to last night's meeting.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about the changes in soccer.

I am enjoying my online class, but doubt I will get to even half the reading by Tuesday.

I have guests which are wonderful, but am (as usual) wondering if I said something I shouldn't have. I think I asked one or two questions too many.

Very thought provoking meeting with N's teacher. She seems fantastic. Miss Fantastic might be a good name for her, but am I jinxing something if I baptize her with that pseudonym? With so little brain cells left to process, I wonder when I will actually be able to sit and think about these things.

There's a blog in here somewhere - or maybe there are five blogs? But for now I…

side lines

When is it appropriate for a parent to address something somewhat inappropriate? Always? Never? If I do, why do I feel like it's always me making waves (and when I do, usually I get splashed the hardest)?

Would you tolerate it if a coach says that he's "almost ashamed" of his team after a 0-3 loss? Or would you give him the benefit of the doubt and say that the girls aren't working hard enough so he's trying to motivate them?

Maybe I'm just being the typical overprotective soccer mom. I am more verbally abusive with my kids.

Maybe I'm just expecting too much and since I wasn't there I should keep my hypocritical mouth shut.

I can't believe it's only the 1st week of school....................

Monday

Today was the first Monday of the rest of the year. The day went by fine. I watched someone's 4 year old for most of the day, so it was pretty mellow.

Once school got out it was a whirlwind. Homework has started and activities are in full swing.

How am I going to manage to keep up the pace? I drove to and from TKD 3 times (drop C at TKD, on way home pick up N at school, start his homework, drive him to TKD, pick up C, run errands with her, back to TKD to pick up N), back home for dinner and to finish homework before reading and bed.

I'm frazzled. Exhausted. Mentally and physically!

I saw that C is wearing make-up when she thinks I don't know about it. I laid into her about that. I called her deceitful. Whatever happened to the nice, honest C? When did this get so hard??? Why does this make me feel like such a failure?! At least our little errand trip gave me a chance to discuss this alone with her. Is that the silver lining of all the driving?

Maybe the challenge of how…

Little green monster

There are several people in my life that I envy for different reasons. One friend of mine, whose physical beauty I've envied since the day we met, has again had a success that I haven't matched. When I should be happy for her, all I can do is take a deep breath and think, "why do all the good things happen to her?"

So the question is this: how can I teach my children not to be jealous, both of the attainable (for example, her recent success) and the unattainable (her immense beauty)?

The only answer I have is to be watchful of my own emotions, and remind myself of my own fortune, and the "beauty" in my life. Also, I can't be jealous of something I don't dare try myself.

I once showed this friend's picture to T, saying that all men swoon for her. He said that I was much prettier. Even though I didn't believe him at first, I now see that conversation differently. I shouldn't waste my emotions being jealous of her (or maybe my time bloggin…

Lunch in da hood

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Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends. ~Virginia Woolf


Today I had a few people over for lunch. I invited one new friend when she said she felt like she didn't know many "normal" moms here. When she was recently around other Moms from our kids' school, she described the gathering as "like high school, and I'm not part of the popular clique. I guess I'm part of the geeky group."

I totally agree, especially about the women to whom she was referring.

I'm glad she's not part of this clique either! But I felt bad hearing this. I've been here six years, and met a ton of great people. I'm still meeting them.

I wanted her to see that not all BW moms are unwelcoming bitches! Mothering is not a competitive sport for all of us! We aren't all fixated on hair and nails! Nor are we all so overbearing that we smother our kids (even if it is meant with love). Yes, I LET MY DAUGHTER WALK TO SCHOOL! And I'm happy to say, …
It's Thursday. The kids didn't like what I made for dinner. C said the meat was too pink. N said it was burned.

N has to be in TKD clothes, C needs to wear soccer gear, AND cheer stuff. She'll do an hour of both, just as she did last night.

While I try to NOT kill the children - they've only been home for a bit over an hour, it's hardly fair that I be this upset over an uneaten dinner - I got online and read the following two articles.

A story from one of my favorite writers (filling in for another that I love): http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/09/09/healthcare/index.html

This raises the bar TOO high! What perfect Moms serve their kids: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/dining/09bento.html?_r=1

Hope they keep you from worrying too much about whatever may be bothering you, too!

The most wonderful time of the year..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFsTPx5UrbAIt's my favorite night of the year... forget the night before Christmas, or my birthday.

Like a clean canvas, you never know what you will see at the end a new school year.

We're lucky in BRRSD to have so many great teachers. I love the feeling of positive anticipation, with new possibilities. Will N's teacher boost his low confidence? Will C manage to master e-math?

Not to mention: will I manage to do all the required reading for the class I'm taking? I never did before...

Time will show, won't it!

It all begins

Tonight is it - the last night of no plans until November. We are about to enter the most hectic fall of our six years in Bridgewater.

The worst part: the schedule isn't even 100% ready! We haven't heard a confirmed day or time for cheer practice and I don't know a single time for either soccer or football games!

Mondays - Taekwondo for both kids
Tuesdays - Taekwondo for both kids (optional for N)
Wednesdays - Soccer for C
Thursdays -* Cheer for C, Taekwondo for N
Fridays - Taekwondo for C (optional/make-up)
Saturday - Cheer (Football games) for C, Storming Robots for N
Sunday - Soccer Game for C

In addition - I am taking an online college class and have homework due Tuesdays and Fridays. There is 1 soccer tournament on the calendar and 2 taekwondo tournaments - but dates are TBD. We have guests scheduled to come for 4 nights in September and for 2 weeks in October, plus my father is planning for several week's here this fall. He is actually a huge help, especially with the d…

The frugal blogger

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Today I was in my own little nirvana...At a yard sale I bought 18 skeins of various yarns for $16.

New yarn in various textures and colors. Bright and fluffy, soft and subtle. Oh the possibilities! Maybe these skeins will become 10 scarves? What about hats for 16 friends? Maybe I will make things to sell? Maybe for a 40th birthday gift? A Christmas giftie? Maybe 10 gifties. I could combine them all for a very cool (albeit a bit strange) skirt. Teachers' gifts? Endless possibilities.

Some will stay in the recently organized "knitting section" of my closet until just the right moment when a certain friend calls me to say "I've got some good news!"

I love vast opportunities in 16 little balls of yarn. Such joy, such optimism!

What a great Saturday!

What color is my parachute...

I just plugged "What do I want to be?" into Google. It was amazing how slowly results emerged. (Not to mention how useless the results were - but c'mon, did I really think google would have the answer to that?) If I redo the search with "I feel lucky" it gives me this link.

I am realizing that I must go back to work. Every month I stay home we go more into debt. While I think my husband thinks I waste money every day, other than frequent restaurant lunches, I buy very little for myself. The vast majority of money spent goes to food and the kids (activities, clothes, supplies, toys, birthday gifts, etc.).

But I don't know WHAT to do. T is completely against me going back to school (mostly financial reasons, but he thinks it is wasteful since I already have an expensive education) but recently I have been considering teaching. When I was in college and should have gotten teaching certification, I thought I would hate it. My Mom was a teacher for 10 years and …

New year, new worries

BRRSD's BOE has decided to implement both a new Language Arts curriculum and Math curriculum in the same year.

While I applaud their efforts to raise academic standards (although some people, including two teachers, have said they think the math is getting watered down instead of raised) I am deeply concerned that the teachers are starting a new year with major changes and insufficient advance training.

Some teachers attended programs this summer, but if I understand correctly NOT ALL teachers have been trained in the new curricula. They will be trained DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR. This means they will be pulled out during the school day in addition to the few in service days. Some were trained for a few days this summer. How much time should a teacher - even a seasoned one - be trained in a new curriculum? A week? A month? 10 hours? The truth is I don't have a clue to this answer!

I met my son's teacher today and had a good first impression. I have heard her described as organiz…
Last weekend I saw Julie and Julia. I had been prepared for it - the reviews I heard said that Meryl Streep was a fantastic Julia Child, while Julie's character was pretty dull and mousy.

I come from a household of Julia Child fanatics. I remember often watching The French Chef on Saturday afternoons as a young child.

I can identify with Julie's character. Albeit, I am jealous that I didn't come up with this idea myself: cook all of Julia' Child's recipes in a year and then blog about it. But then again, who in this household would eat it? I live with people who don't eat even a tiny amount of onion in any recipe.

I loved the movie...

...and I hated the movie.

Hated it because it reminded me that the frustrated Julie is a lot like me - wondering where my destiny lies. And hated the "woe is me" of the 30-something with a great husband with a carefree life in New York City, who ODs on self-pity for no reason. I hate those feelings in myself. I kept wanting…

Readers' choice

I just read this very interesting article in the NY Times called The Future of Reading
A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like
.

I am a traditionalist: kids must be exposed to classic literature in school, otherwise they will never read it. Also classic literature exposes students to good grammar. They certainly don't hear it from the people around them, and what they read and write in social networking and texting is directly harmful to their language arts skills. I've even heard teachers mixing up grammar on a regular basis... I try very hard but know I'm not perfect either.

Kids need to read Romeo and Juliet, Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, Huck Finn, etc. etc. etc. The schools have to assign it. Are kids going to read it at the beach during the summer? Hardly!

On the other hand, I get their main point. C reads for pleasure for herself. We are certainly lucky. She reads and reads and reads. Its a mixture of trash and good literature. But I know the struggles most peopl…

Ah-ah-ah-aaaaaah-Choooooo!

Don't get too close to your computer when you read this, I've caught a cold. I've been sneezing all over Bridgewater, Somerville and Manville today. With my nose running, I walked out of a big box store with a 3-pack of Puffs.

If it's what my husband had last week, by this time tomorrow I'll be running a low-grade fever and feeling pretty miserable.

It's a Saturday night. N is at TM's, C & T just left for a movie and if I were a smart woman I'd finish the laundry in anticipation of a sick day tomorrow.

But anyone who has been to our house knows that I don't prioritize housework or laundry when I can be having fun. So, it's off to Bridgewater Commons to meet up with my friend to see a chic flick.

In the 10 minutes I've been writing this, I've used 6 tissues - so it's not the smartest decision to go to the movies! But I don't always have to do the right thing, do I? Please say that just because I am a suburban mom and I wouldn&#…

Soccer Mom becomes Cheer Mom living in a glass house

This fall my daughter is cheering for BFL, in-town.

I am enough of a feminist to admit that I simply don't like my daughter practicing to cheer for the boys. (Maybe I prefer that the boys cheer for her???).

Tonight T said "let her cheer! It's something she is choosing for herself and she really wants to do it".

I preach that parents shouldn't judge one another by the choices their children make. Why should I judge myself (or maybe my daughter) for cheer leading? Many people consider it a viable sport and social activity. My criticisms are all based on hypocritical stereotypes. Yesterday when I was thinking "What would my Mom have thought about this?" I assumed that she would have never let me do it.

Then I remembered that I did try out for cheer leading in 9th grade. I hadn't a prayer to make even the JV squad - I didn't have any of the qualities they look for (except being thin, perhaps - and maybe 5 years of ballet lessons). My Mom must have said…

The next step

I'm always wondering what my next step should be, yet I often tread forward aimlessly.

This is one of those times. I'm trying to figure out the best career for me. A year ago I was gun-ho about getting a job and was hired after my first interview, only to be downsized a few months later. Now I ask myself again, what next?

Reading an article in Sunday's times magazine called The Women's Crusade I realized that I am looking at this all wrong. I'm a woman of incredible privilege - living in a safe home, in a country where women have significant professional and personal opportunities, and I was born into a family where higher education wasn't just a gift, it was an expectation. If the women in this article can break out of their circumstances to attain a goal, I shouldn't be so scared to set one!

My lifelong struggle has been finding the answer to the question, what do I want to be when I grow up. My life has happened to me nearly as much as I have chosen it. I …

Time management

Tonight I thought I would blog, but then I realized that both Saturday's and Sunday's New York Times are sitting on the sofa untouched. I have interesting things to write from time to time, but tonight the time would be better spent reading the NY Times, than writing/editing (for me) or reading (for you) this blog.

The Magazine Section is focused on women's issues. My kind of stuff. Some of it will be painful to read - one article focuses on true oppression: rape, lack of education, sex trafficking, etc. Painful stuff.

I will read about Julia Child's best seller in the Business section (which I often put into recycling unread).

Finally, I'll have to check out the Travel section where they wrote about 36 hours in Oslo. Who knows, maybe I'll get there someday...

Looking forward to my PJs, Fresca and the Times. It'll be a good use of my time this Monday night!

Rainy Saturday

I have a couple of friends with whom we go to the beach for day trips each year. We all, kids and parents, look forward to these days for months in advance. In May we pick dates that we still have free (with 7 kids' activities and camps to consider, plus one mom working full time we need to block dates early).

Usually we have great luck. The dates work well and the weather holds out.

This summer we are 0 for 0 (with one date still to come in September).

Hurricane Bill nixed our plans for yesterday, but it turned out to be a fantastic day anyway.

After running errands all morning we went ice skate at Aspen Ice at Flemington. It was cleaner and nicer than BSA in Bridgewater - albeit less convenient. I was so happy - N loved it and it gave him confidence to feel like he was one of the best kids in our group, for once.

After the obligatory money suck - the arcade games - we went home, dropped the boys and two of us with our daughters headed to Bridgewater Commons. C had earned money last …

it's hot...

It's really hot and humid in Bridgewater this week. I've tried to cool things down - went to the pool Monday, the beach on Tuesday, the pool again on Wednesday, and yesterday we went to Dorney Park.

Today I see that my week of leisure has left the house in shambles. Tomorrow it's back to the beach, so I better get something productive done today.

Unfortunately its just too hot to motivate myself to clean.

And it's too humid to blog... so I'll leave it here. Keep cool!

New York City with kids...

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Several friends have asked what we do with our kids when we hit NYC for the day. It depends a bit on the weather and the kids we bring. Much to my kids' collective groans I usually include a museum in the mix. Then comes THE WALKING! My kids know in advance that NYC day trips mean walking. Dress accordingly!

Train to Penn Station. Taxi to either the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the American Museum of Natural History. Start there. I plan on about 2 hours roaming through the exhibits. I always try to catch a show at the Planetarium at the Natural History Museum and my son has the task of counting mummies at the Met. We usually have something to eat at the museum between floors/exhibits.

We exit the museum and head for the park. These museums are conveniently located at a doable distance from the Central Park Zoo at the southern end of the park. Click here for Central Park Conservancy's website where you can download maps, etc. Another useful site is run by the NYC Park's depa…

First one out...

As you may have heard before we are often the first in Bridgewater to let our kids do certain things. Both kids were on airplanes before they could sit up - N flew overseas before he was 3 months old. Sleepovers started at age 2 or 3. C had a TV in her room in Kindergarten. That was a straight bribe. She was also first with a phone in her room. My son followed suit. We have taken several friends with us on vacations. Both kids have flat-screened tvs in their rooms as well as laptops. As I write this my son is upstairs with a friend online playing a game I've never heard of...

Yes, they are spoiled. And I have spent many an uncomfortable coffee defending these things or agreeing sheepishly to other mothers' criticisms. "My mother-in-law bought the cell phones" is something I've probably said about 100 times to various shock-faced BW parents.

What do I do now? Approximately 10 of my daughter's friends have friended me on Facebook. How can I say C is too young wh…

Compliment

Don't get used to 2 blogs a day, and 3 per weekend... I just don't have that much interesting stuff to say, but this is something worth repeating.

I spoke with my Dad this morning. He said, "I love visiting Bridgewater because I love being with your friends!"

What's in the news again? The $100,000 question

I want education professionals to do well, but I have never understood why the administrators make 6-figure salaries and teachers struggle. That has never made sense to me.

This was in today's Courier online regarding six figure salaries in Central NJ school districts. The article doesn't mention Bridgewater specifically, but all our figures are on the BRRSD website, or you can click here.

But it's a beautiful summer day. I don't feel like getting hot and bothered about salaries on this lovely morning, especially not before coffee.

Have a good weekend!

... the envelope please...

My son got his classroom placement today. We're not sure whether to be pleased or not. I am trusting Miss Teacher from last year to make a suitable placement for him this year. I'm sure she's done a good job.

Technology has changed so much. It used to be that we were always on vacation when "the letter" would arrive and my husband would call us with the news because he was back home. We'd either e-mail or call friends and exchange information. Today we were at home. One mom was very smart. She made an evite and listed every e-mail she had for our grade asking people to post their placements as the RSVP field. We already know about 35 kids through this method. So far N has no close friends in his class. We're still waiting for a couple of his closest BFFs to get back from vacation. Keep your fingers crossed that someone close will be in N's new class.

It's an exciting time, anticipating the new year. Optimism and hopes are high. I like that feeling!

Heathy thoughts on health care

Everyone seems to be talking about health care reform. The problem is people are saying a lot of ignorant things.

I am one of few Americans who can say they have lived extensively in a country with the real deal, socialized medicine.

Clearly, to me, Obama is NOT suggesting that we adopt a social welfare state. Talk of the socialization of America is utterly ridiculous. Obama, it seems, is focusing on making a national option for health insurance. Where I lived I didn't have any health insurance (yes, we had insurance for the car, house, travel, etc.) because it was all provided by the state. I paid a nominal co-pay for regular office visits or trips to the ER. I paid for any medication. But I never paid a cent for my children's health care beyond prescriptions. My kids' well-care and "sick visits" were free. I paid nothing for the hospitalization when my kids were born, nor did I pay a co-pay for prenatal or postpartum check-ups.

It was all very simple. No insuran…