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Showing posts from August, 2009

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…

Reality check from the comfort of the living room

For Mother's Day this year I asked for Wii Fit. I am using it more than I used my gym membership last spring. Don't get me wrong, I loved going to Exerwise Woman, but I like a "personal" (albeit electronic) trainer in the privacy of my home.

The Wii pushes me to weigh myself every time I go on. While I've lost a few pounds, I did not come anywhere close to my original goal. The best and worst thing about the Wii, is that it just doesn't sugar coat things. When I weigh myself, it says in a frank, but not unfriendly tone, "That's Overweight!"

My husband has started to use it too. I use it more regularly, so it bugs me when it smiles at him and describes his weight as, "That's Normal!"

This morning I heard this about so called "Fat Acceptance" on WHYY. It said most overweight people have a skewed view of their weight. Apparently I do too, I see myself as normal. At least normal for having had 2 kids.... While I really do plan o…

An important visitor

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My niece is here! She's starting her senior year of college and has turned into this wonderful adult. We picked her up near my hometown where she was doing a very cool internship with my cousin's company.

She's been hanging with us all weekend and it's been lovely to talk about old family stories. Some are myths, really. We've also spent time looking at old pictures. I have always felt that I am the near-baby of the family, and never took part in the coolest years. I have a brother who went to Woodstock, and my siblings and cousins spent the 60s and 70s doing very cool things.

Who knew that I would see myself in a new role, a connection between MP and relatives who died years ago? It's great to be given this opportunity to spread the family lore and I love thinking about too.

Friday night time travel

Every few months I go back in time.

When I drive West on 78, North on 33, West on 80, etc. as I head closer to my hometown, I sense that I am traveling in time. The radio gradually goes from NPR news programs, to NJ traffic reports, to 80s music, to my hometown station that I have been listening to since I was a kid, 94Rock.

Friday night I spent the evening with some of the most important people of my past: my high school girlfriends, plus Steve. Steve isn't a girlfriend, but only because he isn't a girl. Like it or not (and I think he likes it) he is part of our little girl friend clique. He hung with us senior year of high school, but marrying MC sealed his fate as "one of us". This time he was really lucky, there were two other men there, but often he is the only guy when we gather. We had a BBQ and caught up while 12 kids ran around, played with the dogs and lost a flip flop in the river. Steve also acted as Grill Meister and puppy police! After dinner Steve and B&…

Teen angst

I started two other blogs this week. One about how clean my cabinets will be now that I've spent a couple of weeks at my in-laws perfect homes. I didn't finish the blog, so you can imagine the state of the cabinets...

The other is about our dog who cut himself playing yesterday and that the estimate for stitches was $800 so we opted to let him heal on his own. In the marital battles of wills, that one ended Wife-0, Husband-1.

But now I just read that someone I really hadn't heard of but who was a very influential figure in my life, John Hughes, has died. So I'll blog about him instead.

I was lucky. I was a teenager during the time when he started making classic movies about teenage angst. In fact I just referred to one last month. In the drama revolving about my sister's life my father forgot my birthday! If Sixteen Candles is a reflection on my life, I didn't get the hot babe with the cool sports car making me a luscious chocolate cake, but I did marry Anthony Mi…