Sunday, January 31, 2010

Interesting reading

As is often the case, I spent the early part of my Sunday morning reading Saturday's NY Times, specifically  The Jihadist Next Door.

As I read this I kept asking myself: how much influence do parents really have on their children and their decision making? I think this could never happen to my kids - or should I rephrase that to - my kids would never do this. But of course, it could and they might. Maybe not the Muslim extremist part - but a series of life altering series (bad) decisions, that in my opinion, ruin their lives. 

What if it does? Where is the "What to expect when you're expecting" book for parents of adult kids who make awful mistakes or become the kinds of people that the parents didn't want them to be? What then?

Not in my neighborhood??? Think again! Maybe people I've spoken to are right. Maybe it is more important for you to be an important part of your kids life when they are in High School than when they are in grade school? The first thing they say about the BRHS bomb threat was that the parents travel for weeks on end abroad while the kids are home alone. Or maybe it just doesn't matter what parents do. Kids become the people they are going to become and our influence means little.

Then I have to think again. I'm still thinking about "what did those parents do to make their kid turn out this way?" The judgmental competitive Mom bullshit again! (I.e. "My kids won't turn out that way because I am such a good mother!" You know who thinks like that in your life!) Maybe it has NOTHING to do with the parents. Maybe it was an external influence? Maybe it was drugs? But what if....

I think that is exactly the stuff this kid's parents are torturing themselves -and as indicated by the arguments mentioned in the article - each other.

Finger pointing....  I wish I knew now that everything will turn out OK with my kids. They will avoid drug abuse, violence, weird fanaticism, plane crashes, dropping out of school, cancer... and everything else awful they could face. But take that logic one step further. If one of them becomes a Nobel Prize winning President, Head of the UN, or um.. Bono, do I get to take credit for it?

These thoughts go hand in hand. Take the criticism, take the praise. It's hard to be an insecure Mom in an insecure world.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Annoying inheritance

My father has a very annoying habit. In the middle of a conversation, he will interrupt with "Oh Chaaaa-riast!" (as in taking the Lord's name in vain). He will then say "oh it's just something I said."  "When?" "In December 1957!"

I woke up at about 5am today with the same problem - not from 1957, decades before my birth - but from several things that were either said or done yesterday.

Among the doozies -
  • A debacle about who was coming last night. I think I hurt my friend's feelings. :-(
  • I asked another friend if she is still in contact with her ex-husband. It went over so poorly that she ignored the question completely, while another friend gawked at me for my poor taste.
  • My lack of organization skills - dinner wasn't ready until almost 8pm when we were supposed to meet friends at the mall (see bullet point 1). At 8:20 we were finished with dinner and the mall closed at 9pm so we took a rain check, however this was a logistical issue because then we didn't meet up with friends who didn't eat with us.
  • Friend A wanted to eat out, friend B wanted to eat in. Friend B ended up NOT coming, so Friend A was disappointed that we didn't go out and even commented, not once, but twice...
  • My daughter's table manners were so awful that I was actually embarrassed.  She was being completely obnoxious. As if she had taken a silly pill and all her common sense had gone out the window. Totally inappropriate.  My guest even told her daughter "this is how NOT to behave!" And that she was glad we didn't go out for a meal if this was how she would behave (not an exact quote). I was mortified!
Part of me wants to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head until next year.  I don't want to face these things.

Part of me knows that in the big picture none of this matters. Even the table manners issue will work itself out.
But another part of me knows that it will bug me for a while...

Let's hope I didn't inherit my father's habit of reliving unpleasant conversations 50 years after they took place. I don't want my life to be like that.  I don't even want my Saturday to be like that. OK, chin up.... it's a new day! I don't mind doing yesterday's dishes - which I need to do - I do mind reliving yesterday's faux pas.

Friday, January 29, 2010

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES...


1) THE POST THAT JUST WENT UP WAS WRITTEN WEDNESDAY. MAKES LESS SENSE TODAY. ALSO I HOPE THAT IF CD SEES HER MUGSGOT COMPARED TO A TV STAR SHE WILL TAKE IT AS NICE TEASING AND NOT THINK I'M SOME WEIRD STALKER. I FOUND IT BY GOOGLE IMAGES FOR BRRSD.


2) AM WRITING THIS ON MY IPHONE WHICH SOMEHOW HAS ME IN CAPS LOCKED MODE. SO I'M NOT YELLING!!! I'M JUST TECHNICALLY CHALLENGED.


3)KIDS DOING FINE IN SCHOOL. COULD DO BETTER ( N LOST POINTS FOR FORGETTING THE H IN NORTH - NORTH DAKOTA, AND C THOUGHT THAT EGYPT IS IN ASIA. BUT PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES ALL THE TIME. LOOK AT MY TECHIE PROBS BLOGGING TODAY!!


HAVEN'T HEARD WORD 1 FROM MIL IN AT LEAST 2 WEEKS. I HOPE YOU ARE OK DEAR KKL. ARE YOU HAVING TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES TOO? 


SPELL CHECK ISN'T WORKING EITHER. SOOOO I HOPE THIS BLOG ENTRY WILL AMUSE YOU DEAR READER AND THAT YOU'VE GOTTEN PAST THE YELLING.




FINALLY A SHOUT OUT TO DEAR J. YOU'VE HAD SOME BAD WEEKS . I HOPE ALL IMPROVES AND YOU ENJOY A NICE WEEKEND. WE ALL HAVE OUR BAD TIMES AND CHALLENGES.


I'LL TRY TO BE POSITIVE IN CHALLENGES BIG AND SMALL... LIKE TODAYS BLOG. 

What a way to spend an evening!

Last night I missed the big budget "meeting of the year" at the Board of Ed. They are talking about cutting the AI-program in the 5th and 6th grades and increasing offerings in e-programs. I've blogged about both of these programs on a number of occasions - in fact it is how I started to blog in the first place.

Normally I would have itched to go to such a contentious meeting where I would have happily taken the podium to add my 2 cents worth.

Last night I got home at 8:15pm from driving the Tae Kwon-Do carpool, I served dinner that was heating (only slightly burned) in the oven, put on my PJs, opened a Sam Adams and flipped between a LOST rerun, The Biggest Loser & Deal or No Deal.


I have strong opinions about the AI and e-programs! I have waited my turn to speak about them at the BOE on a number of occasions. But you know what - I'm happy that I stayed home. If you read yesterday's blog, I was tired and grumpy in the morning. Staying up until past midnight to hear tons of AI parents speak in favor of, and many speak against AI was just not the best use of yesterday's last nerves.

My opinions are just as strong as last year. Luckily I'm learning that sometimes its OK to stay home and let someone else take a stand.

This morning I spent time with someone who went last night (she left at 12:15 am and the meeting wasn't even over!). She looked exhausted.

I felt refreshed after bad tv and a good night's sleep.

It's OK NOT to do the right thing (like attend an important meeting) sometimes and CHOSE to do the wrong thing (wasting time in front of the TV when I could have been doing one of 100 other useful things).

And besides... Sawyer is easy on the eyes! (And I am guessing T would say the same thing about Kate).  Would you rather spend the evening with










OR












Did I make the right choice? You decide!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A special benefits package....

Lately I've been wondering - is there such a thing as the right time to go back to work and is now the right time?

I am taking a class at the local college, hearing all these bright young people with their plans to be things like lawyers and psychologists. "I just like learning things, so I'm a dating a reference librarian" one twenty-ish student said. Even the professor seems to have taken a teaching job only after he had a kid and realized he couldn't do research abroad forever. He encouraged us all to travel "on the government's dime" (i.e. on a Fullbright or other grant-sponsored program). He was preaching to the choir. If I could get on a plane and study something, you wouldn't have to ask me twice! I'm still game to travel on a one-way ticket!

When it came to my turn to introduce myself, I actually was at a loss for a reason to take the class, other than it sounds like fun.

Unwillingly cleaning the toilets this morning, I asked myself if I want to clean house for an ungrateful family who won't even noticed that the ring is gone from the tub (or leave it in its post-frat-party look du jour) - drive my sour-faced kids to another practice that they don't feel like going to? Make a meal that one child will lap up, while either the other child or my husband will just push around on the fork and look for snacks in 20  minutes' time? Or do I give in and make 3 different meals - which they all eat, but don't appreciate the extra effort to present? Why do I do this?

I guess I just want to be appreciated.

Do I want a corporate job where I'm unappreciated, but it doesn't matter because I'm paid? Would my 2nd income be appreciated? We'd have the income, but I wouldn't have the time to take C to the mall.

What kind of job offers appreciation in its benefits package???















....the job of being a good friend! Ok, Ladies - let's lunch! Doggie Doo - later on we'll hit the park maybe. I know you'll appreciate that!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lunch with a side of perspective




Had lunch today with KC at Origin. For once I expanded my horizons and ordered something totally different.

Lunch with K is always an inspiration. We seem to feed off each others' energy and always have plenty to discuss. She has three boisterous kids plus a husband (TC) who is an interesting character. All in the next two weeks - TC is off to Helsinki. KC is off to Guatelmala. My T is off to Oslo. (I'm not heading anywhere, but I was just in Europe, so I'm not complaining!).

I'm interested in school board politics, KC in Town Council politics, specifically the cell phone tower which is proposed just beyond her back yard. She used to be neighbors with Pure Evil whom I ran into last week. She had seen his sliminess recently too. Always a little gossip mixed in.

KC and I could talk endlessly!!!! Even after about an hour and a half devouring our delish Thai food, we chatted in front of our cars for another half hour.

K gets me. She really does. I miss living 50 feet from her front door. I'm grateful she's my friend. So grateful for our chat that I came back home and didn't even mind scrubbing the stove. It was just that much fun to see her!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hump day

Haven't written much this week as it seems like an endless series of errands, duties and laundry. Guess that is what my life is this week. Did I mention cooking? Along with that, of course is cooking's BFF - EATING.

Been doing that too. Scale isn't going down any, at least. I did see my friends yesterday, today and will have coffee with someone tomorrow, so for my griping, it "ain't too shabby"!

Be well, dear readers.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hypocrite Mom

http://artruch.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/dr-house.jpg


My Mom always said her least favorite thing in the world was a hypocrite. I've generally tried not to be one.

I am also trying to instill the same value in my kids. Just yesterday I pointed out how C did something on Friday that she complained another friend did earlier in the week that hurt C's feelings. "But..." the explanation started. So I explained to her what a hypocrite is.

This is Merriam-Webster's definition.
Main Entry: hyp·o·crite
Pronunciation: \ˈhi-pə-ˌkrit\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English ypocrite, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin hypocrita, from Greek hypokritēs actor, hypocrite, from hypokrinesthai
Date: 13th century
1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
hypocrite adjective

The problem is sometimes everyone is a hypocrite! I'm no exception.

On the same day my daughter was being a classic example of definition number two, I was being number one (and after my lecture, number 2 as well). I seem to be the perfect wife this week. To my friends I may seem virtuous. In reality I'm doing a horrible job. The house looks like a bomb hit it. I nag the kids not to be lazy and to keep their rooms neat, but look at me glued to the laptop!

Then again I remember my Mom, and I can think of a number of things she did in her life that were classic definitions.  

House contends that everyone lies. I think everyone is a hypocrite sometimes. Not that lying and hypocrisy are OK... just common. What is the penance for being a hypocrite?  I guess cleaning my house, not yelling at or lecturing the kids, and not complaining that I have errands to do is a reasonably place to start.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A, B & Cs

 A blog in 3 acts. No particular order:

Part A) Congratulations, Christine Rose. I don't know you, I don't know anything about you, but I am very glad you beat out your opponent for the open Council seat last night.

Part B) All's well that ends well.

Part C) The BOE voted to end the AI program for the 5th and 6th grades and expand e- offerings instead. This is probably a good thing as it will raise the bar to have additional bright kids in regular classes. (AI is a self-contained classroom for the "most gifted" kids, e- are advanced classes in Language Arts or Math, now they will include Science and Social Studies, too. The admission process is the same - testing and teacher recommendation. ). I think it is also socially good to have these kids integrated in sports, lunch, specials, etc. Apparently it saves several hundred thousand dollars. I want the district to open what it offers to more kids. This might help! (It might not too). Maybe someone like N who is challenged in LAL but excels in Science could get the opportunity of an e-program where before he wouldn't have had more challenge in Science. However, I know that it isn't perfect as a program as I've complained before. My favorite description of BRRSD schooling - be careful what you wish for!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

repetitio est mater studiorum

OK, in case you are wondering, I haven't abandoned my blog. In fact I have been writing a lot. Just not posting. Some of what has been going on has been so personal that I haven't felt comfortable sharing. I'm still trying to tweak something that I can share.

In the mean time, a quick winge-session. Here's a conundrum: the 4th grade at my son's school is gearing up to learn the 50 states, their placement, capitals, spelling and ....

...

and apparently their 2-letter abbreviation.

N is very challenged with memorizing things. We have spent 30 minutes per night learning 3 states at a time. And just now I found out he was supposed to learn the 2-letter abbreviation too. It's an hour too late. School started already.

I so suck! How could I have not seen that in the parents' letter?

Poor N. It isn't his fault! It's mine!

Say a little prayer (if you pray and don't think that your God has more important things going on to worry about my kid's Geography test) that N can wing it.

He played this game last night. Hopefully he picked up the 2 letter codes by osmosis.

*****

Counteracting bad news with good news... it isn't a decision yet, but C is considering taking Latin as her language in middle school!!! T is going to think I put her up to it, which I didn't, I just told her I thought it was a great idea. It might not happen, but I am really thrilled that she is even considering it on her own.

Maybe I'll teach her some of the coolest expressions I knew... in vino veritas can't be one of them, but there are tons, besides carpe diem.

Mrs. Mix would be so proud!!!


And by the way, the title means "repetition is the mother of studies". Be well.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New decade new post

It's the new decade and I'm already a little unsure about its start. N bonked his head and we ended up in the ER for a STAPLE. It was pretty inhumane - but much faster than stitches. I am directly dreading when it gets pulled out on Saturday!

Then this morning the alarm didn't wake us, not because I didn't set it, but because I didn't check the volume level and of course it was silent.

Everyone got to school as close to on time as to not call it tardy, but N needs a few minutes in the morning to get his act together if he is going to finish his morning work on time. I am pretty sure his teacher thinks I am a flake of a Mom who can't get her kid to school on time!

Flake or not, I spent most of the weekend with N (I brought him to see my Dad, C stayed here for a birthday party and some quality Daddy time). He had a great weekend, despite the ER visit.

N loved that I let him run wild where I never thought I would. In a pinch for some kid fun on a cold day? Try the Raymour and Flanigan showroom when they aren't busy! All those "rooms" of furniture have fabulous and relatively safe hiding places??? The staff didn't even seem to mind, especially since Grandpa bought 2 beds! I didn't mind too much either. I did make them take off their shoes, just in case. Especially the first day when we were "testing" beds. For 9 year old beds that means jumping on them... (yes, I did tell them to stop THAT).

We also went to a great place that I hadn't been before. It was FREE! TheTanglewood nature center had tons of trails (at 15F it wasn't tempting) and a fun exhibition on spiders, snakes, frogs... but what the boys liked the best were the Iguana and the Turtle that were just roaming around. We missed the snow-shoe lessons, but now I know you can rent them for a small fee.

The kids ran wild through Grandpa's house while the adults caught up, shared gossip and ate more pizza than they should have. The kids had a GREAT time! At bedtime they enjoyed a classic Ghostbusters. Who knew in the mid-1980s that it would still be fun today?  (The totally inappropriate jokes went over the kids' heads).

Everyone had a great weekend. C spending it with T, N spending it with BFF T, Grandpa and me. Maybe I'm not such a flake of a Mom after all??