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Showing posts from April, 2010

Performance review

Sometimes I suck at my job! (I felt this way when I was gainfully employed too sometimes).

Today was a lost day in the world of parenting.

Bad start: I couldn't get my kid to extra help this morning because I kept him out too late last night. I think he missed it last week, too. Did he even have breakfast? Did C?

Bad middle: I was at school during snack and N didn't have one and was hungry. How pathetic I am! I asked him why he didn't bring one himself this morning, but I know I should have packed it, just like good moms do. After all, he's only 9!

Bad end: Major soccer-carpool glitch. My fault? Not my fault? In the end it's always Mom's fault!!! Also, N went to a concert in dirty pants because I forgot to wash them.

Bad bedtime: C's cell phone is missing and Mom's magical "fix-it, find-it" ain't working.

Also - something was bothering N. He wouldn't tell me what. :-(

Finally: it's 10pm. My kids are still up - and have been up til…

How to make people NOT want to go to a BOE meeting...

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1) Have a 10 page agenda (link below)

2) Add 228 pages of accompanying documents - is a "reorganization meeting" some kind of euphonium?

3) Have no direct mention of the failed budget (forgive me if I missed it). You'd think it'd be there as it's the biggest issue of the week. Is it a pink elephant?

4) Have the next two meetings be on the agenda for vote as "closed sessions". Sounds to me like "speak now or forever hold your peace!" Do they mean partially closed or entirely closed? This puts pressure on people to go and speak tonight, when there is more than enough to talk about. Do I have 4 hours to commit tonight?

I think I want to be like the pink (well, gray at least) elephant: in my living room!

Ellen is more tempting than this agenda! Jill, Cindy, Jeffrey and Evan or Cara, Ellen, Randy and Simon??? Even if they cut the music program (which isn't on tonight's agenda) our talented kiddies still have a chance to be on Idol.

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Monday Mom time???

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Monday was very Monday (although not as bad as for one of my friends who found melted deodorant all over the floor after someone left the sauna door open).

As some of you know, I am taking a class at Raritan Valley Community College. It is just for my own enjoyment. What a geek - taking US History for fun? What am I? Nuts?

Well I would be if I could go. The class is once a week from 3pm-6pm and is only about 10 minutes from my house. N is in aftercare, C goes to TKD when i can get her a ride. But the last 3 classes I've had to miss because of commitments for my kids.

It shouldn't bother me - I have chosen to not work to manage them - but it does. It's expensive, but I like it.

I resent it a little bit when I've missed 3 classes in a row. The professor has a wife who apparently is a stay-at-home Mom too, but there is only so patient he can be. I can't help it that C got sent home with a fever one week, and I decided I needed to stay home to monitor how sick she was.…

Rainy Sunday can't rain on my Saturday parade....

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I'm still too proud over big N's achievement's yesterday to get bogged down in politics today. But this was brought to my attention. If you are a "political reader" of my blog, you can read my comment to get my opinion.

Otherwise I am still going to ignore the rain - at least until I have to sit in it at C's soccer game this afternoon - and basque in the knowledge that N met his biggest goal this year (since I can't basque in the sun). Even his sister beamed with pride. We are all still in the post-black belt happy state. Hopefully this increase in self-confidence will find its way to other parts of his life. The picture is from the start of yesterday's testing. The first of many many push-ups that N knocked out like nobody's business! More pictures once I download them. The camera is in my car, which is in the rain........

It's the perfect weather to curl up and knit.  Started a wedding gift for CM yesterday - don't really have a prayer to…

Proud Mom!

It is amazing what good results breed: Confidence. N was fantastic. Better than I could have ever hoped. He got a 94% and broke his boards on the first try. It was an amazing day. N has blossomed from this and I look forward to his future successes!!

TESTING DAY....

N is testing for his blackbelt this morning. My little boy is up for the challenge - but does he know that? As usually I have big big big complaints against the school:

1) They are making huge changes to how they do the black belt testing. Today's the trial run. Why does N always have to be in these situations. It is hard enough to do the test when you know what to expect.

2) They haven't practiced sparing in ANY class we have been to in the past 3 weeks. So he literally hasn't practiced Sparing in 3 weeks.

3) The final class he went to, they wasted time practicing some useless technique, that they might use sometime, but not at the black belt testing.

4) The school (as every school, every classroom, pretty much every teacher) plays favorites. This place does too - and one of the favorites is testing. Sometimes I get why a kid is favorite - but not this one. She is in the clique of Moms that won't even say hello to you in the grocery store. I might have blogged about t…

Spring Break 25 years ago.... am I really THAT old?!?!

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It was April 1985 in a sleepy town in western New York. But my life was anything but dull.

Our charismatic English Bulldog, Pickles died on Good Friday. We had been at my Aunt's home in Ohio (she died in 2009), and drove the 250 miles on Easter Sunday afternoon back to E-town. My father - who isn't the best at bringing bad tidings - stated frankly as we walked up our driveway, "Pickles is Dead! But we have more important things to worry about." I know I was already 14 years old and had heard more than my share of bad news, but that was harsh!

Dad was alluding to my dying brother. D had been in Italy with his wife and was rushed home (arriving in E-town the following afternoon) - we thought possibly to die - from Siena. "Dr. Sidiqi saved his life," my father claims because he was able to control some calcium level or something. D stayed in the hospital in E-town that week, surviving the odds, and went on to continue with experimental therapies not available …

What to say?

You know how I feel. I'm very disappointed about the failed budget. We lost by some 170 votes.

I am trying to find optimism. I posted this on FB a few weeks ago - maybe here too? I like the very controversial Bill Maher.

"It doesn't matter what teachers do. (...) What matters is what PARENTS do. The number one predictor of a child's academic success is parental involvement. It doesn't even matter if your child goes to private or public school. (...) It's been proven that just having books in the house makes a huge difference in the child's development." (Bill Maher).

That's the silver lining. We have plenty of books in the house and we certainly are involved. So even if the schools fall apart completely my kids have something indicating that they will still get into college and live fruitful lives:

the values at home.

But I am allowed to be bummed. Already everyone is blaming everyone else. As I said before, people vote no for many reasons.

I'…

Election day - April 2010

I voted at my son's primary school. I was glad to see a strong turnout, as it usually correlates with a yes vote.

Most of the day I've thought about the vote, and it's ramifications, but for an hour today I sat with my friend. She has advanced cancer and has had a rough week. We sat and talked on her porch, which overlooks beautifully green trees as far as the eye can see.

I came home remembering that the vote doesn't matter.


Love does. Hope matters. Trees do too.

Five years from now I won't remember this election. I will, however, remember the hour we spent on the porch overlooking our beautiful green acres.

'twas the night before the vote...

Normally the night before the vote it is a no-brainer. I have kids in Bridgewater schools, ergo I vote yes!


And the fact that 101.5 wants everyone to vote no should make me vote yes without any further thought.

I pretty much always vote yes for our school's budget. Even when slightly conflicted.

But this year is different. The weeks leading up to tomorrow's vote have been emotional ones full of political rhetoric and strained friendships, the likes of which I wouldn't have expected on September 1st, 2009. I used to feel like even if I had very different political opinions from the people around me, that there was a mutual respect. For some reason this year's fight has me believing that something fundamental has changed.


I am tempted to vote NO!

Now why would I do that? I know that my kids' education will be directly and immediately diminished if the budget gets shot down.  Tier IV cuts? I can't remember what was on that list, I just know I don't …

What's going on?

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I never studied what was euphemistically called "Earth Science". I think it is the only time in my 13 years of public school that my parents called and asked the school to "make an exception" and put me in the advanced sciences program, where as a Freshman I took Biology. "Geology is not real science," he claimed. I think they harbored hope that I would follow in the medical footsteps as family tradition held.... I think they're over it now.

But, today for the second time in my life (the first was when I worked for an oil company) I wish I'd had a bit more geology!

I feel a little insecure about our planet! Yesterday there was another major earthquake in China, some 12 hours' drive from the provincial capital - following soon after huge quakes in Mexico, Chile and, of course, Haiti. A family friend's flight was canceled - along with hundreds of others throughout northern Europe - because of the erupting volcano in Iceland. A few weeks ago…

A kinder, gentler time?

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I showed my face at my son's school today. I'd been avoiding it like the plague after some teachers were less than happy with my suggestion that everyone take a pay freeze a few weeks ago. I've been in the building, but only when necessary. This morning I talked at length with one teacher about stuff in general and one thing specifically:

The world is too polarized these days. It seems much worse than before. We agreed: people need to take a step back and take a deep breath. 

It seems to be permeating all aspects of life. Everyone is fighting for their own interests: an upcoming fight on the new Supreme Court nominee, my son arguing that it has to be a BROWN bag, not a plastic bag holding his lunch this morning, my flat refusal to attend a dinner my Dad wants me to go to on Saturday night. Salary negotiations. Near daily disagreements with my daughter over everything that is vital in a 12 year old's world. The ongoing arguments between a husband and a wife. And, of cour…

One track mind?

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No, I don't have a one track mind. My mind is often on 10 things at the same time. Right now, for example, I am making dinner, helping N with homework, chatting with a friend on FB and blogging. I am also thinking about where I will put all the crap on the kitchen table when it's time to eat, wondering about the dog's not-so-good tummy and thinking about a former co-worker. I'm also planning timing so we make it to Tae Kwan Do tonight - hopefully on time.

At times I am also thinking about the school's upcoming budget vote. I'm on the Superintendent's "key communicators" list - which is just a fancy name for an e-mailing list. Usually it is useful information. Lately I feel like these mails have come straight from "Spin City".  Here is an example from this week:

April 12, 2010


Dear Key Communicators,


Budget Topic of the Day:  Is Reading Recovery being eliminated and if so, how will the needs of struggling readers be met?
This may be the topi…

A liberal business education?

I have a liberal arts background. You can probably tell. Even if you know nothing about me, you can see it, solely based on how I write this blog. While it hasn't always served me well professionally, I like who I am: the well-rounded me.

Someone sent me this Newsweek article today called "The Death of Liberal Arts". It made my liberal arts heart sad.

While I have always felt at a loss in matters of business, I have never felt at a loss for words or their synonyms. Today would have been a good example of this.

I was recently offered some freelance work at a certain pre-determined rate. Today I spent half the day re-negotiating the salary with another department. They literally offered 1/2 or my originally offered rate. It was a "right had doesn't know what the left had is doing" misundertanding between two departments, none-the-less, my new supervisor wanted to "split the difference". With my knickers in a twist, I wrote a direct, but polite, than…

Unmotivated

In less than 4 months I'll be 40. My goal for weeks and years has been to reach my "ideal" weight - which for me means what I weighed before I had kids. A doctor may say that's it's less than that or not, but this is my blog, and my body, and my goal! Pre-C weight is it!

The problem is laziness and low effort on my part. I was only 6 pounds from my goal a few years ago. Now I am about 20 pounds away (save a pound or two I've been stable at my weight for about a year).

So why then, when I know the gym has a class that I like to take at noon am I sitting on my duff in the kitchen 25 minutes before it starts, still in my PJs? How come I am not outside taking the dog for a run or a walk? I now have 2 weddings to go to in the near future. Why am I not typing and stepping at the same time? And what did I eat for breakfast?

I spoke to my favorite bride-to-be today (yes, I mean my big sister) who asked why I'm not in publishing professionally - since she loves m…

Happiness via the USPS...

When I grew up I had 3 sisters. Two bigger, one younger. The younger sister is my biological sister. The two others were our neighbors and my babysitters and I loved them like they were true sisters. When I got married - I got ready for the wedding at their house because they were my family too - and they always knew what to say and do. In fact they gave me a nice shot of liquor just before I left for the church.

Last August I contacted one of them and said I really missed them and wanted to see them - even giving dates, but never followed through. I feel very guilty about this. I never heard back from her, and the longer time went on, the longer I felt that I had done something wrong, so I retreated and didn't call her. Dumb move - because I know that she would understand... I just got busy, then the week passed and I realized I saw on my calendar "New Hampshire" written in pencil with a question mark. I sent Christmas cards as I always do, but I never wrote the "I…

Oh Lamb of Bridgewater...

My son is in tears.
Last week my daughter was in tears.
Today I am fighting them off.

All over silly mistakes.

Last week, just as my in-laws were arriving at Newark my daughter asked if she could have some lemonade. She accidentally spilled it all over the fridge - sticky stuff on every half-eaten salsa jar, every cold cut package, every everything. I completely lost it. Tears, screaming and verbal abuse... not a pretty scene. We cleaned it up, together (no, it wasn't some Kodak moment, either), and a week later you wouldn't know it ever had been that clean (or that dirty).

Fast forward to Easter morning. My son didn't want to get up. Not even to search for treats from the Easter Bunny. We eventually coaxed him into the hunt and he had a good time, but the bad mood stayed on all day. 'nuf said!

Then just as I was showing off the beautiful leg of lamb dinner to MIL, I bumped it into the over door and promptly dropped the whole thing - all done, just waiting for the pota…

Allergic to MIL???

I have been suffering from allergies for the last two weeks - the sniffling and sneezing kind. This morning took the cake, however, when a stomach bug took over my body. Yuck! We had spent last night in the Poconos at our friends' house. I skipped breakfast and the water park. Still queasy, T cleaned up and packed the car and I helped a little bit. I sucked it up, kept the windows open and drove home. Now the troops are heading to Hibachi. Totally not appetizing!!!! My mother-in-law teased that I'm actually allergic to her, since the last time my stomach went ape-shit was at their house this Christmas. Usually I have the stomach of steel. Two stomach bugs in 4 months is rare for me.

I've been thinking about this: how come it takes a stomach bug to get me to spend the day in bed with a book? How come when men are sick they just say no, close the door and let the world operate without them? We women tend to say a wishy-washy MAYBE and finish what we started as soon as we ca…