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Showing posts from September, 2010

Mountain Day - Carpe Diem!

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It's Mountain Day!

That's my alma mater's "get out of jail free" day. The president of the college picks a beautiful fall day to cancel all classes. The point wasn't to catch up on homework. She encouraged all students to head to the mountains - or, well, at a minimum to spend the day outdoors. Some picked apples, some had a picnic, some just enjoyed "Paradise Pond".  It was always the best fall day!

I have pictures from Mountain Day showing my friends and I playing on the playground equipment with huge smiles on our young faces.

Today I am hoping to keep the spirit of Mountain Day alive in Bridgewater. I started the day walking with friends. Then I had an al fresco lunch with other friends where the conversation was as spicy as the salsa. There are 22 things on my to do list. (I counted). I'd like to it off and spend the ENTIRE day outdoors. Can I still summon my inner Mountain Day spirit and head to the Sourlands with the kids after school for…

Best laid plans sometimes get waylaid...

No BOE meeting for me tonight....

I accidentally left the keys in the ignition this afternoon. The car wasn't running but the lights automatically stayed on, so when it came time to drive the kids to TKD, the battery had died. T came home from work to give the car a jump, but by that time I'd missed the early TKD class. Instead of driving home at 7pm to give me plenty of time to make an 8pm meeting, N took the later class which didn't get out until 7:50 - and I walked into our house at 8:15. If the meeting were going to go on until 11pm, I could probably make the effort and have it be worthwhile.... but I decided a good night's sleep after a long day was probably a better use of my time.

Short blog today. Use the time you would have spent on this blog doing something nice for yourself. Pour yourself a cup of tea, take a nice bath and listen to a little evening music or this Beethoven beauty instead.

BOE tomorrow night - new school year, new concerns!

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This year my schedule - rather, my daughter's schedule - makes it difficult for me to attend Board of Ed meetings. Will you join me tomorrow night?

I have lots of items I could bring up. Some are regular themes like large class sizes and worsening communication since the "greening of the district", and the hope for improvement in BOE's and BREA's negotiation skills as they work out the new teachers' contract. I'm also miffed that the entire 7th grade missed 2 classes to attend a rally on selling magazines. Really is that good time management?? It's a building issue, but shouldn't the BOE know about this kinds of stuff? (My friends have complained a potpourri of concerns including: the cost vs. benefit of the 7th grade environmental trip, the fact that parents weren't informed that they need to update their e-blast profile when their kids change schools, and the perennial favorite: busing problems- but I'll let them voice their own concerns…

New Zumba Class in Bridgewater

(Written Saturday evening, posted Monday)

Ow! My butt hurts!
My stomach muscles are twinging
Don't ask about my thighs...  they are on strike...

And I haven't exercised since Friday morning!

But I feel GREAT!

On Friday I took my first Zumba class. Zumba - as far as this novice can tell- is basically shaking your bootie to a latin beat, a little belly dancing and some salsa-meringue-south of the border dance moves with a side of core training, now being offered at Bridgewater's newest dance school, The Lois Allen School of Dance. The ladies and I went on Friday morning and I'm hooked! Bring on next weeks class!

Dancer, owner and local Mom, Loralyn Gaughran makes it fun for everyone. I haven't ever done Zumba before, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I can say that I'm in relatively good shape and was sweating after only 5 minutes! Although I felt a little silly at first, I really got into it and even began to shake my unwilling shoulders. Next time shou…

Desperately seeking patience

Childhood is as a series of phases. Some I never thought my children would get past. All that is required though (so far) is time and patience.

There were minor ones - like when C would wake up at 6am, and I'd half-sleep on the sofa next to her while she watched The Lion King II over and over and over. The music still sits hidden in my brain.

I was certain that we'd go broke keeping up with N's insatiable desire for Thomas trains.

Would C ever stop calling out for milk in the middle of the night? Long after I stopped breast feeding - and according to my father I did it longer than is socially acceptable (about 18 months) - she would wake up demanding a bottle. Until one day when T had had enough and cut her off cold turkey. That's when we realized she really could scream! She got past that.

Would N ever stop sucking his thumb? One of my friends once said that she sucked her thumb until she was 12 when she discovered cigarettes. Thankfully N wasn't quite that old..…

Creative morning

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This was a good morning.

This was a GREAT morning!

My daughter got herself ready and on the bus and I stayed in bed, gaining an extra 1hr and 45 minutes of sleep! Last night I quizzed her on Latin vocabulary. Coquus is kitchen, servus is slave, impluvium is the basin in the atrium where water comes in from the conpluvium, the angled roof.... was latriat he barks? Hmmm... I wonder if she remembered more than I do. I hope so!!!

When I finally dragged myself out of bed and made my son some breakfast, he drew me a picture. Yesterday I bought some Mums. One of them sits between our kitchen and family room.


Although he likes art class at school, he never was a kid who drew or colored much at home. I'm not saying he is talented, but N has never been interested in drawing before and I'm thrilled!

A little while later I checked the time on my cell phone I found a message from dear friend. It said:

Just saw glee for the first time ever. Heard "What I did for love". It always im…

The Case of ID - and why this blog doesn't have my name

Since I write such personal things on my blog, and if you know who it is anyway, and most of my readers do, why do I keep it semi-private? Why do I use only initials when I describe someone - lately I've started calling my dog by his full name, but he doesn't have a social*security*number (although he has a police record!) - but otherwise if I ever refer to you or someone else I know, unless they are a politician or a member of the education community, you get an initial or two. That's it.

A former colleague of mine has recently changed jobs and is now the Webmaster for a city of approximately 120,000 people. She has spruced up their online profile and updated it in several important ways, including creating a Facebook profile.

In her free time she is also very active on the net - with both a large presence on Facebook and a blog. In the summer she and her husband travel all over Europe in their RV and blog about their adventures. This summer I was especially jealous of th…

How many is too many?

I have spent a week now in the Library at my son's school and the classes seem way too big. How does a teacher get anything taught when there are so many kids?

This year N has 27 kids in his class. This seems to be the norm at his Intermediate school. One teacher said that she has 26 kids during regular class, but that number rises to 31 during math when kids move around due to differentiation.

I also heard about a kid in the high school who had to take a test standing up because there aren't enough chairs in her classroom.

How many kids is too many? Is there a magic number? I would have said 16-20. Large colleges can have lectures with 500 people. But this ain't about college!

When I think back to 5th grade I remember Mrs. Hoffman's class fondly . At one point there were 31 kids in that class! Our desks were lined up in 5 rows of 6 desks. Nonetheless it was my favorite year. I believe I learned a lot that year. Maybe I learned a lesson that I didn't realize: gre…

Change of seasons

During the day yesterday it still felt like summer here and as I write this, the weather today looks just as promising. But last night at the football game where I watched C and her fellow cheerleaders strut their stuff, I could tell fall is here. Time to change the blog's template until the snow starts falling. One of my readers has said that she prefers to read dark text on a white background, but this fall I'm changing things up a bit. I hope she continues to read. If not, she should check again in December....

Also, I am changing the Poppet Jones' Diary section of my blog. It is not interesting to see my weight fluctuate between 5-7 pounds, sometimes a few up, sometimes a few down. Weight isn't my real goal, anyway. It's health. So in the name of positive feedback, I plan to keep a log of how much I'm shaking it.  Hopefully this will inspire readers to join me in my ever-pathetic fight to keep somewhat fit. There are plenty of better examples running around…

To Soccer Mom, From BW Soccer Mom, "SOMEDAY"

That's what I just wrote on the Travel Section of the New York Times. I'm putting it in my desk. I'll probably find it in 5 years.

When I was young, all I needed was a rail pass, a passport and some financial assistance from my ever-generous Dad (usually after I depleted my savings on things like a hair cut that cost more than a week's lodgings (French would have been useful!), unexpectedly finding myself on a 1st class only train and a meal I couldn't really afford). I used to manage to backpack through Europe alone with no problem (ok, once I did have a multi-lingual travel companion, but what the hell were my parents thinking when they let me backpack through Europe with a boy they met 3-4 times?! Another time I started to travel with a friend. We went our separate ways: she ended up being a professional travel writer - my dream job!)

The Travel Section today is completely focused on Latin America. Ever since I got to know some very cool exchange students from p…

Week one: summary

It was the first week of school. I've been working nearly full time as co-chair of my son's book fair. It's a lot of work but I enjoy it. I hope that the PTO appreciates it - I got more help soliciting from friends than through PTO channels and I am less than impressed with the new leadership thus far!

Since it is a BEAUTIFUL sunny Friday afternoon and I would rather be outside walking/running Diego than typing in the kitchen, I'll keep it simple.

C: Middle School isn't as bad as expected. Latin is going to be a lot of work - more than C expected. Cheerleading is still cool. How do you pass Latin? Ora et labora....

N: Two teachers (co-teaching) and I'm not sure which one I'll like better, but both T & I came home with the impression that he got 2 great teachers! X-box Live is addictive (and yes, inappropriate for his age level - guess what, Mom didn't get it for him).

T: Glad that the equipment arrived, so he can reseed the back yard. Won't the…

it's not really green

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. It is 7:45 am and I have been doing PAPERWORK since before 6:30. Haven't even had my coffee yet!

I won't get time to write a real blog today either as my to do list is 12 bullet points long and I haven't remembered everything on there, but I do want to continue my discussion (the one in my head, the one you can't hear) of BRRSD and the NJ Monthly standings, and such lists in general. I want to walk and talk with friends. I don't want to continue faxing papers to the flexible spending office or sign yet another form that I had to print out for school.

When did paperless simply mean not BRRSD's paper???? I'm not mad that they are trying to save money. I'm mad that they are having us print stuff in the name of being green. I don't mind paying for my paper in lieu of using tax-payers funds. I do mind the fact that it is completely unclear what forms are relevant and need to printed, and which are not applicable.

Ah, I …

Attention Wegmans Shoppers...

A friend just sent me this about Wegman's reusable bags. I only have one. This is Wegmans' statement from their website.

After a nearly-no-sleep sleepover I have spent the better part of the day in bed. And I am heading back there now. See you tomorrow, cyberworld. Phone, cell and e-mail can wait until tomorrow morning. Kids are on Diego duty.

Soccer Mom's off duty!

What not to say....

My good friend posted on Facebook yesterday that one of her kids' teachers said, "Ok. You all need to stop talking now. I hate this class already."

As of now she has 20 comments. Several comments were negative towards tenure (the program where teachers who have worked for 3 years in their position get a "job for life" and it is nearly impossible to fire them). I certainly understand resentment towards tenure. However, I also understand the comments - several left by teachers - saying that this isn't indicative of how the vast majority of teachers feel or teach. Some, like me, begged her to contact the school (I said she should bring it higher, to the Assistant Superintendent). She said her kid didn't want her to.

What would have I done? I would have called. Immediately! It isn't in my nature to wait and see. I'm hot headed and I just can't help myself. 

Would that have been in the best interest of my child? Probably not. It would be easy for t…

Clean slate day!

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It's the first day of school in Bridgewater.

With or without kids, I've always felt the first day of school is still an important event.  I loved the idea of a new outfit and new outlook. Everyone has the chance to make new friends, and learn something. There is no baggage, and the people you meet could make a huge impact on your life as a new mentor, or an arch enemy.

The air of opportunity is in the air. Can you sense it too? Maybe I just feel it by living vicariously through my kids. Maybe it's the impending change of seasons - well, it's still in the 80s today, so maybe that's not it. Maybe it's knowing that with every September everything starts over, yet somehow remains the same.

C had a good first day as a Middle Schooler. She described her teachers as nice but boring. Luckily she decided she won't need quite as much time in the morning. Her alarm went off at 5:30am - mine at 6am. The bus came at 6:55. Wow that was an early start.

I must check now.…

US Scare!!!

For 9 years and one month I have boycotted USAirways. It is my own personal boycott, and I am sure it has not affected their bottom line in any way. This weekend I accidentally lifted my boycott. It's a safe bet that I won't fly them for at least another decade. And I will never send my kid with them again!

I  let C fly to Florida (using Continental mileage) to visit EL who moved there this summer. It was a very big deal for me to let her fly alone. When I booked the ticket I was specifically asked if any passengers were 12 or under and I clicked yes. She flew out via Continental from Newark without incident and without having someone follow her around from Continental. Home was a surprise to me: it was via USAirways to Philly. I hadn't even realized the two airlines were in an alliance.

USAirways forced my friend to pay the $100 unaccompanied minor fee, even though we felt she didn't need to be "babysat". We just wanted to follow her to the gate - which I co…

3rd time's a charm

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After blogging about my fear of being obsolete, I realize lots of people need me.

My Dad needs me... and all I do is yell at him. He got a new laptop this weekend (he needed my husband to help him pick it out and set it up), and while I wish I had the boundless patience to deal with his necessary questions, I find that I lose my temper easier with him than with anyone else in the world. Why is it that I am kinder to a stranger at Wegmans than to the people closest to me?

Speaking about being needed and being kind to strangers, I am still on the 2010 knitting frenzy. This weekend I knit a hat. My friend has jumped through more than a few hoops to become pregnant, and I wanted to make something special for her new baby. My friend suddenly lost her Mom about a week after her baby was born, and my heart is breaking for her, at the same time that I am so thrilled for her!  So at the risk of spoiling the surprise (as if a new Mom who is also taking an MBA has time to read my blog), I'll…

Obsolete??

It was an emotional day for Bridgewater's soccer mom.

It seems that my plan to go back to work has had a setback and I am taking it a bit harder than when I originally was given the no go (in person at the end of the interview). Some of these feelings were left over from a job interview that didn't go my way. Basically the interviewer said she was afraid to hire someone who was returning to the workforce after being at home because she was afraid my heart wouldn't be into the job. "I want someone who wants to own it." On my end there were huge red flags when two different women separately told me that they regularly send and receive e-mail at 3am. When I questioned this, saying I am not a night owl and 3am working hours would render me useless the following day, I saw the writing on the wall. Clearly 3am e-mails were a deal breaker for both of us.

So this encounter reiterated my impression that women in the workforce find women like me to be lazy. Are stay-at-ho…

Are we there yet?

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Put a fork in me, 'cause I'm done!

I am quite sure my sister-Moms are with me (that sounds so "Big Love")! It is time for the cherubs to return to their rightful place behind a desk at our local public school, where I hope they forget the Facebook/Textation spelling that they practiced faithfully all summer!

I love my kids, but I am sick of fighting over who took the dog out last, or about removing wet towels from the floor. I'm sick of every time someone enters the room it is only to ask me for something: Can XYZ come over? Can I sleep over at X's house? Can we go to  ToysRU? Will you take me and 3 friends to the mall, the pool or the movie? "Can I...?" is not how I wish to begin every conversation with my kids, and lately that's the way it's been!

I wish that my son would spend the majority of his time without a television or a video game.

It was a great summer. I can't count how many times I needed a bathing suit and towel, or how ma…