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Showing posts from October, 2010

Competition video

Wanted to share this with you -- but now I have to go and try to figure out what time it really is. One of my clocks changed time zones automatically.....so I need to google "time change 2010" and figure out if it is 9am or 8am. Happy Halloween. Time to sweep the leaves off the front stairs.


Thank you BRMS

I just picked up C from the Middle School Environmental Trip.

It is an overnight in Northern New Jersey where the children hike 3 miles of the Appalachian Train and do a variety of other outdoor and indoor activities. C did "Colonial Cooking" where she learned how to make apple cobbler - which she said looked good, but tasted bad (she's not big on fruit). She also learned the "Three Threes" (You can live 3 days without water, you can live 3 weeks without food and it takes 3 hours to make a proper shelter) in "Survival Training", and she claims to have hit a bulls-eye in Archery. They also sang songs and got to know other members of their team. C's cabin organized their own spa-night.

C loved it.

Thank you Teachers. C got a lot of fresh air, made new friends and learned something. She didn't mind yesterday's rain. In fact, she loved the trip, rain and all.

Elitism alive and well in BFL Cheer...

Someday when we live somewhere far from here, and I am missing Bridgewater, please remind me how elitist this town's stupid parents can be, for no good reason!

This is one of those times.


Julliard admission counselors can be elitist, school districts and cheer coaches should not be!


As long-time readers know, I have never been big on cheer and have actively tried to curtail my own bias as a sport for snotty girls, but the coaches seem to be actively sabotaging these efforts! The squad has two components: game-day cheerleaders who only cheer at football games, and the competition squad which cheers at games and at competitions or exhibitions. Seems like that would be the "elite group", separated based on ability, but the reality is far more silly. All of the girls except two are on the competition (elite) group. Two girls have really been left out. Despite this, the girls have kept very good attitudes even taking on all the optional activities, like extra tumbling…

Cool-aid overdose

Spent way too many hours at cheer lately and felt like I was stuck in a suburban housewife vortex. Although some of the Moms are very "normal" a few are really getting on my nerves.

Last weekend when I knit the pink headband at a cheer event in Montclair, I told one of the moms that I was hoping to wear it that night at the football game. Her comment wasn't "good for you" or "it's very nice" but "why did you make it pink, you should have made it in red, black or white". These, of course, are the team colors. Instead of a well-deserved rebuke, I explained that I had pink yarn in my stash and a somewhat snide, "and, I didn't have those colors".

Turns out when cleaning the basement this weekend, I found all three, so last night I started to knit a tri-colored headband.

But as I produced inch after inch, I started feeling bitter and wondered, why should I knit something to prove to them that I support C's cheer team? How di…

Short-sighted cut

You've heard me complain that the board needs to prioritize the library in Bridgewater schools. Now I'm upset that parents are petitioning the Superintendent to close the libarary* at the high school!

REALLY?! Are parents that short sighted?

Bridgewater-Raritan high school only has one librarian for its approximately 3,000 students. I haven't spent much time in the Library and know literally nothing about how it operates or what it offers, but someone knowledgeable explained that the library is closed during lunch because kids were playing video games on the computers instead of doing legitimate work, and the librarian doesn't have the capacity to police this. As often happens a few bad apples ruin it for the high school basket. Students can still visit and utilize the library as needed during either an appropriate class or a study hall - they need a pass - and it is open for an hour after school.

So here, while you might find me stating the obvious:

EVERY SCHOO…

Thinking warmer thoughts

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How come a fruitful day is followed by one where I can't seem to even get myself motivated enough to make coffee? Yesterday after cleaning and sorting things for a garage sale, I finished my "not-Martha's" headband. The design is available free online.  Mine is in a thick, organic cotton and fits like it was made for me (it was, of course). It is soft, warm and not itchy.

I  think I'm in love.

It couldn't be more simple in design or execution. So why can't I get the gumption up to produce several to sell? Maybe I like it better because I made it for me? Maybe if I made one for a friend she would like it only because it was made for her, but not because it was just right?

One of the blogs I follow discusses this exact thing. Although she has made a career as a reporter and now as a knitting blogger for our local paper, she still dreams about selling her designs, just as I dream of a little yarn shop in Somerville where I can knit in between sales. Of cour…

Martha and Me

Like most of America I side on the hate side of the love-hate relationship with Martha S. She makes millions of women around the country feel bad about themselves because she has set a bar far too high for normal folks. One year I actually blew out the yokes to paint eggs after watching Martha's show (she didn't teach me the technique - both my Mom and husband prefer that method). My friend MR thought I was crazy. She was right as it is much too much work for coloring eggs with kids.

It is important to remember that Ms. Martha's accomplishments don't happen in a vacuum. She has a sizable fortune (no comment necessary) and a large staff to help her do the leg work that you and I have to do ourselves. If Behind Every Successful Man -- there is a woman, then behind every episode or issue of Martha there is a staff of hundreds plus millions of dollars in advertising. Producers, technical folks, make-up crews, stylists, designers and chefs, painters, planners and who knows…

MoMA, ML and Me

In the never ending magnetic field - work or stay-at-home - I've been trying to embrace my present and stop worrying about my lack of employment.

To that end I called my friend ML on Thursday morning between getting my kids off and told her to drop everything. She did, and we headed into New York. Neither or us have oodles of disposable cash, and both of us had to be home to drive the kids' to their activities starting around 4pm, so we kept it simple: trained to NYC, walked to MoMA, window shopped on 5th Avenue, and headed home.

We talked, gawked at endless diamonds on 47th Street, we drank sparkling wine with our teeny tiny minimalistic MoMA lunch and we looked a designer clothes that we didn't even bother to try on.

At the MoMA there was a wish tree.  Did I wish for a job? No... my wish was more basic than that.

Today I write this knowing that I have done what I can to enjoy the days I have. Currently my life is here, amongst the people I love, and my warm dog (who is …

When you have friends like these....

I lost my cool with a 10 year old boy this morning. In front of my husband and me he had the balls to say to my son, "You know, N, you are half good. I like half the things about you." 

It was everything I could do in my power not to throw the kid out of my house (I was helping his mom out by letting him come here before school, so I couldn't really). Instead, I told the child in a stern tone that he is not to speak to my son, or to anyone else like that in my house. I explained he was basically saying that N is half bad. The child may think it is funny, but he is really being quite mean to his host. "I will not tolerate bullying in my kitchen, or anywhere else at my house!"

What makes kids say things like this? Back-handed compliments that serve no purpose? Are my kids saying things like this without realizing it? Has he been saying things like this to N all these years?

N has pretty low self-esteem. I don't need him playing with children who make him fee…

The Big C-cret... and the answer to a 25 year old question

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With last week being "family week" I was forced to face a few conundrums of my childhood. One of the biggest themes is keeping family secrets. My philosophy as a parent is that I don't tolerate lies or secrets. I don't care what my kids are doing, I want to know. For better or for worse. We all have little secrets. I'm talking about bigger things.

My mother was a wonderful woman, whom I've praised on this blog many times, but both she and her other family members were great at keeping secrets.

Last year, for example, I found out that my cousin had 2 sons. These are half brothers of DC, whom I met last week. Another "a-ha moment" was hearing that stories I'd learned about my uncle simply weren't true. I also heard "the other side" of a few stories that I didn't know before. Mostly they weren't my business: divorce, money, he-said-she-saids from the Reagan era. Baggage we all carry to varying degrees.

But the biggest secret w…

Family week continues

Even though my husband's family all live abroad (or, well, we live abroad in their eyes, since all 4 generations live in a 2-mile radius) we see them more than we see my family, except my Dad - who is pictured to the right. My family, on the other hand, is spread out throughout the US with central New York as home base.

None the less, I love to see my family so this is a very special week for me. Last Sunday my brother came for a visit, today my Aunt will be here with her new husband. On Thursday I met my cousin's son for the first time, even though he is almost 30.

I saw a lot of similarities to everyone else in my family. DC is clearly intelligent. His Dad, and his grandfather both have larger-than-life scientific brains, and DC seems to have got a cut of those genes. Like most of the family (I'm the exception that proves the rule) he is tall, though not in the top 5, but his greenish eyes must come from his mother. He also has been spared Poppy's (my Mom's Dad) …

Fantasy letter... to recipient with deaf ears

NJASK scores came yesterday, C did exceptionally well and it just is another indicator that she is in the wrong math program. She is in pre-algebra (In BRRSD 7th graders are placed in one of three groups: topics is easiest, then pre-algebra, then algebra).  I wrote the following e-mail that I haven't sent. It is a reply to the formal e-mail from the district saying that C didn't make algebra due to the fact that she was making Bs in e-math last year and that some of her test scores were slightly below the minimum requirement.

If you found this posting because you have a child in e-math or are considering e-math for your 6th grader, be warned - if you child doesn't make an A in e-math they will be ineligible for advanced math in 7th grade.  Placement for your 7th grader is vital as it will preclude your child from taking the highest level math in high school. Unless you send your child to summer school - or perhaps take 2 math classes in a year in high school (if they allow …

Do as I say, not as I did????

I love "Modern Family". It was a breath of fresh air in a TV landscape needing a kick in the funny bone. I really enjoyed turning on this week's Modern Family, called "The Kiss".

It reminded me of the blending of cultures. Sometimes my husband is just as bewildered by my loud, outspoken, overly-warm, Southern-European-blood relatives as I am by his Scandinavian family. There were several lines of the program that could have come directly from my in-law's living room! Others could have been from either my mother "honoring through cooking" (I do that too). And, yes, I remember my mother beating a chicken breast (or just as likely veal, which I don't cook) - but not to rid the house of ghosts. My Mom was even a beautiful woman named Gloria, too!

But what really touched home was the conundrum that Mom (Claire) navigated. How much of your past do you expose to your teenage daughter? Is it better to straight out lie about your less than perfect pas…

A very bright spot in the Middle School

I am one of those parents who consistently talks about how much better education was "back when I was in school".  I am happy to give a lot of examples, as you might be too.

There is one thing that I am liking better (so far - we're only a couple of weeks and a couple of chapters in) now: that is the Latin textbook!

I remember my first 2 days of Latin class very well! We had to memorize the verb to be (essere):
sum
es
est
sumus
estes
sunt

(I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are, you (pl) are, they are)

But it was taught as straight memorization. No context. Of course it is the basis of the entire language and vital to learning anything. Why do I remember this first lesson in particular? Because it is the only time I remember ever cheating in school! We only had one assignment on that first night: memorize "essere". On day two, I sat down, saw everyone else reviewing for the quiz I had forgotten and promptly wrote it on my desk! I felt so guilty that I never did that - …