Showing posts from June, 2011

A break from my vacation

Last night I was up until 1am, but the sun was up even longer. I am going to the wedding of a friend who lives several hours North of the Arctic Circle on Saturday and staying with her through the weekend. If you live that far north this time of year it means that the sun doesn't set.

Turns out other things aren't setting either at home either! A friend sent me a link from Dick Bergersen's blog (link to the right) explaining that negotiations have stalled between the BREA & the BOE. I'm really disappointed, but frankly, not surprised. It seemed like there wasn't a lot of love between the two parties as of late...

Months ago I told someone the worst case scenario would be a strike... and you know what, tonight I am realizing that something I said in jest could become a reality. And I thought things were bad now?

Instead of stressing about something I can't change, I will go back to my friends. They are serving shrimp (I've had seafood every single day t…

tempus fugit

I spent last week as I have spent many summer weeks: at my in-laws' summer house.

As I write this (on my cell phone, so don't expect much text or editing), I am watching the plane with my husband and children take off for Copenhage, where they will catch the flight HOME. I'll be on a similar plane in less than a week but I still am tearing up as their plane is taxiing (?) and taking off into the clouds before my eyes.

When you travel to the same place to do the same things every year you can easily think that the more things change the more they stay the same. But not this year. My kids are changing. My daughter is almost an adult. Last night she confidently drove me around in the boat that I cursed my husband for letting her take out solo just a few years ago. This summer my (less confident) son tried hard to master the boat... and the language. It's amazing to see the changes in him in a week.

I realized I'm getting older too. That's ok. Last year I jogged …

Midsummer Night's Walk

Tonight is the night when Scandinavians celebrate midsummer. If we lived in Norway my teenage daughter would have asked to walk (without us, but with her friends) about a mile to a bonfire with lots of other teenagers. About 11 she and her friends would have walked home and the older teens and young 20-somethings would continue celebrating the night with beer, wine and who knows what through the night.

Only once of twice have I ever celebrated midsummer. Once I walked the streets of Finland (I was 16) and it was the only night my host family didn't give me a curfew. I got to kiss a boy that I had a crush on, but left for home less than a week later... so they were bittersweet kisses.

Today I reflect on the fact that I am lucky to spend midsummer night healthy and happy with my two beautiful children.

Today I went for a walk in my old neighborhood with am former neighbor, IH. She is just as lovely as ever and it is always one of my biggest regrets that I couldn't stay in that n…


My daughter wore her "outfit from Eleanor's". Of course, she meant her black skirt and shirt that we bought with with LuLu and NR last winter. This time it was for the wake of someone whom I'd never met, but heard lots about. A loving husband and father.

Politics are politics, and love is love.

I complain about the union, and A LOT about the BOE. But if I want one thing to be clear in this blog, it is that I have really fallen in love with some of the teachers we have come across in the district. Maybe I forget to mention how ever-grateful I am that our fate brought us to such wonderful people. Do I love every teacher we've ever had the "pleasure" (ha!) of dealing with? No. Have I always agreed with those whom I did love?  Nope. But don't misunderstand my bitching and moaning: We have been blessed many times over in Bridgewater.

Tonight I brought my daughter and NR to the wake of the husband of their second grade teacher. Ms. Teacher and I have a lo…

The lady in red...

Red is my favorite color. My signature even. I wear at least a little red nearly every day. We have a red sofa, I have at least 3 red coats. It is the color of love and blood and passion... Tomato sauce... peppers, cherries. Strawberries... CHRISTMAS... It's been my favorite color  my whole life - and that's getting to be a long time. I wore red to prom, to many parties, when I was on The View and in my wedding bouquet. When running for the BOE I tended to wear red or pink to look feminine but strong. 

Normally I LOVE to see other people wearing red too. MR looks especially good with bright red lipstick. And, of course MCM has red hair...

Today though, C came home from school and said all the teachers at the Middle School were wearing red. I didn't get it... She explained it was apparently to support the union. (The kids at N's school wore red for MARE week... no word yet on what the teachers were wearing. But now I'm a bit curious. Did they wear red to be pro-union …

Under the Sea

"Such wonderful things are all around you,
what more are you looking for?
Under the sea,
Under the sea,
Darling it's is better,
down where it's wetter,
take it from me...
Up on the shore,
they work all day,
Out in the sun they slave all day...
While we devoting, full time we're floating,
Under the sea...."

My son's school has a special marine program called MARE. It's part of their Science curriculum, but they really focus on and celebrate marine life every June. This is my 3rd year attending and I really enjoyed myself. After the decorations, we rushed to be the first group to dissect the squid. It was my daughter's former Science teacher who was running the show, and as usual she did a great job breaking it down and preventing a major yuck factor. We learned the various parts, what they were for and also a little squid trivia. Did you know they swim at 20 miles per hour and live all over the planet?? (Or that they are eaten in every country in the wor…

Moral Relativism

Several of my friends have been outraged about the whole Weinerscandal.

I'm yawning.

I just don't care enough about what politicians do to spend my limited emotional resources worrying about them. Bill Maher really had me laughing last night when I saw this (don't watch with your kids around!!! This is HBO*, after all!):

But what if I did care. I mean, what if it were one of my friends? It's easy to judge a politician over coffee with my happily married girlfriends. To be honest, Hillary staying with Bill sent a terrible message of "stand by your man" that still bugs me more than even Arnold or countless other politicians...

Sometimes when I watch TV I find myself cheering that the main character will cheat, sometimes not (In Sex-and-the-City I wanted Carrie to stay faithful to Aiden, but I wanted her to cheat on Alexander). Moral relativism from the safety of my sofa.

It's different in real life!  How do we treat our imperfect friends? I know I am guilty…

Skirting the issue

I have to admit it: my daughter has good taste. She likes pretty (albeit expensive) clothes and generally speaking we don't argue about what she wants to wear that often.

Today I love her outfit. She is wearing a navy flowered miniskirt (purchased at a store that you can both hear and smell from 500 feet away) and a pink t-shirt.

She looks great!

But earlier this year she got in trouble for the same skirt being too short for dress code (they didn't measure in the office, they just eyed her and wrote her name down). This skirt may be a little short, but otherwise it is age-appropriate, so it really got my goat when C had detention because it "looked too short". C says it is bias against taller girls. She happened to meet the Superintendent at the Middle School. What was the one thing the girls wanted to change about the MS? The answer was easy: the dress code! (She also wanted him to give her LAL teacher a raise, which he said he couldn't do).

Another time C ask…

Momento mori

Another victim of cancer... another daughter rehearsing a eulogy today...CM was running through what she's going to say on Wednesday at her Mom's funeral when I spoke with her. MJM talked about how she just lost her best friend. I wasn't really her daughter, but I share in their loss.

Growing up there was a place I could always turn to when I needed love: Missie B's kitchen. Just down the road, the M family always knew when I needed extra care. I've mentioned my mother as a famous cook and brilliant woman, but our kitchen never resonated the warmth that Missie B's had.  When I was sad, I was fortunate enough to have a 2nd family looking out for me, with Missie B always willing to welcome me into her kitchen.

She was a warm and loving soul.

Part of me wants to go to her funeral to pay my last respects, and give her my thanks. Part of me thinks I should stay away. Do I stay or do I go? Tick-tock-tick-tock. I need to make a final decision. The funeral i…

White Nights

It's hard to imagine that "The Enemy" was ever anyone but a group of religious fundamentalists who destroyed Lower Manhattan and who have been committing random acts of extreme violence in this country and throughout the world for more than 15 years.

But it was. In 1987 the arch enemy was the USSR.... The Russians!

And my parents sent me with a tour group from my exchange student organization to the heart of the Iron Curtain: Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). It was an amazing leap of faith, especially considering my father didn't want me to go to Finland because it bordered Russia! My Mom heard that the Hermitage Museum was part of the trip and she sent me in order to pay homage to her master, DaVinci.

Today I opened yesterday's New York Times and the memories flooded back: "White Nights in St. Petersburg". At 16 my parents let me go. I don't usually quote my diaries in this blog. In fact, I never have. But today I will share a few entrie…

Literary discovery

Being that I wasn't working, I spent most of the day reading a book that my daughter's fabulous LAL teacher suggested. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a woman's book. By a woman, about women (almost like the feminist literature I read in college, men are are background fixtures) and each character radiates a mixture of femininity and strength. I can't put it down!

I've also been "coked up on Facebook". One of the topics that I read last night by my uber-talented friend, was reposted by another smart Chiquita. Both criticized a Nobel Laureate who claimed that his writing is superior to all women, and that you can tell a women's writing by it's sentimental content.

I read several rebuttals... NPR wrote one here. The New York Times had several comments on several blogs. I liked this one (and it's short!). You can spend hours sucked into the web's vortex if you wish.

The title of my blog gives away my sex even if my voice doesn't, but it should…

Something's lost, something's gained

Today I "lost" my job. Nothing formal. No paperwork. No board room drama. No teary good-byes. I sent one last e-mail and rushed out to pick up C from the Middle School, taking a small tin of personal items, my toothbrush was still unopened from the box. I wasn't fired, I just ran out of stuff to do. My boss will call me when they need me. Then again, he may choose to call someone else instead. Today for a moment I was reminded of Spring 1985. I was a freshman "going out with" a senior, but when it came time for that prom, he brought someone else. In this case, we were two temps and the other woman got the permanent position. Looking back now, not getting invited to prom was a bigger disappointment than not getting this job, to give you an idea how little I had emotionally invested.

But I realized I gained something: lots of weight. I spent three of the last four months working out and eating healthy, and when I was finally within just a few pounds of my goal I …

Time for a change

Before e-mail. Before fax machines. Before cell phones. And certainly before blogs... I wrote letters. I must have written lots of letters since I have tons of letters others have written back. Poppet the Pack Rat rarely throws away a letter.

Long-time readers know that I like to change the blog's background with the seasons. This summer's choice may not be your cup of tea, but I chose it for a reason. It matches stationary (do my kids even know that word?) that I had about 20 years ago. Since this blog sometimes sounds like a letter to the you, my readers, I thought it would be an appropriate choice.

And if you hate the colors (and I know one of you will) you'll be happy to know that come fall I'll debut a new line. Let's hope there will be original thoughts, as well.

Don't judge a blog by it's background.

Happy Reading!

Having a magnetic personality....

BRRSD is planning a Magnet School for ESL students K-3 at Bradley Gardens school, with a start date of 09/2011. You can read the presentation here. (I haven't read it yet - I know: read first, blog later, but this isn't so much a response to what they've proposed... today's blog is about my experience).

For the first time since the election, I'm really disappointed that I didn't get on the BOE! My personal experience would actually been relevant to the discussion. I studied foreign language immersion programs as part of my MA. I'm trilingual because I went to school in two foreign countries, but my most relevant background is that I have a bilingual child in the district!

It doesn't seem possible now, but it's true: my daughter entered BRRSD as a non-English speaker! We left the US when she was an infant and moved back to the US just before she started school. C hardly spoke any English and "her 5-year old alphabet" had a few extra let…