Showing posts from November, 2011

Advent Expectations?

It's the first Sunday in Advent. Always a huge motivator for me to get "stuff" ready. The weather was beautiful here this weekend- sixty and sunny - so I continued with yesterday's yard work. T cut up trees that had fallen in the woods for firewood. C & N helped a little, by my teenage daughter (C) made it very clear: she doesn't want to help us at all!

In a little while I'll pick up around the living room/kitchen/family room and bring in some Christmas cheer. I really LOVE Christmas decorations. I love the colors, the smells the anticipation and the family-focus. I love the return of this yearly tradition.

And I want my daughter to help me decorate so we can bring in the spirit of Christmas together (N needs to prioritize checking that his homework is done).

Why is love such a complicated emotion? I'm frustrated by her apathy, and proud of her achievements at the same time. I want to give her everything and five minutes later I feel like she has too…

Shopping in Style

(Written Saturday, posted Sunday)

Yesterday (Black Friday) I was in my hometown in Western New York State. My daughter and I spent the Black Friday morning checking out the deals at various chains and non-chains. We found bought a few tings. She found 2 pairs of jeans from Pac Sun and a sweatshirt at Victoria Secret (she had several gift cards from her recent birthday). I bought some silk blend yarn from Wooly Minded, but would have bought more at a large chain had the line not been about 50 people long.  We also stopped at The Crossings outlets at the border of PA and New Jersey. We actually spent twice as much time maneuvering parking than actually shopping. The huge crowds helped us to decide that after striking out at a few stores we called it a day. (I did buy a few $7 necklaces at Chicos).

Today is Small Business Saturday. I wish that there were as many small businesses to support as large chains. If a pollster called here and asked me about my opinions versus my habits, I'…

Just Checking

This year my husband made my life inestimably easier: he bought all gifts for adult family members last summer! No hints, but I'm grateful to be under no obligation to buy as I go enter stores playing "Rudolph".  Yesterday I bought the final gifts for our nieces/nephews. Shopping for everyone but our own two kids is DONE. Check!

With a cheer competition in Florida upcoming, this is a huge relief! I've even bought all the gifts for the advent calendar, planned it out and so all I have to do is wrap and number.... Almost check...

Except for some fish that I need to get tonight or tomorrow morning, I'm set for Thanksgiving too. Almost check...

We have opted out of the cheer fundraising, so I'm not spending this week soliciting for sponsors. Check...

I know it will be harried - and stressful, but with these things checked off the list, I'm ready to enjoy Thanksgiving. And that's a great start to an otherwise overwhelming time of year. Ready to Enjoy Than…

Weekend Update

Some of you read this blog for local education/politics, some for the knitting, but my most faithful daily readers, are still family, so let me send them an update.

It was a very busy weekend at Casa L.

On Friday morning I went to Nicolas' school where I heard David Wiesner speak. He grew up in Bridgewater and explained how he gets his inspiration, and how he creates his very detailed books. There is certainly MUCH more than work in each picture than a small child will grasp. He was trained at RISD and his influences include Salvator Dali. There are few benefits to volunteering in the schools, but being in the loop about speakers like this is one of the best. I immediately came home and bought one of his books for my nieces, and today I bought three for my nephew.

Friday evening was a blurrrr... First C had her final day of Cheer try-outs for the Middle School team. Apparently there were lots of talent. But later that night we learned that C earned a coveted spot on the "A te…

It's a....

Powerschool is a new tool in BRRSD this year. It's an online grade book that allows parents (and students) to be hyper-vigilant. Like most cyber-things, Powerschool increases access to information until it's TMI. But like many online sources, it's hard to interpret the information. (Have you ever tried to look something up on MedMD? You read the horrible side-effects, but don't really know if you're prone to them, or how realistic they are. Powerschool is similar - you see a 5/10 on a quiz and think "OMG my kid failed a test! She's flunking 8th grade!")  It's hard to judge weights - a homework should be less important than a test, but maybe a particular homework is more important than the others? Powerschool is straight forward and confusing at the same time. Also, there are no comments - is my participating, chatty, distracted? Nothing like a good old-fashioned phone call to a teacher to get the real info!

But, in general I really like Powerschoo…

Viennese advice

Last night I put on my PJs as the pasta boiled at 5:45 pm and was in bed by 8 pm. My body says I need more rest.  I'm relieved that I stayed out of this contest. Just reading the Patch article raises my blood pressure!

JB would have been perfect. She is well-versed in the issues, has an amazing background and is fair. Since opinions were split (as per the Patch), they could have delayed voting until the two missing members heard the taped interview. Did one side cave to pressure from the BOE President? Hope I misunderstood.

Knit three, purl one. Breathe in, breathe out..... "Where's the fire, what's the hurry about? You better cool it off before you burn it out. You've got so much to do, but only so many hours in a day."  
(Thanks, MCM - I've been hearing this song in my mind all week).

Update: This is the Courier's blogger's take on last night.

Swap on a Budget

Those of you who know me in person know I like to do things for others. But I also like others to do things for me. When my friend Pam told me about "Swap on a Budget" from the Ravelry knitting/crochet site I thought it was a terrible idea for me. I already have at least 10 projects that I've started and not finished for various people, and knitting for a stranger is a bit daunting. What if they knit better than I do? They will see all of my mistakes in a way that non-knitters don't! The big secret (that I'm really not *that* good) will be revealed.

But I've been looking at this opportunity ALL WRONG. It not about giving something imperfect to be criticized by the recipient because the recipient is also a knitter, it will be appreciated more. A fellow knitter knows what goes into creating these gifts.

The best part of this swap is it's $20 maximum. I'll use "stash yarn" to knit with (no new investment there) and buy something on the person&…

Fourteen and counting

My daughter is fourteen today. She confidently headed out for school today with pin-straight hair, a black guess birthday shirt and optimism that she would make the cheer squad at the Middle School. (Try-outs start after school). She looked like everything I wanted to be at her age: organized, pretty, popular, smart and happy.

Each day I lose her a little more. She was handed to me as a helpless infant, and every year she grows more independent.

This weekend I was given a taste of the challenges C will face as a teenager as girls her age push boundaries. She passed the first test. Tonight she will go to dinner with a couple of her friends - another test. Can they eat like ladies and not get kicked out of a local restaurant? On Saturday she will host her first teenaged co-ed party. Another test. My heart's in palpitations while a hundred "what ifs" pre-occupy my mind.

But this party isn't about me. I'm becoming obsolete as she steps farther and farther into life&#…

A.T. and Me

Yesterday I drove my Dad to my sister's house in Pennsylvania. The entire ride to Scranton Dad explained World War II military artillery history - mostly regarding the German attack aircraft and the British defense strategies over London during various stages. I kept asking about things like "how did women make meals with rations" or "when we were so paralyzed (after 9/11) how did the Londoners deal with years of imminent bombing?" He's answer briefly but somehow return to things like how German casualties grew to over 10% resulting in Germans reduced nighttime bombing in London. I have to admit that today I didn't retain much of his detailed knowledge.

Brain-fried from driving in rain, and trying to keep up with his three-hour long history lesson, I made a pit stop at the Crossings Outlets on my way home. After window shopping at Coach, I hit Ann Taylor's outlet. I love their clothes. Tasteful, plain, they have some of my favorite reds, mixed with…

Election Day 2011

It's Election Day.

Remember to VOTE! 

Vote for Jim Ventantonio

Tomorrow is Election Day. Finally Bridgewater will be rid of Mrs. Flannery. Her replacement should be the most qualified candidate, Jim Ventantonio.

When I ran for the Board of Ed I was overwhelmed by the support of friends and strangers. My team really stuck by me, and hundreds of people put my signs up in their yards. People still come up to me and say they voted for me. Since April I planned to pay-the-support-forward, so when a friend called me and asked me if I were willing to meet Jim, I was happy to. And I'm very glad I did. Helping Jim (behind the scenes) with his campaign has been very rewarding. I find him inspiring, and really hope that he will win.

Jim has spent a lifetime in public service. He started his career in the military, where he spent time in Taiwan as a JAG officer, and then went into poverty Law. On his website ( you can read a synopsis of his many forms of service and experience.

A fiscal conservative, he is very active in the busin…

Knit four, pearl four

My Mom was a generous gift giver. The last 10 years or so her Christmas gift giving was rather predictable: cashmere sweaters. The soft, but warm, non-itchy sweaters warmed me in more ways than one. I still have a black turtleneck, a red crew neck and a cream sleeveless crew, all in various stages of disrepair after too much "love". "It's not the age, it's the mileage".  Mine are well-used.

If she were here, I think my Mom would approve of my current project. I'm knitting my Dad a cashmere cap.

Four years ago I knit him a thick cashmere-alpaca blend. I remembered how I sat at my son's frustrating soccer games. They were frustrating because the coach only played him (he was in 2nd grade, and this was rec) under five minutes per game! I still have to bite my tongue when I see the coach at school or the pool. I took my anger out on the needles, and knitting him a hat in about a week.

Yesterday was a beautiful Saturday, and I knit as I watched the girl…

A teachable moment?

Just a friendly reminder to a certain teacher, and any others to whom this applies, the BRRSD Board of Ed have very simple, but easy-to-follow guidelines about conduct towards kids.

The Board believes that a safe and civil environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. Since students learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff, and volunteers are required to demonstrate appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation or bullying. Harassment, intimidation or bullying, like other disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a student's ability to learn and a school's ability to educate its students in a safe environment. Therefore, the school district will not tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying.*
If you are taunting my kid in public, asking him in front of his classmates if he "likes getting zeros", YES, Mom …

New Start

Maybe it's the coffee kicking in. Maybe it's the weather forecast: Sun and 60s F. Maybe it's my husband entering the kitchen in a cheery mood, and eating his Special K. And maybe it's that both kids are back in school...

but I'm feeling very optimistic this morning. Can you feel it too?

Although I had a setback in my business the other day, I'm looking forward to trying again. To that end after hitting "publish", I'm going to get dressed and hit the pavement. It may be a recession, and people may still be skeptical about purchasing unnecessary items (if only I were in the generator business!), but I still believe that hard work pays off!

I am also going to have a knitting-lunch (like a working lunch, but with yarn and needles) with my talented friend, Pam. She knits fast, knits with bold colors and isn't afraid to rip up something that isn't working to try again.

Tonight is the Bridgewater Mayoral Debate at the Municipal Building. I'm …

A lesson not learned

Hasn't BRRSD learned from it's "best and brightest"? (I.e. The obnoxious parents who live in this district.)

The lesson BRRSD should learn from them? The squeaky wheel gets oiled. 

Yesterday morning I got an e-mail stating:
We have been in contact with both power companies (PSE&G and JCP&L), but at this time they are unable to provide us with a specific timeline for power restoration.  Bridgewater Township has informed us that roads are in much better shape today and therefore we are expecting buses to have an easier time in picking up students.

(And then an update last night)

Dear Parents, Staff, and Community,

Van Holten School, Hamilton School, and Eisenhower School are still without power and will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, November 2.  PSE&G is currently at the Middle School and we have been told that electricty will be fully restored by 11:00 PM tonight.  Therefore we are anticipating that the Middle School will be ready for opening tomo…