Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent Expectations?

Yuletide knitting
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).

NOT what I expect
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 much. This week I got an e-mail from a teacher praising her work and initiative. Less than 48 hours later, my husband told me about less than stellar behavior this past week. I hear about other families where the children gladly help in the yard, the kitchen or around the house and I am ashamed that my kids don't help more when asked.

Am I expecting too much that they should give anything more than a lukewarm response to my enthusiastic "come help in the yard" (that gradually changes to COME HELP IN THE YARD YOU SPOILED CHILD!)?

Does any of this sound familiar?

Eat your veggies. (N does, C doesn't)

Clean your room. (C does, N doesn't)

Walk the dog (Both balk, but C more so)

The link below flew around the net a few years ago. It makes me think that I'm not really crazy. Nor a horrific horrible mother. I wonder what the Christmas Carol version of this would be????

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shopping in Style

Black Friday at the Arnot Mall
(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).

Diego supporting Somerville, NJ
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'd have to admit that while I strongly prefer to support a Mom and Pop business, I do spend the vast majority of my money at chain stores. This weekend is no exception.

This morning I spent about $30 at The Hungry Hound. Diego loves to go in there, but sometimes it's hard to control him. I didn't really need anything - we've started to give him leftovers as his main treats, because I like to know what he's eating - but I wanted to support the store, so I picked up a few things. Then I tried to shop at another store that I've been planning to support today for several weeks. But no... they don't open until 11. I don't want to say which store, because I like them, but on a day that is being promoted nationally to boost small businesses, shouldn't they be willing to open a bit earlier on a Saturday morning... like 10am? While I understand that small businesses cannot compete with national chains in terms of labor and opening hours, especially when they create maniac-hours on Black Friday - on the busiest weekend of the year, even smaller shops should make an effort to draw in crowds. I'd already paid for parking, so I really wanted to shop then. It didn't occur to me that the store wouldn't open until 11am on Small Business Saturday on Main Street in Somerville.


And now I wonder: I don't need ANY yarn. I have a closet full. But I want to support the local economy, so do I attend one of the two special yarn sales that Pam blogged about this week? The Far Hills farm is probably about 10 minutes drive from here... (I did buy something at Down Cellar last week). But I simply don't need ANY yarn. Do I support them because I believe in shopping local? Or do I do the sensible thing, save my money and stay home.

Decisions, decisions?

In the end, the most important thing is to try to support smaller businesses over chains consistently. In terms of yarn and dog supplies (though not food), I do. The vast majority of my yarn comes from LYS (local yarn shops). Maybe it's like attending a religious services only on holidays. It's all well and good that you include some kind of celebration (if you believe, that is) into your traditions, but it's much better to be a good person all year long.

I want to support my favorite Somerville shops, like Discover Wine and  Alexandra's Boutique, but unless I happen to be in Somerville, convenience seems to always win out. Price, is also a factor. And, Macy's seems to lure me in with their "something for everyone appeal" and their unending coupons. Finally, it doesn't help that the last time I went on a shopping spree, I was parked 15 minutes too long and found a ticket. This is definitely a deterrent to head to Somerville. Disorganized people like me run the risk hidden costs.

Everyone is hearing that as a consumer-driven nation, increased sales will help the economy (whether or not I agree is another point entirely). If I want my local community to thrive, I need to put my money where my mouth is. I just wish I could have gone to one more store this Small Business Saturday morning. I planned to go back in the afternoon but trimming bushes and yardwork won out. After 15 trips with the wheel barrel, the sun set, and with it went my motivation...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just Checking

Ho Ho Ho
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 Thanksgiving? Check!

Monday, November 21, 2011

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.

Wiesner's visit
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 team". What's that mean? She will have cheer one day more than the other girls and may go to a competition (they didn't last year). But really the school's team is an easy commitment. Little driving and I don't have to go to any last-minute "mandatory" parents meetings.

Friday evening N went to a laser tag birthday party, and then I went to bunco. I'm sort of joining a bunco group - but even bunco-groups have politics in Bridgewater. Two women want me to join, but apparently someone else (I'm not sure who) wants her friend to join instead. Nonetheless I had a lot of fun.

Got Uggs? From C's party.
Saturday morning brought "Shake the can". C and a few other cheerleaders were "begging for money" from strangers outside of local businesses. I don't need to tell you that I don't like this idea. One hour by a local salon in the am and two hours outside of a local liquor store starting at noon. In between I drove N to a friend's house. Then home to clean and bake....

Saturday evening C had 30 friends for a part'ayyyy. It was LOUD and I wish we'd air conditioned the basement, but I didn't catch anyone drinking (I personally took pizza orders so I could smell breath and check everyone out) and I don't think anyone was trying to make babies, so it's all good.

So much to see at AMNH
The highlight of my weekend? SUNDAY! After untold months of my life being turned upside down by Pop Warner cheer, yesterday I focused only on N. We went to Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration | American Museum of Natural History. Actually we saw lots of interesting things at the museum - we spent almost six hours at the Natural History Museum in New York. (Not to mention lots of money in the various gift shops). N's favorite place in NYC is ToysRUs in Times Square, so, since it was N's day - at 5:30 we took the subway there and back so N could add to his rock collection.

We got home at about 8:30pm. I picked up Diego from the M family who had kept him during C's party and all day yesterday. Enjoyed a glass of wine with them and headed home to bed. N wanted me to keep my promise that I'd watch NOVA with him. I fell asleep after about 10 minutes.... can't even remember what it was about.

It was a great weekend.

Friday, November 18, 2011

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 Powerschool. It prevents surprises and helps parents/students nip issues in the bud. You can choose how often you get information e-mailed to you - and to whom it gets sent. We get an e-mail every other week with an update. It currently goes to T, C and me, but there is no reason why N can't get used to checking his e-mail regularly too.

But, when report cards come home (I think they come home still, and I think it's today), it will be very anti-climatic. No surprises, good or bad.

Sometimes technology is great - an ultra sound tells you many things about the baby in your tummy, including whether you are carrying Heather or Heath. But there's nothing like the big surprise when a baby comes out and the midwife/doctor/nurse/Dad says "it's a girl!" (or "it's a boy" - I've been lucky enough to experience both). It used to be that my friends called with big news. Now I just read about it on Facebook.....

Surprises are at a premium.

Today, I already know "It's an.... A!" (Or B, B+, B-, C...etc.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Swap on a Budget

Finished this scarf today. A rare thing: To me, From me
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's wish list. My "spoilee" is named a woman in Colorado and has two small kids. She doesn't know that her spoiler (me) gets how overwhelming it is to have two kids under age 3.

So this week on my "to do list" I am adding design and start a gift for this Mom in Fort Collins, Colorado. Like me, she writes a blog on parenting. So I've been "stalking" her blog for tips about what she likes.

This morning I finished three items. My Dad's cashmere scarf, a Christmas ornament and the "to me, from me" scarf pictured above. Time to start planning my new gifts. Something for my spoilee, and something for my neighbor. She's sick and could use a pick-me-up. Nothing like making something for others....

Monday, November 14, 2011

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's limelight.

When they handed me my new baby 14 years ago today, I was thrilled. 10 fingers, 10 toes and a head full of jet-black hair. My baby. Our first child. I was completely unaware that I'd already feel like I was losing her after fourteen years. Last year I blogged about phases of children's lives. The problem is, that increased independence isn't a phase: it's a permanent development. The next "phases" are high school and college. Of course I want my daughter to be independent. Of course I am proud of her ability to manage on her own. But I can't help wishing she needed me for something other than my checkbook and driving her.

And of course, I wish that she was still my little baby girl, where her biggest wish was the easiest thing to grant: to be held in her Mom's arms, nurse and fall asleep. Tonight, she won't even eat with me. She wants to take a couple of friends out to dinner.... without Mom and Dad.

We don't have kids to keep them. We have them to give them away.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A.T. and Me

Soft turtleneck and cool skirt, Size ARGH
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 the neutrals that I wear most.

But... like any vice, there is always a down side of indulgence. Each time I venture into AT (which is rare) I always feel worse than when I got there. Why? Because AT doesn't design clothes for "women like me". Their clothes are for the woman I was 15 years ago.

They may seems appropriate for a broad range of ages, but they don't seem to fit women who have ever been pregnant, had babies and breastfed them (except if you did post-partum workouts with Heidi-Klum or had a certain nip-tuck). Every time it's the same thing - I get lured by their design, and walk out in a sour mood, saying "I'll show them!"

I tried on six skirts, and bought one in a size larger than clothes I bought last month at Macy's. I managed to get away with a size Medium turtleneck. But pants? Nope. One ill-fitting, but cool skirt made it home with me, with I short-sighted, but defiant "I CAN pull this off!"

Retail therapy rarely works. Yesterday it backfired for sure.

I wish I'd paid better attention to my Dad. What was the new tool the British sued that helped them repel German warplanes? What was the name of the engineer who designed bombs for the Germans, and then after the war built up the program to send Americans to the moon..... what was the Tom Lehrer song about him (answer: Werhner-Von-Braun)... And what did he say about Goddard (as in the namesake for NASA's center near DC) who was an American rocket scientist who worked in Europe during the war? What did he do? I know Dad explained it.

History lessons are important - if we pay enough attention. Next time: take notes when Dad tells stories. And stay away from stores that make you feel bad about yourself!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Day 2011

Vote for Jim Ventantonio
It's Election Day.

Remember to VOTE! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Vote for Jim Ventantonio

Jim with his favorite "constituents", his granddaughters
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 business community, and served as a founding partner of the Somerset County Business Partnership. His experience living in Asia will make him more knowledgeable in recruiting foreign companies, like the Chinese telecom giant, Huawei, who recently choose Bridgewater as their US headquarters.

At the recent debate, he promised to keep Open Space open. I am skeptical to the development of these open areas. Our urban-sprawl environment needs space that is simply "green". In my opinion, we need street lights and sidewalks more than soccer fields or dog parks.

While in general there are too many lawyers in Government, Bridgewater really needs Jim's legal mind. He has managed lawyers, hired outside council (or chosen not to) and his experience will be invaluable to tax payers. Jim is the only candidate who brings this background. Our township is in the middle of a huge legal debacle that has brought unprecedented negative PR to Bridgewater. The Mosque issue has cost us dearly and will continue to do so well into the next administration.

As a former judge he is professionally trained to be fair, and as our former prosecutor he knows that there are multiple sides to any issue, but he can make the hard decisions. He is an independent thinker, and I know he will work across party lines to get things done.

On the ticket with Jim are the two other Democratic candidates, John Rooney and Mary Pranzatelli. I know them both personally and they will bring an open ear to our Town Council. They are both approachable people and their election will return two-party representation.

Yesterday the Courier News endorsed Jim as the best candidate. He has publicly stated that he will not take a salary and he be the mayor as his full time job (unlike one candidate, who is a full time teacher and at the debate, skirted a question as to whether he intends to quit his full-time job should he win).

I like Jim. I trust him. He's got sound judgment and strong character. I look forward to voting for him on Tuesday.

Not convinced? Come and meet Jim tonight at La Catena on Rte 22, 5-7pm. No RSVP is necessary and everyone is welcome. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Knit four, pearl four

Soft cashmere
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 girls cheer the boys onto a big win. My anxiety about cheer (the pressure they put on the girls to perform, the cost of a potential Disney trip and general feeling that C should be cheered, not cheer on the boys) translated into the first inch of a cap. I cast on 112 stitches, then knit 4, pearl 4. Over and over again as the girls cheered "Let's Get Fired Up!" or "We are proud of you, yes we are proud of you! (Clap, clap)" Certain moms were drowning out the girls in their own excited cheering, and while I did yell a bit, louder voices drowned out mine too.

I wish I could tell my Mom about my knitting, about my life and about my great friends, whom she would have loved for their humor, their wit and their undying support. I also wish she could give me advice. The hat I knit my dad on soccer fields years ago is gone. I secretly blame my sister or her husband for "permanently borrowing" said hat. As I knit this one, I wonder what advice she would give me for diplomatically telling them to keep their hands off Dad's new hat... I'm pretty sure that she would defend them, saying they would never steal it, and that it's more likely that Dad lost it, but who knows what she would say?!

I still wear my hole-infested sweaters, and think of my Mom. I should replace the black turtleneck, since I wear it a lot - almost weekly - and she wouldn't want me to walk around in a sweater with holes. But I'm not as generous with myself as she was with me. Besides, always on the lookout for a bargain, she would balk at today's prices.

So instead, I knit one, pearl four. For my dad, whom I adore....


Finished the hat this morning. It is so soft. Perfect for Dad's bald head.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A teachable moment?

Bad apple for the teacher!
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 is going to call you out on it. 1) Grades are private - especially failing ones. 2) I consider this to be disrespectful and inappropriate. 

And if, as Mom, I e-mail you saying the above in a professional tone, but calling you out on your behavior, don't whine back in an e-mail that I'm being mean! 

You want to see mean??? Look in a mirror! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

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 already supporting Jim Ventantonio, as I know him, respect him and think that his professional experience and leadership would be an asset to the Township. Nonetheless, I am really looking forward to hearing what all the candidates think. I encourage you to come too, especially if you are undecided.  I believe there is still time to submit your questions to the Courier, who is sponsoring the event.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

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 tomorrow morning at regular starting time.  All other schools will open at regular scheduled start times tomorrow. 

Many parents have asked when the remaining schools will be open.  The best I can offer is that JCP&L has stated that they will not be in the area until Thursday.  We are pushing hard for them to be here sooner.  Also, the Bridgewater Public Library wanted me to share with parents that they will be showing drop-in movies tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 5:00 PM. 

If there are any changes to this email, I will notify only the parents and staff members of the affected schools tomorrow morning. As power is restored to the remaining schools in the next few days, I will notify only the parents and staff members of those schools.  This will be the last eblast sent to the entire school community, but I will continue to issue daily updates on the district website.

To summarize: Van Holten, Hamilton, and Eisenhower are closed tomorrow; all other schools including the Middle School will open at regular start times.

Michael Schilder, Superintendent

Aren't schools, like hospitals, a priority for electric companies? Where are the politicians???  Why can't the District, together with the Township, or even regional representatives, lobby strongly enough to persuade companies to prioritize returning power to schools?

I'd be happy if our schools would open even without electricity. Yes, I know that would break fire codes, but for thousands of years children learned without electricity. (Allow me to fantasize in today's blog about a school where learning takes precedent over administrative restrictions). Couldn't we somehow think outside of the box and double up in classrooms - splitting children across the district? Alternately maybe we could find space offsite, like sending students/teachers to RVCC's theater for character education, or for an astronomy lesson at RVCC's planetarium? I'm sure with some out-of-the-box thinking we could come up with great opportunities. And if parents didn't want their kids to go to an off-site location... then could choose to keep them home. Plus, kids who are living in houses without heat can get warmed up during the day.

Necessity is the mother of invention. I'm ready to let our creative juices flow because if nothing else, I've learned this: I'm not interested in home schooling! Nor am I happy about losing Spring Break to unplanned days off in October and early November. Snow days are fun - when there is snow. This year each snow day will be a reminder: our kids (at least at the schools that are closed) will be sitting in classes when the rest of the district - and the rest of the country are kicking back

Have kids hand-write persuasive letters to the various power companies, or maybe write emergency management guidelines for the Township.  We can turn this into a math lesson (budgeting the cost of a generator - or profit and loss for local businesses, or power necessary to run a town). Use physical ed time to pick up branches (I'm joking, of course).

Of course I realize that JCP&L is the real enemy here, not the district. But as I'm not a JCP&L customer I feel I have little recourse. If I were their customer I'd be calling every five minutes. E-mailing the Mayor, the Governor and anyone else who will advocate for me. As parents we should also be up in arms. Our kids in this section again are not getting the education that the rest of the district is.

Take them back, BRRSD! Teach our kids! They're all yours!