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Showing posts from January, 2012

A week in Review

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Tuesday and Wednesday I was consumed with thoughts of political power. How it gets attained and what politicians do once they have it.

Tuesday morning Governor Christie took the stage for a Town Hall meeting at Bridgewater's JCC. I was (apparently) one of few Democrats in the audience. I went with an open mind. I didn't learn anything new (I left before the press conference where he made his statement about a gay marriage referendum instead of via legislation through the legislature).

Afterwards I drove a retired teacher home. She wanted me to put up one of the "I support teachers and staff" signs (see previous post). We talked about "soft persuasion and hard tactics". She felt that teachers wearing certain colors of clothes were the softest tactics out there. I told her I found them manipulative - since they aim to get to parents via kids. I said I felt it sends a subliminal message to kids that teachers don't want to be there (she disagreed). Anyway, I…

The next logical question....

Last week The Patch had reported on Tuesday's BOE meeting. where, among other things, they discussed recommendations for medical services and tutoring. This brought me to take the discussion (in my head) a step further.

When a kid struggles teachers sometimes suggest parents have their child "evaluated". Although the BOE meeting discussion seems to have been about the appropriateness of giving names for tutoring or medical care, I believe the natural a follow up question is what next?

If "the school" suggests a medical evaluation, should it be obligated to accept a doctor's diagnosis? What if there is a list? Would a doctor from this list would be "automatically accepted" over a doctor not on such a list?

Currently even if a physician evaluates a child and reports the findings to the school, the school's Child Study Team (CST) re-evaluates a child before creating an IEP (if the school chooses them to be evaluated. The school may say the child …

Inspiration... part 2

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Since Vogue Knitting Live I've been so busy that I just finished today's blog.

Vogue Knitting Live's final Panel was strong food for thought. Entitled "When Knitting Becomes a Career", the message was really transferable to other kinds of businesses. Industry executives like the Editor in Chief of Vogue Knitting, Trisha Malcolm** (3rd from the right) and Laura Zander (far right), owner of Jimmy Beans Wool  plus several other incredibly successful professionals shared how they began in the industry and their experiences. At least one panelist admitted that she simply doesn't enjoy knitting anymore because it had become a duty, not a labor of love. Debbie Stoller (far left), author of the famous (at least in the knitting world) book series "Stitch and Bitch" claimed that she actually finds the writing process arduous and hinted that she misses deadlines. Her books (like Fiona Ellis' work) are a fun read even if you don't knit.

Of course paneli…

Inspiration is all around us....

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PART 1....

I've just come home from two of the most inspirational days I've had in years. I was at Vogue Knitting Live. I feel like I've had a massage and listened to Mozart for two days on a quiet beach instead of the truth: fighting some 5,000 yarn-crazed women (and about half a dozen men - they stand out) in a busy Midtown hotel to touch intricate knitwear.

Yesterday was fabulous. KK and I spent the day together touching hundreds of balls of yarn in all kinds of fibers in every color imaginable. Had we not had a nice lunch and some down time (spent knitting, and watching fashion shows - it was, after all, Vogue knitting) I would have collapsed from sensory overload. KK hangs with local knitters who apparently have unlimited funds so she learns by osmosis and gave me a taste for Tahki and other gems. Like me, she is a woman on a budget. I bought one skein of yarn yesterday and today I bought another skein plus a a book that I had signed by the author today. Not bad, cons…

Happiness is a smile...

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On Tuesday my son woke up and said "ONE MORE DAY!"

Wednesday he couldn't wait until after school. He attends NJ Film School and it was the first class of the second session.  It's nice to have a happy and inspired boy. He is in the children's film making class. You can see their work from last season on the website above.

C is in good spirits, too. Although she doesn't "love" going to Tae Kwan Do, she said "it's great to feel like I'm the best at something". Whether or not she is the best isn't the issue but the feeling of mastery helps build confidence. I've been more relaxed with her too lately and it makes a difference. I hope it lasts.

T is in overdrive. This is his busiest time of the year. He comes home and relaxes by re-building a computer in the basement or building a fire and finishing work fireside. I'm worried about his lack of sleep, but he already has a mother, and he's a big boy.

And me? I'm very …

Supporting teachers and staff

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Every day I see these signs.... and the Italian-mother-guilt-trip extends itself from the grave and I feel like crap. Mamma-Gloria was a teacher - Spanish, Italian, English and she even covered a French teacher's maternity leave. She HATED PTA Moms who requested teachers and pushed for their kids to get into special programs. "If they don't see my kid is gifted then there is something wrong with the program." According to my Mom teachers knew best.

Yet, she always gave a gift to the teachers at Christmastime (sometimes wine!) and made sure we had what we needed to succeed, but didn't run booths at the Blacktop Carnival. She said she'd spent enough time at school (she quit when she was pregnant with me).

My Dad had a different approach - he came and talked to our classes about Science. At 86 he still teaches a course at his local hospital. A couple of years ago he went into N's 4th grade class and talked about living in London during World War II. Parents…

Thanks, I needed that!

It was a very hectic fall. Multiple activities almost daily. Visitors. New Business launch. Homework. Sensory overload. Sound familiar?
Then came December's travel craziness. Florida and back for five days. Norway and back for four days, then I drove to New York State (a 4 hour drive) and back for a 4 hours New Years party (plus sleeping). Skiing in the Poconos. I also was in NYC twice in two weeks.
Last week school started up again - and the to do list was as long as the kitchen table.
After a falling out from the fall on Friday night, the stress of the last few months finally caught up with me and my body demanded "Enough!" 
I slept and relaxed more this weekend than in months. I imagine this is what blood pressure medicine feels like. The pillow like a magnet, and my body told me it was time to give in.
Now it's Monday morning. Time to create the weekly to do list. This weekend was a reminder - rest is important too. Make time for it.

Thanks, Dick!

The Courier's Bridgewater blogger, Dick Bergeron, saved me time by writing a blog that I was planning to write. You can read it here.

These signs don't make me more sympathetic toward the union, and as a staunch school supporter, I assume I'm part of the target audience.

But as Dick points out, it's only a hunch.

After my last experience at a BOE meeting I'm not thrilled with them either, but I'll save that for another blog.

Thanks, Dick. Let's get coffee sometime!

to blog or not to blog

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Most days I write this blog picturing my sister-in-law sitting with a cup of coffee reading in her sunny living room in Boise. I also see, in my mind's eye, a friend laughing out loud because she is sharing a kind of inside joke. At times I envision a parent here in Bridgewater, reading on a home computer, and I wonder who he is and what he thinks.

I sometimes see a far off stranger, sitting in Romania, Israel or Aruba with a TV on in the background in a language I can't understand.  An aroma of exotic spices coming from the kitchen.

From time to time readers recognize themselves in my blog. Often they are happy with what I've written, and say so. Sometimes, people read things they really don't like.

It is the latter whom I am addressing today:

This blog is an expression of opinion backed up by the facts as I experience them. That's what a blog is. It is not a news broadcast, and I am not a journalist. I stand by my views, and my right to express them.  In the end…

Hightailing to the High School

Last night was the parents' orientation for the high school.

HIGH SCHOOL. YES - that business-looking complex by the Municipal Building. That place we used to drive by and say "Some day our kids are going to go there!"

The pros:

Lots of options. Your kid wants to do a class in fashion design? They can. Computers? Plenty of choices. There's AP Studio Art (but who am I kidding, C isn't interested in that!!!). Lots of business classes. AP Macro- or Macroeconomics, Forensics, Journalism, Women's studies. I found plenty of things *I* want to do, but that weren't offered when I was a kid. Including something called "Option 2" where students can choose online classes, college courses and other programs (subject to prior approval) at parents' expense.Kids come out of BRRSD prepared to attend a large university, since it feels more like a community college than the high school I attended. Heck, it's got a bigger population than "Pine City&quo…

To do, or not to do

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I'm using google documents for my new company. Since my partner is sitting in Iceland, it makes it much easier to share files. Rather than sending one file back and forth ad nauseam. Possibly the most important file is a to do list (like a GANT chart). It's in color, but sometimes hard to prioritize. 
Google documents on my laptop works pretty well and is environmentally friendly since I don't use as much paper - but sometimes I need a stronger visual to organize things. As you might know - I'm a list maker. So I created an overview to see where I need to focus. The problem is that now I'm feeling a mixture of a nonchalant "No problem" and "OH MY GOD! HOW WILL I EVER DO ALL THIS?!"
The big list is the overall items. Things that need to get done in general (for work, no personal/family items here).
The little list is the "to do Monday & Tuesday" picked by importance from the big list. But even the first two things could take me a we…