Showing posts from 2014

Christmas 2014 and the Ghost of Others

Dear Readers,

Happy Holidays! We ate the food, we opened the gifts, we had the traditional Christmas meltdown, complete with drama and a few tears. (Is it really Christmas without it?) We saw the Christmas Show at Radio City and we got gussied up. The list of what I didn't accomplish still beats out the list of what got done, (if you didn't get a Christmas card - don't hate me, there are still a bunch unsent along with my unfinished Christmas gifts). But in the end, Christmas shouldn't be a to do list followed by checked items. It should be about enjoying time with family. 
Except if your name is Mom. It seems that I am falling into the same trap that the women in my family have been falling into for generations, in which holidays become a frenzy of guilt and fear that dinner will be ruined. Pure to form, I also declared my turkey doomed to death when the potatoes weren't ready to start when they "should have been."
Why can't I just go with the flow?…

What Are YOU Running For?

'Cause Everyone Is Running for (or from) Something? Yesterday as the polls started heading toward closing time and the votes got guestimated first, then called by various news outlets, I couldn't wait for it to be over. But is it ever really over?
It's a new day. And while I'm pleased that my board of ed candidate won, there were no surprises in the Senate, making me want to put my head in the sand for the next six years... by which time we'll have elected at least one new president. 
As I was running up Van Holten road yesterday I remembered how it felt to run for a political office. The highs and the lows. I realized that just running for board of ed impacted me in many ways. I thought I knew who my friends were, but there are always surprises. People who stood by me every step of the way, and others who didn't, teaching me that some affiliations trump friendship. Time has healed that, and I have put it behind me, but it left enough of a scar to keep me from…

Why I'm Voting for Barry Walker

A long time ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away... ... I ran for a School Board. It is not a position to take lightly or to vote for "just anyone". 
Barry Walker is running a tough, but honest campaign. It's not easy when your main opponent is an incumbent with strong political ties and a tendency to play by his own rules. In fact when I ran against him years ago, he used the Middle School directory to solicit votes. As an attorney and a board member - or even as a parent who can read - he should have known that this was verboten, since a "not for solicitation" clause is printed on all school directories. Misuse discourages families from including their information in the future.  As the saying goes, "it's easier to get forgiveness than permission." Maybe I'm jealous? Since I wrote the elementary school's directory and had every single email on my computer, I was tempted to do the same - it would have taken me 5 minutes... the difference is, I di…

Waffles and things

In Praise of Good Work
So often when I blog it is in reaction to an inappropriate action, a statement - true or otherwise - or an unpleasant encounter.

Today I just want to write something nice.

Every other Monday around 6am we get an update automatically emailed to us with my son's latest grades. Not every Monday starts on a positive note. Thank Goodness for @Evelyn. She talked me off the ledge many a Monday morning.

Yesterday, however, was the perfect way to start a Monday morning. It began by reading three simple comments from three different teachers. "Keep up the good work." "Pleasure to teach." "Is a positive role model." This is always nice to hear about your offspring. By the time your kid is in high school you kind of know what to expect... and while I think N is a pleasure to teach, it's not often I've read, "keep up the good work" so it was a big deal for Mom.

As I often do, I took a walk at lunch. Today I stopped at N…


Dear Friends,

I have been on a social media hiatus (with two exceptions: work-related use, sometimes I use my personal login to update company social media) and private messages for Facebook friends whom I don't tend to email.

I've heard from people that they miss my updates. That warms me and surprises me in equal parts.

What am I "hiding" from? Several things:

All things political - including religious-political banter and school board election-related discussions - especially school board elections: It's funny. I made a few posts about school-related matters (once about a grammatical mistake that my son's English teacher made on back to school night, and another about a parent who nearly ran over two students who were legally crossing in a crosswalk in front of the high school) and it was enough stress to make me give up Facebook for a month. I even took down the grammar discussion after fearing I'd lost a friendship with my neighbor. An incorrect objec…


I am a runner. Statement of fact. About an hour ago* I returned from an 8.2 mile run. Anyone would think that makes me a runner.Except me.I don't know the source of my insecurities. My constant feelings of not meeting other's standards (or even who the "other" would be). I do know that I generally say I'm sort of a runner. Even though I've run two half marathons, a 10 mile race, multiple 5 and 10Ks, I don't see myself as a runner. Noel is a runner. Anna is a runner. My 89 year of father, who hasn't run in a few years, is a runner. I'm an impostor.Except I am a runner. I used to run remembering my friend who died. I often think about people who love to run (or do another physical activity) and can't, when I run. I find it motivating: be grateful for what you can do, and push just a teeny bit more.Tonight I ran into a friend who has run marathons, but no longer can. Her knees. Not a disease, not an ailment, just plain old shot knees. I will alwa…

College Prep Course for Soccer Moms

Are You Ready for What's Next? I still have two more years until it will be my reality, but this summer I'm getting a taste of what it will be like when C & N go off to college and I become an empty-nester. I've seen what a difficult transition it will be when my kids finally go off to college. I think my life will change as much as their lives do. All I have to say is that I'm glad to heed the warning: they grow up too fast, so enjoy every minute!
You've heard of a working lunch? Well this year I'm experiencing a "working summer". I've been leaving my house before 7:00 am and not returning until after 7:30 pm. While I've been able to knit or read quite a bit during my train rides from Somerville to Newark, and occasionally (if I'm fortunate enough to get a seat) on the PATH train between Newark and the World Trade Center, it doesn't make up for the time missed with the kids.... 
That is, if they were home! C left for Camp Cory i…


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." 
Well, "TBH" (to be honest, as the teens tweet), it wasn't either the best or the worst, and now it's over. If I had to grade BRMS over the past two years, I'd give it a B-. There were a few well-deserved As counterbalanced with a few failing grades.
The As A couple of teachers who went the extra mile - communicated with me when N was lagging in the homework department or tried to make workable solutions to bridge the gap between his abilities and his output. They were also the ones who saw N as a very bright boy and encouraged him to participate in class.
A few U-apples Some teachers clearly didn't care. Worse than that, they said that N didn't care either, which shows how little they knew him, earning a solid U (what we used to call an F). If they can give that grade for partially completed homework, I can give them this grade for partially-completed educating. "I reminded N to han…

Cooling Off

Introducing "a cooling off period" Learning a new concept on my last day at work On my last day at my beloved job, a group of us boycotted the office-sponsored pizza party favoring a nice restaurant that serves great food, Trap Rock Restaurant. There we ran into another group from the office, some of whom also had chosen good beer - it's a brewery too - over no beer, pizza and uncomfortable conversation between "those who are staying" and "those who aren't". At least ten colleagues fall into my category. As my colleague said, "this is survivor and we've been voted off the island."

At the bar I saw Kumar, a visual thinker, and former colleague. I'm not sure whether it is marketing or perspective, but he referred to his last few months outside of the full time workforce as a "cooling off period". As a consultant he has a freedom to take time between projects. Evelyn and I both loved that description. So I've spent my…

Unsolicited advice

Soccer mom with many years' experience teaches the tools of the trade When I first got involved in local educational issues, I was introduced to the old-timers. The veterans who had sat through many a Board of Education (BOE) meeting. I was new blood, and full of enthusiasm to elicit change. For many years I was the parent in our school who knew what happened at the latest board of ed meeting and understood the multiple sides of any story. Whether or not I agreed, I kept up with the opposition's argument. Yesterday I was introduced to a friend of friends with young kids. She has jumped onto the advocacy bandwagon. I support her cause (bringing full day kindergarten to Bridgewater schools). But it isn't my fight, and I'm glad to be an observer this time and not take center stage.   Words of wisdom Looking back I realize I have a lot of advice that may be helpful to share. There are certain things I wish I knew before speaking at the BOE's podium:
Keep it short! The …