Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Linky, linky

Best thing written about Jennifer Aniston. EVER. Thank you, thank you, Fug Girls!

Is everyone sort of catching on that the Octuplet Mom is trying to be just like Angelina Jolie, by the way? OH. I guess so. Did TMZ really need to give her this nickname? Ew.

Blackbeard's skull!? Arrrgh!

From a great NY Times article:

"Also, teachers often punish children by taking away recess privileges. That strikes Dr. Barros as illogical. 'Recess should be part of the curriculum,” she said. “You don’t punish a kid by having them miss math class, so kids shouldn’t be punished by not getting recess.'"
RIGHT??? As y'all know, I don't often raise a ruckus at school, but the few times recess was taken away -- for any reason (too cold? WE LIVE IN NORTH CAROLINA) -- I was all over it. Here's some nice ammo if it happens to your kid.

And now I must sign off...I'm cutting down on computer time and dialing up my yoga time. I miss it, my knees are healthy now, and one can only Twitter, blog, or surf so much in each day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Business in the Front, Party in the Back

My niece has a mullet. We tried to trim up the back. Bad idea: she's one, she's wiggly, we were at my mother-in-law's farm after a late night...you get the idea.

After thinking it over, though, we decided we all like the Kentucky Waterfall, especially after it has been combed nicely. For you see, my niece is PERFECT. And you may not change one thing about her!!!

Or else I shall sick the Goat of Beelzebub upon you, and He shall devour your very being with his Demonic Desires, of which there are no End.

Stop! Stop looking into its all-encompassing Eyes!

Stop, son! Do not feed it: it's hungers are not for earthly food, but for your inner Light!

Daughter! Do not attempt to cajole this beast. His heart hungers for your thoughts and ideas, not the morsels you offer.

The Goat of Hell hast wrought His wrath upon us....and you thought this was going to be an Oscar post!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

As I'm sure I've written before (but am far too lazy and disorganized to find out for sure), my friend M.K. Allen has sponsored an Oscar contest for 14 years or more. I won once. Lots enter, with a $1 entry fee, so the award money is fun. The tiebreaker question is always random. I usually get at least 3 right, and in recent years (when, strangely, I rarely see the movies) I've been getting five of the six categories correct with regularity.

This year I'm going with:

Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry, Director of The Reader
Penelope Cruz
Heath Ledger (natch)
Frank Langella
Kate Winslet

But Nate Silver, of FiveThirtyEight, has different ideas than I do - see his predictions at NY Magazine. Obvs he has gotten other marquee contests right in the past.

I'll stick with the dark horses (Langella, Daldry) and the red-hot Spaniard (Cruz).

If I win, I'll take you to lunch.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy VD

Chocolate Pots de Creme
(From an ancient Better Homes and Gardens cookbook)

1 cup light cream
1 4 oz package chocolate, chopped (we used a local chocolatier's dark chocolate bar)
1 tbsp sugar
dash salt
3 beaten egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla (I was out of Mexican vanilla, but think that might be right tasty)
Garnish: mint sprig, whipped cream, frozen raspberry, strawberries, etc. We used powdered sugar and homemade VD cookies from Lynn.

In a heavy small saucepan combine light cream, chocolate, sugar, and salt. cook and stir over medium low heat till smooth and slightly thickened. Gradually stir about half of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks; return all to saucepan. Cook and stir over medium low heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into 4 to 6 pots de creme cups or individual sherbert dishes (WTF?). Cover and chill several hours or overnight till firm. Garnish and serve - 4 to 6.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This woman is going all the way on TwitPic

If I could just figure out when Top Chef comes on! I think Jamie is gone. And to that I say, WTF, LEAH???? Regular watchers: help!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

With middle school upon us, I've been reflecting on this stage of parenting. A book I read once called this stage the Travel Agent season. Indeed, I am constantly re-routing flights, canceling reservations, and toting to and fro. So different from the baby and toddler stage. The elementary school years have been far more social, for me and my children. Part of that is due to me going back to work (although, when I take time to examine my life, I realize that I didn't work at all for only a year. Gracious). Part of that is having extroverted (kind of? well, they are shy extroverts) children. Part of it is going to a school where there are lots of activities at night and during and after school for parents. Part of it is being so active at school and in the community.

I have hated a lot of this phase.

Indeed, the social part has been the hardest. And I am a non-shy extrovert. Like in high school, I fit into a thousand different niches, as opposed to one or two. In high school (as all of my newfound old friends on Facebook will tell you) I was: a band geek, in a perky sorority, had one BF who was the most popular girl in school and a better one who was the artsy actor in the dashiki and bell bottoms, in all honors classes, in a math SAT tutoring class, in school plays, on student council, dating the football team kicker, then dating the Valedictorian, then dating a much younger band geek, sometimes all at once.

Now, I have as many roles and circles as then. My most important role is to make the children find the niches they like as well as ones in which they are competent. And for now, that involves the aforementioned Travel Agent hat. As in every stage, the children themselves make it all worth it. They still adore me, they still are naive and innocent, they still play. I'll miss that as we enter the (as stated by that book) Volcano Dweller season.

But if I've learned anything, it is that you really cannot predict how you yourself will feel about parenthood. I used to be completely ambivalent about infants....I squoze one out and BAM! I became a nursing, kangaroo-caregiving, googly-eyed mommy. I feared the terrible twos....why??? That was possibly the cutest stage EVER, and dammed if I didn't start teaching little critters. I worried about elementary school....well, ok, that was warranted. But I would not have missed any of the plays, musical performances, classroom center sessions, teacher conferences, soccer games, basketball games, t-ball games, family movie nights, weekend getaways, long boring summer days, or Harry Potter reading marathons for anything.

So I'll move into this next season - and I think it is coming around the bend - with an open mind and heart.

Sorry so gushy - full moon/menstrual cycle...or maybe just the stimulus package passing...who knows.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Follow Up

My mother is a customer service nightmare. She will badger, bother, and complain til you are worn down. And then she'll tell you all about her job, that involves customers, and how SHE treats her customers...and soon you want to offer her $100 just to shut the hell up.

But...she's probably right, in most cases, to follow up. I am reluctant to bother my children's teachers. After all, that is a fairly thankless job. But when my son received a less-than-stellar grade on his report card, in PE no less, I was fairly shocked. He got the equivalent of an A+ in "content" (whatever that means) and a far lower grade in "participation". If you know the dude, you know he is ALL. ABOUT. PARTICIPATION. Especially when it comes to sports. So I emailed the teacher, asking how we could get that grade up. "Oh no!" she immediately replies, "that was a mistake! I'll fix it and print another report card". Slam dunk.

In recent weeks I asked the 5th grader's teacher to talk with me about her choice of read-aloud book for the class. The book in question was arguably mature and disturbing, and come to find out the teacher was "editing" as she read. I told her I was not interested in banning books or being a "Tipper Gore" type.. as you know I am ALL. ABOUT. BANNED BOOKS., but wanted to explore other, more appropriate books. We ended up having an amazing hour-long conversation about books, education, and my daughter. Much gushing on both ends. Happy ending.

So the other day I order a long-admired pair of boots online. They are pretty cheap, but you know me. I am ALL. ABOUT. THE DISCOUNT. The company sent me a $10 off purchase coupon...I used it, it didn't show up on the order - I called the company. The fine print, sadly, read that I had not spent enough money to get the discount! But, as a first-time courtesy, they were going to take the $10 off anyway. Sold.

Now to talk to that school board....

Monday, February 02, 2009

The reassignment drama in our school district grows more contentious and louder...and the thing is just about a done deal. Basically, our school will lose four or five "nodes" and gain one; this will change the number of students receiving free and reduced lunch, and change the number of families who have traditionally supplied the school with stay-at-home moms who volunteer their time and monies. Our school is not alone. And I think our school was pegged by the school board and made to suffer needlessly. I have not always felt this way. In fact, I used to think that perhaps our school needed a little mixing up. But the way that the school board members and reassignment coordinator handled the parents, the facts, the figures, and the pressure was completely disappointing. We now join hordes of other angry parents in other parts of the county. I daresay this is a new dawn for the county - and I'm not sure that is a good thing. Even mayors are getting involved. People are starting PACs to unseat board members. I have a headache.

Every three years, I fear we'll be sent elsewhere or be forced to make a change. Whilst I know my children and I would adjust...I just don't wanna! And they certainly don't. Nothing short of a move to London, Manhattan, or somewhere equally urbantastic would make me happy at this point, so I completely sympathize with the families in our county who are currently upended. Me: the bleeding heart, always worried about the disadvantaged kids, now advocating for well-off families who have only to go to a different school. Yeah? What of it? I've seen it all in our scant six years in the system, and I just don't blame anyone who opts out of it.