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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Covering up the grey

That's what Gary and I plan to do at 2:30 pm today, to ring in the new year with a few less grey hairs. And also, our daughter has been buggingus that we look "old" and to do something about it.

Fine. We will. But she doesn't want to sit in the hair dresser's watching us for 2 hours, so she wants us to drop her home, so she can watch "that 70s show" in peace. (having lived through the 70s, neither Gary or I can stand to watch the show, or the 21st century version of the that era).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Here is the book for godesses!

The book that landed her in a milk bath was The Girls Book on Glamour: A Guide to Being a Goddess. Not that she needs any help on this. In fact, she could prob. give me a lesson or two.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Packages are unwrapped, J taking a milk bath, like Cleopatra

You read this right.

All the packages are unwrapped, and although few yielded surprises (she picked them out herself), J still is gleaning the gifts, as she unwrapped a few from grandma today, and I bought her a book tonight. I figured, why not, so I bought her a book - 1000 things you can do to make yourself more beautiful and cool, or something that. So she quickly flipped it open, and read about Cleo taking milk baths.

So right now, I'm hearing the plumbing roaring with water in her bathroom, as she packed in 2 pints of milk. Now her complexion is perfect as far as I can tell, but oh well, as long as she's reading, I'm paying.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mom, let's go get a x-mas tree

This said at about 3:30 pm friday night as the temp was dropping and snow clouds were threatening.

Okay, fine. We usually do this with dad, but fine. We are woman. So off we go, and it takes us 3x to get up the driveway into Pfaff's x-mas tree farm in KEnt. We're not even sure if they are still open at this hour.

I finally make one more attempt in the Honda Civic to get traction on the snow, and voila, we're up. We get a saw and head out for the cheap Doug Firs, only to find out that lot looks like a Weyerhaeuser clear cut. So it's off to the more expensive trees in the front lot. Jennifer notices a blue spruce lot at $35, but I say no, it's a sin to cut down a blue spruce, so off to the frazier firs we go. And $50 later, we have one, but it takes for-ev-er to get through the base. Jennifer's not help, since she's busy snapping pictures while I'm saying some very un-Christmasy things from ground level.

We think about stuffing the tree in the trunk, but make do with stuffing it in the back of the civic and dealing with the pine needles later. Pretty little thing, and Jennifer is proud we picked it out, chopped it down and carted it home, without help from dad.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Teens nacissistic? Nah...

Just ran across this, and agree with most of it.

Snow day

I guess it's a good sign when your daughter WANTS to go to school, after taking a faux snow day yesterday (waited all day for the blizzard, only to have the snow we did see, melt). But it came back in force this am, on top of a sheet of ice that formed last night.

Then, from 6 am on, we waited, waited, waited for the Auburn School District to cancel, vs. 2 hours late, and finally about 20 minutes ago, they made the call and canceled.

So now we're thinking of maybe walking down the hill to Kent STation and Thai for lunch. Yum. If we could figure out how to get the dog to pull the sled, with the x-mas boxes we foolishly didn't send yesterday, we would.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Working from home, cruising through U tube

I'll probably be working from home tomorrow, and Jennifer will prob. be out of school, even if school's not closed, I'm not sure how I"m going to get her to Auburn Senior High from our home in Kent. Walk? In 15 degree weather. Don't think so.

I'll be writing and when I get bored, she and I will be rating YouTube videos like this:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mom I can't find my makeup!

I suppose I'm to blame for this.

I who won't go out of the house without hair washed and styled, and makeup on.

"You're just going to Target," my hubby will remark incredulously.

Yeah, but you never know who you're going to see at Target, do you? I snap back.

So at 15, it wasn't the snow that was delaying us getting out of the house this morning, but the fact Jennifer couldn't find her makeup bag, anywhere. In the car, in the trunk, on the side of the couch where she sits doing homework and watching tv (I know, I know) and in her bathroom or our bathroom, nada.

So we set out not only to stop by Starbucks on a a 2-hour late school day, but to Top Foods as well, to buy $50 worth of makeup. I told her it was coming out of the allowance and the quarter piggy bank we throw all our change into. She shrugged, as she quickly applied makeup in the TF bathroom. It was worth it to her.

Speaking of 15 year olds with with way too much talent, here is the latest from one 15 year old who is becoming a celeb on flickr.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wishing for snow

That's what my daughter and I have been doing for the last week, and now we have it. Only about an inch ,but it came with a cold wind, so walking outside is painful.

My hubby, meanwhile, is grumping on what this will do to his workplace commute. Always practical. We're still wishing for snow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Raising your daughter right, and keeping your mouth shut

Attended a Christmas party this weekend where the issue of raising daughters and God came up.

Unless you live under a rock, no doubt you've heard about the bruhaha down in Olympia about the Christmas tree, menorah and the atheists. Thanks to rush, the entire nation now knows about our little festivus display. Now there's some group from Kansas that wants to put up a decoration that if you believe in Santa, you're going to hell. Why can't they go pester their own capital building?

We were talking about that, gathered around the kitchen of this Ballard house, and then Obama's name came up, and we all agreed, thank goodness he became president. Then a longtime friend talked about a friend of a friend whose daughter was for Obama and an atheist.

"I told her she raised that kid right!" Liz said.

My daughter, who was with me at the Christmas party shot me a warning glance, with a little bit a pleading in it to keep my mouth shut.

We were both Clintonistas, and then switched to Obama, and yes, she believes in God. I take credit in that, and believe, Gary and I have done a pretty good job of raising her. But JEnnifer obv. did not want to be put forth as an example of raising your kid "right" and having them believe in God too.

So I just laughed and let it drop.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I hate being a mediator sometime

She was in a bad mood last night, as he took her home from the b-ball game early to finish off her homework. Complaining all the other friends were staying, she then wanted to stop at Taco Bell, to which he said no.

They both came in the door in a bad mood, and then Jennifer promptly declared there was nothing to eat in the entire house. Soup? no Veggies? nixed. I offered to heat up some healthy choice meal, no to that too.

Gary's fuse finally reached his end, and he told her to starve then, but she had to finish her homework before she went to bed. They then ended up growling at each other up and down the hall, until I finally stepped in the middle, when some of the comments were straying off the reservation and told each of them to go to bed. They then turned on me.

To his ultimate credit, Gary later apologized to Jennifer for some of his comments but stuck by his remarks on her turning snarky every time things didn't go her way. I totally support him on this, but told him NOT to snap my head off next time I try to send folks to corners. Jennifer sulked the rest of the night and still wasnt' in the best mood this am. Teenagers and husbands. Sometimes I think I need a vacation from both.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Do you let them sink or swim?

That was the thought coming through my mind, as I received this frantic call from my daughter. The permission slip that I had signed, to let her play sports, lay first on the table, forgetten, and then quickly snatched up by me as I left the house.

It rested in the back seat of the car at PLU. She needed it to play on the C team at Auburn Senior High tonight. So I ran it up to the school, only to see the poor C team lose 15 to 50 against Enumclaw (who I might add, seem to have many girls on their team who seem to be sophomores).

So at what point, I ask, do you let their lack of .... planning ..come back to bite them in the butt? 15? 16? 18? I see the results of those that are rescued at every turn when I look at some of my sister in laws. Spoiled, and past 50. So I don't want that for her, but I did want to see her play in her first game.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Free throws and Heathcliff

Jennifer is now trying to make 300 free throws to raise $$ for the b-ball booster club. Tho how much of that the C team will ever see is questionable. (they have the rattiest of uniforms).

On the way to that event this am, she starts talking about Wuthering Heights again and HOW MUCH SHE LOVES THAT BOOK.

She's started underlining her favorite parts (including the line used in Twilight) and starts asking me about my favorite paragraphs. Umm, haven't read that book in about 5 years darling, prompt my memory.

To which she obliges and it starts to come back. She wants to show me this one paragraph when she gets home that she loves, even more than parts of GWTW, which is saying something.

I suggested The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. The ending of that book is simply magical, IMO.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Actually, everyone was fairly civil

Especially when compared with the poor guy who was killed in NYC during a WalMart opening. Jennifer and I decided NOT to be insane this year, so we got up at 5:45 am, rather than 3 am, and headed out around 7 am, then down to kent station (only bath and body works was open, the rest of the fools didn't think it worth the effort to open the doors at 7 am), and then on to the mall and Kohls.

We ended up standing in a jewelry line for about an hour, and made some new best friends, as we held each other's place, and checked out the sales. The only probably is, after awhile, I get cranky and start putting stuff back, which I'm pretty sure is not what the store had in mind.

I was actually proud of my daughter when she looked at some $100 boots at Macy's and decided they were too expensive and passed. Maybe it was in reward for that I bought her a $100 necklace for x-mas (marked down from $450 !!!) and we bought most of our stuff at 50 to 80 percent mark down.

I'm working on the mantra "never pay full retail for anything" and hope to drill it into head along side the brainwashing of "you will go to college," and "you won't get pregnant until you wish to be."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Compliments, when are they creepy?

That was buzzing through my mind this am, as I was driving Jennifer to school.

A 20-something in a pickup truck rolled down his window, and seemed to want to talk to us as we were pulling up to 15th St, one of Auburn's main roads. Thinking he was wanting directions, J. obliged, although my spidey sense was tingling at this time. He just said, she was really beautiful, rolled up his window and drove on.

My daughter looked stunned, and then quickly flipped down the vanity mirror to check herself out. I chuckled. And then said a prayer the guy wasn't a stalker around the school.

When I was 18 or so, a similar thing happened to me in LA, when I was visiting my brother. Guys whistled at me, while we were in the car, to which my bro put his arm protectively around me, and flipped them off.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight: Not quite a waste of time...but

That was my initial response as I arrived home at 1 a.m. this morning from a late night showing of the film with Jennifer and her friends. It was okay, tho the jury is out on whether "Edward's" character can act. (He did sooo well in the HP this is puzzling)

Also, it seemed like the lines were too "delivered" for my taste. Even Jennifer noticed that it seems like the actors were always struggling to get them out. Nevertheless, the movie theater was full, mostly of moms and teenage girls, and they all were riveted. And probably counting down the days to movie #2 in the series, which is already underway.

And finally, all I have to do is look over at J. now reading Wuthering Heights. As I say, the book series is a gateway drug to better things.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An all twilight weekend

I've heard on the QT from a reviewer (on my facebook page, actually) that the movie ain't too good.

But I doubt all the girls that flock to the first movie from the Twilight series will care. It's all about love and vampires. They are already working on movie #2 I'm told.

And I look at these books as a gateway drug. Jennifer's already moved on to Wuthering Heights. Yeah!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

J's friends make pilgrimage to Forks

We warned them this would be a long drive, but they didn't listen. So they braved the twisted roads out there today, so see the house, to see the cars, to see the doc at the hospital who REALLY is named Cullen.

And apparently 6 hours in a car for a wonderful tour of forks was worth it. J's going to have to wait to see Twilight until Saturday, I think, given b-ball practice, a football game and her dad saying no way to the midnight showing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Twilight, all the time

For the last several months, my daughter has be forgoing TV, movies, almost anything else but reading the Twilight series. I'll give her credit, she finished the last book last night. At first she wanted to go to Southcenter, at 4 a.m with all the other teen girls and wait for a chance to see Jacob and crew.

I said "no way." Not going to stand in line for hours, for the chance for Jacob, not even the top tier cast, to sign a poster. But I will be taking her to the movie next Thursday, or Friday, at midnight for the first showing. And she will be going to school the next day, three hours or not.
Here is some of the day, this Monday, on the Seattle Times Web page. I also heard that there was a riot and broken nose at the San Fran event, where Edward showed up. Glad I wasn't there.

Here is a great spoof of the series, by my friend Martha B. from her facebook page.

Pictures from Summit Entertainment Web page.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Old Fat Naked Women for Justice

After we both laughed, Jennifer forbid me from joining this group, at least as an active, I'm on camera member.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Obama declared the next president, Jennifer decides not to watch reruns

I've been telling her for an hour now, that she can watch a tivo'd Ghost Whisperer is she wishes. But to my surprise, she's stuck with the ABC and CNN channels, watching the election returns. They've just picked Obama as the next president 4 minutes ago, and she's texting madly.

It's nice to see her so involved. If he's smart, and I believe he is, he'll appoint Hillary to the supreme court, and maybe put McCain in his cabinet. I like McCain, as does Jennifer. It's just his dimwit running mate we couldnt' stand.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Halloween gone

And Jennifer didn't even trick or treat this time.

Instead, she left me with the little munchins (who nearly snatched all our candy), and left for a football game with her dad, and then on to sleep over where she and three of her buddies scared herself to death watching The Omen, or maybe The Ring, until 3 am the next day.

We had to decompress by watching Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein, which despite my misgivings, was pretty good.

Sigh. On to Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My daughter the traditionalist

Not only does she NOT want to go to Hawaii for x-mas, as offered, but she insisted this weekend on going to the Carpinito bros farms in Kent to pick out the Halloween pumpkin.

As we came upon the traffic jam that was oozing out into the West Valley Highway, I suggested that we turn around and pick the best of the lot at Safeway. No go. Pumpkin patch, now.

So we finally found a parking space, went out and found $20 worth of pumpkins, which we'll carve tonight, so stay tuned for fotos, the first for this blog, along with corn, and kettle corn.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Easter Parade at the Auburn Supermall

The dance and the dress went off without a hitch this weekend at homecoming. And I learned some new traditions and ways of doing things.

First: You're not going to the dance, until you go to the dance. I came over to a friend's house to pick Jennifer up and found out that her friend, maybe nervous about the dance, had wanted to go to Fright Fest instead. Mom had talked friend into going, but another girl had dropped out. However, by the time we left the house, six girls and a hapless guy were going together. On the way to the restaurant, six more girls decided to join the pack.

Getting ready takes all day: Jennifer started hunting for a strapless bra at about 11 a.m. Serena came over at 3:30 pm to start getting ready, nails to be done, etc.

You're not allowed in the restaurant: I jumped out to make sure we were at the right Olive Garden, but Jennifer turned on me and told to stay, she'd check herself.

Okay, it's 7 pm, now what: That's what time the olive garden dinner wrapped, and the dance didn't start until 9 p.m. We thought about taking them to the house, but no, they wanted to go with the rest of the pack to the Supermall. We thought it might look out of place to stroll around the mall, but they had company. Many couples, including the homecoming queen, were with their dates and went round and round the mall.

On to the dance: I knew better than to get out of the car here.

Pick up at the dance: AFter watching all the movies for the week we'd tivo'd, back to the Auburn gym at about 12:30 am. All the girls came out carrying their shoes, sometimes with the date, more often than not, it seems like they'd parted the door.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sluts, part two

I drove up to Auburn High School yesterday, and Jennifer picked up, finally, only to say, hey could you come a bit closer to pick me up.

She hopped in the car and quickly shut the door. Needed to get away from the cheerleaders, she explained.


Apparently one of her ex-good friends, Elliott, had let it "slip" to someone that Jennifer had called one of the cheerleaders a slut. So now, the pack of them where mad at her, even tho she apologized face-to-face. And now the cheer squad and the v-squad (volley ball) are at war over the fight between the two girls. Jennifer just didn't see why the girl, once apologized to, wouldn't just drop the matter. Well, that's alot to ask of any 15-year-old, I diplomatically tried to point out.

"Did you have drama like this when you were in high school?" she asked.

Well, yes. But I don't recall going around calling someone a slut. Bitch maybe, but not a slut. And why exactly does this girl deserve this title? Does she sleep around?

"No, but she gets fingered three times a week."

We were going through the produce aisle at Top Foods at this point in the story, and I'm sure everyone froze for a bit to try to hear the rest of this story.

When Jennifer saw my shocked look, she quickly said "I"m not going to explain that."

You don't have to.

So we had a little talk about calling people sluts. And if you insist on talking about folks, at least tell it to friends who will keep it in your circle of five.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Okay, does this make me the slut mom?

Last weekend was spent looking for the perfect dress for homecoming. Now mind you, Jennifer and friends are not going with dates, but with each other, much to her dad's relief. He's quite excited at the thought of driving the girls to dinner and to the dance. He's not allowed inside.

But back to the dress. Jennifer had a $100 limit, and she met up with her friend at the Supermall, with it seems most of Auburn High School. She finally found one in about shop #2, a dress that looks like....think Marilyn's famous white dress, except in blue. She looks wonderful in it, and the no, the slit doesn't go down as far as Marilyn's between the cleavage.

Then her friend tried on a dress, a square cut red number that made her look absolutely stunning. Now the friend is not a size 2, and she's short, so I thought the dress did all the right things, it camouflaged some parts and emphasized the curves. But unf. her mom thought differently, and fussed at the cleavage.

Oh common, a little cleavage isn't bad. But in the end, the friend went with another dress.

On the way home, Jennifer remarked that i was "way more relaxed than the other moms." Afraid at what she was referring to, I asked her to explain.

She mentioned the dress episode and the fact I was okay letting her go to the dance at all. The other moms were having second thoughts. Well, it's not like she's going with a senior, and she is 15, so time to the loosen the reins a bit.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Once a jerk, always a jerk

Just attended by 30 year class reunion, and stop, I'll do the math for you, that makes me 48, as of this Friday.

I had wanted my hubby and daughter to come, but both looked at me like I'd just suggested driving bamboo shoots underneath their nails. So they didn't come. And I almost turned tail when I walked into a lounge at the Tulalip Casino in near Marysville. I didn't see a single person I recognized, but soon found out, after 30 years, no one looked the same. We all had grey hairs, unless you're coloring it, like I am. No one had perfect bodies anymore, if they ever did.

But it was great talking to see where people ended up, teaching, writing novels, nursing, environmental cleanup, boating industry etc. And then an old boyfriend walked up. As he's talking to me, he's also checking out the rest of the room (to see if there is anymore More Important to talk to), and then someone comes up (had to check the name tag again, to see who I was talking to) and kids us about our short-term relationship.

"Oh, you're talking to another one of your old girlfriends," she laughs, looking his way.

"yeah, all of two seconds," I quipped.

"Oh common barb, I know I broke your heart," he said.

I wish I could say a quick comeback was ready, but I've never been good at that. Although I did ponder saying something about him being on his third wife, but no, not going there. I didn't schlep all the way up to Everett to be mean or "win." So I let it go, and untangled myself from the conversation as quickly as possible.

Yes, it did hurt 30 years ago to get dumped (actually I was still smarting from another boyfriend dumping me prior to this guy giving me the heave ho, but all in all, I did as much dumping and being dumped on over my dating years, which finally ended, thank god, when I met Gary). And old boyfriend dude had just been dumped by the Great Love of His Life, so we were both rebounding away, as only 18 year olds can do.

As I was pondering why he would say such a thing, it occurred to me that perhaps my 2 seconds quip stung a bit. Good gawd, after 30 years? Men and their egos.

All in all tho, it was good seeing people again. Truth be told, it was even fun talking to this guy, and saying a prayer of thanks of who I did end up with. The class of 1978 turned out okay. I just try not to think of Jennifer's 30th, which will be in 2041. I'll be almost 80 then. I doubt I'll still be going to class reunions, but who knows?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dove has some great commercials

And no, I'm not getting paid to say this. But take a look at these ads about the onslaught of imagery our young girls get blasted with every day.

Even tho we aren't Jewish, J says she plans to have this talk with her grandmother in Everett

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

We should pay teachers more, period.

I read this NYT's piece, and was applauding it all the way along.

I think it would help with the instability and discouragement I see in the ranks here, both at Auburn Senior High and J's former middle school, Cascade.

If you want good people to walk away from jobs that pay 50K, 70K or in the six figures, and go and "do good" in troubled schools, not only to do you have to give them support, but I think you need to give them a better salary range than $36 K, or maybe 42K if you have your masters. And this goes not only for career changers, which I considered doing for awhile, but those who have chosen teaching as their first profession.

I see heroes every day - and no they don't have superpowers like the TV series, which I love - who take kids from dysfunctional homes (and that's being nice) and try to get them to care about math, reading and science. I think raising the salaries, which intrinsically means giving this job a higher value in our society, is a place to start.

Are people essentially good, or bad?

That was the questions posed to my daughter this week in, I think, her lit class. I'm listening to her while trying to get correct instructions to a friend's house "who lives up on the west hill of Auburn somewhere, near Serena's"

Most of the kids, 14 and 15 year olds, voted for that most people are, intrinsically bad. Which made me turn my head, and miss the turn off to said friend's house.

"But I voted that most of them are good," she added.

"So let me get this straight, they think most of the people are, on the inside, bad, but they do good things because......?"

"Because it benefits them," J. responded.


That's a troubling view of the world, even from jaded 15 year olds.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

That's the way girls are

After reading through the first part of the vampire-love book series "Twilight," Jennifer came into my bedroom this am to declare it good.

She simply couldn't put it down. And can't wait for the movie next month, now that Harry Potter's been bumped until next July.

Now, granted, she has to read this book for her book project. And she tried one book, got bored, so I suggested this one. I'd started the four-book series in the middle and had to backtrack. And it's a good read all in all. Not that it's harry potter, or great American Lit, but I'm a softy for vampire books.

But J. had overhead a women friend and I talk about the books, and how Bella is so IN LOVE and obsessed with Edward, she stages her entire life around him. We (both 40-somethings) discussed how that seemed a bit anti-woman.

"But that's just the way we fall in love," Jennifer said.

I shot her a suspicious look.

"No, I'm not, if you don't count the crush I have on Riley," she said.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Laughing at latest SNL video

Jennifer had tivo'd it, since we'd all gone to bed early Sat. night. So we watched it on Sunday night, and as usual, thought Tina Fey nailed it.

But then I read this in the PI today. I guess I shouldn't write Palin off totally, tho I'd like to.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Grumpiness over haircut

After hitting the hairdresser yesterday to cover up some gray - Phantom of the Opera tickets tonight, and a 30 year high school reunion next week - Jennifer wanted a trim.

She wasn't happy with the haircut if you received. The millimeters were trimmed all in the wrong places. I told it would grow back in time for the homecoming dance.

She moped on the way home, and wouldn't answer. Common, she's going with girls anyway, so who cares.

"I'm going with girls if a guy doesn't ask me mom," she snaps back.

Fine, but your hair still looks...fine.

Thawing a bit, she decided to make an appointment the day of the dance to get curls everywhere, just no cuts.

Monday, September 29, 2008

So, are we going doe?

I asked the other day about Bruce (got the name wrong in the last post) and was summarily told : Don't ask.

So, no more date to the prom. But now, she's considering going with about five girlfriends who don't have dates either. Would we still buy her a dress.

Defnitely. I often felt that girls on a night out would have more fun anyway.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Homecoming? Can I go?

Those were the first words out of Jennifer's mouth yesterday as I picked her up from v-ball practice.

"Well, someone's asked you, I assume?"

Well, no. Not yet, anyway.

Apparently Edward had text'd (word?) one of her bf's to see if she knew whether if asked, Jennifer would say yes. Which of course she would. But I'm not sure if that message got back to her or Edward.

Anyway, now she wants a dress, a silver one please, for when Edward does get around to asking.

At this point, I had to start talking about ground rules:

We have to meet the boy first.

No going as a group date with other teens, the driver of which just turned 17.

And if the parents drive (and we don't), we have to meet them too, or at least have a phone conversation.

Jennifer rolled her eyes, but she agreed. If only to get a shot at that silver dress.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sorry about the gap

But it's been a week of death (my cousin's hubby at 43) and still working two jobs while I'm hiring another reporter.

I think Jennfer mourned Jeff's death, but she was bothered by her grief experienced by her cousins. She offered to cancel her b-day party to go up and help on Saturday, but I waived her off. We'll be going up Friday for the funeral, which is the first one she's been to since her grandmother died 3 years ago.

It will be interesting to see how she does.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To ER or not to ER?

That's what I was debating over the phone as I listened to a voice mail message from my hubby (my cell had died at work on Friday) that Jennifer had fallen down a flight of stairs at school, could I call the doc for an appointment?

Sooo, does this mean, broken (fill in the blank), a concussion, bruised or simply scratched up?

Called back to find out that she'd fallen up some bleachers (had her hands full of volley ball stuff) and couldn't catch herself. So she'd fallen on her ear. No bleeding out of said ear, but it looked pretty bad.

In the end, we decided NOT to wait the mandatory 6 hours in the ER to be told to go put it on ice. And it turned out okay. But I did note that we didn't have to talk too hard to get her to ditch the school dance on Friday.

I was grateful, in a dirty little secret sort of way, that my cell had died. Since it didn't turn out to be anything serious, and I got the message after all the work stuff was essentially done, for once, it wasn't me that was dropping everything to play wonder woman. That was GAry's job on Friday.

Hillary fans gotta watch this

Jennifer and I lapped it up.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Have you hugged your kid today?

Even if they are snarly, sarcastic and refusing to do their chores.

Mine just uninvited me to an Auburn High School soccer game. But I don't mind, she chattered on about how boys are pigs (they eat alot and anything) and about some kids from one middle school "just won't shut up." She had me check out her face this am, to make sure cover up was on all the right pimples, and asked if the blue top or the green worked with the white flip flops.

All this stuff 3,000 people, plus their familes, the everyday chatter, will never see again, at least on this side of the veil for the last seven years. I was in DC when the plane hit the Pentagon, which I noted with some satisfaction, is the only site of the attacks that got its act together and got a memorial up. Jennifer was terrified I wasn't coming back, I was terrified I lost my brother in law, I wasn't sure that the attacks had stopped.

But now, seven years later, on a day much like that one, absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful, I noticed the moon tonight, the way the sun beams through the grass and the sunflowers, and the crow commute up the Kent Valley.

But mostly, I notice my daughter, now seven years and a lifetime older, and I give thanks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Presidential candidates and still wishing for Hillary

A eager campaigner showed up at our doorstep this weekend, asking if we'd made up our mind on who to vote for in the November presidential election.

Without missing a beat, Gary, trying to hold our slobbery dog back, and balancing a fistfull of gardening tools, said "Yep, Obama." My daughter called out for the kitchen, which she was supposed to be cleaning up "But we wish is was Hillary."

"Should I follow him down the street and tell him why," she grinned.

I told her that harassment of campaigners would not be allowed, unless it's someone trying to get us to vote for Palin (not McCain mind you, I really don't have much argument from him, but Palin). She agreed with me, and couldn't quite believe that John M. thought that having any woman on the ticket would do. Especially one where they think nothing of shooting anything that's not livestock, as this New York Times blog post notes.

She's obviously anti-abortion, and Jennifer and I are staunchly pro-choice. She likes shooting critters, any critter apparently, and loves the NRA. Hates enviros, such as J and I, and I guess the unforgivable sin for both of us was when she dragged her pregnant daughter onto the stage, along with that poor 17 year old boy.

I believe that women can have it all, but not at the same time. And being a mother of five under age kids and gov.....well something's got to give, and in this case, it was the kids. If for some reason she was pro-choice, well closet pro-choice given the R party, and and enviro, again closet, and didn't relish shooting wolves from airplanes, I might consider.

But dragging those two kids on stage simply was the final straw, from both J and myself. We quickly clicked out and tuned into "That 70s Show."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Beginnings and endings

Haven't posted in awhile, but frankly, I"ve been exhausted.

End of summer, start of school, and not only that, the start of 9th grade, HIGH SCHOOL, for Jennifer. She had her entire week's clothes planned out last Sunday night across the living room couch. Complete with shoes and jewelry. Her father took her the first day, to arrive precisely at 7:45 am, where a friend would be waiting to walk with her to her locker.

Instructions to dad: No hugging, no honking or waving goodbye. For heavens sake, don't get out of the car or acknowledge your daughter in any way. Don't say "Have a good day grumpy cheeks" or any other of your pet names for her.

Anyway, first day good. And today was her 15th b-day. So we took two or her friends out to the mall, but first to dinner, where they chattered like magpies at the end of the table, and refused to let us join their conversation, as they compared their first week of school.

As Gary headed home, I took them to the mall.

"Mom, you're not going to come with us are you," J. asked, as I made to tag along with.

Okay fine, pick me up at the book store in an hour. Answer your cell when I call.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Is it a tall person's world?

"Mom, I'm short.l Why can't a I be tall like you?"

Those were the words coming out of Jennifer, between sobs, as we lay on my bed earlier this week at about 10 pm. I was just going to sleep, when Jennifer came in, stated she wanted to talk, and laid on top on me, to make sure I was awake.

Alright, already, I'm awake. They had just had the last day of tryouts for the volleyball team, and no , she wasn't going to get on the varsity or jv team - as some of her taller classmates had - but she did have hopes for the "c" team, which are usually all freshman. But what if she didn't get on that team? What if she got on the lame fourth team, which are the players that would otherwise be cut? What if she was too short to get on any team?

You get the gist of the conversation.

I really didn't know what to tell her. Gary and I had both encouraged her to go try out for soccer, where speed matters (which she has) and not volleyball where they usually favor the tall kids. Oh and she's trying out for basketball instead of swimming this winter, and not softball in the spring.

In middle school, tallness really didn't matter, since the kids where all over the place in their growth spurts. But now, in high school, and a large high school at that, it does matter, and the coaches for both the v-ball and b-ball teams will be looking for the tall ones.

Jennifer, tho she has a killer serve, is 5 foot 2 inches, and probably will be that for the rest of her life (I'm 5.8 or 5.9).So, what to tell her.

I think I came out with something like "we'll be proud no matter what team you're on" or something my sleep fogged brain could tape together. But I'm not sure it helped. And I'm not sure these conversations are going to get any easier.

I just hope she gives soccer a try next year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I think I'll wait until the weekend to buy this

That was the comment coming out Jennifer's mouth at Hollister's yesterday, just after she received $100 as a b-day present from grandma.

Now, you might think this is evidence of self restraint. Not quite. I'd already promised to take her school shopping, up to about $200, which doesn't include shoes, this weekend once I got paid. So, wheels turning here, she's hoping I'll buy the top and the sweater she was drooling over on Tuesday.

I told her no. I'll buy that sweater, she's buying that top. That set off a bout of pouting, until she realized that I wouldn't budge. Anyone else out there care to comment on school clothes shopping guidelines for a 15 year old.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Walking ATM at your service

Today, Jennifer registered for classes at Auburn Senior High. And it was like going to Disneyland. Stand in a lot of lines, pay a lot of $$. There were lines for ASB, yearbook, PTSA, PE lockers, which were respectively $45, $75, $30 and $5. And oh yeah, pictures, $30 please.

And of course she had to have a new pair of jeans (for registration?) and pick just the right top. When she finally got her class schedule, she quickly found her friends and started comparing. There are one or two in every class, it seems. But none in French, in which she might be the only freshman.

We were going to get her sports card, but then I opened up my big mouth and said yes, she's had a physical, but no the doc hadn't signed her report. Nope, no card for you. My daughter glares. I decide I'm going to forge the stupid signature(after waiting about an hour) and take it back, but then my honest Abe hubby tells me no, that could get us in trouble.

I'm still considering.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Please tell me you've dumped this guy

Was at the racetrack with Gary and Jennifer Sunday, on comp tickets Gary received from a pr firm.

Felt a little conspicuous as I was in jeans, and the rest of the women in dresses or fashionable shorts, as was my daughter. But we did meet up with some sane, and not rich, folks later, and the mom pulled me aside to say that the love interest of J. did indeed have another girlfriend. (This from her son, who is friend of said two-timer).

So I took a deep breath and broke it to Jennifer this evening. She gave me a blank stare.

"I knew that, and I've sent me an angry text, and told him I didn't want to see or speak to him again. He wasn't that cute anyway."

You mean would have tolerated this if he was?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Can't wait until she gets a car

First, let me set this straight. I love working at my job. But when my boss told me I have to keep more regular, and less flex time hours, I was first stunned, then busy trying to figure out what to do.

Right now, I'm praying for a zero-hour class, that begins at 7 am. I'm to work by 7:30 am, out at 3:30 pm and she gets picked up after (fill in the blank here) practice. If that doesn't happen, here's plan b. Find a sympathetic mom willing to let me drop my kid off at 7 am, and repeat the same senario as above.

It will work better than trying to find after car, which for some reason, just doesn't seem to work most of the time (it did last year, but only because her bf's mom was very sympathetic.)

Didn't every believe I'd say this, but can't wait for that all important driver's license.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

You mean we're talking about a real guy?

Jennifer and I were walking around the block last night, her beggging to get a car on her 16th, and threatening to get an "older" boyfriend who can drive if we don't.

I banned her getting anyone that is 17 or18 next year, and she comes back with "well, he's not that old."

Okay, who?

It's Seth, a boy she met at a party (chaperoned of course) and he'll have his driver's license next year. Great. It's not the one at the party that was bragging about killing a frog?

No, mom, I wouldn't date a guy like that.

Anyway, still figuring out how Jennifer will get back and forth from school next year, and haven't quite come up with a plan.

FYi, this newsweek article is pretty good about having "the talk" with your tween or teen.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Getting a teenager to do chores, and other thankless tasks

Jennifer was supposed to water Gary's orchids yesterday.

She didn't, and sheepishly admitted the omission when dad came home last night. She promised to do it if I cleared away the spider webs from the faucet (what spider webs?) and as I got up to chase away phantom webs, she and gary got into a mock wrestling match. She got her finger kinked the wrong way, got miffed and refused to water said plants. Gary got mad and said he water the ((*& plants and stalked off toward the green house. Oy.

So I've left a list of chores for her to do today, or else she's going to lose her texting privileges. Clean up her bathroom, vacuum the rug, and water the damn orchids.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Velour is back, and so am I. I'm just not as pricey.

And for $95, on sale, you too can have a juicy couture velour jacket. I'm just back from a business trip, and apparently, while I was gone, several attempts were made to get dear ol' dad to buy this item.

Fortunately, this time, he held his guns. Not that Jennifer and Gary didn't have fun with the checkbook while I was gone on a a business trip to Iowa-lots of corn, soy and Lutherans, which is why I was there at this conference to represent PLU.

They bought her a new mattress, a new shirt, G. got some new shoes and an orchid and they went and saw a movie or two.

"You did leave enough for the bills, right?" I asked.

I was assured, yes indeedee, there is enough for the mortgage, car et al.

And enough for the JC jacket, Jennifer chimes in hopefully.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Back from b-ball camp

And sitting on hard bleachers up in Anacortes for hours on end.

However, in the end, a good time was had by all. When I first walked up to Jennifer -after not seeing her for a week - she put a finger up and shot me a glare that said "don't you dare hug me," and then she asked for $$ and if we'd brought any food. Sigh. Still the walking ATM and snack bar - although she was affectionate later, once her friends were out of sight.

Gary and I were the only parents from the JV team up there Friday night, which was odd, until the coach explained. Many parents for V and JV use this as a vacation from said kids. But more and more parents showed up as the weekend wore on, and we traded stories about our kids, Cascade Middle School and what's ahead at Auburn Senior High.

Gary even got to tell some parents on a select Canadian team to shut up, after they got after their kids and the opposing team. And wouldn't you know it, they did shut up and were suddenly his best friend for the rest of the tournament. Odd. Eh?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Didn't you know about that?

Was chatting with some college students, who were busy rewiring the computer system in the office, and one of them turned out to be a student teacher at Cascade Middle School.

She had seen Jennifer in the play, had liked her performance, and then the conversation turned to the general nature of the school.

"Did she tell you about that big fight there," student teacher asked.


"Yeah, 20 kids were in a brawl in the courtyard during lunch, and they had designated students to distract the teachers in the lunchroom, so the fight could start."

Great. No I hadn't heard about that. Since Auburn Senior High is a larger version of Cascade, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she won't be around, if and went that happens there.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Open shower bays

"What do you mean they have open show bays in college!"

This was the outraged conversation I was having with Jennifer last night, as she was settling in in the Western dorms for b-ball camp this week. Gary couldn't stand not talking to her last night (he'd seen her approx. 3.5 hours before when he dropped her off at camp). Once he checked in, he handed the phone over to me.

And Jennifer bemoaned the fact that she was going to have to get up in the early am to make roll call at 7 am to start camp. When was she going to have time to take a shower, or iron her hair? Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.

I calmly asked whether there were individual stalls or show bays in the dorms. Usually it's one or the other. Horrified silence.

"I'm not going to a college with open shower bays," she sputtered (I guess this tops scholastic ranking now)

"Well, some colleges have them, as do some high schools."

At this point it dawned on us both. We hadn't talked about high school shower bays that are the routine torture of every high school girl. Except of course if you have a perfect body. And remember Jennifer won't even let me see her naked anymore, so I think she'd do well in the sizing up routine that goes on, but this is all conjecture.

It was then pop corn time and the girls behind her were getting loud, so she signed off. I'm sure we'll have this conversation later.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Please do not beat up on the kids

But you can beat up about psycho guy sitting next to us if you want. On second thought, just leave him be.

That was the conversation this afternoon as Jennifer and I saw one of the first showings of The Dark Knight this afternoon. And wouldn't you know, some idiot parents brought their kids. I mean young kids, like 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7. This is not a movie for any of these age groups. It's great, don't get me wrong, and will probably get the deceased Heath Ledger an Oscar nomination. However, it is dark, violent and disturbing in some parts. And you might run into creepy people sitting next to you laughing as someone gets a pencil through their eye. Yeah. Real funny.

Now there were some funny lines by The Joker or Alfred for comic relief. But of course weirdo guy didn't laugh at any of these.

Jennifer swore if the kids started to cry, she was going to order the parents to take them out. Not really out of concern for the kid's psyche, mind you, but because she didn't want the noise spoiling "her" Batman movie. She's been obsessed since the opening date was announced.

Plans to buy a t-shirt tomorrow. (her dad later said no) We have two large boxes of cereal going stale on our kitchen counter so she could get the Batman and Joker toys out of the bottom.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Goodbye girl

Jennifer was so excited.

Could she please, please, please go on a three day trip with her friend Haley to the girl's lake cabin near Olympia. Now gary and I had not met said family yet. So we negotiated. She had to come to the Stevie Wonder concert with us Friday, but we'd take her out to the lake house Saturday morning.

Good thing we did. That cabin (which is bigger than our house) was to heck and gone past Olympia. And I could tell that Haley's parents knew we were giving them the once over. They reassured us several times they'd keep her save, make sure she wears a life jacket and not do something stupid like swim out to the island in the middle of the lake. Gary couldn't help calling her once and texting her once over the weekend (she finally texted back and said to stop).

Next week should be interesting, as she's going up for a week-long B-ball camp at Western with her new teammates at Auburn High. She's never been away that long before (never did the Girl Scout thing) and it will be interesting to see how she does. Frankly, it will be interesting to see how her father does. I might have to limit his phone calls.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stevie who?

That was about the response from Jennifer, as Gary and I proudly told her this week we were taking her to a Stevie Wonder concert out at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn.

We had an extra ticket. Did she want to take a friend?

"None of them know who Stevie Wonder is, or care. It's only the old people that go and see him anymore. I don't have to go, do I?"

Well, since we already bought the ticket, yes you do.

While standing in line last night, waiting for the gates to open, Jennifer was taking stock of the line demographics.

"See, what did I tell you? Old. And white. What is with that? Didn't you say he was black? What songs does he sing again? Can I at least get some food?"

This stream of consciousness went on until we got inside the gate, and purchased her some $4 bottled water and a $8 hamburger. Once the concert began, fashionably late at 8:30 pm, some of the old folks, in the racially diverse crowd (she finally saw some folks who weren't white) began to dance, vigorously, in the grass, where we were, as well as in the stands.

Jennifer glared: Don't you dare.

I admit, it looked as if some of the dancers were going to drop of exhaustion before the end of the night, or hit someone in the face with their gyrating arms. It was mostly jazz and his new stuff, but toward the end, his golden oldies came out. And then Jennifer didn't want to leave, even when Gary and I threatened to dance.

She also started receiving texts from outraged friends who realized that she did have a ticket to the sold out concert, they loved Stevie and why didn't she invite them!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Don't mess with the nice doctor the first time you meet her, please

That was what was going through my mind as Jennifer, dressed in those wonderful open backed robes, sat on the table, while her new doc (a woman and my current doc) grilled on any sexual activity (no), bulimia (no), drugs (no), alcohol (no) and her general habits.

I could tell by the look on my daughter face that she was thinking of fessing up to it all, just to get Debra to stop. This was for the sports physical that all athletes have to have every year and Jennifer REFUSED this time to go to Pediatrics NW.

"All there are are kids and babies there!" And she has a man doc. A nice one mind you. But a man nonetheless. And Jennifer wasn't going to put up answering questions about pubic hair and sexual activity from him.

So we switched to my doc. And hence the grilling yesterday.

"What, exactly, did she expect me to say in front of you," Jennifer asked later, after getting a cervical cancer vaccine shot (I've given up telling Jennifer that she's through with shots. Every time I say that, they come up with another).

"I was about ready to say, yes, I puke after every meal, is there a problem with that?" Jennifer grinned.

Since Debra is such a nice lady and a good doc, I'm glad she didn't. But I can see Jennifer's point.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Do you think I'm fat?

It's a question that sometimes I'm a whisker from asking Jennifer. And then I stop. What type of message does that send to her? (who now won't even tell me her weight - she's fine a size 2 and all - but still)

After my last pregnancy at about 38, my metabolism must have done a nose dive, because the pounds came on, and now I have about 30 to lose. Started Weight Watchers last week, and lost about a pound and half, so only 28.5 more to go. However, I try to keep the fussing about my weight to a minimum around Jennifer. The only time I'll get close to that question is if the clothes look okay, or "how do I look?" and then brace myself for the always honest answer only a 14 year old can give.

I am pleased that Jennifer has all shapes and sizes of friends, so what someone weighs doesn't seem to be an issue with her, in fact, she thinks a few of her friends could stand to gain some weight. So through these years, I'll just have to keep my neurosis to myself.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Summer try outs, and work

I'm really annoyed at J's summer try out sked (for b-ball and volleyball) or more specifically, the coaches that set them up in the first place. All of them have the so convenient hours of 9-12 or 2-4 or my all time fav, 9-10:30 am. Okay, since I do have to show up at work sometime during the summer, I have to ask, do these coaches really expect at least one stay at home parent in the household?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Meddling or minding the store?

That 's what this WSJ story seems to explore when it talks about teens dating and how parents respond (either with a rigid set of rule, or a softer touch). And it seems to say more about the parents ' comfort level with each other , than about who Johnny or Jane is dating on any given day.

Gary and I seem to be on the more gentle hand role than the set rules role. We need to know where she is, who she's with and preferably meet the parents of said girl or boyfriend before an outing.

J's out at Wild Waves right now, and of course, hasn't called, but I didn't specifically ask her to either. So now I'm going to call her. As for boyfriends, well she just informed me she broke up with her latest amore after 4 days. So no worries on dating, at least for the next 24 hours.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

She forces me to text. I force her to boil water.

I guess in her world, I'M learning how to boil water.

My daughter, fed up with text stupidity, finally insisted I send my own wildlife photos to my other blog. She simply won't do it anymore. Fine. So she shows me how, quickly punching in the e-mail address, in fact so quickly her movements are a blur.

Uhm. How do I get the @ again? Mom, weren't you watching! Fine. So slowly, taking three times as long, I send over three photos.

Then she wants a noodle dinner, a fav of hers when she can't think of anything else to eat. It involves boiling water and dumping in pasta. Guess what she was doing tonight?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Eighth grade graduation

It's not as uncommon as I first thought, according to this NYT piece.

I think the principal said it best when he did a Rent-like countdown at Friday's graduation at Cascade Middle School.

70 days- they are 9th graders, at the bottom of the heap again.

360 days-most of them will have their drivers' licenses

1300 days, they will be graduating high school, on the road to college or a craft, we hope.

And as a parting piece, here is a slide show about a professional musician who taught band in middle school. God bless her.

Friday, June 20, 2008

How did I end up as the chaperone?

At the last minute this week, J. comes to me with a request. A group of about 16 kids, guys and gals, were going on a limo ride to Alki Beach, could she go?

First reaction was no, but I decided to talk to Roxanne, the mom organizing the trip and the mom of Brad, not a close friend of J's , but a close friend of Sean and Jimmy, who J is close to (six degrees of separation kicking in here).

So I said she could go if I acted as unofficial chaperone, and met them at Alki, to make sure the bus driver was on the up and up. Apparently, many parents had the same fears, and kept saying how grateful they were that I was tagging along. I figure I can use these mommy chits later when I begging rides home for J at Auburn High School.

Only 365 more days until she gets her driver's license.

The kids as it turned out, where fine. The mini bus/van had music, hardwood floors and a pole for pole dancing (the boys, oddly enough took advantage of this. yes, they kept their clothes on).

The trip to Alki was a bit brf and the busdriver was amazed that the kids tossed off their shoes and headed straight into the water. (umm, what did you expect them to do?) He then tried to get a shot of them forming a pyramid, and they kept laughing and giggling, until he told them to be quiet, actually, to shut up, then shot a worried look at me.

"Look, they are 14, they talk like a bunch of crows, you have to bark at them to get silence," I said.

Then on Dicks, Coldstone and finally Game Farm Park in Auburn. Happy grad. from 8th grade J. On to 9th grade in about 90 days.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"I love my kids," and other lies

I had been looking at this post on my yahoo account for several days now, and have just gotten around to reading it. It's the Brazen Careerist's comments on mommy porn, or those super beings that end up on the front of Vogue or People Magazine, saying they've achieved life-work balance and that they love being around their kids and coming up with a vaccine for malaria, all at the same time. Oh yeah, and organize the school auction, serve on the PTSA and attend a photo shoot.

Yeah right. No one wants to be around their kids all the time, and there's a reason why so many middle managers spend lots of time at the job, and doing freelance work until midnight, as this great post points out. Apparently many agree, as there are 139 plus comments and counting on this post alone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Which ones are harder to raise?

According to this article off CNN, it seems to be which age you're asking about. After reading down to the end, it came to the conclusion that boys early on, an d from pre-teen on, girls. Great.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Need to make a painful phonecall

Apparently the end-of-the school party went okay, as did the sleepover.

However, I need to make a painful phonecall to the mom who had the party at her house.

While she was bouncing around on Saturday, talking about said party, J. made the comment that some of the adults seemed to be drunk. Okay, I'm not a prude. I knew that there would be wine and beer there (for the adults of course) but the fact that some imbibed so much that the kids noticed had me steamed.

I asked if the mom or dad who lived at the house seemed drunk, and she said no. Okay fine. But still, the adults are supposed to be there as monitors and role models in my book. And I'm well aware by making this call, that J. might not get invited to a party out at this house again.

Crap, I didn't think I'd have to deal with this until next year. Okay, dialing now.

Last week as the ruling class

I mentioned this to Jennifer as I drove her to school today.

I told her to enjoy her last week (last day of school is Friday) as an 8th grade and as the kings and queens of the school. In September, that will all change, as she enters high school as a freshman, and the bottom of the food chain.

"I know, I know," she said grumpily.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Feeling small in a big school

I had a strange sense of deja vous as I walked through Auburn High School to check on my daughter's classes (make sure she's on the honors track) and to meet her counselor (A-C), and make sure that her teachers aren't just phoning in the lessons until they can retire.

Happily I can report, she's in the honors system (the computer hasn't magically transferred her to auto shop 101, although come to think of it, that wouldn't be all bad), she's in the French class she wants, and her counselor, Michaela, is a very cool woman, and assured me, the honors teachers are top notch. Michaela will also be one of J's volley ball coaches this fall, so I got a good read on that program as well.

But as I walked through the halls on the way to her office, I felt like a dwarf. Here were all these 6 foot something boys, towering through the halls, almost casting a shadow from the florescent lights overhead.

One of these walking redwoods took me to Michaela's office, and had a stream of consciousness conversation he tossed over his shoulder about how much he liked the school and how much he hates Auburn Moutainview (I can see the rivalry will be strong here.)

As we picked our way through the halls, I noticed a mosaic of old gum had formed on the concrete outside. From earlier this year, or has been been a buildup through the millennium?

I had a good feeling when I left, but it pretty much evaporated, when I went to the PTSA meeting the next morning to meet the disapproving stares of my fellow board members, who of course, were there early and I, as usual, was late.

Both their sons are going to Mountainview, and they made it clear to me (non verbally) that they thought I'd failed my daughter and wimped out. All my well reasoned explanations, I could tell, weren't going anywhere with them.

I told J. about this little stare down later, and she pondered for a second.

"Well, they can kiss my ass," she said, before asking if I had any spare change for lunch money.

Okay, not going to have to worry much about the doormat issue. (see earlier post). I just asked J. to please not share her opinions with the board or the board's sons.

Of course, since I'm not going to cross tracks with either woman again, why should I care?

Should we raise ass holes?

For their own good of course.

I was discussing this situation with a friend today, as she was bemoaning the fact that her husband was now looking for another job, since he just got a new boss that wants him to work a gazillion hours a week, and is generally one of those office predators you'd like to avoid.

In journalism, these types are common, and often climb to the top of the food chain to become executive editors and the like, while the common worker bees drudge away in the trenches until they are found slumped over their computers, or ,if they are lucky, get a buyout.

My friend was particularly annoyed because her husband (if you look in Websters, his name is probably mentioned by "nice guy.") always seems to have this happen to him. He'll hire someone, and then before he knows it, they've smarmed their way to the top over him - if not in title then in the office food chain - while he's just doing his job. He usually only find this out when he notices the slime trail up his back.

""I just have to be asking myself," she said. "Am I raising my kids to be doormats? (be nice, play fair, don't stab people in the back, put family first) Maybe I should raise them to be ass holes."

I feel her pain. And I've asked that questions myself. Now fortunately, I doubt J. would let anyone walk over her. If they tried, I'm pretty sure they'd find out my 100-lb daughter with golden locks has sharps claws and teeth. Believe me, I've seen her in the snarling mess mode. It's not pretty. But effective.

"When you get to be my age, you just get tired of putting up with all the bull shit," she commented recently. "I'm going to call people out when I don't agree with them or what they are doing."

I almost missed this last part, because I was laughing at the first.

But still. I do try to teach her to be fair, to consider all sides, the Golden Rule, say please, work hard, to not get a laugh at someone else's expense, to listen. But I wonder, truly, if I should also say, always carry an emotional shank in that Abercrombie purse of yours. Don't be afraid to use it.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Missed moments and man whores

This will probably mean public service ads for a week, or a jump in hits, as the pervs start looking for alien sex. But oh well.

Just back from a staff retreat, and it's cost me dearly. J had her honors class assembly on Thursday night (first night of a be-there-or-be-dead retreat at work), and then her first (and last dance) at her middle school, and then she went out on the town with the girls (sex in the city style). Difference being, of course, that dad was in tow to all of these events.

Unf. I missed both. But I did get back today, and off to dinner we went. I'm kidding her that since she's going to a rowdier school, expect mom and dad to show up at all the events, including dances at the school.

She gives us a horrified look. Threatens to go goth if we do. Too bad, we let you go to ASH, we're going to be there.

"You don't trust me."

Actually, we do. It's some of the fringe elements of the school we plan to keep an eye on.

"There are more sluts and man whores at AMV than ASH" she protests.

I don't even want to ask the definition of that last term. But still, we're going to be hanging around ASH quite a bit. You don't get a vote in this.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

She actually put an item back

I really couldn't believe my eyes, when my "I have to spend it now" daughter decided , on her own, to return a $6 bath wash at WalMart, saying "I guess we really don't need this."

I'd just put my spendaholic family on notice that we were going to have to go on a monthly budget, all the bills paid based on all the $$ coming in for the month, and then we take out food (up from $100 a week to $130) and gas (up from $60 a week to $100) will be factored in to. We play with what's left. This includes $10 a week for allowance for J., a $30 a week entertainment budget and 10 percent for charities.

Apparently, she was listening. I'm amazed.

How to quit, or fail victoriously

Again, instead of tuning into ER this morning before we headed off for school, we watched GMA about how Hillary will graciously say, "I tried my best, but no nomination for me."

"He should make her vp," J. commented.

I agree with that, although I'm not sure how either Obama's wife or either candidate would work that. Sometimes the public testy face is not what's really happening behinds the scenes, as a former political reporter, I know that.

I still think he should put her on the Supreme Court, or make her the next defacto nominee to the SC.

I'm glad J's watched this with such intensity. Hillary has given her a role model for sticking to her guns, believing in herself (even as the pundits throw mud at her), and doing her best, even tho it didn't end up with the nomination.

Maybe it will help J deal with the inevitable rejection we all feel in life, from trying out for the team, applying for college, applying for a job, et al. It's important you follow your passion , even tho the answer isn't always pleasant at the other end.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The blame game, Sex in the City style

J.'s not allowed to take her friends with us to see movies anymore if they are R-rated.

Not after the fiasco this weekend. J. and Gary were going to to go up and watch a soccer match this Saturday, after frankly, I wish they had.

They decided to go to Sex in the City instead, so I tagged along, as did one of J's closest friends, Ashley. Now I remember asking the mom "you've seen sex in the city, right? You know what the episodes, and probably, the movie will be like, right? And you're okay with this?" She was.

We met the dad, getting ready to pick up the kids for the weekend on the way out. We told him where we were going, and invited him to come along. Dismissing it as a chick flick, he declined.

So off we went. And I admit, some parts were pretty risque, even for me. But overall, I thought the messaging of the movie was pretty tame (stick by your man, remain in a committed relationship, etc.)

Three hours later, we arrive to drop off friend, and there is dad waiting on the porch, saying he didn't realize we were taking her to an R movie or one that is was so "morally bankrupt." Gary and I were so shocked, we didn't say anything, which is probably just as well. We want to keep the friendship intact between the girls. We did a slow burn on the way home.

I resisted pointing out that said friend had just been to a horror movie(not with us, we hate those films). Did he realize his daughter had seen Juno? I'm not sure if it's R or not, but it does have some pretty revealing scenes, not to mention the long-distance guys jogging by in closeup. And no, the camera is not on their faces.

Even my mom, who doesn't like the fact I take J to R-rated movies was annoyed we seemed to be given the roles at the bad guys in this little episode.

But, at any rate, to keep peace with all parties involved, the friends are banned from R movies from now on. We'll try to keep the moral bankruptness to ourselves.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

High School, the final choice

It looks as if J is going to Auburn Senior High School. She's registered (and they didn't lose it, not once) and she's waivered and in the honors program.

It came down to where the majority of her friends were going AND (before you start pelting me with snarky comments about being the adult) checking out the honors program. You must understand she's in a school that is now a bit in the hood, and has great honors program. And she's thrived, and found a good set of friends that we'd hope she'd group up with three years ago when Thomas Academy closed, and scattered her friends (then) to the four winds.

So there it is. I do plan to at least talk to her biology and math teacher, and maybe lit, and check out how enthusiastic they are about their jobs. But for now, the decision's been made, and she's signing up for the sports teams as we speak.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Trapped in jury duty hell

But my family, especially J. doesn't really care.

All they want to know is if I'll be able to do pickup and dropoff until the last day of school, sometime around June 20th.

I've been sitting in this jury room in the King County Courthouse all day, and what was once a room full of 250 people is now down to the bitter 35, including me. It's for a medical malpractice, sexual abuse trial (I think) that I had the unfortunate fate, NOT to pay attention to awhile back. You think with two news junkies in the house, one working for KOMO, this would have caught our attention.

I can only hope that with my bro being a doc, once considering suing on med. malpractice myself, and having a cousin who is a teacher, and recognizing one of the attorneys, (from my old courthouse days) will be my ticket to freedom.

Otherwise I'm here for the next month.But again, neither J. nor Gary care. They were just relieved that I don't have to be here until 9 am, which means the mom taxi will remain intact.

What sweethearts.

She's really noticing boys now. Great.

As we're walking up to the cemetery to lay flowers on a friend's grave yesterday, J.'s skipping along (strange, I thought) and says she hopes her friend Marcus invites her soon to the Kent Swim Club soon. Not to beat the heat, but to get a gander at those six-pack abs that some of the boys up there sport. (sorry Marcus).

And she can't wait to go to high school, but there will be so many cute boys there (not going to tell her that the cutes ones are usually seniors, and they don't usually look at freshman, but she can find that out for herself.)

We I asked about the boys in her class now, she just dismissed them as geeks and dorks. On to bigger fish for her.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

She did it!!

I think my fingers were crossed so hard last night, my knuckles hurt.

J. had to in Fairy Godmother garb, go out and start off the Cascade Middle School version of Cinderella by singing "Impossible" all alone in the spotlight, and then with a swish of her wand, start the play.

She didn't forget her lines, her voices was fine, had had trouble making an exit through the curtain once (but covered well) and even one of her friend's snarky brother thought she was good (maybe just noticed she was cute.)

There were a couple fun additions, gay men who wanted to be with prince charming, cells phone pics for gossiping, high fives (with knuckles) and a five-foot king and a 6' 4'' prince charming, who had a long lip lock with Cinderella at one point.

"What was that about?" I asked.

"Oh, that's just emma (cinderella) trying to piss off her uber religious family," J. said.


And the second night, with a different Cinderella and again, a long lip lock? That was the boy trying to piss off the girl, she said.

Anyway, nice job all. Now, I just have to separate J. from the poofy dress that she somehow wants to keep (promised it to the school). It's going to the school, feathers and all.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Middle School Musical

Doesn't quite have the catchy tune as High School Musical, but it will have to do.

After the $100 dress (we owe the mall lady of a picture it), the $8 socks, $40 in new shoes, a $1.50 cent homemade wand and a $15 tiara from Claire's, I think we're set. I've been listening to the words "impossible" for 2 months now.

J. and crew from Cascade Middle School have been doing dress rehearsals all week. Tonight, she gets to be a milkmaid, 2 lines. Tomorrow, she gets to strut in all her poofy, curled, glittery glory as a fairy god mother.

I just hope she remembers her lines.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another reason why I'm glad Hillary didn't quit

Put quite nicely in this Washington Post opinion page piece. J. and I were also reading down the Seattle Times article this am, and to this one, we say amen. A similar article also appeared in the New York Times.

Or better yet, as the Washington Post wondered Wednesday, how about Justice Hillary?

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm not asking you to pole dance

But you would have thought so from the look at J.'s face, when I suggested she try pasties to cover up her nipples for a strapless (well, practically) gown she's wearing this Friday for her big part as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.


Okay, well fine, just go without. There's enough material in front so nothing will show.

"What if I bend over! And we don't go bra less in 8th grade."

Hmm, what would Gloria Steinem say?

So that explains while I've spent the better part of two hours going through the Tacoma Mall looking for a strapless bra, size 34 A. I've decided that the bra manufacturers don't exactly have J's demographic in mind when they make strapless bras. Neither do the pasty company's either. Most are in C or D.

As I'm about ready to walk out of the JC Penneys with a $12 pastie set (practicing my lines to my appalled daughter tonight), the saleswoman stops me and says she thinks she has the answer. Apparently the winner of "American Inventor" came up with a 12-in-one bra that comes in 34 A and does swing low enough so you can't see the strap in the back or the boobs in the front.

Fine, done. And as I fork out the $26.50 for this modern wonder, I'm again practicing lines.

It's either this, or au natureal.

High School Angst, Part III

I've just been trying to untangle where J. is actually registered at for next year.

I guess the answer is both at Auburn Mountainview and Auburn Senior High. I received a letter in the mail last week, announcing that AMV had received J.'s waiver and it had been accepted. Now, could we please register her for classes.


J. had already sent one registration packet in about two months ago. They lost that. So she filled out another one and sent it to counselors from AMV visiting the school. They lost that too. Well, maybe lost isn't the right term.

Through some form of IT magic I don't understand, the registration packet ended up over at ASH, so she's all set for classes over there. They are now awaiting her waiver to be approved (I waivered her to both schools, until we made up our minds.)

So this weekend, we were filling out class schedule #3 to AMV, and I'm calling the district offices today, to see whither her waiver to ASH. Frankly, at this stage of the game, I'm about ready to cut bait and let her go to ASH. She has a good group of friends, she's in the honors classes she wants, and I've been reading blogs about the school. Both students and parents have posted some pretty good comments. They were pretty negative before 2004, before AMV opened. I think ASH had over 3,000 kids then. Overcrowding seemed to be making both the students and the parents act like lab rats.

Unless of course, the waiver has been lost in the IT ether too. And I have no idea whether her best friend, who started this fall down the rabbit hole, has been accepted into ASH as either.

Knowing Karma as I do (even before I started watching My Name is Earl), let me guess. J. ends up going to ASH, and BF gets kicked back to AMV, where she was set to go in the first place.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Manson, The Musical

J. stayed home from school yesterday (it was teachers' training day - and for those that missed the punishment this weekend, they were scraping gum off the bottom of desks on monday).

So she wanted to rent a few classics from the songs she heard at the symphony this weekend, and no, she wanted to go, I didn't have to drag her. We struck out on Casablanca, so we settled for West Side Story and Schindler's List. Gary was a bit worried about the latter, and wondered if she should hold off until we could watch it with her - although I'm a little unsure what I'd say about the scene where the girl in the red dress, now dead, is thrown into a pile of bodies being burned. "Gee, that didn't happen in real life?"

She ended up watching both shows by herself anyway. Apparently, not much angst on SL, but when I started asking her about West Side Story, it was a different story. I could feel the angst(mine) bubbling up as she started describing what happened after she watched WSS.

She first was interested in Natalie Wood, so googled her, and found out, she died young of drowning, then she went after Richard Beymer, who played Tony. Guy didn't have much of a dating life, but did date, for a few short months, Sharon Tate. Who's that, J. wonders.

So she wikipedia's Tate, and of course finds out how she died and who slashed her to death (8 months pregnant), so now she's wikiing Manson. And the whole entire clan. She then started to ask what Manson wanted to accomplish by all this (race war), his inspiration (Helter Skelter), and where he is now. (alive, in prison).

Well **&^. No more Rodgers and Hammerstein for you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day at the Mall

That's where we ended up, after an aborted attempt at going to the track. We went outside to try to catch the third race at Emerald Downs, and alas, it started to pour. So we headed to the mall and the Nordstrom's shoe department.

It was a good day tho. I got to sleep in, unlike, ahem, Saturday, and the fam made me breakfast and even made sure I got to church, although they wouldn't go with me, as usual.

J. refused to sign Gary's card, which said "reasons I love you" and went and got her own at Top Foods, and a bouquet of $7 tulips (shouldn't they be cheaper by now?) So all in all, very nice.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ah Time to Sleep In, No Wait, We Have to Get Up at 6 am

That's what was going through my head today.

Yes, Gary and I will take J. to an Auburn Park so she and about 25 other malcontents from her school can pick up trash for an hour or two.

This is the punishment they received when they decided "not to bow to the man" and not applaud or play nice during a pep assembly they felt was fixed. (see earlier post).

If they want to go to the last, and coolest pep assembly and dance next week, they have to show up at 7 am tomorrow and grab a trash bag. Okay fine. But how do the teachers think these 14-year-old malcontents are going to get there?

I guess this is our punishment for raising a bunch of rabble rousers.