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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The big cut tomorrow

Actually, I think that Jennifer will make the team. Not only does she have some natural talent as an athlete, but there are 15 slots. About 18 girls, give or take, turned out - and some just barely.

So I'm hoping for the best, and that she gets on, and I won't have to have Kleenex available at 4:40 pm.

But I think this is a good wake up call for J. Not everything in life is fair. Sometimes someone's opinion of you will influence things, like it or not. And sometimes you get cut, whether it be baskeball, dodgeball or job interviews.

It's never easy for a parent to watch from the sidelines however.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow play days appear to be over

We woke up to snow today, as did most of Western Washington.

Before, this would have meant brewing up some hot chocolate, finding some friends in the neighborhood and playing in the snow.

Today, at 14, it means getting up, eating breakfast, and then demurring on the snow fun. J. decided to go back to bed for an hour, told me to wake her up when it was time to go to school.

I guess now that she's a teenager, sleep trumps snow.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Shooting hoops in the snow

Yep, that's what J. was doing today, as the big fat flakes fell around her.

Tryouts are on Monday, and as I've said before, this is the first time she's faced a team where you just didn't get on by showing up.

She also spotted the coach at a basketball game (high school) we attended Friday night. After awhile I was wondering where she was, and lo' across the gym was J. and her BF smoozing with the coach and the coaches dad.

Kiss up, I said after the game ended.

You bet, she responded.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mom, I may not make the cut

In eight grade, it isn't "you show up, you play" anymore. To get the kids used to high school, eighth grade teams are done by the show up, play before the coaches and cut or pick method.

So it begins. She'll be trying out formally for the basketball team on Monday, and I'm worried that if she doesn't make it, what will I say.

Better have the hankies ready.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Other colleges start to favor the middle class

I notice that Dartmouth has also decided to give the middle class a break, following Harvard and Yale.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Questions that Make My Head Explode for $800, Alec

Mom, what does that mean?

This question sort of took me off guard, as a. we were watching TV at home, not an R movie in the theaters, and b. as I recall, it was a comedy. PG-13 to boot.

Anyway, the question : What is the s-word, rhymes with lobotomy?

In the few heartbeats it took me to answer that, a few options came to mind.

A. pretend my cell is buzzing
B. pretend I didn't hear her
C. tell her to go ask her dad (really not an option)
D. let her find out from her friends by Googling the word.

However, I flashed on the boys that ran into the bathroom with her cell phone last week and decided against option "d." I didn't want those boys telling me daughter anything. Or discussing this with her girlfriends.

So, with deep breath, in my calmest voice, which I was hoping wouldn't squeak, I told her the basics. Her eyes grew big, and then she just dropped it. No follow up questions, thank god. I guess her reporter DNA doesn't run as deep as I thought.

I guess I should have prepped for this, given that I have taken her to "R" movies, where yes there is violence (which -given a choice between violence or sex- violence bothers me the most) which I why, sorry Viggo, we turned off "Eastern Promises." as well as "History of Violence."

But we did see "Borat," tho I did notice I was the only one with a child in there under 18. I probably got the hairy eyeball from the adults behind me. I thought it was hilarious. So did she.

I've decided there are "Rs" and there are "Rs." The violent ones I'm likely to pass on and forbid J. from seeing, unless its essential to the story (Letters from Iwo Jima falls in this category).

Hmm, may make an exception for Sweeny Todd and No Country for Old Men, given it's Oscar season and all.

On sex, Gary is stricter in movie-land than I am with J. But that's okay, like My Space, it never hurts to be to curb the bit at this age.

Still, sometimes you end up defining words you'd rather not.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Yeah, He was Named After the Dog

Traveling up to Everett today, my daughter was fiddling with the radio (bored with 106.9),and came to 97.3, where they were doing anti-war songs of 1964. Some of those I hadn't heard in awhile.

Anyway, a Paul Anka song came up.

Paul who? she asked.

Paul Anka, says I.

Oh, that's the name of the dog on Gilmore Girls , she said.

Friday, January 18, 2008

No Crackers? Well, **&&^%-You.

J. came home a bit bummed yesterday, because one of her friends had up and given away two beardies they've had since last year. At least India (our beardie) may get a bigger cage out of the deal.

Apparently, the friends are now going to get a ferret. Okaay. I know they have a rabbit, last I checked, and then they have a small parrot that lives in one of the rooms.

"Don't they know that ferrets eat birds," I asked, as I'm listening to this on the way to school.

"Yes, yes, they know that. I wish it would eat the bird," J. snapped back.

Having just read about how wonderful parrots are in an animal magazine at the doctor's office (it was about Alex, that grey parrot that was smarter than our current president) I was puzzled by this.

"The bird bites, it pecks at you and it tells you to f-off when you walk in the room," J. said. "It just won't shut up."

Well, maybe the ferret will reduce the noise level then.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

MySpace tries to appease parents

My daughter still doesn't have a MySpace account, but the social network for teens, mostly, is still trying to clean up its act, according to this story.

We got her unlimited texting instead.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why I Don't Trust Middle School Boys

I find out alot about what's important to my daughter in the 5.2 minutes it takes to get from her BF Nicole's to Top Foods.

She's chattering on when we pops with "middle school boys are sooo stupid and annoying"

Stipulated, but what exactly was she talking about?

Oh, they'd just snatched her cell phone during yearbook and ran into the boys' bathroom, where they knew she wouldn't follow. I gave her an alarmed look and had pictures of boys snapping pictures of themselves on it(can you say Borat?), or running up her minutes.

"Mom, you always think the worst! They didn't do anything!"

Well, of middle school boys, yeah, guilty on that first count.

"But they did change dad's cell phone name from "dad" to "angry Irishman," she added, saying they picked this moniker when she told them how grumpy he got over the movie fiasco this weekend.

Yeah, that's going to go over well. I got just as grumpy and had the privilege of chewing her out about 3pm that day. So I wonder what my new tag name is? Probably starts with a "b" and no, I'm not thinking "barbara"

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

And Elliot, Alisha, Serena, Georgia, Sean and Nicole.

I can't remember the rest of the names that Jennifer (was supposed be Elliott, but he flaked on the group organizing bit. I told Jennifer, don't expect it to change 25 years from now).

8 am: At first it was just going to be her and Elliott going to the Auburn Supermall and then the movies. I told Jennifer that sounded an awful lot like a date to me. She glared, and then started dialing (yes, actually using her phone for its original purpose) and texting to round up the troops.

9:30 am: It was going to be Elliot, Jennifer, Serena and maybe Sean. Then Sean had something else to do and Serena refused to be the third wheel. So Serena tried to round up Nicole and Ashley; Elliott worked on Jimmy and kept nagging Sean.

1 pm: Then Nicole called back at 1:15 pm, she couldn't go because she had to spend time with her dad this week. Georgia called back, had pink eye; mom said no.

2 pm: The movie time and mall walk gets pushed to 3:30 pm, and yes, Gary and I can attend the Supermall theaters IF we choose another movie. Fine.

2:07 pm: Sean said, no, he can't go. Elliott calls back and said he has to take his sister (with his family) to the airport, so she's a no show. Jimmy has a ball game to go to.

2:30 pm: So now it's 2:30 pm. It's down to Serena and Jennifer. I say, can't we just postpone until next week?

"Mom, get out of my conversation! You are soo, errha!"

Okay, fine, you and Serena can go to a movie, but it has to be in Kent, and it has to be an earlier showing than 5 pm. And dad and I can go if we want to. At this point, my hubby is getting grumpy over this whole affair, as am I.

More glares. And the eyes start to mist. She stomps off muttering to Serena.

3:12 pm: So end the end, it's The Water Horse at 4:15 pm at the AMC (they were going to go to a scary movie when Elliott was going to be part of the pack. Hmmm.)

And no, we can't go with them.

Friday, January 11, 2008

As God is My Witness, I'll Never Do Linear Equations Again!

This is what my dulled brain is thinking after helping J. with her homework last night.

First, figure out the last five problems in in her Algebra I homework dealing with linear equations. I discovered I don't know how to do them anymore, and was no help. And as there was no cheat sheet or book to look at, I was floundering as much as she was. When she asked me HOW exactly this will help her in her future life, I struggled for a bit of an answer, except that if she want to major in Chemistry and work for the World Health Organization someday, I pretty sure linear equations are going to pop up again.

On to Scarlett. Helping with assignment #2 was a bit easier, as she had to write an analysis piece on Gone with the Wind, or more specifically, Scarlett's character (I can't help making some comparisons between Katie Scarlett and Hilary, but that's for another post).

I noticed as I was editing her work (not writing..editing!) that Jennifer kept qualifying her work, with "the book says" and "I think" or "In my opinion." I took all that out, and told her "Look, you are the expert on this book and on the character, be bossy in your writing and tell the teacher what to think."

Men, I've noticed have no problem with this.

So we strengthened the language, decided that Scarlett, in that radish field (not a carrot field, as in the movie) hardened her heart and made some choices that would later doom her relationship with Rhett.

Then we took another look at linear equations to see if they made any more sense after reading GWTW.

They didn't.

So we'll think about that tomorrow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Middle School, Where Parents Seem to Check Out, or Maybe They Just Get ELR'd to Death

The meeting last night at my daughter's middle school was fairly well publicized.

It was about the fact that the school is trimming the time it devotes to electives, science and social studies, so there can be more time for math, writing and reading, where many of the kids there flamed out on the WASL, this year and last.

I just wish that those that blindly support the WASL and NCLB could have been at that meeting last night. There were teachers (math) in tears, angry parents and a frazzled principal. This was not something the school had a choice in, but was mandated from above, since we're in the second year of AYP (probation for a school, I guess.) This, even tho we received kudos in a letter from the gov and OSPI on how well we increased our scores. But not enough, I guess.

Of course, my daughter refused to go to meeting, and I really can't blame her. I wouldn't be there either were it not for the fact I'm the PTA secretary (kicking myself here to nodding yes to this three years ago.)

But all, in all, out of a school of 740 kids, there 30 parents there, maybe representing 20 kids, mostly the honors kids. So do the rest not care that science and social studies are being sacrificed to the WASL/NCLB juggernaut? I think that many of the parents do care, but schedules and other problems get in the way. Or maybe they don't understand what's happening. I know I had the feeling of walking in on a conversation that had already started.

I know when they start throwing words around like ELRs, GLEs, and Content Fundamentals, even my eyes glaze over. But when frankly, they tell us that they emphasized writing, reading and math because of the WASL, and ditched electives, science and social studies, because there won't be any WASLs in the near future that count, it makes ed reform sound pretty clinical and heartless.

But at least 20 parents did come to this meeting. As you may have guessed, getting any parent to any middle-school PTA meeting is a challenge. The most we ever got, 350, at the welcome back barbecue, was a surprise. Must have been the burgers, which we ran out of.

Finally, here is an interesting link to the Charlette Observer story on "The Sorting Hat Syndrome."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My eyes get misty...

The did-she-cry, and how tough is she debate continues.

This just in from CJR, and another post from the same news-oriented magazine. Again, it seems my daughter is going to be growing up in the world, where women will have to be both bitchy and sweet (or at least appear to be) to gain respect.

Here is another post from the New York Times on the topic, as well as a well-written opinion piece.

Why did I kid myself to think we were past that?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Big girls don't cry

Okay, I just saw the Jersey Boys last month, so cut me some slack.

This morning, my daughter actually asked who I was probably going to vote for for president. (Did I ask that of my mom at 14. No, I was busy mourning the fact my first boyfriend had just dumped me.)

I said, frankly until the field winnows a bit, I didn't know. It would probably be a Democrat and probably either Clinton or Obama. God knows it's high time either a woman or a African-American ran this country, IMHO.

However, I had to laugh today at a story on MSN/Newsweek that just screamed that Hillary had finally teared up in public. (I wonder, given how far behind she is in the polls after Iowa caucuses, her advisers told her to cry or else. Literally that happened in the Tacoma mayor's race 14 years ago, where one of the Karen Vialle's advisers told her, just before a debate, that her dog had died, no kidding, in order to make her seem more human.)

So, back to Hillary, my vote and my daughter. Is it still the case, that to be a strong woman in the US these days, you will just have to also shoulder the title of "bitch," unless you decide to have a Klennex moment.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

While I'm reading for work, I look down and see what my daughter's reading

I'm busy working at home today, trying to wrap up a few work stories and one story for the Puget Sound Business Journal, and I look down, under my notes to see where my daughter has left her magazines.

Cosmo Girl has these headlines:

"387 Ways to Make Him Fall for YOU!"

"Flirt: Beauty Products that Drive Him Wild"

"Tease: Sexy Hair Looks"

"Flaunt: The Hottest Celeb Fashion Trends"

Okay, okay, there was one article on what to do if a friend of yours has an eating disorder and a q/a on periods. So props for that.

But aside from monitoring her texting, (a bit hard) and IM usage, now I have to flip through this dreck to see what they are saying about the above topics.

Allowance, or no allowance?

I pay my daughter an allowance. $7.50 a week. But sometimes, when she comes up to me in a charming pout, asking for the moola, I'm tempted to be a hard ass.

Usually she has not cleaned her room, helped me with one dinner during the week, cleaned or bathroom or fed the cats. Okay, forget the cats, but the rest of the stuff, I really want her to do. So I say, do the room, the dinner and your bathroom, and get back to me.

With a huff, she's off, and usually gets two out of three. I'm still working on the dinner. Now when I was 14 (I won't bore you with the 5 miles through the snowdrift stuff) I was cleaning up the dishes every night, mowing the lawn, keeping my room clean and weeding the gardens. I think I was supposed to clean out the catbox as well, but I usually managed to skip that.

So, back to my daughter. Do I withhold the cash? I think the answer is yes. It's just hard to be consistent about the entire affair.

And then there's the scenario when she asks for an advance on her allowance. Then I have visions of her running up a $5,000 credit card balance by the time she's 18. So I usually nix that.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Harvard Takes Pity on the Middle Class

Never thought I'd say that.

But at least one university realizes that the middle class gets screwed in most financial aid deals, if they get them at all. I would be nice if some local schools (hint, hint, U of W or WSU) would look at this as well.

That's the school where all the snobs go

That's the biggest argument so far on where J. wants, and doesn't want to go to school. All along, her father and I were thinking of wavering her yet again out of the Kent School District and sending her to Auburn Mountainview High School.

But apparently, she's made a bunch of friends her middle school, which are all going to Auburn High. Except her BF, of course, who is going to Auburn Moutainview, but is busy needling her parents on the issue as well to change their minds.

She'd do well at either, of course, it's just that Auburn Mountainview is less crowded and has a program that sets the kids on the college/career track from the get-go called ROAR. But all her friends are going to AHS. She might have trouble getting into the AP classes she wants. But all her friends go to AHS.

So round and round we go.

"The only thing that's better about Mountainview, mom, is that the boys are hotter there," she said, during one of this loop-de-loop discussions.

If her dad heard that, he might change his mind.