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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.