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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rooting for team USA on a Sunday afternoon

Even tho they didn't win, it was great spending the afternoon with Jennifer, rooting on team USA in hockey. Yes, Canada won but what the heck, the men played a good game, and that's what counted.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bye, bye portal to hell

At least until March 11, when she'll take her written test.

We rolled out of bed at 7:30 am this morning to get to the Kent DOL and hopefully shorten our wait. Well, we waited 90 minute vs. 2.5 hours, so I guess it was a bit shorter. Jennifer actually studied this time, and her bf who is a boy helped her last night, and I helped her. But when we got to the check in (and carting every bit of paper work she need...just in case) the guy behind the counter stopped for a second when he realized she'd taken the test twice before.

"You know how to drive, right?" he asked. At first J and I thought he was dissing us.

"Because studying that book is only going to confuse you. Make the decision on the test based on what you'd do if you were driving. Don't try to remember the answer in the book."

Whether it was his sage advice, last night's study session (for which I allowed coffee beans) or the fact that Jennifer took the test seriously and slooowed down in taking it, it worked. She passed, only getting one wrong. Which is a good thing, since four of her friends were in the wings to take their test today. Not a good time to fail again and lose face.

Over a celebratory breakfast, she turned to me and said "I guess it's in our genes, that we all fail about three times."

Oh, I'd forgetten about that lie. I think I'll just let this one stand.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Step away from the coffee beans

Jennifer has discovered chocolate covered coffee beans.

I'm now in the process of hiding them.

I used to use them during my college years, when I pulled all nighters, which never did any good, BTW.

But now she's discovered them, and I have to explain that chewing on a few of those will keep her buzzing all night.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back to the portal, round three

We got at the DOL offices in KEnt about a half hour before the doors opened, and good thing we did.

By the time we did, at 8:30 am, the line stretched down the block.

It was then that it struck me that I hadn't bought the birth certificate, ss ## and all the rest that the DOL required to make sure I didn't abduct her as a baby.

But fate smiled on us, and the lady who checked us in last time, recognized us this time. Unf. that joy was short-lived as Jennifer emerged from the second try, again missing a pass by one point. And again it was a headlights question. So much nashing of teeth and wailing started up at the DOL offices again.

I lied and told her I'd flunked it 2x too (not true, but what are parents for if you don't lie to your kid to make them feel better once and awhile)

I think it's finally sunk in that in fact, she's going to need to study for this test. Not text all night, watch the Olympics or take naps, but study.

Because the test isn't that hard, but they will grill you on minuetia that most people will never need to know again (like when should you flip off the high beams with approaching a car (it's 300 feet, and yes she got that wrong). But you will need to know it for this test. So back we go, at 8:30 am Saturday morning.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bonding over soccer

We were both screaming a the TV last night, watching the USA men's hockey team beat Canada in the Olympic prelims. Who cares if it wasn't a medal round, it was a great game. Fortunately, we got msnbc, as NBC, as usual, focused on curling, downhill and ice dancing, and gave this game all of two minutes air time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Portal to Hell, Part 2

Well, apparently Jennifer should have passed her driver's ed test, but didn't.

We looked up one answer she gave (should you have high beam or low beam lights in the fog) and yes, she gave the correct answer. Unfortunately,the computer marked it wrong, and there is no appeal.

That happened to a friend of mine, and she, unlike Jennifer, complained on site. And still was told that the computer is always right,tough come back in 4 hours and don't forget another $20. (I'm realizing now how the Department of Licensing in Washington makes its revenue forecasts.)

The other question she didn't get correct, I'm not sure I would have either.

A. If you're riding a bike on the wrong side of the road or making a wrong move, what will happen to you?
The correct answer is get a ticket.

The real answer is that nothing will happen to you, as usually the cops have better things to do.

B. Where should you keep a bottle of liquor in the car.
The correct answer is capped and away from the driver.

The real answer is that yes, you keep it away from the driver, and the passenger, corked in or in the trunk.

C. What color do school buses flash when they stop, and what should you do?
The correct answer is "orange" and you should stop.

The real answer is who cares what color they are flashing. If a school bus stops in front of you, you should also stop.

OK, back to the portal of hell, bright and early Tuesday morning for another try.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gateway to hell

I now know why they chose the local DOL office as the gateway to hell in the now-cancelled series "Reaper."

I've just spent 3.5 hours there as my daughter signed up for the written test. Alas, she failed by one point, and since the office is closed now, I either take time off on Tuesday or we're back at it, with the rest of South King County it seems, to try again. This time, we're there at 8 a.m., when the wait should only be about 20 minutes, versus 2.5 hours.

Both her dad and I told her we had to take various portions of the test twice, but alas, that is poor consolation for a 16 year old who bragged to all her friends she was taking the test today. Ouch.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wrestling or South Pacific

In this case, Jennifer chose a state wrestling match at the Tacoma Dome over going out to South Pacific with mom and I.

If it had been West Side Story, she would have been there no question. But not for this play. Most of the audience frankly looked like they could have been in the South Pacific during WWII.

Tomorrow, she's getting up early for her driver's test. I told her to study between lulls in the wrestling action. Like that happened.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DOL or wrestling. Looks like wrestling will win out

Can't quite believe I'm writing this, but Jennifer is opting for going to watch wrestling, since her friend Adam is at a meet in the t-dome tomorrow, rather than go to the local DOL and take the written. She says Saturday will work just fine. I think what she doesn't realize is that dad will have to take her.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bonding while watching documentary about fate of Katrina pets

I guess I'll take mother-daughter bonding where I can get it, and in this case, it was watching the Independent Lens PBS series about what happened to the pets caught in Hurricane Katrina 5 years ago. The documentary is called "Mine."

It was a story that was hard to watch, esp. since of course, all the news coverage was on the human beings' misery. But the animals suffered too. According to the film, produced by a New Orleans native, over 150,000 animals died in Katrina It didn't say how many pets were displaced or how many were returned.

Often the well-meaning owners were forced to close up their pets in their homes, put out a bag of food and a bucket of water, with the hopes the flooding wouldn't be too bad and they'd be back in a few days.

From the broader story of animal rescuers braving flooded streets, terrified cats and packs of now feral dogs, the story then focused on four owners who were searching for their lost dogs a year after Katrina (some still living in FEMA trailers).

It was interesting to see the social strata and racism come in to play, as some owners and rescue agencies simply didn't want to give the animals back, even if these pets were all the org. owners had left of their past lives. This was esp. true of one 90 year old man who lost his dog Bandit. It took the work of a selfless Canadian volunteer, a newspaper reporter and a threatened law suit to pry bandit out of his new owners home in Philly.

Some of the stories didn't end happily as one many searched for his dog for a year (his family was still in Houston at the time of the documentary) and the rescue worker simply refused to a. tell him were his dog was or b. how to contact the new owners.

When he did find out after hiring a pro bono lawyer, the family fled with the dog!

One woman adopted a rat terrier that was org. named Max. She said Max helped him get through her mother's death, but when Max's org. owner showed up, she didn't want to give him back. AT this point, Jennifer was yelling "bitch" at the screen.

But in a great piece of journalism, the videographer caught her on tape when she began to question her choice and change her mind. It was a wonderful piece of tape to witness. Eventually she gave Max back.

Some of the rescue workers told of finding many pit bulls who were obv. used in the fights ,and said they'd never return those dogs whether the owner showed up or not.

But the movie pointed out that many owners were forced to leave their animals behind, like it or not. One 70 year old lady was dragged off the roof of her house when the National Guard came to get her and forced her to leave a lab named Murphy Brown behind. She was eventually reunited with Murphy after a year (the foster fam. agreed to give him back) and Murphy was with her when she died a year later. She willed Murph back to the foster family (tearing up again as I'm writing this).

Both Jennifer and I were cussing and cheering at the TV until 11:30 pm last night. But it was worth it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Would you please go to bed?

The nice thing about Jennifer having mid-winter break is that fact I don't have to rush out the door at 4:30 pm and pray I'll get to her before the coffee shop closes.

The bad thing about it, is that my darling feels she can stay up until the wee hours, and then once she decides to go to bed, guess who wakes up? Not my hubby, who I swear could sleep through a minor nuclear explosion, but me.

This happened last night, as at about 1:30 am this morning (I'd told her to please go to bed by midnight) I heard her rattle around in the kitchen, looking for something to eat. When I stomped into the TV room, she was there curling up with the cat, munching on a banana and watching late night TV- not the Olympics but "That 70's Show'

"Jennifer, get to Some of us have to get up in 4 hours and I have to actually function tomorrow," I snarled.

"OK, OK, I'm just eating a snack and I"ll be to bed."

20 minutes later, nothing.

So I stop out again, and again, she says she's just turning off the computer and she'll be to bed, which she does. But now it's 2 am, and I'm mad and can't get back to sleep.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Perfect President's Day

With all due respect to the dead presidents, this is a great day. TNT is running a Supernatural marathon.

Vagina Monologues rock!

Wasn't exactly sure I wanted to see the Vagina Monologues, but my friend insisted, so on Saturday we went and saw them down at PLU's theater.

And sure enough, they were great - once you got past the shock of the actors wanting you to shout "vagina" if you approved of a given monologue. "Cunt" was acceptable too, but didn't really hear too many people shouting that. (and I'm sure the psa ads will appear beside this blog in a few minutes)

Of course the play is to raise funds for women facing systematic violence throughout the world. And some of the monologues,from women in Bosnia or the Congo were heart wrenching. Others were just plain funny, like the angry vagina.

I described the play to my daughter, who's interested in seeing it next year, but I think I'll let her see it with a friend - I doubt she'll want her mom by her in some of the skits - moaning was one of my faves.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Off to shop

Even tho Apolo shows up on NBC in about a half hour. Daughter has priorities you know, and it doesn't seem to be watching the Olympics with mom.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The un Valentine's day

Since Jennifer's not dating anyone at the moment, she's planning on spending v-day with a friend who is "single" too. And go to the Valentine's Day movie together.

That aside, when I told her Gary proposed to me 23 years ago Sunday, she thought that was cheesy and unimaginative.

I told her it was nice.

Now if he would just bring home some flower besides carnations from Safeway.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm resigning from my UN peacekeeping post

"You're not mad at me are you?"

This was after Jennifer and I drove to Top Foods in rather stony silence after she announced that she just couldn't talk to either of us any more and couldn't express her true feelings to us, certainly not to her father, and as of yesterday, not to me.

Okaaay. I actually thought we had a pretty good relationship, and suspected that part of my "firing" as confidant had to do with the fact I'd taken Gary's side on whether or not he was rude to Jennifer in telling her to clean up a pile of teriyaki had had just ejected itself from the fridge late Tuesday night (note to self- we need to clean the fridge before it starts growling at us).

I was listening to from the bedroom, and heard Jennifer open the door, and the thunk of something falling out.

"Well, it looks like you're going to need to get a broom or towel and clean that up" - Gary

"That won't work" Jennifer

"Well, find something to clean it up, since you made the mess" - Gary

"Stop being rude dad" -Jennifer

"I'm not being rude" Gary

"yes you are"-Jennifer

And on and on. She finally cleaned up the chicken T and I decided to stay out of. But alas, Gary came back fuming over her tone (which was getting snarkier by the second) and wanted to ground her this weekend.

I just let it be, and sure enough, he changed his mind by the next day, but we both agreed, next time the snark comes out, the texting or the privileges are going away.

Fast forward to last night. She's in tears and mumbling something about reading something in her lit class (which I don't recall signing a permission for for) about how middle class families often ignore their teens emotional needs. (Thank you mr. McDermott)

So, now we're both evil. And she wants a counselor to discuss her true self with.

Fine. Fine. I"ll ask around today. And I'm officially retiring from this gig.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A permission slip for what?

Mom, you need to sign these slips while I am thinking about it - say daughter at about 6 a.m. this morning as we both emerge from the shower.

"OK, what exactly am I signing?" I say, as I scribble away.

"They are permission slips,one for seeing Schindler's List, and the other in case I'm assigned to read Catcher in the Rye"

"I just gave you the book to read, and we've already watch the film together, why do I need to sign this?"

"They just want to make sure you're okay with it...don't argue, just sign."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Our favorite Super Bowl Ads

Of course we watched the Super Bowl game and rooted for the Saints, who won of course.

But Jennifer and I were mainly there for the ads. Her favorite (I was out walking our dog when this came on) was the Betty White-Snickers ad.

My fav, from the ones I saw was with the Budweiser Clydesdale ad or the Vizio ad.

But the one that will probably get the most play with the teen crowd will be evident tomorrow, when kids are mysteriously missing from class at Auburn Senior High. That would be the Denny's ad offering free grand slam breakfasts from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow. I've told her I'd take her to an early breakfast if she can roll out of bed in time. But I'm not picking her up from school early. She thinks that most of her friends will either arrive late, or leave early to take advantage of the free sausage and pancakes.

Then there's the Docker's ad. Note to dockers, if you're going to offer free pants, assume that 70 percent of your audience i.e. 70 million males, will rush to your website, as my hubby did, to try to sign up.Your website was a major fail on this one.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


That was the final verdict after Jennifer and her friend Adam tried to get together this afternoon to watch the Superbowl at our house.

Apparently he'd done something to piss off his foster parents, and his foster dad didn't believe, for some reason that he was at last night's wrestling match at Kent Meridian High School.He was, because we were there watching him, and JEnnifer was there watching him from 3 pm on (we arrived around 6 pm)

"Did he do something after the match to piss off his parents," I asked, after we found out he wasn't coming to the Superbowl and I asked Jennifer to call her dad to tell him that he could shift down on the house cleaning frenzy a bit. (Yeah, I know he's a 16 year old kid, but still, don't want him seeing our house looking like a dump)

"No mom, his parents are just being jerks!" says outraged daughter.

At here, I just shut up. Agree with Jennifer I feel like I'm betraying the tribe of parents. Agree with the parents and I feel as if my daughter will disown me. And there's no use explaining that sometimes the tone in which a teenager explains themself can still get them grounded, even if they are telling the truth.

Now, The Who have just come on, so see ya later.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Feed the hungry, oh wait, the rich

The alarm seemed to blare out through the darkness this morning. Even the cat looked annoyed. It was 6 a.m. and time to get up so Jennifer could get out to a Maple Valley church to help feed the homeless b-fast.

It was part of the community service for the Honors Society at AHS. Great, fine, we'll get her there on time, and we were treated to a great sunrise this am as we travelled east to Highway 18.

As we pulled up to the church, the sign out front had some chatter condemning evolution.

"Oh great, I'm really going to fit in well with this church," Jennifer said.

"You're here to feed the hungry not debate creationism vs. Darwin," I said, as I walked her in to make sure we were in the right place.

Inside the church dining room were well dressed ladies and a spread to die for in the main corridor. Really? They were going to feed the hungry this and not pancakes?

Nice of 'em.

When I picked Jennifer up 3 hours later, however, she was swinging between laughter and outrage.

There were no hungry at this b-fast, only rich donors to the church who were parking their Lexus' and Beemers in the lot. And the kids got to snack after the adults had their fill too.

Oh well, so much for feeding the poor.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Too much PDA, esp. if you're old

Picked Jennifer up from school early today. She wasn't feeling well this am, but I guilted her into going to school, as I couldn't stay at home today.

So just before PE, I appear. She's hungry, since she skipped lunch, after declaring it gross, and remember that promise I made to take her to Jamba Juice? Ok, fine, off we go.

On the way out, we spot a couple, about Gary and I's age (61 and 49 if you must know) holding hands as they walk into the movie theater.

Ugh!, says my daughter, and she's not talking about the oatmeal.

"That couple is way too old to be holding hands," she sniffed.

"You hold hands with your boyfriend," I counter.

"That's different, we're young. When you get that old, you shouldnt' be holding hands," she said. "You and Dad don't hold hands."

Frankly I wish we did more of that.

"We did before you were born," I shot back.

"Ok," I add. "What about senior citizens? I've heard you say they're cute when they hold hands."

"Yeah, when you're really old," she said. "Then it's cute. Until then cut it out."

So, when you're about ready to die, it's okay to be romantic. Such a nice thought just before V-day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So many boys, so little time

Well that didn't last long.

Only a week or so after she was crying on my bed, bemoaning getting dumped, Jennifer was gleefully recounting how so many boys were hovering around her, and how she could hang out with them all, without pissing them all off.

Are there any that rise to the top that you would like as a boyfriend, asks I.

"No, not really," she said. "But I do like the attention."

I was never good at juggling in this realm, so I wish her luck.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Break out the smoke monster mojitos!

It's time for lost at 8 p.m. tonight.

And fortunately, my hubby the non-Lostie in the family has a PR meeting after work, so he'll be AWOL until the show is almost half-way through. So now questions about smoke monsters, time travel, Ben's lineage, John being alive (no one really dies on Lost), Jack being a dick, then a hero, then a dick, etc. And of course, since Jennifer's watching with me, the mojitos will be non-alcoholic of course.

She's even turning off her cell for the event, so you know this is quite an occasion.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Catcher in the Rye

While rushing to the Borders book store to buy a gift card for my bro-in-law (don't ask my why my hubby isn't doing this, esp. since George is HIS bro and I thought the adults weren't going to exchange gifts anymore...long story) we passed a big stand honoring JD Salinger and, of course, Catcher in the Rye.

Surprisingly, my daughter hadn't read this yet, even tho she's in AP Honors Lit, so I plunked down the $6.99 for the paperback and gave it to her.

"Trust me, you'll like's sarcastic."

The first sentence had her, so now she's busy plowing through the literary version of Rebel Without a Cause.

And rereading it myself quickly, I was surprised at how good it was. Even tho my first read of the book was in my 20s, I realize now, JD had figured out how teenagers or almost teenagers talk - which I think explains much as to why the book has endured so well, whether it's on the must-read lit list or not.

For those you that have forgotten the first sentence, which hooked Jennifer, here it is-

"If you really want to hear about, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield type of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."

And the guy at the bookstore says that JD has many more books that haven't been published yet, so maybe J and I will get to read them for the first time together.