Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard.

Death Camp for Cutie -

I waited until the very last day (today) to sign the permission slip ( along with a $104 check) for a 3 day "Nature Camp" for my 6th grader. This is a school sponsored trip and if my son doesn't go, he will most likely be one of the very lonely few left in school. He also could face becoming a social outcast and may resent us for the rest of his life. (probably will no matter what we do).

On the other hand, if he goes (or should I say when he goes as I signed off & wrote the check) I will be responsible if anything happens. I was fine with this until I got to the part of the "legalese" about
"some of the activities take place in a natural environment......conditions create risks of injury or death from falling, tripping, etc., insect or animal contact, and potentially harmful vegetation."
Several other places in the Acknowledgment also mentioned death, drowning, illness and risk of injury. We are also denied any communication with our child for these 3 days. No cell phones. No calls in, no calls out. My husband is convinced this is a camp run by a cult. (Good luck on the brain-washing part. This kid is strong-willed with a mind of his own)

What kind of camp is this? We've been told by the Vice-Principal that no one has died. Yet...

It's Not Just About The Economy (Stupid)
I have another blog, Color Me Bitter, for when I want to bitch about something. Haven't used it in a long time but today I did.


Help Spread Some Blog Love

I have a friend who just started up a new blog. She was recently "downsized" and is struggling with the idea of being a SAHM. If you have a chance, check her out & offer some words of wisdom (to help balance out my nonsensical comments!).
http://swamimami.wordpress.com/

Virtual Girls Night Out

It's Friday night & Ann has another great drink recipe, cool party music & a fun game.
I only have the Kahlua part of the Seattle Manhattan, so I guess I'll just have a Kahlua on the rocks.

On to the fun & games:
I licked a noodle in line at the bank because I need serious help.

O.K. My work is done here & I'm off to party!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Coach Lost a Bet


(Next time we'll help him accessorize !)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Who's in Your Five?

I asked my middle son if he still wanted to invite one of his friends from school over this weekend. I have found this to be a great trick to getting the kids to help clean the house. Works like a charm.

Step One: "Would you like to have a friend come over today?"
Step Two: "We have to clean the house first!"

This time the question was met with a pair of sad eyes. Apparently there was a Birthday Party / Sleep-Over that 3 other friends from class were invited to that my son was not. My poor child was the odd man out.


Teaching Moment

I started a discussion about how sometimes a person can not include everyone.

"I know that Mom." was my son's response. "That's not what hurt my feelings. "Birthday Boy" has been acting very cold to me lately and I've been nothing but nice to him."

I explained that perhaps the birthday boy was feeling guilty about not inviting my son and that's why he started to distance himself. I even suggested that this boy might even be a bit jealous of him. Alex is a very smart, sweet, caring young man who gets along with everyone.

This is why I don't like birthday parties and stopped having them for my boys. Besides the chance of hurt feelings by inadvertently leaving a friend out, there is also the time and money spent to gain a bunch of unneeded gifts and subsequent Thank You notes to be written.

Instead we take a small group of family and one or two friends to a movie and dinner. We try to keep things low-key.


I then had an AHA-analogy moment.


Some people are like T-Mobile and only have room for 5 close friends. Others are like Verizon and prefer to have a large group of Friends and Family. Maybe that's why we chose Verizon as our network provider.

We have better reception and no "Dead Zones"!



Revenge Gifting

In a recent conversation I had with my sister, I learned of a concept called "Revenge Gifting". My nephew was the recipient of such a present from a neighbor that was not invited to his Bar Mitzvah.

Due to a space issue, just a few of the neighbors ( ones that had boys that were close to my nephew) were invited. This particular neighbor was left out because her children were not the same age and are not close with the family.

After the event, this neighbor mailed a card with a substantial check enclosed; apparently with the intent of making my sister feel bad for not including their family. My sister retaliated with a really nice Thank You note and a baby gift for the neighbor's sister who recently had her first child.

Ouch!

What Would You Do?
I prefer to look at the bright side of not having to buy a gift. I have learned that life is too short to worry about being left out. You can't be in everyone's Five. Have you been in similar circumstances? Ever received a Revenge Gift?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weekend Update - When you missed Friday Fragments and Ann's Virtual Girl's Night Out.

Friday Fragments ( on Saturday) - Pride and Joy

Pride:
For one day a week, my eldest son has been staying late after school to take part in "Math Counts" where students can practice solving math problems in preparation for a competition against other schools. He chose to do this entirely on his own and asked us for permission to participate. (as if we would say no).

On Thursday he found out he was one of 8 students (and one of 2 sixth graders) that made the team for his middle school. Today he got to ride a bus to a local college and take some tests. While their team didn't place in any of the competitions, I was proud that my son actually thought this was fun!

Let's hope he continues down this path......

Joy:

One of my long lost friends from Cre8Buzz tracked me down and added me to her new blog. I guess it's only been a few months but I was still over-joyed. Ironically I had just posted about missing the Cre8Buzz network which had met an un-timely demise.

If you have a chance, go visit my pal JoJo and leave her some comment love!


Virtual Girls Night Out


On Fridays, Ann, one of my friends from Mom Blogger's Club, has been sending out email blasts about Virtual Girls Night Out or GNO for short. She provides party music, a nifty drink recipe and an interesting party conversation topic. This week's topic is Oscar-related and we are to name 3 things we would like to give thanks for and the people we would thank ( our own personal "Academy" speeches) so here goes:

  • I'd like to thanks my family for making my life "interesting" and giving me something to blog about.
  • I'd like to thank You, the faithful few who come by to offer encouragement, friendship and most importantly COMMENTS! Without you, I'd just be another tree falling in the forest and not knowing if I made a sound. ( o.k. better cut off the Bourbon Slush, I am starting to sound like Mickey Rourke. Thank god we don't have any dogs!....)
  • I'd like to thank Ann for being a great hostess and providing a great way to meet new bloggy pals!
This concludes my weekend update and I need to get back to the land of the living.
Hope you are all having a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Influence

Yesterday I took my 2nd grader to the local Library. He needed to pick up a book about Rachel Carson for a school project. He has two weeks to make a poster-report on a person who did something important to change the world.

He came home with a list of people to choose from that included: Neil Armstrong, Susan B. Anthony, George Washington Carver, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison & Tecumseh, as well as Ms. Carson. My son chose to do his research on Rachael Carson because I thought she would be a good subject.

A Premier Environmentalist
Rachel Carson wrote a book, Silent Spring which help draw attention to our environment being poisoned by the mis-use of pesticides and led to the formation of the EPA. While I never read this book, I remember as a young child, seeing Silent Spring on my parent's book shelf. I was excited to help gather information with my son.

A Trip to The Library

Usually my husband takes the boys to the library but I decided I need to start reading more and had put a few books on reserve for myself. When we reached the Library, I spent the whole time trying to keep up my my 7 year old. He was a whirling dervish of activity. By the time I went to the reserve area to find my books, my son already had them pulled.

Note to self: Must go to library more often so I can keep up with the rest of my family.

Why Not Neil Armstrong?

Shortly after we had returned back home, my husband asked me why I pushed Rachel Carson on my son. I explained that I thought Colin's interest in birds and nature made this a good fit.
Hubby:"Why not Neil Armstrong?"
Me: "Why, Neil Armstrong?"
Hubby: "Colin is into the stars and astronomy"
Me: "What's wrong with Rachel Carson?"
Hubby: "Your son doesn't know who she is and only picked her because you told him to"
Me: "Mmmmm. I better talk to Colin....."

I had a quick chat with my baby to make sure I didn't force him into a topic he didn't really want to learn about. I made sure he knew he could change to another person of influence and I would still be happy to help him. Colin was fine with our original subject.

As we started to read through the biography I could see a lot of common threads.

Rachel as a young girl loved to be out in nature and observe birds and wildlife in their natural habitat. My son loves to look for fossils and when he was 5 years old, memorized a bird guide that I had brought home. We would go for "bird walks" and he would try to identify all the birds we would see.

I remember as a young girl how my mother used to love to help me with projects. (At times a bit too helpful and I had to get her to back off). I am now trying to do the same with my kids (hopefully without the pushy part). I find I am learning right along with them. The trick is to make sure I am only helping to provide guidance and to let them do the work. (even if it is not as polished as I would like).

I realized how much of an influence I have on the choices my kids make. But, they also have had been a good influence on me as well. Going through school the second time around had made me smarter and a better person!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Friday Fragments - Buzz-Kill

Friday Fragments



What Happened to The Buzz?

A few weeks back, one of my favorite blogger network sites, www.cre8buzz.com went off-line, never to return. Anyone know what happened?

Some of my best blogger buddies came from there!

I've had to turn to FaceBook for my time-wasting, soul-sucking, social interaction!

No More "Perks"!


Mike recently posted about his company
eliminating "free"coffee for employees but keeping it for the customers. I think this is a hostile move to get people to quit. I find that caffeinated workers are better workers. A cup or two of fresh hot "motivation" is worth every penny, especially in these tough economic times.

Wasn't it Ben Franklin who warned about being "Penny-wise but pound foolish"?

Kind of scares me that Mike works for a financial institution!

Family Fun Night

Wednesday night, my middle-schooler had a Book Fair / Family Fun Night at his school. For a $5 admission fee, there were samplings from 12 different restaurants. The theme was "Wizard of Oz". Members of the band took turns playing songs from the movie, the film was projected on a wall in the hallway and the decor also picked up the theme.

I was grateful my son was not embarrassed to be seen with me and actually asked me to take him. I also appreciated the one on one "quality" time. We went early and didn't stay long because of the pending storm.

Wasn't it cool how the school got the weather to fit the theme? Fortunately we didn't get an actual twister!


Buzz-sted


Thanks to all the media frenzy, my boys are aware of the Michael Phelps fiasco. While I understand Kellogg's move to end its sponsorship and Michael being banned from competitive swimming for three months, I am surprised that there may be criminal charges filed. (I'm not sure how this would work. The photo shows a pipe but I don't know how anyone can prove what was in it.)

I ending up having the discussion that I really wanted to avoid with my boys. I did my best to explain the situation.

Michael was a geeky, awkward kid who overnight became a Rock Star. He suddenly started dating strippers, because now he could, and at a party smoked some drugs to be cool. Someone took a picture and sold it to the tabloids for lots of money. Now Michael is in lots of trouble.
How cool is that?!!!!
This doesn't take away what Mr. Phelps has accomplished. However, it shows what happens when you use bad judgment; especially when in the public spotlight.

The Blustery Night

Last night we were hit by high winds of up to 60 mph. Just to be safe, I slept on the pit group in the basement with 2 of my boys. My husband and our oldest son were brave and stayed upstairs.

While I may have over-reacted, the rattling of the trees in our back yard kept me awake until I moved to safety. I slept easier, knowing that in case of disaster, at least half of our family would survive.

When I woke this morning, I was surprised to find very little damage. This afternoon I noticed our neighbor's pine tree was uprooted. Thankfully this was the worst carnage in our neighborhood.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sum It Up Saturday - AHA Moments

In No Particular Order, The Week in Review:

The Path Less Traveled


I had to make a delivery this week to a place I have been countless times. I always take 1 of 2 routes. As I was coming up to the section of road where I needed to decide which way to turn, I suddenly took a slightly different approach; a path I had never taken before. This "new" route actually made much more sense. I had an "Aha Moment".

So many times we get stuck in a routine and don't look for other, potentially better options. With child-like optimism, I made a promise to myself to start taking the "Road Less Traveled".


PT Oh!:

I went to another PTO meeting. I had a few Ah Ha realizations:

  1. It is far easier (and interesting) to sit through a monthly hour-long PTO meeting than to try to keep up with the flood of paper from school that hits our kitchen table daily. I learned information that I would have other-wise missed. There's also the layer of subtext that is not found in a newsletter!
  2. Arrive early, and sit where you can see everyone in the room. Keep a smile frozen on your face and try not to make eye-contact unless absolutely necessary with the "Alpha-Moms". Remember, like wild animals, they are more afraid of you than you are of them.
  3. Make at least one friend so you have someone to sit & chat with.
  4. Count the number of parents in the room and divide by the number of families in your school. By my calculations, between 1-2% of the parent population is represented. I thought back to one of my favorite movies, Napoleon Dynamite, and realized that alienated and "outsider" parents like myself are really in the majority. I don't know about you, but I'm gonna vote for Pedro! I'm also going to keep attending these meetings for the rest of the year. It'll help build my character and give me the appearance of an involved, caring parent!

Cheap vs Values


I learned from my post on the SuperBowl / GoDaddy Ads that men like things that are "Cheap" (including "cheap" ads) and women are more value(s) oriented.


Fallen Hero

Speaking of values, I've been asked by a few people who know my boys are swimmers about my views on the Michael Phelp's scandal. It hasn't come up yet and I am hoping this blows over soon. My older two boys who have been through DARE would think this was stupid because drugs harm your body as well as being illegal.

These days, heros are hard to come by and we all make stupid mistakes. My AHA here is that I am grateful my boys are happy, healthy and quite average. We don't need Gold Medals. We prefer to celebrate small victories such as shaving a few seconds off our time or winning a heat. (like Alex did today!). I have no desire for fame or great wealth for there is 'baggage" that comes with this.

I hope this scandal has been a wake-up call for Mr. Phelps and he has learned his lesson.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Night Party Time

It's Friday Night and it's Virtual Girls' Night Out at Ann's Place. I've decided to take the rest of the night off & play along with the party games.

Time For A Party Game!

The Mighty Four:

*Four places I go over and over:
1. Work
2. Kroger
3. Sam's Club
4. Macy's

*Four places I would rather be:
1. ?
2. ?
3. ?
4. I'm actually quite happy in my jammies on my couch with my family nearby.

*Four things I wish I could eat everyday (calories be damned!)
1. Chocolate Layer Cake
2. Carrot Cake
3. Lasagna
4. The Farmer Breakfast at Bob Evan's

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Not So Super

This year's Super Bowl was by far one of the most exciting with last minute plays that could not have been scripted any better. I wish I could say the same for the commercials.

There were a few that were worthy. I loved the Bridgestone Mr. Potato Head, the boys love the Talking Babies on E*Trade and we got a big laugh with the new twist on the Coke Zero Ad with Troy Polamalu. The Doritos crystal ball, Dog Adoption PSA and Conan O'Brian ads also made us smile.

You're Not My Daddy!
One of the most irritating to me is the GoDaddy T&A commercials. Apparently I must be in the minority because the headlines proclaim these sexist ads to be a success. I understand that sex sells and that the Super Bowl advertisers are targeting a testosterone and beer fueled crowd. I just don't understand what women flashing their cleavage has to do with buying domain names or web products.

I may be in the minority here, but when a consultant suggested I use GoDaddy to purchase web-hosting products a few years back, I refused because of their commercials featuring the GoDaddy girls. This year's GoDaddy Ads are just as annoying.

What do you think about these ads?

And how are you voting with your pocketbook???

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Running of the Mascaras



W
ednesday, August 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - What No One Seems To Notice....


Eyes Right Before I Leave The House




Eyes A Few Hours Later


Back in the summer, I did a Wordless Wednesday that involved one of my pet peeves: Mascara that runs and gives dark patches under my eyes. Even when I only apply the brush full of goop to just my top lashes.

To make matters worse, no one ever tells me. I have to find out when I look into the mirror and catch a glimpse of my scary reflection.

Because I am a contact-wearer, I need waterproof eye makeup. My moisturizer and foundation tend to help speed the bleeding of my mascara. After my first test, I've decided to perform the rest of my tests on Sundays, when I don't need to worry about my appearance.

Test 1: Aborted after 3 hours - Fail
A few weeks ago I performed my first test. I was at the store and couldn't remember the "tubes" that a fellow blogger recommended in a Friday Fragment so I bought one that promised "Healthy Volume". I stopped the test at 10:30 because I was at work and refused to spend the whole day looking like a victim of domestic violence.

Test 2: Impressive - Success!
Jo @ Under the Influence mentioned this brand: L'OREAL DOUBLE EXTEND in her Friday Fragment post this past month (Jan 16). I tested it out today. I must say I am impressed! After over 6 hours, it seems to stay in place. The only dark lines under my eyes are the ones I earned from Mother Nature.

Unretouched Photos
Thanks for the great tip, Jo!

If anyone else has a mascara or eyeliner that they love and would work well for contact wearers, please let me know. I am also looking for a magic concealer to help hide my "baggage". One that will not encourage the rest of my eye-makeup to blend together.

Try This Brow Liner
Yesterday, Mrs. 4444 posted a very funny tale about trying to save money on getting her brows waxed. This is a browliner that I think she might like!
What are your favorite beauty products?