Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I used to have the cutest little non-smart phone.  It was bright pink with little embossed daisies.  Now that I've switched over to the smart phone I could never go back.  There are a few features, however, that this new phone is lacking.

Don't get me wrong, the smart phone is great.  My own little full functioning barbie sized computer.

But it doesn't have the devil face.  I really need the devil face.

Many of you are rolling your eyes, thinking that's just the software.  Uh huh, got that.  I can't get what I want loaded onto my phone.  Just that simple.  Different phones, different companies, and I'm stuck with the strange and limited alien expressions.

Sure, I've got the most used- smile and smile/wink.  I have the occasionally used sad, tear, and tongue sticking out.  But I don't have the devil.

By nature, I am a fairly sarcastic person.  Even at inappropriate times.  Therefore, I desperately need the fitting emoticons/smilies.

I don't have the smiling devil.  Clearly he was my go to for any facetious or mocking comment.  I miss him.

I also don't have the wink/smiling devil.  While less used than the traditional devil, he was pivotal to designate if I'm being sarcastic or using an innuendo.

raised eyebrowsAhh... and smile with the uplifted eyebrows?  There was no sarcasm for this guy.  No innuendo.  He was truly giving the face that says, "ya wanna??"  Date nights will never be the same with the eyebrow guy.

Sure I can be confused, an angel, or have my foot in my mouth.  It's just not the same.  Oh-- and what the heck is with money mouth.  I'm so old I don't even know when to use that one.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chicken or the egg?

Long story short... the boy that caused enough stress for Dominic to drop out of Math Olympiad?  He walked up to a football game at recess, and popped a child's ball.

Dominic?  Oh- he tackled him.  Football style.

Let me interrupt here to tell you I have received so many "awesome" and "way to go Dominic" messages from parents that were just waiting for that child to get what's coming!

So of course, Dominic was taken to the Principal's office, got another behavior slip, and missed a day of recess. 

Let me just get this straight.  My son defended a friend that was wronged.  My son didn't let a bully well, bully.  My son took full responsibility and was completely honest.  In my parenting handbook, he's doing all the things that make me proud.  So what are we teaching these kids?

Talking with a friend today, I made a connection I hadn't noticed before.  I was aware that as kids get older, the problems get tougher.  I have also noticed that our school seems to be in a bit of a crisis lately.  What I hadn't noticed was the complicated bully formula that educators are not handling correctly.

Bully is the ten dollar word of this decade.  The problem is children are being bullied, but not receiving any tools to handle it.  There is no bully education.  They haven't formed a task team or parent group to discuss the problem.  The same children keep causing the problems, getting a slap on the wrist, and we actually expect that to change them?

Enter the other children.  The victims.  Given no information or tools to handle a bully, they are taking it into their own hands to handle.  And safe to say however they handle it, they will get in trouble. 

My son flipped off a child.  I get that it was wrong.  He learned from the experience.  What was not adequately assessed is why my son was so angry with the other child.  He had his reasons.

My son stood up to a child that was already pretty ticked off at my son.  A child that had already caused problems in their personal relationship.  A child that regularly picks on other kids.

My son, with courage, put a stop to it.

So again, to sum it up, this is a chicken and egg situation.  If we educated children and took the time to change the status quo, perhaps his intervention would never happen.  Teaching children tools to handle these situations is surely something that will stop the bullies in their tracks, and enable bullied children to cope.  Cope within the accepted behavior.

The way they're doing it now?  Seems pretty ass-backwards to me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Love grows tolerant

Just got off the phone with the hubby.  He's at GMM in Germany for the week, meeting with the other worldwide heads of marketing.  The whole thing sounds absolutely dreadful to me.  I just don't do well sitting in meetings.

He forgot to call yesterday.  Well, last night.  I mean last night for him.  Or was it the night before?  Was it day for me?  I forget.

Two phone calls later, he finally tells me why he forgot to call.  He was drunk.

I remember in October, just before our wedding, Chris went on a business trip and whooped it up a little too much, and forgot to call.  I went ballistic!  How could you worry me like that?  How could you make me wonder where you were!  He had flowers delivered, and I still married him.

Time does a funny thing to love.  It tempers it.

In the beginning, people are all consumed, self involved partners, whether they mean to be or not.

Over time, you just sort of relax.  I have so many things to worry and stress about, I won't waste my time on little things.  That pre-wedding girl was indignant in a new, blooming relationship.

Now?  Eh.  You're a big boy.  Have fun.  Whatever.

He described his evening, which I feel was totally necessary.  He's in Germany- land of beer!

A whole group went out to a nice steak dinner.  Rounds of shots were ordered...four times.  Beer was like water.  He even drank out of a giant community uber-mug of beer that was passed around.

Upon waking in the morning, he described the scene of him undressing his way to the bed.  A shoe by the door, belt, shirt, all forming a line to the crash spot, where he slept soundly through the night.  Even with jet lag.  With his contacts in. 

My response?  "That's awesome."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Math frustrations

Remember all those times when your parents told you life isn't fair?

Remember when you realized they were right?

Remember when you had to share that bit of wisdom with your own kids, and watch their bewildered, crestfallen faces absorb this information?


Dominic was chosen for a math Olympiad team at his school.  And yes-- I'm sure you're asking if Chris was a little amused by this.  He has called them the denominators and asked if they were getting matching t-shirts.

The arbitrary group of four that compete together that he was placed in includes a child my son doesn't care for.  Actually, this kid bugs me, too.  This child can be best described as a really smart screw off.

Dominic went to two practices, and came home frustrated and agitated at this other child.  I asked if he needed me to intervene.  He firmly said he thought he could handle it.  Turns out, he couldn't.

I talked to the teachers in charge, and they were disappointed I hadn't said anything sooner.  This was not in reflection of my son.  Just a fact.  These teams are already established and they can't change them.  The only option is for Dominic to drop out and be replaced by someone else.

When I explained this to him, he realized he would have to spend the competition day with this other child.  His exact words were, "No way am I spending eight hours in competition with (unmentioned name!)"

So... he forfeits his spot.

I feel frustrated for him.  I feel frustrated, too.

It is very hard to gage when to say something, when to see if it gets better, or when to give up.  I didn't want to be that parent that came in after just one practice and complained.  I assumed (yes, my first mistake) that they would tell me to just wait and see how it plays out.  I guessed wrong.  They would have changed the teams.

Now it's too late.

There is no fault here.  It just is what it is.  And why?  Right- because life's not fair.

Now I get to give him the second part of that lesson:  Life's not fair, and it never changes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Time for some change

For a brief span in seventh grade, a group of my friends nicknamed me patsy.  Not because I could belt out Blue like the legendary Patsy Cline.  Because I was, well, a patsy. 

They were amused that they could ask me to do anything, and I would.  Could you get this for me?  Could you do this for me?  Yup.  It looked like a sign of weakness to them.  Amusement.  They didn't understand that this tolerance and kindness would shape who I am today.

Those of you that know me, and my tiger of a personality, are probably puzzled by this.  I know, I can be fierce.  But you also have to notice that I am kind.  I may back you in a corner with fire in my eyes, but I will also never say no to a favor.  My insides are truly marshmallow softness.

My Gandhi-like nature has served me well in life.  You really do catch more flies with honey than manure.  Recently, I encountered something I didn't think I had the softness, or strength, to do.

A year or two ago, I was involved in a real life drama of women.  It was brutal and infuriating.  I racked up a few enemies, and shed a few tears.  Women of the 'burbs can be brutal, especially over territory. 

Time has passed.  Many of my wronged friends have not forgiven or forgotten.  I'm not good at holding grudges.  I try to forgive, and I truly don't have the capability to remember how mad I was in the first place.

Here's how I see it.  These moments in life are an opportunity to reflect on yourself.  Clearly I can't be innocent in these situations, even if I do feel like the victim.  Did it have to go down like that?  Could I have handled it differently?  It's a learning experience for all involved.

Also, there has to be good in just about everyone, right?  I mean, let's exclude serial murderers and dictators... but the rest have people that like them.  There has to be a reason.

One woman is in my life whether I want it or not.  We have kids the same age, and are at the school together.  It just makes practical sense for us to get over this.  She has been nothing but supportive and nice to me since the "incidence."  This got me wondering if we both got tied up in someone else's fight, on opposite sides.

My son was invited to play at their house.  When I went to their house... I stayed for an hour.  I chatted with this woman.  I heard funny stories.  We shared parenting stories.  I discovered something.

I really like her.

In a different situation, I think we would have instantly been friends.  Sadly, we took a long and difficult road instead. 

Our youngest kids are in second grade.  That's a whole lot of years to mend fences.  I don't know if others relationships will ever forgive and forget.  I don't know if others will ever get to this place.  I don't know if damage others have done will effect all future chances for the bystanders to be friendly.

I'm happy to report that I see a slow, healing friendship in the works.  We may never be best friends, but that's okay.  I feel peaceful and happy leaving the past behind.  I enjoy getting to know her.  I see the possibility of drinking coffee together in our future.

Maybe I'm a patsy.  But I'm a happy patsy, with a happy heart, that always has room for kind people in my life.

Monday, April 9, 2012


On the last day of school before spring break, our school bus driver asked me if I had any big plans for spring break.  I answered we are having a 1950's vacation.  She looked at me, confused.  I explained, "they are going to play outside with friends, find sticks, and catch bugs."

As a family of the basketball season, this time of year is busy.  This isn't a take vacation time for us.  This is why we often travel in early October... training time!

I also view spring break as a time to relax and recharge.  Gear up for the end of the school year ahead of us, with no break time in sight.  In order to go to Arizona or Hawaii, like so many of my friends, I would need a vacation from the vacation!

So my kids spent the past week hanging with friends, climbing trees, watching t.v. (including the brutal Kansas loss), and playing video games.  Their highlights include going swimming, friends visiting, and eating too much take out.

Ahh... just the way I like it.

Kids today are too scheduled, with too many technologies.  I like to see my kids be... well, kids.  I like feral kids that run out their energy, using their creativity along the way.

Spring break successful.  Bring on the rest of the school year.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Here comes the sun

It has been a long and dreary winter, both literally and figuratively.  I have felt that down to my bones, literally and figuratively.
Then a small hint of spring pops up...

Only to be blown away by... more snow?

When Spring finally appears... ahhh, that's when I remember the allergies!

Many, many sneezy allergies...

But then something happens...

The sun, after a mysteriously long absence, shows itself.
And seeing the sun, even in fleeting moments, is enough to make me happy.