Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday is where I ask everyone to stop and think about the good things that are happening. Sometimes it is hard to see the rainbow behind the rain clouds but we know that it is there. This week, I am thankful for (in no particular order):

1) That the school year is winding down. I think we all need a break from the running around.

2) That I have a long weekend coming up and very few plans.

3) That the weather has been glorious here in my neck of the woods.

4) That I have good health insurance and I don't have to make a choice between going to the doctor's and buying groceries like some people.

5) That I have a wonderful fan in my bedroom that cools the room off so I can sleep at night.

6) That I have a doctor's office that I can call late in the afternoon and get an appointment early the next morning.

7) That scientists invented the drugs that I am anticipating will make me feel better after I visit said doctor.

8) That my son was inducted into National Honor Society this week. I am particularly impressed that the entire ceremony was handled by students. Not one word was uttered by the faculty advisors. I am also thankful that when the person slated to induct my son was unable to do so, two other students immediately stepped up to offer. They ended up doing rock, paper, scissors to decide!

9) That the Red Sox swept the Rays.

10) That I got a Girls' Night Out this week. It is so good for the soul.

What are you thankful for?

Here's to appreciation and rainbows.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Facebook - the best thing or the biggest waste of time?

I originally signed up for facebook because my nephew in Texas bought a house and I wanted to see photos of it. A few minutes, a few keystrokes and I was the proud owner of a facebook page. I didn't plan on really using it but it served it's purpose. Within a few days, I had a friend request from one of my oldest friends. I met Kris when I visited Liberty Elementary School the year before we started Kindergarten. We both had older sisters in the school so we both ended up staying there all day while the other wee ones went home after a few hours. We bonded over the swing sets and remained friends until we graduated from high school. However, we had been out of touch for many many years. I was thrilled to reconnect with her.

One thing led to another and I started getting friend requests right and left from school friends. I was enjoying catching up with everyone. We started challenging each other to find more and more. My list of friends was increasing rapidly! How fun! I did have a conversation one evening with a high school friend where we wondered where we would all be in 12 months. Would we still be in contact or would we not bother anymore?

Then it happened. I got a request to join Farm Town and I accepted it. I became obsessed with plowing, planting, harvesting, getting bigger and bigger. I looked at other farms and was jealous of their flowers, their items, their lay-outs. My family started commenting about how much time I was spending playing the games. I sent them away because they were breaking my concentration. I spent time at baseball games talking to another mother about farming. Then the Cafe World invitation arrived and, once again, I said yes. I started building my cafe. I did resist many games but Cafe World did manage to break my willpower. Suddenly, I notice people playing Country Life and I joined that one too. Oh no! Three games to control. Where would I find the time? After making sure that my three games were basically paused, I went to a conference in April. Even though I had my netbook, I didn't play one game. I realized I could live without them and I haven't started playing again. I have not deleted them but that is mostly because I don't know how to.

I have experienced both sides of facebook. The side I love where I get to reconnect with old friends. I am finding that, one year later, I am not as active on the site but that I do still make time to touch base with many of my friends. I have also had the opportunity to reconnect with others. I am so happy to be in regular contact with Kristina, Betty-Lu, Danny, Delina, and Julie. I am finding that in some cases, it was like we never stopped talking to each other. The years have simply melted away. With others, I have formed deeper friendships that didn't exist in the past. As we have grown up, we have much more in common. With some friends, I am finding it delightful to be in touch. I have reconnected with my ex-boyfriend's freshman roommate and quickly remembered how much I appreciated his sense of humor. He might be a little older but that razor sharp wit still exists! Paul also has a blog! I am very happy he did a search for me! On the other hand, some "friends" have basically faded into the woodwork in the past year. Neither of us bother to make an effort and that is ok.

So, to me, since I have deep-sixed the games, Facebook is back to being a great thing. What do you think?

Here's to facebook.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Twofer Tuesday

Twofer Tuesday is where I post two short items. Think of it as a drive thru post!

This past weekend, we had to buy boy-o a new mattress and box spring. This led to the declaration that he wanted to re-arrange his bedroom which led (of course) to the inevitable sorting of the various items that populate his room. He decided that it was time to clean up, declutter and move on. The three shelf baseball shrine was packed away. Ah, the memories! His homerun ball was put in a box for the attic. The plastic helmets from ice cream at the professional games were added to that same box. His signed Nomar photo was joined by his trophy collection. I carefully placed photos from various ballparks, baseball cards, his signed Varitek and Ted Williams' items and his signed Kevin Youkilis (YOUUUUUKKKKK) baseball in another box for the attic. His collection of baseball caps from his various Little League and Fall Ball team went into a trash bag. Yes, we basically packed away his childhood. Where are the time gone?

Last night, I jumped into my trusty SUV after work and met my friends Mary Ellen and Judy for our much needed Girls' Night Out. Yes, once again, I can report a Mary Ellen visit. She is doing well. She is very busy with end of school with her two boys. We spent the evening comparing pains - labor pains (from years ago, of course), growing pains (with 6 boys between us there are plenty of those) and pains of the heart and body (we all hit the big 5-0 this year). Of course, sharing our pains with long time wonderful friends make them all seem better. I needed that and can't wait to do it again.

Here's to growing up and growing old!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Car ride talks

Most parents of teenagers will tell you that the best time to get information from your child is during a car ride. There is something about being stuck in a metal box on wheels that loosens a teenager's tongue. Over the past week, I have heard about:

1) The classmate who started a facebook group making fun of my son. This was mentioned in a passing comment and boy-o assured me that he didn't mind it. Apparently, a classmate started a group saying that boy-o wasn't really smart and that he just persuades others that he is. This classmate is a former friend but as they have gotten older, they have drifted apart because they have very very little in common. Anyway, this kid started the group and sent invitations to it to many of the kids in the high school. He apparently didn't pay attention to who he sent it to because many students who are friends of my son received invites. First period, my son heard about it. My son went up to the other kid in band and politely asked about it. The other kid said it was a joke. My son asked him to take it down and the kid said he wasn't sure he wanted to do that but he would put it as a private group. That is apparently what he has done. The funny thing is that the other kid is the one who ended up looking stupid over the entire thing when other students - including the president of the senior class - came to boy-o's defense. Did I mention that the president of the senior class made it thru Pre-Calc because of help from my son? Or that they are in AP Calc together? Boy-o is getting an A and El Presidente is barely passing? Yeah, he is going to agree that Boy-o isn't particularly smart. NOT!
Of course, in this day and age, this could be construed as cyber-bullying. Another reason why this kid ended up looking stupid. I am pleased with the maturity that my son showed in dealing with it.

2) That my son is contributing articles to a website dedicated to Magic The Gathering. Once again - just a passing comment was made. His first article was published in April and the next one is being published this week. I read it. I have not a clue about what it said but it seemed impressive to me.

3) That my son was selected for National Honor Society. Once again - you guessed it - this was in a passing comment. We had already talked on the phone and I was told "nothing interesting happened at school today". He may not have been excited but I certainly was.

4) That cyber-bullying is alive and well and my son thinks it is stupid. I guess some kids started two facebook groups making fun of a middle school student and her mother's death in a car accident. One group is called "At least my mother knows how to use the brakes". How sad! He didn't know who started the group and he ignored the invitation.

So, I am off to gas up the SUV. You never know when a teenager might need a ride... or when a mother might need some information.

Here's to car rides.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

Welcome to Friday Fragments! Please join me in thanking Mrs. 4444 for encouraging us to take all of those little bits and pieces of thoughts and assembling them into one post. Think of it as a crazy quilt of randomness.

It always amazes me how two people can look at the exact same thing and come up with 100% different conclusions. My co-worker was telling about how her sisters were trying to convince their father to give up smoking. My thought was "Ah, how nice. They are showing that they care." and then she continued on to say "They should just leave him alone. It is his life." I didn't get the impression that they were harassing the poor man but rather had just suggested that he try to quit for health reasons. I see love and she sees interference.

Our local high school participated in an "Every 15 Minutes" alcohol awareness program this week. For those of you not familiar with this, they reenact a drunk driving accident and the ramifications. They showed the accident (complete with a passenger thru the windshield and blood) and had emergency vehicles come and take the patient to the hospital with the parents following. They "arrested" the driver, had a hearse take away a deceased person, etc. The next day, they held a mock funeral. They had parents participate. I am not sure I could do it. Very powerful. They also had the grim reaper show up in classrooms every 15 minutes to take students away. The students then returned to class with special t-shirts like they were ghosts and couldn't talk for the rest of the day. After the grim reaper's visit, they would read the obit as an announcement for the entire school to hear. My only complaint about this program is that the announcements were distracting for my son and his fellow classmates who were taking an AP exam. Just would have been nice to pick a different day and not interrupt an exam. Just sayin'.

My son told me today that the AP Art, Calculus, Physic and English classes are going on a "field trip" to Boston since their work for the school year is basically done. I asked why the AP US History class wasn't going too. His immediate answer was "They are Juniors, Mom. Why would they go?" "Um, you are a sophomore and you are going." "Well, that's different."

The weather forecast for our little part of the world looks good this weekend and should be 75 and sunny on Sunday. You guessed it! I am planning on reclining on my new lounger with a class of iced tea in one handle, my kindle in the other and my dog next to me. Oh, yeah. The husband can recline too.

My co-worker's son is playing Little League so I volunteered to help out in the concession stand for one of his games. It was weird to be back in a place that I spent many many hours at a few years ago. Oh, how I miss the baseball games and watching my boy-o play.

In our small town, we have a relatively small Little League program. My son's last season in Little League started off questionable when his team was dissolved and he had to be redrafted onto another team. Of course, he didn't end up on the team he was hoping for. That year, there were 3 teams in his league. One was extremely stacked, one (his team) was average and the remaining team was not very good. Strangely enough, he wanted to be on the team that wasn't very good. One night, his (new) coach put him in as a relief pitcher and he did a great job. The next game, he was told that he was going to be the starting pitcher! Wow. What a great feeling. However, they were going against the undefeated team. Hopefully, they would be able to play an entire game and not get cut short because of the 10 run mercy rule. That was my hope anyway. When my husband showed up at the end of the first inning, he looked at the scoreboard and assumed that my son's team was losing. He was stunned to hear that our boy-o was pitching and his team was winning! How could it be? The game continued on in that vein. Our team was hitting everything and their team was not hitting much at all. At one point, a father came up to me and said "I know I could stab myself in the heart right now and it wouldn't matter because this is obviously a dream!". My son had an outstanding game. He went 4 for 4 at the plate, pitched a complete game AND made it home on a passed ball to end the game. My wish didn't come true. They did end the game early. However, it was because the other team was behind by 10 runs. Yup. Not only did they win, they mercy-ruled them. Happy Dance! Oh yes, the good old days. How I wish he hadn't decided to give up baseball.

One of my niece's fellow musicians at the University of Maine is one inspirational gal who is fighting cystic fibrosis. If you want to read about someone with a positive attitude, check this out. It definitely put a new perspective on my complaints. Suddenly I realized how trivial they really are.

Have a great weekend. Don't forget to go over to Mrs. 4444's and check out the rest of the crazy quilts.

Here's to Friday Fragments.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Perceptions of age

As a child, all adults seemed, well, OLD! Parents of my friends were all ancient and teachers were probably nearing retirement or at least that is how I perceived it. As I am advancing in age towards my (gulp!) fifties this year, a couple of things have made me realize how very far off my perceptions were.

I just received news that the secretary to the high school principal of my local high school passed away on Sunday. At the first telling, it didn't really surprise me. I mean, I graduated more than 30 years ago and, while I never really thought about her age, I was positive that she must be older. I figured she had retired from her job years ago. Imagine my surprise when I read a post from a former high school teacher that mentioned how strange it would be for her to go to school on Monday and not see Mrs. Curtis there. Huh?!? Was the poor woman still working? How could that be? I followed the link to her obit and discovered that she was only 65! That means she was in her early thirties when I was in high school! How could that be? She was old! At least that is the way I remembered her.

I have also become a facebook friend with the woman who lived directly behind me when I was growing up. In our small rural town, no one was particularly well off but this family had less than most of us. However, it was always a joy to visit their home because it was always full of fun and full of love. It makes me smile to remember their teeny tiny little house with the crank washing machine. She wore her hair up in a very old fashioned bun and wore cotton house dresses .She dressed like my grandmother! My mother dressed much more modern and had an up-to-date haircut. I knew that she wasn't as old as my mother but I had no idea until recently at how very young she really was. Her children posted birthday congratulations on her facebook page and I figured out that she was in her twenties and early thirties in my youth. I could hardly believe it. The cool thing, however, is that from my conversations with her and from all of the photos posted on her page, her home is still full of fun and still full of love. No surprises there!

I didn't become a mother until I was in my thirties. However, I don't consider myself old even though I have lots of white hairs. I just wonder what my son's friends think of me. Do they think I am old? Tell me it ain't so!

Here's to not being old!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mommy's Idea

Welcome to Friday Fragments. What is Friday Fragments? It is the place that you put all those little bits and pieces of things and try to assemble them into one post. Think of it as a mosaic piece.>Mrs. 4444 is the one who came up with this smashing good time. Make sure you check our everyone else's masterpieces.

In honor of Mother's Day, I want to post something that I have seen on facebook.

If lilacs grow in Heaven, Lord please pick a bunch for me. Place them in my Mother's arms and tell her they're from me. Tell her I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for awhile. Because remembering her is easy; I do it every day. She was a wonderful Mother and is an angel now, but there's an ache within my heart...♥ I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU DEARLY MOM.

I lost my mother 5 days after I turned 22. There is so much that I missed with her and there is so much that she missed. Three of her four grandchildren were born after her death. She wasn't there to see me get married, to see me succeed in the field that we share, or to give me advice in child rearing.I don't think you ever get over losing a parent.

At karate this week, we worked on 'Multiple with take downs'. What is multiple with take downs, you ask. One person attacks and the defender reacts and does multiple techniques. For example, one person will throw a punch and the defender will block it and then punch back, do a kick to the knee, do a joint lock, an elbow strike, etc. When we do it with a take down, we take the attacker down to the ground. It is a great deal of fun! Normally my husband and I don't work together in karate. This is for 2 reasons. First of all, he is a much more advanced student and, secondly, our karate Sensei tries not to pair us up because she doesn't enjoy working with her husband and she doesn't want to cause stress in our relationship. Tuesday night, however, my husband and I got paired up to do multiple with take downs. The first time he punched me, I did my techniques, got his bent over and grabbed his collar and belt and threw him a couple of feet onto the mat. He rolled over to look at me and the look on this face was priceless. He didn't realize that I knew that technique! He was quite impressed. How cool is that?

We have been going to class early on Thursday evenings to learn bo techniques. A bo is a 6 foot wooden rod that we use to attack and defend with. Last night, we did 45 minutes of bo work and then 90 minutes of karate class. Can you say one-exhausted-old-lady?
Actually, it was one-exhausted-and-sore-old-lady-with-a-big-smile-on-her-face-because-it-is-so-much-fun!

Thinking of Hallie this weekend for her first Mother's Day without CJ.

One AP Calculus Exam done and one AP Physics Exam to go. Progress made on the Eagle project this week. It was a good week.

That is all I have for today, folks. Have an amazing weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all of your mothers and mothers-to-be.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Morning Musings

I have always tried to support my son in whatever he wanted to do. He wanted to participate in scouts so I signed up to be the den mother. When he started baseball, I was the team mother. He was interested in music so I joined music boosters, he wanted his friend to visit from Connecticut so I said I would drive 3 hours each way to pick him up, and when he wanted to go to see a band with some friends in Portland, I drove and hung out in the parking lot (for hours!) waiting for it to be over. However, when my son started to get really interested in playing Magic the Gathering, I must confess, I wasn't excited. What is Magic, you ask? It is a card game. Beyond that, I don't really understand it. He attempted to teach me how to play once and it went totally and completely over my head. Apparently it is based on math and statistics. Anyway, I haven't been as supportive as usual about him playing Magic and, truth be told, have tried to discourage it whenever possible. I have recently realized that this is something that is important to my son and have been trying harder. The past several Tuesdays, I have come home from work, quickly gotten ready for karate and driven him to New Hampshire so he can practice with his team and then circles back to Maine and my karate dojo. Sunday morning, I got up at the usual workday time in order to drive him to Boston to a tournament. No sleeping in for me! He actually defeated pro players this weekend. Good Job, Boy-o!! I am proud of you.

The next two weeks look to be pretty stressful in our household as my son will be taking two AP exams. Once those exams are done, however, it looks like relatively smooth sailing for the rest of the school year. His AP teachers don't give finals and they will be working on "fun" projects until the seniors graduate. It looks like he will only have 2 finals at maximum. Phew.

Here's to Monday mornings!