Minor Irritations

For no particular reason, here are some things that are irritating me this fall:

Helicopters. You know, those maple seeds? They are sticky, and with the warm weather, I’m still running around outside barefoot, and inevitably, these stupid helicopters stick to the soles of my feet. Although looking for a link, I learned something new: they’re edible! So now I’m intrigued. But I’ve tried harvesting dandelion greens from my lawn and I thought that they were gross. But if you see tons of dandelions growing on our lawn, anyway, it’s not because we are slacking off on our mowing duties: it’s because we are nurturing a community bee preserve. You’re welcome.

My cat. She is showing her deep and abiding love for me by stepping onto my laptop keyboard right now. Someone asked me recently if my cat, Isis, resents the extremist group for sullying her name, and I explained that she is not bothered by it at all because she is also a ruthless killer, and I believe she takes pride in her savagery. But personally, I’m offended on behalf of the Egyptian goddess Isis.

J’s constant desire for effortless perfection. There was a meltdown during her cello practice today when she realized that a Yo-Yo Ma-level concerto was not to be achieved today and, frankly, not for at least the next 3 to 4 weeks. So obviously this means that she is a Horrible Failure at Everything. I am often cheerfully supportive; tonight I was tired, and my patience wore thin.

Tree trimmers. Ever since that damn ice storm, a fleet of tree trimmers spend a couple of weeks of the year treating our neighborhood trees like ginormous bonsais. Yes, yes, I know that power outages are annoying and inconvenient. Acknowledged. But our trees are so beautiful, and sometimes they’re just lopped off to accommodate wires and they end up looking comical. No, tragi-comic. It’s just, the trees are gorgeous, an then they lose their dignity. Plus, the other day I was driving a couple of miles and ended up having to go around three separate crews. And I’m going to be a nut, here: I think our family would enjoy a 24-hour power outage. The girls have wonderful memories from the last one.

M saying “I hate you.” Enough, already. This weekend we required M to do something that she wasn’t really psyched about. Okay, okay, I believe that the exact quote was, “I’d rather shoot myself in the face.” But still. She’s been saying it for a long time (my precocious little prodigy!), and I do my best to remain pleasant in the face of such obnoxiousness. But it wears me down. Today I said that we should create a little sign for M about days-since-she’s-declared-hatred, like the one for J and homework crying. The Cute W and M said that they were going to tally up the declarations of hatred. Which is the opposite, people. We’re not trying to come up with a record high number, here.

Squirrels. Have you noticed that they seem to have a death-wish in the fall? Is it because they’re heavy and sluggish, yet still busily completing their autumnal errands before the snow sets in? I don’t know, but it feels like they are throwing themselves at my tires. Which I resent.

I am, however, pro-rain. Slobbing around the house was exactly what I needed today, so I was glad that the weather cooperated. Hope everyone’s having a great weekend.

 

The Perils of Facebook

I’ve said before that I have a love-hate thing going with Facebook. I’m on it quite a bit, between putting these posts on the Capital District Fun page, adding all sorts of updates to the KidsOutAndAbout page, and helping out with the Schenectady Working Group on Girls page. It’s reconnected me to some lovely people, and I like keeping up with them. Plus, there are pages that I’ve “liked” that always offer up something illuminating or fun, like Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.

But there are things I hate too, of course, like how Facebook puts the pages with cash up front and hides those of us who are cheapskates. And also how sometimes you find out someone you thought was lovely has crazypants-awful views about something, and then you have to decide whether to say something or ignore it, to “unfriend” or “hide,” or whatever.

I’ve had a couple of other awkward Facebook situations lately. The first is when I had a quick calendar panic and texted my friend Jen:

“Crap!!! Is the first OWL class tonight?!?!”

It took just a minute or so before I realized whom I’d texted.  Not Jen, the one whose daughter will be attending the OWL class with M. But Jen, the girl who was in a couple of my high school classes, whom I haven’t seen in the past twenty years. Well, maybe she was at that one reunion, but we didn’t chat. And as the realization erupted from my gut and vaporized out the pores of my flushing cheeks, my phone pinged:

“Who is this?”

Ah, who indeed?

Readers, what would you have done? I confessed, we exchanged friendly texts, and I beat a hasty techno-retreat. Luckily I had an easy excuse, since I was clearly not on top of the family’s evening schedule.

But, that was awesome.

No, no. It wasn’t really so bad, just a little embarrassing.

Much worse is what I’ll call the Facebook Condolence Feed-Flood. That’s when something like this shows up in your news feed:

So-and-so posted on Jane Doe‘s page: We’re thinking of you, Jane, dear. Much love from us all!

Somebody else posted on Jane Doe‘s page: So terrible! You have our family’s sympathy.

Another person posted on Jane Doe‘s page: Please let us know if there’s anything we can do.

7 Other friends posted on Jane‘s page.

And then your stomach turns inside out, and you start calculating. What’s going on? Is it Jane’s daughter? She and my daughter hang out all the time! Is it her husband? Dammit, what’s his name again? Wait, if it’s some ongoing thing, we could totally carpool, that would be helpful, right? Oh, no, what if it’s not ongoing? What if someone’s died? Wait, are they vegetarians? I have that massive pot of soup. But that’s stupid–clearly someone else has offered up food. Wait, what’s her address–I could drop off a card. Except, what do I say when I have no idea what’s going on? Oh, crap.

And then you click on the person’s page and try to figure out what’s going on. And you consider if any of the people who’ve posted on the page would be willing to update you without thinking that you’re just trying to get the latest gossip. And of course you’re curious. But it’s also that helpless, powerless feeling of knowing someone’s in trouble and not knowing if there’s anything that you can do. So maybe you tell that good friend of Jane’s who’s not on Facebook that she should check in with Jane? Because you’re not close enough to be on this person’s Crisis A-List, but you want to be helpful. And just asking for information would be causing trouble without helping, and you’re a firm believer in that whole comfort-in, dump-out Ring Theory thing. Your distress at wondering if everyone’s okay is not something that anyone who’s inside the circle needs to solve. But you know how to make casseroles! And watch children! And make phone calls. . . well, you hate making phone calls, but you’d do it. Absolutely.

Seriously, has this happened to any of you? It’s happened, multiple times, on my news feed, and every time it starts to feel like this incredibly awkward thing. Like, people want to do something or say something, but they also don’t want to betray anyone’s confidence. But it comes off weirdly creepy thing, or at least that’s how it feels to me. As a policy, I don’t Facebook-condolence unless someone’s Facebook-announced something. It just feels way too public. And way too private. And all that.

But because I completely hate these situations, I’d like to put it on the record here: please, if something awful happens to my family and you would like to react via Facebook, I urge you to make your post as informative as possible, as a service to my other friends. You might say, for example:

Katie, I was so sorry to hear that aliens abducted your whole entire family, but isn’t it fortunate that the girls were dropped out of the spaceship’s beam and only suffered broken tailbones? I’m going to visit them at Ellis during the 4-7 pm visiting hours, since you said it was okay, and meanwhile, I’ve signed the petition asking NASA to set up a search party for Cute W, and here’s the link if others want to sign, too.

or, maybe:

Oh, man! I just heard about your tragic pogo-stick-hopping accident, and I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been confined to your bed for the next 5 weeks. I’m bringing mint chocolate chip ice cream and trashy magazines for you and fried meat and baby carrots for your kids, and I’m going to check your list of favorite recipes to do more. and I can’t take on your current PTO obligations or walk your cat, but I’m sure that someone from the neighborhood can!

And I will be comforted and my friends and neighbors will be suitably informed. And if anyone Facebook-chastises you for over-sharing, other blog readers will rise up in your defense and suggest that people who have time to engage in debates with friends-of-friends would do better spending their time cooking meals for me and leaving them, anonymously (so that it’s impossible to write thank you notes) in disposable containers at my door. And you will be rewarded with massively wonderful karma.

And even mentioning this feels like I should knock on wood, because I’m clearly jinxing myself. In fact, maybe part of my strong reaction to the Facebook Condolence Feed-Flood is that I have a neurotic desire to do something helpful when tragedy strikes, as if responding to other people will give me some sort of karmic booster against ever needing help back. In fact, I even wrote about this on the blog before. Which is, of course, delusional. Maybe I just need to be more content with offering up vague good wishes and general prayers.

I understand that whining about this is entirely selfish. And even though I offered up those samples as a “service to my other friends,” I would genuinely appreciate mint chocolate chip ice cream and trashy magazines if I’m ever confined to bed. So, really, that’s pretty selfish, too. Am I, like, the worst person ever? You’re totally going to “unfriend” me, aren’t you? I guess this post is moot. Never mind.

 

Observing Birthdays

J turns 10 tomorrow. This has meant a flurry of preparation at our house. Mostly, it’s food. Birthday Child gets to pick family breakfast and dinner, which means that Cute W is prepping his exquisite waffles, which will be ornamented with homemade whipped cream and overpriced raspberries. Dinner is artichokes, veal scallopini, mashed potatoes, and green beans with almonds, and then chocolate mousse for dessert. The mousse is better if you make it ahead, and so I went to work on that scrumptious recipe last night.  So, first of all, I was reflecting on how butter and chocolate together are even more wonderful than just butter, or just chocolate. Now, you know I can enjoy kale and roasted garlic and even pumpkin seeds, but none of these can approach the joy of butter and chocolate, melted together.

While I was concocting the mousse, I was fretting about M. She’d been invited to go out to dinner with one of her closest friends to celebrate her friend’s birthday. When she extracted permission for this outing (following a full day of school and a soccer game, occurring before any homework could be done at home), my first thought was, “Wait! What about her locker?!?”

In our middle school culture, loving girl relationships acknowledge birthdays in two crucial ways: first, you decorate Birthday Girl’s locker and fill it with candy. In 6th grade, this was deeply, deeply important. It’s just so. . . public. I sort of hate it. In fact, I kept trying to convince M that she and some friends should get together and be, like, a Secret Locker Fairy Club who could go around decorating people’s lockers if they weren’t getting decorated. She rolled her eyes at me and said that the teachers took care of that sort of thing, and basically, I should butt out. I argued that it was an easy and fun way to spread joy. She rolled her eyes some more. Then, throughout the course of the year, there would be Maternal Fretting about one locker situation or another. In my presence, a girl M knew gave a broad hint about getting her locker decorated. M was unreceptive. “We’re not close friends,” she scoffed, “Someone will do it.” And I was all up in her grill: “Nobody hints like that unless they’re afraid that no one’s going to decorate their locker. If you’re not going to help decorate it, you need to make sure somebody’s on it.” That locker got decorated, but with only a bit of assistance from my kid.

Here’s the thing: M doesn’t sweat over this sort of thing. She’ll get invited to a party where they say “No presents,” and so she refuses to bring a present, and then everyone is there, toting presents, and this does not bother her at all. I guess what I’m saying is, I am far more a victim of peer pressure than she is. But I digress. The point is, when I found out about the birthday dinner, I said, “Wait! Why are you still here? Shouldn’t you be decorating her locker?”

Here’s another thing: even though I appear to sweat over this sort of thing, it’s nothing compared to other moms. Other parents remember kids’ birthdays and take their kids shopping for locker decorations and drive their kids in to school early. I remain mostly oblivious. M will clatter downstairs and say that she’s leaving a half-hour early because she’s decorating a locker, and she buys stuff at CVS with her own money, so I’m mostly not involved, unless I’m pledging to “sponsor” the decoration of some kid’s locker, which she pretty much ignores, and so it’s totally useless.

So I’m usually clueless, and ignorance is bliss, because when I get a shadow of a clue, I start stressing out. “Why aren’t you decorating her locker? Won’t she be upset? Wait, is it only a 6th grade thing?” I am following her around, throwing out questions.

“I forgot to get a pass, she doesn’t really care, we’re thinking of doing it tomorrow.” My daughter was slacking. To my knowledge, they never decorated her locker. Or maybe someone else did. Or maybe 7th graders are way too cool for that. I have no idea, and if I bring it up again, it will only become an ugly conversation. So I was stirring my chocolate and butter and fretting.

I said that Middle School Birthday Love is shown in two crucial ways, and number two is: a post on Instagram, usually comprised of a photo of the Birthday Girl and a long, ardent comment, including at least three (and possibly more) of the following statements, “I love you SOOOOO much. . .  We’ve been friends since. . . . . .  You’re so beautiful. . . . . You’re so funny. . . . .Remember how we. . . . Happy Birthday!!!!!”

Really, it’s adorable. I sound like I’m making fun, but I think it’s sweet. Would I like the girls to focus more on their friend’s winning personalities and special talents instead of how great their hair is and how their shoes are always so cute? Well, of course. But generally speaking, it’s a lovely tradition.

My child has no interest. Because I’m an Instagram Stalker, I scrolled through lovely, heartfelt messages for the friend. “Hey M,” I asked, “are you going to do an Instagram birthday tribute of some sort?” [Did you predict the eyeroll here? Good for you! You win a cookie! Go get yourself a cookie.] She said, “Mom [eyeroll], you know I’m not into Instagram.”

I sighed. Because what am I supposed to do? Insist that she conform to middle school society and get on social media? That’s stupid. But as a grown woman who made it through 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, I fear this hazardous combination of taking girlfriends for granted during an era of massive hormonal fluctuations. I’m worried because I want her to be kind, but I’m also worried that people who aren’t required to tolerate her frequent bouts of seeming-indifference (as her family must)  will drop her like the proverbial hot potato.

So I must have been fretting about that more than I realized, because this morning I opened the fridge and saw a bowl full of egg yolks. The egg yolks that I was supposed to gently beat into the butter and chocolate mixture when I was making mousse.

“On NO!” I moaned. “I ruined it. I have to make it again.” Cute W laughed. “I think we’ll be able to choke it down.” Sure, it was 7 am, but we each got a spoon to test the product. It was actually still pretty delicious.

In a way M’s lack of enthusiasm for the sort of treacly middle-school girl effusiveness that feels essential to 7th grade friendship is a lot like that mousse I made. Okay: no egg yolks, so the mousse is lighter, without that rich, nuanced egg yolk texture. But it tastes the same. And, like M’s straightforward, no-nonsense friendship style, my defective mousse is absolutely less likely to induce nausea.

 

A New Car!

Hey! So, the directory that took over my life for a while has been submitted to the print shop. There’s a bit more work to be done, still, but comparatively speaking, it should be a piece of cake (knock on wood).

Oh, and here’s a quick programming note: if you haven’t been reading “More” of various posts, you’ve got some catching up to do. I’m not sure what happened, but at some point, my little “More” link stopped appearing on the site. Probably, something changed when I did a WordPress update. Anyway, if you click over via Facebook or Google Reader or some other source, you probably didn’t miss anything, but if you usually read by looking at the site, then you may have only seen the beginning of the post. For a bunch of them, I added a little note, but if you want to double check, you can always click the title of a post to view the complete post. I’m probably going to skip the “More” section until I figure it out. As long as we’re talking boring stuff, I generally do keep up with the Events page, but even when it’s outdated, the link to the KidsOutAndAbout newsletter link at the top of the Events page will always be up to date.

Here’s the link to my spot on WNYT yesterday. I think these always play extra-slow on Mozilla and quicker on other browsers, but it could be my imagination.

Okay! What else?  . . . Oh, yes, I’ve been meaning to tell you, we got our new car! I mentioned that I did some test driving   about six weeks ago, and we ended up buying a Nissan Rogue on the very last day of August (because Cute W and I had both listened to that car dealership This American Life episode). So we went in to order the exact Rogue we wanted (red, no bells and whistles) and allowed ourselves to be convinced to take the one already on the lot (blue, a few minor-league bells & whistles). Buying a new car causes financial pain, but this was better than our other options, and we got a better deal than we’d expected.  So. . .

 

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TA DA!!!!!

We’re happy. I’ve said frequently that what I’d really like to own is a clown car, because I like small cars, but I wanted to be able to fit at least six people (so that each daughter could invite a friend somewhere and/or I wouldn’t be the lame car pool mom who couldn’t pick up everyone). This is the closest that we could get.

It’s a change. I went from stick shift to automatic, and even though I miss the control, it’s nice to be a little lazy. It’s also much higher, which feels weird, but I liked that I could raise the whole driver’s seat up and pretend like I’m taller than I am. And it hooks up to my phone, which is delightfully convenient, even if I accidentally send a text to people that says “CAN’T TEXT: I’M DRIVING” every once in a while.

M had been lobbying hard for a minivan. “Minivans are SO COOL!” she said.

“Honest to God, M,” I’d said, “Minivans are not cool. They’re like, considered to be the exact opposite of cool.”

So I was concerned that she’d be  bummed, but nope: everyone’s happy, happy, happy.

And if we haven’t actually had enough passengers to need that optional 3rd row that I needed, so far Cute W’s been too polite to mention it.

Schenectady Working Group on Girls

Fall is volunteer recruiting season for the Schenectady Working Group on Girls, so I wanted to take the opportunity to invite local women to join us!

Fall is volunteer recruiting season for the Schenectady Working Group on Girls, so I wanted to take the opportunity to invite local women to join us!
The Schenectady Working Group on Girls was initiated by the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women 11 years ago. Representatives from local  girl-supporting organizations (a list of affiliated groups is on the left panel of the SWGG home page) began to work together ‘to put the spotlight on girls, facilitate programs on their behalf, and educate the community about their needs, challenges, opportunities and successes.”  For several years SWGG hosted community forums to address the challenges and opportunities that girls faced locally. In the past five years, SWGG has hosted Girls’ Day Out to help support and celebrate Schenectady city girls.

Site photo

Now, each fall, seventh graders, many of whom have been specially invited by a school clinician, go on a field trip for a Girls’ Day Out at The Glen Sanders Mansion. It’s basically a girl-power conference, where girls attend workshops on topics like talking to parents, dealing with bullies, or maintaining healthy relationships, listen to a panel discussion by 8th graders on surviving 7th grade, or participate in (and perform) activities like drumming, yoga, or dancing. The girls also enjoy a lovely breakfast and lunch, which is a special treat for everyone.

After the conference, attendees are invited to join a Girls’ Circle at their schools, where small groups meet regularly with a pair of volunteer co-facilitators called Muses. The Muses bring pizza for an informal (often very energetic) gathering in which the girls do most of the talking. Muses facilitate discussions, offer up fun crafts, and advise about things like making goals and working toward them, standing up for yourself without resorting to violence, and making choices for a happy, healthy life. The sessions are kept confidential and a school clinician sits in on the discussion, so Muses can rely on a professional to tackle any situations that require serious intervention. The girls are terrific: they’re fun and smart and they really love being together and bonding with each other.

In April, everyone gets together for a celebration at Schenectady High School,  where the girls can invite a woman whom they consider to be a role model. The girls, their specially-chosen women, and the Muses get an opportunity to celebrate their appreciation for each other’s awesomeness. It’s also a chance for the girls to talk about what the program has meant to them. I was surprised and moved to hear girls, including some from our own circle. talk about how the group had changed for the better how they view themselves, the people around them, and the future and their place in it.  It was beautiful. Muses who are willing and able can continue with the same group as the years progress.

popsicle stick art

 

New Muses attend training in October (3 or 4 evening sessions), they’re invited to attend Girls’ Day Out on November 19th, and they determine a schedule with their Co-Muse and school clinician for the Girls Circles. Most Girls Circles meet during lunch periods or right after school every other week, although some groups choose to meet more frequently. Because so many of the girls we serve are African American, Hispanic, or Indo-Guyanese, prospective Muses who share one or more of these ethnic identities are particularly encouraged to become involved, but any woman who has successfully navigated the sometimes-perilous waters of adolescence is welcome. If being a Muse isn’t for you, there are opportunities to volunteer in other capacities such as helping with special events, offering up your talents as a resource, or providing other support.

If you’d like more information about volunteering, contact Gail Gordon at  518-439-3973 or gailhillgordon@gmail.com or Miranda Rand at mirandarand411@gmail.com. You can also “like” the Schenectady Working Group on Girls’ Facebook page.

girls with backpacks photo

 

 

Running on Empty

Cute W traveled for business last Monday to Friday, and I’ve been a bit swamped. The homework drama, thankfully, has simmered down, but I’ve had my own homework to make life difficult.

I’m doing the printed directory for M’s middle school, and the straightforward, not-too-bad volunteer job took a turn for the worse this year. My job switched from collecting some information and basically reformatting a spreadsheet to attempting to convince each and every family in the community to create an online account and enter a bunch of family information that, sadly, doesn’t quit synch up with the information we like to have in the directory.

I sent out a barrage of emails first, acknowledging the people who had actually already done what they were supposed to do as awesome, and then nagging everybody else. Then I spent hours calling all the people who hadn’t responded to my email nagging. And then more hours upon hours trying to whip the data into shape. I now have a full-on rant about how this online directory business should have been organized, but I won’t bore you with it. I’m hoping to get the damn thing out to print by Monday, so one way or the other, the worst will be over soon.

In between slogging away at the computer, my only significant break was the town fun run. The kids were excited with the new, non-running activity (that’s J pushing M upside-down):

 

Fun Run

J ran the mile fun run, and she was excited because a couple of good friends ran, too. Part of the attraction is that the school gym teacher always comes to this event, and if he sees that you’ve participated, he lets you slack off a bit during gym class. J was particularly pleased because she’d shaved nearly a minute off of her previous record for running a mile.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

School and Home

Hey! I know, I know. It’s been a while. We’ve got some catching up to do. So, first? School. It’s mostly good. M started 7th grade, and she’s liking it. Over the weekend she caught slugs for extra credit in science, and the fact that one can earn extra credit for catching slugs seems, to me, to be a good sign.

 

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Mostly, though, I hear about soccer. This is the first time that M’s playing soccer for her school, so it is very exciting for her. They practice right after school every day, so she’s gone from about 8:30 am to 6 pm most days. It feels like she’s hardly ever home.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

My Book About Me

At the end of the summer, my sister dropped off an old book at our house: My Book About Me, by Me, Myself with some help from my friends Dr. Seuss and Roy McKie.

bookaboutme

How, oh how, had I managed to forget about this book? It’s the perfect gift for your preschool-to-early-elementary-school-aged kid. I think that I just assumed that they don’t print it anymore, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

First Day of School Eve

I’m filled with the sort of loving tenderness for my children that comes from knowing that they’ll be leaving me tomorrow.

It was a long day. The morning started with technical difficulties, M still simmering with resentment over a disagreement yesterday, and J fretting anxiously over her need to complete a homework assignment in lieu of actually sucking it up and doing the assignment. Before Cute W had even left for work, the girls had managed to set off our car alarm. There’s more to that story, but I’ll come back to it.

So at 9:40 am, I decided that I was going to my exercise class. The schedule’s been nutty lately, and I’ve been missing many of them. My first instinct was to bike to the JCC, but I had some fears that, left unattended, the girls could potentially set off the car alarm again, so I ignored the gorgeousness of the day and drove to take the car out of the equation. And then, on the way, a road was closed. And once I arrived, there was no parking. Like, anywhere. Okay, there was parking, but it was far away, and it was a particular bummer, because if my kids had been in school, I would have biked. But, alright. Then, walking in, I ran into a friend, who broke it to me that the 10 am class I’d planned to attend had moved to 9 am for the school year. Ohhhhhh, I was sad. Really, the timing’s better in general, but now I had no class. In fact, I saw a favorite instructor heading in and hoped that she’d have a class, but she let me know in a nice way that this was more of a “sittin’ senior” kind of exercise class.

So I went back to my car and sulked. The hour of exercise was supposed to be my little sanity break. Then I decided that, since the kids weren’t expecting me, anyway, I wouldn’t go straight home. I remembered that I currently possess a Starbucks gift card. Drinking coffee at an outdoor table, now that sounded good! By the time I was parking by Starbucks, I’d decided that I also fully deserved a trashy magazine to peruse while drinking my coffee.

And then I remembered that I’d left my wallet at home–I’d just put my driver’s license in the pocket of my gym bag.

Dammit.

Much of the day was spent on homework, with occasion breaks spent on the Ripstik or in the hammock.

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By evening, things had improved. J was finished with her assignment and peaceful with relief. I stayed at M’s soccer practice long enough to watch her run ridiculously fast and meet the goal that she’d set. Then I went home and made a special chicken dinner because it would provide awesome leftovers for everyone’s first-day lunches. I’m convinced that my entire family loves me more when I am frying them meat. You might think that I’m imagining it, but I have a compelling stack of evidence, like how both daughters gushed that they love me, or Cute W declaring me The Best Mom Ever and particularly adorable sporting flour on my cheekbone. It almost makes me want to fry meat more often, except that then we’d all be much less healthy, and, more important, they’d start taking my meat-frying for granted (because I’ve noticed that I rarely get fervent declarations of love for providing clean underwear and icy-cold water bottles).

As I was cleaning up after dinner, the girls sprung into First Day Eve action. J, who had been told it was time to head upstairs, asked if she could please get organized first? Of course you can, my little lamb chop. An excellent idea, and it’s more likely to make you mellow for sleep. I walked into M’s room to see her first day of school outfit all laid out: jeans shorts and a t-shirt. She checked my reaction: was I disappointed? Of course not! I’m sure that if I had a daughter who was carefully coordinating the various elements of her outfit and pondering her hairstyle choices, the whole process would make my heart swell. Many of her friends are doing just that, posting photos of their outfits, and debating the merits of sandals versus sneakers, and that just makes her complete lack of concern seem extra-awesome. And, as I was thinking this, J walked into M’s room. She was fretting because she couldn’t fit all of her supplies into her backpack. M volunteered her services, and soon the two of them were helping each other and preparing themselves with the kind of camaraderie that appears on special occasions like Christmas Eve and First Day of School Eve.

And finally, bedtime.  M and I had a semi-philosophical bedtime chat and J chose a selection of picture books (all total girl power stories, my favorite!). Those girls are awesome. I’m going to miss them tomorrow. Well, maybe.

Last Friday

I hope everyone’s enjoying the gorgeous blue skies. And the blazing hot sun. And the humidity. Which have all settled in just as the pools have closed, school’s about to start, and my children have brand-new pants and sweaters that they’d like to wear. Not like I’m bitter or anything.

After a string of rainy, chilly days (including our camping trip), I knew that the weather would improve last week, because J was committed to her (indoor) Circus Theatricks summer camp at the Ciccotti Center from 9 am to 3 pm each day. Even though the weather made me wish we were at the pool more often, J had a wonderful time. The camp ends with a Friday afternoon performance, and I was pretty sure that there was going to be a bit of a let-down from last year, because last year, J seemed to be a star of the show. She had her own act which involved her hanging and twisting around on an aerial hoop.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)