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Another school year is upon us and you are starting the 5th grade. You will likely change a lot this year.
When I look at you, I still see the tiny toddler with the deep voice. It sometimes catches me by surprise when I realize that you have been transformed into the beautiful young lady in front of me.
This year, boys might stop being completely yucky. Dare I say it, you may even think one or two of them are cute. The problem is they will continue to find you yucky for another year or two. This is a good thing. Trust me.
Some advice from your mama.
Choose your friends wisely. Girls are catty. They like you one day but not the next. Don't be like that. Treat everyone with respect, even if they don't deserve it.
You aren't going to be good at something the first time you try it. Everything takes practice. Believe it or not, you had to fall a couple of times before you learned to walk.
If it is worth doing, it is worth doing to the best of your abilities. Whether that's the violin, math, soccer or science always try your best.
We butt heads alot. You are stubborn. As you grow, we are going to butt heads even more. But I can promise you this, I will always be in your corner. I will always be cheering for you!
Make it a great 5th grade year. The choice is yours.
Dear Hurricane Irene,
You are a media whore.
You have dominated the news for the last week and you are wickedly pissed.
We faired pretty well here in south central Pennsylvania but my sister and our friends in North Carolina took a wallop.
This a picture of a tree being held up by power wires, which is never a good sign.
This is the debri floating in my sister's pool. Yuck. She spent nearly 24 hours without power and learned that the school she teaches at is flooded and lost part of its roof.
These are pictures of my beach buddies houses. The winds you brought with you caused $400 million dollars worth of damage in NC alone.
Those winds were in excess of 100 miles and killed 6 people in that state.
This picture shows my sister's neighbor's tree but it also shows the smiling faces of my neice and nephew....a welcome sight, indeed.
In conclusion, I remain impressed with your destructive ability. I am humbled by the massive size and fury you hit the eastern portion of this country with and I am praying for all our friends north of here.
School is back in session. The hairnets are open and the sneakers are on. Here's what I learned during the first three days of school.
Kindergartners don't know their names. I had one tell me repeatedly that his name was BUBBA. That is cute, but it isn't what we have in our point of sale system. Also not in our system--Hannah Bannana, middle names instead of actual first names, kids who have no idea what their last name is.
Why did the chicken cross the road? Obviously, he crossed the road to become lunch since that seems to be what's on the menu. At least twice a week...ugh.
Choices give me a headache. We have started the dreaded hot/cold veggie choice and have begun serving so many choices that even the grown ups in our building are confused.
The start of school can be a little higgledy-piggledy. We have a word-of-day calendar and the word on the first all student day was higgledy-piggledy. It means in a confused, disordered or random manner.
We are giving 212 degrees. As part of our lunch lady training, we were told to give 212 degrees. Apparently that is the temp water boils (one of those things I learned in school and forgot). At first I thought it meant, don't push me to my boiling point but what it meant was something a little different.
So how will you go the extra degree?
Wake up. It's time for middle school.
I can't believe that for the last two days that is how we have started our morning. When did you become a middle schooler?
Middle school is one of those times in your life where fitting in will feel overwhelmingly important. Where the opinions of your friends will matter more than the opinions of your family.
I am not really sure what advice I can give you. Other than being yourself, there isn't much I can say. In the long run, having the right clothes, having the right shoes, all that nonsense doesn't really matter.
Some things to remember (that will mean nothing to you until you are grown).
Everyone, at times, feels left out. Even those "popular kids", who seem to have it all, sometimes feel alone.
Not everyone is gonna like you. Just like you aren't going to find everyone you meet likeable. At 12, this can feel like the end of the world, but you are gonna have to trust me...it's not.
Have an opinion. It is better to have your own opinion than to just go with the popular one. Whether it is as simple as where you'd like to go to dinner or as complicated as your thoughts on life after death have an opinion.
Keep your moral compass in your pocket. If you wouldn't say it to their face than don't text it, or post it or whisper it. Don't touch things that don't belong to you be that a cell phone or your friend's boyfriend.
Don't believe you're the only one. Don't let your peers try to convince you that you are the only one who doen't have this or you're the only one who has to do that or your the only one who has yet to try it. They are likely lying and even if they aren't who cares.
Middle school is a tough time. People change. Friends change.
You will find that throughout your life that when you need a friend it is best to be a friend.
Sometimes our friends show up on our peewee football cheerleading squads and they never leave.
Other times you find them in the lunchroom over shared conversation. Sometimes they greet you at a bus stop just when you didn't think you could feel more alone.
They live next door to you. They work with you. You find them on the playground.
Just be yourself and treat others the way you'd like to be treated (even if they don't treat you kindly) and you really can't go wrong.
All my love,
Before we dive right in with what I learned in lunchlady training this week, I would just like to take the opportunity to apologize to the 1/2 dozen male lunch persons who work in school cafeteria's nationwide.
Apparently, three of you are in my very own district and I have yet to change to the correct terminology of lunch person. Seeing as I find this term idiotic and seeing as there are about 400,000 more lunchladies than lunchmen I am gonna keep ignoring it. But please consider this a blanket apology that covers all future incorrect terminology.
Wow...I feel so much better.
Now grab a pen and paper and play along and for crying outloud please resist the urge to google the answers.
1). A student finds a hair in his food. Do you..
a. Say "seriously..like I'm wearin' a hairnet. I know that ain't mine and your trying to get more food.
b. Apologize and fetch them another tray and make a mental note to see if they try the same trick twice.
c. Count your hair to see if any have fallen out.
d. Stare blankly at them until they go away.
2). A parent calls to accuse you of stealing money from his child's account. Do you..
a. Say "I was meaning to thank you for those new clothes."
b. Thank him for bringing the matter to your attention and address the situation promptly.
c. Pray for a new job to land in your lap before he calls back.
d. Stare blankly at your computer screen until he thinks the phone has disconnected.
3). Two students collide while carrying their lunch trays. The cafeteria erupts into cheers. Do you...
a. Applaud and say "for cryin' out loud would you pay attention to what you are doing!"
b. Take a bow drawing attention to yourself while helping the kids clean up and get new food.
c Take pictures with your iphone
d. Stare blankly at the mess until someone else cleans it up.
4). One boy in line says to another boy in line "This food SUCKS". Do you...
a. Nod and agree
b. Tell him that that we don't say that but you'd be more than happy to listen to specific reasons why he didnt like his lunch.
c. Start a food fight.
d. Stare blankly at him while using a robot voice.
Pencils down. Now we will review you score. If you picked all As, it is likely that you are in high school and have yet to get a "real" job. If you picked all Cs, it is likely that you have never been considered proactive. If you chose all Ds, stop staring and do something.
If you chose all Bs, grab a hairnet and meet me in the kitchen at 8 a.m.
Imagine, if you will, that you are given a magic slip of paper and told that you can write down your worst memory and it will be erased...forgotten...deleted.
Would you do it?
Would you write about the day your mother left and you saw your father fall to pieces?
Would you write about the time you had to coax your cousin away from her dead baby's casket?
Would you try to erase the pain of your grandfather's death from your grandmother's face?
Would you make sure the boy you loved like brother didn't get in that car?
No lie, I would be tempted. But I would throw the paper away because no good can come from forgetting.
All of our memories, the good ones and the bad ones, make us who we are.
Wishing away the day my mother left wouldn't make anyone happier. It would have stopped the end of the beginning of better things.
Erasing the pain I saw my cousin endure, well that would, in turn erase Baby Izack and I would never want anyone to forget him.
Shielding my grandmother from the pain of losing someone she spent most of her life with would deny her the gift of mourning, for we can only mourn those that we truly love. When the process is complete your pain fades (a little) and your smile returns when you remember them.
Would I make sure my "brother" didn't get in that car? Oh...how I would want to, but doing so would change everything.
Our experiences are what shape us and we must continue to believe that, the good ones and the bad ones, all happen for a reason.
Even if that reason is often very unclear.
Inspired by a writing prompt at Write on the Edge
I think we need to have a sit down. You are starting to become a nuisance. It seems that you have invaded my much needed brain space. After all, we have already discussed just how many useless song lyrics are trapped in the recesses of my brain. I need the little bit of space that is left.
Without it, I can't remember things like soccer practice, where I put my car keys and who the heck all these little people are and why they keep calling me mommy.
Lack of sleep makes me a little ill-tempered.
Lack of sleep makes me a little lazy.
Lack of sleep make it difficult to stay awake during the day.
I am willing to barter with you. In fact, I'm not above down right bribery.
Here's my proposal--you leave me alone.
I get some much needed sleep. You get out of my brain so that I am not thinking of irrelevant things like PTO speeches, volunteer policies, kale, budget approvals, dress codes, hot and cold vegetables, why middle school sucks and who I need to punch.
In return, I will be less bitchy, more energetic, and significantly easier to live with.
I will yell less and clean more (okay...now I'm just being ridiculous and I'm blaming it on my lack of sleep.)
Sadly, with school right around the corner, this will be the season finale of the Poolside Perspective and because of that, I thought I would recap each of the past seven posts.
I started this column on July 1st as an alternative to my widely popular (at least in my mind) Lessons from the Lunchlady and don't fret, those will be returning next week with a new recap on lunchlady training.
Week One: We learned that some people are incompetent assholes, that swimsuits are available in sizes large enough to cover your areolas, that table dancing and dunking the elderly are frowned upon, that monokinis disgust me and that wearing a swimsuit with an American Flag pattern would likely offend Betsy Ross.
Week Two: We learned that going to the pool on field trip day should be avoided at all costs, that, in my opinion, hugely pregnant women should not wear bikinis, that making out in the deep end is gross no matter what your age, that drunk tattoos are even more noticeable at the pool and that, for goodness sake, if your friends towel and chair are still there when you leave, you may want to do a head count.
Week Three: We learned that crack is not just a street drug, that tiny toads and pool filters aren't friends, that big chested women like tiny swim tops, that changing your name to Bob Marley can be fun, and that B and I are starting our own synchronized swiming team once we stop fighting over who gets to wear the arm floaties.
Week four: We learned that some people mark their pool spot like dogs mark telephone pools, we realized that butterflies are not one of God's smartest creatures, we came to terms with friends vs. siblings, we popped three rafts, and we watched as other people's children ate our pool toys.
Week Five: We saw a toddler in a monokini, we realized that cheese fries are addicting, we learned a new word, we were attacked by umbrellas, and we witness idiots planking.
Week 6: We came to terms with our pathetic swim bag, we lamented about black socks and sandals, we talked about the dreaded green carpet, we enjoyed a few cloudy days, and we decided that voice volume should be part of the lifeguard test.
Week 7: Finally we discussed why making your own bathing suit could never be a good idea, why pre-teen boys with hair down to their asses can cause gender confusion, why wrapping your child in bubble wrap won't keep him safe, how the pool water in August can't be THAT cold and also why rubbing lotion on your friend will only encourage your stalker.
In conclusion, I have had a fantastic time at the pool this summer. I have learned so much. My body is tan and my wallet is empty.
Cheese fries and sunscreen aren't cheap.
Of course, I have no idea where they're gonna find them, but we should definitely open the show like this (the video has a delay...just keep watching).
But alas, time marches on and before we know it fall will be blowing in.
Here's a look at what we did this summer.
I had a great time at book club and even manage to see Horrible Bosses and Bridesmaids with some great friends!
All in all summer has been a huge success!
When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I discussed at great length the pros and cons of my staying at home and not returning to my legal secretarial job.
It was a job I somewhat enjoyed. Like any job it had its good days and its bad days. My boss at the time practiced family law and one can only stomach so many divorces, so many custody battles and so many paternity suits.
To be honest, part of me wondered what I would do all day with an infant.
Part of me thought I would be bored out of my mind.
With much reluctance, I gave up my office manager position and told my boss that I would not return.
My baby was born less than four days later. I was overwhelmed. Hubby stayed home for the first week and then he got to leave. He got to take an uninterupted shower, get dressed in nice clothes and leave. He didn't have to figure out why she was crying, he didn't have to change diapers or always have lunch alone.
Oldest was born in February so sometimes it was days before we even could leave the house.
It was sooooo lonely. I thought I would loose my mind. When oldest was about four months, I joined a playgroup. Some of those moms became my lifeline. They understood what I was going through. They understood how I felt.
Many of them remain my friends.
I started to enjoy my baby. She was becoming more of a little person, she was showing her unique personality. The years started to fly by. Soon I was chasing a toddler and dragging a infant to library story time.
Flash foward two more years and our son arrived, completing our family.
Oldest was four, middle was two and youngest G was new. Four, two and new. It seems like yesterday.
I was overwhelmed. I was never bored. I was never alone.
I remember trying to grocery shop. Oldest is trying to ride on the end of the cart, middle is fighting her for position. I offer to push around one of the stupid car carts. Youngest G is playing with his own hands in his carrier.
Middle tells me in a loud voice that when she grows up she is going to be a garbage man so she will always be able to hang on the side of the car. Oldest says, "When I grow up I am going to do nothing, just like you, mommy."
At first it felt like she had hit me, but then I realized that nothing would please me more because, lets face it, whether we stay home with our kids or not, having a child changes everthing.
I have been cutting out bulletin boards non-stop on the cricut over the last month. It has actually been a lot of fun to see these boards spring to life. The pictures I have been posting do not do them justice. Next week, i will try to post pics of the actual boards so you can get a better idea of the size.
This week, I am posting a picture of the kindergarten bulletin board. It features three puppies from the create a critter cricut cartridge. They are cut at 9 1/4 inches. The students names will be written on the bones.
What did you make this week?
Make Your Own Swimsuit. Ok...this suit scares me. Does it really have a zipper and a button? How does that work when it is wet. Um...wouldn't your reason for making a swimsuit be more along the lines of modesty. So why a two piece. I am just confused.
Gender confusion. I realize that longer hair on boys is in style and can be done in a very cute, not confusing sort of way. In fact, I would love my hubby to let his hair shag out a little, but alas he refuses. That being said, if your elementary age son has hair down to his ass and multiple people gasp when he gets in the pool because they think your daughter has lost her shirt it might be time to reconsider the hair style.
You can't protect them from everything. I am not a big fan of this contraption. Wow. I mean it goes around the waist and attaches to the arms and who knows where else. Um...what do you think is gonna happen? Here's what I have seen happen...your boy trips before he even makes it to the water because you thought givinig him a noodle in addition to this contraption was an even better idea and now both of his legs are bloody. Smart. Very smart.
It ain't that cold. B and I watched a grown women get into the pool this week and make a face as if she had just stepped into water in the artic. She didn't just make the face once, but multiple times as she walked deeper attempting to adjust to the artic temps. Um...seriously...it's August. How cold can it be?
Don't try to creep me out. I had a stalker at the pool this week. He wouldn't stop staring at my friend S and I. We figured his staring was for one of three reasons. Either it was because he could clearly see up her skirt, he heard about "the incident" at the lake when my swim top flopped open or he hoped that I might decide to put sunscreen all over my friend. Hey creepy...go watch someone else....
In conclusion, we learned that we should never make our own swimsuit no matter how on sale the fabric is, kids can hurt themselves even when wrapped in bubble tape, if people don't know the gender of your child then you should consider cutting his hair, the water can't be cold-as-the-artic in August and if you're gonna blantantly stare, at least put on sunglasses.
One jump in, try not to frown
Alone again, a boring town
Two of us, I wear the key
Around my neck, for all to see
Three and four unlock the door
No friends inside is a bore
Parents won't know what we do
Hours of fun without a clue
Best friends with boys across the way
Our parents split, no one could stay
Death took one of the boys from us
My heart still feels the painful crush
Divorce and distance take a toll
Five and six I am a fool
Missing family far away
No words can take the pain away
Seven eight my family grows
She has his eye, my little nose
I understand a mother's love
Hurt even more from what's above
Touch the ground, count up to ten
Still feel alone, need a friend
One jump out, try not to pout
Life is full of round about
Inspired by the genius of Mama Kat
With the start of school just around the corner, I decided to take the time to write a letter to one of my high school teachers. As I have grown, I have begun to realize that the lessons he taught were above and beyond what he was contracted to do.
Dr. Mr L.
I gave you a real run for your money, but no matter what I did you didn't blink.
Your teaching style was considered unusual. I still remember having my name randomly called during the middle of your lecture. The expectation being that I would repeat the last word you said...that I would prove I was paying attention.
When I shouted out my name as the last word you uttered, you didn't find my response funny. You didn't give me an in. You were the only teacher to notice some of the pain I hid with my humor. You offered to talk to me if I ever wanted to share. You noticed all the things I was trying so hard to hide.
You stressed the gift I had for the written word and encouraged me to apply myself more. You urged me to take typing, something I am truly grateful for. You encourage me to write down what I was feeling. To blog before blogging was even thought of.
You made me repeat things daily like, "I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street I met a man who had no feet." When I was a teenager, I thought you were crazy. Now I get it. Now I understand.
How hard it must have been for you to hope that one day some of us would "get" it.
Thank you for being a royal pain in my ass. I realize now that it is only because you cared.
You encouraged all of us to take our good, to make it better but not to settle until it was our best.
I am honored to have called you my teacher.
Take time today to thank all the teachers in your life.
Sadly, summer is coming to a close. Last week, I posted some pictures of a first grade bulletin board I was working on.
This week I am sharing pictures of a third grade bulletin board I am working on. The current third graders are the Class of 2021 and our district vision statement stresses the importance of graduation. With that in mind, here are the little graduates I created with the cricut Everyday Paperdoll cartridge.
The diplomas will feature each students name.
Thanks for visiting.
Thanks for taking time to visit!
My poolside days are numbered.. Sadly, there is less than three weeks to the start of school. Only two more installments of the poolside perspective remain (gasp). I am not ready to return to the kitchen...
What did you learn this week?
Here are a few things I wish I had known when I was starting out.
Names are important. I can't stand the name of my blog but it is too much work to change it. Be certain you don't pick anything too long. It is a pain typing out mine.
Blogger isn't the only choice. I am (mostly) happy with blogger, but I wish I had at least investigated some other choices, like self-hosting or Wordpress.
Comments are like crack. I am actually jealous of some of the comment love my fellow bloggers get. The funny thing about it is you can't control it. You can write a funny, thought provoking post about the trials and tribulations of lunch lady training and get 3 comments, while someone else can write a post about free cat litter and get 54 comments.
Posting a comment will not get you a comment. I once thought the more I commented, the more comments I would get. Nope. Doesn't work. Comment if you want to. Not because you feel like you have too.
Follow forcing. Some bloggers offer incentives, like prizes or blog candy, if you follow them. I don't care if you follow, if you aren't gonna read what I write. Therefore, I choose to believe all 120 of my followers are actual readers.
Stat reviewing can become addictive. At any given moment, i can look up what my most popular post to date is and ponder why people were drawn to it an not to this one about why I am not a doctor yet.
Google reader is as addicting as Facebook. I have blogged a lot about the vexes of Facebook and still continue to visit at least once a day. Google reader has the same power over me.
It's your blog, so blog what you want. If you wanna write a post about when liberal became a bad word or what you love the most about being a lunch lady, then write it. If people don't wanna read it, their loss.
Offend. Sometimes people find what I write upsetting or even offensive. I had a few people stop following after I posted my views on the new car seat regulations or my thoughts on this children's book. I am okay with that.
Enjoy it. The day this blog becomes something I have to do instead of something I want to do then that will be the day I write my last post.
(I will always be jealous of her comment love)
I know it is not your fault that your head is the size of the average Thanksgiving turkey. I realize that if my mom and step dad didn't crate you regularly that perhaps I may be able to tolorate you. That being said, I still find you difficult to like.
You eat everything and by everything I mean stuffed animals, prescription glasses and candles. You never tire. Is there Red Bull in your water dish? Speaking of your water dish, it is not for swimming in. You can drink without immersing your entire head and spilling the water dish. In fact, with a tongue as large as yours, you could probably drink without bending your head.
Drool grosses me out and I am pretty sure someone told you. Is that why you like to coat my dog in your drool? Is that why you decorated my glass door in it? A word of advise, shaking your spit on people = bad manners. Stop it.
Knocking over my children will not win you any accolades. They don't like it and neither do I. Apparently banning you from my house has little effect since you can't drive and those who can ignore the ban.
Let me bark it out for you. While I find you to be a significant improvement from my mother's previous dog, which I was convinced was plotting my death, I still find you unacceptable. I was hoping my mom would get a purse sized dog. Instead she got you.
You are impossible to control. You don't walk well on a leash. You outweigh most of my family members. I don't want you at or in my house and I likely will not visit you at your house. We are at an impass.
Stay. You at your house and me at mine.
Annoyed in PA,
Saturday was my 39th birthday. My sister (left) and her family came to visit for a few days and we spent the day at a local lake. The guys took the canoe out, some of the kids went for a ride, we swam at the lake and enjoyed a not-as-hot-as-the-surface-of-the-sun kind of day.
Here are the 39 things we learned.
1. Some families have additional children so the older siblings can care for the younger ones. It isn't uncommon to see a 2 year old chasing after her 1 year old sister.
2. If you want to look like a freakin' ghost apply 110 SPF sunscreen for 20 minutes. Holy white! Ever hear about the benefits of vitamin D?
3. Bathing suits are not required at the lake. You can just go swimming in your underwear. Ugh.
4. Middle G has a butt knuckle and my sister knows how to crack it.
5. My son has no stranger danger. He asked a stranger to look after his raft and if he'd seen his cousin.
6. Wasp stings, especially on the bottom of you foot, hurt and thinking of puppies and sunshine doesn't really help.
7. Even though the park was overflowing with hammocks, they were not provided by the lake. In fact they are from El Salvador and no one there will speak enough English to understand you want to buy one.
8. The items people will cook on the park provided grills are seriously questionable.
9. It can be difficult to ascertain the gender of certain people.
10. Paddling the canoe is a lot of work, especially when you have two talkative tweens with you.
11. The park ranger may be more talkative than the tweens.
12. Always carry toliet paper in the van. You never know when you may need it.
13. When rushing to the aide of your son, make sure your swim suit is securely fastened or you will flash the canoes as they rush by.
14. If you have an exceptionally overweight child, make sure they have food in both of their hands at all times.
15. Spending time at the lake improves your singing.
16. People will assume you stole their raft before looking for the one they brought.
17. Strangers will try to get you to pull them on the raft.
18. Rocks will entertain kids for hours.
19. Speaking another language would be beneficial.
20. It's your birthday and you can do whatever you want is not a legal defense.
21. No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just can't work your crazy eye.
22. Fish do not like chocolate covered pretzels.
23. All purchases, from getting a soda to buying a hammock, should be discussed at great length.
24. It is impossible to take a decent picture of all five of our children.
25. My sister doesn't know how to count to 39.
26. An entire bag of doritos can disappear in less than 15 minutes.
27. Odd numbers of kids don't play even.
28. Love is in the air! Is what I was singing after every fight.
29. If people can't tell if you are with your son or your lover, you have a HUGE problem!
30. How can it be humanly possible for your brain to process information that slowly.
31. Nothing will ever happen the first time you say it.
32. My almost 8 year old son can still wear a 3T swimsuit and thinks "show me your muscles" means show me your rib cage. This picture should be on a feed the children commercial. Please note: there is food in his hand and he is fed regularly.
33. If you are dehydrated you will likely cry and not know why.
34. Xanax is highly recommended.
35. Some people are not spontaneous.
36. All kids think they know everything.
37. Throwing dead fish at your cousins or sisters is really funny, but mostly only to you.
38. Popping up out of the lake, pretending to be a lake monster, will make your Aunt scream.
39. One day at the lake is very educational.
- I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some crack...um...I meant some comments.