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Thanks for all the love!
Farewell for now.
An open letter to my children:
I think I have failed you. I think I have raised you with an entitlement gene that renders you incapable of actually working for things you desire.
I take full responsibly. I think that all parents want to give their kids more than what they had, but in doing so, I feel like I have handicapped you in ways that I couldn't foresee.
For example, you think that if you whine loudly enough that I will buy you anything, including a $25 personal blender. Why would a nine year old need a blender? When told no you fall completely apart and say things like "Why don't you love me?" or "I can't wait till my birthday, it's too long."
It's not even just things you WANT. It also an inability to clean up after yourself. It's like you feel entitled to make a mess and see who else can clean it. Or, worse yet, you act like you have no idea how to clean it up.
Middle and oldest told me they didn't know how to hand wash dishes because they've never done it before? Really, this is something that needs to be taught? It's not something you just know how to do?
Let's talk about the morning when the cat, dug all the liter out of her box and then peed on the floor. Did my oldest really think she could swifter that up?
The problem is so deeply rooted in our house that other than spending time on a missions trip, I'm not sure what to do.
My children think that $90 calculators should just be handed over. They think that if they rip their favorite jean shorts from Justice they should immediately be replaced. They think that expensive blenders are toys.
Maybe giving everyone a trophy even if they suck is a bad idea. Maybe rewarding everyone makes everyone believe they deserve to be rewarded. Maybe in an effort to preserve everyone's self esteem, we have created generations of children who think the world owes them something just for being in the world.
Don't get me wrong, if given enough time, my kids can figure out how to wash the dishes or clean the cat crap. They can clean the van or pick up their room. They can help paint the fence and vacuum the living.
So what's the problem, you ask? After they do it, they seem to think that because they did what needed to be done that there should be some type of reward, that there should be a trophy.
I worry that when that trophy, or that pat on the back or that "way to go" doesn't come, they will feel dismissed and unvalued.
And I blame myself.
Cotton candy grapes? Seriously? What is wrong with grape flavor? I don't think I wanna pay $6 a pound to have grapes that taste like cotton candy.
While I understand the growers motive, which he claims is to make kids want grapes instead of cotton candy, I think he is going about it all wrong.
Kids like grapes. If you're gonna change the flavor of something, why not focus on the cranberry? Or asparagus?
Kids need be taught from early on that this is what grapes taste like. Take it or leave it.
This whole idea sort of reminds me of the asshole of a nurse I had in the labor and deliver room when my middle daughter was born. I was having a lot of trouble latching her on. She just wasnt taking to it very well.
The uneducated woman attempting to help me said, "She just needs to get a taste of it," and preceded to dump a bottle of formula all over my chest.
Here's what I learned from that experience. Middle G still couldn't latch on and formula is sticky. If your child doesn't like grapes or won't try grapes, making them taste like cotton candy isn't the solution.
Designer grapes? This is what we are working on? How about feeding the hungry? Curing cancer? Making produce more affordable for those on a fixed income?
Cross pollinating or fruits to taste like candy? Well that should be significantly lower on the list.
Just my humble opinion.
I haven't been writing much about the pool this year. We had a slow start with a lot of rain in June, kids off at camp, and visits to grandparents houses.
It feels like we haven't been swimming much.
Where has the summer gone?
This is what I learned this week:
Bees will swoop. A bus full daycamp kids and their counselors were in the pool when a bee on steroids decided to swoop down and buzz them. That is a lot of screaming. A lot of screaming!!
Birthdays at the pool ROCK. I spent the day with great friends and family, cheese fries and sun. It doesn't get much better.
You can't predict the weather. We wanted to go to the pool in the evening to listen to a band that one of the lifeguards plays in. Sadly, it thundered and then poured and we never made it.
My sister's pool is even cooler. The kids and I are spending some time in NC with my sister and her family. It's even a better poolside perspective when it's from my sister's screened in porch and I'm watching my kids swim with their cousins.
Sprinkle in some water park fun. We hit the water slides today and it was a perfect way to spend a Friday.
What did you learn this week?
Photo credit www.washingtonpost.com
After first learning about the India school lunch poisoning that killed 23 children between the ages of 5-12, I thought please don't let this be true.
India has one of the largest free school lunch programs in the world feeding nearly 120 million children. State governments decide on menus and timings of the meals which cannot cost more than .03 cents to prepare.
Most cooks are paid no more than 40 rupees a day (.68 cents) and cannot make more than 1000 rupees a month or $17.
However, in an area where nearly HALF of all children suffer from malnutrition, the free midday meal remains one of the biggest incentives to sending children to school.
Even in light of this tragedy, the midday meal must remain.
The incident may have been an intentional act of malice perpetuated by Meena Kumari, the principal at the school. She purchased cooking oil containing large quantities of a very potent pesticide from a company operated by her husband.
Even after the cook questioned the apparence of the oil, Kumari insisted it be used. Even after the children complained that the food tasted bad, Kumari insisted that they eat.
Once the children began to vomit and loose consciousness, Kumari fled. After nine days on the run, she was arrested late last week.
She is claiming that she has been set up.
My heart breaks for the families of the children lost and for the two cooks. One tried to calm the children and reassure them that all was fine by eating the meal with them becoming violently ill as well. The other cook lost two of her three children.
She is quoted as saying "I am so horrified that I wouldn't grieve more if my only surviving child died." She also said she would never return to the school.
While much corruption remains, the good that the India midday meal provides does so much more. It is my sincere hope that the numerous branches of government can learn from this tragedy and begin to make changes to a highly mismanaged and corrupt system.
No ones says it better or with more conviction than Shweta Sharma, who is an Assistant Teacher at the Government Middle School in Deoghar City, Jharkhand.
Her entire piece can be found HERE and I urge you to read it.
Why do you come to my blog just to bitch about it? I delete all your stupid comments. I honestly don't care what you think but let's clear a few things up.
Sarcasm is hard to convey in print so when I talk about things like the lifeguard cleaning the pool, I'm not "bitching about everything" and I certainly "wouldn't prefer the lifeguard asleep in her chair." Most of my regular readers grasp this concept.
I find it quite humerous that you read my blog only to mock it. I'm just going to throw this out there because maybe you don't know. You CAN stop coming here.
In fact, I wouldn't mind at all.
Have you nothing else to do but stop by blogs and complain about them? Perhaps you should consider employment. Most people don't consider reading blogs and watching YouTube videos employment. I realize coming up with all those witty comments feels like work but alas it truly isn't.
You are one of those people who post negative comments on Facebook pages you like. Why do you like Dove Soap if you just wanna tell people it smells like shit? I don't think you understand what "like" means.
Oddly enough, I'm sort of looking forward to your response to this. As I'm sure it's gonna be thought provoking and filled with misspellings.
Just to make it more entertaining, I think I'll read my blog and all the comments after searching for it on gizoogle which converts everything to gangsta.
At the very least, it will finally make whatever you have to say somewhat humerous cause nothing says "suck it" quite like gangsta.
Seems I haven't found all the time I was thinking I lost by working full time by having the summer off.
If anything, I seemed to have lost even more of it.
I was convinced that we would have thought provoking discussions on this roller coaster accident or that we might touch on the school lunch incident in India that left 22 children dead and a headmistress fleeing. I even thought we might talk about the ridiculous reporting on those Asiana pilot names .
I guess it's never to late to blog about it. Of course, every other blogger is going to be talking about the royal baby.
Here's hoping they don't go with Prince Albert. We can't have royalty named after a genital piercing.
Is it possible that my summer break is nearly half over?
Here's what we've squeezed in so far.
Little G went to camp. The camp sign was VERY happy to see me. Seriously? Am I the only one who noticed that?
Oldest went to Hershey Park with the band, Middle G. fell in love with One Direction at a concert that tested my parking lot patience to its limit. It took us over three hours to get home. However, I think the positive memories we made outweighed the negative.
We hit the road as a family and stopped in West Virginia to visit my mom. She's all settled in and feeling at home. The kids had fun creek stomping and making s'mores.
We've been to the pool, although the weather hasn't been very cooperative. We've hung out with friends. We've said goodbye to friends. We played our last baseball game.
We played mini golf with grandparents. We've had ice cream and played in the slip and slide. We've crafted. We've scrapbooked. We've attempted some Pinterest crafts.
We've been to gymnastics class and soccer camp. We've had a few campfires and we've slept in the backyard.
We've eaten Popsicles. We've posed for countless photos. Sometimes pretending we like each other.
We fired BB guns. We took a few hikes. We swam on top of a freaking mountain. One of the most beautiful state park pools I've ever been too.
In hind sight, we've made quite a few memories.
Middle G. holding the rooster we brought home from West Virginia for her BFF.
It was payment for taking care of Inky the Cat.
Can you see it?
The pool this week was a test of my patience. In fact, this entire week was a test of my patience.
No means no. I heard my girls and three of their friends say "Stop it. Leave me alone" to three boys who appeared to be attempting to untie their swim tops. I about killed them. I went down to the pool and told him to swim away, to point out his mother, and to make sure I didn't see anywhere near the girls. His response was that he came to the pool alone, with friends.
Don't drop your kid at the pool. WTF? Based on the above, if you are dropping your tween off at the pool it's pretty likely that he is acting like a jackass.
You aren't the only one at the pool. You can't throw your kid a volleyball while she's jumping off of the public diving board. You keep hitting my kid and it is annoying. Like really annoying. Aren't you a grow up?
If the pool is mostly empty, the lifeguard will clean the wall. The lady who nearly sat beside me at a mostly empty pool day seemed surprised that the lifeguard wasn't in her chair. She was scrubbing the pool wall. I guess the 25 swimmers in there weren't as important as the algae.
Deflating a raft isn't as easy as it appears. I had to deflate this penguin raft so it could travel to its new home and I truly hope there isn't video. I looked ridiculous.
What did you learn this week?
Is that really a U-haul in your driveway? I so hoped you would change your mind. I so hoped that you would decide that living beside me totally outweighed everything else. Sadly, we all have to make money and it looks like work and family trumped me.
We sure have had a lot of laughs over the years. Whenever I'm singing along to a song in the car and I don't know the words forevermore I will always say "Watermelon." I will never be able to hear the words "last call" without thinking, "Why is is always last call?"
When we moved in my kids were six, three and one. I remember when C joined all the Gs. I still have a copy of the birth announcement I made for you. Your little one looking so angelic in that picture.
Who am I going to borrow sour cream from? Remember when Little G. wrote a story at school about all the food we "borrow" from you and his teacher asked me if we were having problems. That's almost as funny as the time one of the kid's convinced their teacher we were Jewish.
We've been minature golfing, hayriding, and trick or treating. We've been to the beach, where we found your husband in a radom parking lot, we've been dancing, we've had smore-making, crab cracking, siting my the fire with a drink fun.
Who can forget all the pool days and book club?
We've watched each other kids, we've put kids on the bus, we've taking kids off the bus. We've been each other's emergency contacts. We even lived through the 2011 floods and the 2012 Cholrine Gas spill.
Every time 30 Rock is on, I will think of you.
Promise me this. You will skype us for Modern Family in the fall. You will still participate in book club and you will come and visit.
The thought of watching Little C grow up on Facebook doesn't seem fair. And Middle G has taught me that things should always be fair!
I will miss you, my friend.
Who knows, I may drive two hours just for some sour cream.
Best wishes on your new adventure!
I love me some Kenny Chesney. I mean what's not to like.
I also love me some Pittsburgh. I grew up not far from "the burgh" and I still love that city. So imagine my disappointment to learn that the Chesney fans that attended his recent Pittsburgh concert left nearly 60,000 pounds of garbage behind. This does not include the recyclables.
I spend countless hours a year telling little kids to be mindful of their trash. I explain to them, that while dropping it means they don't have to clean it up, it doesn't mean that no one has to pick it up.
According to Leroy Stotler Jr., president of Three Rivers Power Sweep in Apollo, it took his crew nearly 15 hours to cleanup.
He said the mess of half-eaten food, warm beer, couches, portable pools and other refuse was about five times that for an average Steelers game.
“People make their own toilets. Lots of those. Five-gallon buckets and cardboard boxes.” said Stotler, whose company leads the cleanup operation. “I'll leave that up to your imagination.”
I don't know about you but I just vomited.
I realize that concerts are big money makes and that the city collected nearly $500,000 in tax revenue. That being said, I don't care how much you spent on tickets, or alcohol, or transportation. Leaving a bucket of your shit in a parking lot takes disrespectful to an entirely different level.
The 100 of you arrested are even bigger assholes. In case you forgot, you can't hear the concert in prison.
Before my inbox is flooded with those of you in attendance who didn't so much as drop a gum wrapper, good for you. The world needs more people like you. But that makes what the other 20 percent of you did even more disturbing.
Pick up your own trash.
Keep your hands to yourself.
And if you can't drink without becoming an asshole, put in a CD and stay the hell home.
I'm not really sure what to say. Quite frankly, you've said quite enough.
You should first and foremost STOP TALKING and by all means when you talk to Matt Lauer on Wednesday try to look at least a little bit sincere.
I don't know who did the shotty editing on your first apology video that was almost immediately pulled, but I hope you fired them. My 12 year old could have done a better job.
This looks like a hostage video. This is the video of a desperate person but the problem is I can't tell if your desperately seeking actual forgiveness or if your desperately seeking the salvation of your brand.
I've read an annoying amount of coverage on this including this USA Today piece that clearly reveals exactly what Paula Deen said.
It's one thing to forgive a southern senior for an offensive slur but what you are quoted as saying isn't exactly that. Is it Paula?
Did you really say in your deposition about your racist comments that "It’s just what they are — they’re jokes ... most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks ... gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don't know — I just don't know what to say...I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”
You need better friends. I would clearly of indicated my offense.
Let's also talk about this "southern plantation wedding". Since you seemed incapable of determining what is offensive let me help you out. Young black servants at a wedding dressed like slaves? AYFKM? That's not just offensive, that's a deal breaker as evidenced by the companies trying to shake your racism off of their brand before they are tainted by association.
Howard Bragman, vice chairman of Reputation.com thinks you'll survive but you'll never be whole again. Bragman went on to say that when your obituary is written, this will be a significant part of it.
It's now your footnote and it isn't looking like you're gonna shake it anytime soon.
I'll watch your Wednesday interview in one form or another but I honestly can't fully convey my disappointment.
Adults should know what's offensive and what isn't.
It's that time of the year again.
That time when most of my days are spent lounging about at the pool and leisurely reading my book. That last sentence actually made me laugh out loud.
Let me rephrase.
It's that time of the year when I spend countless hours packing lunches that are never enough food to feed everyone. That time of the year when the number one rule is no drowning. That time of the year when my husband and I revive our debate about spray vs. lotion sunscreen. That time of the year when there are more inflatables in my car than children.
It's pool season.
Here's what we learned this week.
It's never too cold to get in the water. My son cannonballed into the pool last week when I'm sure water temps couldn't possibly have been much higher than 60 degrees. I thought for sure that he ruptured his eardrum because he couldn't hear for 24 hours after the jump.
Beetles can fly. I'm not sure why the grown adult woman sitting near me felt compelled to "rescue" beetle after beetle from the surface if the pool. However, she did entertain me for a short while until it just became super weird for me.
The green carpet of death has been removed. Because of badly poured concrete our pool owner thought concealing it with a fake grass green carpet was a good idea. That thing was a breeding ground for anthrax. It was so foul that I wouldn't let my kids walk on it and on more than one occassion I saw others letting their kids lie on it. I had to stop typing to vomit. I'm happy to report that the concrete has been repaired and the green carpet of death has been removed.
It's never to early in the season for some crack. Come on people. You can't tell me that you are unaware that your ass is showing. Pull up your pants. Or I'm just gonna start spraying sunscreen on it as a public service.
Cups. If you wanna save some money, skip the pool toys and bring some cups. Plain old plastic cups or even colorful disposible cups. Kids cannot resist them. It's like magic.
I recently heard the term facebragging and thought "AYFKM?"
Is this really something we should label? After careful thought and a quick scan through my own newsfeed, I reconsidered.
Facebragging is an epidemic and we need to stop it before we all turn into Molly Parker. She takes facebragging to whole new level.
Let's make a pact to end this nonsence.
We all know you're proud of your kid's grades. You don't have to post it. You might be surprised to learn this but we are ALL proud of our kids EVEN WHEN THEIR GRADES AREN'T PERFECT.
There is no such thing as a perfect life. Stop pretending yours is.
Someone should have told you a while ago that people respond better to people who keep it real.
I don't want to see pictures of your child carrying his potty chair filled with urine. Most kids figure out this skill or else their prom date brings them home A LOT earlier than agreed upon.
Facebragging works the other way too. Stop writing things like, "Will anyone miss me when I'm gone?" That's a baiting status. You are trolling for comments reassuring your worth. If you need to do this, you really should consider paying for therapy.
I guess, like me, you are wondering what isn't considered facebragging. I can hear you in the distance faintly saying, "Just what then can I post about? If you don't want to know about my perfect SAT score or the successful removal of my gall bladder at home by me, then I just don't know what to type."
Here's what I know about that.
You shouldn't post anything that includes words 'scary', 'spooky', 'haunted', 'forbidden' or 'hydroponic'. (Bonus points if you can guess that movie reference.)
Basically, just keep right on posting as if you'd never heard the term facebragging and I'll keep on blocking you.
It's either that or I'll be forced to copy your status word for word and post it as my own, tagging you in it.
My status today: I'm so proud of myself for ridding the world completely of facebragging. It's hard to be as awesome as me.
I'm listening to Bossypants by Tina Fey for book club. Our meeting is on Sunday and I'm almost done.
Middle G had gymnastics tonight for an hour and a half so I thought I might be able to finish it.
She started talking about her Sarah Palin days on SNL. Goodness that is FUNNY.
It was so funny that I actually laughed out loud during gymnastics to which I got quite a few evil eyes.
Turns out parents just assume that you're laughing at their kid.
Who knows? (Wink, Wink)
Maybe I was.
|Miss Connecticut accepting her title|
I like beauty pageants.
I know. Your opinion of me has dropped. I can tell by the way your mouth opened in surprise and shock. Hear me out.
I appreciate the amount of self confidence it takes to walk out on stage and say "go ahead and judge my appearance." Lord knows I don't have that kind of confidence.
I appreciate those who have an entertaining talent although I find it somewhat disturbing that many of the contestants tap dance. I image watching me write or scrapbook wouldn't be as entertaining.
I appreciate the ridiculously outlandish questions asked to 19-25 year olds. In fact, I would love to write these questions.
She responded by saying, "I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are … continuing to try to strive to [epic pause] figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem. And I think, especially the men are … um … seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to try to figure out how to create educate better so we can solve this problem. Thank you."
Let's be serious. She'd have been better off if she'd said, "I'm sorry. I simply have no idea why women continue to earn less. I do, however, find this trend disturbing, demoralizing and simply not in alignment with world peace."
Instead, her answer literally made me feel significantly stupider for having listened to it. Her rambling incoherent thought made her answer completely irrelevant. Although, she did still manage to grab third place.
This is why it's important to have a real opinion and to not try to spout off what you think people want to hear.
Or just say April 25th because it's not too hot and it's not too cold and all you need is a light jacket.
What do you hope to accomplish this summer?
I needed to finish up a few things at work this morning and I had a lunch time meeting. I told my kids to come up with three things they'd like to accomplish and complete them before I returned home.
The above is my nine year olds list. Isn't he a hoot?
This request got me thinking about what I'd like to accomplish prior to the end of summer vacation.
Declutter. This is pretty much a recurring theme of my life. The odds that much, if any, significant decluttering will occur are slim but putting it on the list makes me feel like it could possibly maybe sort of kind might get done and that makes me feel better.
Scrapbook. I'm tired of feeling guilty about wanting to scrapbook. I'm going to make 30 pages before school starts back up.
Spend time at the pool. I'm looking forward to the return of Poolside Perpective and quality time in chlorinate water.
Take a photo a day. I enjoy Instagram (follow me @kisatrtle) but I seldom post. While on break I'd like to try and take a photo a day. Here's today's.
Does the Lunchlady need her own blog? Thoughts? I've been debating about taking the lunch lesson in a new direction and having an all new Lessons From the a Lunchlady blog. I would still share my weekly lessons but I'd also talk about all things school nutrition. Would you read it?
It goes without saying that I'd like to blog a little more and visit all of you a little more. I hope to make a routine of these things. I'm planning some backyard fires and some visits with friends. I'm hoping to share a few awesomely cool memories with my kids and maybe even visit some old friends in Ohio.
I'm also planning to visit my sister whether she likes it or not.
How about you?
The kitchen is closed and the lessons have all been taught.
The trays are stacked and cleaned and soon the freezer will be emptied and turned off. My first year as manager has come to a close. I must admit that the transition from part time to full time was a lot harder than I expected.
At times I felt like I simply couldn't do all that needed to be done. The funny thing about summer break is it always comes just when you need it.
Here's a few things I learned this year.
Kindergartners are simply my all time favorite. There's been much talk in my district about returning to half day kindergarten and I truly hope they do not. First and foremost, I think this would be a HUGE step backwards and not in the best interest for our district. But the second reason is simply selfish. I would miss those little buggers in the lunch line. Who would ask me for baby grapes (blueberries)? Who would tell me the white broccoli is the bestest? Who would eat the bananas without peeling them?
Lunch participation is a hard thing to predict. I'd like to figure out why my free kids aren't eating. I'd like to figure out why some kids come to breakfast and others don't. I'd like to increase participation. I'd like to make sure the kids that are hungry are getting enough to eat. I'd like to figure out how to do that.
Ordering food isn't as intimidating as I thought it would be. When I first had to do the ordering, I thought I'd never get it down. But as the year progressed, I got a little better at it. Sure, I forgot to order pickles and I sometimes had way too much pineapple but it all worked out.
It's best to be over prepared. I planned for about 300 people at VIP breakfast even though only about 55 RSVP'd. That turned out to be a pretty good estimate. Apparently RSVPing isn't all that fashionable.
Most days, I love my job. Since accepting my position as kitchen manager, I've been offered two other jobs, both which paid significantly more. Turns out, I truly like what I do. Sure, some might not think it all that important. Some might think it beneath them. But in the long run, it only matters what I think. And I think that doing something you feel passionately about makes a difference.
And isn't making a difference what life is all about?
Dear Middle G.
How is it possible that you are turning twelve? I find myself somewhat sad about your impending journey through adolescence. I find myself struggling with the thought of you experiencing your first broken heart, your first middle school dance, and all the girl drama that is bound to accompany both.
Since your obsession of late is gymnastics, I have decided to share some life advice in the form of this theme.
Be flexible. Life has a way of throwing you down to the mat. Just when you think you have it all figured out, you don't. It's important to be flexible. To go with the flow. To think before you react.
Split your time. Find your balance. Don't spend too much time online. Don't spend too much time doing nothing. Don't spend too much time working. Don't spend too much time playing. Find your balance.
Be a bridge. You will find that girls, both young and old, come with a lot of drama. Sadly, even as grown women, some are just difficult. The best advice I can give you in dealing with this is to be the bridge. Be the person that helps dissipate the drama. Be the person that brings people together instead of the person who tears them apart.
Cartwheel even when you don't feel like it. Sometimes the only way to get out of a funk is to do something crazy.
Never be afraid to flip. I've told you countless times to step out of your comfort zone. To push yourself even if at first you're afraid.
Happy Birthday Middle G. I can't wait to see all that you can do!
This year I covered three graduations for the paper and attended my oldest daughter's 8th grade promotion and reward ceremony as well as my middle daughter's 6th grade promotion.
I'm actually sort of grateful my son didn't have a 3rd grade promotion ceremony. I was starting to feel a little like Bob from The Incredibles when he says "It is not a graduation. He will simply be moved from the fourth grade to the fifth grade."
That being said let's talk about my favorite quotes from this year's events.
My first graduation was on a wonderfully warm Friday evening. Please keep in mind that warm weather brings outs the sparsely dressed. Please refer to my previous post
about not acting like an ass.
I saw just over 400 students graduate, heard six speeches and listen to another chorus rendition of "For Good" from WICKED. My favorite quote from the evening "You have the power to make a positive difference."
The next "graduation" I attended was my oldest daughter's eight grade promotion to which one speaker quoted Sydney J. Harris "The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows"
While my take on the quote was far different than hers, I found myself pondering the thought process of the 14 year old mind. The frontal lobe still not fully developed. The struggle of the child trapped within the adult body. Her take on the quote included finding something within yourself to envision your full potential. i always thought it meant that you must learned not to focus solely on yourself.
That graduation included five speeches and a little over 300 8th graders.
Here's a picture of us all prior to the event.
Graduation No. 2 for the paper was at a non traditional high school designed for students who struggle in a typical classroom setting. These kids couldn't have been happier or prouder. It included just under 100 students, seven speeches only Pomp and Circumstance was played.
My favorite quote of the evening was said by the Superintendent of Record, "Every situation is a choice. You decide how you react to it."
That is often times easier said than done.
My middle daughter's promotion ceremony came next. The best speech from that event by far was given by the principal in which she relayed the story of an older fish saying to a couple of younger fish, "How's the water?" To which the younger fish reply, "what's water?"
The point of the story, at least in my mind, is that we often overlook the most important things. We often take what we couldn't live without for granted.
Friday found me at my last graduation, which to my surprised included reserved seating and a job offer. But I'll save that for another post.
My favorite quote from that night came from the superintendent. Providing advice she wished she had 33 years ago at her high school graduation she said, "Life is too hard to be lived alone. As you grow you will become more like your parents. Spend more time listening. Give back to your community. Seek balance. Build relationships. Trust your instincts. Find your passion and be true to your integrity."
This graduation included six speeches and an endearing rendition of Lean on Me.
Graduation season is about over. I plan on attending my own district's commencement ceremony tonight because I wish to hear the final address of our superintendent before she moves on to bigger and better things.
To all the graduates out there, my wish for you is that life is all that you imagined. Cure cancer. Stop wars. Live a life of passion. Make it a good one. After all, the choice is yours.
Regular readers know that I cover numerous graduations for our local paper. Last year I posted some basic unacceptable behaviors. I would like to elaborate on that as I get ready to attend the first of a handful of graduations tomorrow.
Wearing clothes that make you look like any of the following: a slut, an audience member on Maury, or an escaped convict: not appropriate.
Bringing children with you who are incapable of sitting for 10 minutes let alone 90 -- not appropriate.
Yelling things. Not appropriate. Someone should tell you that your child isn't more important than the child in front or behind him/her in line. Shouting things like "Way to go Dumbass" is disrespectful.
Answering your phone. Completely unacceptable and downright rude. I don't care if you're on call. I don't care if your waiting to hear if your grandchild was born. If your phone rings during graduation, you cannot answer. If you need to return that call, please exit.
Leaving during a speech. Not acceptable. Try to remember that these kids are 17 or 18. They are speaking in front of a ton of their peers and many of their loved ones. Clomping up the bleachers in your big ass shoes so you can get to your car first is unacceptable. In all honest, it makes me want to trip you.
Just because I'm taking notes doesn't mean I have extra paper to share with your irritating child. Asking me for my pen - unacceptable. It always amazes me just how perplexed people get when they see me taking notes at graduation. I must not look like a reporter.
Allowing your child to slide down the stadium bleachers. Not acceptable. Seriously? Someone needs to tell you this?
Can't wait to see what tomorrow night brings.
It's going to be hot out there. Just in case you were wondering, bikini tops are also unacceptable.
A certain kind of crazy happens in my school cafeteria on hotdog day. I imagine that it happens elsewhere as well, but I can only speak for the kind of crazy that happens in my kitchen.
Five things you will only hear in hotdog day (hopefully)
"Hey, you broke my wiener" said a 2nd grader as he discovered his hotdog had split a little. My response, "That's so you know where to put the ketchup."
"It's time to catheterize the hotdogs," said by one of my coworkers or me as we temperature those little buggers.
"His pickle is bigger than mine," said by a kindergartener in reference to the dill spear he received with his lunch. Best response: "never compare pickles. It only leads to hurt feelings."
"I've got a wiener in my pocket," said by a first grader in a bad attempt to parody this song. This version might be better than the original.
Finally, we just can't serve hotdogs and baked beans without some little kid telling us the beans are a magical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot."
One thing's for sure, I do have a lot of fun at work.
On a typical morning, most of us wake up and do not plan for our deaths.
We wake up with expectations of waking up again the following day. We go through our routines. We tell ourselves that we won't get irritated with our kids...tomorrow. We tell ourselves that we will put our laundry away...tomorrow.
We make plans.
We picture our futures.
But sometimes those plans are interrupted by car accidents or illnesses or tornadoes.
On a typical day, we send our kids to school with expectations that we will see them again.
But sadly, we all know that this isn't always how the day ends. Lately, it feels like that every few months we are reminded of this.
There are approximately 7 million teachers and 1.75 million school administrators in the United States.
I am not one of them.
However, I know many of them.
Some are even family members.
Not all of them are created equal.
But on those not-so-typical days, some of them are extraordinary.
It is those not-so-typical days, that we are reminded of just how much we ask of our school employees.
On Monday, when that nameless 2 mile wide tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma and ripped through Plaza Towers Elementary School many did all they could to save the children left in their care.
One rescue worker was quoted as saying, "We had to pull a car out of the front hall off a teacher and I don't know what her name is, but she had three little kids underneath her. Good job, teach."
Another teacher is said to have been found shielding six students in an interior bathroom.
I am proud to say that I know countless people whom I believe would do the same. They would risk it all to save the kids in their class. They would do all they could to keep the children in their charge safe.
As a school employee, I think that includes not just the teachers but the administrators, the aides, the custodians and the lunch staff.
Tomorrow my alarm will go off and I will plan for a typical day. My kids will get on three different buses and I will trust that they will make it to and from their respective destinations.
But should tomorrow turn out to be a not-so-typical day, I know deep in my heart that those I have entrusted my kids to would die trying to keep them safe.
To all the heroes in Oklahoma and elsewhere, I salute you.
Less than 20 lunches need to be prepared before summer break is upon us. I have to say that it has been a bigger adjustment than Inexpected going from part time to full time but I have no regrets.
Here's what we learned this week.
Apple crisp: No one wants the apple crisp until you run out. I'm pretty sure there is some kind of law of supply and demand related to this very notion.
It's easy to piss off the bank. You'd think that people who have hours like 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. would be super pleasant. My deposit from grandparent's day had A LOT of coins in it. I separated them all into little ziplock bags and wrote on the bag how much was included but I didn't have any rolls. Guess what came back in my bank bag. Tons of rolls and a note about being required to roll all coins. Who are they trying to kid? I know they have a coin counter. I've been to the bank before.
Kids will notice. Sometimes it feels like kids could care less about school lunch and they'll only notice the negative. But this week when I took the time to make kiwi/orange/blueberry cups just about everyone of those little buggers noticed and were super excited about.
Refried beans still get a reaction. No matter how many times we serve them, we still get a few gasps from the littlest customers who definately judge their food by its appearence. Foods that looks like poop is a hard sale on a K-3 level.
Excited about changes and ideas for next year. If the goal is to continue to improve service and provide healthy meals then we are headed in the right direction.
What did you learn this week?
It's been awhile since I've shared some cafeteria adventures. I was feeling a little burned out from blogging but I'm ready to make a comeback.
Here's hoping that a few of you are still reading and that maybe you'll bring a friend or two with you.
Being a superhero is pretty darn cool. May 3rd was School Lunch Superhero day and we were treated to some really cool cafeteria decorations, thank you notes and even a dance number. My favorite were the notes depicting my hairnet.
Sunflowers are my favorite. The preschool class gave me a sunflower they planted from a seed and told me "Happy Mudder's Day". It may have been the single cutest thing that happened to me this week.
Old people make me laugh. While serving lunch to a ton of grandparents this week, I was asking if they'd like milk or water. One grandpap asked "Got any beer back there?"
Vanilla milk takes down chocolate. Can you believe that there is a milk flavor that can take down chocolate as the champion?? Turns out my kiddos are in love with vanilla milk. It sort of tastes like melted vanilla ice cream. I'm still shocked that so may of my students love this milk.
"I don't wike the wed things." I don't know how you feel about red peppers but I think they are delicious. The students, on the other hand, are not all that fond. They are totally convinced that they are spicy. Now they've started asking me to take put all the "wed" ones.
They don't know what's good!
What have you learned while I was gone??
Over the last few weeks, I have attended quite a few school spring concerts. Performers in the concert ranged from kindergarten through eighth grade and were all very well behaved. However, the amount of inappropriate behaviors witnessed by people in attendance who qualify as adults needs to be addressed.
Let's go over some basic concert etiquette. Feel free to share this with the dummies in your life.
It is not appropriate to answer your phone. I don't care if its your mother, answering the phone during a school concert, or any school function, is inappropriate. Let it go to voice mail. The world will not end.
It is not appropriate to record the entire concert on your iPad. Your iPad is freakin HUGE! I can not see around it, Let's be serious, you can't zoom close enough on an iPad to make a video worth watching. Leave it at home.
It is not appropriate to say "Who the fuck is that?" when school administrators are talking. This should be self explanatory but apparently it isn't. In fact, you should refrain from cussing at all school functions. Odds are that if you came to more school functions you probably would know the speaker.
It is not appropriate to take your misbehaving toddler to the lobby and then let him run and squeal as if he is in the middle of a soccer field. This may shock you, but we can still hear him. If your child can not sit still for 90 minutes they are not invited.
It is not appropriate to check your Facebook, to text your dad, or to play candy crush during the show. You can unplug for 90 minutes. If not, you have a problem.
It is not appropriate to yell anything during the concert. Not "turn on the mike" or "way to go, Jack!" or "We love you, monkey." Just clap, like everyone else.
It is not appropriate to leave once your child is done performing. If your kid is in the orchestra and they played first, you need to keep your butt in that chair until my band student is done playing. You are not allowed to leave because that is rude.
To summarize, turn off your electronic devices, be quiet and stay in your seat. If we all did this, the concert would be even more enjoyable.
I follow a lot of child nutrition blog sites, twitter feeds and Facebook pages. Basically, if something happens in the school nutrition business, I will hear about it one way or another.
So when some of my Facebook feeds started blowing up about this story I too wanted to weigh in.
Dear Mr. Canterbury,
Your proposal that students receiving free or reduced lunch "work" for their food by doing odd jobs such as cleaning tables and scrubbing toilets has to be one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever heard.
First, Mr. Canterbury let's address a few reasons why this simply won't work. It is impossible to explain to a five year old kindergarten student that he must pick up the trash left after lunch to pay for his meal while other students are not expected to do the same. Many children, especially those on an elementary level, are completely unaware that their lunch is subsidize. Anonymity is one of the reason the program works so well.
Secondly, this anonymity becomes even more important to our older students. How would you feel if it was basically announced to all the other West Virginia delegates that since you make the least amount of money, you'll be cleaning the toilets and eating for free.
High school is hard enough, let's not add this to the mix.
You are quoted as saying there is no such thing as a free lunch. Really? It's slightly hypocritical of you considering during your sessions, lunch is provided. Perhaps there was a potluck that I was unaware of but I'm pretty sure all you had to do was show up and someone fed you.
Granted, you didn't pay for that lunch and someone else did, but what exactly did you do to "earn" it?
Here's what I learned.
Computers are temperamental. We depend heavily on electronics. When the server goes down, things immediately become more complicated and I become grateful that I work at the smallest school in the district.
PSSA breakfast. For six days we provided breakfast for the entire third grade class during state testing. It wasn't all that more complicated as we served the regular breakfast kids the same thing as the PSSA kids but the delay between first breakfast and third grade breakfast really made getting lunch ready a little more difficult.
Switching lunch never goes as planned. No matter how simple or how complex the menu change someone will miss it and someone will cry.
Milkmen are an enigma to me. I remain amazed by the fact that the milkman was able to interject into the story he was telling me about an auto accident the fact that he had to pee at least 14 times. I do not want to know about the urinary issues of the milkman.
The overhood fire protection has been inspected and is working. It's always a relief and a terror to know that all systems are a a go should I ever need to pull that little plug and release my over hood fire protection. I'm not sure exactly what comes out of there and I hope I never have to find out.
What did you learn this week?
I made 25 new scrapbook pages. My face and stomach still hurt from laughing.
How was your weekend?
I was going to let the viral opinion piece by Kathy M. Newman entitled I won't let my son take the PSSA slip away without nary a nod, but it kind of has me pissed.
My son, like Newman's, isn't a big reader. He doesn't read for pleasure. He reads because I require him to. While I realize that it is Newman's prerogative to opt out I think she fails to provide all the facts.
An opt out is recorded as a failure to the administering district. If less than 95 percent take the test, the district doesn't make adequate yearly progress (AYP) for participation.
It's ridiculous that religious reasons are cited for the opt out. My bible doesn't promise a stress free life. Newman calls her act a "civil disobedience". Fantastic. Here's hoping that Jacob doesn't grow up thinking that rules don't apply to him and that he never has to do anything he doesn't want to do.
Evaluations and assessments occur. They happen in school. They happen in the work place. They happen throughout our life. They are not new. Whether we agree with them or not we can't "opt out" without penalty.
We don't get to stay in the library and read for pleasure while the rest of our coworkers travel to Asia. We don't get to skip required paperwork at our job because we find it stressful and unneccary.
I think Newman's opt out sends the wrong message to her son. It says "You don't read well, we know you won't pass, so why not just skip it." At least that message is accurate, his opt out will be recorded as a failure.
Do I think a student's true knowledge is measured by a standardized test? Of course not. Do I think said tests should be tied to teacher evaluations? What does the art teacher have to do with a student's understand of math? The way things are currently, that's how the dominoes fall.
The system is flawed, but opting out will not make it better.
Contact your local legislator and complain.
Vote for public figures who have the power to change these things.
Or you can just "opt out" on real change and sit in the library reading for pleasure.
We had a short week last week mostly because Pennsylvania weather is completely unpredictable.
Who has a snow day at the end of March?
With no school on Monday and holiday break to begin on Friday, the three days in the middle went pretty fast.
Here's what I learned.
Sometimes you can make a "willy bad choice". After two kindergarteners were sent to the office for making less than appropriate choices one said to the other "If we ever get out of here, I promise I will never do that again."
The mile high club. We overheard one 3rd grader asking another 3rd grader if he was a member of the mile high club in some video game they were both playing. Here's hoping that his mile high club is different than this version.
Is a noodle a vegetable? As most of you know, a qualifying lunch must include a vegetable or a fruit. This week I was asking the students, who were passing on the broccoli but taking the Alfredo noodles, if noodles were a vegetable. It saddens me that many of them thought they were.
What did you learn this week?
Here's what we learned
Sometimes you just have to drop the carrots. After a freezer issue last week, my 30lb box if carrots turned into a really big carrot filled ice cube. Turns out if you drop the case on the floor, all becomes well again.
Can you give our teacher a message. While walking up to the teachers lounge I ran into two little kindergartners. They said, "Miss Wenny, If you see our teacher, can you tell her we are going home. I've got a bell-we ache and H has gotta bell-we ache and a headache." Um... "Are you driving yourself," I asked. They chuckled. "No. We's waiting for our wides at the nurse."
The wheels on the cart go round and round. How do you lose three wheels off of the same cart? I mean seriously? How do you do that? I don't know but I managed to do it.
Big Daddy Pizza. Dear Big Daddy, can't we just call you pizza? I mean even elementary kids think that name is ridiculous.
My coworkers got my back. I blogged earlier in the week about my terrible, good for nothing, really bad day and even when I had to abruptly leave my coworkers took care of everything. Even breakfast for the following day.
What did you learn this week?
These little onsie roses are so simple to make that I sort of wish I'd picked up some hats and little socks to toss in this bouquet as well.
What you'll need:
Some complimentary fake flowers
Vase of your choice
Package of onsies, bibs, socks and/or caps
Basically, you fold the arms of the onsie in so that all sides are even and roll it into a sausage. Each onsie makes two roses.
I hope you have as much fun with this as I did. Don't get caught up on perfection. Every flower has its own personality.
I need a do over on today.
From the moment it started, it took a wrong turn.
I forgot my work badge. My kids never answer their cell phones. My house looks like crap. I can't catch up. Laundry is everywhere.
The 30lbs of carrots were frozen into a huge mass. I opened the case upside down. I snapped at my coworkers. All the produce didn't arrive. The cart carrying the produce lost three wheels at once and smashed some of the cucumbers.
Nothing was going right.
It has to get better right? Nope.
Just as I am about to have lunch, middle G's school nurse calls and says "G's tongue and throat are tingly after lunch. She gonna need to be evaluated."
"What did she eat," I asked.
"Some kiwi and a pierogie."
"Is she having trouble breathing? Does she have hives? Is her tongue swollen? Is her throat constricted?"
"No. No. No. No."
I asked to speak to her and find out what was wrong first hand. Middle G told me her tongue felt "weird" and her throat was "scratchy". I still am not sure what's going on. Sounds like a mild reaction but still scarey.
The nurse takes the phone back from Middle G and says I need to come immediately. They can't continue to monitor her or answer my questions. I need to come right now.
So I tell my coworkers that I have to bail. That Middle G has a tingly tongue and needs to go to the doctor. I leave everything as is. It's a mess. Nothing is ready for tomorrow. No paperwork is complete. No breakfast is pulled.
I get there and find one school employee comforting Middle G and the school nurse armed with an Epipen and has my daughter hooked to a heart monitor. None of which were told to me. Just that her tongue was tingly.
I asked to get the ingredients to the pierogies and then I asked if Middle G was given any Benedryl. No. They don't have any there. Sigh. This seems like such a bad idea. If administered as soon as Middle G complained her symptoms may have significantly lessened.
Even though, at this point, I'm not convinced that a doctor will do anything more than give Middle G benedryl, we leave and go to urgent care.
While stuck in traffic on the way there, Middle G vomits all over the van but immediately feels better. This makes then trip significantly less terrifying but alot more smelly.
After being quickly evaluated, Middle G is given benedryl and a steroid. We are given a precautionary script for more steriod. Doctor says it was a mild reaction. Wouldn't recommend she carry a Epipen or anything. Can't say for certain, but it is more probable the kiwi than anything else. Would need further allergy testing to confirm. She should avoid it until confirmed.
I realize that everyone reacts to things differently than others. I have seen severe food allergy reactions first hand. I KNOW that they can not be taken lightly. However, today I felt like my reaction, or lack thereof, was being judged.
That it was being implied that I was reluctant to pick up my child simply because I wanted more information.
I don't like being judged. My kid will base her reaction on my reaction. If I come in there freaking out, she will freak out.
The first thing she asked me when we got to the van? "Am I going to die?"
I told her I didn't have that planned for today and she immediately lightened up and chuckled a little. She's not stupid. She knows when adults are panicked.
I wish this was the end to my bad day but alas it is not.
The garage door jammed.
My keys got stuck in the van ignition.
When I took the spot shot out to the garage to clean up the vomit it actually broke into four pieces. Really? How does a vacuum just break?
Finally free of vomit, I came inside to a rainstorm of glass when oldest daughter knocked one of my favorite wine glasses out of the shelf. It didn't just break. It imploded.
It's also garbage day and I had to take out the trash.
And I'm out of wine.
Where is the do over button?
This week we had a snow day that was really a rain day, we served green eggs, we wore chef hats and we learned what makes a day awesome and what doesn't. Here's what I learned.
I do not like them Sam I am; I do not like green eggs and ham. I had a lot of fun attempting to color the scrabbled eggs on Monday. We had shades from shamrock shake to Oscar the grouch. Turns out if you mix the shamrock with the grouch you get a more authentic green. Who knew?
It is not the greatest day ever! When an entire second grade class squeezed into the elevator because a student with an injury couldn't take the stairs one little boy exclaimed "this is the greatest day ever" to which the teacher replied "one of our classmates has a disability. This is NOT the greatest day ever. "
Hello, I'm Janet. From the Department of Agriculture. AYFKM? Apparently a quick glance into the dry storage and the cold storage was all she needed to see. She was also very interested if I had prominately displayed my federally required poster indicating that all students are welcome no matter their race or economic status. The entire visit lasted less than 10 minutes.
Middle of the week snow day. The blizzard of 2013 turned into a mostly annoying rainstorm. The worst part about having a day off in the middle of the week is that Thursday starts to feel like Monday.
National school Breakfast week can be fun. We had a lot of new faces at breakfast this week and that's always exciting. What I learned from that is if you offer a prize, they will come.
What did you learn this week?
It's read across America week and that means that just about every elementary school in the United States is doing something a little bit on the wacky side of things in an attempt to get children excited about reading.
We wore pajamas, we put on our Dr. Seuss and we got a little wacky. Honestly the week felt like it lasted 12 days.
Here's what I learned.
May the forks be with you. That's what my shirt said and a sweet little first grade busted up laughing explaining to me why it was soo funny. How cute are first graders?
No one takes you seriously when you wear a blue Holly Hobby bonnet. Our students couldn't believe that their beloved custodian Mr. G had on "baby's hat" on hat day. In their defense, he did look quite ridiculous.
Pajamas scare my principal. At least that's what I told the LIU preschool class when they asked why she wasn't dressed for bed. "Pajamas scare her. We should walk by quietly. Maybe she won't notice we're wearing them."
Puke-a-palooza has returned. Kids were dropping rapidly this week from the fever with a side of vomit virus. I'm hoping the big snow storm that is heading our way next week might kill some of these germs. Of course, keeping our hands to ourselves might also help. Kids touch each other...ALOT.
National school breakfast week. In case you didn't know there is actually a week of the year where we celebrate, of all things, school breakfast. More than 12 million kids will participate in the school breakfast program. I'm hoping to see some new faces next week where we'll be handing out yummy food and daily prizes. We're also letting those kids participating enter into a drawing for a Dr. Seuss prize package,
The kids were excited so I'm hoping they'll be allowed to come.
What did you learn this week? Will your school be doing something special for NSBW?
It seems like this time every year, you get a little negative. Is it a seasonal thing? Last year, I wrote you this letter and it could easily be copied and pasted below.
Usually you can shake these funks off rather easily. Usually you can carry on. Lately, however, I'm starting to get sick of you and your constant bitching.
You are doing it again.
You are becoming one of "those" people.
People aren't gonna wanna hang out with you if every word out of your mouth is a complaint. Shake it off. Take the high road. Follow your own advice.
Surround yourself with people who make you happy. Resume the activities that bring you joy. Cut ties with those that hurt you. Just because they text you, doesn't mean you have to reply. Go to the beach. Take time to visit your sister. The kitchen will be fine without you.
Christopher Robin would want you to know that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Dear Oldest G.
You're 14. Congratulations. You made it another year. Sure we fought. And this won't surprise you, we're gonna fight some more. But I'd like to think that you have learned some things from me over the last fourteen years.
I know that you like to roll your eyes at me. Those very eyes that used to look at me with awe and wonder now often glare at me in contempt. That little body that used to fit so neatly inside me is now taller than me. Those hands that used to hold mine so tightly now can't be bothered to pick up their dirty laundry.
I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. Because no matter how old you get, I still see you as that curly haired cutie that used to worries that I would have fun while you were at school.
Since you still have a fondness for all things Harry Potter, this year I will offer my advice in Harry Potter quotes.
If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. Who said this? Sirius Black. What does it mean? It means that you can tell a lot on a date by how your boyfriend treats the wait staff. Remember, no one is better than you and you are better than no one.
The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing and should, therefore, be treated with caution. Spoken by Albus Dumbledore. So be cautious with your words. Be cautious in your actions. Speak the truth kindly. Refrain from intentional hurt.
Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain, said Arthur Weasley. Don't depend on Google. Don't believe it just because you read it online. Don't repeat it on Facebook without verifying it.
You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there," said Draco Malfoy. Don't let others tell you what to think. Have an opinion. Have your own ideas. Never be afraid to disagree with the pack. It's okay to think differently.
Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect. Who doesn't love Luna Lovegood? We aren't guaranteed a life free from loss or pain. Often it is these losses or pains that help us grow. They help us become the people we are meant to be.
Don't sit on the sidelines.
Try something new.
Step out of your comfort zone.
Make a difference.
All my love, always and forever.
- 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.