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Friday, June 28, 2013

Poolside Perspective: don't piss me off

The pool this week was a test of my patience. In fact, this entire week was a test of my patience.

Here's why:

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?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

An open letter to our neighbors

Dear Neighbors,

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!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday: why I'm my son's hero

P.S. Why do my kids always give me black hair? Do I have black hair?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kenny Chesney and 60,000 pounds of garbage

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.

Monday, June 24, 2013

An open letter to Paula Deen

Dear Paula,

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 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.



Friday, June 21, 2013

Poolside Perspective: happy first day of summer

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.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Facebragger: are you one of them?

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.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: sisterly truce

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why Tina Fey shouldn't come with me to gymnastics

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.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Miss USA: I'm sorry can you repeat that?

Miss Connecticut accepting her title

What I'm about to tell you is going to come as a shock. Especially if you know me.

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.

Last night was no exception. Miss Utah was asked, "A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?"

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.
Friday, June 14, 2013

Poolside Perspective: Summer 2013

Poolside Perspective returns Friday, June 21st.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Vacation: What I'd like to accomplish

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?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lessons from the lunchlady: the final chapter of 2013

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?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Happy 12th Birthday Middle G

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!



Monday, June 10, 2013

Graduations 2013

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.

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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 meant some comments.
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