Tuesday, January 31, 2012

As Seen on Campus

If your feet are cold enough for uggs, chances are that your legs are cold enough for pants. Just saying.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fragments

It's been a while! I'm ready to celebrate Friday, old-school :)

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

I am WHIPPED. Work has been a total blur the last few weeks, and I'm ready for the grant proposals to be out and the workload to drop back down to a manageable pace. I have grand plans for February, including working on a new definition of Food Deserts and creating a Food Access and Nutrition data portal on our website. I'm hoping to spin that into a dissertation topic. I'm sure I'll talk about that more than you care to hear!

I forgot how time-consuming school is, and all of the little piles of suck that go along with graduate-level education. That's a post for a different day :)

I'm officially back in marathon-training mode. Had a bit of a stop and start with the DC Marathon, which I've decided not to do, so I took 2 weeks off to let some shin splints heal and I have 12 miles on the calendar for tomorrow.

Jorge Posada retired this week. I know most of you don't give a rat's about Yankee baseball, but I'm really going to miss the Jeter-Posada-Mo trio.

Charlie got a haircut this weekend. I thought it made him look a lot older. Yesterday, when I went to pick him up from school, he had just started painting a watercolor picture. I sat down with him so that he could finish up. He did a really great job rinsing the brush between colors and not digging around in the paint tray. When he was done with his masterpiece, he cleaned up the tray, sponged off the table, emptied the dirty water, refilled the bowl with fresh water for the next kid, and hung up his smock. He's certainly not a baby anymore (sob!).

You're never too old for mom to drop off surprise cupcakes!

Enjoy your weekend! I hope to be relaxing on the couch with a vodka/cranberry and a cupcake later on tonight.

Monday, January 23, 2012

This Stuff is Hard, Yo!

As an historically avid supporter of local public schools and local public school levies, I'm suddenly finding my February calendar full of open houses, meet-the-school coffee hours, and tours for the local private school circuit. Not only that, but I'm actually finding myself excited about the possibilities of some of these schools. It's not that our local schools aren't good. I've done the research, I know they're up to par. It's just that the world of private schools offers so many more options and experiences. It goes beyond the simplicity of better educational activities and enrichment areas - most of the private schools actually have operational hours that line up relatively well with normal working hours, including the holy grail for dual-income families - FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN! Our options in the public school are limited when it comes to full day options and extended care programs.

I'll admit that this may be coming from a position of bias, though. I was lucky enough to go to a Montessori school through first grade, after which my parents stuck us all over in a catholic school (it only lasted one year, but that's another story). I LOVED Montessori school. I excelled there, according to the (very detailed) school records that my teachers kept. I see Charlie excelling in the same kind of environment, and I want him to be able to stay there. I want him to have that kind of solid educational background, to really grow into a love of learning, and to have the Montessori freedom to develop the skills that he's most interested in. Yes, a lot of that also comes from the home environment - I absolutely recognize that. And of course, millions of kids succeed at public schools and go on to do wonderful things.

Beyond that, being back in school has forced me to brush the dust off of my old sociological imagination. Part of me wonders if some of the motivation is being able to do for him what my parents couldn't do for us, the whole idea that you want your children to succeed and surpass what you've accomplished. Maybe I want to give him the educational experience that my parents weren't able to give me. Don't get me wrong, my mom did an amazing job raising us to be curious about our world. She fostered a love of books and a love of learning and it was just assumed in our house that college would naturally follow high school, even though neither of my parents had degrees. Even so, I remember being pretty miserable when I started going to a traditional school. I just hate the idea of having to take him out of his pleasant little learning environment and stick him somewhere else.

Of course, that very well may happen. Researching private schools has involved a good amount of sticker shock.

But I'm probably over-thinking it, anyway. That's what graduate students do, after all.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Old Lady in a Bar

I feel like the last month has just been a lesson in "you are no longer a spring chicken." From the Sparkle Girls Night Out to the whole Back-to-School deal, I suddenly feel like my college days were eons ago and that I'm completely out of touch with "youth culture." Not that it's a problem, it's just funny how we obviously get older every day, and it's not until you find yourself in a situation where you are one of the oldEST that you realize just how much time has actually passed.

GNO consisted of an evening dinner and drinks. We met up for dinner at a reasonable hour, and left the restaurant a few hours later, thanks to craptastically slow service that resulted in 10 30-something women playing the "penis game." Because we're mature. We headed a few blocks over to the collection of bars that make up Mt. Adams. They were all empty. Well, I take that back - they weren't all empty, they were mostly empty with a smattering of older people - but no music, no activity. We went from place to place and eventually ended up at a bar called The Pavillion.

This is the last time I was at Pavillion:


Of course, there's no one at Pavillion, either, and we can't figure out why Mt. Adams is totally empty, until someone looks at their watch and realized that it's only 9:30. Flashback to college years, when the pre-party didn't even begin until 10. The party hadn't even started, and we were ready to go to bed. Instant realization - we ARE the older people (** insert twilight zone music here **).

We got our beers and danced anyway, to songs that I've never heard of. All was going along well, when suddenly I heard the opening sounds of a very familiar song.

(side note: all of the scenes in color are from the NKOTB: Live in LA concert. I may have owned it. On VHS.)

Oh, snap. Did the DJ just call us out for being OLD??

He followed it up with another classic:

It was ON. He laughed at us and said that he feels old in that bar, too, because ZOMG, he was twenty-freaking-THREE! But it was ok, because he then proceeded to spin us a flipping sweet mix of the best late 90s dance music, ever.

It was a lovely night out with the ladies. Now, all I need to do is come to terms with the fact that I am "That Old Lady" that my friends used to point and giggle about, who thinks she and her girlfriends are hot stuff out on the dance floor. Whatevs. At least I still have my dignity, which is more than I can say for some of the girls we saw. Culottes? Really?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Do you Tebow?

I'm part of the minority - I'm not a Tebow fan. Not even the tiniest bit. I'm super torn today because Tebow and his team are going to New England to play the Patriots. The only team for which my loathing even comes close to approximating my hatred for the red sox. What's a New York sports fan to do?

And because going back to class has re-activated my Sociological Imagination, here's some food for thought - What if Tim Tebow were Muslim?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

There have been little quirks through the years that remind me that Charlie will be his own person and have his own way of doing things no matter what I do or say. What I call "see-saws" are "teeter-totters" to him and the window coverings that I call "shades" are "blinds." I'm often corrected on these points. And god forbid I pronounce "latkes" wrong. "No no, mom, it's Lat-KUS!" (and how awesome is it that they made latkes at school to learn about Chanukah?)

These are just things I have to live with, given that my child is growing up in a different state than I did, with different naming conventions for every day objects. (The one thing I will put my foot down on is the soda vs. pop issue. "Pop" is a sound. "Soda" is a drink.)

Anyway. So there are little nuances here and there when it comes to raising a kid, but what no one mentioned, not even one little line in the million parenting books I read, is that there's a potential that two right-handed people can produce a left-handed kid. I suspected from a very early age, and his teachers recently confirmed, that he's a lefty. He eats, draws, and now writes (!) left-handed. It's an interesting situation I'm finding myself in. He's been enjoying practicing writing letters lately, and often asks one of us to sit down with him and show him how it's done. I'm really struggling with the whole left-handed thing. I can't for the life of me figure out how to show him the way to hold a pencil in his left hand. I can't figure out how to guide his writing the way he asks me to, because when I hold his left hand and try to write with my left hand it just gets ugly. The saddest part is that he's got this dry-erase book that he loves, but since he's writing left-handed his arm drags across the work he's already done and erases it all. I can totally understand how that would be frustrating to him.

I wanted to be a lefty so bad when I was growing up! I thought it was cool and exotic. I guess this is what I get.

The upside is that there's always a market for left-handed relief pitching!

ETA: Did you know that lefties can have their very own special way of making letters?

Friday, January 6, 2012

30 While 30 - Back to School!

One of my 30 While 30 goals is to make some progress on earning that PhD I never finished. The only things standing between me and greatness are a theory class, a preliminary exam, a literature review, and a dissertation. In December, I submitted an application to be re-instated to my PhD program. December 30th, I received notification that I had been re-admitted. On Tuesday, I started that theory class. It's official, I'm a "non-traditional" student. I remember that back when I was a naive 1st-year MA student I looked at the PhD students who had "real jobs" and families and wonder how in the world they made it work. As luck failure to complete my degree in a reasonable time frame would have it, 7.5 years, a marriage, and a 3-year old later, I'm one of the 30-something-year-old students who shows up to class in professional clothes and feels slightly self-conscious about carrying a backpack.

I used to have an office here, three floors from the top. Crosley Tower is one of the largest poured-concrete structures every made. It's also quite possibly the ugliest building I've ever seen in person. 8 windows per floor, no natural light in the hallways, and one bathroom (either men's or women's) nested under the stairwells in alternating floors.

It's a long uphill climb, as I've been out of the loop so long that there are three new faculty members to get to know, an entirely new prelim structure, and a ton of research to catch up on. My dissertation will be going in an entirely different direction than originally planned, given that there's been 5 years worth of development in cohabitation and I'm now in the health field. It just makes more sense to start over, and if I'm starting from a blank slate, I may as well choose a more relevant topic.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy 2012!

Get your party hats out, because I'm back from my annual Blogcation! We had a fantastic 10 days (mostly) unplugged from the interwebs. We had dance parties, built lego towns, cleaned the house, organized, played outside, and snowtubed. The best part may have been Charlie letting us sleep until 8:00. Sure, that made it pretty rough to drag my ass out of bed at 5:30 this morning, but it was amazing while it lasted. Spending an entire 11 days with my 3-year-old was fantastic. Spending time with him AND my whole gigantic family in New Jersey was even better. I'm so glad we were able to go "home" for christmas.

Christmas was great. Santa left some cool presents for Charlie, I got to meet my new nephew, Baby Angelo, and Husband Charlie gifted me with a super cool rock.

We even managed to get a family picture with everyone in it. This was the joke version just for grandma. We're irreverent like that.

I had a good Mom's Night Out, went to my first NFL game, and celebrated New Year's Eve with some good friends. Charlie thought the party was so great that he continued it the next morning. I think he looks like a deranged super hero.

Anywho. I also managed to make some progress on my 30 while 30 list, which I'll post about tomorrow. Or sometime. For now, I've got some catching up to do! Happy new year!


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