Tuesday, October 31, 2006

fright night

After some pavement pounding trick or treating with B-girl's friend M-girl and her parents (Mr & Mrs Heavensent) it was on to Mom's house. When this guy came to the door I was a little scared. He's so tall that I did not recognize him at first. Of course, B-girl instantly knew it was her cousin Mac.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

awesome autumn!

It was a beatuiful day today. Nothing beats Autumn in Michigan! Now that we are back to health we were able to get out and pick out some pumpkins. The ones we brought home are a wee bit smaller than these.
A tribute to the 2006 Detroit Tigers

So the Tigers lost the World Series. Unfortunately, the best team did not take the title. No matter what they have accomplished great things in two years, going from one of the worst teams in baseball to the Big Show. Baseball is back in Detroit! Thanks Tigers.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Yes. I have gone to see the Rolling Stones. Not many people my age haven't--or any age for that matter. It was many years ago -- a lifetime ago really.

These days, solely for love of my child, I find myself listening to Radio Disney or rushing the stage at the Wiggles concert.

The B-girl, being her usual self, is very perceptive to visuals.

Over the last couple of weeks, a Radio Shack commercial has come on the TV a few times. In it the announcer talks about Radio Shack sponsoring the Rolling Stones. While the guy is talking the camera cuts away to shots of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as well as other shots of the Stones in concert.

So here it it is...

With all the Halloween commercials out right now, this Radio Shack ad, in particular, scares the beejeebers out of the B-girl. I am not kidding here. Every time the commercial comes on and she sees and hears them she lets out this long whincing cry like she is suddenly experiencing pain and then she covers her eyes.

Of course, the first few times I ignored this behavior, but when I noticed it occurred every time the ad came on TV, I confronted her about this aversion. She then told me she doesn't like their "scary Halloween costumes".

"What costumes?" I asked.

"The ones they are wearing for Halloween," she said.

"Do you think those musicians are dressed up for Halloween?"

"Yes Mom just look at them and listen to them," she said.

"Oh I have heard them before," I said.

"Don't they scare you?" she inquired.

"Not until just now," I quietly informed my child.

So there you have it. My daughter thinks the Radio Shack commercial featuring the Rolling Stones is some special Halloween fright. Won't she be surprised when she sees the same commercial at Thanksgiving and Christmas!

I still haven't told her they are not wearing Halloween costumes.

In this case

the truth

might just be

a little

too scary.

The B-girl got sick at 1:00 this morning. It has been non-stop
ever since. Now we are both sick.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

daunting haunting

(the witch is mine, Autumn Leaves and Mr. Incredible belong to Kell)

Remember when Halloween lasted only a few hours? Not anymore!
Tonight was Halloween Open House at school.
Sunday is Trunk or Treat at Metro South Church.
Monday is wear your costume to dance class.
Tuesday afternoon is Halloween Parade at school.
Tuesday after school is Safe Halloween at the park.
After that it is visit the houses of two uncles, go to Grandma's house,
once around her neighborhood and back to Grandma's to help pass out candy.

To top it off my natural hue is already green from the sickness I am trying to shake.
I will need no costume to appear ghoulish.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I have been sick for the last two days.

Bad sick. Sick to the stomach sick.

Heaving my guts out sick.

I have had the chills ever since I stood out in the rain at work for three hours one morning last week.

I knew this was coming.

Now it is all I can do to make sure the B-girl is okay.

Yesterday she was really nervous because she has never seen me like this. Usually when I get sick I just keep going, but this one is different.

This morning B-girl dressed herself and got her own backpack ready. I was barely able to get her to school.

I stayed home from work today ready to die.

I haven't been this sick since I got food poisoning in 1986.

I just hope the B-girl doesn't get this.

The B-girl has only me and having me go down like she has never seen before, is really upsetting to her. Seeing her so upset just makes me sicker.

Friday, October 20, 2006

CPA Mom requested this after the Picture Day post, so here it is!
I just love this kid so much!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mr. Joyce

Getting laid off your job and returning to work at a place in which you have already passed has its ups and downs. Last week hit a high note.

Working in the public relations office for a medium-sized Michigan city can put you in touch with the kind of people you know you will never forget. Mr. Joyce is one of those people.

In 1974 Mr. Joyce was my fourth grade teacher. I will never forget him because he was the first grown up I had a crush on. He was also my fifth grade teacher. Back then there were so many students enrolled in this town some teachers taught split classes. Mr. Joyce's was fourth and fifth grade.

Mr. Joyce was a young handsome teacher who some would consider the cool teacher. The guy who broke some of the rules...

On warm days right before summer vacation he would put down his chalk, look up at the class and say, "Anyone up for a game of softball?" Gym period was long past and we were only a couple hours away from dismissal but every hand would shoot upward as if to say "Oh yes please kind sir rescue us". Out we would go to the field for a friendly game of ball, waving to our friends in the sweltering rooms as we passed. Mr. Joyce kept bats, balls and gloves on top of the coatracks. We knew never to touch them until he did.

Mr. Joyce also helped students excel. In fifth grade I was still having trouble, not with writing, but writing so that people could read what I had written. My handwriting was awful. I practiced with little improvement. I was sitting on the fifth grade side of the class and one day he placed my fourth-grade friend Pam next to me. She also happened to be my next door neighbor and I remember thinking Mr. Joyce was so nice to move my good friend and neighbor to the chair next to me. I later found out that he simply paired the student with the best handwriting next to the student with the worst. It worked. My competitive nature took over when I saw Pam's papers marked with "Great Handwriting" in big red letters. I still think he purposely wrote all those extra comments on her papers large enough for me to see. I became the most improved student in the area of handwriting that year, and to this day, my handwriting still resembles Pam's.

Mr. Joyce loved my mom. My mother was not the traditional parent volunteer. She did wacky things like taking us all to McDonald's (which was a real treat back then) or making a candy Christmas tree out of some florist Styrofoam and about 20,000 pieces of candy. That tree was probably not a good thing to bring to the classroom of already hopped-up kids, but she did and Mr. Joyce loved her for it. They were top of line Christmas candies. We all looked at that tree for a week with our mouths watering. Finally, on the day before Christmas vacation, we all dug in, including Mr. Joyce.

Since I got good grades I was one of the "office girls". That meant you spent some time each day doing the work the secretaries had no desire to do like filing or answering phones, otherwise known as secretarial work. Back in those days the secretaries could smoke at their desks. My friend Danielle and I eventually grew tired of coughing and gagging all the way home so we decided to take matters into our own hands and talk to Mr. Joyce. He was the teacher in charge of the then all-boy safety force. We planned our escape for weeks and finally got up the guts to ask him. He happily said yes and that was the day we became the first pair of girl safeties at J Elementary. We headed out into the fresh air to our posts to act as chaperones and crossing guards for the younger kids, proud to be wearing our neon-red safety belts far away from that smoke-filled office.

In 1975 Mr. Joyce was the first teacher in my town to organize a trip to Washington D.C. for the day. Just for the day, no overnight stay. It was, at the time, unheard of and parents all over town were talking about Mr. Joyce. Who was this young man taking these kids so far away from home for a whole day? After all the airfare was $76.76 round trip for each student! Was he kidding? My mother of course thought it was a great idea, my dad, not so much. After many arguments about the distance and the cost, my mother prevailed and I went on the trip. It was an incredible experience.

While attending a "ground-breaking ceremony" the other day as part of my spin city duties, I was listening to the speaker thank about a dozen people for helping out with fundraising for a new botanical garden planned for our park. The names were all recognizable leaders from the community and one of those names was Dennis Joyce. When I heard his name I straightened my back as if I were caught not paying attention in class. I looked around for his soft brown hair and moustache. I didn't see him. There were only a couple of hundred people milling around.

When the speaker was done I asked him where I could find Mr. Joyce. He pointed toward the reception inside the building. I went in and looked around and finally caught a glimpse of him-- older, still handsome but no hair. It was all gone. The moustache too. I walked up to him trying to figure out what in the world I was going to say. I had visited him once after graduating college, but that was such a long time ago. When I got there he immediately smiled and said my name. I was thrilled. We talked for some time. He was there with his better half who is also another teacher I know. I felt a little sad his first marriage ended but glad he has found new love with a nice lady.

We talked about the old days and that trip to D.C. He told me he has the group photo of all us on the Capitol steps framed and hanging in his office. He became principal of another elementary school in our town some time ago. He said he has only the one picture of the first group that took the trip to D.C. in his office but not the many other classes that followed in our footsteps. I wondered why.

He so impressed me by asking about my mother. He told me he has never forgotten that candy Christmas tree she made for all of us. I remember at the time being embarrassed that she didn't bring cupcakes like the other mothers. Cupcakes long since forgotten.

I showed Mr. Joyce a picture of the B-girl and he smiled and said she looks just like I did when I was that age. He told me if I had any problems at her school to let him know and he would have her transferred to his school in a minute. I told him she is spoiled enough already. I promised to stop by his office to see that picture of all of us hanging on his wall. I could tell he was really happy to see me and glad that my life is good. I guess that's all we really want for the children we know -- to see them grow up into happy adults.

I thought of all the teachers who affected me in some positive way or another -- Mr. O'Reilley, Mrs. Love, Mr. Gerlica, Mr. Johnson and the numerous college professors I never got to thank for going above and beyond the call of duty.

I felt an overwhelming sense of relief that

one day

last week

I got to thank

Mr. Joyce.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bless You Boys.

We're Going to the World Series!

You Passed the US Citizenship Test
Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!
Could You Pass the US Citizenship Test?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

stage mom

So yesterday I took the B-girl to cheerleading. All the girls went in to the community center gym and they closed the doors, which was fine by me. I had prepared for cheerleading by having my cell phone and magazine in hand. Didn't have any coffee though. Next week.

I was sitting quietly not far from the registration table when this woman marched up and began to berate the cheerleading staff. The woman was dressed immaculately, very blonde, nails done with a designer purse and the young lady who stood behind the table was no match for this stage mom. Standing beside stage mom to back her up was grandma, who also wanted a piece of the action.

Stage Mom
This is the third week! I ordered her a cheerleading outfit three weeks ago and you are telling me it's not here yet!!!! What I am I going to tell my daughter?

Ma'am you did not order an outfit three weeks ago. You ordered it last week.

Stage Mom
ARE YOU KIDDING? I was the very first person to order an outfit long before any of these people (she puts her hand out and gestures to me and the rest of the mothers, I kid you not)

While the woman is pointing at me I sieze the opportunity to look up at her from my magazine and laugh heartily.

No. It's true. We ordered the outfit first and now all these little girls have outfits and my granddaughter doesn't have one.

(I thought about whether or not I should be concerned that B-girl does not have an outfit. I had just ordered one before Stage Mom got there. I decided it was no big deal.)

Ma'am, your outfit was ordered last week. Here is the paper.

Turns out the father of the child had ordered the outfit at the last class.

I could not help but smile. I thought of the poor guy who had been bringing the kid to cheerleading and forgot to order the outfit but probably told his wife he did. I breathed a sigh of relief thinking this woman would shut up and quit making things so tense for everyone. She didn't ...

Stage Mom

We have the date right here. We will get you an outfit as soon as the new shipment comes in.

Stage Mom
That's not a good way of doing business. This is the third week of a 12-week class. When is she going to get the outfit -- when the class is over?

Blah, blah, blah blah, blah.

I didn't listen to the entire conversation, but I felt sorry for the poor young girl who had to deal with this pair.

One of the other moms (who is also a mom over 40) asked me what was going on. I told her and we laughed together. You see, when you are a 42-year old mom of a six year old, you are just happy you actually remember to get the kid to events at the appointed time and the details are never big blazing situations in which to dramatize. The cheerleading outfits will get there when they get there.

The stage mom proceeded to condemn the system and yell at all the people behind the tables. She made such a commotion people were huddling around just to find out what was going on.

I wondered if she realized what a fool she was making of herself and her mother. I imagined that both the stage mom and her mother were cheerleaders in high school and that was why this was a matter of life and death. The husband, who apparently did the ordering, was not present but I could tell from the look on stage mom's face when she saw the paper that he was a dead man walking.

After the class ended we all went in to see the new moves the kids had learned. I was standing there with the nice mom when she leaned over and said to me "I wonder which kid belongs to the woman who was ranting."

I turned to look at her and when I did I saw the Stage MOM standing right behind her looking at us, not with shame that we all witnessed this awful scene, but the look of hatred that my friend should even ask such a thing.

If you have read this blog long enough, you know I didn't just shrug and keep my mouth shut like I should have. No, knowing this woman was standing right behind us I say...

"Well one thing's for sure. She is NOT one of the girls wearing a cheerleading outfit!"

Stage mom walked away in a huff. Me and the other mom just smiled at each other.

All the girls are from six to eight years old and, trust me, they are not going to the nationals anytime soon. Can't we all just get along?

After I got my kid I saw stage mom with hers -- little girl, beautiful and blonde, in a designer gym suit. As we were all walking out of the community center I noticed stage mom's kid doing cartwheels, handstands, and other talented moves all the way out of the building. I figured the kid has grown accustomed to doing backflips in order to make her mother and grandma happy.

B-girl saw her and pointed.

"Mom I want to be like her," she said.

"You don't want any part of that," I said.

Of course my kid doesn't understand but she will soon enough.

I thought about how when
B-girl first told me
she wanted to try cheerleading
I felt chills of fear and dread.
I know why.

Monday, October 09, 2006

girl scouts

Last Friday I noticed a big bruise and small cut on the B-girl’s knee. I asked her how she got it.

“Playing girl scouts at recess,” she said.

I thought, isn’t that cute! Maybe my little girl wants to become a girl scout, although I am not real big on the idea since we already have dance and Cheer America lessons. I am not the den mother type and I won’t let her do Girl Scouts without me. So I asked more questions…

“Do you want to be a Girl Scout?” I asked.

“I already am,” she said.

“That’s impossible,” I said. “To be a girl scout you have to join a troop, wear a uniform and sell cookies every year.”

“Mom that’s not the kind of scout I am,” she said.

My curiosity peaked. I figured she and the girls were just pretending to be scouts.

“Well, what kind of scout are you?” I asked.

“We have two clubs at recess…the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts,” she said.

“Oh," I said. "What do the Girl Scouts do?”

“They chase the Boy Scouts,” she said. “That’s how I hurt my knee.”

“That’s how you hurt your knee,” I said with my voice rising to a shrill. “Chasing boys!”

“Yep,” she said.

“And why do you girls call yourselves the Girl Scouts?” I asked, trying to calm down.

“Because we have to go to the top of the monkey bars to see where the boys are,” the B-girl said.

“The girls who look for the boys are the scouts but the whole club is called Girl Scouts because we all take turns,” she said.

“What happens if you chase a boy and catch him?” I inquired.

“Nothing we just crack up.”

“Oh” I said breathing a sigh of relief.

“You girls need to find something to do with your time that is more fun than chasing boys,” I insisted.

“Mom there is nothing more fun than chasing boys,” she said

I turned so she could not see the smile or look on my face then I turned back with my stern motherly face.

“There are plenty of things more fun than chasing boys, you can hold all-girl races, play girl’s club only, push each other on the swings, play hopscotch, house and much more.”

“Okay I’ll try it,” she said. Then came the question.

“Did you ever chase boys when you were my age?” she asked inquisitively.

I thought for a moment.

My mind went back to the seventies at J Elementary. Me and my best buddies, Christine and Danielle were never apart.

What did we do?

For one, we chased cute little Danny so much, I think he moved because of us. It’s funny, though, I never told my mom about these escapades and she never asked about what I did at recess.

My parental instinct immediately took over the conversation at hand…

“I don’t remember. It was a long time ago,” I said. “I think we just made up games”.

When it comes to my daughter’s rights to learn about my own behavior growing up, she has none.

The B-girl is being raised on a need to know basis,

and anything regarding me as a girl chasing boys

she doesn’t need to know!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Unflinching Triumph

Yeah so my Spartans lost the big game and I have to face a pack of Wolverines soon, but they can't beat me at the sport featured in this video. I will be laying this kind of action on every Wolverine I see this week. So LOOK out!
Is this my Kid?

Yesterday was show your colors day at B-girl's school and my work. The Michigan-Michigan State game (today at 4:30) causes people to choose sides every year.

I, of course, was green and white clad. What do you think my beautiful daughter chose? Yes, that's right she CHOSE TO GO AGAINST MY WILL and wear Wolverine colors...because her cousin goes there, because her teacher went there, yadda, yadda, yadda.

For some unexplained reason, I let her get a Wolverine shirt. I politely told her that my education eventually led to my job and it was Spartan money paying for that shirt.

She said, "Mom you need to face it, I am going to Michigan for college." She's flippin' six years old!

I said,"If you do you will not be able to wear the graduation gown that I wore and have been saving for you."

She said, "I want my own gown."

"And you will pay for it by yourself," I said.

So here I am a Spartan with some kind of little Wolverine living with me. I don't know who brainwashed my kid when I wasn't looking but I am going to find out!

A Day of Harassment

So, I wore my green and white to work and received verbal abuse from some Wolverines. That's okay Spartan grads are really tough.

I had to take some publications to all the city facilities. When I reached each destination there was at least one person dressed in maize and blue to give me a hard time. The stats, the predictions, the...crap!

I hope we win.

Whether we win or lose, I have come to realize it is more than just a game or rivalry. It is a tradition. There are a lot of great people out there rooting for their schools and the best part is the enjoyment.

This game only comes around once a year.

It's fun to poke and rib at the other team.


And isn't that really what it is all about?

College football - you gotta' love it!




Michigan 31
Michigan State 13

Boo hoo!

Monday, October 02, 2006

cheer what?

A while back the B-girl brought a flyer home from school. There was clip art of a cheerleader on it so she asked me to read it to her and I did...

Cheer America
Cheerleading class.
(Everything you never wanted to know about cheerleading).
Registration Wednesday, September 27 at 6 p.m.
Class afterward.
Classes every Wednesday.
Ages 5 to 13.

So, it went like this...

Mom I want to be in this.
You don't need it, you already have dance on Mondays.
You told me I could do another activity.
Well, we talked about karate, but really two nights a week at the age of six is a lot.
Mom I really want to do this.
We'll see. (Classic maneuver I learned from my mother).

The B-girl has a calendar and she was crossing off days. She knew exactly when "Cheer America" was going to start. Now, I have no problem with cheerleaders. We'll no big ones anyway. This is just not something that appeals to me for my daughter. Not that there's anything wrong with it!

When I was in high school I had two cheerleading friends, Lori and Denise. They were not the kind of friends I hung out with after school; they were in-school friends. They would say hi and stop and talk with me. Lori was the captain and the reason we had this "friendship" (I believe) was because I was an editor on the school newspaper. Together, we had decided that I would write a series of feature stories highlighting individual cheerleaders, thereby showing readers that they were athletic and academically successful, not just football players' girlfriends. Anyway, the cheerleaders were the cheerleaders and beyond those few stories I wrote, I had little interaction with them except attending their "float parties" (a party where students assemble homecoming floats). Deep down, I had a knawing feeling that cheerleaders thought they were somehow better than the rest of us and I found the very notion to be stunningly ludicrous.

After poking and prodding me for more a week, the B-girl talks me into taking her to Cheer America. Last Wednesday, after work, we enter....

There are 200 young girls running around the community center. Oh the screeching, the whining and the drama. The few brothers that are tagging along are all huddled in the corner together with the look of sheer terror on their faces.

There is a line a mile long the mothers are standing in for registration. Girls are running and screaming everywhere.

I get in line. The B-girl runs into about ten girls she knows from school, daycare and other places. I run into a few moms I know and find out that the class will begin every Wednesday at 5 p.m., which is not how the flyer read. I realize it is too late to take the B-girl out of there because she is having fun with girls. So, like the fool I am I sign her up.

We talk to the coach and it goes like this

I am Ms. Jennifer your coach.


What do we do?

Well we had too many people show up to hold a class today, but fluff up her pom-poms and have her wear gym clothes and a ponytail to class next week.

Fluff up her pom-poms...what does that mean?

When you are sitting and watching TV do this (she grabs a portion of the pom-poms and begins to squeeze, twist and let go)

Alrighty then!

I know some cheers

You do?

Great we will see you next week.

So here it is a new week. Monday after work is dance and now Wednesdays will be cheerleading. My boss was nice enough to let me work from 8:30 to 4:30 on Wednesdays so we are not late to cheerleading.

This is something B-girl actually chose for herself so I don't want to discourage her but cheerleading? Come on! Now I know why my nephews told me I would make a great mom for a boy. I am not the kind of mom who produces perfect ponytails or French braids.

When I looked over the sea of girls at the community center, I noticed a lot of fancy hair placement. I am going to have to work on this.

The whole cheerleading thing escapes me. I have no idea what they are talking about, but I will try to help the B-girl, as long as she doesn't expect me to cheer along with her!

Hopefully this cheerleading thing will wear off before the B-girl is old enough to actually try out for a squad.

Oh well for now it is just exercise and fun!

In the meantime,

I still haven't

figured out

how to fluff

these freakin'