Monday, November 26, 2007

My daughter the driver

My daughter's learning to drive. She got a 92 on her written test, got her permit, and will be starting the live driving with a teacher at school in December. She's already been doing some tooling around with her dad, through the parking lot at the high school next door and some surface streets.

Just what I needed, you know? Something new to worry about.

It's not that I think she'll be a bad driver. She's a good, organized, serious girl, and I think she'll operate a car in a safe and responsible manner. It's all the other fools on the road I worry about. Prediction and flexibility and grey areas aren't her strong suits; will she be able to anticipate the jerk turning left from the right hand lane or cutting in without warning on the highway or backing up to get to a missed offramp? I worry she'll get flustered, and freeze.

Maybe not. Maybe she'll do great. But I'm flustered, anyway.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The dreaded teacher convention days

I'm all discombobulated today. The kids have off school today and tomorrow because of the teacher's convention, which always falls this week in November, the same week there's a half-day for Election Day. Not to mention the same month there's already a short week for Thanksgiving. It's a cruel month for kids who crave their routine.

Anyway, my brain thinks it's Saturday, and will not be convinced otherwise. Which means, what, on the actual Saturday I'll wake up thinking it's Monday? As if the time change weren't disruptive enough. Hmmph. I'm all turned around.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Brothers and sisters of the world

I was looking at the site statistics on the blog I do about the TV series Brothers & Sisters this morning, and checked out the listing of who was on the site right at that moment. And I was kind of amazed at what I found. There were four readers checking out my posts: one in New Zealand, one in England, one in the Philippines, and one in China.

The internet is such an unexpected place. When I'm sitting writing my sites, I sort of think, in my culturally blindered way, of myself as writing for Americans. And then, so often, I get responses from people all the heck over the place. To have that kind of reach for something I'm creating is ... a little intimidating, actually. But cool.

Where are you from?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Making myself understood

I don't want to come off as one of those English-only purists. I'm a live and let live kinda girl. Watching my daughter's bilingual friend with his monolingual mom leads me to believe that parenting a teenager who can speak a language you don't is fraught with peril, but best of luck for trying.

You'd think, though, that there would be certain jobs for which a clear command of English is a legitimate requirement. One of those would be speech therapist for English-speaking kids, but last year, when my son had a therapist neither the kids nor the parents could understand, I found out that's not the case.

Another would be telemarketers. I don't know if there's some sort of anti-discrimination law that forbids companies from declining to employ unclear English speakers, but speaking as a customer, let me just make this clear to anyone who wants to sell me something: If I cannot understand the description of what you want me to buy, I am not going to buy it. I am going to hang up the phone.

Understand? Sheesh.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Getting it all together

Last week, on one of the shows I blog about, Brothers & Sisters, a mother lost custody of her kids in small part because she forgot to put a signed permission slip in her son's backpack. It was used as an example of how she's unable to juggle all the demands of childcare. And it's a good thing I'm not in that position, because if getting the right stuff in my son's possession at school time was a conspicuous measurement of my fitness as a parent, I'd be seeing my kids alternate weekends, too.

Things have gotten better since the time my son was in second grade and wore shoes on the wrong feet, one each from two different pairs. His clothes are on the right way, although there may sometimes be food stains on them (he's great at wiping his mouth on his shoulder in a way that I don't see until he's getting out of the car). But I'm not always so good about making sure his glasses are on his face or his lunch money's in his pocket. He's left books and gym clothes behind. He's left his backpack behind. I'm making a lot of emergency deliveries lately.

And then stuff happens like this: I was packing up the form for the fundraiser they're doing for field trips for the kids in self-contained classes. I managed to sell items to some aunts and uncles we don't see every day, and figured I'd just write a check for everybody and folks could pay us back on delivery. Except, now, tonight, with the money due tomorrow, I see that they're only accepting cash. I don't happen to have $100+ in cash sitting around, waiting to go to school. Even if I could get going early enough to go the ATM, I don't have a card. Never use the cash machine. Rarely use cash. Rats.

Good thing I don't have a husband who's going to use this against me in a court of law.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The walking wounded

I'm feeling like such a weakling these days. On Thursday, I was running outside, playing with my son and the dog, when I tripped and fell and scraped various body parts on the rough patio cement. I could have fractured my arm, busted a knee, I don't know, given my advanced age, broken a hip. Instead, I had raw scraped skin on my right knee, palm, and elbow. No biggie, right?

So why am I still, three day later, feeling sore and chaffed and wounded? Every time I bend my elbow, or my knee rubs against my pants, I feel sorry for myself. I'm still covering myself in Band-Aids, moving slow, and feeling so tired. It's like I got the wind knocked out of me when I tumbled, and still haven't got it back again. For a few lousy scrapes!

If my daughter was going on about something so minor, I'd tell her to count her blessings and stop acting like it was such a big deal. If my son was, I'd be impressed that he was feeling pain that well and make over him a little before sending him away with, "It's just a scrape." Yet I'm feeling cranky and creaky, and letting myself get away with it.

A weakling, is what I am. A wimp. And one without much sympathy in my own house, I'll tell ya.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Am I writing the right thing here?

I spend a lot of time, a lot a lot a lot of time with my daughter, begging her not to overanalyze every little thing she does. What's done is done! You can't undo it, so why worry about it! No one pays that much attention to you anyway! (Yeah, I know that last one sounds mean; I'm addressing the fact that she believes everybody is watching her every second and judging her harshly for, like, having a serious expression on her face.)

I'm pretty eloquent on the subject. So why can't I follow that advice myself?

I'm flogging myself this morning for speaking up in a meeting last night, going over and over everything I said and wondering if people are now thinking, "That Terri! Why doesn't she just stop talking!" Then, too, I'm obsessing over something I didn't speak up about, and worrying that I let something that's wrong go into the record.

Honestly, sometimes it's hard to believe that my daughter is not related to me by blood. My mother passed the worry-over-every-little-thing gene to me, and I thought my next generation would escape it -- but either my girl's birthmother had the same family trait, or this is more of a nurture than a nature thing.

So now, I'm going to have to analyze every little thing I've done that brought her to this anxious place. Ack!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween letdown

Gads, November! What happened to October? I've been so busy blogging in paying venues that I've seriously neglected this poor blog spot. Only so many brain cells to go around, you know?

Neither of my kids went trick or treating last night; I think we've officially outgrown it. I don't see any need to arm-wrestle them into it just because it's What Young People Do, anyway. My son was all excited about staying home and passing out the candy, and when the first group came, he was just Mr. Suburban Homeowner, commenting on costumes and handing out goodies like a big old grown-up. Unfortunately, that was also our last group. Apparently, pretty much everybody else in our neighborhood has outgrown Halloween, too.

Did you get much business last night? Did your kids go out? If you've got big bags of tooth-rotting treats to deal with today, I've got some tips on my About site on ways to use those goodies for good. I guess we'll be doing that with the candy we meant to hand out.