Playground Uprising


“Balance” Bar
October 19, 2007, 3:19 pm
Filed under: assistant professors, Life, stress, work

Cry. Bang. Yell. Screech. Eat a banana and a “balance” bar.

Perspective. This is where I am trying to sit now, but dang for me if I don’t keep falling off into the trenches.

The first fall was around 4am – as the alarm clock went off and then again on my way to the downtown /24-hour McDonald’s drive through – where my premonition of danger overrided my Episcopalian affiliation – as I recited a few Hail Mary’s to ward off potential car jackers.

And then we were off (me and NPR) and making good time until the tractor trailer. . .

The ONE that  EACH MORNING performs its daily ritual of driving down 95 north erratically, looking for an environmentally conscious Pruis to herd off the road and into the side rail, calling forth  several emergency vehicles and a traffic backup worth approximately 45 minutes of talk radio.

With this cordial meeting behind … I was off again in search of the Dulles airport exit. That would be the LEFT exit. The one I have taken on more than one occasion but for whatever reason was desperately looking for off  to my right…. until … crap … there is WAS … and here I am about to visit Clara Barton Blvd.

But come 7:30am – I was back on route and pulling into the conference site for check in … just in time to learn that my presentation would be in the “other” building – down the highway and off to the left.  Hmmm … glad I went with the loafers. And so I am here … and you are somewhere and my room is empty.  Let me see if I brought another balance bar.

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The Day I Turned Uncool
September 26, 2007, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Education, Friends, getting old, uncool, work

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Each semester, during my Language and Literacy course, we devote one day to a Book Club celebration – anything for an excuse to bring coffee cake. In preparation for the festivities we select a book of interests. In past semesters we have enjoyed the likes of The Memory Keepers Daughter and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nigh-Time, to name a few. Well last semester my class decided they wanted to read The Day I Turned Uncool: Confessions of a Reluctant Grown-Up, about a teacher who stumbles upon the part of his life’s timeline where he finds lawnmowers more enthralling than a night out at the local pub. Hmmm … my class ranges in age from 19-23 and I have yet to spy a wrinkle or a bottle of prune juice in the bunch. I on the other hand am beginning to wonder if the more expensive facial cream (that would be the one with wrinkle guard) is perhaps worth the extra cash and recently found myself touting the merits of sensible shoes to a far more fashionable colleague. This mounting granny chest of evidence points to the fact that my uncool calendar just might have flipped a wee bit earlier than anticipated and to confirm my growing proclivity for the outdated – I just opened my tape player (as if that doesn’t say it all) to find a treasured collection of Christmas songs sung by the everly famous uncool Kenny G. Care for V8?



GoLean
May 30, 2007, 1:38 pm
Filed under: Children, Family, work

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We have entered our third week of work. I am not sure why I say WE as is I have yet to see anyone in my car at 7:30 in the morning as I head up 95, and I imagine if I did I would have other things to consider, such as, grabbing my cell phone and calling 911, but nonetheless WE are on the path. And though I am alone on the road, upon arrival at work, my college students inspire me as they share their experiences in the public schools and talk about the types of teachers they hope to one day become, and my graduate students energize me with their worldly experiences and innovated ideas for the classroom. So I suppose the We works. I have also fallen, albeit like a reluctant child, somewhat into a schedule. If I am up by 5:15 I have time to shower and dress before little people get up at 5:45 to watch The Magic School Bus (a fancy ride indeed). Then, if I turn the dryer on when I roll out of bed the heat mirrors a broke down version of our nonexistent iron and keeps the family safely away from social service inquirers as I messily place their folded clothes into cluttered drawers. As the clock ticks on to 6:15 Mac and I are dressed and there is 70% likelihood that the little man has brushed his teeth, and at this time in our lives we will take those odds. About now Charlie has wakened and is busily watching what happens when he flails his plump trunks into the air and they catch gravity with a thud. He would happily stay in his crib for another half hour (because someone upstairs understands that the line between sanity and madness is almost undistinguishable in our home) but is more than willing to head downstairs for a little bottle and Matt Laur. As we arrive in the den, Greg is making a breakfast of cereal bars and fruit because the feast of frozen pancakes and waffles has gone uneaten one too many times and the tearing of prepackaged plastic helps to keep the lull. A purple lunch bag of Kashi GoLean bars, cheese sandwiches, and bananas is prepared, shoved, and ready for action and we are out the door and up 95 and not totally disappointed to be Alone for the next 50 minutes.



Back in the Saddle
May 16, 2007, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Children, Family, work

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This is my third day back at work and the black birds are not circling and I have seen no evidence of locust or plague (outside of last night’s dinner attempt) so I suppose that it is safe to say that the world has not come to an end despite my insistence of that inevitability. Charlie is hanging with Mac’s old babysitter awaiting June 4th when he can start his big boy school and Mac is busy cutting his friend’s shoelaces and inquiring why we celebrate Mothers and Fathers day but have not plans to break out the cupcakes for “Boy’s Day,” so I suggested he contact Hallmark because they are all about instituting new holidays, to which he responded, “I will let you call about that tomorrow mom.” I of course will get right on that as soon as I finish booking my tour around Italy. Next week will prove to be a wee bit challenging in that my three night classes begin and Greg is off to New York for several days for business which leads one to ask why my work takes me up 95 and his takes him to Broadway. An interesting thought to ponder. But not having family to baby-sit the boogaloos has inspired us to create a team of babysitters that have not criminal record (to our knowledge) and love our misfits as much as we do and for that we are blessed.



What I Have Loved Most About Being A Stay-At-Home Mom
April 11, 2007, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Children, Family, parenthood, parenting, stay at home mom, work

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1. I can go to coffee with my buddies and solve world problems or at least address possibilities for household peace
2. That I genuinely understand that city parks, school playgrounds, mall jungle gyms, and libraries are invaluable contributions to maternal sanity and should be protected on the level of national security
3. Morning runs up Park and down Monument Avenue where I share a smile with the man with the beagle, the guy with the green gloves, the professor heading to work, and my neighbor with the barking dog … you are all loved and will be missed
4. My 1pm luncheon companions of Cheese Toast and Days of Our Lives … it is reassuring that in soap land the world has stood relatively still since college
5. Barnes and Nobles where we visit Thomas the Train and consume abnormal amounts of coffee, apple juice, and granola bars as we read books about armed turtles and anything with wheels or wings and attempt to evade the stares of caring staff who contemplate whether we maintain an actual residence or just sleep in the car after closing
6. Mommy and Macky days highlighted by Busch Gardens, the Science Museum, the Children’s Museum, the mall choo choo, afternoon tantrums (both his and mine), microwave popcorn, and a movie
7. Afternoon yoga
8. Making muffins, cupcakes, and well intentioned family dinners with a boy standing on a stool with pudding covered hands
9. An inability to cling to maternal crankiness while in the presence of a pipsqueak’s smile
10. Knowing that if I check out tomorrow, today I have all I have ever wanted in the man I have loved since high school and can’t imagine an adventure without; a 4 year old knocking on five with a rowdy spirit, contemplative heart, and unnatural attraction to camouflage; and a pipsqueak who completed the family I value more than chocolate (and there isn’t anyone or anything else that qualifies for that category!!!)



The Feminine Mistake??????
April 3, 2007, 4:17 pm
Filed under: Children, Family, getting old, Life, parenthood, parenting, work

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I love Verizon Fios equipped with a DVR that allows me to tape various shows like Bob the Builder, Namaste Yoga, and the Today Show. So now, here I am at 11:09am rewinding, forwarding and pausing Ann Curry’s interview with Vanity Fair writer Leslie Bennetts about her controversial book the Feminine Mistake, which details Bennetts argument that “girls grow up with the fairy tale that Prince Charming is going to take care of them …. and women do not think of it as high risk behavior to give up their careers, give up their financial self-sufficiency and depend on men to support them and their children and if you add up all the risk factors it is extremely high risk behavior unless you are prepared to support yourself at a moment’s notice.” She then shares the statistic that 40% of mothers who elect to take which she coins as the “off-ramp” never return to full time employment and those that attempt to make the merge encounter significant job discrimination from employers who are more apt to hire people that have continuous tenure in the field. Bennetts goes on to explain that women with multiple children have an average of 15 years in which they are actively engaged in childcare and another 60 years in which they may be forced to assume the role of sole financial supporter for their family due to the risk factors of divorce or the illness or job loss of a spouse. She contends that to make the conscious decision not to plan for this probability is in fact reckless behavior, a revelation most women do not come to until their forties and in significant financial disrepair. At this point Curry interjects that she believes many women do not think that they are making a “high stake choice” for their future but a “safe choice” for their family, for they do not feel comfortable putting their children in the care of outsiders, to which Bennetts responds that the media has distorted the realities of childcare and in fact when you review the statistics 80% of parents were satisfied with their children’s pre-school /daycare experience. So it appears that Bennetts has reopened the argument started by Betty Friedmann’s classic 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, and whether you agree or disagree with their claims, I think empowerment, specifically as it relates to women and families, grows out of honest dialogue that challenges us to look inward at home grown assumptions and be willing to think different and large out of respect for our own families, while at the same time honoring the diverse beliefs that exist and function successfully in the lives of many. So instead of fighting amongst ourselves let us lean on each other for support in the challenge we all experience: motherhood.