Monday, June 30, 2008

I Wish!!

Casual Sunday is Cancelled

More-Casual Saturday Night should be cancelled as well. Especially when the Bishop is present. Older men in shorts and t-shirts, older women in shorts and t-shirts, middle-aged women in short skirts, young girls in short shorts and strapless tops, and singers with spaghetti straps all have to go. And I swear there was one woman there who had to be 60, and who appeared to be wearing a swimsuit with a skirt and a crocheted top over it.

We are not an oceanside parish, not that such a location would excuse this style of dress.

UPDATE: Read Mary Ellen Barrett's Modesty Matters for a mom's perspective on this issue.

Against Retail Therapy

Franciscan Friar Charles writes against our tendency to take the easy way out, trying to heal our spiritual wounds at Target.

He's right, tempting though Retail Therapy is. But the "lift" you experience after that exercise in self-indulgence is fleeting and usually followed by regret.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Merger

Tonight, it became official. Big Church and Little Church are now one church with two buildings. Our Bishop came to town tonight for a 3-fer: he joined the parishes, installed the pastor, and accepted a seminarian to the candidacy so that he can head to Rome to study at the Pontifical College.

I've gotten over whatever ambivalence I might have had about the merger. It can be a Very Good Thing. There are a lot of wonderful people in Big Church and in Little Church, and when we all get to know each other, I think it will be great.

But we are still seeing things in terms of "us" and "them." At the reception afterward, a member of the choir I sing with every Sunday was talking with me about tonight's music (more on that later.) She mentioned that there were problems with the organ in Big Church, where today's Mass was held. Little Church recently got a new organ, and we joked that you can't just put an organ in a pickup truck and cart it from place to place. Then she said, "Let them raise the money and get their own organ."

"There is no them anymore," I reminded her. "It's all us." And too many people are thinking that way.

Middle Sister was honored to be one of six altar servers for today's Mass. She carried the cross in the procession. Big Brother and TheDad, with the other Boy Scouts and leaders, participated in the Offertory procession. That left me and Little Brother in the pew. Boy, is he a wiggly one. Kudos to TheDad for putting up with that every week while I'm singing! Little Brother does sing the songs and say many responses. He was interested in watching the Knights of Columbus, particularly when they had their swords drawn; he was fascinated by the incense, but didn't understand why they needed to incense the altar more than once during Mass (wasn't once enough, Mom?)

All the musicians from both churches were invited to participate in the special choir for today's Mass. But my choir is a folk choir, and we were told that we were welcome to sing, but guitars would not be used. I was actually told, "Well, the Bishop is coming, and we wanted the music to be special..." (thanks for that!) Also, nearly every song today, other than the acclamations, were brand-new to everyone, so no one in the congregation could sing along, especially when the songs were not in the program or hymnal. So anyway, it was unfamiliar music and I was a little insulted that my instrument was not welcome. Add that to the fact that the choir rehearsals were on Boy Scout meeting night, and that sealed the deal--I would be part of the congregation today.

I guess I should go now and have a little cheese with my whine....

Little Brother and I sat and enjoyed a fairly unobstructed view of Mass (good when you have a little kid with you). I sang everything I could from the pew.

I saw a lot of empty seats in church today. I had expected that the church would be packed--that Little Brother would have to sit on my lap because it would be so full. Instead, he had plenty of room to move around so he could get the best view of anything going on, whether at the altar or pulpit. It saddened me that Mass today was not as full as it could have been. I am hoping that this does not mean that people have jumped ship (I know some who are considering it) or were boycotting the ceremony to make a statement. I am hoping that they were just on vacation or attending graduation parties.

May God bless the new parish that was established today, as well as the new pastor and the seminarian on his way to Rome. And may all of us stop thinking in terms of "Big Church and Little Church" and remember that we are one Church.

Even if guitars aren't special enough for the Bishop.

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Own Personal Stylist

I was in my room, choosing what to wear for a meeting tonight, when Middle Sister walked on in and went all Stacy and Clinton on me.

I was interrogated about my clothing choices, scolded for the stretch in my favorite dressy jeans (hey, they're dark wash, boot cut--I thought I was doing that right!), berated for purchasing the wrong kind of pants (or should I say trousers) and told in no uncertain terms that the next time I went shopping, she was coming with me.

Way to strike fear in a mother's heart. Our clothing tastes are so wildly different. We'd kill each other in a store. It was bad enough when she was going through my closet.

Middle Sister is not in favor of the Khaki Trouser, the Black Clog, or the Navy Jacket. She thinks I wear certain other items "too much" which means "more than once in the last 2 months."

That's not leaving me with much, outside of things that are Way Too Casual or Funeral Attire.

And then she started in on the accessories. This is the only necklace I'm wearing, thanks.

Sharing the wealth

If I have to listen to Little Brother and Adventure Boy singing along to this (over and over and overandoverandover), the least you can do is suffer along with me!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What I'm Reading

While I wait for the Catholic Summer Reading winners to be announced, I'm reading a couple of spiritual books by Christian-but-not-Catholic authors, both of which have to do with the way I live right now. I don't tend to read a whole spiritual book from start to finish, but kind of just take a bite every now and again until the whole thing is done. This way I can digest what I've read for a while before moving on.

Death by Suburb: How to keep the suburbs from killing your soul by David L. Goetz is a fascinating book about the spiritual challenges we face in this kind of neighborhood. Right now I'm reading the chapter on envy. The author prefaces each chapter with an "Environmental Toxin" and a "Spiritual Practice."

Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson is almost poetic, it's so beautifully written. From the preface:
Keeping house can be a very mundane activity....But at the same time, housekeeping is about practicing sacred disciplines and creating sacred space, for the sake of Christ as we encounter him in our fellow household members and in neighbors, strangers and guests.
I'm looking forward to the last chapter on "Routines," which could really use some work around here.

Both of these books encourage me in the situation I am in right now: wife and mom, living in a "keep up with the Joneses" kind of suburb. And I'm not having a problem reading both of them at once (no, I do not sit here with one book at my right and one at my left, with my eyes working independently of each other, despite what TheDad said at dinner when he accused me of doing just that--though Big Brother thought that would be scary and awesome all at the same time).

If you've read these books, I'd love to hear your take on them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


You may be relieved to know that there is a limit to my, um, eccentricity.

Middle Sister wore some very-light-colored shorts on her Sunday afternoon foray to the creek with Boy Next Door (they've been friends since they were 3, nothing to see here, folks....) Naturally she came back covered with mud and her shorts were no exception. After a liberal dose of "Pray 'N' Wash" I tossed the shorts into the machine and then hung them up to dry. No sense setting the stain in the dryer.

This morning I inspected the clothes to see if I had to send them on a second run through the washing machine. I saw a few faint marks, and was all set to grab more pretreater.

Then I saw the dots of dark red nail polish from her pre-creek manicure. All the "Pray 'N' Wash" in the world won't fix that. I put them into her basket of clean laundry "as is."

However, I am eccentric enough that I had to tell this story.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Haircut Rant

It's time for me to get a haircut.

But I'm just not sure what kind of haircut I want. I know I can't leave it "as is" because it's getting in my way.

I asked TheDad if I should get it cut shorter, or just get it shaped with the idea of growing it a little longer, so that I could clip it back if I want it off my face. He considers that question to be right up there with "Do these pants make my butt look big?"

Middle Sister and I bought one of those "hairstyle" magazines last night on our family pilgrimage to Barnes & Noble. She picked a lot of very edgy-looking hairstyles, and several ones that Big Brother would describe as "emo" which he defined for me this way: "Emo hair means that you cover half your face with it."

I don't even like it when my bangs touch my glasses. Obviously emo hair is not for me. Plus, I'm not ready to accessorize with the obligatory wrist scars that go with emo hair, according to Big Brother.

I spent a couple of years in Hair Hell trying to grow out a very short, layered cut. Last summer it was long enough for clips and ponytails, and then I started getting it cut shorter. Long hair was convenient and at the same time, a lot of trouble!

Not that I don't enjoy talking haircuts with Middle Sister, but I think I need to spend some time with someone a little older than 12 to get this figured out!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Turning the Other Cheek

This morning Father H. gave us some interesting background on the story behind the story of "turn the other cheek."

He explained that every culture has its own signals that are used to insult other people or so display superiority. In our culture, as he put it, we put up our hand to salute someone without using all our fingers. In Jesus' time, if you wanted to insult someone, you would use your open right palm to slap someone in the face.

But if you wanted to show that you were ready to reconcile with someone, you would slap them, backhand, on the other cheek.

So Jesus's urging his disciples to "turn the other cheek" was really urging them to always approach others with a spirit of reconciliation--to be ready to forgive. (And by the way, you were really putting someone on the spot with that attitude, because they would be shamed if they refused you that reconciliation). As Romans 12:21 says, "Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good."

I'm not always certain whether my kids are listening to the homily, but Middle Sister paid good attention today. When we were in the kitchen making lunch, Big Brother and I were teasing each other about something, and I pretended to swipe at his face with the back of my hand. Middle Sister said, "Mom, you used the wrong slap! You just told Big Brother that you want to be reconciliated!"

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Big Brother likes to accuse me of being obsessive-compulsive.

So, is that really the case, or is it just an idiosyncracy? What do you think? Tonight I told him that if he was using my computer he had to make sure that Outlook was open first before anything else, so it would line up on the left in the status bar. I'm just used to having it that way. It's more efficient for me!

Yeah, I'm probably nuts. I was hoping to spin it as "unique" but the more I think about it, the less I think I can pull that off.

Never Mind that Last Thing

Because I just blew it.

Specifically, I blew a gasket when I found out at 5:15 that we were expecting 2 extra people for dinner. (That really doesn't give me a lot of time to pull a rabbit out of a hat and create an extra London Broil out of thin air....)

Portions will be small, people. Load up on the corn and baked beans, because I had several different kinds of French fries but none of them could be baked at the same temperature, so I could only make one variety--probably not enough for everyone.

So much for that whole gracious-housewife thing. Pass me a Milky Way.

Evidently I was born at the wrong time

About 60 years too late, that is!


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Hat tip to Angie.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Don't Consider This a "Feature"

I have a standing Friday lunch date with the Wall Street Journal's Weekend Journal section. I read articles about cars I'd never drive, wine (I don't drink), and various consumer goods not in my household budget. And then, while I nibble my grilled-cheese-and-tomato sandwich, I inspect the million-dollar-plus real-estate listings. I drool over ocean views, floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive front porches. I wonder what surprises these homes, depicted in black-and-white thumbnail photos and a sentence or two in Realtorese, have to offer.

And sometimes I shake my head and thank my lucky stars that I don't live in these homes. One of today's offerings "can accommodate privacy of teenagers." I don't think so! Teenagers can get in enough trouble without living in houses that accommodate their privacy. Around here, privacy is limited to "shut the door when you are sleeping, dressing, showering, or using the bathroom." Otherwise, all bets are off--and I like it that way. If my kids want more privacy, they can grow up, get jobs, and get their own homes. This is already more privacy than either TheDad or I get, and I'd venture to say that most parents would say the same.

So I guess I'll save that million dollars I don't have anyway, and cross that dream house off my list.

The Free Ride is Over

One of the occupational hazards of being a homemaker, especially when all the children are in school, is that you get used to doing the household chores by yourself.

That's not to say my house is, or has ever been, fabulously immaculate and ready for Better Homes and Gardens. That never happens around here. I settle for reasonably sanitary, not-much-to-trip-over, laundry done and dinner on the table.

But now that the kids are getting older, I can really see where I've been lax--making sure they do their chores.

I have posted a chart this week for them, on which each child is responsible for 3 things each day (not including cleaning up their own personal messes). They have a "big" household task, a "daily" household task, and a daily "bedroom" task. Less than half of those tasks have been done this week.

The problem is that my responsibility does not end at writing out this chart--I have to make sure things get done. (And sometimes it is just faster to do them myself!)

So, this morning when I came downstairs to find the back door open (the Big Kids were up late last night), the kitchen a mess from Middle Sister and BFF's late-night-snack, cans and glasses still left around from Wednesday night when Big Brother had 2 friends stay the night for a video-game marathon, and trash not taken out, I took matters into my own hands.

Nintendos have been confiscated. Wii games have been confiscated. And the "internet bomb" (settings for our router that will cut internet service to the computer the kids use) has gone off.

Plus, TheDad has added an extra chore to the list for today: weed the front weed patch flower bed before he gets home.

So if you hear wailing and gnashing of teeth today, it's my kids. It's not going to be pretty. But they have to learn that households don't run themselves, and that's the point of doing the chores.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Questions you're not sure you want to hear

From Middle Sister, who likes to consider me her own personal dictionary as she sits and reads:

"Mom, what's infanticide?"

"Killing of children....what are you reading?"

I turned around to see Calvin and Hobbes in her hand. That explains it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brand New Lyrics

Adventure Boy just came up the driveway, singing at the top of his voice.

He has a nice singing voice, but he didn't hear the lyrics correctly when he learned this patriotic tune:

"You're a brand new flag, you're a high-flying flag..."

My work here is done

While we were in the car earlier today, Little Brother noticed all the cars parked at the local Chili's. He commented, "Mom, a lot of people are eating at Chili's!"

I said, "Yes, it's lunchtime."

He said, "Why don't they just eat at home?"

Middle Sister answered him, "Because they don't know how to cook their own food!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The "How could I resist" Culinary Meme

Since I've just been tagged Food Expert at Family Corner forums, how could I help but answer this meme!

1. What food does your best friend not like? My best friend is TheDad and he does not like chocolate, coffee, lemon, or tuna casserole. (More for me!)

2. What is your favorite cookbook? Are you kidding me? I have over 100! You expect me to pick? How about my top 3: Better Homes & Gardens Baking Book, Dining on a Dime, and the most recent church cookbook published at my parish.

3. Are you more of a sushi person or a lamb person?
Lamb, definitely. I like my fish cooked.

4. Given a choice of something fried and salty or something baked and sweet, what would you choose?
That depends on what time of the month I am making this choice.

5. Do you buy whole chickens and boil them and pick the meat off or does that gross you out? Do your children know what a whole chicken looks like or do they think they are made up of four breasts?
I buy whole chickens and roast them and then carve off all the meat. My kids definitely know what whole chickens look like. I get the biggest Oven Stuffer I can find at the store and we get 3 meals from it: roast chicken, some sort of casserole with cubed cooked chicken, and soup.

6. How do you feel about butter, sour cream, cream cheese, and half and half?
Bring it on! And none of that low-fat kind either!

7. (Skip this question if you are a vegetarian) If you are a carnivore, would you be willing to hunt or butcher your meat? Or to watch someone do that for you or would you rather not think of it? Or are you grateful for the animal who gave its life to sustain your life?
EWWWWW on the hunting and butchering. I love meat but don't make me kill it. I will deal with raw meat to the extent that I must do that "out of the supermarket package, trim to my family's needs, then cook."

8. What is the most exotic ingredient or spice in your cupboard?
Saffron, cardamom, juniper berries, and Thai fish sauce from the Asian grocery store.

TAG! If you're interested, please play along! Let me know in the comments if you play.

Prayer request

You've generously prayed for her before. Now I'm asking you to pray for her again: SFO Girl's daughter N.

After poor results on blood tests twice this week, but a puzzling "looks just fine to us" kidney ultrasound, N will be admitted at CHOP today for a biopsy of her kidney, which has less function than it did only 5 days ago. She looks and feels fine.

Please keep N, her parents and sisters in your prayers. Fortunately she has some of the best doctors and nurses EVER, which is a great blessing.


(Should be interesting to see the results of google searches on that title term!)

I have my own personal Klingon. His name is Little Brother. He is 6 years old and still a cuddly guy.

Unfortunately I am not extremely gracious when the Klingon tries to crawl in my lap. I don't mind in the late evening when I am settled on the couch with a book, and he gets in my lap. But during the day, if I'm at my desk, he tries to climb up here.

I need to remember that the Klingon is still a little kid, and he still needs some cuddles from Mom. I need to remember not to be irritated when he wants to get in my lap and get a hug. The days will soon be gone when he runs out after TheDad in the morning yelling, "Extra hug and kiss, Dad!" He'll be too cool to hold my hand when he crosses the street, or give me a smooch before getting on the school bus.

I need to remember to enjoy my Klingon. Gather ye rosebuds and all that. Because all Klingons have expiration dates, after which they turn into surly tweens who are too cool for Mom and Dad unless they need something.

Now excuse me while I go get an extra hug and kiss from my Klingon.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

It's Father's Day!

We had our special dinner yesterday with my in-laws here, but we are planning to have TheDad grill some ribs later. We gave him his present, and the children are charged with letting TheDad get as much couch time as he wants.

Today at Mass our deacon (a dad and grandfather himself) preached on "The harvest is plenty and laborers are few." After inviting parishioners to consider participating in various parish ministries that will need some extra hands this year, he honored the fathers in the assembly by describing how they assist in God's harvest and concluded with a prayer for fathers.

Here is President Bush's Father's Day proclamation:
"Fathers play a unique and important role in the lives of their children. As mentor, protector, and provider, a father fundamentally influences the shape and direction of his child's character by giving love, care, discipline, and guidance. As we observe Father's Day, our nation honors fatherhood and urges fathers to commit themselves selflessly to the success and well-being of their children. And we reaffirm the importance of fathers in the lives of their children. Raising a child requires significant time, effort, and sacrifice; and it is one of the most hopeful and fulfilling experiences a man can ever know. A father can derive great joy from seeing his child grow from infancy to adulthood. As a child matures into independence and self reliance, the value of a parent's hard work, love, and commitment comes to fruition.

Responsible fatherhood is important to a healthy and civil society. Numerous studies confirm that children whose fathers are present and involved in their lives are more likely to develop into prosperous and healthy adults. Children learn by example; and they need their father's presence as examples of virtue in their daily lives. A child's sense of security can be greatly enhanced by seeing his parents in a loving and faithful marriage."

A big thank you to my husband, father, and father-in-law for being the great dads and grandpas that they are! God bless you all!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kicking the Can

I'm saying this here to boost my accountability.

It's time for me to kick the habit.

My name is Barb, and I'm a Pepsi-holic. It's time to get off the hard stuff and switch to water, iced tea, or lemonade.

Danielle has given up Diet Coke and that has pushed me into thinking that it's time for me to do the same, and start looking for soda alternatives. I had already stopped buying Pepsi and bought some cans of Coke instead, and it just doesn't taste as good to me, so I've already been a little motivated to avoid soda.

Yesterday was pretty easy.

But today...that can of Coke in the fridge is calling out to me, and it's all I can do to avoid it.

Yes--I am fighting my very own Cola War right here.

Earlier today I googled "soda addictive" because I swear there's something in these drinks that makes people compelled to drink more. I'm already drinking decaf soda, so it can't be the caffeine. And really, soda has no redeeming nutritional value. There's got to be some virtue in kicking this habit. Oh yeah--that would be "self-control."

So I am off to refill my pretty, flowered glass with some more ice water while I laugh an evil, victorious laugh at the can of Coke as it gets shoved farther back into the dark recesses of the refrigerator.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Not Ready to Take One for the Team

I'm all for following up and fulfilling a commitment. I don't like to encourage my kids to miss a team event just because "something suddenly came up."

But when the something coming up is the mercury in the outdoor thermometer, and the heat index is 106, I have no compunctions about calling Middle Sister's summer-basketball coach and telling him that she won't be playing outdoor basketball today. We do have an indoor alternative for inclement weather, but that building has no air conditioning, and as Big Brother's Freakishly Tall Friend commented, "That would be like playing basketball inside a volcano."

It's not healthy--and it's not worth it. But I'm tired of always seeing the mentality that sports are more important than everything else. During the winter, we have to reschedule our "go-to-Mass-as-a-family" policy because CYO basketball games are scheduled early enough on Sunday mornings that we would still be in church. (The irony of this does not escape me, but no one ever seems to protest, and our comments to the coach went unheard last season.) Sports are not more important than common sense, especially when it relates to safety and health. So there will be no basketball game for Middle Sister today. If the rest of her team wants to risk heat exhaustion, shame on their parents.

Peace and Quiet, Mostly

Things calmed down after a while this morning, and Little Brother asked if Cutie Pie could come over to play (she's a preschooler, and she was home). So the two of them are prowling around the house whispering, wearing miscellaneous hats, playing his guitar, riding Little Brother's rocking horse, telling each other that they'd better hurry or they'll miss the bus, and did I mention whispering?

I'm cleaning up in the kitchen. While it hasn't been unsafe for humanity in there, it wasn't pretty either. I started with the table, and even put my pretty tablecloth on it with my pastry board on top so I can still bake when the weather cools off a little.

And I'm listening to the Eagles on my mp3 player and reveling in the quiet, now that Little Brother has someone besides me to amuse him. I'll bet Cutie Pie's mom is enjoying the quiet in her house too.

I Need a Do-Over

This morning just isn't getting off to a good start, and I haven't even been up for 2 hours yet.

First I realized that I hadn't taken all the groceries out of the van yesterday after I did the shopping. What got left behind? The bag with the meat in it. And not just any meat--it was the very expensive roast that I'd planned for Father's Day dinner.

Little Brother has been forcing himself to stay awake as late as possible because he's on summer vacation and that's what you DO during summer vacation. Unfortunately, he is one of those people who, if he stays up 1 hour later, will wake up 1 hour earlier than usual the next day. At 7 AM he was asking if Backyard Neighbor Girl was home from school yet.

Middle Sister came downstairs sporting a non-uniform shirt because "a boy in my class got away with wearing silver basketball shorts yesterday." She was sent back to change. Then she hurried through her breakfast so she could help Big Brother make water balloons (for today's class picnic).

Little Brother came inside juggling a water balloon: "Look what Middle Sister gave me!" We all screamed for him to take it back outside.

Big Brother observed, "He does not understand the destructive potential of water balloons."

Little Brother has decided to serenade all of us with his toy guitar. I have decreed that he may not play it in the same room with me.

If I had a nickel for every time I've told the kids just this morning to keep the front door closed, I could buy myself an iced coffee. With caffeine.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sorry, I didn't get the memo

TheDad and I are both visual people. If one of the kids has written a story for school, I need them to hand me the notebook rather than read it aloud to me. And if there's anything on the calendar that TheDad needs to know about, I email him. If he sees it in writing, he's more likely to remember than if I just say it to him.

Even so, this morning's conversation borders on the ridiculous.

This morning as the snooze alarm went off for the fourth time, I put my hand on TheDad's shoulder and told him it was time to wake up (this little game we play begins at 5 AM.)

"Didn't you get my email?" he mumbled. "I'm not waking up until 8:30 today."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

It's My Job, and I'm Good at It

Worrying, that is.

Last night TheDad, Big Brother, and my father (known around here as Biking Grandpa to distinguish him from the other Grandpa) left with the Boy Scouts for a short bike trip along part of the C&O Canal towpath. The plan was: camp last night, break camp, bike 25 miles, have a tour of Antietam Battlefield, camp at a different location, and head home tomorrow.

Then the weather got hot. Real hot. I tried to extract promises of phone calls from them so I could make sure they were safe.

Finally around 7 this evening, I got that long-awaited call. Big Brother told me they were on the way HOME! No one got hurt or sick, but when they got to the second campsite and discovered the lack of shower facilities and the fact that they'd have to haul all their tents and everything 1/2 mile in 90+ degree weather after biking all day, and they heard the weather report of possible thunderstorms, they figured it was better to just head home tonight. Good choice, guys!

Biking Grandpa will sleep here tonight (Big Brother will "camp" in the family room so Grandpa can have his room) since my parents live 120 miles north of us.

I'm up uncharacteristically late because I will worry until they all get in the door. I'm the wife, and the mom, and the daughter. It's my job.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

School's Out for Me, Too

By all appearances, my work this year as a homebound instructor is over.

The letter I had to mail today details the reasons for this. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Dear Mom of Students A & B:

In the past few weeks I have become concerned that I am unable to contact you regarding scheduling home instruction for Students A & B.

On May 22 I arrived at your home as scheduled at 10 AM. I was on the porch for 10 minutes, ringing the doorbell. I then used my cell phone to call your home and left a message. Later that day and again on Tuesday, May 27, I left messages. Those calls were never returned.

This week I was contacted by your daughters' case manager from the Child Study Team to discuss Students A & B’s progress. When I mentioned that I was scheduled to meet with Students A & B this morning, she informed me that she had a meeting scheduled with you at the same time to explore a possible school for Student A for next school year. I offered to reschedule the tutoring time and called your home to do that.

When I did not receive a return call by Wednesday evening, I left a second message that I would not be arriving for today’s lesson unless I received a call from you. At this point in the school year I must make child-care arrangements for my youngest child, who has finished school. Therefore, it is important that I have definite arrangements made in advance.

I will await a phone call or email from you regarding our schedule for the coming week. Otherwise, Students A & B will receive a grade of Incomplete for the 4th quarter and the final exam, and will not receive credit for the course until that is resolved.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience.
(Sincerely, SFO Mom)

The pay is nice, but they don't pay me to make phone calls that are not returned, prepare a lesson when no one is there to study, and do the rest of this running around. I'm glad it's over. It has become apparent to the tutors and the Child Study Team that these students are not very serious about their education. They like waking up at 9:55 for a 10 AM class, and sitting there "studying" in their pajamas while they eat Fruity Pebbles and pet their dogs.

At this point, my time is better spent reading with Little Brother, helping him arrange Army Guys on the old Axis & Allies game board, doing laundry and cleaning the Disaster Area Formerly Known As The Toy Basement. I do all of that and don't get paid a penny, but the rewards are priceless.

Fabulous Links

Run, do not walk, over to Ask Sister Mary Martha and read what she has to say about humility.

Sheila Wray Gregoire has an excellent essay on the importance of being there. This is one I need to keep in mind when I feel I just can't stand one more basketball game or yet another race, and it sealed the deal about tomorrow morning's plans to attend the school Mass, where Middle Sister will be in a group that performs a liturgical dance (NOT my favorite thing in the whole wide world)--but I will be there because Middle Sister is dancing and I want to be present for her.

Father PJ shares his thoughts on building your house on rock.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Kindergarten is Over

Today is Little Brother's last day of kindergarten. We will attend the end-of-year program to see what the class has learned and then enjoy a picnic. Little Brother is happy that I'm bringing hoagies from Wawa for lunch.

It has been a year of adjustments, like when the food police came to school over the fruit roll-ups and the chocolate pretzels. And lately I think Little Brother has been more than ready to be done with the whole "going to school" thing for a while. He's been protesting taking the bus, even when he's ready a full 30 minutes ahead of bus-stop time. I know, for sure, that he will miss all his friends. Good thing they all wrote down their phone numbers in his yearbook. Some are backwards, and some didn't write their name next to their phone number, but they're in there!

But it's been a good year. His teacher is excellent. He is reading like crazy and excited about it.

In 90 days, Little Brother will be a first-grader with a whole new set of adventures to anticipate.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

How to know your children are too old for Smiley Fries

I lost my appetite. Guess what will never be on my shopping list again?

Summer's Coming! Remember your Local Food Pantry!

Please keep in mind that with the coming of summer is the end of school lunches and even breakfasts for children whose families cannot afford to purchase sufficient food.

Our local food pantry is pretty empty these days. The need is great and donations slow down in the summertime. More children benefit from food pantries in the summer, so they have a need for more kid-friendly, nutritious foods (peanut butter, soups, breakfast cereals...)

So please remember to donate (food, money, or your time and talent) to your food pantry this summer!