Sunday, August 31, 2008

Weekly Winners: August 24-30

FYI, wanted to let you know that my second post is up at Mid-Century Modern Moms. Go check it out after you take a look at my limited edition -- or more like my edition of limited ...

Touched by an angel:

My baby grows up:

First day of high school

For more weekly winners, go --->here<--- And now go see my account of the Roo-girl's first-day-of-school clothing debacle at Mid-Century Modern Moms!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Now THAT'S hot!!!

The water, I mean.

After more than a week with no hot water, we finally have the problem solved.

Wonderhubby installed a new valve on our water heater, ending days of icy-cold showers and extra trips to the gym to use THEIR hot water.

You gotta love a guy who's handy.

I sure do!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Haiku Friday: the know-it-all edition

Haiku Friday

It's difficult to
stay in my own digs today:
There's no hot water.

So I'm vacating
the premises to house-sit
for Burgh Baby's mom.

Come visit me there
as I dispense great advice
for raising daughters.

Free Smileys & Emoticons at Clipart

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What a difference a year makes ...

Today is Z-man's 19th birthday.

In just a little more than a week, he and I will get back on an airplane to take him to year 2 of culinary school in faraway college land.

How did THAT happen?

How did we end up here, halfway through the culinary part of his program; a quarter of the way through the full degree?

Last year for his birthday, I wrote about the boy who never left.

And yet he did.

And, although he was hurting while he did, he made it.

And he is ready to do it again.

He made it through the year with more resolve than ever to become the kitchen whiz he believes he was born to be.

For his birthday, he asked for something that made me laugh.

Not video games, or Best Buy gift cards or even computer software or gadgets.

No. The same child who, at 10, chose kitchen utensils over a GameBoy for Hanukkah wants a santoku knife.

My boy plays with knives -- and it's a good thing.

My boy plays with fire -- and it's a good thing.

My boy has my heart -- and it's a VERY good thing.

Z-man, your end-of-summer birthday has become a bittersweet moment for me, as I celebrate both your birth and your independence.

I now must send you off on your own again, leaving that little empty spot in my heart -- a spot that you will fill for me with pride in your accomplishments.

Happy birthday, my big boy.

I love you.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

There goes my heart

First day of high school, August 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall ...

Let's start out with a disclaimer.

I don't drink.

Well, I DO drink, but it's not a regular thing. I totally believe in the value of a well-timed margarita, and a glass of wine when I am at family functions (parental-unit hell) is de rigueur.

I am also the world's lightest lightweight when it comes to holding my liquor, so maybe it's a good thing I don't do it much.

Witness the family vacation (celebrating my parents' 55th anniversary) three years ago when I had a half a mai-tai.

The Roo-girl was TOTALLY freaked out by my less-than-usual-uptight-buttoned-up attitude (this was obviously before the corn incident).

In fact, my mother felt the need to tell me I was scaring my daughter and should sober up. Perhaps that was because, when J-bear was having trouble getting the attention of a waiter, I suggested she flash him.

Yes, I did say that. And no, no one has allowed me to forget it.

Anyway, the bottom line is: alcohol and I are mere acquaintances, wishing each other a quick howdy-do every so often when the need arises.

Which is what makes this story so odd.

For some reason, when we were vacationing a month ago, I saw something that tweaked my interest.

It was a beer.

Now let me just say upfront, I do NOT drink beer. My friends and I drank beer (sometimes) in graduate school lo those many years ago, but I find beer generally to be an aquired taste that I don't have and don't want, thank you very much.

But this one intrigued me.

And I thought about it on multiple occasions after we came back from vacation.

And then I started OBSESSING about it.

This has been going on for a month now. You'd think I'd give it up.

But no.

And really? It's not like it was a FANCY beer. Or an imported one. Or expensive. Or anything other than reasonably ordinary.

In fact, probably less than ordinary. It's a LIGHT beer, for God's sake!!!

And not just ANY light beer.

It's a Bud Light.

With lime.

*We will pause here for legitimate beer drinkers and connoisseurs to quietly gag on their hops*

Maybe it was the bottle, all silver and green and pretty and -- I don't know -- LIMEY REFRESHING.

So on Monday, while I was out picking up some lunch, I bought one.

*Insert wild laughter from my family, who will undoubtedly think I have lost my freakin' mind*

Well, I did. I figured if I actually DRANK one, I could stop obsessing about it.

And since Monday night was the Fantasy Football draft for the Plurk Junkies league, I additionally figured that drinking a beer was highly appropriate.

Albeit a light beer with sissy lime flavoring.

And so that, my friends, is how I ended up sitting in my bed, with my laptop, a ranked list of football players AND A BEER last night.

And ya know what?

I STILL don't like beer.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Something new for me!

Come and visit me over at Mid-Century Modern Moms, where I am now a contributing writer!

We're a group of women with older kids (13 and up).

If you have toddlers, preschoolers or elementary-school-aged kids, you're gonna want to get a preview of what is in your future.

If you are deep in middle school, high school or college days, come and commiserate with us.

And if you are long past that stage of life, come give us some encouragement. We're a little enmeshed in the draaaaaaaahma and could use a kind word!

Whichever it is, come read my debut post for MCMM and leave me some commenty lovin' so my fellow MCMM'ers will know they made the right choice in adding me to the mix!

Fun Monday: the why do I remember this edition

The lovely ladies of Mama Drama are hosting our Fun Monday silliness this week. Their quest was simple enough, but the explanation cracked me up so much that I'm reprinting it in its complex entirety here:

Remember way back in elementary school when you had to do a report on James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States and you told the class all about how he was shot after only four months in office? You also remember that he recovered after a week, but doctor's continued to probe at the healed wound causing complications and resulting in his death almost three months later? Okay, we all knew that about Garfield, but you also remember that James Garfield could write with both hands at one time and in different languages.!!! Why do you remember that? Maybe for you it wasn't James Garfield, but somewhere in your past education, you picked-up some little bit of useless information that you've never forgotten.

What funny trivial fact do you remember that you probably should have forgotten a long time ago?

So, um. Well. See, the thing is, I have Swiss cheese for brains (everything goes out the holes) so I KNOW there are things that I remember that I should have forgotten, but ... um ... well ... I forgot what they were.

So I am going to bend the rules a little. (Hey ... just a LITTLE, ok???)

Instead of trivial facts, I present to you the "I can't remember what I had for dinner last night but I can remember THIS about my life" list:

1) Where I was when President Kennedy was shot: In the sixth grade. They didn't tell us until school was over. No big deal, you think? Well, don't forget that I'm on the West Coast. He died at about 1 p.m. CST -- which made it 11 a.m. by us. We learned our president was dead just before we got out of class at 3:10 p.m. My younger brother saw me across the schoolyard and yelled out, "Did you hear about it?"

Um. Duh?

2. First thing anyone said to me on the playground when I entered my new school in second grade: "My mother knows your mother and she said to be especially nice to you." That girl became my best friend from second through sixth grade.

3. Most memorable toy: Of course, there were Barbies and other dolls. That's the obvious stuff. But before I had Barbies or any other dolls -- probably when I was still a toddler -- I had a wooden Pinocchio doll. The thing that made it special was it had two noses -- one short and one long. Kinda like these, only smaller.

Drummer Man had one as a child, but it didn't have the interchangeable noses, and after he picked it up to swing it at the Drama King (they were 3 and 6 months -- sibling issues, anyone?), I removed it from his world. Ah, memories.

4. From the top-10 humiliating moments of seventh grade department: My name. It's boring. Well, at least when I was 12, I thought so. (Who knew it could be such a blogging badge of honor?) I wanted to change it, and in the interest of not making DRAMATIC changes, I wanted to just shorten it to "Jan."

In those days, we put our names on our papers last name first in the top righthand corner of the page.

So ... one day, I put Lastname, Jan at the top of my spelling test.

My English teacher was kind of a jerk and was walking around the room peeking at what we were all doing. He stopped short at my desk.

"Jan?" he asked. "JAN????????????"

It was about a 40-syllable word the way he said it. With that TONE.

I never did it again.

Just think. If it hadn't been for Mr. Seventh Grade English Teacher Jerkface, I could have been writing a blog called Jan's Plan.

Or not.

Go visit the rest of the Fun Monday crowd. I am going to.

If I remember.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekly Winners: August 17-23

Once again, I forayed into our backyard -- and into J-bear's room -- for a peek into nature.

Berry nice branches:

Oh what a tangled web branch we weave:

Oops, I lied. This wasn't in my backyard -- it was one of those fragrancy things:

alpha BETTA FISH gamma delta:

The air that you breathe:

For more weekly winners, go --->here<---

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What goes around comes around: variations on the theme

There's nothing more fun that watching your older children take an interest in the wellbeing of their younger siblings.

It's ESPECIALLY amusing when the one with the interest is the one who, while growing up, gave you the most grief, the most reason to worry, ended up being the one you threw out into the cold on Christmas night 2005 and since has become the prodigal son.

Witness this instant-message exchange between me and my second-born.

Drama King: Howre things in your neck o the universe?

Evil Mother: not too bad. busy but handleable

Drama King: Cool, cool. How's Roo-girl? Dating? Hehe

Evil Mother: *snort*

Drama King: Is she as emo as I was at 14?

Evil Mother:


Drama King: Is that a yes?

Evil Mother: yes. altho she denies the emo'ishness

Drama King: Is she giving me a run for my crown?

Evil Mother: she is giving you a run for the crown of moody hormonal drama queen :-P

Drama King: Hey, now. I am not a queen. Drama prince, perhaps. Or king, if you'd rather. Not queen.

Evil Mother: ah yes.

We interrupt this conversation to have a little internal monologue:

So ... does he KNOW about my blog? Unknown. Interesting that he should dub himself the Drama King ...

And how weird is this really to talk to the original emo boy about his hormonal sister?

Back to the conversation at hand:

Evil Mother: got any hints on dealing with a 14-year-olds who lock themselves in their rooms?

Drama King: Lots of ibuprofen

Drama King: Hehe

Evil Mother: more like lots of vodka

Drama King: That too

Evil Mother: i dont know how i lived through it before.

Evil Mother: killin' me now.

Drama King: What's Roo-girl's issue? Nobody likes her at school or something?

Evil Mother: boys

Evil Mother: girl likes boy. boy just isn't into girl. girl persists. boy shuts her down. girl cries a million tears.

Drama King: Hehehe

Drama King: Sorry... not funny

Evil Mother: but i'm not supposed to know. it's just that i have my sources.

Drama King: Your sources? What'd you do, bribe a girlfriend?

Evil Mother: no. i have my ways

Drama King: Mysteeeeeeerious

Evil Mother: yeeeeeesssssssssssssss

After all, protecting your sources is, like, the first rule of journalism, ya know?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Haiku Friday: the personal space edition

Haiku Friday

The door flies open,
and a teenage girl bursts in.
Did anyone knock?

Why, NO! No one did.
But that didn't stop her from
invading my space.

I'm thinking I should
greet her in the buff next time --
Perhaps she'd learn then.

On the other hand,
she just might not flinch unless
I was pole dancing!!!

I mean, really. I could call it a family tradition, ya know?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

One piranha, two piranha, three piranha, four ...

My parents are sometimes referred to (out of their earshot, of course) as the piranhas.

This actually stemmed from an incident when Wonderhubby and I were still dating. Well, more than dating at that point. Those three magic words of commitment had been spoken, and yet my parents would not acknowledge the relationship by including him in family events.

What did they want?

Dinner. The four of us.

What was on the menu?

Wonderboyfriend under glass.

I've told a version of this story before, when the Drama King introduced his boyfriend, Rocky, to Wonderhubby and me.

The original piranha dinner (and by the way, in the intervening few months since I posted that story, you'll be happy to know that I did figure out how to spell piranha properly!) has become Planet of Janet family lore, but little did we know that it would make a return appearance.

Oh, no, not for Wonderhubby and me ... but for the Drama King and Rocky.

Yes, history repeated itself as the Drama King asked to include HIS significant other in family events hosted by the grandparental units.

And found himself facing piranha dinner for four.

On the menu?

Rocky under glass.

To say the two of them were nervous is to underestimate the power of my parents to induce flop-sweat'edness.

I wanted Drama King to take notes.

"Oh, excuse me, Grandma," he snarked back at me. "I have to write this down for my mom."

Then I suggested he wear a wire.

I mean, really, people. How can I get a good Drama King story out of this if I don't get accurate reporting???

Anyway, dinner was at 6:30 p.m. -- the time is only important if you look carefully at the time stamp of the first instant message:

Evil Mother (6:45:24 PM): *poke*

Evil Mother (6:45:37 PM): *runs away laughing*

Oh, yeah, I'm that evil. He didn't respond. Heh.

I managed to contain myself until after a suitable time period. But I will say I was a little disappointed in the reportage:

Drama King (8:13:36 PM): Hehe. It actually went very well.

Drama King (8:13:49 PM): They were subdued

Drama King (8:17:13 PM): Lots of work related subjects

Drama King (8:17:21 PM): No interrogation

Evil Mother (8:27:12 PM): wow

Drama King (8:27:47 PM): Yeah. Boring. Nothing worth writing home about

Evil Mother (8:27:59 PM): BUMMER!!!!!

Drama King (8:28:06 PM): Sorry.

Drama King (8:28:21 PM): Maybe next time

Evil Mother (8:28:23 PM): lolololololol

Evil Mother (8:28:30 PM): does this mean he passed, tho?

Drama King (8:28:30 PM): :-P

Drama King (8:28:41 PM): I assume so. He got hugs

Evil Mother (8:28:49 PM): yay!

Drama King (8:28:56 PM): Yay!

So the Rockster has passed the piranha test and will, according to tradition, now be invited to my parents' home.

Considering my sister's husband (father of this child ) is a homophobic bigot of epic proportions, I'm not sure that this is a good thing.

But it WILL be interesting.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You don't have to be blond to be "BLOND"

So, ok, yesterday I told you about how my "blond" daughter apparently left her name off her standardized math test last April.


Well, I could call this Random Acts of Redheadedness ...

I have become a little obsessive-compulsive about the gym recently. I love taking classes, rather than just GOING and working out on machines on the fitness floor.

That's actually because I have no idea what I'm DOING when it comes to those machines, and I'm not willing to:

1) pay a trainer to teach me

or 2) look like a moron flailing around ignorantly on elliptical or other complicated machinery!

This makes me the perfect candidate for an aerobics class -- either land or water -- where they tell you what to do and your only job is to do it and not die.

My usual weekday class is on a bit of an end-of-summer hiatus for a couple weeks, while the teacher recuperates from months of listening to endless moaning and groaning from the resident dorks.

Since they opted not to call in a sub to put up with us, I have been forced to find something else to fill the void.

Hey, I have a great idea. Let's try spinning!!!!!

Oh yeah, baby. I rock. I roll. I do the stroll. And I can get on a damned stationary bike!


The non-working-hours classes are all at 6 a.m.

*Deep breath*

Ok, I can still do this. Cuz I rock. I roll ... yeah, you get the idea.

Tuesday was the day I selected to start this new plan.

Monday night, I carefully laid out all the necessary materials.

Gym clothes? Check.

Gym shoes and socks? Check.

Bag packed with necessary change of clothes for work? Check.

Bathing suit so I could jump in the pool after sweating my brains out on a bike? Check.

Toiletries, makeup, etc., so I can look beauteous at my fabulous workplace? Check.

Time for bed, Janet. Set your alarm so you can arrive on time. In fact, set it a little earlier so you can arrive five minutes early (as required for a newbie) to get situated.

Hmmm. What time should I get up? To be there by 5:55 ... 5:30? 5:15?

Ah, I told myself, 5:25.


With my alarm set, I snuggled up to the Wonderhubby, drifted off to sleep and dreamed good dreams of 15-pound weight losses and finally having a defined waist.

Tuesday morning, I woke to the sweet lips of WH, kissing me good morning and goodbye, as he does EVERY morning before he leaves for work at the crack of dawn. (Don't you wish you were married to him? Can't have him. He's mine!)

I sighed, turned over and looked through half-closed eyes at the clock.

6:05 a.m.


Yup. I missed my class. And, you might ask, how did this happen?

Yeah. That's how.

My daughter's got NOTHIN' on me ...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Random acts of blondness, part the sixth

I thought it was time that I had an actual logo for this topic.

The Roo-girl actually does own this shirt. And when I googled images for "random acts of blondness" to logo'ize myself, I ... uh ... found my own blog.



The state of California tests all its students on standardized exams, starting in about the third grade. At least in our neck of the woods.

The testing is a big pain. It takes a couple of days every spring, and results are mailed home ... oh ... about the time school starts up again. Timely. Very very timely. *snort*

Seeing as it's almost time for school, it stands to reason that results arrived over the past weekend.

The Roo-girl is a smart cookie -- this we know -- although she doesn't always test well on standardized tests.

So I'm always fascinated to see how she does every year. Sometimes she does very very well; sometimes there are random blips on the radar.

This year, I was pleased to see she did well across the board.

See? Advanced in every subject.

Hey. Wait a second. What's THIS????

Yes, my daughter did not put her name on her math test.

God help me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fun Monday: the answer me this edition

Lisa from Lisa's Chaos is our hostess this week. She offered a choice:
What is one thing you would like to ask your readers? Come up with a question to pose to your visitors and throw it out there on Monday. As we’re all visiting each other’s Fun Monday posts we should answer the various questions we come across.


Show&Tell me about a bird, I’m easily made happy.

Well. I'm not a bird person. In fact, in all the photos that I have shot in my life, I don't believe I have EVER photographed a bird.

Even by accident.

Not that I WOULDN'T take a photo of a bird. It's just that, um, well, I just never have!

Which leaves me to ask a question of my readers.




The thing I really want to know from you is what DO you like and what DON'T you like about my subject matter.

What are you hoping for when you see my blog pop up in your reader? And what makes you go "Oh never mind" and move on to the next?

Does that sound all-full-of-myself? Hmmmm, maybe. But I really do want to know. As you know, my current employment as a newspaper person is kinda tenuous right now, and I am seriously trying to figure out how to make a living as a writer. So knowing what rocks YOUR world about MY world -- or constructive criticism thereof -- could actually help me in my quest.

Think of it as your opportunity to mold my future.

Or destroy my ego.

Free Smileys & Emoticons at Clipart

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Don't forget to Blog the Recession this month. If you're viewing this in a reader, click on through. Page views count. Thanks!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekly Winners: August 10-16

For a change, the Roo-girl consented to a photo shoot -- mostly because she was showing off some coolio things she got on her first solo all-day shopping trip to the mall with a girlfriend (yes, I made her call me regularly).

I am, of course, sneaky that way, because although I DO have photos of her modeling a green bandeau and showing off her exciting score at Abercromie (distressed jeans for $20! Whooooo!), I am opting to show you the WINNERS from that shoot.

Which have nothing to do with jeans, eye shadow and t-shirts.

The strange thing is that on Saturday, we both had appointment at the eye doctor for a contact lens check, and the doc made a comment that I have actually thought for awhile but had not yet put into words.

Her facial structure and appearance has changed dramatically in the last year, taking her from middle school young to a true teenager.

The difference that you can see in her bat mitzvah photos from a mere year ago (omigod, how did THAT happen!!!!!) compared to today is stunning.

For comparison purposes (not Weekly Winner purposes), here is a shot from exactly a year ago:

Here's my girl today:

Huh. That's an attractive look. Let's try again.

Now, wait here just a minute! Let's get down to business now, Roo-girl!!

Ahh. Just right.

For other weekly winners go -->here<--

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Don't forget to Blog the Recession this month. If you're viewing this in a reader, click on through. Page views count. Thanks!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Back in the old Roo-teen

Long ago in a galaxy far far away -- at LEAST as far back as last week -- I polled the blogosphere about whether I should read the Roo-girl's angst-ridden teen poetry ... which she had left out in the open.

Well. The response in favor of snoopage was overwhelming, both from the curiosity AND from the "keep tabs on your child so you know where her head is" perspectives.

OF COURSE, you do know that I read them. In fact, I mostly read them before all y'all gave me the go-ahead.

Am I all about the sharing? Yes, but I'm also all about the privacy, so I have vowed to only share the basic subject matter. Here ya go:

Girl likes boy, boy doesn't know girl is alive, girl asks friend to ask boy about girl, friend does, boy is clear that he just not that into the girl, girl dies a million deaths, girl bleeds tears all over spiral notebook, the end.

You can do the math.

But just to show you I'm not completely changed, I WILL share: the declarations I have found in public places, for example her Facebook status, her instant message messages, things like that.

I figure if she puts it out there that publically, it's meant for me -- and you -- to read.

These are in chronological order, from earliest to latest:

The Roo-girl will be ok ... eventually.

Two days later ...

The Roo-girl won't be ok for a long time.

A day after that ...

The Roo-girl just wants it all to be ok again ...

This past weekend...

The Roo-girl wishes things could be simple again.

And message that KILLS me and that sat on her outgoing instant message window:

"you crushed my heart with your words."

Followed closely by:

how is that when evr i get my hopes up something comes and crushes me??

This is going to be a looooooooooong adolescence.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Haiku Friday: the flatten me like a pancake edition

Haiku Friday

Squiiiiiiiish -- turn this way please.
Squiiiiiiiish again. This is torture
but necessary.

I went for my mammogram yesterday. Fun times.

(Sorry, guys. Go turn on ESPN or something.)

There's something about having your boob smashed into a pancake between two plates (and then watching the tech twiiiiiiist a knob to make it even tighter) that really makes your day.

I do this willingly, of course, because, well, it's an important preventative measure.

But, seriously, people. They can put a man on the moon. Don't you think they could find a better way to look at breast tissue???

I blame men, of course.

Obviously, a man had to have invented this torture device for women. There's a cartoon out there somewhere that shows a man getting HIS parts examined in a similar manner for a MAN-ogram. My guess is that, if a man really had to have one of these, he would have invented a painless alternative!!

OK, OK, I am just having some fun here. Every woman should be doing self-exams and having mammograms when age-appropriate.

Because early detection is the key.

Go get squished.

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Don't forget to Blog the Recession this month. If you're viewing this in a reader, click on through. Page views count. Thanks!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Perhaps "spunk" needed more explanation than that

OK, so when I posted my amusing tale of Roo spunk yesterday, I think I forgot something.

I think what I forgot is that you guys don't hear the part of the conversation that I had in my head as I was writing.

And after I emailed the same response to three different -- yet similar -- comments, I figured I'd better explain myself.


There are two kinds.

There is the football kind, where the girls stand on the sidelines and dance and jiggle and tumble and lead the crowd in many kinds of yelling and ... ahem ... cheering.

This is the type that has the reputation that one thinks of immediately when one says the word "cheerleader." The ones who (God forbid) sleep with the football players and are kinda ditzy and mostly blond. (No offense to any football cheerleaders out there -- this is the stereotype I'm talking about!)

This is the type that, I'm assuming, some people don't want their children to grow up to be.

Then there is the other type.

The competitive cheerleader.

This cheerleader is an athlete, plain and simple. This girl trains like any other athlete -- complete with an intensive conditioning program of running, cardio and stretching.

While competition routines might contain some crowd-leading cheers, the basic content is precision dance, stunting and tumbling. Lots and lots of stunting and tumbling.

Yes, there is some ick in this particular subculture (the uniforms, the hair, the makeup *shudder*), but it's ATHLETIC. It's also GRUELING.

My daughter belongs to this group.

The Roo-girl (along with her mom) has been immersed in the competitive all-star cheer world for more than six years. Let me tell you, from firsthand experience, it's not the same as football cheer.

So the introduction of "you live to serve" into Roo's cheer-soaked brain was a little like electro-shock therapy.

In other words, WHAT THE HOLY FREAKIN' HELL??????

Now, I knew it would be this way when she left the all-star competition arena and entered the world of high school cheer. She did not.

Unfortunately, in our little world, she can't have the competitive team without the football part. The varsity competitive team -- about 12 girls -- is by invitation only, from the ranks of the 60-plus on the total squad.

And lest you think these are little pansy-ass, whiny girls, let me offer you a preview of what is expected of them in the several weeks remaining before school starts and "real" practices begin:

The coach issued the following things as the MINIMUM DAILY REQUIREMENTS for the girls:

* Run a mile (or 20 to 30 minutes of dedicated cardio)

* 20-30 minutes of core work (situps, pushups, etc)

* 20 to 30 toe touches (the mechanism and motion used for toe touches -- the jumping splits kind, not the lean-over-and-try-to-touch-your-toes one -- is the same as a back tuck.)

* 20 to 30 minutes of stretching to improve flexibility.

That's the MINIMUM requirement every day. More would be appreciated.

So the Roo-girl will cheer JV football -- and apparently bring Gatorade to the football players.

Which will give her the privilege to compete -- as a freshman -- on the varsity team.

Her righteous indignation about it made me laugh, but it unfortunately will be the world she inhabits so that she can have thing she loves.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fun fun fun in the summer sun

The fun folks at Five Minutes for Mom are having a summer fun photo contest. Deadline is 3 p.m. EST (yes, I sneaked in just under the wire, but I was inspired by the late entry by Nikki!)

The Roo-girl gets up close and personal with the wildlife at the zoo. (She washed her hands about a gazillion times after touching giraffe spit.)

My girl's got spunk. Spunk, I say!

The Roo-girl has been in cheer since she was 8 years old.

But it has always been geared toward competition, with strenuous stunts, dance routines and tumbling.

Never sideline cheer. Never crowd leading.

Until now.

As part of her high school team, she has divided obligations.

As a member of the varsity (yes, varsity -- woot!) competition team, she is expected to work her little buns off, with additional practices, conditioning and gymnastics classes. She is thriving in this familiar environment.

As a member of the junior varsity squad of what I call football cheer, she is expected to learn a mess of crowd-leading routines and yells. The usual stuff you see on the sideliness.

Plus a few other duties and responsibilities.

She didn't really understand what that meant until I explained something she needed to do next week.

Evil Mother: Don't forget you have to take a Gatorade to practice next week.

The Roo-girl: What for? I drink water at practice. Gatorade is gross.

Evil Mother: No, it's for the football players.

The Roo-girl: For WHAT??

Evil Mother: The football players. You are supposed to bring a Gatorade, and I guess you set it all in a row so they can take one during their practice.

The Roo-girl: *horrified* WHAT???? Why would we do THAT??

Evil Mother: *snickering slightly* You're a cheerleader. You live to serve.

The Roo-girl: That's ridiculous. *foot stamp* I'm not doing that.

Evil Mother: Bwahahahahahahaha!! You go, girl. Stick to your principles.

God, I love that kid. She has chutzpah that I only dreamed about at her age.

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Don't forget to Blog the Recession. If you're viewing this in a reader, click on through. Page views count. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And my evil plan continues ...

Once again, I have invaded someone else's turf for today.

Come visit me at Rachael's blog, as I continue my quest for blog domination.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fun Monday: the photo of the year edition

Aoj of the Lurchers had what seemed like an easy challenge for us this week. She wanted to know this:

Show me your favourite photograph and tell me why it's your favourite. It can be one you've taken yourself or one someone else has taken, a snapshot or a more professional image. Is there a story behind it? Do you love it for the memories it gives or just because it's pleasing to the eye?
Ooooh, don't you just loooooove her very Britishness in spelling it "favourite"? We ordinary Americans find that so fun!

Anyway, this was harder than it looked. I mean, really. I have spent the last year(ish) playing Lotus' Weekly Winners game, so I have shot and posted a LOT of pictures.

Plus only a year ago, the Roo-girl had her bat mitzvah and we had all kinds of professional shots done. Plus ... all her cheer photos and stuff.

Eeeek! I don't know what to dooooooooooo!

But when I started going through my photos, I found one that made me smile.

Made me remember waaaaay back.

Back before bad marriages and divorces.

Back when life was actually pretty simple.

Long ago, when I was just -- just?? hahahahaha! -- the mother of two boys, we took a summer trip to Aspen, Colorado.

Drummer Man was 5; Drama King was 2 1/2.

And we went on a picnic.

There was a bridge.

And my older son took my younger's hand so he'd be safe as they crossed.

I have posted so many photos on my blog. Photos from now and photos from then.

But this one? This one makes me smile.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekly Winners: August 3-9

I are nature girl this week.

Busy bee:

From my front yard:

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me and what can be the use of her is more than I can see:

For more weekly winners, go --->here<---

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Random acts of blondness, part the fifth

The emotional rollercoaster that is 14 is on the upswing for the moment, bringing us another installment of Random Acts of Blondness.

"Omigod, Mommy, I had the worst blond moment," she burbled as we ate dinner together in harmony for the first time in days ... ok, weeks.

"When I was at the mall with T and H, T's boyfriend was giving me a hard time about everything ...

"He kept asking me questions. And then he asked me to name a country that started with 'U' ..."

She stopped, looked at me and then covered her face with her hands.

"I said Europe."

We both laughed until we couldn't breathe.

Ah, my girl is back.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Haiku Friday: the aww he's so sweet edition

Haiku Friday

sometimes I don't think
but always know I love you
this is from my heart

These words are not mine. They are Wonderhubby's first ever haiku, written Saturday night and emailed to me after we had a brief "misunderstanding" while I was out of town last weekend.

Gotta love a guy who can write poetry in the middle of the night.

He'll always have my heart.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The next step in my evil plan

Apparently, it has become my goal to take over the blogosphere ... one guest post at a time.

And as it happens, Karen Sugarpants has played RIGHT into my hands!

Imagine giving the keys to her place to ME.

*insert evil laughter and villainly hand-rubbing here*

Come see me over at Karen's place.

It's nice over there. No teenage girls.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I never do this ... but there's a first for everything

I hope you'll forgive me for wussing out on writing today and posting a video instead.

But as a newspaper person for a zillion years -- one who works with words and type fonts -- this made me laugh.

I'm still cleaning Diet Coke with lime out of my keyboard.

Tomorrow? I promise. Real words from the inner workings of Janet's brain.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nobody knows the trauma I've seen ... *edited for lameness*

Teenage girls and angst-ridden poetry go together like love and marriage.

Horse and carriage.

Soup and sandwich.

Sheesh, I'm starting to sound like a Campbell's soup commercial. (Yes, I'm old -- and it's a classic, AND I tried to find a youtube video and, alas, failed.)

Anyway, emotional drama/trauma + teen girl = perfect poetry fodder.

Which brings us to today's question.

If a girl writes a poem in a forest and nobody reads it, is it still angsty?

Or ...

If a girl writes a poem and LEAVES IT ON HER DESK FREE AND IN THE OPEN ... is it OK to read it?

Let's take a poll, shall we?

*edited to add: oh for GAWD'S sake... Polldaddy does not preview the damned poll. Apparently if you do not eliminate Answers 3, 4 and 5, it shows up and proves that you are mondo stupid. OY*

I'm interested in your comments, in addition to your votes.

Because, my DEAR, I'm entering unknown territory that is laden with estrogen land mines.


And send chocolate.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Evidently, I thought we needed a status check

Interim "Breaking Dawn" report from the Roo-girl: At about halfway through, she has declared it a "major disappointment."

I haven't had a chance to get at it yet, though I'm hoping for some uninterrupted time later today.

But since, a little more than 48 hours later, she still hasn't finished it? Well, this is a CLEAR message that my vampire-obsessed daughter is u.n.h.a.p.p.y. with her idol's literary efforts.

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Job situation: still tenuous. Morale? In the toilet. Job hunt? In full force.

I am clicking away on blogs that I read. Hope that your page views go through the roof.

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Hormonal teen report: not too bad. Summer school is over at last. She is kinda crying into her beer over a boy who has broken her heart. Much angst-ridden poetry ensues.

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Earthquake report: There are undoubtedly aftershocks, but I'm not really feeling them where I am.

However, the funniest image to come out of that experience (other than the eye-gouging visual of my pole-dancing mother) is the look that must have been on someone's face when s/he googled "what to do in an earthquake" and came up with this post.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Weekly Winners: July 28-August 2

OK, I will admit, I'm cheating a little.

These actually were photos I took at the San Diego Zoo last weekend, but I didn't have a chance to edit them before last Sunday's Weekly Winners post.

So here is a collection of animal portraits -- what I did on my summer vacation!

Here, kitty, kitty:

My, what big paws you have:

Proud as a peacock:

I've seen peacocks before, but never in a tree!

The patriarch:

Hippo love:

For more weekly winners, go --->here<---

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the beginning, there were spoilers

As you read this, the Roo-girl is most likely STILL holed up in her room, reading "Breaking Dawn," the fourth book in the "Twilight" series by THAT author.

The book was released at midnight, and she spent Friday evening with her friends at the local Barnes and Noble, partying, socializing and ... waiting ... for ... her ... chance ... to ... buy ... her ... book.

When Wonderhubby and I picked her up, she was hugging it tightly, calling it her "baby" and bubbling over with enthusiasm and anticipation of finishing the story of the vampires.

Wonderhubby couldn't resist tweaking her a little by threatening to be a spoiler -- with the same tired joke he has used since the day I met him.

WH: "So they get to Bethlehem and they named him Jesus!" "Then it was a boy! Hallelujah!"

The Roo-girl: That's the Bible!

Evil Mother: *rolls eyes at Captain Obvious*

TRG: So let me ruin that one for you -- he dies at the end.

EM: Bwahahahahaha ...

TRG: But don't worry. He comes back!!!

Yes, she is a nice Jewish girl. Why do you ask?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Haiku Friday: the take-that-job-and-shove-it edition *edited*

Haiku Friday

Print journalism
is deader than a doornail.
I need a new job.

Short and sweet this week,
but the sentiment is real.
Need ideas, please.

Oh, to be able
to make a living blogging.
It gives me pleasure.

Writing has become
key to unlocking my heart.
If only it paid ...

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Edited to add the following public service announcement:

So I wrote my haiku and went to A Mommy Story to link it up. And had it not been so poignant and right on for me, I would have laughed.

Because Mommy Story's Christina had haiku'd about jobs and hard times as well -- but she linked back to a BRILLIANT idea by Kristen of Motherhood Uncensored.

The premise is simple enough. July has sucked for many people. There are people who have lost jobs, have health problems, are in a bad way.

Me? I still have my job, but under circumstances that become more demoralizing every day, and I am now on the hunt for something new, if not better. It's tough for a 55-year-old woman to get out there in the job market after almost 28 years in one place and fight the young whippersnappers for lower paying positions.

Anyway, to help boost ad revenue for bloggers in need, Kristen proposes that we do the following for Blog the Recession Month:

If you read blogs, then for the month of August, make the "pledge" to click through from your feed reader. No obligation to leave a hilarious comment or send a long stalkerish email (although both, within reason, are always lovely). Just click through and if you're feeling generous, click around.

Just those extra page views can make a big difference for bloggers who could really use the help ...
So click away, my friends. I intend to do the same for you.
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