Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The big announcement

It's official as of last night ...


Go, Roo-girl! Knock 'em dead!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The ABCs of French

I thought perhaps I should update you on how the idea of a French tutor turned out.

After a semester of languishing in the C range -- anything from C minus to C plus -- Miss Roo-girl and her trusty French tutor pulled off ...

(Continued at Mid-Century Modern Moms)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekly Winners: June 21-27

When you live in my house, you never know when you will be caught in a severely unattractive pose by my everpresent camera.

Let me tell you how many times I was chastised by my children on Father's Day for pointing my lens in their direction.

I'm guessing they were probably right.

Chew-chew train:

Ewwwwww ... what IS that??

Yes, that's the pole-dancing grandma.

Ketchup! It's what's for dinner:

I swear this kid puts ketchup on her ketchup.

This one NEVER seems to take a bad photo:

Whew! Let's end with something a little prettier than my kids at the dinner table:

Go --->here<--- for more weekly winners!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The language barrier

I worked in newspapers for almost 35 years.

Starting out as the proverbial cub reporter, I worked my way through all forms of newspapering, from reporting to editing to design.

I know all the lingo. I lived and breathed it for decades. Apparently, printer's ink ran through my veins.

I still have my pica pole. To me, a graph (actually spelled more like graf) is not a chart, but shorthand for a paraGRAPH. People who take pictures are fotogs. Headlines are heds. We of the fourth estate take every possible shortcut in the spoken language, perhaps to make up for our obsessive-compulsive reliance on the written one.

Whatever the reason, it was a world that I was comfortable in. Until I wasn't.

Those of you who have followed along know that the newspaper biz ain't what it used to be, and I jumped ship before it could sink right under my feet.

Best decision I ever made, but an interesting one as I departed from my comfortable slovenliness in the newsroom and entered the business casual world of corporate America.

In the four months I have been hobnobbing with the white-collar crowd, I have had to learn an entirely new language.

People sure talk funny in those big office buildings! Where newspaper folk take shortcuts, corporate people take the looooong -- and flowery -- way 'round.

Here's a little peek into what I have learned:

* Reach out: This is what people do when they need to ask someone for something. They "reach out" to the legal department to get clarity on an issue. I frequently feel like I should break out into song.

* Populate: I still don't really know what this means. I think it has to do with stuff filling itself in. Like my email addresses aren't populating. Who knew they could reproduce??

* Level set: This is a verb. "Let me level set this for you." Hmmm. Ask my husband. He says level setting makes sure your artwork isn't crooked on the wall.

* Metrics: Outside the cubicle, metrics are the system that we Americans are totally resistant to. We prefer our miles and pounds and gallons, and all. But in corp-speak, metrics is data. There's a joke in here somewhere, but I was too busy collecting the metrics on how many jobs needed to be redone to find it.

* The Help Line: Ah, here is where my two worlds collided. It is a universal truth that tech services can be reached at some extension that includes the numbers 4357. Or NOT be reached, as the case may be. And, as a result, I have made both jaded newspaper people and prissy corporate geeks laugh out loud by calling it the Helpless Line.

So excuse me, but I gotta go. I need to reach out to my coffee cup, which I will populate with my favorite beverage. The metrics on that are off the charts.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If you want politically correct, you're in the wrong place

Apparently, you don't need to be at a dinner table to have family craziness.

Sometimes all it takes is a car ride with three kids crammed into the backseat, an iPhone and Youtube.

Gotta love my children when they think that a trip down "Magic School Bus" memory lane will crack me up.

Um. Cuz it did.

For a loooooong time.

Followed closely by ... well ... er ... uh ...

Ok, there's really no politically correct way to explain this, so I'll just jump right in.

The Roo-girl: So what would my Vietnamese name be?

*See? No PC way to explain it, so I'm not going to*

Z-man: Pho Kim.

The Roo-girl: Pho Kim?

Z-man: Yeah, except probably more like Phuh.

The Roo-girl: Phuh Kim?

*Pregnant pause*

Evil Mother: Bwahahahahahahahaha. Z-man, I can't believe you did that to her.

The Roo-girl: *gasps in utter horror as the reality hits* Omigod omigod omigod, Mommy. I'm so sorry. I didn't know!!

Z-man and J-bear: *holding onto each other and CRYING with laughter*

Three days later, Roo is STILL apologizing for her -- ahem -- nasty mouth.

And I'm still laughing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Daddy dearest

Yesterday was Father's Day. The day we honor our fathers. The day our children honor theirs. The day we remember that without fathers, we would not be mothers.

In my house, this day can be a little odd.

(Continued at Mid-Century Modern Moms)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekly Winners: June 14-20

An open house at the fire station yields some interesting results ...

Chutes and ladders:

Ready for duty:

Aye aye, captain:

Dialing it in:

We always remember:

And when I grow up, I want to be a fireman too:

Where the hose goes:

Where did the little flowers come from?

Found this in my back yard:

Posing for the camera:

A new look for Z-man:

Glasses and -- at last!! -- a haircut. Yay!

Go --->here<--- for more weekly winners!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I love you / I hate you / I am a teenager

I am the mother of a teenage girl.

You may kill me now.

(Continued at Mid-Century Modern Moms)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Stream of unconciousness

You know what they say ... No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks.


The school year may be over, but it's really more like "The king is dead. Long live the king."

Because it's never REALLY over. Summer school starts in four days. A full year of biology done in six weeks.

Oh, and cheer.

Two or three practices a week, plus gymnastics classes.

And cheer camp.

Somewhere in there she might have to do homework. We hope.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On a similar subject, my baby girl is now a SOPHOMORE.

Somehow a full year of high school slipped by me. It only took, oh, about two or three minutes, and I don't know how that happened.

In less than a month, she will turn 15. Six months after that -- or so she tells me EVERY damned day -- she can get a learner's permit. And then six months after THAT, a driver's license.

Drat you, state of California, for allowing our children on the road at 16.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here's something I'm REALLY excited about:

I have somehow become the official photographer for the Roo-girl's cheer team!

I have no idea how that really happened, except that I happened to take a pretty decent photo of the congratulatory school sign when the girls won a national championship.

Yes, I took a picture of the SIGN.

And the coach and advisor apparently thought that made me an expert.

I mean, it was a pretty good picture of the sign, but SERIOUSLY.

Based on that, I was asked to take a team photo (which came out pretty good, if I may say so).

And based on THAT, I have been elevated.

So my responsibilities will include photos of the team in their new uniforms (when they come) and individual shots of the seniors for the football program. (HUH???)

It also means shooting the girls at football games.

From field level.

Whoooohoooo! I get a field pass to the varsity football games! (Yes, I'm a dork.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In a fitting bit of whacky, I have entered the monthly writing contest at Scribbit.

The subject for this month is food.

I entered this post.

I'm going to hell.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

After midnight

It's very late at night.

Well after midnight, in fact.

It was a chorus rehearsal night. The house was dark and quiet when I got home. Even the rat dogs failed to bark at my arrival.

And so now I sit in the darkness, the night lit only by the glow of my laptop.

Wonderhubby lies next to me, breathing softly, in and out. Little breaths. Astonishingly, considering his sinuses, the man doesn't snore.

I listen to the sound of the fan in the window, blowing cool, cool night air across my bedroom.

And I think.

I try to focus my thoughts through my fingertips and onto the computer screen, but I keep getting derailed.

It's just not there.

Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why my hair is prematurely gray, part II

Things you never want to hear from your culinary school graduate son who is working in a restaurant kitchen calls on the phone at 10:30 at night:

"Mom, I need to go to a doctor RIGHT NOW."

Turns out no body parts were severed, no blood was spilled and no real crisis was brewing.

He's just a hypochondriac with a ...uh ... well ... ahem ... a personal problem.

A little sitz bath, and we cleared that right up.

After I killed him.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekly Winners: June 7-13

The camera was fairly inactive this week. Why? Dunno, except I'm kinda in a slumpish sort of mood. I totally need more cheer photos in my life, apparently. Anyway ... here we go:

The old and the new:

I love my rose bushes. This was right outside my front door.

Guilty as charged:

A rat dog does not need to actually DO anything to look guilty --
or get blamed for something!

The family that cooks manicotti together ...

We went back here where Roo and I once again had a BLAST.
This time, though? No secret ingredients.

Go --->here<--- for more weekly winners!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's not all sweetness, light and pole dancing

Today, children, we are going to discuss the pole-dancing grandma.

Yes, yes, I know. All y'all think she rocks ... she rolls ... she does the stroll in CFM shoes and a g-string.

But she also is distant and cold.

For the past 14 1/2 years, she has not exactly been the picture of warm and fuzzy grandma for a certain lovely young lady of whom I happen to be particularly fond.

The relationship pretty much went downhill when the Roo-girl was 3. She was staying for two nights at my parents' house (along with then-14-year-old Drama King as a "helper") while I was away (about 120 miles away) for a chorus function.

When it came to be bedtime of the first night, she started to cry.

And cry.

And cry.

Nothing could console her. Not her stuffed animals. Not her favorite food. Not her brother. Not anything.

When I called the next day to see how things were, my mother informed me that I needed to come get her. And so I drove 120 miles to pick her (and DK) up and then drove back another 120 miles in time for a performance (I was in a quartet -- they couldn't exactly go on without me!).

Ever since then, despite her ability to enjoy sleepovers at the YMCA, a week at sleep-away camp and her increasing maturity, my parents pretty much have written her off as ... uh ... too difficult for them.

Then she celebrated her bat mitzvah at age 13. They were stunned to see a beautiful, poised, confident and NOT difficult young woman who entered Jewish adulthood and ROCKED it.

Several months later, Roo did a school project on Coco Chanel. My mother -- a designer clothes horse and shoe-aholic -- was all over this like flies on ... well, you know. She offered up clothing, Chanel flowers, hang tags, advice.

And all of a sudden, my "difficult" child was a lovely young lady.

Fast forward to this week and a set of email exchanges between me and Mom about Z-man's internship/job, Father's Day barbecues and Roo's summer plans.
Is Roo out of school? Have they canceled your summer school like they have a lot of the others? I assume she is going which was her plan the last time we spoke. I know she is going to cheer camp in July. What are her plans? Would love to spend some time with her.
Excuse me? Would love to spend what???

Ok, then. Just for the record, my answer was: Name the time, and she'll be there.

The part that makes me shake my head, however, was when I told Roo what Grandma had said.

"What?" she said, shocked. "Are you sure she was talking about ME?"


"No, seriously. What prompted THIS??"

An email conversation.

"I don't believe you -- I want to see it."

She really wanted me to forward her the actual email.

"You know," she told me later, "I hear other people talk about spending time with their grandparents and I just kinda ignore it. It seems so weird to me."

This summer, I hope my parents figure out what they have missed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Random acts of weirdness

Heard around our universe ...

Z-man: I think I weigh 120 now -- with my clothes on.

Evil Mother: Really. How tall are you now?

Z-man: *previously short dude grinning with newfound height* 5-foot-8.

The Roo-girl: Hmmm. I'm just barely 5 feet, and I weigh 100 pounds.

Evil Mother: Mostly muscle.

The Roo-girl reaches her arms in the air and stretches langorously.

Evil Mother and Z-man: *in unison* And BOOBS!

The Roo-girl: *smirking* If you've got 'em ...

Please note this was the girl who bemoaned her undeveloped state not too long ago. She is now ... ahem ... more boobish than me. Grrrrrrr.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Evil Mother: So tell me about your job, Z-man. What are you doing at the restaurant?

Z-man: Well, I slice and dice stuff, and when they say "Dos crabcakes, por favor," I go get them.

Evil Mother: Bwahahahahahahahahaha ...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Roo-girl: *crankily* I don't want to be up now.

Evil Mother: Me either, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

The Roo-girl: I can't WAIT to own my own business.


The Roo-girl: I'm not going to open until 11 every day!

Evil Mother: Not so good for business if you don't open early.

The Roo-girl: I. DON'T. CARE.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Roo-girl: Come ON, Mom. We need to stop at the 'Bucks before school. Coffee! I need coffee!

*Time out while I finish getting ready for work and we drive to the local Starbucks*

The Roo-girl: I'll have a vanilla bean frappuccino.

Evil Mother: *bursts out laughing ... because apparently she's the only one who realizes vanilla bean fraps are COFFEE-FREE drinks*

Monday, June 8, 2009

You can learn a lot in 10 months

School is just about to end for the Roo-girl. The horror of my baby becoming a high school sophomore is just beginning to dawn on me.

But it has made me think ... at just how much change there has been since last August when both Roo-girl and Z-man returned to the hallowed halls of academia.

(Continued at Mid-Century Modern Moms)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Weekly Winners: May 31-June 6

Welcome to the weird world of Janet's planet, where the camera lens could point in any direction.

Just in case you didn't know how:

Signs like this were all over the bathrooms at work.
On the mirrors and IN THE STALLS. Ech.

A little singed around the edges:

A little late spring rain:

Hands together:

The fab five:

When I was growing up, we refered to this as "the ear shot" ...
Quick! Everyone put your ears together! Say cheese!

Go --->here<--- for more weekly winners!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Like mother, like daughter

There are times when I want to wring a certain teenage girl's little neck.

And times when she is so sweet I want to eat her up with a spoon.

She's going through a particularly sweet period these days.

Wanting special time with Mommy.

Wanting me to tuck her in at night.

Wanting to be like me.

But her latest idea was totally unexpected.

When we were in the airport, on the way back from Z-man's graduation, she was haunting the gift shops, looking for ... oh ... I don't know ... WHATEVER.

She fondled bracelets and necklaces and rings. I played with the jewelry as well. She found a ring that she really liked. I liked it too.

She looked at me and grinned.

"Wanna be twinsies?"

Yes, my daughter and I now have matching silver rings. I particularly like them because they each have two bands that are permanently linked in a puzzle-like knot.

Like us.

Separate but together.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Birthday dinner: counting crazies

So ... I've been holding out on you.

Because J-bear's birthday was last month. She turned 19 with very little fanfare because she wanted to wait.

She wanted her birthday dinner after Z-man came home.

And therefore we waited with her -- until this past weekend, when we could hold out no longer for ...

*insert trumpet fanfare here*


Evil Mother: *something something I can't remember until we got to ...* ... married for *pause* six years.

Drama King: Bwahahahahaha. I liked how you had to pause there. What, were you counting on your fingers?

Z-man: Good thing it was only six. What will you do when you get past 10?

Evil Mother: HA! I'll count on my toes. I can count to 20.

Drama King: I can count to 21 ...

Evil Mother: *eyeroll*

Z-man: You could count to 22.

J-bear: How do you do THAT?

Evil Mother: *eyeroll times two*

Drama King: *patting Rocky on the leg* I can count to 22.

Evil Mother: Ayeeeeeeeiiiiiieeeeeeee!!!!!!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Z-man: Have you ever watched "Man Vs. Wild"?

Evil Mother: That guy is CRAZY.

Z-man: Yeah, but he did this thing where he went into icy water NAKED and then was doing jumping jacks.

*Before we continue, let me just say that I actually searched for this episode and couldn't find it. The rest of the conversation, however, stands on its own*

Evil Mother: Lalalalalala ... I can't hear you! You know, I was totally traumatized when I was in college. I went to this erotic film festival ...

Drama King: Wait. Wait. Wait! An erotic film festival? Do I want to hear about this????

The Roo-girl: Lalalalalalala ... I can't hear you!!!!

Evil Mother: Yeah, yeah, whatever. It was in COLLEGE. Anyway, the only thing I remember about it was a scene with a naked man doing jumping jacks. I have never been the same.

Z-man: I don't think after being in the ice water, the Survivor Man's ... uh ...

Evil Mother: Lalalalalala ... I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!

It never gets any better.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails ...

I believe I have discovered one of the secrets of the universe.

Yes. Don't dissuade me. I KNOW that I have.

(Continued at Mid-Century Modern Moms)
All Rights Reserved. Planet of Janet, 2010.