Tuesday, March 30, 2010

5 Reasons Why I Don't Answer the Phone

For years now, my family and friends have complained that I do not answer my phone. The complaint is completely legitimate - I hate the phone! My family makes sarcastic remarks and laugh about it when they get together when I know in reality it ticks them off which is why I get the business. I have apologized for it numerous times and some people have decided to stop taking it personally. They have either stopped calling altogether, or give me the fake golf clap if I do actually pick up commenting that they expected to leave a message. To those that still take it personally, I will apologize again.. (and again I am sure!) You are not the only one I don't answer my phone for no matter who you are!

You will not hear me say I hate many things, I discourage my kids from using that word whenever I hear it from them. But truly, to loathe this inanimate object with such a deep degree of animosity, there must be something wrong with me. I am frowning just thinking about the next time it rings. I have never had a chatty day where I have to call everone and share my day probably since high school. I really rarely pick it up anymore to answer or dial out. Call me antisocial if you will, no just don't call.

Here are 5 main reasons why I don't answer my phone:

1. I don't stop what I am doing just because the phone rings.
How many times have you complained that every time you sit down to dinner the phone rings?
You know complain about it every time but you still answer.
I ignore it, everyone at the dinner table is aware that it is ringing, my daughter would love to jump up and grab it and occasionally does. I announce that we are eating dinner. I think there is a new generation of people that also don't stop their life to answer the phone. I guarantee that I am doing something better whether it's eating dinner, playing piano, writing this blog, or being outside with my kids. I know you have incredible news to tell me about what you saved shopping for produce or who dissed you this week, and I want to hear about it - really, just when I'm not doing something better. I apologize for offending anyone and not having better phone manners.

2. I do not answer my cell phone while I am driving.
I have, managed to miss turns because I wasn't paying attention and I realize I just need to concentrate on the task of driving at hand as this could prove more potentially hazardous than drunk driving for me. People wait to call me when they know I'm on the way home and I wait till I'm at a redlight and listen the their voicemail. I know people that wait to get in their car to call people, I am (not sure if I should be) proudly not one of those and I apologize for not being a better multitasker.

3. My last couple of jobs have required answering the phone as part of my job.
I have to be nice to whoever calls, it is a requirement for me to answer the phone and I am getting paid to answer each and every call without missing a beat. These calls are short most of the time, have a specific purpose and I can usually solve whatever issue in the matter of minutes that the call is in process. Once I am off this requirement is null and void. I apologize that you could not pay me enough to answer your calls on a regular basis.

4. I get WAY too many telemarker calls
Seriously, I thought I signed up for the Do Not Call List and still, I get at least two calls a week from Life Source wanting my husband's blood, another couple from some other organization wanting something else and that 'occasional' cable or phone lady that want you to switch services. I had a cable lady call, not sure which company she was trying to switch me to, who talked first to my daughter for long enough for her to talk about watching The Cat in the Hat and that they show his butt. She was cracking up by the time I got to the phone and I'm sure went home talking about her funny day at work.

5. I have picked up the phone and nobody is there
How's that for a fine how-do-you-do for my efforts? Since our house phone no longer has caller ID due to us cuttting services, I have answered the phone a couple times this week and had it be nothing on the other end. I apologize for assuming you are that nobody on the other end.

People say, "There's no excuse for not answering the phone."
Yeah well, I really have no excuse, accept the apology or bite me.
Nobody told me the rules. I have no cooth.
Say what you will..
~Insert rasberry here~

Disclaimer: By numerously and endlessly apologizing, this does not mean I will actually make the effort to pick up the phone.

Inappropriate Things in the Kitchen

I would never be one to judge after doing a little spring cleaning and clearing my unseen counter top in the kitchen of school junk and mail from the last few weeks among other inappropriate things in the kitchen that never make it to an appropriate spot..

Which of these things does not belong?

Consider it a HIGHLIGHTS moment and move on.

Nothing more to see here

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Earth Hour 2010

So my kids and I take part in Earth Hour, every year now since we've known about it..they are conscious recyclers as well.

This year we toasted with strawberry jello and they drew me pictures.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

We had candles lit for effect - and safety

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

They are proud to say they hesitantly gave the earth an hour of rest!
Funny neither one suggested we do this more often..

Saturday Shorts: Buy American~

Here's my Saturday Short for this week:

As some of you know, my husband works for Ford Motor Company here in the Chicagoland area.

I just want to keep this at the front of everyone's minds because if you all don't Buy American, my husband will be out of a job!
Thanks for your support!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Attention Deficit Disorder or Anxiety?

This past Tuesday, I had a meeting with my second grader's teacher. He has been having problems in school with organization and math skills. I initiated a discussion about whether or not he has Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD and was given an evaluation to fill out to see if he was at risk.


This evaluation was done by both my husband and I at home and at school by his teacher. She scored him much higher on the scale than we did which put him at high risk for anxiety and impulsivity. This evaluation was then graphed so it was clarified where he was at risk or high risk. (There was also a "normal" range but he was not in that much.)

This evaluation was also done in order to bring to our family doctor to diagnosis him officially which of course I am completely opposed to doing for a couple of main reasons:

1. HE IS IN SECOND GRADE! Really? If an 8 year old is not impulsive I think THAT is a problem.

2. THEY HAD HIM IN AN ACCELERATED MATH GROUP Really? Really?? How is it I was not aware of this fact? HELLO?

Hold on. Just one second here.
No wonder he is all freaked out about doing multiplication tables in second grade..it's third grade math!

No wonder he is having problems with other things being stressed out about math and struggling there - seems logical that a snowball effect would happen. HELL, O.

The teacher did ask if I thought it a good idea if he go into a second grade math group for the rest of the year (hey thanks for asking my opinion on that one) and it is really a no-brainer for me. Just telling David this really gave him relief, I could tell on his face when I told him.

So this was the last week he will have multiplication tables and he took the x7 test, which they time for 2.5 minutes for 25 questions..guess what? He aced it! Go figure! We didn't even go over them since Tuesday as I was told he would have no more multiplication being moved into the new group. A.D.D. my A.S.S. - pardon the French!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2010 US Census

I recieved yet another "notice" from the government yesterday telling me I was required by law to turn in my completed Census. I do not have a problem complying and didn't think it was necessary for 'the man' to threaten me with the law. Also unneccessary to send out two additional reminders one before the actual Census came in the mail to tell us it was coming and one after.

I chose not to put my children's names on the Census form instead filling out all the other information. Aren't they really looking for just a head count? Hope I can't get arrested for that. I don't think it is anyone's business, government or not, what the names are of my 5 and 8 year old. When they can fill it out themselves, they can put their own names on it.

On a positive note, at least we don't have to pay for the stamp, our government is wealthy enough to pay for the postage..

Monday, March 22, 2010

Meeting the Teacher

SO, not only has my son been struggling with math - which, by the way, I think he is improving on with the help of a multiplication table (1 - 12) and the flashcards we are using and continuing to put in his room - he also "lacks focus" and is becoming more and more forgetful. This with an eight year old you would think is somewhat age appropriate and yet his schoolwork and discipline at school have been suffering.

Last week, I received a note from his teacher stating: "Lately David hasn't been putting forth any effort into his work. It is frustrating beacuse he is bright yet he seems to not even care or try." This I know does not apply only to math as we are having similar problems at home with homework and so I initiated a meeting with the teacher in order to be on the same page.

Son SO not happy about mom meeting with his teacher..

Keep in mind that our school system down here in what I call
'po-dunk' no longer offers your old standby Parent/Teacher conferences. This is new this year and the only real answer provided was that the "New Guy" made the decision. I offered my email to his teacher at the end of October when this problem first surfaced and have had no offer of an email or phone number where she can be reached.

Even the school website does not offer teacher emails.
I thought this information was supposed to be public knowledge.

There has been no correspondence by email, only in his homework notebook which David can read! He is an excellent reader, never lacked in that department and is quite interested to know what his teacher and mom are saying about him. It would seem to me that if I as a parent offer a teacher information such as a phone number or email and a suggestion to let me know if the behavior continues that it would be used appropriately.

Keep in mind also, that his teacher was 8 months pregnant back in October and had maternity leave around Christmas until the beginning of this month which is when these problems began surfacing more prevalently. He was forgetful when the sub was filling in but it was also noted on his last progress report that he was "making progress".

So, she tells me she would love to meet with me and that she is available everyday after school from 2:30 until 3:10 - except for Fridays which of course is my one of two days off during the week. 40 minutes, really? And as soon as school lets out? Thanks..no really, thanks. Thanks A LOT!

I guess this makes sense that a teacher be free after school only what am I supposed to do with my kids? David doesn't even get off the bus until 2:40. You are telling me this teacher doesn't get a break in the middle of the day when the kids are in Gym Class or Music? I mean really, let's do lunch or a coffee-break, I'll bring the coffee!

Being that this is the last week before Spring Break, I made arrangements to have my son picked up from school so I can make this meeting. Wish me luck, I am going in with a GREAT attitude!
I just have to remember to BREATHE!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Shorts - She's Got Style

The kids get to dress themselves on Saturdays..can you tell?

Saturday Shorts

Today my Saturday Short is in memory of the beautiful weather we had this week. 60's in the first half of March is something to be grateful for!

I took this picture on the train on St. Patrick's Day while on the way to work.

Today is calling for upper 30's and possible snow this weekend - I have heard it's already starting in places already. As I sit in my old gray shorts - that ain't what they used to be so I only wear them to bed anymore - knowing that if I go anywhere today, it's back to coats and socks until Mother Nature decides to be kind once again. I sure hope she doesn't have PMS..

Thursday, March 18, 2010

McDonald's Caramel Frappes..Something Else I Just Tried

So like every other day, my kids beg me to go to McDonald's and when I say no they ask for Burger King! They are 5 and 8 and are very hip to the prizes in the happymeals and I think this is the biggest reason they want to go.

Anyway, today I gave in and when I pulled up to the drive thru, the girl at the other end asks me if I would like to try their Caramel Frappe. Now my love of caramel is immense, I haven't gone into it just yet but probably will in a later entry. Let's just say when my daughter asks me pretty please, instead of a cherry, I get a caramel macchiato on top! I am drinking a cinnamon cake coffee with caramel creamer in it as I write this. The answer to her question was a no-brainer for me...

So this Caramel Frappe is a frozen number with whipped cream and caramel drizzled across the top and is so very creamy and had very distinct tastes of caramel and coffee. I am not sure if there was really any coffee in it..I could have used an extra shot as I would rather taste the coffee than the fruffy-ness. I also could not tell if it came out of a machine. I assumed it was until I got to the bottom and there was a big ice cube as if they made it and didn't blend it enough. I know some McD now have coffee bars so it could have been made fresh - I would have to go in next time to be sure. It was tasty and defintely worth a try!

A Free Gift from Frederic Fekkai..Something I Just Tried

So in the mail this week amongst the numerous bills and junk I usually get, I received a lovely Free Gift from Frederick Fekkai especially for me! I don't think I have gotten free gifts in the mail since getting some diaper samples when I was pregnant and my kids were that age.
Inside the product is called Glossing Creme and claims to hydrate, sleek and shine my hair. It is made with olive oil and the directions call for a pea sized amount added to damp or dry hair. After my shower I decided to use it and blow dry my hair which I don't normally do because it is dry looking and dull and I am just lazy and usually throw my hair up into a clip after a shower. My hair is below shoulder length by enough that I lean on it when sitting in a chair, not quite to the middle of my back so to blow it dry is just a waste of time - just easier to throw it up at 5:30am. I don't normally put any product in my hair even when blowing it dry.

My hair did feel different after using the glossing creme, as evidenced just by me being able to run my fingers through it easier. I thought it was softer and looked shinier than it usually does. Being that I only had to use a pea-sized amount, I will have enough for a few more applications. I may check back with a follow-up to let you know if I think it improves my hair by using it on a regular basis.

Note: I was not paid in any way to endorse this product, I think I'm on a list somewhere and was excited about a Free Gift!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

This is a castle we visited while on a barge trip in Ireland
In honor of St. Patrick's Day!

Sean Ryan at Leap Castle, known as the most haunted in Ireland..enjoy!

I did not take this video

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chicago Trolley & Double Decker

Since it is getting to be that time of year again,and being that I loved the "shortened" tour I took with my kids last season, I must tell you if you live in the Chicago area, or are planning on visiting the city, please do yourself a favor and take a Chicago Trolley! If you are looking at doing numerous things in the city and don't want to take a taxi everywhere, this is the ticket!

There are 18 stops on their Signature Tour including as far south as Soldier Field and as far north as Oak Street with stops including the Michigan Avenue Bridge, Palmer House, Navy Pier, Millenium Park, Willis Tower and much more.

When you buy a pass, it is good from the time they start - 9am - until the last tour which is usually about 4pm and you can "hop on" and "hop off" at whatever place of interest really interests you instead of sitting on the bus the whole time and listening to history blah. Although I must say, the guides are quite knowledgeable about the City of Chicago and funny!

There is a stop at Clark and Ontario where The Hard Rock Cafe and 50's McDonald's is which happens to be a block from where I work and why I took my kids last year.

They had a great time on the double-decker bus and if we had more time, we would have made more stops. Maybe this year we will get our chance!

Check the Website for details and discounted tickets:

Chicago's Best Tour

Have a good time with your family this year, it's definitely worth the money!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm No Good At Math

My second grade son David has started the dreaded multiplication tables (do they still call them that even?) and is having quite a hard time. He really excels in other subjects, plays at least 15 songs on piano and is at a 5th grade spelling level but when it comes to math is just struggling completely and is already at his young second grade career point of giving up. We are talking about SECOND GRADE. He can't give up on me yet!

He is given a time limit at school of 5 minutes for 25 problems.
This, when we tried practicing at home - because practice makes perfect - he reacted by immediately cracking under the pressure and started crying. I watched him literally crack, he gets a nervous twitch where he sniffs a few times through his nose and then blows from his bottom lip (yes, just as you've just done it) and he grabs his hair out of frustration.
I watch him working out the problems and it seems like instead of trying to figure it out, he just draws a blank. Like any thoughts about numbers escape his head entirely. I only imagine his reaction at school but the results are that he comes home with 5 problems done out of 25 and half of those could be wrong. I have been sending them back with parent signatures for weeks. (all of which have been based on speed)

He has also given himself a stigma and has told me, "I'm just no good at math, mom."

I do not want my son believing that he is no good at things! He has also asked me numerous times if I was doing multiplication in second grade - which of course, I was not! Now I understand that an eight year old has some degree of ADD - I believe everyone does to some degree. Crap, where was I? I feel like I just walked into the room and forgot why!

Now I personally have never been good at math, detested every minute of Geometry sophmore year and was mortified that my teacher (whose name I cannot remember, the chalk that was always on her polyester pants, I remember) was not as happy as I was to have passed with a C-. Loathed every waking moment in Algebra with a teacher who understood it, couldn't explain it, and seemed put off if you didn't get it. I do not look forward to the years of torture these subjects will bring upon him if he sees math like this already!

I do not want math to equal torture in second grade and I am hoping to put a stop to it and at the same time avoid pricey tutor fees. I have started multiplcation stations for lack of a better name, with flashcards taped to his frequently used drawers on his dresser and his closet door. I plan to expand this by using them also in the bathroom and other places that he may be often. So far he is keen to this idea so I am running with it! I am also thinking about utilizing his love of music and possibly helping his creativity and auto associations that way. He seems happiest when playing music and I would rather have him associate math with positive thoughts as opposed to fearful ones..

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Don't Tell Her What's for Dinner

As soon as she hears me starting the oven or opening anything that remotely sounds like it might be dinner, my daughter comes into the kitchen to ask the infamous question: "What's for Dinner Mom?".

If I've learned a thing in five years of having a daughter, it's that when she asks you what's for dinner and you tell her, whatever it happens to be will immediately be the thing she absolutely loathes and detests in every way even though she completely loved the same dish just last week.

This didn't happen with my son, not even once..he just loves whatever and wouldn't complain if there was a fly in his soup. Well maybe if there was an actual fly in his soup.

I am not sure if it's the daughter factor for sure or if she just feels that, at five, she would need a personal chef to cater to her every whim. I have often been known to tell them both that I am not a restuarant and you cannot order anything you want.

So now going on year six coming up in July, we have learned not to tell her what's for dinner anymore. When she comes into the kitchen we tell her she will find out when it's on her plate and we have discovered that by the time it gets to her plate, she is hungry enough not to loathe, detest, or complain about it but instead she enjoys at least part of it..most of the time.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Shots (I mean shorts!)

I opted not to wear shorts this morning as I feel like blah and it looks like blech out there..Just wish I was watching the Chicago River being dyed green today and it was nice enough for me to stand at the St. Patrick's Day Parade and not get more ill. I guess even though my birthday is St. Patrick's Day, I am just not die hard. Maybe if I had a few shots it would all be okay!

Friday, March 12, 2010

No Tagalongs

I have both my children in scouts this year and they both seem to really be enjoying it. We try to make all activities and somehow boyscouts makes that a lot easier than girlscouts does. Girlscouts has a policy of "no tagalongs" which means no siblings, especially boys. I understand it to a certain degree being that it is about the girls and made more of a girl thing. This rule makes some girlscout activities for us impossible due to my husband working 3 - 11. I am not about to get a sitter for my son so that I can take my daughter to a Sock Hop - which is what we missed tonight. Then at the events where they do allow boys and I bring my son, I get all the looks like what is he doing here. At the boyscout meeting this past Tuesday, my daughter told me she wished she could be a boyscout instead because they let the whole family come to stuff..

For the Love of Bagpipes

Well the pre-weekend has approached to St. Patrick's Day which is in the middle of the week this year. To the dedicated Irish this constitues a week of green beer! My favorite part are the bagpipe guys and wondering what they have on underneath.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Corey Haim was Not A Goonie!

I have seen so many posts today talking about Corey Haim, (I figure why not join 'em, they can't be beat)and how people loved him in Goonies and what a great Goonie he was. People get your Corey's straight. Corey Feldman was the Goonie, Corey Haim was Lucas. Together they were The Lost Boys - the original vampire movie! That's all I have to say about that..insert raspberry here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The French Press Coffee Maker

I was just asked recently what I thought about a French Press coffee maker. Being that I was a supervisor at a Coffee Beanery in the early 90's, and had coffee each morning from a personal French Press while in Ireland, I have experienced French Press and enjoy the smooth, bold taste it delivers. Using a French Press is almost as easy as using an auto-drip, you put the grinds into the glass carafe, boil water and fill about 2/3 full. The coffee should be allowed to brew for 2 - 3 minutes before pushing the plunger and the coffee grounds to the bottom of the carafe. You will notice immediately that coffee in a French Press is not as "clear" as what comes out of an auto-drip and this also represents the bold taste you will find when you drink it. There are a few things to consider when purchasing a French Press as the coffee is ground more coarse than it would be for an automatic coffee maker and so you will have to buy either whole bean coffee and grind it at home or have it fresh ground at the establishment you buy it. Most commercial grinders have a coarse setting and if you go to a specialty coffee shop, they will hook you up and recommend the perfect blend. Also a French Press does not have a paper filter to catch the coffee and you are likely to end up with some in your cup, which really isn't necessarily a bad thing and you are saving on paper filters. If you are looking for something a that isn't your typical cup of coffee, the French Press might be your cup of tea!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Doritos Late Night..Something I Just Tried

I am not usually a junk-food junkie - lately anyway, and I saw these NEW Doritos flavored "Late Night Cheeseburger". Have you seen this yet? I figured what the heck.
Brought the bag home on Friday, busted into it while putting the groceries away and shared with my son. I thought they were pretty good and mentioned them to my sister who looked at me like I was crazy. Cheeseburger Doritos?? Yes, really.

Saturday they were introduced to my husband who "oh honey"ed me every time he had a handful, commented on how he could taste the pickles and the mustard and ketchup and that he just might start ordering his burgers with pickles from now on! Needless to say the bag is gone - didn't even last 48 hours in my house - I don't think I need to say anything else about them~

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Shorts

I have been looking for a weekly blog to do such as Freaky Friday, Wordless Wednesday or Manic Monday that wouldn't obligate me to bore you with a lot of content. As I am in my "Tweety Shorts" this fine Saturday since it's supposed to get close to 50 degrees here today, (and yea, I did actually shave my legs) I cleverly came up with Saturday Shorts and here is my Short for you this sunny Saturday:

After her morning bath and dressing herself - can you tell? - all in pink, my daughter out of the blue asks me: "I am pretty funny, aren't I mom?" To which I responded: "You are the funniest girl I know!" I will be here every Saturday in my shorts giving you another short..
Have a great Saturday! Hope it's not too short!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Being the Boss

Tomorrow is the last day of my week and very much appreciated especially this week as I have spent the last 12 days being the boss. I work downtown Chicago three days a week and live in NWI which is pretty far south if you ask me! (I work across the street from this building>>)
Most days I don't mind the almost 2 hour commute having my alone time on the train and in my car. The last two weeks I have been doing it 5 days which I admit would burn me out if I had to do it on a regular basis. My boss just returned from a trip with her husband in Israel. It was great with her being gone but also bittersweet having to do her job all the while, dealing with European barge owners and trying to help people choose which cruise to take. It's not an easy job when dealing with France - I have only been to Ireland and Germany (with inclusion of Luxembourg and the southern tip of France) and would never claim to be an expert. That's her job! Thankful to be back to my regular old office manager role - and always have a new appreciation for what she does when having to fill her shoes. They are HUGE!