A Simple Request

I’m a big supporter of public education and my daughter’s teachers. I really am! In fact, I’m able to write this blog post today because I’m on leave and am about to go volunteer at the PTO’s annual fun run, handing out water to the kids as they run laps for money. I think teachers are amazing, and do fabulous work that is often underappreciated. I also realize that you spend almost as much time with my child as I do, and for that I thank you.

However, I do have one small request for teachers, schools and others who are looking for a fast and easy way to incentivize learning and education for my child. Please quit scheduling Crazy Hair Day.

 

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I think this is the level of crazy my daughter hopes for. Sadly, this is not what she is getting.

 

As a parent who already struggles to get myself and my child ready for school and out the door on time each day, the last thing I need is to worry about turning the top of my kid’s head into a mobile work of art. Usually, kids incentivized by crazy hair day are in elementary grades. These kids, we all know, are not doing their own hair. So the folly of trying to imagine new hairstyles that are easy, fast and (as the kids would want) more outrageous than any previously worn all falls on the parent.

I already have to get them awake, dressed, fed and gather all of their school projects and belongings. NOW I have to spend time crafting a masterpiece that hopefully won’t get wrecked before my girl even walks in the classroom door. Not taking part is not an option. If my daughter doesn’t have crazy hair, then she didn’t win her reward. So instead, I feel personally punished as I get out the comb and the ponytail ties and get to work quickly, and with as little whining as possible from the pulling and twisting I’m about to inflict.

Also, I apparently can’t keep it simple, either. I heard last night that my girl’s hair wasn’t complemented as one of the best. So next crazy hair day, something more extravagant must be done. Sigh. At least, that’s what my daughter believes (it won’t happen, I promise you).

 

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Kudos to this mom (also not me) who had so much time on her hands she could craft add-on props.

 

Please, teachers. I know we are on budgets. I know the kids like rewards. But how about we just stick to pj day, or inside-out day for now on?

Just a simple request from me to you. Thank you for all you do.

#WhatMakesYouGreat

c4tcxs_u_400x400Every day around Thursday or Friday I think of a good blog post topic. Then I say …. oh, I’ll post that next Tuesday and get back on track. Then Tuesday rolls around and I forget what I wanted to say.

So, with all of my lost topics floating out in the ether somewhere I thought I would talk around the edges of what is on the mind of most Americans right now. I am deliberately avoiding political talk because it just starts wars amongst friends, family, everyone. What I want to say is that no matter what your political leaning, it probably seems like a dark time in America. In a way, it is. Regardless of outcome, Nov. 8 is going to causes rifts, anger and lots of fear and hurt. I’m not sure anyone here in the U.S. is looking forward to that.

But I’m posting about this anyway because I want to share a bit of light that has surfaced in the midst of all this. Our Canadian friends have launched the simple, easy, yet incredibly impactful #TellAmericaItsGreat campaign, and boy did we need that act of charity and compassion right now. If you ever needed an example of the power of words, or the big difference a simple tiny gesture can make, there it is. I read through a few of the tweets this morning and, even though I’m not much for super sentiment or national pride and stuff, it made my eyes well up.

Honestly, who wouldn’t benefit from being reminded from time to time what others like about you? When you are a whole nation looking at a huge change, this is just what you need. I read about our parks, our music, our art, our bbq…. and it all made me smile and reminded me that those things don’t go away no matter what happens Nov. 8.

So #ThankYouCanada for showing us how to be a better, heartwarming and positive people.

To close, I want to challenge each of my readers (even if it’s just two) – Tell Your Friends They’re Great. Today, I learned the power of a compliment on a grand scale. Imagine if you received that on a personal one. So take a minute or five and text your favorite people and tell them #WhatMakesYouGreat.

 

Then maybe tell them that you were inspired by Canada.

Tiny Earthquakes

I think we all go through different periods in our life where our priorities shift and our interests change a little bit. Usually, these sorts of changes bring good things (in the end), but sometimes the slow shift equates to an emotional earthquake of sorts. And just like an earthquake, those feelings are raging for a fleeting moment and then it’s all gone and you are just left with the aftershocks and the need to rebuild.

That’s where I seem to be right now.

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My friendship circle has shifted a bit, and while the shift hurts I think it is ultimately for the best. I’ve been focusing on taking care of myself and my family first – we are eating better, doing more activities both at home and out and about, and looking after our bodies. Managing our schedules, getting sleep, getting work done. School has started, and with it has come soccer schedules, dance classes, scout meetings, fundraisers and more to juggle in. I am staying busy and focusing more on my own needs and wants. Tightening up my budget. Planning some home improvements. Playing some long-shelved video games. Catching up on shows. And reading, reading, reading.

That all said, I still feel some aftershocks of sadness. Especially when it’s quiet. My initial inclination is always to reach out and talk, talk, talk. But I think this is all making me better at being in charge of my own needs and emotions.

I am rebuilding. And I am stronger for it. Perhaps I will be able to weather future earthquakes, now, with more ease.

To Be a Contender

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Beware the green water.

While on a somewhat slow (and possibly painful) trip to visit family this past weekend, my daughter and I passed much of the time watching the Olympics. Being that she is just 9 years old, this is the first set of world games that Bean has really paid any attention to, and it was surprising to see just how interested and involved she had become. Mind you, she didn’t even get to see any of the typical cool stuff like gymnastics. Due to timing and other factors, the two of us mainly watched swim and track events. But that was enough for her.

 

My daughter now wants to be an Olympian.

In what sport you may ask? Well, who the hell knows! She plays soccer recreationally, but when I mentioned that as a possibility (we didn’t get to see any of the matches yet at the time), she didn’t think that was the best fit for her. Instead, she mentioned she might be a swimmer. Mind you, she can swim, but she has her own… flair. She has this knack of staying under water until the last possible moment, then bursting out with a gasp that reminds you of a dying man engorging himself on reclaimed life. She’s proficient, but not graceful. In fact, depending on the day and the camp, she can either score in the “deep pool” band for camp water tests, or find herself cordoned off to the shallows.

So she says swimmer and I say “well, let’s practice.” While she plays off exuberance, I can already see the disinterest in putting in any real work for this. This point is made all the more obvious when she immediately suggests she might do running instead. Again, I mention the dreaded “P” word. She actually gets excited at this notion, but inside it’s me who is cringing, being well aware that right now our heat index is upwards of 100 with humidity.

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Let’s ignore the obvious grammar murder here – it’s still funny.

Today we are going to the pool after she finishes Tae Kwon Do camp. I may mention doing some laps and will see what response I get. But I need to remind myself: Remember when we were that hopeful? When we truly believed we could do or be anything?

 

I don’t want to crush that. Not for a million years. I just have to help her get wherever it is she wants to go.

Time Keeps on Slipping

everythingIf you’re a geek like me, life is good right now. There are great games, fantastic shows and amazing activities to take part in. But when you’re a full-time employee and mom, it is so hard to get all of it done, and you fall behind no matter how hard you try.

I am busy almost all of my waking hours. Very rarely am I just sitting around doing nothing. I read about 3-4 books each month; try to keep up with 1-2 shows at a time (since I can binge-watch shows now it’s easier);  play all the games I want to play (but with online experiences its been getting harder); plus go on family vacations, spend time at the pool, try to exercise and be healthy and have a bit of a social life.

Somehow, I’m always doing something and at the same time feel like everything is falling through the cracks.

I am pretty good at keeping up with the kids. I make their social calendars priority, so they get where they needs to be. I have not been good at exercise, but have been getting better. Been taking some aerobic-type classes once a week, going on walks, trying to make it to the pool. I’m finally tracking my food again and trying to meal plan and eat better. We have some day trips this weekend and I’m slowly but surely gearing the kiddo up for back to school stuff with online shopping. I’m reading a bit before bed almost every night, and listening to audiobooks in the car, so I’m broadening my cultural horizons (or so I like to think).

On the other hand, I still have a shelf full of games I haven’t even started. I’m abysmally behind on shows and movies, and it seems like everything keeps getting spoiled for me via social media. I’m doing the best I can with friends. As it periodically does, my social group is shifting as I’m shifting my focuses in life. One-on-one time with the Bear has been pretty lacking, but hopefully as some drama moves out of our life that will improve, too.

Sometimes, it’s hard to feel positive about everything you are doing when there is still so much that you feel you are not. I know it’s all in how you look at it, but when you have a constant “to-do” list hanging over your head, it’s a bit difficult to stay focused on the bright side.

How do you all do it? What’s your secret to not feeling behind all the time? I do get a lot done, really. But there is still so much more.

(PS – sorry for the not-so-shiny post. Trying to keep it real.)

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It’s Not Just a Hobby Anymore

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Of course I’m taking part in the madness that is Pokémon Go, and I’m loving every minute of it. While I’ve enjoyed walks for fitness and social time already, now getting to catch a few friends along the course just makes it more fun. Nevermind the fact that there’s a pokestop one block away from me and my work building is a gym (which I have yet to conquer – I may play, but others play much more than me).

 

 

However, the greatest thing about all this is that today I was assigned to write an article about the new phenomenon sweeping the county. Thanks to Pokémon Go, our parks, libraries and community centers are seeing extra traffic, and yours truly gets to pen an article about the excitement. Finally, my geek knowledge is being put to use on the job! It may not seem like much, and the article may never go beyond our internal newsletter, but for this gal it’s a giant step in the right direction. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot more fun than my normal workload.

Now, to see if I can capture a few gyms in the name of employment!

Do Not Question Ability

Last night, I had a few horrible sessions with Overwatch. In particular, a group of three Reapers were kicking me hard, and I was so ragey I was just yelling at J-Bear and cursing everyone (myself included) in my head. It actually got to the point where I thought that one of them might, just maybe, be cheating. (Oddly enough, someone on my team – who I do not know – was vocally accusing one of the Hanzos on the other team of cheating. Hanzo never bothered me.)

Anyway, I remember the huge and audible relief I exuded when the server finally cast me and my group of friends in another match, thus removing the evil reapers from my play.

Then, today, I see this article:

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Full article on Kotaku

 

Now I must question everything. Those reapers were probably just really, really good. I hate them for it, but they are good!

By the by, how jealous am I of a 17 year old girl being so great? I sometimes have dreams of one day being a super-famous twitch personality or podcaster but I gotta warn you, I’m actually not that great. I’m just riding on my personality and my somewhat-ok ranks with Symmetra, Lucio and Mercy. But to have all that talent and half my age? So cool!

Gifted and Talented

I’m always on the lookout for new takes on the zombie genre. It’s been on my to-read list for a while, but “The Girl with All the Gifts” is now being made into a U.K. movie and it seems to be just the sort of thing I’ve been waiting for.

I have a soft spot for anything that makes zombies an “integrated” and accepted part of society, and this might finally be the story that paints zombism as a natural evolution.

Shaun-and-Ed-end-Shaun-of-the-DeadI mean, Shaun of the Dead definitely shared the pleasant idea of playing video games together in a shed, and Fido explored making them pets, but those were natural comedies in their own right. I enjoy the idea of taking a serious *ahem* look into the possible phenomenon, and can’t wait to see where this story takes it.

With the movie imminent, guess I better move that book up on my reading list.