Monday, March 24, 2014

Is it a schedule or a mathematical equation?

It's Monday.

It's back to work and back to school.

And back from spring break. 

And the kids are back from a weekend at their dads.

Alarms were set and breakfast actually happened before 8 a.m. this morning.

The rest of the day looks like this:

On call for morning appointments.  If someone calls in, head to Wilton for a.m. appointments. If no-one calls in, need to caption photos on a portfolio. Submit portfolio.
After school: Pick up Tookie. Nathan has golf practice. Marz has track. So does Claire. Claire will probably get done before Marz, and Marz will probably get done before Nathan. This means two more trips back to the school for me.  That is only if Nathan has outdoor practice. If indoors, he may be done sooner than the girls. 
If golf is indoors today, then there may be enough time to go to a movie that I wanted to take all the kids to.   If outdoors, probably not.I don't make much of a habit of trying to do these things on a Monday night, but then again, I have to take advantage of the times when all the chips fall on the same schedule..
 If we can't go to the movie, then I will be attending a post prom parent meeting for promenade.  

For some reason I feel like this day reads like a mathematical equation.
 With two different track schedules, one golf schedule,  parent meetings and awards banquets, and an on-call work schedule, approximately how many times does it take mama to figure out a time to take four kids out to the the same movie before it is out of theaters

Maybe this is why I own so many movies.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 Edition of "The Method to my March Madness

Last year in "The Method to my March Madness" I wrote about the system I use when filling out my NCAA Tournament Bracket. 

If you are new to Write-On, Mom!, you can read that post by clicking HERE.

I got quite a few hits on last year's March Madness post, and I feel pretty confident that a few of those hits may have been from bracketologists wanting to study some of my secrets.

It's kind of a science, really.

Only without all the boring numbers and team stats.

This year I've been feverishly honing my research, hoping to improve upon tried and true*(see footnote) methods for filling out the NCAA bracket, and I have discovered that it is time to change things up a bit.

Last year, the steps in choosing teams went like this:
1.  Team colors
2.  Locations I'd like to visit
3.  Mascot

This year I'm shuffling these steps around.  Feel free to adopt my theories in filling out your bracket. Here's how it works:

1.  Between the two teams, choose your favorite mascot. Go with your gut.  I chose the mascot that sounded tougher.  If I couldn't figure out what a mascot was even after looking it up (what's a billican anyway?  a wu shock? I don't think so) then I went with the other team. Additionally, if a mascot sounded like an unnatural mix of two different animals, I did not choose it.

If both mascots were the same or are equally annoying, and this will happen, don't panic, move on to step two.

2.  Team Colors.  Which are your favorite?  Which are hanging in your closet or decorate your house in?  Or which one is purple?  Tastes vary; go with your own.

If a team still cannot be chosen based on mascot and colors, it's time to move on to step three:

3.  Location.  Picture yourself buying a bus ticket.  Between the two cities of the two teams, which one would you choose?  That is your ticket.

You may be wondering what my bracket looks like.  Let me tell you, it wasn't easy to fill out.  Upsets are involved.  Mascot loyalties came into play.  And I really wanted to see a match-up between a mascot known for being a "proud and fierce rooster" and some "fighting blue hens."

Iowa, who has a play-in game, ends up going quite a ways in my bracket.  No offense to any "volunteers"--I love volunteers--but Herky the Hawkey and I have shared a high-five in a crowded arena.  This just can't be ignored.

Another factor in my bracket:  I'm partial to Wildcats.  I have a few of my own.  "Wildcats" mean family and and nobody gets left behind.  (oh wait, I may be mixing up bracketology and disney movies here).

But "Wildcats" do elicit feelings of "home" for me. And half of my closet has something "Wildcat" in it.

So my final match-up is between two Wildcats.

And the winner is.....the purple one.

Because this team flows with the method to my march madness:
Love the mascot,
Purple hangs in my closet,
and next year, we will be buying a bus ticket there to visit our very own purple Wildcat.


And there you have it.  You're welcome.

Got any fun ways for choosing your NCAA tournament teams?  

*footnote to indicate that the words "tried and true" do not mean winning any bracket prizes, rather "tried and true" to have your family members question your sanity and invite you to come a little closer to planet earth.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Grades are motivating. So are good teachers.

Today I will be attending the second week of our spring Parent-Teacher conferences. 

I can't get through all of the kids' teachers in one day, it takes two.

We do this twice a year, every year.  Teachers show me a project the kids are currently working on.  We look at grades.  Talk about what's coming up.

And almost always I am told something like: "you have good kids.  they are good students.  i wish i had 40 more just like them."

Usually once at each conference day I will hear about an assignment that still needs to be turned in.  Or an upcoming test that could be the difference between a grade point for one of the kids.  

I take it all to heart.  It warms my heart to hear other people speak highly of my kids.

Inevitable each teacher will end the conference by asking me if I have any questions. 

Yes, I do. A few, actually.

Do you know how much I appreciate you?
Time invested in your work day means time invested in my child.  There are days when you probably see my kid more than I do.  Especially if you are one of their teacher-coaches.  When someone comes home with a story about how they were helped, noticed or encouraged by one of you, I am reminded how you are there when I am not.  I'm lucky that the kids have the teachers that they do. 

Do you need help?
A volunteer?  Someone to give a student extra homework help or attention?  An extra set of hands?  I can do that.

Why do go I to these parent teacher conferences?
I want to hear about what my kids are doing from the people who teach them.  It's great to hear nice things.

But I also want to tell them "you are good people; good teachers. districts all around wish they had 40 more just like you."

I'd buy you all a drink or send you a hallmark if I could.

Not 'cause my kids are doing great.
Because you are.

Thanks teachers!  Happy Spring Break! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Writing Roller-coaster

The Writing.

The Life.

The Roller-coaster.

I've been writing for decades.  Writing for publication for one-and-a-half of those decades. 

I've had some significant high points in writing for publication.  And even a few welcome surprises. 

I won an award at a writers' conference.  I've seen my stories published in parenting magazines across the country.  I still sell the occasional reprint.  Years ago, I had a column run in my local paper.  (i loved writing locally, by the way!) I stumbled my way into journalism.  I've met and interviewed accomplished and best-selling authors.  Writing has even opened one or two doors to (gulp) public speaking. 

Then there are the low points.

The rejections.  The "no replies" from editors.  The waiting to hear back after submissions.  The hoping for good news but really just want any news to indicate that the submission was read.  The ultimate let down for me was making it to the final stage for a Chicken Soup title, signing a contract with them, only to not make the final cut. 

It was like a roller-coaster s-l-o-w-l-y climbing straight to the highest spot on the ride, where all you can see is the sky, a brief pause once there, and then barreling downhill in a fraction of the time it took to get to the top.

It's funny how the high points in writing for publication can make you feel really good about it all.  And the low points can make you question whether or not you should even call yourself a writer. 

I'm in one of those in between spots.  I'm writing.  I'm waiting.  I'm playing the comparison game.  Comparing my bylines with other journalists, bloggers, authors, etc.  I'm questioning my ideas.  Should I follow through with it or toss it? 

My focus for the last few weeks has been towards the low points.

That focus may have shifted a bit after a random conversation that I had last night after my kids' band concert.  As I was waiting for the kids, I was visiting with a friend.  We chatted about our kids in sports, our kids driving cars and other general stuff. 

As we said goodbye and turned to walk away she calls out "You keep writing and I'll keep reading."

She had no idea how much I needed to hear that. 

That is a high point in this roller-coaster ride of writing. 

Today I'm using the speed from the downhill part of the ride to boost me through the next loop-ty-loop. 

Thanks for joining me here at the amusement park I call Write-On, Mom!  And for my friend who made the comment to me last night:  Thanks for reading.  I'll keep writing.