Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I can't count how many times I saw Revenge of the Nerds as a kid. Now that I think about it, I really didn't have any business watching that, but every now and then, my parents let something sneak through. The alcohol-induced antics of the Tri-Lambs and the Alpha Betas gave me a skewed sense of collegiate reality.

By the time I was old enough to go to college, I knew that 99% of that film was far-fetched. Still, a teeny part of me was nervous when I applied to join my sorority. I needn't have worried. A combination of university and sorority policies prohibited a good deal of nonsense, including riding a tricycle while guzzling cans of beer.

Even though there were no arm-wrestling and burping contests (Thank goodness!), we still had our share of good times. And one of my sorority sisters was there to document most of them with her camera. D would say the same thing every time she looked at pictures from our new-member phase:

"We hazed ourselves."

D's comment came to mind this weekend when my friends and I took our daughters for a girls day out. A local salon offers a "Princess Party," a spa experience for girls ages 6 and up. Our kids ate pizza, danced to Kid's Bop CDs, and got manis and pedis, all while wearing little pink robes, tiaras and feather boas. Meanwhile, we sat in a waiting room with bottles of water.

Oh, wait, I take that back. The salon was out of bottled water. We just sat there. Venting.

About how we need more hours in the day. And how hard it is to be a mom. And how sometimes we want to just pull the covers over our heads and sleep the day away. We could hear our girls singing along to Justin Bieber and Willow Smith.

We hazed ourselves.

There we were, four stressed out mamas, lamenting while our daughters were being pampered. We should have given ourselves a little love while we were treating our girls.

Mama's Day Out is in the works for September. A massage is definitely in order.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

First Day of School

I've known for weeks that school started today. GI Joe says that "knowing is half the battle," but I'm not sure how much good it did me this time.

The school sent a newsletter that I scanned, then promptly lost. "Meet the Teacher" night, I noted, was at a time when I couldn't attend. School supplies were the teacher's responsibility. My job was to send $20 and a donation of tissue and disinfecting wipes. Thanks to my coupon clipping, I have a stockpile of household supplies, so this was no problem.

E spent Sunday afternoon arranging outfits; I stuffed wipes, tissue, cash into her book bag. We were ready, or so I thought.

"Mom," my girl asked Tuesday night. "Who is my teacher?"

(Insert "Price Is Right" loser music here.)

I had no idea.

I spent all day Wednesday calling the school. No answer. I scanned the Web site for clues. Nothing.

I tried to make light of the situation. "It will be a surprise!" I declared. "You'll find out when you get there." My daughter was not convinced. While clearing out a stack of newspaper, I found the school newsletter.

"Class listings will be posted in the gym on Meet the Teacher Night."

"Meet the Teacher Night" was that very day, from 4 - 6. I looked at the clock. It was 6:05.

(Re-insert "Price Is Right" loser music.)

I woke up this am at 5:45, determined to find the elusive name. I called the school every 15 minutes to no avail. I got my kid dressed, handed her a Pop-Tart, and said we'd go to school early to find the identity of her teacher. I'd then have to take her to daycare, because the school didn't officially open for another hour.

We hurry to a the car, and I hit the garage door opener. No response. By the time Hubby got the door up, we had run out of time. I wouldn't be able go take her to school, then to daycare, and make it to work on time.

(You know what to do.)

I dropped the kid off at daycare, drove to school, and ran into the gym to read the school listings. I called daycare and asked the director to tell my kid to go to Mr. K's class.

I miraculously made it to work on time. And my kid had a great first day. What's not so great is all this homework. Her workload has tripled since kindergarten. Last year, we had a worksheet or two. Now there's reading, spelling, and math. Not to mention I had to fill out about 20 forms, all which seemed to ask for emergency contact information. Couldn't they just copy the one form and circulate it?

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Shoulders Down

I've started doing yoga every morning before I get ready for work.

Yeah, I've been here before.

I love yoga. I know it's hard to believe because I do it so infrequently. But there's something very calming about moving through a sun salutation. I feel more at peace, more ready to face the nonsense better known as "a day's work."

On Wednesdays, I attend a lunch-hour class sponsored by my company. As we move through postures, Steve, our yogi, walks by and places a gentle hand on my shoulder.

"Shoulders down," he reminds the class.

Even though I believe my shoulders are exactly where they should be, Steve always is able to move them by an inch or two. So this week, I started paying attention, and I learned something:

I hunch my shoulders. A lot. Stress, I've discovered, is a major cause of my shrugged shoulders.

I also learned it's a painful habit to break. I didn't know putting something back where it belongs could hurt so much. My shoulders have been aching for days.

Forcing me to put my shoulders down has also encouraged me to deal with my stress, instead of letting it build. Sort of like my "Jesus, be a fence" mantra.

I made it back to yoga last week, ready to see how my poses improved with lowered shoulders. Our substitute yogi, Becky, mentioned she was a "hands-on" teacher. She corrected my leg positions, adjusted my back's alignment, and encouraged me to stretch a little further while in cobbler's pose. Not once, did she touch my shoulders.

I thought I was home free as our hour came to an end. I happily stretched onto my mat for corpse pose, a position where you lie flat on your back. Becky came by and made one last adjustment. She pressed my shoulders away from my ears. Damn.

I guess I'm a work in progress.