51 thoughts on “Sunday Open Thread

  1. Last night, I was a victim of my own lack of technology again. My friends and I had plans to meet somewhere and there was a change of plans that got txt messaged to everyone at the last minute (except me) and there was no way to reach me.

    I had a quiet hour alone in a bar….kind of wierd among all the Halloween costumes. Boohoo! Stood up because I don’t have a cell phone.

  2. Good luck to everyone in the mid-Atlantic/Northeast! It’s always surreal for me when there’s a hurricane, because everyone I know is talking about it, yet it doesn’t affect me directly. Except in this case, Expat’s dad’s flight (England to DC to here) has been canceled. Not sure yet if he’s rescheduling or going to be able to reroute. If he can get a refund, he can book with an airline that connects through Dallas or Chicago instead. But his airline won’t answer their phone. Sigh.

  3. I am a very amateur photographer. I got my first “real camera” 5 years ago and I really love having a creative outlet. Anyway an old coworker of mine is pregnant with her first baby and asked if I would take some pregnant shots of she and her hubby. I was pretty nervous because I have never done anything like it before. It was kind of challenging and a good learning experience because at one point I had to get a little bossy with them which is not really easy for me. They really wanted to have the shots taken in San Diego’s Balboa park, but the light was horrible and it was FULL of people. So full it was almost impossible to get a shot with out people in the background! Anyway I knew I wasn’t going to get anything I liked so I forced them to go to a little park closer to my house. I’m so glad I did because I was able to get some shots I like. I think this is my fav:

  4. We are as prepped for the storm as we can be – food, flashlights, things brought inside, leaves swept away from storm drains.

    An interesting “inside politics” moment today….Mayor Bloomberg is notorious for not cancelling school. Since many kids (elementary and middle school) live walking distance from their homes, and parents ‘need’ school to avoid a child care crunch, we almost never are closed!

    This hurricane certainly seems to warrant the closure, but who knows?

    Then the Governor ordered the subways, buses, and commuter trains to shut down as of 7pm today. That sort of forced the Mayor’s hand – if it’s bad enough that the Governor is basically telling people to STAY HOME, it would be silly/dangerous to have school.

    AND DS is thrilled!!

    • I watched Bloomberg’s press conference yesterday and today and he seemed quite different — more sober today. Yesterday he was talking as though NYC would be minimally impacted and even in a position to help other places out. I think Cuomo forced him to take a more cautious approach than he wanted to. From what I’ve read, it’s not an overabundance of caution.

      I hope you guys do fine and boredom is the worst of your problems!

  5. My inlaws live on a couple of acres of soggy, low lying land inside Baltimore city. Their house is beautiful but impractical, designed and built by an architect for himself but I don’t think he was as qualified as he thought he was. They love living in the secluded urban woods, but I think that land had remained unbuilt for a reason. The land is covered with young trees that fall over a lot, and they lose power every time a butterfly flaps its wings.

    They’re less and less able to tolerate power outages as they get older. Last time there was a long power outage (June I think) I very nearly ordered a small generator on amazon and had it shipped to them. I didn’t, but at least they finally started taking that option seriously. And after months of research, at long last they have a generator scheduled for installation.

    Next week. :(

      • It doesn’t sound like this one is being over hyped, but my inlaws don’t seem worried. At least they’re always prepared for power outages, because even if nobody else on the east coast loses power, they will. They always do. In fact last time we visited the power had just gone out. At 3 am I was awakened by my super friendly 11 year old calling out from our second floor window, trying to make friends with the disoriented-looking utility guy tromping through the woods with a flashlight.

  6. It is looking like the tax initiative (Prop 30) is going to fail and what with our 7th grader doing sort of mediocre at school, combined with likely major cuts in the school year (we are already at 175 days, it will probably go to somewhere between 160 and 170 for this school year) and still more increases in class size, my DH is semi-panicking, and he is usually very calm. Today he started talking about the possibility of private school, which really isn’t an option here in town (the only private schools go up to 5th or 8th) so if we decided to go that route for high school we would either have to drive him elsewhere or we’d have to move. But there isn’t even an obvious choice for that anyway – private school options are pretty limited even in the nearest city, mostly Catholic or otherwise Christian which I would have a hard time with anyway, and who knows if he would even get admitted. Not to mention the cost.

    Oy. I sure hope Prop 30 passes but it is not looking good.

    • I’m so sorry this is such a worry for you. Boy do I know that feeling. Having been in and out of many public and private schools for my work, I wonder if it would make a difference to go private for your son since your schools are pretty good, right?

      Often the main difference I see, for the pretty good private schools, is the behavior of the students. If your son’s peers aren’t interfering with his learning, I’m not sure you’d get a lot more for your money than what you’re already getting. It would be interesting to compare instructional days. Around here, some of the privates are in session for fewer days than the public.

      The really good private schools (in terms of, say, student educational outcomes) openly skim the academic and behavioral cream of the crop, so their curriculum is sometimes accelerated because they don’t have to teach to below average or, in some cases, even average kids. But of course you have to show a strong track record, evident motivation, etc., to get into them anytime after kinder.

      Are there any private (or public, or charter) schools near you with different instructional styles / philosophies? I wonder if a different way of learning would be more effective.

      Hang in there. This stuff is not easy.

  7. Sigh. That is kind of my thinking, that the publics here are fine, and I doubt he would do any better in private. The issue isn’t that the school is bad, but that he is a slacker. But DH is wondering if a smaller class size could help since he may need some more attention than he is getting. It’s easier to hide in a bigger class. I agree on the later part of your comment too, I looked at the website of the one major non religious independent option nearby ($$$ by the way) and they clearly want kids who really have it together academically. I am doubtful that would even be an option.

    • On alternative philosophies, not really. There are a couple of Catholics, a few Christian schools (no), a college prep (the independent one), and a Waldorf. I wish there were a Friends school or something but there isn’t. I tend to doubt he is a good fit at any of those. Waldorf is the only one that is a little lefty but their K-8 here in town was not for us so I am not optimistic about the high school.

      • I know of so many boys who are checked out of middle school and parts of high school. Part of it is frontal lobe stuff, maturity and planning/organization and being motivated by long-term gratification. But I have to wonder if part of it is schools letting boys down. I don’t hear girls complaining of boredom and questioning the value of what they are asked to learn at the same rates as boys, and their brains aren’t terrifically different.

        • This totally describes my 13 yo: “complaining of boredom and questioning the value of what they are asked to learn.” I’m just crossing my fingers that things get more interesting in high school. He’s finishing 7th grade in December, so just one more year of middle school.

          • Things have finally gotten interesting for mine and he’s a college freshman. He was pretty stubborn, I think, about not valuing much of anything academic in high school.

            Now the same stubbornness has him finding *everything* pretty fascinating. To be fair, his classes now do seem to be hella exciting. But as everyone here knows, it was pretty touch and go as far as whether he would get his butt into a seat at an interesting college.

            • Our school has the International Baccalaureate program in high school, mostly sophomore and junior years. I’m hoping the program’s emphasis on independent project research will appeal to my son. I’m also encouraging them to think internationally for college, because I think most Chilean universities are a lot like lower-level Chilean schools. I may be less enthusiastic about sending them abroad when it actually comes time to do so, but I think there will be much more interesting options overseas. Right now, one wants to go to Canada and the other to England, though of course that changes frequently.

  8. I need a moment of mama-brag. I’ve already posted this on FB, but I’m just so dang proud of Jess today. She tried out for a water polo team yesterday. Water polo is a very recent interest of Jess’s – stems from watching the Olympics and seeing both the Aussie and the US women’s team on the medal podium. She’s never evinced an interest in a single team sport before (she swims and does taekwondo), but after watching highlights of a few games, she said that is was something she wanted to try.

    So yesterday, she went to practice with an under-12s mixed team. She was by far the youngest. There are a few 9 and 10 year olds, but the vast majority seem to be around 11 and 12. It was a 90-minute training session, with 30 minutes of swimming laps and 90 minutes of skill practice and drills.

    Jess is not a tall or big girl – she’s probably just average height and very lean (but muscular). The coach eyeballed her when she hopped into the water and said “she just looks so teeny!” (but in a friendly way), and it was true. It was like watching a field mouse running around with, I dunno, weasels or something. But she just stuck right in there and had a go. She really had to dig deep to last, because it was so much of a physical challenge on so many levels; she’s never had to swim so many laps, and the skills of throwing and treading water were totally new to her. I had to take her to the toilet at one point and she said “I really don’t know if I want to do this again,” but she got back in. She totally stuck it out, and even though she was exhausted and a little emotional at the end, she said “Well, it was really hard, but I did have a few laughs and some of the girls are really nice.”

    She’s clearly not ready for the team, but the coach said she can come and train as often as she likes, and Jess has agreed to try at least three sessions to see if it gets easier with practice.

    I’m just so dang proud of my big l’il girl! Pls forgive the essay! ;-)

  9. I’m getting ready to take the week off to go to Denver for Sweet Adelines competition (thousands of women in sequins and stage makeup singing a cappella harmony!) I fly out Tuesday. Anybody want to meet me in Denver? hee! Man, I hope the people from the Northeast make it out there; I hear they’re stuck at home till Wed. if they didn’t leave by the weekend.

    Webcast info is at http://sweetadswebcast.com/ and there should be a schedule posted. We are Song of Atlanta and we’re scheduled to go onstage Thursday at 5:26 Mountain time and expect to be in the finals Saturday afternoon.

  10. Bummed. The past two weeks of illness (stomach virus, cold, ear infection) have slowly eroded our great sleep training and I’m now back to nursing Clara 1-2 times overnight for 45-90 minutes each time. Including right now. Ear tube surgery is scheduled for this friday, so hopefully we can get back on track soon. So tired again. I miss the month or so we had of 8:30pm to 5 or 6:30am nights. Just don’t have the heart to cut her off when she’s sick.

  11. I’m in a hotel in Brisbane all by myself. I’m about to have a full night of sleep in a quiet room with no one else in my bed. Ahhhh.

    Oh…and I do have to work all week (it’s a conference). But that’s a small price to pay.

    • Yeah for conferences–everyone else thinks they are exhausting and moms find them to be relaxing! I love getting to eat/drink what I want, when I want, and while talking to whomever I want. No interruptions! No cutting up someone else’s food into tiny pieces! No fishing out crayons from the diaper bag!

      And the sleep, ahhhhh. I hope there aren’t partiers in the room next door or any fire drills. : )

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