Category Archives: Home

I Hate Everything About College Admissions in this Country!

Jane
Jane

I hate everything else about the cattle chute that either gets students into colleges in this country or dumps them out!

Here are my specific hates:

1)    I hate the process of applying to college.  In particular, I hate it that all application forms have different required essays, so a student has to sweat over not one but five or ten different essays!

2)    I hate deadlines that come too early!

3)    I hate Super Parents who are completely on top of those deadlines, along with everything else about the process (such as the need to push your kid into taking AP’s as early as sophomore year if you really want them to rank at the top of their class!) while the rest of us muddle along.

S.A.T.
S.A.T.

4)    I hate the SAT and the ACT and anything else that judges my kids based on one morning in a high-pressured testing center with ONLY number 2 pencils and completely filled in ovals!

5)    I hate it that some great extracurricular but non-social-impact activities that your kid loves count for nothing!  And I hate it that anything the kid did before the 9th grade also doesn’t count!

6)    I hate the FAFSA (which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid)!

7)    I hate the fact that the FAFSA always comes up with a ridiculous amount that you supposedly can afford as your parent contribution—one that has no relation to reality!

8)    I hate it that you have to fill out a new FAFSA every year of your child’s time in college.  So far, we have filled out the FAFSA 13 times, and we have at least 3 more times to go!

9)    I hate filling out a damn Master Promissory Note for a student loan!

10)    I hate it that any member of the so-called Middle Class, who isn’t either filthy rich or desperately poor, can’t ever get enough financial aid to be able to send their kid to college without loans, even at your state’s public university!

admissions game
The Admissions Game

11)    I hate the CSS and the IDOC, both asking for different information.

12)    I hate it that you really have to do your taxes before you fill out the FAFSA, unless you happen to like going back in and correcting all the errors you made when you estimated!

13)    I hate it that a student has to be the first chair in their local symphony, the top of their class, a world-class athlete and the founder of their own high-impact non-profit in order to get into an Ivy League school!

14)    Most of all, I hate, hate, hate that some kids feel bad when they get turned down and actually believe that they must not really be as smart as they thought they were!  There is not enough press about how much randomness is involved in the process (who happens to read your application, what students that college happens to need at the time, where you happen to live in the country, what race/ethnic group you happen to belong to, how you happen to approach an essay on the day you sit down to right it, whether or not you happen to have had a good night’s sleep the night before the SAT, and on an on)!

I’m Beginning to Feel Old

SADHVI
SADHVI

I have not felt like sharing much in the last month or so…not on FB, not on Instagram, not on Google+, not on nothing.  How about you?  You don’t have to answer that, I was just being facetious.

Lately, I hear the word “awesome” being used to describe just about every feeling, item of food, and life situation that one can experience.  And the other day, I heard my first “Super-Awesome!”, which is how the women behind the counter described a tea-towel with hand-stamped chickens on it.  I mean, it was nice, but it was not “Super-Awesome”!

Maybe it’s the equivalet of the word “Cool” that we used to describe everthing back in the day.  There was not, however, so much positive and prozac-y emotion put into it, and frankly, it makes uncomfortable.

If my generation was low-key, this one is high-strung and often, not there, but still “awesome”.

I am easily annoyed these days, and I think it has something to do with the fact that everything seems to be changing so much.

For instance, I used to enjoy being greeted by salespeople, and to start interacting with them in a fun, easy-going way.  But no one does that these days.  The new way to interact is through “social media”, which to me, is just another way for company’s to sell gadgets, devices, and toy’s to the masses.  That’s about all it is about, really.  We are just consumers in the end, playing “awesome” games, and being hooked to our TV’s iPads, mini iPad’s, smartphones, and sharing everything we got via FB.

I guess I miss relating in the way that satisfied me way back when: in person, on the phone, or in a letter.  Yeah, I am getting old.

I do talk to a lot of younger people, and I am always amused when I hear them say they are “getting off of the gadget thing”, or, “nah, I don’t do FaceBook anymore”, as if they are drugs, which of course, they are.

Despite all the changes and Grand-T conjuctions, and the U.N. saying that it’s either clean up the planet or die, well, I do take time to feel grateful for things in my life, as crazy as it feels to me.

If nothing else, it makes me feel more vulnerable and small and human.  And since I don’t have to worry about going over my minutes, or recharging my device to feel that, I like it.  In fact, it’s awesome. 🙂

Take a look at the video…try it, you’ll like it.

I’m Getting Sentimental Over You!

Jane On a recent visit with my three sisters (our annual get-together), we got to talking about all sorts of things, including, of course, our children and how quickly they have all grown up.  One sister said the hardest thing for her about having her children grow up is that, in the process, she lost the little people they were at age 2, 4, 6, etc., as if someone came and spirited them away.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I got back from the trip and realizing that there is always a part of me that is half expecting those little ones to show back up, as if they are hiding somewhere in the house.  And thinking about them makes time compress and expand at the same time.

Lizzie and Parker in Roxbury, NY
Lizzie and Parker in Roxbury, NY

If I close my eyes, I can remember Lizzie, our first daughter, tromping into our kitchen in upstate New York in her favorite rubber boots and saying, “I ahna Goo-Koo,” (I want a cookie) or singing her way downstairs in the morning.  Same with Parker, next in line.  I can see him playing Power Rangers with his buddy Max or sitting at the kitchen table with his pirate ship and pirates and doing all the different voices for the various pirates and their enemies.  Becky is often sitting in her high chair (I think I must have left her in there a lot!), smiling at the thought of all the mischief she is cooking up to get her brother or sister to pay attention to her or standing at the bathroom mirror, cutting herself trying to shave her chin with her father’s razor.

Becky
Becky

Josie, the youngest, is always living in some story of her own making, like the millions of worlds she created for her dolls, or like the Madison Avenue world she inhabited one night in the bathroom, washing a hand towel over and over while singing out her version of the ad for OxyClean: “it gets your whites whiter and your bwights bwighter!”

Josie in Asheville
Josie in Asheville

 

So, the memories are vivid, but, if I think about it hard enough, they are not as fresh as I would like them to be.  And sometimes it’s hard to sort out what I really remember from what I have recorded in pictures and videos.  The hard part, I guess, about trying to hold onto memories of your children as little people is that, when they are actually little and getting bigger every day,  every memory is constantly getting replaced with a new one, each time the child does something new and different. (This is why I should have written things down in baby books!)  Before you even have a chance to catch your breath, the two-year-old version of your child is replaced with the three-year-old version, and you’re off and running on a whole new child!  Or, to state it more accurately in terms of how it feels, the two-year-old is replaced with the twenty-six year old version!

The "Men in Black" Christmas Card
The “Men in Black” Christmas Card

One great thing is that I still get glimpses of those earlier children in their new, larger bodies.  Every now and then, one of them will smile or laugh a certain way or turn their head at a certain angle, and there is the three-year-old version of themselves peeking out from behind their eyes or the six-year-old version looking worried and serious.  Same look, new source of worry!

Here’s to all the different versions of my children, in all their glory, including those little people who are hiding somewhere (maybe they will come back as grandchildren?) but especially these wonderful and strange grown-ups now inhabiting my world and saying they came from me and Tom!

Lizzie's Wedding!
Lizzie’s Wedding!

The Swiss Way to Make a Good Soup

Sadhvi
Sadhvi

There’s nothing like a blizzard in Spring to make me want soup for dinner.  My favorite weatherman Ray said we would get snow flurries with high winds all day and night, but being the type of guy he is, he didn’t come out and say, “OMG. This rare and deadly combination is coming straight for us, and there’s no where to run!!!”.  Thank you Ray for just reporting the weather.  And Thank You Dear Jesus for making the sun shine all day today, with the bluest sky, and melting all the snow.  Amen.

I learned how to cook while living in Switzerland.  I love just about everything Swiss, including the food.  Quite possible my favorite sweet treat is a nice Linzertorte…and the easy recipe for that is right here.

Those Swiss are so practical about everything!  There are packets already made up with the five vegetables needed to make a delicious soup in every grocery store.  They even put a bay leaf or two in!  Just these 5 vegetables give such a  flavorful and satisfying soup that there is really no reason to vary it, it’s the best soup base – period.  Try it and I know you will agree.

I chop up the onions, and put them in the bottom of my pressure cooker pot with a few turkey necks, or chicken wings or legs (to get that full flavor of the bone marrow) while I’m cleaning the leek, the carrots, chopping the celery root up, and the cabbage.  It’s all getting nicely carmamelized, while I add some salt, some pepper, a couple of bay leaves, and water.  I always add a spoon of vinegar too, to help bring out the marrow (you don’t  taste it in the end, by the way).

After about 20 minutes or so, the soup is ready to eat, and so are we!  A few large pieces of bread, a glass of wine, and it’s a very nourishing meal.

I hope you are enjoying the thoughts of the spring, and the longer days and light, because they are…I can feel it!

Swiss Soup Vegetables
Swiss Soup Vegetables

 

 

Oops50 Gets a Makeover

Annice
Annice

Oops50 is getting a makeover.  And, why not?  She’s almost five years old and we’d like to give her a lift.  So, if you’ve noticed the blog looking odd, things out of place, colors not yet perfect, it’s because we’re at the back end making changes. The changes are thanks to my brother, Max.

Max
Max

His company in DC (well, one of his companies) is giving us the makeover.  His creative team at Bravery Corporation is helping us re-energize our brand by designing a new logo and giving us a cleaner site.  It’s not that we didn’t like our old one, we loved it, (thank you Diane), it’s just that when we created our blog we didn’t know what the hell we were doing despite the fact that the WordPress founder claimed he designed his template with his mother in mind.  Well, he should’ve talked to us baby boomer women because we didn’t find it so simple.  We forced too many balloons in the template, and couldn’t take them out because we paid someone too much $$$ to put them in and had no more money $$$ to get them out.  So, that screwed us up every time we wanted to load images, videos, etc.  I’ll just end there as that story is way too boring to explain further.

Bravery Corp.Superteam
Bravery Corp.Superteam

Now we have Bravery’s super team, and specifically Marcus (from the prestigious Savannah College of Art & Design), who truly embodies their corporate identity in a way that was probably never intended.  Bravely and patiently, Marcus answers our tech questions about what we want our blog to look like and what functions we want which seem to change by the hour.  We have to keep reminding him we are older than his mother and not yet as old as his grandmother– subtext — somewhere between menopause and post-menopause so we don’t make decisions quickly.  So to you Marcus, we’d like to say, “Be brave, young man.  It’s almost over.”

Marcus
Marcus

We’re aiming for April 1st to officially launch our new site, so be on the lookout for a new Oops50 logo, a cleaner and easier site to navigate, and an Pops50 store showcasing some of the favorite products you’ve shared with us over the years as well as some of our own. In our store you’ll find books, garden supplies, pet supplies, cooking supplies, shoes, bras, and anything else you bring to our attention or we think you’ll want to know about.

Finally, and most importantly, thank you Bravery Corporation for taking us on – and thank you to our readers for almost five years of reading, sharing, commentating, and sticking with us.