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Win a 3-month Membership to Weight Watchers and Lose Weight

I’m giving away a 3-month membership to Weight Watchers meetings or online at my new site: http://www.fromthemom.com/?p=552

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Great Hotel in Oklahoma City

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We recently traveled to Oklahoma City for a swim meet and had a great experience staying in a SpringHill Suites by Marriott. The price point on this particular hotel is about $109, which is certainly reasonable. It’s even more reasonable when you factor in the  size the room, the breakfast, the amenities and the service.

SpringHill Suites, South MacArthur, Oklahoma City

SpringHill Suites, South MacArthur, Oklahoma City

There were four people in our party — my husband, my 10-year-old son and our 16-month-old daughter and me. The room was so large that we were able to put the portable crib (provided by the hotel at no extra charge) in the little cubby area by the sink, creating a perfect “out of the way” place for naptime and bedtime.

mar-07-2009-2451

The living area provided enough room for the toddler to run around a little and for the rest of us to relax and watch TV.  I was able to work on my laptop, thanks to the free Wi-Fi, but the lobby also sported two updated computers with large screens and a nice printer.

Computer/printer in upper left corner

Computer/printer in upper left corner

Our swim team also stayed at the hotel, and the complimentary breakfast was perfect for them. There were the usual eggs, waffles and pastries, but there was also a steaming pot of oatmeal with brown sugar, raisens and chopped walnut toppings, a vast array of fruit, yogurt and several healthy cold cereal choices. I was particularly fond of the multiple flavored Coffee Mate liquid creamer choices and the high-quality coffee that was available around the clock. And the employee who worked the breakfast was eager to help and kept everything fresh and refilled.

The desk staff was equally helpful and friendly, and Ryan was particularly courteous and efficient as he  helped us remedy a slight mix-up with our reservations. Then, the staff went above and beyond in the customer service department after we checked out. We left behind a bag FULL of dirty clothes and didn’t realize the clothes were missing until about four days after we returned home. We called the hotel and they had found the clothes in the room and were waiting for us to contact them. We received our stale, smelly laundry in the mail less than one week later. 

This stay — which was our first at a SpringHill Suites — definitely put this hotel on our radar for future travel.

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Psychological Projection

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It’s been a long time since I completed my college psychology requirement, but I remember a little bit and I’m pretty sure that I am currently the target of some “projection.”

According to this Wikipedia definition, psychological projection is a defense mechanism where a person’s personal attributes, unacceptable or unwanted thoughts, and/or emotions are ascribed onto another person or people.

Another definition says that projection is one of the defense mechanisms identified by Freud and still acknowledged today. According to Freud, projection is when someone is threatened by or afraid of their own impulses so they attribute these impulses to someone else.

Probably just about everyone has done this at some time or another. For example, I often accuse my husband of never being able to admit when he’s wrong when it comes to our arguments. Hmmm. I’m thinking someone else involved in our marital spats possesses a similar character defect?

Likewise, we’ve all had friends or acquaintances who complain about certain flaws in others, and as we listen to their complaints, we’re struck by the fact that the person complaining is guilty of the exact same behavior. I think projection is probably a fairly common – even normal — human defense mechanism.

Still, it feels odd to experience a textbook case of it, expecially when you’re the target of said projection. Do you ignore it or kindly, but firmly, call a spade a spade?  I’m not sure what my approach is going to be just yet.

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Running Alone

I’m planning to run the Go!  St. Louis Half Marathon on April 19. I’ve done it twice before, plus I’ve done two full marathons, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Except, I haven’t really trained for it.

I run almost everyday (I’m now officially failing on my New Year’s Smart Goals/Resolutions). But I typically only run between four and six miles. I’ve been doing some speed training, lowering my average from my lifelong 10-minute to about a 9-minute mile. That’s a good thing, I guess.

Still, I haven’t done any runs that take longer than an hour. Part of my problem is that I’m not training with anyone. For all of my other distance runs, I’ve had running pals. I trained for my first half marathon and my first marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. I highly recommend this program for anyone who wants to do a longer event for the first time.

I’ve also trained for events with one of my best friends from high school and one of my former neighbors. We’d all complete our shorter weekday runs alone on our own time, but we’d meet on the weekends on the Katy Trail or another local park to do our longer training runs together.  We’d talk the whole way, so even the dreadful 20-mile training run was bearable for at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours. After that, no one is good enough company to keep your mind off your discomfort.

This time around, I’m on my own. My neighbor moved and my friend is busy with home remodeling projects.

My favorite way to keep keep myself entertained while running alone is to listen to books. I absolutely love audible.com, the digital version of books on tape. I used to carry a cumbersome cassette player, and then later, a CD player as I jogged for miles and miles. I’d rent books on tape, and later books on CD, from the library for free. But then I got a first-generation iPod Nano for Mother’s Day several years ago and a whole new world opened up. I’ve listened to all of Stephen King’s new books since then — Duma Key & Lisey’s Story & Stationary Bike — on my iPod while running.

My amazing church, Windsor Crossing, also uploads video and audio podcasts of its weekly services to iTunes, so when I miss church, I download the podcast and listen while I’m running.

Tomorrow I’m headed out for a 10-mile training run, and I’ve got about three hours left on my latest book from audible.com – “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers.  It’s a decent book, but not so engaging that it keeps my mind off the monotony of running 10 miles. I really wish Stephen King would’ve been kind enough to write something new for my current training regime. Anyone have a King-ish type book to suggest?

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Bothered by Correspondence from the School

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I received a letter in the mail today from my daughter’s middle school that really bothered me.  Here is the text of the body of the letter in italics and my thoughts on each section:

Our records indicate that your child has been absent 5 excused days this semester. 

Note the word “excused.” She missed three days for her participation in swim meets and two other days for family travel or  illness.  This is a kid who attends swim practice six to eight times per week, sometimes getting up for 5:30 a.m. practices before school and then returning to the pool for 5 p.m. practices after school. This is a kid who has time management skills that some college students haven’t achieved. This is the same kid who voluntarily stayed after school a few weeks ago to do an algebra review with her teacher because she was going to miss the in-class review due to an out-of-town swim meet.

Regular attendance is a significant factor in student acheivement and success at school. As you know, your child needs to be in the classroom to benefit from daily instruction. Research has continually shown the correlation between attendance, achievement and student learning. 

Really? My daughter has been recognized all three years in middle school for having a 4.0 GPA at the end of the first semester — including this year. She takes all challenge courses and is in an advanced/compacted language arts course. The lowest GPA she has achieved for any given quarter is 3.75.  Her standardized test scores typically land her in 99th percentile in language arts and in the high 90′s in all the other subjects. She took the ACT last year as a 7th-grader and scored a 21 without having had any high school language, math or science courses.  I am not worried about her achievement or student learning — at least not at this point in her education.

We do realize that student illness and family emergencies may prevent a child from attending school. However, we want to make you aware of the number of school days that your child has missed.

My understanding of district policy is that the absences wouldn’t have been marked as “excused” if I hadn’t contacted the school about them. Therefore, of course I AM AWARE of the days she has missed. So why was the letter really sent?

Rockwood School District Policy states that any absence in excess of eight days in one semester will require further home/school communications. This is initiated through our district social worker. Our district social worker can provide a variety of resources and assistance as necessary.

Is the school REALLY threatening the intervention of a social worker for a straight-A student who has never had any discipline problems at school, who is recognized for her grades and other school achievements, and who certainly contributes in a positive way to the school’s averages on the standardized tests? And what are these resources and assistance that she might need? Perhaps they could be utilized by a student who needs them?

We appreciate your support as we work together for your child’s education. If you have any questions, please call the school office . .

cc. Student File

cc. Counselor

I love the cc info at the end! In other words: “This is going in YOUR FILE!”

I promptly fired off an email to the school’s administrators. The gist of that email was what I wrote above, plus this:

“We certainly value her education and place a high priority on school. But we also think learning to manage her time in such a way that she can maintain a 3.8 to 4.0 GPA and still spend 12 to 16 hours a week in the pool is a good life skill.”

Plus, I requested that a copy of my email be attached to the letter that is “GOING IN HER FILE.”
I love our school district most of the time. My children are receiving a quality education most of the time. But there are certainly some wasted minutes spent in the classroom and there are certainly some valuable, very educational minutes spent outside of the classroom.  Don’t get me started on the physical education thing. Until this year, my daughter had to make up PE classes she missed by staying after school and jogging around the track. Her two hours a day in the pool wasn’t allowed to count. But that’s fodder for a different post.
This letter was ridiculous. I recognize it might have been generated by some automatic computer program that flags a student when they reach five absences. But it was signed by hand. It seems to me that a letter suggesting the need for intervention by a social worker should have been reviewed individually by the administrators and compared to a student’s overall record, not just her attendance record. If that had been done, I doubt the letter would’ve been mailed or “PUT IN THE FILE.” At least I hope that’s what the outcome would’ve been.

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Diva Status

PLEASE NOTE: This blog has moved to www.fromthemom.com. Please leave comments on the new site.

I’m featured this week on DeservingDivas.com. It’s suggested by Deserving Divas that I share this link on my Facebook page, via email with family and friends, on Twitter, etc. I’m not really comfortable with that, but figured my blog was an appropriate forum.

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