Goshen Rocks! Teen Initiated Arts Expo Comes to the Hilltowns.

Goshen Rocks: Youth Arts Expo Empowers Teen Artists through a Collaborative Network

Teens in western Massachusetts have outstanding skills, knowledge, and creativity to offer to the world! Celebrate their interests and accomplishments at Goshen Rocks: Youth Arts Expo, a collaborative showcase of music, poetry and visual art – all created and performed by local teens!

The Arts Expo is organized through a collaboration between Graffiti Cat Zine and People to Watch: The Next Generation – both are teen initiated arts-based resources that build creative community by connecting local teens with community venues and outlets for sharing their work. In keeping with this mission, Goshen Rocks offers the first event of its kind to western Massachusetts: not only does the expo combine visual, written, and musical creative work, it is the first community-based teen-specific creative event of its kind.

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Teens 101: Getting Things Done

Creating a Different Way Forward

“No one lies on their death bed and wishes they spent more time at the office.”

My dad shared that adage with me at some point in my youth, which was ironic, because my dad sure did spend a lot of time at the office when I was a kid. Luckily he’s not yet on his death bed, and has been making up for it.

Now I share it here, with next generation irony, because my office is wherever my computer is, and I sure do spend a lot of time at it. I am in no position whatsoever to remind anyone that there is more to life than working, because lately, working is my life.

But of course it isn’t. My children are my life, my husband, my family. This is what matters to me. So why is it so hard to put my work away and be with them?  Read the rest of this entry »

Teens 101: Supportive vs. Antagonistic Relationships

Adults v. Teens: The Fight Where Everyone Loses

Negative exchanges occur between young people and adults every day.  We accept it as normal for some relationships to be antagonistic, at least some of the time.  These exchanges might feel inescapable or even necessary, but they are also counterproductive, not to mention unpleasant.  What are the effects of antagonistic relationships?  What would it take to maintain supportive relationships between adults and teens and reduce or even eradicate antagonism?

A story from my childhood: Read the rest of this entry »

Teens 101: Allowing our Children to Choose What’s Best for Them

All the Things We Thought Were Important

To bush or not to brush. To mitten or not to mitten. Is it worth the fight and sometimes unhappy kids? Learning to listen and allow my kids to make their own choices allows them to make choices that are right for them.

When my kids were little, we had some friends who never made their kids brush their hair.  They didn’t have dreadlocks- it wasn’t a cultural or aesthetic choice, it was just a choice not to argue about it.  Combs were offered and suggested, but in the end the family went out and about happily whether or not the children had combed hair or snarls.

At my house the children did not go out happily, nor did they go out with snarls in their hair.  Frequently they went out with eyes red from crying after lots of fussing and fighting about hair brushing.  Their hair got brushed because I am bigger and stronger and insistent and have the car keys.  But it was sometimes awful.

Then we’d be out and see these other kids with their messy hair, and who cared?  I didn’t.  I didn’t judge those kids or that family.  I noticed, in an amused sort of way, and then the very next day I went back to fighting with my own kids about their hair.  A model of another option was right there in my life, but I didn’t consider it.  I wanted calmer, happier interactions with my small children, but not so much that I was willing to be seen in public with them looking unkempt.

Was that for them?  No.  That was for me.  That was all ego.  I couldn’t be the mom with the kids with messy hair, and if that meant some crying and screaming before we went out, so be it.  Somehow I thought it was that important. Read the rest of this entry »

Debut of Teens 101: Hacks, Ideas, Commiserations, and Small Wonders

Adolescents and Squirrels

This adolescent period is a clunky time for all mammals- one long and clumsy transition. As adults, our role is to walk the impossible balance of supporting just enough challenge and exposure so that they can gain necessary skills, with enough safety and protection to prevent injury.

I’ve never really been into squirrels. Never thought too much about them except to avoid them on the road. But suddenly this spring I’ve found myself fostering two baby squirrels, from a nest narrowly saved from a chipper on my husband’s job site.

I’m a sucker, and I’m a mother. You give me a small, helpless, hungry thing, and I feed it. With the guidance of a wildlife rehabilitation professional and the internet, we’ve managed to grow a couple of happy, healthy squirrels, and they’re almost ready to go back out into the world on their own.

I don’t usually work with squirrels. I work with teenagers. I am currently parent to two teens, as well. And now some adolescent squirrels, too. Adolescents at every turn.  Read the rest of this entry »

Dawn of the College Years

We’re Ready

On Thursday we embark on our first trip to visit colleges with our 17 year old, Aidan.  We’ll travel to Boston to check out BU, Emerson and Salem State University.  By now you know that I am a tad bit (just a tad) on the high strung side.  (My children are rolling their eyes at the word “tad” I am sure.)  Therefore, I bet that you think since I have that tendency to be just a wee bit anxious, that I am mourning the end of my son’s childhood. Knowing me I am probably lamenting Aidan’s absence even a year before he leaves.  I am sure that there is a consensus out there that I have already built a shrine that I will bring alms to on a daily basis to ward off the evil that may befall my first born while he is away.

Normally, I’d agree with you.  I will admit that I expected this monumental moment—finding a new “home” for my oldest—to be a three-box-of-tissues sort of occasion.  And I tried.  I really tried.  While looking at Boston University’s website, I sighed and sighed wistfully.  After making a tour appointment at Emerson I slumped in my favorite chair ready to feel sorry for myself and how “old” I must be since I would soon have an offspring that would be a college student.  But…but…I am just not feeling it.  In fact, there is excitement in the air.  Now stop…I know what you are thinking…who IS this woman that is pretending to write Logan’s column this week.  It is me.  Really it is.

I know it is surprising, but right now there is just no sense of sadness.  I am ready.  I am ready.  (Right now) I have this sense of peace and a sort of awakened anticipation.  I am ready.  Ready to see where he will go.  Ready to see what he will do.  Ready to see who he will become.

Perhaps it is because I have a toddler at home who will help keep me busy.  Perhaps it is because of the colossal changes that this household has been through in the last year.  Perhaps it is that I am getting wiser in my old age…(okay that one might be a stretch!)  More likely, it is the fact over the past few months, I have seen glimmers…slivers…a tad bit of a change in Aidan too.  Never mind the fact that physically he has morphed into this gargantuan manly man.  It is the decisions he’s been making, the dulling of his hormonal sharp edges, and his excitement and participation in the college planning process that makes me realize…he is ready.  Ready to see where he will go. Ready to see what he will do.  Ready to see who he will become.  HE is ready!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Logan Fisher

Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s MotherhoodEye on EducationFaces, and Appleseed.

The End of the Happy Cluttered Household

It’s Memé Clean!

One summer, when the boys were little… say around 10 and 7… we had quite a fly problem in the house. It seemed no matter what I did — spray, fly paper, clean, clean, clean every day — there seemed to be more and more flies bouncing off the windows and zoom-buzzing by my head, seemingly taunting me with their existence. I became obsessed with ridding the house of them and spent hours on end… (Okay… it SEEMED like hours) with a New Yorker magazine rolled in my tight fist trying to sneak up on the little buggers to whap the life out of them. (Dear Editors of The New Yorker, please don’t let the fact that I used your literary greatness to squash flies influence your decision to one day let me write for you. I hope you can empathize with me after reading this column. And HEY… if you happen to like the writing… give me a call!)

Anyway, one morning, I noticed a couple of flies coming from our finished basement (otherwise known as the boys’ encampment).  That was puzzling because the boys had just given it a good cleaning. I inspected it myself. I had been impressed that even the sticky spots on the coffee table had been wiped away clean. The flies couldn’t be originating from this room… or could they? My super-mommy-sense was tingling and despite the horrific screams from the voice of reason in my brain (“For the love of god don’t go down there!”) I let my feet take me down the stairs. When I got to the bottom, I started sniffing. Don’t ask me why. It just seemed to make sense. If I could find something that smelled, perhaps I could find the source of the flies. As I mulled around, nostrils flared, bent over at the waist lifting pillows, hefting the couch to see underneath it, I became more and more convinced that I was not going to find anything that could produce that amount of flies. After all, to the naked eye, everything was orderly, tidy and quite clean. As I trudged up the stairs seemingly defeated, I noticed a pair of flies soaring out from behind our console television. Again, despite the terrorized screaming of my voice of reason, I walked myself back down the stairs to inspect. What I found dear readers shook me to the core, made me double over with nausea, and caused purple rage to blast like a freight train to my throbbing temples.

When I became a mother at the young age of 23, I can remember that my one goal… the single goal I had was to not be a slave to the cleanliness and orderliness of my household. Growing up, the spotlessness of my childhood home was such a major thing. With four girls, my mother (whom my boys call Memé) quite often would become extremely irate at the messes we’d leave. Looking back, we didn’t appreciate how difficult it must have been to be sure the tiny three bedroom cape we lived in was tidy. But, what stuck with me was the constant tension that it caused and so, I was going to be a “different” mother. Not live in filth mind you, but to at least teach the boys to relish the clutter, convincing myself that a cluttered well-lived in house meant a house full of love. Had I steered them wrong? Could that be what caused the sight in front of me?

Then of course there is that age old adage that boys — if left to their own devices — will live hand and hand with filth and garbage. I mean how many of us have heard of the horror stories of a bachelor’s apartment? Not one respectable woman would be caught dead in said apartment’s bathroom. Men and boys just seem to have an affinity for the gross and disgusting. Could that affinity be what led my boys to think that sight before me was an acceptable method of making sanitary?

All right you’ve been patient with my diversions and have waited long enough. It is time to reveal the revolting fly-breeding scene that I discovered some ten years ago perpetrated on an innocent house at the hands of my marauding little men. It seems that my sons believed the old saying “out of sight, out of mind” and had been piling all the basement garbage for god knows how long behind the console television. No no… don’t misunderstand me. There was NO garbage can there. Nope, just TV wires, an electrical TV cord and a carpeted triangular piece of floor. But you couldn’t see any of that because the trash was vast and waist deep. To the point that all the scraps of food, paper, soda bottles, used tissues, candy bar wrappers and any other item of trash a boy could possibly conjure up was LEVEL, that’s right I said LEVEL with the top of the television and buzzing with flies.

Well what happened after that will forever remain locked in a vault of untold stories of the Fisher household, but let’s just say there was a lot of tension reminiscent of my days as a young girl growing up in my childhood household. I invoked many phrases and tones of my dear mother, the boys’ beloved Memé, that day and every day since. But still getting my sons to clean thoroughly has been an uphill battle and one I worried would never be won. Each cleaning day would bring such carnage that I dreaded each and every moment of it. It was as if the boys were blind to what needed to be tidied. They’d call me downstairs, chests puffed out at the pride of a job well done just for me to burst that bubble and point out that the rug looked like the streets of Time’s Square after the ball had dropped. “But we vacuumed!” they’d exclaim as if that made the debris disappear. “Did you turn it on before moving it?” Was a favorite response of mine.

But this Christmas Eve my choice to leave the “happy cluttered household” behind and to take on a more dictatorship stance on the cleanliness of our home paid off in a big way and gave me some hope for the character and the capabilities of my eldest son. In preparation of guests, I insisted that he clean the basement. After an hour or so he came up the stairs looking like a rooster crowing about the “fantastic” cleaning job he had accomplished. I tentatively descended the stairs bracing for the fight and the eye rolls that would inevitably come. But to my astonishment the room was spotless; miraculously spotless-not even an ounce of Times-Square-confetti-like paper on the carpet.

“Aidan, this is REALLY clean! Nice job! I exclaimed.

“It’s ‘Memé clean’ isn’t it mom?” And so it was. Mom would be proud.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Logan Fisher

Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s MotherhoodEye on EducationFaces, and Appleseed.

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  • A Classic Case of “Not Fair!”

    This Hurts Me Much More Than It Hurts You!

    Aidan failed his driver’s test today…for the second time. It is an interesting phenomenon the heart of a mother. It hurts just as much when your child leaves you as it does when they have what we know are minor life disappointments (but they seem HUGE to them and maybe we hurt for that reason.) My heart is broken for Aidan, as is his own. The test was at 9 am this morning. I had missed a whole week of school last week due to a flu that kicked the snot out of me so I was unable to miss more work and therefore couldn’t bring him. I was so anxious and of course feeling guilty. But he was in good hands. My mother (Aidan’s grandmother) took him and after all he specifically requested her. So all morning I rationalized that he’d feel safe and secure on the way to the test knowing that in his mind if he couldn’t have his mother, he had mine. I also reminded myself that if he failed that she would be sure to soothe him in any way possible. She’s always had a thing for Aidan. Maybe it is because it is her first grandchild. Maybe it is because she was there when he was born. Whatever it is, Aidan feels connected to her and she to him.

    But the option of failing never entered my mind. Aidan is a superior driver. I am not just saying that because I am his mom. Nope. I am brutally honest when it comes to my kids. If they aren’t doing something correctly or have a severe flaw I don’t sugarcoat it. Nope, this “ain’t” sugarcoating. He truly drives responsibly. It is his nature to be cautious and careful and it isn’t any different when he drives. I feel no qualms putting my one year old in the backseat and letting Aidan drive. He is competent…no no… more than competent, especially for his age.

    So what happened? The perilous inconsistencies of life, that’s what happened. As all moms will tell their children, life “ain’t” fair. (There’s that word again. Twice in one column… sheesh!) And yesterday’s driver’s test was a classic case of “NOT FAIR!” Aidan drove perfectly. Had a nice round 100% going into his final move; the dreaded parallel parking. But he was confident. The night before Aidan and I must have parallel parked on every car parked on the side of every street in Glens Falls. Each time he did it adeptly. Never hitting the curbs or coming too close to the car. I said… CAR. Singular. One. Uno. As all mom’s of teenagers know the driver’s test has the adolescents parallel park using just one car so as to not put the young driver in jeopardy of hitting another car that they may be trying to squeeze between. Every single person I have EVER spoken to knows this to be a fact. A fact? Nope… fact no more. My son apparently is the only kid in the UNIVERSE that was told to parallel park between TWO… DOS… cars.

    He panicked. He FREAKED. He-had-never-done-it-before! He tried his hardest but just couldn’t pull it off. The first attempt he hit the curb. The second, nerves frazzled, he couldn’t even get it remotely NEAR the curb.

    When the story was retold to me by my sobbing mother who just felt so incredibly awful for the… (I am quoting here) “the best teenage driver she has ever seen!” (Ok… she may be a TAD biased.) I got furious. My stomach started to roll. I cursed creatively in the girl’s bathroom for 10 minutes. I had half a mind to call up the DMV and report this man who obviously has ice in his veins. But the voice of my trusted (and probably beleaguered) therapist whispered in my ear, “A good mother helps her children see the lessons in all of life’s ups and downs and acts as a go between to help teach them to solve problems.” So I told my flipping stomach to knock it off. I spit out my last swear word and went to pick up Aidan at school. I braced myself for the ranting and raving that would sure to be coming. Teenage boys can be pretty out of control when things don’t go their way. As he approached the car I tugged on my seatbelt as if preparing for the storm to come.

    “Hi Mom.” He said with a smile on his face. A smile? Really?

    ‘I am so sorry Aidan,” I said stroking the back of his hair.

    “Don’t be mom. I drove perfect. It was not my problem that the guy decided to ask me to do something that he knew he shouldn’t be doing. He even admitted that to me! I did a good job mom and I’m ok with that.”

    “You’re not upset that you failed again?” I asked.

    “No. You always say if I have done my best and things don’t go my way then I should be happy that I tried my hardest. Besides, Meme (my mother) bought me an Abercrombie Sweatshirt because she felt bad. So what do I have to be upset about?” What indeed? Two life lessons rained down upon me in that moment. The first and a firm note to me, my words actually penetrate the fierce wall of the rolling eyes of teens. Good to know. Secondly and possibly a more important lesson (wink wink) is that retail therapy works not just on the mom’s of teenage boys but on the boys themselves.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s MotherhoodEye on EducationFaces, andAppleseed.

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  • Can Teen Boys Feel Empathy?

    And Then They Grow Up….

    (Photo credit: Logan Fisher)

    Something happened this week in my home.  Something so rare I am afraid I may make other parents of teen boys jealous.  But then again, telling you about this rarity make give some of those same parents some hope for the future.  What I have to tell you might shake the teenage world as we know it.  It is so earth shattering, earth shaking, earth quaking that what we know about the adolescent boy might forever be changed by the news I am about to share in this one column.  Are you ready?  I’ll try to say it quietly so as not to startle those understandably skittish parents of teen boys.   Come closer so you can hear me.

    My sixteen year old spent the entire week being…dare I say it???  Being….oh I can’t believe what I am about to write!  Being…human.  Human?  Hmmmm.  That might not be the correct word.  Let’s try another one…kind?  Or how about…thoughtful?   Of course there is always….Pleasant.  Heck why don’t I put them all together.   Ok.  Let’s try this again.  My sixteen year old spent the ENTIRE week being humanly kind and pleasantly thoughtful.  Yes.  That’s right.  I said ENTIRE, and I meant ENTIRE.  He didn’t have one moment of his typical hibernating-bear-meets-man-eating-lion-meets-the-king-of-the-world-centers-around-me behavior.  Not. One. Moment.

    What could have caused this scarce occasion?  It could be that in two months, Aidan turns 17 and is turning a corner on adolescent selfishness.  It could be that he is trying to prove that he is responsible with the impending license looming, but to be honest with you, I am not sure either of those are the reasons.  I think the real reason is much more profound which is why the revelation is to me so earth shaking, so moving.

    I think, in fact I am pretty sure, this new found sweetness has to do with empathy.  Did you hear the collective gasps?  Empathy?  In a teen?  NO WAY!  But, dear readers, I am certain that this is true.  Let me explain. Lately I have been feeling low.  I mean REALLY low.  I know what you are thinking.   All moms have ups and downs…but this particular low has been bottom dwelling.

    Many changes have taken place in this house during the last year–most out of my control–and the pile has begun to weigh me down sitting on my chest like one of those barbells that super lifters lift.  You know the ones I am talking about.  The ones with the weights on each end that look like an 18 wheeler’s tires.  I have done my best to try and keep my chin up and to keep a smile on my face for the sake of my family.  (Don’t all moms do that?)  But if truth be told, it has been very difficult to hide the misery that I am wallowing in lately.  Could Aidan’s personality shift be due to the fact that he has sensed that his mom needs some positive energy?  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

    Listen to this list and YOU decide!

    1. On Saturday, my husband suggested a jaunt down our local highway to visit my very favorite store (a store that has a particular December holiday in its name.)  He thought that maybe it’d cheer me up.  As we were packing the baby bag, Aidan said, “Where you going mom?”  I said, “Shopping in Colonie.  Nothing you’d be interested in.”  To my surprise he answered, “Actually, I’d love to come.  Would you mind?”  Mind?  Would I mind?  Since when did that matter?  I stood speechless. He took the toy from my hand and finished packing his little sister’s bag.  On the way down the highway and on the way home, he sang happily to the Sesame Street CD that played repetitively never once asking to listen to his own music.  He had full-sentence-conversations with us at lunch and happily filled the cart with knick-knacks for an hour and a half at my favorite store.
    2. All week when I said, “Do you have homework?”  Instead of the usual eye roll and heavy sigh.  I’d get an enthusiastic, “Oh yeah!  I should probably do that now.  Thanks for the reminder mom!”
    3. Every Tuesday I typically take the baby to visit my parents.  This week, Aidan asked to go with us.  He ASKED to go.  On the way home he told me how much he enjoyed going and suggested that he come every week.  That evening, he genially carved pumpkins with his baby sister and step father.  That moment is worthy of a column in itself.  One I promise to write.  You can see a few pictures of our fun above.  It was just special a special moment.  Purely special.  One that was full of happiness.  One that lifted me.
    4. Yesterday, after receiving bad news in the mail, I was particularly teary, unable to hide the anguish that was mounting.  Standing at the microwave watching the vegetables steam, tears streaming down my face, I felt two arms wrap around my shoulders from behind.  “I love you mom.”  Aidan whispered quickly.  He hugged me firmly and walked away, and just like that the tears were gone.
    5. Today, before leaving to spend the weekend with his dad, I took Aidan for a quick parallel parking lesson.  We talked about his day.  He took my pointers and used them.  He tried over and over to perfect this tough driving maneuver, never once losing his temper or complaining.  Getting out of the car he thanked me for taking him and once again hugged me sweetly.  “I love you mom.”

    I was mute, the breath taken away from me quickly by the gesture of warmth and encouragement.  I could only smile a very real smile and nod vigorously as he got in the car to leave.  However had my voice not disappeared during that tender moment, the words I would have spoken would have been simple and to the point.  I would have answered quietly, “I know you love me Aidan.  I know.”


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

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  • Wicked Wickets in Worthington

    Worthington’s Halloween Celebration

    "This is a chance for people to come down to see all the kids in their costumes," said Janine Modestow, Recreation Committee member.(Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    This year, the town of Worthington, MA will celebrate Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 30, and offer a new twist, Wicked Wickets, as well as scarecrow-making, a carved pumpkin walkway, a deejay, and an opportunity for residents to give out candy on the R.H. Conwell Community Education grounds. The event is sponsored by the Recreation Committee.

    The fun begins on Friday, Oct. 29, with a free scarecrow-making class at 3 p.m. at the R.H.Conwell Community Education Center (147 Huntington Rd.). At that time, residents can also drop off scarecrows made at home to be judged at the school on Saturday.

    On Saturday, Oct. 30, residents are invited to bring carved pumpkins to either the Town Hall at 160 Huntington Road or the center. The pumpkins will be used to mark a path between the two buildings, which are situated diagonally across from each other. Everyone is invited to participate in decorating the Town Hall, starting at 3 p.m.

    Residents who wish to hand out candy at the center may arrive and set up at 4 p.m.

    “This is a chance for people to come down to see all the kids in their costumes,” said Janine Modestow, Recreation Committee member. The candy handout will give residents who live on the outskirts of town and who are not often visited by trick-or-treaters the chance to join in the fun.

    At 5 p.m., townwide trick-or-treating begins. Children can stop by the center and continue through town. Residents who wish to have trick-or-treaters stop at their home are asked to signal this by leaving their lights on.

    Teenagers are invited to create a wicket, with a scary theme – or not – to play Wicked Wickets, a combination of haunted croquet and miniature golf that will be played on the Town Hall side lawn, weather permitting. Relying on imagination, the wicket can be carved out of pumpkin or a pile of wood with a space large enough for a croquet ball to roll through.

    Then, at 6 p.m. residents will play Wicked Wickets to the sounds of a performing deejay. Prizes for scarecrows will be given out. The Boy Scouts will serve up free hot dogs and burgers, and the Recreation Committee will provide cider, doughnuts and coffee. The cleanup party for the day’s event begins at 8 p.m.

    Driver’s License: A Teen Rite of Passage

    Give Me a D! Give Me an R! Give me an I V E! But Put Your Seatbelt on First!

    Late Breaking News: Aidan Wright, resident 16 year old of the Fisher household, will be taking (and hopefully passing) his driver’s license test on November 2, 2010. All drivers in the upstate New York/ Massachusetts area take note and take caution. Just sayin… Am I nervous you ask? Let me spell it out for you.

    D is for doubt. Can my son really be old enough to operate an automobile…a heavy piece of equipment—a careening cannonball on four wheels-on his own? Without me sitting on the passenger side slamming my foot down on the imaginary brake, barking out orders and white knuckling the handle on the door? Is he ready for the responsibility that comes with not only ensuring his life and the life of the passenger in his car, but the lives of other drivers on the road? D. The doubt is deafening.

    R is for rejoicing. I have never seen my tres chic-tres-cool sixteen year old dance a happy little jig, but I am telling you he came close the moment we made his driver’s test appointment on line this week. The corners of his mouth turned up. His eyes twinkled. His face softened. I mused, “What do you call this look I see on your face dear teen? Could it be that elusive smile I have heard much about? I was told such a thing existed. But until now, I didn’t believe I’d ever see it.” A major 16 year old eye roll followed my teasing. But even that wouldn’t damper his mood. I think I saw him skip as he went down the stairs to his bedroom.

    I is for I-will-soon-have-my-very-own-gofer. “Let’s be positive,” said my ever chipper husband, “whenever you forget something at market, you can just send a very willing driver to do the errands that you hate.” He may have a point. Did I ever mention how I hate the winter cold? This impending license gives me visions of sitting cozily by the fire saying things like, “Aidan, please go pick up your brother.” Or “Aidan, could you please run to the store to buy me some hot chocolate? Run along and don’t dawdle…”

    V is for velocity and verification. Velocity….need I even explain this one. The mere mention of the word makes my toes curl in my new gray cowboy boots. I have visions of a car speeding swiftly down a country road in a game of chicken with perhaps a pickup truck, a van, or worse an 18 wheeler. This nightmare has me thinking about how I can keep tabs on my newly mobile teen, which brings me to VERIFICATION. Some parents, (whom I shall keep nameless lest I give away family secrets) told me about a very nifty gadget that you can put under the hood of your car that acts as a GPS babysitter. Said gadget would come with an application for your cell phone that a parent could check at will to find out the location of the family automobile. Part of me relishes the fact that I can check up on him. That part of me screams… “Run lady! Don’t walk. Where can we get us one of those?” But on the other hand, another part of me feels like that nosy neighbor we used to see on Bewitched, wringing her hands and peering into the front door…saying, “What’s IS going on in there!” And then there’s this: If he ever has a girlfriend, do I REALLY want to know he is parked somewhere on a deserted mountain road or a highway rest stop???? Ummm…I think I’d rather skip that kind of knowledge.

    E is for Eager Earning. On the bright side, all this talk of driving and cars has motivated my usually oh-so-unmotivated teen to work many hours at a shall-we-say very popular sub place. I have been impressed with my son’s ability to save (not a trait he inherited from his shopaholic mother.) His bank account over the summer and fall has grown substantially. He is actually at the point where he is looking at cars that he could possibly purchase off of the internet. Of course there is also the fact that we the powers that be at home insist that he pay for his own gas and insurance. But at the rate he is going, that won’t even make a noticeable dent in his cache of cash. “Ummm hey honey…son of mine…could I borrow a 50? There are these to-die-for shoes I can’t live without calling my name.”

    R is for REALITY. Despite my reservations, (HA! Another R word) I know that every day brings us closer and closer to November 2. There is no way around it, just like walking, kindergarten, or riding a two wheeler, getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage that every human should experience as they journey towards independence. I know in my heart that Aidan is ready to take this next step towards adulthood. There is no question about that. The real question is am I ready? After all, by now you know how vivid my imagination is. So you won’t be surprised when I tell you that on the day my eldest takes his driver’s test, I will be waiting patiently, but sadly envisioning the moment that that boy of mine who takes up so much of my heart will leave home driving down the road that we call life.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

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  • The Teenage Blame Contortionist

    It’s ALL Mom’s Fault

    My thirteen year old, Gannan, is a blame contortionist. Lately when something isn’t right, no matter his actions, no matter his mistakes, he very adeptly twists, turns and wrings it into something that I did wrong. Take last night for instance, he was hungry. (Not an unusual occurrence. Teenage boys’ stomachs are colossal chasms.)

    Gannan: What can I eat mom?

    Me: Well there’s goulash left over. There’s potato salad, pasta salad, chips, strawberries….

    My voice trails off as Gannan’s entire being begins to protest my food list. He begins with a gigantic eye roll. This is followed by a body wave meant to indicate his disgust. It starts at his knees. They contort into crooked angles and knock together in a haphazard way. He then bends at the waist and pitches his arms out in front of him. It ends as he stands up straight and places his hands in his long shaggy hair, tugging a little.

    Gannan: UUHH! There is NEVER anything in this house to eat. Why don’t you shop better? (Mom’s fault- number one for those keeping score.)

    Me: Gannan I won’t be insulted. Please go and quietly get your food or go to your room. Your choice.

    I listen intently as his feet pad down the hall. I hear the clanking of jars as the refrigerator door opens. Heavy sighs permeate the silence as he makes the all important what-to-eat-decision. All of a sudden fast feet pad back down the hall.

    Gannan: There are Pizza Hut bread sticks in there!

    Me: Yes. What’s the matter with that?

    Gannan: NOTHING! I love those. Why didn’t you TELL me we had bread sticks??? (Mom’s fault-number two. Put it on your score card.)

    This time he happily rushes down the hall. Jars in the refrigerator clang louder as the door is opened with great gusto. I hear the whisper of the miniature pizza box that holds the breadsticks as it slides off of the fridge’s shelf. A pause in the sound….and then….an exasperated “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!

    Feet pound down the hall back towards me.

    Gannan: Where’s the little cup of sauce?

    Me: There wasn’t any left to take home.

    Gannan: (Another body wave of disgust…see above, and then cue the whining.) Why does this always happen to me? Why didn’t you ask the waitress for more? (Mom’s fault-number three. Oh but there’s more!)

    His feet pummel the hall floor. A plate is yanked from its comfortable spot in the cupboard and the microwave door slams. I get more comfortable in my chair, hoping that the sustenance scene has played itself out.

    Losing my vigilance too soon, a hungry, ornery Gannan somehow shows up in the doorway; plate in hand, bottom lip drooping, eyes squished to slits, clearly out of his mind.

    Gannan: Why did you tell me to put blue cheese on these? They’re RUINED! (Mom’s fault-number four!)

    Me: (Stifling a snort.) What are you talking about Gannan? I never told you to…

    Not wanting to hear what I have to say lest it proves his ranting wrong, Gannan cuts me off.

    Gannan: This is just a waste of food. I’m not eating this. I’m going to my room where I’ll starve to death and THEN you’ll be sorry! (Mom’s fault-number five!)

    Me: I might not be sorry Gan….

    Gannan: Ha ha! Funny mom. This wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for you. It’s ALL YOUR FAULT!

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

    Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales

    Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales by Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Logan Fisher

    I Beg To Differ!

    It started years ago when my boys were very young. Well-meaning moms at the playground, preschool and parks would cluck their tongues and sigh. After a few years of experiencing this over and over, I grew accustomed to what usually followed their wistful puffs of air. “You don’t know how lucky you are. Boys are SO much easier than girls.” I heard this statement so frequently that I began to believe the adage myself. Okay, perhaps I needed to believe it because as my boys grew older that ease promised to me by mothers of girls didn’t seem to exist in our world. My boys were NOT easy. Let me rephrase that, my boys ARE not easy. Even now at 16 and 13, Aidan and Gannan continue to challenge and test.

    That isn’t to say that mothers of girls have it easier. In fact, when watching friends of mine blessed with children of that particular sex, I am convinced that they don’t. Therefore, I have decided that neither set of parents have a cake walk of any sort. It is just that the problems experienced by each are vastly different. I am sure you have heard of the book “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.” In that same venue we could say, “Sons are From Saturn, Daughters are from Jupiter.”

    For instance, boys are not great communicators. I therefore find myself performing criminal-like fetes to get them to share SOMETHING about their lives with me. I find that captivity–say in a locked and moving car–gets me results. Boys are also physical and clumsy. I shudder to think about the money spent on new windows, furniture, paint for banged up walls and repair men for broken appliances. Heck, I’ve had to replace the curtains in Gannan’s room four times in the last year. (Don’t ask!) When the fourth set ripped, and the rod broke, I told him that I hoped he enjoyed the great outdoors because he’d be seeing it through his naked windows from now on. These are just a few examples of the adventures in raising boys, but of course there’s more! How about the sassiness that seems to appear out of nowhere the moment they set foot in high school? Oh! What about the incessant competition? Ugh. Don’t get me started. Those boys can make a contest out of anything. I once suggested that they each say a reason why they love their brother, and Aidan and Gannan’s conversation went something like this:

    Aidan: Gannan, I love you because you don’t care if you take showers every day.

    Gannan: Aidan, I love you because you don’t care that I have more friends than you.

    Although it’s true that I have recently added a girl to our brood, for the sake of this column, I will be discussing, contemplating, and sometimes lamenting about my adolescent boys. Join me as I let you in on the challenging, funny and sometimes heart wrenching events with a boys’ spin that occur weekly, daily, hourly. Feel free to comment! We mothers of boys have got to stick together!


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Logan Fisher

    Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.

    Hilltown Library Invites Teens to Participate in the MA Teen Choice Book Award Logo Contest

    Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award Logo Contest

    Are you a teen? Do you love to read? Do you love to draw? Join The Meekins Library (Williamsburg, MA) and The Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award Committee in designing a new logo for the Teen Choice Book Awards!

    The Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award was created as a response to the need to honor and recognize new Young Adult fiction. Modeled after the Rhode Island Teen Book Award, this award gives teens the opportunity to vote for their favorite YA author.

    Local teens are invited to create an original color drawing that represents the best in teen literature; a favorite book, or collection of books to be used at the logo for the Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award.  The original logo will be used for their posters, bookmarks, flyers and more.  Here are the guidelines:

    • This contest is open to any teen between the ages of 12-18 years old who lives or goes to school in Massachusetts.
    • The contest runs from December 1st, 2009 to January 31, 2010.
    • Entries may be in either paper or digital form.
    • Paper entries can be no larger that 11”x17”.
    • Logos will be shrunk down to 2”x3” or 2”x2”.
    • Digital entries may be in .jpg, .gif, or .png formats.
    • One entry per person.
    • Each entry must be accompanied by a completed release form.

    For more information, and release forms please contact: Meg Anastasi at (413)253-9673, email meg.anastasi@gmail.com.

    Stereotypes Can Fuel Teen Misbehavior (Study)

    Stereotypes Can Fuel Teen Misbehavior

    Drinking. Drugs. Caving into peer pressure. When parents expect their teenagers to conform to negative stereotypes, those teens are in fact more likely to do so, according to new research by professor of psychology Christy Buchanan.

    “Parents who believe they are simply being realistic might actually contribute to a self-fulfilling prophecy,” says Buchanan, who studies adolescent development and behavior. “Negative expectations on the part of both parents and children predict more negative behaviors later on.”

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    Project Happiness: 7 Doors Project

    Project Happiness: 7 Doors Project

    Teenagers are at a point in their lives where they are figuring out who they are, their relationships with people, and how they fit into this world. They’re not kids anymore, but they’re also not adults. They want to be in charge of their lives.

    The 7 Doors Project explores the idea of your real and lasting happiness, regardless of the circumstances around you. Behind each of the seven doors is the opportunity to explore an aspect of your own path to happiness.

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