The Coolness Factor: When did I become “un-cool”?

April 28, 2015

So it turns out that one of the many intangible benefits of working in higher education is the coolness factor. I mean, let’s face it, I was definitely, totally, and completely uncool as a high-school student, but my late-bloomer self hit my stride in college. Yes, this was my element. I was hip, joined a sorority, liked to hang with the cool kids and party…I had it going on!! Okay, true confessions – I really LOVED the library, scheduled 8 am’s on purpose and went to bed at 11 pm much too often, but be that as it may, I was still cool (and young). It then came of no surprise that I decided to pursue career on a college campus (I mean who wouldn’t?) and my coolness factor just increased. As a young professional close to the students’ age I watched the same shows they watched, listened to the same music and knew all the jargon that came with twenty-somethings of the early nineties. Yes, back in the early part of my career I could still very much identify with those I was advising and they thought of me as a big sister.

Years passed. I got married. I had a baby. Things changed. It seemed like all of a sudden I didn’t watch the same television shows as my students did and Beverly Hills 90210 was just a place to me. Lists of possible bands for the yearly big concert looked like alphabet soup and I realized that I looked more forward to talking to the parents of students at orientation rather than the soon to be first-years. I became aware that my kid’s age was now closer to my students’ age than mine was. Whoa! How did this happen? Convinced I could still be cool in spite of this growing age gap, I kept on “keeping on”, occasionally “dropping it like its hot” and always “keeping it real”, ya feel me? I went from an older sister, to a “cool aunt” to a “yeah, my mom really likes 30 Rock too”!

However, today I had an experience that made me realize that I might just have lost enough cool points that I have to leave the cool kid table and saddle up with the grown ups. I was sharing a story with some of my students about life with a teenager in the house and how suddenly everything I do is “so embarrassing”. For example, the immediate response to my greeting to Zach in the morning of “Good morning, how are you?” is “Stop asking so many questions!”

The most recent example of my master plan to completely and totally embarrass my kid unfolded at the local ice cream store after Zach’s band concert last night. Outside the store and seeing other band members (easy to spot – black pants/skirt and white shirt) already celebrating with their families, Zach announces to me, “Oh, great, I know like 4 people in there. Let the awkwardness begin.” I was like, “what the what, dog? (all the cool parents say it), but he just shot me a look and told me to be quiet. We quietly and politely got our ice cream and of course I got chastised with an eyeroll for telling Zach to ease up on the ice cream when it was almost overflowing the bowl. So, we sat in silence in the restaurant eating our ice cream. There was a woman and her son like almost right next to me and so I whispered to Zach, “do you know that boy right there?” This brought on a “Mom, just be quiet!” response which had me puzzled. I didn’t get it. Why is this embarrassing? We all know that we were all just at the same event, that was very good, by the way, as highlighted by the black and white dress theme going on in the restaurant. Why do we have to pretend we have never met in our lives?

I felt vindicated a bit when one family left and the mom exclaimed to the entire restaurant, “congratulations on the concert everyone!!”. Okay, who is the cool mom now, yo?

On the car ride home I reminded Zach that at least I didn’t give a speech to the restaurant like that mom. What was her deal, bra? He proceeded to tell me that he was waiting for me to meet another band family, and in 5 minutes be friends on Facebook with the mom and set up a playdate. Okay, that’s ridiculous! That would NOT happen…this year. I still was puzzled at why our ice cream trip had to suddenly become a covert operation.

I figured out the answer to this question during my conversation with my students today. I explained this whole little ice cream drama to them hoping to get some sympathy, but what I got instead was heads shaking and nods of agreement as they all agreed what a horribly awkward and embarrassing situation that is and proceeded to share flashbacks to when they experienced similar kinds of shame with their parental units. I was stunned. Huh? What? Wait, this was awkward for Zach simply because I’m the mom and I’m not cool? Just simply being with me and having to admit that he belongs with us is a crying shame?? Well, the feeling is mutual buddy!!! Don’t think I’ve never been embarrassed by the choice unmatched wardrobe you have put on to go in public. Or the wave of Axe cologne that seems to follow you out the door every morning. Or don’t forget about the times you have “forgotten” to brush your teeth!! This can go both ways, sonny-Jim!

So, I guess I’ll gladly take that card for that uncool adult now. This could be fun! But just don’t make me talk about aluminum siding.

Zach’s Confirmation Sunday

Zach was baptized at Rejoice Lutheran Church on Sun, April 21, 2002


Then almost exactly 13 years later on Sun, April 19, 2015 he was confirmed at Rejoice Lutheran Church


The rehearsal on Saturday…yeah, the kids feel at home here! Z has bare feet!

Overall it was a wonderful weekend of celebration, but of course in true Ramsey form we had to have some drama along with the good times. On Saturday afternoon, Zach and his cousins were playing on the driving range behind grandma’s house and Zach got hit with a golf ball in the middle of the forehead! He came in announcing that he had a third eye. I started freaking out a bit when I saw the largest goose-egg pop out from his forehead! It looked terrible.


This picture does not adequately show how big this sucker was! Scary!

Once we determined he didn’t have a concussion or anything (quick call to Uncle Bruce), he just iced it and we hoped the swelling would go down for the confirmation pictures the next day! Thankfully it did and he was just fine. Now it is just a good story that will make confirmation that more memorable!

Cool devotional book gift from Barkers. He jokingly was covering up his goose-egg for the picture!

Gifts from Pillsbury’s: customized dogtags…very Zachary

And framed quote from Grandpa P….also very Zachary

It had to happen…

Ready to go in his new duds! He really wanted a tie bow tie and he wasn’t satisfied until he tied it himself!

The procession into church – big class of 9 kids this year!

The Barkers waiting patiently

We even had a canine visitor celebrating with us!

They all did a very nice job!

Can you see the goose-egg?!

With GMa and GPa


Evan and Zach have been buddies since they were about 3 years old!

Zach’s confirmation certificate and memory verse. The memory verse he picked once he learned that “Jesus wept”. was out was Isaiah 40:30-31: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Very fitting.

The sentence that Pastor picked to highlight from Zach’s final paragraph was this one: “Knowing that my core identity is a gift from God makes me feel unique and special”.


Brunch at Blue Canyon after the service

Grateful for such a fun and memorable celebration with family and friends. I felt God’s presence with us through the weekend…goose-eggs and all!

Reading Challenge – March 2015

Well, I had hoped to have four books done this month, but my current book has proven to be more dense than others that I have read. This is a good thing! It is very interesting and different, but just taking longer than the others. More on that one next month! Only about 100 pages left and will be done with it this weekend, but it is already April so it has to wait!

#8 – Category: Book by an author I’ve never read before
Title: Room, by Emma Donoghue
Completed: March 3, 2015
This was probably my favorite book so far! I can’t reveal too much about it or it will spoil the plot. Suffice it to say it is a tear jerker told from the perspetive of a 5-year-old boy growing up in a very sheltered life with his mom. I was obsessed with this book and read it in like 3 days. Let’s also say I am glad it was fiction! This is another author that I would love to read more of in the future. Extremely well written and highly recommended.


#9 – Category: A book set in the future
Title: Lock In, by John Scalzi
Completed: March 11, 2015
This was a very good book and a major page-turner at the end. Science fiction-esque books are not my favorite genre by far, but it was interesting and suspenseful. There were some technical parts that were a little hard to follow, but not too bad. There was a reference to AOL as something that happened “at the turn of century” that was funny and a little bit creepy. The audience knew the book took place in the future, but really had no idea just when except for that reference. I’m glad I picked this book to fit the category as I’m not sure I would have read it without this challenge.

Lock in

#10 – Category: A book with a love triangle
Title: Maybe Someday, by Colleen Hoover
Completed: March 18, 2015
Okay, so this one felt a little “teenager-esque” at the beginning. It is not really young author fiction either. It features characters in their twenties so I’m not sure if that is what bugged me or the reason I couldn’t really relate. I can’t really relate to love/relationships like that anymore! that being said, the multiple love triangles held my attention and I wanted to finish the book. This probably explains why I’m not a big love story reader unless it is more complex and has other story-lines in the book too. Now, love story movies, on the other hand – love them!