Saturday, June 30, 2012

Investing $12.95 In Your Future

I used to worry about what would happen to me when I got older.

I feared final days of eating generic cat food out of rusted tins and fighting off rabid raccoons that had crawled in through a hole in the roof of my dilapidated uncared for home.

I say 'used to,' because now, I have the training tool my three children need in learning how to properly care for the aged and infirm.

For the cost of only $12.95, I have ensured that my children will have had plenty o' practice in becoming familiar with the old, geriatric me that looms sooner and sooner on the horizon.

Click over to Aiming Low, for my post there today, and find out how you and $12.95 can teach your children well. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Requesting A Do Over Of These Specific Times

I have one of the nicest jobs in my small town. I work catering, making some fantastic food in amounts large enough to ensure that I get a taste of the chorizo stuffed dates and skewered shrimp in mango chutney we prepare for some very appreciative clients.

I like the food sampling part of the job a lot. I also like the way I can stand behind my green cutting board with the perfect evening summer sun coming in through the picture window in front, the sound of my freshly sharpened knife chopping and dicing, while my mind wanders.

Most of my thoughts are sweet reminiscings of the day spent with my three children, but on occasion there has been the unpredictable mental wince that pops up out of nowhere, making me squint my eyes in emotional pain as my data banks cycle through like a roulette wheel and the memory dice land on a time where I wish I could have a Do Over.

Painful, humiliating, cheek burning recollections that come up and slap you in the face like some angry cuttlefish. I have had memories that come barreling in destroying the peace of an afternoon as an image of me is conjured up -- of times like when I was in the 8th grade and thought prepubescent me could somehow look good in a red tube top.

Want to know what a red tube top on a 5 foot 5 inch 94 pound thirteen year old girl looks like? It looks like this:

Subtract the men fighting for my hand and you've got a spittin' image of me at 13

I'd like a Do Over.

Of that end of school year day, when I walked into JCPenney's on Appleton Avenue and stopped at a display table in the Junior Department full of itty bitty 5 inch wide tightly cinched tube tops and said That's the look for me! I can ignore the 34B breasted mannequin filling in the prototype so nicely. This sausage encasing like fabric will look just as AWESOME on 28AA me. [a cup size that truly does exist. No matter what Victoria's Secret tells you]

And that's how it goes, one minute I'm at work, smiling as I slice ruby red Roma tomatoes and Vidalia onions into thin ringlets for tomato pie with a three cheese blend topping, and the next I'm almost slicing my finger off from the needle across a record scratch of a less than stellar moment in my life memory in my head.

I'd like a Do Over, a Do Over of so many moments when things seemed like a good idea at the time. 

Like when I thought I really had what it takes to haul an 18-month-old baby along with a three-week-old newborn with me for my annual tooth cleaning. Really?

Like that July afternoon when I attempted the community pool with a six-month-old baby and two-year-old toddler with the only words in the toddler's vocabulary being "let go a hand, mama ... let go a hand!..."

A Do Over, please, of the time I thought matte red lipstick, black mascara'd eyebrows, gold hoop earrings, and a spiral perm would NEVER make me look too ethnic. Nooo .... anyone can get shouts of "Hey! Maria! Is that you?" as they walk down a street.

Could I please also have that day back when I mailed a six-page-long hand written in my salty fat tears letter to my *one and only boy I will EVER love* telling him I understood what happened between him and Margaret after the party at Ronny's house on Saturday and I was all grown up and ready to forgive. Call me. Since this is 1982 and there is no voice mail, I'll be here all weekend. Waiting.

Can we turn back time to the hair appointment in 1983 where I said yes and let that two days out of Aveda beauty school hair "designer" talk me into hacking off five inches of lush locks for the Rosanne Rosannadanna? [especially this day, could we have back? This one still makes me feel like I can't breathe. I looked like an arrow]

And why? WHY can there not be for the love of all things holy a Do Over of the hour I wasted in my graduate school advisor's office while he MADE me listen to him practice his Shakespeare-In-The-Park for his community theater rehearsal that night? Like I didn't have other things to do? Do. Over.

And, finally, a Do Over, for the time I sat my college freshmen butt down at my can-you-believe-it-I'm-dating-a-grad-student!'s grandmother's house, while she served up a platter of I swear it's cauliflower! my favorite! that I excitedly heaped onto a pile in the center of my red apple rimmed china dinner plate, announcing, "These? I LOVE these!" with the dumbest smile possible as I shoveled gobfuls of cauliflower-looking rosettes of what was hand-whipped BUTTER into my pathetic mouth. [I still see your horrified face, Gramma Lucy, at your grandson's Latino girlfriend's mad passion for the oleo, which is why I'd like a Do Over. To explain.]

A Do Over, a start over, a repeat.

Just another chance to do it oh so differently. You know, like that first weekend in the summer of my thirteenth year, a Do Over, to whisper into my 8th grade ear as I picked up and tugged at the elastic puckering of the red tube top; a Do Over, to say, Get the ruffles. It's the sleeveless flowered chiffon number with the layers of ruffles hanging on the rack to the left that you want.


**I'm over at CoffeeLovinMom's site today, shouting to the world about the one thing I just can't seem to do without: coffee. I hope you click over and meet Amy, I met her at Bloggy Boot Camp last year, and we were instantly comfortable with each other. Must be that Midwest thing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Having Fun Getting Dusty

One of the very first two followers on this blog was the flame-haired beauty Shari, of Earth Mother Just Means I'm Dusty. Dusty and I have become comfortable enough at each other's blogs that they feel like our own. I don't remember how we met in the blogosphere, but we have never wandered far from each other.

We've been roommates at BlogHer and have spent time together at humor writers' conferences.

After knowing each other for over two years, we have become a permanent online and offline presence in each other's lives.

It's a thrill to be guesting for Dusty today while she is away in Florida teaching acting to people ages six to eighteen, because she is genuinely talented in that department: quick as a whip and never missing a chance at a good come back.

I'm sharing a story at Earth Mother Just Means I'm Dusty, about what happens when you agree to anything just to get your child *coughBabyE* to finish a task already.

Walk a mile in my shoes, you may have a better understanding of  how I got to be the way I am.

*Thank you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bite Me on FnS

It's Bite Me Theme Time at FunnynotSlutty: the internet's premiere website for bringing some of the funniest women on the internet all together in one place.

This month, FunnynotSlutty is celebrating "Bite Me: Funny Food and Cooking Stories."

I've got a good one over there. On what happens when you're raised by a fancy lady who really finds time behind the stove less than thrilling.

Don't worry, nothing a few grown-up hours of eating Twinkies and Arby's and Rocky Rococo's didn't cure.

Hope to see you here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The List

My 10-year-old son, Baby E, is home for the summer and back to posting on Mondays [if he hears the calling]. Last week, he talked about having your kids start their Stream of Consciousness List of Things They Want To Do For The Summer. *The rules are that the kids can write down whatever they want to, and the parents can't tell them any idea is dumb or undoable.

Today, we have a snippet of what Baby E's 101 Things To Do For The Summer List looks like.

Feel free to print and use as your own mental springboard to get your kids started. HAVE FUN!

101 Things To Do For The Summer by Baby E

1.   Invite a friend over

2.   Go outside

3.   Ride to the library and get new books

4.   Go to the pool
5.   Go to the park

6.   Make a diorama out of a shoe box and model magic

7.   Draw with crayons and black marker outlines like in TinTin

8.   Bike ride with some friends

9.   Pack a picnic to a new park

10. Go to the bookstore and everyone gets one new book

11. Go on a field trip to a pizza factory

12. Play a board game

13. Borrow or swap a board game with another family and learn a new game

14. Go online and learn new origami to do all together and have an origami store

15. Go online and learn new card tricks for kids and do a magic show for your family at night

16. Go to a baseball game in the afternoon

17. Play hide and seek at night with flashlights. Don't say you found them just sneak up on them

18. Make a fort in the backyard with blankets and the clothesline. Have your mom bring lunch in it

19. Have a sleep over in a tent in the backyard and have your mom bring pancakes to wake you up

20. See a movie in the afternoon even if you saw it already

21. Have a squirt gun fight with little old fashioned squirt guns not big power blasters

22. Have a water balloon fight with over a hundred balloons. Get the camouflage kind.

23. Play school and you are the teacher

24. Do sudoku

25. Make up your own crossword puzzles

26. Do a newspaper and be a reporter

27. Tell scary stories at night with the lights off downstairs and the storyteller gets a flashlight to shine on people

28. Play any sport that you make up

29. Play with your brothers and sisters

30. Have a summer party and everyone brings a bottle of soda and mentos to do outside

31. Have a lego contest with your friends. Call them to come over and make different kinds of things.

32. Have your mom send you on a scavenger hunt with your friends or brothers. (sometimes people are nice, sometimes they aren't.)

33. Make a store and sell your stuff. Buy ice cream with your money.

34.  Play library/coffee shop/bookstore and have books to take out and sell pretend soda coffee

35. Play chess/checkers/ and tag

36. Have a karate chop competition

37. Have your mom fill up the backyard with all the sprinklers you have

38. Sell lemonade

39. Write mystery letters and put them in your friend's mailboxes

40. Go to a nature center that has a pond and look at bullfrogs and walk and chase butterflies but take bug spray

41. Go outside and take a huge blanket and lay down and try to make up cloud shapes from the sky

42. Have your friends come over to play with the Slip-n-die (what my mom calls it)

43. Walk downtown and meet your friends there and get an ice cream cone and then walk outside to eat it

44. Do a night time walk with flashlights and catch fireflies to keep in your room overnight

45. Make T shirts with T shirt crayons that say things you want them to say to wear for the summer

46. Play catch

47. Do a tournament that has all your friends in it and do every sport

48. Go to Netflix and watch old shows that are really old that you liked when you were little

49. Have whatever you want for lunch and make it with your mom

50. Go to an aquarium or a zoo or a museum. If it's really rainy out go to Dave & Buster's

51. Make your own comic books. Your mom can do some funny stuff if you let her

52. Make your own stickers out of white sticky labels cut in circles

53. Go buy a pet fish at a fish store. Just stay there for awhile and look at other fish too.

54. Have your mom make cupcakes and then you decorate them. Do the same with cookies.

55. Make a treasure map of the backyard and really hide something where the X is

56. Write a story and read it to your family and make pretend tickets for the show

57. Give lessons to your family in something that you know like dominos. Give domino lessons.

58. Visit a gem shop and ask if they'll let you go to the basement where they keep the really good stuff 

**Note from Baby E: these are half of my ideas. I want to see the stuff you guys do, too. Bye! 

Digging my parenting style? Catch more of my tricks of the parenting trade at my weekly column found on 

Saturday, June 23, 2012


I started ICYMI last week, and I really like it: it's a quickeasyfast way to let others know about a smidgen of the good stuff on the internet.

There is so much good reading out there this week, I've got it scrunched down here today, some of the things that made me think, smile, learn something new.

This week's In Case You Missed It:

--An Inappropriate Love Story that is so very appropriate. Loved this anniversary post from GF to her BF. Thanks to Mayor Gia for the sweet smiley tears.

--Laughing while crying with Cannibalistic Nerd and The Five Phases of a Stomach Flu.

--From a woman I am proud to call my friend, Deb Rox, and her poetic piece on the beauty of family When It Works. 

--My regular Friday stop at for Five Star Fridays. Click over only if you want reading that electrifies and rearranges the way you see your world. From the magical Schmutzie.

Happy reading, everyone, and have a wonderful Sunday.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Swim Suit Doesn't Tell The Whole Story

There's more than one way to tell if you aren't in shape. (note: I don't have to use the word "are" in that sentence to myself)

Daily life clues abound to help you decide and commit to just stepping away from the Krispy Kremes this morning.

No matter how fresh. And moist. And doughy, they look.

My post today at Aiming Low: How to Tell You Might Be Out of Shape.

(OMG Krispy Kremes ... just go away already)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Drew You To Blogging

I have seen The Question "why do you blog?"  asked around the internet since I first logged on in 2006.

I always felt the question should be "what drew you to blogging?"

As different as we all are online, we share one thing: we were pulled to the internet for our communication, we sought something in addition to our "real lives."

On Friday, August 3, 2012, at 10:30 a.m., I'm excited to be part of a BlogHer Opening Day Panel at BlogHer '12: "Blogging For The Love of It." I can hardly believe I'll be alongside the smart and very readable Bon Stewart of Crib Chronicles, as moderator, and also sitting next to the awesome Dorothy Snarker [pseudonym] of the hugely popular pop culture blog, Dorothy Surrenders.

We will be having an open discussion on Blogging: Where is it going, Where is its future, What is the personal bloggers place in the blogging world? We'll talk about divides among bloggers, should they exist? Are there two different types of bloggers? Can we be both?

I'd love to hear about you: what brought you to blogging? What call did you hear that you planted your stake in this once wild west.

If you're at the BlogHer '12 conference in NYC, please come and say hi. I hope to see you at our panel discussion on opening day; my vision is that you will leave feeling your value, your contribution, your place, in the blogosphere as a personal blogger.

 Personal | Blogging for the Love of It

Event Date: 
August 3, 2012 - 10:30am - 11:45am
Conference Day: 
Day 1
Conference Track: 
The Personal
Some of the loudest voices on the internet tell you that you need to monetize, grow, get PR contacts, and have a stronger media presence. Other loud voices are on either side of a partisan line, engaged in political gamesmanship and one-upmanship. But there are quieter voices in the blogosphere who have been raising their hand lately and reminding us all that they are here, and that their passion and devotion to personal expression is what the blogosphere has thrived on for over a decade: meet the bloggers who blog for the love of it. Blogging provides immeasurable gifts that may never result in quantifiable “success metrics.” Success can mean living a higher quality of life because your blog simply means something to you and others. It makes you and your readers happy, makes you think, makes you feel. Bon Stewart moderates a conversation with Alexandra Rosas, Dorothy Snarker, and a room of bloggers who share the love.

**Leave a comment, won't you? I'd love to present it at the panel.

***And to BlogHer: a HUGE thank you for all that you bring to our lives, especially discussions that matter to us. You are amazing.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

List of Summer Fun Ideas For Your Kids by Me

Just like the beginning of last summer, Baby E is here to help with his "Summer List of Kids' Fun" ready for you today. He's ten-years-old now, but he says he still knows what kids want. I hope you find some good ideas here for you and your kids to enjoy summer together!

There are two ways you can do this for your kids.

I'm talking about a Summer Fun Idea List of things to do for your kids.

I like to sit down and just write a list of one hundred things I want to do in the summer. Tell your kids to do that too.

If your kids can't write you can write for them just don't tell them their ideas aren't good or they can't do them. Just write it down, it's just ideas. Next week, I'll tell you my list. Because I already have my list done of over one hundred things but today I want to give you all a head start for your kids because they're already home and wondering what to do and now you can do these things. But next week I'll tell you more.

--Number one: You can do summer fun physically, like fit in your hand books and games and things you can touch. Like real book go to the bookstore get it yourself books.

--Number two: Or you can do it virtually, like apps. Like you have this one rectangle plastic thing called a tablet and you can fit ALL your books on it for a lot cheaper, too, and you can do your toys, like apps. Games for your brain. Toys for your brain. There's fun games and educational games. Like puzzles. There's this one coloring game for my dad's iPad that I like.

You can get your little kids an e-reader for 60 bucks, or 199 dollar Nook tablet, Kindle fire, or a kobo. I would not recommend a Nook tablet for kids under ten. Your kids should have to earn some money for it, don't just get it for them. Tell them to use their birthday and Christmas money on it.

And this is very important:

-Four-and-five-year-olds just don't get a Nook at all.
-For six and seven ages get the Nook with glowlight.
-And then for seven-and-eight-year olds get the Nook color, which is 30 bucks cheaper than the Nook tablet.
-Kids over age ten can get the Nook tablet. 

They'll take better care of it if they pay for part of it.

There's also in-between readers like there's the Nook color and the Nook with simple touch glowlight for 125 dollars. Maybe 129 dollars.

--And then there's the real physical toys: where you have to be outside to play because you can't do it inside it's so wild. SQUIRT GUNS. Your kids don't want to be cooped up inside. I like a lot of small ones better than one big army one so I can fill them all up and stick them in my swimsuit. It's more fun to have five little ones loaded up and filled at once than one big one. It's more like a shoot-out when you can have two small ones -- one in each hand.

--Some fun inside board games, though, are, Domo, Monopoly, Connect Four, Chess. You need to teach your kids how to play these you just can't give it to them and think they'll like it. If you like it, they'll like it.

--Basketballs and soccer balls and catch are fun and my favorite summer toy: playground balls. They are the best because you can do everything with them. Just kick them up in the air the highest is a lot of fun.

--Going to pick out new shoes in the beginning of summer is fun because it makes you excited for summer stuff.

--Oh, yeah, you can sign your kids up for summer school. Not like in trouble summer school but like fun classes. I like sports classes. I always take "Kids in Motion" and "Sports of All Sorts" and like them a lot. And don't worry that your kids will get hurt because they'll be okay. I got hurt last year with a tooth that got bloody when it hit a kids' head but it's okay, just a little crooked now. (my mom says it's more than a little.)

--My personal favorite summer thing is books. My personal favorite books are Magic Thief series for medium-average readers and there's the Palace of Laughter books for kids eleven and up.

--Toys section for your kids' brains: just get best seller apps on app store for your kids like Plants vs Zombies by far. Creative apps are fun and free like My Color. Angry Birds: any game! like Seasons, Original, Space, Real: any one is good. To find a lot of these easily just go to the app store and click "best sellers" and there's like 80 pages of great apps to pick. It doesn't have to be just games it can be helpful stuff like a compass, a calculator, a cookbook. And you can buy an app that does graphic novels and magazines. I like the creative stuff.

--On rainy days make a movie theater on the floor with popcorn. Watch videos, and use Netflix for movies. Movies aren't as scary at home so that's more fun. All the Kung Fu Panda movies are really good and How To Train Your Dragon is too.

--Kids also like art classes that are not lame. Like not fancy. Like not just drawing but like building and making. Last year my brother and I made steampunk robots and tin can robots and that was sweet.

Bye. Have fun. Kids have most fun when someone plays with them, though. They like to get stuff but just to get stuff makes them get bored with the new thing fast.

Bye. Next week you will see my list of one hundred and extra stuff to do list.


*In the summer my mom makes me take baths not showers because she says I get dirtier and I tell her to not call them baths with me anymore but "man submersions."

[Two seconds after we took this picture Baby E spit 7-up all over the place. He claims he couldn't hold it in anymore.]

Friday, June 15, 2012

Finally, A Father's Day

Father's Day.

I never knew what to do about Father's Day growing up.

When our third grade teacher told us to make a card in class to give to to our fathers over the summer, I just pretended to make one.

My father died unexpectedly when I was in the first grade, and ever since, Father's Day has been an awkward, uncomfortable, reminder of what I didn't have.

But today, because of the blessing of TikiTiki Blog in my life, I finally have the perfect place where I can tell my father what he meant to me.

It really isn't about the amount of time, it's about the quality of that time.

I hope you stop over to TikiTiki and share in my memories of my father.

Thank you so much, to all of you, and Happy Father's Day to all the parents/caregivers/nurturers that give the children in their lives a lifetime of memories. You are so very important.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Better Than Oil of Olay

My beauty secret. Come read what it is and you can be wrinkle-free, too.

Only at Aiming Low, where mediocre is what? What we strive for.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day One Summer Vacation: a Twitter Play-by-Play

Times of transition can be desperate times. Re-acclimating and getting to know each other again. My three kids were home last Friday for their first day of summer vacation. And it was, as my brilliant youngest boy explained, "we're like boxers figuring each other out before we decide what we can do."

Absolutely. The first day of summer vacation. I made it through, but not without my twitter. My twitter that saved me from losing that last grip I had on sanity and running out into my cul-de-sac, naked and babbling, a la Anne Heche. 

Here we have #Day1 of summer vacation, deconstruction style and documented on twitter: smile smugly or nod in relatability as you read and watch my not so slow descent into madness: 

Just discovered guarantee to get kids to wash hands after they go to the bathroom: google and show Full Size Image of E Coli bacteria.

Why do I continue to be shocked each time DS, 9, tells me he cleaned his room in 10 mins & I go check & find it all shoved under the bed?

Said they'd get jobs if they kept fighting:& now I'm sitting here amazed that they sweep like they're pushing a dust broom at a car factory.

So, I'm finally seeing all the notes sent home from school that I never saw as I empty out 3 boys' backpacks. summer vacation

Summer Vacation and cries from upstairs of  "mama! He's shooting at me with pretend lasers!"

of summer and obviously I need to teach the kids a new language b/c they sure don't understand me in this 1st one:
And b/c of my screaming on , DS, 9 comes downstairs wearing his chain Pirate necklace with skull on it: "to protect me from you today."

Already made 15 bucks. RT : of summer vacation & already blown my gasket: $5.00 fine for next person who says my name.

of summer vacation and I've already blown my gasket and put a $5.00 moratorium on my name. Next person who says it pays up.
Not even 24hrs into of summer vacation and we're already at Dr.'s office: soccer cleat to right shin.

has been spent w/ 2 teens laughing at me for what I think is brilliance on my part: Vball knee pads on to wash floors.

Teens laughing as I pull over--again-- to that GD music with sirens in the song.

#DAY1 Telling kids about the "there are starving kids in India" as they complain of cereal for lunch. 

Deep breaths: of summer vacation & think I'm going to lose my mind from three hours of "Which Transformer would you want to be?" talk.

"Mama, would u rather get a 1,000 paper cuts then fall into some Purell or shove a rock down ur throat?"question of the day  summer vacation

Having to step up game as kids hear neighbors across street had Ramen Noodles for lunch.

Serving cereal for lunch,#Day1 Summer Vacation: DS, 9: "No offense, but, is this what summer's going to be like?" *only with bloggy moms*

And how did you all survive?? 

In love with my slick parenting style? You can follow my weekly parenting column at

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In Case You Missed It and Who Are You

I saw something at Wait In The Van's last Sunday that I am stealing, because if you know me, you know my feelings on SOPA: screw SOPA, I'm stealing it. (after linking to you, of course) It's In Case You Missed It, a Sunday post of links of what I loved on the internet this week.

These are the things that made me smile:

-Wait In The Van 's How To Remove a Wasp's Nest (so funny she had my two teen sons laughing out loud. And now crushing on her)

-Loved this post by Rita Arens of Surrender, Dorothy on The Bloggess and Dooce and living the life of public blog superstars. (they're people, too)

-Besides being brilliant at writing some of the funniest material on the internet and writing even funnier books,  Alice Bradley of Finslippy does watercolor? It's beautiful. (I'm just going to go hide under my bed now and never come out)

-And if I were the kind of girl to link up, I'd do it right here, and only for this lady: The amazing Eden of Edenland with "Who Are You?" (even if you're not the linky type, upgrade your life and go over and read; some serious shiz to ponder while you wash the floors)

Happy ICYMI (thanks, Kristine!)

Friday, June 8, 2012

#YOLO Is The New "Seemed Like A Good Idea"

I get home from work late, 1:00 a.m. late. I cater parties and coming home from six or seven intense hours of pleasing people and their food particulars (They want cranberries in the coleslaw! Run out and get cranberries for the coleslaw!) leaves me unable to just come home and hit the sack.

I need to unwind from the amount of orchestration that it takes to leave the client happy, smiling and appreciate of our efforts. At 1 a.m, there's not enough hours before dawn for a glass of napa valley cabernet, so I turn to the best mind numbing transitional shift tool we know: Twitter.


I love twitter. Especially night time twitter. Night time twitter is like 4 a.m. at Denny's listening to either the craziest, drunkest person you ever met or the smartest evil genius you ever met. There are some great hashtags I follow. I like #yousuckbecause, #reasonswedon'ttalkanymore and my new favorite #YOLO.

YOLO is the acronym for You Only Live Once. And these tweeters don't mean the inspirational you only live once, so send your diamonds out into the universe! It's the you only live once so do that stupid thing you know is really stupid. Like jump off the garage roof naked.

After following #YOLO for about a week, the insight hit me that #YOLO is our "seemed like a good idea at the time" from our college days. #YOLO is reserved for tweets like:

#YOLO Waiting to find out if I'm going in for 30 days or just getting a week behind the bars.

#YOLO Hitting on GF's BFF. #YOLO doods!

#YOLO Driving in trunk all the way to the beach.

#YOLO Calling in sick to work then going in there for the free lunch.
If you can't get the feel for #YOLO from these hashtagged tweets, Urban Dictionary clears it up for you with this best definition ever:

YOLO: Acronym for You Only Live Once. Mainly used to defend doing something ranging from mild to extreme stupidity.

Mild stupidity:
Friend: Dude, you probably shouldn't smoke that joint you found on the ground.
Me: Eff it, YOLO.

Extreme stupidity:
Friend: Dude, you probably shouldn't be posting random definitions on urban dictionary while you're stoned.
Me: Screw it, YOLO.

#YOLO is a state of mind lifestyle choice, and anyone can have their moment; even those with a suburban mortgage and a make good choices! personality.

Case in point: I had the chance to #YOLO it today -- and I Yolo'd -- oh yes I did. Maybe you saw my hashtagged tweet:

Mailbox stand in front of house is FULL SUN, love these baby size impatiens 4 underneath but CARE says FULL SHADE. Getting them anyway. #YOLO

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What My Driver's License Shows

I think I'm bigger than I am. I think I can lift things three times my body weight. I think I can still outrun my two teen sons.

I'm like this little ant that carries one hundred times its body weight.

What gives me this super strength? The answer is at Aiming Low, on my post there today: the parent's version of Samson's curls.

Aiming Low: where mediocre is all we ask for.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Hypochondriac's Guide To Life: Or Just Say No To Another ER Visit

At about 11 pm on a summer night last year, as I sat at the computer finishing up a post after spending two hours outside that day pulling up weeds trying to make this house look less like the only haunted house in the subdivision, I felt this lightning shot of twingey pain in the exact middle of  my chest.

Dang it. I thought. A freakin' heart attack. Great. I've got too much to do tomorrow to have a heart attack tonight.

I shut off the computer, ran upstairs and jostled my husband awake.  

Mark. Mark!


Get up. I'm having a GD heart attack. SECONDS COUNT! We gotta get to the hospital before any major heart tissue is damaged.

What? What? What are you talking about?

Me. Now. I'm having a freakin' heart attack. Get out of bed. I have like four minutes to get there before it's too late and you have to spoon feed me for the rest of my life and that's if I live.

::flipping on the light and looking at me:: No offense, honey, but you look too good for having a heart attack. I remember this guy at work had one and it knocked him flat to the floor like he was struck down for some past sin or something ...

Mark. I do NOT have to prove to you that I'm having a damn heart attack. GET UP.

Don't go all crazy now when I ask you this, but, are you still having one?


See, I think you're fine. Lay down. If it attacks you again, we'll go in. You can ask them for any tests you want. Just lay down. But promise me you won't tell the Doctors that they're wrong again when they try to discharge you. It's getting embarrassing.

I listen to my husband and change into my pajamas and lay down. And I fall asleep. And during the night, there is no left arm numbness or jaw tightness or nausea or breaking out in a cold sweat like my refrigerator magnet "KNOW THE SIGNS OF A HEART ATTACK!" warns. It never feels like there is an elephant sitting on my chest. In fact, I sleep like someone hit me over the head with a 2x4.

Life as a hypochondriac. It's not easy. I've taken myself in to the ER for imagined strokes, hemorrhages, blood clots, allergic reactions, asthma, and skin cancer.

Appendicitis visits deserve a mention of their own.

I was never like this until I had children. The root fear underneath all my imagined demises is that I don't want my children to lose their mother.

I think that if I get myself to the hospital on time the medical staff there will work their magisoso and keep me alive until the next systemic crash three weeks from now.

This is no way to live life, I realize this: panic punctuated with terror with momentary hysteria twice a month.

I decide I need to go see an "excessive health anxiety" therapist. Yes. That is a real specialty. After our sessions together, this amazing therapist's advice to me is something that has maintained our insurance premiums to something that no longer caps us out two months into a new year.

Her strategy is this: Test Your Reality. Examine the actual possibility of what you think is happening and then decide based on your symptoms  --  not your fears -- if you still need to take your eight minute short cut planned out route to your predetermined closest hospital. (surprise ... the one I actually thought would be closer is actually farther. Who says trial runs are a waste of time and gas.) 

This is no miracle cure, I still worry excessively about my health, but at least now I don't feel like I'm walking around waiting for a limb to fall off. I have points in my day where I don't think the pain in my head from when I bend over to pick up a three day old grape under the kitchen chair is the pain from a tumor pushing my brain tissue out of the way.

This Test Your Reality way of life has brought me a wonderful freeing existence. There is also the bonus of a surprise fringe benefit: added hours to my day that were once spent sitting in ER hospital waiting rooms.

Now I get to do what really needed to be done in the first place: find some good burial plots. Something nice in a quiet corner, with some shade ... 


Friday, June 1, 2012

What The World Can Learn From The Quiet Ones

BlogHer announced its 2012 Voices of The Year and honorees yesterday. I am humbled and thrilled that this submission here, "One Thousand Cranes," was chosen as an honoree in the Parenting category. Thank you, BlogHer, and the entire dedicated staff there, for the support, the encouragement and for giving a place for our voices. This is no small thing to a writer. You have encouraged me and been the wind in my sails more than I can ever tell you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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In Asia, it is commonly said that folding one thousand paper origami cranes makes a person's wish come true.

Sometimes, I have to call out his name to see where he is in the house. He's always been like this, quiet ... and somewhere. And it wasn't like it was with his brothers, never if there's quiet, there's trouble, but more of a, he's quiet, let's go find him.

We'd search him out, and there he'd be; alone, silent, with his drawing pad under the dining room table. Only four-years-old but already sketching a tiger completely detailed with green eyes and a tassled tail; or quietly rolling out anatomically perfect scorpions from clay.

Or folding.

Folding and folding his paper origami.

My husband, who is a conservative white collar worker by day and secret renaissance man at home, is the one who has introduced all three of our boys to what has become the major hobby in their lives.

He began our oldest son, now 17, with piano at age five.

With our youngest, he has shared his love of basketball, football, soccer, anything athletic.

Our middle son, the quiet one, was four-years-old, when one day -- as he sat drawing by himself, my husband sat down next to him, two shiny squares of paper in his hand. Cross legged on the floor, my husband silently, slowly began folding a 6x6 inch flat sheet into an origami crane.

With his thumbnail, he drew a sharp crease in the shiny gold foil, allowing time in between each fold for our son to imitate the precise movements with his own piece. I saw something in our peaceful son's eyes come alive with that very first time of paper folding. As he watched his father, I remember him breathlessly saying, "It's so cool that I can make my own toys."

Our son had found his thing; through my husband, he has learned the art of origami.

He has been folding origami for nine years now.

It suits his personality: he's happy in his own company, he becomes absorbed in his activities, and he is fueled by instant results from his labor. Some of his origami pieces can take up to one hundred folds and an hour and a half of dedicated work. When all the steps are complete, he holds the transformed paper in his hands and with self-affirming pride, admires what he has created from a square sheet of paper.

While he folds, he holds an instructional dialogue with me:

"Mom, did you know that the biggest mistake people make with origami is to not prefold?"

"Mom, did you know that if you think you can't do an origami any longer, you can just try again the next day?"

I have learned that when he is folding, it is the best time for me to catch a glimpse into those thoughts he keeps to himself, to find out more about who this pensive child of ours is.

At times, when he is so into his paper zone that he won't hear us call him, I'll send one of his brothers to go and check on him, to see how he's doing. They always return with the same news, "he's fine, Mom, he's just at the table, folding."

This pastime of paper folding has allowed him entry into the popularity clubs at school that would ordinarily be closed to someone in the outer circle like him. During class downtime, he'll begin to fold paper into fish, or frogs, or boxes, and a crowd will soon gather and with astonished praise, say, "That is so cool! Can you make me one?" In his non-hurried manner, he'll smile, happy to be accepted; reach for another sheet, and begin folding to make the paper crane, cricket, frog, to give to whomever wanted one, while they stand around -- quiet, much like him -- and watch.

I stand behind him sometimes, captured by his hands folding and refolding so deliberately, without a sound. I know that he is nowhere else at the moment, but in his zen of creating.

He once left me speechless with his remark of, "Mom, I know how I feel when I make something from nothing ... I can't even imagine how God felt when he made flowers and bugs."

He is my beautifully quirky son, and he has taught me to seek the quiet, feel the peace of still, and to find a moment by stepping out of the whizzing world for awhile.

"Mom," he asks me, between folds, "do you know the story of One Thousand Cranes? The story goes that if a person makes One Thousand Cranes, that their wish will come true?"

I don't have to make One Thousand Cranes, honey, I don't.

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