Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Auld Lang Syne Like You Mean It

New Year's Eve will find you doing this. Don't say it won't.

Why we all pretend we know The Words to Auld Lang Syne. Monthly column up at Aiming Low.

Happy New Year! All together now,

Should old acquaintance be forgot... and hmmmm something something something....

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Quick Fixes To Keep Your Post Holiday Home Guest-Ready

The beautiful holidays, one of my favorite times of the year because of the bows and twinkling lights and how pretty everything looks. We spend the weeks leading up to December dusting, wiping, cleaning, and decorating for the season. It feels so much like preparing for a wedding. Then when the big day comes, we take a deep breath, and jump in. We've run out of time -- no matter what Amazon tells us -- and there's nothing we can do about it except relax and revel in the noise, the people, family, the food, the places, the gifts, the sweet exchange of time spent with those that we live our lives with.

We pulled it off again, and it feels good to sit down for a well earned rest. Laughing and sharing stories and gifts, we let the season surround us. We may even wake up to all of it surrounding us. And even wake up the second day after, and it all still surrounds us. Moving from living room to bathroom has now become a deft dance of foot forward, push debris aside, next foot forward, push other debris aside. We eventually reach our destination, but it'll go much faster and with less pain if we have slippers on.

In the midst of all the gaiety, company may stop by. The visits we expect are only mildly sweat inducing, depending on who they're from. But what happens when it's three days post-holiday and you're still ankle deep in wrapping paper and torn open Lego boxes? Well, that's when you can count on the quick fixes listed here that make your home one that's ready to weather the surprise! visits between December 24th and January 1.

Start with Quick Fix Number One: Just accept the state of your home. Your family is in the thick of Holiday week and your attitude can be contagious. Let people into your house as if what they see before them is the most normal thing in the world, boxes of underwear and pajamas and athletic socks abound.

Go to Quick Fix Number Two: When the doorbell rings, instruct everybody in your house to hit the sofa and chairs. Have blankets at the ready and throw them over yourselves. The one drawing the short stick has to answer the door just a wee crack, hoarsely whispering that you're all sicker than you've ever been and the Dr.'s at the ER were very interested in your cases. No worries, your company will be on their way just like that.

Believe in magic. Believe that whoever is at the door just really came to see you. They came over only to see you, nothing else, and that your company will somehow not see the madness that surrounds you. It's why this season is full of wooden placards covered in glitter that you can buy at every craft fair at every church, that read BELIEVE.

Open the door and say, "Pardon the mess but we have had to turn this house upside down looking for the diamond pendant my husband gave me for Christmas. It was his grandmother's and I don't know where it is and it's been lost for two days now and we are looking under every nook and cranny... but we won't give up!"

Have a look of relief on your face when you open the door and see it's them. No matter who it is, just say "Oh thank God it's you because you, you over anybody else in the world understands and would never mind a mess. It's why I love you..."

Take them aside after you let them in and side whisper about the bout of mental exhaustion you're recovering from after the holidays spent with your relatives and how you did have an appointment for this morning, an emergency one at that, with your therapist, but she cancelled and it's all you can do today to just get out of bed. This works best if you laugh and cry at the same time.

Hand them glasses of wine as soon as they walk in the door (or beer if you're in Wisconsin). One for each hand and don't even wait for their gloves and coat to come off. Start with a glass before they can say their first Merry and keep up with the glasses until they leave. Tell them you don't like to drink alone and pour them another. When they get up to go and trip on the box of your winter boot socks and they say it must be all the wine they had, don't disagree.

When all else fails, resign yourself to live through it. Christmas is wonderful, it charges in and leaves your house looking like a hurricane. There's nothing shameful about that. Let the visitors come, let them say what they must, if some are so inclined. You just go about your way, enjoying the special magic of these moments and the evidence around you, boxes and paper and toys with fifty parts each, of a season well spent.

* * *
Happy Holidays and wishing you all peace in 2014. Thanks for reading this year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Taking Good Care of Each Other

Christmas for us is a night of sharing gifts, they're small tokens, but we make sure their meaning is clear, that there is no doubt, no one else could be receiving them, except for us. One of my closest friends, someone I've known over 15 years, left me quiet with gratitude, after I opened her tissue wrapped gift. Small, but there was no doubt in my mind, she had chosen it only for me. Her words of comfort, written in notecards, shared here with you today, because I am grateful for you:

So I asked my friends, "Where do I go from here?"
And they said,
Forward with hope.
And so I asked my friends, "When do the tears stop?"
And they said,
When you believe in tomorrow.
And then I asked my friends, "What now?"
And they said,
Hold on. 
Happy holidays to you all, and wishes for a peaceful new year.
* * *

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

That Last One on the Christmas List

We all know one. Everyone who knows me, knows I'm one. I overheard my youngest try and explain to his dad in the kitchen earlier today, "She's only like that if you don't know what she wants."

I'm a Hard To Buy For. On my post today at Purple Clover , I try and give you insight as to why we HTBFs are the way we are. And I tell you what it is we really want for Christmas.

Hope to see you there. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a peaceful New Year. Thank you for reading my words, and your kind support on my blog. It means so much, and I appreciate you immensely.

* * *

Sunday, December 22, 2013

That One in One Hundred

This season, made up of holidays and family, of having people with us, or being without them, is beautiful. Even amid loss, isolation along with loneliness and disappointment for too many, we can be part of making this time into something that once a year, can feel like magic. We need to forget about ourselves, though.

Instead of rushing through yellow lights, or pushing your way past others so you beat them to the check out line, try letting someone else go first. If someone rolls their eyes at you because you're taking too long while at the bank, instead of sighing back at them, apologize for slowing down their day.

Don't give in to the rush and mad pressure that people are accepting as the norm for November and December. You, be the one, even if you're the only one out of one hundred, you be the one, to do it differently from the rest of the world.

I wish you all peace, love, and joy. And I thank you, for reading my words here and being a big part of what makes the world so beautiful to me.

"Christmas is not a time nor a season,
But a state of mind.
To cherish peace and
Goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy is to have
The real spirit of Christmas."
-- Calvin Coolidge
* * * 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What I Pray

He had both hands covering his face, just the curls of his brown hair peeking out from around and below his thumbs. I was looking at a black and white picture in the newspaper, and I was transfixed. There were no words with the photo, but I heard a thousand things. A teenage boy, his face tilted up toward something, maybe away? I was small then, around four, and I asked my sister about him and she told me he was standing near to where his father had just been killed.

That photo haunts me still. I remember it, and I feel the weight of his ache, right in the pit of my stomach. When I hear that someone has lost a person vital to their life, I imagine a 50 pound brick being tied to their heart, and then the world tells them go on, just keep going, one foot in front of the other. 

That's how you do it. Keep telling yourself, one foot, now pick up the other foot.

At night, I pray, for all those with loss in their lives, because there is a universal wish we have for each other, to take away the pain. The holidays, the months of November and December, make the missing of those we lost into such an inescapable void, that to one foot in front of the other keep going... how? Life now? Live? As if nothing has changed.

I pray at night for them, for treasured memories to surface and bring peace, for sweet snippets of time together to lull their eyes into such heaviness that in their sleep, their hearts are made light by tender visits in their dreams from those they love. I lay in the quiet, my hands on my pounding heart and I pray for hope, that they see the ones they miss being happy now, at rest, giving them reassurance in their gentle way, It's all going to be okay. I'm okay.

And when that middle of the too dark night comes and sits on their chest, when with eyes wide open, we stare out and only see the blackness, so pitch it disorients... I pray the hardest. For those moments that invite despair, I pray. For a light, just a small ray, to show them where they are, to feel a balance of their place again.

I pray for all of us with loss, that we recognize light, and see it. We just need a bit, something to shine even if it is just a pinpoint, to help us know where to look. I pray this every night, 24 hours apart, just 24 hours at a time, for them, for us, to make it through the hard work of life now, without them.

For the broken-hearted I pray, for one more day we manage here without them. So that day by day, there is family, friends, community, to remind them of life and joy, in places forgotten. I pray that when it is we who are in the lives of others, we hand them brick by brick, what they need to slowly rebuild.

Because a life that's been leveled is never simply just put back together. It has to be reconstructed. And that's too big a job, to be done alone.

My mother, this past August, at the lake with my son, Xavier

Written, with my nephew, Tomas Garrett, and my mother, Leonor Rosas, in my heart. We are missing you beyond words this year. 

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Packing!

Before I had children, 100 years ago, the word Vacation meant just that: rest, relax, unwind and feel that sand between your toes. Carefree days with a tropical breeze in your hair and a pina colada in your hand. Or two.

Oh, how we remember the lessons we learn the hard way. I can be as dense as a plank, and for that very reason, I never saw it coming until it hit me like a 2x4:  Children, Vacation. I do not think it means what you think it means.

When you are a mother, the word Vacation doesn't come along and take your status away. There is no vacation away from being Mother. Days spent out of your residential state don't take away days of responsible adult care taking of your children. Responsible means in charge of. Your sandals and lacy tank tops don't get thrown in a fancy carry on bag along with deep tanning accelerator, and voila! Hola Mexico! You are now and forever, the mother, the one who gets things ready for this quote on quote Vacation. Pack for yourself? Maybe after you pack for the others in your tribe.

What to take, what not to take, looking into the future for what needs there may be: Tylenol? Better bring it along. Which reminds me, throw in the ear thermometer, too. Maybe some Benadryl, oh, and then that itch cream should really come along too. Things to pack and things to do. Kids aren't really happy staying up late having umbrella drinks by the pool until 1 a.m. and then sleeping in with shades pulled until noon. That's not going to fly. So aside from packing, you now need an itinerary and activities! One that isn't comprised of wine tours.

I remember my first vacation as a mother and how all of this shocked the heck out of me. Why didn't I know? I don’t know. I surprise myself about a good amount of other things on a daily basis, too. I mean, who did I think was going to do all this Vacation packing when I became a mother? It all goes back to the vacations when I was a kid. Who got things ready then? It was some kind of magic. HA!

Magic as in the magic that comes from what must have been our mother staying up until 4 a.m. packing for six children and then somehow having everybody ready to go that morning. Wasn’t I watching back then? Didn’t I even think for a minute that someday, when I was a mother, I’d be packing up the house for the kids to head out for a week?

Why didn’t I realize the amount of serious work that lay ahead? Who the heck knows and that’s an issue for another day but in the meantime, my point here is HOLY COW is that first vacation as a mother a brutal awakening. I mean, here you are, finally going someplace after being a mother for the first time in your life and you couldn't be more excited about getting away until it dawns on you...  someone has to get things ready. Which basically means you pack up the house while you try to picture yourself wherever you’re going and crystal ball it for what you’ll need.

Our first vacation with our then 8-month-old baby was over Christmas, to my in-laws in California. I’m just going to tell you this as fast as I can because I feel my heart starting to pound faster already with the trauma trigger of this subject. We were living in Wisconsin and I didn’t want our baby to be *cold hot sweaty chilly shivery damp uncomfortable scared take your pick* while gone from home so I began thinking of everything I might need for California.

Not need but might need.

I began with emptying out the linen closet in our hallway of every thickness, weight, weave, and plushness of blanket. I didn’t stop until I had worked my way to the silverware drawer in the kitchen for small spoon, bigger spoon, medium spoon, spork? and emptied that drawer out, too. I continued on through the house acting pretty much like there weren't any stores in California. My husband, on the other hand, pulled out his itty bitty black carry-on, threw in his Bruce Springsteen T shirt, and a toothbrush. I think I may have seen a flash of his comb in there, too.

Dad with baby. Our first vacation as a family. See the small black bag hanging on his hip? That would be his suitcase.
After staying up all night packing as if we were going to a Himalayan Mountaintop Sherpa Convention instead of a condo in LaJolla, we drove to the airport with my eyes swirling red and white like a hypnotist ad from the back of a comic book. My husband had to talk me through boarding since a serious case of sleep deprivation psychosis was beginning to show its face. With our baby attached to my chest in the Bjorn carrier, he took my arm and led me to our seats. Half conscious, I shuffled down the aisle, muttering “I think I’ve got everything I hope I got everything I should have everything Do I have everything…”

Right before I passed out in my seat, [versus fell asleep, two very different things] I remember my husband saying, “Honey, RELAX. We’re going on vacation."

Vacation? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

* * *

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rainbow Loom Tips for Rainbow Loomers

 Rainbow Loom Tips Part 2. I wrote Part I here.

This is Auggie. Here are some tips I wrote for Rainbow Loom: 

(These are good if you are just starting or scared about starting something new or moving on to a new level)

1 is to always make sure the pegs are facing openly AWAY from you you when you are placing the bands and the open pegs are facing TOWARDS you when you are looping.

2 is to start with the single design first, then triple single, then fishtail, then diamond, then any beginner thing, and when you think you're ready do a medium one, and after that advanced.

3 DO NOT attempt the hexafish or any other super hard fishtail design, like the super stripe fishtail, until you firmly believe you are ready. These are the only two I've failed at and were my first fails. But I went back to them and did it because I really liked the designs and they were cool but I did easier things for awhile, I didn't stop rainbow looming I just practiced other designs and then went back. Now I want to learn how to make the pompom, that looks sick.

4 if you don't want that ring at the end of the single, put a cap band ( a double wrapped single over one peg so it is fat and stays) over the last peg after you're done laying other bands, and go inside it when you loop. This will get rid of the ring.

5 if you really like a design, but think it's too hard for you, you can ask me to do it or how to do it, you can send me a message on FB and I will help you. Under my mom's FB page. I can't have my own page. BUT DO NOT ASK ME TO MAKE YOU A HIBISCUS, I know they look pretty, and they don't use a lot of bands, BUT, BUT, BUT THEY ARE BORING AND REPETITIVE TO MAKE AND MADE ME GO BLIND SO DON'T ASK ME TO MAKE OOOONNNNNNEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**I'm really nice to my mom. I made her chicken fries for breakfast, gave her a hug and a kiss, and I fixed her iPad because she was tired from work last night. And I wrote her this post.

Bye and thank you and remember to ask me your Rainbow Loom questions. If I get a lot of questions I can do the questions here AND you should save these tips for fun on the Rainbow Loom *(or cra-z-y loom or fun loom. But I like Rainbow Loom best)

Part I is here. Bye. Thank You. 

* * *

Thursday, December 12, 2013

13 Things You Should Never Say To a Woman Who Is a Mother of Only Sons Who Have Curly Hair

Yes, it has become necessary to compile the top 13 Things You Should Never Say to a Woman Who is a Mother of Only Sons Who Have Curly Hair list, because this list is just as important as all the other *Things To Not Say To* lists on every website and magazine out there.

In my daily life as a woman who is a mother to only sons who have curly hair, it has become obvious to me over the years that there are some things that are said to me, that should never be said to me and to those like me, and we're becoming deeply offended. Can't people control their curiosity, or do they just not think?

Being a mother of only boys, who only have curly hair, there are those that think it must bother me to have no daughter, and that having only sons is some kind of universe's funny joke. You know, only boys? Don't all women want at least one daughter? And to not just have boys, but boys with curly hair, as if that is a hint tossed my way as to adorable my children would have been, had they been female?

It's my turn for the lists now. The I must miss having no girls and how abnormal is it that you don't pine for a daughter, along with being reminded by others that to have boys with curly hair would not be as pretty as girls with curly hair list. I knew that today, the time had come to set the record straight and call a few of you out.

So, steer clear of the following things You Should Never Say to a Woman Who is a Mother of Only Sons Who Have Curly Hair:

1.  "Wow, with that hair, kinda sad they're not girls, huh?"

2.  "I'd kill for their hair, any woman would."

3.  "No daughters? I don't think I could be happy without a daughter."

4.  "It's so sad you have no daughters, your sons have your curly hair, but they're not a mini-you."

5.   "Too bad that pretty curly hair is wasted on boys."

6.  "This humid weather would make their curly hair look awesome, if they were girls, but being  boys, they just look like Seth Rogen."

7.  "At least you don't have to worry about boys when that hair frizzes up, that's for sure -- they don't care what they look like."

8.  "If they were girls, you could put bobby pins in it, or hairspray it down, something -- anything! when it gets hot and sticky like today."

9.  "Best they always wear it short, you know, nice and tight to the head when it starts to curl up around the forehead like that."

10.  "Someone screwed up when they handed out the kids! No girls for you, but here, take curly hair instead! Ha!"

11.  "Wow. Their hair really curls up after sports, doesn't it? Like a little half afro thingy." 

12.  "It's kind of like you almost have a girl, I mean, you know, with that curly hair?"

13.  "Only boys? Oh, well, at least when they were little you could pretend they were the daughter you never had, with those ringlets."

You may wonder, Well, what CAN I say to a woman who is a mother of only sons who have curly hair? This works, "Your children are so beautiful."

Totally acceptable. Even if the jealousy whispers in your ear to say otherwise.

Oh. My. Gosh. The curls.

* * *

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pet Shop Stop

Slower than molasses in January, moving as if they need an I.V. of Geritol.

Irritable, testy, quick to snap. Wrinkly, toothless, and just want to be left alone.

Sound like old crotchety Mr. Get-Off-My-Lawn from down the block?

Nope. I’m talking about you. The older, future you.

So, before this day comes, this holiday season, make plans to take your children and yourself to the nearest pet shop, and buy them a turtle. The care of a turtle provides fertile training ground for the future care of you. What could be more like the person your kids will be tending to in fifty years?  Because that's what you will one day be to your family, their own giant sized pet turtle.

Since they can remember, my three boys have had to look after and tend to these basic reptiles. There was Old Crabby Cakes Martina, who snapped at anything flesh colored or dangling that crossed her field of vision. Before her, there was our sweet box turtle, Old Suzanna. And how fondly my kids recall their starter turtle, the creatively named “Tommy the Turtle.”

The kids think we had them for their amusement. But I know the real reason: we had them so that when it’s my turn to be cared for, the boys will be grand practitioners in the care of the ambling, fussy, touchy, and cranky. [Seriously, ever see what happens when you poke a turtle with a stick?]

Turtles are the old people of the animal kingdom. Pick one up and look at it closely. Within seconds, you'll swear you're looking at a tiny little old person.

They use their toothless beaks to gum things to death, all the while in their hard shelled diaper, they tentatively step over surfaces as if in fear of breaking a bone and thereby losing their house.

They require minimal care; they only need to be kept dry and without fractured spines, and prefer to bask in sunny spots like Florida and Arizona. One only needs to maintain their surroundings clean and to prevent them from crossing streets alone or roaming freely. And, as they are very vulnerable creatures, you must protect them from predators.

You know, like the son of the Nigerian prince who needs their help in wiring over five million dollars to the United States.

What? Did you think I was still talking about the turtles?

* * * 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Women and Friendship

Earlier this year while writing an article for BlogHer, I read of a study done at Harvard Medical School. It was on mental health and what women need. I had my suspicions that friendship was an essential to this, but I had never seen it formally researched before. Well, indeed... according to the results of what is now known as the Nurse's Health Study, the more friends women have, they less likely they are to develop physical ailments. And though obvious to us, it's finally noted and quantifiable: women with friendships lead a more joyful life than those without.

A joyful life from having friends, confidants. Without someone close in our lives, we risk poor health. 

I kind of knew that already. It was what I was writing about: What to do when you feel lonely.

After having my first baby, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home. I naively thought that this long awaited baby would be all I needed. It took only three weeks of me being home alone with my baby before I began to feel a choking isolation that left me weepy and anxious.

I couldn't eat or sleep, I couldn't focus, I had trouble getting out of the house. Everything was so hard, and I had no one to talk to.

I was lonely.

That season in my life is all I ever need as the proof of something I long knew to be true: women need the bond of friendships.
After my essay On Being Lonely was published on BlogHer, Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger sent me an email regarding an anthology they were working on together, The HerStories Project: 50 women and their writing on friendships. Their goal was to create a collection of powerful essays; the joys, the loss, the moment in time, the presence, of other women in and throughout our lives. 50 tales of friendship, and all the complexities that go along with this intimacy of love and sometimes, heartbreak.

Stephanie and Jessica wanted to include my voice among these women, and I am honored to be part of their published work, The HerStories Project.

In The HerStories Project, you will find stirring essays from some of the blogging world’s most engaging voices and discover new writers. Women writing of how friendships have shaped their lives, and how the reality of being connected with other women is the essential piece of what community means to us. This beautiful book is for us, about us.

*I am giving away a copy here. Please leave a comment, and a random winner will be picked.*

After reading The HerStories Project, I came away knowing what I felt in my bones for years, that relationships need effort, even when everything else is tugging at us in the opposite direction. We can revive a long lost friendship, affirm the constant one in our present life, or sadly, let that one that saps us, go. Once you start reading the deeply personal stories in this anthology, it's hard to put this book down; the main reason being the world of friendship we're drawn into. We don’t make enough of our friendships, these relationships that should be celebrated, or mourned. They matter, and we’re not odd to yearn for this connection.

I know you will enjoy The HerStories Project for yourself, but what a great gift for that close friend of yours. Win her a copy here today.

“[This] is a labor of love between two friends, Jessica and Stephanie, as they committed to the gathering and telling of women’s friendships stories; but it’s also a labor of love from all the women who bared their hearts and revealed their truth as they literally showed up in relationship, practicing love with someone else.  This isn’t fiction.  These are real women, real feelings, real elation, and real disappointment.” [The HerStories Project]

The HerStories Project is available through Amazon.

Visit HerStoriesProject. com to learn more about the editors, contributors, and the project.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What You Need To Know About The Rainbow Loom

This is Auggie today. I love to Rainbow Loom and I show my designs on FB but I have more to tell you about Rainbow Loom so I'm going to do it now because people ask me when I learned. I started in September, and I'm good at it because I do it every day.

Rainbow Loom is a fun toy. It is a plastic board with pins that look like flat thumb tacks and you loop small rubber bands together to make intricate or simple designs. You mostly make rainbow loom bracelets but you can also make charms to hang, necklaces, rings, action figures. And head bands. I like it a lot and enjoy it very much, and spend lots of time on it. 

It is very safe and relaxing. It is a great Christmas gift this year for your son or daughter. I find the best channel to learn more and see how to do things is the official rainbow loom channel, you just google rainbow loom and then the official website will come up and then it has a link to take you to rainbow loom dash youtube and that's the link to the official channel. You need to go to the official channel because there are fake things that are not rainbow loom that say rainbow loom. They're not.

The official channel is cool because they have a gallery they have a gallery! You can show your original designs and they have contests.

You should go to their FB page to see all the cool things to make and your kids can put their stuff up there too to show it to people. You can talk to other kids who make stuff too.

I make and make and make most of my bracelets from that channel. Another great channel is Made by mommy. That's the name of it. She has Christmas wreaths, a Santa hat, a cross, a gingerbread man, a turkey, a mustache, a heart, candy corn, a Christmas tree, ghosts, a smiley face. And how to attach charms. 

You can make anything you want to. I make chain mail for my body. You can get bands that are glow in the dark, solid color, tie dye, glitter.

Another channel I really like is PG's Loomacy. "An irrational obsession with the rainbow loom." And he made a whole nativity scene out of bands. You can see it on the FB page or his website. And my favorites: a SpiderMan. But he has all the action figures for you to make. It's called "basic action figure."

This is a me I made from changing the basic action figure design:

 You can make a small Elf on a Shelf charm. That's on the FB page. My favorite bracelet design is the Feather Bracelet (that one's awesome), or the Totem Pole. (that one's awesome, too) Those are on the page too.

One important thing I forgot to tell you about to do is to ORGANIZE. Rainbow loom doesn't sell organizing things but you can use a plastic craft box from a craft store. You keep your colors of band separate in there otherwise you feel stressed with your colors all over the place. It's fun to separate colors with my mom and brother.

The rainbow loom makes excellent charms to put on your bracelets. The official rainbow loom is safe. There are copies and imitations that are not rainbow loom. You can tell a real rainbow loom because there is a special bar code on the box and code that is on the bottom of the loom and the hook and it says Rainbow Loom with a capital R in a circle in the corner and a patent number next to it. It is safe because if it breaks, it has controlled breakage and doesn't break in a sharp point. It also has safe rubber bands, that are nontoxic and latex free that i have to have. Their packages feel different too. They're not hard but spongy which means they'll stretch and not break on the loom.

My personal favorite type of rainbow loom is the official Rainbow Loom and in my opinion the Cra-Z-Loom is of lower quality, as with the fun loom or any other. Cra-Z-Loom is longer, but it is one solid plastic piece, and can't make bracelets using the rectangle pattern. The fun loom is longer, but as with the crazloom, it is one pieceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! It also has smooth edges of the pegs for the rubber bands to hook on and not rough so you won't cut your fingers.

My recommended first do as a beginner is the single chain the instructions come with the box. And then I would say the triple single and then any other tutorial on the rainbow loom site that is rated BEGINNER level.

You will know when you are ready for intermediate and advanced when you don't feel frustrated with the designs you're working on.

I made this one for my mom and it still makes me frustrated. I told her that was the only one she was ever going to get so not to ask me for a red one. (It's called Hibiscus and is on the youtube channel)

I would buy this hobby for your kids and then have them look at the FB page for ideas and fun. I would let them put their pictures of what they make up on the FB page so they can be proud. Or they can enter contests. But it's hard to win because really good people are on there like grown ups. 

I hope I answered all your questions about Rainbow loom. Do your kids have questions? Thank you.

This is a bracelet holder from the craft store.

P.S.: This is a book I found at the craft store to tell you about: 

I think the best idea is to get a BIG box with more than one loom inside so if you have a lot of kids they don't fight and then get different kinds of bands and an organizer box and a how to book and that would be a great present for kids you know. THIS IS FOR GIRLS AND BOYS. 

Oh, and this too: I have two looms together so I can make bigger and wider things and have more choices for stuff.  But you don't need two looms until you are good. 
* * * 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I love the feeling of plenty in the house but I hate how it turns my home into the next episode of  Hoarders. I love/hate bulk, I love/hate warehouse places. You enter needing a few pair of underwear, and you come out with two hundred.

It’s Mega-itis.

You think if a dozen of something is good, then five hundred must be better.

You like turkey chili? Good. Because now there are a thousand cans in the basement. My husband has this house so stocked with dry goods that we could survive any leveling of this planet.

Red Cross relief needed? Just call us.
Peace Corps Operation in need of supplies? Call us again.

When I hear the garage door open after my husband returns home from his four hour Apocalypse  preparation, that's my cue to move the kitchen table and chairs to the other side of the room so that we can begin to stock up our private community food pantry.

I call our sons, and together, we help carry in eight 2-packs of gallons of apple juice, boxes of oatmeal that would feed the Salvation Army, and enough toilet paper to serve the Duggar's during the worst flu season.  I just want to know, is there anything my husband says no to at these places?

He tells me, “Well, it's hard, I don't like to, but I had to turn down the guy with the twenty pound bag of mangoes. I felt so guilty, not buying his stuff after I took his samples.”

I watch my husband then go back out to the van and then walk back in and then walk back out, then in, as he unloads his *smart buys.* Ten trips in all, back and forth to the minivan, each time with no less than a fifty-pound portion of something.

“Hey,” I say, as I help him stack 59 rolls of single-ply sand toilet paper into a pyramid against the bathroom wall, “what’s with the fifteen boxes of Frosted Flakes? You were sitting right next to me when 60 Minutes had that Doctor on “Sugar Kills.”

“I know, but I took a couple of samples from this 80-year-old guy and I felt kinda bad not getting the cereal after that. You know, I could tell his hopes were up after I ate two cups worth.”

I know what drives my husband and I love him for it, it’s the comfort of feeling he’s provided for us, and at a good price, too. But what really frosts me is this. Why can’t he go all guilty and #BulkBuy from the woman at the BoxMart jewelry counter? Surely he feels bad about spending time among the laptops and tablets they've got locked up under her territory. He couldn't have been deaf to her hawking, "Sir, wouldn't the lucky woman in your life like this $13,000 sapphire ring, Just like Lady Di's?"

Exclusive Mega-itis Edition.

* * *

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Movie Reviews for the Netflix Crowd

Finding yourself with a free evening, and feel like throwing on a movie? Here's what's out there, quick and dirty, One Sentence Movie Reviews.

Via Aiming Low, your best bet for humor and entertainment on the internet.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

When Black Friday Comes

Just like last year, and the year before that, and the 20 years before that, due to mama be lazy and looooves her pajamas, we're not part of the Black Friday money saving madness. Throw in my husband's motto that he wears on his Tshirt, *spending to save is still spending* and you'll find all of us at home the day after Thanksgiving. I might go out for strawberries later for French toast, we'll see.

Crazy, I know, because who wouldn't want a flat screen TV for every single room in the house? And they're BOGO too??

Because of me staying home the day after Thanksgiving in my well worn mismatched pajamas, sipping on Your Store Brand Here coffee by the steamy mugful, my Value Deal Bing Crosby CD crooning in the background, I'm missing out on a lot, I know:

Like getting my face pepper sprayed for touching someone else's coveted doorbuster Xbox.

Or being trampled underneath while queued up customers duck underneath a lifting store gate.

I could be carried away in a sea of humanity over $2.00 waffle irons.

You could be watching television coverage of me climbing across vats of sweet potatoes to get that video game.

And before you smugly think, Oh, that's only if you go to places like Walmart and Best Buy, there's mosh pits with the hipster crowds at Urban Outfitters, where theft detector devices get trampled down in the insane store opening dash.

Again, this shopping season, we'll be home. Mostly, because shopping season is year round for me and basement shopping over here is like coming upon a really good yard sale somewhere. It's not that we reject the spirit of greed and consumerism, as much as we say No Thank You to the line pushing, and trampling. All that invasion of personal space with strangers, the uncomfortable pressing in on me.  Eeek. 

Time away from being home and cozy, with an extra day in the weekend -- I don't want to spend that day with others. 

Selfish, I know. We just like to be home.

Home, watching on television what goes on in the stores today. You should see the wide-eyed terror in my kids' eyes as they see it all. "Mom? Did that lady just disappear into that crate of long underwear? Two for Ten Dollars?," they ask while wiping away melted butter and warm syrup from their chins.

Yes. She did, honey. And she likes it so much she'll be back again next year.

Repeat after me. Pajamaed legs up on coffee table. Blow across hot coffee. Take steamy sip. Aaaaaah.

* * *    

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

So, What Do We Do Now?

The holidays are a keg of dynamite, aren't they? So much riding on these days, our expectations so high, the media of the world screaming "Make this time be the most important thing of your year!" But what happens, when those that are the biggest thing in our life, aren't there to celebrate with us? Is there any source then, telling us what to do? Seems that's when the barkers disappear.

I'm looking for ideas, things that have worked for you or others, ways that you have found through being baptized by the fire, of making it through the holidays when the ones who mean the holidays to us, are gone.

My post up at Purple Clover today, "The Empty Chairs at The Table."

*Thank you for reading, I've said it before, and I think it more times than you'll ever know, but I am grateful for you.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

We Drive a Different Kind of Bus

*Transcribed as I sat nonchalantly next to littlest on the sofa, listening, as he had his ear buds in, his iPod on, and sang away to his favorite song -- with no idea what mama was taking notes about.
_ _ _ 

I've never seen diamonds in the flesh
I cut my teeth on wedding rings
in the moon beams
And I'm not proud of how I dress,
In a torn-up gown
no post re-entry

But every song's like goatees, grey boots, trippin' in the bathroom
Mud stains, ball downs, trash in the hotel room,
We don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in the streets.
And everybody's like crystals, may bells, diamonds on your time peas.
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leaf.
We don't care, we aren't cut up in your lovin' fair.

And we'll never be royals (royals).
It don't run in our blood,
That kind of luck just ain't for us.
We drive a different kind of bus.
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me Clean Beat
And baby I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule.
Let me lift that fan and see...

My friends and I—we've cracked the code.
We count our dollars on the tray to the party.
And everyone who knows us knows that we're fine with this,
We didn't come from money.

Ooh ooh oh
We're bigger than we ever dreamed,
And I'm in love with being mean.
Ooh ooh oh
Life is great without a care
We aren't cut up in your lovin' fair.

And we'll never be royals (royals).
It don't run in our blood
That kind of luck just ain't for us.
We drive a different kind of bus
Let me be your ruler (ruler),
You can call me Clean Beat
And baby I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule.
Let me lift that fan and see.....

**Added:  This song is "Royals," by recording artist, Lorde, and it's become Auggie's favorite, on eternal loop on his iPod. He sang along again tonight, so clear and loud with his ear buds in, with his own lyrics. The original words to the song are good, but Auggie's are far, far better. Next time, I'm going to tape, because I love Auggie's version so much more.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fancy Feet

"In 1998 I was an active young woman looking forward to all the possibilities life had to offer. That all changed when my car was struck by a reckless driver going more than 60 mph. The car crash resulted in a battle for my life that would involve two weeks in a coma, seven months in the BCPFF Burn and Plastic Surgery Unit at Vancouver General Hospital, losing my best friend, and both my legs..."

This is how the story of Heidi Cave, author of Fancy Feet, begins. 

We spend so much time on the internet, that we skim past people's words, looking for that one word or phrase that jumps out and sums it all up for us. Heidi's work makes us stop, and read every single word of this incredible time in her life: Struck by a car going 60 miles per hour. Two weeks in a coma. Seven months in a burn unit. Losing her best friend. Losing her legs. Think on every one of those phrases. Now, imagine yourself surviving that, at 23 years old.

Her story tells us just that, how a young girl finds the strength within her, to see this through. I received Heidi's book in the afternoon mail, and I began reading it the moment I held it in my hands. I read it an hour before I had to pick up my children from school, then I kept reading it in the school pickup line. I came home and quickly started dinner, and kept reading while the potatoes boiled. I then read it while waiting for my youngest during soccer practice, and then again once home. Finally, later in bed, I fought sleep to finish it that day.

As I closed the cover on Heidi's book, I wiped tears away with both hands for the beauty of the human spirit: for fighting for yourself, for forgiveness of others, for tirelessly campaigning to embrace what's been given to us, with nothing stopping us. This book is a work of soulful art, and I will be reading it again and gifting it on to friends, to share the hope in Heidi's story.

Heidi Cave is a treasure to anyone who knows her. It's difficult for me to even talk about her work here without a catch in my throat. Read her words, and feel the power of the worth that we can give to ourselves. Astonishingly true in heart, spirit, and ferocious in its ability to capture what she endured -- so we know the strength we have inside. Even when faced with what seems the most impossible: forgiveness.

Fancy Feet is available through Amazon

But I am also giving away a copy here, because I believe the power of Heidi's story will help someone else to find that source of strength we all have inside -- even when we feel we don't.

We are amazing.

Please leave a comment here to enter.

"What should have been the darkest chapter of her life became a bright testament to the strength of the human spirit."
* * *

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Things I'm Not Going To Do

Facebook, twitter, blogs, radio, TV, things go crazy on there sometimes. I don't know why the world thinks they need to tell us what to do. As long as I'm not harming anyone, then I think the fact that I'm not realizing my potential is no one else's business but mine.

There were some things shouted out to me this week, that no matter how loud, how in bold letters you type, how many automatic set to tweet every four hours, I'm just not going to do.

Things like this:

--Rainbow loom is making our children obese and cross-eyed! Get them off rainbow loom! No. I won't. He loves it.

--Only Five Thursdays until Christmas! You need to shop and buy everything now and spend money, it's the only way to show how important they are to you! No. Not gonna happen. I prefer the excitement of the last minute and my kids really check out if there's too many gifts. They do.

--Make sure your Thanksgiving is perfect. Order your holiday dinner from us by November 19. Better than home-made! Again, I like the race against the clock and cranberries bubbling in sugar leaving a sticky mess behind on my stove for me to clean up later at 3 a.m. It makes me smile. 

--Over age 45, a woman needs an hour of exercise a day, half an hour of stretching, and an hour being outside. You also need to schedule weekly spa care for facial treatments. I can do the exercise, some stretching, and being outside, probably for an hour total, for all three. The weekly facial treatments? That's some serious spa time. We'll revisit when it becomes dire.

--Make time for date night every week, coffee time with friends every week, game night with your children every week, volunteer at your children's school every week, and don't forget gramma! I want to do all these things, but not at the cost of an already overburdened schedule. I will do what I can, but I work. But when I do any of the above, I'll be in the moment, and not just ticking the time together off the weekly checklist while I hold my phone in my hand the whole time.

--Your children need to be ready for our ever changing world! Tell them about all that lurks out there, it's better if they know! This is something that every home determines on their own. We know our children best. I will share with them information in the way I know they'll understand. I prefer they hear from me first, but I know, sometimes that doesn't happen.

--Technology changes every day! If you want your children to be accepted into the best colleges and to get the best grades now, they need all the electronic devices out there. Also, you don't want them to feel different from others, do you? Eh, maybe. I don't know. We do okay here without smartphones, they like their iPods and my iPad.... really, I think they'll be fine. I still read to them, so there's that.

--Remove all food dyes, food additives, non organic food sources, canned foods, frozen foods, foods with artificial ingredients or GMO's from your family kitchen. This is half useful. We have food allergies in our home, and food dyes and some food additives bring on symptoms. I am a food label reader but, I've also seen how some children in homes with a no to a lot of what other kids have, go crazy when not around their parents. This past summer, I brought boxes of Popsicles to a picnic, and there was a little boy there who ripped the white sleeve of a frozen treat open every two minutes, saying out loud, "We can't have food dyes at home!" He must have had ten, I swear.

-- If you love your spouse, then you'll buy them one of our beautiful jewelry pieces this holiday season, prices starting at only $1999.00. But hurry! I'd rather have someone be kind to me on a daily basis, than pop in with diamond necklaces in the month of December. Just be nice to each other, all the time, that's the precious jewel you can give them.

--Watch Scandal! Watch Homeland! Watch Revenge! Watch Vampire Diaries! Watch the shows! How am I supposed to watch all these shows and have date night and get facial treatments and exercise for an hour and still get at least six hours of sleep?? We watch Amazing Race and Undercover Boss together. I always cry. On my own, I'll eat lunch while watching Modern Family because I love Gloria.

And besides, if I want to know what's going on with these other shows, I just have to follow along with that week's media shouting on FB, twitter, radio, TV....

The Master Rainbow Loom Maker: Still eagle-eyed and you can't pinch an inch...

 * * *

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Voices Carry

It has been a year of significance. There have been lightning rods thrust down from stormy skies, as well as silver-plattered moments handed to me by angels.

I'll need to list the upheavals and climbs to the mountain tops before the year is out.

For now, let me share with you the exciting news that a project I've kept to myself has finally come to life. The publication of:

November 6, 2013

Book Description

The eleven writers featured here, in this inaugural collection of personal essays, are the Lena Dunhams of our generation — a little older, possibly a little wiser, certainly more experienced and generally less inclined to parade around naked. The essays — taken from our site's popular Voices series — covers everything from finding love in midlife to the joys and heartbreak of adoption to a longtime married couple navigating the shoals of their new stay-at-home status to a bold journey of intimate reawakening. Collectively, they reflect the emotional truth of how we live today. (available on amazon. com)

Product Details

  • File Size: 888 KB
  • Print Length: 43 pages
  • Publisher: Purple Clover (November 6, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
* * *
Thank you to all of you, who have supported me with your kind words here, I am proud to be included in this collection. 

You have cared about me and carried me through this very difficult year. There is some silver lining to 2013, and without a doubt, I never would have ventured any of these endeavors, without your comments encouraging me. I thank you so much, and am appreciative that I have you to share the good things in my life.

*This collection of essays is live now on amazon. com*

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

8 Steps to Start Writing

Writers are called writers because they write.

To become a writer, one must write.


Not send tweets out about what sweater you're wearing or update your status on FB about what you added to your oatmeal that morning that made it so out of this world. Not bounce back between email and gmail in case you get a good email. Not check your phone for texts from someone fun.

Thank the heavens above I haven't signed up to do the nasty with Pinterest yet.

So, say I want to write and do the writing part about being a writer, but I just can't keep that butt of mine down in the chair.

What can I do to get those words down on the paper, so to speak??

I've come up with a list of  8 Steps to Start Writing   Hoping it helps me, maybe it'll help you too:

  1. Step one: You need to tell yourself exactly what to do and how to do it, like this: 1.) Sit down 2.) Put fingers on keys 3.) Type out what you’re saying out loud 4.) No going pee or eating food until you have a blog post done.
  2. Get some fresh air. Take a walk or go for a drive before you sit down. Stepping inside a computer to live is too much like a Twilight Zone episode. Have a life off the internet so you have something to talk about when you do try to stick your head into that little blue screen again.
  3. Keep a notebook, papers, voice recorders, pens, pencils, McDonald's napkins, anything handy so you can write down notes all day long. Then go home and tape these notes up all around your computer screen. Others may look at this post-it note fiasco and think Beautiful Mind but you know what it really says: I am a writer.
  4. Commit a writer’s mantra to memory and begin your day with it. You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important is an awesome one. Look what it did for Emma Stone. She grew up to date Spiderman.
  5. Get some fake plastic sexy librarian glasses. Look in the mirror. Say, “Damn, I look like a writerwoman.”
  6. Sit down for two minutes and breathe in deep a few times. Nod your head like you’re a conductor ready to direct your orchestra. Look up at the screen, poise your fingers over the keys. Crack neck back and forth, now get up and go to the bathroom, have a snack, drink some soda, look out the window, pull out your phone and look at it, go to the bathroom, stalk Deb Rox's FB page, check Uppoppedafox's twitter stream, then come back and sit down for two minutes. Breathe in deep a few times. Nod your head like you're a conductor ready to...
  7.  Run to Goodwill. Buy a brown cardigan. Call it your writerwoman sweater. Wear it with your writerwoman glasses. See if the double action works.  And finally... 
  8. Sit at the keyboard and tap a key. Smile at the thought that you get to sit and zen in the world of words. Feel how much you love this shit. Scare the bejeebies out of yourself that you might forget how to write and you want to always be writing so to be  a writer, you have to write so you get down to it. Pound out fastest blog posts in history.
It’s what writers do.

* * *

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's Not The Way You See It

It's all in how you think about it. And in how you see it.

That's something we have to change, if we don't... what will be left for others to remember us by?

My mother did not like having pictures taken of herself as she got older. Read a FB update or listen to people as they look at pictures of themselves, and you'll hear, "I hate pictures of myself!"

Here's some reassurance from me; trust me, people don't see what you see, when they look at pictures of you.

Want to know what they do see? It's all here, in my column this week, on Purple Clover.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Milwaukee's Back!

The Listen To Your Mother Show, a nationally acclaimed live reading series in celebration of Mother's Day founded by Ann Imig of annsrants, has just released its list of cities hosting LTYM shows in 2014.

There are 32 shows participating this year and I am honored to announce that Jennifer Gaskell and I are once again proudly bringing LTYM to Milwaukee!

For full show travel schedule and to see if there is an LTYM show near you, click here.

Watch this site for details and follow Listen To Your Mother on Facebook and twitter for other announcements. To whet your appetite for what 2014 will bring you, watch last year's shows on LTYM's youtube channel

You all know, these shows are amazing. If you have a chance to see one, don't miss it. You'll be talking about it until you see the show again the next year.


The mission of each LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER production is to take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering through giving voice to motherhood–in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor.
LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER aims to support motherhood creatively through artistic expression, and also financially–through contributions to non-profit organizations supporting families in need.

  LTYM Milwaukee's own Rebecca Christman reading in LTYM 2013 (we are so FREAKIN' proud)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bat Boy For a Day

This has been circulating on twitter and Facebook. And every time I see it, I have to click over to read it again.

It's so beautiful, because it's dreams, fantasy, having things become real when they're surreal.

On November 15, San Francisco is going to turn itself into Gotham City and give a special, little little boy, a day that will long and forever remind him of magic, and the magic of people.

Though there are clips all over, I love this one from ABCNews, Bat Boy For a Day.

For a full schedule of his day, and details on how you can be a volunteer, go here. 

Will you have tears? Yes, you will. But in a glorious twinkly eyed way.

* Come join the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a fun-filled day of everything Batman as San Francisco becomes Gotham City on November 15, 2013.

* * *

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mayhem in Six Minutes, or Before You Pick Up That Glow Stick

We were driving home from my youngest's soccer game on Sunday, when NPR's This American Life had us all shushing each other to catch the story that Ira Glass introduced with, "... when things go wrong. Really wrong. When you leave the normal realm of human error, fumble, mishap, and mistake and enter the territory of really huge breakdowns. Fiascos. Things go so awry that normal social order collapses. This week's show is a philosophical inquiry in the nature of fiascos —  when something simple and small turns horribly large."

Hooked, line and sinker, into the stories, we didn't go straight home but instead drove around so that we could hear the things we knew we would relate to so well. The fiasco, when in the snap of a finger, things go out of control and all moments become ones of no sense.

Halfway through the 60-minute show, I turned the radio volume down and shaking my head, I asked, "Do you all remember our fiasco??"

Today's theme: Fiasco.

It had been a quiet evening home, not a sound in the house, I was on the computer and my oldest, Alec, was on the sofa reading. The youngest, Auggie, was upstairs with the middle boy, Xavier; I assumed playing video games.

In the middle of this peace, I hear a shriek, then guttural cries, then screaming of OH MY GOD! Tripping over my chair, visual images flashed before my eyes of broken glass, even though I didn't hear anything shatter. Glass glass glass is all I can imagine -- one of my boys falling through the glass shower door. What else could it be? My oldest was pushing me out of the way to get ahead of me, shouting as he hurled over the steps, "We had a paramedic come in once last year in junior year! I know what to do!" Meant to make me feel better, I'm sure. But the scene we had here was our legs moving as slow as molasses while we heard two boys primally shrieking in the bathroom that had lots of glass shower doors all the way around. And the back of the second floor never seemed so far away.

With both of us pushing the bathroom door open so hard it hit the shower door, my oldest and I see the littlest on the floor, curled up while crying out insanely, covering both his eyes like he's just gotten his hands on a 1959 Home Science Kit where things had gone horribly wrong with sodium sulfate. The middle boy is shouting and hopping like the floor is on fire, his wild eyes tell me he's detaching from reality. I'm shouting above the din, "What the hell happened! Someone tell me what the hell happened!" But no one can answer... it's all, madness.

Fits the criteria for fiasco so far.

Answering my question would have helped so much at this time, but there is only wailing and spasms and more rolling on the floor. My mind is racing as I check the horrible possibilities. Did he drink mouthwash? Did he think it would be fun to spritz my Guess perfume into his  mouth? Did my middle boy lose his temper and hurt the little one? Did they hurt each other. But there are no answers, just sounds like an injured coyote.

I grab the middlest and through gritted teeth command TELL ME WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED! He answers me with I don't knows I don't knows. I keep shaking his shoulders, he keeps giving me more I don't knows.

It's clear now, Fiasco, and we are in the thick of it.

The oldest boy's voice suddenly grows 50 octaves deeper and pierces the wails, TELL MOM YOU GUYS! and adds the first ever heard to my ears from him, swear words. He's been spending some time with the masters, that much is clear. But despite the swears, no one snaps into shape. There's just more out of body cries, screams. The level of pandemonium and freakedoutness cannot be imagined. There are bodies tripping over each other and legs sticking up in the air and so much yelling. I am starting to see dark spots before my eyes like you see right before you pass out from hyperventilating. Oh my God. FIASCO.

The only action I can think to take is threat level orange (no sense, I know) "If you don't tell me what happened I'll call 911!"

Even louder screaming erupts, but I need clarification, damnit. I demand from middlest, "Did you hit him? And why are you screaming? Did you both touch electricity with wet hands?" (don't ask, I didn't know what my brain was sending out of my mouth at this time.)

Finally, littlest screeches between slobbery gasps, "I crack-opened a glow stick! And now I'm blind! I'm blind with pain and squishing my eyes so tight from THE PAIN!"

The room starts to spin, "YOU'RE BLIND?? You mean you really can't see?? OH MY GOD!!"

I turn to middlest, "Why are you screaming? Are you blind, too? Did you both get juice on you? How many are hurt? Where did the rest of the juice go??" because the first rule of a Fiasco situation is that all victims are accounted for.

He answers, "I'm screaming because there's microscopic GLASS crystals in there and he's blind! That's how they work, right? The crystals are glass and they glow and OH MY GOD it EXPLODED in his eyes!"

What? Glass? What? Did they say glass? SHIT. I knew it, Glass, I saw it in my visions! Then, more frightening shrieks from littlest, "Is it going to seep behind my eyes -- the glass liquid juice -- will the glass cut my brain?? Noooooooooooooo!"

Full on and out of control twilight zone fiasco. Screaming, fear of blindness, claims of impending death due to pain F.I.A.S.C.O. Along with hints of glass shards. GLASS.

Reality of what's happening starts to unfold in my mind, I need to get busy. I push youngest into the shower over everyone's body parts and I corral him under the water, shouting "Keep your eyes wide open and stare into that shower head and rinse it all out. RINSE ALL THE GLOW STUFF OUT! Just like in Clockwork Orange!"

"Like what, mom?"

"Never mind. Shit. Alec, you stay with him, Xavier, you tell me what happened! Auggie, stay in that shower!"

Xavier stammers out, "We were in here where it's dark so we could see the glow necklace and h-h-h-h-he snapped it like you're supposed to to activate it but it opened and..."

"And the glop shot straight to my EYES!" I hear littlest from inside the decontamination unit. "Like it was AIMING for my eyes -- AIMING! *gurglegurgle* and I didn't even have my hands near my face to shield my eyes and the juice shot straight to my EYES! Am I going to be blind? I don't want to be blind! I don't want to be blind, mama!,'' his little boy water filled cries echo in the stall and break my heart.

I fly down the stairs and start banging at the computer. I don't know what to google first.
  • "Death by glow juice."
  • "Blindness by glow juice."
  • "Is glow juice dangerous."
  • "What to do with glow juice explosion."

I frantically settle on the ugliest: "Will my baby be blind."

My fingers are tripping over each other on the keyboard. Yahoo! has an entire page of "Help! Glow Juice in eyes!" As I start skimming through the entries, I slowly start breathing again. They all gloriously say the same thing: "Hurts like a mofo, stings, but no death." "Happened to me at a Rave. No blindness, dood." "You'll be all right. Just sucks, especially if you're high."

I head back upstairs with the good news, still wobbly legged, but able to breathe, finally. "He's okay!," I manage to eke out. "You're okay, honey!"

Only then do I begin to hear my oldest son's voice booming above the pounding of the shower water, "MOM! I said, STOP. GOOGLING. I know so many kids that have gotten glow juice in their eyes at parties and dances. It's safe. He won't be blind. MOM!"

"What? Why didn't you tell me?" I'm in the bathroom now and begin yelling again.

"Secrets. And anyway I was shouting but you wouldn't listen! I said OMG STOP GOOGLING MOM. I told you I know someone, kids at dances. Even hand sanitizer in their eyes. He'll be okay."

"Hand sanitizer?"

"Yeah, just throwing that out there."

Fiasco confirmed.

Letting out a relieved sigh, I turn to the middlest, who was screaming louder than the littlest during the peak of the mayhem. "What were you so crazy about?"

He gasps a deep breath as if he's just broken through the surface of the Pacific Ocean, "Auggie was cracking a glow stick to get it to work and I was sitting by him and then he started screaming so I looked and he was covering his eyes and there was glow juice all over the floor and he was crumpled on the floor covering his eyes and then I started screaming too because it's Made in China and he was covering his eyes and who knows if glow juice is like those dog tag necklaces you never let us wear because they're Made in China and have lead in them and I thought he had sizzled out his eyes 'cause he was covering them and obviously in my panic, not realizing no one, not even China, would put things on the market that cause blindness as a child's toy. But you said, Mom, you said cheap products from party store catalogs like those petrolatum filled orbs, though they are cool and a fun time, are dangerous and carcinogenic. So, yeah, I started screaming and running around and I was worried Auggie's eyes were in dangerrrrrrrrr."

Oh, yes, Fiasco. With a capital effin' F.

From start to finish, the Glow Stick Fiasco probably only took six minutes, but enough time for lessons to be learned. Open the glow stick behind one's back from now on. My son has become the finger wagging community educator on Glow Stick Cracking. Yes, my fourth grade friends, this could happen to you.

Surviving a fiasco: unified by the sense of relief, that though things got crazy, we're all thankfully okay. A true fiasco, where all social structure and reason for resultant actions breaks down and the moments within, make no sense. Running around like chickens with our heads cut off, or at least our retinas day-glowed.

Ira? Pick up the phone, I've got a good one for you.
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