Thursday, May 30, 2013

Frank Sinatra's Garbage and a winner!

Over at Aiming Low today, the top humor and entertainment website, talking about those among us that see dollar bills where the rest of us see, well, garbage.

The full of hopes and dreams and visions of coinage -- lots and lots of coinage -- for what sometimes is just, junk, but not to the clientele of Pawn Stars.

Click on over and read what a typical episode of this top rated History Channel favorite, Pawn Stars, is all about.

**And this: the winner of the amusing Random Penguin note cards giveaway is Charlotte Klein of My Pixie Blog. Congratulations, Charlotte, email me your address! 

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Celine Makes Me Happy, Plus Also GIVEAWAYS!

I love Celine Dion, and not just because plumbers and nail techs ask me once a month, "Yanno who ya look like? That Celine Dion."

That's why watching this ten times a day makes me slap happy.

She's so crazy, especially at 1:39, I love her.

Another thing that makes me happy is being able to spread the word about the talented people I find on the internet. People like ML Philpott who writes the most clever posts at IMissYouWhenIBlink, is the co-author of the  just released "Poetic Justice: Legal Humor in Verse," where the authors brilliantly capture the essence of the legal experience in verse form -- and the main point of today's post, MLPhilpott is the creator/illustrator of one of the best things on the internet, Random Penguin of The Day.

I can not overstate the joy of a random penguin a day. You have to click over and see what I mean.

Share the smiles by sending someone the link to Random Penguin, and by sending them a cute penguin via notecards! ML Philpott has notecards! 

 And I'm giving away a set here!

I could die from the cute.

You can leave a comment here to enter, and tweet out "I just discovered Random Penguin a day by @whenIblink!" Tell others on FB "Entering to win @WhenIBlink's Random Penguin notecards via @Good Day Regular People."

Actually, that's three ways you can enter; and three things that make me happy -- my twin swirling in her own world in platinum lame (did you catch that sly wink in there?oh, if we could bottle confidence), WhenIBlink's Random Penguins, and giving things away.

I like that.

Enter to win! Good Luck!

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Follow MLPhilpott on twitter at @WhenIBlink, follow Random Penguin on FB to get your daily penguin!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Gold Star Families

My son, Alec, asked me if he could write a post today in honor of Memorial Day. Thank you for listening to him, and for remembering those who gave their lives in service to our country.
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When I was in the first grade, my mother used to read to me for History class. We had a collection of books on American History. One of my favorite books was on World War II, and that's where I first learned of the Gold Star on service banners, those are the small flags you maybe have seen in people's windows. They are the official banners that members of a soldier's family can display in their windows.

I remember the first time I saw a service flag or service banner in someone's window in our small town. I recognized it from the book we had read, and was surprised to see it. I didn't think in our small town, that there'd be a gold blag banner. But even though we only have 10,000 people living here, there are two houses within a mile of us that have a Gold Star in their windows.

There are two types of service banners that people place in their windows, the one with the blue star means someone in the immediate family is currently serving in the military. A gold star means someone from the immediate household died while serving our country. When I see a flag in the window, it makes me wonder who the gold star banner is for.

Once I learned about the Gold Stars, I began to notice them in any city or town I was in. When we went to visit my aunt, I saw a Gold Star Banner two doors down from my aunt's house.

There is an online registry, the link is here. You can enter your hometown and search the registry for any Gold Star families in your area, you don't have to know a soldier's name. You can read their names and send a thank you to the family, or leave a tribute on the pages there. When my family drove through Portage on the way to Wisconsin Dells, we looked up any fallen heroes and I was surprised to see that a green beret had died, from Portage. He was a character portrayed in the movie Black Hawk Down, a Delta Force sniper.

I encourage you to look up your hometown for heroes. It can be something special you can do on Memorial Day. Find out the last name and leave them a tribute on the site. Don't think your town is too small because there are two families with Gold Stars in their windows near our house, and we are a small town.

The people who die fighting for our country are not just numbers, they are people with families who love them, and they live where you live.

Memorial Day is picnics and parades, but also a day to remember and say thank you. Thank the soldiers who fought for us by finding out their names and reading them out loud. They're not forgotten that way and they become real. The flags were started in 1917 by a father for his two sons because "The world should know of those who give so much for liberty."

Thank you.

Photo source: wikipedia

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Things I'll Miss About My Life When Summer Vacation Begins

School will be out within a few weeks. Aaaaaaaaaall the children will be home. Having them with me, around me, walking around in the mornings with their summer pajamas and their bedhead heads just hovering inches away, close enough to smell their night time warmness is a top pleasure in my life.

However, there will be changes, and some of these changes, will be difficult.

In no particular order, the shift from me now being left home alone unsupervised to 24 hour guarded by three pseudo husbands is about to begin, and that means:

  • 1.  No more Amy Winehouse at volume 48 pleading Vaaaaaaal, Valerieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! off of YouTube while I scrub the floors.

  • 2.  The 40 minute phone calls to my niece, hosted from the kitchen table, with my feet all barefooty on the edge of the barnwood, pfffffffft. A thing of the past.

  • 3.  Someone will be finding my coffee mugs placed all over the house and again with the comments of "Mom, do you really drink this much coffee or do you need to make an early Alzheimer's appointment?"

  • 4.  The questions, the hovering questions, of "How much longer are you going to be on the computer??"

  • 5. Bright eyeballs peering over from behind the stove, unhappily commenting on the beginnings of supper. Right now, they come home so hungry from school I could serve up plucked crow and they'd kiss my feet. Also, related: no more being able to lie, "It's not left overs. I just made it."

  • 6.  Having to be out of my pajamas and into a bra before the raised eyebrows that judge, "Do you EVEN plan on getting dressed today?"

  • 7.  No such thing as running into the grocery store and leaving with only what's on the list, unless the list states 15 containers Pringles, 6 bags Lay's BBQ chips, 2 quarts Mint Chocolate Chip, and half a dozen Ice Cream Sandwiches. Oh. And root beers.

  • 8.  Having to take on a third job to pay for the sunscreen and bug spray that three big kids' skin surface area requires. (1500 sq. in. per child x $100.00 per 8 oz of what sunscreen manufacturers think is liquid gold = enough money to make you puke) Especially for someone like me who insists on apply as directed: repeat as necessary.

  • 9.  Seek out fourth job (I can work it in between 11 pm and 5 am) to cover costs of filling up gas tank for two teens' worth of summer driving.

  • 10. Did I mention the snacking begins? I should have married a food wholesaler.

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 **Seriously, I canNOT wait to get my children back, all three of them, for three months. The teachers have had them long enough, and now it's my turn.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Zach Sobiech

Zach Sobiech passed away yesterday.

The Minnesota teen with terminal cancer, who just turned 18 on May 3, wrote a farewell song to his family and friends, because he wanted them to have something to hold them up when he was gone. His music video, "Clouds" has had over 3 million views, and this young man, Zach, tells us more in 3:14 about living than 20 books ever could.

"Just, try and make people happy, every day. That's it."

Make the time to watch this today, click over, see this with your family. Let them see what it's like to really be remembered and how to make a difference.

Peace to you, beautiful Zach, and to the many that loved you and shared your days with you. Peace.

*To learn more about Zach and his amazing way of living, please watch his story here; 22 minutes of beauty and grace, "My Last Days."

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Chuck That Thesaurus

Books sit in piles in front of me, dollars spent on Amazon in hopes of that one right word, reading late into the night to expand my wordstock, following the monthly "It Pays To Increase Your Vocabulary!" with each new Reader's Digest issue.

For what? For naught, that's what.

I just saw a video where Dennis Rodman answers all these world important questions with freakin' made up words! I sat my husband down and made him watch a news interview done after Dennis' trip to Korea -- when it was finished, I rolled my eyes and turned to my husband, asking his feedback on the ridiculousness of the word vomit just witnessed. My intelligent, well employed husband says, "THAT? Was awesome."

There you go. Awesome.

Read about my word snobbery conversion, at Aiming Low. My post today "I'm Going To Make Up My Own Words."

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*Thank you. xo

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Cannot Tell a Lie

Folded in haphazard half, was my Mother's Day card from my youngest.

It was printed with pink marker on pink paper, which made the letters look kinda of orange-ish, pale -- but I could still make it out when I stood next to the brightness of the kitchen window to read it.

An acrostic poem, and an ambitious one, too. Not just made up of first letters of my name spelling out only one word vertically. This boy had written me a deluxe model acrostic -- he had penned in a complete sentence for the first letters of my name, which he thinks is MOTHER.

It was a wonderful read, and I had tears from the laughter. He, of course, didn't understand what was so funny, and when I couldn't stop laughing he explained, "What? You know cards are hard for me and it feels funny to not tell the truth."

I'd photocopy it but against the pink paper and pink marker, it looks like a dark blob. Letter for sentence, I've copied it here.

Happy Mother's Day

Many sided sides to her.

Other things I can say about her.

There is a lot of stuff that I like about her but people say is weird.

Hours and hours of fun we have doing her favorite thing of nothing.

Everything she says with the faces that go with it.

Realistic, she tells me exactly what she thinks.

I love you mom.  
 * * *

*Pretty sure this is a love note, don't you think?

xo (hope you all had a wonderful mother's day)

** BONUS day for me today: besides this wonderful note from my boy, I'm also being featured on mamapedia! Voices! with a post on parenting and teens, "What Happened to the Meat?" THANK YOU mamapedia! Stop over and check them out, you'll find great community voices as well as online resources for all sorts of sharing info. and parenting's nuggets of wisdom.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day To Them

For the past 18 years, Mother's Day has been a celebration for the three of them, my sons. The ones who made me a mother. I spend the holiday doing for them because they have made me so happy.

I don't ask my three for anything, but they still make me their cards and have their dad take them to buy me my flowers.

I'm happy at home, starting the day with the cinnamon rolls they love so much, and asking them what they'd like for dinner.

Because truthfully, in the life I've had, this holiday has always felt hollow and mandatory to me... until they were born.

Mother's Day is a day spent like any other of my days; in disbelief of the gold I've been given. The diamonds of my every days -- and though I have never not begun or ended a day since they've been born thanking everything under the stars for the jackpot that has rained down on me with them as my life, on this annual celebration, I say to myself over and over, I can't believe I am their mother.

I spent Sunday staring at their faces while they talked, the way their cheeks look so soft when the sun hits them from behind, reveling in the sound of the joy in their laughs, recognizing the uniqueness of each of their smiles and how one's lip curls up only on the right. I know just how one stands with his left leg jutted out, and how the other one always points his left knee out to the side.

Mother's Day is a day of granted requests, and I wait for them to sing to me. It's what I tell them I want when they ask me what I want them to do today. I laugh and order them, "Sing me a made up song!" And they do. Each one out voluming the other in hopes of getting the loudest applause from me, and at the end of it all, with furrowed brows, they scold me and say I can't clap the same way for all of them.

So they decide they have to do it again.

Thank you for today, my children, for giving me a holiday to celebrate. Happy Mother's Day to you.

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We live in an imperfect world, and as well intended of a sentiment as Mother's Day is, for many, it brings on an overload of complexities and life circumstances. If you're someone looking for shared words to help you feel like you're not the only one struggling with this holiday, here's a magnificent post I found: via hopefulworld .org (a great community site) In Case Mother's Day is Hard for You.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Pinality of it is...

Recipes you tell yourself you'll make. Beautiful shoes that will kill your feet, manicured fingertips that look like the ocean at sunset and will last two days tops at your house, arrangements of flea market pictures you'll never find above your kitchen stove -- you'll even stare up at the ceiling at night, wondering how you can ask your husband for a second honeymoon just so you can wear that layered chiffon wedding dress you just saw.

Welcome to the world of Pinterest, where we lose our minds and foolishly tell ourselves we can do things like cut our own bangs or bling our own jeans. Our eyes say me likee, but our effort says not in this lifetime. Pinterest is like a magazine full of only things you like, not a glossy paper one full of occassional seductive items -- nope, pinterest is something you can stay up until l3 o'clock clicking through and seeing what other people find appealing. It's better than going through their real life medicine cabinets because you know in an instant what they're really about.

I tried Pinterest months and months ago, but just as I said above, it became all too quickly obvious that the world would know what I was truly like -- so I got rid of everything I had up there. Because the everything I had up there was all 10 Ways To Beat Depression, and 15 Ways To Cook Chicken in Twenty Minutes. Also lots of shoes that my bunioned feet will say no to and clothes, coats, hairdos, inspirational quotes, crafty things that will never materialize -- all responsible for too many nights of Pinsomnia.

What was I thinking during that Pinterest phase? Pinterest makes me crave bacon wrapped anything in the middle of the night and has me convinced I look good in sleeveless breezy summer dresses that go waaaaaaay above the knee. A soft blue skimmer, really? After a week of 1 a.m. bacon wrapped meatloaf snacking??

It just didn't happen for me and Pinterest, though it isn't totally out of my life, I still haunt the site because it is eye candy, but I now enter that Pinterworld with the appropriate mindset -- that of Pinality.

Pinality -- the true reality of your pinteresting ways, in your world. First of all, you won't do, wear, buy, make any of the things you've pinned on your Pinterest board -- like saving every single paper towel cardboard tube and plastic cups so you can cobble together makeshift iPod docking stations for your kids.

Or spraying  brown sugar and water mix in your hair to give yourself caramel highlights.

And second of all, the pinality of it is, it'll just make you wake up with ants in your hair and bacon crumbles in the corners of your mouth.

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photo credit: Bunches and Bits {Karina} via photopin cc

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ann Imig!

I have always loved other people's birthdays, because you get the chance to use their special day as an excuse to let them know what they mean to you, their place in your life -- no questions asked.

Doing it any other regular day of the year, and depending on the receiving end, but it could make someone uncomfortable. We've all seen that situation set up in cartoons and comedies, "You changed my life! Now I will be your life servant! Your wish is my command!"

So yeah no, can't do that. BUT, today is Ann Imig's birthday, and I am going to take this opportunity of an open window that makes it socially acceptable and not scary in any way, to say Thank you, Ann Imig, you changed my life.

When I found your blog annsrants four years ago under Wisconsin bloggers, I never thought that four years later, we'd be working together -- and that I'd be the one bringing life change to others and into their lives.

I hardly recognize myself these days. Taking phone calls while on a treadmill, assembling 14 unique community voices into a beautiful ebb and flow of recognition of the art of motherhood as I bring a show celebrating motherhood to Milwaukee. All of this done with the fierce belief that we are all someone.

From the outside, my community may just see a woman driving around in a mini van that needs vacuuming with too many empty bottles of gatorade rolling around inside, but behind the wheel is a woman with a cast book in the passenger seat and a notepad of things to do right next to it, no longer wondering what she can bring to this world -- because I know now.

I can bring opportunity, and all it took is one person to tell me that all of our actions are a leap of faith.

The internet celebrates you today, Ann Imig -- just this year alone, 300 Listen To Your Mother Show voices. Add in the over 100 voices from Listen To Your Mother voices from last year, and 100 more from the year before, and the 100 from the year before that.

All of us shouting, thinking, feeling, brimming with grateful hearts: THANK YOU, Ann, for creating Listen To Your Mother and taking the leap of faith in us.

We don't do anything alone or without the help of others. And you inspire us to do what you've done, create community and spread the power of connection.

You have founded a movement that is generating universal energy and our words have been catapulted out full force with heart and soul, and that makes it impossible for things to ever be the same. How can they be when all of us involved with Listen To Your Mother are saying "I know what I can bring."

Happy Birthday, Ann Imig. THANK YOU for being on this planet.

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photo: Rochelle Fritsch

Monday, May 6, 2013

Thank You, Milwaukee, from Listen To Your Mother

There are formal thank yous that will be sent, paperwork to be filed, our homes can now go back to a somewhat balanced state -- but all that can wait.

Our first annual Listen To Your Mother Show took place yesterday at Alverno's Wehr Hall.

And Jen, the co producer, and I, have to thank the city of Milwaukee for coming to celebrate Mother's Day with us. We have to thank the cast for giving our show the magic we knew it would have.

Our guests found their way to our stage after the show to say, "I had no idea!" "Wow. I couldn't picture it, but this was amazing."

There was the wonderful "I'm coming back next year, with my mother!" But best of all, "I think I want to be part of this."

There are so many moments that are gratifying, like the executive director of our local cause thanking us afterward and telling us, "I really, really loved this."

All of this was possible because of the support of family, friends, and our community, through attending and being witness to the power of shared experience.

So powerful because there is energy being exchanged between reader, audience, producers. It's a charge that begins at point A and is received by point B who's been hungry for it, which thrills point A to be able to feed it, and grows into something like a Tesla coil that can't be held in a room anymore! I swear, mid show, I thought we were all going to faint from so many breath-held moments.

More on all that later, the almost fainting and all, but we can't begin today without shouting 

Milwaukee, the cast and production crew of Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee, THANKS YOU!!  
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photo credit: Tau Zero via photopin cc

Friday, May 3, 2013

Your Self Image Can Be Changed

"I don't do anything, really."

"I'm not the type of person to try something new."

"I'm just me,"

"I'd never do anything like that, I could never do that."

Where do we get this idea of ourselves? Who told us way back when, where did we pull messages from, that say, "Nope. You're not the kind of person that does anything that takes planning, work, putting together, asking for favors, approaching strangers, RUNNING THINGS."

But, turns out, I am.

I tell people who ask me what's new, I'm putting on a show! With Jennifer Gaskell; and it's inspirational, emotionally gripping, moving, captivating, and so ass kickin' pura vida.

While the response I'd love to hear is, "Wow! Tell me more! Like where can I buy aaaaaaaaaaaaaall the tickets!, instead I hear, "Oh. I didn't know you did that."

Ha. Can't say I blame them. Because up until this year, I didn't know I did, either.

But with the shoulder to shoulder heave and ho of my co producer and co director, Jenny, and the generous mentorship of selfless women like Ann Imig, Deb Rox, and Stephanie Precourt, along with the community found on the pages of our LTYM Producer/Director Facebook group, We Did It.

The Listen To Your Mother Show Milwaukee is this Sunday, May 5, 3 p.m. at Alverno College's Wehr Hall.  

Tickets are available here.

Our cast is made up of some of the most intriguing voices in our area. I love each of these 14 stories, and am so proud for everyone to hear them.

And when the cast members of  LTYM 2013  look me in the eye, and say, "I've never done anything like this before."
I say, "I know. Isn't it cool???"

THANK YOU, Ann Imig, [founder and creator of Listen To Your Mother] from the bottom to the top of my ever grateful heart, for shaking my world loose, in the most incredible way.

Damn dust in my eyes, again. 

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