Friday, August 29, 2014

More News from The Nervous Parents Gazette

My firstborn started college this week and I am cycling through these phases of him being away like a pro.

After sending my son a text as soon as I woke up this morning, I haven't heard back. Rather than busying myself with daily life until he responds, I'm going to do what I do best. What I gold star in. 

I'm assuming he's in danger. 

I don't play around with this Nervous Parent stuff. It's my style. As a little girl, I would wring my hands over my baby Chihuahua, Pepe, whenever he'd shove the food around in his dish with his  nose. I knew just what his actions meant -- that this was the beginning of the end and that he was never going to eat again. 

Being on the homefront while the first of your baby birds has left the nest is no simple task for the nervous parent. We're not like the rest of you, and either you'll pick up when I'm puttin' down here, or you'll just send me links to articles from Psychology Today with titles like 50 Ways That Nervous Parents Destroy Their Children. And then you'll sign your email, "I say this because I love you, have you sought professional help?"

I've heard it all. I'm no stranger to the nonsense that worry is. And yet, I've made it into a hobby, a past time, and a mental game of ping pong that bruises my brain into the size of The Great Gazoo.

This is how a day in the life of a nervous parent goes when their son's first day away from home, is today: 

6:30 a.m. My eyes popped open. Had to text my son or I couldn't sleep. He needed to save the receipts from the books he was going to buy today. Sent him text.

6:32 a.m. Lie back down. Await quick response back.

7:00 a.m. Unable to fall back asleep. Decide instead to imagine son slipped on water that roommate spilled on floor night before and now son has been lying unconscious since 3 a.m. with roommate snoring and unaware only two feet away. 

7:39 a.m. Cursing myself for not telling son he needs to respond to texts with "Yes I'm alive." It's all I need, just a confirmation of being alive.

8:19 a.m. Try to eat a yogurt. Can't. Yogurt triggers panic that son didn't check expiration date on his yogurt so grabbed dairy botulised yogurt while sleep walking and now lying unconscious from food poisoning, only two feet away from roommate. 

8:42 a.m. Visualize son walking to breakfast this morning when man in white windowless van pulled up and asked him for directions. When polite son leaned in to answer, man grabbed son's head by the neck and pulled him into said van and sped away. Enhance scene with details of van without license plates, making said perp unable to be identified. Like ever.

9:23 a.m. Sit on hands, thereby disenabling myself from calling campus police to check on son.

10:09 a.m. Thinking perhaps son played early morning game of basketball. When basket made, he disturbed a hornet's nest with over 200 wasps inside. While running away to escape hornets, son tripped on untied shoe lace and is now in student health center, unable to give nurse in attendance my phone number so I can be alerted to son's status. 

10:56 a.m. Thinking how it's almost 11 a.m. There is no text back. Reason must be that phone charger burst into flames like that story on FB this morning from China about the smoking phone charger.

11:16 a.m. Thinking son went to find a church, as I had suggested. Church was charming, but a charismatic cult. Now my son is being held until he speaks in tongues. Hoping son speaks in language that says "Call my mother!"

12:04 p.m. Thinking son was followed by a disoriented older woman who mistakenly believes my son is her son. He's my son. I need to drive there and tell woman this important bit of information but first I need to find birth certificate for proof.

12:47 p.m. Thinking son accepted a FB friend request from someone's hijacked account and now he's on his way to meet who he thinks is someone from grade school but is actually this crazed woman who still believes my son is her son. 

1:17 p.m. Thinking someone on son's dorm floor brought in left over fireworks from the fourth of July. And they set them off in my son's dorm room.

2:10 p.m. Positive son's phone exploded in his pocket like that post about that kid in California that someone posted on FB this morning.

3:12 p.m. Son must be sleeping. He's been sleeping all day because he has sleeping sickness from a tsetse fly. No matter that this hasn't happened in America since 1966.

4:09 p.m. I call husband at work. Husband doesn't have a chance to talk because I do all the talking. I talk-convince myself that if anything had happened, son's school would have called me. Before hanging up the phone, I thank husband for wise advice.

5:05 p.m. No other explanation other than son must be lost. Due to amnesia from being hysterically blinded from homesickness. Chastise myself for encouraging and enabling strong mother/son bond that he misses me to this degree.

5:48 p.m. Try to eat dinner. Only able to take liquid nourishment. Sigh and accept loss of appetite. Wanted to lose 8-12 lbs anyway.

6:10 p.m. Decide to go for walk to relieve agitation. Halfway into walk, I receive a vision. It is of my son falling out of loft bed due to night time confusion over new surroundings. Race home, heart pounding.

7:15 p.m. Hear husband's phone ding. It's text from son. Son says "busy day. bought books. went for 4 mile run. met with friends and on way to bonfire. having a great time. "

7:17 p.m. I ask husband to text son back, tell him sorry I haven't had a chance to call all day. Glad he's having fun, if I have time, I'll try to squeeze a call in tomorrow.

7:26 p.m. Doing dinner dishes, heart begins to race. Wishing I had discussed importance of bonfire safety before son left for college.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to Be a Plants vs Zombies Champion

~A post from Auggie~

Hi, everybody. I had a good summer. I want to tell you about this one game, Garden Warfare.

I just bought the new Plants vs Zombies video game with my own money. My wallet is empty now but I wanted this game and I counted down the days till it was at the store. I waited days since I found out.

There are different classes of characters in this game. There are 8 main different character classes. 4 for each side of a Plant or a Zombie. In each of the 8 different classes there's 6 other things you can be of those guys, which is cool.

It's good for if you don't want your kids to play bad games, violent games like Modern Warfare because this is like kind of comical and not all about shooting. And it's zombies. And it's goofy.

So then you can buy this for your kids if they want a third person shooter. That means you can shoot and see around your guys. You can see yourself. Instead of your arms being the one to do it someone else does it. My mom calls it quote quote "Detached shooting."

This game builds team work b/c you have to work together to achieve the goal. The team the plants try to stop the zombies. There are different game modes which means ways to play the game, like there's one that works like capture the flag, then there's other ones where you like proceed through checkpoints.
One plus it doesn't say kill or death it says "Vanquish." My mom likes that part too, no one quote quote "Dies" my mom says "I don't want you to do a game where you make people die."

Oh, its' 3:14 3.14 PI!

Okay, back to Plants vs Zombies. Remember I said there's different modes? There's Team Vanquish mode and it has the word team right in it. You try to vanquish 50 of the other team.

And then there's Gardens and Graveyards mode which is kind of hard to explain but basically the plants have like 6 gardens. And then the zombies try to take them over one by one. And then at the end, on the last garden there's a big objective you have to do. Like, plant bombs or destroy the megaflower or get zombies into the mansion. You want zombies in the mansion if you're a zombie.

The main point of the game is there is no one story mode. It's multiplayer the humans get the plants to protect them from the zombies eating their brains.

How do you win? For mode Team Vanquish you have to get 50 vanquishes of the other team.

In Gardens and Graveyards, it's different for who wins depending on the side you're on. Plants or Zombies. There are different ways to win depending on who you are.

For the Zombies: you do this: You try to capture all the plants gardens.
For the plants: you do this: You try to stop the zombies from capturing the gardens. You only win by points.
If you worry about violence, NO ONE eats humans or brains. There are no humans in the game, if the moms want to know that.

I like it because I play the original plants vs zombies game and I was excited when I heard when it was coming as a third person shooter. There's also secret jokes, and funny surprise things like graffiti saying "PLANTZ R STOOPID".

For the plants there is the Chomper, the Sunflower, the Pea shooter, and the Cactus character.
For the Zombies, there is the Engineer, the All-star, the Scientist, and the Foot Soldier.
My favorite for each one: the Chomper is Count Chompula who gets health every time he eats a guy. Health is how much you have before you get dead. And the sunflower is the sun pharaoh. Who shoots like a triple shot.

The Pea Shooter, is the law pea. It's like a sheriff wild west guy who shoots like six shots of peas like the vegetable that do a lot of damage. The Cactus is the future cactus who can charge his shots, like charge it up.

My favorite zombies: for the Foot Soldier the tank commander. The scientist Dr. Chester. The Engineer, the Electrician. And for the All-Star, the Hockey Star.

You have to be age 10 and up to play. Girls and boys will both like it.

My favorite thing is how you can customize your guys with mustaches and hats to make them really cool.

The graphics are so good and I like how it's sunny and not dark graphics.
Also, this game is not very hard to learn. It is a great gift for a kid.

Thank you. Bye.
Here is my best tip: Every character has different playing styles, so find the one that is right for you. Try to find the guy that is just for you.
from Auggie
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Anyone Can Blog: BlogHer14 10x10

If you've been curious, wondering about why I started blogging, and why blogging is one of the most important things I've ever done in my life, then you'll like this. It's the Q & A you never knew you wanted.

Thank you, to the wonderful people that have come into my life because of Good Day Regular People. There is no way that I can give words to how you have helped to make my life happier. All I can say, is I appreciate your words, your time, and your friendship, so much.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Racism Does to the Young

There are things that are painful to know about myself. Reminders of who I once was flash in my mind.

The shooting of Michael Brown and our reactions to Ferguson have brought my life to the forefront.

Some say that the goal for a society is to be color blind. I love the different colors that we are and the gift of cultural difference that we bring into each others' lives. I don't want to not see your brown, yellow, bronze, beige, coffee, and all the tones in between.

When I read of this abomination of hate toward people because of the color they are, it takes me back to when I was a child. I don't like remembering myself at that time. When I would let people say things to me and allow them to ask me questions that were personal and rude, and how I said nothing. By not saying no, I was letting them do the very thing that we are allowing people to do now. To dismiss those that are not white.

This week, I am broken, unable to do much more than think of times in my life of when I was silent. I was seven years old when my school began serving tacos for lunch. The kids would throw them on my tray, laughing, “You must love today! It's your kind of food!” I would say nothing, my face burning red that I could feel the sweat prickle on my scalp. But I never spoke on my behalf and that of others. I was learning that to not be like them, was deserving of ridicule.

I am different. I am less than.

When my high school boyfriend's parents told him he couldn't date me anymore because his father's advice, “Stick to your own kind, Chris,” was more of a command.

I am something less than what a parent wanted for their child.
Driving with my brothers when we were teenagers, we were used to being pulled over for no reason. I would want to ask what we did wrong, not understanding yet that what we did wrong was ride 3 and 4-deep.

I am powerless at the hand of the law.

I remember these stories, and I am ashamed of my silence. A lifetime of being treated as lesser, and accepting it.

By not saying anything, I was saying it was acceptable.

I have learned to be complacent, invisible. Even to myself.

Racism over a lifetime will do that to the young.

It makes you question yourself, because you're told You're too sensitive. We were just kidding. You imagined it. Stop making a big deal.

I had been taught to not even be right about my own feelings.

But with Ferguson and the ensuing dialogue I'm seeing the truth. Stories aligning with mine, like being teased about my name growing up. About clerks at stores asking me for an I.D. when I use a credit card after I've just seen three white women in front of me use theirs without being asked for the same thing. When I would go to a walk-in clinic, and the receptionist handed me a card for a Spanish interpreter assuming I didn't speak English.

The racial injustice in our country is not a delusion of people of color. Neither is prejudice and bigotry. Talking about race in our country right now is the most highly charged I've seen this nation in years. We are finding courage and validation in the sharing of our stories. This year has become the defining year for many of us, the line is drawn, on what we will and won't take any longer in how we are treated and spoken to.

These times are ugly, and they are beautiful. I see the grand actions of ours, of coming together, and I feel how it all begins with a decision.

For too long, I learned to feel ashamed of who I was because I was desperate to be accepted by the world I lived in.

It's not happening any more. I'm no longer the scared, sad, seven-year-old girl, that racism taught me to be. And today, I speak for her. The one who wanted nothing more that to find love and acceptance from those around her.

One of the worst things about racism is what it does to young people.

~Alvin Ailey
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Juice on Juice Fasts

Because I'm a blogger, I get a lot of product offers. Boxes come to my house with salad dressing, small journalling notebooks, foot scrubs, environmentally friendly detergent, and this month, juices for a juice cleanse. The products I get aren't for sponsored posts, they're just samples, so the amounts are small, just enough for trying.

I was excited about the juice cleanse. I had just joked on twitter that for my shorts to fit this summer I either had to 1.) lose ten pounds in two hours or 2.) rent a medieval torture rack for my clothes. I had heard of juice cleanses – you either love them and post fifty pictures on FB of your new beautiful juiced body, or you hate them, and post one hundred updates on FB about how much you hate juice cleanses and the horse they rode in on.

The juice cleanse package promised to detoxify my body (can anything detoxify a gummy bear loving woman?) and clear my liver, colon, and intestinal track of its many toxins. In the juicing process, I would lose 3-7 pounds during the fast.

I'll be honest with myself and you, I could lose a few pounds. And break a few bad habits. And lose some toxins. I couldn't wait to cleanse with juice! There was nothing to lose except the bread dough disguising as my stomach. At this point, the juice company's promises sounded so promising I didn't care if I hated the juice fast or not. How hard could it be? I crossed my fingers and opened the box. The letter inside said that if I stuck to the juice fast for a total of fourteen days, I could lose ten pounds.

Since I'm a worrier it's no surprise that I first had to google “risks of juice fasts” because I didn't want to be headlining our small town newspaper with “Mom of Three DEAD from Juice Fast Fad.” Not the way I want to go. I'd rather die choking on a Lindt 100 percent dark chocolate bar – at least that way everyone could say that I died doing what I loved, eating chocolate.

Based on my quick internet research, juice cleanses are pretty much the same – made up of cold pressed vegetables and fruits, some with added fiber from grasses. The kit I received contained nine bottles, 8 fluid ounces each at only 100 calories a bottle. What I saw at first glance was less than appealing, but the ingredient list was impressive. Kale, spinach, clover sprouts, wheat grass, parsley, romaine, celery, and cucumber with a squirt of lemon. I like vegetables. I could do this.

I unpacked the white plastic bottles, but I couldn't help thinking that the contents looked like skimmed algae from the pond at the park here. I had heard how juice cleanses made you feel energized and gave you a radiant complexion -- who's not ready for that -- but could I get it down? I could barely look at how the film clung to the container.

You're supposed to complete the juice fast in three days, with a total of nine bottles required. There is a preparatory routine you follow to get your “insides” ready for the juice fast. The day before, you eat light. You stick to baked fish or poached chicken. I did just that and then I lined up the bottles of liquefied vegetables in the refrigerator so they'd be chilled, the package suggested cold for peak enjoyment. I'm all for enjoying my experiences.

When the alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. Monday, I popped open my eyes and was ready to start. I was to have one juice in place of a meal, three times in one day, and no caffeine, cigarettes, or alcohol. Still in my pajamas, I went to the refrigerator and unscrewed the first bottle of the day and took a sip. It was thick, sledgey, and I had to either sip all day long, or get it down in as few gulps as possible. I got it over with and slammed it down. Despite its thickness, it was good, with a sweet aftertaste. I'd try to sip the lunch one and make it last.

The 8 ounce bottle kept me full until 8:30 a.m. That's when I wanted a doughnut. But I stuck to the program because I wanted that ten pounds in 14 days promise. This was hard, because there was no new sense of renewed energy. When I looked in the mirror, there was no radiant complexion, either. I just saw a woman that wanted a bavarian cream filled doughnut. The hours crawled by, and all I had to look forward to was another 8 ounces of pond sledge at noon.

12:00 came, I fished the second bottle of liquid silt out of the refrigerator, and was so hungry or thirsty or just without calories that I drank it in one fell swoop. This time, my hunger pangs were back by 2:00. I looked outside my kitchen window and the trees looked like big fat crunchy pretzel rods. The leaves looked like broccoli flowerettes just awaiting cheez whiz.

You know what it's easy to learn? That a juice fast is not the time to log on to Pinterest for mealtime ideas.

At 3:00 I listened to my children crunching juicy apples and munching kettle cooked extra thick potato chips in the kitchen. I was strong and walked out, leaving them to their food party. I'd be okay, after all, it was almost 5:00 and time for another yummy pureed salad. At 4:59 p.m., I opened the last bottle of the day and drank it, fast. Again, a good tasting drink, no matter how ugly the consistency. I made dinner for my family and the smell of pork chops, broasted potatoes and sliced peaches was killing me. But I was determined. I sat at the table and was fed on good conversation and warm family love. HA! I was starving. My youngest heard my stomach growling and said, “Mom?! Was that you?? You need to eat really bad!” I lied and told him I was fine, fine, oh hohohoho Mama is so fine. And starting to feel delirious.

Truthfully, the last time I was this hungry was two weeks before my wedding when I stopped eating to fit into my princess cut wedding dress. My stomach growled again, my son asked me if I was okay since my stomach was “making really, really loud noises, mom.”

I usually stay up until midnight or later working on the computer, and I'll mindlessly have a bag of chips or a snackpack of the kids lunch stashes. I had the energy that night to go the full mile, but I put myself to bed early to end my hunger misery. I lay my head on my pillow and prayed that sleep would overtake me and help me survive these hours of hunger.

I awoke at 5:30 a.m. and started the routine again. Three juices, three times that day. I felt energetic but I think it was a manic phase facilitated by low blood sugar. Day #2 was over none too soon for me and I went to bed at 8:30 p.m., again with prayers to anyone above to hit me hard with a deep sleep stick. I dreamed of Easter hams, mashed potatoes, and watermelon balls.

Day #3, I slammed three juices throughout the day. I did not look good in the mirror. I looked sallow and really, you've heard the expression, your face or your ass? I think I need my face more. I was looking like Yzma from Emperor's New Groove. You could cut paper with my cheekbones.

I made it, though. Three days of nothing but three bottles of juice. Overall, I wish I could do the juice cleanse all the time, every once in awhile. It works because you starve yourself. With its clear restrictions of no food allowed, you of course lose weight. I did go to bed hungry, and that might be a good thing to do once a week. I didn't experience the energy high promised and I never saw the radiant flush of detoxification, but less handfuls of gummy bears throughout my day must count for something.

What I learned from my mini juice cleanse is that I can live without my sugar and late night boredom snacking, and that going to bed hungry one night a week won't kill me. I liked the taste of the juices, I can see maybe having one a day for breakfast.

Just as long as there isn't a special on cream filled doughnuts at the store that day.

*This was not a sponsored post since no product was named and no one gave me any money to starve myself. I didn't even lose weight, either. I just got dizzy and heard a high pitched squeal starting on Day #2.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reasons Why "Reach Out" is Not As Easy As It Sounds

By now, everyone has heard of Robin Williams' passing. It's been sad news, heartbreaking for all of us. Robin Williams was a man who was universally loved. He made us feel like giggly third graders with his wild stream of consciousness and his obvious joy at making us laugh. He was our friend.

We felt free, happy, and without a thought to anything else when we watched Robin Williams. That he lived a lifetime with depression was no secret. Neither was his history with substance abuse. We knew that the combination of both in an addictive personality was a perpetual walk on a tightrope. But yet, when we learned that he had died, we clutched our chests.

Not our Robin Williams. Not Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin's Genie, O Captain My Captain!


Within minutes of learning that the cause of death was suspected suicide, there were social media postings questioning why depressed people don't reach out. Why didn't he reach out. Why don't people who are suicidal reach out? Just reach out.

Necessary advice, without a doubt. But there are reasons why reaching out is not just that. Talking to a friend, making a call for help. What stops people?

Much. Much stops people.

What could possibly stop someone from seeking help for something as important as life? How about-

fear of judgment
loss of face
lack of finances, resources, health care
loss of relationship
possible turning of information against you to take away your children or losing your job

A lot is at stake. And a lot of ability is presumed. With depression, you're not able to think straight. You're not who you are -- and what you are now is desperate, despondent, confused, and alone. Why not reach out? Because it's mental illness and mental illness is still not seen as body illness, not even in 2014.

Would a friend or someone you're dating drop you over high blood pressure? No. But if you lean in and trust them with something about you, like you're afraid you might act on a dark impulse? Would they hang around?

I remember a morning only a few years ago, when a friend was over. It was during a particularly bad cycle for me and putting on a happy face was depleting me. I couldn't keep on anymore, and so I confided in her about my depression. Her response? "Don't say that. You're not depressed -- you have a great sense of humor. No one's going to like you this way." Depression is messy, and it scares people.

Could you lose custody of your children over glaucoma? Probably not. But in a heated court battle, throw in words like "mental instability" and "suicidal ideation" or any information from medical mental health history, and you'd have a right to worry.

Can an employer fire you or replace you for knee surgery? Almost not. But how favorably will you be looked upon for future and increased responsibility and promotion if you've disclosed a mental health history? I'd put my money on Average Joe being the one to receive work accolades.

If people don't reach out it's because the information they're sharing with someone regarding their mental health can be used against them. Past spouses can bring up a depression history, a friend can turn others against you with whisperings on how you will drain energy from those around you, work may look past you as someone who is unable to handle job stress.

Reaching out takes confiding in a source. And often, that source is unpredictable in their guarding of your information and in their reaction to your news.

Those of us with depression history, in my case -- a lifelong history -- have been burned by the risk of reaching out. To be fair, I've also been fortunate, I have had a good therapist who helped me to see things differently and explained my work, which is that of daily vigilance and guarding my surroundings. But the times that I've been squashed by the reactions of others has made me wary of those I let into my life.

Because of time, quality therapy, and a newfound support system, I've become comfortable with my history. I no longer have the shame I had when I was a teenager and up through my 30s, when I'd look down at the ground when confessing my life with depression. Through therapy, I've learned what causes depression and I work hard, every day, to keep watch on who is in my world, and I take care with who enters my circle.

Why don't people just reach out?

Because of exhaustion.
Because of the feeling of drowning.
Because of the risk.
Because of the shame when you already feel less than others, it's the risk of losing so much, that makes many of us unable to gather the courage to connect outside of ourselves, and that right there, leads to even more isolation and eventual withdrawal.

To reach out is the scariest thing a person with depression will ever do, but it's the one thing we need  most to recover. Why don't people reach out? Because reaching out is hard.

If we reach out to you, it's with a desperate hope for your support. Please don't disappoint us.

"Recovery can take place only within the context of relationships, it cannot occur in isolation." ~ Judith Herman

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
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Monday, August 11, 2014

As Summer Slows...

It's cloudy, overcast here today. Reminding me how summer is winding down. It's been a good run, this one, I tried to stretch it out, make it last, fooling myself that I could make the ten weeks feel more like ten months, as our family gets ready for our first born to launch.

He leaves for college in two weeks. I won't think about it until then (ha!) but actually, in truth, everyone in this house is excited and thrilled for him. He was accepted into his first choice, and it is a lifelong dream come true.

All this is made easier because he's ready. In his words, "Anyone who says summer is going too fast isn't going to Madison."

So there, take that, everyone.

Back to the swing of things, might as well get started now. Here we are, Monday In Case You Missed It, (just like we left off in May... that seems so long ago now)

--Super find here: 10 Bits of Stellar Writing Advice by J.R.Tolkien via Writers in the Storm

--If you're curious about google+ and how it works, this is gold, from Peg Fitzpatrick, "Five Easy Steps To Bake The Perfect Google Plus Post"

--A breathtaking read, "It's All One Life" from BaddestMotherEver (believe me, this one, you don't want to pass up)

There you have it, the weekly internet wrap-up. And yes, I usually do four links, but... baby steps into this return from summer, you know?

I love you all.


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Saturday, August 9, 2014

You Can Order Anything, But Just Don't Order A Shake

My middle son has been looking for a job this summer. After weeks of looking, nothing panned out. Like when I was job hunting my senior year in high school. I had applied to pizza places, clothing stores, ear piercing kiosks, and still, not a word back. But I finally got a call from the ice cream parlor in the strip mall a mile away from my house. They wanted me to come in for an interview -- I told the manager I could be there in half an hour and then ran to get back on the bus for the third time that day.
I'd be starting college in the fall and I needed this job. Please please please, I mumbled to myself on the ride there, please let them give me this  job. As the bus lurched at each of its stops, I tried to remember what I had said my qualifications were. I must have filled out five or ten job applications that month, and as the weeks went on and the call backs never came, my desperation along with my embellishments on the applications, grew.
I wasn't in a panic, I just wanted to be ready with the answers that would match my stated qualifications. In case they would ask me how strong my German was (did I say I spoke German for the nanny job or for the ice cream job?), or if they needed instances of how many times I had changed a flat tire (did I say I did that for the Quiky Lube job or the Tires America job?). I couldn't remember if I said I had churned butter down on the farm, I had to get this job and pass this interview to do it. I was going to fake ice cream sundae making until I made it, which hopefully, I actually would be, and soon. Before I hung up, the woman on the phone from The Ice Cream Factory told me to walk past the front counter and go to the office in the back.

Growing up, I had the kind of life where I've never had the luxury of being picky about the jobs I took, otherwise, I would have turned on my heels and left as soon as I saw the counter girl's face look up at me, bewildered, when I walked in and asked, "Is there an office?"
"You want an office?" she stared at me. "We have a room, in the back, where we keep our coats and stuff. You mean there?"

"Yeah." I started to feel nervous. "Yeah. I'm here for a job interview."

"Job interview?" she tried not to laugh. "They're getting fancy." She pushed open the swinging door to the back for me. And there on the other side, just like she had said, was a room filled with coats, old cardboard boxes, a folding table against the wall, and a gray time clock next to a sink with a picture of dirty hands and big red X over them.
I was in "the office". The room was empty and on the wall was a schedule of hours taped above the time clock. There were only five employee names on the grid, and they were all getting a lot of hours. This could be really good for me.

After ten minutes alone, a short, red-haired woman came in. Breathless and wiping what looked like chocolate off of her mouth with her white apron, she walked toward me. "I'm Sue, the manager, when are you available to start?"

I heard angels sing. I answered, "Immediately. Right away. Soon as you need me!" I made a silent wish for all future job interviews to be just like this. I smiled, it was impossible to hide my relief.

"Good. Good. Put a hair net on from over there and you can start by helping Marcy close up tonight. I've been here since 7 this morning and have to get home. So, if you're staying, I can leave. "
Whoa. Tonight? I didn't plan on working at an ice cream parlor tonight. But as I said, I've always had to say yes to work, and so I did.

"Marcy's shift was up two hours ago but Matt didn't come in for his shift, so you can replace him. Go up front and she'll tell you what to do. Don't forget an apron from over there," Sue pointed to the corner. "And your hair: UP."

"Over there" was a rod with aprons hanging from a single hanger. I chose the least stained one and tied it around my neck. "You take your own apron home and wash it yourself. If I have to wash it for you, it's 5 bucks," she warned.

I stuffed my hair into the brown hair net and walked out front to relieve Marcy. She gave me a look of  'yeah, it's a job and no way you'll ever get fired from here' that made me feel I could handle whatever ice cream arrangement was requested.

"It's really not that hard here, " Marcy said as she began training me. "Just cover the ice cream when we close. Over there is the mixer," she pointed to an industrial sized gunmetal silver appliance in the corner that looked like something left over from a 1950's bomb shelter. "Make sure to wipe that down after you unplug it. It can't get wet. Wipe the counter, soak the scoops, sweep and mop the floor, gather the garbage, write down how much ice cream you went through, close out the drawer and then... wait, are you closing?"
Was I closing? Oh, hell no. Did I say I knew how to close on the application? "Umm, I don't remember if I do or not. Is it hard to close?"

"No, it's not hard, just a pain in the ass." Marcy acted like a preschooler could do it. "You have to take the money and put it in an envelope from the bank and make sure it gets to the bank at 9 the next day so you have all that money with you all night, so yeah that sucks if someone jumps you on your way home, you're SOL."

Dear God, I prayed. I hope I didn't say I knew how to close. I had to ride the bus home every night, I didn't want to do it with someone else's cash.

"So, that's it," she said. So far, things didn't sound too unmanageable. But then Marcy got serious. She said, "Oh. There's one thing. If someone comes in and asks for a shake. That's really bad."

"Why? Are they hard to make?"

Marcy pressed her lips tight before answering, "Not hard to make but -- I guess it's dangerous. You get, kind of like this shock. Not really a little one, either. I shouldn't say that. Put it this way, it's big enough so that you know you're getting a shock."

"Like, electrical?" This had to be wrong.

"Uh-huh. From electricity. Sue says there's a short in the mixer and they cost like hundreds to replace because they don't want to buy a  new one so we just have to keep using it. It's really important your hands are never ever wet when you make a shake."

This couldn't be true. Marcy was just probably electricity sensitive, like Joey Volmer from 3rd grade who would cry out for his mama whenever we rubbed our feet along our carpeted classroom and then touched him with our fingertips.
I couldn't concentrate as Marcy started showing me how to take inventory. A shock, a shock, a shock, was all I kept thinking, my heart softening for Joey Volmer. Just then, two kids walked in and Marcy side-whispered to me, "Say your prayers. As soon as anyone comes in. Just start, Please God don't let them ask for a shake."

Marcy put on a bright smile and stood tall while she began, "Hi! Welcome to Ice Cream Factory! What can we get you tonight?"
My heart pounds, thumps, I sweat. Please God...

"We'll take two chocolate malts. Concrete thick."

Marcy turned around and stared at me, she mouthed, OH MY GOD SHAKES.

I wanted someone there if I was going to have smoke coming out of my orifices, so I decided to find out just how bad the shocks were while I had a co-worker with me. I breathed deep and said, "Marcy, let me make them."

Marcy looked down at her feet as if she had just sentenced me to death row. "All right, but, make sure your hands are dry."

I heard taps playing with each step I took toward the silver mixer in the corner. Somehow, it had grown to twice the size than it was when I first looked at it. I wiped my hands on my apron, so wet with sweat, but I wanted to be extra extra extra sure they were bone dry. I stood in front of the mixer and looked up at the shake and malt recipes taped to the wall. First, I put two scoops of ice cream into the silver tumbler, then, I poured in the milk, finally, the malt powder. The time had come for the last step. I had to flip the switch.

I held the silver cup while I clicked the silver knob down. Nothing. For half a second. Then, a zap I felt clear to my fillings. This did not feel right and was so much more than just a small zing. I popped my finger away from the knob and let the mixer run on its own, the contents flying sideways with no hand to steady it.

I apologized to Marcy and told her I had to leave, and I meant it.

Tossing my hair net and apron on to the other side of the swinging door, I walked out, shaking my head, amazed. It wasn't the shock (pun intended) from almost being electrocuted that had me in disbelief, I mean, the size of the electric current that just ran through me could have doubled as a defibrillator. It wasn't that at all.
The true shock was in meeting someone that needed a job more than I did.
* * *

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

10 Minutes on 10 Years: BlogHer14 's 10x10 Project

As part of BlogHer's 10th Anniversary celebration, 13 bloggers were invited to present their perspective on what the last ten years of blogging have been, as well as what they think the next 10 years in blogging will bring. This celebration will honor a group of bloggers who represent so many of our community members, our goals, and our successes. I was incredibly honored to be considered as a BlogHer 10x10 presenter. The following is the text of my presentation. I am forever indebted to my readers, my blogging community, and to BlogHer for this opportunity. I take no part of this journey, especially the amazing people I've met through blogging, for granted.
It is an honor to be here as part of BlogHer's 10x10 initiative with the extraordinary bloggers celebrating BlogHer's 10th anniversary. Thank you.

When I was in the first grade, while my sister was at school, I took one of her English books and wrote my name under "author" in black crayon. So the cover of the book read Tales From Shakespeare by Alexandra. I had no idea who Shakespeare was -- all I knew is that I wanted to be the one who told the stories that went with the pictures inside the pages of this book.
I have always wished to be a storyteller.
One morning in January 2010, my life was about to change. I started a blog, Good Day Regular People. I began typing my first post but right before I hit publish, my palms grew sweaty. Would there be flashing lights, would sirens blare: Imposter Alert! You're not a writer! I pushed publish anyway, and surprise! No computer explosion. Instead, just my first post. I have been blogging and in love with it for close to five years now.
I'd rather not tell you everything but the buzz word these days is “authentic.” So, I am “authentically” sharing here about my blog's first header, or “the top part” as I called it, it was a stock photo of a carp. For carpe diem. Let me just sum everything up this way: ANYONE can start a blog.

That first year of blogging I was like a wobbly legged toddler. Some days I pulled myself along with the help of others, other days it was a lone stagger to independence. Struggling to figure out how to link to other sites, brought to tears because I couldn't get an image to center. And the worst, heart failure after receiving an email about a photo that I used from google images because someone told me that a photo without a watermark meant it was free. It doesn't. A bill for $800 clarified that.
My blog archives house the infamous Week #3 on my blog, where within the span of seven days, I published a nut-free recipe, a self appointed book review, a not so wordless Wednesday, a sonnet, and a post by my then seven year old son. I gave myself Sunday off. I was in a love affair with the publish button. My dashboard had 36 posts lined up and ready to go. Thank God I had the sanity left to know that posting every two hours would have turned me into an blogging urban legend.

But there was something else I learned that first year. The more time you spend with something, the more familiar it becomes and I was learning my way around the dashboard. In my second year, I had a style that was emerging. And as much as looking back on old posts makes me cringe, it also shows me how much I've learned.

I started blogging to tell my stories. What I never expected, was the community of support and encouragement. I have met the best people on the planet. I love these people and if I talk about them anymore, I'll cry.

One day, a reader left a comment on one of my posts, “You should submit this to BlogHer.” I thought, First, How nice are you?? Second, I'm not a writer. And third, I don't know how to submit anything online. But I had to try. Without knowing what uploading a post was, I did it. This was a huge lesson: Don't let lack of technical knowledge hold you back from opportunity - you can learn how to do anything in the world with google. Besides, an afternoon spent in HTML hell just leaves you stronger.

A week later, I received an email from Rita Arens, BlogHer's deputy editor, she said, “We'd like to syndicate your post.” NEVER in a million years, did I think this would happen. I knew Rita from following her on her blog, Surrender, Dorothy. She's a talented, gifted writer. And no push over. On my blog, I didn't even know how to hyperlink yet, but I had done something of my own, and it felt good.

Syndication on BlogHer was the first time that I had been published and the first time someone paid me for my words. It was also the first time that I started to think of myself as a writer. When BlogHer's check came in the mail with their logo up on the left I took it to the bank. Like drove it in my car like a passenger. Again, claiming authenticity, I'll share that I had no choice but to let the teller know that this was a payment for my writing. Because I wrote. Because I was a writer. Who wrote things. And got paid.

On BlogHer's About Page, you'll see this, “... to facilitate and curate a community that empowers our members and creates value for all.” That part “ empower our members. “ BlogHer had just done that for me and I could feel it in my bones. Being syndicated had blown the doors wide open to my life by showing me my value.

BlogHer gave me courage, and I began to write for the purpose of submitting. I sent in my syndicated essay for consideration in a women's anthology, The HerStories Project. This is something far beyond anything I had ever had the confidence to do before BlogHer. My essay was accepted for the anthology and I was now a published author.

In 2011, there was an email in my inbox from BlogHer congratulating me for being chosen to read as a Voice of The Year. I was to present in front of the world's largest social media conference for women. Could I do this? Could I really do this? I opened that email at 7 a.m and I had to spend the rest of the morning at the book fair acting normal when my brain was screaming holy cow I'M BLOGHER VOTY COMMUNITY KEYNOTE! I felt something I hadn't felt in a long time: PRIDE.

San Diego 2011 was my first BlogHer conference. When I arrived my heart was pounding like a rabbit's. I entered the conference hotel lobby and was knocked back by what I saw: so many bloggers! You hear about the numbers that attend BlogHer, but it's not until your first conference that the count becomes real. I froze in the midst of it all. That pesky voice from 2010 came back, Imposter Alert! You don't belong here! I wanted to run for the door and catch the cab back to the airport but when I turned toward the lobby exit, I saw Polly Pagenhart of LesbianDad.

It may have been the early evening sun setting behind her, but I swear there was a halo of light around her head. I recognized Polly, and she recognized me and in a Mother Theresa act of kindness, she stood in front of me and just opened her arms, grinning. Yes, I ran to her. And BlogHer has been like that for me since. Welcoming, enveloping, supportive.

Up until 2011, I had been telling people that all of this good stuff with BlogHer was luck. But that's a disservice to BlogHer. BlogHer is a network of women who offer their knowledge, experience and support. I couldn't keep saying coincidence. It was time to change how I thought about myself.

In 2012, inspired by BlogHer, I took a huge leap. I proposed a panel for BlogHer. It was accepted. In 2013, I got even braver, and co-hosted a BlogHer Room of Your Own. I now had the experience of speaking in front of people several times, so I reached for another mountain. I auditioned to read in a show sponsored by BlogHer called Listen To Your Mother. I made the cast.

Fueled by the experience of working and presenting with BlogHer and Listen To Your Mother, I pushed my limits once more. My passion has always been storytelling and I have long been a fan of TheMoth, the New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. I pitched a story to them and two months later, I heard back. They wanted to talk. It's been two years now that I've toured with them as a mainstage storyteller.
I've always felt out of my place in my life, but when I'm on stage, telling a story it feels more like home than anywhere else. Feeling confident from storytelling on stage, I took a deep breath and reached for the stars: I applied to bring Listen To Your Mother to my city. I heard the voice of 2010 again Imposter! but at the same time... I had been taking leaps of faith since I began blogging. And I have been surprising myself since. I was doing things I had never done before. I began reading my essays on our local public radio station. All of this, is something I never would have seen for myself before BlogHer.

I'm NOT going to say I was lucky because that would exclude all of you from the process, and it would negate my part in promoting my work.

But I know that I am here because of support.

I am here because of possibility.

I am here because of opportunity.

I am every blogger who has dreamed bigger things for themselves.

I am what can happen when you plug into the powerful resource that BlogHer is.

Four years ago, I taught myself how to blog because I didn't want to sit and wait for something to happen. Since then, I have entered arenas unfamiliar and daunting, with all of the uncomfortable feelings of doubt that come with growth. I submit my work regularly now, and experience rejection, along with accomplishment. When someone replies to my writing with, “No thank you,” I write them something else. And while I was the one who first put my work where it could be seen, it was through community and support that I now have the life of storytelling that I dreamed of that afternoon forty years ago when I tried to be Shakespeare.

Before BlogHer, I had never been published, nor auditioned, nor presented on stage. BlogHer gave me the opportunity for all of those things. I am doing more than I ever thought I could, and the hugeness of that is bigger than how hard anything is to learn.

BlogHer has been the force behind me. And not just me, but everyone here today. This amazing group of women provide me with opportunity and experience, they've given me community, and resources. I owe them for introducing me, to me. The more I write, the more I get to know myself.

Today, BlogHer asks, What will the next ten years of blogging bring? That answer depends on what we say yes to.

Submit your writing for Voices of the Year, send your posts for BlogHer syndication, propose your ideas for BlogHer panels and a Room of Your Own. Reach out and connect -- you have an incredible opportunity while you're here at this conference. And if you don't find what you're looking for, create it.

Continue to work and to get your work in front of people.

The 10x10 presenters are here today because they are extraordinary people with extraordinary stories.

I'm not extraordinary as much as I am someone who represents the possibilities in all of us to do things we've never done. I rode the wave of confidence that BlogHer instilled in me, their acknowledgment and recognition of my work translated into powerful belief in my ability.

Ten years ago, Elisa, Lisa, and Jory, set into motion a world of community and opportunity for women in social media. They have encouraged and supported me and thousands of others, and because of that, lives have changed.

BlogHer, you taught me that just because I haven't done something before doesn't mean I can't learn how to do it now. As a little girl who wished with all her heart to one day be someone who told stories, my life is like a dream. To not only have that, but to also stand before you today, and tell of the journey leaves me overcome, and grateful. I am living my passion.

THANK YOU, BlogHer, for a decade of empowerment, opportunity, deep friendships, and your support. 

You made me believe in myself, and you helped me find my people.  
I am indebted, and I wish you a very Happy 10th Anniversary.
* * *

Monday, August 4, 2014

Anniversary Post

I held my mother's hand, looking at her face inches from my own. She was in that place that is suspended between worlds. None of her six children knew yet, only I was there with my son while she was still with us, but leaving.

I, along with my sister, had been with her for six days now. But, at this moment, my sister and brother were just yards away, in a room down the hall. My mother's breaths were coming one after the other quickly. My feet knew the right thing to do, to call my sister and brother but with the room holding only my son and his grandmother, the quiet called her to surrender.

In my other hand, I had my finger holding the place in a book that I had brought from her things. Reading to her from her beloved Spanish poetry, I hadn't closed the book since we began our six day vigil in hospice. Now, I held the book and walked over to bring the dozen roses I had brought earlier, something telling me to have them there. Bending down, my face hovering over hers, I arranged the half-open petals just under her chin. We had been listening to her breaths, coming fewer in between since before dawn that day, and with the last shallow exhales, I knew.

My mother was at the end of her life. To be there for that moment splits your reality, you are child, you are grown. The questions from both existences fly from your mind and strangle you. You want to cry "Mama!" but who you are now tells you, it won't stop anything. Your mother is gone. Things are real and unreal, and practicality requires that you press the button for the hospice nurse to come bedside with their stethoscope, and pronounce the time aloud that they need for their charts.

If I had grown up in the luxury of a typical Hallmark-card mother/child relationship, I would have tears of grief at this monumental loss. If I had had cold callous indifference at my mother's hand, then I might weep with relief, that finally, all was over.

But I had neither. My lifetime with my mother was one of mixed emotion... extreme on both ends, saturated with love and devotion as much as hurt by the intensity of our place in her life. My mother's love was love expressed in ways that a child could not comprehend. She was a tireless, determined woman who worked three jobs to give us what we never lacked: food, clothing, a warm house. She single-handedly raised six children in a country where she had to wait 10 years before feeling the security of being a U.S. citizen. Always working, she was never home, and the childhood I grew up with was one without a mother present. There was no other choice, I know that now.

I don't recall her working as much as I only remember her as never being home. I was a child. What did I know of feeding six children, what providing for a family as a single parent meant.

My father committed suicide after only four years in this country, leaving my mother with six of us. The oldest, just 18, the youngest, two months old, and the rest of us, scattered in between. My mother had no time for grief when she lost her husband. She had to find work to make up the income of two parents. She worried that if she couldn't provide for her family, America might send her back.

My mother would be gone in the early morning hours before any of us had a chance to see her. She would go from her day job straight to her evening job, coming home too late at night to set out our pajamas and rub us dry after our baths. When weekends came, she would be at work before the first bleary-eyed child awoke for Saturday morning cartoons. She worked while we were in the care of her mother, our grandmother. It was my grandmother who was there for the physical nurturing and lap sitting, the reading to us at night, and the prayers said before meals.

I never knew why my mother wasn't home, and when I was in the second grade, I grew envious of the children whose mothers lined up in station wagons to bring them home from school. I had no thought as to how things were paid for, where food came from, how a house was kept warm and safe. I only wanted a mother to walk me to my girl scout meetings like the other mothers, one to come along for school field trips.

I was a child then, what I wanted was for my mother to be home. How could I have known that that was her wish, too?

The six of us grew up. We left home. The only attachment we felt in leaving our house was the one formed with our grandmother. Children never wonder why there is food on the table, or why they have coats and boots to keep them dry in the winter. We don't understand that a house with heat comes by the way of work. It isn't until adulthood, when we are parents ourselves in a dual-income family with half the children that my mother had, that we ask ourselves with a lump in our throats, How did she do it all alone?

How did my mother keep six children fed and warm? How did she manage the care of so many things under the grief of losing a spouse in such an abrupt manner in a country where the language was as unfamiliar as the winter season? How was she able to raise children to value education and work? All of her children graduated from high school, four of the six going on to college.

I grew up not knowing my mother, nor why she was gone. There were no conversations that children have with their mothers while driving home from school, as I now do with mine. We never shared confidences while she pulled cookies out of the oven on a Saturday afternoon. There were no Sunday mornings waking up to a mother there, asking us if we slept well. She was working, with no other option open to her.

Our mother was a stranger. Without the core of casual I love you s that get tossed about in hours spent in home life. My mother had been given life, situation, circumstances; all adding up to me in the time spent without her, wondering if I mattered. Could any of the six of us, remember how many words she had spoken -- she was always so tired. Would we forget her profile, the one I caught a flash of one morning, as she ran out the door to catch the 6:00 a.m. bus? Would the day come, when we could no longer recall the sound of her breathing, beginning rapidly, then slowly steadying, as she'd fall asleep on the sofa while we watched Sunday afternoon shows around her; she still in her white nurse's aide uniform, home for the first time that week.

I grew up not knowing my mother. And on the day of her death, I clutched her poetry book to my chest and watched the hospice nurse with the stethoscope, pronouncing the time to something I already knew. The ache in my throat so real with the thoughts of a lifetime with her but never a minute to know her.

My mother was gone, and in the weeks that passed, not a morning came where I didn't open my eyes and think of all the time lost, and knowing, there was no other way it could have been different. I searched to know her, reading her books, her papers, her writings. I combed through her poems, love notes, cards.

And then I saw an envelope, peach colored. In the upper right corner, it read "3 a.m." and began, "To my children." The flap to the envelope stood open, time had broken the seal and made it useless.

I was scared to see more. It could be confession, it could be too much, and the irony of this feeling struck me: I wished to know more of her, and here, I feared knowing more than I wanted to. From the inside, I pulled out a note written in Spanish. At the familiarity of her beautiful, swirling penmanship, my throat broke open with sobs. I began reading, hearing her voice in the language we grew up hearing her speak,

My children, my angels sent to me from the heavens, I wish you to know that I loved you more than my life. I wish that when I die, it is to the sound of my poetry, with roses across my chest, in the final act of my life that was spent loving you.

Finally, the release of hot tears, she had asked for poetry! I remembered how I had read to her from her book of poems as she was dying. What was it that told me to read to her from this? I began to laugh, roses! They were there, the ones she had hoped for! I pressed her note against me. Her love for us had been there, in what we thought was absence. So powerful, that even with a lifetime without words, its strength broke through the hours spent away from us.

I had known my mother, down to the last minutes of her breaths.

* * *

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tumble For Me

I had seen before and after pictures on the boxes. You could have a sapphire or pink quartz; from grey and dull to shiny and ka-chiiiing in seconds. From the first time that I saw a commercial of children gathered in a circle, amid sounds of ooooh and ahhhh, I wanted and hoped for a rock tumbler. To make money by picking up rocks from a casual glance down on the ground and bringing them home to my rock tumbler -- what could be better than profitable fun??

I wanted a rock tumbler both for my own personal jewelry collection as well as a way of becoming the neighborhood jeweler. But despite the yearly appearance of this requested item on my Christmas, birthday, communion and special occasion most wanted gift lists,  I never did receive one. Not even the inferior RoseArt $12.99 model. (you say affordable, I say inferior)

Two of my three sons escaped my gem fever, but this June, my youngest began talking Rock to me. My eyebrows arched with cautious zeal. Did he mention garden stones? My breaths quickened when on a rainy afternoon he asked if we could visit a gem shop.

Oh, we will, I thought. And I’ll show you gems that will make you start shopping for colleges offering degrees in rockology.

We found a rock shop that was mere miles away. Once there, we opened drawer upon drawer, and the smell of dusty collections filled the air. In a corner, scattered among loose unmatched pebbles and stones, were dollar grab bags. We filled our arms with dollar grab bags because this was all potential money in the bank, or at least around my neck. Ye Olde Gem Shoppe, so full of “polishable” rocks that where my son saw adventures in discovery, I envisioned a pendant for every occasion. “What’s this?” "What's that one?" "Does this one polish nicely?" We wanted and needed to know.

"Those are rocks you tumble," answered the clerk on duty.

"How long do we polish them?"

"'till they’re polished," he said.

"How do you know which ones to pick out?"

"Whatever you think, sometimes, maybe, there's some gems in there."

“So, are you saying that any of these rocks in here can be polished and it will be shiny?”

“Yup. Just gotta polish them.”

"And did you say maybe gems?"

"It's happened."

“Do you sell rock polishers here?”

“Top shelf. To your right. What size?”

“What do you mean size? Don't we just buy one?"

“Different sizes -- small ones are $200. Drums are $85. Want it packed up with the $3 bags of rocks?”

“Oh. $285?  Just these small bags, then. Not really serious. Yet.”

We spend $29.10 and leave. My son tells me it’s too bad we can’t afford the big rock tumblers. But I have an idea. We can still get a rock tumbler. The $29.99 model deluxe from my youth one that is now $39.99 at the craft store and I HAVE A COUPON.

We run our quick errand and once back home, we set our Craft Store Tumbler on the kitchen table. We prepare to dump our rocks into the barrel. Plugging in what looks like a thermos from the atomic 1950′s, we notice that the dial panel is notched for four settings:

-Week 1.
-Week 2.
-Week 3.
-Week 4.

We look at each other, this must be a manufacturer error. Where these tumblers are made, in Ixonia, the word *week* must mean *hour.* Then my son reads the kit’s instructions, and it's spelled out:  Tumble for FOUR WEEKS.

We are to tumble for a lunar cycle.

A month? A month of a constantly plugged-in rock tumbler that is... constantly tumbling? This can't be right.

Reading further, we also need FOUR kinds of sand. In grades of a. ground b. fine c. finer and d. finest. You take the stones out after every week and add new sand, advancing up a grade. I swear this was never even hinted at in the rock party commercials of my youth.
The way this rock tumbles, is that besides a $600 electric bill and needing “special” sand, when we push Week 1 -- which we do, because we now own a rock tumbler -- the tumbler sounds like lilliputians are putting in a new road in our kitchen.

In a world where everything gets put out on the internet, how did this gem (pun intended) of parental caveat not make it out there? Sand. Electricity. FOR FOUR WEEKS. I mean, everyone waves their hands in the air over getting stiffed one French fry short at McDonald's, but no one thought to shout it out that for your kid to make a rock it costs you time, money, and more than some ten dollar bills. And unless you can get used to The Borrowers parking their cement mixer on your kitchen table for the next month, you might lose your mind.

I see now that the laughter so temptingly sold to us in the rock tumbler commercials was actually hyena like delirium from months of hearing scrape - bang - clunk -scrape - bang - clunk for the duration of 28 days. And I get it, from now on, I'll happily pay the jeweler whatever they want for their polished gems.

They've earned it.

scrape - bang - clunk - scrape - bang- clunk
we need some more sand, ma!
scrape - bang - clunk - scrape - bang - clunk
Dang, electricity went out again...

* * *


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