Monthly Archives: March 2012

Top 5 Mysteries of Parenting

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The fun continues on ParentSociety.com where my latest article “Top 5 Mysteries of Parenting” went live today.  It starts out like this:

Mysteries are a part of life. True mysterious occurrences are, all at once, puzzling, unexplainable, and strange. As a young person I obsessed over anomalies such as: Did it really say “Paul is dead” when a Beatles song was played backwards? And would the bad guys on Scooby Doo really have gotten away with it “if it wasn’t for those meddling kids?” As I matured, I moved on to more perplexing mysteries such as: How did they get those massive statues on Easter Island up and standing in a row? Is Jim Morrison really alive and well roaming the streets of Paris, incognito, looking like  Grizzly Adams? And,  Donald Trump’s hair (need I say more)?

But then, I discovered the mysteries of parenting…

Go here find out the  Top 5 Mysteries of Parenting that baffle me most.  Hint – it has something to do with Teeth, Knives and the Uterine Homing Device…

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Today’s Best Moment: Monday, March 26

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I took my kids to see The Hunger Games.

But oh, we didn’t just see the movie.  We discussed casting, disagreed on plot changes, analyzed adjusted content, evaluated screenplay adaptation, laughed at The Hunger Pains parody,  fought over  necessity of added scenes, pondered future installments, reviewed overall success, and considered Lenny’s gold eyeliner.

The movie was good.  The after part was the best.

Fear of Full Disclosure

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“How Much Should I Tell My Kids About My Wild Youth?”

My latest article on ParentSociety.com  is out.  Want a little sample?

I know the day is coming, soon.  I know as sure as Lindsay Lohan will end up in court again, the day is coming when my fear of full disclosure will be realized.  The day when I get asked personal questions by my curious teenage boys that I, on the one hand do not want to lie about, but at the same time do not want to fully disclose either.  And, in the interest of proper parenting – I mean, you have start some time, right –  I must know how to handle the moment and I need help!

Let me explain. Getting married and becoming a first time Mom in my 30’s meant two things…

All choices have consequences.  Go here to find out why my choices may mean looking as old (and just as hairy) as Dumbledore.

“How Much Should I Tell My Kids About My Wild Youth?

You Deserve The Wave Today

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I like The Wave.  I want The Wave.  I want to kick the person’s butt who denies me The Wave.  Do you know of what I speak?   I am not talking about that thing in the sports stadiums that makes you get off your behind, flail your arms like a Muppet on crack, and spill stuff.  I am talking about that little acknowledgement you get from a fellow driver on the road.  The simple hand gesture that can say “please”, “thank you” or just “I acknowledge you exist”.  The Wave.

Never gave it much thought?  Well, neither did I.  That is, until The Wave was gone. (Feel free to hum a few bars of “Don’t know what ya got, ‘til its gone”, I did)…

Even during my 10 years in LA, where driving is sometimes like something out of a Mad Max movie (only without Tina Turner riding shotgun), you can still get The Wave – and I don’t mean the one where the middle finger is prominent (although, that one is generously given as well). I am talking about a true and significant appreciation Wave, enough, at least, to feel satisfied.

But then, I moved to New Orleans.  Now (disclaimer coming), New Orleans is a great city, with many wonderful attributes and people – boy, do they know how to throw a party. However, when it comes to The Wave, they are a big, fat void.  In my 5 years living there, no matter how hard I tried, begged, frantically waved, offered beads and occasionally even a boob flash (ok, not that one) I could never illicit a return or acknowledgement Wave in any way, shape or form.  And, I missed The Wave, desperately.

However, our next big move was to the Mid-West.  And, much to my pleasant surprise, Mid-Westians (Mid-Westers?) really know how to work The Wave.  You know how the Eskimos have 100+ words to express “snow” related things?  Well, that is how prolific Mid-Westians are with The Wave.  I kid you not (‘cause that would be so unlike me).  Here are just a few that come to mind:

The “Thank You” Wave.

The “No problem” Wave.

The “Go ahead, I’m in no hurry” Wave.

The “Sorry I did not see you there” Wave.

The “That’s Ok” Wave

The “Thanks for not honking at me even though I deserve it” Wave.

The “Sorry to make you wait while I cleaned up the juice my kid just spilled” Wave. (followed by…)

The “I can see that you are stressed and I won’t make it worse by honking at you” Wave.

The “We are just two cars passing on a country road” Wave.

The “I’m cool” Head-Wave.

The “I’m even cooler” Chin-Lift Wave.

The “I don’t want to take my hands off the wheel but want to greet you” Finger-Lift Wave.

The “You are welcome to pass my slow farm vehicle” Wave.

The “I’m sorry I was just a dork for cutting you off/getting in your way” Wave.

I possibly overuse this wave and therefore often receive back…

The “Never mind, it is ok that you are a dork” Wave.

The “Hello fellow truck owner” Wave (hubbys favorite)

The “I won’t smile at you but will still acknowledge you exist” Wave (my visiting Mom’s Fave).

And the truly unique, from my elderly pedestrian neighbor…

The “I am too involved in what I am doing to look up at you but here is my hand” Wave.

To which I always respond with…

The “I know you can’t see it but I will reciprocate anyway” Wave.

I love them all. Who knew such a small thing could speak volumes when silenced.  There are many things in life I can definitely live without – coffee  a 2nd cup of coffee,  an ab six-pack, shoulder pads, another social network, Journey to the Center of the Earth Part 3. 

But The Wave?  No, I know now, I need The Wave.

In fact, I deserve The Wave.

And so do you.

So, if you are ever out Mid-West way, look for me.  I’ll be the one giving you

The “Nice to see you ‘round these parts” Wave.

For Those About to Rock, or Turn 40 Someday

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My first article  The Real Reason I Wear Sunscreen (Hint: It’s not for my health) is up and running on ParentSociety.com!  Curious?  It starts like this:

A few years ago (if more than ½ dozen can still be considered a few), I turned 40. 

You know those major transitions in life that breeze right by – go down like milk and honey?  Right, well, this was not one of those moments.  For me, turning 40 was much more like swallowing a jagged little pill…and Alanis Morissette…and her entire band…all at the same time.

As I recall, which being over 40 and a Mom pretty much gives me carte blanche to never remember anything ever again, my actual birthday was pretty good….

Go here to read the rest.  Really, you don’t want to miss this one.  That is, if you want to know what Peeping Toms and sunscreen have in common.

The Real Reason I Wear Sunscreen.

Today’s Best Moment: Tuesday, March 13

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**Cheese Alert**

My 10 year old son had said his goodbyes and headed out the door to go to a friends house.

Five minutes later he comes running into the room where I am working, with the most beautiful bunch of fresh picked flowers, in a vase with water.  A hug and an “I love you, Mom” later, back out the door he goes to the friends house.  Leaving me choked up, happy, feeling loved and hoping the neighbors don’t mind…

What is life without a little cheese.

Today’s Best Moment: Friday, March 9

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Today I signed the contract to be a Contributing Writer for ParentSociety.com!  I am excited and terrified all at the same time.  But mostly, I am thankful this new adventure I began at the ripe young age of 40 (cough, cough) something has opened yet another window. And I have to say,  the air smells sweet today.

Faking It as a Country Girl

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10 years ago I did something unbelievable; so amazing in fact, that my friends and family were in awe (or, shock was it?).   I moved, with my husband and two boys, from the city to my husband’s hometown in rural mid-west Missouri (for how city girl met country boy go here).

Now, I know what you are thinking: California girl moving to the country – train wreck about to happen. Well, sometimes, it felt that way.  In truth, there were adjustments to make.

First off, in an attempt to minimize my transition trauma, we chose a house in “town” as opposed to one smack dab in the middle of a farm – like, without neighbors…and lots of snakes. However, while it is true that in “town” I can actually see my neighbor’s house, it is also a fact that “town” is basically a one block main street with some off-shooting streets, not even enough inhabitants to fill up an AMC Movie Theatre (unless you include the animals and livestock), and to get a decent work-out, you must run/walk/bike the circumference of the “town” numerous times.

However, in addition to learning to survive a rural mid-west winter (A California Girl’s Guide here), I have acquired knowledge of immense use to making it faking it as a country girl.

1.  Anywhere in town, always leave your keys in your unlocked vehicleThis is very important, because you never know when someone will need to quickly jump into your vehicle to move it out of the way of a passing farm apparatus, help an elderly person needing your parking space, or borrow it for some quick, random errand.  If all goes well, your car will be in the same location when you go to retrieve it.  If not, a few phones calls (in my case, usually to car-swapping brother-in-law) will quickly establish a location and alternate transportation if needed.

2.  Don’t be fooled, in the country the snakes live in town too. In fact, they enjoy flaunting this fact by dropping out of trees in front of your house guests, sunning themselves outside your kitchen window, slithering through your baseball pick-up games, or hibernating in your domicile.  It is best to pretend you are copacetic with co-habitation and hope they are eating rodents and not your baby birds.

3. If you run out of or forget an item at a store, seek help. “Running” to the store to get a needed item is just not an option, the store might as well be a billion miles away (Which explains why savvy country dwellers have pantries the size of Mt. Rushmore).  Therefore, if you need an item such as eggs, milk, spices, butter, canned corn, etc…appeal to a neighbor.  If you require items such as: Whole Wheat flour, tofu, tempe, organic beans, or turkey bacon…make spaghetti.

4. Learn how to follow road directions.  I know what you are thinking…how dumb can you be if you can’t follow directions. But trust me; survival depends on a vast amount of UN-documented knowledge.  Here is generally how my first direction experience went:

Me: “How do I get to xyz?”

Direction Giver Guy/Girl (DGG): “Drive straight out of town then turn left at the Smith house” 

Me:“Who are the Smiths?” 

DGG: “The Smiths are the people who used to live in that house next to the barn where John Chaney kept his horse named Champ”.

Me:“Oh”.

DGG: “Then, take a right onto Boat Road” 

Me: “So, there will be a road sign?” 

DGG: “No, that is not the actual name” 

Me: “Huh?” 

DGG: “It is called that because of a building that looks like a boat”

Me: “So, I will see this building that looks like a boat and know when to turn?”

DGG: “No, the building was torn down several years ago.” 

Me: “Oh”.

DGG: “Then, when you see the black bull standing in the pasture..” 

Me: “You mean, like with horns?”

DGG: “Yeah – turn right at the sharp corner where Duke Dudley wrecked his truck and there you are.”  

Me: “Where?”

DGG:  “At the chicken coup with the rooster weather vane.”

Me: “Oh”…

And as a country Mom, I have learned to curtail the shock of watching my kids driving before their feet reached the pedals, wielding all manner of power tools and weapons of mass destruction, and requesting flying squirrels as pets. But, that is a story for another day.

In closing, if there is one key thing I have learned about rural life, it is this…

The good thing about living in a small town is,

When you don’t know what you are doing, that’s ok…

Everybody else does…