Category Archives: Jobs

My Son, the Grave Digger

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grave digger2My kids love their electronics. For this, I am immensely grateful! Oh yeah, you heard me right.  I thank my little parental stars for the attachment my kids have to their respective devices for one reason and one reason alone – it is the best tool known to man/woman (the parenting kind, that is)when it comes to getting  kids to do parental bidding. Nothing says get your chores/homework done like the threat of losing a device – or screams curb your teenage posturing after being separated from Clash of Clans or (gasp) texting for a few days.

Little did my kids know when they succumbed to the charms of their electronics, the slippery slope of manipulation they were setting themselves up for. Their misguided devotion has most definitely been my gain!

However, maybe, a complete ban from all electronics for say something like – not doing your homework when you are told to leaving it until the last possible moment having to stay up late into the night with Mom helping you in order to just finish adequately and then being all snarky about it to boot – is sometimes a little precarious as well.

Case in point. Recently, Pre-Teen, lost his electronic privileges for an extended amount time due to…well, I think you got the general idea above. For the first few days, he walked around the house like one of those zombies looking for fresh meat (the kind that says “I’m bored” a lot). Now don’t get me wrong, Pre-Teen loves the outdoors, when the weather is nice (which it’s not) and reasonably warm (which it hasn’t been for what feels like an eternity). However, finally out of sheer desperation – i.e. looking for something to do that did not involve my offer of household chores – outside he went. I have to say, I did not pay much attention. I suspected the basketball hoop was getting some long denied attention and there was likely some random rock throwing going on, but other than that, I did not have much concern…until Pre-Teen came blustering inside one afternoon.

Pre-Teen: “Hey Mom, do you think Dad will care if I dig a hole in the field?”

Mom: (picturing something the size of your average garden hole) “No, I don’t think so.”

And back out he went.

When it started to get dark and still he had not come back in the house, my parenty senses (you know, the Mom version of spidey senses) began to tingle and I felt compelled to go and investigate. This is what I saw:

Don't bother me, I am busy exploring a new career path.

Don’t bother me, I am busy exploring a new career path!

And as the days ensued, he began to gain eager followers, or rather, enthusiastic diggers.

His brother, Teen, got in on the action:

Finally, something they can do together without fighting!

Finally, something they can do together that does not end in somebody bleeding!

Soon, friends began to show up…fully equipped with shovels and picks for the task at hand.

Where was this gang when I needed sticks picked up?

This gang could come in handy come yard clean up time…

And every day, there seemed to be more work than one guy could handle.

Where will this madness end?

Where will the madness end?

Pre-Teen has long since earned electronic privileges back, and still the digging continues on a daily basis, rain or shine, no matter the temperature – except now, he has a pad to play music on while he works and a phone to text friends to come over during his hours of operation.

Where it will all end, I have no idea.

But, I do know these three things…

1.  The hole keeps getting bigger,

2.  I have been parenting long enough to know, sometimes it is best not to ask too many detailed questions, and…

3.  If you have something dead you need buried…I know just the guy for the job.

(But, he probably won’t come cheap)

Other adventures with Pre-Teen

A Decade of Wisdom

Never Sit On a Couch at a Nudist Colony

Puerto Rico Island Travels Part 2: The Clothing Optional Tour

The Day I Killed the Vacuum

 

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The Chaos of a Newly Working Mom

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Today, it would be nice if I was doing something like this:

Santa Cruz, CAOr maybe even this:

pig chillinBut, in all likelihood,  my day will probably look more like this:

messyhouse2

In September, I began the task of looking for a job outside my home.  It turned out to be a much more arduous process (and at times embarrassing – Bag Lady Goes a Job Hunting) than I had anticipated.  But at long last, in December I was offered a full time position (someone finally took pity on me) and officially changed my status from WAHM (work at home Mom) to WOHM (work outside the home Mom).

I expected a transition time, what I got was chaos.

Head over to ParentSociety.com where today, I share the whole messy story and what I plan to do about it!

Go Here: The Chaos of a Newly Working Mom

Bag Lady Gets a Job

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BagLadyB

I got a job.  Surprising, I know, what with the catastrophe that was my first interview  (Bag Lady Goes a Job Hunting).

Nevertheless, I started a new job this week.  My new position has a  wide variety of duties and responsibilities.

Well, just take today, for example.

Today I was required to…

…get my hair done with a fork.

…submit to arrest by a policeman and a king for spilling glitter.

…assist in the construction of a school for baby animals made entirely out of magnets (which was ultimately shunned by the moody giraffe baby).

…go to the doctor to find out I had two broken legs (both curable) and needed numerous shots (some painful) and a band aide.

…dress in zebra print and blue satin in preparation to get married.

…laugh hysterically at lunch with my friends at the clearly undeniably funny phrase “peanut butter and jelly.”

…have my nails done with plastic fruit.

I am thinking droopy stockings and a little bit (or say, maybe a lot) of cat hair stuck to my clothes will go virtually unnoticed in my current work situation.

Because, yeah, my job is just cool like that.

Pay Attention in School, You May Win the Lottery Someday

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winning the lottery

Powerball-mania!!  Do you or your kids have it?  Well then, I suggest you share with your kids a cautionary tale I wrote about on ParentSociety!

Do your kids complain about school? At times, do they just not want to go, do the work, be bothered with it, get out of bed in the morning, pay attention, apply, learn, concentrate, etc.? I mean, what kid doesn’t have those days (or weeks, months, or even years)?

But, every once in a while, a real life story comes along that plays right into the little parental hands. I love these moments. And even though my kids probably secretly hate them, this particular cautionary tale about why they should always pay attention and stay in school was pretty hard to deny!

OK, so here is the  story…

What?  You didn’t think I would put it here.  No, you will have to go to ParentSociety.com to get the whole story.  It is a good one, I promise!

Go here

A Tricky Way to Get Your Kids to Pay Attention in School.

A Life Lesson, The Easy Way

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tom sawyer

We have a huge pecan tree in our yard.  And when I say huge, I really mean it — as in if it fell, our house would be reduced to rubble.  Every 2 to 3 years, the pecan tree decides to drop thousands of pecans all over the yard.  The squirrels, in these years, do a little happy dance knowing their future is secure.  But for me, I feel compelled to do something about some of those nuts littering my yard.

All I wanted was the pecans in my yard picked up – or rather, to find a way to get my kids to pick up the pecans in my yard.  I didn’t expect to get a life lesson out of it, too!

Check out my latest article on ParentSociety.com

Teaching Kids About Money:  A Life Lesson, The Easy Way.

Bag Lady Goes a Job Hunting

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I have been job hunting. And when I say “job hunting”, I mean random-resume-submissions-online-from-which-no-result-occurs.  However, finally, I received a phone call requesting my presence at an interview…with, like, people and stuff.

The fact that I had not been on an actual job interview in a ‘coons age (Country-slang for a long, long, loooong time) should have paralyzed me with fear, but I confess it did not.

On the day of the interview, I selected my clothing carefully – dress, nylons, heels, the whole works – and packed them into my car to be changed into after I ran to the hair salon to have my emerging grey hairs vanquished.  Possibly, this detour was the beginning of my folly. But, I tend to think it was my venue of choice for changing into my interview attire – Home Depot.

Yep, you read that right.  Apparently, a stop at Home Depot for husband was unavoidable.  But, hey, the Women’s bathroom at Home Depot is big and virtually unused. However, the moment I left the bathroom in full interview attire, my trouble began.  You see, as soon as I started tromping through the Home Depot aisles towards the exit in my high heels, I began to feel a slippage.

Ok, hold on, allow me to explain.  I hate panty hose as in; I detest the feel of the ‘panty part’ under clothes.  Therefore, I have long opted for the stocking scenario – the kind that has an elastic/rubbery band to hold them in place on your thigh.  However, not having occasion to wear stockings much, it had been a while since the last wearing of this pair.

So again, there I was marching confidently to the front of the store heading to my interview when I began to feel slippage of one of the stockings.  Quickly, I ducked behind a display of sockets to inspect the problem.  When I looked down, I found to my dismay the band of the offending stocking was bouncing, exposed around my knee!  I quickly pulled it back up and in my haste ripped a run down the entire length.

My first thought was, surely I had but failed to pull the one stocking up enough the first time. So, I can just hide the run in the back and take care to never turn around in the interviewer’s presence – it won’t look that weird when I back out of the door to leave, right?

But, I did not even it make to my car in the parking lot before the stocking band was slipping down again, now making it to my ankle.  And although the guy who tried to solicit “gas money” from me in the parking lot did not seem at all alarmed by my wardrobe malfunction, I was completely horrified.

I jumped into my car and started driving to my interview.  I began to worry.  What if the stocking starts slipping while I am trying to think of answers to the interviewer’s questions?

“What is your strategy for handling a problem?” (You mean, like, your stockings falling down in Home Depot?).

“What do you consider your strong points?”(Um, surviving this interview with droopy stockings?).

“Where do you see yourself in the future?” (Well, in the next 5 minutes, I see myself walking out of here looking like a Bag Lady with stockings puddling around my ankles).

And that was it, full-on panic took hold.

My mind began to race.  If only I would pass a drugstore on my way to the interview.  I could have just enough time to run in, grab a pair of dreaded pantyhose (not a stocking type place), change in the car and make my interview on time.  If only…

And then, like chocolate from heaven – there it was!!  A Walgreens Drugstore right off the highway – a bit of a back track from my exit, but still possible in my time frame!  I was saved!  I sped to the Walgreens, whipped into the parking lot, searched for the entrance.  It was only then I discovered it was a Walgreens Infusion and Respiratory Center.  Yeah, I have no idea what the heck that is – all I know is, they do NOT sell pantyhose…I checked.

At this point, I knew I was sunk. Going “nylon commando” was not an option as I had neglected shaving … and tanning. So, I reluctantly drove on with the top band of my stocking now getting stuck on the gas pedal when suddenly, within a block of my interview, where no self-respecting store should be, stood- like my very own “beacon of hope” – a Dollar Store.  You know, where they have dollar knick knacks, dollar pet toys, dollar toothpaste and apparently, dollar pantyhose…two pair in a pack.

A speedy superhero-like change in my car, an unavoidable flash to a guy walking by my car window (you’re welcome) and I was on my way again.

And thus, I made it to my interview on time, answered questions brilliantly, with pantyhose securely in place, completely professional and positively no Bag Lady overtones whatsoever.

Or so I thought.

For, it wasn’t until after the interview, driving home in my car, I noticed the white cat fur confidently clinging to various parts my dark colored, interview appropriate dress.

Next time, perhaps I will get dressed at home.

Or, just bring a shopping cart to the interview.

For an update go here – Bag Lady Gets a Job

Is There Life After 40?

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Well, duh, I’m  not dead yet.  However, the term “It’s now or never” sure takes on a whole new meaning.  What do I mean?  Well, head on over to ParentSociety.com and read my latest article,  Is There Life After 40?,  to get  ‘the rest of the story’.

As a kid, I was once asked what age I considered old. I promptly replied, “40.” In my teenaged, eye-rolling mind, there was clearly no life after 40. I’ll just bet the adult who asked the question wanted to drop kick me into the next week…

You might just find out what Patrick Dempsey, hair dye and mini-vans have to do with turning 40.  Now how can you pass that up? Go here!

Is There Life After 40?

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.

Little Orphan Annie Wears Dittos Jeans

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From left: Lori Kickliter, Kristen Sauter, Jennifer Cihi, Michele DeCuir, Paula Benedetti (Danner), Molly Ringwald.

Today I am hanging out at one of my favorite places to guest post,  DenimDebutante.com.

I love random.  Today, I am writing about the musical Annie and Dittos Jeans.  It may not be as random as you think (then again…).  I guess you will just have to go here and find out. And yes, that is me in the  picture (Annie/National II) above…a “few” years ago.

True Love By Way of a Kitty Dance and a Bucking Horse

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Over the years I have been encouraged to tell the serendipitous story of how my husband, Jim, and I found each other. Valentine’s Day seemed like a good time.  Honestly, I tried to keep it short, but it just isn’t that kind of tale.

I was 23, touring as a performer in the National IV tour of CATS.  He was 25, working at his family owned hotel in New Orleans, LA –  which is where the story begins.  The tour stopped in New Orleans for  2 weeks of performances and some of us ‘Kitty’s’ were thrilled to find and stay at his quaint, historic hotel.  Our first meeting occurred over a broken stove. I called the front desk to have someone come repair the stove in my room (this was when cooking actually seemed fun) and he showed up at my door. Over that hot and steamy repair job (kidding!) the attraction was immediate. We spent those 2 weeks together, getting to know each other.

After those two weeks, though, on I went with the tour to the next city.

Over the next several months we stayed in contact by letters (you know the handwritten thing that goes on paper).  We kept in touch while I finished the tour and went back to Los Angeles to continue my performance career and he cruised around South America starting an export business (the legal type – Alpaca sweaters) and around the US on the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) circuit as a Bull and Bronc rider (all true, I swear).

Finally, an agreement was made; he would come to LA to visit me.  However, not long after his arrival in LA, I informed him “I do not see this relationship going anywhere”.  In truth, I do not recall saying it in just this way (as he relayed to me some time later), but my Mom ratted me out by saying it sounded “exactly like something I used to say in those days”. (There went her Christmas present that year!).

Anyway, off he went, back to New Orleans. That was the last time we spoke.

7 years went by (yep, 7 years!).

In that time he continued with his export business, riding the Pro-rodeo PRCA circuit, and attending to the hotel.  I kicked around LA doing commercials & videos, singing in bands, marketing music artists, and doing what all aspiring performers do in LA –bartend, waitress and do odd jobs.

But, the pertinent part is, during that time, I had the pleasure occasion to kiss a lot of frogs. Cute some may have been, but none of which turned into a handsome prince (although, a few morphed into evil wizards with bad complexions).

Then, it happened.  One day, on the heels of the crown jewels of bad relationships, I was teaching Line Dancing at the trendy Denim & Diamonds Country Music Nightclub in Santa Monica (one of those odd jobs).  I happened to look up at the TV screen with the ever running assortment of ‘all things western’ and there he was; on the screen, in all his Pro-rodeo glory, riding a bucking horse (well, getting bucked off a bucking horse if you must know), in a PRCA rodeo in Texas. Thus began the obsessive thought process that would plague me for days on end:  “He was a really good guy”…”What was I thinking back then (as in, what an idiot I was)”…”man, I really blew that”…”I wonder what he is doing now…married???”

I spent days thinking and thinking about it; until I could not take the cosmic hammering anymore and decided to take action.

At the time, I was performing in a trio that was preparing to open up for Carlene Carter.  As the group was addressing promotional postcards with our picture on it (this is what one did before “social networking”), I addressed one to him at his hotel in New Orleans, which consequently his family still owned, with a small note (and, duh, my phone number) included. (oh, home-wrecker I’m not – one call to chatty desk clerk at hotel confirmed bachelorhood).

Since our final parting 7 years prior had been, ummm, not the best in his memory, he was prepared to possibly discard the greeting.  That is until his English friend (I knew I liked that bloke), in his never beat around the bush way, pointed out that due to the “positive physical attributes” displayed in the picture, perhaps at least a return phone call was in order (praise be the wisdom of guy-logic).

He did call.  Then he called again, many times.  And then we arranged to get together. Gullible Forgiving guy that he is, he, again, came out to see me in LA.  This time, I did not send him home with some stupid edict, but rather with the promise of a reciprocal visit to New Orleans and more.

And despite the fact that I bristled ever so slightly at the statement made by him some months later that if “anyone had ever told me I had already met the girl I was going to marry, I would never have thought of you” and he, annoyed by the fact that I had to slobber all over a bunch of frogs before finally getting it right…

We married a 1 ½ years later.

Well, 7 years and 1 ½ years later.

This year we will celebrate our 16th anniversary. I am thinking all those frogs and bucking livestock were well worth the trouble – which only goes to show that it is a good thing, life is what happens while you are busy making plans!

As author Saul Bellow so eloquently put it:  

“Unexpected intrusions of Beauty.  That’s what life is.”

Happy Valentines Day

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

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Sometimes I surprise myself – learning to snowboard when I freeze at 60 degrees, embracing co-habitation with the black snakes that occupy my yard, attempting parenthood (thank goodness for that therapy fund).  Well, my most recent questionable endeavor came in the form of a job.

A few months ago a call came with the request to do a show at a local professional theatre. And when I say ‘do’ a show, I do not mean as an actor on the stage – where I have spent many a moment throughout the years –  but as a dresser in the thick of the behind-the-scenes action.

I reasoned, how hard could it be?  I mean, I have dressed myself successfully for many years (although those severely torn Levi’s – self-patched with leopard print and worn frequently in the 90’s, may not qualify); And, I dressed my boys (hopefully they were not able to read the tags on the accidently purchased girls wear).  So, without any concern for the poor, unwitting victims actors, my desire for a new experience convinced me to say “Yes!”

However, when the time arrived, I discovered that dressing a real live, full grown actor through what was to be 20+ quick changes per show, in the dark, backstage, during near silence onstage, turned out to be more daunting than anticipated. I will admit – I made mistakes.  And, I felt bad. More than once, I decided I had kissed my end of the show ’tip’ goodbye along with possibly all or most of my paycheck. And I will admit I spent a few nights beating myself up over it.

Ok, maybe just one.

Because then, I remembered something. I remembered how dearly I love to laugh.

You see, as long as

  • No limbs are lost (broken bones I’ve got covered!),
  • Everyone is still breathing,
  • No eyes are poked out…shot out…gouged out,
  • And no natural disaster has ensued

I can handle the small stuff, like, I don’t know,

  • Sending an actor out onstage with shoes on the wrong feet,
  • Attempting several times to poke same actor in the eye with glasses,
  • Dropping a few or say, several props on hard floor during complete onstage silence,
  • Habitually refusing to remember one particular assigned job without constant reminders,
  • Or, forgetting my start time on opening day and almost taking down a few pedestrians crossing a small town Main Street in my haste to get to the theatre.

The best part is, once I remember I can handle the small stuff, I find I can laugh at them as well; which is like a gift and something of which I am very fond. The only thing better being when others laugh with you.

So, in closing, please accept my sincerest apologies:

To my Actor friends – who had to endure my fits of ineptness, thank you for letting me laugh at them and for (hopefully) laughing with me; and,

To the Pedestrians – who, I fear, will never look at the safety of crossing a small town Main Street with the same abandon again.