Friday, August 9, 2019

Meow! The Real Way To Play Cat's Cradle

Many years ago I wrote about how boys and girls play differently. Go ahead and read these links. They're pretty short and they're funny! I'll wait. 

Why You Should Never Play Dolls With Your Brother. 

Boys And Girls Are Almost Exactly The Same.

Well, some things never change. Brooklyn and Lexi had been playing Cat's Cradle when their brothers took over with their own, um, special version of the game. Who knew you had to "meow" when playing Cat's Cradle?

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Austin is SO My Son!

Austin texted our family group chat a couple days ago and told us about his day. As I read the account of his morning, I kept thinking - this sounds so familiar. Why does this sound familiar? Oh yeah! Because it sounds exactly like something that would've happened to me, and it sounds just like I would have described it. He is SO my son. I asked him if I could share it here. 

Austin works in the bakery at Publix. He starts work before the sun is up. I would never be able to function on his schedule at all. I'd have stuff like this happen to me daily if I was required to start work at 4:00am!

So to start my day I went over to the deli department to turn on the fryers so I could use them later. Strangely, they were all unplugged. As I’m squatting down and trying to maneuver around, my pants get a huge rip in the back of my inner thigh. I thought maybe I could use duct tape to fix it. We don’t carry any duct tape. So I grab some heavy duty packing tape. I head to the restroom to try to fix my pants. I set my pants on the counter portion of the sink in the handicap stall. It triggers the sensor and water pours on the crotch area of my pants. Then I find out that the tape doesn’t actually stick to fabric. I then had to just wrap it around in a sweaty tape mess.

What do you think? He could totally ghost write for me, right?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Trying To Be Everywhere At Once And Not Hit Too Many People With My Butt

single mom's brain on any given day
Here's a little math word problem for you. Part A:  If you are at work a half an hour away and Lexi has to be to work at 3:00, Brooklyn has a doctor's appointment at 3:15, and Clay needs to be picked up from his friend's house by 3:00 and then dropped off at the school, you need to pick up a prescription, and you need to mail a book ordered on your Etsy site before the post office closes, how long will it take you to have a nervous breakdown? Part B:  How many glasses of wine will it take to de-stress at the end of the evening?

Here's another one. If Lexi has to be to work at 6:00 and Brooklyn has to be to cheer at 6:00 and Clay has to be to marching band at 6:00, how long will it be until you invent a cloning machine or teleportation device?

With the school year starting next week, the fun of juggling my kids' activities has commenced. Because I'm a single mom, it can be daunting. But because I'm a single mom, I got this! Because that's what single parents do. We're nothing if not master jugglers.

So I'm at a parent meeting for marching band and I'm looking at my watch. I don't actually wear a watch. I have a watch. I have a couple watches. I'm not sure when I stopped wearing them though. I probably stopped wearing a watch when I first got a smart phone. Truly, without my phone, I'd never have a clue what time it is. I also wouldn't ever be able to call anyone. I remember my phone number from when I was a kid. I remember my  high school best friend's parent's phone number. I have no idea what my kids' or parents' phone numbers are now. None. 

I actually looked at my phone to see the time. I don't know why I didn't just write that in the first place. Or use the handy backspace button to change it. Especially when all of this has absolutely nothing to do with my story. I'm beginning to understand why mom used to tell me I had "diarrhea of the mouth" when I was younger.

Anyhoo. So I looked at my phone and realized this was running longer than I'd expected. Both Brooklyn and Lexi would need to be picked up soon. Lexi could hang out at work until I could get there. But Brooklyn's coaches couldn't leave the football field until I'd gotten her and I didn't want to be "that mom." You know, the one who thinks having their kid in a sport equals free babysitting. 

The parent meeting ended and the band assembled in the gym because it was raining. Because it's Florida. And it rains every. single. day. As the front ensemble played what they'd learned in band camp, I frantically texted other parents on Brooklyn's team. Until I realized she didn't have her key and no one was home so even if someone could drop her off, she'd be standing out in the rain until I got home.

The front ensemble concluded their performance and the color guard started. I watched the girls twirl their flags while surreptitiously glancing at the time ticking away on my phone. A running dialogue marched through my brain. Twirl faster. I might be able to make it in time. I'm not going to make it in time. Twirl faster. 

The girls finally finished and the teacher introduced the battery who began to perform. As the drums pounded out a rhythm, I looked at my phone again. Maybe if they're really fast, I can still make it. As long as no one has to wait too long for me to get there . . . Maybe . . . Play faster!

They wrapped up and the winds began to play. I considered finding a metronome app and playing it as loudly as I could at a faster time to speed things along, but A: they were already playing at 160 beats a minute and I didn't want anyone to pass out from playing any faster. And B: no one would've even heard my metronome app over the one the band teacher was playing. And C: that's crazy-person behavior and I really try to downplay the crazy when in public.

I texted Austin and begged him to get the girls so I didn't have to try to maneuver my way out of the packed bleachers in the middle of their performance because crab-walking along the bleachers while smacking people in the face with my big butt didn't sound like fun. And driving in the rain to pick up the girls only to have to turn right around and get Clay and drive back again also didn't sound like fun, partly because I need a new exhaust and you can hear my van from approximately 6 1/2 miles away. I mean, it's super-classy and not at all embarrassing, but still. Then I texted the girls to inform them that I was stuck at the school and Austin was going to pick them up.

When the event ended and Clay and I got into the car, he asked me if I'd recorded it. 

"I'm sorry, Clay. I didn't. I was busy looking for a metronome app."


"I said - I was busy texting people, trying to find someone to pick up the girls since this band thing ran longer than I thought it would. I was listening and you guys sounded really awesome! I can't wait to see the whole show put together out on the field where you can march too! But yeah, I was doing some rapid-fire texting, trying to coordinate rides for everyone. Sorry. I did get this mediocre picture of you and your girlfriend though."

Thus is the single mom's life. Running from place to place, trying not to hit people with her butt, and saying, "Sorry" because no matter how hard she tries, she never quite hits the mark. But she tries, and I say that's what counts.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

You Is Kind, You Is Smart, You Is Important

I recently applied for a position in a different school. It's not that I don't like my current job because I do like it. I love my school and my coworkers. I enjoy being there. But this other school is much, much, MUCH closer to my home, it has better hours, and it's a year-round position so I wouldn't have to scramble to make ends meet in the summer, doing odd jobs, waiting tables, driving for Uber . . . Anyway, I mentioned my application to a couple coworkers and one immediately said, "I know the principal there. He's amazing! I'll write you a recommendation letter!" Right away, she emailed him a letter of recommendation that was overflowing with praise. She forwarded the letter to me so I could read it and let me tell ya, I teared up at her kind words. And although I was extremely flattered by her accolades, I was totally humbled.

As I read her words, I asked myself - is this really how she sees me? Because I don't think I deserve her commendation, but I want to. I want to live up to her opinion of me.

And that got me thinking. This letter filled with complimentary sentences about my character and accomplishments at work made me want to do better, be better, live up to her generous words. What a simple, but super-effective idea! Our words are powerful tools, and a sincere compliment can elicit a positive change. 


When you take the time to notice and lift up another person, it not only makes that person feel good for the moment, but it makes them want to live up to that compliment as well. Think about the last time someone said something nice to you? How did it make you feel? Of course it works conversely as well. When you say things like, "You're stupid. What did you do? What were you thinking? That was dumb," the recipient of such phrases will begin to believe those negative words and will start to act like - Why bother trying? I'm stupid. 

After all -
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits.
Your habits become your character.
Your character becomes your destiny.

And not only do you need to watch your words to others, but you have to watch what you tell yourself. This is forever a work-in-progress for me.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Lock Down Your Charger With Charger Cuff

Recently, I was given the opportunity to check out the new Charger Cuff. Inventor, Terry created the Charger Cuff after he and his wife experienced the frustration of having their chargers walk away (presumably in the hands of a technology-obsessed teen.) This handy little invention is a pretty cool gadget. Several times a week I have to get up and walk allll the way to my bedroom in order to get my phone charger. Of course I never remember to take it back to my room when I go to bed and once in bed, let's face it, I'm much too lazy to get up and retrieve it so I just hope I have enough charge left for my phone's alarm to go off come morning. It's a whole Russian roulette of "Will Dawn Wake Up In Time For Work?"

What makes this charger stand apart from others is its ability to be locked down. For those of you with kids who like to walk off with your charger, this is for you!


A special tool is included with this charger so you can install it (in any standard outlet) and your kids won't be able to remove it, unless they find the special tool, of course. (I recommend hiding it with important items like your passports, last will and testament, family jewels, and your secret stash of chocolate.) Another cool feature is that each unit includes a 1 amp charging block and a multi-cable with 3 different charging cords (type-C, micro USB, and 8 pin x 2) to fit most any phone. So when an android-using friend is over and asks you, "Do you have a charger I could borrow?" Your i-Phone using self can say, "Why yes, yes, I do!"

I'm giving away 2 Charger Cuffs here. You can enter by leaving a comment, liking Charger Cuff on Facebook, and by tweeting. This contest is open to U.S. residents.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 20, 2019

Searching For Yellow Cars

image: CC low probability by banalities
I have a 30 mile commute round-trip to work every day. I hate every minute of it. I get in my car and my stomach tightens, dreading the next 30-45 minutes, knowing I'll encounter every jerk on the planet (or at least in central Florida) on my way to and from work. Before I even leave my apartment complex, I'll be confronted with a person blowing off a stop sign, and with someone tearing around the corner into the wrong lane, causing me to swerve dangerously close to the parked cars in order to avoid being hit head-on. As I wait for a break in traffic so I can pull out onto the street, I'll meet the people who, despite the fact they're stopped at a red light and have literally no place they can go, will not let me out. I'll also meet the person behind me who gets impatient waiting, pulls around me, and darts out into traffic the second the light changes causing several people to slam on their brakes.

I'll meet the people who drive 20 miles under the speed limit for no particular reason, I'll meet the ones who play pole position, weaving in and out of traffic attempting to get just one car ahead, and I'll meet the people who fly through red lights. I'll experience the ones who drive just barely the speed limit in the passing lane, oblivious to the fact there's a string of cars tailgating him in an attempt to encourage him to move over.

My exit is always backed up at least a mile and this is where I encounter the worst of the worst - those people who are so privileged (in their minds anyway), they don't need to wait in line like the rest of us filthy peasants. No, they can just speed along to the very front, bypassing the 10+ minute wait, and cut in front of everyone else patiently (or not so patiently) awaiting their turns.

My drive home includes half a dozen jaywalkers who are seemingly trying to get themselves run over, construction traffic, and a toll that narrows from 5 lanes to 1.

By the time I arrive at my destination, I'm so stressed out I vow to become a hermit and never leave my home again. Seriously, when I grow up, I'm going to be a hermit. I can combine that dream with my Cat Plan! It's brilliant! I'll move to a cabin in the middle of Montana, adopt 27 cats, and spend my days in my bathrobe eating Ben & Jerry's from the carton and washing it down with sangria. I'll be livin' the dream! But until that glorious day, I decided I needed to make a change (besides looking for a closer job!)

I recently heard something about looking for yellow cars. There aren't a whole lot of yellow cars on the road, right? You see them infrequently. Until you start looking for them. Then suddenly, they're everywhere! It's called the Yellow Car Phenomenon. Now of course there aren't more yellow cars on the road when you're searching for them. They've been there all along. When you shift your paradigm, however, you notice them. And that's the thing - you'll find what you're looking for. So you have to ask yourself - what am I looking for?

When I leave for work expecting to encounter entitled, self-absorbed, inconsiderate jerks, I find them. When you enter your meeting expecting a terrible outcome, you'll find it. When you think your boss, coworkers, or family will let you down, they will. Every time.

But when you change your way of thinking, amazing things can happen. 

I was visiting a friend who works part-time in a gift shop situated in an independent living/assisted living home for seniors. A resident was perusing the shop and struck up a conversation with us. She went on to complain about the marinade that was on the chicken at lunch, the food in general, and the chef himself. She lamented the lack of activities, the fact there aren't enough people who like to play cards, and how she can't even go shopping because it's like she's a prisoner there. Now this home is a pretty luxurious place with many amenities, activities galore, and a bus that takes them to local shopping and restaurants every day. But this woman was ultra-focused on everything negative. And she seemed pretty unhappy.

Then there's my Aunt Vasiliki. She's had many health issues over the years. She's a breast cancer survivor. She was divorced at a pretty young age and never remarried. She lost her parents while they were still young and recently lost her sister. She probably has cause to be bitter. But I have never seen her without a smile and a laugh. She also lives in an independent/assisted living home, and let me tell ya, she's never in her apartment! Because she's busy playing cards, doing puzzles, driving someone to a doctor's appointment, reshelving books in their little library, eating with friends, making jewelry, and anything else that looks like fun. Everyone knows my aunt and enjoys her contagiously effervescent company.

When I drive to school this week, I'm going to look for yellow cars - those people who let others in. Those who patiently wait their turn. Those who aren't consumed with road rage, and those who do stop at red lights, let pedestrians cross, and use their turn signals. I'll remember that there are good people in the world. Will the entitled, self-absorbed, inconsiderate buttheads still be there? Of course they will. They always will. But time is too short, and life is too precious to concern myself with them. I will choose to focus on the positive and will continue to strive to be the kind of person that makes other people feel good; not the kind that makes other people want to throat-punch me.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Shopping With My Kids No Longer Makes Me Want To Gouge My Eyes Out With A Pencil

Creative Commons
Once upon a time I wrote a story about grocery shopping with my 6 young children. At the time, I was convinced that shopping with kids was the worst torture on the planet. Worse than having your ankles broken by a sledgehammer à la Kathy Bates in Misery. Worse than sitting in front of a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and being on a diet. Worse than even going to the dentist. Just worse. Than anything at all. 

I remember back when Brooklyn would throw a fit and cry her way through the entire store. I remember how Clay would maneuver his way out of the seatbelt and try to get brain damage by flipping himself out of the cart. I remember how Lexi would insist on dressing in a princess costume, and she'd pirouette down the aisles. Jackson would alternately tease someone and beg me for candy. Savannah would ram the cart into my ankles, Austin would walk around, bored and fed up with his siblings. Then my kids grew up. And now they're (wait for it . . .) helpful!

This weekend, I uncharacteristically walked around Walmart without a list; just a vague idea of what I needed to get. My kids said stuff like, "Hey Mom, we're out of bread." I hadn't realized we were out of it. They said, "Can I get a frozen pizza to eat for when you and Clay are at his band banquet?" Oh crap, that's right! I'd forgotten about the banquet. Instead of trying to sneak random junk food into the cart, the reminded me to get celery and beans and almond milk.

I don't always even notice all the help they give me, but I'm reminded of it on those rare occasions when I run to the store by myself. The cashier will give me a raised eyebrow look and wonder if I'm completely stupid as I stand there waiting to pay while the little carousel of packed bags fills up. "Um, can you put those bags in your cart ma'am?" Oh right! I belatedly realize my kids aren't here to do that for me. I'm so used to them transferring the filled bags to my cart. They are totally helpful these days!

As I wheel the cart outside, I head down an aisle to my car. Only my car isn't there. So I scan the parking lot, searching for my van. I make my way up and down two more aisles. Where on earth did I park?! The little "beep beep" thing on my key fob ceased working years ago so I continue to march up and down the aisles, searching for my vehicle. At some point, usually when I'm about to call the police to file a stolen vehicle report, I'll remember that I didn't even park at that door and I'll head across the parking lot to the opposite side. This never happens when my kids are with me. When I head out the door with the cart, they immediately turn me around. "You parked over there, Mom. How do you not remember? It was like 20 minutes ago!"

And these days, I no longer get embarrassed. I was shopping with Clay and Brooklyn this weekend and as we headed toward the refrigerated section, a song came over the speaker system, so naturally I started singing along.

I'm not a present for your friends to open
This boy's too young to be singing, the blue-ooo-oooos, 

"Hey Mom?"

"What, Brooklyn?"

"Who sings this song?"

I mentally pat myself on the back for instilling a love of music in my kids' hearts. They have eclectic tastes and will sing along to an enormous variety of tunes, many of which are from when I was a kid and even before. I answer her, "Elton John."

She looks at me, deadpan and says, "Let's keep it that way."

Oh no she didn't! She wasn't interested in knowing who the artist was! She just set me up for a burn! Clearly, I had only one option.

So I sang louder.

Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick ro-oa-oad, 

See kids? I'm impervious to embarrassment. All of those years of shopping with you guys and wishing a hole would open up and swallow me as we shopped have rendered me numb. Those times when I'd be embarrassed because you were wearing a Cinderella dress, cowboy boots, a flannel shirt, and a Cubs hat? Gone. The times I'd be embarrassed because you would just. not. stop. crying? Gone. The times I'd be embarrassed when you'd point to an overweight woman and loudly ask, "Does she have a baby in her tummy?" Gone.

So you moms of little ones who would rather (to steal a phrase from that old post) be a contestant on Fear Factor when they're having pig brains for lunch than to go shopping with your little ones, take heart. It gets better. So. much. better. I promise!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Survival Mode

A friend recently asked me, “Why did you stop writing?”

Well, that’s a good question. I thought about it and came up with this answer: Because I’ve been playing in Survival Mode for 10 years.

My younger kids play Minecraft now and then. If you’re unfamiliar, in the most basic terms, it’s a video game wherein you can build things. Minecraft can be played in different modes. In Creative Mode, for example, you have unlimited resources. You can build anything you want from the bottomless stash of supplies. In Creative Mode, you don’t have to worry about eating, sleeping, or keeping up your health because you cannot die. In Creative Mode you can fly. You can literally fly.

Then there’s Survival Mode. In Survival Mode, you have to work for all your supplies. You have to mine minerals with a pickaxe. You have to plant vegetables and raise animals for food in order to stay alive. Creatures like Creepers and Zombies, Spiders, Endermen, Witches, and Withers will kill you. You cannot fly. Your mission is to stay alive which can be challenging. For example, you’re trying to plant corn like a good little farmer so you’ll have food for the winter when BLAM! A Skeleton attacks you! Or maybe you’re in a cave chipping away at rocks to find diamonds and BOO! A Ghast attacks you! This is Survival Mode.

To illustrate this point, I asked my kids to teach me how to play Minecraft. That conversation went like this:

MOM:  Will you teach me how to play Minecraft? It's for a blog post.

CLAY:  suurrrre it is
CLAY:  i know you just want to play
CLAY: it's okay your secret is safe with me

So I played for 45 minutes in Creative Mode. This is what I accomplished. I built a little house. My kids think it's lame, but let's remember that I had no idea what I was doing so it took me a ridiculously long time to figure out how to even do basic things like walk.

Inside my house there is a floor, some lights, windows, a bed, and a couch and table.

It has a bed right next to the front door because I'm an expert at designing houses.

It has a miniature floating chair because I have no idea what I'm doing. I cannot, for the life of me, even tell you how on earth I managed to create a tiny floating chair.

And then I played for 45 minutes in Survival Mode. This is what happened.

I died. Apparently you can't swim in lava.

And then I died again. Because apparently you can't swim underwater indefinitely without coming up for air.

I'm not sure what I did to make a chicken fall in love with me. I thought I was kicking it away, but apparently I threw some grass seed at it or something. This game is weird.

Here's a tree. You have to chop them down in order to get wood so you can build a house.

 At the end of 45 minutes of play, here's what I accomplished in Survival Mode. This is my house:

Here's another angle of my house. Some people (my kids) claim this is not actually a house, but just a wall. I say - whatever.

As you can see, it's a little hard to accomplish what you'd like when you're just trying to survive every day. I’ve been operating in Survival Mode for the past 10 years. Blinders on, focused on the moment, playing triage every day. Clay gets over the flu, but Lexi gets sick. I get my income tax refund, but my car breaks down. I make it to Clay’s lacrosse game, but miss Lexi’s water polo game. I get caught up on laundry, but realize there are dishes in the sink piled to the ceiling. I actually make it to work on time, but have to turn around and head home to pick up a sick kid who’s puking at school. I come up with the money to pay Brooklyn’s cheer competition fees, but get hit with NJHS fees. I worry about the kids, the kid who struggled with drugs, the kid who has struggled with depression, the kid who suffers with anxiety. I push down the guilt when I can't make it to a band concert. I shove away the guilt when I miss work. I deal and try to be there for everyone. I try to take care of everyone. I attempt to be mom and dad, breadwinner and homemaker, cheerleader, nurse, and teacher. I get sick and keep going because there’s no one to bring me orange juice or pick kids up for me or make dinner. I talk to myself because there’s no one else to run things by, no one  to commiserate with, no one to simply talk to. Survival Mode.

And it's hard being creative when you’re stuck in Survival Mode. It’s hard finding the funny twist on the mundane when you’re consumed with just surviving. There are many days when I’d like to tell a funny story, but I’m too busy fighting off Endermen and chopping down trees and throwing seeds at chickens to type it out. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

But God Told Me To

While writing my last post about my shoe malfunction, I searched my blog for old pictures of past shoe mishaps to include in the post. Searching the term "shoe", netted me the following little gem. I, being well on my way to dementia, didn't remember this story, but I laughed out loud reading it. And then I shared it with Clay's girlfriend because really, she should know what she's getting into with him, don't you think?

Here, for your reading pleasure is an oldie that's still good for a laugh!

God Told Me To (July 31, 2009)

Clay has a shoe problem - in that he can never find them. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that
A. He never puts them away where they belong, and
B. He's a boy and therefore cannot find anything unless it jumps out and bites him on the butt.

Yesterday was no exception. As I was scrambling to get everyone ready and in the car for vacation bible school, Clay was looking for his shoes. And by "looking for his shoes", I mean wandering around aimlessly, saying, I can't find my shoes. Do I have to wear shoes?"

He managed to find one shoe in the closet where it belongs. Jackson found the other one, after searching high and low for a good 10 minutes, in the garage. (I have no idea.)

Then this morning, I handed Clay a pair of socks as I was folding laundry and told him, "Get your socks and shoes on." (I used to say "get your shoes and socks on", but I have too many smart-aleck kids who would put their shoes on first and then try to pull their socks on over their shoes. "Well you said to put my shoes and socks on," they'd smirk.)

Anyway, Clay marched off with his socks, seemingly to put them on and find his shoes. About 10 minutes later, I saw him, still barefoot, watching TV. I gently reminded him, "TURN OFF THE TV AND PUT YOUR STINKIN' SHOES AND SOCKS ON!" He looked at me and said, "I don't have any socks."

"Yes you do! I just gave you a pair," I responded, frustrated.

"They're wet," he said simply.

"Why are they wet?" I demanded.

"Because I was trying to run on water."

Well duh. Makes perfect sense to me.

"What do you mean - you were trying to run on water? What water? Where?"

"In the sink."

"You were trying to run in the bathroom sink? For real?" I asked, incredulous. Not much Clay does surprises me anymore, but trying to run in the bathroom sink filled with water sounded pretty strange even for Clay.

"Yeah," he admitted.

"Why, why, WHY???"

He thought for a moment and said, "God told me to."

Oh yeah, this is what has come out of vacation bible school. I can just see it now. That's going to be his excuse for everything for the next month.

Why aren't you eating your vegetables?
God told me not to.

Why did you hit your sister?
God told me to.

Why are you driving me to drink?
God told me to.

Fun times ahead.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

If the Shoe Fits (Take it Off Before it Breaks!)

Upon the forcing urging of my boss, I applied to take part in this ELA (Emerging Leaders Program) with my school district. Several people from the pool of applicants who currently hold classified positions within the district were accepted into the program, and I was one of them. The program consists of monthly training from live seminars as well as webinars. On Tuesday, I attended the second seminar, this one on Dealing with Difficult People. It was actually useful training that I believe I can apply to my work life, home life, and in dealing with the entitled jerks who drive up and cut in front of those of us who have been waiting in line to exit for 2 miles. Every. Stinkin'. Morning. I truly do not understand why these individuals think they're so much better than everyone else that they don't have to wait in the same line as all the other commuters. If anyone can explain this to me, I'd love to hear it. And in related news, if anyone has a missile launcher that could be fitted onto a minivan, I'd love get the details on that also.

Anyway, I digress. So, this training was useful, the speaker was knowledgeable, effective, and had a sense of humor, the training was dynamic with hands-on components, and the hotel in which it was held, served coffee. All good.


When I attend these trainings, I like to dress professionally. You know, as a departure from the way I dress for work every other day. I think my usual style can be described as trendy classy sophisticated playful 'It's nearly April and Dawn has clearly given up.'

To that end, I tried on a few things, and by “a few things”, of course I mean, I tried on every piece of fabric in my closet. Twice. I decided on a filmy skirt paired with a shirt and denim jacket (because the AC was on full-blast at the last seminar and it was freezing!) I accessorized with a gold scarf and gold sandals. Reading this, it occurs to me that perhaps I should have someone else pick out my clothes. I’m thinking a trained monkey might do a better job. An untrained, sight-impaired monkey probably would too. Basically any monkey could do a better job dressing me than I do. But remember that I was wearing gold sandals. And a denim jacket.

During our first break, I jumped out of my seat because despite the ample padding on my derriere, I was sore from just sitting there for so long. They really ought to equip these training sessions with La-Z-Boys. I think I’m onto something here. So I jumped up and quickly headed toward the coffee shop so I could get to the front of the line in order to get some coffee and make it back to my seat before the break was over. As I walked, I felt something kind of flapping around my foot. Looking down, I noticed that the braiding on my sandal had come loose and was sticking out a couple inches, flapping around with every step I took. Well, there’s nothing I can do about it now considering I don’t have a hot glue gun with me. I contemplated running out to my car to grab the duct tape I keep in my glove compartment for shoe-related and other sundry emergencies, but opted to walk slowly back to my seat, hoping that if I didn’t jar it too much, my shoe wouldn’t unravel any further.

Apparently the exercise of walking a few yards in combination with the coffee brought on a hot flash. I grabbed my workbook and furiously fanned myself. I started to take off my jacket which was fusing to my arms with sweat, but remembered I was wearing a shirt with a big keyhole cut-out in back. I was sitting in the front of the room. That meant if I took off my jacket, rows upon rows of people would be subject to a clear view of my back fat. I kept the jacket on. Sweat dripped down my face. I hoped for a freak earthquake to swallow me.

When we broke for lunch, again I jumped up and headed toward the little snack shop in the lobby of the hotel. About halfway there, I felt something dangling around my foot. I looked down and saw that my shoe had unraveled so much that it was trailing a good 2 feet behind me. This was an example of karma, my friend because I had been inwardly grumbling at the people walking slowly in front of me. And you know that old saying – when you complain about slow walkers, your shoe unravels. Anyway, I had to stop and figure out some way to fix my shoe or I surely would’ve tripped. Not to mention that fact that I looked like an utter idiot. So I took the braid and wound it around my foot a couple times, tucking the end under the buckle. Voila! Fixed. Sort of. Although I was regretting my shoe choice, I was very happy that my skirt was long enough to mostly cover my stupid shoe. 

As I straightened up, I saw this cute guy walk by. I tried to act all nonchalant like I’d simply been bending over to pick up something I’d dropped. No big deal. I wasn’t just wrapping a couple feet of cord around my ankle, no siree. He smiled a little. I’m not sure if it was just a friendly smile, or an “I feel sorry for the uh, special girl playing with her shoe in the middle of the hotel lobby’ kind of smile.

exhibit A

exhibit B
How can one person have so many shoe problems? How is it possible??? Remember my shoe that broke at school 5 years ago?

exhibit C

I tried to fix it with staples. Surprisingly enough, it didn't work.

exhibit D

And then there was the shoe that broke at my friend's wedding. 
exhibit E

I walked barefoot into a Dollar General to buy a roll of duct tape to fix it on the way to the reception. (Thus the duct tape in my car for shoe emergencies.)

exhibit F

It didn't work either. 

exhibit G

So I gave up, took my shoes off, and danced barefoot all night.

Oh and let's not forget about the unfortunate shoe incident from my last date a couple years ago - Why I Can't Date

Anyway . . .

I grabbed lunch, invited myself to join a couple people at their table because apparently that’s the kind of person I am - one who encroaches on others because why wouldn't they simply delight in my company. I refrained from jumping in the hotel pool or joining the tourists drinking piña coladas at the bar (and let me tell ya, that took quite a feat of willpower,) and went back to the seminar. 

We broke into small groups based on the results of our DISC personality assessments. I scoped out the room, searching for the cute guy from earlier and lo and behold, he was sitting with the "I"s. I'm an "I"! Obviously it's kismet. 

I walked toward the back of the room where the other "I"s were gathering. Wait, let me rephrase that. I started walking toward the back of the room. After a couple steps however, my ambulation turned to aviation as I tripped over my shoe's tail and took flight. Let's just say, I got the cute guy to notice me.

Oh but it gets better.

After the training (you know, the training to help us better deal with different types of people), we were shuffling like cattle toward the exit of the conference room. People were filing out a single door for some reason when there were two doors there. I, apparently having learned nothing from the day's seminar, let loose a snarky comment, "There are two doors there. We could actually use both of them." I picked up my certificate and once again saw everyone exiting via a single door to the parking lot. I gave an exasperated sigh because clearly "these people" will never learn to use both doors. I then walked right into the window. Yes, the window that was not actually a door. Karma wins again.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Misty Water Colored Memories

Recently on my Timehop (If you're unfamiliar, Timehop is an app that curates all the photos and posts you've put on social media over the years.) there was a post about Lexi breaking her arm. Two days later, there was a post that said I was on my way to the hospital with Lexi, followed by a post saying that she was out of surgery and everything had gone well. This happened ten years ago. I could not, for the life of me, remember her having surgery on her broken arm. Then again, I can't remember what I had for lunch today so that's not really saying much.

How could I have forgotten something like my kid having surgery? I asked the group chat that my family has if any of them remembered. The only response I got was something about the government implanting false memories to brainwash us. That was from Jackson's girlfriend, Summer. (Clearly, it didn't take her long fall in with my crew.) But I couldn't let it go. It was bugging me to no end until I realized that I had likely blogged about it. I quickly searched my blog for the date in question and lo and behold, I found it! Lexi broke two bones in her arm and the orthopedist put her under general anesthesia in order to set it properly. After reading the post about her broken arm, I continued reading, laughing at post after post of my kids' antics. Like Lexi's surgery, I hadn't remembered a lot of the things I'd written about. (I warn my kids often that they'll be taking care of me when I completely lose my mind.) Although it's disconcerting when I can't recall something I ought to remember, I'm so appreciative of my blog now! I mean, back in the day, this blog generated an income, a book deal, and more trips, freebies, and perks than I can count. It gave laughs and comfort to other moms in the trenches. And it provided an outlet for me to vent when my kids did stuff like make a "skating rink" from water and bubble soap on my kitchen floor, color the walls with yogurt, the TV with Sharpie, and each other with paint, or when one shoved a Tic-Tac up his nose, or gouged her name into the side of my van with a nail, . But now, it's this amazing scrap book of memories. I have 1570 posts written over the past 11 years that I can reread whenever I want!

You know how people always tell you to slow down and enjoy your time with your kids when they're little because it goes by so fast? That isn't entirely accurate. Really, you should slow down and enjoy your time with your kids when they're little because when they're grown, you won't remember a darn thing from their younger days! 

I tell my daughter a story and she gives me an exasperated sigh accompanied by, "Mom, you already told me this yesterday."
My son will ask me, "Remember the time we dismantled the playground and propped the slide against the house, then jumped out our bedroom window and slid to the ground?" and I gaze at him vacantly, as I try desperately to recall the incident in question. It seems vaguely familiar but I can't recall if it really happened, if I saw it on some sitcom, or if it was just a bad dream. I'm sure my kids look at me and think - there's a tree stump in a Louisiana swamp with a higher IQ than you.

I can't even tell you how many times I've uttered the phrase, "I"m going to pick Savannah up from water polo" this month. And every time, one of my kids will respond with, "Savannah? Really, Mom? Savannah hasn't played water polo for 5 years. She doesn't live with us." Then they'll throw in a, "Remember?" for good measure because I'm pretty sure they truly believe I don't remember that Savannah moved out years ago.

So, my advice to you is - enjoy those crazy days when your kids are young. Appreciate every sticky, messy, crazy, embarrassing moment. Because those days go by so fast one day, you won't remember your kids' names or the fact they tried to leave their brother at the store, or that they painted the dog blue, or that they accidentally knocked an egg out of a robin's nest and replaced it with a chicken egg and a marshmallow peep.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

50 By 50

I turned 49 on Sunday. For the first time. Honestly. 

It came and went with all the pomp and circumstance a single mom would expect - errands, laundry, cooking, cleaning . . . 

Anyway, I figure since I'll be 50 Forty-Nine Part 2: Electric Boogaloo next year, I should probably have an idea of what I want to do when I grow up. I mean, I've always been a procrastinator, but even I have to admit that it's a bit ridiculous to be nearly 50 years old and unhappy with yourself. To that end, I came up with a bucket list of sorts. Or well, notsomuch a bucket per se. It's really more of a small measuring cup. Still . . .

I will lose 50 pounds by the time I'm 50. That's a pound a week. Completely achievable, if not challenging. Note I wrote that "I will lose 50 pounds", not "I want to lose 50 pounds." Because I have wanted to for pretty much all of my adult life. Clearly, wanting and doing are two entirely different things.

I'm extraordinarily unhappy with my appearance. I would go so far as to say I hate the way I look. I saw a picture of myself taken at the Support Person of the Year banquet and I cried. I legitimately cried. I mean, I know I'm fat, but seeing it right there on paper absolutely disgusted me. I have lost the same 10 pounds a hundred times in my life. I'm done.

I will write 50 blog posts by the time I'm 50. It's a far cry from the 324 posts I wrote in 2008, but it's more than the 5 I wrote in 2016.

I like the school and the kids where I work. I like my job. I'm not passionate about it though. And I detest the commute. Like many of us, I don't get up and think - I can't wait to get to work! I miss writing. Nothing makes me happier than getting comments from people saying that something I wrote made them think, or made them laugh, or let them know they aren't alone. I want to write. So, I'll start with a few blog posts.

I will do 12 random acts of kindness. Because - why not?

I will go on 12 dates. Unless the first one turns out to be with a psycho who tries to make a suit of my skin. Or he chews with his mouth open. Or he doesn't laugh. Hmmm, maybe I need to rethink this one. Maybe I should adopt 12 cats instead . . .

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Sicking, Vampires, And Auspicious Write-Ups

I recently attended a mind-numbing training. The whole time I was sitting there listening to the presenter drone on, the only thought that filled my head was - What am I doing with my life? Why am I not at home writing? I should be writing, not sitting here critiquing this presenter's inability to speak and use any semblance of proper grammar in her power point.

When I got home, I picked up my laptop and pulled up my blog. The blog that used to have 100,000 readers daily. The blog that I used to update almost daily. The blog that sits there, mostly untouched these days. That blog. And I remembered how fulfilling it was to receive comments from my readers saying that my writing had made them think, or had helped them to realize they aren't alone, or had simply made them laugh. So I read through some recent comments. Here, because I want to share the pure unadulterated pleasure and joy with you, are those comments.

Are you tired of being human, having talented brain turning to a vampire in a good posture in ten minutes, Do you want to have power and influence over others, To be charming and desirable, To have wealth, health, without delaying in a good human posture and becoming an immortal? If yes, these your chance. Its a world of vampire where life get easier,We have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich, You will assured long life and prosperity, You shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness, Stronger and also very fast, You will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk, This is an opportunity to have the human vampire virus to perform in a good posture. If you are interested contact us

Oh boy, do I ever! I want to have power and influence over others and be made to walk in broad daylight! Where do I sign up? (Shhh, don't tell Sam and Dean Winchester.)

WHAT A GREAT MIRACLE THAT I HAVE EVER SEE IN MY LIFE. My names are Robert Mary I’m a citizen of United Kingdom, My younger sister was Sicking of breast cancer and her name is Robert Jane, I and my family have taking her to all kind of hospital in UK still yet no good result. I decided to go to the internet and search for cancer cure so that was how I find a lady called Sarah peter she was testifies to the world about the goodness of a herbal man who has the root and half to cure all kind of disease and the herbal email was there. So I decided to contact the herbal man for my younger sister help to cure her breast cancer. I contacted him and told him my problem he told me that I should not worry that my sister cancer will be cure, he told me that there is a medicine that he is going to give me that I will cook it and give it to my sister to drink for one week, so I ask how can I receive the cure that I am in UK, he told me That I will pay for the delivery service. 

Yes, yes, I just read an article in the New England Journal of Medicine how a random Internet herbal man had discovered the cure to help people who are sicking of cancer.

This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! This paragraph is really a nice one it helps new net people, who are wishing for blogging. 

Your comment is . . . how do I say it? Inane!

Its not my first time to pay a visit this web site, i am visiting this site dailly and take nice data from here all the time. 

Well that is my goal after all - giving nice data to all the people!

you are truly a just right webmaster. The website loading pace is incredible. It seems that you're doing any unique trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece. you've done a excellent task on this subject! 

Do you hear that, world? I'm a just right webmaster. I don't think there's anywhere to go from there. My dreams are fulfilled.

What i do not understood is if truth be told how you are now not really much more well-preferred than you may be now. You're so intelligent. You understand therefore considerably relating to this topic, produced me in my view consider it from so many various angles. Its like men and women aren't fascinated unless it is something to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs outstanding. All the time take care of it up! 

What I do not understand, if truth be told, is pretty much anything you just wrote. Not a stinkin' word.

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?  

I'm sorry, but I don't think we actually can communicate. You know, seeing as how I don't speak whatever language that is.

At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, afterward having my breakfast coming yet again to read more news. 

At this moment I am going to rethink my entire life. Afterward, I will pour a large glass of wine and watch some Netflix.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Hell is a Group Chat

Image by JESHOOTS-com on Pixabay
Remember back in the 70s when you had cheer practice? No? That's right! Because there was none of this putting your kids in sports and other activities that take all your time and money! We were thrown out of the house after school and we ran around the neighborhood playing until mom rang the dinner bell, signaling us to come running home. 

Then in the 90s and early 2000s when my oldest kids were young, we put them in some sports. You know how I knew what time their practices were? The coach told us at the beginning of the season. Practices are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:00 - 7:30. I didn't get reminders every day. I knew when practice was and I brought my kids at the appointed time. Like magic.

Then came the smart phone and people turned into idiots.

Case in point -  I, along with about 25 other parents, was added to a group text for Brooklyn's cheer team. Now this could be a handy tool for communicating. It could be if the other people involved employed any sort of texting etiquette, or you know, common sense. It could go like this:

COACH:  Remember practice tonight 630 to 8

The end. That's it. Everyone in the text group would receive ONE text reminder just in case one went stupid and forgot that practice is Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 - 8:00 just like it has been for the past 2 months.

But that's not how it works. That is literally never how it works. Instead, our phones (namely MY phone!) get a dozen pings with very, very important messages that everyone needs to know like this:

COACH:  Remember practice tonight 630 to 8

CRIP (Clueless Rude Inconsiderate Parent):  Jada will not be able to make it she pulled her groin muscle and can barely walk straight. See you Tuesday

CRIP:  Ok we'll be there

CRIP:  Kayla won't be there she has strep throat

CRIP:  Thanks

CRIP:  Kayla won't be there tonight.

CRIP: I'll have to try and get Kay a ride cause Kayla was Kayleigh's ride today. Husband is working nights now and I have 3 of the 4 needing to be placed

CRIP:  places


CRIP:  Hailee won't be there tonight

CRIP:  Hailee will be back next week

CRIP:  Bella will be there at 6:30


And here's me . . .


There is NO NEED to respond to a text that simply provides information, especially when there are 25 other people whose phones will ping with that text. If a coach reminds you there's practice, you don't not need to replay "Okay" or "Thanks" or anything else. Just show up to practice.

There is also NO NEED to tell everyone in the group chat that your husband is working, or your kid can't make it to practice, or that your kid has a groin injury. Tell the coach. She's the ONLY one who needs to know this.

Technology has just made people stupid. Twenty years ago, you would not have picked up the phone and gone down the roster to call 25 people and tell them, "Hi Anne, my daughter pulled her groin. She won't be at practice. I just thought you'd like to know." "Hi Meg, my daughter pulled her groin. She won't be at practice. I just thought you'd like to know." "Hi Mary, my daughter pulled her groin. She won't be at practice. I just thought you'd like to know." And on and on and on . . . So why do people do it now with texts? Why? Truly, I'm asking because I really don't understand this phenomenon. I cannot possibly be the only one who doesn't like her phone going off every few seconds with everyone's nonsense while she's at work.

I'm convinced that hell is a group chat. A group chat that you. can. NEVER. EVER. leave.


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