Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dye-ing to be Young

Dying hairImage by rightsandwrongs via FlickrNot too very long ago it seemed like folks aged faster. For example, my grandmother's photos of her at 40 look like someone today who is 65.

And men didn't fare much better. My own family tree boasts at least one or two men who had the ever-attractive "comb over," which eventually turned into the tragic "wrap-around."

Today, however, while some men go with "Hair Club for Men," even more go for the shaved head. Baldness has become a wide-spread phenomenon that some men should just not embrace. Either because their heads are in some unfortunate shape, or because their cheeks are wider than the top of their head, some men (and I know you've seen them) do themselves no favors by choosing to combat aging and hair loss by shaving their heads.

For the men who do look nice in the "Mr. Clean" look, the crisp look of a clean-shaven head can keep them from looking like they are aging quite so rapidly. Whereas, the olden days of trying to tease out the remaining hair into some kind of shape to resemble a full head of hair just screamed "old man" and really looked more like road kill than hair.

Women in my grandmother's day simply went gray. Hair dye was not nearly as wide-spread, and the colors available (especially in the drug store) were pretty heinous. So, most graying women would cut their hair short and coif it into some kind of curled helmet at the beauty salon. The style, along with the horn-rimmed glasses, said "aging" in big, red letters.

Enter in the ad campaigns by the beauty manufacturers: "I'm not growing old gracefully; I'm fighting it every step of the way." Suddenly, women have morphed into endless twenty-year-old's.

Hair dye has evolved into an entire science and industry of its own. Skin care has transformed wrinkles into smooth-as-a-baby's-butt skin. And whatever can't be treated chemically, can be nipped and tucked by a quick surgery.

Hair dressers around the world rejoiced at the turn of events. They were making money hand-over-fist with the advent of the perm. Then, women went "natural," and the perm went the way of the "comb over."

When the fountain of eternal youth was heralded to come from a little bottle of hair dye, the hair stylists sighed with relief, then jumped for joy. Then when highlights and lowlights, straighteners, blow-outs, and all the other numerous styling options dawned upon the horizon, hair styling was, once again, back in the proverbial "black".

I, myself, have succumb to the bi-monthly visit to my magician (aka my hair stylist) to erase the years by covering the gray. And I suspect I will continue to do so.

The result of all of these new hair styling/hair dying techniques (along with some significant wardrobe improvements) is that at 40, today's men and women look at least 10 years younger than our ancestors.

I'm hoping this trend continues. That way, when I'm 50, I'll look 20 years younger (comparatively). I mean look at Hollywood: Raquel Welch looks like she's in her 40's. (She's not in her 40's.) Shania Twain is "hot", even though she's well over 30, and a mom.

Yesterday's Hollywood starlett had to be in her 20's to be the "it" girl. Today's starlett can play a grandmother and still be considered "hot" for her age.

As I write this, I'm having to "arrange" my hair to cover my very gray roots. My hair dresser has fussed at me and begged me not to tell anyone she's my stylist until I get them fixed. (Can't say I blame her. BTW, Lindsay, I'm coming to see you Dec 17th!)

So, when you see me Dec 18th, be prepared to be wowed by a very youthful looking mother. In fact, you will probably think I look like I'm closer to my daughter's age... Okay, maybe not quite that young. But I will definitely look better.  And I will definitely look younger!

Hair dye is definitely a miracle worker for at least 90% of the American population of women (my guess). My prediction is that this will continue and improve. And we will all continue to look younger than our predecessors.  This... makes me happy.... :-)
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stupid Patrol: 'Tis the Season

Shopper crossing signImage by turtlemom4bacon via FlickrEvery year I go out with such high hopes when I go Christmas shopping. And every year my hopes are crushed within the first thirty minutes of the first shopping trip.

This year has proven to be no exception. I was in the Christmas section of Wal-Mart when I got a great big whiff of "Bah Humbug."

And that kind of poor attitude did not stop at the end of the wreaths, trees & lights. It permeated the entire store. In fact, there was a stark contrast between the joyful Christmas music playing overhead, and the pervasive mood of the store.

Children were crying, parents spoke sharply, several customers looked mad just for the sake of being mad. And even though there's a Christmas song that talks about the hustle & bustle of Christmas in a happy, joyful way, this hustle & bustle was cranky & irritated.

Oh, and one mustn't forget how Christmas brings out all the people who normally stay at home, except for the occasional midnight run to Wal-Mart for beer & bread. These are the people who are wandering around like deer in headlights with an actual grocery list and no skills to actually acquire the items on said list.

I had an idea for this season's shopping: I think everyone should be assigned a time to shop. That way it wouldn't be overly crowded at any given time, and the staff could be scheduled accordingly. And, since it's my idea, I propose that we clump all the stupid people together. That way stores can prepare for the special circumstances that inevitably crop up when the stupid people are shopping.

For instance, Wal-Mart could have an employee over in Tires and Hardware who would redirect the stupid people looking for tobasco sauce and underwear to the appropriate departments. And they would close down the self-checkout lanes all together.

The other thing I would request, since this is my idea, is that I get to shop at any other time except for when the stupid people are scheduled. Goodness knows I've shopped with enough of them I should be exempt. (Yes, ma'am, you do have to cook that turkey before you serve it... Well, sir, I'm fairly certain that vacuum does not require batteries. You plug it into the wall... No, ma'am, I don't work here. But I shop here very often, so I can say with certainty that Wal-Mart doesn't carry Abercrombie & Fitch cologne.)

I hope you all have a wonderful, stupid-free shopping season. And to all a happy, idiot-free goodnight.
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Monday, November 22, 2010


A child sleeping.Image via WikipediaWhat is up with people (especially children) who don't want to sleep? I so don't get that.

My bed is my haven, my inner sanctum. I absolutely love to cuddle up in my bundles of blankets and pillows and wallow.

And dream! Who doesn't like to dream? I'll grant you, nightmares are no fun. But generally speaking, my dreams are harmless, happy, witless apparitions that float across the front of my brain.

My children hate to sleep. They would do just about anything to keep from going to bed at night. And on weekends, when I am looking forward to dozing, they are up at the crack of dark, begging for something to do. I suggest sleep. They balk and act as though I've asked them to donate their liver.

I can't tell you how many conversations in my house go something like this:

ME:  Go to bed.

CHILD:  But I'm not tired (said in high, nasal, whiny, VERY tired voice)

ME:  It's so far past your bed time. You are going to miserable tomorrow. Please go get some sleep.

CHILD: *YAWN* But if I go to bed now, I'll get, like eight hours of sleep. I don't need that much sleep.

ME: Yes you do. Now, let's go.

CHILD:  Can I watch TV/listen to music/read a book/color? (read: anything but sleep)

ME:  No. I want you to sleep.

CHILD:  But if I do (insert activity) it will make me sleepy. Right now I'm not tired (rubs eyes)

ME:  If you don't go to bed right now, I'll dock your allowance by $2.00 for every minute you're out of bed.

CHILD:  That's not fair. You and daddy are up.

ME:  I'm not kidding. The clock starts... NOW.

CHILD:  (Scrambles to bed while complaining & mumbling).

Then I finish folding the load of laundry or changing the sheets on the bed, or whatever task I'm doing. Then I go to tuck them in and tell them goodnight; they are snoring. I thought they weren't tired???

Besides just plain liking sleep, I find that the many, many benefits are well worth the horizontal time invested. For example, sleep is when your body replenishes, heals and relaxes. Everything from weight loss to athletic performance is attributed to getting quality sleep. And it's the number one fighter of the big "S" word (Stress!).

I do have a rare instance of insomnia. And it totally stinks. I hate watching the clock, bleary-eyed while I wait for my alarm to go off. I really feel for friends who have regular bouts of it.

Hubby snores. And I know I've mentioned this before. Because hubby is not a "normal" snorer. He's a snore-so-hard-he-sucks-the-drapes-off-the-windows snorer. Remedy? Ear plugs for me.

Son snored. Had tonsils removed. Now he doesn't snore and he sleeps much better.

I don't snore unless I'm sick. Then I'm told I could wake the dead. But I'm usually far too asleep to hear myself.

Just talking about sleep is making me...  You guessed it: Sleepy. LOL.

As I write this, my children, feigning the superpower of not needing sleep, are trying to climb out of their beds to play some more. So, I guess as a responsible parent, I need to jump off my computer to go shoo them into bed.

Also time for me to snuggle down into my happy slumber for the night.

So, Good Night.  And, Sweet Dreams...

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm Weird

vegan vanilla ice creamImage by elana's pantry via FlickrI'm weird.

I grew up in an a-typical American family: My father and mother married, then had children. They have never divorced. I rarely see them disagree. And we liked each other.

My brother nor I did drugs or ran with the wrong crowd (Okay, that last bit could be challenged, depending on who you talk to LOL). We both made good grades and had jobs in High School. Each of us married our spouses, then had children. Each of us are gainfully employed, and have happy lives.

I also like my family, and my husband's family. I don't feel like I'm discriminated against. I don't feel like the world owes me anything, or the government is out to get me. But I'm not on any kind of medication (prescription or illegal) that makes me ingenuously happy, either. I don't have a vice that is any more egregious than diet coke. I really don't drink very often. I don't smoke.

My children don't have any disabilities (other than the fact that we are their parents LOL). They are polite, well-mannered children. They get good grades and enjoy their family.

We don't "tangle" with the law. We don't have any "Oprah-worthy" events in our lives. We would never be good material for a reality show.

We go to church and have strong beliefs. But we practice tolerance and loving our neighbors.

Basically, we are "plain vanilla" in a "thirty-one flavors" kind of society. And I personally could not be happier to be plain.

The funny thing is, while diversity is promoted in the media, and abnormality is celebrated as what is the true "norm," ours is the life people want.  Pop star calamities are glitzy and make headlines. And standing up to admit our failures and shortcomings to the world is so common, it's almost passe'.

But at the end of the day, most people would rather have had a satisfying, fulfilling day of work, and come home to a loving family and a warm home.

So, yes, I'm weird. And this Thanksgiving, I give thanks to God that He made me that way. I am happy and content... and weird.

May you all have a plain, weird Thanksgiving, too!
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Been Ages... But I'm Back!

AT SEA - NOVEMBER 9:  In this photo provided b...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Oh my goodness. Has it really been over a whole month since I posted last? Oh, bad Mommy Barbie!

Much has happened since the last post. Some funny; some sad.

The most exciting things:
1) Our family went on a cruise to Mexico
2) I got accepted into a Masters program at Trevecca Nazarene University and will start school to earn my teaching certification and Masters on January 8, 2011
3) The kids are all alive & well
(Not necessarily in that order)

The cruise? I was a bit nervous at first. The Carnival cruise ship that ran out of power was on the news only one day prior to ours. AND we were on Carnival, too! *Gasp*

But, it was fine & it was oh-so-much fun! I didn't have to cook or clean for five whole days! And (bonus) I got to bask in the warm sun in Mexico AND haggle over prices in their marketplace.

The teaching program is a long-time dream of mine finally coming true. It is the epitome of "In God's Time." I've been pushing this thing uphill since I graduated High School. Twenty-three years later I had all but given up. Then, *poof* God does His thing, and it's all fallen into place more beautifully than I could have ever dreamed.

The kids... Ah, well, they have declared an all-out, go-for-broke, fight-to-the-death war upon each other. Their take-no-prisoners, shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach has worn on my poor nerves.

I have even had to institute "Mommy Time Outs" so as not to take a child/all the children out to the end of the drive way and duck tape him/her/them to the mail box. They pick fights with each other for no good reason other than to fight. And I always feel like I'm in the middle of a pack of caged tigers who are prowling around trying to establish territory.

We have managed a bit of a truce on the fighting front. But it is a very tenuous truce, and needs only the smallest, assumed look to be broken. It was especially fun for the whole family on the seven hour drive down to the cruise port.

In fact, we had so much "fun" on the way down, that I gave each of the kids either Dramamine (because two of the kids actually had motion sickness on the cruise, and I wanted to ensure a comfortable trip home in the van) or night-time Nyquil (because one of the kids actually had a sinus infection and fever) to help them "rest" on the way home.

They slept like babies. And we had a fight-free ride. Hubby suggested I send in the slogan "Better vacationing through Dramamine" to the company. However, I assured him that just about every parent in the free world who ever rode in the car with kids knew the magical powers of Dramamine and Nyquil.

Tonight all of the children are sleeping soundly (with no medical/chemical assistance, I might add) while I write. Listening to the quiet house (even the animals are dozing happily) I realize why it has been so long since my last post: With hubby out of town more than he's been in town, these quiet evenings inspire relaxation and rest, rather than a burning desire to plunk around on a computer keyboard.

So, since I've (somewhat) caught up my posts for now, I'll bid you good night to continue the whole rest and relaxation gig. And I promise to post again much sooner. I wouldn't want you to miss out on the fun, crazy, silly, beautiful moments of Mommy Barbie's Adventures!

Blessings & Peace,
MommyBarbie :)
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Friday, October 1, 2010

The Mother's Curse

Puddle of MudImage by mollypop via Flickr
I was talking with a friend of mine the other day and we were commiserating with each other over the behavior of our children (not the good behavior, though). She is a teacher, so I run many of my ideas for encouragement and discipline by her to see if they have a snowball's chance in hell in making any kind of difference.

On this particular day, her child seemed to be winning the un-official competition of "Who Can Make Their Mother Crazy First". My friend sighed. "Sometimes I think she gets paid to make me nuts."

I sympathized. "I know. There's no way they do this stuff because they think it's okay to do it. I mean, who puts a half-eaten peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in their dirty clothes hamper for fun? I really think it's a conspiracy." Then, a thought occurred to me: "Hey, have you put 'The Mother's Curse' on her, yet?"

"What's 'The Mother's Curse'?" she asked.

I was surprised. Not only she was a mother, but she was also an educator. How could she have missed this most valuable lesson in parenting? "Oh, sister, let me tell you. It's the best thing ever. But you have to save it for the perfect time."

"Well, tell me!"she laughed.

"Okay, usually you wait for that time when your child does something so completely ridiculous that you can't imagine that they got a single gene from your side of the family, and THEN they have the nerve to look surprised when you yell at them." I hear her snort on the other end, as this is a fairly regular occurrence for both of our children. "Yeah, I know. But you have to wait until it's a BIG one.... Then, you give them "The Mother's Curse," which goes like this:

       "Honey, I must say I'm sort of amazed that you're surprised by my reaction to this. But, we'll   
        talk about that later. Right now, I just want to say," insert smile and finish sweetly, 
      "Someday I hope you have children just like you." 

"They never really know what hit them until it's much, much too late." I finish.

Hysterical peals of laughter come through my phone. "That's awesome!" my friend laughs.
Then after she interrupts her own laughter with: "Hey, wait a minute. Do you think that's what my mother did to me?"

"No, of course not," I promise her. "This all comes from our husbands' sides of the family."

We both laugh at this.

My children have all already received "The Mother's Curse." In fact, they can almost repeat it verbatim with me now.

Even though I told my friend it was our husbands' fault, I can't help but realize that I did, indeed, receive the curse as well. But that's okay. Because "The Mother's Curse" only extends to your children- not your grandchildren, as proved by my parents' relationship with my children.

So even though we're struggling through some good times and bad right now, I know that I am also rewarded by "The GrandMother's Blessing." What is "The GrandMother's Blessing," you ask?

It goes like this: "May you have more good times than bad with your children. May you hold the blessings in your heart, and may your heartaches fade with the setting sun. And, may you, after your children have moved on to the next phase of their lives, enjoy the greatest gift of all: grandchildren."

So, I wish you all "The GrandMother's Blessing," and lots of coping mechanisms, friends and laughter until you get there.

Have a great day!

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Top 10 Fashion Tips By Me

WalMart photosImage by Brave New Films via Flickr
As the season begins to change, I'm beginning to see the new fashions come out, along with all the people who are wearing them. I thought this might be a good time to share my all-time Top 10 Fashion Tips By Me (Kristi: aka MommyBarbie). Believe me when I say, I try to take my own advice, and I do not think I am better than anyone else. I prefer to think of these more as "common sense," which, obviously, some people are sorely lacking. (Just saying.)

Here we go...

10. Moms who try to make their children (especially boys) wear jumpers and peter pan collars when the child is over four feet tall, should lose custody of the child.

9.  On the flip side of the coin, parents who allow their children to look "sexy" are not allowed to be surprised when their child takes on not-so-admirable behaviors (like running with a questionable crowd, having sex, and other such things).

8.  If you have a "muffin top" when you try to wear low-rise pants/shorts/jeans- please don't wear them.
 7.  Outfits that look really "sexy" on television and in the movies end up looking "trashy" and "sleazy" when a soccer mom tries to wear it while driving her mini van.

6.  "Sensible shoes" may feel great- but they can totally destroy even the most beautiful, well put-together outfit.

5.  Just because a piece of clothing comes in anything over a size 4 doesn't mean it should be worn by any of us who are slightly/some/much/lots larger.

4.  A "jury of your peers" will never convict a woman for killing a whiny, skinny woman for complaining that she "just can't gain weight" and "nothing looks good" on her.

3.  Just because some of the 80's fashions are back in style, does not mean you can wear the clothes you actually wore in the 80's.

2.  When someone says, "I mean this in the nicest way, but" or "I don't mean to sound mean, but," you are a "fashion don't".

1.  Just because something is "in style" doesn't mean YOU should wear it.

I'm sure I'm missing some. And some may have other tips that they feel should replace the one(s) I have listed. But I think we can all agree, this is at least a very good start.

To any who are offended by my list, I would contend that, like Shakespeare says, "Me thinks thou dost protest too much." (In other words- if it hits too close to home, maybe you're reluctant to admit you are a "fashion don't".)

My suggestion? Find a friend and ask them to be honest. If you still aren't sure, post a picture on Facebook. If you don't feel comfortable posting a picture, then you shouldn't wear it. (Just saying.)

Ciao for now...
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Who's the Baddest?

 Tigger hanging out 

Dixie begging 

It is only human to compare ourselves to others. Sometimes comparisons can inspire us to do better. But sometimes comparisons make us feel better about ourselves. And sometimes, comparisons make us feel better about someone else.

Such is the case with my dear children. No matter how aggravating they may ever be, there are members of our family who consistently exceed the children's ability to make me want to punt them to the curb: our pets.

We have the most precious little dog you have ever seen. She is all of six pounds fully grown. Dixie is a mixture of Maltese and Shih Tzu who thinks she is a Great Dane. She barks and carries on like she's going to eat you. But in truth, she could only graze your ankles.

Then there's our sweet kitty, Tigger. He is a medium-haired orange Tabby. He has the softest fur ever, and is the most affectionate cat I have ever seen in my life. He absolutely craves attention and will literally try to climb you to get you to pet him.

They sound great, don't they?

Well, they are. Except...

The cat is the poster child for all cats when it comes to curiosity. He sticks his nose into absolutely everything. And since he likes people so much, there isn't much he's afraid of. Add to that the fact that he loves, loves, loves to push things off of high places to watch them fall. (Like a baby with the "Oopsie" game who loves to watch things drop to the floor- just so you'll pick them up.) He doesn't care if you pick them up, though. He just loves to watch them splat on the floor and make noise.

The salt shaker isn't bad. And pencils roll off the table nicely for him, but cause little actual damage once they hit the floor. However, cups of milk or juice left at the breakfast table are sure to be puddles of yuck by the time we get home. And honey bottles whose tops open when they hit the floor are gooey, globby messes to clean up.

But the cat is the better of the two.

Dixie loves the great outdoors. In fact, we have had to erect a virtual fortress in our back yard to keep her from escaping and running amok in the neighborhood. Now that we have the yard secure, she simply runs to her favorite places in the fence to scramble through and looks surprised when she can't get out. Every time. (Not a brilliant dog.)

My absolute, all-time, most maddening thing about any member of my household is that my little six-pound ball of fur refuses to go to the bathroom outside. I could leave her out all day long, and she would patiently hold it- until she got inside. There she would go to her favorite little spots and relieve herself, as she does every single day.

We finally ripped up the carpet and stained the concrete floor so that it would be easier to clean up & sanitize. But it is just gross.

Even the most devout animal lover will agree that daily "accidents" in the house make it hard to "adore" her. We have taken her to the vet, who informed us she had no physical reason for doing this. She also said we were doing everything she could think of to help Dixie unlearn this awful habit. But, she concluded, Dixie does not score very high in the IQ department, and maybe, just maybe, Dixie is a little "slow."

I would question the good doctor, except that I have witnessed Dixie do other things that qualify her as a "special" dog. For example, it took her at least a month to realize there was a glass door attached to our front door. We would open the main door, and the poor thing would run, gathering steam as she went, to try one of her famous escapes- only to be stopped quite suddenly and decidedly by the clear glass pane. She would wear a truly confused expression as she wandered over to lick her proverbial wounds.

That is not the worst or the grossest of poor Dixie's habits. But for the sake of discretion, I will leave it at this.

There are days- in fact, usually many times in any given day- that I would gladly trade my animals for a nickle. But I love them, so that just will not do.

And the kids love them. They love to play with them and pet them. (Even though they would rather eat pet food than feed them, walk them, or clean up after them.) And, ultimately, no matter how awful the kids are being- the pets are always worse- in their own little animal ways.

So when I say, "Kids, you are making mommy have a headache," the kids can (and do) reply, "Yeah, but Tigger knocked over a whole glass of milk, and Dixie peed on the floor again." Suddenly my headache compounds. But the kids are in much better favor once again.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

When I Grow Up...

Justin BieberImage by sheilapic76 via Flickr
I have been so busy lately, I've been unable to write much. But I've not had any lack of material. My muses (aka: my children) have kept me jumping around and provided so much humor and poignant moments.

Last Friday I went to pick up the kids from school, like I usually do. The minivan door slid open and my youngest stuck her face in, looking worried.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"My friends all laughed at me."

"Why, sweetie?"

Tears welled up in her eyes and her bottom lip poked out. "They said I couldn't be Justin Bieber's co-manager. But I told them I could because I can be anything I want to be. I'm a good dancer and I know everything there is to know about Justin Bieber. But my friends said I couldn't because I was too young. But I'm not too young, am I Mommy?"

Okay. Where do you even start with that?

"Well, um, honey-"

"You don't believe me, either!" she wailed.

"I do believe you, honey. And I believe in you." I was walking on very thin ice. "How... How would Justin Bieber know you wanted to be his co-manager?"

She stopped and looked at me. The wheels were turning. "Could I write him a letter?"


She was completely sunny & happy again.

Of all the things she could've said, could've been upset about- a fight over having an impossible grown-up job- right now- was not anywhere near my list.

That's one of the benefits of being a child: you don't know what you can't do, so you think you can do anything. I guess I used to be that way. But it's been a long, long time.

Maybe she will never actually be the co-manager for Justin Bieber. But I have no doubt that she will be amazing at no matter what she does.

And, she has reminded me that  I need to blog. Not just to have "stuff" on there. But also, because this is a kind of journal of my kids' childhood. And this "stuff" is just way too special to forget...
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Good Morning!

Full sunriseImage via WikipediaLast night was a full moon. It was gorgeous.
It was even more beautiful this morning when I went walking with my two girls.
Okay, anyone who knows me knows that this is pretty monumental. A) That I'm up this early, and B) That I'm exercising.
It was pretty, though, with the moon hanging on one side of us, and the sunrise streaking the sky on the other. It was peaceful, too. Hardly anyone is out this time of the morning. (I'm not judging here. I'm usually in bed, too.)
My older girl ran for a mile. I was impressed. I was walking (albeit sleep walking). My younger girl hung back with me. She skipped, jumped, ran ahead and then back, waiting for me to catch up. Ah, the energy (and fitness) of youth.
When we got home, they announced, "I want to do this every morning!"
Well, I guess that's incentive for me. I've been wanting to exercise, wanting to get in shape. I guess if I have my two favorite girls with me, cheering me on, I can't go wrong!
So, here's to hoping this becomes a habit. And that we're still motivated when it's blazing hot or freezing cold. And that eventually I'll be able to keep up with them, too.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


White MacBook laptopImage via WikipediaMy Apple Macbook laptop had a small crack in the case. It ran fine. It did everything I needed it to do. And I loved/love it!

Hubby was concerned about the crack. He wanted to make sure it didn't turn into a hole. And I decided he was probably right since a hole would involve some of my keys falling into the laptop. Probably not a very easy way to use a computer.

We packed it up and carried it down to BestBuy. I reverently placed it in the hands of their very capable Geek Squad and waited for their diagnosis.

They said the condition was beyond their expertise and they would need to send it off. I was nervous. I felt like I was sending a child off without my guardianship.

Then they said it would probably be two weeks. Two weeks? Without my laptop? Yikes. My life is in that thing.

Hubby had the foresight to back it up for me- just in case they decided to do something that would erase everything on it. But the back up is one of those little external memory devices.

My husband's antiquated computer is about as effective as a paper weight. (You can actually hear the little hamsters spinning on their wheels trying to make the thing go.) So trying to get anything from the back up to his computer is futile.

My kids' computers are all netbooks. They are not very viable resources for retrieving information either. Not to mention that hubby has installed some sort of safety software to keep the kids out of trouble. However, it will barely allow me to google anything, much less get on any kind of website to use any information I might need.

My best bet is my work computer. But then I feel guilty. Even though I'd be off the clock.

So for the time being, I'm retrieving my emails and checking Facebook from my BlackBerry phone. I'm blogging from Hubby's computer. And I'm writing everything else long-hand on a tablet of paper with a pen.

This is going to be the longest two weeks in the history of earth. So, please bear with me if you are looking for something from me. Be assured I'm not ignoring you. I just can't get to you. :(

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Saturday, August 21, 2010


Empty BoxImage by rkelland via FlickrHave you ever seen the television show called "Hoarders"? It's where people have a phobia of throwing anything away, and they almost literally end up burying themselves alive in all their masses of "stuff."

I don't know that anyone in my family actually has come to this (thankfully). But it certainly wouldn't be a stretch to say that we all suffer from some fairly mild cases of "stuff-itis." We really don't like throwing much away, especially if we "might" use it. So we keep it, "just in case."

The most frustrating thing my family seems to suffer from (in spades) is what I call "Box-itis." It is the condition by which my children can't seem to throw away empty boxes. Now, they do manage to put them back where they would technically belong if they were full. But since they have consumed every last cookie, cracker or piece of cereal, the new proper place would actually be the trash can. But they can never seem to manage to get them there.

I have found empty ice cream containers in the freezer (much to my disappointment when going on an ice cream raid). I have pulled out lonely popcorn boxes who only smell like the buttered popcorn they once contained. My children have even managed to fool me with my own purse, putting an empty packet of chewing gum back into its formerly proper spot. The worst thing they've done to me is to leave the empty Diet Coke box in the refrigerator, tempting me to take out my lack-of-caffeine rage on some unsuspecting children.

If I could ever teach them how to achieve freedom from "Box-itis," my next venture would be to teach them how to also kick the "Wrapper-itis" condition, along with the "Shoe-itis," "Book-itis," and "Paper-itis." "Paper-itis" is particularly bad after school when they are cleaning out their backpacks and pitch paper wildly about in order to keep their backpack "clean."

For now, I just have to get a handle on their "Box-itis". It is making me crazy. And at least twice I've not bought something at the grocery store because we supposedly had a box full of it at home. At the very least, I need them to add a box- of wine. So that I can toast their  ingenuity and their obedience at putting the box "back where they found it." (Figures they listen to that, right?)
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Hope Over Shadows Angst

Hope for a New Day in AmericaImage by cobalt123 via FlickrWhen I was in school, no matter how good things were between me and my friends, I always had this nagging doubt in the back of my mind: You are not good enough.

I had believed that it was a personal flaw that I had, miraculously, overcome in my adult years. And I wanted it to be something that never, ever touched my children.

My children are now tweens and teens themselves. And they are the age I was when my angst ran amock. And yet, they seem to be handling it okay.

From the outside in, I hold my breath when I feel they are being slighted; they simply shrug it off and move on. I haven't told them anything that my parents didn't tell me. But the defective gene that made me feel unworthy seems to have not been passed on to my kids.

I pray they and their psyches will continue to be happy and healthy. I want them to know that they are loved and valued. And I hope they are able to pass that acceptance on to their friends and peers.

One of the best things that could ever come out of me overcoming my sadness, would be the beginning of the all-together end of that sadness and angst for all children, tweens and teens.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Boop Boop Be Doo

Betty Boop in movie Bamboo Isle (1932).Image via WikipediaAll of my children are very creative. My eldest can make up an entire civilization and have the people/creatures live and battle. He is also an excellent artist that can draw characters to rival any comic book.

My middle child loves to make more domestic creations. She is more at home with a cookbook and a sewing pattern than many adults I know. And she has a musical ear that lets her hum beautiful melodies made up on the spot.

My youngest is still figuring it all out. She is terribly creative. But she's also impulsive. So most of her creations have to be completed in one sitting or else she loses interest. She also is very open to suggestion from movies, books, friends and television.

Her current obsession is Betty Boop. I was floored when she announced one day she wanted to redecorate her room all in Betty Boop. I had no idea she even knew who Betty Boop was. Then I discovered that an admired counselor from summer camp was a huge fan. Now almost all of my youngest daughter's projects are Betty Boop related (unless they are Justin Bieber related, which is another on-going obsession).

This morning she brought me a sock puppet. It was an old white sock (well, it was more like an earthy white, since it was an old sock) she had stuffed with tissue paper. She had cinched the top with a rubber band and stuck strings of old white yarn underneath to make hair. Then she found an old lip gloss container in the shape (and approximate size) of lips, which she secured with a rubber band.

When she presented this "puppet" to me, she proudly announced, "Momma, this is Betty Boop."

Then she asked if I would help her sew on some buttons for her eyes. I explained that it would have to be after school, since it was almost time to go. Amazingly enough, she was okay with that plan.

She followed me around with her "puppet" in hand, chattering away about the clothes she would make for it and so on. I listened and eyed the pitiful thing, wondering if there was any way to spruce it up a bit.

Then, my precious daughter said, "I would put arms on it, but then it would just look silly."

I had to bite the inside of my cheek very hard and turn away to keep from laughing and hurting her feelings. This poor sock monster looks more like a dog toy that the dog has already chewed and thrown aside. But in her mind, it was, is and will be Betty Boop.

Thank goodness for Imagination. It is, after all, the Mother of Invention.

And, I know one day her sock monsters- er, I mean, sock puppets- will be a thing of the past, and I will miss them.

But for this morning, and for now, Betty Boop's creator is probably busily rolling over in their grave at the likes of this creation. And I got a good laugh to start my day.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Those Crazy Kids

Multi-generational picture from 1946.Image by megnut via FlickrWhen I was in my teen-aged years and I referred to "kids," I was referring to little tykes, who were still losing baby teeth that would be rewarded with Tooth Fairy money.

In my late twenties, I worked in elder care. Most of my clients referred to me as a "kid." I was highly insulted. I was not a "kid;" I was a young adult. I had a college education. I considered myself to be quite worldly.

Once I had children of my own, my personal definition of "kids" spanned from infant to the tween years. I didn't quite consider "teens" to be kids, because I was still smarting from being called a "kid" at twenty-seven. And, also, teens didn't seem to quite fit the bill for being a kid. "Kids" were dependent, trainable, happy-to-be-around-their-parents sorts of people. Teens were moody, cocky and mumbled a lot. In many ways, I forgot I had ever been a teenager myself.

Now, in my VERY early forties (in fact, I would say much closer to thirties, really), I realize that I was ever so naive to believe I was worldly at twenty. HA. It was like saying that because I had been to a rodeo, I was a champion bull rider.

I also have come face-to-face with all my transgressions and accomplishments as a teenager, because my children who are teens themselves have started delving into my personal history:

"Mom, when you were my age, did your mom make you clean the bathroom?" Why, yes she did.

Of course some of their questions definitely show the technological and social leaps and bounds that have occurred since I was their age.

"Mom, did your mom let you play with your iPod in bed before you went to sleep?"


"Why not?"

"Because we didn't have iPods."

"Seriously? What did you DO???"

"Well, I listened to my cassette tapes and read books."

"Oh, that's awful. I'm so sorry."

Certainly my definition of "kids" has changed, too. Now I DO include teenagers. In fact, I now include those younger twenties people who believe themselves (as I did) to be worldly because they have a checking account and don't live at home any more.

I am amused at myself as I see me shift from one side to the other. I was once on the side that believed anything after twenty-five was dead. Now I don't rule out anything under 100.

I am firmly in the middle of "middle aged," though I prefer to see the glass as half-full, instead of half-empty. But I'm also realistic enough to know that I am too old to wear teen aged fashions, and (thankfully) too young to qualify for AARP discounts.

I am also at an age where I appreciate being carded for drinks, having the doctor say, "you don't need to worry about that yet," and having older people lump me in with "kids." I guess it's all just perspective.

My grandmother turns ninety-five today. When I'm my parents' age, she'll be the kind of person I want to hang around every so often, just so I can be called a "kid" again.

Happy Birthday, Ooma, to the youngest ninety-five year old "kids" I've ever known!
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Blue Monday

Come MondayImage via Wikipedia
Monday is typically not my favorite day of the week anyway. But today was my own personal example of why Monday's stink. By the end of the day, I could have been the topic of a country music song. I will be glad when I crawl into bed and set my alarm for tomorrow!

First, my alarm, though set, did not go off. Thus, I had some extra zzz's, which evidently I needed. However, it did not make my dash to work go any more smoothly.

Then, when I did get ready to leave, I decided I'd snarf down my breakfast in the car to save time. HA. Half way to work a huge blob of peanut butter and jelly landed on my right boob and splatted over into my lap. So I turned around to change.

After I changed, I couldn't get the animals inside. They had gone AWOL from the fenced in back yard. So I whistled and wandered around the neighborhood until a little white dog and big orange cat appeared, looking as though they were surprised to see me.

The animals back inside, I tried to leave again. No keys. Anywhere.

Now how did I lose my keys? I just came home with them...

Finally I found them in the pocket of the pants that had the peanut butter and jelly blob on them. Of course.

I was going to work. An hour late. But I was going to work...



Yes, I was in a car wreck.

My kids had played with my sunglasses, leaving a big smudge of yuck all over the lenses. So, while at a red light, I was trying to clean them off.

In my peripheral vision I saw the car next to me go. So, I did what I never ever do: I went, too- without looking up first.

Everyone is okay. My car is (relatively) okay. But I'm fried. And totally mad at myself for being so stupid. I haven't been in a car wreck I caused since I was sixteen. It's probably been at least ten years since I was in any kind of car wreck.

I wanted to cry to the police officer and the other drivers, "I am a defensive driver, darn it!"

Fortunately, they were very understanding. But I still felt bad and apologized profusely.

I made it to work. Two hours late. I got my work done. Then I came home.

Like I said, I can't wait for bed tonight. Tuesday has GOT to be better!... Right???
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

yeah fly high baby yeahImage by oddsock via Flickr
I just finished watching "Inception" with Leonardo DiCaprio. It was... well, I'm still thinking about it, and probably will for several days.

The final ending was given up to a point, then the viewer had to decide for him/herself. I love/hate those kinds of endings. As a "glass half full" kind of girl, I picked the ending that was happier.

But my conscious has been prickling at the whole thing. Did he? Or didn't he?

The whole story line was about five stories within the story, but they are all interconnected. It's enough to make you dizzy. I was having to pay so much attention, I didn't even get to eat my popcorn. (gasp)

So now I have another "dream" movie floating around in my head. There was "Nightmare On Elm Street," which I never watched all the way through, but still freaks me out. I believe at least one of the "Matrix" implied some dreams and/or an alternate reality. "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "Alice in Wonderland," and many fairy tales go with the dream and/or alternate reality. And there are many, many more that I'm not even mentioning.

"Inception" was by far the most complex idea I've seen on the subject, though: Can you influence a person by going into their dreams?  This movie had a whole protocol on how it all worked. It was very thought-provoking.

You know, I think I'm influenced enough by things going on in my waking moments (advertising, movies, books, friends, the news, family, magazines, etc., etc., etc.). I really don't need anyone poking around in my head while I'm sleeping.

So what do you think? Is there any good reason to go into someone's dream to influence their life? If you could, what would you do?
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Friday, August 13, 2010

It's the Walmart Way

Wal-Mart location in MonctonImage via Wikipedia
Today I went for my big weekly Walmart run. My list of over fifty items made my basket runneth over.

But there were several things I couldn't find on my list, which really irritates me. I mean, I would expect to have a limited variety of items at, say, the Exxon station. But at Walmart, I really believe I should be able to get a big box of Goldfish crackers. And yet, there were none.

I know their stockers must have to work around the clock to keep the place full. No matter when I go in there, the place is packed with every kind of person from every walk of life.

As I wandered up and down the aisles unencumbered by children, I took the time to read labels and see what other items I might be missing when I do my usual snag-and-run. I found some of the most interesting and most disgusting stuff.

I knew the organic market had taken an upswing. But they make organic products for just about everything. I have to wonder if people realize that just because something is organic does not mean it is good for you. Ice cream that has no pesticides still has fat and sugar.

As I said, I could not find the big box of Goldfish crackers. But I did find canned shrimp. Really? Ew. I thought Spam was bad (and it is). But canned shrimp? I don't even eat seafood. But I can tell you that if I did, it would not come from a can.

And what on earth would you ever do with oyster juice? Do I even want to know? I can only envision a really awful episode of Fear Factor.

I also breezed by the clothing on my way over to the pet food and deodorant. I believe I should be able to sue the buyer of the clothes for Walmart. Why in the world they would purchase some of the clothes they carry in some of the sizes they have is beyond me.

I have said it before, and I stand by it: I am not a size that needs to wear a bikini. I admit it. I'm OK with that. I am fine in the skin that I'm in. I'm alright with my own body. But I do NOT need to wear a bikini in my size 10-12 (8 if it's really stretchy and I've had a stomach virus for a week). So why they would even make a bikini in a W26 is unfathomable. Ditto on the micro-mini skirts, spandex and anything from the Hannah Montana collection.

I know Walmart provides a great service to many people, myself included. But should a store like Walmart simply sell "whatever" and pander to the masses? Or do they have some kind of obligation to help people be their best by offering healthy, reasonable choices?
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