Sunday, June 24, 2012


Remember being a kid?  Now that it's summer, maybe my son will.
The last time Dominic was written up on a disciplinary slip in elementary school-

Picture this:  three adolescent boys walking together.

Boy on right:  "Right ball".
Boy on left:  "Left ball".
Boy on right:  "There's a penis between us".
All three boys laugh.

I remember in third grade, all the boys ever did on recess was try to knee or punch each other in the balls.  I was barely amused, because I didn't really understand it.  Now I have a son, and I get it.  It's a right of passage.  It's part of growing up.  A necessary part of growing up.

I remember when recess was linked to words like shenanigans, tomfoolery, and immaturity.

I've said it before... my best memories from childhood happened when I was doing something I probably wasn't supposed to.  All children do this.  This is autonomy, children finding their way in the world without their parents.  Children trying out mature language and ideals.  Children getting an inappropriate education about intimate subjects from their stupid friends.  Shock and awe being silly and funny, making these scary subjects easier to handle.

On the playground in sixth grade, my girls and I talked about love, sex, and our periods.  (Not that any of experienced any of these-- but we had all types of discussions preparing us for them).  When I think back to these conversations, they were laughable.  But...they prepared me for the grown up world.  They prepared me for the intimate relationships I would have during puberty with other girls, becoming women.  They gave me a chance to speak frankly without the audience of parents, health books, and human growth and development films.

Granted... my son was stupid enough to take the role of "right ball" within earshot of a recess duty.  (They call the recess staff recess duties.  Duty.  Heehee.  Gets me every time).

So to Dominic and all the other gross, stupid boys out there- have fun.  Be disgusting.  We expect it of you.  Just look over your shoulder and check your audience now and then, ya jack wagons!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Summer break and childhood.  Two things have never gone together so well.

I remember the wonder of summer vacation.   We spent a lot of time riding bikes.  Walked to the local convenience store to buy penny candy.  Climbed trees in the woods.  Looked for crayfish in the local creek.  Fed apples to the neighbor horse.  Picked blackberries from the wild bushes near our house, which my parents would turn into shortcake and jam.  Hide and seek. Swing set. Popsicles.  Sprinklers.  T.V., video games, and movies on HBO.  One summer, I swear I saw Poltergeist and Grease 2 a hundred times. 

My typical childhood summer morning usually started with a cup of tea (that's right- I was a weird tea drinker since I was 8).  I would watch a rerun of Love Boat, put on my shorty shorts and tank top, and head out on my bike.

My dad's truck had an air horn that played Dixie.  Just like the Dukes of Hazzard car.  Pretty cool, huh!?  I knew it was dinner time when I heard them blow this horn.

We painted rocks, sold lemonade, made puppet shows.

My children have access to all of these things.  Well, we don't have a horse or creek nearby, but all the others are attainable.

So... why in the world are my kids so bored??

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Life list update

Update:  Thanks to my fabulous friend Janet, #31 was crossed off.  On the last day of school, the staff at my kids' school danced in a flash mob in front of the buses to We Got the Beat.  You rock, Janet!

1. Learn to play chess

2. Write a children's book

3. Publish a children's book

4. Ride Alpengeist

5. Visit Cedar Point

6. Visit New York

7. Live on the east coast

8. Walk or run a charity event

9. Volunteer for the homeless

10. Do something unexpected

11. Forgive someone when I think I can't

12. Go Parasailing

13. Lie topless on a beach in Greece

14. Visit Alaska

15. Ride in a helicopter

16. Make a difference

17. Be in two places at the same time

18. See Greenday live

19. Kiss passionately in the rain

20. Leave a $100 tip in a restaurant

21. Zip line

22. Become a bone marrow donor

23. Walk through central park

24. See the northern lights

25. Help someone complete a life list item

26. Get my masters

27. Teach college

28. Go to Vegas

29. Get another tattoo

30. Go skinny dipping

31. Be part of a flash mob

Friday, June 15, 2012

“Right now we're stading at a massive point of rebirth.” Lars Ulrich, Metallica

I've been pondering how to write about today.  This is the day my baby boy finishes elementary school.  As coincidence would have it, it's also one of my best friend's divorce day.  Heavy day to take in.

At first I thought I'd use some quotes to reflect the day.  There is such change, such bittersweet, such melancholy.  But I'm just not sure these two events deserve the same feelings.

When you are in a child's life, the downfall, as I've said many times, is if you do your job, they move on.  The clear sign that I've given that child the support and tools they need is when they leave.  Or distance themselves.  Or grow up.  My boy is ready for the next challenge.  *sigh*

Divorce is a different kind of change.  It shares the same bittersweet and melancholy, but is entirely different.  I can't bring myself to type if you've done your marriage well because there is too much gray in that area.  When people get divorced, that doesn't mean they failed.  You give it your all, and sometimes, beyond control, it doesn't work.  Sometimes people grow and change in positive, distinctively different ways.  Sometimes dark times cannot be forgiven and forgotten.  My son and my friend's events share change and future, but divorce is plagued with the difficult challenge of rebirth.

So today I watch my friend and my son move forward.  Hesitantly move forward.  Change and growth are in the air.  So is a sadness of all that's left behind.

What do I write to them?

To my dear friend:  Learn and grow from the darkness.  Embrace the warmth to come.  You deserve all the friendship and love in the world.  If times get tough, just remember that tomorrow will be better.  You always have me.  And beer. 

Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person.”

― Gerard Way

“Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.”

"Sometimes, good things fall apart, So better things can fall together." 
 - Marilyn Monroe

For my son:  You have been a wonder to watch through these years.  You came into this world a silly blue eyed boy, and continue to live life with that happiness.  You are focused and serious, and then goofy and funny.  I love this balance you have.  I think it will serve you well in life.  You strive for greatness, which will be yours.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed:
Yes!  You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!
-Dr. Seuss

For both of you.  When you feel scared.  When you feel frustrated.  When your locker won't open or you feel lonely:

"Taking one foot and putting it in front of the other, that is the only way to travel forward...If however you take steps forward whilst looking backward; well -then you will fall over because you end up tripping over something you would easily have seen if looking where you were going in the first place. So, when looking back just stay still for a moment, allow yourself to reflect, but then you must at some point turn around and just keep moving - or you will stagnant on the spot which means going nowhere at all."

 -Jacquelene Close Moore

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The bomb sniffing dogs at disney

It's just not a Persinger vacation without one odd story.  Well, maybe it's just not a Sam vacation.

Very first meal at the magic kingdom of Disneyland.  Redd Rockett's Pizza Port.  Love this place because I can get a real salad- not one of those iceberg lettuce things.

Large seating area, and we find our way towards the back.  We sit and begin to enjoy our $400 theme park lunch, and begin to notice that it is emptying out around us.

Then we notice caution tape roping off a fairly large seating area.  A seating area we are actually sitting in.

Now at first I was confused.  Disney is great at theming.  Cast members are always in the appropriate dress in the appropriate land.  Seldom do you see a mismatched cast member anywhere in the park, and if you do, they are sure to be fired soon. 

I should have realized that when I saw people dressed up like Dick Tracy's friends, they were security.  I'm sure just Tomorrowland security.  I'm sure the other areas have their own protocol.

Then my daughter says, "Oh- a dog!"  All the pieces start making sense now. Cleared out area.  Caution tape roping the area off.  Dick Tracy like security.  A dog wearing a security vest.  A lone backpack by itself.  The dog sniffing the backpack.

I honestly do appreciate the length Disney takes to ensure a safe environment for my family.  For all the families.  Apparently a left bag triggers a response team.  The bomb sniffing dog, followed by a hand inspection, ensured that the backpack was, in fact, just a forgotten article.

The part of the story that makes it weird is this:  It was an odd sight to see.  We know that fire trucks, medical care, and security are in the park, we just don't usually see it.

The part that makes it a Persinger legend:
Um.  If they were so concerned about everyone in the restaurant blowing up that they cleared the area... why didn't they move my family out??

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fond memories my kids don't appreciate

My early years are filled with lots of southern California memories.  My grandparents lived in Orange County, near Laguna Beach.  I can fondly recall the adventures I had with them... Lion Country Safari, Dana Point, Busch Gardens, Queen Mary. 

Lion Country Safari was an outdoor drive through park full of animals.  I remember the ostrich that stuck it's head in our window.  I remember seeing the lions lounging in the sun.  I remember the little hippo pedal boats and the snow cones.

Busch Gardens had a bird sanctuary, boat rides, overhead trams and unknown to me at the time, a free beer sampling tent.  I sometimes went there on my birthday.  Looking back, I'm thinking my parents were pretty smart.

Dana Point, located near Laguna Beach, had a beautiful bluff setting where I enjoyed taking photos and watching the sailboats come across the bar.

Queen Mary was one of my favorite memories.  I loved exploring it, not even realizing the historical importance of these old ships.  I loved the shark tank, and all the valves and dials in the engine room.  I marveled at the tiny sleeping quarters and large dining halls.

Thinking my children had missed out on this wonderful experience, I took some time on our vacation to take them to see the Queen Mary.  Anticipating the excitement on their faces as the ship came into sight, I didn't tell them where we were going.  As we rounded the corner for the amazing first glimpse of this valuable relic, I noticed... a commercial cruise line sitting next to the Queen Mary, dwarfing it in comparison.

The trek from the car was equally unimpressive.  Dominic actually, in a whiny kid voice, announced he didn't want to get out of the car.  After yelling and threatening careful persuasion, we walked toward the boat.

They were not impressed.  They were actually bored.  They questioned did we have to actually go on the ship??  I managed to engage them for a half hour.  Part of that time was spent finding a bathroom.  I did get them to pose for a picture though.

They truly hated me had a great time!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happiest place on earth

Just returned from a family trip to Disneyland.  A week of crazy, excited, sometimes tired and crabby, living the life family fun. 

So here is the discovery I made that warms my heart.  Ripley really is my girl.

Ripley has been waiting with anticipation for this trip, finally tall enough to ride the coasters.  She has been measured over the past few weeks, looking for any indication of growth.  She has tried different shoes on.  She has practiced standing tall.  Last we measured, she was 47.5 inches with shoes.

Hmm.  You need to be 48 inches to ride California Screamin'.  We planned around this.  Maybe the height markers are not perfectly accurate.  Maybe, like the last trip, we will buy her bejeweled Minnie mouse shoes with a heal to push her over the edge.  She continued to practice inhaling, and pretending an invisible string was pulling her up by the top of her head.

We told her to be patient.  We would assess the situation, and figure out what to do.

Upon entering Disneyland, Ripley wanted to go on Space Mountain first.  She was plenty tall to go on this ride, but had never been.

Her anticipation while waiting in line was contagious.  She had a million questions.  She bounced through the line on her toes.

Then we reached the ride platform.  My girl- my chip off the old block, mini me, uttered a sentence that I will remember for the rest of my life.

"Can we ask for the front row?"

*big smile*

And she loved it.

The second official ride choice for our 2012 Disneyland trip... Space Mountain again.  Front row, please.

Eventually, the time came that we entered Disney California Adventure.  The moment of truth.  Was she tall enough to ride California Screamin'?

Whew.  It's all good.
So she really is my girl.  She has figured out that the happiest place on earth is actually the front seat of a roller coaster.

Friday, May 18, 2012

39 things I've learned in 39 years

*Ya, that's right.  I'm not actually 29.

1. Good friends are in your heart, even when they aren’t always in your life.

2. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

3. Setting goals is important. Being flexible is more important.

4. Regrets can only hinder you. If you can’t change it, move on.

5. Don’t leave things unsaid with people you care about.

6. Money is important, but it’s not everything.

7. Mistakes are not only okay, they are necessary.

8. Listen to your intuition. It is seldom wrong.

9. Don’t burn bridges. You never know when you’ll need one.

10. Learn to recognize when you just shouldn’t use that bridge again.

11. You are the only person that can make yourself happy. No one else can do that for you.

12. Have perseverance. In time, you can conquer anything.

13. Time changes everything.

14. Your own perspective is just your opinion.

15. With great joy, remember there will also be great pain. The balance is unavoidable.

16. Don’t hold grudges. They serve no one.

17. Invest in relationships, not things.

18. Hate never moves you in a positive direction. Let it go.

19. Give more than you take.

20. Work hard, play hard. Nuf’ said.

21. Don’t forget to daydream. It feeds your soul.

22. Until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes, don’t judge them.

23. Model tolerance and humanity.

24. Don’t waste your time worrying what others think of you. At the end of the day, you are the only one that has to live with yourself.

25. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. Just like shoes that are too small, you will eventually have to take them off just to be happy.

26. When working, any job, anywhere, be a professional.

27. There is no shortcut to hard work. Those that appear to have found it, will, in time, end up where they started.

28. You can’t beat a liar. Don’t even try. Just move on.

29. Never let go of the child in you.

30. Take responsibility for your missteps.

31. Don’t live in fear of what might happen or you will miss all that did happen.

32. You can’t change people. You can only change yourself.

33. You can’t make people do things. In return, no one can make you do anything.

34. It is never too late to start something new.

35. Choose jobs and careers that you like.

36. Remember, sometimes, to throw caution to the wind.

37. Embrace any serendipitous moments in your life.

38. Pain happens. Suffering is your choice.

39. Love with all your heart.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy 29th birthday to me- well, give or take a decade

So here is the short story to sum up this year's birthday.

Let me start by stating that I don't love birthdays.  At least, not my own.  I'm not really sure why, but I have been like this most my life.  I'm beyond thrilled to decorate, celebrate, or jump out of a cake for YOUR birthday.  Something about my own birthday, however, seems to paralyze me.

I'm not concerned about growing older.  I don't look that old, and I've truly never acted my age.  Age is just a number.  Except for when I'm entering a bar, it never really comes up.  *Special shout out to the nice boys that still card me in bars, by the way*

So... apparently I'm so old that I couldn't renew my driver's license online.  I had to actually go into DMV to renew it.  DMV seems to question my ability to see with these ancient eyes.

I take my number and sit in the chair.  The same discolored, metal leg chair in every DMV in America.  No one is in a good mood.  A poster on the wall announces that the personnel at DMV strive to make every customer happy.  Ya, right.

When my number is finally called... almost an hour later... I look for counter #9.  I can see counters 1-8 lined up in a row.  I can see 11 and 12 on the other side of two unlabeled counters.  Is it just me?  Am I imagining the logic that the unlabeled ones would be, um, 9 and 10?

I wait, patiently, at the alleged #9 counter.  And... I was wrong.  #9 is actually the same counter, at the front of the room, where I got my original number.

I trek over to the correct counter to see that they have actually moved to the next customer.  Catching the eye of the power hungry nazi friendly assistant, I wave my number towards him.

"Ooooh.  I called you, but you never came."

I explain that I couldn't find the counter.  After some very deliberate searching through the computer system, he declares that he can still help me.  I'm still in the system.

Just to be clear-- if you couldn't find my arbitrary number in the computer system designed to call customers in order, I would have to what... start over?

I am instructed to read a line of letters.  Then I announce the four colors I see in the vision do-hickey.  Then I'm done.  Thank goodness they made me come in.  Clearly I'm not senile based on that forty five seconds of testing.

"Are you still on 17th street?"  Yes.
"Do you still want to be an organ and tissue donor?"  Yes.
"Do you still weigh 120 lbs?"
After a slight hesitation, I answer, "sure."

This is where my fabulous beginning to this birthday begins.  I will be able to tell this story for years to come.  The kindly man cocks his head to the side and asks me, "really?"

Ya.  Happy birthday to me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Friday was finally the day!  Fifth graders from my son's school went to Junior Achievement BizTown.

Me rocking the volunteer smock

Dominic applied for CFO of Sports Northwest... hmmm... sensing a family lineage.  He was proud to get hired, almost like a real job.  He planned out his clothes, and fretted and worried about this day.  I haven't seen him this excited all year.

CFO boy

 Those of you that know me well know that I sit on the fence about Junior Achievement.  Among my peers, I often refer to it as capitalist training.  When you dissect the program, it kinda is.  In a complete function in society way.  Still, I have my reservations about students not having the option to participate if their class is signed up.  I totally support programs such as DECA, but they certainly shouldn't be mandatory.

There is another side to this program.  They do teach about philanthropy and community.  These are important in my book.  However, words like product, customer, net and gross come up a lot, too.

So here's my dilemma.  I absolutely want my children to be responsible in the work place.  I want them to know how to write a check and fill in a bank deposit.  I want them to understand the elaborate process involved in starting a business, the risks one must take, and the community involvement decisions.  So I should clearly want my student in Junior Achievement.

Ahh... but that bohemian side of me thinks about how we are all driven by money and success in the business eye.  I work in a service job.  I could never work in the business world. 

Watching fifth graders simulate a four hour real world experience was... well... like the real world.  These students broke down in exactly the demographics my adult self has become accustom to.  Some jumped in and took it seriously.  Some screwed around the whole time.  Some just stared at the clock until their break.
My group.  My sweet boys Sam and Kye

I hope my children find a balance.  Embrace your community and give selflessly.  But please don't bounce checks while you do this.

The moral of this story:
My son worked his butt off.  He was not one of the offending screw offs.  He sat at a computer and inputted numbers.  He printed paychecks, handled invoices, and billed other companies.  He managed his crew while the CEO was on break.  And Dominic, while on his break, walked by my business to say hi. *smile*  He also told me the 'real world' was not fun.  *bigger smile*

They could spend their paychecks at the various businesses to buy small trinkets.  Pencils, small toys, frisbees.  They could also spend their money on pop and snacks at the cafe.

Dominic came over with an orange pop and bag of popcorn.  He told me, "I'm not going to bother spending my money on these little crap things that will just end up in a land fill."  That's my boy.

At the end of the day, our BizTown mayor made a presentation for the two good citizen awards.  Strong, successful, dedicated workers in their simulated community.  Of course, Dominic won.  Hmm.  There's Chris' boy.

Acting oh so happy about the award

Friday, May 4, 2012

Poetic license

I recently subbed in a fifth grade excel class.  Fun class full of active learning and kids that actually want a challenge.  They had the perfect, quirky teacher for that.  On each of their desks was a small paper adhered to the corner.  Each had a photo of the child, and the words written beside it "poetic license."

I need one of these. 

Blogs are an interesting form of communication.  They are an edited diary, to almost be read aloud.  Herein lies the difficulty.  Do I follow the rules of speech or writing?

I am fully aware that it's frowned upon to start a sentence with a conjunction.  But, sometimes it's just needed.  Would I write a paper like this?  Of course not.  Would I include an incomplete sentence like 'of course not'?  Of course not.

Sentences shouldn't end with a preposition.  Really and very are truly not interchangeable.  Ginormous isn't a word.  

But then, misuse of grammar damages my credibility as a writer.  Well, for some of you.  Those of you that text me incoherent sentences that look like a license plate, you're probably safe.

So I need to use some forms of grammar correctly?  Capitals, subject predicate, parallel construction?  Me and I.  Well and good.

Then I notice the glazed over look you have when I start going all APA and MLA on ya.

I let my ear decide.  My blog, when read in my head, sounds like someone on open mic night.  It sounds like a storyteller reliving the experience before you.  It sounds like a sarcastic person revealing a punchline.

Sure, that's just in my head.  But, if a conjunction, fragment, and misused adjective make it sound like that to you, then I've done my job.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Musical chairs

Walked into Junior Achievement "Biztown" training today with a few school parent friends.  We were among the first there. They guided us to (enter clever name for meeting room B) the sign in table.  Lots of large, round tables dot the room.

Right there, the decision must be made.  Who do I plan to be?

Many times in college I was roasted by friends for being the front and center girl.  Let me clarify.  I sat in the very center of the front row.  First I got out the appropriate notebook and my reliable pen.  Water bottle.  Glasses case.  Highlighter.  Sticky notes.  All lined up.  I should have just sprung for the pocket protector.

Many times the professor would actually utter the words, "... anyone besides Sam that would like to chime in?"

Ya.  I'm that girl.

Then one summer, I was in graduate school, entering a classroom for the first day of class.  Oh, I had my arsenal of school supplies.  I spotted my friend Mary in the back of the class. 

Hmm.  This might be fun.

It is a social convention that generally the seat you take the first day will remain the approximate area you land from that point on.

So I sat in the back with Mary.  She was so funny, with a dry wit.  She didn't stack her supplies at a 45 degree angle like I did.  She didn't even have a highlighter with her.

I spent the rest of the term listening and learning, but quietly, with a sarcastic flare.  I did use those sticky notes-- to write amusing comments back and forth with Mary.  I didn't offer much to the dialogue.  I did the work.  I got an A.  But I did so in the back of the room.  I didn't get roasted because I was doing all the roasting.

Years later, with my big girl pants on, I stand, surveying the room.  I've relaxed a lot since my school days.  I've even realized that I don't have to get an A.

So...I sat in the back corner.  I didn't share any questions or answers.  In general group answering, I muttered.  I took pictures of my coffee cup and played words with friends on my phone.

And you know what?  It really didn't matter.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Warning:  If you think I'm an attractive, smart woman- don't read this.  For the rest of you, continue...

My first few years teaching, I got sick.  A lot.  This happens with most teachers.  Over the years, your immune system builds up and it happens less frequently.  Between teaching and staying home with the kids, I've pretty much reached this status.

Being a substitute teacher is kinda like being a storm chaser.  When a string of snotty nose, barfing-in-the-classroom bugs make there way through a class, I'm sent in as the reinforcement.  I follow the bugs people!

This isn't usually a problem.  Then Thursday came.

I was subbing in a wonderful 2nd grade class.  One of my favorites.  Two teachers co-teach their classes together.  My daughters best friend is in one of these classes.  So many sweet, familiar faces.

Morning went well.  I brought in more Mo Willems books for the kids to read.  We designed our own super hero power bugs.  Wrote in our journals. 

After lunch, I had a stomach pain.  In real time of only about a half hour, I was lightheaded and sweating.  Instead of roaming the class, I positioned myself in a chair.  One of the really annoying inquiring students with a math question came up for help.

My stomach was churning.  Sweat dripped down my back.  This girl had a handful of pretend money, trying to complete the oh-so-hard task of making 52 cents in change.

She held up a quarter.  "Is this 52 cents?"

Gut wrenching discomfort moved down my torso.  "No.  That's a quarter.  It equals 25 cents.  What would two quarters equal?"

Sticks her tongue out in thought... "52 cents?"

My face was sweaty, on fire.  "No.  If you double 25 cents, you get 50 cents."

A light bulb went on for this child.  She decided to share it with me by poking me in the shoulder.  "Hey.  Hey.  Hey, Mrs. Persinger.  That's only two cents less than 52 cents."

I think I'm going to pass out if she pokes me again.

"Hey teacher, why do some of these plastic coins look different?"

Thank goodness for recess.

I run down the hall to the closest adult bathroom, ready to hurl.  A table full of kids working on a project are right outside this single unit bathroom.  Seriously-- who thinks this isn't awkward?

"Hi Mrs. Persinger!"

I answer with what can only be described as a gulp.

Five minutes later, I emerge from the bathroom, spent and pale.  The bathroom I'm sure is not soundproof.  These same students still sit outside the bathroom.

"Mrs. Persinger???"  Their voices were as shaky as I felt.  Ya.  Sure that one is going to be shared at the dinner table for several families that night.

Lumbering back to the classroom, I run into... my son.

"God, mom.  What's wrong with you!?"

So, a half hour before the end of the day, they sent me home.

They actually offered to walk with me.  They actually offered to drive me.

But at least I have my dignity.  Oh, wait... no I don't!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Times... they are a changin'

Things that make me realize just how old I am.
(and believe me, it crept right up on me!)

10.  My children are better than me at all technology things.
9.  I don't get carded anymore.  Once in awhile a nice young man may ask for my ID, but you can tell he thinks he's doing a good deed.
8.  People have started referring to me as ma'm.  Not honey, not sugar, ma'm.  I can't win on this one.  I'm either a sex object or old.
7.  I get excited when I receive a gift that is an appliance.
6.  I find it interesting to watch birds.  Also, any type of small mammal... rabbits, squirrels, any cute little Snow White sort of thing that comes to my yard.  sigh.
5.  I no longer know the names of the cool drinks or trendy food.  I remember when getting a sex on the beach well drink was scadalous.  Believe me... they've gotten way dirtier.  And why does everyone young eat sushi?
4.  Some of the current music actually does sound like noise to me.  When  I tell my kids one of their songs is a remake, they look rather horrified.
3.  I am no longer appealing in a bar, unless it's a 40+ crowd.  Or if I'm standing near a young person, and I overhear someone say "your mom is pretty."  Grrrr.
2.  I start sentences with 'when I was a kid...'.  All.  The.  Time.

1.  I still use the word awesome.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I used to have the cutest little non-smart phone.  It was bright pink with little embossed daisies.  Now that I've switched over to the smart phone I could never go back.  There are a few features, however, that this new phone is lacking.

Don't get me wrong, the smart phone is great.  My own little full functioning barbie sized computer.

But it doesn't have the devil face.  I really need the devil face.

Many of you are rolling your eyes, thinking that's just the software.  Uh huh, got that.  I can't get what I want loaded onto my phone.  Just that simple.  Different phones, different companies, and I'm stuck with the strange and limited alien expressions.

Sure, I've got the most used- smile and smile/wink.  I have the occasionally used sad, tear, and tongue sticking out.  But I don't have the devil.

By nature, I am a fairly sarcastic person.  Even at inappropriate times.  Therefore, I desperately need the fitting emoticons/smilies.

I don't have the smiling devil.  Clearly he was my go to for any facetious or mocking comment.  I miss him.

I also don't have the wink/smiling devil.  While less used than the traditional devil, he was pivotal to designate if I'm being sarcastic or using an innuendo.

raised eyebrowsAhh... and smile with the uplifted eyebrows?  There was no sarcasm for this guy.  No innuendo.  He was truly giving the face that says, "ya wanna??"  Date nights will never be the same with the eyebrow guy.

Sure I can be confused, an angel, or have my foot in my mouth.  It's just not the same.  Oh-- and what the heck is with money mouth.  I'm so old I don't even know when to use that one.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chicken or the egg?

Long story short... the boy that caused enough stress for Dominic to drop out of Math Olympiad?  He walked up to a football game at recess, and popped a child's ball.

Dominic?  Oh- he tackled him.  Football style.

Let me interrupt here to tell you I have received so many "awesome" and "way to go Dominic" messages from parents that were just waiting for that child to get what's coming!

So of course, Dominic was taken to the Principal's office, got another behavior slip, and missed a day of recess. 

Let me just get this straight.  My son defended a friend that was wronged.  My son didn't let a bully well, bully.  My son took full responsibility and was completely honest.  In my parenting handbook, he's doing all the things that make me proud.  So what are we teaching these kids?

Talking with a friend today, I made a connection I hadn't noticed before.  I was aware that as kids get older, the problems get tougher.  I have also noticed that our school seems to be in a bit of a crisis lately.  What I hadn't noticed was the complicated bully formula that educators are not handling correctly.

Bully is the ten dollar word of this decade.  The problem is children are being bullied, but not receiving any tools to handle it.  There is no bully education.  They haven't formed a task team or parent group to discuss the problem.  The same children keep causing the problems, getting a slap on the wrist, and we actually expect that to change them?

Enter the other children.  The victims.  Given no information or tools to handle a bully, they are taking it into their own hands to handle.  And safe to say however they handle it, they will get in trouble. 

My son flipped off a child.  I get that it was wrong.  He learned from the experience.  What was not adequately assessed is why my son was so angry with the other child.  He had his reasons.

My son stood up to a child that was already pretty ticked off at my son.  A child that had already caused problems in their personal relationship.  A child that regularly picks on other kids.

My son, with courage, put a stop to it.

So again, to sum it up, this is a chicken and egg situation.  If we educated children and took the time to change the status quo, perhaps his intervention would never happen.  Teaching children tools to handle these situations is surely something that will stop the bullies in their tracks, and enable bullied children to cope.  Cope within the accepted behavior.

The way they're doing it now?  Seems pretty ass-backwards to me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Love grows tolerant

Just got off the phone with the hubby.  He's at GMM in Germany for the week, meeting with the other worldwide heads of marketing.  The whole thing sounds absolutely dreadful to me.  I just don't do well sitting in meetings.

He forgot to call yesterday.  Well, last night.  I mean last night for him.  Or was it the night before?  Was it day for me?  I forget.

Two phone calls later, he finally tells me why he forgot to call.  He was drunk.

I remember in October, just before our wedding, Chris went on a business trip and whooped it up a little too much, and forgot to call.  I went ballistic!  How could you worry me like that?  How could you make me wonder where you were!  He had flowers delivered, and I still married him.

Time does a funny thing to love.  It tempers it.

In the beginning, people are all consumed, self involved partners, whether they mean to be or not.

Over time, you just sort of relax.  I have so many things to worry and stress about, I won't waste my time on little things.  That pre-wedding girl was indignant in a new, blooming relationship.

Now?  Eh.  You're a big boy.  Have fun.  Whatever.

He described his evening, which I feel was totally necessary.  He's in Germany- land of beer!

A whole group went out to a nice steak dinner.  Rounds of shots were ordered...four times.  Beer was like water.  He even drank out of a giant community uber-mug of beer that was passed around.

Upon waking in the morning, he described the scene of him undressing his way to the bed.  A shoe by the door, belt, shirt, all forming a line to the crash spot, where he slept soundly through the night.  Even with jet lag.  With his contacts in. 

My response?  "That's awesome."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Math frustrations

Remember all those times when your parents told you life isn't fair?

Remember when you realized they were right?

Remember when you had to share that bit of wisdom with your own kids, and watch their bewildered, crestfallen faces absorb this information?


Dominic was chosen for a math Olympiad team at his school.  And yes-- I'm sure you're asking if Chris was a little amused by this.  He has called them the denominators and asked if they were getting matching t-shirts.

The arbitrary group of four that compete together that he was placed in includes a child my son doesn't care for.  Actually, this kid bugs me, too.  This child can be best described as a really smart screw off.

Dominic went to two practices, and came home frustrated and agitated at this other child.  I asked if he needed me to intervene.  He firmly said he thought he could handle it.  Turns out, he couldn't.

I talked to the teachers in charge, and they were disappointed I hadn't said anything sooner.  This was not in reflection of my son.  Just a fact.  These teams are already established and they can't change them.  The only option is for Dominic to drop out and be replaced by someone else.

When I explained this to him, he realized he would have to spend the competition day with this other child.  His exact words were, "No way am I spending eight hours in competition with (unmentioned name!)"

So... he forfeits his spot.

I feel frustrated for him.  I feel frustrated, too.

It is very hard to gage when to say something, when to see if it gets better, or when to give up.  I didn't want to be that parent that came in after just one practice and complained.  I assumed (yes, my first mistake) that they would tell me to just wait and see how it plays out.  I guessed wrong.  They would have changed the teams.

Now it's too late.

There is no fault here.  It just is what it is.  And why?  Right- because life's not fair.

Now I get to give him the second part of that lesson:  Life's not fair, and it never changes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Time for some change

For a brief span in seventh grade, a group of my friends nicknamed me patsy.  Not because I could belt out Blue like the legendary Patsy Cline.  Because I was, well, a patsy. 

They were amused that they could ask me to do anything, and I would.  Could you get this for me?  Could you do this for me?  Yup.  It looked like a sign of weakness to them.  Amusement.  They didn't understand that this tolerance and kindness would shape who I am today.

Those of you that know me, and my tiger of a personality, are probably puzzled by this.  I know, I can be fierce.  But you also have to notice that I am kind.  I may back you in a corner with fire in my eyes, but I will also never say no to a favor.  My insides are truly marshmallow softness.

My Gandhi-like nature has served me well in life.  You really do catch more flies with honey than manure.  Recently, I encountered something I didn't think I had the softness, or strength, to do.

A year or two ago, I was involved in a real life drama of women.  It was brutal and infuriating.  I racked up a few enemies, and shed a few tears.  Women of the 'burbs can be brutal, especially over territory. 

Time has passed.  Many of my wronged friends have not forgiven or forgotten.  I'm not good at holding grudges.  I try to forgive, and I truly don't have the capability to remember how mad I was in the first place.

Here's how I see it.  These moments in life are an opportunity to reflect on yourself.  Clearly I can't be innocent in these situations, even if I do feel like the victim.  Did it have to go down like that?  Could I have handled it differently?  It's a learning experience for all involved.

Also, there has to be good in just about everyone, right?  I mean, let's exclude serial murderers and dictators... but the rest have people that like them.  There has to be a reason.

One woman is in my life whether I want it or not.  We have kids the same age, and are at the school together.  It just makes practical sense for us to get over this.  She has been nothing but supportive and nice to me since the "incidence."  This got me wondering if we both got tied up in someone else's fight, on opposite sides.

My son was invited to play at their house.  When I went to their house... I stayed for an hour.  I chatted with this woman.  I heard funny stories.  We shared parenting stories.  I discovered something.

I really like her.

In a different situation, I think we would have instantly been friends.  Sadly, we took a long and difficult road instead. 

Our youngest kids are in second grade.  That's a whole lot of years to mend fences.  I don't know if others relationships will ever forgive and forget.  I don't know if others will ever get to this place.  I don't know if damage others have done will effect all future chances for the bystanders to be friendly.

I'm happy to report that I see a slow, healing friendship in the works.  We may never be best friends, but that's okay.  I feel peaceful and happy leaving the past behind.  I enjoy getting to know her.  I see the possibility of drinking coffee together in our future.

Maybe I'm a patsy.  But I'm a happy patsy, with a happy heart, that always has room for kind people in my life.

Monday, April 9, 2012


On the last day of school before spring break, our school bus driver asked me if I had any big plans for spring break.  I answered we are having a 1950's vacation.  She looked at me, confused.  I explained, "they are going to play outside with friends, find sticks, and catch bugs."

As a family of the basketball season, this time of year is busy.  This isn't a take vacation time for us.  This is why we often travel in early October... training time!

I also view spring break as a time to relax and recharge.  Gear up for the end of the school year ahead of us, with no break time in sight.  In order to go to Arizona or Hawaii, like so many of my friends, I would need a vacation from the vacation!

So my kids spent the past week hanging with friends, climbing trees, watching t.v. (including the brutal Kansas loss), and playing video games.  Their highlights include going swimming, friends visiting, and eating too much take out.

Ahh... just the way I like it.

Kids today are too scheduled, with too many technologies.  I like to see my kids be... well, kids.  I like feral kids that run out their energy, using their creativity along the way.

Spring break successful.  Bring on the rest of the school year.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Here comes the sun

It has been a long and dreary winter, both literally and figuratively.  I have felt that down to my bones, literally and figuratively.
Then a small hint of spring pops up...

Only to be blown away by... more snow?

When Spring finally appears... ahhh, that's when I remember the allergies!

Many, many sneezy allergies...

But then something happens...

The sun, after a mysteriously long absence, shows itself.
And seeing the sun, even in fleeting moments, is enough to make me happy.