Idiocy At It’s Finest

Measurements. Fractions. MATH!!!!  I consider myself to be fairly intelligent.  After homeschooling my daughter for 5 years I think I’ve got the hang of pretty much everything but complex chemistry because its dumb and I have no use for it (though it would probably come in handy with this whole instant pot business).  However, I have come to tell you that children, especially teenagers, will turn you into the dumbest person in the neighborhood.  You doubt this statement? I have proof!

My teenager came home with an assignment to make a batch of cookies.  Great, we can do that!  She gathered the recipe and informed me that first, we must purchase cream of tartar.  Of course, my response is, “nah . . . that’s a fancy phrase for baking powder”.  Forty-five minutes later (I did a test batch to check my theory) and the nastiest snickerdoodles I’ve ever tasted, we trucked ourselves to the local Piggly Wiggly.

Safely back at home, the kid goes to work.  The first step is to take a recipe for two dozen cookies and break down the measurements to half of that.  Awesome, that’s math.  Not her favorite subject, but I hammered this stuff into her head for five years, surely, she can do this without me.  Ten minutes later in prances my child with a recipe and the conversions for ingredients.  For a moment I was certain my eyes were playing tricks on me.  They were not. 

2 ½ = 1 ½

2 ¾ = 1 ¾

Yeah . . . apparently, I must educate today.  Just so you are aware, I have an internal gauge for my blood pressure.  In times like this there is a bar in the upper right-hand corner of my vision field with 5 lights in succession from yellow to red (moving right to left).  They light up the more agitated I get.  I was already clearly at stage 1 because that first yellow light was quite blinding and the second one was starting to blink as I looked at these conversions and wondered if either of us would survive this assignment.

I took a breath (the second light went dark!!!!) and explained that ½ does not mean you just take away a whole number.  That doesn’t make any sense at all.  Let me stop here and explain a little something.  When a child, any child, is tasked with making cookies they do not give a crap about the process, they want the cookies!  I swear, this kid was already drooling just knowing what was coming in her near future.  Moving on, she huffed and puffed and marched back to the kitchen counter to re-evaluate the situation.  Stage 2 skipped the blinking period and immediately lit up in a darker stage than the first. 

From my perch in the living room I can see everything.  As I observe I notice light number 3 start a slow blink.  I’m aware that my child is standing there utterly baffled by this NASA level complication.   So, I offer verbal assistance.  “Child!  What is the denominator?  What is the numerator?  How many parts are in a whole?” Her response: “Can I use a calculator?”  You guessed it, stage three is full blown orange and no longer blinking.  This isn’t hard.  I gave direction and a hint. 

I directed this wonderful child of mine to break down the original measurements into quarters.  Her response was some form of “dollar quarters or time quarters?”  Obviously, my words came quickly, harshly, and full of a level of sarcasm that would rival many of my prior comebacks.  “Uhhh . . . how about cooking quarters?”  I could go on to explain the insanely ignorant conversation that ensued, but I’ll save you those five minutes.  I couldn’t save them for myself, but I will do that for you. 

Now that we have defined what a quarter is, we can proceed.  This child, my child, a child I know has a brain, proceeds to announce that 11 has no half.  It is a prime number, and this is the dumbest recipe ever.  I agree on the dumb part, but I will reserve to whom or what it applies.  She can’t remember to comb her hair, but she knows 11 is a prime number?  Come on!!!!

After one of the most painful 4 minutes of my life, she managed to get out the measuring cups and realize that ½ and ¼ show her how many “parts” a whole has.  Another nail on chalk board two minutes later she uses these tools to figure out that 5 ½ is the total of parts that she needs to convert.  Are you confused?  Because here is where things get ugly.

We’ve now invested well over 15 minutes into this conversion ordeal.  I’ve reached stage 4/5 in my journey to oblivion/maximum annoyance.  My child, this wonderful cherub, reached her own level 5 about 10 minutes ago.  But we press on, there are snickerdoodles on the line.  Mass confusion ensues because I’ve spent so much time explaining what the “parts” represent that I’ve managed to uneducate myself and have no idea what ½ of ¾ is. 

I’m not going to admit that to her!  So, I do math in my head.  Nope, that’s not right.  I do math out loud.  Nope, now I sound kind of dumb.  Finally, in a sudden moment of reality, I go to google.  Google responds quickly and promptly with 6 tablespoons.  Wait . . . what?!  You mean I was expected to calculate a conversion to a different type of measurement?  More importantly, why did I take on this task?  We have a smart home!  Alexa is the queen bee around here. 

And just like that my trader child grabbed the measuring spoons, shook her head and called her fairly intelligent mother an idiot.  She’s pretty lucky that stage 5 only blinked and that she has school tomorrow because survival would have been questionable if things shifted any other way.  I’d also like to add that the second idiot involved in this little situation produced some sort of ok cookies . . . but there’s no need to spill those beans.

Lessons of Laughing

Parenting. The word needs no introduction and it definitely needs no explanation.  In my world, a world full of kids with traumatic backgrounds, parenting is a dirty word.  My kids came to me with parents, what they needed was loving.  So, I practice loving.  Every breath, every step, every thought is centered (or supposed to be) around loving unconditionally and openly.

Genuine laughing heals the soul.

                Ironically, along with that loving comes an awful lot of humor.  I have a great friend and mentor that passed on some wisdom to me a few years ago.  She said, “don’t call someone stupid, that’s rude.  But, by all means, call them an idiot”.  Ironically, that is the direct opposite of the actual definitions, but I like the way it sounds, so I’m sticking to it.  With that being said, I love and raise idiots.  Even the pets, all of them, straight up idiots. 

                Why?  Well, let me lay out some examples.  One of the boys used to turn on the shower, then dance around in the bathroom until he felt he had wasted enough time.  Then come out in clean clothes and act as though he had showered.  Oh, did I forget to say he was 15 at the time?  Another prime example would be one of my daughters that decided the best way to not get caught stealing food and hiding it would be to cut a hole in her pillow and stuff the evidence there.  That’s great if you actually cleaned your room and didn’t allow the hidden treasures to get so severe that they were falling out of the pillow case. 

                Wait, I’ve got more.  How about the time one of the boys faked a football injury so he could have rub downs and private time with the hot team trainer – for the entire season!  The fakery went to the extent of x-rays and cat scans and a specialist finally saying that there was nothing wrong.  He got caught in the lie when he smelled fried chicken and came running down the stairs . . . on the “injured” leg.

A little bit of crazy and a lot of love.

                We will definitely get more in depth with the levels of idiot I experience each day, but there is also a point to you and I coming together today.  A long time ago I knew I wanted kids.  I knew they would be my world, and I knew I wouldn’t birth them.  I actually sat in my doctor’s office at the age of 15 and begged the lady to cut out my “woman parts” and get it over with.  I had and still have no use for them.  Of course, she refused sighting some “first do no harm” clause.  Anyway, fostering and adopting kids has always been a dream of mine.  There are plenty of kids that need a home and a chance, I wanted to be those things for anybody that would come. 

                So, after our first year of marriage my used-to-be husband and I got approved as foster parents and the fun began.  We were very open about only taking in teens because that was the age group that was overlooked by most foster/adoptive families in our area.  We also sought kids that had traumatic pasts, due to my own education and profession, and were very open to special needs limitations, etc.  Basically, we wanted the kids that everyone else passed on.  And we definitely had no desire to take on any child younger than 12. 

We can learn a lot from animals. These two figured out their living situations weren’t changing so they agreed to disagree.

                As the story unfolds, you’ll see a lot of ups and downs.  But in all honesty, I wouldn’t be where I am today without everything I’ve experienced.  God has blessed me with the ability to find humor and happiness in almost any situation, and practicing love with my family has been the funniest experience I’ve ever had.  Someone asked me once, “what should a reader walk away with”?  I smiled and was very clear, “I want them to laugh and be ok with it”.  Kids, family, work, life . . . it’s not meant to be easy.  It’s meant to build character and exact purpose.  If we can’t find the humor in what we live through, then we most certainly aren’t finding the lesson either.  Because, what I want to you walk away with is this: WHEN WE SEEK THE LESSONS IN LIFE, WE STUMBLE UPON THE HUMOR OF THIS THING WE CALL LIVING. 00000000

Drop It Like It’s HOT!

Every person walks their own path. It is our job to guide and direct them. Sometimes, that means holding firm on issues that don’t and won’t seem logical. In the end, they will never lose, they will either win or learn.

I have had the greatest honor by being the parent of more kids than I can count.   Now, I use the word “parent” loosely because I certainly am not on all their birth certificates.  Heck, some of them may not even know how to spell my name correctly, let alone pronounce it.  I define “parent” as a person that guides and protects.  Over the years I have guided and protected hundreds of kids.  But, to appease those of you traditionalist, I have had 8 wonderfully talented, beautiful, and welcome children in my home at one point or another.  Those relationships are so sacred that I can’t imagine my life without each one of them.  Gah . . . it’s not time for the mushy stuff yet!  Back to “parenting”. 

  During one of my excursions as an Assistant Camp Director for the YMCA I learned how to make homemade pretzels.  Not being satisfied with the outcome, I tweaked the recipe and started making homemade cinnamon rolls.  I taught this wonderful skill to hundreds of kids, parents, and staff over the course of 18 months.  I only bring this up because it is the example I use when explaining to my kids about my unchangeable rule on fighting.  When you smell a hot and fresh cinnamon roll, one of the first things you do is go to grab it.  Forget the fact that it just came out of a 400-degree oven; or that you can visibly see the butter, icing, and other sorts of yummy goodness oozing out of it.  It’s human nature to snatch it up, bite it and drop it while fanning your mouth because you have just sustained third degree burns to your tongue and roof of your mouth. 

            My rule is straight forward.  I don’t care if Goliath himself is staring you down.  I don’t care if you are certain your death is eminent.  If in a situation where physical violence is about to or has already begun, you had better “drop it like its hot”!  Hit the deck, kiss the floor, dodge the ball, turn the other cheek, offer them a candy bar, do anything but do not engage!  Mama will not tolerate your hands touching anyone else is a way that is harmful or violent.  That, my loves, will be the end of your fun and happy life for a long and dreadful period. 

   Of all the lessons I’ve had the joy and heartache of teaching, this has been the hardest.  In our world it is such a foreign concept to communicate and be constructive, rather than destructive.  I wasn’t raised to be non-physical, that could very well lead to why I am such a strong advocate for it now.  Nothing good can come from hitting another person.  Status?  Well, let me tell you, status comes and goes.  I was popular last week, and then I passed gas from the piano on Sunday and all of a sudden, I’ve been avoided like a plague.  Status has no value and no purpose.  Reputation, my kids would say.  “Mom, I gotta let know I don’t play like that”.  My response, every time, would be, “No, you don’t play like that . . . ever”. 

            You see, its much harder to be a person of words, than a person of strength and intimidation.   Words take intelligence, they take practice, they take courage, and most of all they take humility.  Anyone can learn to throw a punch with a little practice, but learning the art of defusing a dangerous or violent situation is a work in progress.  My kids learned that they won’t always succeed, and they will probably get their butts kicked, but in the end, one day, they will see that it took way more ability to abstain than it did to clock someone in the jaw.

   At one point we had three teenage boys, all 16, in the house at the same time.  Not only were they the same age, but they were only separated by about a 14-week span in age difference.  As you can guess, this created some healthy tension in competition and that unfortunate attitude of “status”.  One of the boys deemed himself head honcho because he was the first one to live there, another of the boys demanded acknowledgement of his presence simply because he was bigger and stronger, and then the third (my favorite) sat back in his chair with an air of “I’m better and I don’t even have to prove it”.  While in the middle of a move to a new town, the boys were left to pack up the basement.  The basement consisted of my home office, our pantry overflow, general storage, and the kids game room and chill space.  Now, over the years I learned that the only way to combat idiocy with my kids was to install cameras.  However, the most amusing part of having your house on 24/7 surveillance will be the times that your kids forget that the walls have eyes.  Whilst packing, my lovely boys got into a turf war and guess who got beat up?  The strong and mighty took the fall . . . and my chill relaxed favorite knocked his lights out.

   I never said my kids followed the rules.  But these are teachable moments.  And I taught. . . to the tune of 50 boxes of books that had to be moved up two flights of stairs and out to the garage.  And those boxes, well, they could only be moved on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons and evenings.  My point was well made, nothing good comes from putting your hands on another person.

   I once joked with my ex-husband that I was against physical violence simply because I knew I could never win a fight.  I much rather offer my adversary a candy bar and be on my way.  I mean, who can turn down a candy bar?  And if you can, we should meet, I need to get inside your brain.  But my joke was simply a smoke screen.  I grew up in the church.  I was taught, by all the adults in my life, save my parents, that the human body is to be treasured and appreciated.  And more importantly, that words have power.  I am sure there is some amazing research on how many fights are the result of miscommunications.  I’m not privy to that research, but it’s probably out there somewhere.  Think about it, how many times a day, or week, or month, or year, do you get angry because you think you thought you heard someone possibly say they might have heard that you were maybe thinking about doing something that could probably make them or someone they knew upset?  Did you follow that?  Anger serves us no positive return.  All anger does is zap you of the energy you’ve worked so hard to build up.  If we are continually draining ourselves by being angry at others, then who are we slighting?  Our mates, our kids, our friends, ourselves?  Drop it like its hot, my friends.   Give it time to cool off, its worth it.  Maybe not immediately, but someday you will see the benefit.  Walking away doesn’t make you weak, it actually shows tremendous strength.

“Sing (Sing a Song . . . Sing Out Loud)”

Do you think music has changed over the years?  The other day I was relaxing and chatting with my amazing little four-year-old granddaughter, Ari.  In the background the Beatles “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” was bopping away and Ari was humming and swaying to the music.  It got me thinking, does the music we hear now affect us the way music did when we were younger?  Let’s discuss . . .

My mom was an interesting character.  She was a strong independent and opinionated woman.  She paved a path thought to be unconventional and often exceled at anything she set out to do.  Anyone that spent a few hours with her walked away knowing her love of music.  My siblings and I were raised with a fantastic musical tapestry to highlight not just moments, but life in general.  We grew up on Jim Croce, Elton John, Billy Joel, Iron Butterfly, George Michael, Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Wham, Chicago, Phil Collins, The Carpenters, Don McLean, Anne Murray, and so many others I can’t even begin to name them all.  But these here, these were the classics that forged a musical medley for everyone in our household.

Road trips are etched in my memory not for the excitement and destinations, but for the “mix” tapes mom would make in preparation for the car rides.  I use the term “mix” loosely because the woman didn’t mix anything!  She would record one song, back-to-back, over and over, one after the other for the entire side of a cassette tape.  If we were lucky, she’d change it up and have a different song on the B side.  We weren’t always lucky.  This, my friends, is the sole reason I know every word to “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Careless Whispers”, and “Love Song”.

These artists and their tunes are simple.  Simple isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong, but it is so different from what I hear when I turn on the radio or give Alexa a bit of choice in my song selections.  Play a few older songs, then turn on the radio.  Do you notice the difference?  I won’t lyric hate.  I believe that if all the annoyance and distraction is stripped away from several modern songs, the lyrics are stunning and can and do stand on their own.  But when did it become necessary to add all that junk in behind the words?  I’ve learned in my old age that I like simple.  I love the genuine flow of a song that allows the words to do all the work, no bass drop needed.

I will also admit that these older songs aren’t always peppy.  That’s for another discussion!  My kids will openly inform you that I’m boring and my music is like attending a funeral.  That is not true!  But I do like calm tunes to back up my day.  I can get excited and rowdy all on my own, I don’t need music to yell at me and tell me to “jump” or that “thunder” is coming.

Where am I going with this?  I have no idea.  But I will say this, music transports me.  Music has become not only my soul grounder, but my way of communication.  Life gets messy and we forget to stop and take a minute or three for ourselves.  Take time today to sit and listen to a song you haven’t heard in a while.  Before you know it, it’ll be 35 minutes later, and you’ll have taken a journey in your head to places near and far.  Even better, share those songs with your kids!  When my kids are caught humming songs from well before their time, I count it as a parenting win.  Are you winning today? 

As much as I love all genres of music, nothing gets me like the oldies.  Phil Collins knew me well; Rod Stewart speaks my language, and in the calm of the night, Paul, Ringo, John, and George sung me many lullaby’s.  Rhianna, Imagine Dragons, and Ed Sheeran just don’t have the same effect on me.  

What inspires you?

Music sets me apart from everything around me. Bad days, toxic people, and just nothing going my way can be instantly reversed by listening, singing, or playing music.

I was fortunate as a child to be surrounded by both a parent who LOVED music and a church that embraced it as a tool of service. Music taught me determination, what it is to emote, and mostly that somethings just aren’t expressed in words.

What moves you?

Instant Pot Wars

Let’s Eat!!!!!

I am writing this from a low point. No seriously, I’m lying on the floor with my feet up on the couch to realign my back. But I am also writing from an emotional low. I had a kitchen fail. You know how it goes. You get a new appliance and you try to make something that you’ve always made a certain way.  You want to join the crowd and want to give it an A+ effort. I sat back and listened to 18 months of success stories. Tales of fantastic meals and mouthwatering pictures. In a midnight, peer pressured moment of weakness, I caved. I bought an instant pot. I am attracted to accessories. I love them. I think they are far better than the actual products they are intended to support. So when our mutual Amazon browsing event led us to oogling all the cool accessories, we were left with very few options.

So, while googling over all the different accessories for an instant pot, I obviously had to buy the actual pot in order to enjoy them. And buy the pot, I did! I bought the best; the biggest; and the most excessive pot available. It arrived and I made my first meal. I turned a family recipe that typically takes 8 to 10 hours into a 20-minute pot of deliciousness. Cranberry chicken, tender and plump rice, red sauce, chunky cranberries . . . it was amazing.

Obviously, I was hooked. However, that first meal requires a bit of a storytelling moment. You see, nobody told me that it was loud. Nobody told me that I would likely jump when it got loud. Nobody told me that I really needed to read the directions. So, when I operated the instant pot for the first time using the QuickStart guide it is completely acceptable that in the moment the steam escaped and made a loud hissing sound (much like a rattlesnake) I JUMPED. In my sudden moment of fear, I managed to slap myself … with a boob.  I forgot to mention one more missed warning I never received: nobody told me that my own body appendages would assault me during this cooking process.  Needless to say, I wear a bra when I use my instant pot now.

Moving onto my failure. The first meal was a success, so I went for the homerun. I gathered my ingredients and decided to tackle pot roast. If this magical pot can make my chicken tender and juicy in 20 minutes, then how could it not pressure cook my pot roast into submission? I measured my liquids. Seared my roast. Sliced my onions and gathered my potatoes. The layering was beautiful.  I learned about the “burn” warning and made sure I took the steps to prevent that disaster. After all this care, I proceeded to close the lid.  Sidebar . . .does everyone else look stupid when they close the lid? That’s just a general question.

25 minutes later I armed myself with body armor, flipped the steam valve and jumped back. I patiently waited for the first site of my masterpiece. I cracked the lid, the machine sang me a song, the smoke started to come out, and the smell took over. My roast was done.

Aaaaaaaaaannnd then I touched it. Not fall apart; not loosey-goosey; and definitely NOT my pot roast. “Do it again”, my evil spirit told me. “Cook it longer”, the spirit whispered. “How could it hurt”, the little devil said. So, I snatched broth for gravy, plucked my potatoes from the drought, sealed the capsule, and hit pressure cook. While my meat took soak #2, I prepared my sides.

Let me just tell you right now, it didn’t work out. I made some amazing potatoes. My gravy was on point. But the roast?  That piece of meat was dead to me. I’ve come to learn that no matter how many times you pressure cook a roast, if it didn’t come out right the first time, it probably won’t come out right the second time or even the fifth time. Failure.  I’ve been bested by an electronic. Crushed. Beaten down.  Decimated.  How can I go on trusting this thing

So now what do I do I’ve spent all this money I have this beautiful kitchen appliance and yet it smacked me in the face. Do I get back up? Do I go buy more roast? My old way was just fine. I like it it.  Slow cooking worked for me. Why do I need to change? Oh . . . the accessories.  I must press on.

I will stand up and I fight because, I have a dream. One day we will sit hand-in-hand eating a juicy fall apart roast.  And that satan machine will be the one to do it! I have a dream. But for now, I’m a failure. Press on, we must.

So, to all you instant pot lovers of the world and all of you other people sitting on the couch, reading this at work, or doing whatever it is you do with your day; take note, I will not back down. This is a lesson for everybody. Don’t let innovation beat you down. If you’re an android person don’t be afraid of the Apple. If you’re an Apple person, well, you’ve already won that battle.  And, if you are an Insta pot failure, join me as we forge ahead. Arm yourselves, it’s time to show this pot that it may have won the battle, but the war has only just begun.

Until we meat again Sir IP . . . until we meat again.                                      

A Review of “The Hate U Give”

I am often the LAST to watch a movie and offer an opinion. Thus, I give you my latest dribble regarding a movie that I sat and watched without falling asleep (fairly rare). Obviously, I will preface my official review with a bit of background. I am outspoken. I don’t put much weight in rather or not you agree with me. Instead, I place a significant amount of weight on rather or not you can discuss the issue with me. That being said, I’ve encountered law enforcement at all levels, from both sides of the cuffs. I am neither pro-assumed guilty or pro-law enforcement. What I am is reasonable, and able to step back and take a look at an issue from all perspectives. And sometimes, there will still remain a perspective and moment in time that I, nor anyone else but the individuals involved, will ever understand.

Here is a link to the trailer for the film if you haven’t seen it or need a refresher:

The breakdown: Star middle child in a group of 3 siblings living in a rough part of town. Her parents, one whose parents got out of that environment and the other who was raised in the thick of it, agree to send the children to a school in the suburbs. Star lives two lives, the private school life of proper English and behavior, and then another life that represents the streets and where she is from. Suddenly, these two lives are thrust together with the shooting of a childhood friend by a police officer during a routine traffic stop. The friend was unarmed, and had reached into the vehicle to grab his hair brush. He had been told by the officer to keep his hands on the hood and wait while he ran his license.

The shooting insights protest and people taking sides. Star attempts to balance her two lives while also coping with the sudden death of a friend and the crossroads of standing up or being sat down by the oppression around her and against her. In the end, Star realizes through great turmoil, loss, and revelation that she has a place and a purpose. That the uprising and protests are not about one single incident; they are about society as a whole. Her late friend quoted 2Pac moments before he was shot:

“Pac said Thug Life stood for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody’.” – Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

I didn’t alter the language on purpose. It’s a direct quote and it really messed with me for a while until I did some research and applied it to life and the purpose of this film. Angie Thomas, the author of the book that lead to the movie, explained that when our younger generations are treated without care, they grow into a leading generation with even less care about the world and their surroundings. If we don’t rise up and raise children to understand more than one side of the story, they will grow to only live the side dictated to them.

This was a phenomenal movie. Watch it. Watch it with you kids. Watch it with your friends. Use this movie as a talking point for discussion about real life. What are we teaching our children? What is the point of our words? Our actions? These are the questions that began to rattle me last night as I lie in bed rehashing this movie. What is Angie Thomas trying to imprint on our society?

I truly believe you can not watch this movie without being affected. The screenwriters and original author take care to introduce both sides of the issue. Time and time again in our society we are seeing police involved shootings that result in violent riots, increased aggression, misunderstandings, vilification, distancing from the community and law enforcement, disconnect between family, friends, and co-workers, and mostly mass confusion on where we go from here.

I attempted to include a list of police officer involved shootings in the last 5 years. But my research led me to lists so long I’d have to employ a second web domain. The hard truth is that it happens everyday. Officers face deadly decisions EVERY DAY. If I put myself in their shoes, I couldn’t do it. Every time they flash their lights to pull over a car, hop out to check in with a suspicious person walking down the highway, or begin their beat in a notoriously rough neighborhood they put their lives, their families, their partners lives on the line with them. Ask yourself this: Are you perfect in your career? Nobody is. Sure, we expect perfection from others, but that doesn’t make it right.

Oh, I hear the noise, but they are supposed to protect us. Well, they actually do. But no one is perfect. Perception, angle, perceived threat, lack of training, lack of equipment are all factors in making a decision. The other factors we don’t hear or see are verbally combative, physically aggressive, disrespectful, non-compliant individuals that raise suspicion. See . . . their are two sides to every situation. We are only capable of seeing one side during the event, and sometimes its not the side that offers enough information to justify the actions.

I’d like to end with my favorite part of the film. The dad. This character has raised his children with the tenants of the Black Panthers. He does not do this to rise up a personal army of fighters, but instead to rise up a family based on how you react and how you allow your reactions to affect others. He goes even farther by realizing in himself and his children that everyone has a purpose, and for some it is to entertain, for others it is to educate, and for a select few, it is to shine. Star, the lead of the movie, takes the stage in the end with a single reminder for the masses. It is not about THIS. It is about everything. Use your voice. Be heard. But in the middle of the fight, don’t lose sight of what you want. A protest with no goal serves no purpose.

So, what are fighting for? I believe every action has a reaction. Where do we go from here? For me I will cry with and mourn loss. I will also support and encourage the men and women that protect my family from harm, even when their reaction, their decision in a split second, may not be the most popular or the “right” one. But it doesn’t have to destroy them.

Who will speak up?

Who will shine?

A Preamble to “Love”

I was having a discussion with my lovely 15yr old daughter the other day about love and relationships. She’s a teen, she’s around boys all day, and well . . . in this particular part of her life, she is quite normal. She has a crush. I don’t think any of my other kids ever admitted to a crush. I’d just assume and then promptly bust them out in front of all the girls in their lives. I took, and still do, great pride in that. But, lets stay on track.

First, have you ever tried to “define” love? It is not that easy. Especially when the response to every statement you make is “but, why”? Take a seat, grab a drink, and relax. My view on love and relationships will likely leave you more confused, possibly suffering a loss of brain cells, and definitely wondering what you could have been doing for the time it takes you to read and recuperate from ridiculous, but legit conversation in my home.

Let’s say I have a bowl. It’s my favorite bowl and I protect it. In my bowl goes only the best cereal. If you even attempt to dump your Wheaties in my bowl, we are gonna have a go around. That’s gross. My bowl is special, it deserves better. Wheaties are so basic and one dimensional in flavor. There’s no surprise in the experience. Well, that’s not entirely true. There is definitely a surprise in how long it takes the fiber to work its way from top to bottom and in what agonizing speed it will chose to exit. But that discussion is for a different day.

It took me a very long time to understand my bowl. Sometimes I get done with my morning “bowl v. Chenon” meeting and I will have clearly lost the battle. Other days I finish as the champion, no milk splatter, no soggy endings, really, it’s the start to a fantastic day. But that bowl, I’m telling you, it’s tricky. Out of nowhere it will get an attitude and just shut me down. It jumps out of my hand, dives off the counter, or refuses to take a bath in time for its next scheduled appearance. Where does this bowl get off? Is there bowl rehab? I should look into that. I mean, we’ve had a conversation. I made it clear that IKEA has not ended its family line and there can be a replacement. If not that, at least a needy cousin that will be a perfectly good stand in.

Even with these obvious issues, I do not think I could ever intentionally go against my bowl. It knows what it wants. It wants Reese Puffs, Marshmallow Matey’s, smores cereal, and generic frosted flakes. I don’t dare throw a curve ball and change it up. This bowl has survived a marriage, a divorce, 7 kids, reckless roommates, 5 moves, and yes . . . some pretty nasty butt licking pets. Sure, it throws a fit every now and then, but I know there is a mutual feeling. We support each other, we know, when everything else falls away, we can take care of each other.

Have you figured it out yet? I don’t think I can be any more basic than this. Ok, fine. I will spell it out for you. Your heart is your constant companion. Take care of it. Obviously it knows way more than you do. Look at its job!! Its literally keeping you alive. I guess you could come back at me with your life saving career skills, but lets face it. You are not as cool as a heart, or my bowl for that matter (ehhh, maybe that was a bit too far).

This brings me to my epic parental response when the kid asked what she should do about this crush and how she would know when she was in love. I’d like to note that, no, she has not spoken a word to this alien being of a male as of this conversation. So being in love is a bit of a stretch. I sat back, and figured the best solution to the inquiry would be to confuse the hell out of her and come back to this discussion in say, 10 years. Makes total sense, right? My heart, oops, my bowl agreed.

“Ashley, love is an enigma. It’s hard to catch, but when you do, take care of it. Also, it is entirely possible to love something today, and a year from now simply like it. You look confused? Hmm, let me try to explain that a little better. You’ll be wishin’, hopin’, and prayin’ for a better man. There will be days like this, and others will be like you got hit with a wrecking ball. Don’t act like you wear a halo. Keep your poker face in play, but not too long. If you don’t say hello, you might appear shallow. But don’t stop believing, you too will find slow hands and a guy from Austin. At the end of the day, he may say ‘marry me’ or he could say he has 99 problems and you aren’t one of them. A wise guy once said that if you sit on the dock by the bay, gravity will find you, and you will be unbreakable. If not unbreakable, you’ll at least find a slice of American pie and take a photograph”.

She walked away . . .

Day One

Today has started off like any other day. I slowly woke up and realized that
yes, it happened, I survived the night. With that melancholy awareness I
slid out of bed and elephant stomped my way through the frozen tundra (aka my bedroom). As I flung open the door to the amazon (aka my bathroom) I was hit in the face by the soothing sensation of a room kept warm and toasty just for me.

Why “Day One”? Well, because every day is day one for me. I make a
lot of self-promises and goals that typically have a “day one”. After
that, it’s hit or miss. I can’t think of many that have had a day five. No, I’m
not unmotivated or careless. I simply forget. Half way through my bowl of
cereal I remember that I’m eating a low-carb diet. 13.5 seconds after my
favorite DVR’d show begins I remember I promised we would make it to church today. And yes, oh yes, let’s not forget that as I climb in bed at the end of the day then, and only then, do I realize I was supposed to have joined a
conference call at 6pm. Alexa alerted me at 5:25pm; Siri yelled at me at
5:50pm; and then “60 Days In” beckoned me at 5:55pm.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, I actually like day one. Day one is
like a new beginning. I have purpose again, I have a goal, let’s GET IT! Today
I will finish my assignments for class before I mess with the blog and podcast
set up . . . oops. Never mind that, its day one, there is room for mistakes.

There is a minor hiccup. I haven’t totally decided what this day one is for.
Let’s just go with the obvious, its day one of you and I, and hopefully lots of
other people getting together for a few lines about absolutely nothing and
taking 29 min, or less to ponder the world we live in. So, lets ponder . . .

Who invented the snap? I mean the button and snap that serves as a tool to
keep your pants from falling. Who thought that up? A little research and I’ve
found that there’s a minor debate between Herbert Bauer of Germany and Bertel Sanders of Denmark.[i] This may seem like a topic that is a waste of time but think of all the moments you could have lost your pants. Graduation? Wedding? For me, a fateful day in the parking lot of Sam’s Club.  Let’s be honest, who wants to see THAT happen?

I remember the day well.  It was raining.  I hate rain. My glasses get spots on them, my hair goes crazy, and it makes flip flop wearing a bit messy.  Anyway, as I’m pushing my cart to the car, I realize I’ve got a nice breeze.  I didn’t even know we had wind today, but it was hot in the store, and well, it felt good. I slowed down to appreciate it and take it in.  I even tilted my head back to maybe catch a gentle spring breeze across my face.  Nothing.  Why is my nether region the only area getting a cool-down period?

I need to add that I often shop online. Occasionally wires and messages get crossed and I order or receive the wrong item.  At the time of my welcome
breezeway, I had recently received new undies (yay!).  But they were satin.  I’m not a fan.  I’m also no champion of the laundry process.  So, satin it is.  Let’s go back to that fateful afternoon.  Walking and wondering, I feel a shift.   The breeze is definitely centralized on my rear/crack region and I think I just heard my pants scuff on the ground when I took that last step.  Suddenly I realize my satin undies have done me dirty. There is no apparent breeze!  The only breeze gaining attention is the flapping of my butt cheeks in the wake of my procession to the vehicle.  The stupid bobsled undies have created the perfect environment for my jeans to work their way down my oversized behind and are now resting at the back of my thigh like I’ve just spent an extended stay on the southside of Chicago and began sagging my pants just to fit in.

Obviously, we have a problem.  I have now topped the hill in the parking lot and have begun the decent to my vehicle.  Problem 1: Do I grab my pants that are being held in place by the snap in front or do I act as though I still have no idea.  Problem 2: Do I maintain control of my cart that, without a two-handed effort will undoubtably take on a soapbox derby-esk lift off down the hill and into the front row of the movie theatre that rests at the bottom of the hill.  Bonus: if I let go of the cart and retrieve it later, maybe I can get some buttery popcorn.  Hmmm, decisions.

I decide for the wellbeing of the community to increase all arm strength and
one hand the cart which obviously has not been serviced because now I am going diagonally toward the wrong vehicle while attempting to slide/tug/hoist my pants back to a position that doesn’t show off my 18-inch bootie. Finally my butt was covered, I hadn’t hit the shiny Suburban with my cockeyed cart, and I was sitting in the driver’s seat of my car and eating a Zinger.  I earned it.

Service your snaps people.  They can save your life.  Or at least save the
eyes of those around you.  I’m certain there are roughly 5-6 people that have my behind etched in a forever damaged cortex of their brain.




[i]  CITATION Wik19 \l
1033 (Wikipedia, 2019)


 BIBLIOGRAPHY  \l 1033 Wikipedia. (2019, February 10). Snap Fastner.
Retrieved from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia: