Day 5: 31 Days of Blogging Honesty

Day # 5 Question: The person (outside of my family) who has had the greatest influence on my life is…

I have to be honest; really, really honest. Of the crazy cast of characters that I have idolized or associated with, outside of my family, none, and I mean none, have had a greater influence on me than the “person” that I am about to honor in this post. I know, gentle, or perhaps not so gentle, reader you are expecting a sappy tale about how a teacher, or perhaps how Oprah, completely changed my life and made me the awesome human being that I am today. Well, that’s not going to happen. For at least 39 years of my life I was a drifter, lost and looking for just the right person to latch onto to reveal to me the vast secrets of life. I went about my daily business, empty and wanting, until one fateful day when recess duty changed everything. I know you teachers out there are wondering HOW recess duty could be life altering. Battling the elements and breaking up whiney fights is usually less than enlightening. However, this fateful recess duty was on the last day of school when all things seem possible.

I was zoned out, totally allergized from the maintenance men mowing, and only semi-watching the kids, when a small voice (just kidding, there are no small voices on a playground) informed me that there was a snake by the baseball diamond. I trekked over to left field, knowing that I was no Steve Irwin. If this viper attacked, I would be pulling an Osama and using the closest kid as a human shield. As I got closer, I could see the tall grass wiggling. I was just about to start scanning the playground for the perfect serpent buffer, when a tiny, striped kitten appeared. In retrospect, I should have noticed that a light poured down from the heavens and a full chorus of angels began to sing, I should have realized that this was it; that I had met the being I’d been searching for my entire life, but there were more pressing matters at hand. This poor little kitty had been grazed by the mower. Her face was cut and she was struggling to walk. I whipped out my cell phone (not allowed, but much better than using a kid as a human snake shield) and called my daughter. She called our vet and then hurried to the school with the cat carrier. Soon my future mentor was at Dr. Daniel’s being cured while I was enduring an end-of-the-year party. After goodbyes were said, and my head stopped buzzing from the noise, I headed to the vet’s where my tiny Buddha was waiting for me. Her wounds were superficial and her back legs weren’t damaged, only temporarily out of socket.  She had been given her first round of shots, some antibiotics and was ready to go home with me.

You have never seen the face of true appreciation until you’ve gazed upon a tiny being, who has just lapped up a lion’s share of cat milk, snuggled deep in the fleecy covers of her new cat bed while kneading the air. Sophie has taught me the important things in life: nap when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, and play when the urge strikes you. Never be afraid to jump higher than it seems possible and always land on your feet. Always ask nicely for what you want and reward any gift with great affection. Most of all she’s taught me to remember that even on your very worst day, the possibility of a better life is always on the horizon. (She’s also taught me that drinking from the toilet is unacceptable, as is scratching up an $800 chair, but I already kind of knew that!)

My furry sage finishing up a well-deserved treat!
Never be afraid to go for it!

Is this post a ruse to show off my adorable cat? You bet it is! 

Have the best day ever, dear readers! 🙂

Day 3: 31 Days of Blogging Honesty





Question # 3:  My favorite song from the year I was born is…

I was born in 1964, and because I’m super cool, I had absolutely no idea what sorts of songs were popular in the year of my birth. So, I did what every middle-aged techno-savvy fool would do, I Googled “Songs from 1964.” Here’s a link to Billboard’s top 100 songs that year. As you can see from the list, this was the year that The Beatles invaded America’s airwaves, but, obviously, it was also a time period where the somewhat dorky “doo wop” influences of the 1950’s were still fairly prevalent. I have to admit that I’m not head-over-heels in love with any of these songs. I also have to confess that I wish I were born in 2003 because that’s the year that Lil’ Jon and the East Side Boyz released “Get Low,” and it’s a mad fun song to listen to while on the treadmill. I do realize that changing my birth year to 2003 would cause my children and husband to disappear from all of our family pictures like in Back to the Future. I really don’t want that to happen, so I did another Google search. This time I searched for “Musicals released in 1964,” and was pleasantly surprised to find that My Fair Lady came out that year.

Growing up, I was a total theatre geek/really cool person. I was in an array of musical theatre productions throughout high school and college and owned nearly every soundtrack to every stage and screen musical ever produced. Lerner and Loewe’s songs from My Fair Lady are some of my favorites. Since I have to choose just one tune as a favorite for this blog, I’m picking “Wouldn’t it be Loverly?” I have very fond memories of putting on my best cockney accent and using it as an audition piece. Check it out:  See, I told you I was totally cool! 🙂

Naughty Girls on Ice

Despite the provocative title, this is not a “pay-per-view” type of story. It is a tale inspired by my blogging buddy, Deborah, at The Monster in Your Closet. After reading about the mischief that her son got into I was mentally catapulted back to a simpler time (actually not simpler at all—my life is pretty damned easy now) when my daughters were younger and only slightly more mischevious!

It was the Sunday after Easter, and my daughters had just arrived home from a visit with their father. I had made the mistake of going on a 20 mile hike the day before, and when my two little sweethearts energetically bounded through the door at 8 a.m. I wanted nothing more than to kiss them hello and sink into a very hot bath to soothe my sore muscles. Anyone who has children knows that a four and six year-olds’ needs must come before their own. They needed to tell me about their adventures with their dad. They needed their hair brushed, and they needed breakfast. So, over toast and scrambled eggs we got caught up. After brushing and ponytailing their silken locks, I told them how sore my muscles were and let them know that I would be soaking in the tub for a bit while they watched a movie. At first they picked out an educational video about sea life that only lasted 30 minutes. I encouraged them to take the sea theme a little further and watch The Little Mermaid since it was nearly an hour longer. While I was drawing my bath, my oldest asked if she could play with the bubbles from her Easter Basket. I gave her permission as long as she played with them over the area rug in the living room and not over the hardwood floors. I then remembered that this was a kid who, at four, had put on her snow boots and masterminded a “blizzard” in the nursery with a very large container of baby powder. I decided to limit her time with the bubbles to five minutes and set the kitchen timer. After she promised to put the bubbles away with the timer “dinged,” I slid into the bath with a good book.

In a few minutes, I predictably did what I always do when conditions are warm and cozy; I drowsily dropped my book to the floor and fell asleep. I know this is not the greatest parenting on Earth, but the apartment was child proofed out the wazoo, and the girls were being babysat by Walt Disney himself. What could go wrong? I awoke to silence. All parents know that silence is a double-edged sword. Silent children could either be angelically napping, or plotting a government takeover. My mind raced from one dreadful scenario to another as I quickly dried off and wrapped myself in my fluffy robe. I called through the bathroom door. “Is everything alright out there, girls?” I heard whispering and scurrying. “Yes, Mama, you can keep taking your bath.” My naturally egocentric children willingly offering me time to myself was not a good sign. They were up to something. I decided to question no further and catch them in the act. I quietly opened the bathroom door and moved stealthily down the hall where I was greeted by my very out of place sofa. On top of the sofa, rolled up like a burrito, was our very large area rug. When small people have move big furniture the result is usually never very good. I braced myself for the worst as I climbed over my misplaced couch, and there in the center of the living room were my two daughters, dressed in last year’s Halloween costumes, barefooted, with soapsuds up to their ankles. “We’re skating, Mama!” my youngest said gleefully as she completed a toddler-styled double axel near the entertainment center. My oldest dressed as Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, and always the negotiator offered, “We made Disney on Ice, from the bubbles. Don’t be mad, Mama, remember how you said you couldn’t afford to take us?” I stood there amazed; both at their ingenuity and at how much liquid one quart of cheap bubbles could produce on a floor. I wasn’t sure whether to whip my slippers off and join them or slide their slippery little bodies to the time-out chair. I decided on neither. The damage was done. The floor was already a sudsy mess and their enjoyment was so pure that I propped myself against the sofa and watched them.

When they began to tire I emptied the linen closet of our towel supply and instructed them on clean up while I sprawled out on the sofa with my book. After every bit of soapy slimy amusement was wiped from the floor, I tutored them in the mopping and drying of it. I then marveled at their strength as they replaced the furniture and the rug. “I think the floor is the cleanest that it’s ever been,” my oldest said confidently. I confirmed that she was probably right, but reminded both of them of the enormous amount of towels that stilled needed to be laundered. I walked with them to the laundry room as they lugged the overflowing basket of towels down the steps. My oldest offered 3 quarters from her piggy bank “since she helped make the mess.” I took them and let her sister gently push them into the machine. When we went back upstairs they didn’t bulk when I asked them to straighten their bedroom while the towels were finishing. Later, as we folded them together on the kitchen table, my oldest asked me if they were in trouble. I told her that I was disappointed that she hadn’t put the bubbles away when the timer chimed, and that she hadn’t been a very good example to her younger sister by disobeying me. Both girls apologized and all was forgiven. “How did it feel to clean up that bubble mess?” I asked them. They both agreed that it was a lot of work. I reminded them that when they make a huge mess they have to use valuable time, which could have been spent playing, to clean it up. My oldest looked at me with a hopeful, impish grin. “Does this mean we can make an ice rink again, if we clean it up?” “Absolutely not!” I said as I scooped them both up in an enormous bear hug, and thankfully my living room was never host to “Disney on Ice” again!

Author’s note: My daughters, who are now, 20 and 23, had a good laugh over this story this morning. Because I was usually not an overly permissive parent, my daughters remember being certain that they were going to be in trouble for their hijinks and were pleasantly surprised that their punishment was merely cleaning up their mess!

7 Reasons Why I Might Be an April Fool

Yesterday’s post didn’t shine the brightest light on my dear husband’s sense of humor, so in all fairness, it’s time for me to fess up about a few of my own quirks.

1.       I sometimes have a misguided notion about what the general population finds cool. Earlier this week my daughter and I went to hear the author Nancy Etcoff, author of Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty, speak about her research. I’d seen Ms. Etcoff on Oprah a year or so ago and immediately rushed out to buy her book, which I found extremely thought-provoking.  So, when I had the chance to hear her speak I was beside myself with excitement.  I rushed my daughter out the door an hour before we needed to leave because I was certain that the auditorium would be jammed to capacity, and that finding a seat would be difficult. I was stunned to find myself in a final audience of about 30 people, and most of them were students who were required to be there. I wanted to scream, “My God, people, it’s meet the author night!  Aren’t you excited?” Obviously not.  This leads me to my next imperfection…

2.       I talk WAY too much. Before “Meet the Author” started, we were all standing around in the lobby of the university arts center waiting for the custodian to unlock the auditorium doors when low and behold Nancy Etcoff entered the lobby through the side door where I was standing.  I didn’t recognize her at first because her hair was much longer than it was in her book cover photo.  After a few seconds, she extended her hand to me and introduced herself.  The conversation went something like this.

NE:  Hi, I’m Nancy Etcoff

ME: It’s great to meet you. I’m Sprinkles, I loved your book!

NE: Thank you. 

The conversation should have ended there, but NO, I’m unable to shut up.

ME: Did you have dinner in town?

NE:  Yes, at the Pink Sunset, it was really lovely.

ME: The food is great there. Isn’t this a cute town?  I love your boots!  Are they Manolo Blahnik’s?  You mentioned Hugh Jackman when you were on Oprah.  Have you met him?  What does Oprah smell like? Are you staying in the area tonight? (At this point, frightened that she’s met her first female stalker, she says a very politely, “Well, it was really nice to meet you,” and moves on.

3.      I have celebrity crushes.  While my husband is the true love of my life, I must pathetically admit that at nearly 47 years of age, I have a ginormous crush on both Hugh Jackman (mmm Wolverine!) and Alexander Skarsgard (Eric from HBO’s True Blood series).  My husband has told me that I have his full permission to have an extramarital affair with either, if I ever have the chance.  I’m a “have my cake and eat it too” kind of girl, so I’ve devised the perfect fantasy, Hugh, Alex and my husband will be “brother husbands.” (You know how that fanatical Mormon sect has their “sister wives?”  This is roughly the same concept.)  We’ll all live in a big house and I’ll take turns spending the night with each.  It could happen.  Now, it might take a disaster of apocalyptic magnitude to bring us all together (like I’m the only living female left on the planet), but it is within the vast realm of possibility.

4.       I dance in my car.  Not only do I dance while I’m driving, my daughters and I have specific routines that we have perfected while on various long road trips.  So if you see

3 women in a red Yaris doing the upper body version of Lady Ga Ga’s, Telephone, you can be pretty certain that I’m the driver! 

5.      Speaking of “Sister Wives,” I love trash TV.  I have seen every episode of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom and I’m not even remotely ashamed of this.  Maury, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and many, many shows that require a lowered intelligence quotient and a penchant for low class drama are on my viewing list.  I do, however, draw the line with watching Keeping up with the Kardashians and The Girls Next Door.  A girl’s gotta have some standards!  

6.      I’ve been known to write fan fiction.  Oh, my God, it looks so nerdy to see that in print, but last year, after finishing Charlaine Harris’s Dead in the Family, I knew I couldn’t wait for the next book in her Sookie Stackhouse series to come out.  So, for my own entertainment, I wrote an entire 230 page, sixteen chapter sequel to it.  My oldest daughter and her best friend, the only people in the world who have read it, deemed it as delectable as if Harris had written it herself.  (Note to Charlaine Harris who, according to her website, does not want people writing Sookie Stackhouse fan fiction:  This book is tucked away safely on the internal hard drive of my now very, virus-infested, dead laptop. If I were ever able to access it, I would never ever think of trying to publish it in any way shape or form, so please don’t bring legal action against me for indulging in my own personal guilty pleasure!)

7.       I laugh at bathroom humor. Yes, it’s the lowest form of funny, but I defy you to keep a straight face whilst I spin my personal yarn of being trapped in a filthy gas station bathroom with explosive diarrhea, no toilet paper, and no tissues in my purse.  The three checks and the few deposit slips that were in my wallet were the only viable wiping materials I possessed.  They seemed to do the trick, but when I flushed, the toilet clogged and flooded the entire bathroom. This would be the part of the story where most sane individuals would flee to the safety of their car and drive off,  But, as I was about to abscond I realized that my name, address and phone number was neatly printed in the left hand corner of each page of my makeshift toilet tissue.  I won’t bore you with the gory details of the rest of that story, but it does involve two pens being used as chop sticks.

So there you have it. My flaws are out in the open.  I’m sure there are quite a few more, but for the sake of length, I’ll stop here!  I hope all of my readers have a fabulous first day of April!