Every single day I see dead animals on the side of the road. I live in rural Arkansas so road kill is not surprising. I don’t pay much attention to dead stuff, though I do swerve so I don’t have to thump and squish over it again. I hate the idea of guts and fur in my tire tread.
When Lexie was a little girl, but old enough to look out the window and pay attention, road kill became a real problem. If she saw a dead creature she fell into a little girl well of despair. She wept and cried for the dead animal’s family, it’s mother and brother and babies. If it was a cute dead animal, a kitten or a raccoon, things were even worse.
So, for several years I looked for roadkill in advance. If I saw a dead dog up ahead I would do anything to distract Lexie. I’d throw gummy worms on the floor board, ask her to find a pen in my purse or I’d say, “close your eyes, I’ve got a surprise”. Then of course I had to make up something. “Look, here’s a dried up green Life Saver left over from Christmas.”
Sandor, on the other hand, is a boy. He loves dead stuff. Ok, dead dogs still upset the kid, but for the most part if something is run over on the edge of the road, he wants me slow down so he can get a really really good look. Then he gleefully says stuff like, “oooohhh, it’s eyes are still open!” and “did you see those guts? I think even the brains were mushed out.” He’s not a bad kid, he’s just a boy and Lexie was a girl.
God made them different and roadkill proves it. Lexie is a lot tougher now and Sandor is really tenderhearted. But their visceral three year old reactions to dead animals on the side of the road proves that God has a plan.
However, it doesn’t explain why armadillos always seem to walk half way across the highway at night, stop, stare directly at me with their beady glowing eyes and wait for me to run over them.
Tags: animals, boys, girls, road kill
This morning, while driving to work, I saw at least three signs that said something like…”We now have gluten free crap.”
Where the hell did all this gluten trouble come from? It’s like cell phones. Ten years ago nobody had one, now everybody has scads of problems because of gluten.
Peanut allergies I understand. We’ve screwed up our food and now lots and lots of little kids have extreme peanut allergies. Twenty five years ago nobody did. I get that.
I understand the “lactose intolerant” thing too. Milk makes you uuuurpy. Don’t drink milk or eat ice cream (sucks right?).
But nobody is making money off the peanut and milk problems. I’ve never seen a sign reading “we cater to the lactose intolerant”. Gluten on the other hand, is the red hot illness/disorder and people are making money because everyone is BLAMING EVERYTHING ON GLUTEN.
As I understan, if you are really gluten intolerant you become very very ill if you consume any. But people are blaming all kinds of stupid stuff on gluten, constipation, dyslexia, hair loss, sleepless in Seattle, bloating, itchy feet, depression, acne, ugliness, clumsiness and bad breath.
This morning, I saw a Smothie King sign. It said “We now have gluten free smoothies.” Doesn’t glutten come from flour or wheat? Who the hell puts flour in a smoothing, that would be a freakin’ mess in the blender.
I also saw a sign at a pizza place, “We have gluten free crusts”! Oh my Lord. I do not want one of those.
A week ago a fast food person asked if I wanted Gluten Free and I said, “no, I want double gluten, maybe triple, pile on the gluten please.”
Gluten reminds me of Mel Gibson. Mel is responsible for some of my favorite movies, Brave Heart, The Patriot and Signs. He’s brilliant actor and I love looking at him, even now that he’s older.
Gluten comes in such yummy stuff that’s not really good for me. Lots of my favorite foods are gluten based, potatoes, pasta and rice. I love bad white food.
I know Mel has said some terrible stuff lately but I still love him. People are blaming gluten for everything but you know what? I still love that wicked stuff.
So Mel, meet me at the Olive Garden and lets load up on some fettuccine alfredo, Baby. But watch your temper, please.
Tags: diet, gluten, lactose, mel gibson Smoothie King
Two days ago my 23 year old daughter Mary called. She is the nanny for three beautiful, affluent little girls. The girls have a lovely home and their parents have great big important jobs.
Unfortunately, the girls, who are 6, 8 and 10 say really ugly things to my Mary. She is paid well but that doesn’t make up for their remarks. Generally, the girls are lovely and well behaved, but sometimes they say horrible things like, “You have to clean up our mess, our mom pays you to clean up after us.”
And “you’re just a employee”.
This kind of language, directed at my daughter, makes my hands shake. Mary has tried every known form of “nanny discipline”…from lectures to time outs, explanations as to why the words hurt her feelings and taking away everything good like ice cream and movies.
The girls just don’t seem to care. When Mary called for advice I didn’t know what to say, I was out of ideas. All I could tell her was, “Use the scary calm voice, remember when you were little? My shouting didn’t scare you nearly as much as my calm voice.”
“Oh God, you were freaking terrifying,” she said,
Two days ago Mary called, squealing. She took a tiny notebook to work. When the oldest daughter said, “we don’t have to listen to you, you’re just a baby sitter,” Mary took out the notebook, wrote down the words, verbatim, dated the entry, then read it back to the ten year old.
“Is that what you said?” she asked pleasantly.
And hour later the youngest daughter said, “Do it yourself” when Mary asked her to put her dishes in the sink.
Again, my daughter wrote down the child’s words and read them back.
Later in the afternoon, when it happened again, the oldest daughter said, “What are you doing with that book?”
Smiling, Mary explained, ” I’m writing down the mean stuff you say and tonight when your parents get home, you get to read them out loud, to your folks.”
The girls freaked out. A conversation and negotiations began. Mary won.
#2. Last Christmas my friend Amelia had a problem. Her daughter asked for a pair of blue jeans that cost nearly one hundred dollars. Amelia is a thrifty woman, she’s a brilliant folk artist who can whittle a monkey out of a peach pit. She recycles and donates used clothes to shelters. A one hundred dollar pair of jean makes my friend physically ill.
So, Instead of caving in and giving her daughter a pair of ridiculous jeans, she wrapped up a one hundred dollar bill, lots of pretty paper and bows. When her beautiful daughter opened the box she was hysterically happy. Amelia explained, “if you want to buy the jeans, go right ahead, I just couldn’t do it myself.”
Of course once her daughter got to the mall she ended up buying three pairs of pant and two shirts with the crisp one hundred dollar bill. Amelia and common sense win.
And finally, when Ameila’s other child was stuck in an apartment lease with three other terrible dope smoking kids there seemed no hope. She couldn’t get her kid out of the year long lease unless the other three tenants signed off on the move. They didn’t want to do that cause they didn’t want to pay more or find a new roommate.
My brilliant friend sat down with the three strung out hipsters and cheerfully explained, “Here’s the deal. If you don’t let my kid out of this lease I’m moving in, in his place. And all I’m going to do is sit around, watch tv, burp and whittle.”
Guess who moved out the next day. No one ever yelled, screamed or cursed. Amelia and cleverness win again.
I love these three stories because they prove great parenting doesn’t have to involve spanking and screaming. Just be smart and friendly.
Tags: jeans, mean girls, nannies, parenting, room mates
A cool crazy mom can be a beautiful and terrifying woman. An inspired moment of insanity can remind your children who’s really in charge and that’s a lovely thing. As parents, sometimes we work so hard at remaining sane we forget the importance and power of crazy. As a result four and five year old kids push us around like grocery carts.
We want our children to be happy and healthy and normal and we don’t want them to be spoiled or mean. So we try to be civil and kind and patient…all the time. Maybe that’s not a good thing. Becaue we don’t want our kids to be nuts so we avoid doing anything that suggests crazy behaviour is ok.
My ex-husband used to call it “the rich glint of lunacy.” I still love that line.
Remember some of the most inspired and brilliant men and women of science, art and literature were toe sucking crazies. So, maybe we shouldn’t down play it’s importance too quickly. But before you start throwing crazy behaviour around like bird seed, remember a little bit goes a long way. If you’re crazy all the time everyone, including your children, will just shrug, dismiss and avoid you. They will be unfazed and unimpressed, no matter how off the wall your actions are. A person who is constantly crazy becomes boring and bothersome. (Trust me I know this from first hand experience).
One day I took my children, Jack and Mary, to Burger King. I think Jack was five and Mary was four. We rolled through the drive-in and got two Happy Meals. Back then Happy Meals were a big deal because I was single and really broke. Both the kids were in the back seat. They ripped into the paper bags to check out their toy. ( Nobody opened the toy because I had a rule. They had to eat every bite before they could pull open the plastic bag with the toy inside.)
In the exact same instant, Jack and Mary both started whining and complaining. There was a chorus of ”Oh man, what a rip off! We have this toy. This stinks. I hate Burger King.” This was followed by much sighing and groaning that seemed to go on and on and on.
I could feel my throat constricting with annoynace, disapointment then anger. “Ok, put all the stuff back in the bag,” I said cheerfully.
“Ok cool!” they started shoving their Happy Meals back together.
“Even the drink?”
“Yup, put it all in the bag,” I smiled into the rear view mirror. “Hand them up to me.”
They put the still warm bags of food into my hand, happy because I was going to return to Burger King and get new toys. A traffic light turned red and I stopped then I rolled down my window and threw the bags out.
Jack and Mary both gasped but did not speak.
I rolled up the window. “Don’t ever act like that again. Don’t you dare whine about a Happy Meal toy. You understand?”
“Yes ma’am” was all they said and we drove in silence. Once home, I fixed them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
They never whined or complained about a Happy Meal or fast food toy again.
Better still, they shared this story over and over and over with their younger brother and sister, because it’s kind of scary and thrilling and dramatic. There was no yelling, no abuse, no threatening.. just unmitagated volatility. And I can not remember a time when any of my children have ever complained or whined about a Happy Meal toy since that summer day nineteen years ago…
Sometimes, a single act of insanity has lasting power and tells kids there is a line that should not be crossed. And if they do cross that line, they might be surprised by the results.
Tell me what you think about the story or Happy Meals! Leave a comment or e-mail me at email@example.com
If you are a Martial Arts fan I hope you’ll check out my new blog, www.blackbelttales.com
Comments OffTags: Burger King, crazy, families, happy meals, insane, moms, whining
You are in college, you are 18 or 19 years old now….you know everything now, you are so worldly and mature. You stay out all night, drink with your teachers and don’t actually know the last name of the guy you are sleeping with. As parents this makes us sad but we understand you are consided “an adult”, wise as Yoda and smarter than Stephen Hawkins.
But I’m going to tell you about the one thing that really really pisses parents off. Then, because you are so freakin’ wise and mature, maybe you won’t do it again.
As parents we actually like supporting you financially sometimes. It makes us feel needed. Don’t feel too bad when your tire blows out and you need two hundred dollars…it happens. We want to give you money for the brake job and the horribly expensive biology book because these are all signs you are movnig in the right direction.
But the thing that makes me hyperventilate, that leaves me so angry I want to throw my keyboard throw the window or jerk the entire glass and cup rack out of the dish washer and hurl it across the kitchen, loaded down with all those breakablaes is this…
You come home from college with a plan or idea.
“Mom, I’m going to buy this beautiful registered rottweiler, she has all her papers and she’s pregnant! I can buy her for 300 dollars but each one of her puppies will be worth 300 dollars too! I’ll make at least a grand before I go back to college. The puppies and the mom will be really easy to sell.”
“How do you know who the daddy is?” I ask.
“The owner of the dog, James, he told me and pure blood too. James, has to move and needs the money, otherwise he would keep her and sell the puppies himself.”
“Honey, you don’t know this guy and do you have any proof about the father?”
“No mom, I told you, I’ve know this guy for a while, he’s great. And he knows all about the dad. You just don’t understand. This will give me extra money for next semester. All I have to do is take care of the mom for a month then sell the puppies in 8 weeks.”
I try not to get angry but this plan is obviously absolute cow poop. “Honey, you don’t have a place to keep a dog that size and what if the puppies aren’t really pure breed? I think this guy is just trying to unload a pregnant dog on you and make 300 dollars.’
“Nooo” she sighs and rolls her eyes because I’m so stupid. “James told me, he’s register too ,so the puppies will be beautiful and I’ll be able to sell them really quick. God, I acn’t believe you don’t get his mom. It’s easy money.”
“Please don’t do this” I plead,” I think it’s a really bad idea.”
Anyone care to take a guess at the ending of this puppy tale?
My daughter pays James $300 bucks and he disappears like smoke.The puppies are born, a hideous cross between Rottweiler, Beagle and a Catahoula Hog Dog. There are nine puppies and they are alarmingly ugly. The mother struggles after giving birth so we take her to the vet. She has to stay over two nights, $313 dollars. The puppies need shots $300 dollars.
My daughter can’t give the mutant puppies away. Six of the nine need braces and one is missing three toes. But it’s time for her to go back to college.
As she leaves to move back into her pristine dorm room, she promises me she’ll pay me back, she’ll make it up to me, she’ll find people who want ugly puppies.
I’m so screwed and angry I can barely speak. I hug her, shove her into her car before I say something so vile my face will burst into flames.
I’m stuck with the “Elephant Man” puppies and mom. They eat and poop and chew and bark all the time.
That’s it. Brilliant and worldly college students, this is what we hate. When you refuse to take our advise or counsel, then we have to bail your stupid ass out and clean up the mess.
A few years ago we were 19. We were beautiful morons with flawless skin, just like you, and we made some insane mistakes. We really do know more than you because we’ve lived through more.
I will happily give you $100 dollars to get a new windshield for your car. But please, stop ignoring my advise and counsel then expect me to clean up you mess and bail your dumb ass out of an unnecessary jam.
We love you, now brush your teeth, drink a glass of milk and go to class. You’re not nearly as smart as you think you are.
***Leave a comment or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Tags: adults kids, college students, know it all, parents, puppies
If you are interested in Martial Artists I’ve started a new blog called Black Belt Tales. Obviously it’s dedicated to taekwondo and Martial Arts. If you like that kind of kick ass stuff I hope you’ll take a look. www.blackbelttales.com Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you’re still enjoying hampoland.
It’s the 4th of July, I’m laid up in bed but I’m thinking about two men I never knew who had Parkinson’s Disease. I love them both.
The first was my grandfather Dr. Jack Sidney Stell. He was a surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas from 1918 until the mid 40′s.
The family called him Daddy Jack and he was deeply loved in his hospital and in his community. Daddy Jack was a staunch and faithful Baptist but his nurses at St. Joseph’s were all Catholic nuns.
I remember being told a story about my grandfather by very old nuns when I was a little girl. He’d been dead for years but his legend and the tales of his faith continued.
Daddy Jack was diagnosed with Parkensen’s disease in the early forties, just as WWII engulfed the world. At first the symptoms were mild but they grew worse, as did the war. Lots of the younger doctors enlisted and there was a shortage of surgeons in the area. Daddy Jack’s skills as a surgeon were desperately needed but his hands were starting to tremble.
So, before every surgery Daddy Jack and his nuns would kneel down on the cold tile floor of the operating room and pray for his shaking to stop, long enough for him to operate. And it did.
Over and over again the nuns and my grandfather asked God to intervene and still Daddy Jack’s shaking hands. And He did.Dr. Jack Sidney Stell was able, with the help of the St. Joe’s nuns and God, to successfully perform hundreds of operations despite the Parkinson’s. And when the war ended and the doctors all came home, Daddy Jack retired.
My number two man ins Muhammad Ali. I love him so because of his extraordinary ability to rise above the desiese. He was famous for his witt, his grace, his footwork and his mouth. Parkensisn took all those things away from him. And he somehow became more of a man, more of an iconic figure we could all learn from and admire. His silence taught us more, his unsteady steps taught us how to be strong and his frozen face is still filled with love and humor. He is Ali and I love him more now then when he was the heavyweight champ. He is more beautiful, more powerful and important now.
I love these two men so much because they have shown us there will always be grace and power in faith.
Tags: ali, boxers Heavy weight champion, faith, Hot Springs, jack stell, Parkensins's, St. Joseph's Hospital
Dear Cell Phone Friends, You are making me crazy and hurting my feelings. And, I think we have we all lost the understanding of what it means to have good manners on the phone. Everybody keeps being really rude and it’s making me furious and I feel abused.
“Rude Thing Number One” If I’m talking to you, don’t switch to another call unless it’s the freaking Secretary of State asking for your advice on the North Korea. Don’t dump me. Let the other people calling, who are blowing up your phone, leave a message or call back. I got there first. If I’m important in any way talk to me for a few minutes then talk the the next people. Hey, if your child is home alone for the first time and calls twice in 23 seconds, I understand. Dump me. But if it’s an average business call, if It’s your brother or veterinarian, you can call them back. When a friend says “my phone is blowing up” after an 18 second conversation I feel dumped and discarded. Honestly I don’t do that to you and if I do, I hope you’ll call me out.
“Rude thing Number Two” If we are having a face to face conversation and it means anything at all to you, don’t answer you phone when it rings. Push the button that makes your phone be quiet. If you answer and say, “I’m talking to Diana, call me latter” you are being rude to two people. Just don’t answer. It’s far more polite.
Rude Thing Number 3″ If we are talking, don’t text at the same time, even if you are a teenager. When you text while talking to me you are saying, “You’re not interesting enough to hold my attention so I’m going to text my cool friend and talk to you at the same time.” Holy Cow, what the hell is wrong with you. Why would you think it’s ok to talk and text at the same time?
Of course I understand there are always exceptions. If there’s about to be a nuclear explosion and you’re the only one who knows the code to save the country, by all means, take the call. If your child sends a text because they just cut off the cats tail. Take it. But those are the exceptions.
The truth is I miss the busy signal. Remember what that sounded like? That annoying but useful sound told people you were busy talking to somebody else and they needed to call back. What’s wrong with that? Nothing! Apparently the busy signal was the last vestige of courtsey and tact.
If you don’t agree with me, call me. I might not pick up right away cause I’m talking to my friend and they are important. I’m not going to hang up on the. But eventually, I’ll call you back and the message will be the same.
PS. Unless it’s an emergency, I’ve decided I’m not going to call you anymore. Hopefully you’ll read this blog then you’ll understand why. I love you.
Tags: cell phones, hang up, manners, phones, rude
It’s a fine movie, the kids loved it.(spoiler alert) A teen aged boy is bullied and bullied, at home and at school. Then he and a couple of buddies get telekinetic powers and the fun begins. Think Carrie with a modern look and no pig blood.
In a perfect world all the bullied kids would turn into compassionate bully counselors who help make the world and schools a better place. But we all know that’s not how it really is.
Well, the bullied kid in the movie, seems sweet enough, but he turns into an absolute jerk and then he morphs into a monster. He’s been bullied and instead of being a kid with super powers who is understanding and heroic, he’s bitter and brutal.
He wants to kill everybody because he’s more powerful.
The truth is, sometimes victims don’t turn into the compassionate citizens. Sometimes, victims become horrible people. So the movie, Chronicles, was a cautionary tale. Victims who have been squashed, want to squish everybody else.
But that doesn’t excuse their behaviour.
Girl bullies are the worst because it’s emotional and cruel. If you’re a boy that’s getting bullied, it’s easier to stand up and overcome the physical abuse.
But Girls….they are wicked. Mary was bullied as a little girl, in elementary school. And now she is a hero for the under-represented. She lives to serve up justice like a juicy steak. She wants to help those who are beat down and if she gets to beat down the bullies that makes her day even better. She’s bold, beautiful, exceptionally opinionated and pretty judgemental….in a brilliant super hero sort of way. Mary is now an “empowered, gorgeous, used- to- be- bullied girl” Most of the girls who used to pick on Mary are now unmarried with a couple of kids, working at a C-store. Mary will get her Masters and works at the Clinton Foundation. Justice will be hers.
But she could have gone the other way. She could have become bitter and cruel.
Last year, Sandor realized a squirrelly kid, Jason, was getting bullied in the boy’s bathroom. He was in third grade and didn’t know what to do. We talked the situation over and came up with a plan.(Yes, we told the principal too) When Sandor ran into the problem again all he did was say “Come on, Jason,” the kid followed him out the door. Sandor escorted the boy out of the bathroom like a security detail. It worked.
Sometimes just extracting someone from a bad situation is enough to help. Bullies are cowards, if somebody, even a little boy, stands up, sometimes they back down. I think that’s because bullies actually know what they are doing is wrong.
I’m tired of talking about bullies and I’m sick of their stories and excuses. They are weak and mean and most are pretty stupid too.
Parents, if your kid is a bully, you probably know it already. Do something about it.
Comments OffTags: bullies, bully, Chronicle