I Have To Shut Up and Let My Kids Make Mistakes.

As a parent one of the hardest things to do is NOTHING. By nature I am a fixer of problems.  I just can’t help myself.  I like fixing things. I’m good at fixing problems and it makes me feel good.

But we aren’t supposed to fix all our children’s problems. We are supposed to let them figure stuff out on their own, so they learn and remember. BUT THAT’S SO HARD! It means I have to shut up and watch my children make mistakes. Gross.

When my daughter gets her stipend from the college she is too generous. She wants to spend her money on everyone. She wants to buy me a new phone, she helps her friend pay to get her belly button pierced…again. Yes, it’s so sweet, but damn it, she shouldn’t do that. The child will be broke again, very soon. That money is supposed to last her all semester. I know this and so do you. But I only let myself caution her once. She’s an adult; it’s her money. She has to learn to budget. She does this every semester. I could fuss at her, warn and lecture her, but then she’d simply stop answering the phone when I called. She would delete the texts I send. So, I try to keep my mouth shut.

My son lets almost every kid in 3rd grade “borrow” toys. He stuffs his back pack with foot balls, action figures and trading cards.  I constantly tell him it’s a bad idea and he can’t do that because he will  loose all his toys. The other kids will lose, break or simply not bring his toys back. He always thinks I was being selfish.  He has faith his boys would return his stuff.

Finally, I let him take one of his very favorite Nerf guns to school so Justin could borrow for the weekend.  Justin brought it back on Monday, but he’d lost all the bullets and their was a crack in the barrel.

I knew exactly what would happen but I had to let my son learn the hard way before  he actually understood. And it only cost me a Nerf gun.

And then there are the boyfriend and girlfriend mistakes. Holy cow, as a parent, we can see the train wreck a week in advance. We can tell when the new “date” is too clingy or too selfish. We know the kid is a punk the second he refuses to make eye contact. We know the new girl friend is a little skanky and self absorbed because she talks about STDS at the dinner table, she doesn’t want to to sit down to talk to the family and the girl acts as though babies and little kids have some strain of herpes and she doesn’t want to catch it.

We see and understand the signs. I generally let myself give two or three girlfriend/boyfriend warnings then I have to make myself  SHUT UP.  I can’t fix the problem, they have to figure out for themselves that they don’t like dating guys with rattle snake neck tats and pathetic handshakes. 

I’m a fixer who’s not allowed to fix things. So I take a deep breath, say a little prayer and try not to bang my head on the wall over and over again until they leave the house.

* Hey, write to me, I want to know what you think. hampoland@gmail.com


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My Red Neck Christmas Again….yes it’s a reprint

Fountain Lake, the community I live in, is tiny and decidedly red neck. I just ran a couple of errands, two nights before Christmas, and was overwhelmed by the Holiday Spirit. But most of us are poor southern folks who love the Ft. Lake Cobras so Christmas here, is not elegant. Still it’s beautiful.
In Fountain Lake the Holiday Spirit is a little different, but just as sweet.
First, I spotted three Wise Men and an Angel waving at strangers in front of the Fountain Lake Liquor Store and Sub-Way. How beautiful is that?

Then Pat, the generally tight video store owner, didn’t collect my late charges. He said, “Merry Christmas,” and waved me away. Cool!

As I passed Insane Auto, a “buy here, pay here”  car lot, I realized there, behind the light up nativity scene, right behind Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus there was a pick-up truck wrapped in Christmas lights! It was so pretty I almost teared up because the Insane Auto folks obviously spent a lot of time putting their lights and decorations out and it graces the Fountain Lake community, every year.

And finally, Tony, my daughter’s, tatted- up, kickboxing coach surprised everyone by making fudge. I sure didn’t see that one coming.

Every community celebrates the Christmas season differently. At Sandor’s school in the Christmas pagent this year there were six little kids dressed as reindeer with antlers. One of them actually had a beanie with real deer antlers poking out. A six point buck died for the Ft. Lake Christmas play. How about that?

So love and appreciate your community, maybe it’s a Starbuck sipping village with tiny silver and gold lights or a Rebel Yelling crossroads where camouflage, lip gloss and a Santa hat constitute party wear.
I want to hear about your Christmas and throw me a shout out to Fountain Lake . Leave a comment or hit me up at hampoland@gmail.com   Thanks so much for reading Hampoland. Merry Christmas!


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Christmas Lights and Remorse

For almost twenty years I have given my husband, Alex grief about the way he decorated for Christmas. Some of my classic lines included, “You put the lights on the tree so tight, it looks like you are taking it hostage,” and “there are so many blinking lights on that tree I’m going to have a seizure.” I was brutal but I thought I was pretty funny.

But  it was Alex’s outdoor decorating that really lit me up.. First, he would blanket our house with every strand of lights he could find in the dollar store, nothing matched they just had to be bright. Every thing was sagging and swooping, hanging and dangling. There were clumps and dark bald spots. Every year it looked as though a giant Elf threw up Christmas lights on our house.

We all teased Alex constantly about his light hanging skills. But I was the guilty bully who lead the charge.  The kids only joined in because I started the teasing.

Well, this year Alex has just been too tired or too busy to hang lights. Or maybe he’s just tired of us making fun of his efforts. 

 I waited for a week but it became obvious Alex wasn’t going to hang any lights outside, so I picked up the staple gun and found a ladder.  On a cold Sunday afternoon I hung our Christmas light. Everything looks lovely, the corners are square, the lines are taunt and even. I did a good job.

 But it’s just not the same, I miss our Christmas mess, it was vibrant, garish, brilliant and ludacris. It was Hampoland.

I regret my smart mouth every time I turn up our driveway.  I’m sorry Alex. The only highlight, I left three Halloween ghost hanging on the deck. It’s my literary salute…get it?  They are the the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future from the Christmas Carole.

e-mail me or comment, tell me who hangs the lights at your house and who has a big mouth. hampoland@gmail.com



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Stupid Cyber-Bully

Finally, I have almost experienced a cyber-bully. I let my youngest son,I’ll call him Bucky, have a Facebook page even though he’s only 9. But I use my e-mail address so I have access to the page and see everything people write.

Bucky doesn’t really care about anything except looking at cool pictures, the silly games and writing “Hi’ on everybody’s wall.

Things have been problem free for more than a year but last month a  kid name Jason that I don’t know sent Bucky a message, something like, “my homie said u r gay for real.”

I didn’t catch this comment until Bucky wrote back “butt face”.

Then Jason, who is three years older than Bucky wrote ‘bring it on dick banger”.  Bucky didn’t know what any of this meant so he came to me to ask what Jason was talking about.

AAAARRRRR. I blocked Jason after going over every message, picture and video on his face book page.

“Who is this kid”,I asked Bucky while he was playing with his Legos.

“I don’t know, I think he rides my bus.”

“You don’t know him?”

“Not really, he’s in like 5th grade.” 

Bucky didnt’ seem bothered so after blocking “bad kid Jason” I let everything drop.  I told big sister to keep an eye on Bucky while they were on the bus.

We haven’t heard from Jason in a month, but today a new message popped up on Bucky’s page. All it said is “F UUUUUUUUU.”

So what am I supposed to do?  Should I send “bad kid Jason” a message and say, “Hey, idiot, this is Bucky’s “Bad-A” mom, and I’m reading all the messages you send.”

Do I ignore it?

Or, do I print the messages out and go tell his mom?  I figured out who she and and were she works while studying his FB page.

One thing I have figured out. Just having access to your child’s FB isn’t enough. You have to actually look at the page. Figure out what’s really going on.

I’ll let you know what happens.  Please, send me ideas if you have any. Please, please please.  hampoland@gmail.com


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Teens #1 Complaint About Their Parents

I was poking around on Twitter and found the category/hash tag for “I hate it when my parents…”. In Twitterland it looks like this#ihatewhenmyparents.

As far as I can see the number one complaint from teenagers and kids seems to be when we ask who they are texting. First, I kind of want to tell all these whinny kids to shut up and stop bitching because I’m paying for your phone, but that won’t really help.

Instead, I will say this. Kids, you need to understand that cell phones are very new, and texting is even newer. The first text was sent in 1994 and it was really slow catching on. Now all teens text all the time.  You keep your cell phone clutched in your fist like the  Bald Eagle keeps his deadly talons  wrapped around the American flag.  God forbid anyone try to remove that cell phone from you fist.

As an adult, I can tell you,  it seems as though you are having a bunch of conversations with people we can’t see or hear, right in front of us. Wait, that’s exactly what you are doing. And it’s really really rude. I know you don’t see it that way because you grew up with texting. But we don’t know who you are talking to or what you are talking about. And that’s creepy.

For all I know my beautiful fifteen year old daughter  might be making a deal with a pimp to buy hookers for her boy friend along with an ounce of Purivian cocaine…and she’s doing all this while she is eatting a Pop Tart in the kitchen with me.

You wouldn’t sit at the dinner table with me, eating Thanksgiving dinner, while having a detailed conversation on the phone. You know that would be rude because you are a smart kid.Well, texting is the same thing.And at least, when you are on a real phone, we get the general idea that what and who you are talking to. I’m able to tell you are making plans to go to the movie with your friends and you are not discussing the rising prices of condoms or how to buy Jack Daniels without an ID.

When you text in front of us, we don’t know what the hell you are talking about or who you are talking to. Don’t get mad when we ask, be grateful you have a parent that cares.  I know a lot of kids who don’t have any adults in their lives who care what or who they do.

So we ask, “who are you talking to?” Answer politely, unless it is a Colombian drug lord, and stop texting while you are hanging out with us. We love you and don’t really want to take your phone away. And when you grow up, if you text in front of your boss, he’s probably going to fire you.

The second biggest complaint about parents on Twitter seems to be “I  hate it when my parents come in my room, then when they leave they don’t close the door.”  Hey, grown ups, close the door when you leave your teenagers room! Good Lord, thats just common courtesy…so they can text bad things about you in peace. Just kidding.  I don’t think they are actually interested enough in our lives to spend much time texting about us.

Please let me know what you think, write to me at hampoland@gmail.com  or leave a comment. You can even text me if your really need to.


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Give Me A Little Kid Coat, Please

This morning I couldn’t figure out of Sandor should wear his leather coat or the camo coat. I bitch all the time but the truth is, we are blessed: we have lots of coats. But tons of kids in Hot Springs don’t have the luxury. They go to school cold and act like it’s no big deal. That sucks.

Hampoland and my radio buddy Dick Antoine are have a Little Kid Coat Drive.

So, give me a coat in the next two weeks. I don’t care if it’s new or used. Just take the Kleenex out of the pocket please. Size 1-14 or for teenagers, we’ll take small and medium adult coats.

You can drop them off at Fountain Lake Martial Arts, bring them by the radio station or call me and I’ll come pick them up. My cell is 501 545-8372. Wait, I’ll pick them up if you live close to Hot Springs, AR. Don’t call me for pick up if you live in Nebraska.

Seriously, we need coats. Once we collect a boat load we will give them to The Jackson House because they don’t have enough coats for little kids. I can’t imagine what it would feel like if I couldn’t keep my kids warm. It would break my heart so please help us out.

Thanks, Diana Hampo


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A Sweet Boy Turns Into A Bad Ass

Kids change.  They start out one way and ten years latter are entirely different creatures.

When Jack was a little boy he was beautiful, soft spoken, kind and gentle. He wasn’t shy or weak but he was so sweet and loving. Jack was so sweet in fact, Alex started wondering if he was gay.

Sometimes he cried when his dad beat him in basket ball.  Jack was the little boy who tried to take care of everybody, especially his sister Mary and a hopeless mamas boy. We couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful son but seemed to lack in natural aggression.

We constantly wondered if the world would eat him up. We worried that he would get picked on, girls wouldn’t like him, and the universe would just steam roll our son because he was too nice and gentel. 

Alex had a tough childhood, and  was literally afraid for Jack.  We tried to figure out how to make him tougher, for his own good. But it was hopeless. Jack was a sweet heart.

When he tried to play sports he just couldn’t find that part of himself that wanted to beat other people down. Jack wanted everybody to win and be happy. When a pee-wee foot ball coach yelled at him on the field and said, “Don’t you every want to hit somebody Jack, just put them down?”

 Jack shook his head, “No, not really.”

The coach nodded, “Go sit on the bench.”

When I look at Jack now, I can still see and feel that gentle and soft little boy. But he’s not the same person. He’s a different creature. He’s a big swarthy, tatted up musician. I listen to his CD, yikes, he’s a bad ass. He sings about whiskey, and guns and he takes his shirt off while he plays drums. Sometimes he gets so worked up while he’s on stage he ends up performing in his boxers.  When he performs, beautiful hot girls crawl all over him…even though he’s standing with his mother! Seriously.

 Jack is a bouncer in a big city rock and roll bar. He called yesterday to tell me he had to break up a fight, “Well,” he said, “I just yanked one dude off the other then threw them both out.”  Yes, he’s got a degree in French and film, but he really loves a good fight. 

Kids change. The brat turns into a wonderful teen aged girl. The ugly boy grows into a handsome man. The laziest kid finds something he wants to work for. So you can’t ever give up on them.

 Jack is still a smiling, sweet mamas boy, he’s still a family man.  But the little boy who cried playing basket ball with his dad hasn’t been seen in a long, long time.

I love you, Jack!

WRITE TO ME!…I get lonesome. hampoland@gmail.com


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Signs of Christmas at Hampoland…A Headless Lizard

The tree is up and looks lovely. Yesterday we started hauling Christmastubs out of the shed and I realized there are several signs of Christmas in Hampoland.

Some of them happen year after year others just started this year.

1. Before the first light is plugged in Alex and I start bartering and haggling. Is it a tinsel year? Is it a flashing light year? I hate both and he wants to make our tree flash like a gawdy landing strip. If Alex were allowed to decorate on his own, I promise you, our living room would look like an Elf threw up after eating Skittles.

2. We all look at Theo, our great big (100 pounds) old dog, and think about putting a Santa hat on him. He’d look so funny and cute with a Santa hat. But he give us “that look” and we know he will eat our arm and be embarrassed.

3. Lex will find our “Striper Angel”. She used to look elegant now she’s just tawdry and she has somehow outgrown her angel gown.  Lex spins her around, “see, her but hangs out of her dress”. How did she gain wait in the Christmas box?

4.This year I bought a new lighted ornament. It’s a four foot lighted lizard, holding a Christmas package.  But he keeps falling over, then his head pops off so the new member of our Christmas family is a headless Gecko. I still like him.

These are just a few of the signs of Christmas in Hampoland. I promise you, there will be more.

*Hey, send me a note, tell me what’s going on at your house, or e-mail me Christmas card! hampoland@gmail.com


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Eating While Texting…That’s Dangerous!

Of course driving and texting is a deadly combination. But texting tragedies don’t just happen on our highways and dirt roads.

We are  surrounded by texting fools who are putting us all in harms way! And sometimes we are the fools.

Last week I made the mistake of trying to text with my left hand while I was eating a salad with my right. I stabbed myself in the face with a fork. Not only was it embarrassing, it really hurt and I got Ranch Dressing all over my shirt.

We must all be careful in Wal-Mart and K-Mart now. Crazy kids and soccer moms stare at their phones, texting their bffs and moving like zombies. They inadvertently run over old ladies and small children. They are so engrossed in their texting they don’t even feel the cart as it bumps over the flailing arms and legs.

And of course the newest danger in the gym…idiots who try texting while running on the treadmill. Runners loose their balance and footing while texting “LOL” to their super hot girlfriend. In a split second tragedy strikes. Runner Dude flies off the back of the treadmill. New Balance running shoes sail across the room and hit the people on the elliptical. His phone crashes to the floor, the battery pops out and all communication is lost.

Texting is a serious threat to us all. It’s a cruel world so be careful out there.

Talk to me!  leave a comment or e-mail me at hampoland@gmail.com, just don’t text me. I care about you too much for that.


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Friday Night American Warriors

It’s just Wednesday but I’m already thinking about this weekend. I’m starting to twitch.The Fountain Lake Cobra football team is in the semi-finals.  They weren’t supposed to be. I want to thank them for thrilling me all season.

Friday mornings…are  awesome.On Friday mornings when I drive around the school I get to see all the senior high players in their big purple jerseys. They stand together, they swagger together. The girls bump up against them and everybody laughs.

If it’s a home game the colossal lights will be turned on in the afternoon and the field will glow as the sun sets. School busses from other towns will roll onto campus. They are strangers and they don’t wear purple. The stadium is beautiful and pristine, waiting for the Friday night warriors.

 Most of our boys are sweet guys, they hug their moms and their mom’s friends. They throw footballs at the little boys who wear jerseys on Fridays too, hoping they will some day be able to take the field when the stands are packed and the home crowd cheers and rings cowbells. Alumni in skinny jeans and hightops and camo, faded overalls and ball caps line up, shoulder to shoulder to cheer.

The Cobra players are all just teen-age boys, all on the verge of becoming men, taking care of business, getting a job done, for their school, for their fans and for a tiny Arkansas community built around the purple and gold Cobras.

No matter what happens this weekend the Cobra football team has given us  all so much this season. They have played  hard, they have come from behind and they never quit in the 4th quarter. The boys have made everyone in the community proud to say we are from Fountain Lake.

*Please write me at hampoland@gmail.com or leave a comment. That makes my day!  This story is a re-write from earlier in the season.


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