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Reasons to Live Friday #5

My Reasons To Live Friday is all about taking what you’ve got, and making the best of it.

This week started with a visit from some cousins from Germany that we had never met. Here’s the family tree- try and keep up:

My mom’s mom’s brother’s son is her first cousin. He got married. Had two little boys. Ten years ago, he committed suicide after both boys were diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. His wife Kirsten has raised these boys by herself, with not an ounce of help from his side of the family. Thankfully she has her own friends and parents that can help.

The boys and their mom, Kirsten, and a good friend Ulrika, came all the way from Lubeck, Germany. They rented a van and will drive down to Disneyland to see the coastline. They flew in to Seattle and had just a couple days to visit, so we squished as much time in with them as we could.

Benjamin is 16, his MD is advanced to where he is in his wheelchair all the time and uses a laptop that is voice activated to do his school work. He has limited arm function but can use his hands to hold a knife and fork or his cell phone.

Jonathan is 14, his MD is advanced also to where he is in a wheelchair. On top of that he also has Autism. He can still write, but next year will also get a laptop to help with school work. His arm movement is limited as well. He uses his hands for holding his fork, but his mom cuts his food for him. He insists on using a fork, even for pizza! I don’t think he likes his hands messy.

Their entire days are spent in wheelchairs. They need help to the bathroom, getting dressed, and eating. This will only get worse. Google Muscular Dystrophy- it’s not pretty. Eventually their organs will shut down. Their loss of muscle function decreases exponentially now that they are in wheelchairs. MD is a sonofabitch disease. To suppress symptoms you need to be active. The more active you are, the more you delay the onset of the disease. But eventually it wins, and your activity level decreases, thereby it takes over more aggressively.

Their bodies are starting to atrophy. They seem so little, so skinny. Their shoe sizes must be the same as my kids. Owen would ask, how much does he weigh, or his legs are so skinny. Owen can relate being a skinny guy himself. He’s self conscious of his skinniness (only because kids point it out to him, argh!) and now he can appreciate the fact that he will get stronger and bigger, despite his skinniness. Whereas Benjamin and Jonathan will not.

Within a couple hours of the kids hanging out with each other, you wouldn’t know that they had just met and don’t speak the same language. Benjamin can speak a lot of English. Jonathan does not though. He doesn’t speak much at all. He is quiet and to himself. You could almost forget he is there, he is so quiet. And of course, he is so still. But Owen and Emma didn’t let him go forgotten.

How a 9 year old boy can spaz out, make funny faces and arm farts to complete strangers and feel completely comfortable in doing so, is beyond me. Jonathan was in giggles in no time. Owen brought out his iPod and he and Benjamin took turns playing RocketBird, over and over again while Jonathan watched happily. He never wanted a turn.  The squeels of delight and giggles of camaraderie were  becoming infectious! At every mealtime, the iPod would come out either while waiting for food to be served or waiting for others to finish. When Owen started making silly faces and sounds, Jonathan would make his enjoyment known.

I came to learn that first night when they needed to go back to their hotel, the reason Jonathan wasn’t saying goodbye, wasn’t out of shyness or having his virtual social wall up, but that  he didn’t want to go! He was having so much fun, he didn’t want it to end. His protestations were so quiet and also in German, so I didn’t quite understand until my mom told me later.

I can’t describe to you the feeling that filled my heart watching my children get along with their cousins. Not showing any boundaries, any limitations. Then after our time together, both my children expressing how much they enjoy them, how much they want to see them again.

Emma had to spend the next day at rehearsal so it was just me and Owen to go to the EMP (Experience Music Project) in Seattle. For the next few months one of the exhibits is the movie Avatar. With props, costume pieces and documentaries from the movie. When I told Benjamin this, his face lit up. “That’s my favorite movie” he exclaimes. I shared this with James, oblivious to it’s deeper meaning. When he looked at me and said, ‘of course, think about it’. DUH. The main character in Avatar is in a wheelchair! Tears came to my eyes just then as it hit me.

During our outing which included a ride to the top of the Space Needle, I tried so hard to get a little nudge of response from Jonathan. He would smirk and look away. It was hard to take his picture too. But eventually I could catch him in a moment of silliness with Owen.

Jonathan is on the left shying away from the camera, Owen, and then Benjamin

Their mom doesn’t want the pity. She says coming here to the States is so nice because of all our accommodations for wheelchair access and those with disabilities. She told me that people in Germany are of two groups- the type that constantly want to pity you, or the kind that want to ignore you. Americans treat them like anyone else. They don’t feel so ‘different’ here.

Spending the day with wheelchair bound folks really makes you think how easy life is to be WITHOUT wheelchairs. At the Space Needle, the observation deck is separated by doors with a small set of steps. One of these doors had a wheelchair lift. When we got there, it was OUT OF SERVICE! So Kirsten and I did the old stroller method. I was at the bottom of the wheelchair by their feet, she was at the top and we hoisted those suckers down those stairs. Good gracious she needs to be strong and well to look after her boys! This is why she has a friend come along.  It truly takes a village.

Benjamin has hopes to come here often and maybe live here. If I could give them the gift of time, I would. They do not live their lives as if they are set with only a certain number of years. They dream and plan like teenagers do for their future. They don’t complain, they don’t wallow.

As much as I want to see them again, it pains me to think of what they could be like in another year. And then the year after that.

I am so incredibly grateful for the time we had with them this week. My kids are forever changed. They have new cousins they love and want to keep in touch with. They have a new perspective on how easy their lives are. They want to go to Germany soon too. I do too.

My Reasons to Live Friday is pretty simple. Each day is a gift. Open it like a present and make the most of it!

Peace and love.

My meat funeral

I’ve come to the realization that I shouldn’t eat meat. I’ve given you my take of my plant based diet in The Reluctant Vegan post awhile back. I’ve been sticking to it. Sort of. So I don’t always eat plants. SUE ME! I like bread. And baked things. So sometimes there’s butter and eggs in things.

I found out the hard way that despite all my denial, I am indeed lactose intolerant. And possibly beef intolerant.

I have felt so good not eating any dairy or meat these last few months. But I thought I would just cheat. A little.

Father’s Day in our house meant meat, cheese and beer. The McSweetie trifecta. He loves his meat and cheese. And honestly, there’s been a lot of tofu and lentils in the house and fish, and he’s been very compliant. Not complaining at dinner time. Just eating what he’s given. He deserved a treat.

So I started the day with bacon and sausage for his big papa breakfast. The pancakes were gluten free. But everyone likes them, so it didn’t count.

Before dinner,  I got out our special artisan cheese we can get from Seattle’s Beecher’s cheese. The best cheddar ever. I made a nice cheese plate with good bread and crackers and fruit. Then I made some steaks with baked potatoes and homemade herbed butter, complete with real bacon pieces. Let’s say, I helped myself to quite a bit of cheese, butter, some more butter, a little bit more cheese, and a little bit of steak.

I felt pretty good. So the next day I tempted fate, and had some left overs. Hey- I’m a frugal gal, remember? I don’t let things go to waste!

I might have, maybe, I’m saying, maybe had some more butter the next day, and MAYBE a little more cheese. Quite possibly, there was a little meat leftover, and I snacked on one of the rib-eye bones. Uhm, did I mention that I marinated the rib-eyes in garlic, cabernet, and brown sugar and black pepper? It was good to say the least.

Well, by the fourth day, my intestines had enough debauchery. They revolted. I won’t go into the details. It wasn’t pretty. But I will say that if you remember that Ben Stiller movie Mystery Men and the character Spleen, that was me. My children banned me from their rooms. It was like a cloud of Pig Pen from Peanuts following me around. I didn’t feel so great either.

He’s not pretty you say? Neither was I last week.

I didn’t really want to leave the house. Okay, enough. That’s all I need to share about that part.

Geeze kids- make mom feel bad! It’s not like YOU haven’t stunk too ya know!

So in conclusion; I mourn meat. And cheese. And butter. I’m kind of sad, that unless I want to experience the bloat and nastiness of those few days, I will have to avoid these delights. Hot fudge sundae? No. Prime Rib with a side of aus jus? Not gonna happen. Cheese Fondue? OH dear lord, just stick me on the toilet now.

I realize that feeling good, not having to worry about where the nearest bathroom is, means more than just something rich and creamy. I enjoy many of my vegan options. I love vegetables. I love grains. There’s fabulous food out there. I’m just sad for what I don’t think I’ll be enjoying for some time. Maybe I’ll try again one day. Maybe my system will change. Since my 20s, I’ve known I’ve been lactose intolerant. College binges to Dennys late at night for hot fudge sundaes or cheesy nachos made in my apartment watching the early episodes of ER with George Clooney, only to have an upset stomach the next day, was clearly the writing on the wall I tried to ignore.

the crispy onions on the side are clearly mocking me.

I can probably cheat a little too without going overboard. I might have OD’d just a bit on the cheese and butter part.

RIP fromage. It was fun while it lasted. (okay, clearly not so much for me, but just let me be!)

If you need to find me, I’ll be at Whole Foods getting all my plant friendly, vegan goodies.

A trip to the Japanese dollar store

The Japanese are an advanced culture. They rule the world in mathematics and science. They make great automobiles. They have an uncompromising work ethic, they are tidy and clean. (I’m guessing this, of course.) Generalizations aside, they are  an advanced society that takes cramped living spaces to new ingenuity. Okay, enough stereotyping and assumptions.

Dollar stores- this, my friends is where their world domination happens for real.

We have dollar stores, sure. Cheap ass shit. I mean, disposable crap that you can lure a child with one afternoon of annoying  joy while they play with that nosy cops and robbers set where the gun stops working and the handcuffs jam on their older sister.

Japanese dollar store shit is different. I swear.

Forget Honda, Sony, and Bullet trains-this is where the magic happens-

I give you…

Chair leg foot covers.

Do your chairs scratch your hardwoods? No worries, these nifty little covers that resemble leprechaun shower caps, work perfectly to protect your floors from the bottom of the chairs that your little kids like to bang across the room and piss the hell out of you. Now, you don’t need to worry. Let them drag those chairs until the cows come home. You’ll be pleased to see your floor isn’t scratched.

Notice in the background another model. Those were last year’s. They had shamrocks on them. Oh the irony.

Chip tongs.

What’s worse than eating a bag of cheetos (oops, did I say bag?) or barbecue Lay’s potato chips and getting orange dust all over your fingers, or greasy barbecue seasoning? Well, look no more, I’ve found  Chip Tongs- these handy over sized tweezers work perfectly to eat your chips one by one as a civilized human should.

Trainer chop sticks you say? Better.

Banana keepers.

I don’t know about you- but one thing I hate is a bruised banana. Well, here’s the solution. Your bananas will be coddled and cared for and ready to eat when you are. Don’t worry about the size taking over your fruit bowl, one can never have too many banana keepers. Perfect for lunch boxes.

And yes, I probably should be in this picture instead of my underage child holding a giant phallic banana keeper. I’m not kidding. It really is a banana keeper. It was printed on the outside.

Here is the Piece de Resistance- the coup de gras, the cream of the crop, the shizzle….. wait for it…. trumpet sounds…

Disposable underpants.

This has revolutionized my approach to laundry. These only come in ladies and mens, but I figured the kids will just have to deal. I’m getting enough for a month’s worth of fresh underwear for each member of the household. My laundry will be decreased SIGNIFICANTLY. I’m thinking of buying bulk and I can sell them for 3 x the price. If anyone is interested in ordering from me- message me and let me know (I have no idea if that’s legal).

Just start sending me money now. I know there will be a run on these after I print this blog post.

I always stock up on things like cotton pads to remove makeup and cotton swabs. You get hundreds more than you get for your money at Target or Walgreens. Also they have the best containers for travel and organizing your bathroom. Some items are deluxe and marked specifically if they are $3.00 or $4.00. But everything from the chip tongs to the disposable underpants is $1.50. Not quite a dollar, but still- we call it the Japanese Dollar Store when we go.

The kids love to get the candy and gum they have. Oh, and they have all those cute little erasers in shapes like sushi and cupcakes that the kids love too.

I love reading the English translation from Japanese on the labels. Especially for the facial products. For example- a wash net I bought, (which retails at Barneys for $15 by the way!) to use with your facial cleanser and help it foam- says this on the package:

Declaration of Fluffy Foam

Use fingers making a circle on your face

Isn’t that the best?! I love it! You would never see those words on an American product.  It just makes it so quaint!

SO there you go. Our trip to the Japanese Dollar Store. Officially called DAISO in these parts. I’m telling you, from kitchen gadgets to hair accessories, they have it all. I wish you all a merry trip to the store one day so you too, can have chip tongs and chair leg covers like me.

Don’t be jealous.

Reasons to Live Friday #4

Today’s list…..My daughter’s side-splitting sense of humor.

Here’s a recap of the day-  It was the last day of school and we went to the beach with her brother and his buddy. They went off to dig in the sand and play on the play structure.

She and I stayed back at the beach chairs and towels and played that game where you throw the wiffle ball back  and forth with those basket like catcher thingys. Yeah, that game.

Remember this?

At first I was seated playing catch. I know, I’m so sporty. I was in the chair, and she was lobbing the wiffle ball over to me. Let’s say I was wearing some less attractive shorts. Like culottes. Oh, just hush. It was a beach day. This isn’t Malibu. So anyway, she says, “gee mom, you’re sporting a camel toe”. Don’t ask how my 12 year old knows camel toe. Oh, who am I kidding? She goes to middle school! She probably knows all kinds of foul things!

THEN..

We saw some Sandhill Cranes swoop in to shore. Thems are huge birds. Seeing them swoop in is kind of cool. Then they started chasing each other mid- air so Emma and I were watching and I’m like, “maybe they’ll start fighting”, then she starts yelling, “mate, mate, mate!” Like it’s some kind of chant in the cafeteria of high school egging on a fight. I’m just cracking up. She’s giggling like she’s got YouTube gold ready to happen. Nothing happened and they just did their crane strut down the shore a bit and then flew off for good.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (I just wanted to say that)

We went back to our game. We noticed an older couple sunbathing further down the beach. I think these folks were in their 70s. The woman was rotund and wearing a two-piece. The guy was wearing trunks, NOT Speedos, thank goodness. The woman started to head down to the shore. Mind you- we have a rocky beach, and our water is freezing. This isn’t Hawaii. So she’s just walking barefoot over all those hard barnacle crusted rocks. My kids have flip flops on. They have tender feet. Not this woman. I think she was Russian. She looked like a Helga or Svetlana. I think she could crack walnuts between her thighs. This woman was- sturdy. So she started wading in the water. Emma says to me, ‘I can’t go in the water, it’s too freezing and she’s old!’ We’re giggling wondering when Owen will catch sight of this woman and gross out. Since anyone in a two-piece is gross to him. Although the gentleman hanging back at his towel, Emma reports, is straightening himself. A LOT. She can see him in her direct line of vision. I can’t without turning around. So she’s describing that he’s continuing to ‘fix himself’ inside his shorts. Then she says he’s groping his stomach and chest. I try to turn and look but don’t want to be obvious. I said, maybe he’s giving himself a massage. For circulation. Or something. It’s probably a Russian thing. Like  what Tai Chi is to Chinese people.

‘Helga’ walks back from the beach after splashing herself in the surf. Emma is impressed with her capabilities to withstand the cold and rockiness. I said, ‘I think she has balls of steel’.  And then Emma replies, not missing a beat, “I think her husband likes HIS balls of steel too much”. I’M D Y I N G!

As if this wasn’t enough… then she and I reclined to our loungers to listen to me read a chapter of The Bloggess’ Let’s Pretend This Never Happened aloud, because I’m cool like that. We were cracking up at the pet wild ‘quail’ (turkeys, cough-cough) chapter. I sometimes don’t read the swear words. Emma particularly enjoyed the pet raccoons with ‘jams’ (pajamas for those not reading it) and the dead squirrel puppet in the Cheez-its box.

To top it off, we ended the day watching the first few episodes of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix.

I think this summer is going to go just fine. I also think my daughter is way cooler and mature than I ever was at 12.

And I am grateful that she thinks I’m cool enough to crack jokes with, and comfortable enough to giggle at kissy, smoochy stuff on TV.

Have  a great Friday y’all!

Dear NBC- Bring Back BFF,

Kind sirs and madams at the high decision making end of what shows to keep at NBC: (run-on sentences be damned)

I don’t write letters to networks asking for anything. If I don’t like a show, I don’t watch it. I won’t write a letter boycotting it like SOME people have. If I like a show, I’ll just watch it and enjoy it. I’ll tell a few girl friends, you know, share it on Facebook, just kick back and wait for its day and time.

This is why this letter means so much. If I’m writing it, it must be worth it.

NBC- you have been home to some of my all time favorites- Little House on the Prairie, Friends, Seinfeld, The Cosby Show… I know. So great, right?

I see a new favorite in Best Friends Forever. I’m going to make myself clear- BRING BACK Best Friends Forever! Please!

Len and Jess (or my sister from another mister)

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a friend like the way Jess and Len are friends. Their chemistry is like magic. Maybe I like it because my friends tell me that I remind them of Jessica St. Clair. I think of that as a compliment! These ladies are the next Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig. Yes, I believe this to be true. You have a goldmine here with this show. With a little more marketing, and persistence, big things are ahead!

The writing and creating genius of Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham is golden. Girls can really relate to this! I crack up. The chemistry of Len and Jess together is much like a combination of several girlfriends in my lifetime I’ve had mixed together. Crazy roommates, childhood friends, friends you meet through college… and the guys on this show are the perfect straight men (no hetero reference here) to the crazy antics of Jess and Len. Mostly Jess, you have to admit.The Cougar party? Her bathtub spaz outs? Oh, and the bra episode with the boyfriend’s parents walking in?? Classic!!! Protect the Areolas! Even critics praise their chemistry and comic antics, (Read Entertainment Weekly’s article here)

Plus, I need to know if Jess and Rav are going to hook up for good. And Len and Joe need a Comic con style proposal with a flash mob, dontcha think?

Thank you for your consideration. I need this show like I need air, water, and coffee. Well, you know. Maybe like coffee. And a good push-up bra. Supportive and fun.

Sincerely,

FrugalistaBlog

@rebeccatg88 on Twitter

frugalistablog@gmail.com

Babies having babies.

My daughter told me the other day she heard about a  rumor* that a girl is pregnant at school. A 7th grader who is 13. She said the girl’s boyfriend is 16. Her parents know and so she posted it on Facebook so now everyone is talking about it. Emma also said that there are kids talking about who they’ve had sex with. I asked her what she thinks of this. She said, ‘Mom, that is gross’. And did her expression, the kind she gives me if she sees me in a swim suit. So I knew she was telling the truth. (*What’s on Facebook isn’t necessarily true. Since the time of this post, there has been no baby. It probably was a rumor. But it still got the conversation going between us.)

<<GULP>> Oh God. Did my heart just skip a beat? Did my stomach just plummet to my knees? ‘Cause I kinda want to vomit.

These are babies. Oh dear. Babies are making babies.

Children at age 12 and 13 haven’t finished puberty. Their bodies are still developing. I was developing until I was 19! I grew a whole cup size between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college!

Even the idea of my kids as sexual active adults creeps me out. I won’t kid myself and think that they will be 30 years old, just married and ready to lose  their virginity. BUT please dear God, please let them NOT make a poor choice and start getting sexually active before adulthood. PLEASE!

I remember when I was in middle school, hearing about a girl in 8th grade who had an abortion. Ugh, just the thought gives me chills. This girl was sexually active in 7th grade. I remember at the time thinking how foreign this was. I sure was curious. But I was NOT thinking of having sex. Kissing and making out with a boy sure sounded fun (I didn’t have my first kiss until 14), but SEX? God no!

We need to talk to our kids about sex. Don’t be afraid of what they are watching on YouTube or TV. It’s not Glee that is going to make them jump into something and go too far without being prepared. Don’t blame the media that kids are uber promiscuous nowadays, or that they’re all sexting each other. Adolescents are naturally sexually curious. Yes, the media can fuel this fire. Yes things are available in a click of a Google search. But I remember 30 years ago when we would sneak my friend’s sister’s smutty novels and read the dirty parts. THAT was the extent of my curiosity! Oh, I think her sister also had some PlayGirls. Those were interesting. I hadn’t EVER seen anything like that. And to be real, haven’t since. Ba da bump. Sexual curiosity comes with all generations.

So I will ask you- Are you talking to your kids? Can they come to you for questions? Do you know what they are doing with their friends? Do you know who they are texting? Who they are dating?

We can’t be perfect. We can’t always be there. But let’s not shame them out of wanting to know what sex is like. What is it going to feel like? Will I like it? Who should it be with? When will I be old enough? What are my options for birth control? How can I  prevent an STD? You know these questions are racing through their heads. Help them out! Write them a note. Take them out for frappucinos. TALK to THEM!

School isn’t going to do it all for you. Health class only goes so far.

Abstinence isn’t the answer. You know why? Because abstinence doesn’t work for grown-ups. If you think you can trust kids with a grown up decision that even some grown ups can’t handle- you are fooling yourself. Did I just write that? ‘Cause that’s kind of genius. This doesn’t mean, DON’T give them abstinence as a choice. Abstinence IS a choice. But it’s not the ONLY choice.

If you tell a teenager not to borrow the car and they borrow the car without asking or because they’ve been told not to, they still might borrow the car!!  What makes sex different?  We know it’s a lot different. But do they? We license 16 year olds to drive. We tell them about seat belts and airbags. We get them auto insurance. We tell them not to drink and drive. Don’t text and drive. Don’t drive with more than one passenger. We give them the tools to be safe behind the wheel. Are we giving kids the tools to be safe about sex. To know all their options?  But if you haven’t talked to your kids about sex by now, how do you know they’ve got all the information correct? Because it’s on YouTube? No. Not good enough.

And to be honest with you. I don’t expect my children to wait until they are married. I don’t. I wish they would. But it’s not realistic. How do I even know if they will get married at all? I don’t have a crystal ball.  Sure, I want them to have spouses and families, of course! But this isn’t the 50s. Or the 90s. What if they work on their career, don’t meet their spouse until their 40s? Does this mean they’ll go that entire time being celibate? Hardly. But they will be adults. And they will hopefully make good choices.

So I’m talking to my kids about sex.

Family Life and Sexual Health education starts in 5th grade in our school system. It’s weird and makes the kids feel bashful, sure. But it opens doors.

If you think waiting until they’re 13 or 14 to talk about it instead of 9 or 10- it’s already too late. Do you talk to your kids about pedophiles? Child molesters? No? Well, you should.

Not talking about something isn’t a tree in the woods falling and not making noise, just because someone wasn’t there to hear it.

I feel like a ‘More you Know’ service announcement. Cue the rainbow.

Good luck!

I will not censor myself

Hey, readers. Listen up. I’ve been holding back. You know the librarian with the glasses, the buttoned up collar and the comfortable shoes? That’s me. No, it’s not my alter ego stripper character. Although, that would probably be perfect if I were to have some secret stripper life. That’s describing how I’m feeling sometimes when I’ve been writing. I’m thinking of bringing out the fishnets, Flashdance sweater with the cut out neck hole, and a bajillion bangle bracelets Madonna style. You get this is a metaphor right? A wardrobe description to describe my writing? Right? Okay, cuz any of you waiting for pics of me in this get up- just move along.

My point is- NO MORE MRS. NICE GUY!

I’m not going to get all hung up on the Dewey Decimal system anymore!

I’m too careful. I feel I need to please.  I’m worried about what my neighbor might think. What my mom might think. What the husband might think. Well, too damn bad.

I should only have to please ME! If you don’t like what I write, well too damn bad.

Nobody has picked on me or anything. I just was thinking back on some previous posts, and I think I was treading lightly. I shouldn’t feel like I need to beat around the bush with my blog. It’s not a family get together with the in-laws where I should choose my words carefully. This is MY blog. And I’m going to write like I’ve had two appletinis and I’m out with my girlfriends!

Hold. The. Phone. There’s a Flashdance Barbie? Why do I feel like I need this?

Oh yeah!!

ARE YOU READY??

And you’re like, wait- you talk  about your time of the month, sex with your husbandtelling people how to feed their kids  and the sham family bed- what in THEE HELL could you be MORE honest about?

Well, I don’t know- YET. But I promise you, whatever it’s going to be, it will be raw, rough and naked. SEE! I’m already letting loose! ha!!

Maybe it’s this whole turning 40 thing on the horizon.  Maybe it’s life is too short to waste on feeling self-conscious.

I’m going to wear green eyeshadow if I feel like it, regardless of the beauty mags that say I shouldn’t since my eyes are green. And I’m going to wear red lipstick when I feel like it too. Because I got some nice lips, and I can show them off, even if I think I look like Gwen Stefani when I wear red lipstick, but I probably look like Courtney Love after a heroine high.

This is how I look in red lipstick.

So there you go. Stay tuned.

Just kidding!! THIS is how I look in red lipstick, especially after running around doing errands and carpool.

Reasons to Live Friday – #3

Well, come on. How could I NOT do a RTLF on DADs? Happy Father’s Day!!

I have been blessed to have amazing men in my life. Aside from the one or two doucheboat boyfriends I had in my past,  the men in my life have been fine upstanding men. I have a wonderful father, husband, older brother and even a father in law. I’m very lucky.

I’ve gushed about my dad before in my blog, way back on his birthday, Ode to My Dad. And I’ve given a shout-out to my McSweetie a few times too.  I’m just really grateful for Father’s Day to give them a little pat on the back for being the swell fellas that they are.

Some dads like going for a bike ride, camping trip or ball game. Hubby just wants to sit. Lounge. You name it. He is the king of idleness if you let him.

I have the best baby daddy. If you asked the kids, what their dad does, they would say- ‘he sits on his laptop all day’. Which is kind of true. But he works for a software company so he needs to be on his computer. Duh. He’s pretty amazing. Does Cub Scouts and soccer with the Boy, supports me, doesn’t complain about my piles of crap everywhere. Oh wait. Those are his piles of crap! Doesn’t complain about all my volunteer positions. He helps the Girl with her science projects and homework. I know that both kids want more time with their dad because he works so much. They’re used to me. But if dad gets to do something or offers to play with them, whoa- then THAT’s way cool.

My father in law is also a pretty great dad. He’s solid, trustworthy, kind, old-fashioned, and likes to take the kids fishing and fly his model airplanes with them.  I know he set a wonderful example for his sons of working hard for his family and staying true to his wife and kids while McS was growing up. He’s not a gushy, emotional type, but I know his family means a lot to him.

My dad is of course, the best. Isn’t that what a girl should think about her dad, that the sun rises and sets on him? It’s true. He does everything perfectly. He’s tidy, a gentleman, sweet, strict, loving, all those things. Notice I said ‘tidy’ first! Ha- that’s what I think of him. I can see my children have a special connection to him. They respect him (they respect their other grandpa too, don’t get me wrong!), they are interested in his opinion. I’ve noticed it really means something to my kids to try to please him. I think it’s endearing that they go out of their way for him. Owen always seems to come up with things he’ll think O’daddy (that’s what they call him) would like.

Now with McSweetie here,

I knew I was playing my cards right when I met my husband. I could see ‘father material’ all over him. I had no idea though he would be THIS good. I don’t think he knew how much it would open him up. How much he would ‘feel’ for his kids. I truly think his heart has grown since our early years together, and it is from being a father. We co-parent very well. He listens to his kids. He makes sure to hug them and tell them he loves them. I think THAT is first and foremost, #1.

Awwww.

I am so lucky and blessed to be surrounded by these great men. To have my children be surrounded by them too.

Happy Father’s Day!

I absolutely love this picture. Yep, that’s me as a baby.

I’m not as super as I think. Or, I have it good part 2.

The other day I was doing my errands that included dropping off the dry cleaning, going to the post office, dropping off the library books, delivering art projects for PTA, picking up cat food, shopping for Father’s day gifts, the usual groceries. Coming home to put stuff away. Run the dryer, empty the dishwasher. Plan dinner. Scoop the cat box. Check emails, make a cup of tea. Sit.

Sometimes I get actual laundry folded and some volunteer work done. Maybe some vacuuming, toilets scrubbed. Hmm, floors? Not usually.

I felt pretty accomplished. Pretty great. And then I thought, really? This isn’t so great. This is easy. I don’t have to carry my baby on my back and get water at the river.

I don’t have to wait in line for vaccinations. Hide in a hut from guerilla soldiers. Wait for the electricity to turn on in the city to get  some hot water to make dinner.

Why do I feel I need the accolades? There’s women out there, fighting each and every day for their very survival and that of their children.  Sure, I do a good job for my kids. I do my best. And aren’t I lucky to be born in a country of peace and prosperity?

I sponsor a woman through Women for Women International. This is my third ‘sister’ that I have donated a steady $30 each month that takes a woman in a war torn country, educates her, gives her work experience and helps her support her own family. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I am helping a woman, who would otherwise be helpless. My ‘sister’ this year is Violette in Rwanda. She is 25 and has a family. She wrote me a letter thanking me. I cried when I read it. She wished me and my family well and thanked me for all that I’ve done for her. I haven’t done anything except a direct deposit from my bank account to the program!  Last year my sister in Nigeria, Alice, wrote me a letter telling me about what she’s learned and the different crops she is planting for her family to make money. How her life is so much better now. I was so humbled by their words of thanks to me.

Each year they graduate the program and a different sister gets sponsored. In September I find out who my new sister is.  That will be my 4th. And I always look forward to see who it will be and what her story is.

It’s all about perspective isn’t it? Everyone has their struggles. Whether it’s the job you need to get up for in the morning to leave your family each day to provide for. Or the disabled child you need to help out of their wheel chair to get to the bathroom, or help feed. Or maybe you are struggling while unemployed and hoping there will be a nibble soon in the job offers. Or perhaps you’re going through a divorce.

I’ve said before that I have it good. I don’t think anyone has it easy no matter their privileges.

I’m not saying because you aren’t in a war ravaged country that you have it easy. I know we all have our hard days. We all have our struggles.

I just will try to remember that while I’m toolin’ around in my minivan, drinking my espresso and eating my chia seeds; wearing my cute Cole Hahn shoes I bought at Nordstrom Rack, that I have it pretty darn good.

Kreativ Blogger award is spelled wrong

Why is it spelled wrong? OOh, I get it, because it’s creative.  OKAY then. I’m not knocking it. Just asking.

I’ve been bestowed a swell blogging award by some swell bloggers. It gets me every time someone makes the effort to show they like my blog. Seriously. I always wanted to be the cool kid in school with their art project on the center bulletin board. This kind of makes up for it. A little.

I need to acknowledge the award givers, answer 7 questions and come up with 10 random unknown facts about myself, AND bestow the award to 7 other blogs. Geeze, these awards are so pushy! At the Oscars you just show up and get the statue. Okay, at least I can spare myself the effort of getting glitzed up for the red carpet.

My special thanks to the two bloggers that gave it to me:

One Tired Mama- is really One Clever Mama. She writes about life, her kids, the future, she writes poetry too. She loves movies. I love her. She’s a blogging pro.

Funny Pregnant Lady- oh my gosh this lady is now Funny Postpartum Lady and God bless her!! Her little peanut is 8 weeks old, adorbs and she still has time to blog and make funny ecards. What is up with that?? I won’t call her Over Achiever because I like her too much, but she better watch it. The rest of us are starting to look like slackers.

Okay, here’ s the answers to the questions. (Why does this remind me of those notes we passed back and forth between classes in high school?)

What is your favorite song?

Oh, tough, I mean, so many to choose from. But our wedding song is At Last by Etta James, and honestly, I just melt when I hear it. So yeah, I’m going with that one. Runners up- Bohemian Rhapsody, Fat Bottomed Girls, Wake me up Before you Go Go. Yeah- that’s Wham! What of it?

What is your favorite dessert?

Chocolate. Chocolate anything. Lava cake, cream pie, mousse, pot de creme, hot fudge sundae- not a Dairy Queen one- a REAL one. Honestly giving up dairy has been tough when it comes to desserts. So hazelnut chocolate sorbet at this one restaurant has been a to-die for replacement that I could lick up like a kitty does cream.

What do you do when you are upset?

Pout. Cry. Eat. Call my mom. If I’m angry-upset, I stomp up the stairs and do laundry or tidy my bathroom. I like to slam things and get all huffy. If I’m sad-upset, I sulk, make a cup of tea, talk to someone, snuggle my dog.

Favorite Pet-

And that brings us to…. my dog. Sophie is the best. She’s a mutt medium sized something or other that loves us to bits. And we love her. We adopted her exactly four years ago and she IS one of the family.

White or whole wheat-

Lately neither. I’m kind of gluten free or no bread at all. But I go weak in the knees for a fresh baguette and really good creamy butter. You might not want to be in the room. There’s crumbs and butter smeared everywhere. You’d think I’d have some restraint. So I just try to stay away from that stuff.

What is your biggest fear?

DUH- something happening to my kids. End of story. I get ants in my pants just thinking of them in the big world. The older they get, the more freedom and time they have away from me and with other people. Freaks the shit out of me. I want them safe. Bottom line.

What is your attitude mostly?

Nauseatingly cheerful. Except when I’m being a bitch.

10 Random Facts

I don’t like the Beach Boys

I think smart, funny guys like Jon Stewart and Steve Carrell are kinda sexy. Humor and intellect is a turn-on.

I always wear something on my feet, even in summer. I don’t like going barefoot. I’m too scared of stubbing a toe or stepping on something.

I can’t stand the sound of metal on metal. If I have a metal bowl, I will not use any silverware on it, only wooden spoons or plastic. It’s like nails on a chalk board for me.

I’m waiting to be surprised by a celebrity crush knocking on my door to whisk me away with tickets to something, that I’m sure Ellen or someone of fame and importance has arranged.

I will attend the Academy Awards before I die. I will. It is by far, my #1 Bucket List item. I just know I will go.

I met Tom Brokaw after my commencement ceremony graduating from the University of Washington. I arranged an interview with him as part of my journalism street cred. It was pretty cool to meet him, he had been the keynote speaker and I have always admired his journalistic integrity and love of history.

I won’t put on an invitation ‘no gifts please’. What am I, nuts? I love presents! Christmas and Birthdays are my favorite.

I eat a spoonful of chia seeds in my smoothie every morning. I haven’t grown green sprouts out of my head yet.

I love, love, love Little House on the Prairie. Some of you might already know this about me, but it’s been awhile since I mentioned it. So here’s a reminder.

Okay- bloggy blogs that I like:

There’s a lot, so if I didn’t pick you- this isn’t Heads Up Seven Up in 3rd grade and you feel bad, just wait until another time. I can’t pick everybody.

Complete Jensanity

She’s funny, a mom, a little insane- ha get it? Her You Might Live In Jersey If Post is pretty funny.

My Children Think I’m Perfect

OH this lady rocks my socks! She is hysterical and is a little naughty. But I like it!

The Bearded Iris

GOOD LORD- this mama is the SHIZ! I don’t know what to say. She cracks me up, she is poignant, witty and hilarious as FUCK!  Anyone who blogs about their lady bits garden is a fave in my book.

Laptop Confessional

This is a group of bloggers and they are so snarky and funny. They call themselves, ‘honey badgers’. What’s not to love?

Ninja Mom

Just go look at her Blog cover photo. She’s funny. And she was in the Top 25 Circle of Moms funny bloggers. God she’s funny!

Bad Parenting Moments

These girls have a lot of heart and soul in their writing. I love reading about their ‘bad parenting moments’. It makes me feel that I’m doing okay.

Cup of Tea and a Blog

This is one of those things I love about blogging. Finding random people through other blogs that live half way across the world and have a kinship- like cups of tea! I have only just started reading her, but I love that I found her.

So there you go-

now off to read those blogs- skidaddle!