Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Archive for June, 2014

The Purge

Most married couples have their fights.  After you’ve been married a while, you realize that you’re really  just having the same fight on a different day.  Slightly different versions of the same fight.  But still, the same fight.    At least that is what Scott and I do.

A typical danger zone for Scott and me is when we are in a new place.  He is driving, and I am navigating.  I am terrible at navigation.  He is terrible at patience.   The first time Scott used GPS to navigate, he was alone with Eddie. When they arrived at their destination, Scott called me right away.  He wanted to tell me that the  GPS was marriage saving technology.

Another thing Scott and I  fight about is stuff.  Things.  Objects.  We treat stuff differently.  Scott treats his stuff very carefully.  He keeps it organized and in good repair.  He holds on to his stuff FOR.EVER.

I’m not so careful.  I think it’s just stuff.  Here today.  Gone Tomorrow.  I usually want to get rid of our stuff.

Recently, we were driving somewhere in my car.  Scott was in the driver’s seat.  He found his sunglasses that he had been looking for in the pocket of the door.  They were broken.  He was a little irritated.  He said, “Can’t we agree that you should just use your stuff, and I’ll just use my stuff?”  Then, he added, “If you do use my stuff, could you at least try to take care of it?”

I’m like, “Can we agree for you to  not be so picky?  They’re just sunglasses.   I don’t know what Scott gets all worked up about, anyway.  They work, don’t they?”



I thought Scott would never change.  For years we have been arguing about all this stuff.  I try to haul it out the door, he tries to drag it back inside.  He admits that one of his biggest fears is that we will be in need of something that we have given away.  It’s not his fault.  He grew up in the Great Depression.  Well, he didn’t, but he certainly could have.  He would have done well for himself in the Great Depression.

Scott has had an epiphany lately. This summer he is becoming a new man.  He is finally ready to get rid of stuff.  I’m shocked at what he’s finally ready to let go.  We have been tearing through the basement, and hauling away bags of silly, old stuff.

He has had these slippers for as long as I have known him.  He says he’s ready to give them away.  He was thinking to charity.  I was thinking to the incinerator.  Think of the lucky young man who will stumble across these shiny slippers at Goodwill.  The things our family does for those less fortunate.  I didn’t mean to make you cry.  I’m sorry.   Let us just be an inspiration to you and your family.  Give until it hurts.




The slippers were a huge indication of how serious Scott is about ridding ourselves of all of these things that are unnecessary.  Something even bigger than slippers happened though.  Scott said we could get rid of this:

dubuque girl


You know what that is?  That is a signed poster from the spokes model for Dubuque Star  Beer.   The model signed this for Scott when he was a freshman in college.  Yes, that’s a cornfield behind her.  In Iowa we laid out at the cornfield.

She wrote on the poster, “Dear Scott, you’re the hottest guy I’ve seen all day.  Thanks, Mary”

This was a big moment for Scott.  I know he had a lot of unspoken emotional attachment to this poster.  Mary was a special lady.   Scott spent some quality minutes with her while she took the time to sign this poster.

Over the years we’ve run across that poster several times.  Scott never failed to show me what Mary wrote.

“Miki, did you see what is written on this poster?”

“Yep,” I said. “I read it.  Again.”

I could tell it was a fond memory for him.  I was always impressed.  I felt like a pretty lucky person to have gotten the guy Mary thought was so hot.  The hottest.

After we cleaned the basement and threw the poster in the garbage, I told Scott I was proud of him.  I said that I knew it was a big deal for him to get rid of all that stuff, especially the memento from his special lady friend.  I said, I’m sure you really were the hottest guy there that day.

He was watching TV when I said that.  He didn’t bother to look away from the TV.  He casually replied, “Oh, I asked her to write that.”

This whole thing.  This life of mine.  It’s all been a lie.











Don’t Treat Your Daughter Like a Princess

I was watching one of those culturally profound reality shows the other day.  You know, the ones that enrich our understanding of today’s culture, and give us a more relevant perspective of the socioeconomic implications in today’s modern lifestyle.  Yeah.  That’s the only reason I watch those shows.  It’s more like research.  Because, I’m more like a scientist. And, more like a liar.

Anyway, there was one man on this show who was some kind of surgeon.  His wife was throwing a giant birthday bash for their little daughter.  I would guess the daughter was 7 or 8 years old.  All the little girls were dressed up as princesses.  So were their moms.  It’s true.  That happened.

If I had a nickel for every time my friends and I dressed up as princesses – just an excellent way to spend an evening.   One of the moms on the reality show even came to the party in a horse and carriage.   Definitely doing that at the next girls’ night out.  Too bad the moms were all screaming at each other by the end of the night.  I never saw that coming.

The Surgeon/Dad asked for the girls’ attention.  He wanted to make an important speech.  He said something to his young female audience about how his family wanted these girls to dress up like princesses on this special day so that the girls could remember that they deserved to be treated like princesses.  He told them they should ALWAYS remember that they DESERVED to be treated like princesses.  He said no matter how old they got,  they should expect to be treated Like. A. Princess.

Do you like that message?  I can see where a person might.  I didn’t.  I thought this Dad/Surgeon, and all the adults in that show could use some parenting help.  This Dad’s message made me think that adults like him are doing young girls wrong.

Have you hung out lately with any kids who feel entitled?  Yeah.  They’re not very fun.  Well, I guess they can be  fun, as long as they’re getting what they want, and everything is going their way.

Parenting 101:  How to make a bad person:   Tell them they deserve to be treated like royalty.


I was talking to my sons about this show on our long drive to Colorado.  I could tell they didn’t totally understand why it bugged me so much.  So, I switched it up.  I said, “What if I told you boys that no matter what, you should be treated like a King.  You deserved to be treated like a King. You should find a spouse who will TREAT you like a King.”

Then they understood.  They laughed pretty hard.  The thought of what I had just described made them uncomfortable. I hope that if my boys marry some day, that they would expect their spouse to treat them a little less like a King; a little more like a friend.   I was relieved my sons could see the absurdity.

Why would I tell my children that they are superior to others?  Why would I tell them to dwell on their superiority?  Why would I tell them to find someone who will recognize their superiority, and treat them accordingly? Why would I set them up for failure like that?

My advice to my kids is to stop thinking about how people treat you.  Don’t focus on that.  Focus more on how you’re treating other people.  Treat others kindly, and with respect. You’ll see that people will usually return the favor.

Don’t even get me started on this word “deserve”.   I really hope my kids would say that the word “deserve” is rarely spoken in our home.  I feel like they would say that. I don’t like that word.  I can’t picture that word coming out of Scott’s mouth either, unless it was part of a joke.  Not even Royalty deserves to be treated like Royalty.

People who walk around thinking about what they “deserve” are people who spend less time being happy.  What do we really deserve anyway?   Do babies “deserve” to be born into poverty, and countries that are ravaged by war?  They don’t, but there they are.  We didn’t do anything to deserve our place and time in history either.  But, here we are.  Let’s always be grateful.  A grateful kid is a happy kid.

Did you hear that the famous singer Sting announced he won’t be passing his fortune on to his six kids?  You know why?  Because he loves his kids.  Sting wants his kids to find their own passion. He wants them to have to work hard to achieve their goals.  He wants all that, because he wants his children to have good and meaningful lives.  I bet he never once told his children that they are like royalty, and they deserved to be treated as such.  He’s too smart to say that.

So that’s my rant on that subject.  Sorry if I got a little carried away.  I’ll stop now.

Do you like Public Radio?  I do.  I was an intern for a Public Radio station in Iowa when I was in college.  I’ve been a fan ever since.  I have always had this inner nerd thing happening in my life. I like my inner nerd. She makes me think.  It’s my inner nerd that truly loves Public Radio.  But, sometimes those Public Radio announcers are too nerdy even for me.

This morning the announcer was covering a book list.  I like their book lists. I try to write down as many of the titles as I can.  This morning’s discussion was between the announcer and the person who conducted the book review.

The announcer was asking the reviewer about the book.  The reviewer said, “This book is so good.  It is based on realism (big pause.  Wait for the punch line.  Wait for it. Wait… for…it).  Elastic realism.”

Then the announcer laughs so hard, he can hardly get control of himself.  The reviewer giggles too.  You get it, right?  Elastic realism?  That’s so flippin’ hilarious, my stomach still hurts from laughing.

No.  That is not funny.  That’s so unfunny. I think those people should be punished for laughing so hard at something so unfunny.    And that’s why sometimes  public radio is too nerdy even for me.


public radio







Epic Adventure with my Teenage Sons

When I was in college I roomed with my sister and my lifelong best friend.  They were responsible students.  They did their homework.  They studied for exams.  I just pretended to do those things.

At that age, and all the ages before that age, I mostly just wanted to have fun. Remember that song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun?”  Yeah.  I wrote that.  Or, I could have, if someone else wouldn’t have thought of it first.

I always had good intentions.  I always meant to do my homework and study, but then someone would ask me to order pizza with them, or come to their dorm room and make prank calls. Classic 90’s entertainment. (Really.  IS your refrigerator running? I’d check it, if I were you).  Sure, I had a ton of homework that needed to be done, but how could I say no?  That seemed kind of rude.

You might be able to get away with not studying in high school, but in college it catches up with you.   It only took a few horrible grades before I started figuring out that being irresponsible was not bringing about desirable results.   I experienced my first steps towards being an adult during that phase of my life.

Now I’m a full fledged, card-carrying member of the adult race.  Like all the rest of the adults I know, almost every minute of my day is devoted to fulfilling my obligations.  I am not complaining.  I love this life.

But guess what?  Little, irresponsible, good-time-gal is still buried somewhere beneath my adult exterior.  She’s still ready to have fun whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Scott was scheduled to chaperon his Spanish students on a trip to  Costa Rica the week school got out.  Olivia was going to be at Church Camp the same week.  That meant Zeke, Eddie and I would be home alone.

My oldest sister, and her son were visiting one of my other sisters and her family  in Colorado Springs this same week.  That was fun just waiting to happen.  We made a pretty last minute decision to  hop in the car and drive to Colorado to join the party.  We left at 2:30 in the morning, and drove 16 hours each way.

I could tell some people who loved us were a little worried about this plan (those are a LOT of miles to cover with just one experienced driver).  I would guess that the car ride alone would have been worth the effort though.

My boys are 17 and 14.  They are rough and tumble boys, and they have everything in common with their rough and tumble Dad.  My boys and Scott have shared many road trips together going to various sporting events, and on missions trips.  I can tell when Scott and the boys return  that the time they spent together was the best stuff life has to offer.  I was hoping for the same.

Trapping your teenage sons in a small car with you for 16 hours is key to getting a conversation started.  This strategy did not disappoint.  I talked and listened to these young men for hours.  They had such interesting things to say.  They’re funny.

I learned more about their plans for the future.  We talked politics, faith and even about relationships with the opposite sex.  Not for very long about that.  That was their least favorite thing to talk about.

We missed Olivia and Scott  a lot.  I’m not going to lie.  We also enjoyed a road trip with a lead driver who keeps a little looser hold of the reins.  That’s right.  I’ve got Scott totally beat in the let’s just go with the flow department.  After we had been driving for several hours, one of the boys told me he had to go to the bathroom.  I said, “The tank isn’t empty though.  We have to stop when it’s empty, so we can fill it up.”

One of my sons responded, “Why can’t you just stop now, and fill it up even though it isn’t all the way empty?”

I thought about that for a while.  I said, “Because Dad?”

That’s when we decided to defy tyranny.   For the rest of the trip, when someone had to go to the bathroom, we stopped immediately.  I filled the gas tank up when it was  half empty and three-quarters empty.  First trip ever that no one had to cry in agony from extreme bladder holding.   Scott will shudder to hear of this complete mismanagement.  I liked being in charge.

We had ourselves some fun.  The boys were looking forward to spending time with their cousins.  If I gave my kids the choice between Disneyland, a major league baseball game, or being with their cousins, cousins would win every time.  Our kids have always loved their cousins.  When they lost one, they started loving them even more.


One of the boys’ cousins just graduated from college.  He’s joining the ranks of responsible adults.  Poor kid.  My boys and their  two cousins enjoyed three full days of non stop boy fun.  It was the perfect send off for their older cousin.  Hearing these four boys giggling and teasing each other made their moms happy. Did you know boys can giggle?  It’s a good sound.  All the driving was worth it.


Garden of the Gods


I was feeling good about being with my sisters too.  These are women who are easy to enjoy.  Don’t get me wrong.  We fight.  One time in Colorado I said something one of my sisters didn’t like.  She said she was going to give me the silent treatment.  That was the longest 60 seconds of my life.  She said that she hoped I learned my lesson.  I definitely did.




We spent a lot of time outside, and we saw a lot of pretty things.  I tried to take as many pictures as I could.  Boys aren’t very cooperative with that.  After the first day, they told me they wanted to be done posing for family portraits.  Fine.  They’re not very good at it anyway.  I am.


photo 2


My big girl job is promoting Wisconsin.  It’s easy, because I love Wisconsin.  Colorado also has my heart.  Pretty scenery and the outdoors make me happy.  The low humidity, bugless air, and commonly blue skies are so cooperative.  There wasn’t much reason to stay inside.

One day, one of my sisters and I were reading under a tree while the cousins played frisbee golf.   My sister left to use the bathroom, and  a man about my age approached.  He was dressed very  Coloradoee (real word).  Coloradians don’t try too hard.  That’s another reason I love it there.

He noticed my Wisconsin License plates.  He said, “Are you from Wisconsin?”

I said, “Yes.”

He took a drag of his cigarette.  As he moved closer, I noticed that he must have been wearing marijuana flavored cologne.

He told me that he moved from Wisconsin to Colorado 16 years ago.  He said he plays all year round: white water rafting, fly fishing, frisbee golf, skiiing.

I said, “That sounds so awesome!”

He told me that he works a little here and there, doing odd jobs to fund all of his play.  Mostly he just plays.   I believed him.  He definitely looked like my teenage nephew from Colorado.  Only this guy was trapped inside a 40 something year old body.

He said he found Wisconsin to be distasteful.  He said, “I left, and never looked back.  When I have gone back I see my friends from high school, and it’s like, dude, you’ve never even done anything with your life.”

I said, “For sure.  They probably just got married, had kids and are working hard to raise them.  Seems like a total waste. Some people just don’t get it.”

He said, “For sure, Dude.”

Then he invited our whole family to get a free frisbee golf lessons from him.

I loved this time with some of my family.   It’s true.  I am one of those poor suckers from Wisconsin who never did anything with their life.  But, I am getting better at recognizing an opportunity for fun when I see it.  I’m learning not to hesitate. You can only grab an opportunity while it’s there.  I’m glad I’m learning that.


miki and boys


I’m Addicted to Facebook

I’m usually a “I won’t be mastered by anything” type of gal.    I don’t eat too much (most days), drink too much, or shop too much.   Everything in moderation.  Except Facebook.  I Facebook too much.  I definitely Facebook too much.

Facebook addict

Recently, I had to give my Smartphone to Scott for a day.  He needed the GPS.  His rotary phone doesn’t have that app.  I offered my phone to him, because he was traveling with our sons.  I didn’t want them to get lost.   It was hard to give my phone up for a day.  I check Facebook from my phone.  I decided I didn’t want my family to get lost  more than I wanted to maintain my access to Facebook.  Barely.

I was with my parents and sisters the day I gave  up my phone.  They had some fun at my expense.   My family knows my Facebook dependence is hardcore. They said they’d be there for me when I hit rock bottom.  They’d wipe the sweat from my forehead, and hold my jittery hands as I fought through my compulsion to check on my Facebook friends.

For Gosh sakes, that was a long day.  Who knows how many naughty kitty sightings,  inspirational quotes and pictures of what’s for dinner I missed?  It is sad.  I’ll never get those moments with my Facebook friends back.


cat post

I made it through the day without being admitted into rehab.  We met Scott and the boys later that night.   I was so happy to see him again.  My phone, I mean.

I started thinking about this day without Facebook.  It started bugging me.  Once I get bugged, I have a hard time getting unbugged.  I thought there might be something I was supposed to be thinking about.  Something I might need to  learn.

Facebook is just a perfect fit for people like me.  I have always admired and been attracted to shy, humble, introverted people.  Many of my closest friends fit that description.  I married one of those people.

I like shy, humble, introverted people so much that I have wished I could be like them many times in my life.  Especially right after I do or say something I’d like to forget.   I love the idea of being private.  I want to measure my words and share information sparingly.  I want to be slow to trust, and have a small circle of friends.

People who do that seem so dignified and respectable, don’t they?  They don’t make fools of themselves.  They don’t have to retract their words, and apologize for saying too much.  And under no circumstances would it ever occur to any of those people to post silly/embarrassing  pictures of themselves  on Facebook, or spill their guts in a blog.  Those kind of people have nothing to regret.      I want to be like that.  But, really?  Who am I kidding?

wrestling moms 036

I have a small circle of trust too.  I have a strict rule about only sharing my personal thoughts with my 400 Facebook friends, and the thousand or so strangers who’ve stopped by my blog.   Other than that?  I’m a closed book.  You’re not getting a word out of me. I mean it.  Don’t even try.  I’m too shy.

I tell my kids that honesty is always our best option.   A good place to start is being honest with yourself about who you are, and how God made you.    Once you know who you are, you have to own it.  You have to fight your weaknesses and develop your strengths.

Honestly,  I’m not introverted or shy.  I guess you knew that. I like people.  I like a lot of people. I like to tell people I like them.  I like to share what’s in my head.

You know what else I like to do?  I like to listen.  It’s true.  I like to hear about people’s cats, their headaches and what they had for dinner.  And that’s why Facebook rules me.  Facebook was made for suckers like me.

Well, I won’t be ruled.  I decided to give up Facebook for 10 days.  I gave up blogging too.  My blog and Facebook are kind of package deal.  I don’t know how to do one without the other.

I said goodbye to all my virtual friends, and decided that for 10 whole days I would only communicate with people who I could talk to in person, or on the phone.  My dad told me I’d never make it.   That is  why I knew I would.

I wanted to see for myself what was wrong with Facebook.  I wanted to get answers to questions like these:

1. How much time am I REALLY spending on Facebook?

2. How much more productive can I be without Facebook?

3. Is Facebook detracting from my in-person relationships?

4. Does Facebook feed into my pride and ego?

5. Is my life better and more meaningful without Facebook?

It was a long 10 days.  I was out of sorts for the first few days.  Breaking a habit is hard.  After the first 3 or 4 days, I started to figure it out.  It got easier.

Here’s what I learned:

1. How much time am I spending on Facebook?

Answer: Too much.  I realized that for the most part I do not choose Facebook over other activities, but I always defer to Facebook.  I scroll through Facebook any time my mind has an opportunity to be silent.   Sometimes you can learn things from silence.

2. How much more productive can I be without Facebook?

Answer: Not that much.  I was disappointed by the results to this question.  I thought maybe I was on Facebook so much that I would free up hours to do things I’d been meaning to do.  I thought I could finally add that half hour of strength training to my morning routine, or have a cleaner house.  None of that happened.

I use Facebook as a distraction.  I check Facebook when I’m on hold, waiting for the dentist, or when I’m a passenger in the car.  I don’t check Facebook instead of making supper or watering the flowers.  Darn.  I really was hoping to find some lost hours in my day.  I could use them.

3. Is Facebook detracting from my in-person relationships?

Answer: Maybe. I don’t know.  I don’t think so.  I know a lot of awesome people.  I didn’t call any of them to meet for coffee during my 10 Facebook free days. I did really miss communicating with some of them on Facebook though.

4. Does Facebook feed into my pride and ego?

Answer: Yes.  For sure. This was another primary reason I wanted to stop Facebook for a while.  Humans are egocentric.  We are born that way.  Our instincts are to promote ourselves and our interests. Fighting that instinct is hard.  I think it’s worth fighting. I want to fight it.

Facebook is just  so “look-at me”.  How can we pretend it isn’t?  I hope you don’t think I have a good justification for this part of Facebook.  I don’t.

You post a picture of your family, or something you think is funny.  Then,  you go back because you want to see if anyone liked it?  What part of that scenario is about other people?  Yeah.  None of it.  What a bummer.

I know I really enjoy posts from my friends.  I like hearing what they’re up to, and what milestones they’re crossing.  I love a funny thought, or story.  I like cute pictures of pets.  I like to be inspired.

I just have to think about all that.  I have to figure out what is too much from me,  and when enough is enough.  I haven’t figured it out yet.

5. Is my life better and more meaningful with Facebook?

Answer: Yes. No. Yes and no.  Facebook gives me a an opportunity to develop my God given interests and abilities.  I love to communicate, listen and encourage.  I love getting to know people, and I really like to write.  Facebook is an ideal platform for all of that.  I’m grateful I’m alive in the era of Facebook.

We can always have too much of a good thing.   I missed Facebook when I didn’t have it.  I can see there are some valuable things that have resulted from my use of Facebook, but I also liked NOT being on Facebook.  It was relaxing.

Checking Facebook status every quiet moment had become a  fetish. Having a fetish is not like having a relaxing hobby.  Having a fetish is like having an irrepressible tic.  People take medication for that.

I really, really, really liked having more peaceful moments.  I felt more in control.  I don’t want to give that up.

The end result of this experiment is that  I know more than I knew before, but I still don’t really know anything at all.  I don’t think I’m supposed to give up Facebook or blogging right now.   I do think I’m supposed to keep my Facebook app off of my smart phone.  That app is dangerous for me.  Those little red numbers are the devil.  They tell you how many messages you have.  I find that number impossible to resist.   That Facebook app on my phone  to me is  like carrying around a bottle of  Gin is to an alcoholic.  Too convenient.


My new experiment is an attempt to use Facebook in moderation.  Is that possible?  I don’t know yet.  I hope it is.









Weddings and How to Get a Job as a Neurosurgeon

My niece’s wedding was last weekend.  She’s beautiful, but don’t tell her that.  She doesn’t like hearing it. She found a fun, quiet, kind and intelligent boy to love.  I just love celebrating people like that:

Elle wedding


I love all my nieces and nephews, Scott’s side and mine. When they were babies and toddlers, it was easy to love them.  They were so cute and funny.  What I didn’t realize then was how my love for them would grow as they grew.

I have had one nephew and  two nieces get married in the last several years.  My newly married nieces are sisters.    They share a sisterly love that I recognize well.  They are tightly bonded, but are very different.

Both my nieces are kind and humble.  My older niece is articulate, outgoing and funny in the most clever way I’ve ever known.  The entire family counts on her to keep us entertained.  She gushes her affection on us all.

Her younger sister who was married this past weekend,  is gentle, soft-spoken, musically gifted, reserved and strong:  physically strong, but emotionally strong too.  These two love each other:


Elle Libby


For this wedding, I did something truly  I bought my niece and her new husband a gift off their bridal registry at Target.  I wrapped it, and attached a real wedding card:

wedding gift


I don’t wanna brag, but I did all that the day BEFORE the wedding.  Not the day of.  Just to be clear.  This marks the first time EVER that I have brought a real wedding gift to a wedding.  Every other wedding we have attended, I could be found cutting a check to the bride and groom on the way from the wedding to the reception.  Hopefully there is a Walgreens on the way to pick up a card.  If not, a generic congratulations card from the gas station is a back up plan I have used.

People who bring real wedding gifts to weddings have always freaked me out.  They  freak me out with their awesomeness.  I don’t know how they do it.   That’s the kind of stuff that just seems impossible to me.  One time my sister-in-law framed the sheet music of our cousin’s wedding song, and gave that to our cousin as a wedding gift.  Now that’s just showing off.

I wanted to buy a gift, because I’ve been experimenting with being a grown up.   Grown ups do grown up things, like buy gifts in advance.   I also wanted to buy a gift, because I wanted to take advantage of my new 5% discount with my debit card at Target.

I told my Facebook friends that I was in a standoff with Target for a long time over the debit card.  I literally had the same guy check me out three times in a row.  I’m sorry to be unkind, but this guy  looked like he could use some fresh air and exercise.  He maybe was one of the guys who plays  “Clash of Clans” instead of sleeping at night.   Then he has to go to work, and he’s super crabby.

Over the course of three interactions with Mr. Clash of Clans, he made his opinion of me known.  He told me that it was basic ignorance that prevented me from getting the Target debit card.  He held me in disdain.   That’s why  I decided to never in my life get a Target debit card.   I make the best decisions out of spite.

I stuck to my guns for a year or so.  Then, a lady checked me out who spoke English as a second language.  She looked like she was a mom, and she said in a very nice voice, “I think you like that card.  It save you money.”

“Where do I sign?” I asked.

She seemed surprised that she talked me into it so quickly.

I have been so flippin’ busy at work lately.  Craziness.  Last week I was taking a nice woman on a tour of some rental properties.  Before the tour I was cleaning my car.  I saw a clipboard in the trunk.  I decided to put the itinerary for the day on the clip board.  SHABAM!  Something insane happened.  I instantly became more knowledgeable.  Do you realize how much more credible you are when you carry a clipboard?  You  feel it.  You instantly know things you didn’t know before you were holding a clipboard.  People respect you.  People ask you to help them with their problems.

I knew this was true about umbrella canes.  I didn’t know about the clip board though.  I told my Facebook friends a while back that the easiest way to gain respect is to use your umbrella as a cane when you walk about.  You think I’m kidding?  See for yourself:




I was thinking that I might get a clip board and an umbrella cane and go interview for a job as a Neurosurgeon or Chief Financial Officer.  The interviewers will be like, “What qualifications do you have for this field of work?”

I’ll look down at my clipboard and then look back up.  I’ll point my umbrella cane right at them,  and I’ll say, “Do we really have time to waste on this trivial type of questioning?  People are dying at this very moment.  Of neuro problems.  Let’s proceed.”

They’ll look at my clip board and umbrella cane and say to each other, ” Well,  she obviously knows what she’s doing.  I don’t think we should waste her time. ”

Then I’ll get the job.




Learning to Work and Fashion

I don’t have anything to change your life today.  I’m tired.  Can I interest you in some inconsequential conversation?  Good.  Keep reading.

What did you do for Memorial Day?  I didn’t go to any memorial services.  I did take some to think about and appreciate those who have passed, and those who have given their lives for our country.   Not much, but more than I’ve done in the past. I think I might go to a Memorial service next year.

I will admit that I have usually spent my Memorial Day weekends selfishly. Facebook changed that.

Did you see any Memorial Day messages on Facebook?  The ones with a little boy crying, holding an American flag?  His dad died in service to our country.  The message would read something like, “In case you thought Memorial Day was about barbecues or planting flowers.”  They could have added in  parentheses (you selfish, greedy, monster). That’s how those messages make you feel.  They work.

In addition to taking time to appreciate those we’ve lost, we decided we’d also spend the long weekend being grown ups.  Acting like grown ups is a departure from our typical  routine.  Scott and I were going to go to Chicago to celebrate our anniversary early.   Then we started talking about how you can’t really go to Chicago for a weekend without spending at least 84 thousand dollars.   We’re fresh out of all those dollars.

Instead, we decided to work on the house.   If that isn’t the most boring sentence I’ve ever written, I don’t know what is.   At least Scott and I are in agreement.  House stuff is boring.  We’d rather play games.

When Scott was a young teacher, I remember him telling me that he had decided to eat lunch in his classroom rather than the teachers’ lounge.  I asked him why.  He said it was because in the teacher’s lounge they talked about things like lawn mowers, electric bills and property taxes.  He told me that he didn’t feel like  he had a single intelligent comment to contribute; all those words made Scott feel like weeping from boredom.  Amen to that, Husband!  I agreed.

His teacher friends would say, “Hey Scott, what’s your opinion of the tax levy they’re proposing in our community?”

Everyone would turn to Scott and wait for his reply. Scott would look around at all the adults and answer, “Touch Down?”

That was 20 years ago.  Not THAT much has changed.  We still don’t like talking about boring stuff, but at least we now know that sometimes we have to DO boring stuff.   We decided to repaint some of our home’s interior.  It’s been 10 years. It’s time.

Scott and I like fun so much, that we’ve probably goofed up our kids.  We have played with them a lot.  When they’re grown ups, they may not realize that sometimes you have to do boring stuff.  That will be our fault.  I decided I’d try to teach them this lesson over the weekend.

It isn’t that I’m afraid to work.  In fact, I grew up in a  weird tourist community. All my friends and I started working at an early age.  I was selling  fruit drinks at a water park when I was in 5th grade.  I started working full-time in the summer between my 6th and 7th grade years of school.  My children are beyond that age; they’ve never held a real job.

I told them on Saturday that they needed to learn how to work.   When a parent says that, their kids magically disappear.

I was sticking to my guns this time.  I gave them the whole long and sad story about my slave labor as a child.  I said I had to help them understand that life is equal parts work and fun.  Today was the work part.  I asked them to put in a full day.

Zeke helped me paint.  Olivia cleaned and cooked.  Eddie was sick. Not the get-out-of-work kind of sick.  The real kind.

They did well.  I was impressed.  There was only one moment where I remember Olivia laying on the kitchen floor.  She looked pretty spent.  Her hair was crazy and her hand was to her forehead.  She was negotiating with me for an hour lunch rather than a half hour.  I caved.  I’m the world’s best boss.

Zeke and I killed the painting project.  We painted a bathroom, living room and dining room in one day.


The next day we took the kids to get a treat to reward them for all their hard work.  See?  Best boss.

In the car I was telling Scott that manual labor was kind of fun.  I LOVE my career, but sometimes I feel a little low on the mental energy it requires.  Plus, like many other jobs, it’s difficult to completely check out.

I told Scott that if I became a house painter for a living I could just do my work until I was finished.  You listen to the radio while you work, and you don’t have to think.  Scott said he totally agreed.

Zeke overheard this conversation.  He leaned forward and asked, “Did you just say that you think what we did yesterday was fun?”

I said, “Yes.”

Zeke leaned back hard.  He announced, “I am going to HATE being adult so much!  That is terrible news!”

I guess my plan worked.

I don’t have anything more to say about working, but I did want to get very serious now.  Go ahead and grab some tissues.  This may get emotional.

I would like to try to bring something out in the open.  This is a little touchy.  I’m sorry for that.  It’s only because I care.  Sometimes I care too much.

It’s flowers.  It’s flowers on clothing.  It’s floral prints. I’m seeing them everywhere.   Oh man, why can’t humanity learn from its mistakes?  We’ve done this before.  Don’t do it again. Please. Don’t.  The results were disastrous the first time.  I suppose you think she looks cute:


Every morning my favorite news lady is wearing a dress that looks like a picture of her flower garden.  And she’s PREGNANT?

I don’t know how to convince you people to stop.   You just should. Because this.  Click on it:



I told you.  You’re not going to believe me when I tell you this, but those bridesmaid dresses were homemade. You probably thought they were right off the Paris runway.  Oh no.  Hand stitched, with love.

I had the 6 women I care most about in this world, wrap themselves in flowered table clothes, and stand by my side on the most important day of my life.  I look at those dresses and I wonder why.  Those women were never anything but kind to me.

So, I’m just saying, if you refuse to  listen to me, remember that you’ve been warned. Go ahead and wear your flower prints.  Just remember, people like taking pictures.  You won’t be able to forget.




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