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

Posts tagged ‘Kids’

Wisconsin Summer and Opinions

Summer.  You beautiful thing.  Wisconsin is really showing up this summer.  Cold mornings, and sunny, warm afternoons.  How you like THAT, all you big show off palm tree states?  We got ya on the ropes now, suckas.

It’s clear to me that I’m getting old.  Scott is too.  I know this because we keep having more and more conversations about important things.  Like the Bluebird I saw on the fence during my walk at lunch.  Or, the Cardinals Scott is enjoying watching as they hover over our flower bed.  I think some people wake up one day, and they’re like, “Gadzooks, I’m old!  When did this happen?  I didn’t see this happening.”

I see it happening.

My parents have a little birdhouse on their porch.  My mom has hoped that a bird family would move into this little bird house for a couple of years now.  Guess what?  I have a new step-bird-sister. A little bird gal moved into that house with her husband (I’m assuming these two aren’t living in sin.  They seem like good people), and they had babies.  These creatures carry  little, tiny pieces of food in their mouths, pop through the little house’s door, and disappear to feed, and spend time with their little bird family.  I could watch this family all day.

See?  Old.

One night, while my sister, Heidi, and I were eating pizza on the deck, we were watching these bird parents feed their children.  This feeding thing seemed like so much work.  You’ve got all the hunting for worms going on, and then all the trips back and forth through the little birdhouse door.

We got feeling kinda sorry for our sister-bird and her husband. Heidi said it seemed like a shame that our sister-bird and her husband were wasting their lives with this non stop work. I agreed.  I told Heidi to roll up her piece of pizza and jam it through the little bird house door.  The bird parents would surely thank us for a night off, maybe even the whole week.  That’s how you solve problems in nature.

I heard that it has been scientifically proven that looking at a tree can help with depression.  I understand that.

My niece, Naomi, told me that the famous poet, Walt Whitman, said something similar to this thing about trees a long time ago.  My niece is smart. She likes poetry.  Scott and I slept in Naomi’s bed over the fourth of July.  We saw that Naomi has a Walt Whitman poem written on her ceiling.  After Scott and I got into bed, we looked up at the ceiling and I read the poem out loud.  When I was done reading, Scott and I were quiet and contemplative for a moment.  We meditated on the words that were just spoken.    I asked, “Did you understand that?”

Scott said, “No.  Not a word.”

What are you supposed to do when the children get smarter than the adults?   You fake it. That’s what.  I told Naomi that the poem was beautiful.  I was moved to tears, really.

That wasn’t a total lie.  It’s not like Scott and I  know NOTHING about Walt Whitman.  We do know he was mentioned in, “Breaking Bad.”  We’re not completely ignorant about literature.

Nature is what we have been enjoying this summer. The other thing we are enjoying is kids.  Our siblings’ kids, especially.  I’m so glad we had our basement finished.  I actually have only sat down there a few times.  But we ARE using it to host family, and that makes me smiley and satisfied.

Both of Scott’s brothers have come with their families from the far away land of Iowa to stay with us this summer.  All three of Scott’s siblings have little kids.  Gosh, kids are the best.

I think almost everything kids have to say is funny.  Scott’s brother Tom, and his wife Haley came to visit us before the fourth of July.  Tom and Haley have two little boys, 3 and 18 months.  One morning, I was making breakfast.  I could hear these little guys talking to each other as they walked up our steps.  Preschool conversations. That’s good stuff.

My nephew’s voices filled my heart with happy nostalgia.  I remember how our little guys wrung me dry by nightfall with their relentless energy.   Somehow, by morning, I couldn’t wait to see them again.   It’s a miracle every day.

haley and tom

I’m consciously focusing on simple, life enhancing things this summer: birds, family, kids.  I’ve been feeling a little over exposed to ideas and information lately; I need simple stuff as an antidote.  I’m not sure what is wrong with me.  I used to very much enjoy learning about other people’s opinions.  I am a pretty curious person.  I didn’t know before that other people’s opinions are like everything else: best in moderation.

In some respects, I am fairly impressionable.  I rarely start a discussion intent on proving a point.  I have a ton of questions about many things. The internet has just ruined me.  I feel like I’m trying to hear everyone, and there is so much noise.  I’m not hearing anyone at all.  Instead, I want to recommend to some folks, a special evening of trying to keep their yaps zipped.  Bless their hearts.  Of course.

I’ve become a bitter, old, bird-watching woman.

I told God what was on my heart about this subject.  I asked Him for a word.  He told me two things:

1. Stop listening to people; listen to me; take time to hear My voice. It takes practice.

2. You’re awfully noisy yourself.  You write a blog.

The second part was a little fuzzy.  He was cutting out; I probably heard Him wrong.  He might have actually said, “You should buy another hog.”

I’ll wait for confirmation on that second part.

morning walk

Cold early morning summer walk in Sheboygan, WI.


Pope Rod and Hall-of-Fame Jane

I have been doing some soul searching. Don’t you think blogging is kind of weird?  I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging lately.

Our Pastor had some interesting things to say this week.   Was it a coincidence that he spoke to my troubled mind?  I guess I don’t think so.  Our Pastor talked about human nature a.k.a. sin. He says we can’t escape it.

Our Pastor is a kind, soft-spoken, humble guy.  He told us that he feels like he has been called by God into ministry.  He said he knows he is using the gifts God gave him to serve others and to serve God.  And, he said he also craves human praise.

Exactly.  I could’t agree more.  I mean, he really does.  I’m glad he can finally admit it.

I’m trying to make a serious point. Why can’t I ever stop clowning around?

No.  I don’t think our Pastor craves human praise; I think I do.  And THAT is really starting to get on my nerves. And, so is all this bold print I keep using.

Humble people are my favorite. Seriously.  I just love them.  I married one of the humblest people  I know.  And, I think it is only fitting that I brag about it.  I’m just attracted to humility.  It’s so magnetic.

I think about all the super awesome people I know, who have super awesome lives, and I’m wondering this: Why the heck haven’t they started a blog? Because they weren’t born a fool, I guess.

I know a lot of fantastic people who don’t like/need/want attention.  I want to be like those people.  Blogging probably isn’t going to get me there.

This stuff is the bane of my existence right now.  I am confident that I’m in my sweet spot when I’m writing and making jokes.  I feel like God meant me to use this thing I like so much.  But, my motives are NOT pure.  When someone shares one of my posts with their friends, or sends me an encouraging word, I’m just like a puppy.  My tail starts wagging, and I’m eager for more.  I’m not very evolved.

I don’t know how to escape this.  I thought a good start would be to follow my Pastor’s lead: tell the truth.  So, there it is.  That’s the truth.  I’m going to pray for myself on this one, and ask for insight.  I’ll let you know what I hear.

You know who should have a blog?  Rod and Jane Spillane.  What? You haven’t heard of them?  That’s surprising. They’re famous at our house.

Rod and Jane have been married a long time.  Rod is our Youth Pastor.  Jane is  Rod’s wife.  She is a music teacher and Rod’s helper in all things.   A long time ago, Eddie made up nicknames for these two beautiful people:  “Pope Rod” and “Hall-of-Fame-Jane”.  Eddie always makes up nicknames for people he loves.

You know that song, “I get knocked down, but I get up again.  Never going to keep me down…”? That could be the Spillane’s theme song.  They’ve had some rows with life, but they are faithful, humble servants, and they just keep pressing on…I love them.

When Eddie was home bound and barely able to get out of bed, he didn’t feel very social.   Eddie had no interest in seeing anyone other than his family.  I can’t exactly know why.  My guess is that it takes too much energy to pretend you’re not sick.   I also think being around healthy people just adds insult to injury for sick folks.   They wonder why it is so easy for other people to feel so good, and why they can’t.

During those long, sick winters, there was one person who wouldn’t take no for an answer from Eddie.  That person was Rod.  For a couple of years, I would have told you that Rod (30 years Eddie’s senior) was Eddie’s best friend.  Rod would come to the house almost every week and hang out with Eddie.  They would goof around, make jokes and Rod would try to remind Eddie to keep hoping.  It helped.  It helped so much.

Pope Rod and Hall-of-Fame-Jane do not blog, and they do not want attention.  But, that’s just too bad, because my heart is full and I want you to know how much I love them.  The other night they had the kids put together Christmas gifts for kids in impoverished countries.  It was fun:

Rod and Jane

Hello Pope Rod and Hall-of-fame Jane. Why are you so cool?

The kids all went out and bought things they thought other kids may enjoy receiving.  Here’s the loot:

Christmas child gifts

Then, somehow Pope and Hall of Fame managed to get these teenagers to wrap all these gifts, and write letters to these kids across the world who these teenagers did not know:

eddie wrapping

Hi. I’m Eddie. Don’t worry, I just LOOK like I’m going to carjack you. I’m actually going to give you a gift.

This weekend, Hall of Fame Jane and Pope Rod are taking Zeke and the other youth group kids to Chicago.  They’re going to clean for, feed and serve folks who are having a rough time of things.  Hall of Fame and Pope are the type of people who should be blogging.  And, if they’re not gonna do it, then I’ll just have to do it for them.

And, finally, I’ve got one more important thing to tell you.  Scott said the nicest thing he’s ever said to me last week.  He said they made a commercial about me.  The commercial came on and he yelled for me to come and see it.  He said the last scene especially reminded him of me.  Here it is:

I gave Scott a hug, and said, “Really?  Because that’s who I think I am too: crazy, dancing lady.”  Then, I said, “But you’d probably say my moves are a little better than hers, right?”

And there you have it: how deep introspection has taught me nothing.

Our Famous Poop Argument

Have you ever had a dumb argument with your spouse?   Most of the arguments I’ve had with Scott are highly intellectual.  We fight over the state of the economy, Communism, Calvinism.  And, sometimes we fight over poop.

I’m not actually telling you the truth about those intellectual arguments.  We actually don’t have those.  I hoped to make us sound a little smarter.  I bet you saw through that. The poop argument is real though.  That argument went on for years.

When the kids were much younger they loved to play in this big tree in our yard.  I know that tree holds a lot of good memories for our kids.  Like the time their dad tied a rope swing to one of the tree’s thick branches.  Oh, what fun they had.  And, like the time Eddie fell out of the tree. I was weeding near by, and I actually felt the ground vibrate as Eddie’s body smashed into the Earth.  His lips were purple, and I think he went into shock. I started running in circles, trying to remember what a parent does in an emergency. Sweet, precious memories.

One day, I was out by this tree and I found a mound of  sticky, soft brownish-black goo piled in the center of the lower branches. Right where the children liked to perch.  I had no idea what I was looking at; it didn’t look good.  It looked offensive.  I spent quite a bit of time inspecting this goo.  I came to a conclusion.  Someone had climbed in our kids’ special tree and went poop.  We live fairly close to the high school, so I had no doubt it was some teenage hooligans up to no good.

I was really mad.  Our kids loved that tree.

When Scott came home from work I immediately told him to come look at the tree with me.  I told him I was so angry, and that teenagers these days were awful. Just awful.  I had no idea how he could stand to teach them.  I told Scott teenagers had pooped in our tree.

Scott followed me out to the tree.  He thought I was crazy.  He spent quite a bit of time looking at the pile of mush.  Then, he said that I was really losing it.  He said there was no way teenagers climbed in the tree and pooped in it.  That was completely ludicrous.  What could I be thinking to suggest something so absurd?  He said it was obvious.  A bear climbed up in that tree, and THAT is what pooped there.

I laughed at Scott for that.

I asked Scott when was the last time he saw a bear walking around town.  Then, I said, oh wait.  That’s right, I remember seeing a big brown bear checking out books at the library yesterday. Or, maybe it was the Panda Bear who’s always  at the park, hogging the swings. Fact: bears love living in town.  It’s just more convenient for them.

Sometimes Scott doesn’t think I have a good sense of humor.

We just couldn’t agree.  We argued about bear poop vs. human poop for a good long time.  Like, maybe a year.

Then, one day, one of the kids told us we were both wrong.  They said  that the pile of mush was actually a bunch of wet tar they had dug up from a nearby road project.  They admitted that they didn’t want to tell us before, because they thought they might get in trouble.  Now, they decided they’d rather get into  trouble than listen to our nonsensical arguments for one more minute of their short, precious lives.

So, we’re not arguing about poop any more.  But, still, don’t you think it’s just a little ridiculous to think that a bear would poop in our tree?  I mean, sometimes you just have to use your head.

rope swing

Summer School and Atrocious Kids



This summer Scott is walking around in an exhaustion coma.  That’s because little kids.  Scott and Eddie are teaching little kids wrestling at Summer School.

The last time Scott taught little kids at Summer School, he taught them Spanish.  That was  almost 15 years ago.  One day, during class, a sweet little girl came up to Scott and gave him a picture.  She drew it.

She said, “This is for you. Can you guess who it  is?”

He studied the picture, “Um.  I’m not sure.  Can you tell ME  who is it?” (What a precious young thing).

“It’s YOU, silly. Can’t you tell?  I made the teeth yellow, just like yours.” (She’s probably in prison now.)

Little kids are awesome.  Except for when they’re awful.  Little kids don’t give one crap whether you’re tired, or whether they’re being unreasonable.  Little kids want what they want.  Little kids NEVER.WEAR.OUT.

In our family we happen to LOVE little kids.  Yes, they are like atrocious mini terrorists.  But, they are also hilarious and drunk on enthusiasm for life.

I have discovered my all time favorite pass time is listening to Eddie and Scott tell stories about teaching little kids wrestling at Summer School.

Eddie said that he and his Dad aren’t the best combination.  That’s because usually when you’re dealing with kids you need one nice guy and one “Heavy”.  Eddie and Scott can’t decide who the Heavy is.  They both only know how to be nice.   Kids can sniff that stuff out before the first whistle blows.

Eddie speaks truth.  Our family of five has to teach Children’s Church now and then.  It goes like this:  I am the teacher.  I am also the Heavy.  I am TERRIBLE at being the Heavy.  Just completely terrible.  I am the Heavy by default; everyone else in my family would make a worse Heavy than me.

The other members of my family are my helpers.  And by “helpers” I mean not helpful at all.

Apparently, it’s become popular to give your kids a break from their medication on the weekends.  By Sunday morning those kids are like monkeys on crack.

One Sunday morning I started class by asking the kids if they would help our family get to know them better.

I said, “Why don’t we each say our favorite thing to do in the winter?  I’ll start.  My name is Mrs. Smith.  You can call me, Miki.  Some of my family members wrestle,  so I like to watch wres…”

One boy interrupted.  He gave me the thumbs down sign, accompanied by a loud farting noise.  Then, he yelled, “BOR-ING!”

From that point on my critic owned those other little kids.   They loved the excitement of his rebellion.  They fed off it.

I started to sweat.  Nervous sweat.  I was in over my head.  Those little kids knew it.  I knew it.  My family knew it.

Sometimes you just need a mean husband.  A mean husband who will pick a little kid up by his collar and throw him a few feet for making farting noises at his wife.  That’s not what I got.

I don’t remember mentioning Jesus’ name much after that.  Except to say, “Dear, sweet Jesus, please let the Pastor’s sermon be short today.  Deliver those parents to this classroom door.  Soon.  Now.”

I made my way through the lesson, shouting over the mayhem.   The males in my family would each take one umedicated child to a corner of the room and teach them wrestling moves.

Olivia would handle the girls who liked following rules.  Those little girls were probably more qualified to teach that class than I was.

So, Eddie and Scott may not be dishing out lots of discipline with these wild hyenas in Summer School wrestling, but they are developing genuine affection for them. Scott actually understands kids better than he understands many adults.

One little boy at Summer School is no stranger to wrestling.  He’s the littlest boy in his big family.  He’s spent a good part of his life watching bigger kids wrestle.  He’s definitely one of Scott’s best friends.

This little boy likes to wear a tshirt with Scott’s name on the back of it.  Scott gave this little boy his childhood All Star Wrestling figurines.  These guys are tight.

This little boy told Scott that Scott could NOT quit coaching at the High School until this little guy graduated.  He told Scott,  “You can’t expect me to westle for some stwanger.”

Scott felt that was a valid point, and is now planning his retirement around this boy’s graduation date.

This particular boy is in Scott and Eddie’s wrestling class.  He sprained his elbow before summer school started.  It’s bad.  The arm is bruised and tight with swelling.  The doctor told the boy’s parents that they had to put a cast on on the arm.  The Doctor said technically the arm didn’t  need a cast to heal, but the cast  may be the only thing to slow this little boy down.

The cast has not stopped the little guy from coming to class.  He doesn’t want to miss anything.  He told Scott that he wanted to play all the games with him.  Scott, being the anti-heavy, said, “Um…I don’t think that’s a good idea. Your arm might get hurt again.”

The little guy said, “I weally, weally, want to.”

Scott said, “Fine, but if you get hurt, that’s on you.”

The little guy said, “No, thas on you.  You aw my westling coach, you know.”

Scott and Eddie will never win against those kind of negotiating skills.  Especially when they’re coming out of a cute little face.






Scott’s Favorite Holiday

NCAA Wrestling: Division 1 Championship

This past weekend was Scott’s favorite Holiday: NCAA Wrestling Championships. When the tournament has been as close as Iowa or Missouri, Scott will take our boys out of school and they go in person. I just know those trips are going to be at the top of our boys’ lists of best childhood memories. I still don’t know exactly why.

Scott is in charge of those trips. I’m not involved. It’s a good way for me to see how things would be run in our family in my absence. Not the way I’d like them to. Let’s get that straight.

Nary a hotel reservation is made, nor a single preemptive thought is given to what will be eaten or worn on these trips. I used to let this lack of preparation worry me, but now I have been forced to admit that sometimes you don’t have to be one bit prepared to have the time of your life.

Scott started going to the NCAA Wrestling Championships with his brothers many years ago, before we had kids. He and his two brothers(and sister) have always been in agreement on a lot of things. One of the things they agree on is that there is rarely a good reason to part with money. Wasting money on a bed, blankets and pillows seemed especially frivolous to those brothers.

The brothers would attend the tournament in Iowa City and just knock on the door of some people they vaguely knew when it was time to catch a few hours sleep. Those stories horrified me.

Scott was telling our kids the other night about the time his brothers and three other guys went to the tournament together. When they decided it was time to get some sleep one of the guys they were with said his friend “Sheila” said they could crash at her place.

They went to the apartment building and knocked on her door. They knocked and knocked. Then they started getting a little annoyed. I mean, she DID offer. Finally, a strange guy, who had obviously been sleeping, came to the door. Oops. Wrong apartment.

They eventually found the right apartment. They knocked again. Another strange guy came to the door. “Sheila’s” friend in the group said to the guy, “Sheila said we could stay here tonight.”

The guy’s like, “Whatever,” and let them in.

The six guys walked in and laid down on the carpeting (which you know for a FACT “Sheila”, the girl who lets large groups of strangers sleep at her house, keeps meticulously clean). They slept until it was time to go watch wrestling again.

I told Scott it’s funny how one person’s nightmare can be what another person considers a good time.

I’d like to post some pictures of these epic trips. Because Scott definitely always remembered a camera. He took a lot of pictures, and developed the pictures right away. The pictures he took look magical they way he displayed them in his scrapbooks. That’s not true. But, you knew that.

Scott’s to do list before these trips did not include remembering the camera. His to do list included one item: watch wrestling. The rest of the details he figured out as he went along.

Now my boys have similar fun NCAA Wrestling Tournament stories to tell. They talk about how hard they laughed, how awesome the wrestling was, and how great it was of their dad to splurge and buy them a piece of gum. To share.

They’re old enough now to be able to tease their dad for his funny ways; I sense that they are also being groomed. I would guess they’re quite likely some day to submit their own children to the same atrocities of cheapness come NCAA tournament time.

This year, the tournament was too far away for Scott and the boys to attend. Instead they hosted an NCAA Wrestling party at our house. Scott said he wanted it to be like the Super Bowl party he had this year. He called me one day in January and said, “I want to have a Super Bowl Party.”

That probably sounds like a normal comment to you. It made me stop what I was doing. I’ve known Scott a really long time. I’ve never heard him suggest having a party. Ever.

I asked, “What did you say? Did you just say you want to have a party? That is awesome. Who are we inviting?”

“Zeke,” he answered.

That’s for real. That conversation happened.

“Zeke? Zeke is the only person on your guest list?” I asked. “What about Eddie? Doesn’t he get to come?”

“He can come. He just doesn’t sit still, and always gets bored after a while.”

So, Eddie’s out. Zeke’s in. And that is what Scott calls a party.

They had their party, and it got a little crazy. I won’t give away all their secrets, but let me just say some some gum was split and some soda was had.

NCAA Party

*Eddie, some wrestlers and a giant chocolate bunny crashed Scott’s party. More proof that the best fun isn’t always planned.

10 Signs You May be Too Nice:

When I was a teenager a lot of girls liked guys with swagger; guys who always had just the right thing to say at just the right time. I didn’t. I liked the boys who were nice.

One spring weekend before my freshman year of college I was at party with Scott. We were not dating. This party was at a typical, worked over apartment complex designed for poor college kids. We were outside at this party, and there were some little kids running around. These kids must have lived in an apartment somewhere else in this complex. They looked a little down on their luck.

It was evident that this party was not an appropriate place for these kids to play; whoever was in charge of supervising them was doing a poor job. Some of the college kids at the party were annoyed, and started being a little mean to those little kids.

Scott was not annoyed. Scott was so nice to those little kids. I remember watching him as he engaged them in conversation. He asked them about school and what they liked to do. Then the kids asked him to play, which, of course, he did. He ran around with them outside, playing tag and probably giving them the best fun they’d had in a while. Yeah. That is the weekend I decided I might be in love.

One of the biggest reasons I fell for Scott was because he was so nice. I’d like to think he felt the same way about me. We really like nice. But, do you know what can happen when you put nice with nice? You get too nice. Too nice might be better than too mean, but, still, you CAN be too nice.

From experience, I can tell you that there are signs to watch for whether you are being too nice. You can read about these signs below, unless you don’t want to, then, of course, you don’t have to. I wasn’t trying to sound bossy. I’m sorry If I did. You can read whatever you want. I’m not in charge of you. You don’t have to listen to me:

You lie. This is actually more my deal than Scott’s. If he has bad news for you, he’ll avoid saying anything. Not me. I’ll lie. If you just missed every single note in the solo you sang, and you ask me how you did, I will tell you that you sang beautifully. If you have a horrible perm and half your hair fell out, and you ask me how it looks, I will tell you that it looks great. I was thinking about doing the same thing with my hair. If you served me a dinner that tastes like poop casserole, and you ask if I liked it, I will tell you it was delicious. You must give me the recipe. If what you need is the ugly truth, you’d better ask someone else.

You believe lies. Some people don’t just lie to be nice. Some people make up big, strange lies about things that never happened. Or, they do bad things when no one is looking, and then they lie and say they didn’t. Nice people believe those lies. It can take nice people years and years to figure out that someone is lying.

Do you know what a sociopath is? One thing a sociopath does is they tell lies more than they tell the truth. They make up lies for no reason at all, and they believe their own lies. It is proven that sociopaths seek out people who are too nice. It will take a person who is too nice a really long time to figure out that some people just lie for fun.

Your dog is in charge. When I do my Saturday cleaning, I usually mop the kitchen floor and strip the bedding. Except if our dog is taking a nap. If our little dog is lounging comfortably on our bed, or sprawled on the kitchen rug, that’s too bad for me. I wait until he decides to go somewhere else. it seems kind of mean to make such a cute little dog move when all he wants is a nap, doesn’t it?


You eat cold food, or bad food, or raw food. This one goes in Scott’s corner. If you are a server at a restaurant and you serve Scott a cold hamburger or hot lemonade, he won’t complain; he won’t ask you to take it back; he’ll leave you a big tip.

You buy a time share condo. Almost. We go to Branson, Missouri on spring break most years with my parents. Every year, my parents take one for the team. They subject themselves to a time share sales pitch to earn our family free tickets to this awesome amusement park. Scott and I didn’t think that was fair of us to make them do that every year. Last year we said we would go instead. My parents were adamantly against this idea, especially my Dad. He told us we didn’t know what we were getting into, and that, frankly, we were just too nice to make it out alive.

Well, he was almost right. Scott and I went into this thing looking like baby kittens to a hungry pack of wolves. We started out with this giant group of people. Almost all of them were released eventually, except us.

We own a small home, we have had a lot of doctor bills, and we have absolutely NO business even talking about buying a time share. But these guys really wanted us to buy one. So, it’s worth considering, right? Plus, they could make a nice commission, and that would be good for their families. They told us that if we really valued family time, a time-share was in our children’s best interest. See how they care about us?

The whole thing was ugly. Scott and I would take turns playing good cop, bad cop. But, in reality, what you had was good cop, good cop, and those guys knew it. We wasted most of the day there. We told them that we really appreciated all their time and hard work, but we never make quick decisions. When they finally realized they weren’t getting our money, they told us to leave. I’m so glad we didn’t buy a condominium just to be nice.

time share

You want everyone in the world to be happy. If they are not, you are sure that is on you. If someone seems quiet, or grouchy, you rack your brain trying to think about what you may have done to offend this person. True, you don’t know them. True, you’ve never spoken with them. But there most be something, or they wouldn’t be acting that way.

You feel sorry for the bad guy. Sure. You always feel sorry for the main character. You want to the main character to be saved, and the bad guy to get caught and be punished. Until he is. Then, you start feeling a little sorry for the bad guy. Because he’s being punished. Just like he deserves. It’s hard to live like this.

You put your life in danger to avoid the risk of being rude. In my career, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with people from other countries. I love it. One time I was working with this joyful, generous and intelligent little man from very far away. I drove him around one day and we took care of various tasks related to his citizenship here. The next time we met he said, “This time, I drive. I practice. You see, I very good.”

He was good. He was very good at driving in to oncoming traffic, ignoring stop signs, and driving dangerously beyond the speed limit. I tried instructing him, but the language barrier was a problem. Especially, since in my intense state of terror I was just blurting out nonsense, in a language he didn’t understand. I guess it wasn’t my time to go.

It was so scary that once we ran our errand, I got back in the passenger’s seat and let him drive me home. I thought if he didn’t think I felt safe, that might hurt his feelings.

You won’t end a conversation. This one goes to Scott. I am perfectly capable of saying, “Well, I’d better go, I have to get dinner started, the kids need my help with homework, or the house is on fire.”

Scott can’t do that. If he is outside and our elderly neighbors are bending his ear, he will let that house burn. While he is talking he will break in to a cold sweat thinking about all the things that he should be doing, and he will let the children play with knives. What Scott won’t do, is tell that nice neighbor that he’d better be on his way. That wouldn’t be very nice.

Little old lady (1)

You have the smartest come backs. In bed at night. When it’s too late. Remember those sociopaths we were talking about? When I worked for a different company one of my biggest clients was a sociopath. That’s fun. He was an awful human being, and I don’t mind saying it. Can you just let me get out some of the frustration now that I couldn’t release then? Thanks. Here it goes: He was cruel to the people who worked for him. He lied more than he told the truth. He was unfaithful to his family. He was completely and totally inappropriate to women. He was disgusting.

I would lie in bed at night thinking of the most clever, witty and even scathing ways to put him in his place. Then I’d see him, and not say anything at all.

This therapy session feels good. Let me tell you more. I will tell you that this guy grossly abused drugs, alcohol and food. I might have felt sorry for him, except he was just so mean. I will also tell you about the times I had to sit with him while he drew out our meetings much longer than necessary. Instead of getting to the point and taking care of the business I had with him, he’d sit on his cell phone, screaming at people on the other end while I watched. He liked an audience.

All the while he was screaming he would be jamming huge handfuls of Lucky Charms in to his mouth, so many Lucky Charms that crumbs would be all over his face, and many of them would land on his big, huge belly. It was a horror show.

Can’t you think of just a hundred clever things to say to this guy right now? Like, I should have said, “Treating people poorly will not help you in life. It will hurt you. You’re focusing on all the wrong things, and your letting your family down. Plus, you’re making very irresponsible nutritional choices, and it sure wouldn’t hurt to consider starting some kind of fitness program!”

He would have felt THAT right between the jelly rolls. Check…and mate, fine sir. You just got served.

Wow. That just got a little real. I’m sorry if that made you uncomfortable.

See how bad I am?

Being nice is awesome. I love it when people are nice. But, you really can be too nice. I see little flashes of too much niceness in my kids sometimes. I want them to recognize it early, so maybe they can know when a backbone is required. Once they do, I hope they teach their parents.

My Marijuana Story

I smoked marijuana, then got in to more hard core drugs. I lived a life on the streets, until I was busted. I’m just grateful my time in prison finally turned me around. None of that is true, but do you realize how awesome my blog would be if I could just make stuff up? Darn it!

I actually haven’t ever smoked marijuana, or touched it, or planted it in my herb garden, or rubbed it on my ear lobes, or baked it into a bundt cake, or whatever you do with that drug. I did SEE it once. When I was on a tour of an evidence room at a police station. I’m just dangerous like that.

Marijuana is what people like to talk about right now. Maybe because smoking marijuana is how a lot of people want to pass their time. Those people want to make getting marijuana easier and more affordable.

As long as so many people are interested, I thought I’d tell you what I know. I hope you don’t think I’m going to go political on you. I’m not going to pass a verdict on legalizing vs. not legalizing. You know why? Because politics make people stupid. I’m speaking from experience here. I’ve been guilty of being stupid about politics. I was young then. I’m tired now. Have you ever noticed that the stronger and the more often a person expresses their political views, the less likely people are to listen? People are funny that way.

My intention is to narrow the lens. I want to focus on this one little area of my own time and space on Earth. It’s a blip, really. I want share my experiences, and tell you what I’ve learned from the people I know. That’s it. That’s my only area of expertise.

I’ve listened to an intelligent discussion regarding legalizing marijuana. I’ve heard the persuasive arguments stating the benefits: less drug related crimes, improved economy, help for those who are terminally ill. Those arguments are compelling. Maybe all of those arguments are valid. I am especially interested to see how the one about the economy turns out. I always wondered if we could have avoided “The Great Depression” if only more of the people at the time were high. It seems sort of like a basic economic principle they may have overlooked. But, I didn’t study economics; I’d have to do more research.

What I do know a lot about is teenagers, especially teenage boys. My husband has been coaching boys for 22 years. 22 years ago when we were young and fresh out of college, we had no opinions on marijuana. Marijuana affected our lives about as much as Flying Tree Monkeys. Are Flying Monkeys real? They don’t sound real, but we saw them with our own eyes in “The Wizard of Oz”, so we know they exist somewhere.

What I was trying to say before you got me all caught up in the Flying Monkey debate (C’mon, man. Just stay focused.)is that when Scott and I were just starting out in our careers, marijuana was inconsequential. I wish marijuana was STILL inconsequential. Scott and I were forced into this conversation. We were forced to develop opinions through painful, rip your guts out, face-to-face interaction with kids who smoke it. We do have opinions now. Our opinions are not favorable.

We have learned that teenagers tell each other that marijuana is totally not as dangerous as adults make it sound. They tell each other that it’s easier to get than alcohol, plus there’s not a messy hangover. They tell each other that it is NOT addictive, it is NATURAL. It is practically harmless. They say that marijuana is legal in some states for pity’s sake. Do teenagers say, “pity’s sake”? They would if they wanted to sound cool.

Once a teenager is convinced marijuana is no big deal, and they start smoking it, new and fun things begin to unfold: lies (lots and lots of lies), erratic behavior, loss of focus, lack of ambition, preoccupation, under performance in life, and eventually more and new drugs. I know. I know. People who like marijuana say that is completely untrue. They say, “marijuana is NOT a gateway drug, you fool.” They say, “just because you smoke marijuana, does not mean you’re going to smoke crack.”

If that’s you, then I’m happy for you. I’m glad you can manage your marijuana smoking. I just don’t happen to have any experience with teenagers who have been able to maintain a light to moderate marijuana smoking habit.

I can only speak of the boys I know. One hundred percent of the boys I know who smoked marijuana, eventually started doing worse. Those boys either didn’t finish or didn’t go to college like they thought they would. Those boys broke their parents’ hearts, over, and over and over, and in many different ways. Those boys all once had shining potential. They were sweet and smart and awesome. And, I personally believe that marijuana was the worst thing that ever happened to them.

It’s really hard to see boys you love stolen away from you. As young teenagers they have this energy and ambition. They have big goals and you believe they can accomplish them. Then they start smoking marijuana. Eventually, their personalities change. The boy you knew is replaced by this person who is either high, or preoccupied with becoming high. Have you hung out with people like that? They don’t get much done.

If people think legalizing marijuana is going to solve a bunch of problems, so be it. I hope they’re right. I don’t try to pretend to know things I don’t know and have not experienced. But, if they try to tell me that marijuana is NOT dangerous, and it does NOT steal potential, it does NOT lead to worse drugs for many kids, and it does NOT do families harm, I just know they’re telling lies.

People can lie and smoke pot, if that’s what they want to do. I’ve got my own problems. But, if people tell lies that have the potential to harm my kids or any one else’s kids, I’m going to speak up. I don’t care if it makes me unpopular, uncool or unfunny, because I’m mad. It feels weird to be mad. I am not mad very often. Mostly I just like to have fun.

I know some of the people telling these lies are so darn cool. They’re famous and they make a lot of money. I’m not sure how they could be wrong about anything. Ever. In their lives. They’re good looking, for cryin’ out loud. You can’t be wrong if you’re good looking. It’s in the Declaration of Independence.

They are wrong about this. The evidence I have seen, witnessed and know first hand supports my belief that marijuana does kids harm. Kids will exchange their future to stay high. That sucks. And that’s what I know is true.

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