Thursday, December 30, 2010

Celebrate, good times, come on...

And don't forget to get kissed at midnight. Legend has it, a kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve brings luck for the coming year. I don't know if it is true but I am happy to test the theory. We have a fun long weekend in store. I hope you do as well. And I hope 2011 holds something amazing in store for all of you. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rewind: So Jimmy Buffett walks in to a bar

Ahh, the year in rewind. Already? I hope you are all enjoying a great holiday season. I am. And I enjoyed two weeks of time off, family, snowflakes (short and sweet), eating great food, drinking great wine, and watching a few bad movies (Sorry JMac). I am also moving office buildings this week so don't be jealous. I lose interest in packing once I have packed a box that shoes can fit in but it is required chore. So let's do a playback of some of my favorite and most popular posts of this year. Hopefully, they will make you laugh again. This one is one of my all-time favorite family stories. The original post and comments here. Feel free to laugh AT me.


My parents gave me some surprising news my freshman year of college. My Mom and Dad were moving. And not to a house across town either. [Point of clarification: I have two Dads. My Father (retired police officer) and my StepDad who is referred to as SD or Dad.] My Mom and Dad were moving to the great frontier: Alaska. I am sorry...what's that you say? Yes. Alaska. This photo is an aerial view of where they lived. The biggest import /export point on the entire Western Seaboard.
That following summer, I returned to our house in Seattle. By myself. The summer without my parents was not comprised of raging keggers and frolicking in the hot tub either. I missed them and didn't actually enjoy staying in an empty house. Foolish, foolish girl.

So the summer after my sophomore year, I accepted the invitation to brave it in Alaska for three months. My Mom and I literally passed each other in the atmosphere as she flew to Seattle the same day I flew to Alaska. First to Anchorage, and then three more hours on a small plane to the island my parents were living on.

When I arrived, I was shell shocked. Both gorgeous in its beauty and more desolate than anything I had ever seen; the Aleutian Islands are as phenomenal in their topography as they are bleak in their social and cosmopolitan offerings. While I might like all kinds of perfume and pretty clothes, I am also not a priss. Big coats and boots the name of the game? I am in.

My SD picked me up at the airport with very interesting news.  Jimmy Buffett was in town. Jimmy Buffett on this tiny island was like a figurative needle in a very wild haystack. But it was true. He was researching for a book he would later publish titled Where is Joe Merchant? And he was performing that night at one of the rowdiest bars in the United States, The Elbow Room.

We take all my luggage home and after the quickest of turnarounds, we head out for a night on the town. Being all of 18 at this time, I am ballsy at dinner and order a cocktail. I wait to see if my SD is going to put the foot down like I KNOW my Mom would. He does not. I think he is super cool. He is secretly laughing inside because I ordered a White Russian. I will likely never get drunk from it. And to me, after a semester of drinking Natty Light and Flaming Doctor Peppers, I thought a White Russian was the epitome of sophistication.

We phone my Mom in Seattle prior to going to the bar. She is mortified. She does not like the idea of her precious child within 100 yards of such a watering hole. Why? Because in addition to having a very low surplus of fashionable heels, this island also has a very low surplus of young college-age women. She perhaps attempts to put her foot down. Good luck. That foot in Seattle was a thousand miles away from me. Put it down all you want, sugar! I am going to The Elbow Room!

Before entering the bar, my SD says, "I don't care if you have a few beers but you don't need to talk to a single man in this bar, and none of them better speak to you." Did my SD not realize that college was a wonderland of opportunity to practice certain skills? I mean, in addition to increasing my base of valuable knowledge, I was becoming quite adept at how to drink beer and talk to boys? But he meant business. And rightfully so.Once inside, I changed my tune. From the outside, an unassuming beat up old blue shack. This is an actual picture. Inside, it was like Roadhouse. Only less tame. When I asked the giant man behind the bar for a White Russian, he said, "Sure sweetheart." Then laughed. Then place a bottle of Bud in front of me. I knew better than to toss my hair and sass.

The bar was filled with the most motley of crews, peppered with East Coast based CEOs in town on business, family men working hard towards their children's futures, college boys spending the summer on fishing boats, and more than a light dusting of convicts. I stayed glued to my SD's side the entire night.

But listening to Jimmy Buffett play from only 3 feet away, in a bar with about 150 other people, on a remote island in Alaska was one of the coolest things I have ever done. I mean besides getting to have a cocktail with my Dad when I was not quite 21. Oh, the liberation.

Leaving that night my thought: THIS PLACE ROCKS. THIS IS GOING TO BE AN AMAZING SUMMER. Into the wild...nothing quite like it.

And today is my SD's birthday. Some of the greatest memories of my life involve you and when I said at ten years old that one of the best gifts I ever got was you as a second dad, I still mean it today. Happy Birthday.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I played my drum for Him... pa rum pum pum pum

As the year ends, I am thankful for so many things but the friendships and paths I have crossed with so many of you from around the world is one of the greatest aspects of blogging I could never have anticipated when I started. Thank you for being a great part of this experience for me. A toast from me to you, JennyMac

And a bit of real jingle bell rock from our favorite Little Drummer Boy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A positive and negative of holiday shopping

Scenario 1:  I visit a swank boutique last week. A girlfriend recently bought a gorgeous Kill City leather jacket and I wanted one. The boutique hunts one down for me and I am delighted to go and try it on. A beautiful and uber sassy boy behind the counter helps me. I try the jacket on and return it to him. The following conversation ensues:

Him: Uh oh. (Makes a sad face.)
Me: I love it but I did not realize it is cropped in the back.
Him: Girl, who cares! Everyone loves cropped!
Me: Everyone? Maybe Mary Kate and Ashley but not necessarily everyone.
Him: Didn't you say your friend wore this jacket the other night?
Me: Yes, but I did not realize it was cropped only in the back.

Me: 1. Jacket: 0. Final verdict: Negative. There are various methods to sell me a gorgeous garment. The verbal betch slap method is not on that list. But bless that sassy heart.

Scenario 2: Shopping in Bloomingdales for possible holiday gifts for JMac, I peruse one section of the men's department. An older, well-dressed, distinguished- looking man appears to be looking for something. From about ten feet away, he politely calls to the Associate with whom I am speaking.

Him: and says, "Show me to your pants, please?"
Her: Brief pause. Then: Excuse me?
Him: Ma'am?
Her: My panties?
Me: WTF?
Him, very slowly: Show me to your pants. Please.
Her: Hand over mouth, mortified look on face. Then: Oh, I am terribly sorry. Men's pants are one section behind you.

Yes, he phrased the question in an unusual way. BUT even the randiest codger does not walk into Bloomingdales during the holiday shopping frenzy and ask one of the Associates: Show me your panties. Poor girl. She needed a cocktail on the spot. Final verdict: Positive because I witnessed it and it was hilarious. And you know she laughed her arse off later. At least I hope she did.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa has NEVER seen this on his wish list...

We all know this particular time of year, while steeped in tradition for many, has also become extremely commercial and consumer based. As parents, we attempt to balance the reason for the season with charitable giving and also the pure joy our son who is only 3 maintains for all things Frosty, Santa, and Rudolph.  In fact, the other night MiniMac asked me to say his prayers with him. I thought it was very sweet. He got to his "God Bless" section and said, "God Bless.....Santa." I asked if there was anyone else. He replied, "Oh, and Daddy." Usually the list is quite a bit longer. Usually the list includes me. He is apparently praising his male role models this time of year.

But the balance between the purpose of Christmas and the commercialism will become more and more challenging as our son grows up. We are constantly asked what our son has on his list so this year he made a small list and I know I am personally looking forward to seeing the look on his face when "Santa" brings the new bike he requested. And we hope that teaching our son about gratitude will shape the way he views things. But there is no shortage of items especially created for children, and our son's list is very short.

Perhaps you too have lists of things to consider and select. With so many choices, it is a buyer's world. I have seen commerical after commercial with the newest toys, games, electronic equipment. But I did spy something I had never seen before. I am a proponent of learning and we introduce a variety of learning tools to MiniMac throughout the year.

But the giant stuffed eColi? Ummm, please don't put that in my stocking.It makes me think I would rather have a Care Bear.

Drew Oliver, a former Harvard Lampoon editor has created a company called Giant Microbes. His stuffed germs, popular amongst doctors offices as a teaching tool, now have their own Facebook Fan page.

And apparently there is a subculture of fans ever eager to buy the new releases. This year's version of beanie babies? Oh my. The newest release includes stuffed measles and stuffed rubella. The intent to help children understand illnesses and hygiene is a wise idea.  

They even have a line of STD toys (clearly not marketed for children.) So if perhaps they can teach one person the importance of using a condom, congratulations.  And maybe a few people you know deserve a giant stuffed version of VD under their tree.

An opportunity to enhance learning ? Great. And making science fun? Well, that would have been great to introduce to me 30 years ago. I applaud anyone who can create entertainment out of eColi but I am certain Santa has never seen this on his wish list. And we are likely not quite ready to bring it to our house. We will stick with the characters from Toy Story for now.

And yes, now you have heard it all, I know.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It is innate to males all things that go fast are a turn on.

There is a crocodile farm in Golan Heights which sits below an airspace used to train Israeli Air Force Pilots. In this air space, Israeli planes frequently break the sound barrier. While it might be hard on the ear, apparently, it is also a sexual charge. For the crocodiles.

Approximately 100 crocodiles live on this farm and the frequent sonic booms heard overheard have stimulated the male crocodiles. These males have initiated their mating calls months earlier than the typical spring ritual. Apparently, it is innate to males that all things that go fast are a turn on.

A man working on the farm believes the male crocodiles believe the sounds are males encroaching on their domain. Apparently, it is also innate that some males are up for a good fight. Especially when it involves females. 

So while the male crocs are busy getting bowed up for love and other shenanigans, it has been reported there has yet to be an increase in actual sexual activity in the group. Proving once again that just because males ask for it, does not mean they are going to get it. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What I have learned from Disney

I will admit that Disney (both Land and World) were not big attractions to me as a child. In fact, I never went to either until I visited Disney World for a work event in 2003. I have a friend who visits Disney multiple times a year with family who proved to be a great guide. However, this friend was also the liar that told me Rock and Roll'er Coaster was "not that bad." But now that we have been multiple times including twice in the past three months, I can see many reasons why people love it. And I can also see why some people do not and never will. This is what I call What I have learned from Disney:

1. You better be patient. Even now that we are self proclaimed experts on navigating Disney and its widespread terrain, you better be patient. At all times.

2. We met a family in Disney visiting as part of Make A Wish. Nothing will humble you more quickly than to see the beautiful face of a child with terminal cancer. Often, that child is the happiest child you will see all day.

3. You will meet some wonderful people from all over the world.

4. Do not wear high heeled shoes of any kind. Really. People do this. Have fun being sad and crying because your feet hurt. I am a committed high heel wearer and could wear heels for 24 hours straight. Not at Disney. 

5. When your child finally reaches the height requirement, it is like they won the lottery. MiniMac could finally go on Soarin' and Test Track. And he LOVED Test Track.

6. Even the nicest person on Earth is going to encounter certain families whom cause you to kids are brats. Oh, ditto for the parents of those kids.

7. Disney has some fantastic restaurants like Todd English's Blue Zoo, Flying Fish at the Boardwalk, California Grill at Contemporary, and Jiko at Animal Kingdom. You also have multiple great restaurants around Orlando. You don't have to eat corn dogs and stale chips with fake cheese.

8. All day at Disney is hazardous to your child's energy level. Or what I like to call Why THANK YOU Disney and Hallelujah!

9. I will never, and I do mean never, be down with Disney apparel made for adults. Apparently I am in the minority. Same rule for the crazy Minnie ears with veils or fake hair attached. I am also in the minority there.

10. Sometimes the greatest lift you can get in your day is witnessing other people's pure and unfiltered happiness. It abounds at Disney. It is an amazing thing to see.

11. Spending all day going on rides is fun. Especially when that day is a day you would normally be at the office. Even better when this is the FIRST trip all year I left my Blackberry in the hotel room. All day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Scaredy Cat

I have already told you before how I feel about roller coasters. Oh yes, the spinning, whirling, twirling. I used to love them like I loved scary movies. What happened? Oh, I know, I think there is a medical term for it called Scaredy Cat.

How much of a baby am I? Well. I decided on our last trip to Disney I would ride the Rock and Roll'er Coaster. This fast ride surrounded by blaring Aerosmith music is really about 2 minutes long. JMac rides this ride about 5 times a day. I decide to put on my big girl pants and ride it. Since I have ALREADY ridden it before, how bad could it be?

This bad: I get to the front of the line and decide to let a few people pass me. Then a few more. I am standing next to two girls who appear to be about 12. They are PSYCHED to go on the ride. I decide to get on and the split second that claustrophobia bar snaps down (also known as harness) I start getting antsy pants. The sweet 17 year old boy working says to me in his chipper sing-songy way, "Are you ready for fun?" And I reply "Is it too late to get off this ride?" He tries to give me a pep talk. Bless his heart.

How about LET ME OUT OK? PRETTY PLEASE? He kneels down to talk to me in a soothing voice which I find as soothing as acetone poured in my eye. Do I have to beg? Cry? High kick? Karate chop? He then flags someone down to unlatch me so I can pounce out of there like a cheetah. WHEW.

As I am walking down some dark bleak 'emergency exit' hallway, I hear two other very young Disney employees laughing and one says to the other, " I love adults who are actually big babies."

I am not a baby smartass, do I look like I am wearing a diaper? NON FRERE. I would only need one if I WENT on the ride. And it is actually what is referred to as a scaredy cat. BIG DIFFERENCE.

But I have no idea from where this scaredy cattishness stems. I used to be braver apparently. My BFF MarciaGarcia was shocked I backed out of the coaster. Even her sweet sister mocked me. 

Now I will determine if I outgrew that scaredy cat fever. Why? Because we will be standing in front of that exact roller coaster in a few hours. JMac and I are taking MiniMac to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tonight in DisneyWorld where I will thoroughly enjoy watching him thoroughly enjoy himself. Oh, and he is finally ready to "meet" the characters. Mr. Incredible is his new favorite. And as special treats for the Mom and Dad on this trip, JMac has planned some killer dinners in some of the uberfab restaurants in Orlando. And I will surely be sipping wine and watching fireworks on our balcony at night as well.

Five days in Florida where is currently 72 degrees? Perfecto. Have a gorgeous weekend. See you next week.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Apparently, not everyone is in the holiday spirit....

In Long Island, officials are citing people with elaborate holiday decor. REALLY LONG ISLAND? Bright colorful lights are the primary issues you are facing? A resident received a citation for "unlicensed electrical wiring" because she used extension cords to light the display. The display she and her family have built for years. The display they receive donations for which they then give to charity. You will keep Buttafuoco but forbid the gingerbread men, Long Island officials? NICE. 

Now listen, I love holiday decor.  I love nice and festive holiday decor. Not Branson, Missouri style but still nice and festive. At least at my own home. However, I love Disney during the holidays because I do not have to live at the Mouse House so of course I can love it.  And I am lucky I don't have neighbors who go Guerrilla Griswold. The type of neighbors who settle in on holiday lights like it is the Super Bowl. 

As kids, we had a house about 1/2 a mile from us that were those people. You know, the people who kept lights up all year long. And this was back when there was one style of lights. Giant multi-colored lights. Not twinkling dreamy lights resembling icicles. Not delayed-timer lights flittering like angel wings. Just giant lights in either red, green, or blue.

But  when I was a teenage girl, there was a house in our town that did the most elaborate and amazing display. Their son had special needs and has passed away and the parents continued the tradition in his memory. They also hosted a Santa every year and families could take their photos as the homeowners passed out hot chocolate.

But I know some people aren't down with the festive light brigade. And in some cases, the holiday lights are so intense, even the animals get restless. The Mayor of Braintree, Massachusetts had the town holiday lighting party derailed when they discovered squirrels have eaten through wires of many of the strings. The Mayor said the lights were left on the trees since last year to save money. Apparently, a mistake he won't make again. However, perhaps it was just the rodent like varmints way of sending a message.


Hope your holidays are shaping up brightly.

Friday, December 3, 2010

10 simple life lessons, as learned from Cinema

Last year was a great year for movie theaters. It marked the first time in seven years consumer actually spent more dollars watching movies out than in.

Will 2010 be the same or better for the theaters? I doubt it.

There seems to be a declining number of five star productions. Where are all the blockbusters? The competing titles? The fervor over new releases? It has dissipated culminating in some good movies and a lot of flops including the paltry sales of the much awaited Sex And The City II.  But if consumers are spending top dollar at the theaters, it must be for more than pure entertainment.Perhaps, it might also be the vast knowledge one can glean from a simple two-hour visit to the cinema.

The top 10 simple life lessons I have learned over a box of popcorn and some Twizzlers.

1. If it is late at night and you are frightened by an unknown sound outside, simply strip to your underwear, and run outside. The culprit will appear instantly. You do not need a knife, you can simply carry your Swiffer. And when it is time to run away, the most efficient way to do this is wearing high heels.

2. If you want to be a professional basketball player, it matters not if you are 5 feet tall, all you need to do is dream.

3. If your dog gets lost 2,000 miles away from your home, do not fret, your dog will make a friend, hitchhike toward home, and be at your front door in a day or two.

4. All important meetings between underhanded men will occur in a strip club. All employees of the strip club are "working their way through medical school."

5. All important meetings between gossipy women will occur in the spa. All male employees at the spa look like The Rock.

6. All important meetings between two lovers, who are not supposed to be lovers, will take place in the elevator. There is never an alarm bell when the STOP ELEVATOR button is pushed either. When the elevator resumes, all disheveled hair and clothes will reveal nothing to the people getting in the elevator.

7. All offices in the world have blinds that can shut when a young fraulein steps in the boss man's office. All disheveled hair and clothes will reveal nothing when the blinds are opened, often 4 minutes later.

8. All children who run away in anger from their parents are found on a busy street by a kindly stranger who will provide incredible wisdom to set that child straight. A stranger can do in 5 minutes what parents cannot do in 15 years.

9. If you are female and heartbroken, simply visit a lake or a beach and stare off into space. A sweet love song will automatically start playing and it will soothe your broken little heart. While you are being soothed, another man will appear, much hotter, wearing no shirt but likely riding a horse or coaching a team of underprivileged children, your eyes will lock and you will forget all about that first guy.

10. If you are male and heartbroken, all you have to do is go to a bar, get wasted, hook up with some girl that is not the girl you really love, wake up the next morning feeling lonely and disheveled, and you will instantly write a poem even though you have never written one in your entire life. That poem will be about the girl you really love, which you will accidentally leave one day at Starbucks, she will find it, not know you wrote it, be smitten, and you will get back together the following week over a pumpkin latte.

So regardless of profits made inside the theater, think of everything you can learn. Had only I known #9 when I was a teenage girl.

*This is my third published post on Technorati!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

31 Days of Goodness....

Last year, I wrote a post called 31 Days of Goodness. That post had a record number of views because of you. Yes, it had a lot of great information but it was shared and viewed because YOU are great and interested and willing to do great things for other people. I believe most people, given the opportunity or information, contribute to the goodness of the world and the happiness of others. There are new charities formed every single day so let’s refresh our options for this year and present 31 Days of Goodness Part Deux with some old favorites and some new favorites mixed in.

By nature, I am a person who includes thankfulness and gratitude in every day. The economy has been challenging enough for so many people but it is heart breaking to see the list from the family our son’s class adopted for the holidays because it does not include toys. It does not include DVDs or games for the Wii. It includes basic things likes shoes, toothbrushes, and blankets. It is the state of affairs for many families and a clear reminder hard luck can hit anyone, but also that kindness and generosity can (and should) be easily shared. It is not the amount that is given, it is the act of giving itself. So many people donate, contribute, and volunteer to causes throughout the year; I think it is outstanding to see human kindness in action.

And now with the turn of December, there are an abundance of opportunities for every person to contribute. It’s the 31 days of goodness, and easy exercises (and many of them free) to put a smile on someone else’s face as well as your own. And to lean over that blade of grass and whisper: grow, grow.


1. One of the best thing I personally did all year: I donated eleven inches of hair to Locks of Love. They make wigs for children with terminal cancer.

2. You can also donate your hair to Matter of Trust where environmental experts have learned hair and other natural fibers can clean up oil spills.

3. Get involved. To start, visit Do Something which is a fantastic website which  can help you find service projects in your zip code. They also encourage you to engage your teenage family members to get involved in philanthropy. Their aim is to inspire the next generation of “doers”. You can also find local events/charities/nonprofits to support at Do Good Channel.  

4. Mentor/coach/tutor a future John Grisham, Louisa May Alcott, or Chelsea Handler at which is 7 nonprofits working to celebrate and advance creative writing in students age 16-18.

5. Go to your book case and clean it out. Instead of donating to the library, take those books to a local literacy program.

6. You can also join Books For Soldiers for free and send them to troops.

7. Give blood. To find a local blood bank: Visit Give Life.

8. Send a holiday card for FREE to a soldier abroad through a Xerox sponsored program called Let's Say Thanks A very quick and easy way to show support and solidarity.

9. Save all of your magazines from the month and donate them to a local women’s shelter.

10. Call a local retirement community and schedule a visit. You can spend an hour or two calling bingo. We have done it and it is a total hoot. One of the elderly ladies won and yelled “OH SWEET JESUS”. I crack up now thinking about it. (You can also take your sassy OPI or Essie nail polish instead and do some fun manicures.)

11. You can donate baby blankets, stuffed animals, and children’s books to Project Night Night  which helps homeless children.

12. Donate your old cell phones to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Go to the site and click under Take Action and then Donate.

13. Donate shoes (you know you have more than you can ever wear!) to Share Your Soles.

14. Mentor an at-risk teen online at I Could Be

15. Become an online reading mentor and penpal for kids in 3rd – 5th grade at (They do a background check: Use promo code: SAV2449 so it won't cost you a cent.)

16. Play Free Rice and every correct vocab word you identify, 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Program. You can also play Free Kibble and for every correct answer, they add 10 pieces of dog food for an animal shelter in need. You need a break from playing Word Mole or Farmville right?

17. Put your favorite charity on your  Facebook page or Twitter account. You are on there all the time anyway.

18. Donate gift cards you won’t use to Plastic Jungle.

19. If you knit, you can send squares to Warm Up America. The squares will be knit into afghans and donated to battered women’s shelters.

20. Sign up to volunteer at  and become a one on one volunteer to teach kids with disabilities about noncompetitive sports.


21. Give a $35 Gift of Hope to women and children rescued from Sex Slavery and Sex Trafficking at

22. Donate a minimum of $10.00 to which provides jammies and books for kids in orphanages, group homes, and shelters. To date, they have given almost ONE MILLION books and pjs to kids who need them.

23. A small $10.00 gift to will give a supply of diapers to a struggling Mom.

24. Lend $25.00 to which takes your loan and helps woman all over the world start businesses. You can choose your cause and the money will be paid back. So many people did this last year, it was incredible.

25. Donate to The Wounded Warrior Project  which provides benefits, services, counseling and more to men and women who have risked their lives to protect our country and our freedom. This is my Mom’s favorite charity.

26. A $10.00 donation to Noah’s Ark helps abused children rehabilitate abused animals. I know someone very involved in this program and it is amazing.

27. Help the teachers who are educating our children! At, you can views long lists provided by teachers regarding classroom needs. Everything from writing utensils to science equipment.

28. A $35.00 donation to Sleeping Children Around the World  provides a Bed Kit that consists of a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net (if applicable), clothes outfit, towel and school supplies for a needy child.

29. $35 dollars will also feed a needy child for one month with Share Our Strength

30. Go to Best Friends and make a small donation to help this organization dealing with thousands of displaced pets. Your money can help set up shelters, prepare furry friends for adoption, or have microchips put into the animals.  

31. And finally, and of critical relevance: Go and buy a new super-fly cold-drink canteen for $19.00 at Water.Org. EVERY dollar goes to help people around the world gain access to clean drinking water. 1 in 8 people DO not have this access.  

If everyone we know did just one of these things, consider the benevolent impact. We can make December beautiful for people who need it the most.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tis the season....

I hope you all had a great long weekend whether that meant TurkeyFest or BlackFridayShoppaPalooza. I had a fantastic five days with my family. The menu for Thanksgiving turned out beautifully. Oh, except for the turkey. I did at one point call the turkey an inappropriate name. The turkey wanted more time. The turkey said, " I am not predictable." The turkey wanted to ease into our relationship. I despise that turkey. BUT, everything else was gorgeous and it is just one more reason I don't really like turkey. But the hours of cooking were worth the 30 minutes of eating. Believe it. And again, apologies to my Mom who happened to be in the kitchen when I upbraided the turkey.

And the weekend also marked the kick-off of holiday decorating. Since my family was in town, we spent yesterday afternoon decorating the house and tree, and talking to MiniMac about going to see Santa. We are members at Atlanta Botanical Garden which  is also a location of interest because we were married there. Santa was visiting yesterday afternoon so we mentioned it to MiniMac multiple times over the past few weeks. Why the prep? Oh, because our son has NO interest in meeting Santa or engaging in parental paparazzi photo sessions with him either. At one point yesterday he indicated he would say hello to him but did not want to sit on his lap. He already wrote him a letter but I could give it to Santa instead. He would get a photo taken if he sat next to me, and I sat next to Santa. I did not have high hopes of a warm engagement and was fine with simply being outside in a gorgeous venue on a beautiful albeit brisk day.

But the introduction did take place and while my son confirmed my presence was of the utmost importance, the conversation between my son and Santa was one of the best conversations I have heard all year.

As we left, MiniMac shook Santa's hand and said, "It was really nice to meet you. Travel safely..." and my heart bloomed with pride. We highlight the importance of manners and communication in our house and to see our son so readily demonstrate this was awesome. I take my tiny son's hand in mine with a giant smile on my face. We walked away and when we were about 25 feet from Santa, my precious son turned around and yelled back at Santa, "Oh, and NO GIRL TOYS."

Thankfully Santa and his elves laughed uproariously. As did MiniMac's uncle and Grandmother. His Mom still has not a single clue where the "no girl toys" concept derived from but something tells me, this is just the beginning.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I hope your Thanksgiving is this lively....

My family is here today, my menu is ready, and we are going to have a fantastic Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for, there is not a blog post long enough to demonstrate my gratitude. Be safe and well wherever your holidays finds you. And since I can't send you a cocktail, I can share one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories in the event you need some humor injected into your weekend. 

True Story:

During our sophomore year of college, a girlfriend of mine, KK, went home for a week over Thanksgiving break. Her boyfriend was invited home with her for the holiday. Her parents had agreed to this arrangement only if he stayed in the younger brother's room. Right.

Upon his arrival days before Thanksgiving, he placed his overnight bag and backpack in their entryway. Later, in effort to help him take his bags upstairs, KK picked up his backpack by the bottom. Unfortunately it was only partially zipped and overstuffed with books he would never take one look at during the break. Gravity and weight working against her, the zipper flew open and the contents emptied into the foyer. To which her younger brother, about 12 at the time, spied some contraband and shouted, "MOM, ROB HAS RUBBERS IN HIS BAG." KK was mortified as most 19 year-olds would be. Rob's mortification doubled hers. Her Mom, walking in from the kitchen, spied the bedlam as well and then decided Rob could sleep in the basement.

On Thanksgiving, with a slew of family over for dinner, the group has a great dinner as KK’s Mom and Dad are both fantastic cooks. For the dessert bonanza, her five year old little sister presented a pie she had made as a special surprise. Mom assisted in most of the utensil and ingredient assembly. The 5 y.o. called around the corner to ask the Mom where she could locate the main ingredient, pumpkin, which her Mom said “look for the orange can in the cupboard.” Surprise pie made, she was so proud of her creation. When it was cut open and plated, her Dad was the first to sample. After one bite, the Dad halted all other taste-testers. “Honey, what did you use to make the pie?”
“Whip cream!”
“What else?”
“Can you show me the Pumpkin can?”
All eyes at the table ever so curious….the little sister returns from the kitchen with an empty can. Canned pumpkin not the ONLY orange can in the cupboard. Was the surprise the pie itself? Or was the surprise that her sister had made a pie of wet cat food and covered it with Cool Whip?
Thankfully, after the laughter subsided, there were other pies to eat. At least the spilled rubbers in the foyer were forgotten about...

And finally, after dinner and ready to be strewn about the downstairs den watching football and family games, KK’s Mom opens the basement door to let the dog up who had been sequestered during Thanksgiving dinner revelry and Cat Pie a la mode. The dog races up ever so enthusiastically as the family files downstairs. KK’s Father, first in line, is quick to discover someone didn’t leave the guest bathroom door closed and the dog got into and traipsed the garbage can contents about like tinsel on a tree. He was also the first (of many) to discover that certain visiting holiday guests apparently didn’t learn in college that you flush used condoms down the toilet and DO NOT put them in the garbage can wrapped in tissue.

KK instantly wished they were back at the table eating cat food pie. Rob planned to pack his bags and immediately vacate the household. Nothing like observing evidence of someone's active sex life to combat the tryptophan.

What was KK most thankful for that year? When Thanksgiving ended. And of course, in later years, she could appreciate three very memorable stories all of which summarized by her family as the "Poor Rob" weekend. Even long after Rob was but a memory.

I hope your holiday is just as lively.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Walk O' Shame

Back in the day, before I was a wife and mother, I may have had an adventure or two (hundred.) While I was certainly no wild trixie, I was with as much certainty, no daughter of John Winthrop either.

Perchance a few of these adventures caused the inability for me to arrive home safely to my own bed. In college and grad school, I am sure it was primarily from all that studying which led to sleepiness which led to guest over-nighting somewhere. Or it was the cocktails. And the libido. Whichever. Might you too have a memory bank filled with such circumstances? Some memories we reminisce about with a glimmer of joie de vivre. Others, well, more like a going through turbulence on an airplane. You can manage it...but it is not much fun.

The highs and lows of over-nighting which produce the inevitable trajectory back to your own abode. Ahhh, also known as The Walk of Shame. Haven't ever done it? Shine that halo, little angel. You will be one of the few I know.

I was recently chatting with a girlfriend from college. The beauty of good friends, amongst many things, is their ability to recall certain memories of you that you intentionally deleted from both your cortex and your hippocampus. BUT, since such shenanigans are infinitely more humorous to me now, why would I resist sharing? You are right, I won't resist. PS: You have to look at some of your antics and laugh. If you don't, you are likely the only one who has not so in an definitive measure to laugh at myself, here you go:

The Classic Walk of Shame: Sophomore Year of College

My roommate, Action Jackson, and I went to a fraternity formal. We wore ball gowns. We had big hair. (All praise 1990.) We had big fun.

We apparently studied too hard during the day. I got very sleepy at some point. Lights out.

I wake up the next am. In my date's bed. The last time it had been cleaned? Maybe 1980. I am thankfully fully clothed. Royal blue ball gown and all. I actually wore white pantyhose. EGADS. I get shivers thinking about them. Luckily, these were also still on my body. I might have been sleepy but at least I wasn't being a dirty vixen.

Waking up hurts my feelings. I do not feel my best. I feel like a bag of hammers. Must. Exit. IMMEDIATELY. I realize to my dismay, I have no shoes. In the current state, I could not debate the pros and cons of leaving such shoes. Until I recalled the shoes were dyed to match my dress. I can NOT leave blue shoe evidence behind. I search high and low and over many other sleeping bodies. Not a shoe to be seen. I must not tarry.

I haul arse out of there, down stairs, and to the street. I know most of the boys in this fraternity so am highly interested in not being spotted. I get to the street. Nothing says class act like bright blue ball gown with no shoes meandering down the road. I have about 10 fraternities and sororities to pass. MUST MOVE QUICKLY.

As I cross the parking lot, I hear voices exiting the annex where several of the Seniors lived. I duck across the lot hoping the blueness of this dress is so bright that it serves as a distraction from my face. A guy and girl come outside and they are engaged in full on argument. She does not want him to drive her home. He insists. She is mad, he is mad, I am merely dodging bullets here. I scurry, and I do mean scurry, across the street. Seen a rat scurry? This was my method. Only to hear him say in an acid tone, "At least you aren't that girl, walking home BY HERSELF." No one needs a highlighter pen or a spotlight to know that girl he mentions is me.

I tuck my head down and duck in between two buildings. I think I am scot-free when I spy my house nearby. Only to discover, my roommate AND her boyfriend asleep on our daybed in our room. WTF. I quickly change and head to the sleeping dorm but not before seeing this note:

JennyMac: Sorry I left you. You would NOT get up.

drank almost an entire of bottle of vodka. Threw up out T's window. Onto the heads of people below. You actually did an awesome job though singing an entire version of "Blame It On the Rain" by Milli Vanilli. No one believed it was rain. I could not find your shoes. However, someone will. They are bright blue. Don't be mad I left you. T's roommate was pissed you passed out on him and wanted to put a bicycle lock around your neck. I stopped this from happening.  Your BFF, Action Jackson

I promise you NOTHING like this ever happened again. That blue dress went to gown heaven.

The shoes were never recovered. On a post-even visit to that same house, someone asked me if I lost a pair of blue shoes at the formal. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "No. I wasn't wearing blue." Unfortunately, photographic evidence to contrary could not be destroyed. Luckily, there were no pictures of me "sleeping."

AND just to get that image of me in my ugly white pantyhose out of your mind, CONGRATULATIONS to Kristy M. the winner of the Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving Entertaining Book. Email me and I will mail your book. AND please let us know what time you are serving, we would love to see your feast.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Do these jeans make our closet look fat?

My husband is fully aware I have a proclivity towards shopping. I am not a hang out at the mall type of girl, but I do love fashion. And our closet reflects this or what I call my earnest interest in supporting our economy.  When I first purchased the house, I had one wall of the walk in made into shoe shelves. Beautiful, necessary shoe shelves. About 10 feet high and 10 feet wide. Awesome for me. NOT awesome for the man who would later share that closet. (Clearly, his shoes are not welcome in my shoe shelves.) I have them organized by color, heel height. (Yes, feel free to mock it all you want BUT I know exactly where to find the exact shoe I am looking for, right? Right. Same goes for all the clothes, sorted by color and by sleeve length. NO it is not anal. It is called organized. It might be busy in there but my closet is not going to be a hot mess.)

JohnnyMac has not a single issue with these purchases but years ago began to strongly encourage me to adopt the “one in, one out” policy. My initial response: just because Oprah said it is a good policy, doesn't make it right for everyone! But later, I have responded to this suggestion and have discarded of plenty of things. He said throwing out old lipstick is not the same as one pair of shoes in, one pair of shoes out. I do discard bags of old or unwanted items twice annually, but let us say what he and I consider a “full bag” are not the same thing.

Well, my little brother came in the spring and he loves to team up with JMac and hard time me about my closets. My little brother is very stylish, and also loves to purchase so this is what I call being a hypocrite. He offered to ‘help’ me pare down my closet, especially the shoes. By ‘help’ I imply that he would hold up almost every item of apparel and ask when the last time I wore it. Things not worn in the past six months needed to go. This is not realistic, I asserted. I am not Punky Brewster. I can’t wear 19 items at a time.

As he was pulling things out, I would merely go back and put them in their proper place. And as he is spinning around like a dervish, he discovers this shelf that due to construction, is not immediately visible. On the shelf lies about 30 pairs of jeans. Ironically, I not a frequent jeans wearer but the pairs I have, I love. He called JMac into our room to point out the stash.  For some reason, this was the source of much entertainment for them. Not entertaining like “WOW, you are a denim addict” but more like “WOW, you are a ^#*&^# hoarder.”

Some of these jeans have seen some pretty fantastic days. That is not to be taken lightly. And they all fit, but I have discovered similar to Halloween candy, when I like a little something,  like Earl or Seven, I buy more than needed.  We successfully made additional room in the closet (some of it just moved to one of the other bedroom closets) and a great big bag to donate. I thought to get them both out of my clothes business, I would send them to look at the garage. That turned out worse because the first thing said to me was “ALL of this wrapping paper and bags of ribbon” I offered to make bloody mary’s instead. Bloody Mary’s were a great distraction.

I recently bought a pair of skinny jeans. JMac likes them. I asked if he thought these jeans make our closet look fat. For some reason, he didn’t answer. Must be that his filter for sarcasm was  set to high.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Wonderous World of Haterade

I remember the first time I heard the word Hater. What used to be strictly found in rap songs is now an often heard vocabulary word. Contrary to what might be taught on MTV Cribs, a Hater is not merely someone who envies someone else. A Hater is also someone who just wants to bring people down a notch.

I like to think I could never be such a thing. But I am sure, as with many things, there is sliding scale of Haterville. From someone sweet as candy to the girl that belongs on the Real Housewives of Dirtyville. And as nice as we might be, I think anyone can be susceptible to unsavory behavior from time to time.

And while you aren't quite drinking from the firehose, this is what I like to call having a tiny sip of Haterade. For example: 

You are having a tiny sip of Haterade if you mock Jessica Simpson and her crappy music but still know AND SING all the words to Hit Me Baby One More Time.

Or if you openly criticize people who watch The Hills and The OC but you watch every episode of Gossip Girl AND know all names of all characters.

Ditto if you belittle Harry Potter fans but you yourself are a Twihard.

Or if you can not stand it when people type LOL or LMBO but you LOVE to type OMG and WTF.

Or if you say things like "I can NOT believe any adult would watch High School Musical!" yet you still dance around and sing every word to every song in Grease. Zac Efron is this decade's Danny Zuko. How does that haterade taste?

And you are having a tiny sip of Haterade if you smirk at someone's PRADO bag because its fake, but you bought yours over in Chinatown in NYC for $75.

Or if you are man, lamenting about some "poor musclehead fool" in his "tight tshirt" yet, you go home and stand in front of the mirror flexing, and sucking in your stomach at the same time.  

Or, if you say things like "I can't believe she would date that dolt" knowing you would date him in a hot minute if given the chance.

Or if you roll your eyes in disdain at some woman flashing her ample cleavage, but know full well you have done that before OR would do so frequently if you were built for it.

Or, if you snark at some sassy outfit you see on another woman whilst you and your pals sip your cocktails, and then wear something very similar a week later. Significantly more than a sip of Haterade if you said, "I can't believe she is wearing that..."

Or, if you are a man who loves to yell at the screen during game time about how YOU would NEVER miss that shot/drop that pass/wank that tee shot, yet you pull a ligament doing a simple push-up.

Or, when you give a nonchalant shrug to your neighbor who is ecstatic over the Seven Jeans she bought online for 75% off, and you remark "awww, good for you" but you don't mean it, but then you go home and spend two hours scouring eBay for a similar fabulous deal.

Or, if you despise the office gossip, because gossip is clearly dangerous. But then you think you are only sharing "news" but it is all "news" you preface with "Don't tell anyone I told you this..." 

Or, if you sometimes get a touch sour over your spouse's obsession with sports AND the inordinate amount of time your spouse spends watching/discussing/analyzing relative sporting events, BUT you spend all that time AND more on your shoe purchases, girlfriend chitty-chat, or your blog, well, put down the Haterade.

Better stop now, or I will soon see you snacking on these:

And I am happy to share this post was my first article published by Technorati last week. Thankfully,  Technorati is NOT sipping on haterade. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Are you a hog?

I don’t mean the type chomping on acorns and sauntering through the woods. Let me explain.

I know people who receive things like great treats, awesome deals, information, or fab prizes and they hide those babies under lock and key so they can keep all the goodness to themselves. I know other people who will share whatever they have even if they are down to their last cup of coffee or thumb-sized cookie.  I grew up in a (predominantly) generous family. A lot of the women in my family cook so my history was frequently woven with the sharing of recipes and stories to accompany those recipes. People in my family are also generous with time and what they are willing to invest in other people. This is the model I learned. This is the model I will pass along. I had a previous neighbor who clearly grew up in the household of “share nothing” as if all our resources were precious and it was the Great Depression. No, she was not struggling with finances. She just did not like to share.

Are these behaviors innate? Or are they learned? I am sure you know people who fit into both categories too. The categories I like to title Hoggers and Sharers.  

I think sharing is the best bet. I don’t mean share your knickers or the last bite of pasta on your plate (unless you want to, of course.) I mean the overall general concept of sharing. I think being stingy is par for the course in certain circumstances. Like when you are two years old and haven’t been told yet. I think stingy at the adult level is odd. And sucky.
Listen, if you don’t want to share things with other people, you might have a great reason. My Mom used to hide things from me when I was a kid because well, I liked to explore in her jewelry box and help myself to things I liked. There were many things I liked. I went exploring in her jewelry box often. Perhaps everything fetched out of there did not quite make it back. She declared a brief moratorium on sharing jewelry with JennyMac. But it didn't last because my Mom is a Sharer.

Years ago, I worked with a woman who often brought desserts to the office. By now, you all know I liken myself a baking maven, so I loved seeing (and sampling) her creations. Once for a holiday party, we both made some taste treats well-received by our colleagues. Many people asked for our recipes and once, while sharing mine, she was in earshot.

Her: You just freely give out your recipes?
Me: Yes. (I know I have a weird look on my face as I reply because, after all, the request is for my recipe. Not my liver, or plutonium, or a kilo of heroin.)
Her: That is so generous of you.
Me: I actually got it from a cookbook so….
Her: (whispering conspiratorially) When people ask me for my recipes, I often leave one ingredient out.
Me: Blank stare
Her: Isn’t that coy? She winks.
My mental response: Yes. That is coy. Since apparently coy now means idiotic and juvenile.
Me: (out loud this time) Oh, so you are one of those women?
Her: What women?
Me:  A recipe hog. You don’t want to share the good stuff.
Her: I work really hard on my recipes and I don’t want people copying them.
Me: Good thing Ina Garten doesn’t feel that way! (And then I laughed.)
Her: (Slightly pouty face but thinks I am joking) Those are my recipes!
Me: I totally hear you, Betty Crocker! (I laughed more. And scurried away because I just learned who my least favorite co-worker was: The Hogger.)

Now, if you are hogging Halloween candy, well, that is a different story. I know you are only doing it to protect those around you, whom you love dearly, from getting cavities. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Not your average Jack-o-lantern

One of my roommates during grad school, The Coat, was friends with a completely wayward rogue. We called said rogue O’Shame. Every time I watched LOST and see Sawyer, I was reminded of O’Shame in that same gritty, dirty, muscled, kind of sexy, but really mostly gritty and dirty kind of way. 

During law school, we used to frequent this fabulous dump called The Grenada. Thursday nights heralded in the beginning of the weekend (for us) but also 80's night AND Dollar Pitchers at The Grenada. Few other things on earth scream "I am serious about my education" than flocking with all your law school friends to a giant bar to dance to Come On Eileen and swill down pitcher after pitcher of Keystone Light. But flock we did, and OH, I loved every minute of those 50 weeks a year.

Now, dirty O'Shame would often join. The following is one of his more hilarious antics. 

While at The Grenada, a fertile ground for impermanent relationships, O'Shame met himself a little lass.  While engaged in a full on teen-age make out party, O'Shame, like Tarzan, or King Kong, lifts her up and puts her on the rail so they can take their PDA to a whole new classy level while she wraps herself around him. He is earnestly kissing her. How do I know? 

Because he was leaning so far into her they both FLIPPED over the rail. She landed on her back about five feet below. He landed on her. His face landed on the floor. Only when they finished making out did he rise, dust himself off. He rises and we see blood coming from his mouth and a big snaggle tooth jutting out of his mug. The remainder of his tooth apparently left on the dirty floor. He uses his hand as a towel to wipe the blood from his face. He gets napkins to ward off the flow. He sees no reason to get medical attention. Never mind your face was on the filthy floor. Might that merit at least a rinse or maybe a hand wash? NO. As he continues to bleed, his wife-for-the- night thinks he looks "rugged." As she fetches more napkins for him, he looks at us and asks if it looks ok. Does your broken tooth look ok? Is YES ever an answer to this question? 

The Coat, not wanting to inhibit his prowess, said "I think it is fine."
MarciaGarcia said, "WOW, O'Shame is dirrrrrty."
ShaNaNa (our nice friend) asked, "Are you ok?!?!"
I say, "You look like a jack-o-lantern."
The Social Chairman, in an areyou___ingkiddingme tone said, "More like a JackASS-O- Lantern."

Did it stop O'Shame? No. Even being told you look like a human snaggle-toothed jack-o-lantern couldn't stop that train. And it is awesome when being drunk and hooking up is FAR more important than your health. God forbid you miss a tongue dance while you take a time out to get your smacked gob looked at by medical personnel. 

Now all the rest of you little pumpkins, be good this Halloween. MiniMac is dressing up as a blue m&m. Have a safe and fabulous weekend. And like the black cats, don't let any jackass-o-lanterns cross your path. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So busy

During college, a friend worked at the only five star private restaurant in our college town, which was in the University Alumni Center. He was a bartender, and one day while scooting out before all of his chores were finished, he was called on the carpet by one of the cooks.

"Where do you think you are going?" she asked him. A very sturdy and solid woman, she took nonsense from no one.

He replied, "I have to go, I have to go to the gym, get something to eat, call my friend, and get ready for a party tonight."

"MMM hmm, you're just so busy."

"I am, sorry, I have to run," he said, with a pat on her shoulder and a smile. He was devilishly good looking, and this charming maneuver worked often.

"MR. BUSY, You can just save your smirky smile for your little college girls. I know you have to run. Run your little butt right back in the bar and finish your work."

They had a stare down. "Now GO." She outweighed him by about 200 pounds, so he went, believe it. As he scoots away, she mutters "so busy" that sounded just like this:  Sooooooooooooooooooooooo bizzzzzy.

The moral of the story: We do think we are so busy. And no doubt at times we are. The older we get, there is never a shortage of tasks. But I have a friend who can turn two errands and a trip to the grocery store into a Shakespearan tragedy.

I can fill an entire day with tasks but not critical tasks, but merely the tasks I want to do. My Dad used to get fired up at me in college when I would neglect to call him back for days. Every time I felt compelled to explain to him that I too was just. sooooo. busy.

He would advise me, in an increasingly stern voice, I did not actually know the first thing about being busy. And truly busy people make time.  I probably gave an eye roll and a shrug, convinced no one understands just how busy a sorority girl can be. Oh, such a wise young lady. From youth until now, I have heard this mantra on a never-ending loop. The truth is, the majority of the time, we certainly make time for the things we want to do. We all know it. Rarely have I missed a great event, a concert, or a friend's party because I was just so busy.

I adhered to this mantra much better during graduate school and by the time I started working, I fully embraced it. At my first office, I would listen to two of the young girls on our admin staff talk lament about why they couldn't get things done because, they too were just so busy. I thought, they have NO idea.

And when you don't have kids, people with kids try to trump you on the busy scale. And when you only have one child, people with two trump you. And so on and so on and so on. And then there are the people so unorganized they waste time simply trying to keep up with themselves.

And now, think about conversations we have with other people. Everyone is so busy, we try to out-busy one another. And being so busy is a built-in alibi. Couldn't call someone back? Soooo busy. Couldn't respond to that email? Soooo busy. Can't get together for dinner? Soooo busy. It's a choice, we all know it. And most of the time we have too much to do. But not all of the time. Maybe the obstacle is we are so busy being busy.

My BFF asked me several times last summer if I had looked into some theater tickets in NYC for our trip. The last time she asked, I told her I just couldn't get to it. She said, "Oh and the blog is writing itself I guess?" We both laughed. I looked into the tickets that day. 

And my little brother travels every single week for work. He and I get big fun out of talking about being soooooooooooo bizzzzzy. I know you just couldn't call me back but I loved all your Facebook updates. PS: You are not SOOOOOOOO bizzzy. 

The time we invest to proport about the never-ending demands on our time, our mountain of musts, our wearisome calendar, our lengthy docket of to do's, well, think of all the time we would save if we stopped doing that. 

But, it is handy whitewash if you need it, is it not? So the next time you just don't want to do something, just say, "I'd love to but I am soooooooooooo bizzzzy. "

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I love my hometown. I miss it often during the year, although I am surrounded by other fantastic elements here, like frequent sunshine. But my hometown seems special to me not merely because of the litany of memory attached to where I grew up, but because of what we learned along the way. 

I remain connected to a great deal of people I grew up with, although we have lost a few friends along the way. I love seeing the evolution of people I have known for decades. And I love knowing high school sweethearts still together. And seeing pictures of boys I knew who were big, strapping athletes back in the day who are now fathers. I sometimes laugh and think, oh, I remember your Dad at ____'s party our junior year. Oh, do I know a crazy story about him. And then I realize, Uh oh, I was at that same party. Better keep those shenanigans quiet. I love seeing these same boys toting tiny girls dressed in fairy costumes on Halloween. I love seeing girlfriends of ours that were wonderful, beautiful girls back then living as wonderful, beautiful women now. Not because in either scenario I didn't think these boys or girls had it in them, but because I knew they had it in them.

And when I go home, and we get together, the night is punctuated by laughter and updates, and recollection of silly things we did (like the constant TP'ing of houses...sorry Erik, did I ever admit to you that it was us?) or how I pranced around all hotsy totsy style when I got my first Cat Eye Vuarnet sunglasses. Whoa those were giant sunglasses but bless my tiny heart for trying. 

Not everyone remains and clearly I moved to the opposite coast but quite a contingency still resides there. One of my oldest and closest friends moved back and I love seeing her daughters now wearing the same letterman jackets we wore. And her daughters go to school, and go to dances with children of other people we grew up with. And the water must be enhanced because people look great. And they are happy.

But perhaps the greatness of my hometown is the  power and importance of community. Growing up there, I felt like we were given everything we needed to succeed. And that any endeavor we envisioned was possible. Our teachers, our neighbors, and our friends' parents were interested in us, and seeing us achieve.

So when I saw this in the news, and one of those wonderful women I grew up with then sent me the video, that has already had over 2 million hits on YouTube, it seemed truly representative of our hometown. 

Several weeks ago, during a high-school football game in Snohomish, WA., the hometown Snohomish Panthers avoided a shutout in inspirational fashion as Junior Ike Ditzenberger scored on a 51-yard touchdown run after entering the game for the first time with just 10 seconds remaining.

I love sports, sports stories, and feel good moments. Running a 51-yard touchdown in on your first step on the field is a classic feel good moment for any player. The fact Ike has Down Syndrome doesn't get in the way of his plans.

I smiled as I watched the video of the TD run because the camaraderie was palpable. And because I know that as a parent, the minute your child is born, you want to think they will be exposed to endless opportunities. And possibilities. Special needs kids do not need pity, or sad faces. They need a place to suit up, participate, and an opportunity to shine.

And with the alarming rates of childhood disorders including Autism, our communities need to work together to create more opportunities so special needs kids, in all applicable cases, can be a part of mainstream education. And have access to great possibilities.

Bravo to Ike, The Panthers, and a community that remains healthy and well. I read earlier this week Dateline is coming to Snohomish to cover the story. Good choice Dateline and a smart counterbalance to most of the news we hear today. My Panther Pride is still  firmly intact.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

You better back up before you shack up

Dear older brother: feel free to stop reading now. Or feel free to read as I joke at your expense.

During my first year of law school, I flew home for Thanksgiving. Shortly upon arrival to Seattle, my Mom phoned to say my parents were stuck out of town due to weather and did not know when they would return. Days ticked by before they confirmed, they would in fact not be in town for the holiday. When I was on the fence about which part of the family I should spend the holiday with, my Mom suggested I drive an hour north and spend it with my older brother. Oh, I am sorry, she suggested I actually drive up there to cook Thanksgiving dinner at his house since he was working law enforcement at the border and had to work some crazy 12 hour shift.

Cook him what? Apparently we have not met.  I wasn’t cooking real food then. Nor was I all about the sisterly love and Thanksgiving snacks for my brother's benefit. However, for months my brother had mentioned his roommate, B., who worked with him in the department. He wanted B. and I to meet thinking we would hit it off well. Admittedly, this may have been a potential incentive for the visit. And as it were, B. is a fantastic cook and made a huge dinner for us.

It turned out to be a very fun evening. Great food and easy conversation ran quite late. My brother offered me his room and he would sleep on the couch. I think B. and I had determined through certain long looks that perhaps we should stay up a bit longer. Night night I told my brother. He offered to stay up with us. I told him he looked tired and should not forfeit rest on my account.

He brought me some clothes to sleep in since I had not planned to spend the night. I am sure he regretted that he did not have a XXXL turtleneck and chastity belt at his disposal but his giant hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants were the best he could produce. Both about as sexy as a Hefty bag. Off to bed he went. Well, we stayed up late. And when it was finally time to go to sleep, B. gave me his room to change and he said he would sleep on the couch. Mmm hmmm. I changed into my giant hand me downs which made us both laugh before B. offered me some running shorts and a t-shirt. I folded up my brothers clothes and set them outside his door without further thought.

When I woke up in the morning, I changed back into my clothes and went out to their living room. My brother has a scowl on his face only Gargamel could love. My brother asked me where B. was. He went to the gym. This alleviated 2% of my brothers sour mood as he had been up for hours and seeing no sister, no B., and a closed bedroom door, all his angst had oscillated between wanting to fake a fire alarm to get me out of there and storming in to punch his friend in the face.

Me: What’s wrong with you?
Him: Why were the clothes I gave you strewn into the hallway?
Me: HAHAHA. Sarcasm often courses through my veins so I say: Because they got in the way.
Him: The way of WHAT?
Me: Ummm. You know.
Him: SHUT THE ______ UP.
Me: HAHAHAHA. I kid!
I explained that B. slept on the couch and I slept in clothes B. gave me. And that nothing crazy was happening behind closed doors. And not to mention, EWWW. No one is going to hook up with their brother in the exact same house. This isn't American Pie.

Me: I thought you wanted me to go out with him?
Him: Go OUT. Not shack up. You don't even know him.
Me: Wait, you WANTED me to meet him. And nice hypocrisy there, Pontius Pilate. 
Him: And you should not date him. I think he like a woman at work anyway.

Setting your sister up with a friend is always a great idea. Until you do it. And they like each other.  Luckily, he didn’t have to worry because B. and I had the inconvenience of 1900 miles between us. But we talked many times and always got a big laugh out of my brother’s reaction. Even as grown adults, big brother is ALWAYS watching.