when censoring is good

So much has happened in the last couple weeks globally and locally.  My proverbial panties have been in a twist and I have started several blog posts that were very political.  Fortunately for me, WordPress has been malfunctioning. My media could not upload during at least five attempts and I would have to walk away from my computer, or my draft did not save when I returned to put the finishing touches on my abundant unprovoked opinions.  At first this made me even more upset and then I realized this was indeed a good thing.

Now that I have cooled down, I can continue my more subtle attack on society with words and pictures.

The other day I needed to flee The Family, and with a slight backwards glance I took off for an antique mall that was calling my name.  I have my little rules in places like this so I don’t buy everything that I want, besides that little thing called a “budget.”

The first gem I spotted mint condition.


I knew I should buy it, but those little rules would not allow it. (I may go back and get it) Ohhh to play a game centered around a homophobic, racist, sexist character would be so much fun!!!

I picked up and put down many things, sometimes carried said things for a mile at least before my fingers almost broke, and then put back in the wrong place. (sorry)

The I found this! Rules don’t apply!!


You have to snap off her normal flesh and organs, to experience “The Miracle of Creation” immaculately concepted of course.

When I step back and look at all my panty twisting feelings I see one very political vortex from which many issues stem, and this 1960’s plastic model was sure on the right track. Look what it says on the back of the manual.


“If the human body, and especially its reproductive organs seemed less mysterious to us, our culture would probably healthier-minded.”

“Your “Visible Woman” enables parents and children to share information which is otherwise so difficult to communicate, and lifts the veil of ignorance behind which many adolescents hide their doubts and fears.”

You are not going to see this for sale at Hobby Lobby anytime soon.

Impromptu lessons in Capitalism.

I tried to convince them not to bother with a lemonade stand, partly because I am feeling lethargic today and also because I fear that I will be cleaning this mess up for days. After they begged and pleaded I caved.  They quickly set up a table and chairs and raided the cabinets looking for lemonade and cups.

me- “We only have a few somewhat misshapen disposable cups, but what do people want for 25 cents.”
TA- “We’ll make them gulp it, leave and we will wash them.”
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All family members in the vicinity promptly purchase lemonade and say “keep the change” eye wink, thumbs up. (as if that happens in the real world)
me- “After you you have counted your earnings you then have to pay your supplier (me) for the juice, ice and cups.” Mouths agape.

Several new attempts at marketing are discussed.

1. We can dance?

2. Do you have any other stuff you don’t want that we can sell?

3. Who can we call to come buy it.

These whippersnappers catch on surprisingly fast.

The Associates Associate invited her older sister over to make a purchase. Then they tried to take over. I continued to weed my roses while I let them figure it out. It got heated quickly as the older kids tried to steamroll the younger ones, but mini corporate lawyer was on point.
1. You didn’t help us set up
2. You didn’t work really hard to come up with the idea and sign.
3. No we aren’t splitting the money four ways,  maybe you can have 10%

I intervened briefly to put the hostile takeover in perspective, and once the older children discovered they would not in fact be leaving with 50% of the money they went to set up a competing stand.  The minis yelped with pride, and immediately got distracted by a sprinkler.  I “watched” the stand while they made a huge mess elsewhere and told them they had to pay me for my shift. Mouth Agape.

Out storms The Teenager angrily waving her beauty accoutrements that are now covered in nail polish.  I guess we know where the mess is.

I order them to clean up all their messes while I gather up the cash which seems a bit light.  hmmmmm.  Apparently, The Teenager helped herself to a little of the take for the loss of her beauty supplies.

The good old American Dream in full effect.




“the runt in a large family of pigs”

I am still reeling from the harsh reality. The Teenager is going to *&^%$ high school. They basically pluck them from the purgatory that is middle school and drop them into a giant maze with no school supplies! I may be over reacting, because she was fine with it despite her obvious genetic love for writing implements and notebooks.

sorry trying to think and she is listening to most horrific “music”  the “artist” is apparently turnt.  (see urban dictionary if you are as clueless as I am)


The Associate has a school supply list and being efficient, I first wrote it down, cursed and then copied and pasted it to my phone.  full circle. So we head out to The Big Box store that we favor, where everyone wears red, and in the short drive the The Associate is already in mini corporate lawyer mode.

TA- “So, if I am good in the store you will buy me a toy.”

me- “Is that a question or a statement?”

TA- “Both”

me- “Your good, but no. We are getting what we need today not what we want.”  (ongoing theme, I won’t bore you with the rest of this banter)

I realize that we haven’t been here in quite a while and pile on paper goods to create the perfect conditions for an avalanche.


After the nice staff backed us out of the perfect storm we got down to the nitty-gritty.

TA- “mom, why do we need ziploc bags for school?

Me- “maybe so you can keep everything organized”

TA- “why do the boys need to bring gallon sized and the girls need quart sized?

Me- hmmmmm  “what else do you need?”

I make some attempts at good momming by having her check the prices, and compare products. This tactic also helps when she wants to bring home these types of “things.”


The entire experience is fun except for her constant attempts to get more of everything. Like 12 pink erasers which I am pretty sure last forever already, and two rulers. Each fresh attempt at additional consumerism makes me wonder why she feels like she will never have enough. This isn’t new, just the other day she started pouring herself two glasses of milk at a time. She is in fact the smallest member of the family and almost always wants the most.


We make it out alive, after I buckled and bought her one toy. Actually I am still not sure if I buckled or she Jedi mind tricked me. The Teenager oohhs and ahhhs over her school goodies.

Me- “I think that the TA was the youngest of 9 in her last life and never got enough porrage.”

TT- “you mean the runt of a large family of pigs.”




Back from vacation, slightly rested.

We blasted our way down 77 to make it to Wilmington NC in record time, the kids didn’t make a peep, the dog didn’t slobber everywhere, and the mood was light. This obviously meant something was coming. Yes it did, in the form of rain. Three days of ick.  We made do, by puzzling, eating and playing with the tortoise “Kevin”.  A diaper was constructed after he pooped on our puzzle but no biggy. (that is jake behind him in the picture. He thinks Kevin is delicious.


One day Wendy (the TT’s godmama) took us on an abbreviated One Tree Hill tour, because The Teenager loves it, and it was overcast.  This is apparently the place where blah blah and blah blah made important life choices.


This is the 6th street Bridge. I don’t know anybody who has actually driven over it, until today.


This here is what we call “The Stab and Grab” for obvious historical reasons. We “drove by” so TT could get a quick shot of yet another location from One Tree Hill.


We had dinner with friends, and The Teenager pretended not to be impressed by the fact that two of my closet friends and her aunties went to the very first Warped Tour. She has no idea how cool we are. he he.

The sun poked its head out four days in and we ventured out to the beach.  I made an excursions to antique shops and army surplus stores.

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Ice. Ice baby was on a loop in this establishment. I was heartbroken that I didn’t find some random goodies, AND I sang Vanilla Ice for the rest of the day.

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Had some fun in the sun. Took a ride in this beauty.


and The Teenagers uncle Lucky got her a new pair of Vans.


Who needs Sun? Son!

We are a Colony……

I know I am inclined to gush about my hometown Cleveland Heights, most of the time it is because of all the amazing experiences our far undervalued town has to offer. Today I am extolling its value based solely on its souls. A diverse and united bunch.

We experienced a great tragedy when one of our local business owners and community leaders was brutally slain in a robbery attempt. My first thought was for his family, friends and employees and then I thought about our community that is centered around these hardworking small businesses.  I was afraid we would see another wave of people fleeing to the outer ring suburbs, but we experienced the absolute opposite.

Every Tuesday for the last 7 years we have gathered at The Colony for girl’s night.  Ups, downs, rights, and lefts have been sorted and unconditional support has been provided. The unofficial leader of our pack, Brady, sketched an amazing design that very night and called on me to help.  We had to make hasty decisions and get started asap.  Flying by the seat of our pants, we set out to sell about 200 shirts and have ended up selling WAY more (the final tally has not been made)

Another fundraising effort rose from the ashes and raised at least 50,000 dollars for the employees lost wages, and a memorial fund was setup to get the doors open again. A dynamic brother and sister team organized a family fun cookout, while other businesses all over in different districts donated food, merchandise and services to raise funds for the people touched most by our collective tragedy.

The employees of The Colony, now our friends after so many years stepped up and toiled through their grief to save the place they work and love. The determination and tenacity of these fine young men and women is awe-inspiring.

Another friend, Shari championed a random acts of kindness campaign in honor of the departed, who gave generously to friends in need.  The people of Cleveland heights came out in droves to join together and celebrate a life and make sure we keep moving forward.  Exactly three weeks ago we suffered a huge loss. Today we are stronger, more united, and clad in matching t-shirts.

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The Vans Warped Tour……

For six months The Teenager has been harping on about this concert.  She was injured very badly last year on a trampoline, instantly losing a year of dance just as she was moved up to the first dance company. Yes, there have been days when she lamented her future dance career and her dreams of attending Julliard, BUT she was most concerned about being able to attend Warped Tour. The holographic ticket arrived in the mail and it was everyday whining.

For those of you who do not know what Vans Warped tour is, it is a showcase for an immense number of mediocre bands. A very efficiently run affair.  Everything is clearly stated in emails to parents and children about safety and how much everything costs. Everything is for sale or you must be properly cued to meet the “artist” you are dying to meet.

When it passed through our fair city it was at Blossom Music Center.  A large wooded, porta potty having venue, that is summer home to The Cleveland Orchestra.  I spent many a day and night as an impressionable youth wandering around Blossom, but our mediocre bands were more like Jimmy Buffett.

Despite the fact that The Vans Warped tour graciously offers a “reverse daycare” for an adult over the age of 28 to accompany each minor ticket holder, I had no intention of spending my day listening to that drivel. The Teenager shot out of bed (there is a first for everything) and dressed while blaring crap music. She rambled on about how we had to leave because we needed to be inline by 10 to meet blahblahblahblah. I saw her staring of into space and a pang of teenager agony came gushing back.

me- I remember when I was your age.

TT- (interested) what?

me- the feeling of looking at one of your favorite actors or musician and thinking if they just noticed me we would be so happy together.

TT- TOTALLY!!!!!!!!!! hug.  LET”S GO!

With the first two teenagers in the car I gave the first installment of my “advice.”

“Don’t go into the woods with girls or boys, bad stuff happens in the woods, and I don’t care how cute the boy is!” They agreed and reminded themselves to tell their other friends.

Two more teenagers in the car.

“Do not (it has more resonance when it isn’t a conjunction) take anything that is offered to you. Not gum, not water, not anything that you do not see unsealed before your very eyes.” They did ask why briefly, but seemed content to take me at my word.

“Stay together!”

“Have Fun!”

I unloaded them unceremoniously, made them pose quickly and dashed off.


I had two missed phone calls around 3 and I quickly called her back thinking something was wrong. The screaming at the other end of the line didn’t help until I was able to decipher the words. BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!! I relaxed and she repeated.  My heart was warm and fuzzy that she wanted to share that with me in the midst of her adventure. MY TEENAGER. :)




Lego my ego.



I tend to lose perspective. Muddled with the minutiae of daily life I sometimes ignore the larger picture.

The Brother and The Niece were visiting and on a cloudless beautiful day we hit the botanical gardens here in Cleveland to see an exhibit of Lego sculptures cohabitating with the habitat.





and of course my favorite. The seed.


The Niece took a bunch of pictures, The Teenager relaxed due to injury.


and The Associate put her back into it and got down to business.


I am always stunned by the beauty of this garden and the obvious passion of the people who care for it.  My pockets are full of seeds and tendrils and I am reminded that nature is my church, everything is connected, and we are but a small part in a vast universe.


My garden has been tended.

out and about and still here.

On a particularly sunny day this summer I was given an opportunity to venture out with The Teenager.  She was at odds with life and she wanted to hang with me. I have this mental exercise I do for these occasions  “I will listen,  I will not judge or punish,  I want her to confide in me, I want to give her the benefit of my experience while staying far off my high horse.”

On this glorious day I was given a tour some of the places The Kids hang out. The first stop was the graffiti wall.  This wall is at the end of a steep trail of a really busy intersection, buggy and creepy. I cannot discern why this cement mountain is here although it appears to be frequented by The Kids. We saw a girl walk by alone!!! The Teenager knows where my mind is headed and says “don’t worry mom I would never come here alone” and I offered to leap into the bushes, but she passed quickly.

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The second excursion was to “The Duck Factory” Right in the heart of Little Italy.

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It is so named because of the abundance moldy and wet rubber ducks,  However, this ruin suggests a more post apocalyptic duck factory.  I am instantly reminded of all the dumb stuff teenagers do and try to remain calm.  The ceilings are falling down, there is a homeless young man who lives in a trailer, the floors are collapsing. Surreptitiously I drop a pin on my map app. We laughed, we cried, we didn’t get accosted, good times.  As we exit there are 50 gallon drums lined up and I imagine her disintegrating in acid (These are the moments when it really stinks to be a visual person.)

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I have a thought, let’s tear this place down, who’s in?







friday freak day.

Utterly apathetic, a tad crabby and restless are not a good Combo. Actually I felt similar to what a nasty pretzel imposter must feel like when the pizza flavoring is dumped upon it. I could mope around and get nothing done or I can hop in my car and drive all over Cleveland to attend two promising estate sales. The first sale was on the west side of Cleveland and I purposely arrived late so as not to endure the aggravation of watching while early risers make off with all MY stuff.

I bet you could guess it was disappointing,  but did you think it would be disturbing? Well it was. First and foremost I was perturbed by the fact that nothing was priced! I wanna wonder around muttering to myself not asking for prices.  Second, there was an enormous wooden “structure” looming above my head,  I spied chain, wires, carabiners, leather, pulleys, and  multiple implements of dubious function. Third, I turned around, bumped into and spilled the contents of a box, and a massive pile of metal speculums came tumbling out as if trying to flee the scene with me.  Mid century modern my eye! Try Middle Ages torture chamber. Fourth offense false advertising.

I could go home and have some lunch, but no I am looking for more trouble, so I hopped back into the car and headed east. The curse of the self-important collector was running rampant and I ducked and covered. Unfortunately all there was to duck under were really, really, really decorative afghans. There were three fur coats identically fashioned out of the same rodent in violet, hunter green and brown. There were a few beautiful and expensive pieces of furniture. I, however hadn’t yet removed the unneeded piece from The Husbands car from yesterdays excursion, so I don’t consider adopting any. I did acquire a little bundle, I don’t need any of it, but I cannot go home empty handed.

The lure of ridiculous cross stitching cannot be controlled and I grab this beauty.


The Teenager- MOM!  You are not going to hang that in the kitchen!

me- oh yes baby!

The second spoil of the day is simply a reflection on my most recent and current mood,  I’ll wear it often to keep the innocent from harm.


The third bit of windfall is a 1970’s chia pet, which according to the teenager is a large cucumber with a snout.  She isn’t wrong, but I clean him up and name him Henry Higgins.


The torture chamber theme marches on with this fourth little gem that was nestled among sewing paraphanelia.


The batteries still work and now I can go home.