accidental parenting.

I had an unplanned conversation with My Teenager. I have always been an advocate for conscientious parenting, but I  also believe that life unfolds and things may seem like “accidents” but in fact are opportunities.

Allison gave all of her girlfriends an emergency holiday survival kit. The jar contained many things, some hilarious. A Band-aid, lighter, tea light, panty liner, candy, quarter, condom etc….  In my holiday hurry I left the jar on the counter where The Teenager happened upon it.  The jar thumped onto the table and the top came off,  questions ensued.

You are smart so I am guessing that you know exactly which emergency item she wanted to discuss. This is a great way for me to take on hard topics. I hate conflict, and this evolved into a conversation between two humans that trust each other. It began with “why is it wet?” then touched deftly on STDs and rounded out with ultimately who’s responsiblity it is to provide such items.  I flashed back 16 years to when I made the conscience choice to bring her into this world and it became abundantly clear which wisdom morsel to impart to her. “You are responsible, you will have to make the choice to adjust and sacrifice your future, your sanity, and your body to emotionally and financially support another human for at least 18 years, or choose to end a pregnancy.”  I jest a bit to lighten the mood, but my tone is as serious as a I can manage, and she hears me.  She hears the passion with which I honor her life with my own.





budding art collections.

I decided to re post this blog, I regret that I cannot at this time show you the pieces I bought this year (I already wrapped them) but I did purchase both of them at Zygote Press.

I almost have a complete aversion to shopping in general. I do love a good and thorough Costco trip with a car filled with a million semi healthy snacks and plenty of Kefir. As far as holiday shopping I limit myself to what the local stores and artists offer.   Occasionally  I am in one of these holiday shows, and I try to barter as much as possible. Win. Win.  At the top of my shopping list is always art for the The Associate and The Teenager. It doesn’t have to be expensive or collectible, just a cool piece by a local artist that I think they will like.  These were 2013.

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I always buy something from this woman, she is multi-talented and I love that her mom is just as talented and always has booth somewhere nearby.

Here are a few from years past of which I happen to have pictures.


I bought two of these  in 2012 from local artist Debbie Apple-Presser.


The Teenager loves ballet so this is hers from 2011.


My Friend Sarah painted this from one of my photographs of The Associate, I believe I gave it to The Husband, but it will probably go with The Associate when she ejects herself.


This is one of my favorites, I got it at a garage sale from the artist on my street. bargain!


And this one, the one that inspired this post. The Associate turns 7 tomorrow and I finally found a frame for this to go in her room.I purchased this from a student at a local high school where my friend Sarah teaches.  I always get to judge the senior art show and fell in love with this.  I gave him 50 bux and the confidence that comes when somebody buys your first piece. The title of this piece is “Big Ass House”  I haven’t told The Associate the title because she would find a way to work it into casual conversation just to mess with me.

Hopefully when they get ready to start their own lives they will be proud owners of an eclectic and inspiring art collection. I do make sure that I like all of the pieces too, just in case. 😉


It is that time of year when I wake up panic-stricken thinking that about the holidays. This particular morning when I awoke fresh as a daisy, I was concerned about a gift I purchased for The Associate from Brookstone. The other day I found a lonely card in the key bowl and discovered it was worth 38 bucks. Can’t waste that. Is there anything useful on the site, not really, is there anything for 38 bucks, not really? I was about to give up scrolling when I found this.


Let’s be honest… She doesn’t deserve a tablet 🙂 and she wastes tons of paper. Perfect. I saw. I ordered. I still owed 7.34 cents. I checked one thing off her list.

My subconscious however had different plans, and I dreamt that it never arrived. Oh no… She isn’t getting enough stuff….(because that is what this holiday is all about right?) So she isn’t getting enough crap,no big deal, she has been pretty bad, and Santa was watching. I will have to call and get a refund, annoying, BUT then I have to troll the endless catalog of useless gadgetry to find yet another mass-produced piece of junk to avoid wasting 38 dollars, NIGHTMARE.


passive aggressive fish care.

The Associate…is…….driving me batty…..It is obviously not me, right? To ignore my contribution to the madness would only compound the issue and impound me further.  Blame is the name of this game, and I fold.

I made a conscious decision to have this child. She is “spirited”, strong, beautiful and exhausting.  I chose her, she chose me.  How many times have I exited her room high and mighty upon the words personal responsibility (tons)? How many times have I looked in the mirror and thought what am I doing wrong (many)? How to make it stick, how to remain strong when utterly spent?

The answer my friends, is to take it out on the fish.

“Katherine the Great, Matthew and Stephanie…… your mother, The Associate doesn’t love you anymore, so I must feed you or you will die from her lack of concern for your well being.”  I know, I know but I won’t let you down.”  I confess to my thankfully ear less friends.

and then giggle, and move on.





My Icarusey ride…

I was flying high when I entered the gallery and saw myself and my people on the walls.  How amazing to be painted by someone who knows you so well.  I felt like a movie star for 10-12 minutes and it was beautiful.

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Maybe life is always like this, up-_down up-_down up-_down, or maybe I got a little to close to the sun this time because the fall felt sharper then usual as I ended up in the mall.  I hate the mall, but The Teenager needed a dress for homecoming.  (Back story) My offspring are 7 plus years apart, which is good and bad.  Beside the fact that the older can babysit the younger the only other “good” I can summon today is that she and I can reflect together on her poor fashion choices as I guide the younger through THE EXACT SAME THINGS.  Facing the all too stark reality that The Teenager + the current fashion trends = lurching stomach, I awoke to The Associate brushing her hair so furiously that I was afraid she would rip it out.  What in the heck was she even doing out of bed? I usually have to drag her about to get her out the door, but she had “a style” in mind.

I took a deep breath and said,

“let me do it how I think I would you like it and you tell me if it is ok. ok?”

She agreed with me! phew.  As I hurried The Teenager into the car I reminded her of some her particularly bad fashion choices as she complained about her sister, and she recounted my first fashion talk I gave her with amazing accuracy.  I was a shy girl and expressed myself through my clothes, and still do. I was shopping at thrift stores at a very young age, always striving to be different for the least amount of money.  I clearly had a child with the same purpose, and I gave her this talk when she was about 8.  Out of 365 days of the year I get 7 vetoes.  Assuming of course you are appropriately covered because those vetoes don’t count.  She wanted to know why I would ever make her change her clothes and I explained the importance of dressing for an occasion or a gramma.  You can still make your impression but do it with more elegance on those days.  I have never had to say this twice to my eldest spawn, and she hasn’t been vetoed in years. Until, the mall yesterday.   She just happened to be wearing her signature cat eye makeup with her thick platinum hair flowing down and three-inch heels and a “dress”.  She looked stunning and I stammered.

“you looked absolutely beautiful but you look like you would feel at home on a pole, so…… no.” We settled on a less curve hugging ensemble, and she complained about looking like a fifth grade teacher, I smiled, and thought here I go again as I strapped on my wings.

Pictures to follow.




I took the bait…

I took that slimy bait and swallowed because I have a bad habit of not finishing projects, or that is at least what I am telling myself.  It absolutely has nothing to do with the fact that I have little to no control over my second born child.  Either she is the youngest Jedi master ever or I am just plain exhausted. I did find this though which helped her case.


We went to purchase our new family members only learn that we needed to buy more equipment first.  We shelled out cash for a heater and purchased a plethora of colorful plastic plants (thankfully there were no pineapples.)  We asked the same questions of a different employee, got different answers, and scurried out before I got even more confused and irritated.

Two days later….and a warm tank… We are back, hovering in front of a million fish, and the pressure is on. The UV light is highlighting each fish and I try to explain that this is not what they will look like in our tank while the employee that is on duty today says we can get 8 fish at a time (5 more than other employees said on previous visits.) I roll my eyes and wonder exactly how much commission you can make on 4 dollar fish that is on sale for 2.24.  “WE are only buying three fish” I blurt and somehow step away with two additional African dwarf frogs.

I artfully dodge all other adorable items, by illustrating exactly how much money we have leaked, and we are bobbing out the door changing the names of our new friends, for the fifth time.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you…….

Stephanie, Kathryn the great, and Matthew.. Tropical tetra fish


Victor and Vanessa the African dwarf frogs (possible daytime soap characters) have yet to come out of hiding, and hopefully will live forever.

I am trying not to take the bait….

The Associate wants fish. I resisted for a long time because of the many misfortunes of previous fish. I asked The Teenager if she was scarred by my ruthless though unintentional slaughter of her pets. She says she isn’t, but I am.

This conversation happened at least year ago and the threat of never having a fish has been wielded frequently,  so much that it isn’t taken seriously at all anymore and I begin to consider this new addition to our family.  Being practical ( I do try) I first address the placement of this tank, and where would it be least likely the fish die by my hand. So kitchen. Next up what will this tank look like, and where will it come from. I am very frugal when it comes to purchases like this and I am pretty sure there is an abundance of fish torture chambers available for free.

Duh. I have one in the dining room that I have been using as a terrarium forever and is sorely in need of a replanting.  We clean it out.


buckled it in and took it to the aquarium store to get a second opinion.


They were very helpful and thrilled by my tank. They had never seen one like it, and tried to convince me to get jellyfish, I was sold, but The Associate didn’t want a salt water tank.  OK then.  We went home with a filter, a pump and a very stern warning to make sure it was watertight before any further action was taken.


We set it up on the porch and filled her (she is definitely a she) up to see.  The Associate thought it was funny to splash water on the cardboard to make it look like it was leaking, but we had too much momentum to stop now and my empty threats fell upon deaf ears.  She held her water and we did some research about fish and ease of care.  After the test was done we emptied her again and moved her around the house to find a good home before I filled her up again.  Following the advice of our fish friends we let it run for two weeks and then set about getting some fish. I unfortunately fell ill and couldn’t pull it together until Sunday evening to make it to the store and they promptly closed as we pulled in.  Melt down ensued… “I am devastated, I have had to wait through winter, spring, summer and now it is fall again!!!! I am paraphrasing of course, but it went on and on.  The Teenager chimed in “and you will have to wait a whole 24 more hours, get a grip.” “you get a grip!” was shouted back but the mood slowly wound down as we strolled through whole foods looking for soup to make me feel better. 30 minutes later she is singing about being on top of the world, and The Teenager inquires about her roller coaster ride.  I go to bed wondering if she is stable enough to parent fish, because we already know that I am not.  What to do….


measure ten times cut once or twice depending.

You have two choices, either you can make sure your project has your full undivided attention or not.  Because life is hectic and precious I usually fall into the later category. I think to myself “No problem, The Associate is doing her homework, I’ll make some precision miter cuts for the cabinet trim.”  This sounds like a splendid idea, theoretically.  Ten minutes later I am chanting the measurements out loud as I climb down my ladder.  The chanting helps a little, it sort of signals to The Associate that I am in fact doing something that cannot be interrupted, but you are probably asking yourself “why doesn’t she just write it down?”  You are a genius, however I may have left my pencil inside.. with my tape measure… or I may have left that little piece of paper I ripped off of The Associates homework  to scribble on inside as well after discovering my pencil tangled up in my rat nest hairdo.  As you can see many things can happen, and the moral of the story is  “Your project will actually go faster if you do it when your family isn’t bothering you.”


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.