Humorous thoughts on adulthood – thank goodness for chocolate, drinks, friends, and duck tape!

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Neighbors and Friends
National Good Neighbor Day – Sept. 28

We moved back to Oakland to have neighbors again.  Growing up, I knew every neighbor.  In fact, I was related to some, and the others weren’t surprised if I showed up unannounced!  When we moved back, we wanted Ellen to be able to play with neighbor kids and for us to know our neighbors.  Choosing to live on a cul de sac was our best move.  However, our neighbors might disagree! Lol.

Truth be told, our daughter has helped us meet lots of people, like the night Ellen decided to take off from Jason when he had three broken toes.  She saw a neighbor’s garage door open, made a break for it, got through the door into their house and headed for the furthest point in their basement.  Nothing like being the new neighbors and knocking on someone’s door to say our kid’s in your house!  Our only hope was there were no guns, snakes, or fornicating teenagers in it.  Pretty sure there wasn’t!  But we sure do know how to make a first impression! Many embarrassing stories later, we have met almost all of our neighbors!  Of course, there were a few who already knew us!  Bless their hearts for letting the sale go through. 🙂

Point of all this:  September 28 is National Good Neighbor Day. 

The Riverside Links group is encouraging everyone to take part.  What does that mean?  Well, it means go next door and invite the neighbors over for tea, beer, or supper.  It means taking some flowers to the elderly lady who doesn’t get out much.  It means having a block party in the middle of the street for your kids to paint kindness rocks.  It means setting a 7pm chat time and maybe bribe one of the neighbors to make brownies.  It means removing the giant branch for the couple that can’t physically do it.  It means s’mores on the deck with the family next door.  It basically means whatever you want it to mean as long as you are actually talking to or doing something nice for your neighbors!  Acknowledgement makes communities strong!  And I’m not just talking here, I’m talking wherever you live in the world!

Listen, we are all so busy and it’s so easy to wave hellos and good-byes and to never even talk to a person you live 100 feet from.  I’m not judging.  I am equally as guilty, but I’m pretty pumped to get this going!  It’s like May Day but in September! 🙂  And if you know me, you know I love May Day – treats, friends, and something a little unexpected!

Seriously, when we moved back, all I wanted was that home town feeling for my kid.  When we got here, Dick and Leslie realized we were in over our heads and mowed our yard for us.  Jamie and Jill invited us for supper.  My family and Jason’s unloaded boxes and more boxes.  Jen brought us possibly the greatest bars ever! Magaly and Josh offered my daughter a chance to play on their trampoline whenever she wanted.  Jodi and Tim gave me stuff for our nephew who was getting his first apartment. Kaitlin gave Ellen toys she’d outgrown and the stories go on…  And I chatted with my neighbor in the ‘burbs one every year…maybe.

It’s easy to take a neighbor for granted.  It’s not so easy to get good ones.  I hope you take a minute or twenty or more out of your day next Thursday to make it a day to remember.  It will be worth it:

 “As our Nation struggles to build friendship among the peoples of this world, we are mindful that the noblest human concern is concern for others. Understanding, love and respect build cohesive families and communities.” – Former Pres. Jimmy Carter

Isn’t that what we want for all of us?

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And if you do something fabulous (which I know some of you will), please drop by and comment here.  We’d love to hear, or share on Facebook and tag the Riverside Links or me. 🙂  Got some other suggestions for what people could do?  Tell us!

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I can’t believe it, but we have yet another niece graduating (and a nephew graduating from college but he’s not the sentimental type)!  And graduation always makes me reflective and feel the need to impart my wisdom.  Okay, my wisdom hasn’t gotten me a national TV show or a Pulitzer, but it also hasn’t landed me in jail or on a hit list (at least, none I’m aware of)!  So here are a few tidbits I hope our niece comes to learn and maybe you can share these with some kid in your family that listens better to somebody they don’t know! lol. Or maybe you just need your own little reminder:

Ba-bye, bitches!

First off, say farewell to your frenemies. Do it nicely. High school (and the business world and the PTA and the bar) is all about the people you like on any given day, hate on any given day, are jealous of on any given day, and can’t wait to get rid of on any given day. Today, you get to get rid of them. Do so gracefully. Wish them well. Cry over what was and what will be in all its scary glory, and then keep your mouth shut. You don’t have to burn a bridge, you can just choose not take that route anymore.

Old Money is still the best Money

Secondly, remember where you came from. Be loyal. Friends and family are just like clothing. The new is exciting and fun and always nice to have for special occasions, but the old stand-by pajama pants and prom t-shirt from 10 years ago will be comfy and reliable and what you need on a bad day. Same with the people you surround yourself with. It’s okay to have new people in your life, but don’t ditch the old. Dance with the one you came with. They brought you here.

Don’t be a Hater!

Third, the world may be screwed up, but you don’t have to be. I really like that Mother Theresa quote about how the world may hate or do wrong, do good anyway. There are plenty of screwed up people, situations, and moments in life. Rise above.

Better to change your mind than to not use it!

Fourth, it’s okay to change your mind. Not 500,047 times, but when you need to, go ahead. If the major isn’t right, switch it. If the friends aren’t the right circle, ditch ‘em. If the job is somewhere else, try it. We all have a plan. Sometimes, we stay on that path. Sometimes, we take the road less traveled and that makes all the difference… (Yes, Robert Frost, you were right.)

Humble and Kind, just like Tim McGraw says. Please!

Fifth, be humble. Never think you’re better than. There are those that have a lot to put on their résumé and there are those that could but don’t have to. There will always be people telling you how great they are and there will always be people that are just great. Be the great. Don’t think you’re owed anything. Hope floats when you realize your cup runneth over. (Yes, love that movie!)

It all comes out in the wash…

Here’s the bottom line: there will be crappy times when people die, your basement floods, your kid gets sick, and you want to crawl into bed and sleep it off. There will be times when you sit with a drink in your hand, look up at the blue sky, look around you at the group of people talking and laughing with you, and you’ll soak it in. Life isn’t easy, but it is doable.

Live well.
Do good.
Take God with you.
Build the right relationships.
Find your little piece of happiness and live in it.
Laugh when the wheels fall off. Then, put ‘em back on and bolt those sonofabitches down and take a roadtrip.
Happy Graduation, little girl! May life always treat you kind…

 

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Any words of wisdom you’d like to share?  Any of those ring true with you?  Got a graduation you’d like me to speak at? lol.  Tell me.


not happy – t-shirt slogan:  Ain’t no mama like the one I got. #Truth

 

Mother’s Day is looming. I haven’t handled Mother’s Day yet for either mother, mine or the husband’s. I know what I want to do but making it happen is a whole ‘nother ball game. The funny part is that I forget that the day is for me, too, now. It’s weird. I guess I still think of my mom instead because she is most definitely a great mom.

 

I, however, am not a great mom. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for platitudes. I try. In fact, I try really hard, but my parenting fails are vast and many. So instead of telling you how glorious motherhood is and how wonderful the whole experience is, I will do my usual and keep it real.

 

Parenting fails – I don’t even know where to start on my list:

 

#ParentingFail #599 – Most nights, there’s more food on the floor at Chez Carley than in her mouth.

 

#ParentingFail #600 – Yes, she still sleeps with me.

 

#ParentingFail #695 – No, she is not potty-trained yet at 2 ½. No, I do not feel bad about that.

 

#ParentingFail #789 – I have already had to restrict her YouTube usage because she was going to inappropriate sites, like ones that had spiders on them and ones that involved laughing after farting. No, no nudity, but spiders are bad enough. Thank you.

 

#ParentingFail #1050 – My daughter may, or may not, have been known to eat a brownie for breakfast, but in her defense, she saw me doing it first.

 

#ParentingFail #2000 – My daycare provider is counting the days till she is rid of us, partly in hopes that my daughter doesn’t break a bone on her watch and partly because we don’t follow rules well.

 

#ParentingFail #2999 – Sometimes, I yell when I get mad or growl in attempt at not yelling. My daughter now grrrs… Clearly, I need to rethink my attack. However, I will consider it a parenting win that she hasn’t said any cuss words…yet.

 

And those are just the ones that come to my head today.

 

So here I am trying to remind you that parenting is hard. You shouldn’t feel bad if you think so, too. And, your mom, well, she deserves a new house, car, grand reception, and a mini-bar, but if you can’t make that happen, at least give her a call or a card. They gave us life and we gave them problems and insecurities and, with any luck, some happiness along the way.

 

That’s how it is for me…

 

Everyday, I worry about what I screw up. Everyday, I try to be better. Everyday, I know that my daughter doesn’t have it bad and that all I can do is love her the best I/we know how. Everyday, I hope that it will be enough. But everyday, in spite of the things I get frustrated with her for, I see that little face asleep on my arm and I hope I am doing her justice because for every naughty thing she does, she is still my precious little puddin’ pop, and I am blessed that she’s ours.

 

I’m not really sure that Mother’s Day covers the years of hard work, but it’s a good place to start.

 

So, thank you, to all of you who try hard, who put food on the table, and give your kids a moral compass. It isn’t easy. I have 2 and a half years under my belt and I think I could use 50 to be good at it. In the meantime, give yourself an umbrella drink and a night out with a babysitter if that’s what life requires right now. You’ve earned it.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

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Got any #ParentingFails? Got any #ParentingWins to brag about? Got something else to share or say? Let’s here it.


So we are officially two weeks into living in our hometown again after 25 years in the ‘burbs. It’s kinda weird, but I’ve already realized a few of the reasons we are back on home turf, more than just raising our little girl in a small town and being close to the fam.

 

First off, I went to the locker in Hancock on Saturday, got me some dried beef and Colby cheese, drove back, went to Dollar General or “DG” as the locals call it lol, got my hooks to hold my hairdryer and was back home in a shorter amount of time than it would have taken me to even drive to Target, let alone shop and drive home! Oh, the efficiency! Yay!

 

Secondly, I’m outside Sunday trying to lasso my child back into the house when my former, I know better than to call her old, English teacher shows up at our door to welcome us home. Can I just mention how sweet that is? Now, I’m sure she has a few ulterior motives, but I’m game.

 

Third, a couple of nights ago, I had an actual conversation with my neighbors IN THEIR HOUSE! I have not hung out with neighbors just to shoot the sh** since I was in college. I feel like I should show up at their house with Domino’s pizza and Bahama Mama (if I could even find it) to celebrate!

 

Fourth, I went to pull out of my very soggy driveway yesterday morning and see a guy using a flashlight to look around on the ground in the cul de sac. No need to panic! As I suspected, he was simply gathering nightcrawlers! I love living in a place where people put a priority on fishing! Yes, ma’am.

 

Finally, I won some silent auction items at a Relay for Life event a couple of months ago in which I got babysitters for 3-hour blocks. I texted the first one this week to see if she might be available this weekend and she was! And she even sounded excited to babysit for us! Dude, if you have ever had a 2-year-old you know how damn happy that can make a person!

 

PS – we will be attending the Betterment Committee’s Murder Mystery Theater Saturday night if you’re interested, go here to buy tickets!

 

Seriously though, I will be honest and tell you that after it has rained every day for the entire time we have lived there and commuting, I was starting to have reservations… Starting to doubt my decision to load up and haul my hubby and baby out of the city. I may, or may not have, had a few meltdowns along the way, but I know in my heart, I was meant to be back home. Bon Jovi and I, we know these things. So here’s to my discovering even more great reasons to be home and here’s to all of you who continue to put up with me no matter where I live. Love you guys.

 

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What great things have you realized once you moved? Or is there something you really love about small towns or the ‘burbs that you want to share? Are you mid-life-changes and got advice for me? Bring it on!


What's your word? "Phone a friend" is completely legal on this one!

What’s your word? “Phone a friend” is completely legal on this one!

 

So have you seen those My InTent bracelets you can get? I was watching them talk about them on the Today Show and about how the guy started it as a fun project he did for his friends and for birthdays and then, because Jay-Z and Kanye happened to wear one, it has turned into a crazy big business. If you haven’t seen them, he uses this string and ties it to what looks like a washer and there’s a word etched into the washer and you tie it around your wrist. The word is supposed to be something that means something to you and that keeps you focused on what you want in life.

 

Personally, I think I probably need more than just a bracelet! But I do understand that a visual reminder you see constantly should actually help. It’s like the Fit Bit telling you that you haven’t done crap today or looking at the pile on your desk as the cue that you are behind and swamped, except this is positive.

 

So what would your word be? Do you even have any ideas?

 

I was thinking about it for me. At first, I thought FOCUS, but that kinda defeats the purpose of finding a word to focus on. Lol. So then I thought of TELOS. Telos is your ultimate object or aim or purpose in the world. If I knew what my telos was, I’d already be focused on it! Lol. I still think it would be a good option, but my husband and I were having a conversation about how we are moving back to Oakland, and he said the perfect word. He said I was the WILDCARD. And I loved it!

 

That, my friends, is what I always hope to be: the wildcard! In any given situation, I could be the difference maker. I could be the one that sways the decision. I could be the one they don’t see coming.   I could be the unexpected. I could be the unpredictable one. I could be the one that pushes it to greatness. Now what that greatness is? Please don’t ask! Because I don’t know right now, unless of course you are referring to how I add just the right amount of frosting to a brownie! Lol.

 

But I do know I like the sound of being a wildcard. I like the idea of showing you left and going right. I like the idea of being the ace in the hole you have tucked away up your sleeve when you’re out of cards. I like being the surprise at the bottom of the crackerjack box.

 

So think about it. What is your word? Or what is the fun word you really want to be about? Share this post and ask your friends on Facebook what it should be! God knows we could all use some fun posts on fb right about now (instead of those awful political ones)! Or you can just tell me in the comment section. Maybe you already have a brilliant idea on your own!

 

So tell me what you’ve got to say! I’m excited to hear it!


img_0354

So what do you want to be when you grow up?  I didn’t think I’d be asking myself that in my 40’s, but here we are!  Now, the reasonable answer is: happy.  When I allow myself to be, I truly am.  But beyond that, I want to do something in my wheelhouse.  Do you ever feel that way?  That it’s just time to do something else with your life?

Teaching has been good to me.  Hopefully, I’ve been good to a lot of people along the way.  Hopefully, I’ve helped some figure out a few things, but I have watched that Steve Harvey video a million times and, my friends, it’s time to jump as you probably saw in one of my earlier blogs.

So what do I jump to?  I think a lot of people have that run through their minds and it’s what keeps them at the job they are currently doing.  I have to admit it is completely intimidating.  How do you get the stars to align so that what you’re qualified for, what you enjoy doing, and what you can fit into your schedule all work together?  It’s nearly impossible I would guess, but that’s me – always wanting the impossible. Lol.

So as I ponder where the next leg of my trip will take me, I’ve considered these options:

  • Do I go back to school to be an interior designer or an event planner? Well, I would have to sell myself to get business.  If you know me, that’s not my forte.

 

  • I’d really like to invent medicinal cookies for kids. Chocolate chip cookies that mask the flavor and are filled with all that crappy medicine they have to take.  Okay, let’s face it, I’m not that skilled so if you steal my idea, please give me 1% when you’re rich and on Shark Tank.

 

  • I’d love to have a Holiday Inn – you know the ancient Bing Crosby movie – I’d provide outings for holidays and be free the rest of the year. I know how to make a holiday special. I promise you that!  Forget Vala’s. Hello BC’s.

 

  • I’ve thought of running a basket business for those gifting times that you don’t quite know what to do like when someone’s ex-husband dies or your best friend’s cat is chosen to be in a commercial. Awkward is my specialty. However, I think shipping would be a bitch.

 

  • I have always wanted to be a greeting card writer, but I’m not sure it would pay the big bucks I need to keep my munchkin in Nike shoes.

 

  • My best shot might actually be a copy writer/content creator. My only worry is who will hire me when my knowledge base focuses on cattle, cussing, middle schoolers, and crazy families?  Just sayin’.

 

  • Now, truth be told, it goes without saying, that I have to admit the real job I’ve always wanted. I understand it’s not mine to be had, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve always wanted to be a trophy wife.  There, I said it.  But since that isn’t happening, I need to figure out what my purpose really is.  Part of me thinks it’s probably some job I’ve never heard of because my childhood was sans internet.  Yes, I’m really that old.

 

So stay tuned.  We’ll see where this road takes me, and here’s hoping it isn’t the unemployment line and my couch with a bucket of ice cream.

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Any advice for me?  Any ideas?  Other comments?  I’m listening.


Wove you, too!

Wove you, too!

No, I promise it won’t happen every time, but it is going to happen, and you’re gonna have to put up with my “mom” moments.  Sometimes, I contemplate life as a mom, something I really never expected to be.  As a mom of a toddler, my perspective has completely changed.  Props to anybody who can handle more than one.  I hear that whole man-to-man vs. zone defense, and it makes me queasy.  I’d be in a wealth of trouble.  But let me tell you what makes a mom of a toddler happy (well, at least this mom of a toddler):

  • A long, hot shower uninterrupted. OMG! I need not say anymore.

 

  • Someone babysitting your kid and texting you that they are running a little late in dropping off your child so you have a few extra minutes before they get home. That’s like a Christmas gift wrapped up with thousands of dollars in it!

 

  • As a toddler parent, I am surprising excited about shopping for the next size. There’s probably nothing cuter than little kid clothes – they’re colorful, they’re fun, and they don’t have to fit YOU!

 

  • They would love to hear, “Oh, I am so sorry. My kid never slept either and we were so worried because he hit everyone at daycare and embarrassed us in public.”  Nobody wants to hear about how perfect someone else’s kid was and is when theirs is clearly NOT!

 

  • Another thing a toddler parent wants to hear: “Oh, your child is so well-behaved! You must be doing a great job!”  For the record, I have never heard this statement and probably never will, but I know I’d love to hear it as long as it were true.

 

  • Oh, and we love to eat our own food without sharing. Chocolate-chip cookies with milk? Yes, please.

 

  • We dream of watching an entire episode of our favorite show, and again, uninterrupted. If you’re curious, I love me some Younger on TVLand.  Love. That. Show!

 

  • But I have to admit, there’s one thing that I had no idea would make me so happy and it happened a couple of weeks ago:  my girl said, “Wove you, Mama.”  Truly might be the best words I’ve ever heard.  I melted.  And if you know me, you know I don’t melt all that often. So there it is, the sappy, non-sarcastic thing every toddler mom loves to hear.  Sure hope you’ve had the pleasure, as well.

 

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Do you have something that would make you happy as a mom or dad of a toddler, a mom of a teenager, a mom of a college graduate, etc? Let’s hear it!

Can you relate?

Got something else I need to know? Spread it.