Safe Kids, Smart Parents: What Every Parent Needs to Know to Keep Their Children Safe

If you were to ask one hundred parents what their greatest hope is with regard to their children, I’m willing to bet that they would all say they want their children to be happy and safe. Safe kids are happy kids. Smart parents take steps to make sure they do everything in their power to keep their children safe. But as parents, we can do everything “right” and still find that our kids make bad choices or by no fault of their own, find themselves in dangerous situations. And that is why I am writing about the book Safe Kids, Smart Parents: What Parents Need to Know to Keep Their Children Safe.

I could give you hundreds of examples of smart parents that did their due diligence, educating their children about good touch and bad touch, listening to the “uh-oh” feeling, internet safety, etc., yet still their children were hurt or even killed. It’s the worst part of being a parent, isn’t it? The reality that something could happen to your child; something violent, horrible and too scary to even think about, let alone discuss, especially with children.

So how do we talk to our kids about safety?

Another parent overheard me talking to my daughter about safety, a quick review, before leaving her at camp for the first time, and she said, “Don’t you think you are scaring her?”

I wanted to kick out her kneecaps and tell her to suck a duck’s dork, but I did not.

Instead I said, “Do you think it would be scarier for her to learn about safety from her mother, who loves her, or to be a vulnerable know nothing, increasing her chances for being kidnapped and locked up for years being sexually molested by a drug addict or raped by a trusted adult who is supposed to keep her safe?”

It was so quiet, you could have heard a mouse fart!

Maybe that was harsh, but life is harsh sometimes, isn’t it? The world is full of wonderful and kind people who would never think to hurt a child, but unfortunately there are people, sick and evil people, who truly are just looking for the opportunity to do unthinkable, terrible things to children. I dislike talking with my children about these things, but it’s necessary. When I speak to them about safety, I do it in a way that speaks to their developmental age and I use language that they can understand.

I’d rather hit myself in the head with a hammer, repeatedly, than continue to address safety with my children, because when I do talk to them about safety, I have to actually acknowledge the reality that something could happen to them, even if they know all the rules and do all the right things. But I know that taking time to discuss these things with them increases their chances of being safe, especially in risky, scary situations where they need to do some quick thinking. If they know what to do, they will do it!

So when I was asked to read and review the new book, Safe Kids, Smart Parents: What Parents Need to Know to Keep Their Children Safe, I jumped at the chance to do so, knowing that I would be able to tell you all about it and do a book giveaway. This book is a fantastic resource for professionals and parents. As a professional who has worked with many abused children, I’ve seen what these injuries do to children and families. The memories of my time as a mental health professional, hearing stories and seeing the aftermath of these traumas will haunt me for the rest of my days.

Although the subject matter is difficult, the book itself is an easy read. After an emotional forward by Terry Probyn, the mother of Jaycee Dugard, the authors provide a through chapter with directions on how to use the book. If I could jump up and down and scream and bang trash can lids while running up and down your street screaming, “PLEASE READ THIS BOOK AND USE IT TO TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT SAFETY NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS,” I would. The section in the book called The Safe Kid Kit, is, in my humble yet knowledgeable opinion, pure genius. It is, without question, one of the best resources available for parents and professionals alike, and believe me, I have read and everything I can possibly get my hands on with regard to children and safety. I can’t say enough about what a great tool this is for parents who don’t know how to initiate these difficult discussions with their children.

Ever heard the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” TRUTH! I know how hard it is to have difficult conversations with children. Before I had my own wee kids, I spend considerable time with children whose parents didn’t provide them with information, not because they didn’t want to, but because they didn’t even realize they needed to!

Do not let this be you.

I hope you will all engage in a helpful and supportive dialogue about safety with each other by commenting on this blog and on my Facebook  and Twitter pages. We can help each other and in doing so, increase the chance that our kids will make safe choices when faced with risky and/or dangerous situations, because trust me – they will. Please share or tweet a link to this blog. I will choose a winner for the giveaway randomly (meaning that I will close my eyes and use my dog’s paw to select the winner). I will also send the winner a copy of my book, because it’s just not right for me to ignore the opportunity for shameless self-promotion and to provide some comic relief for you after reading about a difficult topic.

* I was asked by the publisher if I would give this book a look-see. Aside from being given a book for myself and a book to giveaway, I was not compensated for this post.*

Guess what fellas? Farts are not f**king foreplay!

Farts are almost always funny. I say almost, because sometimes farts make me mad instead of glad. Most of the time, farts make me feel giggly, relaxed and peaceful. Nothing gets me right like a powerful purging of poisonous gas after a weekend of summer festival binge eating or overdosing on veggies and ranch dip at a cookout, however sometimes farts make me furious and frustrated. They remind me that I’m getting old and although I cannot believe I’m actually admitting this, I confess that farts no longer hold the power to amuse me the way they used to. I’ll explain.

I am 43 years old and have been married for almost 20 years. I know, the idea that someone put up with my idiocy for that long is comical, but miraculously someone has, and continues to do so. I find it weird, but I have come to understand something about marriage that can only be understood by a person who has been in a committed relationship for a decade or so and that something is this – farts can help and hurt a relationship. Farts are powerful! Not because are they are a flammable gas or because some farts have been clocked at a speed of 10 feet per second either!

I’m sure you are like – WOW – and also thinking WTF? WHERE IS SHE GOING WITH THIS? I’m getting to that!

In his new book (click the word ‘book’ to check it out) chronicling his adventures in parenting, Drew Magary shares an emotional story about the day he and his wife learned that their seven weeks premature firstborn child suffered from intestinal malrotation, and had only a hot second to process the idea he might not survive a dangerous surgery to correct the problem. As they hugged and sobbed, desperately clinging to each other, grieving the frightening news, his wife cut a fart.

You read that right. SHE FARTED.

The tears turned into laughter and they found a way to endure the hellish nightmare together. Now that’s an example of funny and fabulous flatulence – first-rate farty-fart funny. That fart had the power to heal. (By the way, the little guy survived “having his intestines tossed.” He is happy and healthy, a typical a-hole kid, cherished by his parents, and can fart just like any other kid thankyouverymuch)

And now I’m just going to tell you why farts make me angry. Not just a little angry, but cartoon character with steam coming out of my ears angry.  This didn’t used to be the case, but the wisdom I’ve gained in my 43 years resulted in a fart epiphany! Much like f-bombs and other things deemed socially inappropriate, there is a time and a place for farts, because farts really are powerful! And that time and place really needs to be considered by couples in a long-term relationship if they hope to maintain any sort of sex appeal for each other. After awhile, a couple has to work a bit harder to turn each other on, because time simply sucks dry the old stand by sexy stuff like perky boobs and a chiseled jawline, and replaces them with stuff saddle bags, beer bellies, and noses that have an inch (or six) of curly gray hair hanging out of them.

I shit you not when I say that I really don’t want to be downwind when my husband cuts the cheese, at least not when he does it on purpose for a laugh, and I certainly don’t get turned on when he says, “Pull my finger,” and blows a big one. I admit that I sometimes I find it funny though. I used to always find it funny, but after over 20 years together, that funny has lost some power. Like I said earlier – time and place. I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Girls talk…

Come on, Dad! You can do better than that.

Come on, Dad! You can do better than that.

Anyway, over the years, I have attempted to avoid having my husband hear me having what Bella Swan would call “a human moment,” (I can work a Twilight reference into anything. Anything. It’s a gift really…) and I have done my best to keep up my appearance (without surgery or other chemical enhancements aside from the one time I tried Botox and spent three months looking  like David Spade’s character when he got caught masturbating in the movie Tommy Boy) despite the inevitable and typical age and life related appearance changers suck as extra weight, wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, etc.

I can’t stop time from stealing my youth and I understand that stinky-poo farts are just an inevitable consequence of being a living, breathing human, but I don’t have to like these things or flaunt them; especially the farty-fart part! I cherish the miracle of my body, the way it’s built to take in and expel nourishment a certain way. It fascinates me that food looks so good before I put it in to my body, and then so god awful horrible when it comes out. Ah, but that, my friends, is life, and life is good. It’s precious and fragile, not to be taken for granted, much like romantic relationships. And I do not take my romance for granted.

For years I’ve read articles giving tips for a happy and healthy marriage and I have heard couples speak about the importance of keeping a relationship fresh. Well, farts aren’t fresh. Farts are rotten. They are funny sometimes, that I can’t deny, but they aren’t sexy. And so I’ve come to the conclusion that really the only thing I can control with regard to keeping things fresh, aside from regular bathing, wearing a good support bra and using ten gallons of moisturizer a week, is to smell as good as I possibly can around my husband, and that’s not going to happen if I rip out farts and act like the sound and smell is an aphrodisiac. Not like I did this before I came to this earth shattering insight about farts, but still, I now realize that I’ve got to hold on tight to whatever I can with regard to keeping up my sex appeal and one thing I can hold tight, are my butt cheeks.

You read that right. I’M NOT GOING TO FART PUBLICLY.

I can hold my old lady butt cheeks together, clinching them and shuffling as I get out of bed or leave the room to rip the rotten if the need arises, and god knows it will. I’m only human you know. I told my husband he needs to do the same and before he could argue about how inconvenient that would be, I reminded him that I’m not the only girl that doesn’t want to put up with that kind of yucky stinky butt stuff! “I mean, think about it,” I told him, “at this point, if we were to split up and he found some chicky-poo and got re-married, at our age, there would be a very good chance that she’d probably been married before, or at least in a long term relationship, and grew tired to pulling that guy’s finger as an attempt at foreplay, so why not just stay with me and stop the stink and spark the sexy!”

The look on his face was hysterical. Really, if I’d shit out a kitten right then and there, it would have surprised him less. It was funnier than the funniest fart I’ve ever heard and in 43 years, you know I’ve heard a LOT of farts.

Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes. Maybe.

We don't believe you. Find this image at The Buy the greeting card too. Rad.

We don’t believe you. Find this image at The Buy the greeting card too. Rad.

*This is not a sponsored post. I received no compensation aside from an early copy of Drew’s book, which I really enjoyed, because compared to him, I sound polite and adorable and downright fucking saintly, and that stops those dumb-shit Westboro Baptist people from picketing in front of my crib, ya know?*

Good Luck Charlie does good for the LGBT community

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve written anything that had the potential to bring out the ignorant, over-sensitive, butt-hurt, internet troll, shit-talkers, and every once in a while, a girl just needs a little rumble so here goes a little something-something! BRAVO to the writers of the Disney channel series, Good Luck Charlie!

The popular (and in my opinion hilarious) show, Good Luck Charlie, will be introducing a family that has two mommies. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, (and ignorant, over-sensitive, butt-hurt ,internet troll, argumentative, shit talkers) Disney – known for creating a world of fantasy is stepping boldly into reality.

Yes, reality.

Educated and open-minded people know that homosexuality isn’t simply a lifestyle choice, that our sexual preferences are as much a part of our biological make-up as the color of our eyes or the size of our bones. But unfortunately, the world is still stocked with ignorant, stubborn and delusional people who don’t understand this at all, people who can’t tolerate anything that they don’t understand or agree with.

I would never insist that people agree anything that is simply wrong and dangerous, things that would injure other people mentally, physically or spiritually. But sexuality is so much a part of all of us, no matter what gender we are attracted to, or what our specific turn-ons might be. But I must say that when people continue to deny the reality that homosexual, bi-sexual, transexual or transgendered people don’t deserve the rights and respect that heterosexual people have always taken for granted, I find myself judging them and saying to myself, “Self…why do people choose to entertain their bat shit crazy and ignorant opinions and attitudes towards things they don’t understand and why don’t they pull their heads out of their asses and get with the reality that being LGBT isn’t wrong or bad or a sin, that being LGBT is merely a state of being like any other?” Myself wishes I knew the answer to that question.

Just this week, my husband, son and myself were watched episodes of two of our favorite shows. First we watched the deliciously different world portrayed on Defiance, (Syfy channel) and then hunkered down for an action packed episode of Teen Wolf (MTV). Both episodes contained love scenes between two women and in my opinion, (oh that again?) each show portrayed the relationships authentically and tastefully, just as they would with a heterosexual couple.

My husband and I are among the educated and open-minded people who believe in equal rights for all people and that there is no wrong way to love another person. Love is love, but the world we grew up in didn’t embrace this reality, so for us, the on-screen portrayal of homosexual relationships is something very different than we are used to. Not bad, just different. And we both agreed that the relationship on Defiance in particular was not only exceptionally hot, but also so well done. The developing relationship between the alien woman, Stahma, and the human woman, Kenya, is fascinating, not because it is an alien/human relationship or a lesbian relationship, but because it is a passionate and extremely emotionally charged relationship between two very complex beings. So cool! But I digress.

My point here is that my son didn’t comment on the nature of the sexual relationships at all aside from discussion about the general storyline of both shows. I realized that his reality has always included the concept that love is love, no matter what gender combination is expressing that love in a relationship. He gets it because it’s all he has even known. I’m so glad he lives in a time where people are finally starting to get it.


Personally, I can’t wait until it isn’t big news to hear about a new show, movie or book featuring homosexual, bi-sexual, transsexual or transgendered people. It’s big news now of course, and it should be, because for so long, any deviation from the status quo with regard to sexuality has been a source of conflict and debate with regard to how these differences are portrayed on screen. The good news is that now days, how they should be portrayed is how they are being portrayed and how romantic relationships actually are in real life – authentic, loving, passionate, respectful, loyal and real relationships between real human beings.


And so I say this – Good Luck to Good Luck Charlie and to all the brave storytellers who are bringing real life to surface, including and embracing differences, in hopes that the children of tomorrow will learn and grow from the mistakes of the past and create a better world for everyone. Until then, as Teddy sings to her little sister, Charlie,

“Hang In There Baby, Things Are Crazy But I Know Your Futures Bright
Hang In There Baby There’s No Maybe Everything Turns Out Alright
Sure Life Is Up And Down But Trust Me It Comes Back Around
Your Gonna Love Who You Turn Out To Be…..HANG IN THERE, BABY!”

I am Tony Soprano and so are you

I just want you to know that if you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s probably because I’m dead. I’m not afraid to die, but I don’t want to. Not yet. I’ve got so many things I still want to do! But people my age DO die ya know? It happens everyday. It happened yesterday, dammit. James Gandolfini is dead.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

And that sucks.

Sucks. Sucks. SUCKS!

I am James Gandolfini and so are you. And that truth is freaking me O.U.T.

People expect me to be funny and deliver zingers and one-liners because that’s what I did for years while building up a nice following of “fans” on Facebook. But really, in my opinion, by being a fan of Moms Who Drink And Swear, you are actually being fans of yourselves.

Yeah, you are.

Because what I have said in the past is simply what parents have been saying and thinking and feeling forever and a day. We are all the same deep down, it’s just that some of us won’t or can’t admit it, but those of us that do enjoy a smart ass quip about family life brings us together, lifting us out of the isolation and despair that is an inevitable part of being a human who is raising another human. It’s also true that for so many of us, being a parent often means putting the health and well being of our children first and neglecting ourselves, which is one of the reasons we do find ourselves so physically, emotionally and spiritually drained. Our lives lack balance, so we seek a source of solace, safety and sanity to help us level out. But often that is only temporary and we go back to old patterns of self neglect.

And that is bad.

Bad. Bad. Bad.

If you were a fan of The Sopranos and found yourself alternately loving and hating the character of Tony Soprano, feeling connected to his primal urges, impulsivity, fear, anger, passion and pain, you were not alone. It’s normal to do this, and quite frankly much easier to let someone else do the emotional work, to lead the way, set the tone and establish the boundaries. This is how we humans find our way – we learn by watching others.

It’s adorable when our children walk around with their tiny feet in your shoes, right? Haven’t we all whipped out the camera to snap a quick picture of this image? And then we move along with our day, having captured a memory and experienced the joy of seeing a miracle without realizing it. Our children will someday “fill our shoes.”

When our kids imitate us, it means they are really seeing us! They are watching and learning about how to live life from the moment they wake up until their heads hit the pillow that night and when they dream, their minds pick and choose the most important information to sock away for future use. The relationship between parents and small children is not that different than that of real people and fictional characters, be it on the screen or in a storybook.

What do you think your kids are learning about life from watching you? What did you learn from watching Tony Soprano struggle on screen for years and then hearing that the man who brought his character to life had suddenly died, leaving behind a wife and two children?

I can only speak for myself when I say that what I learn by watching others is that I need to continue to strive for balance in my life. BALANCE. For years, my mother kept a poem hung on our refrigerator about finding balance in life, seeking that sacred and safe space, so difficult to so many of us to reach. I’m sure I read the poem a hundred times, and although I didn’t memorize it word for word, I did absorb and integrate the message into my life. A life that is unbalanced is a tough life to live. So I try. And I live day to day, embracing the gray areas of life, because that is where I find peace of mind, forgiveness for my own imperfections and hope for my future. Finding balance is a marathon, not a sprint.

James Gandolfini was a man who was no different than any of us. He was just trying to live and find balance in his life. Professionally and personally, he seemed to be doing just that, yet based on the circumstances of his death, there was one area where he had yet to find the safe place, the balanced place – his physical health.

Obviously I didn’t know James Gandolfini personally, but I knew him in the way that people just know each other, because we really are all the same in the most important way – we are finite. Our time is limited and although how we as individuals live and believe during this time may be a source of disagreement and conflict, it would be ridiculous to argue that in doing so, our goals are different. They aren’t. We all just want to be happy, to be loved and love, to feel safe and comfortable. This goal cannot be achieved without some semblance of balance.

So in memory of James Gandolfini and in honor of your own fragile life, get to work finding balance. Watch, listen, learn and live! But as you are doing so, strive to be your own number one. Take care of yourself, every part of you, the best you can. You deserve it and only you can do this for yourself. Take the first step today. I wish I had the old poem from my mom’s fridge, because it was brilliant and inspiring. But I don’t and she can’t find the goddamn thing, so today I’ll leave you with the wise words spoken by the infamous Tony Soprano, hoping you will make today the first day of the rest of your balanced life –

“All due respect, you got no f—–‘ idea what it’s like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other f—–‘ thing. It’s too much to deal with almost. And in the end you’re completely alone with it all.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Gandolfini.

Scowler by Daniel Kraus: A Wiener Reader’s Book Review

I’m both embarrassed and excited to report that my new book club is ah-may-zing! It might just be the most bizarre and fantastic organization I’ve ever been a part of in my entire LIFE, and that’s saying something because I’ve seen and done and been amidst some whacked out wonkiness in my 43 years. You see, my book club is different than most, as there are only four members, two of which are canine, and the only other human in the club doesn’t even know he’s in a club at all!

I KNOW! You don’t even have to tell me what you are thinking because I KNOW! It’s glorious and you feel oddly jealous, yet at the same time afraid and amused. I KNOW.

Most people I know either like me because they have known me for a long time and don’t know any different, or they are happy to be entertained by what most people consider merely harmless quirk that is tolerable in small doses. I’m super-duper cool with both of these forms of liking, but I’ve always felt a smidge of sadness that I’ve never been invited to be in a book club.

Not only have I never been invited to participate in a book club, (not counting the Bible Study that kicked me out because it turned out I was a “fake Lutheran”) I have also never started a book club on my own, and this is INSANELY WEIRD considering how much I read. I mean, shit motherfuckers, I read a minimum of two books a week and have done so for the last 35 years of my life!

So back to the book club…

We are – drum roll please – THE WIENER READERS!

My son, the human who doesn’t know he’s in the club, has a wiener. The dog members of the club, whom I think have some idea that they are part of something special, (as evidenced by the sweet talking and snuggling) are both dachshunds, A.K.A. wiener dogs. Me? Well, I don’t have a wiener myself, but I very much enjoy my husband’s wiener on the regular and I love everything about the idea of meat squashed up in a casing making for easy eating – hot dogs, bratwurst, sausage, knackwurst – dephuckinglicious!


How can this be a club if one of the members doesn’t know he’s a member and the other members are wiener dogs? Because I say it can – Because I talk to them and they talk to me – Because nobody else I know reads as fast and furiously as I do, and even the people I know who do read, don’t seem to like the kind of books I like, so how the fuck else am I going to be in a book club if I don’t create my own version of one?


Exactly. It’s impossible, hence the creation of THE WIENER READERS. I mean, I could ask my son if he wanted to be an official member, but he’s 13 and I’m willing to bet you a beef brisket he wouldn’t embrace the concept. However, he will still talk with me about books and he’s the one who recommended the last book I read, a book called, Scowler, by Daniel Kraus. I could tell that Brody, the wiener with a wiener, was totally into the story, because he kept sticking his face in the book and licking my neck while squirming around on my lap. He just couldn’t sit still because dang – waves of adrenaline were coursing through my veins as I devoured the story – and he could feel the excitement.

Brody was exhausted by the end! It's quite a story! Two woofs way up.

Brody was exhausted by the end! It’s quite a story! Two woofs way up.

Scowler is not an easy book to read and I do not recommend it for most 13 year-old boys. My 13 year-old boy is a serious minded kid with the soul of some ancient spiritual guru who most likely held court around a roaring fire, telling stories and jokes while cooking meat on a stick. The kid loves meat. And he loves books.

The lady at the bookstore gave me the 411 on the book and made sure that I was aware it contained graphic violence and strong language. She was concerned it might not be appropriate for someone as young as my son and I am grateful to her for taking the time to let me, the parent, know a little about the content, giving me a heads up in case I might not want my kid to be exposed to the harsh reality of the story (YAY Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville for looking out for the kiddos!). And she was right on. Scowler is a raw, brutal, honest tale, laced with profanity. Kraus doesn’t skirt around the abuse, merely alluding to it using subtle references to blood or describing the instruments of torture. Nope! No skirting. He slams into your mind and soul with a story that is terrific, terrible and triumphant.

I would not recommend this book to any of my son’s friends. Not a ONE. Not yet. I also would not recommend this book to any of my friends. Not a ONE. They are all too sparkly and fresh, not dark and twisty like ol’ Nikki. My friends like trashy reality television, shopping for the perfect shoes, Candy Crush Saga and countless other bright and joyful things like vacations and musicals and books with happy endings. My friends are shiny and full of light. I am the dark one and that’s why we aren’t in a book club, you see? That’s why I had to create The Wiener Readers.

Much like my weird and rude blog, Scowler is a story that is not for sissies. Scowler is however, a very important story that smacks of reality. The therapist in me was captivated, yet the mother in me was unnerved to the point of hyperventilation, so grateful that my son’s childhood has been long and safe, that he never knew anything of the life described so vividly in the story. But like me, my son isn’t afraid of the dark and disturbing truths about humanity. He craves the chaos of a good story that won’t let him pause for sleep until he’s consumed the conclusion and melded the characters into his memory.

We have discussed the book at one of our meetings (that he didn’t know was an official Wiener Reader’s meeting, although all members were in attendance) and I’m glad to report that although Scowler was rough on our hearts, we are both better for having lived awhile between the pages of this mortifying yet magnificently told tale.

Rest in peace, Sniggety. See you at the Rainbow Bridge.

P.S. This is not, I repeat NOT a paid review, nor was I asked to review this book. The Wiener Readers just want to start sharing the stuff we are reading.

Next Wiener Reader’s review coming soon – Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth

Three of the Wiener Readers catching some ZZZZzzzzzzzzzs

Three of the Wiener Readers catching some ZZZZzzzzzzzzzs

P.P.S. My book is good too. Have you bought it? Read it? Shared it? Well, you should. And you should subscribe to my blog. BOOM!

Everybody poops

It was impossible for anyone in the crowded Sea-Tac airport bathroom not to hear the hilarious and adorable conversation between a mother and her little guy yesterday, but even so, I was particularly focused on them because after five days away from my family, I was feeling the ache – missing them.

One day away is heavenly, a little break that’s really as good for the kids and hubs as it is for me. Two days apart and I miss the sounds, sights and smells of home, (including the smell of their rotten breath when I wake them up in the morning with my intrusive and annoying habit of mauling them) but I’m still good. I define “good” as having a quick phone check in to hear their voices. Three days gone and suddenly it doesn’t feel like they are real anymore. Did I dream them up? I can’t stop looking at the little boy and his mom in the bathroom. I’m sure I look like a goddamn creeper.

The mom asked her little guy if he had to go potty, telling him that once he’s on the airplane, it will be a lot less convenient. She explains it to him, but he’s not hearing a word. He’s too busy leaping around the bathroom. I’m guessing he was about four years old? And the mom in me guessed that the squirming and leaping meant that he did have to go potty. Moms, you know what I’m talking about here, right?  But the wee fella wouldn’t budge. He said that he did NOT have to go potty. No. No. No. His mom cocked her head to the side and asked him if he was absolutely sure he didn’t have to make poops. And then a little grin slid across his face.

“I can’t wait to make a poopy up in the clouds, Momma!” he squeals, admitting that he’s going to hold on to his butt bomb just awhile longer so that he can have the experience of pooping on the plane.

“IT’S GONNA BE AWESOME,” he yells, jumping up and down a few times while clapping his hands. “It IS pretty cool to poop in the sky,” she giggles and gives him a high five.

The achy feelings about my family were no longer dull and intermittent. Watching the two of them get excited about his first poop in the clouds made my heart hurt. I’m not a big fan of flying, but I could not wait to get on the damn plane.

I call home and they are all too busy to chitchat with me, as usual, off and running with friends or just doing their thing. My absence is felt, but aside from a little change in routine, it’s no big deal that I’m gone. They know exactly when I’ll be home again. “Yeah Mom, I love you too. Miss you too. See you in X days,” they say each time I call to check in. Yeah, they count the days, but they have their dad, the dogs and they are surrounded by all the stuff that makes their life real and they humor me with a few minutes on the phone, not because they need to hear my voice, but because they know I need to hear theirs. I’ve told them this, so it’s basically guilt that brings them to the phone.

And I’m perfectly okay with this. Guilt is one of the most powerful tools in the parenting toolbox, amiright?

I wish I were on the same flight as the enthusiastic little boy and his goofy mom. I’m sure he was grinning ear to ear as he pinched a loaf at 30,000 feet. I thought about them after a few hours in the air and I had to go to the bathroom. It is sort of cool if you really think about it. A whole bunch of human beings, eating, drinking, reading, pooping, watching a movie or working while smashed together in a giant, metal machine that flies through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour over hundreds of thousands of people, who are not exactly oblivious to this, but most of them are not likely paying a speck of attention to the sights and sounds in the sky above.

When I said that I’m not a big fan of flying, I was actually understating my feelings about air travel: I hate it. I hate taking off, I hate that my head feels like it’s going to explode and there’s no way to sit crisscross applesauce on the airplane seat, as I like to do. Airplanes and stinky and uncomfortable and even though I know that from a statistical standpoint, I am much less likely to die in a plane crash than a car crash, flying scares the shit out of me. Literally. I always poop on airplanes. Travel belly, you know.

But yesterday’s flight was actually enjoyable. Not counting the things I said I loathe about the experience, yesterday there were some very specific things to love. The A, #1, first place thing was the simple fact that I was going home. Home. Home to my people, the ones that I love and love me too! I flew away toward people who like me and like my blog and book and think I’m swell and purposely came to see me. That is so cool and I’m still shocked and grateful. I’ll never stop being amazed and dorking out about the whole experience, but I know what really matters in the long run.

Do I want to share my blog, book and blathering? Hell yes. I love writing and connecting and helping people embrace the crazy through my words and whacked out version of wisdom. But I realize their feelings for me are temporary and superficial compared to their feelings for their loved ones. My words, I am told, help them love themselves their loved ones more. My words help them understand. My words give them laughs and perspective.

And that’s what the airplane ride did for me yesterday. It gave me perspective. Thousands of strangers, me being one of the strangest, all going somewhere, hopefully toward someone or something they love, each of us important to someone else, even if to each other we were just warm bodies to bump into in the bathroom or to sit next to on the flight.

Am I proud and appreciative that my book has enjoyed such a good reception and through my writing I have met people who I have come to love? Hell yes. But I also know that this too shall pass, like a big poopy, and the most important thing I have taken from this exciting, mind blowing, positive experience is this –

We are all the same

We are all the same

And I’ve learned that I am really proud of the people I wrote about in my book, so very proud to have such great people in my life. I have people to love and they love me. I’m so thankful to have stories to share, even if some of them are sad and made people cry (I’m talking to you Mamacon Seattle ladies). I came home to an exhausted husband snuffling back snot because his allergies are horrible, yet he mowed the lawn and fixed the fence. The house is a SHITHOLE. I repeat – A SHITHOLE. But it was a shithole when I left. My “Crotchfruit” kids were asleep, but I kissed their sweaty heads and inhaled their scent. They smelled like life. My life.

Thank you for letting me share my life. Thank you for sharing yours with me.

As the summer rolls along, I’ll be here and there promoting the book that is my life while writing another collection of humorous essays about the whacked out world we all live in where people are pooping in the clouds above us right fucking now.

Info on buying my book and coming to hear me speak and sign it can be found here on my blog. Look to the right. You can do it. Next up? Printer’s Row Literary Festival in Chicago, Illinois on June 9th from 12:15 to 1pm. I’ll stay as long as I’m wanted to meet you and sign your book and of course we can find somewhere to get a drink-poo, but you do need tickets to the event. You can get them by clicking HERE.

Best fest in the Midwest!

Best fest in the Midwest!

Hope to see some of you there. I recommend trying to poop before you go, as I don’t know what kind of poop facilities will be available.

Finding epic in the ordinary this Mother’s Day

Heroic, majestic and impressively great are the words used to define EPIC. Some people are so epic I can’t get enough of being around them. Epic people make you want to be better but they aren’t necessarily heroic, majestic or impressively great. Sometimes epic-ness is subtle. Sometimes it is not.

Being a parent is daily bursts of subtle epic-ness. It is the common thread that keeps all of us sane yet we look for the mountain-top epic-ness, often ignoring the idea that the key to surviving and thriving in this life is merely just taking the next breath. Sometimes as a parent you have to give your children the next breath so that they can go on.

I’m not a fan of parenting websites in general. Most books, websites, blogs and even pamphlets on parenting don’t even scratch the surface of how completely epic it is to be a parent yet I keep reading. I want to be an epic mom. I’m also watching. I’ve learned a LOT about this tricky parenting gig just by observing the behavior of others. What will my kids remember about me when they are grown? When I’m no longer here on earth, what will they say about me? Will they every know how epic is has been for me to be their mother?

I try not to let these thoughts interfere with what I’m doing now, but it’s hard sometimes. Life is about living. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. Don’t play the result. Be in the moment. Blah, blah, blah. Easier said than done.

Don’t play the result. I read an interview with Michael J. Fox, a few years ago and he said those words. DON’T PLAY THE RESULT. We all know how it ends, right? We are born, we live and we die. Life is epic, no matter how it’s lived and no matter how someone tells me to live so why is do l keep seeking some sort of epic, majestic and impressively great advice or wisdom on the right way to live, love or raise my children? The result won’t be favorable if I don’t focus on the process.

Reading those words reminded me that the epic-ness of my life with my kids lies in the moment. Each moment has the potential to be epic, but if I’m not actually there in that moment, then I am merely existing as I await the next grand gesture or memory making moment that they might remember when I’m pushing up daisies.

I remember my mother continuing to smile through my fumblings during midnight mass on Christmas, her hands spotted with dried candle wax. That had to hurt. They way those hands gently scratched my back to soothe me to sleep after getting my heart broken, and seeing her face as she watched my children being born or when I looked for her in the bleachers while I was competing in a sporting event as a kid. I remember watching her gently bury our bloodied puppy in the backyard after he was hit by a car, walking my colicky son in circles for hours, but most of all, I can still see her kneeling at my father’s feet and holding his face between her hands when the pain of his cancer made him cry.

None of these things seemed epic at the time. I have always expected epic-ness from her, yet because Mother’s day is this Sunday these images have been flooding my soul. Mother’s day is Sunday. How do you let the people you love know that an epic gesture isn’t necessary while still acknowledging their epic-ness? I have an epic mom. I can tell you that no material item or words can possibly convey the epic-ness of my feelings for her.

The night my father died was the only night that week that I slept at my own house. My subtle epic mom duties had been neglected; laundry, cleaning, shopping and spending time with my husband and son. I arrived at my parent’s home about an hour after my father had died. My mom had sat at his bedside holding his hand and rubbing his arm and cheek so that when I said my goodbyes, I would not be touching a cold, hard hand or face. She didn’t learn that in a book.

Once again, this Mother’s Day, I’m going to tell her that I think she’s epic. I’ll even write her a letter telling her exactly how I feel. My book is dedicated to her and contains a very long love letter, telling everyone how positively epic she made the ordinary moments of my life. But it never seems like enough.

Happy almost Mother’s Day to you all! Be epic.

Dogs are the best judge of character. My dog is trying to lick the epic off my mom, but it's impossible. She has an endless supply of epic.

Dogs are the best judge of character. My dog is trying to lick the epic off my mom, but it’s impossible. She has an endless supply of epic.

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Glamour, Giving and Goodness – A Girls Night Out

Although I’m practically disabled by ADHD without proper medication, I can focus long enough to help those who CAN focus by completing random tasks they request of me so that they can continue to focus on doing what I could NEVER do on my own, which is to dream up and put together a fundraising event for charity, making that event a reality and making miracles happen for those who are desperately in need of a miracle.

My help usually comes in the form of spattering the news all over the social networks I frequent, blogging and doing whatever it takes to help (as long as whatever it takes is something that I won’t fuck up as a result of my continually sort circuiting brain).

Several friends of mine have done great things for charitable organizations and even started their own! With ever fiber of my being, I admire them and feel grateful that they are among the people in the world who CAN and DO put their gifts to work in a tangible way so that others can be helped during their time of need.

I am not a very political person. At least not publically, however I do believe that we all must understand just how important we as individuals actually are when it comes to contributing to organizations that are absolutely necessary in a country where so many go without. YES WE CAN contribute, and we should! I’m not just talking about treasured cash here, people. I am talking about time and talent too!

TIME – TREASURE – TALENT! All three of these things are needed to make things happen in the world of giving. You don’t have to be the laser beam focused event planner. There are roles for everyone to play and play well! BE A PART OF THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD AND STOP YER WHINING! Let’s do this together, m’kay?

When asked why I don’t form my own not for profit after being told, “If I had your social media presence, I’d use it to do good,” I simply nod and agree. I should use my social media presence for good and I do! I just do well for others who have already established themselves and capable and effective leaders in the world of giving. As I clearly stated in the opening paragraph of this blog post, eloquently I might add, considering the totally lack of respect for proper punctuation and insistence on using ALL CAPS for that extra umph, there are limits to my effectiveness with regard to all things that require single minded focus.

And so, I lend my big mouth, wide reach, time, treasures and talent to the people who request this of me when I can. I am very good at following directions, can life heavy things, make phone calls, run errands, set up, clean up, and shut the hell up when it’s time for me to fade into the background and let the movers and shakers shine.

I am lending my big mouth, wide reach, time, treasures and talent to an event called, “Glamour, Giving and Goodness,” this coming Thursday in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation. The organized, passionate and highly skilled and motivated Melisa Matthews, whose motivation is fueled by love for her sister, who at the age of 26 was diagnosed with Fibronectin Glomerulopothy, a rare genetic kidney disease. Doctors are unsure of what her journey will be because her diagnosis is so rare.

So if you can, join us as we have some laughs and eats during a GNO (Girls Night out for those of you who haven’t been following the three part series of posts) this Thursday evening from 6-9PM in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Click HERE for link to the event and to buy tickets. Hop over for an hour if that’s all you can spare, but try to hop for the good of the greater good. Won’t you?

I’ll be there signing books, with another blogger from Indy, Nicole Leigh Shaw (a contributor to one of my favorite Mom Anthologies, “I Want to Pee Alone,”) but hopefully doing much, much more, as I am quite good at using my time, treasures and talents to help the focused people of the world as they play their part in changing it – one GNO at a time!

AWESOME! Check out the Facebook page too for details and updates!

AWESOME! Check out the Facebook page too for details and updates!

A Procrastination Intervention

I want to be the kind of person who is orGANized and MOtiVATED!

I want to be the girl who gets birthday cards in the mail on time, writes and sends thank you notes in a reasonable period of time (reasonable being defined as?). I want to be able to twerk like Miley Cyrus. I want hot dogs to be heathy. I wanted to wake up this morning and learn that magical elves had taken a heat gun to my floor and removed this shitty linoleum, freeing my husband and I up to have hot, dirty sex – ALL WEEKEND LONG!

Just kidding.

About the sex part, not the linoleum. The linoleum is some stubborn, sticky bulla shittay!

Thanks for NOTHING elves. NOTHING you little shits.

Thanks for NOTHING elves. NOTHING you little shits.

But I woke to find that the elves didn’t visit, one of my very best friend’s daughter is celebrating another birthday without a card from me, and I have a mile high stack on my desk of thank notes, cards, books and other prizes to send out to MWDAS winners. Hot dogs are still just meaty and delicious carcinogen delivery devices and really – CAN ANYBODY TWERK LIKE MILEY? CAN THEY? I think not. 

I want. I wish. But I’m me and me procrastinate (say this in the voice of Ralph Wiggum).

Me fail English? That's unpossible!

Me fail English? That’s unpossible!

I don’t like being a procrastinator, but dammit I AM! It’s a problem and a habit and a way of life and even my house elves are procrastinators. Or oppositional drunks on strike. Maybe they started the project and got so high from that nasty floor glue and snuck out of the house and got hit by a car? Maybe the did try and I’m being unfair? Now I’m worried about my elves.

I’m so off topic here, right? See what I mean? But I do have a point. The point? I’ve got myself in a stress lather over how I have yet to send out books and prizes and cards and whatnot so I’m doing it this weekend!

I’ve decided to get organized and motivated right fucking NOW, so instead of feeling sad about the things that make me feel like I’m the worst, I have decided to put my best foot forward today and set myself up for success. Since my plan is to get the mega-pile of stuff on my desk sent out this weekend and I figured I’d add to the pile.


Did I just say book giveaway?

YUP. And according to Publisher’s Weekly, some readers who took time to review the book online, (thankyouverymuchforthatbecauseit’sreallyimportanttome) and my mom, (who has no reason be biased about my book at all) it “doesn’t suck,” and “showcases my gift for witty observation.” IF YOU WIN, I will send you two books. One for you and one for a friend. Mother’s Day gift? Teacher gift? Baby shower gift? YES to all those things. Or you can just keep them both for yourself because like me, you enjoy even numbers and hoard books like Howard Hughes hoarded his pee pee in jars. You decide.

So how do you win?

In the comments of this blog post, tell me about the first blog post of mine you ever read. It can be an old or new post, serious or silly. I just want to know what you read that made you decided to keep reading! This time, I will choose the winners, quickly, because jaysus crap, the Jenga-style pile on my desk cannot possibly get any higher. It’s mocking me too, a silent pile that represents one of my worst habits – procrastination – so it’s time for this game of loser Jenga to end. Help me be at my best.

And go…..

*If you like my blog – share it, subscribe and consider loaning me your elves, because that linoleum ain’t gonna remove itself thankyouverymuch!*

The Karma Train to Parentville

Long ago I set the stage for my current situation, which is, if you can imagine, me tied down to some metaphorical railroad tracks while the symbolic karma train runs me over a few dozen times a day on it’s way to wherever it’s going in Parentville. I will tell you that the metaphorical train is one heavy mofo, filled with weighty wisdom. My worst days as a parent are better than my best days before I got lucky enough to get such cool crotchfruit. That being said, I have some bad, bad days as a parent. But somewhere in between the time when my vicious cloud of post partum depression lifted and my father’s dead body was lowered into the ground, I figured how to let go of sadness and cling for dear life to joy.

Ugh but sometimes I don’t. I just can’t hold on anymore and I feel myself slipping into the darkness.

Like everyone, sometimes I need help because there are days when I just cannot do it alone. The karma train is stalled on the tracks right on top of my head, specifically with the wheels over my big, stupid mouth, shutting it for me when I can’t shut it myself. SO I WRITE ABOUT IT. It helps a bit. Sometimes.But other times? NOT. SO. MUCH.  Momma needs more.

And when that happens and I need to laugh or a wee mood lift, you know, to distract me from the train crushing my skull, I go find the funny. I’m very good at finding the fun in the dysfunctional and reaching out for help. If you need a to laugh or a lift today, you are in the right place. I have a photo gallery present just for you. I never thought I was cut out to be a parent. I’m still not sure I am, but I wrote a good goddamn book about this crap and it’s funny and sad and weird and I hope it helps you find your funny.

Am I a good parent? Who the fuck knows? Time will tell. If at least one of my kids reaches the age of 30 without doing time in the pokey or dealing drugs to pre-schoolers – if they can make and maintain long term friendships and enjoy healthy romantic relationships, and hold down a job – if they grow up to be kind citizens of the world who have open minds and kinds hearts – if they forgive others yet don’t forget to stand up for themselves – well, then I’ll give myself a pat on the back for doing something right as a parent. Until then, I’m gonna rely on the wild, whacky, and wise words of others to help me get by. Here are some of my “go-to” parenting giggles and guides. Enjoy. And buy my book, TODAY m’kay? Because today is my PUBLISHING DAY!