Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This morning, as I sipped my coffee, I listened to the parents of a young man speak on his suicide.  This boy killed himself just a week ago, tired of the bullying he received for years of his life.  Most of the hateful comments were directed at his sexual orientation.  

His parents were aware of the bullying, and talked with him regularly about it.  They asked him daily how things were as he started his first year of high school this year, and he told them that the bullying had not followed him to high school, but apparently it did.

On September 8th, this young man tweeted "I always say how bullied I am but no one listens."

I don't think my opinion on this is going to be popular, so it is probably a good thing hardly anyone reads my blog.

Who is it that is suppose to listen?  The schools?  The police?  How about the parents?
I KNOW that being a parent is tough, and supporting the family is also tough.  But, who ELSE is suppose to take care and meet the needs of the child, if not the parents?  I don't mean to cast aspersions on the parenting skills of this set of parents.  They obviously did the best they could, and they obviously loved and cherished their son.  But, the mind-set of parents in general seems to be that this is just how things are, and *someone* has got to do something.  

The day before his death, this boy tweeted to Lady Gaga "bye bye mother monster, thank you for all you have done."

Lady Gaga dedicated a concert to this boy, and spoke with President Obama at a fundraising event already about his anti-bullying campaign.

I contend that while others may do much to bring awareness to this issue, and that while laws likely need to be enacted to punish bullies and show them there are consequences for those actions, and while we can wear t-shirts with slogans all day long, the help needs to be more imminent.  

Perhaps we need bully hotlines in the same way that we utilize suicide, rape and other hotlines?
Perhaps adults who are willing need to let the tweens and teens in their life KNOW that they can be called upon for action if needed?

But, more than anything, why aren't the parents acting to the fullest of their ability?  This just breaks my heart.  We have options as parents, the single biggest of which is to remove the child from the situation that is so incredibly distressing and harmful to their wellbeing.  Yes, remove the child.  I believe it is the obligation of the parent to pull that child out of school if school is not a safe place to be.  

We see that parents do this for other issues, some as basic as weather issues.  The parents rush to the school, grab their child/ren, and go home.  Sometimes the school dismisses the child/ren due to the potential for violent weather.  Safety is the issue.

Well, threatening behavior to another is an issue of safety as well, and as far as I am concerned, it is a much larger issue than weather.  

Parents are bamboozled into believing that school is the only option.  As a nation, school is "what we do,"  when a child reaches the age of 5 or so.  The local elementary school here posts, on its big illuminated sign, words to the effect of "time to enroll your 5 year old," each year.  That sign never gives the rest of the choices.  It does not say "...if you want to.  Because you really don't have to.  The legal age to begin school is 7 years of age in this state, so you really can keep your precious child home a couple more years if you want."  It does not say, "...or, you may want to to homeschool, because that is an excellent option too, and one that will likely be fulfilling and rewarding for your whole family, and also likely prevent suicide due to bullying in later years."

 "I always say how bullied I am but no one listens."

Wow.  Who could have done something effective, if not the parents?  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to Meeeeeee!

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was a great day, filled with good wishes, beloved children (and dog), humor and good food!

To start the day, I took Sara to Arielle's class for a presentation she was doing on service animals.  Sara made quite the impression!  Unfortunately, when I got back to the car, my keys were missing, resulting in a good long trek around campus before I found them off campus at the security building.  Whew!

I spent the better part of my afternoon researching a program in which I am considering enrolling.  I spoke with two alumni, and am quite excited!  More later, when I am sure this is my course of action!

Autumn got home and brought my one of the funniest cards I have ever seen.  Here is what it said:

wow you're old.
like really old.  
like your genitals are starting to fossilize.
like you were there when they discovered fire.
like a pterodactyl could have eaten you.
like you could have shot pool with jesus.
eeesh.  good luck with that.

She then took me out to supper at Mimi's Cafe, where the food was astonishingly delicious!  I had a favorite, which is not often offered, chicken piccata with capers.  YUM!  Their french bread was wonderful, too!

On the way home, we stopped for something at Target, and the clerk made my birthday quite memorable, albeit in an unexpected way.  The lady in front of me at the checkout gave $30 to pay for her bill of $28.69.  So, she had change coming in the amount of $1.31.  Well, the young clerk (Eric, I think was his name) assumed she was paying him with two $20 bills, and put that into the register.  So, the change to return showed up as $11.31.  He was struggling with how much change to give her, and actually tore off the receipt, looked at it, and said "let's see, I owe you $2.31."  Well, I leaned in and said, "no, you owe her $1.31.  She gave you $10 less than you input into the register, so just subtract $10 from the total it is telling you to give back to her."  He did that.

So, my bill was $5.35, and since I did not have a $5 bill, I pulled out a $10, and grabbed a dime and quarter from the coin section of my wallet.  Well, young Eric had already seen my $10 bill, and input that into the register, showing a change due back of $4.65.  He told me to go ahead and put my change away, and he would just give me what the register told him.  And then he said....wait for it....wait for it...."My generation just doesn't do things the same way yours did."  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.  I nearly split a gut trying not to laugh!  And, of course Autumn is standing next to me, and she is trying to hold it in, too. 

As we walked away, we could no longer contain ourselves and we had a terrific laugh over that!  Then I turned around, went back in, and bought a cane.  LOL   Happy Birthday to me!

Oh, yeah, this was my 55th birthday, and that means I am now eligible for AARP membership, AND I can order the blue plate specials at Denny's!  I think the last time I was this excited about turning a year older, it was to purchase an alcoholic beverage.  Somehow though, it just isn't the same.

I wrapped up my day watching a movie with Autumn, and falling asleep while reading one of my favorite authors. Ken Follett has just put out the first of a trilogy, and Amelia bought it for me for my birthday.  She usually gets me my favorite authors as gifts, and this one is already engrossing, and a trilogy!  Hot diggity!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Yep!  I bought one when it was "fun, new and hot."  Ha!  And, as do most of these types of machines, it wound up folded up and under the bed.  

Well, no more, I say!  I dragged it out last week to do the semi annual deep vacuuming under the bed, and discovered that I can leave it mostly assembled, and slide it back under the bed in such a way that makes it really easy to slide it back out, do crunches, and slide under again.  Yay!
As of tonight, I am officially up to 20 crunches per night.  Go me, go me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tomato Memories

For the first time in many years, I have a successful, albeit small, garden.  Just this past week, I have been harvesting about two small tomatoes every day.  And, every day I have made a BLT sandwich, and used the tomatoes.  

Yesterday, I absentmindedly popped a slice of juicy ripe red tomato into my mouth, as I wandered over to get out the toaster.  I was stopped in my tracks by the flavor and the memories that slice of heaven brought back to me.

When I was little, I went to summer school every summer.  Why?  Because it was FUN!  We could pick two back to back classes, from an assortment of really cool stuff that wasn't offered any other time, and I couldn't wait!  

Classes were out by noon, and often my mother would pick me up there, with my sisters in tow, already in their bathing suits.  I would squiggle into my suit as my mother drove the 30 minutes to Huntington Beach.  Once there, we would hike over the expanse of sand, stake our claim down near the water, and set up for a day of sun and fun.

Lunch was easy.  My mother made a big jug of Koolaid-the non toxic kind, made with real sugar, and every time, brought a brown paper bag full of tomatoes from her small garden patch, and a shaker of salt.  That was our lunch, fresh, ripe, sun warmed tomatoes, eaten like apples, with salt sprinkled on.  

This memory came flooding back yesterday, and has been with me since.  I usually don't wish to "go back," as I enjoy moving foward, but this memory does tempt me.  LOL

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Home again

The trip to Orlando this year was amazing in many ways! I have always enjoyed going non stop to the parks with my girls while there, but this year, I got to experience lots of new changes.

First, Arielle stayed home, in HER home, with Jake, working, playing, making new Christmas traditions. I missed her, but I was okay. I remember the excitement of starting a new chapter with someone I loved. Nothing else is more important, and I really do remember.

Second, Amelia stayed home for a few days to work, and then joined us. So, she locked up my house, and drove down, alone, late, even spending time sleeping at ?? A rest stop? Or a WalMart parking lot? Not sure, but again, not so easy for momma. I managed. She managed. It all worked out.

Third, we were joined for our second week by Seth, boyfriend to Autumn; Pj, who is Seth's best friend; and Cassie, who is PJ's girlfriend, and friend to Autumn. So, a condo full of teens, and male teens, to boot. THAT gave me pause. I know that males don't eat the same as females (at least OUR house of females), so I did have to consider and plan for cooking a few serious meals.
Those who know me well, will know that I was challenged. LOL

And, then probably the biggest change was that I did not hit the parks each day with my girls, as is our usual habit. Instead, I stayed at the condo, reading, putting puzzles together, taking naps, soaking in the jacuzzi, and totally resting, while all of my crew of teens went and played. While this was totally different, it was totally okay, too. Autumn was worried that I was being left out, and wanted me to come one day, but it was cool knowing that she was with her sister and boyfriend, and other friends. I knew they would have fun. That was plenty good enough for me.

Sometimes I surprise myself. Had you asked me fifteen years ago, if this scenario would bother me, I would probably have said, yes. But, it didn't, and I am pleased that all of our needs were met, without the kids feeling constrained, and without me feeling left out or worried about them.

And, I think Seth and PJ had a particularly good time. Cassie, too, but she has been with us before to Orlando. This was the first time for the fellas. I think they really enjoyed it. How fun to be able to have offered them the opportunity to come and stay with us!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 24, 2009

I am still learning my way around blogging, and accidentally posted the last blog before I was finished. Maybe that was meant to be, since I was having trouble organizing my thoughts. LOL

As I sit here, enjoying the peace, the view and my life, I am torn. Should I write or should I revel in the moment? Maybe I can do both? I am not sure, as I have never been able to capture a moment via camera and also actually be IN that moment at the same time. We shall see.

Tomorrow is Christmas day. We will likely celebrate with a lovely meal tonight, and then sleep in and relax in the morning. The only thing that could make this day better, is to have my other daughter with me. It might not make her day better, though, since she is loving her new independent life, working, loving, partying, as only and 18 year old can do. I miss her, but I remember being in her shoes. Life is definitely for living in one's own way, in one's own time.

Having her gone is strange. I miss her, but I do not mourn her being gone. I worry about her escapades, yet they bring back my own younger days, mostly remembered fondly.

Mothering teens and young adults contains many a paradox. Missing, yet not missing them. Worrying, yet remembering. Wishing to hold them close, yet setting them free to navigate the currents of their lives. I didn't expect it to be easy to let go and watch from afar, and, in some ways it is not, but mostly it is! The whole empty nest thing seems to be a myth for me, which is definitely a good thing. Maybe because I have plans for the rest of my own life?

December 23, 2009

Yesterday, a facebook post sent me on a quest to define what I know but have spent years not defining. A nice person commented that saying Merry Christmas was always acceptable, since Christmas is a Christian holiday. I posted that saying Happy Holidays respects ALL people.

I have been very uncomfortable, for a very long time, with the concept of only Christianity being "acceptable." Even the idea that it is okay to wish those of other faiths a Merry Christmas, sits wrong with me. It didn't always feel that way. In the past, I believed that wishing goodness via this salutation was acceptable. Maybe it had to do with where I lived and the openmindedness of those with whom I was surrounded. It is different now. I wish to honor ALL people, and I wish to not make anyone uncomfortable that worships otherwise, or worships not at all.

Researching the origins of Christmas this morning, has led me to a few insights into myself. Each year, Christmas becomes harder and harder, and seems more and more of a chore, less and less heartfelt. Perhaps it is my instinctual knowledge of the violent origins of some of the traditions that I have come to dislike?

For several years, we have left home and gone to Orlando to spend time during this holiday. In 2007, we spent 4 weeks, over Christmas and New Year. My gift to each of my children that year was an annual pass to Disneyworld. I had to work on my guilt at not having gifts to unwrap, but we had a wonderful time together, and my girls did not seem to feel bad that they had nothing to unwrap.

Last year, we came home a few days before Christmas day, and this year, we again spend Christmas and New Year in Orlando.

I don't know if it is the economy or just something cyclical, but I have not seen much Christmas "spirit" when I have been out and about, and I feel that, at my age, it is time to address what I feel and see around me.

The whole gift giving concept this year has sort of crawled under my skin. Money is tight this year, and gift giving feels like a chore instead of a heartfelt desire to give something that will be valued by the recipient. And reading on the origins of gifting reinforces my feelings that maybe it is time to quit giving because it is mandated, and instead only give because it is my desire to give.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Catching up

Well. The universe had other things in store for me and mine.

On the evening of the day of the Second Annual Love to Learn Conference that I co-coordinate with my friend Pam, I was admitted to the hospital with meningitis. The conference was FANTASTIC, but getting so sick, sucked. This is not the first time with meningitis for me, so I know that the recovery is slow, yet I am still fooled by periods of wellness that lead me to believe I can move forward at the pace to which I am normally accustomed. When enough is enough, I come to a screeching halt, and do a face plant into the bed, the sofa, the chair...whatever is near. LOL

I was sick enough and still medicated enough, that my friend Rachel swept in and offered to take over for me in getting my eldest, Amelia, to her new internship at WDW.

She arrived, along with sister Autumn to try to settle in, sans mom. After a few days, and a few calls, texts, and tears, I hopped a plane to be with her as she began the process of creating a new home, while leaving the old one. I am so glad I went.

Arriving home, again, I immediately began organizing for the last Live and Learn Unschool Conference, where I have represented Usborne Books since the first conference.

I came home to an immediate book fair at a local school, after which, I collapsed into my bed for the rest of the day.

These completed, I immediately began to prepare for a NC statewide camp gathering that my family cherishes, called FLT or Families Learning Together. We prepare communal meals while at camp, and my job this gathering was to purchase food for about 90 people. It is actually fun to watch the faces of the grocery clerks when they see me buy 25 pounds of lunchmeat at one time.

So, now I am home for a while. Amelia is begging me to come back to FL for a visit, soon.

The temperatures have dropped to comfortable levels, presaging (I hope) a snowy winter.

I will be working outside over the next days, trying to winterize, with hopes of creating cold frames for my raised gardening beds.