Training gear

Like so many kids across the nation last month, my kids were glued to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, at ages 6 and 8, my kids could appreciate the drama, the agony, the triumph, the importance of these nations coming together in competition and celebration.

Snowboarding, in particular, made a huge impression.  After hearing the story of Canadian Mark McMorris, Bronze medalist for Slopestyle, who grew up wake boarding and skateboarding in preparation for snowboarding, they couldn’t get on their scooters fast enough, “to begin our training”, they said.

As you can imagine their first runs at riding horizontally on scooters without holding the stick  ended up with bloody knees and hands.  What’s a mom to do?  Run out and buy knee pads, wrist guards?  Nope, old socks to the rescue!

Future pressure, though.

Hands:  Old kid socks, toes removed for fingers, small hole in the “heel” for thumbs.

Knees:  Old adult socks “feet” removed, ankle portion used for knee protection.

repurpose 2

Winter Olympics 2022, here we come.


It’s beginning to look a lot like…..

image via google

image via google

I love this time of year, people don’t look at me like I’m nuts while I sing Christmas carols and window shop to my heart’s content!  Whether you are into non-material gifts or can’t fill your Amazon gift cart fast enough there is a gift list out there for you.

This gift list has ideas ranging from $8.00 to hundreds of dollars, I appreciate that in a list, plus it introduced me to a few new online stores which is a gift in itself!

If you are interested in “green gifts” or gifts that give back or social change gifts there is something for you in this list.

A friend recently sent me this link which has fun and very specific lists, for example “the ten best natural beauty gifts”.

As for non-material gifts, there are lists for that too but I couldn’t find one I was happy to link to, so here is the 800arrows Guide to Non-Stuff Gifts.

1.  Memberships:  museums, aquarium, zoo, CSA (here’s a link for a farmer near you).

2.  Classes:  Tennis, Horseback riding, sewing, knife skills, how to make cheese

3.  Time:  Babysitting hours, reading aloud, doing dishes

4.  Donate on their behalf:  Something in tune with your loved ones values,  this site has some ideas, scholarship funds

Whether you are giving movie tickets or a month of “hugs on demand”,  embrace these lovely words from Winston Churchill today and everyday:

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Have a holly jolly Christmas,  Merry Kwanzaa,  Happy Hanukkah,  Wondrous Winter Solstice,

And happy festivus for the rest of us!




Today is a gift


Last night my daughter, age 8, and I had dinner on our own.  Here’s a snippet from our tete-a-tete:

Me – You think you’ll like to drive when you are 16?  Maybe take some road trips?

Her – Mom, let’s just live in the present.

Also, here’s a game I’ve been playing when sitting at stop lights, waiting in lines, etc.

Someone tells you, “You have two weeks to live.”


Sure, it’s not as fun as playing Dots….but do you really want to spend your last two weeks playing phone games?


Buffy the wise

photo via google

photo via google

I know John Huges is supposed to be the “movie whisperer” to teenagers and young adults of the mid-80’s to 90’s.  But I would argue that where John left off, Joss picked-up.  Joss Whedon, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and a slew of other shows that most people did not watch.  “Buffy” ran from 1996-2003 coinciding beautifully with most of my own coming of age years.  Interestingly, thanks to Netflix, I have seven seasons of Buffy at my fingertips and nights when even a YA book will not suffice I turn to Buffy.  As I watch now, as a late thirty something, I am astounded at how many “after-school program” type messages are hidden under the guise of demons and cool outfits……and way better writing and acting.  Feel like a misfit, check.  Dealing with a broken heart, check.  Dad issues, check.  There is a Buffy episode for almost every young adult issue that ails you.

In fact, I think Joss does one better than Mr. Hughes, for the ladies at least.  I stopped waiting for Jake and his Porche and Blain in his tux.


photo via google


photo via google

After watching Buffy and Angel split up, something clicked, I had a new version to happy endings.  Buffy saving her loved ones from super evil WAS the happy ending, it was my long awaited end to the Cinderella syndrome!  Thank you Mr. Whedon for helping me look beyond the glass slipper, I’m eternally grateful for that and all the sassy fashion sense I gleaned from your show.

What 6 and 8 looks like

DSC04524 1

I keep find myself saying, “I love this stage”, “I love this time”.  I love taking them to a museum.


I love handing over a sketch pad and pencil and instead of worrying about them defiling works of art, they draw their own interpretation and give me their thoughts and feelings about the piece.



I love taking a walk and listening to their jokes and stories.  I love sitting down and having them read to me, instead of me reading to them – although that still rocks too.

I love hearing them discuss things like:  Who wrote the Bible?  Why is this called a car?  Why do you wear high heels if they hurt your feet?

I love hearing my son talk about his second best friend and when I ask, “who’s your first?”  He answers, “my sister”.

I love being able to say “Calm down, let’s talk about this” and they can and we do.

I love that they have music tastes, favorite restaurants and movies.

First words and first steps are cool.  Late night nursing, shoveling in the first bite of food, embracing the concept of the toilet – all wonderful.

But feeling like I’m sharing my life with kindred spirits who are so uniquely themselves is heaven.

All photos are from The Modern Museum in Ft. Worth, TX.


Do ya speak-a my language?


Clem and Ro

We had the wonderful opportunity to host a couple French girls at our home in Texas this summer.  They are sisters, ages 15 and 16.  They traveled, for their first time, to the US leaving behind their parents, younger brother and their dreamy sea side town near Marseille.  I have a feeling we hit the jackpot with these lovely girls, they baked for us, worked hard at using their english, played with our children for HOURS, helped clean up, did dishes.  Yes I’ve since heard not everyones’ foreign exchange is quite as……..beneficial.  The best was their overall attitude, up for anything and eager to enjoy.  Touring around Dallas during the hot months of summer is far from ideal but what unexpected surprises it delivered!  

When was the last time you played tour guide in your own town?  Personally speaking it had been a LONG time.  It rekindled a fondness I had lost for my home base, showed me new sides to a city I’ve lived in for decades, brought appreciation to the fun surrounding Dallas whether 30 minutes or 3 hours away.  

The French girls marveled at the size of hamburgers they were served, at waffles shaped like the fair state of Texas, they squealed in delight at the awesomeness of Buffalo Exchange loving that their dollars could accomplish so much!  They had opinions about art and music.  They had ideas about what they planned to do with their lives.  The girls seemed happier in museums and parks than in shopping malls.  During quiet moments neither grabbed for an electronic distraction, they journaled, edited photos, sketched, napped.

As for our side of the experience, their stay was one of the greatest gifts I could have been given.  Living with teenagers opened my eyes to what a truly short time it is until I have teenagers of my own; who can do things like travel to far away places all by themselves.  It reminded me of the things I want them to know and practice as they grow-up.  It reminded me more of what my role as their mom is……lately my role has felt like the “No Police”.  Can I do this?  NO.  Can I have this?  NO.  May I eat this?  NO.   You get the picture, I hate that lady, everyone hates that lady, she’s so controlling!  My kids require guidance, support and love, I no longer need to save them from the dangers of electrical outlets, those days have passed.  I need to get with the new program if I want teenagers who will bake a pie for their foreign parent hosts’.

Merci Clem and Ro, thanks for teaching me a new language.

I’m SOOO bored.

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 9.19.28 AM

I usually don’t give much weight to what “experts say”, unless of course they agree with what I’ve already been thinking.  Currently, my kids are on their summer break and there’s been a lot of Netflix, like hours a day.  We are in Texas, it’s hot, mosquitoes and flies are taking over the world – so unless you are swimming, outside provides very little draw.  I’m a good outside parent, less so indoors.  I get caught up in laundry, dishes, tidying and organizing.  Inevitably I look up from whatever I’ve been doing and one of my kids in holed up with the iPad spacing out with Netflix. Hmmm, not how I want them to be spending their summer afternoons but I’m also not willing to entertain them every hour of every day.  Enter the treasure that is boredom, the pathway to all sorts of goodness lies at the end of the simple phrase, “I’m bored”.

Full article here.

High as a kite

Fun Dip, aka my kids drug of choice

Fun Dip, aka my kids drug of choice

Ugh, sometimes I really have a hard time with my world.  When did Valentine’s Day become a week long extravaganza riddled with enough sugar to rot all the teeth in my neighborhood?  My children have already received two “Valentine’s” each, Valentine’s Day is still four days away….god help me if these are pre-Valentine’s Day “valentines” or something. I use quotes because these are not homemade cards and hearts with sweet professions of friendship.  These “valentines” are bags filled with drugs candy.  And not just a lollipop, each “valentine” held no less than 5 packages of candy?!

So, my kids are pretty awesome, they know I’m going to “edit” their Valentine’s booty and they don’t put up a fight.  I laid out their treasure trove of cavity inducing sweetness and allowed them each to choose one (the rest will magically disappear).  My elder child went for the Fun Dip and my younger, being the individual he is, grabbed the exact same thing.  Now we have a mid-morning to late afternoon  filled with finishing their own Valentines for friends, and I swear my kids are high.  I’ve got music going as incentive to get out of your seat at any time and help your body burn that sugar, but the look in their eyes is CRAZY, like their brains are vibrating irregularly.

And at the same time, although I’m dripping with disapproval of this unhealthful not to mention wasteful custom, I’m wondering if my kids will feel their homemade cards with sweet sentiments and unique artwork measure up to plastic bags filled with pounds of candy?!  The depths of parenting worry and guilt know no reason!

Now, to try and balance my toxic rant, I give you MY preferred way to get high with your Valentine, aptly named “Aztec Spirit” from Kris Carr’s latest book, I modified a few things, but here it tis:

Serves 2

3 cups nut milk

1/3 cup cacao

1 vanilla bean scraped or 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 shots espresso or strong coffee

1 banana

2 TBS maple syrup (or stevia to taste)

3 kale leaves (stems removed)

Pinch of cayenne (optional although Kris says it’s a known aphrodisiac, so Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU)

Blend until smooth.

Stop, Breathe, Savor

spazz photo via googling the internet

spazz photo via googling the internet

I’m kind of a spazz.  In all of my years (4) of playing tennis, my spazztastic nature seems to be the constant obstacle in my game.  I’ll be out on the court enjoying a friendly game, it’s a beautiful day and I’ll get that familiar bubbly excitement feeling – “HERE COMES THE BALL!!!!” My mind floods with all of the things I could/should do therefore taking me completely out of the moment.  I usually end up A) whacking the ball with all of my might – OUT! B) over-running the ball putting myself in a terrible position C) freaking myself out so much that I take my eye off the ball, swing and MISS – oh the shame of making NO contact at all.

Excitement is typically related to positive feelings but there are also roots of impatience, anxiety and wanting that accompany “excitement” as well.  What’s a spazz like me to do?  Stop, Breathe, Savor.  That word “savor” is best friends with pleasure in my mind.  It is good and positive and I naturally welcome any and all pleasurable experiences… fact, I want to savor them.  Conversely, telling myself to “slow down” seems to imply judgement – “I’m going too fast”, “I’m missing it”…….”it”, of course, being my LIFE.  Which would you rather tell yourself?  “Slow down” or “Savor”?  Me, I’m going with savor, whether I’m on the tennis court, doing errands, working, parenting, even relaxing – I’m going to be SAVORING.


Sage advice from my Spin Instructor?

I’m not knocking where the advice came from….I myself regularly quote “Kung Fu Panda” for deep thoughts, but I can’t decide if I agree with this piece of advice. Maybe “advice” is too strong a term, how about motivational fodder?  Still……

Let me set the stage:

I’m in spin (indoor cycling) class at my local Y and I’m huffing and puffing up this “hill” when over the bumping music the instructor calls out:

“To get something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done”


On one hand, there is the tie in with Einstein’s description of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  OK.

Then there’s “you’ve got to give to gain” tidbit.  Mmm-hmm, I get it.

With the logic of my spin instructor’s phrase, I could conclude:

I’ve never had $1 million dollars (something I’ve never had), I’ll go jump out of an airplane (something I’ve never done)?

You see where I’m struggling.  Perhaps something was lost in translation?

If anone would like to shed some light on this phrase or share your own magical words that help get you over the curve balls of life, please feel free to enlighten us with your comments.