Bus Stop Chatter: What Not to Say

What can I say? My girlfriends and I had just put our angels on the school bus; and I was only half way through my venti-sized coffee — mixed with So Delicious coconut milk.

One of my girlfriends mentioned the big pile of donation bags for the Vietnam Veteran’s Association sitting on my front porch. She and I have been on a mission to clean out all unnecessary material possessions from our closets, garages, attics, bonus rooms, etc.

Not thinking, I casually mentioned the upcoming neighborhood garage sale — scheduled for May 19, 20 and 21 — for those of you who know where the Woodside Village and Shelby Orchards neighborhoods are in Shelby Township, Mich. I didn’t say I was a sure thing. But, I did mention my daughter’s interest in trying to sell some of her stuffed animals and toys.

Before I could take another swig from my coffee mug, my two girlfriends reserved space in my garage, discussed merchandise labeling, requested a couple of kid-sale tables for the driveway, and suggested we grill and sell hotdogs. Come to think of it, some of my spicy rum lemonade would be the perfect beverage for this event.

So, I’ll let you know how our impromptu garage sale party shakes out. Maybe we will see you there.

Out-to-Lunch: Memories Starring Deniz

love all of my friends….just letting folks know that i think of them often – even if you don’t hear from me, i live in memories of good times and smiling faces or some great advice…thank you for being you.

— Deniz Conger

When I started writing this entry, the title was Out-to-Lunch: All About the People, because it is. But, there is one person who has a recurring role in the lunchtime escapes featured. That person is Deniz. Hence, the above quote, which I shamelessly ripped from her FB status this morning. So, here it is, Out-to-Lunch: Memories Starring Deniz

Before children, I developed written and visual communication tools for Syntel, a leading global provider of integrated information technology and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) solutions. My cubicle was located in the company’s headquarters in Troy, Mich., and was surrounded by others occupied with creative forces much like myself. For a visual think: The Office minus Steve Carrell and whoever his replacement is going to be.

For the most part, we were and still are communication mavericks, who often gave up our lunchtime recesses to polish lead generation strategies, finish deal-winning presentations, write speeches for the CEO or beat a needed-it-yesterday proposal deadline. But, every now and then, the opportunity to break out of the dull and the gray cubicle confines presented itself.

Here are my five favorite lunchtime escapes — starring Deniz — listed in descending order.

1. Sushi crash course at Noble Fish. Until this noble day, I didn’t know sushi. In fact, I hadn’t tried it before. My co-workers Deniz and Rob took it upon themselves to educate me with field trip to the sushi counter at the back of Noble Fish, a Japanese grocery store, at the corner of Livernois and 14 Mile Roads in Clawson. This encounter taught me proper sushi etiquette and about how much wasabi is needed for an endorphin rush.

2. Black bean burrito day at Good Food Company. Again, upon recommendation from my co-worker Deniz, we went to the deli at the back of the Good Food Company at 15 Mile and Livernois Roads in Troy. Sadly, anyone who has not eaten here never will. It went out of business and closed in 2009. Talk about a dagger to the soul of the best in natural, organic, vegan and vegetarian cooking. The head chef would even check with all diners to ensure all meals were as superb as she intended.

3. Pita House (now Lebanese Grill) on any weekday. Deniz and I escaped to this locale shortly after she began working at Syntel. It’s one of the few places I introduced to her. All people I know, have a weakness for the food and drink served here. The Lebanese Grill, which also has a location in Shelby Township (lucky me), makes the absolute best smoothies, lemonade, and Middle Eastern food in my part of the planet. Plus, the prices are reasonable and the wait staff is always attentive.

4. Style hunting and Macy’s lunch counter. It wasn’t Macy’s back then. It was Dayton Hudson’s and then Marshall Field’s. But, on this day close to the holidays, it provided us with much-needed fuel on a style hunting mission. Before, hunting Macy’s for outer wear accessories, Deniz and I stopped at the lunch counter for a turkey wrap with brie and cranberry sauce. Delicious. I believe we made at least three trips back to the lunch counter that same week because those wraps were like crack; and we needed a fix.

5. Royal Oak/Birmingham spring breaks. Have you taken a walk outside yet today? In my part of the planet, it is beautiful. This is no time to be sitting at a keyboard. But, here I am. Most of the time, lunchtime escapes to Royal Oak or Birmingham were on days just like today. The need to breath the warm air and see sunshine was just too great to ignore. Plus, how can one pass up the opportunity to people watch and to style hunt? Both Royal Oak and Birmingham serve up plenty of each.

365: Defiance Test

April 14 – Both of my children test me. Each day, I receive at least one pop-quiz on a range of subject matter. In mid-March, two weeks prior to spring break, my daughter Issa, began administering — without notice — the first section of the advanced defiance exam. Must be she feels I have proven myself in the beginner and intermediate levels; and I need to be challenged. She has even recruited Riff to help create problems for me to solve. It is so delightful to see evidence of teamwork among siblings. Here is a sampling of the problems I found on this test so far.

1. Issa defies direction — given multiple times — to practice a classroom presentation at home.

Solution: After the third day of resistance, I decide she needs to learn from her choices; and I relent on my direction. The choice to rehearse is now at her discretion. Page 666 in that parenting survival guide said this is the answer. But, it’s not.

2. A mega meltdown results from Issa’s frustration with her disastrous classroom presentation. She is defiant and disrespectful toward her teachers.

Solution: I discuss in simple language about making choices; and reminded her she could have chosen to practice her presentation. She did not. So, now, privileges — such as playing computer games and watching television — are now being taken away. Great effort. But, this is not the answer. Try again.

3. Issa throws a rock at a friend and pushes a different friend down at recess, Tuesday. The teacher called me to report these incidents and to say Issa had also been defiant and disrespectful toward her learning center teacher. The teacher sends a note home with Issa for me to sign acknowledging the problem. Issa attempts to throw away the note to prevent me from learning what I already know. What the cuss?

Solution: The teacher and I decide to use a behavior chart to track Issa’s defiant and disrespectful behavior. Also, I had another sit-down with Issa. In addition to suspending privileges, I reviewed, in simple language, my three basic house and school rules: 1) Be respectful 2) Tell the truth 3) Use words, not violence to solve problems and to express strong emotions. I explained, she must follow these at all times. Her rewards for doing so will be lasting friendships, trust, and successful problem-solving. Additionally, she can expect reinstatement of privileges such as going to Dairy Queen, dirt-pile sledding, and attending Zhu Zhu pet meetings with her friend from next door. The “professor” is reviewing this answer and is expected to get back with me, soon.

Remember those tests in high school and college when you could make a cheat-sheet — one page — front and back — with anything and everything necessary to ace the exam? After more than eight years on this very spirited journey, I am still filling in my parental survival cheat-sheet. It is crammed full, but still doesn’t cover half of what I need to know. Plus, how I am supposed to know the answers? Some of the material being thrown at me wasn’t covered in those manuals from the OB/GYN.

365: Revelations – The Journey Continues

April 13 –  Three Recent Revelations

Upon recommendation from a close spirited journey companion, I am reading Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. The description on the front cover says it’s a guide for parents whose children are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic. As I read, I gain a better understanding of my own perceptions, feelings, sensitivities, intensity, and energy; and I gain a better understanding of how to relate more successfully with my children as well as all people. Since beginning my journey, three revelations have become rather clear.

1. Daily organized chaos is preferable to the sedentary lifestyle I followed prior to motherhood. Before children, a majority of my job functions kept me in front of a computer screen or on the telephone in a dull, gray cubicle. In the fall and spring, I broke out of my cube to manage tradeshows in exciting urban centers across the country. Each of these journeys yielded a splendid mix of organized chaos, adventure and achievement, which is closer to my daily experiences with my children. Life with children is filled with the unexpected. I never know where the day is going to take us. While, I offer my children a structured environment, consistent meal and bedtimes, and regular playtime with friends, I know children will be children. Life happens. They are learning as they go; just like we all are.

2. Self-discovery is continuous and exciting. Both of my children have development delays with gross motor, fine motor, language and social skills. Looking back at my elementary school and junior high years, I struggled in a number of these areas, too. While I succeeded academically and in life, I know my early academic years would have been much easier if educators, doctors and health professionals knew then, what they know today. It fascinates me to appreciate all that is being learned about our brains and bodies; and how we can use natural therapies and remedies to live better.

3. Learning releases the inner child. My daughter is inquisitive and curious about many scientific matters. Currently, her fascination is focused on space. She is constantly asking me about the planets, solar system, galaxy, stars and more. Her eagerness to learn inspires me to learn right along with her; and encourages me to look at life unvarnished rather than through the 24/7-politically-centered-lens our global media dictates.

365: A Mom’s Spirited Journey

Tuesday, April 12

Beautiful wings

A child is like a butterfly in the wind. Some can fly higher than others, but each one flies the best it can. Why compare one against the other? Each one is different. Each one is special. Each one is beautiful.

— Anonymous

My entry into the blogging world at the end of 2010 fulfilled a selfish desire, which is to de-stress. Writing is my outlet and therapy I subscribe to for maintaining sanity. While much of what I post is from other channels in my life, I am now ready to share my experience parenting two spirited children — Issa (8) and Riff (4) — who live with a full-throttle intensity that is a blessing as well as a challenge. I love my children and accept them — with excitement and fascination — for who they are.

To most casual observers, Issa and Riff appear normal. However, their sensitivity, persistence, energy, and spunk require a little extra finesse at home and in society. Issa is my tenderhearted social tomboy. She is a creative, big-picture thinker and problem-solver. Her unwavering desire to learn inspires me to keep an open mind and to seize all opportunities to acquire knowledge. Riff is enthusiastic, curious, and charismatic. He is a dramatic lady’s man with compelling aspirations for monkey business, tickle fights, light switches, jumping, singing, listening to music, and dancing.

Monday: Bus Stop Chatter

My rollerblading track

My children returned to school from spring break this morning. While I loved having the extra time to spend with them during this recess, I missed gabbing with my neighbors at the bus stop and I missed the precious child-free weekday hours to write, run errands, and complete household chores.

Bus stop chatter centered upon a new housing development in a subdivision located directly behind my home. For nearly five years this development has been mostly dormant. Since the conclusion of 2010, basements are being poured weekly and the number of “sold” signs decorating many of the lots continues to increase. While my no-traffic, rollerblading track is disappearing, it is encouraging to see new homes dotting the landscape. I am hopeful this is evidence of better economic times for Shelby Township and for southeastern Michigan.

And, the Versatile Blogger Award Goes to…

While waiting for a girlfriend to pick me up for a healthy eating cooking class, I scanned my e-mails. There from MB, author of Tickle My Fancy and much-admired childhood friend, bestowed upon me, The Versatile Blogger Award.

I was floored to receive this and honored to make MB’s Top 15. You see, MB and I go way back. In fact, we were backyard-neighbors through much of our elementary, junior high, and high school years. I recall sharing countless anecdotes on early-dawn school bus rides and I recall feeling immense admiration for the numerous awards she earned for her fictional writing in high school. There is no doubt, I will be reading an autographed-copy of a bestselling MB work in the near future. In the meantime, I continue to enjoy MB’s writings about her family, life, doodles, transitions, creative side because they are so relative to my own daily experiences.

The intention and spirit behind my nomination for this award, moved me share — with you — the rules governing the award.

  • Thanking and linking to the person who nominated you
  • Sharing seven random facts about yourself
  • Passing the award along to 15 new-found blogging buddies
  • Contacting those buddies to congratulate them

Additionally, I have been asked to tell you seven random facts about myself:

  1. My favorite time of day is when all immediate family members — except me — are in bed and asleep.
  2. I advocate for Kids on the Go, a nonprofit pediatric program designed to provide special needs children (3-12 years) with physical, occupational and speech therapy during the summer months.
  3. Cumin and Hard Luck Candy Vodka are new addictions.
  4. U2, Foo Fighters, Our Lady Peace, and Pink Floyd rule.
  5. I fantasize about being a double agent who has secret hideouts in Torino, Italy, and Melbourne, Australia.
  6. Remembers summers on Bob-Lo Island.
  7. My brother-in-law is a cousin to one of my long-time college friends.

Here are my top 15 blogs:

  1. Out of My Mind
  2. Tickle My Fancy
  3. Anna C. Shade – Jewelry and Metalwork
  4. The Laughing Mom
  5. Circles are Good
  6. Operation Beautiful
  7. Root&Blossom
  8. Diva in Deep Thought
  9. The Word Spring
  10. Lessons from Teachers and Twits
  11. Physicist/Feminist
  12. I heart Wall Street
  13. She Takes On The World
  14. Life from the Trenches
  15. Pat Bean’s Blog

 

Rainy Burger Night Fix

Spicy rum lemonade (fresh squeezed) on a rainy burger night with the kids, dog and husband was the fix. After dodging raindrops all day for visits to the dentist, grocery store and indoor play palace, I was desperate for some feeling of spring.

Immediately, I thought about those lemons my daughter insisted on buying at the grocery store. Is she a genius or what? I rule on the genius side. My daughter and I squeezed those lemons and made ourselves some springtime.

Thinking About Shorts Today

Wake-Up!

The buzzard went off at 6:30 am. Should I shower? An extra 10 minutes to snooze? I told myself to take the 10 and then do a 5-in-30 workout on the elliptical after everyone was out the door. But, I knew this workout would not happen. Unless it’s a Zumba morning or it is warm enough to bike the Clinton-Macomb Trail, I am not motivated to exercise in the morning. I showered.

Love is…

Nutella and Peanut Butter breakfast sandwiches served up with fresh strawberries. Nothing beats two angels waiting for the bus with happy tummies.

The Outside

I reached for my venti-sized coffee and opened my blinds. At first I saw gray. That was okay. Mornings are all about beginnings anyway. There is no telling how life will play out today and where I might end up before closing my eyes tonight.

About Writing

Read and subscribed to a couple more blogs about writing. There are so many with helpful resources, thoughts, inspiration, and communities of those experiencing what writers experience. Two  discoveries from this morning are Out of My Mind and She Writes.

Body Image

One of my friends from high school works for The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy, and Action. She advocates for people with eating disorders in Washington D.C. To help address the growing issue of size-prejudice, she is promoting a book for children, Shapesville, which educates young people on shapes of people as well as diversity and tolerance. Another source that inspires positive talk about body image is Operation Beautiful.

 

Life on Friday: A Snarl Unleashed

It happened in my kitchen at 7:00 am, today. My daughter’s school bus would be at the corner in one hour. She needed to eat, get dressed and clean up. My son was losing it because he wanted raisins and wouldn’t get them out of the pantry. Our dog, Buddy, needed out and more water.

Before I could reach for my venti-size coffee, a rare but very audible snarl escaped. What was that? It sounded like a low rumble from a lioness or panther. I looked around. Who did it? Our dog, Buddy, was waiting for someone — anyone — to fill his water dish. While impatient, he hadn’t reached hysterical begging, yet. So, I concluded it must me.

How could this happen? It is a sunny, beautiful Friday. After a quick, self-psycho, analysis, I had my answer…simultaneous, impatient demand for my undivided attention. It is number one on my Top 10 Snarl List. My 10 include people, behaviors, and music that are most likely to elicit a snarl or two from me.

Wouldn’t it be helpful to exchange snarl lists with those we love and with strangers? That way the intensity and number of snarls could be reduced and serve as a catalyst for world peace.

BTW, be sure to see the link below on how to snarl properly.

Three Tips for Successful Snarling.