Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why Are There So Many Clueless Parents In The World And Why Am I In The Minority?

So…..Disney nut that I am, I follow quite a few Disney fan sites on Facebook. And as we blog, this very moment, there is a great debate going on about the appropriateness of revealing a surprise trip to Disney for her daughter’s birthday.

The Facts:

  1. Her daughter wanted a slumber party to celebrate her birthday. (No age was given, but slumber party age….I’m thinking between 10-13)
  2. Her parents are giving her a trip to Disney to be taken later in the year.
  3. They want to stage a scavenger hunt to be done at the party with prizes for everyone but her daughter will receive the trip to Disney as HER prize.
  4. A friend of the mom felt it was “cruel” to give this gift in front of the other children.
  5. The mom is now conflicted but feels a trip to Disney is no different than her child opening up any other gift at the party.
  6. Mom is asking opinions so she can decide when to give her daughter their Disney gift.

My Thoughts:

  1. A slumber party is a great way to celebrate a birthday.
  2. A trip to Disney is a fantastic birthday gift.
  3. A scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep the kids occupied. Gifts at the end? Wonderful. But for her daughter to receive such an extravagant gift in comparison to the other children? Ridiculous.
  4. You go, friend!
  5. Mom, if you’re conflicted than maybe you should re-think this plan. How in the world do you compare a trip to Disney World and an American Girl Crafts Pencil Toppers Sewing Kit? Seriously?
  6. The fact that you’re conflicted means,  in your gut, you know this is wrong. Stop asking strangers for parenting advice.

I realize everyone doesn’t behave exactly as I would like. I realize it takes all kinds to create this crazy world in which we live. But I’d like to think that the majority of us out there have a decent, kind and compassionate playbook that we follow in order to conduct our day to day living.

It seems I am wrong.

I am in the minority with my response…..

“Just my two cents, although it looks like the decision has been made.. I don’t think opening gifts in front of the guests is an issue if the gifts are in line with what the other guests brought. I think it gets a little muddled when extravagant gifts are paraded in front of the guests. And that’s what a trip to Disney (or a car for a 16th birthday) would be like for some. We have our kids open gifts from their guests in front of the guests. But gifts from family, which tend to be more expensive, are opened privately, with family.”

I had to throw in the “or a car for a 16th birthday” because so many of the responses asked, “How different is it to give your child a car for graduation or a 16th birthday?”


  1. You would really parade a hugely expensive gift, like a car, in front of your child’s peers? Who are you? And why is YOUR self-worth wrapped up in what you buy your child?  And……
  2. Parents actually buy their kids cars for birthdays? (My kids are in for a rude awakening!) What ever happened to earning the privilege and showing some financial responsibility?

I was, very clearly, in the minority. Most of the parents out there (granted, most of them are huge Disney addicts) thought a trip to Disney was a wonderful surprise and should be flaunted in front of her peers.


And don’t get me wrong. I am not jealous that this parent is able to give her child a trip to Disney or a car for her graduation. I am able to give my children multiple trips to Disney (and I do) and cars for their birthdays AND graduation (which I don’t. Sorry, kids).

A collage of selfies taken on multiple trips to Walt Disney World.

A collage of selfies taken on multiple trips to Walt Disney World.


A collage of cars I will not be buying my children for the 16th birthday or graduation. (Sorry, kids!)

A collage of cars I will not be buying my children for the 16th birthday or graduation. (Sorry, kids!)

The money and the haves vs. the have nots is not the issue.

The issue is the grand-standing.

And no one saw this but me and a handful of others who were willing to speak out.

The majority said, “Go for it!” and “Everyone is so friggin’ offended over EVERYTHING that happens these days!”  and (said more forcefully) ” I’D GIVE HER THE GIFT AS PLANNED. IF THEY DONT LIKE IT TOUGH!!!”

Really? If they don’t like it, tough?

I’m not a socialist. I don’t believe everyone should get an equal share of every pie. I realize that my kids see some of their friends getting cars and trips for presents while others get video games and baseball mitts and books.

Don’t worry.

I get that.

What I don’t get is this need to flaunt expensive gifts in front of others who might have parents without the means to shower them with the same type of gift. Or, forget the means, maybe their parents believe their child should work for something of value instead of being handed expensive items.

And we wonder where this sense of entitlement is coming from with kids these days.

There are other comments along the lines of: We should be teaching our children to be happy for other’s successes in life, not be jealous of what they have.

And I agree with THAT, too. But successes in life should include best time in the swim meet, great grade on the test, graduating from school, promotion at work. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be happy that she’s going to Disney World. Yay! Go her! I’m saying that…….well, it doesn’t matter what I say. No one’s reading this far and quite a few disagree with  me.

In the time it took me to craft this post the original poster has read all the recommendations and come to this conclusion:

“Many feel that if even one person may have their feelings hurt, or be offended, than it is too high a price to pay and should not be done, yet there are others who think learning what I call life lessons early on is the best way to go about it and I fall into the last catagory. We’re going ahead, as planned!”

Life lessons? Really?

What life lesson is that?

That there are people in the world who don’t give a rat’s ass about modesty, humility and kindness? That there are people in this world that love to gloat and crow and boast? That some parents are just a bundle of insecurity and need to showboat in order to prove to the world how much they “love” their daughter with the expensive gifts they give?

Is that the lesson?

Then you go right ahead.

Lesson away.






Filed under parenting, Soapbox, Uncategorized

“Hello. I’m Calling From Microsoft. And I’m Calling To Help You With Your Computer.”

I just received another one of “those” calls.

Yes. I know it’s not really Microsoft calling about some virus in my computer. I know this because I’m just a teeny bit tech savvy and a tiny bit jaded after my half century on this planet.

But I play along anyway. It’s entertaining. I have a little time on my hands. And it keeps him on the phone for a bit longer, preventing him from scamming someone else.

“I’m calling from Microsoft because we have been alerted that your computer is infected with a malicious virus.”

“Oh, God. No! This is the second time this year!”

“Well, I’m calling to help you fix the problem.”

“Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You don’t know how grateful I am.”

“It’s all right ma’am. We’re going to fix this. Ma’am? Are you near you computer?”

“Yes! Please help me. Just tell me what to do!”

We have a bit of back and forth as I pretend to open my computer. Turn on my computer. Oops. The battery is low. I have to plug it in. Now, where’s that cord?

‘So explain to me how this happened…”

He gives some explanation of which I understand about every 3 words. Not because I’m hard of hearing but because his accent is so thick. Meanwhile, I’m looking up his phone number through a reverse-phone-look-up site. He’s calling from China. His accent sounds like he’s from somewhere else. And his name is Zach Martin. From Miami, Floor-eee-DUH. (Emphasis on the DUH.)



We talk a little more as I ask him questions, making sure he’s legit. He plays along and gives me some phony company name, the Floor-eee-DUH address and phone number. I pretend to believe him.

“Okay. It’s up and running. What do I do?”

But as he tries to get me to press keys, I interrupt him from time to time.

“How could this happen?” and “I’m so careful!” and “What is this world coming to?!?!?”

I then pretend to cry. Sniffles, at first. But then I begin to boo-hoo. His voice softens.

“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” I sob, “I-I-I-I’m so careful. Oh, the humanity!”

“Let me get my manager.”

A man with a slightly more decipherable accent gets on the line.

“Ma’am? Are you okay?”

I sniffle and snuffle, trying to suppress any laughter. I’m running out of material. I blow my nose, stalling, trying to figure out what to do next.

“No!” I shout into phone. “I’m not okay. My computer has been hacked by evil bastards who have nothing better to do than to prey on innocent people. I’m a good person. I volunteer. I look out for my neighbors. I eat right and exercise. I take my vitamins. I open doors for old ladies. Why would someone DO THIS TO ME?!?”

“I understand ma’am. It can be scary. But we’re here to help you.”

“I know you are. And I’m so very grateful. You are so kind. But I just can’t help but think of the horrible, hateful jerks who prey on the innocent. If they would just apply their considerable skills to doing good in the world just imagine what could be accomplished. Teach children programming skills. Help companies keep online information safe. Keep spam out of my inbox. Heck. Even cure cancer or solve world hunger. Do you think that could happen? Get the evil hackers to cure cancer?”



They know I’m onto them.



Ah, well. Hopefully, I kept them on the phone long enough to save another less-in-the-know soul from falling for their shenanigans.




Filed under Uncategorized

Searching For A Reasonable Copy May Be As Elusive As Searching For Bobby Fischer

My youngest son is a big chess fan. He’s just turned 10 and can beat all of us at a game of chess.

All of us.

He has this uncanny knack for seeing moves 10 moves ahead. None of us enjoy getting beat by him all the time so we bought him an electronic chess board. He’s challenged by the computer’s moves. He leaves us alone now. (His choice.)

It’s a win-win.

I remember seeing a movie, a long time ago, called “Searching For Bobby Fischer.” I knew he would like it so I reserved it on Netflix. “A very long wait” is what it says under expected availability. We’re tired of waiting.


So I looked on Amazon.

There are quite a few purchasing options, ranging anywhere from $11.97 to ……..


Plus $3.99 in shipping.


You’re selling a DVD for two thousand dollars and you can’t throw in shipping?

Gotta love free enterprise!


Filed under Uncategorized

The Zen Of Daylight Saving Time

(An oldie, but a goodie. Enjoy!)


Here I sit. Bleary-eyed. Unmotivated. Exhausted.

And it’s almost 11am. Gosh, I could swear it was only 10 o’clock. Where did the time go? (Bear with me. These jokes are going to continue for the next couple of days.)

I loathe Daylight Saving Time in the spring. Loathe it. I start dreading it. I try to prepare for it by getting to bed earlier and waking up earlier. It never works. (Although, I will say that since having kids I notice the effects less and less. Chalk it up to being perpetually sleep deprived.)

So imagine my surprise when the priest at mass Saturday night says, “I know you are all here this evening, but I invite you to join us again tomorrow morning for my favorite day of the year!”

Favorite? Did I hear wrong? My ears perk up. Because tomorrow is my least favorite day of the year.

“Trust me,” he goes on to share, “It’s a blast! Because at about 40 minutes into the mass, people start trickling in thinking they’re arriving early when actually they’re 40 minutes late. The expressions on their faces?  Priceless!”

I can only imagine.

I hate to be late for anything. I had to learn to deal with that personality quirk after children, however. It seems they have their own agendas when it comes to being anywhere – Toddler Time, I used to call it. Now? It has no name. Other than late. But I digress…

Whose brilliant idea was it to move Daylight Saving Time smack dab in the middle of flu and cold season? Certainly not a mother of small children. And explaining bedtime while the sun is still blaring outside? How do the mothers of Alaska do it?

I asked a friend how she felt about this time of year. Didn’t she just hate it?

“No,” she replied.

Oh, you’re one of those who think the extra hour of sunshine is worth it?

“Not really,” she said, “I just don’t have an opinion about something I can’t change.”

Oh, how very Zen of you.

Pfffft. I wish I could be like her. I really do. But no matter how hard I try I can’t get over the fact that I’m losing one whole hour of sleep, one whole hour of my life every single spring. Sure, I get it back in the fall (Hence, my absolute favorite day of the year. Ok, not absolute – but certainly in the top 10!) but is really worth all this trouble?

Daylight Saving Time was established to save energy. The theory is that taking advantage of the daytime hours we will all use less electricity. Go ahead. Google it. There are conflicting studies out there with regards to the validity of this theory. And many claim that there is little to no effect in any energy savings during this time.

Little to no effect.

I choose to believe those studies.

So, again, I ask is it worth it?


Oh, I suppose all of you out there are so very Zen, too.


Well, I’m stepping off this path of enlightenment…

and going back to bed.


Filed under Uncategorized

Sometimes You Just Have To Stop And Look At The Ducks


“Mommy! Look at the ducks!”

My 3-year-old was tugging on my hand. We were at Walt Disney World. My mom and dad were racing ahead to catch the boat to Hollywood Studios which was just pulling up to the dock. I was torn. I wanted to keep up with my parents but I wanted to honor my daughter’s thrill at seeing the ducks.

Waving wildly at my daughter and I, my parents won. I tugged gently on my daughter’s hand and said, “Honey, we can look later. The boat is here now. We have to catch up with Noni and Papa.”  I urged her forward.

She stopped. She let go of my hand. She stamped her little foot and said, “But I just wanted to show you the ducks!”

My daughter won. I waved at my parents to go ahead without us. (They begrudgingly waited.) And I stopped to look at the ducks.

It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of Disney World and the sense of urgency to see and do everything. The same is true for the grocery store. Or for writing that next blog post. Or the sense of urgency to get that mountain of laundry folded. (Okay. I admit. I’ve never felt that particular sense of urgency but I’ve heard that some of you out there have.)  When I can’t fall asleep at night I try to figure out how many days you would need to “see and do everything” at Disney World and I fall asleep before I can come up with a worthy number. Disney World is full of things to do and see. It’s the greatest marketing ploy around, creating so much to do you just have to come back. And real life is the same way. There will always be another load of laundry to fold.

And so, when everyone is in a rush to catch the next bus, someone in our family will invariably say, “Hey! Look at the ducks!” Or, while navigating through the Christmas crowds at the mall my husband will grab my hand and say, “Look! I see some ducks.” It’s our cue to slow down. Savor. Enjoy each moment.

It’s a lesson we’ve carried beyond Walt Disney World.

It’s a lesson that bears repeating.

Whether you are at Walt Disney World or the mall or buried in laundry, remember, you can’t possibly see and do everything. Take a moment or two. Slow down. Breath. People watch. Ask your child a silly question while she still wants to talk to you. Hold your child’s hand a little tighter before he’s a teenager and rushing off to the football game without you.

Time will fly by fast enough.

No need to hurry it along.


Filed under Deep Thoughts, Uncategorized

Awwww, Google! You Remembered!

I clicked on Google to google something, of course. I’m an old Googler from way back. One of my favorite pastimes. My kids say my epitaph is going to read, “Let’s Google it!”

But I digress….

So, I click on Google and what do I see?



So cute! Cakes and cupcakes. Sparklers and candles. I just adore the Google pictures each day. It’s my second favorite pastime, besides actual Googling, of course. I hover over the picture and discover something new and an hour is lost learning about C. V. Raman or Maria Callas or the invention of soap. (Here I go. Digressing again. Must be my age. Wink, wink.)

Today, I see the cakes and the candle and wonder, “Who else shares my birthday today?”

I hover the mouse over the picture and low and behold it says:

Happy Birthday, Jane!

My heart skips a beat. Google remembered!

I’m so touched. And honored. And awestruck.

And then, I realize (fairly quickly, because I’m not that egocentric) that the image will only be seen by me.

But that’s okay.

Google remembered my birthday.

That’s enough for me.


Filed under Holiday, Uncategorized

Punks Unite! (Well, For Today Anyway.)

It’s October 25th. And do you know what today is?

Punk For A Day Day!

This tickles me because my husband is always saying, “Quit being a punk!”

When I discovered it’s a day to celebrate, well, me – I have to admit. I got a little excited. But then I began to wonder, am I really a punk?

I consulted Merriam-Websters.

The first definition is “prostitute.” Nope. Not me. And since I eschew heavy make-up  and high heels of any variety, I’m sure I’ve never been mistaken for one.

Gangster or hoodlum? Me? Little Miss Rule Follower and Defender of the Weak? Strike two.

Dabbling in nonsense and foolishness? Now we’re getting somewhere. (Take this post, for instance.)

Then I found this little gem at wikiHow: “A fierce individualist who has a bone to pick with the profit-driven world.”

Now that’s a definition I can relate to.

I have complained here, many a time, on how I feel like I don’t fit in. How I seem to have lived my life backwards. My timing is always off. I don’t belong to any one crowd. Blah, blah, blah.

I’ve embraced my quirks. At this point in my life, I’m a peace that I married too young the first time and a little old the second time. I was a young mother and then an old mother. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and I didn’t care about growing up. I was a music major studying classical voice and rocking out to Metallica in between classes. I was the designated driver at every single party in high school (yes, high school) and college. I still wear Minnetonka moccasins, Keds and peace signs, as I have for the past thirty years. I don’t care that they’ve gone in and out of style – I’ve never stopped wearing them.

That’s me. I’m a rebel.

And I have always been repulsed by blatant materialism and greed. I love it when I hear about a celebrity who lives in a 2000 square foot home and drives a Prius. I think companies like Toms Shoes  are amazing and I wish I had thought of it first.

But when wikiHow proceeds to tell me how to look like a punk? That’s when I get my panties in a bunch. Didn’t the definition say “fierce individualist?”

I don’t have spiky hair. I don’t wear leopard print leather pants with a punk-band-goth-t-shirt with my cowboy boots and dog collar. I don’t wear brightly colored make-up. I hardly wear any at all. Reading their cookbook list is making me panic. How can I celebrate me, today, when I can’t conform?

Wait. A punk is a non-conformist. And I’m going to celebrate all the non-conforming things about me that I love. And you should, too! (The things about you, that is.)

Are you a non-conformist? Yay! Punks unite!

Well, for today, anyway.

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