From the deck of Mr. Pickles, back up singer for Britney Spears

pick outside

Last night Teagan was listening to Britney Spears, very loudly.  I LOVE HER! Her music inspires me to be a better person.  I would like to dedicate the song “Toxic” to my girlfriend Killer.  I mean I’m really addicted to her, and she’s totally toxic. I would also dedicate “Gimme more” to mommy when she gives me cookies, because she totally needs to give me more cookies.  I called Britney and I told her I’m an awesome backup singer.  I even sang for her over the phone – she totally loves me.  She wants me to join her tour in July in Washington D.C.

Knowing mom, she won’t let me go though, she’ll say I’m too young!  Boo mom!  I’ve even got my costumes ready, I took one of sissy’s school uniforms and made a “Baby one more time” costume.  Teagan says I’d be better in a boy band though.  Maybe I could get my brother Dexter and dad’s friend’s dachshund Koby and we could be a boy band.  We might need one more to be a boy band though, I think three just makes us a trio, like Hanson.  I could place a help wanted ad:  Help wanted – male dachshund, mini or full size, short or long hair, must be able to sing and dance.  I mean Justin Timberlake had to start somewhere.  Actually, he was on the Mickey Mouse club. Its super cute when I sing the new Hot Dog song from Mickey Mouse club….. “Hot Dog Hog Dog Hot Diggity Dog, now we got ears it’s time for cheers.” Because I’m a “wiener” dog and I have big ears…. It’s kind of a visual thing, you really have to see it in person to see how cute it is.

Now that I know that I can sing I’m so going to serenade Killer.

I’m excited that Teagan is home for the summer.  But she wouldn’t let me play Xbox with her the other day – something about opposable thumbs.  I can totally play Xbox.  I want to play GTA5, but mom says I’m not old enough.  PHBTTT…  she said I could only play Viva Piñata which is totally lame.  Dawson has some fun racing and soccer games, but I bored turning left all the time and soccer balls scare me.

In other backyard news (because let’s face it I don’t go anywhere else), I have recently found out that opossums are marsupials and not rodents.  I don’t know why that’s important but someone on Facebook said it was, so if it was on Facebook it’s totally true.  But anyway, they kill ticks and I don’t like ticks, so I guess that means the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  This Facebook post says you’re not supposed to hurt opossums because they kill ticks and bugs.  So…. I may or may not owe a couple of opossums an apology for chasing them and grabbing one by the neck and bringing in the living room when sissy was puppy-sitting me.  There’s a video… sissy screams a lot (insert evil villain laugh).

I tried digging out of the backyard last week.  Teagan caught me though.  She’s a very responsible puppy-sitter – unfortunately.  Then she told mom and mom put up a new board, so I can’t dig anymore.  It is very hard to be a good noodle when you’re a dachshund.  I mean the whole reason dachshunds exist is to dig, burrow and hunt badgers.  I don’t know what a badger is, but I’m guessing it looks a lot like a tree rat, raccoon, rabbit or opossum.  But the good news now is, when I might let my good noodle status slip I can sing “Oops I did it again” and mom forgives me.

Image result for badger  <——- Badger

I don’t know that thing looks terrifying.

I think I’ll stick to back up singing! Or a boy band….. “Bye, bye bye!”

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From the desk of Mr. Pickles, Royal Wedding invitee

British pickles

Mom wouldn’t let me go to Windsor this weekend even though I was clearly on the invitation list. My good pals Vulcan and Candy invited me, they’re Her Majesty’s “dorgis.”  Vulcan and Candy are ½ dachshund and ½ corgi and they are the only dogs the Queen has now.  I’m pretty sure we’re related, on the dachshund side anyway.  But mom said we couldn’t go to England so I had to watch the Royal Wedding on TV.  I really wanted to take Killer with me to England to impress her because I think she likes a Husky.  Can you imagine me and Killer riding in a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Windsor? One day…..

The whole reason we couldn’t go was because Teagan was playing a mirror in a play. Mirrors are scary by the way.  The other day I was investigating an open closet door and started barking because I found another dog in the closet.  Well, I thought there was another dog in the closet.  It turns out there was just a mirror that mom forgot about on the floor of the closet.  But I mean seriously how crazy would that have been to find a dog as handsome as me locked away in a closet?

Princess thinks she was invited to the Royal Wedding because her name is Princess, but I told her it doesn’t work that way. She argued with me and I let her win because let’s face it she’s bigger than me and kinda scary sometimes.  So if she asks, she was totally on the guest list!  Then Bam got involved, he said if anyone should have been invited it should have been him because he’s an Olde English Bulldog and Olde English is more British than a dachshund.  (Sigh) They just don’t understand what it’s like to be Royalty.

So other than Royal Wedding watching I really haven’t been up to much else lately. It’s nice to go outside and play since its spring.  I’m pretty sure there’s still a raccoon living under our mini barn but she’s pretty sneaky and we don’t see her very often.  Mom said it’s a good thing because she’s bigger than me.  Mom and Dad are getting ready to plant strawberries, peppers and tomatoes.  We’ll see how long those last until I get bored and decide to dig them up.  Er…. I mean until there is a dangerous tree rat near them and I have to dig them up to save them.  I like strawberries, mom dropped one the other day and it was yummy.  I guess if I don’t dig up the plant I could just eat the strawberries off the plant…. Hmmm decisions…. decisions.

Well that’s about all for now, I’m going to work on photoshopping myself into some of the pictures from the wedding yesterday.  Maybe Killer will still be impressed.  At least enough to distract her from the Husky for a while.  Maybe the Queen will want me to apply to MI6 that would impress Killer.  I could be the next James Bond, I mean my last name is pretty close – Mr. Pickles Baughn, 007.

H-Moo-O

I’m opening with possibly the worst “dad joke” ever according to my daughter.  If you don’t know what a “dad joke” is you are a)not a teenager and b)probably a dad guilty of making them.  A “dad joke” is an incredibly cheesy or dumb joke made by a dad to his kids.  Dave decided to be nice and make pancakes for Teagan yesterday morning because when asked who made better pancakes, mom or dad, she said dad.  He was busy mixing and stirring and pouring on the griddle and the pancakes puffed up quickly and he mentioned that seemed odd.  I pointed out that with the pancake mix he used you were supposed to use water not milk.  He then declared he had used “H-moo-O” which sent Teagan reeling with groans and eye rolls about bad dad jokes.  The pancakes were very fluffy and delicious though and she was really happy he added chocolate chips which is why I think he got voted best pancake maker.

And that…. Has absolutely nothing to do with my blog today.  But it was a fun opener.  Also be warned there are a lot of pictures ahead!

I decided yesterday to clean out a few drawers and the weird bookcase/hutch that I throw everything in and on top of.  Midway through when Teagan saw that I was reorganizing pictures and photo albums she came in and sat on the floor with me.  Of course, it was more than just rearranging or re-organizing once she got involved we had to open all the photo albums.  And then we found my mom’s scrap-book.  Which was weird because it wasn’t like a scrap book she had kept over the years it was like she had found a box of letters, cards and newspaper clippings and put them all in an old binder one day.  It started in 1980 and one of the last things in it was a newspaper article from when my nephew deployed to Afghanistan in 2003.  Some of the cartoons and articles she clipped were hilarious and we laughed a lot.

Teagan found the photo album I kept when I was growing up which included pictures of me when I attempted Horse and Pony 4-H, cheerleading, my friends from high school and middle school, a vacation to Colorado to visit my sister and my graduation.  One weird thing I noticed, was that in 2 or 3 different pictures in that album my mom had a cast on her arm.  I remember the last time she broke her arm because I took her to the hospital and that was maybe 10 years ago, but I don’t remember her breaking her arm when I was in high school or middle school.  Teagan got bored with that album though.

And she found some of our vacation albums.  She opened one from when we went to the beach when she was 5 and there was a picture of Dawson in a chair and she said, “He stayed in that stupid blue chair the whole vacation!” IMG_2867

Apparently, the chair had been a bone of contention for them.  I asked her if that was all she remembered from the vacation and she said yes.  Two pages later was a picture of Dawson and she said, “Look! He’s still in the chair!”  Then she found pictures of when we went to the beach when she was a maybe 1 or 2 and there was a picture of me holding her in the pool.  “You used to bounce up and down in the water and say bouncy…. bouncy…. bouncy!”  I have no idea if she really remembers that or not but that’s what we used to do so she wouldn’t cry in the pool.

There were pictures from vacations, amusement parks, sports, school stuff, weddings…. Teagan did not enjoy our wedding album.  She mostly was concerned with the mustaches that Dave and his groomsmen Tony and Scott had.  They were very 90’s fireman style – that’s all I’m going to say. IMG_2856

Sometimes she would have to ask who someone was and she was sometimes surprised by the answer because they look different now.  And she would often find a picture of herself and ask if she still looks like that and she’d try to mimic the look she had in the picture.   She also said she was cute AF (Insert eye roll).

Some thinks I learned as I was packing everything back in place:

  • I take, and have always taken, A LOT of pictures
  • I’m glad I take them because it’s fun to look back and remember – even pictures of my mom which are bittersweet because I miss her
  • My mom had a crazy sense of humor that reminds me of someone – oh yeah me (and Teagan… and Sara… and B)
  • People change a lot over the years – Teagan was particularly impressed with the amount of hairstyles my sister Kim has had over the years – her favorite:IMG_2862
  • Even the crazy vacations with all their calamities are totally worth it because they are filled with memories that even a 2-year-old remembers
  • Dad’s overall get a bad rap – dad jokes, dad mustache…..

I know I drive my loved ones crazy with picture-taking, but I think it’s totally worth it! IMG_2850

I found two really awesome pictures: one of my mom and me from my wedding  and one of my grandma and me from my graduation (Teagan thought Nana looked really pretty) that I think I will share since Mother’s Day is coming up soon.

Thanks for indulging my trip down memory lane….. I mean how often do you get to spend a Saturday night with your 15-year-old looking at old pictures?

No worries…. Mr. Pickles is itching to get back to blogging and he has some thoughts on ice cream, musical theater and becoming a Jedi.

 

From the desk of Mr. Pickles, Jedi

pick

Hi friends!

Bam showed me how to log on to mom’s laptop, he’s super smart.  He knew the password.  He’s a handy big brother, mostly because he can reach the countertop when daddy leaves bacon out.  And with his over bite he’s able to open all kinds of things for me.

I’m considering leaving SWAT training.  It’s really a hard decision because my girlfriend Killer is still in SWAT training.  But mom went to a training and learned about Bomb Detection dogs and it sounds kind of cool.  All I have to do is sit when I smell explosives.  How hard could that be?  And they give you a ball to play with. Um, I don’t know what explosives are though….are they bad? I’m still thinking about it though, I don’t want to leave Killer.

Then the other night mom was winding this big ball of yarn for her work.  I’m not sure what she does or why she needed yarn but whatevs!  I was getting really mad because she wouldn’t let me play with the yarn.  But while she was winding the yarn she was watching some movie on TV called Return of the Jedi.  It was so cool, there were spaceships and fuzzy little bear things and a princess.  Not like my sister Princess but a real princess.  So, I hung out with mom even though I was mad at her and watched the movie.  Popcorn may or may not have been part of my motivation for staying.

I liked the Jedi guy.  I mean how cool is he? And he had a light saber thingy.  I decided that I’d be way better at being a Jedi than being Knight, so I’ve changed from Mr. Pickles, Esq. to Mr. Pickles, Jedi. I need to write the Queen and tell her I’m not longer going to be a knight.  She’ll be very upset.

How cool would it be to be able to use the Force to get bacon off the counter?  Then I could really impress Killer.  So, I’m going to ask mom to go to Jedi school.  It’s a real thing, right?

I forgot to tell you I had to go to the doctor last week.  I had a bad cough.  Teagan and Dawson said I was just faking because I only coughed around mom.  I wasn’t faking!  The doctor said I had a cold and gave me medicine.  It tastes like beef stuff.  I’m not sure what beef stuff is, but I like it.  I was good this time and didn’t try to bite the girl who took my temperature like I did the last time.  Do you know where they stick the thermometer?

We went to the puppy resort a few weeks ago.  I’m not sure why mom calls it a resort especially when she doesn’t get us the rooms with the TV and extra treats.  Stupid snobby rich poodles got the fancy rooms and extra treats.  Bam really liked his girl who took him outside and always convinced her to give him extra snuggles.  It’s not bad there, but I was glad to get home to my own fluffy bed and my cardboard box.  Yes, I have a cardboard box like a cat, don’t judge.

That’s pretty much been my life for the last few weeks.  I live a really exciting life.  Princess said a racoon is living under our mini barn again.  Maybe next time I log on I will tell you about how I used my Jedi skills to catch the racoon.  Ohhh I could catch the squirrels too.  I gotta become a Jedi!

Image result for jedi symbol

Travelling – like Mark Twain

missouri-david-liu

If you’ve ever noticed the only quote that appears on my blog is “Write what you know.”- Mark Twain.  I like Mark Twain, but not for the classics like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer (collective literary gasp).  What made me like Mark Twain was a short story, A Dog’s Tale.  Even though it’s a sad and tragic tale, it’s written entirely from the prospective of a dog – which I may do from time to time.

I also like Mark Twain because he travelled, and he wrote about his travels.

So, I was excited to get to travel last weekend to Missouri and visit an old Missouri river town, St Charles, where almost everything is named after Mark Twain (a hobby store, the mall, streets…) except the really weird pizza, which I’ll get to in a minute. Also notice I’m now using the term travelling in place of vacation or holiday – it’s really splitting hairs but travelling sounds more like something Mark Twain or Ernest Hemingway would have done.

For those of you who have read some of my previous travel calamities there is good news, no hotels were involved or harmed during this trip!  We were lucky enough to stay with friends who recently relocated to the St. Louis area.  It was like staying in the best ever bed and breakfast imaginable.

Day 1 – We started our day with rain.  Lots and lots and lots of rain.  Dave joked that every time we go to St. Louis it rains – he’s not lying, but we’ve only been there one other time.  I was determined to take my kids to the Gateway Arch, rain be damned.  But I didn’t pre-game the Arch very well – or at all.  It was this passing thought I had when we stopped to get gas and McDonald’s in Illinois.  I have been to the Arch two other times in life, once when I was very little and all I remember is weird jerky tram ride to the top.  The second was with my husband in 1997 when we were on our Honeymoon and there was no way in H-E-double-hockey-sticks he was going to ride to the top.

As we exited the interstate and you could see the Arch I was surprised to hear Dawson say, “I think I might have to go to the top.”  My son. The one who won’t ride Ferris Wheels and go up in Space Needles because he thinks he might be afraid of heights, maybe kind of sorta – but he isn’t sure.  YAY – parenting win!  Here comes the travel tip portion of visiting the Gateway Arch without a game plan:

  1. Parking is at least three or four blocks away in any direction unless you are in a tour bus. Not great when it’s pouring down rain and the umbrella that used to always be in your car for soccer games has mysteriously disappeared and is probably safe and dry in the garage at home.  But it was only $5 to park, which for city parking isn’t bad.
  2. You have to buy your tickets to enter the Arch from this little kiosk outside the entrance, I’m not sure if this is a permanent thing or just while they are remodeling, but also not fun when you don’t have an umbrella and its pouring. And the lady working in the little kiosk had to ask four times how many tickets we needed, and she still didn’t get it right. Luckily the ticket taker didn’t ask why Dawson and Teagan both had CHILD tickets.
  3. You have to go through security and a metal detector. There is ONE metal detector for each entrance.  It is about a 15-20-minute process to get through security depending on the number of people in front of you and their general ability to empty their pockets and walk through a metal detector – you’d be surprised how many people can’t figure out that they can’t keep their car keys and cell phones in their pocket.  Again, mostly outside in the rain up until the last 5 minutes or so when you get under the Arch.
  4. Congratulations! You are inside the Gateway Arch. You may not get in line for the tram until 5 minutes before your ticket time. Your socks and shoes are sloshy, and you are styling the “wet look.”  20 minutes to go… hey look a gift shop!
  5. THREE of us got in line with our tram tickets. Once again Mr. H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks would not go to the top.  He bought a book about the construction of the Arch and a Diet Dr. Pepper and sat at the bottom and waited.
  6. The tram ride to the top is a huge ordeal and process. You have a tram “conductor” who issues you boarding passes, then you watch a video about the 1960’s (when the construction was complete) that has nothing to do with the Arch.  You take the obligatory green screen picture and get a ticket to purchase an overpriced photoshopped picture of your family in front of the Arch.  You then are escorted to the actual boarding area where you see the metal tram “doors” which are smaller than the windows in my living room.  I think Dawson turned green when he saw the doors.
  7. The 4-minute tram ride to the top really isn’t bad, but it’s a little shaky and there’s a window so you can see the metal supports the entire way up. PS don’t look down!  We rode up with two little girls, Nora and Madison, who were 4 and 8, their mom had to split up all the kids because she had 6 kids and only 5 people can ride in one tram – I wasn’t the only mom who didn’t pre-game!  One was scared, the other wasn’t.  Kind of like my kids – who held hands on the way up. 🙂
  8. The top is cool. You can probably see more on a sunny day, but still cool.  Unless you are uncomfortable being crammed into a space that is about 65 feet long, 7 feet wide and 7 feet tall with 80 other people.  Sardines come to mind.  We stayed just long enough to snap pictures from each side and Dawson was done.  3 minutes down – gravity helps I guess.

st louis arch

We then enjoyed a rainy walk back to the car.  And Dave made me walk on a pedestrian bridge made entirely of metal grating.  I don’t like a) bridges and b) metal grates.  Next time he’s riding the damn tram to the top.

We negotiated rush hour traffic to get to the suburbs where our friends live, and we stopped at Wal-Mart to get dry shoes and socks.  It was important to have dry shoes and socks.  Dave didn’t pack extra shoes or socks.  We also located an Imo’s Pizza, which according to Dave’s EMS Chief who is from St. Louis is one of the best places to get St. Louis style pizza.  Again, we’ll get to the pizza later.

The fun thing about navigation systems is they take you what is the most “direct” route to any location.  Jenny Jeep (Elmo’s navigation system) was already on Dave’s last nerve because she kept alerting us to traffic backups on I-70.  Then Jenny Jeep took us what we later learned was the back way to our friend’s house.  We were doing good until we were told to turn on a “road” which looked more like a single lane driveway that went straight up.  No, I’m not exaggerating it went literally straight up – and at the peak I wasn’t sure there was anything on the other side. That’s why it’s the back way, there is a much flatter and easily travelled road that Jenny Jeep wasn’t aware of using Highway MM.  I’m totally behind naming highways after my favorite candy.

Day 2 consisted of antique shops and St. Charles historic riverfront.  I was in Heaven!  There were so many shops with farmhouse decor and handmade soaps and candles and crafts and OMG the fresh-baked cookies!  And I found an old window that I’ve wanted for some time to replace an 80’s design “feature” in my house.  The old window almost didn’t fit in Elmo.  And there were the rocks.  Everyone kept finding painted rocks – except me.  On the back of the rock was a Facebook logo with a name, so I looked it up.  It’s a group of people who paint rocks and leave them all over St Charles for people to find.  Isn’t that cool?

Ok, it’s time to talk about the pizza.  For dinner we convinced our friends to go to the pizza place we had seen.  When they moved to St. Louis everyone told them the same thing they told us, you must try St. Louis style pizza.  St. Louis style pizza is really all about the cheese even though the crust is also controversial because is thin and they don’t use yeast when they make it.  But the cheese. I had to look it up.  It’s “white processed cheese known as Provel. Provel is a trademark for three cheeses fused to form one (provolone, Swiss, and white Cheddar).” The words fuse and cheese should not be used together ever.  At first it was just “slightly different” and didn’t really taste bad.  To be honest, it doesn’t taste bad at all, it’s the texture that’s impossible to get past.  Its like slicing Velveeta on a pizza.  You should still try it if you go to St. Louis – just fair warning you may not like it.

logo-imos

Day 3 was travelling back home.  Again, in the rain.  What is it with the rain?  We had done so very well this trip without our usual bumps in the road (except our friends had a flat tire).  We found the bump on the way home.  We stopped to eat lunch and everything was going well until the little girl next to us fell off her chair and hit her chin.  It made a horrible crack when she hit and of course she started crying.  What made me jump was the older [than me] gentleman behind us who literally sprung out of his seat and dove toward the little girl bellowing “OH MY GOD IS SHE OK?”  It was a bit of an over reaction especially for a stranger.  That was bad.  What made it worse was that the mom totally under reacted to the situation.  She sighed loudly and asked in a very calm monotone “are you ok?”  Super stranger who had bolted out of his seat was now yelling “SHE’S BLEEDING!!!” Apathetic mom reached for a napkin and was trying to hold the girl steady to wipe the blood while calmly saying, “you have to let me see and wipe the blood away.”  Super stranger was still standing there staring in disbelief at the mom, so she said, “oh she’s ok.  She just had surgery this week that’s why she’s bleeding.”  The man finally went back to his seat where he very loudly relayed the story to his wife including questioning why she had surgery.  I mean his wife had seen and heard the whole incident so I’m not sure why he was telling her the story.  I was amazed Teagan hadn’t started to laugh because she laughs at inappropriate times – it’s a brain injury thing.  The whole thing was just too much, the super overreaction of the man and the completely emotionless and under reacting mom.  And our little happy family was stuck directly in the middle of it all.  I had to go or I was going to be the one laughing at an inappropriate time.

There you have it, a trip with no hotel disasters, only a slight weather problem and one minor people watching bump. It’s our first trip without an epic weather event.  It did snow on April 1st though, but that doesn’t count we were already home.

Finally, for my friend who spent all weekend planning and naming my “shop” to sell all my handicrafts and writings I challenge you to open your own bed and breakfast.  You would be really great at making people feel like home and the place would be incredibly decorated.  Just a thought!

 

Not everyone has the same heart as you

broken heart

When I write I always try to stay clear of 3 topics ….. Politics, Religion and the Great Pumpkin.  The reason I do that is because I fancy myself more of a humorist than an activist.  My mom compared my writing to Erma Bombeck and so I continue to strive for that style of writing.

But every now and then a subject weighs on my mind and I want to write about it, but I shy away because there is no way to write about it in a lighthearted fashion.  Usually those topics also come with a lot of either political or religious baggage – mostly political but unfortunately people usually find a way to tie politics and religion together.  So today I decided to break my own rules and just write because my mind really can’t let this one go.

In the last few weeks I’ve watched with amazement a generation stand up for themselves and tell the country they are tired of becoming victims and they want change.  I’ve also watched in disbelief and disappointment the older generations response to this change.  The young people of our country are telling us, the adults, they are tired of being afraid their school might be next, tired of having to practice lockdown drills, and tired of mourning the loss of classmates and friends.  And the responses I’ve seen range from “they don’t understand what they are talking about,” to “they should be nicer to their classmates and stop bullying,” and even “kids don’t know anything about civics, laws or government.”

Really?  That’s the response we give the nations kids when they say they want change? That’s the response we give to kids who are expressing to us that they are scared and want us to do something?  I actually read an article by a freelance journalist who targeted one of the teens specifically from Parkland Florida for making remarks about the NRA’s spokeswoman.  I saw a post on Twitter that said this journalist had targeted one of the teenager speakers from Parkland Florida and I honestly thought (or maybe even secretly hoped) that it was one of those blown out of proportion articles that people with political agendas post to gain more followers and fuel more debate.  So, I went to the journalists Twitter page and there it was in black and white – an unapologetic article calling a 16-year-old a “bully” because he dared to share a negative opinion he has of the NRA’s spokeswoman. And again, I said, Really?

“They don’t understand what they are talking about.”  Trust me, they do.  They know that they are supposed to be able to go to school and learn in a safe environment.  They know that they have seen time and time again on television kids their age being escorted past bodies of their classmates out of school with their hands above their heads by police officers.  They know they don’t want their school to be the next headline.  Let’s be honest, when we went to high school did it ever even cross your mind that a classmate might come into school and start randomly shooting people?  No, it didn’t.  We never had lock-down drills.  In the 50’s and 60’s there were “duck and cover” drills for nuclear attacks, but by the time I was in school even they weren’t practiced.  In four years of high school the only significant event I remember was when we had to evacuate the school because someone had called in a bomb threat.  There was no bomb, it was just a hoax by a student wanting to get out of an exam.

“They should be nicer to their classmates and stop bullying.”  I completely agree.  Everyone should be nicer to their classmates, neighbors, co-workers and stop bullying.  But, if we’re being honest….. Yeah that’s what I thought.  Are you always kind, nice and polite to ALL your co-workers or neighbors?  Nope.  Were you always kind, nice and respectful to ALL the kids you went to school with?  Nope.  The hardest lesson I had to teach my kids when they started school was that everyone doesn’t have the same heart that you do.  Not everyone you meet wants to be a friend or sometimes even nice.  And then as a parent you must answer that awkward question of what your child should do when someone is mean to them. Maybe finding a solution to this problem should be on the top of everyone’s agenda instead using the blow off excuse – don’t bully your classmates and that alone will stop school violence.

“Kids don’t know anything about civics, laws or government.”  They are in school learning about these topics every day.   Some of them probably have better knowledge of these topics than we do as adults because they are actively studying them.  Granted many of them don’t have the same view about these topics that we do – and they shouldn’t they are growing up in a different era with different problems and challenges. Don’t fool yourselves though, they are educating themselves faster than we are giving them credit for.

In my daughter’s school there are posters in every class room detailing the lockdown plan and response plan for an active shooter.  She’s been taught to turn her backpack around and wear it so that her chest is somewhat protected by her books and folders from gunfire.  Every day she and her classmates carry clear, see though backpacks to reduce the chance of a student hiding a gun or knife.  My son’s school had to cancel classes twice due to an active credible threat of violence – for months the school had extra police officers at the doors checking for weapons.  It took the FBI nearly a year and a half for to find out the threat was some cyber terrorist halfway across the country who just randomly selected my son’s school and not an actual student.  These kids know EXACTLY what they are marching, protesting and fighting for.

Kids today are taught to RUN, HIDE, FIGHT.  That’s the national campaign for all American’s to prepare for an active shooter situation.  RUN if it’s safe, HIDE if you can’t RUN and as a last resort FIGHT. With so many past school shootings kids have run away or hid from the national spotlight on their school.  Suddenly and maybe unexpectedly, with the last school shooting, they decided to fight.  The kids in Parkland Florida didn’t follow the script written by past school shootings – they didn’t just hold candlelight vigils and prayer circles and quietly shrink out of the spotlight.  They started speaking up and speaking out and rallying teens all over the nation to do the same.  And I, for one, am proud that they are standing up for themselves.  Isn’t that part of what we teach our kids?  Stand up for yourself.  If you see something say something.  Don’t be upset because they are finally listening to us.

I’m not writing this to debate gun control, the 2nd Amendment, the NRA, the media, politicians, the President, Republicans, Democrats, conservatives or liberals.  Yes, all these things play a role in this.  And yes, all these things influence this.  But, for me, it’s not about any of those things it’s about our kids.  Our kids are asking for our help, they are asking to be safe, they are asking for change.  Adults can continue to push them aside and ignore them or tell them they don’t understand what they are talking about but keep in mind they won’t be kids forever.  One day they will be the ones leading the country – our response to them now matters.

I certainly don’t have the answer.  Sadly, I don’t think anyone does.  And my opinion or your opinion on gun control, the 2nd Amendment, the NRA, the media, politicians, the President, Republicans and Democrats or conservative ideas and liberal ideas isn’t the answer either.  Everyone has an opinion – what we are lacking are true solutions to the problem.

Disclaimer— if you plan on trolling this blog I won’t respond.  One of the hardest but most important things I’ve learned over the years is not to swing at pitches in the dirt.  Don’t take my silence as weakness I just refuse to trade jabs for the sake of arguing.

Mud and Glitter

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Yesterday was one of those weird 40-degree and sunny days in January.  Which is awesome … if you don’t own a dog.  Because on those weird 40-degree days in January, all the snow and ice and slush that was in your yard has melted and turned the large dirt spot by your fence into a mud pit worthy of a Monster Truck Jam.  Of course, that was the spot all three dogs ran to first yesterday.  As I was wrestling with a 100 lb. bulldog to clean his feet I noticed I was not only cleaning off chunks of mud and grass but there was glitter sprinkled in.  Then I remembered that my son had made a poster to cheer on his friend at her basketball game and she had specifically requested glitter.  In stead of dusting off the extra glitter into the trash can he decided the snow in the back yard was a good place for the glitter.

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The thing is, when I was cleaning mud and glitter off twelve paws I thought that it was a perfect description of so many things in my life.  My personality – Mud and Glitter.  My writing – Mud and Glitter.  My dogs – Mud and Glitter (and Mud).  My kids – Mud and Glitter (you two can fight over who’s glitter and who’s mud).

But it also is a great intro for what my Blog was originally going to be about today.  The original blog started off with the sentence, “If you ever want to see the worst human behavior go to the car wash on a sunny day in January or Costco on a Saturday afternoon.”

The car wash seemed like a good idea until I actually got in line.  I knew it would be busy because the temperature was blistering 32 degrees and it was sunny – I was prepared for busy.  I was not prepared for awful people.  If you haven’t visited a car wash recently there are now four lanes that condense to one.  This alone confuses people; three lanes are for the random sunny day car washers like me (the mud) and then there is an express lane for people who pay a monthly fee for unlimited washes (the glitter).  I chose the shortest of the three lines which I should have known was cosmically stupid.  The person in front of me caused quite a bit of problems and I don’t know why or what the issue was.  But the car wash gal was summoned to the car multiple times and there were receipts flying around – if I had to guess I’d say that they changed their mind about the level of clean they wanted for their truck because in addition to the receipts the car wash gal had to keep soap writing new numbers on the truck.

The back and forth was fine until we got to the front of the line where the parking gate arms allow people in the 4 lines to rotate into one line to go through the car wash.  The gate raised not once but twice while the mind changers were waiting once again for the car wash gal to come back to their car and I assume change the wash type one more time as a new receipt was printed.  I admit, I was irritated.  I watched car after car go into the line and I’m stuck behind the most indecisive person in the world.  It’s not hard, you either want to pay $9 for soap and water or go all out for every type of cleaner and wax known to man for $20.  There’s 2 mid-level choices – I get that, but seriously it should not take 4 times to decide what you want.

Unfortunately, because they waited through two of the gate rotations – it threw the gate rotation into a frenzy.  The gates started getting stuck open or closing too soon.  Then it allowed 4 of the Glitter cars in the Unlimited wash lane go and nobody else.  Finally, the gate raised and the truck in front of me drove through the gate.  Then the gate stuck open.  And the other gates got stuck down.  So unsure what to do I started to proceed through the gate as it slammed down on Elmo’s front bumper and the arm broke completely off.  Luckily Elmo sustained no damage and the employees got the arm off the bumper and waved me on through – mostly because the other lanes were all still stuck down.  Eventually, they had to open all the gates and hope for the best because one indecisive person jammed up the whole works.  I finally made it through the car wash, but I wanted to pull to the side just to double-check that there was no damage from the parking arm coming down.  After double checking I got back into the car and tried to leave, but one of the Unlimited car washers was blocking the exit while going over his freshly washed truck with a chamois.  While waiting in line I saw him pull in, his truck looked like it had just been washed before he got in the line, but whatever if I paid $40 a month I’d wash my truck 3 times a day too.  The thing is I wasn’t irritated that he was detailing his truck, or even that he was blocking the exit – it was that he was totally oblivious to the fact that there were other people waiting for him to move.  Or, maybe he wasn’t oblivious, which means he just thinks his super duty dually extended cab 4×4 is more important than my sporty little Jeep.

He finally moved so I was able to get to the exit only to pull behind a guy driving exactly 8 mph while talking on his phone and the Honda Accord that was about an inch from his bumper with a red angry face and yelling.  Cell phone guy just kept driving at 8 mph… totally unaware that the Honda guy was behind him yelling and I was behind the Honda guy.  He briefly drove into on coming traffic which was fun to watch, then almost hit Honda guy who was trying to pass him on the right, when he attempted to get back in the correct lane.  But the best thing ever was when cell phone guy after cutting off Honda guy cut right in front of me and realized that he was at a stop light that was red and slammed on his brakes.  His brakes worked…. Mine did not.  Well mine did, they just weren’t effective as I was on solid ice.

As I pictured myself slamming into cell phone guy my anti-lock braking system kicked in and for some unknown reason cell phone guy suddenly decided he was turning right and despite the red light turned.  I guess that may have been divine intervention.  I was next to Honda guy, who was still yelling and gesturing at cell phone guy.

Based on this experience I should have said no when my husband wanted to go to Costco, but I relented, and we went.  Every family within a 50-mile radius who has 3-5 children was shopping at Costco.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand you must shop and if you have small children they must go with you.  The first encounter we had was with mom talking on her cell phone in the middle of the aisle, completely stopped, while her three kids kept getting free orange samples.  Like 4 and 5 orange slices a piece to the point where the employee cutting up the oranges had to say, “you need to ask your mom if you can have any more.”  No one else got any orange slices though because the kids kept pushing their way to the front and grabbing more.  The entire time mom was having a very loud and detailed conversation about her plans for the evening that included wearing a super-hot new outfit and getting drunk.

We moved past the fruit to the bakery.  After fighting off two families of five Dave finally got a muffin sample.  It just kept going from sample station to sample station – the mom would approach first followed by the kids and the dad would bring up the rear.  I don’t mind that people brought their kids and were letting their kids get samples, what bothered me was that the parents were being disrespectful of other shoppers.  Sometimes pushing their kids up to the front of the line to get samples of things the kids didn’t even want.  And the sample stations are strategically placed in busy aisles and some of the parents would loiter around the aisle until the next batch of samples were laid out and sent their kids in for seconds.  All of this makes actually shopping very complicated.

I started out accepting it for what it was and laughing it off as much as possible.  We joked about it… commenting on the new trend for parents is to not feed their kids lunch and instead bring them to sample stations at the Costco.  Then I found her.  The one who sent me over the edge.  Her cart parked smack in the middle of a busy main aisle while she walked with her daughter to get a box of 4000 fruit snacks.  I maneuvered around her cart and kept going, then she was behind me.  I stopped to get a box of pretzels and was trying to see the price.  She huffed around me loudly complaining that I had stopped in the middle of the aisle.  That was it, my breaking point.  I said things, things like FUDGE.  Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word! (to borrow from A Christmas Story).  That made this lady cover her daughter’s ears and run away from me in horror (Insert eye roll – like she’s never said it!).  I was the mud…. She was the glitter – at least in her version of the story.

I find more and more that people are either so self-absorbed they don’t notice the other people around them or they just truly feel they are more important than others in general.  I’m not sure which but as I continue to find these people I definitely lose my glitter.

Sparkle on readers… sparkle on!