Category Archives: Parenting

When your dog is more focused than you…


Good morning Everyone!

Something about the Christmas season seems to send my absent mindedness into hyperdrive.  Not so my dogs.

Basset Hound, Husky Mix

The Mandinator!

Here’s my proof:

1.       It was raining last week, and I was the last one to leave the office. I usually go out the front, which requires me to unlock and then lock it back,  but that night I went out the back door, which always lets people out even if they can’t get back in.  After I got outside and into my car (it has a combination lock that lets me unlock it without the key), I started to panic when I couldn’t find the keys anywhere in my purse.  I hadn’t even closed the car door yet.  I started to send a frantic text to one of my friends from work asking her to come back to free me, but as I was doing so, I realized there was the most annoying “ping, ping, ping” coming from the car.  I looked up to realize that my keys were in the ignition.  I must have put them in the ignition without even thinking about it.

2.     I am working on a knitting project that involves using a row counter.  This means that after I finish a row, I have to stop and hit the button on the counter to tally each row.  To do this, I have to put the “free” needle – the one without yarn on it at the time – down.  I got quite annoyed the other night when I couldn’t find the darn thing after one row tally.  There is nothing more frustrating than losing an object when you have been sitting in the same place the whole time.  I was sitting by Mark and he finally asked me what I was looking for.  When I told him I was looking for my knitting needle, he looked at me strangely before telling me that it was tucked behind my ear!

3.    We put a memory foam mattress topper on our bed last night.  We leaned back to see how it felt, and Mark had my glasses in his hand.  I kept reaching out to take them back, and he finally asked, “Why are you reaching for my glasses?”  I started to inform him that they weren’t his glasses, they were mine – until I realized that my glasses were still on my head.  Then I had to tell him that I had forgotten my glasses were still on me!

Compare that to Mandy’s behavior this morning.  She sailed onto my chest about 6:30, ready for me to get up.  Apparently the extra 4 inches added to the bed by the mattress topper doesn’t pose any problems for her, but I digress.  When she did, I noticed that in her mouth she had one of Mark’s handkerchiefs.  Sleepy or not, I was aware that most dogs do not carry handkerchiefs around with them, so I removed Mandy’s from her, put it in the hamper, pushed the clothes down to be sure they stayed out of reach and went on about our day.  About an hour later, I went back into the room for something and Mandy followed me, sailed back on the bed and began searching for the handkerchief I had taken away.

That moment was when I concluded that my dog is far less absent-minded than me.

Have a great day!

Nancy

 

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Dress Wars


Good morning Everyone!

Dresses

What to Wear? http://www.clickartonline.com All rights reserved

It is one of the oldest arguments that exist between mother and daughter.  I have had it with Kayla, my Mom had it with one, or all three, of her daughters, and I’m willing to bet that she had the discussion with her mother also.  It always begins with a variation on the question, “You weren’t going to wear that, were you?”

To reach the earliest recorded instance of this argument, we are going to have to resort to the Ugg Clan Chronicles.  As was briefly discussed in A Highly Biased History of Writing, Part I, two of Ugg and Uggette’s 14 children, Uggodu and Uggodo, had an interest in substances from which would eventually spring the art of alchemy.  As part of that interest, and as a result of a string of both fortunate and unfortunate accidents involving a dried out animal skin, a summer long camping trip, mammoth and wolf dung, lots of water as well as oak and the lack of a strong sense of smell, they discovered the art of tanning, which takes animal hides and turns them into a fabric of sorts that doesn’t putrefy when wet (or dry, for that matter).  Once Mrs. Ugg finally discovered what they had been up to, and viewed the final result, she was instantly taken with the new invention (although, due to the malodorous nature of the process, she was forced to require Uggodu and Uggodo to conduct their experiments in a swamp that was normally downwind and about three miles away.)  Because the process took time, Mrs. Ugg reserved the twins’ leather for special occasion garments only, leaving the family with regular animal skins for every day wear.

Dress Argument

Uggette and Uggita Discuss Dress; http://www.clickartonline.com, All Rights Reserved

In November of that year, the Ugg’s received a cordial invitation by smoke signal to attend a campfire festival attended by all of the families in the surrounding area, of which there were two besides the Uggs – the local medicine doctor’s family and the distinguished Oop Clan.  Uggita, the oldest of the 14 children, was very much enamoured of the eldest Oop son, Alley, Jr.  Because of that, she waited until it was time for the family to leave before showing herself ready for the family procession dressed in the leather dress Mrs. Ugg had prepared for special ceremonial occasions as opposed to casual get-togethers, at which point Mrs. Ugg laid down the gauntlet by proclaiming, “You surely are NOT going to the campfire fest wearing that, are you?”  After about 10 minutes of heated argument, finally settled when Ugg, being a wise man who loved domestic harmony, weighed in on Mrs. Ugg’s behalf, a sulky Uggita returned to the cave to reemerge wearing her every day fur skin.  (For the record, Alley, Jr. found Uggita captivating even if she wasn’t in ceremonial dress.)

The second recorded instance of such an argument that I am aware of (I am sure there are many such records, but I don’t know about them) proved that even royalty is not immune from such discussions.

Maria Theresa of Austria, Hapsburg

Empress Maria Theresa, 1759 By Martin van Meytens – Buchscan, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68471

The Sep./Oct. 2016 issue of National Geographic History contained an article about the dress standards of Marie Antoinette and her court.  (Maria Pilar Queralt del Hierro, “Rococo Revolution:  Marie Antoinette’s Courtier Couture”, pp. 10-13).  Included in a sidebar to the article was the following excerpt of a letter from Empress Maria Theresa of Austria to her daughter, Marie Antionette, upon receiving a painting of Marie Antionette after she became Queen of France:

As you know, I have always been of the opinion that fashions should be followed in moderation but should never be taken to extremes.  A beautiful young woman, a graceful queen, has no need for such madness.  On the contrary, simplicity of dress is more befitting and more worthy of a queen.  I love my little queen and watch everything you do and feel I must not hesitate to draw your attention to this little frivolity.

Id., p. 11.

Marie Antoinette with rose

Marie Antoinette of France, 1783 by Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun; Public Domain Due to Age of Painting

So mothers, when you feel the need to challenge your daughter’s choice of attire, hold your heads high!  You stand with the company of your forebears and royalty when you do so.

Have a great day!

Nancy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

about the dress habits of Marie Antionette and her court

Quote

Dedicated to All Frustrated Parents of Teens


Good morning , everyone!

Whether you’re parenting a teen with another parent, or doing it on your own, I salute you!  Carry on bravely, my suffering brothers and sisters! I  feel your pain!

Parent Pulling Out Hair
AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH! from http://www.clickartonline.com All rights reserved.

To All Frustrated Parents of Teens

The 14 year old mind

Is a strange, wondrous thing;

No one can account

For the thoughts which it springs.

One moment high fashion

Has it enthralled;

The next, finding rations

Puts flights to all else.

It has not a filter,

At best, one too late;

Arguments it adores

Much too much to forsake.

It wades only in shallows,

Concerns chill it not,

Yet strong loves wells deepen,

As do new, wondering thoughts.

When its parents despair

Through long suffering in vain

That wisdom shall ever

Elude this young brain,

A small touch on their shoulder,

A hug in the mall,

A smile on a cold day,

A kindness, too small

To affect fates of nations,

But which heartens those close,

A keen observation that

Will pierce other’s boasts,

Reminds family present

That hope is not lost.

This mind will grow wiser

With the age of its host.

Have a great day!

Nancy

In Which the Ghost of Christmas Cheer Goes Missing


Good morning Everyone!

Last Friday was the last day of school for 2015 for Kayla.  The day before, her home room decided to plan a breakfast party in celebration thereof.  So far so good, but then my child (or perhaps this time she was Mark’s child!) volunteered to bring cheese grits for the class.

When she announced this to us, neither parent was thrilled.  Mark, because he had to go to Wal-Mart with her to get bags of grit after work and me because I was informed that I would be getting up to help her prepare them.  This announcement was doubly troubling to me since I had sworn off making her grits ages ago, since every batch I made was judged inferior to any batch made by either grandmother.  (See, Grits.)

Mark hates Wal-Mart and only goes there as a last resort, but by the time I got home that night, the two of them had already been and returned – with two five-pound flour bag size packages of grits.  I think he got off light.

When I awoke the next morning, Kayla already had plopped three stock size pots on the stove and filled with them water.  She was standing in the kitchen waiting for them to boil.

Unreasonable woman that I am, I studied the directions on the back of the package, and asked, “Did you measure out the water?”

“No, I don’t have to.”

“But the package says…”

“Well, Grandma Pat never does…”

(At this point I started gritting my teeth.)

The water in pot one started to boil, and Kayla added  about three pounds worth of grits into the pot.

My next question:  “Do you have the cheese ready to stir in?”

Disdainfully:  “Mom, you never stir the cheese in; you just put it on top.”

“It’s better stirred in.”

Aggravated sigh.  “Even Cracker Barrel and Huddle House just put the cheese on the top.”

(At this point I started biting my tongue and walked off into the other room.  With a decided lack of wisdom, I decided to reenter the kitchen.)

Studying the huge batch of grits stirring in pot #1, I suggested that pot 1 was all she would need.

“Mom, I have to prepare for 32 people.”

“Kayla, that’s enough for 32 people.”

“No it’s not.”

(By now, I’m ready to start snarling, so I jump to the true root of the problem.)

“You know, when you’re volunteering to bring something to the party at the last minute, you should volunteer to bring something we can just buy at the store.”

“I was going to bring plates Mom, but when people were saying what food they were going to bring, I kept asking for cheese grits and no one would bring them, so I did.”

The child then emptied another two pounds of grits into pot #2 and began stirring.

“Kayla, you have enough grits.  You don’t need the third batch.”

“Yes I do.”

“No, you have enough.”

“But mom…”

Then a shout came out.  “I don’t care what you say, I am now ORDERING you to not make the third batch.”

“Well, there’s no need to yell at me!”

I again left the room, this time to allow my blood pressure to come down.  After too short a period, I am called back in.

“Mom, did Grandma Pat teach me how to make good grits or what?”

(Note:  I don’t like grits; never have, never will.)

She then announced “You know I’m going to need you to help me carry this stuff in.”

I studied the kitchen counter, where a large assortment of very small Tupperware containers were spread out.  “Honey, you can’t take all my Tupperware containers.”

With a huff:  “Well, I have to take them in SOMETHING!”

After a moment’s thought, I found a very large stew pot that she could pour both batches in.  Now all she had to carry was her backpack, slung over her shoulder and the stew pot, which had handles and a lid.  She informed me I still needed to go in with her (which involves parking the car in the school parking lot and walking into the school) rather than just take her through the car rider line (which means I get to stay in the car while she gets on out.)   A snarling cross-examination established that the only reason I needed to go in was that she was embarrassed to carry in her large pot of grits by herself, which really set me off.

At the end of the appointed time, I managed to get the daughter and the grits to the right place at the right time.  My parting words to her as I walked from the school back out to the parking lot included a reminder to clean the kitchen as soon as she got home that day.

For the record, there still is at least one pot that has not yet been cleaned to my satisfaction.  It took all day Friday for my Christmas cheer to return!

Have a great day!

Nancy

Memories From Nashville


Good morning Everyone!

I am speaking today for an hour at a legal seminar here in Nashville, and driving up yesterday, it occurred to me that this is the first time I have been to Nashville by myself since Kayla was 4!  It was a never to be forgotten visit, but not from my end.

I had a few minutes free and was looking for some tiny souvenir to bring back for Kayla in downtown Nashville.  I went into a souvenir shop, where they had a bin of polished rocks.  You could buy so many rocks for a couple of dollars, then put them in a bag that said something original like “Rocks from Nashville.”  Kayla was in that four year old stage where kids pick up any kind of rock they find that they think is interesting, so I thought she would like it.

I had just walked out of the store, when my phone rang.  It was Mark.  I asked him what was up, and the conversation started with “Your daughter…”

I knew right then that whatever it was was not going to be good.  It turned out that Kayla and a friend had gotten bored at day care, and decided to amuse themselves by putting rocks into each other’s ear, then watching them fall out.   (Yes, you can see where this is going.)  Strangely enough, the rock in Kayla’s ear didn’t want to shake out.

Day care called Mark, who left work and took Kayla to the pediatrician.  To this day, he is not sure whether he is more amazed that he had a daughter silly enough to let someone put a rock in her ear or that enough other children had done it before her that the pediatrician had a specialized tool that could flush the rock out with water.

I waited until I got home to tell Mark what I had gotten Kayla for a souvenir.

Have a great day!

Nancy

The Kitchen Cleaning Caper


Good morning Everyone!

About three weeks ago, several round white spots, maybe two inches in diameter, and a long smear of white appeared on the kitchen floor.  Kayla said she had tried to mop them up, but it hadn’t worked, and neither had vacuuming.

I was tired of looking at them by Sunday, so yesterday evening I sat down on the floor and started working on getting those spots up.  The spots were made by a thick, hard substance, though, and the only way to remove them was to scrape the substance off with a knife.  It was too thin, too uniform and not stretchy enough to be gum but it was too tough to be something like sugar or icing.

After a while, Kayla joined me on the floor to help.  She wanted to know if I knew what the spots were.  I told her I wasn’t sure, but  I was beginning to think I might be better off not knowing.  Realizing I was talking about unwanted critters, she said “Eeee-youuuuuuuuuu!”

She helped me scrape for a while in silence, then she said, “These spots look exactly like someone  got mad and slung the stove top cleaner around without realizing that it wasn’t shut good.”

Happy Face Angel With Wings

from http://www.clickartonline.com
All Rights Reserved

I sat back to look at her, and she added, “Not that I did anything like that!”

I let her off on a technicality.

(For the record, Mark and I went into the bedroom and shut the door so we could laugh until our sides hurt at her non-confession.)

Have a great day!

Nancy

FN.  We have a glass cook top on our stove, and it requires a special cleaner that rubs on like a paste and then is wiped off with paper towel.  Apparently once the stuff dries without being rubbed off, it is impenetrable.

Three Effortless Ways to Embarrass Your 13 Year Old Daughter


Good morning Everyone!

I did three things last week that embarrassed Kayla.  None of them was particularly dreadful, so I am curious to know if any of you can explain her embarrassment.

Embarrassment Number 1:  I joined Instagram.  I did not post anything, just got an account and followed Kayla and a couple of other people.  If I had posted weird pictures or Kayla’s toddler pictures (especially the absolutely adorable one of her looking like a mountain gnome, the bottom half of her face completely covered in chocolate ice cream from where she had tried to eat an ice cream cone in the dark FN 1), I would understand it better, but simply to establish an account?

Embarrassment Number 2:  I (gasp!!!) knitted while I was in a doctor’s waiting room while she was with me.  I didn’t hurt anyone, shake my needles at anyone, poke anyone’s eyes out or click the needles together loudly like a pair of castanets.  I even restrained myself from knitting when we were waiting at the orthodontist’s office, only knitting while we were waiting for my allergist.  (Lots of teens at the orthodontist; none at the allergist.)  Apparently I still committed a faux pas.

Embarrassment Number 3:  I did not mute the keys on my cell phone while I was texting.  The fact that I text at all is something she should encourage, noisy keys or not.  I like hearing the sound of the virtual keys; that way at least I’m sure I hit some kind of letter, even if it ends up being the wrong one!  If anyone can explain this one to me, too, I’d appreciate it.  And no, we were not in a crowded area, there were not any other teenagers around, and there was only one other person in the waiting room when I typed my text.

I would appreciate any enlightenment, although I can’t promise I will never embarrass her again, for two reasons.  The first is that the rules as to what embarrasses keep on changing.  The second is that embarrassing your 13-year-old can be a lot of fun.

Have a great day!

Nancy

FN 1.  That picture was nominated for the “first time we meet your boyfriend” album as soon as it was taken.  Two for, and one against, and I’ll let you guess who voted for what.

My First TV Interview


Good Morning Everyone!

Last month, I had the chance to talk about my blog on the local television station.  The show’s name is “At Home with Kenny Dean”.  The host, Kenny Dean, was very gracious and made talking easy.  I put together the following excerpt from the interview.  I hope you enjoy it!

“At Home With Kenny Dean” is shown on M, W, H and F from 6-7 p.m. and on T at noon on the local television station in Alexander City, Alabama.  Kenny has a wide variety of guests from many different fields, including some of the best up and coming blue grass and country artists.

Have a great day!

Church of the What???


Good morning Everyone!

Last weekend, Mark, Kayla and I went to Huntsville to attend a recital given by one of my sisters, who is a gifted soprano.  The recital was at her church, so as Mark and I were looking for the church’s address on our Garmin.  Mark asked what I was looking under, and I told him “Church of the Nativity.”

In the back seat of the car, Kayla (who fades randomly in and out of conversations these days with often hilarious results) said suddenly,” That’s a terrible name for a church!”

When asked to explain, she said,” The Church of Negativity? Who would want to go there?”

It took Mark 3 blinks and me 5 to contain our amusement where we could calmly explain that the deletion of two letters changed the meaning from something unpleasant to something wonderful.

She did roll her eyes at me when I announced after the explanation, “Coming soon to a blog near you!”

Have a great day!

Nancy

Maternity Fraternity


Good morning Everyone!

Copyright Protected by www.clickartonline.com.  Used with Permission.

Copyright Protected by http://www.clickartonline.com. Used with Permission.

We were driving around a shopping center this weekend to find an American Eagle Outfitter – Kayla had thirty dollars burning a hole in her pocket.  On our way to the store, Kayla suddenly piped up with “Gee, they must be really big to have one of those!  I didn’t know they had a college here!”

Mark and I asked together,” One of those what?”

She said,” You know, one of those places where college boys get together and have parties. ”

We were dumbfounded for about 5 seconds until light broke through our befuddlement.

We then took a few minutes to explain that the difference between the words “maternity” and “fraternity” was more than just spelling.

Maternity.  Copyright Protected by www.clickartonline.com.  Used with Permission.

Maternity. Copyright Protected by http://www.clickartonline.com. Used with Permission.

Have a great day!

Nancy