Monthly Archives: February 2013

Guest post — I’m not here today


Hey guys,

Check me out over at where I write about three different types of mobile apps.

One of them might be a repeat for you, the other two are suggestions I’ve not made here.

For today’s Three Things Thursday, go here:

Thank you.

Three Things Thursday 5 — Water: Boathouse, Beauty and Breathing



I started a post detailing and lamenting my situation with my parents, their ambitions to age in place, and their requests for consults and professionals (which I delivered) despite their patent and wholesale inaction, and total avoidance of meaningful change to make any of it possible. You can’t make a fish climb a tree. The gist of the post was about need for boundaries and how they help everything, which they do, but it was too much and I am too close to the subject matter to make it digestible. Let’s just say this: it’s FUBAR.

There’s nothing more I can do for them short of apoplexy-inducing betrayal, so I won’t do anything until they do, and that’s highly unlikely. We will have to stay in crisis-reactive mode as we resigned ourselves to be four years ago. For me to turn myself inside out to help them simply because of a sense of guilt is futile, ego-driven, vain and “fixer”-istic: unhealthy. Consider this: I would be doing & wanting more than they would to improve their situation. That’s toxic.

One of my favorite quotes of all time, by the amazing Marcus Aurelius is this: “The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”


The good news is that writing the-post-you-will-never-see was excellent catharsis. The bad news is that it kept me up until 2am. I’m ok though. But the birds are chirping outside, the sun is shining and so I am reframing: taking back my brain and changing gears.

Three things for our mind, body and soul. This is really simple and it has nothing to do with aging.

Mind: Boathouses

Rowing season has begun and I’m thrilled to be making a daily trek back to the boathouse to drive my oldest son and up to six of his teammates for practice. They are chatty, funny, smart and polite kids. Their parents should be proud because they’re doing an excellent job raising their children.

Yes, it’s cold as butt, yes. Last week, ice was forming on the hull (body) of the shells (boats) and the wind chills were likely insane, but rowers are insane and my son is thrilled to be back on the water despite his shivering when he returns home. The other night, we had 2″-4″ of rain fall during 38˚ temps and 20mph winds. He came home a boysicle, but he had a huge grin on his face. That’s all that matters. When we got to the boathouse yesterday, it was 15˚ warmer than the day before and the sun was sort of out. This kind of change in the weather enhances the mindset when you’re in the boat to such a degree that the difference can be as apparent as walking compared to crawling.

For me: it’s being back down there, if only for a moment to look down at this and know soon, I too will be back in my racing shell and sculling toward peace; leaving the bipeds and their noise behind.


this is my ride.

View from the Bow

this is a view from the Bow

Body: Breathing

So the sun was out yesterday and I went for a nice long walk with The Murph around the ponds after dropping the boys at school.

I used the “panorama” option on my phone to take this. I love the reflection so much. What a glorious morning.

My breathing intensified, my legs warmed up and so did my core. I actually had to unzip my parka, despite the 37˚ outside. I felt alive and “OK” — you know, peaceful, for the first time in a while. I almost wanted to run. I haven’t been able to do this very often because the kids being home. The walk did me some good because I was able to appreciate the …

Soul: Beauty

Of our physical world. No matter where you live: in the mountains or in a city; on the water or on a suburban street: there is beauty everywhere. And this time of year, the days are getting longer, the grass is turning green, trees are starting to bud, and the daffodils are coming up beside their friends the tulips. I saw some totally new ducks at one of the ponds — two pairs of these, they’re called “Hooded Merganser” ducks:

This one apparently has something to say. I will try to get my own pictures of them. I will have to go without The Murph because he scares them. from

Isn’t this gorgeous? He was with his wife (male birds are hotter and all birds are monogamous) and another Merganser couple along with some Mallards and Canada Geese. It was really glorious to behold them all. Just doing their thing, y’know: being waterfowl. So, no matter where you live, establish some personal boundaries to take back your space and time for yourself first and get out and breathe to take in the beauty. No matter where you look, it’s there waiting to be appreciated.

I guess the underlying theme is water today. Go drink some, look at it and get in it if you can.

Thank you.

Tuesday Morning Press 19 — Science is Fun: Diet Coke & Mentos and a New Kid in the ‘Hood


I can’t believe it has been a year since I posted about my Thing 2 begrudgingly dragging his science project to school and how I was “Yosemite Sammin'” all the way. As I recall, that was a Tuesday as well. It was a desperate morning which came on the heels of a panicked weekend.

This year, we were ready. T2 picked an awesome experiment and we all got involved.

Last year they didn’t allow it.

The year before that, they didn’t allow it.

It was deemed too controversial, too dangerous, too daring, too risky, too much fun

But this year they allowed it. They brought it back.

T2’s moment had come — he’d been wanting to do this experiment for years.

He chose early and he chose decisively:

“The Effect of Mint Mentos on Diet Coke”

Everyone was excited for this one. Even T3, who despite his enthusiasm, did not get out of his pajamas to witness the explosions.

Here's me cutting out numbers to place on our tree out back because 5 feet was possibly not enough.

Here’s me cutting out numbers to place on our tree out back because the original set up (a weathered wooden 2″ x 4″ with 1″ numbers in dark marker scrawled on it) was not visible enough from 10’+ away (go figure), nor was 5′ high enough. Shh. Those aren’t my spring-loaded stainless steel Pampered Chef professional kitchen shears, product #1088 (… sorry, I can never easily resist the temptation to make fun of myself).

Without further ado:


It was a breezy day. We had to put tape on the wind-side of the numbers so they’d stay on. We lost “7” in a gust. It landed by the playset. Put funnel on bottle… insert Mentos into funnel… stand back … la la la laaaaaa…


Annnnd the funnel fell off. About half the Mentos dropped into the cracks between the decking. (No, we didn’t make this platform for the experiment. Glancing at husband… Oh, we did? We did. (No we didn’t.) But check it out: my kid has the gift of flight!

We needed a Mentos holder that could repeatedly get wet but also wider than the sheath of Mentos because they wouldn't slide out at all. Those FreshMakers... they are tightly packed.

We needed a Mentos holder that could repeatedly get wet but also wider than the sheath of Mentos because they wouldn’t slide out at all. Those FreshMakers… they are tightly packed. (And they stick to your teeth.)

So, genius mom that I am (trust me, the Egyptians have nothing on me sometimes, I have this weird knack for coming up with quick solutions using what's already there) I said, let's cut the top off an old bottle and tape it together. I felt like Galileo, I faced scrutiny everywhere I turned.

So, genius mom that I am (trust me, the Egyptians have nothing on me sometimes, I have this weird knack for coming up with quick solutions using what’s already there) I said, “Let’s cut the top off an old bottle and tape the openings together.” I felt like Galileo, I faced scrutiny everywhere I turned. Isn’t he cute? Don’t look at him. He’s mine and I will protect him with my fangs and caustic neurotoxic saliva. Look at the next picture. He’s not here. Erase that image from your mind.


And yet, I we prevailed. Seven feet, baby. HOLLA! He’s not in this picture either. Look at the font! Look at the font! Moving on…

We saw some stats that suggested 20′ geysers, but those are with smaller, modified (INORGANIC! CHEATERS!) openings which obviously increase the pressure, duhhhh. Cheaters. 

Today he took his experiment board to school proudly and punctually and it was great. I’d include a picture of it here, but I forgot to take one. I suck. Maybe Dad has one… hang on.

Nope. We both suck. We’ll take one at the science expo and I’ll put it online after that. And maybe I’ll delete this line. Or maybe I won’t… 

And today on the way home from said deposit at school, I encountered a new friend:

Hello Rocky! I'm always glad that I have my phone with me when things like this happen. I usually don't bring it at all on walks to school because I want to be present with my boys, but when things like this happen, I'm so pleased I have it!

Hello Rocky!
I’m always glad that I have my phone with me when things like this happen. I usually don’t bring it at all on walks to school because I want to be present with my boys, but when things like this happen, I’m so pleased I have it!

Thank you.

This is How I Roll: Some Parents Need to Grow Up


Look, I’m not going to sugar coat this: I’m grossed out by people who think it’s funny to have kids and then bitch about them, or habitually talk about needing booze, or a line, or a joint or a valium or whatever to get through the day.

It’s all over the Internet. Apparently it’s what sells. “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”- Henry Mencken. I prefer to not engage with the “foolish consistencies [which] are the hobgoblins of little minds.” -Emerson. I guess I will never hit it big. That’s OK, drunk people can’t read very well.

What those people need is a few moments alone and several deep breaths. That’s all. Oh, and likely therapy, which they are probably avoiding.

Ask anyone who knows me or who has interacted with me, and they will tell you, I’ve got a sense of humor, I am resilient, I can roll with punches. But just not this one. Not about parents who get their drink/joint/whatever on to cope with their holes, fears, inadequacy issues, mommy issues, daddy issues, shitty childhoods or whatever that are being activated by triggers that parenthood presents. I’m not talking anxiety, we all have that. I’m talking deep, real, soul-wrenching stuff. Oh, and regarding those who habitually make jokes about it? Grow up.


So, here’s the deal: I grew up with crap like that happening to me. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “You drive me to drink” as a kid. It’s sick as hell. Those days, and my decisions to talk about them are prickly. It’s partly my story to tell, in terms of how it affected me, but I can tell you this: if you need a drink, or think it’s funny to crack wise about being a mom or a dad who needs *needs* NEEDS something to “get through your day” I have a proposal for you: get fixed.

No, not with a shrink, that’s later, but tie your tubes, clip the lines, get your act together before you victimize your kids with your so-called, “I was just kidding” banter and jokes and Facebook groups and blog titles, and all that stuff. Because what you do to your kids, in the end, when they’re like me: 45 and wondering where the hell you were all their life, it’s not gonna be so funny then. You will be “Granny needs a drink” then. And that’s even sicker.

This is real. Kids are not saints, they are micro versions of me and you, and they have memories, and they have feelings and they have access to the Internet. If you find yourself turned off by their behavior, I have a suggestion: look around and look in the mirror. They learn from us, peers, teachers, siblings, but mostly from us, their parents, who appear godlike in their eyes. They believe everything we say, they don’t understand sarcasm until they’re about 15, despite our insistence that they get it beforehand. We are their go-to resource, unless we are half in the bag, spending the night at the office, on a little yellow pill, or pulling a toke.

But I’m just joking. Right? Because we all are. We’re all just trying to loosen up, have a little fun, don’t be such a stiff, Mol…

This isn’t our second shot at being in the cool group in high school or being popular with the pretty people. If you (like just about everyone) have some weird torch you’re holding for the glory days of your youth and you’re pinning your hopes on your kid to Make It this time… Wake up and smell the music. It’s pathetic. Get your act together and behave.

Maybe if you’re lucky, when you’re old and decrepit they will just feel sorry for you. Maybe if when they’re in a state where you will need them, when they have to take care of you, they will do the right, honorable and human thing: respect you and help you age and eventually die well. Or maybe they’ll get drunk and make jokes about it. You know, because it’s all in good fun, right?, crapping on the concept of being there for people who need our help. Or maybe they won’t resent the hell out of you for putting yourself first all. the. time. Or maybe they will do their best, numbly go through the motions, but be unable to give back what wasn’t given to them.

As a parent, I’m all for cutting loose and having fun, but not as a brand, not as an identity, and certainly not as a thematic function for who I am. Life’s hard enough sober and single. Marriage adds a whole new dimension. And then kids?! Innocent people who are legitimately needy and completely dependent on us for everything until they aren’t anymore?! Holy cow… I can’t imagine life drunk and with kids. And I certainly can’t imagine it being clever or glib or witty to make jokes about needing a mind-numbing substance to get through the day.

I can’t stand that stuff, it makes my blood boil. I have moments, trust me, of when I wish I could run away, or of when I wish I could be more resilient, more aloof, but no… This is life. When you get it on and make a baby, it’s not only all about you anymore. It’s about doing your best, everyday showing up mentally and physically and doing two very simple things on paper, but hard as hell to practice at times: love them with all your might and protect them. Love and protect. That’s all.

Therapy is cheap compared to how our glibness affects our children.

I’m dealing with my own set of challenges: I’m the PB&J in my family sandwich. My parents are getting reeeeally old and my kids are almost all teenagers. I will need every ounce of presence and sanity to navigate these waters. I could do the easy thing, do what my parents did: get drunk and avoid my responsibilities, but that’s not who I am.

If I’ve pissed you off, it’s okay. We aren’t right for each other. Just being real.

Thank you.