My Brain is Weird

Last night I got Junie B Jones mixed up with June Jordan. Let me tell you how it happened.

My first born and I were talking about celery last night. First born stated: “I don’t like celery but I don’t know why.” We discussed the many cons to celery. I ended with “But celery stewed is more quietly chewed.” There was a response muttered under breath. I didn’t catch it. What? What did you say? Laughing child said “I am not going to say it. I am not.”

Then I realized what was said “Celery, Raw. Strengthens the Jaw.” (Ogden Nash by the way)

You see, this story then goes back to just after a homeschooling fair we attended probably in 2003. While there I picked up a copy of “Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization” despite the fact that we were there for materials for Michelle who was about 14. The little kids were still “Little” though First Born was probably about 10. My kids were going to learn to love poetry! I loved poetry. This was a cd and book set to help! The next step after the various children’s poetry anthologies I read them as tots! Besides, memorizing things is a lost art.

Thus commenced the practice of listening to the cd in the car. We got through Ooey Gooey. Then came Celery. The little girls picked it up fast. The First Born refused to repeat the poem. Refused. Day after day. We couldn’t move on. First Born threw down the gauntlet. I faced off. The little girls did hear the next poem a few times in hopes of tempting First Born. No. So no more poetry cd in the car. I was a bit sad, (POETRY!) (Money WASTED!) but we weren’t moving on if I couldn’t get participation. And there we left it though the adults and little girls were apt to say either the first or second part of the poem whenever celery came up in conversation.

Last night, I turned off the lights and my brain kicked in high gear. Please tell me this happens to you too.
Bits of nonsense floated around like pesky flies. Midges.

I thought “I didn’t mention on Facebook that First Born DID memorize the Celery poem” Then I thought maybe I would blog about it. Blog about the cd and that book by oh darn it I know her name. JUNIE B JONES. Yes JUNIE B JONES. And the picture of a Scholastic book flashed in my head. Hmm that isn’t right. Then pictures of both a Junie B Jones book and the book I was thinking of flashed in my head. Also a random picture (which proved to be right, of where the book to the poetry book to the poetry book and cd set was and what it looked like) And then I realized I had been thinking of June Jordan. My brain malfunctioned and drew the wrong June out of the card catalog. Then I tried to picture June Jordan and Junie B Jones and laughed to myself. I thought “I really should blog this oddness.” So, I have.

An aside: I strongly recommend June Jordan’s Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Blueprint for parents of Tweens and Teens and/or the teens themselves. Ok, I recommend it for everyone.

The Phantom Sling

Today while scrolling through my news feed on Facebook, I saw a beautiful ring sling. Suddenly, I felt the “phantom sling” and baby.

My baby turns 16 in August. She spent a good part of her first two years of life in the sling. She continued off and on in the sling for a few years more. To this day, I am sure if she came across it, she would wrap it around herself.
But, in reality, there has been no baby in the sling regularly for 14 + years. You’d think the “phantom sling” feelings would fade. Yes, I magic slinged Pippin a few times. (Magic. Loved.) That isn’t the baby I feel there. It is still my youngest. I played around with various other child carrying solutions with first born and second born. They weren’t the same. Too complicated. Too many straps. Uncomfortable. The babies didn’t like them.

Then there was youngest. I fell for the sling hard. Good thing because she was a baby that needed a lot of holding, carrying, nursing, movement. Part of that was that she WAS the youngest, so there was no stopping mid-day for nap–school pick up, preschool pick up, soccer, lessons, playdates. There generally was some place to go. Or I was working (online) and she needed mommy at the same time. She also wasn’t the independent entertainment that her older siblings had down at an early age.

Fear not! She’s my most independent child now. She’ll take off on her bike anywhere. She is working harder than any of the other children at getting her driving license as soon as she can possibly get it.

Still, she lives in my phantom sling. Close to my heart, close to me. The sensation of her there has not faded and perhaps never will. I wondered if that was an odd thing briefly this morning. But, then I thought, no, that is just where I want to keep her…close to my heart, safe, looking into my face, and with me, even as she wanders with my heart into the big world around her.

About Our Pack

dogs at the dog park Pack life See those dogs? That is our pack. Three hound dogs. No they aren’t related. We did get all of them from the same shelter. (Wright-Way Rescue) They are all mixed breeds of varying sorts. Left to Right in the picture with them in bed…Buster not quite one. Then Skeeter Bess–first adopted but about a month younger than Lola–both two years old now.

We adopted all of them within 14 months. It was after a lot of talk of our forever home dog. This dream dog was loosely based on Denise’s mother’s dog–Duncan and my childhood dog Ginger.

Instead we have three coonhounds–who did actually alert us to a sick raccoon in our yard last week.

Buster and Skeeter are about 50lbs each give or take. Lola is 35 lbs. They all believe they are lapdogs. They sleep a lot. They run a lot. But…they do other weird things.

  • Skeeter Bess is a tattle tale. If Buster in particular is breaking a rule–Skeeter will come to tell me ALL about it. Now if Buster’s ill-gotten gains are interesting to Skeeter–she will helpfully take them away and eat/destroy them herself.
  • Lola and Buster can both jump extra tall baby gates. Skeeter does not. She also is the least likely to open one herself if it isn’t latched. (They are the swing open type)
  • Skeeter and Buster alone together sleep. Lola and Buster alone together sleep. Skeeter, Lola, Buster all in the same room means play time or argue time.
  • Lola will not eat her kibble in general until someone is in there threatening to take it away because breakfast or dinner is over.
  • Skeeter and Buster will do anything they understand for a treat. (Buster’s exception is below) Lola doesn’t care.
  • All three love their heartworm medicine and consider it the biggest treat on the planet.
  • We weren’t crazy dog ladies. We’d both grown up with and had as adults various dogs. Mostly one at a time. Our first years as a couple we had two–the mother/son couple Chanel and Jake that Denise got in the way she always ends up with pets. Then just Jake and when my mother moved in Jake and Koto. Then just Koto.  We never imagined after Jake passed away that we would get three more dogs. After adopting Skeeter we sort of wanted another dog to keep up with Skeeter. She was young and energetic. Also, she turned our life upside down. Instead of running errands and spending the weekend in bed, we were taking her to the dog park. We adopted Lola and then were in a 5K.
  • Buster is the tallest of the bunch. He is also afraid of strangers. VERY VERY AFRAID. Strangers is a broad term that includes children who haven’t been home in a while, the landlord that visits at least once a month, delivery people, people staying with us. He won’t eat with strangers in the house. He won’t take any sort of treat. He shakes.
  • His fear of strangers means he plants himself on the bed. If you come to the bedroom and sit on the bed and wait you will eventually get to pet him. This makes said “strangers” very happy. (even if it is a girlchild who is here alternating weekends and more)
  • When they are running wild they are dangerous. Buster and Skeeter both have slammed us to the ground in the house.
  • Buster walks pretty well on a leash–see fear of strangers.
  • Exception: at the dog park. The distance between the parking lot to the gate to the dog park means I am being dragged by 100 lbs of excited dog. Once in the park–the dogs mind and keep in sight, come when called. (exception–last weekend Buster got lost–he started down the path with Skeeter between the pond access points. There were a lot of people. He doubled back beyond us and was back at the first pond access point scared because he didn’t see his pack.
  • They love the dog park with unparalleled abandon. Running through the tall grass with just the tips of their tails showing. Splashing in puddles. Rolling in puddles, dead frogs, dead snakes. Sniffing new dogs.
  • While they enjoy splashing in puddles at the park–puddles in the back yard are a complete insult and they dare not get their feet wet. (except Buster who enjoys the backyard that floods in every heavy rain)
  • Buster is the only one who has kept a hound song. Skeeter had one but lost it–she now barks like a poodle. We heard one recently at the dog park who sounded JUST LIKE HER. Makes sense I suppose since the second highest breed in her DNA after treeing walker coonhound was poodle.
  • Skeeter is very intent on herding the other two, correcting them when they disobey, and generally a nuisance. She also is the first one to roll her eyes at Buster insanity.
  • Lola pushes Denise out of bed in the morning to get a better spot.
  • Lola has a high prey drive and will try to get squirrels, birds, anything that moves outdoors. Lola does some intricate parkour type moves in chasing squirrels. She also loves to just BE outdoors.


On My Way to BlogHer14 in San Jose–with YOU?! (and a DISCOUNT)

BlogHer 10For ten years, part of my summer has revolved around the BlogHer conference. I didn’t attend the first in person, but it happened after blogs entered my life in a big way. I watched all the live blogging. (which was really attendees blogging as they went along) It was a one day event that left me wanting more. We knew then if there was another BlogHer that we would go to the next one. (and I definitely campaigned for it to happen again!)That was in San Jose, nine years ago. We attended. I had cute shoes. (and blisters! Boy, was I unseasoned) The wi-fi couldn’t handle us all. We sat on the floor in the halls in break out sessions. I was so excited to be sitting with Nancy White and talking to her in pers0n–she more than anyone else helped me learn about Internet Community Management before there was such a thing. The conference that year wasn’t tiny like it had been the first year, but it was still small. We spent the evenings chatting around the pool. I talked for ages with Kelly Wickham. She wasn’t “A-list” then as far as I remember but is now. I marveled at the idea of mombloggers. MommyStory, Mom to the Screaming Masses, Three Kid Circus all were around. Now, I work with them! So many new people for me to meet that first year. (including an amusing moment for my family with Sweetney. I thought she was a lost person in need of a friend to welcome her.)

Then, the next year it was even bigger. But I kept meeting people. I kept finding nuggets of myself that I had lost. I found new people, new ideas. Year after year I go. Sometimes I wonder why–until I get there. There is a magic to BlogHer and that keeps me going back each year. Reuniting with old friends, meeting new friends, being inspired by women JUST like me. Some of those early mommybloggers turned it into a big career, some bloggers wrote books, some bring in the big bucks with advertising. Some of us still blog because we just want our own platform to share our ideas, our recipes, our children, our lives, or whatever floats our boat.

At BlogHer, you get to hear and interact with great speakers (some really “big” names and some you may never have heard of but will knock your socks off.)

I’ve taken my teens on several occasions. It is one of their rites of passage.

One of them has written it best in this quote from her blog:

” I felt like a part of a community, a family, a group with one unifying cause. At the community Keynote, I sat next to perhaps the most inspiring woman, besides my mother, that I had ever met (she knows who she is), and I told her that, coming into blogging, I was concerned that I wouldn’t stand out, that there would be a million bloggers just like, or better than me. But, I continued, coming to Blogher, I realized that no one could be exactly the same as anyone else. Like stars in the sky, we each have a different light, and we each illuminate the world in a different way. Whether we be mommy bloggers, life bloggers, book bloggers, or “miscellaneous un-life” bloggers, we each touch the blogging community and serve to make it better. Some of the things I have experienced in those couple days at the conference touched me more deeply than a lot of the experiences I’ve had in my life.”

Then there is the swag. I have to say learning about new brands and receiving samples and sometimes MORE from a brand has made me a fan. One year there was a manufacturer there and I mentioned my mother really loved their products BUT I was hesitant to provide them regularly because of the fat and sodium content. Guess what? They contacted me later about it and let me know when there were new products better suited to her health needs. I tend to joke that the swag makes my ticket pay itself back. Most of all though I like being heard as a consumer and as a potentially powerful voice in their business success.

You don’t want to miss out on all of that do you?

Want to know something even better? After the huge overwhelming conference last year–they put a cap on tickets for this year. That means more time socializing and talking with people. You will have a better chance to run into just the right person. If you are like me–the crowd factor dialed down will make you happy in any case.

Tickets are going fast though! The sweet people have given me a discount to share with my readers. Let’s fill a plane or 2 just from O’Hare airport full of BlogHers. Use this link to register today and receive 25% off the ticket price to attend BlogHer.

I will see you there!