Writer’s Workshop: Best Gift Giver!

best gift ever

My little sister opened the gift I had carefully wrapped just for her and quietly glared at me.

“Go on!” I smiled back. “Show everyone what I made for you!”

She flipped the mirror around and everyone oohed and ahhed. “Kathy, did you MAKE that!?!”

“Yes. Why yes I did.” I replied smugly.

I made it in shop class, just. for. my little sister. It was a mirror with a beautiful rose etched into the glass and a frame made of wood that I cut and sanded myself in shop class.

Who knew I had such a knack for carpentry?

My sister, on the other hand, failed to take in the beauty of my hard work, because she saw what I wanted her to see…her initials etched into the mirror just beneath the thorny stem of the rose.

ALBM.

Most people have three initials. A letter for the first, middle, and last name. When my Mom and stepdad were married they gave us the option to take his last name. Since our last name was really the only connection we had left to our Dad, we all kept it, but I think my sister sort of felt bad about nobody taking it so she stepped up to hyphenate her last name just like my Mom had. Approximately six months later she changed her mind.

But I was not going to allow her to flip flop. No no no…when you remove your hand from your game piece your play is complete. You may not take your hand away, see your mistake, and then move back.

NO. FLIP. FLOPPING.

By carefully etching the first letter of her new last name into glass, I was basically flipping her the proverbial bird. You switched your name, you made your choice, and oh yeah…you’re no longer my sister.

I all but dared her to call me out after opening the gift. Our entire family was together, it was Christmas morning for crying out loud…would she actually take a stand and cause a scene over her new last initial in front of our stepdad? Isn’t that what I was daring her to do? Wasn’t that the awkward moment I was SO looking forward to creating as I spent hours at school etching the rose and each of it’s letters?

Was this not great fun!?!

Unfortunately, my sister did not see the humor in my denouncing her from her biological family. But ultimately, she wins. Because all these years later she’s still a member of the family (as hard as I tried) and she gets the added bonus of looking like a sweetheart for so openly accepting our stepdad’s last name in an attempt to make him feel loved and welcome.

I, on the other hand, was a mean mean girl. I intentionally put her on the spot with high hopes of embarrassing her in front of our step dad and with no consideration for my stepdad’s feelings (whether he even picked up on any of it I sincerely doubt. I’m pretty sure he thought the mirror was brilliant. He loved me.).

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know that my sister was ever as offended by that mirror as she let on over the years, because you know what?

Nearly twenty-five years later, she’s still using it.

Pretty sure that makes it the best gift ever!

mirror

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1. Share a quote you love.
2. Take a line from a song you love and turn it into the title of your next blog post. Let the content follow.
3. Saturday morning at your house…
4. Best or worst gift you ever gave.
5. Something someone did that put a smile on your face.
6. How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa?



I Regret That Now

I’ve shared plenty of regrets here before…so it was interesting to hear that my daughters are already beginning to accumulate some of their own.

regret that now

Even if it is just drinking dirty bath water.

At least they’re not bathing in each others urine.

Always important to look for that silver lining.

Are We Sure About This?

ballet

Mom had me in ballet lessons when I was six and let me just tell you, I could twirl!

I practiced at Miss Peggy’s dance studio and eagerly awaited “The Recital”.

On dress rehearsal night we performed our songs to an empty auditorium in order to get a feel for the stage and I felt a little let down.

All that practice to dance in front of NOTHING?

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My Mom assured me that tomorrow would be the REAL performance and there would be all kinds of people, but it didn’t do much for my enthusiasm level.

The next day I pulled my white tights on like the trooper I am. I shimmied my way into my sparkly yellow leotard and I dutifully stepped into my fluffy tutu.

I did not want to go to this recital….but it was too late. I couldn’t possibly break the news to my Mom now. She couldn’t wait to see me shine on stage like the star I am and I would not disappoint her.

I pulled my long gloves over my arms and found each fingers proper slot.

Sigh.

I tip tapped my shoes out to our enormous van and climbed in.

ballet

As we pulled away Mom kept glancing at me in her mirror and before we even left the neighborhood she said, “Kathy, you look sad! Are you sort of feeling like you might want to just skip the recital?”

I nodded apologetically and she was all, “how about we just stay home…”

And I blinked in disbelief because we were not the type of folk to skip out on recitals and game days at the last minute. In fact, back then…the child wasn’t really given a choice.

“Um, okay.”

“Are you sure? I mean it’s up to you!…if you want to go to your recital we still can.”

And I was all, “No dear sweet Jesus heavens ABOVE, let’s stay HOME!”

But I said it much nicer than that and she triple checked I was sure about the decision and I. was. SO. relieved. Even though I felt a tiny bit bad about disappointing her.

Years later I asked her about that night. “Mom, you remember that time you let me skip my recital and we were ON our way??”

And she was all, “Ohhhh yes! I had to pack you up in that van and Dad was so sick. I couldn’t stand to leave him knowing he could have a seizure at any moment. His cancer had gotten to a point where at any minute a good day could flip to a bad day. I thought if we could go to your recital quickly with your sisters in charge at home, maybe we would be okay. It was just awful. When I saw that you were having doubts and you said you wanted to skip it I. was. SO. relieved! Even though I didn’t want you to feel disappointed.”

Amazing the things we are willing to endure to avoid disappointing one another. Sometimes it’s worth it to have that little “Are we sure about this?” conversation. And sometimes that conversation is just one you have with yourself.

ballet2

Happy Halloween!

family pic

My earliest memory of Halloween was spent watching my Dad put on those glasses with the funny nose and eyebrows attached. He would greet all the neighborhood kids in his funny get up and I swore someday I would be just like him with those funny glasses.

Instead, my job was to fill my Halloween bucket with as much candy as possible. I would get home from an evening of trick or treating and dump my loot onto the ground in front of me and as many as I possibly could before my Mom could get her hands on it and compile it into a “community bowl”. I swore I would never be like her with that community bowl.

My last year of trick or treating was in high school when my best friend and I went door to door. I threw a sheet over my head, put my hair in pig-tails and strapped shoes to my knees. I kneeled on top of my shoes at each door step and my plan worked, everyone thought I was a small child dressed as a ghost.

I recently asked my friend if she remembers doing that and her response was, “I’ll never forget you getting down on your knees before we rang the doorbell thinking you could just get up after they closed the door and the person just stood there and waited for us to leave so you finally had to just suck it up and stand up.”

I extended my trick or treating years for as long as humanly possible. I also joined Easter Egg hunts well into my college years (there was money in those eggs!)

Now that I’m a Mom it’s frowned upon to take candy from my neighbors bowls, but I do get a kick out of dressing up in funny glasses just like I hoped I someday would. I suppose I’ve got a little bit of him in me after all.

And I’ll be damned if my Mom wasn’t the most brilliant woman ever with that Community Bowl idea. I swore I’d never have one, but now I’m singing her praises.

I suppose I’ve got a little bit of her in me too.

Happy Halloween!

Writer’s Workshop: I Am An Idiot

lions den

2.) Hi, my name is ______ and I am an _______.

Hi, my name is Kat and I am an IDIOT!

These days we worry about how easily our kids are lured by faux online friendships and strangers with puppies at parks. I like to consider myself proof, that no matter how hard parents instill rules and fear…you can still fall prey and be a complete idiot.

One of the dumbest things I ever did was decide to take my mom and step-dad’s truck joy riding while they were on vacation.

The call of the open road with friends was too much to resist at the ripe, unlicensed age of 16.

I wasn’t licensed, but I should have been because my friend had been teaching me to drive for months and I did take drivers ed. I failed that class because I couldn’t pass the written tests, but I deserved to pass because I was such a great driver.

That wasn’t the dumbest thing I ever did though.

The dumbest thing I ever did happened after the truck I took broke down on the side of the freeway. My friends and I ran around the shoulder of the road like little lost ducklings.

When an old man pulled over to help, he took a look at the engine and said it was shot. (I had been ignoring a ‘service engine soon’ sign. also dumb.). He offered to take us home.

We all got in his jeep and directed him to my house.

He said he could tow my broken truck back to the house with his son who had a truck of his own, but he could only fit one of us with him.

I climbed back into his jeep by myself.

lions den2

He took me to his son’s house and the two of us went inside. It was dark, an old version of Godzilla was playing on the tv and his son, with his long scruffy orange beard, was eating his dinner. I sat at the kitchen table and watched him finish eating so that we could go get the truck. There was no small talk. Just me shifting quietly in my seat. Him slurping baked beans and hot dogs.

It crossed my mind that this could have been a bad idea, but I was too concerned about getting caught joyriding to think of anything else. I didn’t look for an escape. I didn’t have a plan of action should one of these men decide to attack me. I felt nervous, but was not at all prepared to fight for my life if need be. I was really just kind of hoping they were going to do what they said they were going to do.

But let’s be honest, they had a teenage virgin sitting in their living room who walked through the front door at her own free will. My parents were out of town and not one of my friends knew where I was. Not even my older siblings knew what I had been up to that day. How long would they have waited to alert authorities if I did not come back? Did any of us bother to write down his license plate number?

The truth is, I WASN’T a dumb girl…not typically. But the fear of getting caught joyriding in my parents car without a license overrode any sort of working brain cell I might have had. I walked right into the lion’s den to AVOID GETTING GROUNDED.

Idiot. Idiot. Idiot!

The three of us climbed back into the truck after the awkward dinner and I sat between the two strange men as we made our way to the freeway. Orange beard driving, his hands brushed my bare legs every time he shifted gears.

They took me to my truck. Roped it up. And drove us back to my house.

I thanked them and paid them with the money my Mom had left behind for pizza.

My friends and I were all relieved that I had not been killed in what very well could have been a Dateline mystery.

And My Mother nearly collapses to the floor in gratitude every time she hears this story. And then she slaps me upside the head as any good mother would. Of course, she didn’t catch wind of the story until years later.

But you know, at least now I have a life experience to impart to my own kids about how there’s nothing they could do that would make me so angry they should willingly go walking into a lion’s den.

Thank God those men weren’t lions.

lions den3

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) Create something inspired by Pinterest, was it a win or a fail?
2.) Hi, my name is ______ and I am a _______.
3.) The last time someone called you a name.
4.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: rusty.
5.) List 5 ways you are different as a parent than your parents were.

Link up!:



Writer’s Workshop: STOLEN During Recess

praying for your sins

 5.) It happened during recess….

Two Jesus inspired posts in one week…you guys are LUCKY! Or blessed. Or both.

The Catholic school I attended in 1st and 2nd grade shut down before 3rd grade and my mother reluctantly enrolled us in a public school. Since Dad died, there was a bit of financial pressure involved there and sending all of us to a public school was a heck of a lot cheaper then enrolling us in another private school.

Imagine my dismay when I got to this new public school and realized there was NO PRAYER.

No prayer??

That’s right.

No.

Prayer.

I don’t know how those heathens expected me to study in a room without Jesus, so I brought Jesus to school with me. I had received a gorgeous, shiny, glistening rosary from my mother for my First Communion. I brought my expensive looking satin box to school with me and placed it at the corner of my desk,

I smiled at my friends as my beautiful beads sparkled.

Yes friends. Unlike you, I am a child of God. Do you see my rosary? I am a chosen one.

My friends liked my rosary so much that when I came back from recess after just one day on display, it was gone. STOLEN during recess.

I was crushed. I had not expected this kind of violation even at a public school.

After some silent prayer asking Jesus what the hell I was supposed to do now that my expensive/special item was stolen (not to mention the ultimate of punishments from my mother should she find out)….I heard his voice loud and clear, “My Child, Go forth and confront the guiltiest looking person in your class”.

So the next morning I did.

It was Lonnie.

She had asked me about my rosary and I mistook her inquiry as a desire to get right with the Lord. Instead I sold her on the idea of having a rosary of her own, so she took mine.

Before class began I nestled in next to her at her desk and I was all, “sigh…today is such a terrible no good very bad day…”

And she was all, “oh really why?”

And I was all, “Welllll…my beautiful rosary has been taken. It meant so much to me because, Jesus. And also because my Dad gave it to me before he died and it’s one of the last things I had to remember him by”.

(I said a quick Hail Mary for my lie, but it was a desperate time. I felt sure God would understand.)

Lonnie shifted and I leaned in a little closer and quietly whispered, “you know Lonnie? If you thought my rosary was pretty and wanted to bring it home to show your mom, I wouldn’t even be mad at you. I would just want you to bring it back.”

And Lonnie was all, “Really?”

And my brain was all “Oh hail no girl, I KNEW it was you, PLEASE BRING IT BACK!!!” but my mouth said, “Mmhmm…promise.”

Lonnie brought the rosary back the next morning without the satin case and I was so pleased to have those sparkling beads back in my clutches that I didn’t even care about the missing satin case.

Well I did care a little bit because my rosary fit so perfectly into it’s expensive looking case, but I had my rosary! I brought it straight home and never brought Jesus to the classroom again.

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) Describe what you thought living on your own would be like after you graduated high school.
2.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: adventure
3.) Show us a before and after.
4.) 10 things you’ve learned from reality tv.
5.) It happened during recess….

Add Your Link:




Writer’s Workshop: A Woman In My Dashboard

4.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: late

Remember back in the day when we used maps to help us get from point A to point B?

Me either.

I never used maps because getting me from point A to point B is what my mother was for.

I happen to be extremely bad with directions. To this day my mother will laugh about the various times I’ve called her completely out of my mind, on the brink of tears lost and with the most vague description of my whereabouts.

“Well I have a volleyball tournament in Everett and I think I’m in Everett, there’s a McDonald’s across the street with a gas station right next to it…my first game starts in 30 minutes HELP!”

One time she gave me careful instructions to my Uncles house for a babysitting job and had told me I would know when to get off the freeway because I would see blue Hospital signs and I wanted the hospital exit. I’m sure she gave me a number, but since I like to work with vague clues, I honed in for hospital signs. When I didn’t see one I did what any normal human would do…I kept driving. I drove for an additional 30 minutes outside of the actual city my uncle lived in and didn’t pull over until I was fairly certain I was leaving the state.

When I called my Mom she was all, “Wait you’re WHERE??? How is that even possible?” And I was all, “Wellll you said there would be a hospital sign!!”

I was late for another babysitting gig in college when I hopped on the freeway after a birthday party at my cousins house and after 45 minutes of driving and not recognizing ANYTHING I realized I was heading east toward the mountains instead of west towards everything else in my life. I wasn’t exactly sure which direction I was going when I got on the freeway in the first place, but figured I had about a 50% chance of getting it right.

I was late. To everything.

You can imagine the delight I feel with today’s technology. I’m not late anymore unless my kids hate me and I use GPS to get me to all the places. My kids think listening to a woman in my dashboard giving directions to the local library is normal, they do think it’s a little weird that I call her Mom though.

I just find her extremely comforting.

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) A time you wish you had spoken up.
2.) Easter recap!
3.) 10 things you love about Spring.
4.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: late
5.) The most exciting thing you purchased this month.