Tag Archives: wise witty and wacky wednesday

Being Kidnapped for Breakfast

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Photographer SEPpics

When I was in high school, we had a birthday tradition. If it was your birthday, your friends would plot and plan and (with your parent’s permission) they would sneak into your bedroom and wake you up with loud, off-key singing.

Photographer Bill Bradford


Next you would be pulled out of bed, have slippers shoved onto your feet, possibly have make-up put on you by people who claim to be friends but really want you to look like a drunk clown, and then be taken out to breakfast. Yes, you are dragged from your warm, comfy bed looking like an escaped mental patient and taken into a public place.

After breakfast was school, where flowers and/or balloons were added to your festive ensemble, completing your look. Teachers would roll their eyes. Fellow students would laugh. Thank goodness there were no camera phones back then!! You would shuffle through your day blushing and wishing you had a hairbrush in your locker.

Photographer genildo

It was the best! I got kidnapped for my birthday several times and loved each one. It was always something to look forward to. Birthdays haven’t been that exciting in a long time.

What do you miss from high school? Have you ever been kidnapped for your birthday?

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I’m virtuous from far away.

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I don’t remember what started it, but I was yet again saying “Patience is not one of the virtues I have.” Then I wondered what the others were, if I could remember. Thankfully my friend couldn’t remember either, so I didn’t feel like a total dork.

So we Googled it, and I now know all seven virtues:

1.Chastity
2.Temperance
3.Charity
4.Diligence
5.Patience
6.Kindness
7.Humility

I don’t think I have any of these. My friend laughed and pointed out that I do in fact have them, but she is looking at my life as a whole ,while I’m looking at my life day to day. And I realized my virtue is like Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon.

From far away it’s a beautiful painting full of light, movement, clearly creating a clear image. But up close the picture blurs and all you see are the dots. Dots that make a dress, grass, or water. The picture is lost in the dots.
When I examine if I am virtuous, I see:

Photographer victoriapeckham

1.The pictures of half-naked men I’ve posted on Facebook this week.
2.That I yelled at the kids.
3.That I haven’t given money to anything recently.
4.That if given the chance, I will sit around and read while my to-do list grows by itself.
5.That I hate waiting.
6.That I ignored the kid who talks non-stop in the car.
7.That I bragged about my awesomeness.

My friend laughed and reminded me that:
1.I haven’t cheated on my husband.
2.That I am able to calm down kids throwing fits.
3.That I work for a charity.
4.That I have written, revised, and edited a novel.
5.That I will sit for hours in line at Comic Con.
6.That I am always willing to listen, offer a hug, and do my best to help.
7.uesI blush whenever I’m complemented.

This got me to thinking that maybe I should try to look at more of myself and my life from far away. Maybe by delving in to every aspect of my life with a microscope it’s easy to find mistakes, flaws, and failures. But if I step back and looked at the back week, month, year, then maybe I would be able to find the me that other people seem to see.
How to you judge yourself? Are you a better person from further away?

Get Out of That Box!

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Sometimes we just get too set in our ways. “Ignorance is bliss” has a place. Sometimes when you don’t know ‘how’ or ‘why’ something ‘should be’ done, it makes life easier, it opens up new opportunities and options.

But what do we do when we are burdened with knowing the ‘right way’ or ‘the way every ones does it’?
How do we expand our perspective? How do we give ourselves more choices?

We use the people we know. We talk to friends, post one line, maybe even Google our problem and see what amazing things other people have done. Maybe you’ll find solutions that won’t work for you, not everyone can woo a lover’s family by the size of the herd of cows. Even if the solution doesn’t fit your needs, it doesn’t mean it won’t spark the creative force inside of you.

I am going to offer my blog as a sounding board, so everyone read the comments and chime in. Post an issue, a conundrum, a problem, and we will brainstorm offering solutions, advice, things that failed or worked for us. All sorts of possibly useful information and let’s see if we can expand our options and think outside the box.

I am out of town, we’re taking all the work kids to beach then I go to a drug awareness workshop so I won’t be back until June 22nd. Please leave comments, I promise to respond as soon as I get back!

What I Learned from my 30 days of Fruit Only

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Now that I have completed my thirty day cleanse I have gathered up some tips to share and hopefully remind myself of what I want to be doing.

1. If you are planning on increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables you eat, brush your teeth more. The increase of acids can make teeth and gums sensitive. I would also recommend a toothpaste with baking soda; it helped me a lot.

2. If you have decided, or need to for health reasons, cut something out of your diet, don’t try to make new versions of old favorites right away. I’ll give an example. Let’s say you are removing dairy from your diet. For the first month don’t buy the substitute dairy products, or try to make vegan versions of favorite dishes. Make all new things, try different types of foods, and new recipes. The reason for this is twofold. One: if you wait a month, the non-dairy substitutes will taste better because your memory of the ‘real thing’ will have faded some. Second: if you are constantly trying to recreate favorites and they don’t taste the same, you will feel a lot more deprived because of what you are giving up. So for the first month of a new diet (and I mean change to a healthy diet not a fad to drop weight before an event), have fun experimenting with new recipes and wait to recreate favorites until that first month has passed.

3. Greedy eaters (don’t turn away from the computer you know who you are . . . ) You are the person who unfortunately lives with other people, and therefore there are others who eat your food. Normally this isn’t an issue, but when something yummy is served for a meal you overeat so they don’t eat it all! Oh, I’ve been here many times. Rod will serve something delicious for dinner, and I eat it all, maybe even lick my plate clean, and I’m full. But I want more, because it tasted good and because I don’t want my kids to eat it all! So I go and get more even though I’m not in the least bit hungry. Don’t worry, I have a solution: containers. Instead of getting seconds, get a portion-sized container and put some away for later. Don’t worry – if your family twitches when you get the container out of the cupboard, it just means the training with the cattle prod was successful and they won’t be touching your food. 🙂 Now that you have your second serving safely stored in the fridge where no one will touch it, you turn and glare at your family who all twitch slightly. Oh, yes, your food is safe. You can go about the rest of your night. You could eat it later or you could have it tomorrow for lunch. I adore leftovers for lunch. But the point is knowing that you have the option of eating more later will hopefully keep you from overindulging in the moment.

4. Eat the fruits and veggies first. A very common and healthy way to reduce calorie intake is to eat more fruits and veggies, which is fabulous. However, if I end my meal with a salad, I might feel deprived. I find that if I eat my salad first, then ‘fill up’ on the main dish I feel more satisfied. By eating fruits and veggies first I fill up on that lovely fiber. Then when I eat the main dish, I feel full faster and emotionally satisfied. I’m not eating small portions of the food I really enjoy then forcing myself to eat salad after because I can’t have any more. Don’t get me wrong, I love salad, but if I want to eat a small portion of homemade mac ’n’ cheese, I need to eat my salad first. Otherwise, I will go back for seconds.

5. DVR your shows, or watch them on DVD. I counted and in a one hour show there were twelve food commercials. You don’t need those constant taunts from food which typically look a lot better than they taste.

6. Stop watching food porn! As much fun as Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives is, watching it won’t help you stick to your new healthy eating choices. Unless the show is about cooking meals in your new plan don’t watch them, just skip over those channels, maybe watch sci-fi: those movie certainly won’t make you hungry.

7. Listen to your own body and do what is right for you. I know that I feel better when I don’t eat dairy. I am not saying that you must give up dairy, but that is what works best for me. What works best for you? I tried going slow, being gentle with myself, and going for my goal slowly didn’t work for me. I needed something more drastic to help break my unhealthy emotional eating habits. But what do you need? Will adding more fruits and veggies or reducing portions a little at a time work best for you, or do you need to do something more intense? Both are fine as long as you have support and help to make sure what you are doing is safe. Only you know what you need; trust yourself.

8. Buy new dishes, pretty dishes, small dishes. Seriously, perception is everything. If you are used to piling pasta all over a large plate, then you start measuring your portions, you will feel deprived when you see so little on your plate. If you get some nice dishes that are smaller, your new portion size won’t seem as much of a sacrifice.

9. Sleep. Getting enough sleep is so important to living a healthy lifestyle. You might be rolling your eyes, but when you don’t get enough sleep, your body starts looking for fuel to burn, aka food. And I honestly have yet to meet someone who goes looking for a nice salad with lean proteins when they are tired. No, you get a fancy coffee drink, then a huge pastry. But the carb loading doesn’t stop there, because all of that was too sweet so now you need something salty, to balance everything out. Next thing you know, you’re eating a sandwich made of Nutella and potato chips! When tired, your body craves fast-burning fuel, and you don’t have the emotional or mental strength to put a stop to those cravings. Please get enough sleep, it will make everything so much easier.

10. Find a physical activity you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a hard-core cardio or muscle-building activity, just something. As good as it feels to lose weight and put on a pair of jeans that you hadn’t been able to squeeze into for a while, it feels even better to improve in something you love. When you lose weight you are able to walk faster, stretch deeper, you don’t lose your breath as quickly, your movements are cleaner, and all of these little things translate into being better at something you enjoy.

11. Emotional eating is expensive, so why are you trying to make your self-nurturing cheap or free? When I make a list of things I can do to reduce stress, take care of myself, or simply enjoy, I always try to make a list of the cheap or free things I can do instead of emotionally eating, but why? Sure, I can’t afford to get a massage every day, but when I get overly stressed out and turn to emotional eating I don’t buy just a candy bar. I also get a bag of chips, order a pizza, then Chinese food, then I want some ice cream, and the list goes on. Emotional eating doesn’t actually help, so I just keep eating. And this gets really expensive. So imagine you are starting to feel stressed and instead of getting that first ‘treat,’ you make an appointment for a message, or a pedicure, or plan going to the movies, or whatever it is that will help you feel better and truly nurture yourself. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing you were properly taking care of yourself?

I hope these tips for a healthy lifestyle help, and please share your own. What works for you? What do you need to have to stay focused on the life you really want? What tips can you share for living healthy?

I am out of town, we’re taking all the work kids to beach then I go to a drug awareness workshop so I won’t be back until June 22nd. Please leave comments, I promise to respond as soon as I get back! I can’t wait to see what you said.

And of course since this is Monday we need some music. This is one of my favorite Shakira songs, I love playing her music when I clean it makes it go faster and I get some shimmy practice in 🙂

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful

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Because I am out of town Kassandra Lamb, a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer, has agreed to post today to keep all of you entertained. So give Kassandra a warm Arm Chair Adventures welcome!

“Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful”

Are you old enough to remember the 1980’s Pantene shampoo commercial that made this line famous? Or perhaps it resonates because of the lyrics in Keri Hilson’s much more recent “Pretty Girl Rock.” Actually I could have sworn that Elizabeth Taylor said it first, but, after a quick romp around the Internet, I was not able to prove this.

Unfortunately, for all too many of us, the answer to that line would be “I don’t hate you; I hate myself because I’m not beautiful.” And sadly there are a lot of people in our society, especially women, who would say that even while those of us around them are secretly envying their beauty. Not only has physical attractiveness become the main criteria for okayness in our society but most people actually see themselves as a lot less attractive than they actually are.

Why is that? If being beautiful, handsome, adorable, is what makes us valuable, than why aren’t we all clamoring that we are beautiful, handsome, adorable? Oh, if only the connection between self-esteem and body image were that simple.

The reality is that if we feel poorly about ourselves, for a variety of reasons, than we are going to perceive our package as not okay, no matter how beautiful we are. One quote that I did find for Elizabeth Taylor, who was drop-dead gorgeous and an incredibly talented actress, was, “I don’t like my voice. I don’t like the way I look. I don’t like the way I move. I don’t like the way I act. I mean, period. So, you know, I don’t like myself.”

Interestingly, she did admit that, “…when I was a little girl, my father was abusive when he drank and seemed to kind of like to bat me around a bit.” Could explain the low self-esteem.

On the other hand, if we perceive our bodies as less than attractive, in our society at least, this tends to undermine our self-esteem. I am one of the few women, amongst my circle of friends and acquaintances, who actually sees my body fairly accurately. Until my late thirties, I was, and perceived myself as, a reasonably slender, moderately attractive woman, with nice hair, warm brown eyes, a cheerful smile and less than perfect skin. I liked my appearance basically, or at least I wasn’t displeased with it.

Then I developed a problem with my thyroid and experienced the onset of middle-aged spread in a huge way (and I mean that literally). In less than a year, I ballooned from 125 pounds to 160, and suddenly I found myself feeling insecure–a feeling I had not experienced in the last 15 years! I was shocked that my self-esteem, that I had always assumed was grounded in my intelligence and other talents, was that easily shaken by a shift in my appearance.

Over the next decade, I slowly came to grips with the betrayal of my body, which is a good thing, since I gained another 15 pounds before the doctors finally got my thyroid problem under control. Now I’m pushing sixty (hard) and I’m back to thinking I don’t look half bad for my age, since I still have the hair, eyes, smile combo going for me. But a lesson was definitely learned about how fragile our self-esteem can be, in the U.S. of A., when our bodies are less than perfect.


This whole issue of body image and self-esteem has been on my mind lately because, in my book that just came out, Family Fallacies, the protagonist, Kate–a woman of average attractiveness–is being wooed by a very handsome guy. He’s six-five, 240 pounds of mostly muscle, with gold flecks in his hazel eyes and an easy-going, sexy grin.

*stopping to fan face; must be having a hot flash*

Her good friend, Rob, is very uneasy about this budding romance, and it takes awhile for him to realize that the disparity in their appearance is the reason for his distrust.

That brings me to the next and, I think, optimistic point. Research has found that people tend to be attracted to those of a similar level of attractiveness. This is good news for those of us in the butt-ugly to moderately attractive range. There is someone out there, probably several someones, who will find us cute, or at least will be relieved that we’re no prettier than they are!

The reader discovers, as the book progresses (with mysterious things happening; well, because it is a mystery after all), that Kate’s suitor wasn’t always a hunk. He was a late bloomer.

Which brings me to the last of my points about this complicated interaction between body image and self-esteem. The body image we develop in our teens may very well continue in our brains long after we’re grown. I had a male colleague who was quite thin (naturally; he was not anorexic), and yet he admitted that he still tended to see himself, in his mind’s eye, as chunky because he had been a chunky teenager, until he grew into his weight during a late growth spurt. That’s where I got the idea for my character’s body image issues. At one point, he confesses to Kate that he often does a double-take when he walks past a mirror, because his internal self-image is of the short, scrawny sixteen-year-old that he once was.

Do you know anyone like that, whose body image is dictated by something other than reality? Does any of this resonate for you? What are your thoughts about the link between body image and self-esteem?

Thank you so much, Alica, for your hospitality!

And to show my appreciation, anyone who comments below will automatically be entered in our contest to win a free e-book set of the first three books of my mystery series. And if you go to www.misteriopress.com and comment there, your name will go in the hat twice. The winner will be announced this Friday, here and on misterio press. You can also pick up an extra chance or two of winning by commenting at the two stops left in my little romp around the blogosphere.

Thursday, I’ll be talking about getting A Check-Up From the Neck Up with some tips for maintaining good mental health at Ginger Calem’s cyber-home, http://gingercalem.wordpress.com
Friday, I’ll be chatting with Jennifer L. Oliver about writing, eating and puppy dogs (no, we’re not eating puppy dogs) at http://www.small-escapes.com

Hope to see you there, and good luck in the contest!

Kass Lamb

Thank you Kass, it is very interesting how much the number on the scale can effect how we feel about ourselves!
You can find Kass’ book Family Fallacies at B&N and Amazon

Underwear commercial

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I don’t know how- but someday I will write this into a book. OMG! NWS!

So are you inspired??

Three Fairy Wishes or How We Curse Our Children

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In our youth, or during the hormone-induced states of pregnancy, we say foolish things. What we don’t realize is just like the fairies from Sleeping Beauty we can impart wishes on our children. We do this without thought and certainly without meaning to.

Don’t believe me? I can give you examples.

When I was about four or five months pregnant with my son, I was reading Calvin and Hobbs. I can remember saying, “You know I don’t think Calvin’s parents really appreciate him.”

Um, HELLO, what person in her right mind says such a thing when she is about to have a baby!!! My son put on camo, climbed, jumped, and hid constantly. It was so bad that at the playground I would sit facing away from whatever he was doing.

Other mom’s would come up to me and say, “Um, did you know your son is climbing onto on the play equipment?”

“Yes, thank you, don’t worry I’m listening for a splat sound.” Then I would smile and force myself to not turn around and see what terrifying thing he was doing.

This hasn’t changed, he does martial arts, bikes 14 miles a day, practices parkour, and is planning to go to Kenya with a school group as soon as he’s able.

I have come to accept that I will be terrified of whatever he is doing for the rest of my life.
Okay, one example isn’t conclusive evidence, but I have more.

When Logan was about six months old I was standing him in front of the mirror, and he was smiling and laughing and totally enjoying how awesome he was. And I said, “I hope you’re always able to look at yourself with such joy and self esteem.”

This year I got this from a teacher: “The only thing Logan is lacking is a touch of humility.”

When asked what for something good he brought to a class Logan wrote. “I am a super awesome helper.”

When planning his outfit for prom I said, “I think you’d look rather dashing in a vest.”
Logan rolled his eyes and said, “I’d look dashing in anything.”

Before you get the idea that my son is an egotistical jerk- he really isn’t, he knows his limits, and asks for help when he doesn’t know what to do. But he also has no illusions as to who he is and what he can do.

Now before you think, “I don’t have to worry I’m smart enough to never have children.”

You, too, have the power to bless or curse a baby.

A friend attended the birth of my daughter so that Logan would have an adult there to help him (he was only five) in case he needed anything or needed to ask a question. I gave birth at home, and Logan saw Tala born. Sex does have clear consequences to him now 🙂 Anyway, Adolf was holding Tala, poor thing was an hour old when I heard him say. “Wow, she’s so fierce like a tiger.”

And she is. Tala is extremely headstrong, and willing to argue with teachers and her principal if she feels they aren’t being fair. I’m a bit worried about her getting expelled one of these days. My daughter won’t be taken advantage of, that’s for sure, and she is clear and fierce about what she wants in life.

So as you carry your baby or hold and cuddle someone else’s please have pity and bless these children with gentle things. And don’t ever say Calvin’s parents didn’t appreciate him, trust me just don’t go there.

Have you ever blessed a baby? Did it turn out well?

Blackmail Material

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Okay I am still behind in my blogs- I’ve written several I’m hoping to create a few more and then turn them into my editor- so please excuse all of my mistakes this is raw ramblings.

So I have won two awards recently and this is the perfect time to honor them- see blogs come to those who ask *snickers* You love my editor now don’t you, Kilian would have stopped that.

I won the Sunshine award from Patricia Yager Delagrange Patricia blogs about animals I always learn something new from her blog and get to see the best pictures!

I also won the Versatile Blogger Award from the lyrical and poetic Bill Jones Jr.

For both awards I’m supposed to tell you things about myself. I’m going to try and pick stuff I haven’t mentioned before without incriminating myself too badly.

1- I was born in Atlanta, Georgia I left when I was four so I can’t do that sickly sweet southern female manipulation thing, but there are a few words like pecan that I say with a Southern accent sometimes.

2- I love snickers bars- love them.

3- I became vegetarian when I was sixteen while I was working at a health food store. Only time I stopped was during my first pregnancy when I had skin crawling intense food cravings.

4- I had an ancestor who fought in the Civil War named Zopher.

5- My last name is a combo of my first husbands name McKenna and my current hubby Johnson. I hyphenated only to keep my last name the same as my sons. My hubby wanting to be a family also took McKenna so he’s a Mckenna-Johnson and our daughters last name is Mckenna-Johnson.

6- I was sixteen when I fell in love for the first time, his name Michael Lawrence Price- I have no idea where he is now. I wish I knew.

7- A friend taught me how to do tequila shots out of Baby Loony Tunes sippy cups.

8- Muppet Treasure Island is one of my favorite movies. I made my son watch it a lot when he was little.

9- I ran track in High School- I wasn’t a valued member of the team.

10- I cried the first time I saw my son in a suit. He was fifteen, I think, and he looked so grown up I just couldn’t help but tear up. That might be one of his most embarrassing moments.

I nominate

Heather Hawkes a dear friend who blogs about homeschooling and her journey to becoming a lactation consultant.

Lani Wendt Young fellow YA author and half crazed mom. 🙂 She also posts pictures of lovely Samoan men with tattoos.

Lesann Berry who makes me laugh and blogged about a pirate festival I must go to one day!

Mhairi Simpson who’s journey I enjoy watching.

and

Marlene Dotterer who introduced me to Thomas Andrews the shipbuilder for the Titanic, a truly remarkable man.

So grab either award, post some info about yourself, and pass them on, or not 🙂

Review: Give Your Opinion on Opinions

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As an author I crave reviews as deeply as I crave chocolate, the next great idea, and words that flow like the purest fountain of literary brilliance.

However, as an author I’m very reluctant to give reviews. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and a review after all is just someone’s opinion. You know what they say about opinions . . . .

So my current plan is to take the completely wussy way out of this predicament. I plan to review books only if I would give them 4 or 5 stars.

I’m still hesitant to write reviews. I don’t know why. Maybe I haven’t figured out the deeper meaning an author was hoping I’d get. Maybe I will find something funny that they hadn’t meant to be funny. This list of my worries goes on and on.

Anyway, to my point and yes there is one, as an author do you review books? Even if you would give them a 2 or a 1?

As an author if I would give your book a 3 or lower would you still want me to review it?

And before any of you panic, my TBR list is huge. Do not think I didn’t like your book if I haven’t reviewed it. I probably haven’t had time to read it yet!

What Means Home to You?

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From age six to twelve I lived in Anchorage, Alaska. The Big Dipper was the first constellation I ever found and is very bright and easy to find in Alaska. When we moved from Anchorage to Walnut Creek, CA I went out night after night looking for the Big Dipper. It took a week or so, but once I found it, I felt settled and at home. I don’t know why my twelve-year-old self decided that a group of stars signified so much to me, but there you have it, and it stuck.

When I moved to Tucson, AZ it took three months before I was able to find the Big Dipper in the night sky, and the minute I did something within me relaxed. I was home now.

When ever I see the Big Dipper in the sky I smile and know I’m home. I haven’t moved since coming to Tucson, and I have to wonder if I moved now as an adult would I still look to the sky desperately searching for a group of stars to let me know that I am home?
Do you have anything that you need to have to feel at home?