They

I have always made exactly three meals for dinner. Ever since I was in college, I could make a) turkey spaghetti, b) turkey tacos and c) sloppy joes (with turkey meat.) That’s it. Occasionally I can throw in a chili or a soup, but you get your basic meals with me and there’s not much more to add. Now, “they” say that if you have sit-down family dinners at least twice a week, your children will do better emotionally, physically, and educationally. Also, this meal has to include a representative from all the major food groups. And everyone has to sit down at the table, even if they are not eating. This past Monday, realizing I was about, oh, four weeks behind on the requirement that “they” told me I should do, I served up my infamous turkey tacos, cut fresh strawberries, blueberries, grapes and cucumbers and had little bowls of chips and salsa and taco toppings all ready to go. I was so proud.

It was only when I called out “Dinner!” did I realize that Craig was not home as he had a work meeting. So, I soldiered on. “They” told me I have to do this so that Lauren doesn’t have an eating disorder and so that Sam will be more emotionally stable in the future. I called to 11 year Lauren, who screamed that it was too early to eat (6:00 p.m.) and so she sat at the table and rolled her eyes and made grunting noises. 6 year old Aidan had eaten dinner on his own time, at 4:30 p.m., and was also not hungry. He refused to turn off “Spongebob Squarepants,” so we dragged him to the table where he sat there and cried very loud. I realized that I shouldn’t be eating carbs, so I opted out and had a weight loss bar instead. This made me jealous of my kids, who could sit there and eat anything they wanted without gaining weight. So then I start to resent my children. That left 13 year old Sam, who, as all boys his age, are just glad to eat anything, any time of the day, all day long. As I listed to the grunting and the crying and the loud, annoying chewing at my “emotionally supportive, educationally bonding required family meal” that “they” told me that I must serve my children, I realized something. I realized that “they” don’t know what the fuck they are talking about.

Whoever “they” are, they make all of the rules these days. They say we should watch Gotham because it’s the best show on t.v. (they also say that about “How To Get Away With Murder). They say that we should all be mad at Renee Zellweger for changing her looks. They tell us what to wear, what to eat, what is hot and what is not.

“They” are also spending a lot of time talking lately about how they can’t believe that a “homecoming prince” shot four of his friends because he was so “popular.” They want us to think that since he had the proper school titles that “they” think should make teenagers happy, then he had absolutely no other issues in the world. This is all “they” are talking about when they report this story. They haven’t really mentioned the fact that he was incredibly troubled by issues in his life, and had been previously suspended from school for a fight. They haven’t even wondered aloud as to why his parents would allow him access to a weapon when he was publicly dealing with some very upsetting emotional issues, including feeling left out and breaking up with a girlfriend.

“They” are just so proud of his social status, they don’t discuss the gun involved. Either that, or they just don’t want us to focus on that part of the story.

Who are they? Let’s be honest. We have no fucking clue who they are. Most likely they are people being paid by someone to tell you what to think and what to wear and how to view the world. “They” have their reasons and their motivations, and they also have their view of the world and what is realistic and important to them. These same things may not be as important to us. But they get their articles published online or they write their opinions in magazines or in the newspaper, and suddenly, they have created world-wide stress and anxiety and shaped all of our social views on everything. They focus on the issues that they want us to focus on. Like Zombies, we listen to what they say because they know what’s best. They know what’s the most important part of the story is, and what questions to ask. They tell us what books to read and what movies to watch; where to go on vacation, and what restaurants to avoid.

What should you do? Be your own “they.” I’m going to start trying. In my house, I have to admit that we don’t really enjoy the new “hot” t.v. shows (they are boring and confusing and ridiculously over the top and they put Viola Davis in unflattering clothing for no reason.) We try to have healthy dinners together, but only when it works out for everyone. Most of the time, we just do what we do to get through the day, even if that includes eating in shifts or eating on the way home from an activity that ends at 7:00 p.m., or ordering in from Pei Wei for the fifth time that month. The important thing is that we make time to connect with each other each day, in any way we can, even if it’s just sitting in bed and talking. I try not to judge celebrities for trying to look better, because I know that no matter what celebrities, or even politicians do, someone out there will criticize them. I know I’m not putting myself out there in a way where I could be subject to scrutiny, so I’m not going to try to constantly criticize those who do.

And finally, I believe that leaving children with unlimited access to guns is a daily problem in our country. Sometimes I take a running poll of how many kids used guns to kill other kids that week vs the amount of people who used their guns to successfully defend their homes against dangerous criminals. If you do the same, you will find that you will have tons of check marks on one side, and none on the other side.

I’m going to try each day to live my life by my own rules and beliefs and not to listen to “them” all of the time. I’m going to explore things and form my own conclusions. I’ll decide what’s best.

Because like many people that I have met over the years, I have realized that “they” are opinionated and annoy the shit out of me, and I don’t really have time for them anymore.

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WAY TO GO, GRADUATE!

Dear Arizona,

You know that embarrassing relative whom you HAVE to invite to family events? The guy that no one wants to claim as being from their side of the family?   The one who thinks that it is o.k. to use racial slurs in conversation?  That old man who pinches the waitress’ behind and then winks at you?  Yeah, Arizona, up until today, that was you.

We, your family, are very proud of you for what you did today.  It was a long time coming, and you certainly could have done it much, much sooner. I guess what matters is that you finally did it.

Now, Arizona: you still have a long, long way to go.  You need to stop arresting people for being Hispanic, get the retirees in your state to vote for budget overrides to improve our education, and you need to stop your senators from making homophobic and anti-semitic bills.

If you do that, we might stop denying that we are related to you.  We may even stop saying “I live in Arizona, but I’m really FROM (insert state)” so that no one thinks we actually like you.

We might even start to brag about your recent accomplishments. Like proud parents, we might start wearing aprons that you made, or t-shirts with your picture on them. We may even may put bumper stickers on our car that say “My state is less homophobic than your state.”

But just like that second-cousin twice removed, you finally got your GED. Now you need to go out there and go to college or find a real-life paying job. Stop living in your parent’s basement. It’s time for you to grow up.

Good job.
Love,
Momontour

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The Day My Computer Died

(Sung to the tune of the classic song “American Pie” If you are not familiar with it, you are not old enough to read this blog)

A long long time ago
I can still remember when
Those Facebook posts made me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That Youtube video would make me dance
And maybe I’d be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every tweet that I’d deliver
Bad news on my game app
I was starting to feel the age gap

I can’t remember if I cried
When I learned that my computer was fried
Something touched me deep inside
The day my computer died

Bye, Bye to my Social Media Tie
Called Apple for help from the computer guy
They told me to come in and I started to cry
Sobbing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Did you write that tweet of love
And did you Instagram a dove
Was it a picture from your recent trip?
Did you receive my LOL?
Can you text me if you decide to bowl?
And can you teach me how to snapchat real slow?

Well I know that you sent a Vine
But the problems here are all mine
We both binge-watch The View
And I dig Whoopi’s fashionably shoes

I was a lonely mom and stuck
With kids whining and it all did suck
But I knew I was out of luck
The day the computer died
I started singin’

Bye, Bye to my Social Media Tie
Called Apple for help from the computer guy
They told me to come in and I started to cry
Sobbing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

Now for three years I’ve blogged on my own
Sharing deep thoughts as I get stoned
But that’s not how it used to be

I’d walk outside to get seen
Or write a note when I was fifteen
In a letter that went from you to me

And one day we all looked down
The computer stole the pencil’s crown
Play time was adjourned
To our homes we all returned

And while all the dogs did bark
No kids played there in the park
They sat there and Facebooked in the dark
The day our social skills died
And we were singin’

Bye, Bye to my Social Media Tie
Called Apple for help from the computer guy
They told me to come in and I started to cry
Sobbing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d bought that laptop years before
But the man there said I’d have to wait for awhile

And there we were all in one place
Several generations trying to find a parking space
With no time left to come back again

So come on Genius Bar guy be nimble
Genuis Bar guy be quick
Genuis Bar guy don’t be a dick
Because the internet is your only friend

Oh, and as I watched the guy whose half my age
Go so fucking slow I fell into fits of rage
No angel born in Hell
Could break that teenager’s technology spell

And as the hours ticked high into the night
I realized I hadn’t eaten a bite
I saw Steve Jobs laughing with delight
The day my computer died.
He was singin’

Bye, Bye to my Social Media Tie
Called Apple for help from the computer guy
They told me to come in and I started to cry
Sobbing this’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die

I met a neighbor who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away

And in the car my children screamed
They cried and cried, for hours it seemed
Not a word was spoken
The family computer was broken

And the three men I admire most
The cable guy, the electrician and the guy that brings us the post
They bolted out of town and I knew we were toast
The day the computer died
And they were singing;

Bye, Bye to my Social Media Tie
Called Apple for help from the computer guy
They told me to come in and I started to cry
Kids are sobbing this’ll be the day I’ll just die
This’ll be the day that I’ll just die

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Put On A Happy Face

After a day of rolled eyes, slamming doors and general misery, my 11 year old daughter turned to me before bed and said, “Did you ever have one of those days where you hate everything?” There were so many ways to answer that question. In my head, I was thinking of all the things I was hating in that very moment….

I hate when cupcakes are served at a fancy event. I have yet to find a proper way of eating them, and I end up looking like an asshole no matter how nicely I attempt to eat it.

I hate the “People” magazine “Sexy At Any Age” edition. They are just mocking us, because once you open it up, you can see that they really feel bad for anyone over age 30. It’s like when my mom used to tell me: “You were the prettiest one at the party,” and I knew she was lying just to make me feel better.

I hate when people say, “Hey, I have a favor to ask you. Can you call me?” No, because now you have asked me for two favors.

I hate that Arizona will be one of the last states to legalize gay marriage. We are racist, homophobic, and have the worst education in the country. This year we have had record floods and unheard-of swarms of mosquitos. It’s like we are being punished by the gods. We should look out for frogs.

I hate that Howard Stern has so many good guests on his show every day. I have not been able to get out of my car in weeks. Why can’t we tape record the radio onto our boom boxes like we used to?

I hate that every single t.v. show right now is about creative serial killers or plots to kill the President. I miss the “Dynasty” era when all of the shows on t.v. involved women beating the shit out of each other for an 80 year old wealthy guy.

I hate that the actors in “Gone Girl” described the main character Amy as having the ass of a 20 year old. They showed us her ass, and I’m positive mine never looked like that. You Hollywood guys are putting so much pressure on the poor 20 year olds out there.

Those were the things I was hating yesterday. Tomorrow I will have a brand new list. And so, my motherly advice to my daughter was as follows: Every day I hate everything. I have felt that way since 1980, as evidenced by an entry in my Hello Kitty Diary. I apologize, Emily, but you were a little bit too big for your britches for a four year old.

Even your six year old brother Aidan properly gave the definition of the word “disappointed” at school in his vocabulary notecards last week. I also have to agree with how he dealt with the assignment, “use the word disappointed in a sentence.” He gets it even now.

The key to being a “mature grownup” does not involve getting rid of these feelings. Don’t flick them away or squash them like you should do to our illegal, illiterate, anti-gay Arizona mosquitos No, you need to internally embrace them, accept them, grumble silently to yourself, and pat yourself on the back for feeling this way. Then, you must put on a fake happy face for the rest of the world. Because although most people feel the same way the things that annoy you, they don’t have the guts to actually say them out loud. And in a world where we have to constantly be “politically correct,” it’s hard to be able to air all our grievances even if that’s what our forefathers really wanted us to do.

Pick your battles, and occasionally tell someone that what they are doing/feeling/saying is morally/legally/ethically irritating. It’s ok to occasionally roll your eyes or slam a door or yell and scream.

Keep on feeling all of your feelings, and keep laughing to yourself about the insanity of most of the situations that you find yourself in. If you stop realizing how annoying and absurd the world around you can be, you will start taking it all too seriously. And that’s a problem I, as your mother, will not allow you to have.

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Trader

The most frustrating case I ever had as a defense attorney was a simple case of forgery. My client, a woman named Robin, had been married to a man who was convicted of running a “chop shop” of stolen cars. Robin was charged with forging her name on three different documents. Robin was in her fifties and had no criminal history. She insisted on her innocence and said her husband knew how to sign her name because she was the treasurer of the business and he often signed her name on checks. The prosecutor, “Dave,” was known for being, well, an asshole. After a three day trial, a jury found her not guilty. Dave, a very sore loser, decided to charge her a few weeks later with forgery on two additional documents. Another jury trial, another not guilty. And so, she was charged again with two more documents. For fun, Dave had her arrested for a bogus traffic violation during the trial the night before she was to testify. After this trial ended in a hung jury, she was exhausted and broke from missing so much work. Dave re-filed the charges and set the case for a fourth trial. Robin decided instead to take a plea to a misdemeanor charge to make it all end. In a rare move, the extremely frustrated Judge ended up filing a complaint to the Arizona State Bar against Dave, for malicious prosecution and erased the misdemeanor from Robin’s record.

During one of the trials, I went into the bathroom and cried. What kind of person gets so much pleasure in harassing people? How can I deal with him? Then I realized: I knew exactly who he was. He was the school bully. I knew how to deal with him because I had dealt with people like him my entire life. I stopped letting his actions get to me, and did what I always did as a kid. I told myself that he was a jerk, laughed at his antics, and decided to let the universe take care of him. (It did: he was fired a few years later for similar antics and escorted out of his office by police officers.)

Bullies are part of life. Assholes are here to stay. The most effective skill we can develop as we are growing up is the one in which we learn how to deal with them. This will be a lifelong skill and it will unfortunately always come in handy.

This week, there were four different children who were punished in school for their behavior. These children were generally well-behaved and most had not seen the inside of a principal’s office. A 4th grade boy did a cartwheel on the way to P.E. and, put in detention, had to call his parents from the principal’s office to apologize; a 6th grade boy touched a girl’s bra strap and he was sent down to the principal for sexual harassment; an 8th grade boy told his friend privately he thought a girl was ugly: a friend of the girl who eavesdropped on the conversation reported him for “inappropriate language.” And a 6th grade girl, upset that a friend left her at lunch to sit with new friends, sent her a text that said she was a “trader” for moving tables. She was called to the office for cyber-bullying.

And so, it appears we have officially stopped bullying in schools. How? We have officially stopped kids from being kids. We will make sure that only “appropriate” language is spoken and that no unkind words are ever spoken. Everyone will be sweet and nice to each other and hands will be kept inside the rides at all times. Yes, we are living in an era in which no one loses or flunks or experiences disappointment of any kind. We will make sure that the babies whose pacifiers never fell to the ground because it was attached to a string and whose tushies never got cold because their wipes were warmed will still never feel confused or upset or cold.

In our future generation of tattletales, the helicopter parents will continue to swirl around so that their grown up sons and daughters will never be in a situation in which they feel sad, angry, frustrated, or disappointed. They will fly around in their helicopters until they can no longer fly. Then, our new generation of adults will have to navigate the world on their own amongst all of the other kids who grew up in a sea of approval and success.

Yes, I know this is a different world than when I grew up. I know there are school shooters and crazy, strange people out there. I get it. But raising a generation of kids who can’t deal with an insult or embarrassment is not what we need. We need strong, resilient fighters who can take down those who do wrong. We need independent thinkers to come up with new ways to stop the violence and the war.

There are bad kids. Really, really bad kids who deserve that trip to the principal’s office. Their parents need to know what they are doing. They are the ringleaders of the bullying, or are violent on the playground. There are ones doing drugs, or, just as bad, selling them.

However, in a world where the kids are supposed to only use nice language , it is ok for the adults around them not to. Insulting and berating kids that throw off the curve is almost the norm these days. The adults around our kids should set a good example as often as they can, and to do this, they have to be as respectful to those imperfect kids as our kids are expected to. I’m just not sure many coaches, teachers and parents are getting the message.

Not that I am a perfect parent, by all means, but I do like what I have recently told my kids: I don’t expect you not to feel pressured to follow a bad kid, and I won’t be shocked if you do. It takes a lot of strength to stand up on your own, especially in middle school. But, what I do expect is you to not BE the bully or the ringleader and to develop the skills to learn to stop following them. Kids will be kids: some are nice and some are mean. To expect that this won’t happen is completely unrealistic. What you need to do is try to not BE the mean kid.

Even though we tend to think that helicopter parenting is new, I have found that it is already rearing it’s head in the workplace. People who run businesses or are employees cannot handle any amount of criticism. Most of the time, if I feel that many in the work force today feel as if they are doing everyone a favor by simply showing up. They can’t take it if they are told that what they are doing is not perfect. I’m not sure what happened to “the customer is always right,” but it doesn’t exist anymore. Very few people are able to say, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” That is a skill that is developed when you are learning how to navigate a world that is not so easily traveled. More and more people seem to have been given one direction down life’s road and that would be: it’s my way or the highway. (I know: it’s a pun inside a pun.)

If I grew up today and had to face “Dave,” what I understand is that I could tattle to my boss that he was being “mean.” I would fill out a report that said he is hurting Robin’s feelings. I would also have my boss call his mom so she was clued in. Dave would come in and miss two hours of the trial to analyze. Robin would miss two additional hours of work and the county would charge the taxpayers for the two hours that everyone sat and discussed this. Dave would agree to be nice and then he would go back to the courtroom and change absolutely nothing. He would still lose three trials and he would still get fired. It’s just we would have wasted two hours talking about it.

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Grateful?

There appears to be some sort of challenge going on in which a person is supposed to list the things they are grateful for. I have yet to be challenged, and perhaps that’s because no one thinks I could come up with such a list. But I have and I will share, thank you very much.

1. I’m thankful for homophobic chicken. I know that we are not supposed to go to Chick Fil A, and I totally apologize. I am a huge supporter of the gay community. But you guys: it’s so convenient. They have drive thrus and I’m so sick of McDonalds and sometimes I don’t have time to get out of the car to feed all the people living in my house. Also, they grill their chicken nuggets.

I’m so sorry guys. I hope you forgive me. (If it helps, I don’t really think it’s always a great day at Chick Fil A. I think they are depressed and someone makes them say that.)

2. I’m thankful I only have one daughter. I already went through female puberty once from the offensive angle and now I’m working defense. I am scared of her. She apologizes a lot, though, and then asks for money.

3. I’m thankful that there are so many songs lately praising big butts. Even Anaconda is back on the radio. I’m all about the bass too.

4. I’m thankful for Joan Rivers. I will never have to apologize for saying what I really think. That wouldn’t have been possible without her.

5. I’m thankful that my 6 year old’s obsession has switched from Legos to the Beatles. He woke me up one night to tell me that he had done some online research and that I was wrong. John Lennon wasn’t the only one who had died. George Harrison did too. I apologized and told him I always forget about George.

Every day that I drive him to school he says, “Let’s hear some Abby Road” and he hums “Come Together” while doing his homework. He’s currently my favorite child.

6. I’m thankful for the song “Bailando.” I love it. It’s so much fun to sing even though I have no idea what I’m saying.

7. I’m thankful that the fall TV season is starting next week. I was really running out of things to say to people in my house.

8. I’m thankful to all of the people who bought my e-book so far. I think most of them are my friends and I love you guys because most of your kids do sports. I promise the next one will have a lot of bad words in it.

9. I’m thankful that I was able to go online and buy front row tickets to Katy Perry next week. I knew I would be the coolest mom when they arrived in the mail. I just didn’t realize that I bought us tickets in the mosh pit.

10. Finally, I’m thankful that musical theatre people don’t turn every album into a musical. While it does work for some albums, I can tell you that it doesn’t work for Alannis Morisstte’s Jagged Little Pill. I saw this musical last weekend, and I can tell you it was very stressful. Most of the songs were about how angry she is at the guy who dumped her and all I kept thinking was that this was a whole show about how the guy was Dave Coullier and there should not be a whole musical about a girl going down on Uncle Joey in a theatre.

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Who is ready to curl up with a good book?

You’ll be swell! You’ll be great!
Gonna have the whole world on the plate!
Starting here, starting now,
honey, everything’s coming up roses!

Clear the decks! Clear the tracks!
You’ve got nothing to do but relax.
Blow a kiss. Take a bow.
Honey, everything’s coming up roses!

Now’s your inning. Stand the world on it’s ear!
Set it spinning! That’ll be just the beginning!
Curtain up! Light the lights!
You got nothing to hit but the heights!
You’ll be swell. You’ll be great.
I can tell. Just you wait.
That lucky star I talk about is due!

Honey, everything’s coming up roses for me and for you!

“You’ll Be Swell” : What To Expect When You Expect Your Child Will Be A Star

By Allyson Ochs Primack  (I kept in the Ochs in there to make it easier on my parents to explain to their friends how to buy it.)

Available on Amazon, Kindle and Create Space

https://www.createspace.com/4984595

Password: momontour

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