My parents never knew that I played spin a bottle and we all survived.

Here’s what I’m doing right now. I’m trying to picture myself as a middle schooler in the 1980s. I see myself hanging out with my friends after school, listening to my pink “ghetto blaster,” waiting to see if the DJ will actually broadcast the shout out/dedication to my best friend that I had called in earlier. And then suddenly, I get a picture from my mom of her, sitting at home, making a silly face.

I’m also trying to picture my parents in the late ‘80s while I’m in high school. They are sitting at home with several other couples, having some cocktails and listening to a record. And then suddenly, a group of moms gather around to look at a picture of someone else’s kid hanging out alone in their room on a Monday night.

And neither scenario makes sense to me. Why would I have taken time out of my socializing to check out a photo of my dad getting ready for work? Why would my parents take time out of their socializing to obsess over one of my schoolmates posing with some friends in their backyards?

None of these scenarios make sense because none of us would have wanted to see/know these things. I got through my entire adolescence without my parents constantly checking on me all day long. My parents raised two kids without knowing where we were and what we were doing all the time. And, for the most part, we all turned out just fine.

Did I make mistakes? Absolutely. Did I learn from them? Eventually. Do my parents know about most of these moments? Hell no.

So….this is why I don’t have an Instagram account. Or a Snap Chat. I don’t have a hashtag or an “@“ name that my kids call me. I’m just mom. And when they come home from wherever they were, we have a conversation that goes like this:

“How was it?/Where did you go?Who were you with?”
“Good!/Awful. / To the mall/to a party. / My friends.”

If something great happens, they tell me about it. If something bad happens that they want to share with me, they will. If not, they will work through that problem with the help of friends or they will figure it out on their own.

I don’t want to know anything else. I don’t want to know the expressions on their faces all day long. I don’t want to know who their friends are hooking up with. I can fully admit to all of you that I have posted pictures on my only social media outlet: Facebook, that weren’t an accurate representation of what actually happened. I have my motivations and sometimes they are pretty childish and by the way, I’m 45. If I had access to this type of thing when I was 16, I can’t imagine the pictures that I would have posted.

When I grew up, I hung out in basements. My parents weren’t there with me. Since kids rarely hang out with each other in person, I consider the internet their basement. And I don’t want to be in there with them. I don’t judge others who do, it’s just not who I am. Sometimes I feel like that makes me a bad or irresponsible parent. The technology exists, so why not use it? But no matter how hard I try, I can’t do it. It would mess with my head.  I would over-analyze everything. I would go crazy, and trust me, I have enough things that are already making me crazy.  I don’t need anything else.

Hopefully, I have established a good enough relationship with my kids that they will come to me if they are in trouble, or I will figure it out on my own. And I won’t do it with the help of Instagram. I will do it the way my parents did it: by just knowing my kids for who they really are, in person.

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Artsy-Fartsy

There’s nothing better than a massage when you are feeling stressed, especially at your local strip mall massage parlor. It’s as if there is nothing unusual about walking into a room, shaking a stranger’s hand, stripping off your clothes and having said stranger rub questionable oils and lotions into the crevices of your body. I would say that it’s the most awkward of all business transactions, but any woman who has had a Brazilian bikini wax knows that that’s not true.

After the massage, the stranger who just rubbed your ass (or “glutes” as they like to call it to make it sound less sexual), gives you a paper that I like to call your “stress report card”. The nice stranger gives you a drawing of a naked man and circles all of the parts of his body that represents the locale of your personal stress. Glancing at my after-massage GPA from my Groupon purchased massage, I learned that my entire body is failing life.

Three years ago, I started blogging to document my whimsical views of the world. I wrote about everything that makes me laugh in this crazy adventure called life. When a friend recently pointed out to me that I hadn’t blogged in awhile, I tried to figure out why that was so. And then it hit me: I haven’t blogged because nothing is funny to me right now.

I just can’t find the humor in the constant heartbreak in our world right now. I want to, I really really do, but I just can’t.

In a disagreement with a now non-friend, I was told that I had become too “artsy-fartsy” for this person’s taste. When I told my son about this particular conversation, he asked me what that term meant. I explained to him that the phrase meant someone who really appreciates things outside of their own world. When asked why that would offend someone close to me, I could only respond that I guess it’s because it leaves a little less time to obsess and worry about the things and people in my real life.

These past few years of my life have, in fact, made me appreciate the arts much more. When I’m feeling sad or anxious, I can easily escape to a different world. I can read a book or watch t.v. or stare at a painting and forget, for a moment, about the real-live chaos in my house. I can walk out my door, get in my car and drive to see a movie that does not involve mass shootings or angry, sad or depressing issues (although, to be honest, there were a lot of angry, sad and depressing movies this year.) I can go see live theatre or turn on the radio and hear a song about American Idiots who are not, in fact, actual American idiots.

I can read someone else’s blog and they can make me laugh when I’m feeling too sad to write one myself.

When getting a massage, (or, frankly, a Brazilian wax), there’s always a little fear of, um, a little gas escaping from an area that is awfully close to someone else’s face. When we expose ourselves to something that we don’t normally do, or expand (sorry for the pun) our horizons, we put ourselves in a position to be a little vulnerable. To put our own happiness ahead of those who are always asking us to give it to them.

The arts have saved me from walking in to an insane asylum and asking how to sign up. The arts have helped me cope with things that I cannot control. The arts make me happy when I don’t have a clue how to do it on my own.

So, yeah, maybe I’m a little artsy fartsy. I am proud to admit it. And if a little fartsy bothers you, then get your head away from my ass and stick it up your own instead.

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A Tale of Two Shoes

Once upon a time I needed a pair of beige high-heeled shoes. I found two different pairs that I liked.

The pair on the left was very fancy and expensive. The brand wasn’t made by a typical shoe designer. It was new to the fashion scene. The shoes were shiny and bright. The mannequin wearing the shoes looked tall and pretty.

The pair on the right were made by a company that had been around for awhile. They were not as exciting or as interesting as the other pair of shoes. They were dull and uninteresting.

So I bought the fancy shoes from a fancy store. One night soon after, I wore them for the first time. The heels were very high, and I realized they weren’t very stable. The shoes were incredibly uncomfortable. The padding on the inside kept coming apart.

So I went back to the other store and bought the other pair of shoes. To my delight, they were very comfortable. And while they weren’t exotic or interesting, they were very well-made. The company that made them had been around for a while, and they obviously knew what they were doing. I wore them many times, for many years.

I couldn’t return the first pair. I was stuck with them. I never wore them again.

And so I learned that it’s better to stick with companies who know how to make shoes because they have been in the business of making shoes and understand how to make them than to go with a crazy new brand that should have never been an option in the first place.

The End.

 

 

 

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45

Dear Donny,

Can I call you that? Or Don? I’m trying, but I just can’t seem to call you your new name yet. President Trump just doesn’t seem to roll off my tongue that easily, but I want you to know that I’m really trying.

Anyway, you and I are both going to have a big weekend coming up and I just thought I’d introduce myself.

I’m turning 45 on Monday. You are going to be the 45th president tomorrow. Both of our exciting changes take place in January. Also, sometimes we both have really messy hair and we aren’t very good at brushing it.

I have three children. You have five children from three different women.

I am getting divorced, something I never thought would happen to me. You are becoming the President, something I’m pretty sure that you never thought would happen to you.

I’m still not sure that becoming President is actually something that you wanted to happen, but now that it is, you are looking at the bright side and all of the perks that come along with it. I was pretty sure that becoming divorced at 45 was not something I wanted to happen either, but I guess there are some perks that I am slowly discovering too.

I don’t really think I’m ready for dating apps, or dating in general, and don’t really understand how to properly interact with people in the singles scene. I don’t think you really understand your new job, or politics in general, or how to interact with people in the political scene. We both have a lot of learning to do.

Sometimes we don’t have a filter for our thoughts, and we say exactly what’s our minds.
We both enjoy social media- I occasionally like checking my Facebook account, and you seem to really love Twitter. We both need to be careful out there with what we say.

I am probably going to be moving to a new house sometime soon.
Hopefully, your family will be moving to a new house sometimes soon.

The world will be looking at you to see what you do with your new life and new job title. You have a lot of responsibility and people are wondering how you are going to handle all of it.

Sometimes I feel like the world is looking at me to see how I am handling all the unexpected and challenging changes in my life.  I don’t know about you, but I think it’s really hard to have so many people watching me.

Despite our different challenges in our new lives, we actually do have one same thing in common: my children. They are watching both of us.

They are watching us to see how we behave, and how we treat those around us. They want to see how we handle relationships with people that we have not necessarily gotten along with recently. They are watching to see how we speak to those who have different opinions or views from our own. They are watching to see if we can make compromises and learn to get along with people that we don’t always agree with. They are looking to both of us for guidance as to how to navigate through life.

So, really, although we aren’t going through nearly the same type of changes, I want you to know that we do have the same exact same personal responsibility to my children.

I hope I make them proud to be their mom, and I really hope you make them proud to be our President.

Love,

Allyson

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Hallelujah

2016 is over. A year which no one could have ever dreamed up, unless they were an 10 year old girl in 1982 and they were actually having a nightmare. “Mommy, Daddy, wake up! I just had the worst dream ever! Mrs. Brady and Jason Seaver were dead. And Willy Wonka died and then our whole country decided that one of his Oompa Loompas should be our president!”

So now we head into 2017, and while everyone is dragging their melancholy of the previous year into this new one, there are some things to look forward to:

1. Scandal is coming back. It’s about time. Olivia: We need you now than ever, girl.

2. What will the White House be like now with a president who has not one, not two, but three baby mamas? How does that work?

3. Megyn Kelly on NBC!

4. The Emoji Movie! Trust me, watch the trailer. It looks hilarious.

5. A possible “Harrison Ford was the killer theory”- I mean, she did just write a whole book revealing an affair he had when he was married. He was really good in The Fugitive. He knows how to run from a crime.

“What’s up for us in 2017?” we are asking ourselves now. Well, I’ll kill the mystery for you: 2017 is going to be every year. It’s going to be the same last year and every single year before that. Good things will happen and bad things will happen. A person will have their 15 minutes of fame; a new talent will be discovered; we will see a movie that will change our lives and we will read a book that will touch our hearts. We will fall in love with a new movie star and binge watch a new t.v. show. There will be a really catchy song that we can’t get out of our heads.

Tragedies will happen- there will be a plane crash with promising young people aboard. There will be a terrible train derailment. Tons of mass shootings. Our favorite childhood celebrities will be taken from us too soon. New diseases will be discovered and people will die before we can figure out a cure. New cancers will appear and we won’t know how to stop it from spreading. But people will live longer due to miracles and changes in technology.

Great things will happen to really shitty people. Horrible things will happen to really good people. Karma may or may not even it all out in the end. Politicians will argue over ridiculous things and block each other from making real, positive change.

There will be racists and anti-semites. There will be those who encourage them. There will also be those who will try and make the world a better place through peace and acceptance.

Really cool things will be invented. Technology will get more advanced than we could have ever imagined.

It’s going to be all of the same things, just in a different year. So what do we do? Just sit back and watch another year go by?

We could. Or, we chould listen to the lessons from those dearly departed entertainers from 2016:

Instead of asking yourself how much of your time is left, ask .. how ‘em how much is left of your mind. Take care of your mental health as much as you do of your physical health. Surround yourself with only good people.

Take these lies and make them true. Stop the blame game. Don’t justify things by saying “life is short.” Your life may or may not be short, but the ramifications from how you choose to live your life will go on for decades. If you want to do something risky, think about the consequences and if you still decide to do it, just own it. Don’t blame it on the universe’s unpredictability.

Turn and face the strange : We can’t deny that this world has gone a little crazy. By pretending it’s not happening or that its going to go away, isn’t going to do a damn thing. You need do something about it. Help us make some ch-ch-changes.

There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination.: Always make room in your life for make-believe. Never stop dreaming.

Take it easy: give yourself more time to relax. You don’t always have to live life in the fast lane.

Just say no to drugs: (Not really, but I gotta give a shout out to Nancy Regan in here somewhere.)

Sing in the rain: Focus on the positive, even when surrounded with sadness and disappointment. Laugh and be glad for the things in the moment, even in the face of despair.

May the force be with you: You are stronger than you think and braver than you might know. Believe in yourself.

You’re a shining star, no matter who you are. Shining bright to see. What you could truly be.

 

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The dressing comes on it.

If you are one of those people who are voting for Trump because of his economic policy, but admit that you don’t agree with his stance on most social issues, please remember:

It’s not like ordering a salad.  You can’t ask for those things to be “on the side.”  When you vote for Trump, it’s all mixed in together. There’s nothing you can do about it once it’s served.  You can’t send it back.
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Top 10 Things I Can’t Do Anymore Now That I’m Almost 45.

There are many, many things I can’t do anymore now that I am 2 1/2 months away from turning 45.  Too many to write, so I narrowed it down to the top ten things that I Just Can’t Do:

I can’t: 
1. Talk on the phone while grocery shopping. I can no longer multi-task. I will definitely forget to buy something if I’m chatting on the phone walking through the frozen foods aisle.

2. Drive in the dark: At night, unless a street is illuminated by a flood of lights, I just can’t see where I am going. Without lights, driving in the dark, I get disoriented and forget where I was going in the first place, or why I was going there.

3. Drink and drive: This does not mean that I cannot drink alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car. It means I literally cannot take a sip of a drink, any drink, while I am driving. This must be because my mouth is drooping, and has moved lower down my face. But I have to wait for a light and come to a complete stop to attempt to take a sip from my water bottle or I will simply spill it everywhere.

4. Recognize anyone: If you run into me and we haven’t seen each other in a while, I’m very sorry. I just don’t know who you are. (Although I will have a running checklist in my head for the rest of the day- do I know her from school?  work? children’s after school activities? was she a client? is she my child’s doctor?  Is she my neighbor? Was she my neighbor? Is that our vet? My dental hygienist?)

5. Park in a multi-level structure: I will never find my car again. Ever. Even if I write down the spot where I parked. Because most likely, I will forget where I wrote that information down.

6. Loud restaurants: I’d rather just stay home. I can’t hear you anyway.

7. Remember who I am calling or why I called them until they answer the phone: And then I’m still not totally sure, so I’ll look at my cell phone and pray that the name of the person that I called is programmed into my phone.

8. Understand today’s music lyrics: I can’t figure out who shawty is and why so many people sing about him or her.

9. Handle people who complain about problems they created. Or people who are constantly unhappy or negative. Or those who must put others down or to embarrass others simply to make themselves feel better. Or men going through mid-life crises. Or men who cheer on men who are having mid-life crises. Or shitty, absentee parents who choose their own selfish wants over their children’s basic needs.  Or women with no backbones.  Or millionaires who don’t pay taxes.  Or those who don’t believe in climate change or stem cell research. Or adults who act like children when they don’t get their way. Or those who think the world owes them something. Or those who have just absolutely fallen in love.. with themselves. Or people who don’t understand the meaning of the words ‘respect” or “kindness” or what it means to have “class.”

Ya know, now that I think about it, I think I just can’t handle most of the people anymore.

10. This election. This country. This male candidate who may be the face of our country for the next 4 years who is a proven racist bigot who hates women and mocks people with disabilities and who will have the power to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will most definitely overturn “Roe v. Wade,” and who will deregulate gun control, refuse to increase the minimum wage nationally, mess with gay rights somehow, and who will never go away, even when he is done with his term in office. Remember: even when Trump is out of office, we will be stuck with those anti-women, anti-gay, anti-minority Supreme Court Justices for the REST OF THEIR LIVES.

I JUST CAN’T.

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