Where did 18 years go?

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It’s tough not to ask that question and wax nostalgic, mere weeks ahead of my oldest child’s graduation from high school.  You think of all the ‘firsts’ over the years and smile and laugh at all of the great memories.  Then with the rush toward graduation day, you try to stay in the moment to enjoy all of the ‘lasts.’

The last prom, the last time he’ll wear his dress uniform for JROTC, the last robotics banquet… the list goes on.  As he prepares for finals, as much as he ever prepares for finals, and finishes those last projects – you see him getting nostalgic and spending a little more time with his friends and even with his brothers.

He knows his next step, he knows what college he will attend, he knows when he will leave home to start that journey. We all know our little familial unit is about to change as our first is about to go far away from home.

So, where did 18 years go? Well, hopefully, they went into preparing him for this day.  I have confidence that it did. Now it’s up to him.

Traffic Apocolypse – is the heartland the answer?

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Us Atlantans are certainly living in interesting commuting times. The late March collapse of a key bridge on I-85 is having repercussions far and wide. Already horrible commutes and utter gridlock have grown to epic proportions.  And not only is the main interstate impacted, so is every other interstate and side road.  And for those of us who don’t work in town, we still have to try to navigate around it to get to the airport or to sporting events.

I can only imagine what this is doing to our city’s collective productivity, not to mention our home lives.  Someone should do a divorce rate analysis a year from now to see if there is a spike or maybe even a decline in the birth rate.

I saw this billboard while I was at a standstill on a side road in the suburbs very early on a Saturday morning.  I appreciate that the crews are working seven days a week on a much needed and overdue water main infrastructure project, but when you can’t even catch a break at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, well this might catch your eye.

Now I’m a heartland girl so I know the pros and cons of a Midwest town versus a big city and while I’m not sure that Indiana’s marketing will yield a lot of takers, believe you me, as we sit in our gas guzzling cars going nowhere, we certainly are wondering how long this madness is sustainable.  And who knows, they might get a few takers.

Easter Bunnies are Scary!

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Another over-commercialized religious holiday that’s gotten out of control.  I’m happy to report, I’ve never had pictures of my children taken with an Easter bunny.  We only did Santa pictures in the mall one time so it was a definite no-go on the bunny.

Why? I like cute pictures of my kids, BUT pictures with a scary bunny, not cute.   Have you ever seen a kid smile sitting on the lap of a man-bunny? Now dogs with bunny ears, that’s kinda cute.  But even McKenna has never endured bunny ears.

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Remember when we just dyed hard-boiled eggs? And then later ate the hard-boiled eggs?  My kids won’t even eat hard-boiled eggs, so I guess, I gotta go now – to go buy candy and other assorted Easter-basket presents because I have succumbed to the trap of there being more than chocolate and peeps in their baskets.  Wouldn’t want to scar the poor babies.

Happy Easter!

Can’t Make This Stuff Up

 

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Hmm. What to wear to a wine walk?

 

So, I had not had that much wine.  It was wine tasting…in the middle of the day.

When this Mad Max, Rastafarian, Lenten, Mardia Gras, Christmas ensemble showed up. You could literally spend some serious time looking at this bike, yep that is a rattlesnake for a seat and yep that is a clown-headed chainsaw on the front tire.

Great for a serious chuckle.  It’s a beach town, so, pretty much anything goes, but you have to ask yourself, why? So, I did.

My very serious group of fellow wine testers opined.  Beyond the obvious, it gets your attention, albeit not so much in a good way. It got us thinking about ‘what’s your thing.’

That thing that makes each of us memorable, or not.  All of our lives, most of us fall into camps that we are comfortable with like the jocks (you know what I’m saying about the yoga pants); the preppies, sports fans etc.  We move around and through different groups based on interests, geography, time in our life (I hung out with a lot of new Mom’s when my kids’ were little).

After a couple more wine stops and more opin-ing, we decided that most of us do want to be memorable, in a subtle way, whether it’s for the gorgeous blond hair; the wicked humor; the awesome tennis swing. But by our age, most people know what their thing is and they work it in without it being too obvious. They’re comfortable in their own skin and really that’s the goal.

And some are trying just a little too hard and need to keep working at it.

 

Wolves with Wi-Fi

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I don’t mean to give wolves a bad name… but I think sometimes strangers think my three boys were raised by wolves.  Okay, so they might be modern-day wolves because they are certainly always connected, always online, but still wolf-raised.

Why do I think this? Because in spite of more than a decade of trying to teach them things like table manners, not all of them have gotten the hang of it.  I used to just say, you act like you were raised by wolves.  And then it morphed into me looking at my husband across the table and saying, wolves with wi-fi (and there might be an eye roll involved).

But we have now hit a critical mass of pack ‘messiness’ mentality.  We need a serious Spring cleaning sprint.

I realize that I have officially missed 2017’s designated Spring Cleaning Week in early March so I’m shifting it to April. http://www.springcleaningweek.com/

I’ve always been that parent that did not obsess about my kids’ rooms being clean – their space and all – but it has now bled into the entire basement (aka ‘teen crib’) and I can’t stand it.  And if ‘laid back Mom’ can’t stand it – it’s bad! It’s time for action.

So, it’s on in April – the wolves have been warned!

Any advice? I don’t want to permanently damage the cubs.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/200903/the-messy-room-symbol-the-adolescent-age

http://www.amynewnostalgia.com/5-reasons-why-you-should-let-your-teenager-have-a-messy-room/

 

 

 

 

 

Dating the Mob

When I was growing up the Italian mob families in Omaha were alive and well.  That was the reason you tried to stay out of South Omaha, your family had moved West if they could. Or least that’s what I thought at the time.

I dated two children of mob families, yeah, I was a bit naive. My parents were so very not happy. I won’t say the family names because well they’re still alive and kicking.

The first one was while I was in high school; I met him at a college party.  Let’s just say he was dark and handsome, not so much tall.  We hit it off immediately and I felt so grown up.  He sent me roses – delivered to my school.  My high school!  Did I mention that I went to an all-girls Catholic high school? Yeah, the nuns and my Mom were very unhappy. Me? I was over the moon.

Well, I was promptly banned from dating him. I know my Mother had words with him on the phone.  No cell phones in those days, they had to go through the gatekeepers. So with the dating ban strictly enforced that one fizzled out. And by the time I could legally drink, he was already unhappily married.

Many years later my Mom told me about having it out with Mr. Italian. Yikes! I would not have wanted to be on the other end of that phone when Mama Bear was protecting her cub.  Love you Mom!

The second one was in college. I was at a good friend’s wedding. He was one of the first of my group to take the plunge – it was aided by a nine-month time clock and we pretty much never saw him after the wedding but that’s a different story.

This was the one and only time that I can remember letting a complete stranger, a Mom, set me up with her son – might have even been my first blind date.  But Italian Mom was so nice, I was sure her son would be too.  Did I mention that I had a date for the wedding? That should have been her first clue that this might not be a good idea. But Italian Mom plunged ahead, insisting that I meet her son.

I did. And he was handsome as sin with the attitude to match it.  He had the tall, dark and handsome all going on. I was in college and he had been out of school for some indeterminate by me amount of time at that point.  By the way, what is it with Italian men – do they not like women their own age?

What is it with Italian men – do they not like women their own age?

We dated. We had fun. I felt like property. He liked to be seen. He liked pretty on his arm. He lived in this cool loft in an old building in South Omaha.  You know the kind that has old elevators with the gate that goes across – this was way, way before that was cool.

I was figuring out that this was not for me but what sent me running very fast out of South Omaha was stopping in with him at a restaurant one night. He needed to run in and talk to his Dad for a minute. Again no names but it was a South Omaha Italian steakhouse – I know that narrows it down for some of us.

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There were a collection of older Italian men sitting at the back of the restaurant at a big round table in the corner. It was pretty dark in there too.  Hot Italian went around to the back of the table where his Dad was sitting – they had a whispered conversation while all the other men stared at me.  Did not talk, just stared.

I felt like a bug and I was scared. The fact that all their backs were against the wall facing the entrance did not escape me.  I watch movies. That was our last date!

I think about those early days of dating where you figure out what you like, don’t like and I realize that I’m glad I kissed a lot of frogs before I found my prince. Made me recognize what I’d found!

So as hard as it is to let go and let my boys date their frogs, I’m trying.  And much to their embarrassment now that they are in the dating world my Momma Bear is coming out and, oh yeah, I’m going to be overprotective as hell too, just like Mom taught me.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Italy,_Omaha