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Millennial dating pool 

The definition of a “Millenial” is a demographic cohort between generations X and Z. Born somewhere between the years 1980-1999.

According to the US Census Bureau, they are the most studied generation to date.  Possibly because there are plenty of them to study, 80 million plus (the largest cohort in history).

Living in the video game, reality tv, iWorld, Snapchat, and Starbucks down the street world, they are the the overindulged products of “helicopter parents”…like myself.

Millennials are not bad. In fact, they are a new and increasingly shocking breed of overachievers. Many score high on IQ tests. They also score high on such traits as extroversion, self esteem, self-liking, high expectations, and assertiveness. These traits are purported to often lead to narcissism and entitlement.

Some struggle with basic common sense. Making decisions for themselves and finding it easier to ask for someone to do it for them rather that venture out and “figure it out” on their own. 

Take my daughter for example.  Her biggest challenge at the age of 24 is finding a descent date. Blonde, fit, beautiful, and simply searching for someone her age who can carry a conversation without looking at their phone or taking a selfie. She works full time and attends college full time as well.  You’d think that with that kind of a busy lifestyle, she’d have enough on her plate but perhaps going on a date would add a bit of color to her life. 

Let’s call her Lulu.  She’s beautiful, smart, and has the disposition of sunshine. She enjoys sports and can carry a conversation of just about any subject. She dresses well and has good quality friends.  They also try finding her dates….but to no avail. Are her standards too high? I’ll let you be the judge. Here are a couple examples of her recent dating endeavors.

Sean-25 years of age – living with roommates. A full time student by day and bartender by night.  After 3 short months together last year, he was ready for marriage.  Lulu cleaned their place so that she can make it tolerable to visit, cooked for him, helped him study, dress better, and suggested going on adventures like hiking or small road trips.  When she turned down the proposal, he was lost.  She was smart enough to recognize that she was not ready for marriage to someone who needed help in every way.  She walked away from that relationship over a year ago and has been struggling since. 

David – 26 – Living at home with mom but lied about it. That would have been a dealer breaker for her had she known before the date. 

The date: David showed up to the restaurant dressed sharply and ready to dazzle…but whom was he wanting to dazzle?  He admitted in the first half hour that his mom created the profile on the matchmaker website and found Lulu as the potential perfect girl for him.  Many same interests in fashion, music, shows, fitness, and more. The problem? He was gay but his mommy didn’t know. So he had to go on the date to please mom.  

The morning after. 

Lulu: “Hi mom”.

Me: “Hi sweetie. How was your date?”

Lulu: “Gay mom, my date was gay. Will I ever find someone?”
Blind date – Steven – 25 – works as a occupational therapist at the local hospital.  The date was set up by a college professor.  What can go wrong? Someone wth a job and endorsed by a college prof. This could be a good experience.

The date:  Lulu arrives at the restaurant wearing a pretty summer dress and looking her best. To her dismay, the gratest date disappointment stands in from of her wearing a hoodie with the writing. “I eat ass”.  She looked at him and said, “Wow! That’s a sweatshirt!”, took a photo, and told him, “I’m pretty sure they don’t serve that at this restaurant…and neither do I.”  She sent me this picture so that I don’t think she’s making it up.

She left him there bewildered and wondering what was going on.  She will show the picture to her prof. and suggest his parents give him a recap of his lessons in morality and self virtue. 

Is poor Lulu alone in this or is this the normal struggle for this generation?

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If you’ve ever seen an English bulldog and thought, “Oh my goodness! I want one.”, you’re not alone.

This, is Sonny.


He is our fur baby and definitely an important member of our family.  Just being a member of our family makes you important and he is one that certainly knows it.

Sonny is an amazing caretaker. He follows our special needs daughter around and can be found wherever she is. Unless “mom” or “dad” is in the kitchen or doing some reading. In those particular cases, he is our beggar or cuddler. He’s a great pet to all our kids and no matter how long they might be gone, whether 15 minutes or months at a time, he’s always as happy as can be to see them.

Sonny is a month shy of his 12th birthday and has entered his dotage.  He can no longer do the puppy things he was once able to do and we find he barks whenever he needs help.

One example is wanting to be carried down stairs.  I mean, who can resist that face? “Help!” We hear from the top or bottom of the stairs. Depending on where he wants to be.

What most people don’t realize is that while owning a bulldog is a gift and being a bulldog owner makes you 50 shades of cool, there are needs and responsibilities that go far above and beyond what a non bulldog owner might experience.

For one, the cleaning rituals can be longer than a grocery list. His face, his folds, his ears, undercarriage, his hot spots,  his tail…or lack there of, and his toes. Toes? You ask? Yep.  This atomic-gas making squishy-faced ball of snorting love has the propensity of developing yeast between his toes.  We know when this happens…and it happens enough that we recognize the signs. The loud toe sucking and chewing is similar to the sound of a large carnival pig making his way through his trough of slop.

When we see these signs is yet another aspect of having this loveable fur kid hanging around.  Our relationship with a certain person.  This would be the VETERINARIAN. Our VETERINARIAN loves to see us.  He walks into the exam room, takes one look down and smiles the biggest smile.  “Yes! Making that extra mortgage payment this month!” kind of smile.

I like to capitalize his title because anyone who can spend 15 minutes on the floor with your dog, stand up, and smile and hand you what appears to be Bill for the visit, except much larger…like a flight to Maui kind of bill, deserves to have his title CAPITALIZED.

In all seriousness, our vet is awesome.  He has a friendly demeanor and has a great pet bedside manner.  Our pet loves him and immediately walks up to greet him.  His staff is pretty great too so the bill is not quite as bad when you have really nice people to deal with.

As you recall, I mentioned our Sonny is 12 years old. I’ve been told that they have a shorter life span than most other dog breeds and live approximately 10 years. Sonny might be elderly and has some issues but he is certainly in great shape.  He’s up for a walk with his little girl. They don’t go very far but the distance he does go, he enjoys tremendously. And let no bush, tree, rock, or small poodle be left un-urinated upon. 

Recently, we found ourselves in need of a vet visit.  Made the same day appointment and to our surprise a new VETERINARIAN walked into the room.  Sonny noticed immediately and carefully sniffed this woman’s knees before retreating under the chair Inwas sitting in with only his eyes peeking from the safe place. What was it about her knees that offended him so?

“Come in out, buddy”, she said.  After several requests and pets of comfort, I managed to get him in front of her.  At which time he began to quiver and shake.  It’s okay, Sonny, mom has the same feeling about her. But we must give her the benefit of the doubt. Besides,  he often hides from things he’s unsure of. Birds are top of his list. Horses, cats, hummingbirds, and a few more.


I digress…back to the vet. Minutes into the conversation she asked if he was active enough.

“Active? You do realize he’s a 12 year old bulldog right? Precisely how enough is enough?” I didn’t want to throw Dr. H’s name but felt it coming.

After a few more minutes of asking basic questions, she recommended a  complete change in diet to a special blend of $50 per bag food, full blood work up and a “senior panel” be run.  This is to determine whether he’s old? I can tell you that right off hand; He is old. His eyes aren’t quite that bad but his hearing is going and he sleeps a lot more than he did when he was a puppy.  Isn’t that normal in all beings?

“Well, exactly how long does he sleep? I think we need to test him to check for serious issues.”

This for no complaints whatsoever from us. She got this from a few minutes? If you had a laser pointer, a tennis ball, or a frisbee, he’d be all over you so I was not concerned.

“Errr…he is a bulldog and he is old.  He sleeps a lot. I mean, he plays, eats, walks around, and just sits too.”

I finally looked at her and said, “Look, Dr. H said he didn’t want to ever run unnecessary tests in him to prevent him stressing himself into a seizure.  What are your reasons for these test? Really, we just came in for his foot spray and cleaning pads and his prescription to be filled. He’s been on it for 4 years and we ran out yesterday.”

To this, she gave me a stern look and said, “You really need to add glucosamine, fish oil, and give him a pain killer if he’s achy.” All of which we already do and if she had bothered to open his chart, she would’ve noticed.

I will toot our own horn and say that we are exceptional pet parents. Sonny is not only, as his usual VET says, “he’s in great shape”,  he is loved and respected, he’s fed well and groomed, he’s played with and has regular body massages, Sonny is still our greatest protector. The


It’s not enough to simply like animals and become a veterinarian but be an exceptional one like Dr. H and be a VETERINARIAN! One who doesn’t just want to run tests for the hell of it but look at the whole picture and ask, is it necessary to put this shivering and intimidated pet through anything more than the necessary. One who you can pay the $BILL and know your fur kid is in good hands.

Simplifying 

A few weeks ago I returned from a company retreat on Amelia Island in Florida.  I brought back some souvenirs for the family and a case of pneumonia.  Whether it was connecting with 700 of my awesome work peers or being in a few “flying tin cans”, it didn’t take long for it to completely take me down. One doctor visit and a handful of medications later I was well on my way to recovery. But found myself working from bed and pondering the things around me.

One thing in particular…


My old jewelry box. Filled with years of treasures, some valuable and some not.  What was in there anyway?  I decided to find out.  What better time to organize than when you’re stuck in bed?

I decided to dump out the box onto my bed and compartmentalise it all into piles.

Keep, pass on, trash, and donate was a good beginning, I thought.

You see, I’ve been making my way through the areas of my home and simplifying big time.  As for the daunting task of cleaning the jewelry box, it had to happen.

Once I had all the keep items put away, I found myself staring at a pile of odds and ends that were missing a mate, missing a clasp, or just missing the sparkle it once had.  I mean, what the heck is this and why was it given to me?


Why have I kept it? A magical talisman? Was it to bring me some sort of luck? Hardly. It was an old belt buckle someone turned into a pin. I’ve been carrying it around for twenty years. T W E N T Y!

I was able to halfway fill a gallon sized bag of stuff.  Holy cow! How long have I been carting this stuff wth me and better yet, why?

The rule in organization and purging is if you haven’t worn it in a certain amount of time, get rid of it. So, I posted in our neighborhood website… “Calling all crafters and jewelry makers”…and bam! Half hour later, I received a message from a local jewelry maker saying she was very interested and could she possibly come see them that evening. Um, let me think for a minute…Yes! Come take this stuff away before I change my mind and dump it back in the box.

Turns out she is a neighbor who recreates new jewelry pieces from old and dresses the nearby high school girls on a budget for dances. What? Organization, purging, and a good cause? I’m in!

Away the jewelry went and I’ve made a new friend whom I can have coffee with and discuss what other ways to serve in the community and what else from this home is simply existing without appreciation.


My closet is beckoning…”Come clear me out…”
This week, I’ll be putting my closet on a diet. 2017 is still fresh enough for renewal and cleansing.

Clear a drawer out and see how liberated you feel! Heck! Clear out two.

NannyOnce a week on Wednesdays when our daughter gets out of school early, we receive the help of a nurse-like person who comes and watches over her until I get off of work. Really that person is just there to make sure the kiddo doesn’t get into mischief and attempt – the house.  It takes the right kind of person to do this.  The kind of person who can simply sit on the floor and hang out with her as she does a puzzle or watch her color and hand her a cup of juice or water. Rocket scientists need not apply. This is not too challenging. Yet, that said, we have had our share of interesting folks. Some good…and some from another planet.

Tetanus Shot Girl- TSG– One fine day, a young girl about the age of 18 came via a certain caretaker website.  She came highly recommended by her various previous sitter positions.  Ivy was around 4 years old and the young lady played with Ivy and all was fine.  Until Ivy became frustrated and bit TSG on the arm. She bit hard enough to leave teeth marks.  TSG went home and arrived the following day with a doctor’s bill for a tetanus shot.  Our oldest son looked at her and said, “She’s not a racoon!”. She was handed a check for the  doctor’s bill and waved goodbye. She was actually confused and thought she should continue to work.  We wish her well.

Assley – I will allow you to figure out why this title. It was a rainy afternoon and we had just arrived home to relieve the nanny as she cared for Ivy while we went out for some winter clothes shopping and she wasn’t yet keen on mall trips.  Upon our arrival, the usually too scantily dressed nanny, appeared and turned her bum towards my husband (fiance at that time) and our two teenaged boys. Before I could say a word, she said, “Look at the giant hole in my pants!” To my surprise, she had split the entire back side of her stretchy pants and thought showing it to a house full of men was the best choice.  Not amused, I reached into the coat closet and pulled out a sweater and handed it to her.  “Wrap this around you. You are showing your thong to everyone.” When asked if she had a change of clothes in her car, she said she had her cocktail dress from the night before.  Good night Assley.  To the disappointment of our giggling and enchanted 17 year old Nick, away she went. We wish her well…and hope she finds good pants.

The Playdough Clairvoyant – a young woman who worked at the local school district in the special education department and came highly recommended.  She interviewed quite well and paid a lot of attention to our little one in the interview.  That is a biggie for us when determining a care taker.  She’s really being interviewed by Ivy.  We were excited for this gal to begin the following morning.  Upon Sam’s arrival, 25 minutes late, she looked like a completely different human.  Her very long hair un-brushed because she was running late and holding a bad of bottled coconut waters.  I warned her our kiddo was not keen on this drink and forcing it on her would cause a festive vomit fest.  Fairly warned, I believe…but people will try just about anything. In fact, she tried a bunch of things…including taking her to the health store for healthier options while exhibiting a full force meltdown. Our girl screamed and cried at Sam’s every word.  It was the playdough incident that stands out though.  As Ivy played and made her dozen playdough grapes, Sam decided to participate.  She made a round ball and poked a happy face into it.  She then proceeded to show my husband the face and ask, “May I keep this? It is a likeness of my boyfriend.  He’s dead.”  Sam was wished well and shown the door.  Till this day, we remember her fondly and giggle. Wish her well….and hope she gets help.

The Angry Sketchy Girl – The title describes her perfectly.  She was named by our older daughter who felt we were nuts to let her stick around. She showed up unannounced and when questioned about it, she raised her pencil drawn in eyebrow and glared. I could swear that I heard a growl. She terrified us and spent her time that day texting someone with great disdain on her face.  Perhaps it was her parole officer and the comment our son made about her looking like a runaway from the Shawshank Redemption film was far too accurate. We were so afraid to fire her that we left the house, went to eat…and a cocktail later, called her boss and asked her to do it.  That’s all we I will say about her. Hoping Miss. Cranky-pants finds a job far away from kids. We wish her well….and some happy pills.

God Wills It – The Religious Nut – I’m confident that those who have faith will not take too much offense in that title.  One can be faithful yet not be a nut. When we moved into our home, small projects such as Bible scripture stickers and wall decals stayed behind from the last homeowner.  She noticed and became quite fond of them. A week later, when she returned, she found them gone and went as far as saying, “Why would you remove them?”.  Our response, “They were not ours and this is our home”. she was not amused and said, “But God wills it!”.  Helene had some ideas about how to treat Ivy.  Step one, boil milk and several cloves of garlic…she should drink it hot for the vapors to infuse her body. Step two, pray over her…and believe that “God wills it!”  If we did it right, her autism would melt away.  I could say there was something about a decapitated chicken or a goat dance. That didn’t happen but I fear it wasn’t too far in her plan. ….God wills it? Really?  God gave our kid autism and if we do the right kinds of rituals, she will be healed? What complete nonsense!  We wish her well….as God surely wills it.

So many characters and so many stories to tell. But I will leave you with these as they were on my heart today.

Ivy with mommy and daddy at DisneylandI married a wonderful man whose wife passed away of cancer some years ago.  They had two wonderful kids that I consider my own. With my two and his two, I consider us as having four kids.  I don’t introduce them as these two are mine and these other two are my step kids.  It just doesn’t sound natural. Perhaps especially since I’ve known them for many years and our kids grew up together.

Our little one, and notice I said, “our”…has autism.  She is loveable and very smart but has serious issues with communication and behavior.  She needs help in almost everything she does and I have been her only mother now since she was 4 and a half. She is now 9.

One of our greatest challenges are other people and how they treat her, if at all, how they tend to discount her as just a child and how they consider our family dynamic in general.

For example, I recently posted some photos of us from our day at Disneyland. She was as happy as can be and smiled in almost every picture posted. Many “liked” the photos and made sweet comments such as, “So sweet” and “how fun!.  Yes, it was fun and absolutely, she was very sweet. I appreciate those likes as I too, receive great comfort that our social media friends approve.  Slight sarcasm there. I post so that the great majority of our extended family from far away can see her and stay active in her life.  If people “like” the pics, it’s nice.  That works for me. But for the record, I am not obsessed with pleasing the masses.  The grandmothers and aunties, as well as those who are part of our support system is who those posts are for.  Sometimes, comments are made.  Opening myself up for those is what I get for posting.

With all that said, I received a comment.  The relative who we shall call Jane stated the following, “It touches my heart that the little one has you as a “mother figure”. She looks just like her mother and I’m sure her mother is looking down and thanking you for taking care of her little girl.”

Truthfully, I have no issue with most of her statement.  Our little’s one’s mother was a wonderful woman and was very loved by many…including myself.  I’m glad the resemblance is there.  I’m sure the family find great joy in it.  “Mother figure” is where I was halted. Interesting term, “mother figure”.  Someone who could be a mother but is not?  Is it because she is not biologically mine?  From my own womb? What does that say for women who adopt children and raise them?  Are they mothers or simply discounted as this “mother figure” person?

If I told you that I give her baths every day, prepare a special menu for her needs, make her school lunches, have Pinterest worthy birthday parties for her…because she deserves to have them too, shop for her, dress her, take her to the dentist twice a year, multiple doctor appointment every month, I clothe her, brush her hair and teeth every day, play with her, dance with her, take her everywhere, read to her, teach her as much as I can, go to school appointments, give her medication every day and NEVER forget, and hold her when she is upset or sick…and I’m sure a few more things full-time mothers do, would you say I’m merely a “mother figure” or am I simply, her mom? If I said that having time to take a shower or use the restroom without rushing is a luxury because she requires full time attention, would I be a mother? a parent?

It is what she calls me. “Mom” I have been the only one, other than her amazing dad and a handful of part-time nannies who give us breaks for work trips or date nights, since she was very little and I carried her around.

Who is this “mother figure”?  At what point does she give enough of herself to be considered a real mom?  Does this relative have it wrong?  I think so.

This was on my heart today.

Awake

Awake

As a parent, daughter, spouse, friend, employee, guardian, and so many other titles I can think of, it becomes difficult to remember the last time I thought of ME. Yes, little old me. The person, woman, human who has needs and responsibilities to herself has been somehow asleep. Living a day to day life without really looking towards the future. As though that future is somehow non-existant or unimportant. I know it sounds selfish and trust me, there is a lot of guilt that goes along with that but I have recently and I mean very recently, been awaked to the fact that I exist.
In the deepest part of my soul I know with under no uncertain circumstances or terms of definition that I have found a great joy in my life. LIke the beauty of New England in the autumn months, when the leaves become this unbelieveable aray of natural beauty, all the while evolving into something else. It is as though nature itself knows that the future exists and it reminds us of how important it is by changing it’s colors.
I see myself there. On that side of the country. All of a sudden I’m awake and aware of an existing future. I can literally see myself happy. No, not just happy but joyful. Holding the hand of my soulmate, living our lives, and sharing in those very special gifts we’ve been given. As though a new door has opened and light is flooding in, I’m awake and aware and wild horses couldn’t make it go away.

So happy right now. Will be dreaming of a lakehouse somewhere in New England.

The Light Under My Bed

I caught myself daydreaming of past times today.  I found that I had devoted several of my minutes to certain memories which live proudly as some of my favorites.

Growing up in an old skyrise in New York was an adventure in itself. But the creativity of my parents when it came to making me feel cozy and comfortable is a treasure.

I had an old four poster bed which was so high off the floor that I needed a small wooden step stool to climb into it.  I had a large down filled comforter in a soft duvet and I felt like I was sleeping on clouds.  My mother had a love for pillows and cushions and my bed was the perfect place for pillow fights. As cozy and dreamy as my bed was, it was under my bed that held no scary monsters.  In fact, it was my favorite place to be in my room.  My step-dad layed a large comforter under my bed and strung up colored lights where I can read when I needed a place to go.  My under the bed escape was amazing.  I had a collection of books which lined the wall, a small pink boom box with a great selection of music, and pictures and postcards of places I wished to visit decorated the underside of the bed. I was allowed to eat small snacks under there with the promise that I’d clean up.  My friends and I spent hours playing and giggling under there.

I recall a particular time when I was about eleven years old.  It was late September and Hurricane Gloria made landfall.  For hours, the wind howled at over 100 miles an hour.  The storm beat against my windows and the thunder and lightning were battling it out. It scared a lot of people and destroyed many homes. As for my sister, myself, and two of the friends from within our building, we felt perfectly safe eating grilled cheese sandwiches and drinking our soup from cups under that bed.

I often wish I can have that getaway today.  I was stretching on the floor next to my bed recently when I looked at my bed and wished it was higher and it wasn’t home to the handy spacebags where my warm sweaters live.

What was your safe haven when you were young?