Is it just boys that tend to gravitate toward butt and fart jokes? Or do little girls do this too? Or is it not a gender thing at all but a product of their environment? And if that is the case, what does that say about me as a mom?

My son recently learned the word buttocks from his grandpa, my father. Now he can creatively incorporate this word into any conversation. “Want to see my buttocks?” “It landed on his buttocks” or whatever the case may be. Sometimes he even has motions with these statements, bending over and sticking out his buttocks, just in case you weren’t sure what it was that he was speaking about.

Of course if the word does not cease to be said, I officially declare if I hear that word again it will result in a time out. That is when the creativity really kicks in. Instead of saying the word in its entirety he just says the ‘b-uh’ sound, then pauses just long enough for me to forget he was communicating anything, and then finishes the ‘tocks’, usually as I am in the midst of doing something else. That way I am too preoccupied to even notice that he really did say the word, just in two separate chunks. Once it dawns on me that he did in fact say this banned word, part of me wants to punish him as I had previously stated, but a bigger part of me is pretty dang proud of his creativity. So I let it go.

I know, I know, I am not going to be nominated for Parent of the Year. That is okay with me. For now, I am going to revel in these crazy little moments of my son trying to say buttocks inconspicuously. I am going turn and hide my smile of delight when he makes a valid point that counters my original argument or rule. It is just too brilliant to punish. Don’t worry, he doesn’t walk all over me and get away with everything. I just pick my battles.


I crept down the basement steps, inching toward the darkness below. The first three steps were easy. They led to a small platform. I stopped on this platform and looked at the cave that loomed before me. I craned my neck to look at the right side of the staircase that gaped open toward the rest the of the basement. I could see part of the painting, my youngest uncle’s painting that hung in the center of the wall separating his bedroom from the rest of the basement. I stepped forward making a commitment to complete the rest of my voyage down the stairs. I could hear the laughter of the rest of the family who easily glided down to the party below. Each step I took brought me closer to that painting. Suddenly I was standing directly in front of it. A faded wood frame with a sad clown in the center of a plain black background stared back at me. My eight year old self was in a trance of disturbing curiosity disrupted only by the shrieking laughter of younger cousins as they raced down the stairs and ran around the corner. Broken from my strange seduction, I ran after them and entered a brightly lit room of food and family.

I was in my grandparent’s house. A small older home in Rogers City that they lived in for just the early part of my childhood. I enjoyed my time with cousins and delicious eats during our festivities that day avoiding the painting at all costs. But then it was bedtime.

The large plush mattress enveloped me. I snuggled deeply into the pastel yellow comforter on my grandparent’s bed. I was lulled to sleep by the muffled voices of the adults still living it up below me.

It felt as if only I had slept for only minutes when I woke to the loud clinking of glass. My eyes shot open. The room was a hazy green color. The two dressers against the wall were shaking causing my grandma’s perfume bottles to rattle. I pulled the covers up to my eyes, but did not cover them. I looked around the room waiting to wake up. The lights began to flicker intensifying the green glow. Above the sounds of my heart beating in my ears, I could hear low growling noises. The furniture continued to shake, even the bed was moving now. I couldn’t close my eyes. I didn’t move. I just waited to wake up. My gaze moved toward the ceiling just in time for me to see a monstrous hand pop out of the headboard inches above my head. It was mud-green, covered in wart-like bumps with sparse hairs sticking out of them. The hand had long brown fingernails that came to a sharp point. I yanked the covers over my head and waited. Waited for it to stop.

I must have fallen back asleep because I later woke to the sound of my grandma coming into the room for her nightgown. I pretended as if I was still asleep while trying to sneak glimpses of the room. It looked normal, no green glow, no noises. Just my grandma pulling her nightgown out of the dresser and tip toeing out of the room so she didn’t disturb my peaceful sleep.

To this day I am convinced that house is haunted.

Lost Generation?

“My generation is apathetic and lethargic”

“It will be evident that” or “ It is foolish to presume that” ?

These lines resonate with me. Maybe it is because I am a middle school teacher and sometimes my students’ apathy clouds my vision so it is all I end up seeing from time to time. I definitely have worried about my students’ apathy. The funny thing is though, I am not sure my generation was any better at that age. Middle schoolers are such strange beings. They are figuring out who they are, where they belong, and what matters to them the most. They are in teenage relationships that consume them. They get tunnel vision and can’t always see the world around them and their part in it. There seems to be an immediacy, or an instant gratification need within them. But they are smart, and they just need to grow up. Let kids be kids. And at the same time encourage them, inspire them, show them what is out there in the world. Let them make choices, even if they are bad ones, so they can own them.

We put too much pressure on our younger generations. I think it is my grandparent’s generation that is said to be ‘the greatest generation of all time’ or something along those lines. My thought is you can’t compare generations. You just can’t. They are from two completely different worlds, and it isn’t fair to compare them. My students’ generation will know more about technology than any other generation before them. Some of them will fight it wars, they won’t be like World War II, like the ‘greatest generation of all time’ fought in, but does that make them any less heroic? The younger generations of today will have to fight different fights than those of our grandparents and even ourselves, but let’s not discount them.  They are just as tough as past generations.

I am not completely innocent, I do worry about them. I have even questioned aloud to my students, “How are you going to take care of me someday when you can’t even complete your homework on time?” But I am not going to say they are down for the count. Before we can do that, we need to first let them grow up. I can say with almost complete certainty my generation was useless to the world when we were younger too. Thanks to the wonders of online social networking, I have learned that many of my classmates, whom I had labeled as apathetic and lethargic in high school, have gone on to do great things. They are vocal in politics, some of them have turned into tree-hugging hippies who fight for our Earth, in short, they have grown up and become concerned adults. Just like the younger generations will one day. Be patient. As long as we, the older generations, are doing our part to educate the younger generations about the problems of our world, and are showing them through our actions ways to help, no matter how small those actions may be, they will be okay.  They are not lost.


New Role

I walked into their house
as I’ve done so many times.
A house with infinite memories
of laughing cousins and
memorable conversations.
I walked into their house
with a new role.

I did not wake up to the
sounds of my grandma in the
kitchen at the crack of dawn.
Smells of Polish sausage
wafting through the house.
Instead, I had to coax my
grandma out of bed and
help her put on her clothes.

I did not hear carefree laughter
echoing through the house.
Instead, I listened to my grandma
repeatedly worry about who
was going to make them dinner.
I listened to my grandpa’s fear
of his wife’s deteriorating mind
turn into lashes of the tongue.
I could hear the exhaustion
in my aunt and uncle’s voices.
I could hear the frustration
of how much lives have changed.

I walked into their house
with a new role.
I dispensed medication and
administered eye drops.
I helped them out of their seats
and made sure they did not fall.
I made them breakfast and
served them their coffee.
I did the laundry and
washed the dishes.

I walked out their house
feeling older, feeling more aware.
Remembering all those times they
cared for me, it was my turn
to care for them.
I walked out of their house
feeling grateful for all the
memories they have given me
allowing me to willingly accept
my new role.

Payday Bars


yellow cake mix

1/3 c. butter

1 egg

3 c. mini marshmallows


2/3 c. light corn syrup

1/4 c. butter

2 tsp vanilla

1-10oz bag peanut butter chips

2 c. rice crispies

2 c. salted peanuts

Preheat oven at 325 degrees.

Base:  mix cake mix, butter, and egg until crumbly.  Press into sprayed 13×9 pan & bake for 15 minutes.  Remove & immediately press marshmallows into base & bake for 1-2 minutes until puffy.

Topping:  In sauce pan heat all ingredients except nuts & rice crispies.  Melt to smooth.  Remove from heat, add nuts/cereal.  Mix & pour over base.  Cool and serve.






Chillax Movie Critics

What do blockbuster movies say about our American culture? My first reaction is to say that it shows that people of our country are mindless, lazy turds who wouldn’t know real art if it smacked them in the face. But, let’s be real here. Most people go to movies to escape, and many movies of today, and of way back when, allow the audience to do just that. Can I kick an evil robot’s butt while looking super hot in a skin-tight outfit in real life? No, but Megan Fox can, and I enjoy watching her do just that from time to time. Come on, she’s pretty, and sometimes it is enjoyable to look at all of the pretty people on the big screen while forgetting that your pants are too tight and your house is a disaster.

I’ve always had a girl crush on Jennifer Lopez. She is simply gorgeous. I own several of her movies, and I even tuned in to American Idol to see how she was holding up as a judge this past season. But are her movies any good? Will they win Oscars? No. They are fun, and romantic, and almost always have a happy ending. That is why people go to stupid movies that end up as blockbusters, for the happy ending, or the adrenaline rush, or to feel empowered, or to laugh.  In general, people want to not think when they go to a movie, particularly in the summer, when life is supposed to be just a bit more carefree.

At this point in my life, I don’t really go to many movies. When given the choice of what to order on Netflix or watch instantly, what do I choose? Something serious and dramatic that shows me the true dark underbelly of human society? No, I choose to watch How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days or Step Brothers or the latest Jennifer Lopez flick, or better yet, True Blood so I can get whisked away into the fantastical world of vampires and werewolves. During the day, especially during the school year, I analyze and think and try to inspire and motivate, so when in my comfy clothes, ready to relax I am not going to watch Schindler’s List. To be perfectly honest, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been on my instant Netflix queue for months now, but when I have a couple hours to spare, I choose not to watch such a serious movie (the book was awesome though!).

So, what does that say about me? What does that say about our American culture? I think it says we live in tough times, most of us are struggling in some way, even if small, and we want to spend our time and money on movies that will make us feel like a badass or movies that let us admire all the pretty people in the world who look like they have it so easy. We want a moment for ourselves to escape in our secret little worlds where we look hot in a tank top and skinny jeans and can kick some alien robot’s butt without smudging our lipstick. So, critics of the world, leave me alone, and let me buy my ticket to Transformers 3 please.

Feet in a Fountain

my feet have rough callouses on them
my pedicure is falling apart
my jeans are too tight
I have sweat on my forehead
my ankles are swelling (and no, I’m not pregnant)
I am dipping my feet in a fountain
outside of a presidential museum.
Wow, I’m a mess.
But life is good.
I am forever boggled by those
who just appear to have it all together
they don’t stumble on their words
they don’t have to only shop at the fat lady store
their hands are always soft and supple
no blemishes on their face
and their jewelry always goes so well with their outfit
I sometimes start to wonder, what am I doing wrong here?
And then I remember, that I don’t care.
I have too much wonderful in my life
to focus on the if-I-only-hads.
But then I’m around my friends, whom I dearly love,
and their house is 10 times bigger than mine
and it is spotless
their kids only eat organic foods and
they never jump off couches.
My friends, whom I’ve known since preschool,
who exercise everyday
who have PhDs
and travel several times a year to their beach-front condo
Watch out, I warn myself, you’re headed for that
oh poor me, dimly lit place in your mind.
Ah yes, I say to myself as I kick my feet in this fountain
My kids eat ravioli from the can
and go to the same at-risk school I teach at
and they climb on things
my house has tumbleweeds of cat hair
and a sink full of dishes
I didn’t exercise today and
I ate ice cream last night
while watching
The Real Housewives of New Jersey
I wear more makeup than probably needed
and it sweats off by the end of the day.
But ya know what?
I’m sitting here with my feet in a fountain
doing something I truly enjoy.
I will go home tonight to three boys that love me
for who I am.
So who cares what they have?
Because in my heart, I am happy.