She’s Baaaaaaaack and She Has Brownies!!!!


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As I sit here whipping up a batch of sweet potato brownies – ACK, I know…but I’m trying to create recipes that are more healthy than not, I realize….I’ve been away from Friday Debrief for a while.  A long while.  I even changed my Instagram bio to lazy blogger. Maybe I should have changed it to non-existent blogger, but my glass is usually half-full. Part of the reason was a little chip that developed on my shoulder because I had previously held a space on a national blogging platform with a huge footprint and they changed their strategy and my along with all but a handful of others’ content was purged from The Internets.  It was some of my best stuff.  According to me.  I write for therapy and that period of time was very therapeutic.

Crap!  It was another challenging year.  Not related to the case of the missing content above.

A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with the same genetic heart condition that my dad had, spent time in the hospital, did cardiac rehab, got a device implanted in my chest and have been trying to find my way back ever since.  People assume that if you’re not a size two, that your arteries are clogged with Cheetos, but mine are clean as a whistle, so stop asking me about that.  It’s genetic dammit, leave me alone.  LOL!  A little sensitive about that. Anyway, as my daughter likes to say….thick-thighs

In addition to continuing to work full-time, be a caregiver to my husband and guide to my daughter who is navigating the waters of her high school senior year, I have been battling internal demons.  Probably mostly in my head, but mortality is on my mind.  A lot.  Way too much. I’ve spent way too much time during the last year contemplating nuggets of wisdom (à la The Last Lecture)  I would want to leave my daughter with if I met my maker way earlier than anyone should.  My dad was 60 for goodness sake.  In addition to that, it seems like every activity of your child’s senior year is an event – – the last football game, the last spirit week, the last chicken roll up mom packs under a full moon on the last Thursday of the month.  You get it. Lots of big stuff happening, and it all seems very final.

But I have to get out of my own head and just live.  Minute by minute, day by day, for as long as I have.  A few months ago,  I made the decision to stop saying no.  I have had to say no to too many opportunities and activities for more years than I will admit because of the fact that I am a caregiver.  I can’t pick up and go without an extreme amount of planning.  I have to hire a caregiver, trust that they won’t steal from me or neglect my spouse (at least I currently have a couple great ones!), pony up the $$$$$ to pay the caregiver and attempt to have all of my ducks in a row before I leave the house.  It basically sucks. Plus, my ducks are never in a row.  They are in the most zig-zagged configuration you will ever see.  Don’t get me wrong – it sucks for my husband, too.  In my quest to stop saying no to myself so often, I have to block from my mind the fact that he can’t participate in these activities and that must be gut-wrenchingly painful for him.  That makes me sad.

I started with my class reunion.  I have only been to one in the entire, ahem, thirty years since I have graduated from high school.  I committed to my high school bestie, made arrangements to have things cared for on the home front and hit the road.  I laughed, a lot.  I caught up, with people I haven’t seen in 30 years. I danced like nobody was watching, but unfortunately they were.  And it was awesome!


In my quest to look out for myself a little bit more, I made plans for another respite weekend.  My mom has been wanting to go to Mackinac Island with me for the last (at least) 15 years and neither of us could commit because she was a caregiver for years and I have been a caregiver for years.

Well, guess what?  I made the reservation, hired the caregivers to take care of the home front, told her to pack her lipstick and leopard-spotted bags and we went to the island for a fall weekend color tour.  And it was fabulous.  So fabulous that she cries when she calls to tell me how much she enjoyed it and she framed a napkin from the Grand Hotel and put it in her living room to remember.  Remember the weekend we stopped putting ourselves last.  It also just so happened to fall exactly a year after my heart surgery.

We laughed, we ate chocolate covered strawberries and crustless cucumber sandwiches and drank champagne in a room that I would probably never leave if it was my bedroom.


During the road trip, my daughter wrapped up in a blanket in the backseat, listened to music and sang. I won’t get many more times like that with her. As someone reminded me recently, my job is to get her ready to leave the nest. Yet, it sure is awesome to be a voyeur for those little moments of her “just being” before she leaves.

So from now on, I am going to do my best to think of myself in addition to others.  I will paint my fingernails blue if I want to.


I will wear leopard and pink glasses if I want to.


I’ll drink iced coffee out of my Gladys Friday glass on a Saturday if I want to.


I will continue to coach my daughter through the last few months before official adulthood and beyond….


….and I will sing Big Pimpin’ at the top of my lungs when I roll out in my minivan whenever I damn well please!


Until the next time….

11.16.13 – #8: Chuff Me Again, and Tell Me You Love Me


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As I’ve taken time to reflect on what I’m thankful for this month (I’ll share that next week), it’s also come to my attention some things that I’m not thankful for. In fact, they are things that really irritate me.


This week, I’m really not thankful for SPAM – not the pressed meat kind – the irritating email kind.     Thankfully, it gets caught in my spam filter, but still requires me to scan through and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Spam 2

Here’s a selection from this week.  Love is always in the air in spam-land.  Or, they really think my love-life needs attention.   That’s kind of big brother-ish.  Like when there’s an ad for Haagen Dazs on the side of your Facebook page.  Followed by an ad for Spanx.   Eerie.  Downright eerie.  Begone!  Get out of my Facebook, goblins!  Thankfully, my side bar ads have evolved over time.  Here is my current view.

Side bar ads 2

Yes, a look into one of my weaknesses…but at least not one that involves creamy frozen treats and foundation garments.

Please note – the spelling and grammatical errors on the SPAM that follows are intentional as these are taken directly from my inbox.

  • Enjoy more from your loving life
  • Feel pride for being a real man
  • A full line of products for failures in bed
  • If you really need good relathionship with wife
  • Win your babe’s addiction
  • She deserves the excellent loving life
  • Give to your female partner night ultimate of live
  • Intimate life improver equipment
  • Check this potence enhancer
  • A total line of products for bad potence
  • Your every night will be total of flame
  • The hottest way to please your beloved one
  • Keep her chuffed every day

I’m pretty up on things, yet t I have no idea what it means to be chuffed every day, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be.

Who writes this stuff?  I have visions of some guy in a room in Kazakhstan who maybe looks a little bit like this:


Thanks for reading.  May you all have the excellent loving life!

11.01.13 – #7


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I skipped posting last week. It’s not a crime.  I was busy making memories.  I have (tried to convince myself that I) have made peace with the fact that I will never have the cleanest house….or the biggest house….but if I have a house that kids still want to come to, I’m doing okay.   A week ago Friday, we had a pumpkin-carving party for my daughter’s posse.  They ate pizza & candy, and carved pumpkins by the moonlight.

Halloween 2013 1

I was excited to use our fire table for the first time that night.  I read through the directions, and then recruited one of my daughter’s friends and my neighbor to help light it.  When they figured it out, it was great!


I was happy.  We left the patio and went to the driveway to watch Devil Dog play with her friend Ali.

Now, dig back into the recesses of your mind and remember what I always tell you about my life.  One step forward, many steps back.  We hadn’t been in the driveway for 5 minutes, when we heard a crazy, loud pop.  We looked around and couldn’t figure out what it was.  A few minutes later when I got back up to the patio, I saw that one of the lava rocks from the fire table had exploded, flew through the air, and landed in the outdoor sofa cushion. Are you kidding me?  That damn lava rock sat there smoking, and mocking me.  Reminded me of a guy I used to “date”.


I decided to take the high road.  Looked at it with a glass half-full.  I decided I was thrilled that one of us hadn’t been sitting on the cushion at the time.  I turned over the damaged cushion and moved on with my life.  The kids finished their pumpkins, sang songs around the fire, and then went to a haunted corn maze.  They are such a motley crew.  One boy had a broken arm/hot pink cast.  One girl had a broken toe/garbage bag around the foot.  One boy has seizures, and had to avoid the strobe-light section of the maze.  Another girl has had adverse reactions to strobe lights in the past and had to do the same.  In spite of the maladies, and complications, they figured it out.  Some made it through the maze.  Some were in tears before they took the first step.  In the end, they gathered back together to bid each other adieu for the evening.  As another mom and I watched them take a solid ten minutes to hug each other good-bye, we laughed and couldn’t help but wonder what high school graduation will be like!

After the pumpkin-carving party, I continued to stay in the Halloween spirit.  I had to redeem myself from a recent meal I created – one of the more disgusting culinary delights of my adult life.   Oscar Wilde said that experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.  I disagree.  I named mine Crappy Dinner for Three and created a pin to memorialize it.


The redemption was Mummy Dogs…lovingly prepared by moi:


I know – the eyes are a little big.  But, look how nicely they’re dressed.

In preparation for being within 50 feet of Halloween candy, I had the concoction below for lunch yesterday with a hummus/pumpkin seed tortilla chip chaser.

Green Goo

Um, ick.  Even if it did give me a month’s worth of vitamin A, C and green vegetables it didn’t make me FEEL GOOD like the bottle said it would.  Plus, the magic elixir wasn’t enough to keep me away from the siren’s song of these temptresses.


Peanut butter pumpkins, be damned!  I can’t be trusted around you!

I’ll cut myself some slack though.  I’ve done better nutrition-wise this year than others.  But dang!  I really need to get some cardio in my life.  I hate cardio!  I really freaking hate it!  Even when I was more athletic than I am now, I didn’t like it.   It seems like I know more people these days who are marathon runners than aren’t, and, I so totally and completely admire their commitment and accomplishments…but it really makes me feel inadequate…especially when I feel good about taking Devil Dog for a ½ mile walk every morning.

Oh, well.  Just like I can’t compare my home with OPH (other people’s homes), I can’t compare my activity level to OPF (other people’s fitness), or I’ll make myself crazy.

However, I have made the commitment to attempt to hit my target heart rate once in a while.  Not only have I created a cardio playlist loaded with Pitbull and Britney Spears.  Well, loaded in this case, means two songs. Inspired by my friend Lynn,  I have also purchased a Groupon for kickboxing!  I was so glad to learn that they have a For Dummies orientation!  I haven’t figured out a date on which I will throw myself in the ring.  I have, however, determined what I am going to wear:

Detroit B

After all, looking good is half the battle!

10.18.13 – #6


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10.18.13 – #6

Gosh – the last few weeks have just been so challenging!  By the end of each, I have been mentally exhausted.  So – on Saturday, I did the most indulgent thing I could do for myself…and it didn’t cost a dime.  For my five-year anniversary with my employer, I was able to choose a gift from a catalog. I chose a hammock.  My daughter has much more of an engineering mind than I, so she orchestrated the assembly.  We put it under our big maple tree.  That tree was the major selling point when we bought our house 20 years ago.  We had visions of a tire swing on that tree, and I spent hours pushing our daughter on that tire swing, playing with our dogs under that tree and now getting away from it all under that tree.  I grabbed a magazine (Real Simple), and kicked my shoes off.  I didn’t even make it through the Ten Ideas for Butternut Squash article before I feel asleep.  It was the most peaceful, amazing little vacation I’ve had in a while.  In the distance, I could hear kids laughing and playing.  I could hear leaves crunching.  Pure bliss.  For that, I am thankful.  Sunday was just as great.  I had the time to make a nice family dinner and then watched a Halloween movie with my daughter in her room!  It’s not often that a 14-year old invites you into their realm for 90 minutes of gadget-free (almost) quality time.

Caught up in the joy of quality mom/daughter bonding time, I decided to add a little treat to her lunch the next day.   I was ready.  I had my candy corn.  I was going to add one Dove chocolate to make it extra special.  I assembled the candy, put it in the baggie, and out shot a burst of orange, yellow and white from the other end. How is it possible that I choose the one baggie in 500 that had a hole in the end?


Damn!  I fear that sometimes I fail so miserably at trying to be Super-Mom that I might even get my Pinterest membership revoked.

***If you’re eating, or have a weak stomach, STOP reading now***

Consider yourself warned!

Knee Slappin’

My sister-in-law recently shared this post with me about 20 dogs who were “busted in the act” and their owners shamed them.    This pooch reminded me of how this week shaped up:

Dog Shaming 2

My week turned stinky early in the week when devil dog decided to roll in the leaves.  She was having so much fun, just like a puppy should.  And then she rolled in poop – head first.  Just like a puppy shouldn’t.  She wasn’t amused by a cold shower on the patio followed by a good dose of eau de bad puppy deodorizer.  The next night, I got home from work about 30 minutes too late.  Our puppy was crated.  Soiling their own space is a dog’s last resort, so you had to know it must have been urgent.  Poor Luna dropped a deuce, and then ate it to remove the evidence.  When I got home, she looked fine.  Looks can be deceiving.  By the time I got dinner on the table, sat down and lifted the fork for the first bite, she looked at me and projectile vomited liquid poop all over the place.  Dinner over.

Ruff Week

She did, however, pass her AKC Star Puppy training program the next night.  Bravo!  She successfully completed 8 different activities and passed the test.  She promptly joined her classmates at the side of the room, and pooped. Again. Sigh.

On second thought, I’m glad I selected the defective baggie for candy corn, not my doggie cleanup bag.  That would have taken things to a whole different surprising level of wrong.  So went a week in my life.

10.11.13 – #5


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One of the most exciting things that happened to me this week was when someone got me confused on Twitter with someone who took a picture of an English electronic music duo called Aluna George.

Canberra AlunaGeorge

Thirty four people favorite the tweet I was featured in, yet I wasn’t even there!  I can tell you that the evening in Canberra that I wasn’t even involved in looked so much more exciting than doing dishes and watching Big Bang reruns at home!  Plus, the tweets that I was tagged in were all love, no mean tweets.  You MUST click on that last link.  You’re doing a big disservice to yourself if you don’t.

Knee Slappin’

Oh swish!  I got such a kick out of this video from 1939 predicting what women would wear in AD 2000 including dresses with net (to catch the males) and cantilever heels.  Would the designers that made this prediction be disappointed to know that it only takes a smokey eye to be a real hot-mama in the 21st century?

got milk?

I also howled this week when I read a post from my daughter’s former vocal coach.  She is smart, and witty, and her posts are a treat.  I love mom posts.  I can’t get enough of hearing about the things that little kids say.  I loved that time of my life.  She mentioned that her young daughter has woven the word “actually” into conversations lately with hilarious effect. It went like this:

Daughter:  “I’ll have milk, actually”.

Mommy:  Wondering…was she “ordering” lunch from her, yet was all “of course” because Daughter was so confident about it….because obviously she had to weigh the choices mentally (apple juice?  Hmmm, no, too sweet before noon).  “I’ll have milk, actually”.

Head Scratchin’


I love Costco, but if I go on the weekend, it ALWAYS makes my blood boil!  Families walking two-by-two (or more).  Actually, to say walking is being too generous….sauntering is more like it.   Swaying, even.  Enough!  Single file, people and hop to it!

Sometimes it feels like all I do on the weekends is run errands, and it’s very difficult for me to achieve Entlisungsfreude when Noah’s Ark families are shaving precious minutes off my Saturday.



There’s a book called Schottenfreude coming out on 10/31.  Schottenfreude:  German Words for the Human Condition.  Some highlights include Gastdruck (the exhausting effort of being a good houseguest); Leertretung (stepping down heavily on a stair that is not there); and every female’s favorite – Entlistungsfreude (the satisfaction achieved by crossing things off lists).  Pronunciation guide included!

Toe Tappin’

I feel compelled to make my toe tapper a song by Aluna George since they are helping me elevate my Klout score due to the Tweet that I was mistakenly mentioned in.  Cheers!

Tastebud Ticklin’

Bourbon Chicken

So, this week we had the bourbon chicken that I made and froze last week.  Recipe from Pinterest.  I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I served it with rice like in the picture.  However, next time, I am going to use just a tad less red pepper, and make it into an open-faced sandwich with sweet cole slaw.  That might be worthy of 4 or 5 stars.

Penny Pinchin’

Seriously.  I am tired of it.  The story of my life for the last several years follows:

Peter Paul

If the drought doesn’t pass soon, how will I ever be able to afford those swanky cantilever heels?

See you in the ALCS

10.04.13 – #4


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Last weekend was Homecoming weekend.   On Saturday morning, my daughter’s BFF, her mom, my daughter and I went to get pedicures.  I love getting pedicures.  I dread getting pedicures.  I always feel so bad for the person who draws the short straw and gets to work on me.  Poor Jimmy drew the short straw.

Dremel 2

It just seems unnatural that power tools should have to be used to make my toes look, um, pretty.  Jimmy survived.  He lived to tell the tale.  There’s no tip big enough for what he had to endure that day, and I’m certain that I understand how to say “kill me now” in Vietnamese.

The kids had a great time at homecoming.  They were all 9th grade goofy and adorable.  They were given a quick talk about controlling their twerking, and sent off to have fun.  When we picked them up,  I saw with my own eyes that Spanx and long tanks are now considered appropriate homecoming wear.  Yeesh.    My daughter opted for a simple dress and spiked shoes!  Extra protection for the pedicure.

Cali 11

This is by far my favorite picture from homecoming…my daughter and her friends.  A great snapshot that highlights their individuality.   Spiky neon shoes, Doc Martens and black ballet flats.  So different.  Yet, it works.

Cali 3

After the fun of homecoming weekend, things got real.   My daughter was diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago and we had to decide whether or not she would go through another surgery this week.  The surgeon seemed less than sold on working on her neck again.  He told us in the past that he has nightmares about her original surgery.  I understand why he wasn’t eager to go back in.  The rogue lymph node was sandwiched under muscle, on top of the jugular vein and near the recurrent nerve, which affects the vocal chords.  My daughter is a singer, and feared losing her voice.   In the end, she had the surgery.  She was brave, and came through it well.

Yin Yang

One of the things I love most about her is that she is often the yin to my yang.  She is an old soul.  Wise beyond her years.  She thinks, weighs options and makes good decisions.  I also think she bounces back from disappointment much better than I.

I hate cancer.  It makes me mad.  It makes me sad.  I’ve often asked myself in what alternate universe it’s okay for kids to suffer such pain, and have Beads of Courage longer than my driveway.  I know that my faith has been tested because of illness.  My daughter told me this week that there have been times that her faith has been tested as well.   Yet, the night before and the day of surgery, my daughter got texts and Facebook messages from friends letting her know they were praying for her and urging  her to keep the faith.  When her anesthesia wore off and she came to, she asked the nurse if she could talk.  She was beyond ecstatic to hear the sound of her own voice.  She was thankful for her team of supporters.   I found some notes that she had taken at the teenage service at our church two weeks earlier.  She had written I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

One of my pet peeves is when people tell me that GOD doesn’t give us any more than we can handle.  To that, I often say – BS!  The only people who say that are people that have never been given more than they can handle.  My daughter is of a different mindset though.  She says that HE gives you enough to keep you on your toes, but not knock you off your feet.

I guess that’s good since Jimmy at the nail salon worked so hard to make my feet pretty!

One of my daughter’s friends and her father stopped in to check on her last night.  They’re British and sometimes use expressions that are a bit unfamiliar.  As they left, I patted the dad on the arm and thanked him for stopping by.  He looked at my and told me I’m Trojan.  As long as he didn’t mean I’m wrinkly and glow in the dark, I’ll take that as a compliment.


And so went a week in our life.

09.27.13 – #3


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Twerk Team

I had a near-death experience this week. Seriously.  I was just minding my own business, doing one of my favorite things – enjoying a Detroit Tigers baseball game.  We were seated on the main level at the third base line.  Out of nowhere, a foul ball came flying AT MY HEAD.  I was frozen.  I am not kidding.  All I could do is stare at it.  It appeared to be moving in slow motion, and looked as big as a softball.  The closer it came, the more paralyzed I was.  Thankfully, it whizzed right between my head and that of the woman sitting next to me.  It got me wondering about how often people get seriously hurt or killed by a foul ball at the ballpark.  It turns out, others have wondered the same thing.  Death at the Ballpark:  A Comprehensive Study of Game-Related fatalities was written by two Librarians and baseball Historians, Robert M. Gorman and David Weeks.  According to Gorman and Weeks, while there have been more than 900 professional, amateur, Little League or backyard baseball fatalities, only one fan has been killed by a MLB foul ball in the last 150 years.  There’s some solace in that!  However, I’m not going to miss a premium on my AD&D insurance policy!

Knee Slappin’

My knee slapper this week is less of a ha ha knee-slapper, and more of a “dang, are you kidding me?” slap of the knee.  My daughter is a high schooler now.  She is in 9th grade and experiencing her first homecoming as a high school student.  Last night, she participated in the all night decorating party.  Where has the time gone?

When you have a baby and people tell you that the time will fly by…believe them.  It doesn’t seem like it when you are in those moments of tantrums, or trying to prove to yourself that you CAN figure out the new way of doing 5th grade math…but you’ll blink and time will have flown.  To make myself feel less old, and lighten the mood, I entertain myself by telling my daughter and her friends that I am on her school’s Twerk Team, and I’ll see them at half time.  #TwerkTeam

I also re-read some funny parent Tweets from my favorite place in the world besides Trader Joes, HuffPost:

  • Parenting is 90% threatening to throw their crap away if they don’t clean it up (@kristenhowerton)
  • Things I have in my purse:  Straws, snacks, a drawing of my son’s goldfish, a toothbrush.  Things I do not have in my purse:  A GODDAMN INK PEN (@maughammom)
  • Whenever you hear your child saying “smell this” from another world, you know your day just got more complicated (@thehilljean)
  • Got drunk last night and bedazzled all of my son’s Hot Wheels (@GayAtHomeDad)

Head Scratchin’

I love grabbing a cup of coffee and a bit of time on Pinterest on a Sunday morning to check out recipes that might work for the upcoming week.  Last Sunday, I was doing just that and the second I opened it up, this stared back at me.

09.27.13 Femme Fatale

She was tucked between banana breakfast sandwich and oreo cookie pilgrim hats.  When she looked at me, it was like she was saying – “I dare ya….I dare ya to make those pumpkin muffins”.  Meanwhile, her pumpkin muffins performed gravity defying feats while barely tucked into the shimmery silver dress.  Yeesh.  I closed down Pinterest and decided to go to church instead.  She ruined it for me.

Tastebud Ticklin’

I’m usually only a wine connoisseur.  However, because I’ve been protesting the end of summer so much, and because it’s the end of my fiscal year at work (stress!) and because life is just always so crazy, I was glad to see that the Huffington Post decided to feature apple cider cocktail recipes this week.  They said that transitions are smoother when you have a cocktail in your hand!  The one that looks tastiest to me comes from a blog called How Sweet It Is – apple cider margaritas.    I don’t normally like regular margaritas because the acid makes me a little shall we say verklempt.  However, I really doubt I can go wrong with Grand Marnier and a pretty little cinnamon/sugar rimmed glass!  Come to mama!

On another minor note about all things tasty….one of my colleagues recommended adding oregano when I order the Turkey Tom from Jimmy John’s.  Um – wow.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

News from the Front Line

Puppy training is still a work in progress.  Luna (Loonie Tunes) completed her 3rd class this week.  She is officially the most distracted walker in my neighborhood.  She chases every leaf that blows by. Here’s the problem for me. Leaves don’t typically blow in straight lines.  We’re starting to get a little paranoid.  Our pooch seems to be the most disruptive in the class, and the most in need of intervention.  The first week, the Instructor worked with her a little “extra”.  The second week, her husband helped, too.  This week, her husband AND another man helped.  We’re worried that next week, the police or national guard may step in.  They tell me there’s hope for this puppy, but somedays I’m not sure I believe.

So went a week in our life

09.20.13 #2


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Monday morning.  I had 745 emails in my inbox.  Did you ever have one of those days that just kicked you’re a**?  I’ve had a few lately, but Monday was a real challenge.  So challenging, that it required a glass of wine AND some potato chips when I got home.  Oy vey!  I’ve been doing so well since January, but fell completely off the nutrition wagon that night.  I got up early on Tuesday morning, took the pooch for a walk, cleared my head and remembered what Einstein said.  He said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  That was my biggest takeaway from Monday.  Therefore, on Tuesday, I kept myself centered with one of my favorite early works of art by my daughter (pic) and hung a disco ball in my workspace.Best MomDisco

After all, life is always better with a little glitter.  Like Kesha says – when you’re around me, you’re going to get a little glitter on you.

I also thought about a quote that I saw on Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s blog:

When everything seems to be going wrong,

the best thing you can do is write a list of what’s going right.

She’s so right.  What were you thankful for this week?

Me? I’m thankful for the ability to laugh…at myself and at crazy things that I see and hear during the day.

My knee slapper for this week is a little crass and a lot crazy.  I heard about it during my morning drive while listening to Elvis Duran and the morning show.   Since this is volume #2, why not have my knee-slapper put a spotlight on #2.  Here is a commercial for PooPourri.  Watch at your own risk.  You can’t unsee this.

My headscratcher for this week is definitely Mylie Cyrus.


That girl really knows how to create a buzz.  If she’s not twerking and shaking her Styrofoam finger around, she’s riding a wrecking ball in birthday suit.  College kids had so much fun with it, GVSU had to remove a sculpture after student parodies of Mylie’s video became a cause for concern.

In the spirit of disco balls, and glitter, and so much loveliness…this is my favorite toe-tapper of the week.  Does anyone remember watching Soul Train on Saturday morning?  How can you not love this video?  Crank up the volume, get up from your computer, and lose yourself to dance…if even for a few seconds J  I have dibs on the guy at 1:30.  This video makes me so happy.  It reminds me of the Sugar Shack painting by Ernie Barnes that was featured in the intro to Good Times.

Orange Leaf

For this week’s tastebud tickler, it is my public service to you to let you know about Orange Leaf frozen yogurt.  Oatmeal cookie is the flavor of the month.  Nuff said.    Budget wise – it’s an official splurge, so I don’t feel like I can really share any penny pinching wisdom this week.  In fact, if I had an extra $400k sitting around, I would open a franchise!

Other news from the front-line.  We marked our 19th wedding anniversary this week.  We saw The Neighbourhood and Imagine Dragons under the stars, and by the light of the full-moon.  That’s about right.  I got my first gray hair on our wedding day, it rained, and the pianist took a wrong turn at the lake, which caused him to be 30 minutes late.  We had to poll the audience to find out who had what songs in their repertoire.  We were faced with the options of walking down the aisle to Wheels on the Bus or Amazing Grace.  We chose the latter, a funeral song!  Ever since that day things have been wild, crazy, and unconventional yet full of friendship, laughter and love.  I’m always reminded of the lyrics in one of my favorite Maroon Five songs, Sunday Morningchange of weather, still together.  Still together indeed.  In sickness and in health.

Wedding Andrea and Chris 09.17.94

So went a week in our life

09.13.13 #1


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I am excited.  Very excited.  For the last 9 months, I have been blogging on regarding issues related to working women.  I’m passionate about that topic.  Sometimes too passionate.  But, you know what?  It started to feel like work.   I have spent years trying to make the workplace better for working parents, advocating for alternative work arrangements and providing guidance, when asked, about taking the next step in one’s career.  However, when one’s hobby begins to feel like a chore – it’s time to recalibrate.

What better day to start anew than Friday the 13th!  Nothing I do is ordinary.  My blogging rebirth shouldn’t be an exception.

I started to think about my brand.  My Twitter profile says it all.

  • I’m a mom
  • I’m an information and social media junkie
  • I care about women’s issues
  • Laughing keeps me sane
  • I love music
  • I’m the original kitchen nightmare.  Ask my husband about the chow mein.
  • I need to stretch every dollar I make
  • I’m a rabid recycler, animal adopter & suburban farmer
  • I love a good, oaky chardonnay with nice legs

If you’re interested in any or all of the above, you can grab a glass of wine, or a cookie –whatever your vice and join me once a week for the Friday Debrief.  This is what you can expect:  Knee slappin’, head scratchin’, toe tappin’, tastebud ticklin’, penny pinchin’ news from the front line of life.

Knee Slappin’

I am part of the BlogHer network, which reaches 92 million women each month.  One post that so made me laugh this week was by tattedmom.  She hit the nail on the head with 13 Songs My Parents Shouldn’t Have Let Me Listen to as a Kid.  It’s not that this article is such a knee slapper…that is, until you start to remember what the writer (tattedmom) is describing – how we were oblivious to the lyrics when we danced to those songs at the middle school dances.

Head Scratchin’

This week, I read and watched a couple of things that jarred me.  The first was an article on Huff Post Women:  23 Things You Should Never Say to A Childfree Woman, including doozies like:  “What’s wrong with you?”, “you’d better hurry up and give your husband a child before he finds someone who will”, and “you don’t know what real love is”.  Wow.  Just wow.  As Sheldon Cooper would say:  “I cry, because others are stupid, and it makes me sad”.  Stop being stupid, people!

Cosby Idiot

The second item was a 17 minute film from the Toronto Film Festival, which plays out entirely on a teenager’s computer screen.  It is an eye-opening peek into the ADD, multi-app world that our kids live in – where there is so much opportunity to misinterpret the unspoken word.  You couldn’t give me a new iPhone 5S to be a teenager today!

Toe Tappin’

I’m a cool mom.  I have a teenager.  I listen to her music.  I can understand what she’s saying, most of the time.  However, even I have put the brakes on the Whistle Song and numerous creative works by Bruno Mars.  Seriously – that guy makes up for in libido what he lacks in height.  What’s up with the Gorilla Song?  Really?  Any song that starts with “I got a body full of liquor with a (cold cold – this is the G-rated word) ticker and I’m feeling like I’m 30-feet tall” will not be listened to in my electric car!  Doesn’t Bruno Mars know that Prince has already done the short-guy-sexy-song-singing thing?  Seriously – check out this selection instead by one of my Friday Jamz song experts:  Primitive!   I’m a closet Latina, so my choice for this week is Pitbull’s The Anthem ft. Lil Jon.   My second choice is Eminem’s Berzerk even though he had the most awkward moment of the week during his interview with ESPN on Sunday.

Tastebud Ticklin’

To know me is to know that I’m a Trader Joe’s groupie!  After Disney World, it’s like the happiest place on earth.  The employees are so happy…and friendly.  I heart Trader Joe’s.  This week, I created a tasty treat using a Wendy’s frosty (290 calories/3g fiber/8g protein), Trader Joe’s dark chocolate nibs (1 calorie per piece), and Trader Joe’s honey roasted sliced almonds.

Penny Pinchin’

Almost a year later, I have really warmed up to my iPhone. I’m an app fanatic, especially when it comes to shopping.  To date, the app that I have been most excited about was introduced to me by a friend.  It’s called Key Ring and it takes all of those plastic tags off your key ring and puts them in your phone!  Love it!  However, to be courteous to other shoppers, might I suggest that you pull the appropriate store up before you get out of the car, not while you’re in the line with people behind you.  I have my Kroger card on Key Ring, but also have the Kroger app.  Every Friday, they offer a free Friday download.  If you have an account online at, the FREE product will be downloaded to your shopper’s card and applied at checkout.  Bonus!

News from the Front Line

We had to say goodbye to our dear dog Buddy (below), three weeks ago.


We have since acquired a new puppy.  We have named her Luna.  I’ve only had rescue pets, so have never had the unique experience of raising a puppy.  It’s very much like having a baby.  A 25 pound baby with razor sharp teeth at 12 weeks old.  We continue to remind ourselves, that she doesn’t know any better, it will take time, etc.  This week she started her puppy classes, and I see a glimmer of hope.  However, I did find it entertaining when my husband completely confused the vet’s office.  She asked him the puppy’s name, and he responded:  “do you mean her real name, or her given name”?  The lady paused and then asked him what he meant.  He responded – “well, her real name is Luna (below).  Her given name is Beelzebub”.  So went a week in our life.