Happy As a Seagull with a Cheeto

PC: Instagram @mvm_frankfurt

Spring Break when you live on the beach means you get to entertain a good bit of company. In my case, it was teenagers who live forty-five minutes and a quarter of a tank of gas away. I’ve had a lot of visitors this week…mostly sandy-footed shower-takers and sun-kissed beach-worshippers who need power naps, and yes I loved every minute of it. Read more

Last Christmas

I have three Best Christmas Ever memories.

Christmas 1972, 1975, 1972

Going to my Grandma and Papa’s house for Christmas every single year. (I don’t remember a single childhood Christmas in my own house) All the cousins came too, so when you walked into the living room on Christmas morning, the presents Santa left for everyone literally covered the entire floor. At least… that’s how I remember it. Read more

Haberdashing

PC: Instagram @kositcheks

I was married to two very handsome men in my life and neither one of them ever owned a suit. I come from a small town, so did my two husbands, so I’d have to say that was probably our main problem. Tailored suits weren’t part of anyone’s fashion repertoire in those Tastee Freeze communities we grew up in, unlike, say, the Levis jeans and Guy Harvey t-shirts we most often see Florida panhandle boys wearing. For the boys I loved, dressing up meant wearing a Columbia shirt and Dockers, for goodness sake. Read more

A Guest Post: A Letter to My High School Self

The following letter is republished with permission from its original author.

Dear High School Me,

When I look back at you, I see a girl who felt trapped in high school. You were the popular, pretty cheerleader, but you were also known as the Party Girl. People knew you were the one who liked to have a little too much fun. You didn’t know your limits, and you did not know your worth. In the moment, you didn’t always know what you were supposed to do. However, the lessons you learned are ones you can bring to use now that you are older. Read more

American For Sale

Emilio after his naturalization was final. PC: Andrew Payne

As my time teaching and living with teenagers draws closer to an end, I am finding it hard to keep my excitement contained. Teenagers are exhausting in their very own unique way, anyone who knows them would attest to this. So I remind myself constantly that soon this stage in my life will be over and I will be free of these highly-charged, 100-mph, full-bore years forever and be on to something less…less…everything. Read more

The Day Kappa Kappa Killed My Youth

PC: Instagram @theoriginalfratboy

I knocked on the door and waited. Knocked again. Waited.

Nothing.

Damn kids.

I walked into their house in my bare feet and my pajamas, hair wild, no bra, middle-of-the-night-breath. I suppose it was as scary as I’ve been seen in public ever in my life. I stood in the kitchen and waited for someone to notice me but they were dancing pretty hard and it was super dark anyway. Aside from the strobe lights that blinked, synchronized to the low thumps of the rap music that bounced the pictures up and down on the adjoining wall between their living room and mine, I could hardly see a thing without my glasses on.

Then they saw me. Their faces lit up in recognition then dropped in the panic of realizing why I must be standing in their living room at 2:30 in the morning.

It went downhill from there. Read more

Mommie Dearest

Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest, 1981, Paramount Pictures

A lonely, steaming plate of fresh waffles topped with warmed maple syrup, a dollop of melted butter and three delicately sliced fresh strawberries sat on a bar all alone this morning near it’s companion, an ice cold glass of milk. I waited. I paced slowly, sipping my coffee and trying not to lose my temper on an otherwise beautiful Sunday morning. Then I lovingly beckoned, “Breakfast is ready my darling boy!” Still, the waffle sogged and the butter congealed as one minute and then ten passed. Quickly cooling under the ceiling fan, the spritz of whip cream also dissolved.

I made my way into the dark room where I knew he was awake. I mean, it was at his request that I made the damn waffles in the first place. He was texting, covered up under a mountain of blankets, snuggled in for the long haul…which reaffirmed to me that he was at least three steps (pee, put on pants, make a cup of coffee) behind the stage in his morning where he would actually sit down and eat. I decided instantly that I would never cook for him again!

He saw me sending him the laser eyes and exclaimed, “What? It’s been like two seconds!” I turned and left, saying nothing, but speaking volumes. Several minutes later, I heard him call from the other room, “Thank you for breakfast, Mom. It was good.” Only I know that it wasn’t.

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When In Rome

PC: Instagram @black_market_ltd

I put my hand on her arm and squeezed gently, the kind of touch I was hoping brought back a small reminder to her that I was one of those teachers who was always on her side. Then when I saw that she did remember, I leaned in closer and we whispered.

Me: I know what you’re thinking. I know how you feel. But it’s just one day; it’s just one more rule that you have to follow just one more time, here. Then, never again.

Her: Can I at least wear pants IF I wear a shirt and tie?

Me: No. It’s the rules. Can you challenge them and win? Yes, we both know you can. But for just this one time, at this one last event, can you please do this for me?

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Rumspringa: A Study of Wants and Needs

PC: Instagram @munsookwan

Don’t let the drab black bibs and the bonnets fool you, the Amish have good taste. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. What they lack in fashion choices and modern conveniences they more than make up for in their flair for custom homes with trendy designs. I visited Lancaster County recently and yes, I was one of those people, the touristy outsider rubbernecking from a charter bus as these quiet, private families made their way home (via horse and buggy) from church. They fascinated me. Their pallid homeliness baffled me. Their penchant for volleyball made me laugh. And their gorgeous homes with the wrap-around porches and the detached 3-buggy garages left me a little envious, to be honest. One thought came to mind, “Ya know, at the end of the day, we all kind of want and need the same things.Read more

The Uncomplicated Man

James Dean

There’s nothing more satisfying than a revelation. You know…an aha! moment. When those light bulbs turn on in our heads like one did for me recently, a girl’s gotta share.

Men. I won’t argue with anyone that men aren’t difficult. They certainly can be, they definitely are sometimes. I’ve known a few like this in my life for sure, but one thing they are not is complicated. Read more