3 Times Your Teen Will Talk

Parents everywhere love to complain about their lock-jawed, teen offspring. I’m not one of them. I survived round one of The Crying Years and I, for one, was more than ready when he subsided into nonchalant silence. I loved it when he disappears into his room or the bathroom for hours on end. I’ve spent 17 years listening to his voice, I’m good. These tips are for the rest of you. These three times are pretty much guaranteed to bring on the talk.IMG_1422

Your teen will always need to talk to you if you are rushing to the car. Whether it’s a warning light that flashes in his eyeball like a dying Terminator or just the sound of a door opening, your teen will have something desperate to impart. Yup, might be the fact you are out of Oreos, could be that he needs a suit for prom this weekend, or perhaps he’s just hoping you have time to stop at 5 Guys  for his favorite specially made burger. I’ve learned to pad my departures by a few minutes to allow him to wander by with his special requests. I like hearing a mostly grown boy say, “Thank you, mommy.”

Another vital time to plan for almost-adult conversation is any time you are alone. There is nothing like a Saturday morning with the girls still gone on sleepovers, and just me, my coffee, and my computer, to bring out the Hi Dottie in my teen. As I wait for my coffee mug to be filled, I’ll feel a head coming to rest on my shoulder. That isn’t the start of the conversation. After he’s made himself a bowl of cereal in my eight cup mixing bowl, turned on his PS4, and plugged his headphones into his controller, I sit down at my computer but don’t bother booting it up. As soon as I’m seated, the questions begin.

What are you doing today?

Where is everybody?

Can you tell the girls to be this quiet every weekend?

There’s a pause, but I don’t pick up my mug, I know he’s not finished yet. I scroll idly through a news feed. The part where he tells me his plan is about to begin.

“I was thinking I’d go to the lake today with Dyl an his parents. They’re going to camp but I’d just go up and back today.”

I nod, “Okay, that sounds good.”

“I was at Dvorak and saw a car that would be a good one for me. It’s a Mercedes C-class, I think it’s around $20,000.”

I look back at him, sprawled on the couch. “You can have yours after I get mine.”

“You don’t like Mercedes.” He says.

“Exactly.” I agree.

He rolls his eyes, putting his headphones on.

The one other time a teenager is guaranteed to want to chew the fat is when you are so exhausted off your ass you’d have a hard time identifying him as your child. That’s right, 0 dark thirty. If you really want to know what’s going on in that head, this is when you’re going to hear it. In fact, just last night I got an ear full from my own teen. At 2:45AM.

You read it right.

In the wee hours of last night, my son decided to ask my opinion on him getting a “small tattoo of a soccer ball or something, on his leg.”

“Really?” I don’t think I sounded as blurry as I felt. “Why?”

He then took the next fifteen, twenty minutes to explain that he thought it would be fun. Here where we live you can get one at 16 with a parent’s consent. He’d been talking about it with his best friend Dylan who also thought it was cool. “Britt freaked out though. She said if I did that she wouldn’t go out with me anymore. What the heck? I think she’s totally overreacting.”

“Totally. Overreacting.” I say, wondering if I heard him right.

“So, what do you think?”

“I think you’ll be 18 in October. That gives you some time to study up on tattoos and decide what you want to do. You’re dad will not be down with this at all. Also, you should think about placement and being able to cover it up for work or other places. I expect you’ll read about the dangers of it too.”

“Yeah, you know I’ll do that stuff. But what do you think about it?”

I glance at the atomic clock on the wall above the computer reading 3:05AM. “Did I tell you about the time, in Hawaii, when I drove Jen to get her ankle tattoo? I was in college; I was curious; I also didn’t want to do something I’d regret later….”







A Request

In late May of this year, Sue posted about the Liebster Awards. Here’s where I’ll admit I have no idea what all these awards I see are about, don’t know who starts them, and honestly don’t really give them a second thought.

That said, SueBC very kindly commented that she would like to simply read my answers and no need to do all the other stuff. I filed that bit away, saving the handy list of questions for a rainy, lazy summer day. Which today is. Here we go Sue…


What is the best movie you have seen in the past year?

Wonder Woman without a doubt. Though Thor Ragnarok has yet to be released or The Last Jedi…I’ve been waiting for Wonder Woman and I was not disappointed!662e5bb4fb7a33893e23e7b6012ab274


What is the most memorable live theatre and/or concert experience you’ve had in the past year?

LOL…..do you really have to ask? I’ve never been to a concert, like a band or Garth Brooks or anything like that, and we don’t get much Broadway here, so I’m going to go with the only live theatre I went to last year. My mom is rolling in her grave!  4


What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Well a quick scroll through my Kindle shows me lots of self-help titles this year. Blah. One interesting little gem has pinged my radar several times. Joey W Hill’s Branded Sanctuary.  I don’t know if it’s the panic-stricken nights of the delightful heroine Chloe or the quiet, steadfast, sizzling sex appeal of Brendan, I find myself paging through this story incredibly often.

Chloe has always been a creature of joy and laughter. Since a brutal attack nearly a year ago, the trauma she experienced has gotten worse. She has started hiding from her life, even putting up walls between herself and those she cares about most. During a panic attack one night, she impulsively calls a number that she’s had for many months. Chloe met Brendan at her boss’s wedding. With confidence and seduction, he easily steps into the role of helping her manage her fear. By the end of the long call, they’ve indulged in some serious flirtation and mind-blowing phone sex—and she’s feeling things she’s buried for too long.
The problem is that Brendan is the perfect male submissive—and Chloe isn’t wired for the D/s lifestyle. While their attraction is undeniable, Chloe doesn’t know if she can be everything Brendan needs. As a submissive, Brendan would never ask her to be something she’s not—even if it will break both of their hearts to turn away from how they feel about each other.

Joey’s been doing new covers but I love this old one so if you’re tempted to read, click here for the new cover kindle version.



What is your favourite photo of the past week on your mobile phone and are you willing to share it?

My foot warmer when I’m writing. This was a time she snuck up on the bed for a little Sunday nap. Little Luna.



What is your favourite photo ever of your favourite actor or actress?


What songs are at the top of your playlist right now?

Some of these really show my age….

Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake

This is what you came for – Calvin Harris

Cheap Thrills – Sia

I surrender – Billy Gillman

I drove all night – Celine Dion


What is the most recent TV show that you binge-watched?

Last Tango in Halifax

LOVE LOVE Loved it! I adore watching Nicola Walker and I’ve never forgiven Spooks for killing her off in the bleeping last (second to last?) episode.


What time of day do you usually write and/or blog and why?

My brain lights up at 3pm but I don’t usually get to write till after dinner…..dang kids.


Does your avatar have special significance and if so, what is that significance?

My avatar is a picture of me from two summers ago. It does have special meaning to me. It’s one of two selfies that I took late one night in bed. I’d had my hair cut and gone to the work of curling it and decided it should be documented! They were taken for a specific person and when I look at them I see how blasted happy I am. The quality isn’t amazing (pre-iphone) but I consider them pictures of my soul. Here is the other.




In your real life, how open are you about the fact that you have a blog?

Not very.

I struggle writing if I get too wound up in who’s reading. I do have some family members that read the blog and sometimes it ties me up a bit. It’s a battle I keep fighting.

What are the boundaries for you in terms of how much of your real life you share on your blog?

I think that if you read my blog you know quite a bit more about me than anyone who actually knows me, bar one or two people. I feel quite at home being myself here. What I generally won’t share here is anything relatively current about my kids, my political views, and anything very religious. Though I know I have ranted a bit about the way I was raised, I’m not interested in blogging about religion.

Hm, why am I blogging? lol


Hot Hot Summer

I can tell from the sluggish nature of a lot of blogs that summer has well and truly arrived. We’ve all decamped to the nearest water feature and ……


well, that’s what the girls are doing.

Along with a little of this.


I am doing this.


With quite a bit of this, on the side.


I’ll also admit to being glued to this like there’s no tomorrow.


It’s my summer reading book stack, my track down the boy app, my where is the closest ice cream map. Amazing freaking tool.

Ahhh, Summer!


Independence Day

With genuine apology to Caty and Helen! This just made me giggle.

In general, I don’t talk, tweet, post, or blog about politics in America.

I do my civic duties, I try to be the best member of society I know how, and I always take my turn and vote my conscience.

I am proud to be an American. I love my country, and the blessings she has surrounded me with. I love the opportunities that abound here, for me, and my children. I love the beauty of this country, the hope it embodies. I feel truly blessed to call the United States of America my home.

Happy Independence Day!



I’ve never been a fan of Tony Goldwyn, the actor.  It’s Carl Bruner’s fault. If he wasn’t such a schmuck….

One of the things I love about my summers is the time I have to indulge in lots of reading and watching Netflix, or IMTV, or Amazon, and scarfing popcorn like a starving ogre in a dark movie theater. This summer I’ve been watching Scandal.


I don’t know why, except maybe because I watched all of the latest season of House of Cards in two days. That’s probably why. In any case, I started watching it, realized Mr. Goldwyn was portraying the president, felt nauseous, and looked around for something else to watch.  I didn’t find anything satisfying, and trudged back to Scandal. I like Huck and Quinn. I determined to watch just the first season. And then it happened. There was a moment in that first season where Mr. Goldwyn communed with me. The slimy bastard, he caught me.


This isn’t the look that brought me to my knees.

For those of you who haven’t partaken. Scandal details the presidency of this guy and his affair with the pretty girl up there by the name. Yeah, he’s married and has a family. Yeah, she’s single, her brain not turned to mush by children, her time to straighten her hair on a daily basis, her own. Basically, the show follows the ups and downs of two people who love each other, but can never be together.

Normally, I wouldn’t survive her stridency, her non-stop self aggrandizing, her ridiculous perfection, but normally Mr. Goldwyn wouldn’t be standing strong and silent in the background breaking my heart. Normally I’d think he was getting what he deserved, slimy bastard.

But this time, my heart stuttered when it remembered how that feeling brought me to my knees, the one that just pulled his features into heartbreak for that split second, I remember how that felt. And then he did it again, and again, and again, until I cried uncle. And he’s continued to wring my heart in his hand for four seasons with his longing. His desperation for the company of one who doesn’t speak at him, need him, want a bit of his power, but the one who communes with him in utter and complete silence. The one who sees magnificence in his commonality, his boxers and bare feet on a Saturday morning. The one who tapes the apneic snore when he falls asleep on his back, for proof. The one that loves his scar because it’s real.

I live that look. I plot my days to survive that very hunger.


I was reminded of a line from an old John Wayne western, I think it was Big Jake, mmm, nope it was Rio Lobo. A terrifically young Jennifer O’Neill bunks down by John Wayne in the middle of the night. The next morning when Wayne demands to know why she didn’t cuddle with the younger,  hotter Captain Pierre Cordona she defends herself telling him “You’re comfortable!”.

This post reminded me never to underestimate the appeal, or importance of a little comfort.



“By the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – The Velveteen Rabbit […]

via The Broken Ones — The Ochre Muse

Thermopolis, Wyoming


It was a rather quick trip, made so by my chauffeur’s driving antics the previous week. The deer is fine. The girlfriend is fine. The boy is fine. The car is sort of drive-able but required $$$ repairs. His next two or three paychecks will be coming to me instead of going into his project car. Not quite how he imagined his summer. Me either. It scared him, losing control on a gravel road. I’m glad. It was a good, injury free, wallet painful, way to learn. It’s also the first time his actions have had an unpleasant effect on the rest of the people who live with him. That was good for him too.


I spent most of my three days in Thermopolis, Wyoming, people watching. It’s the other grandparents, the other aunts and uncles, and I was able to sit and listen. My little family is geographically remote from any relatives. The closest living twelve hours away. In fact, this is the closest we’ve lived to relatives since the boy was five. As we all gather from here and there at the local motel, it takes less than an hour for me to remember why I love the remote, drama-free prairies of North Dakota.


I’ve given lots of thought to the politics in big families. I’ve read about birth order, about emotionally stunted parents, about abuse and neglect. I’ve taken into consideration that adoption seriously colors my vision. I’m old enough to know that interpersonal is all kinds of complicated, especially in a family with ten children. This is what I don’t understand–

Parents who believe they can always be fair.

Parents who consistently side/choose the in-law over their own children.

The one or two siblings to whom on-time has no meaning.

That one kid who can never do what everyone else does. Can’t stay at the same hotel, can’t swim at the hot spring, can’t be bothered to watch his/her own children.

Kids who cannot care any less about how much time or money their parents put in to plan this. Kids who don’t stop to think, this odd little place is a hidden treasure to mom and dad. Kids who never think to say thank you.

Adult siblings who have to be assigned separate housing because they can’t be together for five minutes without screaming fights.

Siblings, adult siblings, who think after twenty plus years, they can shock you with their newly discovered hobbies, atheism, politics, sex play.

The battle for mom and dad’s attention. Really? Still?

The lack of manners that becomes suddenly acceptable because we’re all family here


It seems to me, that if I only get to see you once every year or two, I might be able to hold my tongue and my temper. I might smile instead of smirk, I might be a little more tolerant, laugh at the jokes, let the kids stay up late and don’t take personally every comment made.

I might except, well, we’re all family here.