Center Stage: 12/29/17

Top Five Problems with Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer – And they have nothing to do with the nose: nickclaussen.com

The red nose needed to guide the sleigh through the fog – I fail to see how someone’s glowing or shiny nose is able to make that much of a difference in the fog.  Why can’t Santa just fly above the fog?  What is Santa worried about running into, other flying reindeer?  And if the nose really is super bright, wouldn’t that be a detriment in the fog?”

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What NOT to F’ing Give Your Wife this Holiday: Baby Sideburns

“5. Do not give me my present in the Amazon box.  This includes popping a bow on top of the Amazon box.  This also includes putting the Amazon box INTO a gift bag.  Step one, open the Amazon box.  Step two, put the item in a gift bag.  Step three, kick your own ass if you don’t do this.”

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Center Stage: 11/4/17

10 Reasons My Kids are A-Holes: All In A Dad’s Work

“I wrote once that I wanted to keep my kids from being a-holes so that when they grew up they could be respectful, contributing citizens of wherever they live.

But right now?  Right now they’re a-holes.  Especially, to each other.  I thought it was just a phase.  I thought it would pass.  It’s been 10 and 6 years.  It hasn’t passed.”

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a few (more) of my favorite things

Pringles, soft blankets, spellbinding paperbacks, and coffee.

Oh, plus these.

“Parenthood.”  Have you guys seen this show?  I’m sure you have because BrightSide and I tend to be roughly 3.8 years behind the curve when it comes to network television.  (Case in point: we still haven’t seen “This Is Us.”  Yeah, I know, don’t yell at me.)  We loved every single episode of “Parenthood.”  It was so on the money – Asperger’s, adoption, divorce, the N word.  They handled real life issues with a graceful yet expert touch that never came off as heavy handed.  Impressive writers; even more impressive show.

Ben & Jerry’s.  I’m drawing a blank on whether I’ve included this on one of my “favorites” lists (how could I not have by now?) but c’est la vie, here it is again.  Forget the smooth, creamy delightfulness as it melts on your tongue.  Let’s talk about flavors.  The selection alone is a decidophobic’s worst nightmare.  I can’t even get an accurate tally of flavor options – some sources say more than forty, others put it at more than sixty – I imagine it has something to do with whether one counts special edition flavors.  Regardless…Cocoa Loco, Truffle Kerfuffle, Bourbon Brown Butter, Empower Mint…Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Chocolate Therapy, Half Baked, The Tonight Dough…endless choices, endless opportunities for sugar induced bliss.

Proper cookies.  Preferably homemade, definitely chocolate chip, chewy with gooey milk chocolate.

Potato chips.  There’s no denying original Pringles (call me a purist) are salty heaven in a can, but there are surprising elements of craving involved in potato chip love.  Certain days demand BBQ Lay’s, others call for Sour Cream and Onion.  All around, though, I’d have to say there’s rarely a day the potato chip can’t improve.

Diet Dr. Pepper.  Yes, I know.  Diet soda is the devil.  I’m working hard to drink more water, and I’m doing better at home…but an unfortunate side effect of BrightSide moving me out into country life with our über deep well has been that all restaurant water tastes like chemicals.  Ugh.  So my first question is why can’t restaurant water taste decent.  My second is why on earth don’t more restaurants carry diet Dr. Pepper.


Interested in other random favorites lists?  You can read some here and here.

because sometimes you need a big belly laugh

This week has been full of adulting.  Life and such, you know.  I won’t bore you with the details.

Forever Family is on vacation today.  Instead, here are some links to check out (along with the most memorable hook from each).  Happy reading! 

I blame the rickets. – The Bloggess

“In an act of solidarity, Victor has decided to go on the diet with me, which seems incredibly sweet except that it seems crazy easy for him and he’s a dude so he basically doesn’t eat a sandwich for one afternoon and loses 87 pounds and becomes immortal.”

Per the TSA I’m a bread carrying, lock picking, weirdo… – But That’s For Another Blog

“It took everything in my power not to yell, “HOLY CRAP THAT LOOKS LIKE A BOMB!!”.”

5 Parenting Conversations I Am So Done With – ravishly

“But if I am holding an amber beer in my hand, I am not talking about naptimes.  If I hear shop from your lips, I am ordering you three more martinis and getting you shitfaced until you start solving the world’s problems based on this crazy theory you had when you were 22.  Then I’m driving your relaxed, adult ass back home.”

Ten things I REALLY want to do alone once in a while – Baby Sideburns

“I want to get dressed all by myself.

KID:  Beep beep beep, you are a robot.

A. I am NOT an F’ing robot.   B. Stop pressing my nipples. They are NOT buttons.”

The 33-Step Extremely Fun Board Game of Having a Second Child – The Ugly Volvo

“10.) Older child gets lice. Lose a turn. Pay $50 for lice shampoos and wire combs.

11.) You get lice. Lose a turn.

12.) You briefly thank your lucky stars that younger child does not have enough hair to get lice.  Advance one space!  YOU WILL WIN THIS GAME IF IT KILLS YOU AND OMG, THE GAME KILLING YOU LOOKS LIKE AN ACTUAL, REAL POSSIBILITY.

10 reads to bring a smile your way

For your reading delight on this Thursday morning:

“A snow day on a Monday is the ultimate parental kick in the crotch.”   ~ Valerie

Snow days tweets by the parents that are all of us.  Huffington Post, 2/9/17.

“Dear Ms. Johnson, 

This law firm represents Ore Sebastian Johnson, your miner – correction, minor – son.  You are hereby directed to cease and desist all defamation of Mr. Johnson’s character and reputation on social media.  Mr. Johnson has cause to believe you have been spreading false and exaggerated rumors about him to family members, friendly women from the Trader Joe’s checkout line, and high school classmates who are now nothing more than schadenfreude units of measurement.”

Baby Cease and Desist Letter – Sass and Balderdash

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gratitude: another southern staple

I know I joke around about living in the south.  They have a strange obsession with Cheerwine here and a bizarre inclination to deep fry anything.  When we go out to eat I have to ask BrightSide to remind me which kind of sweet tea that particular restaurant serves – moderate, hummingbird, or put me into a diabetic coma sweet.  Don’t even get me started on why chicken and waffles are offered together as a breakfast order.

But I’ll tell you something this glorious state introduced me to: the delectable dish that is chicken pie.

I mean, chicken pie in general is delicious, but there’s this place in town called Michelle’s Catering.  Oh, my…Michelle’s chicken pie…

Anthems could be written about the savoriness of this pie.  Its tender chicken, the scrumptious sauce, a flaky and fabulous crust.  I have dreams about this pie.  The mere thought of it makes me salivate just a little.

I just texted my husband begging him to bring home this pie.  Tonight.

Some might say I have a problem, but I figure it’s better than being hooked on deep fried Twinkies.


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

just a few favorites

I’m on a bit of a Sound of Music kick.  I even caught Bear humming some of the tunes, which I have to say warmed my musical heart.  I just can’t get one of them out of my head, though.  No matter how hard I try this one particular song is on repeat.

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things!”
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gratitude: words of gold

I’m a reader through and through.  My mom and I would check out piles of books from the library, dive in, then exchange them for a new set every two weeks.  It was like going to the toy store and picking out treats all summer long.

That kind of passion never dies.

Sometimes I’ll discover an author or genre and read until I’ve exhausted my options before finding something new.  Right now I’m reading a smattering of youth fiction, adult fiction, and adult non-fiction depending on my mood, but the reality is that I’m never more grateful than when I’ve got a good book in my hands.

Before the kids came along BrightSide and I enjoyed a fixation that spanned John Grisham, the Kellermans (both Jonathan and Faye), Tom Clancy, and Patricia Cornwell.  The list was a bit heavy on murder mystery and intrigue, but they were terrific reads.  We’ve still got most of them on the bookshelves around here, as a matter of fact.

BrightSide has become interested in reading biographies about people like Thomas Jefferson, but I still fall mainly into fiction.  Some of the treasures I’ve discovered along the way:

  • Jodi Picoult.  This author’s work bridges youth and adult fiction.  She’s tackled subjects like suicide, friendship, faith and religion, the media, illness, medical ethics, school shootings, and so much more.  Her latest novel, Small Great Things, is waiting patiently on the bookshelf for me to crack it open.  I can promise you this – her books pull you in, so be prepared to read late into the night.
  • Glennon Doyle Melton.  A woman who’s recently published her second book, Glennon is one of the few nonfiction writers that completely captures my attention.  Both works are about her personal journey; she doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad, or the ugly, so by the time you’ve finished you really know her truth.
  • Harry Potter.  Sorry, but it had to be said.
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians.  Rick Riordan captures a mythological storyline that has a Harry Potter essence with characters you can’t help but lean into, which is saying a lot coming from someone who wasn’t exactly into Greek Gods back in the day. This is a five book series that grabs you from the start and doesn’t let go until you reach the story’s resolution.
  • The Hunger Games trilogy.  I found these books fascinating, although I have to say I was surprised to see them in fourth graders’ desks at school.  That may have more to do with the subject matter and my own child’s sensitivity to difficult themes than anything else, though.  They’re set in a post-apocalyptic nation where districts are required to annually sacrifice two of their youth to a televised blood sport where participants fight to the death.  The trilogy’s arc examines the disparity between rich and poor, suffering as entertainment, and the role appearance plays in society, among other things.
  • The Giver series.  These four young adult novels by Lois Lowry are set in a futuristic era and examine themes such as Utopian societies, sameness versus individuality, euthanasia, the relationship between pain and pleasure, a technology-free state, generosity versus selfishness, and the power of love.  They’re powerfully thought provoking and high on my list of books I want to reread.

What are some of your literary treasures?


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.