The Sheep Connection

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Attitude, Communication, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships | Posted on 22-08-2016

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One of my favorite things at the county fair is to visit all of the farm animals. I say hello to each and every one of them, without leaving any out. Goats. Cows. Rabbits. Chickens. Horses. Bunnies. Ducks. Geese. Pigs. Llamas. Alpacas. Sheep.

The goats look at me longingly and always get lots of lovin’ from me. They have warm eyes, big hearts, joyful spirits, and like to “kid” around. I talk to the bunnies and poke my fingers into the cages to pet their soft fur. They are often shy. I scratch the pigs’ snouts. We could chat for hours. I talk to the llamas and alpacas and they rudely stare back. Sometimes showing me their yellowed teeth. Llamas are assholes. I compliment the chickens and roosters on their beautiful plumage and they are agitated. Some of the horses are sweet, some are aloof. Their stalls have bars: communication barriers. I am especially kind to the cows, especially the beef cows, because I know their lives will end soon.

And then there are the sheep.

I walk into the sheep barn with eagerness. I walk down the rows greeting them with a friendly Baa Ram Eew (giggle) and I reach out to give their fluffy curls a scrunch. I compliment those who are freshly shorn. You sure make beautiful wool! I exclaim.

Each summer, it’s the same. The sheep snub me. Like the llamas, they are assholes. I pick up clean straw to hand-feed them. Like an olive branch offering.

This time, there was a sheep connection!

I met lovely sheep who smiled at me. I talked to them. And they listened. They looked into my eyes. My heart reopened. They invited me to scrunch their wool, so I did. I gently moved their bangs out of their eyes.

I like to make connections with animals and people. If the connections fail, I keep trying. I’m an optimist (sucker) that way.

Animals have personalities like people (or is it the reverse?). I forever encounter people who are kind, thoughtful, funny, loving, honest, and respectful. I also encounter people who are rude, selfish, aloof, condescending, cold, and mean.

I try to have an open mind and an open heart and be kind and forgiving. But I am often disappointed by people who are condescending, selfish, cold, and mean. Sometimes I wonder:

Is it worth reaching out even if I will be let down? If I do get let down, do I continue to forgive and give another chance?

Next year at the fair, I may skip the llamas. But, I will keep visiting the sheep. As proven this summer, through kindness and forgiveness, I made new friends and they warmed my heart. Renewing my faith in sheepmanity.

Ewe never know when you’ll make a connection.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

The Best in the World

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Contest, Encouragement, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, Sports | Posted on 19-08-2016

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I have been actively watching the Olympics each night. Actively, I say, because I yell on the sidelines sofalines. I cheer and yell loudly. My enthusiasm makes the swimmers stroke longer and the sprinters run faster.

YOU CAN DOOOOOO IT!

They can. They do. And they win.

My eleven-year-old had a track meet this spring, where all fifth graders from all five elementary schools in our town gathered and competed. It’s a ritual that’s been going on for decades. They perform all of the traditional track and field events. Except pole vaulting. Oh, and the discus is a frisbee. But whatever.

But the sprints? Sheer speed. It’s a nail-biter to see who the fastest fifth grader is in town.

My son competed in the 75-meter sprint. The gun went off and he flew. I couldn’t contain my cheering: GO! YOU’VE GOT THIS!

He went. And he got it. A blue ribbon. And a huge smile.

He is the best in the my world.

When it comes to sports, do we love our children more when they win? Or do we love that our children are healthy? Or do we love that our children are becoming independent and confident?

Healthy. Independent. Confident. As a mother, I want my children to be winners on the inside. But a blue ribbon from time to time doesn’t hurt. 🙂

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Mr. Pickle

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Celebrations, Daughters, Happiness, Humor, Kindness, Playing | Posted on 08-08-2016

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I am a winner!

Actually, my daughter is the winner. She won a Mr. Pickle. At the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, she played skee ball with such accuracy that the dolphin leapt across the board into first place.

My daughter could be an Olympic skee baller.

She selected a Mr. Pickle as her prize and gifted him to me without prompting. OK, maybe a little. I could not resist his greenness, his glasses, his mustache, and his little shoes. And the fact that he was shaped like a…giggle…pickle. I gleefully accepted, squealing Thank You!

Mr. Pickle was promptly secured with a seatbelt in the back seat, as he quickly became the newest member of the family.

With a daughter like mine, I too, am a winner.

Mr. Pickles!

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

I won a Mr. Pickle!

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Christmas in July

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Christmas, Holidays, Love, Magic | Posted on 30-07-2016

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Talk about Christmas in July!

On a recent vacation to Branson, Missouri, we heard there was a Santa Claus convention, bringing in jolly old fellas from across the country and around the world. In fact, many of them stayed at our hotel! Even without their red and white suits, they were easy to spot with their friendly smiles, white beards, and twinkly eyes. We proceeded to be on the lookout for the real Santa Claus.

One winked at us in the lobby. Maybe he was the one? One argued with the front desk clerk about his pillows. Definitely not him.

The next morning, one thousand Santa Clauses were to be in a special parade at 8:00 a.m.

You know how the early bird catches the worm? In our case, the early riser catches the Santa Claus. My eleven-year-old son and I practically ran, hand-in-hand, with giddiness. (My oldest son and daughter opted to sleep in instead…their loss!)

Seeing so many Santa Clauses, Mrs. Clauses, and elves was quite a magical sight! But which one was the one? It was like Where’s Waldo.

Smitten and with a bit of boldness, we greeted the nice gentlemen one by one and asked to pose for a photo. How could they so no to my sweet boy? They could not.

My son wished them Merry Christmas and many said see you on Christmas Eve. One showed my son a special Hawaiian signal. One showed my son his compass hidden in his sock. One let my son hold the special sleigh bells. One gifted him a magic candy cane.

After our encounters, we narrowed it down to three Santa Claus possibilities.

We left with happy hearts, curious minds, and shit-eating grins.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Wanna Get Away?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Motherhood, Mothering, Parenting, Technology, Travel | Posted on 25-07-2016

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Flying with children? It’s a breeze!

Trust me. I have been solo, wrangling my children through airports and flights. Traveling with children is most definitely not a breeze. More like a tempest. Storm. Squall. Tsunami.

I have seen other passengers cringe at me when I have boarded with an infant in tow. I have gotten eye rolls. Sighs. Muttering. Glares.

What do you do when the plane is taking off and your infant’s ears are hurting and you are trying to breastfeed while staying covered up and you’re trying not to bump your neighbor with your elbow and your baby is kicking and thrashing and won’t eat or take a pacifier and thinks screaming is the best solution? And then proceeds to scream for the duration of the flight and when you finally get your baby to eat and sleep, the plane lands. You’re stressing out, you’re embarrassed, you’re sweaty, and you’re exhausted. Welcome to paradise!

Once when I was traveling with my three children, three out of four of us picked up the stomach flu en route. Imagine taking turns running to the airplane toilet with diarrhea. Imagine if one of those is Mom.

I have had the airlines lose our luggage three different times.

Once, when my children were aged eight, four, and two, we missed our connecting flight because of a mechanical problem and were put up in a hotel. Sounds like a fun vacation, right? Not when you don’t have your suitcases and toiletries and when the kids want to swim and you don’t have their swimsuits.

I have traveled with my young son who, in my haste, I forgot to put on his shoes, and he had only socked feet until I was able to buy him new shoes.

Every mother has a traveling-with-children story that gets more laughable with each passing year. The next time you see a mother board the plane with her infant, toddler, or child in tow, resist the urge to glare, eye roll, or sigh. Instead, smile, offer a helping hand, and lend support through compassion. We might just make her trip a little less stormy.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Flying with three children? It's a breeze! Wink! #technologyrocks

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

The Manicure

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Beauty, Women | Posted on 11-07-2016

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Manicures are few and far between for me. In fact, I can count the number of professional manicures I have gotten over my lifetime on one hand. I am not a fan because I am impatient, I have active hands, and I am too practical. Oh and I have ugly hands, so why bother? I wrote about that here.

A few months back, my friend and I went to get manis and pedis. Squeal! Yeah, no.

I like getting pedicures. The scrubbing, scraping, and the sloughing off skin. The soaking. The shiny polish. But I still find the process a little awkward. I mean, my dirty feet are in someone’s face. My callouses from running and brittle pinkie toe nails are all exposed.

We got gel manicures. The manicurist didn’t trim my finger nails, or push back the cuticles, or even put special lotion on them. I asked and she said they don’t do that there. What?! She proceeded to paint my nails “as is.” My cuticles were covering the “moons” and the hangnail was still hanging. I wrote about a similar experience, You Can Paint A Turd, But It’s Still A Turd, here.

It was basically two coats of paint and a special top coat, “curing” the nails under UV light. Um, doesn’t that cause cancer?

Miffed, I begrudgingly got my credit card out of my wallet trying not to chip anything. After the polish was fully cured, I noticed an air bubble that stared its evil eye at me, increasingly pissing me off with each passing day. I started picking at the polish four days later.

You can have your Princess Pink. I’ll keep my scraggly nails and $45.

Someone got a manicure.

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The Sausage

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Clothes, Humor | Posted on 27-06-2016

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I’m shrinking! Not really.

But my new “slender” swimsuit? Whoa!

This one-piece swimsuit claims that it will make you look a whole size smaller.

No kidding. When you first step into the leg holes, be prepared to get sucked. Yanking and tugging the material up over your mid-section, you break a sweat. Then, there’s the stretching and pulling the suit up to your armpits. Whew, time for a water break. Finally, one arm strap then the other, and hooray! Time for the cool down. Afterward, I feel that post-workout accomplishment.

Then looking in the mirror, I’m like, damn! This suit doesn’t only make you look a whole size smaller, you are actually a whole size smaller. Because you lose a few pounds just putting the damn thing on. In the meantime, you kinda feel like a sausage.

Pass the mustard sunscreen.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Make Someone Happy

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Happiness | Posted on 22-06-2016

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One of my favorite memes: “If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.”

One of my favorite songs is Make Someone Happy, sung by Jimmy Durante, made popular in Sleepless in Seattle. Some of the lyrics:

Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy,
And you will be happy, too.

It was Elf who said “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite.” If Elf doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know who will.

Then there’s the woman who put on a Chewbacca mask and laughs hysterically, propelling her to Internet fame–making people happy with just one click.

Then there’s Byrdie Sue, the “crazy bird lady” on America’s Got Talent, who wore a rainbow skirt and a ribboned hat. With a personality equally as chipper (chirper?) and colorful. She whistled bird sounds to Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy.

My daughter was watching highlights. Her eyes got big and she shrieked Mom! She reminds me of you!

At first I was like What?! No way! She’s totally wacky.

She reminds me of you because she’s so happy like you!

Whoa! What a sweet thing to say. Maybe the sweetest thing I’ve heard this month! Maybe I was being overly judgmental.

Byrdie Sue is wacky. But mostly, she’s upbeat and she makes people happy.

The world needs more Jimmy Durantes, Elfs, Chewbacca Mask Ladies, and Byrdie Sues. Don’t you think?

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Graduation

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Aging, Celebrations, Childhood, Dreams, Emotions, Encouragement, Kids, Life Lessons, Memories, Milestones, Mothering, Nostalgia, Parenting | Posted on 14-06-2016

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This time of year always makes my heart so happy and proud. And also a little sad. Graduation! I get goosebumps when I see someone in cap and gown. I tear up when I hear Pomp and Circumstance. I always cry at graduations. It’s a happy sad cry.

I could be hired to attend strangers’ graduation ceremonies. If someone needs a person to cheer, to cry, or to take proud pictures afterward, I’m your gal.

I have friends whose children just graduated from college. Just graduated from preschool. Friends whose children were “promoted” from 8th grade to high school. Others from 5th grade to middle school. My son graduated from 5th grade this week. No more elementary school. He is my youngest. Sad happy.

These are all wonderful milestones–backed by hard work and parental love and support–that deserve celebration. I am proud of everyone! I was so busy woohoo’ing when my son shook hands with the principal, that I missed the photo opportunity when he posed with his certificate in hand. Oh well, the whole gym heard my enthusiasm! Afterward, I hugged all of his friends. My support is genuine.

Graduations are transitions that symbolize growth. But also change. Sometimes change can be hard for us parents. I know many fellow parents who have that same happy/sad feeling too. Here’s a hug and some Kleenex. And some inspirational words from Dr. Seuss in Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (as quoted at the 5th grade commencement speech), words to reassure us that everything will be OK:

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Socks

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Clothes, Family, Fashion, Mothers and Sons, Relationships | Posted on 09-06-2016

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I love socks. Probably because my feet are usually cold.

When my children were little, I bought them the cutest socks. As an infant, my oldest had a pair with rattles built in and he’d bicycle kick his feet, with the biggest grin. I had read that black-and-white patterns make infants’ brains develop better, so of course they had their patterned socks. My daughter had adorable watermelon socks and ladybug socks. My youngest son had tie-dye socks I bought in Berkeley. I probably paid more for that “artisan” pair of socks than a whole pack of running socks for me!

Three years back, I wrote about our abundance of mismatched socks. How they sit lonely, unmatched in a drawer in the laundry room. Waiting, waiting for the perfect match. Then I wrote about how we turned those lonely socks into a happy Sock Puppet family. Check out the video:

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I have a pair of yellow, smiley face socks that make me happy when I’m down. My daughter has polka-dot mushroom socks, unicorn-and-rainbow socks, and sloth socks. Sloth socks? I think they are supposed to make you feel relaxed. 🙂

Then of course there are the very expensive athletic socks the guys wear these days. The socks that hit mid calf. I’m not sure what’s up with that style, but I’ll go with it. I mean, I remember being in middle school when no one wore socks. They were so uncool. You wore your Vans or Keds or Sperry Topsiders with no socks. Puberty + sweaty, unsocked feet = very stinky shoes.

My youngest son, who is now eleven years old, recently asked if he could have a pair of those guy socks. One pair, that’s it. Ah, peer pressure socks. My son is super sweet and doesn’t ask for much. So of course I bought him not one but six pairs of theses guy socks. The hugs and smile? Totally worth it! Hey, and at least they help to cut down on the stinky shoes.

It’s all about the socks.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Boys and their socks. A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on