Sweet Talking

0

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Life Lessons, Little Story | Posted on 24-05-2016

Tags: , , ,

Last year, my in-laws took my youngest son on a cruise to Alaska. What an adventure! We sent him with an old iPhone so he could text us and reassure us that he was safe.

About halfway through the trip, we got a text–not from him–but from AT&T stating that we were racking up charges. To the tune of $300. Then $600. Turns out that my son was being charged international roaming charges when the ship was at sea.

I had the sinking feeling that we would be anchored with a Titanic phone bill.

We texted my son and my in-laws. Turn off the phone! We left voicemails. No answer. When the three of them finally docked in Juneau, we got through. Glad you’re OK! Now turn off your phone!

The AT&T charges finally reached $1,300.

I called AT&T and knew I had to sweet talk my way out of paying for this. I drummed up all the sweetness I could. Gosh, my ten-year-old is with his grandparents on a cruise in Alaska. We surely didn’t know about roaming charges. Oh…we needed to call you ahead of time to sign up for a special international plan? I didn’t know. Thank you soooooo much.

The customer service representative was equally nice. In the end, he only charged me $35 to sign up for the special international plan. Sweet!

Another example of how you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

The Junk Drawer

0

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Family, Memories | Posted on 18-05-2016

Tags: , , ,

We have always had a “junk drawer” in the kitchen. It’s the place where we toss things that don’t really have a place to call their own.

I can rummage through that drawer and find something I need: a tape measure, an eraser, Sharpie pens, bobby pins, rubber bands, a Phillips screwdriver, a hair brush.

I can also find something I don’t need but might want: a zsu zsu pet, a Barbie with her legs askew, playing cards, silly bandz, the monkey-wearing-a-fez pencil topper.

Sometimes, I will find something that triggers a fond memory: the plastic comb the hospital sent home when my daughter was born, flash cards to quiz basic math skills, a spare key to my first car, a plastic eyeball that we always put on Halloween cupcakes.

When in doubt, check the junk drawer!

Over time, the junk drawer gets layered with new items.

It’s not a junk drawer, really. It’s a time capsule filled with the randomness of our lives.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

If You Give a Girl a Knife

0

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childrearing, Children's Books, Confidence, Cooking, Daughters, Encouragement, Food, Girls, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Teenager | Posted on 13-05-2016

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

When my daughter was three, we gave her a mini kitchen with pots and pans and bins of plastic food. Pies! Peas! Corn! Sushi! Cupcakes! Fried Chicken!

She loved everything about food preparation and serving. She would “roast” a fake chicken, “bake” pies, and “chop” floppy carrots. For years, she would prep and serve us at her cafe. When she was older, she would write menus for us to order from. And she would expect payment.

Now at 13, her time spent in the kitchen has lessened and her cooking is infrequent. However, if you give that girl a knife, she’ll make a fruit plate in minutes. She chops vegetables like a Kitchen Knife Ninja.

On the sidelines at a recent soccer game, I was talking to some mothers about daughters and their lack of interest in cooking. I told my “knife story” about how my daughter is a pro with a knife.

One of the Moms looked at me like I was insane. You give her knives?? That’s scary!

Um. Pioneer women sliced open buffalo with knives.

It’s not like I handed my daughter a knife and ordered Chop Now! It began with safety skills. Duh. Don’t slice toward your hand. Watch those fingers.

Kitchen skills are about teaching confidence, self sufficiency, survival. Kitchen skills are life skills.

I mean, what would she do if she encountered pineapple?

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Happy Mother’s Day

0

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Children, Love, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 06-05-2016

Tags: , , , , ,

At a pool, on a mountain, at a beach, on a football field, in a kitchen, in a garage.

At a park, in a garden, at home, in a city, in the snow.

In the hospital, on a dock, on a boat, in a cave, in the forest.

Here or there, Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere!

XO,
Pippi

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Let That Shit Go

0

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Attitude, Emotions, Encouragement, Exercise, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 03-05-2016

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I have a great and full life. I am grateful (greatfull).

But often, I am overwhelmed. How do I make time for family, work, fun, chores, exercise, “me time,” and rest? How do I find balance?

“The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it.”
-Unknown

Um, I think I’ve lost it. It’s fine time I lower some of those pesky high expectations.

Some days I’ll work long hours and kick ass at work. Then my mothering skills fall behind. And I feel guilty.

Some days, I’ll spend amazing time with my children, then my work projects fall behind. And I work late at night to catch up.

Some days, I prioritize working out then I have no time to cook. And we make scrambled eggs for dinner. We go through a lot of eggs.

Some days, I’ll spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking then I run out of time to exercise. And no one likes to be around me when I don’t get my run in.

Some days, I’ll put everything on hold in order to play for the afternoon. And work projects hit the fan.

Some days, I’ll get so many chores done. And then I resent that I spent my precious time doing chores.

Balance is certainly not about perfection and high expectations. Nor is about having everything in balance. (I picture a teeter totter.) Balance is about acceptance. Accepting that things will be askew and being OK with that. Accepting that unbalance is OK. Accepting that everything is in flux. And to be OK with that. Accepting that sometimes good enough, is good enough.

“I must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of grey to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.”
-Libba Bray, author

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
-Alain de Botton, philospher

And my favorite quote about trying to meet high expectations:

“Let that shit go.” #letthatshitgo
-hundreds of people on Instagram

Always balancing. #life #metaphor #balance

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

The Magic Jacket

0

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Husband, Love, Relationships | Posted on 26-04-2016

For Valentine’s Day this year, my husband gifted me a magic jacket.

It goes with everything and fits me just right. It not only repels rain and wind, but when worn, that jacket magically transports me to cool places where we have enjoyed spending time together: cross-country skiing, mountain hikes, and wintry beaches.

So it’s like a magic jacket and date jacket all in one. The perfect gift!

Unlike chocolates that may last a day (or a few hours) or flowers that may last a week, this jacket will last for many together-adventures ahead.

Except. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I may need a pair of magic sunglasses…

Seas the day! #dayoff

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Full of Pep

2

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Attitude, Confidence, Encouragement, Kindness, Life, Little Story, School, Teaching | Posted on 20-04-2016

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

When I was in seventh grade, our teacher gave us a fun assignment. We were to write our names on a piece of paper then pass it around the classroom. Each student was to anonymously write something nice about each person: a trait, a compliment, what you like about that person. As the papers circulated, kindness filled the pages.

It was a great exercise to express the good in everyone and boost confidence. I still remember one phrase written about me:

Full of pep.

pep: noun energy and high spirits; liveliness.

I ran across this picture of me when I was in the seventh grade. Curly hair in braids, a big smile, heart-shaped sunglasses perched on my head. This was taken on our seventh grade camping trip in Yosemite. The same trip where I dared the boys to see who could stand in the freezing-cold river the longest. (Full of grit!)

The girl in the forefront is the one who wrote “full of pep.” (After we got our papers returned, she had leaned across her desk and whispered to me I wrote that. I still remember beaming back.)

Those three words written oh-so-long-ago had an impact on me and still make me smile. I will always remember my friend’s kindness and friendship…and…her accurate assessment. Wink!

Thirty four years later and still full of pep, I now have a daughter in the seventh grade. I showed her this picture and she was like, “Mom, are look the same!”

Some things never change.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Stop and Help

0

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Safety, School | Posted on 12-04-2016

Tags: , , , , ,

There was a four-way stop intersection by my daughter’s middle school. Except one of the stop signs was placed really far from the corner, making it hard to see.

This resulted in many people not stopping at the corner, and blasting right through.

This put children at risk, right in front of their school.

I actually witnessed a few people running the stop sign. I once ran the stop too.

I took action. I was prepared to make a petition, attend community meetings, discuss this with my town’s politicians. Whatever it took.

I started by calling City Hall to state the problem: There needs to be a new stop sign installed by the school, placed where drivers can see it clearly, for the safety of the children.

Turns out the city department and the street department met immediately to discuss the problem. When I called back to follow up, I was reassured that this issue would be addressed.

And it was.

Within 10 days of my first call, a new stop sign was put in at the proper place at the corner. So that everyone could see it.

My daughter said I’m a hero.

Nah. I’m just trying to make the world a better place for one person. Or maybe more.

#kindness

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

What Smells Like Ass?

0

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Connections, Cooking, Dinner, Family | Posted on 04-04-2016

Tags: , , , , , , ,

What smells like ass? Asks my teenager son, as he walked into the kitchen.

Um, that would be dinner.

It had been weeks since I had prepared a “proper” dinner for my family.

After watching a few episodes of Cooked on Netflix, I felt nostalgic about cooking and preparing a wholesome meal for my family. The show documents various cultures around the world about food preparation and how, in our busier-and-busier lives, many of us have lost touch with taking the time and the steps to prepare a meal. Made with good ingredients and made with love. The narrator and author, Michael Pollan, says that we all have good memories of being “cooked for” and how that makes us feel cared for and loved.

When I have the time and make the time, I do enjoy cooking for my family. It’s just that they don’t always like what I cook.

That night, I baked potatoes. I broiled some cod with fresh parmesan. I roasted broccoli drizzled with olive oil. (Fish + parmesan + broccoli = stink.)

My intentions were to invite and welcome my family to the table. Yet, the smells turned people away. Except for Otis.

He was drooling.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

You’re Pretty

0

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Family, Love, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 02-04-2016

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mom, you’re pretty.

My eleven-year-old tells me this regularly.

Even when I’m not pretty. Like when I come home from a run and my face is sweaty and pink and my breath smells stale.

Or when I’ve had a long day at work and my eyes are bloodshot from staring at the computer and my face is droopy from stress.

Or when the dermatologist burned off some pre-cancer spots on my nose, causing it to blister and swell.

Definitely not pretty days.

Maybe he sees something that lies beneath the sweat, the stress, and the spots. Or maybe he knows that it’s on those days that I need a little extra kindness.

It’s now become “a thing.” Whenever he says You’re pretty, I smile and say You’re pretty, too. And he smiles. It’s then that we are both reminded that we are deeply loved.

I am always drawn with big curly hair, big smile, and big hands. #motherandson #mother #childrensdrawings

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on