The Railroad Tracks

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Memories | Posted on 23-10-2014

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As a kid, I spent summers in Missouri. Picking blackberries, roller skating, riding my bike, and (sometimes) causing mischief. One day, my friends and I walked along the railroad tracks and placed pennies on the rails. So they would be flattened and become our trophies. Proof that we had braved the tracks.

What if we derail the train? Nah. It could never happen.

Then we waited.

We waited a long time. We went in for lunch. Then back out to ride our bikes around the neighborhood in search of the ice cream truck. To buy popsicles. Because they were cheap. A quarter each.

With blue- and red-stained tongues, we returned to the tracks. To our delight, we discovered perfectly flattened pennies. So flat, that Abraham Lincoln’s face was gone.

Ooooh! Aaaah!

That night, the 10 o’clock news reported a train derailment that had occurred earlier that day.

Gasp! The pennies! The guilt!

I found out much later that the pennies did not derail the train. There had been a mechanical failure.

That summer, the hit song was Bad Girls by Donna Summer. Coincidence?

 

The Enchanted Forest

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Metaphor, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, Nature | Posted on 21-10-2014

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Once upon a time, there was an enchanted forest. With giant, moss-covered trees with welcoming branches. With a bubbling brook that sang. With falling leaves that danced in the breeze. With miniature mushroom fairy homes sprinkled across the clover hillside. With a lake so still, the reflections of the trees were mirrored in the waters.

A girl with wings gazed in wonderment. A boy with magical socks ran with glee.

This magical, enchanted forest beckoned us on a sun-kissed fall day. On that day, she didn’t wear wings. She had wings. On that day, he didn’t forget his socks. He wore his mother’s magical socks, gifted with love when his blister appeared, preventing him from taking one more step.

We didn’t go for a hike. We went exploring. Exploring a fairy tale.

Blood and Popcorn Kernels

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Fear, Kitchen, Life Lessons | Posted on 18-10-2014

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You know what scares me?

Clink! Klank! Rattle!

The sound of popcorn kernels in the garbage disposal.

My friend and I both share the fear of reaching into the sink to remove kernels. Because. Blood spewing. And. Bones chipping.

I glanced over at the switch to make sure it was off. Then, I  reached deep, deep, into the slimy pit. Feeling around and digging out popcorn kernels from the garbage disposal. One by one.

The fear that the switch would suddenly flip on and my fingers would get mangled by the blade and my bones would be churned into bits. Blood spurting everywhere. The disposal cutting into my hand, eating its way up to my wrist.

So now when I hear–Clink! Klank! Rattle!–I stay the hell away from the sink. And let those little suckers rattle away to their death, sparing my fingers and bones another day.

Enjoy those popcorn balls!

Do You Like My Hat?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Art, Attitude, Children, Children's Books, Confidence, Contest, Crafts, Encouragement, Life Lessons, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 16-10-2014

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It’s OK if you don’t. Because I love it!

Do you remember the children’s book, Go Dog Go!? One dog keeps asking the other dog, “Do you like my hat?” He’s a total dick and always says no, he does not. She continues to try so hard to seek his approval and validation.

Until the last hat, which is over-the-top amazing! And, he likes it. Finally.

My daughter and I made some over-the-top hats. Our plan was to wear them at opening day at the horse races.

We started working on the hats a month ago. On one of our trips to our favorite antique store, we scored my daughter a red hat. And lots of bags of junk treasure. We spent that whole afternoon, with glue guns in hand, decorating. That evening, she told me that she had the best day. Yeah, me too.

She transformed her hat into a half-fall-half-winter scene. It is amazing and joyful! But she already knows this.

Mine was half toys and 100 percent full of memories. I rummaged through my children’s toy bins. Plastic horses with no tails. Gold coins from St. Patrick’s Day. Legos. An army guy from a 4th of July parachute. Fake rotten teeth my youngest son loves to wear. A pink barrette my daughter wore when she was three. A Nerf gun bullet. A rubber frog. An alien prize from no cavities at the dentist. A few stray McDonald’s Happy Meal toys. A refrigerator alphabet magnet. A Polly Pocket. A monkey pencil topper. The wrestler that my oldest son played with when he was two. He’s 15 now. The wrestler lost his legs in a battle, so he now anchors the front of my hat. It’s his medal of honor, I guess.

So many wonderful, funny, happy memories are now all glued to my hat.

On opening day, my daughter and I confidently paraded around the horse races with the biggest grins and giggled the whole time. What silliness! What fun!

We entered the “best hat” contest.

We didn’t win. Not even third place. Not sure why we entered. We certainly don’t need external approval and validation to remind us that we are both winners.

Because we already know this.

 

 

Welcome to the Jungle

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Boys, Mothering, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 13-10-2014

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The other evening, I had the pleasure of driving in cars with boys. My boys, ages nine and 15.

They are forever making me smile and cringe and giggle and eyeroll.

“Your Mama” jokes, post-football stink, the always-hungry Mom, can we stop at Burger King?, funny comments about body parts, requests for rides (to purchase new Halloween masks, for example). And always very loud music.

When Welcome to the Jungle started playing, my oldest turned it up to 30. I reached over and cranked it up to 35.

I am (usually) not one of those turn-the-music-down-mothers. And because I try to let the boys be boys. I have learned this from living with several guys (three + Otis).

I later Googled the lyrics to the song. That evening, I learned something else. Sometimes it’s best not to Google. :-)

Soaring

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude | Posted on 09-10-2014

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After a long week of drowning in work, it was time to resurface. So on Saturday morning, we loaded up the car and headed to the beach for the day.

We saw a bald eagle, seagulls, pelicans, a kite, and Pippi. All soaring.

Because Saturdays are not only for resurfacing. They are for soaring.

 

Three Peas

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Art, Crafts, Daughters, Gifts, Kindness, Love, Mothers and Daughters | Posted on 08-10-2014

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Four yards of fabric were required, apparently. Two yards of green fleece, one yard of green satin, and one yard of red satin. And green thread and a package of buttons.

It was to be a big project, she said. My daughter directed me to meet her in the “green section” later, because she knew exactly what she needed. She had a plan to make me a birthday present.

I did as I was instructed. Including letting her determine the amount of fabric required. Including paying $28 for four yards of fabric.

That afternoon, I heard her sewing machine humming away. All I could do was smile.

And then, on my birthday, my daughter presented me with a small package that I carefully unwrapped.

It was a pea pod with three peas smiling back at me. It fit in the palm of my hand. It melted my heart.

My daughter knew that I always likened my three children to three peas. She knew that one of my favorite Christmas ornaments is a pea pod with three smiling peas wearing Santa hats with their names written on them.

It was the sweetest, most thoughtful gift. A big and small project, made with so much love and so little fabric.

 

10 Life Lessons I Learned from Elephants

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Animals, Confidence, Connections | Posted on 03-10-2014

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According to the Defense of Wildlife website, elephants form deep family bonds and live in tight matriarchal family groups. The herd is led by the oldest, and often, largest female in the herd, called a matriarch.

A good friend of mine asked me to impart some words of wisdom and encouragement to her daughter, who turns 16 today. A teenager, on the verge of adulthood.

I (apparently) have a thing or two to teach and share with her daughter, my daughter, and girls everywhere. Um, today, I am the old, large female matriarch. :-)

I look to my good friends, the elephants from childhood, to help share life lessons to girls everywhere. We can learn a lot from Elmer, Dumbo, Horton, and Babar:

  1. Be your unique self.
  2. It’s OK to be different.
  3. Discover your talents.
  4. Seek friendships.
  5. Believe in yourself.
  6. You can do it.
  7. Have compassion.
  8. Love is powerful.
  9. Keep learning.
  10. Teach others.

Elmer is a cheerful, patchwork elephant, with vivid and bold colors. He is different from the other elephants and tries to blend in by painting himself gray. The other elephants no longer recognize him, which makes Elmer feel sad. When it rains, the paint washes off and Elmer’s “true colors” are revealed. Elmer’s friends are happy to have Elmer back, as himself, with his colorful and fun personality. If you can’t be yourself, who else are you going to be?

Dumbo. He is a sweet elephant, ridiculed for his big ears and therefore lacking confidence. Through friendship, he learns to use his uniqueness in his favor. His ears become wings and he can fly. A feather was just the extra confidence he needed to realize that he can do it.

Horton, made famous by Dr. Seuss, is another kind and sweet elephant. Whether nurturing and helping hatch an egg or helping save a teensy tiny planet of creatures, who live on the head of a dandelion, Horton teaches us compassion and heart.

And, finally, Babar. Babar avoids being captured and escapes to the city. He befriends a kind old lady and becomes educated and cultured. When he returns to the forest, he is crowned King of the Elephants, has a family, and proceeds to teach the others and have many adventures. Babar teaches us to keep learning and sharing knowledge.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my mother gifted me 14K gold elephant earrings. I wore them in the delivery room, and will treasure them always. Until it’s time to gift them to my daughter, to continue to share elephant wisdom.

 

Just Add Wine

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Cooking, Humor | Posted on 02-10-2014

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Herbed chicken in a savory, wine sauce with mushrooms. The appetizing picture and complete-dinner-in-a-box at World Market sold me. Yum! Chicken Marsala! It’s what’s for dinner!

Throw it into a crockpot, just add water, and let it simmer. Right?

Wrong. Add chicken. Add chicken stock. Add mushrooms. Add wine.

Stupid-dried-sauce-in-a-box. I was sold a box of Stone Soup Chicken Marsala. So much for simple. So much for appetizing.

It’s a good thing there was extra wine to wash it down with. :-)

Big Kid

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Aging, Attitude, Celebrations | Posted on 30-09-2014

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A little kid in our neighborhood saw me walking. I was wearing a baseball cap, being pulled by Otis.

“There goes that big kid again,” I heard her say to her mother.

A big (45-year-old) kid.

She made my day.

Time to celebrate the kid within!

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