That Brown Vest

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Attitude, Childrearing, Cleaning, Clothes, Communication, Confidence, Connections, Conversations, Daughters, Encouragement, Memories, Mother, Motherhood, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 27-03-2017

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Every few years I get the urge to go through my closet and get rid of stuff. You can read about the last time I made such a purge here. Here is how I decreased the surplus population of my clothes. My goal is always to get rid of:

1. The ugly stuff.
2. The stuff that will never ever fit again.
3. The stuff that makes me feel uncomfortable, unconfident, and ugly.

I have had surprisingly a lot of stuff in each of these categories.

I filled three giant trash bags with jeans that are too tight, ruffled blouses that are hideous, pleated slacks that look shiny, and that sort of thing. All kinds of ugly.

I proudly announced to my daughter my feat: I got rid of all my ugly clothes!

What about that brown vest? She asked.

That. Brown. Vest?

Oh that. I guess I didn’t get rid of ALL my ugly clothes. That brown vest might be ugly, but it makes me happy, warm, and comfortable. In fact, I wore it on my last zoo outing with my youngest.

I think you look pretty in that ugly, brown vest, she said.

Well then, it’s a keeper!

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Otis and the Geese

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Children's Books, Grandmother, Growing UP, Memories, Relationships | Posted on 14-12-2016

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My grandmother used to read me the story of Angus and the Ducks. Angus, the curious Scottish Terrier, got into mischief. One day, he was off-leash and ventured on the other side of the hedge, encountering two ducks. They stared him down and proceeded to hissssss at poor Angus. This hissing scared the crap out of Angus and he ran back to the safety of underneath the sofa in his living room. He never ventured to the other side of the hedge again.

The thing was, my grandmother made the most amazing hisssssssing noise when she read that part. During my childhood, I made her read that page over and over. We both would get the giggles.

Fast forward 30 + years.

While on a run, Otis, the curious Yellow Labrador, and I encountered two hundred Canadian Snow Geese. We stopped for a moment to take it all in, with Otis nearly ripping my arm off. He was raring to go get into mischief.

The pause in our run made me reflect upon the wondrous moments reading about Angus with my grandmother. When I visited her–even until I was pushing 16–we would snuggle up to read Angus and the Ducks and we would giggle at the hisssssss. Every time.

I have read that book over and over to my children. But it never had the same effect.

I guess some things are best kept tucked away in the memory vault. Best kept as my own magical moments.

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Highway Robbery

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Children, Fun, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 12-10-2016

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On a whim, my son and I robbed a bank.

I donned my saloon-dancer dress, put on my feather boa, and grabbed my gun. My son put on his best pinstripe suit, his newsboy cap, and grabbed his gun. His Tommy gun.

We grabbed bagfuls of cash and sped away.

To think I almost passed on doing an “old time photo.” With a price of $19.95, I was like, no way, that’s highway robbery!

It took a little convincing from Clyde.

I will never forget that highway robbery…the fun of getting into character, selecting the perfect gun, and striking a pose. It was the perfect mother-son adventure. And we each have a photo in our room to remember that historic moment.

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Rock and Roller

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Childhood, Growing UP, Happiness, Life, Memories, Teenager | Posted on 29-09-2016

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The year was 1983.

It was a hot year for fashion. Hello, matching terry cloth outfit.

It was a hotter year for music. Here is what was on the radio. And on my newly gifted Sony Walkman:

Every Breath You Take, The Police
Billie Jean, Michael Jackson
Flashdance…What a Feeling, Irene Cara
Down Under, Men at Work
Beat It, Michael Jackson
Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler
Maneater, Daryl Hall & John Oates
Sweat Dreams, Eurythmics
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, Culture Club
Come on Eileen, Dexys Midnight Runners
She Works Hard for the Money, Donna Summer
Let’s Dance, David Bowie
Africa, Toto
Little Red Corvette and 1999, Prince
Stray Cat Strut, Stray Cats
Tell Her About It, Billy Joel
Goody Two-Shoes, Adam Ant
Rock the Casbah, The Clash
Come Dancing, The Kinks
Back on the Chain Gang, The Pretenders

For me, it was an even hotter year for roller skates. Those roller skates were my empowerment. I lived in a smallish town in California that was 1.7 square miles, rich in community and smack in the middle of the sprawling San Francisco Bay Area. I skated to buy doughnuts. Ten doughnut holes for a buck. I skated to 7-11 for Red Vines and Jolly Rancher sticks. I skated one mile to my bank where I maintained a modest savings account. I would sometimes deposit but mostly withdraw. Long before ATMs, I tucked my bank book in the waistband of my shorts, then walk on the tips of my stoppers to the teller and usually withdraw $10. I would fold the ten dollar bill into my skate where it would be nice and sweaty when it was time to spend it.

Ten bucks would last two weeks to feed my sugar obsession.

1983 was my freedom. Personal music. Transportation. Consumerism.

I remember those moments like they were yesterday. Skating over the bumps in the sidewalks. Wind in my big hair. The taste of a sour apple Jolly Rancher stick. And peach. And cinnamon fire.

Now, whenever I listen to one of these songs or savor a Red Vine, it takes me back to the days when I was free to skate from one end of town my world to the other, with only a pair of satin knee pads to protect me.

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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!

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The Junk Drawer

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

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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.

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Silly Rabbit

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Easter, Family, Humor, Life Lessons, Memories, Parenting | Posted on 24-03-2016

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The Easter Bunny has finally gotten smart around here. It has taken several years of trial and error.

One year, the Easter Bunny hid the freshly-dyed hard-boiled eggs outside the night before. It rained. And in the morning, our young son searched for white eggs.

Another year, the Easter Bunny hid the hard-boiled eggs outside in the morning. Then we let the dogs out for their morning pee. The dogs ate all of the eggs. Nary an egg to be found.

Yet another year, the Easter Bunny wised up and hid the hard-boiled eggs inside the house. Except. What happens when children don’t find all of the eggs? The big stink.

Silly rabbit.

The Easter Bunny has finally learned to hide plastic eggs inside the house. No rain. No dogs. No smell. Brilliant.

Happy Easter!

XO,
Pippi

Whoops! #Eastereggs #Easter #egghunting This was a long time ago and makes me smile.

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Breakfast is served! #Eastereggs #eggs

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Scratchy Balls

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Art, Attitude, Memories, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 04-03-2016

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It was a day filled with cupcakes, masks, and scratchy balls.

My ten-year-old son and I adventured to the city, just the two of us. We stumbled upon a necklace in one of the shops: a colorful necklace made from scratchy wool balls. How could I say no?

Mom, you would look so pretty in this. Seriously, how could I resist?

Since then, I’ve been wearing that necklace often. It keeps my neck warm. It goes with everything. People compliment it wherever I go. Wow, cool necklace! But mostly, I smile because it reminds me of that colorful day spent with my sweet son.

My new necklace.

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Sunshine in Human Form

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Children, Children's Books, Family, Grandmother, Memories | Posted on 27-01-2016

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Sunshine in human form? That was my grandmother. She was pure sunshine.

She created miniature marshmallow happy faces in my Cream of Wheat.

She always reassured me, “Everything will be all right.” Read more here about how my grandmother and Bob Marley were alike.

She hummed while she scrubbed stains from my clothing. Her hands always smelled like Clorox.

She played her favorite hymns with gusto at the piano in the evenings.

She patted my knee when she sat by me on the sofa and always told me how happy she was to see me.

She swung on the teeter totter with me, even when we were both too old for teeter totters.

She made the perfect goose hisssssssss sound when she read Angus and the Ducks.. I always had her read that page over and over. To this day, I giggle when I think back at that hisssssssss.

The other morning when Otis and I were running, I missed my grandmother so much that tears welled in my eyes. I had to stop to cry it out. On that grey, overcast morning, the clouds suddenly parted.

The blue sky and sunshine emerged. I knew at that moment that my grandmother and I connected again. Everything will be all right.

Blues skies ahead. #positive

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Shut-Me-Up Candy

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Humor, Memories | Posted on 12-01-2016

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For my grandmother, Life Savers were, well, a life saver.

In church, I loved to sing along with my hymn book. I tried to listen to the sermon…Amen! But the minutes grew into hours it seemed. I soon grew restless.

My grandmother would whisper to me to stop fidgeting. The kind of whisper that could be heard three rows away.

She opened her patent leather clutch with the magnet clasp and handed me a small notepad with pastel-colored paper and a ball point pen. Drawing was fun for 8 minutes.

Time for shut-me-up candy. All hail Life Savers. One at a time, she would dole them out to me.

I knew I had to savor them because I wasn’t sure how many I would be gifted. Each Life Saver would rest on my tongue until the edges would become so sharp, you couldn’t resist crunching. Crunch! Sshhh!

Back then it was red, orange, yellow, green, white. Red was cherry. Orange was orange. Yellow was lemon. Green was lime. White was pineapple. That was my favorite.

I am not sure when they changed to gaggy raspberry and watermelon. I asked my ten-year-old son if he liked Life Savers. You mean the gummies? Um, no, the original ones. He said he had never tried them. What??

The original, shut-me-up candy?

So I bought him a pack. Whaddya know, they still work. 😉

My grandmother used to dole me out one Life Savers at a time to keep me quiet during church.

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