Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Art, Childrearing, Connections, Crafts, Decor, Family, Home, Life, Memories, Parenting | Posted on 08-05-2017

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When I think about our family, I think how different we are as individuals. And how our family is evolving.

We are especially different in how we choose to spend an evening. Not always as one family together. But as one family together, but separate. One wants to go out with friends, one wants to watch YouTube videos, one wants to do anything but watch a movie with Mom and Dad. Then there’s Otis, who is up for anything, including movie night.

But isn’t this supposed to happen? While I am sad to see my children slowly branch away, I am also learning to appreciate their separation as a healthy part of life: thriving as individuals. I appreciate each one. With their own personalities. Their own thoughts. Their own emotions. Their own interests.

But isn’t it also my job as mother to keep our family connected? I try. Family taco night is always a success. Movie night? Not so much anymore. Awhile back, I covered our kitchen table with butcher paper so we could create art together. It started with a white square tile. Add drops of ink. Swirl, mix, design. The blobs of ink expanded. The ink morphed.

Each tile transformed into a unique work of art. No two were alike. Hmmmm…kinda like children…

This art project lasted several weeks. That’s a lot of together-time!

We framed this “family mirror” with the tiles we created. It’s an excellent metaphor of our family: colorful, with individual pieces, unified as one.

It’s a mirror that represents togetherness and separation. It’s hung, appropriately, right above the kitchen table, where many tacos have been consumed together.

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Sunshine in Human Form


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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The Woman Who Runs with The Big Dog


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Friends, Humor | Posted on 27-09-2015

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I read something recently about the nicknames you give neighbors when you don’t know their actual names.

Like, The Guy Who Drives the Jeep Rubicon. Or, The Woman with the Little White Dog Named Pierre.

One of my neighbors has become: The Woman Who Gave Us Tomatoes.

My kids are like who? 

You know, her husband is The Guy Who Drives the Jeep Rubicon?

Oh yeah!

These names we give people reminds me of Stands with a Fist from the movie Dances with Wolves. So much more descriptive than Janice.

After The Woman Who Gave Us Tomatoes graciously gifted me another batch of the reddest tomatoes from her garden, I wanted to thank her by name. So I had to embarrassingly ask her again. Now I know.

And she told me with a smile, I had to ask so-and-so what your name was. I described you as The Woman Who Runs with the Big Dog.

Nice to meet you!

She Who Runs With Big Dog

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Hairy Clumps and Catching Skunks


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Humor, Inappropriate, Parenting | Posted on 16-09-2015

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My 10-year-old son and I were hanging out on the patio. We opened up the cards from the game You Gotta Be Kidding! The questions are hilarious and thought provoking, and certainly generate a fun dialogue:

Would you rather catch a porcupine thrown from a second-story window? Or a skunk thrown from the same window? A porcupine? No way! That would hurt. You can always wash off skunk smell. 

Would you rather chew a piece of toenail off a dirty man’s foot or lick every inch of his unwashed armpit? Licking an armpit? Disgusting! But chewing a piece of toenail off someone’s foot? Yeah, but you could use the toenail for a toothpick! 

Would you rather drink liquid found leaking from a garbage bag or chew on a hairy clump found between the cushions of an old couch? Ewww, I would never drink from the garbage bag. Do you know how gross that is?! Yeah, but I’m not sure I could chew an unknown hairy clump.

Would you rather have a small butt on your forehead or two little feet dangling beneath your chin? Definitely, a small butt on my forehead. You can always wear a hat or grow bangs.

We were laughing, talking, reasoning, and laughing some more. I am still envisioning two little feet dangling beneath my chin…and chuckling.

I read reviews of the game and was surprised that some people disapprove: “Disgusting, inappropriate, gross.”

You gotta be kidding!

Hmmmm…spending time talking and laughing with your children, being creative, explaining your answers, empowering children to be confident to reason and debate? I would rather chew a hairy clump than spend time with people who are so easily disgusted. 🙂

That face could sell applesauce.

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Is Your Refrigerator Running?


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Holidays | Posted on 25-11-2014

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Is your refrigerator running?

We boldly would ask with a straight face, suppressing giggles. When we were kids, we’d dare each other to crank call strangers. We’d randomly pick phone numbers from the phone book.

The stranger would usually answer yes.

Then, you’d better go out and catch it!

Slam down the phone! Giggle! Snort!

Two weeks ago, my refrigerator stopped running. So, we bought a new one, pronto! Because, Thanksgiving!

Thankful, indeed. I am thankful that I can afford to buy a new refrigerator and that I can stock it with yummy things (sometimes gaggy) to eat, to nourish my family. And that we can buy extra to give to those less fortunate.

Strangers Families in our town. With food drives at my children’s schools in full force, the kids lug in bags of non-perishable food items. Last year, enough food was donated to feed 200 families for a year. Maybe this year, collectively, we can help 250 families. Whether it’s donating time, giving money, donating food items, or simply smiling at a stranger and spreading good cheer, everyone may feel a little happier, more connected, and thankful.

My new refrigerator–now stocked with a turkey, Thanksgiving fixings, and ingredients for pies–is a symbol of so many things I am thankful for:

Children. Love. Health. Connections. Happiness. Nourishment. Family.

Maybe at the dinner table, I’ll be asked: Mom, what’s a crank call? What’s a phone book? 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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I High-Fived a Stranger


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Aging, Connections, Valentine's Day, Women | Posted on 30-01-2012

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I high-fived a stranger. And it kinda made my day. And maybe hers.

I went to the craft store to buy a heart wreath for the front door–Shut The Front Door, Valentine’s Day is around the corner!

This older woman–looking a bit lonely–was also picking out a heart wreath. I struck up a conversation with her, in typical Pippi fashion. Because I talk to strangers. All the time.

Which wreath did she want to buy? Did she like pink or red best? Or maybe the glittery magenta would be fun.

She couldn’t decide. She thought a small one would be nice because she lives in a condo. Then I asked her which one I should buy. She thought magenta would be fun.

Turns out we both decided on a magenta/hot pink glittery wreath. I was so excited, I high-fived her.

I caught her a little off guard (at first). Then she smiled. I made my purchase, then skipped to my car with a smile on my face.

Two strangers made a connection at a craft store. Spread the joy!