"When a great adventure is offered, you do not refuse it." Amelia Earhart

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hey You Guuuuuys!!!

This brilliant and brand new blog hop is sure to be all the rage. The clever and super fun Dear You Guys comment letters from Liz at a belle, a bean, and a chicago dog have generated fits of laughter and beverages of all sorts snorted on computer screens everywhere. When you're done here, please read her old letters (you won't be disappointed!), check out the rules, and join in!

I get nowhere near the comment love she does, but I'm gonna give it a whirl anyway! And away we go:

Dear You Guys an Yunz and Ya'll (cuz Chi-Town can't get all the love),

College presentations blow.

Miss me some of those around here... especially when teens can be SO determined to do their own thing!

as long as no big, long-legged, hairy spiders show up for my performance... Love those little feet and hands!!

Oh yuck. I basically choke.

And...is he going for that water in the pet dish? Just hope he doesn't discover that the toilet has water in it, too.

Lucky you!

So many people would have just written him off because they wouldn't want to deal with him! What a great and rewarding moment for both of you!

I enjoy that irony....or whatever it is.....

Sometimes kids just want to know that someone cares and so they push a bit to see if you will really go the distance for them because no one else ever has.

Sounds like you have really worked to overcome your fear though. I always got nervous, but I did...well...the opposite of you!

Do you make house calls?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Not-So Good Samaritan Meets a Certain Doom

It all began when I was seven or eight. I was ecstatic. Enthusiastic. Inexperienced.

I was Jesus.

You heard that right, people.


I was far from arrogant; I was too young to know any better.

Vacation Bible School was ending and I was about to experience my first taste of The Stage. As none other than the King of Kings. The play was The Good Samaritan. I had one line. One tiny little line. Most likely that was the reason the part was appealing to me. That should have been a big red flag.

One tiny little line. I had it down. I had it up. I had it upside down, inside out, and skateboarding on my head around the corner while eating peanut butter. The whole neighborhood had it. Maybe that should have been the second clue.

For my character's sake, it was ONE LINE! Why involve the neighbors?

Sure enough, big ole butterflies kicked in the night before the big show. Mom was there to reassure me and make me feel like I could do no wrong. Love you, Mom! But apparently, that just wasn't enough.

Our small church stage had magically morphed into The Globe Theatre! At least that was the pressure that I had put upon myself. All I could think about were all of those eyes on me (all sixty or so).

I got all hot. Sweaty. Nauseous. I gulped it down and held it in. I watched everyone effortlessly and beautifully deliver their lines.

My cue summoned me.

My knees didn't buckle. Score!

I successfully escorted my shelter-seeking friend to the Inn Keeper. Yes! Big points for not tripping while walking the mile that was the width of the stage.

And then I went blank.


Except, of course, for the excruciating and scorching pain of humiliation and terror.

Speak?!? I couldn't even breathe! Just as the tears were about to let loose, the Inn Keeper (and my dear friend who just so happened to also be the Narrator, fully equipped with script in hand) fed me my line.




Public Speaking: my number one public enemy. This was my first memorable show down and far from my last.

Following that fateful summer, I was selected in the spring to recite a story I wrote. In front of the entire school. Let me just say this: I lived in a big city and my elementary school had moved into the old three story tall high school. Our assembly room was not the gym. It was a freaking fully loaded auditorium!

I did much better this time around. I had my paper. I read from it. I remember only looking up once and the stage lights were so blinding I could barely see the mass of faces before me.

This girl can read. Give me a script, and I'll read the heck outta it.

*** Fast forward a couple of years ***

Did you know they don't supply you with a script in a Spelling Bee???

I found that out in fourth grade. New state. New school. New opportunities for mortification.

I was a rock star in spelling. I could spell chrysanthemum forward, backward, inside out, upside down, and skateboarding on my head while eating peanut butter. As long as it was on paper.

Naturally, I made it into the school Spelling Bee and was quite proud of myself.

Until I got that old familiar feeling.

Let's just say I knew damn well how to spell bookkeeping, but the pressure of those unfamiliar eyes all boring into the New Girl got to me and I chose to misspell it to be released back to the safety of my seat.

*** College ***

By now I had faced my foe many times and had learned how to wrestle him into a sleeper hold so that I could be a successful student. I was by no means a good speaker, but good enough to maintain an honorable GPA and even give a few decent performances sans script.

Performance being the key word now. Give me a script and character to learn and I'll give you a damn fine mediocre performance.

But alas, not all of my classes were Shakespeare. There was also the lit class on Harlem, Haiti, and Havana. And the doctor of my certain doom who led this class. He was pretentious jazzhead who was always looking down his nose at us and exposing our ignorance with utter disdain.

So this one time I got up to do my presentation on some obscure Haitian poem that I was supposed to deconstruct. I hated the idea of standing before Dr. I'd Rather Be Playing My Bass.

More than that, I was suddenly terrified of voicing my own ideas about a foreign subject that I could only presume to know anything about. I suddenly could barely breathe again.


I did have a "script."

Silly girl! You think a script will bail you out of this one? Mwahahaha!!

There was another insidious plan taking shape. Dr. Expert on All Things Haitian (even though he's the whitest guy you've ever seen) began the ambush of questioning. I did fine for the first round.

Then the snickering began. It came from one person near the front.

And then another.

I fumbled. I lost my place. I stuttered.

Script! Script! Get back to the script!

I went back to the script.

Denied. Dr. You Will Not Dodge My Interrogation probed further about my comparison. He wanted a cited example. Of course he wanted support. So did I!

I just repeated my previous half-baked response in different words. He relentlessly pushed for more. I couldn't think clearly. My face was burning and my stomach was turning.

The snickering duo were now red-faced from attempts of holding in their maniacal laughter. And it was spreading. I never wanted to bolt out of someplace so badly in all my life. This was my



My indubitable tormented state was beyond awkward for the entire class by this point. Or at least my inability to come up with anything coherent that wasn't already written down was, because Dr. Doom of Deconstruction finally let me go ahead and finish my presentation from the paper. And I did that as quickly as possible.

After I made my way to my seat in the back of the room, I got a couple of words of encouragement and sympathy from my friends. Mostly in the form of, "What an asshole!" or "That was so wrong,"etc.

When class was dismissed, the classmate who started the whole humiliation process came over to me to apologize and explain that it wasn't me that they were laughing at but that there was a bug on the teacher. He seemed aware of the personal catastrophe I had experienced and appeared sincerely sorry for having played a key role. But I was sincerely pissed by that point and accepted his apology less than gracefully even though there was relief in knowing I was not the center of their joke.

That was eleven years ago.

Although I still prefer to hang around the edges of a room and deal with small groups, I can handle the heat of the spotlight much better now thanks to those experiences.

This was a double-dippin' entry into Mama Kat's Writer Workshop.


1.) Childhood fears you’ve taken into your adult life.

3.) Why were you mortified? Write about a true embarrassing moment as though it was happening in slow motion.

Mama's Losin' It

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Water Edition

Dozer loves him some splishy splashy fun. Anywhere he can get it.

This Wordless Wednesday is linked up with Kristi at Live and Love Out Loud and Alicia at A Beautiful Mess.

16 months ,20 lbs and counting

Last week I took Dozer in for his 15 month well visit (1 1/2 months late). He gained less than two pounds since our last visit, and doesn't come close to tipping the scale at 20 lbs 7oz. He's now officially below the 5th percentile in weight. And it's not for lack of food.

I wish I had that kind of metabolism. And energy. He just runs and climbs and dances and spins. All. The. Time.

So I don't sweat the weight thing. It's not as if he's skin and bones. He's just like I was -- a little squirt. And I'm very conscience about fueling him up with healthy foods.

Apparently what Dozer lacks in weight, he makes up for in all other areas. Fine motor skills, language, and other areas are all on target or a bit ahead.

The past few months have brought about a plethora of new skills, but these past few weeks his development has absolutely blasted off! It seems like every single day I am delighted and amazed to discover the new things he's learning.

For one, he is not merely imitating things he finds most amusing. He is copying everything. He has especially gotten into role playing. His favorite scenario is making toast and making sure everyone (yes, even the dogs) gets their fill. The funny thing is that I don't make toast very often, but seeing it done once was enough.

This has made me very aware of the fact that it is definitely time to censor my own actions and words that I have let slide. Junk food, soda, too much time on the computer, the occasional bad word, and snarky attitudes are all things I am trying to eliminate or reduce.

There's nothing like toddler experimentation in balance (how long can one stand on one foot on designated wheeled object), gravity (dangling head first from the tallest piece of furniture he can climb), and shape and spacial discrimination (which item fits best in inappropriate places such as the dogs' ears, nose, and other orifices) to curb the pull of the blogosphere.

Speaking of experiments...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Keeping it out of reach

Phew! It has been a very busy past couple of weeks. I have so much to reflect on, record, and celebrate. New discoveries and happy get-togethers have been abundant and are ongoing. Once I get a chance to breathe, I will elaborate.

For now, here is something that I have recently been reminded of that is so very important. Every day is an opportunity to be better version of yourself. As difficult as it may sometimes be, start it fresh. Cleanse the palette. Forgive the indiscretions and forget the shortcomings of yesterday so you can move forward today.

In my line of work as a brain trainer, this positive attitude is crucial to success. Not merely my success, but to the success of my young clients. Most of the children and teens I work with have been through the gauntlet.

Many of our clients have some form of ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, are on the autism disorder, or have any other number of issues that cause moderate to severe learning and social problems. Due to their struggles, many of these bright but frustrated children often have behavior issues and low self-esteem.

Every child that walks through the door is completely unique with a different set of obstacles to overcome. Sadly, some of them hear more about their failures than their successes. Many of them have learned from teachers, friends, family, and others to aim for mediocrity, or to do whatever it takes just to get to the next step.

One thing I've learned from this job is to try to not set expectations. Learn to expect the unexpected. If I ask my clients only to do what I expect they can do, then that may be all I get in return. That would be the greatest disservice of all.

For example, I have had the privilege of working with some extremely challenging children in the past few months. By challenging, I mean oppositional.

One teenager had learned at school that misbehavior was "rewarded" by out of school suspension, where he could be lazy and fool around at home. He was bound and determined to prove that our program was some kind of farce or scam. He tried to get out of working through debate, complaining, and even making inappropriate conversation or remarks (yup, sexual in nature). He was hoping I would send him home to mommy. As much as I would have liked to relieve myself of this menace, I never buckled.

However, a couple of times I made the mistake of going to work with the expectation of little work getting done. Let's just say those sessions were a couple of the worst and longest sessions ever. That was my lesson in always going to work with a clean slate and an optimistic attitude.

Guess what?

That particular teenager yielded the best results (in cognitive gains) of all my clients to date at the end of his program.

Where would any of us be if we only set the bar within our reach?

The impossible can always be broken down into possibilities.
~Author Unknown

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Thursday, August 19, 2010


It's that time of the week again: Friday !!! Woo-hoo!!! That also means it's time for another edition of Five Question Friday with Mama M.

1. Do you have any nicknames and if so how did it come about?

Nothing exciting or interesting. DadMan calls me "L."

When I was a baby my mom called me "punkin' puss" -- endearing, I know. And I was the happy baby. My sister screamed her head off nonstop and she got "Snookums." What gives?

2. What is your birth order amongst your siblings?

I grew up as the oldest and exhibit the typical "first born" qualities. Responsible, independent, people-pleaser, got good grades, somewhat uptight, all that and a bag of chips.

The thing is, I found out when I was 22 that I am not the first born. Gasp! At least not to my father.
Not only that, but my brother is just two years older than me. Scandalous!

And for those of you who have been dying to put a face to the blog, that's yours truly on the right!

3. In a movie of your life, who would play your significant other?

Honestly, I can think of no one who could portray DadMan. He's one of a kind, that's for sure.

4. What is currently your favorite song?

Always has been and probably always will be: Stand By Me by Ben E. King

5. Are you saving your money for anything right now? Big or small purchase?

I wish I could say I was saving. We're pretty much paycheck to paycheck right now.

Well, I am trying to scrape a little stash together to get Dozer into a fun music or gymnastics toddler class. I've been feeling pretty guilty about the fact that he's stuck with adults most of the time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Where is This?

This is where I vacationed last summer. Let's see if you know where I went!

Linking up this Wordless Wednesday with Kristi at Live and Love... Out Loud and Alicia at A Beautiful Mess.