Friday, March 9, 2012


It seems as though I have a certain knack for choosing favorite things that get discontinued. My Mother has complained about having the same problem and now my daughter is showing signs of the same affliction as well. Could this odd predilection be hereditary? Could all three generations have such tastes apparently so far from the norm that we immediately and passionately gravitate towards things doomed for obsolescence?

I started pondering this personal phenomenon after one recent evening dining out with my little family. We had dinner in downtown Delray at one of my teenaged daughter’s favorite Italian chain restaurants. I perused the menu and noted immediately that the chicken dish that I usually order from this particular restaurant was now missing from the menu. I sighed resignedly and it was not without begrudging that I chose something else.

Later I started to make a list, flipping through my rolodex of memories for items, goods and places that were once dear to me and are no longer. Bear with me as I detail them – the list favors gastronomic delights and theme park memories…but perhaps you may see a forgotten old favorite or two of your own.

1. Revlon’s Line and Shine in Coffee – The concept was brilliant; a lip liner on one end and a richly colored, thick gloss on the other. The Coffee color was perfect for me, went well with my skin tone and dressed up my lips just enough. Until recently, I was able to find it on ebay. But now even if I can locate the product, it is not in my Coffee color.

2. California Pizza Kitchen’s Adobe Chicken Chowder – What a fabulous soup. Roasted corn, spices and chicken in a savory creamy base. Nothing not to love there. I used to treat myself to a cup of it, adorned with a few crunchy tortilla strips alongside of a large salad as a treat. That little combo was a big Friday afternoon lunchtime draw for me. Since its removal from the menu, I have only been back to CPK a handful of times. I find it is just too sad.

3. 6 Flags Atlantis Waterpark – Located in Hollywood, Florida, near Sterling Road, this waterpark (in my memories, at least) was massive and offered slides and water rides to rival anything that could be found in Orlando. I went several times during my Middle School years and even recall seeing Belinda Carlisle concert there in the early 90’s. 6 Flags opened around 1982 and closed after Hurricane Andrew caused irreparable damages in 1992. A Kmart now sits where the wave pool used to be.

4. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Speaking of parks and Orlando…this ride was my Mother’s absolute favorite in Disney. Compared to Space Mountain, the penultimate thrill ride at the time in the Magic Kingdom, it was relatively tame. But, Mom found it irresistible. I have such strong memories of my Mom and me hand in hand, making a beeline for the queue. The ride had a lot of whipping around and a portion of it that appeared to have the rider headed straight for an oncoming train, which was certainly anxiety inducing enough for little girl me and was probably my non-thrill-ride-liking Mom’s limit. A Buzz Light Year ride now stands there.

5. The Filet Skewers at Stonewood Tavern and Grill – Stonewood’s has been my go-to restaurant in Lake Mary, FL for over 10 years. I travel to Lake Mary frequently for work and usually treat my travel / work companions to a lovely dinner at Stonewoods. They have delicious private house wines, their salad dressing are made on the premises and the menu is beautifully diverse. Chicken, seafood, and gourmet salads but… aged steaks are their specialty. The skewers were just the perfect semi lighter fare. The skewers consisted of a few chunks of filet mignon roasted with green peppers, onions and tomatoes, sprinkled with rosemary. I continued to ask for the dish every time I went even after it was removed from the menu. I was obliged a few times, but the wait staff and now chefs have changed often enough so that now I am rewarded with only a blank stare when I ask.

6. Red River Fries at Dave and Busters – Before D & B had their cutesy ads on TV, my family (Mom, Dad and 4 sisters) used to go down to the South Florida location off of Sterling Rd, not far from where Atlantis (number 3) used to be located. We usually traveled down for sister # 4’s (Lara) birthday. I think that it was either the first or second time we visited that we ordered the Red River Fries as an appetizer. Um, YUM! It was my introduction to having fries (already carb and fat laden) smothered with anything, and in this case, it was 5 types of cheese. The appetizer disappeared from the menu by our 3rd visit (likely due to the multiple myocardial infarctions on the premises.)

7. Veggie Melt at Denny’s – Once upon a time, I used to go to clubs, mostly in Fort Lauderdale and I danced for hours. As I was 30 minutes from home, I didn’t drink much (actually nothing at all, besides an unfettered, sugar-laden fountain Coke.) But, I always needed to get my late night grub on at Denny’s. Most times I would go with a wing (wo)man. Sometimes it was just me…braving the bright lights and judgmental stares at Dennys in my “Club-Wear” in order to get my Veggie Melt fix at 2 AM. Two pieces of toasted wheat bread sandwiched an inexplicable combination of melted cheese, soft pieces of avocado and cold slices of tomato and lettuce leaves. I still have no idea how they got the combo of hot and cool just right, but they did. I was able to pull off the “do you remember old menu items” gig with servers and chefs for at least a year.

8. Underwear / Pajama store next to Victoria’s Secret in Town Center– This is the one where I cannot remember the name of the store and can’t find any references via Google. In the early 2000’s, an underwear store sprung up right next to Victoria’s Secret in Boca Raton’s Town Center . Actually, I think that the Pink store stands there now. But, back when a Mom and Pop store had the cojones to set up shop next to the VS behemoth, I was impressed. I bought several nightgowns and matching PJs for myself and Taylor before they closed doors…about a year after they opened.

9. Circus World – My childhood is littered with memories that my parents made for us at the Mouse House. (See above Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride reference.) But, Circus World was a new up and coming park in the early 80’s. My parents took me there. I went there with classmates. I walked on a tightrope there . As an adolescent, I never imagined that Circus World might not be a lasting destination. I would have loved to have taken Taylor there. After several changing of hands and names, it was shut down in 1986.

10. Aura Science – Until I hit middle age, I had always been very lackadaisical in my approach to skin care, even despite the early skin cancer scare I had. During the Christmas holiday of 2003, my sister, Michelle (#3) introduced me to the beauty of skin care and bought me the full line of Aura Science’s Phase II. I loved the feeling of the products on my face and even more, I loved the compliments on my complexion and how my skin smelled. Oooooh, the products had such a yummy, warm and fresh smell. Just that olfactory incentive alone incented me to wash my face religiously. Aura Science was discontinued around late 2005. This is another product that I can find only occasionally on ebay.

11. Diet Vanilla Pepsi – I LOVE Pepsi, and favor it over Coke products. Just as I love Vanilla over Chocolate when given a choice. So, when Pepsi introduced diet Vanilla Pepsi, I assumed that that ours was to be a long love affair. Notsomuch. Apparently Vanilla flavored diet soda was not a winner within Pepsi’s test groups. I stalked grocery chains to find sleeves of Diet Pepsi Vanilla for a few months…then, it disappeared, apparently another casualty in the ongoing Cola wars.

12. Promise Activ Super Shots – The Cuban blood in me runs very strong. Much of it I am grateful for. A strong, loyal, opinionated personality, a steely work-ethic, expressive features, and…longevity. (My Grandfather, Papi passed last year at 103, his own Mother at 104, his wife, my “Nina” is still kicking it at 94) However, my blood is indeed ‘thicker’ than water. A predisposition for high cholesterol runs in this side of the family. My Nina had surgery to clear out her arteries around 14 years ago and her son, my Daddy, had a quintuple bypass in December of 2004. So, when my own numbers started to tick up a couple of years ago, I radically changed my eating habits and looked towards alternative solutions. The Promise Activ Super Shots were little shots of liquid yogurt that contained plant sterols. Combined with a diet heavy on fruits and veggies plus these little shots, I was able to knock down my bad cholesterol number by 100 points. Inexplicably and sadly the Super Shots were discontinued. My online research yielded articles that fuel my conspiracy-theory opinion as to the why.

I do mourn and talk about my no-longer-available favorites. My knack for picking things doomed for obsolescence is now a semi-funny known joke for loved ones and friends. (My daughter once pleaded with me NOT to like something, because she knew that if I did, it would disappear.)

I am curious to know if others have experienced this discontinuation phenomenon. Have there been goods, places or menu items that you loved that have disappeared? Or, am I just a freak of nature who gravitates towards things that will soon be eradicated?

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I’ll never forget that he chose me.

As an adult, until that day that I met Lucky, I had previously been a cat person. Save the one wonderful dog (Daisy) from my childhood, I had always been around cats.

So when a 50 pound, spotted Dalmatian mix kept jumping into my car’s passenger seat every time I left a certain boyfriend’s home circa the year 2000 – all I thought was, “oh, no…I don’t know what to do with a dog!”

My then boyfriend, Brian, a committed animal lover, had rescued Lucky and was keeping him until a “forever home” could be found. Lucky at the time was very feisty and true to his part Dalmatian nature, very crotchety. Lucky felt that it was his calling to be ‘top dog.’ But, as Brian already had Rascal, a beautiful Belgian Malinois, Lucky felt like a second class citizen and was definitely not okay with his status. He was constantly growly around Rascal and itching for a fight.

And during the time I dated him, every time I left Brian’s house, Lucky ran out and jumped into the passenger seat of my car…with his front paws folded over and clearly suggesting in his stance, “Let’s get the fuck up on out of here!”

Eventually, Lucky stopped going back to Brian’s house and so did I. Brian and I broke up a short time later and I kept Lucky by default.

Blending Lucky into my home was not easy. My then 6 year old daughter was delighted with having a dog. However, she had two strikes against her in Lucky’s eyes. She was a child (and therefore deserving of suspicion - again he was true to his Dalmatian roots) and she was a competitor for my affection. We did everything short of tying a pork chop for Taylor to drag around behind her to help in fostering any affection in him for her. (Wait – we may have done that!) In the end, the best antidote was time. Taylor grew, older, wiser and in height and eventually he saw her as another leader in our pack and ceased his petty growling with her.

When Lucky first came to live with us he was not neutered. This lead to more than one episode of him running off in search of a mate whose promises of pleasure he smelled in the breeze. I remember a neighbor from two developments away bringing him back after one of his walkabouts in search of a good time.

A funny memory I have of that time is when I finally did have him neutered in the hopes that it would keep him more of a homebody and somewhat less cantankerous. I gave Taylor the plain, but age appropriate explanation of what neutering our dog meant, and what changes we might expect or hope for. I took Lucky with me to pick up Taylor from school a couple of days later, shortly after his “snip.” He surveyed the elementary school children waiting to be picked up and uttered a continual stream of a guttural growl that Taylor heard when she got into the passenger seat. Taylor settled and buckled herself in. After listening to Sir Growly-Guts for a bit she sighed, “Mom, the ‘balls thing’ didn’t work.”

I am pretty sure that during those years when it was just the three of us (5 if you include the two cats we had) that Lucky served as a protector and guardian. While other homes in my neighborhood had been broken into...ours was untouched. Likely Lucky's greeting grin didn't come off as a welcome to any potential burglars.

And he did grin…every night that I would get home I was greeted with a toothy grimace that was Lucky’s way of saying, “Hello! Glad you’re home! Thought you’d never get here!”

Then came Donnie.

My now husband moved from upstate New York to South Florida to live with Taylor and I in October of 2004. Lucky was used to sleeping in bed with me back then, his head on the pillow next to mine. Though he had become grudgingly accepting of Taylor, he had NO intentions of giving up his favorite spot in the bed right next to me. That first night was a nightmare. Lucky positioned himself on the bed next to me and Donnie told him to move over. There was growling, snarling and yelling. Then Donnie and Lucky took the fight outside (of the bedroom.) Whatever happened (neither of them ever told) – Donnie had taken position as lead in the pack. And from that moment on, Lucky and Donnie were best buddies.

Donnie is a dog person and Lucky really benefited from that.

After Donnie and I married in 2007, I flirted with the idea of having another baby. As a tonic to this notion, we instead got a Chihuahua puppy for our first anniversary in April of 2008. We were extremely nervous about how Lucky would react to the new addition.

We soon saw that our fears were for naught. Lucky was patient, gentle and kind with Minnie. He showed her where to “go” outside, what is okay to bark at and other proper doggie behaviors. We couldn’t have asked for a better teacher for Minnie. And, Minnie seemed to have a positive effect on Lucky. He had a renewed bounce in his step and both Donnie and I remarked how he seemed to act younger.

However, over the past 18 months Lucky has had a slow but marked decline.

At first, he failed to be able to jump into bed with us. A trampled, circled space in between us on the bed had been his spot. Once he had several failed times, we made him a comfy bed next to ours.

Then he fell down the stairs a few times. He loved being with and following us throughout our home. But once he took a few hair-raising tumbles down the stairs, we blocked off the stairway. To make him feel less lonely, we spent many nights sleeping on the couches downstairs to be with him.

Then he started to lose control of his bowels. Lucky had previously always been fastidious in that regard. I knew that it embarrassed and pained him to leave a mess. But after several episodes where our furniture was involved, we regulated him into the kitchen and dining area of our home.

Then he lost complete control of his bladder. So we were forced to limit him to just the dining room. We hated it as much as he did and turned to our vet for answers.

With crossed fingers and heavy hearts, we started rounds of steroids and other medications for Lucky under our vet's supervision 5 weeks ago.

Nothing helped or made any difference.

With the understanding and blessing of our vet, we made yesterday’s appointment a few days ago. While that may sound calculated, I was grateful to have this Thanksgiving with him. Lucky had his fill of turkey, stuffing and any other treat he wanted.

I was very proud that my now 16 year old daughter opted to be part of yesterday’s heart-wrenching farewell. This is not easy for any of us and it is in a teenager’s nature to hide their head in the sand. But my Tay, in her stoic nature, came with us and stayed with us and Lucky through the very end. I am so proud of her. Owning and loving a pet is really fun – until the end, saying goodbye, which is the really hard part. And she demonstrated incredible maturity.

All three of us drove him there, cuddled him and pet him during his last moments. The details are morbid and horrific, so I will spare you.

Lucky was an incredible, complex and loving dog. He made me feel safer during my years as a single Mom and protected me and my daughter. He completely fell in love with my husband who ceaselessly cared for him, particularly during his older years. He taught our beloved Chihuahua, Minnie how to be a proper, house-broken dog (and unfortunately passed along his fear of thunderstorms.) He was fiercely loyal and loving towards us, his “pack” family.

There will never be another dog like him. He was one of a kind.

And, he was a converter. He made me, a former cat-owner into a dog lover.

Dearest Lucky – I hope you are jumping after squirrels and rabbits right now, with the bouncy legs that you once had. And, that you are getting to spoon and snuggle close with someone until we are reunited with you.

I will never forget that you CHOSE me – I don’t know why you did, but for that, I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It takes a village...or an Island

Life has been frenetic around these parts, for sure. I have had a couple of very close friends sadly move very far away. One of whom, I helped in driving her back to her hometown in Tennessee. I have been travelling for work (which I will do more of in the coming weeks.) October heralded both of my parent’s birthdays, my daughter’s Sweet Sixteenth and my parents anniversary (which they celebrated at Fantasy Fest in Key West!) When we rounded the corner of November, my husband celebrated 42 years on this good green Earth making him the same age as me after our annual 6 week 1 year age disparity. (The duration of which he never fails to call me a cougar at least once.) My sister-in-law came to visit us last weekend from Maine, which was wonderful and activity-filled.

I have been making plans for upcoming holidays and vacations. Early December I go to NYC for a seminar which I will lengthen slightly to see a friend in New Jersey. Spring Break 2012 I will be in Orlando with Taylor and her BFF. Donnie and I will celebrate 5 years of wedded bliss in Las Vegas in April.

However, Key West and my connection there is never far from my mind. With scheduled time off reaching into summer of next year I often wondered when…oh when…will I get to visit my adopted hometown again?

I feel the pull even more keenly due to some recent events.

A local Key West and nationally featured photographer and acquaintance of mine, Rob O’Neal, was involved in a scooter (his) versus an automobile (a tourist) accident a week ago. You don’t have to be a statistician to know which vehicle wins in that scenario. Rob was badly injured and is now at a hospital in Miami. He is facing surgeries, rehabilitation and a lot of recovery time. You can see his beautiful work here:

As I pull for Rob in his recovery and pray for his speedy return to doing what he does best on the island of Key West, I am truly heartened.

Via Social Media (namely Facebook) I have watched as “my” adopted community of Key West has quickly circled the wagons. You would think that in such a touristy and transitional area that the idea of being neighborly would be hard to come by. Not the case here – Good people have set up a Facebook page to manage official updates, organized benefits and coordinated drop offs and donations. Local businesses have offered their space, goods and services to benefit the cause for Rob.

The flurry of activities and the clear sense of community makes me so incredibly proud. Well, at least adjacently so. While I am not yet even a freshwater conch (a new resident of Key West can’t become one until after 7 years of residence), I still feel that I am a part of this vibrant, loving, accepting, creative and loyal society.

My last visit “home” to Key West was with a friend, Janet and my sister, Michelle last June of this year. Michelle had travelled there with me before and Janet had been there previously but not with me. After pedaling endlessly through the streets and hearing my well-worn anecdotes about Key West, Janet said to me, “These are your people!” She went on to say how lucky I was that I had found a place…a commune of like-minded people that I feel connected to. She is right. I count several residents as good, true friends. People who treat friendship, connection and kinship as sacred. I found my voice as a writer due to one of those connections.

And I do feel fortunate for that.

As you have read in this blog or heard me say, Key West holds my heart. Now more than ever. Please visit Rob’s page, purchase one of his 2012 calendars,
or simply include him in your thoughts and prayers.

One Human Family is the motto of Key West.  It has become mine as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In Memoriam

Cliff’s passing was sudden and very sad. Below is a story that I had written a couple of years ago. I really like this memory of him and it is what I will read if I am asked to speak at his memorial.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Late one night a couple of weeks previous to the above date, I was in our downstairs bathroom and heard some skittering and scratching behind the wall. I came out of the bathroom into our dining / kitchen area and saw a tail disappearing behind the oven vent that runs along the top of our kitchen cabinets.  I was completely freaked and told my husband, Donnie about it the next morning. Much to my irritation, he was a little dismissive. However, he too heard, but did not see, whatever it was a few nights later. Soon after his auditory confirmation of an uninvited guest, he went about setting up some “humane” rodent traps in the area where I told him I had seen the “tail.” I did not share any of this with my then 13 year old daughter, Taylor as I did not want to get her all freaked out as well.

That balmy April 4th Saturday evening we were hosting my good friend, Janna and her new boyfriend, Cliff over for tapas and cocktails. While the four of us were sitting on our patio chatting, Taylor was sitting on the computer in the living room. (Watching Jonas Brothers videos on You Tube, I am sure.) Suddenly, Taylor came outside and said, “Mom, there is something in the cabinet making noise.” I said something to the effect of:

“don’t worry about it…didn’t want to tell you, but we think we might have a mouse…Donnie has put some traps down…no big deal.”

But she insisted that I come in to hear what was going on, and so I did.

Inside, standing in my home at the edge of my kitchen it sounded as though a 250 pound lumberjack was thrashing around on top of the kitchen cabinets. (She was mistaken when she thought the noise was coming from IN the cabinets.) I came outside and told Donnie, “It’s bad, come inside.” My friend Janna has a ‘first responder’ type instinct, so she immediately leapt up and was followed closely by Cliff.

All 5 (Donnie, Taylor, Cliff, Janna and me) of us stood in the entry to the kitchen and were witness to the thrashing about and then the poked-up head up of some sort of rodent up there.

Upon seeing the thrashing rodent, Janna started screaming, which kicked off my own special brand of high pitched screaming. Taylor started screaming as well and stood on an ottman clutching Minnie, our Chihuahua, to her chest. Lucky, our Dalmatian started barking and jumping around. It was a melee.

I watched as Cliff picked up a chair and started to head towards the corner of the kitchen where the noise was coming from. I understood his intent immediately. He was going to stand on that chair, reach up and grab the intruder in the trap. With this knowledge and having no desire to have a part of mission-catch-a-rodent, I fled back outside to the patio with Taylor in tow. Janna was close behind us. My daughter loudly whispered to Janna, “Your boyfriend is crazy!”

A few minutes later, Cliff confidently strode out of the house and carried the vermin (which I insisted was a mouse, even though everyone else had seen it and had identified it as a RAT) to our community’s dumpster. My trying-to-be-helpful-and-now-semi-emasculated-husband was right behind him.

Ugh, how nice. Nothing like a rodent break-dancing above the cabinets in your kitchen to get a dinner party going. So much for me trying to be the consummate hostess. I wondered if Janna and Cliff would ever come back for dinner.

As they were leaving that night, Cliff leaned in and told me somewhat ominously, “Where there is one, there are usually more.” And of course, he was right.


That is one of my funniest and strongest memories of Cliff and I think is one that kind of sums him up as I knew him. He was cool, calm and collected in times of crisis. He was generous in his actions. And he was sage and wise about many things. I witnessed his kindnesses towards my soul sister, Janna on many occasions. I knew him to be adverse to adversity, a lover of animals, a student of nutrition and cleansing, a fellow reader and lover of books. And all in all – just a nice man.

The post script to the mouse (aka rat) story is that Janna and Cliff did brave coming over to our home again. Several times. As a matter of fact, the four of us had many happy times together. The most recent was a weekend afternoon trip to the movies not too long ago. All of us were on bikes; Janna and Cliff on the Harley and Donnie and I on our little Vespa. We had a lovely enjoyable day filled with camaraderie and laughter. I remember with clarity how Cliff and Donnie were chatting away in the lobby of the movie theater found each other to be movie soul-mates.

Cliff, we miss you. Wherever you are - may you find the best books to read, the best gyms to work out in, the best movies to watch and the best friends to do these things with. Until we join you.

May peace and love be with you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Tenth Anniversary - Never Forget

Yes, I will never forget.

• That morning at my new (7 months then, now 10.5 years) job.

• and being down due to the huge unexpected traffic to their sites.

• The co-worker that has a sibling as a pilot and was awash in worry.

• The corporate e-mail allowing employees to leave at 11 AM.

• Picking up my sweet 5 (now 15) year old daughter from school early.

• Trying to shield her from my crying and shaking.

• Talking to my then friend and now husband who called from the Orlando airport where he was scheduled to fly from there to Boston.

• Spending the rest of the day watching news updates in horror.

I spent a moment in silence this morning honoring all who lost their lives on that beautiful September day 10 years ago.

And I thank and genuflect in gratitude to all of those who fight for my freedom. I spent this Sunday lazing around, going to the market and readying for the upcoming work week. I was able to do this freely thanks to those who are actively fighting to keep the evil and hate at bay.

Make sure you kiss your loved ones and tell them how much you love them. Every day. I know I will.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Quitcherbitchen (a nod to Teri Garr)

(The above is a great shot that Taylor took which showcases her talent and includes the puzzle mentioned in the below post)

I spent some time this morning feeling down, whining and kvetching due to some double-whammy news I received yesterday. I was bemoaning the fact that much of my “disposable” (ha) income for the next few weeks will be going towards roof repair and my daughter’s wisdom teeth needing to be pulled.

Then my kvetching amplified.

My Boo-hoos:

I haven’t had time to write…work is so unrelentingly busy…my home is a mess…I am so unappreciated…I work out every day and no one notices…nobody likes me and I’m gonna go eat worms.

And no, smart asses, I am not PMSing right now.

After spilling my tale of woe to a good friend, she gave me some much needed chiding.

The roof repairs? Are BECAUSE I have a roof over my head. Taylor’s dental work? Is BECAUSE I have a beautiful, healthy daughter. My life is fine…and in fact it is actually very comfortable.

This brought me back from Planet Bitches-O-Lot.

My gripes are clearly of the ‘First World’ variety. (As opposed to the Third World kind – lack of clean water to drink, dubious shelter, not knowing where your meals will come from or even if they will come, fearing for your own life and the lives of your children…and so many other worries that thankfully are not part of my everyday reality.)

I look around me this evening. Husband obsessively finishing a puzzle. Daughter ‘allowing’ me to make her a quick dinner, which she consumes while watching her step-father and I triumphantly throw the last pieces of the puzzle into place.

We all have our health. We have an incredible, loving family and dear friends spreading wide on both sides of our nucleus.

I won’t remember having to fix the roof or pay for Tay’s dental work in 5 years time.


What I will recall in 5 years and what will stay with me are all of the other small things, the tangibles and intangibles of being blessed.

In other words I need to quitcherbitchen.

I promise will post about my emotional reunion with Taylor and our subsequent stay in a beautiful home on a Lake in Maine – I just had the moment of passion to write about my state of mind right now.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Being Annoyed & Teenage Werewolf

About a year ago, I read a really great book about parenting a teenaged daughter. My friend JP had recommended it, while we were perusing the shelves at our local Barnes & Noble, as she had seen some positive reviews about it. As the book was located in the Parenting section, I initially demurred. I am not typically one for anything that smacks of “self help.”

However, the subject matter was close to my bleeding, worn and ragged Mom-of-a-Teen heart and the premise was very interesting.

My Teenage Werewolf by Lauren Kessler is about her journey with her own pre-teen and teenage daughter. As writer with an anthropological focus and as a Mom with a vested interest, Lauren vividly details the rocky, desperate and loved filled trip.

Most amazingly (to me), in the name of research, she actually shadowed her daughter to school. She tagged behind her in the hallways of Middle School, catching snippets of conversation and sat in the backs of classrooms, a front row observer of the class and caste system of her daughter’s Middle School life.

I just found that to be so, so…cool. And brave. On both of their parts.

The book was extremely well written, kept my “I Don’t Like Books From the Parenting Section” attention easily, was thought provoking, relevant and made me tear up with it’s spot on authenticity.

After finishing the book, I looked online and found that the author, Lauren Kessler has a blog. Her daughter is a very occasional contributor. (Again, how cool!)

Because I am a geeky reader and favorite writers are my celebrities, I followed her blog. Sometimes I commented on it – and I was thrilled when Lauren responded.

A few weeks ago, I spent one Friday evening (much like this one) catching up on my favorite blogs. Lauren’s entry on her ‘My Teenage Werewolf’ caught my attention. The title was On Being Annoying and was a mini-rant about macro and micro irritations with her now older (but still a teen) daughter. At the close of her post she solicited comments from other Moms to tell tales of woe and annoyance.

So I did. Below is my comment:

Now that Taylor is almost 16, our ‘werewolf’ years have started to improve. 
Similar to the baptism by fire of entering them three years ago, I am now noticing that she is demonstrating occasional flashes of the (nicer) woman she will become. 
However, we are not out of the thicket of teenagedom yet, so here are my top three annoyances:

#3. Earbud(s) I am with you on those little cochlear implants. Only in my case, it is just one. Taylor likes to position one bud in her left ear…hidden by her hair. I, like you Lauren, listen to talk radio in the morning on the way to school. And I know that she does this (the one bud) specifically so that she can CHOOSE which information stream / music she prefers at any given moment. This includes selectively hearing her Mother’s voice.

#2. Recognition. I grew up as the first of 5 daughters. There were not a lot of extras for any one child. But as an only child, Taylor has traveled extensively. She has wanted for very little. She has an iPhone and wears trendy hypster attire. She is attending an exclusive camp in Maine. I have sacrificed and worked hard to ensure that she gets the best education, medical care and extracurricular activities. When she takes these things for granted…it makes me crazy.

#1. The bedroom wastebasket. I realize this can sound trite given numbers 2 and 3. But, bear with me. She has a wastebasket in her bedroom. She drinks soda in her room (which I have asked her not to do.) She chucks empty cans and paper plates into that wastebasket until it overflows…and apparently expects the trash can fairy to deal with it.
I keep up with the wastebaskets in every other room – I naively expected that she would routinely empty hers. Not so.
Last Tuesday found us having to eat dinner out…so we could bomb her room for all of the ants who had rightfully laid claim to her bedroom – given all of the empty soda cans and all!

It wasn’t until this evening, when I had the time to catch up on my blogs again that I realized that my little mini tome had been mentioned in Lauren’s most recent post entitled ‘More Annoying Stories.’ She referenced the previous post and her entreaties to the blogosphere to share stories. She shared the the entries she had received from other Moms, and had something special to say about my own contribution:

In the she’s a slob category, there were a number of vivid tales involving overly ripe gym socks, cosmetic encrusted wash cloths, Doritos-ed bed sheets and post-snack kitchens that looked post-tornado. However, my absolute favorite story in this category – one that put in perspective my own daughter’s horribly annoying habit of blanketing her room with wet towels – came from a mother who had to bug bomb her daughter’s room. The girl chucked empty soda cans and paper plates into her bedroom waste basket (It goes without saying, doesn’t it, that she isn’t supposed to have food in her room.? It also goes without say, but I’m saying it anyway, that she never empties the waster basket.) The room was overrun by ants…thus the aforementioned bug bomb.

At first, I was SO excited ! My comments were mentioned in a blog…a blog by a favorite writer! My initial enthusiasm about being mentioned was very quickly tempered…with the humbling realization that my story had been picked as a “best of the worst.”


Oh well, so my kid is a slob…no news there. But apparently writing about it is blog-worthy.

Post Script: Cleaning out and re-arranging her room last weekend (which required multiple trash bags for the refuse I found under her bed) was an exercise in patience.

But - I still can’t wait to see her. (In 15 Days)