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“You’re Mean” Summer Camp


If I had a dollar for every time my kids said, “you’re mean,” I would have enough money to open a “You’re Mean” Summer Camp. The mission of the camp would be to make kids stop and think before they choose to make such a comment.
No electronics will be allowed at camp, so kiss your MacBook, iPhone and Xbox goodbye. The camp offers a selection of morning activities. Kids can choose room cleaning or laundry folding. This will be followed by an hour of circle time during which an expert in the field of household stains will give a lecture. Just to be clear, the lecture will cover stain removal, not how to make the stains, as most kids are already very good at that.
Believe it or not, “You’re Mean” Summer Camp provides lunch. Campers may indulge in the all-you-can-eat buffet of toast and carrots. Although no chocolate milk or lemonade is available, water will be given to those who commit to washing their own cup when finished.
In the afternoon, campers will be assigned to scoop poop, change the litter box, or clean the fish tank based on the pet survey submitted by their mean parents. Afterwards, there is an hour nap time that is strictly enforced so that the counselors can actually sit down and have a moment of peace. Children too old to nap will be given a dictionary in the hopes they can improve their vocabulary beyond the word “mean”.
The final activity of the afternoon will be a training session. Campers will listen to phrases such as: “You can’t have a playdate today” and “No you may not have ice cream right now”. They will practice responding with “OK Mom” until they can say it with a bright sunny smile.
Of course this camp has water sports, as every camper is required to shower at the end of the day. Additionally, no child is allowed to leave until they have brushed AND flossed their teeth. With these tortuous tasks complete, campers are released to their parents. The younger children are generally pleased to see Mom and Dad, while the older campers are relieved to have their phones back and immediately post a tragic selfie to Instagram.


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Shopping Mall Irritation

I love to shop, but like anything you love, there are always a few things that also drive you crazy about it. Here are my top five pet peeves.
1. Pink by Victoria’s Secret – this whole concept bothers me. Let’s sell sexy undies and bras to teenagers! And let’s show it on models who will make the average teenage girl feel like a whale in comparison! I feel so overwhelmed by all the lace and bright colors. Sometimes a girl just needs a nude colored undergarment, but good luck finding that here. What is a teenager to wear under her white Abercrombie skinny jeans? Please don’t let it be the panties from Pink that say “Thank You for Visiting” across the butt. I wish I were kidding, but I have actually seen them.
2. Those kiosk people who want to ask you questions – Please, please, please don’t try to sell me your hair, skin, or make up product. I just want to walk through the mall without being hassled. I am set in my ways. I go to the Clinique counter when it is bonus time and that is it!
3. The American Girl Doll Hair Salon – Don’t get me started on how overpriced this whole store is. At least it is a wholesome product that does not involve some kind of screen or technology. However, the hair salon kills me. And yet, one day during the Christmas holidays my daughter’s doll stood in line for over three hours to get her hair done to the tune of $20. In my defense, my daughter had a gift card because I swore I would never spend good money on a doll hair do.
4. Everything in the store is 40% off – Of course I like 40% off. It’s almost as good as 50% off. But now so many stores (Ann Taylor) run this type of special, that I feel I can’t shop there at other times. What kind of fool would I be if I bought something at 20% off, or god forbid, full price? Even more irritating is the 40% off one full-priced item (Banana Republic). Suck me into the store, and of course there is more than one full-priced item I like.
5. Marshall’s – Good bargains abound here, and I am not above slogging through some trash to find them. It’s just that once you have finally located your little gem of discount merchandise, you have to pay for it. The checkout line stretches for miles. They even have a computerized voice calling out the number to the next clerk. Inevitably, I over estimate how long it will take to find anything good and leave myself only ten minutes to check out. Good luck sister!

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The Waffle Taco


It sounds so bad, but I really can’t slam it until I try it. So calories and good sense be damned. I’m going to Taco Bell for breakfast.

As I open the nifty cardboard container, I suddenly feel like I am on an episode of Man vs. Food. Can I really eat all of this? The folded waffle contains scrambled eggs and a sausage patty, topped with cheese and bacon. Taco Bell also provides a side of syrup.

First bite: I opt for no syrup to get started. The waffle itself is surprisingly crisp. I thought it might have gotten soggy on the car ride to my house, but it actually has a pleasing texture. The mixture of eggs and sausage tastes good with the waffle.

Second bite: Now I am getting to the part with the cheese and bacon topping. Not sure how all these flavors will meld, I take a tentative bite. It’s pretty good, as are most things topped with cheese and bacon.

Third bite: Going for it, I dip the whole thing in syrup. It’s crunchy, savory, sweet, and fairly delicious!

Bites five, six and seven: Continuing with the syrup, I enjoy this crazy waffle taco.

Eighth bite: I am starting to feel a little sick and throw in the towel, leaving behind about a third of the taco. It’s just too much. I think without the bacon and cheese, I could go on, but what would be the point?

The final question is: would I get a waffle taco again some morning? Even though it tasted pretty good, the answer is no. If I am going to lose my mind and eat something that fattening for breakfast, they better at least let me get a Diet Coke. But alas, Taco Bell only serves Pepsi.

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Deliver Me From Disney

It’s officially summer. My kids have worked hard all year, and I am looking forward to some well deserved down time for all of us. I have a lot of goals for the summer: hang out at the pool, take a vacation, play games, see some movies, and just relax. Also a number one priority is minimizing my exposure to the mindless drivel constantly spewed forth by the Disney Channel.

My kids could sit around and watch this obnoxious programming all day. These shows are so lacking in intelligence that I find it painful to be in the same room when it’s on. And there is no relief if they change the channel to Nick.

Let’s see if I can get the formula right. We need a fashionista female character, a book smart nerdy character, an oddball character, and possibly a troublemaker or really dumb character. For extra fun, we could throw in a lazy butler or a talking dog. Preferably one or both parents will be out of the picture for some reason. Just add an absurd plot line and a laugh track, and you are good to go.

What I really miss are the nice preschool shows. Kids could watch a little Dora and learn some Spanish. I am pretty sure parts of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse were educational. Maisy didn’t even have any talking. How peaceful! If I am lucky, I can get my younger daughter to watch Sophia the First. (I love anything Tim Gunn does.)

It’s too bad there aren’t educational shows for tweens and teens on Disney. What if Austin and Ally wrote a song explaining the Pythagorean Theorem? Jessie could teach all those Ross kids about direct and indirect objects. Stan could write a dog blog about genetics.

Of course, if that happened, my kids would probably lose interest in the shows. So if you see me at Hobby Lobby stocking up on art supplies, you will know I am valiantly pursuing alternative indoor activities. Have a great summer!

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Pondering at Target

Here are the top 5 things I wonder when I’m at Target
1. Am I the only one talking to myself in the frozen food aisle?
As I peruse the cases for the Market Pantry mini chicken sandwiches (which my family prefers to anything fresh I cook), I like to mumble to myself about the weighty decisions of the day. For example, should I send my daughter to swim team practice or cheerleading practice? She can’t do both, so which is more important? I can mutter about the pros and cons for several minutes while finding the Morningstar breakfast sausage (which counts as a vegetable in my house). After sixteen years of marriage, I have learned that my husband has no interest in this minutia. Really only the frozen food and my mom care to listen. God bless her.

2. What would happen if I checked out for less than $100?
I am pretty sure Citibank would call me suspecting fraud because they would assume it wasn’t me. A charge for $28 – impossible! It seems that even if I enter the store with only three items on my list, by the time I leave, I have loaded up my cart. My weakness is the workout clothes. Compared to Lululemon (where my twelve-year-old shops), the fitness clothes at Target are practically free.

3. What would happen if I ate the Planter’s Men’s Health nut mix?
I am fairly certain I would not grow “nuts” (no pun intended), so what is so special about this mix for men? And more importantly, why isn’t there a Women’s Health nut mix?


4. What would my kids say if I dyed the ends of my blonde hair a nice pitch black?
I believe they would call me “goth” and assume I am doing drugs. I have a double piercing on my left ear, so I am halfway there already. I would generally say Target is not the best place to shop for a new hairstyle.

5. If I wore tan pants and a red shirt, would people think I work here?
I would not be willing to do this experiment at my neighborhood store, but I could drive to Pasadena and see what happens. Maybe I will attempt to get an employee discount. I am feeling like a new sports bra would really motivate me to work out more!


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Sit Ups or Pie


As I stand in the checkout line at the pharmacy, I notice all the beautiful magazines tempting me with their glossy covers and provocative headlines.  I consider which one to buy.

I should be able to choose quickly, right?  I love recipe magazines, so I immediately narrow it down to either Cakes and Pies or Food Network.  That burger looks like it is topped with curly fries and ball park nacho cheese.  I crave ball park nacho cheese and might even suffer through an Astros home game to get some.

On the other hand, that ice cream pie with the chocolate and nut topping looks pretty darn good.  Plus they promise me 149 other top rated recipes.  I am not familiar with this magazine, but am guessing all the recipes are for cakes, pies, or some other similar sweet treat.  At this point, I even contemplate buying both.

I stand back a little to think and am bombarded by “Strip Away Fat”, “Drop Two Sizes” and “Shrink Your Belly”.  It hits me that if I buy both the food magazines and make the nacho cheese burger and 150 cakes or pies, that I will surely need to come back and buy all these fitness magazines.  Well – maybe not the men’s one, but certainly the other two.  Sounds like a conspiracy of the magazine journalism industry.

So perhaps I will skip the food magazines and get one of the healthy publications.  One promises to tell me the perks of eating carbs such as pasta, potatoes and bread.  That seems to go against all common sense, but I am sure I can be convinced to go along with that diet plan.  The other magazine cover offers me “the sex you want – every time”.

So it comes down to eating carbs with no fear or having great sex.  That’s not a decision I am prepared to make as the clerk says my prescription is ready.  On impulse, I grab the InStyle — because who doesn’t need 244 no-cost outfit ideas?


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Song Lyrics

I have always loved singing along to the radio when I’m in my car. Many years ago, George Michael and I spent some quality time together on my frequent road trips between Fort Worth and Austin. I usually stopped in Waco for some caffeine and then got back in my hatch back Honda, turning up “Careless Whisper” as I shifted into first.

After I had kids, I remember singing along with Lady Antebellum, “It’s a quarter after one. I’m a little drunk and I need you now.” Suddenly it hit me that I needed to censor the lyrics I played for the small ears in the back seat.

Kelly Clarkson’s “Break Away” will always bring up a vision of my girls sitting in their car seats, singing at the top of their lungs. That was a favorite for a solid year; only occasionally displaced by the soundtrack to the Barbie movie “Princess and the Pauper.”

More recently, I have embarrassed myself by singing along to Imagine Dragons. I confidently crooned, “ready to rock you.” My daughter started laughing and said, “Mom, it’s Radioactive”.

Both girls were still telling that story, when I one upped myself by singing, “I came in like a rainbow” to the Miley Cyrus song “Wrecking Ball”. They thought that was hysterical and were quick to point out that rainbow doesn’t even make sense in that sentence.

Now my older daughter can sit in the front seat and frequently takes over the radio controls. Luckily my car is old, and she can’t plug her phone in for audio, or I am sure I would be assaulted by Lil’ Mama singing, “my lip gloss be popping”. I truly cannot take that.

One day a few weeks ago, I had the radio tuned to a country station. My daughter was checking her Instagram in the front seat next to me. When she heard Joe Nichols sing, “Tequlia Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” the look on her face was priceless.


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