table-top high chair candid resale

 Just like your city, my city has a multitude of Facebook groups where you can post your buy/sell/iso items. These are my actual posts. I removed some of the details, but these are my items listed for sale along with my pictures partnered with my words.

Table-Top High Chair
$5 Sheboygan, Wisconsin

This sturdy, portable high chair is great for traveling during the holidays. I mean, really, you can’t expect your parents to buy a high chair just because you are finally coming home for Thanksgiving. After all these years. With a new girlfriend. That they’ve never met. And a kid.

Come on, be self-sufficient. It’s time.

All it takes is five dollars for your parents to see you’ve finally manned up.

table top high chair

NaBloPoMo November 2015

assorted disney book collections candid resale

Read to your children, they said.
It will bring you closer, they said.

What they didn’t say was by reading the same stories night after night after night would have you opening a beer the second your children were tucked in and sound asleep.

Here’s what I learned, these Disney Collections saved my ass on more than one occasion. The books are thick and your kid will think,  “I have conned them into reading to me until the sun comes up in the morning because I am that powerful and they love me so much!”

But in reality, the books are actually full of short stories with lots of pictures. Finish one awesome story and you are one step closer to your first bottle of beer.

I’ve got these Disney Collection books available:

Disney Princess Collection, Love and Friendship Stories. That one is available for a mere five dollars because the binding shows wear and tear and some pages are just a little wrinkled. You’re still looking at 18 stories for $5. What can I say, I’m a giver.

Disney Animal Stories. This book is available for a just five bucks, too. The front two pages are loose. Now think it over, these damn animal stories are like a roller coaster. Your emotions are up and then down and then up again. It’s a lot for a mom or dad to handle after a full day of parenting. That’s still a good price, $5 for 10 stories. Each story in this book is about ten pages. Pace yourself. No need to be a hero and read two stories in one night.

Toy Story Storybook Collection. Sticker price on this one is $15 and that was from maybe Costco so you know that was a fair price because Costco is cool that way. Here’s the deal, this book is in new condition. Never even read this one becauseI was burnt out. By the time my kids got to be this age, I tucked them in and grabbed a beer. True story. I’m going to need $10 for this one. Eighteen stories and all of ’em are fresh. Hell, this would make a great Christmas gift because it is just that new.

So, along with a little bit of free parenting advice, that’s the deal. Let’s get these out of my smoke-free home because you’ve got some pre-beer reading to do with your kids.


PicMonkey Collage

NaBloPoMo November 2015

do you have a tiny grandmother candid resale

Just like your city, my city has a multitude of Facebook groups where you can post your buy/sell/iso items. These are my actual posts. I removed some of the details, but these are my items listed for sale along with my pictures partnered with my words.

Do you have a tiny grandmother? Well, I’ve got the perfect chair for her!

This rocker is just a little bit lower than usual, the seat is at 14.5 inches from the ground so your grandmother’s frail frame will not have to struggle to get herself to and from her new [to her] favorite chair.

Now, I’m not recommending you lead your grandmother to the woods and leave her there to rock all by her lonesome. She’s going to need an afghan. OK, that was just mean.

So if you truly adore your tiny grandmother, nothing says “I love you” like a tiny rocker.

And if you’d like to re-read this post and consider this chair for your six, seven, eight-year-old child … you’ll see that it would be perfect for them, too. But don’t lead them into the woods either, that was just not a good thing for me to say.

Give your smaller-sized loved ones the gift of rocking this holiday season.



NaBloPoMo November 2015

untraditional traditions, the snowflake cake

With two adult birth kids, four adopted foster kids, and countless other foster children that have walked through our revolving door, we had been the ultimate blended family, perhaps mixed more vigorously than we would have desired, but blended none the less.

After almost a decade of fostering children, we have taken some traditions from our foster children and made them our own. Some of our family’s traditions have been repeated years after the children we held for short periods of time were returned to their own families.

One tradition we “inherited” was the snowflake cake. A little boy we were fostering told us that his mother would make a snowflake cake every time it snowed. I explained to him that when it snowed I almost always felt like baking and I would see what I could do for him.

I was able to find a Wilton cake pan in the shape of a snowflake, I made a great chocolate cake batter (from scratch!) that had been from my grandmother’s recipe collection.

I had planned that I was going to use a stencil and powdered sugar to place additional snowflakes on top of the cake and this cake was going to be amazing.

And to make things even better we had snow on the very day that I was planning to make a snowflake cake. Yup, our city’s first measurable snow and I was making a snowflake cake. This is the kind of stuff that makes Lifetime movies worth watching.

Everything was going perfect. I sprinkled powdered sugar on my cake stand and prepared to remove the cake from its pan. Except the cake had other plans. It wouldn’t move. Seriously, the cake would not cheerfully vacate the pan and my attempts at eviction weren’t going very well. I couldn’t offer much assistance because you know how those Wilton cake pans work, they are all curvy and shapely just like they are supposed to be so it looks like a snowflake.

I was devastated, school would be done soon. Snow was falling. And accumulating. And I was failing just as rapidly.

Think. Think. THINK.

I spooned a bunch of powdered sugar on the now massacred snowflake cake and decided to announce that this was more like snowflakes on the mountain tops. I actually amazed myself with the creativity level on that one.

When the kids got home from school, the little boy asked if he could start his snowflake cake. And now was time for me to unveil my masterpiece. I said of course, and he made backtracks right out the front door. What the heck? He brought in a handful of snow and asked for a spoon. This adorable little boy’s birth mother let him eat snow with a spoon and they called it a snowflake cake.

All that time and energy (and brain power) spent on trying to recreate his tradition and I was nowhere near close.

Several months later, this sweet child was successfully reunited with his birth mother and I had the opportunity to bump into them in a local grocery store. In these situations you never really know if you should make eye contact or not, but she flagged me down. She said her little boy had told her that I had a recipe for a snowflake cake that could get made in the oven and would I be willing to share that recipe with her.

Our tradition became theirs. His family now chops up their chocolate cake and they have a powdered sugar blizzard the first snowfall of the season.

Their tradition became ours as I encourage my children to eat one spoonful of clean snow after the first measurable snowfall each season.

Untraditional traditions, unplanned and unpredictable.



NaBloPoMo November 2015


the one where i write about politics

The majority of the time, it is difficult for me to understand politics. And I’m certainly not a political influencer, I’m just your average Netflix-watching, Spotify-listening mom.  OK, maybe I’m a little more than that but I’m just ridiculously average. My main news source? Saturday Night Live and I’m not even kidding.

And I vote. I never used to vote. I was raised with the philosophy if you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to bitch about the newest elected official. And so I vote and earn my right to bitch.

The first year I voted, I was terrified. I was afraid of making a mistake. Or getting murdered.

I didn’t even vote during my high school’s elections because a long time ago on a dark stormy night when I was way way way too young to be babysitting  I saw an Alfred Hitchcock-ish, Twilight Zone kind of movie where a seemingly decent guy walked into a booth at voting poll, closed the curtain behind him and as he pulled down the voting handle, he was knifed in the back. Through the curtain. On a dark stormy election night.

And while I was excited to participate, I simply could not bring myself to walking a voting poll and close the curtain behind me

The only reason I actually became brave enough to vote was because I found out that the voting poll for my district did not have any “booths” on the premises, just little “standing desks” and the risk of getting knifed was relatively slim. Turns out, I like voting. And I love the instant gratification of the sticker!

The following Presidental election, it was my responsibility to take my grandparents to vote. I knew who they were voting for  because they were quite vocal about their preferences. I also knew for a [very loud] fact that my grandparents and I were both voting straight party, but we did not have matching parties. And since there were two of them and only one of me, they would not only cancel me out they would actually become a power duo and outvote me.

So, I did what anyone would do, I lied. I told them that I had strep throat and was unable to take them to the vote and then I actually went, alone, to vote. And that is how I overthrew the presidential election that year, which I’m sure is somehow illegal.

Anyway, this is the time of year where I start to pay attention to the Presidential race because the herd is thinning. To do that, I open my mind and that is a lot of work. I simply do not have a head for politics but I seek opinions from people that I respect. I ask who they are leaning towards at this point. And then I’ll ask what led them to that decision.

Do you have friends from both parties that follow politics more closely than you do? Ask them to send you links worthy of your time.

I cannot debate political topics with the people I ask. And I certainly cannot debate economical statistics. Nor do I have the knowledge or skillset to convince anyone to change their mind. I’m just trying to make a well-informed decision when I walk up to the “standing desk” in my district twelve months from now.

It is your right to vote, vote smart.



NaBloPoMo November 2015

because nineteen years ago sometimes feels like yesterday

My grandmother was an artist, self-taught. We received hand-painted items for every single event … Mother’s Day, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, our birthdays, and many times we received hand-painted items for no reason at all.

My daughter, Madeleine Rose, had my grandmother’s middle name. Her first name is because I enjoyed Madelyn Kahn, I thought she was a brilliant comedienne. I spelled it, Madeleine, because I loved how it looked when it was handwritten, there were so many vowels, and I loved the above the line loops.

This past Saturday, November 7, would have been Madeleine’s 26th birthday. She died when she was seven. Her official autopsy results declared it an undiagnosed degenerative neuromuscular disease.

This is the time of year that I usually crash emotionally, some days a little bit more than others. Madeleine will be gone twenty years this January, but today it feels as though it was yesterday. And the only thing that helps is writing about her because if I am telling her story, I’ve somehow convinced myself that her memory will live on even if it is only my version of her life.

Today was one of those rough days and I somehow needed to be closer to her. After Madeleine died, I packed all of her belongings into office file boxes and stacked them neatly. I went through the boxes several times but nothing in depth. I can vividly remember pulling her clothes out of the boxes, planning on donating the items to Goodwill but there was nothing salvageable. The stains from her tracheotomy tube and her gastro-intestinal tube were too powerful for my advanced laundry skills.

As the years went by, the file boxes wore thin and I eventually transferred the remainder of my tangible memories of her into a rose colored tote. There were so many things during her life that I could not control, but the things that I could … believe me,

I opened the solitary rose colored packing tote and on top was her jewelry box, a gift from my grandmother. I hadn’t opened her jewelry box in nineteen years. I set it aside, closed the tote, clutched the jewelry box to my heart and I left the attic. I didn’t know what to do next. I thought I would just take a nap with it, I planned on clutching the jewelry box and just sleeping. The sun was shining on my bed and I just wanted to sleep in the sun with the jewelry box. I was afraid if I opened it, the inside may have deteriorated. Today was a day that I could not handle another loss, even if it was just the decay of the fabric interior of her jewelry box.

I sat in the sun with a posse of nosy cats. I seldom sit, especially during the day. And now I fully understand why cats follow the sun. It felt good.

The paint on Madeleine’s jewelry box had yellowed and the lace had grayed, but this was one of my grandmother’s finest painting moments. Madeline’s fifth Christmas and my grandmother was beaming upon presentation. I took a deep breath and slowly, carefully lifted the lid. Everything was exactly as I remembered.

Inside was a tiny, delicate cross on a fine gold chain, a Christmas gift for Madeline. And a note, my grandmother always included notes and it felt good to see her handwriting again. Also inside was the novena my grandmother gave to me the day of Madeleine’s funeral. My grandmother had said, “I used this novena to pray for Madeleine every night and now she’s in heaven and no longer needs my prayers.”

It was my grandmother’s intent to have the necklace and the novena buried with Madeleine. I just couldn’t. I knew I needed things to hang on to for later, like today when I miss her so much.

unnamed (5)


NaBloPoMo November 2015

rudders and periods

I walked to school with Roberta. She was a wealth of information.

On my first day of high school, she told me to never say the word “rubbers” because that topic could take a turn for the worse in just a matter of seconds. I squinted and nodded in acknowledgement. And then I thanked her. Roberta had thick eyebrows and when she said something, she had a way of manipulating those brows into one long brow and that facial gesture made everything she said seem true.

Once we entered the doors of high school Roberta completely ignored me because of protocol. She was a mentor, after all. I was a freshman and although she was two years older chronologically, she was a sophomore academically. Roberta only cared about the chronological. Everything else was school calendar birthday roulette.

Here’s the thing about the rubbers, I thought she said “rudders” and because I was so naive, I really didn’t even know what a rudder was for sure, much less rubbers.

My first class of the day was Business English. I always called it “my first class” or “first hour” while some kids called it “first period”. Ha, not me. I read a Catholic Girls Guide To Sex” and I knew what a period was and no way was I going to live with the double danger of these two words: rudders and periods.

Anyway, I stopped at my locker and brought along my dictionary to my first-hour class and as soon as I had the chance I looked up the word rudder to see what kind of trouble could possibly come out of this word. And that is how I learned that a rudder had something to do with a boat.

So if period also meant period, that meant that rudder could mean rudder and rudder.

Whew, this was obviously crucial information. I avoided any conversation that had to do with boating, sailing, swimming, and apparently even synchronized swimming was now taboo. Well, basically anything to do with water was now forbidden.

Considering I grew up on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, my conversation bank had just about been tapped empty right there. All I needed was for one person to say, “cooler near the lake” and I would panic.

One day, Roberta and I were trekking home from school and I remember explaining to Roberta that way too many people seemed to have sex on their minds. She nodded her head in agreement and then looked at me with that one eyebrow and said she heard about a girl in eleventh grade that got pregnant from sitting on a toilet seat in a public restroom. We decided we were going to start putting down a double layer of toilet paper and squat so nothing like that would happen to us.

And, of course, that is why I still shy away from water sports and public restrooms.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

the view from my office

A very, very long time ago I earned a paycheck. I put on nice clothes and had my own office. The office had a door that closed and my name was on that door. And if the door was closed no one came in because they all knew that I had more or less an open door policy going on unless the door was closed.

I never had a cup of coffee in my life until I had that job. The woman who trained me said, “I’ll bring you a cup of coffee,” and I didn’t say no. It was Hills Bros. coffee made from a drip coffee pot in the bathroom of the office. The bathroom also held a toaster oven. We couldn’t have a microwave because it would blow out the old fuses.

I was youngish and had a tremendous amount of responsibility. I wore a tight skirt and heels every day and at five o’clock when the front door of the office was locked and everyone went home I took off the heels and the pantyhose and went barefoot.

There were men that worked in the office, too. I was not their boss; they just rented rooms in the old sad house that was now a place of business. A once grand three-story home on the east side of the city had become a run-down office. My room had been a dining room at one point. My boss had the room that was the living room. He had a fireplace. There was real dust on the fake plastic logs.

My boss never learned how to use the new black telephones with the fancy intercoms built right into the base. The walls were plaster but the quality of the building was low-end and I could hear him trying to use the intercom to call me. I could hear him repeat, “Carrie? Carrie?” and then I could hear the new black telephone slam down on the base as he shouted, “Carrie!”

I dreaded being in my boss’s office. He was a large man that smoked a pipe for too many years. The pipe smoke had significantly stained the wall. One winter my boss put a vaporizer in his office which gave the illusion his walls were bleeding. He never commented on the streaked walls. Neither did I.

When I had this job there weren’t fax machines. We drove paperwork from place to place within our city. Successful offices had couriers, our office had me. I was in my car “couriering” when I learned of the space shuttle crashing. Average people didn’t have cell phones and businesses certainly didn’t have television sets playing headline news.

I was afraid to be alone in the office with my boss. He was in extremely poor health and I knew it would be my dumb luck for him to have a heart attack or some health catastrophe that required mouth to mouth resuscitation. I would be faced with his future resting somewhere near my mouth and the thought of it was terrifying. I had enough respect for him to use his knowledge but not quite enough respect that I would have wanted to be in a life or death situation with my lips dictating his future.

Two men rented office space. One was an amazing, generous, talented young man that has gone on to an equally amazing future. He went to eight years of college to be what he was, I saw him lose his dad and then his mother. I watched him bail his brother out of jail, twice. I met him before his wife did and I know how much he loved her because I saw the entire thing unfold. And now he’s got a head full of gray hair, lived wisely, and has successful children.

The other rental man has aged terribly. Even though I was young, I could see what drinking too much every day did to your skin and your eyes and your energy. He had two ex-wives and no children. Every day after lunch he would grab a newspaper and spend exactly thirty minutes in the bathroom, 1:30 until 2:00 p.m. And he would never stay in the bathroom to see if his flushing was successful. I think the worst part of being in management was being the one to check if a re-flush was required.

I think another really bad part of management was the first time the company did not have a successful year. I had three women that worked for me. My boss told me I was doing great and I could have a quarter raise as part of my annual review, but when I gave my girls their review I was to give them nothing.

I couldn’t do it. I took my quarter raise and told the bookkeeper to divide my quarter between the three women.

20110526_1967QuarterRawMSObv (1)

NaBloPoMo November 2015

elmo needs you candid resale


Just like your city, my city has a multitude of Facebook groups where you can post your buy/sell/iso items. These are my actual posts. I removed some of the details, but these are my items listed for sale along with my pictures partnered with my words.

First things first, that’s my cat, Kevin, and he is not for sale.

You can, however, purchase Elmo, his phone, and the doctor kit.*

Elmo’s phone! Very cute, it has an on/off switch. For your maximum sanity, keep it in the off position. This phone has some type of mini-USB port in the bottom. Connect to your computer so you can hear a much-loved and extremely irritating television character repeat your child’s name over and over and over. Batteries are included with this because, just like the real thing, I cannot figure out how to open this phone.

Elmo! His batteries are NOT included. He has an on/off switch and if you touch his hand he barks out different commands like, blow my nose! Take my temperature! All of this is said in his no longer adorable voice.

Doctor Kit! And it looks like there is more here than what Elmo requires. I’m guessing the medical tools are partially from the Fischer Price doctor set and some are from dying Elmo. Also, I’m confident Elmo will tell you which tool to use where because apparently when he is not feeling well he is extremely bossy.

To reiterate, the cat’s name is Kevin, he’s mine and he is not for sale.

The rest can be yours for a mere $10. Cheaper then medical school, that’s a fact right there.

Please purchase this cross-posted item from my smoke-free home.

*cat not included

This posted item has received several likes and eight messages about my cat. I’m still hoping to get Elmo and accessories rehomed. Kevin, my cat, is not included.

for sale elmo

NaBloPoMo November 2015

hairnets, beardnets, and gloves galore

There’s just something about a meat market, isn’t there?

I’m not talking about the meat department at your local grocery store, I’m talking about the good ol’ days gone by. The days before hairnets and beardnets and gloves galore.

Everyone dressed in white. The clean, sterility of the environment. Chrome shined to perfection. A knowledgeable staff ready to answer your questions.

My grandfather would only purchase his meat from a butcher shop. A couple of steaks, a roast, some bratwurst, braunschweiger for lunches … and all of it fresh. He’d haggle just a little bit, too. If he felt he bought enough he’d brazenly ask if they’d throw in a couple of “skinny pork chops.” My grandfather always insisted we sample the summer sausage, too. Rarely would he make a purchase, he’d always say, “maybe next week.”

The display cases were beautiful. All meat was sorted and displayed with pride. Giant metal trays lined with waxy paper and parsley tucked in the corners for our visual pleasure. You’ve got your pork region, your beef region, the chicken region, and the region we never visited … the land of the lamb.

I loved the spicy smell of a proper butcher shop, too. And the cool crisp air. All of it. Even the irritating grinding of what must have been the largest saw I could never imagine. It was truly a treat for each and every one of senses.

I was an obedient child, seen and not heard because those were the rules. But I wanted to get closer to the meat. I wanted a good strong whiff. I had to be closer. I knew I couldn’t touch, but I was determined to put my nose as close to that displace case full of meat. The second no one was looking, I was going in and then pull myself back to perfect posture and absolutely no one would know. Oh, I watched. And I watched and week after week I would plan and scope and watch and wait.

And then the opportunity came, my grandfather was down at the far end of the counter while I was staring lovingly into the display case, being all good and proper and not speaking. They were discussing holiday hams. Advantages of boneless versus bone-in. And I made my move. I got as close as possible to the meat, bent at the waist, and went swiftly full-speed forward. And that’s when I smacked my head so ridiculously hard against the glass. How could I not know there was glass? I’ll tell you why … because everything in the meat market was always pristine. From the squeaky, well-swept wooden floors to the dust-free ceiling fans. Every speck of that place was cleaner than clean.

My grandfather raced over, I got a severe swat on the bottom and a tremendous lecture. I had a huge egg on my forehead and a pair of black eyes that seemed to last forever. I didn’t know how to tell him I just wanted to get a good whiff.

I was six.


NaBloPoMo November 2015