Category Archives: Family

Featured on WordPress Mother’s Day Blog & a post

I’m honored to be featured in a special WordPress Mother’s Day Feature on MomBlogs!  Thanks WordPress and welcome new WordPress visitors!

As Cheri wrote in her lovely post, I write about life with my three daughters, my aging and heightist mom, or about things that irk or baffle me.  Really, I write about whatever I want to write about, damn it.

In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a piece I’ve written about my mother.

“LUNCH WITH TWO WOMEN NAMED JOAN”

also known as, MY 85 YEAR-OLD MOM AND HER FRIEND HAVE LUNCH, CATFIGHT ALMOST ENSUES

Two Women Named JoanWhen she was ten, my mother met a girl who shared her first name. They quickly became best friends and stayed so for the next 75 years. Together they shared schoolyard memories, weddings, and years of family get-togethers.

But in the year and a half since my father passed away, my mom had not been able to see her best friend, Joan, because they live an hour apart and neither could drive on the freeways. (Though unfortunate for them, likely countless lives have been saved by their motoring absence.)

My brothers and sisters and I felt badly about the situation especially because this was when my mom needed her friend the most, in the lonely time that followed the loss of her husband of sixty years. So first my brother and I decided to reunite the two Joans through email.

But as much as we tried to simplify the process, our Joan could not, or rather would not, embrace the use of a computer. At each tutorial she would play along and pretend to listen to us, while refusing to let anything sink in. Though my mom would nod or respond occasionally with an “Uh-huh,” I knew she was secretly worrying if we’d finish the tedious exercise before the start of Dr. Oz. Frankly, we could have gotten more genuine cooperation from my cat. Continue reading

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Filed under Family, humor, mother daughter, mothering, Uncategorized, women, Writing

My Column in Working Mother Magazine

Here’s a humor piece I wrote that was in the Feb/March issue of Working Mother Magazine.  I wrote it last year when I was trying to talk to my daughter while editing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. Now, I’m in the edit bay on another Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show! Oh, and my daughter thinks she should get half of the money I earned for selling the article.

wkgmotherbrakeman.pdf

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Filed under comedy, Family, humor, kids, parenting

Teachers – Give Us Parents A Break!

I know it’s a huge cultural taboo to criticize teachers, but they are not always perfect and I can’t keep quiet about this any longer.

My beef is with the relentless assignment of outside projects.  I am fine with kids doing regular homework, but don’t teachers realize how much time and money these extra projects cost us parents? Continue reading

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Filed under comedy, education, Family, humor, kids, mothering, parenting, Uncategorized

I’m Just Like Honey Boo Boo’s Mom!

Help! I don’t know how it happened but somehow I’ve turned into Honey Boo Boo’s mom.

Check out my guest post on LA Parent.

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Filed under comedy, Family, humor, kids, life, mother daughter, mothering, parenting

The Fellowship of the Ham

About the time I thought the vein on my neck was going to explode from the stress of the holidays, I was suddenly struck with an unexpected heartwarming feeling. Oddly enough, this happened as I wrote the words “Pick-up ham” on my Christmas week  Continue reading

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Filed under Christmas, culture, Family, food, holidays, life

The Most Un-Cool Mom Ever – Guest Post on Ooph

Check out my post on Ooph – Stefanie Mullen’s website for parents of teens and tweens.

I’m so uncool!

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Filed under culture, Family, humor, kids, life, mother daughter, mothering

Book Excerpt from “Where to Dump a Dead Body . . .”

Yesterday I took Buddy to get his shots in case we have to board him during our vacation. I’m really hoping that our friend Barry will house-sit and watch Buddy because he gets so nervous at that boarding place. (Buddy, not Barry) The other dogs frighten him, especially the small ones.

When the vet returned Buddy to me after giving him his shots she apologized about the smell. I was confused at first but then suddenly overcome by the most rancid odor I had ever smelled in my life. The vet explained that Buddy got scared and released the contents of his anal sac.

Huh? I had never heard of such a thing. She said that some dogs do this when they’re incredibly nervous. “Buddy is emotionally delicate. He’s a very insecure dog,” she added.

I immediately took this as an affront. “But, we’re home with him all the time. Buddy knows how much we love him . . . and I hardly ever look at other dogs when we’re out together.”

Maybe it hurt his feelings when we watched that Youtube video of labradoodle puppies the other day? We’ll have to be more discreet with our puppy porn.

The odorous experience left me traumatized. Like a natural disaster victim who feels compelled to share their adrenalin-fueled tale of survival, I had to tell the story of the vet visit to every member of my family. Each time I described the horrible stench, Buddy would look at the ground and groan, “I am so ashamed.”

Finally, my eldest daughter issued an edict that the words “anal sac” could never be uttered in our home again. I reluctantly agreed.

The odor has persisted well into today and it is not helping my mood any. I try to block it out as I look over the notes that my friend gave me about my book. She said that I needed to cut way back on the mom character, even insisting that the mom can’t go on the fantasy journey with the kid. “No kid wants her mom on her fantasy journey,” she said. Maybe she’s right. I don’t know. But, if I cut the mom out then I’ll have to lose the mom’s love interest, Rolf, the hunky Nordic ski instructor. I love Rolf, the hunky Nordic ski instructor. I miss him already. In any event, I should probably hang on to those Rolf pages for when my book is made into a movie and Jennifer Anniston demands a beefier part.

“Don’t you think you are getting a little ahead of yourself?” Buddy interrupts.

Oh, who asked you?

“You seem stressed out and insecure. Maybe you should release the contents of your anal sac? That always makes me feel better.”

Something to think about.

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Filed under comedy, culture, Family, humor, kids, life, mothering, relationships, Writing

Breaking the Fourth Wall of Parenting (or How to Eavesdrop on Your Teen)

When my daughter started high school this year I made a vow to not be one of those parents – the type who micromanage every detail of their child’s life while on a perpetual quest to get them into “the” best college. I decided this was the time for me to back off a bit, to still monitor my daughter’s activities but give more latitude to let her make her own decisions and possibly, her own mistakes.

It’s been harder than I thought it would be however, because I’ve felt like I’ve been missing out on the little details of my daughter’s life. So I was very excited the other day when I made this discovery: I learned that if I don’t break the parental fourth wall I can find out all I wanted to know about my daughter’s day.

The fourth wall is a theatre term for that imaginary line that separates the stage from the audience. As any good actor knows, if you acknowledge your audience, you ruin the magic of the play. Likewise, I discovered that when I drive my daughter and her two teenage friends in carpool, I could be privy to their discussions as long as I kept my mouth shut. Somehow, my silence makes me virtually invisible, and that’s when the good stuff happens.

As I drive home each day, I am treated to discussions about their teachers, their grades and sometimes even their accomplishments. (Why didn’t my daughter tell me her art was on display in the library?) Continue reading

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Filed under blogs, Family, kids, Uncategorized

I’m On the Radio Today!

Hey, I was on the radio today, talking to the very kind Frank Carmichael and the gang at WLIP radio in Wisconsin, talking about everything from Girl Scout cookies to the Oscars!

It was fun. Thanks for having me Frank!

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Filed under Family, kids, Uncategorized, Writing

Summoning My Inner Tiger Mom

I’m not going to jump into the Tiger Mom debate. Frankly, I’m so impressed by the genius of Ms. Chua book marketing that I wouldn’t dare take issue with the book’s actual contents. Clearly, she’s too smart to be taken on.

But, all the fuss has me thinking about my own parenting style. I’m definitely not a Tiger Mom. I guess I would describe myself more like a “Fuzzy Bunny Mom” . . . or maybe a “Fluffy Kitty Mom” to keep it in the feline family.

I try to be stern, but it doesn’t always pan out. My eldest daughter has finals this week, so over the weekend I told her she had better start studying.

She looked at me like I had gone mad.

“But they’re not until Wednesday,” she argued.

“Well, unless you’re confident you’re going to get straight A’s, then you had better start studying, young lady.”

“Okay.”

“Okay? What, ‘Okay you’re going to get straight A’s or ‘Okay you’re going to start studying?’”

This last question got no response. She had already put her I-Touch headset back on.

I couldn’t tolerate this behavior. I summoned my inner Tiger Mom and ordered her to sit outside as punishment for her insolence.

I felt pretty good about taking charge of my teen. A few minutes outside in the harsh Southern California winter ought to change her slacker way of thinking.

After about ten minutes I felt guilty. I went to the back door and discovered that she was lying next to the pool with her sleeves rolled up, clearly working on her suntan.

My youngest daughter joined me at the back door. “What are you doing, Mommy?”

“I’m punishing your sister.”

She eyed me suspiciously and then asked, “And why is Samantha sleeping on the couch?”

“She has a fever . . . because she insisted on going to that slumber party even though she had a scratchy throat.”

“Mom, you need to learn to stand up to your children.”

Wow. That seemed uncalled for. “Okay missy, that’s enough smart-alecky comments out of you. Go to your room and take a time out.”

“Okay. Is it okay if I watch TV when I’m in there?”

“All right. But only for one hour, not a second more.”

Meow.

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