Familiar Family Faces

There are several faces that the women in my family make. None are intended and all are genetic inherited the same way as hand mannerisms and stances. I’m guilty of several of them myself, and have come to recognize them now on my daughter’s faces, particularly when we’re conversing via Skype.

Skype, as amazing as it is, has a tendency to freeze, and who can blame it when it’s transmitting for free across the wide Atlantic Ocean in real time? But, in freezing, I get a long, hard look at some of the more familiar faces my girls tend to pull and, regardless of what they’re typing or saying, can get a real read on what’s going on with them.

Here are five of our more familiar family faces, all generally pulled when nearing exhaustion or frustration:

  1. Cleo Face. Affectionately named after our long, dead cat who stuck out her tongue when she slept.  If your tongue hangs out, we all know you’re exhausted and need to sleep.
  2. Cry Face. Recognizable from age one on and remains with you for life. The face you pull just before bursting into a hard, unending waterfall of tears. If recognized early enough the crying spree can be avoided with the words, “Oh, oh, cry face.”
  3. Bitch Face.  Generally appears around puberty and can stay with you for life. A face pulled inadvertently because you’re uncomfortable and don’t want to be someplace. Strangers misinterpret it as being snotty or haughty, but the face has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. In fact, you’re generally trying hard not to be a bitch and not interacting with them, only leading more to the misinterpretation of snootiness.
  4. Uncle Gary Face. A face that appears largely when you’re sleeping in the car, or commuting and your head goes back. Somehow the family resemblance suddenly becomes clear.
  5. Tropicana Face.  This is the newest one I just made up on Skype for when faces freeze while concentrating on something being said.  Frozen concentrate, get it?










My Speeding Turtle – How Eldest Got a Speeding Ticket

Eldest has always been a turtle.

When she was a tot she was mesmerized by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a passion she kept all the way through high school.

TurtleWhen she learned to drive, she quickly got the nickname turtle, as she was always “turtling along” on the highway. Most parents worry about their kids speeding. We were the only set of parents who pleaded with her to “step on the gas.”  “Peddle to the metal,” her dad would shout, while sitting patiently as the passenger.

The rest of us drive on the faster side, so her caution is odd to come by.  She doesn’t like highways largely because everyone is speeding and forcing her to up her game.

This weekend, my two daughters are driving together roundtrip from Boston to Pittsburgh. It’s a girl’s road trip to support eldest in a job interview and give her highway support, not to mention sharing the driving of a 10-hour jaunt from the Northeast to the almost Midwest.  As they got up early this morning to get a jump start on the long journey back to Beantown, it’s a bit of an irony that a zealous NY State Trooper stopped Eldest for speeding!

She was going in the mid-70s on an empty 65 mile road. How often all of us have done that! How odd that she’d be the one to get stopped and ticketed!

And so, our economy trip letting the girls drive out rather than fly, has been compromised. The good news is that my two are traveling together in support of each other, and arriving safely.  That’s my true mother’s day present today. The ticket is just an annoying  cost.

10 Fingers and 10 Toes

When you’re first expecting a child, some people ask “What do you want?” referring to the child’s sex.  The classic mother-to-be’s response is: “A healthy child with 10 fingers and 10 toes.” And, when the child is first born, those features are quickly checked by the mother before a deep breath of relief is sighed. All is right with the world.

As children grow older we tend to impose new standards on our desires for them – may they play nice with others, not get bullied, go to religious school, whisper in public, and keep family secrets in the family.

As they move through teen years, we hope they don’t get pierced in odd places, join the gay alliance in support rather than in affiliation, don’t become drug addicts, don’t DWI, don’t become a teenage parent, and the list goes on.  Later, we hope they don’t marry out of the religion, or get snipered by terrorists, or travel the world without getting hijacked. We’ll deal with whatever happens, but we hope against hope for only good things to happen. We pray for safety even while preaching “take risks.”

When my brood were in middle school, Columbine happened in Denver. It was akin to when Kent State occurred during my own college years.  A sense of safety was permanently ruptured. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time took on new meaning. Even the hallowed halls of academia were not safe.

Lately, youngest’s college is being attacked with a rash of bomb threats. I won’t say too much about it now. I could bring her home, but hibernation is not an option. It’s only a matter of time before she’ll have a different close encounter with other crazies.

And, perhaps that’s what it’s all about.  At some point we all need to come to terms with the elusiveness of safety.  All we can wish for our kids is that they live as long and safely and happily well adjusted as possible with 10 fingers and 10 toes. And if even if the appendage count is not possible, it’s not the end of the world. One can live without thumbs. It’s the living that’s important. Everything else is just gravy.

Knock. Knock. I’m Back to Blogging

It’s been awhile since I’ve tapped on your door – or e-mail box. In fact, it’s been close to two years.

I took a hiatus to regain sanity from moving South, having a husband toying with a near death experience, sending two kids to college, and starting a new job.

I had said I would blog while the kids were in high school and didn’t feel there was much to write about once I was an almost empty nester. But, not one for long phone conversations, or ongoing Facebook posts, I’ve missed having my blog to stay in touch with friends and gain perspective on my ongoing personal sitcom.

Thanks to a push by Apple in discontinuing my blog service, I was in danger of losing all past blog posts.  It was too much like losing and old friend before its time. Then, with the terrific help of a knowledgeable friend who knew how to painlessly set me up with a new server and blog platform, I’m back in the blogging business.

Unlike previous posts, I won’t email subscribers with new posts except for this first time. After this, I’ll post the links on Facebook and hope you either friend me, or if we’re already friends and you’ll click through.  It’s just one of the ways I’ll use social media differently two years later.

The first post is ready to go and will post tomorrow night. The kinks aren’t all worked out, but I’m stumbling through remembering how I used to do things and learning how I have to do things now. Pictures will change as might the name. Nothing remains the same, but I’m not yet up to changing everything.

Hoping you’re happy to hear from me, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Because if there’s one thing I miss in South Jersey, it’s all of you!