Josiah’s Family Meeting

I could write a whole book on how events in my my childhood affect who I am as an adult and the decisions I make as a mom of four. My mother raised three children as a true single mom. There was not a dad around. It was just her. She made all the decisions and her decision was final.

Fast forward to today. I decided to have more of a democracy. Every family member is equal and has a say in all major and minor decisions. We recently took a trip to Maryland over the Christmas holiday. I asked everybody if they wanted to go. If one person had said no then we would have stayed home. We literally had a conversation about putting up Christmas decorations and specifically a tree. I could care less about a tree. They don’t like taking down decorations. We scaled it way back and with a compromise we put a metal tree with lights that’s meant for the yard up in the house. Don’t judge us. It worked. I have the final vote on major things like buying the house we are in now. Everybody went with me to look for houses. My daughter, Melody, wanted one house and even through a mild fit. I told her she could not see what I could see. I was not only buying a house but a neighborhood and a way of life. Living on a cul-de-sac three house from the neighborhood pool proved to be a great choice and worth less square footage.

All of that to say, anybody can call and conduct a family meeting in our house. Josiah had requested to hold one to discuss his new guidelines surrounding waking everybody up in the mornings. Now Josiah is the third child. He is a typical attention seeking, vivacious, charismatic middle child who also likes being punctual. His school bus arrives at 7:40 so he has the alarm set for 6 am.

He had taken on the responsibility of waking everybody up if they were sleeping too late. He’s done a fantastic job at this self appointed duty. He has helped his siblings, especially his sister and younger brother, make it to the bus just before it stopped and opened the doors. He has even saved the day by finding neighbors willing to give them rides when it seemed they would not make it on time. After a year and a half of this daily activity he resigned from the self appointed position because of the stress. He did not provide any notice. It was effective immediately.

After a couple of days he realized how much they had grown to depend on him to get out of the house. He was sympathetic to their plight. During the meeting he said they would each get one free wake up per month. Unfortunately Shawn had already used his. He also told them the unused ones would accumulate from month to month. There was much discussion and shouts of outrage an insult or two and threats of bodily harm. At some point I heard, “objection!” and somebody yelled “order in the court!” It may have been the same person. For some reason the oldest gets unlimited wake up calls because he has a car. That created another uproar among the other two. But it was a good strategic move. Stay on the good side of the person with the car.

In case you’re wondering why the oldest doesn’t take everybody to school on a daily basis, it’s because he has late arrival. He will take them if they have activities in the morning.

I truly feel like I’m helping them find their voices at an early age and most of all realize they are an important part of this family and I value their input and points of view. They might decide there was way too much discussion and not allow their children to have any input. I won’t be offended. Everybody has to walk their own path according to the influences in their lives.

Be well,

Alicia

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Gin and Tonic

Gin and tonic
Tonic and gin
You have quite the reputation
They said you make people sin
I heard a guy say something
I’m not sure what it meant
He said you would help a man get in
So now you have people?
Are you handing out passes?
Is it only to those with highball glasses?
Hangovers, hangouts, hang ups and hang downs
What kind of people are you hanging around?
Chose your friends carefully
You’re building quite the reputation
That girl who fell down the stairs
Called you, gin, her only liberation
Was she being held captive?
Did you really set her free?
Or did you capture her when she was weak
Gin and tonic
Tonic and gin
The friendship that just won’t end
You are strong
You provide courage
But it’s only for while
Then life, that was out of focus
Comes back without the hocus pocus
Friend of no one
Loved by many
At the end of the day
A headache and regrets is what awaits

First Date Do’s and Don’ts

I met this guy a few months ago. We’ve talked and texted since then but due to our schedules and let’s face it, lack of any real effort we went out for the first time recently. After I write this article I really should write one that helps you determine if the person is date worthy.
I’m not new to dating. I’ve had several first dates that never led to a second date. I’m not a serial dater but I consider my time valuable and can’t see spending hours with a person I never want to see again, because they seem nice but have no substance or are self-absorbed. First dates can be awkward. But there are things you can do to lessen the awkwardness and increase the chances of there being a second date.

Shall we number these? Sure, why not?

1. Resist the urge stare at your date – seems like a no brainer right? If it wasn’t occurring I wouldn’t add it to my list. My last two dates sat across from me and stared. One with the intention of making me uncomfortable. He was trying to, “see my soul through my eyes.” It reminded me of staring contests I would get into with my honeygirl when she was a toddler. She had uncanny ability to not blink. I always lost therefore I never accepted that particular challenge from anybody else. What’s the point anyway? Heck, I like blinking. The other person was much more smooth with his staring and even gave me a line upfront, “I’m not staring, I’m observing.” Call it what you want it still results in making your date uncomfortable.

2. If you are going to insist on the other person selecting the place then don’t complain or worse wait until you get to the restaurant to let them know how much you dislike their selection. “Why didn’t you say something two hours ago when I made the suggestion?” ” I didn’t want to offend you.” I can fully appreciate not wanting to offend someone, irritating them is a much better option.

3. Allow the other person to talk. I know you and your life are fascinating but there’s something so engaging about dialogue. If you don’t ruin the first date you might get a second one and can use that date to tell the other person how smart, talented and wonderful you are.

4. Keep your assets to yourself. I’m not using that as a metaphor. Unless you are looking for a gold digger it’s not necessary to list all of your assets on the first date. I understand you want to appear successful but unless you are giving out one of your many houses or putting my name on your large bank account, I honestly don’t care.

5. Don’t talk about your ex. I had one guy insist on taking me out for my birthday as our first date. He spent an hour ranting about his ex whom he had been divorced from for three years. Another one actually called his ex and the mother of his children a bitch. If you will call her a name what’s to keep you from calling me one? We aren’t friends and I’m not your confidante. Get over your ex or at the very least don’t disrepect them in front of your date.

6. Be yourself but not all of yourself. Save the revelation of fetishes, quirks and anything else that may abruptly end the potential relationship until the third date. Those things may seem charming and eclectic instead of weird and strange by then.

7. Hold off on the selfies or usies. I don’t like the thought of my face being plastered all over someone’s social media outlets. Call me old-fashioned. Let’s add, don’t take unauthorized photos either. One of my friends mentioned something about a guy taking pictures of her toe cleavage without asking her and it was on the first date. Had he waited to reveal his foot fetish until the third date who knows what could have happened between them.

8. Be “normal”- Use your active listening skills. Make brief eye contact, smile and even laugh a little.

9. Enjoy the silence. Every moment of a date doesn’t have to be filled with conversation. It may seem awkward at first but give it a try. This is not an opportunity to manipulate or intimidate the other person. “I’m going be quiet and stare at you until you talk.” It’s givng an opportunity to chew your food, enjoy the music or think about something intriguing you just said.

If you have any others to add feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for stopping by.

Decoding women speak

I’m not willing to speak for all women everywhere. I will, however, speak for some women somewhere. Communication is the key to good relationships. We keep hearing this over and over and over again. If communicating was that easy, we would have it down by now. There are books, and videos, seminars and webinars degrees and professions all focused on communicating effectively.

I’m not charging for this. I am providing free advice on decoding how some women speak and what she means when she says some things.

First and foremost, if she asks you to do something she wants it done right now. More than likely she thought it should have been done days ago but she was waiting on you to take the initiative and get it done. But you walked past the overflowing trash can, the pile of clothes, the sink full of dishes and the dirty car among a long list of other things. Since it appears that you can’t see the obvious, she has no choice but to ask you. Highlight this part, she wants you to do it now. Right now! Not later, definitely not tomorrow and if you wait until next week expect to sleep next to flannels. The exceptions to this are if she gives you a specific date, “will you do this tomorrow?”

If asked what you are doing later, this can be interpreted in one of two ways depending on if you are single or married. If you are single, it means she is free and you should ask her out on a date. If you are married, there is probably a honey do list coming next.

I don’t feel the need to address the, “do I look fat” or “does this make me look fat”, the answer is always an immediate no. Not to quick because then she will think you are lying but without too long of a pause cause that makes it seem as though you are contemplating. You never contemplate the fat questions.

If you are having a discussion and she says, “fine”, just know it’s not fine but she’s just tired of talking about it right now. She is putting a pin in it and will bring it back up later. Trust me on that one.

When she says she’s tired and has had a long day, that means I’m not cooking or preparing a meal. You are on your own. If you want to earn some points, have a meal prepared and rub her back. Do not rub her back with any ulterior motives. Just rub her back because you care.

If she says anything that ends in again then you should rethink what you just said. Are we going there again? Are you watching football again? Are we eating there again? Are you wearing that again?

Here is a pop quiz. What does she mean when she says she has nothing to wear?
If you guessed all of her friends or the group you are hanging with have already seen the clothes she is considering, you are correct. It doesn’t matter if she has a closet full of clothes and some with the tags on them. She wants something new. You can get away with wearing the same khakis and white shirt. She cannot wear the same dress over and over again. She just can’t. It’s in the women’s handbook that you don’t know exists.

If you take my advice on one thing, let it be the one about doing what she asks immediately. She will appreciate you for the next 5 hours. You know you need to renew her gratefulness on a regular basis. If you do several things at one time, they all expire at the same time. They do not roll over nor can you use them in succession.

Consider yourself in the know.

I am jealous

I have finally decided to admit to myself and anybody who cares to read this, I am jealous of men. I’m not jealous enough to try to become one but I am jealous enough to be a bit envious and well, jealous. Why you ask? Why am I jealous of men? I will tell you it has nothing to do with salaries. It does have everything to do with almost everything else.
First of all, they get to carry wallets. I know they sometimes stuff them full of things but all in all, it’s a wallet. Not the big satchels the stores make for women. Yes, I know there are small handbags and I have started carrying those. But even that begins to weigh down my shoulder. So just go get a wallet then, you might be thinking. Most of my pants and skirts don’t have pockets. Even the clothing industry is in on me not carrying a wallet.
Men don’t ever have to worry whether or not a pair of jeans or a dress makes their butt look big. You will never hear them ask if this swimsuit makes their thighs look big or if the shirt makes them look five months pregnant. Never! Beer bellies are fashionable for men.
Men don’t have girdles, push up bras, corsets or any of those other gadgets women squeeze in to hide their perceived flaws in their bodies. They don’t walk around sucking in their stomachs and clinching their gluteus maxiumus to give the illusion of smallness or tautness.
Men don’t look at and then judge other men. If you walk into a room of women, you will be scoped from head to toe and back up. Somebody will comment on your hair, clothes or shoes. Men don’t say look how his pants fit or can you believe he wore that shirt with those shoes? Women make it hard on other women.
Speaking of shoes, a man’s shoes will last for years, you really can’t go wrong with a pair of loafers. The quality of men’s shoes is better. Women are provided impractical shoes that will only last a couple of fashion seasons. But then, who would dare wear the same shoe for more than one season? I do but hey I have four kids and will only allow the pressures of the fashion industry control me to a point.
Men can sit down on the weekend and zone out watching or participating in their favorite activity. Women are still working on the weekends. We don’t get off the clock until we go to sleep.
Men don’t have to worry about their hair. Now I know there are some exceptions but for the most part, their morning routines don’t include curlers, flat irons, rollers, scarves, shower caps, gels, hair sprays or moisturizer.
Speaking of morning routines, men don’t feel the need to wear makeup. How did they get off not wearing makeup? Do you know what some people pay for lipstick and eyeliner? Who invented makeup anyway. Why is a man’s natural handsomeness fine but a woman’s natural beauty needs tweaking? I don’t understand.
Yes, I am jealous. I wish I could get away with a beer belly, no make up, a buzz cut and shoes that don’t coordinate with my outfit. But if I did that, a gaggle of women would cut me down and make me feel like nothing or worse.

Popularity

I was reading a blog one day about how to make your blog popular. One of the things on the list was coming up with a top ten or top five list of things to do nor not do. Apparently we humans like short lists of things. I decided right then and there to make my lists about funny things that no one is searching in Google for but it might give you a laugh or smile when you happen upon it on my blog. Check back frequently or infrequently to see what’s coming up next.

How to become a certified slacker

If you follow these steps you will be well on your way to becoming a certified slacker. First let’s define slacker. According to me, a slacker is a person who doesn’t get much done during the day but no one seems to notice.

I am offering steps to get you towards the certification, not the certification itself. As a true slacker you don’t want everybody to know so you would not leave a trail such as a certification to give proof to those that may suspect your status.

1.) Attend as many meetings as you can, take down lots of “notes” and look extremely engaged and interested in the topic
2.) Show up for work on time and stay late sometimes. During actual work hours surf the net, pay your bills online, update your blog and any other internet related activity that requires typing and intensely looking at your screen.
3.) Get a screen protector or arrange your desk in such a way that passerbyers (I know it’s a questionable word) can’t see your screen.
4.) If you are high enough on the flow chart to have an office, close your door and come out every hour looking frustrated and sighing loudly. Of course what you are actually doing is surfing the net, texting and talking on the phone.
5.) Go to work early, schedule a meeting with a friend you are in cahoots with, (go to the movies, grocery shopping, take a nap or just hang with that friend) then come back to work and stay late.
6.) Always be available for questions. This passes the time and you appear helpful as well as engaged.
7.) Walk around your office talking to people. Don’t spend too much time with one person or else people will complain that you are keeping others from being productive.
8.) Don’t volunteer for any projects unless you are the coordinator then delegate, delegate, delegate.
9.) Don’t take the credit for other people’s ideas. This makes people angry. The goal here is to be stay on everybody’s good side. You want to have lots of allies not enemies.
10.) Always look busy!