6th grade sleepover, my friend and I hunched over the record player, using our finger to rotate Ozzy’s Crazy Train album backwards at 33 1/3 rpm to hear hidden satanic messages. It’s what all “good girls” did at slumber parties.  We played it faster, slower, louder, and finally gave up for fear of waking her parents or because Poltergeist was on – again.

Hidden Messages?

Hidden Messages?

That was the age when everything became an inside dirty joke. Thinking how intelligent I must be, I read into every song for hidden meanings.  Many songs are written with double entendre, but I laugh that my lyrics were often worse than the true hidden meaning. Truly, I usually couldn’t understand a word!

Eminem - WTF: Way to Flow

Eminem – WTF: Way to Flow

Fast-forward, my kids have turned the tables on me and are now this age.  In their rush to grow up, my son raps Eminem’s Lose Yourself while Lauren sings along with Katy Perry.  On a lunch hour whim, unfazed by parental advisory stickers, I bought Katy’s album. I sang along – excited to surprise the kids with the album.  When the 5th song came on I danced with this upbeat song – previously unheard from the radio! “I wanna see your peacock – cock – cock!”

WTF: We talking feathers?

WTF: We talking feathers?

In a panic, I told the kids my “truth” “The CD is scratched from song 5 on, bummer!” Don’t look at me like that, what would you do? Even the songs they sing with their friends off the radio cause me to panic anticipating questions that I am not ready to answer. But as chauffer, I felt I’d somewhat restored my musical control.

On a joyous 3D adventure to see Part of (Her), Katy and her dancers grabbed feathers and danced to a familiar beat!  It’s the jaw-dropping, eye-popping, head-turning, body-shocking, heart-throbbing, ground-shaking, show-stopping, amazing song that the kids won’t get out of their heads.

High 5, Katy!  I personally dig this song!

High 5, Katy! I personally dig this song!

I cringed as they sang it – waiting for Carson to figure it out. Lauren asked him, “What’s it about?”

“It’s all about big p…”

“OK! Radio time!” I yelled, sweating profusely.

“Big, colorful personalities. Be proud of yours!”

What a good big brother!  I still don’t know if he was running interference or truly didn’t understand. For now, part of us remains unscathed.

8/12/13 – To thank you for wandering by, here is Katy Perry’s video for her new single ROAR! Did I mention the emoticons RULE!?!


I’ve wandered for 144 days now, and am still amused – regularly coming across refreshing new blogs.  I wanted to share my observations as to everything that I’ve discovered blogging is to me. Please, wander with me for a bit, I’d love to learn about the gems you’ve found along the way too!

Blogging is…

History – Blogs offer the news I’d rather read of personal or national news peppered with emotions or truthful observations, not stories tweaked solely for increased shock value.

Photo Albums – My first blog ever easily shared my kids’ photos with their extended family. I don’t know if my children will ever have photo albums – despite me owning supplies to make 5 each – but they’ll know that I enjoyed each adventure with them because I shared my memories.

Two in tree!

Education and Awareness – Many topics exist that I may not have read a whole book or long article on, but because someone cared enough to blog their experience or expertise about it, I read it.

Inspiration – Sharing stories of overcoming struggle or steps one’s taken to achieve a dream that someone else may share could inspire people to act upon their dreams.

Never say never – if you can dream it, you can be it…

Community – Whether joining summer reading book clubs, shared recipes with blogosphere neighbors, or wearing fellow bloggers’ fashions while copying their awesome party ideas, knowing real people are behind many ideas, not just pros, makes ideas more attainable and increase their tried-and-true value.

Therapy – Sometimes all you need is a healthy rant, getting it all out and down in the blog, to be able to sort through events, see more than one angle, and find the lesson in what you just experienced. Did I mention that while therapy is expensive, blogging is free?! Many times, readers share their experiences and offer advice.

Rant, scream, get it all out!

Comic Relief – Having grown really tired of the same old emailed funnies, I enjoy the creativity of captioned animal photos, or smart sarcasm of real life observations.

Tour Guide – Many adventures that have been reviewed, whether it’s the Gilroy Garlic Festival or a bike trek in Italy, are now on my “Things to see before I die” list while other adventures help me relive trips of a lifetime

Visiting the beautiful horses and horsemen
in the Hungarian Plains!

To you blogging is…


I love these two mantras:

1) Learn Something New Every Day

 2) One Step at a Time!

I recite them with successes, however, am hard on myself and forget the learning process if I make mistakes or don’t know “everything” immediately.  Recently I’ve improved my skills evaluating my missteps to figure out their gift, but noticed my old behavior shadowed in my daughter and didn’t like that I taught her that along with the good.

My daughter lives out loud with her whole heart. She has few fears and rarely holds back creatively, physically, or mentally. I’d noticed she doesn’t like to speak up with strangers (she’s practicing the power of her words) and when reprimanded, it breaks her heart. Yesterday, she withdrew her tears so hard, she almost disappeared. Other times she cried, wailing she was stupid. Kids learn by example so I needed a better way.

Not everyone will agree with me, but it has never been my goal to “break” my kids to demand control.  I may change my approach during teenage years, but thus far it hasn’t been necessary.  I draw a line and point out if they’re encroaching upon it to teach that situations offer opportunities to choose a right or wrong action – both cause reactions. Occasionally, I’ll consider negotiations but teach them to choose their battles wisely.  They respect my role as mom, yet we have fun. I respect them and show their worth by doing things with them that matter to them. I want them to love life, have fun with and appreciate gems they encounter – whether fun stuff or pearls of wisdom.

I re-explained to my daughter that her behavior disappointed me, but I love her more than any other 7-year-old.  My job is to help her learn what works, or not, one step at a time and her job is to learn from occasional mistakes. Then, if she does her best tomorrow she should feel proud! What a gift – a new chance every day!  Tonight when she nearly compromised the bedtime border, I said, “Remember we talked about [any behavior]? I need you to [better behavior].” She nodded then skipped back on track with a smile.


WTF: Wave Two Fingers!

Are things sweeter the second time around?  Here are two arguments with two sides and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Girl meets boy. Girl loves boy. Boy breaks up with girl. Girl gets over boy. Boy comes crawling back to girl when they’re both home for the summer…  In my case, it didn’t fly.  Now, Girl is great friends with Boy. Then, there was no chance of the romance reaching the same marks so awkwardness ensued.  The reasons we weren’t right still weren’t right.   I’ve known people who married, divorced, then were so friendly and fun they remarried, remembered why they divorced, only to do it again.  Yet, I’ve also had friends who dated someone in high school, their lives went in two different directions until years later their paths cross again when the timing was golden!

Girl gets job. Girl loves job. Job’s corporation closes company. In a pre-emptive strike, Girl leaves job.  Now temping, Girl accepts assignment at barely-standing old job to see friends.  Again, with no chance of the job respect to ever reach the same marks, awkwardness ensued. Yet, I’ve had friends who leap from their job to another company then pinball back into first in a higher position within carefully calculated timeframes to maintain seniority and retirement.


Children – While I’d heard 1 + 1 (kids) equals 11 times the work, not 2, the payoff of having two amusing offspring amazing the heck out of me was 11 times as rewarding!

Marathons – At my 2nd mile 25, instead of cursing the course creators for their never-ending finish line, I remember a distinctly jubilant moment as I ran the last 1.2 miles!

Blog Awards – While it’s an honor to be nominated, to be nominated twice is superb!  I thank Caitlin at What She Writes for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award – again!

So looooong overdue! Thank you Caitlin!
I’m working on my crazy questions but couldn’t put this off any longer!

I get a kick out of knowing people keep reading and it means a lot that they respond!  I love that people in my blogosphere share similar or creative thoughts so check out Caitlin’s blog if you like mine.

So, pipe in! I could use a second opinion!


The other day my daughter and I drove down the street when this caused me to do a nearly- illegal u-turn in the street.

It’s even cooler in real life!

We admired every detail as my mind started racing thinking of the increments of time covered in these Back to the Future films.  The ability to go back, reliving or rewriting one’s past by being present seemed amazing!  Revisiting parts of one’s life knowing then what you know now allows you to fulfill one of life’s greatest mantras.  Then my mind started debating the time traveling done in the trilogy compared to the time-continuum theory suggesting all time takes place concurrently!  I couldn’t keep up and my mind quickly grew cluttered making me dizzy.

Props from all 3 films – awesome!

Then a gem known as Irina Werning distracted me and I wandered after her for a bit.  She was featured in O Magazine because her photography gives people the opportunity to revisit their past, relive a moment or a memory via photographs.  She recreates a childhood photo for people using them as adults now in the same pose, the same clothes (or lack of clothes), same setting and background.

It gives the subjects an eerie sense of déjà vu, instantly transporting them back to that time and those emotions.  At the same time, it shows the progression but sort of in an eerie “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” manner.  I encourage you to check out her features: Back to the Future and Back to the Future 2.

My favorite captures the boy at the Berlin Wall that is missing from the later picture – talk about progress.

Christoph 1990 & 2011 Berlin Wall (C) Irina Werning

I love the one of the young girls who were dressing up and who turned out more lovely than they probably even imagined at that age.

Sonia y Lauri 1988 & 2011 Bs Aires (C) Irina Werning

The adorable naked babies that are now ridiculous naked adults feels rebelliously and painfully proud!

Flor 1975 & 2010 Buenos Aires (C) Irina Werning

The family shots with siblings or the whole family crack me up!  How fun as serious “grown ups” to be able to re-create sidesplitting family moments?

Devoto 1990 & 2011 Buenos Aires (C) Irina Werning

Of course, now I’m wracking my brain thinking of fun photos of myself and my two sisters to recreate for a fun Mother’s or Father’s day gift!  What photo would you reenact?

Naturally, Kids!

Rather than a new post tonight – I’m introducing a new page!

Inspired by Spencer the Caterpillar, our nature-loving neighbors, the desire to get back to nature, and the memories of an unplugged, fancy-free childhood, comes:  Naturally, Kids!

If you have any ideas to add to the list, or favorite adventures to share, I’d love to hear them!



Dark and doomy!
Photo by Jason A. Samfield

Last week, I thought it odd that my body got strangely calm when I gouged a chunk out of my pinky. I seemingly slowed down bodily functions, keeping my finger from bleeding until after I retrieved the ball from the rooftop, returned the broom to its owner, then raced to the bathroom to wash it. I consider myself someone who can stay calm when faced with tense situations or individuals. As a Mom, I have to be the confident rock as we navigate life and its challenges.

Yesterday morning, I thought it odd that I froze and lost track of what task I held when I heard the thunder rumbling through town. I didn’t get tense, but the pounding scrambled my focus and functionality. I rationalized that because it was daytime, I couldn’t see the lightening first to warn me, so I was caught off guard.

Yesterday afternoon, I thought it odd that I seriously wanted my mom, well not really, but enough to tell her that I thought I did, when the crashing clouds gathered directly above my head! Being on the third floor, highest on the hill, one is closer to God and the elements. These thunderous outbursts crashed louder and longer than any others I’ve heard in my life. I was escaping to the second floor when one blast set off such an ongoing racket that I was convinced the third floor had caved in. Later, I watched through the window, following the sound passing through the clouds like Pendleton tanks practicing explosive drills.

As a child, I thought it amazing that my mom controlled the uncontrollable when we sat by the window watching the lightning and counting the seconds until the thunder spoke, and the gaps drew smaller as the storm approached, as she said it would. I still remember the smell of the rain and the swirling humidity breezing through my chiffon babydoll nightgown, not knowing if the chill on my skin was the breeze or fear.

Last night, I thought it heart warming that I had a new comfort level and fondness of one of the scariest most impactful childhood occasions in memory, when I gained a new perspective.

Sunnier Sights!
Photo by mediafury


As a girl, I loved venturing into my grandparent’s huge east coast basement. Newspapers exposed me to current events, I shopped amongst the canned goods, invented new uses for broken machines, or read years of Good Housekeeping! I knew my grandmother and mother in the roles they fulfilled for me, but the basement gave me insight on what their lives entailed. I felt well prepared reading the monthly GH column “My Problem and How I Solved It.”

Knowing how hungrily I sifted through the past inspired me to save some things to share with my children.  I limit myself to one hope chest (not counting photos – stored elsewhere) and there’s room for more.  One of my 101 goals in 1,001 days involved sharing my treasure chest with my children.

As the chest opened, my kids gasped at the colorful possibilities!  We started with publications from significant events that have happened since I started my collection.

From a San Diego paper detailing the LA Riots, 9-11, Elvis, epic college football, to the Man on the moon…

Some events affected me more than others.

The elegant people’s princess. When she died, shortly before her fairy tale finally came true, our fairy tales got shaken too.

For the most part I’ve collected items since the late 80’s.  Every now and then at used bookstores or libraries I’ll find old magazines to put aside, or some life events warrant anniversary editions. Not only do the articles provide amazing information, the advertisements provide great laughs!

I include some mementos from previous employers – I’ve sold off or given away anything collectable.  I used to hope my kids would become rich by eBaying it all, then I decided I should handle it rather than burden them.

This shows just a small sampling of the fun things I accumulated along the way!

Then we got into some of my childhood memories.  For the first time I looked at my baby doll like the ancient relic that my children saw her as – or perhaps saw me as.

A simple doll (named Beanie Baby – original, I know), a bridle and ballet shoes – none of which I stuck with that long.

I shared obituaries of my grandparents, whom they never met.  I displayed college diplomas to “I climbed the Great Wall of China” certificates. My son salivated, commandeering my Checkpoint Charlie tee-shirt.  My daughter tried figuring out which old yearbook photos showed my sisters and I.  I wracked my brain for anything unacceptable inscribed in its pages.

I can’t get her to become a Girl Scout but she loved wearing my sash from my three years as a Scout!

I loved seeing them enjoy open access to my childhood and they loved seeing that I did more with my life before I went to Mommy University.


Today seemingly random sequences of events caught my attention and changed my focus.  I believe that nothing happens coincidentally. This year, my goal continues to ride every wave no matter how far or deep I need to swim.

Beautiful flowers in Seoul…

A thank you letter for a donation in honor of the recently passed Father John P. Daly landed on my desk requiring my bosses’ signature. My boss stopped his speeding train of thought to mention that Father Daly was an amazing man who did significant years of work with Korea and was crucial to the growth of the college’s Asian Studies program. Since Father Daly’s name inspires a smile on the face of anyone who speaks of him, I looked for an obituary.

I read that shortly after taking his Jesuit vows he rooted himself in Korea during a critical period from 1963 – 1975.  My curiosity flared and launched me in a full-circle moment.

I came to America through Holt International Knowing a religious undertone existed at the adoption agency, I wanted to know if Father Daly shared ties.  While I never located a link, I sparked some clarity on a 25 year-old question.

My parents explained that the end-result of the Korean War, the devastated country resulted in families leaving babes to adopt. One person pointed out, “The Korean War ended in the 50’s?!”  Truthfully I had no response and with history being my weakest subject – I wasn’t interested in finding one then.

Now, I feel like returning to the start could sculpt a more 3-D image of my past.  I am less interested in long-lost relatives, more interested in the time before I left Korea – warm fuzzy stories like the political climate, born as a half-blooded Korean and other societal factors that launched me towards the states. I live the fairy tale – how I’d literally been abandoned until someone found me and turned me into an orphanage, I fortunately came to America and never looked back.  But, it’s part of me.

I listed Going to Korea as one of my “101 in 1001 goals,” but don’t want to visit, I want to understand Korea. Father Daly’s influence on people to learn about Korea continues.


After trudging through this week, my instinct to find something good in it rose to the top. Today proved to be less about rest, more about the continual transition to our future. I seized the silent moment – between the finish line of the weekend, and the starting line for the next one – to reflect on the gifts thrown in my path.

1) Listening to past friends – I enjoyed lunch with 4 co-workers who worked together with me elsewhere, and again at my current job. Lunch never lasts long enough. I also ate with people, dropping our old job boundaries, with no hidden agenda besides celebrating one of us.

2) My son’s Cub Scout Den all decided to bridge to the same Boy Scout Troop even though many – including us – considered going with friends to Troops outside the city. Forming and building life-long friendships and connections ranks close to the top of my wish list for my children.

3) My daughter and son both love their baseball/softball teams and coaches. While it doubles the strain on our week, attending practice in two leagues in opposite ends of the city. My daughter shines in her element on the diamond. My son’s love for the sport blossomed – as did his batting skill – in just a few weeks!

4) I’ve received positive feedback on my blogging and that feels amazing! I cling to the mantra of “If I could just touch one person with my writing, it’ll all have been worth it” – it’s true.

5) I got to see 2 unexpectedly good films this weekend. After avoiding Real Steel for as long as possible, it surprisingly touched and entertained me! As a part of “My Day, Part II,” we saw Hugo – my new favorite! I loved the thought that the world operates as a big machine and each part of the mechanism has purpose – extra pieces carrying no purpose do not exist.

6) Perspective. After the tragedy in this week, my divorce seemed mild.

This merely scratched the surface and I’m grateful for many more Sundays to continue to call out those moments that I’m most grateful for.

What are you grateful for?

Previous Older Entries

Share your story & you may reach the one person who needed to hear it most.

%d bloggers like this: