A First Homecoming

29Oct2016 Filed under: blah-blah-blog

Sitting out under the stars, waiting for Eli’s homecoming dance to end, I feel completely out of place.

Dozens of much older-looking teens mill about in their Sunday best, making me feel even less like I belong here.

My son is just a freshman. Fourteen years old. He doesn’t look like these young adults yet.


At least, not quite yet.

(Will he ever? Aren’t our own kids always our babies?)

See, I don’t know how I am here again already. I just don’t.

Could somebody please explain to me how is it that my second child is in high school? How?

I’ve raised a high-schooler before; this shouldn’t feel so foreign to me. But it does.

“This is our last song of the evening!” the DJ announces as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” blares into the night.

Don’t stop believing? Eli’s been a freshman for almost three months and I can’t even start believing that it’s true.

His cheeky toddler face keeps surfacing in my mind, and I swear it was just a minute ago that Friday nights meant footed pajamas, a bottle of milk and a stack of picture books–not neckties, loud music and….girls?


It all went by so fast. So incredibly, impossibly, improbably fast.

And I find myself sitting here, out under the stars, waiting for a second beloved son’s first homecoming dance to end, feeling completely out of place.

Fed up with selfishness

16Oct2016 Filed under: blah-blah-blog

I reached a breaking point today over selfish behavior, and I’m still not over it.

I vented on Facebook this morning…

“Been awake since midnight, my heart heavy over pain inflicted on loved ones by the utterly foolish, selfish acts of others. It’s just too much to write about here, but y’all…can we just be decent to one another? Be respectful. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Love selflessly. Consider others more important than yourself. I fail at all of those daily, but I try. It blows me away sometimes, how many don’t seem to even TRY to think beyond themselves.”

I was just going to let it go at that point, but it’s almost 24 hours later and I’m still struggling unusually hard to do that.

One of the downsides of raising teenagers is that you want to vent in detail about them, like you did when they were babies, but you also realize you need to respect their right to privacy, so you don’t. (I swear I need an anonymous blog for that purpose only!)

What I can say is that while all the books tell me that it’s normal for teens to be self-centered, the day-to-day immersion in selfishness exhausts me–way more than I anticipated. Then multiply it times three and I’m losing my ability to just brush it off as normal behavior.

I get so sick and tired of my teens treating me like a doormat instead of as a real human being with feelings of my own.

Especially when their selfishness keeps me up all night for various reasons, and it’s not my choice to stay up.

Especially when a 5:30 a.m bedtime leaves me with a nasty headache that I can’t take ibuprofen for because I’m having surgery later this week.

My mood has not been good today, y’all.

The upside to being up all night is that I was awake when a friend needed to vent. Again, I will try to protect privacy, but I was horrified by what she told me.

Something tragic happened at her middle-schooler’s football game last night. A fight began, started by an adult spectator heckling some of the kids. Now, first of all, these are KIDS playing football. Heckling them for any reason is completely absurd and, in my opinion, totally unacceptable. They’re supposed to be having fun at this age, not being pressured to perform.

Well, it all got out of hand and a real fist fight broke out. She said the bleachers were emptying and everything. Police had to be called to break it up–with their guns drawn.

What a mess!

What an utterly lousy example being set for young men, while they’re at the rawest age for learning what it means to be a man. And how scary for everyone!

But that’s not even the worst of it.

The father of one of her son’s teammates DIED. Dropped dead of a heart attack from all the stress, at the age of 44.

Her description of the son’s grief is imagery that I can’t get out of my mind.

And even though I didn’t know the victim, he’s haunted me all day long. A young family was devastated, a child watched his father die, all because a pot-stirring individual didn’t stop to consider the broader impact of his words.

It was odd timing to have two scenarios of utter selfishness playing out before me in the wee hours this morning. Then I logged on later to a barrage of political posts and all the selfish name-calling just left me feeling despair.


I feel so very, very DONE.

In 2 Timothy 3, the Bible talks about how men will become lovers of self in the last days, and I do believe we’re seeing that playing out around us.

But of course we can trace selfishness back to the Garden of Eden. It’s nothing new under the sun.

As far as I can see, the only solution to self-centeredness is to walk as Jesus walked. To, as the word says in Philippians 2: 3-5:

“Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]”

Why does this have to be so hard?




Ghastly Dreadfuls are Gloriously Grand

13Oct2016 Filed under: blah-blah-blog

My teenagers thought it quite strange when Mom announced she was going to a puppet show for adults.

Puppet show — for ADULTS? What?


Now, I’ve taken my kids to the Center for Puppetry Arts enough to know that their productions have never disappointed us. Seeing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become an annual family tradition that even the teens still ask for. And next week, I’m headed back on a field trip with my son’s first grade class to see The Jungle Book: The Story of Mowgli’s Fire.

But even I kind of wondered what to expect from The Ghastly Dreadfuls.

I’m glad that they don’t give TOO much information away on their website. Here is a video to give you a little taste of what you’re in for, but keep in mind that it just grazes the surface.

Shown in their intimate lower-level theater, it’s a dark, cozy, interactive experience that kicks off with a sing-along called “More Work for the Undertaker”. And I’m not really a sing-along type, so I’m thinking, “OK, this is going to be 100% pure cheddar…” But, yeah–two verses in and I was laughing and clapping along with everyone else!

The Ghastly Dreadfuls is SO much fun! And so beautiful. The sets, the puppets, the costumes, the makeup…it was all lovely in a delightfully creepy way.


And the the storytelling! My favorite was “The 11:59″ which is adapted from a short story included in The Dark Thirty, an anthology of southern supernatural tales. (Of course, now I have to read that whole book!) I love learning about different cultures and was amazed by some of the traditions shared in “The Creepy Compendium of International Ghouls from A-Z”.

The amazingly talented cast regaled us with their live music, singing and dancing between stories, and I could’ve stayed another hour just watching them perform.


Honestly, this production ranks in my top five favorite show experiences EVER, and that includes everything I’ve ever seen on Broadway.

So…you should go! IF you’re 18 or over, that is. A few tales are peppered with risque elements that make it appropriate for adult eyes only.

Tickets are $18.75 for members and $25 for nonmembers, and a cash bar is available before the show and during intermission.

Shows run at 8 pm on Wednesday through Saturday evenings, until October 29.

The Center for Puppetry Arts is located at 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta. Call 404-873-3391 for more information or visit them online at www.puppet.org.



Boo, y’all! Six Flags FrightFest!

12Oct2016 Filed under: blah-blah-blog

Confession time: I felt a little apprehensive about taking four teenagers to FrightFest at Six Flags Over Georgia.


I know that sounds weird, but the commercials make it look exceptionally dark and scary. The show descriptions online are quite…macabre. And then you find out that you can’t even exit the park without walking through what they call The Witching Hour! It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun for a group of chickens like us…even if we do love Halloween.

Well, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. And almost a little disappointed that there weren’t more scary zombies, clowns and monsters hiding around every corner.

They were rampant inside the scare zones, haunted houses and mazes, of course. I didn’t make it to the Bayou Bloodlust attraction, but a friend of mine did and said it quite literally scared the pee out of her.

Twice. (Bwahahaha! Poor soul!)

Our ride on the Terror Train topped my Creep-out Factor for the night, but I found that if I kept my sense of humor, I stayed pretty calm…even when the ride took a rather shocking turn.


I also found it helpful to keep in mind that the costumed characters aren’t allowed to touch you!

I wish I’d gotten more pics of how wonderfully decorated the park was. Along the entrance way, there were these huge wooden coffins that made great photo props.


Eerie music wafted through the park all evening, and I agree with Six Flags that you probably don’t want to have little kids there after 6:00 pm. The daytime is filled with lighthearted Halloween fun for the littles, who are welcome to wear costumes and trick-or-treat in the kids’ areas. (Which looked awesome, by the way, and had plenty of great photo props, including these giant jack-o-lanterns.)


We also loved “Dr. Fright’s Dead Man’s Party” show at the Crystal Pistol theater.


I’m not really a huge fan of zombies, but this show was highly entertaining, with lots of “Thriller”-style choreography, audience engagement and humorous takes on classic tunes like “Bad to the Bone”.


Now, I have to show you where the absolute SCARIEST moment of the night occurred for me:


Yes! Inside the adorable Monster Mansion!

Just take my advice here: if you have more than one heavy person in your group, make sure you distribute the weight evenly along the seats. Because these boats are free-floating and I swear to you, we almost tipped ours over more than once! We took on water and everything!

Looking back on it, it’s hilarious, but it would’ve kinda ruined the night if all of us ended up half-drowning inside a kiddie ride!

After surviving that peril, we all enjoyed the huge burritos we ordered at Macho Nacho, located near the Goliath roller coaster.


I quite enjoyed leaving the park at midnight through The Witching Hour, because there were so many scary characters congregating near the entrance! I don’t think our teenagers would say the same because the zombies and clowns pretty much left us old folks alone, choosing to garner easy screams from the teens. And let me tell you, the girls especially did not disappoint! And I thought one of the boys was going to wet his pants when a clown chased him into a gift shop.

If you have teenagers, I think you’ll understand the joy my friend and I felt over seeing them get scared for a change (since we mamas are usually the ones being terrified by their behavior)! LOL


There are three more weekends to enjoy all the FrightFest fun. Six Flags Over Georgia is open on all remaining October Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and on Halloween night.

Fridays: 6 pm to midnight

Saturdays: Noon to midnight

Sundays: Noon to 10:00 pm

Monday, October 31: 6 pm to midnight


Maybe we’ll see you there? Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha!





Counting Down

4Oct2016 Filed under: blah-blah-blog

Yeah, so I may be getting a little excited here!

I actually made a ticker to count down to my laser surgery and balloon dilation to fix this pesky blockage in my throat! I haven’t made a ticker since the last time I was pregnant, and the fact that I wanted to made me laugh.

But it’s such a neat thing to be looking forward to! Because it’s been five years–at least–of huffing and puffing. Of embarrassment over my loud wheezing and stridor. Of my entire life slowing down to the point that I now have to sit down and catch my breath after making the bed.

I realize that, unfortunately, the scar tissue will most likely grow back. A lot isn’t known about idiopathic subglottic stenosis because it is a rare disease, but the majority of people need repeat dilations, sometimes even just a few weeks or months after the initial treatment. A lot of people go on to need tracheal resections, a really complicated procedure that I don’t even want to think about yet.

Because right now, today, I just want to enjoy the anticipation of breathing easily again! Even if it’s short-lived, it’s going to be amazing to give up this struggle, to lay this burden down a while, to feel a degree of normalcy again.

I hesitated before writing this post, because nobody really wants to listen to someone blather on about health conditions. But we were talking on my ISS support group last night and one of the ladies said that we all bear the responsibility of spreading the word about this condition as often as we can. I went undiagnosed for so long and nearly every person in that group of 1,500+ has the same story.

People don’t know about this condition. DOCTORS don’t know about this condition. It bothers me to wonder how many thousands of people are walking around suffering like I’ve been, misdiagnosed with asthma and who knows what else because nobody ever thinks to have an ENT look down their throat!

So here is my PSA of the day: if you or someone you know suffers from the following symptoms, see an ear-nose-throat specialist as soon as possible:

  • Shortness of breath during exertion and sometimes at rest
  • Noisy breathing, also known as stridor
  • Cough
  • Voice changes
  • Feeling of phlegm “stuck” within the airway

Because, breathing. It’s kind of important.