July 2 Editorial

This weekend, my “child” becomes “man-child” as my husband celebrates his 30th birthday. Usually upon hitting such a milestone age, an adult will want something special to commemorate the occasion like a nice watch or new car, but not my man. When I asked him a couple of months ago what he wanted, he had one simple answer; “A superhero party.” I don’t know why I was surprised.
“You mean like a costume party, right,” I asked. “Well, yeah, but with a blow up slip-n-slide, a bouncy castle, and games,” he replied, like an excited six year old boy. So thus, my party planning adventure began.
But how do you plan a six year old’s birthday party and make it adult friendly you ask? Simple…..booze. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
My first awkward call was to the blow up rental place. It went something like this:
Me- “Hi, I’m interested in renting a blow up slip-n-slide and a bouncy castle.”
Them- “Great how many children are we expecting?”
Me- “Um…like 40 adults.”
Them- (long silence) “Okay. Well, our slip-n-slide weight limit is 300 lbs., and we only have a bouncy house that will accommodate 3 adults at one time.”
Me- “Bummer.”
Them- “And also, we do charge extra if someone vomits in it.”
Me- “Let’s just stick with the slip-n-slide.”
Them- “Good choice.”
My next awkward encounter was with the lady from the bakery. I wanted to get him a special three tiered, multi-superhero-awesomeness cake that featured one layer of Spiderman, one layer of Superman, and one layer of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thank goodness for Pinterest….otherwise I’d never have any good party ideas.
I explained to the baker what I was looking for, and a few minutes later she had sketched up exactly what I had in mind. Then she asked, “On the top layer we’ll put ‘Happy Birthday, Jonathan’ and his age on it in fondant. How old is the little guy?” I replied, knowing the look I was about to get, “Um….thirty.” She gave me a look at first like she thought I was kidding, then upon realizing that I wasn’t, she just burst out in laughter and said, “That is awesome.”
My next adventure was to come up with some adult friendly games that people might actually want to play. After hours and hours of YouTube and Google searching, I decided that we will have “pin the bikini top on the centerfold”, Battleshots (Remember Battleship as a kid?), and a slip-n-slide/flip cup team relay race. I ran the idea by a couple of friends, and they all had the same reaction, “Oh cool…..I want to be on your team.”
I’m pretty sure that I should be ashamed of that, because I run like a slow duck, but I can drink like a fish. After all, my days at FSU consisted of many beer pong and flip cup championships. Sorry, mom. I guess some things never change.
And in all honesty, I don’t want them to. I find it extremely charming that my husband is all grown up, but is still a kid at heart. He’s always fun and spontaneous, and while he takes care of me and our family the way every man should, he is never one to pass up a chance to be silly and adventurous.
As I sat here today sewing “scales” onto his Ninja Turtle costume, I realized that I’m lucky to have found someone who doesn’t take life too seriously and isn’t afraid to be a major dork. We may not always be perfect, but there is always a lot of laughter and love in our house. I don’t think you can ask for much more than that.
Except for asking me to dress up as ‘Master Splinter’, which he did, and I said no. I draw the line at dressing as a giant ninja rat warrior. Not happening.
So, I want to take a minute to say happy birthday to my amazing husband, Jonathan. You are a hard worker, a great doggy dad, and the most perfect weirdo in the world. Here’s to the next 30…..I can only imagine what you’ll come up with for that shindig.

June 25 Editorial

This week, unless you’ve been an ostrich with your head in the sand, you’ve heard about nothing but racism, gun control, and the South Carolina church shootings. Normally a debate I would rather stay away from, I found myself extremely passionate about the subject this week. Not because I agree with one side or another, but because I believe we are all missing the real point. Racism exist because of our society and guns and don’t kill people….psychos kill people.
Now, I’m not here to say that Dylann Roof wasn’t a racist or a foul human being for that matter, because he is. Anyone who can commit such a heinous crime fueled by hate is guilty of that. But instead of saying his act was purely based on race, pitting us against one another, let’s dig deeper.
It’s so easy for us to say that his act was caused by his radical views on race, but we need to remember where that comes from. A child isn’t born into this world a racist. We create them. We create them with our own bigoted ideas. We create them by ganging up on one another simply because of the color of our skin or because of an act like the Charleston massacre.
Instead of pointing fingers at each other and blaming the rage and hate that exist between different groups in this nation, take a look the people you know. Now take a look at yourself. I’ll admit….as I watch media coverage on these subjects whether it be riots, shootings, courtroom injustice, etc….it’s hard sometimes not to form an opinion.
When you see and hear people scorning, accusing, and implying something about you simply based on your race, your immediate reaction is to become defensive or even angry. I mean how can someone assume that I am part of the problem when they haven’t even met me? How can someone group me into such a disgusting group of people that I have nothing in common with other than the color of my skin? Frustration turns to anger, anger turns to hate, and voila….you have racism. To say that it doesn’t exist in every culture in America is false. Black, white, Asian, Latino….we are all guilty.
Now I’m not saying that everyone in whole wide world is a racist, I’m simply saying that racism exists in people of all ethnicities. And the reason it still exists today? Because we allow it to. Instead of taking that frustration and anger and directing it towards one group as a whole, start making assumptions based on the individuals you meet. If you meet five white people you dislike….well, maybe those five white people were just all jerks. It doesn’t mean ALL white people are jerks. Met five black people who you didn’t like….again, maybe those particular people just suck at life.
My point is, racism will exist until we start seeing people for who they are as individuals. It will exist until we let our anger go towards one another and start teaching our children to respect EVERYONE. It will exist until we stop using it as a scapegoat to segregate ourselves instead of coming together to stamp out the true evil in this world. Haven’t you heard “It takes a village to raise a child”? Well wake up people, because we are all the village and these are all our children to raise.
Dylann Roof, like so many other awful people out there, was a product of his environment. He wasn’t born with hatred in his heart. Someone put it there, because they had hate put into their heart, and so on and so on. It’s a vicious cycle that we ALL must make changes in order to stop.
As for gun control, I’ll touch on it briefly, but I won’t beat a dead horse. Here’s how I see it…..in this country you have two choices. You can own a gun if you want to, or you can not own a gun because you don’t like them. It’s your prerogative. But let’s be clear…..guns don’t kill people. People make a conscious choice to take someone’s life.
In a perfect world where you could eliminate every gun, gun control would work. But taking away the rights of law abiding citizens to own one won’t keep them out of the hands of criminals. We outlawed drugs, and you see how well that worked out.
And let’s not forget that even in a world without guns, murder will always occur. I mean, Cain killed Abel with a rock, so whatever works, right? We can’t go around banning every blunt object, (or sharp one for that matter), to eliminate crime. You have to put the blame where it belongs, the individual person behind the weapon.
We have become a society of finger pointing, overly-sensitive, whiners who would rather hate each other and take away rights and freedoms rather than do the work to come together and stop the real problems. To ask your children to be color-blind is stupid and unrealistic. Besides, our differences are what make us interesting. Instead, raise your children to embrace our differences and respect one another. Teach them the value of all living things. Bugs, plants, animals, and humans….we all have our place, and we are all important. Teach them to be gentle, compassionate, and instill the need to want to help others. This is how we keep another Ferguson or Charleston from happening.
Spewing more and more hate via the media is like throwing a billion gallons of gasoline on an already dangerous fire. A fire that, until it’s put out, will burn us all so badly that we won’t recognize what’s left of our once great nation.

June 18 Editorial

editorial pic
Now in my mid 30’s, I have found that for the most part my friend’s act like grown-ups. For the most part. This week, I experienced a level of childish that I had hoped was a thing of the past all thanks to social media.
My brother, who I love dearly but is sometimes the reason apps should be invented that prevent you from drinking and texting, recently broke up with his girlfriend…..again. Time after time, they separate, recruit people to be on their “team”, then get back together leaving all involved feeling awkward at having heard all the gory details post breakup.
The last time this predictable event occurred, I informed him that, while I would be there to support him, I didn’t want to be involved in any way shape or form. This meant I didn’t want to hear the gossip or the nasty put downs that were simply a cry of “my heart is broken” or “why don’t you love me anymore”. It’s all very Knots Landing.
Feeling like I had finally gotten my point across after nearly two weeks of silence on the issue, I invited him over to swim in the backyard with us for “Sunday Funday”. A few beers in, and I heard him grumbling, “That ought to do it,” while fumbling around with his phone. I reached for mine and logged on to Facebook where I saw some pretty horrific and embarrassing things that were clearly meant for her on his newsfeed.
“Dude, come on. You’re better than that. That’s childish. You need to take it down,” I said, knowing that he would be ashamed of himself when the beer wore off. He didn’t.
The next day, team “ex-girlfriend” used Facebook for my favorite social media activity “vague-booking”, where people post things meant for someone, but don’t have the guts to approach them directly. Things were being said like, “Those who support and condone that kind of behavior, even if it’s family, are cowards.” Feeling hurt and offended, especially because I had been bending over backwards to stay out of it, I decided to go right to the source.
I messaged the culprit who I once thought of as a friend, and simply explained that not only did I not condone that kind of behavior, but I had actually tried to stop it. I went on to explain that in no way shape or form were those words my feelings on anyone involved and that we were merely waiting for the storm to pass so that we could all resume our normal friendships.
The response I got seemed warm and understanding, and I felt that the issue had been put to rest….at least as far as myself and my husband were concerned. I suppose I was wrong.
Within seconds, I was unfriended and/or blocked by several parties on team “ex-girlfriend”.
I realize that people have their own agendas, opinions, and prerogative when it comes to social media, but I just assumed that as grown adults we wouldn’t be acting like high schoolers with raging emotions at this age. But you know what they say when you “assume” something.
I find it all petty and I am still mad at myself for letting it bother me. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth that I am being perceived as the bad guy or “coward” after I had nothing to do with the situation, but I guess sometimes in life you really are just guilty by association.
If that’s the case, then so be it. My brother was wrong to do what he did, but he’s still my brother. If supporting him and trying to guide him in the right direction during his time of need makes me the bad guy, then I’ll wear that hat.
As for the people who saw me as a threat to their happiness and felt the need to eliminate me from their lives, I understand. Sometimes you have to do what you think is best for you, and I respect that. Most of all, you just made it really easy for me to determine who my real friends are. Thanks.
Perhaps it’s time to take a break from social media altogether for me. I mean, hey…..I might finally learn how to crochet, lose a few pounds, and find something better to do with that first hour of the day I spend scrolling through hundreds of meaningless posts. It’s probably pretty tough to be accused of something on Facebook if you’re not on Facebook.
I think Albert Einstein said it best when he said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
You nailed it, Mr. Einstein. You nailed it.

June 11 Editorial

As an honorary “aunt” to my best friend’s two little munchkins, I have learned a lot over the years. As they grow, I am fascinated to see how they interact with others, especially each other. Now, at ages 3 and 5, they are really schooling me on what it means to be a mother and remind me each time I see them why it’s awesome to be “Aunt Kelly”.
Last weekend, we took my bestie and her kids with us on the boat for a day of fun in the sun. This wasn’t their first rodeo, as they had been out with us before, so I knew they were capable of enduring the adventure without a mega meltdown.
We arrived at the dock and noticed that “daddy” wasn’t in tow this time. “Where’s daddy, guys”, I asked them, and my friend replied, “Daddy couldn’t find his wallet, so he’s at home tearing the house apart looking for it. It has been gone since Friday.” Knowing what a total bummer and pain in the behind it is to lose your wallet and all the important things within it, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
I asked if we should wait on him, but my friend said that he just wasn’t going to be up for it until that wallet surfaced.
A little while later, we were anchored up and having a blast catching hermit crabs, collecting shells, and playing a game called “monkey” of which I’m not sure what the purpose is except they get to hold on to my back while I run back and forth making noises like a moron. I have to admit, I love this game.
Over the next hour or so, my friend answered the phone calls of her frantic husband and listened to him as he explained that he had been on a wild goose chase all over town, retracing his steps over the last two days. “Girls, you haven’t seen daddy’s wallet, have you,” she asked them. They both shook their heads, and the search continued.
A bit later, it was time for the littlest munchkin to take a nap. She fought it for a bit, so mommy had to go lay down with her for a minute. I sat on the back of the boat with my favorite “big girl”, who I can’t believe will already be a first grader next year, and asked her, “So if I ever become a mom, how does this nap thing work? If I fall asleep, would you guys sleep too long and keep me up all night, or do you have some internal clock that wakes you up?” She giggled and said, “No, I would wake you up. We only nap for about an hour before we are ready to play again.” “That seems pretty legit. Good to know,” I said, loving that I can always talk to her like an adult.
Just then, I heard my friend add to our conversation, “Yeah, that’s not how it goes down at all. They will wake up, but they will leave you sleeping and destroy the house. It only takes two seconds.” Yep…..this is more of what I was expecting. Never trust what a five year old says about naps.
Later, our little nugget woke from her nap and was ready to go. With bed head and her jammies still on, she said, “I’m ready for my floaties!” As we worked to get her back into her bathing suit and into her “no fear” flotation device, the phone rang again.
My friend answered and started to laugh. Then she asked our little nugget, “Did you take daddy’s wallet?” She smiled a smile that was half angel and half devil and simply replied, “Yesh.” My friend went on. “Did you take the money out and put it in your piggy bank?” Same answer. “Yesh.” And finally, “Did you hide the wallet in your cubby in your room afterwards?” With no remorse, she said one last time, “Yesh.”
Despite her being a kleptomaniac, it was too cute for anyone to be mad. My friend tried her best to tell her that what she had done was wrong, but I don’t think our tiny nugget cared. She was ready to party, and she knew her cuteness could allow her to get away with anything.
“See, this is what it’s like to be a parent,” she said. This incident came just after the most monster bowel movement I’ve ever seen came out of this tiny child, clogging the boat toilet, forcing my husband to find something to “coerce” it down the hole.
On the way home that night, my husband and I giggled about the events of the day. “So basically kids take naps, clog toilets, and snatch your money…..then they wake you up at 5 am and want to play. That sounds exhausting,” I said. He answered, “I think it sounds pretty awesome! I want to be a kid.”
I thought about it for a second and said, “Yeah, I pretty much just described what YOU do in a normal day.” Who needs a kid of their own when you have a husband?
As for my little “nieces”, I grow to love them more and more every day. They make me laugh, teach me something new every time I see them, and bring out a side of me that I didn’t even know existed. I never get tired of them and their crazy little stunts…..but then again, they’re not stealing my wallet. It’s good to the aunt.

June 4 Editorial

As the first day of hurricane season is now upon us, I am preparing myself for the storm…..and I’m not just talking about the wind and rain. No, I’m also talking about the storm of questions and concerns that comes like clockwork every year from friends and family who don’t live in a hurricane prone region. Questions, that to them seem intelligent, but to me, make me wonder what is wrong with people who don’t consider themselves “beach people”.
Every year, as June 1
st approaches, I channel my inner Phil Collins because indeed, “I can feel it coming in the air”. When the Weather Channel starts hyping up the rest of the world to believe that “this year” is “the year” we are all doomed, I start gearing up to defend my choice to live as close to the water as possible. When the old episodes of Storm Stories start playing over and over, my phone starts ringing off the hook. I hate the Weather Channel.
The first call usually goes something like this:
“Have you heard what they are saying on TV about hurricane season this year? They say it’s going to be the worst one ever! Maybe you guys should think about moving away from the water?” To which I reply, “Not a chance, but thanks for the concern.”
A couple of days later, I usually get another call. “Are you guy’s crazy? I wouldn’t live on the water down there for anything. Didn’t you lose everything in Ivan? Haven’t you learned anything?” To which I reply, “99% of the time, the weather is perfect. I wouldn’t trade all those gorgeous sunny days on the beach just because a hurricane “might” come through for anything.” There is usually some disapproval in their voice as the conversation continues, but people who don’t love the beach just don’t understand.
When a named storm does approach our area, the phone lines really go nuts. Even a tropical depression can send some friends and family members into a full on meltdown. “You need to get out of there immediately. It is going to be horrible,” they’ll say. Little do they know a tropical depression is like a Wednesday in Seattle with a little breeze from Hawaii thrown in. It’s really no big deal.
In any event, we always prepare ourselves with the essentials months before hurricane season even starts. There’s nothing I hate more than a store full of frenzied “first timers” or just plain morons that need a Xanax rushing around like chickens with their heads cut off grabbing “hurricane staples” like bread, water, and milk from the shelves like crazed maniacs.
On a side note…..I never understood the bread and milk thing. #1, no one wants to drink milk after the power has gone out, and #2, you can’t eat sandwich meat if the power goes out….so enjoy that peanut butter and jelly…over and over again.
I for one go for things like Chef Boyardee, ramen noodles, beer, tuna, canned veggies, beer, beef jerky, soup, and did I mention beer? Pretty much all the things I love to eat, but generally try not to unless it’s an emergency. I’ve had some pretty awesome hurricane parties where I ate like a pig, drank like a fish, and enjoyed the heck out of playing games with my friends. See! Even hurricane season can be fun! What’s not to love about the beach?
On a serious note, I, like many of you out there, have seen the devastating effects a hurricane can bring to our area. While it’s fun to have an excuse to stay indoors and party, please prepare yourself before we get word that bad weather is coming our way. My family and friends who live far away may seem annoying at times, but I know they are only looking out for our safety. (Even though we worry more about them living in tornado alley.)
Here’s hoping that this year we will once again be spared from Mother Nature’s fury, and here’s to all those incredibly beautiful beach days that make it all worth living here…even when she does send a storm our way.