Lil' Jimmy with horns on his head
Warning: This is a shameless promotional piece I am writing on behalf of my brother, Jim. Why am I doing it? Because I owe him. Big.
You see, of the three kids in my family he was not only the youngest growing up but also the only boy. That meant he was subjected to -- how can I say this politely? -- undue torture, girl style. Case in point: my sister and I used to love treating him to full facials, make up and all, while he playfully remained a good sport. One day he finally said enough. (I can’t remember how old he was at the time… 19? 20?) Still, he continued to indulge in our silliness in other ways and ended up becoming one of the most incredibly hilarious people I know.
But there was something about Jim that disturbed me greatly, something I need to explain right now.
Jim was one of those kids who was unbelievably talented, unbelievably creative, as well as unbelievably UNDER achieving. Don't get me wrong, he was a good student but he clearly didn't have his heart in it. I shook my head at him all the time. It killed me to think of all the great things he could achieve it he’d only put his mind to it. But no. Instead of concentrating all his energy on school, he followed his heart and dove into a silly hobby. It revolved around this weird thing Mom and Dad had just bought. What was it called, again? Oh, yeah.
A PERSONAL COMPUTER.
Me, my sis, Heather and Jim ...with a frisbee on his head.
My folks brought it home in 1981. I admit it was kind of neat. But all that Franklin Ace 1000 could really do was word-processing plus some basic spreadsheets.
Well, Jim thought that maybe the machine could do more. Ridiculous, I know. He spent hours on it, learning code on his own through trial and error. Well, guess what? Much to my surprise it turned he COULD teach the computer to do different things. Cool things. Creative things.
As you may have guessed, Jim ended up doing all right in life. Did I tell you he works at Microsoft as an inventor? Not a bad gig for a guy who chose to follow his heart instead of the pre-programmed path for achievement. There might be a lesson in there somewhere.
And now he’s gone and done something cool again. That Mr. Smarty Pants! Or should I say Mr. AND MRS. Smarty Pants….
A while back his wife, Lori, quite the creative genius, herself, thought it would be fun if they did a project together. And though I’m sure the urge to tackle a 1000 piece Hello Kitty Dance Party jigsaw puzzle was strong, they decided to create a cool game. And instead of just thinking about it, they actually did it. And you know what?
The game is AWESOME.
Jim and Lori today. A total love match. They BOTH love to wear silly things on their heads.
(ALERT - promotional part of this post begins now!)
Ooh! So cool. Me want to buy!
Produced by Calliope games, it's called Ugh!,
a push your luck card game set playfully in the caveman days. The goal is to try and lock in as many sets of cards as you can before a natural disaster strikes. It’s fun, addictive, and oh so perfect for the entire family. 2-6 people can play, ages 8 and up. I will personally attest to the fact that everyone in my household loves it. Finally, a game my kids will play with me! Hooray! Plus the graphics were designed by John Kovalic, the famous cartoon and illustrator. Cool.
So buy it. You’ll love it. You can buy it for $10 online and it’s available in cool shops across the US, too. Just click here for more info on the game as well as how to get it
And before I go, a final word to Jim: I proud of you, bro. I’m proud of Lori, too. It looks like the two of you ended up doing all right. And you did it your way, too. :)
My family just got back from a swimming adventure in the Wisconsin Dells, a place that has so many water parks it’s not only the water park capital of the world but, as evidenced by the graphic, The Water Park Capital of the World!®
I have to say, it was nice knowing the kids were finally at the age where I didn’t have to watch them every second for fear they might drown,* and I’m happy to report that despite all of the long slung swimsuits I saw, the only butt crack I witnessed was on the back of Moosejaw’s pizza delivery van:
How'd you like to drive behind that?
Anyway, given that it's Spring Break season and, therefore, swimsuit time for many, I thought I'd share a few tips and observations about swimsuit selection and waterpark behavior
. First off, though, if you are older and plan on a wet and wild trip with friends and not family, for god's sake, please click here
for some important safety tips.
Okay, then. Here I go:
For starters, (and I'm not saying this from personal experience...well, actually I am, but still), if you're wearing an old suit with leg hole elastic as loose and flappy as Steven Tyler’s lips
, do not -- I repeat, DO NOT -- attempt the body slides unless you are prepared for full cheek exposure. If you’re body-sliding in a bikini, it goes without saying: keep your arms crossed over your chest.Don't buy a white suit,
even if it's cute, 90% off the retail price and you have a coupon burning a hole in your Hello Kitty wallet. If you plan on getting wet, you'll regret your choice. Please don't ask me to explain further.
If you choose to wear a va-va-va-voom swimsuit, remember that you might not just catch the eye of that cute guy in the hot tub but that creppy guy on the other side of the hot tub, too. No means no, and all of that jazz. Just realize that you can't always choose the type of attention you want to receive
-- a point that's true no matter what you wear.
Shoulders back, people! Girls who walk around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame look like they are embarrassed by their bodies and have zero confidence in themselves
. I don't care how big or small your chest is, how tall or short you are, or whatever real or imagined situation you've got going on, keep your back straight.Wearing full make up at a water park just looks downright silly.
A little waterproof mascara, maybe some waterproof eyeliner are no problem as long as their used sparingly. But bright green eye shadow and glittery lip gloss? It's a water park, for cripes sake!
And finally, let me note that I saw hundreds of people and NOT ONE looked like they’d walked off the pages of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Granted, that’s not always the case. So called ‘perfect’ bodies do exist. But if you don’t think you’ve got one, don’t sweat it. When I was younger, I wasted too much time worrying about how I looked when, truthfully, I was the only one who really cared
. Just having fun and smiling improves your appearance 100%.
Anyway, that's my advice. Feel free to leave some of your own. I hope you have (or had) a nice break!
Personally, I'm just glad no one died. If you know my family, you'll know I'm not kidding. Well, I'm kind of kidding.
* Actually, one of my kids almost drowned, but I telling you that so soon into the post just made me feel like a failure as a mother. We still had fun.
Photo credit: Jackie Murphy
(Side note: You KNOW you have the coolest mother-in-law when she takes a picture of a moose's butt for you without even batting an eye. Thanks for embracing the zaniness, Jackie. You rock!
I dedicated this week exclusively to book writing, so I have no words for you this week. Instead, I created some cute keyboard animals exclusively for your amusement: a bunny, cat, bird and pig. The bunny has been blatantly pilfered from my brother, who I know found it elseewhere on the web. The rest are my own creations -- at least I think they are. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has wasted their time this way.
Hope they make you smile. :)
(UPDATE 7/1/12: I just made some more keyboard animals. If you want to see them, click here!)
And, BTW, if you haven't seen this video, take a gander. It's hilarious!