Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sloppy Joe's Bar comes to town

Thanks to a well-connected Wondertwin, I scored an invite to the VIP sneak peek of the new Sloppy Joe's bar and restaurant that is opening in Daytona Beach on Feb. 4. Our little town on the beach now has the unique honor of being only the 3rd location of a Sloppy Joe's in the U.S. There's the original in Key West and one in Treasure Island, and now we have one on the beach in Daytona, at the Ocean Walk shops and entertainment complex.

The VIP party was exactly what you want in a restaurant sneak peek. Free drinks, free food served all night long, friendly staff, great live entertainment and give-aways. I tried as many of the food items as my vegetarian diet would allow and really loved the crab cakes. I'm tough to please when it comes to crab cakes, but these were just the way I like 'em - a little crispy on the outside, moist inside with big chunks of crab held together by a well-seasoned crumb mixture.

I can't wait to attend the Hemingway look-alike contest in my hometown this year!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Real World Smackdown

When I was growing up, my dad would sometimes spend Saturday afternoon watching "Wrasslin'". Back then, "pro wrestling" was made up of men like Dusty Rhodes and Nature Boy Rick Flair. It wasn't as glamorous as it is today - no laser light shows or pyrotechnics. Just big, ugly guys with bleach blonde hair wearing giant BVDs and mugging for the camera. My younger sister took an interest in watching wrasslin' with dad and the two of them would sometimes form a tag-team and "pin me" whenever I smarted off about their interest in this ridiculous psuedo-sport.

Unfortunately, watching Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan taught my little sister a thing or two. More than once she body slammed me, putting me and my smart mouth in my place. So when she and dad decided to go see the traveling wrasslin' show at the local high school gymnasium in 1978, I kept my mouth shut.

I may have gotten a smack down from time to time by my Roddy-Piper-loving little sister, but those kind of sleeper holds pale in comparison to real life, which can show no mercy. As my stepson learned yesterday.

As a mom, you just gotta love seeing your teenagers come smack up against the real world. Not that I don't love my stepson, but a reality check helps build maturity. Yesterday, he took his truck in for an oil change and service. Now this a truck that his dad and I bought him - for which he's supposed to be making payments to  us. Which is kinda difficult when you don't have a regular job, you sleep until noon and fish the rest of the day.

But I digress.

The truck is old and had been sitting for a while when he got it. So it is no surprise that it needed filter changes and a tune up. But when my son got the $153 bill for what he thought would be a $19.99 oil change (gotta check the fine print in those ads), he was beside himself. He came through the door with a look of shock on his face and spent 20 minutes ranting about how dirty the filter was and how the transmission fluid had started to congeal, etc, etc and how much it cost to get everything cleaned-up.

I was enjoying the irony of the fact that he was complaining about having to spend $153 on a car that so far he had enjoyed for free, that I forgot to lecture him on the cost/responsibility of owning and driving a vehicle. The entire time he flailed about, writhing in agony over the cost of his tune-up, I just pictured the great Dusty Rhodes hovering over him on the ropes, ready to pounce.

Bam! Real Life Kid! That's gonna leave a mark.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Crying game

I'm not sure if MiniMe cries more these days as she hits puberty or if she cried more as a toddler. It's kinda a toss up. This is only the beginning, I know. Once puberty has firmly taken hold of her and she hits middle school, it will be waterworks all the time around here.

I'm not a very sentimental mom. And I'm not one to cry at the drop of a hat, I mean Beloved cries watching movies more than I do. So I'm doing my very best to be empathetic to the hour-by-hour drama that is MiniMe.

Today she cried at least 4 times that I know of.

First because she fell and hurt her arm.
Second because I wasn't showing the right amount of concern over a bruised arm.
Third because she was tired.
Fourth because she was thinking about school tomorrow and whether or not she had enough friends.

But the worst, the absolute worst crying came on our drive home from the movies tonight. About 4 blocks from home we came across a cat who'd just been hit by a car. Yes, I was horrified and disturbed by the poor creature and its plight. So I dropped a traumatized MiniMe off at home and quickly returned to the injured cat. It had died, so I wrapped it up in a towel and took it home where I buried it.

2 hours later and MiniMe is still crying. When I try and talk to her about it for the hundredth time, she manages to choke out between sobs "I feel like it's my fault the cat died." When I ask why she thinks it is her fault, she tells me that if she had only forced me to stop the car in the middle of the road, swoop in and rush the cat to the emergency vet, the cat would still be with us.

Hmmm. Doesn't that really make it my fault then? I mean, if I heard her right, she was 'blaming herself' for not forcing ME to do the heroic and immediate thing.

If this mother-daughter relationship gets any more complicated I just might cry.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Grandmas are Great!

Lately MiniMe has been obsessed with coloring her hair a different color. And when I say "a different color" I don't mean brunette. She wants red highlights in her naturally white-blonde hair. My response to this request last week went something like this. . .


"But mom, why not?"

Absolutely not. You are not going to color your hair. You're 10 years old. There's plenty of time to color your hair when you get to be a teenager.

"Please mom! Just highlights"

No, highlights are also hair color.

"But I just want a few highlights. Please!?!"

Why do you want to color your hair?

"I hate my hair color!"

But you have blonde hair, beautiful blonde hair. The kind of color many people spend lots of money and hours at the salon to get.

"I want red highlights."

WHAT!!????!!! RED?!!! NO WAY! Absolutely not!

"Why, Mom?"

Because bright red highlights in your hair will look like Bozo the Clown threw up all over you!

"Mom, that's gross! Can't I just - "

NO! End of discussion. You're 10 years old. When you turn 16 you can mess up your hair by cutting it, shaving it or coloring it. But for now, you're stuck with what you've got.


So to get around my denial of highlights, MiniMe talked her grandmother into assisting her with this hair color scheme. She got her grandmother to buy her rainbow colored clip-on hair extensions. Oh well, at least it's not permanent.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First kiss

So mom, how old were you when you had your first kiss? Minime asked me this morning on our drive to school. Now she could catch a bus to school every morning but I kind of like our drive to school and our drive home from school because oddly that's when Minime is her most talkative. That's when we have our best mommy-daughter conversations. In the morning she seems to be contemplating the day that is to come - her friends, her school work, the boys in her class, the recess time and what she'll have for lunch. So she's more open to talking about all that stuff.

On the ride home, she's full of interesting tidbits about her day. What happened with her friends, the funny conversations and situations between her and her friends that day, what the cute boy in class did that day and the usual other elementary school stuff.

But this was a question I wasn't expecting. My first kiss? Did I even remember? Well kinda.

"Well, I think I was about 13." I answered after a long pause.

Who was it, Mom? Who did you have your first kiss with?

Hmmm. Now that's a tough one. I remember who it was, just not his name. I'm bad with names.

"Well, it was the cousin of one of my friends. He was visiting and my friend told me he kinda liked me." I said. "But I don't remember his name. I just remember it was embarrassing."

Chuckles from Minime.

"Sooooo. . ." I ask. "Who was your first kiss?"

A horrified look crosses MiniMe's face. "Mooooommmm!!!!!!!! Hurmpf!"

What, I say feining innocence. You haven't had your first kiss yet?

"Nooooo!! Ewww!! Mommmmm!" from MiniMe.

I guess I'm not such a bad parent after all. My 10 year old has managed to make it almost all the way through elementary school without being kissed. Good for me (and her!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snow at Casa NativeMom

It's snowing in Ormond Beach, FL! Pool screens are great for catching snow. Who knew?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Signs of the Apocalypse

Global Warming, 2010, blame whatever (conspiracy) theory you want, but I think the chill that has taken over Florida may just be a sign of the apocalypse. I mean anything that makes me consider putting on a Snuggie and keeping it on even when I go out in public has got to be a part of some kind of doomsday scenario. Other indications that this Florida freeze is turning nature on its head include:

  • My dogs happily snoozed away in bed with me this morning instead of harassing me to get up and take them for their walk.
  • In my hometown yesterday, two different (senior) citizens drove their cars into buildings and/or lakes. Oh wait, my bad, that happens pretty regularly in Florida. 
  • The newspaper in my hometown actually found a buyer. What are the chances of ANYONE buying a newspaper these days?

See, all very weird things going on here. By the way, can anyone enlighten me as to why the cold weather always makes my nose run? Is this because I'm a Florida native or does this happen to everyone? Maybe a certain Florida science teacher can answer this question . . .

Friday, January 1, 2010

Native Mom Booklist 2009

It's time for my annual blog post where I recommend books from among the many I've read this year. When I got my Kindle last year, I really put it to good use. I have more than 40 books on it and have read about 30 of them this year. So here are the books I recommend.

1. Columbine, Dave Cullen
2. The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak
3. Hands of My Father, Myron Uhlberg
4. Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery, Spencer Quinn
5. The rest of the Twilight Saga books

Unfortunately, I was not able to recommend a "top 10" list of books, mostly because I spent a lot of time reading classics, books like Pride and Prejudice and Tender is the Night, which I've been meaning to work into my reading list for a while. Love the classics, just didn't include any in my recommendations this year.

My favorite - Columbine by journalist Dave Cullen. I talked about this book to everyone and even blogged about it earlier this year. Cullen does an amazing job of telling the story of the tragedy at Columbine from so many different perspectives. While the subject matter is difficult, it is a fascinating look at media, society, culture, violence, mental illness, and the teenage experience in America. A must read!!!

The Book Thief, written by Marcus Zusak and published in 2005, has been on the NY Times bestseller list for young adults for more than 100 weeks. I decided to read this without knowing a thing about the plot simply because I had seen it on so many recommended reading lists. In fact, I did not know it was a book intended for young adults until months after I read it. One reviewer called this book Harry Potter and the Holocaust. I think it is more than that. It's a completely fresh and unique take on the telling of World War II and the evil that was the holocaust. The war is shown from the perspective of the German people, how they were affected, and the main characters are children. The narrator is Death, which I found strange at first, but it became one of my favorite things about this book by the end because even Death hates war. I found this book especially meaningful considering the war our country has been in for nearly the last decade. A very well-written book that will leave you thinking about it long after you've closed the cover.

There are many kinds of discrimination we've been able to overcome in our country and author Myron Uhlberg writes an eye-opening account of the discrimination his family faced in the book Hands of My Father. The book is an account of his life as the hearing son of two deaf parents and the difficulty the family faced as he grew up in the 30s and 40s in Brooklyn. Uhlberg learned American Sign Language before he could speak and was a vital link between his parents and the hearing world. But being that link, especially as a young child, exposed him to the cruelty and disrespect that people who are deaf can often encounter, especially during a time in our history before the Americans With Disabilities Act. This book illustrates the struggle the family faced just to live a normal life when society thought two deaf adults weren't capable of taking care of their own children; when finding work was exceedingly difficult, especially for a deaf man; and when being the child of a deaf parent meant other people treated you as if you were handicapped. The author's story is stark, startling, and ultimately moving.

On a lighter note, I had a great time reading the book Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery. I don't read much from the mystery genre, but I'll be honest and admit that the "dog as narrator" caught my attention. Chet, the canine narrator, works alongside Bernie, a downtrodden and struggling private detective to solve a missing persons case. This book is just pure fun. The characters were colorful, the mystery was simple but entertaining, and the dog was adorable. If you're a dog lover and you want an easy, fun and entertaining read, this is the book for you.

And if you are female, I recommend reading the Twilight saga. Once you pick up the first book, you'll have to read all four. In fact, I recently re-read all the books again after seeing New Moon. Romance, werewolves and vampires, enough said.

Feel free to send me your best book picks, I've got plenty of room on my Kindle for more!