Monday, September 20, 2010

Winnie the Pooh and Push Up Bras, Too!

Mom, what's a push up bra?

This is the question MiniMe asked me a few weekends ago as we stood in line for a cold drink at one of our favorite theme parks. As annual passholders, we can jump in and out of Walt Disney World parks on a whim. This particular weekend we were visiting Epcot with my favorite personal Disney Tour Guide and his family.

While it was just MiniMe and I, she took the opportunity to explore the answer to the great push up bra mystery. After I explained the lingerie concept (or torture device concept, you decide), I was then asked to explain all manner of bras . . .underwire, sports bra, etc.

These days, with MiniMe firmly in Tween years, she swings from wanting to be a teenager to wanting to be a little girl with whiplash inducing regularity. One minute she's playing with Barbies, the next minute she's asking for her own Facebook account. Yes to Barbies, no to Facebook.

So I wasn't really surprised by the random undergarment question. But what did surprise me was when a few minutes later she asked me to stand in line with her so she could get her picture taken with Pooh and Tigger. How could I say no?

She gave the cuddly characters a big hug and smiled for the camera.

From Push Up Bras to Winnie the Pooh in under 30 minutes!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Building Character One Box of Cookies at a Time

For me it was the cute uniform. For MiniMe it was the cookies.  As a child I joined the Girl Scouts because I coveted the starched brown jumper with the jaunty matching beanie. I could picture myself in that uniform with bright colored patches scattered across the sash.  I joined the Brownies in the third grade, and while my time as a Girl Scout was brief, it made a positive and lasting impression.

My daughter fell in love with the idea of joining the Girl Scouts the first time she encountered a Girl Scout cookie sales booth outside our local Blockbuster Video store. It wasn’t that she wanted the cookies as much as she loved the idea of selling the cookies.  A natural born marketing whiz, she was captivated by the idea of having her own retail operation as an elementary school kid.

So I returned to the Girl Scouts, this time as a volunteer Scout leader when MiniMe was in the second grade. She patiently made it through the weekly troop meetings, the arts and crafts projects and the camping trips. Finally, it was time to sell the cookies!

This was the moment she’d been waiting for all year.  She happily visited all the neighbors taking orders. She recruited her grandmothers, aunts and dad to her sales force.  When pre-orders were tallied, she was a top seller in her troop. But MiniMe was just getting started. She eagerly signed up for several of our troop’s on-site sales booths. The other girls quickly realized they could hang back because MiniMe would happily do all the work.  Her secret weapon?

“I just use my cute face, Mom!”

We all know that Girl Scout cookies practically sell themselves. But to be honest, who’s going to turn down a cute little girl in a Scout uniform? The only question - do you want Thin Mints or Peanut Butter Patties?
Needless to say our troop sold a lot of cookies, which gave the girls the resources to have a well-rounded Scout experience.

Whether or not you like cookies or camping, the Scouts are a great organization for your son or daughter.  This point was driven home recently when I taught a public speaking class at a local college. The students were assigned to give a short speech of introduction. As each one took their turn, I was surprised by how many of these young men and women mentioned that Scouting had shaped or informed their lives.

So I guess while MiniMe thought she was simply building her sales leads, what she was really building was character, values and a lifetime of memories. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just another week in Paradise

Here we go again. Another week in which some of the most bizarre, unfortunate and truly ridiculous national news is generated by goings on in the Sunshine State.

Last week, coverage of Hurricane Earl as it passed by the Florida coastline was overshadowed in the media by the unprecedented number of shark bites recorded along Florida's east coast. Dozens of shark bites were reported from Miami to St. Augustine, which of course sent off a media frenzy that would make a feeding frenzy look mild. Don't know what the big deal was, no one actually got eaten for god's sake.

Then we've got the Florida "Mystery Monkey" whose antics have gone viral and stormed into national media headlines.

Now there's the Gainesville-based "pastor" who's making headlines over a book burning he's promoting. When I first heard about this ego maniacal "man of god" I thought to myself, "Please don't let him live in Florida! Anyplace, but Florida!" As we watched the TV news, Beloved just looked at me and smiled and said "It's your state, honey!"

"No wonder people outside Florida thinks the state is filled with crazy, stupid people and overrun by animals gone wild" I replied. "When the truth is Florida's only half full of people like that. The rest of us are just living peacefully and trying to catch our monkeys."