Worth Reading — 6.28.17

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Erie Times-News: Donkey and Miniature Horse are BFFs. (Your feel-good story of the week.)

Fast Company: The Untold Story Of Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell’s Visionary 1980s Tech Incubator   (Whewww…that’s a long headline….)

Alternet.org: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America

“Without built-in protective functions like critical analysis, self-reflection, openness to counter-evidence, and willingness to re-evaluate any and all beliefs, bad information in a closed-off system ends up doing massive damage in a short period of time. What has happened to too many fundamentalist belief systems is damaging information has been allowed in from people who have been granted “expert status.” If someone is allowed into a closed-off system and their information is deemed acceptable, anything they say will be readily accepted and become gospel.”

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. If you’ve never read this classic…or you haven’t read it since High School, give it another go. It’s reminiscent of much of what is going on today and speaks to this truth:

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Just Write 150 ~ Baby mamma

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When I was 12 years old and in the 7th grade, I had a regular babysitting gig for a family down the street. They had three kids under 6, one was a baby. I remember babysitting a lot. Three three times a week, or more. Probably because I came cheap. I think I got paid $2 an hour.

I didn’t care all that much about the money anyway.  The hours I spent at the Bowser’s house was unsupervised time away from home and all my siblings. Time my mother didn’t hassle me because I was babysitting. Time I could spend in an air-conditioned house watching cable TV while eating junk food my mother wouldn’t buy and talking for hours on end to my friends and/or boyfriends, via phone or in person if they could come over.

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Me, circa 1985 (Wow…do I look like Kelly here or what?)

I remember ignoring the kids a lot. The middle boy—he was probably 3 or 4—was a pain. He was always wrecking stuff, refusing to do what I told him, whining, and being a pain in my ass when I just wanted to smoke Newports on the back porch and maintain a social life.


The truth is that I was too immature to be any kind of a decent caregiver at that age, but…I kept them alive, fed and changed, which is all the parents really asked of me.

My daughters are years older than I was then and I cannot, for the life of me, imagine them taking care of any child, let alone a baby.  Let alone a baby, a challenging preschooler and a kindergartner.

They’ve never changed a diaper. They’ve never held a baby. They’ve never tried to hold onto a squirming 2-year-old hellbent on dropping skull-first to the ground. They’ve never dealt with a 3-year-old’s temper tantrum after giving them milk in a blue cup and not the yellow cup they wanted. They’ve never been back-talked by a 4-year-old.

They’ve missed out on so much, and like any good mother worth her weight in ulcers and worries, I’m now convinced that I’ve failed them. They’re going to be one of those women who have never changed a baby until they give birth to one.

But the fact of the matter is that times have changed. People don’t hire 12-year-olds to babysit anymore (do they?) and there just weren’t any babies in our family when they were younger for them to cut their teeth on.

Also, I’ve deliberately tried to preserve their childhood and not rush growing up. I’ve done nothing to encourage the packing up of Barbies, the cleaning out of childhood book shelves, the wearing of makeup, or the acquisition of boyfriends. I’ve not prevented any of this stuff, but I haven’t pushed it either.

It’s going to happen anyway, I know.

This weekend, Lauren decided to clean out the playroom. She’s going through all the toys and making piles — to give away, to pack away, to sell on Ebay/Craig’s List.

I went up briefly to see her progress and, wow. I don’t know what possessed her (probably the riches she expects to reap through eBay), but she’s really cleaning house up there.  Leaving childhood behind. Piling up Lightbrights and Etch-a-sketches and Polly Pockets and Zhu Zhu Pets and pop-up play tents and dress-up clothes and dollhouses…

So I guess it’s time to move on. Time to swap giant stuffed Care Bears and Little Golden Books for teenager-y stuff like gaming chairs, stereos, and lava lamps. Time to turn the playroom into a hangout. It’s probably about four years past due anyway. And yet I’m still not ready.


In her to-sell pile is a popup play tent we got plenty of use out of. It often annoyed Dan when they would put it up  because it took up half the living room and we would constantly trip on the tent legs, but I never cared.  It was a clear and visible, if inconvenient, sign that two happy little girls lived in my house.

They still do. Though the signs have changed. It’s all cereal bowls and YA novels and elastic hair bands now.

I’m not selling that tent. I’ll find a place to tuck it away in case I ever have granddaughters to play in it again. I imagine they’ll be over a lot. Their moms aren’t going to know how to take care of them, you know.


About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.

“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”

I tried it: Homemade eye makeup remover

Today’s topic:  DIY eye makeup remover

Why I tried it: When I used commercial eye-makeup remover before bed, I’d wake up with crusty eyes, which is just gross.

What you need: Witch Hazel (A few dollars for a bottle, which is found near the rubbing alcohol, peroxide, etc.), olive oil

How to make it: I filled a 3-ounce airline travel bottle halfway with Witch Hazel, then filled it the rest of the way with olive oil and shook it up.


My DIY eye makeup remover is on the right. Here’s a tip: Plastic travel bottles are not even “top rack safe” in dishwashers.  But…a slightly melted bottle is sort of artsy, eh? 

How to use it:  Dab it on a cotton pad or cotton ball and wipe it across your eyes. Take care not to actually get it IN your eye, as some say that’s unpleasant. This can happen if you over-saturate your pad/ball.

Did it work: Yes! And, better than the commercial products, I might add. The solution requires less rubbing to remove the makeup, which is a good thing when dealing with that sensitive skin around the eyes. 

How to store it: I leave it right on my counter. I’ve seen some people say you should refrigerate it, but that seemed to be when the “recipe” included water and I didn’t use water in mine. In any case, I’d suggest making a small amount so it doesn’t last too long.

Shake it: The oil & Witch Hazel will separate in seconds, just shake it up before using.

What is Witch Hazel anyway? It’s an astringent  compound produced from the leaves and bark of the North American witch-hazel shrub.  Apparently, there are a lot of great uses for it.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes! Give it a try!


Worth Reading — 6.14.17

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Blunt Moms: Dear Kids, If I Die, Please Don’t be a Sh**head.

Anna Silverthorn: The Story of Waldameer’s First Ravine Flyer Roller Coaster

Marc and Angel Hack Life: 7 Things You Have to Stop Believing to Live a Successful Life On Your Own Terms

Skinny Taste: Cheeseburger Salad (OMG….this is awesome)

Zen Habits: Develop Resilience: How to Move Toward Your Fears (I’m actually working on this this Saturday:

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Laurenism: Secrets


Driving past the new Erie Brewing location in Knowledge Park, Lauren says:

Lauren:  You know, I don’t think I’m ever going to drink because it makes people tell everyone their deepest, darkest secrets.

Me: Well, that’s true. Alcohol does make people say things they wouldn’t say if they were sober.

Lauren: Yeah, that’s why I’m afraid of laughing gas, too. Like, I don’t want to reveal all my deepest, darkest secrets.

Me: Well, laughing gas is not truth serum or anything. And, uh, what kind of deep, dark secrets can you possibly be hiding?

Lauren: Like who I like and everything. Though, I told everybody that so they don’t have any dirt on me and they can’t use it against me.

Me: Yeah, that’s why I’m so honest on my blog. It’s like…why hide it. I’ll just put it out there and then what are they going to say about me that I haven’t already said myself.  It’s just easier to be real.

Lauren:  Actually, that’s pretty smart.

Me: OMG…did you just say something nice to me? Have you been drinking?