Friday, December 21, 2012

When the Pharmacy Screws Up

Yesterday I picked up my 10-year-old son's medication from our local pharmacy.

He's taken this medicine before, so I was immediately suspicious when I opened the bottle and the medicine inside looked totally different. But, I rationalized that maybe it was just a generic or some other form of the same meds ... until I checked the description on the pill bottle, and it clearly didn't match the pills inside.

See where it says "Round White Tablet" ... and see how the pills are oblong, red and white?!

I took the medication back to the Pharmacy, and they confirmed that yes, they had messed up, and the medicine they gave me was NOT in fact the medication that was supposed to be in the bottle!

Holy Crap.

That's a HUGE mistake.

They apologized, refunded the copay (which was under $3), and gave me a $20 gift card.
And they escaped a potential lawsuit

How often does this happen?!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Obvious Game by Rita Arens

It's so exciting, that Rita Arens, who's blog I follow, and who I follow on Twitter, has published a book! (well, more than one, actually) She wrote Sleep Is For the Weak, which features about 25 mommybloggers.

This new novel is a different labor of love. She wrote, "This novel was so much harder than SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK was, and I thought that was really hard. But the novel was so much more personal and so much a combination of craft that I had to learn on the job and inspiration and revisions and rejection and more revisions and hours ..."

And to celebrate this new book, I get to be a part of the big reveal of the cover for her new young adult novel, THE OBVIOUS GAME, which will be published on February 7, 2013.

And there's a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open for US, UK and Canada only.

About The Author:

(Rita Arens)

Rita Arens is the author of THE OBVIOUS GAME and the editor of the award-winning parenting anthology SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK. She writes the popular blog Surrender, Dorothy ( and lives in Kansas City with her husband and daughter. THE OBVIOUS GAME is her first young adult novel. She is at work on a second.

Rita has been a featured speaker at BlogHer 2012
, BEA Bloggers Conference 2012BlogHer Writers 2011, BlogHer 2011Blissdom 2011, Alt Summit 2010BlogHer 2010, BlogHer 2008 and BlogHer 2009, the 2008 Kansas City Literary Festival and 2009 Chicks Who Click
and appeared on the Walt Bodine Show in 2008.

She’s been quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek
, The Associated Press, Forbes Woman, the Wall Street Journal, Businessweek and Businessweek Online and featured in Breathe
magazine, Get Your Biz Savvy, The Kansas City Star (archived material available on request), Today Moms (Today Show blog) and Ink KC.




Monday, December 17, 2012

The Art of Shaving

My 15-year-old son is fairly new to the Art of Shaving.
He doesn't shave every day ... more like once a month.
and when he does ... let's just say, it looks like it might have been painful.

Practice makes perfect, right?

I think he needs some of those adorable little shaving brushes and pre-shave oil
and after shave.

Maybe then he'd shave more often.

Well, BlogHer has teamed up with P&G to share some great deals on the Art of Shaving products!


Free Ground shipping and $15 off your purchase of any The Art of Shaving Full Size Kit, until 12/30/12 with Promo Code: 15offFSK at checkout

Enjoy 20% off your purchase of The Perfect Shave Solution.  Valid unitl 12/30 No code needed.  Discount automatically applied at checkout when you purchase a full size Pre Shave, a full size Shaving Cream or soap and bowl, Shaving Brush, Razor and After Shave.

Free Ground Shipping and 10% off ProGlide Power Save Set, through 12/30/12 Promo code: 10PowerShave

The Art of Shaving has some really cool stuff.
They have also have a page with Tips from Master Barbers.
 Here's an example:

What advice do you give your clients to help them achieve the perfect shave?

1. I recommend shaving during or after the shower. The steam helps prepare the skin for shaving and helps make the beard hair a little easier to cut.
2. Really pay attention to the direction in which the hair grows when applying pre-shave oil. Shave in the direction of hair growth first. If a closer shave is desired, RE-LATHER, then shave lightly against or across the direction of hair growth.
3. Use a properly weighted and balanced razor. This will provide a smoother razor glide and help to minimize razor burn. Be sure to change your blade after 3-5 uses, or when you feel it tugging at your beard as you shave.
4. Rinse with cool water, and then apply our alcohol free after shave balm. This will help close hydrate the skin after your shave.
5. Use the hydrating toner after shaving prior to application of the after-shave balm, or anytime throughout the day! This product will leave your skin feeling fresh and revitalized.

I think I know what my teenager needs for Christmas.
Are there any men in your life who might need it too?


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Joys of Parenting: Part 53 (warning, graphic material)

One of the joys of parenting is ...
never knowing when your child is going to end up injured.
 It could happen at any moment.
When you least expect it.

As the mother of two boys,
who in the last year have both had appendixes removed,
one had 2 knee surgeries,
the other a long hospital stay and a gallbladder removed...
 not to mention the myriad of other tumbles, bruises and injuries...
I feel like I've seen it all.

Until yesterday, when my teenager texted me a photo.
Just a photo, no message.
This photo:


*cue mom panic attack*

I freaked out.

He had an unfortunate encounter with some Astro Turf.


This parenting gig is rough.

 Any unexpected parenting joys in your house lately?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

BlogHer Book Club Book Review: My Life Map


I recently read My Life Map by Kate Marshall and David Marshall for the BlogHer Book Club.

It was a fill-in-the-blank sort of book that helps you do a little self-examination, reflect on the past, evaluate the present, and dream for the future.

My Life Map isn't just for people who are struggling in life and need help. It can be a great tool for anyone at any stage of life.

I didn't have a life plan detailed out. When I graduated from high school, I planned to go on to college, graduate, get married and have kids.  That was the extent of my plan.

And then life threw me a curve ball. I got very sick my first semester in college and had to medically withdraw to go home and have surgery.  Then, as I was heading back to college AGAIN, I found myself pregnant.  At 19. Talk about a shocker.

Next thing I knew,  I'd made the big decision to keep the baby and get married to my long-time childhood sweetheart.  My life plan changed. 

I planned to be a good wife, a good mother, and go back to school. A few years later, I decided to have another child.  And keep trying to finish my degree, while working part time and being a full time mother.

Then, years later, my marriage fell apart, and we separated. My life plan changed yet again.
So, what I'm saying is, you can make life plans, but you have to adjust your plans when unexpected events change your course. But, at any time in your life, not just during changes, it's helpful to revisit your goals, your plans and make those adjustments.

This book helps you create a visual road map in all the major life areas of your life, such as:
  • family
  • work
  • play
  • friends
  • education

You'll find warm-up exercises, sample journeys, my life maps, tips and tools for establishing next steps and reflections pages. 

Check it out. You'll surprise yourself. It might be hard, it might be easy, you might be excited by the exercises or you might dread it. It's all progress!

Join our My Life Map discussions over on BlogHer Book Club.
This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Whimsical Weathervanes

Over Thanksgiving, the boys and I, my grandmother, and my sister (who flew in from California)  visited my mom and stepfather in their new home in Leesburg, Virginia.

The day before Thanksgiving, we all went hiking in Red Rock Park.

This awesome park had some pre-Civil War ruins
and tons of trails through the woods leading to a scenic Potomac overlook!

My younger son made his great-grandmother a walking stick,
and my older son helped her up and down steep inclines.

I love seeing my loved ones all together, working as a family should.

After our hike, we ate lunch at Clydes Willow Creek Farm,
in an old barn that was built in 1885.

Once a home for milking cows and horse stalls,
Clydes is now a dining room filled with whimsical weathervanes.

A mermaid weathervane.

and an angel weathervane

We took the tour and saw some crazy bars too,
one with this gigantic golden cricket
(real gold-plated and it's tongue is sticking out! I think there's a story there ...)

and a jockey

and so much more I didn't have time to photograph!

I tried not to think about the creepy figurehead looming over our table as we ate.
She was from a shipwreck off the coast of Nantucket.

Have you ever encountered Whimsical Weathervanes?

If you could have a weathervane on top of your house,
what shape or form would you like it to be?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Poop on Christmas Cheer

 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

I've been a little slow to decorate this year. 
It's been a tough year, and I think I'm feeling a little down. 

I miss my mom and stepfather who have moved away. 
I miss my dad, who has also moved away. 

 But, this weekend, we pulled out the lights for our fences 
and the wreath for the front door. 
And then, last but not least, 
we pulled out the box with our fake tree

We kept this big box in the storage room off our back porch. 
We've kept it there the last two years and never had a problem. 

Well, this year, there was a problem. 
We discovered rodent feces in the box and all over our tree. 
So, we had to throw out the tree. 

 I wonder what people think, seeing a Christmas tree in the dumpster. 
On the positive side, it gives the dumpster a little Christmas cheer, right? 


 Bah Humbug.

The rats pooped on Christmas,


Friday, December 7, 2012

Mysterious Flash in Texas

This morning, I witnessed a mysterious flash across the North Texas sky.
(I can't tell you how badly I wished I'd gotten a picture of it.)

Let me set the scene for you.

It was around 6:30am.
Still dark.
I was pulling out of the high school parking lot,
having just dropped off my teenage son for early morning football practice.
 My younger son had fallen back asleep in the back seat.
The dog was waiting for me to put down the passenger window for her.
Did I mention it was still dark outside?

And then, I saw it.
A mysterious flash
It was greenish, and it looked like something falling from the sky
but it just disappeared before after a few seconds of falling.
I blinked.
Kept looking.
Saw nothing else.
Had a conversation with myself about what I saw.

It kind of looked like a shooting star ... or a meteorite?
A comet?

 I KNOW I saw something.
And by the time I made it to work, hours later,
I had confirmation that I wasn't the only one who saw it.

Apparently people all over Texas saw it this morning.
Crazy, right?!

I've mentioned aliens before on this blog,
and I'm usually the first one to bring up aliens,
but I'm pretty sure this wasn't aliens.

I'm leaning towards a meteorite.

Have you seen mysterious flashes before? 
Have you seen shooting stars or meteorites? 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Want a Cow for Christmas

(photo source: Wikipedia Commons)

Driving my children to school this morning, 
I heard a story on NPR about dairy cows: 
Milk Producers Peer Over the Dairy Cliff. 

The dairy farmer they were interviewing made a comment about how the feed for the cow was more expensive that the end product ... the milk. 

Did you know that the government sets the milk price?
I didn't.

And, apparently, if a new farm bill doesn't pass through Congress, 
milk could rise to $6-$8 a gallon!

So, I told my boys that we were going to have to buy a dairy cow.
That way we could have our own milk in the backyard.

But, my older son, who had been listening to the radio with me, 
reminded me that feeding the cow was the most expensive part. 

Oh, right.

But, he had a solution!

"Mama, we can feed the cow Ramen Noodles."


(I wonder if our apartment complex requires a pet deposit for a dairy cow?)


Monday, December 3, 2012

A Walk Around Town Lake

This weekend, I took some walks around our local Town Lake.

 Even though it looks like fall in Texas ... it's not really.
It was 80 degrees this weekend!

I should be careful what I ask for ... but I'm really, really ready for COLD weather!

This was my walking companion.


 Sweet Annie.

Strangely enough, the ducks and geese didn't like her.
Every time I tried to get closer for a photo,
they hurried away. 


 I didn't mind letting Miss Annie swim a little.


that is ... until this happened:



What did you do over the weekend?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Art of a Different Sort

As I wandered the halls of my son's elementary school last night,
I discovered some interesting new artwork on the walls.

Here's one created by my 10-year-old, Remy.
(I've shared his artwork before, my little madcap prevaricator!)

It took me a second, then I figured out what was going on in this piece.

Can you guess?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dog Sitting, A Piece of Cake, Right?

As our plans for Thanksgiving solidified this fall,
I knew I needed to find a place for our sweet Annie to stay while we were out of town.

I called our vet early on, and was surprised to discover they were full!
Weeks in advance!
And I was a few animals deep into the waiting list.

After a lot of calling around and worrying,
it hit me that I have a friend who might be willing to help.
She was wonderfully willing to dog sit.
I was so relieved.

I figured Annie would be easy, a piece of cake
 ... but of course, she proved me wrong.

While we were gone:

She shed a massive amount of hair on a daily basis. 
She threw up. 
She developed an ear infection and shook her head non-stop, 
causing her collar to rattle all night. 
She threw up again. 
She snored loudly. 
She threw up yet again. 

No problem, right?

Our friend deserves a medal!

Any good dog-sitting stories?


Monday, November 26, 2012

My Boys' Christmas Wish List

It's that time of year again.
The time of year that relatives begin asking what my boys want for Christmas.

I usually ask the boys to make a list.
They haven't given me their lists yet,
but I do know the most important items on them.

At the top of my teenager's wish list this year:
  • An amp ... for his electric bass guitar. 
  • Halo 4 (a video game) 

  At the top of my 10-yr-old's wish list this year:
  • a double-bass pedal for his drum set 
  • Call of Duty Black Ops 2 (a video game) 

 I'm sensing a lot of noise in my future.


Friday, November 23, 2012

How I spent Black Friday

We hiked through Ball's Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery.
 Civil war soldiers were buried there.

Then we joined a historic tour of Oatlands Plantation.

And finished the day with a family game of Dictionary and a movie.

How did you spend your Black Friday?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt

We're visiting my mother in Virginia right now,
 and she was determined to introduce us to her new grocery store.

This isn't just any grocery store, of course.

It was Wegmans.

However, to keep the boys busy while we shopped,
my mom prepared a grocery store scavenger hunt.

If you can't read that, here's what it says:

Naan Bread
Dragon Fruit
Duck Fat
Gluten Free Cereal
Triple Cream Brie Cheese
Indian Buffet Tandoori Chicken
Fresh Wild Samon
Something from 8 Different Countries

My boys had to find all these items and
take a photo of each one on their smartphone.

And it worked.
It kept them busy for a long time.

In the meantime, I discovered a plethora of new fruit:

Dragon Fruit

Horned Melon


Star Fruit


We bought one of each, and I can't wait to try them!

Have you seen anything in the grocery store you didn't recognize?
Have you ever tried the dragon fruit, the horned melon or star fruit?


Monday, November 19, 2012


Alpacas are funny lookin', but so cool.
They hum.
They are incredibly soft.

Now my 10-yr-old wants one.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Different Perspective

Sometimes I'm driving down the road, looking only ahead, until I am forced to stop at a light, and I find myself looking around, and I realize the beautiful sunrise behind me. I might have missed it if I hadn't been looking. 

Now I find myself being more observant, and I keep looking for that sunrise.

Have you seen any sunrises lately? What do you see on your drive?