Friday, August 23, 2019

Dont fall into the pushy parent trap

Happy Friday! My friend Sarah who last wrote about never being too busy to spend time with your aging parents is back with this parenting piece. If you are polishing your writing chops or have something to say or are trying to get into freelance writing and want some exposure and want to submit a post, email me! If you want to reach Sarah directly, email her. Have a great weekend!


Every parent wants the best for their kids. You want your offspring to be responsible human beings who grow up tolerant, kind, and thoughtful. You want them to find their place in the world, make an impact, and most importantly, be happy. So, why is it so many parents fall into the pushy trap? While most parents are well meaning, their quest for being the perfect mom or dad can result in an overbearing nature that does nothing but push their kids away. You might want the best for your child but you cannot force your wants on them or live through them. 


Most important of all is your ability to be a good listener. If you ask about your child’s school day, don’t then switch off and uh-huh their response. This shows a lack of care. Instead, ask your child how they are getting on every day and inquire about any hobbies that they may have. Just because you adored the debating society when you were at school doesn’t mean that your kid will. Rather than forcefully enrolling them and causing an undercurrent of resentment, let them choose their own path. If they want to join a wrestling team, let them. If they fancy trying out for the fencing society, support them. And if they want to learn a musical instrument, get them a free session. Listen and be supportive at all times.

Give Them Space
Being too pushy can result in your child feeling smothered. You might be interested in what they are doing, but that doesn’t mean texting them every five minutes when they are out of your sight. Instead, give them their space. The transition to teenager can be a tricky time, so tread carefully. They may not be old enough to stay home alone, but you don’t want to coddle them. Get online and search for the best babysitters when you head for a night out. You can specifically find those sitters who have experience with this age range rather than toddlers. Your kids will have a more pleasant time when you're out if they're treated appropriately for their age. 

Let Them Make Mistakes
While you may be older and wiser and able to spot their upcoming mistake from a mile off, you need to allow your child to find their own way. Storming in and telling them that they are making an error and should change their ways, whether this is with a relationship, a course, or a friend, will only result in them digging their heels in and rebelling. You need to bide your time and allow them to learn from their mistakes. They will emerge stronger and wiser. You will be there to listen and help them make better decisions in the future. By being supportive rather than authoritative you will avoid the pushy parent trap.

Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs you will ever have. However, it is also be the most rewarding when you see your child grow up to be one of the most wonderful citizens of the world.


Thank you Sarah! Happy weekend everybody! Happy birthday to my friend Jill tomorrow!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - One Night and One More Time, Thanks for the Memories

1. Every day I emerge from the train station surprised that it's a day earlier than I think it is, and having to remind myself that it's an entire week earlier than I think it is too.
2. Does anyone else buy shoes and to get a true idea of how they look, photograph them from all angles? Ben was not interested in getting out of these photos. If you're interested, I love the shoes. They're Toms and they're comfortable and substantial.
3. Huge love for libraries and librarians. All the yesterdays, today, and all the tomorrows.
4. While we're on the book topic, I've started and stopped a record number of books over the past two months. Another one this week.
5. I finally settled in on a book (forget the title, LOL), but MFD put a movie on. Sunshine. SPOILER ALERT IN IMAGE FROM A 2007 MOVIE THAT SUCKED. 12 years later, not sorry. As far as I'm concerned if you didn't see it and I spoiled it for you, I have saved you time you will never, ever get back.

6. Bruce is always sacked out on Mondays due to jackassing all around the shore. It's awesome.
7. Things that have made me happy this week: fresh sheets, sleep, new lids to Pyrex to replace cracked lids. 

8. In this week's hell, the Amazon rainforest continues to burn, your buffoon president thought he could just buy Greenland and offended an ally in the process, trump's DOJ has asked the Supreme Court to permit employment discrimination against transgender workers (which will open up interpretations of Title VII that will leave all of us vulnerable to discrimination - EXCUSE ME, all of us aside from cis white men), remaining a healthcare option for poor women forced Planned Parenthood to withdrawal from Title X funding and if you think those funds went to abortion and are feeling smug I have a garbage island in a swamp to sell you (supporters open your wallets),  migrant families would face indefinite detention under a new trump law, and Stephen Miller's plan for people to die in cages is coming to fruition as children detained in cages are denied the flu vaccine (even though three of them have died of it). The cruelty and dehumanization of marginalized groups is the point of this administration. It is vile and disgusting and anyone who supports this administration in any way owns these actions. I'm about 12 months past done building a fucking bridge with people who watch as cruelty and unnecessary and inhumane brutality is committed in the name of making America great again. FOR FUCKING WHO. Get the fuck out. This is being done to feed a sense of superiority that should not exist. 

9. Reminder: Nothing else and no one else first. Your ability to love and care for everyone in your life feeds from your love and care of yourself. To be the best for others, you have to give the best to you.

10. Ecards:
That's what I've got today. You? Anything to contribute?

What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Thnks fr the Mmrs by Fall Out Boy, a song I don't even like. That's two weeks in a row

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

People are committed to being miserable AF

MAN ALIVE people are committed to being absolutely fucking miserable and spreading that misery around like manure, hoping to grow more misery. I don't accept that energy.
Do you remember a time when your only way to complain was to bitch to a few friends about something then move on with your life because you'd gotten it out or your friends told you to get over yourself? Sidenote: you don't have real friends who will check you when you're being outrageous, I suggest getting some immediately.

With social media, people who are committed to their misery now have a platform to bitch to untold amounts of people at any time and lord people are taking advantage of that and creating a minefield of Chicken Little The World is Ending posts because someone cut them off in traffic or cursed within earshot of them in public and it is on my absolute last nerve (yes, I see the irony of me writing a post complaining about people complaining). 

Serious complaints are absolutely valid and necessary - nothing changes without complaints and plans of action. Complaining here and there fine, even funny, depending on the presentation but when people are constant complainers it's like fucking STOP. I’m not talking about the random WTF, life, complaints - it’s human nature, we all do it, but we’re generally spending most time not complaining. 

Miserable people are only happy when they’re complaining, Miserable people will find something to complain about a picnic in heaven, that’s how committed they are to being perpetually unhappy and dissatisfied. They create a negative vortex where every small annoyance means the world is hell, everyone is a rude law breaker, no child is being raised right, there is no respect, no one has any regard for the property of others, and it's better just to stay inside our houses behind little glowing screens. And when we hear or read misery all the time it wriggles its way into our brain and attempts to drop an anchor in there.

Last year once summer hit I snoozed all Ocean City Facebook pages except two and did the same this year. Every post on those pages was about how awful it was in town and how people are rude. I am there every weekend and people are fine. What I was reading was not what I was experiencing. The pages ABOUT Ocean City where people were endlessly complaining and being miserable AF were the only things making my actual time IN Ocean City a bad experience. That's wild and a testament to how miserable people impact their surroundings - even/especially the virtual surroundings.

The phrase misery loves company actually means misery NEEDS company - miserable people must justify their misery so they're going to keep going until they've converted you to being a miserable asshole too. Avoid that at all costs by avoiding them. 

Well adjusted people are always looking inward to evaluate and improve themselves before they turn their gaze outward. Miserable people are always looking outward to evaluate and judge others so they can avoid the hard internal work required to exist in this world as a fallible human.

Miserable people are soul suckers. Don’t be a soul sucker and don’t entertain soul suckers. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

About that RV Life: Your kind of vacation or no?

We talk about family trips all the time. For one of our next big ones we're trying to plan a Griswold family RV trip. I love vacations that involve sitting on a beach, but I also truly love vacations that involve getting out and about and being on the road, coming across unusual and unexpected things. The last time we did this, it was just me & MFD, and we jumped around hotel rooms and that's a privileged pain in and of itself. This time we're considering an RV as a group.   

The chance to travel from your home

One of the biggest benefits of using an RV  for your holiday is to enjoy the luxury of packing up from home and then just heading out on the road to your chosen destination. Many countries can offer links and passage from one to the other, so it can mean that you get to see a lot more. You can also feel assured because you can take care of any maintenance and repairs with a mobile rv repair specialist that could come out to where you are. Simple and convenient. I don't think we'll do this though. We're thinking more of flying out west, picking one up, and charting our course from there. You can bet your bottom dollar I'll still be having a mobile repair service in my phone regardless of where we leave from.

I don't think I'd do an RV in another country unless they drove on the same side of the road as us and the steering wheel was also on the same side. Driving in a foreign country is nerve wracking enough for me without having a huge vehicle. We did it in Ireland in a 10 person van and that was even a little hairy. 

See places that are off the beaten track

I call myself a touron because I will absolutely visit the touristy spot - it is one for a reason. I also like stuff off the beaten path through, and you definitely get a lot of flavor and feel for where you are being on a road trip. An rv road trip will certainly give us the chance to see more places off the beaten track. There's nothing like pulling a map up and pinpointing small stops on there for the most inconsequential reasons. When planning a road trip I always try to think outside the box, and thanks to the world wide web, information and highlights on many unspoiled spots that could be truly wonderful to experience is right at your fingertips. I pore over that stuff, working it over in my mind and in and out of my itinerary for a long time before we actually take a trip. Give me the recognizable touron spot and also give me a chance to get away from the crowds and take some awesome pictures elsewhere, experiencing something uniquely. Another huge benefit when you are traveling as a family. 

A more low key style 

Road trips are a lot come as you are, and I dig that so much. There is no dressing for dinner, unless you want to. In case you're new here, 99.5% of the time I don't want to. You're on your own schedule and routine, which can make for a low key vacation if you are not traveling with me. I want to see what I want to see, and I often want to see one to two more things than you should try to jam in on a lot of our road trip days. If you are more spontaneous and less itinerary based than me, the only timings you may need to be strict with is check in times to camp sights or spots where you'll be pulling up for the night. This can be an easier way to enjoy a more relaxed vibe. If you're like me, you're a little panicked just thinking about that LOL. 

No worries of travel chaos 

If you RV from and back to home, you can cut out some of the travel chaos like delayed flights, lost luggage, overweight luggage, long lines at security, super pricey and sort of gross airport food, etc etc.  Of course, road trips can present their fair share of chaos in other ways, such as traffic, animals in the road, break downs, getting lost, detours, people getting hangry, pent up in the car together too long feelings, etc etc... but let's be real, this can also add to the excitement. 

Have you ever considered a RV holiday?

Monday, August 19, 2019

TWTW - the one deep in the rhythm of shore life

Friday I spent my lunch hour driving to the shore, finished out the work day, rode my bike to the library to pick up holds, visited with favorite guests upstairs and got a saved parking spot and ice cream cake from them, then went up to the beach and had a piece of pizza on the boardwalk. I was up reading until 12:30.

Saturday Freaking dogs got up at 4:45. MFD arrived early and weed whacked the neighbor's abandoned house. Turnover was easy breezy with sham change outs and moving bedding around being my favorite part as usual. I got awesome gifts from leaving guests, greeted new returning guests that we also love, and spent the afternoon whiling away the time on the North End beaches: reading, looking up at the sky, sitting in tide pools, and knowing I didn't have to do a damn thing at night. We ate at home, I painted my nails (OPI If You Moust, You Moust), and fell out around 11. 
Sunday We took the dogs to Dog Beach before 7 am and they loved it. Bruce went fully into the ocean for the first time and Gus was charging in like he was a puppy instead of nearly 14 years old. They loved Maximus the eight month old rottweiler. They did not love getting baths when they got back. Gus was furious and headed towards West Avenue at a steady clip. I started a new book while MFD was doing that. MFD fixed a toilet problem up in the house, then we headed to North Wildwood to see his mom. We got salads and smoothies for lunch on the way back and walked the dogs. Around 2 I realized I wasn't going to get home that night so I relaxed for a bit and went up to the boardwalk around 6:45. We tried the lobster rolls I’ve been wanting to try all summer and people watched on a bench. We watched Fight Club and went to sleep around 11:30. 
Weekly food prep: Breakfast is vanilla greek yogurt with mango granola and blueberries. Lunch is hard boiled eggs, bell peppers, olives, and some salami (bento boxes forever). Snacks are kiwi and cucumbers. Dinners are pasta with lemon, oil, and broccoli that I never made last week and zucchini taco boats. I'm not sure what else. 

I ate too much candy and slept shitty for it and 5 am came early this morning. I got home in time to put the trash and recycles out, pull homemade veggie meat sauce out of the freezer, and throw a load of laundry in before getting dressed and heading to the train. I did not remember to brush my hair or bring my reusable coffee cup, so...

How was yours? 

Sunday, August 18, 2019

5 Reasons to Visit Plano, TX

For most people, a vacation in Texas will usually focus on a small handful of cities - with Dallas, Austin, and Houston perhaps the most well-known of all. However, if you’re looking for a vacation that is a little more unusual - but still capable of delivering a fantastic overall experience - then Plano, which is around 30 minutes north of Dallas, could well be the perfect choice. Here’s five reasons to include Plano in your future travel plans.

#1 - The downtown area

Downtown Plano has developed an incredible reputation, and there’s so much to see, do, and enjoy if you choose to visit. The entire downtown area was destroyed in a fire during the 19th century, but has since risen to provide unique shops, incredible attractions, and historic buildings and sites of note that will keep you entertained for days on end. 

#2 - The food 

Like many cities, Plano has a number of nicknames - but if incorporating fantastic dining experiences into a vacation is a crucial consideration for you, then there’s one nickname that will stand out: “Foodie City”. You’ll have your pick of all kinds of options, so whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or want to sample the best street tacos in Plano, TX, there will always be something exciting - and of course delicious! - for you to try. 

#3 - The special events


Visiting Plano at a specific time of year can provide the opportunity to enjoy one of the many special events the city can provide. There’s usually something going on all year round, but perhaps the most notable of all is the Plano Balloon Festival; you can admire the hot air balloons, marvel over the stunts of the sky diving teams, enjoy performances from local bands and much more over the course of a weekend in September each year. Alternatively, visiting in May provides the chance to attend ASIAFEST (which is dedicated to celebrating Asian culture and heritage), or choose October so you can visit the Plano International Festival.

#4 - The arts and culture scene

The arts and culture scene in Plano is something to behold, covering a wide array of options that should suit every taste. You could catch a performance of the Plano Symphony Orchestra, tour an exhibition at the Art Centre of Plano, visit the celebrate Heritage Farm Museum, and much more besides during your time in the city. 

#5 - The parks and natural beauty

There are over 70 different parks in Plano, so if you want to retreat and immerse yourself in natural beauty, then you’ll never be short of options while visiting the city. Haggard Park is a particular highlight; in addition to the lush green spaces, you’ll also be able to explore the fascinating Interurban Railway Museum during your visit. Alternatively, the Arbor Hills Nature Reserve offers fantastic trails, picnic areas, a playground for kids, and plenty of trees that both enhance the look of the park and provide much-needed shade on hot days.

In conclusion

As the above points demonstrate, the wonders that Plano offers to its visitors ensures that any vacation spent in the city will be a fantastic experience from beginning to end! 

This post was written for the Life According to Steph audience

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Thursday Thoughts - Call it morning driving through the sound and in and out the valley

1. Happy second birthday, Bruce Springsteen The Dog. You are funny and super sensitive, you believe you belong everywhere and all seats are yours (including the front seat in the car), you still get into everything, you are happiest tearing ass around the beach, you love coffee, you make the weirdest noises, you are a hilarious sleeper, you love to give kisses, and you jump higher than any dog I have ever seen.

2. When you walk into the Suburban Station Post Office and there are zero people in line: hashtag blessed.

3. I had a Peppermint Patty this week. They always make me think of my grandmom. When I'd go over to her house for dinner, she'd say "we'll have just a little dessert" and give us each a peppermint patty.

4. Feeling very smug adult by upping my face mask usage to twice a week like everyone in the world recommends.
5. Most of this week has been spent on the couch, reading, and taking blurry pics of dogs. I did cook a few nights and picked up around the house. How can there be so much shit to pick up with only two people here?

6. I’m playing chicken with my laundry. How long can I go without doing it? Stupid.

7. I'm feeling like I need a format change on Thursday Thoughts but after eight years and a few different incantations, this requires more thought. August 4 was the official eighth birthday for this blog.

8. The news continues to beat on my soul daily, and yours too if you have one, I imagine...the man getting deported to Iraq who has never even been in Iraq and then dying there; the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration services says the inscription on the Statue of Liberty is for people coming from Europe (read: mostly white); republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa in favor of rape and incest because that's how the world population has always been done; and the White House Occupant significantly weakened the Endangered Species Act. Whatever I'm tired of everything. And that is the point. It's easier for me to vent this shit out in Instagram stories, so if you like commentary, find it there. I don't have the words to expound on it in long blog posts anymore - how many times can I write about the inhumanity of people in charge, and the oceans between regular citizens who care and those who don't?

9. Reminder:

10. Ecards:

What appears after the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts is a song lyric to whatever I'm listening to when I start to write the post. This week is Roundabout by Yes, who I don't even like, but the rules are the song that's on is the song that's in the lyrics

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Yesterday from A to Z

All about yesterday using the alphabet as a crutch

Attempted to clear the dining room table and failed

Black and white striped shirt

Calendar updating

Dogs, duh

Empty office all day

Feeling like I'm waiting on something, but I don't know what that is

Got in bed before 9

Had a full list of pet peeves triggered by 8:47 a.m.


Juggled projects

Kindle reading - The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, an ARC from Netgalley

Lolled around on the couch reading an ARC of The Water Dancer

Manspreader on the morning shuttle bus. No, you can't take up 1.5 seats so I must squish into half of one

No afternoon coffee

Overnight resurfacing peel, the newest addition to my skin care ritual every other night. I think I like it bit I hate the smell

Put reusable bags in trunk of car

Quick list of what I need from the grocery store


Show Us Your Books - check out those posts

Tuesday. Do I need to expound?

Used dry shampoo

VRBO inquiry, now I only have one rentable weekend left for fall at the shore. Plenty of weekdays if you know anyone interested.

Washed dishes because I hate going to bed with dishes in the sink

eXited work promptly at 5

Years wasted thinking of a Y

Zoned out on the train

Thanks to Caitlin, who no longer blogs, for this idea. It’s been in draft since February 2017. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Show Us Your Books: August 2019

I rarely spend over 24 hours between finishing a book and picking up another, but I have a few times this month. My brain needs a break. 

Here's what I've been reading since the last linkup.
Buy it links are affiliate links and buying through them supports this link up.

Engrossing Reads

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal - Gah this book. My heart was in my throat the last 20% and quite a few spots throughout. So good. So beautifully written. So emotional. So many hard things. I want the world to read it and if you don't like it I don't want to know about it. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review  |   buy it

Shamed (Kate Burkholder #11) by Linda Castillo - I swear I wait for the next book in this series to come out for like 11 months and read it in five minutes. This did not disappoint, but then Kate novels never do for me. OCNJ library hard cover   |  buy it

Crash & Burn (Tessa Leoni #3) by Lisa Gardner - This was more about Wyatt than Tessa for me, but enjoyable all the same. I'll read more. OCNJ library hard cover  |   buy it

Buried (Agent Sayer Altair #2) by Ellison Cooper - If you're looking for a new series, you need to check this one out. The follow up to the first novel was fast paced and a great story - I liked it more than the first. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review |  buy it

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown - This one was long but good. I read without trying to figure anything out but I can see this as one of those books where people are like "I knew what was happening early on." Solid vacation read for me. Paperback, bought used from library book sale  |  buy it

Passed the Time Just Fine

The Six Gifts: Part 1: Secrets by Christie K. Kelly - This was recommended to me by cousin Crystal as it was written by her friend's mom. I wasn't sure what to expect, and going into it it didn't seem like my kind of book, but I found myself pretty into it and read it in less than 24 hours. It started out one type of book and finished in another genre entirely. It's pretty unique to me in that way. Anyway I'll read the second part when it comes out and there are quite a lot of you on this link up who wold probably like this book. Amazon kindle book, own | buy it

Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand - I loved the bones of this book. I would have altered the execution slightly. Good summer read and tie ins to pop culture and iconic events of the actual Summer of '69. OCNJ library hard cover    |     buy it

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell - Solid effort from Lisa Jewell - not as loved as her previous ones, but still an intriguing premise and an okay book. Do not pick this one up thinking you're getting Then She Was Gone or Watching You. You're not. But if you adjust your expectations, you might enjoy it.  Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out November 5, 2019

A Murder on Jane Street by Cathy Cash Spellman - I thought this would be a sweet cozy little mystery. While the characters and some of the writing lend themselves to that, it is much more. Smart and very involved. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal - This reminded me a little of a Fannie Flagg novel. I liked the characters and how they all connected. I liked the food talk and recipes too. OCNJ library hard cover

A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden - This could very well be in the not worth it category, but something about it pulled at me. Maybe it was the solitary existence of a year by the sea that ended up not so solitary. Maybe it was a 49 year old woman finding the power to be who she is despite societal pressures to marry. I don't know. It's been on my kindle for an eternity. Amazon kindle book

Close to Home (Tracey Crosswhite #5) by Robert Dugoni - Fast paced and thoughtful. A solid four reading experience. OCNJ library paperback 

A Steep Price (Tracy Crosswhite #6) by Robert Dugoni - Good, but not my favorite, as far as the Tracy novels go. As an aside, it's interesting to see Dugoni inject some more of the conservative POVs into books over the past few years. Amazon kindle unlimited book

Before He Kills (Mackenzie White Mysteries #1) by Blake Pierce - The first in a series by the same author of the Avery Black series, which I enjoy. I liked this one. It seemed super short though. I'll read the next. Paperback, own

The Black Book by James Patterson and David Ellis - I read this on vacation and less than a month later I had to go back and jog my memory of what it was about. That's not unusual for me - I read a lot of books and I don't have endless brain space to store details of them all - but this one was a little hard to swallow. Lots of very fucking fantastical stuff, James Patterson and co-author David Ellis. Hard cover, own, bought used at library sale 

Not Worth It

 Her by Britney King - Maybe I just don't get Britney King...I started a book of hers on vacation and never picked it up when my niece took it from me. This one was just bizarre, and not in a way where I was like wow so weirdly good after. OCNJ library paperback

Beach Rental (Emerald Isle, NC #1) by Grace Greene - I think this has been on my kindle since the last time I went to Emerald Isle before this time, which was in 2017 I think. I read it on my last day there in July. This book was...not good. I read it in under two hours. I think other people might like it but I am not those people. Amazon kindle book

Normal People by Sally Rooney - Every time I've mentioned this book people have been like YES, NO, ONLY AT THE END, etc. There were opinions on this book. I liked the writing but I am solidly in the no category. Hard cover, own, bought at library book fair

Did Not Finish

Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison - I'm shocked that I didn't like this or didn't finish it. I've liked her books so far, usually at the end I'm like oh that was okay but the whole reading experience has been can't put down. This one felt super off and I couldn't do it. Free e-copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out December 31, 2019

The Banker's Wife by Cristina Alger - This was way too detailed for the type of read I was wanting at the time. I don't find swiss banks and shit associated with them or women who willingly give up their identities for men super interesting either. OCNJ library hard cover 

The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal - I was looking forward to this after Kitchens/Midwest. I tried. It was a super slow build and with very little movement for over 50 pages, I was out. 

What have you been reading? 
Linkup Guidelines:
This link up is the second Tuesday of every month. The next linkup is September 10, 2019 
1. Visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me, and check in with as many in our reading circle as you can - give some love to the later linker uppers! 
2. Link back to us in your blog post - if you want the button you can get it from that link

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