Wisconsin boy, 16, is the fastest texter in America – JSOnline

8 Aug

So, a Wisconsin boy, 16 years old, is the fastest texter in America. I may just be a crotchety person but I don’t that is a title I would be proud of if I were his parents. Can he write a letter or throw a softball?¬† Did he rise to texting heroism by sitting inside all day texting about his life with his two thumbs instead of living it?
I love looking at old, hand-written letters and recipes passed down from generations. When we die, will our kids be digging through our flash drives for something to remember us by?

Wisconsin boy, 16, is the fastest texter in America – JSOnline.


New Word In Celebration of the Olympics

4 Aug

I have been out of touch lately, but came across this gem of a word on UrbanDictionary.com. Image

August 4
Term coined for the Bromance between Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.

“Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps have their own bromance of sorts. Sports casters (Lochte and Phelps included) often refer to their friendship as a “relationship.” Lochte is said to be the only man Phelps will take his headphones in the ready room off for and many people around Phelps maintain that, “Lochte is the best thing that’s ever happened to Phelps”.8 They keep in touch with daily text messages and phone calls and were featured on the cover of Mens Journal together as a precursor to the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. 9 Though they share a strong rivalry in the pool, the two have become great friends outside of it. Phelps, in his latest book, refers to Lochte as “Doggy” and talks affectionately about his rival and teammate. Bloggers have coined the term “Phlochte” for their bromance.”

Happy Father’s Day!

17 Jun
Father's Day by Angie Friedel
Father’s Day, a photo by Angie Friedel on Flickr.

Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there. One day, those little shadows that have been following your every move will start to get taller, disappearing when the sun goes down, and asking for your car keys. The roles will start to reverse as you find yourself falling at their heels in order to keep up with them, reaching your hands out and asking for a simple hug. While they are still safe in the shade of your shadow, make sure you lead them only to the places where you would want to meet them down the road. Mold that little shadow into one that will someday provide you with that same comforting shade before the sun sets.

What is the Value of a Book?

2 Jun
Little Free Library by Angie Friedel
Little Free Library, a photo by Angie Friedel on Flickr.

Of all the times I have walked through Kletzsch Park in Glendale, I have never noticed this cute little concept until now: Little Free Library. A small sign simply states, “Take a Book. Leave a Book.” I am naturally pessimistic by nature, with little faith in the human race. So I wondered why none of the books had been stolen yet to be sold on Ebay or Half.com (like I used to do with my college textbooks).

On my walk home as I pondered this thought, I realized that maybe books don’t have as much value as they used to – monetary value at least. I had planned to revisit the Little Free Library several times within the next month to see if the books would still be there. Sure enough, they are still there with a different selection than I initially noticed. People had been using it and respecting it. Folks aren’t so bad are they? And they still enjoy reading books.

On my initial visit, I noticed a hardcover version of The DaVinci Code. I didn’t see it in the little wooden box during my last visit, so I looked up its value on Half.com: $.75 for the hardcover version. Then I looked up the Kindle Edition: $9.99! For some strange reason, this makes me feel weird and a little sad. I still enjoy reading old-fashioned books with pages to turn and cute little bookmarks with cheesy inspirational sayings to stick between the pages. Although I own a Kindle, it is a little heavy and awkward to hold, plus it would never last on a sandy beach. But it does has its benefits – nobody has to know that I am reading Fifty Shades of Grey and that I’m a total perv.

Nonetheless, my assumption is that in 25 years or so, the word, “book” will be used in a way similar to the word, “album.” An album used to be a big cardboard sleeve with a vinyl record inside. Now we download albums on iTunes.

After doing a little bit of research, I realized that there is a reason I had never noticed the Little Free Library before. The concept is relatively new to Milwaukee but got it’s start in Hudson, Wisconsin. Madison has over 100 of them and they have spread to over 20 different countries!

Yes, there are real libraries in real buildings where you can rent books and movies for free. But the LFL encourages me to read something I would never otherwise rent from the real library. The fact that it is located in my favorite park where I can sit by the waterfall and read for a bit is pretty nifty too. (Not like I would ever have the time to do that, but someday I might.) I plan on throwing some kids’ books in there at some point since it is near the playground. Those little people really know the value of a good book, at least for now.


Another Post to Remind Us How Dumb We Are

1 Jun

Can you spell these words?

Mother’s Day

13 May


My third Mother’s Day as a qualified, “mom” found me with a head cold and bad attitude. With a throbbing sinus headache, I just wanted to brush my teeth, take a shower, and get myself to the nearest bottle of ibuprofen. There are no breaks from being a mom, however. My stealth tiptoes down the hallway were intercepted by keen toddler ears that quickly appeared behind the locked bathroom door, desperately begging me to let her invade.

After some caffeine and a little time to reflect, I made myself appreciate the lack of privacy in my life. I never asked to be a mom but for some reason, here I am. With so many people desperate to be parents, Mother’s Days and Father’s Days are unbearable reminders of a club from which they are excluded. Yet they see headlines in the paper about “mothers” who leave their toddlers home alone so they can go out drinking or “mothers” who leave their babies in trash cans. But you don’t as often hear about the fathers because they were gone long ago.

With one less Mother’s Day card to mail this year, I am reminded of the importance of appreciating the good ones. Moms sacrifice more than they ever planned to and more than their kids will ever know. But the rewards are indescribable. With a couple hours of free time, some iced coffee, and a numbed sinus headache; I am now more able to appreciate the sound of those tiny knuckles on the bathroom door. It is a reminder to be the best mom that I can be, even if I am bombarded by blogs and Facebook posts that tell me I’m not doing it right: “don’t let your child watch TV; buy only organic food, certain brands of sunscreen and bath soap; despite the expense of all these things, save all your money for their college fund; make homemade dish soap you found on Pinterest, make gluten and peanut-free birthday cupcakes.” The list is endless.

As a perfectionist, it will always be a struggle to be the best. But after three years, I am realizing that it might be better to try not to be the best – just do what works for me. For all moms, all future moms, and all the people who have moms (here or eternal), I raise my watered-down iced caramel latte to you and say (with a stuffy nose and sore throat), “Cheers.” You are incredible in ways you have never been told. And for the mom in the Sunday paper that disappeared in the middle of the night while your two-year-old fell out of a second story window – on behalf of the women who are dying to take your place – I raise my middle finger.¬† Happy Mother’s Day!

Building a Strong Foundation

16 Apr

My daughter has been all about Winnie the Pooh lately. Inspired by Eeyore’s stick house (she calls him “He-Whore”), she decided that she needed to build a house for our dog. I imagined her thought process as she was building it. Eeyore’s house looks like a pile of sticks. I am piling up a bunch of sticks. Why does this look different?

But she seemed to be quite satisfied with it. I was not present during the build, which is a good thing. My inner perfectionist probably would have tried to arrange the twigs in a log cabin formation and installed a hot tub. But at least for now, she was able to enjoy her imagination before it was compromised by people like me.

Her project makes me wonder when it is appropriate to teach and when it is best to stand back and simply observe. I don’t expect a three-year-old to build an elaborate dwelling for a small canine, although I would certainly brag about it if she did. It is just that if she has to make a diorama in 2nd grade and just throws a bunch of junk in a shoebox, I’m going to have to intervene.

Going forward, I will try to keep myself in check, thinking before I judge. According to Pooh, “People who don’t think probably don’t have brains; rather, they have grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake.” I am going to try to get rid of my grey fluff; at least until she gets that diorama assignment.

Drinking Tea = Going to Vegas

21 Mar
Pink Tea Tastes Pretty by Angie Friedel
Pink Tea Tastes Pretty, a photo by Angie Friedel on Flickr.

I hate flying. My fear has escalated after having a kid, with worries that she’ll be left alone to be raised by racoons after my plane is struck by turbulence and loses a wing. My dear husband wants to leave my defenseless and fragile child with her grandparents for a quick jaunt to Vegas, somewhere we have been multiple times. Yes, it would be nice to wake up at noon, play blackjack, drink too much, and then wake up to do it again – but why can’t we do that without getting on a two-winged death machine?

My favorite tea cup states: “Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” Perhaps there is a Vegas-type tea that I can feed to my spouse along with that line.


15 Mar
Yoga at Art Museum by Angie Friedel
Yoga at Art Museum, a photo by Angie Friedel on Flickr.

This was Saturday’s photo for my Gift of an Ordinary Day project. The Milwaukee Art Museum hosts a monthly yoga session at which hundreds of people are allowed to practice their “downward dogs” and “warrior” poses hosted by the most stunning view in the city. Yoga instructors are always telling us to bring intention to our practice. We are supposed to focus on the pose we are holding, trying to ignore any pain, while shunning any thoughts that may creep into our heads. That is easier said than done.

My inner dialogue on Saturday went something like this: “I hope nobody looks at my toes. I really need a pedicure. I like her outfit. I don’t like her outfit. Should I have breakfast or lunch when this is over? When will this be over? What’s that smell? That guy is cute: I wonder if he is gay. Wait, I’m married. I need new yoga clothes. I need a new yoga mat. I should have washed my hair this morning. I wish my hair looked like hers. Are we done yet?”

That was all followed by an “Om” – a chant that everyone is supposed to offer at the end of the session. I never say it. I always feel stupid. Apparently it means realizing that you are one with the universe. I already know this. I pay taxes to the universe. Instead of saying, “Om” and meditating like the rest of the group, I shuffled in my purse for my iphone and snapped a picture.


6 Mar
Dum Dum by Angie Friedel
Dum Dum, a photo by Angie Friedel on Flickr.

A sample of spring victimized another defenseless snow person today. Seeing the dum-dum that was once an eyeball, now hanging out of its socket, made me wonder where winter went. I normally hate when people say that. “Where did winter go?” or¬†“Where did summer go?”¬† But seriously, where did it go?

The¬†coldest months tend to last twice as long as the summer months, but they somehow snuck out when I wasn’t paying attention. Most of my memories involve trying to get a 2 year old to go to bed so that I could get some work done, failing to finish the work,and then¬†sacrificing her time the next day. Repeat every few days, and that is where November and December went, mixed in with some¬†birthdays and the monster that is Christmas. I know there had to be some good memories in there somewhere, but I have stashed them in the attic of my brain along with the¬†artificial tree and ornaments.¬†Now I can’t find them.

January and February were different, however. January brings fragile resolutions, and mine was to start capturing time. Doing this photo-a-day project since my first hangover of the year has helped me organize the memories into tiny little tupperware containers in my brain. I hope that by the end of the year, I won’t be asking, “Where did the year go?” Instead,¬†my mind will be so flooded with my little “tupperware” memories that it will be overflowing,¬†just like the kitchen cabinet that spills them onto my head when opened.

As insignificant as these photos may seem, they each remind me of something about that day. “Oh that’s the day my neighbors saw me taking the dog out in my Kello Kitty pajamas,” or “That’s the day I took my daughter to her first movie,” or “That’s¬†the day¬†Season 4 of¬†Jersey Shore started.”¬†Even if it is, “That’s the day I that I was a bad mom,” staining it’s container like leftover lasagna,¬†it is still the gift of an ordinary day.

That dum-dum eyeball is most likely swimming in a muddy puddle right now asking, “Where did winter go?”¬†It’s nice not to be a dum-dum.

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