Thursday, January 30, 2014

First World Problems

I see it in all of us in the year and a half since we've moved back from Africa.  First world problems.  Stemming from too many choices.  Too much immediacy.  Too many distractions.  And too little real life interaction with people and nature.

We've tried desperately to limit the kids' electronics and encourage them going to the neighborhood park with other kids.  The problem is, kids are so over scheduled and over stimulated, no one hangs out at the park anymore.  Besides the kids going there to smoke pot.  And they can do that in the comfort of their own basement these days.  This is Colorado.

Columbine.  Aurora.  Arapahoe. Colorado.
We're infamous for shootings and smoking pot.

I'm discouraged about the future for my kids.  That American culture has gone so overboard with specializing and personalizing things for our children, with kids menus, competitive sports that start  younger and younger, portable screens so our kids can be entertained virtually anywhere they go.  Resulting not only in short attention spans, but also in intolerance.  Because to be tolerant, one would need to practice tolerance.  If our kids are eternally catered to, doted on, entertained and constantly told they are special simply because they breathe, this breeds self-centeredness.  Self-absorption. And selfishness. Which in turn leads to isolation and depression.  Factors which can lead to drugs and worst case scenario, violence.

Violence we're getting too accustomed to hearing about in the news.  So we as a society look for even more distractions to numb ourselves from the dire reality.  Facebook, Twitter, Candy Crush, alcohol, drugs, junk food, movies, tabloids, sexting, porn.  Pick your poison.  But know that when you do, your kids are learning how to cope with first world problems from watching what you do. 

Change something small today,
to change something big tomorrow.


Eat dinner together as a family.
Have a designated no electronics hour. 
Touch your child in a reassuring affectionate way at least twice a day.
Walk your child to school if possible or ride bikes around the neighborhood.
Talk and share the best thing that happened during your day. 
Family Fun Night (games, talent show, etc.)
Friends Night. Invite friends over for a low-key game night or meet at the park.  
Or simply smile at someone.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pole Position

I find myself in this position with some frequency.  On the defense.  It starts out innocent enough.  "So what's your weekend look like?"  Someone will ask.  "Well, schlepping the kids to basketball, robotics, birthday parties, then we're gonna squeeze in a visit to the museum and then I have a pole dance recital."      Which is where things can start to get weird.  So I just start right in to do battle with the gross misconceptions of pole dance.

First things first.  My instructor is a fifty something year old part time pastor of a church named Diane.  I'm totally not kidding.  She runs two businesses….Pole Revolution and Soul Revolution.  Again, not joking.  I'm guessing she's not the person who you first imagined. And her encouraging whole person approach is why I refer to my sessions at the studio with Diane as "pole therapy".

Second, recitals are totally and completely appropriate.  Most girls don't dance to quintessentially "sexy songs".  One of my favorite performances ever was to "Barbie Girl" where the whole dance was performed with straight barbie arms and legs.  Filled with awesomely hilarious feats of rigid strength.

I think it goes without saying at this point that no one gets topless.  And no one gets tips.  And we do not perform in bars.  Except for the rare occasional ladies night where some girls from the studio go out with our husbands/significant others in tow.  'Cept for that.

I could actually get more perpendicular with a little skin...

In fact, for some moves you can be completely dressed head to toe.  However, most advanced moves require a stickiness that can only be achieved with skin/pole contact.  Thus, requiring a certain level of skantily-cladness.  Sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

And as I'm sure you've already gathered that pole is an excellent core/arm workout.  Not only that, but doing something you couldn't do the day before is a great sense of accomplishment.  And makes you feel all "I am woman hear me roar".

Why do I feel the need to defend people's preconceived notions of what kind of pole dance I do and why I do it?

The most important reason is because I have a pole in my house.  In my bedroom.  Only because my bedroom is huge and that was the most private place to put it.    Although, I practice my skills during the day when absolutely no one is home.  However, when my kids have friends over, they always end up in my bedroom swinging on the pole.  Cause it's fun.  But, those kids go home and have parents who ask them what they did on their play date at my house...

And that would be why I feel the need to defend my pole position.

You can now purchase my book at the gift shop at Pole Revolution 21 N. Union Blvd, Ste 201 in Colorado Springs.  Give the pole a whirl when you stop in!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Royalties for All

I figured it out a while ago.  And I've been so ridiculously excited waiting.  Like Christmas morning.  Except I wasn't getting the presents, I was giving them.  And it was the most perfect present ever.  How often do you get the chance to give the most perfect present ever?  Well, probably more often than you think.

Self publishing a book is not a money making venture.  It's a labor of love.  Because 80% of self published books won't even break even.  The average cost of self-publishing is between $3,000 and $6,000.  Let me just confirm that that statistic is absolutely true. Maybe a little low even.  And this is for non-flashy stuff, like the interior layout of the text of the book, which in my case cost $3,000 for both the print and e-version.  No.  I'm not kidding you.  Trust me, I was in shock.  I just thought you uploaded the text.  What the hell did I know?

The thing is, Rock the Kasbah the book was never intended to be a get rich quick scheme.  Thank god.  Rock the Kasbah is about sharing a message.  And that message is that change is possible if you work hard and want it bad enough.  Not only did I want and need the personal change which occurred in part to writing the manuscript, I'm greedy and I want more.  I want the world to change. Ok, maybe that's a bit of a lofty goal.  So, I'll down-size it.  For now.

I've decided to donate the first month royalties from Rock the Kasbah to Education for All, a British non-profit organization that educates girls in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco.  Girls who without this program wouldn't have the opportunity to get an education.  And I ask you, is there any better gift than the gift of an education?

So, I'm proud to announce, that if you have purchased my book in the last month, you have helped change the course of a Moroccan girl's life clear across the world.  You feel all warm and fuzzy don't you?  So do I.  Together we've made a difference.  And I couldn't have done it without you.


For more information on this worthy organization Visit Education for All here

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sick Days

The boys came down with the flu, both of them on the same day.  I was concerned for their health of course, but I was also concerned for both of them staying home to get well on the same day. They can't get along on a normal day, let alone a sick day.  Miraculously it turns out, feeling like crap, actually makes them nicer to each other.  Considerate even.  Illness was making their unhealthy relationship appear healthy.  So much so that I kinda wish they were sick more often.  How sick is that?

When the boys were over the flu and back to school and despising each other, I started to feel it.  The headache with accompanying body aches.  Then a fever and chills.  And finally, the cough.  Although, I always have a cough.  All winter long.  But this one was worse.

Craig has been telling me for years I have asthma.  Which is absolutely ridiculous. As is the inhaler he  prescribed for me and coincidentally just picked up from the pharmacy right before I contracted the flu. Doctors think they know everything. Like when I'm gonna get sick.  Maybe he was even sick enough to plan for me to fall ill, so he could prove I'm asthmatic.  It's quite possible.  He's been looking for a way to be right about his diagnosis for years now while he listens to me hack away in bed lying next to me every night.  God, he's so selfish!

On my first sick day, I could barely breathe for all my coughing and gasping to catch a breath in between.  And there was Craig with that stupid inhaler in his hand he was trying to force on me.   By this point, I was far too weak after spending an entire day on an involuntary intense ab workout marathon that almost resulted in me coughing up a lung. So, I acquiesced.  After a remedial how-to-use-an-inhaler-tutorial-even-a-3-year-old-could-understand from Dr. Kevorkian, I took a hit.  And still screwed it up.

But finally, I could breathe.

I mean I still felt like crap, because I still had the flu and was exhausted.  I spent hours in bed and from time to time the girls came to my bedroom to visit me. From a very distant distance clear across the room, they would have worn a bio hazard suit if we had them.  "Mom, you get sick a lot", my youngest much too smart for her own good child said.  No, I don't!  I get sick once, maybe twice a winter, but when I do, I'm out of commission for a few days.  But, when I thought about it later, maybe there was something to this.  Maybe if I managed my non-asthma I wouldn't get sick or as sick when I did.  

That's when Craig convinced me to move downstairs onto the couch.  So he could spend quality time with me and my unwashed hair, Sasquatch legs and ripe armpits.  We started watching an undercover Frontline episode on North Korea and most of the episode was in subtitles.  "Can you read those?  Do you need my glasses?" Craig asked after he noticed me squinting and moving up to the edge of the couch.  "Um…yeah I can.  I don't need bifocals!"

Ok, so I might need bifocals too...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oil of O'Lie

So, I was out lunching with a friend last week, when the conversation turned to food.  As it naturally does.  Especially when you're eating.  Then she said something crazy.  "I heard olive oil doesn't have to be 100% olive oil."  What?  How crazy is that?  People must know the truth about oil of o'lie!" 

This started a whole deep conversation about ancient civilizations.  Namely, the Egyptians, who used to cleanse themselves with olive oil and a squeegee.  I'm sure they didn't actually call them squeegees back then and I'm sure they had a really great hieroglyphic for it.  But I digress.

Just the week before, I performed an experiment.  Every night I take my make-up off with argan oil I got in Morocco.  But, my supply is almost gone.  And since it's expensive to get here in the states, I was trying out alternative oils.

AVOCADO OIL:  This is the only oil made from a fruit, not the seed of the fruit.  I use this one for baking and cooking.  Though it has a thinner consistency and my eggs stick to the pan a bit more than say, olive oil.

MAKE-UP TEST:  It did take off my mascara, but it took some work.

HEMP:  I use this oil for salad dressings, it adds a nutty flavor and is extremely nutritious, but I don't use it for much else because it has a low smoke point.

MAKE-UP TEST:  My mascara came off effortlessly.

OLIVE OIL:  I used to use olive oil for all of my cooking oil needs, but as you can see, even before I knew about the oil of o'lie, I started branching out into different oils.   Because.  Fun.

MAKE-UP TEST:  The Costco one from my cupboard freakin' burned my eyes.  Hmmmmm.  Weird.

So, of course, I tell my friend all of this.  Because.  Riveting! Right?  Then we decide we're going to get to the bottom of this by going to the Olive Tap, an emporium of Mediterranean delights, just a short walk from the restaurant we were eating at in Manitou Springs.

She doesn't waste any time.  "I heard a lot of olive oils are actually blends and not completely olive."  It's true, the clerk confirms it.  "The way you can tell if it's a blend or not is it will have 100% olive oil on the label if it's pure," he said.  (I double checked when I got home and at the grocery store and I didn't find one label claiming to be 100%.  Not one.  All of the Olive Tap's oils are pure and they have a tasting bar for both oils and balsamic vinegars.

"Do you have any that are good for the skin?"  My friend asks.
"Yeah, we have lots of flavored oils."  He responds.
At which point we just started giggling.
"It would probably make a great lube.  That's thinking outside the box."  I said.
The young man was mortified.
"OH….I thought you meant chicken skin.  I'm so sorry!"
Don't worry, technically we're cougar age, you can't offend us.

Maybe you just had to be there, but I'm telling you it was totally hilarious.

I walked out with grapeseed oil and a espresso balsamic vinegar.  And took my make-up off with the grapeseed oil before cooking my eggs in it the next morning.  Not the same oil mind you.  Because that would be gross.

But what is even funnier, is I actually have used grapeseed oil as a sexual lubricant before and I can attest, it works like a charm.  

I wonder if they have it in different flavors...

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Brilliant Marketing Scheme

Now that the book is published and the holidays are over, it's time to enact my brilliant marketing scheme.  Because I am self published, I am a one woman show.  Nothing is going to happen without me making it happen.  This is the part of the whole of going it alone that has terrified me.  Sure I liked being in control of everything up until this part.  But, now?  Well, there is no brilliant marketing scheme.  I'll just be making it up as I go.

When I look back, this is the most perfect ending to Rock the Kasbah.  Me forced to promote me.  The ultimate test of believing in myself.  Needing other people to help me.  And me asking for and accepting help.  I can't believe I ever pursued publishers and agents now.  Albeit in a totally half-assed way, where I didn't even allow them enough time to consider me before I moved forward.

I confess, I don't know a damn thing about marketing.  I've never read a book or taken a class.  But, that's the same thing with writing.  I never took a creative writing class.  I'm not an English Lit major.  In fact, write in sentence fragments and I'm completely spelling challenged.  And I'm further going to confess that I don't understand a lick of Shakespeare without an interpreter to translate that shit for me.  Not that I would voluntarily read Hamlet or anything.  Because I totally wouldn't.

My point is, I now know, I can do this.  By doing everything I've done throughout this process.  Taking it a step at a time, being authentically me and doing it my way.  Which more than likely means breaking some rules along the way.  You know, the stupid ones.  But, of course, I need your help.


1.  If you like the book, share it.  Loan your copy to a friend.  

2.  Write a review on or Barnes and

3.  Post a link to your Facebook page.

4.  Like Rock the Kasbah on Facebook. 

5.  Ask for your local library to carry it.   (You will need its ISBN number:  978-0-9912036-0-4)

6.  Suggest your book club read it.  (There are book club questions at the end of the book even.)

7.  I'm sure there's something really great I could add here, but I can't think of anything.  So this one is fill in the blank _________________________________________________________________. 


I'm very excited to announce what I'm going to do with the first month's royalties when I get them!

To be announced soon….

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Big Cover Up

I've been involved in a really big cover up for most of my life.  It started when I was about 11.  My skin  exploded with pimples.  They were everywhere.  It didn't matter what I did, they wouldn't  go away.  Whenever I hit a big milestone, I thought they'd magically disappear.  Maybe when I turned 20.  Nope, 25 I guess.  Wrong again.  Definitely 30.  35?  Pretty please?

I was about 12 when my mom, who also suffered from acne, allowed me to wear make-up to cover it up.  And cover it I did. With a vengeance. I spent hours in the mirror hating myself and trying to perfect a subtle, not masky mirage of clear skin.  I was the Bobbi Brown of zit concealing.  Seriously gifted.  Finally, at the age of 39, after trying every product on the planet (besides tetracycline and Accutane which I refused to take because of the side effects), a combo of birth control pills and Retin-A finally, finally worked.  Just in time to trade in my zits for wrinkles.

I've had clear skin with only the occasional random fleeting blemish for about 5 years now.  And yeah, I take a lot of pictures now to make up for the hundreds of others I've torn up over the years.  But now, my oldest daughter is 12.  And her gorgeous face is marred with an infestation of pimples.  We've tried the over the counter products.  Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and zinc creams.  And yet they're still there.  During the winter break we went to the store together and got her some cover up.  The kind with acne medication in it.   Hoping it heals and covers it.

We all have it.  Maybe not acne.  But some kind of body image issue.  Something that makes you feel like hiding from the world and not showing your true face and the beauty within you.  Something that makes you feel less than.  Imperfect.  Inferior.  Insecure.

I want to take all my daughter's insecurities and pain away.  But, I know I can't.  They are her life struggles, not mine.  And she must overcome them herself to become the strong woman she's well on her way to be already.  I can't wait to watch her discover and uncover herself as the years pass.  Just as my mom did with me.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Inattention to Detail Disorder

I've been asked many times now, how I manage to do what I do with 4 kids.  There is a secret involved.  Ok, a couple of secrets.  First, my kids are all school age.  So provided that no kid is sick or has an orthodontist appointment, they leave on the magic school bus each day.  Secret number two is that I am constantly multitasking and thus multimistaking all at the same time.  Which is why I'm constantly screwing things up.  Even though I have the best intentions.  I swear I do!

When I find things I love, like this ceramic chicken roaster I got at World Market, I get ridiculously excited.  It's got a little pot in the middle of the pan to put beer or wine into it and the chicken sits upright while the veggies get roasted on the bottom.  It's a beautiful thing.  And it was definitely love at first bite.  So, I had to share.  This would be a great gift for Christmas!  So, back in October, right after I tried out my roaster,  I went back and scooped up the last 6 of these off the shelf and I was so totally stoked.

Then things got crazy with the book, as I got closer to publishing.  With everything happening at once, I could barely keep up.  But, I did manage to get some bubble wrap and find just the right flat rate box that it fit perfectly in.  Then I went to my local post office and shipped them all and felt extremely accomplished. They'd all arrive a couple weeks before Christmas even.  And they did.  BROKEN. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.  And I ask you, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?  With me, there's always a very high chance I'm going to screw things up.  The truth is, this has happened before. It was the great ceramic frog incident of 2006.  My brother and sister-in-laws can vouch.

 This is my gift.  Inattention to detail. I have IDD.  Inattention to Detail Disorder.
(You got that IDD?  Yeah, you know me.)

So, Craig asks me.  Did you get insurance on the packages?  Really?  Why would anyone even ask this?  Of course not.  That would involve planning and preparing for the worst.  And obviously, I'm an optimist.  Or just really cheap.  It was several days later when Craig's mom said flat rate boxes are automatically insured.  And miraculously I still had the receipt.  Do you know how big of a liar I felt like claiming that they all broke?  

(Now have pity and give me my money back.)

While I wait what might be years for that claim to be ignored or lost by the USPS, I have replaced it with a Groundhog's Day gift card.  Which I hope does not spontaneously shatter in the envelope I sent it in.  I didn't even think to bubble wrap it.  

ADDENDUM:  Last week I found really cheap tickets to Florida over Spring Break.  (Wait.  Does this story sound familiar?)  Anyway, luckily Craig double checked my work before I purchased them.  Because the dates were in fact two weeks before the kids break from school.  And I'm pretty sure I totally didn't screw up the copyright on the book I just submitted…unless I did.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Purple Haze

It was beyond time.  To convert the basement play room into a teen zone.  We'd kept it secret for months.  Stowing away a flat screen tv, acquiring furniture and dorking out over ordering posters.  It was the kids' Christmas gift from my husband and me.   Our gift was selling and moving the skee ball machine that resided there in order to make room, paint the room and move a very big, very heavy sectional couch with jagged exposed staples on the bottom.  It was an exhausting 2 days, kinda like on the show Trading Spaces, but with 4 whiney kids who have no concept how to paint.

While we're on the subject of paint, the color was extremely controversial.  
"I've got it.  Purple.  It'll go with everything in the room and make it come together."  I declared.
"Purple?" Was the consensus.
While we were painting it on the wall and my other 5 painters were disgusted, it hit me.  
"OMG, this is brilliant!  Do you get it?  (insert flailing arms here) It's purple haze!!!!"  I said proudly.

We already had the poster.  It was sheer totally accidental genius.  Genius I tell you!

Our rock band equipment is now hung up on the wall ready for a jam session.  I realize this set up also makes it convenient for the kids to grab one and smash it over another kid's head in a drunken root beer brawl though...

Here's the drum set which is directly below the kitchen. We need to sound proof the room now.  And we'll do that after we paint this wall grey sometime between now and before our kids give us grandchildren.

Which could be sooner rather than later, because we've provided them with a make-out couch.  WHAT the hell were we thinking?  Maybe we should put a cologne/condom dispenser in the bathroom downstairs.  Just to go with the whole rock and roll theme.  Oh my god….we could have graffiti on the walls.  For a good time call Jenny 867-5309.  I'm not condoning any of this behavior by the way.  It's winter break, I'm entitled to cling to my inappropriate fantasies to entertain myself….

Once we finish painting, we'll hang Janis up on the wall.  The kids didn't even know who this was.  One of my kids said this looked like a young version of Ember's elementary school principal.  What the hell are they teaching our kids in school nowadays?

Everyone needs a Nirvana poster with Kurt Cobain picking his nose.  I just hope there aren't any boogers smeared on the wall.

And you knew The Clash had to be represented right?

For Christmas I got Craig a turntable and asked my sister to send old albums from my dad's basement.

And every half-Canadian girl needs her Bob and Doug McKenzie record.  Which I thought my boys would love, but they're like what do we do while we listen to this?  You use your imagination like we did in the 60's, 70's & 80's.  Or is that out of style now?


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