You Don’t Want to Call Nobody Else

My recollections of Rikki are vivid though dreamlike. I remember her sitting in the back seat of a car, clutching a neatly-folded piece of paper. Now she’s leaving – she’s running from something. I am a little afraid for her because he doesn’t want her to leave. I feel twisted and torn because it’s so beautiful I can’t walk away. But it still scares me a little because I don’t understand. Ahhh, a sigh of relief.  She’s going home.

When she gets home, I imagine her sitting on a white-shag carpet playing Candyland. It’s surreal: I can’t see whom she’s playing with. Now, she is sitting at a desk writing a letter. A letter to herself.

Oh, isn’t it so pretty and melancholy? Now she’s leaving. He tells her that’s okay, but he doesn’t sound like it is. He wants her to change her mind, you know; he wants her to understand that his number… it’s the only one she wants. It’s all so perfect, in my insides it feels perfect, and I just know she’ll feel better when she get’s home.

I don’t want Rikki to lose that number either. And I don’t want the music to ever end. This was my very first favorite song.  I would sit with my headphones on, listening to it play over and over. I had every word memorized, even if I had no idea what they meant.  As a four-year old, I heard it for the first time in the back of my dad’s car. I imagined myself as Rikki, holding on to that little piece of paper, knowing that no matter what I did, I could not lose it.

Thank goodness this was Steely Dan’s first song to make it to #4 on the 1974 billboard chart. It’s constant play on the radio washed over me, pulling me into Rikki’s world, baptizing me into the world of Steely Dan. It kindled my life-long love of this band with a desire to learn what made these musicians with the weird lyrics tick.  And when the faintest of faint, opening notes of “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” begin, everything falls away, and that same dream of Rikki is as clear as it was almost 40 years ago.

Rikki Don’t Lose That Number by Steely Dan

Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday 6



T-minus 30days 15hours 1minute and 4…3…2…

Welcome to Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday

Where any combination of songs you think barely touch the topic are welcome, and you can play however you like. As Music Director for this lovely cruise I feel it is completely un-necessary to follow the rules as written (I dare you to find them). Mix-Tape touching the topic with a ten-foot-pole 5 songs or less. How’s that for a coconut shell?

This weeks topic: Summer Vacation (or really any summer or any vacation, or anything you want)

Our yearly migration to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is on the horizon.
The boy wakes up every morning with the question poised on his fire-starting lips. “How many days until South Carolina now?” Yes, how many now? We begin the countdown to our month in paradise the day we head back to Chicago. It is the thing that gets us through the Chicago winters. The blah’s of February and March when you are truly questioning whether having a job is really as important as we think. Maybe living in a cardboard box in some warmer climate would be fine. We could get two and have a double wide.

What is your idea of vacation music? Got a yen for some Calypso or Reggae? Or is it some dude with his acoustic guitar sitting on a stool on a pier (that’s mine). Maybe you’ve got a Beer Margarita and a nice sunburn tan. Think back…or forward.  Maybe for you it’s just sitting by the blow-up pool in your front yard on a couple of rickety lawn chairs with a wine cooler in your hand, some Grateful Dead on the boom-box (yes I said it), yelling at your kids to stop landing on top of each other from the makeshift slide you dumped in the pool.

Whatever summer means for you. I’d love to hear.

This my friends, is the playlist aptly named Hilton Head on my iPod (minus a few)

The ride down; did I mention we drive?

Because what guy sitting on a stool on a pier doesn’t play this song?

Or this one: (btw my husband was at this concert. I was 6.)

Another travelling song.

And since you’re heading up to Carolina…(could have used this for my stalker list, but I was saving it :-))

There’s actually 17 more songs on the Hilton Head playlist, but because I am a stickler devout rule follower. I stuck to 5. I wold love to hear your lists! Post them in the comments, or if you’re really feeling it this week, create your own post and stick it in the Linky! Yea Linky, I’m keeping it open until the next weeks mix-tape, and let’s do it, let’s call next weeks topic Awesome Cover Songs is there some song you’ve always loved only to realize it’s actually a cover song? OR is there a cover of a song that really is just better? You’ve got a week people, so join the fun!! I always love to hear all of your choices! The linky will come up after I give you the golden opportunity to purchase your favorite songs from my list for only $19.99. Wait, no, that’s not right. Well click and check them out at iTunes:

East Bound and Down (From “Smokey and the Bandit”) – The Essential Jerry Reed
Brown Eyed Girl – Brown Eyed Girl
Moonshadow – Cat Stevens: Greatest Hits
Jackson – The Essential Johnny Cash
Steal My Kisses – Live from Mars

Here’s the link-up

Mojo vs. The Evil Dragon Lady

This freakin’ weather! Not everyone has the pleasure of living in the midwest. I am aware of that. And I am acutely aware of the fact that many people live places were the sun shines at least, oh I don’t know; once every 4 days? Wow, that would be heaven. That would be like a TV channel that only played Fawlty Towers, Star Trek Next Generation and Big Bang Theory. No commercials.

The thing is about this time… the thing is, I completely lose my Mojo. Seriously, have you seen it? It’s definitely lost. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if I didn’t need it so badly. Oh Mojo, how I miss you. Without it I am a mere shell of myself, no funny quips and snide remarks. No silliness and tickle fights. Oh yeah, and did I mention no patience? Me – Mojo = Evil dragon Lady.

Have you met my son? No? Let me freshen up your mind a bit. This kid:

Well, my son, I’m pretty sure he has two Mojo’s. Apparently it’s a very rare condition, but it does happen in some children. Here are the symptoms; 

  • Must sing at the top of his lungs at all times (completely made up songs), while using items like brooms, flashlights, dog bones and Tervis Tumblers (very hard plastic glasses) as percussion. Either against each other or the furniture.
  • While playing on his own; must make random screeching noises.
  • Must chase dog while making random screeching noises.
  • Must chase dog pretending he is the police officer and the dog is the robber; screaming and screeching at the top of his lungs. Also encouraging “little dog” to join the party with her ear-piercing bark.
  • Must be happy all of the time.
  • Must climb on the edge of two sofas. In a row.
  • Must hang a rope from the loft and swing from it.
  • Did I mention, Must be singing at all times?

As much as so many of these things make my every waking moment day a little more difficult, I cannot deny the fact that he is ALWAYS happy. Except when he’s not. But the thing is, when he’s not; it is usually my fault. Of course he would be quick to tell you, and I would be quick to deny it. But he would be right. I basically Steal His Sunshine almost everyday. I know, I know, you are all like what? He’s a kid? Who? You are his mother. Yeah, it’s true, but the thing is, I walk a fine line with this boy. He will always be Sensory Boy (if you want to know about that go here) he will always seek out opportunities to Feel more and Hear more. His body actually needs it to help process information.  I will always be Fight with Seasonal Affective Disorder Mom. These are a volatile combination at best, un-combinable at its worse.

Over the past week I have:

  • Asked him to use an inside voice 648 times.
  • Told him to stop chasing the dog 431 times.
  • Asked him to please stop banging on everything 221 times.
  • Begged him to not sing so loud 512 times.
  • Said “go outside” 156 times.
  • Told my husband he needed to go to school instead of being homeschooled 2 times.
  • Grounded him from all TV and Video games for 5 days, with a day being added every time he mouths off to me.

The part I am admitting to you; and only to you is, he’s fine. It’s all me. If you tell anyone else I will deny it.

On a sunny day:

  • I Tickle him first thing in the morning, sometimes for 45 minutes.
  • His songs are funny, and I often write down the words to remember when he’s grown write about in my blog.
  • I can handle the screeching, because I am usually jamming to some disco, or Bossa Nova.
  • I egg on the robber dog, and just shoe them outside when it gets too much.
  • I hug him and kiss him randomly, and tell him how awesome he is.
  • I goad him on to make a better more challenging obstacle course while he climbs the sofas.
  • I take pictures of him while he swings from the rope.
  • And did I mention I even join in on the singing sometimes?

I love my boy. I love him just the way he is. I hate gray skies. Today as we sat in the car outside the library, I explained the concept of stress to this, my 7yo genius. He told me he got it. I told him I just wanted to make sure he knew that no matter what Mommy loved him. He said I know you love me Mommy, don’t worry.  He’s got extra Mojo I tell you, and some day some lucky girl is gonna have to fight me for it.

Here’s a little liquid sunshine for your listening pleasure:

As always, when you realize you can’t live without this song. Click here to go straight to iTunes:

Mas Que Nada – Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

And because you know I need your love, will you click here?

Can I be honest a minute…

I really don’t remember you. I know we went to high-school together, but neither your yearbook photo nor your name even jogs my memory.

And, you? They tell me we even went to middle school together too? Sorry, I don’t remember you. I wish I did; you seem nice.

And to you, the friend I have known since first grade. I know I am smiling and shaking my head, doing all of the right things, but I don’t remember a lick of this story. I wish I did – it sounds really funny. You say I was there?

Maybe it’s my old advanced age that is effecting my memory. If you knew me in high school, which you say you did, then you also know I made some questionable decisions about the substances I put in my body. I do have some vague memories of faceless people at crowded parties, (sorry, I dont remember if you were there) getting alcohol poisoning. That’s stupid; I mean you’d think when you couldn’t stand up to pee anymore; having that 42nd drink would seem like a bad idea. And yes, there I was, judging you from the corner, because marijuana does not poison; marijuana enlightens. Clearly, you, my drunken friend, were on the wrong team. Chances are, however, that you at least remember who was at that party before your fifth beer. I, on the other hand, could not tell you who I was with or how I got home, let alone whose party it actually was. Remember this was the 80’s! Think Weird Science meets Risky Business plus the epic party from Sixteen Candles (Hey, Sexy Girlfriend!). That was pretty accurate for me, that much I remember, the details, not so much. (I am also forced to remind you that this is the second movie in which my boyfriend John appeared.)photo sixteen candles john cusack   Google Search

I jokingly say I have “mommy brain” or my brain is like a sieve ( Thomas Dolby song, don’t worry I won’t leave you hanging.) I think all of that is true to some extent; however the problem lies in my almost total amnesia of anything prior to 1988. I’d love to blame it on the drugs ( which my auto correct wants to change to Druids – I would love to blame it on them too) the problem is, and don’t tell anyone I didn’t stop the drugs in 1988. Admittedly, heaviest usage spanned 1989-1993. When I say usage, don’t get all high and mighty (oh, that was funny!). All I did was inhale, with the occasional bout of Xanax maybe a hallucinogen of only the natural form (for those of you straight edge folks that would mean “magic mushrooms”). Yes I was also a judgey judger if you “rode the white horse” (that would be the cocaine or anything that required administering using a foreign body). Thing is, ya see, I remember 1989 to present day. But ask me to tell you a story, any story from when I was six, and I will look at you with a blank stare. I always suspected this. I had some other friends with memory lapses as we would reminisce about our high school years – yeah, we all did the drugs but as our stories would stretch back to jr high or elementary school your memories became quite lucid, while mine became a fog. That’s not really the right word. Absent. That’s the right word.

I would be lying if I didn’t cop to one or two memories, I remember my favorite 7th grade english teacher. Yes, I was already an English geek then, and reading “All Summer in A Day” by Ray Bradbury. Wow, if you haven’t read that one, you don’t know what bullying is. The things I remember are the things with the strongest emotion tied to them. That story was so intense that I felt the hurt inside of me. I loved Mr Weinke and hated him for introducing that story to me, it still causes me pain to remember, in my mind I am that girl locked in the closet. I also have vague memories of being bullied by the in-crowd (not how kids are bullied today) for breaking up (after the requisite 5 minutes required to establish a junior-high romance) whose heart I apparently broke. And from then on, I had 5 friends. I do remember our song, “Babe” by Styx. Dude, listen to the lyrics: that should have been your first clue.

I remember my best friend in 4th or 5th grade, her mom was an alcoholic trophy wife. They lived in a well-appointed shit-hole. I think the concept of cleaning was completely foreign to her. Although she was a trophy wife, he must have blown his wad on the trophy because housekeeper was clearly not in the contract. I also remember thinking she was beautiful. Her name was Roxanne (the trophy), and she smoked More cigarettes – remember those really long, brown ones? Ashtrays were full of them all over the house. They had this awesome stereo cabinet, in lieu of dining room furniture. When the song “Roxanne” came on the radio (Ah, thank you, Police for the period reference; this must have been 1979, so place us in 5th or 6th grade), time would stop and she would just belt that song out in her cigarette-induced rasp; in that moment, I worshiped her. Looking back the irony of that song being about a prostitute is not lost on me; I wonder if it was on her.

I also remember, I was probably ?, and my neighbors evil brother shot our co-owned bunny (Thumper, of course, because we were ? Your guess is as good as mine). The bunny survived; that showed him. I don’t know what happened to the brother, with any luck he became a Hare Krishna. I also remember the first time I had a tornado dream, these have been a reoccurring theme in my life, I have tied them to times I feel out of control. The first time I was…hmmm….I am guessing 11 maybe 12? I am trying to gauge my age by what car we had because in my dream I was sitting on the trunk of my mom’s car as I watched a tornado coming closer and closer to our house. I think I know the origin of this nightmare. Being a very sensitive child, and living in the midwest; the constant tornado drills in elementary school were very real to me. I was so sure a tornado would happen, and when it did I would be alone, without my family; scared to death in a hallway with a textbook covering my head.

Those are snippets of what I remember. But do you know what is missing? Adventure, funny stories, -good times, folks, good times. Why am I telling you? You are clearly not my analyst (ahh Woody, what I wouldn’t give for the days of analysts).  But lately, my son, the wackadoodle pyromaniac has been asking me to tell him stories of when I was younger. You know, fun stories, stories of adventure, or better yet, mis-adventure. I have been at a loss. My sister has shared what she could, although being the evil older sister I was, she was not allowed to participate in my life, so the stories we share are few. I haven’t even admitted to her: I don’t remember the most “famous” one. I have tried to glorify the few stories I remember, but I have to admit, they’re pretty boring. They usually end with him saying, “And what else?” Then me saying, “That’s it, Honey.” Followed by “Oh, well will you tell me another story then?” Now of course the men in his life have much more exciting stories, and that might be the cause of his inquisitiveness. I don’t think he’s figured out yet that his sex is the destructive, living dangerously, lucky-to-be-alive sex. But as someone who has nothing to give other than “I remember loving to sit outside in my yard and picking apart mushrooms to see what was inside,” I’ve got nothing. He wasn’t even impressed with the tornado dream. I bet my analyst would be. 

Just incase you can’t live without my musical references……

Seriously? He didn’t see it coming?

My Brain Is Like a Sieve – Aliens Ate My Buick
White Horse – Good Vibes – The Very Best of Laid Back
Roxanne – Outlandos d’Amour (Remastered)
Babe – Styx: Greatest Hits


Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday


Twisted Mix-Tape? WHAT??!!! This is what. Me and music, we go hand in hand. I carry earbuds with me everywhere I go. My favorite thing to do is tune everyone out at grocery while I jam to Casino Royale (not the new one, yuck, the original soundtrack masterfully created by Burt Bacharach) you do not know what you are missing if you have never jammed to Casino Royale.

In the words of Stevie Wonder “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.” Well, I understand it. I think I understand music better than I understand people. “Soylent Green is People!” Sorry, my brain leaked. I am sure I am not alone. When I am not thinking in Woody Allen, I am thinking in song. Frankly I think my true lost calling was Soundtrack Maker Music Director for Films. For real, I’ll be driving down the street, and I think “If this was a movie this song would be playing right now.”

But guess what??? By the power invested in me by me, I can be Music Director of Break the Parenting Mold! Woo hoo! And so I have created Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday.

Now, in the words of my boyfriend, John Cusack, disguised as Rob from High-Fidelity (a book and movie of which, I was not a great fan, too much “oh poor me”, yet full of great lines):

“Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.”

I get it John Rob, I get it and I honor it. So from now, until the foreseeable future, you will find Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday here at Break the Parenting Mold. I invite you all to join in. Each week we (as in you and I because I know you will feel an undeniable need to join me) will be creating a mix based on a different topic emotion. My plan is to keep the list to 5 songs; as hard as that may be. Just incase you’re a music geek like me, and want to prepare. I would love for you to share your choices in the comments, surprise me, enlighten me, shock me! Next weeks topic will be Forbidden Love.

Because I am on a “John Cusack played a depressed but musically knowledgeable role in High Fidelity kick;” this week, I’d like to start off with a list called:

Why you have to play me like this?

Aimee Mann “That’s Just What You Are”


Rick Springfield “I’ve Done Everything For You”


The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Wait Until Tomorrow”


Cake “Never There”


The Beatles “I’m So Tired” 


Here’s a freebie for those of you who have not ever heard this gem from Casino Royale, and if you’ve got nothing better to do; you’re in for a real treat. It’s the whole album!


Thank you for playing,


Feel free to sing it to me!

“I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.”

Lot’s of new and exciting changes are coming to my blog! It’s nerve-wracking for me, but exciting for you, I hope! While I am in the process of making the change, I have had to remove my youTube links 😦 So some posts might seem bare, but just wait! Bigger and better is on its way!


Call me introspective…blame my last post. My last post, lots of comments. Stuff. People’s stuff. My stuff. I have been wondering what my place in this universe is. Well, wait. No. What my place in this world is, yeah, not that either. What my place is in the writing blogging writing world. My dirty little secret? Not only do I love to write, but I really want to be a writer. A real writer, one with a modicum of success. Why is it a secret? I cannot tell. Oh do I lie, of course I can tell. But I want to believe that I do not know how my psyche works. I want to pretend that I am not as defeatist, as self-deprecating, as distrustful of my own abilities, as I am.  Because maybe I’m not. My sister does not possess any of those traits, yet she was raised by the same people, same place, same time.  Birth order? Nah, don’t buy it. We have no “middle”, just us, so it can go 50/50, that’s not enough for me. I mean if I am none of those things, and there is no obvious reason why I cannot be successful, then maybe I can be successful.

Things have gotten a little out of control lately. I started this blog about two years ago. Originally in the form of a personal blog/website to be an informative platform. I wanted to help people, by sharing what I knew about my son’s health issues, what I did about them, how to move on. The blog was on a lame platform, it wasn’t a “real” blog, it got ZERO traffic. That doesn’t mean I didn’t think about it. It stuck in the back of my mind, it would not come unstuck. It whispered into my ear, in the middle of the night. Angry Jen “what did you do? did you start something and not finish it again?” Healthy Jen “you started something wonderful, you should keep doing it.” Angry Jen “don’t bother, what’s the point? It’s not a real job.” Healthy Jen “this is your dream, this is what you want, writing makes you happy, do it.” Yes. I am that conflicted. No. I am not schizophrenic, because I recognize the conflict.

After a year, I couldn’t deny it any longer and I transferred the best of what I had created onto this blog. Instead of transferring posts, I condensed and edited and created informative “pages”. Then I released the muse, which in my case is a cross between Woody Allen, Christopher Moore, Jennifer Crusie and throw in any 70’s DJ worth his salt. Eclectic, I know. I started to write again, I didn’t really know how to get any traffic. I had no idea what I was doing. I linked my blog to my personal Facebook page. Most of my friends were indifferent. I blame myself. I wrote. I got very little feedback. Healthy Jen was in her element and happy to write. Angry Jen was so sure that she was failing and that this was ridiculous. The thing is, both of my personalities can operate simultaneously so I don’t actually have to make a decision. Nice, I know.

Then something did happen, sadly I can’t even remember the chain of events leading up to this, because nothing about my writing career had seemed important enough to commit to memory. Another blogger reached out to me and asked me to join her community. I felt honored, and I felt like a fraud. Guess who was who. But as I said, cancelled out, so I joined. I participated, things began to happen. People began to know I existed. I admit it, it felt good. The more I participated, the more my reach grew. The more my reach grew, the better my writing became. I needed the competition/camaraderie/practice to get better. But I still felt like a fraud. Bloggers need a niche. That’s what I’ve been told, if you are going to be a “successful” blogger you have to find your place. What? Place? I don’t think so, I don’t fit into any “category”. They won, I felt cornered. I picked parenting. Now what. Yes I am a parent, yes most of my writing moments are inspired by parenting or marriage. But not all of them. It’s not WHY I write. I write because I have things to say, they demand to be released from my brain. I have things to say and I take great pleasure in forming the right words to fit the thoughts that are coming out of my head often times faster than I can write.  Sometimes what I say is witty, sometimes it is sensitive, sometimes it is completely insensitive.  Always it is me, not my niche.

I got really ahead of myself, I got scared, I got confused about what I was doing. I was neglecting my son, neglecting my house and neglecting myself. Neglecting myself because I was only writing what I wanted to write half of the time (and not showering, but that’s nothing new). The other half of the time I was writing what I thought my niche me should write.  You know what, the percentage could even be higher (to the niche side).

I have to admit, once I feel like I have been “accepted” into a group I admire, I will do anything in my power to stay there, and continue to “earn” my acceptance. Often to the point of losing myself. I did it in real life as a kid, and I regret it to this day. It’s like Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful (somewhat obscure 80’s movie where the character of the lost soul is Eric Stoltz to our Molly Ringwald, he’s not a chick), or some after-school special.  The girl (or Eric Stoltz) is awesome, but she doesn’t know it. Someone in the “cool” world recognizes it, and the girl (or Eric Stoltz) will do anything to stay in that world. The thing is, it never works out in the end. Not ever. And the girl (or Eric Stoltz) goes back to the world where she (or he) came from, and realizes how wonderful that world was all along and how they always knew she (or he) was wonderful too. Great metaphor. Only problem? The end part is a hollywood ending. This is not Hollywood. Nope. So, instead of me going back to my world where I realize everyone already knows how awesome I am and being content with that. Jen’s real-world translation is. I stop trying to fit in with the cool kids, I write what comes in my head whether it fits a topic or not, if a topic speaks to me, great. If not, pass. I know how great I am and how cool I am. I cannot expect everyone around me in my physical reality to understand that. But I’m gonna stick with my crew. I have a feeling that someone special saw me for who I was, because the post she liked the most, was probably one of the most honest I had written up until that point.  I think she saw me. Not niche me. Healthy Jen me. I’m gonna go that way. I’m gonna stay with the people who helped me to realize the dream by quieting the angry Jen.

And because where would I be without these wonderful ladies, here is my shameless plug Lisa Nolan of Life Happens Then Write (and many other blogs) has created an amazing community of blogging women who support each other and share in each others moments, Mom’s Who Write and Blog. That is where I belong right now. So if things slow down, and you stop seeing me everywhere, that’s why. But if you want to join us, jump in!


See you soon! I’m gonna write, write like the wind, to be free again……….


And for those of you who did not get half of my references, this is for you:

Some Kind of Wonderful

Christopher Moore

Jennifer Crusie

It breaks my heart to even say this, but if you’ve NEVER seen Annie Hall, you would have trouble grasping the acute neurosis humor, behind this post so here’s a little help

10 {tiny} secret things that bring me joy

I don’t know if these things are tiny, but they might be secrets.  Although my sister knows about #6, and I’m pretty sure my 7-year-old son knows about a lot of them.  I confide in him you know.  Then there’s the fact that I probably have told my husband about all of these at one time or another, but he would claim I never had.  He has memory issues, but that’s OK, because he doesn’t remember.

  1. Wind.  Weird huh?  I love the wind.  I can stand outside in the wind for hours.  Even freezing wind,  IMG_0357although I take precautions so as not to turn into a frozen totem pole.
  2. The Ocean.  Although that’s kind of an extension of #1, because I like the sound of the crashing waves when you can’t hear anything else, except the wind of course. (If the ocean is not available, Lake Michigan will do, cause that’s practically an ocean)
  3. Hot black tea with lemon.  Always and forever. Winter or Summer.  Right now 🙂
  4. My old Nikkormat camera.  It’s sad and happy.  Sad cause darkroom chemicals are poison. Happy because I think of how photography became part of my life.
  5. Painting my nails unusual colors.  Not being a make-up person, it is my subversive way of primping.
  6. Drinking beer margaritas on my driveway in the summer, while the kids play in the kiddie pool. I IMG_0343like to pretend I’m white trash.
  7. The smell of jasmine.
  8. Needle-felting
  9. Snuggling with my boy
  10. And the absolute best, and most predictable, watching my boy sleep.



Shared at Monday Listicles with the Good Life