Alone Miles

Rose Is Rose

Alone miles. Good idea. I have a few more weeks to get some in. Where’s a Harley when you need one (here is the #1 bestselling Harley among women. A mere $7K).

Alone miles behind an electric Earthwise mower don’t quite cut it, although the Earthwise does cut the grass, er, dandelions, creeping charlie and wild violets just fine, at speeds averaging 2 m.p.h. (according to the MapMyRun application on my phone). It also leaves behind a delightful smell of fresh cut violets rather than gas and oil and ruminations of how the yellow and purple color scheme in nature looks pretty cool, so why do people spend hundreds of dollars per year poisoning their yard to get rid of it, not to mention these weeds don’t grow as tall as grass and require less frequent mowing. Also, the electric nature of the mower means I’m not burning any gas and get to feel all virtuous about that. Plus I no longer have to contort my body in weird ways to avoid turning off the mower while simultaneously bending over to remove a stick or other debris in the mower’s path, as the mower is so easy to flick on and off, no laborious pulling of a cord required, which probably means I should take up yoga again now that I no longer have to do these contortions while mowing.

Yeah, I know. Forget get trying to justify that sissy 2 mph-electric-purple-yellow mowing nonsense and just get on a Harley already. Vrooom.


Fun Friday Potpourri

First, oh how I wish I could get my 7-year-old to agree to throw a birthday party with proper princess accessories like these:

(H/T Phil Thompson)

Next, snowmen like these would make winter less tedious:

Rose Is Rose

That’s a commendable effort by Vicki the Biker but it doesn’t top the Calvin & Hobbes snowmen:

I could go on, but it’s entirely possible your sense of humor isn’t as warped as mine, so click here if you’d like to see more strips like these (here’s a site that shows real life Calvin & Hobbes snowmen). I tried to get my kids to make Calvin & Hobbes snowmen during the snowstorm on Monday but they refused. Alas. If I want snowmen like that or princesses that carry saw blade guns, I guess I’ll have to borrow some other children. ;-)

That Vicki the Biker snowman reminds me of this “My Guitar Gently Weeps” video where, beginning at the 3:30 mark, Prince plays a guitar solo that is at least as good if not better than Eric Clapton’s version. Prince plays it with more panache.

A Facebook friend was looking for non-dictionary definitions of the word “family” so I posted Erma Bombeck’s definition (it’s always nice to have an excuse to bring on Erma):

The family. We are a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.

Finally, here’s Six Word Story #26:

Marriage. Boredom. Relocation. Overspent. Adultery. Suicide.

There. Madame Bovary in six words. :-)

Hope you have a great weekend.


Fun Friday part 2: Vicki the Biker

We’re expecting lots of snow this weekend, to be followed by frigid temperatures, so here’s an extra Fun Friday post. I haven’t brought out Vicki the Biker in a while so here’s a recent strip:

Rose Is Rose


It sounds like we parents continue to be rotten at risk assessment.

Not only do we worry unnecessarily about dangers likely never to happen (as I’ve written about before). We also underestimate dangers we actually should worry about, according to this New York Times article.

The Centers for Disease Control says these are the top five things most likely to harm children:

1. Car accidents.

2. Homicide (usually at the hands of someone they know).

3. Child abuse.

4. Suicide.

5. Drowning.

These are the things we actually worry about, according to Mayo Clinic surveys:

1.  Kidnapping.

2.  School snipers.

3.  Terrorists.

4.  Dangerous strangers.

5.  Drugs.

I think I’d rather about the things Vicki the Biker worries about instead:

Rose Is Rose


The perils of “active listening”

Are you familiar with the “active listening” concept?

It’s where you listen to what your spouse says, repeat back what your spouse said in your own words, and then try to show you understand why your spouse feels angry at you or whatever.


In the book 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot, which is a “myth-busting response to the self-help movement, with tips and tricks to improve your life that come straight from the scientific community,” author Richard Wiseman pretty much dismisses active listening as hooey.

In the 1990s John Gottman (a world renowned expert on marital stability) did an elaborate study on active listening at the University of Washington.

He took 100 newlywed couples and videotaped them as they chatted for 15 minutes about a topic of ongoing disagreement. He followed these couples for six years.

It turns out hardly anyone engaged in active listening and it’s too difficult for most people to perform the “emotional gynmastics” required for active listening. They were shocked to discover that active listening was unrelated to marital bliss.

They went on to study tapes from another study that tracked married couples for 13 years and reached the same conclusions about active listening.

So if active listening doesn’t work, what does?

The Gottman study reveals that people in long term, happy heterosexual relationships exhibit a very particular pattern in times of conflict:

The female usually raises a difficult issue, presents an analysis of the problem, and suggests some possible solutions.

Males who are able to accept some of these ideas, and therefore show a sense of power sharing with their partner, are far more likely to maintain a successful relationship.

In contrast, couples in which the males react by stonewalling, or even showing contempt, are especially likely to break up.

So the Vicki the Biker approach to conflict really is the right one! Woo hoo! :)


Fun Friday: The Vicki the Biker Approach to Conflict

Vicki the Biker’s approach to conflict resolution and creating inciting incidents works for me. ;)

Rose Is Rose


Fun Friday: Vicki the Biker’s take on schedules

Vicki’s response to Jimbo’s idea is entirely appropriate, I think.

This also makes me suspect Jimbo is one of those spouses that initiates “Let’s work on our relationship!” talks. Eek! :-)

Rose Is Rose

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Spring break started four hours ago yet I’m already feeling how oxymoronic the phrase “spring break” is when you’re a parent.

Within three minutes of my daughters arriving home from school there were kerfuffles and tears.

The agita continued to such a degree that I finally fled with the youngest daughters to La Bamba for lunch and then the library.

Lunch and library. A good survival strategy when you aren’t on a vacation and have to spend spring break at home with children.

I’m consoling myself by looking at Vicki the Biker comics and like her advice and am adding it to the mix: Head north. Alone.

Vicki the biker’s reaction to spring is entirely appropriate, I think:

Here’s another good tip… linger in the car and listen to music (or just sit and enjoy the silence) after you pull into the driveway and the kids have already run inside:

In fact, I did that today, after the library excursion. I sat in the car for a few minutes after the girls ran inside.

Eventually my youngest daughter came back out and gave me two Skittles. “Maybe these will cheer you up.” Awwwww.

I know these tips aren’t as enthralling as, say, a trip to Disneyland for spring break. But whatever helps put the “break” back into Spring Break for those of us parents who have to stay home with kids during spring break.

Now I’m going to head south. Which for me means the grocery store.