Yard Signs, the new way to brag about your kid.

signs

When walking through the neighborhood yesterday, I came across a frequent sight. In the past few years, it’s become common place for parents to display signs celebrating their children’s accomplishment. These signs may relate to varsity sports, high school or college graduation, or even inclusion in travel teams. I haven’t seen a sign yet for a kid being in the rec league, but I wouldn’t doubt that’s next.

I do not begrudge parents who put these signs up. Let’s face it. I am going to do the same thing! It’s sort of like a pedafiles guide to the neighborhood. What I am wondering is how this became so popular and does this phenomenon transcend Northville’s borders or is this something spreading throughout the country?

When I was growing up, I would have had some cool signs:  Dance Class Drop Out, Kid in Band Who Never Practices, Best Able to Skip Meals…I couldn’t go on but I don’t want to seem like I am bragging.

A quick google search brought up a web site where you can purchase yard signs celebrating just about anything. The first sample I ironically came to was “Varsity Dance Team”. Is that a sign I missed my calling? When I tried to search when this trend started, I couldn’t find anything.

I think it’s great parents want to make kids feel special but I am curious who gets more out of putting the sign up. The parent, the child, or is it equal? I even saw a sign recently that gave the kid’s college major (Hospitality at Michigan State) and the fact they secured a job working for a resort in Vail. It’s a nice way to share good news with the community, but I still long for learning the news the old fashioned way. Through gossiping, but in this case though, I don’t think they would have minded.

If you know more about the history of these signs or have a funny one to share, please leave a comment. I look more popular that way.

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How Depression Made Me a Better Person

depression

I am sure after my last post, you are expecting some light reading. However, one my idiosyncrasies is my fascination with health stories; particularly about mental health. My idea of a fabulous evening is a TLC marathon of Untold Stories of the E.R. There is also a new TLC show called Diagnose Me, which is equally as awesome.

I recently submitted an article to Good Housekeeping for their Blessings column. Their web site warned it could take 3 months to receive your rejection letter. Yes, I am fully expecting one! But, now that I have my blog with 2 whole subscribers I don’t need Good Housekeeping do I? A special thanks to Sheri and Molly for being my earliest fans.

By the way, can you help me reach my goal of 5 subscribers? It’s easy to do. I’ve installed a blue “follow northville mom” icon on the menu bar. Scroll down to the bottom of my page and you will see it on the right hand side.

And now I bring you a LKK exclusive: How Depression Made me a Better Person 

In High School, I watched my friend, Beth, struggle with Bi-Polar Depression.  I didn’t understand what those words meant. All I knew was my mom was hesitant about me spending time with Beth and that she was sent “away” more often than she was home. My problems centered on keeping myself 110 pounds and finding a boyfriend. Beth’s problems related to her wanting to kill herself.  Suddenly, we were worlds apart.

In college, I relished assignments that allowed me to better understand Beth. However, I felt distant from the experiences I read about. I convinced myself I was stronger and better able to accept life’s tribulations. While I felt empathy, it was impossible for me to feel what Beth felt. Perhaps this is why I lost touch with Beth. I continued to view her as someone who failed herself, as much as I viewed her as having an illness.

Shortly after graduation, I lost a parent unexpectedly. Despite my grief, I was able to move on. I had my first taste of anxiety and depression through that experience, but I didn’t connect what I was feeling to the words I studied. I remained separate from “them”. After all, I had plenty reason to feel sadness.

Since childhood, I’ve noticed I tire easily and have more aches and pains than others my age. By my mid-thirties, pains that once required a heating pad began to overtake my existence. It was only when I could no longer focus, I was forced to face my new reality. I found myself getting confused at work and crying with little provocation. I heard negative voices in my head telling me I was incompetent and undeserving. I no longer felt hunger. The feeling of impending doom shattered my sense of well-being. Deep within my neurosis, I was no longer able to recognize what was happening to me. I could not simply pull myself out of it.

Fortunately, a friend quickly noticed the warning signs and urged me to see her doctor. When no physical issues were found, I was prescribed an antidepressant. Although it took years, I was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic neurological condition that lowers serotonin levels in your brain. Many suffers of Fibromyalgia have anxiety and depression.

It may seem unlikely I’d view this experience as a blessing, but I do. My experience has taught me more than words ever could. Mental illness is no different than Cancer or Diabetes. It is something that overtakes your body in a physical sense, even if there isn’t a test that confirms its existence.

I am proud to say that in my former role as Vice President, I had opportunity to help others recognize they were suffering from mental illness. I was able to offer a sympathetic ear and bring comfort to those seeking help.  Unless you’ve suffered from a chronic condition, including mental illness, you can’t understand how all-encompassing it can be. Fibromyalgia brought me a level of compassion and understanding I otherwise would have never had.  For that, I am grateful.

6 Things About the 80’s Generation Z Won’t Believe

Hearing of Dick Van Patten’s passing this week, I was brought back to my childhood and the memories of watching Eight is Enough. It wasn’t surprising that I looked forward to the show each week. It was on ABC, one of the 6 channels we received through our roof top antennae. As an only child living in suburban St. Louis, it seemed so much more exciting to live in California with a house full of siblings.

The last episode of 8 is Enough aired in 1981, when I was still a young child and before my frizzy hair kicked in. Thinking back to simpler times, I couldn’t help but think how much the world has changed. What would my kids, members of Generation Z, think if they were transported back in time?

Here’s your answer.

first point

  • Baby Didn’t Have Back

One summer, my parents thought it would be fun to visit the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, WI. It was the perfect place to have wholesome family fun as bikini clad buxom women waited on you. As our server walked away in stiletto heels, her strategically placed cotton tail reminded me this was not an ordinary resort. What makes this an 80’s only experience is not that Playboy Clubs no longer exist; it’s that none of the servers had a big booty. In the words of Amy Schumer’s, Milk Milk Lemonade, “I used to think my tits were where it’s at. Used to be concerned my booty was too fat. But now I know the truth and that worry has been shot. Big booty’s what they want and big booty’s what they got”.

Let’s put it this way. If Kim Kardashian came to age in the 80’s, she’d still have her original booty.

2nd point

  • Those Awkward Family Photos Weren’t So Awkward

Where do I begin? Everything about this picture screams the only way I am getting married is if I join a convent. What is amazing is that women in the 80’s aspired to look like this. Okay, maybe not the face or the outfit, but my hair definitely fit in. Check out Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing if you don’t believe me.

Today’s Generation Z would drive themselves mad, trying to find smoothing products at the drug store. It simply didn’t exist, at least not shelves full of it. Weird hair styles didn’t stop with frizz-tansic looks either. One of the coolest girls in my High School set her hair with hot rollers and left it that way. I am talking no comb out whatsoever and I thought she was all that. I secretly hope she has since gained a lot of weight and looks much older than me.

3rd point

  • Keeping in Touch Was a lot More Difficult

Talking on the phone in the 80’s was a whole lot different from today. You most likely memorized your friend’s phone numbers and if you didn’t, you referred to your trusty address book. Really awesome kids had their own home line separate from their parents. However, like most kids, I simply stretched the cord across the hallway into my bedroom. If you were driving and broke down, good luck! There were signs you could put in your window asking passerby’s to call police for help. Of course, the Good Samaritan would have to stop at a store to use the phone. What 80’s kid can forget waiting for some special someone to call and wondering if the phone was out of order? A check that the dial tone was still there was a must. I won’t even get into the décor or my outfit but I will blow your mind by saying this room looks the exact same today. I thankfully, do not!

4th point

  • It was easier to pack, but good luck finding the right hotel.

Although you may see a pilot outside the cockpit during deplaning today, 80’s kids were able to visit the pilot much more frequently. If you were lucky, you’d receive a silver plane shaped pin representing the airlines. When you arrived at your destination, you may have been greeted at the gate.  Anyone could walk through the airport and hang out. There were no off-limit areas, you simply went through security (keeping your shoes on) and kept going.  If you wanted to walk on the flight with a giant Big Gulp and a box-cutter, no problem. Don’t forget your cigarettes either, a smoking section existed as if smoke knew to suddenly stop at aisle 10. Your stewardess was likely a size four, considering the heaviest she could be (according to at least one airline’s guidelines), was 129 pounds at 5 foot 5. Imagine recruiting for that job today!  My left leg might not have made the cut.

The fun didn’t stop with lighting up over Michigan. Even getting your plane ticket and hotel room was an adventure. You probably picked your destination based on a friend’s recommendation or where your travel agent was invited to stay recently. I remember as late as the mid-90’s picking a location based on an ad in the back of Bride’s magazine.  In that sense, today is the “good old days”. Sites like tripadvisor.com have revolutionized consumer power. Back then, if you had a bad experience only your immediate circle would know about it. I’d gladly take off my shoes to have this information at my fingertips.

5th point

  • Getting lost was a whole lot easier.

The idea of GPS goes back to 1957, when scientists at MIT noted that radio signals transmitting from Russia’s small satellite (Sputnik) changed as its distance changed. This discovery sparked the idea of satellites being used to track distances. However, it was not until 15-years ago that the first GPS models were in most American’s reach. We already know traveling was an uncertain proposition. Imagine trying to drive in a strange city to a hotel with a lumpy mattress and view of a parking lot. All you had was whatever information the rental counter told you, which you promptly forgot, and your flimsy map. Even finding where you were on the map wasn’t always easy, especially with your husband screaming that you aren’t helping (not saying this happened to me, okay maybe it did, many times).   While GPS still has occasional issues, it’s a whole lot easier to explore than ever before. And, I am pretty sure it’s saved some marriages.

6th point

  • The daily newspaper was your lifeline to the world

Although this image is from 1922, classified advertisements in the 80s (and even 90s) wasn’t much different. If you wanted to buy a car, find a job, or even find a date you took out a classified ad. My friends who married in the mid-90s met this way, it was the match.com of its time. If you wanted news, you couldn’t go online and get it whenever you wanted. You either had to subscribe to cable, which about 1/3 of Americans didn’t do in 1985, or you turned to traditional mediums like your local paper.  Finding a job meant typing your resume and cover letter on a typewriter, which by the way is unforgiving if you make a mistake.  You then took your completed masterpiece and carefully folded it into an envelope and hoped it would arrive a few days later. It was nice in some ways, because if you try to apply today many firms require you complete a long online questionnaire.  Hello- is that really necessary if you haven’t decided you even want to talk to me? Don’t get me started on that.

I finally got published!

md7

If you know me at all, you know how much I enjoy writing non-fiction. I wish I liked writing in the same way J.K. Rowlings and E.L. James do, but my interest always centered around writing a really good Attorney General response or training materials. Now that those outlets are gone, here I am.

You would be surprised how hard it is to break into magazines and print work. Many won’t take submissions unless you’ve already been published. I thought I found a great potential outlet in Ladies’ Home Journal, but it turns out their last monthly publication is in July.

Yesterday, I added a Facebook post detailing my frustration with the way many people throw away relationships with abandon. A few of you suggested I start a blog and I thought to myself, why not? Of course, I immediately began hearing negative thoughts in my head such as:

  • You are so boring, who the hell would want to read it?
  • You have no friends on the internet , maybe you’ll hit 5 followers next year.

Then I remembered a blog might count as prior writing experience to an editor. It has always been my dream to be featured among cosmetic ads. Not to mention a home business would give my husband (Rich) a dream of his as well, tax deductions. Granted, I am a long way from that but if you can share my blog with YOUR friends, who knows. I might just get there.