Carry Weapons of Minimal Destruction and Other Motherly Advice

 

When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it’s a mere formality.  It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no.

You’re going to get it anyway.

― Erma Bombeck

 

Growing up I got great advice from my mom.  I’m sure of it.

However at the moment, all I can think about is the time she told me to always carry a hat pin when riding a city bus.  You know, in case of unsavory strangers deciding to get a little too close.

It was advice she dispensed for my safety.  You see once I hit the 7th grade, I liked to go to the mall.  A lot.  I didn’t ride a bus there and I’d never owned a hat pin, but maybe my mom was worried about me going without her.  So she offered up a quick tidbit from the stores of her own immigrant mother’s wisdom stash.  The hat pin was a reflex.

hat pin weapons of destruction_opt

 Hat pins, weapons of minimal destruction.

 

She quickly amended the advice to this:

Stay away from strangers a.k.a. unsavory sorts.  If need be, act a little crazy to encourage them to stay away.

Or at least that’s how I remember it.  The mistakes in this advice are all mine, but you get the gist–she wanted me to be safe.

Because that’s what moms do.

They advise you:

 “Do not eat chips out of a communal bowl.  You might as well stick your hand in a toilet.”

~Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

 

They love you:

buffy vampire slayer joyce summers

“I know you’re afraid. I know the world feels like a hard place, sometimes. But you’ve got people who love you. Your dad and I, we have all the faith in the world in you. We’ll always be with you. You have got a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself.”

~Mrs. Summers to Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

 They teach you (and maybe humble you):

dorothy and sophia petrillo

 “Jealousy is a very ugly thing, Dorothy. And so are you, in anything backless.”

~Sophia Petrillo, Golden Girls

 

And okay sometimes they confuse you:

mom daughter Portokalos advice

“Don’t play with the food! When I was your age, we didn’t have food!”

~Maria Portokalas, My Big Fat Greek Wedding

 

But it’s wisdom from a (longer) life lived.  And it’s meant to be a good thing.

Because they want you to be happy.

Oh and that reminds me of another pearl to share.  Here’s the first stanza of the song my mom used to sing to pull a smile out of us when we were having the mopes:

Nobody Likes Me (Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms) 

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me,
I think I’ll go eat worms!
Big fat juicy ones,
Eensie weensy squeensy ones,
See how they wiggle and squirm!

 mom me bridget dan_opt

Happy Mother’s Day!

What is your favorite bit of motherly wisdom?

On Luck and My Dorky Teenage Optimism

 

According to my first diary, this Saturday is Rob Lowe’s birthday.

Apparently on March 17, 1984, I had a lunch of lamb stew and then spent an afternoon flying a kite and swapping scratch and sniff stickers with my sister.  Then later I got together with Rob.

Rob Lowe Coleen Patrick collage _opt

Um, via collage.

When it came to crushes and boys I put a lot of emphasis on luck and wishing and okay occasionally praying to certain patron saints in the name of love.  I probably would’ve spent my entire St. Patrick’s Day in a clover patch waiting for the Great Four Leaf Clover to arrive if I thought it would help my case.

Yes, St. Patrick’s Day was extra special and extra lucky.  It was the one day a year that I owned my freckles and my complete inability to tan.  But when I was a young teenager it offered me something even more powerful.

Optimism.

Okay so maybe my diary entries portray me as kind of clueless (and dork-tastic, check out this post if you’re not quite sure), but there’s something to be said for a little positive thinking.

Because gluing your picture alongside your crush (or combing a clover patch) leaves you open for opportunity.

 

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

 

Like on March 17, 1990.

Preparation:  I curled my hair and put on something green.

Opportunity:  A frat house St. Patrick’s Day party.

The luck:  I met my husband.

 Better Together couple

No glue or scissors needed

 

 

 

Wishing you a rainbow

For sunlight after showers

 Miles and miles of Irish smiles

 For golden happy hours

Shamrocks at your doorway

For luck and laughter too,

And a host of friends that never ends

Each day your whole life through

 

ireland road _opt

 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

What are your thoughts on luck?

 

 

Happy Chanukah

 

“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.”

-Walt Whitman

 

chanukah happy hanukkah

“Still ours the dance, the feast, the glorious Psalm,

The mystic lights of emblem, and the Word.”

-Emma Lazarus

The Feast of Lights

WHAT’S YOUR HAPPY SONG?

This weekend I took a little road trip to take my son to camp. With nothing on the radio, I dug around and came up with a cassette. It had no artist cover, just my loopy, teenage handwriting all over the paper liner.
Yes, it was a mix tape.
From 1987.
So I popped it in the player and started to sing (while my son pushed his headphones deeper into his ears). I found myself thinking about the power of music, and I don’t just mean the power that is remembering lyrics from a 25 year old song (although that is pretty amazing especially when I can’t always remember why I walked into a room), no I’m talking about the power it has to give you a boost.

I GOT A FEELING
Music improves your mood. It can make you happy, make you want to dance or inspire you. Some of the top happy, upbeat songs (they say so in the title) are:

Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t worry be happy “
U2’s “Beautiful day”
Don McLean’s “American Pie” (okay, so it doesn’t exactly say it in the title, but the song rocks and who doesn’t love pie?)
Or this oldie, but goodie:

Even that outfit makes me smile

 

GLORY DAYS
Music not only evokes emotion, but memory. Forget the beat or the lyrics, sometimes a song can lift you up simply because it reminds you of a happy moment.

For me a big one is the day my fourth grade teacher passed out the slightly damp, freshly copied lyrics to “We will rock you” and “We are the champions.” We all sniffed the paper (ah, remember those days?) and then sang along to Queen, slapping our palms to our desk to the beat (Mrs. Fearn rocked).

 

COME TOGETHER
Music brings people together. Think about the last concert you went to, wasn’t it amazing singing along with thousands of people to one song?

But it doesn’t have to be that big.

I can also think about dancing in my room to Club Nouveau’s “Lean on Me” with my sister B (small favors that the recording technology was not as accessible as it is today).
Or, there’s the synthesized beats of a-ha that will always remind me of high school. And Jimmy Buffet will always make me think of college and singing with everyone at Sully’s (including my future husband).

Then there was this song that reminds me of going to parties. To this day it makes me want to turn it up and scream along (even if I’m still not sure what it’s about).

Yes, whether the song is cool or cheesy, it can lead to happy connections.

 

DON’T STOP BELIEVING
Everybody loves a song that can lift your mood, empower you or even make you feel like a superhero, as it apparently did for Henry David Thoreau:

“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

(And he lived in a cabin in the woods for 2 years!)

Who doesn’t want to listen to a song that makes you feel like that?

Whether you prefer the original or one of the many covers, here’s a rocking, positive song (so good it apparently summed up the entire six seasons of HBO’s Sopranos).

What is your happy song?