Who's Your Poet BFF?

It's National Poetry Month! Let's wax poetic. It's far less painful than just waxing. You can start by learning the identity of your poet BFF via this quiz courtesy of http://grammarly.com/grammar-check.

I got Rabindranath Tagore, which tells me that I am far less familiar with poets than I previously thought. The results suggest Rab and I enjoy some green tea and talk spirituality, but I might switch that out for a Guinness and inappropriate humor.

Who's YOUR poet BFF?

Scroll down and hit "Let's Play!"

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Dear Parent, Don't Be an Ass at the School Play

This piece first appeared on The Huffington Post. 

The last time I attended a function at my daughters' school, I didn't actually see my daughters, because the view of the stage was blocked by dozens of bobbing tablets held overhead in an effort to record the show. I have a few questions for these parents.

  • Did you know you're blocking the view of everyone behind you? How do you not know this? Or do you just not care?
  • Why are you recording this? Are you really going to watch it later? Or, more likely, will it languish forever in that insatiable, digital void?
  • Wouldn't it make more sense to take a still photo of your child after the play? She could even stand still and smile. And, unlike that useless video, you could actually do something with the photo. 
  • Are you going to take her out for ice cream after the show to celebrate? Will you spend that time staring at your phone, reading your email, checking in with Facebook, and tweeting about what a great job your daughter did in the school play? Because you're likely not a first-time offender. I'm guessing this behavior occurs in many areas of your life. 
The fact that this practice is rude and impractical is far from the worst aspect of it. Here's the truly awful part:
When your child is on stage, she's looking out at the audience and there is only one thing in the world that she wants at that moment, which is to make eye contact with you. 

She wants to see you, to catch your eye, to know that you see her. 
She wants to see you and smile at you and blush when you smile back.

But she can't. You've taken that possibility away from her because you've been sucked in to this ridiculous thinking that everything must be recorded, photographed, uploaded, and tagged. If she does see you, she sees you staring at a screen. As for the argument that you are looking at her, that's bullshit and you know it. Stop it. That screen you're holding up is a physical wedge you're putting between you and your own kids. Watch your child perform live on stage in front of you. You'll be a better parent for it.

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12 Things I Want My Daughter to Know Before She Leaves the Nest

This post first appeared on What the Flicka.
Dear Daughter,
I have a decade before you’ll leave the nest. Ten years is forever to you, but a quick breeze to me. Before it flies by, here’s my advice.
Take it seriously. Take it with a grain of salt.
1.) Contrary to what I may have said during Family Game Night, there are no rules. Ignore people who tell you there is only one way to achieve your goals. Figure out your own means of finding happiness. Also, your dad and I totally saw you cheat at Chutes & Ladders.
2.) I never did figure out how to install the batteries in your Disney Princess Castle. You likely inherited my lack of mechanical skills. If so, make friends with a mechanic. I said friends, that doesn’t mean you have to sleep with said mechanic.

10 Reasons to Attend the Idaho Writers Rendezvous

If you attend one writers conference this year, 
make it the Idaho Writers Rendezvous
Here are 10 reasons to do so:

10. Size Matters 
And bigger is not better when it comes to this sort of thing. I've attended large conferences before and it's not much fun drowning in a sea of a thousand writers all desperate for a moment to speak with a presenter, who runs from the masses as if the zombie apocalypse is upon us. Presenters at the Rendezvous are accessible, approachable, and encouraging.

The One Thing I "Force" on My Kids

This piece first appeared on The Huffington Post

When I was pregnant, I had a very clear picture of who my daughters would be. Tomboys, soccer players, into books, and a bit nerdy. Basically, they would be me. Looking back, this naiveté and narcissism is laughable. We don't create replicas of ourselves (and thank goodness for that). 

Fast forward eight years and our house contains an unnatural amount of pink. My girls won't wear jeans, only leggings. There isn't a soccer ball in sight, nor any desire to pursue team sports or even a basic understanding of the game. ("It's not nice, Mom. The other team wouldn't pass the ball to my team.") Our home is chock full of books, which I'm counting as a win, even if our library includes a startling number of princesses as protagonists. 

Confessions of a Part-Time Party Pooper

Before you put down your fondant to let me know that I'm an asshole parent, hear me out. I like parties, I really do. I enjoy celebrating my daughters' birthdays with them and we've had themed parties in the past. I've hung Little Mermaid streamers and Diego piñatas, which seemed like a great idea until I watched a horde of three-year-olds beating a replica of a child with a stick until they split him in two.