Pamela Llano Zesty Mom
Zesty Mom's Guide to Having Fun on Wheels: AKA 6 Important Things tp Remember if You Go Roller Skating and Would Prefer Not to Die in the Process
OK, I should probably admit up front that I am not at all qualified to give professional advice on anything, let alone roller skating or other wheeled sports.
In fact, there was no Caldwell Park Figure Skating Competition, aside from the one my Girl Child and I made up in our heads and laughed about as we rolled madly down the river trail.
But, when I posted a photo of me skating with a caption that I was the 2013 Champion as a joke on my personal page, well, it got a whole buncha likes, along with comments about how inspiring it was. I'm hoping these were just for the joyful picture and not because anyone was under the illusion that I actually won a contest. I mean, I did, but it was only in my mind, and I was the only contestant.
Anyhoo...back to my Guide to Fun on Wheels.
Here Are 6 Important Things to Keep in Mind (before you go rolling off into the sunset):
1) Don't Be Scared...It's Fun...All the Cool Kids are doing it....
For some reason, many people over the age of say...30 tend to shy away from anything that involves their bodies and wheels, with the exception of cars, of course.
Perhaps this is because they have lost their sense of fun. Perhaps it is because they think they'll look ridiculous. Perhaps they are just afraid of falling because they know it will really hurt and cost them a whole lotta money if they break anything.
My answer to all of the above is to say "pshaw." Trust me, the older you get, the more you'll need your sense of fun. Life can suck the joy right of of you if you aren't careful, and really...as adults we're the ones who do all the work and deal with all the problems...why exactly wouldn't we allow ourselves as much fun as the kids?
As far as looking ridiculous, just see the above picture. Do I look like I care? I'm having FUN! In regards to falling and breaking things, well...here's my disclaimer (In fine print even!): I can't be responsible for any injuries sustained by attempting wheeled sports, but I do advise that you DO NOT try them when under the influence of alcohol or other anything else that might affect your ninja reflexes.
So, come on...it'll make you feel good (well, unless you fall. That will hurt, but again, to be clear, that's totally not my fault.)
2) Hills look a lot steeper (and therefore deadlier) when you are on wheels than when you are just walking on your own two feet.
Be forewarned that when you come upon a mild slope, the decline of which you had never before noticed, although you may have walked past 50 million times, well....it might just look and feel like a freaking sheer mountain, and you might feel like you are topping speeds of 90 miles per hour which can cause panic and alarm.
If you find yourself already heading down one of these hillocks / cliffs, I recommend a zig zag approach for your descent to slow you down and hopefully prevent an embarrassing crash and burn scenario. Flailing arms and vocalizing "ooooooooohhhhh shoooooooot" seems to help me feel better too.
Although, this strategy can backfire... which brings me to #3.
3) Beware of other people on wheels who want to pass you.
When you are leisurely meandering back and forth down the slope attempting a non lethal pace, you will sort of be taking up more than your own half of the trail. This puts you in danger of other wheeled riders who are often faster and more talented than you and will crush you like an insect if you don't move.
In my experience, skateboarders tend to be polite about trying not to run you down and asking / warning you to get out of the way, although I have nearly been smashed by more than one. The bicyclists however, are the worst. Not the recreational kind on a family ride~ they're usually nice enough.
It's the serious guys in the skin tight shorts and helmets who look as though they're entering some kind of race or contest~ they are they ones who tend to freak the heck out yelling "Passing on the right!!!!" in an angry and accusing tone, as if I don't have the right to enjoy both sides of the river trail, as if they don't have brakes and handlebars which can maneuver them a heck of lot more easily than what my skates offer. They are the ones I fear most.
On a lighter note...
4) Find Gear that You Love
Inline skates are just not my thing~ they feel all 1990's to me. No thanks~ Since there's really not a current 'in' option in skates, I prefer to go old school with my purple and white quad style pair.
I feel like I could be a Roller Derby Queen in those things, which I might actually try if I just got to skate in circles knocking people outta my way, but the fact that those people would also try to knock me over...well, that doesn't sound so fun. I bruise easily, and am not that well insured, and besides... some of those ladies look pretty hard core.
Anyhoo~ back to gear~ as with most things in life, you are probably going to enjoy yourself more and participate more if you have equipment that you actually like. That doesn't mean you have to get the $300 pair of pro skates that you'll only use a couple of times. I found mine for $40 on sale at Big 5. There's usually a happy medium between the top of the line expert gear and some cheap ugly junk that you hate.
The main thing is, you want to look at your gear and get that cool kid feeling. If you like something and feel good about it, you'll use it, and in my case, I became the envy of almost every 8 to 12 year old girl I passed.
5) SAFETY BELTS!!!
Please, please wear a belt. This is really important...I mean it. Really. At the very least, make sure your pants fit well. There are a couple of very important reasons for this.
a) If you are around little kids on skates, they tend to grab you when they are falling, and if there is any chance of them pulling your pants down, they will. As one of the few moms who will don skates, I have found myself the designated hand holder for many a little one as they learned to walk on wheels at our local Homeschool Skate Day. I have almost lost my pants more than once in this role, and learned that while loose fitting or stretchy waistbands may be nice for visiting buffets, they are not appropriate for skating with little kids.
b) When low rise jeans came onto the scene, I witnessed more teen girl butt crack at the skating rink than I have seen in plumbers over the course of my entire life. I'm fairly sure that these young ladies would have been mortified if they had any idea, although the breeze on their backsides might have given them a clue.
In any case, belts are really important. They might not save a life, but they can save you from some serious embarrassment.
6) Don't get cocky
Flying around on wheels can give you an incredible feeling of freedom and joy, and if you don't wipe out, it can also give you the illusion that you have more skills than you actually do, which might make you want to get all fancy.
Stretching your limits is one thing. Thinking you don't have any is another.
I've attempted a few tricks on wheels~ some more successful than others. While I haven't hurt myself, I have been humbled a few times and found myself uttering phrases like"I'm not as spry as I used to be."
The main thing is to avoid being completely humiliated by injuries that require casts or physical therapy. For some reason, it's just more socially acceptable and less embarrassing for a kid to earn a cast through a failed tricks on wheels than for an adult to do the same. As a kid, it can even be cool. As an adult, you may look silly. It's not fair, I know, but it's the world we live in.
Also, remember that as the adult, you have to pay for those mistakes, which just adds insult to your injury. (Refer to disclaimer in #1)
Nevertheless, I think getting on wheels is well worth it, and I highly recommend you give it a try. It's fun! It's sporty! It's entertaining for those around you! You might just surprise yourself and your kids.
The next step for me might be borrowing my Boy Child's skateboard (although hills will not be a part of this experiment in any form)
How about you? Would you try wheeled sports with your kids? I'd love your thoughts and stories in the comments below, and if you liked this post, please "like" it on Facebook as well. Better yet, share it with your peeps!
I was all ready to write a completely different post today, but after having such an absolutely fantastic time last week, I have to write about that instead. What did I do, you ask? I took my Girl Child to her first Real Big concert.
She’s 15 and been to lots of live music venues, but I’m talking one that costs a chunk of dough and has a biggish name act.
Now, I loooooooove music. But, I have a bit of a bipolar relationship with it in regards to my chillens.
You see, one of the troubles with being a Mother Who Thinks is that you tend to have Kids Who Think, and while this is certainly good in the grand scheme of things, sometimes, it’s a bit uncomfortable.
My Girl Child in particular has always been one to question the meaning of things, from the time she could speak. Things like stories, and street signs, and phrases, and since I like to rock out in the car and around the house and pretty much anywhere, she would often question the meaning of song lyrics.
Needless to say, it could be a tad bit awkward explaining to a wide eyed little face of innocence what exactly was the meaning of the words her mother was shaking her bootie to. And this child didn’t usually just take a basic answer and let me change the subject~ no...she wanted to know the real deal. Then, she would stare at you with what looked a lot like condemnation while absorbing it all.
Truth be told, I rarely thought about the meaning of music until this child came along. And when I did think about it….well, much of it wasn’t something I really felt like sharing with my little ones.
When songs are violent, or all about random and meaningless sex, or degrading women or just plain negative, in all honesty…. analyzing the meaning with a child kinda spoils the fun of at times.
So, a good deal of my favorite music went on hold, at least when the young and innocent ears were around, just to save me from the explanations.
Having formerly spent most of my spending money (prior to having kids) on CDs and concert tickets, this was an strange twist of fate for me. But, motherhood had so many of those that I just rolled with it.
Today, my kids are bigger and they no longer ask what lyrics mean. It’s more likely that I’m the one questioning their lyrics these days, but I still know they’re taking it all in..
So, how to actually enjoy music with your young peeps?
Tip #1: Find some positive music that you can enjoy together. None of you should feel like crying, shrinking, or jabbing knitting needles in your ears during the shared musical experience.
Here’s where the awesome part of the above mentioned concert comes in. On a whim, we got tickets with friends to see Michael Franti. The whole thing was awesome actually, but this guy is not just an amazing performer.
Michael has an equally amazing and super positive attitude, and this was huge! He came out to dance in the audience, with little kids and old people, he told sweet stories about his mom, his family, his love, and visiting war torn countries like Iraq to play for both citizens on the street and soldiers on bases. And he rocked the freaking house.
Tip # 2: Bring along the right friends. That way, no one cares if you shake your groove thing.
I danced alongside a small gaggle of teenagers, including my Girl Child, all of whom were having so much fun, they didn’t even notice my funky mom dance moves enough to be embarrassed. Now, if we had brought along friends who were more worried about looking cool than having fun, or who didn’t already think I was a cool mom, then it would have been a totally different experience. Luckily, everyone in our little group was awesome and easily swayed to come to the Fun Side.
Tip # 3: You might have to loosen up a bit and let go.
Let me tell you, two and a half hours of solid dancing is a workout and I was a sweaty beast by the end of it. But so was everyone else there, including Michael, which my Girl Child found out as he danced near us and she gave him a pat on the back, only to come away with a really wet palm.
Now, we are a family of mild to moderate germaphobes, so this could have been a really unpleasant thing for her. But, her face only registered the shock momentarily, and then resigned back to joyful exuberance and dancing like a crazy mini me. Yay for letting go!
The idea of letting go applies to me too. Not all the music we share these days has as positive of messages as Michael Franti’s stuff does. As a Parental Unit, I’m not always 100% comfortable with these messages, but I do have to trust in my kids, that they will use their brains and discernment in regards to what they hear and how they act.
Plus, we talk a lot, so like it or not, they hear my 2 cents on lyrics. It’s been really reassuring to hear their take on things too, and to know that they aren’t just soaking things in, they’re thinking too.
Tip # 4: Enjoy Yourself~ Music + Kids is FUN, I promise!
No matter what a bad rap the teen years get, I'm really enjoying all the new things I can experience with my bigger kids. I'm feeling pretty lucky that there are positive people like Michael Franti making music to enjoy with them, and especially that they generally think I'm cool enough to come along with them (having their friends think so helps too.)
I'm really not at all surprised, but taking teenagers to a concert was whole heck of a lotta fun. If you have access yourself to kids and live music, I'd highly recommend it. I'm pretty sure this night will be one we all remember and we talked about the stories, the music, and the positive theme long after it was over.
(Disclaimer: While my dancing urges lasted for days, the lack of embarrassment was limited to the time during the live music venue. Apparently, and according to my Girl Child, it's OK to dance at a concert, but not while walking down the street.)
Now I'm looking for a show to take my Boy Child to, and I can see that concerts are going to need to be added back into my budget. In the mean time, I'll be listening to the Sound of Sunshine and dancing in my head...
I'd love to hear about your musical adventures with kids and teens in the comments below, and if you liked this post, please 'like' it over on Facebook and share with your friends.
At a certain point in life, most women in America will come to the realization that some scary and hairy changes may be ahead. For quite some time now, the world around me has been dropping not so subtle hints that the time for me may be coming sooner than I’m ready for.
I first began to catch on while laughing into the wee hours and listening to my friends talk about the changes to their bodies, specifically their body hair, including all of the places and ways it could sprout out from their formerly feminine skin.
It all started so innocently, and all seemed so comical and distant to me- one of those things I’d joke with other people about, but that didn’t really affect me in any personal sense. That’s what I thought at the time anyway. But, as time went on, I began to realize that I had just been blind.
Unwanted hair is a hard core and ruthless bully that attacks even the most unlikely of candidates. None of us is safe.
The first woman to really open up about the subject was a real life wise woman who wears her long and flowing grey locks like a crown, and frankly she rocks this look. This particular night, my Silver Wise Friend shared an experience more terrifying to me than a head full of grey hair. “Right around the same time as my eyesight started fading, I started sprouting hairs on my chin.”
I choked in disbelief at the horrid news and my wine shot out of my nose. I’d never personally seen any hairs on her chin, but apparently she has made a deal with her teenage daughter. If the young one will discreetly and kindly point out any stray facial hair to the older one, she will avoid being seen in public with a bearded mother. Since mothers of teens are inherently embarrassing to them, the girl was apparently happy to avoid further mortification.
I tried to console myself with the fact that this friend is older. I should have years before I have to worry about things like this, right? Nevertheless, it strikes a pang of fear in my heart.
If that’s what’s to come, frankly, it scares the heck out of me.
Another friend who is closer to my age told of the side effects of waxing her eyebrows and upper lip. “The worst part is, it’s started to change the texture of my skin. It’s all thick and weird above my lip now.”
Holy crap. I felt so naive. No part of this conversation had ever even occurred to me. But after hearing all of this, all I could think was ‘What if have a freaking mustache?’ I’m much darker than this fair skinned red headed woman. I have way more hair in general.
What if I’d been walking around with whiskers and not even knowing it? Someone would tell me, right? Or would they just ignore it, perhaps thinking it was some anti establishment statement of mine and just whisper behind my back about it?
The chatter began to make me realize that these hair issues go far beyond and below the head and face. The next friend to speak up was a cute young blonde with very white teeth that you can’t possibly miss because she says everything with a smile. “That’s nothing. Even after natural childbirth, I cry every time I wax some other areas...”
Dear God, with her Nordic ancestors, she doesn’t look like she’d have enough body hair to pluck, let alone wax. Did I mention that she’s nearly ten years younger than me? The tiny eyebrows she does have are thinner than her eyeliner. I tried imagining something that fragile and slim above my eyes- the pain it would take to achieve and how silly it would probably look on me. I come from people with eyebrows. To some extent I need to embrace this.
But all the facial hair talk was still haunting me. My heart began to panic, and I considered running to the bathroom to check and see if I had any surprise shoots sprouting out of my upper lip. Before I could get up, another friend refilled my wine glass. Sidetracked by the burgundy liquid, I decided to just listen and laugh along. After three glasses of wine, it’s probably not the best time to make any cosmetic decisions decisions anyway. Perhaps my wise friend is wearing off on me after all?
The next day though, I was still thinking about hair issues and remembered that my college roommates had nicknamed me ‘Bert’~ as in Ernie’s friend from Sesame Street with the long face, big nose, wide open mouth and monobrow. They even bought me a Bert doll for Christmas “When we saw it, it just totally reminded us of you!”
I have to admit...the resemblance was uncanny. But, no 19 year old girl really wants to know that she looks like a bushy eyebrowed male puppet. I joined in the laughter at the time, but mine had a dark tinge to it.
I was never sure if I was being paranoid or if these conversation and memories were signs that I really needed to inspect what might be growing on my face, but it wasn’t really on my mind when I pulled down the visor mirror in the car that day. I had only wanted to check my teeth- to make sure there were no signs of the blueberry smoothie stuck in the spaces between. I hadn’t really wanted to see myself so up close and personal, certainly not while under the influence of self doubting paranoia.
It was as if suddenly my visor mirror had gained magnifying properties, blowing up every imperfection on my face, but there seemed to be a magnetic force drawing my eyes to the hair just above them on my forehead.
I literally gasped when I saw the thick and unruliness of the black lines crossing my forehead. It wasn’t quite Frida Kahlo style, but more of a resemblance than I was comfortable with.
Apparently, it had been a while since I’d picked up the tweezers. Damn those years I spent in the hippie coastal town. I made it out of there still shaving my armpits, but I’m afraid it influenced my slacker efforts in maintenance of my physical appearance. Suddenly, I had a massive job to do.
I began mumbling to myself in the car, questioning if this was too big a job for such a small tool. I realized I could be there all day trying to pluck those babies one at a time. This problem of mine was going to require a fast speed and large scale solution. I knew then that it was time for me to pull out some big girl tools.
The moment sticks in my head, alongside other “firsts” in life. I don’t know if every woman remembers the first time she succumbs to the idea that she is a candidate for waxing, but for me, it felt like a cross between resignation and initiation. It was a scary thought, but not as scary as the idea of letting those brows get any bigger.
I was headed to the health food store that day anyway, and thought that surely they must have a product to bring my wayward brows into line without making my skin thick and weird.
Of course, the shelves of the beauty aisle had nearly a dozen alternatives to confuse me. I was too shy to ask anyone about it, even though statistically speaking, it seems that every woman in the country has unwanted hair somewhere or another.
The box that caught my eye was a sugar wax, with honey, aloe and lavender. How could it not be wonderful for me with those ingredients? According to the box, it would nourish my skin, leaving me feeling relaxed. I bought it and raced home.
I read through the entire instruction pamphlet before I began. It’s something I never bother to do, but this was too important to mess up. It was my face after all. Carefully warming the small jar of sugar mixture so as not to burn it, I inhaled the smell of something delicious. Back in the bathroom under the brightest light I could come up with, I used a fine comb to arrange my brows into a pleasant shape, separating the keepers and the losers.
As I slowly spread the food grade ingredients over the rejected hairs, I briefly wondered if doing this myself was a mistake. Should I have gone to a professional? An annoying little voice in my head, the result of a lifetime of genius marketing campaigns designs, questioned not only my eyebrows, but my competency in dealing with them myself. My heart and breathing sped up a little.
My mind flashed back to a girl in junior high who have herself an angry red rash between her eyebrows with an at home hair removal cream.
What kind of example would I be for my daughter if I wound up with a self inflicted ugly mess above my eyes from chasing some illusive external standard? What about natural beauty?
But at this point, I was already committed with a rapidly cooling sugar solution spread around my brows. It was too late to go back, so I forced myself to get a grip and move on with the show.
I slowly spread the food grade ingredients, briefly wondering if this was a mistake. Should I have gone to a professional? At this point, my heart started to race, and my breathing sped up. I had to talk myself down.. I was already pretty committed at this point with wax on my face. It was too late to go back.
As I gently pressed the muslin strip in place, I prayed that I wouldn’t screw up and botch my face. Taking a deep breath, I go for it. It stung, which I expected, making my eyes water. When the tears cleared, I took a deep breath and looked at me reflection in the mirror, it actually looked OK. Not too big, not too small, my eyebrows fit my face. It did look better, and wasn’t so drastic that people would blatantly notice.
But nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I looked at the muslin. When plucking one hair at a time, there’s just no way to gauge the cumalative excess of eyebrows removed. Looking down at the strip however, my mouth gaped in horror. It looked like I’d pulled a wooly caterpillar off of my face.
Later that day, I’d recovered from the shock, and was feeling pleased with my first time with wax when I heard the DJ on the radio announce that a scientist had developed a new procedure.
Apparently, doctors can now perform eyebrow transplants. Well, I have plenty to share, so maybe someday I'll get to be a donor.
Have you ever had to deal with scary and hairy changes? Any advice or words of wisdom? Please share in the comments below. And if you liked this, I hope you'll also "like" it on Facebook and share with your friends.
Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
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