Category Archives: Parenthood

Behind the B3: Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath

Staring at the computer screen right now just trying to find words to express how we are all feeling in Oklahoma after yesterday’s devastating tornado. It’s awful, just horrible, our hearts are aching for those who have been affected by what is now thought to be the most destructive tornado in recorded history. My family and I live in Edmond, which is 30-40 miles north of Moore where the tornado hit, so we are all safe and have no damage. But the day before, May 19th, we ourselves were in a storm shelter as a small tornado touched down a half mile away from us (luckily we had no damage then either). Living in Oklahoma my whole life this is nothing new, we grew up with tornadoes and for years have known all about what to do when the sirens go off, but it still never prepares you emotionally for how to deal with this kind of destruction. We watched the whole thing on TV yesterday with all our things ready to go to the shelter again in case it got bad near us, but it never did. We watched as, within an hour, the weather went from almost clear blue skies to a deadly F4 tornado in Moore, destroying everything in its path.

We’ve seen a bad one like this before, on May 3rd, 1999 in almost the exact same place, so we knew as we watched that people were losing their lives. 40-50 minutes and it was over. Then we start to see images of the damage, entire neighborhoods and businesses…..gone. The aerial view looked almost like a giant lawnmower cut a path (up to 2 miles wide at points) all the way through the city. Since then we’ve been glued to the TV, Twitter and Facebook, reposting/retweeting info so friends outside the area will know what’s going on and that we’re okay, and to try and help disseminate helpful information to those in the area as well.

This has been very emotional for everyone around here. I have personally spent a lot of time in the area that was hit as I used to teach music lessons at schools in that part of Moore. In the Sugar Free Allstars I have played at the library in Moore on numerous occasions. One of the worst things for us has been learning that two elementary schools suffered direct hits while kids were still there. Thankfully at one of the schools, Briarwood Elementary, all of the kids have been accounted for. Tragically at the other school, Plaza Towers Elementary, they have shifted from search and rescue to search and recovery, with several children still inside. This is heart wrenching for us as many of the performances we do are in elementary schools just like this for kids the same age as those that are still inside, and there is a good chance that some of the kids at both schools have come to our shows. At home, we’re trying to keep it together so my two-year-old who is mostly oblivious doesn’t worry but there have already been a couple of times today when I’ve been by myself that it’s become overwhelming and I just have to cry…

I do want to make sure and sing the praises for our local OK weathermen and storm chasers: if it were not for their early warnings and up to date reports there is no doubt that there would have been far more lives lost. Now it’s time to gather some things to take to a donation center and try and help as much as we can. These folks need all the help they can get. I am including a list of ways that you can provide aid even if you are not anywhere close. Oklahoma – and our entire country – is full of good people. They have already had to turn away volunteers because so may people are showing up to help. Donation locations are being overwhelmed with goods and monetary contributions. For every tragic story, there are even more stories of survival and hope: teachers covering students with their own bodies, first responders and neighbors rushing to help with no thought for their own safety… Oklahoma is strong. We will survive.

* Donations of $10 to assist those affected by the tornado can be made by texting STORM to 80888 for Salvation Army, texting REDCROSS to 90999 for Red Cross, or by texting FOOD to 32333 for the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank.

* United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund—donations may be made online at or by mail to United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK 73101 with notation for May Tornado Relief.

* Contributions to the Moore & Shawnee Tornado Relief Fund can be made securely online at Donations can also be mailed to TCF offices at 7030 S. Yale, Suite 600, Tulsa, OK, 74136.

For a complete list of ways to help those affected in the May 20th Oklahoma tornado visit

To find loved ones in Moore:

In the meantime

inthemeantimeHi, it’s me again. The mom blogger. Let’s see, the last time I composed an update I was knee-deep in the job search. Well, not much has changed. I still am.

Job searching does require a bit of focus, patience and time. All of which are hard to come by when there’s a preschooler coming up to you every five minutes to summarize parts of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode she’s watching and that she’d like to share with you pieces of a fabric lei that she so diligently shredded into a hundred pieces just moments before. After you return to your computer from attending that mermaid party in the living room, you find that your session on the hiring company’s website has ended and you have to start the application process all over again for that job opening. Breathe. Focus. Shit. Need to throw a load of laundry into the dryer.

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Oh, it’s lunchtime. Gotta feed the kid and maybe myself. Wait. Did I eat breakfast yet? I don’t even remember eating dinner last night.

You get it, right? The process can be frustrating but you know you’ve got to keep at it. There’s got to be a light at the end of the tunnel. However, it’s not realistic to think that you can sit all day, every day uploading your resume and filling out online applications.

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There has to be time to recharge or you’ll just burn out. So, in the meantime, I’ve been recharging myself by going to the gym and practicing concert photography. I even made the trek up to the northern suburbs to Billy Corgan’s new tea cafe, Madame ZuZu’s. Real tea this time, as opposed to imaginary tea. It’s all in the name of seeking inspiration and a little feeling of zen, folks.

I recently took a Wonderlic Test and a math quiz for a possible job opportunity. Completely aced the Wonderlic Test. Completely bombed the math quiz. I just had an interview for said job and luckily, the hiring manager and I had a good laugh about my math skills or lack-thereof. Anyway, still waiting to hear about that job. I don’t think my bad math skills will be a deal-breaker. Good things come to those who wait, right? In this case, I’ve been waiting so I sure hope it’s a good outcome.

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Otherwise, it’s back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, I’m keeping as busy as I can. Struggling to keep my hopes up about getting a job sooner rather than later. Anyone else ready for Spring? I know I am. It’s March and it feels like January in Chicago. Warmth is just around the corner.

I’ll be back soon chatting about the adorable and talented Ms. Bridgit Mendler, who I was fortunate enough to spend a virtual half an hour with on Huffington Post Live; and big news about my new feline family member.


Unmarketable Me


I’ve told my “becoming a parent story” many times since 2005 but since I’m new here and the only female writer at Dadnabbit, I suppose I owe you some sort of introduction.

Whatever. I don’t owe you anything.

I kid! Of course I want to tell you all about my experiences changing diapers and having conversations with imaginary friends and how I’m desperately trying to get back into the 9-5 world. Hey, never said I wasn’t a little crazy. But man, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

I’m a Pennsylvania native (Steeler country). I grew up with seven older brothers, a dad and a mom. Growing up, I had to be somewhat tough and tom-boyish, which suited me just fine. I rather liked riding my bike around town with my brother, in search of pop cans for recycling. Hey, it was money in my pocket! You see, I was an entrepreneur from a very young age.

My husband and I have lived in the Chicago suburbs for a decade and a half.

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We spend a good portion of our time within the city limits. If money grew on trees, we’d probably live there. Hell, if money grew on trees, we’d live everywhere on the face of the earth and quite possibly, on the Death Star if Congress decides to revisit that petition and go ahead with it. A girl can dream.

We have two young daughters, preschool and gradeschool age. We’re trying to raise them to be good, strong-minded and creative individuals. The day that either of them asks me if they can join the cheerleading squad will be the day that I start digging my own grave.

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Of course, I will support and encourage my daughters in whatever walk of life they choose but cheerleading…

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cheerleading is kind of a deal-breaker for me.

Now that you know the Reader’s Digest version of my life, we can get into the meat and potatoes. I have been on the job hunt for the better part of the last four months. It’s not as easy as it used to be. I used to be able to interview for a few jobs at a time with at least two offers thrown my way. Now, I’m lucky if I can even score that in-person interview. In my opinion, not working a steady 9-5 job for the past seven years has something to do with it. It looks bad on paper. However, I’ve taken it upon myself to test the entrepreneurial waters during that time. That’s got to be good for something, right? Well, I always thought so. “Stay-at-home mom keeps active and busy while raising two children. She’s just as good or better than those fresh from college faces, give her a chance!” That’s what I feel like I have to put in bold print at the top of my resume. It’s rough getting noticed in this digital age. There is some serious competition out there. I mean, do I have to have one eye and wear a pair of bib overalls to get noticed?

This is what I’m into right now. I’ve been spending my days networking and applying for jobs from the comfort of my home, as my youngest daughter dresses me up like a princess and invites me to tea parties with her imaginary friends. Look, I’m not complaining. I most certainly enjoy imaginary tea (specifically berry-flavored) and plastic cookies but I do often wonder how much longer it will be until someone thinks I’m marketable again.  So, that’s what you’ll find me chatting about here at Dadnabbit. Trying to make some big changes in the home/work life balance and also incorporate exercise and healthy eating habits. Lots of transitions happening these days. Hope you’ll come back and check in on me, just in case I talk about going on an interview in a princess gown.

Until next time, one lump or two?