The Ladmo Bag: Proof That It’s Never Too Late

Did someone say Ladmo Bag?! OMG!!! Pick me! Pick me!

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Don’t know what a Ladmo Bag is? Lemme ‘splain.  Growing up, I lived in Arizona. I lived in the “olden times” (as my kids like to put it) when TV had maybe 10 channels. For my sister and I, there really was only one channel that mattered. Well, really it was just one show that mattered: The Wallace and Ladmo Show. It was a local television show filmed in Phoenix, Arizona. Basically, it was a sketch show for kids with cartoons shown within the time slot. That was great and everything, but the real reason to watch the Wallace and Ladmo show? Waiting to find out who was picked for the pinnacle of childhood – The Ladmo Bag.

The coveted Ladmo Bag was full of candy, soda, and other prizes. Along with it came the prestige of being the glorious, chosen one. You didn’t have to be in the audience to win. You could send in a postcard with your name and address. My sister and I probably sent 100s if not 1000s of postcards wishing for a win. At the end of each show, we would sit. And wait. And sweat. And pray. It was anxiety and anticipation like no other. Will they call my name? Will today FINALLY be my day?

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We knew that if our names were ever chosen, we would wear the mantle of the chosen one with pride and dignity…right after we rubbed it in everyone’s faces. We dreamed of that moment. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. The Ladmo Bag goes to……it was always some other kid who wasn’t me or my sister. Every. Single. Time. We tried to be strong and not show our disappointment but….COME ON! We were good kids. We sorta cleaned our rooms. The dishes were washed most of the time. When we fought with each other, we hardly ever drew blood. Why not us?

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Alas…for all of the postcards written, postage paid, and episodes watched, we never won. Then the show ended. No more chances to get a Ladmo Bag. We were crushed. How could it be over? How could we have NEVER gotten a Ladmo bag? The quest for the coveted Ladmo Bag was done. How were we supposed to go on living knowing there would never be another chance?!

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As things usually are in childhood, we cried for a few days, got yelled at for our whining, and eventually moved on. Well, we moved on the best we could. I don’t think anyone ever got over wanting a Ladmo Bag. Seriously, I still get this little pain in my chest when I think about it. Makes it hard to breathe. What? Shut up! I’m telling you a Ladmo Bag was a big deal.

Fast forward 25+ years (please do not feel the need to do any math to guesstimate how old I may be). The desire for the Ladmo Bag? Still alive and kicking. My sister reminisced, complained, whined, and whatever-else-enough that my awesome brother-in-law decided she needed a Ladmo Bag for her birthday. (Seriously…how awesome is that?!) He researched the legendary Ladmo Bag and recreated it to a T. He gave it to her. She loved it. It was awesome. I still don’t have one. *HINT, HINT*

Anyway, the whole getting a Ladmo Bag 25+ years later got me thinking all philosophical and stuff. If something as epic as a Ladmo Bag could happen decades later (…again…no need for math here…), what else could still be possible? Successful career? Finally being able to perfect the Roger Rabbit (…it’s dance move people…keep up!…)? Being an astronaut for NASA? On second thought, scratch the NASA one. Four kids totally ruined my stomach. I can’t even go on the Ferris Wheel without the urge to hurl now. Of course, NASA might be more feasible than perfecting the Roger Rabbit. Seriously…I look like a turkey walking backwards when I try to do it (…and that’s on a good day…).

Anyhow, I feel like there comes a point in our lives when we look around, shrug our shoulders, and say, “Oh, well. Too late now.” Why do we do that? Don’t worry it’s not just you. I totally do it to…but I’m working on it. I feel like I’ve woken up, looked around, and realized I can do better than this. There is so much we are capable if we would stop talking ourselves out of it. I mean, I totally could still get a Ladmo Bag, right? Right?! (…please say yes, please say yes…)

So, I want you stop what you’re doing and think about something you really want to do. (…don’t stop right this second…I mean, it’s only polite to at least finish reading my post…) Figure your something out. What’s your Ladmo Bag? I’m working on mine. There are going to be moments when you get discouraged. You’re going to start to question yourself. I don’t want to hear any of this, “Well, it’s too late” or “That ship has sailed”. It’s all about you now. What you want. What you dream. It can happen. It is not too late. Who’s got the power?

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Darn straight…now go get that Ladmo Bag.

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The mystical powers of…blankets?

I had a rough weekend. There was stress, scary television (one word – Wentworth), and allergies…possibly a cold…basically there were a lot of Kleenexes used. I made it through the only way a strong, intelligent woman can – snuggled in a blanket. Not just any blanket though. It had to be my Grandma Una blanket.

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Best blanket ever known to humankind…and it’s mine, all mine! (Unless the hubs steals it – greedy sucker…)

I’m sure you are thinking, “What, pray tell, is a Grandma Una blanket?” I’m so glad you asked. I have a fabulous grandmother who makes blankets that have been consecrated by the Great Patron of Glorious Blankets. Go ahead. Laugh but it’s true. Her blankets are MAGIC. Why are you still laughing? I’m totally serious. She pieces together blankets with scraps from her other magnificent creations, ties the quilt together, hems the edges, and BAM! Behold the Glorious Grandma Una Blanket. I’m telling you, her blankets have mystical, magic, healing, super powers. Seriously, I have proof.

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For all my Outlander friends, you know what a stressful, scary, painful event last Saturday’s episode was. I didn’t want to watch it alone. However, I really didn’t want anyone nearby to see me cry. I needed a buffer between Black Jack and me. (…pssst….he’s scary…) What’s a girl to do?! Enter Grandma Una Blanket. I was protected and shielded from the likes of the reprehensible Captain Black Jack Randall. When I saw the hammer and nail came out? No way. Nuh uh….not gonna watch that. Blanket to the rescue! I made it through by peeking over the edge of my wonderful blanket. When the tears started to fall and my nose started to run? I grabbed Kleenex because, ew…gross, don’t be wiping snot on my blanket! That is NOT how you treat a Glorious Grandma Una Blanket. I have NEVER…well…there was that one time…but I was SIX!!!!

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I didn’t feel well for most of Saturday and by Sunday morning there was no way I was voluntarily leaving my bed. I helped get the kiddos ready for church but wanted to go back to bed with the real comforter in my life – my Grandma Una blanket. (…comforter…blanket…there’s a joke in there…I’ll let you play with it…) It’s not enough to have a super, fantastic blanket during times of yucky, achy, snottiness. When you are sick, there are steps that need to be taken in order for your blanket to work:

  1. Make your bed. Yes, I’m serious. In order for the blanket to work, it cannot be tangled and diluted by other blankets.
  2. Grab the blanket and wrap yourself up burrito style (…if you don’t know what I’m referring to, you’ve lived a sad, sad life…)
  3. Plop yourself on top of your nicely made bed – yep on top of the covers.
    1. Because you are burritoed in your blanket, the plopping can take a bit of finesse. Put all your weight on the outside foot, bend that knee slightly, then push up with a bounce while targeting your body in the direction of your bed. If you don’t get it on the first try – and you haven’t hurt yourself by falling on the floor – try again. You’ll be an expert in no time (at plopping on the bed not hurting yourself – I’m an expert on the hurting yourself…not fun…).
  4. Burrow in and let the blanket work its magic.

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I hear you doubters out there – hatin’ on a girl ‘cuz she’s got it figured out. Everyone has that one blanket in the house – the go-to snuggle-upper. There is no age limit on needing a blankie. I’m…er….uh…between 20-40 and still need mine from time to time. It’s okay if you don’t believe me. Just wait. One day, you’re going to need some solace or something to soothe your aching, ailing body and what is the first thing you reach for? That’s right. It’s okay. Just let it happen. I’ll save my “I told you so” for later.

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SIDE NOTE: I’m not trying to cheat on my blanket or anything but if someone was looking to get me something special, this is it! Behold, the Wonder Woman Comfy Throw – DC Comics Fleece Blanket with Sleeves! Thank you Amazon for truly carrying EVERYTHING.

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Wentworth, Survivors, and Train Rides

In about T-minus an hour and 15ish minutes, I will be able to watch the next episode of Outlander on Dish On Demand. Normally, I’m super excited. Who doesn’t get charged up to see Jamie and Claire (…so much gorgeousness, so little time…)? As loyal followers, we know that Wentworth is coming and Black Jack is back. Now, if you haven’t read the book(s), I will do my best to be spoiler free.

I know that I will watch Wentworth, but I am truly frightened. I HAVE read the books. At one point, I had to put the book down and walk away – the tears in my eyes made it hard for me to see (…damn allergies…). At first, I was very frustrated with Diana (…can I call you Diana?). Why did she put these poor characters through so much heartache? Oh, and SPOILER ALERT, she keeps doing it throughout the books! I actually had to take a break between books. My heart couldn’t take it any more, but I inevitably found myself back in Diana’s world. Her writing is fantastic and, truthfully, wherever Jamie is I want to be.

I digress…I’ve avoided a lot of social media for the past week knowing there would be complaints, speculations, tacky comments, and more. I’ve had a great inner debate as to whether I would be watching the Wentworth episode. Why would I want to put myself through it? Why did Diana feel it necessary to put us all through it? I think I may have figured a thing or two out.

Wentworth is not about victims. I can already hear you yelling, “Say what?!”. Stick with me here. After much thinking, I’ve started seeing Diana’s writing in a different light. Her story lines are not about victims, hopelessness, and/or defeat. She writes with a realistic flare (yes, I realize we are talking about a time-travel story). She does not avoid something to make us more comfortable. She does not choose her characters’ paths to make reading easier for us. She’s a no-nonsense writer. Let’s be honest. Reality really does bite sometimes. Life has kicked me in the teeth more times than I care to count and I’m pretty sure it’s not done with me yet. However, I’m still here and kicking back. I am stronger and smarter (for the most part) because of what I have been through. Giving in sometimes seems to be the best option, but you never know what can happen if you don’t keep going. There is an amazing quote by Han Nolan:

“There’s always light after the dark. You have to go through the dark place to get to it, but it’s there, waiting for you. It’s like riding on a train through a dark tunnel. If you get so scared you jump off in the middle of the ride, then you’re there, in the tunnel, stuck in the dark. You have to ride the train all the way to the end of the ride.” (Dancing on the Edge)

I say again, Wentworth is not about victims but survivors. There are some rough roads ahead for our characters but within the darkness there is light, within the pain there is healing. Even though they are fictional characters, I need to see that even those who think they are broken are able to be mended. I don’t want to use the word “whole”. Once we are broken, we are never quite the same, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. We are about to see a very broken man and my heart hurts with anticipation, but I will watch. I stayed by Jamie’s and Claire’s side through the books, I can’t abandon them now.

Watch. Don’t watch. It’s up to you, but do you really want to get off the train in the middle of the ride? I didn’t think so.

See you on the other side.

What do you meme it’s your birthday?

I have a confession to make – I love memes. I also love birthdays. My father’s birthday was this past Wednesday. I did what any other doting daughter would do – I created wonderfully sarcastic memes and posted them on Facebook every hour. Here’s my dad as homecoming king. Studly, right? 11259519_10204676353374760_7314186120527722732_n  Yes, this is actually my dad. He used to scare the crap out of us as kids. Who sees a snake and goes, “Oh…it’s not that big. Go get me a bag.”?!    11263030_10204676538699393_4293961815772755409_o   In an effort to cushion some of the upcoming barbs, I threw in a pic of me. Yes, that adorable, chubby-faced blonde is me. Looks like maybe I should’ve walked away from a cake or two. 11255523_10204676730504188_4715248905751916552_o If I was going to throw myself to the fire, I figured I might as well bring my little sister with me (a couple of times). This is seriously one of my favorite pictures of her. She’s now 37 and I still see this face. 1465802_10204676870947699_8195700132949469880_o   Okay. This next one may have stung a bit but my dad did chuckle at it. Growing up, there was no such thing as a quick trip to town. He knew EVERYONE and had to stop to talk to them all. 11206094_10204677240396935_634045865993487726_n   I had to make sure to get an older picture of him in there. He really is totally original. 11014948_10204677452482237_2108347158579485870_n   One of the best things about my dad is just is who he is. He is so fun with my kids. They love that he is goofy and plays around with them. I love it because I always have a camera with me… 11264847_10204677649687167_3517716796477302460_n I saw this next picture of my brother and me and had to use it. I put in the post, “Watch out for the blonde. She bites.” #TrueStory 11200920_10204677886093077_7095923244297786111_o Childhood photos of my youngest sister just beg to be memed. 10931158_10204678027496612_7821192777116633655_o Another awesome thing about my dad was his willingness to hang with us. So, still sarcastic but a very true meme. I posted with the caption, “The sign of a REAL man”. 11212645_10204678182660491_8460317730911787633_o I had to make sure to leave things on a positive note. I love my dad. He’s awesome. I have a hard time using my words properly if I have to vocalize them. I’m much better at writing things down. My last post went something like this:

“Last birthday post for Mr. Max Phillips. Hope you don’t mind the laughter at your expense today. Better to ask forgiveness than permission, right? I know I tease, torment, and exasperate you, but it’s all out of love. Want to know what I noticed while going through my pictures? You’ve been there every step of the way – taking pictures of me as a baby while I put rocks in my mouth, pushing doll strollers, always around during middle school & high school (hard to shake you when you were one of my teachers), kept in the background in college, my wedding (of course!), and now one awesome grandpa.

Thank you for letting me struggle, fail, and ultimately learn my lessons. Thank you for giving advice when needed and being obnoxiously silent when I wanted you to tell me what to do. Thank you for listening to me vent, holding me together when I was falling to pieces, then helping me put myself back together. 

I love you…so much. I hate that we are so far away but know this, you are in my heart every day. I’m pretty sure I’m in yours too and that helps the distance seem not quite so far. I hope you have felt celebrated today. I celebrate (maybe not quite the right word but you get the point) that fact that you’re my dad everyday. Let’s face it – Heavenly Father knew what he was doing. Who else would’ve put up with me all these years? 😊

Happy birthday, Dad.” 11218587_10204678386345583_6885206113404364761_o

What’s in a name?

It seems that an embarrassing nickname is a right of passage. Growing up, I had no shortage of such things. I swear my dad had a new one for me each week. There was “Blondie” (not very imaginative but accurate for a tow-headed little girl), “Bootsie” (there’s a story of some fabulous red velvet boots I will share another time), “Sis” (this was – actually still is – his fallback so he didn’t call one of us by the wrong name), and “Dandelion Max” (this one needs some explaining).

I was an adorable little girl (there’s no room for humility when speaking the truth). Perfect amount of chubbiness. Perfect amount of smiles. Unfortunately, my hair (what I had of it) grew in a wild, downy fluff. My poor, poor mother. She tried slicking it down and pinning bows in it. There were desperate moments of her attempting to polish me into a perfect little girl (this was some total foreshadowing…too bad she didn’t catch on). No amount of water, hairspray, spit, you name it, was able to tame my head of so called hair. I flew wild and my hair was my co-pilot. (See picture for visual confirmation.)

774e…see what I mean about adorable?

My family started feeling a tug of deja vu when looking at my gloriously wild hair. Then it hit them – DANDELIONS! That’s exactly what my hair looked like. The creation of a nickname had begun. I have the fortune (?) of looking just like my father (just what every girl wants – to take after her Mr. Clean look-a-like father….love you, Dad 😊). In fact, they considered me a mini-me of my father. Can you guess what his name is? Yep. MAX. If you didn’t guess his name, you really need to evaluate your awareness skills. Thus an epic nickname was born: Dandelion Max. Fortunately, as I got older, my dad stuck with “Blondie” or “Bootsie” (though I don’t know that Bootsie is much better than Dandelion Max). Unfortunately, even though I grew out of the nickname, my hair did not change. It still is a soft, fluffy, wild, downy head of hair. All I know is the creator of hairspray is a GOD. I think my purchases alone keep my favorite brand a float.

So, why use Dandelion Max as a blog name? I’m finally at the point in my life where I’ve realized that I’m weird…awkward…different. No need to pretty it up and call myself unique. I’m okay with weird. Different is good. In a world where everyone is trying to fit in with each other, I’m just trying to fit in with myself. I have embraced (at least I’m working on it) my awkwardness and my nickname seems to sum all of that up.

I guess the only thing left to add is a disclaimer. There will be posts that bore you to death, shock you speechless, leave you confused, cause you irritation, and hopefully a few that make you smile. Here’s the deal: I’m writing for me but sharing it with you. So, read at your own risk.

Dandelion Max…out

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