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Your Daughter’s New Friend Is A B*#ch

There is a terrible moment moment when your daughter introduces you to her new friend and you know, instantly, she’s a backstabber,a user and a bitch.

Her hand shake is fine, she is pretty and smiles. She has nice teeth. But you know because the ultra-developed mom radar starts pinging as though the Soviet Army is about to strike.

Your daughter doesn’t see it. She can’t feel that the bitch switch has been flipped and insists Heather is a sweetie and lots of fun and a good friend.

This is a sickening situation for any parent because we know this Heather, at some point, will become hateful. She’s one of those kids who tries to influence weaker students and if she can’t take over their life she starts trash talking. These girls are a nickel a dozen and every high school has pods of them.

This one, Heather, is not the traditional “mean girl” who owns the school. She’s a lot more manipulative. Boys suck up to her because she wears a lot of eye liner and that makes them think they will get some. Girls want her to like them because she’s got all the guys sniffing around.

You let her come over with several other girls, but you watch her very carefully. She’s good.  Her eye rolls are so subtle the other girls miss them.  Her sighs when somebody asks a silly question speak volumes. When one of the girls goes home early she starts making tiny comments that make the other girls, including your daughter, giggle. Then they bump against her and tell her to stop because they know what she is doing is wrong. Still, they are intrigues. Heather is choosing them over the other girl. She’s culling girls out.

In the car Heather tells you about her classes, she makes good grades but she says really disrespectful things about her teachers like, “Mr South is such a moron” and she makes comments about her parents that lead a mom to think they are shady. “They always stay out really late on Friday night” or “thanks for driving me home, my parents hate driving me anywhere.”

Then it really starts. Heather encourages girls to break up with their boyfriends. She tells them they  can do so much better. When the break up happens, she starts flirting, hard core, with the boy, saying, “Well you broke up with him I figured you wouldn’t care.”

Eventually, Heather will have two or three allies, they are her body guards and comrades, who have fallen under the troll’s spell. She’s cut everyone else out because they started to see the evil bitch shining through like a red light. And if  girls are not on her side they have giant targets super glued to their backs.

You want to warn your daughter, you want to tell her exactly what kind of person Heather is and forbid their friendship. But that will not work. She will think you are wrong and old. Heather will become Romeo and you will loose. The best you can do is counsel your child when you see Heather doing something bitchy. Make sure she sees it too. I’m not very good at being subtle so I say stuff like, “Hey, if she’s talking ugly about Julie when she leaves, she’s probably talking about you guys too,” or “She rolls her eyes and sighs like she thinks she’s better than everyone else. Doesn’t that make you crazy?”

In saying this super obvious stuff I’m hoping my girls will see the train and jump off the tracks before it runs her over. And, if Heather has her way, and turns on your kid, the best you can do is help her regroup, figure out who her real friends are and start all over.  Try to reach out to the other girls who got hit by shrapnel And generally saying something really snarky makes everybody feel better like, “Honey, she’s got funny looking ears, fat ankles and she’ll never make it through college. You can do way better.”

The “D” Word or Punching Depressed People In The Face

Once ever two months I have an epic battle with some sort of depression. I do believe it’s genetic. Generally, it’s pretty gross, but I get through the three days of mud slide brain activity by reminding myself it will end in a couple of days. It always does.

The stuff I get depressed about is absolutely legitimate. money, age, money, age, money, the cat has fleas, money, my kids are growing up, money, we haven’t been on a vacation in years and my car has over 200,000 miles. Wait, those are the same as money.

But last time as I rolled around in  my three days of self pity and Eeyore like gloom, I realized something remarkable. Almost all the words we use to describe depression and feelings related to depression, start with the letter “D”.

Down, Downtrodden,  Distraught, Disenchanted
Discouraged, Doomed Distressed, Desolate

Weird! Right?

Yes, I understand it has something to do with the “dis” prefix. Still, it’s a disproportionate number of “D” words. When you think of synonyms for happy they are all over the alphabet.

Thinking about  this strange list of words distracted me from my self-absorbed woe and I accidentally drove to my Taekwondo school instead of driving home. Once I was in the parking lot, I figured I might as well work out for an hour to burn of the Taco Bell I had for lunch. 

Of course, everyone knows, working out causes your body to release endorphins. For me, endophins act like Mike Tyson. In the first half of the first round my depression was on the ropes and then it was gone, on the matt, KOed.

So, next time you see me and I seem depressed, do me a favor. Don’t feel sorry for me, don’t offer to buy me a beer or listen to my problems, just tell me to go work out. You’ll be doing us all a favor.

*Talk to me. Leave a comment, find me on facebook or e-mail at hampoland@gmail.com

I Feel So Sorry For Fergie…Really I Do

It’s rare that I feel sorry for uber hot women who make millions and millions of dollars. But I’m starting to feel a little sorry for Fergie of the Blackeyed Peas.

Yeah, I’m sitting at a little desk and pretty soon I’ll walk out and get in my little 2001 Nissan (with 212,000 miles pretty cool, right). But I’m worried about Fergie because her situation is  bleak.

Here’s the issue. Fergie is aging and it shows  Generally, white women, when compared to Asian, Hispanic and Black women, don’t age very well.  My mom used to say we had “cheap ten cent skin that didn’t last very long.”

 To make matters Fergie has to stand next to a couple of black men all the time.  They don’t age, they just get cooler and cooler.  Nobody knows or cares how old Will I Am is, and he wears so much bizarre stuff, we can’t really see his face. 

Will I Am is just the brilliant funky Blackeyed Peas dude. Fergie, on the other hand, is supposed to be “the hot one”, and from a distance she still is.  But white skin seems to crack faster than brown and black. It sucks but it’s the truth. When you look at publicity shots and their web site she looks just like she did five years ago because they can touch her up. But when you see her live or untouched photos it’s clear she’s aging like a normal woman.  Take a look at her neck.

Fergie is certainly much hotter than I am or I ever was, but she has thousands of people staring at her every day under bright lights and she’s not supposed to age. I’ve got four kids and a mortgage, people expect me to get old.

So, next time I’m in a group and I have to have my picture taken, I’m going to find a great big old white person. I’m sure as hell not gonna stand by the cool black dude.

*Leave me a comment, find me on facebook or email me at hampoland@gmail.com

An Extreme Hampoland Day….Taekwondo to Hippsters

Some days swing from one extreme to another it’s almost comical in a bipolar kind of way. These manic days can be exhausting or exhilarating, it all depends on your minds set and attitude.

Yesterday Sandor an I drove four hours to a taekwondo tournament in Fort Smith Arkansas. For five hours we were intense and formal, enthusiastic, militaristic and jacked up on endorphins, adrynalyne and Mtn. Dew. Along with some of our best friends, we competed and cheered, barefooted, in heavily starched uniform. When Sandor punched a boy right  in the face three times, I couldn’t have been more proud or excited. (Yeah, I know how bizarre that sounds.)

We got home around five o’clock and my best buddy Amelia called. She wanted us to got to Low Key Arts and listen to a reggae   band, Tidal Waves, from Africa.

Three hours later the entire family stood in front of a stage, surrounded by old hippies and hippsters, swaying like willow trees. The dark warehouse turned musical venue was full of glow- in-the-dark hula hoops, laughing children and tie dye shirts. The band started late but they were old black reggae guys, what did I expect. I watched other people clap (mainly my daughter Lex) so I could keep the beat. I tried to dance a little but didn’t really move my feet because somebody convinced me 15 years ago that I looked stupid dancing so I haven’t tried since then.

(Side bar: Never ever tell someone they can’t dance. They might listen to you and never dance again. Then they lose one of the great free and natural pleasures of life and it’s your fault.)

It was a beautiful evening. But it was the exact opposite of our morning.   The Taekwondo tournament was all about discipline, training and competition The evening  spun like an abstract painting around spontaneity, creativity and freedom.

That night when I went to bed and dreamed  I was competing again, doing my second degree pattern, in  my  starched uniform, my  belt cinched perfectly, I kicked higher than I can in real life. Things were beautiful but something was different.   Bob Marley, the iconic reggae legand, was singing  No Woman No Cry and everyone was swaying in time.

Muffin Top Reality

Breaking News About “THE MUFFIN TOP”.  First, understand I’m not talking about the yummy crusty top of a blue berry muffin. I’m talking about the roll of fat you see squirting over the top of girl’s pants. It’s not hot or sexy or cute, just kind of gross. And I’m not a man but I think a lot of guys would agree with me.

Well, I’ve figured out the cure for the muffin top. This is important stuff because we are all tired of looking at the squishy little  roll and you aren’t doing yourselves any favors by showing it off.

Idea #1. Buy bigger pants, Yes, I’m suggesting you by pants that actually fit your hips so they don’t squeeze the fat like a roll of toothpaste. Granted, pants that fit you won’t be as tight on your butt but you will, in the end, look much better. Another advantage…you’ll be able to breath, even while sitting down.

Idea #2 Get pants that are just high enough to cover the Muffin Top. I’m not saying you need to wear Mom Jeans with a four inch zipper, but if the pants came up just a little higher your muffin will stay inside your pants, where it belongs.

And finally #3 Lose a little weight, yes, I’m telling you to quit going to Sonic and McDonald’s everyday and chances are your Muffin Top will vanish.

That’s it, my ground breaking, earth shattering Muffin Top news. I was at the Mall today when this revelation came to me. Good luck.

This is a reprint from last year because I went to the Mall today and thought it necessary)

Al Green to Johnny Cash…Why Arkansas is So Amazing

Arkansas is a strange little state and my home. We constantly rank in the top five for bad things like obesity, teen pregnancy, high school drop outs, poor health care, and poverty. Any outsider might think we were a lowly and pathetic place. What they don’t know about Arkansas is it is an absolutely gorgeous and lush state, it’s also a ridiculously friendly place. Though poor, Arkansas is, per capita, one of the most generous states in America.

But it’s the musical side of Arkansas that always strikes me as most remarkable. We have a population of less than 3 million still the list of famous musicians, singers and songwriters is so stunning. This morning I spent an hour doing research (something you know I rarely do, generally my big fat opinion is enough for me). I made a list of the musicians I like who came from my lovely emerald green state.

The List:    Sonny Burgess, Howlin’ Wolf, Al Bell, James Cotton, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Driftwood (he wrote Tennessee Stud and The Battle of New Orleans because he was a high school teacher and he wanted to help his students understand a history class),Ronnie Dunn of Brooks and Dunn, Lefty Frizzell (He wrote If You’ve Got the Money Honey, I’ve Got the Time),Randy Goodrum, Al Green (who is in my top five for favorite singers of all time, just ask my kids),Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm, Scott Joplin the King of Ragtime, Louis Jordan (a contemporary of Louis Armstrong but dirtier and a lot blacker. Beans and Cornbread, Choo Choo Boogie, He had something like 14 number one hits),Buddy Jewel, Albert King, Tracy Lawrence, Joe Nichols, Charlie Rich aka the Silver Fox, Sister Rosetta Tharp( she influenced everyone in rock and roll including Bob Dylan, Little Richard, Elvis Presley and fellow Arkansan Johnny Cash)Conway Twitty (super sleazy legendary country singer),Sonny Boy Williamson, Justin Moore, and R&B icon Ne-Yo. And of course TI did prison time right here in Arkansas. The list would have been much longer if I’d included jazz and opera stars.

I looked at other states with close to 3 million residents and they didn’t have near the musical star power and history of Arkansas. Kansas can brag about Charlie Parker, Joe Walsh and Melissa Ethridge, but that’s about it. Then there’s Utah and Nevada, both with embarrassingly shallow musical benches.

So, what is it about Arkansas? Maybe it’s the poverty that inspired so many of our country and blues greats. Perhaps the lack of educational opportunities gave the trifling young men and women time to hone their craft. One observation I couldn’t ignore. Most of the great musicians came from the uglier parts of the state. Maybe they were all just looking for a way out of this beautiful, friendly but often times impoverished state.

In less than ten years there’s another band of Arkansas players who will make my list and yours too. The Natural Outlaws. Big fat fun abrasive southern rock.
Play on boys.

For the Love of God….Take Control of Your Life

Sometimes life beats you up and leaves you floating in the seaweed under an old pier. Sometimes you beat yourself up along with life, you end up mangled and bleeding. Those moments or months are horrible. You might as well be on a horse running full speed into a bunch of branches and then you drop the reins.

Recently, a dear friend of mine fell victim to life. It was beating the snot out of her. After a few weeks she couldn’t even keep her hands up to block the punches. She started projects but didn’t follow through, she forgot to pay bills and put gas in her car. She lost her keys and missed appointments. She said yes to everyone who asked for a favor but didn’t have time to get her stuff done.Then things started falling apart financially…because she wasn’t getting things done. She kept getting sick, because of the stress, she slept too much, couldn’t sleep enough.  None of it was her fault….but it was all her fault. Then the stress of the chaos really started taking a toll.

Finally, after weeks of trying to help when I could, I snapped. I think I even yelled at her and in the “I love you” kind of way.

“For the love of God, you have to take control of your life. Stop letting everything fall apart. Get a legal pad, make a list and get a grip. You have to say no to people, they will still love you, so you can focus on your own shit. Slow down and get it right.”

She didn’t talk to me for a couple of days then called and her voice sounded different. “Ok, here’s what I’m going to do.”

She managed to get the reins and take control of the horse. I was so happy and relieved I started crying. 

Taking control of your  life is ridiculously difficult. We have such fractured, frantic lives, it’s easy to loose control. We  speed around corners at 140 miles an hour and if we shift focus or tap the steering wheel with our pinky finger, our car explodes, we are  air borne, slam into the wall and explode like a grenade.

Today my dear friend said “no” when asked if she could help on a project this Saturday. She said she  had to take care of her own stuff. My buddy  has a list and a legal pad and a plan. I think she’s going to be just fine.

Playground Bullies and Spiderman

Yesterday, as I drove past the playground with Sandor, who is in third grade, I spotted a little boy crouched down, all alone. He looked like he was crying.

“You see that boy over by the swings, all alone?”
“Yeah”.
“Will you go make sure he’s ok?”
“Ok” Sandor said without much conviction.
“Thanks,” I stopped the car so he could get out,”Remember, with great power….”
“Comes great responsibility,” he said and laughed.
“Hey, you have cool power,” I yelled as he jumped out of the backseat. “Go live up to your name.”
Sandor’s name is Hungarian and literally means “defender of mankind”.  He has a lot of work to do.
I forgot about the little boy on the playground until it was bedtime. Sandor hadn’t brought the kid up but my son rarely makes a big deal out of anything.
I laid down on the bed, next to him,”So what happened to that kid I saw, was he crying?”
“Yeah, a kid in my class, Payton, was bulling him That’s why he was crying. Payton is a jerk and thinks he’s all big and bad. He’s mean to everybody.”
“Did you make him feel better?”
“Yeah.” he snuggled under his blanket.
“What did you do?” I wanted to hear the whole story.
“I went and found Payton and made him say he was sorry. I grabbed his sleeve.” H
“Really, he did what you said?”
“Pretty much, it felt really good?”
“Making that boy feel better felt good?”
“No, grabbing Payton.”
“Ok, well good, I’m glad things worked out. I’m proud of you.” I kissed Sandor and left his room.

Sandor is a really nice boy and a cool kid but he’s not a saint. He’s just a boy.  I think, if we give our kids a little instruction they really want to do the right thing. they want to help people. But they don’t always know what to do or how to spot the problem. If we give them a nudge, maybe a little instruction and we remind them that THEY HAVE THE POWER to change things, that’s exactly what they will do. In third grade most kids like doing the right thing, they want to be the good Spiderman and they don’t like mean kids.

Our kids are the ones who have the ability and power to fix a lot of the problems in schools.  I’m a busy body who wants to fix everything but my kids are actually a lot more effective at getting things done.  So it’s our job, as a parent to make sure our kids understand what’s right and wrong and that theyhave the power to make a difference, even if it’s just to one little boy on the play ground.

God Gave Me A Rock…Literally, A Rock

peaceI’m reprinting this story because I gave my rock to a friend yesterday.  She is the aunt of a seventeen year old boy who is struggling with all sorts of issues.  She wants to save him so she took her own sister to court to get custody.

When I walked into court I handed her my peace rock because it has the power to help in special situations.

Here’s the story of my peace rock. (And fyi, the aunt’s story had a happy ending.)

 

 

A little less than a year ago my brother, Granger, died. It was a pretty horrific and heartbreaking situation. Granger was my last living family member. That’s why I sometimes feel like the last creature from my herd; the last zebra with these stripes.

The day I got the phone call, telling me Granger wasn’t going to make it, I was hanging out with my kiddos, Lexie and Sandor, who was 8 at the time.  We were looking at some funky art in a  tiny gallery on Central Avenue.  When the phone rang I stepped outside to take the call.

I was told he might make the next 24 hours, but it was doubtful.  My big brother was going to die and leave me here, all alone.

My heart thumped with pain and I tried to breath evenly. I didn’t want to break down and wail in front of the kids.  It was really hot that day, almost a hundred degrees but I shivered in the sunshine and I prayed.

“Lord, please help me with this, please help me find some peace and strength to get through this. I don’t have much left. Just help me find some peace, Lord, because I don’t understand this.”

Peace and strength, that’s all I wanted. After I prayed I felt a little better. I took three giant breaths and willed myself not to cry then I walked back into the gallery to find the kids.

Lexie was looking at an abstract painting of a horse, or maybe it was a volcano. I took her hand, it was warm and dry and felt nice. For a moment I stared at the painting with her. “Where’s Sandor?”

“He went out back to play with Daniel and Ben.”

I nodded and decided I wouldn’t tell them about Granger until we got home.

I willed myself not to start crying as I walked to the galleries’ back door. Sandor and two other little boys were squating next to a pot- hole filled with black water.

“Come on Boy Boy,” I yelled. He popped up like a jack-in-the-box and ran to me.

“Look what I found, Mom.” He stuck his grubby hand in his pocket and waited for me to stretch out my hand. Then he placed a smooth river stone on my palm. “Look at it!” he said excitedly.

I unwrapped my fingers and stared at the grey rock. The word PEACE was etched into the surface. I looked at Sandor, who was grinning.”Where did you get this?”

He was bouncing just a little. “I found it in the puddle over there,” he said and pointed to the pot hole. “You can have it,” he said cheerfully than ran off to find Lexie.

Granger did die the next day. I kept that rock in my pocket for the next two weeks.  Now it stays in the cup holder in my car.  I rub when I need to and sometimes, when other people need a little Peace, I share my rock.

I’m pretty sure God and Granger would want me to pass the peace.

**You can comment or write to me at hampoland@gmail.com or find me on facebook. I always need more friends.

When Mean Girls Act Nice…..Runaway!

I’m pretty sure this happens to every one.  There’s a mean person in your life, I mean a back stabbing, gossip spreading, kitten kicking wench. She works in your office, goes to you PTO meetings, maybe she’s your cousin or sits next to you in biology. 

This horrible person doesn’t like you, she doesn’t seem to like anyone, except her evil twin, the one other person in the class or office who is equally as vile. At night they probably talk on the phone and come up with new ways to cook puppies and make your life miserable.

When you run into the witch in the store or kitchen you nod, don’t you? You still say “hi” and smile, even though you don’t want to.  And she smiles back, as though she actually likes you, but doesn’t respond.

You know the truth though, she thinks you are stupid because you are friendly. She thinks you are a suck up becasue you show compassion, even to your boss and the lady who cleans the office at night. She thinks your politics are all wrong and your kids, friends, boyfriend are horrible.

Then one day, Hildagard the Horrible does or says something nice and seems sincere. She leaves a couple of concert tickets on your desk because she can’t go.  She says your new hair cut looks nice. And then she actually sits down next to you at the Band Booster meeting or in your office or in biology…. just to visit. But she starts talking about other girls and women right?  She’s trashing them and trying to get you to be on her side. Don’t do it. She’ll say the same stuff about you next week.

It’s shocking, right?  This kind of thing scares me to death becasue I want to trust her but I know there’s something funky going on. I know I should forgive her and hope she remains nice. But last week I was told she thinks I have a scrawny flat and a big mouth. (Even if she’s right it’s a mean thing to say.)

I used to think this revolting and vicious behaviour started in girls when they got to high school.  Nice girls get boobs and suddenly turn into cut throat little bitches, who smile sweetly as they disembowel your best friend. But recently I noticed something really interesting. It’s the stupid girls who are pretty, who turn really mean.  Maybe their lack of intelligence makes them insecure. It’s so pathetic.

Last night  I watched Toddlers and Tiaras. Guess what, it doesn’t start in high school, it starts with the mothers. 

Listen if you have a daughter who’s turning into a bitch…do something about it. And if you are raising your little girl to be a cut throat snake who thinks she’s better than everybody else in her kindergarten class you are making a huge mistake. And chances are, eventually she’ll turn on you too.

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