You get what you give.

People use Facebook for reasons ranging from self promotion, keeping in touch with friends to simply because everyone else is doing it.  For me, I love using FB as a release for the silly thoughts I have running through my head.  Working from home, being a single parent and somewhat of a recluse, FB has provided me contact with the outside world.  It makes me feel like someone out there is listening when it seems like nobody else in my real life is.  Today I used Facebook as a life lesson.

I have this Facebook friend named B.  I have never met her in real life but we became friends on FB through a mutual friend.  B and I went to the same High School but in different years and we have a couple of friends in common but not many.

When I started Jotter Girl and added a “Like” page on Facebook, I was surprised that my new “friend” B went out of her way to post to all of her friends that they should “Like” Jotter Girl too.  Since then, she has very graciously shared a link to my blog on her profile page and given me the thumbs up several times.  In  a world where people rarely give you the time of day, here is someone who doesn’t really know me and is genuinely kind.     We’ve since become better “friends” by sharing silly dialogue on each others pages about stupid things like peanut butter and jelly.  How could you not want to be friends with someone who will (at our mature ages) write about setting up a PB&J club and exclude anyone who likes marshmallow fluff.  I know, silly – right?

This morning B posted a tribute to her mother who passed away a year ago today.  I sent her a hug which in turn, added me to the thread of her post.  I have been seeing comments from her friends coming in all morning with the most sincere, loving messages.

While B may just be lucky to have such support and love, I truly believe she has made her own luck and is merely “getting what she gives”.  When someone’s kindness is so sincere how could you not be kind back?  I am certain that her mother had a big influence on how B lives her life which is such an inspiration to me as a mother trying to raise two young boys in a world that is often less than kind.  Thankfully, things are sinking in over at my house, because one of my boys said to me last night, “Mommy, you get what you give.”

RIP to B’s mother….your kindness lives on, through your daughter.

30 Second Story….The August Brothers 1930

Earlier this morning, Mother set out two suits for Peter and Hank to wear for Sunday dinner at Aunt Kate’s.  After the coin flip and then a scuffle, it was Peter who was less than pleased by his option.

30 Second Stories will be a regular feature here at Jotter Girl.  I will delve in to my collection of old snapshots from long ago and then add my own mini story.  The photographs used in 30 second stories, are images that I have collected from flea markets and antique shows and do not represent anyone I am related to.  I hope you enjoy!

The Jotter Pages….my old man in Rome

The Jotter Pages is a glimpse into one of my many notebooks.  The italics are the actual writings from my jotter.  The roman type are my comments today.  This entry takes place in Rome, Italy 1984.


Monday September 24

2pm – Have had a very interesting day so far.  At 10:30, I went out for a walk.  I was wondering why all the shops were closed so I stopped a nicely dressed older man and we had the following exchange.

Jotter Girl:  “Signore, a che ora i negozi aperti?”

Signore:  “You must be an American.”

Jotter Girl:  “Why? Did I say that wrong?”

Signore:  “No, you said it perfectly and so clearly that I knew you couldn’t be a Roman.”

Maurilio Varalda was his name and he was probably about 65 years old.  A charming man with silver hair as straight as a porcupine’s quill.  He was short in stature and impeccably dressed.  His face was so welcoming.   I was immediately connected to him.

Signore Varalda took me to a lovely place for lunch where we enjoyed the most delicious prosciutto & melon, wine, fettucini alfredo, assorted cheeses and ended our meal with cappuccino.  Signore, reminds me of my grandfather.  He is so sweet & I was fascinated by his life story.  He speaks English, French, Chinese and of course Italian.  He has lived all over the world.  We talked for hours and had such a nice walk not to mention the lunch.  He offered to help me get a job so I can stay here in Roma.  When Mom arrives, he wants to take us both out to lunch.  Initially, she is going to think I am nuts but once she meets him, I am positive she’ll like him.

Friday October 19

Got up late.  Mom had a head ache so I went to the bar & got some pastries for us.  At noon, Signore Varalda picked us up and drove us to his home in the north of Rome.  We had a lovely lunch served by a young man who was introduced to us as “the Filipino house boy”.  Signore’s home was filled with wonderful Chinese art and we were serenaded by at least 25 small birds in cages near the window over looking the back yard.


Maurilio Varalda and I remained friends for several years after that first chance meeting on a street in Rome.  We wrote letters back and forth, updating each other on our lives.  He was always going to China or coming back from Switzerland it seemed.

The last time I saw him was at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City in the late 80′s when we met for an afternoon at the hotel restaurant.  I have thought of Signore Varalda often over the years and have tried to find him several times but with out luck.  It was my good fortune to meet Signore that day and he has become a member of a small club of men who I have had a very special connection with.

Can I get the “Yes Mom” app at the ipod App store?

Yesterday, I shopped real and virtually.  My kids, after raking in a ton of cash from their birthdays saving for months and months, finally had the money to shell out for an ipod touch (each).  Upon leaving Best Buy with my credit card still smoking ipods, cases and screen protectors,  my boys were onto their next plan.  Convincing me that we needed to go out to dinner to celebrate the new ipods and they knew just the place.   They named Panera, a place that they knew offers free wifi.  They cleverly sold it to me as the place where I can get that broccoli cheddar soup that I love so much.  Okay I’m in.

I had the first dinner in a very long time where there was no fighting and it was quite glorious.   Yes, our table was glowing from all the apps that were being downloaded and the boys looked like zombies staring into their palms, but I was the Queen eating my bowl of soup in peace.  That is, until one of my boys shouted out…

“Hey, where’s my Fart App!?!”

Fabulous, I thought, looking around the restaurant hoping nobody heard.  The Queen is dead and good old mommy is back asking each boy to surrender their ipod for my inspection.  Apparently, while I was enjoying my soup, they had gone shopping for apps from the CrApp Store right on their ipods.

Of all the useful  Apps one can get for their device, here are 3 that I found on their ipods that seem particularly helpful to 10 year old boys.

Fart For Free – a myriad of fart sounds ranging from dry to wet.

Bald Booth – take your photo and make yourself look bald.

Gun App – choose from 50 guns ranging from AK-47 to water pistols.  Tap the screen and you get the sound of the gun.

While I am far from 10, I chose this as an opportunity to bond with my boys.  So I allowed my self to enter the bald booth, selected a .357 Magnum as my weapon of choice and endured listening to 16 different versions of the beloved fart during the car ride home.

Having now lived with the ipod touch for 24 hours, here’s an app that I would love to see.

The Yes Mom app.

Here is how it would work.  While your child stares into the ipod, hypnotized, the Yes Mom app whispers to your child the following sentence over and over.

Yes mom, I would be happy to clean my room

Then a timer within the ipod begins to count down and at the end of 5 minutes, the ipod shuts off saying the battery needs recharging.  This is your cue to go and plug in the ipod to charge and add, “Oh by the way, can you run up and clean your room?”

Yes mom, I would be happy to clean my room.

Hmm, I wonder is I could get this to work on ex husbands too.


Handling unkind comments

As someone who writes on a public platform, I understand that negative comments are just part of blogging.  Not everyone will agree with my opinion or think what I’ve written is funny or even appropriate for that matter.

I have been lucky enough so far that my readers have been supportive and encouraging.  This feeling changed for me this morning when I saw the following comment.

It shouldn’t be hard to realize that, dear. It’s infantile to fail to realize it. Grow up.

Now mind you this was not a reaction to an opinion I had written nor was it a comment on one of my observations.  These unkind remarks were made about a poem I had written over the weekend using the weekly Magpie Tales prompt.  I truly wonder what sort of person would write such an insensitive comment about a poem… especially in a forum where writers gather to support one another.

How would you handle unkind comments?