Smart Girl Palooza 2013


So, last week I hurled across the sky in a metal tube with a friend to visit some other friends on the east coast once again breathing that lean mixture of oxygen, jet fuel, and assorted pressurized odors after a forty-five minute delay after American Airlines found someone hanging out on the tarmac who knew what to do about a worn tire that was discovered after we’d all fastened our seatbelts. 

Yes, of course it was good that they changed it before we had a blow out. GAAAHH!

While we waited, my seatback was kicked by Damien Return-of-the-Damned, who had abandoned his McMeal and was writhing in spasms beside his oblivious mother. Not to be condemned by fellow passengers for being intolerant of a child, I mildly grumbled to my traveling companion until…



Yeah, it was 10:30 a.m.

The fun had only just begun. In fact, it escalated a bit after we landed. Waiting to exit the aircraft, oblivious mother stood in the aisle holding a barf bag, telling her other attention craving child that she should throw up her McMeal. “It will make you feel better if you just throw up,” she said. Oblivious father made no effort to calm his whimpering, travel weary offspring. Why this woman was encouraging her daughter to throw up there in the middle of everybody is beyond me, but I swear the girl seemed to be making a sincere effort to comply for even a sliver of attention.

Yeah, we couldn’t exit fast enough.

I get it. Really, I do. Kids! Confined Spaces! People need to be more understanding of other people’s poor choices! Whatever! Some quality time beforehand might be in order, people! Seriously! Then again, quality time with their children isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Sadly, this is too often the case and all of humanity must suffer the consequences.

On the upside, I did get to use the TSA Pre✓™ line, avoiding the one invasion of personal space we have all strangely come to accept when traveling by air. What a difference being allowed to keep a shred of dignity makes in a person’s behavior! That’s probably why I didn’t rage against oblivious McFamily.

Yeah, that’s the reason.


While there is no such thing as perfect parenting, there are parents who get it so right that it blows you away. It’s true; I’ve met them. Fast forward a few days into our trip to a visit at the home of Celia and Anabella, granddaughters of our hostess and two of the smartest girls I have ever met. To give an example of just how smart, when asked ‘Should we have steak for dinner?’ Celia knew the answer was yes, yes we should. It’s no wonder she received the President’s Award for Academic Excellence. Celia is one smart girl!

She prefers dogs to cats and she’s super tech savvy. Of course, it helps when the WiFi cooperates. Having experienced techNOlogic issues myself, we chatted about it after dinner and discovered we share a love of books. So, I introduced Celia to S.W. Lothian’s great middle grade reads. Who knows, maybe she’ll decide to write some book reviews.


Anabella, understanding that I was a tourist, graciously offered to show me around her home and gave an amazingly articulate presentation about feeding the hungry. TED Talks are definitely in this girl’s future. Yeah, Anabella is that smart!


In addition to demonstrating how to get really good at playing the piano and how to execute a perfect cartwheel, Anabella’s tour showed me that she lives in an environment where smart girls flourish. Celia and Anabella’s parents, who both have careers by the way, obviously know how to prioritize. The family often prepares meals together and besides having strong female role models, Anabella and her dad enjoy watching Wrestle Mania together. She prefers WWE action figures to Barbie. How awesome is that?

Confident, imaginative, compassionate, and engaging, Celia and Anabella made quite a positive impression on me. They are excellent examples of what is possible when mothers and fathers actively engage in the lives of their children. It was a pleasure to share in the preparation of a delicious meal and my privilege to be in the company of smart girls!

Check out this smart girl’s TED Talk. It’s awesome.

30 thoughts on “Smart Girl Palooza 2013

    1. Hey Leah,
      That Birk Baehr is one amazing kid. Thanks for sharing the link. ALSO*****Thank you so very much for the five star review for Summoning The Strength on Amazon. What a nice surprise it was to see that you enjoyed the story enough to make a comment.

  1. I’d have a hard time not turning around and wringing the little neck of Damien 2.0. Celia is a beauty, what a sweet girl. Also, what tattoo did you get at Fatty’s?? 😉

  2. Always great to travel, especially with or to see friends. I always get some welcome and refreshing perspectives when I get to do that. Thanks for sharing. Honie and oh yeah, Girl Power!

  3. well, I TOTALLY would’ve brushed their hair if I had known those pics were going “global”!!!!
    You know – to balance the universe: brains AND beauty!! HA

  4. Fattty’s is an odd name for a tattoo parlor – sounds more like a BBQ joint. I don’t have kids but it’s easy to see the qualities in those raised in rich environments. They are a joy to be around.

  5. As a witness to most all these experiences, I may say, “Yup. Nailed it again, my friend.” Ain’t nobody who does “compare and contrast” like you.

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