I’m not cool.

If you ask me in your coolest voice, “Hey Jen, have you heard the new album by (insert any band you like, here)?” The answer would likely be “no.” Try asking me if I’ve seen such-and-such new movie and you’re totally out of luck. I’m not that hip. I’m just really not.

I mean, I have generally good taste, but I also have three kids, 20 chickens, one dog, a house that I like to keep clean, a yard, and….jeez…when it comes time to watch a movie, I’m usually zonked out within the first 30 minutes. I love music. I try to write it when I can and to stay somewhat informed, but ask me about the new blah blah blah and I’m pretty lost.

Instead, I slowly work my way through books (again with the zonking) and try to surround myself with the things I love and the things I connect with—music, people, places.

I am, however, awesome at bedtime stories. I was recently given two characters to work with. My youngest son said, “Tell us a story about a baby mushroom who lives in the forest.” And my oldest son said, “Add in a mini-Chewbacca with a red cape.”

I made my best effort. I somehow concocted a story about a very small mushroom who picked up a nearby fungus spore and made a wish to become the biggest mushroom in the forest, blowing the spore-dust into the air like dandelion seeds.

All of a sudden Mini-Chewbacca appeared, wearing his red cape, prepared to grant the tiny mushroom’s wish. He said, “Okay tiny mushroom, when I whip my cape three times, your wish will be granted.” So he whipped his cape and disappeared, but nothing happened.

Instead of becoming a giant mushroom, the tiny mushroom found a note on the tree he lived under that said something like, “Baby mushroom, you are great just the way you are. –Mini Chewbacca.”

It didn’t happen all at once, but eventually the tiny mushroom grew into a size he could be proud of. He wasn’t the biggest mushroom in the forest, but he wasn’t the smallest, either. And he felt pretty okay about that.

So, I thought I was a genius mom for using really off-beat characters to teach a fun lesson on self-acceptance, until it was pointed out to me how inherently phallic the mushroom story was, and how I kind of made Mini-Chewbacca into a fairy-godmother drag queen, and also the mushroom wished on spores which are the fungal equivalent of sperm. Fact is, Mr. Mushroom was a grower, not a shower.

Yep. I’m not cool. Also, I may never look at mushrooms the same way again. I did, however, laugh so hard I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my neck. Go mushrooms!

Jen Cartier misses Chico! However, she has taken to the great beyond (er...The Bay Area) to be some kind of chocolate maven while simultaneously figuring out how the hell to navigate her long-ass work commute, and still kick ass at raising three munchkins, loving one soon-to-be husband, and keeping one rascally Brittany Spaniel in the damned yard. She loves Nutella, red wine, and American Spirits. She takes her dog along on runs to wear him out (sometimes he shits in someone else's yard - bonus!) and also to balance her own general consumption of all the fine tasty things life offers, ciggys included. Follow her blog at riceflourmemoirs.com