In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

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In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

Joanne Palmer: Mother's Day is approaching fast

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Joanne Palmer

Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at jpalmer@springsips.com

Find more columns by Palmer here.

— There are only 11 short shopping days until Mother's Day. Trust me, this is a day you do not want to forget. Do whatever it takes to remember this all-important, extra special, noteworthy day. Write it in your calendar, put a Post-It note on your computer screen, tie a string around your finger, or do all of the above.

Although mothers frequently say, "I don't need anything," do not - I repeat, do not - believe them. This is just one of those mixed messages mothers love to send. In fact, they specialize in sending them, and the older you get, the better you will become at deciphering mom-speak. But for now, keep in mind that this is the person who brought you into the world, therefore you owe her your life.

And although you may struggle to bear the weight of all that guilt, your load will be infinitely easier if you show your dear, sweet mother some appreciation on her special day.

Have I mentioned that Mother's Day is May 10?

Note to mothers: My advice to you is to ask for what you want. If you want a present, be specific. Your children are not miniature mind-readers, and there is no guarantee that dropping hints is going to produce the results you are after. If you say to your child one morning, "Honey, would you like cereal, a dozen roses or a spa vacation for breakfast?" you may run the risk of early admission to an extended care facility.

That said, keep your requests within reasonable limits. For example, my mother once asked - well, begged - me to find a way for her to throw out the opening pitch before a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. This was all she wanted for her for her 75th birthday. And although it scored high points for creativity, it proved impossible to fulfill. After numerous phone calls, the best I could do was get her into the on-deck circle for a photo opportunity.

I've always found the Mother's Day gift guides that appear in magazines a little ho-hum, what with all the usual boring suggestions for flowers, stationary, candles and, worst of all, aprons.

Aprons conjure up images of 1950s housewives bearing tuna noodle casseroles topped with potato chips.

Therefore, I've done a little thinking about this subject and come up with three suggestions for Mother's Day gifts - one humorous, one sweet and one a little extraordinary - but each designed to lavish love and affection on your one-and-only mom.

1. Mom-O-Matic. This nifty little device doubles as a keychain and has six pre-recorded messages and an emergency button. The ad copy reads, "Moms: are you sick and tired of saying the same thing over and over and over again? Let the Mom-O-Matic do the dirty work for you! With six key phrases such as, 'Just a second, honey' and 'I don't care what he did,' that you can unleash at any moment, the Mom-O-Matic allows you to keep the peace, draw the line, be good cop and bad cop. The handsome audio module with speaker fits in the palm of one's hand or - conveniently for parents on the go - on your key chain." $12.95 at www.oliebollen.com.

2. Personalized M&M's. A sweet treat for mom! You can customize M&M's with a photo of you and your mom. Add a personalized message like, "Moms rule" or "Luv U Mom!" Prices start at $34.99. More information is at www.mymms.com/mday2.

3. Surf Diva Camp. Go all out and give her a weekend where she can hang 10 and play on the beach. Send her to California to catch the waves at Surf Diva Camp. One look at their Web site (www.surfdiva.com) and you'll see why this is the perfect present for your hard-working mom.

Did I mention Mother's Day is May 10?

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