Saturday, December 26, 2015


The holiday rush was behind me and I was finally getting a chance to sit back and enjoy my tree. As I looked at all the different decorations hanging from it's branches, I couldn't help but notice my vacation ornaments. We'd been so busy the last few years, with one away at school and the rest of us busy working, we weren't traveling as much as we used to.
I pulled one of my favorite ones off the tree. I held it up so my husband Steven, who was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, could see it. “Do you remember when Alex had to have a real cowboy hat?” I asked him as I showed him the cactus wearing a Santa hat with the word “Arizona” written across it.
Steven looked over and smiled. “I think he still has it in his room.”
“I hope so. I loved him in that hat!” It was the first time the boys or I had ever been out west and we'd all fallen in love with the desert. I hung the ornament back on the tree and began looking at all the others.
“How many times did we take the boys to Florida?” I asked as I gently touched the Disney Mickey waving his magic wand.
“A few.” Seven said as he turned the page of his newspaper.
I looked at several more Disney ornaments. “I guess I must have picked up a few of these on each of the trips.” I said as I noticed more than just a few Disney decorations.
I looked over at the miniature lobster pot from our trip to Maine. “Remember the boat ride for the whale watch?” I asked.
“How could I forget?” Steven said, then laughed. “When you found out we'd have to ride out a few miles to see them, you asked the Captain if there was some way he could get the whales to come closer to shore so we didn't have to go out so far!”
“I was kidding!”
“No you weren't.”
“Alright.” I admitted. “I wasn't. But we were out so far you couldn't see the shore! You know how much I hate being that far out in the ocean.”
“Oh I know, and so did the entire boatload of whale watchers.” Steven said.
“But then we saw three or maybe it was four whales that day.” I smiled at the memory. “They were so beautiful.”
I looked at the sand dollar from our trip to the Outer Banks next to the pewter ornament of the Capital building in Washington. “I can't believe we timed that trip right when the cherry trees were in full bloom!”
“They boys like that trip.”
“They liked all our trips.” I said as my eyes fell on the little black buggy from our trip to the Amish Country. “Well, maybe not this one.” I held the buggy up for him to see.
“Yeah, making the boys stay at a diary farm and having them get up to milk the cows wasn't so much fun for any of us.” he said.
“I thought they might like to see what it was like to live on a working farm.”
“They found out that neither of them would ever want to do that for a living.” Steven said, then laughed.
“So it was a good thing!”
I hung it back on a branch then stood back and looked at all our other travel ornaments. “You know there's still some room on this tree for a few more trip ornaments.” I said.
Just then both boys walked into the room.
“Are we planning a trip?” Alex asked.
“That sounds like a great idea!” Max said.
Steven looked at me. “That sure was a subtle hint.”

I shrugged my shoulders. I really hadn't planned it that way but...I had to smile as I began thinking about where our next destination could be.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


My husband, Steven and our two boys and I were sitting down to dinner when our oldest son Max looked over at me and asked. “What's on your face?”
Now of course my first instinct was to answer, in as whinny little kids voice, “What's on YOUR face?” But I'm not four years old so instead I answered, “I don't know, what's it look like to you?”
“It looks like glitter.” he said.
“Oh, that's because I was wrapping presents and and I got a few gift bags with glitter on them.”
All three of my guys groaned.
“Didn't we ask you not to bring any more glitter into the house?” Steven asked as he wiped his hand along the tabletop and then looked at his hand. “Great.” he said as he held it up for me to see. “Glitter!”
“Wow, I didn't even wrap the presents on this table.” I wiped my hand along the table and looked to see if I'd get any on me. Sure enough I did. “I wonder how that got there?”
“Because it's GLITTER!” Alex said. “It gets on everything!” He pushed away from the table and began inspecting his arms. Max and Steven began doing the same thing.
“Oh come on! It's pretty!” I said as I tried to brush the few flecks off my hands and was having trouble doing it. “These things sure do stick.” Now I was trying to scrape them off with my nail.
“Exactly!” Steven said. “I'm still finding them on me from weeks ago when you wrote out our Christmas cards.”
“Why would anyone want to get a Christmas card with glitter on it?” Alex asked as he finally gave up the glitter search and went back to eating dinner.
“Who knows?” Steven answered. “It's like a booby trap in an envelope. Why not just fill the card full of confetti so when they open it up it fly’s all over their house.”
Max and Alex both liked that idea and began to laugh.
“Because that would just make a mess and it wouldn't make the card pretty.” I argued. “Besides instead of complaining you should be thanking me for taking the time for find a nice card, write a special note in it, and send it to all of our friends.”
“I did thank you.” Steven said. “But I still don't think anyone wants a glitter card.”
Alex looked over at Steven. “You have glitter on your face.” he said.
“Are you kidding!” Steven said as he looked back at me.
“No you don't.” I said. But he did. It was a tiny silver speck right on the end of his nose.
“Yes he does.” Max said.
“Neither of you are helping right now.” I said as I passed Alex the platter of meat.
“It's all part of the holiday.” I reasoned. “The tree drops it's needles, the credit card bills go up and you find a few specks of glitter around the house.”
“We have an artificial tree.” Alex said.
“It still drops needles!” I cried.
“Fine.” Alex shrugged his shoulders as he passed the platter to his brother.
“All we're asking is for you to make this a glitter-free house during the holidays.” Steven said. “I really don't think that's a lot to ask.”
“Yeah!” Max and Alex said in unison.
“I can't believe you three.” I complain but suddenly realized there was something in my eye, “I'll be right back.” I said as I got up from the table. “Something got under my contact.”
As I walked towards the bathroom I could hear Max say, “Five bucks says it's glitter.”
I could hear the other two laughing.

Normally I would have called back that I could still hear them, but my eye hurt too much and I was pretty sure they were right.


I wrote this piece for the Two River Times in 1992...have to say there isn't a Christmas that goes by that I don't think about this.

I can still see Dad, Christmas morning, sitting in our overstuffed chair wearing his blue striped cotton robe, holding his camera and looking out the window.
We kids all knew who he was waiting for. Dad was waiting for Santa, and he wasn’t the only one anxious to see him. So we all kept Dad company, in that front room, playing with our new toys and waiting.
Time passed slowly before we would finally hear the fire truck. We always heard it long before it was anywhere in sight. The anticipation would build until, sirens screaming, the big red truck with Santa on board was at the end of our driveway.
While Santa walked down the graveled driveway, Dad would be snapping pictures of him, while my brothers and sisters and I were making the frantic scramble to the front door, each of us trying to be the first to say Merry Christmas to our morning visitor. Santa always had a little package for each of us, given with a warm smile and a wish for a happy day. Then with a quick wave good-by he was off finish his rounds around town.
It was an event that was repeated each year at our house until we kids began to outgrow Santa.
It's the Christmas that Dad still hung on to the hope that my youngest brother, Bo, was still young enough for the Santa visit, that's clearest to me. That Christmas morning as the hours went by and Santa never came, when we all realized Bo was too old for Santa to drop by. The disappointment I saw on Dad's face made me realize only Dad was young enough to need Santa's visit any more. It broke my heart to watch Dad get up from his chair to put away his camera. He stopped for one last look down our driveway, then he turned back and saw me watching him. He smiled and held out his hand, asking if I was ready for the big Monopoly game that was being set up in the dining room. I took his hand and he gave it a squeeze.
I knew Dad would be all right. But the memory of his disappointment, that year, always stayed with me.
Now I'm married and my husband, our two small sons and I live in the house I grew up in. Our town still has the Fireman Santa come on Christmas morning and it was as I was filling out the forms that would bring Santa to our door on Christmas Day, that I thought of Dad.
Dad started a tradition. A tradition that's continuing with his grandsons. And even though Dad passed away a few years ago, he'll be with me while I'm waiting for Santa this year.

Christmas morning will be a mixture of memories for me. New ones being made with my sons. But old ones being replayed of my own visits from the Fireman Santa. Especially the memory of Dad sitting in that overstuffed chair, wearing his blue striped robe and holding his camera.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


“I'm going to the mall to get some shopping done!” I called out to no one in particular as I grabbed my purse and headed for the door.
“Hey, I wanted to pick up a video game for Max.” Alex called. “Can I come with you?”
“Sure, if you hurry. It's going to be a madhouse there today.”
As Alex was getting his shoes on, Steven came up from the basement. “Did I hear you say you're going to the mall?”
“Alex and I are both going.” I answered.
“Great. I'll come with you.” he said.
“Did you need to get something?” I asked.
“No. But I'm not doing anything right now so I might as well come along.”
Now I know that this might sound like a fun family outing to some people. But when I need to get shopping done I'm not the “the-more-the-merrier” type of person. I really just wanted to run to the mall, grab a few thing and come right back. But now, with my helpers coming with me, I'd have to re-adjust my thinking.
As we got closer to the mall the traffic got heavier. “I wonder if there's even going to be a place to park?” Steven said, sounding doubtful as we inched closer to the mall's entrance.
“It's that time of year.” I tried not to sound impatient but knew Steven wasn't one for crowds. “You have to figure it's going to be packed.” After circling the parking lot a few times I finally found a spot and pulled in.
“Let's get the video game for Max first.” I suggested.
Weaving our way through the crowds, we made our way to the video store and then waited patiently on the endless line for our turn at the counter. Once the video game was purchased I could see both my guys were done with shopping. So, I wasn't surprised to hear their groans when I told them I had several stores to go to for all the things I needed to get.
Thankfully, that's when I spotted an empty couch in the middle of the atrium. “Why don't you two wait there while I finish shopping?”
“Sounds good to me!” Steven headed for the couch with Alex right behind him.
Once the boys were settled I began to get some serious shopping done. After each store I'd head back to the couch, hand them the bag and head off in another direction.
When I had the final thing marked off my list I went to collect my guys. There they were with all the bags I'd piled around them, deep in a conversation.
“Are you two ready to leave?” I asked.
“Wow! You're done already?” Steven seemed surprised.
“I have to thank both of you.” I said. “I have to admit that I was dreading this shopping trip with you two, but there's no way I could have gotten all this done without you.”
Steven and Alex looked at one another. I'm sure, at first, they thought I was kidding. But as I began loading their arms with all the bags that I'd stacked around their feet they realized I wasn't.
“Hey, anytime.” Alex said as I handed him another bag to carry.
“No problem.” Steven said a I loaded his arms with the rest of my purchases.

I had to smile as we all headed out to the parking lot. It was the first time I'd ever done a huge shopping trip and was able to walk out of the mall the exact same way I'd walked in – just carrying my purse!

Saturday, December 5, 2015


I looked around my house and smiled when I saw all that I'd accomplished getting ready for the Christmas season. The tree was up and the inside of the house was completely decorated.
But it was the list of all the things that still needed to be done that had me feeling overwhelmed. There was a lot more to do before the “magic” of Christmas was ready to happen. I sighed as I thought about that long list and did what I think anyone else would do when faced with that much work.
I laid down on the couch to take a nap.
I smiled again as I tucked my favorite blanket around me and closed my eyes. I could hear someone in the kitchen making a snack, while the others were playing video games, laughing and having a good time.
It wasn't long before the house got strangely quiet. I was almost ready to doze off when I heard my husband Steven and my two boys, Alex and Max, whispering in the dining room.
I strained my ears to hear what they were talking about.
“Do you thinks she's asleep?” Max asked.
“Looks like it.” Steven confirmed.
“Do you think she's going to make dinner tonight?” Alex whispered.
“I don't know. It's getting pretty late.” Steven answered.
“Do you think she's going to make Christmas cookies this year?” Max asked.
“Not a clue.” Steven said.
“Aren't the presents usually wrapped and under the tree by now?” Alex asked.
“Yup.” Steven answered again.
“What do you think has happened this year?” Alex asked.
“I think she just got busy with other things.” Steven answered.
I had to try and not smile at that one. I kept my eyes closed, enjoying their conversation, wondering where it was going to go.
“I saw the Christmas cards on the coffee table the other day.” Alex said.
“She asked for a roll of stamps.” Steven added. “So the cards got done.”
“Who cares about cards.” Max complained. “I'd rather have her bake cookies then write out Christmas cards.” I tried not to smile as I pictured Alex nodding in agreement on that one.
“Maybe we should help her?” Steven suggested.
There was no answer for several moments. I tried not to move, wondering who was going to answer that one first.
“What could we do?” Max sounded confused.
“Yeah.” Alex agreed. “It's not like either of us are going to do any baking anytime soon.”
I could hear Max laugh.
“I'm not talking about baking.” Steven said. “Maybe see if she needs help with the gift wrapping.” Steven suggested. “Or we could offer to do some of the shopping for her.”
Those suggestions were met with more silence.
Finally Alex made his own suggestion. “Maybe we could make dinner tonight?”
Max quickly added, “By make, you mean order out, right?”
“Sounds good to me.” Steven said. “One of you get the take-out menus.”
“I say pizza.” Max said.
“What about ribs?” Alex added.
I smiled as I got more comfortable. They just found the perfect way to help me. Now I had, at least, forty-five minutes to actually get a nap before dinner came.

I'd have to remember to thank them when I woke up.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I walked out into the kitchen to find my son Max with a brick of cheddar cheese in one hand and a knife in the other. He'd just sliced a piece off and was ready to pop it into his mouth.
“DON'T EAT THAT!” I screamed. “That's for the fruit and cheese platter I'm serving our company tomorrow!”
“Fruit and cheese?” he asked. “I'm thinking the grapes I just ate were for that too, huh?”
“Oh come on!” I cried. “Of course those things are for company. When do we ever have bricks of cheese laying around?”
“I know!” Max complained. “Everybody in this house likes cheese and you only buy it when we're going to have company.”
“So if you know that why are you eating it?” I asked.
Another slice of cheese was halfway to his mouth when he stopped. He was caught, but he wasn't going down without a fight. “If you know how much we like it why don't you buy extra so you won't get mad when we open the package.” he countered.
“Because I've already tried that and you just eat two bricks of cheese instead of the one.” I answered.
“I do like cheese.” Max said in his defense.
Just then my husband Steven came into the kitchen. “What's all the yelling about?” he asked.
“I'm eating cheese.” Max said popping another piece in his mouth.
“STOP EATING THAT!” I yelled, then looked over at Steven “I was saving that for our company tomorrow.” I explained.
“You're going to have to go out and get more cheese now anyway.” Max reasoned. “So why can't I have this one?”
“He got a point.” Steven said as he shrugged his shoulders.
I looked at Steven, ready to hurt him too. “Because I wasn't planning on going to the grocery store again.” I complained. “Today was clean-the-house-to-get-ready-for-company day.”
I'm pretty sure the look on my face said plenty because it wasn't more than a moment before Steven suggested, “Why don't I run to the store for you?”
“Good idea.” Max said, popping another piece of cheese into his mouth. “You might want to get some more grapes too.”
“Make a list.” Steven said as he picked up the car keys. “You're coming with me Max.”
“Why do I have to come?” Max asked.
I'd already grabbed a paper and pen and had opened the refrigerator to do a quick inventory. “You ate the whipped cream too!” I cried. “What did you do, dip the grapes in it?” I asked.
“No.” Max looked confused. “I ate it by the spoonful. That stuffs good.”
“I can't believe you!” I slammed the refrigerator door closed and began going through the pantry.
“Where's the box of crackers I just bought.” I turned to stare at Max.
“Don't look at me!” he cried. “I didn't even know we had crackers.”
That's when my other son, Alex walked into the kitchen with his hand in the box of crackers that was tucked under his arm.
“Are you kidding me!” I took the box from him and shook it. “It's almost empty!”
Alex looked confused. “They weren't for us to eat?” he asked.
“They're for company.” Steven and Max said in unison.
Alex looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. “Sorry. I was hungry and that's all I could find to eat.”
“Maybe you should come with us.” Steven said as he took the list from me.
“Where are you going?”
“To the store.” Max said, then looked at me as I just stared at the three of them. “If any of us stays here I'm pretty sure she's going to explode.”

“I'll get my shoes.” Alex said as he backed out of the kitchen.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


It was time to call it a night and Steven walked over to our bedroom window to close and lock it
before putting on the heat.
“Why don't we just leave the window open tonight?” I asked.
“But it might rain.” he said.
“I was just watching the forecast and it's going to be a cool crisp night with no rain.”
Steven seemed to hesitate. “I don't know.” He still had his hand on the window.
“It's such a beautiful night out. Why waste the electricity?” I reasoned.
We'd spend so many months with the air conditioning on and we had some many months ahead of us with the heat that I just wanted one night of fresh air. But Steven didn't look convinced. “I guess we could try it for one night.” he said.
I smiled as I put an extra blanket on the bed. I could hear the rustling of the leaves. “Doesn’t that sound nice? All the pretty fall sounds will lull us right to sleep.”
Steven climbed into bed. “All I hear is a motorcycle gunning its engine.”
At first I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but once he'd mentioned it I could hear one way off in the distance. “Try to focus on the rustling of the leaves.” I said. “You'll be sleeping like a baby in no time.”
Steven is a pretty light sleeper so I can understand why he'd gotten used to blocking out the sounds with the air conditioning. But there comes a time when some fresh air needs to come into the house.
We were both sitting up in bed reading when one of the neighbor's dogs began to bark.
I tried to pretend I didn't hear it but Steven had put his book down and was staring at me so, it was hard to ignore him.
“I'm sure they'll bring him in soon.” I explained. “It's probably that last run of the night.”
“I'm not sleeping like a baby yet.” he complained as he closed his book, turned off his light and put a pillow over his head.
Once he seemed settled, I took the time to enjoy the fall sounds a bit more before I turned out my light and let the sounds lull me to sleep.
Halfway through the night we were both jolted out of our sound sleep.
“What's that smell?” I said as Steven jumped up to close the window. I felt as if I was choking.
“It's a skunk! Something must have scared it right outside our window.” he said.
We were both feeling sick as our room filled with the noxious odor.
Steven grabbed his pillow and a blanket. “I'm going in the living room.” he said.
“I'm right behind you.” I grabbed my pillow and blanket and headed down the hall.
“Well, you were right about one thing.” Steven said as he put on the heat and made sure all the windows were closed.
“What's that?”

“We are sleeping like babies.” He grabbed the television remote and began channel surfing. “Weren't our boys up every two hours for feedings when they were babies?”

Sunday, November 15, 2015


It was early morning and I was enjoying a cup of tea as I looked out my kitchen window and watched a gust of wind swirl a pile of leaves up into the air. They reminded me of a flock of starlings taking flight. Those swirling leaves also made me realize winter was coming. I pulled my robe closer around my neck as my husband, Steven came into the room.
“Good morning.” he said, as he grabbed a cup from the cabinet.
I pointed out the window, ready to show him the wind blown leaves, but when I opened my mouth to speak only a squeak came out.
Steven quickly looked over at me, “Are you sick?” he asked.
I cleared my throat, ready to tell him I felt fine. But when I went to speak again, still nothing came out but an odd sound.
I sighed as I put my cup on the counter and shook my head no. But that wasn't completely true. I had laryngitis. I didn't feel sick. No fever, no sore throat but losing my voice was something I'd had happen to me many times before.
“You're sick.” Steven stated as he slowly stepped away from me. “Are you staying home today?”
That was hard to decide. If history repeated itself, my voice would be gone for days. Did I really want to miss that much time at work? I looked at Steven as I shrugged my shoulders, then opened my mouth to give my answer, only to have my squeak come out.
“I have no idea what you just said.” Steven said. “Just shake your head yes or no.”
That's when Alex came into the room, “What's wrong with Mom?” he asked.
“She's sick.” Steven said.
I watched as Alex back away from me, “What's wrong with her?”
That's when my other son, Max walked into the kitchen. “Something's wrong with Mom?”
Alex wasn't sure there was enough distance between us so he backed up some more. “She's sick.” he said.
“What's she got?” Max asked.
“Why is everyone talking like I'm not here!” I yelled, but what came out was a bunch of tiny noises.
“What's that girl?” Max said with a laugh. “Timmy's in the well?”
Now all three of them were laughing and I was feeling like I had the plague.
“She's got laryngitis.” Steven answered for me.
“Is she contagious?” Alex wanted to know.
“She's got something.” Max answered. “I'd stay away from her.”
I was looking from one of them to the other wondering, once again, how I got into a household full of guys that made me feel like the den mother to a frat house.
“I'm still standing here!” I croaked.
“Did anyone understand what she just said?” Alex asked, then laughed.
“Nope.” Max said, then looked at his Dad who also shook his head, “Not a clue.” Steven answered.
They were all still laughing as I stomped off, frustrated.
“Do you think we pushed her too hard?” I could hear Alex ask Max and Steven as I went down the hall.
“I'm pretty sure we're on our own for dinner tonight.” Steven answered.
Now it was time for me to smile.
I was staying home from work, when I really didn't feel sick. I'd spend the day curled up on the couch, watching television and napping. Then someone was going to bring me dinner to my door.

It sounded like a perfect day for me, except for the fact that I couldn't tell anyone about it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


It was a beautiful fall afternoon, the sun was at it's peak and I was once again admiring all the color in my backyard.
My husband, Steven walked in the room and stood next to me. “What are you looking at?” he asked.
“The trees are so pretty this year.” I said, sipping my cup of tea. “But my favorite one is our tada tree!”
Steven looked confused. “Tada tree?”
I pointed to the little tree on the side of our yard. “All our other sassafras trees turn yellow and a few turn orange. But that little guy is the only one that turns a brilliant red! I just love it!” I gushed. “I'm so glad we decided not to cut him down.”
When we first moved into this house, two summers ago, we were in the back yard with our tree guy trying to decide which trees should stay and which ones needed to go. When we got to the tada tree it seemed a given that it would be taken out. It was small, crooked and a little too close to the fence. But something about the tree, maybe because it had so many reasons why it should have come down, became the very reason I felt it needed to be saved. “That one stays.” I said.
I remember how surprised and our tree guy was. “Really? Are you sure? Your yard is full of sassafras trees and that one doesn't look like it's in very good shape.”
“I like it.” I said, shrugging my shoulders. “It reminds me of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.”
Now Steven looked confused. “What?”
I shrugged my shoulders again. “Someone just needs to show it some love.”
Steven just sighed and shook his head, then moved on the the next tree and it's fate.
I smiled, oddly happy that my strange little tree was staying.
Now Steven and I were standing at the window admiring it's brilliant color. “I feel like every fall that tree is thanking us for keeping it.” I looked at Steven and smiled. “It's saying “TA-DA!” with that burst of red. Reminding us what we almost gave up.”
“Is that what it's saying?” Steven asked.
“I'm serious.” I said as I bumped him gently with my hip. “Sometimes you just have to follow your feeling.” I explained. “Clearly I was getting a good feeling from that tree, it needed to stay, and now it's thanking us in the only way it knows how.”
“So are you getting any special feelings for that dead pine?” Steven asked as he pointed to the pine right behind the bird feeder. “I was planning on having the tree guys back to take it down.” Steven started to laugh. “I just wanted to make sure you weren't getting a vibe that maybe it should stay.”
“Laugh all you want.” I cried. “But I also fought for the lilac bush you and the tree guy thought should go.” I placed my tea cup in the sink then looked back at Steven. “Remember how beautiful it was this spring?”

Steven nodded in agreement then shrugged his shoulders. “It was nice.” he admitted.

Friday, October 30, 2015


I was in an antique center with a friend when I happened to see something that I'd been wanting to get for years. After negotiating a price with the owner I grabbed my phone and called my husband, Steven.
“You're never going to believe what I just found!” I cried when he answered.
“Try me.” he said with a laugh.
“Remember Mom's Seth Thomas Cathedral clock she had on her mantel?”
“How could I forget that thing!” he said. “It chimed every fifteen minutes! It drove me nuts!”
“Really?” I was surprised. “I loved that clock.” Now I wasn't sure how to proceed. “I just happen to be standing in front of that very same clock right now.” I decided to test the waters, “I was thinking about buying it for our house.” I said.
“Is it chiming?” he asked.
“It is.” I said. “I had the owner wind it up for me.”
I remember, as a little girl, watching my Mom use her key to wind her mantel clock every few days. No one else was allowed to touch that key except her. I'm sure she was afraid we'd over wind the clock and break it.
But now I had a chance to own my very own mantel clock. I smiled as I looked back at the clock.
“Do you want me to hold the phone up to it so you can hear it chime?” I asked Steven.
“No thanks.” he said. “I remember what it sounded like.”
“It's one of my favorite childhood memories.” I told Steven. “I wasn't a very good sleeper when I was young. I can remember laying in bed at night listening to the chimes then waiting for the gong to strike telling me the hour.”
“Did it ever occur to you that maybe you weren't a good sleeper because of the clock?” Steven asked.
“What do you mean?”
“You never thought you were up because the clock was waking you every fifteen minutes?”
That stopped me for a moment. “I never thought about it.” I admitted. I looked back at the clock sitting on the shelf of the antique store mesmerized by pendulum as it swung back and forth.
“You sleep through the night now, don't you?” he asked.
“That's because between work and kids I'm so exhausted nothing could wake me.”
“I can guarantee if you buy that clock you'll be up every fifteen minutes listening to it.”
I was disappointed but I knew what he was saying was right. “I guess I'll pass on the clock.” I said.
“You made a good decision.” he said.
After I hung up I was still feeling a bit sad. The owner of the store came over to me. “Do you want me to take the clock up to the front desk for you now?” he asked.
“I'm sorry, I'm going to have to pass on it.” I said. “My husband talked me out of it. But thank you so much for winding it up for me.”

The owner shook his head. “Great.” he said sounding a bit disgusted. “Now I'm stuck listening to that thing chime every fifteen minutes for the next few days!”  

Sunday, October 25, 2015


I was on a road trip with my sister Donna. We'd just gotten into the car when she asked, “Did you step in something?”
I quickly checked the bottom of my shoes. “No why?”
“You don't smell that?”
“I don't smell anything.”
Donna shook her head sadly, “My nose is just so sensitive.” she said. As we drove out of her neighborhood we saw a man walking his dog, they were stopped on someone's lawn. “Now I know where that smell came from.” she said with disgust.
We continued on our trip. About twenty minutes later we were on the Thruway. “Do you smell macadam?” she asked.
“Macadam?” I took a deep breath in through my nose. “Nope! I don't smell a thing.”
Seconds later we were passing a crew of trucks paving one of the the lanes. “Wow!” I said. “I smell it now!”
Donna just shrugged her shoulders. “It's a curse having this nose.” she said. “Now all I can smell are oak leaves.”
“Well it's fall and we're on a leaf peeking trip so I'm not that impressed with that.” I said. “But how can you just smell oak leaves?” I asked.
She turned to look at me, tears streaming down her face. “Because I'm allergic to oak leaves.” She pointed to the box of tissues in the back seat. “Can you grab me one?” she asked. “I’m having a hard time with my allergy’s this year.”
I handed her some tissues and watched as she mopped her cheeks.
By now we'd reached out first destination, a farmer's market.
As soon as we opened the car doors, Donna was overwhelmed. “Wow, do you smell the pickles?”
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, “Nope. I don't smell anything.”
“It's a curse I tell you.” She said as we started to look at the different booths.
Sure enough there was a pickle booth. As I got closer I could smell the garlic pickles. “Oh my gosh, they smell so good.” I said. “I think I'll get a jar.”
By now Donna's nose had moved on. “Someone's selling lavender.” She said.
“Wow! It's like walking with a Bloodhound.” I said. Then changed my tone as if I were talking to a puppy. “Which way to the lavender, girl?”
“Very funny.” Donna cried but then pointed behind us, “It's that way.” she said sadly.
We got the the lavender booth and I was trying to choose between a satchel or the oil. Inhaling both I couldn't decide. “Which on do you like?” I asked my sister, handing her both to smell.
She held both up to her nose. “I'm sorry.” she whispered to me. “But now I'm smelling lavender and fish.”
“Ewww.” I cried, but backed into the isle to look at the other booths. Sure enough someone was selling fish a few booths down. “You're right again.” I said.
“It's a curse.” she said again.
By now we'd finished our shopping and were headed back to the car. “Alright, now I'm smelling oranges.” she said.
I looked around, but no one was selling citrus. “Sorry, you're wrong this time.” And had to smile. “It's apple season! No one is selling oranges!”
She pointed over to a little boy sitting at a table eating a bagged lunch. I looked over as the Mom was peeling an orange for him. “It's a curse.” she said again.
As we put our bags in the car and climbed in I closed my door and was ready to put on my seat belt Donna asked again. “Are you sure...
But I cut her off. “If you ask me to check my shoes again I swear...” I left the threat hanging. “Maybe you should check your shoes.”
Just then we both saw the dog at the same time. “Okay, you win.” I said. “What you have is a curse.”

“Told you.” she said.

Friday, October 16, 2015


I looked out my kitchen window and saw a large gray bird sitting on the top of my bird feeder. “What kind of bird is that?” I thought to myself but it was too far away for me to get a good look at it.
That's when my son, Alex walked into the kitchen. “What are you looking at?” he asked as he stood next to me looking out the window.
“Do you have any idea what kind of bird is sitting on top of the feeder?” I asked him as I pointed to the bird.
Alex looked outside, then looked back at me, “You're kidding, right?”
“Then I'm going to say a gray bird.”
“You're no help.” I said, as I looked back at the bird. He was perched on the top, not eating, but keeping all the other birds away from the feeder. “I thought it might be a Mourning Dove.” I added. “But they usually hang out under the feeder.”'
Alex didn't seem impressed. “Whatever you say.”
“See, this is why I want a pair of binoculars.” I said. “I'd be able to get a better look at him and be able to use my bird book to identify him.”
“We've talked about this before.” Alex said, in a warning tone. “You can't sit out on the deck with binoculars. The neighbors will think you're spying on them.”
“That's where I think you're wrong!” I argued. “I'd be looking up in the trees. Who's going to think I'm looking in their windows?”
“That bird on the feeder isn't up in a tree.” Alex tried to reason with me. “If you were standing in here with binoculars the neighbor behind us would think you were looking at them.”
I tried to ignore him as I pleaded my case further. “But if I'd had them last spring when the Cooper hawk made that nest in the top of our neighbors' tree I would have been able to watch the babies grow. Instead I had to be satisfied with just hearing them call for the next feeding.”
“Okay, maybe if you were only looking up in the trees.” Alex said.
“See?” I sounded hopeful.
“But you know if a bird were sitting on the neighbors windowsill you'd be trying to get a look.” Alex added.
I shrugged my shoulders. “Only if it were a bird I didn't recognize.”
“See?” Alex cried. “That's what I'm trying to stop. Do you want you're neighborhood nickname to be Creepy Binocular Lady?”
“I'm just warning you.” Alex said. “Because that's what your neighborhood nickname would be.”
“Wait, that reminds me. Have you seen Oven Mitts lately?” That's what we'd named a nice older gentleman who walks the neighborhood everyday. He got his name last winter when his giant mittens looked a lot like oven mitts. “I haven't seen him in a few days.”
“I saw him yesterday.” Alex said. “But that's what I'm taking about. We like Oven Mitts. We worry about him.”
“Of course we do.” I said. “He seems like a nice man.”
“Do you think the neighbors are going to feel the same way about Creepy Binocular Lady?”
“Creepy Binocular Lady.” I said under my breath. I shook my head in defeat. “Why do you do this to me?”

“Just trying to protect you.” He patted me on the shoulder as he headed for the refrigerator. “You're welcome.”

Saturday, October 10, 2015


Now that the weather is turning a bit chilly I'm back on spider watch. I walk around the house with a tissue in my hand just waiting for one to show up so I can squish it before it gets away and hides.
It was early Saturday morning when I heard my son Alex calling me. “MOM! There's a spider in here!”
I rushed down the hall, tissue in hand, and saw Alex standing outside his bathroom door. He pointed in the bathroom, up towards the ceiling. “That thing is huge!” he said.
I looked up to where he was pointing, and he was right, the spider was the size of a quarter.
“Why does everyone call me when there's a bug in the house?” I asked.
“Because you like bugs.” Alex said as he backed away to give me more room to work.
“What are you talking about?” I said as I inched my way into the bathroom, the tissue in my hand ready for battle. “I don't like bugs!”
“Sure you do.” he said as he closed the bathroom door a bit. “You're always talking about the great bug you just found outside, or looking them up on the internet if you don't recognize it.” It sounded as if he were trying to convince me.
“I think they're interesting, but only when they're outside.” I said as I slowly climbed up on the toilet seat, trying to sneak up on him. I was keeping my head down low so if he turned out to be a jumper he wouldn't land in my hair. “I don't want them living in my house touching my stuff or biting me!”
“Oh, my mistake.” Alex said through the crack in the door. “So, did you get him yet?”
By now, my husband Steven had come down the hall. “Get what?” he asked Alex.
“Mom's getting a spider in my bathroom.”
“Oh, she's good at that.” Steven said.
“Hey!” I called as the spider and I were now staring at one another. I moved my tissue to the left the spider moved to the left, when I moved to the right, so did he. “If either of you would like to come in here and help, that would be nice.”
Steven peeked in the door. “There really isn't enough room for two of us in there.” he said as he looked up at the spider I was about to squish. “Wow! He's huge!”
“I know!” I cried. I could feel my legs start to shake as the adrenaline coursed through me. My fight or flight response was kicking in and at that moment, flight was starting to win.
I finally decided to lunge at the spider at the exact same moment the spider decided to jump down from the ceiling and disappear from my sight.
I'm pretty sure the neighborhood could hear my scream as jumped down from the toilet seat and raced to the door. Because the door had only been left open a crack I ran right into it pushing it closed. Now I was in a very small space with a very mad spider. I kept screaming until I found the doorknob, at the same time looking over my shoulder picturing that huge thing coming after me. When I was safely back in the hall, leaning against the closed door I sadly looked at Steven and Alex.
“I didn't get him.” I admitted.
“I was going to take a shower.” Alex said.

“You'll have to use our bathroom.” I called over my shoulder as I went to the linen closet. I got a towel and placed it at the bottom of the bathroom door making sure he couldn't get through the crack by the floor. “We'll let him calm down a bit before I go back in there again.” I said as I sat down on the floor and waited for my heart to stop pounding against my chest and my legs to stop feeling wobbly.

Saturday, October 3, 2015


I was just getting all snuggled up on the couch wearing my sweatpants, tee shirt and an oversized sweatshirt – what I like to consider my pajamas – when Steven walked in wearing the same thing.
“I guess we both had the same idea.” he said as he sat down on the couch and picked up the television remote.
“I love this time of day.” I said as I pulled the afghan off the arm of the couch and wrapped it over my legs. “I've done everything I needed to do today and now I can relax for a few hours before it's time for bed.” I listened as the wind howled through the trees making me pull the afghan up closer to my chin.
“It's my favorite time of the day, too.” Steven said as he began surfing through the channels. “Do you know there are days when I actually get up in the morning and count how many hours I'm going to have to be in my work clothes before I can run home and change into my sweats and do just this?” he said.
“You're preaching to the choir.” I said as I adjusted the pillows to get more comfortable.
Steven finally settled on a program on the Discovery Channel, that's we'd only seen a few times before, when our son Alex walked into the room.
“Do you want to go get your sweats on and get ready to settle in for the night with us?” I asked him.
He looked at Steven and then back at me. “Do you two realized it's only three o'clock on a Saturday afternoon?”
“Sure we do. That's what Saturday afternoons are for.” I said, moving my feet to make room for him to sit. “I'm hoping to get in a good nap before I have to start making dinner.” I added.
Steven smiled over at me. “A nap sound great.”
Alex shook his head and laughed. “I'm going over to the mall to catch a movie with some friends.”
I listened to the wind howl outside. “Are you sure you want to go out in this weather?” I asked. “It's miserable out.”
“It's not that bad out.” he said as he held up my car keys. “Can I take your car? Mine's out of gas.”
“Sure. It's not like I'm going to be using it anytime soon.”
“I can see that.” he gave us both a kiss on the top of our heads before heading out the door.
I sat up and looked over at Steven. “Are we pathetic?” I asked.

Steven shrugged his shoulder, Maybe.” he said looking for another show to watch. “But at least we're warm and dry and pathetic together.”

Saturday, September 26, 2015


I grabbed the phone to make a quick call to my younger sister, Donna. After a few rings she picked up. “You're never going to believe what I was just asked?” I laughed.
“I couldn't even guess.” she said.
“Someone wanted to know what my twin was up to!”
“Oh, my gosh! I haven't heard that question in years!” she cried.
“I know!” I shouted. But the excitement soon faded from my voice. I paused for a moment before I continued. “Now, I have a question for you.”
“What?” she asked.
“Why did Mom want to make us look like twins?”
The reason I called my sister about this is because I don't have the photographic memory my sister seems to have. Donna could tell you what the cafeteria ladies' names were when we were in grammar school. She can remember what they served every Friday and where every grade sat to eat! I, on the other hand, can't tell you who my third grade teacher was.
“We're only fifteen months apart, and we were the same size and height for so many of those years, I just think it was easier for Mom to buy two of everything.” Donna explained. “She never dressed us exactly alike. Don't you remember she'd get us the same outfit in different colors?” I could tell she was trying to gently nudge my memory.
“I guess I kind of remember.” I said, but I was lying.
“Don't you remember those plaid skirts she got us? You had the green and I had the blue. We always wore them with the white ruffle shirts.”
“It's coming back a little.” I could see us wearing the plaid skirts as we ran down the driveway headed for the school bus.
“How about the A-line dresses she'd get us? Don't you remember the one with the sailboat on the front?” Donna asked.
“Oh my gosh!” I cried. “We both hated that one!”
“See? Now you're beginning to remember.” she said.
“Wow! I don't know how you do it!” I said. I had nothing but admiration for her memory.
“Well, actually I cheated on this one.” she admitted.
“How do you cheat on a memory?” I asked.
“Remember a few years ago I took Dad's old slides and had them made up into photo albums for all of us?” she said. “When you first called I went and got mine out. I have to admit, when I look back at pictures of us we did look a lot like fraternal twins.”
“So are you telling me that we can't blame Mom for playing the whole twin thing up?” I asked.
“We did look pretty cute dressed alike.” Donna admitted. “Go get your photo album out and see for yourself.”
“No, thanks.” I said. “I kind of like the memory I have Mom making us look stupid as twins, not cute.”
“Suit yourself.” Donna said. “But now that we're older I think you might appreciate how cute we looked as “twins”.
“Wait a minute!” I cried. “I remember now! That horrible sailboat dress we both hated! Wasn't I the one who always got stuck wearing it?”

Donna laughed. “See your memory's coming back!”

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Annamarie, Adrienne and I were sitting around after work discussing our day when I suddenly remembered I'd been wanting to ask Adrienne a question for some time.
“I saw your selfie on facebook.” I said to her.
“Which one?” she asked.
I had to laugh because she did take a lot of selfies. But I couldn't blame her, she had some sort of selfie magic, they all seemed to come out great. “You know the one of you paddle-boarding out on the river? It was a great shot!”
“Oh thanks!” she said and smiled. “That was a fun day.”
“So how do you do it?” I asked.
“Do what?” she asked looking a bit confused.
“Take an adorable selfie?” I asked. “With all of your other selfie's I just thought you took dozens and dozens of pictures until you got the right one. But when I saw the one of you out on the water I knew you couldn't possibly be taking that many shots. Not while you're balancing on a board hoping your phone doesn't fall in the water.”
She laughed again.
“So do you have a special selfie app that helps take a great picture?”
Now Annamarie jumped into the conversation. “So how do you do it?” she asked.
“Do what?”
“Take a great selfie!” we said together.
“I don't know!” Adrienne was still laughing. “You just hold the phone up and take a picture!”
I couldn't accept that answer. “I've tried that method but no matter what angle I hold my phone I seem to be looking up my nose!”
She started to laugh. “You need to hold the phone up higher.”
“I have!” I cried. “But when I hold it up too high the picture is of me squinting or it looks like I smell something bad!”
“Me too!” Annamarie agreed. “The squinting part.” she added, looking over at me, “Not the smelling something bad part.”
“Whatever.” I said shrugging my shoulders. “Can't you just show us how it's done?” I asked again.
“Are you serious?” Adrienne still sounded baffled.
“Yeah!” I felt as if I'd cornered her and was finally going to learn all her picture snapping secrets. “Just take a selfie now.” I dared her.
She shrugged her shoulders. “Alright what do you want me to take a picture of?” She was holding up her phone scanning the room with it.
“Anything you want.” I was watching her, thinking I should be taking notes, but so far she wasn't doing anything I hadn't already done myself. Her arm was out as far as it would go, the angle of her face wasn't any different then what I'd done so, now I was beginning the get confused.
“So you hold the phone up, look for the background you want and snap the picture.” She smiled, pushed the button and snapped a shot of herself. “It's not that hard to do.” she said as turned the phone around and showed us her perfect selfie.
I stared at that perfect picture for some time. “That's just great.” I finally said sadly as I looked at Annamarie. “I don't know about you, but I felt a lot better about myself when I thought she was taking dozens of pictures and just posting the best one!”
Annamarie nodded in agreement.

“Now I feel like I'm just a complete selfie failure!” I looked at Adrienne still holding her phone out to me, her perfect selfie shot still staring back at me. “Thanks for that!” I said as sarcastically as possible.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Dinner was over and I was just putting the last glass in the dishwasher when my son Alex came into the kitchen with his car keys in his hand.
“I was cleaning off my dresser and I found these.” he said, holding out two gift cards to the bookstore. “I'm going over to see if I can find anything. Do you want to come?”
“Really?” I quickly shut the dishwasher door and hit the start button. “I'd love to go! Just let me grab my shoes and purse and I'll meet you at the front door.” I raced to my bedroom. I couldn't believe he'd just asked me to go with him. He didn't need me to drive him to the store, and he didn't need me to pay for his books. In fact, he didn't need me to go at all. He was asking me because he didn't mind spending time with me. I was almost giggling as I grabbed my shoes and purse and raced to the front door.
“I'm ready!” I called, trying not to sound winded.
“Wow, that was fast.” Alex said as he opened the door for me.
“I didn't want to give you a chance to change your mind.” I said as I followed him out to his car.
“What?” Alex looked confused as he opened his driver's side door looking over the roof of the car at me.
“Nothing.” I said shrugging my shoulders, trying not to sound so pathetic.
As we drove to the bookstore we chatted and laughed, catching up with all our recent news. I've always loved driving anywhere with Alex because the car is where we seem to have some of our best conversations.
Once we got to the store we went our separate ways to shop. Several minutes later, Alex was at my side, holding a book. “Are you ready to go?” he asked.
I had two books tucked under my arm and was in the middle of reading the back cover of another. “Sure.” I said as I put the last book back on the shelf and headed to the checkout counter.
“I can wait if you're not done.” he said.
“I'm finished.” I said, holding out my two books. “If you let me, I'd spend hours in a bookstore.”
Alex laughed. “I didn't want to spend that much time here so I guess we are done.”
Once we were at the counter Alex held out his gift cards. “Did you want to put your books on this?” he asked.
I was overwhelmed. “Those are your gift cards.” I said as I reached for my own wallet. “I'll pay for mine.”
“I don't mind.” he said.
“I know you don't, but still...” I was speechless. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have such a nice guy for a son. I was pretty sure that if he held the bookstore door open for me on our way out I was going to burst into tears. So, I made sure we each got a door handle on the way out.
As we got back into the car I didn't want our outing to end. “Do you want to go for some ice cream?” I asked.
“Sure.” he said. “I brought my wallet. How about it being my treat?”

I couldn’t answer right away. I was back to feeling like I was about to cry.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


I was sitting out on my deck enjoying the quiet when Alex came out to sit. “It's perfect out here.” I said to him as he sat down in the chair next to me. “So nice, now that the heat wave finally broke.”
He didn't get a chance to answer before a bird landed on the railing near us. “Whoa, what is wrong with that thing?” he asked as he pushed his chair back a bit getting further away from it.
“It's a blue jay.” I said although I could see why he was having trouble recognizing it. It's body was the coloring of a blue jay but it's head was completely bald.
“That doesn't look like any blue jay I've ever seen.” he said when all of a sudden it cried it's distinctive screech and flew away. “What's wrong with it?” he asked.
“It's just molting.” I explained. “They do that at this time of year.” I got quiet for a moment. “Do you hear that?” I asked.
Alex got quiet. “Hear what?”
“Exactly!” I said. “You don't hear the birds as much this time of year. That's because they go quiet for a week or two while they're getting new feathers or getting ready for their winter migration.”
Alex looked at me, than out at the tree line of our yard. “So how come this is the first time I'm seeing a bald bird?” he asked.
“That's a good question!” I said as I sat back further in my chair ready to explain this to him. “Most of the time they lose their feathers gradually so you'd never notice the molting. But once in a while you get one that looses all the feathers on his head at once.” I pointed in the direction of where the bald blue jay flew. “That's when you get a bald guy like that in your yard.”
Alex thought about it for a moment. “How do you know these things.” he asked.
I had to smile. He seemed interested, so I didn't want to lose him while I peppered him with more facts. “It's mostly the jays and cardinals that loose their feathers like that.” I said. “But all the birds change their feeding habits in the early fall.” I looked over at where I have my bird feeder set up. “I should probably fill the feeder now that nesting is over and they're getting ready for migration.”
Alex shook his head in confusion. “But how do you know all these things?” he asked again.
I paused for a moment before answering him. I so wanted to tell him that I'm just a wealth of information when it comes to the nature world. That I've been studying up on birds for years and I was ready to share this knowledge with him as we spent time together out on the back porch. But, I knew I couldn't lie.
I shrugged my shoulders, “Until yesterday I didn't even know birds molt.” I admitted. “But that freaky bald zombie bird landed on our deck yesterday and scared me to death!” I said. I rocked back in my chair again. “ I just Googled, bald birds, and an article about molting came up.” I looked over at him. “The migration thing was in the same article,” I shrugged my shoulders again. “Figured while I had you here you'd want to hear about that too.”

Alex got up from his chair shaking his head and laughing, “Freaky bald zombie bird.” he said, “Yeah, you're all about nature.” he said as he walked back in the house

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


We had been living in our new house for over a year and yet whenever I walk by my son Alex's room, I still see moving boxes stacked in the corner.
“When are you going to finish unpacking?” I asked for the hundredth time.
Alex shrugged his shoulders while he worked at his computer. “I don't seem to be missing anything I need.” he answered.
“So these boxes can be thrown out?” I said hopefully.
“No.” He stopped working and turned around to look at the boxes I was standing next to. “I just need to go though them.”
“If you do it now I can help you.” I said. The hope in my voice was unavoidable.
Alex sighed and came over. “I only have about five minutes before I have to get back to work.”
I couldn't believe my good luck. “No problem!” I cried as I ripped open the tape on the first box.
“But I don't need any help.” he said as he showed me to the door.
I stood outside the closed door and could hear him working on unpacking. Twenty minutes later he called me to come back in. “Finished!” he said as I saw two boxes tapped shut and waiting in the middle of him room while a garbage bag, filled to overflowing, was next to it. “Garbage, attic.” he said pointing to the two piles.
I quickly looked at the garbage bag with posters sticking out of the top. “You don't want to hang these up?” I asked as I started to pull one out.
“Nope.” he said pushing it back into the bag. “I think I'm past the poster stage.”
I looked at his bare walls and clapped my hands together gleefully. “Do you want to go out and look for some wall art?” I asked.
“Wall art?”
“You know, a painting or two.” I said as I moved around his room mentality taking in the size of frames we should be looking for.
“Paintings of what?” he asked.
“Whatever you want.” I was beginning to get even more excited, wondering what his grown up room was going to look like. “What would you call your style?” I asked. “Are you more interested in modernism, impressionism or maybe even surrealism?” I suggested. '“My tastes are more towards Impressionists but, I'm completely open to anything you're interested in.”
Alex thought about it for a moment, looking around his crowded room. “I'm going to say minimalist.” he said.
I looked at all his guitars, computers, books and a ton of other stuff all over his room. “Are you kidding me, you're the exact opposite of a minimalist!” I cried. “You're closer to a guitar and computer hoarder!”
“But I'm going with that for my walls.” he said as he looked back at his computer. “I really have to get back to work.” he said, “My project is due at the end of the week.”
“We can go out this weekend.” I cried as he gently steered me to his door. “You might be surprised with what we find.”
“I've decided I'm a wall minimalist, Mom.” He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek before slowly closing the door in my face.
“How about a mirror?” I called out, loud enough for him to hear me through the closed door. “Everyone needs a mirror!” I cried.
“I use the one in the bathroom.” he called back.
“But that only let you see from the waist up.” I called back.
“I can look down and see the rest of me.” he answered.
That stopped me for a moment. How could anyone not need a full length mirror?
It was moments like these that once again reminded me that I lived in a house with three guys. I was never going to understand how their minds worked.

I walked away shaking my head. “Wall minimalist.” I mumbled to myself. But I had to laugh at how much I loved his quick witted mind.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Friends of ours were going away for the last weekend of the summer and asked Steven and I if we would fish sit for them.
“Sure. What kind of fish is it?” I asked.
“It's a Betta.” she answered.
“Oh, we've had a few of those.” I said. Glad to know it was one of the disposable kinds of fish and not a tropical high-maintenance kind. “It'll be fun having a fish in the house again.” I said.
I wasn't home when the fish got dropped off but I arrived soon after.
“Where do you want to keep the fish?” Steven asked. “I’ve got it in my office right now.”
“How about on the kitchen table” I suggested “It might be kind of fun to use it as a centerpiece.”
“I don't know if that's the best place for it.” Steven said. “You won't be able to plug in its tank.”
“What?” I went into Steven's office. I couldn't believe the beautiful tank this fish was in. It had to hold at least two gallons of water and the reason it needed to be plugged in was because it had its own filtering system. Inside there was a pretty red Betta, it's elegant long tail and fins helping it glide its way through a castle's windows. The castle, in fish scale was about three stories tall.
“Oh my gosh, they must really love this thing.” I cried as I looked over at Steven. “Our Bettas always lived in a little bowl that held about a cup and a half of water and they swam around in a tiny circle. The only time the water got changed was when you wouldn't see the fish anymore!”
“You might want to take better care of this one.” Steven said as he handed me the fish food along with its care instructions.
 I looked over the two types of food it needed daily. I held up the first container. “This one's just to keep its color bright.” I said, then looked at the other container. “And this one has an added ingredient to lower any stress it might be feeling!”
“You might want to give him some of that food right now.” Steven said, pointing to the tank. “He's looking a little stressed.”
Steven started to laugh.
“It's not funny!” I cried. “What if we can't keep him alive for the next week?”
“What do you mean 'we'?” Steven asked. “There should really be only one person in charge of feeding him so he doesn't get overfed. I think that person should be you.”
“Why should it be me?”
“I didn't want to tell you this, but when he was first dropped off I could tell right away that we weren't going to get along.”
“What?” I looked at him, confused.
“He kept giving me bad looks.” Steven said as he shrugged his shoulders. “I'm not going to take that kind of attitude from any fish.”
I looked at Steven for a moment. “That's what you came up with so I'd have to be the one to take care of the fish?”

“Short notice.” he said “That's all I've got.”

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Once again I was out on my back porch first thing in the morning, enjoying my cup of tea when my son Alex came out to say, “Good morning.”
“You're not going to believe the morning I've had already.” I said to him as he sat down next to me.
“Has it been good?”
“More then good!” I said in a hushed tone as I pointed to the hummingbird at the feeder. “He's the fifth spirit animal I've seen this morning.”
“Spirit animal?”
“You know, when an animal comes around and does something unusual.” I explained. “It's a way for someone who's passed to let you know they're thinking about you.”
Alex looked at the hummingbird, then back at me, with a confused looked on his face. “First of all, he's a bird.”
“Still an animal.” I said.
“Second, he's eating out of a feeder you filled with sugar water so he'd come here.” Alex looked back at me. “How's that unusual?”
“I don't mean when he's eating.” I said. “He's been landing on the railing of the deck just looking at me before he even goes near the feeder.” I explained. “That's the unusual part.”
“He's probably just wondering if you'd changed the sugar water lately so he doesn’t get poisoned.” Alex answered with a laugh.
“Very funny.” I looked over at the two butterflies fluttering by. They landed on the back of one of the chairs. “Now how do you explain that?” I said pointing at them. “They've been hovering around here all morning, too.”
Alex looked over past the deck and pointed to the Black-Eyed Susan. “Didn't you say that butterflies love those flowers?”
“Yes, but they aren't on the flowers.” I argued “They're just hanging around on the deck next to me!”
Alex just nodded but didn't say anything.
I was beginning to get frustrated that he was doubting all the visits I'd been having.
Just then a dragonfly landed on the table next to us. “There!” I cried. “He's been around all morning and I don't have a feeder or plant that he likes!” I said. “So that proves it!”
Alex just shook his head. “It only proves that we have a lot of things flying in our backyard and landing on our deck.”
“I can't believe you won't see the beauty in knowing a loved one is stopping by to see you.” I said, shaking my head in disappointment. “What animal would you have to see to finally believe someone from your past wanted you to know they were thinking about you?”
Alex didn't take very long to think about it. “A sea turtle.” he stated.
“Wow.” I said as I thought about it. “That's pretty rare, I don't think I've ever seen one except in an aquarium.”
“No, not in an aquarium.” he corrected. “I mean if I saw one in the back yard. That's when I'd believe someone from my past was trying to say 'Hi'.” Alex got up to go inside but he stopped to pat me on the top of the head. “I'm a realist.” he reminded me then leaned down and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. “But I do love hearing about the fantasy world you like to live in.”
As I heard the kitchen door close I couldn't help but feel like I was seven years old again and someone had just told me there was no Santa Claus.

I still don't believe that one either!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Steven and I were at a “Cousins Party' and while we were sitting in the backyard catching up on the family news I couldn't help but notice all the youngest cousins running around having fun.
I was feeling nostalgic, missing when my guys were that little as I watched the group of guys, fourth grade and younger, throwing the football to each other. Than they raced to the front of the house to play basketball before coming back to watch a game of horse shoes. They were just a whirlwind of motion. It was exactly how I remember my boys being at that age and I couldn't help but smile.
But then I noticed the little girl cousins. They were all first grade and younger walking around the back yard each holding an umbrella to shade themselves from the sun and humming songs. I wasn't sure what they were playing until one of them came close enough for me to peek under the umbrella. That's when I notice the blue eye shadow all over her forehead. I looked over at her Mom, who was sitting next to me, “Is someone doing face painting?” I asked her.
“No they're practicing putting on make-up.” she answered.
Now, I raised boys, so I missed the make-up phase.
But, I was also raised by a Mom who never wore make-up, except for some red lipstick when she wanted to feel like she'd gone to some trouble. I never even saw make-up until I was in middle school.
I wasn't quite sure how I felt about little girls and make-up at this age. But then another one of little girls came by and I was caught off guard when I realized she'd done a pretty good job with her application. She'd chosen a pretty bold color palette but the eye make-up was where it was suppose to be and so was the lipstick and blush. I was impressed.
“She did a pretty good job.” I said to her Mom.
“She loves playing with make-up.” She answered. “She's not allowed to go out wearing it but around the house,” she shrugged her shoulders. “What's the harm?”
As everyone moved on to another conversation I could help but flash back to my first experience with makeup. It was middle school and it had been a nightmare!
I always wondered how those girls from middle school, who came in looking fabulous from the very first day wearing makeup, did it. They made all the rest of us look like recent graduates of Clown School. I'd always assumed they had some gift at putting it on. But now I realized it was because they'd been able to practice years before it was acceptable.
Maybe my Mom hadn't made the right decision about the no make-up rule. Maybe I still wouldn't be struggling with trying to get mascara on without accidentally painting my contact lens. Maybe I would know the difference between wearing eye shadow in a cat's eye shape or a smudge. Maybe I would have cared if I'd just started earlier!
I couldn't believe I was actually looking at a five year old at this very moment and wondering how she got her lipstick on so perfectly. I was just about to ask her if she used lip liner first when I realized: I was about to ask a FIVE year old for make-up tips!

That's when I quickly got up from the table. “I'm going in to get a drink.” I announced. “Does anyone else want anything?”

Saturday, August 22, 2015


It was first thing in the morning and I was standing out on my deck, holding a bag of peanuts. My son Alex was already outside and watched as I started to crack open a shell.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Feeding the chipmunk.” I laid the half opened nut on the deck and sat down in the the chair next to Alex, taking a sip of my tea.
“Why do you leave the shell on?” he asked.
“Because it's so cute when he sits and nibbles on the shell until he can get to the nut.” I answered, then lowered my voice. “He's coming...” I whispered.
Alex and I watched as he scurried over to the nut, sat and looked at us for a moment then took the nut in his little paws and began biting at the shell. When he had the nut he dropped the shell on the ground and stuffed the nut in his cheek and scurried away.
“Isn't that the cutest thing you ever saw.” I said to Alex as I went over to pick up the empty shell and replaced it with another half opened peanut.
“How many times do you feed him?” Alex asked.
I sat back in my chair and waited for my little friend to come back. “I don't know.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Two three times a day.” I said. I could see my little guy peeking at me through the fence. “He's on his way back.” I whispered.
He wasn't as cautious as he was before and instead ran straight for the peanut and began breaking open the shell.
“You know once you start feeding him you can't stop.” Alex warned.
“Why would I stop feeding him?”
“If you forgot just one day, or we go away, he's going to do some damage.” Alex added.
We both watched as my little chipmunk ran around the deck looking for other nuts.
“What kind of damage can a little guy like that do?” I said as we watched him jump on top of the chair next to me then up on the tabletop right next to my tea mug before jumping back down and running back to his little burrow.
“Wow! He's getting bold.” I said as looked at my tea mug and wondered if he'd brushed against it. I decided not to take the chance and got up to go make a new cup. “Maybe I should rethink feeding him so much.” I added.
“Too late for that now.” Alex said as he pointed to the top of the stair where my little guy was now sitting and staring at us.
“You've had enough.” I said to him. “It's time to go home.”
Alex looked over at the non-moving rodent. “I don't think he wants to listen to you.”
“Maybe feeding him on the deck was a mistake.” I said as I picked up the bag of peanuts along with my tea mug and headed for the door.
“Are you thinking that now?” Alex was right behind me. As we went inside the chipmunk was right there staring at us though the glass door.
“Wow, why is it that if I'd seen him looking at me a few minutes ago I would have thought it was adorable.” I said. “Now he's kind of creeping me out.”
“That's because you finally realize you've created a monster.” Alex said over his shoulder as he headed down the hall to his room.
“How am I suppose to fix this?” I called out to him.
“I don't know?” Alex called back. “But I'd think of something quick before he chews through the siding and you find him sitting on our counter waiting to be fed.”
I looked back at the chipmunk, who was still staring at me through the door. “You're scaring me.” I whispered to him.

He didn't seem to care.