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!