Get the Picture
NEW Under a crisp, sunny summer sky, serious faces study programs, debate odds and circle sure winners in the racing form. There are a few minutes to post as my family mills around, each one with an ink pen at the ready.
Reeling in the Deals
NEW The saying goes: It’s OK to be thrifty, but not cool to be cheap. It’s a delicate distinction to draw for this daughter of a single mother who didn’t buy anything unless it was on sale or she had a coupon for it. Glorious was my mom’s smile on those rare occasions when she managed to get both ends of the deal working—on sale and with a coupon. The ride home from the store was happy for a then second-grade girl who may have scored new Barbie clothes, Scooter Pies for her lunch pail or a shiny pair of black patent leather shoes.
From the Kitchen of…
You're Embarrassing Me!
Most people think teenagers worry about getting a date to the prom, scoring a goal in soccer or passing calculus. Not true. What keeps teens up at night is wondering when the next mom-sponsored embarrassing moment will arrive. It’s easy to be a source of chagrin to my kids. In the right setting, everything I do (including breathing the same air) can be considered embarrassing. Simple reminders about taking a jacket when it’s cold, asking what the movie is rated or the name of a new girlfriend can qualify for sincere eye rolls.
How My Garden Grows
Like many moms, I took time to garden with my kids, Shawn, Jake and Seth. We planted sunflowers in early spring and watched them skyrocket past each young boy's head by the time summer arrived. I've tried daffodils, tulips and sweet peas--all flowers guaranteed to grow easily for the novice gardener. I also dabbled in spearmint and basil. No luck. I have had great success with rosemary, but I think that's due to nature, not my nuture. My healthiest plant is silk.
I used to brag about my success in growing shamrocks. Then the neighborhood florist told me they were really weeds. That's when I gave up embracing horticulture with any passion. I've seen Ireland's 40 shades of green and my thumb doesn't qualify for even the lightest hue. The true gardener in our family is my husband Nick.
Look Son, No Hands
NEW With a controller in one hand and a spindly book of directions in the other, I’d spent the better part of Saturday morning failing to unlock the secrets of motion-controlled video games. Touted as a great way to infuse aerobic exercise into our daily routine, I’d bought the system for my husband, Nick’s birthday so we could bowl, river raft or score a goal in the comfort of our home.
I pushed every button and highlighted every TV screen option. No luck. Nick tried to help, but we both grew up in the generation that thought Pong and Space Invaders were futuristic. As I coached, Nick stood in front of the system’s motion-detector, resembling an amateur airman flagging down planes. He swung his right arm up, then his left arm out. He might have gotten a bit of a workout, but none of his gyrations got the console to perform.
Piecing Things Together
Forrest Gump compared life to a box of chocolates. I’m a chocolate lover (especially when it’s covering nougat), but I disagree. I think life is more like a box of jigsaw puzzle pieces—1,000 lopsided segments, odd-shaped bits and unfamiliar parts. Some pieces are smooth and easy to recognize; others are downright jagged and unwieldy. You know it’s going to take awhile to figure out which side is up. Like many moments in life, puzzles start out a jumbled mess, but with consistent effort, piece-by-piece, it all comes together. Fun, frustration and unexpected surprises intertwine as the fuzzy picture comes into focus.
Dad's A Catch!
Earlier today--5 a.m., to be exact--I found myself sitting at our kitchen table, both hands curled around a lukewarm mug of coffee. My sons, Shawn, Jake and Seth had just left with their dad for a day of deep-sea fishing. For some crazy reason, I felt the need to get up early and see them off.
My quartet of fellas--donning jackets, gloves and baseball hats and carrying a tackle box full of fishhooks—looked somewhere between sleepy and joyful as they walked out the front door. An ocean adventure on the horizon. A day on the high seas is not my idea of a great time. The closest I’m willing to get to a body of water is a spa pedicure, like the one I indulged in this afternoon. Thankfully, none of my hobbies involve waking up before the sun rises, taking seasick pills or inhaling the scent of fresh mackerel.
The Best of Buddies
1,000 Things to Teach before They Graduate
Seth, the youngest of my trio of sons, graduates from high school this month. Mixed in with the pride of his accomplishments comes the reality that I’m being demoted. The title that I’ve coveted for so many years – through measles and bowl haircuts, Little League and Halloween carnivals -- will change.