• Childhood Memories,  My Mom Has Mad Skillz

    My Earliest Political Memory Was That Time I Got In Trouble.

    Just look at that eight year old up there. She looks like she means business, doesn’t she? She was me. Well, she is me. I thought it would be fun to tell the (very) short and sweet story of the very first memory I have that involves politics. Back in 1976 when I was obviously trying to be some kind of supermodel, there was more talk than usual about America and politics. Jimmy Carter and incumbent Gerald Ford were running their presidential race, and we were also celebrating the Bicentennial—the 200th anniversary of the First Continental Congress, which led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A year-long wave…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings,  Childhood Memories,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    The Best Kind of Quilt

    Just like so many others in my family, my Aunt Nancy was an extremely creative person. She was an avid knitter and enjoyed lots of other crafty pursuits, but one in particular eventually took the lead and became her favorite: making quilts. She started quilting in the early 1980s, completing her first quilt in 1983. After that there was no turning back. For nearly four decades she pieced and sewed, gifting her creations to lucky friends and family members like me (I received a quilt for my college dorm room as well as baby quilts for my sons). For as long as I can remember, if she wasn’t holding court…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Family Fun,  Reflections on Parenting

    Photographic Evidence

    If you know me even just a little bit you are aware that when I take on a project I truly put everything into it (“go big or go home” and all that jazz). While I can annoy myself along the way, I’m rarely disappointed at the end. In fact, Jim reminded me of that just last week. I’m making a Blurb book (just for me) out of all the letters I wrote ahead of my fiftieth birthday last year and decided to add photos. The problem was going to be finding what I needed: like needles in a house-sized haystack. I was talking to Jim about stopping my hunt…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Childhood Memories,  Friends,  Music,  Travels

    My Name Is Melisa and I’m a Born Again Fanilow.

    When I was a kid in the 70’s, Barry Manilow was totally my jam. He was the first artist I truly loved; I collected his record albums (real vinyl ones, kids!) and played them so much I’m surprised the needle didn’t wear the grooves down. Is that even possible? Never mind. I was a Child Fanilow. Exhibit A: When I was 7 or 8 I was taking ballet classes every week. One week, my ballet teacher announced that we had an upcoming Parents’ Night and we were each tasked with picking a song–any song of our choosing!–and choreographing a routine for that special evening. I chose Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” and…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Motivation

    That’s Life.

    Last week I was lying in a hospital bed, waiting to be wheeled down the hall for a colonoscopy (one of the fringe benefits of turning fifty, woo hoo!). I “busied myself,” if you can call it that, by visually absorbing my immediate environment. I noted the pastel plaid curtain around my little area, the machines with wires behind my head, the labels on the cabinets, and finally, the ceiling. Looking at ceilings in doctors’ offices and hospitals is something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl and had to see my pediatrician for any reason, I used to look at the…

  • Amazing People,  Childhood Memories,  Music

    Live.

    Today we finally saw “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the film about Freddie Mercury and the origin and subsequent climb of the band Queen. The part I was most looking forward to in the movie was the end, because the filmmakers recreated Queen’s iconic performance at Live Aid, the epic 1985 concert that was held at both Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia to raise money for the relief of Ethiopian famine. I thought it would be cool to see it “again.” In fact, it was incredible and I cried from the time Freddie (played by Rami Malek) took the stage at Wembley until the very end of the movie.…

  • Childhood Memories,  Random Thoughts,  Travels

    They Put the Umbrella in Umbrella Drinks

    Since being on Maui, I’ve had a few umbrella drinks (to say the least). The other night I wondered out loud where those umbrellas came from. They’ve been around forever, I know. I used to use them with my Barbie dolls! i told Jim I was going to research the history of those colorful parasols, but as it turns out someone already did the work for me: I love when that happens! Are you as curious as I am? Check this out. 

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Writing

    The Lost Craft

    Did you know I used to be a crafting wizard? It’s a fairly well-known fact among those who know me that I’m very creative and know my way around a wide variety of supplies from any arts and crafts store, but most of the friends who I’ve met in the past decade have no idea how big my obsession was. (I did craft shows, for goodness’ sake!) I come by it honestly; a love of creating with our hands runs in the family. I vividly remember following my mom into Lee Wards Craft Store when I was very young. At every visit she picked up the supplies she needed for…