• Blessings,  My Sister Has Mad Skillz,  Reflections on Parenting

    Shutterfly Kills Me on a Weekly Basis.

    Shutterfly’s masters of marketing send regular emails with subject lines that say “Your Memories from This Week *insert number here* Years Ago.” I love looking at the old pictures they send, but boy oh boy, do they ever remind me of how time flies. Take these pictures, for example. My sister snapped them thirteen years ago this week. It feels like a whole lifetime ago. I miss those little boys sometimes, but also I can hardly remember what life was like—other than BUSY—when they were that age. Additionally, I miss that dog so very much but also I can hardly remember what life was like when we had a dog…

  • How To,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz

    An Amateur’s Guide to Arranging Flowers

    Here’s something you don’t know about me, after two billion years of blogging (I know; I can’t believe I left a stone unturned either): I adore arranging flowers into vases or other containers. ADORE. As in LOVE. It dates back to the late 1980’s when I was an eighteen-year-old newlywed, working at LeeWards Craft Store. I worked in the custom frame shop, which was located adjacent to the floral department. Two women who worked in Floral, Judy and Cherry, were much older than me–probably my age NOW–and very maternal towards me. I loved hanging out with them and was fascinated by what they did. They stood at the counter day…

  • Amazing People,  Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things,  I'm Apparently Old.

    This Is A Recording.

    I’ve been listening to a piece of my childhood this week. I’ll get to that in a minute. First, I want to talk about how it’s a truly special thing when an entertainer can impact one generation of people in a positive way. Two generations? Even better. Three? One word: WOW. I have been watching the new Netflix Original show “Grace and Frankie”, which stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Err, “WATCHED”, since they released the entire season at once and I devoured it. Past tense. Anyway, I was sitting there watching it one afternoon and J, who is twenty, walked into the family room and suddenly stopped as his…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings,  Childhood Memories

    To Grandma’s House I Go

    I’ve been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately, especially as I toss around ideas for the essay I will write for this year’s Listen To Your Mother show in Chicago. Memories of her come and go, and sometimes she hangs around in my brain for an extended period of time. I don’t mind at all; in fact, I rather enjoy it. My Grandma was a huge presence in my young life. We visited her house all the time, and she spoiled her grandkids like crazy. She was one of the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met in my life. I’m often in awe of the fact that she…

  • Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  Family Fun,  I'm Apparently Old.,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz,  Queen of Denial

    Six Of One, Half Dozen Of The Other

    I have always been very proud of the way I can remember things. From dates to pop culture factoids to details about all kinds of things, remembering is one of my greatest skills. Well, it was. As I’ve grown older (and frankly, more dependent on Google Calendar), my memory bank is shutting down a little more often than it used to. I like to justify it by saying that since I’m older I have more information that has to be held in there and so it’s only natural that some of the little things would fall through the cracks, but I don’t necessarily believe that. It’s just my way of…

  • Family Fun,  Reflections on Parenting

    Hakuna Matata Means “No Worries As Long As You Get Those Old VHS Tapes Transferred To Digital Files”.

    Jim and I have hours and hours (and hours) (and hours) of VHS tape recordings of the boys from the time D was born until J was about four. That’s about when our old video camera, which was about the size of the ones they use for reporters in the field these days, conked out. We never replaced it. The first two or three tapes are full of coverage that consists only of newborn D just laying there while I talk to him: really exciting stuff. The last time we had a VCR and I was able to watch, about five years ago, I found it extremely obnoxious and annoying…

  • Childhood Memories

    Member Of The Rotary Club

    I will never, EVER get used to seeing Adam Ant and Duran Duran vinyl albums in antique shops. It nauseates me to see my youth tossed into plastic milk crates right next to the milk glass, art deco costume jewelry, and old, dusty pillbox hats. That said, coming across a “vintage” rotary dial phone–also from my youth–next to all of that same stuff last month didn’t really bother me. Go figure. Maybe it’s because I didn’t hang posters of rotary dial phones on my bedroom walls, and I certainly didn’t spend every waking moment swooning as I watched rotary dial phone videos on MTV. It occurred to me when I…

  • Childhood Memories,  I'm Apparently Old.

    Lilacs

    For the better part of the 70s, my family lived in a duplex in the south suburbs of Chicago. I remember lots of moments from the carefree years spent there: I had a very happy childhood and thinking back on those days always makes me smile. I don’t know if the neighborhood was “full of kids”, though I had several good friends who lived practically within arms’ reach. One of my best friends at the time lived a few doors down, one lived in the other half of our duplex, and two others lived in the two duplexes behind us, across an expansive lawn that ran behind the houses like…

  • I'm Apparently Old.,  Random Thoughts,  Reflections on Parenting

    The Other Side

    I had just turned eighteen the month before Jim and I were married. When I moved to Norfolk, Virginia–where he was stationed for sea duty–we rented a townhouse off of the Naval base in a military family-only subdivision. That neighborhood proved to be something wonderful for me, a much-younger-than-average new bride whose husband would be going out to sea for weeks and months at a time. In the first four years we were married, he was gone for more than two-and-a-half years. It was okay, though. Even though it was difficult to be apart at the time (this was before cell phones and internet!), my being left at home alone…

  • Childhood Memories,  Family Fun

    Disney Magical Moments

    I went to see “Disney On Ice” with my sister over the weekend. The advantage of attending a show like that without bringing children along–besides the lack of pressure to buy overpriced souvenirs and being among the first people out of the parking lot when it’s over because you don’t have to worry about getting anybody into a carseat–is that it’s the perfect environment for people-watching and taking in the magical moments of total strangers. We saw countless little girls dressed as Disney princesses, all sparkly from head to toe and brimming with excitement over, well, everything. Two sisters, about four and six years old, were leaning on the guardrail…