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Friday, May 22, 2015
  • Tuesday, May 19, 2015 10:35 PM

    Last weekend, we celebrated my sister’s college graduation. She chose to pursue a degree later in life, while working and raising two daughters on her own. To say I am proud of her is an understatement.

    Our cousin threw a wonderful party, using all the special graduation decorations. Banners, balloons, streamers, and shiny foil confetti shaped like caps and diplomas. My seven-year-old son sat on the floor, scooped up a handful of the tiny confetti shapes and exclaimed, “Look at all these icons!”

    He felt a little sheepish when all of us middle-aged folk started laughing, but I explained to him, “Don’t be embarrassed, buddy. They do look like icons! We just never realized it before.” 

     
  • Tuesday, May 05, 2015 11:40 PM

    Camping has never been high on my list of things I’d like to do.  Nevertheless, when your eight-year-old daughter’s scout troop goes camping, and you finagled your way out of last year’s trip by promising that you would definitely go this year, you go. 

    Prior to this past weekend, I had only slept in a tent twice.  Both times were in the backyards of friends. Once next to a deck, and the other next to a swimming pool, so I don’t think it technically counts as camping.

    But the scout trip was the real deal.  They called it “primitive;” a word I’ve come to hate.  Primitive means no electricity, pit toilets, and freezing your butt off at night.  I knew we were in for a long weekend, when after finally getting the tent set up (thanks to the help of a twelve-year-old), my daughter spotted an animal in the shadows and exclaimed, “There’s someone’s dog or cat! No, it’s a skunk! Oh my gosh, it’s an ANTEATER!” 

     
  • Tuesday, April 28, 2015 8:30 PM

    Sam the Australian is coming to visit this week.  She will be staying with us for three months, and hopes to fully experience the American culture and lifestyle. When our daughter was on a year-long exchange program to Australia, she and Sam became fast friends. After months of Skyping and messaging, we are eager to meet her face-to-face.

    In her mind, American life is very stereotypical. She anticipates going to high school football games, wearing camouflage clothing and walking around with a gun under each arm.  Unfortunately, she won’t be here during football season, but she should see plenty of camo and a few firearms.  I saw a customer with one at Walmart the other day.  I am still not entirely sure how I feel about open carry, but Australians really frown upon it, so I am certain Sam and I will have some interesting discussions.  Maybe by the end of her trip, I will have formed a solid opinion on the subject.

    We are putting our best foot forward with her initial exposure to American high school culture.  She will be attending prom on Saturday evening, complete with a fancy dinner beforehand, and a photo shoot  
  • Tuesday, April 21, 2015 7:21 PM

    I have been working on the new house this week.  The previous owners did a beautiful job of decorating, but we are working hard to make it our own. I am there late each night, stripping wall paper, priming, and painting. 

    The last time I bought a new house was over 18 years ago.  We worked on it for three months before move-in day.  I had a preschooler, a toddler, and I was in the last trimester of a pregnancy.  I was waiting tables every night, and spent six weeks sleeping on my in-laws’ living room floor while we were between houses.  And yet, somehow, I felt significantly better than I do these days when I wake up in the morning. Age is taking its toll on my body, and the more I paint, the more it shows.  

    Today, I did not wake up until 8:45 a.m.  That is an ungodly late hour for someone who is typically up between 6 and 6:30.  I looked at the clock, rolled over, and strongly considered falling back to sleep.  Then I remembered the kids.  Oh yeah! Kids! School starts at 9. 

     
  • Tuesday, April 07, 2015 2:33 PM
    Last week, my daughter and I, along with one of her friends, went to Ireland for spring break. Every Dubliner who learned we chose Ireland over sunshine and beaches thought we were crazy.

    "Why of all the places in the world, did ya' choose Ireland?"

    "Ireland is gray and rainy, love. You should have gone to Florida."

    "Did ya' lose a bet, did ye?"

    Clearly, the Irish don't fully appreciate the draw of their country. Spring break trips are not the norm for our family unless hubby happens to be working in a location where the kids can join him. But because I have not spent a lot of one-on-one time with this daughter, and she will be moving to Australia for college in the fall, I wanted to do something very special with her.

    Having accumulated enough airline miles that it would cost hardly anything to fly, I asked where she would like to go more than anywhere in the world. It seems impossible that the Irish do not understand why their country is a dream destination.

     
  • Tuesday, March 31, 2015 4:32 PM
    Top o' the mornin' to ya! I'm writing to you today from Ireland, the land of saints and scholars. Can't say I've seen either of those yet, but within the first twenty-four hours I did see many other stereotypical sights.

    I'm on an Irish scavenger hunt, and I have already marked several things off the list:

    Pot of Gold

    Castle-check

    Rainbow over castle-check

    Guinness Beer-check

    Pot of Gold

    Green grass-check

    Moss covered stones-check

    Irish Whiskey-check

    Redheads-check

    Misty weather-check

    Pubs-check

     
  • Tuesday, March 24, 2015 5:50 PM
    One month ago today, I finally did something I've always wanted to do. I hired a personal trainer. I have worked out sporadically over the years, but have a really hard time staying motivated. Out of the 16 years I have carried a membership, I have probably only spent a total of 36 hours at the gym. This includes dropping kids off in the childcare center, socializing with other moms, and spending extra time in the locker room so I could have a few minutes of peace before picking the kids up again.

    But now, I am ready to kick butt. At the age of 45, I have developed a now or never attitude, and nothing is going to stop me. I told the trainer I want to sweat, and cry, and beg for mercy. I don't want him to go easy on me. If I'm going to do it, I want to do it right.

     
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2015 2:23 PM
    Last week, I took the little ones on a short trip to visit hubby during a training seminar he was attending. The decision was made on the spur of the moment. When I woke the kids at 7 a.m. and told them I had just bought tickets to Boston, and we had to pack and be at the airport in three hours, I was surprised at their enthusiasm.

    "Can we go on the ships where they threw tea overboard?" asked my seven-year-old son.

    "I bet there is a museum about the Boston Tea Party!" exclaimed eight-year-old daughter.

    "And a gift shop!" they declared in unison.

    Due to hubby's work, the kids are well-traveled. They have learned that no matter what the attraction, or how ancient, historical, or impressive a sight is, there will be a gift shop at the end. From the grand cathedrals and castles of Europe, to Noah's Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey, to the crab shack on the beach in Florida, there is always going to be an opportunity to buy post cards, magnets, and personalized keychains.

    Boston did not disappoint.

     
  • Tuesday, March 10, 2015 4:23 PM
    Occasionally, I will see someone whose height catches my eye. It doesn't happen very often though, because I live with tall people. So, if someone appears tall to me, that means they are extraordinarily giant like.

    At 6'4", hubby is a full foot taller than I am. For years, he was the tallest in the family until our son bypassed him, topping out at 6'6". Our daughter tried to catch up, but stopped growing at just over six foot. None of them play basketball, but thank you for asking.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to living with tall people. When we remodeled the bathroom, the shower head was placed nearly two feet above my head so hubby no longer has to duck under the water. This means that by the time the water gets to me, a good portion of the pressure has diminished and trickles down like a light rain.

    On the other hand, he can easily see the cobwebs that appear in the corners of the bathroom ceiling, and only has to swipe them with a towel to make them disappear. Cleaning cobwebs takes up the better part of a morning when I do it on my own; dragging a ladder from room to room, climbing up and down.

     
  • Tuesday, March 03, 2015 3:53 PM
    In early November, my Aunt Nona underwent a routine hernia repair surgery. Sadly, something went horribly awry, and a few days later I got one of those late night phone calls. The kind of call that you know is bad news before you even pick up the phone.

    When you are on the verge of losing someone that you love so deeply, your brain is suddenly overwhelmed with images of days gone by. Long forgotten memories resurface and you are catapulted through time, back to those very moments. 

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