7.26.15 Speaking of Lists




So I’m a list-maker.  I make lists for groceries, for things I need to accomplish, for parties I want to have, for home improvements I plan on never accomplishing … you name it – I list it.  I think that lists are healthy.  They put order into chaos, even if they are completely unnecessary, as most of my lists are.  I fell in love with lists when I was in my Honors Creative Writing class in high school, and we were asked to write “list poetry.”  It was completely freeing and I’ve found it to be a bit of an outlet.  So I’m sorry to say, (but not really) that I have compiled a top-three-list of lists for things that I (and quite possibly I alone) have discovered about just about everything.  I think I’m somewhat like Sandra Bullock when she said, “I want everything orderly, and I need lists.  My mind goes a mile a minute.  I’m difficult on every single level.”  While I don’t think I’m difficult on EVERY level, I do think these lists are hard to argue with, but I would welcome any challenge to hear what your top-threes are!

*Three Best Foods Ever:

Oreo Dirt Cake

Chicken Cordon Bleu (unless you’re a vegetarian of course)

Peanut Butter (on the spoon, why mess it up with anything)

*Three Worst Things About Being Over Twenty-Five:

People Call You “Ma’am” (or sir, I suppose)

You Depend on Coffee Like the Life-Blood That it Becomes

When You Pull an All-Nighter … It Shows!

*Three Worst Words in the English Language:




*Three Worst Class Subjects:

Chemistry (called so to disguise itself from what it really is … another math class)

Physics (just … blech)

Honors Geometry (one word – proofs)

*Three Things You Should Never Run Out of That We are ALWAYS Out of:

Contact Solution

Pet Food


*Three Things That Will ALWAYS Be Embarrassing When They Happen to You and Hilarious When They Happen to Someone Else:



Forgetting Someone’s Name

*Three Worst Rights-of-Passage as a Teenager:

Getting Acne at an Inopportune Time

Having Someone Walk in on You at an Inopportune Time

Passing a Note in Class That Your Teacher Decides to Read Aloud at an Inopportune Time

*Three Best Children’s Books of All Time:

Peter Pan, by: J.M. Barrie

Where the Wild Things Are, by: Maurice Sendak (remember this is the book, not the creepy movie)

Sideways Stories From Wayside School, by: Louis Sachar

*Three Most Annoying Driving Habits:

Cutting Me Off to go Slow in Front of Me

Cutting Me Off to Exit Two Seconds Later

Cutting Me Off to Change Your Mind and Move Back Into the Other Lane

*Three Best Daily Discoveries:

Waking Up Early to Realize You Have Two More Hours to Sleep

Finding Money in a Pocket

Someone Else Did the Dishes

*Top Three Most Awkward Questions Kids Will Ask You:

Where Do Babies Come From

Where Do Babies Come Out

Yeah, I Think the Top Two Pretty Much Cover Things

*Three Most Annoying Things About Smart People Who Suck as People:

When They Think They Know Everything, and Do

When They Think That Their Knowing Everything Means You Know Nothing

When They Talk Slow as They Explain Something to You (as if you only evolved one step from a cave man)

*Three Worst Things About Having Food Allergies:

When Snobby Restaurant People Roll Their Eyes at You Like You’re on Some New Fad-Diet

When Someone “Understands” Your Allergy But Doesn’t and You Spend Eternity in the Bathroom

When People Say, “It’s all in your head.”

*Three Best Things About Having Food Allergies:

Great Excuse for Students Who Bring Mysterious “Goodies”

Great Excuse for NOT Eating Treats People Bring Into Work

Great Excuse for Getting to Choose the Restaurant You Really WANT to Visit

*Three Worst Things to be Asked/Told:

You Don’t Look So Well, Are You Sick?

You Look Tired

Wow! You’ve Changed

*Three Amazing Things About Elderly People:

 They Tell the Truth (brutally, yes, but honestly)

They Eat What They Want and Complain About Portion Sizes Regardless of the Size

Thy Openly Discuss Horrifically Disgusting Bathroom Issues With No Shame at All

*Three Amazing Things About Children:

They Tell the Truth (but only when it’s convenient)

They Haven’t Forgotten How to Wonder at Life and the Living of It

They Understand the Power of Pretend

*Three Best Phrases to Get Someone to Do What You Want Them to Do (I only know because they’ve been used effectively on me … yes, I’m a bit of a sucker):

We Need YOU to Do ___________ Because You’re the Best At It

I Wish I Were ss Talented as You to do _____________ So Well

Well, Since You Did _____________ So Well Last Time, We Volunteered You Again

*Three Worst Fashion Faux Pas in History:

Hammer-Pants (not flattering on anyone, not even Hammer)

Neon (used appropriately, neon should serve as a warning, not cool when people have to squint around you)

Real-Fur-Anything (animal rights activists … anyone?)

*Three Worst Hairstyles in History:

Mullets (NEVER looked good on ANYONE, EVER!!!!!)

Rat Tails (you missed a spot)

Triangle Head (that awful place between short and long that ends up resting horribly on your shoulders in the form of a three-sided-figure)

*Three Things You WILL Say as a Parent Even When You Swore You Wouldn’t:

Because I Said So

So Help Me God, I Will Turn This Car Around

We Get There When We Get There

*Three Grossest Foods Other People Love:


Sloppy Joe’s (hello … they’re called sloppy for a reason)

Garbage Pizza (garbage! as in TRASH!)

*Three Things That are Just Annoyingly Stupid but No One Seems to Realize it but Me:

The Fact That Some Oxymoronic Idiot was Allowed to Name Mini-Vans MINI!

The Fact That the Nickname for William is “Bill”  (how in the heck?)

The Fact That There are Just as Many Bakeries in My Town for DOGS as Humans

In truth … I could go on forever.  I have an abundance of useless opinions on things that don’t really matter that I could list about.  However, here are the top three reasons I’m ending this post: my opinions probably don’t match yours, I’m not sure how many readers actually got this far in my list, and finally, I have a list of things I need to accomplish before my “To Do’s” are through.

List happily!




7.19.15 Time Stands Still



     I realized today that my watch stopped.  Look as many times as I did, there stood a face, forever frozen at 4:13.  Harvey MacKay’s words came to me when he said, “Time is free, but it’s priceless.  You can’t own it, but you can use it.  You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”  Quite the summation of just how valuable time really is.  But personally, staring at that “stuck” minute, all I could think about were the minutes in my life that I wish were really stopped … frozen, for me to visit in a more tangible place than my sometimes-dust-laid memory.  Though there are quite literally thousands.  I came up with a list of twelve – twelve memories (in no particular order) I wish, like my broken watch, I could have stopped time for, and lived in just a little bit longer.  They are not the obvious moments … the ones like proposals or births.  Rather, they are minutes you would never know matter unless you know me well.  So today I am inviting you in.  Welcome to my memory.

1. Twenty-Three: I am surrounded by cobbled streets and a thick forests.  There is a slight wind, but the sun is warm for November.  No one in the world knows where we are … because this is an ancient city, in an ancient country, that I’m not usually a part of.  And I feel such peace at being lost and disconnected from everything except for his hand that holds mine … tight.

2. Twenty-Six: I am holding my one-year-old daughter – her room and my soul are finally, beautifully-quiet. And right before I lay her down to sleep, and she puts her tiny hands on either side of my face, holding me there and telling me with her eyes, that she loves me.

3. Sixteen: I am sick, horribly so with a cold that leaves me utterly-too-exhausted for the Christmas revelry of my extended family.  But then my boyfriend nudges my drooping head to his lap, running his fingers through my hair until I am sleeping right there in the middle of my family party.  My sweet knight in a bright, red-wool sweater, representing “us” in place of “me.” 

4. Twenty-Four: It is beyond twilight, beyond midnight.  I am sleepy, but the stars are awake and I am smiling as I join them to feed my brand-new-from-heaven baby boy.  That night, we have the grandest conversation about the most important things of life he has to learn … things like how Santa makes his journey in a day and why it will be important someday for him to understand the word “chivalry.”  He smiles, I smile … and I think the moon does too.

5. Eighteen: I am in Hawaii with my mom and sister, sitting with frozen-delicious-somethings.  Our blonde heads are tossed back, as the sound of our laughter collides with the crashing tide. 

6. Thirty-Two: I am in my classroom, with my favorite class (yes … I lied, I DO have favorites and you all know who you are).  I am sighing more than usual, taking more time to “just be” with them … because our year is coming to a close and I will soon lose them to time.  I smile at the memory I share with them of the greatest compliment I’d received earlier that day, when a student told me he wished I was his mom.  Then a different student looks at me completely unfazed, and says, “Well yeah … we all do.”

7. Eight: I am in the back of our car between my sister and un-offical-sister (also known as my cousin), baking as our legs stick to the summer-heated seats.  Then, all arms and elbows, we are running and howling, racing each other as the too-hot-sand is ricocheting everywhere before we plunge into the waiting lake.  Breathless, we surface as mermaids, back into pretend … right where we’d left it.

8. Seventeen: My dear friend writes me a letter.  Long-handed and with intent.  It isn’t a text.  It isn’t an email … in fact there is nothing quick or hurried about it and that is what makes it precious.  That is what made all of the letters precious.  Someone spent time on me, without my asking … and gave me so many words to cherish.

9. Thirty: My daddy calls me out of the blue to tell me he misses me – to tell me he believes in me and in my writing, but mostly in my imagination.  We talk for a long time and his voice is so warm I can almost pretend I am sitting across from him, instead of the gap of four-hundred miles.  When we finally say goodbye, we don’t … instead he tells me he will meet me in Neverland and our dreams. 

10. Fifteen: I am going on a tropical holiday with my family.  It is winter and I should be completely blissed-out, but I am sad.  I am going to miss Christmas.  Then he came … one of my best friends, to deliver a small jelly-jar of pine needles.  “So you can take Christmas with you,” he said, knowing, as always, exactly what I needed.

11.Twelve: We are in seventh grade, and the most awkward stage of our pre-adolescent lives.  My best friend invites herself over and we have yet another much-needed sleep over.  I cut her hair, unevenly, and she grows out my bangs (maybe the best gift she ever gave me).  We laugh until I am afraid I’ll pee, and my dad shouts up the stairs for us to “Quiet down now, I mean it!”  Which only makes us laugh louder, and longer than before.

12: Nineteen: My new boyfriend (now my husband) needs hernia surgery two months into our relationship.  It is a bit nerve-wracking to be in the waiting room all day with his mother (who I barely know) and I have this secret, dreaded fear that under anesthetic he will not remember me.  Hours later, the doctor calls us in; he is waking up.  I trail behind his mother, a little lost and unsure until … “Where is she?” is the first thing he says.

     Now I realize that these memories mean infinitely more to me than they could mean to you.  They quite possibly may have been un-relatable or even dull from an outside perspective … but to me – they are bright places in my wandering, wondering mind.  They are shiny, small delights, like opening a box of found- treasures you’d forgotten you had. 

     I know I am not “your” teacher, but I am going to give you an assignment today anyway.  I want you to think of a few watch-ceasing moments.  Dream about and linger on the memories you wish you could’ve lived more than once.  Do not restrict yourself with any unnecessary regualtions.  Know full-well that tomorrow your choices could change.  Let yourself be free and remember any age, any person, and any feeling … whether or not that person or moment holds any relevance to you today.  They did then, and then is enough of a reason to remember.  And if you’re nostalgic like me, and enjoy the share … know I would enjoy the listen, and tell me about it.  I would be honored to find my inbox full of your cherished significances!  Feel free to email me, or leave a comment for us all to enjoy.

Literarily yours,


7/12/15 The Toys You Love, But Cannot Find


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     So … I’m not one to squelch creativity or anything, but I think we can all agree that one of these things is not like the other!  You guessed it!  I’ve been in a cleaning mode.  Not just cleaning, but getting rid of, hauling literally dozens and dozens of boxes, recyclables and trash bags out of rooms.  I swear we are NOT hoarders people (though ALL evidence from this past week points to the contrary)!  I’ve figured out quite literally that the following statement is most-likely the mentality of my son and daughter, “My room is not dirty.  I just have everything on display … like a museum,” (someecards.com).  

   Well, may I just say that their “museums” have mandatorially (yes, I know I made up that word) hired a new curator – MOM!  I think, no lie, that this weekend alone, I have spent ten hours sorting, stacking and straightening two tiny people’s GIGANTIC messes!  It might be a bit more of a mental exercise for me in dealing with my rage at the mess, (which I have not unleashed on them, I promise) but I have composed a poem.  I hope you can relate. 


Imagine only pretty things

with shiny hair and glossy wings

dollies sipping tea at tables

ponies playing at their stables

teddies dancing with the fairies

cupcakes topped with red-bright cherries

games that promise princess winners

toys that serve you plastic dinners

plump, pink sofa chairs for lounging

hidden snacks for when you’re scrounging

and now imagine, if you might

that pretty place with DYNAMITE

because the room of one small girl

has set my senses in a whirl

all that lovely has imploded

and my temper’s near exploded

that is until I saw, of course

a worse mess from another source

Where on Earth would be another?

down the hall … from her big brother

whose Legos have all blown to bits

and cause me nervous, twitching-fits

because one head won’t match a tail

and broken ship parts never sail

cars are mixed with planes and creatures

superheroes lost their features

books are missing vital pages

watches lost their gears and gauges 

Army men are fighting wizards

snow globes stopped producing blizzards

so I find my pressure rising

mental status near capsizing

and as soon as they are sleeping

that is when I start the reaping

turning piles into order

I become a master-sorter

when they wake from their sweet dreaming

all their surfaces are gleaming

 no longer looking like just trash

no hidden places left to stash 

they don’t know where to find a thing

and that alone makes my heart sing

because you can’t leave out behind

the toys you love, but cannot find

7.5.15 White, Wet and Not So Wonderful



This weekend I got to meet some new friends.  They were introduced through my husband; he had worked with these people, traveled with these people, and I ruefully admit I would have loved to have made a good impression.  Not sure that that actually happened.  And after what I’m about to tell you … you’ll see that I’m not sure I ever even had a chance of it happening.  

First, I brought a dessert, only to have it devoured in the first two minutes of getting there, realizing quickly I didn’t bring nearly enough for everyone there.  Next, we went boating.  I insisted on sitting on the floor of the pontoon boat to make room for more people, only to be hit by a wall of water that spilled over the boat, completely soaking my (yeah, you guessed it) WHITE skirt through.  As if that mortification in front of the random teenage cousins on the boat wasn’t bad enough, as I was stepping off (dripping wet and praying you couldn’t see my underwear) one of these young strangers helpfully pointed out that I had a spider crawling on me.  Sure enough! There the awkward little sucker was, scuttling right across my left boob!  As my cheeks burned with embarrassment, all I could think was … thank God he didn’t try to swat it off! After being given a pair of shorts to wear while my skirt dried out, I thought I’d speed up the process by asking to use the dryer, which resulted in a horrible natural gas-leak smell that filtered through the patio, since the dryer was rarely used.  Needless to say, I turned off the dryer, drove twenty minutes home to change and got back just in time for the fireworks.  

Believe it or not … the day was super fun … I’m just not sure I was able to replace the chagrined, agitated, discombobulated version of myself with the confident, witty, charm I had been going for.  Mark Twain once said that, “Comparison is the death of joy,” but I do wish they would have been able to see me on one of my more “together” days.  

Tonight we spent the night with friends too … OLD friends this time – the ones who have already seen through the picture-perfect venire I try to introduce myself with, and who love me for the chips, cracks and dents in my composure.  I am not afraid to embarrass myself, because I already have … multiple times, and those moments have become memories that we laugh over and cherish.  At their place I bring more than enough dessert, because I know here is the place we are comfortable enough to eat more than we should.  We have snacks before lunch, before the snacks before dinner, before the “one-more-piece-of-pizza-and-I’ll-pop” contentment settles us in for the night.  We played games, and teased one another relentlessly play by play.  We weren’t worried about our kids and what they might say or do at the inappropriate time.  We were us, fully and truly and it felt great to know that I didn’t have to be disappointed in any unmet expectation because among old friends … there aren’t any.  

I think George Eliot had it right when he said, “It is easy to say how we love new friends, and what we think of them, but words can never trace out all the fibers that knit us to the old.” 

Here’s to appreciating friends: the new, the old, and everyone in-between.