Morning without Mom

I’m still trying to decide how I feel about what happened this morning. On one hand, it was amazing and wonderful. On the other? Surprising and a little bit sad. Here’s how it went down: At 6:30 a.m., I hit the snooze button once. I don’t remember hitting it again but clearly, I did – at least a few times. When I finally surfaced from a coma-like sleep, I glanced at the clock and panicked. It was 7:35 a.m. and the house was completely quiet, which meant my three kids (ages 17, 15 and 12) were definitely going to be late for school. I scrambled out of bed and was just about to sprint down the hallway to wake them [...]

The great chase through dreamland

Have you ever woken up in the morning remembering snippets of a dream that make you wonder what’s wrong with your brain? Would a normal brain dream something as bizarre as this, you wonder? I had a dream last week that felt so alarmingly real that I woke up and instantly scanned the bedroom, certain that the creature in the dream had somehow followed me back to the real world. As far as I know, it didn’t. But I’m still looking over my shoulder, just in case. As with most dreams, the details got fuzzy after I woke up. And that’s too bad because I’d love to know the backstory on how the dream got started. But the only vivid [...]

Truth in trivia

I’m a self-proclaimed nerd. Always have been. And one of the things most of us nerds have in common is a love of trivia. But trivia is not just frivolous facts. There’s plenty of truth in trivia – valuable lessons to be learned. This week I revisited a fun little trivia book by author David Hoffman that has been sitting on my bookshelf for years. It’s called “I Never Knew That,” and I’ve pulled three examples from it to illustrate this point. Truth: The fuel to keep going sometimes comes from unlikely sources. Have you ever driven with the “low fuel” indicator light on for a little too long? Then you realize you might not have enough left to make [...]

A mother with a secret past…

I’m a rule follower. Always have been. I’m that person who – upon counting items in her shopping cart – sees that there are 16 items and promptly leaves the “15 Items or Less” lane. My mattresses still have those annoying “do not remove” tags. So last weekend my three kids were shocked to learn that, years before they came along, their mother was once evicted from her apartment for breaking the rules. Tossed out on my keister for willfully violating the rental agreement. They wanted to hear more about this chapter in my reckless youth, so here it is: I’d just graduated from college and was living in a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a small complex. [...]

Signed, Sealed, Delivered — I’m Old

Some say life is a complicated journey, but, for the most part, it can be categorized by the type of mail you get. At any given time, your mail carrier knows more about your current life status than most of your cousins do. Here’s how it breaks down: Phase 1: The “Give me a little credit” phase When I turned 18 and moved to college, I got my first mailbox, a tiny metal cube nestled into a row of dozens of other mailboxes in my freshman dorm. I loved this little box because it was mine. Not my mom or dad’s. Just mine. When I opened it, I felt like a bona fide Grown Up doing adult things like leafing [...]

To all the products I’ve loved before…

Thirty-four. That’s the number I counted while standing in the shower. As hot water rained down on my hair, I scanned the corner-mounted shower shelves and counted 34 bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face scrub and other various potions – not counting the bar of soap. How many of these products do I use on a normal day? Four. Knowing it has likely been months since the other 30 have been touched, they looked like forlorn rejects from past relationships staring back at me with one pressing question: “Why didn’t it work out?” It’s a hard question to answer, which is why – even in real-life relationships – some people don’t answer it. In modern slang, when someone (without [...]

On deadheading and discoveries

The last time Tom and I went to a home improvement store, we bought a container of yellow mums in the garden department. The official start of Fall was only a few weeks away, and that yellow mum looked like sunshine and happiness bursting out of a terracotta pot. For the first two weeks, the yellow mum beamed its cheery sunshine at me every time I took the dogs to the backyard. But a few days ago, it began to change. A few of the blooms wilted and turned an anemic shade of pale yellow followed soon after by a dirty brown. Some even shriveled into dry, blackened corpses. So, I did the thing my mother taught me to do [...]

This middle-aged mama can’t spin

Last weekend we loaded up the SUV and drove to Dallas to attend one of the loveliest weddings I’ve ever seen. Our niece Abbey and her new husband Andrew are off to a beautiful start as a married couple. The day after the wedding – after considerable lobbying from the kids – Tom and I agreed to a quick trip to Six Flags Over Texas. To be honest, I was hesitant to go. Even in late September, it was impossibly humid, and the ticket cost was nearly as high as the temperature. But then I reminded myself that our oldest son will be leaving for college next Fall which will limit these kinds of spontaneous family outings. So even though [...]

Flirting while fueling

I got hit on at the gas station last week. But it didn’t boost my middle-aged, mother-of-three ego because this particular pass didn’t come from a hot guy. It came from a fuel pump. I pulled up to the pump and inserted my credit card. But as soon as I touched the pump, loud music began playing, complete with violins, piano and these soaring lyrics: “Oh, my love, my darling I’ve hungered for your touch.” I stood there surprised by the sudden onslaught of song. It was Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers. Normally, I would’ve dismissed it as simple background music, the kind you hear faintly playing at the grocery store while you buy bananas. But this was different. [...]

Would you go back in time?

I’ve got good news and bad news. In March, an international team of scientists conducted an experiment showing that time reversal is possible. But before you jump in your DeLorean for a joyride, I should tell you the rest of the story. The experiment involved a simulated particle – not one in real life. Scientists moved their particle back in time on a quantum computer. While I don’t understand what a quantum computer is, I’m assuming it’s more expensive than the Dell laptop on which I’m typing this column. But plenty of scientific breakthroughs begin as a lab simulation, right? Doesn’t this small victory mean that eventually we’ll be able to go back in time as easily as we rewind [...]