Is senioritis contagious?

Is senioritis contagious? Because I think our nearly 18-year-old son, who will graduate high school this month, is spreading it like crazy. Our 15-year-old daughter has come down with a similar case of sophomore-itis. And lately I’ve got a debilitating case of mid-life-itis, even though Tom keeps telling me it’s not a real thing. (I say it is.) The main symptom is a “lack of motivation,” according to the dictionary’s definition of the term. And if you could see us now, you’d nod your head like a wise old country doctor and confirm the diagnosis. After all, if it walks like an unmotivated duck and talks like an unmotivated duck, it’s an unmotivated duck. My ducks and I want to [...]

Mother’s Season sounds better to me

My poor mother. Those are the three words that come to mind when I look back on my childhood. It’s not that I was a hell-raiser. I wasn’t. But emotionally speaking, I was…a lot. Allow me to illustrate with this true story. As a child, I had slow, stubborn teeth. Baby teeth that wouldn’t fall out. Permanent teeth that wouldn’t move into place. My mouth was a crowded, crooked mess – also known as an orthodontist’s dream come true. Because of the slow teeth, my mouth wasn’t ready for braces until I was 16. It was terrible timing. My friends and classmates had gotten braces around the age of 13 or 14. If I’d been ready for braces at that [...]

What’s your strangely satisfying thing?

About six years ago, a weird, wonderful thing happened. I taught our kids how to use the washer and dryer, so they’d know how to start a load or change a load when asked. I even taped up instructions in the laundry room explaining how to sort colors and what water temperature to use for different types of clothes. When to use bleach. And more importantly, when not to use bleach. I stressed the importance of hanging up clothes while they’re still warm from the dryer. I showed them how to fold, how to bundle socks, how to wrangle a fitted sheet into something resembling a folded square. Then about a year later, on a day when I’d ordered everyone [...]

The power of the shower

Here’s the answer to almost any problem you’re having today. It’s only three words long and makes you smell good: Take a shower. Too simplistic, you say? Let’s look at the facts. There’s a reason why the phrase “April showers bring May flowers” rings true. Good things flow from water, like crops, grass, trees, flowers, puddles to splash in, and gorgeous waterfalls (also known as nature’s built-in showers.) But people need showers, too. Here’s a short list of the almost endless reasons why: Because dirt, sweat and stink demand it. Because pollen is real. Because your mood needs a time-out in a relaxing place. Because showers let you procrastinate while getting clean. Because it’s one of the few places you [...]

Quotes to keep nearby

I watch for great quotes the way kids hunt Easter eggs, eagerly peering around every corner in case a good one is nestled nearby. It’s one of my favorite parts about reading – the way some sentences jump off the page and into the core of who you are or who you want to be. In a recent podcast, Author Susan Cain said that the point of writing is “to tell the truth about what it’s like to be alive.” Yes, I thought. That’s it! I love it when a single line rings true in every cell of my body. You don’t have to be an avid reader or a writer to love great quotes. In fact, the best quotes [...]

Weekends and holidays

For those of us who have kids or pets – or God help us – both, there is one thing we know for sure. Illnesses, accidents and other misfortunes happen on the weekend or a holiday. Instead of sleeping in last Saturday morning, I quickly sat up in bed because “that sound” pierced my dreams and shoved me into consciousness. Our 70-pound Goldendoodle, Mac, was making noises you hear two seconds before a dog pukes on the bed. I had just enough time to grab a blanket and throw it under his mouth. (This is probably how they got the name “throw blankets.”) Mac was at the beginning of a days-long stomach problem of unknown origin. The good news is [...]

Help! My kid is a senior.

For the second time in our lives, Tom and I have a high school senior in the house. The first time it happened was two years ago, and it was weird. But that was 2020, when everything in the world was weird. Like most events in 2020, our oldest son’s traditional graduation ceremony didn’t happen. Then when it was nearly time to move him into the dorm, his college decided to only offer classes online of the first semester until conditions improved. Thankfully, things are different now that our middle son, Jack, is a high school senior. Circumstances have drastically improved. And in about six weeks, Jack will wear the navy-blue cap and gown I ordered two years ago for [...]

Number 49

Last week I did something that took no effort at all. I turned 49. As special occasions go, you can’t beat a birthday. No one expects you to plan for it. No one needs you to cook or shop or wrap presents or decorate the house. Compared to days like Thanksgiving or Christmas, birthdays are literally and figuratively a piece of cake. And if you’re lucky, that piece of cake is free from whatever restaurant your family took you to for dinner. Or maybe someone makes your favorite cake, which is what always happened when I was growing up. A wonderful lady we called Granny Davis, who went to our church, used to make the most incredible layered yellow cake [...]

Check the cord box

Last weekend, a friend needed to borrow a piece of equipment, and I knew exactly where it was. I retrieved it from the closet but then realized it had a cord – actually just half a cord – dangling from it. Upon closer inspection, I realized the power cord had a connector in the middle, but the half of the cord that plugs into the wall – which you could argue is the most important half – was missing. I asked Tom if he knew where the cord was, and he told me to “Check the cord box.” I rolled my eyes and sighed. He might as well have said “Go bungee jump into the Grand Canyon to see if [...]

J is for Joy

I love it when something old becomes new again. And lucky for me and my fellow letter lovers, word games are not only new again, they’re cool. Even my teenagers are doing it. In case you haven’t heard, I’ll fill you in on the hippest new (and free) word game that has captured global interest. It’s called Wordle, and it’s a rare joyful thing that came out of the pandemic. According to a recent New York Times article, a software engineer named Josh Wardle invented the game for his girlfriend. The two of them had become obsessed with word games from the New York Times, like one called “Spelling Bee” and the iconic Times crossword puzzles. Since she liked word [...]