A letter of apology to Thanksgiving

Dear Thanksgiving, No matter how many twinkle lights go up around town or how many holiday songs I hear on the radio, I haven’t forgotten you. November is yours. I have a turkey decoration on the center of my kitchen table, and that bird will stay in its place of prominence until the sun sets on November 28th. I promise. For years now, you’ve been getting the short end of the wishbone, thanks to a phenomenon they call “Christmas Creep.” Don’t worry. Christmas Creep is not some weirdo in a Santa Suit. It’s a strategy used by retailers to move the holiday shopping period earlier in the year. They want a longer runway leading up to Black Friday, when holiday [...]

I plead the Fifth

It started about a week ago – a strange itching sensation on the palm of my hand. No redness, no bumps. Only a pesky itch with no apparent cause. I mentioned it one day to my dad, who said an itchy palm means you’re about to receive some unexpected money. What I got instead was a deluge of other symptoms, not just for me but for two of our three kids. One kid had a low-grade fever, which I chalked up to the common cold or 24-hour virus. The other had achy legs, which I attributed to the kind of growing pains that take a kid from 46 inches tall to 48 inches seemingly overnight. Then I came down with [...]

A game of switch and ditch

This morning I caught a glimpse of something white sticking out from under the sofa. Typically that “something” is a stray sock that one of our boys has taken off and slid under a cushion because walking it to the clothes hamper would be both inconvenient and wildly out of character. But this time it wasn’t the kids cluttering up my living room. It was the dogs. That white thing was a bone I’d given them a few days earlier – one of many dog treats they love to never eat. Overall, our 16-year-old, Lab mix, E.J., and our 2-year-old Beagle, Charlie, are good dogs. That’s exactly what I tell them when I reach into the container where I keep [...]

Pursuit of the perfect picture

Like so many women (and a few men, too), I don’t like getting my picture made. It’s ironic, too, because I love photography and the way pictures tell a story or capture a mood. So I’ve been asking myself lately why I, along with so many other camera-shy people, sprint from the room anytime a lens gets pointed in my direction. I think I’ve figured it out. We all think we know how we look as we go about our daily lives. But we’re wrong. Inside my head, I have a picture of what I think I look like. But then I see my photograph and realize how far off my mental picture is from the real thing. That’s the [...]

Campaign to save the sweet potatoes

Dear Health Experts, I respect your expertise. I really do. But would you please give us a break? You’re sucking the joy out of food, and I’m officially fed up. Yesterday I saw the Dr. Oz show, and his guest was a neurologist who has written a book called “Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers,” written by Dr. David Perlmutter. I haven’t read the book yet, and I’m sure it’ll be convincing. But what’s frustrating about yet another food-related health book is that the experts can’t agree – or at the very least stay with one theory for more than a few years at a time. They’re starting to remind me [...]

Attached at the technological hip

When my alarm went off this morning, I groaned, rolled over and reached under my pillow to give it a good shake to shut it up. My alarm clock is on my smartphone, you see, and when you shake the phone, the alarm is silenced into five more minutes of precious snooze time. After a couple more snoozes and shakes, I finally sat up on the side of the bed and fished the phone out from under the pillow so I could find out how well I’d slept. That’s when it hit me – just how attached I’ve become to a piece of technology that didn’t even exist seven years ago. I’m sleeping with it, for Pete’s sake! We all [...]

The cure for writer’s block

“That’s it,” I said to no one. “I’m getting nowhere.” I shut the lid of my laptop in disgust and walked away. As I paced around the room, I glanced out the window and decided a walk might help jumpstart the words that wouldn’t come – not even for a deadline. I rummaged around in the garage until I found Charlie’s dog leash. As I bent to hook it to his collar, he looked up at me with those scaredy-dog eyes, suspicious of a trip to the vet’s office. “Come on, Charlie. Let’s go walk!” I said cheerfully, but he was still reluctant. Once we were striding down the sidewalk, we both felt better. Today was one of those rare [...]

Mom considers a household shutdown

All this talk of government shut-down has got me thinking. Can a mom declare a household shut-down? And if so, what would that look like? More importantly, can it be avoided? To be honest, I’m not sure there’s much hope of reaching a peaceful agreement around here. We’re hopelessly deadlocked on the issue of whether or not socks should be turned right-side out before they’re tossed carelessly into the laundry hamper. I’m firmly in the “yes, definitely” camp, and the kids are stubbornly entrenched in the “what’s the big deal about socks?” category. There’s also a dispute about the frequency and methodology of hand-washing – something you might call “Oh-mama-care.” No matter how many times I tell the kids how [...]

What to be when you grow up

There’s an ongoing conversation in our house about what we’re going to be when we grow up. Our three kids regularly revisit and revise their career plans – wondering aloud what the best or the coolest job might be. We’ve told them many times that there’s no need to figure it out yet since they’re only in 6th, 4th and 1st grades. But I understand why they think about it as much as they do. They’re at the age when their life possibilities are as vast as their imaginations. The boy’s collective career plans include things like historian, professor, investment banker, novelist, computer programmer, video game inventor and drummer. And our youngest, 6-year-old Kate, feels certain she can be a [...]

My not-so-deadly household sins

A friend recently passed along an online article by author Meagan Francis, who wrote a great book called “The Happiest Mom.” I love how this writer lets us peek behind the curtain of her real life. We moms tend to compare ourselves to each other, and some women use those comparisons to beat themselves up and drive themselves nuts in a futile quest to be a “super mom” (as if such a thing even existed.) Meagan’s article is titled “11 (Totally Not) Shameful Ways to Slack Off Around the House,” so I will happily join the movement with seven of my own not-so-deadly household sins. 1. I only sweep up what the dogs won’t eat. Yes, I have a broom [...]