In the Wake of Tough Times . . . A Gift

My father died on the first day of June the year I was pregnant with my youngest child. I don’t remember if it was a sunny day or a cloudy day. I just remember the hospice worker encouraged us to spend some time alone with him to say what we wanted to say. She was sitting in my father’s living room and had a monitor connecting her to his bedroom, where he slept in a hospice cot set up at the foot of his bed. I asked her to turn off the monitor before I went in for my last visit with my father.

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It’s Like . . . (Or How I’m Using Music to Teach My Kids About Similes)

Similes. Most of you know what they are or may have a vague idea from a high school English class you took more years ago than you’d care to admit. In case you don’t remember, here is the definition from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary: “A figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced by like or as.”

I hadn’t given much thought to similes in a long time. I guess that’s normal. It would probably disturb most people if they met someone at a social function and were greeted with a discourse on the pleasures of similes. It would be like arguing with an acquaintance about politics in the produce aisle of the grocery store. (Simile!) But they are an important tool for description. If you read fiction, editorials, memoir, biography, or anything at all (except maybe newspaper articles) you’ve been absorbing a lot of similes. You may not have noticed. In that respect, similes are like the Sneaky Chef concoctions concerned parents offer their picky eaters. (Simile about similes!) The good stuff is in there, but you shouldn’t notice it. Effective similes shouldn’t jump out at you. They should sound effortless and make a sentence come alive. However, if you enjoy writing, or maybe if you’re a reader who appreciates the writing as much as the story, there will be times a simile is so effortless and so perfect, you can’t help but pause and smile. Or, if you’re a total geek like me, fold the top corner of the page over so you can go back and enjoy it again.

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The Halloween Costume That Wasn’t . . . Thanks to ISIS

I am not crafty. At all. I refer to Pinterest crafty, not fox-like crafty, in case you’re aware that crafty has more than one definition. Fox-like crafty? I admit to having some of that quality. But artsy craftsy crafty? Sadly, no. So Halloween around these parts usually involves a trip to Halloween Express to check out the offerings followed by a trip to Wal-mart to get it for less. Oh, and dragging around three whining boys who wanted me to buy the costumes at Halloween Express. Continue reading

I’ve Written About This Before . . .

But I cannot get over my first-grader.  Even though he is six years old, he behaves and speaks like an eleven-year-old, courtesy of his older twin brothers.  Every day, words come out of his mouth that cause me to burst out laughing (if I’m lucky) or shriek over his head to the twins, “Did he learn that from you two?!?” Continue reading

The Cantaloupe in the Freezer

My twins are 11 and started middle school this year. They have been handling a few chores around the house, namely hauling the garbage cans to the curb, picking up our mail, and lugging in the groceries from my car trunk. But it occurred to me recently that they needed to step up their game. So this year, partially because of their later school start time, they are assisting in packing their lunches and putting away their folded laundry.

This probably should be enough. After all, these boys are busy! During the school year, they have hockey, piano, and Hebrew school, not to mention scads of homework, and they are taking up a new instrument in beginning band at their school. Even so, I thought, “If they’re gonna bring the groceries in, why not require them to also put them away?” So they started putting groceries away, and for the most part the items were deposited in the right spot. But then one morning, while rifling through the fridge looking for the bag of apples I depend on for many of their school lunches, I was stumped. I knew I bought the apples. Where the heck were they? Sadly for me, the boys, and the apples, an unidentified child (no one fessed up) had tossed them into the freezer. THE FREEZER! I wondered what that child was daydreaming about when he threw a bag of apples into the freezer. Continue reading

The Anti-Hallmark Moment

Like many couples who end up exchanging vows to part only upon death, my husband and I are a study in contrasts.  He is loud.  When I attempt to project the Voice of Authority, I end up sounding like the Incredible Shrinking Woman, holding forth from a raft of dish detergent bubbles swirling down the drain.  He is gregarious and content to be the center of attention.  I am happy not to encounter a member of the human race for an extended length of time (my family excepted).  I could not go without music for more than a few days. My husband is a shameless admirer of the Bay City Rollers.  (You may argue, but the latter example is a stark contrast). Continue reading

Daydream Believer

I make the forty-minute commute to and from work five days a week. Sometimes I feel guilty for not making productive use of my time. Productive in the sense of getting things done. Crossing things off my to do list. Making myself a better person, also known as listening to an audiobook or Rosetta Stone.

With smartphones, this multitasking should be a no brainer. I can push the microphone button and create a to do list with my voice while driving. Instead, I fiddle with the radio stations. Some mornings, I’m in need of soothing piano music and I tune in to the classical music station. Other days, I need to hear some cheesy 80s pop – its rah rah rah chorus cheering me on for the hours ahead.

Many mornings, I engage in what I fondly refer to as Truly Stupid Daydreams. I put on Crosby Stills & Nash and imagine my little boy trio playing the instruments and harmonizing – an adorable little boy band, but cool instead of cringeworthy.

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