An Open Letter On My First Day Back To Work

Hey, Sweetie,

Today’s the day. I’m so sorry. I’ve been home with you for over a week now, and it has been so great. I’ve had a good time being with you. You surprise and amaze me all the time. You make me laugh.

I hate to leave you. I love my job so much, and I’m not sorry that it’s there waiting for me, but it breaks my heart that going to work means I have to leave you behind.

Don’t give me that look. There’s nothing I can do about it. Nothing lasts forever, vacations chief among them. Besides, Dad will be here all day. All day! You guys can play. He loves to play! You just have to remind him when it’s time to eat. He’s skinny and sometimes he forgets.

You’ll have fun. You’ll see. The time will go so fast, and I’ll be home before you know it. You won’t even have time to miss me. When I get home, I’ll give you a big hug, and it’ll be our turn to play!

Cheer up, dear one. I’ll see you soon.

Love, Mom

Who did you think I was talking to? Squish did a dance when I was leaving this morning.

Who did you think I was talking to? Squish did a dance when I was leaving this morning.



Christmas Wishes

Christmas magic makes wishes come true.

I wished for some pillows. Husband and I like to prop up in bed to read, write, study. We each have a propping pillow,  giant, king-sized cuddly monsters that make life so cozy. When I was away for the weekend, husband discovered that two pillows are better than one. He was right. And life became a competition to see who could hit the hay first. The first one in bed got them both. You snooze, you lose, right? In order to maintain marital harmony, I wished for pillows, and I got them.

They are glorious. A new one for each of us. Now we both have two. Of course, when my husband went away for the weekend, I discovered the ideal number of propping pillows is four. Don’t tell him. He’ll find out soon enough.

And do you know what big pillows arrive in? Big boxes!


But the best Christmas wish?


My girl. She turned 18 back in June.

I wished that Piper would still be with me at Christmas. We had a scare at Halloween, and I wasn’t sure she would make it, but she did. We celebrated our 19th Christmas with her this year.

There’s a thing about wishes, though. Sometimes you get what you ask for and no more. I did it all wrong. I should have asked for another birthday, another Valentine’s, another Spring. We let her go on New Year’s Eve.

Logically, we’ve known the time was coming to say goodbye. No one lives forever; even that ninth life will run its course. But the heart isn’t logical. It felt like she’d always be here. I couldn’t imagine life without her. couldn’t picture a day when she wouldn’t be here laying on my feet while I wrote. I’ve lost my muse.

I want a do-over on my wish. I’d do it better this time.


Ten Things I Don’t Want to Hear Two Days Before Christmas

1) I have a Christmas lunch at work/school/preschool tomorrow. What would you like to make?

2) I need to start my Christmas shopping. Can you take me to the mall?

3) How about that! The guaranteed Christmas delivery wasn’t actually guaranteed.

4) The turkey’s going to take three more days to thaw.

5) We’re out of tape.

6) Can you wrap this? And this? Oh, and this?

7) I should have opened the shipping carton when it came two weeks ago. Instead of Star Wars Legos, they sent a beer pong table. We can’t give that to the kid, can we?

8) Did I forget to tell you my second cousin, twice removed, will be at Christmas dinner? We have a gift for him, right? I’ve met him once, but I’m sure you could pick out something he’d love.

9) The cat just threw up on your Christmas sweater. Is the dry cleaner open today?

10  ) Were we exchanging gifts this year, or just giving them to the kids?


Merry Christmas!

Under Ordinary Circumstances

Give me the most ordinary extraordinary circumstances, and I shine. Need a program taught that hasn’t even been written yet? I’m your girl. Need it in five minutes? Even better. Have an event whose attendance matches the population of a mid-sized town? Call me. Need a substitute teacher for middle school the day after returning from a holiday? Bring it. I can rise to any challenge.

Until today. Today I am celebrating my birthday. It’s not my actual birthday. That comes soon. But husband couldn’t get off work that day, so today is the day. We were going to go hiking. It is currently pouring rain, with more predicted all day long, but that doesn’t bother me. Nor does the cold. I’m up for anything. Except for our shopping trip. We are going to look for Ugly Christmas Sweaters.

We’ve all seen them, the sweaters that leave us wondering what in the world the designers were thinking, or what hallucinogenics they were using at the time. We love to laugh at them, and now they are a thing to be celebrated. Everybody wants one. They’re iconic, classic in their absurdity. Here’s my greatest fear – that when I’m shopping, I won’t be able to tell if it’s an ugly sweater or not.

I’m not a girlie-girl.I know. A shocking statement.  I will pause to allow you to pick yourself up off the floor. Where was I? Oh, yeah. I grew up with two other persons of the female persuasion  in a house with only one bathroom. How in the world would three women get their primping done each morning without killing each other? I became a tomboy in self-defense. I wear makeup once or twice a year, or at least I did until one of my children absconded with my makeup bag and used all my stuff. Yes, I had a makeup bag. No, I didn’t buy it for myself. Someone gave it to me after the Padawan was born, packed with some fairly expensive bits and pieces, It was a thoughtful gift, and the message was clear.  “For heaven’s sake, woman! Cover that, won’t you?” “You’re the best, and I want you to feel pretty.” But I never learned to use the stuff, so I always looked felt awkward wearing it. 

I was never much into style, either. I am currently petitioning Garanimals to make clothing for adults, but I’d still be screwed. I could match hippo to hippo, but I’d never be able to accessorize. What kind of jewelry goes with giraffe? I couldn’t coordinate an ensemble if my life depended on it. I look at Vogue with an incredulous look on my face. People wear that? Okay, then. My idea of style is my Harry Potter Half Blood Prince jacket. It has all the characters. All of them.

So how am I supposed to pick out a sweater? How am I supposed to know the good from the bad from the downright ugly? What if I pick out something, and it’s actually high fashion. What if I wear my ugly sweater and no one knows it’s supposed to be ugly? Or they’re afraid to ask?

I do have one ugly sweater. This one:


Blitzen, is that you, buddy?

I know it’s ugly. There is no doubt there. I am sure it was the height of fashion in its day, but its day is not now. It seems like an easy out to wear it. Besides, it’s not Christmasy at all. Nothing about this sweater says Christmas Unless I can prove it was made from one of Santa’s actual reindeer, I need to find a new sweater. And not just one for me, one for my husband, too.

So now I go forth, trying to prove I have taste by showing a total lack of it. Where do I even start? It is, my friends, the ultimate challenge.

Have an ugly Christmas sweater to model? Please share a photo in the comments or email it to me. I’ll compile a post in a couple of weeks with your picture and a link back to your blog. Help a blogger out. Teach me what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s downright acceptably ugly.

Happy Holiday!

This year, a lot of holidays have passed unnoticed and uncelebrated.

Valentine’s Day: always a non-holiday. No candy hearts here. They taste like chalk. I don’t hate Valentine’s day, it has just never been earth-shattering. Like Arbor Day. I like trees every day, thanks.

Easter: We went to church and worshiped, and it was beautiful as always, and we went to my mom’s for a family lunch. But it rained the entire afternoon, thus no egg hunts. Mom put the kibosh on indoor egg hunts when I was ten and we lost an egg. It wasn’t lost forever, of course. We found it. When it exploded in the closet. Did I mention we used real eggs? No hunts.

Father’s Day: Husband took the kids to see his folks, and I was working and couldn’t go. I told him to pick a day to celebrate, and he hasn’t. So I save the cards for next year? I guess after he reads this, he’ll let me know.

Fourth of July: We did nothing. At all. It rained all day long. Husband took the big kids to fireworks in the drizzle. The kids weren’t in it for the fireworks, though. Turns out, there’s a tradition between the three of them that involves Slurpees.

After all those misses, I was not about to let another National celebration slip away. So on that note:

Happy Hostess Day!***



That’s right! Hostess products are back on the market! I’ve checked the local papers, and I haven’t found a parade. I’m sure that was just an oversight. No day off from work, either, which was kind of a bummer for hundreds of millions of us. Next year, perhaps? They’ll still be fresh by then.

I feel the same way, little buddy...

I feel the same way, little buddy…


*** I had to call it Hostess Day. I know Twinkies are the real news-making snack cake, but even I can’t bring myself to eat a Twinkie. You celebrate your way, I’ll celebrate mine.

The Best April Fool’s Trick EVER.

My daughter has an evil streak. I admit I kind of like it. A couple of years ago, she perpetrated the greatest prank in the universe. I may have put her up to it, but I’m pleading the fifth.

Anyway, it all started when I got a “tween kit” from Kotex, a nifty little pamphlet that contained coupons and suggestions on how to talk to my tween about first periods. Which was weird because my only tween was the Padawan, and I always considered it his teacher’s job to teach him about punctuation, but whatever. We got the little packet, and an idea began to take shape.

Girl-child immediately found a piece of junk mail addressed to her dad. She carefully removed the address label and affixed it to the packet with a bit of glue. Then she mixed it in with the day’s mail and waited for her prey.

Yes.. I saved it. Evidence of her evil genius.

Yes.. I saved it. Evidence of her evil genius.

When my husband came home, he flipped casually through the mail. And then he stopped, casting furtive glances to left and right. His brow crinkled, and I heard him mutter “Why do they think I want to know this?” as he began to hyperventilate. He fell for it, believing for a moment that Kimberly-Clarke in all its wisdom had singled him out to have The Talk with his daughter, and wondering desperately how to get out of it. What a glorious day!

Was it cruel? Maybe a little. Unusual? Not for this family.

Well done, Girl-child.

That Sounds About Right

You may have already heard the news. My good buddy Phil failed to see his shadow. Or as I prefer to think of it, after allegedly living for over 100 years, he has finally learned to tell the difference between his shadow and a coyote. Anyway, this is what you get when you let a rodent predict your weather.

snowy snow 002

Good call, Phil.

On the other hand, his predictions aren’t any less accurate than my local meteorologists’.

Tiny Misunderstanding

It’s February! For such a short little month, it sure is packed with holidays, and Squish has been learning about them all in preschool. He’s super excited about tomorrow, and he’s been telling me all about the wonder that is February 2nd.

He’s going to be watching the news on the morrow with great interest. He tells me that if she sees her shadow, she’s going to pop back into her hole, and it’s six more weeks of winter for us. That’s right! It’s that time of year again. Squish wants me to remind everyone that tomorrow is Grandma’s Day!

He may have missed a little something in the translation.

Don't be scared, Granny!

Don’t be scared, Granny!

If Groundhog’s Day brings this kind of confusion, Ash Wednesday will be interesting.

If Wishes Were Horses, They’d Poop On Your Floor.

I wasn’t going to blog today. Or tomorrow. Or maybe even the next day. But here I am. I don’t usually follow the Daily Prompt, either, primarily due to the recessive you’re-not-the-boss-of-me gene. But here I am. Today’s prompt asked if there was a gift I wanted as a child but never received. You know this story doesn’t end well.

Don’t ask me where I saw it. I don’t know. I was seven. At that age, I perceived that everything in the world came from Woolworth’s, Saturday morning commercials or Tupperware parties (is my 70’s showing? Let me tuck it back in…). But saw it I did, and I wanted it; coveted it secretly. Well, maybe secretly is the wrong word considering I told Santa, my mom, and pulling out all the stops, my grandmother. And maybe Jesus. I forget. Anyway, I asked for it. And asked for it. And what did I get for my troubles? Matching “What the heck are you talking about?” expressions. Because, indeed, they had no idea.

It wasn’t a Barbie for whom I burned with longing. Puh-leeze. My one concession to that franchise was a Malibu Ken, who had a scandalous tan when I took off his swim trunks. And no Strawberry Shortcake for me. Well, not until the following year. Nor did the delicious saltiness of Play Doh hold appeal (have I said too much?). The only thing on my Christmas wish list that year was a sandwich.

It was a thing of beauty this sandwich, the very height of cleverness, for you see, it wasn’t a real sandwich! It was a set of bath sponges made to look like one! I’ll let that sink in for a moment. A sandwich whose bread was a sponge! And whose cheese was a sponge! And whose pastrami…wait for it…was a sponge! What magic was this? And I haven’t even mentioned the best part. This sandwich was merely a stack of adorable absorbency without its crowning glory; a pickle! Made out of soap! A sweet little soapy gherkin just ripe for the scrubbing. It was a thing of beauty, so realistic I could have eaten it. And I wanted it. Badly.

All through the long weeks leading up to Christmas, I begged asked for this bath set. From anyone who would listen. To my mom’s credit ,I’m sure she wanted to encourage my sudden and new found interest in bathing and probably did ask me for details.

“Did you see it at Woolworth’s?”

“I don’t know.”

“Was it on TV?”

“I don’t know.”

“Was it at a department store?”

“Maybe. Yes! I think so!”

“Which one?”

“I don’t know.

I should have known it was a lost cause, but I didn’t. I hoped. And wished. Christmas morning came, and I did get a sponge. It was in the shape of a large key and came with bubble bath. I tried to find an image online to show you, but all I come up with is information regarding bubble bath and urinary tract infections. Once again, I am disappointed by bath sponges.

So there you have it. My heart was broken by a bath sponge and a soapy little pickle all those Christmases ago. I have never seen that set again, and my heart has never recovered.

Merry Christmas and stuff.

What did you wish for but never got? Just me, then?

Tracking Santa

Remember the radio stations that used to track Santa for us? How they would announce that jolly St. Nick had been spotted in Canada or what have you, and all the kids would dive into bed and fake sleep?  The Middlest Sister captures the very essence of a childhood Christmas eve. If you haven’t checked her out, what are you waiting for? Brilliant, beautiful comic strips created from scraps of cloth and paper.

Anyway, I’m doing my own version of a Santa track. I ordered something from overseas as a Christmas gift. I’ll explain exactly why in another post. The site usually announces the last day to order to get your stuff for Christmas, and this year they didn’t. I ordered fully expecting to receive my package around New Year’s. I was prepared to hand over an IOU on Christmas morning.

And then I got an email saying it has been shipped, and it’s supposed to be here by Christmas Eve. Yippee! And I started to hope. Big mistake.

Here’s how I imagine the postal service working. My package is shipped. Someone buys it an airline ticket, usually first class, and sends it on its way. It is met at the gate (yes, the gate. This is my fantasy, remember?) by a chauffeur who drives it to the next gate and buckles it into its seat belt. This is the long leg of the journey, so it is tucked in with a blanket and it settles in for a 14 hour flight. It has a few drinks, socializes with a couple of B-list celebrities, and it arrives, revived and refreshed, in the good old US of A. It is met by yet another chauffeur who ushers it to a limousine and delivers it to my door. Apparently this is not how it actually works. Who knew?

I got the tracking info on the 19th. My package had traveled all the way from Hong Kong to…Taiwan. I’m not totally up on geography, but it seems like with modern conveniences such as, oh, I don’t know… airplanes? it might have gone further in two days’ time. The next stop on its adventure was Japan, where it spent another couple of days.

I got notice today that my stuff is now in the USA. In Anchorage, Alaska. The tracking estimate still shows it arriving at my house on Monday. Because it never snows in Alaska.Will it get here on time? Doubtful. But I do look forward to seeing what other lovely locations my package gets to travel to.

Frankly, I am envious. That box is having a better vacation than I will this year.

My daily joy: I found my husband the best Christmas present ever. He is going to love it, and I can’t wait to see his face! I’m pretending that I got him boring stuff because he is psychic  when it comes to gifts.

I expect his face will look kind of like this.

I expect his face will look kind of like this.