Real Life

Sometimes, real life just gets in the way.  It’s been several weeks since I last wrote on my blog, but in that time I’ve dealt with graduations, job proposals and deadlines, broken bones (not mine), out of town visitors, some bad luck, some good luck, too many soccer tournaments and who knows what else.  It’s really all a blur. The problem I can’t seem to control, and what is clearly frustrating to me these days, is when real life gets in the way of my fun life.  It just occurred to me in the past few weeks that I’m tired of the every day obligations which interferes with what really matters to me right now.  Housecleaning, shopping, laundry, bill paying and anything else that requires too many brain cells is no longer on my list of priorities.  But let me tell you the question I’m really struggling with right now, more than ever:

Why are kids always hungry?

Unfortunately for my son, my feelings of frustration have coincided with his growth spurt.  Breakfast is halfway chewed before I’m bombarded with lunch requests.  Afternoon snacks just seem to blend in with dinner.  A gallon of ice cream finishes off the last meal of the day before late night snack hunger pains sink in. Add a few friends to the mix and not only is Costco sending you a thank you note for helping them exceed their monthly financial goals, but you realize that holding off retirement until your’re 103 is really not that bad.

During the summer months, two things are always guaranteed at my house.  The constant moan of  “I’m hungry,” and “There’s nothing to eat.” In the past, this would cause me to jump up from whatever I was doing, do a little tap dance and start pulling everything out of the fridge and pantry while showing my children and their friends that we had a smorgasbord available at their disposal.  But today?  Sadly, they are correct.  I look at the grocery store much as I do a pap smear.  It’s necessary, but oh so inconvenient.

The other day, as I was frantically working on a deadline for a client, my son walked into my office and said that he wanted to make some lunch but there really, really, truly, wasn’t anything to eat.  I sighed, grabbed my purse and tossed him the car keys to go and get something to eat.

“But Mom.  I’m 14.”

“Then stay off the busy roads.”

“Seriously Mom.  I can’t eat another pancake.”

“What about a bowl of cereal?” I offered.

“I had that for dinner last night.”

“Oh that’s right.  And we were out of milk.  By the way, did it taste okay with the Gatorade poured in instead?” I asked as if I really cared.

“Not really, but it was better than the corn mixed in with the barbecue sauce I had the night before.”

“Well, at least you had a vegetable.  That means you won’t need another one until next week.  What about some fruit?  Don’t we have some canned something?”

He sighed.  “Yes, I ate the fruit cocktail for breakfast yesterday and by the way, expiration dates really do matter.”

“Well live and learn,” I muttered.  It was becoming painfully obvious.  I needed to get to the store.  I glanced at him as I grabbed the car keys.

“Why are you always hungry?”

He looked at me as he nibbled on some uncooked spaghetti noodles.  He started to speak but I waved my hand.  “Conserve your energy,” I suggested.  “You’re looking a little pale.”



I Blew It! So Much For I Worry About Worry.

So what happens when your blog is featured on for the first time ever and you are fortunate to have some new subscribers?  Of course, you try your hardest to put out the best articles you can, as frequently as you can.

So what happens when you are working on a rough draft and you accidentally press “publish” instead of  “save draft.”

This is what happens:


How can I blame this on the kids?

Happy Mother’s Day And Well, It’s Still True.



I once read a story where a mother had to write a letter to her son.  She was to write what her son meant to her.  She thought to herself,  ”How can words do justice to what I feel for him? It’s indescribable!” So she simply wrote the words, “You know.”

 I looked up from the page from which I was reading and I don’t think anything spoke to me as much as those two words.  So Mom, “You know.”
  • You know……that our family revolves around you.  That you are the center and the pulse of everything good and kind
  • You know……that your wisdom and grace is something that we can only hope to aspire to.  That whenever I come to a crossroads I say to myself, “What would Mom do?”
  • You know……that you are the first person I want to speak to in the morning and the last person I want to talk to at night.
  • You know……that I pray my children feel the same way about me as I do about you.
  • You know……that you are my biggest cheerleader, supporter and friend.  That all I want to do with my life has the thought of you and my family behind it.

So Mom, I could go on and on.  But well, you know.


Still True: Impatience Is A Virtue

Since turning fifty, I have discovered something about myself which I am finding is not necessarily a bad virtue. Impatience.  We have all heard the saying that “Patience is a Virtue.” Well, I’m not feeling it anymore. I think it’s okay to be impatient with people who take advantage of the system. As I grow older, I find it’s necessary to call out people who waste your time (though maybe not to their face but that’s the benefits of having a blog). For example, I like Starbucks. In our small lakeside town, we have one drive-thru fast food restaurant, but 462 Starbucks. You can find one on every corner and in every grocery store.  So you may be surprised to know that until recently, I rarely, if ever visited a Starbucks despite the fact that I crave their iced lattes. Why?  Because for me personally nothing is more ridiculous than standing in a long line watching people order the most over-the-top drinks. Any drink that takes you twenty minutes to order is bit presumptuous. And yes, these are actual drinks:

Yes, hi, I’ll have a tall half-skinny half-1 percent extra hot split quad shot (two shots decaf, two shots regular) latte with whip.

Good Morning.  Can I get a Venti sugar free Carmel Latte Skinny, add shot, extra foam, no whip, made with soy milk.”

“Yes, I’d like the regular: Triple Venti Sugar free, Non fat, No foam, extra caramel, with whip caramel macchiato. Then pour regular coffee down the side with 2 packs of raw sugar and a stir stick on the side.”

So imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered a drive-thru Starbucks, the first one in our small town, opened a few blocks from me.  I am now their most frequent customer.  They recognize my voice right between the “Good” and the “Morning” and have my order ready so quickly that I barely slow to a stop at the window. I can listen to my favorite radio station, balance my checkbook, apply lipstick, all while ignoring what the person in front of me is ordering. It’s a win-win.

As I grow older, I find that I tap my foot more often at people who stand in line in front of me and take their sweet time.   My mother swears I’m just like my father but I have been that person at Subway who is behind the customer ordering two dozen foot-long unusual sandwiches when all I want is a plain tuna. You know when the person in front of you pulls out a piece of paper longer than your Christmas list, you are in trouble. It is at that point you want to calmly point to the sign at the register that says, ” Call Ahead for Large Orders!”

It’s the same when you are standing behind the customer in the express lane at the grocery store.  You know what I’m talking about.  This customer has just “a few” items over the maximum fifteen items, but, “I know you won’t mind.”  They then proceed to speak ad nauseum to the cashier about a new recipe they are trying that evening while organizing their coupons in alphabetical order.  This dreaded customer then insists they have been overcharged for a head of lettuce by four cents.  By the time the price check has been completed your gallon of milk has expired. So when is patience not a virtue?
Potty training
Overnight retreats with your daughter’s Girl Scout troop
Waiting in the Doctor’s office while your child screams with an ear infection..
It’s Christmas Eve, you just finished wrapping the last gift, thawed the turkey and your husband asks you, “Do you need help?”
Your teenager stumbles down the stairs at 2:00 in the afternoon and asks “What’s for breakfast?”
This is not to say that I want the world to stop for me.  I don’t want the freeways to part because I’m running late for an appointment, nor do I need to jump to the head of the line at the movie theatre refreshment stand, though I will never understand why those lines move so slowly. But being impatient is not the bad thing it is sometimes made out to be. Just ask the woman screaming for an epidural.

For What It’s Worth Kids…..

You will always be the greatest love of my life.  But your father is pretty cool too.

I will fight for you as long as you are right, stand by you even if you are wrong.

I  am here for encouragement.  Try me.

Admit when you are wrong.  It’s easier.

Apologizing is never weak.  It’s admired.

Always do your best.  Even when it takes every last bit of energy you have.

Never shy away from a challenge.  Understand that’s what life is all about.

Be humble.  Nobody likes a braggart. Nobody.

There are times in your life you will feel so despondent, you can’t imagine it getting any better. It does.

Life isn’t fair.  Get over it.

Be kind, true and respectful.  It’s not brain surgery.

Take a deep breath before you react.  Controlling your impulse is a good thing.

Remember those that loved you first.  They will love you the longest.

















I Went To College For This? Revisited

A few weeks ago I asked my fans here to suggest some stories they would like me to repost during spring break week.  When my mother finally replied, she said I absolutely must do the “you know, the one with the laundry.”  Because I’m always happy to make my fan(s) happy, here you go Mom.

And I still hate laundry.  I still never have clean towels.  I despise looking for socks.

From 2011

One of the prerequisites for any mother during the summer months is the intimate relationship we rekindle with our laundry room. As Chief of Laundry in our household, I have always known that the dirty and the not-so-dirty-in-fact-really-clean-but-it’s-easier-to-throw-in-the-basket-than-re-hang-in-closet laundry increases ten-fold during the summer months. My biggest enemy would be the towels that seem to breed faster than Michelle Duggar’s uterus. I have been known on a few occasions to tell my children that unless they have been mud wrestling, it is okay to use a bath towel more than once. Honestly, I don’t care if they use toilet paper to dry themselves, just give me a break with the towels. Between beach towels, bath towels, hand towels, wash cloths, kitchen towels and dust towels, I am done.

My son sees no problem with wearing the same shirt day after day, but apparently he requires a new towel after every shower. What I find particularly offensive is that, according to the manufacture instructions, I am not washing them properly by simply adding my basic detergent and a fabric softener. For example, I found these instructions with my latest towel purchase.

Before you use a newly-purchased bath towel, wash it in warm water with laundry detergent to remove any sizing or fabric coating that may be on the fibers from manufacturing. Without doing this first, the new towel will not be effective in absorbing the moisture from your body. When you do this first washing, add about quarter of a cup of Epsom salt or table salt to the wash cycle. This not only helps remove the coating, but will help set the color of the towel.  Add 1/2 cup of baking soda, along with your detergent, to the wash cycle to keep your towels smelling fresh. To keep towels soft, add a 1 cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle. Do not add fabric softener to the wash cycle. Don’t wash your towels with other laundry items; if you must, be sure to wash similar colored items together.


Are you kidding me?  My kids are lucky that I even rip the price tag off the towels before I throw them in their bathroom.  If I followed their instructions of proper towel washing it would mean that I spent more time and more ingredients washing bath towels than cooking their dinner.  Can you believe that at one time women were beating their laundry over a rock?  And now towel manufacturers are insisting that we nurture these lousy pieces of cotton more than we do our friendships? Listen, if I purchased expensive towels and didn’t have teenagers in the house, then I would probably follow this advice.  On second thought, I probably wouldn’t. I have more important things to do.  Like read People magazine.

Speaking of laundry.  My son and two of his friends had a “camp-out” in our yard.  Wonderful, fun memories for them. For me? Hearing their loud, semi-conscious cries when the automatic sprinkler went off at 5:30 a.m.  Life is good.


Spring Break 2010 Revisited.

I’m on Spring Break. Not really, but kind of.  I couldn’t get it together and plan a vacation far in advance when airline tickets didn’t cost a bazillion dollars, so we are staying local.  One daughter couldn’t stomach that fact, so she emptied her savings account and headed to California. My other daughter is dying her hair blond and  getting a spray tan so her friends think we went somewhere exotic.  To top it all off, my poor son has been sick on the couch for the past three days only able to sip 7-up and nibble on dry crackers.  So I ask you:  Why be resting on the beaches of Hawaii when you could be here having all the fun like me? So while I am on nursing duty,  I am reposting my Spring Break 2010 blog which, after re-reading, should be titled, “The Vacation When I Discovered I Was Old.”

Off to find a margarita somewhere.

This past Monday, at 1:30 a.m. to be precise, we pulled our weary car and bodies into our driveway.  Spring Break 2010 had come to an end.  Now, a week later, I am finally able to form complete sentences when discussing or writing about this trip.  Oh, it wasn’t a bad vacation.  We started our adventure laughing and joking and by the time we reached the end of our street we were happily immersed into our electronics.  Many families balk at the heavy use of iPods, DVDs and Nintendos on family vacations.  Not me. Not when I’m driving eighteen hours with three teenagers sitting closer than canned sardines.  True, when you want to point to something interesting for your children to see it is a hassle to turn around and wave your arms like you’re on fire so they will notice you.  After doing this half a dozen times you soon realize that you don’t care if they see another cow or not.  Their childhood won’t suffer because they didn’t see their 900th farm animal.  And it soon became apparent that my teenagers have selective hearing down to an art form.  When I tried to talk to them while they were watching a DVD they looked at me like I was speaking another language.  “We can’t hear you!” they cried without even bothering to remove their earphones.  However, if I turned to The Perfect Driver and casually said, “I feel like a Diet Coke” believe me, they heard that and next thing you know they were shouting orders right and left.

I must say if there was one enlightening moment on our vacation it would have to be that first day in Palm Springs.  For those of you following my Spring Break adventures, you will remember that I forgot my bathing suit. This was the absolute last thing I wanted to shop for but when in Palm Springs and the temperatures are in the low 80’s,  a bathing suit is a must. Especially when the hotel has a swim-up bar. So after dropping off my family to check-in I went on a mad dash to find new suit.  I didn’t want to miss a moment of basking in that much needed sun. Oh, and ordering a margarita.

I stopped at the first place I saw:  JC Penney.  My goal was to get in and get out. I wasn’t going to be picky. Let me tell you right now:  there is absolutely nothing for an almost 49 year old woman to purchase in the bathing suit department unless you want to look like Hannah Montana or Betty White. After struggling for way too long and watching the sun go down by the minute, I finally gathered what I thought were acceptable pieces and went to the nearest dressing room.  Trying on a bathing suit is always a humbling experience but it is particularly so when a woman with a walker slowly steps in the room next to you and is trying on the same suit you are.  Ten bathing suits and lots of eye rolling later I ended up purchasing a bathing suit that would have made my great grandma proud.

One hour later I found my family all swimming in the pool.  They didn’t see me at first, but they did notice someone resembling me in a bathing suit with probably the largest padded bathing suit top ever made.  I think my chest entered the pool area before I did.  You know what kind I’m talking about; the big pointy built in bra?  Think of Madonna in her cone bra phase, think of the old time famous MGM swimmer Esther Williams.  The Perfect Driver swam up to me.

“Wow, some bathing suit.”

“Yes,” I replied.  “Not only is it bullet proof, but it serves as a floatation device.”

Hours later, as we lounged away soaking up the last bit of afternoon sun, my husband turned to me.  He was draped from the top of his neck to the bottom of his feet with towels to prevent sunburning.  To get a clear view of him I had to push down my “we’re not going anywhere” swimming suit top. Surrounding us were probably the most beautiful college spring breakers I had ever seen.

“Julie,” he said, “I think we’ve jumped the shark.”

I was about ready to tell him to speak for himself but I did the once over.  I fluffed the ruffles around my bathing suit skirt and realized he was right.


That Stupid Stinkin’ Tie


My son after spending an afternoon at the mall.

If you read my last post, you will see a picture of my then 4 year old son sticking out his tongue.  I’m re-posting it here for your viewing pleasure.  The afternoon of the evening this photo was taken is still etched in my mind some ten years later.  Whenever you combine an active little boy, a shopping mall and a dressing room, you are asking for trouble.  Throw in a handful of clothes for your son to try on and you probably are operating with brain cells in the single digits. I just want to say that I’m not proud of my behavior that day in the mall.  I had a huge parental fail.  It is never wise to make threats involving a stapler and a tie regardless of the humiliation you suffered.

Coming home from that exhausting afternoon (and  I won’t even go into the temper tantrum he entertained fellow customers with when I dared to visit the Clinique counter) I managed to throw peacefully tuck my child into his bed for an afternoon nap when I went on the computer to read some mindless emails.  My mother happened to be online, and well, this is how our chat went, a conversation my mother saved and later mailed to me.

SGat:  Hi!  How are things?

TJKR (Me):  Just got back from the mall with Sean trying on pants and a tie for the recital tonight.  He refused to wear the tie, wouldn’t put it on, tried to pull it off his neck.  It was a wrestling match.  You know when a child twists and turns into positions you didn’t think possible?  Well, take my word for it, they are possible. He finally looked at me and cried:  “Oh s*%#! Just take me home.”  Needless to say, I was stunned.

SGat:  LOL.  I have never laughed this hard in years.

TJKR:  Yes mother.  It’s hysterical.  So funny when you are in a crowded dressing room.

SGat:  What did you do?

TJKR:  I whispered in a not so nice tone:  “What did you say?”  He looked at me like a deer in headlights.  Finally he uttered, “You know.” Then he did this wicked laugh he does when he knows he’s in trouble.

SGat:  You are in for it.

TJKR:  So I walk out of the dressing room, completely exhausted from this tug of war and he is following several steps behind me.  The sales lady looks at me then glances at Sean and says, “He’s a character isn’t he?”  I turn around and he has wrapped the tie around his head.

SGat: Oh no.

TJKR:  So who knows if she heard him in the dressing room.  I just paid and left.  When we got outside he said to me, “I’m not wearing that stupid, stinkin’ tie!” And I politely turn to him and said, “You are wearing that tie even if I have to staple it to your neck!”

SGat:  Staple to his neck?  Oh my.

TJKR:  I know. Therapy will be in his future.

SGat:  Is he wearing the tie tonight?

TJKR:  He will go ballistic tonight when I put the tie on him.  He just hates it.  And yes he’s wearing it.  Too bad I’m the boss.

SGat:  I’m going to print this and show it to him one day.  Staple to neck?

TJKR:  Yeah, not one of my better parenting moments. And don’t worry, I won’t show up with a stapler when I attempt to put it on him later.  Gosh, just thinking about that struggle in the next few hours makes me nauseous.

SGat:  If he needs a therapist at some point, we’ll pretend this conversation never happened.

TJKR:  Yeah, we’ll blame it on his dad’s side of the family.


1. He doesn’t seem to harbor any post traumatic stress disorder regarding my threat.

2. He wore the tie as the above picture indicates which was taken that evening at the recital.

3. When I asked him to smile, this is what I got.  He hates to lose.

4. Choose your battles.

5.  I know I’m not the only one who has made over-the-top, in the-heat-of-moment, blame-it-on-PMS, threats.

Am I?


What I Miss. Really.

As my children grow older and move forward with their lives,  I realize I am missing those long ago days when they were toddlers; when life just seemed simpler and every one, including myself, felt better after an afternoon nap.  I have no idea why I have been so melancholy lately.  Maybe it’s the hot flashes. Maybe it’s the shock of another upcoming college tuition bill.  Maybe I’m just tired.  Probably all three. Regardless, those were such happy times and I think about them often, especially as my daughter attends her last semester of high school. Here are some things I miss the most. Really.

My boy once upon a time....

Buying Hot Wheels

I remember the “ooh’s” and “aah’s” my son used to utter when he was allowed to pick out two (TWO!) hot wheels from the display at our local toy store.  What stress it was for him.  Now, he’s beating me consistently on Words for Friends.

Ordering Happy Meals

I miss the days when the drive thru attendant would ask me if I wanted a Happy Meal for girl or a boy. Those cheap, plastic toys entertained my kids for a good 15 minutes, always when I needed it the most.

A Toddler In My Grocery Cart

Oh, for those days when I would lift them up, put them in their seat in the grocery cart and swing by the bakery for their free cookie.  I trained myself to have most of my shopping done by the time they took their last bite and started the twisting and back arch when they wanted out. Today, I’m in the Clearasil aisle.

Santa looks happy

Christmas Morning

Enough said.

Their Joyful Expression When You Picked Them Up From Pre-School

Remember when they would run to you when they saw you enter their classroom after a morning of nursery school?  My kids would always squeal, “There’s my mommy!”  Now, when I enter the room I hear, “Quiet, here’s my mom.”

Holding Their Hand

Can I bring back those days when my children would grab my hand and not let go? And as an added bonus, when I knew the answers to everything?

I often show them this picture to remind them that they once liked each other

Choosing Their Clothing

Yeah, don’t do that anymore.

The Homework Was Easy

In those days, all I had to know were my colors and how to count to ten.

There is a story behind this photo. I still cringe.

They Laughed At My Jokes

At one time my kids thought I was hysterical as I could tell a “Knock Knock” joke like no other.  Now it’s “DON’T EMBARASS ME!”

A Band Aid And A Juice Box Solved Everything

I wish that still worked.

When They Would Crawl Into Your Lap And Fall Asleep

My husband contributed this one.  He’s so right.

When You Danced, They Would Join You

I remember the days when I would put music on before dinner and we would dance around the house.  If I did that now, they would think I was having a stroke.

Yep, she's leaving for college in September

Sleepovers Weren’t In Their Vocabulary

I am so over sleepovers.

Reading Good Night Moon

Well this almost makes me cry. Like a knife in the heart.

My subject of my next blog will be “What I Love About Raising Teenagers,” just  as soon as I think of something.  Actually, it only gets better. Really.











RIP Common Sense: A Mother’s Free Piece of Advice to the Campaign of 2012


What happens when common sense isn’t so common? As I mentioned in a blog months ago, Stop It Right Now, Or I’m Pulling Over, I do not like to discuss politics on this site as the subject matter is just so frustrating.  But I realized that today, as I type this, it is nine months before the next presidential election.  Wow.  This is going to be one bad pregnancy.

In my hometown, we just held a special congressional election after our former representative was forced to resign due to allegations that he made unwanted advances to the teenage daughter of his friend and campaign donor.  What a way to say “thank you.” Isn’t it alarming that this sort of news isn’t so shocking anymore in the world of politics?Anyway, newscasters reported  a record low turnout for this election as voters were fed up with the mud slinging between the two challengers in this race.  I can confirm,  it was bad.  I couldn’t get through a single game of “Words for Friends” without looking up and seeing a TV advertisement that was so over-the-top negative that I’m surprised I didn’t spell words like “Liar” “Unethical” and “Cheat”  during my game. Let me tell you what this means to me when I put on my mother ears: I will be hearing nonstop arguing, finger pointing, the blame game and ” don’t look at me, it’s their fault” for the rest of the year.  Mothers out there, you know what I’m talking about.  If I wanted to hear that on a continuous loop,  I would pull up a chair, open a diet coke and listen to my children argue which, by the way, has a daily showing at the top of every hour.  Honestly, I think I would have more fun pulling my eyelashes out one by one.

So tell me, why on earth do I want to turn on the news and listen to the latest negative soundbites by our candidates for the highest office in the land?  And the news pundits arguing back and forth?  Anyone who enjoys that likes sorting and folding laundry all day or slaving over a stove to satisfy a picky eater.  So to our presidential candidates, campaign managers and spin doctors, anyone who make the big bucks, forget about hiring focus groups and consider this my gift to you:  no cheap shots, no tacky “discoveries” like  your rival’s great grandfather’s brother’s son once removed was a cross dresser.  Big deal, come and sit around my Thanksgiving table and I’ll show you dysfunctional.  Keep the blame game at bay, defend yourself with dignity and focus on issues we care about.  You know, silly stuff, like jobs.

Do we really want our candidates spending millions of dollars on negative advertising?  Doesn’t it leave you with a bad taste in your mouth?  Where are the priorities?  Common sense?  Are you not disgusted that over one billion dollars will be spent by our presidential candidates for a job  that pays $400,000 a year?  Yes, yes, yes, I know. It’s the power, prestige and maybe the thrill of jumping up and down on the Lincoln Bed that is appealing to our candidates but I can assure you, that rumble  you hear is our forefathers rolling over in their graves.  Or maybe it’s the sound of too many empty stomachs of hungry children in our country who could benefit from a few of those dollars.