Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Taking your youngest child, your last child, your baby, to his first day of Kindergarten can be a traumatic experience.  Even if he is ready, you may not be.  After all, he’s still so young.  It was just yesterday he was standing on his tiptoes trying to see the top of dining room table, or charging around the living room with his shirt off waving a wooden spoon as a sword.  Actually, that sword thing was this morning.  In any case, he’s a big boy now.  So here are some tips to make it through the day successfully.

DO:  Try to make the last 2 weeks of summer stupefyingly boring.  You will all be so sick of each other school will seem like a Disney ride.

DO:  Wear sunglasses, so that if you get teary eyed people will not see it.

DO: Plan an activity for after drop off, so that you will not have to go home to that empty house.

DO NOT, however, become so absorbed in planning your post drop activity that you forget your child’s backpack, have to run back home for it and barely make it to lineup time, sweaty and disoriented.

DO NOT: Go the library.  You will end up wandering into the children’s section, looking at all the baby flap books you read to him just a few years ago.  Or you will find yourself wistfully staring at a “Blues Clues” videotape, and remembering a song, word for word, about the planets.

DO: Go the wine store and pick out something for yourself for dinner tonight.  A nice bottle, not the usual el cheapo jug stuff you drink most days.  And when the clerk asks if you need help DO NOT snap “Uh uh” simply because you are too emotional to talk to anyone.

DO NOT:  Plan to do housework.  If there is anything worse than coming home to an empty house, it is coming home to an empty house and picking up a dust rag.  It’s been messy this long, let it go a few more days.

DO:  Spend some time thinking up some new excuses not to do housework.  Now that you don’t have a baby at home, how will you explain the mess?

DO NOT:  Clean out your child’s clothing drawers.  I know they are a mess, but you have been through enough today.  You don’t need to also face the fact that he will never again fit into those adorable Spiderman PJs.
DO: plan a nice family dinner for tonight.  Maybe bake a cake.  This will give you the opportunity to eat from stress and lick the frosting bowl until you’re slightly queasy. 

DO NOT:  Keep looking at the clock and think:  “I wonder what he is doing right now.” 

DO NOT:  Go on petfinder.com to look at the cute little dog you’ve been trying to talk your husband into adopting.  That dog has been adopted by someone else.  This is too much loss for one day.  Perhaps a second cake is in order.
DO NOT:  Plan to get a lot done.  Because if by chance you end up drifting from room to room, unable to get your bearings, at a loss for how to organize your time without constant cries of “Mom” to punctuate your day, you will accomplish nothing and feel terrible about it.  Try instead to just get one simple thing done.  Like, for instance, baking a cake.

DO:  Greet him joyfully at pick up time. 

DO:  Bring him to his older brother’s soccer practice.  Listen to him whine about the heat and how he hates the snack you brought.  Let him step on your toes several times as he tries to climb up your legs.  Have him spill Gatorade all over your newspaper.  Have him bite your stomach, TWICE, while you are trying to get the game schedule from the coach.  During dinner, listen to him howl that “This is the gross chicken!” and watch him twist in his chair, eat with his fingers, and pretend to snore in your face when you correct his manners. 

You will be ready for drop off again first thing tomorrow.
My oldest son started college this month.  Savor your moments!

Thursday, August 27, 2015


My oldest son is starting college this fall.  There is a lot to buy.  I have been shopping for months.  Recently, on vacation, my sister and I decided to hit Walmart with our kids because her daughter is also starting college this fall.

Like many students, their dorm rooms are suite style, so they have semi-private bathrooms which they have to keep clean.

(The money we're paying ... and he has to clean his own bathroom??  Yes, I know, I thought the same thing.)

Anyhoo, each teen bought a plunger for their toilet.

This is what my niece bought.  Isn't it nice?  It has a tasteful storage cover so it looks good in the bathroom.  She's a stylish gal.

This is what my son bought.

Yes, that's a plunger.  I had never seen anything like it.  But my son, a veteran of many years of Boy Scout Camp, assures me that it can plunge anything.

I think he's going to do very well at college.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Hi folks, Baxter here.  You're not going to believe what happened to me.

For a while now, when my humans were petting me, they kept playing with some big lump on my rearend.  I tried to tell them to leave it alone, but, you know how it is, you just can't stop touching that kind of thing.

The vet stuck a needle in it and he said it was fine.  However, last week they took me back to the vet to look at it again.  Then they started talking about cleaning my teeth.  Then I took a nap.

When I woke up ...

this had happened.  The $*^ cone!  And get a load of this ...

Stitches.  I tried chewing them off but I just can't reach them with this cone.  Also, I'm missing a tooth. They finally took that broken one out.  The rest of them are pearly white now.

My cone keeps getting stuck in doorways when I try to squeeze through and I can hardly pick up a tennis ball.  On the plus side, I get pills wrapped in liverwurst.

Well, I keep telling myself to just think of the bright side ...

It's almost vacation!
Love, Baxter

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


So ... a day after Baxter killed a baby bunny, we had another bunny incident.  This time it ended much more happily for the bunny.

We have one of those dryers that vents to the outside.  Right into our driveway, as a matter of fact. This is an important detail to remember during this story.  Also, it's a gol darn fascinating detail of my home life.  Not.

In any case, my son and I pull into our driveway and get out of the car.  A baby bunny scuttles along the side of the house, and scared of us, squeezes into the dryer vent.

We tried to get him out, which just scared him further, and all of the sudden we heard a soft thud.  He fell backward into the long aluminum tube.

Yes, that long tube.  We hoped he was all right.

He was.   We detached the tube and found him crouching just inside the dryer.  Yes, that is some grody lint hanging down off the vent opening.  Thanks for noticing.

The bunny turned his back to us.  I think he was thinking "If I can't see you, you can't see me."

FYI:  That doesn't work.

We tried to coax him out with lettuce and a carrot.

FYI:  That doesn't work.

My son named him Dexter.  The bunny still didn't come out.  We thought about grabbing him but then we worried he would bolt deep into the dryer and we'd have to call a repair man.  I tried downloading an internal map of our dryer ...

location and name of parts in a clothes dryer

which didn't help at all.  In fact, it just depressed me to realize that though I am an intelligent woman I will never really understand how my dryer works.

Finally, we called Animal Control.  They were GREAT!!

They came, and used a long, ropey tool to grab the bunny.  It looked painful but wasn't at all.  And out came Dexter!

We set him free in the neighbor's yard.  I hope he never comes back to our yard.  It is not a safe place for bunnies.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Look at this face.  Look as this cute, sweet face.

Did you ever think this could be the face of a killer?  Did you ever think that this well-groomed, proper Gent ...

could be a murderer?

Baxter killed a baby bunny.   Baby.  Bunny.  Right in our backyard.  The poor thing got trapped in some bushes and could not find the way out, even though there was an easy way out through the fence slats and I kept waving at Baxter and chasing him and trying to distract him long enough for Baby Bunny to make his escape.


Afterward, Baxter was so proud and excited.  Until he realized, at least for the moment, that nobody liked him anymore.

He knew something was wrong.  He couldn't even look at me.

He felt the shame.  Well, probably not.   Baxter has some Poodle in him, and some Cocker Spaniel in him, both of which were trained to hunt or used as bird dogs.  He is mostly Bichon Frise, and I don't know what they were trained for.  Breaking Mama Bunny's heart, I guess. 

Perhaps now would be a good time to also mention that a few months ago he attacked a squirrel and mortally wounded it, all in a few seconds and WHILE HE WAS ON THE LEASH with me.  He showed no remorse then either.

A dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do.  Baxter says ...

"Don't hate me because of my gene pool!"

Friday, July 10, 2015

Please Stop Saying Belly

I hate the word belly.  I didn't used to hate the word; I liked it just as well as any other word.  But I hate it now because “belly” is always followed by the word “fat”.   Belly and fat used to be two separate things, and now they are one thing, and the word belly is the all worse for it.

In the past, belly was a perfectly pleasant word, and not at all overused.  It could refer to a ‘belly dancer’, which was a woman who had a great looking stomach and knew how to use it, or it might refer to a little toddler tummy that stuck out and made the child even more deliciously squeezable.  Belly dancers stomachs and baby’s stomachs are each beautiful and lovable in their own unique ways, and a tribute to the word belly.  Those were the good old days for the word belly.

(I know nothing about this book.  It was randomly selected for its title.)

But now, belly means fat.  Nobody goes to see “Magic Mike” and to see his sexy belly.  They go to see his sexy abs.  Or his six pack.  Or his torso. 

We’re a people obsessed with belly fat.  This is because we are a people possessed by belly fat.  We all have muffin tops or love handles, or other euphemistically named rolls of gross, squishy business around our middles. 

There is a TV commercial running now in my city which discourages the drinking of sugary drinks by showing ACTUAL belly fat as it looks on the inside.  Trust me, it’s even grosser than the outside kind.  It’s all yellow and glisteny and it wraps around your healthy pink organs and strangles them.  Soda, anyone?

Belly fat is referred to constantly on book covers and television shows, and in pop up ads (“Proven to Melt Belly Fat!”).  I'm pretty sure the word belly is unhappy about its imprisonment with fat.  It didn’t want to become some unattractive, down-market, organ-killing word.  It liked its old life, when it was used once in a while and meant a few different things. 

Now some magazines and other sources are trying to mix it up a little by referring to flat bellies.  I'm afraid it'just too late for that.  Flat belly just sounds to me like a fat belly that is oddly flat in front but just pooches out on the side and flaps around when you move.

Belly, I’m sorry.  I need to quit you, at least for now.  Perhaps one day we will all learn to eat right and exercise, and belly fat will be a thing of the past, like mutton chops.  I love the word chops, because I love many varieties of grilled meats, but I would not have loved the word chops back when it was constantly used to refer to some fellow's big hairy face.  So hang on, belly.  Your time may come again.  

In the meantime, I hope I have convinced you dear reader, to stop saying belly.  I think you'll find it improves your worldview.


Thursday, June 25, 2015


We went to the movies this weekend to see the classic movie "Jaws".  Celebrating its 40th anniversary, it has been re-released into theaters.  It was great.

Of course, we had snacks.  You know, some popcorn and a small soda.

Does this look like a "small" to you?

OK, let me put it in perspective -- here is the soda cup next to a regular-sized coffee cup.

That coffee cup holds 8 ounces.  Which is one cup.  So the movie soda ... holds ... I don't know ... enough soda to fill this mouth.

courtesy of newswise.com

We're going to need a bigger boat ... I mean ... belt.