Thursday, June 12, 2014


Isn't my purse adorable?

Or do you call it a handbag?  A pocketbook?

I get a lot of compliments on the color - which is a terrific shade of bright blue, making it a smart accessory for any outfit.

It's also quite roomy.  Which is to say, it is a bottomless pit that I dread cleaning out.

So I don't clean it out.

Today it is carrying:

my sunglasses ...

my distance glasses ...

my reading glasses.  I also carry ...

all my favorite lipsticks.  I usually decide which one to wear when I am in the car about to back out of the driveway.

This is an old grocery list.  I usually have several of those in there, too.  Would you believe all the things on this list add up to much more than $200?  They do.  Every week. 

Also in my purse are receipts, tissues, coupons and well ...

I really don't know. 

What I do know is that it is summer now, and I usually switch to a darling wicker bag.

Cute little thing, isn't it? 

I'm going to need to pare down.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


If you need a small Mother's Day gift, please consider my book "Better Living Through Chaos."  It's a collection of columns from my time at the Bergen Record.  Just click on the link to the right to learn more or to purchase. 

So you can get an idea of the book, here's one of my favorites from it.  Thanks for reading me, and Happy Mother's Day to all of our Mothers!


I am driving my dream car.  Every time I slide into the driver’s seat and caress the steering wheel I feel a deep sense of satisfaction.  Every sacrifice I had to make, every year I waited for it, was so very worth it.

My dream car is a late model minivan with a dent in the hatch.  My dream car has a box of tissues in the front seat, toys on the floor and cracker crumbs in the seat cushions.  My dream car can hold two adults, five kids, two bikes, a stroller, dozens of plastic swords and balls, and a scooter, provided one adult holds the scooter on her lap.

My dream car has plenty of head room.  A six year old boy can easily stand up in the back and change his muddy pants.  In fact, so can an adult woman, but don’t ask me how I know.

With my minivan, I can pull over to the curb at a moment’s notice and pick up a perfectly good patio table and chairs that my neighbor was just going to throw away.  If you don’t think that’s a blast, all I can say is, you haven’t tried it. 

When I told my friends that I was getting a minivan, many of them grimaced in light horror and groaned things like, “Oh, well, I’ll still be friends with you.”

I realize that I driving a minivan is not hip.  It’s even less hip to openly love your minivan.  The usual minivan owner will acknowledge his car with a sheepish nod meaning “Yeah, yeah, I’m driving a minivan.  I have to, for the kids.” 

OK.  You may be driving a snappy sedan or trendy SUV, but if you have kids and you let them snack in the car, if you shuttle them around to soccer games and birthday parties, if you bulk shop once a month, believe me, you have left hip far behind.

As Hollywood types settle down and have babies, the fan magazines would have you believe that  motherhood is actually becoming hip.  Really?  Which motherhood are they talking about?  The gorgeous-starlet motherhood, in which your abdomen snaps back into a size 4 two weeks after the baby is born?  The motherhood with night nurses and nannies and someone to do the grocery shopping for you?  Or the one in which your son requests that you turn down the radio so he can hear himself burp the alphabet?

Being a parent is anti-hip.  You stop cursing (or you should!), you become super safety conscious, you adopt your child’s baby talk into your vocabulary, you start cutting your own hair.

Do you get excited about being asleep before 11 p.m.?  Do you have living room furniture that is important to you?  Did you see Eminem perform on a televised award show and conclude that, while he was talented, you would not be downloading his songs to your iPod?  You, my friend, are no longer hip and a car cannot change that.

Being hip is all about detachment, coolness.  Feeling detached can be a heady and immortal feeling in youth.  It feels free and exhilarating. Driving too fast, listening to loud music, maybe even flicking your cigarette ash out the window, all contrives to make you feel free, unencumbered, powerful, immortal. 

Now, in the middle of my life, being encumbered is what I want, that is what makes me feel immortal now.   I am needed for everything:  to pour cereal, fold laundry, notice progress, make unpopular rules, share discoveries.  A cool sense of detachment is impossible for me these days because I am so extremely attached … to my kids, to my husband, to my house, to my debt, to my church, to my friends, and darn it all, to my car.  

I have settled into my life and it’s as comfortable as, well, as a bucket seat with lower lumbar support.

Loving my minivan means that I have happily let children take over my life.  There are no better passengers for a ride.  They clamor, they compete, they notice everything.  “Mom!  Look!  That dog just has three legs!  Can you believe that!?  Did you see how fast he was running on three legs?  Did you, Mom?”

I know how I look.  When I pull up at the drive thru and holler at the kids to “Quiet down so I can order!”, then start tossing bags of fries and nuggets back to the famished hordes,  I can see the look of pity from the quiet guy in his tidy coupe.   I’m shoving backpacks and library books off the passenger seat to make room for the happy meals, and he is flicking a piece of lint off his dress pants.  I wonder if he saw that three-legged dog back there.

Driving a minivan is the ultimate betrayal of our youth/sex/success obsessed culture.  It says “I am more concerned with safety than style!”  “I put a balanced meal on the table almost every night!” “I sing along to the Eagles!”

I don’t want to drive fast.  I don’t want to be flashy.  I want to buckle my loved ones in safely, pass out some snacks, and enjoy each mile for what it brings.  I want to go slowly, I want to be considerate, I don’t care about being the best at anything.  I want to be the one who is responsible, the one who keeps us from getting lost.  The one in the driver’s seat of a car that has room for everything.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


The snow is finally melting here in New Jersey.  And when the snow recedes, the beauty that is new spring life is revealed ...

pushing up through the snow to reach the sun ...

Like this bloom -- native to the area -- from the genus "Hewlett Packard".

Long before the storms set in, we gentle homeowners put things in the ground. Winter came, worked its magic and then retreated, leaving behind blossoms in abundance --

A fragrant bouquet of Old Carpet Padding.

O, Spring!  Thy beauty ever new!

And you wondered why they called us "The Garden State."

Monday, February 10, 2014


 OR ... guess once and go to the fabric store twice!

Yes, I did this.   I guessed at the amount of fabric needed for my son's curtains, and I was wrong.

It all started because I am giving my younger son's bedroom a makeover.  The two boys used to share a room "back in the day".

This is how it used to look.  "Kid" art on the walls, two matching beds, etc.  That is, before my oldest turned 13, when he decided he wanted his own room and moved to the third (very small) bedroom. 

Now my younger son is 13 and I want to update his room to give him more of a "teen" room.  But he doesn't want to look at catalogs for ideas, he doesn't want to go to fabric stores, and when I ask what he does want he says "I don't know."

So I went to the fabric store without him, texted him pictures of 3 different fabrics, he picked one, I bought enough to make curtains for his two windows.  Or so I thought.

However, when he saw the too-short curtain made up, he didn't like it anyway.  From the picture I sent, he thought the fabric was black.

I'm going to the fabric store today.  I am going to measure the windows first, and I am going to buy the same fabric he picked, but in black and white.

On the plus side - there's wine in the fridge.

Don't forget to measure, y'all.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I know that everyone is sick of the snow ... but when my street looks like this ...
it feels like magic.  I don't mind getting bundled up ...

and neither does Baxter!  On our early morning walks, some people still have their lamps on ...

Walking through this deep snow is a workout in itself.  Especially when you're getting dragged by a 16-pound Olympic racer ...

who is bounding through snow as deep as his chest.  He wants to "go" against a telephone pole ...

but the snow is piled so high it is quite a climb for him.  Nonetheless, we stay out for a long time ... enjoying it all ... even though

our furry legs get encrusted with snow balls! 

Snow is meant to be celebrated!  And ... to really make it wonderful ... after all the fun, and a big dry towel, we can go back to bed.

Wishing you all a cozy day.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


We don't have our tree yet.  That's because we've been painting the living room, so the place where we would normally put the tree looks like this.

On a positive note, I did get the front door done.

Yes, I know.  It's a bit minimalist.  It looks great at night with the spotlight shining on it.  Also, I still haven't finished the shopping, done no wrapping at all, and we are just now going to take our family Christmas photo today.  That would be December 22.

Do you feel better now about where you are in your holiday chore list?  I hope so.

This has been a public service announcement.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Yes, it did.  I came home to find this.

The hook came off the door.  My husband said it was because it was too cold for the glue to work.  Really?  Is that a thing -- glue that doesn't work in winter?

Anyway, as advertised, it did NOT damage the paint.  I decided to put a nail in the back of the door (on the inside of the house) and hang the wreath on a long ribbon looped over the top of the door.

I know ... you're in awe of my creative thinking.

I found a nail.  But I couldn't find a hammer.  That's because our tool drawer looks like this.

And trust me, there is no hammer in there.  There's supposed to be a hammer in there, but there isn't, and no one seems to know where that hammer is.  We also have one of those little utility hammers that features a screwdriver inside, which we keep in the kitchen, but when I found it,

only the screwdriver was left.  The hammer was nowhere to be found.  Perhaps my teenage boys are eating hammers.  They eat everything else.

So then I just began to hunt for anything I could use to pound a nail into a door.  I considered rocks (too cold outside to hunt for one) and various heavy items around the house, but finally settled on this.

I don't what it is.  But it did the job.  I pounded the nail into the back of the door, and looped a lovely red ribbon over the whole shebang.

Looks great right?  Or ... is it a little low?

After worrying over it for a day, I raised it up.

And I haven't even started on the front door.