Monthly Archives: May 2013

Typical doll….


When I was a  tween girl, I was forced to go shopping for clothes with my mom, which I hated. In my opinion, her taste in clothing left much to be desired. I much rather preferred to go shopping with my older sister Ann Marie, who was tuned into the fashions of the day. What I wanted and what I got, were often two different things.


Last Friday night the doll and I along with my sister Ann Marie went shopping. Our original goal was to purchase a shower present for my niece Kristin’s shower, the next day. I lured the doll along to “help” pick out the present by offering her something I thought she would never refuse… A girl’s night out. “Mom, going to the store sounds boring” she informed. “I’m not a great shopper either doll…” I began before she corrected me, “Um no mom, that’s not what I meant. I’m a great shopper. But buying dishes is boring.” “Oh I see…” I replied, stepping over her implications. “I’ll tell you what, you’ll get a free dinner out of the deal and if you’re lucky, maybe we can stop by “Justice” (code word for cheaply made, yet very fashionable clothing marketed for tween girls) and find you a new dress.” After mulling over a free dinner and the possibility of new clothes, she jumped at the chance to join us.

Dinner took longer than expected and by the time we reached the mall, we had five minutes to make our purchases before the stores closed. Needless to say the doll was not a happy camper. “That’s okay” Aunt Ann said, “We’ll head over to Kohl’s, they’re open until 10 pm”.  Once there, the doll was dead set on getting a new dress-maybe two. Yet every dress I handed her to try on she hated. Every dress Aunt Ann tried, she loved.  Something was beginning to feel familiar…yet in reverse!   After we found two dresses that looked quite nice on her, she whispered to me, “Um mom, not that I need you to buy them for me, but can I have a kind of fashion show and try on more clothes?”

Who can resist a request like that?

I  walked out of the dressing room and began grabbing a bunch of shirts. Meanwhile Aunt Ann handed me two additional shirts and a pair of shorts for her to try on. “Um Mom, which did you pick out?” she asked. “I, er…um Aunt Ann and I picked them both out” I said a bit perturbed. “I know, but which…?” she tried to ask again.  “Doll, try on the clothes or don’t; I don’t care.  Or better yet, we could call it a night and leave-your call.” I informed. “No that’s okay” she replied and closed the door to her dressing room. When she emerged she told me she liked two of the shirts and a pair of shorts-none of which I had picked out.  “Mom, those shirts really aren’t me” she explained. “Whatever doll…”

Which just goes to prove…without Aunt Ann around….neither one of us would ever be wearing any clothes….we like.



the pictures edition….

49 is a breeze...kinda

49 is a breeze…kinda

This past week has been chalk full of events, most of which were captured on film…er, disc…um, memory card? I guess I’m showing my age, which coincidentally begins the coverage of “The Week That Was”….

My sister Ann Marie promised me a chocolate pie for my birthday, some 30 odd years ago!  She finally made good on that promise last week, with help from my doll. Good thing too,  this was the closest we came to eating “cake” that day.  And for once…I didn’t take a horrible picture.

fruit anyone?

fruit anyone?

Saturday, all the girls in my family gathered to throw my niece Kristin a wedding shower. We had a very nice time catching up, opening presents and enjoying one another’s company. I gave the doll my camera, so she could be the official photographer.  I guess we can see what she deemed important at the event…

On Sunday my large, extended family gathered at my father’s home to wish him a happy 92nd birthday. We were blessed with beautiful weather and a genuine likeness for one another. Though we were missing twenty grandchildren who were unable to attend, we still take up plenty of room. What’s more, when my niece gets married, we’ll take an official family picture, hopefully with more kids in attendance.

42 present, 20 shy.

42 present, 20 shy.

Which brings us to the boy’s big day. Truth be told it was pretty big for me too, seeing my handsome, clean smelling son receive his diploma from grade school. My husband didn’t quite get the significance, simply because in his public school days, the only graduation celebrated was high school.  Yesterday morning when the boy rolled out of bed I forced him to take a shower. “Mom, I took one yesterday…” he tried to argue. “I don’t care. Your classmates will refuse to be in the same room with you…” I said. “I don’t care what those kids think!” he continued. “Listen bay, for once, please don’t argue with me. It’s your last day of school; the temperature is going to reach 90 degrees and your going to sweat. For the love of GOD please take a shower and liberally apply deodorant”. “Fine but I’m doing so under protest!” he fired back. “Whatever works…just make it so.” I said as I watched him jump into the shower.

family mug shot

family mug shot


its here….

Graduation Day...

Graduation Day…

We’ve been awaiting this day for nine years. Since the moment he entered the building as a half day kindergarten student, we’ve been building toward today. The road has not been easy. There were many times I was ready to pull him from the school and send him elsewhere, in hopes of a better school experience. But he stuck the school and other students out, worked hard at learning social skills and now emerges a better student as the result.

I wish we had a road map that included all the peaks and valleys we’ve encountered along the way. Like when he was in first grade and missed the first six weeks of the second semester. What we didn’t know at the time was that he was suffering from an allergic reaction to flame retardant pj’s; which totally wiped out his white blood cell count. After all his internal organ ultrasounds and the top layer of his skin began to peel away, the doctors suggested he may have contracted Hepatitis C. As you can imagine, the boy couldn’t go to school, couldn’t play with others and was stuck at home with two very scared and frustrated parents (until all the test results came back and his white blood cell count returned to normal). His wonderful first grade teacher organized a “get well” card party created by the entire school.  When he received those hand made cards from all the classes, I can tell you, they made him feel like a rock star.

There were also days that could break your heart, like when some boys started “telling” secrets about him to all the new incoming students alienating him. I remember one boy telling me on three different occasions the same “bad” secret until I finally asked “When is enough going to be enough? How many times are you going to humiliate him?” I can tell you fourth through sixth grades were the most difficult for all of us. I can’t tell you the number of times I wanted to deck a few boys to ease some of the pain I was feeling at what they were doing to my nice sweet boy.

Then he found his footing. He began to mature. As he grew in height, he grew in confidence. He began to have the kind of school experience we hoped for all along. Even when the hurdles began to rise, he managed to clear them. Though there were still issues (turn in that completed homework for God’s sake!) he worked hard and began looking toward his future.

So today we are standing at the door to his future; ready to open and find out what comes next.  As he completes all the ceremonial administrations today, his eyes are fixed ahead-to tomorrow when the class goes to Cedar Point Amusement Park. Then summer vacation and finally high school. But hey, that’s nine weeks away! Congratulations on all your hard work bay. Though 8th grade-itis kinda flagged your finals…your parents are still very proud of the kind young man you’ve become.

a house is just a house…


160I was standing just inside the garage, looking back out over the driveway. For a brief moment I was twelve years old, holding a basketball and playing my brother Tom in the world series of HORSE.  Tom is left handed, so naturally I chose to stand off to the right of the basket, from inside the garage I jumped out and bank-shot the ball into the basket. He couldn’t make the shot; I won! I beat my big competitive brother playing a game we both loved. I jumped trying to recall the memory of that game and landed about a half a foot away. Tom who had exited the house looked back at me and asked, “What are you doing?” Laughing I said “Trying to figure out how I jumped beyond the overhang and made the basket. “Ha, well considering you had zero body fat back then, jumping was a lot easier” he replied. “Yeah, whatever..” I replied.

My daughter likes  to accuse me of having a better childhood than she is currently having. I keep telling her you cannot compare oranges to apples. Growing up in a large family after all, opens doors to so many different possibilities as compared to just a family of two.  While the doll yearns at times to be a part of my large family the boy on the other hand could leave it behind in a heart beat. “Mom, your family is too overwhelming” he has told me; something his father has echoed in sentiment before.

So I found myself caught the other night, looking upon the house of my youth and remembering what it was like growing up here. “In what room did everyone sleep?” My sister in law Sue asked and I pointed out the information. “Ann Marie and I were in the front room; Mom and Dad across the hall. Tom and Tim in the middle room, Terri and Carol were in the back and Chris and Bill were in the way back. Dan shared my parents room until he was three, then he joined Ann Marie and I. Did I miss anyone?” I asked with a chuckle and then recounted and found I had not. “Many memories exist in that house…sometimes so thick its hard to swipe them away” I said. “When I came into the family, I think only you, Tom, Chris, Ann and Dan remained at home.” Sue announced. “Crazy, by then we all had our own rooms…probably for the first time.” I remarked. Crazy indeed.

“Marsha what are you doing?” My brother Chris asked, as the night was falling upon us. “Shooting hoops” I said. Of course the basketball net has long since disappeared along with the basketball itself. “It’s getting late…” he remarked. “Don’t you ever just get hit with a sense of nostalgia so thick that you can’t seem to or want to break away from it?” He paused for a moment and then said, “It’s late.”  “Okay, one more shot” I said, pretending to take a fade away shot…”Swoosh!” I announced with a laugh before calling it a night.  Sometimes pretending to be a kid again is all that is needed; sometimes just an imaginary ball and a net.



When I was a kid, and someone would ask “How old is your Mom?” I was trained to say 49. I think she was 49 for twenty years or so, which, doesn’t make sense when your a kid…but does when your sitting in your own version of 49.  When I was 39 looking at 40, I was a bit depressed. Circumstances were different from today as I didn’t have many adult friends  to hang out or commiserate with. I would take the kids to birthday parties and stand off to one side watching the other parents talk. I didn’t quite know how to break into their group…I feared I was too old for them or something.

Boy, what a difference ten years makes.

I remember going to my sister in laws 50th b-day party, a few years back and asking her, ‘How are you handling being 50?” as if just uttering 50 was a bad thing. She looked at me and said “I’m loving 50. I look good, feel good and am excited about what will come next!” At the time I thought to myself, she’s delusional–putting on a show…talking herself into liking this dreaded age, rather than really loving it that much. I mean really, when you turn 50 you fall out of the 18-49 demographic advertisers are trying to lure.  At 50 you become insignificant.

So sitting atop 49 is pretty daunting…to say the least… But not really, I hope.

Yesterday I had an awesome birthday, serving hot lunch at the school notwithstanding. On Facebook alone, I had 81 people wish me Happy Birthday–I didn’t even know I knew 81 peeps. On twitter, I had about 15, which is fine-especially since unlike Facebook there is no app telling others. And then I had my family call me and wish me well. Tell me, how many others are lucky enough to have their 92 year old father call and wish them well?  I am so blessed simply by being alive. Plus it doesn’t hurt that my doll and sister Ann made me a homemade chocolate pie as my “cake”.

Someone asked me last night how my day had gone. My response was simple…I laughed a heck of a lot. Much like the old Readers Digest page, I used to read, Laughter IS the BEST Medicine.  Turning 49 yesterday was great…as I suspect turning 50 next year will be.   Until then, I’ll be clinging to the wall of my 40’s, by my fingernails…which are beginning to break and crack.  That’s okay. By next year I’ll be ready to face 50 with newly manicured hands.

But just in case, I can always rely on my kids to tell the world I’m forever 49.


Best laughter came from this site…take a minute and enjoy…even today, I can’t stop laughing while reading…

used by permission…


Used by Permission: This morning, the boy informed me that I now have his permission to use any likeness to him in my blog and I am permitted to quote him, so long as the quote is accurate.  I told him I’d do my best…however with my fast advancing age…all bets were off.

This morning the boy asked me if he needed to wear his coat to school. I realize this doesn’t sound like much, but for the boy, this is quite big. You see on average he wears his coat everywhere; inside, outside, in all kinds of weather. On our 90 degree day Monday, I had to ask him to take the coat off saying, “Dude, you’re going to be too warm…you don’t need a coat today”. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’ll be the judge of that…” and stepped outside long enough to step back inside and remove his coat. So to have have him ask me in advance is something quite big. At first I thought something was wrong with him and reached to feel his forehead. “Are you feeling alright?” I asked with amusement. “Mama, I was just saving you the trouble of yelling at me to take my coat off.” “Oh, I see,” I replied.

The doll got up early this morning and took a much needed shower. Can anyone explain to me why when the kids were younger, all they wanted to do was play in water, but when they reach puberty it’s like pulling teeth to get them into the MUCH NEEDED shower? In any case, she got up early and took a long hot shower. After apologizing for taking all the hot water, she informed me she had tried to wake up the boy with a promise “Mom I just told the boy if he got up now we’d save him some…” then she lifted her hands to make quotation symbols adding, “donuts”. “Doll, we don’t have any donuts” I replied. “Oh I know, but he doesn’t know that” she informed. “Doll, never lie about donuts. Your asking for a beat down when you do…”

Later when I checked to make sure the boy was in fact up and moving he said, “You were in on the donuts ruse weren’t you”.  “No, sorry boy, that was your sister’s brainchild. I would never entice you with imaginary donuts.” “That’s cruel and unusual even for the doll to pull that…” He said, sounding hurt. “That’s okay boy, you can get her back, preferably on a weekend someday soon…like after she’s had a sleep over. You can tell her daddy got up early and brought back donuts for her gang, even though Daddy now works Saturdays and he couldn’t possibly do that”.  The doll who was listening in replied, “Mom, you realize I could hear that don’t you?  And besides, I would never be fooled because I’m not as dumb or gullible as the boy.” I couldn’t help but chuckle at her reply or the boy’s who said “To quote mom last week….turn about is fair play…and when you least expect it detailed doll (insert “SHUT UP” from doll at being called detailed by her brother) I’ll get you back.”

As the mom I offered the last word on the subject…”Just make sure you get her back when your father is home. That way I’ll let him deal with the two of you, instead of me.” They both turned to me and said to each other, “Truce?”

Now that sounds like a great idea to me…

Yet I believe this argument will be continued for some time to come…




word choices…


“Mama how come on the weekends you let me stay up until almost 11 pm but on school nights it’s 9:30 pm.?” The boy asked, trying to get me to reconsider bed time. “You have finals this week. Once you’ve graduated, then we’ll talk about extending your bedtime.” I answered. “But you know I test really well….” he tried. “Yes, and you’ll test better with more sleep..” I replied.

“Mama, today I had a Religion Final and a History Final” the boy informed. “How do you think you did?” I asked.  “I guess we’ll find out next week.” He replied. “No seriously, when you were taking the test, were you confident you knew the answers?” I retried. “I’m not sure, I guess we’ll see..” he replied with a smile. “Stop being obtuse!” I said to him. He replied, “I’m not being obtuse, I’m purposely hedging…”


Yesterday as I was coming home for lunch, I happened to pass by the park, where the eighth grade students were participating in a gym class sponsored softball game. What I noticed were the large amount of students (both boys and girls) still wearing their school dress code mandated-winter attire sweat pants, instead of shorts; on the warm (84 degree) Spring day. In that instant I realized I was not alone in my thinking not to purchase the boy new shorts for the final month of the school year. They all appeared to be a sweaty mess, my son included.

When I arrived home from work I took one look at the boy and said, “Your face looks melted to me. You need to go wash your face please…” He looked at me curiously and asked, “What do you mean by melted?” Cupping his chin between my right index finger and thumb, I said, “You can literally see the sweat lines bay, where the sweat just poured out your face.” Smiling back at me in understanding he said, “Oh, I see, you’re telling me I naturally glisten”.  “Nice word…go wash your face”.


I believe the boy’s favorite word of choice is “uncouth”. I’ve heard him call other students at school uncouth and then again the other night he called me “uncouth” as well. I smiled back at him and admitted, “You’ve lived with me for fourteen plus years. If you didn’t know I was uncouth before now, then you haven’t been paying attention.” “Could you at least make the attempt?” he asked. “No”. I replied. “Why?” He asked getting perturbed. “Because I’m having much more fun being uncouth around you than not.” I laughed.

He was not amused.


Also, the doll has three words that are her favorite to say….to her brother. I bet you already can guess what they are….