Wednesday, August 28, 2013


The boys are at band camp this week.  Their rooms are tidy.  Their beds stay made.

There are no cereal bowls in the sink.  And it got me thinking ...

I miss these days!!

This was taken about 10 years ago.  Dressing up as fierce pirates/warriors/soldiers was a common pastime back then.

As luck would have it, I have been reliving some of these early chaotic memories as I assemble a collection of my past columns from my days with The Bergen Record.  I am very excited about having the best of that work all together in one place.

The book is almost ready and I will be putting it up on Kindle next week ... DIY is not just for patios!  It's for bloggers and authors, too! 

And speaking of patios ... yes, I'm still working on that.  I'm also playing tennis with my husband.  And watching the US Open with my husband.  And enjoying cocktails with my husband.  We like each other!

There's a lot to do while the kids are at band camp.  But at least I'm not doing this. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013


We finally fixed that hole in the backyard fence.

It wasn't really a hole as much as a gap that Baxter could easily squeak through.  In fact, he considered it his personal entrance/exit to the yard.  Because he could escape so readily, we have been keeping him out of the backyard all summer.

Until now.

And now that he has discovered the backyard, he can't get enough of it.  It's like he is saying:

"This has been here the WHOLE TIME?  How come I never knew about this?"

He barks his head off at bunnies, squirrels, birds, chipmunks and neighbors with weed wackers.  When he can't get outside, he has realized that he can simply hop up on the dining room window sill, and gaze out at the yard.

It's his new favorite place.

I have been very sick with a respiratory infection for the past couple of weeks, and my steadfast little Baxter never left my side.  Even though he knew about the backyard, when I was in bed resting, he would come up and lay at my feet for hours and hours.

He is very glad I'm up and around now.  Even better for him, I am spending time in the backyard conducting a glorious and budget minded patio makeover.

I've been curb shopping, and spray painting, and waving around fabric swatches.  It's very exciting. I even have the boys helping me.  They LOVE patio makeovers.  (Not.)

I promise a full photo spread when its all done, which will be sooner rather than later, because my new motto is:  Done is Better Than Perfect.

Baxter is helping with the makeover, too.

For instance, while I'm pulling weeds or painting wicker, he gets himself all wet by running through the grass, and then hops up on the sofa with a tennis ball.  Very helpful.

He's having so much fun, he could stay out there all day.

 Is it time to go in already?

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I was all set to write a lovely, peaceful post about beautiful weather, and patio furniture, and feeling lazy.  But I just couldn't sit down to do it, because ...

I had some dishes to do.  The sink is full, and I JUST loaded and started the dishwasher.  I am running the darn thing twice a day now.  I guess we are eating nonstop.  The kids have lunch and then snacks, and we cook dinner, or bake muffins, and there is never a time when the dishes are finished.

In fact, I'm pretty sure my teenaged boys' metabolisms have directly lined up with the dishwashing cycle:  the minute I finish loading, wipe the counters, and press "start", they are ready for another meal.

Today I even had to clean the stove, and then I actually ran out of counter space to put the dishes to dry ...

So I just balanced them all over the semi-naked stove. 

I refuse to dry dishes.  The air does that for me.  Life is too short for me to do something that the air is going to take care of anyway.

Especially when ...

It's a beautiful day for the town pool!  I can't wait to jump in ... and then air-dry myself.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


When girls turn 16, they want a nice Sweet Sixteen party, or maybe a special night out with their girlfriends.  When boys turn 16, they want

cheese balls. 

My older son turned 16 a month ago, and I'm just blogging about it now.  He had a party, and it was everything I love about boys ... fun, no-nonsense, and a little messy.

He had a few close friends over to the house.  We had soda and snacks (see above.)  They played video games.  It was loud down in that basement.  Each boy brought their own controller. 

Per his request, we had "make your own" pizzas.  This meant that Mom made her own dough.  I usually do this for the family, and its no problem.  However, I did not think this through properly.  Making enough dough for all the guests meant triple the work for me.  I should have anticipated the kneads of the kids. 

We had lots of toppings to choose from:  onions, peppers, mushrooms, two different cheeses, pepperoni ...

Did you know that making your own pizza is actually a competitive sport that can turn heated and cause an unsafe amount of cheese piling?  It can when teenage boys do it.  They might have just been high on fructose because they drank about 8 liters of soda with the pizzas.  Apologies to their dentists.

Then we had cake.

Yeah.  It's plain.  Because when you're 16, and 6'2, and you're hanging with your friends and your Black Ops crew, you don't need decoration.  You just need the basics. 

And lots of milk.

It's been a great 16 years, although it feels more like 6 years because it went so fast. 

This is one of shoes he learned to walk in.  A little sandal I buckled and unbuckled hundreds of times. 

Here it is next to the boat he calls a shoe these days.  All I can say is ... lucky me.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Last night I wanted something to read before bed.  I have several books that I have started sitting on my bedside table, but because I always fall asleep before I can even finish a page, I've lost interest in all of them.  For some reason, I thought of Noel Coward.

I have this biography of him, and a book of his letters, and I have never read either one, but I really want to.  I grabbed the bio and headed upstairs.  Reading about his charming, witty life seemed like the perfect antidote to my day.

You see, we have a friend staying with us, another boy, and between the snacks and the Black Ops and the wet bathing suits it's been pretty un-Noel around here. 

I'm pretty sure Noel never had poker chips all over the living room floor because the game is lasting more than 5 days.

I'm pretty sure Noel's laundry never looked like this.  Or if it did, he had some terrific maid take care of it.

I'm pretty sure Noel's patio was never a mish-mashed jumble of furniture that badly needs a makeover.  (Those black things with yellow handles are boppers that the kids use to beat on each other.  AntiNoel!)

I snuggled down in bed with Noel.  So to speak.  Then one of the boys came in to talk about something, and I turned on the TV to check the weather, and ... well ... I didn't even open the book.

There is one thing I have in common with Noel ...

He loved cocktails, too!

Next week is Boy Scout camp.  Perhaps Noel and I can meet up then, when I have a little free time.