Thursday, December 17, 2015


My oldest son is home from college.  We are so proud of the way he has grown and matured during this first semester.  This was evident at a recent trip to the doctor for a checkup.

We had a little bit of a wait, so he helped himself to a rubber glove.  With exceptional skill, he was able to inflate and tie the glove like a balloon.  We were enjoying it, when suddenly we heard the doctor coming in.

He quickly hid the glove.

It stayed under the examination table and she never noticed a thing.

I had forgotten how much fun it is to do errands with your children!

Happy family time to you!

ps Yes, we took it home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

BEGONIA - My New Favorite

I need to talk about Begonias. 

Every spring I put a few annuals in pots around my yard ... by the front door, flanking the garage door, on the patio.  I have an odd mixture of sun and shade around the place, and I've tried Impatients, Pansies, Petunias, and Zinnias all with varying degrees of success.  I had never tried Begonias, but they were on sale in May and golly, did they look good.

The sale was kind of a "one-day and use your coupon" deal, so I bought several different pots, not knowing how they would fare.  I read later in my gardening book that Begonias are amenable to shade, or sun, or in between. 

Well they surpassed my expectations and are my new favorite annual!  They roasted out by the garage and they enjoyed the shade on the patio.  Either way, they thrived and just kept blooming.  The only thing I will say is this -- they like a drink now and then.

Even more reason to love them!

Seriously, I had to keep them watered and deadheaded, but that was easy.  Here it is November ...

And they are going strong.  They are even doing better than the Mums I put in pots in September!

Here in New Jersey, it was in the 70s today, and I have flowers blooming, so I'm calling it summer.    (OK, in the early morning I wear my parka to walk Baxter, but by noon it is warm enough for no jacket at all.)

Begonias come in pink, red, or white with yellow or white centers.  Their leaves can have a reddish tint or a regular green one.  They are so versatile I had just had to Blogonia about them.  

With any luck I'll be throwing them at the same time I put up the Christmas lights.  And that's the bloomin' truth.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Pumpkin is everywhere this time of year.  It's a little crazy. It’s like the pumpkin knows it’s season is short, so it really tries to kick it into high gear.  

I’m betting pumpkins give themselves a pep talk in August.  Something like “This fall we can be better than ever!  We’re in lattes!  We’re in beer!  We can wake it up or we can party!  Get down with your gourd self!"

Pumpkin is having a good year, even though people say they're sick of it.  I recently went to a Trader Joe's and the plethora of pumpkin products was pronounced.

1.  They sell Pumpkin Muffin mix, Pumpkin pancake mix, and Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake mix.

2.  They have Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter.  I'm not sure how to eat this.  Does it go ON the cookie, or IN the cookie or both?  Or just on a spoon and into your mouth?

3.  They also have Pumpkin Tortilla chips.

4.  They have Pumpkin Bars and, in fact, actual pumpkins.

I'm glad to see that pumpkin is doing well for itself, but I wonder if things have gone too far.

5.  Pumpkin skin care!  It claims to repair dull, sun-damaged skin, and maybe it does.  But what if it doesn't?  What if, instead, you end up looking like this?

Boo to you!

Monday, October 19, 2015


I found this little face on my kitchen counter.

As you might have guessed, those are pills.  I had set my pills out by the toaster but hadn't had a chance to take them yet.  The pills are: 



2 Glucosamine/Chondroiton combos

This is because I have allergies, bad sinuses and osteoarthritis in my left hand.  I am a righty -- how did my left hand get so old and creaky?

Oh well.  At least I have a sweet husband who makes little faces out of my pills.

Medically yours,

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 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

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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


 My book "Better Living Through Chaos" makes a great Mother's Day Gift!

Don't take my word for it, watch this:

Feel free to share or pass along to any woman who might enjoy having this book.  And then pour yourself a glass of wine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I have an Android phone.  It's my first smart phone and of course I love it.  I am always learning new things my phone can do.

For instance, my son showed me a funny thing.  When you are typing a text message, you can simply hit the words offered to you by auto-correct or whatever you call that little bar that offers you words.

In the picture above, it is the part that says "What".

That is not my hand, by the way.  Or my phone.  I got this picture off the internet.  I forget the name of the site I copied from. 

Just kidding.  

Anyway, you can start a message and then just rapidly tap that word (in this case "What" but any word might appear there) over and over again.  The Android will magically type your message for you based on some Androidy logarithm of words that go together or are frequently used or are in your own personal word bank from the data stored in the blah blahbitty blah I don't really know how it works.

The point is, my Android wrote this:


Turns out the Android is a powerful seer.  I am always going to Shoprite, and I am a beautiful person, inasmuch as any 50 something woman with dry skin, short legs and an impatient temperament can be.  Between myself, the kids, my husband and the dog, I am pretty sure someone does indeed have a Dr. appointment (though not an apartment) today.

And, in fact, you are here.  You are reading this.

 My phone is a poet and a visionary.  And, I can use it to call people.

What does your Android say?

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Not your bucket list.  Not your grocery list.  Your to-do list.  The stuff you plan to do today, or this week, or by a certain date.  The stuff you need to do before your mother visits, or before the camp out, or before taxes are due.

I’ve always been a list maker.  The older I get, the more I rely on my lists because I simply can’t keep track of all the things I have to do without it.  One time, when my oldest was about 1 year old, I forgot to feed him dinner.  I just got busy, and he never cried about it, and suddenly it was bedtime and I realized I never fed him.

I really need my list.

I update my list and print it out and drag it around the house with me.  My husband will sometimes write on the bottom “Kiss Bill Lobley” or some other hopeful addition like that.
Doesn't that look neat and organized?  Except that if you look closely you will see a heading called "Communion" to remind me to get ready for the celebration next month.  The thing is, my son is receiving Confirmation, not Communion.  He is 14.  Communion is when you are 8.  I didn't even notice that typo until I posted this.

Also, please enjoy my "Spring Cleaning" list.  Check back in June to see if any of it was accomplished.

Within minutes of printing out a fresh list, I discover other things I need to do, so instead of reprinting, I just write in the margins.  Pretty soon the list looks like this.

Then I make a new list.  Sometimes I actually write on my list, "Make a new list."

This could be a sickness.

Some of the highlights on my list today include a thorough cleaning of the upstairs bathroom, which my husband deemed "appalling."  I believe that's a relative term.

Also: buy a curtain rod, finalize travel plans for yet another college visit, buy groceries and um ... blog.

Well, at least I've done one thing on the list.  Thanks for your help.