Dog Sons 

13 Sep img_7229-1

“Whose idea was it to get two dogs?” 

It’s a question Andrew and I will ask each other when things like canine messes or vet bills or daily dog obstacles happen. After our first dog son Joey died in July 2014, we took our time before opening our hearts to another pup. We waited until late December to start scrolling through the local humane society web pages. Even then, we were gravitating toward dogs that looked like Joe-Boy. One even motivated us to drive to the shelter. We were too late to be his rescue family. Fortunately, someone had already saved the sweetie so that meant we could save another. We kept looking. 

There he was. He looked so sad — like he needed us. We visited him. He was intensely shy. Wouldn’t come out of his kennel. When he finally did, he only came to Nate and then he went straight to a kennel two spots down from his to lick another dog through the fence. We finally got him outside but he had to be carried and wanted to go back to the other dog. That made us curious. We took that other dog out. He led us back to his buddy’s kennel to sit next to him. 

Separately, they were timid and almost unmovable. Together, they were happy, trusting and playful. Turns out, they were brought to the shelter together as strays. Someone found them on the road. Bonded. 

Naturally, we left with both. 

We named them Charlie and Linus because they are best friends and Linus needed his security blanket. Linus saved Charlie and they both saved us by filling the piece of our hearts and family that was missing after Joey.

Whose idea was it to get two dog sons? We all take credit. 

Vines and Pipes and a Year Gone By

9 Sep

It’s been almost a year since I’ve written. 

No. That doesn’t do it justice. 

I couldn’t remember my username let alone my password to access my blog. 

I gained 20 pounds since I last wrote. 

My kids turned a new age. 

Parts of the roof blew off, the A/C needed repaired, the dryer that’s older than our marriage is on the fritz, Andrew and our friend Mitch fixed our deck, we had a road trip or two, fortunately had no major illnesses or injuries but got lice again (guess I never told you about that first time), the turtle and the dogs are swell, we’re still employed, still in debt, still running and still making the most of each day. 

Sounds about right.

Got me thinking about when I was little and didn’t have a worry in the world — except whether or not so-and-so talked to me. I used to stay at my Grandma and Grandpa Rafaiani’s house and explore the neighborhood with friends. Of course, that exploring would take us to places we were told not to go. The gully — where lonely vines begged us to hug them for a swing and large pipes that stretched across a deep valley dared us to crawl. 

We never thought about what if the vine snaps or what if we slip off the pipe. We just enjoyed and came out smelling like metallic pipe and nature on the other side of the adventure. I get a whiff of it every now and again on the kids or after a run on the trails. Still tempting but then that worry thing starts to happen. Maybe next time … 

On Strike

10 Oct IMG_2356-0

That’s it. This mom is going on strike. 

I am tired of having capable beings in this house not doing their age-appropriate part. I know I’m to blame for this. I spoiled them too much. We make them pick up after their messes but don’t ever make them do set chores. 

Let me break it down.


  • When the 12-year-old only washes her lunch dishes and ignores what else is in the sink or drainer to put away.
  • When the almost 10-year-old who can make an awesome diving catch for an out in baseball and always knows the next play can’t seem to figure out how to put his dirty clothes in the hamper and not stashed in hidden (or not hidden) places of his room.
  • When both children leave their shoes and dirty socks scattered about the house.
  • And did I mention the food wrappers and trash they “throw away” on the tables or couches or bedroom floors?!
  • What about that time when aforementioned children put clean clothes they were supposed to properly put away for a week back in the hamper because they couldn’t tell what was dirty or clean?! And no, they don’t get credit for putting in hamper because I had to say something to them FIVE TIMES before the mix-n-match pile made its way to the hamper. 
  • Then there is the attitude I get when I tell them to contribute and help. 

I must simmer down now. After all, I’m on strike. No more washing their clothes. Nope. Not doing their dishes either. Just Andrew’s and mine. He helps beyond measure and I’m so thankful for him. He is most definitely in the strike-free zone and I know will support my stance. 

Done. And done and done. Starting now. 

Homemade Sauce, Lyrics and a Little Girl Growing Up

5 Oct IMG_2284-1

The time to clean out the kids’ clothes is always tough. As if the actual task of sorting through it all isn’t a drag enough, there’s that whole sentimental hurdle we have to face while conquering the closets. 

It’s such a tangible sign of how they are growing. This most recent gutting was especially stinging. Even more so than the time we first received this keepsake for the students to wear on the first day of Kindergarten.  

Then, 2021 seemed so far away. Sure, it still made us aware of its presence but that would be something like 12ish years away. Now, it’s less than SIX school years away. I gasped at this slap in reality and then gently folded the shirt and placed it in the pile of “special” things to keep safely in storage.

I didn’t fully feel the sting from the slap until later that night while I was making the homemade spaghetti sauce I learned how to perfect from my mom who learned how to perfect from my grandma Nancy. Nia was sitting at the kitchen table doing her homework and we were listening to “mommy’s” music. I’ve known and felt the lyrics from James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend” but never like this. That night, they had me adding tears to the meatballs. I looked at Nia as her eyes tightened at a thought she was writing, unaware of the emotional montage I was producing in my mind.

No matter where that brilliant brain and lovely personality take her in life, I will come running. 

Class of 2021.




3 Oct

Who taught you makeup, fashion and overall “beauty” tricks? Sure, I had plenty of motherly and sisterly guidance in the form of taking care of myself and style but what I secretly obsessed and studied were my sis’ Cosmo mags. Photo linked from and Pinterest

When I was 10-14 years old, my sister was 18-22. I remember absorbing every page — from the perfume ads to those relationship-solving quizzes. I most loved the makeup and fashion tips with featured products. I soaked up every word of these magazines like a soap opera and couldn’t wait for the next one. 

Not that I ever attempted the tricks though. None of it seemed like real life to me. It was a sensual and extraordinary fantasy world where I would live on the weekends when I visited daddy and sis. Kind of like the TV Guide or J.C.Penney catalog at grandma’s. Marking the shows like 90210 and New Kids on the Block appearances I didn’t want to miss and the toys and clothes I desperately needed. A wish list and a plan, charted out with blue-inked circles and stars. 

This memory got me to thinking about what our kids have that mirrors this. Sure, magazines like those still exist but my kids don’t see them. They do spy an occasional People or Us Weekly though. I’d imagine they feel the same land of pretend when they flip through one. Right after they leave the land of Minecraft, that is. 

Ah, young minds. Such a maze with so many maps to explore. Cosmo didn’t prepare me for this. (I did learn how to entertain sleepover buddies with great romance stories about winning over the hot lifeguard named Jordan or Donnie though.)

What’s Your Dream?

23 Sep

It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I don’t consider myself much of a dreamer but I’ve been hearing the man in Pretty Woman asking that question more and more in my head. It seems I don’t know how to answer it though. 

I’ve been throwing ideas at it. Not short on those. 

  • Beach rental investment properties
  • Mountain rental investment properties
  • Landscaping ideas 
  • Home renovation ideas
  • Self renovation ideas that include a complete body cleanse and better sleep habits — and more stretching
  • That one book idea I have
  • Volunteer compulsions
  • Donation compulsions
  • Adult volleyball
  • Reading more
  • Travel budget plans
  • Debt free budget plans 

Anyway. Lots of ideas. 

I’ve decided to get busy on that book one. I’m going to try to kill two birds by writing each time I feel like late night snacking. This novel and self renovation will be accomplished in no time. 

I plan to start tomorrow. (It’s ok to laugh. Stand up comedian is another dream I have.)

Kids These Days

21 Apr

I’ve given this a lot of thought during the thinking parts of my day. (That equates to short commutes, mile runs and right after some select conversations with my two children. In other words, I’m an expert.)

Here’s what I believe kids these days need:

  • An instructional dose of ZZ-Top music videos to teach them about how to treat jerk faces after getting a makeover. It all leads to them riding off into the sunset with a crush. 
  • An older sister’s Cosmopolitan magazine to help them solve all of life’s love riddles and self-diagnosis.  
  • Soap operas. How else will they learn how complicated life can be and how glamourous people live?
  • Enough rock love ballads to make them ugly-face cry and wish for a love like that as they call the area radio station and make anonymous dedications to their crush of the month. (Getting through the phone line will teach them patience at the same time.)
  • Speaking of patience, how about they learn about the BUSY SIGNAL on the telephone? Remember what it was like before call waiting and getting a beep? How many times we would redial the number until we heard a ring. How many times we’d get yelled at by our parents because they couldn’t get through to us. 
  • Horror classics like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Halloween need to be watched without permission at a friend’s sleepover and feared for weeks after exposure. That’ll teach ’em to not listen to mom or dad – and give them a healthy amount of the creepiness in the world. (It’s not all rainbows, unicorns, puppies and scratch-n-sniff stickers like Trapper Keepers make us believe.)
  • More cereal box toys. Because. 
  • Hugs and support from parents – especially after the list above fails them.

Like I said. I’m an expert. 

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