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Showing posts from 2012

Merry Christmas to All and To All a Good Night......

  When it snows after dark in a community that doesn't often get snow, kids will go to great extremes to have fun.  As the giant snowflakes fell on Christmas night, my kids raced out into the cold in an effort not to miss a good time.  It's a sure sign they are having way too much fun when your teenage daughter is towed home in her golf cart by "the cute boy" down the street, dragging a tiny wheel and more friends behind her.      My kitchen was turned into a staging area for wet boots, dry towels, frozen children and hot chocolate.  The kids beat a path back and forth to the hot tub until about two a.m.  With the steam coming up into the night air and nothing but the kid's heads above water, it looked like they were basking in a big vat of soup.  Leaving them to simmer, I made my way to bed around midnight.  I could still hear the sounds of giggling kids echoing through the house.      About 2:30 a.m., my son woke me and said, "You know how y

The End of the World as We Know It photo     According to my husband, the Discovery Channel and a Mayan Calendar, long since given up for iCal or the Outlook calendar, the end of the world is scheduled to occur tomorrow, December 21, 2012. As luck would have it, a mighty storm blew in on the morning of Dec 20th.  We woke to total darkness and a primordial wind certain to be the messenger of prophetic things to come.  Had it only been Dec 21, a lot of people might have been asking a few more important questions….  “Why didn’t I believe my husband?”  “Is this really the end?”  “If I’m leaving, should I turn the iron off?”        With the world shrouded in darkness, I headed out into the unknown and knew this could be the beginning of the end as I got stuck in the early morning double drive-thru lane of McDonald’s, unable to move forward and unable to let those behind me place their breakfast orders.  I had become a place holder in a line of coffee crazed people, all watching the skies and waiting for the c

The Hanging Santa

    Christmas tradition is important in our household and each year we attempt to drive around town to see the holiday lights.  I often fail at doing this in a timely manner and on New Year's Eve, the last night of the local park's "Tour of Lights", my children and I are known to fly into the park, right at closing time, in one final attempt to capture a look at the elaborate light displays. As we are driving past, in a last minute holiday panic, the lights are going out and stakes are being pulled up as it is long past time to go home.  I feel successful if I can stay just two or three lights ahead of the crew breaking down the holiday display.  In my rush, I always forget about the volunteer at the end of the tunnel of lights who is waiting with a festive bucket, in hand, to collect donations to support this attraction.  It never fails that there are no one dollar bills in my purse and I'm forced to decide between a twenty dollar bill, a box of Altoids, or a p

Peace, Love and What???

  There is nothing more precious than child innocence.  While it appears that this message may, indeed, be upside down, it seems that an upended pink ribbon is a call for better testing for earlier detection of breast cancer.  Who better to deliver such a message than a group of young girls with bright futures ahead of them?  While my daughter actually has no idea that she is holding the poster upside down, her mistake quietly sends a much more powerful message across this field. Who knows, but any one of these young ladies, excited about their part in participating in a campaign of hope, could go on to be the one to discover just such a test or cure.   So even if the symbols are upside down, or even fall to the ground, our youth are learning to be a part of something bigger than themselves and might just one day deliver this message exactly as they innocently displayed this Fall day in their youth.   Picture by Kathi Kolb

Don't Open Till Christmas

   While it was important to me to teach my children the joy found in tradition, I may have inadvertently taught them that change is not a good thing.  As my kids are now in their teens, they have certain expectations of how things are done and will not deviate from the accepted practices of their youth.  Christmas traditions are now set in stone at my house and are under full management of my children.    Each year, my kids and I put up our family Christmas tree.  My daughter will have already erected a hot pink or glitter covered tree in her room complete with the traditional tree topper tiara because nothing says Christmas like a crown of jewels.  Her tree is decorated with tiny ornaments shaped like shoes and ornaments with pictures of loved family pets.  After her room is all aglow with Christmas lights and glitter we will focus our efforts on the family tree in our living room.      There is a very specific method in which we follow to put up this tree.  I will start

The Last of The Slip and Slides

Photo Property of     There are two things in this world that draw me in like a siren’s call and stop me in my tracks.   One is the stand of last minute goodies strategically placed near a cash register in case you forgot something.   Who doesn’t need a miniature bottle of wiper fluid or a deck of magic cards?   My attention is captured by these products that call my name and I’m often found placing them in my basket and looking over my shoulder in embarrassment to see who observed my impulsive buy.   The other attention grabber is the headline menu on Yahoo news.   Who can resist those teaser headlines such as “What is That Thing Over Denver” or “Ten Most Beloved Banned Products”?    The latter was discovered this morning and I instantly went to see what these beloved products were.       I was horrified to learn that I own every single one of these wonderful yet dangerous items that have delivered so much joy to my family.   The first lethal item on the lis

Sleeping With One Eye Open

      My son is a Disk Jockey and he works later than most kids his age because of the nature of his business.  Of course, he only has to to work twice a month to make the same money I once made at seventeen flipping hamburgers and wearing that horrible "Wendy's" blue cotton uniform that looked much like a French maid with its puffy sleeves and low cut neckline.  I try hard to stay awake to make sure my son returns home safely, but at those late hours I am known to cat nap while he is out.  I have mulitple alarms set on my phone to go off every hour on the hour so I can stalk him properly and make sure he isn't late and lying in a ravine somewhere.   I lie on the couch and doze in and out with one eye open and one hand on my phone.  My son knows the rule that he must wake me upon return so I can turn off the alarms and then move into a regular sleep pattern.   The problem with this is that my cognitive reasoning is dulled after going in and out of sleep several ti

So, The Tin Man Needed A Heart

   At a recent benefit, I heard a speaker take the Wizard of Oz story and parlay it into a magnificent tale of giving, caring and courage.  A tin man, who was empty on the inside, needed a heart.  A lost man made of fluff needed a brain and a lion simply needed his courage back. Everyone knows how the story ends as we discover that we all fit these roles from time to time and that Toto still remains an irritating dog to this day. There were other lessons learned from this great story, however, and I think they are often overlooked.     If you are mean person or even a wicked witch, a giant house can and should fall on top of you, leaving nothing but a great pair of shoes for the taking.  A good heart could have served that witch well. I have known a few people that I wished had larger hearts, or any heart or even a house on top of them, although I realize that makes my heart a little smaller for wanting a giant dwelling to land on these people. But, perhaps it would knock some

Reach Out and Touch the World

    It was around 11:00 at night when I discovered my daughter still awake in her bed with string cheese hanging from her mouth as she "Face-Timed" her friend who lives four hours away.  While she was having fun streaming video of the stringy dairy product hanging from her mouth, she informed me that she had forgotten to do her Science homework on DNA and that she needed me to wash a pair of jeans. This instantly told me I would be up early in the morning washing clothes and googling up things such as how many chromosones a cat has.  I had forgotten about the small dog living in my laundry room who had just been neutered and the fact that he would need my attention too.   My morning schedule was already being stretched to the hilt and I hadn't even gone to bed yet.  Oddly, I happen to have a representation of the building blocks of life made out of Starburst and Licorice and I hoped we could work it into her Science homework to save us a little time in the morning.  

The Highway Maker

Photo property of Erik Johansson     The road to the city was once a four lane interstate that deteriorated over the years under the weight of big trucks.  While I was not invited to the Highway Department planning meeting, I learned late that the road would be replaced.  One day the highway was there and then suddenly it wasn't.  Giant equipment moved in like something out of a Dr. Seuss book and broke concrete, stirred dust, ripped out the highway and carried it away.  It seemed to happen overnight.  I still question where one carries off an entire interstate to, but I'm certain there is a mountain of concrete around here somewhere.     The southbound lanes are now shared for traffic coming and going and all of us can watch as the other side of the highway is carried away and is now being rebuilt.  It is a strange sight to see miles of dirt where once a highway stood.  But the most amazing thing is the giant machine  they brought in, t

Dog Days of Summer

   As a hurricane nears ours shores and a faint, cool breeze blows the remnants of summer away, the Fall football season is upon us and with that comes football games, cheerleaders, and a strong need for a professional organizer and a personal dry cleaner armed with a "Tide To Go" stick.  Let me explain...      My daughter is one of those cheerleaders and great effort has gone into preparations for our Fall kick off event known as "Dog Days" where kids are given their first opportunity to take to the football field and show the world their skills.   After selling hundreds of dollars worth of ads and bulldog magnets, securing just the right outfits with matching bows, t-shirts and rain gear, and paying for private lessons with Cirque du Soleil to perfect a tumbling pass on the sidelines, we were ready for Dog Days and all the joy that comes with it.        The afternoon of the event, my child was missing in action as she and her father were tooling around

Moose Cleaners Doesn't Clean Moose

   There is a small business in town which goes by the name Moose Cleaners.  The name, alone, brings me happiness and while I have never actually taken any clothing to Moose Cleaners, I enjoy knowing such a place exists.  We have passed by Moose Cleaners a million times as it serves as a landmark that sits on our path from the bookstore to Olive Garden.       Just this weekend, we turned that familiar corner on our way to get tasty Italian food and discovered, much to our chagrin, that Moose Cleaners was no more.  It had been replaced by Asian Nails and a Liquor Store.  We all stared in silence as we grasped the fact that change had come and our favorite cleaners, that we never used, was now gone. My daughter spoke up from the back seat and said, "Where will people get their moose cleaned now?"  This question begged more questions like, "Really?"  and "How many people do you know that have a moose... a moose that needs to be cleaned?"  She

In Search of Downy Goodness

If ever an intervention was needed, it would be led by a group of concerned friends and family as they tackled my large appliance issues.  I am currently on my third washing machine in a year as I cannot find one that actually cleans clothes and leaves them smelling Downy fresh.    My first choice for cleaning laundry was a matching set of front loading appliances that were energy efficient and saved on water.  It only took a few wash cycles to realize that a tablespoon of water, spritzed on dirty laundry and spun at high rates of speed, would not clean one's clothes. I sat in front of the tiny oval window of the washer and watched as my clothes were spun around for almost an hour and wondered when the water would actually fill the unit and begin washing away dirt and grime.  After 57 minutes of gaping through the window, waiting to see bubbly suds, I had a better understanding of energy efficiency and water savings.  It wasn't long before the Lowe's truck arrived

Who Forgot to Bring the Pack Mule

    I've discovered, recently, that people get to the beach in a variety of ways.  Some take shuttles, some walk foot-trails through the mangrove and others step right out their door to the sandy shores. Our path to the beach, this summer, included a double digit number of stairs that led us to the water's edge.  Navigating this staircase would take some pre-planning and possibly some beta blockers to ensure I made it back from the beach alive.     At ten years of age, I would dart out that door to the beach with nothing but a bathing suit and a child-like excitement about what the day held in store.  In my 20's, I would grab some sunscreen and a cool beverage as I began my trek to the beach.  At 47, it's just not that simple anymore. I came to this great realization when I discovered that I had wedged myself between the front door and the staircase with a six foot raft and a foam boogie board.  One hand held an ipod dock, a bottle of sunscreen and the raft.  The o

The Magical Lure of The Emerald Coast

       There are some places in this world that are so wonderful that it's worth driving fourteen hours for, even if three of those hours are in bumper to bumper traffic moving at five miles an hour or less. This year's travel challenge is the Emerald Coast on the Fourth of July Holiday.  Families from all over the southeast made their pilgrimage to the Florida beaches for that traditional four o'clock check-in at one of the thousands of condos on the water.  Ours is situated between Destin and Panama City Beach somewhere east of pricey Seaside and west of Barrett Square, with it's cobblestone streets and picture perfect families on bikes.     On one of our many summer trips to Florida, I longed to be that family of happy cyclists and we loaded up five bicycles in the back of a truck that followed my car all the way to the beach.  As we took to the streets with no helmets on, I was quick to interpret the looks from fellow cyclists that let me know I was endan