Monday, December 22, 2003


I received my Wayside Garden catalog with “Over 120 Brand New Items!” Then I browsed over to Althaea Officinalis: MallowDrama blog and found her excellent post about spring foraging. The winter solstice was only yesterday, but I’m itching to get into my garden. My little piece of land has all of the items she mentions, so I have one spring menu planned!
Did you search out your mother’s hiding place as a child and, with a racing heart, open the bags she had stowed for Christmas? I did once and it ruined Christmas day. I vowed never to do it again. This year Ron found my stash. I will feel sorry for him on Christmas morning.
This Christmas season I’ve been drawn to songs about Mary, mother of Jesus: Mary, Did You Know; Sing, Mary, Sing; and the classic, Ave Maria. As a Protestant, I’ve not thought much about Mary as a woman, actually a girl of 13 or 14. I've never wondered at her obedience to some outrageous request. And how do you mother the King of Kings? But, like Mary, I am pondering these things in my heart.

Do you have a Mary song to suggest?

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Here's my monthly post (that's a lame joke.) And I still don't have much to say. I have been bleak of spirit lately. No real reason, except maybe less hours of sunlight.

High School
That's been the hot topic lately as the boys have to select next year's freshman classes by this Friday. "You don't understand, I'm a teenager and I can do what I want." But parents, school counselors and teachers have prevailed. It's a bittersweet problem. We have exposed them to many things, hoping they would be curious and interested in many things. It's the secret to a rich life. So the problem now is that they want to take electives and not core subjects: Spanish, applied techology (drafting and design), computer applications, theater arts, choir, speech.

Christmas Project
The boys went with their middle school youth group to deliver and decorate a Christmas tree for a mother and child who recently left a women's shelter. Rick came home pumped up. "It reminded me of the song Christmas Shoes." I'm not familiar with the song, but I bet it is a tear-jerker.

Monday, November 10, 2003

If all went well, you can now comment on my entries. I'm a little reluctant to add this feature because I have heard comment spamming and trolls are increasingly a problem, but I'll give a try because I want to hear from you!

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Deprived Children
We are the only U.S. household without cable and without gaming systems according to my 14 year old sons. That makes them deprived and their parents depraved.

My husband and I gave away our TV after we first married and did not miss it at all. I confess, though, I bought a TV, VCR and a Lion King tape exactly ten days after we adopted the boys (at almost six years of age). I swore I would never use TV as a babysitter, but I needed a break, and so did they, from such intense emotions and the hard work of building parental attachments.

We are still stingy with watching TV and renting a movie is a "big event" at our home. We enjoy the family time immensely, and because rentals are so sparse, we can always find a good movie for the family. We watch classics (African Queen is the parent's favorite), musicals (the twins learned the songs from My Fair Lady when they were 8 years old), westerns (got to give in to the testosterone in this all male house occasionally), comedies (very difficult to find an acceptable comedy film for children, so we reverted to Love Bug. Note to self - try the Marx Brothers next time.) You get the idea.

This is not at all where I was going with the post. It has been our position not to have gaming systems in the house. The boys are free to buy their own and play all day and all night once they have their own house. Our concern is the addictive nature of games to young boys. Reality, not virtual reality, offers so much and one of our parental goals is to introduce our children to all sorts of experiences. Then they can sort it out and choose what they want to do. So we take nature hikes together, we bake together, we work wood together, we try our hands at crafts, we had a summer of photography (Ricky was Grand Champion in our county and then got a blue ribbon at state fair), we go for night cruises in the country, we watch stars, we go to the Philharmonic together, we go to art, science, history museums, and we work together.

Parents: "Life is good." Sons: "We want a PS2."

So back to the original point. No gaming system in the house.

Ron shared with me that he plans to build a cabin in the meadow next summer. Great, I think, woodworking and nature interests stuck. But no, he continued, "And I will buy a PS2, computer, TV, DVD to put in it, so they won't be in the house."

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Fall break was last weekend, so the boys and I headed for Indy for a few days to visit my niece. Aimee is a delightful young woman, gracious hostess and fun. The boys were quite taken with their beautiful 25 year old cousin. By balancing boy activities with women activities, fun was had by all. Pacers game and Art Institute, Indy 500 museum and canal walk, Jillians and long conversations.

During one of our conversations, Aimee started quizzing me about my life, anxious to hear my story. I was nonplussed. This is what I do with my aunts!
River Time
There was a full moon last night so we went down to the river to burn off the brush pile created by the new trail Eddie blazed. By the full moon and bright firelight, Steve wrote poetry, Ron started on the code for his first computer game, and Rick drew a cartoon satire of Lord of the Rings while Eddie and I played lap dulcimers. He taught me how to accompany him on an old russion folk song. He was all over the place while I played 1-2 and-3-4 in a minor key. What a treat for a weeknight.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

KK is doing fine. No broken bones. Minor cuts. His paw is twice the size of the others though and he cannot bear any weight on it. In one sense, we were lucky. The trap was not secured, so KK could drag it home.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Just Damn!
I let King Kitty in the house about half an hour ago and he made this strange clanging sound as he walked across the kitchen floor. Wha??? Steve is on his way to the emergency vet after removing a leg trap and I just finished cleaning up the blood. Damn those new neighbors. There is no need to set traps. Get a cat and a dog or go back to the city.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

I'm not a "lady who lunches" - really I'm not. That term applies to an idle woman who has too much time and money. I'm not a "lunch lady" either, although we all clearly remember a lunch lady from our elementary school days.

With that disclaimer, I had several wonderful lunches this week. Mom's home for a visit! Yesterday was especially fun. Mom, my sister, my sister-in-law and I went to the Village at Winona, a renovated resort village with an interesting history. We browsed the artisan shops and I resisted that hand-blown vase, pottery pie dish and copper double helix mobile. Then we had a long lunch with good conversation. I so enjoy the wonderful women in my family.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


Do not postpone putting your intentions into writing. When I completed my living will, I struggled with nutrition and hydration. Finally, I left it to my husband's discretion. This case has been positioned by some of the liberal media as "right to die." If you read the details or even look into the face of this woman, it is more like "right to kill." The most important aspect of a living will is to make sure to appoint the right person to make these painful decisions...and the decision should be painful. Otherwise you have selected the wrong person.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Let's Yak
Fall is here. Wet. Cold. Hostas limp from a killing frost. Field mice moving into the barn. But the paddling is still mighty fine.

"Let's yak," Renee wrote in the subject line of her e-mail. So despite the light rain and 50 degree temp, we launched her Perception kayak and my Mohawk solo into the upper St. Joe River this afternoon.

We paddled upstream to the iron bridge and, as we floated back, the sun came out. The skies were October blue, such an intense blue not seen the rest of the year. The sky and trees, mostly gold but some red, were reflected in the water for a double dose of natural beauty.

Then we sat around the campfire pit and continued to yak.

What a wonderful fall day.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

First Date
Well, date may be too strong of a word, but a young girl joined Ricky and I at Pizza Hut after his soccer game Saturday at his invitation. Normally self-assured, Ricky was a bundle of nerves, but I liked his style. He joked with her about being nervous. Of course, he also made sure that his Mom sat next to him instead of the girl.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Monday, September 22, 2003

I remember saying that I would age gracefully when I was in my late twenties. I have a different definition of aging gracefully in my mid-fifties.

I forgot what a wonderful sound that soft ping was. It takes me back to my childhood and my mother’s smile when she heard it.

Fast forward forty years. I spent the weekend canning – for the first time. I heard ten pings and I have ten jars of grape juice and jelly on my counter, jars of incredible jewel-like beauty. Sore feet, aching back. Everything smells and tastes of concentrated Concord grapes. And I have ten more pounds of grapes waiting to be processed.

Besides reading three cookbooks before I started, I called my mother for her advice. She said, “Throw the grapes away.” What??? This is the problem with living 12 hours from Mom. I can’t confirm my suspicion that a heartless fiend from the disposable society possessed her mind. This is not the mother who smiled at the lovely pings of sealed jars. This is not the mother who herded her five kids into the garden for endless picking of peas, beans, corn and then spent all evening and into the night processing the produce. I suspect this is the perfectly groomed mother who picks up a jar of grape jelly at Walmart Superstore for 79 cents and then runs off for lunch with her Red Hat Society.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

I'm back. Had a wee bit o' trouble with Blogger. When they upgraded it, it didn't let me log in. Expect to see some posts now.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Four Days
Steve took the boys to the UP (Upper Penninsula of Michigan) for four days. They camped, hiked and even canoed in Lake Superior. I was looking forward to the time alone, but it was too quiet. Part of the problem was the cold dark weather. I'm glad they are back. The house is teeming with life as only two teenagers can manage.

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Johnny Horton
When I was about ten, Mom joined "Record of the Month Club" to expand her collection of classical records and to expose her five young'uns to some culture. When she missed sending in the selection card, we received some interesting records. I was introduced to folk music with a Peter, Paul and Mary album, but nothing influenced our family like "The Greatest Hits of Johnny Horton." This album must have been played a gazillion times by my three younger brothers, and the fate of the alligator in "The Battle of New Orleans" always made them giggle.

A few years ago, we discovered that all five of us children had bought the cassette and introduced these songs to our children. It's a favorite for road trip singalongs. Three generations of Bishops know the words to North to Alaska, Sink the Bismarck, Ol Jim Bridger, and, of course, we know to hold our fire... to send the bloody British...where a rabbit wouldn't go.

This morning, while watching my great-niece (2 years old) and great-nephew (3 months old), I held them spell bound with a couple of Johnny Horton songs. She just looked at me with her mouth open and he laughed and laughed. Welcome, fourth generation, to a music tradition.

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Family Stories
Mom, my sister, my niece and I spent most of yesterday putting together a family scrapbook. Out of the hundreds of photos Mom brought home, we focused only on pre-1950 photos. I had grand ambitions that we would label and place these into a scrapbook, since we had the supplies, the source of the stories (Mom), and four bright women to work on it all day. Muhaahahahahaha

We spent over an hour on the first photo, a picture of my mother's childhood home. My sister would make a great journalist; she pried Mom with questions, probed for stories, and found the color. Mom soon got into the swing of storytelling. After an hour, I was able to move them on to the next photo. Meanwhile, my niece wrote of the house story. When Mom read the final result, she was stunned, "This makes it sound so historic and important."

It's hard to believe anything you lived is historic. But I can just see my children and grandchildren enjoying this glimpse into their history 30 years from now.

The big question is who gets the scrapbook...or how can we duplicate it for five children, 12 grandchildren and 6 (so far) great grandchildren?

Friday, May 16, 2003

Container Gardening
At last, I had time today to spend in the garden. While I have land enough to create more garden beds, I have fun designing mini-gardens in my pots for the deck, probably because their lifespan is short and it is easy to modify design mistakes. The raw materials were my collection of pots (including a new large bright blue pot) plus the plants I started in the patio greenhouse I received for Christmas complemented by unusual annuals I've been buying at the nurseries and perennials from my beds. I made my own potting soil in the wheelbarrow, laid the pots out in a row, surrounded myself with my plants, then made a cup of tea and stared at it all. When the muse hit, I started potting. I'll know how well I did in about a month.

Dinner al fresco
We ate under the stars on the patio tonight amid the incipient beauty of my pots, lit by fifteen candles scattered around the deck. The boys were enthralled by the mood, which was only slightly lessened by the sweatshirts and hats we had to wear.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Annual Perennial Party
Another successful party and plant exchange last Saturday, especially since the thunderstorms ceased for four hours. I get a kick out of first-timers, who are always stunned by the number of quality plants they get to take home. I'm making poor progress, though, in getting my acquisitions in the ground, between the rain and running the boys.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Middle School
I thought I would only have to live through middle school once since I don't believe in reincarnation. I didn't count on experiencing middle school again, vicariously, through my sons. Rick borrowed a bag of chips on Friday from a friend who is a good kid, but the brains of 13-year-old boys do not function fully (and there is medical research to back that statement). His friend is charging Rick 46,800% interest which will triple if he does not pay back the dollar tomorrow. Oh well, it gave me a chance to review principal, interest and time with Rick. We decided a penny interest would be sufficient, if not generous. If the other boy won't accept it, Rick is suppose to have the boy's parents call us. I'm sure the young man will not report this to his parents. On the other hand, the boy's father is a banker.
The last trees to get their leaves in the spring (and the first to lose them in the fall) are the black walnuts. I noticed tonight that their leaves were just opening. The white oaks are slow also. Both trees provide a canopy of deep shade, so the understory plants are taking advantage of the sunlight right now and are bursting with blooms.

Monday, May 12, 2003

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth,
no culture comparable to that of the garden ...
But though an old man, I am but a young gardener. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Morels, Asparagus, Trilliums and Mayapples
I decided to walk Samson, our yellow lab, through our woods instead around the neighborhood. And guess what I found? Now I know what we will have for dinner.
Deja Vu all over again
For those who know me well, you will know why this strikes a chord. Read the entries from May 10 and 11. Andrew Sullivan was wrong in one aspect; this type of behavior is not addressed in the corporate world either.
Mother's Day Cards
One son wrote:
"You are sweet as sugar. I look at you in the morning and you shine like the sun. There is no one better. Thank You. Happy Mother's Day. I love you. P.S. Wishing you a heartful of Mothers that are happy on sunny Sundays or even stormy days. You make me say I love you always."

And his twin wrote:
"I love you all the time. I like how kind you are to me and Ricky. You are the Best Mom a person could have."

Eat your heart out Hallmark. Your cards don't even come close! I'm not sure what "a heartful of Mothers" means but I suspect his heart was full of mother love and this was how it came out. I am so blessed, not just by my sons, but by my husband who arranged the cardwriting endeavor.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Last night Ricky and I went to Campus Life's "Bid on a Kid" fundraising auction. Rick really got into the spirit of bidding at his first auction. My right arm is sore as he excitedly punched me to outbid everyone for every kid. It's just a good thing the auctioneer ignored Rick's frantic waving. Even when I had the winning bid, he was pummeling me to outbid myself as the auctioneer valiantly tried to get another $25 for the three strapping teenage boys who will do 4-5 hours of lawn work. Yeh! Now I can start planning a large landscaping project! My initial thought was to have them clean the fence row and mulch the perimeter trees we planted in the meadow. But why not have them build a stone wall? Or create a path through the woods? Or dig up five new garden beds? Or create that french drain we got a bid for? Or tear up half the asphalt in the driveway? I"ll be thinking about this one!

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Mother's Day Present
Late last night, Mom sent me an e-mail, which included the following paragraph:

I have discovered how to outfox the deer who eat my daylilies. I put a little stale perfume in the bottom of my sprinkling can, fill it with water, and sprinkle that foul smell all over everything the deer eat. They don't even come into my yard anymore. But sooner or later, I will run out of old cologne and then what will I do? I would love to see my daylilies bloom again.

I want to please my mother this Sunday because I love and respect her so much. What better gift than all my old cologne? To make sure she knows that this is a thoughtful. loving gift, I will beautifully wrap it. Know where I can get some daylily wrapping paper?

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Crocus Sounds
The peepers are back and singing up a storm and the front yard and garden are filled with bright yellow, light yellow, light purple and bright purple crocuses. This time of the year always reminds me of my friend who said she loved the sound of crocus (meaning locusts).

Sunday, March 23, 2003

I had an appointment with a surgeon about my gallbladder on Friday morning. It had to come out, but my COBRA insurance ended that night at midnight and my individual coverage excludes pre-existing. I explained the situation to him and he arranged for surgery that evening! Now I'm a little sore but reliefed. My family pitched right in - my sister picked up the boys and kept them Friday night and my niece and brother watched them Saturday. Of course, my husband was wonderful through it all. I am so blessed.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Even before I write the first word, I know I cannot do justice to this spring day. In the warm and sunny morning, I cleaned one of the church's perennial beds, pulling and cutting the winter detritus to discover tender green shoots of new life. The damp earth smell, the joy of discovery, the increasing orderliness of the bed, the sun on my back, the anticipation of new growth, all gave me such a feeling of peace and well-being.

Then the dark clouds crept in from the west in the afternoon. As I sat in the car waiting for my sons at school, the lightening, rain and hail came. Nothing tender and sweet about this storm. Hail piled everywhere. Fields and roads flooded.

We watched as the line of clouds were pushed east by the sunshine. Ron spotted the first rainbow---faint and thin and long. I spotted the next rainbow ---absolutely the fattest, shortest and most brilliant rainbow I ever saw.

The fog came with the gloaming, covering the world with a mysterious, thick, dark blue velvet. The spring smell of damp earth returned, bringing me back to where I started the day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

What's for dinner?
Are there people out there who remember this as their Momma's cooking?

Monday, March 17, 2003

Two hour school delay this morning due to fog and I'm taking a moment to post before initiating a study session with the boys for their test over the countries of Asia. The sunrise this morning was incredible, a diffused pink through the fog across the horizon. I took pleasure not only from the sunrise, but also from Ron noticing it and sharing it with me. I am so glad my boys enjoy the simple pleasures of this world.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Talent Show
Ricky was amazing. He had the audience clapping along with him and his grin was infectious. Unfortunately, at the beginniung of the last verse, he forgot the words and looked to his music teacher in the wings just as the teacher gave another student a vigorous hand signal to be quiet. Ricky thought he had done something wrong and became flustered. Finally, he said thank you and bowed off the stage. His brother told me they played the talent show during lunch and when Ricky sang the whole room of seventh graders became absolutely quiet.

Spring Teasers
It is sunny and 65 degrees today. The little time I spent outside made me long for more. The tips of my crocus are up and the bergenia is starting to show color. I saw my first butterfly. Samson, our banana lavatory according to my 3 year old nephew, had lots of fun breaking through the ice on the edges of the pond into the chilly water. He is a muddy wet stinky happy mess. The boys played basketball outside after spending five hours on homework. I opened all the windows in the house and cars to remove the stink of winter with the breath of spring. I know, I know, this is Indiana and we will probably have a blizzard next week. But I will enjoy the moment.

Friday, February 28, 2003

Adrenaline Junkies?
Ricky the Daredevil was how the most recent church newsletter referred to my 13 year old son regarding last week's ski trip. My initial maternal instinct was a deep sinking feeling in my gut, which only got worse when I observed the extreme pleasure Ricky took in this acknowledgement of his extreme activities. Then a little smile crossed my face. A smile of remembered thrills. His mother did own a motorcycle once, and his father jumped out of airplanes. Even his grandmother rapelled when she was in her seventies. I can only pray for good sense to temper his thrills.

Indiana Pacers
Ron won free tickets to see Indiana Pacers! This was part of the Heart Association fundraiser at school. He still claims the Lakers as his favorite team, but informed us that the Pacers just moved up his list. We have never been to a professional basketball game, so this should be fun.

Rick auditioned for the school talent show and will be singing acapello "Down in the River to Pray" from "O Brother Where Art Thou" next Friday.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Colliding Cultures
Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or do without.

My Bible Study group was surprised that I knew this old maxim. I first heard it from Steve Etheridge, a local story-teller, but I remember it because it is on one of my coffee mugs.

My father was a young adult during the depression and my mother was a teenager. I was raised in a frugal home. It tickles me when environmentalists "discover" things that my family did during the 50s and 60s, such as composting, fresh food from the garden, and recycling.

This culture collided with the current consumer culture. As a corporate grunt, time was more precious than anything. What could be quicker than convenience foods with their redundant packaging and throw-away pans?

That's why my house is cluttered. I'm a frugal person living in a disposable society. How's that for justification?

In the 1970s when I started working in the corporate world, our scratch paper was cut from outdated manuals. When I left, we were using sticky notes. Recently I asked a friend for note paper and she handed me a small pad of stapled paper, recycled from the excess paper from their computer. Why not? So I put a basket next to the printer to catch those draft copies, homework notes and other stuff that gets printed on one side and then tossed. Use it up.

Why is shabby chic only chic if you buy it new? Why does my shabby just look shabby? I'm trying to see the chic in it. Do you know how much it costs for aged terra cotta pots? One day last summer, I walked by my potting bench and my eyes were opened to the treasure I had in all the old pots crammed to the back of the bottom shelf. These aged pots were wonderful in my garden. Make it do.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Do you need to put a label on me? How about a granola conservative?
My right and left friends share something in common - they care passionately. Those who are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I spit out of my mouth. (paraphrase of a letter to one of the churches in Revelations.)

I am only slightly crunchy though: making our own bread, composting, avoiding lawn and garden chemicals, planting thousands of trees. I have yet to keep bees, raise free range chickens, and get off the grid; but I have seriously considered doing so.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Where were you when Columbia disintegrated? I was sitting at Wayne High School listening to Ron sing "Candle on the Water" at ISSMA. Rick had just finished "Do Re Mi." They did very well with their solos and I am proud of them. They have no fear of performing. We went out to breakfast to celebrate, a celebration marred totally by the Columbia accident.

American Heart Association
Ron may have a future as a fundraiser. He raised the most money in his class for the AHA during a school program called Hoops for Hearts. He had a month to collect but he waited until the day before it was due to hit up everyone he knew at church. Thank you so much, dear people at HUMC, for pitching in. I wish you could have seen his face when he brought his prize home.

Happy Birthday, Mom
Mom celebrated her 80th year this week. I honor her and bless her for who she is. First she was Mommy, then Moooother during my teen years and emerged as Mom, my best friend in my twenties. Recently I revert to Mommy when I hug her since that is the most intimate expression of my love for her.

What can I do?
Rick asked me Tuesday night, "What can I do to stop the war and terrorism? What can a 13 year old boy do?" Breathing a quick prayer, I looked him in the eyes, so he knew I was taking this as seriously as he was, and told him I would have to think about it. I'm so glad that he is not five years older for he may have his answer then. My sister and a friend sent me this within the next few days. I had my answer for Rick:

We can do something about the threat of war; both in Iraq and with terrorists. In the Old Testament, God's armies were always led by the priests. When the waters parted in the Jordan, it was the priests' feet which first hit the turbulent river.! In the New Testament, Christians are also referred to as priests...all Christians.

We must, therefore, go in first.

As the possibility of war approaches with Hussein and Iraq, we are asking the priests to step in first.....ahead of our military. Let us be setting up camp for our soldiers' entrance into the conflict. How? By prayer.

Let us be sending in "prayer missiles," "cruise and scud prayers" to target enemy plans. "Patriot prayers" to shoot down incoming threats.

We should be praying for two things: (1) that the enemy leaders become confused, disoriented, and distrustful of each other; that their entire system of attack fall apart, and (2) that in God's wildest ways, these enemies would become aware of His deep love for them and the war Jesus has already fought for them, personally, on the cross.

God had Gideon reduce his army from 32,000 to 300 men!. He then equipped them with nothing but trumpets, pitchers, and torches. What an odd combination to fight off well-armed soldiers. When Gideon gave the command, the Bible says the enemy fled crying and turned on each other...all because God messed with enemy

Prayers were started for this about a month ago. On CNN last weekend a report came out that although Hussein has nothing to lose, his generals do.

Is confusion beginning to develop? Please pray for God to set the stage for defeat of all those who intend to do harm. When our men and women of uniform arrive on the scene, may they be surprised at how God had camp set up before they ever got there.

My valentine
We have been blessed with a significant deepening of our marital relationship. Perhaps it is because we faced trials together the last few years and are emerging stronger. I am overwhelmed with the love of my husband. This is from James Joyce:

...and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes
and then he asked me would I yes...
and first I put my arms around him yes
and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes
and his heart was going like mad
and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Enterprising Son
Ron was very excited when I picked him up from middle school one evening last week.

“I can’t wait until Saturday, Mom.”

“Why?” I asked while skimming our calendar in my head.

“Because that’s when my new Dell computer arrives!”

It seems that he ordered a computer during class instead of researching his health paper. At $18 a month, he figured he could pay for it with his allowance. No computer was delivered yesterday and Ron got a lesson in contracts, debt and ordering from the Internet.

An aside: Dell has no customer service e-mail link on their site, so I had to face voice-mail hell. I just couldn’t figure out what number to push to cancel an order placed by a minor.

I took the boys sledding last week. By the time homework and dinner was done, it was dark outside. It was still early though and there was an almost full moon. We bundled up against the single digit weather and waddled down to the Big Hill by the Big Pond. How can I share the sensory overload of the brisk air, the full moon shining off the snow, the thrill of a fast ride, the adrenaline-laced squeals of the twins? I was a little sore the next day – whether from rolling down the hill when I fell off the sled or from crawling up the hill with my sled or just the protests of an aging body.