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Why Everyone Should Be a Writer (even kids!)

June 4, 2008

It saddens me to think that we are losing the art of writing letters.  While email and phone calls are great, in my opinion they just don’t compete with the hand written word.  Let me explain why I think this is so important.

My mother did not like to write, in fact she hated it.  She was a reading teacher but writing something as simple as a “thank you” note brought sweat to her brow and fear to her heart. But when I went away to college in the pre-computer era, she was inspired to write letters. She wrote about little things.  What they had for supper. What my brother was up to. What kind of crops my dad was growing. She thought those letters were insignificant. She was wrong. It’s been 18 years since she died and she’s still speaking to me through her letters.  I keep them in a drawer and when I want to hear her voice all I have to do is get them out. There’s something about seeing her handwriting that makes me feel closer to her even now.

My mom was one of those moms who saved everything I ever wrote. Poems, cards, notes, etc.  As a result I have reminders of my childhood that other folks my age don’t have.

In my opinion everyone should be a writer.  Write thank you notes, sympathy cards, birthday letters, dream letters (I have a dream for you) and send them to a loved one.  No matter how old are young we are we can all be writers.  My children made me Mother’s Day cards I treasure more than any store bought card. Encourage your children to make cards for the elderly or sick. Have them write their grandparents letters. Teach them early about the importance of writing. You’ll be glad you did.

Scoliosis No More

May 28, 2008

dr-kellypic-2.jpgJust a little over a year ago one of our twin boys was diagnosed with Scoliosis (curvature of the spine).  He had a 15 degree curve, which is very close to needing to wear a brace.  The bone doctor told us to come back in one year and check it again. In the meantime a new Chiropract0r opened an office in our town.  I knew her (I went to high school with her mom and dad) and so I took the boys to see her.  She assured me she could help. The boys liked her (although they giggled through the first couple of treatments).  A few weeks ago our son got another x-ray.  The doctor looked at the two x-rays and said, “It’s gone. Totally gone! What did you do?”

We just smiled and said, “Dr. Scatena did it.” 

If you know someone who has Scoliosis or something similar, I highly recommend finding a good Chiropractor.  I also recommend the massage table our doctor has. I love to lay on it, listen to beach sounds, and let the magic rollers cruise up and down my back.  Cheapest and best thrill I’ve had in a long time!

How to be a successful decorating thief

May 21, 2008

I was not blessed with “Martha Stewart” genes and I’m not crafty or artistic. If you could see the mobile home I’m living in right now you would have to call my decorating style “Clutter on top of clutter de la renta.” (That’s as close as I can come to sounding French or fashionable). So what could a traila trash gurl like me possibly know about decorating? Good question.

I may be clueless, but I know people who are good at decorating. My sister-in-law has gorgeous new curtains in her dining room. She made them herself with some fabric she got on sale and a hot glue gun (she was an elementary teacher-they can do amazing things with glue guns!). I have several cousins who decorated their homes beautifully. I went to visit them and took my digital camera. I made tons of pictures, asked lots of questions and got some great ideas.

Finally, I buy decorating magazines and cut out pictures like crazy. Then I take all this information and put it in a cheap scrapbook. I had so much information that I had to buy extra pages to insert. I may not be able to duplicate everything, but it gets me started.

I normally don’t recommend stealing but if you are like me and House Beautiful has nominated you for their annual “most likely to be voted tacky traila trash with absolutely no class award” then I encourage you to do like I do–steal decorating ideas from other folks who know what they are doing!

5 signs that living with all guys is driving me crazy

May 14, 2008

As the mother of four sons and wife of one husband, there are a few things I’ve noticed about myself lately that have me worried. Living with all guys (our daughter lives in a different town) is starting to get to me. Here are the signs that I may be in trouble….

1. I know that the Cavaliers’ beat the Celtics 88-77 on Monday night because Kevin Garnett let Lebron James score 21 points, but I can’t tell you who was eliminated from Dancing with the Stars because it was on at the same time as the playoffs.

2. I took a shower with someone’s soap on a rope, shampooed with dandruff shampoo, reused the ONLY towel left in the bathroom, and then couldn’t find my deodorant. Rather than going without I used what I could find…Old Spice. Yummy.

3. My husband was going to take me out to dinner and he told me to dress nice. I assumed he meant for me to put on a clean tee shirt and sweats.

4. Passing gas and scratching where ever there is an itch no longer shocks me.

5. Wrestle-mania is starting to appeal to me.

Once I realized that all the testosterone in my house was starting to damage my femininity I decided to take action. Here’s what I did.

1. I got a tape recorder and recorded some actress on one of the soaps weeping; then I hid a stash of chocolate in my bedroom. The next time the guys treat me like a maid, a cook or a chauffeur, I’m going to lock myself in my room, turn on the cry-baby sounds for sympathy and eat my chocolate in peace.

2. I sing the lyrics to “I am woman” as loud as I can every morning in the shower. It’s a goofy song but it makes me feel better.

3. I shave my legs and arm pits. No one else in this house does, but that’s one line I will NOT cross.

4. At least one night a week I go out with a girlfriend or go visit my daughter. We go out to dinner and eat something other than pizza or burgers and for dessert we have something loaded with (you guessed it) chocolate! Then we go to a chick flick, preferably one where no one gets killed or blown up and the hero and heroine live happily ever after.

It’s amazing how much better I feel when I come home. So all you women out there living in households where you are outnumbered by males, listen up. Girls night out is the answer.

It works for me!

Wash Day

April 30, 2008

My grandmother told me that when she was a little girl wash day was every Monday. They had a huge black kettle where they washed the clothes with homemade lye soap. They scrubbed most items on washboards and hung every thing out to dry. If I did laundry only once a week we wouldn’t have room to walk in our mobile home. Every day is wash day here. Of course back then they didn’t have as many clothes and they wore the same ones for days. My boys change clothes three times a day minimum. And I can’t imagine making my own soap or scrubbing jeans on washboards.

I suppose everyone has things that if they could do over they would do differently the second time around. If I could go back to when my children were small I would definitely have bought a front loading washing machine, the largest one I could find. Laundry with five children is never ending and even though all my children are almost grown, I still have trouble keeping my sixteen year old twins clothes washed and dried. During ball seasons we wash practice clothes, ball socks and uniforms constantly.

A few months ago we bought a new front loading washer and drier. I am amazed at how much they hold, how much easier it is to do laundry, how fast the drier drys towels and how much more energy effecient they are. (Can you tell I love my washer and drier?)

To all moms out there doing daily battle with laundry mountains, find a way to get a front loader and drier. Save change, have another yard sale, whatever it takes. It makes doing laundry less of a chore and gives you more time to spend with your children. The only down side is if you live in a mobile home prepare to feel like you are experiencing an earthquake when the washer goes into the spin cycle. Even that is kinda fun!

It works for me!

Teens and good grades

April 23, 2008

Our boys are 16 and very interested in basketball, cars, and girls (not necessarily in that order). They are not as interested in academics, so we have to look for ways to motivate them. We’ve finally hit on something that works. Our car insurance gives a $500 discount for young drivers who make all A’s and B’s. We told our boys that if they don’t qualify for this discount they will have to fork over $500. They are now inspired scholars.

It works for me! What works for you?