Happy Birthday to a Very Special Lady, My Mom

Some people believe in writer’s block and others don’t. I’m in the camp of the believers and I know in my case I get writers block when I’m trying too hard to make sure something is perfect.  I have to admit that was the case when I sat down to write this.

Today is my mom’s birthday and we celebrated it as a family this past weekend.  I wanted to write something to read at the party in honor of the birthday girl, also known as Linda (sometimes Linda Loo), Mom, Grandma, and Oma.

I must have stopped and started a dozen times, the first one was too formal, the second one too long, and as I read each of them out loud, I knew that I still hadn’t just written from the heart.  And then it came to me. I’m not sure which one of us teared up more while I read it.  I’ve revised it slightly since I’m posting it rather than reading it and wanted to share it on this very special day.

As a little girl I remember feeling proud because I had the prettiest and smartest mom on the block.  Our house was always warm and inviting, every holiday was extra special, and I knew she always had my back.  The feeling I had as a little girl hasn’t gone way it’s grown.

My mom is one of the people I admire most in the world.  She inspires me in countless ways and I know I’m not alone when I say that she is  one of my heroes and wouldn’t be the person I am today without her.

Today we celebrate Linda, a beautiful wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.  We celebrate the joy she brings to all of us through the way she touches our lives.

Happy Birthday from all of us to you!

Mother’s Day Flowers

lilies with color...pastels

I’m not usually one to do this, but I’m going to write a bit about my very ordinary but extraordinary afternoon.  After finishing the things in my life that ‘needed’ to be done I decided to take the afternoon off and enjoy the beautiful weather and my amazing porch.

Sunday morning I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day.  It was one of those funny moments; I was writing in my journal and had just put the period on the sentence, ” I miss Katie and Jeff,” and the doorbell rang.  It was none other than the Fed-ex delivery guy bearing a gift of beautiful flowers for yours truly from my three beautiful children (masterminded by Katie).  No one will be surprised when I admit that I cried.

I’ve enjoyed each day as they have unfolded and revealed themselves in their pink, white, orange, and green glory.  Today was ‘that’ day – the day that all of the flowers were open, the leaves were still green, and no petals had fallen. Before another moment passed I decided to try out my newly discovered drawing skills.  I moved the flowers from the dining room to the porch, set up my easel, and slipped off my flip flops.

I started in charcoal and incorporated pastels.  One thing led to another and before I knew it the afternoon slipped away in a most wonderful way.


On Thursday October 23, 1997 we packed up everything we owned; I spent the day supervising movers, well-meaning family volunteers, and the cable guy. I kept my eye on the weather and hoped that the rain would hold off until everything was off of the moving truck and out of the cars.

The skinniest of the three movers looked like a drown rat when he carried the last piece of furniture into the house.  The other two stood warm and dry in the dining room and didn’t bother to conceal their amusement as their buddy shivered his way into the house.  I felt sorry for him but was also glad it wasn’t me and truth to be told he wasn’t exactly a speed demon.

It rained non-stop for two days and just when I thought the weather had cleared, I realized the white dots in the sky were giant snowflakes not stars.  I groaned and shivered awake Sunday morning; even my eyelashes ached with exhaustion.  I didn’t need my glasses to figure out that the same was blinking on the face of the alarm clock.  Argh! No power meant I couldn’t make coffee and it might be hours before I could get the laundry done.

Eric forged through fourteen inches of not so fluffy white stuff, downed power lines, and streets littered with tree limbs to get much needed coffee. We resumed unpacking boxes and getting settled into our new home to the aroma of freshly brewed java.

Halfway through the day I called Gina, “Do you guys have power?”

“We do.  Is your power out? Is there anything we can do?” she asked.

“Can I come over to do some laundry so the kids have clean clothes for school tomorrow?”

“Sure, why don’t you guys plan on staying for dinner as well.”

I threw Katie and Jeff’s uniforms, a Scooby Doo t-shirt and some pants for Christian as well as some other necessities into the washer. Gina and I chatted about the freak snow storm and the latest novel by Jodi Picoult.  Laughter erupted from the kitchen and I knew that Mama had just toppled off of her plastic pyramid onto the kitchen table.  Don’t Drop Mama was a board game without age limits and rules that required no interpretation so it was perfect for everyone from a two-year-old to a grandfather.

By the time dinner rolled around we realized that our visit would be extended to an overnight stay.  In the days that followed, I discovered that it was impossible to find the right assortment of clothes for the next day in the few minutes after work and before total darkness.  Kohl’s turned out to be the perfect store to find everything from jeans and Winnie the Pooh underwear to games and toys to occupy the evening hours.

“How long are we going to live at Grandpa’s? Can’t we go to our new house?” Christian asked through tears.

“Hopefully only a night or two more, they said on the news that power should be back in ten days and it’s been seven.”

He clutched Scooby Doo and pointed at stack of sixteen inch Godzillas in cardboard houses, “Can I have one?”

“Sure, you miss the one at home?” I asked.

He nodded, “Can I take it to Childs Play?”

I smiled that ‘knowing’ smile all mothers have, “You can.  Is it because you miss your other one?”

“No… It’s so I can scare the girls.”

Life is after all, a matter of priorities.

Snapdragons and Butterflies

purple snapdragon and white butterfly - medium charcoal pencil and color pencil with a touch of ink and pastel
Snapdragons and Butterflies

Today is my maternal Grandmother’s birthday.  If I’ve done my math correctly she would have been 101 years young today. I have many wonderful memories of her which include learning how to properly knead the dough, the taste of homemade bread fresh from the oven, and playing  “boutique” for hours on end.  However, the image that most often comes to mind when I think of her is one of snapdragons and butterflies.

It seemed appropriate to post an essay entitled Snapdragons and Butterflies to commemorate her birthday.  I wrote it in December 2010 and it’s one of my earliest completed pieces as well as one of my favorites.  It also seemed fitting to illustrate the post with my first solo drawing.  Although my original idea was to create a realistic interpretation of my favorite flower I decided a version that was more child-like was the way to go. Colored pencils were the medium of choice as well as a touch of pastel and ink.


Snapdragons and Butterflies

Snapdragons and butterflies will always and forever remind me of my grandmother. Many gardeners shy away from the delightful, but delicate flower – however, she embraced the challenge associated with bringing the brightly colored blossoms to life.

I could have spent hours, and probably did, pinching the tiny blossoms, making the dragon’s mouth come to life and then releasing it.

I recall there always being tiny white butterflies dancing around the flowers. Were they vying for attention or simply enjoying the playfulness?

Snapdragons seem so delicate on the outside, but if they can survive tiny hands repeatedly pinching to open and see the dragon’s mouth, you know they are strong. Snapdragons are much like my grandmother.

Her name was Lucy, not a common name, which is fitting because she was not an ordinary woman.

She was beautiful, whatever the setting. She might be dressed to the nines for church or a social event, or digging in the garden, tending to her flowers or vegetables, a worn work shirt tied around her waist.

I was always so proud to be a guest in her Sunday school class. Her hand encircled mine as we entered the room, and my heart would pound with love as her students rushed to greet her.

Like a flower has a fragrance, so did my grandmother’s kitchen. It was always filled with the aroma of meals made from scratch and with love. My eyes lit up when I saw the peas I had laboriously shelled as part of the delicious meal.

She somehow knew how to make something ordinary into something wonderful. How we cousins used to squabble over who got the ‘special knife’, the knife that rattled when you picked it up. To this day, I like to think it really was a precious jewel, and not a scrap of metal that was trapped in the handle of that knife.

Wherever she went, she knew someone. Oh, How agonizing it was to have to stop and wait while she visited with ‘just one more’ friend or relative. Little did I know, the memory would make me smile someday.

My favorite times were when it was ‘our’ time, we’d giggle and laugh as she tucked me into bed. The ritual never changed, as she playfully pinched my chin, nose and cheeks before the final kiss goodnight.

Her spirit touches me whenever I think about snapdragons and butterflies.


In loving memory of my Grandma Lucy. Dedicated to my mom and my daughter, the two most important women in my life, and with gratitude for four generations of beauty and grace.

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Two Shorts a Long and a Short

While I doubt the conversation among the neighbors who shared the same party line as my grandparents ever got as racy as it did between Doris Day and Rock Hudson in Pillow Talk, I would venture a guess that there was more than the occasional eavesdropper who picked up a ringtone that didn’t belong to them and hoped to pick up some juicy gossip to share over morning coffee.

It baffled me that instead of hearing a dial tone when you picked up the receiver you might hear someone else’s conversation and you couldn’t use the phone until they were done, not to mention the fact that the phone might ring all day long and not a single call would be for you.  In those days the pattern of “briiiings” designated the family and everyone knew which pattern belonged to whom and there was nothing to stop someone from picking up the phone “just because.”  I wonder if people, especially teenagers, had secret codes to keep their neighbors and parents from knowing what they were up to.

As technology evolved households moved from party lines to private lines and teen lines.  I’m not sure if the person who originated the concept of a phone line dedicated to teenagers was a brilliant marketer for the phone company or the frustrated parent of a fourteen year old girl. In any case, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thanking them for my privacy and freedom from phone call time limits. (Who knew that the concept of “charging for minutes” may have originated thirty-five years ago).

I spent hours with the base of my red, white, and blue candlestick phone resting on my stomach and the phone piece propped against my ear sharing secrets and giggling dreams.  We didn’t have caller ID or voicemail, no one worried about having their number published in the phone book, and the biggest risk of being embarrassed was that a younger sibling was brave enough to listen in and repeat what they heard.

Our social network was our friends and their parents, we wouldn’t have considered sharing personal information with strangers, and my biggest fear for an hour or two was how my parents discovered my plans and whether or not the ‘bugaphone’ they claimed to own was real or not.  The biggest decision was whether or not to answer the phone and parents taught kids about technology not the other way around.  If it weren’t for my daughter, managing my landline would still be a mystery.

“Mom, do you know what the rapid beeping noise is when you pick up the phone?” Katie asked.

“I have no idea, but it’s been doing that for months now.”

She pressed the menu button on the phone, “Here, let me show you what it is.”

“The mailbox is full. No more messages can be received.  Please delete old messages,” the mechanical voice said.

Ah ha!

Nowadays I when I want to share something I have a hard time deciding if I should update my status, pin it to a board, write on someone’s wall, or post something to my blog (and if so, which one).  I try to remember who will see what depending on which one I choose and I wonder if my automatic tweets fool anyone into thinking that I actually understand Twitter.

Then of course there are private messages, emails, text messages, Skype, and last but not least the option of an old fashioned phone call or handwritten letter to share information of a more private sort.  Although based on what I see some people post and tweet I’m not sure that everyone understands they have other options.

Looking back it doesn’t seem like listening for “two shorts a long and a short” to know the call was yours or the notion of eavesdropping on your neighbors was complicated or foreign after all.

Introducing Dr. Semi Colon or should it be Ms. Comma?

This morning I checked my email and the recurring theme from my favorite department stores was Prom! Prom! Prom!  I was reminded of trips to the mall and poring over websites with Katie; we spent hours eliminating dresses that were too expensive or too revealing and giggled uncontrollably about the dresses that made the model look more like a giant marshmallow Peep than a Prom Queen.

We’ve progressed from laughing about peep-like prom dresses to snickering to the point of being dangerously close to snorting regarding the mystery of what kind of person would design pajama jeans, let alone wear them.  Among many things, our regular diet of humor includes her latest dating escapades, my most recent episode of getting lost, and more often than I’d like to admit, my complete inability to grasp the proper use of a semi colon.

We exchange phone calls and smiley faces in between her classes and job, text messages to get me through the boredom of the stationery bike, and an occasional Facebook post for a quick update or to share pictures.  We make the most of the traditional ways of communicating with the exception of voice mail.

In the world according to Katie a single missed call means call me back when you can and a series of missed calls means “I need to talk to you now.”  Emails and text messages tend to be our main forms of communication if you measure it in sheer volume; last count we’ve exchanged around two hundred text messages and close to as many emails in the past month. I’d have to say our emails tend to be focused around my latest post or upcoming travel plans and not who’s at the gym.

Last summer I asked her if she’d be my editor and help keep me on the straight and narrow when it comes to commas vs. semi colons, whether or not a phrase should be highlighted with “quotation marks,” and to point out pesky run on sentences or paragraphs that just flat out don’t make sense.  It wasn’t long before I dubbed her Dr. Semi Colon and after a few posts with far too many incorrectly connected independent clauses, Katie declared she had created a monster.

For five dollars a post I take a deep breath, attach it to an email with a subject line of “post for your review” and a message that is some variation of “I’m not sure about this one.  I’ll be curious to hear what you think,” click “send” hold my breath and wait.  Let the revisions begin.

It’s not uncommon for me to send and updated version within hours and sometimes minutes of sending the original with the subject line of “use this one please.”  I’m not sure if my biggest challenge is the misuse of semi colons and commas or the overuse of quotation marks, and let’s not even talk about when one should use a colon.

Thankfully my editor does her best to spare my feelings and to educate me, but sometimes she has no choice but to tell the truth.  After months of trying to write something that was punctuated perfectly, I got the email and edited version that was as close to that as I was probably ever going to get.  Wanting to share my near mastery of punctuation with her I picked up the phone and dialed.

“Wow, only one correction.  Maybe I’m finally getting the hang of this semi colon thing,” I said.

“Umm…well…Mommy…I hate to burst your bubble, but you only used one semi colon in that piece and you used it wrong.”


We recently collaborated on a piece that, after three revisions, we declared ready to submit to a magazine with the following email conversation.

“Shall I submit it and see if we get selected?”  I wrote.

“ummmm, duh!”

When I started writing a couple of years ago, little did I know that one of the best parts of it would be the lessons in punctuation, the exchange of ideas, the comical commentary noted in the margins of my manuscripts, and the joy of having my daughter as my editor.

How to Lose a Guy in Seven Days

Last Saturday morning my cell phone rang, then the house phone rang, the cell phone rang again and then Christian’s phone rang, it was Katie. I wasn’t home at the time but I knew this to be the case because I had two missed calls on my cell phone which meant there had to be one missed call on the land line and there was big news in her world if the fourth call was to Christian.

She will call four times or as many times as it takes until she actually reaches a live person to deliver the news to rather than leave a voicemail. Katie is not a believer in voicemail, she will stand by her position that information is best delivered through direct conversation or a text message and that a ‘missed call’ on your cell phone is enough to say “I called, call me back when you have a chance.” Case in point, we’ve exchanged seventy-nine text messages in the past eight days.

“I talked to Katie. She has a date today,” Christian said.

“What! She has a date and she didn’t tell me?” I replied.

“Mom, did you check your missed calls?” he responded wryly.

I called her immediately to get the scoop. Her date was for lunch with a boy from one of her classes, his name and the fact that they met in class was about all I got out of her. I waited all afternoon and into the evening to hear how the date had gone. I speculated that it had either gone really well or really poorly when I still hadn’t heard from her and it was eleven pm. I have to admit it was about all I could do to respect her privacy and wait for her to call me.

I walked around with my cell phone on Sunday waiting anxiously.

“Hi Mommy,” she said.

“Well, how’d it go?” I asked.

“It was fun…he already asked me out on two more dates…”

“But….” I prodded.

“He didn’t pay for lunch,” she responded.

We talked about it and I suggested that maybe it was because he was a poor college student or that perhaps he was nervous and didn’t know the proper protocol.

“Ummm, the lunch was fifteen dollars and he picked up the ticket and said ‘Wanna go halvies?” was her reply.

On Wednesday she called to inform me that she was already thinking of ways to “let him down easy.” Apparently in addition to calling far more often than necessary after a first date, for which he didn’t pick up the tab, he also made the fatal error of leaving more than one voicemail just to say he was having a good day.

By Saturday morning the die had been cast and the only decision left to be made was whether it would end with an awkward conversation before or after the ‘date’ to the basketball game that evening. It turns out that it was too late to cancel the date; he had already purchased the tickets.

I couldn’t wait to hear the details so I called her as early as I thought I could get away with on a Sunday morning. She was at work so I got the recap via text.

“The bball game last night was so awkward, but I think he got the picture. Haha. Whoops…o well.”

Later, after hashing over the events of the evening and the likelihood of the remaining need for that ‘awkward conversation’ we agreed (with much laughter) that the key ingredient to losing a guy in seven days was ownership of a winter coat that is big enough to take up the space of a tightly packed army duffle bag and the placement of said coat squarely on the bench between you and your date.

I’m not sure what she’ll do come summertime.

Seventh Inning Stretch

Rosenblatt Stadium original home of the college world series

I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed attending the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.  I haven’t been for a few years now but I still remember the thrill of finding a parking spot on one of the narrow streets of South Omaha, followed by a hot and sticky walk toward the stadium anticipating the foot long hotdog and freshly squeezed lemonade as much as the game itself. 

I always felt a small lump in my throat and a shiver down my spine when we emerged from the neighborhood and saw The Road to Omaha sculpture in front of the Red and Blue awning of the stadium.  There’s something special about the way the artist immortalized the joyful feeling of winning the championship through the image of three young ball players hoisting a fourth onto their shoulders, his hand reaching to the air with the universal symbol meaning  ‘we’re number one.’

For one week out of the summer, strangers from all across the country come together in a spirit of competition and camaraderie that turns many a non-baseball lover into a fan of the series. Among many long time traditions including sunburns, beach balls on the field, and the wave, is the seventh inning stretch, it’s the point in the game where both the fans and the players need to take a breather. 

Headed into week ten of Walking in This World (Julia Cameron) I found myself in need of something akin to a seventh inning stretch.  My professional work life had been particularly challenging and full of commotion when I tackled the chapter Discovering a Sense of Camaraderie for the first time.  After careful consideration I knew my head wasn’t in the right place to absorb the message let alone write about it, I put the book aside knowing I would recognize when the time was right to pick it back up.  Three weeks later I read the chapter and performed the tasks for a second time.  In doing so I realized both how much I learned and how much I would have missed if I hadn’t taken a break.

For the tenth chapter in a row I wondered how Julia knew me so well.  She introduced it with the notion that “[d]espite our Lone Ranger mythology, the artist’s life is not lived in isolation.”  The first section is entitled Keep Drama on the Stage. Oh boy…I have a tendency to let commotion overwhelm and consume me and when that happens I can become quite dramatic and have been known to make mountains out of molehills when I lose perspective. 

I paused for a long time after reading Julia’s opening comments, “Artists are dramatic.  Art is dramatic.  When artists are not making artistic dramas, they tend to make personal ones.  Feeling off center, they demand center stage.”  I realized that as the disorder in my day job increased I was writing less, taking no pictures, exercise was non-existent, and the amount of time I spent wailing and gnashing my teeth had reached an all-time high.  I had to stop and consider the fact that although the commotion in my life was real that perhaps in some ways I had fallen prey to what the author refers to as “Artistic anorexia, the avoidance of the pleasure of the creative… ” 

I took heart as she described one friend who develops “health problems on the cusp of every major concert tour” and another  friend who “loses all humor and sense of personal perspective every time a writing deadline looms…People like these should furnish seat belts for those riding shotgun in their lives.”  It made me realize that I’m not alone and although my ‘drama’ isn’t always a result of a creative deadline (although there have been a fair share of those as well) and it made me thankful for the people in my life that ride along with me on the rollercoaster and who don’t hesitate to let me know when it’s time to snap out of it. 

Julia likens a sense of humor to a sense of scale: “a sense of scale is what gives our work proportion, perspective, and personality;” when we lose our sense of humor we also lose our sense of scale.  I thought the bumper sticker she quoted was brilliant, “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”

I’ve always thought of myself as being a person with a great sense of humor and one who uses humor to get through tough times.  What I’ve come to realize is that when I start feeling a loss of control about the situation at hand I also start losing my sense of humor and perspective.  I turn into Eeyore and I not only feed on the drama I’ve created, I con myself into thinking that obsessing about my dramatic dilemma is far more important than anything else I could be doing.  I need to adopt the mantra suggested by the author, “Sudden problems in my life usually indicate a need to work on my art.”  Creativity is fueled by the full range of emotions not just the positive ones. What we create, what defines our ‘art,’ can take on many forms, it can be anything from a masterpiece of a painting, to a beautifully prepared meal, or as simple as arranging flowers in a vase to brighten the winter gloom.

Sometimes breaking through the wall of self-induced or maybe even self-indulgent drama is as easy as Julia cleverly points out, “It is probably not an accident that the verbs exorcise and exercise are so similarly spelled.”  I have to admit the comment hit home and I’m now back to regular physical activity and a much improved perspective about life.

As with most things, if we enjoy doing them we strive to improve and to be the best we can, art is no different.  “As artists, we are not interested merely in expressing ourselves…We are interested in expressing ourselves more and more accurately, more and more beautifully.”  In order to do so, we must be open to being teachable and we need to strive to find excellence in our interactions and our resources.  She spoke of how “teachers and students seem to intersect by divine planning more than by set curriculum.”  Based on my own experiences, I believe this to be true.

I also think a ‘teacher’ can take on many forms and isn’t limited to a classroom or mentoring relationship.  It can be a chance meeting at an author’s luncheon, a conversation in an airport, or even the gift of a book.  Life is made up of teaching moments if we are open to them, I think this is true for art as well.  It’s important to remember that “[g]uidance and generosity are always closer at hand than we may think.  It always falls on  us to be open to receiving guidance and to pray for the willingness and openness to know when it arrives.”

In addition to teachers we also need friends.  I enjoyed the discussion about the various roles friends play in our lives in the section Before, During and After Friends. The author refers to the need to have friends who fit well in the various phases of our creative stages and sense of self.  We need friends who see the swan but also understand that at the same time she looks beautiful and at peace, her feet are churning under the surface and she’s trying to stay afloat.  One size does not fit all when it comes to friends, we need people in our lives to “help us leap and land, help us celebrate and mourn,” and they may not always be the same person.

One of the most important friends in our lives could quite possibly be the person that Julia refers to as a “catcher’s mitt…someone whose particular intelligence lights your own.”  It’s the person who acknowledges with gentle honesty if the work has a ways to go and encourages you to keep going.  They don’t build you up with false praise and they don’t destroy you with harsh criticism.  It’s “[s]omeone avidly crouched near home plate.  Somebody slapping his mitt a little eagerly and saying, “Put it here.”

Life is not meant to be lived in isolation and art is intended to be shared.  It’s critical to the creative process to be discerning about relationships and their impact on us.  Discerning doesn’t mean snobbish it means smart and self-aware and is the foundation for a sense of camaraderie, creativity, and happiness.  It’s also about maintaining a sense of humor and personal perspective even if it sometimes takes a ‘seventh inning stretch’ to get back in the game.

Happy New Ear!

New Year’s Eve is a little like High School, for some reason it comes with an expectation that it should be the best night of the year, but in the same way that High School rarely turns out to be the best years of your life (thank goodness)  it’s often disappointing and not nearly as exciting as you hoped it would be.  More often than not I’m sound asleep when the New Year rolls in.

This year I gave the assignment of ‘what to do for New Year’s Eve’ to my oldest son Jeff.  I hate that duty as much as my kids hate the task of thinking up the dinner menu so I figured turnabout was fair play.  He diligently sifted through the search results for things to do in Philly on New Year’s Eve to find something suitable for a middle aged mom, a teenage brother, and himself – a twenty something single guy. 

After discarding dozens of ‘over twenty-one’ and ‘not appropriate for mom’ options, he found the perfect outing, Fireworks on the Battleship New Jersey.  There were two options – twilight and midnight. Given the fact that we were driving to an unfamiliar destination, none of us are fond of the cold, and I didn’t want to drive home on I95 after midnight we opted for the early show and a nice homemade dinner to follow.

With reservations made, tickets ready for pick up, and directions in hand we headed down I95 and across the Ben Franklin Bridge into Camden, New Jersey.  Thankfully I had not one, but two navigators because the signage was unclear.  After a few near wrong turns and some confusion about where to park we found the garage, secured a spot, and walked to the battleship.

The ship was visible as we exited onto the street and the mixture of orange and pink that illuminated the cloudy sky made a perfect backdrop for the impressive vessel and its massive guns.  We stopped for a few obligatory snapshots along the way, surprisingly without too much resistance and from the boys.

I’m a little embarrassed to say that it didn’t occur to me to look up any history about the ship until the day after the event. The ship was built at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1942.  It was launched on December 7, 1942 and made her final voyage home in September 1999.  It’s hard to fathom that we stood on the deck of history waiting to watch fireworks and welcome 2012.

The deck was lined with people of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  I couldn’t help but tap my foot and move my head to beat of the music and I eyed the group of people line dancing with a bit of jealousy.

“Don’t do it Mom.  Don’t dance.  You’ll embarrass me,” Christian pleaded.

“You mean you don’t want me to do this?” I laughed and cha-cha’d.

“Nooo…don’t do it,” he grinned and looked away.

Before long Jeff and I were twisting our way down low to (shout) a little bit softer now and raising our hands and singing out Shout along with several hundred strangers and much to Christian’s chagrin.  The dancing ended and the fireworks began with an impromptu sing-along to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline…Bah Bah Baaah!

The fireworks were spectacular.

We made our way through the congested traffic and back over the bridge to home.  I surprised the boys with party hats and noisemakers to go along with the pork tenderloin, garlic roasted potatoes and green beans.  Of course the hats were too small for people and too big for the dogs but we had a good laugh and made a lot of noise.

We passed the hours between dinner and midnight with a round of guitar hero and a game of monopoly.  The three of us declared it one of the best New Year’s Eve’s ever, counted down with the people in Times Square, raised our glasses, and welcomed in 2012 with the toast Jeff coined when he was two.

Happy New Ear!

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