Familiar Family Faces

There are several faces that the women in my family make. None are intended and all are genetic inherited the same way as hand mannerisms and stances. I’m guilty of several of them myself, and have come to recognize them now on my daughter’s faces, particularly when we’re conversing via Skype.

Skype, as amazing as it is, has a tendency to freeze, and who can blame it when it’s transmitting for free across the wide Atlantic Ocean in real time? But, in freezing, I get a long, hard look at some of the more familiar faces my girls tend to pull and, regardless of what they’re typing or saying, can get a real read on what’s going on with them.

Here are five of our more familiar family faces, all generally pulled when nearing exhaustion or frustration:

  1. Cleo Face. Affectionately named after our long, dead cat who stuck out her tongue when she slept.  If your tongue hangs out, we all know you’re exhausted and need to sleep.
  2. Cry Face. Recognizable from age one on and remains with you for life. The face you pull just before bursting into a hard, unending waterfall of tears. If recognized early enough the crying spree can be avoided with the words, “Oh, oh, cry face.”
  3. Bitch Face.  Generally appears around puberty and can stay with you for life. A face pulled inadvertently because you’re uncomfortable and don’t want to be someplace. Strangers misinterpret it as being snotty or haughty, but the face has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. In fact, you’re generally trying hard not to be a bitch and not interacting with them, only leading more to the misinterpretation of snootiness.
  4. Uncle Gary Face. A face that appears largely when you’re sleeping in the car, or commuting and your head goes back. Somehow the family resemblance suddenly becomes clear.
  5. Tropicana Face.  This is the newest one I just made up on Skype for when faces freeze while concentrating on something being said.  Frozen concentrate, get it?










Flower Power: A weekend spent happily in the dirt

It’s not quite Mother’s Day yet, but since we’re now in South Jersey, spring planting can begin a bit ahead of the standard schedule.  Having an unusual weekend off (or what I continually fantasize is a normal weekend for other people), we headed for the nursery to get a jump on spring planting.

This year, I had a plan. I pre-counted all the pots I had, including the planters that sit on the deck railing, and I had color scheme for both the pansies planned for the planters and the geraniums planned for the pots.  What I hadn’t planned for was the husband.

  1. The husband loves an annual plant that wasn’t in my plan. Coleus.
  2. He loves tons of different colors. I was going for a new, coordinated look.
  3. He adores using coupons.  I wanted the expensive variety of pansies off coupon.

The good news is that the weather was overcast yesterday and perfect for planting.  I largely kept to my plan, but compromised with alternating boxes of color-coordinated, yet varied pansies.  I stuck to my guns for the expensive variety of pansies, because I do believe it makes a difference.  I found spots for his beloved coleus. It gets showy by the end of the summer, but at worst it will take over my gerber daisies. At best, it will grow over where the daisies fail to thrive.

And yet again, I’ve re-learned:

  • Color matter
  • Plants matter
  • Scent matter
  • The time and money in short-lived annuals are worth it because the result is so wonderful.

The  flowers already make me happier and have put me a summer frame of mind.  That includes looking forward to visitors to share the new floral scents coming from my geraniums, enjoying the sun sets off the deck, and sipping wine.  Open invitation. Come on down!

10 Fingers and 10 Toes

When you’re first expecting a child, some people ask “What do you want?” referring to the child’s sex.  The classic mother-to-be’s response is: “A healthy child with 10 fingers and 10 toes.” And, when the child is first born, those features are quickly checked by the mother before a deep breath of relief is sighed. All is right with the world.

As children grow older we tend to impose new standards on our desires for them – may they play nice with others, not get bullied, go to religious school, whisper in public, and keep family secrets in the family.

As they move through teen years, we hope they don’t get pierced in odd places, join the gay alliance in support rather than in affiliation, don’t become drug addicts, don’t DWI, don’t become a teenage parent, and the list goes on.  Later, we hope they don’t marry out of the religion, or get snipered by terrorists, or travel the world without getting hijacked. We’ll deal with whatever happens, but we hope against hope for only good things to happen. We pray for safety even while preaching “take risks.”

When my brood were in middle school, Columbine happened in Denver. It was akin to when Kent State occurred during my own college years.  A sense of safety was permanently ruptured. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time took on new meaning. Even the hallowed halls of academia were not safe.

Lately, youngest’s college is being attacked with a rash of bomb threats. I won’t say too much about it now. I could bring her home, but hibernation is not an option. It’s only a matter of time before she’ll have a different close encounter with other crazies.

And, perhaps that’s what it’s all about.  At some point we all need to come to terms with the elusiveness of safety.  All we can wish for our kids is that they live as long and safely and happily well adjusted as possible with 10 fingers and 10 toes. And if even if the appendage count is not possible, it’s not the end of the world. One can live without thumbs. It’s the living that’s important. Everything else is just gravy.

Knock. Knock. I’m Back to Blogging

It’s been awhile since I’ve tapped on your door – or e-mail box. In fact, it’s been close to two years.

I took a hiatus to regain sanity from moving South, having a husband toying with a near death experience, sending two kids to college, and starting a new job.

I had said I would blog while the kids were in high school and didn’t feel there was much to write about once I was an almost empty nester. But, not one for long phone conversations, or ongoing Facebook posts, I’ve missed having my blog to stay in touch with friends and gain perspective on my ongoing personal sitcom.

Thanks to a push by Apple in discontinuing my blog service, I was in danger of losing all past blog posts.  It was too much like losing and old friend before its time. Then, with the terrific help of a knowledgeable friend who knew how to painlessly set me up with a new server and blog platform, I’m back in the blogging business.

Unlike previous posts, I won’t email subscribers with new posts except for this first time. After this, I’ll post the links on Facebook and hope you either friend me, or if we’re already friends and you’ll click through.  It’s just one of the ways I’ll use social media differently two years later.

The first post is ready to go and will post tomorrow night. The kinks aren’t all worked out, but I’m stumbling through remembering how I used to do things and learning how I have to do things now. Pictures will change as might the name. Nothing remains the same, but I’m not yet up to changing everything.

Hoping you’re happy to hear from me, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.  Because if there’s one thing I miss in South Jersey, it’s all of you!