“A Dog Story,” column for June 21, 2016

Sometimes the best gift is something you never wanted.

When my oldest child was 12, he came home from school one day with a “proposal.” The boy was sharp, but “proposal” was a big word. It got my attention.

“What’s up?” I said. [Read more…]

“Snakes on Planes,” column for June 14, 2016

The announcement came as no surprise: The flight to Las Vegas was completely full and all roll-a-board bags for passengers in the last two boarding groups would need to be checked.

Milling about the gate like a herd of cattle at a salt lick, the crowd mooed its displeasure. Seems nobody wants to spend an hour in Vegas hanging out in baggage claim, least of all folks in town for a wild weekend. [Read more…]

“Looking for Signs of Life,” column for Tues., June 7, 2016

One of the happier surprises that came with moving to Las Vegas 10 years ago was finding a hairdresser I adore. I wrote a column about the move and a reader in Indiana emailed to say that if I needed a hairdresser (ha!) she would highly recommend a young woman who was not only great with hair (and worked in a salon near my home) but was also a fabulous human being.

“You can trust me,” the reader said, “I’m her mother!” [Read more…]

“How to Welcome a Baby,” column for May 31, 2016

How do you welcome a baby into the world? Do you send a card? A gift? A pizza? I’ve done all those things. Somehow it’s never enough.

Years ago, when I heard a friend had gone into premature labor and was being rushed into surgery for a cesarian delivery, I didn’t know what to do. I prayed, yes, but my fingers kept poking me to do something more. I hate it when they do that. [Read more…]

“Thank a Teacher,” column for May 24, 2016

It’s that time again. Another school year is ending. Students will say goodbye to a chapter of their lives. Teachers will breathe a sigh of relief. And parents will mourn the passage of another milestone, and pray for strength to survive until the kids go back to school.

My end-of-school tradition (like counting my blessings at Thanksgiving or stealing peeps from my kids’ baskets at Easter) is to say “thank you” to teachers _ to all teachers everywhere, but to some more than others. I start by making a mental list of my favorites _ mine and my children’s and grandchildren’s. [Read more…]

“A ‘False’ Start to Summer,” column for May 17, 2016

Summer is still weeks away, but it started early for me with three big surprises. We were just waking up when my husband looked outside and froze.

“Chicks!” he whispered.

It was our first quail hatch of the year. I wish you could’ve seen them. There were six, each about the size of my thumb, pecking at seeds fallen from the feeder, while their parents fussed and clucked and crowed.

Apparently, like their human counterparts, quail chicks are born to teach their parents that control is a flat-out illusion. [Read more…]

“What I Did Not Do on Mother’s Day,” column for May 10, 2016

I forget things. Appointments. Birthdays. Names of people I’ve just met. Names of people I’ve known forever. Where I left my keys. Or my car. Or the glasses I can’t find because they’re on top of my head.

But this was a first. On Mother’s Day, I forgot my mother. Or rather, I forgot to do what I meant to do to honor her memory. Top that. I dare you. [Read more…]

“The 11-Year Itch,” column for May 3, 2016

Sometimes I get restless. When that happens _ OK, I’ll just say it _ I tend to do things that later make me think, “What exactly was I thinking?”

I’m not proud of it, but there it is. Don’t try to tell me you never do anything you shouldn’t do.

My husband, God bless him, knows how I am, loves me anyhow and tries to avoid leaving me alone. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. Lately, since he retired from his day job as a newspaper editor, he’s been spending more time on his night job as a bass player in a rock ‘n’ roll band. [Read more…]

“Fred’s Big Party,” column for April 26, 2016

On the occasion of his 75th birthday, my friend Fred threw a party. A real wingding.

I wish you could’ve been there.

There was all the usual party fare _ food, drink, birthday cake, and for once, thank you, enough chairs to go around. (People of a certain age don’t take standing up lying down.)

There was also real music by a real live band. And a special guest who came all the way from Vegas to Monterey, Calif., to sing at the party just because she adores Fred. Who doesn’t? [Read more…]

“The Nana Quiz,” column for April 19, 2016

 

I don’t know how she did it.

My mother’s mother gave birth to 12 children, all before her 35th birthday. Two died in childhood. The remaining 10 _ one timid boy and nine headstrong girls _ gave her 23 hog-wild grandchildren.  I’m pretty sure she never really knew all our names. No matter. We answered to anything she called us. [Read more…]