Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I've been taking piano lessons for four months now. I last took lessons when I was twelve, thirty-eight-years ago. Thirty-eight. When I started up in March I remembered more than I thought I might and yet could drive a giant piano truck through the holes left in my knowledge. I practiced. I tried.

In early May I injured my thumb by dropping a twenty-pound bag of ice on it, while preparing for Bob's birthday party. Two weeks later, I was to have played at a recital at my nineteen-year-old teacher, Audrey's house along with her kindergarten and first grade students. My thumb kept me out. I was disappointed. I wore my thumb  brace-thing for a week or so and then kept on practicing.

Four weeks ago I started learning Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 Op. 13, called Pathetique. As I started learning, "Pathetique" kept to its name. My efforts were indeed, pathetique. Two weeks ago, I got the time of my lesson wrong and missed it. Pathetique. I kept practicing. Last week, I got the location of my lesson wrong and missed it. Pathetique. I still practiced. It seemed no better.

Just this morning, while practicing, something finally clicked. I can now play the song straight through, no glaring mistakes, no cursing. This afternoon, I have another lesson. I know where and when. I will be there. I pray my nerves won't get the better of me and that I will be able to play the song for Audrey the way I know I can. Perhaps less pathetique.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Spreading the Good News

"Hey, Bob ---"

"Wait, Felix. This is important. Did you hear that they made it a great new rule in America that guys can marry guys and girls can marry girls in every state? They didn't used to be able to do that."

"They didn't? That sounds good."

"Yeah. So now, what were you going to say?"

"What's your favorite video game?"

"FIFA15 or Soccer Physics."

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015


"Bob! I've got fantastic news!"


"The Supreme Court just made gay marriage legal in the entire country!"

"Wow! Do we get to celebrate? I think we should celebrate!"


"Cupcakes would be good."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When Bob and I Talked About Charleston

"Bob, I don't know if you heard about the horrible thing that happened in Charleston, South Carolina."

"No, but I think I've heard of that place."

"On Wednesday in Charleston, some African American men and women were having a prayer meeting at church. A man who is a white supremacist came into their church. Do you remember what a white supremacist is?'

"Yeah, someone who thinks they're better than everyone who isn't white and carries hate in their heart."

"That's right. Well this white man, took out a gun and killed nine of the African American people in that church."

"That's too awful."

"It is."

"Just because they don't look like him? Did the police get him? Is he going to jail?"

"Yes to all of that."

"How can he not know that we're all equal?"

"I think he has a mindset of fear and intolerance."

"Why can't they just get all of the racist supremacist people and put them in jail?"

"In America you can't arrest people for what they think or what they feel. Even if it's terrible and wrong."

"So that man would want Armand to not live because his dad is black? Or me to not live because I'm part Jewish?"

"He could. And you know what's amazing? The families of the people he murdered have already forgiven the killer."

"Why? Don't they hate him?"

"Those families are full of grace. They know that hate and anger hurt your soul."


"Yes, love?"

"I'm sad and I'm going to be angry for awhile too."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When We're Grown Up

"Hey Bob, when we're grown up and professional soccer players and roommates, do you think we'll be rich?"

"I don't know. We don't have to be rich. We can just be happy. And we have to figure out what team we're going to play for. I'm thinking Manchester United. Wanna try and make each other laugh?"


Monday, June 22, 2015

Excitement = Run-On Sentence

"Can we leave now, Mom?"

"No, babe. It's 7:00am. Summer school doesn't start for an hour."

"Okay, but I want to be on time because I'm meeting Felix and then we have almost every class together and I'm not sure which one is going to be my favorite either because it's maybe gonna be stop motion animation or watercolors or clay creations or creative writing or make your own book and I already packed my lunch and they'll have recess too so maybe I can play some soccer and how about now? Is it time to leave yet now?"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Smacksy Sunday Links

Happy Father's Day and Happy Birthday to Mr. Rosenberg

Comedians talk about fatherhood.

About peace and permission. Lovely and wise and everyone should read this.

How to figure out what's important when you have too much to do.

This is what happens when you put a pre-school in a nursing home. Genius.

A piglet and a dog, hanging out.

Happy Father's Day.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

And This Is Not a Sponsored Post

"Mom? Do you think we could got to Knott's Berry Farm sometime this summer?"

"Probably - you know I've never been there?"

"Me either. Do we get jam when we're there?"

"I think you have to get jam when you're at Knott's Berry Farm, don't you?"

"I know! I mean really Mom, if you don't get jam when you're at Knott's Berry farm you really have to ask yourself what you're doing with your life."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Lunch Review by Bob Rosenberg

"This place has the best sandwiches in the world. In the world. This part of the world, anyway. Plus that place across from the post office. So, maybe just the best on this street. Yeah, this place has the best sandwiches on the whole street of this world."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

That's My Choice?

"Mom? I have a 'would you rather' for you."

"Lay it on me."

"Would you rather... go to the opera and just hear one annoying note for five hours... or... have diarrhea for three days IN A ROW?"

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Me and Felix

"When we go to the park today, me and Felix are going to play Ball of Perish."

"I don't know that one."

"We made it up. It's like dodge ball except when you get hit by the ball you have to fall on the ground and pretend like you're completely dead. You know, perish. Get it?"

Monday, June 15, 2015

Six Things I've Learned From Being Married Three Times

I am happily ten years deep into my third marriage. Over my time in the matrimonial trenches, I have picked up a few things. 

Let him have the pickle. 
We both like pickles. Mr. Rosenberg likes them more. I order the veggie burger and it always comes with a dill pickle spear on the side. He can ask for my pickle and I will give it to him every time and it will make him happy. That makes me happy.  I don’t think he even knows I like pickles.  It’s my little secret. Those small sacrifices that lead to the person’s happiness are part of what makes things work.

“The Rural Juror” is funny.
Likewise “Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog,” and, “You are no longer allowed to use ‘nest and ‘egg’ in the same sentence.’” We find the same things funny.  This can get us through just about anything. 

It doesn’t matter if he wears a brown belt with black shoes.
There are some things, most things, about us are not going to change. Liking him as the person he was when we met without thinking he’d be “perfect” with a few tweaks is acceptance. He might change, if he wants to. The little things that make him his own personal brand of weird? Those are part of the package. You’ve got to like the whole package even if the package can’t sleep without the fan on or always leaves the cabinet doors open. Those little habits could disappear over time or not, but the big habits some guys out there might have like - he’s a liar or he is a dick to waitresses? Those aren’t changing just because I’m “the one.”  Those matter.

Yin, Yang. Potato, potahto. Paper, plastic.
He’s careful with money, I enjoy Ebay shopping. He hoards old pit-stained dress shirts, I have a capsule wardrobe. It’s all so much easier if our differences enhance our lives rather than create struggle.  Letting his good parts bring up my less good parts and the other way around makes us a stronger whole.  If we’re so alike that we have the same weaknesses we will be screwed and probably broke.

Take turns initiating the hug dismount.
No one gets to be the needy one all the time. Sometimes I need the hand-holding, the good listener, the soft shoulder. Sometimes it’s him.  Sometimes I let go of the hug first, sometimes he does. Being vulnerable is as important as being empathetic.  Sensitivity totally rules. 

You’re awesome, no you’re awesome.
There is no substitute for feeling “known.” I get him and want to learn more. He gets me and  likes what he gets. It’s beyond knowing my love for vintage tea towels and his disdain for Guy Fieri. Likes and dislikes can be learned. When someone gets you they tap into your soul in a way that can’t be taught.  When we can do that and both of us feel like we’ve gotten the better end of the deal, we’ve got something that will stick.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Smacksy Sunday Links

Nine ever-present distractions that keep us from fully living.

Chalkboard drawings frozen in time.

And a chipmunk enjoying fresh bed sheets.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Just Joy

"Mom! Look at this thing! Look  how cool this is! It's called a "sparkler!" Have you seen one of these before?"

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer, Day One

The Italian Lemonhead, by Bob Rosenberg

"Mom? Can we go to the library and join the Summer Reading Club today?"

"Sure! That was always my favorite part of summer when I was a kid."

"Because you didn't have anything else to do?"

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

For Your Whole Life

"Mom? If you could have one teacher for everything for your whole life, who would it be? I would want Miss Humphrey. That's making me happy and sad for summer. But maybe mostly sad that second grade is ending. Yeah, mostly sad."

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Life in Furniture

At twenty years old, I bought my first piece of furniture. I used my rent money to buy a beautiful antique armoire. I fell in love with the graceful, deco flower carvings on the slim side doors and the heavy beveled mirror door in the center. It opened with a skeleton key that felt mysterious and important. I had lived in six different places in the two years since I left home. The armoire had a sense of permanence that had been lacking in the vagabond six-apartments-in-two-years, life I was leading. The logic that my non-rent paying self would now have nowhere to put that armoire did not occur to me at the time. 

I got my first coffee table when I was in my late twenties. It was rustic and handmade by a guy in the valley. I paid $120.00 for it and had to drive into deepest Chatsworth to pick it up. This was an extravagant price at a time in my life when extravagances were low on the priority list. Coffee tables and their side-kicks – coasters, were for grown ups. I believed that these pieces of furniture were reserved for those who had their lives together. I was not one of “those.” A stack of books or a pile of magazines heaped on the floor had always held my coffee up.  I had entered a new phase. 

Along the way, I borrowed a buffet and matching mirror from my mom.  She inherited it from her mother. Inside the shelves were crayon marks left by my mom who, as a toddler, crawled inside to play. Years later, my son would add his own crayon marks to the left side. I have yet to return these oak pieces of family history. 

I bought a dining room table and four chairs with a tax refund. A few months later, while traveling for work, I won $400.00 on a slot machine in Vegas. I knew immediately, I was using my windfall to buy the matching armchairs for the ends of the new table.  This table allowed me to become a hostess for the first time. I threw baby showers and wedding showers and hosted Thanksgivings and Easters.  It came with me all the way to our last house, where it was the center of our monthly potlucks. When we bought the house we are in now, we downsized with a smaller, round table. It has a leaf so that I can still crowd people around the table for holidays. 

After the baby came, we gave up our coffee table for an upholstered ottoman with soft edges fit for a toddler.  

Couches were never bought, always acquired: a futon from my folks, a grey couch borrowed from my friend Yolanda, a handed-down sleeper sofa with a southwestern theme. I finally purchased a brand new couch after my first divorce. It was an impressive size with down filled cushions and rolled arms.  Sitting in it was like getting a big beige hug, perfect for that time in my life.  Now we have a large, solid Chesterfield, purchased on Craig’s List. It’s perfect for a boy and a dog to jump on and over. The sofa holds an afghan, crocheted in the 1970s by Mr. Rosenberg’s grandmother.

The bed we have now is wrought iron and enormous. We assembled it in the bedroom and its size makes it seem as if the bedroom was built around it. Like us, it’s here to stay. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Current Events

"So, Mom? Did you know today is National Doughnut Day?"

"Is it?"

"Yeah, so I was thinking... can we get ice cream?"

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Night Lights

"Mom? Wouldn't it be good if we had a hole we could open in the roof right above the bed that was just for seeing stars? You could open it at bedtime and be all warm in your bed and just stare straight up and count the stars until you fall asleep. Then, the hole would close all by itself once you were dreaming... mostly so squirrels wouldn't get in."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Last Push to Summer

Last week, on Facebook, my friend Liz McGuire listed all of the events in her jam-packed schedule that were standing between her family and summer. I was inspired to make a list of what our last week and a half of school looks like. I knew it was crowded but it seemed manageable until I wrote it all down.

I'm sure many of you can relate.

Open House. Summer Basketball Skills Assessment. Last Little League Game of the Season. School District Party. Birthday Dinner. PTA Dinner. PTA Meeting. Four Doctor's Appointments. Publish Quarterly School Newsletter.Volunteer Luncheon. Spring Dance. School Honorary Service Awards. Soccer Team Management Meeting. Book Club. Birthday Party. Class Picnic. First Basketball Practice. Last Day of School.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Time Machine

"Mom? Have you heard of that movie called, Hot Tub Time Machine?"

"I have."

"If I had a hot tub time machine I would get in it and to go back and change some things, maybe."

"What would you change?"

"I would have you and dad meet earlier, so you could have me earlier, so then you'd still be young enough that I could have a little brother or sister."

"I'd totally get in your hot tub."

"Yeah. And maybe I'd re-live going to Disneyland that time too."

Monday, June 1, 2015