Monday, February 29, 2016

A Leap Day

Bob and Felix playing the game of Life.

If I leap back to the last time our family had a February 29th, Bob was in pre-school. We lived in the old house. We still had Daisy and Vi. Teddy didn't live with us yet and Max the goldfish was still a baby/roe/caviar. Mr. Rosenberg was at his previous job and I had been writing Smacksy for almost three years. 

The years since then took vigorous flight. If I take a minute to fast forward to next Leap Day, I start getting a little panicky at how fast I know it will be here and all of the changes that will come with the passage of time. But today, we've landed here. And here is good. 

Happy Leap Day. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016


I know for some students, it's mid-term season. What am I mid-term on?

Stacks of books waiting for me to read to The End.
Writing projects that are surely getting lonely without me.
That dentist appointment I cancelled but never rescheduled.
A semi-sorta half cleaned garage.
Recipes to try.
Letters I intend to write.
Clothes that need tailoring.
A bike to ride.
Accounts that should be settled.
A new calendar planner that I have yet to use.
Some random items to sell.
Trips I mean to plan.
Laundry on top of the dryer waiting to be folded and put away.

I will get to all of this business that's been hanging around on semi-completed lists and taking up space in my already cluttered mind. Deadlines will be implemented. Calls will be made.

New stuff will soon start piling up on new lists and that's what infinity looks like.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Exclamation Point

Today Bob hung this emphatic note on the door to his bedroom. I had no idea that not being disturbed was an option in this house or I would have pinned a similar sign to my cardigan long ago.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Sometimes I look up at the night sky and I can't believe how beautiful it is. It's then that I think about the fact that the universe is gigantic and we are small. It's good to be small.

Monday, February 22, 2016

My Ride

"You know, Mom? When we drive by, people just stare at this car."

"That's because it's a classic, Bob."

"It's because it's a monstrosity."

"First of all, how dare you. Second of all, this car is a thing of beauty."

"It's all scratched up and old."

"It has lived. It has stories to tell."

"It's practically dead."

"Completely untrue. It has a lot of life in it. Could a dead car drive your butt to school?"

"I guess not."

"Shall we roll down the windows and show these people at drop off how good an in-dash cassette player can sound?"

"Oh my gosh, Mom. Please no!"

"Say, 'I love the car!'"


"Say it."

"Okay, okay! I love the car!"

"Have a great day, Honey."

"You're weird."

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Smacksy Sunday Links

What if all I want is a mediocre life?

How to overcome worry and be a friendlier person.

20 life changing books that you can finish in a day. (I've only read six so far.)

And pets that are stuck but pretending everything is fine.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Screens Ahoy

"Haven't you had all of your screen-time already, Bob?"

"Not yet. I had a 19 minute TV watch, remember The Regular Show? And then I played FIFA on the PS4 for 22 minutes. And then I watched soccer highlights on YouTube on the iPad for 11 and a half minutes. By my calculations, I have seven minutes and 30 seconds left to play Mini-Dash on your computer. Really, Mom. You can check my addition on your phone."

Thursday, February 18, 2016


This may be my favorite Lego minifigure, yet. (Everyone has one, right?) This is a native American woman with a tiny papoose on her back.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mall is a Four Letter Word

"Do you now how you can tell how much I love you, Bob?"

"Yeah, I know Mom. You brought me to a mall and you hate malls and plus you always lose your car in the parking structure."

"Exactly. Have I explained to you about the Bermuda Triangle?"

"I'll help you find the car, Mom."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Well, of Course

"Mom? I want to use the money I saved to get some more Lego guys to complete my army. Can we go to the Lego store to get them instead of the internet? The Lego store is more legit."

Monday, February 15, 2016

Good Stuff

"Mom? This bubble wrap is awesome.... I could pop this all day... Really, Mom... I mean it... this is the life."

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Songs to Put You in the Mood

Some of my friends and I are writing today about the songs that put us in the mood for Valentine's Day. My Valentines "mood" has generally been... dark. But as you know, my story has a happy ending so... Enjoy my trail of tears!

In junior high we had an annual flower fundraiser for Valentine's Day. Students could spend a dollar to have a carnation (white for friendship, red for love) delivered to other students during third period. I always held out hope for a red carnation delivery to my desk. I finally received one in eighth grade from a "secret admirer." I'm pretty sure it was from my pal Bob Rothstein... or my mom. It remains a carnation mystery. Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" was very popular that year (1978).  It seemed that you could be loved just the way you were, as long as you just were one of the super-popular girls. Break out the sad, sad saxophone.

1991 brought the married guy friend who gave me six red roses for Valentine's Day. I told one of my girlfriends about this and she replied, "Where are the other six? With his wife?" The song of that moment was the newly released U2's "Love is Blindness." Ah, the forlorn 90s.

Valentine's Day the next year, I found a love letter penned by the guy I was seeing. It was addressed to Aimee. Cue the sad 90s song, that he and I listened to over and over, "Only Shallow" from the great Irish band, My Bloody Valentine's Loveless album. The irony of "our song" is not lost on me.

The Valentine's Day after my first divorce, my ex-husband left 100 red roses on my doorstep. It made me cry. My friend Jennifer came over and drove me to a local nursing home where I donated the flowers to the folks who lived there. More tears. Sarah McLaughlin's "Adia" was the song of the time. There's a reason they use her music for those sad dog commercials. Sniff, sniff.

On Valentine's Day 2007, nine-month-old Baby Bob and I arrived in Berlin. We were joining up with Mr. Rosenberg and his band who was on tour. With our crazy travel schedule, the baby and I had been up for almost 48 hours. I was weepy and delirious from lack of sleep. When I got to the apartment where we were staying, I collapsed in tears and fell asleep for 18 hours. I slept through Valentine's Day, but I did get to spend it with the two loves of my life. The song for that time is from Mr. Rosenberg's band, Lavender Diamond. It's called "When You Wake for Certain." It's still one of my favorites.

Please check out some other fine song choices for your Valentine's mood from these lovely writers:

Mrs. TDJ
Laurie White

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Page-Padilla Time Machine

I am just seeing this photograph for the first time and I'm in love with it. The photo is of my paternal grandparents, Nelson and Sophie. We think it was around 1924, when they were first married. My grandmother was 17. We're guessing the child was a cousin. It was taken in their hometown, Pueta de Luna, New Mexico. They spoke only Spanish until they moved to Texas in the 1940s. These two went on to have 8 children and 27 grandchildren. (28? I always lose count of my cousins.) I can't count the great-grandchildren. Beautiful kids they were themselves.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday: A View From the Back

The station wagon is currently home to:
1 dog bed
2 still-to-be-wrapped housewarming gifts
1 batting helmet & mitt
2 baseball bats
1 cowbell
2 handbells
1 large African drum
1 shower curtain pole
4 CDs: Best of Maria Callas La Divina, Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine, Best of Earth Wind & Fire, Greatest Hits of Edith Piaf (CD player has not worked since 2013)
1 blue coat (It's 90° degrees out today)
0 reusable grocery bags for my trip to Trader Joe's 
... And spiders. Spiders live in my car. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

From Me, to You

You guys are terrific. Have I told you that lately? Because you are and you should know it. I mean really know it in your core soul parts. Some of you, I know in person (Hi Mom!). Some of you, I know on the internet. Some of you, I only know as a number or an email address or a dot on the world map on my analytics page. Doesn't matter. I know you're great. Would I still write here if no one was reading? Yes I would. Is it more fun to write here knowing you are hanging out and reading for a few minutes? Absolutely. I appreciate you. I hope you're having a wonderful day. If you're not, I hope you'll take this opportunity to start your day over right now and make it a day that you'll like. If you were here, I would make you a cup of coffee and give you a big hug. (I excel at these things.) If I could reach through the computer I would grab your hand and give it a squeeze. I like you a lot.
Have an excellent day.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Lunar New Year

Photo: Reuters

It's the Lunar New Year so I'm thinking about not resolutions exactly, but what I'd like less of in my life and what I'd like to replace those things with. 

Less sitting still. More galavanting. 
Less The List. More let's see what happens.
Less time looking at words on a screen. More time looking at words on a page.
Less of the Girl Scout Cookies. (It happens.) More from the salad bowl.
Less going the same way. More new streets.
Less coffee. Just kidding. 
Less negative. More dream it - do it.
Less perfectionism. More good enough-ishness.
Less computer keyboard. More piano keyboard.
Less slouching. More dancing.
Less keeping. More giving away.
Less honking. More merge-in-front-of-me-ness.
Less pinched. More kindness.
Less complain. More pray.
Less talk-radio. More loud Bowie playlist shuffle.
Less seek to be understood. More seek to understand.
Less stuff in the garage. More stuff to donation.
Less complicated. More simple. 
Less thinking about writing. More writing. 
Less no eye-contact. More good morning.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sick and Everything

"Sometimes when you're sick and you're coughing a lot, your mom makes you sleep sitting up in the big chair in the living room because she says you'll cough less. And then your dog will come and lay by your chair because he goes where you go and looks out for you. Then your mom will think that you and your dog are cute and stuff so she'll sneak in and take a picture of you in the dark while you're even sleeping but the flash doesn't wake you up because you're sick and everything."

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Rest in Peace, Maurice White

Mr. Rosenberg and I met on the 21st night of September in 2004, so the Earth, Wind and Fire song "September" has long been special to us. We danced to it at our vow renewal last summer and it brought everyone onto the dance floor. Thank you, Maurice White, for creating music that made people happy.

Do you remember the
21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing.
As we danced in the night,
Remember how the stars stole the night away...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

History Lessons

"Mom? You know that awesome song "The Final Countdown" by the band Europe?"

"No. Is it new?"

"No, I think it's really old. Dad showed it to me on Youtube. Watch."

"This is definitely not my thing, Bob. I wasn't much into hair bands in the 80s. If you are, there are a lot of light-metal hair songs better than this."

"Like what?"

"How about this?"

"Who's that?"

"Billy Idol."

"Is he dead now?"


"Are you sure? He seems like someone who would maybe have a drug problem."

"And yet, he lives."

"He looks like he's wearing a ripped up vest version of the Michael Jackson "Thriller" jacket. Look at his lip! Look at him punching the air! This is way better than the countdown song. It blows the countdown song out of the... out of the..."


"No. The ocean. The whole ocean."

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


"Hey, Desmond. Remember in first grade when you said you had a magic leaf that could control the world?"

"I never said that, Bob."

"Yes you did. Do you remember that Felix?"

"I don't think I was there for that."

"I never said it."

"Yes you did."

"Did not."

"You did."

"Did not."

"Wait, you guys? I think there's only one way to solve this. Let's see who can make the best motorcycle noise."

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bob's Flu Day: I Don't Know How Many Days Anymore

"Mom, since I have to sleep sitting up on the couch because of my cough, is it weird for you to sleep on the floor by me in the living room?"

"No. It's in case you throw up again... When you were a baby and you were sick, we didn't have a small mattress so I slept next to your crib on the floor on a dog bed."

"That's sad."

"It's not sad. It's inventiveness and love and responsibility. And it was sort of a big dog bed."

"Mom, come on. It's sad. Do you think a regular person would do that?"

"I am a regular person."

"Oh, Mom."