Friday, January 30, 2015


"Bob? What are you doing on the floor?"

"I'm just walking sideways like a crab."

"You are a crazy-pants."

"I'm crazy! I'm totally pollo!"

"I think you mean loco."

"That too!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sick Day

Bob had a sore throat when he woke up so I kept him home from school. I don't like it when he's sick, but I will admit, I sure do like having him around. Nice guys, these guys.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love Ya, Tomorrow

"Thanks for taking me to the movies, Mom."

"You're very welcome. What did you think of it?"

"I liked it and that girl who played Annie was really good."

"Yeah. I think I ate too much popcorn."

"It's a hard knock life, Mom. Get it?"

Monday, January 26, 2015

Playing by the Non-Rules

"Bob I don't think you can hold the puck like that and move it around with your thing."

"Yeah you can. I read the rules."

"It says you can do that in the rules?"

"No, but it doesn't say you can't."

Friday, January 23, 2015

My New Motto

Announced by the elementary school principal over the PA system at the end of this morning's assembly: "Remember boys and girls, if there is a disagreement on the playground - rock, paper, scissors." Let's all try it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


"So, Bob? Dad leaves China tomorrow night, but gets back tomorrow morning."

"Whoa. That's weird. Like coming back from the future."

"Yeah. He's going to be pretty tired."

"But when he gets back from someplace he feels better really fast... unlike you."

"What do you mean?"

"You came back from New York that time which is only a three hour time difference and you were cra-a-zy."

"Do you have to say it with the crazy fingers circling your head thing?"

"Your whole week was a nap."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


"Mom? I have decided that I am going to be a vegetarian except for the turkey sandwiches you put in my lunch. And tacos. And chicken's still good. And hamburgers are okay. Definitely no fish. I hate fish so that's a no-brainer."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Har Har

"Mom? Am I the funniest guy you know?"

"You're pretty funny, all right."

"You're pretty funny too, Mom."

"Thank you."

"Especially when you're bugging Dad."

"I don't bug Dad."

"See? You're so funny."

Monday, January 19, 2015

He asked, "What are you doing for others?"

Life's most persistent and urgent question: What are you doing for others? 
- Martin Luther King Jr.

How do you answer this question?

Maybe you let that old pickup truck merge in front of you on the freeway even if you're in a hurry.  You give the first shopping cart to the person waiting behind you. You let the frazzled young mom with the fussy baby get in line in front of you at the market.

Maybe you're parenting. You adopted a child. You're a foster parent. You sponsor a less fortunate child. You open your home to your daughter's friend whose parents have to work after school. 

Maybe you write letters to your mayor, your congressman, your president. You protest against injustice. You send checks to help the victims of natural disasters. You are a first responder.

Maybe you're in the choir on Sunday mornings. You are an usher. You sweep the church, the synagogue, or mosque.

Maybe you put together plastic bags filled with socks and water and travel size soap and a tooth brush and hand them out to someone who looks like they can use it. You knit blankets for homeless babies or volunteer at the soup kitchen or bring canned goods to the food pantry.

Maybe you are a scientist looking for new ways to heal the world. You give someone hope. You're a nurse. You're a teacher.

Maybe you're the caregiver for an older family member or your partner who had a stroke or suffers from dementia.

Maybe you left a really big tip.

Maybe you're a volunteer coach, or classroom assistant, or you chaperone the field trip. You check math homework. You wield a glue gun to help with someone's fifth grade science project.

Maybe you adopted a pet. You give financial support for neglected and abused animals. You find a stray dog and call the number on her tag and wait for her person to come.

Maybe you read to kids at the library or to someone who has lost their sight. You teach a grown up to read. You donate books to a school.

Maybe you pay for the order of the person in line behind you at the drive-thru coffee place.

Maybe you have friends who are elderly. You visit a nursing home. You carry on a longer conversation than you really have time for with your widowed next-door neighbor. You shovel snow, rake leaves, or pull weeds for him too.

Maybe you give your time to recovering addicts or teenage runaways or those with a debilitating physical or mental illness. You give blood. You are listed as an organ donor on your driver's license.

Maybe you play an instrument for an audience, or write your friend a poem, or paint a mural. You invite the person sitting alone to dance. You create a beautiful garden. You make people laugh.

Maybe you call your mom every Sunday evening. You make an audio recording of an interview with your grandfather. You are the godmother to your sister's kids.

Maybe you're a veteran. You employ a veteran. You're married to a soldier.

Maybe you fold the laundry of the person who has left their clothes in the dryer too long at the laundromat. You give up your seat on the train. You put a quarter in someone's expired parking meter. You pick up trash at the beach.

Maybe you love someone with all your heart.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Smacksy Sunday Links

Don't save the good stuff. Burn the candles.

Ever dream about restoring your own chateau in the French countryside? These people are doing it.

One of the best songs ever.

And a hen and her kittens.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Good Medicine

"So, Mom? How's your headache?"

"A little better, thanks."

"But you said the medicine for your headache gave you a stomach ache?"

"Yeah, it seems like it."

"Then I don't know whether to pat you on the head or rub your tummy."

Thursday, January 15, 2015


"Mom? I really sort of totally hate this veggie sausage."

"Really? I thought it was good. Lately, it's been hard to find new things that you like."

"Well, I like olives now."

"You do?"

"Yeah, but just the round black rubber tire kind."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


"So Mom? These are super cool. They're like these mechanical bugs you put together and then they run around all over the floor. Like cockroaches, if cockroaches were giant. And sort of lit up and everything. Here, Mom. I'll have them chase you! Mom? Where are you going?"

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

4 Letters

"Mom? Did you just whisper a curse word?"

"I did, yes."


"Because I have a toothache. Sorry, sometimes they just slip out."

"That happens to me to a lot."

"Wait - a lot?"

"Seriously. All the time."

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Resurrection of Max

We could see that Max was winding down. He hung out at the bottom of the fish bowl behind the water plants, no longer swimming up to us to get his lunch pellets. He hovered close to the back of his SpongeBob Square Pants Pineapple Under the Sea aquarium house. He ate far less than usual.

They say the life-span for a beta fish is approximately two years. Our blue beta, Max, joined our family on Bob's seventh birthday, one year and eight months ago. And who knows how old he was that day we picked him up at the pet store? He was surely swimming slowly into his two year marker. To prepare Bob, I told him that Max was nearing the end of his life. He responded, "Wait! You're just going to let him die? I don't want him to die!"

We had a series of talks about nature and life and death and animals and people and how we enjoy the time we have with them in the world and then wish them well as we help to comfortably usher them into their next phase. Like we had done with Grandma Sylvia. Like we had done with our dog Daisy. Like we had done with our cats Pearl and Vi and the stray cat we named Rose.

Last night when we returned from dinner, Bob went to the dining room to check on Max. "You guys," he called out, "Max died!" We gathered around the fish bowl to see Max floating motionlessly at the top of the water. Bob hoped that because Max's eyes were open, that there was a chance he was still alive. We assured him that fish do not have eyelids to close and that yes, he was indeed gone. We decided it would not do to unceremoniously flush him down the toilet as is often the custom. It was late, so we made plans to honor Max with a small fish funeral in the morning before school.

Before bed we say prayers and out loud we bless, by name, all of our pets and immediate and extended family and their pets too. Over time, we have lost a number of people and animals and each time someone is moved off of the list, the rhythm of our prayers is altered and it takes a week or two to get used to our new, smaller parade of loved ones. Last night we blessed Max and then remembered that he had moved on and we then changed our prayer to bless dead Max's tiny fish soul.

In the morning, Jeff and Bob got out a shovel and dug a hole near the rose bushes behind the house. Jeff was going to say Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, and we would bury Max, saying a few kind words about our fish-friend. Bob and I stood in the cold back yard, waiting for Jeff to retrieve Max's body from the bowl and wrap him in a thin shroud of paper towel.

"I dug a good hole for him, Mom," Bob said. I ruffled his hair and thought about losses big, and small and wondered if adult-Bob would remember this moment of memorializing Max and if so, would he remember it as ridiculous or comforting? We watched our breath hang in the foggy morning air. Then, Jeff ran out of the back door yelling, "He's alive! He's alive!"

Jeff explained that he had reached his hand into the water and touched Max who then, apparently displeased with this, quickly darted around the bowl. Bob and I then took our turns touching Max and watching his frenzied swimming. He was indeed alive. We cheered.

There will come a time soon when we will have to light a candle for Max, but not today. Today, we will feed Max again and appreciate him even more, watching his feathery fins tread water. Sometimes a suburban, Monday miracle can give the day a bit of magic and hope. And hope has many disguises. Today hope looks like a small blue fish.

Friday, January 9, 2015


"Mom? I need to get to the park a-sap."


"Yeah, it stands for As Soon As Possible."

"What's happening at the park?"

"I made a plan with some guys... TGIF, am I right?"

Thursday, January 8, 2015

At the Museum

"Mom? Lou the docent asked us all to figure out which piece of art we'd like to bring home from the field trip, if we could. I liked the big blue abstract one. It's super big so if I get it, be ready because we're going to have to move to a new house."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When Teddy's Nephew Comes Over

Most frequently heard phrases when my Mom's puppy, Samson, comes over to play:

"Guys! Enough of whatever you're doing. It can't be good."

"Stop licking the wall."

"Everyone sit down. Get out of the water bowl."

"Who made that smell? Guys?"

"Sam, take your head out of Teddy's mouth."

"Off the piano bench, you two."

"What are you eating? What's in your mouth what's in your mouth what's in your mouth?"

"Everyone off me."

"What happened? Why are you both licking the couch?"

"Ted, do not sit on him."

"Go do something. Not that. Or that."

"Mouth off of the remote."

"I love you. And you too. Yes, I do. Who are my good boys? No really, who?""

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Any Field Will Do

"Hey, Bud. You okay?"


"What's going on with your lips?'

"Nothing. I'm just playing a game of soccer in my mouth."

Monday, January 5, 2015

The First Day After Winter Break

"So, Mom? You don't have to take me to school this morning."

"And why is that?"

"I've decided I want to be home schooled."

"I'd be a really strict teacher and it would be all homework all the time."

"Maybe I'll go to school today and you know, see how it is."

"Good plan."

"Meet you in the car, little lady."

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Friday, January 2, 2015

The First of January

New Year's Eve was noise-makers and confetti poppers and funny hats and balloons with little notes stuffed inside them. Mr. Rosenberg and I hung out with Bob and Bob's friend Adam and Adam's five year-old sister, Ava. There was pizza and ice cream and an especially terrific dance to the B52s "Rock Lobster." We ushered in the new year at the stroke of ten and went to bed. Then, it was suddenly 12:30am. That's when the puking began.

Bob was sick. He was sick every twenty minutes from 12:30am to 6:30am. As my friend Jennifer pointed out, it was definitely, "Out with the old." There was no more sleeping.

We had made some plans for New Year's Day. Instead of making those plans happen, we were forced to take it easy, watch the parade, eat dry toast, and nap. The bad tummy situation was over by noon. It was a pause between the old year and the new one. By dinner time, the laundry had been done and Mr. Rosenberg and I were eating the take-out Thai food. Bob stuck to toast. He was on the mend.

Some say that how you spend the first day of the new year is a forecast of how that year will be. If 2015 ends up being the year of family togetherness, forced relaxation, and Thai food, I'm okay with that. The barfing part we can live without though, thanks.

2015. Let's do this.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Party Animal 2015

Wishing you all a fantastic 2015!
(Teddy is such a patient soul.)