Monday, June 30, 2014


It’s that time again, that time when my kids are away at sleep away camp for a month and everyone wants to know what I’m doing with all of my “free time.”

“Are you going away?”: No, I’m not. Aside from the fact that I’m still not comfortable traveling when my kids are gone—they might escape camp and get eaten by bears, you know—we really look forward to not having plans, or at least too many plans, while they’re gone. The entire rest of the year is filled with their activities, our activities and it’s nice to have a break from all of the coordination required to make our lives run smoothly. Besides, when I travel without them, I spend most of my time thinking how much they’d enjoy wherever we are, so I’d rather wait and travel with them.

“You must have tons of time to write!”: You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But really, I have so many projects that I’ve got to work on while they’re gone, I don’t see a whole lot of writing getting done. Certainly not as much as I’d like, although probably more than when they’re around.

“Is the house really quiet?”: No more so than usual, when they’re at school. The quiet lasts a few hours longer, but I like quiet. It lets me think and recharge. Too much noise gets me crazy.

So, what am I doing? In between checking the camp website for photos (refresh, refresh, REFRESH!) and staring at the mailbox waiting for letters, I get to tackle my to-do list:

Fundraising: I’m helping to run a fundraiser for my temple in November, and there is a lot of administrative work that needs to be completed this summer. So most mornings, I’m at my computer creating catchy titles and writing descriptions for items we’re auctioning off. It’s writing, in a sense...

Cleaning: My husband finds meaning in just about everything. Therefore, we have a lot of stuff and our basement storage area is filled. I mentioned a few months ago that I had seen some houses that looked pretty and started daydreaming about moving. He turned a sickly shade of green, and suddenly we started cleaning out the basement. Which was great, until we stopped. You know that point in cleaning where everything is pulled out and it looks like a tornado hit? Yeah, that’s my basement.  So now we’re spending some time going through everything and trying to clean out. Hey, at least we’re together...

Cooking: I know, when the kids are away, we’re supposed to treat ourselves to dinner. And we do. But I really like cooking when half of the intended recipients don’t go, “Ew, what’s that? I’m not eating it.” So summer is my chance to try out new recipes or make old favorites that only my husband and I like. It’s fun when it’s my choice!

Writing: Yes, I am actually writing. I’m trying to make time each afternoon to get at least a few pages written or edited. I’ve got a manuscript out to one of my critique partners and I’m waiting to get her suggestions back. And my next story idea is currently percolating way back in my brain. As soon as it solidifies, I’ll work on that too.

Fun: Of course I have lots of fun planned with friends—lunches, BBQs, days of shopping. My schedule, my time!

Here’s hoping you get to enjoy your summer too, however you choose to spend it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pavlov's Dog

My dog is on a hunger strike.

We live in NJ and for the past week, it has rained. Every day, ranging from some moisture to world-ending thunder and lightning. Normally, my friends and I walk more than three miles a day each weekday morning, but only in good weather. I don’t walk in the rain (or snow or cold or heat or…). The dog is afraid of water and doesn’t like walking in the rain either. However, apparently, she missed her friends.

We walk with two other dogs. Dogs that are more than three times her size, but sufficiently cowed by her that they let her lead the way, suffer through her random attempts to attack them and generally, let her do whatever she wants. In return, when other dogs, garbage trucks or landscapers scare them, she steps in front and growls to protect them. I guess it’s a fair trade if you’re a dog.

Some days she’s happy to see them and runs up to them. Other days she actually turns her head to the side and walks right past them. For some reason, the other two dogs don’t hold that against her either. Must be nice.

Anyway, we haven’t walked in a week and in dog years, that’s apparently forever. My husband opened the front door to let my daughter outside to go the bus and Midnight ran out and wouldn’t come back inside. She ran between the door and the driveway, making her point clear. The only way he could get her back inside was to run down the driveway and chase her back into the house—wish I’d been there to see that.

I was in the shower before an early morning doctor’s appointment, so I wasn’t walking her this morning. As punishment, she decided not to eat.

Now, she’s not a food-motivated dog. Sure, she likes her treats when she returns from being outside, and will try to go outside more often to get a few more, but if we don’t give them to her, she still goes outside and she eventually gives up on the treats. When we first adopted her, she responded much quicker to praise and pets than she ever did to food. And when we send her to stay with my parents while we go away, she spends the first two to three days not eating. She doesn’t eat off the floor unless we tell her she can and if you leave food unattended, it will still be there when you remember it again, unless my kids (or dad) are around.

So food is not the be all and end all for her. However, she knows it’s important to us and I think she might be Jewish. She comes running over every time we sing the Shabbat or holiday prayers, jumps up and likes us to hold her front paws as we sing. A bit weird, I know, but somehow, very cute. And if we assume that she’s Jewish, she also knows the power of food for the rest of us. I come from a family that will forgive you anything, as long as you provide enough food. Run short, and they’ll sit shiva, never mentioning your name again. Thus, my reasoning for making enough food for an army.

Midnight has obviously picked up on this. She knows that if I see her not eating, I’ll change my behavior for her so that she won’t starve.

I just came back from walking the dog. Apparently, I need to change her name from Midnight to Pavlov. Off to find a human-sized bell.

Monday, June 9, 2014

I Miss Her

There’s a picture in my head, a scene that plays over and over again. It’s my chance to get back at him, to not only win the battle, but win the war. He loses his cool; I keep mine. His weapons are no match for mine, my words are more powerful than his sharpest swords. My tongue is more accurate than his scattered attempts to dominate me.

I win.

But she’s there too, and the emotion that I hide from him bubbles to the surface. I can’t help her and myself at the same time. I can’t force her to choose sides and I won’t allow myself to unmask my true feelings for him in front of her.

I send her away.

He tore us apart once before. Our once entwined lives are on two separate paths. Our children know nothing of each other. The stories we tell don’t resonate because there is no shared history. 

Without history, how is there a future? Where are the building blocks that support us, enrich us? Perhaps one day we can build new connections, retell old stories, introduce our children. But not now and not for a long time.

I wait. And I miss her.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Writer's Post Blog Hop

I'm hosting this week's The Writer's Post Blog Hop! The Writer's Post is a Facebook group. You can check it out here. It's a group where writers get together and post examples of their work. They're a great group of talented people.

This week is my turn to create a blog hop. A blog hop is where everyone writes about the same topic and you hop from one blog to the next to read different people's take on the topic.

Today is a gorgeous day. I was just driving through Pennsylvania and the blue sky, white clouds and green farmland took my breath away. It made me want to stop my car, lay in the fields and watch the clouds roll by. Most of my weekends have been filled with a ton of errands, and most of those errands require a lot of driving. I'm looking forward to a more relaxed summer where I can just kick back and relax.

Therefore, this blog hop is going to be about summer. What do you like about it? What does it make you think of? How does it inspire you? What do you remember about summers during your childhood? You can take this anywhere you want, so have fun with it!

To see what others are writing on this topic, click here.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Father's Day? Really?

As I’m sitting at my computer this morning scanning the news and waiting for window washers to arrive, I came across an image on the local CBS website. At first, the only thing I noticed was “Father’s Day,” since in the back of my mind I’m trying to make sure my kids get their Father’s Day projects done in time to celebrate with the family.

The next time I see the image, I notice the hip, but assume I must be mistaken. After all, it’s something for Father’s Day and as I scroll through sites, it’s very easy for multiple images to blend together.

Finally, I stop to take a look at the image. This is what I see.


Okay, I get that it’s an ad for a casino. I get that it’s targeting men. But why is it so stereotypical?

Sure, I know there are men who like that and I’m not judging. I’m not even going to focus on the objectification of women, or the sexualization of women as depicted in the ad. What really struck me was how unfair this ad is to men.

There have been so many articles this past year regarding why fathers get a bad rap, and how they are automatically thought of as less than mothers when it comes to raising children. Obviously, the creators of the ads either haven’t read those articles or don’t care. They assume that since fathers are men, and “men like sexy women,” this ad works for Father’s Day.

While the “hot chick” might catch their eye, the fathers I know value their time with their families and use Father’s Day as a chance to spend more time playing with their kids and honoring their dads. While attracted to a variety of types of women, I think they’d find the stereotyping offensive and inappropriate for the holiday. Although several of them like to gamble, not one of them would think of going there rather than spending time with their family. And while each one of them is attracted to women and has their own views on what’s sexy or not, they all, every single one of them, think their wives, the mothers of their children, are sexy BECAUSE THEY MADE THEM FATHERS.