Monthly Archives: October 2013

Family Vacations…Or How To Destroy Childhood Innocence In One Easy Lesson

This post was actually written by a friend of mine. She shares the hair-raising tale of Robert the Doll. Read on, if you dare…

kids-terrifiedMiriam-Webster defines the word “vacation” as a time of respite.  Jim and I have different definitions.  Well, actually, Jim is right on board with Webster’s definition.  He’s just not so sure we’ve ever accomplished that, probably due to my definition of the word.  I love to be scared.  I love scary movies, ghost stories and haunted houses.

Therefore, when we choose a vacation destination, aside from considering the more conventional tourist attractions – you know, sunny skies, white sand beaches, museums, water parks, historical landmarks, etc. – I always look up local lore and make sure that at least one attraction is guaranteed to result in sleepless nights.   So, naturally, when I planned a family trip to Key West, FL, it seemed, on its surface, to be a perfect spring break get-away.  What I didn’t tell anyone, though, is that Key West is considered to be the most haunted place in the United States.  I really scored big on that one, although it proved to be the last time my family would indulge my disturbing past-time. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Slippery Slope…Or How I Became A Halloween Scrooge…

HAUNTED HOUSE PICHalloween has always been on of my favorite days of the year. Better than Christmas? I think so. The planning was all-consuming: costume, clandestine meeting place and time, Trick-0r-Treating routes, and, of course, locating an ample-sized pillow case for the anticipated spoils of the night. Paper bags would do in a pinch, if Mom tackled you on your way out the door with a pillow case in hand. In my neighborhood, once you reached a certain grade in school, starting somewhere around 6th grade, store-bought costumes were out of the question. We refused to be humiliated in those plastic molded masks with the small eye-holes, two microscopic punctures for respiration and maybe a slit at the mouth, all held together with that flimsy, ultra-thin elastic band that ALWAYS broke away from the staple holding it securely in place. ALWAYS.  The older kids were so much cooler because they wore the classic stand-by costumes of the Bum – old clothes, a pillow for a belly, and a “beard” crafted from Mom’s make-up bag and, for the girls, a Gypsy – old dress, lots of jewelery with hoop earrings and heavy make-up. Yeah, that’s what the cool kids wore. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Whiff Of Fumes And…HOARDERS, Here I Come…

Cell phone & camera pics 1041Cell phone & camera pics 1044

Well, the good news is…I’ve discovered that I could never make hoarding a way of life. How did I arrive at this moment of clarity? Pretty easily. I’m living like one now. It’s not the result of an inability to say NO to a garage sale, a President’s Day, Labor Day or Memorial Day mattress sale or the Black Friday allure of saving gobs of money by spending lots of it. I have never been a shopper. I hate shopping. The only way I can be bribed into a day of shopping is if lunch is part of the deal. Even at the grocery store, if my cart is filled to, what I consider maximum capacity, I am absolutely impervious to any marketing blitz with which the store may bombard me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a great deal for the ONE thing I came to the store to purchase (which, of course, is the only item NOT in my cart). I have been known to pass right by the toilet paper, even if we’re down to sharing squares in the house.  So…no…over-buying is not my problem.

My problem is that we are in the midst of a home renovation. It started out as a simple job. We were only planning to open up a couple of entryways. But that led to filling in wood flooring where parts of the walls were removed, which led to repairing said remaining walls and sanding, staining and polyurethaning two entire rooms of wood floors because of a couple repair areas, causing a dangerous amount of fumes to be inhaled by my husband, myself and my dog, who has NO IDEA what the heck has happened to his world. Oh, we’re also painting the entire first floor – walls and woodwork, doors and windows. Pictured above are just a couple of photos of the chaos in which I find myself surrounded.

As a result, there is no rhyme or reason to my house anymore. Furniture has been relocated to EVERY OTHER ROOM in the house. The epiphany of my decline into hoarder-dom happened last night, as I was attempting to navigate my way through the kitchen, into the dining room and finally upstairs to retire for the evening. I found myself feeling my way through the dark, taking extra large steps to avoid stepping on any miscellaneous bits of stuff in the way and practically climbing over furniture. My husband did make sure there was an escape route in the event of a crisis during the night, still requiring us to be extremely nimble to reach safety or for rescuers to find us in the event we failed. Fortunately, no disaster befell us during our slumber, but I awoke this morning thinking that if this project is not completed in the very near future, I might contact the producers of HOARDERS to see if my house would qualify for a sympathetic episode. On second thought, that’s probably just the fumes talking.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I Got Rhythm, I Got Music…Who Could Ask For Anything More?

baby-singingSo, last night, for some reason, I was feeling a bit wistful. I’m not sure what brought it on, but I started thinking about when my kids were little and the songs I would sing to them. Now that I think about it, the whole episode was probably brought on when I heard an old song on the radio. It was Smile, by Nat King Cole. Lost in the song, I mentioned to my husband that, when our kids were little,  I would sing those lyrics when they were feeling down. It’s a beautiful song and, of course, I know I didn’t come close to doing it justice. But, as I listened to the words, my eyes welled up a little. It was just a moment that came and went and was all but forgotten until a few hours later, when, out of the blue, I, again, began to think back to those days. Memories tend to cloud reality. Raising four kids had its moments of exasperation, to be sure. But, thankfully, God erases the frustration, impatience and noise level of those days leaving the warm and fuzzy memories to cuddle up with.

I LOVE to sing, to which my brood will attest. I subjected my children to many, many songs over the years – everything from sweet lullabies to Irish rebel songs to Gershwin, whether folding laundry, cooking dinner or driving in the car. Probably most irritating to my kids, was my knack for coming up with just the right song to appropriately respond to about any question they had.  That’s not an easy thing to do, and I have to say, I was pretty good at it. When they were young, I can remember calling them Veruca, from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, if they ever whined about wanting something immediately. She was the awful girl who sang, “Don’t care how, I want it NOW!” They really hated that one.

But, I would say, that most of the time, the songs were fun and they loved to join in. One memory that formed a lump in my throat last night, was the song from Winnie The Pooh. We’d be driving along in the car and I’d sing, “Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood, where Christopher Robin plays, you’ll find the enchanted neighborhood of Christopher’s childhood days…..A donkey named Eeyore is his friend. And Kanga” at which point I would peer into the rear view mirror at Brian in his car seat, because he knew that was his cue: “and Litto Woo”

Me: “There’s Rabbit and Piglet…”

Brian: “And there’s Owl.”

Me: “But most of all, Winnie the…”

Brian: “POOH!”

He loved that moment.

In another, slightly more sophisticated example, my sister had once been watching Mike and Brian, and when I returned to pick them up, she told me that she had been singing to herself (must run in the family) while immersed in some housework. The song was It Had To Be You and she had just finished the line, “For nobody else gave me a thrill…” when, in the next room, she heard four-year old Mike finish: “…With all your faults, I love ya still. It had to be you. Wonderful you. It had to be you.” She couldn’t believe it and I said, “Yeah, Mike likes Gershwin.” So funny.

I’m not so sure his admiration for the genius of the Gershwin brothers still ignites him with such passion (well, actually, I AM pretty sure that it DOESN’T), but those days were fun. I do believe, though, that my annoying habit managed to instill an appreciation for good music in all my children. And while I certainly can’t take credit for Peter and Mary Kate’s love for and dedication to music, as they continue in their pursuit of advancing college music degrees, I like to think I played some small role in their recognition and appreciation for the great standards.

I still love to sing and find myself humming a lot at work. I don’t even realize I’m doing it until a patient will ask me, “What are you humming?” and I think, Was I humming?  Most of my patients like it. Most of them… But to the ones who don’t, I say, “Hey, dentistry has made a lot of progress over the years, but we refuse to make it a completely pleasant experience. That’s why we never warm up the water…and why I sing.” Now, just sit back and relax. This won’t hurt a bit…


Filed under Uncategorized

You, Too, Can Live The Dream For Free… But Only Today & Tomorrow…

Living The Dream Book CoverWell, today’s the day. What day, you ask? Well, since you asked…today’s the day that our book, Living The Dream On A Box Wine Budget (Casey Quinn, Petrina Collins, Amazon 2011) is being offered for  FREE download on Amazon. That’s right – FREE. Up until today, it was priced at a whopping $2.99. But, as part of a Kindle promotion, it is being offered free of charge for today and tomorrow only. As you can probably tell from the title, it was the seed for our Life On A Box Wine Budget blog and it is a collection of light, humorous essays depicting the absurdities of family life. As is the case with this blog, the stories in our book are taken straight from the actual lives of my BWB partner and myself, telling real stories about raising our kids and the struggle to stay sane through it all. We’re hoping that they will someday forgive us… Continue reading


Filed under Uncategorized