Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How America signs her name

With our country’s birthday, July 4, days away, I thought it would be interesting to do some Old Glory research. Much has unfolded since Betsy Ross was asked by George Washington to make the first flag in June 1776. Betsy was a widow struggling to run her own upholstery business. Upholsterers in colonial America not only worked on furniture, but did all manner of sewing work, which for some included making flags. According to Betsy, General Washington showed her a rough design of the flag that included a six-pointed star, an easy star to create. Betsy, a standout with the scissors (you go girl!), demonstrated how to cut a five-pointed star with a single snip and amazed everyone (How to cut a five-pointed star in a single snip). Impressed, George entrusted Betsy with making our first flag. Betsy shows how one woman’s contribution can define the course and meaning of history.
I discovered some interesting facts about the United States flag and am well on my way to becoming a vexillologist (flag expert). Well, maybe not, but I wanted to use that word. You may already know that our flag is referred to as the “Red, White, and Blue,” “Stars and Stripes” and “Star Spangled Banner.” The only flag I have ever known is the one with 50 stars and 13 stripes. When you consider how long it took the United States to reach the 50-state mark (beginning with the 13 colonies and ending with Hawaii in 1960), you realize that our flag has changed often, one star at a time.
Some of the changes over time look like this.
In 1795, there were 15 states and the flag had 15 stripes back then.
By 1865, the United States was made up of 36 states and now had 13 stripes. The stripes changed from 15 to 13 when the 20th state was added, and it hasn't changed since.

And so it goes until in 1960, when the Hula state, Hawaii joined us. Voila! We have the American flag of today with 50 stars and 13 stripes. Isn’t she a beauty?
Listen to this! There is already a “Proposed Flag” with 51 stars, to be used if a 51st state is added. It’s weird to think that this flag could change again. Maybe even in my lifetime. It looks like this:
Although the flag has changed with the years, the important things haven’t. It remains America’s signature. Neil Armstrong placed her on the moon in 1967 and in 1963 Barry Bishop was the first to stick her atop Mt. Everest. This flag stands for the land, the people, the government and the ideals of the United States. It demands respect and I could not agree more with John A. Dix who sent a telegram from Washington in 1861 that stated, “If any one attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot.”
God Bless America.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Tourist in My Own Town

A surrey bike looks funny to me; like horses should be pulling it to deliver milk or ice cream sold from below the canopy. Regardless, I have always wanted to rent the dorky four-wheeled bike that practically shouts "Tourist!" With my husband out of state, I decided it was time to play vacationer. I packed lunch and we headed to the Ventura pier (once the longest wooden pier in California). The boys insisted on renting a chopper bike and I would have wanted the same thing at ten, so the child in me agreed. They also chose the three-wheeled surrey which tossed my horse-drawn surrey image out the window and replaced it with a gigantic baby jogger for two.
We peddled up and down the boardwalk on a breezy sunny day in our modern-day-surrey and chopper bike. The beach scene provided plenty of colorful sights and smells. I don’t just mean the rolling waves, seagulls, salty air and sandy shore. There were real-live beach bums, surfers of all ages, scattered guitarists, folks on junky bikes with their life strapped on their back, true tourists holding maps, kids playing in the sand, and locals catching rays or some exercise. We soaked up these sights with delight as we peddled by.
After two hours of cruising, we walked down the old pier lined with fishermen and (my favorite) American flags. You know I love red, white and blue! I enjoyed the patriotic touch flanked down the 1,620 foot pier. On our stroll to the end, the fishy-trash-pier smell abound. Holding my wallet close and my children closer, we chatted as the wind blew stronger. It was clear enough to see the Channel Islands off in the distance. What a simple, happy moment in time. The only thing missing was my husband.

I think we will repeat our staycation when he returns!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A chance to say good-bye

I kissed my husband good-bye this morning and off he went, suitcase in tow headed to the airport, then on to  Kentucky. I wish he was traveling to create wonderful life memories with his parents who live there. Not this trip. This visit was planned quickly and under tense, sad conditions. His father is nearing the end of his battle with brain cancer that started six months ago.
Our family Easter trip to Kentucky in April left our sons with some of the best memories of Grandpa Fish, as they call him. Though not feeling great, he could talk, attend Easter service with us and watch as my son caught a bigmouth bass in the backyard lake. The kids flew kites that Grandpa Fish picked out for them and both boys were able to wrap their arms around his big frame. It was such a special trip because Grandpa Fish’s ninety-three year old mom, Grandma Katherine, from Tennessee was there too.
Two months later and Grandpa Fish is in hospice. My heart feels heavy for my husband, mother-, grandmother- and sister-in-law who will soon say their final good-byes to this loyal veteran, dad, son and husband. I know, I know, death is part of life. It’s not an easy part for those left behind, but I have to keep faith that death is the final awakening into peace-filled eternity.

My husband’s sad trip helps me realize that this is a chance many people never get; a chance to say good-bye. It is heart-wrenching to think about looking deeply into your parent’s eye, especially when it’s likely that won’t register or recognize who you are, and say “I love you and thank you” through so many stories and memories that only you two have shared together. I have friends who have never been given the option to say good-bye to their parent who unexpectedly passed on. They always wished they had a final chance to say farewell, hold their parent’s hand one last time and deliver a kiss with an “I love you.” We all don’t get this special opportunity and my hope for my husband is that he reaches out to the moment. The present, literally, the gift of the present moment, a few minutes, to say good-bye.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Fresh Breath of Life

This coming Sunday is the 12Th annual Dina LaVigna Breath of Life Triathlon in Ventura, CA. This is a very meaningful event to me and my close friends, but even more meaningful to a particular friend I love a lot – Ayndrea LaVigna. You see this amazing event was born of an even more amazing woman, Dina LaVigna. She was vivacious, energetic and caring. A real spitfire of a person, who packed a lot of energy and life into her five-foot, 95 pound frame.
Where Dina was tiny in size, she was huge in life. She was one of those people who commanded attention when she walked into the room, would sway a conversation with her conviction and smarts, yet balance all of this bigness with the ability to be genuine, real and easily handle an intimate, personal conversation. This is when she’d impart her advice and love to help someone. I know because she was my friend Ayndrea’s favorite person in the world. As a younger sister, she benefited from her big sister’s time and attention in way that can’t be replaced. It is because I love my friend Ayndrea that I take the time to share her sister’s incredible story.

Sunday, June 28 will be a happy day. One with hundreds of athletes making it to the finish line and accomplishing personal goals. They will celebrate with their family and friends, while they talk about how they could have done better, will try harder next year, and yes, they will temporarily allow themselves to bask in the glow of their own hard work.

This event day means success for many people, but as I said earlier it was born of a tragedy. April 10, 1997 was a very dark day. A very sad day in the lives of hundreds of family and friends who knew Dina and the LaVigna family. It was the end of 33 years of life because of Pulmonary Immunodeficiency , the disease Dina had since birth. Primary Immunodeficiency (PI) is a set of more than 80 hereditary disorders caused by a defect in one or more genes responsible for the development of key components of the human immune system. It afflicts over 500,000 Americans (one in every 500) mostly children. PI affects more children than childhood leukemia and lymphoma combined. Dina died of complications from a double-lung transplant operation. No one wanted, nor expected, this outcome for the young mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend.

After Dina’s death, somehow, some way, her brothers started this triathlon in her honor. This is not an everyday task and most people would never find the strength to carry on, let alone go big and create an event to educate others about PI, inspire participation through their own efforts and organize such a large-scale event in the name of their sister. But just as Dina was no wallflower, neither is her family. They are a tightly knit bunch, with a will of iron and a belief in doing something because it’s the right thing to do. Thus, the Dina LaVigna Breath of Life Triathlon is here to stay!

Proceeds from the Triathlon are put toward the greatest possible impact for people with PI, such as the room created in her name, Dina’s Beach, at the Children’s Health Center at UCLA and other improvements at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. The hundreds of thousands of dollars raised have made positive changes in hundreds of lives. All made in the loving honor of Dina’s life.

Each time an athlete crosses the finish line on Sunday, Dina finishes with them. She is there in the spirit of the day and the inspiration for why each athlete, each person fights for something every day. Fights to succeed, win, gain an edge, get healthy and be the best they can be. That’s what Dina did. She was a fighter. I will be at the event volunteering my time. If you can’t join me in person, please join me and others in spirit as we celebrate Dina’s inspiration on all of us. Learn more about PI or make a donation at: . See you at the finish line with Dina.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Farter’s Day

Did you think I forgot the H? Wellllll, I didn’t. Growing up, my father was never shy about letting one loose around our home. There was no shame in his game, even though he was flanked by females; three daughters and one wife (my dad is not a polygamist, whew!).
In addition to being raised with the old “pull my finger” line from a very early age, my dad treated his three girls more like boys on occasion and I think we are the better for it. My dad was like having a playmate around 24/7. He loved to throw the Frisbee on the beach and baseball in the front yard, taught us to play backgammon and gin rummy (and didn’t let us win), haul us to the beach and throw us around in the ocean (“You’re going down to Davie Jones’ locker”), ride our bikes to the marina and get Hostess cinnamon roles heated up in a microwave (a very modern invention in 1973). He bought us the cool boy toys like Stretch Armstrong, remote-control racecars, pogo sticks, unicycles, home-made stilts and go-karts,  and the coupe de gras, an electric racetrack (we loved cleaning the tires the most).

When I was 12, Dad took me on a father-son hike/camping trip to the Chocolate Lakes in the Sierras, where I was the only girl among six guys; a treasured memory of our father-son times together. When you don’t have a son to take, it made perfect sense to take his daughter. No way he was going to miss a dude’s weekend away, even if there were kids there. When I was twelve he let me try one of his cigarettes and I just about gagged by the horrible smell and bad feeling after one puff. Thanks to that experience, cigarettes turned me off. He is wise without even trying to be.

I remember Dad coming home from work in his blue shorts, t-shirt and long white socks, standing in the kitchen and without hesitation lift one leg with his hand in gun mode and, well, you get the rest. At ten years old, THIS was some funny stuff and as I write this there is a smile on my face, so it could not have been as bad as it sounds. On most days though, Miss Piggy and I (Cutie-Pie wasn’t born yet) would each sit on one of his feet, hang onto a knee and he’d walk us around the house making Big Foot sounds while we cracked up! We looked forward to Dad walking in the door at the end of the day and even though he was exhausted from the physical work he did at his precision sheet metal manufacturing business, he always made time to play with us immediately upon walking in the door.

As I grew up, I realized that not every father was so much fun or so casually treated the bodily functions that we all have. Girls talk. As I went to high school, then college and spent time in others homes, I realized that some families NEVER farted around one another, and some barely made dinner conversation, which by the way in our home was never a problem. Loud dinner conversations in our Italian home were normally filled with large hand gestures and yummy food. I had a friend who claimed that she and her sisters (another no-boy household) had never even heard her dad break wind. What!? How is that possible in a house full of human beings? Not surprisingly, this was a formal, polite family. Which is nice, but these girls didn’t have the good toys or fun-loving dad like I did.
After reading this you might thing that I was raised by Homer Simpson or Fred Flintstone. That is not so. My dad was and still is highly responsible, extremely hard working, honest, loyal, devoted, generous and loving in his own special way. Why just last week when my unicycle tire popped, it was my dad who drove Blanche to the bike shop and paid to have the tube replaced. My Dad just completed a four-month building project with his two grandsons named “Fort Fort” that sits in our backyard. It is a two-story clubhouse (boys only), funded and built with grandpa, one nail at a time. I’m glad he finally has some boys his own age to play with. When our house caught fire while we were on vacation, it was my Dad who called 911 and saved our home from burning to the ground. I could go on and on with the warm memories and unique life touch that my dad has given me through the years. Little did I know that my Dad would have trained me so well for life in a household of all boys! I am now the odd-man-out (so to speak), living with my husband and two sons. I know how you felt, Dad...and I'm probably teaching my boys a bit about how girls think. I hope it prepares them well, too.

My Pops was and is the Best Dad in the whole wide world and I would not want him to be any other way than his extraordinary, fun self.

Happy Farter’s day dad, I love you!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

“I think patriotism is like charity – it begins at home” ~ Henry James

An All-American’s Girls Balancing Act is my tagline and I kid you not on the all-American part. And my attempt to keep balance is no act. My wobbling, pleasantly off-kilter self makes me all the more loveable on and off my unicycle. Where was I going with this? Oh! I am an All-American girl … that I love our flag, the Great U.S. of A., democracy, and the joys of freedom especially flare-up this time of year. I think the summer weather brings on this pleasant feeling, sort of like arthritis in the cold, but in a good way.
Old Glory with her bold, red, white and blue colors reeks of summertime to me. I may have got a bit carried away with the flags in the front yard this year, but it is a reflection of my patriotic heart. The one part that worries me about my front-yard decor is that it sends me one step closer to being my mother, Overboard, as I call her. She is all things over the top. To her, more is more and then it may still not be enough. Now all I need is an inflatable Uncle Sam, lights, a snow-cone machine, free watermelon, much more star-spangled decorating with God Bless America music playing in the background!

What is it about this time of year that I love so much?
1. The delicious smell of the ripe strawberries when I ride Blanche alongside the strawberry fields
2. Flags are waving proudly around the hood
3. The smell of a raging BBQ (OK, that just makes me hungry)
4. Daylight savings time and looooong days
5. Bike riding with my kids
6. Cannon Balls in Grandma’s pool
7. The sweet blooming jasmine
8. No school or work for 10 amazing weeks
9. The grass is green and healthy everywhere I look
10. Three words: Red. White. Blue.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dorky Helmet Feels the Love

You know people are talking behind your back when they both confront you separately in the same week, about the same issue. My friends, Ellen and Kari, verbally pulled me aside, sort of a like two separate interventions. While leading up to the confrontations, many scenarios of where they were headed danced in my nervous head. I scrambled mentally for a comeback to whatever I did wrong or would be accused of … I quietly rehearsed before they could ever finish their spiel. My comebacks?

“Well, maybe I have been drinking alot of vino, but really, it's not a problem.”
“That’s not what I meant; it just came out the wrong way.”
“Did I borrow that? I don’t recall.”

I felt relieved when the final probing question was, “Do you wear your helmet when you ride your unicycle?” At least this meant that I did not drink too much, say the wrong thing (again) or forget to return something. But what it did mean is that I was cornered with love and concern that felt bothersome and nice, all at the same time.

Up until December 18, 2006 I rarely wore my bicycle helmet. That is the date that my high-school friend, Jason McCarthy, died after being struck by a car riding his bike to the gym. He was not wearing a helmet. His death hit home and whenever I rode bikes with my kids, the dorky helmet that ruined my coifed hair was strapped on before anyone peddled away. I never forgot to wear that ugly, black hat after that sad December. When I started unicycle riding in 2008 (after a 30-year hiatus), I never wore a helmet for reasons that made sense to me. First, I ride on or very near the sidewalk and if I fall off, I always landed on my feet. Second, I think my ten-year-old bike helmet makes me look lame and I feel like a huge nerd with that thick, plastic lid on my melon.
After the Helmet Intervention, I thought it through and realized that they, my dear friends, are right (especially after Kari played the Jason card). It is stupid not to wear one, especially since I have been riding long distances where it would only take one drunken jackass or inexperienced driver to ruin my ride. I pondered it all and thought, “If I have to wear a helmet, why not spruce up that old thing and create more of a headdress? Sparkles? My favorite colors red, white and blue? My catchy moniker? Like a rolling billboard. Cowabunga, yes that’s it!” (Insert glowing light bulb above head here).
So, I transformed dorky, old helmet into dorky-old-sparkly-personalized helmet. I think my next step is to print t-shirts that say across my chest and back. Maybe I can spread word about my blog this way, one mile at a time? Thank you Kari and Ellen for birthing a most excellent, corny idea and for loving me enough speak up. You are the best friends ever!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Joys of Being Human

Months ago, a co-worker quietly told me that my nose hair was hanging out. I thought, “What? Did she REALLY just tell me THAT?” Self-conscious, I tucked the little fellas back in, best I could, until I could trim up at home. Yes, I was embarrassed, but I have counted her as a true-blue friend since that honest, uncomfy moment. These types of social scenarios happen to everyone, causing blush, embarrassment and frustration no matter how delicately handled. Like having to go number two in a public toilet when a group of friends is waiting for you. Or, wishing you could lean in and pluck that black hair from that woman’s chin, or shave her mustache. Fighting the urge to run up behind that teen and pull his pants from his low hips and place them up over his boxers and crack. I won’t even go there. The following joys of being human are ones that I have had personal experience with and maybe you have to:
1. XYZ…Examine your zipper. You know you’ve said this plenty of times to let a pal know that their fly was down and zipping was in order. The beauty of XYZ is that it keeps the embarrassment on the down low. This spring, I whispered to a male fourth grader to XYZ on the playground. Awkward. Could you imagine how more embarrassed he would have been sitting Indian Style?
2. Consider the smudge of lipstick on a gal’s front teeth. I rub my own tooth as “the sign” that clean up is needed. I alert her (if I am close enough) that there is misplaced lipstick with hopes she knows this hand motion, signaling her to wipe. They are always grateful, just as I am when I have pink teeth.
3. Taking this hygiene quandary a step farther, the “food in teeth” dilemma is next. Discretely disclosing “You have food in your teeth” is awkward. Do you whisper to them? Offer floss? Stare at it? Don’t stare at it? Pick at your own teeth? Social Dilemma 101. I wish I had the strength to alert everyone I faced with this food glitch. Admittedly, I am embarrassed because I don’t want to humiliate them, even though they are unknowingly embarrassing themselves with that large food particle lodged front and center. Personally, I appreciate a person who whispers that leftovers are in my gums (or nose hairs flaring out). This leads to my hygiene “piece de resistance”; the predicament of “Bat in Cave.”
4. Not everyone is familiar with “Bat in Cave.” I only know this because I told a friend (who I really like and care for) that there was a small boogie hanging out in her nostril. Leaning in I whispered, “You have a bat in the cave.” She looked at me like my zipper was down and food stuck in my teeth. “Huh?” she questioned. So I explained. Maybe because I am the height of a horse jockey, I have clear view of folk’s nostrils, and before they order dinner, or attend that job interview, or meet that cute guy, it is helpful to know if a bat is lurking in their cave.
Believe me; I know that in the grand scheme of life, lipstick teeth or an un-zipped fly are minor issues. But face it. We deal with folks all day long. So zip up, wipe up, clean out and de-bat so you won’t launch someone else into that unpleasant place of squirming to tell you.
Oh, the joys of being human!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Indian Guides, Adventure Guides…whatever you call it, I love it!

Indian Guides started back in 1926 to support the father’s vital family role as teacher, counselor, and friend to his son. The founder, Harold Keltner, came up with the idea while on a hunting trip in Canada with his friend, Joe Friday, an Ojibwa Indian. Around the blazing campfire one night, Joe Friday told his friend, “The Indian father raises his son. He teaches his son to hunt, track, and fish, walk softly and silently in the forest, know the meaning and purpose of life and all he must know, while the white man allows the mother to raise his son.” These words struck a chord with Harold Keltner and he invited his Indian friend to work with him at the St. Louis YMCA, where he was the Director. Here, The YMCA Indian Guide program was born, eighty-five years ago.

In the early-2000’s, Native Americans expressed concern over program participants’ adopting the Indian culture and teaching children about Native American life in ways they deemed inaccurate or stereotypical. I guess they did not like the use of feathers, tee pees, leather vests and beads, so the YMCA renamed the program Adventure Guides, keeping the YMCA’s commitment to being a caring, honest, respectful, and responsible organization. Personally, I liked the whole Indian thing and miss seeing the huge tee pee parked outside the Pancake Breakfasts. Indian Guides….Adventure Guides…both mean my guys pack it up and leave for three days to live in a tent.

This weekend my boys' “circle” (no longer called tribes), are at Lake Cachuma. Riding bikes around the campground, whittling sticks, hiking, playing with fire, eating s'mores, and avoiding the shower is what they do. Remember the last campout included a trip to the emergency room to sew Lucas’ fingertip back on? I try not to think about the possibilities of stupid mistakes that can occur when one hundred males meet in the dirt. I will expect filthy, exhausted boys to come home Sunday with all body parts attached, unless I hear otherwise.

I love these peaceful weekends with the house to myself (and the Weiner Sisters). The place stays clean; no socks scattered throughout, dirty dishes on the counter, tracked dirt prints, or the sound of video games in the background. Tonight I will have a girlfriend over and we will enjoy a calm, clean house.

Something that I have wanted to do is ride Blanche to my parent’s home a few miles away. This is the morning I cruised there because I had the free time (thank you Adventure Guides!). However, the last 20 feet of my ride I realized that Blanche had popped her one and only tire. Flaccid, deflated, floppy…poor thing. She had picked up some sharp stickers along the way….off she goes to the bike shop for repair!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Sweet Ending

Just one final day to wrap things up? Yesssss! The last day of the 2009-2010 school year. THE END.

All over the globe children and parents reach this exciting day that marks new educational beginning and conclusion to another school year; THE END. I imagine that in Holland kids click their wooden shoes to signify the “Einde” of school and then go pick tulips and dive into some asparagus hollandaise and apple pie. In Germany, they probably make merry the “ende” with a big chocolate cake covered with that sweet thick coconut frosting. In Spain? Oh, I guess they throw a big party at the “fin.” Don’t they always find a way to Fiesta? Same in Italy. I bet once “fine” is reached, they chow on spaghetti and meatballs, lick gelato and drink wine (even the children). And in France? At “fine,” maybe a grand meal of many choices called cuisine bourgeois (that hopefully includes French fries).

But here in this corner of America, our family has an End-of–the-School-Year dinner tradition that dates back to our first son’s Kindergarten graduation; ice cream sundaes for dinner (this photo is from that first Graduation Dinner). This year, our ceremonial feast observes that one son is graduating from seventh grade, the other from third grade. Tonight we indulge in a once-a-year banquet of ice cream to commemorate their hard work, super grades and the beginning of summer break.

Good job boys! You make your Momma proud…now, please pass the nuts and chocolate syrup.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Simple Pleasure via Blanche

Things haven't changed since I was in grammar school; the last days are all play and no work! Perfect chance to share my unicycle, Blanche, with my fourth-grade class. Promising I would bring her to school and ride before year-end, I thought today, Field Day, the best choice to cruise the campus. Field Day is packed with crazy zoo-like commotion, so what’s another pound on an elephant?

Remember my stage fright problem? The public-unicycle-riding therapy and miles of practice were leading up to a moment like this, where two-hundred kids would be watching.  See, I did not want to fall, at least not alot. Cruising around the neighborhood has helped take away my nervousness… well, at least lessen it. I admit I prayed before rolling Blanche from my desk to the parking lot. I hopped on. Away we rolled. It went great, I did not fall and the kids loved it! I rode all over campus and through the gym.  Most children had never seen a unicycle, let alone one in motion. It felt wonderful to share my circus talent and see the little people light up, ask questions and stare like I had three heads. What joy!

It is true that simple pleasures are life’s treasures!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

End-of-the-school-year Blues

Bu duh duh duh duh. Two months ago I couldn’t wait for school to end.

Bu duh duh duh duh. Baskin’ in ten weeks of no work,  just hot lazy sun.

Bu duh duh duh duh. But now it’s over and I’m gonna miss my fourth-grade friends.

Cuz I got the school-year-end bluesssss. Yeah, I got the school-year-end bluesssss.

Ok, I’m back. Only four and a half days left of work and school … Whoo-hoo? Get excited? I’m sort of not pumped like I thought I'd be. I’m already missing those lil’ ones and they haven’t even started cleaning out their desks!

I’ll miss my routine, but I know the truth is the only thing we can depend on in life is change.

I’ll miss their kid-like comments, like the one a little girl said yesterday, “Teachers are lucky, they get paid to come to school.”

I’ll miss their “Ah-Ha!” moments in math when they (or should I say we?) finally grasp that stupid word problem. I still have a hard time with those.

I’ll miss the teacher that I work with who has become a mentor and friend. A big change is that I am being “demoted” to second grade next Fall because my younger son, Daniel, is climbing up the ladder to fourth grade where I have been planted for three years. Who wants to have Mom in their classroom every day? Sooooo, not cool. Starting in fall, I’ll work with seven-year olds in second grade, but I am not clicking my heels over that. Right now, the only perk I anticipate is truly understanding their math.
So here lands the ETA … almost in reach … switching gears to a summer groove, cruising Blanche farther than my current four-mile rides, sunning and swimming with my kids, visiting the Grand Canyon and spending a week in Bass Lake with dear friends. These are wonderful blessings that are sure to be packed with lasting memories.
However, I admit, for today I nurse a case of the End-of-the-School-Year Blues. Ba duh duh duh duh!