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Watermelon in February?

“Why can’t we get the watermelon?” my kids plead with me as we cruise the aisles in the grocery store.  Not in season, I reply, not to be persuaded.  The irony is I don’t think twice as I reach for the asparagus, setting it down gently in our cart next to the carton of strawberries and on-the-vine tomatoes.  Yeah, not in season indeed.

I grew up in a family that was conscious of growing seasons.  My mom would never buy strawberries out of season, primarily from a cost perspective:  out of season items cost more.  (They also don’t taste as good, and if you don’t agree just taste succulent summer corn on the cob or red, ripe strawberries freshly picked and so sweet they just melt in your mouth).  My mom knew what was in season and what wasn’t and shopped accordingly.

However, I also don’t think we had as many options back then.  Nowadays, in our 24-7 society, you …

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Simple Sundays

What is your favorite day of the week?  Maybe Friday, with the anticipation (or relief) of the weekend approaching?  Monday perhaps, with all its promise for a new and hopefully better week ahead?  Or Saturday, with the possibility of freedom to do as you please without being ruled by an alarm clock or schedule?  Did you favor a certain day as a child?  And if so, do you find the day(s) to be the same or different day now all these years later?

“..she loved Sundays – the way they all lingered at the table, her parents telling stories of …the funny things people said and did. …on and on they went until everyone was hungry again, sandwiching bacon between leftover biscuits and drinking down the rest of the lukewarm juice for lunch.”

- from Carry Yourself Back to Me

Sundays were like that for me growing up.  There was a routine to Sundays that I came to …

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Back in Time for a Do-Over?

If you could go back in time to one particular day and do things differently, what day would you choose to change?

A book I just read reminded me of the question my son asked me one day after school, which really had made me pause.  I was about to give him my standard answer of how I try to live my life with no regrets, but then I started thinking.  There are many things I look back on and grimace. Did I REALLY do that, say that, behave that way?  A do-over…would I take it?  Would you?

I know what you’d say,” he told me.  He was tired of waiting as this Zen Mama Wannabe revisited memories from a long time ago.  ”You do??” Believe me, he actually had no idea, but I was curious to hear what he had come up with.

You’d go back to the day Grandma died.  You would

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Lunch in Paris – in another Lifetime

In another lifetime, I decide to go to Europe upon graduating from college. In another lifetime, I have kept up with my high school French and can follow (understand) a real French conversation – instead of just catching a chance word here or there.  In another lifetime, I am not the squeamish vegetarian I am today, and instead enjoy a variety of foods such as foie gras, cassoulet, and andouillette.  In another lifetime, while enjoying my exciting Parisian life, I meet a sweet, handsome Frenchman (as wonderful as my American one is today, but one who says my name in that caressing French way that makes me melt every time I hear it) who sweeps me off my feet and adores everything about me (well, almost everything – no one’s perfect – not even in this fantasy of mine).

But alas, this was not the path I chose in THIS lifetime, and although I have no regrets, …

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Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Know any kids who have a tendency to say mean or unthoughtful things to their peers on occasion?  Familiar with any siblings who just HAVE to get out that zinger of a stinger, as if putting the other down builds him or her up?  If your frustration is building because of the constant verbal jabs flying around you, then you might be interested in something I stumbled upon; one simple concept (a bucket) that might just be your lifesaver!

The concept comes from the best-selling children’s book, “Have you Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids.”  Don’t let the kid part fool you – they say this book is for ages 4-9, but truly this book is for EVERYBODY.  It’s easy to understand, simple to do, and it really works!  In my current chaotic, busy life, that is music to this Zen Mama Wannabe’s ears.

The premise of the book is that we …

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New Year’s Resolutions that really Take the Cake

Are you like the 92 % of people that make New Year’s Resolutions only to soon find that you haven’t been able to keep them?   I never liked to think of myself like that, but during some end of year reflection I realized that my resolutions for 2011 were sounding a lot (ahem…exactly) like the ones I had set the previous year – and perhaps in all honestly, like the ones for the year before that!  The common definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting to get a different result.  So what was going to be different THIS new year?  How was I going to achieve success this time around?

There are a lot of things I want to do MORE of:  cook, write, exercise, spend quality time with my family, read…those are just the TOP ones.  But putting all that off to the side for the moment, how can I really

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Playing the Numbers Game

I have played the numbers game for years.  85. 68. 72. 91.  These numbers may not mean anything to most people, but for over half my life they were a measure of my own good fortune.  I would read in the newspaper that a woman died at age 72, and up until recently my mom was still alive at 90.  Ok…deep breath…we’re doing okay.

Now my mom is gone – and I have the audacity to feel cheated.  Living to 90 is having a good long run (and my mom certainly did).  In that respect she was blessed and I am thankful.  The fallout of having a child late in life, however, is that most people MY age have parents who are currently in their 60’s.  Assuming all goes well, they are looking at having their parents around for another 20-30 years!

I feel too young to have lost both parents – cheated out of years most everyone else my …

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The Trouble with a Good Book

For over a week now I have been insanely jealous of my 9-year-old son.  At first I was supportive and excited for him.  Yet somehow envy slowly took over and I started thinking, “I want that too!”  He’s been on a streak of some sort lately, one good one after another.  And I couldn’t help but think, “When is it MY turn?”  I want to be like him and have a book so good that you just can’t put it down.  A book you could read for hours and hours and lose all track of time.  I want what he’s having – is that really asking too much?

I glanced at my bedside nightstand.  There, on the top of the stack, was a book I needed to read for the From Left to Write (Online) Book Club I am involved with.  To be honest I’m not sure it is a book I would have just picked …

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Aftermath of a Crisis

“I don’t love you anymore

I don’t think I ever did…”

-  from Eurythmics “Don’t Ask Me Why”

I have always loved that part in the Eurythmics song that got massive airplay back in the 90’s on radio stations everywhere.   It was such an “in your face” kind of comment, the type someone who is REALLY hurting says, and I had been that person really hurting from a relationship that had crashed and burned, so yeah, I felt I could relate.  Annie Lennox always sang it so well, with just the right amount of emotion and scorn, as only a person who had really experienced it could do.  I remember feeling as if she and I were soul sisters of sorts, honorary members of the same club.

Those two lines popped in my head again as I read “This is Not the Story You Think It Is” – a novel written by a mom of 2 that I …

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Late to the Party – Again

Two of my favoritesMy kids are not the only ones using the two-weeks off during Winter Break to stretch the structure of our normal routine. Staying up way too late, lounging around in pajamas far too long, enjoying way too many sweets and treats.  School starts back up on Monday and then we’ll be back to the daily grindstone reality.  And while I look forward to the old routine in many ways, I am savoring actually having had the time to make a dent in the stack of books piled up on my nightstand.  Two of those books in particular were outstanding….and yes, I know I’m a little late in saying it, but if by some chance you haven’t read these – you must.

The Help was called the best book of 2009.  Highly acclaimed, a NY Times Bestseller and recommended by practically every bookstore in America. I told everyone about it – just off the buzz I was hearing.  Friends would …

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