I received a reminder card for my dental appointment. Part of it read ‘please take note of the time as it may have been modified.’ Isn’t it nice that doctors have the privilege to modify your appointment without first consulting with you? It sends a loud and clear message that their time is important and yours isn’t. If the shoe was on the other foot I don’t think doctors would appreciate the time modification.

Doctor: So, Mr. Smith, why were you late for your appointment?

Mr. Smith: Well, my appointment was at eight, but I felt like sleeping in, so I modified it to nine. You don’t mind do you, doc?

Guaranteed doc will mind.

Yesterday I went to a restaurant that modified my regular sandwich by decreasing the amount of meat. I wondered if they decreased the amount of meat, then why they didn’t decrease the price. Maybe they thought no one would notice.  

Has anybody else besides me noticed how Chips Ahoy has modified the chocolate chip cookie? Very gradually it has been getting smaller and smaller. If it gets any smaller they’ll have to be called chocolate chip minis. If you’re a dunker who uses the same glass you will find a whole lot more room to swish the cookie around in. Try it. Perhaps Chips Ahoy thinks that just because people’s butts are getting bigger and bigger our vision is impaired and we won’t notice their cookie getting smaller and smaller. We notice.

Last time I went for my haircut, I told my stylist, “Do what you did last time. I loved it.” I was unhappy to realize that clearly she must have taken that to mean –‘modify it.’

And we all know a person who modifies the truth. Every time you talk to them they have a different story. They give some version of the truth depending on who they’re talking to. Only, the truth doesn’t have versions. It shouldn’t be modified like a chocolate chip cookie. Don’t mess with truth and don’t mess with the cookie. You hear that Chips Ahoy?

Did you know there’s a new service Bridesmaid for Hire? It caters to all price ranges. For a price the bridesmaid plays the role of: personal assistant, social director, on call therapist and peace-keeper. Since this is also the role of a wedding planner, I fail to see the difference; except the wedding planner doesn’t get stuck wearing a hideous dress they’ll never wear again. The dress and financial burden is why some girls decline the prestige of being someone’s bridesmaid.

Hire a bridesmaid and you don’t need to fret when those nearest and dearest to your heart turn down the offer. Since you’re hiring a stranger you don’t need to fret about hurting her feelings the way you may a friend.

You won’t need to fret about calling her in the wee hours of the night, telling her your life’s woes because she’s paid to listen.

You won’t need to fret that she got a black eye breaking up the fight aunt Ethel and your grandmother had at your shower because she’s paid to be the peace – keeper. She’ll cover it with makeup and nobody will notice.

You won’t fret that uncle Buck got fresh with her after he drank too much because she’s paid to direct and she directed him out the door.

You won’t fret that pre wedding jitters had you go to the bathroom, your veil fell in the bowl and she walked behind you up the aisle, wringing it out. She’s paid to assist and she assisted.

She won’t fret about any wedding fiasco as she cashes your check and flies off to Vegas with her fiancée to elope. They’ll be no bridesmaid and no fretting at her wedding.

‘Salvage supermarkets’ sell foods past their expired or use by dates. The shelves are stocked with food that expired within the past few months. With all the high-fat, high-sugar, artificial ingredients, processed foods that go into our diets is there still a need for expiration dates? If a Twinkie had been buried with King Tut and eaten today, it would still ooze the same artificial, sugary, no nutritional value sweet flavor.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell when certain foods are bad. If there’s no mold on your cheese – be brave and eat it. But some foods are tricky. For instance, how do you know when cottage cheese goes bad? How do you know when yogurt goes bad? You have to take chances in life.

Some foods, like milk, need the sniff test. When I got married, I vowed to, “Love, honor and be the family sniffer.” I’ve since become a smell expert over the years, dishing out advice on everything from milk to body odors. 

  • “Yes, the milk’s bad.”
  • “My God, whatever you’re eating stinks. It’s bad. Throw it out.” “But, I’m not eating anything.” “Oops, sorry, Honey,” I tell my husband. He can’t be a sniffer because certain smells don’t bother him.
  • “Eat that this morning and you’ll wind up at the doctor this afternoon; and when you go bring a magazine.” We all know when we go to the doctor to bring our own reading material if we want something current.

I think as a society we should shift our focus from foods (that can’t expire anyway) to getting rid of outdated magazines in a doctor’s office. I’ll bet ‘cha if they keep outdated magazines around that their fridge is stocked with all kinds of expired foods. Something must be done.

An article in USA Today reported vacation rental services that allow travelers to stay in private homes rather than hotels are going after business travelers, who may want the comfort and convenience of home. People who try it are hooked. The article mentioned that having a business meeting in a home with a lake view rather than a boardroom gives a whole different atmosphere.

Since the whole idea of staying at a home is for the guest to feel at home, I have some concerns. Does this home provide housekeeping or are the guests responsible for their mess? If there’s no maid service and your guest is Felix Unger there is no problem. However, if your guest is Oscar Madison things can get messy (literally.)

If the guest throws a party and possessions are taken or broken – who’s responsible? Is it covered by insurance?

When you travel and things are as they should be, you get a comfy, at home feeling.

When my husband and I visit my mother, I feel like I’m home, but things are not as they should be. Staying in a room with twin beds I feel like a twelve year kid again. I feel like Lucy from the I Love Lucy show. Ricky could hover over Lucy’s bed, but he never got access to it. If he sat on the bed, one foot had to be firmly planted on the floor. When Little Ricky was born you stopped yourself from questioning the conception to believing in modern days miracles and believing he too should have been born in a manger.

At my mother’s, in bed, at night, talking is in hushed tones and laughter is smothered in pillows. In the morning my husband may sneak into my bed for a morning kiss, leaving one foot planted on the floor, of course.

My husband and I ate at a restaurant that had such an extensive menu it was divided into Volumes 1 and 2. After reading Vol. 1 I needed a break to rest my eyes. Have you ever noticed the higher the prices, the dimmer the lights? Anyway, the lights weren’t so dim that I didn’t notice the strand of hair in my food. I stopped eating. At last night’s dinner the dead bug in the kale made me stop eating. I’m assuming it was dead – it was on its back, legs suspended in air. When I poked it, it was crispy – just like the kale. On the heels of this I read an article in USA Today that reported some restaurant chains are cutting the number of menu items. The theory is less is more. More quality. Faster service. Hotter food. I just hope it’s less hair. They say, “Too many choices make it hard for consumers to make a choice. I agree.

I don’t know why restaurants have never adopted the limited children’s menu for the adults menu. Basically every restaurant offers the same items: chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, hamburger and pizza. Why? Because they know that’s what kids like and will eat. They don’t thread into uncharted waters. They stick with the tried and true.

When our kids were little and we gave them something to eat they didn’t like, we served it on their favorite Disney plate, giving the illusion that it was likable. They could be excused once they ate the beets covering The Little Mermaids mouth. They could be excused once they ate the meatloaf off of Simba’s tail. Who knows, maybe if I had eaten off of a Lion King’s plate I wouldn’t have noticed the hair in my food. It would have blended in with Simba’s tail.


As a parent the excitement builds the night before. You’re so giddy with anticipation you can’t sleep. You toss and turn waiting for morning light and the hope it brings. You replay all the Staples commercials in your head and agree that it is The Most Wonderful time of the Year. On the first day of school a parent’s expression resembles a kid’s expression on the last day of school.

On the first day of school a parent jumps out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning. Miraculously, overnight the aches and pains that usually slow them down in the morning have vanished and they’ve adapted a new personal mantra – the world is great, the kids will be gone at eight. It is this mantra they play over and over in their head as they float down the stairs to assemble lunches. It is this mantra they sing as they get the kids dressed and fed. It is this mantra they sing as they fling open the front door and wait to hear the roar of the school bus.   

It is this mantra they’re singing twenty minutes later for the bus to come whisk their children off to school. It is this mantra they’re still singing (be it) a little less enthusiastically 45 minutes later when calling the bus company to find out where the hell the bus is.

An hour later, putting on socks and shoes to take the kids to school they’ve made some changes to their mantra – the world is!!***!! And why the!!***!! are the kids still here when it’s after eight? Excitement is replaced with puzzlement as to how a bus driver can get lost with all the electronic devices available to them today. There’s a wonderful device called a GPS. Get one! Use it! If the bus isn’t equipped with a GPS, the driver should use the one available on their phone. With a GPS buses would run on time and parents could go back to chanting – the world is great, the kids will be gone at eight!


I saw a news story about a professional potty trainer who claims she can train your kids in two days for $1,750. For parents who don’t have time, are at wits end and want to outsource, this is a viable option.

She has a simple approach – loads the kids up with liquid and sets the timer to buzz every forty minutes. If the timer goes off every forty minutes it means the lady does leave the house. The real challenge would be to potty train a kid on the go.

Why, parents know that sometimes it takes forty minutes to get a fidgeting kid into a snowsuit. By the time she’d dress them in their snowsuit, gloves, hat and boots, her forty minutes would be up and she’d have to undress them. They won’t have time to make a snowball… but they may make the snow yellow.

Sometimes it takes forty minutes to pack the car for a trip to Grandma’s. Bye the time she’d pack the baby bag, high chair, toys, portable crib, stroller and play pen, her forty minutes would have come and gone. 

Some may question if hiring an expert is a missed opportunity for parent and child to bond. If a parent no longer changed their kids diaper then they would no longer see the creamed corn and be reminded of last night’s dinner. If a parent no longer changed their sons diaper they wouldn’t worry about going blind from all the times their son squirted them in the eye. You would think a kid with perfect aim like that would be a natural at hitting the Cheerio at the bowl’s bottom; but they’re not, which is why you use the gold star reward system.

Recently I found an old calendar filled with gold potties reminding me of the potty wars with my kids. My oldest would sit on the potty for an hour, finally stand up, move over and go on the floor. My son would have preferred to eat the Cheerio rather than pee on it. And I thought my youngest would go straight from Pull Ups to Depends.

The calendar served as a reminded that time goes by in a blink of an eye… a dry eye that is.

 I read an article in USA Today that the average time in restaurants is getting longer because of “phone zombies.” A ‘phone zombie” tweets, texts, instagrams, looks at photos and lingers at their table making for an unreasonably long meal. I wasn’t surprised to read this as lately I’ve been held up in all kinds of situations thanks to the “phone zombie.”

One time I was at a traffic light and when the light turned green I waited for the car in front of me to go. When it didn’t go, I went around and saw that the driver was texting, oblivious to the fact the light was green and he was holding up traffic.

Another time I was in an elevator filled with people. When the elevator stopped at the second floor and nobody exited we all turned to look at the guy who pressed the # 2 button when he entered. This man was on his phone and oblivious to the fact he reached his floor and kept others waiting.

Then there was the time I waited to use a one-stall public restroom. I heard the women inside talking and assumed she was in there with someone. When she exited I realized she was alone, but talking on her phone. This woman was oblivious to the fact that she kept others waiting and spoke unnecessarily loud on her phone.

But, the most unbelievable situation was when I was in the hospital emergency room. A doctor attempted to talk to the patient in the bed next to mine; the patient who was on his phone, signaled for the doctor wait. After the doctor made two attempts he walked away and I overheard him say to the nurse, “Get him off the phone and then get me.” I couldn’t blame the doctor for being angry with the guy. He was probably having a nice enjoyable meal at some restaurant where he was instagraming, tweeting and texting when he was pulled away from dinner and came to work to deal with a “phone zombie.” Why it would have served that guy right if the doctor had posted pictures of his ruptured appendix on his phone and all over social media. It’s called “phone zombie” revenge.

I stepped in melted ice cream on the street the other day. Melted ice cream is a given come the hot weather when kids and adults alike enjoy the cool treat outside. Come summer when people picnic and barbecue walking becomes a perilous sport. It’s best to put down your phone and pay attention to where you step before you step in something you shouldn’t. Ketchup from a packet squirts pretty far when stepped on… take it from one who knows.

When it’s hot people go from eating while driving to eating while walking. Oh, you’ll still get the person who eats in their car, like the guy in his car who I saw eat French fries and then wipe his hands on his shirt. Classy. And there’s the lady who leaves you in disbelief because she’s holding an ice cream cup in one hand, shoveling the spoon into her mouth with the other hand, while trying to make a turn. You wonder about certain people.

Peach day is a big celebration at our local farmer’s market. People walk around eating peaches and a variety of fruit. After sampling the peaches my husband and I sat on a bench to eat a funnel cake heaped with confectioner’s sugar. No matter how you eat it, a funnel cake is messy. If you’re eating it on a windy day it’s best not to wear black. Take it from one who knows. Specks of powdered sugar dotting the bench were our calling card. A bird flew overhead while we ate and dropped a present. His calling card was covered in confectioner’s sugar. The people who eat in their cars never have such problems. I think they know better.

Sitting on the beach, catching some rays and listening to the peaceful, rhythmic, sound of the waves as they lapped against the shore, she watched people come and go. She saw joggers out for their morning run. She saw old married couples walking hand in hand. She saw children building a sand castle.

However, she couldn’t help but watch the two people in the water. A father and daughter in the ocean on a beach filled with people, and yet, you would think the two of them were on their own island. They were oblivious to all others; they were wrapped up in their own world and having fun.

The father held the little girl in his arms, while venturing out into the water. The little girl had her arms wrapped around her father’s neck. Anytime a wave came and crashed against their bodies, almost causing them to topple over, the girl would laugh hysterically and squeeze her arms just a little tighter around her father’s neck. The force of the waves was powerful, but the strength of being held in her father’s arms, arms filled with love, were more powerful. Those arms would not let the little girl fall, she was safe.

Suddenly, watching the father and daughter, she was in another place and time. She was with her own father on vacation at the beach more than 30 years ago. The vacation spot was Atlantic City, N.J. The days always started out the same by waking up early. Waking up early on vacation meant a day filled with activities and fun. Waking up early at home meant a school day! She loved early morning vacation days. You could wake up early to bicycle ride on the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Or ride alone or ride a bicycle built for two. She wanted to ride from one end of the boardwalk to the other. But as always, time ran out before the boardwalk did.

Next, it was onto the beach. Time at the beach was spent soaking up the sun, looking for seashells and always, winding up in the water. Much like the little girl who held onto her father for safety, so did she. Holding hands, together, they would brave the waves. She remembered watching as a big wave approached and wondering who would win out, the wave or her father. The wave would come rushing towards them, using all its force to knockdown and drag her back out with it. Only, it never happened, she held on tight to her father. He won and she was safe.

There were times her father would swim alone and challenge the ocean. It was at these times, instead of waiting for the waves to come to him, he would swim into them. The harder and faster the wave approached, the quicker he would swim. Every time the two met, it seemed as though the wave was the victor as it swallowed him up. She could still hear her mother, calling out her father’s name and waiting for him to reappear in the water. A minute or two would pass, and his head would pop up. He would wave to signal he was safe. Eventually, regrettably, he would come out of the water, just the way the little girl was doing now.

Seeing the little girl emerge from the water instantly brought the lady back to present day. The girl walked straight up to the lady watching her and said, “Hi mommy.” I looked at my daughter and said, “Hi” back. I didn’t ask if she had a good time. From the smile on her face, I knew she did. My daughter never met her grandfather. Yet, I am certain that as sure as my husband’s arms were around her, holding her up and keeping her safe, so were her grandfather’s.

But, oh, what wouldn’t I give to see him wave to me from the ocean one more time.