On occasion, I receive emails from readers requesting information about what it takes to write a column. Just how does one go about being a columnist? Magic wand aside, there are numerous answers to the question, depending on the day. But I thought it might be convenient to put them all in one place — or mostly one place. I may have left some of my notes on the piano.
Blowing out 18 candles on your birthday cake is a huge milestone. It happens in an instant. You are an adult — you can vote and marry. You can serve in the military, get a tattoo, go to a casino, donate blood and get called for jury duty. You can even win the lottery because you are finally old enough to buy a ticket. Even though you can do all these things — and more — being 18 does not make you a grown-up.
We had car issues recently. Namely one of the kid’s cars wouldn’t start. This obviously became a problem for my husband and me — mostly my husband, but I attempt to support him in these family matters. Since the car has been sitting unused for some time, we thought (hoped) maybe the problem stemmed from a dead battery requiring a simple jump start. My husband hooked up the red and black cables and I stood nearby, supervising. The car clicked, but didn’t start.
Raising children is a unique experience. Each of them is different; each of us is different. But, there are certain actions and behaviors universal to parenting. And, good or bad, we’ve all been there, done that. As parents, as kids and often as both, I’ve put together a partial list here. Feel free to add to it yourself. Universal parenting truth No. 1 — administered threats via counting.
Years ago, someone at our house — OK, me — gave my husband the nickname, "Hoover," and like a piece of toilet paper on a tennis shoe in a restaurant bathroom, the name stuck. He remains our Hoover to this day. The name doesn’t come from a reference to the U.S. president or from the first director of the FBI, although they would be first-rate role models from which to borrow a nickname. Both of those Hoovers had formidable beginnings.
She wasn’t even my dog. Not even close. Even though she and I lived in the same house, she clearly answered to another master — my husband. Still, I loved her like you love a family dog that’s been around for more years than you have fingers. She loved playing fetch. She was a retriever, so I guess that makes sense. We could throw a ball or a stick (or whatever object she was fetching that day) for hours and she’d keep going until we made her quit.
My daughter and I live with a bunch of guys so it wasn’t much of a surprise when they suggested a family fantasy football league. They are good at thinking up ways to beat us in various competitions — and not watching chick flicks. The fantasy league wasn’t such a bad idea. I figured it would generate a friendly atmosphere of competition and provide a shared sense of engagement during the big games. Plus it might even garner me a spot on the couch on Sunday afternoons. I was all in.
We live in a quirky, weird, sideways, upside-down world where some things just don‘t make sense — or they make too much sense to be sensible. As humans, we often perpetuate the nonsense. We accept things for what they are and go about our business without question. But sometimes I wonder about small things, big things, random things like:
Since the dawn of time, people have had opinions on everything from politics to the best way to make fire to whether a club or spear is better for hunting the woolly mammoth. Mostly politics.
I like summer rain. Not at noon when everyone wants to be outside in the sunshine swimming, if you are lucky enough to be at the beach. But after the sun sets, when the world is dark and lightning brightens the sky only to be followed by the predictable strike of thunder. We count the seconds between light and sound to guess how far the storm is from us — one thousand one, one thousand two …