The plastic box and a 9 volt battery

Late into the night we dragged our stiff bodies out of the car after an eleven hour drive home from a trip. We hesitated because the last time we walked in late, a bird flew in our house that had nested in the door wreath. That bird got lucky…

We walked in through the garage this time. No bird, but our house had a permeating oil smell. My husband could barely smell it but he knew by experience my hound-dog nose did not lie and there was no way I was going to stay in a house that smelled like the residual of a steel mill oil sludge leeching through our house cracks hovering oily air pollution over our bed. I could feel my lips swelling and I already had a head ache.

I believe every human is born with a “super power.” My husband’s is he is a natural salesman and can talk anyone into just about anything to get “a deal”; mostly me. We could go to a hotel, but did “we” really want to? Look our bed was waiting for us after that long trip.

I began googling poisonous oil smells to find out how long we had to live, sitting next to the open window with 39 degree air. My husband knew he could convince me to stay. He went for the best idea he could come up with; trying to locate the $14.99 carbon monoxide alarm in the plastic box that was plugged into the hall electric outlet about three years prior. It has been a sensitive subject along with smoke alarms for three reasons.

#1: the boxes never chirp at a convenient hour.

#2: when the boxes chirp and you remove the battery they continue to chirp like they are possessed.

#3: If the boxes are not screwed to the ceiling we take them down do the depths of the basement and cover them up with what ever is the closest thing and then…go back to bed. In the morning we hit them with brooms.

My husband’s plan was fading even though he was “selling” we would be fine as long as we had that box…as he kept looking for it in drawers and backs of closets to keep us from getting back in the car and going to a hotel in that late hour. I knew exactly where it was but I let him look for awhile to make him want to leave. True salesmen do not budge. I ran down in the basement and grabbed where we stashed it three years ago under old National Geographics to muffle the chirps way back then.

The 9 volt battery space was empty and so was our battery drawer that carried extras. My husband was getting more frustrated so began searching for items which held 9 volt batteries in the house. I had my jacket on waiting for him to give in. I tried to break the tension by mentioning this isn’t as bad as the bird, right? He grabs his keys and goes out into the night to find a 9 volt battery to plug in that  d#^@&+ carbon monoxide alarm so that I would get in bed and go to sleep! (It would have been easier to get in the car and find a hotel.)

He came home 30 minutes later. That new battery went in and the plastic box was plugged in the wall and we were supposedly saved. It was not blasting an alarm so obviously we were not being poisoned by that non odorous carbon monoxide smell chemically reacting with oil and so now we could go to sleep. He crawled into bed “selling” that the smell had really subsided and we would be fine, then nodded off. I stayed awake using a blanket as a filter imagining us sleeping in Chernobyl and  wondering how we possibly could have faith in a plastic box with a 9 volt battery.

The next day the furnace people found a substantial leak in our system. I asked if the oil smell was harmful. They hesitated which did not make me feel relief. But our home now emits the olfactic aroma of oil from a galvanized steel barrel mixed with a floral scent of Febreze.

I know we were negligent. Actually I wanted to have that box plugged back in the wall three years ago for safety…so I am happy.  Thanks hubby.

Are we all loony-tunes?



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Dear PAAS Egg Dying Kit

I have failed you and I am sorry.

Your 135 year history I promised to carry forth down through my traditional ages as a parent,  as a seasonal-atmosphere-happifier, as a creative mess-maker, I fear, is becoming yet another victim to the “new millennia’s virtual sensory cleanliness and efficiency.”

“Hard boiled eggs smell weird.”

“What a waste of food.”

“I buy my organic grass fed eggs and they are not white, they are naturally colored.”

“What a big mess all over my fine counter.”

“I don’t have time for this mess.”

 “I can buy chocolate, it’s easier.”

“Do you know how long it takes for food coloring to come off your fingers–Ah, no way?”

“Do you know what lost hard boiled eggs smell like in August?”

“Has anyone ever eaten these eggs anyway?”

I have heard every excuse from so many people, so many friends, so many child advocates.

Yes, I know children can go on the decorating egg APP and do egg decorating virtually in a quiet corner without any help or mess and it will look PERFECT. That is convenient.

But, me and PAAS know that is not the point.

Oh…You all miss the point so badly.

It is about the smell of hard boiled eggs cooling in the water, warm in your hands; a perfect oval container. It is about the imperfect world wishing 2 didn’t crack, but they always do…and still use the oops ones.


It is about putting the fizzy PAAS capsule in and listening to the bubbles pop exploding into magnificent colors when the vinegar is dropped over them. It is about making your own simple paint out of clear water and coloring that won’t kill you.


It is about the magic white crayon that makes secret smiles, words or lines appear… with enchantment. Struggling with that weird metal holder, toss it aside– then revert to spoons..


Then dip.

Dip and dip.

Partial dip, dip with two in one, dip over colors, and leave some in the dye to see how dark they get.

Dip and dip until the very last egg goes in…

It is about sitting up on the counter all together, talking and laughing and sharing colors. It is about drip drying the eggs dying the napkins by accident and deciding what to dip next.

It is about viewing the colorful egg bouquet and feeling proud of those beautiful eggs you  just dyed realizing how much making something colorful together makes a piece of happy.

IMG_0982And then it is about leaving them for the Easter bunny–waking up Easter morning to discover them gone–that trickster bunny hid them around the house…

And it is about looking for them together no matter how old you are…


My own five children who grew up with PAAS, I fear are going the way of the virtually clean, sensory deprived, perfection oriented generation of the future. I know it is easier.

But PAAS, I somehow failed to show how fun you can be.

I promise you I will always dye eggs. Even when I am too old to notice if the egg is hard-boiled or not, too senile to mistake one of those PAAS food-color capsules as medicine and chew up the pink one, or too feeble to clean up my own mess as I drool in fuchsia. I promise you I will carry on your legacy of family togetherness, holiday-happifying and of course, creating wonderful, playful sensory-filled messes of color with a simple ordinary egg.

Because, it does matter. And we both know it…



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A wee little bit…

The morning light hit my window prism in the exact spot to drop a a palm size rainbow in my open hand this morning as I was lazily waking. Pots of gold do exist at the ends of rainbows, I have proof. The gold sat there in my hand all shiny and warm then melted through my skin and poured the golden elixir all through out my bones, blood, and cells and filled my body with light.

I love Leprechaun magic because it’s real

if you are watching for it…

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I have freckles. Lots of them all over. Maybe that is why I like polka dot anything. We share a bond. I rarely cover them with make-up because they make me original.

My German mother had smooth, clear skin that once  you lather with lotions or oils it would shine like tan silk. I would run my little pointer finger along her shin bone to see if it would feel as it looked resting all shimmery on that chaise lounge in the sunshine. 

I got my dad’s skin. He and I were the fully clothed, hatted beach goers wearing thick layers of sun screen hovering under the umbrella while everyone else “layed out.”  My dad’s feet were so virgin exposed they glowed transparent when he un-socked in the evenings. They looked weird but baby-butt smooth!

Even though, I always have loved my freckles.

“Angel kisses,” my mom would say. “Straight from your Irish relatives…”

My Irish relatives?

I wish to know about them…

There is a craze right now finding out who we are, where we come from, and a connection to our deceased relatives.,, new television shows searching our roots, or sending in DNA samples to help connect us. I have admittedly climbed up my family tree and love the names on the leaves.

St. Patrick’s Day is some of “my” people’s holiday. I imagine them roaming on the Emerald terrain eating hot corn-beef with potatoes and cabbage playing harps, dancing jigs, and telling tales of magic all adorned in freckles. 

I feel “lucky!”


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Don’t hire me to paint!

There it is. The paint can.

I don’t know what it is but I am in love with snapping off the lid of a paint can with that thick creamy substance inside that has the ability to completely transform a space. It looks good enough to dip a spoon in and lick but that would not be good…

I love paint in all forms. Sometimes, I get creative longings inside, and I need to go where paint and color dwell; Home Depot, Michael’s, Art stores, specialty stores with beautiful paint choices and designs like Anthropolgie, and even Toys R Us. I love to look at paint’s colors. I love to feel the transformation of color to moods. I love to dip things in paint; drip it, splash it, rub it on things, roll it, brush it with all different size and kinds of brushes and I love different surfaces to do it on. Paint spells F U N!

Along with that infatuation I am in love with my clothes that I paint in. I’m like a puppy dog when an owner picks up a leash for a fun walk, when I put on those “it’s okay to get dirty duds.” I feel like jumping around in a circle because I know when those clothes go on I give myself permission to paint.

Painting to me is an experience I immerse in. I pass into a deeper realm of art-ing when I begin to do it.


when I paint “serious.”

When I have to paint a wall that has to look faultless painting becomes like labor pains. I forget how much I hate it until it’s too late to get out of it!

My problem is in that delicious world of paint I prance so happily in that dreamy luscious whipped cream or dollop of paint , I forget reality and always start to paint walls… and then I remember how un-fun this is.

I highly recommend for all you DIY-er’s, who hate to paint but love to PAINT read Karen Beaumont’s  picture book, illustrated by the funny David Catrow called I Ain’t Gonna Paint  No More. It’s a self portrait of the free spirit painter who should definitely never become a house painter for hire; like me.

I’m now off to scrape the floor of the paint drips from my latest house project, (Yes, I did put plastic around!!!), after I take off the tape that has stuck to the walls and torn off the wall board paper, and then off to the dump to drop the white area carpet after tipping the gray primer up-side-down, under the ladder, all over my shoes and all over the white carpet… (I only cried for 45 minutes while scrubbing uselessly!!) No matter what any product sells, it does not come out and dries a crusty shade of dingy and corpse stiff.

But I am still wearing the clothes and have  joy in my creative-heart and that hardened drip in my eyebrow as I hammer that round metal lid back on to say good-bye while I repeat…

“I ain’t gonna paint no more!”

Then go soak in a long bath.

Until I forget and do it all over again…

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There is a squabble. The toddlers are fighting over the same toy. Seconds before they were each playing with their own, happily. But one looked over at the other toy and thought, ‘Hey, that’s mine. I want to play with that now.’ And she gets up to take what she believes is hers, even though the other child is playing with it.

You rush in as the responsible adult. You explain “sharing” as simply as you can, while taking the toy away. The squabble escalates…

How absurd is that concept; sharing! According to toddler’s mind, everything is his and made for him. ‘Sharing…? You adults are so dumb!’

But do we grow out of “MINE?”

Some people never do.

And it creates a unique life and family dynamics.

A family is a little community. Each has a role in that space. It is a unit that learns to work together as a whole’ as an “US” entity but it does not always run as such. Many families do not operate in an “us, we, or ours” fashion. They chose or have learned by example to initiate a “mine” philosophy. A “mine” entity distinguishes separations in the unit and hierarchy, control, and competition are the result as it runs as independent pieces rather than as a collective connective whole.

Certainly a child is not going to pay rent even though a parent supplies shelter. Certainly a stay-at-home mother cannot pay bills when her income is based on a shared spouses income. Certainly a father’s income is not earned for him solely. As you build and create a family unit you are a whole unit and how you can operate collectively and interconnectively depends on how you assert what is yours or give and share what is “ours.” A family is not independent pieces of a unit just stuck together. It is supposed to be a sharing community that everyone connects to and learns to work with and consequently loves each other.

I have difficulty when I hear adults who live in family units talk about their things as “mine.” “My” car, “my” house, “my” table, “my” bed you sleep in, “my” food you eat…referring to family members as disconnects to things actually belonging to them too and helping them thrive. It makes the member not a part of the money or object, but almost instills guilt that they are using or eating something not “earned” and have to pay for it some other way.

Have you ever heard a parent talk to a teen,  maybe on television, and say, “Don’t you dare put your feet on my coffee table…” And the teen takes his feet off. What that parent has established is that everything that is bought is the parent’s “mine.” The teen is not a part of it. Of course the teen did not buy it. But it WAS bought for the collective family unit to help everyone as a whole. The teen will not feel connected to it so he won’t care about it consequently, except for wrath for harming it and getting punished.

I grew up in a “sharing house.” Everything was collectively ours and a result of that was that we cared and loved it as our own instead of it being a “rental object” just put there with no love or connection attached. “Our” family car was not my father’s “mine.” It was “ours.” We all rode in it, we loved it, and we wanted to collectively take care of it because it belonged to ALL of us. We had a small cabin in the woods. My father did not tell us, “this cabin is “mine” and you all better like it. He bought it for “us” to share and make memories, and we did and love it and treat it with great respect. We felt that way about all of our things because it was given to us with love. There never was an intended feeling of being left out, or being disconnected in anything. Our family things were never an adult “mine’ but always intended for us all as a collective family unit; even as we built our own families. We are all family…always. And share collectively.

You may think this philosophy is absurd. If I work hard for it, I deserve to claim it as “mine.” This is so dumb…just as the normal ego-centric toddler thinks when a toy is taken from them. But ego-centric is vastly different than egotistic and independent. Aren’t we here to learn how to live together connectively.

If you think about it, the sharing philosophy, to help build families is much how God treats us as his big family and we his children. Everything HE has, HE offers to “US.” It is “OURS.” He never ever says, That’s “MINE.” “Get your eyes off my sunset.” “Don’t you dare drink all of my rain water I gave you.” “How dare you cut down my tree and build a house with it, did I give you permission for that!?” “You better eat every speck of my chicken because I can take it away when I want.”

You see…”mine” is only for toddlers…

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Today is John Bonica’s Birthday!!!  You know! The guy who invented the epidural! (February 16, 1917) 

This should be on every mother’s calendar who didn’t do it “natural.”

I personally love this man and want to hug him when I get to heaven!


Please take a moment of silence and send a prayer of thanks for this most wonderful human being who saved the earth by making it doable to have a second child. And allow crazy’s to wear make-up and do photo shoots during…

Women and childbirth, “Ah its-so-natural…”

until labor begins…

and boy or boy if you want to pass a large heavy bowling ball without meds…

ask a woman! (I know, I had two nearly ten pounders without John…)

It just doesn’t “feel” natural!

He is my hero three times and every Feb. 16th a holiday in my book.

Is he your hero?

Let’s celebrate!

(He can be celebrated by father ‘s too because he was also a professional wrestler; and a good one…)

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