Life before DVRs? Shocking, I know.

Yes, it’s another post about what kid life was like “back in the day.”  But it’s pretty damn funny.  Go have a laugh.

When I was a kid…

6. Everyone watched TV at 7:00

And we all watched the same TV shows at the same time, so we would sit at the lunch table the next day and talk about last night’s 90210 and how Brenda and Dylan broke up and no one at the table would yell, “NOOOOOOO, don’t tell me, I haven’t watched it yet!!!!”

When I was a kid – Baby Sideburns

SoCS – winter wonderland

It was what we called a Big Snow.  I was in first grade, I think – the first of three times I lived in Virginia.  It was the first location where I started to form real childhood memories (ones stored long term, anyway) and my first station in a state with actual winter climate.

Being in first grade I was pretty short.  Not unnaturally so, more in a typical six year old sort of way, but short nonetheless.  Which meant when the Big Snow was coming and they started talking about expected accumulation I basically started bouncing off the walls.  Like every other kid on the block, but that was of no comfort to my parents as they endured the anticipation of a snow day.

I went to bed one night practically vibrating from the excitement of it all – a snow day off school! sledding! mittens! snowball fights! – and finally managed to drift off, praying fervently with every ounce of my being that frozen flakes would fall from the sky.  And boy, did that weatherman come through.  Big time.

When I walked out the door the next day (into a winter wonderland my dad had sweated through shoveling for hours) I was stunned into silence.  Accumulation?  There were no words to describe the wall of white surrounding me.  The snow was taller than me.  Do you know what it’s like to look up at a wall of snow?  Well, for a first grader it’s exhilarating.  Breathtaking.  And an invitation to lose your freaking mind for the day.

I don’t remember any official numbers for the storm – exactly how many inches of snow accumulated in the front yard is one of those holes in my memory banks.  But I recall with perfect clarity what it felt like to walk into a world of snow.


SoCS 2

Visit Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday to check out her weekly blog event.  It’s open to anyone who wants to participate, and there are always cool links to other blogs participating. This week’s prompt: accumulation.

childhood: ever changing but always the same

Certain things seem timeless.  Almost iconic, really.  Hula Hoops.  Matchbox cars.  Kickball, dodgeball, and flashlight tag.  We’ve enjoyed these for decades (although “enjoyed” might be an exaggeration for some when it comes to dodgeball), and I’m sure they’ll be around for years to come.

But when it comes to conflict?  Well, there are some universal similarities there, too.

Continue reading

Sunday Snapshot: cardboard dreams


I can smell those crayons like it was yesterday.

Did you ever play in boxes as a kid?  That might be a strange question for some people, but my fellow military kids know exactly what I’m taking about.  Every move brought a new wonderland of unpacked boxes, a treasure trove for fort building and creative play.

So naturally one of the first things I did when I found myself with a giant empty box was to plop T-man down in it for an afternoon of fun, and the eternal joy of childhood went on.

T-man was delighted to find a fort sized just right for him.  Bright colors clasped in his pudgy hands, he was free to scribble away to his heart’s content.

And life was good.

365 days in an alternate universe

I’ve never claimed an allegiance to any particular part of the country.  I don’t sound like a local, well, anywhere, so the question of where I’m from is inevitable.  If I’m feeling spunky I might toss out someplace obscure like Omaha, but mostly I respond with a shrug and the short but sweet “I’m a Navy brat, so pretty much everywhere.”

navy ships

Can one be from everywhere?  Or does that really mean I’m not from anywhere at all?  Sounds like an existential question to me.

At any rate, I spent the majority of my formative years in three locations: northern Virginia, New Jersey, and Virginia Beach.  While these areas weren’t exactly identical they did have a lot in common, giving me thirteen years of continuity (if you can call three moves in K-11 feeling stable).  Moving from the familiar comfort of these relatively similar areas to a tiny New England town for my senior year was akin to being dropped into a dunking booth filled with ice water.

Continue reading

Sunday Snapshot: family


There’s something special about siblings.  There’s definitely something special about Bee and J.

These are the two people who’ve known me since the beginning.  (Well, J. missed a couple of years in there but that’s not his fault.)

We believed in Santa and the tooth fairy together, and they knew me when I learned the truth about both. We played in giant empty moving boxes piled in the basement and went to the Star Wars movies together. We saw each other get through school, graduate, and become adults.  We celebrate each other’s successes and support each other in the hard times.

And looking at the years ahead, I can’t imagine life without them.

a child’s joy


My dad and me, Christmas circa ?? (Bee?  J.?  Anyone know?)

Nothing compares to a child’s sheer joy upon finding a bike in the family room on Christmas morning.  The feeling of climbing on in your pajamas while your dad watches, hard pedals under your curled toes, ready to ride off down the driveway that very instant.

Moments like this are rare.  We really only get a handful of them – times when an indescribable wave of delight washes over us and leaves us breathless in its wake.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, may this morning bring you at least one moment of utterly inexplicable joy.  Best wishes to all for a wonderful last week in December 2015.

Christmas Dominoes

Honestly, I don’t really get dominoes.  I don’t understand the actual game and have never felt an urge to learn how to play.  And while it’s cool to see them set up in a design, ready to be knocked down in a clicking cascade of tiles, I have neither the patience nor the steady hand required to do this myself.

Which means dominoes are basically a heavy box of dotted tiles that sit on our game shelf getting dustier each year.

Cue what will seem like random segue:   So I finally put my finger on why December seems so hectic.  Yes, the kids make things a little more squirrelly, but that’s not the reason.  Over the last 15 years or so Christmas has morphed into a domino activity for our family, and it’s usually somewhere around the midpoint when I start to feel the strain.

Continue reading