Heard Around the House

Nora: (runs upstairs) “Mommy? Can we have a cookie?”

Me: “No.”

Nora: “How about some apples?”

Me: “Sure.”

Nora: (runs back downstairs, shouting as she does) “We were right, Daddy. She said no we can’t have any cookies. But yes, we can have apples.”

I love that I’m so predictable.


While out hiking on a trail in the woods.

Frances: “Mommy? Look at my walking stick. It has a tail. I’m petting it. See?”

Me: (chuckles; notices the bunch of green pine needles to which she’s referring) “Yep. I see.”

Frances: (leans in close to whisper) “For real life Mommy, it’s just a branch, not a tail.”

No one will ever say my kids lack imagination.


Getting ready for bed.

Nora: (in tearful hysterics) “I want footie pajamas, Mommy!”

Me: “Well I’m sorry, but they’re in the washing machine.”

Nora: “I’m as mad as mad can be at you! As mad as can be! And it’s not fair!”

Me: “Well, life is not fair.”

Nora: “I want footie pajamas!”

Me: “I understand you’re disappointed. And tired. What else would you like to wear instead?”

Nora: (throws herself on bed) “I’m not disappointed! And I’m not tired! And I don’t want to wear anything else!”

Me: (runs downstairs to retrieve clean, but wet pajamas from the laundry machine to add insult to injury) “Fine. Here. Wear them then.” (hands over pajamas)

Nora: (suddenly stops fitful rage, inspects garment, proceeds to put on) “Hmmmm. They’re not as bad as I thought they’d be.”

Me: (shocked she’s actually going through with it) “That’s because they’re made of fleece.”

Nora: (pauses, realizes she’s a tad bit uncomfortable) “Well, maybe they’ll be dry tomorrow and tonight I’ll just wear something else.”

Me: Finally. The voice of reason.

She ended up insisting on wearing socks, and tucking them into her pants, as well as tucking her shirt into her pants so that she could mimic as best she could the appearance and feeling of being in a one-piece.

Drama, drama, footie pajama. Bedtime now for this mama!


Must I write?

A few weeks ago, as I was walking down the hallway at the community college where I’m currently teaching two nights a week, I was distracted by some bold words I noticed hanging on the wall. The words were part of a quote that had been taped to the office door of an English professor.

I stopped to read the quote because I was compelled to answer the question I saw posted there:

“Ask yourself in the most silent hours of your night: Must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple I must, then build your life in accordance with this necessity.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke

It seemed to me that the sign had been posted there for my eyes and my eyes alone. Yes, I must write, I answered confidently. Urgently.

Yet—it’s been many, many months since I’ve enjoyed a regular writing routine. Busy life has made it so most days I feel mentally unable to give anything to my creative endeavors, yet totally capable of binge watching hours and hours of Netflix series. I can see now my priorities have been misplaced.

So, in an effort to restore some balance, this post is a baby step in building my life in accordance with the necessity that I must write.




The games I play in my head that no one knows about. Until now.

You know that urban legend about gangsters driving around at night with their headlights off, just waiting for passersby to flash them, only to follow said passersby home and later murder them? Well, my story’s related. Kind of. Minus the whole gangster/murder thing.


While it’s often one of the first things I do after starting the engine and buckling my own seatbelt, I sometimes forget to turn on my car’s headlights. I’m talking about daytime headlights here—a habit I’ve gotten into the past few years or so, deeming it safe practice to just keep the lights on all the time. (Nighttime’s another story. Then, it’s pretty obvious to me when the lights aren’t on, because I see terribly in the dark to begin with.)

Anyway. Back to daytime headlights. I sometimes forget to turn them on straightaway. I often won’t realize I’ve neglected to turn them on until I’m driving and I notice another car—one coming from the opposite direction—turn on its headlights. When I witness this action, I almost always look to my dashboard to see if my lights are on. If they are—yay! And if not, I turn them on.

This has happened enough times—I witness one car in a long string of others turn on its lights, then I turn on mine—that I figure it should work in reverse, right?

Like, say I’m driving along. I realize that my lights are off, so I switch them on. My own experience tells me that chances are good another car coming the opposite way and driving without headlights is likely to see me turn on my lights, and then do the same. Right? Right?!

Wrong! For three years—give or take a little—I have been having this competition in my head between me and other unsuspecting drivers. In fact, it has now become an official item on my bucket list, to influence another driver out there to turn on his or her headlights by initiating turning on mine, and be able to witness it all go down.

It’s not like I haven’t done all I can to increase my chances in those moments. When I realize I’ve not turned on my lights, I wait before turning them on, for a long line of unlit cars. I just figure, if there are several drivers who are able to see my lights spring into action, there are several chances for me to win my contest. One of those drivers should feel moved to do the right thing. The safe thing.

But no!


They haven’t!

They elude me to this day!

I’ve attempted to coerce drivers with my actions at least fifty or sixty times thus far. Not that I’m counting or anything. It’s just a rough estimate. And all for naught. I’m telling you. The day I switch on my lights and cause someone else coming the opposite way to do the same, will be a day of grand celebration. I’m talking huge fist pumps in the air. Maybe a loud ‘whoop whoop’ and a thumbs up out the window to show my appreciation that finally—finally—someone had the good sense to follow my lead. And maybe—just maybe—a glass of bubbly to mark the occasion when I get home.

If this all sounds a little bit desperate and silly to you, don’t worry. It’s OK. It sounds that way to me too. This is what it’s like to live inside my head. Feel free to report back about your own experiences. If you are someone whose car-headlight-influencing skills are far greater than mine, do you have any tips or tricks to share? If so, I’d appreciate hearing them!


#1: We are homeowners! Very exciting news, I know. And the reason why you’ve not heard from me for over two months. I’m still here, and will write on, but I’ve had to take some time to pack, unpack, organize and be a mom/wife! I’ve been fairly cranky about it all, but life has settled somewhat and we are very happy with our new home. Pictures to come, I hope.

#2: Nora and Frances will be starting school in just over a month. Nora will be in kindergarten! And little Franny will be starting a preschool program full time. That, I just can’t imagine, but she will do great I’m sure.

#3: Frances—while not totally potty-trained—has taken to wearing shorts and pants sans diapers AND sans undies, and peeing outside in the grass. She’s still terrified of going on any kind of toilet/training seat/potty chair, but I’m thinking of it as progress. I don’t know why she doesn’t like undies. Nor do I know why she prefers the tickling of grass on her bum to the plush comfort of the potty ring plastic. Please help.

#4: Rowan is officially a walker. I was sure he’d be walking at nine months. And though he’s known how to since April, he’s just this past month started walking more than crawling. He’s hysterical to watch. Today he tried running for the first time. He was like an out of control drunk person trapped in a sixteen-month-old’s body.

#5: In addition to teaching full time at a local elementary school, I am going to try teaching a community college class two nights a week this fall. I hope I’m not in over my head, but I wanted to try it out and see how things go. We need the extra income as we will likely be replacing not one, but TWO furnaces in the next year. No more relying on the good old landlords to get the job done.

#6: I’ve started writing a book! Well, at least I’ve got a working title, an introductory sentence (that’s right, I said sentence!), and an idea. So, um, yeah. Maybe in a decade or two I’ll have enough to work with to figure something out.

Until then, I’ll keep typing away at the Roost!



I’m a consumer consuming. Or a consuming consumer. Either way, I’ve got it bad.

I have become a woman obsessed with using her phone. Once the kids get to bed, it’s: which site am I going to go to next upon which to waste hours and hours of time and energy? 

The past few mornings I’ve woken up feeling extra groggy, and I’m starting to wonder if this is the cause. Well, either binge surfing the net, or the added caffeine and sugar I’ve slowly let creep back into my diet after months and months about being vigilant about avoiding it.

It’s just there’s SO MUCH out there to read and see and peruse and browse and buy. I’ve got world news to catch up on, celebrity news, local news. Facebook news, Instagram posts. 

And then there’s the most recent obsession: the Bloglovin’ app. It’s an app that lets you plug in all your favorite blogs so you can follow them directly and get all recent posts in one place. Right now I’m subscribed to about twenty food blogs. And a couple of writing blogs. LOVE wasting time here.

When I’ve checked all of this stuff out, there’s always Pinterest and Etsy and Wayfair and Overstock and Craigslist and Facebook yard sale groups to check in on to find ideas and inspiration and items with which to fill our new home. So far I’ve purchased nothing. But the temptation is strong. Real strong. 

I’m feeling the need soon for another of my necessary iPhone abstinence sessions, which I self-mandate every now and then. 

But for now, I’ve got to run and check out these Memorial Day sales online.

Peace out.

My son can successfully identify his penis, but not his mother and father.

It seems I’ve fallen off the writing wagon. Last night I favored listening to an engaging Radio Lab episode. And the night before last I accidentally got consumed by looking at area rugs on my phone. Two hours later I decided going to bed was a higher priority than writing a blog post.

Tonight, I’m trying to fit it all in while the kids take a bath. 

Speaking of bath, let’s move on to the topic of tonight’s post. My currently naked son has been able to identify his penis for nearly a month. Wahoo!

Like most males, he’s fond of his manly bits. He likes to touch and explore his anatomy in between diaper changes, in the tub, and generally, any time he’s naked. I’ve been naming his parts for awhile now, and this is the only one which he can successfully point to or look at when I ask, “Where’s your penis?”

However, ask him where his belly button, or eyes, nose and tongue are, and he looks completely baffled. 

Also, it should be noted that, nine times out of ten, when you ask him: “Where’s mama?” Or, “Where’s daddy?,” he just puts his hands on top of his head. Doesn’t even look in the direction of the mentioned adult. The other one time he raises his hands straight up in the air— a vestigial action from his very first parlor trick “How big is Rowan?!”

Just perfect.

When it comes to Mr. and Mrs., where have our manners gone?

When I was a kid, my parents—my dad especially—insisted we use ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ when referring to grown-ups. Our older nextdoor neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Bechtold. My parents’ friends and co-workers went by names like Mr. Harris and Mr. Chalfant. 

If we ever slipped up and dared to be so bold as to refer to one of our parents’ friends as Ken, or Bill, or Dave, we’d simply get ‘the look’ from our father or else an incredulous ‘excuse me?’ followed again by ‘the look.’ In any case, we knew we needed to rectify our error.


Looking back, I appreciate so much how we were expected to address grown-ups by their respectful titles. I love the notion of instilling that same ideal in my own children. However, the times have changed, and beyond that, we’re not off to the best start.

Many of the grown-ups in our kids’ inner circle insist on going by their first names. Babysitters of past and present went and still go by first names. All of our old neighbors introduced themselves to our children using first names. In fact, when we suggested otherwise, they scoffed at us. Call me Larry. Betty. Isabel, they said. In the end, we compromised a bit with names like Mr. Larry and Mrs. Betty. Miss Isabel. 

Nora’s first two teachers also went by first names Meghan and Eileen. No surnames. Something I know my dad disapproves of in general  (teachers going by first names) since I got to witness his reaction when I told him. Love that he’s so traditional. Old school. Stern and all about being reverent.

I don’t know. It just seems so weird to me to introduce our own friends as misters and missises (is that even a word?). We seem too young for all that. But my parents and their friends were our age when we were kids.

I still feel slightly uncomfortable referring to my in-laws by their first names because it’s so ingrained in me to use proper titles. It’s like I’m breaking the rules or seomthing.

And yet, I just can’t imagine referring to my friends in my kids’ company as anything other than their first name. If I even tried to, I think I’d bust out laughing at the formality of it all. But, I like the idea of it. What to do?

I’m thinking I might just keep everyone the kids know now grandfathered in just using first names. And then maybe everyone new we meet from this point on can become Mr. So-and-So and Mrs. Such-and-Such. 

In the future, the kids will remember everyone as belonging to either the pre-when-my-mom-was-hip-and-breezy era or the post-when-she-tried-to-be-all-formal-and-proper-and-whatnot era.

They won’t be confused at all. It will be fine. Trust me.