Rockin’ the Shaggy-Faced Look

As any mom can attest, Boys will be boys, right?

And it doesn’t seem to matter how old the “boy” is supposed to be, either.

Take my son (AKA My Favorite Domer), for instance. He and his bro friends read online where some guys somewhere were initiating a “No Shave Conclave,” letting their facial hair grow until the Catholic Cardinals elected a new Pope.

What does shaving have to do with the Pope??

I didn’t ask.

Anyway, a “No Shave Conclave” sounded like a good idea to Domer’s group, so they decided to join in.

As Fate would have it, the new Pope was named in about three days, giving Domer and his friends barely enough time to sprout a few hairs.

That would never do. They opted to extend the “experiment” through the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Because they were going with the team to Dayton, Ohio, as part of the Basketball Band, and they figured they’d be there a while.

Again, Fate intervened. The Irish men lost their first game in the second round.

Which still wasn’t enough time to grow a proper beard.

Or so I’m told.

What would I know? I’ve never tried to grow one!

When Domer called to say he was coming home for a few days over Easter Break, he mentioned the “No Shave Conclave.” And I laughed right along with him, assuming of course, that now these “events” were over, he’d join the one member of his group to abandon the Grizzly Adams look.

Imagine my surprise upon seeing my precious son’s face covered in fur!

Some moms might disagree with me, but I’ve learned over the years that this, too, will pass.

Besides, it could have been so much worse — think tattoos. Or pierced ears. Or refusing to shower. At all!

So I’ve restrained myself from making any comments one way or the other.

It’s his face, not mine.

He’s the one having to bear the itching. And the upkeep.

Hair grows at the rate of one-half inch per month, more or less, depending on factors like genetics. Men “in the know” claim it’s a rite of passage to grow a beard, that it separates the men from the boys (and girls), and that it’s fun.

Well, okay, I guess.

Having him home — even for a few days — is so worthwhile, it doesn’t much matter whether he’s scruffy-faced or not.

And This is Why Shopping is Hard Work

(Part II of my search for the Dreaded Commencement Attire):

Last week I took an entire day off just to go shopping.

For something new to wear to My Favorite Domer’s Commencement in May.

Less than two months away, mind you.

I figured it would be a good time, seeing as how Easter is right around the corner, and most of the ads that have arrived in my mailbox are pushing dressy clothes.

(And nothing too pressing was on my work-calendar!)

What I didn’t factor in was the frustration level.

You men are lucky. You only have a few basic colors to choose from — navy, black, grey suits — and you can dress them up or down via colorful shirts and ties.

That I could handle. Why, it doesn’t take me any time at all to shop for Domer’s dress clothing, and he always looks good!

But we women have to work at shopping.

We’ve got gazillions of colors. And materials. And styles.

What’s worse is that there’s no rhyme or reason in the sizing department.

So we have to haul two or three different sizes of everything we take into the dressing room. And we have to unzip and zip, unbutton and button, unbelt and belt, unsnap and snap.

Every. Single. Thing.

Men don’t spend a lot of time worrying whether some stranger or even their best friend has the same suit they do.

C’mon, a black suit is a black suit, right?

Not so for women.

Nobody wants any other woman wearing something they own.

Doesn’t matter whether that other woman wears it on a different occasion.

Or with different accessories.

Or if it’s an obviously different size.

Or even if they know they look better in it than the other woman (though that definitely helps, heehee!)

Looking back, it wasn’t always that way. I can remember second-graders being thrilled when their best friend was wearing the exact same dress — on the exact same day!

No more.

Unless we’re adept at sewing (or know someone who is), we stress over shopping for that perfect outfit that will flatter our figure AND be unique!

You’re probably wondering whether I found one.

The answer, sadly, is No.

So I’ll keep hunting.

I’m certain the stores are counting on that!

Sheltie Fun in the Snow

Dallas here.

Mama’s been shoveling ALL day, so I’m taking her blog hostage and posting my pretty pictures.

HeeHee, won’t she be mad when she sees what I’ve done?!

Yesterday we got this really big snow — somewhere in the neighborhood of a full foot of it, Mama said. Here’s what the trees in my backyard looked like:

Aren't they pretty?

Aren’t they pretty?

So Mama spent all this time shoveling and when she was ready to take a little break, she let ME come outside to survey her work. The first thing I had to check out was her tools, Mr. Shovel and Mr. Broom:

Interesting smells on this shovel, Mama!

Interesting smells on this shovel, Mama!

After I satisfied myself that she hadn’t been “cheating” with another dog, I decided to enter the tunnel. Wasn’t it sweet of her to build me a pathway? Probably had something to do with earlier in the day, when I got ALL snow-covered and she had to pick me up, carry me to the bathtub, wash me down, and dry me with the blow dryer, haha!

Does this tunnel make my butt look big??

Does this tunnel make my butt look big??

Being an adventurous sort, I decided to abandon the tunnel and strike out on my own. Mama wasn’t too happy to do all that work and have me venture into the snowy depths, to be sure. Mamas shouldn’t stifle their fur-kids’ bravery, don’t you agree?

Catching scents from far away!

Catching scents from far away!

Well, I turned again and again and this time, Mama caught me up close as I was watching for squirrels. Not too many stirring in the snow though:

This cold snow feels so good on my belly-fur!

This cold snow feels so good on my belly-fur!

Meandering past the frozen bird bath (and off the tunnel Mama made), I got a chance to play King of the Mountain. Watch me explore:

Marco. . . Polo -- got nothin' on me!

Marco. . . Polo — got nothin’ on me!

When Mama got tired of snapping pictures — and saw all the quarter-sized snowballs clinging to my underbelly — she called me back in. And here I was having so much fun. This is the look I gave her (think she got the message?!):

Mama, don't be a spoil-sport!

Mama, don’t be a spoil-sport!


Spammed Again

That does it!

When I opened my business e-mail recently, I found yet another “solicitation” from yet another stranger hoping to “connect” with me.


Now this would be creepy enough if the sender were a man because, as I said, it’s a business account.

But it’s from a woman.

Who thinks I’m a man.

On what planet is the name “Debbie” masculine??

Anyway, this poor misguided female proceeds to tell me ALL about herself. How loving and romantic she is. How optimistic and athletic. How her friends describe her as cheerful.

How badly she wants to find her soul mate, even to the point of searching online for him and hooking up with a stranger.

Who’s actually a woman.

Though she clearly says she’s looking for a man.

Now I realize this e-mail was probably generated by an automated program of some sort. And that there probably isn’t a real person — female or male — somewhere deep in the heart of Russia who’s looking for a long term relationship with little ole me.

Especially when that unnamed someone clearly wants to find a man.

Which I’m not. Never have been.

So dear young lonely woman, I hate to be the bearer of hurtful news, but I’m not in the market for a long-term romantic relationship with a stranger.

We all have to be true to ourselves, and that’s just not something I’m comfortable with.

I’m sure you will find your “sugar daddy” if you keep looking.

But next time, please be more careful.

“Debbie” isn’t the best name in the world, but at least in most cases, there’s no gender question about it.

“Debbie” is female.

Not male.

What’s the oddest thing to appear in your Spam Folder of late??

Creature from Outer Space Lands Next Door

Those who know me know I’m not an art critic like my friend Oma.

I can’t draw a straight line even with a ruler. (Why do rulers have those little bumps and notches, anyway?)

My sister, who always seemed to have a crayon or colored pencil in hand, was the artist in our family. On summer days, she’d insist we draw pictures, then critique each other.

I always won the coveted “Loser” title.

But even someone who can’t draw a straight line knows what she likes, or doesn’t like.

Take this outlandish “artwork” that recently appeared on my neighbor’s backyard deck:

What is this thing?

What is this thing?

At first, I thought I wasn’t close enough to capture it in all its glory without being seen myself. But once inside, I cropped the picture to eliminate the background and there it was.


I found myself at a loss to call it by name.

Now maybe I’m not cultured enough. Or I’m not seeing its rustic charm. Or utility.

Maybe it’s not supposed to be pretty.

But shouldn’t we know what it is?

I mean, somebody went to some trouble assembling it (unless it arrived like that from Mars). And somebody paid good money for it.

What is it?

I’ve compiled a list of possibilities. See if you agree:

  1. It’s a dog. See the metal link “collar” around its neck? And the springy tail? Probably canine. At least it doesn’t require feeding, brushing, or picking up its waste.
  2. It’s a horse. Look at those clunky hooves and the way they’re solidly on terra firma. Why, it even sports horseshoes!
  3. It’s a slinky toy. That disjointed body can only be compared to Slinky Dog from Toy Story.
  4. It’s an abstract railroad. Witness the “wheeled” head. The way it stares off into the distance, raring to travel to far-off lands.
  5. It’s an alien. No one I know has ever seen an alien, so this creature could very well be from a foreign planet. The blessing, I guess, is that there’s only one, so we probably don’t have to fear a takeover.
  6. It’s an old computer. My neighbor is a tinkerer. Perhaps this is what he does on weekends — takes apart old computers (or washing machines) and uses the scraps to create “art” as a side venture. Some people will buy anything if you give it the right moniker.
  7. It’s a flowerpot. That empty “bowl” might be designed to hold pansies or herbs. Something to brighten the deck.

As I said, I don’t really know art, but this doesn’t look very “art-y” to me. I’d go so far as to call it ugly.

But I could be wrong. What say you?

P.S. My money’s on No. 5, the alien. After all, check out that horn-like thing extending from the top of its head!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

An Old Irish Blessing:

     May love and laughter light your days,

     and warm your heart and home.

     May good and faithful friends be yours,

     wherever you may roam.

     May peace and plenty bless your world

     with joy that long endures.

     May all life’s passing seasons

     bring the best to you and yours!

We Irish claim St. Patrick as our own, but did you know he really wasn’t Irish?

Patrick was actually born Maewyn Succat in Roman Britain (and he wasn’t particularly religious). As a teenager, he was kidnapped and forced into slavery, tending sheep in Ireland for six years. After his escape, he returned to his family and was ordained a priest, taking the name Patrick; however, a voice told him to go back to Ireland, where he worked hard to serve those who were already Christians and convert those who weren’t.

And what about the legends that sprang up around him? A lot of blarney, to be sure.

  1. St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. Sorry, but Ireland is pretty much surrounded by COLD water, which would prevent even the most determined snake from getting in.
  2. Wearing of the green. Actually, blue is the color associated with St. Patrick. The green idea probably relates to Ireland’s “Emerald Isle” nickname.
  3. St. Patrick used a shamrock to illustrate the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the Holy Trinity). Maybe, but nothing in his writings suggest this. Probably the “magic three” is indicative of the Irish rhythm in storytelling. Or has something to do with Past, Present, Future; Love, Valor, Wit; Faith, Hope, Charity; you get the idea.

Although March 17, the date Patrick died, has been celebrated for centuries, credit Irish-Americans with making the holiday what it is today.

Boston has the honor of the first recorded St. Paddy’s Day celebration in 1737. New York held the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1762. Not to be outdone, Chicago began dyeing its river green in 1962 (something I’ve never seen, but really want to — I understand the dye actually is orange, but a leprechaun turns it emerald via magic!).

As a side note, last year’s Chicago parade found temperatures in the 80s. This year, we’re looking at the 30s. Go figure!

U.S. Census data indicates there are more than 34.7 million Americans with Irish ancestry — more than seven times the population of Ireland itself!


Trivial Facts About This and That

Did you know:

  • Americans carry nearly $800 billion in credit card debt. To put it another way, if you were alive during Jesus’s time and spent $1 million every day since, you wouldn’t have reached $798 billion!
  • Less than 4 percent of the world’s population sports naturally red hair (2 percent in the U.S.). And redheads don’t turn grey; rather, they become sandy, then white.
  • When My Favorite Domer was born in 1991, the average U.S. price of a gallon of gas was $1.21.
  • There are between 300 and 500 dimples on a typical golf ball (336 is a common number, though).
  • The most expensive perfume in the world is Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty Perfume — $12,721.89 per ounce! They only made 10 bottles (which were of Baccarat crystal, featuring a 5-carat white diamond and an 18-carat gold collar).
  • A 115-lb. person burns 42 calories per hour while peacefully sleeping.
  • Life expectancy in the U.S. is now 78.49 years, compared to Monaco’s 89.68 years and Chad’s 48.69 years.
  • Cardinals typically select one of their own to become Pope, but actually, any baptized Catholic male could be named.
  • March is National Umbrella Month. Churches designated as basilicas contain an honorary papal umbrella striped in red and gold, which is opened during a visit by the Pope.
  • More than 30 years later, the case surrounding the deaths of seven people in the Chicago area from cyanide-laced Tylenol tablets has never been solved.

Now, don’t you feel smarter?!

The Gift of Forgiveness

I hate admitting it, but there are several stories in the Bible that I find hard to like.

This weekend’s Gospel reading about the Prodigal Son is one.

Turns out, the reason I’m having trouble with it is that I’m hearing it too literally.

I’m the first child in my family. The one who’s tried to “be good,” “be responsible,” “be conscientious.”

The one who’s generally done as she’s been told.

So when I hear of this Prodigal Son squandering his inheritance, then begging to come back into the family, I nod my head.

Figures, I think disdainfully.

And when the father throws a party for that wayward son, what’s that about??


It’s a lesson we need to understand symbolically.

Jesus wasn’t talking about birth order; He was pointing out that we all need to be forgiven, and the Father in Heaven is willing to forgive.

Aren’t we all a little like that Prodigal Son?

God has given us countless gifts, yet we squander them shamelessly. Or we decide we’d rather have a gift that somebody else has instead of those we’ve got.

We try Him and test Him, seeing how far we can push.

We’re all like the older son, too.

Feeling like we’ve somehow “earned” God’s forgiveness. Living with anger and resentment when things don’t go our way, when we see others getting “more” or “better” than we have.

As if God giving someone else a gift takes something away from us!

Our priest said somebody did a survey of the medical profession and learned that only 10 percent of people’s illnesses are actually caused by disease. The rest, doctors say, stem from anger, fear, and resentment — emotions that medicine can’t cure.

Do you remember the movie The Karate Kid?

When Mr. Miyagi asks the bullied young Daniel why he wants to learn karate, Daniel replies, “Is revenge a good enough reason?”

Wise old Mr. Miyagi points out, “Then you’d better dig two graves, one for yourself, one for the other guy.”

Mr. Miyagi, you see, knew what Jesus was trying to tell us — that anger hurts us more than it hurts others.

That forgiveness is necessary for peace and health.

So instead of seeing myself as the “wronged” first son, I need to realize I’ve been “prodigal,” too.

And humbly accept God’s forgiveness.

Happy Birthday, Domer!!

(My son — AKA My Favorite Domer, or He-Who-Won’t-Read-My-Blog — turns 22 today. This post is dedicated to him.)

Dearest Domer:

It seems like the past couple of decades have just flown by.

Weren’t you just born? Wasn’t I just rocking you to sleep, singing lullabies and ballads, then putting you down, hearing you cry, and doing it all over again?

Wasn’t I just taxiing you to and from school, watching you play T-ball when you’d rather be filling your pockets with special rocks and picking dandelions to give me afterwards?

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I kissed a boo-boo, patched a scraped knee, cut your hair myself? Weren’t you just climbing into my lap for me to read to you? Weren’t you just learning how to ride a bicycle, begging me to “Hang on, mom!” until you got your balance?

Where did that little boy go?

Didn’t I just attend another parent-teacher conference, accompany you door-to-door on fundraisers, put together a Halloween costume at the last minute, and dream up something fun for you to do when you complained of boredom?

Weren’t you just playing a tennis match, testing for another karate belt, performing at a band concert? Weren’t you just at the dentist’s office, having your wisdom teeth extracted? Didn’t I just finish teaching you to drive, or dropping you off at college for the first time?

Twenty-two years has passed so fast (take heart, parents of young kids!). Just think of all the things we can’t do without today that weren’t around 22 years ago — Facebook and YouTube, iPads, cell phones, laptops, e-readers, debit cards, and disposable contact lenses!

And in a little over two months, you’ll be graduating from college and flying off into the world on your own.

Will my work be done then?


I didn’t know it when I signed on to be your mom that a mom’s work is never done! You don’t believe me? Why, it says so in the Mom’s Book (and you’ll just have to trust me on this, since you’ll never be privy to the Mom’s Book!)

But I’m not complaining — far from it.

I hope you’ll always know I’m there for you, kind of like a safety net.

I’ll always be your biggest fan, your champion, your cheerleader. If anybody dares to hurt you, they’ll have to go through me first.

Mama Tigress, Mama Lioness. Don’t mess with my cub!

And when things don’t go the way you hope, I’ll be right there with open arms, ready to comfort and make it all better.

Until you’re able to face the sometimes-cruel world on your own again.

That, I promise.

Everybody told me having a baby would change my life. I didn’t know how true that was.

You did, for the better!

If I had to, I’d walk through fire for you.

I love you that much.

Happy Birthday, my son!

Love, mama

Where’s Spring??

How is it possible for it to have been snowing off and on for the past week, without having snow on the ground??

Not that I’m complaining — well, maybe a tad because the sky has just been so dreary, and we’ve almost forgotten what the sun looks like.

Still, I’m told we’re “springing forward” an hour next Sunday at 2 a.m., and if the past is any indication, that extra hour of daylight probably will translate to warmer weather. Or so we hope!

But it doesn’t have to be sunny out to get decent pictures.

In fact, professional photographers say the diffused lighting of a cloudy day can soften the subject, especially if you’re photographing portraits.

So I went outside the other day and snapped a few shots.

The hard part was braving the freezing temperatures and the blowing/spitting snow.

Not to mention the curious stares of the neighbors — all safely tucked inside their warm homes and likely wondering, “What’s she doing NOW?”

You’d think they’d be used to it!

Anyway, here’s a round bush dotted with snow:

Pretty, huh?

Pretty, huh?

The snow plows which cleaned the city streets after our last big (3.5 inches) snowfall pushed the snow into deep banks along the sidewalks. Guess they figure nobody’s out for a walk anyway. Since that time, the banks have turned into sloppy balls:

A deconstructed snowman, perhaps?

And because the snow was flying fast from the North, we got a row of evergreens that look like they’ve been flocked:

Christmas-y trees in March

Christmas-y trees in March

Mother Nature does an especially nice job outlining deciduous trees in white:

These tress are probably wondering where Spring is!

These tress are probably wondering where Spring is!

Darling Doggie Dallas accompanied me on my photographic expedition. You can see by his grimace that he’s not exactly happy to see the snow go. Every time I try to shovel it off the patio (so he won’t track wet into the house), he barks and fusses at me. Kind of like he thinks I’m the one who’s taking away all his fun!

C'mon, mom, point that camera somewhere else!

C’mon, mom, point that camera somewhere else!