a weekend in the life

a weekend in the life

The evolution of the weekend in simple mathematical equations

There are lots of ways we move through the weekend, and what equates to the typical weekend changes over time. Here is my evolution, in simple mathematical equations. I’m sure there is a more complicated way to do this, but, as my children will attest, I have forgotten everything I learned in Calculus.


teens: football game + sleep in until noon + PopTart + afternoon at the lake + babysit + date with a cute boy from my bio class = weekend 👙
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twenty-something: (work second job + beer + party + sleep in + breakfast at a diner + hike a few miles + watch old movies on couch + Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for dinner) x 2 = weekend 🍺
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thirty-something: party + margaritas + toddlers wake me at 6 a.m. + animal shaped pancakes + caffeine + nap when the kids nap because I can’t party like I used to + Scooby Doo Kraft Macaroni and Cheese + cuddle puddles + reading “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” = weekend 🥞

forty-something: drive kids to movie + get up one child up early to take SAT + sports + breakfast biscuit on the run (“forget” to log the calories) + more sports + no time for hike, walk around sports field + teen sleepover + Annie’s Organic Macaroni and Cheese + “those girls were up all night talking and now I’m a zombie” + caffeine, caffiene, caffeine + “did anyone walk the dog? You kids said if we got a dog, you would help!” + dog walk = weekend 🐕
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fifty-something: nice dinner out + prosecco + Gruyere and artisan applewood bacon Macaroni & Cheese + sleep in until 7:30 a.m. + read paper + steel cut oats + elliptical machine + feet up in front of fire + read a book + snuggles with the dog = weekend 🥂

sixty-something: not there yet, but x + y/z = weekend, solve for x, y and z

What’s in your weekend?

Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica

Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica

Half Moon Resort Jamaica

My husband and I desperately needed a getaway so a few weeks ago, I went looking for somewhere warm where I could relax, swim and enjoy the sea. We settled on Montego Bay, Jamaica. We had been there before for a work function and stayed in the Secrets St. James, which was very nice. But we wanted something a little different and a little more classic. So, we chose Half Moon in the Rose Hall Plantation area. What a great choice!

RESERVATIONS AND OUR ROOM

There were so many room choices that I called Half Moon so I could talk to someone and get a sense of where we wanted to stay.

Half Moon Pool Suite

I spoke with Monique and she was so helpful. She also gave me a better rate than I could get online. Thank you, Monique!

We decided on a pool suite. It is a suite with it’s own private or shared pool. Ours was a shared pool, but we got lucky and no one was in the other room we shared it with. So we had it all to ourselves. Score!

Our pool suite was so spacious. It is one of my favorite resort rooms I have ever stayed in. Everything was up-to-date and pristine. We had a front porch with outdoor seating for six, a sitting room with a couch, chair, television, dining room table and mini bar, a spacious bedroom with King bed, and a bathroom with stall shower and soaking tub. Our bedroom looked out on the pool Every morning, we woke up to this and honestly, it was kinda dreamy:

Hall Moon Pool Suite

THE BEACH

Half Moon spreads out along two miles of beachfront and I loved every bit of it. It’s not one long sandy beach; there are some rock areas scattered throughout and some little hideaways tucked in the rocky sections. We were in the West Cottages. These cottages were the original buildings at Half moon, which began in 1954. They were spacious and gracious. And they are on the best part of the beach for swimming. If you like to swim, stay in the West Cottages or Hibiscus Suites (which are close to the resort pools and a short walk from the beach). This beach also has complimentary non-motorized water sports. They have kayaks, stand up paddle-boards and sailboats. They also have other water activities for a fee.

Farther down the beach, there is a new section being built which should open later this year. We didn’t notice the construction because we were so far away from it. Beyond that is another sandy beach and the villas (for larger groups).

Half Moon Resort Beach
the beach in front of our cottage
Half Moon
Half Moon
looking back along the West Cottages
Half moon Resort sunset
The sunsets from the Cedar Bar were amazing.

THE POOLS

Half Moon pool

Besides the pool at our suite, we spent time at the resort pools. There are two hot tubs, a lap pool and another pool with a swim-up bar. The swim up bar pool was the most beautiful resort pool I have ever seen and it was a fun and relaxing place to spend and afternoon.

THE ACTIVITIES

Half Moon mini-golf

We spent most of our days alternating between the beach, the resort pool and our suite’s pool. But every day we took walk and had some fun. There is a mini-golf course, a basketball court, tennis, a fitness center and an equestrian center. The mini-golf was more like 18 holes of putting greens and we played every day. There is also an 18 Hole golf course. We didn’t play but my husband and son will play when we return (which we will). Other guests told us that the golf course if stunningly beautiful. I may have to take up golf!

horse at Half Moon

We also happened to be at the beach when someone did one of the coolest horseback rides I have ever seen. You ride the horse bareback into the ocean and then swim with it. There a guide to help. It looked amazing, but the wind picked up and the surf got rough the next day so we didn’t try it. This prompted my husband to declare that everything at Half Moon seemed like a date from “The Bachelor”. And he meant that in a good way.

Bright blue bikes are all of the property and you can get one and ride it to the other beach or around the property.

THE FOOD

The food was amazing. We had the Premium Plan. it included breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as $120 of drinks. In my opinion, this is the way to go. We would have mango colada on the beach and save up our drink credit for dinner. Every night we had a really nice bottle of prosecco or champagne with dinner. We don’t do that very often and we loved that the plan allowed us to make every single evening special.

There are food and menus on their website and I loved every meal I had there. Breakfasts were a buffet with stations where you could get and omelet or a smoothie made for you. We ate lunch at Moonchies, the jerk chicken stand on the beach–YUM! And we ate dinner each night in different restaurant. I loved the Sugar Mill and Il Giardino.

Half Moon Beach Barbecue

On Monday night, we went to Beach Barbecue. Do this! It was so much fun! The dinner was amazing and there were so many options, I think I ate two meals. The show was wow-oh-wow! And the band was great. They were the perfect decibel level: loud enough that you could hear them but still have conversation.

THE PEOPLE

A post about Half Moon would not be complete without mentioning the truly wonderful people who work there. The service is incredible. Everything we needed, they got for us. They also take the time to talk to you and get to know you. One waiter, Romain, noticed how much I liked Sour Sop sorbet. One day it wasn’t on the menu. Without my asking, he brought me a bowl for dessert.

On the way to the Beach BBQ, I was telling my golf cart driver how much I liked the Sour Sop sorbet and juice and he told me he had a tree at his house and he would bring me one so I could see the fruit.

These are genuine and friendly people. What a gift!

WHO SHOULD GO

I think just about everyone will find something they love at Half Moon. Its wonderful for celebrations, honeymoons, getaways, families with children, retirees, foodies, loggers and athletes.nIf you are looking fora ton fo nightlife, this may not be your place. After dinner, people seemed to hang out in the bar and that was about it for nightlife.

What I loved about Half Moon was that there wasn’t all of the jockeying for space on the beach like at other resorts. You don’t have to wake up early and stake your claim on beach chair. They were readily available throughout the day. There is no specialty VIP Service and no special section on the beach for VIPs because they treat every single guest like they are a VIP.

As you can tell, I loved it. I will be back. My only regret is that I didn’t buy one of their bathrobes. They were the nicest hotel bathrobes I have ever worn. So soft, comfortable and flattering. So I have to go back and get one, right? Feel free to ask me questions and I will give you my thoughts.

note: all photos are mine and are copyright, Kara Cox.  Please ask me for permission to duplicate.

This article was written by me about my personal trip and I received no promotional consideration or gifts. It is simply my opinion and my experience, yours may differ.

Momentary Snapshot – March

Momentary Snapshot – March

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It’s technically still the first week of the month, so I am taking a momentary snapshot. Some call it “taking stock”. If you could take a snapshot of my life at this moment, here is what it would look like:

Reading: just finished “The Keeper of Lost Things” by Ruth Hogan, getting ready to start “A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Listening to: The Pet Shop Boys. Seriously. At some point this month, I heard on of their songs and instantly wanted to hear all of my favorites so I downloaded them. Thankfully, this 80s flashback didn’t make me want to get a perm!

Watching: “The Bachelor”. Yes, I admit I watch it. My daughter and I love discussing it. And any excuse to talk to her is golden. I really thought Colton was going to end up with Caelynn, but he sent her home last week. What? And then this week happened and things went haywire and he did jump the fence and WHAT?

Worrying: about my mom. I’m not sure anything adequately prepares us for aging parents.

Gearing up for: March Madness. I went to UVA. My husband went to Duke. You get the picture.

Channeling: my inner smile. It’s March. I have seasonal depression. March can be hard. So I am exercising and focusing on the sunshine to come.

Beginning: a new chapter. I was a stay at home mom for years. During that time, I served on many local boards. I’ve been named a trustee of a charitable foundation that gives away large grants in my local area. My first meeting is tomorrow. It’s a huge honor and I am thrilled to be part of it. I’m nervous, but really excited to learn more about my community.

Wishing: I was still floating in this pool @halfmoonjamaica. The sea, pool, sunshine and supremely kind hospitality there were the perfect antidote to the winter doldrums. Post coming soon on that.

Purchasing: the bathrobes at Half Moon were so comfortable.  Like, honestly, this was the most comfortable bathrobe ever.  I am kicking myself for not buying one.  But I think I found them online, so I am going to treat myself!

Accepting: all of those freckles and lines and age spots (for the time being). They are part of my story. And I’m not perfect. I’m just me.

Biltmore House and Gardens – Asheville, North Carolina

Biltmore House and Gardens – Asheville, North Carolina

note: all photos are mine and are copyright, Kara Cox.  Please also me for permission to duplicate.

The article below was written by me about my personal trip and I received no promotional consideration or gifts. It is simply my opinion and my experience, yours may differ.

My husband and I took a trip to Biltmore House and Gardens  in Asheville, NC  and I want to go back…immediately!  It was beautiful, the food was good, our hotel was wonderful.  I have no complaints! I took a lot of pictures because everywhere you turn, there is something to photograph.

A quick introduction: Biltmore is the Vanderbilt Family estate, opened in 1895 after six years of construction.  The unbelievably magnificent house was a family home for George Vanderbilt and his wife, Edith and their daughter, Cornelia.  It is still owned and operated by their descendants and has been open to the public since 1930. The house still has original furnishings and incredible artwork (the family portrait artist was John Singer Sergeant).  George Vanderbilt spared no expense outfitting the home with things unheard up to that time: electricity throughout, a lighted indoor pool, elevators, and hot and cold running water on all four floors.

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The Biltmore, reflected in The Lagoon. Late afternoon.

 

Checking In

Our visit began with checking into our hotel,  The Village Hotel at Antler Hill Village.  This hotel is one of two hotels on the Biltmore property.  It is the less pricey option and therefore, you do a little more for yourself.  We are no-frills travelers so this worked well for us. They provide carts for you to roll you luggage to your room and you have to do things like get your own ice. Our room was a lovely Village Studio King, and the pictures and description on the website are accurate.  We had a view of the mountains, a very comfortable king bed, and a refrigerator to keep drinks cold.  If you want a full service hotel, they have one of those too– The Biltmore Inn is just up the hill (the rooms at the Inn don’t have refrigerator, so if that is important to you, stay at the Village Hotel.  We ate all of our meals there (yummy!).

Our package came with unlimited visits and free shuttle rides to Biltmore House.  I went up to the house at least twice a day.  I visited the interior of Biltmore House, and took my power walks through the gardens.  I love a walk with a view:

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The bridge at the Bass Pond was featured in “Last of the Mohicans”.

 

Biltmore House

We went inside the house twice. We took a Guided House Tour, which included the main floor and the upper flors of the house. It was so good we wanted to know more. So, the next morning, we returned to tour the basement.  Our package also had Audio Guides included so we picked up handsets and did the self guided tour.  I highly recommend both of these tours.  Do not miss the basement!  It is incredible. There are the kitchens and staff rooms, but also the pool and a bowling alley.

 

Scenes from the Guided House Tour

Clockwise from top left: The Library Ceiling (thats a canvas not a fresco), Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom, the Tapestry Gallery, The Banquet Hall, and The Winter Garden (with Chihuly)

 

 

Scenes from the Downstairs Audio Guide Tour to the Biltmore House

Clockwise from top left: The Kitchen, The Kitchen, The Stone Hallway, The Bowling Alley and the Swimming Pool

 

My favorite spot was The Loggia.  I imagine that I had been a guest at Biltmore House, I would have spent all day out here, reading and looking at the mountains.

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The Loggia

 

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mountain view from The Loggia

 

 

Gardens

Biltmore’s gardens and grounds  were so extensive that I took a guided tour of the gardens. There are so many trees and flowers that our guide warned us ahead of time that she would not be able to identify every plant. It wasn’t until I got into the gardens that I fully understood what she meant.  The landscape was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed Central Park.  Much like Central Park, Biltmore’s landscape is huge. I enjoyed learning about the history of the gardens and seeing them in full bloom.  The guide said we need to come back when the Azalea Garden is in bloom (Spring).  I will.

We also had the great fortune to be there when they had the glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly were on display in the gardens.  The exhibit is open through October 7, 2018 and well worth the visit.  I particularly enjoyed the ones in the ponds in the “Italian Garden” as the vibrant colors reflecting in the water were quite stunning.

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“Float Boat” by Dale Chihuly, 2017 with Biltmore House in background

 

 

If you go, don’t miss the two Chihuly works on display in Antler Hill Village.  One is especially spectacular at night:

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“Alabaster and Amber Spire Towers”, by Dale Chihuly, 2017 photographed at night

 

 

A Few small tips for enjoying your stay:

  1. Stay on site if you can.  It is well worth it to have access to the house and be able to go back to your room when you get tired.
  2. Talk to your shuttle drivers.  They are wealth of information.  Had it not been for one of my shuttle drivers, I would have missed photographing the house reflecting in the The Lagoon.
  3. Visit “The Biltmore Legacy”, the Vanderbilt Family exhibit in Antler Hill Village.  It only takes 15-30 minutes and it’s free. It goes a little more in depth into the family and their life.  They have family tree so you can keep track of who is who.  They also have some amazing antique silver and other items from their collection on display.
  4. Love wildflowers and sunflowers?  Walk (or drive or rent a bike an ride) the road from The Village Hotel to The Lagoon. In September, the entire roadside was abloom with sunflowers and wildflowers. Gorgeous!
  5. Take your best camera.  There is so much to photograph.

 

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The sunflower field runs for an entire mile along the road to the Village Hotel.

 

Biltmore would be great for girls weekends, couple getaways, romance, marriage proposals, adult gatherings, weddings and groups. We were there for two and half days, but I easily could have been there a couple days longer.  There are so many activities to do on-site: hikes, bike rentals, Segway tours, fly fishing, wine tastings, check it out!

There is a lot of walking. It is a challenge to get around the grounds of the house and gardens if you are in a stroller or wheelchair or have mobility impairment.  It can be done, and asking someone is advised because ramps are sometimes not readily visible. Inside the house, the original elevator is still working and is available for those who need it.

Feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer.  Enjoy!
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My selfie. Myself.

My selfie. Myself.

It’s #nationalselfieday, which seems like the perfect time to introduce myself.

My name is Kara.

I am 51, which used to sound old to me but now that I’m here, it doesn’t really feel old.

I have a wonderful husband and two grown children. 

I have the sweetest dog ever. She is a miniature goldendoodle and she loves everyone but is scared of thunder, hot air balloons, skateboards and loud noises.

I love to garden, hike, read, talk, love and laugh.

My favorite flowers are lilies and hydrangeas.

I love to take photographs and I have a really cool collection of my old cameras, starting with my first Kodak Instamatic.

I love prosecco or a good mixed drink.  I’m not a big wine person. On a hot, day, I like a cold beer.

I make a great margarita.

I like art and I wish I could paint.

I love beauty counters because they are filled with so much possibility. I guess I’m a skincare junkie.

I love good shoes and pretty handbags. I choose them thoughtfully.

I love to sit on the couch and watch pretty much any sappy, sweet, predictable rom-com (current favorite is “Set It Up” on Netflix).

I want to own the house from “Something’s Gotta Give” or the one from “Home Alone” or the one from “North by Northwest” (but that house is fake).

But I love my house.  It’s a 1930s white stone cottage on a wide, quiet street. There are tons of hydrangeas in the yard and a teeny tiny lily cutting garden.

I like helping people and I like learning about people. 

I worry too much.

Other people say that I volunteer too much and sometimes I get overwhelmed, but overall I enjoy it.

I search for heart shaped things everywhere. You can see my finds on Instagram @theheartshapedlife

My favorite place to be is sitting beside a lake in Maine in summer. Or sitting in a movie theater with a bag of popcorn and a Coca-Cola.

When I drive around town, I sing along with the radio.

I believe you should type two spaces after a period, not one.

Sometimes I think about writing a novel. But most of the time, I just write whatever comes into my mind.

I try to be kind, all of the time.  But I’m not perfect; sometimes I slip up.

I am new here.  I have jumped in and started a blog.  I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m hopeful. xoF5E555AC-344E-45CE-9133-C5A0353B1C9D

Can one ever have too many hydrangeas? Answer: no. Here’s how to get more.

Can one ever have too many hydrangeas? Answer: no. Here’s how to get more.

I love hydrangea season.  And it’s here! The first of my hydrangeas bloomed this week.  We’ve had a ton of rain here in the mid-Atlantic so I am hoping that this year they will flourish.  I have three kinds in my garden: a miniature variety called Bobo, a hot pink one called City Lights, and the classic Nikko Blue.  I planted the Nikko Blue about twenty years ago and they have been quite easy to grow in my soil, which is heavy on red clay.

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One important note: deer will eat your hydrangea.  I moved the Nikko Blue into my front yard and they were all eaten so I moved them back home to the back yard two years ago and they are thriving again.

Hydrangea make beautiful cut flowers and they dry nicely (I will touch on that in future posts).  They are also fairly easy to propagate.  Sometimes they will do it on their own and one day you’ll notice a new plant next to a host plant, as shown below.

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Always check your low lying branches when you cut back in the fall, one may have set down roots.  At that point, you can cut the branch from the host and leave it all winter and then move it to a new home in the spring.

But you can also make them propagate. Some people do it with cuttings in water, but I have never had much luck doing that and I find it tedious.

I prefer what some call the “brick method”.  This method forces the branch to put down roots.  To do it, take a lower branch and set something on it about halfway between the plant and the end of the branch. It can be a brick, or in this case, I have used a cement bunny.

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That’s all you need to do for now. Leave it there all summer and make sure it gets water,  In fall, if it has set down roots, you can cut the branch to free it from the host.  You can also feed it some fertilizer. Some people replant at this point, but I prefer to let the baby plant stay snuggled next to its mama all winter and replant in the spring.  I often put the new plants in pots for the following summer. Wherever I move them, I make sure to take a good amount of the host soil. It may take a year or two for the new plant to flower.

I potted these Bobo hydrangea last summer and look at them now!

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If you have any questions, comment below and I will do my best to answer quickly.

Happy gardening!F5E555AC-344E-45CE-9133-C5A0353B1C9D

Thank you, Kate Spade. I wish I could have returned the favor.

Thank you, Kate Spade. I wish I could have returned the favor.

Years ago, I had postpartum depression. It was bad. I loved my baby so much but I felt so incredibly inadequate as a mother. I had no idea what I was doing. I could not get organized, which is a big thing for me. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know who I was anymore. And I couldn’t stop crying.

I was the first of my friends and first of my siblings to have a baby so I had no one to talk to except my husband, who later told me that he thought he had lost me forever to a giant cloud of darkness. I would start crying in the middle of the day and he would have to leave work and come home and help me. He probably felt helpless too. We never told anyone (this was over twenty years ago, it was a different time). We did tell my doctor and she got me the help I needed and gradually the giant cloud of darkness got smaller.

It is easy to say, “how could you be so sad when you had every reason to have been so happy?” And believe me, I asked myself that question many times. But that’s not how depression works. It doesn’t discriminate. You don’t get to choose whether you have it. It isn’t something one can just “shake off” (advice someone gave me).

One day in the midst of that fog, I went to a local shoe boutique. The doctor had suggested I should do something nice for myself. I had been carrying around this quilted cotton Toys R Us diaper bag with a bazillion sections that I hated because to me, it symbolized the loss of me. If you know me, you know how much a love a good handbag and nice shoes. Always have, always will.  This boutique had beautiful shoes, and always featured up and coming designers (and still does).

And there on the shelf was the Kate Spade diaper bag. It was really expensive. I had never heard of Kate Spade, no one in my town had. This diaper bag was hip and modern and it didn’t have pastel baby animals all over it. It was black. And when I slung it over my shoulder, no one would have guessed it container diapers and wipes and Cheerios and teething rings.

They only had one so I bought it. That purchase felt like the start of me reclaiming me. I loved that bag, which joined me on my long journey out of that dark cloud. By the time I no longer needed a diaper bag, I was better and the bag was in tatters.

I’m not sure how many of her bags I have owned since then.  I have a clutch that looks like a ticket that I take to film festivals, one that looks like an 80s mixtape, one that looks like a watering can, and one that looks like a champagne bottle and comes out for every celebration.

Last week,  I dug my iPhone of of my current straw “Sam” handbag and saw that Kate Spade had died. And I cried about a woman I never met, who I would have liked to thank for the small but important role she played in me finding me again, but who somehow lost herself and then lost her life. I wish I could have helped her like she helped me.  May she Rest In Peace.

If a giant cloud of darkness has descended on you or if you’re lost, scared or overwhelmed, ask for help…1-800-273-8255

an open letter to college girls with love, from a mom

an open letter to college girls with love, from a mom

Note: this originally appeared on my Facebook page, and at the urging of friends, I am putting it on my blog too.

College girls: you gotta step up. You have to take care of yourselves. You have to take care of one another. Your mothers would love to be there and come to college with you and keep you safe, but we know that we need to let you go out into the World on your own. Since we can’t be there, you are going to have to be each other’s mother some of the time. Please be each other’s mothers. And please…

1. Don’t walk alone at night, even if it is just a walk home from the library. Just because you feel safe doesn’t mean you are safe.

2. Don’t go to or leave a party alone. Use a buddy system. Better yet, have a designated sober friend who watches out for your group. And if a friend doesn’t want to leave, it’s going to be tough but you are going to have to make her come with you.

3. Take texts or calls seriously. If your friend says she is lost or hurt or scared or in trouble, when you read that text, go find her. Pick up the phone and call her. Don’t wait. Do it the second you read it.

4. Get your own drink at a party. And if you put it down, forget about that one and go get another one. Always get your own drink!

5. Look out for one another. Make sure you all get home safely. And once you are home, lock your doors.

6. Don’t let your cell phone give you a false sense of security. Your cell phone does not make you safe.   You may drop it, it may not work, etc.  However, there are some apps out there such as “Live Safe”  that can alert you to what is going on on your campus, help you find safe walk home, and give you a direct line to first responders.

7. And don’t be afraid to call your parents when you are scared or need help. We love you. Whatever it is, we will do everything we can to help you. But if for some reason, you feel you can’t call home, your school has a lot of resources to help you. Find them and use them.

And I’m adding this guy advice, by a guy for the guys, so it doesn’t get lost in the comments:
“Guys, you should step up too. Be aware of the dangers the ladies face. Help them when they ask, without hassles or expectations. Be wary of suspicious dudes on your turf. Investigate every scream you hear in the night. And above all, don’t be the guy that the ladies cannot trust when they need help.”

Bring Hannah home. Love, peace and prayers to the Grahams, Loves, and Harringtons.

thank you, lucky chair

thank you, lucky chair

lucky chairToday is my son’s last exam. He’s finished high school.

He worked so hard and achieved the one goal he set for himself, never losing his focus. I once told him that I was worried that he had set the bar too high. He replied, “don’t worry Mom. If it doesn’t happen, that’s okay. It was a good goal to have because it made me a better student. And win or lose, that alone made it a goal worth having.”

My son was born an old soul.

He ate breakfast in his “lucky chair” today. All through high school he claimed that chair gave him the luck he needed to get good grades or do well in sporting events or get through whatever lay ahead on any given day.  He wrote his college essay about that chair. The topic was: describe a place where you feel content.  

I hope they have lots of lucky chairs at college. 

Wash. Rinse. Spin. College. Or not. Why I have no plans to teach my son how to do Laundry

Wash. Rinse. Spin. College. Or not. Why I have no plans to teach my son how to do Laundry

I am friends on Facebook with two sisters, Anne and Beth (names have been changed to protect their identity).  Anne posted a link on the wall of Beth entitled something like “13 Things a Mother Should Teach her Son Before he Goes to College”.  Anne wrote “be sure to focus on number 3.”  I’m about to send a son to college.  Of course, I had to look at the list.  Most of it was about good manners, throwing footballs, being kind, teaching him to respect women, reading to him, all good stuff. Things I felt like my husband and I have done.  All except for number three.  Number three was “Teach Him How to do Laundry”.

I have also been to a couple of social gatherings recently and when I mention my son will be going to college, someone invariably asks, “have you taught him how to do laundry yet?”

When my son’s birthday was approaching,  he told us that he really couldn’t think of anything he wanted, so getting him things he could use at college would be great.  I mentioned this to my friend and she lit up, “I have the best idea.  Get him a laundry basket and a roll of quarters.  He will definitely use that!”  All I could think was, “do college laundry machines still take quarters? It seems like technology would have come farther than that.”  And I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but what boy wants a laundry basket and a roll of quarters?

Everyone is very concerned about whether or not my son can do laundry.  Except me.

I’ve got news for y’all. I have absolutely no plans whatsoever to teach my son how to do laundry.

I hear you going into the spin cycle: “how could she?”, “who does that?”, “oh, the humanity!”

Hold the detergent, Soak on this:

1.  He wants to be an engineer.  He can figure it out. Isn’t that what being an engineer is all about?  Discovery?  It’s not rocket science. It’s okay to have to figure some things out on your own.

2.  If he can’t figure it out, he can just ask someone.   Asking someone may be the way he makes a new friend or even the way he meets to girl of his dreams.  He can also text or call me, I am pretty sure I can explain it over the phone.  Again, it’s not rocket science.  And aren’t I doing the universe a favor by teaching a man to ask for directions? (Guys, to be fair, that is a totally sexist stereotype)

3.  If he screws it up and his white shirts turn pink because there was a red sock in the wash, he’ll live.  And he’ll be mad. And then he’ll laugh.  And he’ll never do it again. Lesson learned.

4.  The Facebook post list claims that if I teach him to do laundry,  “his wife will thank me.” Wife?  Wait, he is going to get MARRIED? Isn’t that getting ahead of the whole “going to college” thing?

5. I’ll confess, I’m throwing in the towel (yuk!yuk!) partly because, let’s be honest here…does this look like the room of a boy who will do a lot of laundry?

image

I have a limited amount of time to teach him all the stuff I am supposed to teach him.  And it seems to me that there are some things that never make these lists that are actually way more important than whether someone knows how laundry.

I’m going to teach him some of the things that were not on that Facebook list.  That list was great, but it left out a couple of things:

Managing money.  I used to work in a bank near a college campus and we saw so many students who could not manage their own money.  You think it is a joke, but we would get students who would say things like, “but I still have checks, how can there be NO money in my account?” or  “I lost my credit card three months ago, what do you mean someone has been using it?”  Schools, for the most part, do not teach personal financial management.  So, this Spring we are focusing on banking.  I’m getting him a checkbook and a credit card and we are going to start learning what they do, when to use them and how they work.  How to write a check and balance a checkbook.  How to use the ATM.  Why a credit card is different than a debit card.  Why you don’t want to run up more debt than you can handle.

Alcohol awareness.  Alcohol is part of living on a college campus. We are having discussions on things like binge drinking, drugs, and personal safety.  I plan to discuss different types of alcohol and why 12 ounces of beer is not the same as 12 ounces of vodka.  And why he needs to get his own drink at a party and keep track of it.  And why you don’t take someone else’s prescription drugs.  And what to do if someone becomes so inebriated that they pass out.  And when to call the rescue squad.

Safety.  I want him to walk a girl home from a party or the library or a party instead of letting her walk home alone.  I don’t want him to walk by himself late at night.  I want him to not let his friends drive drunk and not drive drunk himself and not let his friends get into cars with people who have been drinking. I want him to call a cab–that’s a good use of money!

Health, both mental and physical.  We have been over his health insurance card and now I let him check in when we go to the doctor’s office so he gets a sense of how that works.  And we talk about when you should go to the doctor and when it is okay to call.  Our school system did a great job of discussing mental health, but we have also discussed mental illness at home.  And we have discussed our family medical history too.  Of course, he can call and get that information, but it is still good to discuss health openly.

Exercise.  If it’s a stressful time and you have a choice between doing laundry and getting outside and playing ultimate frisbee or basketball or football or whatever, go outside.  It’s a no brainer.  Exercise enhances our mental abilities, it reduces stress, it encourages social interaction.  Laundry can wait.

If he asks, I will teach him how to do laundry, but if not, laundry is something he can figure out on his own and he will be just fine.  And,  for his birthday, I got him some LL Bean boots because if it’s rainy and cold, you still have to walk to class. And:

dry socks = less laundry.

And he loved the boots.

Just to be on the safe side though, I might buy him 50 pairs of underwear and 50 pairs of socks.  That should hold him until he comes home for Thanksgiving.  And Thanksgiving will probably be the exact moment I curse myself for, you guessed it… not teaching him to do laundry.