Oh what do you do in the summertime…


When your transmission explodes on the hill?


Do you watch other cars go

as you wait for a tow

with your children standing helplessly by?

Is that what you do?

So do I.


Oh what do you do when you promised your kids

a day at the big waterslides?

We are packed in the car

but can’t get very far

when our transportation suddenly dies.

Can you find a nice way to tell them the trip is off?

Neither could I.


Oh what do you when you have to

call your friend in the ward to come pick you up?

You’re an hour away

And it’s 9:38.

And he says “No problem…I’m on my way.”

Do you kiss him when he shows up?

I would have if it was okay.

(And thanks again, Aaron.)


Oh what do you do in the summertime

When you’re due at family reunion the next day?

You’re almost thirty-eight

and really do hate

to pull up in your mom’s loaner car?

Do you take your relatives’ merciless teasing?

I have so far.


Oh what do you do in the summertime

when a new car payment lurks down the road?

You listened to Ramsey

and were doing just dandy

until your paid-for car suddenly quit.

Do you get so frustrated…

that you could actually spit?

Oh what do you do in the summertime

when you suddenly need some new wheels?

Do you do a little dance

because this is your chance

to finally kiss the minivan goodbye?

Are you tempted by an SUV?

So am I.

Oh what do you do in the summertime

when you realize you still need the room

because all that you do

is drive your kids fro and to

and dang it, that big van is nice.

Are you practical instead of stylish?

It’s every mother’s worst vice.

Oh what do you do in the summertime

when another Mom-Mobile calls?

If you get leather seats

and a place to put treats

and on the rearview mirrow you hang a furry die…

Can you pretend that it’s a cool car?

So can I.

Oh what do you do in the summertime

When you realize how dumb is your post?

Do you quickly delete it

So your three faithfuls won’t read it

And find you embarrassingly unaware?

Or do you say: “It’s been a crappy week…

and I really don’t care.”




Happy Fathers Day to a Good and Important Man.


I just picked up a book by Harold Kushner called Living a Life that Matters. I’m only on page six but I’ll pretend to know what I’m talking about.  Up to page six, he discusses the basic human need to to believe we are important, and how that often clashes with another basic human need:  to believe that we are good.  I found this interesting and am anxious to see what happens beyond page six.  I cannot progress past page six, however, because my important+good husband has stolen the book from me and is reading it as I type.

This is a “quirk” (mass euphemism) of his:  I bring home books that I am excited about, tell him the premise, then spend the next week frantically looking for said book.  Unfailingly, said book is artfully placed in his car/under his side of the bed/between the couch cushions; anywhere I won’t see it for at least a few days.  I wail madly around the house–it was just here!–as Derrick mumbles something quietly and backpeddles to another room.  When, days later, I finally discover the precious book I swoop it up triumphantly, only to find my husband’s drivers license or a dollar bill stuck between two pages near the book’s end.  This tells me that a) he has, once again, stolen my book, and b) he has been reading it behind my back.  This reminds me that a) he shares some of my intellectual interests, and b) he is dishonest.

I’ll take b if it means I get a.  Some might call it settling.  I call it choosing my battles.  (Mass euphemism.)

So while my husband sits on the couch downstairs, reading about living a better life from the book he ripped off, I sit at my keyboard musing over why he’s an important and good father:

  • He tries his hardest at everything he does.  Important
  • He shows his kids how to try their hardest, too.  Good.
  • He shows integrity in everything he does outside our home.  Important.
  • He expects integrity from everyone inside our home.  Good.
  • He teaches his kids, by example, how to work hard.  Important.
  • He plays with his kids, hard, when he’s done working.  Good.
  • He is optimistic by nature.  Important.
  • He is loving by nature.  Good.
  • He doesn’t think much of himself, so he cares little about what others think of him.  Important.
  • Instead, he cares about how others feel about themselves.  Good.

You see how it works?  My husband is important and good.  Important to me, important to our children, good to us all.  I feel important and good for having married him.  And smart.  And lucky.

Important Man.

This is a picture he had taken for some brochure at work, and yes, he felt like a jack-a through the whole thing.  He’ll be so mad at me for posting this.  I can’t wait.

Good Man.

Scraping dead birds out of our kitchen vent wherein they were trapped last month.  He was very, very good to do this for me.

Happy Father’s Day, Derrick.  We love you for all the important goodness you bring to our world.

And I love you, personally, for being my world.


Junebug. (that’s me.)

School’s out.


I still get insanely excited about summer.  Do you?  It’s the already-warm mornings, the smell of chlorine, the relaxed potential of each day smiling wide before me.  Age has done nothing to dim my appreciation of June, July and August.  We had a cold, windy spring and just this last week, summer showed up.  Warmish-hot, lemon sun, green grass perfection.  Best idea Mother Nature ever had:  summer.

Do you remember summer mornings when you were a kid?  Cold milk poured over a bowl of heavily sugared Wheat Chex, eaten at a cluttered kitchen table beneath a shaft of quiet sun, will always spell summer mornings for me.  Barefoot in my “nightgown” (Dad’s T-shirt), I read Dear Abby and chomped my cereal while soaking up the morning light, listening to a distant lawnmower rumble and a nearby sprinkler hiss.  The smallish houses in our busy neighborhood stood closely together and boasted lots of kids, making for–what I still believe to be–the optimal childhood summer experience.

What does the optimal childhood summer experience look like nowadays?  Volleyball camp, swim team, Disneyland?

Those are all okay.

But they can’t compare to:

the early morning paper route I shared with my older sister (fun in a weird way–are you reading this, Julie?), fighting ferociously with my younger sister in battles that lasted for days (fun in a weird way–are you reading this, Jaimy?) sleeping on the trampoline, racing bikes with my neighborhood “gang,” walking the formidable half-mile to Ron’s on a quest for an immoral amount of candy with said paper route salary (are you reading this, Giana?); marathon monopoly games in which my older and sneakier brother shamelessly cheated his way to victory (are you reading this, Doug?), and, of course, my annual summer birthday party.  An aside about the birthday party:   This was a serious bash.  I invited every girl my age from here to eternity for water balloon fights, treasure hunts, limbo/lip sync/dance contests, cake, ice cream, popsicles and Nacho Cheese Doritos (rare, precious treat!), all followed up by multiple viewings of Annie, courtesy of the huge “video disc player” my parents so generously rented for the event (are you reading this, Sarah?  Teri?  Teri Jo?)

I have a rare photo taken at one of these parties. I believe it is my tenth birthday.  I am standing in front of our kitchen table, which is piled high with gifts and loose, crinkled wrapping, ribbons and cards and small paper plates full of mashed, half-eaten cake (once the frosting was gone, really, what was the point?)  I am wearing a red plastic visor with white-trimming that is bedecked with small bulbs that lit up in multiple colors on the headband, thanks to a D battery “hidden” by velcro in the back.  Think Lite Brite across the forehead.  Not kidding.  (Who got me that gift, anyway?   One fine friend, that’s all I know.)  In the picture I am sunburned and chubby-cheeked and stringy-haired, due to a grown-out Ogilvie Home Perm and too much time water ballooning.  I wear a flowered nightgown, a huge smile, and a mantle of serious BFFs.

I wasted a lot of time in those summer months of my youth: swimming (unsupervised) at the public pool, riding my bike (unsupervised) all over town, producing “plays” with my sisters (Mom and Dad were a patient audience.)  Marathon latch-hooking sessions on the front porch (don’t pretend you didn’t do it too.)  Morning lineup of Price is Right, Press Your Luck, Young and the Restless, and Days of Our Lives, primetime lineup of Silver Spoons, Dukes of Hazard, Love Boat, and Fantasy Island (definitely unsupervised), Nick at Nite lineup of I Married Joan, My Three Sons, Bachelor Father, and I Love Lucy (highly unsupervised; my parents thought we were asleep from 10pm-2 am every night for three months.  it was awesome.)  “Cooking shows” wherein my sisters and I would make Hamburger Helper and Jiffy muffins for a pretend audience, talking to the “camera” with heavy accents while whipping up “Noodles a la Beef” and “Blueberry a la Tarts.”   Surprising my parents with a “restaurant” when they walked in the door from work, wherein we’d serve the aforementioned Fancy Food with scrolly menus on a candlelit table we’d pushed into the living room.  As they ate, I’d play Lavender’s Blue on the old upright piano while my sister lay on her side atop the instrument in my mom’s silky bathrobe and high heels, singing with all the bravado her preteen shyness would allow.

Yep, a lot of time wasted during those childhood summers.  Today’s tiger mothers would be appalled.  Think of all the talents I could have been developing during those mindless hours.  Ah, misspent youth.

Now it is my children’s turn to experience their own tender summers.  Once again, they’ve been given a dollop of extra time to learn, grow, create.  How will I help them make the most of it?

I think we’ll start with Ron’s.  I want to bring my children up right.