Friday, April 08, 2016

A Golf Story

I made some fabulous pimento and cheese yesterday. Because the Master's.  I'll have to post the recipe on the food page (since I only have two recipes on there).  Sad.  Anyway, to commemorate this big golf weekend, I thought I'd tell you a little (possibly true) story I once heard.  Everybody quiet, now.  Listen up.

Once upon a time there was a young mom who had just brought baby number three (third baby in four years) home from the hospital in late April.  The Master's was the next week!  Husband had tickets to the practice rounds and was really excited.  The sweet young mom didn't want to tell him he couldn't go, so she smiled sweetly and said "sure, honey!  Go ahead and go and have a great time! You deserve it!"  And so, he went!

Husband returned from the Master's raving about the pimento and cheese sandwiches and brought back some cool green plastic cups, a shirt, and something that looked like a boat oar (odd!) as souvenirs. The lovely, sweet, and gracious mom had survived the weekend with the three littles and husband clearly had had a great time watching golf on a beautiful spring weekend in Augusta. So everybody won. And so life went on.

Many years later, this (not so young anymore) mom had a garage sale.  As she was digging through boxes in the closet, she came across husband's odds and ends he had said to put in the sale.  As she started out of the closet, she noticed an odd looking paddle in the corner.  How bizarre, she thought! We don't have a boat!  And they say if you haven't used anything in more than a year, you should get rid of it.  So she threw it in the box and hauled it out to the garage.  A few minutes later as some middle aged man sauntered through the sale, he picked up that paddle and asked anxiously, "how much?"

Uhhhhh..... "A dollar sound okay?" she shrugged her shoulders and asked.  He quickly drew four quarters out of his pocket, tossed them on the table, and took off with this odd treasure.  So weird!!! (she thought, laughing).  Who would want a silly looking tiny kayak paddle with scribbling all over it?

Husband came out to check on the garage sale and wife, still laughing, told him about the strange transaction.  Husband stared blankly.  "My quiet paddle", he said (quietly).  "Huh?" she asked. "My QUIET PADDLE! From the Master's!" he responded (not so quietly).  "I walked all over that place to get Phil Mickelson's autograph!  And you sold it.  For a dollar."  (insert sad face).

Wife felt really bad about it.  For about 30 seconds.  Then life went on.

The End.

*Some of the details may have been altered to protect the guilty.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

I Call Hating Running

I have finally started running / walking again for exercise again after my foot surgery last fall.  Let me just say that I realized I still hate running.  I really do. As in....I need a t-shirt that says I Hate Running and even though I've run several half marathons, I don't have one of those 13.1 stickers on my car because I couldn't find one that said "...and I hated every mile."  But I love having run. In fact, the only reason I do it and the only thing that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other is knowing how great I will feel after....because at the moment the torture I feel would likely violate the Geneva Convention.  But I do as much as I can to make it bearable, like chew my favorite gum and listen to podcasts.  My absolute favorite way to start my morning run is to listen to Tim Keller who, I believe, is one of the best speakers/writers/theologians of our time.  He's our generation's C.S. Lewis.  He just has a way of making the gospel simple and relative to my life, right where I am.

This one really got me.  One of the things I battle constantly in my home is the "I call" announcement.  I cringe when I hear those words come out of my kids' mouths.  "I call the chocolate donut!"  "I call the front seat!"  "I call the last piece of cake!"  "I call that chair!"  It's like this major proclamation that no one is as important as I am and what I want is all that matters....never mind what anyone else wants - it's all about me.  

But it's not just kids.  We adults do the same thing, don't we?  We may not say it out loud because, well, that would make us look just foolish. But inside we're feeling it and thinking it.  "I call the corner office!"  "I call the seat next to the cool people!"  "I call that teacher for my kid!"  "I call that PTA committee!"  

You know we do.  And we hurt each other with it.  It hurts my heart to see one of my kids put him or herself above the others, because what it means is, someone gets left out.  Someone I love gets the shaft.  The short end of the stick.  Or no end of the stick.  And that makes me sad.  I imagine God feels the same way when he sees the way we treat each other.  

Here's an excerpt from the Tim Keller sermon I listened to this morning:  

I hate cancer.  Cancer has taken away a number of friends and family members of mine.  But there is a relational cancer - a spiritual cancer - and that is the deep default mode of the human heart, instinctive, to say "me first".  So, for example, if you go into a marriage - and marriage is in some ways the most intense kind of human community - in a marriage, if both people are saying to the other you first - you first - I'm putting your needs ahead of mine...If both people are saying you first, you're going to have a great love relationship.  But if either one or both - hear that - say "me first" - it's like a cancer eating at the marriage.  It might not survive.  Now, the me first impulse is absolutely natural.  If any of you have ever raised children, you know you don't have to teach children to say me first.  Me first!!!!  It's like they're born saying it, practically.  Or at least they're born feeling it until they have words to say it.  And what we have all learned from our parents hide it.  To not say it.  And I guess our parents are saying we shouldn't even feel that way but of course the fact is all we have learned to do as we get older is to hide it.  Little children just let it all hang out.  We can't get rid of it unless something radical happens to us.  And this is the reason the gospel starts with repentance and faith.  

Repentance is admitting that your whole life is permeated with self-centeredness.   Repentance isn't just "oh I've done some bad things".  Everyone says that.  That doesn't change your life. That doesn't connect you to God.  Saving repentance connects you to God.  ....  Repentance is saying that self-centeredness, self-absorption, self-righteousness, "me first", has - it permeates - everything.  Not only my bad deeds but my good deeds.  You have begun to become a Christian when you realize even my good deeds I've been doing to try to control God, control people,and even my good deeds are done in self-righteousness and self-regard.  So repentance is - Christianity starts - with saying I realize that my big problem is me first. 

(I think this is the link where the sermon can be found but it doesn't look like it's made it onto the site yet....or you can go to iTunes and download the Redeemer Presbyterian Church podcasts and it's the 4/3/16 sermon to hear the rest of it because there's so much more good stuff there.)

Let's try to re-program this default, y'all. This "deep default of the human heart to say me first."  I think we can.  I really do.   I want my kids to think you first instead of me first.  I want them to stop "calling" everything and instead ask, what would you like?  Instead of them thinking "it's all about me" I want them to think "it's all about you".  

And it needs to start with me.  

And I still hate running. But I love the revelations I have along the way. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Holding Patterns

A few years ago I was on a flight that started out pretty uneventful.  The plane left on time, I had an aisle / emergency row seat, and the guy next to me didn't smell bad, take his shoes off, or want to talk which always makes for a pleasant flight.  Things were rocking along just fine until out of nowhere we hit some pretty awful turbulence and the pilot announced that we would be making an unplanned stop until the storm passed.  So we did.  And we just sat on the tarmac at a strange airport that wasn't even on our itinerary, unable to get off the plane, yet unable to go anywhere....and no one could tell us how long we'd be there.

We tried to make the best of things.  The flight attendants even started passing out food and drinks to make us a little more comfortable.  It helped, a little.  But no matter how hard I tried to be calm, I was incredibly anxious.  I knew that there was no way I would make my connecting flight, and I'd unlikely be making it home that night.  I had children to gather from grandparents and a job to show up for the next morning. I had appointments, commitments, responsibilities. This detour was not working into my plans whatsoever and the worst part was....I was completely not in control of anything.  So as I sat there, I remember thinking that the only way I was going keep from having a full blown, anxiety laden meltdown was to focus on just the next thing.  The big picture was way too overwhelming because I had no idea how....or when....this detour was going to end and I would be back on track.  So I did the only thing I could do at the moment...

I stayed seated.  I breathed.  I read.  And I enjoyed a free candy bar.

When we finally made it back into the air and arrived at our airport, we were forced to circle in a holding pattern for what seemed like days, because there wasn't a spot for us to land yet.  We had to wait until it was safe.  When the traffic finally cleared, we landed.  A little unnerved, but safe. Nothing else really mattered at that point.

Life has a way of throwing us off our charted course, doesn't it? Sometimes an ugly, unpredictable storm comes up and you find yourself at a dead stop, and then sometimes you find yourself in a holding pattern.  And sometimes the only way to survive is to focus on just the next thing.

A few months ago my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Hello, turbulence!  After her lumpectomy, they told us that they got it all, it had not spread, and they thought she would only need a few weeks of radiation....such a huge relief.  Over and over we all said how grateful we were that she would not have to go through chemo or any other surgeries.  Then a few weeks later, after additional testing, they determined it was worse than they thought and not only would she need chemo and radiation, but they didn't get clear margins and would have to do another lumpectomy.  

More turbulence.

Then midway through her first round of chemo, they discovered a serious heart issue and told us last week she would need to have open heart surgery.  At that point the overhead bins flew open and all the luggage landed on top of us.  I think we're still digging out.

After meeting with the cardiologist last week, we left with a plan which includes another 12 week round of chemo, the surgery to re-excise the tumor, then after she recovers from all of that, open heart surgery, another 2-3 months to recover, then radiation.

The big picture is much too much to even process.  She's truly handling everything with grace and courage and strength, but I keep reminding her that her focus has to be just on today.  Or maybe I'm just trying to remind myself.  Not only because of this, but life has really thrown me off course lately and I feel like I'm just sitting on that tarmac again....completely not in control and unable to do anything but be still.  And breathe.  

And so I picked up a few candy bars at Trader Joe's the other day because, well, chocolate makes everything a little more bearable.

If you're a praying person, pray for my Mom, will you? And for those of us who are on this uncharted course with her.  We need patience, peace, and grace for the journey.

And chocolate.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Lessons from Mom

I shared an article the other day on my Facebook page that I just loved.  It resonated with me for oh, so many reasons.  You can read it here.  There have been many nights that I've gone to bed feeling like a big fat L-O-S-E-R in the mama department.  This article helped loosen my chains of guilt a bit and made me realize that I've been a really bad Mom (read "good" mom).

I think we spend a lot of time as we grow up thinking of all the ways we don't want to be like our parents.  All the ways we're going to do things differently.  Better.  I think that's just normal, even if you had the best Mom in the history of the world.  Some of the best things I've done as a Mom, I learned from my own.  Sure, there are things I've done differently, but then there are things that, even if I tried to avoid them, I've done exactly the same.  It's like 1984 all over again.  Minus the Forenza sweaters and tight rolled jeans.

When my brother and I were teenagers, there was a certain episode in our home that will forever be known as the Blue Chair tragedy.  Otherwise known as The Day Mom Lost It.   Let me give you the backstory first.  My mother had been a single mom for a few years, left to raise two kids on her own.  Two almost-teenagers ON HER OWN.  God love her.  But she had recently gone back to work and at the time of the Blue Chair tragedy, my brother and I were probably about 14 and 11.  The way I remember it was, we had this big puffy armed blue recliner that "someone" had pushed all the way against the wall because "someone" had broken it in a way that the back of the recliner just flopped all the way to the ground unless it was pushed against a wall to hold it up.  Which clearly was a great way to fix it because that wasn't weird or anything.

So one day Mom comes home after a long day at work and one of us (it's all foggy) was sitting in the propped up chair probably watching Good Times....which all by itself was usually enough to send her into next week.   Mom was not a fan of JJ.  Anyhoo...she asked why the chair was pushed all the way against the wall and of course, no one knew.  At closer inspection she could see that the wall was the only thing holding up the back of the big blue chair.  At that point there was screaming, yelling, overall craziness and I think I might have temporarily lost consciousness, waking up just in time to see my skinny little Mama with the little blond poof, in heels and everything, singlehandedly haul that ginormous recliner across the living room, out through the carport, past the burnt orange Oldsmobile Toronado and down the driveway to the street, yelling all the way something about how you can't have anything nice with kids.  Craziness I tell you!

At least I thought it was crazy until I had kids of my own.  I have my own blue chair meltdowns sometimes.  Because it's can't have anything nice with kids.  That's why I don't have anything nice.  But sometimes - dang it -  the "snap" just rises and there's no containing it.  Does it make me crazy?  No way.   I'm highly suspicious of any Mom who says she's never lost it.  I had a Blue Chair episode just a few weeks ago when my youngest was playing a tin whistle and wouldn't stop.  Until I freaked the heck out, grabbed it out of his mouth, and hurled it across the room. chair, people.  Blue chair.

By the way, I am about to order a few of these t-shirts.  And I'm sending one of them to my brother.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


A couple of months ago I started feeling really restless.  Discombobulated.  (one of the most fun words EVER by the way).  Anxious.  I couldn't figure out what the problem was, really.  I mean, after a season of upheaval and change things have been relatively calm for us this past year. We are settled into our new home, we have wonderful friends, the kids did great on their achievement testing so I can rest assured they don't need to go back to preschool and start over, our health is good, I've had three great haircuts in a row, and my mint is bountiful - ensuring a successful mojito season.  In other words, life is pretty good right now.

But I couldn't shake this feeling and I realized it was most intense in my home.  It hit me one morning when I was in my overwhelming, overflowing closet trying to find something to wear.  Because as I pulled on shirts and ripped them back off, throwing them in a pile on top of the pants I'd already ripped off and thrown down, wiping sweat from my forehead, and feeling disgusted that out of probably hundreds of pieces of hanging clothes, I ended up putting on the same shirt and pants I'd worn days before because (a) they fit and (b) I actually like them.  I stepped over that giant pile in the floor and walked through my bedroom where I saw several laundry baskets full of clothes that needed to be folded and put away.  I made my way into my son's room where the drawers of his chest were literally all hanging open with clothes spilling out of them like he'd just been robbed.  There were toys all over the floor and a gaggle of chargers and electronics scattered everywhere amidst Wii remotes and video game cases opened and scattered.   It was a mess.  And I was disgusted.

At myself. At all of us.  At all the stuff.  

I could have put all the clothes away, had my kids clean up from the Wii fest the night before, closed all the drawers and the closet door and all the mess would have been out of sight.  Temporarily.  But something in me snapped and I realized that even if I closed the closet door I still knew what was behind it.  It all signified much more than just a messy house.  Our lives, much like our closets, had become overcrowded and full of stuff that doesn't fit (what we want for our family), doesn't make us feel good, and creates chaos.

So I started with my own closet.  I pared down hundreds of hanging pieces to thirty-eight.  Two entire racks of clothes with hangers jammed in tightly to one rack with only thirty-eight hangers.   But as happy as my newly cleaned out closet makes me, the pile of clothes sitting in bags to be donated made me want to throw up.   I may never buy anything again.  Unless someone gives me an Anthropologie gift certificate in which case, I will.  But I'll get rid of something to make room for it because thirty-eight just feels right.  

We're slowly going through the entire house clearing out and cleaning out and getting rid of things that aren't useful or that we don't just love.  This is the smallest house we've lived in since before we had children and you know what?  As we're cleaning out, it's getting bigger.  So we obviously don't need a bigger house, we just need less stuff.

We had a garage sale a couple of weekends ago and that helped me move some of this STUFF out.  What was left over I piled in my van (had to put all the seats down, y'all!) and it was FILLED TO CAPACITY.  My van.  That seats seven.  Filled to capacity with stuff.  So guess what we do NOT need in this house anymore?  Stuff.

What is stuff?  Well to start with...more clothes.  Shoes.  Purses.  My oldest son has about ten pairs of shoes in his closet and do you know how many he regularly wears?  THREE!  A pair of flip flops, tennis shoes, and his baseball cleats.  Which he won't be wearing again in about two more weeks.   He has about fifteen polo shirts hanging in his closet and do you know how many he wears?  ONE.  The same one, over and over.   Which is significantly less than the total number crammed in his closet.

What else is stuff?  Video games, video game consoles, video game characters, and DVDs.   This past Christmas my son asked for Disney Infinity characters from everyone.  He got four or five.  In February he filled a bin up with all of his Disney Infinity stuff and wanted to take it to Game Stop and "trade it in" on the new Nintendo 3ds because apparently his own 3ds and regular ds just weren't cutting the butter anymore.  I stopped him on his way out the door, picked up a little plastic villain, held it in front of his nose and said "Is this the doodad I just gave you for Christmas?  The one you just HAD TO HAVE and were going to die a million deaths if you didn't get it?  The one you kept adding to my amazon cart and I kept removing?  Huh? Huh? Huh???!"  I asked him how much he thought he would get for everything at Game Stop and he said "oh...about $200, maybe $250!  Enough to get the cool new ds!"  I informed him that he MIGHT get $50....for everything....and he thought I was lying.  Until we got there and Gamerchick told him she could give him a whopping (wait for it) fifty dollars for everything.  (just remember, Mama's always right).  All the way home he got a lesson and lecture on how everything is designed to make you spend more and spend often.  Every single company comes out with a better, sleeker, fancier, quicker, cooler gadget so that the cool one you just bought is now outdated and obsolete.   And worth nothing.  It's a big, fat, racket. And we're the suckers.  He really appreciated this lecture.

So we're not buying, receiving, saving or asking for ANY MORE of that sort of stuff.  My kids will be the pitiful technology ragamuffins with the antiquated consoles and games circa 2013.  But it really doesn't matter anyway because WE AREN'T PLAYING them anymore!  It's not on our list. Remember this?

We're dumb AND antiquated now.  Boo.  Hoo.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Chanel Suits

I just finished reading one of my favorite books in a long time....Nobody's Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle.  It's about friendship and I just know Melanie would be one of my best good friends if we only lived closer.  It's the only thing keeping us apart.    I loved everything about this book though....from reminiscing about growing up in the 70's (the best time to grow up I'm totally convinced) to paying tribute to the friendships that define us and sustain us as we move through this life.   Coincidentally, I've been waxing poetic about the years of my youth and I've worn my kids out lately with tales of traveling backwards in my parent's Oldsmobile Cruiser station wagon (sans seatbelts of course), listening to 8-tracks of the Carpenters, Bee Gees, and Englebert Humperdinck while we snacked on Funyons, Pop Rocks and Yoo-hoo.  I mean, come on. There's also a great 70's station on Pandora and as I've been singing all the lyrics out loud I've realized how completely inappropriate they were.  Am pretty sure I must have thought an Afternoon Delight was a treat from the ice cream truck.

But about friends....

I never had a sister but I don't know what I'd do without my girlfriends and it amazes me how every one of them truly completes me.   Friends are like sisters you get to choose.   On Mother's Day there were texts flying back and forth between us with the recurrent message of "you help me be a better Mom."   There are many days when I'm ready to throw in the towel and run away in a fur coat and end up in a hotel room at the beach.  (girlfriends know what this means)  They tell me they understand and don't go without them.  They brighten my day with a funny text that makes me laugh out loud or a phone call "just to hear my voice."  They show up during a hurricane with some ice, medicine for my sick child, and a carafe full of Bloody Mary for me.  They give perfect gifts because they know me so well.  They tell me to take the swimsuit I've been wearing for years and throw it out of the window as far as I can and go buy something that's flattering.  And they mean it in the nicest way.  They remind me not to wear my sensible shoes when I'm headed out for a fabulous evening, and they take my kids for a few hours when they can tell someone might get hurt if they don't.  They know everything about me....sometimes even before I tell them....and love me in spite of it.   If they say they're praying for me, I know they mean it.  Sometimes they do it in a call or text if they can't get to me.  You never forget the first time you met because you knew it was going to be the start of a beautiful friendship....and you start to go into withdrawals if you haven't seen them in a while.  Sometimes a while is just a few days but it's still a day or two too long.

My best friend Kim, who I met on my very first day of law school orientation, and with whom I've been through just about everything, told me something once when I was lamenting over another friendship that had fallen to the wayside. She said "Poodle, sometimes you just have to clean out your friend closet.  Sometimes you hang on to an old dress or outfit just because it's been there for so long but one day you realize you've outgrown it, or you just don't feel right in it anymore, and it's ok to let it go.  Sometimes you realize that you bought something on a whim and it's just not your style, and you need to chunk it.  Sometimes you wonder what the heck you were ever thinking with those wedge shoes or sparkly bag or pleather pants, and you send it on to someone who actually likes it.  And that's ok.  But that Chanel never get rid of that.  Because it never goes out of style.  And it will always make you happy, just knowing it's there."  She should know because she's my Chanel suit.  And I know I'm hers.  I'm really lucky because I have a few "Chanel suits" in my friend closet.

But all you really need is one.

And if you know what I'm talking need to read Melanie's book.  And if you ever rode backwards in a station wagon listening to 8-tracks (with the rear window open for Pete's sake....), you'll love it even more.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Dumbing Down (and loving it)

Like probably every other Mom with kids still in the house, most nights I collapse into bed exhausted and wonder where the day went.  I wish I had more hours in the day....more time.  Because there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them.  Wait, that might be a song.  But I couldn't figure out WHY it seemed I never ever, EVER had time to get things done.  Not only the things I don't really love to do (cleaning toilets and folding clothes) but especially the things I WANT to do (read a book, have coffee with a friend, play a game with my kids, go for a run).  And I realized one day when I tried to sit on the porch with a book, my iPhone (or Precious as we call it) went with me.  I sat down, saw that I had a message or a comment from someone, and an hour later it was time to cook dinner and all I had done on the porch was scroll through Facebook for a solid hour.  The book never got opened.   You know how a year to a dog is seven years?  Well five minutes on Facebook is an hour to me.   And an hour on the Wii/iPad/Xbox to my kids is three.  Or more.  

Truth, y'all.  

Believe me I've tried the whole "earn technology time by doing something creative/active/productive" schtick but guess what?  YOU HAVE TO KEEP UP WITH THAT CRAP!!!   Give tickets for tech time?  Keep up with a chart?  Whatever.  I have three kids and it nearly sucks the life out of me just to make sure they've bathed once every couple of days.  One time I put a notebook next to all the tech gadgets and remotes in a basket and they had to come "check them out".  The idea was that I'd write down who took what and what time and I'd tell them to bring it back in 30 minutes.  I think there was one entry on there and I didn't notice until three days later that particular offender never returned anything.  

And don't even get me started on the limits I've tried to put on myself.  I've removed apps, only to reinstall them when I went into withdrawals.  I've tried charging my phone across the room at night only to pick it up on my way to the bathroom for my nightly pit stop just to see what was going on in Facebookland.  And don't EVEN try to act like you don't carry your phone to the bathroom.  Don't.  Even.  I've sat in restaurants with my family, at the ball park, in the car (but not driving!), at church, at the library...staring at my phone, afraid I'm missing a comment, message, or text.  If my children and husband had to give a description to the cops if/when I run away from home, they'd only be able to describe the top of my head because THAT IS ALL THEY SEE!!!!

I became utterly disgusted at myself - at what I was allowing in my children and what our home had become.  It wasn't a place filled with laughter and joy and conversation anymore!  It was filled with impatience, avoidance, and solidarity.  Ugh.

So in an effort to reclaim my family, just like my recent closet re-do (next post), I knew that the only answer was to get rid of everything.   Not literally throwing it all away (even though I totally could).  But sort of.   The way we explained it to the kids was that this was NOT punishment.  It's just a lifestyle change.  Video games, (obnoxious tweeny bopper) shows on Netflix, anything that involves a gadget or a screen, is going to be the very rare exception, not the rule.  Don't even ask us if you can play/watch something.  We'll let you know when you can.   And if you need a list of things to do instead, here's a go-to list to get you started:

Read a book
Practice piano/guitar
Go for a bike ride
Climb a tree
Throw the baseball/softball to each other
Throw a tennis ball against the house and catch it
Play basketball
Ride scooters
Roller skate
Draw on the driveway with sidewalk chalk
Take a nap
Go for a nature walk and take pictures
Sit in the tree fort and journal
Build an indoor fort
Play a board game
Build Lego
Play with dolls
Write a letter to an out of town friend or grandparents
Walk the dogs

This is just a start.....and this is the fun stuff.  There's a whole list of not so fun stuff (cleaning rooms, washing windows, cleaning out the car) that we can move on to next if this list doesn't give them some ideas.

Now don't think for one moment that we're making our kids eat brussel sprouts while we eat cake.  Did you know that you can turn your smart phone into a good old dumb phone very easily?  Now I admit I have NOT taken away texting because it really is a necessary method of communication these days, but guess what isn't?  Facebook.  Instagram.  Twitter.  Know what else isn't really necessary on your phone?  A browser.  For me, I decided to remove everything except my texting, maps, and weather app and a few shopping apps.  I use my phone to listen to podcasts and music when I run, and what I'm left with is a way to communicate via voice or text and that's it.  There's nothing on it that sucks me in anymore.  And it's been an amazing. liberating experience.  So liberating that I'm contemplating getting a super old timey flip phone.  I still have my tiny iPod that I can clip to the side of my running shirt to listen to....and if I can't live without GPS in the car (which we all know I can't because I have no sense of direction) I bet I could get a cheap one rightaboutnow.

I've read two books just this past week.  I've experimented with some new recipes.  I've played board games with my kids.  And I haven't missed a moment of their ball games because I was on my phone.  My youngest son came in the other day and I could tell he was about to ask if he could play the iPad but before he got the words out he shook his head and said "nevermind....I'm going to take a nap."

Sweet success.