Just When I Got Used to Writing “2015” on Checks…

new-trends-in-education-2015-2016The crazy thing about taking time off from the day job during the holidays is that you lose all track of time. I do anyway. Take this morning for instance – I slept in until 7:20. 7:20! That right there is crazy. I normally roll out of bed at 5:20 to get ready for work before my boys start demanding things like food and clean clothes to wear to school.

And if it weren’t for the distant rumble of the recycling truck making its way down my block, I would’ve remained blissfully unaware of which day of the week it was. Instead, I roused the rest of my sleepy brood so we could quickly gather all of the stray wads of crumpled up wrapping paper from last week’s Christmas present carnage and rush the bundled mass out to the curb before said recycling truck arrived at our house.

“But wrapping paper isn’t recyclable,” my youngest announced as we rushed back inside in search of hot coffee and cocoa.

Craving caffeine, I let his concern float in the air behind us and asked, “Whipped cream or marshmallows?”


That’s my boy.

We stood together at the living room window and watched as the highly mechanized vehicle devoured our discarded paper and plastics, oblivious to my son’s concern.

As the truck continued down our street, my middle child joined us and announced with no small amount of delight that “Jonah can come.”

Recognizing the name of one of his buddies, I replied, “Oh good. To what?”

My boy gave me a look – you know, the one that says without uttering a single word, “What do you mean what? I told you at least a million times. You never listen to me!”

The incessant complaint of the middle child.

“Remind me,” I instruct with my eyes narrowed so he thinks I’m really listening.

“The party?”


“New Year’s Eve?”

“When is that again?” I wonder out loud.


His face is twisted in disbelief. Still, I admire his restraint. If it were me, I’d be hauling my mom off to the hospital for a brain scan.

I laugh. “Oh, that party.”

In a huff, my middle boy leaves me alone to ponder the impending new year.

As always, the clean slate beckons. What brave new goals will I strive to exceed this time around?

I pause. After the crazy busy year I’ve had, am I even up for making more changes? And what needs changing anyway…?

Must. Make. List.

I grapple for a pen and a pad of paper. And freeze, remembering why I dislike making New Year’s resolutions – I have to reflect on what I’m doing wrong and who likes to think about that? On vacation?

I stare out the living room window, examining my conscience like I’m about to spill to a priest.

The first offense that springs to mind is that, all-in-all, I’ve been a crappy friend/daughter/sister/mother/wife. In the name of meeting deadlines, being oh-so-busy writing books and meeting the obligations of my day job, I’ve managed to create this narcissistic bubble behind which I hide when social and familial obligations call.

So I write “Be a better friend/daughter/sister/mother/wife.”

Too vague.

I add a sub-bullet. “Create calendar entries.” Sorry, but that’s how I roll.

I set my list aside. The exercise has exhausted me. Perhaps a nap is in order. Or maybe it’s time to go to bed. I can’t tell. I’ve lost track of the time.

6 thoughts on “Just When I Got Used to Writing “2015” on Checks…

  1. Fun post. I chuckled as I read it especially the part about the New Year’s Eve party that the friend is able to come to and the making lists part. I have lists in my purse, at work, in my computer (I actually email things to do lists to me at work for work related items that I might forget) and on my kitchen counters. Of course once I cross a few things off I have to start a new one and many times I have one going related to calls I need to make, groceries needed, other things needed at various stores and paperwork I need to do.
    Happy New Year!


  2. I make lists. I look at lists. I lose lists and make new ones which are different from the ones I lost which means I never get everything done I want to get done. The only good list IMHO is a grocery list.

    I (as of three years ago)refuse to make resolutions. The only *resolution* I make is to finish cleaning out the kitchen cabinets….and no one is checking around here to see if I actually do it!

    I *just* discovered you last week and have read two (and a half) of your novels since then. On my Kindle……but still! I read “Key Change” first because I finally had time after Christmas because…wait for it…I’m a professional church musician, this is my down time and the premise intrigued me. I’ve never read any fiction with my profession the profession of a character…and laughed with recognition over the wedding and funeral parts of it too….I did a bit of country rock band singing in my misspent youth too…I just loved your book! I’m a choral conductor (and work for my professional society’s website as well)but my youngest son…I have three sons…is an organist with a church job too (while he earns money for his doctorate)….sound familiar? In fact, I live in the suburbs of Chicago myself and…..I grew up in Ravenswood. I’m still trying to figure out if my high school (Lake View)is the high school in your novels or if it is Amundsen.

    I am a Plate Spinner from ‘way back with Three Sons, including a son who has autism, so I am not sure I will EVER be able to drop a plate!

    I really, really have enjoyed your books thus far and will probably finish “Help Wanted” tonight or tomorrow. Reading your novels have helped me have a Mental Vacation before the next round of concerts and before Lent starts (it’s early this year since Easter is March 27).

    Thank you for your fun books and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


    1. Thanks for writing, Marie! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my books. I sing in the choir in my church, hence my inspiration for the plot line of Key Change (and one of my five boys has autism, so bless your heart for taking the time to read my series and comment here)! All the best to you in the New Year. 🙂 Oh – and, you guessed it – it’s Lakeview!


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  4. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.


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