Sunday, March 22, 2009


My husband, Matt, snores like a bear. As a matter of fact, when we were first married, I barely slept the night through. It didn’t matter if he was lying down, or relaxing in his easy chair. As soon as we fell asleep, the sounds that resonated from that man were heard in every part of our house.

I went in search of every ear plug known to man. I put in foam plugs that were supposed to mold to my ear, thus eliminating any sound from getting in. Problem with those, however, were that they felt weird. I couldn’t take them for long, as I’d have to pull them out & then clean my ears. I tried plastic & water filled ones & even an industrial pair given to me by my Uncle Warren. Nothing. Either they were too much of a pain to keep in, they didn’t work, or they worked so well, I couldn’t hear my alarm clock.

So, I did what humans have an uncanny ability to do – adjust. I got used to the sound of a freight train next to me all night. I even stopped worrying about the pictures on the wall falling on me.

When the kids were babies, Matt would hold them on his massive chest in his chair. They grew up thinking all men snored loud enough to rattle pictures. When they were cranky, Matt would get them, sit in his chair, fall asleep & snore. This would put them right out. I have a myriad of pictures of this big man with these tiny babies sound asleep on their daddy. As they got older, nightmares or thunderstorms would send them into our room. We’d set up beds, & they’d fall fast asleep listening to Matt snore. Thunderstorms had nothing on him!

Then, one day, we found out that he needed surgery on his heart. They did test after test, including a sleep study. It was determined that Matt had one of the worst cases of sleep apnea they’d ever seen, which exacerbated what would be considered “normal” snoring. The sleep study guy said that he had no idea how I ever managed to fall asleep next to him!

After his successful heart surgery (& many hours of my worrying about him), he was sent home with a breathing device that made him look like Darth Vader. He was to put this device over his nose & mouth, thus forcing a constant amount of air so that he would get a full night’s rest. Problem was, it also stopped the snoring.

Yup, I said that was a problem! I went from sleeping next to a bear to complete & total silence. It was AWFUL! I entertained thoughts of pulling the mask off, just so I could hear the ever present sound. I thought better of it, though, as it was saving his life. Boogers. Not the life saving part, the part that he didn’t snore anymore.

And that’s when the irony hit me. At first, I tried to drown out his snoring. And now, after 20 years, I desperately wanted it back. Like the old saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. So often in life, that saying holds true. How good we have it, but take it for granted. Or, worse, don’t notice.

I’m adjusting, slowly, to the lack of a rumbling train sleeping next to me. Of course, I had to buy a big ol’ fan that made a lot of noise. Still, if adjusting yet again is the benefit of having my big Matt around for a long time, then, I’ll adjust.

Besides, I still get my “fix”. When he falls asleep watching TV (which is pretty much nightly), I hear the now comforting, and missed, roar of a freight train. And I’m happy to hear my dear friend & husband making it.

Tamara Kells Website

Yup, I managed to build my own website! Check it out; if you dare. It's dumb, but, I'm not the Brunette Lucy for nothing!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blogs & Twitters

I started this blog, not really knowing why. I’m a complete moron when it comes to all things technical. But, my husband, Matt, said it’s the thing to do. So, I just do what I’m told.

Then, I got a “twitter” account on accident. I was trying to get in touch with the editor at the Inquirer. Since my article appeared there a while back, the head muckety mucks have changed. Well, he doesn’t post his email online. Instead, he has a link to his twitter thingy. I follow the link, & find out that I have to create an account to write to him. So, of course, I do what I’m told & did it.

THEN, & I really don’t know how this stuff happens, I get an email saying that Gavin Newsom is following me. Following me where?? Anywho, I look into who this guy is & it turns out, he’s the mayor of San Francisco. Ok, I personally didn’t have that little tidbit of information – Michele told me. Thank God for good friends!

Next thing I know, some guy named Dave Peck is following me. What am I; the Pied Piper?? I have no clue who that guy is, except that it appears he has some talk show on the radio. How in the world did these folks find me?

All this leads to a conversation our family had about blogs & twitters while on the way to eat (ooh, ask me about the Chinese buffet we went to! Holy cow, they had everything under the sun to eat & we went there because for some reason both the girls decided to give up meat for Lent which is making me crazy especially since right before they announced their plan, I bought a bunch of meat that was on sale & now I have a freezer full of beef I can’t cook. Um, probably another rant. I’ll stop).

Honestly, I can’t believe that this is where the English language is going. But I digress. I’m supposed to network through twitter to link to my blog, then get people to follow my blog, especially if they’re twitter people, because it’s supposedly the new “thing” to do, but “netiquette” requires me to then link to their blogs & twitters & follow them around. At this point, I got lost in the conversation. How do I link, why do I care, & why don’t people get paranoid when strangers are “following” them? Could I lead them off a cliff or something? It seems like a rather large responsibility to entrust to an idiot.

Matt then summed up, kind of, how folks link to bunches of people. Apparently, they can throw out a virtual net & get a bunch of people on their “followers” twitter home page. Don’t ask me for particulars – I zoned out during the explanation. I have no clue why people link, follow, twitter & blog. I’ll leave all that technical stuff up to Matt. I just do what I’m told.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dancy Dance

Dancy Dance

I was at a homeschool function the other day when a mom remarked about my curly hair. I told her that it was natural and that my husband, Matt’s, was too. All three of our kids inherited our dark, curly hair.
Our first daughter, Aubrie, had Shirley Temple ringlets. We were constantly being stopped so people could admire it. So, we did what every good parent does that has a Shirley Temple look alike. We trained her like a circus monkey. We taught her to dance when we said, “dancy dance Aubrie”. She could be in the middle of eating and she’d drop her spoon, stand up, and dance. I’d put her in dresses with frilly socks and take her out. When people would admire her, I would tell her to dancy dance. And, like the good circus monkey she was, she performed.
Looking back, I wonder if that had an ill effect on her. I could be wrong, but her aversion to dancing as a teenager might, possibly, conceivable, albeit slightly, be in direct correlation to her youth.
Elyse, on the other hand, had baby fine, stick straight hair. Until she turned 6. Her hair exploded like microwave popcorn into a mass of curly, thick hair. Which, of course, she hated.
She would take her paper scissors and cut a nice, thick patch of hair at the root, right in the middle of her head. Of course, I tried to even it out so it wasn’t so noticeable. Other than shaving her head, she stuck out like a sore thumb. An adorable, brown eyed sore thumb.
Boy (Dakota) was born with little hair, except at the very top of his head. He had a patch of hair that curled like a kewpie doll. Of course, I thought it was adorable, and made sure that curl was always there. To add insult to injury, his sisters would dress him up like a ballerina and put a bow on top of the curl. I can see that he might not like his “girly” hair.
It, too, grew in like a storm in Kansas. Now, we can barely get a comb through it and it grows faster than we can cut it.
The kids are learning to cope with their hair. Aubrie has a firm grip on her curls, as well as an industrial strength straightening iron. Elyse figures if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and leaves her curls alone for the most part. Dakota has resigned himself to the fact that other than shaving his head, he’ll have to live with the cards he’s been dealt. Besides, he looks just like his dad. Fortunately, he’s happy about that.
One day, Aubrie's dad will walk her down the aisle. At the reception, I'll get to dance with her new husband. We'll have come full circle when she gives me his hand and whispers, "dancy dance mommy".

Miracle on 12th Street

Courtesy of Normie Kells

For about the last 45 years, my husband, Matt’s, family has gone down to the shore every mother’s day weekend. It’s always a fun time to hang out with each other. This year, however, was different. My father in law, Cliff Kells (known to the grandkids as “Normie” – long story) passed the week before Thanksgiving. This was our first year without the family patriarch, who was such an important part of our lives for so many years. He also was my biggest cheerleader & champion of my writing. Throughout the following months, there were many signs that he was still with us. None, however, were as amazing & real as what happened on May 11th at the Tahiti Inn, Ocean City, NJ.

We arrived at our apartments on Thursday afternoon. The apartments surround a common courtyard, with sliding glass doors & windows facing it. Those are the doors that we used to get in & out of our units. Everything was fine, & nothing was unusual all day. The next morning, Matt went next door to his mom’s to have
coffee, & as he walked up to the sliding door, noticed something
unusual. There, clear as day, was a profile of Normie. At first, we thought it was from the fog, however, the profile stayed the entire day. You could see his nose, where the folds of his skin were, his eyes & his chin. Of course, there were doubters in the family. Things were mentioned such as Matt or his brother, Bill, did it. The problem with that is that Billy isn’t as tall as Normie & Matt is taller, & the face was exactly where it would be on Normie’s 6 foot frame. Also, even if you try to press your face against glass, the features are compressed. This was not. It looked as if Normie had stood there & a light was shined on his profile & embedded in the door. Later that day, my mother in law, Gretchen, went to church. She walked in & as she did, the organist played the first verse of “I am with you”. After the first verse, she quit & went on to another song, as if she didn’t know why she suddenly started playing that song.

I’ve always believed that our loved ones are never gone, & are around us. Normie has let us know for months. But, on 12th Street in Ocean City, he proved it to doubters & let his beloved wife know that he is, indeed, still with her.

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.