Sunday, October 30, 2011


  Wow!  What a trick !!  New England was hit with a northeaster last night.  Hundreds of thousands are without power (trick), and many schools are closed tomorrow (treat), October 31st!  My neighborhood was without power for twenty-three hours. Downed tree limbs and branches are everywhere.  The previous record for October snowfall in New Hampshire was under two inches. Most of us got close to a foot of snow, but the town with the jackpot got 31inches !!  Folks were saying "Merry Halloween" and singing "I'm dreaming of a White Halloween".  Temperature will reach 50 degrees tomorrow, but many communities will postpone trick or treating until the cleanup is finished.  I expect to see snowmen with carved pumpkins for heads on lawns everywhere.
  When you live in New England, you know the drill.  Have battery operated lights and radios, candles, and down comforters on hand for storms.  Last night, there was so much snow that it looked like daylight.  I decided that I would sit up and wait for the lights to come back on, so I could reset the clocks, then shut everything off and go to bed.  I could hear tree limbs breaking and falling from the heavy wet snow.  This was no joke.  That reminded me of some of my favorite Halloween jokes.  Try them with your kids this week.  I hope they make you smile, and give you some ideas for more!

What's the ghosts favorite dessert ?  Ice scream !!
The ghosts favorite ice cream is 'cookies and scream' !
The ghosts favorite cereal is scream of wheat !
The ghosts favorite game show is Squeal of Fortune !
The ghosts favorite magazine is Good Housecreeping !
The ghosts favorite fruit is booberry !
   Have a good week everyone....the beat goes on....and the beat goes on...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Festival

   Yesterday a bunch of us drove an hour to our local Pumpkin Festival.  Shuttle buses took us from a parking lot to the downtown area.  Racks of carved pumpkins lined the main street, which were lit at dusk. The town was hoping to win another record for the total number of pumpkins.  It was a beautiful day to walk around and support the event.  Organizations had set up booths for food and crafts,  and we enjoyed soup, snacks and desserts.  There were babies in strollers, other folks in wheel chairs, young and old walking with their pets.  We used the trash barrels, and walked in an orderly fashion.  It's a college town,  and some fraternities had volunteered to clean up.  
  On the ride home, we commented on how wonderful it was to be part of such a positive day.  Today, so much of the news focuses on the negatives.  We hesitate to go to huge events, because we are concerned  for our safety.  I'm glad I went, and I'm pleased that we all had a good time.  It was the perfect opportunity to recharge my batteries, and to restore my faith in neighbors and strangers alike. 
  My take away is to not be afraid to enjoy life.  Find things to do that don't cost a lot, but are a lot of fun. 
We've all seen the  commercial that lists the price of  parking, food, and souvenirs, but having a fun day is priceless.   I encourage you all to find inexpensive way to make good memories ..
This is my experience, so take what you like and leave the rest......and the beat goes on....the beat goes on...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Magic Monster Spray

  I recently had a conversation with a mom whose young son was having nightmares.   I don't know if every kid goes through it, but I remember when Matt did.  He was afraid to go to sleep, and he would sometimes wake up in tears.  At the time, I was lucky to have a circle of friends who allowed me to agonize over every issue.  One of the mom's remembered hearing of an easy solution, and I couldn't wait to try it.  I put some water in a spray bottle and called it Magic Monster Spray.  I told him that this spray would keep away monsters, and any bad dreams. We would spray his room before we read our bedtime story, and then again just before lights out.  Because it was only water, we could spray walls,  furniture and fabrics without damage.  The most obvious place was under the bed.  We sprayed  behind the curtains in case they tried to come in the windows. We sprayed in the closet because it is always dark and a really good hiding place,  We always sprayed the toy chest to give special powers to Matt's favorite toys and stuffed animals to help keep them away.  We sprayed the pillow to keep scary thoughts away.  All that mattered was getting him to relax and get ready to sleep, and it worked!  If he woke up from a dream, we did it all again.  I really don't remember how long it took, but it's magical to work with your kid, and to solve a problem together.   It seemed unlikely that in a few short years he would beg us to watch scary movies.  The Goonies was one of our favorite movies, and we watched it many times.  It's always on this time of year, and I recommend it.  It's about a bunch of ten year olds who ride their bikes in search of a pirate treasure.  There are some scary scenes so watch it first and make sure it's appropriate for your family.  I'm sharing this now because Halloween can bring back nightmares for some kids.
   I'm not an expert, but I hope this helps give some ideas for a very common issue.  Take what you like and leave the rest....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on......

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Columbus Day Weekend

   October is one of my favorite months in New England.  The sun shines without humidity, and we call it  sweater weather.  The foliage colors are vibrant, and leaf peepers plan a day trip to experience it all.   Red, orange and yellow leaves are everywhere.  Soon we'll be raking them up, but we don't have to worry about that now.   This weekend we observe Columbus Day.  It's fun to have a long weekend, but it should have more meaning than that.  Let's face it, if it wasn't for Columbus, most of us wouldn't live here.  One year, Matt had a school project that had kids draw their family tree.  He was asked to list  three generations, and their nationality.  We had fun with it, and talked about it while we took our foliage ride.  It turned into one of those teachable moments. We knew where our grandparents and great-grandparents were born, and when we got home, we found those countries on our globe.  Matt learned that he was French, Irish, German, English and Italian.  He heard that his great-great grandparents had their names changed as they arrived at Ellis Island.  The person checking them in either couldn't spell the name, or couldn't understand the language barrier.  He was excited because he had lots of branches on his family tree.  Kids are naturally curious about where they came from, and this discussion helps answer some questions.  Geneology is popular now, and the internet helps us trace our heritage.   We can find relatives who became famous for doing good things, and relatives who were famous for doing the wrong things.  I'm thankful that our ancestors came to America looking for a better life.  It couldn't have been easy, but they persevered, because they probably couldn't go back.  Our country is called the melting pot of the world for good reason.  Let's take some time to reflect on where we came from, and how we got here.
This is my experience, so take what you like and leave the rest.....and the beat goes on...the beat goes on...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Life works better with a plan

   I've always been a list person.  I love to cross items off as I accomplish them.  One of my first jobs out of college was a planner, and I often said that I had been a planner before I ever got that job.  I come by it honestly, because my folks were the same way.  As soon as we began to discuss anything that was to happen in the future, Dad would say "Let's start a list."  Whether it was the Holidays coming up,  next year's vacation, or one of our weddings, the process was the same.  Things to do now, things to do in the next few weeks or months, and then the final things that would need to be done.  There's a saying about having a plan, even if you don't stick to it.  Take life one step at a time.
   As  parents, we may want to jump in and solve every problem.  Before blurting out a  list,  try to say "I know you have a plan, what is it?"   If they don't have a plan,  help them sort out the issue.  It takes time to make a list of pros and cons, but it's a good way to get a glimpse of  how they process a situation.   I tried to say things like "I like the way you thought this through" and "I like the way your mind works".  We all  need problem solving skills for sports, classes, jobs, and life. 
   I remember going through the college application process.  Students were encouraged to apply to three types of colleges.  Reach schools are harder to get into,  realistic schools are a good possibility,  and safety net schools offer the best chance for acceptance.  I recently heard Matt use these same terms as he considers all the options for a major decision.   I smile because I know he really doesn't need me, but it does feel good to be asked to listen as he runs through each scenario.  Of course, he decides to reach for the option that will challenge him, instead of settling for the easiest one.  I like the way his mind works.  Soon there will be lots to do...we'll have to start a list.
   As always, take what you like and leave the rest.....have a good week everyone...and the beat goes on.....