Weekly Read | Screen-Free not Scream-Free

April 18-24 is Screen-Free Week. Since 1996, organizers have exhorted us to turn off screens via the implementation of Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff).
Ever since it replaced turning off the television for one week with the scarier prospect of turning off ALL screens (including computers, video games and smart phones), resistance has risen. I’m sure it has. What you term “resistance” I call “you’ll pry my laptop out of my cold, dead hands.”
Already Turn off TV week sounds quaint doesn’t it? Like pledging to give up your horse and buggy or butter churn ... CONTINUED AT F&D ...

Heirloom Cookies

I have the best in-laws in the world. Truly. They have all but robbed me of any great joke or column possibilities, mainly through being so decent and NICE. Still, THAT comes in handy too sometimes. Witness my sister-in-law, Kim (the original "Kim Seabolt" who wisely married and changed her last name once she realized I was going to be mucking about with it) as she bravely teaches Wondergirl how to make a beloved family recipe: orange cookies. Aunt Kim arrived, ingredients in tow (and a brand new food processor for Kassie to boot!) and walked her through the steps involved to make "Grandma Ollie's Orange Drops." A 65+ year old recipe. Aunt Kim also included a framed version of the recipe (love!) and a brand new cookbook just for Kassie - with the heirloom family recipes written in, and many blank pages just begging to be filled.

Weekly Read | Fashion Night at the Tractor Supply

You know that moment when you make that fateful decision and say “Who am I going to see at the Tractor Supply at 7:30 p.m. on a Monday? These Muck boots and this dirty old ski parka are FINE?” That is a bad moment. Poor decision making processes are at work here.
Read the full text of this week's column at F&D Online

One man's trash ...

I never thought it would come to this. I was driving the children to school when what should my wandering eye spy but what appeared to be a cute lidded basket - just perfect for the porch or patio. So as I sped past again on my way back from the school, having dropped off the children (because I am a good mother and education comes before bargains - but barely), I stopped. Now I'll have to you know I was cagily attired in running shoes, a trench coat, and sunglsses. It's like their trash was being picked by a flasher in Jackie O' shades. At the very moment I planned to leap from the car on a clandestine mission ("who WAS that blur that just rifled through our roadside trash?")  my cell rings. It's my friend, about two cars behind me, saying "what ARE you doing?" So much for my pride.

Lifting it I realized that the basket contained a giant green glass bottle - score! I came home and, via the power of Google, discovered that what I have is a "Demijohn" for making wine. This one was clearly in the trash because the glass bottle is cracked. Since I prefer to buy my wine in a box, I am just perfectly fine with a cracked but pretty thing and how useful is a basket with lid around the porch or patio? The particular model I have retailed for $119.00, so I think free by the side of the road is a pretty decent deal. Don't you?

On love, loss, and going on

Reflecting recently on love, loss, and the lives left behind. In my digging I came upon this poem, attributed to having been read by Maria Shriver at Tim Russert's funeral, she said it was sent to her following the death of her cousin, John F. Kennedy Jr.

The Little Ship

I stood watching as the little ship sailed out to sea. The setting sun tinted his white sails with a golden light, and as he disappeared from sight a voice at my side whispered, "He is gone".

But the sea was a narrow one. On the farther shore a little band of friends had gathered to watch and wait in happy expectation. Suddenly they caught sight of the tiny sail and, at the very moment when my companion had whispered, "He is gone" a glad shout went up in joyous welcome,
"Here he comes!"

Shriver said that poetry helped her through her cousin John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s death. "A few years ago, when my cousin died, John, in an unexpected way, I was given a poem by a friend that helped me through some pretty dark days," she said. "It gave me some peace within whenever I thought about him in a faraway place, that I would be unable to see him or talk to him again. I read it many, many times and I thought I could share it with all of you today with the hope that it might also give you some peace within."

I think that if anyone knows how to "deal" with death - as if death is a particularly thorny issue to be "managed" - it is a member of the Kennedy clan.  We all hope and pray that we never have to follow in their footsteps even as we all know that, inevitably, we do.

Craigslist Rules to Live By

1) If you don't have a photo in your listing, how am I supposed to know if I'm interested in buying said item? Am I supposed to just picture it in my mind?

2) Describing your item as "Just like Pottery Barn" does not mean you can price it as if it is, in fact, at Pottery Barn.Unless they've opened an outlet in your garage?

3) If your item was cheaply made it will not have appreciated in value since you did bong hits off it in college. A $50 dining set will be worth less - not more - after you have stained, scratched, and somehow managed to lose one leg.

4) While ScotchguardTM is, in fact, a nice selling point, they have yet to make a stain resistance that can outwit cigarette burns and/or cat pee so if your item has been exposed to one or both of these, give it up.

5) "Vintage" is not code for "ugly." Sometimes things are just "old" and/or "hideous."

6) "Can be refinished!" should not be priced as if it already is.

7) Descriptions such as "THIS ARMOIRE IS VERY UNIQUE BECAUSE IT HAS A BAR TO HANG CLOTHING AND DRAWERS INSIDE" are not helpful. That is not "unique." It's an armoire.

8) Please remove your dirty laundry, underwear, similar from any photo before posting. I shouldn't have to tell you this, but apparently, I do.