• Childhood Magic: The Hill with the Rock

    I grew up in a ranch style home in Bowie, Maryland. The yard was large, and contained a big hill in the back. In the winter, our family and neighbors would go sledding in our yard, until before long, the entire neighborhood was partaking in the fun. The toboggan was filled with adults and children as we would take the run down the hill and spill out into the street. Over and over we would ride the hill in the snow. Red plastic sleds packed with kids would spin down the slope, shoot between our house and the neighbor’s, and end up in the front yard. In the summers, the…

  • When Are You The Happiest? Part One

    * I think that we can all confirm the obvious—we work a lot. Here, in the United States, we work many, many hours, whether those hours are at work, outside work, in the classroom, outside the classroom, attending meetings and conferences, or attending other notable business-related practices as needed, when needed. I never realized how much we worked—truly—until I sat on the edge of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, on the River Arno with my husband. We had purchased fresh Prosciutto, mozzarella, olives, roasted red peppers, and bread, and made ourselves a little picnic as we watched people close up shops for the afternoon siesta. I believe the words…

  • Your Earliest Memories: What Do You Remember?

    *** I remember dearly my great grandparents. In fact, my great grandfather outlived my own grandfather, who died of Leukemia at the young age of 63. I bring this up because we were having a conversation the other day about our earliest memories—things we remember from being a kid. I have some distinct early memories as a child growing up in New Jersey before we moved to Maryland when I was five years old. Several of my early memories involve my mom’s parents’ house on Myrtle Avenue in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. They lived in a Cape Cod style house—an adorable little thing with a back yard full of gardens,…

  • Five Inexpensive Ways to Make This Valentine’s Day Special

    Egad! I’m really about to do this. (And did I really just used an expression that is as archaic as I feel lately?) The answer is, yes. I’m about to end my push to write mushy Valentine’s cards and create something truly magical this year and by wooing those you love in a different manner. (But if you do want to write a mushy Valentine to go along with an inexpensive night, that’s not a bad idea either. Click here for some suggestions). If you’re struggling for that perfect Valentine, rest assured. Your Valentine is really just hoping that the special day gets to be spent doing something together. That’s…

  • Playing with Photography and Memories

    Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever…it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything. ~ Aaron Siskind While we all may not be writers, we all have phone cameras—if not more elaborate cameras—and taking interesting photographs has become more important these days simply because of social media. Getting that perfect shot, the one that tells the story of that moment in time, may take several clicks before we decide to post it. The lighting, angel of the camera or subjects, and the feeling of the photographer at the time he or she clicks the button all…

  • The Witch’s Memories | Friday Fiction

      The Witch gathered up her things—the cauldron, the potion mixer, the wide-brimmed hat—and stepped over the woman she had just put into a deep sleep. The Witch left the woman lying on her back on the carpet, her form in an unattractive spread eagle position in her yoga attire, a bit of her belly flopping out of the waist of her pants. The truth of the matter was, the sleeping woman used to be her friend. Not any longer, however. The Witch did not care for her at all. It had finally come to that. The woman could never be trusted, and The Witch had been used for the…

  • Once Upon A Time, There Was Stevie Wonder and 8-Track Tapes

    In my room as a teen, I had a stereo. It consisted of a receiver with a turntable, two speakers, and an 8-Track tape player. I’ve always loved music, and my weekends were often spent writing down each of the songs Casey Kasem played during the American Top 40 Countdown. And when that was over, I loved listening to my 8-Track tapes. I didn’t have a ton, but I had a handful of them. Soundtracks to some of my favorite movies were in my player, including those from “My Fair Lady,” “Camelot,” and “The Sound of Music.” For funk and rock, Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” and…

  • Picture Perfect

    My daughter and I spent Sunday afternoon at my parents’ house. They live in a beautiful community on the Magothy River, and I decided to take a walk to their community beach that afternoon. With my iPhone in hand, I took some shots. I don’t know if you feel the same way I do about where you grew up, but I absolutely loved the neighborhood, the community, and the schools. When I go to visit, it always feels like I’ve taken a mini-vacation. I was lucky to have spent many years there, and always feel the same way when I visit. As Mr. Rodgers would say, “It was a beautiful…

  • Fictography #16 – Little French Market

        /FICTOGRAPHY/ def. — The intersection of photography (submitted by readers) and fiction (written by me!). Truthfully, this week I’m on a little bit of a hiatus. On campus, we are down to the last two weeks, and I’ve been inundated with work and grading and attending events, not to mention that it’s Easter weekend. Therefore, I had little time for creativity this week, so for this week’s Fictography, I pulled one out of the archives and dusted it off. I actually took this photograph myself. This cute little coffee shop is situated in Historic Ellicott City, and I used to frequent it all the time when I lived…

  • She’s A Doll

    This doll, that has never been named and probably deserves one, is from my childhood. I feel as if she’s always been around. I could never let go of her. My grandmother, whom I called “Nanny,” won her for me playing a game on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. She’s pink and totally sentimental to me. Nanny has been gone for years, but the memory of her lives on in not only the doll, but the Christmas decorations, the jewelry (I’m wearing her ring now), and the countless other “items” and gifts she bestowed to me, both materialistic and non-materialistic. When I was growing up and we lived…

  • Walking Through the Park and Reminiscing

    I was a sophomore in high school and a member of the cheerleading squad. We decided that as part of the Christmas season, we would get together out of a sense of “goodwill towards men” and go caroling. Dressed warmly for the weather, a handful of Christmas carols up our sleeves, we set out upon the neighbors directly across the street from Severna Park High School and began to ring doorbells and sing some of our favorite Christmas songs. The night was off to a good start. People listened at the doors as we mostly got the lyrics right, and as we went from house to house, there was a…

  • Missing: Mourning the Loss of a 1993 Baltimore Orioles All-Star Ring

    Every once in a while I get this crazy notion to ransack boxes in my basement in search of a 1993 Orioles All-Star ring the club gave me during the time I worked there many moons ago. It was incredibly special to me; it represented years of working for an organization I loved. Back then, I was single, and moved five times in five years to a new apartment or townhouse. At some point during the transitions, I lost it. Its vanishing act has haunted me ever since because I can’t remember when I last wore it or saw it. In fact, the irony is that I used to wear…