Friday, June 25, 2010


With the beginning of Summer last Monday, permit me to offer a suggestion for the upcoming season.

Go camping.

There’s nothing quite like waking up in a tent at the crack of dawn, warming up to the crackling sounds of campfire, and cracking your diet plans to enjoy some roasted marshmallows, Hershey® chocolate and graham crackers. Want s’more?

Over the years, we’ve met some of the most interesting people at campgrounds. Skinny and fat, young and old, the powerless and the powerful, people who snore and people who do that thing that when you first hear it you’re convinced something prehistoric is about to burst through the woods. They all have stories and parts of themselves to share.

We’ve also met some of the more domesticated wildlife in a setting that can’t be beat. Imagine sitting at a picnic table, eating some watermelon, and a chipmunk scampers up right next to you, looks you square in the eyes, and waits for his piece. Or watching an eagle swoop down a scant 15 feet in front of you, snatching a squirrel in its claws and flying majestically off. Or looking up into the midnight sky and seeing countless stars like you’ve never seen them in the city.

Go camping.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


“Hi,” she said, rather cheerily. “My name’s Jane. I’m here with my mom. She’s over there by the new books. Know what I have?”

“No, I don’t know,” I said. And I wondered what about my busy-ness and cluttered table at the library made her think I wanted a conversation just then. But having raised three magnificent daughters, I guess I just automatically went into daddy mode. “What do you have?”

“I have a license,” she said.

“What kind of license?” I asked.

“I have a license to cry,” she said, as if it were a state secret.

“A what?” I asked, not sure if she said what it sounded like.

“A license to cry,” she said, almost in a whisper.

“Can I see it?”

“Oh no, sir. It’s too special to carry around with me. That’s what my mom says.”

“And do you cry a lot, now that you have a license?”

“Oh no, sir. My mom says if I cry without a really good reason, I might lose my license. So I cry only when I really have to.”

“Oh-h-h. That’s really something.”

“Yeah. I cried only a little bit this morning because I snubbed my toe and it hurt a lot.”

By this time her mom had also stopped by my table. “Jane isn’t bothering you, is she?”

“Not at all,” I said, trying to sound as convincing as I could. “She was just telling me about her license to cry.”

“Yes, and she’s very good about not using it too much.” She looked at her daughter and smiled. Then added, “She’s getting to be a big girl. Come on, hon. We have to go now.”

“Goodbye, sir,” Jane told me. “It was nice talking to you.”

“And it was very nice talking with you, Jane. Bye-bye.”

As they were leaving, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be if more kids were as polite as Jane and didn’t abuse their license to cry. In fact, I thought of a number of kids whose license I would like to immediately revoke. Especially that kid throwing the tantrum near the reference desk.

Parenting is not easy. But when it’s done right, it is definitely rewarding.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


His finger hovered midway between his ear and his nose, about an inch above his cheekbone. He moved it first toward his ear, then his nose, then back and forth a few more times. It was an odd looking movement and I was hoping that whatever he was going to do with it, he would do before the light at our intersection turned green.

Until I saw it go … there. You know where.

His finger went up his nose with a passion seldom seen in adult nose-pickers. He was definitely on a mission. He began to rout around as if he were trying to move every nook and cranny, through the forest of hair sprouting for anyone to see, to capture the little green man that did not want to surrender easily. But the little green man was no match for the finger with such dedication. Within seconds, his quarry was found and pulled out from his hiding place.

Fortunately for me, I wasn’t able to actually see his prize, but the young man looked obviously pleased with his successful hunt. He stared at it as if his nasal adversary were worthy of a warrior’s respect.

But that’s not the really gross part.

Be forewarned.

Be forewarned, again.

In 3 – 2 – 1 …

Without warning, and without dislodging the little green man from his dedicated digit, he quickly stuck his finger in his … ear, and began digging around in that waxy cave.


My mind reeled as my face grimaced in grossed-out disgust.

After a few seconds, he withdrew his finger from his ear. He looked at whatever treasure he had pulled out from there, and I assume layered on top of his first capture. And here comes another little nugget, not quite as gross but disgusting nonetheless. He wiped his finger on the underside of his tie.

That’s right. This 20-something young man, driving a green, 2010 Camaro and dressed professionally, was not only picking his nose in public, then thrusting the same finger immediately into his ear, had just finished his declaration of war on public etiquette with a swift swipe under his silk tie – also green, by the way.

I can only imagine what he does in the privacy of a dark closet.

Actually, I think I won’t.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


That’s right. Today is Happy Celebration Day to mark the 100th posting on the Eclectic Chalkboard. And how do I choose to celebrate it? I’m glad I asked.

Fireworks. (At least, pictures of fireworks.)

Big Party. (At least, pictures of a big party.)

Lots of Drinks. (You know, water … tea … more water … more tea …)

And of course, more fireworks. (At least, another picture of fireworks.)

And special thanks to all my readers, fans and family who continue reading, fanning and familying.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Welcome to a new feature of the Eclectic Chalkboard. It's called the Monday Morning Chuckle.

Typically, it'll be a cute picture with a caption (headline) worth chuckling about.

I mean, seriously, do you have to read something every day? Well, yeah, I guess maybe you do, sort of. I mean, I know I can't go through a day without reading something.

And yeah, you'll still have to read the caption (headline), but nothing necessarily thought-provoking. Well, I suppose even a caption (headline) with a cute picture could be thought-provoking. I mean, look at today's picture and caption (headline). It does provoke thought.

And will I ever stop saying, "caption (headline)" ?

Yes. Yes I will.

So enjoy your first Monday Morning Chuckle. I hope you look forward to every Monday beginning with a smile, compliments of the Eclectic Chalkboard.