Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Details May Be Sketchy, But The Memory Never Fades

Just found in a long forgotten folder in my email to my then publisher at The Pinnacle to be published for the February 24, 2007 ediition. 
What timing....(sigh)

Between Us


“What was my first word?” The Boy asked a few weeks ago, while we were talking about The Kids’ babyhoods after opening his birthday presents on birthday number nine.

I thought about it, but I honestly couldn’t remember. I could remember The Girl’s valiant attempts at “banana” coming out “blahblah” and her favorite show, Barney, was “Boway”. She also loved the movie, “Pocofauntus.” That would be Pocahontas, to you and me.

I could also remember exactly what she wore on her first day of school and how adorable she looked in her red coat with the black faux fur trim that matched her black snow pants for recesses in the frozen Alaskan north. I can remember when she played Squanto in the Thanksgiving play she and her 2nd grade class put on and how I teared up at our budding actress’ perfectly recited line.

The things that I can remember about The Boy are different but no less endearing to me. I can remember when he was three and I would pick him up from daycare. That first smile after he hadn’t seen me all day would stop me in my tracks. When he would take me by the hand and introduce me to his friend’s parents, “This is my mom,” and I could hear the pride in his voice. Pride I wasn’t sure I’d earned.

I thought about the mandatory baby books moms are issued at our baby showers to document all the cute things that they do; the milestones. I’d heard jaded moms of more than one child often lament the fact that they weren’t as diligent as they thought they should have been with each of their children.

Looking at The Girl’s book, I was embarrassed by a very detailed account of her day:

7:00 a.m.- wake up, Sunshine!

7:10 a.m.- time to eat! Gerber oatmeal and applesauce

7:25 am. - clean up applesauce/oatmeal from floor, kitchen cabinets, my face and entire baby

7:30 a.m.- dress baby

7:45 a.m. -diaper blowout. Re-dress baby

8:05 am.- playtime with baby. Stuffed cow, stuffed kitty, soft blocks, soft books

8:20 a.m.- baby seems to have me in a game of fetch as she throws cow and kitty. Mommy retrieves

8:45a.m.- Mommy bored with fetch.

9:00 a.m.- sippy cup introduction

9:05 a.m.- screaming baby appeased with bottle

9:30 am. -“Boway’s” on. Mommy can clean living room

10:00 a.m.- living room was clean. Baby hauled out stuffed cow, stuffed kitty, soft blocks, soft books

10:15 a.m. -get baby ready to go to Dr. Throw Cheerios, sippy cup (bottle), stuffed cow into diaper bag. Put in car with other essentials

11:15 a.m.- bring baby to car and we’re off

12:40 p.m.- home from Dr. Baby had shots, and is in perfect health, but demanded stuffed kitty. Mommy has a headache

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. - Nap time

2:15 p.m.- baby wakes Mommy up from nap

2:20 p.m.- snack time. Cheerios, fruit, and milk for baby, left over fruit and stray Cheerios for Mommy.(And a chocolate bar. My blood sugar’s low)

3:00 p.m. - same “Boway” show that was on this morning is on again. Baby doesn’t know difference. Mommy can clean kitchen.

The Boy’s was not quite as detailed, but it said the only thing that every child should know:

2/4/1998- Brought baby home from hospital. One of the happiest days of my life.


Kelly Sinon can be reached at lives in Gilroy with her family.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thirty Years Later, Women Will Be Girls

By Kelly Sinon

  Recently, four girls, now women, sat down for the first time, all together, in over 12 years. The group has been friends for over 30 years, drifting in and out of each other's lives as time and life brings each of them on different, yet similar paths.
  Each of the women has been married. One, divorced and happily remarried (X2), One, now happily single, and two, in it for the long haul, enjoying the journey. They have 50+ years of marital experience to draw upon for solicited and friendly, unsolicited advice and collectively, between them, there are 8 children. The kids range in age from 2 to 22.
   As you can imagine, anything touted as "Girls' Weekend" will have it's share of squealing with delight, somber moments, realizations and copious amounts of delicious ...and some not so delicious, (sorry about that wine, guys) alcohol.
  What we were most unprepared for, was the amount of adult (no, not that kind...well, a lot of that kind, too) conversation and debates about such grown up things as infant car seat laws, drug testing for welfare recipients, real estate and immigration. I was impressed that as we grew up and formed our own opinions, none of us were so set in our way of the world, that we were unable to see another point of view. Each one of us brought to the table, our own experiences and opinions based upon them. We are friends for lots of reasons. Not the least of which is respect and interest in why/how the others think of things.
  I cherish my friend who is adores anything Victoriana or WWII Land Girl and makes her own gorgeous, authentic costumes for events, and frequently has starring roles in things like the Renaissance Faire and Dickens Faire during Christmas (side note: You must mark your calendars to make a day of it in The City to go to the Cow Palace to see it transformed into Dickensean wonder, complete with snow and spiced beverages....and maybe a cheeky show, that includes beautiful girls in full costume. And by that, I mean corsets, galore. And, oh! Her son has the leading role as Oliver, this year! ).
   My well-traveled friend, who has been so lucky to get to live in two European countries for years, is an amazing dessert specialist (no, seriously... she makes everything from scratch and it's all cookbook/magazine-worthy and says things like, "So, we were in Spain..." and then giggles at how pretentious she thinks it makes her sound, as a prelude to another funny or entertaining tale, while she stuffs her mouth full of nachos.
   My fantastic friend, who has the motherly patience of a saint, inherited from her own mother; the kind of patience I wish I had. She has sacrificed her beautiful dining room with the stately fireplace, to act as a huge sewing room in order to make countless dresses, complete with themes, mind you, by hand for her daughter's Rainbow Girl events, and she never shies away from chaperoning the many giggling, screaming girls to out of town venues. In fact, she revels in it. She is chauffer, wife and Mom extraordinaire.
  We were astonished to realize that each of us had at least one representative from our group at each of our weddings over the years, no matter where it took place. We have been present in each other's lives for major milestones; births and deaths. Sadness, confusion, joy, anger; you name it, we've been there.
  Spending a weekend with friendships like that, renews my soul and reminds me that I'm not alone. These three people know me, and have known me since before I got married and had kids, a job and a mortgage. When I aced a history test, or completely failed a math class; giggled into the night and compared notes on first kisses, commiserated over bad boyfriends, snuck clove cigarettes and wine coolers, and played practical jokes on each other, our parents, and our neighborhoods.
  Our Girl's Weekends can become more frequent, now that we are all (lower 48, even) stateside, finally. I think our neighborhoods should prepare themselves. The Triangle is back!

Kelly Sinon can be reached at You can find her at Bev Mo, searching for better wine.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

There's Laziness Behind All That Hard Work

By Kelly Sinon

  I'm trying to make it a habit to get one household chore done every evening, after work. I like a clean house and a tidy yard. I also like doing nothing on weekends.
  For instance, yesterday, I mowed the front and back yards, and used the leaf blower to annoy my neighbors, right before the dinner hour ...I mean, clear newly fallen autumn leaves from the driveway.
   I only felt slightly guilty about picking up Take & Bake pizzas for dinner on my way home. No, there wasn't enough time in my evening to do yard work, make a balanced meal and flop into the patio chair of my choice, while reading Real Simple (Okay, fine. Cosmopolitan.) magazine on my tablet.
   Tonight, it's laundry, as I make baked Panko crusted pork chops and stuffing (as I finish reading Real Simple magazine (Cosmopolitan) on my tablet.
  We're all products of our upbringing, and this apparently, was my take away.
   I'm going to quote my father, who might sound like he's channeling 1955 when he asked my mother what she did around the house all day.
  "It's not like you have to watch the clothes go around and around."
(My husband had better start running after a line delivered like that.)
   In Dad's defense, he couldn't understand why one load of laundry seemed to require strict supervision as it made the journey from the bottom of the dryer, to the top, to the bottom, to the get the idea.
  It's the best of both worlds; I can multi-task. I'm not great at a lot of things, but that is one thing at which I am very adept. Especially, when it includes reading at the same time I'm doing anything.
  "But Kelly," you may ask, "Why are you mowing the lawn, when you have such an amazing husband?"
  Frankly, my answer depends on the day you ask me.
  One day, I may say, "Because I really like being outside in the early evenings to unwind, and sometimes, I have a hard time being still, so I get to be productive and be outside. Win/Win."
  Another day, I may say," I don't need no man to do my work." (with snapping of fingers for emphasis.)
  Of course, the next time the question is posed, it may go like this, "That's a very good question, but If I waited for him to mow the @!%&-ing lawn...(insert diatribe here)."
  The beauty of this, is that all of those reasons are true.
  He's probably thoroughly confused.
  So tonight, as my hands... and pork chops are crusted in Panko, and I'm skimming Real Cosmo, I'll take multi-taking to Olympian levels, by thinking of what I can do Monday night. Did I mention that Friday night is the start of my Weekend of Nothing?______________________________________________________________________

Kelly Sinon can be reached at 
You may also find her in her favorite patio chair, mowing lawns, binge cleaning bathrooms, and basically just waiting for Friday.

Friday, September 5, 2014

October Summer's End....Friend or Foe?

By Kelly Sinon

Do they ever really leave home, nowadays?
 Just when you think it's safe to take your pants off as soon as you come home from work, or pee with the bathroom door open, The Kid moves back in for the summer.
  You've gotten spoiled, eating pizza rolls for dinner, and walking from the bedroom to the laundry room in your bra, in search of clothes you'd forgotten to remove from the dryer.  Your second Teen'hood comes to an end. You have to put clothes on, close doors and eat normal meals, again. What a drag. And then you realize you have no business being a teenager when you say things like, "what a drag."
  Not that The Kid is any more excited about this than you are. They suddenly have to keep the room they are occupying (I refuse to call it insert Kid's name here room), which is now a home theater, clean enough to see the floor, eat normal meals, and go to bed at a decent time. Not because you are worried about the amount of sleep they are (or not) getting, but because you are envisioning your electric bill doubled because the house never shuts down. The Kid wakes up at 1:00 P.M., and goes to sleep, if unchecked, at 2:30 A.M., lights and TV left on.
 On the bright side, you now know that it's not really you leaving those (sticky? Good God, why are they sticky?) fingerprints all over the refrigerator.
 No one talks about this. Everyone is so happy that Jr. is coming home for a few months, but let me tell you, I've noticed that college classes are starting later and later. Did you know that some schools start in mid-October? October! Sorry, I just really want to take my pants off.
 I think by the time school rolls around, they are just as happy to speed away; back to the Land of Perpetual Party. Scene of Sporadic Study. You get the idea.
  They've got their own system for doing laundry (don't), getting a meal (hopefully, free), and going to bed (whenever they damn well feel like it).
 As much as it pains us, they are adults. As we are trying to walk to the line between keeping the household, and our sanity running as smoothly with them as without them, they are retraining themselves to (maybe) attempt to do things the way we do, and raised them to do.
 A heated discussion with The Kid, about not leaving the dishes in the sink when she's been up for hours, and the dishwasher is a mere 8 inches from said sink, went something like this:
 The Kid: I just don't understand your priorities. 
 Me: You don't have to. While you're here, my priorities are your priorities. 
 This was in August. Early August.
 Okay, so I will miss The Kid's turn to cook, because she's a much better cook than I am, but I won't miss the mess that sauteed mushrooms, steak, twice baked potatoes and kale chips make. It's like she pulls out every pot and spatula we own, and some I don't even remember that we own. Not to mention that I never go though as much olive oil or minced garlic as when The Kid mans the kitchen.
  I will miss seeing her when she puts her hair in adorable thick French braids so that when she takes them out, her hair is soft, blonde ripples, that she lets me brush with my fingers.
 I will miss seeing her, if only for a second, as she dashes out the door for her part time job.  I will miss looking over at her any time I want to, as she sits on the couch, smiling surreptitiously while texting her boyfriend.
  I will miss seeing her bright smile and hearing her laugh when we are gathered around the kitchen island at the end of the day.
  I will miss that couple of hours at night when all the lights are out, TVs off, and electronics put away, and you can hear the sound of a family all under one roof, at rest. For just a little while.
 I hope she never really leaves home.

Kelly Sinon can be reached at

Monday, August 11, 2014

(Mostly) 80's Musical Montage Sets Tone For Car Romance

By: Kelly Sinon

 Recently, when it was time to part with my sweet "Carmela Soprano" a.k.a my old Cadillac Escalade, with the sketchy electrical system, and sporadically stuck gear box, I was at a loss. (Cue U2's "With or Without You") I mean, I knew what it took to get that behemoth of a vehicle to run every morning. It was as easy as brushing my teeth.
 (Cue Neil Diamond's "Love on the Rocks") Carm was beautiful and classy and had all the bling imaginable. I bought her in 2004, when she was a mere four years old, and HBO's The Sopranos was still going strong. But 10 years later, she was an aging actress. A few dings on the outside, and like a good manager, (Cue Journey's "Don't Stop Believin' ") I was in denial of the real issues underneath. It wasn't for lack of trying; no "doctors" could diagnose her ailments. Her illnesses were as mysterious as she.
 Even under the best of circumstances, my work day might start lke this:

Normal Driving Conditions:
Step one: Unlock door using key fob with fading battery and range.
Step two: Use key to (really) unlock and open door.
Step three: Jump up on running board, while making seizure-esque twisting motion to fall into driver's seat.
Step four: Insert key in ignition, apply brake, turn ignition to "Acc".
Step five: Put car in Neutral.
Step six: Start car.
Step seven: Put car in Reverse.
Step eight: Look for cat with death wish in rear view and (Cue Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer") back out of driveway.

Winter Driving in Rain: See above steps, and add:
Faulty electrical makes for an interesting gambling situation. (Cue Phil Collins' "Against All Odds") Will the windshield wipers stay on just long enough for me to get to work? If they do shut off, will I be close enough to the office to get there without needing to pull over and swipe my windshield with my hand?

Summer Driving in 104 Degrees: See above steps, and add: 
Faulty electrical makes for an interesting gambling situation. (Cue The Boss'  "I'm On Fire") Will the A/C work, or will I have to roll the widows down? Will the widows roll down? Will I be cruising down the highway in a very pretty Silver Sand hot box? I would be also be doing it in total silence, because when all of that happens, the radio also shuts off. So, I have more time to quietly contemplate my impending heatstroke.

I was okay with all of this until I pulled into work, tried to open the door (It was a good day...all systems were a go, and I might have even been singing along to the radio), and the door handle; a very pretty chrome one, I might add, came off in my hand. I stared stupidly at it. Wait... this isn't electrical. It has to work.
 I opened the window, stuck my hand out and opened it from the outside, while visions of channeling Bo and/or Luke Duke in paunchy, middle-aged woman guise in case I had to (Cue Duke's of Hazzard theme) shimmy out the opened widow, danced in my head. With the door now open, I pressed the button to close the widow back up. You know...because it's electric.
 A couple of weeks of this, and even a time or two having to climb over the huge center console to get out on the passenger side, because Carm (really Stephen King's "Christine"?) didn't want to let me out, thrown in for good measure, and (Cue The Greg Kihn Band's "Breakup Song") I was was done. It was time to move on, as much as I loved her.
 So, I began shopping for a new Partner in Cruising Crime. I wanted something smaller now, since there were no more field hockey tournaments, family vacations were not as frequent, with the kids growing up and it might be nice to drive away from the gas station for less than $90.00. Plus, the added bonus of an open roof for coastal drives at sunset might help ease the pain.(Cue Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U") I still wanted beauty and bling.
  It took some research, but I'm happy with my choice of something safe, sleek and sparkly.  After seeing it in the lot, a work friend asked what I'd named her. I had't yet, and I felt bad, for Carm had her name almost immediately.
 That Sunday, I drove her up to San Jose to meet The Husband for a date, work schedules be damned.
 Her first mini-road trip. I smiled at how fast she moved, I basked in the open roof, shades on, and didn't think of getting lost, since she told me where to go. It was time. The Name.
  I thought for a split-second, she might be a he; Don Draper, in homage to AMC's Mad Men's protagonist. But then it hit me. This is no man's car. This is Betty Draper-Francis. Don's ex-wife; beautiful, full of attitude and not afraid to tell you where to go. And she'll even look behind her for the cat with a death wish.

(...and fade with Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin' ")

Kelly Sinon can be reached at she's not out cruising the open road.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Chicken Curry and Flip-Flop Obsticles Yield Pine Cone Rewards at Triathlon

By Kelly Sinon

 It's 98 degrees in the shade.
 I'm on my hands and knees negotiating the end of a trail on a steep incline. Not in the shade. I'm flailing at dead branches and exposed root systems on my way by for balance and I've burned my left hand on a flat, hot rock. I also may be whimpering.
 The Husband is seemingly everywhere; in front of me, behind me, holding out his hand and encouraging me to go on. He is not whimpering. Yet. Because when we get down from here...
 It all started out friendly enough. A nice drive in the hills, after a jaunt into San Jose, where completely uncharacteristically, I'd decided that I simply must have chicken curry for lunch; which is exactly what you want in your stomach, still cooking, as you fight heat exhaustion and open hostility. 
  We had found ourselves at Uvas Reservoir, which is only a few miles from our house, but felt like the middle of the most rugged, off-the-grid kind of wilderness as I was scrambling to maintain footing and debating if I should just take off my clothes and be done with it; I don't care who is 100 yards away, fishing in the puddle below. You know it's hot when you don't even care that these are the the last set of frayed granny panties in the drawer because you were just too lazy to do one load of laundry. Yes, I'm wearing clean underwear, Mom. For now.
 We had started out meandering down the boat launch, marveling at the water line so high above our heads now, as the drought wears on in Silicon Valley summer, and sheer size of the gargantuan pine cones. I'd made a note that I would grab one prickly prize on my way back to the car. We'd only be out here for a bit, because its so hot, and no one in their right mind would be out in this heat for...well, any reason, really. 
 "You're doing so great, Honey!" He exclaims with all the enthusiasm of a camp counselor to the fat kid, making futile attempts at the rock wall. Wait... I am that fat kid.
If he clapped his hands, it would have been so easy. Just one push. 
 "Lets just walk around it," He said. "It won't take too long, " He said.
Sweating in amounts almost enough to fill the reservoir, he is also gingerly trying to make his way down the trail, concentration etched on his face. I know he is hoping I don't see that.
 In the back of my mind, I'm imaging us at the bottom of the parched bowl, broken; Family Guy-style. You know, when Peter falls down in a drunken stupor and his leg is kicked backward at an angle no leg should ever be, his arm hyper-extended at the elbow and x's for eyes.
 I'm amazed at how he can practically pick me up and set me on the new trail above us. I begin to fret about his bad ankles and how easily he can twist and break one or maybe even both. Do I have enough battery charge on my phone if something happens and they have to haul us out of here? An hour before, I was happily snapping pictures of cracked earth and imagining composing the perfect  Facebook post that would caution everyone to save water. Now, I just wanted to save our lives.
 Just as we get acclimated to one trail, it drops off, and there is another above or below that we have to make our way to. It requires problem-solving skills that abandoned me a few trails back.
  I'm also getting that really gross white film on my lips from exertion and no water. Yes, next time, there will be water. I can't believe I'm thinking there could be a next time, as I less than gracefully, slide down one of the last remaining hills on my ass. Did I mention that my flip-flops (Yes...I was wearing flip flops on this misadventure) alternately come off or fill with leaves and rocks. Keith is flinging his legs around, trying to empty his sandals as well.
 I'm now almost violently refusing his helpful extended hands. Not because I'm angry; because I wasn't anymore, but because it's so hot. I can't stand any more contact. No doubt he is envisioning that he will look like Broken Peter... after we get out of here.
 He's still encouraging me. "Look, Honey... see our car over there?" It looked like it was 5 miles away. A dot. 
 I must have begun walking very quickly. 
 "Sweetie, slow down! It's not a race."
 Like Hell. But I wasn't in a race against him. I was in a race against the reservoir, against myself. I could suddenly see that what I used to think was just weird mentality of marathoners and triathletes. Yes, I actually imagined I was a triathlete. Never mind that my last Jumping Jack may very well have been in my sophomore year in high school. It was hot, I was tired. And probably beginning to hallucinate. Don't judge.
 That last 5 miles (okay, maybe 1/4 mile) was a blur as the shirt I'd been wearing over a tank top and Keith had placed on my head to keep the direct sun off, was flung away. My mind laser sharp; my body, a well-crafted (stop laughing) machine focused on that one goal. The car (okay, maybe two goals) and air conditioning.
 No one was more happy and surprised than I, when we finally made it back to the car, with me in the lead position. I won! Okay, so I might have been competing a little against Keith. In retrospect, I'm sure he was hanging back to make sure I didn't kill myself the last 50 yards. 
 In what looked like one motion, he unlocked, and opened the doors and turned the air conditioner up as high as it would go, and told me he would be right back. I assumed he had to file some paperwork at one of the nearby porta-potties.
  I melted into the passenger seat and finally began to breathe with my mouth closed. I rested and waited, and just as I wondered if he might have passed out in a most undignified place, in a most undignified way, I saw him emerge up the boat launch from which this whole ordeal had begun. With not just one huge pine cone, but three. Gold, Silver and Bronze.


Kelly Sinon can be reached at She is in training for her next triathlon; power sitting in the morning, power sitting in the afternoon and power sitting in the evening.

Friday, July 25, 2014

So Many Moms to Choose From. Snorting, Optional

By Kelly Sinon

     Driving the long stretch of I-5 north, toward home from Riverside where we dumped...I mean...dropped off our oldest for college that first year, I realized that at some point, she would probably be bringing someone home for her father and me to meet.
     It's happening now. There is a young man that we will meet in about 24 hours, which doesn't leave me much time to perfect my persona. I can be anyone I want, which is exciting, but it's fraught with danger that if I choose to be No-Nonsense Mom, I will have to adopt... and keep that as my persona. Perhaps, even for the rest of my life, if things go well between them.
     No-Nonsense Mom is a force to be reckoned with. She may be a little gruff (think Colleen Dewhurst in Anne of Green Gables, for my fellow "Anne" nerdists out there), and appear to size you up after each sentence you utter in her presence. She doesn't smile much. She most certainly doesn't snort if she laughs too hard.
     So, that one's off the table.
     Moving on, we have Happy Mom. She is happy no matter how many glasses (sans coaster) are left on the coffee table.
      "No, no... please. Let me pick these up for you. I know you've had a rough day, with your tongue down my daughter's throat when you thought I was busy sliding those freshly baked cookies onto a plate for you. But trust me. I see everything."
     Wait, how did Happy Mom morph into Angry Get Your Hands Off My Kid Mom? That was startling. I didn't even know she was there until I was in the middle of that sentence. That's troubling.
     Anyway, back to Happy Mom. I like her. She is nice, smiles a lot, cooks, cleans and laughs; also without snorting. She is interested in the youngsters without being intrusive.           Okay, fine; that one's off the table, too. Katie wouldn't buy it for a second anyway, and I know for a fact that at some point, there will be snorting. And intrusiveness.
     There has to be a happy medium. I mean, I want to instill a good dose of fear, because....well, I just think it might be fun, while still being able to laugh. Hmmm. That is also a tactic. Crazy, maniacal laughter. So many choices!
      I guess I could wait and see which course of action her dad takes. We could be Good Cop/Bad Cop; but that's not fair because I know he'll pick Bad Cop and then I'm left with boring Good Cop.
      We should mix it up. In "Meet The Parents", could you picture De Niro as Good Cop to Blythe Danner's Bad Cop?
      As you can see, this has turned into a thing.
      Seriously, as long as there is someone who makes my daughter happy, I may not have to take the fear route. But I can't guarantee that there won't be intrusive snorting.

_________________________________________________________________________________Kelly Sinon lives in Gilroy with her family, and is enjoying the ride on her next parenting adventure. She can be reached at