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If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. ~ George Bernard Shaw

It’s the sandwich generation: Kids in school; Aging parents; Home maintenance blues; Bathroom remodels; A stuffed refrigerator that somehow contains nothing to eat.

And yet, the magazines suggest I should create a beautiful, feng shui home AND have a delicious, nutritious, and colorful meal on the table every night AND my kids should be excelling in a zillion extra-curricular activities while making straight As.

Is that even possible? Any of it?

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I can say, definitively, that the perfect number of children to have wasn’t two. My mom should have had ten children. Or maybe zero. But two was way too little. Or probably much too much.

My mom taught me about life through her example, as most moms do. I learned from her amazing successes. But I learned even more from her spectacular failures. The retrospective of my mom’s life that I play in my head is like watching that old Wide World of Sports commercial – “The thrill of victory. And the agony of defeat.” The one where the skier goes flying off the trail and hurtles into the crowds. In my mom’s case, the agony of defeat was a slow-motion spill across decades.

When Mom was eighteen, she experienced the thrill of victory by enlisting in the Women’s Army Corp. That’s right. My mother wore combat boots. She was also a five-two, double-D, red-headed bombshell who looked like some sexy-adorable mash-up of Marilyn Monroe and Pippi Longstocking.

Partly, Mom joined the Corps because she was smart and she was poor. But mostly, she joined because becoming a WAC was an...

Holderness Fathers Day Video

I write this on Father’s Day in honor of my own dad, the King, and of Galahad, my Prince Charming. I was doing my deep research for this essay on Facebook, where most of my deep research is done, and I happened upon a Father’s Day video created by The Holderness Family. I usually find their stuff really entertaining since the couple is charming and they create amusing parodies. This one, though, had home videos sent in by their viewers of dads doing goofy dad things with their kids. And it got me. Chills and eyes stinging a bit with tears.

You’ll see if you go to the video, that these are average-guy-dads – not models. They are in various states of average-guy-dad dress. In fact, they are mostly wearing schleppy shorts and t-shirts. They are average-guy dads doing average-guy dad things by playing with their kids: dancing, jumping on a trampoline, swimming, biking. Yet I got a little thrill by watching them. I don't think I'm the only one thrilled as the video has racked up almost 8,000...

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“I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way.” ~ Letter from Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf

Those of you paying close attention will immediately take note that this is the same Vita Sackville-West to whom Violet Trefusis (the inspiration for the blog name) was writing love letters.

The hussy! The female philanderer! <Come on, Maddie … Read the title of this blog entry again.> The perfectly normal, if bohemian, woman. For those following the thread, this was the progression: Violet got to Vita a few years before Virginia did.

Now, lest my friends read this blog and think I will declare my undying adoration and ask them to run away with me to France the next time we meet, it is somewhat unlikely (dammit - France with my friends sounds outstanding!) However, I do admit to having strong feelings for a blessedly large number of women. They are my friends. They are my tribe. They support me and I hope that I provide some small measure of...