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A Special Place by Sharon O’Donnell

The past few weeks have been hectic but fun.  First, my middle son and I accompanied my oldest son to Charlottesville, VA for an orientation meeting for grad students in  his Masters of Accounting program. I absolutley LOVED traveling with my two oldest sons and reveling in the kind of young men they have become — from their character to their senses of humor.  It was just fun being with them. Charlottesville is wonderful too, and my son will be living within walking distance of campus as well as the downtown pedestrian mall area. He will have a lot of fun there, I know (he will after all be living in an apartment complex on top of a World of Beer taproom). 

Then it was home for the three of us to pack and leave with the rest of the family to travel by car to York Beach, Maine; this is a beautiful beach town on the southern tip of Maine that we have visited regularly ever since my husband’s Great Aunt Kay used to live there (she was a wonderful lady).  The road in front of the cottages along Long Sands Beach is dotted with ice cream stands, just … Continue reading..

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Shy or Rude? by Sharon O’Donnell

The other day I was at the mall with my 13-year-old son trying to find him some sunglasses to take to Scout camp. As we were standing there looking at sunglasses at a kiosk in the middle of the mall, I heard a female voice call out to my son, “Hey, Jason.” I turned to see two attractive girls on our right, but they were still standing about 20 feet away from us.
“Hey, Jason,” one of them said again, waving. I looked at Jason, who seemed to be doing his best to ignore the girls. He hadn’t even turned to acknowledge them yet.

I smiled at the girls and said, “Jason, they’re talking to you.” Jason had that deer in the headlights look, and he stayed focused on the sunglasses in his hand, not turning toward the girls at all. The girls were still standing there, pausing in their stroll down the mall. I smiled at them, embarrassed, and smiled and said as friendly as I could, “Hi!” I then motioned toward Jason and shrugged my shoulders and shook my head as if to say ‘what I can I do with him?’ They smiled and continued walking.

I was … Continue reading..

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That’s Because He is a Guy by Sharon O’Donnell

On June 22nd, I am having my middle son’s girlfriend’s family over for a cook-out. Even though they are rising juniors in college and have dated since they were sophomores in high school, this will be the first time we have all gotten together. Over the past few years, things got so busy, my husband and I have had very little time for a social life, and her family has been busy too. We finally found a spot on the calendar where we were all available on the same day: her parents, her sister and fiance, her brother and girlfriend, and of course the girlfriend and my family.

My middle son was matter-of-fact about all the family members finally meeting. That’s what I’ve come to expect with guys. But his girlfriend texted me saying she was excited about it and even made a smiley face beside it. I NEVER get smiley face texts from my guys; their expressiveness is usually more low-key. So I loved getting this text from her, and I was envious of those moms who have girls who get such texts on a routine basis. Now I know that some boys might use the smiley faces, but … Continue reading..

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Children & Parents by Sharon O’Donnell

I haven’t posted the last two weeks because I’ve found myself caught once again in that sandwich generation: my father fell three weeks ago and broke his shoulder, and my siblings and I have been taking turns caring for him. Between my weekday job as a Teacher Assistant in the fourth grade, parenting my 7th grader, and spending time helping my father, there is very little ‘down’ time. My 7th grader is in year-round school which will not end until the end of June. We’ve been involved in science projects, poetry projects, and God help us — surface area and volume formulas — for the past few weeks. Then there are band concerts, baseball games/practices, and Scouts. I have to say at the end of the day of going through metric system conversion word problems with fourth graders, it’s tough to come home to see what my son’s schedule holds for the night.

My father is 89, and there is no surgery for his shoulder fracture — it just has to take the time to heal on its own. In the meantime, however, he has been in pain and very uncomfortable. He is positive about it all, but it is … Continue reading..

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Medea’s Wise Words by Sharon O’Donnell

You know how sometimes it is the little things that can send you over the edge — in business or in a personal life — and definitely in a marriage. Usually it’s not about just the little things, but those are the things than often create the arguments. I almost started an argument with my husband today about one of those things that is small in the scope of everything else. He was out of town, and I was doing laundry when I saw that my favorite pair of white denim jeans — which I’d hung over the shower door to dry since they can’t go in the dryer — had stains on them. At first I thought it was grease, but upon closer examination I realized it was hair dye stains — brown hair dye stains like that my husband uses. Every so often he will buy a box and use it at home, prompting myself and even our sons to beg him not to do it since inevitably there would be some stains left on the floor and sometimes on towels. A few years ago, I put aside one towel and designated that as the ‘hair dye towel’ … Continue reading..

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Face Time Up Close & Personal by Sharon O’Donnell

I remember not too long ago people said that ‘one day’ we could make phone calls to someone and see each other on a screen during our conversation. And I remember thinking then — “Why would anybody want that?” It seemed like an invasion of privacy that I wasn’t ready for.  Quite frankly, I don’t want to feel I have to always look halfway presentable in case someone calls. No with Face Time, the future is here. Of course, we can choose whether to be a part of a Face Time conversation or not, so it hasn’t taken over every call that comes in.  And I can see where situations like soldiers overseas being able to call home and SEE their families, and then there are other loved ones, too, who live far apart or don’t get to see each other a lot.  But this are phone calls that you CHOOSE.  Thank goodness we still have that choice.

I am not one who keeps my cell phone with me at all times. Sometimes I leave it in the car when I come in the house, and sometimes I’m not really sure where it is, but I know I’ll find it … Continue reading..

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Common Core Versus Common Sense by Sharon O’Donnell

As the mom of three sons — one a college graduate and headed for grad school at the University of Virginia, one at sophomore at North Carolina State, and one a 7th grader — I have been around the block a few times when it comes to our educational system. Unfortunately, I have been able to tell a HUGE difference in how well our public education system prepared by older two sons for their futures and how that same system is now preparing my youngest son.  Instead of studying a topic for a week or two and attempting to master that topic followed by a unit test, current students are now given mandated Benchmark tests that cover little of this and a little of that. Teachers have tons of written objectives they have to cover and when they need to cover them; their classroom is really not their own. When my older two sons were in middle school, they learned how to take notes, read chapters and highlight them, and study for big tests that covered major topics.  My youngest son has unit tests in math, but in addition to those, he also has benchmarks (that cover several topics) and … Continue reading..

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Getting Going in the Mornings by Sharon O’Donnell

Is it a cold or allergy??  That is the question I’ve asked myself when I woke up every morning this past week feeling terrible.  My nose is stuffy, my eyes itch, my throat is scratchy, and my ears are always stopped up.  When I wake up, it takes a lot to get me out of bed and going:  eye drops, a heating pad, Excedrin, cough drops, and cold/allergy meds.  I need about 45 minutes of transition time before I can drag myself to the bathroom and put on my make-up to get out the door and on the way to my job at a Teacher’s Assistant at an elementary school.  Once I’m up and going, I feel much better — until later that night when the symptoms start again, regardless of what kind of meds I take. Then it’s to bed and another day.  Another morning. When I felt the sore throat symptoms beginning last week, I took several Zinc lozenges to ward off what might be coming — and I felt much better for several days and thought I’d nipped it in the bud — until the symptoms started again in full force. 

Colds didn’t hit me this hard … Continue reading..

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Boston with My Boy by Sharon O’Donnell

Billy at BC

This past weekend my oldest son and I flew to Boston for the weekend for him to visit the campus of Boston College; he is trying to decide on where to go to school for his one year Masters of Accounting program and has been accepted into Boston College, the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University, and NC State. He wants to go somewhere different than where he did for undergrad school, so he declined NC State’s offer. Loves State and always will but felt he needed a change of scenery.

I LOVED going to Boston because I got to spend some quality time with him — just the two of us – -and talk the way we hadn’t done in a long time. I saw again firsthand the kind person he is, how funny he can be, and how sentimental.  Even though, my son Billy was impressed with the BC campus and has always wanted the chance to live in Boston, he realized that perhaps BC might not be where he wants to go after all. He likes it, but there were a few drawbacks he hadn’t anticipated, and I hated to see him disappointed. At the same time, … Continue reading..

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Decision Time by Sharon O’Donnell

The time for my oldest son to make a decision about where he will go to grad school is here.  He was very blessed to get into almost all the schools to which he applied; he was accepted at NC State, Wake Forest, University of Virginia, and Boston College.  The only one that didn’t accept him was  Vanderbilt in Nashville, and they got back to him within two days of his application submission, which was weird. Evidently, their class for next year is already full or something.  That was not his first choice anyway, but it was rather unsettling to hear back from the a school so quickly and be rejected. It made him worry about his chances at the other schools.

He needn’t have worried. He interviewed at NC State and Wake Forest and received an acceptance and offers of some scholarship money from each of them. Although he loved going to undergrad accounting school at NC State, he really felt he needed to go somewhere different for graduate school. He loved Wake Forest University, the people there, and the beautiful new graduate school building that was recently completed.  Then a few days later, he heard from Virginia.  It … Continue reading..

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