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Third Time Around by Sharon O’Donnell


       Having three sons with a ten school years between the oldest and youngest certainly has kept me busy. We’ve had at least one son in public school since 1996. Whew! That’s a lot of school projects, vocabulary tests, and Algebra and Calculus tutors.  My youngest son will start high school in August, and last week we went to the open house at the school. My oldest son went one year (9th grade) at this same school before he was transferred to a new school that the county needed to fill (it was not closer to our home but was actually four miles farther away); then my middle son started at the new school when my oldest was  a senior there before being transferred back to the previous school where he went for 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. Our neighborhood was constantly being moved around in the school assignment, which is another story altogether. 

        When I took my youngest son to the open house, I entered the school and took a deep breath, as I thought of the GPA struggles, the AP and Honors classes, research papers, and chemistry labs to come. It was time to do it again. High school … Continue reading..

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Spring is here! by Sharon O’Donnell


 

Even though there are still a few cold snaps, for the most part, winter is over, and spring has arrived.  On a warm night in the 60s last week, I sat at baseball practice

for my 14-year-old and relished the warm weather and the gorgeous purple and pick sunset over the field at the USA Baseball complex in Cary, NC.

 

                                                                                                       Sunset at the baseball field.

Another sign of spring is that the busy schedule of my middle son in college is getting either busier as the last month of classes begins this coming week. Projects, exams, internships,

interviews, etc.  A very stressful time, but one with promise that the summer will soon be here.  We had a nice dinner with my son when he had a break in his schedule, but of course

his main reason for wanting to meet with us was that he wanted to see our dog, Fenway.  When my two college sons miss our dog, we take the dog to them if they can’t get home. This is known as a Fenway Fix. 

davidwithfenAnd every spring, I try to walk with one of my sons (and our dog) in a fundraising walk for various causes (Cancer/heart disease research, ALS).  … Continue reading..

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The Eyes have It by Sharon O’Donnell


miami

Well, after two weeks of snow and its consequences in central North Carolina (school closings due to icy roads), my husband and I were able to escape to Miami for four days. It was indeed beautiful, but unfortunately, we spent way too much of our time at the University of Miami Eye Hospital (Bascom Palmer) because my husband had problems with his retina. All is okay now, but I don’t think that the eye hospital is on the top 10 tourist sites in Miami.

As we were driving back from having lunch in Key Largo (about an hour south of Miami), my husband noticed some floaters and a “squiggly line” in his right eye. This caused concern, particularly because 14 months ago his retina detached in his left eye, and he had to have a serious surgery that took some tough recuperation time; people who have a detachment in one eye are prone to having it happen in the other eye.  Ironically, I had seen the hospital on our way out of Miami to Key Largo as it towered in the skyline, a huge banner on the top of it that read, “Number One Eye Hospital in the Nation”.  “Wow,” … Continue reading..

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Super Bowl Really Was Super — At Least Most of It by Sharon O’Donnell


I really enjoyed watching the Super Bowl this year, even though the team I was pulling for didn’t win. Sure, it was a terrific, close game with twists and turns — both literally and figuratively — to keep you guessing until the end.  But more than that, I loved the personalities involved:  first and foremost, I’m a huge fan of Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. He played three of his four college years with our local team and the school of my husband, father, brother and two oldest sons — North Carolina State. He always was a super role model while he played in Raleigh and just a great all-around person. I will never forget one time I passed him as I was walking in the door to K-Mart and he was walking out. He smiled and nodded to me and held the door open. He came across as kind and genuine. We were all glad to see him succeed in the NFL so quickly; he is such an incredibly motivated player and deserves that success. Last summer, my youngest son who was 13 then, attended a Russell Wilson football camp in Raleigh, and I saw Russell pose … Continue reading..

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Let’s Watch One More by Sharon O’Donnell


My two oldest sons and I LOVE to watch suspenseful TV series. “24” got us started back when they were in high school and middle school, and watching that weekly show together was really good bonding time.  But the best part was catching up if we started a series later than everyone else did. This happened with the first season of 24, and it was great fun watching episode after episode trying to get caught up before season two started. It was addictive watching the exploits of Jack Bauer, and I will never forget how we’d promise that we’d only watch one more episode, and then when that one would end on a cliffhanger, we’d look at each other and say together, “Let’s watch one more.”  It is a wonderful way to relax for me.  “Breaking Bad” was another series we really got into (I’d gotten them into 24 and they got me into Breaking Bad).  Then my oldest and I got hooked by the first season of Homeland.

Now that both of them are in college or grad school, we don’t get the chance to watch much TV together anymore, and my youngest prefers comedies to suspense.  So I … Continue reading..

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Back to the Routine by Sharon O’Donnell


So after the holidays, it’s back to the routine of regular life. Not as exciting but comforting in a strange sort of way: time to pick back up where we left off when our thoughts were focused on gift wrapping, baking, and trying to get to Christmas Eve church services (or other religious services) in time to find a seat.  My oldest two sons were both home from college, and I loved  having all three of my boys at home at one time again, as realize that will soon be a very rare occurrence.  My oldest son will finish grad school in May, studies for the CPA exam in the summer, and starts an accounting job in September for Deloitte right here in the local area of Raleigh. I’m so glad he will be local, but I know that he will be getting his own apartment and likely won’t be back home again for an extended time. 

Now that the oldest are both back in college, the house is so much quieter with just my 14-year-old here. I miss them. Yet, I know 2015 won’t wait, and it’s time to take the plunge into the year with full force and … Continue reading..

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Stepping Into the Past by Sharon O’Donnell


Walking around one’s college campus thirty years after graduation prompts much reflection. I only live 20 minutes from the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and I’ve been to Chapel Hill many times for medical appointments on the edge of town, but it’s been a long time since I went back on the heart of the campus. I’ve met friends before and had lunch on Franklin Street, I’ve been to field trips to the Morehead Planetarium with my kids when they were young, but the only time I’d been in the heart of the campus was in 2008 when my oldest son took a campus tour when trying to decide where to attend college.  This past week, however, I finally got the opportunity to walk between the buildings again, to stroll along the beautiful tree-lined sidewalks that meander through the campus, and it felt good. As I walked along, I could easily envision myself taking this same walk thirty years ago; I could even recall specific instances and remember the thoughts I was thinking back then at that moment. I could remember tests I’d taken and the emotions (good and bad) after them. I could remember … Continue reading..

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No More Halloweens? by Sharon O’Donnell


 When my 3 sons were small and I’d take them trick or treating, I always knew which houses didn’t participate in the annual candy-giving. Over the years, I knew the homes that were dark, with no porch light and often no inside lights — and usually no decorations.  I always vowed I would never be one of ‘those’ houses.  However, now that my oldest two sons are in college and grad school, and my youngest is 14, I find myself falling prey to the allure of closing up shop, so to speak, and not turning on the porch lights.  After all, there aren’t many young children in our rather stable neighborhood with parents all about my age.  Still, there are some. And I don’t want to be one of ‘those’ houses to them. 

So my youngest son and I got out the decorations from the attic, albeit on the day of Halloween as I just wasn’t inspired to do it sooner.  I went out and bought the candy.  And we turned on the porch light.  We weren’t one of ‘those’ houses.  Not yet anyway. 

I have to admit, I started finding it depressing out trick-or-treating when my youngest son used … Continue reading..

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Billy to Bill by Sharon O’Donnell


When my oldest son was born, we named him after my husband’s father who died five years earlier at the age of 58:  William Robert O’Donnell.  We immediately called him Billy, like his father had been called, but I was torn because part of me wanted to call him Robbie which would later probably become Rob — and I still harbored a crush from Rob on My Three Sons that I had watched growing up.  But my husband wanted him to be Billy after his dad, and of course I could understand that.  And Billy fit my beautiful blond-haired tyke perfectly.  He had an impish grin and a humorous personality, and the “le” sound at the end of the name, just rolled off the tongue so easily when we would call him, or laugh with him, or yes — sometimes scold him.  “Bill-y!”   He was my boy.  All the thousands of times I’d write “Billy O’Donnell” on school and medical forms . . .

When he started his junior year of high school, I remember one of the women at our church said that she bet Billy would soon start wanting to be called “Bill”.  But he hadn’t mentioned it … Continue reading..

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The “Love It or List It” Zone by Sharon O’Donnell


 Warning:  Watching the TV program “Love It or List It” can be addictive. This is one of the many shows that come on the HGTV network in which homes are renovated — only in this one the featured couple must decide whether to stay in their renovated house by the show’s designer  (with money they themselves put up, so it is a limited amount) or to move into another home that the show’s realtor finds them.  I know that these episodes are probably not all true-to-life and involve some overly dramatic acting — but I’m still addicted.  When I happen to come across the show as I’m flipping through the channels, I immediately go into another zone.  I HAVE to see which house the couple chooses:  their renovated home or a home the realtor shows them.  Will they ‘love it’ and stay in their house or ‘list it’?   Isn’t that what every inquiring mind would like to know?

The problem is that as soon as an episode ends, another one comes on before I can change the channel.  And usually there’s another one.  You can easily waste several hours by watching this show . . . or so I hear.  … Continue reading..

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