Cat and Dog People


I grew up with dogs so I thought I was a dog person.  But then  I got a cat.  Sorry Fido, I’m hooked, on felines.  Ever since I proclaimed my pet partiality I’ve wondered what makes a person pick  team cat vs. team dog. It’s more then just a preference like vanilla or chocolate.  It’s much, much more.

To answer the question, cat vs. dog I turned to the expert on most things – Google. There is enough research and opinion out there to write a thesis on this topic but here are my top 5 findings about dog people and cat people.

  1. It seems everybody agrees that dog people are more outgoing and friendly then cat people. No surprise there, right? Just picture the folks in the park throwing Frisbees to beautiful golden retrievers. Are they not the picture of health and well being, just out there inviting conversation, companionship, or a friendly wave. “Nice throw.” “Good lookin’ dog! “What fun!”

Cat people therefore, are more like, um, cats? You see a beautiful cat who looks like he’d be yummy to pet so you approach him, hand gently extended and you say “hi kitty” in the most loving voice possible.  You get  close to him, maybe even just a few inches away and BAM!  You get a swat, a snub, or the cat simply gets up and walks away with his tail bobbing up and down, flipping  you off in cat language.  Cat people don’t mind keeping to themselves, and if a cat person is not in the mood for you, he or she  will definitely let you know.

  1. Another across the board finding was that cat people are generally smarter and more curious than dog people. There’s a bunch of supporting evidence on this but I’ve always held that dogs are not particularly smart, however they are highly trainable. I’m not sold that trainability equals smart but the majority disagrees with me.


Here’s a picture of a dog named Scout who is internet famous for balancing things on his head, and waiting.   He has outstanding patience.   Go Scout.

Felines are complete agreement that putting a treat on their head and waiting for the command to eat it is just dumb. I think that makes them smart.  And,  I believe that cat people don’t invest a lot of time or energy in things that make no sense either, thus, smarter.

  1. There is a strong agreement out there that dog people are less neurotic than cat people. I guess it makes sense.  If you have idiosyncrasies, walking or running with a dog, receiving the dog’s love, licks, and constant reassurance that you are the one and only may help ease your problems.  But to say that dog people are less neurotic than cat people? I disagree on this one without a shred of documenting evidence except to say that the term ‘crazy cat lady’ is not without merit.
  1. I’ve repeatedly read that dog people are more tolerant than cat people. I agree, being a cat person I know intolerance first hand.   My teenage children are good examples of cat people.
  1. Dog and cat people each have a different sense of humor. I’m not sure if I understand the research behind this finding but it does go  along with two other bits of information which is this:   There is a higher percentage of females who identify as cat people, thus a higher percentage of males as dog people.   Cat people enjoy satire and irony, dog people think burping the alphabet is a sport and that the fart and dart is funny.

Oh, you dog people!   I like you all, even if you have gone over to the bark side.


My Goal is to have an After Picture


According to Weight Watchers, I am not a lifetime member. Even though I’ve lived through versions of the program when you had to eat an egg a day, liver once a week, and no watermelon whatsoever, I am not a lifer.  Decades ago I was a meager two pounds from goal weight, and now as far from goal as I have ever been, I continue to show up with my member ID card, but I’m not a lifer.

Weight watchers, I almost have to disagree.

After giving all of this a lot of thought, it occurs to me that according to Weight Watchers, “Lifetime” goes forward, from the day you prove that you can arrive at, and maintain your goal weight for six weeks. From that point for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens at the scale, you are a lifer. So what you need is an after picture.

It’s okay. I don’t mind.

Weight loss is so complicated for some of us and simple for others. My husband can buy a box of Mallomar cookies and three days later when he opens the cupboard, he shouts “cookies!” surprised they’re there! He didn’t remember! In the absence of early onset Alzheimer’s I would NEVER forget the cookies. In fact it’s almost a schizophrenic episode for me. I hear the cookie voices summoning me: “Open the box, Helen…open the box.”

But I digress.

I need a weight loss goal worth getting and I need an after picture. The best diet I’ve ever worked is one I call the ‘Wedding Day Diet’. It’s better than the ‘Improve my Health Diet,’ ‘Summer is Coming diet’, the ‘Broken Heart Diet’, it’s even better than the ‘Revenge Diet’. Never before and never since my wedding day, was I more aware of the food going into my mouth, because I really wanted to look good from every angle when there’s a photographer following me around – and not one I can really hide from either.

This leads me to my new weight loss goal.

I’ve seen myself in pictures over the last decade and I hate every single one. I often shrug it off, saying “Wow, that’s a good before picture!” I have more before pictures than I want, or need. I’d like an after picture please, and not one from 20 years ago.

I have to give credit now to those Weight Watchers members who have fought the battle and are winning.  There are many. There are people who do every single thing according to the guidelines, and who do it well. There are even lifetime members who only do most things right, most of the time. Sadly, I am not one of those people.

Weight watchers for adults with A.D.D. should be and add on feature of the program and I’m here to start the revolution.  I begin most days with a plan and the best intentions. Then the cookie voices distract me. The day could still be salvageable but in a perfect weight watchers world I blew it. And there’s dinner to make, tasting that needs to happen, and so on. So start fresh tomorrow? Okay. But, the reset button only works once or twice a week max. Ever had the morphine drip after surgery? It’s kinda like that.

Breaking down all of the possibilities of becoming a stellar Weight Watchers member I realize that I may just dream too big.   My daughter said that about herself once, I think she gets it from me.

When I leave each weekly meeting I’m all charged up and ready to go.  I plan the week like a superstar with food and exercise all planned out and scheduled in. I’m like the Roadrunner kicking up swirling balls of dust before take off.   Problem is that right after takeoff I smash into a tree.

So this week, I’m going to go public and say I’m adjusting my sights and lowering my expectations. I am going to dream a little smaller because I don’t really like smashing into trees. I want to navigate the forest and enjoy the walk around. I’m going to be better, not perfect, at managing my diet, and avoiding the trees.

After all, if you think about it, if I keep smashing into trees, my after picture, even a skinny one, would look kind of awful.


Finding Your People


cgsqdbquqaak2qnI attended the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Workshop last April. There was recently a request for attendees to comment on successes they’ve had since that time.  If you know this particular group of people, you would know that successes are measured in many ways.. “I finally found the courage to ask for what I want,” or “I finished and published my novel” are both acceptable answers.  I thought long and hard about my own answer to this call for success stores ,because  I did not finish a novel, nor did I find courage to speak up.   I found my people.

Every meeting, everyday, every meal, snack, session, and after hours moments led me to the most interesting, loving, and funny people you could imagine – and not always in the knee slapping belly laughing kind of way. I sat next to a woman who lost her 16-year-old daughter to suicide.  She shared her story with me, how she came to terms with things and now she was looking to find her “funny” again,   It’s as if the ‘funny’ was a drug. Of course there were outlandishly funny people there, including stand up comics, humor bloggers, even TV personalities known for their funny side.   And there was no shortage of fiction and non-fiction writers of satire.   The most hilarious new greeting came from a  person who told me “I don’t even know why I’m here!  I’m not even a writer!”   She was looking for something new.

Some of us find our people at Wal-Mart, some at Armani.

It’s important to find your people, no matter what age you are. I found my people in college where I learned how to party, and the value of hard work. I found my people in my first ‘real job’ where all of us post grads suffered under the hand of a boss who makes Michael Scott seem average. I found my people when my twins were born and a bunch of the moms of twins joined in joy and misery.   I found my people at Erma.

From every stage of my life I’ve found my people, because I go out and be where we can find each other.   I’m not always looking for them, I  don’t know who they are, what they look like or when they will show up.    I know it when they come however, because they fill up a space I didn’t know was open and it just feels right.  

The best piece of relationship advice I ever got was from a friend who was from the young professional version of me – those people.   I will never forget what she said while I was despairing about meeting that someone.   “Just do what you like to do,” she said.  “You’ll find like minded people who like to do what you like to do, and then you can do that together.”  In fairness my mother probably said that to me, many times, but let’s face it, mom advice is usually only good in hindsight.    

I spoke to my friend, the advice-giver recently,  and even though it had been years and years since we spoke, it was as if it was just the other day that we parted.  

Once you find even one of your people, they will always be with you, in different geographies, or sizes, or importance, but they never leave, they’re you people after all, and you are theirs. 




Cell Phone Graves

My daughter’s phone is “toast.” We remedy this by rummaging through our stash of old and broken phones, searching for one that works well enough to replace her’s which is currently inoperable, and this will have to do for now.

As I watched my husband bring  the motherlode of shattered phones to the kitchen to decide which one was most viable, I said to him, “I wonder. Will we have more broken hearts, or more broken cell phones when we die?”  I’m hoping it’s phones because there are already so many of them!

Years ago, with five people on smart phones, and three of them still fairly young, our foray into the care and maintenance of cell phones was rough.  Phones were dropped, stepped on, even lost in the woods where a good samaritan found it two weeks later, took it home, charged it up and called us.   I never thought I’d see that one again until – there it was, in my mail overnight with a note from the very nice little girl who found the shiny object on the dirt path, under the leaves.   I did have my daughter send her a thank you and a present in case you were wondering.


Over the years we have amassed many phones with shattered screens, water damage, or sometimes both. One of the funniest incidents (in hindsight of course) happened the night my oldest daughter was bragging about being the only one who hadn’t broken a phone.   While she gestured her arms wide, and said “EVERYBODY,” the phone flew from her hand, hit the concrete next to the edge of an in-ground pool, and then bounced in and sunk to the bottom.   It happened in slow motion I swear it.  Even nature muted while we watched it fly from her hand, hit the concrete, and swish slowly back and forth until it rested on the very, very, bottom.

But, that was several years ago and since then everybody’s attention to phone maintenance has significantly improved. Lucky for us.  Currently, with the exception of that one sad back-up phone in place, we all  do pretty well keeping our phones up, running, charged, and in good repair.    But my poor husband,  who waited a long time to get a new phone because somebody else always seemed to need one before him, just got the Galaxy Note 7.  You know, the one that catches on fire?  We charge it overnight in a heavy dutch oven so if it explodes we will be safe.

red-dutch-ovenNow, the good news:  Today is the day when Samsung replacement phones are available so we can go back to a regular charging set up and put the red pot back on the stove where it can be used for other burned things  – like my pot roast.

I might make a tiny cell phoned shaped cake in honor of the occasion.  But I don’t want  jinx things.


My Daughter Wants To be Vegetarian

From Your Teen for Parents Magazine, September 2016  –  (subscribe to the print edition of the magazine, you won’t regret it.  Subscribe)

Mom, I Want to Be a Vegetarian! Becoming a Vegetarian-Friendly Family

becoming a vegetarian

By Helen Chibnik

It’s late on Sunday afternoon. The chores are done, dinner is sizzling in the oven, and you finally have some time for yourself. But just as you finish No. 2 across in the Sunday crossword puzzle, your 16-year-old daughter appears before you to say, “I’ve decided not to eat meat anymore, or chicken, or fish. I’m becoming a vegetarian.”

You peer at her over the top of your glasses and without taking a breath, you point toward the kitchen and say, “Well then I don’t know what you’re going to eat for dinner because do you smell that? It’s a stuffed roaster, with gravy!”

This was the scene in my home about a month ago.

Because teenagers are filled with mini-rebellions against pretty much everything, I wasn’t sure if her announcement was a well-thought-out lifestyle change, or a temporary insurgence against beef. But when she didn’t leave the room I added, “I guess you’ll have to learn to cook.”

Becoming a Vegetarian

We want our tweens to be assertive, to maintain their values, and to live their best lives, don’t we? Of course we do. But I have three tweens and a job and no time or desire to learn new recipes or change the way our family eats.

I outlined why becoming a vegetarian wouldn’t work for her:

1.  You’re an athlete, and you won’t get enough protein.

2.  Nobody in our family likes tofu.

3.  I don’t know how to cook without chicken stock.

She still didn’t leave or get upset with me, so I folded the newspaper and gave her my undivided attention.

“Okay, why?” I asked.

“Things have changed, Mom,” she began. “We don’t need to eat like cave people any more.” She pointed to our family dog. “Would you eat Lucky?” she asked.

“Of course not,” I answered. “He’s our pet.”

“Some people have chickens for pets. And you know what else? Consuming meat like we do is a problem. It’s hurting the planet, and I don’t want to be part of the problem. You’re always telling us, ‘Don’t be part of the problem.’”

So there it was. She was using my advice against me. Damn her for being so incisive!

For dinner she had a plain baked potato and steamed carrots. As I ate the crispy skin from my chicken thigh, I started to dislike her for her healthy choices. What was my problem?

The next day at her request, we went shopping. I had to fight my herding instincts to let her go down the health food aisle but I managed. Staring at us were cellophane bags of things like almond meal and spelt. “What is spelt?” I asked, in a way that might have been a little snarky. She shrugged and looked at the bag. “I don’t know. Maybe they have recipes online. Let’s look at the package.”

All of a sudden I was disarmed. This wasn’t the 16-year-old “I know everything” adventure I was expecting. I calmly explained that this was new to all of us and our whole family couldn’t change overnight.

“I know,” she said. “I don’t expect you to change, I just want to change myself.”

She was asserting herself and asking for help. That’s what I want, isn’t it?

So, I had it all wrong. She was happy to be the vegetarian member of a carnivorous family and I was the one being immature. She wasn’t judging us. She was asserting herself and asking for help. That’s what I want, isn’t it?

With the pressure off, I made a few vegetarian dishes with surprisingly little resistance from her two younger sisters. I haven’t gotten to the point where I serve the entire family chickpeas and almond loaf for Sunday dinner, but I have learned that understanding and acceptance are more important than what cooks in the oven.

Our foray into vegetarianism scared me at first. But given the chance to hear one another out, we learned how to talk about it and to see things from each other’s point of view, in a new and more mature way. She didn’t know it, but she was also teaching me how to be a better parent.

For my daughter, becoming a vegetarian had more to do with her growing independence than anything else. So as much as I will miss our trips to our favorite burger place, I would rather eat with her at Earth Foods then eat without her somewhere else. And I’m happy to say that I still serve burgers. My daughter doesn’t complain when we eat them, and I don’t mind that she doesn’t partake.

Now, when we sit down to Sunday dinner, we offer each other a healthy portion of agreeing to disagree because as it turns out, family harmony is the best dish of all.

Dance Mom ? or no.

This is a piece from Working Mother Magazine that I wrote recently. We just signed a contract to dance another year. I signed the check with a a sigh.


The Reluctant Dance Mom

She wanted to quit, and then quit some more, but her girls showed her the way to stay.

Mom and two dancing kids

Illustration: Marie-Eve Trembly/Colagne

What do you do when you hate being a “dance mom”?

It’s no coincidence that our dance studio is in the same shopping center as the supermarket. They know how much a working mom loves the chance to multitask! That’s what I was thinking a decade ago when my 4-year-old twins, Emily and Heather, first skipped off to the studio door, pink flouncy tutus bouncing behind them, leaving me one glorious hour to grab groceries and run errands. Little did I know my Saturday morning routine was the first step to becoming a dance mom, and not the kind who can rock a hair bun.

Five years later, the girls asked to try out for the competition team, which meant all-day Saturday rehearsals. My mind went straight to open afternoons, catching up at home and having quality time with my husband and their big sister, Melody. There would also be three weekend competitions away from home, every winter. OK, I thought, I can do that. I handled making lesson plans (I teach music) and grocery lists away from home well enough, but what I could not handle was being a dance mom—an animadversion of a NASCAR pit crew who has five minutes to fetch, fix and feed little girls between dances and not lose her cool over a hairdo change.

And yet, soon I had to contour makeup, track costume pieces and remember which jewelry went with which routine. My kids complained that it hurt when I combed out an up do, and screeched if I made ponytails too tight. I lost lipstick and earrings in a cavernous makeup case called a Caboodle, and suffered their bad attitudes and meltdowns—but that wasn’t the worst part.

After three years of trudging through dance competitions, a tidal wave of drama struck when their group of dancers hit the preteen years. Encouraging words between team members became gossipy whispers and blatant snubs. There were parties and sleepovers that didn’t include my kids, and the emotional work was exhausting. But when I got a text from Emily that said, “All the girls in my class planned a Secret Santa behind my back, and they just exchanged gifts right in front of me,” my heart broke, we’re done,” I said.

But they wanted to stay. And I had to support them. It was difficult encouraging them to remain on the team when I disliked it so much. And just when things seemed to hit bottom, some of my now-former mom buddies became cliquey and competitive too. When the whole group, minus me, showed up in a Facebook photo after a night out together, I felt left out and disheartened. But then, strangely, I became grateful. Because all of a sudden I knew exactly how my kids felt—unimportant and forgotten—and I realized how much they needed me. “There are other teams, other ways we could spend our weekends, “I told them. No, they said. They wouldn’t be pushed out.“OK, then I’m in too,” I replied.

I dreaded the next competition, and I thought about using the buried-in-work excuse to keep my face in my laptop. But my twins, now 12, continued to practice the choreography that put them next to the very girls who caused them pain. They were showing me something: Put your differences aside and get the job done. Do real teamwork. Show up.

And that’s what I did. I pretended to like it, hoping I would grow into the part. I found like-minded moms I now enjoy at dance competitions, and I pay less attention to the rest. I take my playlist and earbuds, and head out for a walk when I can. Six years into dance competition, I’m happy to say the girls and I rarely argue at events, probably because they now manage their own Caboodles. I still hate being a dance mom—but you’d never guess.

Fall 2016

IMG_6106I wave bye bye  to summer

And the beehive in my yard.

I’m deflating all the pool toys

Which is more sad than hard.


The beaches are still open but

leaves are on the ground.

I can’t help buying pencils and

A bag to tote around.


I haven’t been in school full time

since 1983

But September always makes me sigh

And wish that it was me


who is


Cramming summer reading,

And catching up with friends,

And picking out my “first day” clothes

As if my life depends


On making good impressions,

And turning a new leaf,

But soon enough I realize

that me,

is just still me.



The air is subtly changing

I pull more toys from the pool.

And pretend I’m getting ready

for another

of school.

What Attention Span?

IMG_6030 This morning I did a few of the regular morning things that many people do.  I made coffee, let the dog outside in the yard, decided not to rid the kitchen sink of the dirty dishes and went to my desk.  

Because we’re still on summer break there is zero structure, extremely flexible plans and  due dates that move along the calendar line two to three days at a time.  There’s no rush to do much unless company’s coming.  At least that’s the vibe in my house right now.   

This is the point at which, (beginning next week)  I  set a timer to read my email and then to peruse Facebook in the morning.    But  I’m on summer vacation right?   I don’t have to worry about the time space continuum making me late for work or the kids needing a 7AM last minute thing for school.   I am currently unencumbered by 20 minute intervals. 

After a few minutes of sorting through email messages I noticed one about an upcoming convention I’ve been looking for.   That message reminded me about a seminar I’m waitlisted on so  I hopped over to that page to see if there was any news but when it loaded, all kinds of information beckoned my attention!   Yes, kid in a candy store kind of stimuli.   One speaker’s bio in particular interested me but clicking on her bio took me right to Amazon and her new book.   It was no surprise that the sidebar of the Amazon page featured small printers for college dorms which was the one thing we forgot to send with our oldest  when she left for school earlier this week.   The price was appealing but I always check Shopzilla when buying online and that led me to the sale at Target.  I put the printer in my cart and got myself more coffee because I wasn’t sure if we still needed the printer.   It was then, back in the kitchen getting coffee that I made the only true decision of the morning.  I decided once again NOT to empty the kitchen sink.  

So funny story – I went back to my computer where my planner, the family calendar, a stack of bills to pay and some postage stamps reminded me that I haven’t done a single thing to make my to do list smaller and somehow I’ve been up for over two hours already.   I figured I may as well write about it since that’s the one thing I might actually finish, and at least I won’t be 100% ineffectual this morning.    As soon as I press the  ‘post’ button for this blog entry I’m going to have at that stuff in the kitchen sink, but it’s such a nice day, maybe I should take a walk first, clear my head and exercise before getting the day underway. 

Big Sister Goes To College

 When the girl in this picture was a wee tot I took her to preschool.   I held her hand as  we walked down the hallway and as soon as she let go and waved ‘bye bye’ I started to cry.  I didn’t think she saw me when I teared up, and I know for sure she didn’t see the director comfort me and show me how I could peek into the classroom undetected to see that I had nothing to worry about.

Melody Moves into the dorm.

So as certain as I am that she didn’t see me cry that day, she still somehow knew, because on day two as I held her hand and walked her down the hallway to her teacher she looked up at me and said “Mommy, are you going to cry again today?”    Of course, you know I did.    But on day two I cried because my little baby girl didn’t seem to mind leaving me and that was hard.

Yesterday, when I left her at college, it was just as hard.

And the reason it was hard to leave her two states away in a dorm room, was not because she doesn’t need me, and it wasn’t hard because I’ll miss her.  It was hard because she’s so incredibly confident and smart and beautiful and, well, ready.    She is ready and I don’t think she’s going to need me at all soon.   It makes me  wonder if the mama bird who kicks her birdies from the nest feels the pain too.   She thinks she’s ready for them to go, but then they fly away and it’s too late to say, “wait, make sure you eat vegetables, and make good choices!”   I wonder.

When we were leaving yesterday she let me have a little pow wow with her so I was in fact able to tell her to eat right, make good choices, and go to class, even when you don’t really want to sometimes.  We hugged for a long time (I thank her for that), we both got a little teary. and then hugged for a while more.    She hugged her sisters and her dad and we all said I love you and then she waved bye bye just like she did all those years ago.   She was off to start an exciting journey and we just went home.

So today was her first day there and our first day her without her.   When I went up the stairs past her room this morning I noticed from under the door that her light was off.  I thought “Hmm, she’s still asleep,” and then I realized she’s not here.  I told her sister the story and she said “Funny, I did the same thing.”

Resisting the urge to text her, to call her, to drive two states away and peek in the window like I did when she was little is hard. Yesterday I cried because I handed her off to her new place at her new school and today I cried because she went.  Tomorrow will be better and before you know she ‘ll be home arguing with her sisters and making a mess in the kitchen and I’ll have to remember just how much I  missed it when she was gone.

And when she returns to college for another term she might say “Mom, are you gonna cry again this time?”  And my answer will probably be yes.  Of course you know I will.




The Fancy Dress


I wrote this piece several months ago, but it seemed timely now that prom season is in full swing.

I recently attended the NJ All Shore Chorus’ 53rd Annual Recital. My daughter was awarded a music scholarship from All Shore this year and when she texted me from the auditions to say she had the scholarship, the first thing I thought about (after yay!) was, what will she wear?  There really isn’t any pomp and circumstance to choir wardrobes. Although she’s needed clothes for every kind of choir you can imagine, from high school to a touring A Capella group, outfitting her has always been the same. “Mom, I need a black dress.”  (It’s amazing how many different kinds of black dresses one girl can own.)   But now were were shopping for a soloist gown that might be  red, or teal, or peach, with beads, or sequins!  I was giddy.

When I was in high school I had just one gown, when we, as seniors, we were encouraged to dress formally for our final spring music recital. I remember the day when my mother bought me a fancy dress for that occasion.” Don’t tell your father how much we spent,” she said. “Just hang it up in your room.  He probably won’t even notice.”  The dress she bought me was over budget, but “for some things we make exceptions,” she said. Now it felt like my time to pay it forward.

Busy schedules sent us shopping after 8pm on three separate occasions, until finally we found the perfect dress which unfortunately did not have the perfect price tag.   But how could I not buy this for her?   How many times will an event like this happen? I could hear mother’s voice in my mind,  “She looks so beautiful in that gown.  She feels beautiful. So, you’ll have to turn the thermostat down for a month and skip all the takeout until Spring. Do it. You will regret it if you don’t.”   And then a saleslady named Anu came into the fitting room and sighed with me. “You have to get this one,” she said in an Indian accent.

“It’s really more than I was planning on spending.” I said.

“Don’t worry about the price mommy.” she said, “I fix it for you.”

And she did. Bless that saleslady who with the swipe of two coupons knocked the price of that dress down by 40%. Anu has daughters too she told me, who are all grown now. “When they feel and look that beautiful?  There is not a price for that. You’re a good mom,” she said. “We moms have to stick together.”  She smiled and zipped up the garment bag.   “Now you carry it,” she said to my daughter.  “Mom did enough hard work today.”

When she stood on the stage that night and sang for us it was perfect. It was all worth it, every penny. And after the concert, and then our small after party,  I was thinking that I hope one day my own daughters will have the chance to buy their own girls a  dream dress. And if not that, then maybe like Anu did, they can help in some other way.

There are so many things our kids want to do that require money and time we’d rather spend elsewhere. But we spend it on them for whatever the important reasons are at the time. For me, this was one of those times.

It’s true, if it can make them look and feel like a million bucks, there really is no price for that. And to my own mom and to Anu I  am grateful to be reminded that you can’t buy happiness, but once in a while you can buy a really great dress.

Raising Teens with A Sense of Humor