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Is it too early for white jeans?
Is it too early for white jeans?

When to wear white

As soon as temperatures climb above 45 degrees, I am ready to grill out, take my kids to playgrounds again and revisit my packed-away spring and summer wardrobe.

Already, I’ve busted out a couple of lightweight, floral shirts, but I am not sure about the white jeans. The "rule" that white clothing shouldn’t be worn until after Memorial Day keeps rolling around in my brain.

I’m not a big rule follower in general, but something stops me from wearing all-white clothing items at least until early May.

So now, I ask he fashionistas out there if this classic fashion rule still exists or should I just bust out the pale pants?

Bite the head off first, will ya?
Bite the head off first, will ya?

Seroogy's chocolate: A family tradition

My husband grew up in Green Bay, and many of his family members still live there, so it’s not surprising that Seroogy’s chocolates are a staple for us during all the major candy-centered holidays.

Seroogy’s has made candy in De Pere, just outside of Green Bay, for more than 100 years, and its chocolate is the richest, creamiest and most addictive I have ever tasted. The fudge, the almond bark, the fairy food -- it's all divine and evil at the same time.

Yesterday, my kids received two large Seroogy’s chocolate Easter eggs in the mail from my brother and sister-in-law. The eggs are about the size of a baked potato, solid chocolate and feature their names written in frosting across the top.

I am usually doing everything possible to keep sugar-loaded edibles out of the hands of my kids, but when it comes to Seroogy’s, I let them gobble with reckless abandon.

I think it’s important to teach kids the difference between good chocolate and bad chocolate. Life's too short to waste time on Dolly Madison.

Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston in "Marley & Me."
Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston in "Marley & Me."

"Marley & Me" cuts too close to the bone

I think I made a mistake last night by watching the film "Marley & Me." I’m not saying this because I thought the film was a waste of time, but because I have a 13-year-old, deaf, gray-muzzled Lab who can barely walk up the stairs.

I basically knew what the film was about, but I expected it to be less endearing and that it would seem removed enough from reality that it wouldn’t affect my real life. But it did.

"Marley & Me," which is based on a John Grogan memoir and stars Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, spans the entire life of a yellow Lab named Marley. Although the canine is the main character, the film also tells the story of John and Jenny Grogan's ups and downs as journalists, married people and the parents of three children.

Watching long periods of life recapped in an hour-and-a-half film is always eerie. It's an uncomfortable reminder that time goes by so quickly -- especially, it seems, when you have kids.

"Marley & Me" shows that the lifespan of a dog is no more than a short whistle of existence.

This weekend, my husband will build a ramp over  a portion of the back stairs so our dog can have an easier time going outside, and I plan to age-appropriately talk to our kids about the inevitable passing of our pooch. I have a few books on hand and I'm ready to field questions.

I've spent so much time thinking about how my kids will handle our dog's death that I didn't realize something until watching this film last night: I'm not ready for our dog to die.

The Talking Heads' Tina Weymouth was one of my original inspirations to bass out in basements later in life.
The Talking Heads' Tina Weymouth was one of my original inspirations to bass out in basements later in life.

Rock on

Occasionally, I make a mental list of "Things I Want To Do Before I Die" and up until age 30 "be a rock star" always made the top five. Because I didn’t find myself as the subject of a VH-1 documentary or tearing up Asia on my first Japanese tour, I reluctantly modified the goal to simply "be in a band."

The roadblock to the dream might have been the fact I don’t really play an instrument and I can’t really sing, but eventually, I didn’t let that stop me. (I call it "pulling a Luscious Jackson.")

For the past few months, I have joined forces with two other aspiring musician amigos, and we get together once a week -- religiously -- to jam in my friend’s basement. I play bass, Renee plays drums, Grant plays guitar and we all attempt to sing.

I  learned a lot about music in the past few months, and have the calloused fingertips to prove it. At the risk of sounding like Zack Braff’s narration in the final minutes of a "Scrubs" episode, I’ve discovered a lot more than music from being in a band.

I realized that at my age, most people have already identified their strengths and spend most of their time exercising them. It’s not easy to try something new and to risk being really bad at it. Life is challenging enough, who needs the added discomfort of growing pains?

But potential is an amazing drug.

It has been a long time since I was so unsure of my abilities, but forged ahead anyway. It’s like I wrote myself a permission slip to suck, and I do. Or, I should say, I did. Now, after months of diligence and lots of really bad sounds emerging from Renee’s basement, I’m a shade less than sucky.

I hate that expression about old dogs learning new tricks -- because I am neither old nor of the canine variety -- but I refuse to live inside this annoying cliche. I want to keep moving forward, keep learning, keep redefining success. One ear-bleeder of a bass line at a time.