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The Airport

Fri, 05 Apr 2013 08:46:00 -0700

There’s a strange sort of expression that most travelers carry when in international airports. As my husband and I stood in the security check line, I saw that expression on face after face as we marched on the airport carpeting…

Furlough day fiasco

Tue, 20 Nov 2012 21:24:00 -0800

“Your children are in time-out for the day and they broke the vacuum,” said the email I received at work from my husband. Oh hell, I thought, what now? I was the only one at work since the kids were…

The train

Mon, 17 Sep 2012 20:49:00 -0700

The train. No, I’m not talking about the distant (if you’re lucky) soft trumpet blowing of the Napa Valley Wine Train as it glides along the valley. Perhaps you’re thinking of a commuter train. Or maybe you’re thinking of a…

All the world turns

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 18:10:00 -0700

Soap operas are a sometimes loathed genre of daytime television originally nicknamed as such because the family and community dramas played out on television helped to sell soap, the ultimate objective. For most of my life I was aware, like…

Summer slowdown follows kindergarten crunch time

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 00:00:00 -0700

Thank goodness for summer — a time when our busy lives flatten out a bit and things move a little slower, a little more relaxed. Except for camp for a couple of weeks, there are no alarms going off in…


Sun, 15 Apr 2012 17:23:00 -0700

“Mom. MOM!!!!!”


Sun, 26 Feb 2012 15:56:00 -0800

Oh snap. My iPad screen lay there on the top of my bed — forlorn, broken, and defeated. Now I knew what my students wailed about on Facebook when their iPhone screens cracked or broke. Just a couple of minutes…

Mani-pedi mania

Mon, 02 Jan 2012 15:59:00 -0800

I've finally discovered what all the hoopla about the so-called "mani-pedi" was about. I'd prided myself for not being a "girly" girl and mostly resisted the charms of getting a professional manicure or pedicure. The one time I had-a decade…

My Other Kids

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 21:30:00 -0800

Last year I had to wake up before 4 a.m. for these kids — on a Saturday. This year, in fact, this last Saturday, I was able to sleep to a ripe 6 a.m., but this time we were going…

Back to School

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 00:00:00 -0700

I'm looking at the clock as I write this: 2:56pm. I do this now during the week because our twins have finally joined the world of school, kindergarten, to be exact, and I have to think about where they are…

Summer of Dreams

Thu, 21 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0700

"We need more white flowers for the magic!" my son exclaimed as the three of us – mom, daughter and son – sat in the cool shade of the elementary school that was out for summer. The birds had formed…

Bad Cat

Tue, 31 May 2011 16:13:00 -0700

"MOMMY MOMMY DADDY! Boba is under our bed!!!!!!" my kids were screaming as they were changing into their pajamas.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Mon, 09 May 2011 16:12:00 -0700

No, I'm not talking about a winter wonderland or the winter holiday season. Instead I'm talking about the scholarship and graduation season that happens at Napa Valley College and other colleges every May. NVC scholarship applicants are mostly still waiting…

Water blues

Tue, 29 Mar 2011 18:03:00 -0700

That weird gurgling water sound is at it again. I’m starting to wonder if there are poltergeists running around our house and changing or breaking things just to mess with our heads. Sure, that usually means it’s one of the…

'So your daughter started choking'

Sun, 06 Mar 2011 18:15:00 -0800

So I was sitting in my office taking a deep breath from my marathon teaching morning. I looked around my office, felt a pang of hunger, and had begun to think about lunch. Suddenly, the phone rang and, simultaneously, I…

Happy New Year! You’ve Been Un-friended

Sun, 16 Jan 2011 00:00:00 -0800

Yes, I have a Facebook page — a few of them actually (two for business).

The Show

Thu, 23 Dec 2010 17:32:00 -0800

"I'm the NUTCRACKER!" my son falsetto-shouted. I had taken the kids to see the Nutcracker at the Lincoln Theatre and now they were entranced—literally sugar plum fairies dancing in their heads. Since then, the kids have set up dioramas around…

The Smart Decision

Fri, 15 Oct 2010 00:00:00 -0700

A few days ago, my new Android G2 smartphone arrived at my doorstep. Now if you’ve read any of my past stuff here, you know that I dove into the smartphone era after I couldn’t get to my kids or…

I'm alright

Wed, 18 Aug 2010 19:19:00 -0700

I got my bag together and headed out to the main pool of the Silverado Resort where I knew I could order lunch poolside. Sure, there was a pool area close to the condo I had rented, but it was…

Coffee or Tea?

Thu, 01 Jul 2010 00:00:00 -0700

I’ve rekindled an old romance: coffee. Years ago I decided to wean myself off of coffee and my husband followed suit. It was tough at first. I remember the huge 7-Eleven-sized gulp cups my husband used to drink iced-coffee out…

What's that smell?

Thu, 27 May 2010 07:50:00 -0700

Is it a curse or a blessing to have a super sniffer? It's a blessing when you catch that waft of pasta and sauce cooking as you enter the house, but it's a curse when the smell of doggie doodoo…

The Secret Life of Professors (Yes, We Have One)

Mon, 22 Mar 2010 17:47:00 -0700

“Ms. Gillis? Uh, professor?” It was one of my students blinking at me in a local grocery store. “Oh, Hi Janet. How are you doing?”

The 'Why?' stage

Wed, 17 Feb 2010 00:00:00 -0800

Just after my son turned 3, he entered the “Why” stage; his sister quickly followed but not quite as aggressively. You may know the Why stage if you have children. Regardless of whether it’s during breakfast, at the store, at…

Cathy Gillis: Are Children's Books Playing with Our Minds?

Wed, 13 Jan 2010 11:00:00 -0800

Hop on Pop -- a perennial classic. Perhaps you remember some of the words, or if you have small children, I think you'll readily speak the remarkable rhyming stylings of the legendary Dr. Seuss. I think ostensibly the aim of…

Cathy Gillis: Where are the Worst Drivers?

Sat, 19 Dec 2009 00:00:00 -0800

Recently I posed this question on my Facebook page: “Who has the worst drivers? Northern California or Southern California?” Boy, did I get a response. Whatever my “friends’” wrote, they insisted that their opinion was the final word on the…