January 2013

My family just uncovered a long-lost children’s anthology—replete with the typical classics. The editors also included some 20th Century gems such as “The Little Engine that Could”, “Curious George”, and “Where the Wild Things Are”. These titles brought back wonderful memories, as I perused the Table of Contents.

But then I saw it.

“Kids, do want to hear my all-time, super-fantastic favorite story?”

Unenthusiastically, “Ok.”

“No, really. This one is terrific!”

“What’s it about?”

And as I began to read animatedly, they gathered ‘round.

I had found “Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!”* The story about Alexander—everyone’s kid self—whose days sometimes go wrong from the get-go. He slipped on a skateboard, his sweater fell into the sink, and he was the only kid who didn’t get a prize from the cereal box that morning.

It was going to be terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And Alexander was planning to go to Australia!

Alexander's ship to Australia

Alexander’s ship to Australia

By the time Alexander found out the sneakers he wanted were sold out, I asked the kids, “So what do you think Alexander said?”In unison: “It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day,” and of course, Alexander wanted to go to Australia.

Some days are like that. They’re terrible, horrible, no good…and we want to get to the place farthest from where we are. Some days Australia sounds pretty good.

Then, as Alexander’s mom soberly points out, we all have bad days—even in Australia!

Quick cure for winter blues—enjoy a kids’ story! (And in Australia, it’s summer!)


*Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst


The cruise control feature in my car is a wonderful invention! I set the control to the speed limit—I’m not interested in any speeding tickets—and the car moves smoothly along the highway. I enjoy looking at the scenery as I travel. And there’s a side benefit to the driving on cruise control: I get to exercise my feet during the drive!

On a recent trip from Los Angeles to La Jolla, I had one of those rare moments where I could use cruise control on this drive. What a pleasure! All that time at a steady speed got me thinking…

…about what I miss when I’m on cruise control. I might miss an awesome view of the Pacific Ocean…Pacific Ocean

Or I might not be able to stop at the View Point turnout to watch the birds fly swiftly to their perch on the sign pole.

Birds perched on "do not feed" sign

Birds perched on “do not feed” sign

Or I might miss my exit to the next highway—which really happened!

What else would I miss while driving on cruise control?

View of the castle on the La Jolla Bluffs - I almost missed this!
View of the castle on the La Jolla Bluffs – I almost missed this!

What would happen if I could set my life on cruise control? It’s awfully tempting. I’d move along smoothly, not take any detours, and avoid challenging roads. I could enjoy the scenery. It would be easy to move from one task to the next. There wouldn’t be any annoying occurrences. I could simply take in the sights and exercise gently.

But what would I miss?

I’d miss the turnouts that provide wonderful views and new perspectives. I’d miss the stop at the out-of-the-way picnic area that taught me how to ask for help. I’d miss interacting with interesting people as we fly around our days, sometimes perching at a café for coffee and conversation.

I’d miss LIFE.





I’d miss taking the road less traveled by!

All photos are original work by Sherri Henkin ©2013