"So how's summer vacation going?" she called above the din of adolescent bickering in the backyard.
Glaring, I continued my attempt to extract an unidentified child from a tangled Slip n' Slide. Three weeks into summer vacation and I was actively investigating job prospects in dark factories where there is no employee access to a phone and my children can't find me.
"I think you're overreacting," she chided. "You just need to rise to the challenge of entertaining young teens. There's so much to do: swimming, crafts, day trips."
I stared at her coolly. Sorry. Been there. Done that.
* A day trip to Washington ended in an unpleasant scene when I could no longer tolerate the whining once my sons discovered "The Mall" didn't have a Boardwalk Fries franchise.
* A nasty encounter with an arts and crafts project that left in its wake a vacuum cleaner that spews forth glitter at unexpected intervals.
* A swimming expedition that ended abruptly when my son was banished from the pool for a conspicuous absence of bathing attire while executing a dive.
It's not even July yet, Glen Burnie.
After six decades of marriage, John and Lillian Ries of Glen Burnie have quite a legacy to their credit: seven children, 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
When the couple celebrate their 60th anniversary July 3, family and friends will be there to share their joy.
Lillian Ries modestly plays down the key to such a successful marriage.
"It's hard to say why it's lasted so long. We've led ordinary lives. I guess when you have seven kids, you're so busy you don't have time to worry about little things," she said, laughing.
The couple married in 1935 and moved to Glen Burnie 10 years later.
"My mother always said 'Little House On The Prairie' had nothing on her," said daughter Kathy Ries. "When she moved to Glen Burnie there was nothing here. She could see the trains from her yard."
Since John Ries retired from Fort Meade, he and his wife have led a quiet life. Members of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, they enjoy visits from their extended family. Lillian Ries also is a member of the Pascal Senior Center.
The YWCA Friendship Center is having a series of lectures from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through August at its Langely Road location.
Pat Weathersbee of Pathways, an Annapolis-based treatment facility, will start the series tomorrow with a discussion on drug abuse. Pathways is affiliated with the Anne Arundel General Health Care System.
The lecture series is free. Advance registration is required.
For information, call 768-2500.
More than $40,000 was raised in the fight against cystic fibrosis at the Eighth Annual Debra Klipsch Memorial Walk Relay last month at the Glen Burnie High School track.
Organizers were pleasantly surprised at the number of participants -- 72 teams with more than 500 walkers.
"Overall, it was a wonderful day," said Joan Storm Rettaliata, co-chairwoman of the walk. "The walk could never have been a success without everyone joining together and contributing in some way."
Walkers were joined by television news personality Tony Pagnotti and his family, the Oriole Bird, Arbutus Sailorettes-Senior Dance Team, Randy's Wranglers, singer Aaron Thomas and the Hard Travelers.
Highlights of the walk included:
* Most money raised by walker under 12: Matthew Klipsch, $779. Matthew is the younger brother of Debbie Klipsch, in whose memory the walk is held.
* Most money raised by an adult: Dottie Harris, $1,163.
* Most money raised by a group: Christopher's Crew, $4,988.
* Best Team Spirit: Crossroads Motorcycle Club.
* Most Creative Team: Cure Finders and Christopher's Crew.
"Let's Hear It For Love" will be presented 7 p.m. July 5 at the Abundant Life Church, 7305 E. Furnace Branch Road.
Billed as a play that "rekindles the fire of family commitment," this musical-drama is a production of the Home Fire Family Ministries.
Admission is free, and the community is invited.
For information, call 761-9075.