Thursday, December 8, 2016

What does it for YOU?

I am thrilled to have received an acceptance from Sasee Magazine. My story about my son, his little boy, and me is going to be published in January issue. This story is special to my heart. Can't wait to share it with all of you.

 I look a bit worn in this photo, but I loved the lamp post. I'm not fond of having my picture taken, because I see all my flaws. Years ago when I was half my age and complained to my doctor about my crows feet wrinkles, he said, "You see wrinkles when your face is six inches from the mirror. No one else looks at you that closely. So your flaws will always be more obvious to you than anyone else." I like to think that's true.

This is the second week we attempted to visit with mall Santa, but Liam is still apprehensive. He did go close enough to get a candy cane, though. I think he has a sweet tooth like me. 
Made me think about life in general. What motivates or entices you or me to do anything? A little bribe? A reward? Self satisfaction? Do you have to coax yourself sometimes to do what you know needs to be done?

I am going to admit something here that I am ashamed of. Every time I took a break from writing yesterday, I reached my hand in the cookie jar... a dozen times. To be honest, it was a baker's dozen of those home made chocolate chip delights I devoured.

THE END, as Liam says when he reads a book. Sun is shining and I am going to go walk off a few cookies. Hope I don't work up an appetite. That would be my luck.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Did you ever notice the unexpected?

I see trains all the time and don't pay too much attention. But when I saw this long line of freight cars I had to take another look. St. Louis is a major Midwest hub for rail traffic. I guess I never thought about it. As I watched these cars pass by, it was a nice a little distraction from my sadness to see global trade of goods and transportation  in progress.  

I thank you for your kind words and condolences. This little guy sure knows how to get Nana out of a slump. He'd tickle my neck and then belly laugh. He did ask where Tweeny was when he came in, and I told him Tweeny was in heaven with Jesus and didn't live in our house anymore. He is so innocent and sweet. He said, "Aww, Tweeny, thank you Jesus, now Tweeny sees the butterflies."

In the summer I would tell him when he saw a butterfly to say, "Thank you Jesus for my eyes." He made the connection. Liam has a bad cold, so would appreciate prayers for a speedy recovery.

I am going to write a holiday story for my writer's group tonight, so I must get going. It's a haunting tale, and I am having fun with it. I hope you are writing also.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A gamut of emotions

My heart is broken. Hasn't been the first time and it won't be the last. It never gets any easier to lose a beloved pet. Kitty No-No, whose name was actually Tweeny, (named by the original owner's kids when he was adopted at age one by my son and his family from the Humane Society) crossed the rainbow bridge on Saturday.

He had been panting the past few days. We thought he was having nightmares. When he snoozed, his chest rose and fell heavily as though overexerted from playing or running. It became apparent even when he was awake, but he was never in distress. We took him to the neighborhood walk-in veterinarian, an older man, who has no diagnostic equipment in his little store-front office. He sent us immediately to the emergency hospital. 

Tweeny was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Ultra sound revealed only a small portion of his heart was functioning, and the left chamber was flacid and flapping, not filling. He never once complained, or seemed in pain. In fact he ate more and was more cuddly than ever. The doctor removed a lot of fluid from his lungs, but she said although he was no longer at risk for imminent death, his lungs would steadily refill. So we did what we had to do. We sent our 10 year old best buddy over the Rainbow Bridge.
 He lived with my son's family for six years, then when they moved away, we took him. He was our sweet boy for three years. Such a docile and sweet kitty, he loved "hiding" in a paper bag.
 He enjoyed watching his favorite show, the fish aquarium on Net-Flix. He always looked toward the floor when one of the fish swam downward and disappeared from view.

Last year, the Hershey Kisses holiday commercial, where the kisses ring We Wish You A Merry Christmas like hand bells, always got his attention. He'd come running, sit in front of the TV and watch it, turning his head this way and that. This year when he heard it, something in his memory triggered. He looked at me quizzically. He wasn't the brightest, but he was sure the sweetest and cuddliest.
He had a "relationship" with a chipmunk who scampers in front of our door and runs in and out of the bushes. Kitty would talk to the birds on the lawn, and he liked to look out the front door at passersby.

What he really liked was when Liam came through the door each Monday. At first he was jealous of him, and avoided him when he was little. Lately, he ran TO him instead of away from him, because he knew Liam would feed him his treats. At nap time, they would both curl up on the bed. I dread having to tell his little buddy tomorrow.

I'm going to miss him sleeping at my feet, meowing for his breakfast, and following us around the house. He had to be in the same room with us. And his favorite place to snooze was between Bill's legs in his recliner with the foot rest raised.

Tweeny was loved so much. He will be missed, and I know the ache will eventually ease, but right now, our eyes are red and our emotions are raw.

Blog friend Claudia is still hospitalized trying to recover from surgery, and will be there a while. That is all anyone knows right now. I appreciate your prayers and concern for her well being. Cancer took another friend and fellow writer, Mary Hughes, last week, and a high school buddy was recently diagnosed with cancer.

On a happy note, my doctor walked in the exam room and said, "You sure look good on paper!"

Of course it would have been better to hear her say, "Wow! For an old broad you look great." But I knew she was talking about physical exam results. Haven't shrunk at all, and am maintaining my blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. I told her I'd prefer to lose 20 pounds. She said, "But for your age, your BMI is within the norm, so you're okay." My lab results all improved, and I am not on any prescription medications.

She asked if I regularly exercise. I told her about 3-4 times a week I walk briskly up and down the aisles at either Wal-Mart, Sam's or Costco. She nodded, and then this evil little grin crossed her face and she said, "But do you stop at every little freebie booth for a handout?" I smiled and lied, "No, my husband does." She laughed.

I have a lot to be thankful for, especially your readership and kind words. Winter is about to nip at  my nose and toes here in St. Louis. Stay warm if it's cold where you are.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

We could all use another FRIEND

"And a little child shall lead them... "
 Liam's first Christmas. He was six months old here, and his big blue eyes took in everything!
 At 18 months old all he cared about was lights and balls. He was thrilled with the tree lights reflecting on the living room walls. Look at those short little legs. They have taken him places.
And here he is at 2 1/2, slouching down, or he'd be a couple inches taller than the snow family. His legs dangle off the chair now.

Liam thinks every single kid he sees is his friend. Each Monday I ask him if he wants to go to the mall playground or Monkey Joe's, the bouncy house jumping place. He asks, "My friends be there?"
I tell him, I don't know about the bounce house place, but there will probably be kids at the mall.

He shouts excitedly, "I go mall to see my FRIENDS."

He gets more delightful by the day. His vocabulary is advanced, and I think he is going to go for the older women. His mama said they were at a store, and he was sitting in the cart jabbering away.

When she stepped in front of the cart to unload it, Liam noticed this darling little four year-old girl staring at him. His legs were dangling in front of her face.  Delightfully surprised, he smiled and said, "HI, girl."  When she didn't respond, he introduced himself.

"My name Liam (and his last name), and then he told her, "I'm two." With a big smile and great expectation, he waited for a reply. NOTHING. He couldn't understand why she did not respond to him, as most adults do when he talks.

So he began naming all the colors of the balloons nearby, he told her shapes of things, and he God Blessed every family member he could think of. I'm telling you this little boy is going to be a heart breaker.

Finally the little girl smiled at him. It made his day, and he was thrilled to no end. He talked about his new friend all the way home.

Instead of seeing our differences, maybe we should look for ways in which we are alike. Instead of perceiving an enemy, why not regard the person behind, in front of, or waiting on us as a potential friend? 

With the holiday season upon us and so much upheaval and evil in the world, I imagine if everybody smiled and said hello to a stranger, peace might begin to spread... like oozing butter on those yummy Hawaiian rolls I've been stuffing into my mouth for days. 

I promise not to inundate you with any more Liam photos for at least another week. I only babysit him on Mondays.

May I ask a favor, please? Say a healing prayer for blog friend and writer Claudia Mundel who is undergoing major cancer surgery today. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Vortex of confusion and disillusion

Do you ever feel as though you're caught up in a whirlwind storm, a funnel cloud of negativity? Does it seem like the world and many of the people you know are spiraling out of your orbit? Are you reaching for something that is not there? Trying to get a grasp? Feel as if everything is fleeting, changing, or slipping away? 

Liam and I were at the Science Center.

When overwhelmed and confused by so many images, it feels as though we're meeting ourselves coming and going. We feel cornered, a sense of helplessness, and don't know which way to turn. 

Confused? Unsure? Don't know what to do next?

Maybe it's time to 
  • Scrolling social media sites and reading political rants. 
  • High-fiving and endorsing those with which you align.
  • Trying to convince the other "side." It's futile. It's divisive.
  • Focusing on what is wrong. Discover what YOU can do that is right.
  • Thinking you can't make a difference. Peace does begin with you and me.

If you are a person of faith, look up and cast your cares on your higher power.  If you are an agnostic or atheist, look inward and listen to your inner voice. Fight for justice... not just against something but for some thing, some one, some group...

because one day the oppressed, the needy, the weak, and helpless could be YOU.

Wishing you a calm presence in your life this weekend, an assurance that we will survive. 
As my friend, Gloria Gaynor sang, "At first I was a afraid. I was petrified..."

For my friends battling cancer, I send a special prayer on your behalf that you experience physical, emotional, and spiritual comfort and healing, a reprieve from worry and pain.

Friday, November 18, 2016

I'm a believer

Many years ago when my friend was battling lung cancer, I took her for a radiation appointment.
I reminded her about a story we'd read years before when our kids were little. Two best friends, one terminally ill, made a pact that if there was an afterlife, she would send her friend a flower in the middle of winter. It happened.

That day in the doctor's office, Rose and I made the same pact.

On the anniversary of her death, she sent me a beautiful flower, with four buds. They opened to the size of large carnations...during sub zero temperatures and a hard freeze. That story was published in Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul.

Every year in November around the anniversary of her death, I have received a flower.

This year with unseasonably warm temperatures, it would be easy to dismiss this tiny pink flower as a straggler. But NO, it was not there yesterday, and all of the sedum has withered and dried up.

Today, on the anniversary of my friend's death, I discovered this. I say, "Thank you, Rose. You've done it again."

Monday, November 14, 2016

Thursday evening 6-8 please join us.

Local Author Open House for Over 100 Authors!
                   I am one of the one hundred!

We eat local, we shop local, so let’s read local! Don’t miss the St. Charles City-County Library District’s Local Author Open House. At this one-of-a-kind event more than 100 local authors will be gathered in one place to sell and autograph their books, and to talk to visitors about how they got their start.

The 2016 Local Author Open House, now in its 8th year, is being held on Thursday, November 17 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Spencer Road Branch, 427 Spencer Road, St. Peters, MO 63376.

“This gathering of so many local authors in one place, is an event that you will not find anywhere else in the area,” said St. Charles City-County Library District Adult Services Manager Sara Nielsen. “We are excited to be able to help people discover the many authors that live right here in our own community.”

The St. Charles City-County Library District offers a special collection that features the work of local authors. This collection is housed at the Middendorf-Kredell Branch, or you can browse and reserve a title online. To access the collection online, go to and select “Local Author Collection.”

Refreshments will be provided, and attendance prizes will be given out. Register online at or call the Spencer Road Branch at 636-441-0522.