Monday, September 1, 2014

She was only trying to help...or bite your tongue, lady!

Experts can be wrong. We attended a 45th wedding anniversary yesterday for Pat and Phil, a couple I went to high school with.
Back in the day, we had a wonderful school counselor,  Marian Mabuce, a pretty, older, white haired woman who really did mean well. She called Pat to the office in 1967 and told her she was making a mistake by dating Phil, and she advised her not to marry him after graduation.

"You could marry a doctor or lawyer, anyone. You're so smart and beautiful. You should marry someone who can provide well for you: beautiful clothes and cars, anything you want. Phil has nothing to offer."




Phil used to have red hair, now he has a Brock-a-brella for his chrome dome, thanks to Bill.
47 years later, after what Pat jokingly refers to as "45 freaking years of marriage" she asked, "What were we thinking, Phil?"

He said, "I can't remember what I thought yesterday, and you want me to remember that long ago?"

I glued the yearbook picture of our counselor in their anniversary card with her "words of wisdom", and included some of my own: Phil runs with the wrong crowd. Then, I glued the yearbook pictures of Phil's best buddies below it. They got a big laugh out of seeing themselves at 17. As they sat around and rehashed their escapades, I realized, not much has really changed in all those years.

Boys will always be boys. Phil still rides a motorcycle like a bat out of hell, plays a guitar like a ringin' a bell, and for his family, he has always provided well. They have two beautiful and successful adult children. Pat is an acclaimed artist in her own right, and she was a para teacher for years. They are both retired and enjoying life. Wishing them all the best.

After listening to those 55-65 year old guys outside shooting the bull, and after talking with all of their sensible and fun loving wives and partners inside the air conditioned house, I came to my own conclusion.

I think women grow up and men grow older :) What do you think?
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What is wrong with people?!

Did you ever have one of "those" days?

My husband experienced his fair share of craziness when he was out and about.

He said that he and a car were first in line, side by side, at a stoplight when another car blew past him on the left, speeding so fast and so close that when they sideswiped him, the air movement shook our car violently.

The big dummy took off after this car load of young idiots who continued to blow stop lights and stop signs, and nearly hit a pedestrian. That's when he backed off and lost them and never got the license plate.

I asked why he didn't just call 911? He said, "I did! And I got a recording."

"Let me see your phone." I looked and laughed. In his haste he had dialed 199.

He later discovered the damage. The car had scraped the clear coat on our paint, and was easily buffed out. No real damages other than to his nerves. I dare not think what could have happened.

We went to get a burger later, and as he went to pull into the turn lane, a speeding car blew past us from  behind on the left. If we hadn't swerved it would have sideswiped the same side of our car. The young dad inside rushed into the restaurant and took his toddler to the play area and hid from us.

As we were eating, a guy came up to Bill and said, "Are you a preacher?"

He said, "Me? Why? Do I look like a preacher?"

The guy, who I hope was a bit challenged, said, "I'm just kidding." And he dumped his trash in the can and walked away.

My honey said, "That's it, we're going home and staying there. If things come in threes, I hope I'm finished."

Did you ever have one of "those" days?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Do you have it in you?

I am a risk taker, a cautious risk taker. I often ask for forgiveness instead of permission. Mama always said the worst that can happen is someone will say NO. So move on. Try again.

Good advice, since NO is usually not the end for me, but only a detour.

It's always been that way with my writing. I usually take a different approach than most writers to themed calls for submissions. For example, my published story in Chicken Soup Food and Love is about the bad boy I met up with after so many years. That bad boy taunted me until I got another taste of him. "He" was a piece of apple walnut cake. I then wrapped that story around my late friend who'd introduced me to that delight. My "love" story was not about romantic love, but about the love of friendship, a completely different kind of love story.



I recently got news from Chicken Soup that this particular book, published in 2011, has been amended a little bit, and will be used as an incentive for PBS donors during the month of August fund drive. To think, my story is still travelling, all because I took a chance.

Today I entered another Love Story contest and took a completely different approach, a long shot, but one I know for a fact will grab an editor's attention. I am prepared for possible rejection, but that won't stop me. I am hopeful that my novel approach may pay off with publication or a contest win. If not, it is simply a stop along the way, and I am convinced that one day this story will find a home.

Do you believe in your writing? Your worth? Your self? It is imperative.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This too shall pass

"I love him, Nana, but I don't always like him."
Horrified by those words? I shared this info with two new moms. One gasped and said, "Really?! Oh I don't feel so bad, now. I sang mine to sleep last night with this song, 'If you don't stop crying I'm going to put you in box, put you in a box, put you in a box.' And then my husband came in and said he was calling the doctor for ME. I told him not to listen to me. I am just getting my frustration out."
 
New mom #2 said nobody prepared her for the realities of motherhood. "It doesn't get better, it just gets different."
 
I think we need a mandatory support group for new moms who are sleep deprived, nerves on edge and feel like THEY are doing something wrong, or the baby loves everyone BUT them.
 
I've heard it all...remember I have taught preK for 38 years.
 
 When I share my personal "dark" lullabies, (YES, I sang them, too) it is like a relief washes over these new mamas. Someone identifies and understands. Some old gal in an authority position who has been there and isn't judging them. 
 
                                                      Party Tonight...My Crib B.Y.O.B.
This little doll face is pleasant during the day and screams when he is with mommy and daddy at night. No matter how many bottles, burps, bounces, cuddles; he rages for two hours. It is not pleasant coming home to constant painful colicky screams. Ashley and Justin feel helpless, they know he hurts, and there is nothing that helps, not the gas drops, nothing.  My granddaughter feels like she is  in a never-ending moment. She breast fed for two months, then doctor prescribed very expensive formula that allows the protein to break down into smaller particles. 
 
Liam goes to the doctor on Monday for his shots and thorough exam. That should add to the distress! But doctor still thinks it's colic and says in another month it should pass. I sure hope so. Some nights his parents want to return him :)  By morning they are cooing to him. I keep saying, "Right now he's more job than joy."

This is one of my favorite pictures, the two Williams meeting face to face, eyeballing one another.
 
"This too shall pass." My mentor, an 80 year old educator, said this to me often. I know it is true, because Liam's mommy cried with colic for two months, two hours each night. Her mom, my mom and I walked the floor with her.
 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This is not a tall tale

Can you tell how miserable and unhappy we are?
 
 
Sometimes you just have to put on a happy face.

 
Because the sun always comes up on another day.

 
Vacation was a bust for so many reasons. As regular readers know, I was under a lot of stress, so my honey decided to take me to my favorite place on earth, the beach. We drove for two days almost to Miami, down to Ft. Lauderdale. I was so uncomfortable with five red, raw chigger bites in one spot below my waist on my tailbone, also one big one on my middle back and one on my stomach. Try riding on an itchy behind for two days. No way to get comfortable no matter which position.
 
First night I slept 15 minutes out of every hour, up all night in agonizing pain, self medicating with every kind of topical ointment and over the counter pain killers. This went on for a week. I felt as though I was being branded with a hot poker. Because I didn't want to get an infection, I did not go in the water, but I did walk the beach, much to my delight.
 
We headed home and decided since my chiggers were completely healed we would spend a few days in the Florida Panhandle. When we arrived, we expected a throng of young people cruising the strip and thought the hotels/condos on the beach  would be filled with No Vacancy signs. Very little traffic, hardly any vacationers. We figured school must have resumed a week early down there. We found a wonderful place overlooking the ocean and turned on the TV to hear the horrific news about rioting in our home town, 30 miles away from where we live. (There is far more to the story than the sensational journalism.)
 
My chiggers, though healed, were still painful, so I didn't go in the water, but I was able to walk and walk and walk the beach, much to my delight.
 
 Went back inside and the local news came on. We were aghast when the anchor said, "29 people have come down with flesh eating bacteria; there have been 12 deaths to date."
 
We figured they were talking about the Ebola Virus in Africa. Nope! There was flesh eating bacteria in the warm beach waters of the Florida Panhandle. We went out to get peroxide and alcohol and cleaned our feet. Packed up and headed home. 
 
 Came home to hundreds of emails, hopeful that one would be an acceptance. One pleading for porn, one begging for a date with a hot chick! and the list goes on. Junk-junk-junk!
 
Still having trouble sleeping, I went to the doctor who said the two bites on my stomach and back were spider bites, completely healed and should be no problem, BUT the little cluster of chigger bites are shingles, brought on by stress.
 
She offered me three drugs: one that would sedate the nerve ending and ME. No thank you! Or a steroid that would cause weight gain. Hmm, no way! A third that would make me loopy and unable to drive (teach). No-No and No thank you! So I am taking prescription strength Ibuprofen, getting some relief and sleeping better. The residual pain is on the nerve as there are no lesions/bites, and can last for months or up to a year.
 
As we pulled into our driveway, glad to be home, I held out my hand and said, "Did you see this?"
 
Bill said with alarm, "Where did you get that?"

I said, "On the beach."

He looked at me like he'd seen a ghost and said, "Holy shit! You're going to need radiation to get rid of THAT one."
 
I laughed until I cried.
 
"It's a unique little shell with ruffled edges for my collection."
 
Take my advice, avoid stress at all costs.
The good news: the sun will come up tomorrow, so I am trying to look on the sunny side.
 
 
 



Friday, August 15, 2014

This land is your land!

Fort that protected the coastline.
 
Current housing 
 
 
This is where the wealthy live, 7-8 grand a month! 

                                                    
 Centuries old historic cemetery
 
 
Capitol building had fascinating marble, art work.
 
The ceiling tiles were imported from Italy. The mural a reminder that I walked the same ground that Christopher Columbus walked. Did you learn the song that I did in 5th grade? "In fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue..."
 
Amazing! Can you guess where we were? Go to the next post to see more photos.



We dipped our toes

Vacation 2014 
 
 
 This land is your land; this land is my land. You do not need a passport to visit because Puerto Rico is a US Territory. Originally it was named Puerto Rico, San Juan, (Rich Port of San Juan) but the name got reversed. The country is divided into New San Juan and Old San Juan. We walked the cobblestoned streets along the plazas of Old San Juan with its 17th century buildings. Such history.
We took a guided tour where we learned that 70% of the population is middle class, 20% is very wealthy upper class, and 10 % is lower class living below poverty level and eligible for US government assistance. The citizens do not vote for US presidents, but have a governor.


There is heavy shipping commerce in this part of the world because huge US companies are relocating their production plants there to avoid paying federal taxes.

Juan Ponce De Leon founded Capaberra the first settlement in his search for the Fountain of Youth. I would be content to just stay here and play in the sea. Aren't the colors incredibly beautiful?