Friday, November 30, 2012

Was it Norman Bates?

I am not one of those people who peek behind shower curtains when visiting at other people's houses. I am not Psycho-scared in my own bathroom, fearing that a knife wielder will be lurking in my tub.

In fact, I hesitate to admit this to you people who think I still have most of my marbles. I believe a ghost lives in my bathroom, always have, ever since we moved into this house many years ago. Strange noises, unexplained  things happen. I don't even touch the door when I enter, but MY towel hanging next to his, falls off the hook for no apparent reason. When I'm standing in the shower, shampoo bottles and wash cloths kerplunk into the tub without any help from me or from a stream of water. I am used to it. My "friend" has been pretty active lately. But no sir, I ain't afraid of no ghost!

Well, let me tell you what happened the other day. I had unplugged the motion detector night-light to plug in my curling iron in the morning, and I had forgotten to plug the night-light back in.  So when I woke at 4:00 the next morning the room was completely dark. I figured I might as well take a shower, so I flung back the curtain, poked my head into the tub to turn on the water and in complete darkness, I completely buried my entire face in "the ghost". You should have seen me moon walk out of there; I back shuffled and my blood pressure shot up. I could feel that sucker on my face! It was too early to scream for he-who-thinks-I'm-goofy. I got up my nerve to go back and turn on the overhead light, because I ain't afraid of no ghost! Cautiously I pulled the white cotton shower curtain embroidered with pink rosettes back, and I looked in the tub. There hung the lightweight, fast-drying, white flimsy liner, half of it looped over the shower hose to dry faster. I swear I could feel that  billowing thing squeezing the air out of my lungs when I shoved my head into it. May have been too early to scream, but I sure laughed a crazy woman's laugh of relief.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What I found at the thrift store

A local thrift store has a 50 % off the entire store sale on the last Wednesday of the month. Last evening I bought a cute purple sweater originally from Christopher and Banks, also a darling blouse with a linen lace collar to wear under sweaters, and a snowman pillow, all for $6. I also found a cute little lost boy about four years old. He was looking left and right wandering and talking to himself. "I'll find you. I know you're in here somehwere."
"Are you lost?"
I took him by the hand and told him I'd help him.

"Yeah, I'm looking for Maw-Maw."

"What's her name?"

"Maw-Maw." (I should have known better!)

"What's your name?" I asked as his young and pleasant mom walked up, smiled and said, "His mom and Maw-Maw are both with him, but do you think he could stay with US? Come on buddy."

He shook his head no and stayed at my side. I dropped his hand and said, "Go with your mom now."
I walked away and he trailed ME. She had to plead with him to come with her.

Bill calls me the Pied Piper of little kids. I guess that is my calling.

Did you know that Lindenwood University literary magazine is seeking submissions? Have you ever sumbitted to a local press or a literary magazine?

Monday, November 26, 2012

How do you say cute?

How do you say cute? HOWIE!
This is our newest granddog. He is all of eight weeks old. He's outgrown his baby bed which he snatched from Dusty, the queen of the house, a tiny ShihTzu who has been royally displaced. She is not at all fond of this little fur ball the way the rest of the family is. Howie is a Golden Doodle, which means he will be a big boy. But right now he is such a clumsy baby. He has his days and nights mixed up, covets his toys (he's laying on them) and when he's not snoozing, he's chasing Dusty and wants to play with her while she is pottying in the yard. Must be like having an aggravating big brother. She grumbles and growls at him, but he comes back for more, time and time again. He's growing cuter and bigger by the day.   

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Waiting for the pop-up thermometer

Turkey in the tummy and pounds on your hips?
Our bird's still frozen; not one bite has passed over our lips.
Today I shall roast it and slice it up right.
We'll eat turkey and all of the trimmings in sight.
I'll bake pumpkin pie and top it with cream
When I step on the scale you might hear me scream.
Mashed potatoes and gravy, hot rolls and yams
dressing and green beans, cranberry sauce, oh man!

Our daughters prepared Thanksgiving dinners the weekend before so we knew we would be having a
low key kind of day while all of our kids did their own thing and travelled to relatives

Wednesday night we gave into temptation and bought a frozen turkey. We agreed, when IT was ready, we would be ready. We are hours away from a tryptophan induced mellow mood.

I am thankful for family, friends and blog buddies.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oops, I did it again

Each morning I scan the Yahoo news feed, a window strip of 50 top stories. I don't give a hoot about the Hollywood youngsters, whether or not OJ really did it, or what the political scene is all about at the moment.  One headline caught my eye and made me stop and click on: HOW TO STOP ADULT BELLY.

Just when I thought I had discovered the key to busting my gut, I discovered how to take on a bully. Huh? What's up with that? I read again. Oops. I should read more carefully.

Now, if I really wanted to knock out my belly fat I would not be sitting here at 5:30 a.m. drinking a cup of hot tea, munching a banana and nibbling a chocolate chip cookie with my smile teeth to make it last longer.


Monday, November 19, 2012

My Fowl Little Puppy

I knew she was a little trouble maker from the time I first set eyes upon her. I watched her great escape from a kennel at Arlan's a Department Store on Chippewa and Hampton where the Target store now is located. She led her litter mates to a broken bag of kibble and feasted until her belly looked like a puffer fish. I had to have that spunky little pooch. I had to carry around a brown crayon to repair her damages, too.

Her story is included in this collection, published by Publishing Syndicate. This book would make a great gift for dog lovers. The stories are sure to make readers say, "Aww."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Silly Heads

Every single thing you do with young children can be a learning experience. Forget the bells and whistles and high priced electronics. This activity is purposeful; nearly cost free, and it targets fine motor development. Paid $3.00 for 36 electric outlet safety plug covers. I glued google eyes on them and a pom-pom nose and drew on mouths with permanent markers. Then I decorated a plastic ice cream carton head ( to hold the pieces) and hot glued it onto the box. Next, I drew circle faces on the box and  made one inch slits (the width of the plug ins) on the front and two sides of the box. The children inserted the silly heads into the slits. This activity generated conversation about likenesses and differences, color, sizes: mine has big/small eyes/nose, they counted how many on each side of the box. They competed against one another, and they had fun. It takes a bit of pushing and pulling to insert and dislodge the plugs. The kids thought they were "just playing" but actually there was so much learning taking place. Using the index finger/thumb (pincher grasp) develops fine muscles and finger/hand strength needed for printing. Originally I designed these little plugs to use with playdough, but the children preferred using the Potato Head body parts with playdough and the plugs just sat there, so...I made Silly Head today and they loved it.
We have been doing a unit on the Native American Indians. Today Nicole dressed as a mama with her papoose. She'd been wearing the dress-up backwards, and when I turned it around to take her picture, she noticed the symbols, and said, "Wow! I like this dress a lot better." That's my silly girl. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Would you do it?

That so-called children's classic, Hansel and Gretel scared me worse than any horror movie I ever saw as a kid. The idea of finding an edible house with candies and goodies was intriguing, but the thought of being abandoned by parents, and the supidity of dropping a crumb trail (I knew the birds would eat them) and that old hag witch caging the kids and fattening them up to put them in the oven...well as my oldest granddaughter said when she was a little girl, "The kid who told that story had a bit of violence in him, don't you think, Nana?"

I couldn't resist snapping this photo of Bill by a gigantic gingerbread house. It was actually part of a dining area and there was a table and chairs inside for diners. I kept one eye on the viewfinder, and one eye out for the wicked witch. And by the way, those are real cookies and candies adorning that lovely gingerbread house. No way, though could I dine inside. I went right to the buffet. I couldn't do it. Could you?

Then, I thought, "Hmm, if that old witch sees me fattening up...."

Monday, November 12, 2012


My heart remembers~
1969 Walter Cronkite on the evening news reading the nightly numbers: tragedies and fatalities associated with the Viet Nam Conflict. It made me angry; it made me weep. Forty-three years later, my heart still aches when I hear the details about current battles.

My hands remember~
washing my former husband's heavy woolen army fatigues in a basin of water, twisting and wringing until my fingers ached.

My feet remember~
the thermometer registered forty degrees below zero in Alaska as I hoofed it to the post office in town hoping to find a dollar tucked in a letter from my mom. Many days my toes were nearly frostbitten.

My eyes remember~
the mountian range in the distance that looked like white clouds reaching as high as I could see into the sky. The aurora borealis painting the night sky, and stars so close it appeared that I could reach up and pluck one. The summer 'round the clock sunshine and the field of pink fireweed growing wild across the road.

My funny bone remembers~
the Inspector General was coming to Ft. Greely to inspect every solider's equipment. My ex polished his brass, spit shined his shoes, and I decided to help him out by washing his mess kit and canteen with baking soda. I shined it to a silver lustre.

The soldiers stood shoulder-to-shoulder at attention, their items laid out in order at their feet. The IG stopped before each guy and examined random items, then moved to the next soldier. He stood before my former husband, bent down and picked up his sparkling canteen. He raised it above his head and turned it upside down to inspect the interior. That's when the water trickled from on high onto the IG's high-glossed shoes.

If memory serves me correctly, there was a verbal reprimand or two. In response to the IG's tirade, my former husband said, "Sir! Yes Sir!"

In response to my former husband's tirade, I said, "Fine! Okay! I won't touch your equipment ever again!" However, I did, and that my friends, is another story for another time.

Hats off to all of the men and women who serve or have served in the military.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Are you a turkey?

I made an A-B-C turkey bingo game. I drew a simple figure of a turkey with tail feathers spanned and printed an alphabet letter on each feather. I told the class that instead of shouting "bingo" they had to shout gobble-gobble.

I designed the game so that all children would "bingo" at the same time. When a dozen little darlings realized that they were one away from winning, the excitement was palpable, the noise level rising, and then, I called the final letter. You should have heard those birds.

Not one turkey in the class. Each of them looked at me for validation that they were correct. I merely sat and looked at them with no expression. They were confused. Then I said, "Gobble-gobble" and they all repeated after me like a gaggle of wild gobblers. I smiled approvingly and they all got up to wait in line to dig in the prize box.

Their responses and their air of superiority and confidence that THEY were the only RIGHT one, reminded me of the way many bird-brained people express their political points of view. They tweet, cackle, cock-a-doodle and bawk-bawk their opinions all over Facebook and the Internet, convinced that they have THE RIGHT ANSWER and everyone else is wrong.

My bet is, if I had "cock-a-doodled" the students would have followed along.

I strive to teach my students to respect diversity and one another and to seek peace. What the world needs now...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Out of sadness came joy

Have you ever felt clueless and shocked? Sadly, our grandson's girlfriend's mom died of cancer this week. We went to the wake yesterday and saw a woman we recognized from twenty years ago standing up front. We hugged, and I asked how she knew the deceased. Her response shocked me.

"She's my sister."

It was like old home week during that visitation. Our friend's husband used to be a well known disc jockey who we followed years ago when we used to dance several times a week. The room filled to capacity with many of our old acquaintances. There were hugs, greetings, laughter and lots of catching up. I think it must be that way in heaven. The joy of reconnecting must keep a perpetual smile on our loved ones' faces. What could have been a very sad occassion turned out to be a joyful reunion.

I witnessed one of the nicest touches ever at this wake. The family had positioned a basket filled with free copies of the deceased's favorite book, Heaven is for Real, on a table for mourners. What a lovely and thoughtful gesture. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

The phone rang...

The past week I have not answered the home phone. I listen to the answering machine. If it's a hang up then I know it's a political call. I don't know WHY I answered the kitchen wall phone today, but I am certainly glad I did. I was so excited I was doing the happy dance dragging the cord (we do have cordless phones and cell phones too) through the kitchen as the caller announced that I was one of eleven winners of the Poetry in Motion, Metro Arts in Transit contest. My poem will be printed on a poster and displayed on St. Louis Metro buses and/or Metro Link  trains for a year. My photo and poem will be posted at the Regional Arts Commission. There will be a reception and monetary prize for winners. Oh yeah, I am happy!

by Linda O'Connell

Lilac whiff unveils a childhood sigh.
When we dueled buzzing bees for honeysuckle nectar,
fireflies danced in full moon glitter
and wishing stars filled up the sky.
Rosebuds unfurl with breath so sweet,
a long-lost promise whispered
when I was innocent, sweet sixteen
and petal luster glistened on my cheek.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nana and Nicole

Some days all you need is a hug from five year old princess Aerial.