Monday, December 31, 2012

Forget fingerprints!

We took my wedding ring to the jeweler in the mall. The prongs on the head were worn and have to be replaced, so I will be without my rings for two weeks. I feel lost without them.

I said to the man who can shop daily in the same hardware store for bargains, "You go on down to Sears and I will look in Claire's or Icing (kid's jewelry shop) for a cheap costume ring."

Actually I didn't want to be seen in public tonight all gussied up appearing to be an unmarried floozy. I need a ring on my finger. So I walked into the store and was approached by the sophomore behind the counter who kept a wary eye on me.

I found a ring display; each ring was wired to a small card. I found one I liked, slipped that size five ring onto my size six finger, and as soon as it passed over my knuckle I knew! It was stuck, locked on, not budging a bit. My eyes bulged! I had the mother of long-forgotten hot flashes. I gulped. I imagined security watching me on video. I imagined them calling the cops, the fire department.

I put that card to my lips and lubricated that finger. Okay, I slobbered all over the ring. My lipstick smeared the card a pretty shade of pink. I twisted my finger. But that ring wouldn't turn left or right, slide back or forth. I walked around holding my hand out "admiring" the ring on the card attached to my finger, wondering what in the world I was going to do. That's when three young teens came in to browse, and the sales girl went to assist them. I grabbed a bottle of antibacterial soap behind her counter, slopped a glob onto my ring finger and slimed that ring right off my hand. I sighed loudly with relief and hung that card back up.

It looks so pretty and pink hanging there among the plain white ones. I will never go back into that store. Forget fingerprints, they have my lip prints on file at that store.

I am ringless for two weeks. I don't care if I do look like a girlfriend instead of a wife at the dance tonight. If I can get my heels up high enough I'll kick my own behind.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


I told the grandkids to gather for a family picture, but boys will be boys. Can you figure out how many boys are contorted on the sofa? Nicole was not happy.

The holidays wore me out. I barely had time to blog. I don't know about you, but all of those holiday cookies made me sluggish. If I lie prone on the couch, I end up taking a long winter's nap and find myself wondering who is yapping at me at midnight when I startle awake and the TV is blaring.

This has to stop! I'm making a New Year's Resolution: no more going to sleep at dusk and I'm done goofing off. Seriously, I'm determined to tone my flabby upperarms. I can always wear a swimsuit skirt to cover the flabby thighs, but those arms of mine, well let's just say cellulite and low muscle tone are not a pretty sight. I have a few hours left to get serious, until New Year's Day. I am going to dust off my hand weights and polish off the rest of the cookies.  THEN, I'm getting serious.

I had a story published in Chicken Soup, My Resolution in 2008. I resolved to substitute one word in my vocabulary. I vowed to try to use the word "AND" everytime I was tempted to use the word "BUT". Instead of, "You made a nice drawing BUT left your paper scraps," I rephrased, "You made a nice drawing AND I know you'll remember to take care of your scraps."

Are you willing to give it a try? This simple change works to gain cooperation, makes you sound like less of a nag AND increases the peace. It is difficult to change speech patterns that you've used for years, and it is not always easy to remember. I encourage you to catch yourself before you say the word that makes my preschoolers, giggle. And, let me know if it worked for you.

Monday, December 24, 2012

With apologoies to Clement C. Moore

Contemporary Version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
by Linda O’Connell, with apologies to Clement C. Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas at the North Pole
Old Santa was edgy, feeling quite droll.
Mrs. Claus was baking, and the house smelled yummy.
Santa walked into the kitchen, snuck up on his honey.

He reached for a snicker-doodle still warm on the tray.
Mama said, "No more! You’ve eaten two dozen today.
Your cholesterol is up, your triglycerides soaring.
Absolutely no more, and I’m tired of your snoring.

"You’re going to have to start losing some weight.
And do you realize the time? It IS getting late."
Chubby old Santa said, "Oh, Woman, drat!
You're always complaining about this or that.
"Where are my long Johns?" he dared to inquire.
"For Pete’s sake," she said, "They're still in the dryer."
She wiped her hands on her apron and turned with a jerk,
mumbled under her breath, "It’s all women’s work!"

"Get dressed. Hitch your reindeer, load up the sleigh.
Get all the presents and be on your way."
Santa tugged on his suit, and as Mrs. Claus watched
he had to loosen his belt another notch.

"Dear Santa, remember when you had a pillow-gut?"
"Yes Mama, and back then, you had a size seven butt!"
"I think you should leave now!"
"I think that I will, but first I need my cholesterol pill.

Blood pressure too and one for arthritis,
and another one for my sinusitis.
A Dramamine pill so I won’t get dizzy,
a calm-me-down pill, so I’m not in a tizzy.

Vitamin C so I don’t sniffle and sneeze,
Asthma medication so I don’t hack and wheeze."
"Be on your way, Man! Get going; you’re done."
"Wait," Santa shouted, "I forgot just one.”"

He popped a Viagra, climbed into his sleigh.
"Ah, the miracle drugs they have today!
I’ll be back in a jiffy," he smiled with affection
"I have forty-eight hours to get a…"

"LONG WINTER’S NAP!" she exclaimed as he drove out of sight.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ho-Ho-Ho Santa Knows

The gymnasium was filled with parents, grandparents and family members. My students sang, recited poems and performed a play. As you can see, my little miss had a part in the play.
This is one half of my class, the other half is on the other side of the stage. The three year olds were in the front row and you should have seen them rock the imaginary Baby Jesus like he was on a thrill ride as they sang at the top of their lungs, "Go Tell It on the Mountain. Go tell about the baaaaaaaaaabbbbyyyy."
Don't be misled by this innocent look. When the children were asked if they'd all been nice, they nodded. When asked if anyone had been naughty, Nicole saw Nicholas in the front row, pointed  and shouted, "My brudder!" It was impromptu and she stole the show. Ten year old Nick looked stricken.
Nothing like a children's pageant to make my holiday.
My most memorable school program was when hubby played Santa and came prancing towards the children with the front of his coat tail tucked into his belt and his pants gaping open...thank goodness he was wearing jeans under them. I whispered in his ear, "Santa, XYZ" (examine your zipper) and he sang into the microphone,  "A-B-C-D-E-F-G" and so I had to belly up against him and tug on his suit.
Thirty-seven years of children's programs, and I can't get enough!  
Come back tomorrow, I will post my holiday PG rated poem.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In the midst of sorrow, a laugh

The day was sunny and unseasonably warm. We went to a park with three stocked fishing lakes. There were so many fishermen. It seems odd that people are wearing shirt sleeves in mid-December.

It was a perfect day to take a good hike, but I walked around one lake and went back to the car. I'm feeling really sad. This pair of ducks reminded me that we must lean on one another and be there for one another. They swam out to a small island and tucked their heads under their wings. I imagine many people feel the same way after the horrific shooting in Connecticut.

Driving home we saw so many inflatable Santas and snowmen deflated and collapsed on lawns which reminded me of the tiny victims. On the verge of tears I wondered, why are those folks being interviewed, the reporters and even the president, stifling tears? Why are we embarrassed or ashamed to publicly weep and grieve? Why do we permit children to watch violence and then protect them from our emotions?

The best thing about emotions, I tell my students, is that feelings come and go; they don't stay the same. If you are angry or sad, it's okay. You won't stay that way all day. Feelings change. It is okay to feel.

Proof is in the photo above. This inflated sock monkey perched on a roof was like a gift. It made me laugh out loud.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What a pain in the neck!

These are a few of my favorite things. Actually, these occupy only two of the five shelves. It makes me happy to see these little cuties. Our weather is unseasonably warm and it doesn't seem like we'll be seeing any real snow buddies anytime soon.

Talk about a pain in the neck! I had an accident yesterday on my way to work. I stopped for a man with his dog in a cross walk and was rear-ended. Nicole was in her car seat and we both yelled, "Ow! My neck!"

 I called hubby who was without a car because his transmission on his 2010 had lost its fluid. He said, "I'll hop on my bike and be right there." What a guy! He would have, but my daughter-in-law picked him up and brought him to the scene, and then my son arrived. He called his boss to report that he wasn't returning to work; he was taking his daughter home. His boss said, "I can't talk. I have to go. My daughter had a roll over accident."

Was it 12/12/12? The police officer said I was his third accident and it was only 8:45 a.m.
So other than BEING a pain in the neck, I have one. But I am very grateful there's nothing else seriously wrong with me. Certain people might disagree. Maybe I should rephrase that.

The emergency crew checked us out and said we would be sore for a week or more and to keep moving our necks and stretching the muscles. I look like a stalker turning my head as far as I can to the left and then right. People think I'm odd or very interested in them. My severe headache subsided and I am thankful it wasn't any worse.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chicken WHAT?!

If you click on the picture HERE of the little girl with Santa you'll see my granddaughter's  big blue eyes. After Nicole's dance recital, Santa arrived on a fire truck and she ran out to greet him and his elf. The photographer for South County Times snapped her photo.

Today Grandpa asked his precious little girl where she wanted to go for lunch and she replied, "Burger King." He placed a coupon for two Junior Whopper meals on the counter and asked her what she wanted. In a fast food restaurant, crowded with lots of blue collar men on their lunch hour, she said, "I want little chicken balls, french fries and ketchup."

Bill and I looked at one another, and then we looked around. He said, "You want chicken nuggets?"

She said loudly, "No, I want chicken balls."

Then I saw the video menu screen change pictures automatically and laughed out loud. "Oh, she wants an order of popcorn chicken."

She sat at the table and sounded worse than Bob in that movie What About Bob? "Yumm, I love these little chicken balls. Uhm, thank you Paw-paw and Nana for these chicken balls. Ohh, um-um these chicken balls are so good."

I tried, "Honey it's popcorn chicken."

Cutie said, "Nana, it's not popcorn. These are little chicken balls."

All we could do was laugh and ignore the greasers.

Well, that was a nice surprise!

Jennifer is a gem. If you are not familiar with Jennifer Brown Banks you should be. She features guest bloggers, delivers the goods on writing and provides writing services. My introduction to Jennifer was through a writer's magazine. When I picked it up and read about breaking all the rules, I thought, "Wow! I've been doing that and didn't even know it." Writing and submitting is all about connecting first with your first reader, the editor. Check out Jennifer's blog, Pen and Prosper. I did, and my poem won her contest. My prize came in the mail yesterday, a book on writing, a daily purse planner, other little goodies and CHOCOLATE!

Monday, December 10, 2012

What a fun day!

Seated, L-R: Cathi LaMarche, Lynn Cahoon, and standing, L-R: Linda O'Connell, Pat Wahler

We four Chicken Soup for the Soul Writers have been published this year in ten Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. The fourth annual Chicken Soup for the Soul, Canned Food for the Body Book Signing and Food Drive at Main Street Books in St. Charles, MO was a success. We sold a bunch of books and collected non-perishables for the local food bank.

This year was a multi-store, multi-author event which started at 10 a.m. and ended at 6:00 p.m. Eleven women travelled from store to store supporting one another. Talk about parking issues! I think Theresa Sanders, Tammy Goodsell, Sioux Roslawski, Nina Miller, Patt Pickett, Donna Vokenannt, Beth Wood, and those of us featured in the photo laughed more this year than ever before.

 Please patronize these participating independent book stores, Main Street Books, All on the Same Page, and The Book House.

We were honored with the presence of a real Victorian ... oh wait a minute, it was Val the Victorian, no wait, she is a teacher who was once a Valedictorian. Her students love her and her blog followers wish they could write with such acerbic wit. She travelled far, brought yummy gifts, and she even brought Happy and the Genius who found books galore to buy from the haunted book store. Pony stayed home galloping around.

Four of the five women in my critique group were published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books this year. The fifth, our illustrious hostess, Lynn Obermoeller visited each of us and bought books from all of us. What a champ! She is one of only twelve writers selected for a soon-to-be released anthology, Fifty Shades of Santa, so don't underestimate her writing ability. She beat us out!

My group had clear view of Main Street which is home to century old, brick row houses that now house antique and specialty shops and restaurants. The Christmas spitrit was everywhere as carolers strolled, and a fife and drum band high stepped. Characters dressed as Santas from around the world, the Town Crier, the Sugar Plum Fairy, a life-size angel, historical WW11 characters and so many more walked up and down Main Street handing out collectable trading cards. The parade, as always was a delight; the crowd enormous and controlled. One of the best sights I saw in the crowd was a set of twins dressed in red hoodies and hats wearing holiday tu-tus. They were middle-age, a wee bit short and round and certainly not hung up on body conciousness. Made me smile with delight.

Heads up for those who submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul On the Spectrum book. They have not made final selctions yet but will soon.

Why don't you send a story to CS? All you have to do is write from the heart on the topics listed on their website.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My boogie woogie boy

Our weather has been unseasonably warm, 74 degrees a few days ago. Doesn't appear we'll be making real snowmen anytime soon. The first snowfall of the season makes me happy. After that, you can have the slush and muck.

But oh how I love my fake little snow family. For years I have admired my daughter-in-law's little piano playing snowman, which I think came from a Hallmark Store. This summer I finally found one at a yard sale for $3 to add to my snowman collection. A treasure I am telling you, because it gives me such joy to press the PLAY button and watch that little guy shift in his seat and boogie woogie. The lights flash as he "plays" three holiday songs. This is my all time favorite. I'll be posting more of my collection.

Do you have a holiday collection?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Time to give back!

I find that the closer I write to my heart, the more I am published. 
Readers want to read more than the headlines, they want a glimpse into your life. This year my true stories have been published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul Books. I am thankful, and I plan to give back. CS writers are compensated only one time for each story. So a book signing garners nothing for us, but it does help the independent bookstore/small business owners and of course, Chicken Soup for the Soul. This is our fourth annual multi-author FOOD DRIVE and book signing. Please, won't you come out and support our effort? Buy a CS book and receive 20% off your entire store purchase.

              Fourth Annual “Chicken Soup for the Soul,
                Canned Soup for the Body” Book Signing
Ten local Chicken Soup for the Soul writers will sign books at three independent bookstores in the St. Charles/St. Louis area on Saturday, December 8, 2012. The annual combination book signing and canned food drive has expanded this year from its original venue at Main Street Books in St. Charles to include the other two stores in honor of Chicken Soup for the Soul’s upcoming twenty-year anniversary. Customers may bring in a canned good to be donated to area food pantries and receive 20% off their entire purchase that day. Participating stores and authors are:

10-12 noon, All on the Same Page (Contact: Robin Tidwell, owner)
11052 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, MO 314-567-4144

Nina Miller, former Children's Area Specialist at Borders Creve Coeur, has just finished The Ultimate Storytime Guide, to be published soon by McFarland & Co. This book will offer parents, teachers, booksellers and librarians information on creating a complete story time experience that includes music, art, movement, food and literature.

Theresa Sanders is a frequent Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor, with fifteen stories published by the series. An award-winning technical writer and former manager of a documentation and training department, she is currently completing a novel.

T’Mara Goodsell is an award-winning multi-genre writer who has six stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well as other anthologies and newspapers. More of her writing can be found at
1-3 p.m., Main Street Books (Contact: Vicki Erwin, owner)
307 South Main Street, St. Charles, MO 636-949-0105

Cathi LaMarche is the author of the novel While the Daffodils Danced. Her stories appear in eight Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as other anthologies. She currently teaches composition and literature, and she writes in her spare time.

Linda O'Connell has been published in seventeen Chicken Soup for the Soul books and many other anthologies, magazines and books.
Lynn Cahoon is an Alton, IL contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined-ranging from rogue witch hunters to modern cowboys. She blogs at her website ( about writing, lessons learned while surviving breast cancer, and living the dream.

Pat Wahler resides in St. Peters with her husband, dog, and cat. She is a grant writer by day and freelance writer by night and has been published in dozens of local and national venues. A life-long animal lover, Pat ponders critters, writing, and life's little mysteries at

4-6 p.m., The Book House (Contact: Michelle Barron, owner)
9719 Manchester Rd., St. Louis, MO 314-968-4491

Beth M. Wood is a mom of three, marketing VP and freelance writer. She is a devout reader, semi-fanatic editor, and not so great golfer. Follow along at

First-place winner of the 2012 Erma Bombeck Global Humor Writing Competition, Donna Duly Volkenannt lives in St. Peters with her husband and grandchildren, who inspire her and fill her with joy. Learn more about Donna at
Sioux Roslawski is a 3rd grade teacher with the Ferguson-Florissant School District. A freelance writer, she also rescues dogs for Love a Golden Rescue. Her writing can be found at

Since 1993, more than 112 million copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies have been sold in the United States and Canada alone, with titles translated into more than 40 languages. Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, is a world leader in life improvement. For more information, please visit: