Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Caring and moment at a time

One Moment at a Time
Linda O'Connell

   "Pops, my stepdad once flew stunt planes upside down and in directions as dizzying and confusing as his life had become. Dementia had stolen much of his short term memory."  
My story details the heartache that comes with "losing" not one but two parents at the same time. In the end, I conclude that lullabies are not just for babies, and we should take one day at a time.
I will most likely do a book signing later this year and donate proceeds to the local Alzheimer's chapter.

This story is near and dear to my heart. I submitted another one which was not selected, about my dear friend diagnosed with dementia who is slowly slipping again. These diseases are devastating.

I also got news that my friend, Carol, was recently diagnosed with cancer. Prayers appreciated as she goes in for surgery next Friday. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

In My Dreams!

How many times have I wished for something, knowing full well that it's only a wish, out of reach?

On New Year's Day, 1/1/11 I sent a story to Chicken Soup for the Soul about buying our home. I never heard from them. Three months ago, I revised that story and resent it for the call out on Home Sweet Home to be released in May 2014.

I received a permission form this afternoon for possible inclusion of my original story in the new book. Three years later! Just proves that dreams really do come true.

The story is about my dream house. No, it's not a mansion, or on the beach, but the home we purchased is the home I dreamed about before Bill and I ever met. I passed it everyday as I drove my ex husband to work when we had only one car and the children were small. It was my escape from reality house. And it became my dream house. The title of my story is, In My Dreams!

The angle from which I took the picture makes the roof look wavy and the siding rippled. It's an optical illusion.  In a few weeks this lawn will be lush green and I will have flowers in the pot.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nicholas turns 12

Happy 12th birthday to grandson Nicholas who is quite an accomplished ice skater. He took that rink by storm.

I could begin at letter A and go to Z and find all positive words to describe this gentle, sweet, kind, caring kid who is all boy! He has the energy level of a dozen kids, is always on skates or blades, participating in sports or roughhousing with the neighborhood boys. They live on the bend of a cul de sac and there's always a slew of kids playing outside. He has good leadership ability, has a strong sense of  right from wrong and is our pride and joy. His school thinks he's cool, too.

To think 12 years ago I was with his mama who was in heavy labor bouncing on a ball shouting, "OWWW! that hurt...and I want a Big Mac. Ewwwwww! That's so painful...and I want some French fries."

I think she went through the entire McDonald's menu, because she was so hungry and hadn't eaten since the day before.

I have been so busy this week with IEPs, meetings etc. and I have neglected my blog. Please don't go away. I appreciate all of you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Jennifer, Tracey and Denise

Over the weekend I read on Facebook that my daughter (center) and her friends, who are also my late best friend's daughter on the right and niece on the left were meeting at a local bakery before going to antique shops.

Rose and I used to do that before we went to yard sales. These young women are carrying on our tradition. Were they ever surprised to see me walk in and join them at their table. Each of them hold a special place in my heart. 

I shared old time stories and told them things they didn't know. As we rehashed old memories, these gals made new ones. It warmed my heart to surprise them and spend time with them. I will tell you this, some things never change. Tracey and Denise are still the giggle girls. They giggled through childhood, into their teens. Some days giggling is the only way to get through the trials and tribulations of adulthood. We spent an hour together and then they went on their way. Mid day our texts crossed: So enjoyed our time together; had so much fun.

It was!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

A whiz bang for the books

A kiss is but a kiss...

 We've gone from THIS


and we are still happy after all these years. Valentine's Day just happened to be our 20th wedding anniversary. Yesterday was memorable. I was covered in body fluids. Oh what a day. It started with a sweet good morning kiss from my honey, and continued all day.

A little girl hacked and coughed in my face, a snot-nosed little boy sneezed a string of green snot at me. A little guy who was over tired slobbered all over me as I rocked him to sleep. I asked my aide to take the children to the playroom. I heard noise in the bathroom and found a little boy, bottoms up, bent over the toilet trying to clean up a MESS that was smeared everywhere, so I wiped up the messes. ALL of them.

I called my honey on the way home and said, "You know I love you, right? I've partied all day, a.m. class and p.m. class had Valentine's Parties. I'm exhausted. I'm pulling into the drive way, so hop in the car." We ate at a buffet and came back home. I laid down on the couch to watch the  news.

Here's the news: I woke up the day after our anniversary, at 12:05 a.m.  a cover lovingly draped over me. I came to bed and apologized. We made plans for Monday, a day off school. We will go on a long drive to do some eagle viewing across the river in Alton, Illinois and we'll have a nice meal and take pictures along the way.

We aren't simple. It's just the simple things in life that still make us happy. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Do steering columns get arthritis?

Anybody ever read the children's book, The Mitten? It's a Ukrainian folk tale about a boy who loses his red mitten on the coldest day of winter. Several animals squeeze inside to stay warm...even a boar and a bear, but it is the cricket with the arthritic knees who squeezes herself in and causes the threads to split and spill all of them into the snow.

I feel like that old cricket granny. My joints ache, the cold is making me miserable. Usually we get a break back to normal temperatures every few days, but this winter has been brutal. It is taking its toll on everyone and everything. I wonder if my gray matter is half frozen, too?

Yesterday I started my car in 9 degrees. I am so sick of having  frozen nose and toes and fingers, despite outerwear and socks. I'd rather stay under the covers, and that is not like me.

I pulled out of the driveway and drove half a block when I heard the siren and pulled to the curb. I looked back, but didn't see an emergency vehicle. Probably turned at the intersection. I drove away. Again a piercing loud siren. RIGHT BEHIND ME?!

NO. Nowhere to be seen.

It took me a while to realize the noise was inside my car. At first I thought my engine was whining out on high idle and ready to blow. I turned the steering wheel and it screamed. I turned around to go back home and tell hubby. Of course when he came out and said, "Start it up," it purred.

I wanted to kick it! Most likely a frozen grommet on that steering mechanism....blah-blah-blah. I've got your steering mechanism! I've got good news. The weather folks are declaring the next few days will be in the forties and perhaps 50! Perhaps my mood will improve.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Nun of my business!

I went through the bank drive through this morning. Before reaching the plate glass window next to the building where you get a clear view of the tellers, I could see through a sliver of window on the side of the building. There were three tellers, and I could see only their profiles. The one farthest away from me caught my attention. I know the economy is bad, but I couldn't believe that there was a nun wearing her habit working the drive up window. I pondered the situation. Poor dear. Why would the parish allow that? Well why not?

I remembered a long time ago when I attended a neighbor's birthday party and read a risqué birthday card aloud, and someone said, "Shhh! Her sister's a nun."

I had always known her sister only as her older sister.

I didn't KNOW her sister was a "sister" because I never saw her in her habit. She wore street clothes. I did think it strange that her family called her Louise and everyone else in the community called her Paulette.

Anyway, having not been raised Catholic or being exposed to the nuns as a child, I remember someone saying they had to shave their heads, that's why you never saw a strand of exposed hair. I felt sorry for them in summer.

I asked my hubby, who attended parochial school, what he remembered about the nuns. He said, "I remember we kids made up a song about one nun who was extremely mean. We sang, "Mighty Mouse-Mighty Mouse waddling down the aisle, Mighty Mouse Mighty Mouse never cracks a smile." He said, "But man! she could crack us with her rubber tipped pointer. She'd stand in the back of the room and catch us (ME) doing something, and before you knew it, she was rolling down the aisle."

So anyway, I pulled up to the bank drive up window and got the "nun teller."
Turned out she was a girl with long straight black hair wearing a wide, white headband, and a black shirt. Whew! Sometimes my imagination runs wild.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who do I think I'm kidding?

As I sit in my soft, extra padded office chair I wonder: how did my soft, extra  padded bottom get so wide that it now spreads to the edge of my seat?

I raised my shirt to see about an itch on my stomach. I looked down and wondered whose gut was on display. I thought I only had wrinkles on my face! I rushed to the full length mirror and shivered in fright at the gut gulleys that will soon fill in with flab. I tried to straighten up and stretch my torso taut.

Who am I kidding? I may as well wait for the filler. It's not like spritzing a T shirt and stretching the material to reshape it. Reaching overhead did raise a couple of questions. Do I really need a new bra with heavy duty straps, or do I just need to improve my posture? Instead of "Writer, Butt-In-Chair", maybe I need to get my butt out and jazz it up. Not gussy it up, jazz around the house, move it like a sugared up preschooler. Goodness knows I eat enough sugar.

I'm anticipating the Olympics since the Super Bowl was such a flop. I thought of my high school senior year. I was physically fit. My bottom fit into a size 10 (for twenty-five subsequent years) and I could "haul ass" as kids used to say. Although, as someone I know playfully says, it would probably take two trips these days.

He isn't funny. Don't laugh!

Seriously, although I was fit, I failed the Presidential Physical Fitness test, because even if my life depended on it, I could not do a push up or climb a rope. But I could do sit ups in time to chewing bubble gum. I outpaced everyone. I hated running and couldn't toss a ball to first base, but you should have seen my long jump...even though it ended as a face plant.

The P.E. activity I liked most was the stationary horses and parallel bars. I could run, mount, swing my legs up and over, hover. I had tight buns, abs of steel and imaginary boobs. As I walked down the hallowed halls to the new gymnasium for the last time, I wondered if I could retain my figure without the fitness props. How long would it be before my body betrayed me?

I'm here to tell you, it's been a slow betrayal, but the day has come. My hiney is hefty, my boobs are heavy, and SNOW, mucho snow is on the way. I will get my butt out of this chair, and I'll probably end up under a cozy blanket on the couch if tomorrow is a school snow day.

If this weather ever clears, I vow to get my gluteus maximus up and shake a tail feather. Oh how I used to love to dance to that song!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

The cat's meow

On this Super Bowl Sunday while most privileged Americans are consumed with consuming beverages and endless snacks, I discovered that there is something for those of us not so interested in football. The Puppy and Kitten Bowls. Oh my! And I saw the cutest video on Facebook of a family cat calming a fussy infant.  Too cute!
That reminded me that I hadn't been to the park in a couple days to feed the family of feral cats. I've been watching the litter since their mama brought them out of the woods to wean them. They're about seven months now. A gentleman brings food almost everyday, and I supplement every couple of days.
Today there were three, two black and white and the calico who were very hungry. I have reported them to Stray Rescue, but they are still there. I feel bad for them in this bitter cold. I wish I could capture and keep all three, but I know it is not possible. Since they are God's creatures, I do what I feel is right and provide sweet talk and nourishment. 
So I came home and went downstairs to do a long overdue task: sort through clothing that had piled up over the winter. I grouped according to season: winter sweaters and jackets, spring jackets and blouses, short sleeve summer shirts, and... sleeveless, one-day-I-will-get-to-the-beach-tops. As I was hanging the items on hangers, beating myself up for outgrowing a few things, I heard "Hisss!" from overhead in the rafters.

I looked around and listened. Okay, probably just my mind on cats. I ignored it and went about my business. A few minutes later, Pssst! I spun around expecting you-know-who to be pranking me. This went on for about an hour. THEN, I discovered the source of the Psst-hissing!

You-know-who purchased motion-activated lavender scented deodorizers for the basement and positioned them in the rafters above the laundry line. Thank goodness. For a moment I thought I had a ghost cat.

NO! I did not take my used clothing to the park for the cats. I could only imagine being classified as a weirdo. Actually I made them a shelter box, and several other people did, too. Because they are feral, they prefer the underbrush or a pipe down the hill, because that is where they come from when I call.