Sunday, November 30, 2014

Let your light shine!

I have so much to be thankful for, especially being part of four generations. See the sunlight shining on my precious five and half month old little Liam? He has such a wonderful personality.
As I looked at Liam's perfectly formed little baby hands and watched him put them in his mouth to teethe, to make speech sounds, to self-soothe; to grab his feet, my cheeks, my nose, and his favorite book... I gazed at those miniature hands and I wondered.

How will he use them in the future? To hug, cuddle, reach out to help someone, reach for the stars? I know he will make a difference in this world. He is already so smart, and I know, I absolutely KNOW, this precious little baby boy is destined for greatness.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We are safe; are any of us really safe?

I'd like to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving and blessed holiday. 

Please pray for or send good thoughts to Ferguson, Missouri, a community about thirty miles away, which is in great turmoil because of the actions of a few agitators who prefer outlandish and criminal behavior to peaceful protest. Crowd mentality is building and spreading across America.

True, there is need for change, but positive change does not result from anger, violent actions, rioting and looting. I am ashamed. Unrest and peace disturbance in other neighborhoods has led to cancellations of schools, classes, businesses closing early, and the postponement of our downtown Thanksgiving Day parade.  It is sad that the majority does not rule and we allow a few to destroy our towns and threaten our well being.

If you have time, please take a look at my latest brief essay about giving thanks. I am proud to be a guest blogger on the Pallonttine Renewal Center site.

Then, for a candid account of how Cappy Hall Rearick really felt about Thanksgiving, check out this link which will take you to a story in Not Your Mother's Book...On Family. It will be posted on Thanksgiving day. I laughed out loud when I first received her submission. Cappy tells it like it is.

"Our Thanksgiving began in earnest after the SUV carrying the grandkids from hell was history. Looking at those diminishing taillights was a plentiful reason to give thanks."

Counting my blessings instead of my problems. Thank you for your readership.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

If I knew, I'd tell ya!

"Get this!" I say from the passenger seat as we're driving down the highway. I often read aloud something mind boggling, eye-popping, spell binding, unbelievable from my Face Book feed.
He raises his index finger to his right ear and tunes his hearing aid higher so he doesn't miss a word.
When I pause, he takes his eye off the road for a split second, glances at me and says, "Whose that from? Who sent that to us?"
Who-Who-Who? Us-Us-Us? Is he serious? I've told him a million times, "I don't know."
He thinks I'm messing with him, withholding pertinent information. I tell him "It's just a friend."
"How could it be a friend if you don't know them?"
Yesterday when he asked, instead of starting the ball rolling, I read the "friend's" name.
"Who's that?" he asks.
"I. Don't. Know," I say.
"Well, they sent it to US. How do we know them?"
I say through clenched teeth. "We DON'T know them. It's a friend of a friend."
"Then why are they sending it to US?"
"It's on the WWW," I say.
Before I can explain, he says, "When did you get into wrestling?"
I'm going to put him in a headlock!


Friday, November 21, 2014

What's YOUR nationality?

Mrs. Surkamp was a soft and pudgy, no-nonsense 5th grade teacher who reminded me of Lucy's side kick, Ethel Mertz.

One day while studying geography (before the mixing of ethnic groups blended pure ethnicity out of most of us) she asked each of us to stand and report our nationalities.

Billy's belly jiggled when he stood up. He slicked his hair back, hitched his pants up, and said with an air of confidence, "When I asked my dad last night, he said I am part Indian and part German, and my mom said, I'm also half hillbilly."

Mrs. Surkamp laughed until she cried, and we laughed right along, but we didn't know why.

Now I do.

I am talking about Native Americans this week, and you may have already read this before. When I told my PreK class that I was Indian because my dad was part Native American, little Jordan raised her hand and piped up, "My daddy is a naked American, too."

I could never look her daddy in the face again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Potty humor

I cleaned the home office, went through stacks of papers and books on the floor and desk, moved a book case, and I rearranged pictures on the walls. You wouldn't believe what a difference those things made in my ability to write. Eight submissions so far this month. I find myself standing in the doorway and mooning over the lack of clutter and the free flow to the room. I came across a stack of books that I am willing to part with, now. But first I wanted to skim some of the author bios in the anthologies.
I am a progressive thinker. I know that controversy drives comments on a blog or in a print publication, but the more I read, the more I wondered what was with all the potty humor. Here is what I read: 
Carol also enjoys bathroom dancing several times a week with her husband.
Sharon has toileted in many towns.

Mary dates her grandson.
I reread, and yep, sure enough, that is what I read.
And then, I had to laugh at my own potty humor. Right there on the back of the toilet I spied my reading glasses. I removed my progressive lens prescription glasses and put on my readers. I now understand that Carol enjoys ballroom dancing, Sharon has toiled in many towns, and Mary dotes on her grandson.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Give me a box and I'll think outside it

Years ago when I taught in a school-age summer program, I presented an activity that encouraged children to use their creativity and imagination. I cut pictures of objects out of magazines and placed them in a box. Each child randomly selected two pictures and came up with a new invention. The results were interesting, fun, and even funny: A vacuum cleaner that dispenses orange juice. A hairdryer that turns on a TV, etc.

If combining two unrelated (or sort-of-related) things worked back then, why not apply it to my writing? Today I took a chance and wrote a creative non-fiction essay which blended a bit of nostalgia with my personal view on today's inappropriate early childhood educational practices.
I know times have changed, but no recess? Restricted movement? Paper/pencil/desk/ditto sheets? Really? For 3-6 year olds? (None of this is in my written text. I addressed these issues by talking about the educational lessons garnered when I made mud pies in childhood.) I titled my submission, A Little Dirt Didn't Hurt. I targeted a multi-age audience and the editor by writing from a professional point of view with an easy reading style, on a relevant topic.
I went further out on a limb by submitting to a (non-educational) publication that I would never have considered before. But I reasoned, my chances are 50-50, and if I don't take a chance, I will never know.

Are you ready to reach higher, take a risk? If you do not believe in yourself, no one else will.

Okay, because I may be a wee bit ADD, and my mind tends to navigate by itself, I just thought of another BOX story for you.
I was at a bridal shower with lots of women way back when...when women didn't, or said they didn't have premarital sex. The hostess placed a box on the floor, told each guest (women of all ages and sizes) to step inside, bend down without bending their knees, and touch their toes. No other instructions. Someone in another room transcribed the comments as women moaned and said: It's too small. I can't do this. This is hard. It hurts. Why are you making me DO this? What is the point of all this nonsense? Are you crazy? This is next to impossible. Ouch, I pulled a muscle. Don't ever ask me to do this again."

After each person had a turn, and without further explanation, the hostess went on to a new game. Later, as the women sat around sipping punch and eating cake, the hostess announced she had a list of comments to read that the bride might say on her wedding night. There was lots of cake snorting and punch spewing.

Bridal showers, women, education practices (and my writing) have come a long way.

Now, I challenge you to share one thing with me that has always been of interest to you that you have/have not pursued but would like to. Go crazy!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tom is up and coming

I am thankful for my sense of humor, which gets me through most days.

SNOW on the way. Now isn't that funny?!

I have a date with Tom.
His broad chest makes me smile.
I'm going to oil his skin
and massage his pecs a while.

I'll get his juices flowing
and really make him hot.
Then, I'm going to grab his giblets
and cook them in a pot.

My husband's going to carve him
and serve him on a platter,
Don't think that we are crazy;
for nothing is the matter.

Feast Day's fast approaching and
soon old Tom will be a roasting!
Snow is causing  me to panic
and I might be a little manic.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Boiling then... simmering now

75 degrees a few days ago and now winter is blasting across the nation. 30 degrees today. UGH! Possibly accumulating snow on Saturday.
As I stood in the kitchen watching my tall mug of black cherry tea heat up, I gazed into a window from my past.

There was no school bus transportation. Everyone walked to school. I walked eight blocks. Females were not allowed to wear jeans or slacks, not even on the most brutally cold snowy days... and NO, there was no such thing as "snow days" back when I was a freshman in 1963. Our fingers were frozen stiff and our legs from the knees down were red and chapped when we arrived at school.

Skirt lengths were at the knee, but yo-yoed over the next four years. Granny skirts ankle hovered, then hemlines rose to mid calf, and eventually began a slow thigh-high climb to miniskirts.  

Each year, just before school started, I bought basic white canvas tennis shoes at the dime store for phys ed days, and I polished them with white "baby shoe" polish to keep them looking new.

I wore black and white saddle oxfords, or penny loafers with shiny pennies inserted into the slots.

I loved my "Beatle Boots," flat heeled comfy, ankle boots.
In the spring I headed for Hill Brother's shoe store where their slogan was plastered across the window: "Two for five, man alive!" I purchased flats in a rainbow of pastels.

At McKinley High, the highly-waxed cork floors felt like padding beneath my feet as I darted to my next class. When the public address system crackled with an announcement by Principal Dr. Mildred Hiller that our room was invited to attend an auditorium session, the class rejoiced.

Sporting a suit and tie, a male General Electric representative stood on stage and demonstrated a new-fangled innovative contraption, right off The Jetsons. Large as a dorm fridge, it sat on display on a table. 

"Girls, in YOUR lifetime, in the very near future, you will be able to cook an entire meal in mere minutes. No more slaving over the range."

The only "range" I knew was the open prairie in the western song, "Home on the Range." I had never heard that word used to describe a kitchen stove.

He proceeded to bake a cake in less than five minutes and frost it with a solid Hershey bar as it melted across the surface, much to my amazement.

This morning as I watched the microwave heat my tea in a minute and a half, I realized how I take that thing for granted.

Fifteen years after that G.E demonstration I purchased my first microwave, a large boxy contraption that cost $300.00. I was ticked off at my then husband for something big.

When I took the "for emergency only" charge card to Sears and Roebuck, I also purchased a set of ceramic canisters which cost almost $40, a lot of money in those days. He was lucky I stopped there!

I mainly use my microwave for heating. How about you?  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Oh Papa!

I was reading a friend's blog post about her pizza mishap, and I wondered, did I ever tell you about the time...

Several years ago, Daylight Savings Time had just sent me into my annual hibernation tailspin. Street lights are uncommon in our suburban neighborhood. I have to strain my eyes to see any movement out front, unless a car occasionally passes by and the headlights briefly illuminate the yard. This at 5:00 p.m. I hate early darkness!

It was all I could do to stay awake as I waited for my professor friend to arrive that evening.
Stifling a yawn, I put on a fresh pot of coffee and prepared a platter of banana nut and blueberry muffin slices for us. 

It's hard to see our driveway at night, so instead of pulling in, she parked out front on a triple-wide sidewalk, which also serves as a parking pad for the ten houses on our side of the road. Across the road is an overgrown block-long, former truck farm, which only makes it seem darker.

The aroma from the Papa John's Pizza, a block away, wafted through the front door on a crisp autumn breeze. After SO many years of eating that five buck pie (year-long introductory price when they first arrived in town) the smell acts as a deterrent, and I usually close the front screen door when the wind is blowing our way. Not that evening.

My friend and I sat in the living room nibbling our muffins, discussing our writing and lamenting the lack of publishing opportunities. We heard a minor collision out front, followed by swearing. We ran across the lawn through the darkness to see what had had happened. A car whizzed by, spotlighting a middle aged bicyclist sprawled at the end of our drive. He was trying to upright himself and retrieve the upside down Papa John's pizza box.

"Who the hell parks on the sidewalk?!" He mumbled and fumbled in the dark, swearing.

"Sorry. Are you alright?" I startled him so badly he dropped the pizza box again. The lid opened, and he scraped the gooey mess back inside. He eye-balled us, confused.

"Do you want me to call someone for you?" I asked. "Are you hurt?"

"Lady, pleathe don't call the cops. I didn't thee your car. Pleathe don't call the cops, I'm not thupposed to be driving on a DWI, and I'm drunk again."

Assured he was uninjured, I told him to drive safely, and watched as he got behind the bent handle bars and wobbled on down the road.

Sometimes, I don't know what comes over me. Back indoors, I lost my professional demeanor and broke into song.

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore`. When a drunk hits your car like he's been at a bar, that's amore`."

Sometimes, I can't stop myself.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Forget Fingerprints

This is a repost from a couple years ago. Still, I can't pass by that junk jewelry shop in the mall without breaking out in hives remembering this incident. Good luck to those of you doing NaNoWriMo. I have opted instead to make daily submissions of personal essays, because my life is stranger than fiction.
We took my wedding rings to the jeweler in the mall. The prongs on the head are 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 at the dance 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 the 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, November 2, 2014

Super busy

Busy weekend. Hubby and I helped my daughter and son-in-law rip up carpeting throughout their house. Left their home and went to Bill's daughter's and watched grandson Kyle (See him in the tree?) take down a fifty foot tree in front of their house. Then we helped haul the branches to a wood chipper. We sure got much-needed exercise.

I ate too many Butterfingers, dark chocolate covered pretzel thins, and chocolate covered almonds on Halloween. You'd think I would be on chocolate overload, but this weather makes me want a mug of hot chocolate and a piece of buttered toast. My taste buds are arguing with my snug jeans. I think I know which one will win. Does this weather and early darkness make you crave carbs?

My honey bought me a new, downy soft throw cover. I think it must have had a magic spell cast upon it. When I lie down on the couch and cover with it, just like that! I'm snoozing. It has the same effect on the cat.

Some of you may have seen this picture on Facebook of me and my sleepy super baby.

Liam's mama bought him a pumpkin outfit, but I found this sleeper and just had to dress him up. I am so in love with this little guy.

Hope you all had a great weekend. I wrote and sent two submissions today. Not doing NaNoWriMo, but I am challenging myself to write more than usual.

How about you? Do you have November goals?