Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Back to being Froggy

This big guy towers over me these days. We were present the day he was born. When he was placed in Grandpa's arms, Bill gave me "the look" and motioned me out into the hall. Alarm registered on his face. He whispered, "Did they tell his parents? Do they know? I can't believe everyone's so calm."

"What's the matter?"

Sean was bundled as any newborn, and he had the cutest little face. I didn't see a thing wrong with him.

"This baby's only a foot long. He doesn't have any legs. I'm telling you, I cannot feel his legs or feet. Didn't the doctor's tell them?"

I laughed out loud. "He still has "frog" legs from being positioned in the womb. They're drawn up."

Confusion, relief, and embarrassment flooded his face.

Baby Sean's legs grew and grew, and when he began to walk, nobody could keep up with him. He would dart to whatever caught his fleeting toddler attention, investigate everything, and talk to strangers. One day, the family was at Happy Joe's Pizza Parlor and Arcade.

I challenged the preschoolers to a game of skee ball.  Sean was seated in his high chair at the table with Bill and his two daughters, the kids' moms.

"Come on kids, I'm a skee ball champion." I dropped a token into the slot, drew back that wooden ball and was ready to prove my prowess when someone shouted,  "Sean's missing!"

I found him immediately. He was sitting behind the plexiglass inside my skee ball machine. His little bottom positioned in the 500 point cup, he gazed out at me with a mile-wide grin.

I shouted, "Unplug the machine before he gets electrocuted!" People gathered to see the kid who had scooted up the skee ball alley, slid under the gap, and plunked himself in the high-point pocket.

That is only one of many of his antics which caused someone to run to him. He has never outgrown his curiosity, his sense of humor, his zest for life. He loved scouts and Venturing and is always ready to lend a helping hand. In fact he told me at Christmas his after graduation plans were to live with each set of grandparents for three months and help them with whatever they needed. How sweet!

He has leadership ability, a good heart, and a desire to see the world. And I guess we'll still be doing our own chores.

Today he is going to the recruiting office to take preliminary tests and prepare to enter the Navy, as his father and grandfather did when they were his age. He is probably going to follow further in their footsteps and become a paramedic-firefighter. Our young man has goals! We are so proud of long-legged Sean. He now will have to grow "sea" legs. I think I'll call him Froggy.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

FREE brings them out of the woodwork!


The word is a magnet. I saw an advertisement for free skin cancer screening at a local cancer center from 8:00 a.m. ─1:00 p.m. on a first come, first served basis. I arrived 45 minutes early and happened to be the fourth in line. Inside the building I realized there were two women ahead of us, which made me the sixth in line. We were instructed to take one of the fifty seats in a reception area.

Now, having taught for many years, I know what happens when everyone wants to be the leader, be first in line, or loses their place. I knew the six of us would line up accordingly, but what if more people arrived? They arrived in droves. A woman about 80 years old, announced to the people in charge, and the entire room, she had been the first one here at 7:00 a.m. and should be seen first.

Nobody was going to deny her line leader. Having dealt with people who get butted out of line, I knew the best system would have been to hand out numbers like at the supermarket deli counter. But nope, the people in charge continued to direct everyone to take a seat. With every new butt planted in chair, #1 got more and more antsy and kept announcing SHE was the first. In fifteen minutes all of the seats filled.

The people in charge handed out clipboards with registration forms attached. I could see a problem. The five of us is "line" behind #1, were younger and filled out our forms in less than three minutes. We were instructed to give the completed forms to a receptionist and move to the other side of the room and occupy one of those fifty chairs.  #1 complained, finally completed her form, joined us on the other side, and told every new arrival, "I am first."

As we waited, people continued to file in like ants at a picnic, and soon there was standing room only.
My husband says I'm nosey...

I gazed around and decided there were enough characters in that room to fill a book.
A very well-dressed woman, about seventy-five, had Betty Davis eyes. Over each bulging orbit rose a replica of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. I'm not just talking arched brows. Much like the real Arch that towers 630 feet over the city, her brows rose into the skyline up onto her forehead, which gave her an astonished expression.  

The couple seated behind me sounded like young, squeaky-voiced newlyweds, sweet talking one another, teasing with love words. I turned around to see a couple of gray haired hippies. She was lovingly flicking breakfast particles off his face, and he was responding like a cat, raising his chin for her to scratch, and she did... as he purred in public. 

In waltzed a couple in their fifties, California dreamers wearing flamboyant caftan shirts, white Bermudas and flip flops. They discussed their wealth, their Mazarati, golf dates, and generally flaunted their high lives in high volumes. 

The more I gazed, the more I gaped, so I focused on the woman with an armload of clipboards. She stood before us and called, "Arlene Smith." Several times she repeated the call out, scanned the room, sing-songed, "Arrrleeene." 

Finally, I pointed to #1 who was busy telling the people around her she was first. She stood, slightly bowed to the room, and announced, "I told you I was first!"

I was called fourth. I was in and out of my clothes in record time, and the doctor was in and out of the exam room in a flash. She left me with a pink piece of paper declaring me skin cancer-free. I left her with a blue paper gown, got dressed, and  hustled out of that place. 

I saw a  lanky, six-feet-tall, elderly woman with flowing, wiry, platinum hair, wearing a blouse, baggy micro shorts exposing skinny legs, wearing red high heels!!! She was riffling through the trunk of her car. As I drove away, she straightened up and exposed a painted face: heavy bright blue eye shadow, red cheeks, and a beard... HE was a cross dresser. 

And they say kids these days dress and act crazy! Next time I see a sign for FREE anything, I think I'll pass, unless it's dark chocolate, but with my luck it would be Ex-lax.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Babysitting "Baby Alex"

Liam and I went to Kirkwood park, a lovely wooded area, with two playgrounds and a lake. We stopped to examine the activity of hundreds of bees and butterflies on purple flowers. Bumble bees were buzzing, and butterflies were flitting. He was fascinated and said, "I want one." 

 He dropped one of his crackers, and three mallard ducks came to gobble the crumbs. We heard quacking from across the lake and were delighted to see this mama duck with her eight ducklings. Of course we had to feed her, too. Then, it was off to the playground with "baby Alex."

 This bald baby doll, which is about the same size as Alex, who is growing inside his mommy, used to belong to Liam's mom. So when I showed it to him, he claimed it as his brudder. What better way to get him ready to accept a tiny intruder into his life who will require lots of attention?

Liam climbed the rock wall with him and took him down the slide, and

on the dinosaur rocker. He tried to show him to a little girl named Heidi, but she was "too cranky" according to the roving reporter who thinks everyone is his friend. Heidi's mom laughed and said, "Liam is going to be that boy who chases the girls who are hard to get." Probably.
 He wants me to fill a dozen water balloons when he comes to visit, and then he shares them with the children at the playground. Amazing, they don't pop right away. The kids toss and chase them and giggle. Parents seem to be as thrilled as the children.

At nearly 90 degrees, he went "swimming" with baby Alex. See that trickle coming out of Alex? Liam ( who is almost potty trained) said, "I'm going to take off his pants and show him how to go potty."  I convinced him this was a doll and he wouldn't be able to. Thank goodness my curious little guy listened to me. I so appreciate every precious minute with this little wise guy. Look at how long his legs and arms are. He will look like a giant compared to Alex, who is due in late August.
Wishing you a happiness.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day to my mama

Ten years ago my mom, Virginia, aka: Nana Ginny, Maw-Maw, went to Heaven. I miss her everyday, especially THIS day.

On Mother's Day 2007, we went camping because nature has a way of easing me over rough spots. 

I awoke at dawn, mounted my bike, and sped across the concrete dam at Lake Carlisle. I was trying to outrun my overwhelming sadness and blow the stench of guilt off me. 

I  looked to the sky, searched the lake, yearned for a sign. As a tear trickled,  I got a sudden whiff of Mom's signature vanilla fragrance, and then... she touched me.  

Mourning Mom

High atop the dam
I pedal hard,
 feeling low.
Boats below with billowed sails
ripple the lake.

I tag the wind and search the sky for you.
A tear springs hot; I bid it not to splash.
I do not want to rock a boat,
especially mine.

As I bike away from
anguished thoughts.
wind gusts snatch my sorrow,
storm clouds swallow silent sobs.

I pause and mouth a simple prayer,
“God, let her be okay.”
I whiff a burst of hope and promise
on the early morning breeze.

Gentle tug upon my hair
tingles down my spine.
Did I really breathe your scent
and feel your tender touch,
or was that the universe caressing me?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Was it a coincidence?

I have been writing and publishing humor or upbeat memoir for more than twenty years. I should have been writing dark stuff last week, because I sure was singing the blues. Ready to quit writing.

Rejections are a part of the writing life. I usually shrug them off, and send my submissions elsewhere. I am resilient and determined.

It was like a Domino rally of rejection slips last week, one after another, day after day. The constant rejections collapsed my eagerness to write. I moaned and groaned on Facebook and derailed for a few days, but I am back on track, thanks to a supportive community of friends and writers who allowed me my pity party. THANK YOU ONE AND ALL.

Most would consider what happened to me Saturday night a coincidence. I had a haunting dream that bothered me for two days. I dreamed my late, elderly dad climbed into my bed and laid on his back next to me. He was frail and failing, and he gave me an ominous message in a very weak voice. "Just wait. Wait till Tuesday."

Then I woke up. A sense of doom hung over me as I expected to hear the worst on Tuesday.

That was the day I received an acceptance that helped pull me out of my doldrums. My story is about my dad, and it will be published in Sasee Magazine for the Father's Day issue.

As sure as I know editorial rejections are a certainty, I am also certain this message came directly from on high. Thanks, Dad.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Creme in the middle, coconut on top

When I was a little girl, our home was located right behind a neighborhood confectionery. Oh those chocolate Hostess cupcakes! I loved those creme-filled delights, and I never understood why Dad peeled off the chocolate icing which had a little white squiggle down the center.  

He only liked the cake. To tell you the truth, I prefer the cake with only a small taste of the too-sweet icing. That little white dollop of creme in the cake center makes me salivate thinking about it. Dad also liked jelly roll snack cakes, but his favorite was 

Snoballs originally were white, but now come in a variety of colors for special occasions.

Pink − Standard, year around

Green (Lucky Puffs) – St. Patrick's Day

Lavender (Hoppers) – Spring

Neon green (Glo Balls) – Halloween

Orange (Glo Balls) – Halloween

White – Winter 

In case you haven't purchased a Sno ball in a while, they have melted, um, shrunk, to half their original size. 

First introduced in 1947, the coconut-covered, marshmallow-frosted cakes were white, and they lacked creme filling until 1950. At one time manufactured and owned by Hostess, they are now owned by private equity firms, Apollo Global Management and Metropolous & Co.

When my children were in elementary school, I accompanied them on a field trip to the local Hostess Plant. We rode through the factory on a tram and watched how Twinkies are filled and packaged, and we observed how a machine put perfect white squiggles atop the chocolate icing on the Hostess chocolate cup cakes.

A supervisor came into a break room with a selection of snack cakes for everyone. I was as thrilled as the kids. Ding Dongs, Banana Flips, Ho-Hos, mini chocolate donuts, fruit pies. I could go on and on traveling down Memory Lane.

We were at the grocery store and came across a little Snoball gem all by itself on the bread shelf. Discarded by a hectic mom who snatched it from her toddler? A second thought cast off, reconsideration from someone whose jeans are getting snug? A leftover from St. Partrick's Day or dare I say, Halloween?

WOW! Did the hand painted windows at the restaurant take me back to when I was eight years old. At holiday seasons all of the neighborhood merchants selected 8th graders to paint their windows. I so wanted to do that, but by the time I made it to eighth grade, the practice had faded. 

When I became an early childhood teacher, I'd get out the tempera paints and allow the students to paint "fireworks," and flowers, and holiday decorations on the windows. Yes, of course I participated!

Talk about brilliant, almost blinding light. Look at this! The sun made an appearance.

So, Thursday night, at 8:00 p.m., on a very cold and cloudy day, this is what filled the sky. I can't tell you how I rejoiced. The flood waters have receded and the cleanup has begun in our town. We were fortunate not to have been affected by the two month's worth of rain St. Louis received in a few short days.

I know you may think I am "snowing" you, but during the stormy weather, Western Kansas was receiving four inches of snow per hour. Crazy weather!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Here we go again!

 In December 2015 St. Louis had a 500 year flood that wiped out homes, towns and devastated areas all across the Midwest. This week major rivers and tributaries are rushing out of their banks, breaching levees and overtaking towns across the Plains. It is still raining and the rivers have not crested.

Sixteen months after the last major event, we are experiencing another historic flood. This time residents were more prepared, and volunteer sandbaggers worked hard to save the businesses in historic Eureka, MO and other towns. I have friends going through this horrible devastation, again. 

Major highways and over 100 roads have been closed.  Authorities and officials are telling people to choose a side. Literally. You will be stranded to the north or south of the Meramec River which is again swallowing homes, bridges, towns. We live at least five miles from the nearest river, which is shown in  this newspaper clip. Our family members are affected. Trying to get to work has been a tremendous battle, as secondary and rural routes are going under and being closed.

At noon Wednesday we were headed to the grocery store and Taco Bell for lunch. After stopping at three different CLOSED Taco Bells because employees were stranded, it made us aware of the economic impact this flood is creating for individuals and businesses. Many employees, staff and faculty members from businesses and schools on high ground cannot get to work. They live on the South side of the Meramec River which has bisected our town.  Many who work or live in Jefferson County are stranded or choosing to stay put there. This flood is separating us.

Those on the North side of the waterway who live or work in St. Louis County are also hunkering down there. Some have no choice. Hospital personnel are staying at work because they cannot get home and are afraid if they do make it home, the rivers will rise and cut off their road access. 

 It is an absolute mess here.

There was one passable lane on a secondary road in South County yesterday, and the semi trucks were heading convoy-like in that direction. What would have taken minutes to travel, took hours.

This is what we came upon as we drove five miles south to the grocery store. Interstate 55 southbound was completely shut down just past Highway 270., two exits away from us.

And this morning, the news channel showed an aerial view of the Arch grounds. The Mississippi River is at 40.6 feet and still rising. The muddy waters are almost to the top steps of the Arch grounds, which have been newly replanted and designed for future outdoor use. And...

It is still raining! Our local weather guy announced this closing, "Noah's Ark Daycare is closed due to flooding."

It's either laugh or cry around here.

Next week's weather prediction, sunny and 80 degrees. Wow! What a ride.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

No horsing around

The year was 1972. Tracey was two. I was expecting our second child. Her daddy and I placed her baby bed mattress in the back seat of the car, and off we went to visit my dad and brother in Reno, Nevada.

What a road trip. We traveled the Northern route going through Utah and saw the opulent Mormon Tabernacle and gold pavement. 

We came back home the Southern route, on Highway 66. At one point, I wish I could remember where we were, maybe Wyoming or Colorado, there was a detour on the highway. There were torrential rains, the kind we are experiencing now. The unpaved, two lane road was a muddy mess as we traversed it through no man's land. I fretted that we'd get stuck.

Off to my right, ahead in the distance, I noticed great motion. A herd of wild horses, perhaps Mustangs, came thundering at full speed right past us. It was an unbelievable sight to behold. An image forever ingrained...because I had no camera, or was it flash cubes? This is a stock photo. 

That herd of free spirited wanderers took my mind off the fact that I was having a miscarriage. The following year, I had Jason, and three years  later we took the kids to Disney Land in California. I so hoped we would see those wild stallions again. But we didn't. Closest we came to a horse, was riding the Merry Go 'Round with Mickey.

Funny isn't it how a memory sneaks up on you?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

When the fish is bigger than YOU

We are fortunate to have so many low-cost or cost-free attractions in St. Louis. On this beautiful spring day, when the temperature climbed higher that 80 degrees, Liam and I spent the morning exploring the Missouri Botanical Gardens for a total of $4.00.  

 This little dinosaur lover and I had so much fun strolling part of the 79 acres of horticultural displays, and we especially liked the Japanese Garden. Liam liked Pioneer village, a children's multi-level fort built into the trees and surroundings.
 He wanted to smell the flowers, and he watched a big bumble bee gather nectar.
 The peonies are gorgeous and blooming. They remind me of a lush peony bush we once had.
 And were we thrilled to be able to count 10 turtles sitting on a log. Then we heard a bull frog "gallump."
 Liam was excited that he could step over the stream, and sit on a rock. He was amazed and shouted, "Nana, I in the middle of the water, and I am not wet!" He was on the lookout for wildlife. Just wait until you see what he saw. Keep scrolling.
 Three years ago when he was still in his mommy's tummy, I almost fell off this platform while taking "maternity pictures," and his daddy had to catch me. Walking there again gave me the willies. I love this pensive pose.
 Before we knew it we were being visited by the koi in the lake. Look at that huge one! We fed them fish food pellets. Liam kept saying, "Here's some more cohn." He thought it was corn kernels. Then he said, "Wow they got big moufs!"
Ducks on top the water, fish in the water. What better way to learn positions?

This little daredevil thinks he can do everything the big kids can. Yes, I was holding my breath. He is determined and was successful. When three school groups came in, we left, much to his chagrin.

Need you really ask if he got wet? Although it was a breezy 70 degrees when we arrived, he could not resist temptation, and within minutes he was scooting through the sprinklers. Good thing I brought TWO changes of clothes for him and his Crocs.

After a picnic lunch we headed home for a nap.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Park it!

I penned a poem in honor of Earth Day. Things change when one parks the car and becomes a pedestrian.

Trade In

Had a head on collision with my conscience
during rush hour gridlock, as I inhaled motorists'
tobacco smoke and engine exhaust.

Popped the clutch, took a great escape exit.
Twisted my ring, vowed to hang up the key,
trade my lead foot for a flat foot experience.

Swapped my speedometer for a pedometer,
raised my metabolism, lowered my blood pressure
racked up the miles, added more smiles.

Not missing the highway din, weaving out and in.
Enjoying my excursions and all the diversions.
Discoveries abound: curb appeal is money found.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Sabotaged by the thin one

A conversation with my alter ego

Me talking to myself: You know you really shouldn’t skip breakfast, and for a buck you can get a sausage/egg biscuit. Next exit, McDonalds! Pull in, sister.

No! No! NO! Fatso, you just keep driving. You know very well if you pull through that drive through, you’ll be pulling out with a cin-a-bun instead of a sausage biscuit.

Darn that crazy driver! I can’t get over; now I missed my Mickey D's exit.

Don’t worry Chunky Monkey, Schnucks Market is up ahead; buy yourself some fresh fruit.

Schnucks, yes, apples! Ahhh; their apple turnovers melt in my mouth.

Hey Butter Biscuit Butt, did you look in the mirror when you stuffed all that flab into your pants this morning? You’re not sucking in that gut as well as you used to.

Oh, whatever! I’m going to love myself the way I am.

The scale says there’s more of you to love, sugar dumpling. Still want that apple tart?

SHUT UP you little tart! I know I have 10 pounds to lose.

Heh-heh! 10? Kidding yourself again, Thunder Thighs?

Life is too short; I’m going to pull in and get an apple turnover.

Hey Bimbo, eat that turnover and soon you won’t be able to turn yourself over.

I am just going to love the skin I’m in.

Hey Pudge, they make Spanx that can suck in that skin you’re in.

Oh all right! I really don’t need the junk. I do need to eat better, and eat less. A lot less. I’ll be good and I’ll buy fruit, and I'll eat light all day today.

That-a-girl. Hey Fat Ass,


I just want to remind you there’s a free casino buffet coupon on your kitchen counter. They have a great selection of healthy vegetables, and oh those desserts: coconut cream pie, loaded brownies, eclairs, ice cream...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kids gone wild

Seems every get together at our house ends up in water play. Usually Paw-Paw is the perpetrator of all things water. But this time, he was not involved. 

The parents don't like it, but oh the memories the kids make when they come for a visit. On Easter when they broke out the squirt guns, there were no holds barred. Nick had the advantage, which ticked off Nicole. Liam was just glad to be included.

Our Bosnian neighbor, who speaks limited English, thought he was helping Liam by giving him the upper hand over the big kids. He called him over and showed him how to use his hose which has a firefighter type nozzle.

He never expected Liam to accidentally turn the stream on him in all his excitement. Later in the day, Liam went over to him, lowered his head, and said, "I sorry."

He didn't tell ME he was sorry for deliberately turning the hose on me a second after I snapped this photo. There was lots of rollicking laughter and fun by spectators as well as participants.

 Amazing what a dollar can do to make a little boy so happy. He bought a bag of balloons, and asked me to inflate them one at a time. He was surprised when I tied them all together and made a huge balloon bouquet. He tossed them and laughed so hard. He cried real tears when one popped.
 Then he made his own discoveries with Paw-paw's flashlight. "Nana, light shines through my balloons. I made yellow light, blue light, red light. LOOK!"
 He wanted me to fill the rest of his balloons with water, so we took them to the park to share with two little boys there. We ended our day at the playground, then a bath, and I read Bunny Trouble, one of my favorite books about a bunny named Ralph, who would rather play soccer than decorate eggs.

I taught Liam this balloon poem: I had a round balloon, almost as big as the moon. It floated so high into the air, then suddenly POP (clap hands) it wasn't there.

I asked him to think of as many things as he could up in the sky that might have popped the balloon.

He replied: a bee, a fly, a flea, a helicopter, a cloud, an airplane, a red bird. This kid is a thinker!

When I taught preschoolers, I always prompted my students for three answers: What? What else? and think of one more thing? If you have a little one, try this activity. What can fly? hop? is green? etc.
What makes ME so happy? This little happy-faced boy. He was missing his mommy. He said he loves her soft hair, squishy face, and the ways she tickles his back. Now that is love times three!

I am back to writing and submitting. Warm, sunny days make me WANT to write. I am inspired by sights, smells, and sounds, memories, and doughnuts. I submitted a serious poem with innuendo to a doughnut-themed collection. Now that's a stretch. Also wrote about wind turbines. I am diverse and prolific. How about you? Has spring fever infused you with renewed energy?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hop on in and meet the family.

Nicole is nine and as sweet and cute as ever. Liam loves her!

They had an Easter egg hunt. But the real fun didn't begin until later. Be sure to come back later this week to see what happened to the Bosnian man next door when he tried to intervene when all the grand kids went more wild than March hares. 

He meant well. He did. He really thought he was being helpful.

This is my son, Jason, and his wife, Jackie, and 15 year old, Nicholas, who has been battling with them to keep his long "la cross player" hair. He's varsity team captain and is only a freshman. He has a career in sports ahead of him.

 Liam's mommy, Ashley, 27, and daddy, Justin, brought Alex, who's still a bun in the oven.
Ashley is our oldest grandchild and has given us plenty of laugh lines.

Kyle, almost 24, is our second oldest. He and Gramps are best buds, always have been, always will be. Kyle has owned his own very profitable lawn care, tree trimming business, since he was sixteen. He graduated college, but he's really interested in farming, wants to raise dairy cows and buy a farm. I am sure he will one day. When he sets his mind to something...

He was searching on his phone, and someone asked if he was a on looking for a girlfriend. He joked, "No, I'm looking for a heifer."   One of the cousins piped up, "Same difference." Always a laugh-a-minute at our get togethers.
 Morgan, 17, is Kyle's sister, and this is Justin, her boyfriend. One more year of high school, and away she'll go, too. Her brother, George, 20 years old, is at college in New York.

Robin and George are their parents. Robin just flew in from NY from visiting their all star volley ball champ. She had to be at the airport at 3:00 a.m. She was ready to crash by the time she arrived at our house.

Madison, 19, with those stunning blue eyes and strawberry blonde ringlets has always been a heart stealer. A year of college under her belt, a part time job, and she's trying to decide which direction life leads her.

Sean, 18 in June, is Madison's brother. He'll be graduating high school in a few weeks, and is talking about a Navy career. He says he can retire in his 30's. He has every detail of his life, including his marriage to his long time girlfriend, a future scientist planned.

This is their mom, Bill's younger daughter, Michele. Her hubby, Joe, a firefighter, had to work.

This is my firstborn, Tracey, also known as Ashley's and Austin's super mama, and Liam's nana.

This is my son, Jason, Nicholas' and Nicole's super dad.

And this is my funny honey, who did NOT get in on the action yesterday when all of the kids went wild. Be sure to come back this week when I post incriminating evidence of the event.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Cupcakes, candy, and my sweeties

I just  watched April the giraffe give birth to her baby boy. It made me feel weepy and emotional.

Liam's mommy posted the five month ultrasound picture of his baby brother. Gazing at the image of that little honey boy made my heart swell with love and anticipation. Liam is getting mighty impatient, too. He keeps saying, "Where IS HE!?"

Oh he  knows. He kisses mommy's belly all the time and talks to baby Alex. He is going to be such a good helper. He loves babies.

87 degrees today. I have been baking desserts and cooking all afternoon, so tomorrow before the family arrives, I'll pop the potatoes and pasta in the oven. I'll rise early, make deviled eggs, a garden salad, and a fruit salad, and wait for all my sweeties to arrive. Our former babies are all tall teens now, and our two oldest are in their mid-twenties. Where have the years gone?

Our kitchen is being taken over by ceramic bunnies. They are on the window sill, guarding the cupcake trays and sitting on shelves. Can't wait to see Liam's happy face when he discovers them.
Hmm, I just counted the sprinkled cupcakes. My funny honey thinks if he moves them around I won't notice there aren't a dozen on the tray. Boys will be boys.

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter, sunshine, and blessings.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring has sprung, and the boys have a new set of wheels

These are my wonderful finds of the day. Saturday mornings I like to drive to nearby yard sales. Today I bought this nice stroller for five dollars. It's black and gray with red trim, and it looks boyish. It's the kind I can release and set up with one hand. Just what an old granny needs when her hands are filled with little boys and their stuff. It will come in handy when new baby Alex arrives.

On the way home from lunch today, I asked my honey to stop at a Goodwill store in the city, where I found this lovely spring wreath with silk greenery and gorgeous cabbage roses... for three dollars! I added the sweet little ceramic rabbit which makes me feel as happy as a real bunny in a field of clover.

Gazing at it with the door open, the sun shining, and the temperature a breezy 80 degrees, makes me grateful for the little things in my life. I really don't need a lot of expensive things to make me happy.

Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be as glorious as today's, and I am sure I will have more to share with you on Monday. I will post when it is raining and storming, but for now, I am enjoying this beautiful spring day.

Do you have a front door wreath, or is that just a Midwest thing?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A penny for your thoughts, or five bucks for the day

It's no secret, my honey and I go to the casino  senior buffet on Tuesday, each with a 20 bill. Yesterday was a profitable day; I came out with more than $20.

A sweet and dear lady in her late 80's chose the machine beside me. Her daughter said, "I'm parking you here for the day, Mom. Here, I'll put your money in, plus last week that lady gave you her ten dollar ticket when she was ready to go home. I don't know why she didn't cash it in, but you have more than enough to play on."

After watching this woman, I knew exactly why the gal last week gave her a pity donation. The daughter showed her mom how to play the machine. "You press the number 1 and then the amount #1."

I almost gasped out loud when the daughter left to go have her fun.

The senior lady said to me, "I wonder how Bob would like these machines? He's been gone 20 years, but I think he'd like them. Don't you?"

I smiled and said, "Yes. I remember when I used to complain to my children that I was not giving them a quarter to play Pac Man. It was a waste of money. Now look at me spending one quarter after another in these one armed bandits every Tuesday."

She said, "Well I don't drink, or go to the movies, or spend money any other way. I have lots of children I visit. They bring me here on Tuesdays for fun. I like winning a little here and there."

I pointed out she was playing one line for one penny, and if she upped her bet to a nickle or quarter she would  win way more than ten or fifteen cents. She said she had to make her money last, and she didn't mind. When she hit a jackpot for 80 cents she got so excited.

I was aggravated with her daughter for dumping her there with five bucks and making her think she was winning. When I got up to leave, the dear said, "I didn't run you off, did I?"

I assured her she didn't. I almost donated my winnings to her, but instead I went to another machine.

Another older woman (senior buffet, remember?) sat across the aisle from me. When she got up, she walked toward me, and her head snapped back. She looked over her shoulder, stunned. I watched as she looked around trying to figure out what was going on.

She was still tethered to her card, which was connected to a five feet long spring coil cord... and the card was stuck firmly in the machine. She was going nowhere fast. It took her a moment to figure it out, unfasten the clasp on her collar, and backtrack to her stuck card. I had to cover my mouth so she didn't see me laughing. She looked like a dog discovering she was on a too short leash.

As we were leaving, a bus load of seniors was entering, joking about being carded to see who didn't look their age. Those old jokers!

No need to remind me, I am one, too.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lessons from Liam, the barefoot baker

 Nana Linda loves Liam unconditionally!

His Nana Tracey does, too. She and Liam made cupcakes. He helped place one paper in each space. That's pre-math, but he doesn't know it.

The barefoot chef got to crack the eggs, pour in ingredients and use the mixer as she held it. He learned you have to listen and follow instructions.  Good lesson to learn early in life.

 Just like with writing and submitting, writers have to follow the guidelines.

Liam and I hang out on Mondays. We stopped at the Dollar Store. He saw the bin of footballs and had to have ALL of them. That is a developmental stage in early childhood. Children cannot share SOME until they have experienced ALL. They have no concept of sharing, and think when they give it away it's gone for good. He kept dropping them. He said, "Nana Linda, I have too many footballs."

Sometimes too much of a good thing CAN be overwhelming at any age. Do you agree?

He put the balls back when he saw his heart's desire in the party aisle. "BALLOONS!"
He had to make a decision. He talked himself through it. "I want the ones that are green, and purple, and black. No, I want the white ones. Hmmm, maybe this big bag with big AND little balloons." 

Choices are good, but it's hard to make a decision sometimes, isn't it?

He had me fill water balloons one after another. We took them outside, and he took them to the driveway. Then he chickened out. When I showed him how to spank the balloons to get air bubbles inside he got brave, came over, spanked them and realized they would roll on the driveway instead of pop. They bounced all around and he giggled like crazy. When he tossed one on the grass, it popped. So he tested the hypothesis: will they always pop in the grass?

 They did! He was amazed at his discovery. Some he popped deliberately, and some he tried and tried to pop on the pavement, but they did not pop. In fact he got a little frustrated. See picture below.

Trial and error is the way we learn. It's good to make your own discoveries. We learn best by doing.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, or how sure you are that something is going to turn out a certain way, it doesn't happen as you predict or think it will.

When you are so exhausted from too much work/play and frustrated that the way you planned things isn't working your way

it's best to grab your sleeping buddy, your favorite blankie, and curl up for a nap.

We are so blessed with this little guy who is beginning to declare his independence. It's like fourth of July at home. His new stage: NO! to everything.