Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Of all the roads I've traveled...


This is happening outside our home today, finally after eight months of lane closures, detours, and orange cones. The activity this morning resurrected a vivid memory.


On July 2, 1970 I was a passenger in my ex-husband's, Army seargent's brand new Mustang. He and my husband had 14 day leaves. Sarge invited my husband to split the cost of gas and drive home with him, since we lived in neighboring towns. He insisted I fly home (to show off our new baby girl.) I insisted I wanted to ride with them. He complained but relented. The maniac drove the winding, gravel Alcan Highway all the way across country to the Midwest at speeds of 85-100 mph in 2 1/2 days! We stopped once to rest a few hours in the car, in front of a gas pump, waiting for morning until the gas station opened, so he could refuel and take off again.

Crammed into the back seat with a week old baby who was strapped into a solid, hard plastic pumpkin seat on my lap, I prayed and worried. No room to move, no voice to demand the maniac stop for my much needed potty breaks. It was a ride from hell.

On a two lane mountain pass, he blew past a semi. The wind force blew the rear car window in on me and the baby, sending safety glass shards everywhere. We were unhurt. But the maniac driver, spun a U turn and chased the semi, until I cried and begged him to stop. He stopped at a restaurant/gas station where I bathed our newborn in a bathroom sink. She wailed and broke out in hives. I cried, she cried, inwardly Sarge was probably crying for allowing me to come along, because the car seat handle was rubbing the paint off the interior of his new baby. We were all a mess. 


Upon our return to Alaska to finish my husband's tour of duty, he received notice he would be released in early November instead of December. When October arrived with fierce winds and freezing temperatures, and the need to replenish the fifty gallon diesel heating fuel drum, I just wanted to go back home. I missed my mom, our home town, the bakeries on every corner, the paved streets to push my baby in a stroller. 

We said good bye to her daddy a month early and bought a plane ticket home. With a baby bed packed in a box, a dog in a crate, and our daughter in my arms, I took my last trip up our  Alaska gravel road.

As I looked back on the eight ramshackle trailers, side by side in a rainbow of colors, I watched the heavy equipment workers paving our road. My final image is of the asphalt being poured, the fire underneath the paving equipment and the steam roller drawing up the rear.

Funny, now that I think about, my first ingrained image of Alaska is the firey sun in the midnight sky as I flew into the Fairbanks airport 110 miles from School Road in Delta Junction, and my final image  of our gravel road was the fire beneath the asphalt paving equipment.

Of all the roads I've ever traveled in my life, School Road resurrects the most emotional memories: it's where my best friend and I walked everyday as expectant mothers. 

Today I travel a path towards yesterday and miss my late friend Sheila.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

That takes the prize!

My sweet Nicole is ten-years-old. How did this happen?! She's almost as tall as I am. She loves art, drawing fashion designs, singing, dancing, and playing with her best friend CeCe.

She and (my son) attended a father-daughter dance at her school. She has a fun daddy, and he has a fine little girl. 

I love her giggles and hugs.

Nicole's art work, A Kaleidoscope of Leaves, was featured in an art show this week. She really has artistic ability, and I just know she is going to be a famous artist one day!



We had a sunny, almost 80 degree day last week, so why is Nick wearing his cap backwards?! 

Nicholas is 16, and his favorite past time is fishing. He's driving now, so he and his buddy Parker go fishing every single day after school, until dark. He loves fishing! When Bill and I discovered him at a local park and fishing lake, he hadn't had many bites in two hours! But he was still trying. He said he caught his biggest fish on a day when it was freezing cold and sleeting. What dedication!


Although this one was a real keeper, Nick catches and releases. He will be attending a fishing tournament soon. I just know he will bring home a trophy or prize. He's a winner for sure!


What is your passion? If you practice your craft, invest in your interests, and apply yourself, you too could be a winner. Sing your own praises, dance and rejoice. Announce your achievements no matter how insignificant you think they might be; let others know. You may inspire someone.

What are you're waiting for, the weather to improve? Inspiration to strike? More time? Get out there and just do it. 

You may not take the prize, or even receive acknowledgement of a submission if you are a writer, but much like fishing, you never know when you will get a strike and possibly land the big one. Wishing you the very best in all pursuits.

Also wishing for spring, it's going to be in the 30's today. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Looney Toons, Coo-Coo for Cocoa Puffs... ditch the labels!


Three decades ago, I did a lesson on occupations with my preschool students. A little boy said, "My daddy works at the NUT HOUSE with the crazy people." His father was a psychiatrist at the state mental health hospital. 

Negative labels, derogatory comments, and stigma about mental health issues still exist.

I am pleased to be a contributing author to Dis*or*der Volume IV, an anthology about mental illness. My poem is one of twelve selected. The book also includes essays. 

Rock-a-bye Mama is about my late mom's nervous breakdown when I was a child, although I didn't specify that detail.

We all have skeletons in our closets. I urge you, don't hesitate to write the unnerving, the difficult... your truths. But do so without hurting others.

Learn more about Elizabeth Dillon (editor@reddashboard.com), who states this will be an annual anthology. Check the website to see other anthology topics, submission guidelines, and schedule. 

This is a powerful publication, and the most important two words I've read about this book are "HEALING anthology." I like the site. So many self-help pubs and anthologies  focus on the illness and not the wellness or overcoming. This collection covers a broad spectrum and is representative of numerous diagnoses. I am proud to be a part of this book. ~ Linda O'Connell



Thewrite2change.org (a non-profit) and RedDashboard LLC are collaborative grassroots organizations which developed Dis*or*der Volume IV.

This is the blurb on Thewrite2change.org website:

"Mental disorders are no-fault genetic brain conditions which affect one out of every five families. Mental illness can and often does cause chaos, suffering and an inability to function in daily life. They can be difficult to diagnose, yet they usually have a genetic component. Mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability in the United States, more common than heart disease or cancer. Mental illnesses are treatable yet many who suffer are afraid or unable to get treatment.
Authors and Poets come together in this collection by sharing their experiences in their personal life, with family and friends, and in professional lives, the bittersweet reality of living with dis*or*ders. Their words on these pages can begin to replace the stigma surrounding mental illness with understanding, hope and compassion."

Dis*or*der, Volume, IV will be available in May, and we would all appreciate if you could  spread the word by purchasing copies and sharing the info with those you love and within the mental illness community.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Growl it... announce your success

Liam was two and half when this picture was taken.


And here he is three months before his fourth birthday. I cannot believe how he has grown. He has achieved so many milestones. He is reading simple three letter words. He is so proud of himself.

Are you continuing to grow in your pursuits, endeavors, interests? We grow when we continue to feed our soul with things we enjoy doing. I enjoy writing. Some of my subject matter is personal and I have self doubt about whether anyone would be interested in my experiences. However, I recently received an acceptance on a poem I submitted to a publication months ago. It was one of only twelve selected. The subject matter is one that affects many people, mental illness. I can't name the publication yet, but it will be a "healing anthology." That has a nice ring, doesn't it?

I promise to promote as soon as I get the go ahead. I just want to encourage YOU to follow your passion. Take time and make time to do the things you enjoy. Hop a painted tiger and growl your success to the world at large. Believe in yourself.

Friday, April 6, 2018

A real zoo

We finally had a warm day with sunshine, so we headed to the zoo for an outing Tuesday. I walked so much, I went to bed early and slept until 7:00 a.m. I am always up at 5:00 so I figure age is catching up with me. 


This brown bear was sitting high on a rock, saw Liam, and came right down to go nose to nose with him.

I was sitting in the sun feeding baby Alex when a






 young couple with five stair-step children passed by. The middle child (about six) dragging up the rear growled and stomped every time her parents turned around to speak to her. 

The oldest smacked the next one. Dad was pushing the baby in a stroller. A three year old was walking alongside tugging on dad. 


The young man looked over at me and laughed. He said, "You're getting a free show. Usually we can charge for this." The overwhelmed mom just shrugged. 


Then I heard another mom yell for her little girl, "Come here, Glitter!" That name was a little sparkly for me!


Another mom called for her son, "Wellington" which made me think of Richie Rich comic books for some reason, maybe the pretentious name.

It was a real zoo at the food court, so many people purchasing over-priced hot dogs and wilted french fries. Workers weaving their way through the crowd shouting, "Excuse me." Stroller pushers shouting, "Can I please get through?" 

Talk about sensory overload! 

74 degrees yesterday and 24 in the morning. Come on, winter hit the road!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Suck it up and thank Stone


Does anyone recognize the name Marvin Stone? He is responsible for inventing something you probably use frequently.
In the 1880's Stone owned a paper cigarette holder company, which surely helped lead to his innovation. 
He liked sipping his adult beverages through a single natural tube of rye grass, but he didn't like the residual taste, so he came up with a better version of a straw. He wrapped a piece of paper to create a tube, then glued it together.
Once the paper straw tested well with local drinking establishments, Stone upgraded his technique. He began wrapping manila paper into a tube and then coating it with paraffin wax, creating a much stronger straw than the original paper and glue. 

This model was patented on January 3rd, 1888. Two years later Stone was selling more straws than cigarette holders. In 1906 a machine was invented to roll the straws instead of rolling them all by hand, and the rest is history.

Now plastic straws are being banned in some places because of the harm caused to animals and the environment. 

Thinking of my experiences with straws takes me back many years to Schmemier's Drug Store which had a soda fountain area. I sat on swivel stools and sipped cherry Cokes from a paper straw lifted from a straw container like the one below. Raise up on the silver nob then straws would splay outward so patron's could take one. Trouble with narrow paper straws was they didn't last long in soda bottles, because they became flimsy and unusable.

Then came the waxed straws, and they worked well at Bailey Farm Ice Cream where I drank chocolate ice cream sodas, my all time favorite fountain drink.

My kids had plastic straws, and also a handy dandy plastic cup with a built in plastic straw, and who can forget the curly straws? 

Did you know Nestle made a paper straw with the interior  coated with chocolate or strawberry powdered flavoring? Kids drank their milk through those straws in the 1950's.

Bill and I went to Florida one year and discovered an old fashioned malt shop. Oh the fun we had remembering when the manufacturer decided to wrap individual straws. Who me? Who my honey? Blow straws wrappers at one another? Make pea shooters out of our straws? Okay we did. And we are both proud to tell you we showed our grand kids how to fire a spit ball wad of straw wrapper at someone. We always cleaned up our mess though.
 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Digging up the dirt...


11 Questions for the Sunshine Blogger Award

 Thank you for stopping by Write from the Heart. Today I’m answering questions posed by fellow blogger Lisa Ricard Claro. 
Lisa Ricard Claro is an award-winning author with published novels, articles, essays, and short stories spanning multiple media. She is the author of The Fireflies Series, award-winning women's contemporary romance. You can always find a rescue pet in her books... and a hunk!
Lisa also writes a fun blog titled Writing in the Buff. Be sure to click on and check it out.

Thank you, Lisa, for the nomination.
I nominate Susan Wicker, Kim Shaeffer Lenhoff, and Kathy Shulze Elias. 
To accept the Sunshine Blogger Award, you must do the following:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you. 
  2. Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you. 
  3. Nominate other bloggers for the award. 
  4. Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated. 
  5. Notify the bloggers you have nominated. 
  1. Linda, What do you love most about blogging/writing?
    Blogging is a way to meet new people and learn new information. The purpose of my blog is to share writing information, and to inspire others. Lately my blog seems to be more of a personal journal where I chronicle the interactions and photos of people I love and the places I've been. I guess you could say my blog is eclectic. I used to blog twice a week. I need to get back to serious posting.
I love writing because it is an outlet for my thoughts. Sometimes I must write, and other times I must force myself to write, but I am always glad when I put words to paper.
  1. Name a place you’ve never been but would love to visit and why.
    I have cruised to the Caribbean and Bahamas, but have not been to St. Lucia. My mother wanted to name me Lucia. If Lucia is as beautiful as the tropical isles we have visited, I would be ecstatic.

  2. Describe your favorite snack.
    Dark chocolate dipped pretzel thins or Dove dark chocolate squares. Although sometimes I prefer a snack size bag of salty Fritos.
                                                                                                   
  3. What’s the best movie you have seen lately?
    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It was intense.

  4. What is your favorite season and why?
    My favorite season is fall, ah the autumn colors. One day I am going to the Northeast to be a leaf peeper. I enjoy hiking in the crisp air when weather changes. Summer isn't all bad. I prefer long hot days to cold short days, therefore winter is my least favorite. Spring makes me hopeful, but the weather is too fickle and rainy. I love to walk or sit outdoors and read.
  5. Do you believe in ghosts?
    Absolutely. Maybe I should say I believe in the supernatural and spirits. I have a keen sixth sense and have experienced the unexplainable many times. There has to be more than what our five senses absorb.
7. What advice do you give but don’t take yourself?
Don't view rejection as a stop sign; instead view it as a temporary obstacle. In all areas of life, I believe each of us has gifts and talents, and we are all capable of achieving something great.
My best advice: don't worry because if something is meant to be it will happen.
In my head I believe this, but my heart gets in the way of practicing what I preach.      
  
8.  If you had to choose one favorite color what would it be?
Any shade of ocean or clear sky. A lot of my tops/blouses are turquoise, blue, or red.

9. When is the last time you laughed?
JUST NOW! My honey turned on his lap top to watch a tutorial and a man's voice shouted, "Hello!" I jumped. I thought someone was peeking in our window.
We laugh every single day. Bill and I are best friends; if I'm not laughing with him, I'm laughing at him. Laughter is a balm to our soul.

I also laugh heartily when I gather with girlfriends. We've been given the evil eye in many restaurants because we cannot contain our laughter. We leave good tips.

10.  Do you prefer a tablet or actual book while reading?
Give me a book any day. I love the weight, the cover, and especially my many bookmarks from family and friends. I often have three books "going" at one time.

11. You’ve just discovered you’re a superhero—what’s your name and superpower?
My name is Wander Woman, and if I think of a desirable geographical area, I can be there with a wave of my hand.
I really AM a superhero to these two cuties.  



Questions for Susan Wicker, Kathy Shultz Elias, and Kim Shaeffer Lehnoff to copy, paste and answer.

 1. Have you ever won a writing award?
 2. Snacks: do you prefer sweet, or savory and salty?
 3. Have you ever driven in your night clothes and or slippers? Care to explain?
 4. What is one thing you can do better than your husband?
 5. If you had only one movie choice, would it be science fiction, comedy, romance or horror?
 6. Your preferred place to dine out.
 7. What is a pet peeve that drives you crazy?
 8. Your preference: wear swim suit in a pool, or shorts/T shirt in a lake, river?
 9. What advice would you give your twenty-one-year-old self?
10. What is your secret pleasure that doesn't cost money?
11. Hawaii or Alaska for a trip and why ?


Friday, March 16, 2018

Wearing of the green

Happy St. Patrick's Day! These photos are from when Nicole was in my class six years ago. 
This was one of the most fun days in my classroom. I dipped a tiny foot shaped sponge in green paint and made footprints all over the room. Then I dumped treasure such as pennies and gold trinkets and shamrocks on the floor. The students tracked the leprechaun right to the bathroom, where they noticed green footprints on the toilet paper and on the toilet seat. You should have heard the squeals when they noticed a drop of green food coloring in the toilet. That was the number one thing they wanted to show their parents. The leprechaun used their toilet! 


I placed a paper leprechaun (mouth cut out) over a green soda bottle and gave the children different lengths of beads to "feed" the green guy. This requires concentration, and hand-eye coordination.

We made a trap for our leprechaun and I recorded the childrens' responses on paper to these questions: Where will YOU keep the leprechaun if you catch him? What green things will you feed him? Funny answer: "You know that secret place where Daddy hides his money from Mom?" 

Then the kids cut strips and pasted them to make a rainbow on their papers which they had scribbled green. I glued a photo of their face onto a paper leprechaun and they were delighted to discover theirs in the hall.

 I really enjoyed teaching preschoolers. Kids were so eager to learn and I used play as a learning tool.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

So rob me of an hour's sleep, see if I care

Today we set the clocks ahead so there will be more evening daylight. I LOVE this day. It is a breath of fresh air, a promise of things to come. And because the sun is shining and the temperature will be in the mid fifties, I wrote a poem. Our daffodils are in full bloom, while our poor friends in the Northeast are buried under 17 inches of snow and expecting another storm.


Spring Artwork

Spill golden forsythia o'er the hillssplash barren earth with daffodils.


Smudge hedgerows purple, dark and light;
tint azalea blossoms raspberry bright.

Rouge ruby red on pansy cheeks,
daub dainty smiles that glow for weeks.

Paint winter’s lawn with sage and jade.
knit spring on every branch, and blade.


I lost all my phone contacts, so if you want me to have your phone # please email me or message me on face book. Now to go out and take some pictures with my new gadget.





 
 




Monday, March 5, 2018

Miles of smiles

 Alex is six months old, sitting up pretty much by himself, loves to grab Liam's face and bring it close to him. He loves squash, bananas, peaches, well we haven't found one thing he does not like. I think he looks like Spanky from Our Gang The Little Rascals in this photo. He has big blue eyes.
 Liam continues to prove he is the best big brother ever. He is having such fun finger painting with shaving cream on the back door. "I like Paw-paw's blue cream better than yours," he said referring to the gel cream. He is reading three letter words and very interested in learning, but he still prefers physical activity, and has a description for every park I have taken him to.
"Can we go to the red playground? Or the one with the curvy slide? The one by the bridge with too many street lights? Rocket park? He is a bright boy.
 The other guys that make me smile are inseparable. Sassy cat still has a mouth, but his meows are quieter unless we are preparing his food. Then he yowls. Must have been traumatized being out on his own for that month before we rescued him.

This cat loves Bill, and I must say, the affection is mutual.

We were at the Goodwill and I saw what I thought was a hamper with mesh sides for five dollars. It's 36 inches long by  18 inches high and wide. I noticed a zipper, and read the tag: Warning Do Not Leave Pet Unattended for Long Periods.

Sassy took right to it. We zip him inside and he gets to sit outdoors on the patio with us and watch the birds, squirrels and rabbits, rather than just observing from the window. He loves it.
My rash is nearly gone. Shingles doesn't fade in a week, so I imagine it was an allergic reaction or auto immune response to something i touched or ingested. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Scratching like a monkey

Elvis sang these lyrics: "Itching like a man on a fuzzy tree."

We ate at Qdoba Mexican food on Monday, and I had a terrible allergic reaction to WHAT? I don't know. My underarms and neck broke out in a burning, almost unbearable itchy, red, raised rash. A hot shower was my only relief. The itching is subsiding and the rash is finally going away today. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

 Benadryl has become my best friend, but it makes me drowsy, so I have been snoozing a bit too much. Promise to check blogs and post tomorrow. I am hoping to stay awake for the awards.



Thursday, February 22, 2018

Dehydrated, mortified, and almost petrified

Freezing rain and winter weather makes me yearn for summer. Some summer memories are best forgotten, though.

The administrator at my new school planned an evening luau on the school parking lot to kick off the new school year. Faculty, parents, and students were in attendance. We wore long, colorful, lightweight dresses. The stifling humidity and no breeze whatsoever plastered hair to foreheads, underwear to hineys, and dresses to every body part they touched.

Those who indulged in alcoholic beverages, laughed, and mingled, were less concerned about the sweat pouring down their foreheads, cleavages, backs, and cracks. I was the new hire and the lone teetotaler, suffering in the oppressive heat.

The only breeze anywhere was down the steps in the hotter-than-hell parish hall where the bathrooms were. 

Someone had set up a round, industrial-size floor fan outside the johns. Even though I did not have to use the bathroom, because I had sweated every ounce of fluid out of my body, I couldn't take it another minute. I crept down the church steps, made sure both bathrooms were empty and I was alone. Then I raised my dress thigh-high and stood directly in front of that commercial hot air blaster. Staring at the ceiling, enjoying the cooling process, I did not hear Andy's dad. I looked backward over my shoulder when he said, "Well that's one way to meet the new teacher."


I would have cried if I'd had any tears. I was mortified.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

My heart aches and my fingers are cramped

Heartbroken and overwhelmed with the world situation, friends' and family members' illnesses and deaths. Life gets in the way of happiness some days.

There are things one can do something about, and there are things that happen despite our interventions and best intentions.

On a positive note. I am writing and submitting one new thing a day. So ta-ta, I am off to submit FLASH FICTION. I read it to Bill and he said, "Wow! That even had me interested."

I'll take that as a compliment. Sometimes I surprise myself.

   

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Still the one!


Here's the scoop!




                                                         “WE  DO”

            I was driving to work when I heard my name announced on the radio as a winner of a complete wedding package. I shrieked like a maniac. The woman driving next to me asked if I was in labor. A little old for that! I was a divorcee in my mid-forties engaged to be married in April, 1994.
    
          On a whim, I submitted a parody of the song, "He Ain't Got  a Barrel of Money" to a local radio station’s Valentine’s Day contest, and it was selected. I called my husband at work and bellowed into the phone, “Meet me at the court house by 5:00 p.m. to pick up our marriage license.”
     
         “Calm down. We have two months. What’s the rush?” 

         “The rush is, we’re getting married on Valentine’s Day. I won a contest.”
          
         “Have you been drinking?”
          
         “You know I don’t drink.” 

          I explained that the wedding would be performed at the ornate, elegant Grand Hall of the Hyatt Regency located in Union Station, St. Louis’s once-bustling train station. It would be broadcast live and covered by local television media as well. I told him all about the things we had won: wedding bands, tuxedo rental, flowers, photos, morning and evening reception, hotel package and more. What I didn’t tell him was that I was not the only winner.

            We checked into the hotel the night before. As we sat in the balcony restaurant overlooking the vestibule, we observed other guests arriving. The couples came in droves. Women carried gauzy white wedding gowns, sleek satiny dresses and beaded, sequined veils.

             My fiance looked bewildered. “What is this, a bridal convention? There must be twenty sales people down there hawking dresses.”
            
            “I counted twenty-five. It’s not a bridal convention, it’s a mass wedding.” I mumbled.

            “A what?” he asked incredulously.

            “Uh yeah, they’re getting married too.” I looked away.


            “With us? Are you kidding?”

            “Uh no, but I’ve decided, I’m not going to go through with this anyway.” I looked him in straight in the eye.

            “What! Why?”

            “Those girls are all young brides with long wedding gowns and gorgeous veils. I’ll be the only one in a white suit with an embellished sequined collar. I’m just not going through with this.” My voice rose and his eyes widened.

            “What now? We’ve registered. Does this mean you don’t want to marry me?” He was getting perturbed and my tears began to flow.

            “No, it means I’m not going to be the only one not wearing a wedding gown!”

            “Is it too late to go buy one?” He was serious at seven o’clock at night.

            That comment convinced me that he was definitely THE ONE, and I made every effort to be pleasant and proceed with the wedding, regardless of my attire.

            In the morning we made our way down the corridors and onto the elevator with other couples in formal wear. I breathed a sigh of relief when I spied two women my age wearing similar suits and white silk hats.

            “You feel better now?” my betrothed asked. “See, out of twenty-five brides, you are not the only one in a suit. You look glamorous.”

            When we entered the Grand Hall with its ornate gilded ceiling and intricate carvings, Bill gasped audibly. It looked like prom night in the 1950s. There was so much chiffon and so many guys in monkey suits with adoring women clinging to their arms.

            “How the hell many people are getting married with us?”

            “Ninety-seven other couples.” I winced. (The call letters of the radio station sponsoring the event was Y 98, thus 98 couples.)

            Simultaneously all couples repeated their vows and said, “I Do.”

            Not many women can say their husbands married them twice in two months, but we did it again, as planned in April.

             Twenty-four years later Bill is STILL THE ONE!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Beach Treasures


Do you have any beach treasures? Our living room is beach-themed. I display many treasures photos, prints, and sea shells gathered from many beaches around the globe. One gaze in any direction and I am carried away on an ocean breeze, feeling my hair being tousled, gritty sand on bare feet, waves lapping at the shore... I drift away on memories.

My latest publication is in print and on line at the link below.
http://sasee.com/2018/02/01/beach-treasures/

Take a peek if you are wishing for warm weather.

 This is a photo of Bill and me taken 21 years ago, when we took our two oldest grandchildren, Ashley, then seven, and Kyle, then four, to the beach. We spent three days at Disney World where they complained about the heat, the crowds, the line waits, but the moment we landed at the beach, we were all in our glory and none of us wanted to leave. The ocean calls to me. How about you?




Thursday, February 8, 2018

Silence is golden? Or silence is deafening?

 What is your first response?

As I am sitting here typing, my honey walked in to take a survey on his laptop. I am grateful he is silent. But I know how long his silence will last. He just asked MY opinion on his survey questions. I'm waiting him out. I shrugged. He left. I am sitting here appreciating the solitude, thinking silence is golden!

When my children were small, like these two sweet great grandsons of mine, they chattered endlessly, fought over the slightest thing, and played noisily together. When they were completely quiet I jumped up to see what they were into. If I could hear their banter I was assured they were fine. Their silence was alarming.

When they got older and were preteens, they waited until I was napping on the couch to ask me questions. They say they got away with a lot because I always answered yes when they asked if they could go to a friend's house or have a snack.

Hubby swears I interact with television conversation when I am going to sleep. My adult kids agree.

Silence can be deafening...
When I was about ten years old, my mom cleaned a church on Saturdays. I was allowed stay in the  children's room and use the art supplies. The absence of sound almost made me crazy. I could hear the roar of my own blood in my eardrums. I detested the silence.

The other day I awoke after a short nap and was completely deaf. I could see the TV characters speaking, but I could not hear them. It lasted only a moment, but really concerned me. I was  relieved to realize the volume was muted. Whew!

After the horrific events of 9/11, the skies went absolutely quiet. There was no air traffic whatsoever, no contrail designs in the sky, no jet engines roaring, no helicopters whizzing. The silence was deafening, unnatural. 

When my honey goes to a doctor's appointment, and I am in the house alone, I appreciate the silence, but before long, that silence becomes deafening. I wish I could make up my mind.  

Friday, February 2, 2018

Sand or snow, take your pick


http://sasee.com/2018/02/01/beach-treasures/


On this cold February Groundhog Day, I invite you to bask in the warm memories of my beach experiences, published at Sasee Magazine.

Check out the publication. There are great articles and more personal essays.

It is a pleasure to read my work on line, but my treasure arrives in the mail this month when I receive a contributor's copy and can hold this beautiful magazine in my hands. The artists' rendering are delightful and I display some of the covers in the office.

If you feel like it, please leave a comment below my story on Sasee's website.

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Groundhog Day was always one of the most fun days in my classroom. I read a story about a groundhog who lived in the deep woods. One at a time, animals came calling, waking him out of his hibernation to find out if he saw his shadow. It is a delightful book. After the forest animals return to their dens to complete hibernation, the groundhog sneaks to each one and blows a trumpet to wake them and announce winter will stay for another six weeks. The kids loved that story.

I also read about Chuck, Chuckie, and Chuckles, three fat groundhogs, who did not want to see their shadows. They tried to roll them, fold them, kick snow over them...  Then I took my students outside and outlined their shadow poses in chalk.

When we returned to the classroom, we played a circle time game. One student climbed into a box (den) and then I pointed to one seated child, (but whispered another's name) and instructed the person I pointed to, to come up, rap three times on the box and say, "WAKE UP, GROUNDHOG."

The groundhog in the box had to guess who was trying to wake him/her.

There was added value to this game. The kids soon learned to use their auditory skills instead of listening to ME whisper a name. There was always lots of laughter and hands on learning in my class.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Through the generations

I eulogized my Aunt Shirley at her memorial service this weekend. I read to the very last line before I cried, which made her surviving twin cry. But the gathering provided closure, fellowship, and fun. 

Family members brought pictures, some dating back several generations. Can you guess who Little Miss Bossy is with hands on hips? circa 1952















I was thrilled to see this photo of my German, maternal great grandparents.  I learned my grandma's dad was in real estate. Her mom, pictured here, used to go to the beauty shop once a week to get her hair curled, then stop by to see my grandma and her six kids. My mother was a little girl then, and she always wanted to comb her grandma's pretty curls. 

My grandma would reprimand my mother, "No! Now you leave Grandma's hair alone; she just had it styled."  

My great grandma would say, "Oh, no. It's fine. You let her comb my hair." And Mom would comb her curls out. Such love!

That was always a special memory for my mom. I am glad I now have a face to go with the curls and the story.


This is a picture of  Liam's and Alex's great-great-great-great-great grandparents taken in 1942. They passed away before I was born.

My granddaughter, Ashley said, "Wow, they don't look very happy."

No, but they sure look sturdy. So this is the stock I came from on my maternal grandma's side. My mom's paternal grandparents were from Italy. Talk about a mixture of tempers and stubbornness. I can now attribute my wide hips and the genesis of my strong opinions to the Germans and Italians.






Sunday, January 28, 2018

The small and tall of it

CBS News reported on the world's tallest man and smallest woman appearing together in Egypt. He is in his late 30s and 8' 3" tall. She is 24.7 inches and 24 years old.

My husband's grandfather used to play cards with the Alton Giant, Robert Wadlow, a local legendary tall man at 8' 11"

There used to be a section in one of our home town newspapers called Our Own Oddities that featured coincidences and weird happenings. Does anyone remember that?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

When does determination become a detriment?

January thaw arrived this week. Today was partly sunny, breezy and about 69 degrees. We went to the river park to walk the short circular trail. There were so many people out walking their dogs. One couple was even walking their cat. Well actually, they turned the cat loose at the edge of the Mississippi River, and the guy said to the young woman, "He'll be fine. Let him do his thing while we eat lunch."

Bill and I watched the tug boats move barges up and down the channel and into shore. Sitting there reflecting on that activity made me think of how many times in my life I've tugged, when I should have pushed, shouldered my way forward, nudged myself to keep going, determined to succeed or MAKE something happen.
 I wondered, when does determination become a detriment? How many times have I tried to make something happen, to no avail? How many times has the very thing I was struggling to achieve or acquire happened regardless of my interventions? I have discovered in my life everything happens when it is supposed to, and if it is supposed to.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Death of a legend

In December 1963 I was a lowly high school freshman, afraid of my own shadow, a timid fourteen year old.

Midterm there was lots of buzz about a new student who had transferred to our school in his senior year. He was a star basketball player bound for the big times.


I had no interaction with this nice, giant of a guy, but I have a vivid memory of passing him on the stairs as I was going to and from the lunchroom. Long-legged and playful, Jo Jo White graduated in 1964 and went on to become a Boston Celtic, represented the U.S. in the Olympics in 1968, and he won numerous awards.

Whenever I saw him on the big screen, I bragged that I saw him in action as he dribbled down the court when the faculty played the students. The game was covered by a local radio station. The fans in the stands went wild, the cheering was deafening.

Jo Jo passed away yesterday at age 71 from pneumonia and dementia related to brain surgery for a benign tumor years ago.

When he was in high school strategy sessions, he often dozed off, and his coach would wake him with a shout, "Joe! Joe!" That is how Joseph Henry White, the seventh and youngest child of a minister became the famous Jo Jo White.




The photo is of an accomplished senior citizen, but in my mind Jo Jo will always be that lanky kid hooping it up, making pretend baskets as he bounded up the school steps to an from classes.