Sunday, June 23, 2019

Happy birthdays

For five years this little boy has brought so much joy to my life. He has such a good heart, and stands up for what he believes in, will confront a bully and tell him he doesn't like his behavior. He has a real sense of social justice. He is assertive and wants things to be fair. Some adults don't even have those qualities. I am proud of my first great-grandson. He told me Friday when I babysat, " Nana, I wish I could just STAY here always with you." He is always in my heart no matter where he is.

I made him a monster truck cake which he loved, and he recieved so many Monster Truck themed gifts. He was so excited! 

Liam used to be smaller, but he's growing taller. His legs are longer, his arms are stronger. He's growing, and growing, and it is showing!

I thank God for him and know he will make a positive difference in this world. He's my boy!

No, we did not dress Charlie in a dress. This is my daughter Tracey, Liam's nana when she was a baby. I remember all the birthday parties I had for her over the years, and now she is about to celebrate her almost big one. A year from now she will be the big 5-0. She is young at heart and full of love for Liam and his brothers.

I look at Liam and wonder where the years have gone. I look at Tracey and awe at how time flies. She has been a blessing. She's good hearted, tender hearted, an animal lover, always doing for others. She's my girl!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Advice from the kitchen sink, or do not abandon your baby

 A kitchen sink baby bubble bath may be old fashioned, but it was a delight for both of us. Charlie had the best time laughing and splashing. 

I received a letter yesterday, an old fashioned HAND WRITTEN letter from a dear friend. It reminded me of the hundreds of letters my best friend Sheila (who lived out of town) and I exchanged over four decades. Those letters connected us through our words and handwriting.

Do you still hand write correspondence, or do you consider it old fashioned and prefer to use the computer?

When writing a story, remembering a fact, or doing research you have to tighten your focus as Liam is doing. FIVE year old Liam. How did that happen? 

 Alex thrills at new discoveries. He enjoyed playing in a small waterfall at the park. He observed others playing in the sand. Sometimes it helps to observe first, take in information, investigate.
Do what works for YOU! 

I witnessed a mother with a baby about 18 momths old in a deep sand hole with water in it. She said, "I said NO to everything with my firstborn. This one is our fifth, and I've learned to let him go at his own pace. He's a go getter!"

 Give your friend and fellow writer an assist. Never quit, even when things get rough. NEVER say NEVER! Alex pushed Charlie in his walker. When he bumped into the patio carpet, he threw up his hands and said, "Oh NO! STUCK!" and he abandoned his baby brother.
If you are a writer, and you are stuck on a project, bogged down, dealing with rejection, or fighting the good fight against negativity, don't quit. I encourgae you to grab a pen and put your thoughts on paper. HAND WRITE yourself a message. Give yourself a pep talk. List three reasons why you should continue to pursue your writing goals. Now add two more! Take a break if you must, but do not abandon your baby.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Time to park it!

 I celebrated my milestone birthday a few days ago. I never thought I'd be 70. I lost my three best friends, Rose, Sheila, and Millie when they were in their 50's and 60's, two from cancer and one from a heart attack. I have lots of acquaintances, but some days I really miss my longtime besties.  I am fortunate to have a fun and funny hubby who I regard as my best friend.

I am grateful for every single day I get to spend with my great grandbabies. I treasure our moments and try to do something fun with them. Lately it's been discovering parks around town.

Charlie is a delight at ten months old. He is learning all about how to get what he wants, which is usually to be held. He complains; it is not a cry, just whining, moaning and groaning. He is so happy when someone responds to his wishes. He is imitating utterances and sounds. He's a smart one like his older brothers. I am so blessed to have the stamina to handle them.

Alex will be two soon, and he eats less than a bird. But he growls like a big dinosaur and scares PawPaw, then he belly laughs. Liam will be five next week, and he has such leadership ability and good ideas. He thinks he's the boss of everything and everyone. He's a good helper and so good hearted. He is the best big brother!

Are you finding balance in your life? Swinging high, reaching for the stars? Zooming, or plodding along? Keeping busy? Making discoveries? Looking at life with wide-eyed wonder? Making the most of every single day with which you you are blessed?

These little bodies, always on the go, keep my big body active two days a week.

Someone once said, the days are long, but the years are short. True. Seems yesterday their mommy and grandma, and uncle, and great uncle and their cousins were my babies, and here I am seventy years old.

Time flies when you're having fun! 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Blooming, hatching, and shining

We personally have not been affected by the flooding in Missouri. There are some road closings due to water creeping onto the roads. We live far enough away from the rivers, but just miles away from us levees are breaking and being breached. People are being evacuated and their homes are underwater. It is a sad situation. 

Last evening (my favorite part of the day) I sat outside and observed simple things for which I am thankful. 

I love my new little solar garden light with sweet cherub statue. It makes me happy. It frustrates the yard care crew though, who used to roll their wide industrial mower right over this spot. Now they have to weave their way across the carport to the back yard. 

 Miss Froggy was a gift from my late friend Sheila. This little jointed cutie wintered outside. Her dress is a bit faded, but she's otherwise okay. Her expression makes me smile.

The flowers are blooming in the center of the patio table where my honey and I play Rummy Q most evenings and often eat meals in summer. The impatience are showing off.

I came upon these beauties in the yard. Found a little patch of what looks like wild strawberries along the fence. Proabably a little birdie sat on the fence and dropped a seed.

Might have been this guy who whistled, cheeped, sang, and entertained us for quite sometime.

But to my delight, this was the sweetest. It's a mother sparrow, (we call them chippies) and baby. 
I watched them for two days. Baby would sit percehd on the edge of the shed roof, and mama would get a seed and fly up to put it in her baby's mouth. Now the baby is sitting on the feeder with mama. 

Isn't that just like life? We fear the unknown, feel unsure, need support and assurance. Once we try, we discover we CAN do it on our own. Self confidence starts with one step toward your goal. Have you taken the first step?  Care to share any of your goals? Does your light shine?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

When and where you least expect it

This is not an ice cream or frozen custard story. Please read to discover what happened here this weekend that made me bow my head.

Ted Drewes has been an icon in St. Louis. MO for 90 years. Ted is a famous tennis pro who traveled to Florida with The Royal American Circus one summer, where he sold ice cream. He returned to St. Louis and opened his own frozen custard shops. 

This is the most frequented location, on Old Route 66  also known as Chippewa Street. This old building has about a dozen walk up windows. The frozen custard is delicious; the secret ingredient is honey. They make concretes (you can hold the filled cup of custard upside down and it won't spill) and the varieties are endless. My favorites: Hot fudge sundae, The Punmpkin Crete (with a piece of pumpkin pie mixed in) or The Big Apple (slice of apple crumb pie mixed in) but  there are so many choices!  
 This is how popular Ted Drewes is. And this is a nightly occurence on any summer night. They need police presence to direct traffic.
 Even in winter, people stop in to buy what locals refer to as "Ted Drewes", although I'm sure the old man is not really for sale. His granddaughter and her husband now own the business. See the heated area?
It is not uncommon to see wedding parties here, the bride in her gown, and all the attendants devouring custard. People bring their dogs for a cold treat, too. You never know what to expect. To think, when I was young I never went there, fearing frozen custard was like the custard pie my parents made me eat. LOL

This Monday we went to Ted Drewes with my daughter and her husband. The woman in front of us had her head poked into the open window and was begging the young attendant for more dry ice. The manager came to the window and told her he could only sell her 30 pounds. "I promise I talked to  a man here who told me I could purchase the entire 45 pounds." 

Customers often ask to have their custard orders packed in dry ice for travel. People in line asked in amazement how much custard they were transporting. Her husband said, "None."

The wife said, "It's for my chemo treatments. I have four helmets that have to be packed in dry ice and roatated every twenty minutes so I don't lose my hair when I receive chemo on Tuesday. With this being a holiday, I couldn't get my supply from my provider, a welding company, because they're closed."

At a place where people go for comfort food, to cheat on diets, to meet and mingle, to people watch, I bowed my head and said a prayer for this woman. The manager, called to her as she wrangled the box out the window, "Wait! We will sell you the other 15 pounds."


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Is that who I think it is?

When I placed my order, I recognized her voice, her smile, her dancing eyes. 

But recently a clerk returned my I.D. and said, "Here you go Ms. Linda."
Thrilled, I asked, "Were you one of my students?"  She looked at me like I was crazy.
So I hesitated to ask another person.

As I stood in line waiting for my order, I kept staring at her, and she at me. I walked to a table and asked her coworker what this young woman's name was because her name tag was turned around. When her coworker told me, I walked right back up to the counter. "Come give me a hug!" I said and we embraced as though all the years had never passed. "Ms. Linda! I thought that was you!"  She snuggled like the little girl she used to be.
Her dad, a journalist and activist, who had a positive impact in our town, recently passed away. I had taught all of Shaqaunda's siblings. I hoped to attend her dad's memorial, but had to attend a grandchild's event that afternoon. I felt terrible missing her dad's service.

 Was it a coincidence I was in the right place at the right time? Hmmm. I was able to express my condolences in person. I caught up on what she and all of her siblings were doing. I asked her to express my sympathy to her mom. Serendipity.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Breaking News

Nicole spent two years in my preschool class. She was an outstanding student. She loved reporting the news of the day. Here's her big news: Nicole graduated elementary and is going into middle school. We are so proud of her.

No matter the size of  YOUR accomplishments, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Never say I CAN'T. Say I CAN TRY!

Liam graduated preschool and received an award for the Best Dancer. You should see him boogie!
Be confident and proud of yourself. Let your little light shine!

Alex is on the road to many discoveries. His big brother is a big helper.

Always lend a helping hand. 
Never lose your sense of wonder. Spend some time in nature.

Don't be afraid to try new things.

Express yourself.  Charlie did when he saw a semi truck going by.

Commencement: a beginning. Every single day you get a new beginning, so make the most of each day.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Happy Mother's Day to my mother in heaven. She was a tiny little thing with a big heart and deep abiding love for her family, especially her grandchildren.  She taught us about God and demonstrated her faith every day. Her laughter still resonates in my heart and makes me feel joyous. I miss her. I had a "visit" from her early this morning, and my heart is filled with love and gratitude as a result.

I am grateful for all the women in my life, from teachers, to aunts, to friends who mothered me.
 I am grateful for my daughter, daughter-in-law, stepdaughters and granddaughter for their loving care and dedication to my grands and great grands.

Motherhood is tiresome, and the rewards aren't immediately seen because we are so focused on the moments of chaos, and we are always looking forward to the next stage, the next thing!

Looking back, I wish I had been more patient and less rushing.  Softer spoken and more tender. My kids survived despite my shortcomings.  Here is a link to my story about my mom printed in, and posted at Sasee Magazine.

Here is a link to Chicken Soup for the Soul Mom Knows Best

Happy Mother's Day to allof you and thank you for reading my blog.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Message from the boss

Mom is making a name for me...err herself. She wrote about how I found her and Dad on a cold winter day and sweet talked them into adopting me. Okay, so maybe I yowled, but these days I merely meow softly. Our story is in Chicken Soup for the Soul Life Lessons From the Cat

She read Dad and me the story, and I sat and listened to every single word. I like hearing about how they resuced me. 

 She won a photo contest last year in our local paper: Pets who love their people.

Yeah they think they own me. Ha ha. You can bet it's the other way around.
 I have them trained. I do not answer to any of the names they call me, not even the name my first owner gave me. I do answer when Mom says in a high pitched voice, "You want to eeeeeat?" I can be sound asleep and when she sweet talks me like that, I whip my head around to see if she's teasing.

As you can see, she ususally isn't. I may have gained a couple pounds in six months. I'm chubby and lazy, err, I mean realxed these days. It's difficult to leave the loving arms of my Dad who tells me, "You may have started out life as a tough guy, but you are becoming kittenfied." I am almost five years old! We are best buds, in case you can't tell. We're good for one another.

Mom calls me Sassy Boy. But I have toned down my yowling, and I don't sass as much. I don't even make a sound or resist when she trims my nails or wipes my eyes. She says I should be doing my own grooming. But why?

At bedtime, I galump down the hallway, pounce onto their bed, creep up and look into each of their faces and softly meow. They think I am saying goodnight, but I am really saying THANK YOU.

Then I snuggle by their feet and snooze until ahhh, somehwere between 5:30 and 6:00. I used to caterwaul, but now I walk all over them and mewl like when I was a kitten, until someone gets up and serves me breakfast.

I am even getting used to their three little rug rats who visit twice a week. They slip me food and treats, even though that middle kid keeps dumping some of my treats in my water bowl. Mom keeps saying, "Bend down closer and put it in the plate." He's learning. I'm adapting.

Dad has the magic touch. He massages me just right. Mom is too tender. I like how Dad rubs my sides and neck and belly. Yeah, my belly! PURRRRRRRRRRRfect....
Mom's latest Chicken Soup for the Soul story (her 29th book)  will be released on May 14th. Check it out. I'll bet there's a cat lover in your life who would appreciate reading my story. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Requesting support for a worthy cause

Saturday will be here before you know it! May 11th will be the seventh annual performance of Listen to Your Mother. I am part of this cast.

We have stories to tell about ourselves, our kids, our moms, our pasts, our daily lives, our challenges, our triumphs. The stories will make you cry, sigh and say, "Oh my!" They will resonate long after the performances, which are at 11 or 3pm.

I do hope you can make it. Bring a girlfriend, your sister, or mom. This is a show you will talk about for a long while.

Tickets are still available, and the proceeds benefit St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness. Thank you to Laura Ray, Naomi Smith Francis, and all the sponsors.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Speed on!

Not everything is black and white, and attitude is everything! I took Liam, age 41/2 and Alex, 20 months to the Science Center, a free attraction in our town which has new and fun interactive exhibits. 

We were delighted to discover the Gaming Exhibit Room with many scientific experiments.

 Alex stood on tip toes to feed chunks of coal (black rubber) into a "blast furnace" which lit up with its energy source. There were simple oversized games such as Checkers, basketball, and many more ball games...everything to hand-held game systems and arcade video driving games.

Liam loved it. He steered and cheered, even when he plowed into an object on the screen. 
Alex was along for the ride, and he had as much fun being a passenger as Liam did as a driver.
When the ride was over, Liam pointed to the screen images of his cracked windshield and damaged car, and said proudly, "See, Nana, I did that, 'cause I'm a driver."

We are all drivers, no matter what our occupation or path in life. We round curves cautiously or with daring do. We approach obstacles head on or swerve at the last minute to avoid a collision.

Don't hold back, meet your challenges and goals. Be proud of your attempts, even if you didn't achieve the intended goal. Try, and then try again. It's the trying that really matters. Give it your all, color your life, and GO!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Scamming the scammer

"Hello?" I answered the phone.

"Grandma?" said a female with an African accent.

"Baby, I've been waiting for your call."

"You have? Did you hear I was in an accident?"

"No, did you hear Grandpa and I were, too?"

LONG PAUSE. "For real?"

"Yes. Drunk driver totaled our car."

"Oh my. No car? They take you car?

"Yes, we are a mess, too."

Long pause. "Oh dear, this is terrible. I will have to call you back."

"I hope you feel better, honey."

"Oh dear, now what?" she mumbled before she hung up. CLICK.

I'm wondering what the protocol is for her when her rehearsed lines don't produce desired results? 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Are you growing in the right direction?

Are you a writer? These little boys of ours are "writing" their life stories with every activity they engage in and every memory they make. 
Charlie is the happiest baby, loves his  baby electronic activity pad, and is eager to learn new
things. ARE YOU EAGER TO LEARN new technology, a new poem form, or a different technique? You are never too old or young to learn.

Alex is usually pensive and observes everything around him. He likes to see how and why things tick, and he loves to tinker. Do you collect and store information? 

Liam is an active learner and prefers to jump right in. He thinks everyone is his friend. And he is so interested in learning to read, write, and spell.

My writer friends, and all others, reach high. Do not give up easily. Climb over obstacles... find a way to attain your goals.
Stretch your way to success. Have an "I can do it!" or an "I can try it!" attitude. Never say NEVER.
Sometimes you will feel down, especially when you don't meet your goals or don't have enough time to pursue your interests. Take five minutes or ten and BEGIN. You do not have to finish, but if you never begin, you cannot possibly finish. Takes more muscles to frown than smile, so put on a happy face and begin.

Receiving a rejection can make you feel down right mad. Don't pout or cry too long. Rejection is seldom about you, personally. It has more to do with editorial needs. Take a nap and refresh.

Never stop growing, changing, and attaining new heights. Reach for the stars, and know that elbowing your way into position (as Nicole and Nicholas did while I was snapping pics) sometimes pays off. Be confident in your pursuits.

Spring has arrived, and it's time to come out of hibernation. If you've been lazing around, get outdoors and enjoy fresh air, new growth, and nature's beauty.

Then go inside and write a paragraph, or a couple sentences to share with me. Will you?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Laugh out loud funny

When I am on a roll I am like a rolling stone. I saw a call for submissions for Laugh Out Loud stories for Can upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul book.
I got right to work today and just submitted my sixth story. My fingers are sore from typing all day and my laugh lines are deep from laughing at my Lucy antics.

Why don't you consider writing something funny that happened to you? cant; think of anything? here are some of my topics: getting a ring stuck on my finger, accidentally destroying a hotel bed sheet, mistakenly identifying a Book Mobile as a mobile mammography van... such is my life. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Taking your readers by storm

When I was a little girl, I heard my mom say, "St. Louis weather! Chili today and hot tamale." Well, that is what I thought she said. Now I realize she said "Chilly today and hot tomorrow."

Actually the weather is bipolar at the moment. Freezing this morning and the temperature will rise to 80 degrees tomorrow.

I like warmth, so I will take 80 over 32 any day. Spring storms ripped across the US and caused death and destruction. Our town had trees uprooted and power lines down, but only a few skinny tree limbs in our backyard.

Did you ever misspeak, or misinterpret something you heard?

Be careful when you right to use the correct spelling and write tense.

I will tell you something about those who reply to this post.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

LISTEN to your mom!

I am asking for your support. I'd love to see you in the audience shouting my name, cheering, "You rock, and your baby does, too!"

No, really, applause will do. Please come out to support Listen to Your Mother, St. Louis, a stage performance which focuses on motherhood.

Most writers in this town fondly remember our dear friend, Claudia Mundell, President of Joplin, MO Writer's Guild who developed an anthology as a fundraiser to benefit the Joplin Library after the devastating tornado wiped it out a few years ago. Claudia passed away last year from Ovarian Cancer. Proceeds from this event will benefit St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness.

I'm so excited to announce that out of more than 100 writing submissions, my story Embarrassing Baby was one of 30 chosen to audition for this annual event that also takes place in cities across the U.S.

I was one of only 12 cast members chosen to be in this year's (7th season) Listen to Your Mother St. Louis stage show.

 Local writers will read their original personal essays to the audience in a span of ninety minutes. 
The stories will make you laugh, cry, sigh, and say, "Oh My!"

Show times are at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 11th. I'm including a link to the EventBrite page where tickets can be purchased. Please pass this on.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Say Cheese...or money

Sears and Penneys ran specials
on portraits way back when. 

I had the kids' pictures taken monthly
but could not afford the package of ten.

The catch was they offered  a freebie,
but the pose was always the worst.

Then they showed me a selection of great ones
until they got me to empty my purse.

I have an entire album of portraits
taken  monthly until they turned one

Every six months thereafter...
School picture packages sure were fun.

This is a reprint of my favorite picture of Tracey and Jason. 

They did not have red hair.  They were blondes. Back then you couldn't edit your own photos like you can now.

And to think, almost fifty years later, Sears is gone and J.C. Penneys  is on the verge of collapse.
But I have an entire album of 8x10s and many 
loving memories to last.

Monday, April 1, 2019

See You Later Alligator

The neighbor at the corner of the cul de sac
was known to throw back a few.
He smoked wacky tobaccy at leisure
and even drank homemade brew.

Spring rains overflowed the small gulley
and washed debris through the sewer pipe.
When he saw a small head emerging,
the old boy screamed and let out a yipe.

My daughter peeked out the window,
and watched him pick up a hoe.
He whacked and nearly decapitated
the wild animal that came through the flow.

My seven-year-old granddaughter panicked,
let out a piercing scream
as her three foot pet alligator
flowed out of her yard and continued downstream.

She ran out of the house shouting, "Please don't cut off his head!"
"Back away, kid" the guy shouted. "This thing is almost dead."
"You brought this home from Florida?!" he asked in disbelief.
"Yeah, but it's only made of rubber."

He flung the hoe and a sigh of relief.

(And yes, this really happened.)


Sunday, March 31, 2019

I'm a star in someone's methed up mind.

The rain kept us housebound and bored all day Saturday. Late evening when the clouds cleared, Bill asked if I wanted to spend a $20 at the casino. Of course.

I drove and dropped him at the door, then went to park.  There was a loud couple in their mid 20s ahead of me. She flopped along wearing too big, well-worn cowboy boots with American Flags embossed on each boot. She was yapping to the guy with her about wanting to go to Alaska because it would be so "f**king cool."

I commented, "Cool boots, and I lived in Alaska many years ago."

She wanted to know what it was like. I told her we lived at the end of the Alaska Highway in a remote wilderness town where buffalo and moose meandered down the road.

"F**king cool! I want one! I want a buffalo on my wall, but first I have to get a bigger trailer. Did you make any friends up there?"

"Yes, my neighbor became my best friend for almost fifty years until she died. When our husbands got out of the army and we returned to our home towns we remained best of friends."

"Holy shit?! YOU are one of the original f**king golden girls of Alaska! Me an my grandma used to watch the Golden Girls on T.V."

Her companion asked if I was still married to the soldier. I said, " No, most of the soldiers wives thought their husband's were hot heads."

At the entrance door, he bucked up, spun around and glared. "Nothing wrong with being a hot head!"

I thought to myself, "I'll bet you two are meth heads." But I just smiled and walked through the door which he didn't realize he was holding open. It wasn't his intention to be a polite gentleman. When I said, "Thank you!" and brushed past him he looked confused and had no idea why I was thanking him.

Twenty bucks for a freak story. Not a winner.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Waiting for Butterflies

I feel as though I have been holding my breath and have finally been able to release a satisfying sigh. I finished the most wonderful book!

There are so many unexplained incidents, coincidences, and God nods in this world. Karen Sargent's book is one of hope in a world where so many people are filled with hurt. 

Waiting for Butterflies 
grabbed me by the heart strings and held me captive until the very last page. The character's are well developed and authentic. Their individual spiritual journeys and flaws lingered long after I finished the book.  I love it when a book remains in my heart. 

This is a poignant, contemporary story addressing grief, love, and real life issues and it also touches on the spirit world.

Equally heartwarming and heart wrenching, this emotionally charged account of faith and life after tragedy is beautifully written and left me feeling hopeful and lighthearted. A divine read!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Time's up!

I absolutely love Daylight Savings Time. I stay awake longer, wake refreshed, and find myself allotting time for this or that, and before I know it the day gets away from me. I tell myself I will write later or tomorrow.

As I made my way to the kitchen this morning, I gazed out the window at the faint pink sky over  the rooftops behind our house. I was determined to write a poem or a few words about the images that awaken my senses. The promise of a sunny day makes me feel overjoyed. The first glimpse of the sunrise warms me to my bones and soul. I would rather be outdoors reading than inside doing anything else.

Today I have to run a lot of errands, so I know I won't have time to write. I cannot bully myself into putting words down. If I force myself, the writing sounds forced. I like to write when I am in my zone.

Sounds legitimate, right? How many excuses have you made NOT to write?

IF YOU ONLY HAVE FIVE EXTRA MINUTES today grab a pen, or pound at the computer and fill half a page with sensory detail. 

Jot down thoughts about a fragrance that triggers a memory: I can still smell the canned spray starch I used to spritz on my cotton blouses I ironed before I left for high school.

Oh and here I've tripped my own trigger: the first time I learned about temperature settings on the iron. I didn't reduce the setting when I picked up my new white, silk blouse to press. 

The sizzle of the material as it shriveled and melted onto the bottom of the iron, and the acrid smell as it stunk up the room still hovers in my olfactory memory to this day.   

And then another memory is resurrected. I can visualize the linoleum pattern on the floor beneath the ironing board. I can still smell the hot Pine-Sol-laced mop water permeating my sinuses.

Won't you take five minutes, if not today, TOMORROW. Bargain with yourself and give yourself permission to write around your busy life this weekend. 

Want to share a smell memory with me?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

When your kite crashes

Ah, spring's promise. The poor daffodils took a hit with unexpected snow a couple weeks ago, but they ARE blooming, even though their stems are bent to the ground. I am so thrilled that the weather is finally warming a bit and sunny days are on the way.

I was three, and she was, too the first time our moms took us to the park to fly a kite.

The big kids in the park ran with tissue paper box kites, an unbelievable sight to behold. A gust of wind made them wobble then swept them up until they were soaring. I imagined them flying all the way to the zoo!

My mom and dad ran through the park trying to get my simple ten cent, diamond shape, tissue paper kite to lift off.

I knew I could do it "all by myself" if only I was taller, so I climbed on a bench and launched myself off holding my kite string. I ran through the open field. My dad grabbed my string and tugged. My kite lifted and sped past the treetops.

"Let me hold it. It's MY kite. I want to fly my kite!"

Dad tried to keep my pale yellow kite high, but slowly, slowly it swayed, tumbled, crashed, and smashed to smithereens.

Inconsolable, I cried and cried. I wanted my grandma!

I had no interest in kite flying as I grew up. I had been so devastated by my first kite experience I didn't even want to try again.

I married and had a baby girl. When she turned three, her daddy and I bought a plastic kite decorated with a kitty cat picture, and we took her to a ball field in our local park. 

Her daddy managed to get her kite aloft, and she squealed with delight. When her kite dived to the ground and the wooden crossbars broke, she plopped down on the dusty field and cried and cried.

No amount of soothing, hugging or talking calmed her. When we put her in the car, she screamed, "I want Nana!"

We had to drive to my mom's. That's all it took. Once she was in Nana's arms she was fine.

I, on the other hand, felt upset when Mom said, "Oh Baby, what did they do to my sweet little girl?"

"DO?! We helped her fly her kite, and then it crashed. Do you remember when ...?"

A wink and a knowing smile passed between Mom and me. 

Sometimes you just need your Nana.

Just a reminder: If your project seems unable to lift off, or you feel like your latest writing isn't taking flight, don't give up. Run a little farther, tug a little harder, and give your project more string (or time) to ascend to new heights. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Up-up and away, then down

Our former neighbor, Old Bobby was a slight fellow with a big mouth who liked to imbibe, so you never knew if his stories were true or not.

Instead of reading the local paper, he had his nose in the "pony papers" because he said in his day he was the best bookie in town.

He claimed he "bought" his wife a baby for her 40th birthday (adopted a boy).

When his ex daughter-in-law's husband telephoned and threatened to drive by and shoot up his house, the police told Old Bobby to get out of the front yard and head to the basement. Old Bobby said he had been a sniper in WWII, and he wasn't going anywhere.  

WE headed to the basement. The drive-by never occurred.

In the fall, when the apples ripened out back, Old Bobby couldn't find his ladder, and he couldn't have climbed it even if he could have found it. 

He tied thirty feet of clothesline onto a claw head hammer and flung it repeatedly into the tree, hoping to harvest enough apples to make a pie. We were waiting for him to knock himself silly.

When he came to the garden fence to tell us about his success, he toppled OVER the rickety, 36 inch chain link fence and landed face up on his back in OUR yard.

"I'm going to call an ambulance!" I said.

Fish-eyed he said, "Nah, I'm just going to lay here a while." 
I insisted.

He retorted, "You remind me of Judge Judy. You scare me."

I let him lay there.

A week later Old Bobby saw me making a homemade kite out of a plastic grocery bag.

"Let ME show YOU how to make a kite. In my day, I was a professional kite builder and I used to win kite dueling contests," Old Bobby bragged.

Uh-huh! Well  it was my day, and I was going to do it my way. Nicole and I had a blast outside that windy March day. I taped a piece of paper to the bag and Nicole decorated it. I added a small tail and string to the handles. This is so much fun for small children.She laughed when her bag filled with air and the wind tugged the string about 6 feet off the ground as she ran.

If you make one, leave it tied to a fence or post when you are finished running, and let your child watch the wind gusts fill the bag and make it rise... and fall.

When I taught preschoolers, we called these kites wind bags. I guess I could have called them Bobbys.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

For moms everywhere

                                     Book Link -

Nine more days! This wonderful book filled with inspirational and thought-provoking stories will go on sale March 19th. I am proud to tell you I am a contributor to this book and my story, The Can Opener Queen, is about Mom's cooking disaster. My brother and I laugh about it to this day.

This book would make a wonderful Mother's Day, birthday, or appreciation gift. I imagine one in every nursing home for residents to read. Why not buy one and donate it? The moms who often feel alone and or neglected would appreciate reading a short easy-to-read story. 

This is the 28th Chicken Soup for the Soul book in which my stories have been published. I am honored.

Chicken Soup for the Soul links