Monday, October 19, 2020

The kid got into my stash. And YOU could win a contest

 

I am an addict, and my great grandson got into my stash. Check out the results.

Three-year-old Alex spent the weekend. I discovered that he had discovered my coveted Dove dark chocolate, red foil-wrapped squares. "I like your candy," he said with a big messy grin. He needed his mouth and face wiped twice. 

He was so energetic he wanted to climb a tree. So when I saw my neighbor leave, I walked him to a tree in her yard that was perfect for his little hands. He expended a bit of that energy trying to figure out how to make the big climb.

If YOU are a chocolaholic, check out this fun, free, and rewarding contest at Jennifer Brown Bank's blog. Look around while you are there. She provides such good advice for writers. Please pass this on to your friends, too. Great prize package! New prize!!

http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/2020/10/im-sweet-on-chocolate-writing-contest.html

I discovered Jen years ago when I read her article in a writer's magazine about breaking all the rules. I knew we were kindred spirits, because as a new writer I, too had been breaking all the writing rules and having success. Never give up, no matter what you are trying to achieve.

Alex was high on life sitting in the branches of our red bud tree, feeling very successful and proud.

If you are a writer be proud of your successes, no matter how minor or insignificant you consider them. Pat your self on the back if you wrote a paragraph, a page or an essay. How about trying to write a poem about chocolate?

Our neighbor's tree was perfect for Alex to climb and pull himself up.
If you are a writer start at the bottom, work your way up... and never give up!
Paw-paw Bill gave  Alex a helping hand and supported him in his endeavors.
If you are a writer be sure to accept help along the way and express your appreciation. If you are further along, provide help to others. We writers really are all in this together. 

Now think about the sweet, creamy taste of milk chocolate, slightly bitter taste of dark chocolate, delightful crunch of M&Ms. Enter the contest. It's fun and it is a good writing exercise. 

Let me know if you enter or are a winner.




Sunday, October 11, 2020

There is joy-joy-joy in my heart

I have missed my babies! I surprised them this weekend with a cake. Their mama is my first grandchild, and she was such a cute, smart, fun and funny honey. Now she and her husband have three cuties of their own. I baked a Halloween theme birthday cake for her with three little ghosts. 

Charlie is two and loved the cake, as you can see. He is talking up a storm these days. He has always called me Nana. But now he has decided I am Nanny and those yellow things he eats are nanas. He is all boy and has mosquito bites and scrapes all over his legs. He wanted me to kiss his boo-boos, all ten!


Alex is three and loved hammering golf tees into the pumpkin I brought. I also brought pop beads. Anyone of a certain age remember those? Now they call them something else and they come in all sorts of shapes. But Alex liked the round beads that fit over his head. He is a busy boy.


Liam is six and adjusting to his new reality of Covid-19 in school schedules and video schooling. 
After much resistance, he decided on his own to take off on his two wheeler. He had to show me
how good he is at riding his Razor scooter, too. Look at those legs in mid air! This boy is all arms and legs!

 My daughter was nineteen when her baby girl (the boys' mama) was born. I was with her during labor and delivery. On October 12th as midnight approached, I told the doctor if he didn't deliver her soon, I would forever call her Freddy or Jason (from the Halloween/horror movies, Friday the Thirteenth.) 

At one second after midnight she entered the world. A nurse recorded the birthdate: "October 13th," she shouted across the room.

The doctor looked at me. I shook my head. He shouted back, "It is not one minute after midnight. I'm calling her birthdate as midnight on October 12th." 

So technically... well you decide. The delivery room attendants debated it and in the end, the doctor won.
 
This young woman has given me so many laugh lines, and three delightful great grandsons. I love them ALL with all my heart.
They were watching a video of themselves playing, chasing each other and bike riding. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Published in Prairie Times, in Beyer, Colorado (A glimpse into my life)

TOO MUCH TOGETHERNESS by Linda O'Connell

♦ My husband Bill retired a few years before I did. He had plenty of leisure time to himself while I was at school teaching small ones.  When I retired, my dreams of day trips, visiting museums, and hometown attractions soon got old and fizzled. Retirement was not as exciting as I imagined it would be. But every now and then, I get a good laugh and a thrill at Bill's expense. 

As my days became more relaxed and routine, I found I had more time to write, but less inclination to do so. When I was working, I used to rise before daybreak when the house was still, and the only sound Bill made was rhythmic snoring. I would write for two hours. When I no longer had to squeeze time in to write, I slept in. We spent an hour watching the news and sipping coffee instead of my rushing about and gulping on the run. We lost track of time, and the morning was gone before we knew it. I missed making time for my writing. 

Bill became not only my greatest companion, but my worst distraction. He would suggest a meal out, a shopping trip to the big box stores, or a trip to the mall on impulse. Maybe this is how he had spent his days for the past few years of his retirement, but I was used to order. He operated on a get-up-and-go-on-a-whim schedule. When we weren‘t on the go, we were in two different rooms engaged in separate activities. He has hearing aids, but unless he's leaving the house, he prefers shouting, ―What? when I speak, or he‘d rather blare the television volume. As I tried to write the thoughts in my head, I invariably wrote the words Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, or John Wayne said. Watching TV wasn‘t the same. My evening sitcoms were nothing like his daytime viewing preferences. He likes action films, shoot-em ups, crime shows... and the noisy disruptions wore me out. 

When he watched his shows, I tried to write my stories. Even with the office door closed I could hear the TV in the living room blaring. There was continual grunting, groaning, a thwack, more grunting. My first thought was someone was getting beat up. His first choice of movie viewing is one with physical interaction, preferably a brawl. The loud, primal groaning continued. It sounded almost obscene. I would not listen to those groans another minute. I stormed into the living room to give my honey a piece of my mind, ask him how he expected me to write. Then I saw what was going on. He was watching a women‘s Wimbledon tennis match. Guilt-ridden, I looked at Venus Williams and felt terrible. I hadn‘t broken a sweat all day, I had eaten a waffle with whipped cream and strawberries for breakfast, and had been all set to nag my hard-of-hearing honey for watching such trash. Sometimes I laugh long and loud at myself. But I also can‘t help laughing at him, too. ―Look at her movements, I said. ―We're getting lazy. 

Guilt or the urge to get exercise struck him as he observed Venus sweating it out. He switched off the TV and suggested a jaunt around the mall for exercise. As we drove, I looked at my cell phone. ―Get this! I said from the passenger seat as we were driving down the highway. He does not wish to have a Facebook account and relies on me to read aloud something mind boggling, spell binding, or unbelievable from my feed. He raised his index finger to his right ear and tuned his hearing aid higher so he didn‘t miss a word. When I paused, he gave me a split-second glance and said, ―Who's that from? Who sent that to us?

 Is he serious? I've told him a million times, ―I don't know. He thinks I'm messing with him, withholding pertinent information. I told him ―It's just a friend. ―How can it be a friend if you don't know who it is? Instead of keeping the ball rolling I told him the name of who it was from. ―Who's that? he asked. ―I. Don't. Know. ―Well, they sent it to US. How do we know them? 

Through clenched teeth, I said. ―We DON'T know them. It's a friend of a friend. ―

Then why are they sending it to US? ―

It's on the WWW, I say. Before I could explain, world wide web, he said, ―When did you get into wrestling? Some days I want to put him in a headlock! We are striving for balance. Bill comes to my aid at a moment's notice to help me with the computer, and I share social media gossip with him. But that's as far as it goes when it comes to technology. He is not interested in social media, and I can't figure out which cloud my work lands on each day. 

Our relationship was new and exciting when we were young and active. Now that the Golden Years have arrived, our daily pace is slower, and life involves many unexpected laughs and goofy grins. I like this stage of life were in! 

Friday, September 25, 2020

One ringy dingy

 Do you still have a land line in your home, or are you totally dependent upon cell phones?

We have a land line, but we seldom answer our home phone. We allow the answering machine to pick up the calls. Typically the messages are from the pharmacy. Those times when we do answer the home phone, the calls are ususally someone telling us in a foreign accent they are our grandchild in need of money from a serious accident. We play along, then play GOTCHA!

Other times the calls are from Medicare insisting we accept the FREE support brace for our knees or back, which we do not require.

And the best ones are when Social Security or the IRS insists we are about to be arrested if we do not respond to their bogus attempts to access personal info.

I ANSWERED THE HOME PHONE YESTERDAY...

"Hello."

A male voice, sounded to be in 20s, mumbled something.

I asked, "What did you say?

He said, "Clock me out!"

I asked, "Who IS this?"

"This is Rick. Clock me out!"

"Sorry, you have the wrong number."

"No I don't. This is Rick. CLOCK. ME. OUT!"

"Okay." I said and hung up.

Rick is going to be sorry.

Many years ago my neighbor Rose received a phone call from her husband Ray at midday.

They made small talk and he asked her to pick up the clothes from the cleaners.

She said she would and she mentioned one of his buddies by name.

They conversed for fifteen minutes before she asked, "Who is this?!"

He responded, "Ray! Who is this?"

She replied, "Rose."

They were both married to the same named spouses.

THEN they realized they were talking to the right names but the wrong people.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A little Cat Nip

 This sassy cat talks more than any cat I've ever known. He mimicks us, he whines, he begs. And he has dozens of cat toys, but look at what he claimed as his prize, a piece of paper. He laid on it, rolled on it, scartched at it and was very content.

Sort of reminds me of my son when he was a little boy. He would receive lots of Christmas presents but preferred playing with the boxes.

Just goes to prove, you don't need fancy toys to make Sassy Boy happy.

When I reached over for it this evening, he nipped my arm. Well keep it then!


Friday, September 11, 2020

The Feelings Flag

 In commemoration of all the lives lost on 9/11/01

The Feelings Flag by Linda O'Connell

published in Chicken Soup for the Soul The Spirit of America, 2016

I stood in my living room and cringed at the sight of the first plane hitting the first of the Twin Towers. I thought, what an horrific accident. I felt terrible for the people on that plane, and for those in the World Trade Center building. I did not realize that the horror had only just begun.

I turned on my car radio on my way to work and listened intently to the reports. Then, I heard that another plane had made impact.

I arrived at school a few minutes later. No one was quite sure what was going on. Teachers were asking one another, "Did you hear about the plane crashes in NY?"

The gravity of the situation -America was under attack- was like a punch in the gut. We all felt winded, worried, and wounded.

 My preschool classroom was in the lower level of an inner city middle school. What I remember most is the panicked young man in the hall who shouted at me, "America is at war!"

"Calm down," I said. "Don't jump to conclusions. Nobody knows for sure what's going on. This does not mean WAR."

They insisted they saw it on TV and that military jets were intercepting other planes.

I walked into my classroom, and watched as my students went about their school day, unaware of the attacks, I knew they were okay. My aide was capable, so I left her in charge.

I felt compelled to do something patriotic to relieve the mounting tension and confusion the middle school students were feeling, although I was not in charge of any of them. I cut
twelve- inch by two-inch strips of red, white and blue construction paper into strips, the kinds  kids use to create paper chains. I did not consult the principal or counselor. I acted on impulse. I visited each classroom and intruded on each classroom teacher. I asked each if might have a moment, then I said, "Nobody knows exactly what is going on. We've all heard rumors and news reports. It's a frightening time for all of us."

 I passed out strips of paper to the students and asked them to write what they were feeling at the moment. Any fears, any words— anything would be acceptable. Some asked about spelling, and some asked if they should sign it.

"If you want to," I said.

I collected more than 200 strips and rolled them into  loops, then I stapled them to the bulletin board in the cafeteria. I read an outpouring of emotional comments. "I am afraid." "I want to kick their behinds." "Bomb them." "Why did this happen?" "What now?" "I want to go home."

I posted one after another, row after row, until an American flag took shape. Some of the comments were laced with misspelled words and profanity; some were smeared with tears. I did not censor. I stapled every single one. I stood back and admired that "feelings flag".

At lunch I stood against the wall and observed teens and preteens, who were usually destructive with bulletin board displays, as they searched for their piece of that flag. I listened to them read their words aloud, owning their emotions, giving voice to their fears and frustrations, initiating conversations.

On that horrible day, when America came under attack, I didn't know if my actions would do any good. It just felt good to do something. My friend Tammy said,

'With that spontaneous action, you gave children a voice when no one knew what to say."

The bulletin board flag stayed up for more than  a week. Then the strips began disappearing as individuals claimed their sections... and their feelings.

 

 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

A rare sighting, a rare gift


Our bedroom window looks down upon our backyard bird feeder, bird bath, a variety of birds, two chipmunks, and a trio of young squirrels that excite Sassy Boy, our fat cat. He sits on the chest of drawers and meows at the critters and wags his tail. Yesterday I was petting him and looking out the window. I saw a sight to behold, a pure white hummingbird. I did not take this picture. In fact I didn't have my cell phone with me at 8:28 a.m. But I will always remember the gift I received. Of all the people in the world, I saw a white hummer. They are very rare.


 It flew into my neighbor's yellow Canna Lily. Incidentally, these were my late best friend Sheila's favorite flower. It was almost like a gift from beyond. I feel so honored to have been privy to this oddity of nature.
Ah, there are changes coming. I feel it in the air, in the shortening days. Our hummingbird feeder has had three frequent flyers. I remember when we went to Mexico one year. I could not believe how many hummingbirds were at rest on a lush bush. I wasn't aware that they sit still for long periods. Their wings flap so rapidly; I thought they were always in motion.

Just think they have to load up on sugar and nectar to make their imminent long journey south, across the gulf waters, all the way to Mexico. Nature is amazing!

The ruby throated green one, and the brown one, and the mottled one are not afraid of us sitting outside, but they fuss at one another. I am hoping to see that white hummer again. I have my cell phone next to me now when I sit outside and read. I hope I can get a photo.

What have you noticed lately about nature?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Standing tall and proud

Somebody tell me when it happened. My son and his wife stopped by with Nicholas and Nicole. They have outgrown me, both are taller than I am. They are sweet as ever and still like my surprise treats. Today I melted Dove chocolate squares and gave them each a banana to dip in the dark chocolate. Of course I gave them a handful of squares to go.

It really is the little things that mean so much and are often remembered. They both love back rubs, and I hope they never outgrow that special little connection, because I will always be available for gentle loving touch, which matters when words aren't sufficient.

The world is getting crazy. Violence is everywhere, and it is getting closer to home. Yesterday two police officers were shot, one is critical, the other released. There were several shootings, murders, and a home invasion in nice parts of the city where I used to live and work. Places you would never expect.

Nicholas told me his best friend's cousin was traveling home from California, arrived in St. Louis, and was gunnend down in cold blood on the interstate, for no reason. I worry for my family.

And so I arm myself... with prayer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Forced marriage?


Ahh, that little boy of mine. Actually he is my granddaughter's little boy, but six-year-old Liam and I have a connection that wraps itself around each of us like his long legs that entwine my lower body when I arrive at his door, and he jumps into my arms.
Liam came home after his first in-class day of 1st grade and told his mama a little girl asked him at recess if she could be his playground girlfriend.
Ashley said, "Did you know I was sort of Daddy's playground girlfriend? We met when we were in school."

Liam looked at his mom aghast and asked, "You mean I'm going to have to marry her?!" And you think wearing face masks is the only concern for first graders? Ashley explained he'd have many playground girl and boy friends throughout school. He did not have to marry them.🥰



Saturday, August 22, 2020

Would you? Could you?


Not just writing a Good Reads or Amazon book review, but personally contacting a New York Times Best Selling author… 

Would you? Could you? Have you ever?

I have. 

When my grandson was a young reader he was thrilled with a middle grade novel, Saving Zasha, a story about a boy and his German Shepherd during WWII.

I contacted author, Randi Barrow to express my thanks and tell her how much her book influenced Nicholas, who declared after reading Saving Zasha that he was going to join the military when he finished high school.

Until recently he was still so influenced by Randi Barrow’s book, he considered joining the Army. I am happy he changed his mind and will be entering college on Monday. Saving Zasha is a book that will forever remain with Nick.  

Randi Barrow replied to my original letter, and I presented her letter to Nick, who still considers it a treasure.

**********
 Lesley Kagen is a New York Times Best Selling Author of ten novels. 

Her books are written from the viewpoint of children as narrators and they are set in the ’50s and ’60. Recognizable places, things, and brand names make me smile at the familiarity. Page after page transports me back to my childhood. Her themes address serious adult issues and empower the narrators.

About the same time Nick discovered Randi Barrow's Saving Zasha, I discovered Leslie Kagen's first novel,Whistling in the DarkI felt as Nicholas did, enthralled, lost in the story, a part of it. I didn’t want it to end. 

I contacted her and told her how her book was the escapism I needed to get through a particularly difficult time in my life. My friend Sheila was suffering from effects of brain cancer and I knew we would lose her soon. Through the pages of Lesley Kagen's book, I imagined Sheila and myself as the main characters.  

Lesley Kagen replied with a heartfelt response. A week later her next book arrived in the mail with a lovely inscription… a complete surprise, which made me cry.   

Authors are people who have lives just like you and I.


They thrive on positive reviews and encouraging comments.

This week I picked up another of Lesley Kagen’s books, Land of a Hundred Wonders, and I intend to get lost on another great adventure.

Lesley Kagen's latest and greatest, Every Now and Then, will be released October 6, 2020.


Do you leave book reviews? If not, please do.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Oopsie again

So here is another oopsie of mine.

Sassy cat woke me before dawn begging for breakfast. Does he look like he's starving?! He banged against the closet door just because he knows the noise will wake me. When that didn't work, he went to sharpen his claws where he shouldn't. I got up and out of bed with narrowed eyes and achy knees to reprimand him. When he meowed sweetly and softly, I had to smile because he's been a real mama's boy lately. So I gave him some kibble to hush him.



 I saw a cup of yesterday's coffee in the pot and poured it into my dark mug in the dark kitchen and microwaved it. I grabbed a few Famous Amos mini chocolate chip cookies with pecans and settled in front of the TV to watch the anxiety-inducing news.

I dunked my five little cookies and sipped my coffee right down to the bottom of the cup, tipped it up, encountered cookie crumbs and pecan pieces, and chomped the last bit of sweet goodness. I thought! Only it was yucky old coffee grounds. Fat cat just sat and watched me sputtering and spitting into a tissue.

That was how I started my day. How was yours?

I have been writing stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul's new titles. The only one I can not think of a story for is for the collection titled, What I Do For Me.

Dare I write about how many cookies I eat?

If you are a writer, remember that sometimes the most mundane things can evolve into a 1,000 word publishable story.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Keep your nose clean!

I wrote about this on Facebook yesterday when I discovered something about myself.

I hate taking any medication, and I have never done drugs, unless you consider dark chocolate a drug. And I could never snort cocaine or any other thing, not even dark chocolate!

I opened a brand new container of orange flavored Metamucil and snorted a cloud of Tang dust up my nostrils. It nearly did me in. My first instinct was to flush my nose, but something in me said, "NO! What if you cause a gelatinous clog?" I blew, I snuffled, and I swore I would never open a container under my own nose ever again. Just a warning to all of you.

This morning I received an acceptance from Prairie Times, an out of town publication, for October. I've submitted a lot of work, but acceptances are not pouring in. Just doing the happy dance and sending a warning to all of you to keep your nose clean!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Weirdo magnet working

They find me. The weird folks home in and find me.

I was in the back yard washing a small rug and hosing it  down on the fence. I saw a woman about 25 walking through the neighbor's yard behind us. She walked toward me wearing red cap, red shirt, red pants and red shoes. She had a large purse slung over her left shoulder. She approached and said, "HI."
I said, "Hi. Who are you?" Thinking she was a friend or relative of our backyard neighbors.

She said, "Oh I live around here. I'm taking a short cut. She flung her purse over our chain link fence about four ft high.

I said in a firm voice, "This is not a short cut; it is our property and if you get hurt we are responsible."

She hopped the fence and said, "See I'm not hurt." And she walked to the front of our house and walked down the street shouting, "Hi, how are you?" and waving.

I thought she was talking to Bill or our neighbor. 

Nobody was around. Wheee!

Today you just don't know about people. I told Bill she could have had a gun in that big purse. He said, "What would you do, turn the hose on her?"

I thought about it. YES!


Sunday, August 2, 2020

Raindrops kept falling on my head

Charlie turned two-years-old. He was amazed with his cake. Those are finger marks below his name. I caught him sneaking the colored sprinkles off, naming the colors and munching. 
We sat on the front porch and watched the rain come down, then their mama took off their shirts and encouraged Liam, Alex, and Charlie to go find some puddles to jump in. They had a blast.

Alex shouted, "Brella!" then I joined them for a little Mary Poppins fun. Making memories.
I took my boot off temporarily because it was soaking wet, but I have 10 more days of wearing it.

I would appreciate prayers of protection and good wishes for Liam as he starts school tomorrow. I am so concerned for his well being, but the decison to send him was not mine to be made. This virus is relentless. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Congratulations are in order!



She said, "Yes!"
Bill and I broke quarantine and socially distanced Saturday. Grandson Kyle proposed to Abby; the wedding will be next fall. Meanwhile, they've bought a farm and a darling house about an hour out of town. They are as happy as the cows in the pasture, the pigs in the pen, the ducks in the pond, the galloping horses, and their crazy little dog, Beau, who has finally grown into his legs.  

                         
Beau is Kyle's dog through and through. He runs after (and rides on) four wheelers and tractors and in Kyle's truck when he drives to work each day. Kyle has a lawn care business, and Beau is spoiled by the workers and office personnel. 


 There were darling decorations and cute cookies and so much food. But we did not partake. We ate before we came. Oh wait, we did have a bakery cupcake with so much frosting and filling... Abby had glazed donuts with paper diamonds inserted, which looked like huge wedding rings. Such cute ideas.

 Beau made a  big splash when he jumped in the algae-covered pond, and had to be hosed off. He was even part of the celebration. He had a neckerchief printed with, My Humans are Getting Married!

The temperature was in the high 90s and heat index was over 100, but we stayed outside away from the crowd. We sat in lawn chairs on the end of the huge front porch and socially distanced. Kyle rigged up a gigantic fan, which kept us cool and allowed us to watch from afar as they took photos. It is a shame Covid had to shadow their celebration, but we are too old to mingle during a pandemic. Hope this virus is gone by the wedding!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

What is that awful smell?


Do you see the tiny ladybug?  When I was a little, I called them potato bugs. They are not bugs, they are beetles, and they are not just ladies. Male and female can eat 5,000 aphids in their lifetime.
Some people think they bring good fortune. Other people think they are a pain. Before winter they hibernate inside homes. Experts claim they cuddle in groups and do no harm.

I saw on the internet where a dozen of them had wintered at the base of a swirly flourescent light bulb in a living room lamp. This shorted the light and led to a near fire.

Which leads me to the awful odor we smelled when we were driving the car, as if something was burning. Bill took the car in for an oil change and mentioned the odor. The mechanic called and said he found the source of the smell. The car engine had served as a winter retreat for rodents. The airfilter was crammed with seeds, droppings, and acorns, plus there was another nest, which could have led to a fire under the hood.

Now Bill has moth balls on the ground under the car. He has been searching for Grandpa Gus's Mouse Repellent. When he gets on a kick, he delves deeply. He's been researching on the internet for two days.

"I've got to do this the right way. Some users said the mice loved Grandpa' Gus's old spice fragrance and refused to leave. Well we're not having that!"

So I will hear about this for some time.  I told him I think it's that fat chipmunk who snatches the fallen bird seed. So yesterday he ordered a humane trap and plans to relocate the rodent to the farm across the road. I think the chipmunk might get the last laugh. I don't want to tell Bill I saw our chipmunk chasing our neighbor's little rodent.

He may need more traps.

One more fact about lady bugs: they produce a noxious toxin which doesn't hurt humans but makes them distasteful to birds. The brighter the  lady bug, the stronger the toxin. Now you know.





Wednesday, July 22, 2020

I'm back!

Robin, my wonderful step-daughter, saved my blog. Chocolate drizzled popcorn for life!

My dear husband bought me a new laptop, and we transferred everything form the desk top. Whew!

That was a chore for a technology-challenged writer. I am blessed with a patient husband.

How are all of you doing? This spike in Covid-19 has me concerned, especially since our state became a hot spot. Life has sure had a lot of twists and turns this year.

I turned my ankle and broke it, but next week I go to the doctor to see if I can give this boot the boot!

I will be back!











Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Sometimes it's right to be wrong

The orthopedist said the X-ray indicates my ankle is healing faster than expected and looks good. He told me to leave the boot off if I get up in the middle of the night and see how I maneuvre without it.

I told him I can't wait. I also explained that they issued me a defective othropedic boot. It had only one soft pad velcroed on that hard piece of plastic. (See the plastic form there with the holes in it?)

He said it required only one pad for comfort on top the ankle. I complained that my leg was sore from the velcro scartching it and I had to put a soft fabric inside to ease my bruising and skin irritation.

He looked at me and asked, "Where have you been wearing that molded peice of plastic?"

"Next to my skin, to stabilize my leg and ankle."

I couldn't see his smile behind his mask, but I know he was smiling by the twinkle in his eye when he said, "Bet that's been uncomfortable. It's to be worn on the outside."

Well now you know why my great improvement. Instead of four more weeks, he says he'll see me in two. What do you know! I did something wrong that turned out right.

Bill says I should get a boot for my other foot so I can stomp all around town.

I'll tell you though, I'm getting spoiled by using the electric ride on shopping carts.


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Bringing the sea to me

My ankle pain is easing, and I am physically UP now, but emotionally I am DOWN more than I am up. Yep, life is a roller coaster ride. Try dragging a heavy boot along on the ride, while keeping your balance using a cane, and ripping open heavy duty Velcro strips to encase the boot. It's annoying. But, this too shall pass. I have much for which to be thankful.

                                                               I'm really not that wide.

I've come to the conclusion 2020 will rob us of a beach vacation this year. So I'll relive my happiness by looking at old photos. This one was taken in Mexico, I think.

The sea calls to me in my day dreams AND night dreams. My heart and head are filled with wonderful memories. One of my fondest is a tour we took from our resort to the town banker's property. The tour bus drove through the banker's banana plantation that opened onto wide open land with a mansion that abutted a pristine, calm, turquoise lagoon. It stretched out to the breakers and opened to the sea. We swam and floated in that lagoon one afternoon. I left a little piece of my heart there.

I had a longing to float in the sea. I prefer showers to baths, but I filled the bathtub and soaked until the water cooled. Sometimes you just have to settle for the next best thing, and if 2020 so far is any indication of what's to come...

a monster heat wave is predicted for the Midwest by next weekend bringing temperatures as high as 110 and above.

Happy 4th of July, friends.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Don't tell me... But let me tell you.

Did you ever go through old computer files or writing folders and uncover a nugget you'd written? Amaze yourself that your writing was not half bad? Realize rejection was not about you personally, and maybe not even about your writing, but maybe not suitable at the time for the publication to which you submitted?

I went to the Dollar Tree today and bought a few packs of Post-It Notes in bright colors. Just a little something to make me happy and inspire me to jot an idea, copy a quote, or write a reminder to take an Ibuprofen for my achy ankle. Sixteen days in a boot has been no fun. Ripping the Velcro closures open during the night scares the poor cat, when I have to get up and back into bed. We will both be relieved when this is over. I can't wait to get back into my flip flops, but it will be a long time before I ever get to a beach with this virus spiking. Stay safe, friends.



I found an essay I had written based on a true story a non-writer friend told me. I changed the names, added imagined dialogue, and submitted it to my critique group, Wild Women Wielding Pens. They are familiar with my writing style, mainly personal essay/creative non fiction.

They commented that my "fiction" was pretty good.

I never considered myself a fiction writer, but this might be a stepping stone to discovering a new writing genre. Sometimes we get locked into one way of thinking. Maybe it's time to broaden horizons.

Have you ever imagined writing one thing and ended up with something all together different?

One of our writing prompts for our next Zoom meeting is to write a story with this opening: Don't tell me... 

There will be many different takes on this. Want to add your two cents, just a sentence or two? Allow your imagination to carry you away. Will one sentence evolve into a paragraph, a short story? A rant? Horror? A thriller? A sob story? A fear? Give it a try.

Give me a sentence? 


If you are a writer here's an added bonus: Erica Verillo 
publishedtodeath.blogspot.com has some great news for those of you who have files filled with material. There are many places seeking submissions. This is a goldmine. Enjoy the hunt!




  

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Surprise-surprise-surprise!

As if self-quarantine wasn't bad enough, I broke my ankle (twisted it and fell taking a walk last Friday.) I'm out of commission wearing a heavy plastic boot for 6-8 MORE weeks. My mobility is compromised which gives me a deep appreciation for anyone who is physically handicapped or challenged.

On Sunday, I was outside on the patio with my leg elevated, when I heard a car pull in behind
ours. I saw this bouquet of flowers coming toward me, and then I saw my great grandson Liam.
He had been shopping with his mama. When they passed the floral display he mentioned,
"Blue is Nana's favorite color."

You can bet I grabbed my face shield, and then I grabbed my little buddy. He said with SO much emotion, "This is the first time we've MET... (long pause as he calculated the months) in three months!" That was the longest sweetest hug ever! I took off my boot and showed him my boo-boo. He said, "Yeah, Nana! Yeah it IS broken. Look how black and blue and big it is."

                                                                      Yep, it is broken.


I feel like a failed contortionist. It takes me forever to maneuver on a cane or walker. I decide to sit on the couch and elevate my ankle with an ice pack. I tie three throw pillows to the walker, tie my ice pack around my ankle, lift my leg to the pillow... and my ice pack slides. Straighten that... and my pillows slip. Finally get organized, scoot too far back or forward... and have to lift my body weight with one leg elevated. Exhausted, I lie back ready to relax... and realize I have to pee.

                                                               The birthday boy!
Yesterday I decided to  break quarantine. It was Liam's sixth birthday and so we had a picnic  outdoors for him and his family. He played with water balloons, bubbles, squirt guns, and toys in the wading pool.

Liam looks like a meany in the next photo, but he was trying desperately to shoot a bubble at the camera. He is actually very kind, caring, and sweet.

I usually make sheet cakes for all family birthdays. He saw a plate-size muffin decorated with sprinkles and candles and said, "Nana! Why did you make me a small birthday cake? I mean, Nana, THANK YOU for making me that small birthday cake."

I had to squeeze him... and Alex and Charlie, my great grandsons. We've certainly missed one another.



If you are a writer, remember to show not tell.
A dozen writers would describe what is going on in this photo in a dozen ways. 

Truth be told, Liam was merely frustrated and the other two, who look happy-go-lucky, each had big surprises in their diapers. I might look like I'm smiling, but I was holding my breath. 

If a picture tells a story... tell yours with flair, surprise, intrigue. 

Now for MY surprise. I received an acceptance from Guideposts. I've finally broken in.
Do you have any news to share with me?

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Graduation then, graduation now







Commencement means a new beginning. 

When I graduated high school 53 years ago I thought of graduation as an end, but it actually was the beginning of my journey into adulthood.

My mom used to say, "If only I knew then what I know now." Made no sense!

Soren Kierkegaard stated: Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.

Makes sense now. Looking back I can see how my decisions and choices affected my life.
                                         This is a photo of my mom, stepdad, and me at 18.

 I had so many hopes and dreams for my future. Six months after graduation I married the boy I went steady with for three years.  I know!

We could not wait to get away from home. Back then, girls did not strike out on their own.

On our one year anniversary he received his draft notice, and half a year later we were in Alaska where he was stationed with the US Army. About a year after that we had a baby daughter.

I never dreamed I'd be in Alaska, but I always wanted babies. Three years later, back home, we had a son. I loved being a mommy. That was my dream come true!

This is my daughter Tracey on her high school graduation day, a couple weeks before her 18th birthday. She was Grandma Ginny's girl, and we were both so proud of her. Now she's married has a girl and boy and grand kids! Where does time go?

Then it was Jason's turn. He graduated from Naval Junior ROTC Academy with his future bride. He looks like a baby at age 18. Now they have a teen son and daughter. I sure was skinny back then and wore the typical 80's big hair curly perm.

Nicholas, Jason's son, just completed high school and he's enrolled in college for fall.

2020 has been a crazy year. He did not get to celebrate prom, senior days, or graduation ceremony due to Covid-19 pandemic. Is he disappointed? Absolutely, but he's able to accept what he can and let go of what he can't. He's resilient, ambitious and will be a success.  Life is what you make it.

He has a great attitude.


Liam entered kindergarten with a head start. He could read,write, and make up stories. Due to the pandemic, his first year of classroom school ended abruptly in March, but he continued with on line learning. His teacher spoke to her class, posted pictures, promoted him to first grade and announced Liam's name as one of the future class of 2032.

 He did not get to parade with his classmates, tell his teacher good-bye, or wear his little cap and gown, but he said he's okay with that. He received the most creative writing award in his class. 
I am so proud of my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Go forward with confidence. God bless you all.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Are you getting it done?

This little chunk chipmunk stuffs his jaws with spilled birdseed. He wants it all-all-all!
 If you are a writer it is normal to want an agent, a contract, a best seller.

 Liam is graduating kindergarten Monday. He will be a 1st grader. He will make so many new discoveries. Recently he lost his first tooth. He asked his mama why she was so excited. She said, "Buddy, your'e growing up so fast." He laid his head on her and said, "I gotta get a job, don't I?"

This isn't the first time he's been in the spotlight, and it won't be the last. If you are a writer, do you seek the limelight or avoid it? Take a chance and shine.


 Alex likes to observe first and then join in. Charlie wants to do everything his big brothers do. They were tossing rocks into the creek. Liam slam dunked this one and it splashed them.  
If you are a writer, you can get noticed with a little splash as well as a big splash. Sometimes you have to start small... consider publishing an excerpt from your larger work in progress. Literary magazines are always seeking, and if your work is accepted it shows your future agent your potential. 
 Charlie is curious and chatters loudly about EVERY thing. If you are a writer you have to attract attention and promote yourself. Talk up, attend open mics and writer's groups. Share generously and learn your craft.
 If you are a writer, are you attaining great heights? Reach as far as possible, and never doubt your abilities. Write on!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Life is just field of oranges sometimes.

This morning I woke early and placed a chair at the front door. Sassy Boy is fascinated by the fat rabbit that lives under the shrubbery. He waits for a sighting, and when he gets a glimpse, he wags his tail like a dog, but doesn't make a peep. This morning he was disappointed. 
 He heard rustling under the bush and darted to see... a squirrel. He sees squirrels and birds outside our bedroom window all day. He loses interest. But when he sees a rabbit, oh how excited he gets.

 Life is sometimes disappointing. We expect one thing and get another. So we make do.
If you are a writer, be sure to offer your reader an alternative. Do the unexpected.

Louie-Bobba-Louie ( he doesn't answer to any of his names) wants to be near us all the time. Summer has arrived on the tail of spring rains. We brought out his soft sided cage and he sat contentedly on the patio table while we played Rummy Cube. He just wants to be close to us. Satisfied to watch the back yard critters and know we are near. This cage is three feet in length. Bobby Boo Boo is a big cat! But he's a kitten at heart. If you are a writer, give your toughest characters an endearing quality. 

 Sometimes it's satisfaction enough to just be close to your tribe. If you are a writer, are you keeping in touch with fellow writers? I have been "Zooming" with my critique group. I also participated in a poetry prompt challenge each weekday last month. I wrote twenty-three poems.

 I like to photograph interesting scenery. Bill and I are still adhering to social distancing and are pretty much self quarantined. We do go to the park a few times a week. We picnic in our car, just to get out and watch people. I like to take photos.
 There was something about the composition of these objects. If you are a writer, be sure to toss in something interesting and unexpected for your reader to focus on. 

There were so many ducks. I was surprised to see two goslings wandering. The flock of geese had taken wing and soared back in en mass. Toss your reader a surprise once in a while. Let them hear the whoosh of wings, the splash landing.

I was shocked and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these oranges by the fence in the park. I wanted to know Why? Who? What? How? Your reader wants answers, too. Give them something shocking or incredible to visualize. And write on!
What do YOU think about these oranges? Who, what, why?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Nature's gifts

I have been reading and writing and eating way too much junk. I enjoy sitting outdoors when the weather permits, but what really makes both of us happy is a brief outing. 

We stopped at a fast food drive through and took our breakfast to a nearby park with a lake. 
 I took photos of flowers that made me smile and sigh, but the nicest surprise was when we parked the car and watched this heron glide across the lake, then soar away and return to strut its stuff.

I so wished I could visit with these doll babies and share my nature discoveries in person with them.

 As we drove through the park we saw this beautiful sight. Realized later that all that glimmers is not gold. This is a field of goldenrod (I think). After I oohed, ahhed and inhaled... I aaachooed!