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 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


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!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Happy Mother's Day...remembering mom

My mom was 20 in this photo holding me. If I cried and begged, Mom let me trail along with her when she visited neighbors. When I was school age she'd tell her lady friends, "You can say anything and talk freely in front of her, she never repeats anything. Linda's my little trooper." 
I had no idea what that meant, I didn't understand their girl talk, but I felt valued.
If my mom ever loved me and my brother, born a year later, she adored my first born who was her pride and joy, and then her first grandson. 
I also had a little boy for her to love. Then he grew up, married, and they had a little girl and boy.  

Nineteen years after my daughter was born,  Mom's love tripled when Tracey became a mom, making my mom became a great grandma to Ashley. To say Mom was obsessed with "her girl" would be an understatement. When Tracey had a baby boy, mom's love blossomed again.

I only wish she could have known Ashley's sweet little boys. Nana Ginny loved her babies.
 Mom was a petite, sometimes sweet, sometimes snappy spit fire who taught us about love and God.
She was fun loving. She loved her family and we loved her. We miss you, Mom, today and everyday.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in our family: my daughter, her daughter, my daughter-in-law and my step daughters. Thank you all for going when you've felt like quitting, smiling when you've felt like crying, and for taking outstanding care of my grands and great grandchildren. You all have a piece of my heart.

Becoming My Mother

By Linda O'Connell
Becoming My Mother
When I was a little girl I wore dress ups, played with baby dolls and emulated my mother. On hot summer evenings, I’d sit on the gentle sloping lawn, thick with clover flowers, and listen to my parents talk about the day’s events. While other moms wore make-up and teetered on high heels, mine never did. This morning as I slipped my feet into my new pair of wedges, the kind of shoes Mom used to wear, I took a nostalgic stroll.
I’m a freshman in high school. Mom and I wear each other’s clothes and swap purses. On Saturdays, we walk a mile to Cherokee Street, the six block shopping center with a variety of independently owned small variety and specialty stores. She forbids me to wear make-up like the other girls, but for the most part, Mom’s okay. She sits on my bed on Sunday mornings, and we talk like friends. She sure doesn’t act like a mom, I tell her. We enjoy one another’s company.
I’m a high school senior, and suddenly I don’t want to be anything like the woman I strongly resemble. Complete strangers stop us and comment that we look like sisters. The last thing I want to hear is, “You look just like your mother.” No matter how accurate the statement, there is a twenty year gap between us. I am my own person, seeking my own identity and independence. Soon, I plan to get married and start my own life. I cannot wait to get away from Mom’s restrictive rules.
I’m twenty-two, and Mom is forty-two. She walks a mile every other day to my house to adore and spoil her first granddaughter. They idolize one another. I enjoy Mom’s company again. I can do my own thing, wear make-up if I want. She’s always available to babysit at a moment’s notice. I feel blessed.
“Mom, why don’t you let me put make-up on you?” I beg until she finally gives in. I poof her bouffant hair, tint her lips, rouge her cheeks and smudge sky blue eye shadow across her lids. “There, let me see. You look beautiful,” I say. My puzzled expression makes her dash to the mirror.
“I look painted. This isn’t me,” she insists, but she leaves the make-up on to please me. As we sit across from one another dunking Danish – she always brings bakery goods – I can hardly bear to look into her face. One of her heavy eyelids sinks into the socket, and the blue eye shadow disappears into the fold. She looks like a clown with one bright, blue lid.
“You’re probably right, Mom, you look just great without make-up.” I reach for the cold cream.
Mom tells me that a little lipstick is good because as a woman ages it brightens her appearance. So I always wear lipstick, and Mom wears it only when she’s going out.
Mom tells me that a little lipstick is good because as a woman ages it brightens her appearance. So I always wear lipstick, and Mom wears it only when she’s going out. The other day she smiled at the neighbor with bright pink lips and no front teeth. She had forgotten her partial dental plate, and her mouth sunk in like a collapsed clay pot. I was totally embarrassed for her and myself. “I’ll never be like that!” I vowed. Mom is sixty; I am forty; my daughter is twenty, and her little girl is ripping wrapping paper off her first birthday presents. I overhear my daughter talking to my mom. “Gram, I adore you, but Mom drives me crazy! I hope I’m never like her.” I’m 55 and concerned as I stroll into Mom’s hospital room. What a place to celebrate her seventy-fifth birthday. I ask if she has a nail clipper, rummage through her purse, and discover a bottle of moisturizer and a razor wrapped in a paper towel. “What is this for?” I ask. She smiles self-consciously and taps above her top lip, rolls her eyes and says, “You just wait!”
No wonder her kisses often feel a bit abrasive. I shake my head and cringe. I hope I am never like Mom. She’s becoming a real embarrassment with her bristly lip, droopy lids, sometimes toothless grin and unfiltered comments.
She is surrounded by three generations singing happy birthday so loud the doctor pokes his head into her room and laughs at the sight of a birthday cake with candles ablaze. My sixteen year old granddaughter shares a confidence with Mom and me when her mother walks out of the room. “My mom doesn’t know anything! I can’t wait to go to college and get away from her!”
I chuckle and clean up the party mess. As I wash my hands, I look in the mirror and see that I bear a striking resemblance to my mother. I massage moisturizer into my facial creases and wonder when my eyelids got so heavy. I listen to the conversation in the room and smile when my daughter jokes, “Gram, we all have the same family traits: your sassy mouth and heavy eye lids.”
My sixteen year old granddaughter moans, “Mom, how embarrassing!” She utters the same phrase under her breath that has been repeated by four generations, “I hope I never act like you.”
I hug and kiss my children and grandchildren as they leave the hospital. After everyone departs, I walk over and plant a kiss on Mom’s wrinkled cheek and say, “I love you.” I expect her to reply with something sweet. Instead she says something profound. She taps her lip, points at mine and says, “Honey, my razor’s in my purse if you want to use it.” We laugh out loud.
Mom has always been a spunky, little, fun-loving woman who speaks her mind. I enter the hospital elevator, send up a silent prayer for her, rub the space above my top lip and chuckle.
Alone, I look at my reflection. Is that me or is that my mom? I see her in my mirror, and I hear her in my words. The age lines blur and I realize, I am becoming my mother.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

We are in youth part two

The stock photo of the women in the article are probably our age, but we look MUCH younger.

I am so proud to announce my story is on the front page of Prairie Times this month. Here's to old friends, good times and youth.

                                                                  Betty Kate and Pat

Monday, May 4, 2020

Little things can be a life line

We saw this in someone's front yard. I can relate. 

I'm fortunate to have been a part of  Washington University St. Louis Center for Humanities #LifeLines poetry project.

Each weekday for the month of April, in recognition of  Poetry Month, under the direction of Jean Allman, numerous curators provided five word prompts to be used in a short 7-8 line poem. They were displayed on line.

This was exactly the challenge I needed to stretch my literary muscles in a time when I found it nearly impossible to write. I produced 22 poems. Some made me sigh, laugh, or cry.  This project truly was a life line!

I have been used to babysitting my two youngest great-grandsons one day a week since they were born. It had been more than a month since I had seen them, and longer since I'd seen Liam the big kindergartener.

While my granddaughter shopped at Sam's for diapers, her husband stopped in our driveway so I could see my babies. The ache was real! I suited up, covered my clothes in a trash bag, wore clear plastic gloves and a face mask. I gave Liam, Alex and Charlie books and cookies. They giggled and we sang a song and talked a little bit.

Liam says he hopes he can see me in September. They all have summer birthdays, so I guarantee you it will be before then. When they left, my heart was happy/ sad. Liam told his mama I looked like Thanksgiving dinner. I think he meant a turkey in a roasting bag. LOL

 Little things make me happy. I woke to this blossoming rose bush yesterday. I am delighted to see we will be providing food for tiny bees and caterpillars. They have already started eating the leaves and will devour them in a matter of weeks (no matter what we spray on it.) So this year, I decided to give the bush to the insects. I will enjoy it in full bloom for a few weeks and then marvel that a few roses bloom now and then during summer. Beauty and food should be shared.

 The sun is shining and the day is moving on, so I am going outdoors to enjoy some fresh air. Exercise these days is mostly cerebral, although I do walk a mile in our neighborhood some days.

How are you surviving the pandemic?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Smile a while

I hope you are all doing well. I am missing my babies and the Goodwill Store. I am reading more. Writing & posting short poetry in response to five word prompts at Washington University #Life/Lines for April, poetry month. 

Last weekend the weather warmed. I decided the one thing that would give me unlimited pleasure in this time of quarantine is planting new flowers. I love my little angel solar light, and my new flowers. Even on gloomy days, I smile when I look out the door at this sight.

Hubby thinks I go a bit overboard decorating, but I had an old scarf that I thought matched perfectly, so I embellished the planter. 

Sassy Cat is used to us coming and going all the time, so he is a bit confused that we are here ALL of the time. He still thinks he's king of the castle. We read that his breed can't get enough food or affection. Sums up his personality completely. He must be in the same room with us, prefers Bill.

 I caught him taking a cat nap. He looks a bit indignant at being disturbed.
 As I said, he prefers Bill's company, and the two guys are almost inseparable. See ?
Is there anything that is making you happy these days? 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Bittersweet honey

I don't know about you, but I am so distracted I can't sit long enough to read a chapter in a really good book. I can't write articles or essays even though I am determined to journal my thoughts for my great grandsons, but I can't do it just yet. Not because the situation is fluid, but because I am not ready to sort through EVERY thing going on and how the pandemic is affecting all of us. But I will.

For the past two weeks I have been participating in Washington University St. Louis, Humanities Dept. Poetry Prompt. They provide five words to be used in a short poem. The resulting poems are incredibly diverse and interesting. My submission for today is about my great grandson Liam.

I asked him recently why he wasn't in school and he explained, "This germ virus gets in your mouth and people die. And I don't want to get it really bad in my mouth."  (Breaks my heart.)

                    A soft bee incubates inside my young one's mouth. 
                                               Honey lubes his shattered-glass little boy gut. 
                                               Exhausted from rest, stacked weeks-high,
                                               each time he hacks up fear in a warm gust
                                               he wonders if this time HE has been stung.
                                               "I don't want this in my mouth, really bad, Nana.
                                               People get a cough and die from it."

                                               I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee...

                                               Linda O'Connell 4/17/2020

Missouri Historical Society is doing a project on the Pandemic, requesting submissions, images, videos, words etc.
So I submitted this poem and photo of my sweet Liam who is missing school "really bad."

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Viewing from afar

Today it's  been a month of self quarantine. We hopped in the car and went for a short drive into downtown. In 12 miles round trip we saw maybe a dozen pedestrians, five of them panhandlers, a few vehicles, businesses and schools shuttered, and a fat rat wandering around. It was like a horror movie. And to think the entire WORLD is resting, except for the essential workers. My son,  grandson, and son-in-law are front line heroes.

My cousin is still in ICU, and after a week is now off the ventilator recovering from Covid 19.

Our neighbor was taken by ambulance yesterday; he is presumptive positive, no final diagnosis.

I am grateful. We have everything we need. Bill and I are healthy. I am lonely though and so miss my little guys and big kids. I miss my writing group the WWWP's. We wild women wielding pens share more than the written word. Social distancing is weighing heavy.

Every single day, without effort, Bill makes me laugh. This incident happened one Monday before the confinement. We were in the car heading for a casino to indulge in the half price senior buffet.

I said, "Oh you left your glasses at home."

Without missing a beat he said, "I don't need to see the catastrophes up close anyway."

Alex is two and a half, and when the boys woke up Easter morning his mama filmed it for me. He wanted to know where the candy was. Ashley said, "You have to find where Bunny hid it. That bunny is sneaky."

I heard him shout, "Yeah, STINKY bunny!"

Just looking for things to make me chuckle. You have anything funny?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

You have mail!

We are on our third week of quarantine and I am missing my babies so much. Nicole, 12, was stung in the face by a wasp or bee yesterday and had to get a steroid shot due to reaction. I want to go hug her. I can't. 

I haven't babysat my great grandsons in weeks and I miss them so much. 
I sent them mail. I copied dot-to-dot dinosaur pages with dino facts for Liam who was so excited to get the mail today.

Alex received a page copied from the book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie." It was the page where little mouse is on his tummy with crayons spilled across the page. I printed his name as if the mouse had done it in orange crayon. I included a personal note for my babies. They were excited to get mail.
Charlie is happy with everything. They had fun coloring at their Nana Tracey's who babysits them.

Today in St. Louis we broke a 130 year weather record when the temperature reached 90 degrees. Out came the water table and squirt bottles to wash their cars and toys.
I asked Liam why he wasn't going to school. His reply: "Nana, there's this thing...flu, no virus and everything is closed down except stores and drive through restaurants, because this virus can get in your mouth and cause people to die. I don't want to get it REAL BAD!"

I knew he meant he really badly doesn't want to get it. As much as we want to protect kids, they hear.

He told me he had a nightmare about a snake as big as a camper chasing him all over a campground.

That virus is a snake, sneaking up unexpectedly on all of us. I hope you are doing well. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

House bound and down

My friend Gerry is back to writing and shared his recent work with me. Would you visit his blog? Click on his name above. If you are local, you may recognize the landmarks. 

Being housebound has its benefits. I cleaned the carpets and read three books in the past two weeks. I have cooked (and eaten) more than ever before. 

Today I fiddled with poems. What do you think?  Do you have a preference, a particular style? Next week we are expecting temperatures around 80 degrees. I will be sitting in the sun, not under an apple tree! 

Spring Palette

Splash the barren earth with daffodils,
golden forsythia o'er the hills.
Smudge hedgerows purple, dark and light,
tint azalea blossoms raspberry bright.
Rouge ruby red on pansy cheeks,
daub dainty smiles that glow for weeks.
Spread winter’s lawn with sage and jade.
Paint spring on every branch, and blade. 

Housebound Locked Down

In a crook of the rippled lake 
still water cradles autumn’s 
discarded foliage, usurped 
by algae propagating 
in sunshine golden as the finch 
that flew its nest, confused 
by the absence of visitors 
missing out on nature's best.

Suburban Orchard

The newly arrived immigrant  
planted a dozen apple trees alright
there on his small front lawn,
painted the trunks stark white.

Flowering orchard, twelve towering trees,
uniformed sailors taking orders from the breeze.
Blossoms drifting, swirling, floating down
the best-dressed apple trees in town. 

Who am I to say a spread of sweet Williams
or daffodils would be more apropos?
This man from "over there" probably doesn't know,
a hedge of roses in all their glory would certainly delight.

But who am I to say HIS front yard is wrong
and everyone else is right? 
Neighbors mow their grass and whack away their weeds.
While we all manicure our lawns, he tends his apple trees.

This orchard is a few blocks from our home on a main street. 

One year we were taking a drive and came upon an entire front lawn of pink flowers,
thousands of them.

What is the darndest thing you've seen on a front lawn?  

Monday, March 30, 2020

Another Lucy moment

Picture this!

Our tax preparer's office went on lock down right before the quarantine began, one day before our scheduled appointment! So Bill dropped off the paperwork at an overpriced strip mall tax agency.

On a cold overcast, misty day, in a car bound for the strip mall, which sits down in a valley, we found a spot three car lengths from the building and went inside so we could sign the forms and see the damage.

The only employee there, an older woman sitting across the desk from us, moaned and groaned and struggled to breathe. I asked if she were alright. She said she had emphysema and would be okay, but she had walked in from the parking lot and was out of breath.

Bill and I stole glances as she shuffled around the office mumbling, "Now where did I put that? Oh no, the printer is out of ink!" She hacked and coughed and then said, "Well, here's your last document that needs a signature."

I was so happy to autograph Uncle Sams documents and bolt out of there. I beat Bill to the door and said, "Honey, I don't want you going out in this storm and pouring rain. You stay here. I'll get the car."

The door closed behind me. I gulped fresh air and ran to the car.

Drenched, I punched in the numerical code on the door panel, and then stood there like a dripping wet fool when I realized HE HAD THE KEYS.

There Bill stood in the store front window laughing his dry self silly.

These are the days of MY life.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Yes sir! That's my baby!

I drove to my granddaughter's to babysit while she gathered her work computer/supplies. Alex is on the couch. Liam is stopping Charlie from getting into mischief.
When the little ones went down for a nap, Liam and I cuddled on the couch. I used to see him once a week before he started kindergarten.
He snuggled and said, "I miss you, Nana. Are you starving yourself?"

I was thrilled he noticed my ten pound weight loss. I beamed at him and asked, "Why?" 
He looked at me confused. 
Then he said, "Can't you hear your own belly making all those sounds?"

I hope you are sheltering in place, eating less than I am, and reading as much as I have been.

I loved Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle.

Today I am starting The Doctor's Wife, a psychological thriller which drew me in with the first sentence. Now on to page 2.

Bye-Bye. How are you handling the confinement?

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sometimes you just have to laugh!

Guess who is social distancing?
 He did peak out to see what was going on. Oh who am I kidding? He sneaks a peek every time I walk into the kitchen. I read that his breed can't get enough food or affection. That sums up our Sassy.

 My granddaughter just posted a video of the hamster-size snowflakes coming down. Her commentary: In the midst of a pandemic, now this on the second day of spring? It's just rude!

I snipped a few daffodils and brought a little bit of spring indoors. The fragrance is wonderful.

Now picture this... I went outside in my pink fuzzy bath robe to fill the bird feeder as Bill stood at the window directing me HOW to open the contraption. He is much taller than I am, so I held the roof open with my left hand, arm fully extended, and poured a container of seed in with my right hand. When I overshot and filled my left sleeve, he laughed hysterically. I ask you. Is that a laughing matter?!

Monday, March 16, 2020

What did you say?!

Many years ago, I was a PBX telephone switchboard operator. I loved that job. But sometimes messages could get garbled, misinterpreted, or passed on until they did not even remotely resemble the original content. Sort of like PLAYING TELEPHONE.  

Alex and Charlie found our old, inoperable cell phones. They both had been fussing with each other and wanted to call mama.

Alex speaks fluently. Charlie, 19 months, chatters and babbles endlessly; every once in awhile you can make out a word. He was mad at Alex and tattling, "Unintelligible babbling (about three sentences) and Mama, Bubba jabber-jabber-jabber...mama! Blah, blah, blah!" All that jabbering and every time he said, "Bubba" Alex just held his head. I had to laugh.
It really isn't that much different from listening to all the chatter on T.V. about the Corona Virus. It is enough to overwhelm you and give you a real headache.

In these trying times (our tax preparer, scheduled for tomorrow! just canceled on us) when schools are closing, and businesses are encouraging employees to work from home, we all need to do our part to prevent the spread of this virus.

Closures are an inconvenience for many, a matter of life and death for others. Please be considerate.

I am concerned about the needy school children who will be deprived of meals. The elderly who will be deprived of visitors.