Monday, August 31, 2009

How you phrase it matters

Monday afternoon, almost 4:00 p.m. We took my best friend and her husband to the zoo today. Her stamina is gone but she won't admit it, but I know how to work her. Hubby said, "She will NOT do a wheel chair, so don't even ask."

I said, "You seem tired. Would you do better if I got you a chair with wheels on it so you don't have to walk so much and I can push you a bit?" She readily agreed. It's not just what you say, it's how you say it!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bill's Birthday

It is almost 8:00 p.m. Sunday night and I am so full, happy and tired. Bill's 67th birthday party was fun. Our 4 kids came. Our nine grandchildren tickle my fancy and are growing so fast it frightens me. The baby, Nicole, almost 2, and I snuggled on my bed. She spied the mama rabbit figurine with a baby rabbit on a shelf and had to have them. Nana can't say no. So as we laid down I talked to her about the baby going night-night (like she should have been) and the mama kissing her baby. When I'd make the bunny kiss me, she'd belly laugh. Needless to say she didn't nap. Her brother Nicholas is 7, and everytime he sees me he says, "You look 21." He knows that will get him a hug anytime. He asked,"Nana, who's your favorite?" I smiled and said I couldn't answer. He smiled knowingly and said, "Well, I can answer who MY favorite is. YOU; you're my favorite grandchild!" Silly boy. He will have the girls falling all over him. He and 12 year old Austin chased each other like wild boys.

I played ball with Austin; that kid can slug a ball! Madison 12, and Morgan nine and a half, tumbled and jumped rope. Sean, 10 wrestled with Papa, as did George who is 12and as tall as Papa. Kyle, 16 and his girlfriend came. Ashley, almost 20, and her boyfriend stayed a while before they had to go to St. Charles to shoot film for her photography class. All of the kids are going in so many new directions. The older kids are subdued and sophisticated until somebody starts the family ruckus,a soccer game or tackle. Then all of them including their moms and dads have a free for all on the lawn. Oh yeah, we stop traffic. Wrestling your grandpa, aunt, uncle or cousin, or collapsing in a pile and laughing hysterically is a healthy, physical, fun outlet. We sure made some memories today.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Time flies when you're having fun, drags when ... something like that. Time is almost up for two Chicken Soup deadlines. One is for Teachers and the other call out is CS for Mothers and Daughters. So get busy. The final day is tomorrow. Submit on their web site. Am I glad I went back and checked these deadlines. We have had out of town house guests, so I didn't get a chance to write as much as I usually do. It's 10:00 p.m. and it looks like I will be sitting here for a couple more hours trying to rev my brain and come up with something. I do well under pressure, and "last minute" sometimes works best for me. I hope it will for you too.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The thing that really makes me smile

We have been watching America's Funniest Home Videos. I have concluded that some people are just plain idiots, and also, there is no better sound than a baby who is belly laughing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Live in the moment

It's the moment that counts, not the memory. Today we went to Powder Valley and Suson Farm. My friend from Boston is here for a week. Sheila loves barnyard animals and is amazed at our wonderful parks. Whatever makes her happy! Our time together is precious and taxing on both of us. She is physically and mentally declining due to a brain tumor. Even though tomorrow she probably won't recall what we did today, at least she was happy for the moment. I believe that we should cherish each moment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Whew! What an evening. Parent orientation and meet the teacher went well; we had a tremendous turn out. Then I went to Ted Drewes for ice cream with faculty. Laughter is so good for the soul.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm beat and I want to eat.

I am exhausted. It is 6:00. I worked from 8-4:30 scrubbing every toy and surface of my classroom, hauled toys in and out after bleaching them. I ache. All I want to do right now is dip mini chocolate cake donuts in a cup of hot coffee and then lie down before my best friend arrives from Boston.
Aw, my wonderful husband is baking a pizza for us. I'm one lucky old gal.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ordinary or extraordinary?

Patchwork Path is seeking Wedding stories and the deadline is next week. I racked my brain trying to come up with a story. I had a unique wedding. I entered a Valentine's contest, wrote a paraody song and won a complete wedding package. We were married with 99 other couples, and the ceremony was broadcast live on the radio. But I had already sold all rights to that story. Then I remembered my wedding cake. I'd made it myself. Most brides are the center of attention, but at our wedding the cake topper (bride & groom pigs smooching) took the cake!

Everyone will write about the ordinary; find something extraordinary to write about and perhaps it will lead to publication for you too. The novel approach has worked well for me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Writers helping writers

If you have ever written about a very sensitive topic, then you know how difficult it is to get the mechanics of your writing correct when you are so focused on the story details. Today I tweaked and tweaked a personal essay that ripped at my heart strings and made every nerve in my body raw. I made obvious mistakes, and got so frustrated that I finally had to walk away from it and do something I don't like to do. I asked a fellow writer and dear friend for help. It was as difficult for me ask for a critique as it was to write the essay. I am indebted to you, D. Thank you-thank you.

Sometimes we just need a helping hand. Don't be afraid to ask. We should reach out to one another. I am here if anyone needs MY help.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Seasonal Changes

The wind is whipping the tree in the front yard, and fall weather is in the air. I love this season and want to be outdoors all of the time. Our tree reminds me of how lucky I am. Many years ago, thirty-five to be exact, when I was married with young children and we had only one car, I would take my ex to work if I needed the car to take the kids to a doctor appointment. We would drive down the street I now live on, past this house which always caught my eye. In fall, the huge maple tree three doors down made me catch my breath. It towered like a coloful umbrella reaching into the sky, a beautiful autumn masterpiece. How I wished I could live in this house, on this street in this part of suburbia instead of South City. I fell in love with the truck farm which stretches the whole block down the west side of the road. Instead of ten or twelve houses across the street to gawk at, I would oogle acres of vegetables and beds of pansies, and hear cars honking constantly at the two old farmers as they worked their fields.

In the late summer of my life, happily remarried, my second husband and I bought the house I had always desired, in the neighborhood I wanted, down the street from the breathtaking maple tree I loved, across the street from the small farm which captured my attention everytime I passed by. For the past fifteen years, I have been so lucky to be able to sit outside on a main street and watch traffic pass by and the farmers at work. Just beyond their property, the flow of interstate traffic hums.

In the autumn of my life, I sit outside and contemplate my blessings. I think I have figured out one of life's secrets: patience.

The farmers, now in the winter of their lives are unable to plant a crop, and the fields have gone to weeds, and the passing cars no longer honk their horns at the old boys who used to tend their fields from sun up to sun down. As the seasons change, I feel the winds shifting. It is not a cold, harsh, frightening wind; it is warm and comforting. I can only hope that my children and grandchildren, who are always in search of more-more-more right NOW, can learn to slow down, be patient and wait. Gifts are abundant and waiting.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekend Leisure Drives

People are driving less. It was apparent when we sat outside Saturday evening. We used to make a game of guessing where each car was going by looking at the occupants. There are so few cars on our main road on weekends. I remember a time when people used to take Sunday drives. My grandma would say,"Let's go for a ride, and I'll put a couple dollars in the 'machine'." Now a couple dollars won't buy a gallon of gasoline.

My favorite Sunday drive when I was small was when my dad drove on a two lane road towards Jefferson City; it must have been Route 50. He would always point to a dilapidated house and tell me and my brother that it was where the three bears lived. He made that classic children's story come alive. My little brother and I used to crane our necks looking for Goldilocks and those bears.

I think we'll get in the machine, um, I mean car, and head where the wind takes us. I'm up for an adventure.

Friday, August 14, 2009


My story, about my son's job loss was accepted for publication in Hurray God! The editor, Jeanette asked for an accompanying Bible verse. I had an idea of what I wanted, but it took me a while to locate it. Meanwhile, I read lots of scripture. When I looked up at the clock, I realized how long I had been absorbing the Word. Suddenly I received an image of my mom smiling from ear to ear. She's in heaven rejoicing; I'm certain. She always quoted the Bible and 'preached' to me in the car, on the phone, in person. I would say, "Mom, I am a believer, and I don't mind a spoonful, but you like to shovel it in." We'd both laugh and she'd hop off her soap box, for a while anyway.

I am sure that you have been blessed, so just write about it. Your words may lead to publication and your message may postively affect others.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Call for submission

Which one of us has not received a blessing in our lives at some time or another? Hurray God! is a new anthology looking for stories. $50 if accepted. or just type in Hurray God!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Forgive Me ~ I'm a Guilty Gardener

I am a guilty gardener. Although I love flowers, I hate taking care of them. When I go on vacation, I let Mother Nature take over my small flower garden, but she's no better than I am. I come back to find yellow flowers where there should be pink. I get excited, then I see that they are dandelions. Dandy! I yank them and then I spy a pill bug, an earth worm, a creepy crawler...and I feel guilty for wrecking their habitat, so I water the weeds along with the flowers.

When students give me hanging baskets, I hang them as high as my hopes. They always thrive till day five and then shrink from lack of a drink. I give them a big gulp; they nearly drown, then rebound. It's a vicious cycle until I give them to my daughter for her birthday every late June.

This year I did not plant my Impatience along the edge of the patio, nor did I plant a border of marigolds to ward off the mosquitoes. At the end of May I weighed the pros and cons of planting a flower bed. I so enjoy sitting outside in the floral-scented evening air reading a book.

Then, I thought about all the weeding. West Nile disease. The darned no-seeums that nibble my ankles. The bees that love the flowers more than I do. My horrible death from anaphylactic shock if I were to get stung. I felt guilty not purchasing bedding plants. I missed the floral fragrance, so I alleviated my guilt by buying one of those air freshener plug ins. Now, I get a nose full of petunia every time the gadget goes off. I've read more books indoors in the airconditioning than I ever have outdoors swatting bugs and wiping sweat from my brow.

Actually, I haven't given up on flowers all together. Pass by my house and you'll see a decorative pot on my front porch. It contains teeny flowers in every shade of purple and pink with lush greenery. I have a spray of daisies surrounding a red, white and blue wooden heart shape in an Americana aluminum planter. There's also a little bird house with the same motif in that planter along with a small American flag that blows on breezy days.

Then there's the pretty pink flowers in the unique pink planter (remittance from an editor with a sicker sense of humor than mine). I made a sign and stuck it in those flowers: Yearning for Sunshine. I thought it appropriate for a pink, plastic bedpan planter.

My floral arrangements, in their unique planters, are pretty and just right for a guilty gardener. They are all fake!Take a look.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wired Coffee Open Mike Reading

10:00 p.m.

We just returned from Wired Coffee, St. Louis Writer's Guild's veneue for open mike readings. Debbie brought her mom, and read an outstanding piece. Faye brought us to tears, Ashley always makes us laugh. David wrote great poetry and Marcel read from his book, Story of a Lifetime. Long-lost Gerry showed up and read an hysterical piece, Farewell to My Wife, the punchline was priceless. He had everyone laughing. And that is just a sampling of those in attendance.

Each piece we read aloud is like turning another page in our lives; whether it is prose or poetry, we reveal a little a bit about who we are. Even though we may see one another briefly at literary events, the fondness and friendships evolve into intimacy, and we really do feel like one big welcoming family.

Tuesday evenings in St. many literary events.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dinner at my darling's

This evening we went to visit with Ashley and Justin. She made baked spaghetti; oh my goodness, it was delicious. She's a great cook! We swam and then played a couple of games, Phase 10 with dice instead of cards, and we played SWAP, a card game that is so much fun. If you discard the Slap card, everybody has to slap the card, one hand on top of the other. Last person draws a card. Let's just say we were rowdy; there was lots of laughter and banged up hands. I'll bet her neighbors are thinking they are noisy new tenants. Smile!

It is amazing to realize the little baby granddaughter I used to rock and cuddle is now an adult. Makes me melancholoy and oh so proud. Especially when she said, "Having you and Grandpa over has been the most fun we've had all week in our new apartment."

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We are all bookends

We attended a book launch last evening for Marcel Toussaint and discovered something. Many things in fact! The poet we have come to know uses a pseudonymn. He has lived a rich, marvelous, amazing and colorful life, detailed in his book, Poetry of a Lifetime, narrated by Linda Dahlheimer, also with artists' renderings.

It made me think that each and every one of us is like a pair of book ends. Book ends come in all styles and sizes, some are decorative and fancy, some are elaborate, some are plain and functional.

We are bookends. A front and a back with a lifetime of our stories crammed in between. We present our front to the world, the person we want others to see, our persona, our facade, the face which gets up at open mikes and reads to an audience. Our backside, the rear bookend is what others see as we depart: the last physical impression we leave. If you can leave a long-lasting impression with your words, you have shared the books compressed between the ends, the stories within your soul.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Flying the coop~

Ashley and her boyfriend are feeling displaced. Although they are getting settled into their apartment and are happy, their feelings are hurt because their mothers have already redecorated their rooms. As much as they wanted their independence, they are discovering that the old nest was a comfortable place to roost.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ressurect those rejections!

Last evening we went to Dressel's Pub in the Central West End to listen to poetry/prose readings. The authors were terrific, their topics varied, and the singer, Heidi Dean, was superb! It was such an enjoyable evening. I never realized how many wonderful literary events there are in this town, and they all seem to fall
on Tuesdays. Next event for me is Tuesday at Wired Coffee.

The Redheaded Stepchild is open for submissions. Send 3-5 poems which have been rejected by another publication. And who hasn't been rejected? Details at

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Torn between two loves...that was me last night. Ashley, my oldest granddaughter called and asked me to go with her, just as my son buzzed in and asked me to go with him and his family to Ted Drewes. Well, you know how it is, and you probably know what I chose. Ashley went to play volleyball with Bill, and I went to Ted Drewes. I am proud to say, I did not eat ice cream, but I fed one to Nicole. Her parents think I'm weird when I get so excited over her accomplishments. I took her pacifier (her be-be) out of her mouth and offered her ice cream; she made a sentence, "No! My be-be, Nana." I so enjoy her baby days. Just wait till this little girl can actually verbalize what she really thinks. There will be no holding her back.

Her brother, 7 year old, Nick is a fantastic story teller, but his stories border on lies.

Nick: "Nana, you should see me dive."
Me: "You can't dive in your pool; it's too shallow."
Nick:"I know I can't dive in my pool, but soon I will be able to. Dad wants to dig it out to six feet deep and make a diving board, and I'll do flips."
Me: "Did he say that?"
Nick: "Well, he might have; yeah, I think he did, so yeah."
Me: "I'm going to ask your dad."
Nick: "Go ahead."
Jason: "I never said that!"
Nick: "I'm just writing stories like Nana does. Will you help me write them down?"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why did I do it?

Darn it! I sabotaged myself. We went to the gym this morning. I swam and did water exercises for an hour and then I walked the track. I worked up such an appettite we went for pizza. My heel is behind the seat of my pants right now. I did eat a big salad though.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Why write?

What compels you to write? Do you write for personal satisfaction, possible publication? Do you keep a diary/journal? Do you struggle for the right word, toy with sentence structure, get frustrated when the words won't flow? Do you give up, lay the pen aside, get sidetracked sifting through email and blogs, or do you flip the computer completely off? If you're here to see what's up with me, and it's just a quick diversion, that's fine. I sent off a column that's due. I could have done more, a lot more!

If you're here to avoid doing what you should be doing, get your little self back to writing.(grin) Think back to childhood and write about what you used to do at dark on a hot summer evening. I loved paper tag and hide and go seek at dusk. Dang those mosquiotes.

I attended a St. Louis Writer's Guild meeting years ago in January. The presenter asked us to write our publication goal for the year. I wrote, I want to get six things published; compensation would be nice, but really not important.

I surprised myself that year when I got twelve things published and six were paying publications. You can do it too. Just don't give up when things slow down or rejections arrive. Don't take it personal. Do take a break if you must; everyone needs recess. But get right back into it.

Someone recently said about me, "Linda sees a call out and she's right there with a story." I think that's a fair assessment. All you have to do is pull from your reservoir of life stories. But for the life of me, I can't come up with a golf story. I'm sure miniature golf wouldn't count!