Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stepping into a new day and a new size

I slept 10 hours! With the windows open! Maybe that is what I needed, fresh air and more snoozing. I went outside barefoot to retrieve the newspaper before the sun came up. From the moment my feet hit the floor I felt joyful. I loved the feeling of the hardwood floor; then sinking into soft carpeting; stepping outside onto the smooth concrete doorstoop, scritch-scratching across the rough concrete driveway out to the lawn where the grass, wet and cold nipped my barefeet and made me feel so alive and awake. It is going to be a great day. I feel it in my feet. (grin)

It was a great day indeed. I stepped on the scale and met my weight loss goal of five pounds for the month. I tried on a dozen pair of pants this evening and discovered that I am between sizes, so although I was frustrated that nothing fit right, I am pleased that I will buy a size smaller very soon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I had insomnia last night and was awake from 1-3:00 a.m., so I read. I know I should have been writing, but it would have been way too emotional stuff. My mind is heavy with angst about my daughter-in-law. I know how tied down I felt with one car when I was a mom with young children. I can only imagine how she must feel knowing that she will have to give up driving and be dependent upon others. I got to thinking about that book, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? Then I read an essay in HOPE WHISPERS, edited by Lynn C. Johnston. It is an anthology of inspirational poems and stories in which one of my fiction stories appears. (Yes! I got fiction published on page 60.) Here's the gist of the essay that touched me: when bad or good things happen how do you view yourself, as a SPIRITUAL BEING having a human experience or a HUMAN BEING having a spirtual experience? I had to really think about that. How do you see it?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daughter-in-law vision update

My daughter-in-law, Jackie Wenzelburger needs prayers. She has been blind since birth in one eye. Six months ago a virus attacked her one good eye and vision. They did surgery this spring, temporarily implanted a silicone bubble in her sighted eye to prevent her retina from detaching. A few weeks ago they did surgery on her blind eye, to remove a thick 35 year old calcified cataract. They knew she would not have any central vision in that eye, but amazingly she did have some peripheral vision.

Doctors hoped to remove the silicone bubble in a few weeks which would improve her vision. They concluded Friday that it is not possible, which means she will not drive again without some miracle or medical breakthrough.

They said that when they worked on her blind eye, they discovered that the scar pattern was identical to the scarring on her sighted eye. They believe that the virus was present at birth, causing her newborn blindness in that eye (not from receiving too much oxygen as a preemie.) The virus laid dormant in her system for 35 years and reoccured this year in her good eye. They decided that it is too risky to remove the silicone bubble because the virus is present in her system and may flare up again. So she has limited vision, and she must take anti-viral drugs for life. Now they've discovered that the steroid drops she had to use after surgery have caused a cataract on her "good eye". They intend to remove that before the holidays and hope to do no further damage. My heart is breaking for her. Please send prayers to heaven and good thoughts her way to uplift her spirits.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fun Run

This morning I was at the park at 7:00 a.m. to set up for our school's fundraiser, The Fun Run. Adults competed in the 3K race, elementary students and adults ran the 1K, and the cutest of all, the herd of preschoolers ran the Mini Mile. They barreled down the middle of the road racing with all their might to the finish line to win their ribbons. They were so excited and happy.

It is always very heartwarming to see my former students who are now in grades K-8. No matter how big they get, how they change physically, they still have the personality traits that they had in preschool. Proof that children are like a lump of clay which begins to harden by age 4. That is why the early childhood period of growth and development is called the formative years. I tell parents, "Be careful; your children are watching, and they want to be just like you!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Discovering memories

Did you ever rediscover something that you had forgotten about? We bought a new coffee table this evening, so I had to clean out the little compartments on either side of the old one. I'd forgotten that two and a half years ago I had shoved my mother's photo album and some of her memorabilia inside one of the doors. It was a happy/sad time finally sorting through her photos and old greeting cards that the family had sent her, and finding her handwritten notes. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. I miss my mom.

I am in the remodeling mood. I am tired of clutter and ready to pitch stuff. STUFF is getting on my nerves. I can't believe how many picture frames in a variety of sizes that I had stashed in the other side of the old coffee table. And I am ready to tackle the stack of papers and books on my desk too. My hubby had better watch out! When I get in a cleaning mood, it is like I'm in a frenzy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cheap entertainment

It seems like bad news comes in threes; I received emails that 3 women, friends and family, have serious medical issues. Now I'm waiting for three good news items, because the universe has a way of balancing itself. Life has it's highs and lows, and like St. Louis weather, I just have to wait a day or two, keep those people in my prayers, and wait for change.

Last night we were so bored. Bill had received a coupon in the mail from the casino for $7 for his birthday. It expires today, so we decided to get out of the house rather than go to bed at 8 or 9. We played on that little birthday ticket for four hours. I remember when my kids were little and I crabbed at them for throwing their (MY) money away playing Pac Man and Frogger and all those video games. Ha! Look at me now. I had so much fun playing the electronic casino version of the board game that I despise, Monopoly. When trains whistled and cartoon characters on board interacted with me, I won! Well okay, most people wouldn't get this excited over $20. But it was fun. I think I'll consider my win the first of my three good news items. Next, I'm hoping for a positive response from an editor. Hope you have a blessed day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dang! Dilbert's Right!

I just read a universal truth in the comic section of the newspaper. Normally I don't read Dilbert; I like Baby Blues (because I teach preschoolers), Swine Before Pearls (because I have sick humor), Zits (we have teenagers in the family), and Lola (I can relate to the old timer humor). But Dilbert's creator, Scott Adams cinched the cartoon with the last panel, "When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it." Don't you agree? Have a great day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Read a book today

I usually can't sit still for too long, but this rainy weather kept me housebound most of the day. I spent the day reading Gap Creek, by Robert Morgan, a wonderful story about the hardscrabble life of a young married couple in the early 1900's. It was on Oprah's reading list, a very good book! It gave me insight into my grandparents' struggles, and it made me realize how people today take so many things for granted. In that time period, folks had to grow and raise their own food and make their own coffins and deal with natural disasters in a way that people today wouldn't be able to, I'm afraid. The main character was a very strong woman who survived unbelievable hardships.

Read a good book this week!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Backhanded Acceptance

4:00 p.m. Saturday

Just returned from the Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival. Great music, fun people-watching, and so many dogs you would not believe it. One lady hauled her three Shitzus in a grocery cart. Another person had four terriers. There were full sized poodles, boxers, mutts of every kind.

Got a rejection from the editor of an anthology who liked my story but rejected it for the book. She wants to post it on her website. No can do, I told her, not without compensation. I'm anxious to hear what the response will be. When I read the fine print I noticed the guidelines: "Even if rejected, you could still be published." Ha! that's one way to get your work for free. Be careful; be the judge of the merit of your own work. I do not recommend giving your work away, but only you can decide what's right for you.

I received a reply: "This is an on line lit mag, and I do all the work myself. I do not receive any compensation, therefore I can not pay writers. Good luck placing it elsewhere!"

So, sometime, somehow, I'll find a market for it; I know I will. Patience pays dividends.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Night out

7:40 p.m. Friday

We went to Arnold Park; tonight was the opening of a three day event, Arnold Days. The Smash Band was playing from 6:30-8:00. The crowd was sparse when we arrived, and the area in front of the bandstand was swarming with kids. We stayed about an hour, got sick of hearing the band play the Sesame Street theme song and Miley Cyrus songs sung by the kids in the crowd. Loved Janis Joplin's song, Me and Bobby McGhee sung by the female vocalist. I guess Smash was playing to his audience: old hippies and young kids. Bill and I are both fighting off colds and figure it best to be home rather than sitting in a field, in the night air thick with mosquitoes beside a lake.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


One of the ladies in the senior writer's group that I teach said I had inspired her so much she decided to attempt to write poetry. It was excellent! I am flattered that my writing inspired her. That's how it is, your words affect others when you don't even realize it.

This evening we celebrated Bill's daughter's birthday. You should have heard the kids, ages 9,10,12,12,16 & 16 all belting out Taylor Swift songs. It was a hootnanny!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Have to quit monkeying around

I have this cute little monkey cut-out from a greeting card which hangs by his tail above my computer as a reminder to write. That little guy hasn't been enough inspiration lately. I need a mailbox full of writer call outs so that I can get cracking. Anybody have any interesting personal essay or poetry calls they are aware of? I'm tired of monkeying around. Maybe I'm just tired. It is almost 9:00 p.m.

I bought a cute, lightweight, red and black plaid jacket this evening. They say plaid will be big this winter. As long as I'm not any bigger! I'm considering the South Beach Diet after seeing candid photos of myself on my school's website. Ugh

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Open mic tonight

It is almost 11:00 p.m. and I am sleepy. Just returned from The Mack where I read a poem at open mic about autumn in New Hampshire, and also an essay about the news paper boys of long ago. Unfortunately it had a tragic ending -a real life story about a neighbor kid. Many years later I ended up teaching this kid's sister's child. Life is strange; it is amazing how interconnected we all are. I will forward these to anyone who is interested in reading either of them. I have entered the autumn one in a contest. Keeping my fingers crossed until next Monday when winners are announced.

The cutest thing I've heard lately is my granddaughter who is beginning to talk. She says, "I sorry." and "Tank ou." I have to squeeze her sometimes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Update on Daughter-in-law

My daughter-in-law had surgery on her eye. She's been blind in it since birth. The doctor's were able to restore her periphereal vision! We are so thankful. They inserted two lenses in the eye. She says she can see her hand, all the way around it but not the center. This is such tremendous news for our family. Next month the doctors will decide what to do about surgery on the eye that had retina detachment/viral infection. My daughter called at the moment that the surgery was happening and said, "Mom, look up in the sky; an airplane is leaving trails and there are three crosses in the sky." Thank you God for miracles.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Delmar Loop

Went to Cicero's in the Loop for poetry reading by Michael Castro and music by J.D. Parran. Those beat poets sure got it going on!

It was also nice to see my writer friends. I can not believe how hopping the Loop is. It reminds me of how downtown St. Louis used to be forty years ago, people everywhere.

Friday, September 11, 2009

TGIF and contest

You know, the older I get the less I care about what others think. I wore white pants and sandals to work and felt so comfortable. Who dictates these fashion rules anyway? I made it through the first week of school; most of the kids have settled in and I am back in my element. Now for the weekend.Going to Cicero's tomorrow night to hear Michael Castro and J.D. Parron. Hope to see some of my writer friends there.

There is a fun and free contest for those of you who are into creative writing. The VERB is loking for stories about (but not using any of the lyrics of) a 1977's song. I have been having a fun time trying this exercise. They probably won't even give it a second look, but it was a writing stretch for me and made me think hard and long about my wording. Follow the guidelines and remember to write "The End" at the end of your story.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Three things on my mind

Three things on my mind:

I'm tired of getting junk mail. I used to look forward to checking email. Now when I see the junk mail box stuffed with a big number, I groan. One of these days I hope it will contain an acceptance, but lately it's all been ridiculous.

Had a great day at school yesterday. Love the M-W-F classes; I can actually teach and do lesson plans with the pre-k kids. It will take a while for the three year olds wbo attend on Tu-Th to be able to learn the routine, but overall, it's going to be okay. I am so blessed to have had a job that I love for all of these years.

I hope that President Obama finally laid some fears and rumors to rest with his address to the nation on health care. No American should be denied medical treatment; no one should be refused care because of a pre-existing condition, no one should go bankrupt having to pay exorbitant medical bills. Something has to be done.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Adopting an end-of-life statement

As I age I am aware of my mortality. I know my loved ones will have to deal with my declining health one day. I found this in the newspaper this morning in Annie's Mailbox (formerly Ann Landers) A doctor shares his own end-of-life plan. I am embracing every word, as it is exactly how I feel.

"If you can fix me, please do. If you can't fix me, please help me avoid pain, fear, lack of air, hunger, nausea, thirst, loss of dignity and prolonging the dying process. I understand that it might take a few days to figure out whether you can fix me...or not. Most people don't fear death as much as the process of dying or the prolonged disability."
First day of school went very well, unlike one year when I had three simultaneous crises: one child vomiting, the other with strands of snot (which makes me gag!) and another who had a potty accident. Nothing like that yesterday. The child I predicted might have a problem was surprisingly adept and capable, and listened well. It is going to be a fun year.

Last night was Open Mic at Wired Coffee. That is always fun and interesting.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My day

Good grief! Sometimes I amaze myself. My early childhood column which is featured bi weekly in Hockey Stop was such a breeze to write this time; it turned into two articles. So that puts me ahead by one. Yay! I love when that happens. I have been writing for so long it's difficult to come up with new topics. The second one was easy and fun: Let The Kids Play With Their Food!

I didn't do anything spectacular today. Started by hopping on the Wii. Ha! I used to be the hula hoop queen when I was 40. I used to win contests and money. Let's just say more things have slid than the cartoon hoops on the screen that kept bouncing off the floor and whacking my little person in the head, despite my wide circular swaying. I got most of my exercise walking department stores. Didn't buy a thing. I'm looking for navy blue flats. I asked a sales girl who said, "How about these blue and pink ones?" I said, "I'm looking for navy." She said, "What about these turquoise ones?" I looked at her in disbelief. Then she said, "Do you like these teal ones?" I said, "Thank you." and I left!

I got my best hugs this evening from Nicholas and Nicole. Nick read a story to Nicole and me, then he went out to skate board. I had to leave; I am getting too old to watch the little daredevil.

Summer Vacation Coming to an End

Sunday we went to Cuivre River State Park. Bill's son-in-law rents the entire group camp site, Sherwood Forest for his four day family reunion. We no longer camp out in the primitive cabins, but we go for one entire day 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. There must have been over a hundred people, three fourths of them kids. At any given time there was a volleyball, soccer or football game going on, or archery or golf in an open field, not to mention board games and card games in the mess hall and continuous nibbling and munching on goodies. It's back to reality for me soon. School starts tomorrow and I have to get back on track. But this weekend is always one of our favorites. We play and do something special with each of the grandchildren; we make memories.

Today is my last day of summer vacation. I should do something spectacular. I wonder what I WILL do? I have a column to finish and a letter to write, nine grandkids' journals to catch up with, but then the day is mine all mine.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What a dream!

I'm not usually disturbed by my dreams, but I had the weirdest, most vivid dream just before I woke up. I dreamed I was lounging on my back on a bed or sofa looking out a second story window onto a back yard. My coworker was in the room. There was a tall tree and a back porch just off the room we were in. I saw a beautiful cat stretch out of a nest and rise, long and sleek, stretching it's front body up the tree. It was absolutely gorgeous with turqouise blue fur and bright red splotches. I was in awe of this cat; then it morphed into an exotic bird with fluffed turquiose and red feathers. It started flying frantically to the porch floor. That's when I spied it's offspring, three weaned fluffy, multi-colored, dark black and grey kittens searching for food. The bird flew out of the nest to find food. I was very distraught that she would bring these hungry kittens bugs and grubs instead of cat food. I was trying to figure out what to do, throw out some food, take the kittens to the Humane Society, rationalizing that the HS would destroy them, and the beautiful bird would produce another litter. I woke up with no resolution, ugh!

Geeze! I must be searching for an answer in my real life, because I have never had such a psychedelic dream. No medications, no big meals before bed, just a weird, beautiful and confusing dream. Any dream interpreters out there?

My Saturday

Saturday I learned a lot about tax deductions for writers from Faye Adams at the St. Louis Writer's Guild meeting. Who knew you could deduct laundry expenses?

Granddaughter Ashley and boyfriend Justin came over and tried out Bill's Wii Fit. Bill's very good at it and has been doing 30 minutes of low impact exercises for balance each morning. I'm a lot better at bowling than balancing. Ha!

My son came by to see if I wanted anything on his loaded truck destined for Goodwill. I nearly cried. They were getting rid of the baby crib, equipment and the electronic baby table with all the balls, bells and whistles that made the kids giggle when they were infants. It was all I could do to hold it together when I spied a container filled with their rubberized baby spoons and tiny forks. Awww. I can't believe how big all the kids are getting.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stuffed pretzels

I have a tummy ache and have only eaten chicken rice soup today, but Bill and I went to Gus's Pretzel's on Arsenal at Highway 55, and he bought a big fat sausitza-stuffed pretzel. He loved it. Now maybe if they stuffed it chock full with cream cheese and dark chocolate, I might try one of those. Think of all the possible combinations.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Letting Go

Sometimes it is difficult to turn loose of your babies (stories). That's how it feels for me right now. I just wrote a check entry fee for my first big $$$ writing contest, followed the guidelines to a "T" and inserted everything into the envelope. Tomorrow it will be on its way. I will have to wait until 2010 to know whether it was accepted, rejected or even considered for publication. I guess it's not the letting go afterall; it's the waiting that is bad.

I have a friend who is a plein air fine artist. Her paintings are so beautiful; I don't see how she can part with them. It is like letting go of a little piece of yourself.
I guess the bottom line though is how the creative, written word or painting impacts others.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

ER and not on TV

What a day! We relaxed, I bought a new pull over, we went to lunch, and just as I was preparing to sit out and read my new book this evening, my granddaughter called. I had to rush her to the ER. She lacerated her foot at work, fell off a step ladder, took down a shelf and when she put her foot down she landed on a broken candle holder. A piece of glass penetrated her shoe! and deeply pierced her instep. OW! She'll be fine. Kids heal a lot faster than older folks.

Heard from Thin Threads. They definitely accepted my story, Santa's Helper Was a State Trooper. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A full day

Almost 11:00 p.m.
Busy day: breakfast and goodbye to my dearest old friend of 40 years who has dementia from a brain tumor. I wanted to keep her here and protect her as much as I was ready for her to go. It was bittersweet. Then faculty meeting, purchase of school supplies, last minute classroom preparations, visit to the KG to see my old kids, then Dressel's Pub in the Central West End for a literary event. Emotionally drained, body exhausted. Time for some deep, restorative sleep. Goodnight.