Tuesday, January 31, 2012

After the rain comes

My daughter and I shared a memory that had us both laughing. She lived in a rural area when her children were small. Rain water ran through an open gully down a steep hill behind her home and into the cul de sac past three other houses.

One spring day after a thunderstorm, her neighbor, a man in his forties, who enjoyed his brewsky was outside persuing the grounds with a can of beer in hand. She watched as he hot-footed three feet into the air dousing himself with beer. He peered down into the gully and ran to the side of his house for a rake. He proceeded to clobber the rain water.

Had he lost/found someting? Was he trying to retrieve it? Kill a snake? Rescue a drowning animal?

My daughter walked down to the end of the road to meet her son at the school bus,and the guy let her have it.

"Keep your kids' stuff in your own back yard. I nearly had a heart attack when that three foot rubber alligator came floating past my house. For a minute there I thought I'd drank a few too many."

When Ashley was seven we took her to Florida, and the only thing she wanted with her spending money was this very realistic looking rubber alligator. I'd say we got our money's worth, wouldn't you?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

St. Louis welcomes home the heroes

St. Louis made history today. Two young men, Craig Schneider and Tom Applebaum, (and others) organized the only Welcome Home the Heroes from Iraq parade in the United States of America. I hope it is the first of many across our great land. This was not a political event in anyway. It wasn't necessarily a patriotic event. As Schneider said, "This event was not to support the war; it was to support the troops, to thank the returning young men and women who served in every branch of the armed forces."

The parade wound through downtown St. Louis to Union Station (formerly a train station, now a retail complex) where throngs of WW II military men and women used to embark and disembark.

Schneider and Applebaum seemingly organized and pulled this off overnight with the support of city and county officials, citizens and advocates. These fellows started a non-profit, raised $35,000 in three weeks and organized volunteers to staff booths at Union Station to inform veterans and military personell from all wars and conflicts, about regional and national resources and opportunities. These guys have only just begun. Their next goal is to raise seven million dollars in seven days to aide veterans and their families. My bet is their non-profit fundraiser will be a huge success and their organziation will be a model for other cities. Kudos to Craig Schneider, Tom Applebaum and all of the other unsung heroes who went above and beyond the call of duty!

It was 40 degrees and blustery today, but thousands of people came out to salute and honor our military men and women. Despite the weather, despite pro or antiwar convictions, young and old stood side by side waving flags, cheering, applauding and expressing appreciation. One lady standing behind me screeched her appreciation as every branch of service marched by. "Thank you, Marines! We love you Army! Yay Seabees. Thank you Navy, Airforce..." I'm sure she went home hoarse.

I overheard parade goers echo the same sentiments: "It's so cold, my hands and feet are frozen, but these men and women suffered far longer and far worse conditions than this. It's the least I can do to stand here for an hour and cheer them." People waved American flags of all sizes.

St. Louis's own team of Clydesdale horses pranced down Market Street.

A bald eagle from World Bird Sanctuary rode with his handler.

Military personell rode on floats.

They waved from military vehicles. Check that baby riding with his proud poppa.

The honor guard was greeted by rousing applause and cheers.

Veterans rode on train replicas.

Active duty dads rode with their children on a tram.

They were crammed onto trucks.

Military folk waved from army trucks and track vehicles.

Our returning heroes even rode with their children on firetrucks. One of our local newscasters, Chris Higgins, who is on active duty waved to the crowd from a float.

There was a 'Mater replica from the kids' movie, Cars. Not to mention go cart drivers doing fancy figure eights. There were numerous beautifully restored classic cars, limousines and also a marching band.

Viet Nam veterans received the loudest cheers. Check the thumbs up mirrored by the rider at far right in bright vest and the woman on the left.

Gold Star parent floats (parents who have lost their sons and daughters to war) brought a tear to my eye. The lives of anyone's child is too high a price to pay for war. I looked around at babies riding on their daddy's shoulders and I wept, and I thanked God for my children and grandchildren.

The pain on this woman's face, so fresh in her heart, was apparent as she carried her son's picture. Women AND men openly cried for her loss.

This woman wore her pain on her shoulder and pointed proudly to a picture of her beloved son or grandson.

And this was the perfect day to thank families for their sacrifices and to share this anthology. It is a collection of poems and stories about members of the U.S. military. Local writers, Sioux Roslawski, Justo G. Herrera, and I have stories or poems in this book.

The Harsh and the Heart published by Silver Boomer Books,is an apt title. It can be purchased on Amazon.com. Click HERE

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Lure of a Wave

Figured out how to post comments when BLOGGER is uncooperative: right click first, then click OPEN and it works.

About this time of year hubby and I begin to think about our upcoming summer vacation. We laughed recently about a beach memory. I wrote about it a few years ago. This was published in Literal Chaos. Now, I share the imagery with you.

The Lure of a Wave

Right before tropical storms and hurricanes make landfall in the Gulf of Mexico, a surge of excitement strikes surfer pros and wannabes like an electrical charge.

Just what is it that makes a man with gray chest hair, a pony tail, old bones and achy joints want to hang ten when a double red flag is flapping from every flagpole on the beach?

As a tropical storm started kicking up, the males in Gulf coastal towns took to the sea like lemmings with surfboards. Like a team of preschool soccer players with herd mentality, they darted en masse up and down the beach lugging their boards chasing elusive waves. Their swim trunks were the only splash of color against the brown roiling water. Infused with adrenaline and testosterone, hard-bodied, tattooed young bucks competed with saggy-pec geezers.

They raced through the sea foam to the murky, churning water (imagine a gulp of that crap) and fastened safety straps around their ankles. They were pumped as they paddled out. Instead of being knocked down by the big waves, the big boys were let down by the small waves which never built momentum. One by one they returned to shore as they realized they’d have to wait one more day for Tropical Storm Fay to whip the Big Kahuna into the Florida panhandle. A few die-hards stayed in the water. As the red flags flapped, I observed a few people who should have been waving the white flag, surrendering their long lost youth.

A slightly built old hippie walked past with his vintage surfboard tucked under his arm like a prize. He wore a Speedo. His bulge was strictly above his waistband. The bright red tattoo on his rear may have looked cool on his youthful gluteus maximus, but those luscious lips pursed in a pucker, had an unnatural sag, a drowning man’s last gasp.

I observed two middle-aged women sitting on beach chairs observing the scene. One motioned to a dreamy, young hunk. Like the old guy going for the gold, she too was on a quest for one last hurrah.

“Young man, come closer” one woman twanged. “Would you please do us a favor?” She shaded her eyes with her hands. “Don’t follow those old guys up and down the beach. Just stay right here and surf in front of us. Make a couple of desperate housewives happy?”

That boy ran like hell into the surf.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cruising through the old neighborhoods

Here I sit. A full hour I have been sitting in this chair perusing blogs and Facebook. I should be writing. I shouldn't be popping these mini oreo cookies into my mouth. I should be meeting deadline on a submission. I shouldn't be procrastinating, identifying with others woes. Woe is me and I need to get cracking.

Step Away Magazine (non-paying) is looking for urban flash fiction 1,000 words or less, and poems about neighborhoods. Try stepping back in time, walking down memory lane. Even if you don't write it for publication. My challenge to you is to write something today about your old neighborhood. A sentence or two, trigger a memory and let it flow onto a page.

I remember my grandpa torching a huge pile of leaves at the curb on our city street.
The smoke would curly Q right up to the porch steps where I sat watching the fire blaze and the pile shrivel. The scent of burning leaves, leaves me feeling nostalgic.

When I think of the old neighborhood I have to laugh. My husband and I grew up blocks apart and discovered it after we married and were visiting his aunt. She said, "Do you remember that tightwad Clarence who married Aunt Anna?"

"Wow, my mom had a tightwad Uncle Clarence who married a woman named Anna...no way! Yes, my hubby's great aunt married my great uncle.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Perception deception

Did you ever look at something and think it was something else? One of the best laughs my mom and I had was when I was driving and she shouted, "Watch out for that little Chinese woman with that pointy hat crossing the street."

As we approached, she realized it was a fire hydrant. Mom got glasses shortly thereafter. But it sure was a belly laugh that could be retriggered years later with just a mention of the little lady in a Chinese hat.

Last night I was watching Dateline, a true story about a young man accused of murdering his wife. Hubby came to bed at the end of the espisode as they were giving a synopsis. He was involved in the plot and expressed his opinion. The next show was a crime drama about a woman getting shot. There was an autopsy scene in which the victim had big stitches across her shoulder/chest. We both "ewwed" at the sight, then a commercial came on.

Commercials these days last three minutes easily -enough time for an old buzzard and his cackling hen to drift off to sleep. During the wee hours we awoke to that loud TV blaring. Bill picked up right where the show left off.

"Oh man! What happened to her now? They sure are slicing her up."

It was an infomercial actor sectioning a wide sheet of dough with a kitchen gadget wheel to make fluted edged ravioli pockets. I laughed myself into snorts, wide awake.

Hubby's sense of humor is a bit different than mine. How DOES a man roll over and go right back to sleep? I snickered for half an hour.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hands-hands, fingers, thumbs

"In His hands He has the little bitty baby...in His hands He has you and me brother."
That song was uplifting when I was a kid. I liked the tune. I liked the message.

My classroom is very hands-on. We explore, experiment and discover by doing. This past week I filled rubber gloves with tinted water (food coloring or paint watered down)for a lesson in visual perception. This was a sensory experience as well as a reasoning activity. The children had to figure out how to position the hands so the thumb was in the correct place. Some of the kids realized right away that they had to turn the gloves over, around, or upside down. Others struggled to figure it out.

When they said, "I can't do it!" I said, "Never say, 'I can't. Always say, I can try.'" With a bit of encouragement they were all successful. They played with these all week, stacked them, matched them, made them dance, giggled when they jiggled. You should have heard their adjectives: mushy, squishy, floppy, cold, warm. I placed some in a bowl of hot water and warmed the contents, dried them off and left some cold, then I placed them all in the pan. The clear one was the favorite because I sprinkled a bit of glitter in the water.

The world is very competitive, but kids don't alway need the newest, mechanical or electronic gadget to feel successful and have fun. Why not try this at home?

"As you get older you will learn that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and one for helping others." ~ Audrey Hepburn

If only everyone would lend a helping hand, wouldn't the world be a nicer place?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

You want a tip? I'll give you a TIP.

Some of you may have read this before. It is a couple of years old. I am so busy this week, meetings every night, I am exhausted when I get home and don't have time to blog. I will catch up. Until then enjoy.

I received an email titled 10 TIPS FOR WOMEN ON HOW TO AVOID BEING ABDUCTED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT This is my response to that bunch of hooey. Linda

TIP #1 Don’t sit in your car balancing your check book.
Well now, that would indicate that I had a balance in my check book. No worry there!

TIP #2 Don’t park next to a van or SUV.
Hellooo. Every soccer mom out there drives one. Just where SHOULD I park when I run intoWal-Mart, next to Billy Bob’s pickup displaying a shotgun in the rear window?

TIP #3 Don’t open the door if you hear a baby crying outside.
Not a chance I’ll open the door.I love them, but I’m not taking in any more strays; I’ve had my share of wailing kittens, puppies and cry babies.

TIP # 4 Your elbow is the strongest part of the body, use it!
Don’t know about your elbow, but mine has a crazy bone that makes my whole arm go numb when I bump it. What kind of weapon would my floppy arm be?

TIP #5 If someone demands your wallet, don’t hand it to them, throw it.
Yeah, uh huh, with the bursitis in my shoulder I can’t even pitch my underwear into the hamper a foot from the tub.

TIP #6 If a person puts a gun to your head and tells you to get in and drive, accelerate; smash into an object. This will deploy your air bags.
Okaayy? So the airbag will cradle my bloody head after the impact causes the criminal’s index finger to depress the trigger?

TIP #7 If someone puts you into the trunk of the car, …
PUTS ME? Come on, not many criminals could lift this hunk of chunky butt into the trunk without drawing attention to one of us groaning loudly.

TIP #8 If you are locked in a trunk, kick out the tail light and wave frantically.
Sure! You think my flailing arm will actually draw more attention than the idiots who drive around with fake arms and tiger tails hanging out of their trunks every Mizzou game weekend?

TIP #9 Beware of men playing on your sympathy. They might ask for help or drop something and ask you to retrieve it.
So what’s new? Every woman knows how helpless men are. We’ve been picking up after them for decades, and now we should refuse to help Pops hobbling on a cane?

TIP #10 If someone actually pulls a gun and orders you into the car, RUN in a zig-zag pattern. Odds of being hit are 4 in100 and the bullet is unlikely to hit a vital organ.
Oh right! Even the thought of moving in a zig-zag pattern makes my vertigo kick in. Besides if my odds of winning at the casino lately are any indication, my chances of survival are pretty slim no matter which choice I make.

Monday, January 16, 2012


BLOGGER!!! All of my comments have now disappeared. I have switched to pop-up comments. Let's see if this works.


Flashlight Memories, (A Silver Boomer Book)

Starting at midnight Pacific Time (2:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time) January 16th until midnight(2:00 a.m. our time) of January 17th, the Kindle book will be free! So for 24 hours, you can get the entire book, for FREE!
If you don't have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app (also free) for your computer. And then you can read my friend Cathy's story, "A Pickle for a Nickle".
My poem, "A Classic Tome" is on page 162. St. Louis writer, Donna Volkenannt also has a story in this book.

Money back guarantee :) that you will discover other wonderful essays about the joy of reading in your FREE e-book. Be sure to look at the crawl line across the bottom of each page; it is unique to Silver Boomer Books.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blue on blue

On Sunday evening I launder and change my bedclothes. I have just tucked two blue, very soft, plush blankets on my bed, one on top of the bottom sheet, and one as a top sheet. Freshly laundered an hour ago with that Downy scent, they are softer than a newborn's cheek, warmer than a parka, and they induce sleep. They hold in our body heat, and I am grateful for them. I cocoon between these two blankets for about four MONTHS. I have a love-hate relationship going on here. I love to go to bed, and I hate it that at 7:00 p.m. I am considering it. I am reading Toni Morrison's novel, Song of Solomon. That woman can write! It would be delightful on this cold winter eve to crawl under those covers and indulge in that book. But before I say good night, let me share my literary news.

I received two requests from two different writer sites for interviews and also a suggestion that I propose an anthology title and co edit it. I've also been invited to be a part of a focus group round table this week; the results will impact children in St. Louis but not through the school system. Can't say more just yet.

I wrote an essay this afternoon about the color blue, and yes, my blankets were a part of the story. There are three shades of blue that do a number on me like no other color can. Those of you who know I love the beach, can guess that turqouise is one of the hues. I shall share my essay with anyone who wishes to read it, but I can't post it here yet in case it is selected for publication.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Since Christmas I have been salivating down the frozen food aisle every time we go grocery shopping. I try to avoid even looking in the direction of the Eggos. I have had a hankering for a waffle that won't cease and desist. It's like a monkey on my back.

Hubby said, "Just buy a pack; look these have blueberries."

"No, I'll just eat them."

He shakes his head and walks away, confused by women and their logic.

Years ago when I was young and in my prime, I used to eat waffles all the time. My mom would take my brother and me downtown on a bus and we would go to Woolworth's or maybe it was Kresge's Five and Dime. The countertops were sectioned with glass partitions displaying cosmetics, bobby pins, tubes of lipstick, loose powder with a big fat powder puff. Those variety stores had a selection of everything you could imagine. An escalator ride downstairs was this kid's dream, toys of every size and description called to me.

I loved the sights, sounds, and particularly the aromas of fresh popcorn, hot shelled peanuts in red skins, cashews, and the candy counter near the entrance which sold candy by the scoop. You were enticed inside by the smells. Before we headed for the bus stop, Mom bought us an ice cream sandwich, which was a fresh-baked waffle with a slice of neopolatin ice cream served in between. The perfect crunch, warm/cold blend, and three falvors of ice cream, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.

When Bill and I met, I made my own waffle ice-cream sandwiches with cherry cordial ice cream. Made us what we are today!

We grew older, and delighted in the occassional restaurant breakfast of Belgian waffle, served hot off the waffle maker, half of it drizzled with butter and syrup and the other half piled high with strawberries and whipped cream.

Today I am waffling about what to eat for breakfast, will it be oatmeal, an egg white omelet, or ...?

Talk me off the ledge, I am about to give in to temptation.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Many people suffer from it. Are you one?

Paraskevidekatriaphobics can be crippling, but thankfully, it lasts only twenty-four hours. Perhaps you have a touch of it or know someone who suffers from this malady. No it's not that awful tummy flu going around.

According to Dr. Don Dossey, psychotherapist, as many as 21 million people are afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday, the thirteenth.

This year there will be three Fridays the 13th, January, April and July...and they are exactly thirteen weeks apart. Interesting.

My dad was superstitious, and my mom always chastised him. When I was a kid I
couldn't figure out who to believe.

"Don't walk under that ladder!"
"Don't be silly; you can walk under a ladder."

The way I saw it, the only thing that could hurt me by walking under a ladder was the bucket of paint on the platform up top, so I avoided walking under ladders that had objects positioned on them. However, I tempted fate just to test my parents' theories. And you know what? Bad things happened regardless of which path I took, around or under that ladder.

Now, Friday the 13th is another story. Thirteen has always been my lucky number. When I was younger, working paycheck to paycheck, I'd often find $13 unexpectedly in my purse, or I'd win a scratch off lottery ticket. I never bought into that Friday the 13th superstition, or maybe I did, in reverse. I always believed I'd get lucky, or maybe I should rephrase that, BE lucky on this day.

I can hardly wait to see what wonderful things await me today. I will post them here at the end of the day.

How about YOU? Are you staying under the covers? Indoors? Avoiding people places, black felines and ladders? Care to share any other superstitions you are afflicted with?

Well fiddlesticks! Blogger is misbehaving again, can't post on some blogs and some people are saying the same about my blog. It locks up.
Do they do this indiscriminately? I refuse to think I am the only victim. Not bad luck, just a lurch:)

Lucky day! My boss surprised everyone with pizza and salad for lunch.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dealing with the pros

She told me to lie down. I started to slide my jeans off my hips, but she said, "Stop! Don't take your pants off, just open your zipper. Wide." Then she positioned my legs inward until they were taut and she strapped them to a divider between my ankles. Misery, that Kathy Bates movie came to mind.

Last time I was strapped down, my feet were in the stirrups, and my wrists were tied too. That was forty-one years ago when I gave birth in army hospital in Alaska. I broke free of those wrist straps, sat up and had to see my newborn across the room. Then, I passed out.

Today's experience wasn't quite that bad. I had a bit of vertigo, but I didn't pass out, although the whole thing certainly evoked those bad memories. I had a painless bone density scan. Results forthcoming.

I dread going to the dentist, eye doctor, imaging center, or for my mammy whammy examy. It's always something! Saving one tooth is more expensive than saving a beached whale. My teenaged dentist, okay she's thirty, asked if I wanted to correct my crooked teeth.

"Of course I do, but I think I'll invest in wrinkle removal first."
She exposed her perfect pearly whites, laughed and said, "Can't help you there."

Being able to see George Clooney's features from across the room is now going to cost me a few hundred bucks, because squinting no longer works and glasses are now in order. I lose my dollar store readers all the time, what AM I going to do?

My last mammogram had a suspicious indicator, and I had to go back the next day for more tests. Both those bimbos turned out okay, thank God.

And now, old bony marony here is going to discover not only is my head hollow but my hips probably are too. I have one question, if my bones are thinning, why isn't my hiney?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mooning about it

Did you see that big glowing orb in the sky last night? I tried to write a serious poem, but came up with this silly thing.

Under the influence of a buttery moon
I gaze at the heavens and crack open a tune,
reach for a note as high as the sky,
trip over my tongue and ask myself why
I can write, but I cannot sing.


This is a non-paying website seeking submissions from women.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Unexpected sightings

I witnessed three phenomonal sights today.

I have said for years that our house is haunted. Hubby says he can't explain the noises we both hear, so he doesn't even try anymore. We both used to run to the kitchen when we heard a thud, expecting, but never finding a huge mess.

I am used to towels falling off hooks when I walk into the bathroom. The same towels which have hung securely on the same hook all day.

Today we were in the living room when the lamp came on all by itself. It flickered, got really bright, then faded. We both watched in awe.

Me: "Well how do you explain that?"
Him: "The switch must have been on and it shorted."
Me: "No, it's OFF" (I got up and checked)
Him: "I guess it's that friend you're always talking about."

Finally, after all these years, he acknowledges. Or do you think he was humoring me?

Our weather has been unseasonably warm, near 50's for two weeks, 70 degrees Thursday and Friday, back to 50s this weekend. Too warm for bald eagle watching. They usually fly our way when the river freezes north of us. But there were only three sighted today, the news reported.

We had a little snow and a good freeze before Christmas, so all of the flowers have withered. Today, I saw a pink rose bud opening on the miniature bush outside, a little gift from a confused mama nature.

This afternoon I hiked a wooded nature trail in a park where deer roam. I took my camera just in case, and got very excited when I heard rustling in the thicket. I stopped in my tracks and waited for them to emerge from the woods, but the noise continued. I bent down and peeked through the brambles. I thought it must be a squirrel scampering. To my utter surprise, it was a FLOCK of male cardinals, as red as holly berries. There must have been ten or more. They were scratching in a carpet of brittle leaves. I tried to get a photo, but I scared them and this is the photo, but oh, the picture in my mind.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A word, a sentence or two, and then a paragraph

Years ago, when I was in school, a professor gave a journal assignment as part of the coursework. I wrote flowery prose loaded with adjectives and adverbs. I wrote heartwarming, heartfelt, and sometimes gut wrenching personal essays, and once I wrote this entry: I have no idea what to write today. Some days my writing flows and other days I feel as if the words have dried up.

He red inked my last page: You have written the perfect journal and if I graded these on a competitive basis, you would have the only "A" in the class and the next highest grade would be a "C-".

From that day forward I vowed not to be a slacker. I learned how to show and not tell, how to use strong vivid verbs. I lived up to what that teacher believed about me when I didn't believe in myself. I filled the page with fluff if I had to, but I never turned in a two sentence assignment again.

I have been writing seriously and getting published for about twelve years. I have attended classes, workshops, and my first conference, but I am mostly self-taught. I have a love of writing and a God given talent. But sometimes I lose my stride. Some days I am off and running and stay at that pace for a solid week. Other times I slug along and sometimes, I can't even get out of the rut. Every writer feels this way.

My two sentence journal entry was a start, not a finish, but some days that's all we can produce, a germ of an idea, an honest feeling. Write it down! Words on paper motivate as well as frustrate. No matter what your stride is, don't hang out too long on the sidelines. Get in there and believe in yourself.

I have accepted Sylvia Forbes' January Writers challenge to write something every day in January. Sylvia is the publisher Bylines Writer's Desk Calendar.

Would I be considered a slacker if I used this blog entry as today's writing accomplishment?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

brilliant flashes

I have been seeing flashes of light in my left eye since New Year's Eve. Had my eyes dialated this afternoon. No retina detachment, no tear, no holes, etc. Thank God.

So, you know when icebergs calve? Well that's what is happening inside my eye. A floater is breaking loose and may end up in my line of vision, although it kept escaping the eye doctor. When I looked left, it darted right. I've always been a bit rebellious.

In four weeks I should be good as new. Well, let's get real here. She asked me to read the eye chart before she dialated my eyes.

"That's about 20/40. You want to pass the driver's test? You better get in here for a thorough exam next month."

Also regarding yesterday's appointment fiasco, the first receptionist told the second receptionist a thing or two and called me back to confirm that I'm on for my bone density screening. Finally.

So hubby took me to lunch with my big black plastic eye sheilds. I looked like Darth Vader. Doc said, "You might feel like you're at a 1960s concert for a while, but it should wear off soon."

I was (am) a little loopy, but I thought my eyes and ears were playing tricks on me.

Two young women late teens early twenties, who shouldn't have "calved", but did, sat across from us. One wore a shirt with a slogan: I Get All My Meanness From My Mama.

Oh the converastion! Allow me.

"Whewy, look at my belly. I am so full. Don't I look like I'm conceiving right here, right now?"

"Yes, you sure do!"

"My husband proposed to me right here. He always did have a big belly, but when he finished eating here that night, his belly was up against this table and he didn't know what to do. Just like me now."

I wanted to interject, "Scoot back, it's a chair not a booth."

It's not eavesdropping when they talk megaphone-loud.

"Girl! If your preschooler went to that school where that old man molested those four year olds, you better take him to the hospital right away. The doctors can tell you if he been molested. They can tell if that man made him touch his old thing. Don't believe the school. Believe the doctors. They have ways of telling."

"I think they ought to get a concrete casket for that teacher's aide old man and put him under it and lower him into the ground." (visual - under it, and lower him?)

"I am so full, but I think I'm going to get me a carry out from the food buffet, it's only $7.95."

"Hey girl, what did you get?"

She flips the carry out container lid, and even Batgirl here could see it. She paid $7.95 for a pound of plain WHITE rice.

Calving folks, passing on the genetic make-up. Scary.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thing One, Thing Two, Thing Three

I feel like I am starring in the Abbott & Costello bit, Who's on First?

I called and set up an appointment for a painless bone density screening next week at 4:00 p.m. The receptionist asked for the doctor's order number.

I called my doctor for an order number. The doctor's receptionist said I needed an appointment with the doctor. NO, I explained that in October, the doctor told me to call the office in Jan. to request an ORDER for the procedure.

So she told me to call the bone denisty office back and to tell them to call her.

The bone denisty receptionist calls me back. "The doctor's receptionist asked if I would be doing the procedure and when I told her, No I was the schedueler, she said she couldn't give ME the order number. I told her we can't schedule the proceduure without the number."

I called the doctor's office back. They transferred me to scheduling. The new gal says, "You need to call your doctor to set up an appointment." I want to bang my head on the wall.

I explained that the bone density screening appointment has already been scheduled and all they need is approval and an order number which the doctor approved in October.

"Let ME take care of this!" # 1 irritated receptionist says to me about irritated receptionist #2. They both have said, "I'll get back to you. Today. OR tomorrow."

It is 3:30 and this comedy has been going on since noon.

Did I mention that I also called the eye doctor because I am seeing flashes of light and nobody here is flicking any lights.

Receptionist # 3 says, "Let me see if I can squeeze you in. I'll call you back."

She calls me back. "Yes! I can get you in at noon.

I'll probably miss the other two receptionists' phone calls. No wonder I am seeing lihtning bolts.

This painless procedure is giving me a giant pain in the ...

All I want to know is if my bones are as brittle as my mind which is about to break!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chocolate makes me do crazy things

This is a reprint from my blog on 3/10, but it certainly is appropriate as I go through another year of chocolate withdrawls. I have to wean myself in January. I decided that I can not go cold turkey.

I actually made that decision on New Year's Day, when I discovered half a bag of Ghiradelli's choclate chips stashed on top the fridge. I bargained with the devil, er, I mean myself. I'll ration myself ten a day, one or two at a time. I have been good so far. Read on to discover how pathetic I can be.

Like most women, I covet chocolate, the darker the better. As a mother of young children, I tamed temper tantrums (mine) with M&Ms that I kept stashed high in a cupboard. When my son or daughter said, "Mommy, I smell candy," I closed my mouth, chewed fast, swallowed hard and responded, "Probably your scratch and sniff stickers."

When I became a preschool teacher, I loved the perks. Kids offered me kisses at recess, the chocolate kind. One day I discovered an open bag of chocolate chip morsels that my co-teacher had intended to use for a science experiment later in the day. There must have been a thousand little niblets of delight in that bag, and I knew she wouldn't miss a few. Confident that she was with the students on the playground, I looked up and down the hall, and then I closed my classroom door. I stuffed not one, but two fists full of those itty bitty bits of divine rapture into my mouth. At one time! I was immersed in pleasure, my eyes closed, my head rolled back in ecstasy chewing as fast as I could when the door opened.

Panicked, I straightened up, held that wad in my mouth like a baseball player with a chunk of chaw in both cheeks. A good looking, substitute milk delivery man looked wide-eyed at my swollen jaws. He nodded hello and kept staring at me as he handed me the purchase order. I tried a tight-lipped smile as I autographed his paper. I probably could have pulled it off, except that he had an "Aha Moment". I could see it in his face.

"Well-well-well, helllooo there. It's been a while."

I grunted from my gut, "Uh-huh" and wondered where I'd met him. How could I not remember this gorgeous guy? He sure knew me.

"I do believe my twins, Clark and Amanda were in your class about ten years ago. Aren't you Mrs.---?"

Grinning like a ninny, and lying big time, (technically I wasn't Mrs. W. anymore) I shook my head from side to side. Out popped a chocolate chip, up popped my hand, out bugged my eyeballs. I tried to swallow, but the gob of goo started to drip down my esophagus, and I almost choked. I did what any teacher worth her salt, or chocolate would do. I spat those flavinoids into the waste basket and wiped my mouth with a tissue. Then I offered a true confession and the bag of chocolate chips to the milkman.

He declined.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

I love it when the house overflows with our kids and grandkids and friends on Christmas Day. I love cooking and watching everyone eat. All that noise and commotion gives me a feeling of satisfaction, of being connected. I know that memories are being made for future generations. People start arriving at noon and the last guests leave at 9:00. I am in my glory listening to the laughter and banter of our adult children.

I like the week in between Christmas and New Years. I catch up with old friends. Hubby and I reconnect, take hikes, eat our midday meals out as though we are on a date. It is a time to relax, renew, rejuvenate before returning to work. It is a wind down week.

I write poetry. I also hand write thank you notes to my students and messages to their parents. I sort through the stack of papers on my desk and kick myself for missing a submission deadline, vow to do it right, lose a few pounds, eat a lot less, move a little more. I take down the decorations, pack it all away until next year, and I whisper a prayer that we will all be together again next Christmas.

New Year's Eve we went out with another couple, dined and danced. I had fond recollections of years past, when Bill and I used to dance the night away, several times a week. We kicked up our heels a few times at this dance, but we complained that they were playing musuic for the younger generation, a sure sign of aging :)

New Year's Day we went to my stepdaughter's and we played cards with the adults and grandkids. It made me feel happy-sad. We are all getting older. The youngest grandkids are now all taller than me, some even tower over their grandpa. Their photo is on the side bar.

I feel old. Contented-old, not weary-old. Last year is gone, a collection of memories. We have been given a new year, a beginning. We are in a new phase in our old lives.

Today, hubby went out while I caught up on correspondence. I sat down on the couch and noticed something on the floor, a tiny seashell. Oh, how that gives me hope for spring and summer, for a beach vacation, although I can't complain about this mild winter. We are having two cold days with blustery winds, but it is going to be in the 50s again by midweek.

I saw a speck of red stuck down between the couch cushions. I pulled out a small ornament made from my son's thumbprint when he was eight years old. I sat in the quiet house. Still. I reminisced and hoped and prayed for us. For them. I am grateful. I am concerned for all of our children, for our grandchildren, and for all of the children of the world.

A little melancholy creeps over these tired old bones. This wrinkled face shows some wear, but I know deep in my heart that although I am only one person, I have made a difference ... in the lives of children, ours, theirs and other peoples' children.

I hear the back door open, such a welcome sound. Hubby says, "You want to go to lunch?"

I'm ready, and I'll be eating right, a spinach/chicken salad and oh, maybe a wee bit of banana pudding, just a taste, I promise!