Monday, December 30, 2013

Snoozing on a sandwich

We do not exchange Christmas presents. We save for summer vacation. This year, we replaced our 25 year OLD bedroom set and bought lovely, solid wood furniture. We love it!

Our mattress is only 18 months old, and like the two before it, which also cost an arm and a leg, this one has already broken down on hubby's side. He is much bigger/heavier than I, but still it just doesn't seem right that after only a few months each of these mattresses collapsed. The pillow top bunched up, the firm inner spring...well it sprung, and the latest with memory foam (a quarter inch probably), has forgotten how to rebound.

The small print on the warranty states that for a $25 fee the company will come out and measure two inches from the top of the mattress. If it has sunken in THERE, it will be replaced, if it has sunken in where your torso lies, well that's natural wear and tear, and the mattress will not be replaced.

After we huffed and puffed about this truth in advertising scam, we decided to go mattress shopping. We bantered back and forth.

"$1,000 for a mattress?"
"What guarantee do we have this one won't collapse?"
"I think we need one with extra support."
"What about an air chamber mattress with our own number controllers?"
"We've camped on air mattresses. You already know what the outcome will be."
"I think we'll wait until January 6th when the mattresses go on sale for 30% off."
"I will shove a body pillow under my side of the mattress."

And so he did. Prior to the body pillow, it was like rolling into a canyon when I turned toward him. With the insertion of the body pillow, it was like climbing the Matterhorn.

When our kids came for Christmas they wanted to know whose gift was hidden under the mattress.

I was embarrassed. They wanted to take up a collection so "Dad could sleep in comfort."

Two more weeks of  sleeping like this with my bum knee, sprained ankle and achy shoulder wasn't going to be good for my personality. I decided to rectify the problem. I asked him to assist me as I shoved a layer of three quilts between the box spring and mattress. Then, when he was out and about, I went down to the basement and brought up a 4'x5' piece of thick plywood. I shoved that mattress to the floor, slid that slab of wood between the three quilts and foundation, on his side, then I tugged that mattress back on top.

My honey has no idea he is sleeping on a board sandwich. But he thinks I am a genius. "Those quilts have made a real difference. Maybe we can put off buying a new mattress."

Now, had I suggested my idea, you know what he would have said. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Christmas morning miracle


Christmas Eve as I lay myself down to sleep, I silently prayed for family and friends. "Mom, I so wish you could be here tomorrow to experience the joy of Christmas day with all of us. Please send me a sign that you're okay."

Christmas morning I awoke early as usual and noticed a fragment of clear glass on the bathroom floor. I picked it up, thinking I had lost the diamond in my ring. It was just a chipped piece of glass shaped like a tiny heart. I thought, "Hmmm. I wonder where that came from? Good thing I didn't step on it barefoot."

 I sat down, and when I got up from the toilet (sorry for being so personal) I looked down and gasped at this heart on the rug right beneath my feet. How did I not step on that?

I got up to wash my hands and saw this abalone heart in the sink. I kid you not!
  "My funny honey," I thought. And then, I noticed the nail on the bare wall to my right where my special mirror hangs. My brother made it for me. Every time we go on a beach vacation, I bring home a small significant shell or piece of beach glass and hot glue it on as a reminder of the various beaches we have walked. Two of my beach treasures are heart-shaped, one is from the inside of a shell and the other is a rock.

"Where is my mirror?" I looked down and there in the trash can (under the sink) was my mirror, minus the two hearts which I'd just found.

I have tried and tried to explain how this mirror could fall off a nail still intact in the wall, and break off  only two hearts and land UNDER the sink in a trash can. Physics? Logic? None of it makes sense. Bill swears he did not do it.
I asked him how do we explain it. He said, "I can see that nail is still in the wall. I don't know, either. Some things you just can't explain."
 We did not have an earthquake. The house did not shake. The nail was still intact. I have decided that there IS an explanation for me.
I experienced a tiny miracle.
I believe I was "visited" on Christmas Day. Some people think I'm engaged in wishful thinking, or just plain crazy. I hot glued the hearts back on, rehung my mirror and said, "Merry Christmas, Mom."

Your thoughts?   

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Night Before version

Contemporary Version of ’T Was the Night Before Christmas
by Linda O'Connell

‘T was the night before Christmas at the North Pole
Old Santa was edgy, feeling quite droll.
Mrs. Claus was baking, and the house smelled yummy.
Santa walked into the kitchen, snuck up on his honey.

He reached for a snicker-doodle still warm on the tray.
Big Mama said, “No more! You’ve eaten two dozen today.
Your cholesterol is up, your triglycerides soaring.
Absolutely no more, and I’m tired of your snoring.

“You’re going to have to start losing some weight.
And do you realize the time? It IS getting late.”
Chubby old Santa said, “Oh, Woman, drat!
You’re always complaining about this or that.

“Where are my long Johns?” he dared to inquire.
“For Pete’s sake,” she said, “They’re still in the dryer.”
She wiped her hands on her apron and turned with a jerk
Mumbled under her breath, “It’s all women’s work!”

“Get dressed, dear old Santa, go hitch up the sleigh.
Get all the presents and be on your way.”
Santa tugged on his suit, and as Mrs. Claus watched
he loosened his belt another notch.

She snickered. "Remember when you had a pillow-gut?”
“Yes, and back then, Mrs. Claus, you had a size seven butt!”
“Hrmph! I think you should leave now!”
“I think that I will, but first I need my cholesterol pill.

Blood pressure pill and one for my arthritis,
another one for my sinusitis.
I'll pop a Dramamine so I won’t get dizzy,
a calm-me-down pill, so I’m not in a tizzy.

Vitamin C so I don’t sniffle and sneeze,
Asthma medication so I don’t hack and wheeze.”
“Be on your way, Man! Get going; you’re done.”
“Wait,” Santa shouted, “I forgot just one.”

He popped a Viagra, climbed into his sleigh.
“Ah, the miracle drugs they have today!
I’ll be back in a jiffy,” he smiled with affection
I have forty-eight hours to get a…”

“LONG WINTER’S NAP!” she exclaimed as he drove out of sight.
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
If you are reading this on Christmas day, I wish you and yours peace, love and joy. ~Linda




Monday, December 23, 2013

Let the lights shine!

On a crisp December, winter night, when the full moon was bright
a group of good friends gathered together for dinner and a tour of  the Missouri Botanical Gardens Glow Light Festival. What an awesome event!
The giant Christmas tree, one of the focal points, seemed as bright as the moon light.
Overhead, orbs and stars dangled from tree branches, competing with the constellations.
Trees were wrapped in brilliant lights in the most beautiful shades of blue and purple.
Light sculptures such as this sprung up from the snow-covered ground, and lighted globes the size of beach balls lay immersed in the frozen ponds.
Icicle lights sprung up out of the ground, as we weaved our way around the gardens, down trails,
and through the tunnel of lights. This is a view from overhead.
At 8:00 p.m. the Garden was crowded with hundreds of people of all ages, sipping hot chocolate, enjoying the magical moment, creating memories...and we were part of it.
Pat, Gerri, Betty and Linda...not bad looking M.E. senior citizens!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Nature's beauties

We went to the Botanical Garden Glow this week. Later this weekend, I will post photos of the gorgeous holiday lights and the interior of the Henry Shaw mansion.
Early settlers decorated with an abundance of natural materials. These days people rush to the big box stores to buy cheaply made expensive wreaths. Such craftsmanship displayed here makes me sigh. 
These gorgeous nature wreaths were on display at Missouri Botanical Gardens. 
Click on the photos to view close up.
                                                                    feathers and fronds

                                                                  birch tree frame
                                                    grapevine, pine cones and burlap ribbon
                                                             Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Scent of Fear

First came The Moses Conspiracy, now comes..... The Scent of Fear
The Zimmermans enjoy the tenuous peace in the wake of their hair-raising year battling the New Patriots. Unexpected visitors once again throw them into turmoil.

Jim Kenneman, Director of National Security, masterminded the plan to break up a hate group ravaging the Christian community. Now, his enemies are out to eliminate him. Should he make a run for it or stick by his tried-and-true negotiating skills? Monty Addison, a topnotch operative, carried out his assignment in Bird-in-Hand. A plot to destroy his boss sends him on a mission. Without agency sanction, it may cost him everything - his career, his family, and maybe his life.
Dr. Abby Weaver strives to save infants and toddlers in Holmes County, Ohio. When she meets two strangers, she can't get the tall, handsome one out of her mind. Will their paths intersect again or will dangerous times keep them apart?



Susan J. Reinhardt's publishing credits include her debut novel, The Moses Conspiracy, as well as devotionals, short articles, and contributions to anthologies. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

A widow, daughter, stepmom, and active church member, Susan resides in Pennsylvania. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, couponing, gardening, and finding small treasures in antique shops.

You can connect with Susan at her Blog, on, and"

Blog Tour Schedule
December 16
~Diane Estrella,
~Pamela Christian,
December 17
~Sandie Czosek,
~Linda O'Connell,
December 18
~Lynn Mosher,
~Jill Ivy,
December 19
~Debbie Curto,
~Cecelia Lester,
December 20
~Cecelia Lester,
~Lee Privette,
December 21
~Patti Smith,
~Carene Havel,
December 22
~Darlene Arroyo-Lozada,
December 23
~Maria I. Morgan,
~Beckie Stoneking,
December 26
~Leah's Good Reads,
~Marja Verschoor-Meijers,
December 27
~Jennifer Van Huss,
~Brittany McEuen,
December 28
~Debbie Curto,
~Lori Drake,
December 29
~Kim Justice,
~K. Dawn Byrd,
December 30
~Ruth Schiffmann,
~Janette Dolores,
December 31
~Cindi Clubbs,
~Kathleen Maher,
January 2
~Jen Cudmore,
~Karen Lange,
January 7
~Jeanette Levellie,

Monday, December 16, 2013

Smile makers

Do not take up a collection to replace my pitiful Christmas tree. We used to have a beautiful 7 ft tall tree that took up a quarter of our living room. Over the years, we have downsized. Three trees later, these are the ornaments that remain of all of those delicate, beautifully frosted glass globes. We decided to keep only the ornaments that have sentimental value.
Every ornament on our little 4 ft tree has significance to us. Each paper ornament was decorated by one of the grandchildren when they were little. The paper bell on the bottom far left was made by my son in preschool 37 years ago. The bright blue (pantyhose holder) L'eggs egg with a card cut out of Mary and her baby was made by my daughter in preschool 40 years ago. Just under the angel topper there is a tiny angel dressed in a yellow gauze which used to be Bill's moms, and a mini knit stocking that was my grandma's. Some of the decorations were gifts from friends, family and my students, but most are hand painted and created and mean more than the old expensive ones. 
The tiny glass angel to the left of the nativity scene has a broken wing. When my first granddaughter was 2 she was worried about the "poor, bald angel" who had the light in her eyes from the stable.

Priceless memories decorate our tree, not expensive store bought ornaments. 

Rudolph is motion activated, sings and dances when anyone walks by. He can be annoying after a while. His lady friend came to live with us when the first grandchildren wanted to pick him up. The soft stuffed reindeer has had her bells rung many times, She's been hugged and slobbered on by many babies. I'm thinking Rudy might have sneaked a kiss or two, also. She looks adoringly at him.

That bubble light is as old as my oldest child and takes me back to their first Christmases.

This chubby couple is my favorite. The card held by the mister is from our dear friends of 44 years. The Missus is as happy as can be with her little snow baby. This year every time I look at it, I think of how proud my granddaughter will be when she holds our first great-grandchild next June.

This carved Santa reminds me to slow down, calm down, and remember the reason for the season. The little bear was a gift that one of the grandchildren bought us at their school's Santa bazzar.

These are a few of things in our home that make me smile at this time of year.

Which picture do you like best? Why?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Something to think about

24 hours... you can use it any way you wish. You can spend it doing nothing, or something. Texting, singing, flirting, cursing, doing for yourself, or others. Being... happy, angry, sad.

Today, without any money, you will "buy" what it is that is important to you. Hatred/kindness, good thoughts/bad thoughts, family/friends, anything.

At the end of the day, know that you invested one entire day of your life. Ask yourself if you spent it wisely, if you will reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of what you invested in, because what you bought cost you one entire day of your life.

Here is a submission opportunity for all my writer friends.

National Short Story Writing Contest


Dayton is providing a major writing competition as a National Story Award Contest which is aimed at providing a writing contest that would produce constructive and inspiring short stories by writers of all levels, but particularly new writers joining the profession for the first time or young writers that want to try to get some experience and test their abilities and compete with well established creative writers and fiction novelists.


Prize: $1,500 for first prize winner. $500 for second and third place contestants.


Entry Fees: $0. There is no fee for participating in this award contest. A list will be published 60 days of shortlisted finalists and will be displayed on the Website.


Closing Submission Date: January 30th, 2014

Friday, December 13, 2013

Forget Tylenol! I've got food, friends and frivolity

We have been on the go, running here and there. While caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle, we both agreed we haven't spent enough time with each other. Neglect can do a  marriage in. Spontaneity can keep it alive. I had a half day off work...

He thought I was in the bedroom; I thought he was in the living room. He opened the door and found me first... on my back, supine, legs spread, glazed eyes staring at him. I smiled. From my vantage point my 6'1" man looked gigantic. He looked at me quizzically, then reached out a hand as I lay sprawled on the driveway. "What the hell happened to you?"

"I don't know what happened. My right foot twisted under me. I heard my ankle snap as I went down. I know you like it when I fall at your feet."
He didn't laugh.

"Should I call an ambulance? Let me get you up and take you for X-rays."

"No, we have to go to the store. I will make myself walk, and I will not take off my shoe until we get home."

So, I rolled to my knees and on all fours pushed up, hefted my hunk of chunky monkey butt off the ground and began to limp up and down the driveway mumbling to myself. "You can do this!"

He knows me well enough to leave me alone when I talk to myself.

So, after three laps, I scooted gingerly into the car and we headed to the grocery store. The parking lot was packed. People in St. Louis panic when they hear the words "ice" and "snow" muttered by meteorologists. The store was crammed with people.

We met Betty and Ron, Pat and Phil, Linda and Chuck, Ray and Gerri who were wandering the aisles sipping and swilling goblets of wine, taste-testing ham, turkey, meatballs, pizza, cheeses and desserts.

Gerri's responsible for all the fun. There was standing room only. Gerri is a Schnuck's store manager. That gal knows how to throw a wine tasting party! After a few taste tests, my limp was noticeably less and my mood greatly improved.

Then, we came home and I took my shoe off. What an ugly swollen, sprained multi-colored ankle. I am fortunate I did not break a hip, leg or ankle.

TOMORROW... come on out to Main Street Books in St. Charles and support local authors. I will participate in a multi-author Chicken Soup for the Soul book signing. I will be there 1-3 unless we get ice and snow...and then I'll be running back to the store...

Bring a canned good for 20% off your entire purchase. Lots going on in St. Charles this weekend. be sure to bundle up for the parade.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Even if Johnny Depp caught me under the mistletoe...

Last night was open mic and pot luck at the St. Louis Writer's Guild December meeting. Almost 100 attendees honoring the children in grades 3-8 who won our writing contest. After they read their wonderful entries and received their awards (thanks to their wonderful teacher, Cathi LaMarche) they left with their parents.

Then it was time for members' open mic. I brought a holiday essay, but I knew it would be difficult to read aloud. No, it wasn't a tear jerker, it was the tear jerker the other day that did me in. I declined and passed my turn to others because...

I'm talking a wittle like Elmer Fudd. I have to keep my bottom lip moistened with constant tongue contact and flicking. You twy talking like that. Ith not pwetty.

Monday I was trying to meet the deadline for getting packages into the mail so the US Post Office elves could deliver to the East coast on time. Spending ten bucks to send a seven dollar shirt...well what can you do?

I hurried to the basement to hubby's workshop where he keeps (HIDES) the clear packaging tape from me. I sat down to wrap the flimsy parcel. I saw one little gap in the final wrapping project, and instead of using the scissors, I quickly ripped a length of wide tape off with my teeth. It stuck securely to my bottom lip. Feeling like a fly on a sticky trap, I jerked that tape with one yank and off came a layer of epidermis, in a beautiful shade of pink lipstick. OUCH!

Now you theeee why I'm talkin' like Elmer?
My kids' pediatrician always advised that the mouth heals itself, and to let nature take its course. Mother nature needs to help this mama out!

Even if Johnny Depp were to catch me under the mistletoe, I couldn't pucker up.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Should old acquaintances NOT be forgotten...

I have a confession. When I was little girl, our parents took us to a hotel for an overnight stay. My brother, a year younger, and I raced up the grand staircase to the second floor and peered down at our parents. We also spied a bald man walking by and OMG, yes, we did... Ptooie! Did it land on his head? We were so scared, we couldn't look. Our emotions and actions that night ranged between excited conspiratorial giggling and wide-eyed wondering and shoulder shrugging...would we be discovered?! We weren't.

This weekend we attended a holiday party open house, 1-7 p.m. Drop in, stay an hour, and leave. Twelve couples socialized, ate, laughed and had a good time. By 4:00 p.m. half of the couples had left and the other half had moved to the lower level, where the focal point was the beautiful Christmas tree with so many colorful lights it illuminated the room. We six couples were not related, but we have history in common. We attended high school together, class of 1967.

We women have grown up. Our guys have grown too...older and balder. Bald seemed to be a theme. Bob talked about the time one of our male teachers, who obviously wore a toupee, was trotting down the stairs during class change. Bob had unwound a wire hanger in preparation for his antic. From the half-landing above, he reached out with that hanger and snatched Mr. Nurenburger's toupee off his head and flipped it up a flight. Then he ran like the wind.

Chuck who bucked high school authority with his long hair, and took suspension over a haircut, now covers his pate (not with fake hair) as a few of the others do.

You'd think being in our sixth decade, we'd be less inclined to laugh at things we'd have punished our kids for, but we howled at the memories. We sipped adult beverages, nibbled delicious goodies all night and listened to one of our musician buddies strum his guitar and serenade us. By 8:30 our hostess harmonized on holiday songs and we all hammered out some of the words to the songs of our day. Mellow, we gazed around at couples snuggled in. Bill and I were wedged into an oversized chair
and I feared being stuck forever.

Back in the 60s, times were changing. We are all so grateful to have found one another again. Our gracious hosts toasted to old times, good friends, our future. Miss Bunny B. said, as she raised her glass and looked around at all of us, "I KNEW which of you would stay, and who would leave. I just knew."


Monday, December 9, 2013

We survived...we thrived!

Typically at a single title book signing, authors and book store managers expect sales to be between 7-10. We sold 25 hard back copies within an hour, and then the authors went into their private stashes to sell seven more paper back copies.  You can still order a copy on line or at your local bookstore.
We overheard the staff talking, "They sold out!"
With a fun bunch of women who aren't afraid to laugh out loud, what do you expect? 
 Cathi LaMarche, Linda O'Connell, Lynn Obermoeller, Alice Muschany signing Gloria Gaynor's book, We Will Survive. Our stories were included in the 40 chosen for this anthology collection.

Lynn's entire family came out to support her. They were a fun, rowdy bunch of cousins and aunts. We thank them for their purchases and their support. I gifted each of my angel friends with an ornament like the one below. I am so pleased to be in the company of women who endured more than I did.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support us.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The end to a wonderful trip

This is a view approaching the Memphis, Tennessee riverfront, pedestrian bridge overhead.

The mighty Mississippi River ~ five hours north to St. Louis, MO. Five hours south to the Gulf of Mexico. I tell you, I wanted to keep driving south and sink my toes in the sand, but my 6'1" voice of reality whispered in my ear, "Honey, it's winter in the Panhandle, too."

The great American Pyramid built as a concert venue in 1991 now being converted to Bass Pro
Shop,  a hunter/fisherman's/sports enthusiasts paradise.

This is a view in passing of St. Jude's hospital. To the right is the research wing. My heart aches
at the thought of children suffering, but I am thrilled that Danny Thomas founded this haven, and
I am grateful for those who donate to the worthy research cause.

Along the highway travelling home there was evidence everywhere of the earth going into resting mode. Every now and then we spied a bush/tree with the reddest berries I have ever seen. It was not a holly bush, and several of them were tree-top high. Reminded me of the earth sprouting one last strong opinion, before a long winter's nap. Does anyone know what these are?

The sunset was spectacular. Elongated shadows draped hillsides like a shawl lazily cast upon cattle as they grazed in fields at dusk. I said a prayer of thanks for my eyes and the beauty of our trip, our lives, our families our health and our friends. That concluded our Thanksgiving trip, different from any other, a first for us.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday decorations

This massive, beautifully decorated pine tree was breathtaking.
 The gas lights draped with holiday swags were gorgeous, and spoke to me of days long gone.
The life sized dioramas took me back to the days when my children were young. It was a family tradition to load up the kids and their grandma, and go downtown on Thanksgiving night to view the Famous and Barr (Macy's) animated window displays and Lionel train scenes. F and B took up an entire square block area, and the kids were so excited running from one window display to the next.

Every time I passed by the kid flat on his back I had to stifle a happy little laugh-chirp.
 The animated characters were not at the Peabody Hotel, but in a neighboring town.

This stack of giant ornaments also made me giggle. I asked someone to take our photo in front of them. It truly is the little things in life that make me happy. Yes, we ate a bit too much, but we also enjoyed a new experience, sang along with Fats Domino to old blues songs as we drove for four hours. We enjoyed the scenery, and I have a few more great pictures to share with you. Come back.
WHICH is your favorite diorama photo?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Check it out!

I promise I have two more sets of photos from our Memphis trip, but first I have to do some social promoting. Thank you for checking this out! Thank you so much!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The ducks go marching one by one

The historian told the crowd gathered at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN the backstory about the ducks. Frank Schutt, general manager 1925-1956 was on a duck hunting trip with his buddy.  They got to sipping Jack Daniels and before they knew it, they hadn't any ducks other than the live decoys. They put them in the hotel fountain. In the morning, realizing what they had done, and expecting a big mess in the lobby, they hurried in to see...the ducks still paddling in the fountain.
A guest staying at the hotel was an animal trainer for Barnum& Bailey Circus. He told Schutt that he could train the ducks to walk off the elevator and down a red carpet and into the fountain everyday at a specified time. Schutt agreed this would be a wonderful attraction. To this day, the "duck walk" draws crowds at 11:00 and 5:00 each day.

The fountain was carved out of a solid piece of Italian marble.
Children are allowed to sit on either side of the red carpet and watch the ducks march. That light in the background is at the elevator area. the ducks live in the penthouse and each day the handler goes to the roof and brings them down for their swim. If you click directly on the photo and look closely you can see the man in a red jacket with the ducks waddling behind. It was difficult to take pictures from our vantage point.
Hubby was less than enthusiastic when only four ducks exited the elevator in single file. he expected a dozen. But, it was a sight to behold, something we can say we have seen.
These photos were taken in the earlier days when Buddy Moreno performed.
Come back tomorrow to view holiday displays, and a two story Christmas tree in the lobby.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Peabody Hotel Memorabilia

We toured the small Peabody Hotel Museum and enjoyed viewing the historic memorabilia.
 The skeleton key locked and unlocked the Honeymoon Suite. Prominent people honeymooned here.
 This was a grand means of communication in its day. Now everyone has a cell phone.
 Dinnerware used during the many banquets, receptions and events. Peabody still very popular venue.
 Creamer and sugar bowl and gravy boat. I could have lingered here.
 These bronze hounds look like they are giving me the evil eye. The owner was a duck hunter.
Can you imagine the movers/shakers and merry makers who partied at the Peabody Hotel?

Come back tomorrow and I'll post pictures of the grand foyer decorated for the holiday. I'll tell you about the fountain, and show you the famous duck walk and tell you how it came to be.