Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hang up your fly swatter!

Click on the photo to enlarge.
By nature I am a skeptic. So when I read about a home repellent for flies, I thought, yeah right! But when I read farmers have been using this method for years, I thought I'd give it a try. I put five shiny pennies in a Zip Loc sandwich bag and half filled it with water. I zipped it securely and placed it on the picnic table. We have eaten dinner outdoors the past three days and have not been bothered at all by flies. There are flies, but they don't come near us. They land on the table and fly away. One or two have tried to land, but where there used to be a dozen, there may be one or two.

And, no, it wasn't the frogs. Those flies would sit on their heads. It was actually the pennies in water.

House fly eyes are compound organs that are comprised of thousands of individual lenses. Compound eyes are capable of detecting both the polarization of light and color spectrums unseen by humans. Can you imagine how magnified the perceived "preditor eyes" must seem in that bag of water? A monster head with  a million orange eyes. Let me know if it worked for you.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just breezing by

We live a simple life, the man and I. Little things make us both happy. He pulls thoughts right out of my head and they exit his mouth instead of mine. We laugh easily and have fun together. We were taking an evening drive and came upon a summer concert in Kirkwood, a suburb about ten miles from home, so we stopped and sat in the park next to the train station. Families were sprawled in lawn chairs on the plaza and at the open air patios of the several restaurants directly across the street. The band played Oldies and I was bebopping
in my seat when we heard the train a coming, coming around the bend. We turned around as it chugged by, and this is what we saw. Do you know what it is? At first I thought it was a rocket, then at closer look, an airplane wing. It was being transported on TWO flat bed cars. There were several of these. The crowd looked on in awe as these monsters passed through the community on their way to who knows where?
We finally realized that this was a blade for a wind generator. The turbines were on other cars further back. It was a sight to behold this alternative energy source passing through town.
So how do wind turbines make electricity? Simply stated, a wind turbine works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity. What the world needs now...

Jumbo Z as big as my thigh!

No, it is not a cucumber. Guess again. Our wonderful Bosnian neighbors have planted a garden that looks like a small jungle. They have so many different crops taking up half of their back yard. They tend it lovingly. The Bosnian beans are climbing higher than Jack's bean stalk, their tomatoes are cramped and not producing much fruit yet, but their plants are healthy and when they do come in, we will be sharing over the fence. Our vines are heavy laden so we will share first with them.

They cut a very large tree down in their front lawn and replaced it with a pear tree. It is bearing fruit now and has one perfectly formed baby pear. The Mrs. planted zuchinni around the tree stump. The vines have crept across the front yard and are heading for the sidewalk. From the road it looks like a very leafy tree has just fallen. I am sure, back in their homeland, they used every inch of space to garden, so growing fruits and veggies on the front lawn is their norm.

They invited us over (with hand gestures) to see their new baby. They lovingly parted the flowering vines and I gasped. You would never guess this monster is three feet long, and is the diameter of my thigh. They offered it to us. How sweet. I declined and accepted a much smaller one. Fried it up and shared. Oh the joys of summer.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Push! Don't Push!

Happy birthday to my girl.
Forty three years ago, June 24th was on a Wednesday. Three days earlier, on what was Father's Day and my mom's birthday, I had called home long distance from Alaska and reversed the charges because we were so poor. I was in an army hospital with my belly as big as a super-inflated balloon. We lived in a rural small town at the end of the Alaska Highway. The only hospital was 105 miles away in Fairbanks. I pleaded with the obstetrician at the army dispensary, begged him to send me up a week early. No way did I want to be flown in a helicopter or have my (then) husband drive those mountainous roads with me in labor. "My due date has passed and I need to go!" I insisted.

"You aren't anywhere near ready. I'll see you next week for your appointment. We'll consider sending you next week," he said. I was having contractions. They were Braxton-Hicks, but the doctor said, "Fine! I'll write an order to send you, but trust me, you will be there for a week or two."

I wasn't one to listen. I was on a ward with several other women in prenatal and post-natal stages. A week passed. June 21st was the day I just KNEW I'd give birth...a present to daddy and grandma. It didn't happen. Next day, I walked three flights of hospital steps, and foolish girl that I was, I jumped off the last step onto the landings. Every hour on the hour I did this. Around midnight my water broke, but the nurses said I had urinated on myself. It took two hours to convince them.

I was sent to labor and delivery. The ward was filled, so they placed me in a semi-private room with a Captain's wife. She labored for hours with her husband coaching her, "Don't you dare scream!"

I did my best not to whimper. I was going by protocol. When they wheeled her out to delivery at 5:00 p.m. I looked at the clock, and knew I'd be next. At midnight I was in full throes of hard labor. I felt the urge to push and called for a medic (a soldier assigned to maternity ward).

"It's TIME!" I shouted.

"Ahh, zee time is 12:45." he said as he looked at his watch.

"NO! I need the doctor!"

"Ahhh, zeee doctor is on break."


A doctor arrived and ordered me to transfer from the bed to the gurney and not get any blood on the floor. I was in a nightmare that lasted for three days. I looked above me in the small oval mirror and watched my baby being born. Then the demerol kicked in and knocked me out. The nurse wheeled me to a ward and in the hall she said, "Wake up and count her toes and fingers. Here's your baby."

Tracey Lynn was laying on the gurney next to me. I looked into her face, grinned and said with satisfaction, "Awww, she looks like my grandma." Then I passed out.

I awakened in a fifty feet long room divided by curtains into five sectioned wards. The first section was for the moms in labor, the second room was for those who had just delivered. I'd never heard so much screaming and moaning through that curtain. It sounded like a horror movie. A large African-American nurse passed my bed and deliberately bumped it every time I dozed off. She placed my hand on my stomach and barked gruffly, "Rub your fundus, or you'll get a blood clot."

I didn't know where or what my fundus was. I soon learned it was the top of my uterus. Day two found me behind the second curtain with new moms. One young woman was disappointed she'd had a girl; she refused to feed or interact with her baby. Instead of having compassion, the staff taunted her.

Tracey's daddy drove two hours after his shift to see her, arriving at 10:00 p.m. during feeeding time. I saw him walking down the hall and darted with baby in arms to show her to him. The old battle ax Captain grabbed my arm, spun me around and told me I would not be contaminating the nursery. Then she looked at Tracey's daddy and said, "Visiting hours ended at 8:00."

There were words! Lots of words. She ordered me to take the baby to the nursery and she allowed him to peek at her through the viewing window for three minutes. I was living in a nightmare.

In the morning, she ordered the new moms to get up and make beds with military corners (none of us were soldiers) and then she told us to walk to the nursery and retrieve our babies, feed them and not return our baby to the nursery until they burped. Wouldn't you know it! My baby wouldn't burp.
I looked into her pretty little face, she had a perfectly round head and I called her, "My baby." Calling her by name seemed awkward, although I had done it for nine months. "Burp, my baby, burp. Please, baby, burp."

"Did she burp!?" the old hag asked.
I lied, and then I cried. I recognized my baby's cry all the way down the hall.

My only consolation to giving birth in that place was the medic who sat in the nursery and rocked the babies in a large rocker. He looked exatly like Frankie Avalon. Oh my, did I waddle those halls and spend a lot of time standing at the viewing window. The tears flowed at the sight of my baby... and "Frankie".

Each post-partum day I was moved further back behind a curtain.

On the third post-partum day we were told to go poop, gather our newborns and listen to instructions on infant care. We were asked one last question, "Nursing or not?" Those who said, "Not," got a shot to dry up their milk. A nightmare, I'm telling you, a nightmare.

Fast forward about thirty years. I discovered conincidentally that the mom of a student in my class, was born three days before my baby in the same hospital. Although I didn't know her mother, she and I exchanged letters. We both had written identical horror stories about our first birth experiences in that army hospital. A nightmare, we both concluded.

Today, my baby, is a wonderful, hardworking mom to two of her own, one grown and one almost grown.

Happy birthday, My Baby. My, how time flies!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What's your bet? Did she or didn't she? If you knew Sioux like I know Sioux...

Head over to to get in on a drawing for a funny book, Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel. You will cross continents, climb the highest mountian, swim the seven seas, and laugh out loud at some of the stories by the authors in this easy-to-read anthology. This book is a trip!

Bets are on. Questions are being posed. Did Sioux walk the beach, posture as erect as a soldier with shoulders back, stomach sucked in, and ta-tas exposed when she was in France on a topless beach? Was Johnny Depp filming? And did Sioux flaunt it in front of her fantasy man? To discover the hidden truth...go now. Tell a friend about her blog. Let's all help one another. Sign on to follow this wild woman who can wield a pen!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Endings and new beginnings

It was a crazy last week of school. No car or cell phone  until Wednesday, then Wednesday and Thursday were outdoor water days at preschool and last minute conferences. The students painted after I read the fun children's book, "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More, No More". The little boy in the book gets caught by his mama painting his head, and she takes his paints away. But, he gets them down, paints his neck, arms, hands ... all the way to guess what? No, before he gets to his butt, he gets in the tub. The book and illustrations always make children laugh. The children had fun painting outdoors: my legs, their own hands, the bikes, cars etc.

Friday was preschool graduation in the park with parachute games and kiddie games with prizes. Nicole was so excited and I was so ready for the school year to be over. It was 90 degrees, and I am now ready for some rest and relaxation. I will catch up with blogs next week. I have missed my blog friends; okay, I admit it, I am addicted to some of your blogs.

I have a few weeks to organize a book while I am off school. PLEASE send me a fun or funny family story. It can be wacky, crazy, sassy with a PG-13 rating. Submissions close Aug. 1st, and I so want to be ready to "go" when the publisher calls. You can run your story past me first if you have any questions and then submit it to database, OR if you prefer, submit it to website.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Oh fiddle sticks

Modem died. Without computer for 4-5 days they say. By the way, my dear sweet neighbor is wearing her pjs for fifth day. I wasn't being mean. I'm very happy for her. Live and let live I say. If I get to library I will reply. Last week of school hooray!

Friday, June 14, 2013

What is a neighbor to do?

We've all had the experience. You see someone with a piece of food in their teeth, a boogie in their nose, a wild hair somewhere, toilet paper on the bottom of their shoe, or a man ( you might know)wearing his tee shirt inside out.

So what do you do if you see this sort of thing? I would want someone to tell me. But I don't always tell others, even people I know well. When I do mention it I try to be subtle. I've handed a coworker a tissue, told a woman she was trailing TP.

A teacher once told me that she was on the beach with her new husband when he drew close to her and tapped his lip. She leaned in to kiss him and he pulled back and tapped his lip again. She was nose to nose with him when he whispered, "mustache." HIS upper lip was clean shaven. They're still married.

My latest quandry is do I tell the lovely non-English speaking, overweight, grandmotherly neighbor that the new outift she has been parading around in for three evenings is not a matching shirt and capri set? She's wearing a pair of cotton summer pajamas. They are the prettiest print, little blue flowers on white background. She had guests over tonight and she showed off her garden, then strolled out front to show them her fruit bearing trees and the zucchini growing across the lawn. (Yes) I respect all boundaries and cultures, but do I dare say? She really loves her new lounging jammies.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Unusual sightings

We were driving on the interstate and saw a white car with the word POLICE emblazoned across the door, but no municipality. As we approached we read FBI POLICE  Department of Homeland Security. That was a first for us. I didn't know the FBI had their own police. I know they have agents. Is it just me? Did YOU know that?

Next, we saw a car with Illinois license plates. Instead of the state motto, the words read "REPOSSESSER." The young girl with bleach blonde hair was texting. Heading to her next repo?

Then, we went to Burger King and I asked for a senior soda (value menu price). A woman behind me tapped me and said, "How old do you have to be to get that discount? I'm 55 and at IHOP they automatically gave it to me. What an insult!"

I smiled and said, "I don't know how old you have to be. Just ask for the senior discount. They won't ask for your I.D. I'm 64, so I'm sure I qualify."

I thought she was going to have a Fred Sanford heart attack. She stumbled backwards, grabbed her chest, and said, "Sixty four? Wow you look good!" Normally I'd take that as a compliment, but I took her comment with a grain of salt.

The couple who came in with more tatoos and lip piercings than seemed possible asked for applications. The manager directed them to go on line at The girl asked,
"How do you spell that?"

Is there a full moon, or is it just ME?

Monday, June 10, 2013

The man's a trouble maker

Nothing like catching a nap on the couch. Nothing like feeling the pins and needles tingling sensation because my arm is crimped under my chin. I have a habit when I startle awake. I raise my hands to my face to examine them. I don't know why I do it, maybe to see if I'm still connected to them.

I roused from deep sleep, raised my hands to check them out. I couldn't believe my eyes! My right hand had doubled in size. I grabbed it with my left hand, but it had no feeling. Wow! Did that bring me to my senses.

That man of mine is a trouble maker. I WILL get even with him. I'm open to suggestions.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Writer submission opportunities...don't be chicken!

I am so blessed to have had one of my formerly published stories, Two Little Words With a Big Impact chosen for this anthology. Janet N. Miracle wrote the editors and told them how my story made a difference in her life.  Her story, Sticks and Stones, is published on page 29 prior to mine, which is on page 31. Please check out this Twentieth Anniversary Edition. It would make a great graduation gift, birthday present or Father's Day gift.

If you have not written a Chicken Soup for the Soul story, I'll tell you my secret to success. I write from my heart about an event in my life. I share the "aha" moment with others and without preaching, give the reader a take away message.

Don't feel neglected if you get rejected. I receive many rejections!

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, co creators of Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies were rejected 144 times before their first book was accepted. Look at how the series has grown. This is the 18th Chicken Soup anthology in which I am published. If I can do it, you can too. Click on SUBMIT YOUR STORY and read the pull down menu to view the list of titles currently in development.

Here's a local link to check out, also. Prose and poetry contests are underway and close September 1st, so you have plenty of time to write and submit.

Never stop believing. If you believe in something, then you must let nothing stop you.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

We can all use an assist

This baby bunny has been feasting on the neighbor's lettuce. I love sitting on the patio in the morning watching the antics of this little cutie. I'm afraid that one day it will have the same problem as Winnie the Pooh who ate all the honey and got too big to fit through a hole. 
The baby mockingbird followed its mama to our fence and then tumbled off and into the tomato garden which is fenced in with chicken wire. Its mother would call it, but try as it might, it couldn't figure out how to get out. So Bill had to assist, lift a corner of the fence so it could escape.

Whether you are a new writer or an experienced one, it is always nice to get a little assist.  Here is  a blog link that I hope you will enjoy. Erika has a free newsletter, so be sure to sign up for it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Angel boy

Do you believe in providence? I do. I received a Facebook message a few minutes ago from a former student's mom that confirmed what we both know. At our lowest points, our deceased loved ones find ways to send us messages.

Stephen walked into my life and classroom more than twenty years ago, shorter than a yard stick, weighing no more than a sack of potatoes, with hair the color of a shiny penny and personality that outshone the overhead lights. He had a very serious congential heart defect. I remember when he turned four and was supposed to move on with his classmates to a three day, more intensive, preacademic program. I had to convince his mom that it was in her son's best interest to stay behind with children he could keep up with physically and academically. It took lots of persuasion.

He had several hospitalizations, and his little lips would turn blue from exhaustion from simply getting up and down and doing physical activity. I wanted him to be happy and have a positive experience in preschool, not struggle to keep up. His mom agreed.

I tutored Stephen in hospital when he would not cooperate with the special ed team. He and I learned from one another. I knew that mastering those basic skills wasn't as important as allowing him to master his destiny as best he could. He needed some control over his life. He would become so tired and weary of medical interventions, he'd shout at the nurses, "You're fired!"

I would walk in with school work and I could tell by his mood. Some days I'd say, "You don't want to do ABCs? Okay, what should we talk about?"

I could see the disbelief on his face. Wow! The teacher had no expectations and wasn't going to force him to learn? We talked about everything, but mostly the latest episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I did a fund raiser for his family at Easter. My students did a bunny hop at school and we raised $1,000.00 for his family. I dressed in a bunny costume and parked in front of the hospital. I exited my car and realized I had left the envelope filled with cash on the front seat...and my keys in the ignition. I rushed into the hospital and begged a guard to come help me. I then grabbed my keys and the envelope and rode the elevator to Stephen's floor. I hopped into his room and he burst out laughing and squealed, "Ms. Linda!"

"How did you know it was me?"

"Your eyes!" He smiled.

I purchased a stuffed Ninja turtle, for the classroom. His favorite, Michaelangelo, waited for his return. That stuffed toy was bigger than the boy, but he dragged it everywhere.

When he had moved on to big school, Stepehen had surgery to replace his pulmonary artery (I think) but sadly his condition worsened over time. I kept in contact with his family and visited him in hospital years after he left me.

Stephen went to heaven eighteen years ago this month, at age 9.  I was on vacation and unable to attend his funeral. For years I would call his mom around the anniversary. The first time, I said, "I am sending you a hug through the phone, uuunnnnhhh."

She cried out, "That is just how Stephen would send me a hug across the room at the end when he was too weak to get up."

Today she received my Facebook message. She said she was clearing debris from his grave when her new phone pinged a message received from me: "Thinking of you and Stephen."

Ann said, "With only the slightest breeze in the air, the windmill I placed at his grave began to spin wildly."

You can think what you want, but Ann and I know than an angel boy flew by. For a brief moment of earth time we had that special connection.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Book signing for Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel

Sheree Nielsen, Greg Lamping, Sioux Roslawski and me with Terri Elders  (in center) co-creator of Not Your Mother's Book...On Travel.

We had a great time at Main Street Books in St. Charles, MO one block from the Missouri River which is spilling its banks. The tornado damage was evident along the highway as I drove to the event. Trees and light poles were snapped, highway signs twisted and ripped from the ground.

We signed books, shared personal stories and laughed a lot. Theresa is a world traveler and she regaled us with her life stories. After hearing of her travels, I'm considering moving to the artist's colony in Antiqua, Guatemala.

We lunched on the outdoor patio at Magpies restaurant, which has the best food, and we were served by a dear, writer friend's son. We had a lovely event and wonderful day. Thanks to Theresa who flew in from the state of Washington to launch this book, which is now available on Amazon. Be sure to leave a review. You will enjoy your virtual travel, I assure you. A big thank you to everyone who came out to support us.