Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I'm back. I'm better, and I'm sharing a smile.

My couch has been my constant companion for a week. I was never so glad to finally get into our soft, comfy bed. Bill was coughing in the bedroom, and I was hacking in the living room for a week. Our upper respiratory issues are on the wane, and we are both immensely improved.

I am wishing each of you happiness and good health in 2015.
Thanking each of you for your readership.
Hoping you will get as big a kick out of the links below as I do every time I view them.
Feeling very blessed.
Happy New Year!

When Liam's mommy, Ashley, was three she spent the night at my mother's, her great grandma's on New Year's Eve. I called at midnight and told her to hit a pot with a spoon and shout, Go away old year!

She handed my mom the phone and said, "Why does Nana want me to hit a deer with a pot and yell, 'Go away old deer?' "

Friday, December 26, 2014

You-know-what rolls downhill, or NOT Santa scared the crap out of her!

Went to the doctor Christmas Eve. Bill was prescribed a nebulizer for breathing treatments due to bronchial inflammation and to stave off pneumonia.
We were assured it would be delivered before dark. It is the day after Christmas, and it still has not been delivered. He had albuterol inhalers, approved by doctor, which worked fine on his lungs, but not on his frustration.  

Then we received news a family member is in Intensive Care, and so is a friend's dad, but because we have upper respiratory issues we can't visit.

Christmas morning, I disinfected the house. We popped our meds and antibiotics and waited for the crowd to arrive. Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse...

I went to the basement to get the crock pot and saw a small puddle of liquid on the floor. Bill asked if I'd done a load of laundry.

"No, I think the cat's sick. He had a drippy nose (like us) yesterday. I'm checking him now. Poor kitty must have eaten something and thrown up phlegm because it was clear with no food in it."

Cat seemed fine, and didn't take too kindly to my rubbing his nose to see if he had a fever.
Bill came upstairs, flushed the toilet, and ran downstairs. The puddle began to grow. The sewer was backing up. ON CHRISTMAS DAY.

So the first thing we did was call...
Can you guess?

All of the guests who were on their way, and we announced, "Use the bathroom before you arrive."

THEN we called for a plumber. Thanks to son-in-law who is head of maintenance at City Museum, and has all kinds of contacts, we had a plumber and his side kick out right away.
They were both short and stocky, right jolly old elves, (reminiscent of the movie Home Alone characters) and I laughed when I saw/heard them in spite of myself. The white guy said in a gravelly voice, "Let's go to the basement."
The black guy said in a raspy tone, "OK Boss."
They decided to climb up on the roof to snake the sewer pipe from there instead of through the basement stack.

First family arrived. Seven year old little girl ran outside when she heard the racket on the roof. The black guy looked down and shouted, "Don't worry honey, I'm not Santa!"

Scared the pee out of her. She ran in and asked to use the bathroom. I said, "Don't flush." Which is the opposite of what her parents tell her.

After the plumbers had been paid off, and offered dinner (which they refused) she asked if she could use the bathroom again.

After she tended to her more serious business, she yelled, "Can I flush now?"
Then a frantic shout, "NANA, I need help with your toilet paper."

I ran to assist her, yanked the roll, but there were no tear perforations. Yanked again, and that roll kept rolling. I called Bill. He yanked, but that toilet paper, which looked like the lining of a disposable diaper, could not be torn.

Bill tugged, yanked, tried to rip with all his might, then yelled, "Take the entire roll off!"
I yelled, "If that plumber thinks we're using this paper because it's biodegradable or something, he's wrong! He had no right to replace our toilet tissue."

Meanwhile, Bill's daughter, the teacher, is in the living room laughing until she is breathless at the best prank ever! She was hoping to trick an adult. Our poor little girl must have thought she was in the nut ward.

That roll of fake toilet paper made its rounds yesterday and is probably still rolling around town.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Contemporary Version of  'T Was the Night Before Christmas
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, sneaked 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!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The show must go on...

All I can say is, it's a good thing I decided to wear slacks and not a dress to my holiday performance.

Squeezing my not-quite-(yet)-queen-size butt into a pair of control top pantyhose was unbelievably difficult. I was lucky to discover an unopened XL pair in a box in the back of the dresser drawer.
Brand new I'm telling you! How lucky could I get? They must have been in there for five or six years.

Right before I left for my school performance, I used all my oomph to squeeze every ounce of my
uhm-huh! into those boa constrictor tight spandex hose. I refrained from drinking any punch, for fear of having to go to the bathroom and having to fight the good fight again.

The Christmas Program was held in the school gymnasium. I walked across the half acre gym to the rear entrance door to admit people. By the time I got to the door, I was consciously aware of my dressy black slacks on my rear end. I could feel an odd crease across the bottom of my cheeks. And I don't mean my smiler.

 I leaned my back against the door and discreetly inserted my hand into the back of my pants and yanked what I thought was the waistband of my pantyhose. Turned out to be my undies. OUCH. I winced when I gave myself an unexpected wedgie. I strolled across that ACRE gym again and high tailed it to the bathroom. I bumped into Bill as he was heading to the coach's room to get into his Santa suit.

"Psst! Hey you! Come in here!"

He back tracked three steps, and said, "I thought I heard somebody. What's wrong?"

"I don't know. Maybe you can tell me. I feel something odd. Do you see a crease or a seam across my backside through my slacks?"

That was too much for him to process, so I yanked him into the john and locked the door. "Help me!"

I raised my fancy blouse up and tugged my dressy black slacks down. We both saw it. He walked out of the bathroom laughing, and "Ho-Ho-Ho-ing" and wiping his eyes.

My pantyhose had sproinged; the elasticity had thoroughly disintegrated. The control panel was stretched out of shape and had rolled to my crotch. I'm thinking these may have been in the drawer for not 5 years but maybe 15 or 16 years, come to think of it. Good thing I had slacks on or they'd have kept travelling and been at my ankles.

I received my cue to get the kids. No time to remove my defective hose...I yanked the stretched out panty part up, tucked the waistband into my undies waistband, and the show went on. The kids did great. For an hour, I could feel the slow shift taking place every time I moved, bent down, dressed a child in costume or led them on or off stage or across that damned TWO ACRE gym.

As people were leaving, my boss and I stood at the back door. I said, "You won't believe this. My pantyhose are out of control. They've lost their oomph and are drooping under my butt."

She whispered back, "Well I had a worse problem. Mine rolled down when I sat, and they dug into my stomach so hard they cut off my circulation. My legs went to sleep, then my butt, and I couldn't even get up to walk."

We hobbled across that damned THREE ACRE gymnasium, and I beat her to the bathroom.

Two weeks off. We need it!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

You know Jesus was laughing!

 If a smile can stretch a mile, and laughter is good for the soul, then my grand childrens' Christmas pageant will go down in history as one that warmed the hearts and tickled the souls of young and old alike in a little, rural Missouri church, in December, 2000.

Song writers claim that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it doesn’t always feel that way when lines are long, tempers are short and money is tight. The holiday hustle and bustle can certainly take its toll on young and old alike, but children have a way of bringing people together.  In the midst of this high-stress season, the sight of preschoolers garbed as tiny angels with shiny halos can make the orneriest Scrooge smile.

The Sunday School kids were assigned specific roles and had been practicing for weeks for the Nativity pageant. My eleven year old granddaughter's striped shepherd's costume hung from a hook on her door,  and when I came to visit, she babbled on and on about her role and the "big cane" she would carry.

The toddlers and preschoolers would be dressed as angels. Three year old Austin's tiny white gown and silver garland halo hung on the back of his door for two weeks. When I told him that I couldn’t wait to see him dressed as an angel, he put his little hands on his hips and insisted, 'I'm not wearing no dress! I'm a super hero.' 

"Oh he'll be fine," my daughter assured me.

On that cold, snowy night, the church pews were filled to capacity.  I arrived at the old country church with camera in hand, anxious to take pictures of my little angel, but the little dickens chickened out at the last moment. He sat in the pew, a big mama's boy snuggled under my daughter’s arm. When the organist played Silent Night, the congregation turned and gazed at the children as they entered the sanctuary. It was a very solemn, humbling moment.

Parents beamed proudly as the cutest little angels you've ever seen toddled down the center aisle, walked up three steps and took their places on either side of the altar looking directly at the pastor beaming proudly at his flock. A wise Sunday school teacher positioned the toddlers with their backs to the audience, knowing that  if they saw their parents they would act out. Two of the older children entered dressed as Mary and Joseph. They walked side by side. She wore a regal blue gown and he wore his father’s brown robe belted with a length of rope. They walked to the front and stood on either side of a wooden manger as the Sunday school teacher narrated the Christmas story.

"And on that night in a stable in Bethlehem,  Baby Jesus was born. They wrapped him up in swaddling clothes." She paused and waited as "Mary" haphazardly wrapped a nude doll in a dish towel and handed him to "Joseph" an over grown, embarrassed, and reluctant thirteen year old who didn't want to be caught dead holding a doll even if it was the baby Jesus.  He held the doll at arm's length as if it had cooties. People snickered, but the teacher continued.     

"And they laid the Christ child in the manger." Joseph didn’t take his cue. She cleared her throat, "Ahem!"  Joseph was lost in thought, probably wondering how badly he’d be teased in school. After a second throat clearing the woman hissed at him, "Put the baby in the manger!" Startled, he threw the doll, and it clunked into the box. The director of Christian Education, a seasoned woman, leaned over and whispered to the narrator who was wearing a microphone, "Great, now someone will call DFCS (Department of Family and Children's Services) and report us." Her voice resounded through the overhead speakers, which made the congregation cackle. Her face lit up like the Christmas tree lights.

The narrator continued, "Out in the fields, the angel spoke to the shepherds tending their sheep."  My granddaughter led the procession as she and her classmates, dressed in flowing robes, their heads wrapped in scarves, entered carrying wooden staffs and cardboard sheep. When Austin spied his sister, he shouted excitedly, "Mom! Look, here comes Ashley and she’s a German Shepherd!"

 As the laughter again died down, six shepherds and the three kings bearing gifts, paused in front of the pastor at the pulpit. He opened the Bible to read scripture, and before he completed the first verse, the littlest angel, a two year old with red ringlets cascading down her back, wearing a cock-eyed halo, turned around, extended her arms and offered the flock an impromptu and unexpected greeting. She mimicked a commercial and shouted, "I love ya, man!" Then she laughed out loud. She backed up, tripped on her gown and tumbled down the three steps onto the carpet. The pastor nearly collided with the Sunday school teacher and organist. They repositioned the little darling who'd upstaged everyone. As the flustered pastor shook his head and rolled his eyes, I'm sure the angels in heaven were having a rollicking good laugh. Mary knew what those women were going through, and God in all his glory was wiping happy tears from his eyes giving a thumbs up to one of the most humorous and memorable Christmas pageants of all time.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Kicking up her heels

Nicole's winter dance recital was last weekend.
She was a cute little snowflake holding ballet poses and tap dancing. 
I cannot believe how quickly Nicholas and Nicole have grown up. It seems only yesterday they were babies like Liam. Time sure flies when you're having fun. She's 7 and he will be 13 in a few weeks.

Writing is sort of like dancing. You have to strike a pose, believe in your abilities, practice-practice-practice even when you want to shuffle-slide away. Persistence is what it takes to succeed.

Take a moment to write down your thoughts or about something that happened in your day. Set it aside if you don't have time to write or journal about it. Come back to it, and perhaps an essay or an article will evolve.

Believe you can, and you will!

Get out there and pirouette, take a bow, do your thing with an air of confidence.

If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

You say it's sick, and you don't know where?

'Tis the season to beware of your surroundings and the scammers.

A man called with a foreign accent and said our computer called his company, and he needed information to repair our computer. Bill went back and forth with him, asking questions the guy could not answer.

Then the man said he would go into our computer and make the repairs. Bill asked WHY? WHAT repairs? The guy was getting flustered, so Bill said, "I'll tell you what, buddy, since you know my computer has a problem, and you can't tell me what it is, I will just take it to Best Buy and have them look at it."

There was a long pause, as if he were conspiring with someone, then he said aloud, "What the hell is Best Buy?"

When he realized we heard him, he said, "Sir, if you do not comply with my request, I will disconnect your computer right now. I am doing it! You will no longer have internet access to your computer! Do you hear me?!"

Click! Bill hung up.

Hackers have tried to get me to open links by sending me emails in my friends' and family members' names. I delete them.

Don;t fall for these scams.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Quit messing with me!

Visualize this:

I'm parked on Arby's parking lot, which abuts a doctor's building parking lot, separated by a strip of land. Cars park nearly grill to grill. I'm facing the door of the doctor's building, Arby's door is behind me. There are very few parked cars on either lot.

I come out and notice a woman in a car to my left on her cell phone. An old man on a walker is exiting the Doctor's Building, and I catch movement of a pedestrian walking past my car to go into Arby's.

The old guy stops right outside the Doctor's Building door and keeps looking my way. I get into my car and put it in reverse, then I lock my car doors. Immediately, the locks pop up.
Hmm. I try again. Again, the car unlocks.

My first instinct is fear. Who is messing with my remote? I look at the lady in the car involved in conversation. Nope, not her.

I look back at the man and wonder why he isn't leaving the doorway. He has his hands on his walker, making some kind of hand motion. I figure it's a mistake. Maybe we have the same kind of car/remote code or something.

I put the car in gear, lock the doors. POP, the locks reopen. This happens five more times. I put it in and out of gear trying to get my doors locked.

By now I am ticked off that this old buzzard is having fun at my expense. Messing with me!

I decide to just drive off and lock the car once I get on the street. As I back out, I see him making all sorts of hand motions. I am really upset at him and cast a dirty look his way. As I drive in reverse to leave the parking lot, in my rear-view mirror, I see an old woman exiting Arby's, motioning back at him.

Nearly out of control myself, I wanted to tell her to control her husband who was trying to mess with my controls.

I pull into the street, try again to lock my doors, with the same results. I drive to the corner and try again. Same thing. I'm wondering how much range his remote device has.

I stop at the stop light, and see the red light on my dash flashing DOOR AJAR. So, that is why it wouldn't latch.

When I realize the poor old man was only trying to get his wife's attention, I open and slam my door, lock it, and drive off in shame.

Ah, the writer's mind. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ho-Ho-Ho from our house to yours

We want to wish you a happy holiday, whatever it is you celebrate at this time of year. We celebrate Christmas and believe in Jesus Christ, even though the sign on our wall says, "Santa."
We are so blessed to have this precious little boy in our lives.
I just know that despite baby Jesus' crying, aggravation, and time-consuming needs that come with helpless little babies, Mary and Joseph must have felt as much pride in their baby boy as Ashley and Justin do in their little Liam.
He loved Santa, (recognized his voice), and played with his beard.
He didn't know which way to look, at his mommy, Nana, or Grammy.
We were all taking so many pictures of him at once.
What do YOU think he is whispering to the snowman? This little baby makes all of us so happy!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Not that I am wishing for snow...

The temperature is rising to 50 degrees this weekend, which makes me very happy. I can take this kind of winter.

I was thinking of the snowy December eves when the children were small and their dad and I took them sledding and drove around to see the Christmas lights on all the houses. It was a joyous occasion, a fond family memory.

I'd give each child a couple of  plastic Wonder bread bags and instruct them to put them over their double-socked little feet, and slip them into their waterproof boots, which never were. Bundled up like the Michelin Man, barely able to snap their seat belts, they oohed and ahhed at the lights and discussed which hill they wanted to sled down when we arrived at Carondelet Park.

Usually we selected the busiest one where families congregated. But one year, we decided to try somewhere less crowded, but just as steep. I plopped down on the new sled, a real Radio Flyer, and wrapped my legs around my five year old son. With one shove we were off and zooming, free, soaring faster and faster, and then we went airborne! When the sled struck a concrete ledge, Jason yelled, "YEEHAW!" and I screamed, "Oh no!" He went one way, and I flew off the other side, both of us landing in soft snow. The runners bent on the sled, our egos were bruised, and before the sledding began, it was over!

Later, at home, their dad tried to straighten the runners, but that sled was never the same. For years, we zoomed down slopes and zipped back up hills towing that sled by the ropes. I had such energy then and such enthusiasm for winter.

On those sledding, light-viewing nights we always ended up squeezed into a booth at White Castle, munching burgers and fries and sipping hot chocolate. Such are some of the memories that I hold dear at this time of year.   

Thursday, December 4, 2014

I was no cream puff!

Some of my best memories take me back many years and involve whipped cream. Not that tub of fake stuff, but the squirt-in-your-mouth can of delight.

I love whipped cream! Every time I munch a mini éclair, I am reminded of my beloved grandma who used to come visit my mom while I was at school. She'd bring me a chocolate frosted whipped cream puff as an after school snack. Still one of my favorite treats and fondest memories.

I have another whipped cream story, rather personal, but shh! don't tell anyone else. I am not proud of my behavior, and I admit, I wasn't always a cream puff.

I was MUCH younger, single, and dating the proverbial bad boy who owned a bar. After watching his shenanigans all evening, I told him I needed a can of whipped cream. He smiled wickedly as his imagination ran wild. He handed it to me. I smiled, waved goodbye, and headed to his house.

He was amazed (and amused) at my handiwork. I used that aerosol can to print my sentiments all over his yard in ten inch high whipped cream letters: (X) is a jerk!

That's about the only one I can share here.  Sure was a creative outlet for my anger, though.

Here is a three ingredient, whipped cream cookie recipe:

one box cake mix
one egg
one tub cool whip

Drop by spoonful into powdered sugar and bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Have you tried these? I'm waiting to hear YOUR reviews. I'm afraid to make them. I'd probably bite into one and laugh hysterically. Then, I'd have to explain myself.

You let me know if these are good. Will you?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

THE Saturday Evening Post

I am about to bust my buttons. Recently, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and submit to some bigger publishers. 

I just received an acceptance from the senior editor at the Saturday Evening Post. She is negotiating a contract with me on one of my humorous essays. I am beyond thrilled.

This proves that  you don't know until you try. The worst that can happen is rejection, and the word, "NO" stings, but it doesn't stop me in my tracks.

Don't let it stop you, either. Take a chance. Try your hand at something new or that you have always wanted to do.

I am wishing each of you success in whatever you endeavor to achieve. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Let your light shine!

I have so much to be thankful for, especially being part of four generations. See the sunlight shining on my precious five and half month old little Liam? He has such a wonderful personality.
As I looked at Liam's perfectly formed little baby hands and watched him put them in his mouth to teethe, to make speech sounds, to self-soothe; to grab his feet, my cheeks, my nose, and his favorite book... I gazed at those miniature hands and I wondered.

How will he use them in the future? To hug, cuddle, reach out to help someone, reach for the stars? I know he will make a difference in this world. He is already so smart, and I know, I absolutely KNOW, this precious little baby boy is destined for greatness.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We are safe; are any of us really safe?

I'd like to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving and blessed holiday. 

Please pray for or send good thoughts to Ferguson, Missouri, a community about thirty miles away, which is in great turmoil because of the actions of a few agitators who prefer outlandish and criminal behavior to peaceful protest. Crowd mentality is building and spreading across America.

True, there is need for change, but positive change does not result from anger, violent actions, rioting and looting. I am ashamed. Unrest and peace disturbance in other neighborhoods has led to cancellations of schools, classes, businesses closing early, and the postponement of our downtown Thanksgiving Day parade.  It is sad that the majority does not rule and we allow a few to destroy our towns and threaten our well being.

If you have time, please take a look at my latest brief essay about giving thanks. I am proud to be a guest blogger on the Pallonttine Renewal Center site.

Then, for a candid account of how Cappy Hall Rearick really felt about Thanksgiving, check out this link which will take you to a story in Not Your Mother's Book...On Family. It will be posted on Thanksgiving day. I laughed out loud when I first received her submission. Cappy tells it like it is.

"Our Thanksgiving began in earnest after the SUV carrying the grandkids from hell was history. Looking at those diminishing taillights was a plentiful reason to give thanks."

Counting my blessings instead of my problems. Thank you for your readership.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

If I knew, I'd tell ya!

"Get this!" I say from the passenger seat as we're driving down the highway. I often read aloud something mind boggling, eye-popping, spell binding, unbelievable from my Face Book feed.
He raises his index finger to his right ear and tunes his hearing aid higher so he doesn't miss a word.
When I pause, he takes his eye off the road for a split second, glances at me and says, "Whose that from? Who sent that to us?"
Who-Who-Who? Us-Us-Us? Is he serious? I've told him a million times, "I don't know."
He thinks I'm messing with him, withholding pertinent information. I tell him "It's just a friend."
"How could it be a friend if you don't know them?"
Yesterday when he asked, instead of starting the ball rolling, I read the "friend's" name.
"Who's that?" he asks.
"I. Don't. Know," I say.
"Well, they sent it to US. How do we know them?"
I say through clenched teeth. "We DON'T know them. It's a friend of a friend."
"Then why are they sending it to US?"
"It's on the WWW," I say.
Before I can explain, he says, "When did you get into wrestling?"
I'm going to put him in a headlock!


Friday, November 21, 2014

What's YOUR nationality?

Mrs. Surkamp was a soft and pudgy, no-nonsense 5th grade teacher who reminded me of Lucy's side kick, Ethel Mertz.

One day while studying geography (before the mixing of ethnic groups blended pure ethnicity out of most of us) she asked each of us to stand and report our nationalities.

Billy's belly jiggled when he stood up. He slicked his hair back, hitched his pants up, and said with an air of confidence, "When I asked my dad last night, he said I am part Indian and part German, and my mom said, I'm also half hillbilly."

Mrs. Surkamp laughed until she cried, and we laughed right along, but we didn't know why.

Now I do.

I am talking about Native Americans this week, and you may have already read this before. When I told my PreK class that I was Indian because my dad was part Native American, little Jordan raised her hand and piped up, "My daddy is a naked American, too."

I could never look her daddy in the face again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Potty humor

I cleaned the home office, went through stacks of papers and books on the floor and desk, moved a book case, and I rearranged pictures on the walls. You wouldn't believe what a difference those things made in my ability to write. Eight submissions so far this month. I find myself standing in the doorway and mooning over the lack of clutter and the free flow to the room. I came across a stack of books that I am willing to part with, now. But first I wanted to skim some of the author bios in the anthologies.
I am a progressive thinker. I know that controversy drives comments on a blog or in a print publication, but the more I read, the more I wondered what was with all the potty humor. Here is what I read: 
Carol also enjoys bathroom dancing several times a week with her husband.
Sharon has toileted in many towns.

Mary dates her grandson.
I reread, and yep, sure enough, that is what I read.
And then, I had to laugh at my own potty humor. Right there on the back of the toilet I spied my reading glasses. I removed my progressive lens prescription glasses and put on my readers. I now understand that Carol enjoys ballroom dancing, Sharon has toiled in many towns, and Mary dotes on her grandson.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Give me a box and I'll think outside it

Years ago when I taught in a school-age summer program, I presented an activity that encouraged children to use their creativity and imagination. I cut pictures of objects out of magazines and placed them in a box. Each child randomly selected two pictures and came up with a new invention. The results were interesting, fun, and even funny: A vacuum cleaner that dispenses orange juice. A hairdryer that turns on a TV, etc.

If combining two unrelated (or sort-of-related) things worked back then, why not apply it to my writing? Today I took a chance and wrote a creative non-fiction essay which blended a bit of nostalgia with my personal view on today's inappropriate early childhood educational practices.
I know times have changed, but no recess? Restricted movement? Paper/pencil/desk/ditto sheets? Really? For 3-6 year olds? (None of this is in my written text. I addressed these issues by talking about the educational lessons garnered when I made mud pies in childhood.) I titled my submission, A Little Dirt Didn't Hurt. I targeted a multi-age audience and the editor by writing from a professional point of view with an easy reading style, on a relevant topic.
I went further out on a limb by submitting to a (non-educational) publication that I would never have considered before. But I reasoned, my chances are 50-50, and if I don't take a chance, I will never know.

Are you ready to reach higher, take a risk? If you do not believe in yourself, no one else will.

Okay, because I may be a wee bit ADD, and my mind tends to navigate by itself, I just thought of another BOX story for you.
I was at a bridal shower with lots of women way back when...when women didn't, or said they didn't have premarital sex. The hostess placed a box on the floor, told each guest (women of all ages and sizes) to step inside, bend down without bending their knees, and touch their toes. No other instructions. Someone in another room transcribed the comments as women moaned and said: It's too small. I can't do this. This is hard. It hurts. Why are you making me DO this? What is the point of all this nonsense? Are you crazy? This is next to impossible. Ouch, I pulled a muscle. Don't ever ask me to do this again."

After each person had a turn, and without further explanation, the hostess went on to a new game. Later, as the women sat around sipping punch and eating cake, the hostess announced she had a list of comments to read that the bride might say on her wedding night. There was lots of cake snorting and punch spewing.

Bridal showers, women, education practices (and my writing) have come a long way.

Now, I challenge you to share one thing with me that has always been of interest to you that you have/have not pursued but would like to. Go crazy!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tom is up and coming

I am thankful for my sense of humor, which gets me through most days.

SNOW on the way. Now isn't that funny?!

I have a date with Tom.
His broad chest makes me smile.
I'm going to oil his skin
and massage his pecs a while.

I'll get his juices flowing
and really make him hot.
Then, I'm going to grab his giblets
and cook them in a pot.

My husband's going to carve him
and serve him on a platter,
Don't think that we are crazy;
for nothing is the matter.

Feast Day's fast approaching and
soon old Tom will be a roasting!
Snow is causing  me to panic
and I might be a little manic.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Boiling then... simmering now

75 degrees a few days ago and now winter is blasting across the nation. 30 degrees today. UGH! Possibly accumulating snow on Saturday.
As I stood in the kitchen watching my tall mug of black cherry tea heat up, I gazed into a window from my past.

There was no school bus transportation. Everyone walked to school. I walked eight blocks. Females were not allowed to wear jeans or slacks, not even on the most brutally cold snowy days... and NO, there was no such thing as "snow days" back when I was a freshman in 1963. Our fingers were frozen stiff and our legs from the knees down were red and chapped when we arrived at school.

Skirt lengths were at the knee, but yo-yoed over the next four years. Granny skirts ankle hovered, then hemlines rose to mid calf, and eventually began a slow thigh-high climb to miniskirts.  

Each year, just before school started, I bought basic white canvas tennis shoes at the dime store for phys ed days, and I polished them with white "baby shoe" polish to keep them looking new.

I wore black and white saddle oxfords, or penny loafers with shiny pennies inserted into the slots.

I loved my "Beatle Boots," flat heeled comfy, ankle boots.
In the spring I headed for Hill Brother's shoe store where their slogan was plastered across the window: "Two for five, man alive!" I purchased flats in a rainbow of pastels.

At McKinley High, the highly-waxed cork floors felt like padding beneath my feet as I darted to my next class. When the public address system crackled with an announcement by Principal Dr. Mildred Hiller that our room was invited to attend an auditorium session, the class rejoiced.

Sporting a suit and tie, a male General Electric representative stood on stage and demonstrated a new-fangled innovative contraption, right off The Jetsons. Large as a dorm fridge, it sat on display on a table. 

"Girls, in YOUR lifetime, in the very near future, you will be able to cook an entire meal in mere minutes. No more slaving over the range."

The only "range" I knew was the open prairie in the western song, "Home on the Range." I had never heard that word used to describe a kitchen stove.

He proceeded to bake a cake in less than five minutes and frost it with a solid Hershey bar as it melted across the surface, much to my amazement.

This morning as I watched the microwave heat my tea in a minute and a half, I realized how I take that thing for granted.

Fifteen years after that G.E demonstration I purchased my first microwave, a large boxy contraption that cost $300.00. I was ticked off at my then husband for something big.

When I took the "for emergency only" charge card to Sears and Roebuck, I also purchased a set of ceramic canisters which cost almost $40, a lot of money in those days. He was lucky I stopped there!

I mainly use my microwave for heating. How about you?  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Oh Papa!

I was reading a friend's blog post about her pizza mishap, and I wondered, did I ever tell you about the time...

Several years ago, Daylight Savings Time had just sent me into my annual hibernation tailspin. Street lights are uncommon in our suburban neighborhood. I have to strain my eyes to see any movement out front, unless a car occasionally passes by and the headlights briefly illuminate the yard. This at 5:00 p.m. I hate early darkness!

It was all I could do to stay awake as I waited for my professor friend to arrive that evening.
Stifling a yawn, I put on a fresh pot of coffee and prepared a platter of banana nut and blueberry muffin slices for us. 

It's hard to see our driveway at night, so instead of pulling in, she parked out front on a triple-wide sidewalk, which also serves as a parking pad for the ten houses on our side of the road. Across the road is an overgrown block-long, former truck farm, which only makes it seem darker.

The aroma from the Papa John's Pizza, a block away, wafted through the front door on a crisp autumn breeze. After SO many years of eating that five buck pie (year-long introductory price when they first arrived in town) the smell acts as a deterrent, and I usually close the front screen door when the wind is blowing our way. Not that evening.

My friend and I sat in the living room nibbling our muffins, discussing our writing and lamenting the lack of publishing opportunities. We heard a minor collision out front, followed by swearing. We ran across the lawn through the darkness to see what had had happened. A car whizzed by, spotlighting a middle aged bicyclist sprawled at the end of our drive. He was trying to upright himself and retrieve the upside down Papa John's pizza box.

"Who the hell parks on the sidewalk?!" He mumbled and fumbled in the dark, swearing.

"Sorry. Are you alright?" I startled him so badly he dropped the pizza box again. The lid opened, and he scraped the gooey mess back inside. He eye-balled us, confused.

"Do you want me to call someone for you?" I asked. "Are you hurt?"

"Lady, pleathe don't call the cops. I didn't thee your car. Pleathe don't call the cops, I'm not thupposed to be driving on a DWI, and I'm drunk again."

Assured he was uninjured, I told him to drive safely, and watched as he got behind the bent handle bars and wobbled on down the road.

Sometimes, I don't know what comes over me. Back indoors, I lost my professional demeanor and broke into song.

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore`. When a drunk hits your car like he's been at a bar, that's amore`."

Sometimes, I can't stop myself.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Forget Fingerprints

This is a repost from a couple years ago. Still, I can't pass by that junk jewelry shop in the mall without breaking out in hives remembering this incident. Good luck to those of you doing NaNoWriMo. I have opted instead to make daily submissions of personal essays, because my life is stranger than fiction.
We took my wedding rings to the jeweler in the mall. The prongs on the head are worn and have to be replaced, so I will be without my rings for two weeks. I feel lost without them.

I said to the man who can shop daily in the same hardware store for bargains, "You go on down to Sears and I will look in Claire's or Icing (kid's jewelry shop) for a cheap costume ring."

Actually I didn't want to be seen in public tonight at the dance all gussied up appearing to be an unmarried floozy. I need a ring on my finger. So I walked into the store and was approached by the sophomore behind the counter who kept a wary eye on me.

I found a ring display; each ring was wired to a small card. I found one I liked, slipped that size five ring onto my size six finger, and as soon as it passed over my knuckle I knew! It was stuck, locked on, not budging a bit. My eyes bulged! I had the mother of long-forgotten hot flashes. I gulped. I imagined security watching me on video. I imagined them calling the cops, the fire department.

I put the card to my lips and lubricated that finger. Okay, I slobbered all over the ring. My lipstick smeared the card a pretty shade of pink. I twisted my finger. But that ring wouldn't turn left or right, slide back or forth. I walked around holding my hand out "admiring" the ring on the card attached to my finger, wondering what in the world I was going to do. That's when three young teens came in to browse, and the sales girl went to assist them. I grabbed a bottle of antibacterial soap behind her counter, slopped a glob onto my ring finger and slimed that ring right off my hand. I sighed loudly with relief and hung that card back up.

It looks so pretty and pink hanging there among the plain white ones. I will never go back into that store. Forget fingerprints, they have my lip prints on file at that store.

I am ringless for two weeks. I don't care if I do look like a girlfriend instead of a wife at the dance tonight. If I can get my heels up high enough I'll kick my own behind.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Super busy

Busy weekend. Hubby and I helped my daughter and son-in-law rip up carpeting throughout their house. Left their home and went to Bill's daughter's and watched grandson Kyle (See him in the tree?) take down a fifty foot tree in front of their house. Then we helped haul the branches to a wood chipper. We sure got much-needed exercise.

I ate too many Butterfingers, dark chocolate covered pretzel thins, and chocolate covered almonds on Halloween. You'd think I would be on chocolate overload, but this weather makes me want a mug of hot chocolate and a piece of buttered toast. My taste buds are arguing with my snug jeans. I think I know which one will win. Does this weather and early darkness make you crave carbs?

My honey bought me a new, downy soft throw cover. I think it must have had a magic spell cast upon it. When I lie down on the couch and cover with it, just like that! I'm snoozing. It has the same effect on the cat.

Some of you may have seen this picture on Facebook of me and my sleepy super baby.

Liam's mama bought him a pumpkin outfit, but I found this sleeper and just had to dress him up. I am so in love with this little guy.

Hope you all had a great weekend. I wrote and sent two submissions today. Not doing NaNoWriMo, but I am challenging myself to write more than usual.

How about you? Do you have November goals?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

 Didn't even consider trademark infringement... 
and we had so much fun 35 years ago!
Our children were young. We were next door neighbors. We worked a week on those heads. We used oversized balloons, paper machae`d them and allowed them to dry at Rose's house, then we painted them.

Rose and I had a blast that Halloween trick-or-treating with the kids. People would stop us and take our picture. We went into neighbors' homes and shocked the women as we acted a little too familiar and frisky with their husbands. We received more candy than the children that year. One of my fondest memories of my late friend Rose.

Now hop on over here and see what Kathe had to contend with...and it wasn't even Halloween when her kids spotted the costumed witches.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Who are you gonna call? YOU know who!

White Ghost is a take off of a favorite children's book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
 I used a large sheet of construction paper, placed the child's forearms and hands on the far edges of the paper and drew around them. Then I used the remaining paper as the ghost. I drew lines for them to practice their cutting skills. Last I cut out and glued the arms on and interlocked the fingers. We chanted, "White ghost, white ghost what do you see?" They opened the arms wide and told me a color or shape that I had drawn inside on their hand prints. "I see a red triangle looking at me."
 I sent this home as a fun family game.
 It wouldn't be Halloween without a little ghost play. I prepared a sheet of paper with letters A-F for each student, and covered the papers and the table with clear adhesive. Next I put a shaving cream ghost in right hands and left hands, and the children finger painted with their ghosts, covering up their letters. I would shout a letter/sound and they'd have to uncover it. What fun!
The 3 year olds opened the class pumpkin, but first, we guessed what could be inside. Someone thought a ghost, but most knew it was seeds. We took turns inserting our hands and removing the seeds. When someone said, "I don't want to!" I replied, "Ewww! Neither did I. Look how messy my hands are, but we will wash them off, and then we'll make pretend pumpkin seed soup, so please get your seeds. WOW! You got a big handful. You tried! Look at your seeds!" While recognizing feelings and encouraging them to try new things instead of accepting an automatic no, everyone decided to reach inside. This activity generated lots of language and vocabulary: icky, sticky, wet, slimey, cold, yuck. The water play with small cups, spoons, ladles and colanders led to a fun sensory experience that lasted for half an hour for some of the children.
And because this is the season for ghosts, who are you gonna call?
This car pulled up across the street at a small automotive repair shop.
                                 Now, I would say that was my Halloween treat! Wouldn't you?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Did I ever tell you about the time...

I still get a flush thinking about how embarrassing it could have been at the book launch party when Dianna Graveman and I released and promoted Not Your Mother's Book...On Family, and Not Your Mother's Book...On Being a Mom, (Publishing Syndicate).

I was so nervous and excited as we greeted patrons outside StL Books in Kirkwood, MO, I wanted to raise my arm pits to the gentle evening breeze on July 15th. But, I didn't. Like Anne Lamott, I must have lipstick on. I discreetly reapplied frequently, then stuffed the tube back into my teeny tiny sweater pocket.

At the specified time, we invited everyone indoors for a raffle and readings. I stood at the entrance, and as the throng proceeded into the small bookstore I smiled, nodded, greeted; repeated...and then I felt it! Panic set in, and I almost lost it (literally). I saw Lynn's adult daughter, Jessica, making her way through the line and mouthed HELP ME? I hugged her as if we were old friends, even though I'd only met her recently. She looked surprised when I leaned in and whispered in her ear.

"Please, do me a favor. Bend down and retrieve my cellphone which has been making its way from my waist inside my slacks, and is traveling down my leg. It's almost at my ankle, and will be exiting at any minute."

She laughed, and without missing a stride, bent down, grabbed my phone and handed it to me. I owe that young lady a latte`.

StL Books in Kirkwood, on the corner of Kirkwood Road and W. Jefferson, has Not Your Mother's Books available, so if you are looking for a gift, want to chuckle at the humorous collections of short stories, or would like to support local authors, please stop in, purchase a book or two and say hello to Robin and her family. Tell them Linda and Dianna sent you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another candle on her cake

Nicole celebrated her 7th birthday. She loved the cake I made for her. I told her the big ghost on top was her daddy, and one was her mom and another was her brother. She said, "Yeah, and I see me!" She pointed to the witch. 
She is so proud of her new room. She chose the color.
I love how the sun is shining in through the blinds.
I am so proud of my sweetie. She and I both wear glasses now.

I cannot believe how big her 12 year old brother, Nicholas, has grown. 
Time sure is flying by. Seems only yesterday they were babies. I feel so blessed.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grammy's little pumpkin

My granddaughter, Ashley, and her hubby, Justin, and baby Liam went to the pumpkin patch today. He loved the hayride.
But wasn't too sure about sitting in the hay.
He has recently discovered his hair. When he takes his bottle, he rubs his left hand all over his downy hair. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen.
If you want to see a funny video of him, which made my students laugh and laugh, click onto this Facebook link, and  you can watch what he did. It's a little over one minute.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Medusa has nothing on her!

What makes us say and do these things?
It was another day of belly laughing. I had a two hour lunch with a dear friend. She is hysterically funny, has a wonderful and sometimes warped sense of humor. She said she is concerned that on the verge of her fiftieth birthday, she just might be on the verge of menopause.
"What ARE hot flashes? I don't think I've ever had one. Everything in the lady department seems to be regular. But I think it's menopause causing my erratic symptoms."

"Well, then, what are your symptoms?" I asked.

"This crazy snake lady comes out of my head, (she entwined her hands overhead like she was doing the Flamenco), wraps around anything or anyone that gets in my way and makes me say things I would never say. I am losing my filter."

I told her that I'd read somewhere that elderly Native American women are forgiven all of their foibles. They can get away with saying anything after menopause.

"Since my husband lost his job, he tends bar sometimes at an upscale restaurant. I am not jealous. I knew he would be out late, so I went to bed. During the night our six year old had climbed into bed with me. When he rolled over and plowed into my gut, I sat up and looked at the clock. This snake-head lady erupted out of my head. I dialed my husband's cell phone. He answered after a few rings and sounded groggy (or drunk). I tore into him. 'Do you know how unfair it is of you to make me worry like this? A phone call is all I ask for. There are only two places you could possibly be at this hour, either at a bar or at someone's house. It is 2:30 in the morning and all I want is the truth from you. Where the hell are you?!' "

Quietly, he replied, "In the other room, trying to sleep in our son's small bed."

We were laughing so hard and loud, gasping for air. The manager at Panera Bread Company walked over to us, and when he saw that he did not have to dial 911, he feigned interest in removing our dishes. I teach preschool, and I know the art of distraction vs. confrontation. I'm sure he would have urged us to take it down a notch or leave, except he caught a glimpse of the snakes unfurling from our menopausal heads.

Care to share your embarrassing moment? Laughter is good for the system as long as you're wearing a discreet wet your pants pad.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What happened to you?!

A precocious, pie-faced, blue-eyed, four-year old boy walked up to me and stared.
"Hey, Miss Linda, your new hair color is darker."

"Yes, I got my hair cut and colored."

"SO, I guess they left the color on a little too long?" He looked puzzled.

"Well, it is darker. What do you think of my new hair?"

He walked around me giving me the once over. "I like it! I REALLY like it."

He redeemed himself. One day, that little boy is going to make the headlines, the girl's blush, his mama cringe... the big times. He reminds me of one of the Little Rascals.

He was merely making an observation, so I didn't correct him. My philosophy has always been, children should be seen AND heard. I've heard it all.

If you are a writer, it is important that your character's voice be heard, too. Do you censor your characters or allow them to speak, unfiltered?


Monday, October 20, 2014

It was no masked man

Damn Sam! I held my breath and tried not to move a muscle at 3:30 a.m. when I heard an intruder in the bedroom poking around in my jewelry on the dresser. He who snores loud enough to wake the dead was silent and on the far edge of the queen size bed. I wanted to reach over and poke him to see if he was breathing, but I knew he'd be all goofy upon waking: HUH?WHAT? and probably get us shot. I lay quietly in the pitch dark as the robber rummaged, making his selection. My heart was thumping wildly, and I had to pee so badly. And then I saw him. He thumped all 17 pounds of his fat butt down with a thunk, dragging a necklace across the floor and set off the bathroom motion-activated night light.
Fifteen minutes after his reprimand he assumed this position and snored worse than you know who.
"Yeah!" I said, "Sleep you goofball, now that I'm wide awake."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tripping around town and quick thinking

Guess where I took my class today.
We went to a pumpkin patch. I have been taking students on field trips to Stuckmeyer's Farm for many years. After several days of rain, the sun came out, and the temperature climbed. It was a beautiful day for a hayride through the growing fields. It is amazing to see corn on the cob growing on a stalk, or broccoli and cauliflower growing out of the ground. We also saw cute wooden cartoon displays tucked among vegetables and along the creek bank. We found Dumbo hovering overhead.
Does anyone know what this is?
It is a corn apple. When Kyle, who is 21, was two years old, he asked for an apple. I peeled it and he threw a tantrum. He wanted a RED APPLE.

I thought fast. "Buddy, I don't have any red apples, but I do have a corn apple if you want to taste that."

I coaxed him with the same peeled apple with two corn on the cob holders inserted in top/bottom and he ate it all gone. Thereafter, he requested corn apples.

When you have toddlers you have to think on the fly, or the pot.