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.