Thursday, December 31, 2015

Who was that gal in my bathroom?

Nana and Paw-Paw...We are the tree trunk and these grandkids are our branches. Time does fly.

This photo was taken in 2001. Grandson, Austin, the little boy on top step was not present this year, so he is not pictured below. The boy on top step this year is Nicole's brother, and that is Nicole bottom center. We are so very proud of each and every one of these young people we call OURS. The picture below from this year is evidence that we produce cute offspring.

Christmas day our house overflowed with cookie eaters, game players, gift openers, sibling teasers, toy lovers, and adult kids acting young. I love it when all of us are under our roof. The noise is sometimes deafening, and the seating is limited, so invariably long-legged young adults sprawl on the floor. We step over one another, laugh raucously, over eat, and hug good-bye with a new appreciation for each other.
Bill and I vacuum, do a quick clean up, and settle in to reminisce about another year over and another almost begun. I glimpse a game piece on the floor, a handprint on the door, ALL of my Snapple peach tea bottles in the recycle bin. These THINGS don't matter. It is family that does.

I lie on the couch and he stretches out in his recliner, the room lit by the Christmas tree, and I give thanks for all of our babies. Although our only real baby is Liam at 18 months (not pictured because he was off scouting out chocolate chip cookies) and the next oldest is Nicole at age 8. Everyone else has topped us in height and cuteness and smartness. Each one makes us proud.

I picked up a black ponytail holder off the floor. I hung it up high on a knob in the bathroom, figuring one of the girls would call and ask if we found it.

A week has gone by and it was still hanging up high, because Kitty No-No likes to eat those stretch bands. Today, before my shower I reached for my pink shower cap. Before donning it, I spied the pony tail holder and pulled all my hair back into it and slipped on the cap. Nice, none of my escaping tendrils would get wet. I didn't have to shove fallen clumps back under as usual. I proceeded to take a long, leisurely shower and forgot about the pony tail holder.
When I got out of the tub and dried off, I yanked off the pink plastic shower cap. Instead of my shoulder length hair cascading as usual, I screamed at the sight of Ruth Buzzy in my mirror. My hair wasn't drawn severely back in a hair net, but in that dang ponytail holder! Geeze, once I got my heart rate back to normal, I towel dried, moisturized and tossed that stretchy band into the trash can.  

In case you are too young to know who actress Ruth Buzzy is, here's a photo of her from a 60s show called Laugh In.
Shocking I tell you; it was just shocking. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Let's play a little word game with my cutie pie

Let's play a little guessing game here. Sort of like Jeopardy. These photos all have something in common. I'll give you a clue. The puzzle has three words. Each word begins with letter C and the last word ends with letter S. Begin!
Liam and his mama, Ashley, my first grandchild. He's a smart whippersnapper like she was at this age, and he is just as cute.
You can see by the chocolate drool down his chin he served himself from the plate of cookies behind him and is accepting another one.
Here he is with his Nana, my daughter. When he saw her and her husband coming up the walkway to our house he was ecstatic, yelling, "Nana! Paw-paw!" She babysits him daily. Look at his left hand.
Here he is giggling with Nicole, who indulged him, as everyone else did.
Of course, yes indeedy, his mouth is stuffed with what else? A soft cookie for my sweetie boy.
No, I am not giving him a kiss. I am eating the other half of ANOTHER cookie.
If you haven't guessed the three words by now, I'll tell you.
Count them. 1,2,3,4,5,6. Five that you can see and one that Nicole slipped him.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Won't you come in for a visit?

 I bought a cloth placemat years ago and framed it. It looks so cute at Christmastime. This year it's a reminder of crazy weather conditions. This is the only snowman we'll see for a while. Today, on Christmas Eve, the temperature will climb into the high 60s. I am NOT complaining.
This is our homey little tree decorated mostly with ornaments from our children and grandchildren and former students. We believe in Santa, and we know that Jesus is the reason for the season.

When Liam came in and saw the tree, I had planned to point out all the cute ornaments and the manger scene to him. NOPE, that did not happen. He was thrilled with what else..."Balls, Nana, balls!" The lights splayed colorful "balls" all over the walls. He was in his glory.

Kitty sits guard over the stable. He's never nosed around in the tree before. This year I caught him knocking off certain ornaments, ones hung with thin gold string instead of hooks. He ate the string!

The sign: Grandma's Kitchen... Kids Spoiled Here
I have been baking (and eating) cookies galore this week. I baked chocolate chip, peanut butter, Russian tea cakes with ground pecans (our favorite), and then last evening I decided to bake another batch of chocolate chips since I had a bag of Ghiradelli chips left. Well, I spilled half the bag and had to trash them, so although I doubled the recipe, I had half the amount of chocolate chips. As if that wasn't bad enough, I mistakenly added double the amount of baking powder instead of baking soda. 
Those suckers raised up to muffin top size. So now we have cake-like chocolate chip cookies...the kind Panera Bread Co sells for $1.69 each.  
There is a home nearby that draws huge crowds driving by each night. Everyone calls it the Teddy Bear House. The owners decorate with hundreds of teddy bear displays and scenes. It is the most magical place. Although it was daytime, we took Liam by to see it. He was so excited, he ran down the walk. As I pointed out the many different scenes, he stopped and discovered his very favorite of all...and that was it! I couldn't get his attention after that.  
He noticed the pretend candy pieces and started shouting, "BALLS, Nana, BALLS!"
I'm sure he dreamed about the Teddy Bear House. He awoke from his nap laughing out loud.

May the magic of Christmas fill your homes and hearts. Thank you for your visits, your friendship.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A little something for YOU

I wish I could rent a hall and invite all of you to come have cookies with me. I baked chocolate chip cookies, also peanut butter, and I have two more kinds yet to bake. Since we can't be together, I will gift you with the following writing opportunities.

We all have files, folders and drawers filled with pieces rejected by ourselves or editors. Take a few minutes to review, revise, and resend to this paying market.

$50.00 for essays, short stories or poetry. Guidelines and examples provided. If you happen to get published on this site in the new year, will you please let me know?

We would all prefer to be paid in cash, but would you consider compensation of $25 toward the  purchase any item on this site? Jennifer Brown Banks, from Pen and Prosper is a contributor today. Peruse the post and leave a comment for Jen, then take a look at what they have to offer. This might be a great opportunity for you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


What a difference a year makes. Last December, Liam was no bigger than these stuffed snow people.
Now the little giggle box is twice their size. He is so good natured, always smiling and laughing. He even woke up from his nap laughing out loud.

In preparation for Santa's imminent arrival in our living room, I  showed him his scrap book with last year's photos of him with Santa. He would look at the pictures then close the book and look away, indicating he wasn't really comfortable with the big guy in the red suit.

When Santa came down the hallway into the living room, Liam clung to me. I explained, "Santa wants to hold you like he did when you were a little baby. You sit on his lap and I will take your picture, then I'll hold you." He understood, but he was not really happy, on the verge of tears, and then Santa talked, and Liam recognized his voice. He was trying to figure it all out, and ended up giving Santa  high five.
How I love these two guys!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Away, far away in a manger

The Reason for the Season
These are two of my Christmas treasures. This old nativity crèche belonged to Bill when we met, except for the crystal angel on your left, which was given to me by one of my students 25 years ago. She comes with a story.

My first grandchild, blonde, blue-eyed Ashley, was precious and precocious. She was almost three years old when she spied the angel. She came running to me and said, "Nana, something isn't right. There's a BALD angel in the stable!" I told her a simple version of the Christmas story and explained that an angel announced the birth to shepherds in the fields. She said, "I know that, but where is her hair?" She went on and on about the bald angel. No, I did not make a wig for the "glass angel" as she called her. Learning to handle little disappointments leads to handling the big ones in life.

She used to lie on the floor on her tummy and gaze into the stable. One day she came running up to me and said, "Nana, you have to do something. Quick! Turn off the lights." I pointed out that the lamps were off, and the overhead light was also off. She pointed to the baby Jesus and said, "But, the baby can't sleep with that bright light in his eyes. Please turn it off."

So, of course, I darkened the stable and made one little girl very happy. I wish I could so easily do that for her now, but life gets complicated and everyday does not bring happiness. Or peace.

Especially at this time of year, so many people try to purchase happiness. Contentment and inner peace, which have no monetary value, is what we should seek. Happiness is fleeting and fluid, and the gifts soon forgotten. Kind words and loving actions are the priceless gifts that we should give to others.
This drawing was done by my daughter, Ashley's mom, when she was 7 years old. Gazing at it brings to mind the days of long ago, when she and her little brother and I went caroling with the Sunday school group. We ended up in the church basement for a holiday party. My kids won an award for singing "Away in a Manger" by themselves. They received a bag of candy, and she almost choked to death on a jaw breaker. Thank God for the man next to me who dislodged it from her wind pipe. He was our angel that night. In an instance, my happiness almost turned to tragedy.

Jesus is the reason for the season and He is the path to peace. If only people could apply the holiday message year around, not just in December. My wish for each of you is for PEACE and good health.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A GIANT of a all senses of the word

We went on a cruise right after Thanksgiving and stopped in the ports of Jamaica, Caymen Island, and Cozumel, Mexico. We enjoy sailing the high seas, and let me tell you, that ship was rocking this time as we went through some heavy storms. The result was the cancellation of top deck, outdoor movie viewing, dance parties at night, and our last shore excursion. But overall, the trip was fun and we were able to relax for a few days.

 I WALKED ON A BEACH and SWAM IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA. I got my fix! I will make it through winter, now.

This cruise was completely different from the spring break cruise, where preteens ran wild.
There were few children on board and lots of senior citizens. We met some very interesting and friendly people. Like most passengers on board, I was unaware that that we walked among greatness, a true American hero.

He stood 7 feet tall, had a commanding presence, and after Googling him, I learned he has a host of aliases and occupations:

Chicago Slim, (his handle as a blue's guitarist and co-leader of a Chicago's Blues Band.)

 Right Reverened Dr. D. (his DJ handle) He was a Blues music radio announcer for years.

An All Star, All state American Prep basketball player in high school. What do you expect at 7 ft tall?

His other moniker is "The Bone Doc."

When he walked into the ship's comedy club, it was obvious he was a dignitary and received VIP treatment. He and his wife sat in front of us. I overheard his conversation with the comedy club manager. "Yeah, every now and then, I just have to get away and relax. You can't do what I do everyday of the week."

When we went to our cabin, I was amazed to see his picture flashed across the television on CNN.

Dr. Daniel Ivankovich has been selected as one of CNN's Top 10 Heroes.

A remarkable orthopedic surgeon, who operates out of three Chicago clinics, has served more than 100,000 uninsured or under insured patients since 2010 through his non-profits. He treats patients regardless of their ability to pay. He performs 5-7 surgeries a day. He IS a hero.

He was born in Croatia; his family defected to Chicago in 1965 when he was two years old. You can read more about him at the link below, and also discover who the other 9 CNN Heroes are, and how to vote for them.
I lifted this photo from his Face book page.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Moving onward and upward and a gift for you

This photograph, taken about five years ago, represents the competition among our grandsons as they show off their strength and prowess. Every grandchild has had his or her picture taken in the crook of this tree at some point in their lives. The tree no longer exists; a red bud tree has replaced the diseased and rotted tree, which not only shed its leaves but also began to shed its branches.

Gazing at this picture evokes so many emotion: a fear of climbing and falling, the exhilaration of attaining new heights, proving to one's self that anything can be accomplished, reaching beyond
self-imposed limits. Change, moving forward...growing. SUCCESS.

Every writer probably has felt some of these emotions. Sometimes the fear of success is as great as the fear of failure. Fear of making mistakes hinders us. A word of encouragement or approval propels us. Let nothing stand in your way.

You may never know the impact of your words, a smile, a tender touch. Give generously.

Offer a word of praise or encouragement to someone today.

Her is a gift for my writer friends. be sure to check out all of these calls for submissions at Cathy's calls.  Link works.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My rambling thoughts

Thanksgiving feast
a mouthful.
Toothless baby grins
children with missing teeth and braces
shoveling it in.
Great grandparents
Me, eating up all four generations.
Year after year: hubby methodically carving the turkey, a blend of delectable aromas rising from the side dishes. 
Everyone crowding in our small kitchen waiting for grace to be said, then a rush to the buffet style serving counter, and the dispersal of all ages to different rooms.
Some go to the lower level rec room where we have a large conference table covered with a holiday table cloth, a seating area with comfy furniture, video games and television.
The elders upstairs seated around the table, taking small bites.
Laughter, card games, board games.
Lazy loungers sprawled in overstuffed chairs with full tummies.
One last hurrah at dark as we pick at the pies and say NO MORE, but take one more bite.
This year, my heart aches for those no longer with us, loved ones far away, and the world situation.
 I am blessed, and when I count my blessings, I regard each of you. Thank you for your comments and readership.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. I am going to take a break for a few days. I have several writing deadlines and a great idea. 

A quiet room, a cup of peach tea and
I will accomplish some goals.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rainbows and snowflakes

This is an ever so special repost especially at this time of year.

Years ago I was with my 52 year old best friend Rose. She was in her final days, dying of cancer, wishing she could survive long enough to celebrate one more Thanksgiving and Christmas, her favorite times of the year.

On a cold, dreary November day, with no chance of any precipitation in the weather forecast, we dunked donuts at her kitchen table. Then she laid down to rest.

I walked around her home gazing at her decorative wall groupings. She'd loved having friends over and hosting Home Interior Parties. As I looked at the displays, I remembered us young. I walked past her Grandfather clock, and as it chimed, I realized how fast time was ticking for

I sat on the sofa in reflective prayer, questioning, wondering, pleading. And then, two miracles happened. A ray of sunshine pierced the heavy cloud cover, shone through her window, and refracted off her crystal chandelier, splaying rainbows all around the dining room.

I rushed to wake her. "I have a surprise for you. Come see." I helped her shuffle, step by step to the dining room. It took a few minutes, and I hoped and prayed that sunbeam would stay till she could see the glorious colors. She smiled and laughed weakly as those rainbows bounced all over her nightgown. She tried to capture them in her hands, a smile on her face. Then the cloud cover and gloom returned, as the rainbows disappeared.

I helped Rose inch her way to the couch in the living room, dragging fifty feet of oxygen hose behind her. As we sat, lost in our own thoughts, her oxygen tank pumping overtime, I parted the drapes behind the sofa and gazed out the picture window. I could not believe my eyes. Huge, hamster-size snowflakes were drifting to the ground covering the yard in  a blanket of soft white. I helped Rose reposition herself so she could see out, which required major effort on her part. But oh what a reward. Silent tears rolled down our cheeks.

I talked to her about the snowfalls when our kids were young and we were neighbors. I reminisced about sledding, building forts and igloos in the backyard, our dogs romping in the snow. "This is your gift," I told her. We sat in silent reverence for fifteen minutes, then I helped get her back to bed.

Rose passed away before Thanksgiving, and she did not celebrate another Christmas, but together she and I witnessed her last snowfall. For this gift from on high, I am forever thankful.

 Above those wintry, frustrating snow clouds, past the rainbows, I realized as Rose slept, there was hope... hope everlasting.  


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What was that smell?

On Sunday we went to a dance at the VFW hall, about an hour away, where our friend's band plays once a month. There were about 100 patrons, almost all over 60 years old and into their 80s. They were all very active senior citizens. The women excessively rouged their cheeks, wore sparkly sweaters, fancy tops, short skirts, high heels. The men wore western hats, button down shirts, big belt buckles, and cowboy boots. It was their one night of the month to shine, and did they put on a show.

Observing their courting gave us a glimpse into the pasts of these dear country folks. The men would stroll up to the ladies with their hands extended, with beaming smiles ask them to waltz, or two step, or slow dance. Some of the old timers blatantly flirted and tried to get free feels; some of the ladies enjoyed belly rubbing. The men walked the women to and from their seats as they must have done in their youth.

Regardless of age, it's human nature to want to feel attractive, flirt and play the dating/mating game. It felt like being at "Senior Town" instead of "Teen Town." They switched partners a lot. One woman in particular thought she was the belle of the ball. It was fun watching the dynamics. Some folks didn't sit down at all; they line danced when they weren't partner dancing.

I left the dance hall to go to the bathroom. When I reentered the room, I was overcome by a familiar fragrance. With the women outnumbering the men, I thought it was cologne, Evening in Paris or Chanel #5. I kept sniffing, but could not identify the brand. Then it finally hit me.

I leaned over and whispered in Bill's ear. "You know when a group of teen boys are in one place, and the room reeks of Axe Cologne? Well I just figured out what that fragrance is... every old man in here gussied up for the dance, and they're all wearing Old Spice after shave."

The old guys outdid the gals.


Sunday, November 15, 2015


I saw this today, and it spoke to me. My heart aches for the victims of the unspeakable atrocities happening in all parts of the world. I feel helpless, and it seems all I can do is to allow a quiet tear to spill, pray, and share these words.
Did you see on the morning news where mothers were banding together to provide the Syrian refugees passing through their towns with strap on baby carriers? Such a simple and thoughtful gesture for those whose arms and hearts ache more than mine will ever know. If only all of us reached out in kindness instead of revenge, hatred, anger.

"...later that night I held
an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers

across the whole world
and whispered,
'Where does it hurt?'

It answered,
everywhere.' "

by Warsan Shire
posted on Face Book

My problems seem trivial today and my heart feels heavy. In a few minutes we are going to a funeral visitation for a friend who lost his mom. Then we are going to a VFW hall to listen to another friend and his band play music that will trip a memory or two and soothe my soul.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Here's how it unfolds

We are so blessed that the daytime weather is still in the 60's and sunny. This was taken at dusk on the banks of the Mississippi River. Lots of barge traffic. As I watched a tug boat pushing a dozen barges against the current, I thought of all the times I've struggled. Sometimes I felt weighted down, going nowhere, marking time. Other times I felt ecstatic and lighthearted because of success, and life seemed as easy as pushing barges downstream. Had to stay within the channel and go with the flow.
If I had taken a better picture you could have seen how the tree was tilted at a 45 degree angle, and it appeared as if Bill could have kicked it over.

Some days I want to kick everything and clear a new path. I have a restless nature, and would like to affect change in my family, in the world. Ease burdens of those who are struggling, ill or in pain.
Sometimes I just want to uproot and take off, but then I hear my mom's words. She always said, "You can run away, but you can't out run your problems." I suppose there's a lot of truth to that. 
I look outside my front door and realize that although some of our friends have bigger and better houses, our little ranch house is just right for us, cozy and homey, and in a good neighborhood.

I have been in awe of this tree for 38 years, even though we have lived here for only 20 years. I used to drive past the very house we live in now and secretly yearn for it. The children were small, I was married to someone else, and we had only one car. After I dropped their daddy off at work, I drove slowly past, taking in the beauty of the tree, telling my children to say, "Thank you God for my eyes." I never dreamed that almost twenty years later, my dream house would come to me and that very tree would be in my neighbor's yard. Every autumn day that prayer goes from my mind to God's ear.
Everywhere I look the leaves are shaking loose and boogying on  a breeze. Their colors are vibrant or fading. Life is as it should be. Every day is a gift and I try to find something to be thankful for.
 As winter teases closer and closer and the days grow shorter, cyclical changes take place inside me, too. I slow. I dream. I wish. I hope. I resist. I give in. I intend. I fail. I succeed. I burrow. I achieve. I smile. I sneer. I look backward. I count forward. Hanging on to yesterday, I rush tomorrow.

At this time of year I feel as if I have shaken a wadded up, scented, crocheted edged, perfumed hanky and tossed its contents in the air: tiny bits of the past, present and future mingle, bringing to life those I've lost, and those I've found, and those still to come into my life.

I feel a longing for the ocean's rhythm inside my soul. My thoughts roll away as if on a melancholy wave, and return with an unexpected treasure.

Today I am inspired by an idea that will eventually take shape as a poem, a story, or maybe a book. Perhaps my idea will lay dormant through winter, and erupt in spring. It is germinating, and when it takes root, I am confident it will flourish. To rush it would be a mistake. To live in the past is a mistake, to live for the future prevents one from experiencing the moment, which is really the only thing any of us have.

Are you affected by seasonal changes? Do you like winter? We haven't had to turn our heat on yet. But the day is fast approaching. Do you cocoon? Or are you productive?


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monkeying around

We were going to the zoo-zoo-zoo, but he lost his shoe-shoe-shoe.
The animals we most wanted to see were Liam's favorite, the elephants, but their compound was being cleaned after their Halloween frolic and pumpkin mess, so they were not on display. Instead we discovered the very entertaining orangutans.
Liam was telling me all about them, as he strolled around with his favorite blanket, observing.
He was fascinated when this adult one played on the ropes. I'm sure he thought he could, too. A mama orangutan had a baby clinging to her. She discovered a large square parcel of straw, and two bed sheets. I could see the "light bulb" go off  over her head as she got a bright idea. She dragged the material and her clinging baby down into a little gully away from the visitors.
She shredded the straw, spread it all around, and covered it with a sheet. Then she dislodged her clinging baby, and gently laid him down. He refused to lie down. After many attempts, this exhausted mama gave up and covered her own head with the sheet. As the baby tried to scamper away, the daddy or aunty came to assist. See the kiss she threw to Liam? Those babies puckered up at each other.
Then it was time to leave and have our snack. Look at Liam's jaws stuffed with peanut butter crackers.
It sure was fun to monkey around with my 16 month old boy. When he saw a lemur, he screeched, "Hi kitty cat." He thought it was our cat and couldn't understand why he couldn't pet it through the glass. We have been blessed with another week of warm weather. It's going to be almost 80 tomorrow, so my honey and I will take a hike. Come back for more photos of our adventure. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Puppy Love

In our town, it is tradition for trick or treaters to tell a joke or sing a song before they get their treat. Lots of cute jokes on this night. But let me tell you, sometimes the best jokes happen after Halloween, as was the case in our house this morning.
Hubby and I were watching TV. How he can tune out the commercials and be looking right at them is beyond me. I hate commercials, especially the guys who scream their advertising campaign messages like EVERY one in the room is hard of hearing. I can ask hubby what they said, and he'll reply, "I don't know. I wasn't paying attention."
He knows I often talk to the TV. I shouted, "If you're going to yell at me, I am not going to listen."
I muted the volume, and that got my honey's attention. He looked directly at me and said, "Okay, Say it again. I'll listen. I will. What are you mad about?"
I laughed and laughed. That's how much he listens to ME. 
Nana's girl is growing up. Nicole celebrated her 8th birthday. It seems only yesterday she was my little pumpkin in preschool. Still not too big for cuddling and getting hugs from Nana.

Her brother Nicholas is a great kid, excellent 8th grader, and thinks he may want to be an orthodontist or a chef. Hmmm, I'm sure he will change his mind a few more times. 

Liam walked in the door, took one look at Grandpa, sat down on the floor, and refused to move. Then Paw-Paw got his dinosaur, and as you can tell, they were good buddies.

                                                    PUPPY LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!
Liam marched right up to the cat, and said, "Hi, kitty cat." The cat is so tolerant of him.
My first grandbaby, Liam's mommy, and my first great-grandbaby. Gee, I'm getting old.
I am so blessed.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Publication Opportunity

Here in Missouri, the trees are decked out in their finest. It is the last week of October and we are finally feeling fall temperatures. It will be in the 60s this week instead of  the mid 80s.
We drove to the country about 45 minutes away to visit granddaughter, Ashley and family. As we turned down her road we were taken aback by two of the most beautifully shaped fall trees in all their splendor. We were so enamored with them, we passed her house, had to turn around and backtrack. We laughed at ourselves when we realized these trees are on their front lawn.
Dusk was falling, so the hillside was not illuminated and does not look as colorful in this photo as it did earlier when we came upon the lake with a lone cow, its movements a fluid reflection.
We headed home into the sunset, after a delicious meal and delightful family time.
As we pulled into our driveway, I was in awe as the colors blended and swirled. I am very thankful for my eyesight. It truly is nature's gifts which make me happiest. And although I dread winter, autumn makes me feel so at peace and grateful for my many blessings.
At this time of year, my usual restlessness gives way to slowing: my respirations, my urge to go-go-go. I cocoon under kitty-soft fleece, snug in the heart of our comfortable home. Iced drinks are replaced by mugs of warm beverages. The front door is open, and through the glass storm door I watch the dance of birds, flutter of leaves, scampering of chipmunks and tag-playing squirrels. Across the road, a hawk soars into the farmers' fallow fields seeking a meal. I feel the need to spread fertilizer on paper and perhaps grow a poem. Maybe you will want to also. Be sure to add a SASE.

Ideals Publications 
2630 Elm Hill Poke, Suite 100
Nashville, TN 37214


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Who's trickin' and who's treatin' ?

We are invited to an after Halloween costume party. Still debating what we will wear. But these are my favorites. Halloween used to be my favorite fun holiday. We used to win costume contests. Lately we are more into what the grandkids will be wearing. I'm thinking it's our time to howl again.

Do you have big plans this Halloween? Will you be tricking OR treating? We have never had a trick-or treater in 20 years, because we live on a main street. Do you have lots of visitors?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Who's the predator now?

My hubby, the hard of hearing wonderful man who is always tinkering, sometimes spends an afternoon watching loud, banshee screaming Netflix movies. Lately he's been hooked on ZOO (I think) where the animals turn on humans.

You can't convince me that people aren't affected by what they view. He had a near escape and then told me about what happened yesterday.

After viewing an entire reverse food chain series, he turned off the TV and headed to the back yard to do something in the shed. As he exited the shed and walked into the yard, he froze in his tracks. He saw both of the wild critters on the patio. They stopped in their tracks, too. They glared at him, then they gave each other a signal to attack, and both of them charged at him. Fearing the worst, he FROZE as they split up. One went to his left and the other to his right. He didn't know which way to look.

Those fat chipmunks have been camping out or preparing their winter home under the shed for a week now. When I sit on the patio to read, they zip by me, hang by their legs over a ledge and look me up and down, then jump in the sedum flowers and tear off across the yard. One goes to the right, and one to the left. ALWAYS. I'm pretty sure they're strategy is to avoid a hungry hawk nearby.

Can you imagine what they thought about the 6' 2" predator standing in their way? I know what he thought about those two cuties! And I have been laughing ever since. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

It takes a village or reaching across the generations

Click on the link to read my story, Two Little Words With A Big Impact, first published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, My Resolution, 2008.

It has found a new home in Chicken Soup for the Soul Raising Great Kids. I am thrilled to know my words will continue to impact others.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Great Kids
101 Stories about Sharing Values from Generation to Generation

Tolerance, respect, compassion and other values start at home, in healthy, strong relationships between the generations. These stories provide practical, insightful tips for parents and grandparents looking to strengthen their families and raise successful children.

As role models, parents and grandparents teach good values, like tolerance, accepting differences, shedding prejudices, and making good decisions. And having those traits makes us more successful as adults, too.

The personal stories in this collection not only show adult readers how to be their best selves, but also offer great advice on how to raise resilient, confident, upstanding kids — kids who exhibit all the qualities of acceptance, courage, and inner strength. These stories provide practical, insightful tips for parents and grandparents looking to strengthen their families and raise caring, confident, successful children.

This book harnesses the power of storytelling to inspire and teach while also entertaining readers. Key issues such as bullying; religious, ethnic, and lifestyle tolerance; values; and making good decisions are addressed in stories selected from Chicken Soup for the Soul’s vast library of bestselling books, representing the best on these topics from the company’s 22-year history.

This book is a joint project of Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Boniuk Foundation, which are working together to promote tolerance, respect, and compassion, inspiring young people and adults to embrace their differences, reject stereotypes, and make good choices. It’s part of a larger effort that includes additional books for kids and preteens, teens, and college students, as well as a family television show every Saturday morning starting in Octob
Tolerance, respect, compassion and other values start at home, in healthy, strong relationships between the generations. These stories provide practical, insightful tips for parents and grandparents looking to strengthen their families and raise successful children.
As role models, parents and grandparents teach good values, like tolerance, accepting differences, shedding prejudices, and making good decisions. And having those traits makes us more successful as adults, too.

The personal stories in this collection not only show adult readers how to be their best selves, but also offer great advice on how to raise resilient, confident, upstanding kids — kids who exhibit all the qualities of acceptance, courage, and inner strength. These stories provide practical, insightful tips for parents and grandparents looking to strengthen their families and raise caring, confident, successful children.

This book harnesses the power of storytelling to inspire and teach while also entertaining readers. Key issues such as bullying; religious, ethnic, and lifestyle tolerance; values; and making good decisions are addressed in stories selected from Chicken Soup for the Soul’s vast library of bestselling books, representing the best on these topics from the company’s 22-year history.

This book is a joint project of Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Boniuk Foundation, which are working together to promote tolerance, respect, and compassion, inspiring young people and adults to embrace their differences, reject stereotypes, and make good choices. It’s part of a larger effort that includes additional books for kids and preteens, teens, and college students, as well as a family television show every Saturday morning starting in October.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Aww, you're nuts!

Stop by for a visit with my friend Lisa Ricard Claro who wrote a post about not waiting until it's too late to get your family history info.

I visited with my late mom's last surviving siblings, three sisters, twins 79 years old and one who is 87. One of the twins told me Grandpa courted Grandma on his horse.

I can't even remember which one said it, but the conversation went like this:

Oh that is not true!
Daddy never had a horse.
When he was young he did. Mom told me.
Mom would have told me. I'm the oldest, and I never heard that.
Aw, you're nuts!
You're crazy!
He did.
Did not!
Did too!

My male cousin, who is my age, and I looked at one another. As they argued among themselves, I said to him, "Can you imagine the noise level with six of them at 5206 Plomo?"

At once, all of my aunts stopped talking over one another when they heard the address.

Hey, I lived at 5206.
I did, too.
Of course you did, that was Mom and Daddy's house.
Aw, you're all nuts.
No I'm not. We grew up at 5206 Plomo.

By the time I left, I felt like I had spent a day back in the classroom. But I did learn that:

You better not put any notice in the paper about me when I die. I don't want any service at all.
I want a big and fancy funeral.
Oh not me, cremate me and be done with it.

I wanted to shout, "You're killing me!"
But since they are Italian and German, I stood up and put my hands on my wide hips and then did the hand motion for them to come along, so we could go out to lunch.
Not much old history learned, but a lot of repeat history.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Things that made me sigh with satisfaction

My daughter and I took Liam to the pumpkin patch, but it was too close to his nap time and we didn't get too many smiles, until he picked up a small white pumpkin and excitedly shouted, "Ball." and tossed it!
Hubby and I went on a picnic midweek. We drove about an hour into Illinois, to Carlyle Lake where we used to camp. We were pleased to see the migratory birds dotting the lake like marshmallows. Upon closer look, we couldn't tell if they were whooping cranes or pelicans. They were huge birds with wide wingspans and black markings on the underside of their wings.  
A few years ago we saw a huge flock of these birds way up high in the sky above the river.

Farmers were out in droves on tractors and farm equipment harvesting cornfields. It's that time of year. Winter wheat or hay is rolled into bundles, sustenance for the farm animals.

We enjoy driving the back roads through small towns. We came upon this ramshackle homestead, long abandoned. My imagination went wild. If I were younger, I would have gone into the home. I used to love doing that. To stand in silence and listen with my heart... to see, hear and feel the voices of the past. To discover the old sinks where dishes were hand washed and dried, antique ranges where some woman baked biscuits for her family. To connect with yesterday.

What is your greatest autumn treasure as the days begin to shorten and cooler weather prevails?