Sunday, April 30, 2017

No horsing around

The year was 1972. Tracey was two. I was expecting our second child. Her daddy and I placed her baby bed mattress in the back seat of the car, and off we went to visit my dad and brother in Reno, Nevada.

What a road trip. We traveled the Northern route going through Utah and saw the opulent Mormon Tabernacle and gold pavement. 

We came back home the Southern route, on Highway 66. At one point, I wish I could remember where we were, maybe Wyoming or Colorado, there was a detour on the highway. There were torrential rains, the kind we are experiencing now. The unpaved, two lane road was a muddy mess as we traversed it through no man's land. I fretted that we'd get stuck.

Off to my right, ahead in the distance, I noticed great motion. A herd of wild horses, perhaps Mustangs, came thundering at full speed right past us. It was an unbelievable sight to behold. An image forever ingrained...because I had no camera, or was it flash cubes? This is a stock photo. 

That herd of free spirited wanderers took my mind off the fact that I was having a miscarriage. The following year, I had Jason, and three years  later we took the kids to Disney Land in California. I so hoped we would see those wild stallions again. But we didn't. Closest we came to a horse, was riding the Merry Go 'Round with Mickey.

Funny isn't it how a memory sneaks up on you?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

When the fish is bigger than YOU

We are fortunate to have so many low-cost or cost-free attractions in St. Louis. On this beautiful spring day, when the temperature climbed higher that 80 degrees, Liam and I spent the morning exploring the Missouri Botanical Gardens for a total of $4.00.  

 This little dinosaur lover and I had so much fun strolling part of the 79 acres of horticultural displays, and we especially liked the Japanese Garden. Liam liked Pioneer village, a children's multi-level fort built into the trees and surroundings.
 He wanted to smell the flowers, and he watched a big bumble bee gather nectar.
 The peonies are gorgeous and blooming. They remind me of a lush peony bush we once had.
 And were we thrilled to be able to count 10 turtles sitting on a log. Then we heard a bull frog "gallump."
 Liam was excited that he could step over the stream, and sit on a rock. He was amazed and shouted, "Nana, I in the middle of the water, and I am not wet!" He was on the lookout for wildlife. Just wait until you see what he saw. Keep scrolling.
 Three years ago when he was still in his mommy's tummy, I almost fell off this platform while taking "maternity pictures," and his daddy had to catch me. Walking there again gave me the willies. I love this pensive pose.
 Before we knew it we were being visited by the koi in the lake. Look at that huge one! We fed them fish food pellets. Liam kept saying, "Here's some more cohn." He thought it was corn kernels. Then he said, "Wow they got big moufs!"
Ducks on top the water, fish in the water. What better way to learn positions?

This little daredevil thinks he can do everything the big kids can. Yes, I was holding my breath. He is determined and was successful. When three school groups came in, we left, much to his chagrin.

Need you really ask if he got wet? Although it was a breezy 70 degrees when we arrived, he could not resist temptation, and within minutes he was scooting through the sprinklers. Good thing I brought TWO changes of clothes for him and his Crocs.

After a picnic lunch we headed home for a nap.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Park it!

I penned a poem in honor of Earth Day. Things change when one parks the car and becomes a pedestrian.

Trade In

Had a head on collision with my conscience
during rush hour gridlock, as I inhaled motorists'
tobacco smoke and engine exhaust.

Popped the clutch, took a great escape exit.
Twisted my ring, vowed to hang up the key,
trade my lead foot for a flat foot experience.

Swapped my speedometer for a pedometer,
raised my metabolism, lowered my blood pressure
racked up the miles, added more smiles.

Not missing the highway din, weaving out and in.
Enjoying my excursions and all the diversions.
Discoveries abound: curb appeal is money found.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Sabotaged by the thin one

A conversation with my alter ego

Me talking to myself: You know you really shouldn’t skip breakfast, and for a buck you can get a sausage/egg biscuit. Next exit, McDonalds! Pull in, sister.

No! No! NO! Fatso, you just keep driving. You know very well if you pull through that drive through, you’ll be pulling out with a cin-a-bun instead of a sausage biscuit.

Darn that crazy driver! I can’t get over; now I missed my Mickey D's exit.

Don’t worry Chunky Monkey, Schnucks Market is up ahead; buy yourself some fresh fruit.

Schnucks, yes, apples! Ahhh; their apple turnovers melt in my mouth.

Hey Butter Biscuit Butt, did you look in the mirror when you stuffed all that flab into your pants this morning? You’re not sucking in that gut as well as you used to.

Oh, whatever! I’m going to love myself the way I am.

The scale says there’s more of you to love, sugar dumpling. Still want that apple tart?

SHUT UP you little tart! I know I have 10 pounds to lose.

Heh-heh! 10? Kidding yourself again, Thunder Thighs?

Life is too short; I’m going to pull in and get an apple turnover.

Hey Bimbo, eat that turnover and soon you won’t be able to turn yourself over.

I am just going to love the skin I’m in.

Hey Pudge, they make Spanx that can suck in that skin you’re in.

Oh all right! I really don’t need the junk. I do need to eat better, and eat less. A lot less. I’ll be good and I’ll buy fruit, and I'll eat light all day today.

That-a-girl. Hey Fat Ass,


I just want to remind you there’s a free casino buffet coupon on your kitchen counter. They have a great selection of healthy vegetables, and oh those desserts: coconut cream pie, loaded brownies, eclairs, ice cream...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kids gone wild

Seems every get together at our house ends up in water play. Usually Paw-Paw is the perpetrator of all things water. But this time, he was not involved. 

The parents don't like it, but oh the memories the kids make when they come for a visit. On Easter when they broke out the squirt guns, there were no holds barred. Nick had the advantage, which ticked off Nicole. Liam was just glad to be included.

Our Bosnian neighbor, who speaks limited English, thought he was helping Liam by giving him the upper hand over the big kids. He called him over and showed him how to use his hose which has a firefighter type nozzle.

He never expected Liam to accidentally turn the stream on him in all his excitement. Later in the day, Liam went over to him, lowered his head, and said, "I sorry."

He didn't tell ME he was sorry for deliberately turning the hose on me a second after I snapped this photo. There was lots of rollicking laughter and fun by spectators as well as participants.

 Amazing what a dollar can do to make a little boy so happy. He bought a bag of balloons, and asked me to inflate them one at a time. He was surprised when I tied them all together and made a huge balloon bouquet. He tossed them and laughed so hard. He cried real tears when one popped.
 Then he made his own discoveries with Paw-paw's flashlight. "Nana, light shines through my balloons. I made yellow light, blue light, red light. LOOK!"
 He wanted me to fill the rest of his balloons with water, so we took them to the park to share with two little boys there. We ended our day at the playground, then a bath, and I read Bunny Trouble, one of my favorite books about a bunny named Ralph, who would rather play soccer than decorate eggs.

I taught Liam this balloon poem: I had a round balloon, almost as big as the moon. It floated so high into the air, then suddenly POP (clap hands) it wasn't there.

I asked him to think of as many things as he could up in the sky that might have popped the balloon.

He replied: a bee, a fly, a flea, a helicopter, a cloud, an airplane, a red bird. This kid is a thinker!

When I taught preschoolers, I always prompted my students for three answers: What? What else? and think of one more thing? If you have a little one, try this activity. What can fly? hop? is green? etc.
What makes ME so happy? This little happy-faced boy. He was missing his mommy. He said he loves her soft hair, squishy face, and the ways she tickles his back. Now that is love times three!

I am back to writing and submitting. Warm, sunny days make me WANT to write. I am inspired by sights, smells, and sounds, memories, and doughnuts. I submitted a serious poem with innuendo to a doughnut-themed collection. Now that's a stretch. Also wrote about wind turbines. I am diverse and prolific. How about you? Has spring fever infused you with renewed energy?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hop on in and meet the family.

Nicole is nine and as sweet and cute as ever. Liam loves her!

They had an Easter egg hunt. But the real fun didn't begin until later. Be sure to come back later this week to see what happened to the Bosnian man next door when he tried to intervene when all the grand kids went more wild than March hares. 

He meant well. He did. He really thought he was being helpful.

This is my son, Jason, and his wife, Jackie, and 15 year old, Nicholas, who has been battling with them to keep his long "la cross player" hair. He's varsity team captain and is only a freshman. He has a career in sports ahead of him.

 Liam's mommy, Ashley, 27, and daddy, Justin, brought Alex, who's still a bun in the oven.
Ashley is our oldest grandchild and has given us plenty of laugh lines.

Kyle, almost 24, is our second oldest. He and Gramps are best buds, always have been, always will be. Kyle has owned his own very profitable lawn care, tree trimming business, since he was sixteen. He graduated college, but he's really interested in farming, wants to raise dairy cows and buy a farm. I am sure he will one day. When he sets his mind to something...

He was searching on his phone, and someone asked if he was a on looking for a girlfriend. He joked, "No, I'm looking for a heifer."   One of the cousins piped up, "Same difference." Always a laugh-a-minute at our get togethers.
 Morgan, 17, is Kyle's sister, and this is Justin, her boyfriend. One more year of high school, and away she'll go, too. Her brother, George, 20 years old, is at college in New York.

Robin and George are their parents. Robin just flew in from NY from visiting their all star volley ball champ. She had to be at the airport at 3:00 a.m. She was ready to crash by the time she arrived at our house.

Madison, 19, with those stunning blue eyes and strawberry blonde ringlets has always been a heart stealer. A year of college under her belt, a part time job, and she's trying to decide which direction life leads her.

Sean, 18 in June, is Madison's brother. He'll be graduating high school in a few weeks, and is talking about a Navy career. He says he can retire in his 30's. He has every detail of his life, including his marriage to his long time girlfriend, a future scientist planned.

This is their mom, Bill's younger daughter, Michele. Her hubby, Joe, a firefighter, had to work.

This is my firstborn, Tracey, also known as Ashley's and Austin's super mama, and Liam's nana.

This is my son, Jason, Nicholas' and Nicole's super dad.

And this is my funny honey, who did NOT get in on the action yesterday when all of the kids went wild. Be sure to come back this week when I post incriminating evidence of the event.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Cupcakes, candy, and my sweeties

I just  watched April the giraffe give birth to her baby boy. It made me feel weepy and emotional.

Liam's mommy posted the five month ultrasound picture of his baby brother. Gazing at the image of that little honey boy made my heart swell with love and anticipation. Liam is getting mighty impatient, too. He keeps saying, "Where IS HE!?"

Oh he  knows. He kisses mommy's belly all the time and talks to baby Alex. He is going to be such a good helper. He loves babies.

87 degrees today. I have been baking desserts and cooking all afternoon, so tomorrow before the family arrives, I'll pop the potatoes and pasta in the oven. I'll rise early, make deviled eggs, a garden salad, and a fruit salad, and wait for all my sweeties to arrive. Our former babies are all tall teens now, and our two oldest are in their mid-twenties. Where have the years gone?

Our kitchen is being taken over by ceramic bunnies. They are on the window sill, guarding the cupcake trays and sitting on shelves. Can't wait to see Liam's happy face when he discovers them.
Hmm, I just counted the sprinkled cupcakes. My funny honey thinks if he moves them around I won't notice there aren't a dozen on the tray. Boys will be boys.

Wishing everyone a Happy Easter, sunshine, and blessings.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring has sprung, and the boys have a new set of wheels

These are my wonderful finds of the day. Saturday mornings I like to drive to nearby yard sales. Today I bought this nice stroller for five dollars. It's black and gray with red trim, and it looks boyish. It's the kind I can release and set up with one hand. Just what an old granny needs when her hands are filled with little boys and their stuff. It will come in handy when new baby Alex arrives.

On the way home from lunch today, I asked my honey to stop at a Goodwill store in the city, where I found this lovely spring wreath with silk greenery and gorgeous cabbage roses... for three dollars! I added the sweet little ceramic rabbit which makes me feel as happy as a real bunny in a field of clover.

Gazing at it with the door open, the sun shining, and the temperature a breezy 80 degrees, makes me grateful for the little things in my life. I really don't need a lot of expensive things to make me happy.

Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be as glorious as today's, and I am sure I will have more to share with you on Monday. I will post when it is raining and storming, but for now, I am enjoying this beautiful spring day.

Do you have a front door wreath, or is that just a Midwest thing?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A penny for your thoughts, or five bucks for the day

It's no secret, my honey and I go to the casino  senior buffet on Tuesday, each with a 20 bill. Yesterday was a profitable day; I came out with more than $20.

A sweet and dear lady in her late 80's chose the machine beside me. Her daughter said, "I'm parking you here for the day, Mom. Here, I'll put your money in, plus last week that lady gave you her ten dollar ticket when she was ready to go home. I don't know why she didn't cash it in, but you have more than enough to play on."

After watching this woman, I knew exactly why the gal last week gave her a pity donation. The daughter showed her mom how to play the machine. "You press the number 1 and then the amount #1."

I almost gasped out loud when the daughter left to go have her fun.

The senior lady said to me, "I wonder how Bob would like these machines? He's been gone 20 years, but I think he'd like them. Don't you?"

I smiled and said, "Yes. I remember when I used to complain to my children that I was not giving them a quarter to play Pac Man. It was a waste of money. Now look at me spending one quarter after another in these one armed bandits every Tuesday."

She said, "Well I don't drink, or go to the movies, or spend money any other way. I have lots of children I visit. They bring me here on Tuesdays for fun. I like winning a little here and there."

I pointed out she was playing one line for one penny, and if she upped her bet to a nickle or quarter she would  win way more than ten or fifteen cents. She said she had to make her money last, and she didn't mind. When she hit a jackpot for 80 cents she got so excited.

I was aggravated with her daughter for dumping her there with five bucks and making her think she was winning. When I got up to leave, the dear said, "I didn't run you off, did I?"

I assured her she didn't. I almost donated my winnings to her, but instead I went to another machine.

Another older woman (senior buffet, remember?) sat across the aisle from me. When she got up, she walked toward me, and her head snapped back. She looked over her shoulder, stunned. I watched as she looked around trying to figure out what was going on.

She was still tethered to her card, which was connected to a five feet long spring coil cord... and the card was stuck firmly in the machine. She was going nowhere fast. It took her a moment to figure it out, unfasten the clasp on her collar, and backtrack to her stuck card. I had to cover my mouth so she didn't see me laughing. She looked like a dog discovering she was on a too short leash.

As we were leaving, a bus load of seniors was entering, joking about being carded to see who didn't look their age. Those old jokers!

No need to remind me, I am one, too.