Wednesday, December 30, 2020

No, it wasn't the same, but different can be good

Christmas 2020 is in the history books. Such a different holiday for us. Bill and I visited each of our four adult children in their homes instead of everyone gathering in our small house. It really was very 
intimate and special this year.

Seeing the great grandsons was as much a delight as it was seeing our own kids and older grandkids who were home from college/work. We spent quality time with each family, missed two oldest grands, but we plan to throw a big bash this summer where we can all be together again, hopefully. Good-bye 2020!

We walked in the front door with a container of fluffy, plush snowballs and set the boys into action. They bombarded paw paw and had the best snowball fight with us. Their laughter is a happy memory.

Alex is quite the tinkerer at age three. He received two sets of tools and has been using them! He likes his goggles and work gloves. He has a car that has removable parts and he loves it!

Charlie is the typical active  two year old, vocalizing in full sentences now more than striking out and screaming. But as you can see he got very excited here when he realized what was about to happen...

Charlie saw Alex wearing his chef outfit, and mama on her way to make green pancakes for Christmas breakfast. Alex loves to help cook. 
Liam, age six, received SO many video games and battery operated cars and things to play with. However when I showed him what we could do with the empty box in which I carried the gifts, he was mesmerized. He has inherited his mom's artistic ability. He had fun with his remote control car that did flips and zoomed around, but he was as interested in what I was doing. He watched me turn the box upside down and lay out dry erase markers and eraser. He took the things into his room and began to draw on the plasticized cardboard which makes it a dry erase board. Charlie left the chaos of the livingroom to find Liam, and when he did, he sat right beside him and also drew. 

 Who says kids need expensive toys?! I used to present workshops for teachers: Learning Games from Trash to Treasure. Notice, the box is on a slant. When the child rests his arm on the box, it provides the stabilization needed to support the wrist/forearm. This discarded box provided much entertainment. 

I hope you had a good holiday and are prepared to beat the heck out of 2020 tomorrow night. When the boys' mama Ashley was three, she was spending the night with her great grandma. I called at midnight and told her to get a pot and big spoon and beat the heck out of the old year.

She handed my mom the phone and said, "Nana wants me to beat the heck out of an old deer with a pot and spoon."

We are on a countdown now. Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

But what can I DO?

I wake early. Make a cup of green tea and sit and sip my warm beverage by the light of the Christmas tree. I gaze at the meaningful, simple, and homemade ornaments, which are priceless to me. There are framed photos and scribble designs made by our children, grandchildren and great grandsons which span almost half a century. A tiny gauzy angel which belonged to Bill's late mom adorns a branch high on our tree. It is possibly a century old. I revel in the beauty of the lights. I can almost hear my first great grandson at age two shouting excitedly, "Balls, Nana, Balls!" Balls were his favoroite thing then, and when he saw the colors splayed like balls all over the livingroom, his joy became mine. To this day I can feel that joy in my heart.
I look back at Christmases past and wonder if times were better or just seem to have been. I cherish meories of Tracey's and Jason's childhoods. We had such fun sled riding, decorating, making cookies and sitting on Santa's lap and especially visiting family on Christmas Eve. I miss my mom more than ever.

I miss the close contact most of all, the hugging, smooching of little cheeks, and wide-eyed close talking as they share their innermost thoughts and excitement about their presents. 

When my daughter was five she unwrapped a little purse. She held it up, pointed to the dangling price tag, and shouted with glee, "Look! Santa shops at Target, too!" Oh the memories.

I love this little statue of Santa holding a candle. It reminds me of a long ago song: This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine... 

The message brings hope in times of despair and uncertainty. All is calm... all is bright. If ONLY. 

Peace begins with each of us. Random acts of kindness pile up like presents, and each of us gets to distribute our gifts. Let your light shine. Seek peace, calm, serenity and remember that Jesus IS the reason for the season. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you.

 I had my annual well visit yesterday. My doctor asked how I was feeling. Tears brimmed when I told her I missed nine months with my great grandsons. She agreed isolation is the worst. And she asked how things are at home.

"Oh fine. Really! Bill makes me laugh, and I make him food. We're happy!"

She laughed out loud. I think she needed that. Her husband has a terminal illness. I told her I pray for her and him. It was good see the gratititude in her expression. These are the random acts of kindness that cost nothing and pay off big. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

From five cents to five bucks

Did you ever lose something and instead of feeling upset, it made you really happy? And then you lost a second one and it doubled your happiness?

It's pretty big stuff when you're six years old and you lose your first baby tooth. Liam was ecstatic when his right front tooth fell out at school last week. They sent it home in a little plastic container shaped like a tooth. 

The tooth fairy left him five bucks. If I recall, she left me five cents! But you know, inflation and all.  

Yesterday the second tooth fell out as he was riding the bus to school. Luckily he was wearing his mask. His mom came home after work, and he stood in front of her with his mouth closed. He kept staring at her.  Ashley said, "What's wrong?" Then he smiled.

All he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth. 

I remember when those teeth came in. He was almost a year old and still toothless. The teething toys didn't do a thing, so I bought a big fat carrot for him to gnaw on. When he tired of it, I dipped the tip in syrup so he would chew some more. After a few days, his first tooth erupted and then the second. 

We were so excited when those teeth came in, and now he's excited that they are coming out. 

Times they are a changing. I will be so happy when I can squeeze him and his brothers again.

Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. we saw their mama's car pull into our driveway. Bill and I ran outside in our robes to the delighed squeals and shouts of "Nana! PawPaw!" and Charlie screamimg, "Hi Nanny!" He refuses ot call me Nana anymore. He is distinguishing "nanas are yellow and yummy" I am Nanny now for him.

The joy those little faces and voices brought us was immense. There parents were taking them to view holiday lights and dropped by to surprise us. I ran back inside to get cookies for them. They were in their jammies, each with his own blanket and bag of snacks. We so wanted to hug each one, but made do with rubbing their hair and telling them how much we loved them. 

As they waved good-bye, we turned to go inside, then I turned around and darted after the car in my robe. I raced their car up the driveway and out to the street, to the sounds of their hysterical laughter.

It truly is the little things in life that matter. 

Friday, December 4, 2020

That's WRITE!

When this change of (my) life occurs, I "fall back" unwillingly, unproductive, and out of sorts. But after a while I get used to the cat meowing in my face at 4:30 instead of 5:30. I accept Daylight Savings Time. 

What actually IS: I fall into deep restorative sleep on the couch from 7 or 8-10:00 p.m. I watch the late NEWS and then have insomnia until 2:00 a.m. This is time I could be putting to good use, as in doing chores or writing, but I'd rather stay cozy under covers, complain,  and wish for what was.  

I procrastinate big time. I am so bad I don't even get on the computer. I access my blog, emails and Facebook through my cell phone. Unfortunately my phone does not allow me to respond. I tell myself I'll to do it later. 

Later happens about 6:00 p.m. when it's pitch dark and I'm quite certain it is almost late NEWS time. But it isn't!

I "ugh" and "oh no" for an entire month. My submissions calendar has so much white space you'd swear it snowed on my desk. Yes, I use a real wall calendar, ready at a glace.

By Decemeber I'm in my new groove. Wish me luck. I've turned the page. So far I am on a roll and picking up speed. I have submitted three pieces and am feeling the urge to write. I think I'll give in to my whim.

Check out publishing opportunities here

Saturday, November 28, 2020

A flower from heaven

In late summer and through fall, these flowers (sedum) are pale pinkish purple and attract insects.

Since last week the flowers wilted and shriveled on the stems.
On November 19th, a day or two before the 20th anniversary of my friend Rose's death, I discovered this growing right up out of the center of the plant. Not so unusual you say? 
Read on.
Before my best friend Rose died of lung cancer, we made a pact that if there was an afterlife she would send me a flower in winter. I have received an unexpected blossom/flower, different varieties and colors ever since the first anniversary.  

I wrote a story, titled The Golden Girls, which was published in Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul about the very first flower I received. 

 I am never surprised, forever grateful, and always in awe. No we havent had a hard freeze, but we are on the cusp, so I can't declare it to be winter, but definitely the growing season is finished for these flowers. 

Another year without my friend, another gift from her from beyond.


Friday, November 20, 2020

Sit down and drink up... INTRODUCING

Melissa Face, author of  I Love You More Than Coffee, an essay collection for parents who love coffee a lot and their kids… a little more. 
Her essays and articles have appeared in Richmond Family Magazine, ScaryMommy, and twenty-one volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Read more at

Book Description

Are you trying to balance raising a family with maintaining your own identity?

Have you ever been so exhausted that you showed up to a meeting carrying your baby’s diaper bag instead of your briefcase?

In her debut collection, 
I Love You More Than Coffee, Melissa Face writes about the emotions we all experience as parents: anticipation, joy, fear, guilt, and worry. Whether you are a new or seasoned parent, you will find common ground in Melissa’s heartfelt, humorous, and authentic stories of her life with two young children.

If you love coffee a lot and your kids (a little) more, this book is for you. Fill your mug with your favorite brew and settle in with I Love You More Than Coffee.

Melissa Face, 
Author of I Love You More Than Coffee (Mascot Books, September 2020)
Facebook & Instagram - @MelissaFaceWrites

:  Melissa, tell us about some of your roles in life, but first, we have to know how you came up with such an interesting book title! How did you come up with the name of your collection?

: Okay, the title actually came from my daughter, Delaney. She was three at the time, and she was questioning me about where she ranked in my life. She asked me if I liked her more than candy and cookies. Then, she looked at me very seriously and asked me if I liked her more than coffee. I pretended to be unsure, and then we both laughed. I knew at that moment that she had given me an idea for an essay, as well as the perfect way to package my collection. 

 Linda: Can you tell us a little about your life outside of writing?

 Melissa: Sure! I am mom to Evan (9) and Delaney (6) and wife to Craig, but I won’t say his age. Haha! And I’m a coffee lover.

 I am also an English instructor at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology in Petersburg, VA. I have the privilege of teaching and working with artists every day, and it’s amazing. Of course right now, I am only with them virtually, but I am hopeful that this won’t be the case for too long. 

 Linda: That is a lot to juggle. When do you write, and where does your inspiration come from?

 Melissa: My kids are definitely my main source of inspiration. They are always saying and doing funny things, and my writing is a way to process whatever is happening in my life. It’s also a way for me to celebrate the hilarity of motherhood, which I try to do on a regular basis. If you can pause and take a deep breath between the arguments, spills, and chaos, raising kids is freaking hilarious!

I write a lot in the summer. I’ve been on a few writing retreats that were very productive, but I am also able to get a lot done at night and on the weekends. I try not to let it interrupt my family time, but sometimes an idea hits and I fear it will lose some of its magic if I don’t work on it right then.

 Linda: How does I Love You More Than Coffee differ from other parenting collections?

 Melissa: For starters, it’s not preachy, but there is still a takeaway and something uplifting with each essay. The most unique feature, however, is that the essays are written in real time, beginning with the moment when I discovered I was pregnant with my first child. The reader gets a real picture of my life and parenting mindset at that point in time. What’s funny about that is there is an obvious change in the tone of the essays from extremely optimistic to a little more realistic. But even the essays at the end are still hopeful, and that reflects my view on parenting and life in general. I’m always hopeful about a new day and another opportunity to be an even better mom.

 Linda: Tell us some facts about you or your writing life that you’ve never shared with readers before.

 Melissa: Ooh! This is a fun one!

  1. You probably won’t find this too surprising, but I can drink coffee all day. I do sometimes switch between hot and iced and lattes and cappuccinos! 
  2. I still write all of my drafts by hand. This includes essays, my freelance work, and my responses to these questions! It doesn’t feel right if I start typing first.
  3. I love running 5k races with my family. My daughter ran her first mile at age 3, and she has since run three 5k events. She’s only 6! Races are so much fun, and we love all the positive energy and the freebies. I have an essay about one of our races in my collection.
  4. This is a weird one, but I definitely haven’t shared it with readers. On my first cruise, I hopped up from the dinner table after just meeting our tablemates. (I didn’t realize before the cruise that they would pair us with other people.) The swaying of the ship was getting to me, and I knew I was going to get sick. That couple must have thought I was the rudest person in the world because I jumped up without explaining myself and never returned. 

 Linda: Who would you say is your book’s target audience? 

 Melissa: To be broad, my readers are parents and grandparents. I know as many men who have read my collection as women. It is definitely appreciated from a dad’s point of view, as well as a mom’s. I’m also marketing it as a gift book. It’s perfect for a holiday or birthday gift, in addition to a baby shower present or a gift for a new mother.

 Linda: What are some ways readers can get in touch with you and read more of your work?

 Melissa: Definitely check out my website at I post a monthly coffee chat there where I interview moms and other authors about coffee, motherhood, and writing life. Readers can also find me on Facebook @MelissaFaceWrites or Instagram @melissafacewrites. And to purchase a copy of I Love You More Than Coffee, simply visit one of your favorite retailers including: and Amazon, Target, or Barnes & Noble.

 Linda: What a gift for expectant moms and dads, parents and grandparents, too. 

I Love You More Than Coffee is SURE TO MAKE YOU SMILE or laugh out loud. 


Sunday, November 15, 2020

A nearly naked boy and a bratty woman


I MUST mute the television when a specific auto commercial comes on. It depicts a self-centered, privileged, spoiled woman and her significant other.

She gifts him with “a little something, an early present,” expensive sunglasses, a pair for him and one for her.

He tells her he also bought them a gift. He takes her outside their mansion and proudly declares, “One for you, and one for me.”

He indicates the black pickup truck is for himself and the red SUV for her.

She dashes to the black truck shouting, “I love it!”

As he mutters, “That one…” She hops inside the truck and swoons over the vehicle, “I love it!”

He says, “And I LOVE that you love it. I like red.”

She enthusiastically shouts, “I love-love-love it!”


I HATE IT!  The message promotes selfishness.

I wonder if self-indulgence is what drives people to refuse to wear a mask during a raging, killer pandemic. Is this the collective attitude? “No official is going to tell ME what to do!”

Do they boldly declare or silently believe, “I love-love-love my freedom from authority, and I will do as I please!”

Such a simple, temporary, life-saving act. This is not going to be forever!
PLEASE wear a mask in public.


My great-grandson, six-year-old Liam, video chatted with me the other evening before bedtime. He wore only a big smile and his underwear. Three-year-old Alex and two-year-old Charlie were already in their jammies.

“Nana, it was precious.”  

“What was?”

“My brudders, Nana!” 

Liam usually complains about how they bother him. But on this day he had done something selfless and thought only of them. Their reaction was precious to him.

His mom had given him money for the school’s Santa shop to buy something for himself that day. When he got off the bus, he was clutching stuffed animals. He still loves his Peppa Pig lovey, but he’s not into stuffed animals any more.

Talking to me, he squealed and aimed the camera at Alex and Chalrie. “Nana, look at my brudders.” 

There stood Alex beaming as he clutched a small orange stuffed dinosaur, identical to a raggedy one he already has. And Charlie was proudly showing me his sad-eyed stuffed giraffe.

Ashley told me, “Liam said he bought the dino because Alex keeps losing his lovey and won’t go to sleep with out it. He heard me say I would pay $40 on Ebay for a replacement one!” (I hope she was joking.)

Liam bought the giraffe because Charlie likes the Toys R Us Geoffrey giraffe.

"I got this one with sad eyes because Charlie is always whining and crying about something.” His reasoning was spot on.

This little boy is very thoughtful and caring. He received more pleasure from giving.
“It’s precious, Nana. Look at them!”  

HE is precious. He has the Christmas spirit and I hope he always remembers the adage, It is better to give than receive. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Buffalo poop and lamb's ear

 Writers know  the way we view things has a direct impact on our sense of accomplishment. 

It may be a boulder to you, but Liam felt as though he'd conquered a mountain. Same way with writing a paragraph, poem or a story. Be proud of your work.

Liam was off school for fall break, so he and I hit up the playground, river bank, small animal park, and also Lone Elk Park, where herds of elk and buffalo roam freely. Visitors drive through. 

When I taught, I used to bring a huge buffalo hide into my classroom at this time of year and do a lesson on Native Americans. 

I had been telling Liam about how the Plains Indians hunted buffalo and used all parts of the big animal to survive: clothing, shoes, shelter, food and much more. I asked if he would like to see a real buffalo up close. He was so excited when he saw the herd laying down in the field at midday. I pulled to the side of the road and told him he could unbuckle his seat belt and come lean out my window and get a good look at them. 

"No thank you. What if they charge the car?" He was seriously concerned. When I convinced him we were safe, he looked out the window and we made observations about the largest, wooliest, etc. 

"Nana, look! I thought that was a pile of poop way over there, but it's a baby buffalo."

Perfect opportunity to explain that buffaloes only eat grass, and the Native Americans even used  the buffalo poop when it dried out to fuel their fires.

His mom said Liam talked all the way home about everything he had seen, learned, and done during the two days we spent together. He told her about touching velvety soft lamb's ear: the plant we found growing wild at the river, not the animal, and throwing rocks into the river, and digging in sand, and climbing a look out tower.

When we pulled into our driveway he noticed the three little boys next door. They ran to the car and yelled, "Is that Liam?!" It had been months since they had seen one another.

 He ran to join them on our front lawn. I filled water balloons for them to toss at a target, gave them different sizes and weights of balls  to toss into a bowl. But they had the most fun when I brought out an old throw pillow and showed them how to play pillow tag. Liam wore his mask at all times.

That little six year old smarty wore me out, but I sure enjoyed our time together.

The next day I found a wonderful reminder that Liam had been here. Next to my computer I witnessed his literacy developing.

First he sounded out his brother's name, and then he wrote an observation. I laughed so hard.

Make the most of each day. Cherish time with loved ones, and remember to count your blessings.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

A picture is worth a thousand words... and a few colorful words from me

Bill and I bought fast food lunch and headed to the park. When we came upon this tree, the colors were so vibrant, the lime greens shocking, the yellows blinding, the oranges warm as a sunshine... we had to get out of the car and take a photo. I am so grateful for my eyesight and nature's gift. 

The following poem was published in Quivre River anthology, 11/10.
I wrote it after visiting my best friend in New Hampshire who was
suffering from memory loss. This is one of MY favorite memories.

Hitching a Ride on a Song

Bacon sizzles on wisps of wood smoke and weaves
through autumn leaves in hues so bright it makes me squint. 
Outside my best friend’s cabin, I watch the morning sun scorch 
the surface of Newfound Lake and ignite the tree-tops. 

A breeze dumps nature's treasures at my feet 
like contraband from a bad boy’s pockets.
Enthralled at the frisky fall foliage, I set my coffee mug down
imagine slurping cherry Kool-aid from the red sugar maples, and

swallowing the butterscotch nectar of yellow elms, sucking fire-orange 
extract from burnished oaks, tinting my tongue with evergreen elixir. 
I guzzle a gallon of happiness. 
In one sweet swill 
I devour my morning blend. 

Loons in love stir the stillness as my dear friend wanders 
onto the porch searching for me and her short term memory. 
She hovers over my shoulder. I silently curse her brain cancer. 
She lowers her head, raises her voice, draws her robe tight and belts 
out an old Janis Joplin song from our youth.

“Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz…”
 Our voices blend, 
peal over the White Mountains, tumble down a lush meadow, 
quiver on a stream, bottom out in a valley and echo through the woods –
a timeless melody hitchhikes on her long-term memory. 

For a moment we are vibrant, young, 
climbing mountains, swimming seas, rocking babies, 
traipsing across tundra as we did forty years ago 
when we met as next door neighbors in Alaska. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The cat and his man, the woman and her pen

Silly Sassy boy can be found snoozing under Bill's cozy cover, but this is taking it a bit too far.
He saw Bill dozing and decided to use him as a perch to gaze out at the traffic passing by. These two are inseparable. I am considering writing an essay about the antics of Bill and his best buddy.

Writing News
 So I have been in a writing lull, or let's call it what it really is, a funk. Maybe it is the cold weather, shorter days, winter, and the political nonsense. It is the end of the month and I looked a few days ago at my submission calendar. It was blank for October. So I started submitting, so far four stories. Two were accepted. 

Just when you are ready to quit, DON'T; give it one more try. That's what I did. People say I am a prolific writer. But even prolific writers have their days. In my case almost a month!

Rest if you must, but do not quit. Follow your dreams your passions.

Monday, October 19, 2020

The kid got into my stash. And YOU could win a contest


I am an addict, and my great grandson got into my stash. Check out the results.

Three-year-old Alex spent the weekend. I discovered that he had discovered my coveted Dove dark chocolate, red foil-wrapped squares. "I like your candy," he said with a big messy grin. He needed his mouth and face wiped twice. 

He was so energetic he wanted to climb a tree. So when I saw my neighbor leave, I walked him to a tree in her yard that was perfect for his little hands. He expended a bit of that energy trying to figure out how to make the big climb.

If YOU are a chocolaholic, check out this fun, free, and rewarding contest at Jennifer Brown Bank's blog. Look around while you are there. She provides such good advice for writers. Please pass this on to your friends, too. Great prize package! New prize!!

I discovered Jen years ago when I read her article in a writer's magazine about breaking all the rules. I knew we were kindred spirits, because as a new writer I, too had been breaking all the writing rules and having success. Never give up, no matter what you are trying to achieve.

Alex was high on life sitting in the branches of our red bud tree, feeling very successful and proud.

If you are a writer be proud of your successes, no matter how minor or insignificant you consider them. Pat your self on the back if you wrote a paragraph, a page or an essay. How about trying to write a poem about chocolate?

Our neighbor's tree was perfect for Alex to climb and pull himself up.
If you are a writer start at the bottom, work your way up... and never give up!
Paw-paw Bill gave  Alex a helping hand and supported him in his endeavors.
If you are a writer be sure to accept help along the way and express your appreciation. If you are further along, provide help to others. We writers really are all in this together. 

Now think about the sweet, creamy taste of milk chocolate, slightly bitter taste of dark chocolate, delightful crunch of M&Ms. Enter the contest. It's fun and it is a good writing exercise. 

Let me know if you enter or are a winner.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

There is joy-joy-joy in my heart

I have missed my babies! I surprised them this weekend with a cake. Their mama is my first grandchild, and she was such a cute, smart, fun and funny honey. Now she and her husband have three cuties of their own. I baked a Halloween theme birthday cake for her with three little ghosts. 

Charlie is two and loved the cake, as you can see. He is talking up a storm these days. He has always called me Nana. But now he has decided I am Nanny and those yellow things he eats are nanas. He is all boy and has mosquito bites and scrapes all over his legs. He wanted me to kiss his boo-boos, all ten!

Alex is three and loved hammering golf tees into the pumpkin I brought. I also brought pop beads. Anyone of a certain age remember those? Now they call them something else and they come in all sorts of shapes. But Alex liked the round beads that fit over his head. He is a busy boy.

Liam is six and adjusting to his new reality of Covid-19 in school schedules and video schooling. 
After much resistance, he decided on his own to take off on his two wheeler. He had to show me
how good he is at riding his Razor scooter, too. Look at those legs in mid air! This boy is all arms and legs!

 My daughter was nineteen when her baby girl (the boys' mama) was born. I was with her during labor and delivery. On October 12th as midnight approached, I told the doctor if he didn't deliver her soon, I would forever call her Freddy or Jason (from the Halloween/horror movies, Friday the Thirteenth.) 

At one second after midnight she entered the world. A nurse recorded the birthdate: "October 13th," she shouted across the room.

The doctor looked at me. I shook my head. He shouted back, "It is not one minute after midnight. I'm calling her birthdate as midnight on October 12th." 

So technically... well you decide. The delivery room attendants debated it and in the end, the doctor won.
This young woman has given me so many laugh lines, and three delightful great grandsons. I love them ALL with all my heart.
They were watching a video of themselves playing, chasing each other and bike riding. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Published in Prairie Times, in Beyer, Colorado (A glimpse into my life)


♦ My husband Bill retired a few years before I did. He had plenty of leisure time to himself while I was at school teaching small ones.  When I retired, my dreams of day trips, visiting museums, and hometown attractions soon got old and fizzled. Retirement was not as exciting as I imagined it would be. But every now and then, I get a good laugh and a thrill at Bill's expense. 

As my days became more relaxed and routine, I found I had more time to write, but less inclination to do so. When I was working, I used to rise before daybreak when the house was still, and the only sound Bill made was rhythmic snoring. I would write for two hours. When I no longer had to squeeze time in to write, I slept in. We spent an hour watching the news and sipping coffee instead of my rushing about and gulping on the run. We lost track of time, and the morning was gone before we knew it. I missed making time for my writing. 

Bill became not only my greatest companion, but my worst distraction. He would suggest a meal out, a shopping trip to the big box stores, or a trip to the mall on impulse. Maybe this is how he had spent his days for the past few years of his retirement, but I was used to order. He operated on a get-up-and-go-on-a-whim schedule. When we weren‘t on the go, we were in two different rooms engaged in separate activities. He has hearing aids, but unless he's leaving the house, he prefers shouting, ―What? when I speak, or he‘d rather blare the television volume. As I tried to write the thoughts in my head, I invariably wrote the words Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, or John Wayne said. Watching TV wasn‘t the same. My evening sitcoms were nothing like his daytime viewing preferences. He likes action films, shoot-em ups, crime shows... and the noisy disruptions wore me out. 

When he watched his shows, I tried to write my stories. Even with the office door closed I could hear the TV in the living room blaring. There was continual grunting, groaning, a thwack, more grunting. My first thought was someone was getting beat up. His first choice of movie viewing is one with physical interaction, preferably a brawl. The loud, primal groaning continued. It sounded almost obscene. I would not listen to those groans another minute. I stormed into the living room to give my honey a piece of my mind, ask him how he expected me to write. Then I saw what was going on. He was watching a women‘s Wimbledon tennis match. Guilt-ridden, I looked at Venus Williams and felt terrible. I hadn‘t broken a sweat all day, I had eaten a waffle with whipped cream and strawberries for breakfast, and had been all set to nag my hard-of-hearing honey for watching such trash. Sometimes I laugh long and loud at myself. But I also can‘t help laughing at him, too. ―Look at her movements, I said. ―We're getting lazy. 

Guilt or the urge to get exercise struck him as he observed Venus sweating it out. He switched off the TV and suggested a jaunt around the mall for exercise. As we drove, I looked at my cell phone. ―Get this! I said from the passenger seat as we were driving down the highway. He does not wish to have a Facebook account and relies on me to read aloud something mind boggling, spell binding, or unbelievable from my feed. He raised his index finger to his right ear and tuned his hearing aid higher so he didn‘t miss a word. When I paused, he gave me a split-second glance and said, ―Who's that from? Who sent that to 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 told him ―It's just a friend. ―How can it be a friend if you don't know who it is? Instead of keeping the ball rolling I told him the name of who it was from. ―Who's that? he asked. ―I. Don't. Know. ―Well, they sent it to US. How do we know them? 

Through clenched teeth, I said. ―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 could explain, world wide web, he said, ―When did you get into wrestling? Some days I want to put him in a headlock! We are striving for balance. Bill comes to my aid at a moment's notice to help me with the computer, and I share social media gossip with him. But that's as far as it goes when it comes to technology. He is not interested in social media, and I can't figure out which cloud my work lands on each day. 

Our relationship was new and exciting when we were young and active. Now that the Golden Years have arrived, our daily pace is slower, and life involves many unexpected laughs and goofy grins. I like this stage of life were in! 

Friday, September 25, 2020

One ringy dingy

 Do you still have a land line in your home, or are you totally dependent upon cell phones?

We have a land line, but we seldom answer our home phone. We allow the answering machine to pick up the calls. Typically the messages are from the pharmacy. Those times when we do answer the home phone, the calls are ususally someone telling us in a foreign accent they are our grandchild in need of money from a serious accident. We play along, then play GOTCHA!

Other times the calls are from Medicare insisting we accept the FREE support brace for our knees or back, which we do not require.

And the best ones are when Social Security or the IRS insists we are about to be arrested if we do not respond to their bogus attempts to access personal info.



A male voice, sounded to be in 20s, mumbled something.

I asked, "What did you say?

He said, "Clock me out!"

I asked, "Who IS this?"

"This is Rick. Clock me out!"

"Sorry, you have the wrong number."

"No I don't. This is Rick. CLOCK. ME. OUT!"

"Okay." I said and hung up.

Rick is going to be sorry.

Many years ago my neighbor Rose received a phone call from her husband Ray at midday.

They made small talk and he asked her to pick up the clothes from the cleaners.

She said she would and she mentioned one of his buddies by name.

They conversed for fifteen minutes before she asked, "Who is this?!"

He responded, "Ray! Who is this?"

She replied, "Rose."

They were both married to the same named spouses.

THEN they realized they were talking to the right names but the wrong people.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A little Cat Nip

 This sassy cat talks more than any cat I've ever known. He mimicks us, he whines, he begs. And he has dozens of cat toys, but look at what he claimed as his prize, a piece of paper. He laid on it, rolled on it, scartched at it and was very content.

Sort of reminds me of my son when he was a little boy. He would receive lots of Christmas presents but preferred playing with the boxes.

Just goes to prove, you don't need fancy toys to make Sassy Boy happy.

When I reached over for it this evening, he nipped my arm. Well keep it then!

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Feelings Flag

 In commemoration of all the lives lost on 9/11/01

The Feelings Flag by Linda O'Connell

published in Chicken Soup for the Soul The Spirit of America, 2016

I stood in my living room and cringed at the sight of the first plane hitting the first of the Twin Towers. I thought, what an horrific accident. I felt terrible for the people on that plane, and for those in the World Trade Center building. I did not realize that the horror had only just begun.

I turned on my car radio on my way to work and listened intently to the reports. Then, I heard that another plane had made impact.

I arrived at school a few minutes later. No one was quite sure what was going on. Teachers were asking one another, "Did you hear about the plane crashes in NY?"

The gravity of the situation -America was under attack- was like a punch in the gut. We all felt winded, worried, and wounded.

 My preschool classroom was in the lower level of an inner city middle school. What I remember most is the panicked young man in the hall who shouted at me, "America is at war!"

"Calm down," I said. "Don't jump to conclusions. Nobody knows for sure what's going on. This does not mean WAR."

They insisted they saw it on TV and that military jets were intercepting other planes.

I walked into my classroom, and watched as my students went about their school day, unaware of the attacks, I knew they were okay. My aide was capable, so I left her in charge.

I felt compelled to do something patriotic to relieve the mounting tension and confusion the middle school students were feeling, although I was not in charge of any of them. I cut
twelve- inch by two-inch strips of red, white and blue construction paper into strips, the kinds  kids use to create paper chains. I did not consult the principal or counselor. I acted on impulse. I visited each classroom and intruded on each classroom teacher. I asked each if might have a moment, then I said, "Nobody knows exactly what is going on. We've all heard rumors and news reports. It's a frightening time for all of us."

 I passed out strips of paper to the students and asked them to write what they were feeling at the moment. Any fears, any words— anything would be acceptable. Some asked about spelling, and some asked if they should sign it.

"If you want to," I said.

I collected more than 200 strips and rolled them into  loops, then I stapled them to the bulletin board in the cafeteria. I read an outpouring of emotional comments. "I am afraid." "I want to kick their behinds." "Bomb them." "Why did this happen?" "What now?" "I want to go home."

I posted one after another, row after row, until an American flag took shape. Some of the comments were laced with misspelled words and profanity; some were smeared with tears. I did not censor. I stapled every single one. I stood back and admired that "feelings flag".

At lunch I stood against the wall and observed teens and preteens, who were usually destructive with bulletin board displays, as they searched for their piece of that flag. I listened to them read their words aloud, owning their emotions, giving voice to their fears and frustrations, initiating conversations.

On that horrible day, when America came under attack, I didn't know if my actions would do any good. It just felt good to do something. My friend Tammy said,

'With that spontaneous action, you gave children a voice when no one knew what to say."

The bulletin board flag stayed up for more than  a week. Then the strips began disappearing as individuals claimed their sections... and their feelings.



Tuesday, September 8, 2020

A rare sighting, a rare gift

Our bedroom window looks down upon our backyard bird feeder, bird bath, a variety of birds, two chipmunks, and a trio of young squirrels that excite Sassy Boy, our fat cat. He sits on the chest of drawers and meows at the critters and wags his tail. Yesterday I was petting him and looking out the window. I saw a sight to behold, a pure white hummingbird. I did not take this picture. In fact I didn't have my cell phone with me at 8:28 a.m. But I will always remember the gift I received. Of all the people in the world, I saw a white hummer. They are very rare.

 It flew into my neighbor's yellow Canna Lily. Incidentally, these were my late best friend Sheila's favorite flower. It was almost like a gift from beyond. I feel so honored to have been privy to this oddity of nature.
Ah, there are changes coming. I feel it in the air, in the shortening days. Our hummingbird feeder has had three frequent flyers. I remember when we went to Mexico one year. I could not believe how many hummingbirds were at rest on a lush bush. I wasn't aware that they sit still for long periods. Their wings flap so rapidly; I thought they were always in motion.

Just think they have to load up on sugar and nectar to make their imminent long journey south, across the gulf waters, all the way to Mexico. Nature is amazing!

The ruby throated green one, and the brown one, and the mottled one are not afraid of us sitting outside, but they fuss at one another. I am hoping to see that white hummer again. I have my cell phone next to me now when I sit outside and read. I hope I can get a photo.

What have you noticed lately about nature?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Standing tall and proud

Somebody tell me when it happened. My son and his wife stopped by with Nicholas and Nicole. They have outgrown me, both are taller than I am. They are sweet as ever and still like my surprise treats. Today I melted Dove chocolate squares and gave them each a banana to dip in the dark chocolate. Of course I gave them a handful of squares to go.

It really is the little things that mean so much and are often remembered. They both love back rubs, and I hope they never outgrow that special little connection, because I will always be available for gentle loving touch, which matters when words aren't sufficient.

The world is getting crazy. Violence is everywhere, and it is getting closer to home. Yesterday two police officers were shot, one is critical, the other released. There were several shootings, murders, and a home invasion in nice parts of the city where I used to live and work. Places you would never expect.

Nicholas told me his best friend's cousin was traveling home from California, arrived in St. Louis, and was gunnend down in cold blood on the interstate, for no reason. I worry for my family.

And so I arm myself... with prayer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Forced marriage?

Ahh, that little boy of mine. Actually he is my granddaughter's little boy, but six-year-old Liam and I have a connection that wraps itself around each of us like his long legs that entwine my lower body when I arrive at his door, and he jumps into my arms.
Liam came home after his first in-class day of 1st grade and told his mama a little girl asked him at recess if she could be his playground girlfriend.
Ashley said, "Did you know I was sort of Daddy's playground girlfriend? We met when we were in school."

Liam looked at his mom aghast and asked, "You mean I'm going to have to marry her?!" And you think wearing face masks is the only concern for first graders? Ashley explained he'd have many playground girl and boy friends throughout school. He did not have to marry them.🥰