Thursday, June 1, 2023

Got my eyes set on you!

Our house sits on a main road. The homes behind us are at a lower level than our elevated house and the other ones on our street. Therefore, neighbors cannot see into our back windows. Still, I do not make it a habit of going nude with drapes or blinds open.

I got out of the shower and realized I had forgotten my bra. I covered my chest with my arms, and reasoned, "No one can see in anyway. Just go grab your bra from your lingerie drawer and go back to the bathtroom to finish dressing."

Then my little voice of reason began yapping. "Relax! Neighbors cannot see you. They'd have to be on a ladder gazing in the window, or hanging out in the thirty foot tall tree behind us." 

No sooner a thought, and I glimpsed a neon yellow vested communication technician working on the cable lines, hanging like a monkey gawking in at me! (Only me!)

Charlie is 4, and he saved his own little soul when he got "caught."
He was building with blocks, and when he knocked them over accidentally, he got frustrated and shouted, "JEEEsus!" He looked up at me looking at him and he said softly, "Jesus, I love you!"

Moral of my stories: you never know when someone is watching.

My mom used to use fear tactics: "No matter where you are, who you are with, or what you are doing, someone is always watching, and I WILL hear about it." 

I was a good kid, but always on the look out for mom's friends, our neighbors, or someone who could rat me out. 


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Support the local arts

St. Louis, Missouri is noted for producing literary, visual and performing artists. 

THREE local writers were recently published in a new release,  Chicken Soup for the Soul, Well THAT Was Funny. My fellow writers and I will be signing books on June 3rd at Barnes and Noble in St. Peters, near St. Charles. Please stop by and say hello. We will be there from 11:00 -2:00.  


            Everybody needs a laugh. This book should do it for you!
                      Why is my face as large as the frog's?! Ribbit.

Friday, May 19, 2023

As the school year draws to an end

I had a bad reaction to medication from a simple procedure and was in excruciating pain for a week. But all is fine now. That explains my long absence.

Mother's Day brought my son and his children and my daughter to our house. I recieved so many sweet and thoughtful gifts, but this towel spoke volumes.  

I have had such fun this year preparing Alex and Charlie for kindergarten. I was fortunate to find this dry erase white board at the curb down the street. I sure put it to good use. 

As the four year old Pre-K class concludes, the boys can actually see how much they have learned. They recognize numerals 1-20 and letters/sounds, number words 1-10, color words, and basic shapes, days of the week, months of year and how to get along with others unless it's brothers. They do well at the playground, have good social skills, are friendly and outgoing. They have grown so much!
Now that they know all letters/phonics sounds, I introduced phonetic spelling, (spell it as they hear it, also called inventive spelling) and so, they 'ordered" McDonald's. can you read it?  No silent e's, therefore Coke looks like it does.

I taught them the last letter sounds/blends CH, TH, SH, and OO. 


Older brother Liam was a nervous wreck on Field Day. "I can't run very well. I have never been good at kick ball." He helped bring his team to victory, FIRST PLACE WIN!

See the pride on his face? My wish for all of my great grandsons is a feeling of success, and an I-can-try (and then do it) attitude. Fun summer ahead! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Things that made me go "Hmm"

 A memory popped up on Facebook this morning, and it made me laugh. Charlie is on his way to being five-years-old. When he was barley three, I asked about his boo-boo. He has always been talkative.
"I'm alright, Nana. See, look. I am alive. I 'm not dead."

Yesterday I walked into a big box store and passed the pharmacy. A pharmacy tech spoke loudly on the phone to a customer. "Yes sir that IS actually part of the directions, squat and let it hang like a limp noodle." No idea what he was being treated for, and didn't want to know.

One time we were on a cruise and an obese woman passed by wearing a shirt emblazoned with I BEAT ANOREXIA.

Some things just make you smile, wince. shake your head...

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A cage for our cutie

I am thrilled with my latest purchase. Lately I have been discouraged with the outrageous prices at the Goodwill Stores in our town. I know all about inflation, but who wants to pay $12 for a used, donated blouse because of its brand name? The rest of the blouses/shirts on the rack were about $5.00.

Used books used to cost a dollar, now they are up to $3.00. It makes me want to express my opinion. 

At the register, the clerk asked if I wished to donate my change. I replied, "Not since the prices have increased so much." 

I know it wasn't her fault, but I needed to be heard. And I was. Got a chorus of 
"Uh huhs!" and "That's right!" from others in line. However...

 I did hit the jackpot with this purchase. I saw a small, flat carrying case on a shelf. Unzipped it and knew if I released the folded up cage inside, I would never get it back in. There was an original sales tag on the unused, NEW item for our sweet, Sassy Boy, who loves-loves-loves his "dad."  When Bill goes to the back yard or sits on the patio, this sweet kitty sits at the back door and cries to come out. 

He was one happy cat when we took him outside. He resisted his removal with all of his fifteen pounds when it was time to go inside. I think it is going to be a great summer for all of us. He will be next to his "buddy" and be able to view the backyard birds and bunnies. 

I paid $5.99 for this collapsible Ruff and Rufus cage. Bill researched it on line. Retail price $50.00.

 I'd say that was a bit of good will for Goodwill to sell it at such a discount.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Beloved television teachers

 I have been cleaning out closets and discovered these treasured books from the time of my childhood. I am certain they came from yard sales. I bought them because they were so near and dear to my heart. 

Romper Room was an early childhood television series in the U.S. from 1953-1994. Miss Lois (there were several teachers over the years) who used a magic mirror to "see" her viewers. She called the names of children she "saw" watching her show. She insisted they be good "Do Bees." 

Before Sesame Street, which was released in 1969, (when I was pregnant in Alaska and I had nothing elese to view) there was Romper Room which my kids and grandkids watched. 

Then Barney the big purple dinosaur made his debut. My granddaughter, Ashley, the boys' mom, loved Barney so much Papa Bill took her to the mall and bought her a stuffed Barney. When giant Barney was scheduled to make an appearance at the mall, the crowd was unbelievable; they had traffic cops at all entrances. The line to see Barney wound around the first floor of the mall three times. I took Ashley to get a bite to eat, and happened to see Barney stick his head out a door to take a peek. I grabbed her up and beat a path over. When he exited with his handler, he greeted Ashley first! We headed home and did not have to wait in a three hour line. Leave it to Nana Linda.

Prior to these wonderful early learning shows there was Ding Dong School. The nursery school of my childhood debuted as a morning show in 1952 on NBC. Early childhood educator, Dr. Frances Horwich, was known as beloved Miss Frances. I waited each day for her to ring the bell and start Ding Dong school. These books are
L to R from 1953, 1954, 1935, and 1940. So many little hands must have turned these pages. 

I am certain Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans had an influence on me, too, but not like Miss Frances who reminded me of my grandma. 

I beleieve that in my forty year career as an early childhood educator, I was influenced by these nursery programs. 

Do you remember them?

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

It wasn't Peter Cotton Tail

While waiting for the Easter Bunny, we had a visit from a turkey. This guy wandered up the block, stopped in our driveway and looked at me, then moseyed on past four more houses. He stopped in his tracks when he saw his reflection in the  neighbor's glass storm door and preened for a while. He let me get very close before turkey trotting on up the block.  

I just love this photo taken by my daughter when the boys visited at her house. 

 I received an acceptance from Guideposts, Angels on Earth for one of my stories to be released in August. I am delighted to break into this publication. Hopefully many more.

Spring has arrived and I have sat on the patio and read five books in two weeks. My leisure activity.

For those of you who may have known prolific writer, Georgia Hubley, sadly she passed away last week. 

Friday, April 7, 2023

Writers can play, too

Charlie was delighted with the wind-up chickie. As it hopped all over his ABC paper, he soon discovered that as much as he tried to get it to go to a particular letter, it often veered. 

Writing is sometimes that way. You intend to go in one direction and your story goes off in another. And what do you do? Well, you probably go with it, and in doing so, you discover something else.

Alex is mechanically inclined, enjoys building and balancing blocks and desinging things. I made a game I call The Jelly Bean Drop. I used a box, three doll rods, and six ketchup cups I got from Wendy's when we ate there a couple weeks ago. Added a bunny, glued the cups to the sticks top and bottom and in various positions. Sort of like Foos Ball standing on end, he had to maneuver the cups of jelly beans to drop to the next level, and eventually fill the jelly bean tray on the bottom. This is the face of excitement at being successful. Many times he was not. He did not give up. He tried again and again. Hard work!

Writers attempt new genres, themes,  feel overwhelmed when things don't go as planned. The secret to success is to keep trying. 

I found a Jell-O jelly bean mold tray at Goodwill for 50 cents. But anything would do. Being able to improvise, think out of the box, and try something new can be its own reward. Take a short essay, condense it to as few words as possible and you will have a poem. As you tinker with it, you will discover new ways to rephrase with fewer words. Like finding a hidden colored egg!

    Charlie's hands are not as well developed as Alex's because he is a year younger. He thinks he is just feeding the bunny (paper bunny cut-out taped to a plastic bottle). 

Printing and coloring require small hand and finger muscles. He is getting there, but being a lefty is an added frustration for him. He is unaware that he is strengthening those little hands as he drops jelly beans into the bunny's "mouth".

 Writers must develop their skills, too. Learning the fundamentals is the groundwork for improvement. Every little thing you write, tweak, or try, helps strengthen your writing. 

Wishing you a happy spring, happy Easter, happy day! 

Happy writing. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Maybe and maybe not

The neighbors' fruit-bearing pear tree is almost as pretty as our red bud tree blossoming out nicely.

This evening our area is under a severe storm and tornado risk. Then again, it could miss us completely. I hope damaging winds don't strip our beautiful babies of their blooms.

Because it is supposed to be 86 degrees today, we may pay the price with predicted, yet unpredictable storms. Stay safe folks. Climate change is evident. 

Monday, March 27, 2023

A dog in a VW bus

I am missing the beach, especially since many friends have been posting their spring break photos. 

We drove about 20 miles from home to Creve Coeur Lake/Park. What a treat. Even though the sunshine disappeared behind the heavy cloud cover, it was warm enough for shirt sleeves or a light wrap. Oh the sights we saw. I am a people watcher. Are you? Can you tell what these guys are doing?

Upon entering the parking lot, we noticed a group of men of all ages gathered in a circle. As we drove closer, we heard the lovely bagpipe music they were playing. I had to pull over, watch, and listen. It was quite a moving experience. We drove on and parked lakeside at the trail which was crowded with hikers and dog walkers. Folks were busy rowing canoes and there were two competition rowing teams across the lake. 

Being close to water, with the wind lapping waves to shore made me feel happy. When it was time to leave, we saw a sight that made me chuckle.  
A young lady drove a baby blue Volkswagen and toted her fur baby in this blue VolksWAGON bus stroller along the trails.

It's the littlest things in my life that make me smile and feel happy.


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Bedrooom bedlam

 Bill and I are retirees on different sleep schedules. He takes a two hour afternooon snooze in his mechanical recliner about 2:00 p.m. He blames it on the fuzzy blanket I bought him. 

I fall asleep on the couch late evening for couple of hours and wake up to watch the late shows. I head to bed about midnight and we both sleep until the cat goes crazy knocking things off the dresser to let us know he wants to be fed... between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m.

Last night was a doozy in the bedroom. Bill woke up at 1:00 as I was watching an old sitcom and asked why the TV was so loud. I could barely hear it. I said it wasn't. He asked why I was screaming. I was merely talking loud enough so he could hear me.

He then started yelling, "Where is it?"


I fell asleep in my hearing aids. No wonder everything seems so loud. I found one and now I've lost one."

He grumbled into the bathroom, rummaged through the bedding, wandered into the livingroom to check his snooze chair. Came back and said, "It was in the neck of my T shirt."

I flipped off the TV, and if I could have muted him as he rehashed the incident...

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Change is coming

Alex and Charlie have so much energy. We try to spend a part of our day outdoors. They enjoy going to the indoor pool on Fridays. Big brother Liam, on school break, joined us. They are all growing so fast. Five months, and then it's off to school they go. I will miss them so much. I think I am starting the grieving process now. I love planning their preK days twice a week. What on earth will I do with all this time on my hands?

Spring is just around the corner. March is going to be a bit cooler, but signs of spring are everywhere. The red bud tree in our front yard has tiny pinkish-purple blossoms knitted to all the branches. This tree is going to look magnificient in a couple of weeks. Grass is greening, and splotches of yellow daffodils dot the hillsides along highways in our town. Tulip trees in all their glory are coloring neighborhoods. Everywhere I look I find signs of spring.

My sweetest surprise today was a purple hyacinth about to fully bloom. I discovered it poking out of a pile of last fall's leaves which insulates the sedum through the winter. What a delightful fragrance!

I am most happy with the time change. I stay up until 11 pm when we spring forward one hour. In winter, I go down with the sun. I am in my glory these days.

 I bought a stack of books and intend to sit outdoors and read just as soon as the temperature rises.

So many people are suffering from horrific weather conditions. I cannot imagine five feet of snow. Talk about cabin fever! I suppose it won't be long and then we will be complaining about the heat. For today, though, I am anxiously awaiting warmer, sunnier days. And I am thankful for nature's surprises.


Sunday, March 5, 2023

What do you put in YOUR boots?

My great-grandson Charlie (age 4) woke at the crack of dawn this morning.  

Mom: "Hey Charlie. Wanna watch a movie?"

Charlie: "Yes! Let’s watch Cat N Boots!"
Mom: "You mean Puss in Boots, Bud."
Charlie: "MOM. That is inappropriate! It is CAT n Boots."
Mom: …. 😦 … "what is inappropriate about that?"

Charlie: *rolls eyes* "A PUSS is what you put your keys and candy and phone and stuffs in when we go to the car. Why would anyone put that stuff in their boots?"

Me: "Dude, you are thinking of a PURSE."

Charlie: *rolls eyes harder* "That’s what I just said, puss!"

Ashley cloned herself when she had Charlie. These are the kinds of observations and comments she made all the time when she was his age. He looks and acts just like her at age four. I babysat her daily, and she was in my prek classes for three years, so I have firsthand knowledge. People used to ask if she was a child actor. Nope. Just always acting up.
She saw a teen kid skateboarding and said, "That is the guy who cooks my Ravioli!" She meant Chef Boy-ar-dee (a recognizable brand name in the U.S.)

We were leaving a big box store when she tugged my hand and begged me to stop and look at the posted images of missing and exploited children. "Nana, I know their mommy! The Old Lady who lived in a shoe had so many children she didn't know what to do. I need to tell her we found them."

Her comment paid off in a chunk of change in the 1990s. We were watching TV when the announcer broke into regular programming to update viewers on presidential election results. He said, "More on cadidates at 10:00 p.m."

Ashley looked at me agahast and said, "I did not know they could call the president a moron on national T.V."

I submitted that quip to a well known periodical. Weeks later, I opened my mail to discover a complimentary copy with a $100.00 check enclosed. On page 83, a cartoon image of one of our former presidents (GWB) wearing a dunce cap. Ashley's comment printed underneath.

Parent's magazine has also published my kids' and grandkids' quips. There's a market for the darndest things kids say.

If yours, like my kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, also have the gift of gab, submit their quips. They just might pay off, too.

Monday, February 27, 2023

A backwards glance

Signs of spring are popping out all over. We've had a mild winter in the central Midwest. I am not complaining. I am thrilled and concerned with nature's confusion. What will summer bring?
These daffodils erupted a month ago in late January. The first two weeks of February they began to bud. I feared the occasional frigid nighttime temperature would be their demise, but these little toughies survived. Last week they began to bloom... in February! I filled the water bowl for small animals and birds and stood back and admired this premature gift from Mother Nature.

Reminds me of a floral surprise when I was in fifth grade.

 At dismissal, as school children walked home en masse, a gardener at the apartment building across the street stood in the midst of what looked like a multi-colored crazy quilt of tulips. He snipped bouquets of them and presented one to each student. It was the highlight of that sunny spring day. The older gentleman asked us if we knew about Holland where tulips grew and people wore wooden shoes. I couldn't imagine.

What a surprise to come to school the next day and realize Miss Kuntz was presenting a geography lesson on Holland. She even brought in wooden shoes. A coincidence or a teachable moment? Either way it made a life-long impact.

Our wrought iron patio chairs are uncomfortable without the cushions. The seat cushions are now in place. Hubby and I sat out on this mild weekend and watched birds flit from tree to feeder. Those bright red cardinals are busy boys. They share the perch with the brown females, royal blue jays, purple finches, sparrows, robins, mourning doves, and the gackles who try to nudge their way in, too. Bird seeds are scattered in a huge arc under the feeder near the shed, providing nourishment for the squirrels and chipmunks.

The promise of spring means I will soon be reading outdoors, observing nature, and listening to a symphony of birds. Soothing activities for my soul.

Speaking of concerts, Bill and I were flipping through the channels last evening and found a 1960s Pop, Rock, and Soul concert with original artists performing today on the Public Broadcast Station. Oh what a delight to listen to the soundtrack of our youth, sing along with familiar tunes, and sift through the memories in our minds. 

"I'm Henry the eighth I am..." Ah, for an  hour or so we were lost in time commenting about how old the artists now look. Unlike us, of course.   


Friday, February 17, 2023

Taking turns at work and play

I have no idea what this toy is called. Do you? I just know it was the best dollar I ever spent at the thrift shop. After sanitizing it and letting it dry, I put it on the table to let Charlie and Alex fight over it. I mean discover it. They shook it and listened to the clacking sounds.

At this age, unless they are hurting each other, I allow them to collaborate, negotiate, insist, and even demand. 

Young children want all of it, and must experience all of it before they can part with any of it. Learning to share means giving up something they deeply desire. It is a natural part of growth and development to resist. Be patient if you have a young one.

Several times this toy was removed without comment and put atop the fridge. Their protests fell on deaf ears. I did not have to say more than once, "We will not fight over this toy."

When they were calm, I placed a large spoon behind it, which depressed the individual tiny plastic sticks to make the indentation. They were amazed, and both squealed they wanted a turn when they saw the spoon image.

That's right, a TURN. Sometimes it is your turn and sometimes it's the other person's turn. They had a blast making inverted images. And then, Charlie took a chance and imposed his face into the gadget and laughed like crazy when he saw his image. So, of course Alex had to do it, too. This toy has been beneficial in ways unexpected.

We discussed how to be calm, wait, and be patient. I stated the consequences if there was fighting and yelling. They soon learned I meant business, and they also learned to cooperate. 

This is the way it is with writing. We are all leaving our legacy, our imprint, taking chances, toying and tinkering with our work. Attempting new and different. Discovering what works and doesn't.

And taking turns. Several of my writer friends and I contribute to the same publications that have limited space available for freelance writers. Sure, we are all in competition, but it is a healthy competition. We support one another, even if we are disappointed that our work was rejected. It is how the game is played. Mostly, we are happy and proud of our friend's contribution and publication success. 

The way I see it is it was THEIR turn. 

We can't all be in first place, but we can all participate in the game.  

Write on, my friends. Enjoy the weekend.

Check out Pen and Prosper on my blog list to the right side. Jennifer Brown Banks has a gift for writers.


Monday, February 13, 2023

This Rose is not just any rose!

Today is launch day! 

Introducing Pat Wahler and her latest release.
If you enjoy reading Historical Fiction, you will love this book!

Self-taught artist Rose O'Neill leaves the Midwest for New York in 1893, determined to become an illustrator in a field dominated by males. Mindful of her duty to the impoverished family she left behind, Rose’s obligations require her to yield to the men who hold the reins of her career.

 Yet despite the obstacles facing her, she excels at her craft, eventually designing a new character, the Kewpie. Her creation explodes into a phenomenon, but Rose’s disenchantment with the status quo fosters new ambitions. She must decide whether to remain within the boundaries dictated for her, or risk everything she’s gained to pursue the creative and personal passions that ignite her soul.

 The Rose of Washington Square is the story of a remarkable artist, writer, suffragist, and philanthropist whose talents lifted her from obscurity into one of the most famous women of her era.

                                 Pat Wahler

Pat Wahler is winner of Western Fictioneers' Best First Novel of 2018, a Walter Williams Award winner, and the winner of Author Circle Awards 2019 Novel of Excellence in Historical Fiction for I am Mrs. Jesse James. She has also authored a three-book contemporary romance series-the Becker Family Novels, and two holiday-themed books; all named Five-Star Readers’ Favorites. A frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, Pat is an avid reader with a special passion for historical fiction, women’s fiction, and stories with heart. She makes her home in Missouri with her husband and two rescue critters—one feisty Peek-a-poo pup and a tabby cat with plenty of attitude.

1.  What inspired the idea for The Rose of Washington Square?

I enjoy writing women from the past, particularly if they have ties to my home state of Missouri. Doing random searches on women from history in the Midwest, I ran across the name of Rose O’Neill. I knew she’d created the Kewpie Doll, but I really didn’t know much else about her. The more I dug into her numerous accomplishments and realized what a trailblazer she truly was, the more fascinated I became. Before long, I knew I had to write her story. 

2.  How much research did your book require?

As a writer of historical fiction, I always do a fair amount of research. I need to understand the era, culture, and events of the time period I write. Then there’s a deep dive into correspondence, journals, biographies, plus magazine and newspaper articles related to the specific person I’ve chosen. Next I construct a world timeline alongside a personal timeline to give me a sense of what happened when. If possible, I like to spend time at actual locations that were part of my character’s life to experience what they did. Finally, I plot and outline the story and then on to writing it.

3.  How long did it take you to write the book?


The initial research portion took around a year. During the time I began to put words on paper, there were additional pieces of information that came to my attention, so I actually wrote and researched in tandem for another year before I could even glimpse the finish line.  


4.  How did you come up with your title?


Oh, titles. They’re one of my most difficult decisions. I can’t tell you how many different “working titles” there were for this book. I had a page of possibilities, and over months I pared the list down to three. Oddly enough, none of them really grabbed me, until I had a conversation with my developmental editor. She came up with a suggestion that seemed so simple yet so perfect, I grabbed onto it. The Rose of Washington Square.


5. What advice would you give a writer working on their first book?

Make sure you have good editors and proofreaders who will help you shape your manuscript and polish it until it shines. If traditional publishing is your goal, pitch the manuscript at writer conferences. Submit it to agents or to publishers that don’t require agented submissions. Listen if experienced people in the writing business offer advice. Don’t fall for scammers who are interested in your money, not your manuscript. Many authors find great satisfaction in publishing their own work. Just make sure you have a professional quality cover and product to offer.

Finally, as Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, never give up.” If you want to be a published author, make that your mantra.

6. What is the best writing advice you were ever given?

The importance of connecting with other writers. Join writing groups and get involved with a critique group. It’s a great way to learn, and I’ve found writers to be extraordinarily supportive. Plus, it’s kind of nice venting to people who not only understand your frustrations but help to celebrate your successes.

Pat: Linda, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog!

Linda: My pleasure. Congratulations and much success to you!
            Readers, check out Pat Wahler and her newest release, and                  please leave a comment below. Isn't that cover beautiful?

Link to the book:


Facebook Author Page:

Goodreads Author Page:



Amazon Author Page:

Bookbub Author Page:


Thursday, February 9, 2023

Should you stop or should you go?

Artists, writers, creatives, quilters, dreamers...
Did you ever set out with an idea in mind to create one thing and end up with something all together different? I think we all have. 

Four-year-old Charlie was painting at the easel when he started smearing all the colors. I asked why? He said, "Oh Nana, because I feel like I'm on a nature walk seeing all beautiful colors and things."
How do you interefere with that kind of creativity when it is flowing from the very soul? That expression on his little face is PRIDE!

Writers sometimes tweak until the original piece is unidentifiable. Do you think it is possible to tweak too much? I have tinkered with a story or poem that resulted in two pieces. Have you?

When is enough just that, enough? Do you know when to quit? Do you have an end in mind, or do you write until you run out of steam? Each to his or her own.

I have read stories and poetry that would have been stronger had they ended sooner. But in my opinion, when free writing, you should let the creative juices flow. 

Then go back and edit, cut, discover what needs to stay and what needs to go. 

Never say, "I can't!" Always say, "I can try." That was my class motto when I taught. One of my former students, now an adult, wrote to tell me she uses these words to motivate her children.  

 I had to put into practice what I preached for four decades when I attached these colorful, lightweight balls with masking tape to a cardboard. (The wall would work just as well. Masking tape doesn't leave residue.) I encouraged Alex and Charlie to remove one ball at a time USING ONLY THEIR FEET and place the balls into the basket. 

There were many protests of, "I can't do it!"  "I quit!"  "I am not even playing this game!" As fast as the balls were knocked off and rolling away, I retrieved them and stuck them back on.

When they began to slow down and have success, they laughed, cheered, tried and tried, even when their short legs could not reach the upper balls. I showed them how to scoot their bottoms closer to the wall and reach higher. More success! 

It is the same with any craft, nobody starts out a pro. Try, try again until you reach a level of success.


Friday, February 3, 2023

Coming up on 34 years together

Tripping the Light Fantastic by Linda O'Connell

 Published in Sasee Magazine February 2023 

My husband asked me recently, “Do you like yourself these days?”

“Not my crooked teeth, droopy eyelids, and flabby belly. Do you like yourself?” I probed.

Aware that Bill’s milestone decade birthday was hitting him hard, I said, “We sure could dance back in the day. We hardly took a break. Whenever a fast song played, I grabbed your large hand, and you flung me to and fro; our steps were synchronized. People used to clear the floor and watch us dance. I am ever grateful you taught me to jitterbug in middle age when we met.”

He looked at me as though I had hurt his feelings. “We had a good thirty years of boogying. There’s no reason YOU can’t still dance just because my legs and back are giving out.”

I didn’t want my husband to think I was making a negative statement about his physical health. 

“Oh honey, it’s not your legs and back that has put the end to our fast dancing. It’s my left knee. I couldn’t spin or pivot if I wanted to. And forget about you sashaying me under your arm and spinning me back and forth. For both of us, high kicks are a thing of the past. I can hardly lift my left leg high enough to tie my tennis shoe.” He smiled, relieved my comment was as much about my condition as his.

We returned to our television show. Then a commercial came on, an advertisement for a high-end hotel. The image was of a couple being served a plate of… nachos. Bill looked at me quizzically and said, “Well that’s a pretty common dish for an uncommon resort, don’t you think?”

I squealed with delight. “You might not be able to twirl me, but your observations and comments make my gray matter swirl, and I don’t mean my hair, because I still color my grays.”

“Well, there you go making me laugh!” my honey said. “And I wasn’t even trying to be funny.” 

I commented, “I have to hobble down the hall until my knee loosens up, and you have to use a cane for balance, but we are still ‘dancing’ together. We can read one another’s moves and signals. We are still in rhythm sitting right here on the couch. If I tried to shimmy it would be embarrassing, and if we even dared do the Twist, we would impair our hips. Whenever we feel the urge, we should just dance in our seats. What do you say?”

My thoughts drifted into the past when Bill first asked me to dance. I had to admit I didn’t know how. “I’ll show you. It is really easy, just a few steps, one and two, three and four, rock-step. I can lead your every move once you learn the basic steps.”

I was embarrassed and offered my girlfriend’s hand. 

“She can fast dance.” He led my friend to the dance floor and like a gentleman returned her to the table. As he asked again, I turned down his offer of an impromptu dance lesson. 

The next week when my girlfriends and I returned to the dance hall, I accepted Bill’s offer. He had so many competent and available partners willing to Jitterbug with him. Still, he approached me, the one who continually stomped his toes and scuffed his shoes. But eventually, we made it work. I got the hang of the dance steps, and he began to add new moves, which made me whine, “No, I can’t.”

“Yes, you can if you believe you can and you allow me to help. But you can’t lead. I have to lead you. Okay?”  So, I was doing the wrong thing the whole time? I knew it! But my dancing man didn’t reprimand me; he encouraged me.

I smiled thinking of our first dance, decades ago. Then I realized at our grandson’s wedding last summer, when Bill led me to the dance floor, he led with precision but allowed me to lead, so we would look as good as the family thought we were. We slow-danced; actually, we swayed in place remembering when we were vibrant, young, and had the stamina to dance the night away.

When our favorite fast song came on, my dear man, who usually wears jeans and casual shirts, looked like my prince dressed to the nines in a suit and tie. I felt like a princess when he smiled, presented his hand to me, and asked, “May I have this dance?”

With the same twinkle in his eyes, he led me to the dance floor and whispered, “This is for you, so honey, you will have to do most of the work.” 

My big, always jovial, Irish man stood on the dance floor using hand motions to cue me. So what if I did the footwork and turned myself around? I was charmed. Winded and moving slower than when we first danced to Bob Seger singing Old Time Rock and Roll, we returned to our seats and Bill said, “That was for old times’ sake.”

It’s possible that was our last fast dance, but it was as memorable as our first. Only this time I didn’t dance on his toes, I danced on mine.

My dance partner’s fast steps have turned to a shuffle these days, and slow dancing has taken on new meaning: leaning on one another, supporting each other so we don’t stumble, walking arm in arm.

I said, “You asked me if I like myself these days. I do. I like myself, probably better than anyone else likes me, even if there are things about me that I resent. My lack of mobility just means I’ll have to dance down memory lane.”

“May I join you? I like you, too.”

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Unpredictable mama

The other day we had snow.

Yesterday the temperature was 59 degrees. 

Today and throughout the week,  the high will be 30.

Daffiodils are budding in the backyard. 

Trees are getting buds. 

People don't know how to dress.

Mother Nature's gone crazy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Snow surprise

Sasee Boy, aka: Buddy, heard me getting his treats. He was stunned to find them in a plate of snow.
He looked at the plate, then me. I observed. He finally touched the snow and was surprised. He looked at me as if to say, "Are you kidding me?" I waited him out and he finally scooped out his treats.
The plaque hangs on the front door during January. It reads, LET IT SNOW... Some place else!

 Kitty boy is lucky he no longer has to fend for himself or search for food. We found him in our back yard five years ago when he was three. 

He has a cozy life. He has a slew of toys, but he is a lazy boy and seldom swats his toys, chases balls with bells, or attacks his catnip mice. He prefers the crook of Bill's arm.

Sassy sits in front of Bill's chair until he invites him onto his lap. This big fat cat flops over, lays in the crook of Bill's right arm, and snuggles in. He will indicate by moving into different positions where he wants to be petted: under his arms, on his belly, back, head, under his chin, and on his nose! He is our BIG spoiled baby. After his massage he turns around and snuggles between Bil's knees to snooze. 

With a couple of inches of snow outside and chicken and dumplings in the crock pot, I'd say this is the perfect way to spend the day. 
South of our town the snow is 4-8 inches. No thank you!