Friday, January 30, 2015

Last night I began to read Helen Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life.  It was so inspiring to read about her realization of things that have words.  She must have been so very brilliant.  I can't imagine life without sight let alone not be able to hear either.  It must have been to her advantage to have already experienced both of these senses.

One thing I did read last night truly made me contemplative.  She writes in Chapter 20, that she was envious of the other students around her who could read an entire book in one setting, when it took her days to read and comprehend, and then to write notes about what she had read.  She had to make notes so her teachers would know that she truly read and understood what she read.

She writes, "For, after all, every one who wishes to gain true knowledge must climb the Hill Difficulty alone, and since there is not royal road to the summit, I must zigzag, it in my own way.  I slip back many times, I fail, I stand still, I run against the edge of hidden obstacles, I lose my temper and find it again and keep it better; I trudge on, I gain a little, I feel encouraged, I get more eager and climb higher and begin to see the widening horizon. Every struggle is a victory."

Isn't this so true in each of our lives, whether we are handicapped or not?  To appreciate what we have done, what we have and to live the happiness with that victory fully.

In my life, taking on a blog was a big decision for me.  I have had a writer's block for several years and have not been able to sit down and write short stories, poems or songs.  And yet I find myself, sitting down to this little arena every day and my hands just fly with the thoughts going through my mind.  And it is a victory for me.  If no one reads my blog, I am still victorious. (For myself.)

And on those days when nothing comes to my typing fingers, I pull up something from the past and share that.  Another victory for me.

Another small victory for me -- I grew a cabbage as big as my head.

Go forth and claim small victories each day.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


I once had a child who took my breath away.
Everything was new and exciting because of her.
Behind every corner awaited a new adventure.
The clouds were cartoons and epic novels.
The water was full of hope and of the ages.
Her smile made my heart younger, and her cry,
 took my soul to new depths of unhappiness
I gave that child wings and told her to fly and she did just that.
And with every beat of her wings as she flew from me,
 my eyes became more wrinkled and could no longer see
 as a young person sees.
I cried for her to return to me, knowing she could not,
Because the soul grows old and cannot renew itself.
Whereas, her young soul must be as it was meant to be.

Far from mine.

Today, I decided I would share a poem with you.  It began with thoughts of one child and turned into thoughts of the other.  I have always held the belief from The Prophet by Kalil Gibran where he says something to the effect that your children don't belong to you.  I feel they are simple with us to housebreak the best we can manage and then send them out into the world to make a difference.  To come into the world and go out of it, leaving it better because you were there.  Life's purpose via Smother.

Go forth and prosper.

Me and the two I housebroke and gave wings to.  I think I did a pretty good job.

Lol loo.  Smother

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I have always had problems going to sleep.  When I do get there I like to stay asleep.  The older I get the more I have to get up in the middle of the night to go urinate.  Then sometimes when I get back to bed the insomnia hits me again.

I think about the stupid things I have done in my life and the things I am ashamed of having done.  This morning while I was sitting Zazen (see other older blog, I forget the date, just read my blog or look it up on line) I decided that I was going to make a journal.  Every bad thing in my life I was going to write into that journal.  And when I get to the point that I can't remember anything else to write, I am going to bury that journal in my garden.  No, maybe I should burn it.  First I am going to jump up and down on it, and then I'll decided what to do about it.

Really, I should not allow it to remain intact.  It should perish.  Maybe I will research how to best destroy all the negative consequences in your life.  There is probably something on line.

I began the journal this morning.  I wrote about when I was a child of perhaps nine or ten years of age, I pushed my little neighbor, Billy L., down in the road for calling me a "sissy".  I was such a tomboy and that was the worst insult I could imagine.  They had just farmer paved our street and so it was sticky and gooey with tar and little bitty gravels and cinders.  I remember his knees were soiled and battered.  They were bloody and black.  He probably wore those ebony scars for many years.

I have surfed Billy L.'s name trying to find him to apologize.  I found one with the same name but he said it wasn't him.  He had a sister named Gloria.  Wrong Billy L.

So this incident is one of the worst things I have done in my life.  I can't just forgive my self and go on.  I must continue to chastise myself every time I think of this episode.  Maybe I should rent one of those airplanes that write in the sky and have him write, "Please forgive me Billy L.".

Another bad but not so drastic mistake I made.  I had this most excellent photo of me and this wonderful statue at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  I tried to crop it so it was a closer look and I screwed it up and got another photo on top of my right arm.  I loved this photo of me. Addi returned to the museum once and took her own photo of her and the statue.  I was jealous.  I must return to this museum.  (My hips look more like the statue now anyhow.)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the beauty of the world.  The magnificence of a flower in bloom, the magic of the beauty of a new born baby’s toes, the overwhelming significance of watching a beautiful sunset.  And I cry!  I cry because it can’t last.  I cry because in the moment the beauty is gone and I’m left with the world as it is.

Life as a peon!  Trying to do my job with obstacles that my coworkers laugh at.  Have you noticed that everyone seems to believe that their problems are the most important ones in the world at any given minute?  Hatred in the world is tragic.  Hatred among each other.  Jealousy and paranoia of losing our job and ending up in the welfare line.

So I capture those beautiful moments and bottle them within my mind.  And when I am down and when another mother kills her children and herself because of the ugliness of the world, I remember that new blooming iris and those baby toes and sunsets in Jamaica and outside my own front door.   I wallow in them and hold them close to cocoon myself from the ugliness that I know exists and will always exist.  But I pray that my sunsets and rainbows will persevere and that beauty and goodness will prevail.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I was reminiscing about selling our house when I was a teenager.  My mom had fell in the basement and broken her leg a year earlier.  She had to crawl up the stairs to the kitchen phone to call for help.  No one was at home but herself.  My dad got so upset that he decided that we were selling the house and moving to, of all things, a trailer.

Mother, Daddy and I began to scout the trailer parks in the area looking for a place to move to and a trailer to purchase.  We were all actually excited about the deal.  The plan was to have a big auction and sell all our possessions and to sell the house.

The house was in pretty good shape as Daddy was a fixer-upper.  He had remodeled the basement into a family room complete with a fake fireplace.  Years before we had taken bricks from an old firehouse that was torn down and Daddy built us a garage.  One car with a huge workshop at the back and storage and a lovely porch where we used to sit and play guitars and sing or rotisserie a chicken or two for Sunday dinner.

The appointed day came and our house was emptied of all the possessions we were putting out for sale at the auction.  People came from all over to buy our stuff.  They also broke our stuff.  The bedroom suits were set out and people used them as their couch.  So many sat on them that they broke them down and so we didn’t get quite as much for those as we had expected.  (Whatever happened to if you break it, you buy it?)

When it came time for Daddy’s tractor to be sold, I went to my old bedroom which was farthest away from the back of the house.  I went into the closet and cried my eyes out.  Daddy loved his tractor.  We had a huge garden in our back yard.  In fact, most of the back yard was a garden.  Daddy bought the tractor to make it easier for us to maintain the garden.  He also plowed garden plots for people in the area to make a little extra money.  He washed the damn tractor and painted it a bright red.  He was so very proud of his tractor.  And now he was selling it.  It just broke my heart.

Bad photo, yes, but it all I have.

I didn’t want to move and especially to a trailer park.  Dear God!  Trailer trash here we come.  We moved into our new Hollywood trailer which my parents and people around us insisted was a mobile home.

At our home I was the youngest child and therefore had my choice of the two extra bedrooms.  I choose both of them.  I kept my stuff in one and slept in the other one.  It was a big adjustment getting used to my new bedroom which was about 8’ by 8’.  I had a built in chest of drawers and cabinets under my closet for storage.

I lived in that mobile home for several years.  In my first year at college my friend, Pat, and I moved into an apartment near our college and so I got away from it for a while.  My parents insisted that I come home every weekend and so I took a job at a local restaurant and worked there on weekends.  You might wonder why I wanted to get away from my “home”.  I could not go into my bedroom and read, for cripes sake.  They thought I was mad at them.  So I had to sit in the living room or at the dining room table and read and do my homework for school.  There was just not room for privacy.

Quite a few years later when my sister retired, she moved into a mobile home just around the corner from my parents.  When I visited I usually stayed with my aunt at her farm.  She had an apartment in her garage and we stayed there.  We also had all of our family Thanksgivings and Christmases in that garage.  There was much more room to party than a mobile home.

I don’t believe I have ever admitted to anyone that I had lived in a trailer.  It’s not like it was a piece of garbage but there is still that stigma of trailer trash around me.

My hatred of mobile homes is still with me.  Although being retired I do dream of downsizing from our huge house to a smaller place.  I don’t want to clean much anymore and this house is a lot to maintain.

“I’m just glad I don’t live in a trailer.”  Thank you Jimmy Buffet.  My thoughts exactly.

 Now, my dear readers, you know another of my little secrets.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I am having a day when I really don't want to do anything except go back to bed.  The problem therein lies that my tailbone is aching and I don't want to sit or lie on it.  Just sitting here at the computer is aggravating.

I broke my tailbone off when the girls were still little.  It had snowed more in Ohio that I had ever seen before in my thirty some years of life.  Addi put on her snowsuit and I rode her piggyback style and went down the street to see if there was any traffic flowing.  We lived on a cul-de-sac and didn't have much traffic at all.  On my way to the end of the street I hit an icy spot and fell.  Not wanting to kill the child on my back, I fell weird while trying to protect her.  I fell right on my stupid tailbone.

We made it back to the house (she walked this time) and I thought it was a bit sore but not broken or anything.  A few days later we decided to go sledding  Our friends went with us. They had two boys about my girls' ages.  Our friends had brought a rubber inner tube from an old tire.  It looked like a blast and so I grabbed Jess and I laid face down on the inner tube and the hubster put Jess on my back.  Big mistake!

The ride was a pretty exciting one until we hit the first bump.  Jess flew up and landed right on my tail bone.  The pain was intense, let me tell you.  I don't remember much of the doctor visit and x-rays.  My tail bone had broken off and was floating around down there.  I believe I had about six months of sitting on a donut and I loved my donut.  Grandma had one and loaned it to me.  It was pretty embarrassing carrying the thing around but I didn't care.  Pain was pain and whatever it took to get beyond it, I did.

So I have this terribly embarrassing problem with the little indentation where my tail bone is. I acquire an accumulation of butt debris there and have to scrub it occasionally to get rid of the crud. TMI.  I know.  Why has no one ever brought this problem up to Dr. Oz?

I was soaking in the bathtub a couple of days ago and scrubbing my crud out and I guess I scrubbed entirely too hard.  My tail bone has been bothering me ever since.  And so, my readers, you know my most guarded secret now.

No I'm not posting a picture of this.

The culprits who helped to break my tailbone.  I still love them very much.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A couple of months ago my computer was sabotaged.  My homepage browser was taken over by  I didn't know where or how or when it came, but it came with a vengeance.  I closed it out and turned to Google for the answer but nothing really came back to indicate what was going on.  I noticed my girlfriend was using and wondered why.  Perhaps she had been sabotaged also.

Every time I opened my computer I seethed with anger.  I was so upset with the computer  geek that had done this to me.  I went into my control panel and deleted anything with ask in the title.  I made sure that Google was listed as my homepage when opening up my computer.

I rebooted the computer and when I turned it on what to my amazed eyes should appear? You guessed it --  I typed in some rather bad words into the  Think FOAD (see blog of January 10, 2015). made some suggestions for me.  Suggest this?

I finally went to the hubster who is more computer savvy than myself.  He suggested the control panel thing that I had already done.

I questioned Google as to how to get rid of  I asked (repeat that three times in a row) how to get rid of them.  By then each time I opened my computer and had to close, there was a domino effect on my brain and ire.  I was beyond seething.  I was truly pissed at the geek who had "gotten one over on me".

I turned to my back-up source.  The Dalai lama son-in-law who began investigating It took him a little while but he found the magical tool in the cloud that got rid of from my life.  I made him fudge.

I cannot tell you how relieved I was to open my computer and see my old familiar Google with it innovative artwork (have you submitted one yet?) and my email icon right there ready for me to click.

This morning I opened my computer to it's need of a Java update.  I clicked on the next button and the I agree which I never read, just click on (hey, it's how I was taught) and got more interested in my email and the enchanting notes from so many admirers.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spy with my little

I immediately shut down my computer.  No forewarning, no start menu, etc...  I just shut it off.  I deep breathed for a minute or so, got up and went to get my red grapefruit breakfast and with another deep breath I turned the computer back on.  My girlfriends' photo was there to welcome me.

Aren't they lovely and don't you love my halo?  (Daddy Maxwell's in Port Washington, WI.  Try the pie and fish tacos.)

I held my breath as I clicked the Google Chrome button .  My old friend, Google, was there to welcome me.  Java update be damned!

The worse thing is not that I resented that I had to close every time I turned on my computer.  The worse thing was that I was NEVER going to use it no matter what because of what had happened to me.  The mere fact that some little nerd computer geek whore of a son of a gun had written this in to take all the old ladies like myself, who depend on their computer NOT for surfing the Internet for naked male bodies, but to store all of the fabulous stories we have been writing for most of our lives, had set me on the edge of collapse.  Even if it was the greatest invention since the tampon (my opinion over sliced bread) I was never going to use  In fact, I am shouting to the stars and Facebook to beware of

Now I don't know what will happen with my computer if I don't update Java but I certainly am not going to encourage them and I warn all of my readers (all three of you, thanks Lorraine, Pat and Jess) to beware of updates.  And for the Jesus, Mohammad and the Buddha's sake, read the thing before you click NEXT...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

For the past month I have made myself get up early (4:30 am once) and do my yoga and stretching.  I stretch, do some yoga poses, sun salutation and some Pilate's.  I feel so much better after I do this.

This morning as I had finished and was try to sit zazen, I thought to myself, "This is who I truly am."  And I backed away from the thought and chastised myself for not being this person more often.  I am a bit hyperactive even at the old age of 64.  (They still need me and feed me.)  I am often in a hurry, I often make stupid mistakes because I am hurrying.  I just cannot sit back and enjoy the ride.  My mind goes at 90 miles an hour.  I go from remembering the stupid thing I did in second grade to why did I break my wrist the first day of my retirement.  I find myself awake at night singing a song silently to myself because I can't get it out of my head.  (Oh no, ELO.)

The peace that I find each morning after my yogurt (which is what the hubster calls my yoga exercise) make me ecstatically serene.  I have gone back to bed and actually gone back to sleep after feeling this way.

For those who do not know me, I am an insomniac.  I have been all my life.  I read most nights for at least two hours before I try to fall asleep.  I have done meditation and medication.  Someday I will learn to go to sleep.

In the meantime, I will get up and enjoy the moments that I devote to my "yogurt."

And if you don't know what sitting zazen is I will try to explain.  You sit up straight on the floor, legs in Native American style or yoga lotus style.  I usually put one leg in front of the other.  You put your left hand into the cup of the right hand in your lap.  You begin to breath deeply.  Counting one to ten.  I try to concentrate on the next number coming up to keep my mind still.  So you breathe and count to ten breaths.  Then you start again.  You try to think of nothing else but the breathing.  Such is why I concentrate on the next number because I'd be singing "Can' get it out of my head," instead of concentrating on sitting zazen.

So anyhow, you try to sit for as long as you can concentrating only on the breath.  I can hardly make it five minutes and I have such inner peace.  I can't imagine if I could do it twice the time.  I'd probably be frigging levitating or something.

I highly recommend


Friday, January 16, 2015

The older I get the more I want to get rid of "stuff".  This week I sold two Kindles and an amplifier and a cassette tape player.  I am so proud of me.

I had a garage sale two years ago but no one came down my street and I ended up giving away most of the stuff in the garage.  I then took all the remainder junk to the local Goodwill store.

I have on my to do list, clean your closet.  I do so dread it.  I have at least four boxes of pictures.  Physical pictures.  One box is nothing but family photos.  Another box I have tried to keep in chronological order.  Another box is just the stuff from when I worked at the school.  I know I have twenty photo albums, at least.  People try to tell me to scan stuff and put them on discs but I don't see my taking a week off my retirement adventures to do this. I wonder if there a company that specializes in doing such work.  (Idea for my money making venture.)

In the past few months I have sold our boat, the extra winter tires, the girls old ice skates, some pickled beets that I canned (isn't that a scream?), the Kindles and the amp and cassette player.  I need to sell more stuff.

I'm thinking I need to clean out some drawers of junk and get rid of it too.  I realized yesterday, while I was putting on my makeup to go out, that I have four pairs of fingernail clippers.  And I have one in each of the two medicine cabinets.  There is also one in the family room by my lounge chair.

For those of you who don't know me, I have the worst damn nails of anyone I have ever seen.  Well not actually.  I have seen nails bitten to the quick and wondered how these people existed.  My nails break and tear and I find myself chewing the torn chunk off and running into the side of my nail.  Typing right now, I am in pain from my stupid nails.  I purchase a full year supply of horsetail which is an herb that really toughens up your nails.

I tried an experiment several years ago and gave up after three months when nothing happened to my nails.  And then on day about six months later, I commented to someone that I think my nails are growing.  Sure enough for about three months I was nail torn free.  It was bliss.  I then realized that that herb had really done the trick but I needed to continue it.

I made my new year resolution that I was going to take this herb this year and next new year's I would have nails.  I am so determined.  I purchased cuticle cream yesterday and some special healing hand lotion.  Will keep you updated.

I must confess that I also am a house plant hoarder.  I have 33 houseplants right now which includes a marjoram, thyme, sage, and rosemary that I bring inside every winter.  I also brought in a petunia and a geranium which were especially pretty this past summer.

I have a Norfolk Island Pine that is at least 8 foot tall.  I recently took on an Amaryllis at Christmas time.  I've never grown one before and it is very exciting.  After one month it looks like this:

Ta da!

I don't think I can get rid of my houseplants.  They are like my children.

And speaking of children, I try to give them their "stuff" back every Christmas.  They never know what they will receive from me.  I gave Addi and Jess their music boxes, that their great grand mother had given them as children, this past Christmas.

Now if I could get rid of the hubster's "stuff".  He is a worse hoarder than me.  He still has the rally equipment that he used as a teenager.  He is 62.  Oh well, I guess I do still have the jewelry box I had as a teenager.

Stuff!  Why do we collect such trivial nonsense?  We get an itch and scratch it with "stuff".  I do have several projects that I have never completed.  I wonder if there is a company that specializes in doing such.  (Another idea for my money making venture.  I finish your  What do you think?)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I find myself at this computer more and more lately.  I have been retyping stuff that I lost from my last computer adventure.  I wrote a goofy ass cookbook several years ago for my children after they suggested it.  It was called Smother's Leftover Makeovers.  I printed up copies for all the gang that had been at the Thanksgiving dinner table when the subject came up.

Since then I have written other Smother cookbooks, including Smother's Quickies, Smother's Favorite Cookies and Sinful Delights, Smother Goes Vegetarian and am now working on a Gourmet Cookbook where I present three methods of cooking an item such as chicken.  (Boy was that a long sentence!)  So I present an easy method of cooking chicken and then a more complicated recipe and then an even more complicated recipe.  I have not come up with a title for this cookbook as yet.

I also have an outline for Smother's Main Squeeze's Grill Recipes and Helpful Hints.  He is not cooperating very well.

I asked myself a couple of days ago why on earth am I writing cookbooks when everyone on the planet (including myself) just look up recipes on line.  I guess it has to do with my obsession with food.  You see, I am a food hoarder.  I have cabinets full of food.  Cereal I haven't touched in a couple of weeks.  Tomato soup just in case I get a jones for one with a grilled cheese sandwich.  I have a pantry next to the kitchen filled with food.  I have a pantry in the basement with home canned tomatoes, green beans, salsa, tomato sauce, tomato juice, asparagus, jelly and pears (which I stole).

I feel this is due to my childhood during which I ate ketchup sandwiches, tomatoes in the garden with a salt shaker in hand, mayonnaisse sandwiches, the whole jar of olives and other weird stuff too numerous to enumerate.   I just felt there was not enough to eat.  Being a hyperactive child I needed calories, gosh darn it.

In my obituary that I wrote for myself I asked that someone come to the house and cook everything in it and throw a huge party in my honor.  Man, what a spread that would be.

But getting back to the computer thing, I am really pissed at gmail at times because of their setup with email.  I have a separate section for REAL email as opposed to SOCIAL email as opposed to SPAM email (they call it promotions).  Today I decided enough is enough.  I unsubscribed to a bunch of the promoters.  I realized doing this that I had sometime or another subscribed to them.  How easily we type in our email address?

So no more Shop Home crap, no more CVS special deals, no more Rockford Register Star newsclips, no more Burpee sales, and no more Hale Farms sales.  I'm done with it.  I did have to keep the Better Homes and Gardens things because they sometimes have cute crafts.  And FOOD recipes.

I have decided that this year is the year that I break with this food hoarding thing.  I am going to cook what is in the freezer or shelves.  The hubster can fend for himself.  He can have a steak.  He always wants steak.  Yuck!

I am going to cook more veggies that I canned and grew.  I am going to eat at least two fruits every day, if not three or four.  (Those little clementines are really good this year.)

Now I must get back to that gourmet cookbook thing.  And if you come up with any really good ideas for a title, just let me know.

And that's what I call a bigass salad.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Just finished reading Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.  Took long enough.  I had to stop reading it during the holiday as it was bringing me down.

I have been a tree hugger since the 70's when my friend, Kay, gave me a subscription to Organic Gardening magazine.  I try to preserve my little back yard from pesticides and insecticides.  I love it when I see a lady bug or garden spider in the garden.  Any help I can get from nature I love.  I did try something for the Japanese beetles on my raspberry patch several years ago.  The guilt I felt was overwhelming.  Much more so when I learned this nasty crap I used hurt the honey bees.  Gardening karma will get me.

Tomorrow I meet with my Master Gardener Book Club to discuss the book.  It should be very interesting.  Lot of great minds in this group of women.

My little paradise.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Today's subject:  Ice Cream

I was talking to a friend recently about retiring.  I told her if I could do anything in my retirement, I’d love to be “the ice cream man”.  To drive around in one of those little vans and ring that bell would give me such pleasure.

The memory of hearing that bell as a child, running frantically to my mother and begging for just a nickel or a dime. Thinking back I wondered where my mom, who was a housewife, came up with the money for my treats.  My family was always scrimping for money.  Groceries, house payments, car payments, insurance and all the other household debts were always a worry.  Where in the world did my mom stash away her nickels and dimes for my little luxuries?

We didn’t have chickens in the back yard for egg money.  I know she had no jobs “on the side”.  My dad was the consummate male chauvinist and my mom was barefoot and in the kitchen.  I never knew if Daddy gave her a household allowance.  I do remember running to the local store for a 19-cent loaf of bread now and then.  That leftover penny became a penny candy reward for my efforts of running the errand for her.

I still wonder where my Mother came up with the change for my ice cream treats.  However she did it, she gave me one of the happiest memories of my childhood.

My hope is that when I retire, I can buy that ice cream van and wander the neighborhoods to bring that cool summer treat to as many kids as possible.  (Haven't done it yet.)

* * *

When I was a kid we went to church every Sunday evening as well as Sunday morning.  The Sunday evening was very special because we usually went into town and stopped at the ice cream store.

Daddy would always tease us first, “Well I guess we will just go on home tonight,” he would taunt.

“No, no, Daddy, let’s go get ice cream,” we would plead.

Daddy would look at Mother and smile and give in to our pleas.  We knew he wanted the ice cream just as badly as we did.

Daddy would go into the store after taking our orders.  I remember that he almost always got butter pecan.  I would go for the bubble gum, or double chocolate, or strawberry.  I never did care much for butter pecan.

I find that lately if I stop at the local deli for ice cream, I order butter pecan.  I guess I acquired a taste for it or maybe, I’m feeling like I’m sharing that ice cream with my Daddy.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

This morning I read an article on line that my daughter, Jess, had recommended to me.  It was entitled, “I don’t give a fuck.”  It had the word “fuck” in it at least 137 times as the author included that information in his article.  He is a very good writer and the article was not only very funny but very insightful.
I thanked Jess for the recommendation and proceeded to tell her that it brought back memories of my old best friend, Dirty Dave, and how depressed he was during his divorce.  He had married this little bit of a bitch girl who had no forehead and talked in decibels that made your face reverberate.  I was under that impression that no one was good enough to marry my best friend.  Well, maybe except Becky, of the luminous breasts.  Becky was so cool in the 70’s she wore a white dress to a wedding of a friend and you could see her dark nipples through the material.  The guys were all made of wood that day, I’m sure.
But Becky would have nothing to do with Dave because he was, of course, Dirty.  He did not take kindly to bathing.  He was a carpenter by trade and his hands were coarse from working in the weather.  He had drastically bad sinuses and probably couldn’t smell himself.  In his last years he took to wearing this most ungodly smelling deodorant that was almost as bad as smelling his b.o.
Anyhow back to the divorce.  His little fairy bitch of a wife with no forehead decided that she wanted more out of life and decided to ditch Dave.  He was so sad.  I couldn’t believe my buddy who I couldn’t spend 10 minutes with without laughing my ass off.  (Oh dear, LMAO in the honest sense.)  But truly, he was so funny and had the greatest sense of humor.  On the day of his divorce he headed to a bar and happened upon one called “Fuck Off And Die”.  He bought a baseball hat and wore it to our house where he crashed for the night.
Ferb was so impressed with the hat that he bought it from Dave.  Dave needed money at the time.  (We have lots of photos with different people wearing the FOAD hat.)  Dave came around a lot during this divorce time.  You’d try to talk to him about something and he’d just say, “I don’t give a shit.”  So I got into a foul mood one evening and barked back that “I don’t give a shit either.”  It was presidential election time about then and Dave suggests that we run for President and Vice President on the “I Don’t Give A Shit”, party’s ticket.  We laughed so hard we cried.
He was a wonderful friend and I am so sorry that we lost him early. 

This is an especially great photo of Dave.  He had such a winning smile.  Ultimately, one of the most eccentric people I have ever know.  God was he good at Scrabble.  He came to visit for many years on New Year's Eve.  We would drink beer and play Scrabble until all hours of the night.

The following is what I wrote for his "celebration of life".

I had a friend.   He was the kind of friend I could call when I was down.  He would bring me back up.  He made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry and he made me laugh at myself and at life.  Because life is sometimes hard.  My friend was constant.  No matter what I said or did he accepted me and my failings. 

Dave (Mike) was not your average person.  He didn’t conform to society’s idea of the socially acceptable but he made his own way.  He lived life the way he wanted to and society be damned.  He had a keen sense of humor.  Books and reading were his priorities.  He was an introvert until you needed him and then he was there for you.  Many times I felt as if Dave took advantage of me but when all is said and done, he was there for me.  He brought me back to myself.

Dave was the most unique person I have ever known.  As much as his personal hygiene disgusted me, I loved him and his spirit.  We have shared so much in life. Happiness, as well as sadness.

Dave and I shared many experiences in our friendship.  We took our first borns for a walk in their strollers for the first time.  He gave me a can opener for my wedding gift.

I didn’t attend Dave’s wedding.  His mother wasn’t there and I told him if I couldn’t sit in for his mom, I wouldn’t come.  I made the reception.

Dave’s dad told me that he was thankful that I had raised Dave so well.  He was at our house so much when we were young.

Euchre and pinochle games were our passion for years.  I still say he and Ferb cheated with some secret sign language.  They were such good partners.  Later in life we played Scrabble and argued over many words and Dave always won.  He was extremely intelligent and I know I called him many times to help me solve my crossword puzzles by phone call.  We would end up talking for hours.

When Dave was in the Army in Germany we exchanged taped letters.  I would listen to his ramblings and laugh and cry.  I can still hear him saying, “Wilma, it’s Dave.”  Just the sound of his voice uplifted me.

Dave was my friend and I will miss him drastically.  All I can say is, “until the next time.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Just wanted to share a few childhood memories today:

            My background is common.  My folks are simple country folks.  Daddy had a 6th grade education and my mother made it to the 11th grade.  My dad can read and understand The Bible and that is his reading of choice. They are not stupid people, they are simply happy with simple things.

Stupid picture but you get the idea.  They were very cute.  Daddy was in his leisure suit.

            There are certain phrases and saying that we used when I was growing up that never became clear to me until I was older.  My sister still kids me about my father telling me before I could start kindergarten that the test I would be given was a difficult one.  He said they would take a clean handkerchief and put it into one ear and pull it out the other ear.  If it was clean, I could begin school but if it was dirty, I could not.   I don’t remember this actually happening but to this day, I do have an affinity for clean ears.

            My father called potatoes “arsh taters”.  For years, I thought this was the name of the dish my mother cooked or the name of the hybrid of potato.  It was years later that I one day surmised that he was calling them “Irish potatoes”.

            I remember the first time my father asked my new husband if he liked “roshneers”.  We loved roshneer season.  We were eating fresh corn on the cob and calling it roasted ears.  Imagine my surprise?

            My family always had a very large garden and my mom put up everything for us to eat that winter.  We did grow one thing that we ate all of and we called them “tommy toes”.  They were cherry tomatoes or yellow pear tomatoes.  My parents still call little tomatoes, “tommy toes”.

            Another thing that fascinated me as a child was that my parents’ church on occasion had a special even called “all day meetin’ and dinner on the ground”.  I could never imagine why they wanted to put our dinner on the ground and of course, when I was older, I knew that this meant on the premises and not on the ground.

            When my older daughter was small I used to ask her if she wanted something special to eat.  I would mix up raising, dried fruits, cheerios, nuts and seeds for her to snack on.  She began to ask for “something special” and was sad if I gave her an apple or a cookies. I still think of trail mix as “something special”.

            My good friend once confided in me that her family also had funny names for various foods.  They called stewed tomatoes “train wreck”.  And so you see…my family could have been much worse. 
Yesterday I decided I would clean my office.  The desktop was full of crap and I could not think straight.  It was also smelling a little funky underneath my feet.


As you can see it was a complete mess.  And it looks crooked.  Must have been my attitude at the time.

I had such a good adventure cleaning.  I always think of that statement that I could clean my room so well but I get distracted by all the neat stuff I find.  I found a folder of ancestry stuff about my Long and VanHoose families.  I had to rearrange it in chronological order.

I found a binder with all my girls' school photos.  Why did I get 8 X 10's every year?  I had to look through and sigh several times.

I found that I had three copies of Roget's Thesaurus, one a hardback.  I discovered that I still had a French Dictionary that belonged to my friend, Jeanie, in high school.

My Chinese yo-yo was tucked away and of course I had to play Three Musketeers for a while and fight the bad guys.  I had this yo-yo at the elementary school where I worked for 11 years.  I kept a spare in case some kid discovered me playing with mine and wanted to try.  I kept it all those years because I deprived little children of playing with it and breaking it.  Ha, ha, ha!!!

I discovered a root beer barrel which I almost devoured but remembered I am trying to lose five more pounds and just put it on the ledge of my computer next to my Wilma Flintstone plastic statue, the last tootsie roll I got from my favorite substitute teacher who died the year before I retired.  Next to one of each of the girls' diaper pins and a Triton fishing lure which was found on the playground the week after my brother died.  (He was a semi-professional fisherman for Triton and sold boats for them.) I also have a rock/coral that I found in Baja, Mexico while at my daughter's wedding.

There is also a tag from my Yogi tea bag that states, "I am beautiful, I am bountiful, I am blissful."  I try to remember that.

I guess I am like one of those Bingo whores who keep their little mementos for good luck.  I started with the Wilma Flintstone when I worked for WREX television in Rockford.  One of the photographers gave it to me and said he got it in his cereal that morning.  I cherish it.

I also found one penny.  Score!  My friend, Garnet, finds money all the time.  She always says, "Thank you God.  It's okay to send me money."  And so I say it now.

I came across my back up CD of I Tunes.  Thank you very much Addi.  I also found my instruction sheet regarding my IPOD.  Now if I could figure how to reload the thing automatically.  It tries to load everything I have and then tells me it can't hold the load.  Well I know that!  Load as much as possible, I tell it, and what does it do, keeps the same crap that was already on it.  So I do it manually.  If anyone out there can give me a hint with this, please do so.

I made a huge pile of stuff that I needed to put back into its home.  That took forever cause I got distracted by cool stuff while I was putting it back.

I took a couple of breaks.  One for coffee and one to do a jigsaw puzzle on my computer.  You see I am addicted.  No not to coffee, to the jigsaw puzzles.  I am also quite finicky about my coffee.  I made toddy coffee.  You put the grounds in the top and cover with water overnight.  Drain the coffee concentrate and I make ice cubes of coffee.  Boil water, add  ice cube and, voila, coffee with no aftertaste or bitterness.

It took me all day but I finally got around to the vacuuming.  I mopped my plastic job under my chair and gave the plant a bath.  It has been shedding.

What do you think?

Oh, come on, it does too look better.  That afghan hanging on my chair was made by one of my best friends' mothers.  I wore it once when I had to substitute in a children's play.  One of my three kings backed out on me at the last minute.  I wore this afghan and another one and a Burger King crown on my head with teddy bear pop beads around my neck.  Such memories.

Today it is 4 below zero and feels like 20 below.  I am staying in my jammies, wearing a toboggan on my head and turning up the heat.  Tomorrow, I will begin a new adventure.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I realized that I am having a mid-life crisis.  I was doing my makeup yesterday when I got out the hairspray and sprayed my eyebrows.  For the past ten years or so my eyebrows have been falling out and taking root on my chin.  I've got about six left above each eye. Well maybe sixteen.  The ones on the top of my brows have decided they want to stick up.

I look bad enough with eyebrow pencil over my brows but with them sticking up I look even worse.  I use this cute little brown brush and brush my sixteen hairs into place.  Then I use a teeny brush and some brown powder to give them some strength.  Normally, that does it. No one suspects that I have only sixteen eyebrow hairs.  (Yeah, right!)

Lately these topover browns have decided to stand at attention.  I had an ingenious idea. I'd use the hairspray on the little brush and then I'd brush my sixteen hairs into place.  It works fine, but I caught myself in the mirror and thought, "You are an idiot.  You are using hairspray on your sixteen eyebrow hairs.  Now they will fall out too."

My girlfriend had her brows tattooed on.  I'm thinking I may just have to do this too.  Then I'll probably have to pluck those little overbrows so they won' be waving at everyone who passes by.

Such is the life of a middle aged woman.  Okay, so I'm 64.  Above middle aged woman!

No photo of my eyebrows as yet.  I'm still looking for the one of me at 19 when I still had a unibrow.  Ta da!  Found one.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The other evening while the hubster was watching some guys fishing for a living and not doing too well, I tiptoed downstairs and flipped on the VCR.  I do still have one and use it almost daily.  My Jane Fonda aerobics tape is getting pretty old but I still depend on it to get me sweating some mornings.

I looked through my old VCR tapes and found Dead Poet's Society which is one of my all time favorite movies and one of my favorite Robin Williams' movies.  This movie always inspires me to go drag out one of my old literature books and reread a few favorite poems or stories. Having been a writer for most of my life, I envision myself writing that one phrase that when someone else reads it they sit back and think, man, does this lady have her shit together.

I found myself grabbing a pencil and a piece of paper which happened to be a leftover scrap of my Communist Edison bill.  Yes, I am the cheapest date on earth and I keep most everything, even scrap paper.

I jotted down every poetic phrase that had ever caught my eye.  I ended up writing this...

In the event that I should discover my familiar, I shall trip the light fantastic to discover that someone there is that doesn’t love a wall.  I will meet the love of my life who will ask me to come live with him and be his love.  But at this moment all I can see from where I stand is that I think that I shall never see.  I realize that life goes on and I forget just why, but that is probably because roses are freaking red and the road less traveled is the road to Bangkok or Thailand or wherever what  his name and his buddy went. (Senior moment.)  I rest in the comfort of knowing that I have miles to go before I sleep.

Okay, I admit that I had been drinking.  In my sobriety I still think that one day I may just write that one phrase that kicks literary butt.

This photo may not be the phrase that does you know what but isn't this a great photo.  It was taken at Nicholas Conservatory in Rockford, Illinois.  Love this orchid.  And have you ever notice that sometimes plants say the most mind blowing things without using one single work?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sometimes I just don't feel like writing.  I wonder how Steven King, Sue Grafton, Dean Koontz and the other prolific authors keep it going...

Two writable thoughts today.

I hate those stupid tests on Facebook that ask "what kind of instrument are you?" or "in what era should you have lived?".  They are all so absolutely inane.  Multiple choice is just the most ridiculous type of testing.  Unless of course you were my Biology professor in college.  he was a God of writing multiple choice questions.  A.  a and b, B.  b and c, C.  all of the above, D. none of the above, E half of a, a quarter of b and all of c but not d, F.  write real answer here.  He was a God let me tell you.

Anyhow, I hate those stupid tests on Facebook.  I can't believe each time I try one that I'm thinking the whole time about how ridiculous this is.  So as of today, Jan 4 (oh my God it is Jan. 4 already!) I resolve not to take any more of those stupid tests.

In fact, maybe I'll write my own banal test and put it on Facebook.  "How big of an asshole are you?"  No I think it has already been done.
I just want to know why people persist in giving me Christmas things when I am not a Christian and I really don't like Christmas.  This is just one of the many lovely things I have been given by adoring admirers.

All right then.  My second thought for writing today.  My mother, God bless her soul, yes, the Christian God.  She was a Christian!  She had such a way with words sometimes that could break your heart or blow your brain into mush.

I had this good friend, George.  George had very bad acne and was pretty much overweight.  I loved him though, not in the Biblical (what is wrong with me?) sense but in a one of my best friends ever sense.  I think George very much wanted to be my boyfriend but I was not into that realm of things.  George hung out at the house like all of my friends who were hungry all the time.  My mom had this eating disorder before anyone knew about eating disorders.  She loved to cook but didn't eat in front of us.

George would come over and hang out and my mom would miraculously transpose a hung of meat and some potatoes into a burger and homefries.  I had an overwhelming appetite also and we would devour our food proclaiming it to be the most wonderful we had every had.  My mother bloomed.

So one day George asked me out in front of my mom.  I told him I couldn't go because I didn't have anything to wear.  My mother says and I quote, "George have you ever seen Wilma without any clothes?"  I swear those were her exact words.

George turned 50 shades of red.  I don't know if he had glimpsed me naked somehow and was embarrassed or if he just imagined me naked at the moment and was embarrassed.  Anyhow, I went on that date with George, clothed, thank you.  We went to a lovely restaurant with a ship theme.  (Excapes me.)  I haven't seen or heard from George since high school graduation.  I somehow picture him as that John Candy guy from Trains, Planes and Automobiles, selling shower curtain rings.  I hope and think with my mind's eye that George is really teaching nude sculpture in Venice and has a really hot girlfriend who adores him and feeds him burgers and homefries.

Me and Mommy right after my birth in October, 1950.  She was 32.  I was less than one.

Friday, January 2, 2015

On Sunday of this week I watched the Cincinnati Bengals vs the Pittsburgh Steelers football game.  I am a big Bengal fan who lives in northern Illinois and has to put up with the Packers vs the Bears deal.  We do not get a lot of Bengal football games in the central Midwest and I was excited that the television worked and I could watch the game.
Well the Bengals lost tragically and I went to bed dejected.

When I was younger I was not only a Bengal fan but just a football fan in general.  I love the Terry Bradshaw Steelers.  Franco Harris is still one of my favorite players ever.  But something happened in my life and I now despise the Steelers.

We had a good friend, Jim Miller, in Dayton, Ohio while we lived there.  He was an all- around clown.  Always with the best jokes, cartoons, and wonderful magic tricks.  We lost touch with his family after we moved to northern Illinois.  Years later his now ex-wife called us with unbelievably sad news.  Jim and she were divorced and he was a stand-up comic who traveled the country doing comedy and magic.  I could see it!

Jim was doing a show in Pittsburgh and during his show he made a derogatory remark about the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Two guys accosted him in the bathroom after his act and beat him to death.  Over a football team, they beat him to death!  We were just devastated.
I have not looked at football the same ever since.  I love my Bengals team but could never hurt someone for making fun of them.  I make fun of them.  It is a game.  It is a football team.  Someone’s life is not worth it.

That is the reason I detest the Steeler football team.  My friend is gone and it was a horrendous act that took his life.  I’m sure he would have come up with a joke about it but I can not.

R.I.P.  Jim Miller    You were loved.