Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Beautiful Boy

Fritzy turned 10 years old in January. According to web statistics, the average life-span for a miniature Schnauzer is 12 years.

Fritzy is our fourth Schnauzer. MillyWilly was our first pet and rapidly filled the spot of a child in our household. Hubby, who initially had not wanted a pup, immediately bonded with her. We got her in 1990 from the local pound. She was five when we adopted her.

Three years later our groomer asked us to take in a second pup, one he had bred and sold to a family that was proving not very desirable. Johann joined our little family -- but, sadly, not for long. He was only three years old and the most perfect of any Schnauzer we've ever owned. However, he had not been house-trained and all our efforts to get him to poop anywhere other than in the house were to no avail. Consequently, he spend his mornings in the yard, happily barking and running - and hopefully divesting himself of some of the mammoth poop I was required to scoop up after him on a daily basis. One Saturday morning, when both Joey and Milly were in the yard, I heard the commotion when they both started frantic barking, but quickly, Joey stopped and soon afterwards, so did Milly. Ten minutes later when I went outside to call them in, only Milly was in the yard. Her little barrel chest and Yoda like ears were quivering wildly. Joey was gone forever, stolen by someone who had understand that his bloodlines were perfect.

In trying to find Joey, we placed ads everywhere, canvased the neighborhoods, posted flyers, and answered any ads from folks who had found male Schnauzers. And so Wolfie, my heart dog, came into our lives. Escaped from some concentration-camp like setting -- or tossed out because he was no longer useful -- he was a terribly abused seven year old. Our line about Wolf is: The Best Dog in the World. And he was.

We lost Milly in 1998 and because her aging had been difficult, Hubby and I decided that one dog at a time was enough. We focused on Wolf from November until February of 1999, when we got a call from the same groomer that had gifted us with Johann.

"There's a Schnauzer two-year old, who has been in the Ottawa pound far too long. If you're interested give me a call," was the message he left on our answering machine. We talked it over, called, and a week later Fritzy came into our lives.

Now he's 10. My how time flies when your having fun! We've known that his health is getting more precarious. At Christmas he took to shivering and being stand-offish in Houston. The vet did tests on his return to the Heartland and we learned that Fritz was beginning to show some signs of kidney failure.

He's getting worse. The good news is that his heart is strong -- no signs of congestive heart failure. He runs and jumps and plays and pees and poops. But . . . he is losing weight no matter how much we try to convince him to eat his prescriptive dog food. He's lost seven pounds since Christmas -- that's a lot of weight when you consider he only weighed in at 26 pounds. However, the vet says he's still within normal range, not too thin. If we can keep him from vomiting up nearly everything he eats, then we may keep the 19 pounds he now weighs from melting away. We've got to work harder at getting him to eat the R/D dog food that he's sure is not nearly as good as the much less expensive stuff that his companion snarfs down. The last week I've been hand-feeding him dinner.

Fritzy is beautiful when he's groomed. People stop and "ooh and ahhh" over him when he's shiny and clean because he has very silky fur, lovely unclipped ears that fold just perfectly, and a nicely formed Schnauzer shape. The silky fur, though, picks up everything he runs through in the park. He licks himself like crazy so he turns the snowy white beard and paws rusty brown by the end of the second week. We groom him once a month and by day three, he looks bedraggled.

Fritzy is our dominant dog. He humps little Gus whenever he thinks Gus might be having more fun or getting more attention. Fritzy is also the Schnauzer that is capable of giving a sharp nip if he thinks you have invaded his space. Periodically, I have to up-end Fritzy, toss him on his back, and remind him that his place in this household is below me. Hubby doesn't have the problem, of course, because he's clearly alpha -- but Fritzy and I sometimes vie for second status. I get into bed and tell Fritz to move and he growls at me at least once a week. He's sleeping in my spot in the bed, of course.

Fritzy has never been an easy dog. He's had some expensive health issues and he has poor teeth. We've never totally gotten him housebroken. We go long spells where I don't think he's been peeing in the house -- and then I discover he's simply moved his position and his spot and has been happily and sneakily peeing on 1. the teacups on the bottom of the china cabinet -- and each one has a quarter inch of pee in it; 2. on the books on the bottom shelf in the computer room; 3. on the three CD racks in the living room, managing to ruin the cases and covers of at least 25 CDs; 4. on any box he can find sitting on the floor or in the closets; 5. sneaking downstairs to pee on the furniture stored in the basement (we now have a board blocking the stairs so he can't escape there).

And yet Fritzy is our little love. When he came, Wolfie was heartbroken that we had brought another dog into the household. He had relished being the center of attention. All the way home from the pound, Wolf had sat in the back sit, facing the back seat cushion and wouldn't even look at us. We had blockaded Fritz in the kitchen that first night and the second day when we had to leave the house. But Fritzy, with his sense of play and fun, had escaped, gone directly to Wolf and had played with him and all his toys, until exhausted they both collapsed on our bed and there we found them, sleeping together. Wolf never minded Fritzy again.

When Wolf died, Fritzy grieved with me. We both went into a huge decline. I cried. Fritzy hid under the bed. He would come out periodically to eat or get some snuggles -- but otherwise, we really didn't see him. At the end of the week, when we brought Gus home from the same pound that Fritz had come from, he welcomed him easily and happily. Gus now adores Fritz the way Fritz loved Wolf. They get along beautifully.

Fritzy knows how to cuddle. He will come to you as you're reading in bed, nudge the book away until you pay him attention, and then cuddle down right by your face, his soft beard soothing away the troubles of the day. He isn't demanding at other times. He doesn't try to run off in the park. He comes when he's called. He doesn't pester for attention. He travels well.

And now he's beginning to show signs of aging. The vet drew blood this week and said the kidney functions are getting much worse. We need to keep his tummy happy, make sure he doesn't get into any rich food or try to steal Gussie's dinner. We need to give him medicine on a daily basis.

We've lost three dogs. Milly took a long time to leave us and so we were prepared. Joey had only been with us eight months and then he was gone in a flash -- and though I shouldn't admit it, he really was totally replaced with my beloved Wolf. Wolf got sick in the night and within six hours he was gone and left my heart so broken I thought it would never heal. I'm not prepared to lose another one, not so soon after Wolf. I need time -- maybe another 30 years or so.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Yes! Yes! Well, maybe . . . Okay, probably not

A couple of weeks ago I published a list of things I think I never WANT do in this lifetime (No! No! Never). Here, on the other hand, are ten things I'd love to do but probably never will get the chance to experience:
  • Write a book -- just takes too much discipline.
  • Tour Europe / China / anyplace overseas -- neither Hubby nor I can tolerate plane rides; we can't walk at the end of two hours sitting in a movie theater -- image what squashed in a place seat would do to us?
  • Dive off a diving board -- I have never learned to dive, I can swim, but diving eludes me..
  • Learn to ballroom dance -- one must have a partner AND some agility to do this..
  • Bake a pie from scratch -- I don't have the patience to make a pie crust from scratch when purchasing one from the local HyVee is so simple; also I just don't understand the principles behind rolling out dough.
  • Graduate magna cum laude -- from anywhere.
  • Own a mountain or seaside cabin for vacations -- Hubby would simply HATE it!
  • Buy a diamond tennis bracelet -- I do have lovely diamond earrings and a solitaire necklace and a couple of diamond rings that are quite stunning and I'd really like to have a diamond bracelet to go with . . . but the cost just seems too extravagant when there are vet bills to pay and used cars to buy.
  • Buy a Silverado truck for Hubby -- see diamond bracelet rational above.
  • Drive a Hummer -- the only car on the road today I actually find entertaining but could definitely not afford and even if I won one on a game show I couldn't afford the gas to keep it running; also I couldn't park it -- so no Hummer in my future.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Filing the Trunk of the Car

During the 1980's -- back when I was teaching school the first time around -- Hubby and I spent our summers going to garage sales. We had a route, a pattern, and a limit on what we would spend. We bought things for the classroom -- and Christmas presents for the family. That's not quite as bad as it sounds -- many garage sales are of brand new / sample items. However, I must admit we did buy some interesting used items to give away, too.

During the 1990's, when I began to work year round, we gave up going to garage sales. Also, our house was, by this time, completely filled with "stuff" -- I dare not call it "junk" or Hubby will think I'm actually in the mood to downsize yet again. By the millennium we have completely stopped going to any garage sales ever. Instead . . . I took up e-bay.

Last year was my first summer "off" since I was now back teaching school after a 16 year absence. Hubby and I took in a few garage sales and I got some really great things for my classroom. The 16 year gap between teaching stints meant that all my teaching materials had been scattered far and wide and I needed to replenish the puzzles, notebooks, extra reading books, CDs/video tapes, and seasonal decorations I'd once owned as supplementary teaching materials. The best find last year was a huge wire pumpkin completely covered in tiny orange Christmas lights -- and it make the best fall display in any classroom in the building. The kids absolutely adored it -- and I got the thing for only $2 and had it lit from mid-September until December 1.

Just before spring of this year Hubby had a trash container placed in our driveway for two weeks and brought in a crew of men to clean out the "stuff" in the basement. If I had seen the items being tossed, I probably would have had a heart attack. Instead, I was at school and each night when I came home, I'd find mostly old broken chairs and old dining rooms tables in the container. During the early '80's, I had a thing for dining room furniture -- it's just that I never actually did have a dining room. Also, I found a lot of dried out crafting materials floating on the pedestal table bottoms. So I didn't really care much that they were throwing away enough stuff to actually fill up the huge railroad car-sized container. After the trash was removed, I discovered that Hubby had also thrown away all our summer pants -- shorts, culottes and capris. But it's too late now to remedy that particular mistake. Meanwhile the basement is nicely cleaned out -- and so is the garage.

That brings up to today. Well, actually yesterday. I had spent the last two days in the house, never getting out of my nightgown. By last night I was feeling a bit house-bound, so I suggested that this morning Hubby and I get up and take in a couple of early morning garage sales. He rolled his eyes but agreed.

This morning we gathered up the big cottage cheese cartons full of coins and dumped them into freezer bags. I took out $40 in quarters and then the bank turned them the rest into dollar bills for us (well okay, a couple of fives and tens and twenties, too). And we set out.

At first the pickings were really slim. I think we had completely lost our noses for sniffing out good garaging territory. So we took Fritzy to the vet to get his anal glands expressed. Poor boy has an awful problem with them -- we have taken to calling him "Butt Boy." I plopped him on the vet's scale and found he had lost six pounds since his last visit so we called the vet out for an examination. $150 later and a huge vial of blood for testing we were back on the road hunting bargains.

Again, no luck. We spied a Perkins and pulled in and each had a huge breakfast -- biscuits, pancakes, sausage, gravy, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and muffins. Feeling refreshed we again headed out and this time, having revived ourselves, we began to have some luck.

The mother lode was a sale of sample books, none over $6, and interesting brand-new gee-gaws that make for fabulous sock gifts for the family (be prepared, Wendy! even Hubby thought what we got you was darned cool!). The most fun was a soda bottle with the material inside to make 49 science experiments to really "amaze your teacher." But we also found some Christmas cards for a buck, a finger-tip towel for a quarter, and a small change purse for a dime.

In the '80's we could shop all day. By noon today we were exhausted -- but pleased with our haul. I bet we go out again next week!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer is coming . . .eventually

We've had a cold spring here in the Heartland; not chilly but downright cold. Today the temps are hovering in the low 60's. Usually the air conditioning goes on in this house around the start of April -- sometimes even in early March. This year we've never run the air for 24 straight hours. We have had it on a couple of times when the temps got over 80 -- but that really was only for a short stretch.

When I was a kid, what I remember about late spring was Granny's garden. When I was little I thought she had a huge yard with thousands of flowers. The reality was the space was small but Granny knew how to create a big impact with densely packed flower beds.

In the spring my memory tells me she had thousands of pink, red, and white peonies. I'm quite sure now that she had some peony bushes and they put out a number of buds -- but there were not thousands. Still, peonies were always my favorite. Granny used them for grave decorating at Memorial Day. I remember she and Mother cut the peonies, wrapped them in newspapers, and loaded them along with clean coffee cans into the trunk of the car. Grandfather drove, Dad sat next to him in the front, and I sat between Mother and Granny in the back - and off we went to visit the respective cemeteries. One was in the neighboring city where Grandfather was born and one was in the college town where my father was from. We honored the departed of the menfolks. I have no idea where Granny's family actually was buried -- someplace in Florida, maybe. Or California.

Mother's gardens were practical. She planted parsley and lettuce and tomatoes and cucumbers. My job, once things began to grown, was to weed the garden and bring in the parsley, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers to make dinner salads. The dog peed on the parsley with abandon so getting it clean was quite the job. Moreover, we grew some nasty form of leaf lettuce that required you choke it down as best you could. The thing that grew the best was parsley -- and we put it liberally on the nasty lettuce. I have never like parsley in any form since. Mother was always into saving money so we purchased salad dressing -- French -- from A&P for 39 cents a bottle. I've not eaten French salad dressing as an adult either. Every meal in the summer started off with a salad made fresh from our garden. Now I listen to Garrison Keller extol the joys of fresh produce and I remember with irony those salads we worked so hard to produce.

We also grew zinnias in our backyard. They are very hardy flowers that if you cut back at the end of summer will grow again and again. All summer my job was to weed the flower beds and in late summer cut the zinnia stems down to the ground, then bag them.

My yard has no flowers, no plants, no bushes. We hire a crew to come and mow and rake. I laugh and tell my friends, "You know, the best lawn is concrete painted green." But as spring is very slowly turning into summer here in the Heartland, I find myself remembering my granny's garden and wishing I could once more smell those fabulous peonies.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My Handsome Hubby

This is my handsome Hubby meeting Rafer Johnson in May, 2008. My students think Hubby is at least 10 years younger than me -- and in reality he's 11 years older. He dresses up really pretty, don't ya think?

I felt bad cutting Rafer out of the picture -- so here he is with Hubby:

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Today is my birthday and it has been a very quiet day. Hubby, who disdains birthday celebrations, did remember to say Happy Birthday to me this morning. Of course, I had mentioned twice yesterday that my birthday was the very next day. At church the congregation sang Happy Birthday to me. A friend from long-long ago surprised me with an e-card. My sister-in-law put in a long-distance call to me. Hubby did take me to a nice restaurant for dinner but we had to go late after a very long meeting following church where a lunch had been served -- and he ATE it.

Somehow, even when I know it won't ever happen, I always hope for a special, wonderful, surprising day. A day with cake and ice cream and balloons and a pile of packages just for me to unwrap. A day with a party and people laughing and hugging and concentrating on just making ME feel special.

Instead it really was just another day. I'm glad to have these days. I'm glad Hubby is around to share it with me. I'm glad the fur children are there being cuddly and loving.

But a little surprise would have been very appreciated, too. And a card to read, a present to open, a cake to eat. I feel sad and unnoticed and unappreciated. I'll be glad when the day is over and my outlandish expectations are put to bed for another year.

Happy birthday to me . . .

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day is for Remembering

In the United States on the last Monday in May we celebrate Memorial Day. This is a time to honor American men and women who died in military service to their country. It was started to honor Union soldiers who died during the Civil War, but now includes all who died in any war or military action.

We have spread out the memorial now to include remembering past family members and friends. Cemeteries are full of people during this time bringing crosses, flags, and flowers to place on graves. It almost feels like a huge celebration of a family reunion.

Memorial Day also signals the start of summer. Pools open, schools close, barbecue contests are held, folks grill in the parks. It's picnic, shorts, and vacation time.

This year I got my memorial bouquets early and they have been riding around in the trunk of the car for at least a month. If you take them to the cemetery before the actual Memorial Day weekend, the ground folks will remove them as trash as they prepare to make the place all spiffy for the onslaught of family members during the three day weekend.

My grandfather was very proud of his naval duty served during World War I. He even sported a Naval tattoo on forearm. My father, who was drafted at the ripe old age of 38, not so much. He served during the end of World War II. Since then, no family member has been in the military.

Grandfather joined the Navy sometime around 1916 - 17. He was stationed at the Waukegan, Illinois naval base at the Great Lakes. He never saw duty overseas. My grandmother joined him there in a rented room and tried to earn a meager living doing sewing. I gather they were very poor. They were stationed there during the the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 which killed more people than died during World War I. Grandmother wrote letters back home, telling of the scope of the scourge at the naval base. With so many clustered together, this flu proved horribly deadly. Both grandparents had some flu symptoms which affected most horribly those between the ages of 20 and 40. This was unusual, as the flu usually attacks the very young and very old.

Dad was drafted at the end of World War II and spend his tour of duty in Enid, Oklahoma. He never much talked about his army life; Mother, however, complained about how much she missed him though they were not married at the time. I've never seen any letters from that time. I do have Dad's Bible that was presented to him as he left to join the Army.

Grandfather wanted a military presence at his funeral with a flag draped coffin. He left specific orders that his service in the Navy was to be remembered. I think Dad left no funeral instructions at all; Mother handled all the details and there was no funeral. She held a touching Memorial Service for him at the church he had attended in his later years and Hubby and I were invited to attend, which we did.

This afternoon I'll drive out to the cemetery and place red, white, and blue vases of carnations and flags on the graves of both Grandfather and Dad. I'll clean off the grass which will have grown around the edges of the graves and wipe away the rain spots. I'll talk a moment with my grandmother who was the first to be buried in the family plot. I'll tell her how much I miss her calming presence in my life. I'll remind Grandfather that he always promised to take me dog sledding in the Klondike -- and I'm still waiting for that trip. I'll tell Dad that Mother is still kicking around in the mountains, living life and standing strong for what she thinks is right and proper. I'll remember the happy times with my family.

Then I'll jump in the car with my sweet hubby and my beautiful fur children and we will start our summer -- by going off to see Indiana Jones at the movie theater. Grandfather would approve!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

School's Out

This was our final work week (hurray for teachers!) and yesterday was our last day for the 2007-2008 school year.

The week was very quiet, actually. The kids came and helped me close down our room. My paraprofessional did not create the scene I had anticipated when she was placed on probation for the upcoming year. She did give grief to the principal and the head of my department, all of whom quietly protected me from letting her know just how unhappy she has made us this past year, but they kept me out of the fray. We ended the year on a nice note together which bodes well for next year. She probably won't improve her attendance or her timeliness in getting to school, but maybe she does understand that we all expect her to work when she is in the building -- and not spend the day playing computer games.

By 11 a.m. yesterday I was ready to check out. Of course, things never go quickly on the last day and I didn't actually leave the building until 2:30. But I left knowing I had a wonderful job for next year, a great group of kids to continue to work with, and a fabulous school to return to. The year ended on a very high note for me.

Two of the old-line SPED teachers are leaving, one to teach English in the school and one is moving to D.C. This assures me of a secure position at the end of next school year. I will no longer actually have to worry about staying at my wonderful high school.

Plans for the summer include:
  1. Attending a couple of in-service sessions for planning my new course in the fall
  2. Cooking Hubby healthy meals on my new stove; going grocery shopping for food for the nutritious meals -- I already have the One -Pot and Favorite Brand Slow Cooker books out for perusing
  3. Getting ALL the wash done (I've done whites but the colored clothes have sat for six weeks or more)
  4. Supporting Hubby as he looks to replace our auto -- I can no longer drive the 16 year old Lincoln because I can't rev it up fast enough to keep it running; we either need a new engine or a new (used) car (big sigh)
  5. Cleaning out the computer room -- the room we seem to use the most and consequently it gets filled with soda cans, stacks of paper, used paper plates, old magazines, lost bills, pencil nubs, church programs, etc.
  6. Building a web site for the church
  7. Finding what I've got left of the church finance records and turning them over to the new administrators
  8. Reading all the novels I've got piled up for a rainy day
We also may take a couple of weekend trips, to Branson and St. Louis, or we may not, depending on the car situation.

Anyway, nothing too arduous is in the works. Lots of late nights are planned with getting up mid-morning. My natural sleep rhythms have nothing in common with a teaching schedule -- to bed by 10 and up at 5. Bah! To bed at 2 and up at 10 is just the perfect schedule. That's why this morning I was fixing Hubby breakfast at 6 a.m. (ten month habits are hard to break).

Today we are having flood-inducing rains and the dogs are huddled under the computer desk praying the thunder and lightning combo do not destroy their happy home. Fritzy is shivering so badly the desk is rattling.

The first day of summer vacation, even with rain and lightning and thunder and a basement full of dirty wash is filled with the possibilities that all things will be bright and wonderful.

School's out, school's out, teachers let the . . .

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Things Have Gotten Done

Grad school is finished for the spring semester. I'm not going for the summer - summer's need to be mine, and mine alone. The grades haven't been submitted yet, but the prof told us that we all had A's. I hope that's right because that would keep my 4.0 in tact.

My hair was cut, permed, and dyed on Wednesday night. I feel much better now that the hair is manageable once again. My regular stylist wasn't in but I sized up the staff and chose perfectly. She gave a a great cut and an even better perm. I've been going to Fantastic Sam's because I like the walk-in aspect and the fact it's cheap. However, this cut, perm, and dye ran me $115 (with tip).

The seniors graduated Thursday night. Hubby got me there and home without stress on my part. The audience was very rowdy but the ceremony only last eighty-five minutes.

This morning at 9 a.m. the Bishop of the Methodist Church met with at our church for a congregational meeting to select a modified Administrative Council. For the first time since I've joined the church I do not hold a key position. Yes, I was offered a spot as representative of the Trustees and I suggested that this go-round Hubby fill the spot. He was pleased to accept. I've told him that I will support him in any way that I can but at this point in time, he's the main force behind our church attendance. And I stuck to my guns, accepted no position, and actually walked out of the church happy for the firs time in many months.

The Bishop also introduced us to our new pastor, a lovely, young woman with a four-legged dog child. She is African-American, has been serving as youth minister in the largest Black Methodist church in the city, is married to a musician who is Hispanic, and is bi-lingual in the bargain. I was immediately impressed.

If our church is to survive, if we can overcome our personal difficulties, if -- and that's one HELL of a big IF -- then this woman has all the qualities to help us grow and diversify. She is exactly what we asked the Methodist church for. I honestly didn't expect them to come through -- but they did, in a big way. There is hope. There is also going to be a whole lot of turmoil before things turn around.

Tomorrow is our current pastor's farewell Sunday. Last Sunday his wife announced that I was in charge of this service. But I'm not. Nothing had been said to me about it or the reception / dinner to follow. However, I did swallow my anger over current church action, and e-mail the nicest man I know who actually is REALLY heading up the farewell, and told him I would create the paper program for the service. Sometimes these publishing things go easily. This one did not but by Wednesday I had the program ready for delivery and printing.

I have already begun to hit summer sleep mode. During the school year I get up at 5 a.m. which means that I have to go to bed very early to get even six hours of sleep each night. Given my natural sleep rhythms, I like going to bed at 2 a.m. and getting up at 10 a.m. Yes, that's a lovely eight hours of sleep and it's during the time I actually can sleep. Otherwise, I'm usually a fitful sleeper, two hours here, two hours there.

Next week we have three days of school. Monday is the last day of finals. Tuesday is make-up day for anyone missing finals. Wednesday the students attend from 7:30 until 10:20 and then are bussed home. We have room check at 1 p.m. After that we are delivered for the summer.

The SPED head has asked me to serve on a curriculum development committee for the new course the district has allotted for English. I agreed on a tentative basis that I would go to a couple of meetings -- but if they argued, threw jargon around instead of real ideas, or just pontificated at length, I was outta there in a jiffy. So June 6th I'm back at work, at least on a limited basis.

It feels really good to be looking at 11 weeks of rebuilding, resting, nesting, cooking, cleaning (on a limited basis), and lovin' the Hubby and doggies to distraction. I need the time to regroup.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Isn't She Lovely?

The most beautiful woman in my life has always been my mother. Just 20 years older than me, she was always my ideal for how a woman should look.

Auburn tresses, brilliant eyes, ruby lips, long delicate fingers, a tiny waist, and perfect hips -- this is the picture I carry of my mother. Flaming, flamboyant, larger than life. She always left me standing in her shadow as she breezed through life, swallowing up all the air around her. In every room eyes were only on her.

In my old age I've begun to look a bit like her -- but still only marginally. In my youth, I never added up to the package she presented. I have thick ankles; hers are perfectly formed. I've spend hours trying to reduce my hips and butt while nature endowed her with the perfect hour glass figure; I've always been a pear. Her hair, thick and red and curly, glowed in the moonlight, forming the perfect halo of curls; mine has always been limp and straight and plain brown. My bossom as a teen was flat and as an added insult became huge and unmanageable after 40. In her twenties, hers was a perfect 36B and undoubtedly, even now, in her eighties is fashion-figure flat.

My mother is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in real life. Isn't she lovely?

Mother as a teenager -- nothing ungainly about this girl:

Mother's wedding picture -- taken just at the end of WWII -- the suit was powder blue and must had been a perfect foil for the red hair:

I'd just been born -- you can see my tiny foot just out of camera range but the camera only has eyes for the beauty front and center:

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I just got back from my last graduate class until August. The final paper is turned in. The final exam is taken. I am now a free woman! Heaven!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

No! No! Never!

My granny used to say, "Never say never . . . because that's the one thing you'll certainly end up doing." Here's my list of things I believe I'll never agree to do:
  1. Buy a new car -- they simply cost way too much in proportion to one's salary and they depreciate way too rapidly the moment you drive them off the lot.
  2. Make my own bread -- kneading is just not a satisfying activity for me and it takes way too long; I like immediate gratification.
  3. Sing in an opera -- even the ones in English are much too complicated but mostly my voice sucks, I can no longer memorize much of anything, AND most of them are in foreign languages, none of which I speak.
  4. Eat a seal -- blubber is not appealing on any level, but in my mind would be the picture of that baby seal with it's pleading eyes raised to the brute with the big club.
  5. Compose a melody -- even a simple one is beyond my meager abilities.
  6. Do a strip tease -- with this body you MUST be joking!
  7. Bunge jump -- I have no active death wish.
  8. Run a marathon -- I have boobs! Very substantial boobs! I would put out my own eye, not to mention what would happen to my back.
  9. Bow down to corporate power -- I'm still the wild child of the 1960's at heart.
  10. Live with any other housemate than the current one (Hubby) -- as an only child I don't share well.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Currently, in my hectic life, I need:
  1. A hair cut
  2. A permanent
  3. A hair dye -- the gray is really showing through
  4. A pair of summer shoes that will cover the gouty toe -- somewhere in my house is a mate to a lovely pair of blue/gray sandals that would do the trick but Gus carried off the shoe and I can't find it
  5. A final paper completely written and researched due on Thursday night -- I've got only the outline
  6. A trash sack of summer pants -- I KNOW I put one in the basement last fall but I can't find it anywhere; Hubby cleaned out the basement in April -- you don't suppose? No, he's not the careless
  7. To wash the colored clothes -- a huge sack is in the kitchen waiting . . . I did get the whites done this weekend so we have clean undies
  8. The ability to walk away from my church's power struggle and NOT let all the strugglers get to me so badly
  9. The stamina to survive tomorrow where I'm throwing not one BUT two parties in honor of students who are winning awards
  10. To juggle through a quarter mile of concrete hallways two huge sheet cakes, a huge container of pink lemonade, seven framed (with glass) certificates that have been assembled, a bag of a billion pastel mints, eight bowls to hold said mints, two big candles, a new computer mouse AND do this without dropping or breaking anything at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning
  11. Twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep -- last night I dreamed I freeze dried my youngest dog and woke up in sheer panic
  12. A day without pain -- in the back, in the knees, in the hips, in the shoulders, in the head
The award ceremony is tomorrow at school. The first reception for the award winning parents follows. The second reception, in honor of the students AND the woman who cheerfully provides nutritious snacks for these kids is at 1:30 p.m. The final paper, still unwritten is due Thursday and at that time we're getting the final test, which is take home -- meaning another freakin' paper. The seniors graduate May 15th. The minister's farewell party is May 18th. I have to have my room packed and ready for summer cleaning May 21st, the last day of school. The minister's last Sunday is May 25th, my 62nd birthday. May 26th, I plan to collapse in a huge heap and go into hiding for a full week. Nobody is going to be able to reach me except two little dog-boys and one loving Hubby. June 1 -- I shall emerge like Aphrodite rising from the sea - though I doubt that my virginity will be renewed, even on a one time basis. Sorry -- I'm silly from being tired. Good night.