Friday, January 30, 2009

The Gobbledeegoop from Gobbler's Knob

I don't know what it is about Groundhog Day that really depresses me.

Maybe it's the sight of the
snow-packed landscape of Punxsutawney
and that fat little beaver-like creature
being assaulted by flashing cameras
and crowds of craziness.

Maybe it's just the fact
that I know no matter what Phil says,
there will still be weeks of winter ahead
and they will seem to never, ever end.

I never understood that whole concept.
You would think if that pudgy woodchuck saw his shadow,
then that would mean there was sunshine present,
which would mean warmer air,
which would bring me to the
conclusion that winter was
on it's last legs.

Plump little Phil has seen his shadow
90 percent of the time.
I'd sure like to know in what years
that 10 percent occurred.
I don't remember ever feeling
like Spring had arrived early.

It always arrives too late
and leaves too early
as far as I'm concerned.

That old groundhog knows nothing
about the cold chill of a long winter.
For most of the year, Phil lives
in a climate-controlled home
at the Punxsutawney Library.
He is taken to Gobbler's Knob and
placed in a heated burrow underneath
a simulated tree stump on stage
before being pulled out at 7:25 am
on Groundhog Day, February 2, to make his prediction.

On this day, Gobbler's Knob hosts chili cook offs,
family games, trivia contests,
ice carving exhibitions, sleigh rides,
woodchuck whittling , scavenger hunts,
and all types of food and fun.

Are these people crazy?
Celebrating what is quite possibly
going to be the announcement
of more bad weather?!

I'm depressed.

But the Old Farmer's Almanac
has given me hope.
They say that in the past 60 years,
Punxsutawney Phil has only
been correct 28 percent of the time.

Maybe there's hope.
Gonna brush off the flip-flops
...just in case.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Queen For A Day- Well, Almost...

I wrote the following story in my weekly column when I worked for the Register News.


A few years back I was celebrating an anniversary- or birthday-(or something really special that I can't remember)- and my husband decided that he would be extra sweet and treat me to some good old-fashioned royal treatment.

He's like that sometimes-(way out of character).

He made me morning coffee, let me sleep late, and cooked me French toast like my mom used to make.
That afternoon as I relaxed in front of the TV on my recliner, he handed me a strange item.
"What's this?" I asked him, examining the black devise with lots of buttons.

"The remote." he answered.

"The remote to what?" I questioned.

"The TV, silly!"

"Really? You're kidding me! You mean we actually have a choice of programming?"

"Yeah, just push the channel buttons up or down or enter the number."

"But I thought we had the economy package- with just a handful of selections," I said mesmerized- watching the screen change to 150 different channels.

My husband seemed genuinely proud that he had introduced me to one of his most prized possessions. He instructed me on how to use the controls and watched me lovingly as I played with this new toy.

"This is amazing!" I said, "You're telling me we can actually watch channels besides Outdoor Life, History, and SciFi? We don't have to watch football, deer hunting, Civil War reenactments, or Pamela Anderson?"

"'s a special today only...yeah, that's it- a one day special." he stuttered. "I ordered it especially for you. Tomorrow it goes back to the budget programming."

He left me with my new found joy while he loaded the dishwasher. So! This is what being a queen felt like! All snuggled up with my feet propped, served hot coffee or ice tea on demand- not having to worry about what to fix for supper or if the toilet needed scrubbed.

"Could you fix me a sandwich?" I asked, focusing on the Lifetime Network and pushing my special treatment to the very fragile edge.

What I really, really wanted to add was- "Plus some fresh cole slaw, fries, and some nice hot brownies for dessert."

(But I knew that was crossing the line. I may have been Queen For A Day, but not Dead and Gone to Heaven!)

He served me a nice sandwich, cranked back his recliner, and smiled over at me adoringly.
"What'er we watching?" he asked, getting in his comfort zone.

"Oh..." I said, selecting channels, "I thought from four o'clock till five o'clock we'd watch reruns of The Golden Girls. From five to six- a movie about childbirth. From seven till ten, I've got HGTV picked out, and from ten o'clock through 1 a.m. is a Happy Days marathon."

Even to this day, I don't know what happened! The only way to explain it is that I was instantly dethroned! I had to give the remote back- no!- it was actually snatched from my unsuspecting hands before I could blink an eye! The entire day of being pampered suddenly shriveled into a normal day. The clock must have struck midnight because I wasn't Cinderella anymore.

I dream sometimes now. About a day - a long time from now probably- when the years pass and his memory has faded- that maybe I'll get a chance to use that remote again. That I'll push buttons and change channels and feel the rush- the exhilaration- of having total control.

But for now, I'm sure there's a toilet somewhere that needs scrubbing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Analyze This

My kids are always telling me
that I have a vivid imagination.
I think that's partly because I relate my
many dreams and nightmares to them-
usually getting a squinty-eyed response
that suggests they may presume
I have a screw (or two) loose.

Maybe they're right.

One dream I specifically remember
is the one where I trekked up a
big green mountain and picked
a dozen black roses.
Upon arriving back at home,
I placed them in a vase in the
center of my dining room table.
Within a matter of minutes,
they began to wilt,
the petals falling on the table top
and turning into soft mewing kittens.
Then I gathered all the felines
into a basket and carried them
back to the mountain top.

I am sure there's a book
(or a shrink) out there somewhere
who could analyze that for me.
Yet, I really prefer
just to enjoy the dream-
the sweet movie of imagination
that visits me in my sleep.

I've done some rather strange things
in my artistic experiments, too.
Once I tried to sculpt a face mask
using dryer lint and glue.
I've made butterflies and dragonflies
from leaves and sticks and seeds.

I've even tried my hand at an American Flag quilt.
It was a conglomeration of calico's
and florals and twenty shades of red, white and blue.
I used to have it pinned up on the wall in my kitchen.
Once my Cajun sister-in-law asked about it-
(it being rather strange and unusual)-
and I told her proudly that it was
my first attempt at quilting.

"Awww..." she said, with a coddling smile, "How old were you?"

"Forty-nine,"I said dryly.

Her smiled faded.

Contrary to my other fears in life,
my imagination knows no boundaries.
I tend to collect fabric and ribbon
and buttons and beads and seed pods
and feathers-
and any strange object that grabs my attention.
I'm just a magpie, I guess.

I dreamt once that lightning bugs
came in 64 brilliant colors
and each color had their own musical note.
That night I watched them
light up the sky like a rainbow-
twinkling like miniature Christmas lights-
playing a beautiful symphony
amid a warm summer breeze.

If that makes me crazy,
then don't tighten my loose screws.

Embracing my imagination
is the only thing
that makes me sane.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Winter Woes

I was perfectly fine with the idea
that we might just have a mild winter.

I was ready to have spring
pop up right around the corner.
I have even made reading the seed catalogs
an every day ritual.
I was ready to pick out new tulip bulbs,
a great assortment of tomato plants,
and occasionally toyed with the idea
of planting giant jack-o-lanterns.

But the Winter Storm Warnings
issued for tonight
will certainly bury my dreams
beneath the predicted 3 to 5
inches of snow.

Yet, they say that snow shoeing
is great exercise,
that snow boarding can be thrilling,
and that cross country skiing
can be learned by children as young as two.

I even ran across a website today
that encourages "snowplay"
with your family.
It is basically any activity that
takes place in the snow,
including the age-old traditions of building snow men,
erecting igloos, and having snowball fights.

So, if the meteorologists are right,
I guess I better be ready for some outdoor fun!

I have my thermal long johns on.
I put on a giant coat, woolly sweater, old hoodie,
insulated gloves, sheepskin hat, ear muffs,
triple thick socks, Gortex boots,
sweat pants, blue jeans, face mask,
fleece scarf, Chap Stick, furry hand muff,
feet warming packets,
and I have hot chocolate
all laid out in anticipation.

But, come to think of it,
I don't have a sled.
Or snowshoes.
Or skis.
Or a snowboard.
Or a snow mobile.
I don't have anyone here to build snowmen with,
toss snowballs at,
or any help stacking igloo blocks.

Besides that,
I can't move in all this garb.


Guess I'll go back to bed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Gourd Art: What I Do When I'm Not Pondering Life

Above: Groovy Gourd: paint pens

Left: Fish
Above: Battenburg Bowl- White pen on black acrylic
Above: Dreamscape- Pen and ink

Left: Untitled, acrylic paint

Snake Gourd: Pen and wood burner

Above: Love Gourd

The Waiting Room

For lack of any inspiration whatsoever today, I am inserting a column that I wrote for The Register News-back from 2005 when I was a "reporter".

Whoever coined the term "waiting room" was a virtual genius. No other name or title could be more fitting or more accurate. It is simply that. A room where you wait.

And wait. And wait....

I usually measure my waiting room experiences by the number of magazines I can finish reading while there. An acceptable wait is a cute decorating magazine or a thin entertainment publication. Two National Geographic's or a complete Reader's Digest always gets me worrisome. And never, ever, under any circumstances is it acceptable to wait through an entire reading of the AMA Journal.

I have waited so long in doctor's offices that even the free pamphlets they provide start to look interesting. I've actually caught myself reading about the side effects of allergy medication, the working of the lungs, and the psychological impact on children who don't eat breakfast.

These brochures are solely put out for reading (and waiting) purposes only. They are not meant to be removed from the waiting room. I mean, do you really want to be seen carrying off a booklet entitled, "Bladder Control and You"?

When you actually get back into the exam room after a lengthy wait- it is like winning the lottery! You're ecstatic! You have reached the half-way point!

But, most times the joy is short-lived. Another type of wait continues. However, this can be a more comfortable wait. Here, all alone- away from the shifty eyes of other patients- you can take off your shoes, pick your teeth, adjust your underwear, or take a nap.

I have memorized the wall charts in every exam room I've ever visited. There's something very empowering about being able to blurt out the parts of the inner ear at your next dinner party. And it may come in handy someday to know the location of the spleen- in case you have to perform emergency at-home surgery.

I have played with the blood pressure cuffs and weighed myself (and the trash can) several times in one wait. I've depressed my own tongue, swabbed my dirty ears, and used the cotton balls to remove stubborn shoe scuffs.

NOTE: If at all possible, it is always a good idea to avoid examination rooms that are equipped with defibrillators, drills, stirrups, or fine stainless steel cutlery.

After a waiting room experience of any great length, it is strongly recommended that you see a doctor immediately. Complications such as eye strain, sore muscles, and complete lunacy may occur.

I have just discovered that the same genius who coined the word "waiting room" also created another very appropriate word. "Patient".

Go figure.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Genetics Gone Awry

If you've ever had mature children,
you will know right now
that term is an oxymoron.
Meaning: A contradiction of terms.

Your own children never mature-
they just get older.
They continue to do incredibly
stupid and strange things
for the duration of their lives.

But, as a tender-hearted mom-
I just go ahead and let them.
Sometimes I just watch in stupor-
Sometimes I even contribute to the list
of unbelievable exploits they venture
to get by with.

Every family has that one kid
that always pushes the envelope
just a little farther.
One that won't mind asking for
huge amounts of money,
irrational favors,
or never give a second thought to
cashing in on age-old guilt-laden promises.

My middle child scores a bulls eye!
She is the perfect example.

She never fails to entertain me
with her bold, audacious personality.
Her brassiness can bring me to tears,
but her humor can
light up my life for days!
She is a whirlwind of contradictions
and a carousel of colorful fun.
I can't help but love her dearly.

But every day I thank God
He only gave me one like her.

She's been going through the process
of moving the past few weeks-
(the house they lived in was becoming
dangerously contaminated
with black mold).

She began trudging like slow molasses
through the packing process-
grabbing a spatula or a bed pillow
on each trip from one house
to the other-
instead of clearing it out in one fell swoop
and being done with it.

They are smarter than you- so why try
to talk sense into them?)

Just to be nice,
I offered her little things I had about the house
for her to use at the new place-
like mirrors and pictures,
frames and footstools,
curtains and throw rugs-
but she refused them all.

But last night, they came by
just to let us know that they needed a bed
and to ask if maybe they could borrow one.
Theirs was contaminated with mold
and the expense of moving
had left them too tight on money
to go out a buy a new one.

So, when she came today to borrow our extra bed,
she let me know that she would also need
a couple of pillows.
And a bed skirt.
And some shams.
With the matching comforter.
And, while she was at it, she really
could use a bedside lamp, too.

I watched her leave through the front door,
juggling bed linens and lampshades and pillows-
her attitude set as though
she was doing me a huge favor.

I suddenly saw that little girl in her again-
confident, presumptuous, and pushy-
with a laugh that can shake your insides
and a smile that can melt even her daddy's heart.

But I'll probably never see
my bed again...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just Say It

The beginning of a new year always seems
to stir up our dreams-
make us aware of the things we never did
and hope to someday do-

...(or the things we did do
and hope to never do again).

Along with resolutions, there are
always regrets.
Of days that passed us by-
opportunities not taken-
choices that were less than wise.

One thing I have never regretted
is that I have always let the people I love
know that I love them.
I tell all my children daily-
my husband-
my sisters...
There is no reason on earth to wait-
to put off words that should come so easily.
Regrets are only made when we wait too late
to voice our feelings.

I always told my mom that I loved her.
And when she passed away those long years ago,
I had peace knowing that she knew-
knowing that no one could ever take that
comfort away from me.
If she had died without me saying how I felt,
then I know regrets would have haunted me forever.

There are some regrets, though.
Things I wish I would have asked my mother.
Past history, her dreams and wishes,
vivid pictures of her childhood,
falling in love with Dad,
and secrets of her heart.

She took all that with her.

That's why I try to keep the secrets of my heart
in a little journal- tucked away in a drawer-
knowing that when the time comes
my family will find it-
that they will have answers to their questions-
and they will be at peace.

And they will have no regrets
about having never asked.

Life is short.
Too short.
Getting shorter.
If you love someone and are
not sure that they know it-
Tell them.
Let this be the year of No Regrets.
Of sharing- of opening up communication
and compassion-
of taking the opportunity to enrich your life
and embracing it wisely.

Love is such a little word.
But its effects are enormous.

Never be afraid to say it out loud.


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Happiness Hunt

As you all know, today is
Martin Luther King's birthday.
But what you probably don't know
is that
it is also the first day
of the seven day celebration
called Hunt For Happiness Week.

This awareness date is sponsored
by the Secret Society of Happy People
and is celebrated the third week of January.

This secret society encourages all people
to express their happiness
and -to date- there are over 7,000 members
in 34 countries that have joined
this jolly group.

For $10, you, too,
can become a smiling face.
You get a SOHP lapel pin,
society membership wallet card,
ten SOHP "pass it on" cards,
and three "Happiness happens"
5x7 note cards.

Sounds great.

But if hunting for happiness
is such a wonderful endeavor-
then why is the society secret?

Another problem I have
is with the "hunt" part.
Shouldn't happiness be
unpredictable, instantaneous
and unbridled?
Doesn't happiness come like love-
when you least expect it-
or after years of tribulation?

Where would I start hunting?

My wallet?

My fridge?
I'm dieting.

The mirror?
I'm 52.

All reruns.

I'm too old for clowns, monkey bars
or square dances.
I hate game-night Monopoly.
I'm too messy with finger paints.
Singing scares my dog-
and I can never hit the party pinata.

What else is there?

▪ University of California at Riverside has discovered that the road toward a more satisfying and meaningful life involves a recipe repeated in schools, churches and synagogues.
Make lists of things for which you’re grateful in your life,
practice random acts of kindness,
forgive your enemies,
notice life’s small pleasures,
take care of your health,
practice positive thinking,
and invest time and energy into friendships and family.

Hey- I can do that!
I think everybody can do that!
There is really no hunting involved after all.

When happiness knocks,
all we have to do is
open the door
give it a bear hug,
and never, ever let it go.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Contemplating Sundays

It's Sunday.

I suppose I should be in church.
It's been a long time
since my butt felt the
hard pulpit beneath me
or my soul felt the terror
of a Baptist minister
preaching fire and brimstone
to a sleepy congregation.

As a child, my parents took us all-
the entire eight or nine of us-
dressed like little orphan dolls
to the little white church house
in the country.

The men would gather round
the giant tree out front-
smoke cigarettes and laugh-
the women dutifully securing a place inside-
sitting near an open window
in the summer-
choosing an inside aisle
when chilly air drifted
through the rafters.

We learned to do our bathroom business
before leaving the house.
The only reason we wandered to the outhouse
around back
was to read the old catalog flung over
the rusty coat hanger
that served as tissue-
maybe sometimes just to get away
from some gray haired lady
singing her version of
The Old Rugged Cross.

We played tag a lot
in that church yard.
Hide and seek.
Flittering about the tombstones
with giggles that
filled the sky.

I kinda miss those days.
Days when I knew
my innocence and youth
were probably enough
to get me to heaven.

Days when I bellowed out hymns
as though I could sing.
And prayed
for simple things
like food and fun
and summer.

I still pray.

Almost daily.
That pew may not be present
beneath me
or the preacher
standing before me,
but there are times that I know
that I am
in the presence of God.

My prayers have changed.
Simple things grow complicated with age.
I find myself wanting more for others
than I do for myself.
My prayers encompass
a big, wide world now.
Yet, my family is the thing
I most ask God
to save, guide, and protect.

Mom and Dad could have given up-
stayed home-
slept in and sent us kids out to play-
lounged comfortably
on summer Sunday mornings
with coffee and a newspaper.

But, that small unselfish act-
the commitment of taking us to church-
has altered my life for the better.

And for that
I am thankful.

Friday, January 16, 2009

15 Things

The experts say that a person should
maintain a clean and organized home-
not only for themselves-
but for those left behind.

They say to consider the burden
you may put on your children
by having accumulated an access
of unneeded possessions.

I can see the point.

I imagine a situation in my minds eye-
(that little video daydream thing I do sometimes)-
I see my children having the task of cleaning my house
when I am no longer here to object ...

(Or having too much fun playing Bingo to care)!

So, here are some guidelines to help them
in their huge endeavor:

1. Don't ask me why I have deer glands in the freezer.

2. The little black crispy thing in the blue envelope
is one of you guy's umbilical chord.

3. Any old baby teeth you find belong to the first born-
or our first dog.

4. Don't throw out the iron lady I got at a yard sale for $2.
Antique Road Show says she's worth at least $400.

5. Don't move the little stool by the dryer. It's holding up
the ironing board which is holding up the shelf which is
holding up all my cleaning supplies.

6. Don't believe everything you read in my diaries.

7. Don't ask me why I still have a "Maxi" coat.

8. The two black trash bags in the back closet are
junk drawers that were dumped but never sorted.

9. That furry negligee is not mine.

10. Don't fight over the silver. There isn't any.

11, The droopy brown thing in the front window
is a fern.

12. Don't ask me why I saved 50 empty Skoal cans
and a gallon jug of bottle caps.

13. The giant white package in the very bottom of the
freezer is the Easter ham bone from 2002.

14. I don't know where I got that ruffly pink blouse
with the shoulder pads.

15. You can throw out the phone book from 1984.

I feel so much better now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spring Fever

I gaze out the window this morning
and wonder how I've made it
this far into the new year
without going crazy.

They say that winter
makes some people sorta blue.

Well, I'm practically purple!

I just don't play well with boots,
heavy coats, snow shovels,
and de-icer.
I am not one to build snow men,
ski the slopes,
or take a refreshing winter walk.

I prefer not to have to
curl up into a sweater ball
and watch TV beneath
two down comforters
and an Old Navy throw.

I admit I get sorta mean-spirited
when the temperature starts falling.
Grouchy even.

And I know my husband is
tired of seeing me walk around
in thick hoodies, bulging fleece pants,
ugly elf booties-
and a face mask.

He says it's unattractive.

I am getting nostalgic about summer.
I saw some photos the other day
of our backyard-
the grass stretched out all
green and glorious-
the trees were full and fabulous...
the pond snapped with little fish...
the birds were alive and singing...

How can anyone not cry over that?

I will gladly trade my snow shovel
for a lawnmower any day.
I would rather be on my hands and knees
working the earth of a spring garden
than watching out a frosty window
as the world goes by.

I realize we have had our mildest
winter so far.
That is a scary thought.
One that sends me tail spinning
beneath the blankets for the day.

Oh, don't worry.
I'll survive.
I always do.

Just don't come skipping to my door
looking all pretty
in your sweet pea coat,
your striped cashmere scarf,
your stylish snow boots,
a great looking wool hat-
and a smile.

I'll knock that smile
right off of ya.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Resolution Default

Here it is- practically half-way into
the month of January and I've defaulted
on most of my plans to become a more
organized person.

With me, I think it's a disease.
Pack Rat Syndrome.
Something physically keeps me
from throwing away junk mail
and tossing old magazines.
A possible chemical imbalance
allows me to store them up
like a little nest-
that I cram into the branches of my closets
and drawers till they bulge.

I need help.

So, I have only added to the problem
by buying more magazines and
attaining more literature
that claim they can solve my clutter.

It is humanly possible. IF you are made of money.

Those cute canvas bins are $6 each.
I need about twenty.
The closet organizers?
You're talking in the hundreds of dollars.

Even Rubbermaid totes are getting
more expensive-
and what do you have when you fill one of those?
A giant plastic tote that won't fit
in your closet or under the bed.
You are basically back to Stage One.

One of my country magazines
suggests filling old muffin tins
with paper clips and push pins,
recycling gym baskets for files,
and mounting an assortment
of old doorknobs for hooking
umbrellas and aprons.

If I had a muffin tin on my desk-
it would be filled with everything-
running over and spilling into
the gym basket that is holding files,
scrap paper, old newspapers,
dirty socks, and candy wrappers.
My door knobs would have hoodies,
purses, spatulas and keys weighting
them down till they sag.

I need to assert myself
and begin a cleansing process.
I need to take each drawer-
one by one-
each closet, step by step..
Each nook and cranny-
and rid them of their
psychological influence on my life.

I love seeing the new spring ideas-
bright colors and fresh linens-
But first I'll have to
sweep out the winter doldrums.

I look around my house today.
A little sunshine
and a lot of elbow grease
is the perfect medicine for
Pack Rat Syndrome.
And I need a transfusion -quick.

I'm sicker than I thought!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Toni Torture

Most kids remember wonderful things
about their first year in kindergarten.
All the bold primary colors,
miniature seats and desks,
making new friends
and sharing Kool-aid at nap time.

Not me.

What I remember most is
my terrible perm.

And, to top off the humility-
my mom gave me this fuzz-ball-doo
the night before class pictures.

I actually tried to smile in the photo-
But my arms stayed stiff at my sides
and my jaw locked in a horizontal frown,
conveying to all-
(even these many years later)-
my supreme discontent.

they say if you give a child
paints and brushes,
he will tune his creativity.
If you give a child the gift of music,
he will most likely endeavor
to follow the musical arts.
Give him a tool set,
and he will learn to build.

Got a new one for ya.

Give a five year old girl a bad perm
and she is destined to have bad hair days-

I'm not blaming Mom.
There's no way
she would have wished
such a terrible curse upon me.
Plus, I think my two week crying jag
got her feeling pretty sorry
she had ever bought that box of Toni.

My past is dotted with unruly hair-
bad cuts,
nappy, furry, frizzy perms,
catastrophic coloring,
blah braids and lopsided pony tails-
disastrous doos
and hilarious helmet heads.

The result of these many years of anquish is
that I wear my hair straight and simple now.
No curling iron, gel product,
hair spray, or flattening processes.
Just a good old fly-away, sloppy,
pulled-behind-the-ears arrangement
that still manages
to cause me much agony.

Of course, now I have the
added problem of perfecting the color.
Each time it comes out a bit
blonder, darker, damaged, or dorky.
There is no happy medium.
No perfect solution.
No consistency in my coiffure.

But, as a result of my childhood affliction,
I can spot a hair-impaired woman in any crowd.
I feel sorry for her-
knowing that years ago
she was subjected to the
Toni torture also.

It's too late for me.
Fate dealt me a defective doo.
But, young mothers-
please take heed.
Learn from my sad story.

When it's time for school photos,
just give your kid a paintbrush,
a trumpet, or a hammer -
and tell them to smile.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nip Tuck ?

I know there is a little voice
inside all of us aging women
that secretly yearns
for a face lift.

We stand before the mirror-
frown, smile, pull our hair back,
fluff it forward, squint, go wide-eyed,
pull our chins tighter and our
cheekbones higher, cover our
crows feet, pout,
and sometimes simply cry.

Even my own thoughts on the
subject are varied.
There are days that I would jump
into a surgical gown in a second;
other days when I am
utterly practical
and a bit fearful.

Would you re-do your face
if time and money were no object?
Would you consider reshaping
the natural features
that God gave you-
for those of a magazine model?

I have come to realize that
I would probably never
do it for myself.
I've gotten used to
that woman in the mirror.
I know I can't hold back time
and the inevitable.

If I ever considered it, it would be for
the people that have to look at me.
For my husband.
Maybe he'd let me stop wearing
that paper sack.
(Just kidding)!

I color my hair.
Most of us do any more.
Don't you ever wonder
what your natural color is?
Don't you ever try to imagine
if it would be battleship gray
or a sophisticated silver?

What if we just let time
run its course?
Do its magic.
Or damage.
Or both.

Ninety-two percent of all
face lift patients in 2004 were women-
totaling 157,061.
Fifty-seven percent of face lifts
were performed on women
between the ages of 51 and 64.

And they aren't cheap.
But less than a new car!

Cost Range:

Average Total Cost: $9,500
Surgeons fee: $6,000
Anesthesiologist: $1,200
Facility fee: $1,700
Hospital fee: $600


Facelift $6,298
Eyelid surgery $2,813
Forehead lift $3,148
Laser skin resurfacing $2,484
Cheek implant $2,720
Lip augmentation (surgical) $1,819
Botox® injection (per injection) $382
Microdermabrasion $149

Other interesting facts you might consider:

List of possible complications:
Abnormal facial contour
Anesthesia reaction
Attached earlobe
Blistering of skin (may lead to permanent scarring)
Ear nerve damage (risk is less than 1%)
Early Relapse (risk is less than 1%)
Facial weakness or paralysis
Hematoma (risk is 3-4%)
Infection (risk is less than 1%)
Injury to facial nerves (temporary or permanent)
Keloid (heavy scar)
Loss of sideburns
Nerve Damage
Open ear canal
Permanent numbness (risk is less than 1%)
Reactions to medications
Skin irregularities
Skin necrosis or skin death (1500% more likely with smokers)
Slow healing
Tight face
Visible scar
Weak facial muscles (usually temporary)

All in all, I think I will just learn
to live with the way I look.
Messing with the natural flow if life
is just too unpredictable.

It's just very embarrassing
when I'm at the grocery store
and have to ask for extra paper sacks!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Lie Detector

My grand kids came for a visit the other day
and once their coats and boots were neatly
lined up by the door and
their angelic faces were kissed-
a wrestling match manifested itself
in my living room.

I knew by their tone
that their death cries were fake
and their war wounds superficial.
But after the dust settled,
there was a question about which one
of them had started the battle.

"She did it!"

"No, he did it!"

And soon, another aftershock
rocked the room with
flying accusations and pointing fingers.

"Why don't we use the Lie Detector?"
I asked my daughter, pretending to whisper.

She shot me a glance that was a mix of
disbelief and utter joy.
Apparently the years had not
vanquished her memory
of the Lie Detector.
She smiled slyly and agreed
that's what must be done.

The Lie Detector was a brilliant invention
and a great source of pride to my husband.
Has it really been nearly twenty years since
pure necessity and four children
caused him to concoct a devise
to end all sibling disputes?

I suppose getting pushed to
the edge of insanity had something to do with it.

It seemed as though name-calling and
fist-fights had become the norm one summer
when the kids were thrown into a sweat ball
of discontent and boredom.

One giant calculator, tweezers, and
a paper clip later,
the Lie Detector was born.

He sat the kids down together
and explained to them
that since none of them would accept
the responsibility of starting
all the fights-
that he had a way of finding out.
All they had to do was touch the paper clip
while he punched in a few numbers.

"If you are telling the truth,
nothing will happen," he assured them,
their eyes wide and watering.
"But if you are lying, this 'ill knock
the crap out of you!"

Needless to say, it took only a millisecond
for the guilty party to speak up
and admit their instigation
in the screaming sprawls.

I don't think they ever really knew
(until much later)
that there was no shock behind the contraption-
no painful buzz that would knock them across
the room.

Don't get me wrong.
We are wonderful parents.

But sometimes,
in the scheme of life-
you just gotta improvise.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

No Fears

My sister and her husband spent
New Year's Eve with us this year.
We all sat at the table with our favorite
bottle and toasted to our future.
To "health" and "happiness"
and all the other generic things
that most couples desire.

But we also lifted our glasses
and clinked them in unison -
toasting to "No Fears".

That one hit home.

It was only a few weeks ago that
my husband asked me out of the blue
what I would do different if I
could go back in time and live
those years over.

At first, I was tempted to say "nothing"-
(I have truly been blessed with
a perfect man, fantastic children, a nice home...)
But- then I said,
"If I had to do it all again,
I wouldn't be so afraid."

Maybe some people wouldn't relate.
But when I analyze my past,
I can see where my fears held me back.
I was always afraid of hurting someone
or getting hurt or making the wrong
I was afraid of failing- of criticism-
of having to eat crow.

I remember when I was about ten years old-
I wanted to be an artist.
Somehow my parents managed to afford
some oil paints and canvas to give me as a gift.

A still life artist had visited my school
and I still remember as clear as day
him setting up in the cafeteria corner-
painting the lights and shadows
on a cluster of grapes.
How cool!
I wanted to do that!

But you know what?
I was afraid of wasting my paint.
My fruit were transparent
and wispy.
The background was splotchy and thin.
But my mom
hung it over the couch anyway.

And I think those paints finally dried up
from the fact that I saved them
for "later".
"Later" never came because
I was afraid.

In high school I wanted so badly to write.
I got a position on the school paper,
but I was afraid to speak out-
to be bold-
to give it my all.
I melted into the background
and nothing more came of my
dreams of becoming a writer.

I wish I had rode on Ferris wheels
and roller coasters.
I wish I had tried out
for cheer leading
and student council
and not been afraid to
paint my walls cranberry
or put my couch on an angle.

I wish I had experimented
with cooking-
learned to play piano,
and wore that really neat
headband that I was afraid
would look ridiculous.

And eventually, my own fears
held back my children.
I was afraid to let them
ride their bikes past the yard,
attend overnight slumber parties,
ride horses and go carts
and go sledding in the snow.

So- this is to "No Fear".
I raise my glass
to a year of making things right.
Of facing forward
and not looking back.
Not caring if I fall on my face
or stumble in the darkness.
Here's to confidence
and adventure
and being who I am.

And here's
to using every freakin' drop of paint
in the tube.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Map Of Memories

I've been thinking a lot lately
about my childhood.
Maybe because I'm getting older-
maybe because I hope my
grand kids get a real taste of fun
and adventure in their lives.

How many young kids today actually
play outside?
Most kids now days can tell you
every new DVD release,
the top selling CD's,
what's showing at the movies,
all about movie stars and politicians and
the secret lives of their teachers.

I never knew any of that stuff.
And never cared to.

Because I knew my neighborhood.
That's what was important.

I knew my stomping grounds
like the back of my hand.
I had a small but comfortable area
that was my playground-
my getaway-
my island of discovery.

There were no really bad guys back then.
No perverts and sickos and people
out to harm you in some way.
At least our neighborhood never experienced
that sad part of society.
At least we had a chance
to live our childhood with no fear.

My sister and I
had a mental map of our world.

We knew where every gooseberry bush,
apple tree, blackberry hedge,
and mulberry tree stood.
We knew where to find wild violets,
dried milkweed,
sassafras leaves and turtles.

We spent many afternoons
down at the creek.
I'd say it was a half mile from the house-
down the dusty tarred road-
across a thick field -
it's muddy water
and shallow banks
twisting through the trees.

I never thought of it till now,
but we never once went beyond that creek.
Apparently that was our boundary-
the edge of our world.
Some other kids probably
had reign
of what lay past the water.

At the creek we learned to
find clams-
following zigzagged trails
in the mud and sand
to a small dip in the moist soil.
There we would dig with our hands
or old spoons
or rusty coffee cans.
What we found were silver-black
shells that spit dirty water
and sprouted a slimy foot-
(if left alone long enough).

This was our gold.

These poor creatures were carted home
and exhibited to our mom
who never once discouraged us
from handling them
or showing them off.

I regret there were times
that we forgot about our clams-
leaving them in the bottom
of a dry bucket in the summer sun-
only to find them days later
like burnt potato chips.

We hunted rocks
and bugs
and things that grew on trees.
We were intrigued by hedge apples,
sumac clusters,
ugly snakes,
and all the stars in the sky.

We loved mimosa and lilacs
and the yellow roses that grew near the well.
We explored the neighbors coal bin,
stole his plump, juicy raspberries,
and made clubhouses
that were the envy
of our friends.

We rode giant inner tubes
in Stich's pond
without ever knowing how to swim.
We rode bikes with flat tires,
built snowmen with bread bags
tied on our shoes,
avoided the broken sidewalk,
camped out under a blanket
thrown over the clothes line,
and lived the most wonderful,
beautiful, fulfilling days
of our lives.

I still have that map in my mind.
And on days like today, I travel back there.
The air is still sweet
but the clams hide deeper.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I Have A Dream

This new year has given me a dream.
A dream of opening my junk drawer
and not seeing junk.
But instead- seeing beautiful little compartments
of organized wonder.

A cup of paper clips, a basket of batteries,
a tube of freshly sharpened pencils,
a bowl of safety pins, a sleeve of cutely bound coupons.

And my computer desk is even more wondrous!
Colorful files of cataloged bills, neat boxes of
printer paper, a woven crate of CD's,
a modern cork board of tasteful pictures,
neat clippings, and inspiring quotes.

And you should see my bedroom!
The dresser that was once decorated with
discarded bathrobes and wilted socks
is now shiny and clear- holding only a mirrored tray
with favorite perfumes...
The my night stand houses only the phone,
the alarm and a sophisticated journal with pen.

My closets are color coded and roomy.
There are no old tennis shoes with grass stains.
No coats with shoulder pads,
no thread bare sheet sets or holey tee shirts.
There are hat boxes hiding trinkets and
seasonal items-
Space Bags sucking the summer comforter and
the spring curtains-
And all my drawers are easily opened and closed.
No pushing and stuffing the contents.

I love my kitchen.
There is no excess of anything.
Only simplicity.
Only the things I need.
I know where the strainer and the pizza cutter
and the aluminum foil is.
Cans don't fall on my head as I open
the cupboards.
My trash can does not smell like old onions
and the floors are Spic and Span.

Everything is organized.
Neat. Ready like good soldiers to start the new year.
I can sit among it
and read a good book.
There is nothing to do but enjoy and be proud...

Oh, great! I just woke up!
And it was such a wonderful dream!

Yet, my resolution is to make dreams come true.
I'll let you know how it's coming along.

Know of any good sales on Space Bags?