Tuesday, June 30, 2009

National Homebirth Week

Not only are we celebrating
Independence Day next week,
but also a little known event
named National Unassisted
Homebirth Week.

Now, I've heard a lot of
crazy things in my life,
but popping out a munchkin
from my Lazy-Boy
while watching Oprah
beats it all.

I can't imagine...

(Video daydream starts now)...

"Honey- I think it's time!" I pant

"Awh..hold on a minute, will ya?

Bases are loaded and the game is tied,"

my husband says, not even looking my direction,
"Can you suck it in a minute?"

I fetch him a beer and scrub
the stubborn food stains
from my lasagna pan
while I stand in the kitchen
with contraction 2 minutes apart.

Crap! I forgot to make the bed, too.
Better get the old sheets out of storage,
find those new towels I
bought three months ago,
and disinfect the craft scissors.

I find the ladder and climb into the attic-
the heat pulsating on my brow.
Find the sheets.
I dig into the bath cabinet for
Fluff the freshly laundered towels.
Feed the dog.
Go out and get the mail.

My water breaks.

"Honey! It's time!" I shout,
wobbling to the bed in excruciating pain.

Then I realize I need something for the pain
and ask him to fetch the contents of the
medicine cabinet if he can tear himself away from
the television.

"Tums? he asks, carrying an armful
of bottles and tubes.

"No!" I scream, my eyes rolling back in my head.

"Neosporin? Nyquil? ... Massengill? Anbesol?
He tosses each rejected suggestion
over his shoulder,
"Here's some Hall's cough drops-
ooooh- cherry- my favorite!
And here's
those eye drops
we were looking for
the other day!
Don't that beat all?"

I scream louder as the head crowns-
I push-
and my husband catches the newborn
in a laundry basket full of clean clothes.

Healthy. Happy. Homebirth.

"Okay- now-can I go back to the game?
It was three down and JoJo's pitching?

I scream again.
And again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Changing Dreams

A few years ago I had
an opportunity to work
at a newspaper office.

I guess that sounds fairly boring
until I tell you that this was
my dream job.

I started out typing
classifieds and legals
and greeting every
rummage sale fanatic in the world
with a list of goods and specifications
available at their weekend sale.

For a year and a half I worked
with some great people in
the front office-
always secretly looking down the hallway
to the editorial department-
wishing I could scoop up
a notebook and camera
and run to write
the next story.

After sharing a few humor stories
and letters to the editor,
I was asked to transfer full time
as a reporter.

How perfect.
How romantic.
A desk.
A press pass.
The freedom to come and go.
The beauty of words
and images
and making people smile.

I loved writing a weekly column.
It was titled Porch Ponderings,
which is how I named this blog.

beyond that,
it was so much more complicated
than I had ever realized.
The dream I had yearned for
was not quite as great
as I had imagined it.

I had to go to the local animal shelter
and interview the orphan animals.
I had to stop people on the street
and in the mall and ask them
what they thought of some current event.
I had to sit through press conferences
and school plays
and summer camps.
Boring speeches,
lame awards,
and county fairs.

Once I spent a whole week
covering a 4H livestock show.
And, I do admit,
other than the sawdust in my hair
and sheep manure on my shoes,
I enjoyed being part of
the excitement
and outdoors.

my favorite thing
was having free reign to
invent thoughtful columns
from my own imagination.

I must add that there was
one very overbearing,
egotistical reporter
who was elected as my mentor.

She taught me nothing.

Except a feeling of loathing
and sickness whenever
I saw her car in the parking lot
and knew she'd have a
"List Of Things Nobody Else Wants To Do, So You're Going To."

Once she gave me three stories to
cover on a Saturday,
which consisted of
a car wash at 9 am,
an art exhibit at the museum
all afternoon,
and a demolition derby
that started at 8pm and lasted
till midnight.

On top of that,
she requested that the
stories for all three events
be written and ready
to go to press by 4 am
on Monday.
With a dozen or more
good photos, too.

I did it.
But I wasn't happy.

In my dreams,
all the reporters were like family.
Chumming around-
the office a buzz of excitement
and creativity-
a place where you bounced ideas
off one another-
felt a certain literary bonding-
an importance to the community.

But in reality,
it was not a dream job.
It was just hard work.

It actually stifled the need
to express myself.
It put chains and restrictions on me.
I couldn't editorialize
or use flowery language
or fluff things up a bit.

It was facts.
And news.
And boring everyday stuff.

So after four months,
I said goodbye
to deadlines
and steno pads
and my overbearing mentor.

It just goes to show you
that when dreams come true
they may turn out
completely different
than you expect.

I didn't miss the newspaper,
but I missed writing.

So, last July I sat down
in front of my computer
in my pajama pants,
a cup of coffee in my hand,
and a new dream in my head-
and started this blog.

And I am truly happy.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sometimes Love Is Not Enough

Sometimes it takes a life
less blessed than our own
for ours
to come into perspective.

And today
I thank God
for the good life I have had.

The love I have experienced
over the years
has solidified like a warm quilt
that has enveloped me
and kept me warm
with reassurance,
hope, and happiness.

But some people only know enough love
to create a thin veil of lace-
and no matter how hard they try
it is never enough to warm them,
comfort them,
or bring them joy.

Such was Bob.

His life was a jigsaw puzzle
of broken family,
personal tragedy,
and disappointments.

Everyone has secrets
that they keep hidden
and no one really knows
what they hold deep inside.

That's why
every life we touch-
and every stranger we meet-
should be treated with
utmost respect and concern.

if we get a chance
to know them
and care for them,
we can reinforce that
thin, tattered lace
into a solid rock of love.

No matter how hard Bob tried,
he always felt as insignificant
as a drop of water in the ocean.

But the impact of his life-
and now the loss of it-
has caused a tidal wave
in our family
that drowns us in
despair and unanswered questions.

Bob, thank you for loving Erin.
I know you brought her
many days of happiness.

And we like to think that-
even if it was for just a little while-
that you were happy, too.

Your warm smile
and sweet nature

will roll upon the beaches of our hearts
for the rest of our lives,
leaving little seashells
of memories
to bless us forever.

(My daughter's boyfriend for
the past year and a half

took his own life
on Tuesday, June 23, 2009)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just Let It Go

Today is officially
"Let It Go Day".
So, as a friend and adviser,
I am here to tell you just that-
let it go.

Unwind. Breathe.
Cast your cares aside.

Got a grudge that you've
been carrying around like
a two ton weight on your
heart and shoulders?
Well, who's suffering the most?
You are!
Chances are, the person
that the grudge is aimed at,
possibly has no idea the pain you're in.

Stop right now.
Let it go.

You don't have to forgive-
or ever even speak to the person again-
but just let it go.
Forget it.
You're wasting time
and time's too short.

Kicking yourself for not
grabbing that great opportunity, or sale,
or chance that came by?
Let it go.
There will always be
another one that comes along.
Sometimes, it's
even better that the one
that got away!
Trust me, I know.

Stressed about keeping up
with the neighbors?
Does your landscaping look pitiful?
You car look like a scrap heap?
Your kids look like little ragamuffins
compared to next door's preppy offspring?

Let it go.
Who cares?
When it all comes down to the
important things in life-
it is family and those you love.
Not your lawn, or what your drive,
or how you dress.
Be you.
Free yourself from the need
to be competitive.

Your diet making you sick,
aching, starving for food?
Let it go.

Smother those fries with cheese
and bacon-
just for today.
Just for Let It Go Day.
Grab a slice of cheesecake
with your lunch.
Loosen your belt.
Cut off the tummy tamer
and let it all hang out.

Just let it go.

Imagine how relaxed and
comfortable your life would be
if you just learned to let it go
on a daily basis.

My favorite thought for
today's blog
is a Deep Thought by
Jack Handy.

"If you drop your keys
in a pool of molten lava,

just let 'em go-

cuz, man-

they're gone."

What's done is done.
What's said is said.
What's past is past.

Let it go.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Moment of Insanity

For some crazy reason,
the local newspaper finally
remembered to put a
KMart sales circular
in my Saturday paper.

Usually it's the one that's missing.

All I ever seem to get is
Rural King, Shoe Stop,
and a booklet of nerdy items
such as lilac elastic-waist pants,
an Eagle On A Nest collectible plate,
and an offer for a half dozen trees
that grow ginormous in just three weeks!

Flipping through the KMart sales,
I was immediately taken back
to several summers ago
when camping was a family ritual
and a refreshing getaway.

Pictures of awesome house-like tents
and coolers
and sleeping bags
and, of course, hot dogs
and S'mores,
made my heart skip a beat for a moment.

For nano-seconds,
I yearned to pitch a tent on the river again.
Build a campfire,
wade in the water,
listen to the crickets and night owls,
lounge in a lawn chair
and chuck all my cares aside.

somewhere inside me
came this huge surge of reality.

A moment of truth.

The candy-coated fantasy
of a starlit night
and snugly tent
and long, sweet afternoons
of stretching out on
a chaise
with a package of Oreos-
suddenly screeched
to a Wake Up You Idiot halt.

I soon remembered the
jumbled puzzle of a tent we owned
and how it usually took
two hours and
five knock-down-drag-out fights
to get it put together.

Then the hour of weed eating
to clear a path
to the hole in the ground
behind the big tree
where we were supposed
to poop and pee for the
entire weekend.

I remembered the sweat
like a thousand ants
rolling down my face,
the mosquitoes
that buzzed in my ears,
the dust and sand
and poison ivy
that lodged between my toes
and filled my nostrils.

I remembered the
"I can't possibly eat another hot dog!"
and "Why is this beer hot?" scenarios.

I recall the
"it's just a coyote"
or "that snake is only a baby"
reassurance I received.

I can still feel the hip bruises
from my air mattress going flat
at 2 a.m.
and the dirt under my fingernails
from stacking firewood
and the residue of melted marshmallows
and fish guts
on my lawn chair.

There is also this very faint
of hillbillies
and coon dogs
and pot holes
and inner tubes
and Shania Twain
singing "Man, I Feel Like a Woman"
over and over
and over again.

I just phoned my local newspaper.
Told them to leave out the KMart
sales pages next week.

And to think I actually
considered camping again!

Whew! What a close call!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Sit And Watch As Years Go By

How is it that
the year is almost half over?
Half gone.
Half used.
And in my case, half forgotten.

Where did those six months go?

It seems like only yesterday I was
stuffing the artificial tree back into
it's too small box-
struggling with Christmas lights-
and leftover ham-
and fragments of wrapping paper.

It seems like only yesterday
that I was toasting to the new year.
With promises.
And hope.
And big plans
for my small world.

It seems like only yesterday
that I sat in the dark stillness of
an early morning room-
gazing out the window-
hoping that the snow would melt
and spring would come...
And I told myself that I would run outside
and soak up the sunshine
and walk in the clover
and never be caught
wasting time again.

It seems like only yesterday
that I watched for the first buds
to unfold from the maple trees-
the amazing process of birds
building their nests-
the return of pond animals,
and fireflies.

It seems like only yesterday
that I first mowed
the new spring grass
and loved the tingle of
a sunburn on my face-
How I savored the flavor of cold iced tea!
Wasn't it just yesterday that
I sang over and over again to myself
-a soft, familiar song
as the lawnmower chucked away
the fresh clippings and
stubborn dandelions?

It seems like only yesterday
that I watched the full moon rise
behind a veil of purple haze
and it made perfect shadows on the lawn
that I thought I would forever
keep in my memory.

It seems like only yesterday
that the days were long
and summers were forever
and I promised myself
not to let time slip by...

But it did.


A Special thanks to my Dad
on Father's Day for being
such a good father to us all.

I wish you were here.

I'd fry you up some steak fries
and grease gravy
or take you
to the Best Western for
the smorgasbord.

You could wear your
tan beret,
nice yellow jacket,
and take your teeth out
at lunch time.

And we could talk about Mom
and your life
and I'd ask you things
I forgot to ask
when you were alive and smiling at me
from across a booth at Denny's.

I love you, Dad.
Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The One-Eyed Weirdo

When I wrote about Superman last week,
my sister Linda asked me to let her know
when Popeye week came around.

Well, that little freak is having
his very own celebration in Chester, IL
in September.

We all remember Popeye
as the spinach-eating sailor.
But here's a few things about Popeye
that you may not know:

Popeye is 34 years old and was
born in a typhoon off Santa Monica, California.

Popeye has a speech impediment which
causes his "t's" to become "k's".
( the word fist becomes fisk,
becomes infink, etc.)

His"goilfriend" of 77 years has been Olive Oyl.
She's flat chested and has a pickle-shaped nose.
Her original measurements
were 19-19-19.

Olive's former boyfriend was Ham Gravy.

Sweet Pea was adopted after being
delivered in the mail.
(Though some cartoons say the child
was Olive's cousin).

Popeye has one missing eye, one blue eye,
two anchor tattoos, thinning red hair,
and smokes a corncob pipe.

(He lost his right eye in
"the mo's arful battle" of his life.)

His chest goes from 30 inch to
60 inch when he eats his spinach.

He weights 156 and has an
8 inch neck.

Popeye's boat was named
The Olive.

Popeye's look-alike nephews
are named Peepeye, Pupeye,
Pipeye and Poopeye.

Wimpy's real name was
J. Wellington Wimpy.

Popeye never tried to impress.
He always claimed,
"I yam what I yam."

He would never hit a woman.

He liked to go swimmin'
with bow-legged women.
(See- I told you he was a freak!)

Let's face it, if Popeye were
a real person in today's society,
he could either be an outcast
or a Hollywood celebrity.

So, Linda, if you want to
know more about Popeye,
visit Chester in September.

I'm finished writing about
the one-eyed weirdo.

"It's all I can stands- and I can't stands no more!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Could Laughter Really Be The Best Medicine?

You can't call me a Couch Potato
any longer.
Because I'm sitting there in front
of the television all day
strictly for my health.

In this month's Readers Digest,
an article claims that a
daily dose of humor
can substantially lower the heart risk
of diabetic patients.

I'm not diabetic-
but what could it hurt to try it?

It claims that 30 minutes of
a sitcom or video was shown
to a group of diabetic patients-
along with their regular medication.

Another group was given medication-
but no funny stuff.

Blood test were taken before and after.

The group who got a chance to laugh
at their favorite show
had a 26 percent increase
in their HDL (good cholesterol)-
compared to only a 3 percent hike
in the other group.

Doctors also measured levels of
C-reactive protein-
which warns of inflammation of the heart.

The TV watcher's protein markers
dropped by 66 percent,
while the group without the laughter
only saw a 26 percent decrease.

It's all about stress.
And knowing how to deal with it.
The ability to laugh can save your life.

So next time you cozy up
in your favorite chair
to watch a great funny movie-
don't feel guilty.

Do it for your heart.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Save The Last Dance For Love

We hosted our first summer party
on Saturday and had a nice turnout.
It was unusually tame and relaxed,
(compared to some in the past),
but I think everyone got a
chance to relax and enjoy the
and good company.

I let the household chores
go for the weekend, so I've
got a lot to catch up on today.

They claim that a picture
says a thousand words-
so I'm just gonna let some photos
do the talking today!

(Got a lot more photos, but
I don't like to post too personal
pics on my public blog.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Groovin' ...On A Friday Afternoon

Call me crazy.
A weirdo.
But I like parties.

I like to throw them.

I like to pick a theme and
run with it-
seeing how far I can
make a dollar stretch-
or how cool I can decorate
my flamingos.
And my scarecrow.

My first Disco party debuts
tomorrow night.
I'm not quite sure how this
theme will work out,
but I wanted something different.

Last year was a Luau
and the year before was
a White Trash Bash.
(That was the funnest!)

I just can't seem to get
anybody interested in dressing
in Disco attire-
they've all gone "hippie" on me,
I think!
But, regardless-
we will all have a good time
and I hope to post pictures
here on Monday.

I have so much to do today
that I'm writing a short post.

Gotta run errands.
Set up tables.
Mow the lawn.
Practice the Hustle-
and get my GROOVE on!

Can ya Dig It?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Up, Up, and Away!

Today is the official start of
Superman Week.

I have yet to figure out why they
insist on calling it a week
when it only lasts till Sunday.

But, hey- I'm not going to
question Superman.
He's entitled, you know.
He's saved mankind countless times.

The whole super hero thing
got me to wondering what it
would be like to be
married to Superman.

(Daydream video starts now....)

It's evening. At home. I'm sorting laundry.

"For heaven's sake, Clark- if you outgrow another suit, I'm going to have to put you on a diet! Those things aren't cheap, you know!"

He pouts in his chair,
watching the competition on TV-
Batman and Spiderman.

"I sure wish we could afford some of those cool gadgets", he says,
feeling sorry for himself.
"These guys have webs and wings and neat cars. All I have is that freakin' phone booth!"

"Oh, Honey-don't be silly- you have X-ray vision, excellent hearing, and those red boots are kinda sexy!" I say to him.

He smiles across the room at me.

"New underwear?" he asks, suddenly staring.

"Quit it, you Silly! That X-ray vision is to be used only for save-the-world purposes!"
I slap him with a dirty cape. "If you've not got anything better to do, tune those ears into the neighbors next door and see what gossip you can come up with!"

"Maybe we ought to go to the store instead", he says,
changing the subject, "I'm out of hair oil and I need a pair of new tights. I got those caught on a skyscraper last week and they've got runs all over them."

We drive- not fly to the nearest store.
Mr. I've-Got-A-Big-S-On-My-Shirt
is too tired to fly. (What a big baby- if his
friends only knew...)

Inside the store we fill our cart
with all sorts of energy food
and he X-rays the apples for any
hidden worms.
Then we pass a beautiful girl-
(You know the kind-
all boobs and blondness).

Of course, he has to stick his
bullet proof chest out and start
a conversation with her.

I watch for awhile, but I'm used to it by now.
I keep a little kryptonite in my purse-
for occasions such as this.
He'll be a blubbering shrinky-dink
in a minute or two.

Yeah- it's not that great being married
to Superman.

I mean. even in bed
he's faster than a speeding bullet.

Enough said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Procrastinator's Work Is Never Done

I am in the process of cleaning house
because I have company coming
for the weekend.

Now- most normal people
just get by with their
regular routines-
But me?
Well, being a procrastinator
leaves me rushing around
to get a bunch of stuff
done at once.

I've been known to cheat
when it comes to housework.

I've hidden dirty dishes in
the oven.
Thrown clean laundry in the
closet floor to get it off the bed.
Hot glued torn curtains.
Used a leaf blower to dust my living room.
And a vacuum cleaner to suck out
the leftovers in my refrigerator.

It's not that I don't like housework.
It's just that I don't like it very often.

I'm usually writing at the computer
or messing with my art projects
while fruit flies form an army in my kitchen
and dust bunnies
play amazing cloning games in the corners.

I've even seen
three generations of spiders
come and go
in the web above the porch light.

as you might guess-
I'm in a panic to get it all done.

I will probably get in gear
sometime this morning
and zip around like the Tasmanian Devil-
and then collapse on my (clean) pillow
sometime around midnight-
feeling like a damp washrag.

But, what a huge sense of accomplishment
it is to finally have those
chores complete!

I won't have to use the
jack hammer on my microwave
turntable for awhile.

I'll find out the real color of my tub
is white and not beige.

The dog can finally drink
out of the toilet again.

And that pesky bat family
will have to find another
garage to live in.

I can sit back
and watch it all get messy again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rest Room? Or Reading Room?

I'm excited to report that June is
National Bathroom Reading Month.

And for those of you who don't have
a magazine rack in your bathroom-
I've got to wonder what you do in there.

I have magazines for everybody
in my bathroom.
Not only does it make the time go
by faster and more comfortably,
but it enriches the mind
while eliminating waste.

I try to provide education
as well as entertainment.
That's why you might find
a Reader's Digest
right along with
The Far Side comics.

I cater to men and women alike-
filling the basket with BuckMasters,
the Farmers Almanac,
and Field and Stream.

As well as House Beautiful, Avon,
Cooking Light, and Good Housekeeping.

The only book I have read so far this year
was read a few pages at a time
while on my daily bathroom visit.

If we could only take a partial college course
while in there-
I'd have a doctorate by now!

Of course, there are always those bathroom readers
that take advantage of the situation
by spending an hour or more
thumbing through the available literature.

Some are even oblivious to the line
waiting outside the door
or a warm dinner on the table.

I don't recommend any publications
of extraordinary interest or length.
Because some people just don't know
when it's time for a wipe.

About every three or four months,
I refresh my magazine selection-
so my family knows by now
that if they want to finish a chapter,
they better get to reading.

Once- when my entire household
had a terrible bout of diarrhea-
we all finished reading War and Peace.

And also finished off
a case of Spring Rain Glade!

So, folks-
Celebrate this month
with a good read...
in your elimination station!

Monday, June 8, 2009


If I Had My Life To Live Over:

I would have learned to play the piano.

I would have had more children.

I would have spent more time with my parents.

I would have stayed away from fattening foods
and exercised more.

I would have loved my body while it was thin-
and young.

I would have learned to swim, ski, and
play a mean game of poker.

I would have taken less showers and
more bubble baths.

I would have read more books and
watched less TV.

I would have let the housework go
so I could play with my children.

I would let the housework go
so I could play with my husband.

I would sing more, dance more, and
not care what other people thought.

I would paint more pictures and not
worry about how much paint I was using.

I would plant lilacs in my yard.

I would study math better, take more interest
in politics, and try to enjoy history.

I would have asked my parents and
grandparents more questions.

I would keep a yearly diary.

I would take more photos, more vacations,
and more walks.

I would learn to cook delicious meals.

I would spend more adult time with my sisters
and brothers.

I would enjoy chocolate without guilt.

I would take more chances and make
smarter choices.

I would be organized, have my checkbook
balanced to the penny, and have running
inventory of my household.

I would pray more, cry less, laugh longer.

I would find a good hairstylist and never let them go.

I would have moisturized more, bleached less,
stood straighter, and flossed religiously.

I would have saved more money.

I would hug more.

I would kiss more.

I would listen better.

I would write more often
and not worry that someone may not
like it.

I would breathe deeper, touch softer,
and observe better.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Practically Pioneer

I ran across an article this morning
that introduced the new
Samsung Smart Oven.

And it's no ordinary oven.

It's state of the art design
incorporates a convection,
grill and a microwave-
all in one.

The interior enamel is
anti-bacterial and can be
easily cleaned with steam.
Just insert a bowl of water,
bring to a high temperature,
and then wipe everything
with a soft cloth.

No more nasty, fake
lemon-smelling, chemical-scraping
foaming oven cleaner!

But the best part is that this
modern oven does all the work for you.
Simply scan the barcode
on packaged food,
insert food into the oven,
press start,
and the food cooks perfectly.

Stoves have sure come
a long way since I was
first married.

The little farm house that we rented
had a sufficient enough stove-
until the landlady decided
she wanted to take it to another
rental property.

Money being tight-
we sure couldn't just go out
and buy a new stove.

Luck is,
we found one.

Right under our feet,
so to speak.
In the creepy basement.

it was neither sleek or modern
or very practical.

And not even electrical.

After being cleaned and polished,
this giant wood burning stove
was a beauty,
but ended up being our entire source
for cooking.

My husband kept small wood
cut for the fire box,
I "blacked" the burners every so often,
and it provided emergency heat
during a three day ice storm.

Our favorite thing cooked
on our stove was rabbit.
Freshly killed from the field,
rolled in flour and egg.
and fried to a crispy crust.

Breakfast was always good, too.
There was something magical
about the fragrance of burning wood,
and maple bacon,
and fresh eggs from the hen house.

But I can't mention our old stove
without admitting that I once
tried to find the oven light so
I could replace it.


It was a wood burner.
Non electric.
No oven light.
(I have never lived that one down...)

We grew to love that old stove-
and would still happily find room in our
current home for it,
but that mean old landlady
decided she wanted it for herself
and carted it off when we moved.

Sometimes when I smell
wood burning
and food cooking-
it takes me back to simpler times.

To the old wood stove...
and days of wonder.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Remembering Picnics

Do people actually go on
picnics anymore?

You never hear about picnics.

Cookouts and tailgaters
and barbecues- yes.
But old fashioned picnics?

(Except maybe in romantic stories
and old movies
and bug cartoons).

Once upon a time,
picnics were the ultimate activity
for my family.
We couldn't wait to go somewhere
beyond the confines of our neighborhood-
eat like crazy-
and play all day with cousins
and siblings and friends.

Grandma C. always packed the best
chicken and dumplins' and
the crispest cucumbers in vinegar.
We'd go down to Giant City Park-
grab a big shelter with lots of tables-
and grill out hamburgers and hot dogs.

It was so awesome!

Everything was shady and green
and smelled like summertime.
There were chips and dip and
blackberry cobbler -
and more food than we ever saw in a week!

One time my sister Linda and I
just happened to go exploring
after our picnic meal
and found a little stream that
trickled down a hill of smooth rock.

We found that if we climbed to the top,
we could slide all the way down to the bottom
(like a water slide).
And soon we became obsessed with
slipping and skating and flipping
across the slicky slide of rocks.

After about an hour of fun,
we realized that our butts felt
suddenly cooler.

We had worn holes through our jean shorts!

The friction of the rocks
had weathered our denim cutoffs
into thin fragile threads
that exposed our bottoms.

Of course, we didn't think to
pack spare clothing.
Who knew?

So, I think we tied sweatshirts
or something around our waist
and sat out the rest of the picnic
hanging out with Mom.

And even though we suffered
huge embarrassment that day-
it was so worth it
for the huge memory!

It was a time of fun and family
and freedom.
Of laughter and food
and sharing.

Why don't you try one?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Old Truck

These star-filled nights
that waver somewhere between
spring and summer
have me thinking of times passed.

Of those a-bit-chilly evenings
when the crickets chirp-
and the whippoorwill cries-
and the sun melts down
like rainbow sherbet ice cream.

It also reminds me of good times
in our old rusty pickup truck.

Somewhere after the '69 Datsun
and before the '79 Buick,
there was a 62(?) Chevy pickup.

My husband and I bought it off
the father of one of his friends-
giving him $200 a month
for three months
until it was paid in full.

It was finally ours!
That giant steering wheel-
The faded maroon paint-
The balding tires-

...and wild freedom.

I would drop my husband off
at the meat plant every morning
at five o'clock
and head to my mom's to do laundry.

She and I would usually pile into the truck
and set off to get groceries-
(looking a bit like Ellie May and Granny)-
keeping one eye out for yard sales
and the other eye on the dashboard thermostat
that always seemed to read a little bit hot.

We actually took that truck
all the way to Chicago once
to see his parents-
Our German Shepherd, Abe,
in the back-
our clothes packed neatly
in paper sacks on the floorboard.

And we thought we were cool.
We owned that road!

The truck was even more special
when we parked it at
the local drive-in theater-
pulled that heavy, clunky speaker
into the window
and watched B-rated movies
in tinny, Micky Mouse sound.

We always brought our own popcorn,
and hot dogs, and an occasional
candy bar when we could afford them.
And always a cooler of iced down beer.

Of course that beer made
my husband have to pee a lot-
but the floorboard was so rusted out
that a good aim was all that was needed!

That old truck was part of our lives
and a daily necessity.

And then I remember getting out of it
one day in the parking lot
and I was suddenly met by a girl
I went to high school with-
her sleek, new automobile
as shiny and new and modern
as anything money could buy.

Suddenly I was ashamed
of that beat up old truck
and I hated the fact
that she saw me in it.

It was then that the love wore off-
the fun subsided-
the way I looked at the world
became distorted
and unfair.

soon there were others vehicles
that came along in our lives-
other memories-
and beautiful places-
and summer days rich with rock music...
and sweet kisses-
and starlit nights-
and a maturity that superseded jealousy.

I would never in a million years
go back and change that time
in our '62 Chevy.

I bet that girl I saw
doesn't know what real love is...

or the feel of a window fan on her face
in ninety degree weather...

the choice between buying gasoline
or a pound of hamburger...

waking up to an old rooster-
and wrinkled sheets-
and the dusty perfume
of a summer road...

or the thrill of sitting in
an old pickup truck
at the drive-in-
sipping cold beer,
eating hot dogs,
kissing gently,
and gazing at the moon.

I always have been-
and continue to be-
...very blessed.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yay For Donut Day!

Friday and Saturday is
the official celebration of
Donut Day.

I don't know about you,
but I'm ready to celebrate
starting at midnight Thursday
to midnight on Saturday.

You just can't get too many donuts.

But how did they become so popular?

Some sources say that back in the 1800's,
Dutch cooks twisted their sweet dough
into knots before frying.

Sometimes the center of the pastry
wouldn't cook thoroughly,
so many bakeries would add
a ball of nuts to the center of the treat
so that it would cook and taste better.

Thus, the name eventually
became "doughnuts."

But what about the hole?

History says that the hole
in the center resulted from
customers poking out the
uncooked portion in the middle
of their donuts.

And soon the hole became a way
to hold the donut
while dunking them into coffee.

In the U.S. alone,
more than 10 billion donuts
are made every year.

But before you rush out
and eat them by the dozen-
let's see what the
nutritional value of those
sweet little circles are.

Here's a patial list
of stats from Dunkin Donuts:

Apple filled donut, each 250

Cake donut, each 270

Chocolate croissant, each 440

Chocolate frosted donut, each 200

Croissant, each 310

Donut, Bavarian creme-filled, each

Glazed donut, each 200

Glazed French cruller, each

Jelly donut, each 220

Oat bran muffin, each 330

Now, one would assume that the
oat bran muffin would be the
healthiest, but look at the calories.

Personally, I prefer jelly donuts
and have been known-
(in the past of course)-

to consume four or more
in one sitting.

But no matter how you celebrate,
enjoy a piece of baking history

Yay for Donut Day!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mr. Math Strikes Again

In my part of the country,
it seems to have done nothing but rain
for the past few months.

Not only does that put my solar
landscaping lights out of service,
but it also postpones planning
our annual garden.

Luckily, a few dry days
over the past two weekends
gave us a small window of opportunity
to get our spot tilled and planted
in anticipation for a great
summer bounty of fresh vegetables.

And although my husband and I have
been planting gardens for almost
thirty years,
he stills astounds and amazes me
with his insistence for perfection.

This year he actually had to run
a line from
the edge of the garage to the garden,
just so the rows would be
parallel to the structure.


I mean, I don't want my guests saying
that my rows of green beans don't line up
with the angle of the garage.
And heaven forbid
they might realize that one
tomato plant is two inches further
from the row of peppers than the others.

Needless to say, it takes
for a long day in the hot sun.

We usually get along great,
but gardening time puts a strain
on our opposite personalities.

These are typical quotes from
his side of the garden dialog:

"Move that stake 1/8 inch South," he says,
positioning his line of sight down a
well-placed string.

"No! South! Not 1/4 inch- I said an eighth!"

"Does that look straight to you?"

"I think we're a centimeter off on
this row of cucumbers."

"Wish I had my level. Go get it."

"Can't you see that those seeds are
going in crooked?"

Here's my side:

"Oooh, look at that bird, isn't it cute?"

" Can we stop now?"

"Just stick the seeds in and be done!"

"Aren't you hungry yet?"

"Where's 3/8ths on this tape measure?"

" Look, I found a four leaf clover!"

So, you see, our brains are on
different levels.
He loves the mapping, planning,
mathematically perfect garden.
I love the bushy greenness of
new plants and earthy vegetables
and a kaleidoscopic whirlwind
of blooms and plants and weeds and straw.

In the long run, I guess
that all is good.

Our gardens not only produce well,
but they look like someone with an
plotted them out.

But- I can't help but love him...
and be glad it's finally time for lunch!