Thursday, May 28, 2009

Auntie Meme

Lydia of the wonderful blog Writerquake tagged me to fill out the following questionnaire titled "Auntie Meme."

The instructions are: Copy and fill out the form, replace one question. Then tag eight other people to play. As noted by Lydia, tagging eight people is a bit much. I will tag the eight with the instructions that they do not need to participate if they don't want to.

I am tagging:

The Joy of Six (Joy)
A Piece Of My Mind (Betty)
Kay's Thinking Cap (Kay)
Xtreme English (Mary Ellen)
My Journey to Mindfulness (Ernestine)
Driftwood Inspiration (Janet)
Beverly Use Your Words (Beverly)
My Mom's Blog (Millie)

Auntie Meme

1. If one song were to describe your life, what song would it be?

Old (Wo)man River. (S)he just keeps rollin' along.>

2. Which item of clothing do you wear most?

Slacks and tops - turtle necks in the winter, short sleeve tees in the summer.

3. What's for dinner?

Either a bowl of cereal or a Lean Cuisine from the freezer.

4. Last thing you bought?

A memory card for my SLR camera

5. What are you listening to?

Thomas Hampson singing Cole Porter

6. If you were a God or a Goddess, who would you be?

Kwan Yin (Goddess of Mercy)

7. Favorite holiday spots?


8. Reading right now?

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse and Twisted by Jonathan Kellerman. I usually have two books going at once.

9. Favorite film?

On Golden Pond, Henry VIII, The Bucket List and Gone With The Wind, plus, plus, plus. In other words, I have many favorites and the four listed are the ones that come to mind now.

10. Okay, what were you thinking about just then?

What a question. You flatter me to imply that I can think.

What kind of books do you prefer; history, fantasy, mystery, romance, political?

and Historical Novels.

12. Funniest thing you saw in your life?

This may not be the funniest, but it's the first thing that popped into my mind.
I have a severe hearing loss and my kids know they are safe talking quietly if they don't want me to hear. Once I made BLT sandwiches and gave my son his, turned my back and heard him whisper to his sister, "Is this all the bacon we get?" I turned around and said, "Oh, you want more?" The look on his face was hilarious.

13. Who's your hero/heroine?

Barbara Jordan.

14. Share some wisdom?

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. (I should follow my own advice.)

15. If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?

A Mimosa because they are so beautiful when in bloom and have lacy leaves.

16. Fictitious characters who made a lasting impression on you?

Atticus Finch from 'To Kill A Mockingbird'.

17. 4 words to describe you?

Old, responsible, pragmatic, and dependable.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Sometimes I have to pinch myself as a reminder that I am still walking this earth. I shouldn't be here because the doctor gave me six months to live when I was ten years old. Boy, did I ever make a fool of him.

I will never forget that day. My mother and I had just returned from one of my many visits to the doctor and I was sitting in the middle of my bed. My mother was on the phone giving a report of the doctor visit to my Aunt. Mom was crying and I wasn't paying a lot of attention until I heard her say that the doctor only gives Darlene six months to live. I started laughing. I knew I wasn't going to die. Now why did I not tremble at the news? I really don't know why it amused me instead of terrifying me. Was I just stupid? Or did I have some inner knowledge that I would live to adulthood?

Nonetheless, that diagnosis must have been buried in my subconscious because I always thought that I would die young. Some years later I remember praying to God that he would let me live until I was forty years old. I believed that I would have done everything I wanted to by that age. Now, that was stupid.

My dreams were not grand; I had no aspirations to write the great American novel, compose a beautiful symphony, or to discover a cure for cancer. All I wanted to do was get married, have children and travel. I naively believed that if allowed to do those things I would have lived a full life.

Perhaps it wasn't so naive after all, because that sums up my life. Would my life have been different if my goals were loftier? Probably not. If I had really wanted to accomplish something worthwhile with my allotted time on earth, I would have tried to do so. I have no regrets that my conventional ambition to led to an ordinary life. It has been, as they say, a great ride.

We all have our share of the highs and lows of a life lived. There were disappointments and heartaches along the way, but they were balanced by many happy events. What can be more fulfilling than holding your newborn in your arms for the first time? What greater joy than to hold their newborns and smell the sweet scent of a baby and know you are now a grandmother? The pride felt then could never be topped by seeing your book in print or hearing your composition played.

Why am I waxing philosophical today? It's because it's my birthday and a time for reflection. If that doctor who gave me up for dead was alive now I would love to appear and taunt him for scaring my Mom so badly. Wouldn't it be fun to see his face?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weary Hag's Questionaire

Tabor who writes the great blog One Day At A Time got the following questions from Weary Hag and posted them on her blog.

Everyone is invited to participate but, if you do so, please let Weary Hag know that you did at:

Canvassing by Weary Hag

1. While typing - do you prefer classic or italics?

Classic, definitely. It's easier to read.

2. While reading - do you prefer classic or italics?

See above.

3. Worst experience while blogging? [i.e. page froze, lost data, caught using dated or false info, typos - what made you gasp - even a li'l]

The absolute pits was the time I spent a whole afternoon writing a long post and editing it. Before saving it I highlighted it to copy and hit delete by mistake. I lost the whole thing. I said some unprintable words that day.

4. Best experience while blogging? [i.e. new friendship/relationship formed, wrote a post that was just short of genius, learned new com tech skill, etc]

I really, really wish I could say I wrote a post that was just short of genius, but I have to confess that my best experience is meeting new friends from all over the world. Second best was meeting one in person. Actually I think that was the best one, but it came after meeting her in the blog world.

5. Let's assume you're an avid blogger - someone at an intimate dinner or party suggests that blogging is for idiots. In what way do you beat the dog meat out of them - [read: handle the situation] - if at all?

I tell them how rewarding it is and how much it means in my life. It has kept me from boredom and keeps me on my toes. (Good exercise for an aging mind.)

6. Do you pass your blog URL out to people like sneeze molecules or do you generally keep it to yourself and your own group of mutual blog buddies?

When I first started I notified all my friends and family that I had a blog, sent them the URL and hoped they would check it out. Since then I haven't advertised. Maybe I should - I might get more followers. ;-)

7. Do you share your blog with family [children/spouse/siblings/parents] or do you deliberately keep it from them?

They are free to read it if they wish. I doubt that they pay much attention. My daughters have commented a couple of times. As to the others, "Are you out there?"

8. This is for those who only use a fabricated name when blogging: Do you ever wish you could tell people just exactly who you really are or are you content to remain anonymous to the masses?


9. This is for those who use their true name when blogging: Do you ever wish you had remained anonymous or are you pleased as punch to get your real self out there?

Hey, I'm an open book and tell everything I know (and a lot that I don't know.)

10. Of these - which is your favorite genre to read in the blogging community: [choose ONLY one]: a) how-to & advice, b) brief topics covered with a comedic edge, c) personal adventures or experiences, d) photos with captions, e) up-to-the-minute newsy type stories told with blogger's perspective or spin

It's hard to decide because I enjoy all of them, but if I have to choose only one I would choose e).

11. From one to ten, when reading a blog post ... do spelling & grammar really count? (not the occasional typo). One: they don't count in the least .............. Ten: stop reading midstream and move on.

I guess I have to give it a seven. It bothers me because I
find myself wanting to correct them. If the person is interesting I can overlook bad grammar, but I do wish they would use spell check. Re: grammar - I have some grammatical failings now, so who (whom?) am I to criticize. ;-)

12. Have you been approached to write a book or magazine article or to contribute to an existing publication in any way, solely based upon your blog? (and I don't mean by smokinbettylou or tedthetool)

You're kidding, right?

13. Do you prefer the read & comment type of post or the interactive style (like this one)?

I prefer the 'read and comment' type, but this one is fun once in awhile. Besides, it's an easy way to write a blog.

14. Which applies to you most often? a) I read and comment, b) I read and move along ...

I read and comment.

15. Are you involved in any other networking venues or is blogging your one and only? [i.e. FB, YT, MSpace, LiveJournal, Classmates, photo hosting sites, etc.] No need to name them unless you want to .
I'm on Facebook if they haven't kicked me off. I haven't been back in months so I guess I can't qualify as being involved. I don't have time after I fill out forms like this.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, 2009

Today we pause to honor our fallen heroes and our men and women in uniform.
We honor their sacrifice and we honor their families who have given so much.
Today at 3:00 pm stop and reflect on t
heir gift to our nation and pray for peace.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Losing It

You have all heard of CRS (can't remember stuff). I suffer from this malady and it plagues me on a daily basis. I thought you might get a giggle out of this video if, you too, suffer from CRS.

I keep reminding myself of the story about the doctor who had a patient who was worried that he was getting Alzheimer's Disease. The physician told him, "If you forget where you left your car keys, that's normal. If you forget you have a car you are in trouble."

Based on that story I am not in deep doo doo yet; still I worry. I will be merrily typing away and I suddenly can't remember a noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, or the name of a famous person. I am, for the first time in my life, no longer sure about the spelling of a word. I tell you folks, that's scary. A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Health Care Reform

Here I am, back on my soapbox again. This is my last gasp because the powers that be are taking up the issue of reforming health care now. If we don't get it right this time there may not be another chance in my lifetime.

Please take the time to listen to Bill Moyers Journal tonight on this very important issue. Check your local PBS station for time. If you are going out this evening you might want to tape this very important show for later viewing. After you have listened, please contact your representatives and make your support for the single-payer system known. We must not let the insurance and pharmaceutical industries win this time.

Sidney M. Wolfe, M.D., acting president of Public Citizen and director of its Health Research Group, will be a guest tomorrow night, Fri., May 22, on the award-winning PBS program "Bill Moyers Journal."

The discussion will center on the latest developments in the fiery national debate on health care reform. Dr. Wolfe will explain how the single-payer solution is the only possible way to achieve the ultimate goal of true universal health care and discuss the sources of opposition to this.

For more information on single-payer health care, go to and for news on prescription drugs please visit

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dr. William Thomas aka: Dr. Bill

On my nightstand is the book, WHAT ARE OLD PEOPLE FOR, by Dr. WilliamThomas. It is a great book to read if you are already elderly or are approaching that stage of life.

I know that most of you were introduced to Dr. Bill on Ronni Bennett's blog, Time Goes By. His first video asked elders to sign a letter to Oprah requesting her to have him as a guest on his show. He has just made a new challenge to the elders. He wants us to make a video on aging and explains it in the following video. More videos can be seen on Time Goes By.

I do not have a video camera but I will write about my aging experience. It is my hope that many will accept his challenge because he is a wonderful advocate for elders.
Wisdom comes from knowledge and the more the young people understand about aging the more tolerant they will become.
I am satisfied with my life, but I know there are many elders that have severe challenges to face and they often have to do it alone. Dr. Bill would like to change the way elders are viewed and the way they live. He needs our help.

Reflections on Aging

Aging begins with birth but accelerates in the later years. It is an ongoing process.

I was not aware of the aging process because it was so gradual. I think I first gave it some thought when I turned 50. I was eligible for senior discounts at many places and was able to join AARP. I was then considered old. I found this to be hilarious because I did not feel old. I couldn't run as fast and I became tired a little sooner than I had years ago, but nothing else seemed different.

Looking back on the intervening years I find that each change in my capabilities was so gradual that I easily adjusted to the process as it happened. I can only compare the wearing out of the body to a motor. The parts begin to slow down and not function quite as well as they did when they were new, but they still work. Eventually one part fails and the other parts have to take over the chore. Then another part wears out and the whole motor begins to stall.

From the time I was a small child my passion was travel. To go to a foreign country was the ultimate goal of a lifetime. I was able to fulfill this dream when I was in my early sixties. That's when the first part of my body failed me. My knee became exceedingly painful during the tour. I still didn't feel old, however. I was an active person with a bum knee.

I took my last trip to Europe when I was in my mid-seventies. Then it hit - I was not enjoying the trip with the pleasure I had felt on previous trips. There were times when I just wished that I was home in my own bed. I suddenly felt old and realized that I just couldn't do this anymore. I think the awareness that my body was no longer able to stand the rigors of traveling by myself was dwarfed by the fact that I no longer felt excitement. The former joy of life had dwindled along with the physical deterioration.

The aging process seemed to go a little faster from that point on. I took longer to complete every task and tired very quickly. It has continued to be a slow decline . My eyes are dimming, my bones are porous, and the motor has broken parts now.

I am maintaining my independence as best I can. I now need a cleaning woman to do my floors, but I continue to live alone and take care of myself. I really have few complaints and am just amazed to still be here. I will turn 84 next week and I think I am doing very well.

On the whole I find many wonderful things about being old. I have the freedom to do whatever I choose to do. I am not responsible for anyone except myself. I can be as selfish as I wish without guilt. My days are full of the simple pleasures. I am grateful for the parts that still work. I can read, watch programs that I enjoy, write and call friends, or simply do nothing. The choice is mine and mine alone.

The days fly by and life is good. Yet, I am old and have the fears that accompany being an elder.

If you ask any elder what they fear most you will hear them tell you that losing their independence is their biggest fear. Some refuse to quit driving for that reason and others continue to live alone, even though they are not capable of taking care of themselves. Like me, the specter of a stroke is frightening. The second fear is suffering Alzheimer's disease or of Dementia. Each time a word is forgotten the loss of one's mind is hovering on the edge of one's awareness. I am forgetting words so often now that it becomes an ever present fear.

No elder wants to be a burden, but as our bodies and minds begin to wear out we are forced to think of how we should handle this situation. That's where Dr. Bill Thomas comes in. He has solutions for dealing with the realities of aging and making these years of freedom happier. No one wants to end up in a nursing home, but the reality is that many of us will. Lets help Dr. Bill eliminate that necessity with his planned retirement communities.

The Cheney Family

Warning: I live in a glass house and I am about to throw stones.

Dick and Liz Cheney's repeated appearances on many TV shows started me wondering how people like that form their opinions and how they reason. In truth, I don't think there is much ability to reason by either of them. Is it a 'right brain - left brain' thing?

In Dick's case I believe 'the woman behind the man' has something to do with his ideology.
Years ago I watched Lynne Cheney on the CNN show, Crosssfire. I liked Bill Press who argued the liberal side, but I cannot say the same for Lynne who took the conservative position. To say that she was abrasive was an understatement. She was so shrill, so damnably sure that her position was the correct one that you just knew she truly believed it. She had the sneer mastered to a fine point and the scorn she heaped on Bill Press was palpable. Bill, like our president, was calm and smiling and completely unflappable. However, she made my adrenalin reach the boiling point. I was never able to agree with a single thing she said. Are you surprised?

In Liz's case it is both the woman and the man who have unhinged influenced her. As I watched Liz Cheney I thought she looked like Dick and talked like Lynne. My impression was not flattering. I suppose I should be charitable and feel sympathy for her. She really doesn't stand a chance considering her parentage.

Many years later I laughed when I read a quote by Dick Cheney. Someone had asked him what would have happened if Lynne had married someone else. He replied that he didn't know, but whoever he was would be Vice President now.

I still don't know how the Cheney's form their opinions. I am afraid it's beyond my ability to understand. To justify torture is something I can never fathom.
Is it right brain, left brain or no brain? I will have to leave that judgment up to others.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

President Obama and Notre Dame

President Obama is a class act. I just watched his Commencement speech given to the Class of 2009 at Notre Dame. He handled the divisive issues of abortion and stem cell research with dignity and grace. He did not run away from the issue as so many other's might have done. I am sure most of you saw the speech and, if not, will be able to find it on You Tube, CNN or other news media. As I write this I do not know where it will be covered on the Internet, but I am very sure it will not be hard to find.

Emotions run high on both subjects and it is hard to remain calm when passions are so inflamed. It doesn't matter which side you are on, you must admit that it is probably one of the most divisive issues of our time. Given the margin for error the Polls indicate the country is split right down the middle between pro-choice and pro-life. To tackle this subject at a Catholic University would take more courage than I have. I will oversimplify the essence of Obama's point, but my understanding of what he said was that we must find common ground and build from there. We must find the things we agree on and build a consensus.

I am pro-choice because I do not think that a religious belief has any place in formulating laws. Not even a strong advocate for the pro-choice camp think abortion is a good thing. Planned Parenthood lives up to it's name by counseling on how to avoid pregnancy in the first place. If there were no unwanted pregnancies there would be no abortions. That,to me, is one thing everyone should agree on. And adoption should be made easier if an unwanted pregnancy should occur. I think that's another common ground to build on.

To me stem cell research should be a no-brainer. If you truly think life is sacred you should place the life of a diabetic child who is already born against a clump of stem cells that will be destroyed anyhow. If the research from using those cells can save lives, make
well the people who suffer from dibilitating diseases, or further our understanding of disease I cannot fathom the resistance to using them.

Everyone has the freedom to live their religious beliefs; I just don't want them to force their beliefs on those of us who disagree beacuse I do not believe the church is infallible. History is rife with strongly held religious beliefs that have been proven wrong. The Earth is not flat.

The Founding Fathers in their wisdom tried to make sure that there would be a separation of Church and State. I am strongly in favor of making sure that clause is adhered to.

I hope that cool heads will prevail and that we can close the divide that separates us. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Puns for the Intellectual

I thought I would lighten up for the weekend. Read these and laugh.

1. The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference . He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .

3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.

5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, "You stay here; I'll go on a head."

14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: "Keep off the Grass."

16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, "No change yet."

17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

20. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

21. A backward poet writes inverse.

22. In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.

23. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

24. Don't join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Health Care Reform

To better understand what is going on in foggy bottom, please follow the link and read the article by Robert Reich. It will open your eyes.

In Washington Health Care Reform is front and center this week, but will anything meaningful happen? The Insurance companies see the handwriting on the wall so they are suddenly on board. Or are they? They are terrified that a public funded system will be enacted and they know they couldn't
keep their obscene profits, much less compete, if that were to happen. To get a seat at the table they are suddenly all for reform. No more Harry and Louise spots to befuddle the mind.

That's the good news. The bad news is, they are sabotaging real reform with their band-aid approach. New York's Charles Schumer is working on a compromise that will allow for a public system that will level the playing field by requiring the public insurance to meet the same requirements as private insurance. It will not be funded by tax revenue, but by premiums and co-pay. If that's the best we can do I suppose it's better than nothing. But it will delay, if not stop, meaningful reform for a generation. It will not reduce the cost of health care because it will not really set up competition between the insurance agencies and the public agencies. Competition would be the only thing that would bring the cost of medical care down in a plan based on the Capitalist approach.
If this legislation were to be enacted the only positive thing that would be accomplished would be the ability for everyone to be able to buy insurance.

John Conyer has a much better piece of legislation H.R. 676. It is a serious single-payer plan and has 75 co-sponsors. To pass, it will need 218 votes. If you care about the single-payer system please contact your representative today and pressure them to vote for this.

For those of you who are still not convinced that this country needs a single-payer system consider these facts:

  • 47 million people lack health insurance. (Some say 50 million)
  • The U. S. spends twice as much per person as any other industrialized nation and has far worse outcomes.
  • The Insurance and Pharmaceutical monopolies are very inefficient and wasteful.
  • The Pharmaceutical Industry takes $350 billion of our health care money for drugs that only cost a small fraction of that amount to make.
  • In the event of a pandemic we are woefully unprepared. In the event of a serious flu outbreak it is estimated that 10 million people would need to be hospitalized. Right now we only have 1 million hospital beds and 3/4 of them are already full.
  • More than half of our emergency rooms are operating at above capacity right now.
  • A terrorist attack would create a disaster of unimaginable proportions based on those facts.
The bottom line is this; the capitalist system of running health care has failed by every measure. If you are one of those that are adamantly against socialized 'anything' consider the following excerpts from an article in the Washington Post by Harold Meyerson.


"We are all socialists now," proclaims Newsweek. We are creating "socialist republics" in the United States, says Mike Huckabee, adding, on reflection, that "Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff." We are witnessing the Obama-era phenomenon of "European socialism transplanted to Washington," says Newt Gingrich.


(If you are lacking a workable solution raise the 'socialized' label. One red herring is as good as another . It reminds me of the schoolyard bully taunt - nyah, nyah, nyah, your mother wears combat boots. DC)


But in the United States, conservatives have never bashed socialism because its specter was actually stalking America. Rather, they've wielded the cudgel against such progressive reforms as free universal education, the minimum wage or tighter financial regulations. Their signal success is to have kept the United States free from the taint of universal health care. The result: We have the world's highest health-care costs, borne by businesses and employees that cannot afford them; nearly 50 million Americans have no coverage; infant mortality rates are higher than those in 41 nations - but at least (phew!) we don't have socialized medicine.


Obama, like Roosevelt before him, is engaged not in creating socialism but in rebooting a crashed capitalist system. The spending in Obama's stimulus plan isn't a socialist takeover. It's the only way to inject money into a system in which private-sector investment, consumption and exports - the other three possible engines of growth - are locked down. Investing more tax dollars in education and research and development is a way to use public funds to create a more competitive private sector. Keeping our banks from speculating madly with our money is a way to keep banking alive.


If Obama realizes his agenda, what emerges will be a more social, sustainable, competitive capitalism.


Laissez-faire American capitalism is about to be supplanted not by socialism but by a more regulated, viable capitalism.


Judging by the failures of the great Wall Street investment houses and the worldwide crisis of commercial banks; the collapse of East Asian, German and American exports; the death rattle of the U.S. auto industry; the plunge of stock markets everywhere; the sickening rise in global joblessness; and the growing shakiness of governments in fledgling democracies that opened themselves to the world market - judging by all these, a more social capitalism is on the horizon because the deregulated capitalism of the past 30 years has blown itself up, taking much of the known world with it.

So, for conservatives searching for the culprits behind this transformation of capitalism: It was your own damn system.


I think the naysayers should be ashamed of themselves after their dismal record. It really takes chutzpah to criticize the current administration after the 'so called' Conservatives put this country on life support. DC

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Day After Mother's Day

For all you mothers who are reading this, I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday.

Mine was super-extra ordinary expialidocious. That may sound strange coming from me because I didn't see a single person and my dinner came out of the microwave. But wait - In the morning I watched the colorful Lilly petals unfold from the bouquet Lynne sent me. In the afternoon Mark called and we had a long and happy chat. In the evening Gail called for an even longer chat. She told me to look at the comments on yesterday's blog. I teared up when I read them and I hope you will forgive my pride as I print them for everyone to see. I know some of you have already read them, but for those of you who haven't, the copy is below.

To my Mom,

I want to thank you for all that you've given me. Not only for the obvious gifts, but the unique...

Thank you for
a Dr. Seuss - Cat in the Hat - One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
love of reading

Thank you for
a Stravinsky Tchaikovsky Debussy
love of music

Thank you for
an inspired, letting me tell you my well-rehearsed, richly-detailed lie - while nodding and keeping a straight face - and then saying "That's funny, that's not the way I heard it..." lesson in honesty (I can't tell a lie to this very day!)

Thank you for
concerts, plays, ballets...
museums, art and jazz

Thank you for
liberal leanings, a thinking for myself, don't take things at face value outlook on life

Thank you for
inspiring me with your strength, wisdom, and courage

Thank you for
the knowledge that I have a powerful, "I've got your back" ally no matter what

Happy Mother's Day!

With love,

And to finish this Mother's Day celebration here are some cute comments from children.
Nothing, but nothing, is funnier that children's comments. Art Linkletter had it right; they do say the darndest things.


Why did God make mothers?

1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?

1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?

1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of a little girl was your mom?

1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?

1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?

1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?

1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?

1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?

1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?

1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts and Surrogate Mothers everywhere.


Before I was myself you made me, me
With love and patience, discipline and tears,
Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,

Allowing me to sail upon my sea,
Though well within the headlands of your fears.
Before I was myself you made me, me

With dreams enough of what I was to be
And hopes that would be sculpted by the years,
Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,

Relinquishing your powers gradually
To let me shape myself among my peers.

Before I was myself you made me, me,

And being good and wise, you gracefully
As dancers when the last sweet cadence nears

Bit by bit stepped back to set me free.

For love inspires learning naturally:

The mind assents to what the heart reveres.
And so it was through love you made me, me

By slowly stepping back to set me free.


Sorry, I do not know the author of this poem. Apologies to the writer.

I love it and hope that printing it will give the author some consolation.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

On Being Pretty - Or Not

Society places such importance on beauty that it doesn't seem fair to those of us who were not endowed with the requisite large eyes, shapely figure, or other attributes deemed necessary to popularity.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; so goes the old saying. Not so, if you're a vulnerable teenager. Some people never grow up and keep judging people by physical attractiveness. (The boss who promotes the cute secretary who can't type, the jerk who hires an attractive unqualified applicant over a plain one who has the experience, etc., etc.) Well, you get the picture.

You have all heard the old joke, "When they passed out noses I thought they said 'roses' and I asked for a big red one." I think that must have been me. Apparently my hearing loss started in the womb because I certainly didn't intend to ask to be plain.

There are some very attractive physical features present in my ancestry. There are also some not-so-attractive features; apparently I chose those. Why didn't I inherit my father's beautiful shapely legs? No, I got my mother's small calves. Why didn't I get my great aunt's beauty or my father's handsome face? Nooo, I got a combination of those features, but not in the most pleasing manner. And why didn't I inherit my grandmother's lovely figure? Nooo, I got my grandfather's sway back and the resulting big bum.

As if my physical appearance wasn't burden enough, I had Nystagmus and my eyes looked like they were trying to find a way out of their sockets. (I exaggerate for literary emphasis. My eyes do, sometimes, move involuntarily.) To my embarrassment I was constantly asked by my contemporaries, "What's wrong with your eyes?" At long last a very nice girl said, "Darlene, your eyes dance." I loved her fiercely from that moment on. One kind remark can stay with you a lifetime.

I had one redeeming feature; my hair was my crowning glory. It was thick, held a curl for a week (if necessary) and had red tints that gave it highlights. A neighbor gave me a left handed compliment once and I have never forgotten it. She said, "If Darlene's hair looks nice she does also." The unspoken half of that statement is, of course, that if my hair needed styling I was an ugly duckling.

It doesn't take long for the message to sink in that you are not beautiful and by High School you don't expect to be popular; and you aren't. How I envied those cute cheerleaders in their short pleated skirts who got to wear the letter sweater of the handsomest jock. How I wanted a boy to ask me to go steady. Never happened! I wasn't a complete washout. I did have some dates, but none that were exciting. (Well, there was one boy that I will never forget, but that's another story.)

There are exceptions to
beauty being the path to popularity. One of the most popular girls in my High School was overweight, had a swarthy complexion and was not pretty by anyone's standard. Her popularity was based on the fact that she had such high self esteem and was so genuinely nice that everybody loved her. How could you not? She was the real McCoy and it showed. Even shallow youth rec0gnize someone who has the maturity to be comfortable with who they are. I'll bet all of you have known such a person and you know what I am talking about.

It wasn't until I gained the wisdom that comes with hindsight that I discovered those cute cheerleaders quite often ended up in bad marriages because they were so self absorbed they had not learned that the world stopped revolving around them. Many of the girls who were wallflowers went on to become successful women in their chosen fields. Sometimes life offers compensations.

[Of course there are also some beautiful people who are also genuinely nice. They are the cream of the crop. They are not the ones I am talking about when I point out that some people who are stunners trade on their beauty and never develop the other necessary tools to living a successful life.]

After I graduated I had acquired some social skills that enabled me to become more popular. I had many dates and quite a few marriage proposals. I am not sure just how serious some of them were, but it was flattering to be asked. I felt redeemed.

As a further explanation as to how an ugly duckling suddenly became a swan, I should add that I lived in a military town during WWII with a lot of lonesome GI's who knew they were headed for war. It was not hard to get a date.

Only in retrospect do we see how fleeting is beauty and how those who have to work at being popular develop hidden strengths in the process. We try to tell our daughters what we have learned about how outer appearance does not define who they are, but it is something that they have to learn on their own. After all, what does a mother know when you are a teenager? As Mark Twain remarked about his father, "It's amazing how much smarter my father became by the time I was twenty." (Or something like that.)

After accepting the fact that I did not turn heads, I quit obsessing about it and became more content as I matured. I learned that everyone possess strengths that make us unique and we are all special in some way.

The pretty ones may have a head start, but most of us find ways to compensate as we gain wisdom. And most of us learn that being beautiful can sometimes be a burden. Inner beauty becomes much more important as we age and makes us beautiful in the eyes of our loved ones, no matter what the rest of the world thinks.

And finally the last word.

A man said to his wife: "How could God have made you so beautiful and so stupid at the same time?"

The wife replied, " That's easy. He made me beautiful so you would be attracted to me and he made me stupid so I would be attracted to you."

That blond wasn't so dumb after all.