It May Not Be What You Think

On hot summer days, when the temperatures  rises,  your young charges grow  anxious and rambunctious.

They  run  up and down the stairs, gallop into the kitchen almost pushing you over with their enthusiasm.  Then, they dash shrieking, wailing, and howling out of the house and  into the back yard.

When that doesn’t satisfy them, they start pushing,  bumping, and wrestling until you hear a sharp cry.  One of them got hurt.

Your nerves are frazzled and you obviously don’t have time to take them to the park right now, but for everyone’s–no your–sanity, you realize you have to get them out of the house.

It may seem that a trip to the park is easy, but it is a trial.  Your little ones need to put on their play gear,  but they are so excited that they continue to dart around and turn in circles while you  try to corral them into the car.

As soon as we near the park, they crane their necks hoping to get a look at one of their friends.  They are so excited that as soon as I open the door, they jump out into the parking lot.  I grab them quickly and take them inside the  park.

Most of the caretakers are watching their charges and if one of them is playing inappropriately, usually  the caretaker stops them.  Some just sit and talk with the other parents, oblivious to what is happening with their little ones.  But there is always that bully, or the older one, that pushes, shoves and sometimes bites.

When one makes a disgusting mess, most parents take care of that, but not all.

Some of them pull things away from others on the playground.  The sad part is that no one is watching those little ones and they continue to be a problem child forever.

If someone else’s charge gives you a hug, your little one is very jealous and needs to shove the usurper away.

After a while, they stop running and start sitting in the shade and playing in the dirt.  They love to kick up as much dust as they can.

Now, I can take them home and hopefully get some work done, but both are deaf to my calls and pretend I am not there.   Yes, the dog park is no different than your children’s park!  But wait, these are my children’s dogs, not mine.

Why am I taking them to the park? you ask.   For my sanity.  Besides, dog people are really nice people.

Step Up and Up and Up and Up and UP!


The gorgeous seaside towns along the Amalfi coast, capture your imagination. Picture yourself sitting on the balconies of the 17th century palaces built snugly into the rugged cliffs.

Yes, the views are spectacular, more than you could have imagined, but did you ever stop to think how people get to these palaces.  Let me tell you in simple terms.  STEPS.  Unending steps!  If you weren’t in a paradise, you would think you had gone to Hades.

The stairway that leads from the street to the palace is so narrow and dark that it is very easy to pass by it. This stairway  is about 4 feet wide and goes almost straight down.  Yes, it is that steep.  Hang on to the railing!

How many steps, you ask? 70!  Yes,  I said seventy steps, but those only take you to the first landing.  You get a bit of a respite as  you walk through a gorgeous, arched,  grape, arbor.  Oh, no, you are not done.   Then you walk down 18 more steps until you get into the front door.

Ok, to be fair and, and so I won’t sound like a wuss, all those steps were downhill.

To discover the center of the city, there are another 300 or so steps down.  Down is bearable.

The problem is when you go home, you have to walk UP those 300 plus steps!

Grandchildren scurry of the steps, children jog up the steps, grandparents play the wolf in the story of The Three Little Pigs.  We huff and puff all the way up.

Number One figured out that as long as both feet were on one step at a time, he could get a second or two of rest before he had to lift his legs one more time.

I focused on the steps under my feet.  If I looked up, my heart started pounding harder.  I had already walked up so many steps and it seemed like I still had a thousand more to go.  Also, I found myself stumbling if I didn’t keep track of where my feet were.

The first day we scouted the city and then the second day we headed to the beach.  Believe it or not, there are another  200 steps down to the beach—and unfortunately, 200 more steps UP!

Now, while in Italy, you eat, pasta, pizza, pasta, pizza, pasta, pizza and gelato all week long. You would think one would gain weight.

NOPE.  The advantage of these steps is that you burn more than you take in.    I lost four pounds on this vacation!

Oh, remind me to send a thank you letter to the sports medicine doctor who shot up my knee  with cortisone.  That was a vacation saving drug.  My knee didn’t hurt at all!

This may be a great way to lose weight, but I think for my future vacations, I will choose a spot where it is easy to gain a pound or two.






My Blossoming Prejudice

I am not and will not be prejudice against anyone!

I am an open minded individual who feels everyone needs to lead their life the way they want.

I am no better or worse than anyone else.

I am different, but that is not a negative.

However, sadly, I recently discovered I do have a prejudice.

My mother was an avid gardener.  We would see her on her knees working in the garden, which was the size of a small field, all morning long.  The center of the garden was filled with vegetables (never call them veggies) and then it was surrounded with flowers.  Sturdy zinnias that could withstand the Wisconsin weather were the constant of the summer.

Then, along the driveway she planted peach and orange gladiolas and red and yellow tulips  Ringing the house were colorful petunias.  The sweet fragrance of the lilac bush wafted through the air.  Finally, by the basement door–where it is always in shade –were her Lily’s of the Valley.

I thought Mom loved every flower.


Every time we went someplace that had red geraniums, she would tell me she hated geraniums and would never have them in her garden.  Mom hated geraniums because her step-mother had them all over her childhood house.  She would wake up in the middle of the night thinking she was eating geraniums.


As an adult, every time I walked by a geranium, I would think, it was such an ugly flower.  Who would want that in their garden.  I also didn’t like the thick velvet greenery.

A few days ago, while searching for some flowers at the nursery, I noticed these beautiful lavender and pink striped flowers.  They were gorgeous! As I put my hand out to pick them up, I saw the name–GERANIUM!

It suddenly dawned on me that I was prejudice against geraniums!  Why did I think they were bad?  I had nothing against them.  I never got the taste of them in my mouth.  But there I was…hating what I really didn’t know.

If my mother would have thought that she instilled any prejudice in me, she would be mortified.

It also is very telling how easy it is to develop a prejudice from childhood and carry it into adult hood.  (Careful what we say in front of our kids–that off-the-cuff remark may stay with them for a lifetime.)

I now have geraniums dotting my garden landscape.

And, I apologize profusely to the geraniums of the world for any harm that I may have done.


What Happens When a 77 Year-Old Plays a 3 Year-Old?

All three years old love to run and jump and play–non-stop!

Most 77 year-olds like to sit, relax, laze in the sun, and take long afternoon naps.

 We all know older men tend to grumble a lot and their low voice sometimes sounds like a growl, particularly when they are tired.

The three year-old loves to hear her high pitched voice and shouts it over and over and over hoping someone will listen to her and play with her. She especially wants the 77 year-old to play with her.

They try to play hide and seek, but the 77 year old is too tired to look for a good hiding place and he is found much too quickly. He growls as the three year-old jumps up and down and shouts.


The little one is always picking things off the floor and the older one is constantly trying to take it out of her mouth.  It is like a tug of war, that is either won by the three year-old because she just has too much energy, or the angry retort from the 77 year-old stops her in her tracks.

And the problem is, they are making my office their playground.  I am trying to write and their constant chatter puts me over the edge.

But I noticed last Sunday when the three year old wasn’t around, the 77 year-old moped around all day.


He kept looking for the younger one thinking she was playing hide and seek. He never found her.  It was a sad day.

The house was even too quiet for me, too.


Max is 8 inches tall.  He is a Toy Fox Terrier.  Dakota is a Siberian Husky, and at only three months towers over Max.  She loves to lay her leg across Max’s back pretending they are friends, but Max usually isn’t in the mood for a hug.

Max, my 77 year-old, (in dog years, but 11 in people years) spends most of his time growling, disciplining, and arguing with Dakota.  Dakota is three years old in dog years and three months in people years.  Dakota spends her time chasing, barking and irritating Max as much as she can.

Yes, they are “playing” in MY office.  Yes, Max is always that noisy.

It looks like they are going to kill each other with their mouths wide open, but believe me, they are just trying to prove whose mouth is bigger.

And worst of all..

These are not my dogs! I just get to babysit them both!!!!

I Mean, What Do They Have To Do?

A young mother was watching her one year-old child crawling on the carpet of the mall play area.  She smiled at me and asked if my two grandchildren were my children.  I smiled–wondered if she was blind–and corrected her and said they were my granddaughters.

It was the middle of the week so I assumed she had the day off, but she told me that her mother takes care of her kids during the week. I blessed that grandmother because I could see what a handful the little boy was.

I said that was really sweet of her mother because grandmothers get tired much easier than mothers. The young mother complained that taking care of baby was hard for her, too.  I wasn’t going to argue with her.  I  didn’t say it, but I thought, kids are a lot of work, no matter what age.  But the older you are, the less energy you have for them and you tire so much easier.

I was then informed by the young mother that grandma will babysit during the week, but she refuses to babysit on the weekends.  According to grandma, weekends are babysitting free.

I could see the anger growing in the young woman’s face.  “I mean, that doesn’t make sense to me,” she said. What does she have to do on the weekends?”

My mouth dropped open.  There was so much I wanted to say, but I realize I can’t save all the grandmothers in the world.

But I was thinking…your mom has to take care of her mental health–she raised her kids, now it is your turn.  Grandma has to take care of her emotional and physical

health.  She has to visit friends and play.

How do grandmas play?  They ride bikes, they hike, they swim, they golf, and they enjoy a night out.  How about watching a movie–during the afternoon–when grandpa is less likely to fall asleep?  A meal at a nice restaurant–or even fast food–is a treat because Grandma doesn’t have to cook.


Grandmas are NOT the grandmas of the 40’s and the 50’s–maybe even the 60’s.



Chivalry Exists in My Knight in Gray

I can take care of myself.  Women, in most situations can take care of themselves.

But sometimes,  it is nice to know that a male will come to your rescue.

Yes, I was well protected this weekend.

I admit I was being a little lazy and didn’t want to get up–of course it was 6:45 a.m. and I am RETIRED!

Anyway, my  daughter’s  method of encouraging me to get out of bed was to  hit me (playfully) with the decorative pillows on the bed.



That’s when it happened.


That is when I was rescued.   My rescuer is old, at least 91!

He is small, and  frail with  very spindly legs, but he is surprisingly agile for his age.

Max–91 in dog years–jumped up on the bed, growled ferociously and leapt at Jazz.  He didn’t stop and think that he weighs eight pounds and is barely 8 inches tall. He thought he was David fighting Goliath.  I was impressed and felt humble that he would save me and not even think about his size.

Yes, I did save my daughter from my gallant knight in grey. (No injuries on either side, but my daughter snarled  louder than Max when I grabbed him in mid-air.)

When it comes to chivalry, size doesn’t matter, nor does age.




Will Books Be As Obsolete As a Rotary Phone?


I walked into a bank last week and while waiting to speak to the accounts person, I sat in the conformable chair facing a bookshelf of books.

But it was not a bookshelf of books.  It was a PICTURE of a bookshelf of books.

It made me think that a lot has come and gone over the past 60 years.

You cannot find a typewriter, except in antique shops.




Anyone born after 1970, most probably, has never heard of a slide rule.  And for sure, they never used one.




The  rotary phone–you know–the kind that you have to dial is now considered a novelty.  My daughter has this one in her room as a “dope” (i.e. cool) decoration.

When we use the phrase “dial a number,” someone from my generation knows what it means to actually put a finger in the little hole and turn the dial until it reaches the concave finger stop.

There is nothing to “dial”, as in moving in a circular motion, on a cell phone or a push button phone!

Push button phones came out in November 1963 and Bell had to convince customers it was better and faster.

By 1980, almost all phones in homes and offices were push button.

The phrase, “dial the number” is an antiquated term.  I wonder how long it will be before that term is as obsolete as the rotary phone.

Back to my picture of the bookshelf of books.

Will future generations only know about books from paintings or pictures that are hanging on the wall?

Will you only be able to find them in antique shops, or will children only know about them from stories handed down from generation to generation?  Will they be a “dope” decoration in a room?

Will the real meaning of the term “turn the page” be a term that is as vague and unknown as “dial the number?”

I was just wondering because the flat screen television above the picture was real and working just fine.



Daughters Chit Chat, Sons Grunt

Spending time with your grown children gives you insight into their lives and personalities.


My daughters and I chit chat when we are together.  We chatter about the kids, how busy we are, and how we hate grocery shopping.

We prattle, babble, rattle on and blather–I guess I am the one who blathers–about anything and everything.  We are interested in each other’s lives, needs, goals, dreams, trials and tribulations.

However, sitting in a room with my son is an entirely different experience.

It is silent! Pure uninterrupted silence.

When someone is in the same room with me and we are absolutely quiet, I suffer extreme pain.  My ears ache hoping to hear some sounds, some voices, or even a ticking clock.  Digital clocks don’t tick.


When my son does speak, it is usually a grunt, a grumble, a mumble, a groan, a sigh or worse, I get the look.  The look says all the above, but with extreme sarcasm.

He mumbles a quick answer about who is playing in the game–I really don’t care–I just want to hear someone speak.

He groans when I start telling him about my day.  The purpose of this is to encourage him to tell me about his day.  Guess what?  It doesn’t work, but I have to keep trying.

He grumbles if there isn’t some ready-made food in the house.

I actually got a response from him the other day.  When I told him I was going to write this, he said, “A grunt is an effective form of communication.”

Eight, count them, eight words in a row!

Now, that I think about it, I do know the meaning of his grunts and groans.

They mean,  “I don’t feel like talking.  I am ignoring you. I want to sit in peace.  I am busy doing nothing.  It is too much work to make some food for myself, why can’t you do it?”

Maybe he is right, a grunt is an effective form of communication!



Dwayne, Dwayne, Dwayne, I’ll Never Forget Your Name!

Remember the adage?

There is an  old adage that says you should say a person’s name three times when you meet him/her.  This repetition will assure that  you will not forget the name.

I forgot the adage!   Or maybe I just thought it read old age, and I was trying to ignore anything that mentions old age.


As I have mentioned, I have been going to Orange Theory. I was quite flattered when the manager of the gym asked if she could do a member profile on me for the newsletter. Maybe I shouldn’t let it go to my head.  It could be that they just can’t believe I am still there–meaning I haven’t keeled over yet.

I answered the questions and sent the manuscript thinking that the editor would edit my blurb.  Nope.

Another lesson learned, do not assume anyone else will clean up your mistakes.  You have to take responsibility to make sure you get it right.  Which I didn’t.

I mentioned the names of individuals who had encouraged me to keep coming, pulled me off the floor a couple of times, or just smiled at me when I was scared I wasn’t going to survive a session. I remember the names of Zack, David, Jeff, Dana, and Lauren, but the name I mentioned in the article was not Dwayne.  I don’t want to say the name I wrote because if I say it too often it will get stuck in my head, again.

Now, this young man was raised right.  He takes the time to talk to old ladies, laugh at old lady jokes, and encourage the old ladies.

I am horrified that I hurt his feelings and now I’m afraid  he won’t speak to me, chuckle at my jokes, or support me.

Any good suggestions on how I can ask him to forgive me, other than handing this apology to him?

If he reads  this, it will be my luck that Dwayne is spelled either as Dwaine or Duane.



A Greenland New Year and Resolutions

We rang in the New Year–but I we did our countdown from Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland–meaning, it was 9 p.m. in Washington D.C, but we had the kids convinced it was midnight.  Are we going to hell for lying to the kids?  Thank goodness for Netflix and their pre-programed countdowns.

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland


I gave up resolutions for lent. Oops, wrong holiday, we are not there yet.  Every year I try to be resolute, but I make resolutions that are impossible to do–such as losing weight.


This year I will be resolute in drinking more tea and learning 10 new words for the year.   I’m not promising myself that I will remember the words, but I will learn them.  Does it mean I am hedging my bet,  if I get an email every day with new words? Unfortunately, I know most of them. But 10 is doable.

So far this year, I drank more cups of tea than I did in six months last year, so I think I might make it.

And, I already learned one new word.  Senectitude.

If I want to live a long life, it is important to stay active in my senectitude.

You will find the meaning in the text above.

Now, it’s only 9 new words to learn in 12 months!


Warm tea on a frigid 68 degree day, sound so comforting.  Want to join me?