New York City?

It’s again time to make my annual “to do before Christmas list.” As in past years, at the top is “spend Christmas in New York City.”  I have yet to mark that off the list. I leave it there in hopes some year I will be in New York for Christmas and unable to complete the rest of the list.

The rest of the list is always composed of such things as wrap the deck in garland and put snowmen figures in the bathroom. I have white-tiled walls in the bathroom, so I think the snowmen feel at home there. There are presents to purchase in town, and there are a few things which must be ordered on Amazon. There are packages to wrap, fudge to make, cookies to bake, the Christmas letter to write, the tree to decorate, and grandchildren’s Christmas programs to attend. Somehow, the list must be prioritized and then accomplished!

Still, I enjoy Christmas and am always glad I have decorated, stuffed presents in gift bags, and baked cookies. I must go now, though, I still have my collection of carolers to gather around the piano.

New York City? Maybe next year….


Aging Signs

I have changed as I have aged. I don’t mean the obvious changes either such as gray hair, wrinkles, and upper arm muscle tone. No, I mean the less subtle changes. Here are a few:

Many of my conversations begin with either “remember when?” or “I can’t remember, but….”  No matter how the conversations begin with my friends, though, they eventually center on health issues. I am constantly going to get something in the other room, too, but once I am in the other room I can’t remember why I’m there.

This year I decorated the house for fall by placing just two pumpkins on the deck. The days of hay bales and corn stalks are long gone for me. I didn’t even search through the storage tubs for the rubber skeleton.

I’m contemplating using only half of the Christmas decorations I’ve accumulated over the last 47 years. Gone, too, is the anticipation of shopping December 24 for bargains. My children like opening those small, wallet-like envelopes from my bank. I’m hoping, too, this winter’s total snowfall is only thirty minutes on Christmas Eve.

Sometimes younger people offer to help me carry groceries or offer me a seat—wait–maybe this aging isn’t all bad….

Seasonal House Cleaning

Each spring my mother and aunt arrived at my grandparents’ house armed with brooms, vacuums, mops, and buckets to help Grandma with her housecleaning. Blinds were dusted, curtains washed, mopboards scoured, and sometimes varnished. Not often, but occasionally, a penny or two was found under the sofa cushions as they were “plumped.” Every so often, the feather pillows received new ticking.

Grandma and Grandpa did not have an inside bathroom, and spring cleaning included sweeping the cobwebs from the walls of the outhouse. I’m still amazed at the number of cobwebs those spiders left in such an unpleasant building.

Fall often brought another round of cleaning. Closets were organized and drawers tidied. Grandma supervised the cleaning while she prepared homemade chicken and noodles, yeast rolls, a couple of vegetable dishes, and apple pies.

Those days are happy memories of family time, and I regret I didn’t help my own mother with her spring and fall cleaning. I especially regret my children didn’t carry on the tradition. I could use their help with my seasonal housecleaning.

Of course, they regret I don’t make chicken and noodles, homemade bread, or apple pies…hey kids, I’ll buy pizza if….


My “big” thankful list doesn’t change much year to year—family, friends, good health, food, a warm house, and those who keep our nation safe. This year there is an addition to my list–our family has a new baby, and I am thankful for the little miracle he is.

Of course, as I’ve aged I’ve added some “smaller” items to my list. They include: colorful, patterned, support hose; anti-acids; multi-compartment pill boxes; Google on my phone to look up information I used to know; eye glasses for reading; elastic waist bands; foods that contain natural fiber; shoes with good arch supports; handrails on stairs; yellow-sticky, reminder note pads;  and patient grandchildren who help with electronics.

Of course, I don’t know too much about some of the above items. I just assume there are others who are thankful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Oh yes, I’m thankful for each of you who reads my blog.

Cameos of Strength

Long ago in my life, I thought if I read a lot of books and paid attention in school, I could master all knowledge. (Gosh, I barely typed that sentence without laughing.) What I now know is the more knowledge I mastered, the more I realized how much I didn’t know. Not to be deterred, though, I continued to strive to increase my knowledge base—particularly about writing and publishing books. While there is still a lot my co-author, Collette Reichenberger, and I don’t know about writing and publishing books, we have nevertheless published our second book.

Cameos of Strength tells the stories of Lindsay: The Confident Cowgirl during the 1880s near Abilene; Emily: The Kind Suffragette around 1900 in Southeast Kansas; and Rylie: The Imaginative Writer during WWI, near a college town.

Our first book Cameos of Courage is on Amazon and Cameos of Strength will soon be on Amazon, too. (A bit of knowledge, we are still learning). We have a signing planned for November 18, 10:00 until 2:00 at Sayers Ace Hardware in Independence. Hope to see you there.



May I see your ID?

I forget my age. Sure, my hair is gray, and the sun, much laughter, and a few tears have left my face with a wrinkle or two. I’m not a great cook, but my body indicates I’ve eaten some great meals—and a lot of macaroni and cheese with the grandkids. In short, I do not look like I am under the age of twenty-one.

Because I think I’m young, I incorrectly responded to a vendor last summer. I was at a Royals baseball game searching for a $20 bill with which to purchase a hot dog. The vendor (age thirty-something) attempted humor.

“Keep looking. I will need to see your ID if you want to buy beer,” he said.

“Oh no, I don’t drink beer,” I said, not even making eye contact. “Just give me a plain hot dog.”

The now silent vendor handed me the hot dog. It didn’t occur to me it was funny someone would ask to see a seventy-year-old lady’s ID, and it was only later that I realized the vendor had been kidding about my ID.

Wouldn’t it be funny, though, if occasionally I got carded while getting my senior coffee at McDonald’s?


It’s a Boy!


“How much did he weigh?”

“What time was he born?”

“How much hair? Really, that much?”

John and I welcomed our ninth grandchild this week. Our new grandson is healthy, and both Mom and Dad are doing fine. Older sister, who just turned two, is all right with her baby brother, too. I suspect, though, there will be times in the future when she might find sharing her Mom, Dad, and toys an issue.

Grandpa and I had a busy week, and we are tired—but not as tired as Mom and Dad.

Thank you, God, for our blessings.



Time with Friends

Wasn’t it just yesterday I graduated from high school? Surely it hadn’t been over fifty years since I first walked into my college freshman dorm.

But, I had invitations to a 50th wedding anniversary party for a college roommate, and there was a reunion of my high school’s graduates planned. Fortunately, one was on a Friday night, and the other on Saturday night. The two events were in towns a couple of hours apart and a couple of hours from my home, but I was confident John and I could attend both events.

“I don’t know—that’s a lot of driving. It sounds like a very busy couple of days,” John said. Did I mention John and I did not attend the same high school or the same college?

The 500-mile fall excursion through the state was beautiful. The trees were dressed in red, gold, and yellow leaves, and the stormy afternoon drive through the Flint Hills with lightning dancing in the distance was exciting.

Both reunions were too short. But would there ever be enough time to share with those with whom we survived algebra, biology, home economics, first jobs, weddings, classmates going to war…?

And yes, John enjoyed the weekend, too.

My Morning Workout

Walk, walk, walk. One, two, three, four.”

“Side step, side step – side step, side step.”

Would the work out DVD never end?

“Left kick, right kick, left kick, right kick. One, two, three, four.”

“One knee lift, two knee lift.”

“Four kick, three kick, two kick, one kick.”

I made a mental list of all I wanted to accomplish before noon. Surely, my fitness class was almost over.

“Left kick, right kick, left kick, right kick. One, two, three, four.”

“One knee lift, two knee lift.”

“Now isn’t this fun. I’m so glad you came to walk with me today,” the lady leading the class on the DVD asked in her annoying voice followed by her irritating laughter.

Wait, what is that on the floor?

Is it? It is–a Hersey Kiss wrapper. Hmmm, it appears someone has walked and side stepped on it. But who would cheat and bring chocolate to class? We all seem, well, sort of fit.

“Now we will begin our cool-down walk.”

Finally the class ended, and I was starved. Fortunately, someone brought pumpkin bread to share during our “after workout” coffee.

My Limitations

I recently spent a week caring for grandchildren.

“Nana, I left my math worksheet at school. It’s due tomorrow,” my young granddaughter said. “It’s no problem, though, because it’s online. You can print it from there.”

“Online? Print from your parents’ computer? I guess I can try,” I said. When my children were young, if one of them left a homework assignment at school, I simply called their dad. He stopped by the school on his way home from work, went to the kid’s desk, and dug through the papers until he found said assignment. Unfortunately, forgotten assignments happened often, and my husband had permission to enter the school’s back door using a kitchen knife. I miss those innocent days.

I was appreciative of my granddaughter’s confidence in my technical abilities, but I could not print the assignment. I was lucky I could operate their television remote—that is if the program didn’t require a password. The kids were happy, too, I fixed a couple of meals after only one demonstration on how to use the can opener.

“Remember, sweetheart, just tell your teacher your Nana is old and that you’ll turn your paper in late.”

Oh yes, I am technically limited–and blessed.