Tuesday, May 31, 2011


What is happiness? And how does one find it? If you really want the answer to this question, just observe a child for a while. Children don’t even have to think about it. Their lives are made up of new and first experiences; they get up each morning excited about what will happen today. What’s more, most of them are enthusiastic about learning new things in school.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if adults were equally as excited about learning and experiencing new things? Having learned our ABC’s and 123’s a long time ago, the majority of us have become indifferent about the events life holds for us each day. We get up every morning and go through our daily routine without any real emotion – unless someone cuts us off in traffic, that is. Unlike children, we are fairly certain we won’t be learning anything new and exciting during our ordinary day, so we don’t expect it.

Perhaps that’s the key—learning to live with the expectation that something new and fascinating will happen each day. If only we could look at the world through childlike eyes and see things based on truth rather than appearances and remain open to life’s lessons as we gain a new level of understanding and awareness. Every day presents opportunities to learn and share new insights with others.

Abe Lincoln said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

I agree.  Enjoy life now – it has an expiration date!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lurking In The Shadows

When a relative wrote to tell me about all the animals she’s been seeing around her new country home, it took me back to a summer, years ago, when I sometimes felt like I lived in a jungle.

I had to take my small dog, Sadie, outside several times a day. I’d take her out the back door where there is a screened patio with another door to the outside yard. I’d let her out and wait until she was ready to come back in. A nervous little dog, she didn’t linger, so it only took a few minutes.

Things went fine during the day, but late at night, I never knew what I was going to encounter when I turned on the porch light and opened the door. Sometimes it was only a rabbit or squirrel that quickly darted across the yard, startling me temporarily...  but I’ve seen opossums freeze in their tracks when the light went on. The way those glassy eyes stared at me gave me the heebie-jeebies!

There were also numerous doves sleeping in the safety of the overhang on the house. They didn’t seem to be afraid—only annoyed by the disturbance. And then there was the time I stepped on the black snake’s tail thinking it was a bird feather sticking up out of a crack in the concrete walk. I’m surprised it didn’t bite me. When I later found out it was a snake – you guessed it! Heebie-jeebies!

Poor dog was oblivious to all of this; she was blind as a bat! Which brings to mind another story: One night I opened the door and saw what I thought were three birds flying around in a circle on my screened patio. Holding onto Sadie, I quickly closed the door. Lucky for me, I’m terrified of birds! 

When I fetched my husband to get rid of them so I could take Sadie out, he took one look and said, “Those aren’t birds; they have no tails. They’re bats!” Now my husband is a brave man, but not even he wanted to tangle with three bats in close quarters, so, just this once, Sadie went out the front door to “do her thing” before bed. I slept very little that night. Fortunately, the bats found their way out before morning, but I was never very comfortable taking Sadie out late at night again.

I no longer have a dog, so I have no reason to go out there at night. It’s hard to say what might be lurking in the shadows nowadays. I don’t think I want to find out. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Yes or No?

Recently, while looking through some of my mother's belongings, I ran across this poem. It's dated 1940, so it is quite old. Therefore, you may find some of its suggestions amusing and not at all appropriate for today. Still, I found it interesting and entertaining. Perhaps you will, too.

Dirndl: Traditional Women's Clothes from Germany and Austria

 Lines To A Daughter

One of the things you really should know
Is when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”
There aren’t any textbooks, there aren’t any rules,
The subject’s neglected in orthodox schools.

You can’t be consistent; there’s often a reason
For changing your mind with a change in the season.
You may be quite right in accepting at seven
Suggestions you’d better refuse at eleven.

Perhaps you’ll consider these tentative hints:
“No” to a dirndl of highly glazed chintz,
“Yes” to the bashful young man at the dance,
“No” to the man who’s been living in France.

“Yes” to a walk in the park in the rain
“Yes” if he asks for a chance to explain.
“No” to all slacks unless you’re too thin,
“No” to that impulse to telephone him.

“Yes” to a baby and “No” to a bore
“No” if you’re asked if you’ve heard it before.
“Yes” to a Saturday, “No” to a Monday
“Yes” to a salad and “No” to a sundae.

“Yes” to a stranger (but use some discretion)
“No” to three cocktails in rapid succession
“No” if he’s misunderstood by his wife
“Yes” if you want it the rest of your life.

Remember, my darling, careers and caresses
Depend on our choices of “No’s” and “Yes’s!"

                                           ~Agnes Rogers

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Wish I Didn't Know

Feels like the end of something.

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while, no doubt, read the series of posts about my March trip to Florida to visit my lifelong friend, Carol. We enjoyed an unforgettable four days together!

I returned knowing that she and her friend, Dave, were planning a trip here in late May. She was looking forward to visiting her only brother, her granddaughter, and several friends, as well as paying her respects to the gravesites of her parents and other relatives. We’d be getting together, too, of course. Therefore, knowing I’d be seeing her again in a couple of months, it never occurred to me to be the least bit concerned about the possibility of a last good-bye.

My husband and I treated them to dinner at a nice restaurant last night. We enjoyed a leisurely meal, each other’s company, lively conversation and some laughs. It was very nice! Hugging before entering our respective cars, I told her to phone me one last time before leaving for home on Wednesday morning. She said she would.

Waving as we moved away in opposite directions, sadness swept over me. It was that feeling my grandmother used to talk about—the one that arouses fear that this might possibly be the last time you’ll ever see this person to whom you're waving.

Carol and I are not old. But we are at an age when we’ve lost both our grandparents, and our parents. And with them gone, there is no longer a barrier between us and our mortality. We’ve seen many of our high school friends pass as well as others we’ve made along the way. It’s not uncommon to spot familiar names in the obituary several times a week.

To make matters worse, Carol informed me last night that she has a potentially serious health problem and will be having further testing done in June. I wish I didn’t know.

My mind has been occupied all day with thoughts of our past. So many memories. Good and bad. Two lifetimes intertwined. Kindred Spirits!

How could we ever say a final, “Good-bye?”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Finally. The sunshine that was supposed to be here on Thursday arrived today. Seems to mean business, too. It’s not wishy-washy like it was yesterday when it only teased us by peeking between gray clouds intermittently.

It’s already 77°. After all the rain we’ve had lately, one can almost hear the grass growing. And oh, is it green? Such a beautiful bright shade of green! Everything looks so fresh and clean. 

The month of May is almost gone. Yesterday was my mother’s birthday. She passed away almost seven years ago. I miss her most at this time of year. She loved it. To her, warm, sunny weather meant tearing up the house and cleaning it from stem to stern. As a child, I hated it. So did my father.

On a sunny day like today, when we heard her say, “Oh my, this bright sunshine shows up all the dirt,” we’d look at each other and grimace. We knew what was coming.

For at least two weeks, the whole house would be a maze of boxes and clutter that was almost impossible to get through as my mother painted, cleaned out closets, rearranged kitchen cabinets, scrubbed the inside and outside of the refrigerator and range, cleaned windows, washed and ironed every curtain in the house, shampooed carpets and waxed floors.

When it was all finished, my father and I were exhausted, but Mother was still energetic and oh, so proud of her sparkling clean house.

As a result of my mother’s cleanliness mania, I never “spring clean.” That is to say, my whole house is never torn up at once! I wouldn’t be able to stand it. It’s one room at a time, or nothing. And if I can’t get it all done in one day, forget it. I can’t tolerate the confusion for days on end.

Today, I smile as I think of my mother. She’d almost certainly be saying, “Oh my, this sunshine shows up all the dirt. I’d better get busy!”

Happy Sunny Weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Okay, it’s Thursday! 

Where’s the sunshine my husband promised (here)? That was two days ago and I’ve been waiting, not so patiently, for those bright, warm rays of sunshine.

It’s not all bad. I stuck my head out the door a little while ago and was greeted with the pleasing smell that lingers after a spring rain. And I couldn’t help but notice how green everything looks. That’s very nice. But the temperature is only 59°. And it’s still dreary. I’m ordering up a nice sunny day in the 70’s; a day when I don’t have to turn on all the lights in the house.

In a perfect world, we’d be able to do that: order our weather according to what we were doing on any given day. But then, everyone wouldn’t want the same thing and it would be too confusing.

I suppose that’s the reason we have no control over these matters. We’re only human. Unfortunately, our brains don’t function at even a fraction of what they’re capable of... and so, there are many things we aren't given the power to control.

And that’s very hard on us control freaks! 

The Final Installation!

Guess what?  My new microwave was delivered today. The third one! It’s installed. It works! It doesn’t arc. It’s white! And it only took us three and a half weeks to get here.

The installation process wasn’t so bad this time. I suppose after doing it twice within two weeks, it had to be a little easier the third time. I was able to help my husband lift the old one off the wall and into the box that the new one had been in; then I helped get the new one within inches of the wall bracket. He had placed his paint buckets on either side of the range opening as he had done the first time we undertook this near-impossible job. The same long board spanned the opening and rested on the paint buckets. And now, the new microwave was teetering on the board while he pondered the situation.

That’s when he decided it was time to call in a stronger helper. After all, lifting, tilting and positioning the large, heavy appliance perfectly on the bracket was the most important part and we couldn’t afford to mess up when we were in the home stretch. Didn’t hurt my feelings a bit to be replaced. I was never cut out to be a heavy lifter and was happy to move out of the way and let stronger muscle take over.

My son was here in a few minutes and the two of them had it on the wall bracket in a flash. In no time, I was brewing tea in my new microwave.

I never dreamed, when my microwave quit on me, that it would take almost a month to find a new one and get it installed. Sometimes I think these things happen to test our patience. If that’s the case, I passed this test with flying colors. I was actually getting used to not having one. I only opened the door from habit about a dozen times – then I’d laugh and turn on my range oven instead. I'm rather proud of my patience and adaptability. I wonder how many other conveniences there are in my home that I could do without? Probably several.

Just don’t ever try to take away my laptop!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Where's The Sunshine?

The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes this morning was darkness. Not total darkness, but close! Looking at my wristwatch, I saw that it definitely was not the middle of the night. In fact, it was almost 10 A.M.

Knowing my husband was in his den right next to our bedroom, I said aloud, “Where’s the sunshine?” He answered, “It's supposed to be here Thursday.” 

“Great! (sarcastically) That’s two days away.” It took all my willpower not to roll over, pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep... but with rain pelting the window right beside me, I doubted if I'd be successful, so I got up - grudgingly.

I know everyone reading this doesn’t have the same weather conditions that I’m describing, but, in my little corner of the universe, it has been sunless for the past three days! I’m depressed. Sad. Disgruntled.
After turning on every light in the house, feeding Liza Jane (the cat) and having my juice and tea, I did some reading. Finding pretty much the same information that I’ve read many times before, I read it again just in case I'd missed something important.
Reduced levels of sunlight can disrupt your sleep cycles by upsetting your body's balance of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep patterns. Levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, are also disrupted.
And the big question: When Will the Depression Subside?
Relief from seasonal depression usually comes in spring, when daylight increases and there are fewer overcast days.

Spring officially started about two months ago, on March 20, 2011. We’ve already “sprung forward” by setting our clocks ahead, thus, we have more daylight hours. So why do dark days like the past three still affect me and others in a negative way?

If anyone has the answer, and knows what to do about it, please enlighten me. If not, I'll just do what I always do: Listen to my favorite music, read my favorite books, and write. 

And if anyone asks, I'm busy! Until Thursday. 


Monday, May 16, 2011

Izzy's Birthday Party

When Izzy was born prematurely, five years ago, she weighed only 2lbs.15oz. Within a few days, she and her mother were flown to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh where they have the necessary facilities to treat premature babies.

Getting Izzy ready for the flight to Pittsburgh.

The ambulance that took Izzy and her mother from the airport to the hospital.

The Guardian Angel waiting at the entrance of the hospital.

After much testing, it was discovered that Izzy had another problem: her stomach wasn’t connected to her intestines and that required immediate surgery.This was very scary for our family, although we had been through it once before.

Seventeen years earlier, our oldest daughter had given birth to a son about ten weeks early. He weighed three pounds and had to have heart surgery a few days after birth. Today, he is 22 years old, over six feet tall and very healthy. He will be graduating from college right away. Remembering that successful experience gave us hope for Izzy.

My husband and I drove to Pittsburgh to see Izzy during her lengthy stay at the hospital. Seventeen years had dimmed my memory and I was shocked to see such a tiny baby, her head about the size of a baseball. Tears filled my eyes when I realized how she struggled to live – several tubes running to and from the diminutive body. Her parents spent days on end at the hospital right by her side – always faithful that God would let their beautiful little angel survive. Thankfully, He did!


Izzy is quite different today! We went to her 5th birthday party this afternoon. An Inflatable Bounce House had been rented for Izzy and her little friends to enjoy. And enjoy, they did - until a sudden shower came up and sent them scurrying and squealing to the covered patio. It was a good time to serve  birthday cake and ice cream.

We arrived late but it really didn’t matter; there were a lot of people there to celebrate with Izzy. Everyone was enjoying birthday cake. The inflatable bounce house was deflated. 

In just a little while, the sun came out and the house was inflated once more. All the kids scrambled to get into it again only to find that it was filled with water... but before anyone could stop them, they had already gone down the slide and landed in puddles of water. Every child was soaked! Out came the towels to dry them off and they were kept out of the house for the rest of the party.

The party was almost over anyway, and Izzy still had to open her presents. That took quite a while and was very exciting for her as well as for some cute little girls who assisted her.

I sat there watching that little bundle of energy and thought about the way things were only five short years ago. We are so grateful for Izzy, who now has a little sister, Gabby. Thankfully, she was born with no complications. 

God is good!  


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Guaranteed To Chase The Blues Away

My friend recently wrote a nice post about how much she loves the color red. I love it, too. Always have. But I must admit that, as I’ve become older, I’ve developed a passion for a more intense color. Orange. Could anything be more beautiful than a late summer sunset?

Actually, I love all bright colors: Red, orange, yellow, fuchsia, emerald green, royal blue, or any version of those. I think I must have inherited my love of color. My paternal grandmother lived to be 92 years of age and never stopped wearing bright colors. No sky blues, mint greens, baby pinks or dull beiges for this lady; she wanted vibrant color! And so do I.

My grandmother also had a fondness for polka dots. Once when I was shopping with her only daughter, my aunt, I was admiring a jacket that I’d pulled off the rack. It was red with white polka dots. I loved it! When my aunt started laughing, I was surprised and asked why. She answered: “Liza Jane will never die as long as you live! You’re just like her.”
I guess, in some ways, I am. I consider that a compliment. She was a colorful character—and I don’t mean just because of the clothes she wore.

One of these dark, rainy, depressing days, when evening skies are gray instead of vivid orange, I’ll tell you all about Liza Jane’s colorful personality. The story is guaranteed to chase the blues away!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Installation Number Two

It’s been eight days since I told you about the horrors of “The Installation” – and still no microwave!

I’ve been without one for almost three weeks and am very surprised how easy it’s been to adapt to not having one! At first, I thought, “Oh my gosh! I can’t do without a microwave! What will I do?” But, somehow, I’ve managed. And it hasn’t been too difficult. I suppose that just goes to show how spoiled we are. We could probably do without many of the things we take for granted. If we must.

The new one came in yesterday. My husband picked it up, brought it home, unpacked it and prepared to install it.

First thing he did was move the range out into the middle of the floor and was all set to remove the old microwave from its bracket. But first, we went over the new one with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there were no defects. After we agreed it was fine, he was ready to proceed, but I was skeptical. I said, “Wait. Before you remove the old one, let’s plug the new one in and try it out.” He laughed, giving the impression that he didn’t believe we could possibly get one that didn’t work. Twice. After all, what were the odds we’d get two bad ones within a week? But, he humored me and plugged the microwave in.

Are you ready for this? It started arcing and making loud noises just as the first one had done a week ago! The longer it ran, the more it arced. My husband refused to accept it. He said, “It’s not level,” and propped it up on the front to make it so. Didn’t make any difference. Then he said, “Must be something inside,” so we took the tape off the door, opened it and removed a piece of paper, turned it on and watched it arced again.

He still wasn’t ready to give up. He called the company that makes it and told them the whole story. All they could say was that sometimes they do that when they’re empty.

Hmmm.... I’ve had three microwaves before this one and none of them ever arced when they were empty - or otherwise. That was "it" for me! I said, “Take it back! No more of that brand. Never again!” So back in the box it went – and then back into the truck. He returned it today. We’ve been shopping online this evening. I think I’ve found one.

We’ll see.

Check in later for:  The Final Installation

Monday, May 9, 2011

To Blog Or Not To Blog

Some say that blogging is an “ego trip.” I tend to agree. It makes you feel wonderful to pour out your thoughts and feelings and have people affected positively by what you write. And it’s even better when they let you know they like it. If I didn't get feedback, I probably would have stopped blogging a long time ago.

But in the past week, two family members informed me that they thought my blog must be more important than keeping in touch with them because I rarely e-mail them, as I once did.

What was I thinking? I assumed they’d read my blogs. Everyone can see I bare my soul in these late-night writings. But it turns out, they don’t read my blogs. Why? They don’t have the time. I suppose their time is too valuable to read a blog, but not to read e-mail.  (?)

The way I see it, I can put everything that goes on in my life in a blog and keep my family informed at the same time. Besides, that’s what I do. Write. And I enjoy it.

However, after thinking it over, I decided to give up my blog. After all, pleasing the people I love is also what I do. My conscience would never let me just “be me,” if the important people in my life were unhappy about it. I always try to please them, even if it means putting my wishes on the back burner. No! I’m not being a martyr; that’s truly the way it is. Always has been.

But when I informed my husband that I’d made the decision to give up my blog, he said, “Don’t do it!”

When I asked, “Why?” He said, “People enjoy reading what you write. That’s evidenced by the number of ‘hits’ you’ve had and the number of favorable comments you get, and besides, it’s something you love doing!”

I’m torn. I have a big decision to make. But, in the famous words of Scarlett O’Hara, “I can’t think about that tonight. I’m just too tired!

I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Our Mothers' Strength and Faith~

Published in the Sunday Gazette-Mail May 8, 2011 ~ Mother's Day~

Sometimes, when we lose someone dear to us, we begin to reflect upon life’s purpose and wonder if all the pain and heartache one experiences in a lifetime are worth the final outcome. When a person has lived a long life and it’s over in the blink of an eye, you can’t help but wonder, “What’s it all about? There has to be more!”

When my mother-in-law passed away, all of her belongings fit into an ordinary sized room of our home. I looked around at the boxes, clothing, dishes and furniture that were left after grandchildren took what they wanted, and said, “Is this all there is to show for living seventy-five years – one room full of insignificant bits and pieces?”

When my mother died, besides her home and car, there was very little to represent a life of eighty-five years. Makes you wonder why we want to live so long, struggling to get through each day’s pain and uncertainty. Thankfully, there is some real joy thrown in occasionally to give us hope and keep us going.

Both of these women experienced much happiness during their long lifetimes, even though they lived in more challenging times and had to work a lot harder than women do today. Both were strong and did whatever was necessary to survive and care for their families. That’s what women did in those days. They never gave up because something was too difficult. They persisted. They prayed. They trusted God.

When I was very young, my mother used to get up at 4:30 a.m., after my father had built a fire in the coal stove and warmed the house. She’d cook his breakfast and pack a lunch for him to take to his job at the coal mine. When I got up, she’d fix my breakfast, tidy up the house, and do laundry – the hard way. A galvanized tub on the coal stove was used to heat water that she’d pumped from an outside pump. She’d put the clothes in, rub them on a wash board, rinse them in another tub and, weather permitting; she’d hang them on the outside clothesline to dry.

Those post-depression years were not easy for anyone. My mother was only in her twenties, but she’d been taught early that wives and mothers must care for their families. She didn’t question it. She just did it.

No matter how difficult the week, when the bell on the little white country church rang on Sunday morning, we were there—my mother teaching a Sunday School class and my father doing whatever deacons did in those days.

The years passed. My dad left the coal mine and things got somewhat easier, but make no mistake, it was my mother’s strength and faith that saw us through the hard times! She took care of family finances and, sometimes, when there wasn’t enough money to go around, she’d say, “Don’t worry. God will provide.” And He did. I don’t remember ever being hungry.

After I was married, I heard similar stories from my mother-in-law. Although they didn’t live in the coalfields, my father-in-law was occasionally without work and times were difficult for them, too. My mother-in-law was a devoted wife and mother who worked hard to make a good home for her husband and children. She was adept at stretching money and, using her imagination at mealtime, always managed to feed her family of four. My husband doesn’t recall ever being hungry either.

While neither of these women amassed a fortune or a wealth of material possessions, their children loved and respected them, and that was enough. They were proud mothers who received a great deal of praise for a job well done! “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28.

In the end, it’s not the material things we leave behind that matter. The greatest legacy a mother can leave her children is wonderful memories. To close my eyes and see my mother’s smile and hear her laughter; to revere her strong belief in God; to lovingly recall her sometimes humorous efforts to teach me right from wrong—these are priceless recollections!

If, like my mother, you leave behind children whose eyes fill with tears at the mere mention of your name many years after you’re gone, you will leave something far more precious than any material item—children who love you very much.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Installation

The directions were there. Twenty-three pages of them. In both English and, with the book turned upside down, Spanish. And my husband actually read them. The English version.

So on Wednesday morning, he was ready to go with the changing of the microwaves. While I would have preferred he’d paid extra to have it installed, or at least had enlisted a helper, he insisted he could do it himself, so I stood by to assist in any way possible – even if only in the capacity of “gopher.”

Getting the new microwave out of the box was easy. We had to remove all of the extra pieces that weren’t attached or on the inside, then turn the heavy box upside down and lift it off the Styrofoam covered microwave. Voilá! It was then right side up! Moving right along...

First, the range had to be moved out into the middle of the kitchen. He didn’t want to take a chance on dropping the microwave on the stovetop, thus, making the purchase of a new range necessary. Then he made a trip to the garage, came back with two paint cans, some blocks of wood, and a long board. On each side of the range opening, on the countertop, he placed a paint can with a block of wood on top. On those, he balanced the long board. This was so that when he got the 50 pound microwave loose from the wall, he could rest it on the board until he felt comfortable enough to pick it up and put it in the box where the new one had been. I’m always amazed at my husband’s ingenuity, even if his once extraordinary strength is waning a bit with age.

Screwdriver in hand, he stood on a small stool and went to work removing the old appliance. In no time, he had the screws out and was ready to lift it off the wall bracket on which it rested. I held my breath as he tilted it forward, then lifted it and deposited it on the make-shift scaffold. Now he must carry it about six feet to the box, bend down and place it inside. But it didn’t go quite like that. He managed to carry it about five feet, and instead of bending over, he pretty much dropped it into the box with a thud! No harm done. We both breathed a sigh of relief and, feeling good that the job was half done, we took a brief rest.

At this point, I suggested it might be a good idea to plug the new microwave in and make sure everything works before going to all the trouble of installing it. “Good idea,” he said. He plugged it in and everything checked out: clock, light, turntable, and timer. Thankful, we were ready to proceed.

Starting again made me nervous because now, there was no room for error; this was the brand new microwave! But Mr. “I can do it myself,” confidently picked up the new one, took one step, lost his balance and fell forward bouncing the microwave off the corner of a kitchen cabinet. “Are you okay?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. He did seem to be, but I was sure our nice new purchase was destroyed. But fortunately, it was the back that tangled with the cabinet and no damage was done to the microwave, though the cabinet needs some repairing.

Regaining his composure, he got up and, looking very determined, grabbed the microwave as if it were a naughty child and headed quickly for the opening, pausing long enough to rest the 50 pound monster on the scaffold. At this point, I was a nervous wreck, the house was a mess and I just wanted this ordeal to be over!

He rested for a minute or two, picked it up again and quickly shoved it into the opening between the cabinets. Then, with a couple of lifts and grunts on his part, it was securely dropped into the wall bracket. Now it was just a matter of putting some long screws down through the cabinet into the top of the microwave. I held onto it, although he said it wasn’t necessary, while he put the screws in. Valiantly, as if he’d just single-handedly won a war, he finally announced. “That’s it! It’s all done!”

However, I wasn’t ready to call it a victory yet. Things had gone too badly! So I started pushing buttons. First, I had to set the clock before anything else would work. After that, I checked the light. That worked. And last, but not least, I pressed the button marked “Cook.” 

To say that didn’t go well would be a gross understatement! Without using profanity, there’s no description intense enough for what happened. There was arcing that reminded me of Fourth of July fireworks, noises that sounded like an angry rooster, then more arcing before I yelled, “Turn it off!”

But of course, just like a man, he had to try it again just to see if he heard and saw it correctly the first time. This time, it was even worse! I literally screamed, “Turn it off! Take it down and take it back! I don’t want it!”

So that’s what we did. The whole installation process was reversed. In no time, the defective appliance was down, the old one back on the wall and we were cleaning up the mess. What else could we do? We had company coming in two days; there was no time to get another microwave and go through this whole nightmare again.

The next day, he returned it to the store and shocked me by ordering the very same model. Guess he didn’t want to go looking for another white one. At this point, I’d take any color.

The new one will be in next Wednesday.

Check in Next Week for:  Installation Number Two

Thursday, May 5, 2011

And Then I Panicked

My sanity has been challenged. 

No doubt about it; I've almost lost it!  How is it that you sail through weeks and months without any problems and then, suddenly – well – nothing goes right? You’re afraid to peek out from under the covers in the morning, answering the phone makes you nervous; in short, you begin to expect the worst.

It all started days ago. I always microwave a cup of tea after dinner, but several days ago, right after I had put it in, the old microwave started to protest.  Grrrrrr...spttt.. Or was it more like Whirrrr...spttt? Maybe it was Pluhtt...ttttt. At any rate, it was not its normal humming sound. It was an angry sound. However, I wanted that cup of hot tea so I let it run the full minute that it usually takes. When I opened the door, my nostrils were instantly filled with an awful burning smell – and it wasn’t because my tea was too hot. It was actually just lukewarm. Oh, no, I thought. My microwave has died!

I reported the incident to my husband, who, of course, never takes my word for anything. He had to scurry to the kitchen and hear the noise and smell the burning odor for himself. Why do husbands never give their wives credit for knowing anything unless they confirm it?  Once he decided on his own that the eleven year old microwave was indeed down for the count, it was decided that we’d look for a new one the next day.

Then came an e-mail from my daughter: “How do you feel about company this weekend?” Well, I love for my daughter and her family to visit, and would never tell them it wasn’t convenient because of a non-working microwave, but I admit, I became very confused when my mind started spinning about finding and installing a microwave, cleaning house and planning my menu for three days. And I had only a few days to get it all done! As I get older, it seems harder to deal with more than one situation at a time. However, I knew there was only one thing to do. So I wrote back: “Of course. We’d love to have you!”
And then I panicked!

Immediately, my husband and I checked our respective computers for an over-the-range microwave. Checking all the stores that normally carry appliances, we found that a job we thought would be easy suddenly seemed impossible. In the 11 years we’d had our white microwave; a lot of changes had been made. Now, there were very few white ones to be found. All that existed were black or stainless steel. Some were the wrong size or weren’t powerful enough. The right microwave for us was beginning to look unattainable!  But we persisted.

To make a very long story a little shorter, after a visit to one of the stores, we finally located one that could be ordered. In white. We were thrilled. It would take two days to get it. During those two days, a lot of cleaning and meal planning was done. Things were coming together. My husband picked up the new microwave and made plans to take the old one down and install the new one. We still had two days before our visitors were due. It looked as if we’d barely make it!

Tomorrow: The Installation

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


What is it about a dark, rainy day that messes with our emotions?  My grandson wrote that he's feeling some weird feelings and emotions today. I answered honestly, “Me, too!” 

Sometimes, when we have nothing to do, a peaceful rainy day can be nice; I like to read a good book on a day such as this. However, at other times, a dreary day can wreak havoc with our sense of well-being.

It’s a well-known medical fact that some people experience a serious mood change when faced with several consecutive dark days. They may sleep too much, have little energy and feel depressed. If these symptoms last a whole season, like all winter, it’s called SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. The cure for it is light therapy.

While I don’t believe that’s what my grandson and I are dealing with, it does sound similar. The only difference is – our gloomy mood usually lasts only one day. We  may feel terribly depressed one day and wake up the next morning feeling on top of the world, especially if the sun is shining. The key definitely seems to be sunshine.

I can’t help but wonder if suicide victims are affected by the weather. Someone very close to our family, who seemed to have everything to live for, was alone one rainy night, phoned her only sibling, discussed her unhappiness for a while and then put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. She was forty-three years old. What a sad waste of life! A permanent solution to a temporary problem – suicide.

As I write this, the steady pitter-patter of raindrops on the skylight makes me feel relaxed and sleepy. My body cries out for rest. I don't want to give in, but know I should.

Perhaps I will awaken to a sunny day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wit And Wisdom

“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” If you were to ask a group of people who gets credit for that quote, 98 out of 100 would say, “Mark Twain.” But they’d be wrong. Charles Dudley Warner actually said that.

That’s about the only memorable quote that the well-loved Mark Twain didn’t say. I own a book called “The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain.” It is loaded with his quotes.  Here is a small sampling:

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

Always obey your parents, when they are present.

Familiarity breeds contempt—and children.

Life would be infinitely happier if we could be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.

A classic is something everybody wants to have read, but nobody wants to read.

Suppose, reader, you were a member of Congress. And suppose you were a jackass. But I repeat myself.

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

Whatever a man’s age, he can reduce it several years by putting a bright-colored flower in his buttonhole.

When angry, count to ten. When very angry, swear.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

It is better to support schools than jails.

The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.

It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you to the heart—the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.

Never learn to do anything. If you don’t learn, you’ll always find someone else to do it for you.

Few of us can stand prosperity—another man’s, I mean.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightening bug and lightening.

If a person offend you and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures. Simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. “Advice to Youth,” speech, 1882 
This is only a small selection. Practically everything Twain ever wrote or said was worth quoting.

A final example:  On Women ~ "Statistics show that women live longer than men; but that’s hardly surprising. A woman always takes longer to get ready—for anything."