Friday, April 30, 2010

Divine Intervention

Dear Mom,

I took a basic French class with two other ladies and the other day I had them over for a French lunch. I wanted some flowers for the table and decided to go out to the garden and cut a few of my own. I climbed up the one rock to snip off a few purple spiderworts. I stepped down about a foot and a half, hit a damp hosta leaf which caused a free fall that I was not prepared for. In slow motion I watched myself getting ready to go splat on the walkway. I must have bent my knee that caught the brunt of the fall. Flowers still in hand, I got up with a minor scraped knee. The back pain I'd been having completely disappeared. I wondered about this. All I could do was thank God for sparing me from numerous outcomes of that fall. I envisioned my friends knocking on the door. “Do we have the right day?” And I’m out back on the walkway unconscious.

I arranged the flowers but didn’t like how the spidery leaves hit the dishes and glasses. I had watched another friend, a florist, arrange flowers. There’s an art and magic to it. I thought about her tips and went back outside to cut a few ferns to use as filler. I rearranged my flowers. It didn’t come out as good as I hoped but I caught a glimpse of what she was doing by listening to where the flowers go.

Divine intervention. Again.

The culprit (Hosta):

The fall area:

First attempt at flower arranging:

Second attempt:

Nothing like dessert to mend a boo-boo.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Little Kids

Dear Mom,

I had been thinking about a photo that Suzanne had when Dad was a little boy. He is like the spitting image of Warren’s son Cole. But it also made me think that I have never seen any pictures of you and your family when you were little, except for Aunt Edna since she was in your wedding and she was just a little girl.

Why aren’t there any pictures? No camera? Just not picture takers? Does someone in the family have them and I have just never seen them? I really wonder what you looked like when you were little. I don’t ever remember seeing a baby picture or anything from earlier days. That seems to be a mystery to unravel.

I guess after seeing that picture of Dad and how much Cole resembles him, I wondered if any other of the kids in the family look like you. When my kids saw the picture of your sister Jeannette, they thought Jessica looked like her. It never occurred to me, but I could see the resemblance.

Wish I could see some pictures of you in your younger years.

(Dad) Edmund (to the left), Uncle Harold (middle), Aunt Hilda (right) Moellering

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Dear Mom,

We had bake sales at school but I never remember you baking anything for them. I wonder about my memory. I imagine after nearly raising two kids, then two more coming along in your forties, then getting sick, it must have been exhausting. I doubt I would’ve baked anything.

Cupcakes seemed like the best bang for the money. How can you go wrong with a cupcake?

I’d like to tell you now they have cookbooks on cupcakes and they’re pretty clever in their design. I’ve made a few. Spaghetti cupcakes were the first and they were really good.

I made the puppy dogs for Logan’s birthday. You were suppose to make each cupcake a different dog. It was painful enough making all the dogs the same.

I’m a member of the North American Rock Garden Society and hosted the annual planning meeting. I made garden cupcakes. Again, you were to make different cupcakes: rows topped with lettuce, carrots, and peas. Then a few with shovels and seeds. I made all shovels and seeds since it seemed more appropriate.

The last cupcakes I made came from a mold. Ice cream cones. My best friend bought it for me thinking I’d have fun making them for the grandkids. I made them for their birthday, but it wasn’t exactly fun. They wouldn’t stand up. They didn’t puff up either, so I stuffed the top with mini-marshmallows. Learned that from the pup cupcakes.

I don’t even know if they have bake sales any more. Wonder what a cupcake would go for now?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Playing Softball

Dear Mom,

I played softball for four years in grade school, and I only remember you coming once. I was so nervous, I messed up and figured that’s why you never came again. Maybe you hid in the stands so I wouldn’t be nervous, but I don’t think so. You were probably sick and just not up to it.

I wished you had seen the game when I pitched a no hitter. I never saw our coach, Mrs. Monihan so happy and excited. I can picture her jumping up and down with a smile from ear to ear. I think the team we played against must have been rude or something. There was more to it than I was aware. Coach gave me a big hug, told me how proud she was of me and pinned a JOY button to my shirt.

You have no idea how much that meant to me. I’d love to tell Coach the impact that moment had on me.

All these years, all the many moves I have made, and some how—luckily, I have kept the JOY button. I pinned it to the only stuffed animal I managed to hang onto as well. Probably more because of the button—it’s keeping the dog’s torn ear in place.

I feel terrible that I can’t remember how I came about the dog, but I won’t ever forget how touched I was by Couch Monihan’s joy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My First Meal

Dear Mom,

After you died, I became the cook for Dad, Ruthie and myself. Or at least I thought so in my mind. The first real meal I attempted was fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. What was I thinking at 12 years old to make such a dish? I struggled and it was a disaster.

Ruthie took one look, and snubbed her nose at it. “That’s disgusting. I’m not eating that!”

My chicken sat skinless, the potatoes lumpy, and the gravy looked like a few cats used the bowl to vomit. An inch of oil floated on top.

I told this story at Dad’s eulogy because I came to realize he encouraged me to keep trying, although I was unaware of it at the time. He told me how good my chicken was and tried to convince Ruthie to eat. No doing. I couldn’t blame her but I beamed when I watched him gobble it all up.

Dad would brag to my friends, “Lynn makes the best fried chicken.”

Many years later before his passing, he confessed he puked after that dinner. I wasn’t sure what to think. I can now cook just about anything and make a pretty mean fried chicken—maybe as good as yours. And I’m pretty sure I owe that to Dad.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anniversary of Aunt Jeannette

Dear Mom,

About a little over a year after you died, your sister Jeannette passed away from cancer too. Her cancer was of the liver, although I could be wrong. The thing I’m not wrong about is the last day in the hospital when I saw you alive, you asked me to look out of the hospital window and see Aunt Jeannette. You were so serious and you knew you saw her and needed verification from someone. I was scared and didn’t know what to do because even though I was 11, I wasn’t stupid and knew if I looked out of that window, I wouldn’t see anyone much less Aunt Jeannette. I walked over and looked out. I wondered what I would say to you. You wanted to know if I saw her and as much as I wanted to see her, I shook my head no. The look of disappointment on your face about killed me. You mumbled, “You don’t believe me either.” Oh but I did believe you. I have no doubt you saw your sister. I knew even then, you knew something we all didn’t know and I believe you saw her on the other side—as if you knew she’d be soon leaving this world, just like you.

It’s hard to believe Aunt Jeannette was only 40 years old when God called her to heaven leaving behind seven children.

I’m sure the two of you are having fun. The little I remember about her, she seemed like a fun spirited bundle of joy.

I think Aunt Jeannette was about 37 or 38 in this picture.

Jeannette Clarice (Bippen) Behlmann
May 15, 1930 – April 25, 1971

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It Takes Me Longer to Learn

Dear Mom,

You’d think I’d learn after hurting myself as many times as I have by overdoing it when I work in the garden. But oh no, I push myself to do just one more thing. I had been pretty good this year, only having worked in two small sections of the yard, with a bazillion to go. Today I was only going to do one little section and plant the annuals I bought yesterday with Ruthie. It’s her fault. ☺ I bought more than I thought I needed so I had to find another place for them that I hadn’t originally intended. That area was so full of weeds, I couldn’t plant without pulling weeds first. One particular weed was especially stubborn and I pulled and pulled. I pulled so much I pulled a muscle in my back. As soon as it happened, I knew. I got it. A fine waking dream of my own stubbornness. Spirit works with me however It can.

Once I’m out in the yard, I don’t want to stop. I love working with nature, digging in the dirt, sweating—must be the farmer’s blood in my own blood. I worked outside for four and half hours. No one will be able to notice exactly what I did, but I took some before and after pictures because sometimes I can't even tell.

But I can tell you—I think—the next time I set out to work, I will stop at my limit. Think. Back. Pain.

Before: After: Overview:

Friday, April 23, 2010


Dear Mom,

After you died, I recall telling my friend as we walked down the street that I was never, ever going to smoke. I thought you died of cancer because you smoked two packs of Viceroy’s a day. But I know now that even though it does cause cancer, you can get that disease whether you smoke or not.

I did start smoking around the age of 16. I quit the first time I got married because that husband didn’t like smoking. I started again after the divorce. After I married the second time and when I found out I was pregnant, I quit again. After I had Casey, I started again, got pregnant, quit, started again, got pregnant and quit and started again. Casey would always bug me, “Mom that stinks.” He’d wave his hands making the smoke go away.

I’ll never forget one day when Ruthie and her first husband Russ were over. I started to light up a cigarette when Ruthie said, “You may not want to do that.”

“What are you talking about?”

They told me the news that Russ’s cancer was back. It was the look in their eyes that did it.

I didn’t light up and quit again—pretty much for good. I made a childish attempt to prove a point and make husband #3 mad by smoking. It was disgusting and I realized I was only hurting myself.

Russ lost his battle with cancer. And I will never smoke.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coaching Lacrosse

Dear Mom,

Yesterday your granddaughter Jessica and I went to see your other granddaughter Rita coach her (Parkway South) Lacrosse team.

You’d be so proud of Rita. She never played any sports until she got into high school and played Lacrosse. Then it was a club sport, so anyone could play (for a fee). I had my doubts Rita would be able to handle this tough sport, with her asthma and unathletic ability. Rita wasn’t the best in the bunch, but she gave her all. She worked hard, went to all the practices, helped score, went over and above the call of duty. The coach never played her much. Rita would be so frustrated, nearly crying. I was so furious one day I told Rita, “That’s it, I’m writing Coach a letter.” She begged me not to. I didn’t; realizing it was Rita’s business to handle.

After Rita finished high school and the Lacrosse team needed help, Rita stepped in—again giving her all. I think the last two years girl's Lacrosse became a school-sanctioned sport, requiring Rita to apply as a coach, be interviewed through the school district, the entire red tape and voila, she did it.

I love that she’s the Jr. Varsity Coach working side by side with the same Coach that never played her much. Ah sweet success for my baby. Rita loves coaching Lacrosse, loves her girls and is a mighty fine dedicated coach.

Jessica and I sat on the sidelines as they went into overtime and Parkway South triumphed! You go Rita!

Rita's the one not in uniform :-)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Dear Mom,

I wonder what you would think about the technology out today especially with phones. The latest is the IPhone, I think. I’m not very techy, although I try my best to keep up.

My children would be mortified if they had to use a rotary dial phone that you shared with another family. Party lines. If you picked up the phone and heard voices, you knew the neighbor was on the other end and you quickly hung up. You’d have to wait your turn to use it.

Now, no one can be without their phone. I can. I keep mine in the car unless I know I’m meeting someone. Once Norm and I went on vacation and we decided we weren’t going to bring our phone. I suggested we take it in case of an emergency, but Norm insisted, nah. We did get into a situation where a cell phone would have come in quite handy and he vowed to listen to me from then on. But he doesn’t. But that’s okay. He’ll learn eventually.

The IPhone has Internet and can do just about anything except the laundry. It would make me crazy, but I’m sure at some point that will be the only kind of phone you’ll be able to get. It also makes me crazy when you’re out with someone and they get a phone call and they talk and chat away while you’re sitting there twiddling your thumbs. Just like waiting for the party line to free up.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sibling Tricks

Dear Mom,

I had asked if you had done anything to your siblings—stuff like Dad did to his sister Hilda.

This isn't exactly a trick, it was down right mean. I remember I did something to Ruthie’s doll that she got as a present from her Godfather, Uncle George. I was so upset that she got a doll and I didn’t, that I took it when she wasn’t around and crawled under the table with a pen and a scissors. I cut off all the doll’s hair. I took the pen and marked it up all over its body.

I destroyed that thing.

I feel so bad about it now. I should go buy Ruthie a new doll, not that it would make up for what I did. I don’t think I even got spanked or anything. I’m sure the guilt alone made up for any kind of whipping.

I don’t think I did anything else like that. Ruthie would know and she could tell you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Prayer Card

Dear Mom,

Something else that Suzanne brought over the other day was a prayer card that was Dad’s. On the back, written in his handwriting was a message that said something like: Rem (can’t tell what the first word is, maybe short for Remember) for my first holy com. (communion) from mamma and papa for Edmund.

I thought it was sweet that he referred to his mother and father as mamma and papa. It makes me think of Dad in a different way for some reason. Like wondering what he was really like as a kid. I’ve heard stories. One that I was told not to tell as long as his sister Hilda was alive, but since they are both gone now, perhaps it’s okay. According to a relative, Aunt Hilda was particular about her things and she had her own washcloth because she was really careful about her face. Having your own washcloth back then was kind of a rare thing. Imagine that? I guess Dad didn’t like that so he snuck into the bathroom when she wasn’t looking and blew his nose in her washcloth. I can see him now giggling. Boys will be boys.

Did you do anything like that to your siblings?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Anniversary Sue & Frank

Dear Mom,

Today is Sue and Frank’s 41st wedding anniversary. Can you believe it? I remember when Sue and Frank were dating. When Frank would come to the house, he reminded me of Popeye—his build after Popeye ate his spinach. Frank was in the Navy then, so it made sense to me as a kid. Popeye the sailor man.

You were sick then, but able to make it to their wedding. No one thought 11 months later you'd be gone. Suzanne tells me that originally you were going to sew her wedding dress, but then Aunt Electa told Suzanne that she may want to find someone else as she didn’t think you were really up to it. You were apparently going to make Ruthie’s and my dress too since we were the Junior Bridesmaids. But some other lady ended up doing them all.

Suzanne dug out this picture for me. It seems odd to me that I am as old as you were in that picture.

The color of the picture isn’t true as the photographer had a problem with his camera and all the pictures didn’t turn out very well—in color anyway.

I remembered it rained that day and I think most of their anniversaries since have been rainy at some point. I guess there’s still a chance for rain today, who knows.

Married forty-one years—wow!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stinky Smeagol

Dear Mom,

I remember you telling me that you didn’t like cats because when you were young, one crawled up around your neck and nearly suffocated you. That always scared me and made me afraid of cats. You did finally give in and let Ruthie get a cat, maybe for her birthday. I think our cousin Eugene caught it on their farm. We named it Claude because it would claw you. That cat would always attack me on the leg, grabbing on with all four claws. I’d shake and shake and couldn’t get Claude to release. I’d try and run every time I’d see Claude getting in stalk mode ready to attack. After you died, Claude left. I heard it was an old wives tale that if a cat is attached to someone who dies, they leave. I believed it.

My girls received a cat from a friend and they named him Smeagol—after some character in the Lord of the Rings. I think that’s the movie. The girls have moved out, but Smeagol stayed. I’ll admit it, I didn’t want him to leave—more so because I knew he would be sad not to live here. He has all the freedom he needs without any of the hassles. He gets to see so many other animals without having to fight for his life. Smeagol’s an inside cat and he’s a little stinker.

I caught him playing under my bed, so I got down on the floor to capture his cuteness.

Friday, April 16, 2010

After the Rain

Dear Mom,

I love all the things that go with the rain—the smell in the air, the little droplets hanging on for dear life, how they sparkle in the light and the way colors appear bolder.

I snapped a few shots hoping to catch something magic with the rain. All these little plants don’t need umbrellas and I’m sure welcome the rain.

When I was little, I couldn’t stand when you made me take an umbrella to school. I don’t know why that felt so embarrassing. As soon as I thought I was out of your sight, I’d close up the umbrella and just carry it. Carrying an umbrella was just as embarrassing. Looking back, it seems really stupid. Why would it be embarrassing to carry an umbrella or to even use one when it’s raining? Someone must have made fun of me at some point for me to have such a strong feeling of not wanting to use an umbrella. Or maybe I had to use one of those umbrellas that looked like it got into a fight with the Umbrella Monster and one little wind turned it inside out. Or maybe it was an Old Lady-looking umbrella and all the other kids had I’m Cool-looking umbrellas. Or maybe I just liked the raindrops falling on my head. But that doesn’t mean… uh, yeah, I don’t know the words to the song. It's supposed to rain today, enjoy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Poetry Month

Dear Mom,

I don’t know if there was National Poetry Month back in your day, but April is National Poetry Month now. I decided to write a poem for you—about my last visit with you in the hospital. I don’t claim to be a poet and although I’m studying poetry with another writer friend, I’ll have to admit that I’m not following any kind of rules or style or anything with what I’m about to write for you. I’m guessing this is called free verse, which I think real poets don’t like, maybe. What do I know? Here it goes:

Cherry Popsicle

I imagined the cherry Popsicle
trailing down my chin.
A smile on my face.
My feet dangling, sitting on
the edge of your hospital bed.
Your eyes watching me as I catch
the red drips delicately with my tongue.

I imagined it played that way.

“Do you want a Popsicle?”
I shook my head no.
I stood by your bedside
staring at your mustache
wondering what was wrong with you
not understanding fully, the word


Not knowing,
it would be the last time
I’d see you alive.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Dear Mom,

I remember Dad calling you Pee Wee. That was before the famous Peewee Herman. I was told because you were the smallest of your eight siblings even though you were the oldest. I don’t know if any of your siblings called you Pee Wee. I don’t know of any of them having nicknames.

Now Dad’s siblings, eight of them too and he was the oldest as well, had lots of nicknames. The three I remember are Harold as Boob, Leona as Pete and George as June or Junior, since he was named after Grandpa. Leona cannot stand Pete and now only wants to be called Lee. They had called her Spider too. Lawrence was Corkscrew, Gertrude was Gerts, Herb was Pooter, Alvin was Mousy, George was also Kiki, Hilda was Tanta or Hid, and Dad was Teddy. Dad hated that so much it didn’t stick. I guess being the oldest has its advantages.

Ruthie had a nickname that you put the skids on because she’d have a fit. She still hates it, so I dare not say. Warren was Warnie Corny. Dad called me Innie Marie. I don’t think Suzanne was anything—again the oldest has its advantages. Her husband sometimes calls her SuzieQ.

Before Casey was born, he was nicknamed Bosco. Jessica was called Froggy because of that contraption. Rita was Rita Pita but she changed hers to Ritabook, which is clever. Jessica and Rita call each other di-di (dee-dee).

Norm calls me Lester, but I get him back by calling him Willis.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vagina Monologues

Dear Mom,

It might have been a little uncomfortable for you and women of your era to have watched your granddaughter in the Vagina Monologues, but let me tell you Jessica did a fantastic job, as did the other volunteers in the performance. I think she did the best, but then I am her mother.

What most folks do not understand is the underlying cause—to bring awareness and raise money to stop violence against women, especially those committed against the women and girls from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Eve Ensler wrote the Vagina Monologues and began this movement. All I can say is what a woman.

Jessica believes in the cause and I know that’s why she got involved. Jessica worked hard at her part and I do wish you could have seen her. Even though her performance had a hidden sadness to it, she was hysterical. She played the part of an older woman who had a “flood—down there.”

If my vagina could talk it would say, “Jessica you were amazing and I’m so proud.” (You had to be at the show to understand that.)

Mom, here she is in all her glory. I believe you would’ve been proud too.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Dear Mom,

Today I was to meet three friends at the mall to walk. No one showed. I debated whether to go in and walk by myself, but I did. I made one round and nearly talked myself out of finishing the other three rounds.

It seems to be longer by myself even though I finished in less time. I like the solitude—it’s good for the Soul. I kept cheering myself on. It wasn’t that difficult when I thought about all the “bad” stuff I ate this past weekend.

Pizza at PI that Jerry & Nancy treated us to, that leftover Wickedly Delicious Chocolate Cake and homemade vanilla ice cream, breakfast at Uncle Bill’s on Sunday morning, my first Gus’s Pretzels from Mike, malt balls all the way from Chicago from Mark & Kristen, chocolate covered pretzels from Linda—sweet stuff from sweet friends.

Sweet pounds.

I walked knowing the exercise wouldn’t equal the calories that passed through my lips. But it was worth it knowing I have some mighty sweet friends.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dad's Drivers License

Dear Mom,

When Suzanne came over the other evening, she had with her some old photos and one of the things she came across was Dad’s old drivers license. It was probably when they first decided to issue drivers license. His picture was stapled to this tattered piece of paper and it was issued on 14 May of 1937. On the back you filled in the blanks and written in calligraphy: color: W, sex: M, age: 24, weight: 152, height: 5-10, color hair: dark, color eyes: gray.

Color hair—dark? What kind of color is that? I guess you had light or dark hair or no hair at all. We were surprised always knowing Dad to be pretty bald, but the picture clearly shows (dark) hair.

Here it is, isn’t it funny? The photo is probably the way you remember him.

Did you have a drivers license? I remember a story that you drove a little until you got stuck on a small hill with a stick shift and then you decided not to drive any more. Guess I can’t blame you as I could never manage a stick shift, but if it was all I had to drive, then I’m thinking I would have figured it out. Guess it wasn’t as important back then.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

After the Dinner

Dear Mom,

The dinner went well. I love to cook. I love making new things so I branched out in the bread making with Honey Whole Wheat bread. It was tasty, but not like yours. Wah wah. I want your bread.

Here's a before and after shot.

I don’t remember many desserts created by you. Suzanne said you made homemade chocolate chip cookies with lard and I thought someone else said they weren’t that good. I'm thinking the lard might have been the culprit. Because if I recall Aunt Hildegard said you made your own lard by frying hunks of fat from a pig. Maybe desserts weren’t your thing or my memory is really bad.

Here’s my Wickedly Delicious Chocolate Cake although the first time I made it I thought it was more wicked.

The dinner that you made that stands out in my memory is gizzards and gravy over noodles. When I think of serving that to my kids, I can hear them moaning.

“You want me to eat a what? A gizzard?”

I loved it. I doubt Ruthie ate it. She was the picky eater. I ate everything. Still do.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sisters Birthday Dinner

Dear Mom,

Today I’m making dinner for your other two daughters, Suzanne and Ruthie. It’s kind of a tradition we started, who knows when, where we take turns cooking a birthday dinner for each other. It’s Suzanne’s birthday dinner tonight, and yeah, her birthday is in November, but life is busy. We fit it in when we can.

I plan to have my version of Julia Child’s Potato Leek Soup and Elizabeth Berg’s recommendation of homemade Honey Wheat Bread. Ruthie is the bread maker in the family, but I’ve finally attempted (again) after many failures. I think I’ve mastered it. It’s not as good as Ruthie’s, and no one on earth could match yours. I wish I could pick your brain to find out the secret of your bread.

Dessert will be (Berg’s) Wickedly Delicious Chocolate Cake with homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, and then we will relax in the hot tub and gab.

One year I was depressed and didn’t feel like making a dessert, so I headed to the store to buy ice cream. If you’re depressed and unable to make up your mind, I don’t recommend this. I opened my freezer door and told my sisters, “Here’s dessert.” Sitting inside were 14 different pint size flavors. We each grabbed one, got in the hot tub, ate some of the flavor we picked, passed the container, ate, passed the container. I carried those in and picked three more out of the freezer and repeated the process.

Sisters and ice cream help depression. I love my di-di’s.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Dear Mom,

I suppose we were too little to be asked to help with the garden. We didn’t have planting beds like I have now, but I do remember Aunt Tish (neighbor) that had a bed that divided our two yards with beautiful red and yellow tulips that we knew not to pick.

I wanted your granddaughter Rita to experience gardening, digging in the dirt, becoming one with nature so I asked her to help me. Reluctantly she went along with it and I was sure she’d love it and be as excited as me. We worked in this little area and just started pulling weeds when she jumped back and screamed.

I spun around. “What? What?”

“Look!” Rita gagged and her body shivered.

Squirming around on the ground was a devilish looking insect—a rather plump grub like wormy thing with this clipper pincher type mouth. I had never seen anything like it and it even scared me. I took the shovel and scooped it up. It bounced around on the shovel blade having a major tizzy fit and I quickly tossed it. I calmed Rita down who begged to go inside, but I convinced her it was just a one in a million thing. She started digging again, screamed and ran inside. I looked at where she had dug and there were a bazillion maggots.

I cracked up laughing figuring perhaps it’s not in her blood to be a gardener—yet.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Eyes of Soul

Dear Mom,

I was at a spiritual seminar this past weekend. They presented various workshops on spiritual topics and creative arts workshops focusing on the spiritual aspect. I decided to take a step out of my comfort zone and check out the workshop on photography, Looking through the Eyes of Soul.

While I was away, spring had sprung. When I arrived home, it had just rained and the sun burst through the clouds. The phlox and red buds jumped out so before I unpacked my car, I grabbed my camera and took a look—through the eyes of Soul. It’s interesting by just changing my perspective how objects take on a different kind of light.

Here’s one of the phlox and although there are some better photos, I’m saving them for a bigger project I have in mind.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Dear Mom,

Another food that reminds me of you and that I love is watermelon. I wrote a little story about it and am hoping some day it will be published. It must need more work or I haven’t found the right publication.

I’m not a fan of watermelon flavor like gum, hard candy or juice type drinks. Blah. I do like the looks of anything watermelon and have purchased something if I really liked it. I saw a set of watermelon dishes once that I considered buying, but didn’t know whether or not it would be worth the expense because I felt you’d only want to use them during summer. It’s like having Christmas dishes. Where do you keep them all? I just saw the cutest watermelon candle but I’m at the stage of my life where I’m wanting to get rid of things so I easily passed it up.

I always buy the real thing and eat it with great pleasure remembering you.

Here’s my favorite watermelon sitting in my garden in the various seasons. It’s made out of a hunk of tree that had fallen in a storm. Norm painted it for me after I begged and whined. The watermelon is starting to look a little shabby, but I still love it.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Malt Balls

Dear Mom,

Easter time reminds me of malt balls. I’m a malt ball connoisseur although I wish I wasn’t. Due to my addictive personality, malt balls are something I can’t seem to stop eating when given the perfect malt ball. Fortunately, the perfect one doesn’t exist, but there is one brand, Brach’s that comes close—and now it only comes out at Easter time. This year I’ve noticed their chocolate isn’t as good. That’s a good thing as it keeps me from eating as many.

I remember getting these in our Easter baskets when we were little. I used to steal them out of Ruthie’s when she wasn’t looking. I’d give her something else. Not that she had a choice in the matter.

When you'd grocery shopped once a week, you’d let Ruthie and I pick out one bag of candy. You’d say, “That has to last a week,” while we shoveled in the candy. We’d keep on eating. Then you’d say, “When it’s gone, it’s gone.” If the bag of candy was malt balls, I’m sure Ruthie didn’t get her fair share and the bag was gone the same day.

Maybe I’m fond of malt balls because it reminds me of you.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Dear Mom,

I remember you made Jell-O Easter Eggs one year. They didn’t have molds back then. You pain stakingly blew the egg yolk from a small opening, filled it with Jell-O and after it set, you cracked it like a hard boiled egg. Voila, we had red, yellow, green and orange Jell-O eggs. Pretty impressive. I make them with molds and they can be kind of a pain.

Rita must get her creativeness from you as I never would have thought to do that, nor would I have had the patience. Knowing you, and your frugalness (another trait I inherited) every time you made breakfast with eggs, you blew the yolk out to save the shell for the Jell-O eggs.

I hope seeing the sheer delight on our faces was thanks enough.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jessica's 25th Birthday

Dear Mom,

Today your granddaughter is 25. I’m not there to celebrate her birthday in person, but hopefully she’ll see that I’m blogging about her to you.

Jessica (nor the other two, Casey and Rita) never had the pleasure of you as their grandmother—or their paternal grandmother who passed away right before Jessica was born. Jessica was due around St. Patrick’s Day, which, if I’m not mistaken I think was her other grandmother’s birthday. I had planned to name Jessica an Irish name Erin, in honor of her paternal grandmother. For the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t name her after you. I would have called her Vera, not Alvera. I think Jessica wishes I would have named her Vera too. Oh well, it is what it is.

Jessica was born with two dislocated hips. She had to wear this contraption that pulled her legs up in a squatting frog position, and for a solid three months, 24/7. If not, she could have been crippled. I was always grateful for her pediatrician’s catching the dislocation as it can go unnoticed until they start walking. A lady I know knew someone who had that same thing and nothing was done for her. She ended up in an institution because no one wanted to take care of her being crippled. Breaks your heart.

You would love Jessica just as much as I do.

Happy 25th Birthday Jessica!
(Jessica shares a birthday with her half brother, Erik. Happy Birthday Erik and thanks for serving our country in Iraq!)

Here’s Jessica last year after her performance in the Vagina Monologues. She’ll be in the Vagina Monologues again this year – April 10 & 11 at Webster University. Wish you could see her perform.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Speaking of Pencil Stabbings

Dear Mom,

Remember the time I left toothpicks all over the living room floor because I was digging out the crud in my toenails? Then Warren stepped on one and it jammed through his foot. I got yelled at by both of you. Deservingly of course.

Karma works even when we’re not aware of it.

I wanted Warren to play Cowboys and Indians. Warren had a bb gun and I watched as he made sure there were no bbs in the chamber. He pointed the gun at his palm and pulled the trigger. Nothing. Then he proceeded to point the gun at me and what do you know, a bb came out and hit me right in the eye. Luckily nothing serious but a little red mark. I cried and he apologized.

Warren begged me not to tell, but I ran to you crying, “Warren shot me in the eye!” You chewed him out because even though he checked the gun, he still wasn’t supposed to point the gun at anyone.

Toothpicks and bbs. One wiped out the other. I hope. But then there was the time….

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool!

Dear Mom,

I’m not blogging anymore.

April Fool.

My kids always liked to April Fool me. The one I fell for the most was when Rita rang the doorbell to the front door. When I opened it she was bawling and bent over, spurting, “I stabbed myself…” I could see a pencil stuck through her hand. I about had a heart attack. Rita laughed like a hyena, and shouted, “April Fools!” I wanted to smack her, and probably said, “Don’t you ever do that again. That’s not funny.” But then I started laughing because she did such a realistic rendition of a pencil stabbing.

I don’t remember doing this, but they all told me that one April Fool’s I got them really good. I set all the clocks ahead one hour, then ran into their rooms shouting, “You’re late for school! Hurry up, you gotta catch the bus! I can’t drive you, I have to get to work, hurry!” I gave it my best panicked mother voice. They all jumped up and then I casually told them, “April Fools!” and we all ate breakfast together. You’d think I’d remember such a good prank, but I don’t.