Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Casey!

Dear Mom,

Your grandson is 29 today. Can’t believe it’s been that long since I gave birth to my first born.

Carrying Casey was easy. I loved being pregnant. In one month I had gained nine pounds. Dr. Muschaney said, “Whoa, you can’t be gaining weight like that.” I felt depressed when I had to go on a diet while pregnant. I still ate a lot, but all good, healthy stuff. The next month I didn’t gain anything. Then I was back on track.

I was due September 1st. Since it was my first pregnancy, Dr. Muschaney didn’t have real concerns when September 1st came and went. I realized the little stinker inside of me had inherited his father’s genes of being late. I joked to my husband, “Maybe I’ll have the baby on your birthday!”

One week went by, then another. By the start of the third week Dr. Muschaney said, “If you don’t have this baby by the 21st, we’ll induce labor." And so it was, they induced. I thought labor was a breeze when I saw the little meter reaching full capacity. What was all the fuss about labor pain? But the inducing wasn’t working and when they took me off it, that little meter went down to 2 (on a scale of 1 to 10). That 2 was ten times as painful as the original 10. Now I knew what the fuss was about and I also knew that I wouldn’t be giving birth “el-natural” as originally intended. I wished for a gun so I could be shot and put out of my misery before I was allowed to have an epidural.

After 42 ½ hours of labor, I gave birth to Casey on his father’s birthday… I felt like I couldn’t have given him a better gift. All the pain, sweat and tears were worth it. Casey was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. Yeah, I guess all mothers say that, but I still think so.

 Casey's looking a little stressed in this picture--he didn't want to come out, remember? And Dr. Muschaney said there was no way I could birth a baby over 7 pounds. Casey was 8 lbs 4 oz, so the little stinker had a rough go of it.

Casey grew up to be an artist. He inherited that gene from his father too. Recently I decided to take a beginner drawing class to see if I was capable of drawing more than stick figures. Casey asked me to post my sketches on my blog… so for his birthday, here they are:

 First class, very first drawing (we were practicing seeing simple shapes)

 First class

First class, close up of hammer

First class, final (a bone)

 Practice at home

 Second class, warming up with simple shapes 

 Second class, blind contour (pad of paper under the table and we followed the outline of the shape - then we did the same thing looking at it - as you can see the one on the top I had my eyes open, but it almost looks just like when I had my eyes closed)

Second class, my (frustrated) drawings

Second class, final

When the artist, Adam Long sketches examples in class, he makes it look so easy… just like my son makes it look easy when I watch him draw.

I remember the first picture Casey drew when he was being evaluated to go into kindergarten. It was a person… a stick figure that five-year-old's draw, only the teacher pointed out all the detail that most kids that age do not include: fingers on the hands, toes on the feet, ears, hair (crazy hair). The drawing was so funny I wanted to bust out laughing, but I stifled it. I remembered sitting across from the teacher with a huge smile on my face. I never dreamed Casey would be an artist based on that drawing, but I do recall the teacher being impressed. It showed what I knew about art.

My memory is a bit foggy, but I’d bet money (and I’m not a gambler) that you’d always find Casey drawing something throughout the years. I couldn’t tell you whether he always knew, or whether he decided when he entered high school that art was his calling. I think he always knew.

I received a call from the high school principal one day that Casey was being evaluated… but not in a good way. He had drawn a picture with blood, guns, and head’s being blown off. Casey’s attention to detail made the drawing rather graphic. A random teacher saw it and had concerns that something was wrong with him—worried that he may be a troubled, psycho kid. They assured me I had nothing to worry about. They told me all of this after the fact. I could have saved them a lot of time had they talked to me first, but I’m sure they figured any mother would defend their child. The art teachers that encouraged Casey thought the whole ordeal was ridiculous. They knew Casey’s inner essence.

Casey went on to earn “Artist of the Year” in his graduating class. Naturally, I was proud and wondered what the teacher, who turned him in that day, thought about this psycho kid. I guess you couldn’t blame the teacher really. Better safe than sorry.

Psycho, Casey is not. A talented creative artist, he is and one who is using his abilities to follow his dream.

Happy Birthday Casey! I love you.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Dear Mom,

The other day I was looking out at the pond, I noticed all these black birds. I’m not sure if they are called black birds. They look black from a distance, but when you look close, you can see they have a shiny blue head. One, two, three… twenty-one, twenty-two… and then I stopped counting and became just slightly freaked out.

Remember… oh, I’m not sure if Warren ever told you. He was babysitting Ruthie and me when you and dad went out one evening. He wanted to party with his friends, but needed to get Ruthie and me to bed somehow, but it was too early. We were watching TV when the movie, The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock came on.

We were just getting into it when Warren stepped in front of the TV. “You’re not watching this.”

Ruth and I wailed. “Get out of the way! We want to watch it!”

“No! It’s too scary.”

We did more whining. “We won’t be scared. Let us watch it.” We both continued to whine until he spoke.

"All right, all right. I’ll let you watch it on one condition.” Since he was the older brother, and in charge at this point, we didn’t have much choice.


“If you get scared, you have to go to bed.”

We agreed, he stepped aside, and we totally got into it. Ruthie and I were shoulder-to-shoulder, eyes glued to the TV. Warren watched us, just waiting for the right moment to…

Jump out and yell, “BOO!”

Ruthie and I screamed at the top of our lungs, grabbed one another. Warren threw his shoulders back, “That’s it, time for bed.” He turned off the TV and shoo’d us up the stairs to our bedroom.

We mumbled, “That was no fair. YOU scared us, not the movie.”

“You were still scared. I said if you were scared, you’d have to go to bed.”

Ruthie and I weren’t the saltiest crackers in the package and didn’t argue. Off to bed we went.

I watched The Birds when I was older and I’m pretty sure it was a good thing we only saw a small part of it back then. When I see a swarm of black birds gathering, I think of The Birds and my heart races a little.

I got brave and stepped outside to snap some photos of the black birds with their shiny blue heads. They flew off, one by one or in groups. There had to be hundreds. Really. And out of all of them, I only caught one on film. You can barely see him, but if you look right in the middle of the photo, you might spot its shiny blue head, just above the grassy plant and in the shadow of the bushes. If the birds had started gathering one by one on the deck, you can bet I would’ve ran inside and boarded up the windows!

Monday, September 10, 2012

What’s in Your Purse/Pocket?

Dear Mom,

If you were alive, I’d have you dump out your purse so I could see what’s in it. 

Writer and critique friend, Sioux shared some food for thought by asking what would one of the characters in my story (that the group has graciously agreed to read in its entirety) have in her pocket or purse?

For starters, I decided to dump out the contents of my purse and take a look. I had downsized to a smaller purse so I wouldn’t be carrying around unneeded, extra things. The bigger the purse, the more one stuffs into it, right? And even in the downsized purse I was surprised to find so much. Here’s my list:

·      checkbook
·      mini composition notebook
·      3 pens (I sighed with relief because one time I didn't have a single pen in my purse!)
·      cell phone
·      pack of Bubblemint gum (my favorite)
·      tiny bottle of lotion (from recent visit at the Dermatologist)
·      tiny tube of lotion (from same visit)
·      car faub
·      2 gift cards (from hubby)
·      a coupon  (hair salon)
·      3 bandaids (which I’ve discovered I’m allergic to)
·      cash/coins (usually I have no cash, and just noticed the 2012 penny)
·      small wallet (when you have a small purse, you carry small things)
·      2 lip glosses
·      panty liner
·      fingernail file
·      scandisk usb thingy
·      tissues
·      dental floss
·      3 chewed pieces of gum wrapped in gum wrapper
·      appointment card with list on back
·      6 loose gum wrappers
·      2 bobby pins
·      receipt from restaurant
·      hand santizer

If I were to take a peek in my pockets, I’m sure I’d find a tissue and chapstick. I’ll confess, I’m a chapstick/tissue addict. I'm not sure what all of this says about me.

Now I’d like you to dump out your purse or pockets and share with me what is in there.


I’m curious is all, and well… it might help me with my story. If I use some item from your purse, I’ll make sure to mention you in the acknowledgements. How's that for a bribe?

I may want to disqualify my older sister because whatever you might need—anything—and you ask her, she’ll pull it out of her purse. I kid you not. 

She’d be a winner on that one game show, The Price is Right. Every now and then the host of the show would call out to the audience asking for some odd item found in a purse and they'd get some money. “Who has a blue screwdriver in the shape of a bird in their purse?” I’d see my sister jump up, “I do! I do!”

Oh, and in case you're wondering what that pink thing is pinned on my purse... a vagina pin, made by my daughter, Rita to support her sister, Jessica and her nonprofit organization, AlphaWom. But the pins became a hit for women diagnosed with cervical cancer too... thanks to Shelley!

So what’s in your wallet/purse/pocket?

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Dear Mom,

I’m not the one who turned 40, as I’m gearing up for double nickels. The one who turned 40 is your grandson, Jason. My nephew. I’ve written to you about my nieces, so now it’s time for the nephews and since Jason just turned 40…

Wow. Seemed like I had just turned 40. Jason asked me how old I was.

“I’ll be 55.”

He was all Wow too and said, “You can’t be that old.”

I reminded him that if he was 40, I could very well be that old.

I had graduated from 8th grade when I stood up for Jason as his Godmother. Now that does seem like lifetimes ago when I think about everything in between.

Jason’s professional name is DJ Jay because he is a... yeah, deejay. I think he prefers to be called Jay, but I’ll always call him Jason. He has his own business: Goodrich Entertainment (Live Bands, DJs, Karaoke, Trivia).

I’ve never had the pleasure of watching and hearing Jason do his thing because I’m usually in bed when the gig is just beginning, but from the talk of the grapevine, he knows how to play and move the crowds. Jason loves what he does—and who can argue that? I love it when people do what they love.

A little belated Jason, but hope you had a great 40th birthday!

Oh, and if you’re ever in need of what Goodrich Entertainment can provide, send Jason an email: GoodrichEnt (at) live (dot) com. 

Jason and Lynn at Jason's 40th party

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Weirdo Reader Appreciation

Dear Mom,

Claudia of Claudia’s Page was sweet enough to nominate me for this Reader Appreciation Award—this award is given to writers who have supported other writers’ blogs. And the guidelines for accepting the award:
1) Acknowledge the giver of the award and provide a link to his or her blog.
2) Copy and paste the award to your blog.
3) Pass the award on to up to ten bloggers.
4) Notify the selected bloggers of their nominations.

Not one to break the rules, I find myself breaking them for these awards. Ooops. First I’m going to tell you a little bit about Claudia’s blog—she has a variety of things she writes about, from reviews on books she has read, to trips she has taken, things she does with friends, to writing contests—a little bit of everything. Claudia was instrumental in the development of the anthology, Storm Country. It was her idea. Storm Country brought writers together to help the lives of those affected by the EF5 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri. All proceeds from the book help the Joplin School District libraries. You can still purchase a copy of Storm Country. My story about my friend, Geoffrey (who survived the tornado) is in the book. I met Claudia at the first launching of Storm Country. Claudia’s poem is published in the book.

Next, I’m going to nominate one person. I’ve done several of these before and decided this way, whoever is reading this can focus on the one blog.


Life’s a Stage by Estrella.

I met Estrella when I was doing A Month of Letters challenge, where you’d hand write a letter a day for a month. I offered to write anyone a letter if they sent me their info. Estrella contacted me and asked if I’d write a letter, not for her, but for someone else. She told me about this program she’s involved in--MoreLoveLetters. I was excited she found me and asked me to participate. Afterwards she asked if anyone was willing to participate in this with her on a quarterly basis, and I agreed. If you’d like to get involved, check out her post for the next love letter. The last letter I wrote for the bundle ended up being posted on the website of MoreLoveLetters. I was a little freaked out, but I feel rather honored now. Estrella also has a photography challenge. You’ll see she is highly creative in all sorts of things.

After receiving the Reader Appreciation Award, I realized I hadn’t acknowledged receiving the Creative Chaos Award from Linda of Write from the Heart. Linda is a prolific writer, with her many publishing credits. I refer to her as Queen Chick because she’s published in a bazillion Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Our critique group, the WWWPs, are lucky to have her. Linda not only writes from the heart, she has a big heart—evident by all that she does for others.

I don’t exactly know the “guidelines” of this award except to tell three weird things about yourself. I’m breaking the rules again and will only tell one. I could write a book (hey, good idea) about the many weirdo things I’ve done.  So here it is…

I think I’m not wired all the way in one part of my brain. Even as a writer, words trip me up. Some years back, I had my first pedicure. Later, I was with my two sisters and said, “Hey, I got my first pedigree the other day.”
They gave me a weird look. “You got a dog?”
“What?” And I gave them a weird look back. “Uh, no. I got my toe nails painted.”
They rolled over laughing. “It’s a pedicure, Lynn. Not a pedigree.”
I shrugged. “Well, likely mistake since those dogs of mine were barking.”
This is just one of many words I’ve gotten mixed up. It’s not like I don’t know the different meaning of each word that I mix up. My brain just misfires and I blurt out the wrong word with no clue. I’m sure I’ve impressed a boat load of people with some fun, lively conversation and they walk away thinking, WEIRDO!

Rather than nominate, I’ll just put it out there that if you have a weirdo story to tell, share it on your blog… link it with mine. We’ll be weirdos together. Or maybe your story will fit Linda’s call out for a submission to Not Your Mother’s Story – check it out.

Many thanks to all of you…