Planning The Future


Addie wandered into my office holding her favorite baby doll. She needed help with the tiny buttons on the dress it was wearing. As I helped her we fell into conversation, as we always do.

Addie said, “Nana, when I grow up I want to have two girl babies.”

I said, “What about having a boy baby? It could happen you know.”

A: “Nope, I don’t want a boy baby, they are messy and loud. Besides, I don’t like boys.” (She is six.)

Me: “Well I had two boy babies, and I loved them very much. You might feel the same way.”

A: “No I won’t. I only want girl babies.”

M: “Keep in mind that you need a husband to have any babies. To do that, you will need to love him too. Just like I love your Papa.”

A: “Oh, yeah. I know that.” Long pause. “Well maybe just one boy baby, because my husband will probably want one since we will have two girls. But the Dad can take care of the boy, since I have no idea how to do that after they are little babies.”

M: “That would be a good compromise. But I bet you will love your boy baby as much as you will love your girls. Any baby is hard work, but it is worth every minute of your time and effort.”

A: “Oh I know that, Nana. You worked hard to raise my Grandpa Arron and Uncle Riley. and my Mommy, and now you work hard to raise me. I want to be just like you when I am a mommy.”

Me: Blinking back tears. “Oh Addie, I love you very much. I simply want you to be who you are and do what you want with your life.”

A: “I know, Nana. You will always love me all my life. So will Papa.”

With that, she wandered off to change her baby doll’s diaper. I heard her singing a song to rock it to sleep. In so many ways, I see her copy behavior she has seen from me and her Papa. It warms my heart and fills me with hope for the future, and she will eventually soften her attitude on boys. At six, all little girls find boys hard to understand. They are loud, dirty, and messy, but that is all part of being a boy learning to be a man. Just as she is a girl learning how to be a woman. Today she wants to be a mommy, tomorrow, she may want to be a unicorn or a fairy. Either way, we encourage her to discover her imagination, grow as she wants to grow, and love her no matter what. She is our angel baby, and one day, she will be a mommy who knows how to care for and love her children. She makes us proud every day.

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Annoyed


I know each facility for dialysis will be different in the set up, room size, and people. I get that. But today I was annoyed beyond reason when the nurse spent the majority of her time with her face in her phone texting away. Bells would go off, patients were getting antsy and uncomfortable, but she would do the minimum and go right back to her phone. My machine, I called him Clyde, was done and practically screaming the fact for a full five minutes before she put her damned phone down and came to get me unhooked. No apology, nothing, I guess I was disrupting her busy social life on line. When I sarcastically apologized for bothering her, it went right over her head, and she replied “Oh, that’s Okay..” ARRGHH!!! SO vexing.
Clyde did a good job though, and other than being tired, I feel okay. No lasting aches and pains, and the headache went away as soon as I had something drink and a Tylenol. But that nurse’s lack of attention to her job really rankles. I think all personal phones should be banned when they are on the job. Just saying.

Toxic Male


I am married to a toxic male. There, I said it.

And I thank God every day for him. I know it isn’t the in thing to want to be with a man and not feel required to change him from an uninhibited male, but something between gay and a metro-sexual pretty boy. But he is exactly what the real woman in me needs and wants in my life.

Let me tell you some of the things my toxic male does that drives the far left folks insane.

He has a job. A real job that pays all the bills and then some. He has held a job every day since we got married nearly 48 years a go. During all the years he has worked, he has built his career in such a way that we will always be provided for, and when he retires we will have a small business to keep him busy and provide income. To him, it is the responsibility of a man to provide for his family.

He was a hands on father and is an involved grandfather who loves all our progeny. He has taught them to be strong people who are able to think for themselves and determine who and what they are in life without depending on popular culture to tell them what to do. Because of his leadership as the head of our family, our children and grandchildren come to him to talk over their decisions and life issues. He gives them advice then gets out of the way and lets them follow their own paths. Because he believes that is how a man should treat his family.

He is my equal in all things. Not only does he work outside the home, he helps me in the home. He has always helped with the kids, but he also helps with the housework, especially since I have had health issues. For decades, he has always done the dishes. I cook, he cleans. He does laundry, and cleans when needed. And he does all the vacuuming of the floors, since it is a chore I hate doing. In short, he takes up my slack, and being a man, he takes care of me. Above all, my toxic male has encouraged me to do what I wanted and supported me in all things. He is my biggest fan and he believes in me when I falter in my goals. He thinks I am something special, even when I don’t. He loves me, and treats me like I am a treasure because he believes no man is complete without a woman who loves him as much as he loves her.

He protects our home and family. He believes it is his responsibility to make sure we are safe from harm from others. He made sure all of us are trained in how to use weapons to protect ourselves if he is not present. He made sure that our home is protected by installing alarms and equipment to insure our security. And he stands between all of us and the evil out there in the world, ready to take up arms and do what must be done to ensure our safety. Because that’s what a man does, he protects his home and his loved ones.

He is religious, believing in his God and in the church in which he is a member. He stands as the head of our family, holding me by his side as his equal as he teaches our family how to stand firm in their beliefs as well. Although we do not expect our family to follow blindly, we do always offer them a place to learn and worship as needed. He does this because he firmly believes a man must set an example for others to follow, and he must stand by that example – always.

Like many toxic males, he loves guns, rides motorcycles, loves the outdoors, and enjoys hanging out with other males, mostly his brothers. He is political, staunchly conservative, patriotic, and loves America for all it stands for and does for the world. He is unwavering in his standards as an American. And he is this way because that is what a man, a strong independent male, does.

My man is a toxic male according to the leftist agenda. I can guarantee every single woman out there who has to put up with the cry baby males of the left envies every last one of us women who has a real man in her life who isn’t ashamed to be an uninhibited male. I know I am thankful to have mine.

New Normal


The newest adventure in my crazy life is Kidney dialysis. I am supposed to be in Italy, but a case of bronchitis led me to kidney failure bad enough to need emergency dialysis. That mean the insertion of a catheter into my heart and a week in the hospital as they pulled over seen liters of water from my body. That was two weeks ago.

Now I am booked at a dialysis center three days a week for four hours or more a day. It is an out patient center, and we all have turn up for therapy. The center has a few offices up front, but the room for dialysis patents is one huge room. There are around sixty recliners, each with its own dialysis machine next to it. I usually get either number 48, 49, or 50. I call my machine of the day Kevin. They do the hard work, so I figure they need to be acknowledged and greeted every day. The nurses think it is funny. I take it seriously.

Once in the room, we are weighed for water gain. Then the nurse takes you to the chair. While they are getting set up with our Kevin, we are allowed to take out our gear. I take a blanket, because they keep it COLD in there. I take my Kindle, my coloring book and pens, Mp3 player and headphones-and a small snack since I get out after 8:30 in the evening. They have a TV screen above each station with limited stations, so I can watch that if I get bored. I generally don’t bother to turn it on.

Later appointments mean there aren’t a lot of people in the room. Most people nap, so it is very quiet. Most people don’t talk to each other, just with their nurse and aide. The later it gets, the more the medical people talk to each other. I find it interesting to listen to their stories, gossip, and frustrations with difficult patients. It is easy to see who likes whom, whose personalities clash, and those who simply avoid each other. It is even easier to see who is there because they love their work and who is there just marking time until they can move on. Fortunately, my team – always the same people, love their work and it shows.

What makes me sad are the patients. Some are so fragile, and it is clear they are getting near the end of their lives, versus people like me who are just starting out on this journey. I have a good chance for reversal of issues, and if not, a transplant. While they don’t talk in the dialysis room, they too greet each other and talk in the waiting room. They all come on the same day and see each other every time, so they share information, hints, tips, and ideas. They even make sure to greet me and welcome me every time I get there. They haven’t become super friendly yet, but this is the south and it is only a matter of time.

Most of the patients are elderly, the youngest is probably in h is forties. Some are very fragile, and most are brought in by family. But what you won’t see is a pity party or whinging. You will hear them laughing, talking about family, and sharing about their religious beliefs. Being forced to use dialysis as a way of survival brings our lives into a new normal that causes a whole new way of balancing everything, No matter if we go through outpatient dialysis or do the at home program, that means being positive, accepting that it is what it is, and that the machine keeps us alive one more day.

It is exhausting and leaves me tired. I can hardly walk at the end of a session, but it will get better as I adjust to the new normal for my body. Meanwhile, I am sure to greet Keven, 48, 49, or 50 each time, follow the rules, and learn to live this new normal of my crazy life, and keep moving forward. Italy will still be there in a few years, and so will I.

To My Children and Grandchildren


If I should die in the spring, plant flowers on my grave, bright yellow and pink. Watch them grow, and enjoy them blooming each year, bursting with color, life, and love as a remembrance of my life.

If I should die in the summer, plant a shade tree next to my grave, one that will grow, spreading its branches wide to give shade and comfort to those who come by to say hello. Remember that I wrap my love around you every moment of every day for eternity.

If I should die in the fall, place a bench next to my grave, so those who visit will have a place to sit comfortably. Then maybe they will stay longer to talk about their life – good and bad. Remember that I will always be available to listen forever.

If I should die in the winter, place a small brazier next to my grave and place a fire in it. Let it give light in the dark, warmth in the cold to all who come near. Remember that even in the darkest night and coldest day, my soul will watch over yours, you will never be alone.

When the time comes, and I must go, remember to bloom where you are planted, share your love, take time to listen, and bring those who are lost and lonely in from the cold and give them a warm place to rest.

When I go, I will be waiting for you to call my name. Look for me, when it is your time to leave this earth, and I will be there to meet you. I will find you in the moonlight, or bright day, and we will rejoice. Above all, my beloved children, remember that I love you and always will.

A Girl and A Horse


On Saturday our Addie had a great day. She is quite horse mad right now, and wants riding lessons. Its a long story, but the other grandparent with whom we share custody, isn’t keen on the idea. To help Addie learn about horses and have the chance to be around them, we try to get her to events that will give her hands on experience.

The woman who trained our granddaughter and her horse in the hunter/jumper events put on a program for her younger students called a play day. The girls got to groom and bathe a small horse, lead and ride a horse, and play together in the outdoors on the farm. It was, as Addie said, “Totally Awesome!” And for my husband and myself, brought back happy memories of her mother learning horsemanship from one of the best trainers in our area.

There is something magical about being around horses. I know they seem huge, and they can be scary to little kids, but give them a minute or two with a horse sniffing them, nuzzling them, and kids just fall into love with the animals. There is nothing more sweet that seeing a child reaching up to hug a horse, and the horse all but climbing in their lap to hug them back.

Horses are wise, gentle, ornery, funny, goofy, spirited, and stubborn, just like people tend to be. A good match between rider and horse is a beautiful thing to see. It seems girls are more drawn to ponies and horses than boys, and it isn’t unusual to see a young girl out in the pasture with her best friend lying across his back and telling him all her troubles.

We used to live near a stable and on Saturday the parking area was filled with cars, trucks, and trailers as a gaggle giggling girls between six and womanhood took lessons, competed in events, cared for their horses and spent time making friends and enemies. Between the horses, dogs, people, teachers, and competition it was a noisy, joyous affair.

Girls learned responsibility, and how to work hard because their horses needed them to be able to understand and be aware of problems. Horses learned to work with the girls, treating them with gentleness and making them earn their respect. Having a horse is a lot more work than most people expect. It is an every day responsibility, and there is always something to take care of, be it making sure they horse stays healthy to keeping up with the maintenance of the animal. Brushing, shoes, trimming, checking for sores, cuts, making sure their teeth are in good shape, it is always something. Then there is the equipment that requires care. A good trainer will make sure the girls know how to keep their saddle and bridal in good condition, how to choose the right bit for their horse, and how to get their horse ready to ride.

Some girls have full board horses, where farm hands feed and water the horses, and clean the stalls for them. Personally, I think it is important that a horse owner take care of their own horse every day themselves. Nothing like cleaning out a dirty stall to teach a child hard work. Hauling in hay, grain, and water gives them a chance to understand horse nutrition and health. Overseeing the horses makes them more than a weekend owner, it makes them understand the needs of their horse and how to relate to him better.

I always get a kick out of watching a girl learn to make her horse do as she asks instead of doing what he wants. It gives a girl courage to face down a stubborn 1500 pound animal with nothing more than grit and her 100 pounds of determination. I have seen girls take a jump and go head over heels off a 16 hand horse, just to get up, brush off the dirt and climb right back on to try again. No tears, no self pity, just hard core determination to learn how to do things right. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

So, our Addie isn’t taking lessons, yet. But she is learning her way around a horse and how to care for one from the hooves up. One day we will watch her compete like her mother did, and bring home a blue ribbon. But the point of competing, to us, isn’t the winning, it is learning how to cope with losing, and still getting back on her horse and trying again until she conquers everything ahead of her. And until then, she will have fun loving on horses every chance she gets. I love being a Nana.

Old Lady Rant


Warning: Old Lady Rant

I was in the grocery today. I was standing in the produce section, picking out grapes when a kid ran into me with one of those child sized shopping carts. It hurt when the little )(*($!! jammed his cart into the back of my legs. I turned and told him so. His father, who was pretty much ignoring his spawn, said, “Oh it was just an accident.” “Really?” I said, “Accident or not, it still hurt.” Dad got indignant, “Well he didn’t mean to hurt you, he couldn’t have hit you that hard.” “So, it was okay he ran into me, because it wasn’t a purposeful action, and it didn’t hurt me all that much?” Dad shrugged, meanwhile the kid is tearing around pretending his cart is a race car. “No apology? Your son is allowed to hurt other people and not even apologize? Really? So, I guess if you run into someone with your car and injure them, no harm, no foul because you didn’t mean to and you need not apologize.” About then his spawn ran into one of the displays. Lucky for the little )(#*%#!! nothing got knocked over. I can only imagine how much the Dad would have sued the grocery for if his spawn was hurt. He never answered me, by the way.

That was only one of the times a kid with a child sized cart nearly cause a disaster while I was at the store today. I was walking along headed toward the dairy section when a brother and sister, each with one of those damned carts came running from a side aisle at full speed. I barely got stopped in time, and had I been in one of the motorized chairs, I would have ran them over. No apology, just a dirty look for getting in their way as they continued down the store at full speed, running into each other with their carts – on purpose. No parent in sight, and lots of people trying to dodge their stupid game. I am writing to the grocery owners, those damned things are dangerous, and so are the carts. They should be banned. As should the parents who don’t make their children behave.

Hope For The Future


Recently we attended the Kindergarten program that our great granddaughter’s school put on. It was cute, the kids were great and well prepared, and they all sang their hearts out. As I looked around, the gym was filled with parents and grandparents cheering their babies on. This was a big event for many because it was either their first, or their last, child to do one of these programs. For grandparents, it was a joyful continuation of family, tradition, and community. Applause couldn’t have been louder for the most famous artist in the world. It was their kids up there doing an outstanding job.

Those little children, five and six years old boys and girls, are the future of our country, families, and communities. In the year 2031, they will graduate High School, hopefully, and move on to adulthood. As they go to college, trade school, military, or simply working in one of the many blue collar jobs across the country, they will make up the men and women who will carry on our traditions. Some will make a good life, some will fall to the temptations of drugs, alcohol, and violence. Some will turn to crime as a way of life, some with struggle, and some will sail through life without a problem. All of them will have to grow up, mature into the men and women on whose shoulders the responsibility of freedom, strength, and leadership fall.

When we looked at them standing on those risers, all so small, we see our little babies, filled with hope, excitement, and the desire to do well, performing as their teacher asks them. In the years ahead, they will face bullies, struggle with learning, work to become their individual selves. They will fight with others, stand firm as loyal friends, and fall in and out of love with someone. It will be an uphill battle to learn to listen to their conscience instead of their friends who will lead them into trouble. They will have to find their path to faith, religion, and beliefs in God, or not, and they will have to believe enough to stand firm in the face of those who would hate them just because they dare to think for themselves. It will be hard, but thankfully, it happens in small increments of time, over a long time, so they can focus and learn what they must at the moment.

They were all so small, so cute, in their excitement. We watched our great granddaughter as she sang her heart out, proud of each word she uttered. When she saw us afterward, she threw her arms around us and nearly shouted, “I love you!” This is our third generation of children to be part of raising. The feeling we had when our first child was in a program still holds firm today. We told her how proud we were of her, how she did a great job, and how we applauded her efforts. She beamed with joy, practically dancing in her happiness. In her, we see the future, and we pray we can help her on her life long journey. We also pray for all the other children on that stage, that they may have loving parents, security, and a firm belief in themselves and their value to the world. God Bless them all, the hope for the future.

Dealing With Mortality


I am a fatalist, when it is your turn to die, you will die because there is no escaping it. I am sixty-four years old, and I have had to face the fact that mortality is a finite thing. I have diabetes, heart disease, and kidney failure – any of which will literally be the death of me. Oh, not today, probably not for years with all of the modern medicine and surgery available. But, I have a use by date stamped in my DNA somewhere and my body is making me very aware of that fact on a daily basis.

I decided that living with constant pain is something I can do, because life is worth it. I can live with the next thing to go wrong, because life is worth it. I can live with the unknown because life is worth it. As long as life is worth it, I will keep going. It may be slower than I am used to, it may frustrate me not to be able to do what I want because of limitations – both physical and emotional – but it is still living. I have long since come to terms with the idea that if I wake one day and nothing hurts, I will have died in my sleep.

I don’t fear dying, for many reasons from my faith to knowing I will get to be with my loved ones and friends who have gone ahead of me. I am also too stubborn and opinionated to let something as natural as death intimidate me. It happens to everyone eventually. I have thought a lot about what I want done at my funeral. No crying, no wailing, no feeling depressed. It is a celebration of my life, my death, and my eternal life! So I don’t want sad music, speeches about how good I was, or more likely, how difficult I was in life. I want loud music, and people dancing as the escort me to my grave. I have already told my husband that at my graveside, the song by the Muppets, “Moving Right Along” must be played as my final thoughts. I love that song, we always played it when we drove off on an adventure when my boys were small.

I don’t want people to sit quietly, whispering to each other, get up and greet each other with a hug and talk to each other in a normal voice. It won’t bother me, that’s for sure. Laugh, oh, please laugh. Laugh about the silly things I did, my stubborn slant on politics, how I would drive my car and smoke those idiot teenage boys who thought they could out drive an old woman. Tell jokes, and share stories. For heaven’s sake, whoever delivers the eulogy, don’t be preachy or maudlin. And above all, don’t be boring.

I want to do a video before I die, one to be played at my funeral. My last word on everything from love to death. Why? Because it is my funeral, damn it, and I can. I want the last memory people have of me, especially my loved ones, to be one of me telling them what to do and how to do it just like I do every day in my life. More than that, though, is a last chance to tell them not to cry, because I have gone on to a better place.

A place where I will have to answer for my mistakes, a place where I can hug my son, and then sit down and have a conversation about his daughter and her life. I will see my Grannie Vandenburg, and tell her how much I missed her. I will see my father, who left his world without giving me a chance to say goodbye. There will be so many ancestors I have questions for about genealogy and family history – and most importantly, I have a few questions for the big man himself, like why did he make platypus, and what was he thinking when he made dinosaurs.

Mortality is something we all need to address eventually. But I want a say so in what happens when and how things are done when I leave this world behind. And I do plan on haunting a few folks who need a swift kick in the attitude just for the fun of it. I may have died, but I will still be me.

Idiot Genes


What is it about human beings that brings out the idiot gene when driving in bad weather? I had a doctor’s appointment today on the other side of Memphis. I hate driving over there, but it is always more stressful if I hit any sort of traffic. Today, due to the time of my appointment I hit the worse area at after school rush hour. Kids everywhere, running across the road in front of traffic, idiots who do not think they need to obey the school speed zones, and parents who think it is just fine for them to stop in the middle of the road to let their little darling get in the car, while chatting on their phones. And, to make it even more peachy, it was pouring rain. Lovely.

The appointment went well, and I got out of there just in time to catch the evening rush hour that starts at four p.m. In Memphis, every road is full of pot holes, some shallow, some deep. If you don’t know where they are, especially when it rains and fills them with water, you will be taking a chance on losing a tire and messing up the suspension on your car. Today, adding to the misery of too many cars in too small a space, we still had pouring rain. Roads were starting to flood, and all the pot holes were filled to the brim. So what do we have to deal with? A big delivery truck, one about the size of a large U-haul truck, decides to make his own space on the road.

He was in the far right lane, between him and the left turn lane were three lanes filled with people driving ten to fifteen miles over the speed limit. What does the knuckle dragging, chest beating, cave man do? He decides to pull across all three lanes, with no warning – like a signal – making cars do their best to dodge and weave around him. Then to make it even better, he made a left turn on a red light. Fortunately, I had an idea something would happen and slowed down to avoid the other cars. Behind me, I heard two or three big bangs as cars careened into each other. I guess they weren’t paying attention because they were too busy jockeying for position to make it through the stop light before it turned red. I just kept going, I was so stressed by then that I just wanted to get home.

Further down the road were cars filled with moms and kids getting from point A to point B in the shopping district. Why, may I ask, do people drive gray, black, dark blue, dark green, and maroon cars in the pouring rain and refuse to turn on their lights? Maybe they can see in the dark, but the average person does not have cat genes that allows them to do so. Maybe there would be less horn honking and swearing if they bothered to turn on the damned LIGHTS!!! Oh, and using turn signals, you know those funny little stalks on the steering column that indicate which direction you want to turn, would help everyone get out of your way before you run them down.

As I got to Pleasant Hill Road, preparing to turn left from Goodman Road, an old fart moron, the worse kind after young smart ass morons, cut across two lanes of traffic to cut me off so he could get in the turn lane first. No, I wasn’t nice, yes I used the horn and a few choice swear words too. If I hadn’t had great peripheral vision, I would have ended up T-boning the moron. As it was, I narrowly missed the old fart. The HE had the nerve to put his car in reverse and try to back into me. Holy CATS! What is WRONG with people when the weather gets bad? They must save up all their aggression just for a day that is dangerous in which to drive anywhere over the speed limit in bumper to bumper traffic, while it pours rain leave about ten feet of visibility. The idiot gene may be regressive for many, but it comes full force on days like today.

I walked in the door and told the Mr. I was DONE driving in this crappy weather. I was so stressed, he took me out to dinner. I think we now have the weather from California that flooded them last week. I think it brought along its own idiot gene just to rile up the resident idiots. Today, I wished I still drank booze, I could use a glass of wine, chocolate, and time out to watch an entire season of Criminal Minds.