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I often look at writing prompts when I have writer’s block. It really gets the creative juices flowing and temporarily blocks the non-stop to do list in my head. Here is something I tried from Writer’s Digest. The prompt was: Write a 20-line rhyming poem about something that really annoys you. I am not a poet, but after looking around my house on Sunday morning, I thought it was appropriate.

The Litter Bugs that live with me
Are constantly leaving messes.
The sight of all the clutter
Is causing me lots of stresses.

The path starts at the door
And follows them down the hall
It winds around the house –
A mess left by all.

Water bottles, wrappers,
And cups and plates galore.
The food trail that they leave
Makes me shout, “No more!”

Backpacks, sports equipment,
Books, and homework, too
Dirty clothes and missing pieces
What else will they do?

Isn’t this every mother’s cry
To clean up after her kid?
My only comfort is hoping
That their children act like mine did.

testing, testing, testing – having technical difficulty!

Happy Mother’s Day to all my mom friends! I found this email I saved from a few years ago and thought I would share.

I was out walking with my 4-year-old daughter. She picked up something off the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that. “Why?” my daughter asked. “Because it’s been on the ground, you don’t know where it’s been, it’s dirty and probably has germs” I replied.

At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked “Mommy, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.” I was thinking quickly. “All moms know this stuff. It’s on the Mommy Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Mommy.”

We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information. “OH…I get it!” she beamed, “So if you don’t pass the test you have to be the daddy.” “Exactly,” I replied back with a big smile on my face.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of us that passed the Mommy Test!

Everyday I look at my giant to-do list and wonder how I am going to get it all done. I am certainly not out to be superwoman. I am just trying to work, run some errands, drive my kids to their activities, spend some time with my husband, keep my house clean and try to relax a little at the end of the day. Somehow, however, a thousand other things come up and there are always things left on the list at the end of the day. The simple solution is to just add them to tomorrow’s already overcrowded list. This goes on and on until my list is so long that it would take a week to complete it all.

To make some extra time in my day, I have been getting up earlier. It’s quiet and still dark outside. Everyone in my house is still asleep. The problem with that is I have to be quiet and not turn on too many lights. Outside of getting ahead on paperwork or emails, I am limited to what I can accomplish. On top of that, I can’t stay up to watch the 10:00 news because I am exhausted. If I were a night person, I would have the same problem with the lights and quiet house and I wouldn’t be able to get up for my daughter’s 6:30 am carpool.

What I really need is a day that is longer than 24 hours. Since this is my fantasy, I would put my extra time right in the middle of the day. The kids would still be at school, my husband would be working and the time would be mine. Unfortunately, with the kids in school for longer hours, their teachers would come up with more homework, projects and ultimately, aggravation for me after school. Never mind. It’s not worth it.

What would I do with my extra time? Relax? Clearly I am not getting up earlier to sit and relax. No, I am trying to back up my computer, clean out closets, make a creative meal that my kids will eat, workout, send a birthday card that does not read “sorry this is late”, and a million other things. Some people might say to give up some of the things on my list or get help. Any one with kids in braces and activities knows there is no money left for help. As far as the things on my list, what do I cut? Right now, my youngest two are only in one extra thing each. My oldest is in a few other things, but they are during the week. I don’t know how people put their kids in several things. I guess they have to let other things go.

So more time is not the answer and neither is less things. How about freezing time? Everyday, I would like to freeze the clocks and work on a bunch of little things to catch up. No one else will be affected because they will never know. I would be up to date on all my pictures, cards, laundry, shopping and have “me” time everyday. That would be heaven. Could you imagine getting caught up and staying that way? Wow! On second thought, what would I complain about at Bunco?

I have lived most of my life in Illinois. Had I not grown up here, I don’t think this state would be on my list of great places to live. First of all, the weather takes some getting used to. I enjoy the changing of the seasons, but I don’t enjoy how extreme they can be. Today’s temperature is forecast to be a high of 19 degrees and a low of -8 degrees. That is the temperature, not including the wind chill. The summers here can be nasty, too. We have terrible roasting summers with over the top humidity. Fall, like this past year, can be beautiful and unseasonably warm or it could snow in October. Spring is just as unpredictable.

Illinois politicians are laughable. We are now known as the state where the governors make our license plates. Our state legislature has just approved the largest state tax increase ever – 66%. They tell us it will only be for four years and then it will drop down to 3.75% which will only be a 25% increase. Right! Last year, signs popped up all over the local schools that Illinois owed them money. I thought the lottery was supposed to cover the schools. Oh, I guess they found something else to use the money for.

In early November, right after election time, I was working on a Christmas genealogy project for my parents. I sent away to the State of IL archives for four death certificates. The most recent death certificate was from 1957. I obtained the right forms, filled them out, made a copy of my driver’s license to prove it was me and mailed them first class mail. It was supposed to take four to six weeks to get them back – plenty of time for Christmas. Four weeks went by and then six. I checked the mail on Christmas Eve, and it was still not here. The check was not cashed. By January, I assumed it was lost in the mail.

Yesterday, I received a large envelope in the mail from the IL Department of Health. It contained my forms, copy of my driver’s license and my check. It also had a rejection letter with a red circle around the form’s directions and my expiration date on my license. My state issued driver’s license said it expired in 2008. However, Illinois puts a sticker on the back of the license stating it is good for four years after the date on the front of the license. My driver’s license is still valid, but the IL Department of Health doesn’t think so. So now, I have to find another photo id (which I don’t have) that shows my address, or I can send my own birth certificate (which has my maiden name!) and copies of credit card bills, utility bills, etc. I can’t just send a copy of the back of my license with standard sticker from Jesse White because there are no identifying marks on the back. I could just as easily send them the back of my husband’s license. All of this, not to mention another 10 weeks, just to get a copy of some distant relative’s death certificate. I wonder if they ran into the same problems in their day with our great state of Illinois.

I have been having problems with my posts publishing on Facebook and this morning is no exception. My latest post can be read here. Ironically, the post is titled “Happiness is…”. In addition, those of you that subscribe to my blog probably got a copy of this yesterday when I wrote it. It was scheduled to publish this morning! My apologies to my readers. Have a good day!

I met Charlie three and a half years ago while I was attending grooming school. She was one of the dogs I was assigned to groom that day. Like many people who met her, I assumed Charlie was a boy. My instructor introduced me to Charlie’s family because they were looking for a dog walker.

Charlie had a unique situation. She lived in two places. She lived part time with her pet parents and part time with their grown daughter, Jackie. Charlie was her childhood pet and when Jackie moved out, she wanted to bring Charlie with her. However, that left Charlie alone for much of the day.

That’s where I came in. I walked Charlie three days a week and the other days she was with either with Jackie or her parents. They were amazingly organized. Every six weeks, they would sit down with their schedules and figure out who was traveling, who had meetings, etc. and when they needed me to cover Charlie. They would then give me the list and tell me the dates and place that I would be needed to walk Charlie. Thankfully, we all lived in the same town. This went on for the last three years and worked well for all of us.

Charlie was a sweet dog. She wasn’t like a typical Yorkie. She didn’t wear cute sweaters or fancy collars. She wasn’t carried around in a cute bag, nor did she have a fancy bed that read “princess”. In fact, Charlie had a record. She once bit a delivery man who reported her to the authorities. She really didn’t like men in hats after that.

So Charlie and I walked together for three years. She was already 11 years old when I met her, so she never walked far or very fast. It gave me the opportunity to take time out of my rushed schedule and slow down. Instead of going over my mental to do list, I found time to day dream. Instead of being inside all day, I got to enjoy the sunshine (or rain or snow) for a few minutes each day. I don’t think I would have taken that time, otherwise.

Charlie started to fail quickly over the last few months. She lost a lot of weight and her walks got shorter and shorter. Some days she wasn’t interested in walking at all so we just hung out together. She got to the point where she didn’t hear me come in and had a hard time getting up when she saw me. It was hard to watch.

Yesterday I got the call I had been dreading. They took Charlie to vet and there was nothing that could be done for her. Her kidneys were failing and she wasn’t eating. They put Charlie to rest that afternoon. Although I knew this time was coming, I cried when I heard the message.

She was like one of my own dogs. And like one of my dogs, I expect her to be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. RIP Charlie. You will be missed!

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…