"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Sunday, December 28, 2008


My, how time flies whether or not you're having fun!

Where did 2008 go?  Mostly to my hips, thighs and stomach, compliments of menopause and shrinking hormones -- oh, and lack of enthusiasm for exercising. Oh, and lack of any real incentive to stay in shape...

Yes, 2008 (well, actually, starting back in July 2007) has been the year (year and a half) of stress eating. If there was an intense emotion to be felt, I stuffed it with chocolate. And then I took a nap. Look up lethargic on Wikipedia, and there's my pic. 

Add to that sad scenario the fact that I sit 8-10 hours a day at a computer at a rather stressful job...

Anyway, the good news is, I've got a wedding in Cincinnati in June that I will be attending come hell or high water, so if THAT isn't incentive enough to get my rear in gear, I don't know what is. Nothing says, "get your ass off the couch and into your workout clothes" like a wedding back in your hometown.  It's right up there with a class reunion, which has, in the past, always done the trick for me where dieting and exercise are concerned.

The bad news is, I've got a wedding in Cincinnati in June that I will be attending come hell or high water. And,  quite honestly, at 52, even class reunions, let alone weddings,  are losing their lure as incentive to get in shape. It just takes so much time and energy...

What's that old song..."If they could see me now, that good old gang of mine...yada, yada, yada." Well, if they COULD see me right this very minute, they'd say, "Holy crap, girl, where's that sexy babe from your blog pic?" Where has she gone, indeed.

"She" is, I guess one might say,  my alter ego --  the thinner, vivacious, devil-may-care me,  who, with a bit of intense coaxing and the promise of an airplane ticket,  can rock, roll and rally for any back-home occasion. I call her Blythe Spirit. I miss Blythe, her energy, her verve, her tan, her sizzle.

Oh, I suspect she's still here somewhere...somewhere between a bag of Strawberry Twizzlers and a box of carmel ice cream drumsticks. Or maybe she's hiding down between the couch cushions as she lounges about watching a House marathon on the USA channel. Or maybe she's holed up in her attic room, in fetal position, underneath that comfy heated throw her friend Angie gave her for Christmas, her two faithful cats by her side.  That's always a possibility.

Come out, come out wherever you are, Blythe...

I know, I know. That Leslie Sansone "Walk Away The Pounds" video I bought for 10 bucks at Wal-Mart (complete with a stretchy resistance band) does me absolutely no good if I don't stick it in the DVD player and follow Leslie's instructions.

Did I mention, however, that I broke my  toe Saturday?  Yup. The  same left baby toe I slammed into the bed corner two years back. Only this time it was the corner of an antique chair up in the attic.  One might think -- knowing my disdain for exercise -- that I did this on purpose to avoid the aforementioned exercise. Perish that thought pal. Trust me, I may be a person of extremes, but not THAT extreme.

Anyway, truth be known,  I don't really think my toe is broken, I think I just jammed the hell out of it -- it is sooooo black and blue -- and shoes are ouchy. My first thought, of course (after, "Oh, Shittake mushrooms, that hurts", was "There goes my exercise plan!"

I know, I know. I can always do the Leslie Sansone video sans shoes...and just be mighty careful. I suppose I'll give it a shot. I have no choice! I'm just going to have to suck it up and work thru the pain.

'Cuz Good Lord, June is just around the corner. Can I do it? Can I morph back into Blythe Spirit in time for the wedding????

Damn the toe, full speed ahead!  I gotta get movin'!

Stay tuned.... 

Thursday, December 25, 2008


The burnt pumpkin pie is sitting smoldering atop the oven, I'm snarfing down almond bark-covered pretzels, and the cat is stoned on catnip...that can only mean one thing...

It's Christmas!  

Merry Christmas from The Home Stretch!

After a rather lengthy hiatus caused by a major virus attacking and killing my old my computer, I am, at last returning to the world of blogging thanks to my sexy new friend I Mac...yeah, we broke down and bought Daniel a new computer for Christmas. Speaking of broke, now we are...even more so than we were before.

But the look on our future film director's little face -- we call him Little Spielberg -- when he opened up this very special Christmas present was worth every last dime...which is now what we are down to. 

Hence, "Santa" left John a cheese slicer and, if John ever wakes up from his long winter's nap, he has pledged to  fulfill his Christmas promise to me to  install the dishwasher we recently inherited. The dishwasher's previous owners tell me the machine is noisy, but like I told them, hey, the darn thing can yell my old high school fight song into a microphone outside my bedroom door every morning at 3 a.m. and I won't care as long as it just does the damn dishes. 

Anyhoo, like I said, the look on Daniel's face when he discovered he really WAS  getting an I Mac for Christmas was the best present a mom and dad could receive...it's hard to surprise a 15-year-old at Christmas, but we did it! We had him convinced the old computer was coming back and maybe, sometime down the road, we might be able to swing a Mac Mini...

He took the news of the old computer's return like a trooper, and kept good holiday humor through opening box after box of  really lame Christmas presents like deodorant, shower gel, a shower puff (albeit a manly shower puff), the game Mad Gab (not a lame gift by any means, but I have a feeling Family Game Night may end up taking a back seat to his film making/editing)...you get the pic.

After John unwrapped and "oohed" and "ahhed" over his cheese slicer, and I swooned over my new blow dryer, it was time to clean up the wrapping paper and get on with our day. We sent Daniel downstairs to the basement to retrieve the box of garbage bags off the top of the washing machine (wink, wink) and voila!

There atop the washing machine Daniel discovered three more boxes wrapped in colorful Santa paper -- one very large box (the I Mac); one medium box (the printer) and one small box (the firewire for downloading his movies from his video cam to the computer).

He either exclaimed, "Great Scott! What are those?" or "What the bloody hell are those?" -- I can't clearly recall, I was so excited for him, but i do remember he used his best British accent (he's theatrical like his mother), and he was SOOOO taken aback...

The next best part was that I then got to rearrange my living room to make room for the new computer, which is ALWAYS great therapy for me...

However, I think it was sometime during my muttering "should I put the couch or the love seat against the south wall", then moving the couch to said south wall, and then staring at it in its new location for five minutes only to decide to move the love seat there instead, that John yawned and slipped away into the next room to take a "short break" before tackling the dishwasher installation...

That was four hours ago.


Not that I begrudge the guy a little rest on his day off..I'm just sayin'....

But I digress.

Did I mention yet how much I have missed blogging?  OMG!  And there is so much to blog about on this sexy new I Mac!  Wee dogs!  

Merry Christmas!  And stay tuned!

Monday, October 06, 2008


A current one, by the way.

I mean, gosh darn it, McCain is sliding behind at the speed of light, and the only thing the Republicans have left is ye ol' smear tactics -- and I mean OLD.

Ayers and Rev. Wright? Helloooooooo -- yesterday's news. WAYYYYY Yesterday. Obama's been vetted and has renounced and pooh-poohed the actions/words of those two.

But I suppose desperate campaigns call for desperate measures...and remember, Palin, when you're pointing the finger at someone, three are pointing back at you....or as my dear, departed grandmother used to say...."Keep your own front porch clean, dear...don't worry about your neighbors".

And remember, gosh darn it, the Republicans are not the only ones who can play the "guilt by association" card, don'tcha know. Plenty of You Tube political fodder to go around.

Oh, and one more thing....the name "Keating" ring a bell, McCain?

Ya. Sure. Ya betcha.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


There, I said it.

Father Time and Governor Barbie are scary, scary people.

Palin running for vice president makes about as much sense as me running for the post.

Katie Couric was just doing her job, asking Palin to explain some apparent differences between her and Old Uncle John's foreign policy attitudes.

And Palin making jokes about Biden's age when her running mate is even older...now THERE'S good campaign strategy.

Gag me. With a spoon.

And puh-lease...I usually love The Early Show, but truly, what would Palin's parents be expected to say in an interview with Harry Smith -- that their daughter is a complete dolt who is over her head right now? What "amazing" things did Palin's parents have to say about their daughter that any good parent wouldn't say about their kid?


Slow news day, Harry?

Gotcha Journalism My Ass.


I feel much better now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


If eyes are, indeed, the windows to our souls, my "windows" are in dire need of a little putty, a little paint.

Hence, at almost 52 freaking years old, I have, alas, given in to the anti-aging makeup miracle mavens who hawk all that "get rid of wrinkles and lines and puffiness" crap.

It's not so much the laugh lines that I am trying to get rid of as the general, overall droopy, dark baggy look that greets me most mornings as I peer into my mirror.


What ever happened to the Meg Ryan look-alike that used to turn heads at the Cedar Falls, Iowa Happy Chef and the Cincinnati airport? What? Waddya mean that was 20 years ago? So?

I just saw Meg Ryan in the chick flick, "The Women" and by goddy, she doesn't look a day older than she did back when she made "When Harry Met Sally"two decades ago. How the hell does she do it? Oh, yeah -- she's had "work" done. Take a gander at her lips -- a bad Botox job? Too tight a pull? I dunno.

But her eyes look freaking fantastic -- still. And she is only a few years younger than moi.

Maybe it's from sitting at this freaking computer 8-10 hours a day at my very stressfull job as an electronics warranty service coordinator wearing Wal-Mart cheaters (my damn dog ate my REAL glasses/bi-focals two years ago....). Maybe it's from not getting enough sleep. Maybe it's from too much sleep. Maybe it's just because I am so damn old.

Hard to say.

All I know is that for the past several weeks I have invested heavily in a vast array of anti-aging eye products -- all sort of lotions, potions, creams -- and my favorite, the Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller -- in an effort to make my aging eyes look young again.

The eye roller consists of a tiny, little metal roller ball which you, obviously, roll under your eyes...it offers a great cooling sensation -- not unlike putting cold spoons on one's puffy eyes (or so it has been described. Of course, a couple of cold spoons would certainly be cheaper than purchasing the $12 eye roller...cucumbers or tea bags would probably have the same effect as well.

But I digress.

I usually follow the eye roller with an eyelift cream/eyelid gel, followed by some goop marketed as an "instant eye rejuvinator" cream...followed by highlighter/brightening liquid....and on and on....

It's a wonder I ever make it to work.

My husband swears it's working, that I am regaining that Meg Ryan youthful look about the eyes. But today, after a long night of no sleep (menopause? work? Wall Street? ) I asked him, point blank, "Do ya think the Garnier Nutritioniste anti-puffiness eye roller ball is working today? Do I look like Meg?"

"Um, well, maybe you ought to try Mavis," he said.


Then it hit me.

The other day, while perusing the local bargain shop, we happened upon a big ol' bowling ball with the name "Mavis" engraved on it.

"A couple of rolls across your eyes with the Mavis ball might do the trick today," he added.


Hey, it might just work! And it's only a buck! Stick it in the fridge for a a minute or two...

Stay tuned...

Friday, September 19, 2008


Mountain Dew?

Yes, I am falling in love with MT. DEW.

I've always been a Diet Pepsi gal, tho' my family, as a rule, preferred Coke.

I "blame" the shift from the Heise family soda pop-of-choice to Diet Pepsi on my my "second mom", Dottie B, who drank Diet Pepsi, kept her great shape all her life, and all her daughters -- all THREE of them -- turned out to be models. I figured if it was good for Mrs. B, it was good for me.

Sure, I dabbled in TAB, when that came out in the 60s. And I occasionally enjoyed a Sprite or a 7-UP. But my breakfast of champs has always been a Diet Pepsi and a bag of M&Ms. My after-work relaxation cocktail most recently? Diet Pepsi and Malibu Rum, AKA, a Mailbu Barbie (my idea).

Granted, NOTHING beats a steaming, hot cuppa java laden with flavored creamer first thing in the a.m....or late in the afternoon on a cuddly gray fall day....

But these days, I find myself craving MT. DEW. MT. DEW with Bugles, MT. DEW with trail mix...

It's a quick picker-upper, fer sure.

And it tickles the tongue in an oh, so refreshing way...

Well, must get back to work...

Tonight, if we win our football game, it will be Buck Burger Night at the bowling alley -- that's what we live for here in Podunk on at-home football nights...buck burgers...yeah, it don't get any better than THAT!

Hmmm....a buck burger with MT. DEW and Mailibu Rum?

Stay tuned....:)

Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


In the Guiness Book of Records for most blog hits, The Home Stretch, I dare say, is not currently listed.

However, today is a milestone -- I've officially hit the 5,000 mark -- and I haven't even blogged for, what, three months? Four months? Six?

Just think where my numbers might be if I was actually blogging! Woo-Hoo!

And it is interesting to read the map of vistors -- where they come from, how they got to this blog...amazing, really.

As I say, just think where my numbers might be....however, my blogging has little, if anything, to do with numbers. I just love to write, to write so others might laugh or cry (in a healthy way) or be inspired, encouraged...

I see where one of my faithful blog readers has suggested I use the Coon Rapids Library's computer to blog, encouraging me to get my words out there -- which is very encouraging to me...and I thank him or her for that encouragement.

I must confess that I thought about the CR Library a month ago...however, I am, I am ashamed to say, currently banned from said library until I return "How Much Is That Doggy In The Window" -- a book I took out for Daniel when he was about 6. He is now 15 1/2 -- and a couple other books/CDs that are probably in a tote somehwere in my icky basement.

Heavy sigh.

But never fear, my children! I shall return -- word has it that my computer is almost ready! Today I am taking my lunch in-house so that I can blog.

(That does not mean, of course, that I am not going to return the aforementioned books to the library...just wanted to note that. And I'd like to square up with the library before my mugshot shows up on the Coon Rapids Post Office bulletin board -- you know, where all the "wanted" pics are posted.

But I digress.

I am literally bursting at the seams (partly from eating bags of Bugles at my desk at work to relieve stress) to put pen to paper about Palin -- she is, indeed, the lipstick, the cosmetic distraction, on McCain's "pig" as it were -- the pig being the failed Bush policies that McCain has agreed with 90 percent of the time. So sue me.

If there is anything good to come out of this Wall Street mess is that it is forcing McCain/Palin to address the real issue that has voters like me wringing their hands -- it's the economy, stupid. And it -- the economy -- is not sound, basically or otherwise. I suppose beer sales are up more than ever, hence, Cindy McCain, the Botoxed beer heiress, has most likely assured her husband that all is well. But for most of the folks I know, making ends meet has never been more difficult, more depressing.

Is it just me, or was McCain actually reading notes/index cards while addressing those voters in Florida the other day about the economy? He was looking down, like he was straining to read...like he had to be freaking COACHED. His "enough is enough" came off as stilted.


My friend, Sandy, and I will be putting on our Obama/Biden precinct captain/co-captain hats here mighty quick -- we'll be doing what we can here in Podunk to get the Obama/Biden vote out...

And to think I was once a young Republican....Yikes-a-Roni! Like they say, with age comes wisdom.

Meanwhile, I am getting back to the business of blogging...it's in my blood. And right now, my blood is BOILING! I cannot stand by and watch McCain et al try and dupe our country once more...

(Frankly, I might add, Palin is the kind of person I would have not only not liked in high school, I would avoid her like the plague NOW at school functions. Hockey moms, soccer moms, sports addict moms of any kind, drive me insane. And no, I do not relate to a former beauty contest runner-up...though, granted, I was one of two "Miss Sexy Slide Girls" in the Miss Kings Island Beauty Contest back in the 70s...I think one of the gals who ran the roller coaster won...).

Well, my lunch break is about over...gotta get back to work. Let's see...where are those Bugles....

Wow! 5,000!

I feel my groove comin' back.....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I have a few moments left on my lunch break...

Still no computer.

But I have so much to say...wait a moment while I apply a thin layer of Porky Pink lipstick....don't EVEN get me started on Palin.

All in due time....all in due time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Hello! It's me! (Sounds like an old Todd Rundgren song, but anyway...)

So much has happened since the last time I posted...a mere three months ago, but who's counting? Well, I am, my friends. Because since my computer went south, preventing me from blogging -- writing, really -- my zest for life has headed in the same direction.

If I didn't know better, I'd say it was a case of the vapors -- lying in bed, too tired to move, no desire to enjoy the great summer outdoors...food doesn't even thrill me anymore...

And when you're a Heise by birth, and you've lost your lust for food, well...suffice to say that the day my Dad pushed away a plate of food, it was his last -- he passed away that night...in other words, it's a cry for help, a sign that the end is definitely near...that you better do SOMETHING...and FAST!

But I digress.

At first I just blamed my malaise on mid-life menopausal monotony...then I blamed it on the dreaded Iowa hellish heat and air-you-can-wear humidity. But then it hit me...I haven't written anything for THREE months! And I am a writer! Writing is my life's blood! It is my passion! No writing, no passion, no energy.

But what to do? My computer is still in the shop, so today I am blogging from my son's friend's laptop...ahhhhh...back in the saddle again, if only for today!

So where to begin?

Well, last I blogged, of course, my son and husband scared the bejeebies out of me one night when they were late coming home from Daniel's first official driving practice after getting his learner's permit.

He has since passed driver's ed, and I have accepted the fact that he is growing up and his learning to drive is a good thing -- I would even go so far as to say he has all the makings of becoming an excellent driver like his dad -- which is a damn good thing, since I am 51 years old and still won't drive on the interstate...

Along those same lines, I couold write reams about the frustrations of being a middle-aged mom with a teen-age son and how some days I just want to throttle him just because he is what he is -- a teenager -- much the same feeling my older sister had about me when I was Daniel's age...and she was only like 22 or 23 at the time.

And yet there are those nights, when he comes home after a night working at the local pizza parlor, and he brings home a "mistake" pizza, and we sit on the porch and talk for an hour or two...and I wouldn't trade these teenage years for anything. I am just thankful he is here, with me, and safe.

Or I could go on and on about my man Obama winning the presidential primary! Woo-Hoo! My friend Sandy A. and I, on a last-minute whim, zipped to Des Moines to see him for his pre-official primary victory speech -- I was THAT close to being able to shake hands with the guy...what a moment!

Oh, there have been so many instances where I've seen something on TV or heard something in passing conversations with friends and neighbors and I've excitely thought, "That would make a GREAT blog post" only to sink into sadness when it hit me in that same moment, "But I don't have a computer, damn it!"

It's not that I think what I have to say about any partiular topic is earthshaking...it's just that I am a writer, and writer's write, writer's create...and I love the creative aspect of it all. I love taking that blank screen and making something out of nothing...something that might just strike a chord with the person reading the blog. It's a way of connecting in this big ol' crazy and oft' cold world.

Granted, I could put pen to paper or keep a hardbound journal -- Lord knows I've got a collection of half-filled dog-earred diaries from back in the day...but it's not the same. My fingers need to connect to a keyboard for the wheels to start turning upstairs -- it's just the ol' newsreporter in me...she's still in there, my inner reporter.

Bless her heart.

What would I do without her?

Not blogger's block -- I've had scads of stuff to blog about, from MY MAN OBAMA'S BIG WIN (Woo-Hoo), to

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


It's official.

On Saturday, April 19, 2008, ol' Danny Boy got his learner's permit.

And Mama wept.

Not because he got his permit, mind you -- heck no. In fact, THAT part of the whole shebang was actually exciting...walking into the driver's license bureau, taking a number, filling out the parental consent form, giving my Sonny Boy the 'thumbs up" as he sat down at a nearby table to take the test. He passed, he got his picture taken, they handed him his license and we went out to lunch and celebrated.

No, it was much later that evening that I broke down into hysterics. And with damn good reason, thank you very much.

I mean, what mother worth her weight in worry WOULDN'T have gone just a little bonkers in my situation...

See, I had laid down about 7 p.m. cuz of a sore throat and a stuffy nose. The last thing I remember before drifting off to a Tylenol Cold Nighttime-induced sleep was John saying that he was going to take Daniel out for some driving practice, most likely out to Dunbar, a nice, safe woodsy area not too far from Grandma's.

"OK, huddy" I said, snuggled quite cozily under the covers in the fetal position, a bottle of Cloraseptic clutched in my feverish mitts.

The next thing I knew, it was about 9:30 p.m. and I was wide awake and very thirsty. So I dragged myself downstairs for a glass of orange juice, expecting to find my "huddy" and "Suddy Boy" watching a movie or playing a video game.

But they were nowhere to be found.

The house was dark. The dog's kennel was empty. And the car was gone.

"Heddo?" I snuffled, to no one in particular.

Hmm, they must have taken the dog with them...I'll bet they stopped out at Grandma's after they went driving, I thought to myself. So I called Grandma.

She hadn't seen hide nor hair of 'em.

Hmm, maybe they decided to build a fire out at Dunbar and are having a little father-son bonding time, I thought to myself. How nice. But I decided to call them on Daniel's cell phone, just to see what time they thought they might be home.

I dialed and it went immediately to Daniel's voice mail.

"Hi, huddy, it's mob," I sniffled sweetly into the phone. "Just wudded to call and see what you guys are ub to...gib me a call, lub you."

At 10 p.m., having not heard back from the boys, I started to worry...just a little.

And I did what I always do when I'm worried...I called my Sis in Des Moines.

"Maybe they went to a movie," she calmly and rationally suggested.

"Wid da dog?" I snuffled, incredulously.

"Well, no, probably not," my sister reasoned. "But I'm sure they're fine. They'll probably be home any minute now. Call me when they get home."

"OK," I sniffled. "But dis just idn't like John nod to call. If dey're nod hobe by 11, I'b calling John's friend Duane to go look for dem at Dunbar."

My sister thought that was a good plan.

As soon as I hung up with her, I called Daniel's cell phone again. And again, I immediately got his voice mail. His phone was still turned off...

"Huddy, this is your mudder. I am starting to panig just a bit. Why haben't you guys called be back? It's gettig priddy late!" I stated in the best " you better call me back NOW" voice a mom with a nose full of snot and on the verge of an anxiety attack can muster.

By 11 p.m., I was pacing about the front yard, the front porch, the back yard...staring up and down the four streets that surround our house, looking, praying for our yellow Escape to round the bend or pull in the driveway any second. I was all but putting a listening ear to the ground to catch the slightest vibration of an oncoming car -- anything to quell the fear, the dread, that was tightening the vise of doom that had suddenly clamped itself to my pounding heart.

Do I call Duane? Do I wake him up? Am I over-reacting?

My mind raced...

Suddenly, the phone rang!

"HEDDO?" I yelled into the phone, sure that I'd hear either Daniel's or John's reassuring voice at the other end of the line.

It was my sister. I burst into tears.

"Any sign of the boys?" she asked.

"NO!" I sobbed, wiping my sniffly-sneezy nose across my sleeve. "I DUST DOE DEY'RE'S DOMETHING WROG!"

Even my always even-keeled sis had to admit that perhaps something was amiss. She told me to call my neighbor, Angie, and ask her to come over and stay with me, and to call Duane and send him out to search for the guys.

I tried calling Daniel's cell phone one more time, and one more time, it went right to his voice mail. And that's when I knew, as sure as God made little green apples, that the only plausible reason for Daniel's phone being turned off and going directly to his voice mail and no one calling me back was (que the Doomsday music):

Daniel had been driving, John slumped over with a heart attack (for he had, I noticed earlier, left his nitroglycerin pills on the dresser), Daniel let go of the steering wheel to help his ailing father, (hell, he'd only had his learner's permit for a few hours), they crashed into a tree, the car flipped over, they they were pinned inside, the cell phone just beyond Daniel's bloody, limp hand...

Or, there was always the possibility of THIS scenario: The dog had fallen off the bridge over the Dunbar dam, John had jumped into the water to save the dog, had a stroke, and Daniel dove in to save his dad and hit his head on a rock, they all drowned and the cell phone was back in the car...

At the stroke of midnight, I couldn't take it anymore...I called Duane, gave him the lowdown between nervous snobs and sniffs, and off to Dunbar he drove, promising to call me as soon as he knew anything. Then I called my neighbor Angie, and she came over and tried to calm me down as I flailed and wailed around the living room.

By 12:30 a.m., ol' even-keeled and rational Angie was starting to feel a little anxious about John's and Daniel's whereabouts as well.

And then the phone rang! It was Duane! I braced myself for the worst.

Not a sign of them at Dunbar, he reported -- no fresh tire tracks, no nuthin'.

The only other place I thought they might possibly have driven to was another little woodsy area about 20 minutes from Dunbar called Bennett's Access. It was by the river. John liked to go there to relax, to fish, to ponder.

"If they're not at Bennett's Access, we're gonna have to call for some help," Duane said very somberly. And off he drove to Bennett's Access.

I was a wailing, flailing,freaked out mess by that point.

So Angie called John's brother Steve, who said that if Duane did not find John and Daniel at Bennett's Access, he would join the search.

It was going on 1 a.m., and as we waited for what seemed like an eternity for Duane to arrive at Bennett's Access, Angie and I were just about to pick up the phone and call John's brother, Jerry, the police, and the local sheriff -- everyone but Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and The Lone Ranger -- when who should come bursting through the back door but John and Daniel and the dog!

They were alive! They had all their limbs! There was no blood! I gave the dog a cursory glance and she was all in one piece, as well. I was SOOOOO relieved!

And I greeted them with compassion and love.


And then I hugged the behoolies out of 'em, and then I quick as a bunny called Duane and informed him with joy that he could call of the search. And then the guys -- dog tired -- shared, somewhat sheepishly -- the death-defying details of Daniel's first evening of driving practice.

In a nutshell...Daniel drove them out to Bennett's access, handed his Dad the car keys, and they strolled about looking at the river, during which time John somehow lost said car keys, and they spent a good half hour searching for them using the dim glow from Daniel's cell phone as a makeshift flashlight (until the cell phone's already-low battery died). And then John, Daniel and the dog hiked 9 1/2 miles (roughly a 5 1/2-hour rural jaunt on a moonless night) to Grandma's house out in the country where they borrowed her car (being very careful not to wake up dear, sleeping Grandma) and high-tailed it home.

Why didn't they stop at someone's house along the way and ask to use the phone? Well,the only house they passed was a shack that looked like the owners were probably busy cooking meth (there's not much population between Grandma's and Bennett's Access), they explained.

Why didn't they call me from Grandmas' house? Well, by then, it was almost 1 o'clock in the morning...they didn't want to wake me up...they'd be home in 10 minutes...

And, truth be known, they were both praying that when they finally rounded the bend and pulled into our driveway in Grandma's car that our house would be dark, that I had, in fact, slept the entire evening, not a worry in the world, blissfully unaware that they had been AWOL for several hours.

Dream on, boys.

Instead, of course, when they rounded the bend, they were all but blinded by the dazzling bright beacon illuminating our corner...Yes, I had every damn light on in the house, including both front and back porch lights...

"Oh, shit. She's awake." was, they tell me, their direct quote. In unison, no less.

What? Me, the Xanax Queen, worry? P'shaw. All in a Mom's son's first day of driving practice...


Monday, April 07, 2008


It's Spring! It's Spring!
So I cleaned up the yard!
Spent an hour rakin' leaves!
Man, I worked real hard.

I swept off the porch
And I picked up some sticks...
Hadn't had that much energy
Since the age of six!

Thought I'd wash the car!
Paint the kitchen after dinner!
With all that movin'
Bound to be a size thinner...

Then I took a quick break,
Sat my butt on the swing.
Tried to stand moments later,
Couldn't move a darn thing!

M'legs and arms were stiff,
My back was even stiffer;
Had to pull myself up
By leanin' on my Swiffer...

To make matters worse,
In my butt I got a splinter;
Gol dang, I'm outta shape!
'Twas a long, lazy winter!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


And I probably never will be.

Frankly, after last night's initial driver's ed meeting (mandatory for students and parents), I truly see no reason why Daniel needs to get his driver's license until he's at least, oh, I dunno....say, 110...

I figure I should be long gone by then...hence, whatever happens -- if he's in a horrible wreck and mangled beyond recognition -- or worse -- I'll (hopefully) already be pushing up posts in the Big Blog Above, oblivious to the whole heartbreaking mess.

Like lambs to the slaughter, lemmings to the sea...that's how I see last night's driver's ed sign-up -- kids -- mere babies, really -- anxious as all get out to jump behind that wheel and speed down the highway of life, one hand on the steering wheel, the other hand on their cell phones, texting themselves right into the nearby ditch or oncoming traffic...

I think it was the video featuring the still grieving couple who lost not one but TWO teenage daughters in separate yet equally horrifying car accidents that did me in last night...why does any parent in their right mind let their kid(s) learn how to drive?

Oh, that's right. So they can get from Point A to Point B and beyond, run errands, go on fun vacations, go to work, and someday, drive to the nursing home to visit their befuddled old parents. THAT'S why they have to learn to drive. It's all about growing up and independence, blah, blah, blah -- I get it, I get it.

But I don't like it. Not one little bit.

Never mind that MY driver's ed instructor (as urban legend has it) drank coffee secretly laced with Irish whiskey during my driving lessons, his clandestine coffee cup stashed up on the dash as an instant indicator of how how sharply I was making my turns. If the coffee cup slid at all, as I recall, I got reprimanded for taking the corner to short or too fast....and just for fun, he'd instruct me to turn right or left...in Spanish.

And, gee-whiz, I turned out to be a great, er, OK driver. Save for the time my senior year when the breaks gave out on my good ol' '65 Ford Galaxy 500 convertible and I plowed through a fence...and the time I was changing lanes in my little ol' 1982 Chevette and totally spaced off that I was driving down a one-way street, neglected to check the other lane before changing, and bashed into the giant-boat-of-a-car zipping along right next to me...

On a serious note, however, I can still, to this day, remember exactly where I was the night of Oct. 28, 1972 -- the night my friend, Janice, a college freshman, was killed when a driver ran a stop sign and broadsided Janice's car...I can still hear the anguished, mournful sobs of Janice's mom when it came time to leave her daughter's coffin at the cemetery after the funeral. "I don't want to leave her!" she cried. And cried. And cried.

Like the lady from the Iowa Department of Transportation said, if you watch the news, or read the newspaper, you know teenage traffic tragedies occur on a regular basis.

Speeding, texting, drinking, other distractions...such perplexing possibilities are endless...


That's it. I can't think about it anymore. I'll think about it tomorrow...at Tara.

Frankly, my dears, I think I need a damn Xanax.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Hillary, dear, I can only imagine how the wretched rigors of that (thanks to you) nasty presidential campaign trail can eventually take it's toll on one's body and mind...

But truly, dahling...how does a woman who swears she's the only candidate ready and experienced enough to take over as Commander In Chief on Day One mistake a round of handshakes with a hail of sniper fire? I would think that knowing that difference and being able to judge correctly between the two would be a necessary trait if one is to be responsible for answering that infamous 3 a.m. phone call...

A little delusion with that Bosnia grandeur, my sweet?

Consider this from CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"On two different occasions, Senator Hillary Clinton has described a trip she took as first lady to Bosnia in March of 1996.

To hear her tell it, she was lucky to escape with her life, landing in a hail of sniper fire. She said they were forced to cut short the greeting ceremony at the airport and, "run with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

But apparently there was time to stop and visit at the airport with an 8-year-old girl who greeted Mrs. Clinton on the tarmac when she landed and read her a poem.

The military commander on hand to greet Clinton at the time, Major General William Nash, told the Washington Post he was unaware of any sniper threat to Clinton during her 8-hour stay.

Also traveling with the first lady was her daughter Chelsea, the singer Sheryl Crow and the comedian Sinbad, who said the scariest part of the trip was deciding where to eat."

Hill, you and your camp would like us to believe you inadvertently misspoke. Not to quibble over semantics, dahling, but I would say you purposely miss-led the American public into thinking you were on a daring foreign policy mission in the midst of a dangerous gun battle of sorts in an effort to pad ye ol' foreign policy resume...

Desparate delegate counts call for desperate measures, don't they Hillary dear?

I mean, I watched the news clip where you stood right there at that podium, all smiling and well-coiffed, and told us all about ducking and dodging sniper fire while running to your awaiting car at the airport in Bosnia back in '96...

This morning's news clip, however, shows that apparently, in spite of that life-threatening gunfire you attempted to speak so convincingly of, you may have been embellishing just a hair...

The little girl with the flowers and the poem...the handshakes...and, of course, -- speaking of hair -- not one of yours appears to be out of place in that news clip. Seems to me that if someone is dashing about an dodging bullets, one's hair might look a smidge windblown or a tiny bit tousled. And little Chelsea certainly didn't look concerned for her or your safety.

Oh, well. I'm sure it was just one of those "senior moments" dahling. Like McCain not being quite sure whether it's the Sunni or Shiite Muslims crossing into Iraq to train terrorists.

Details, schmeetails, right dahling?

Dare I say it, Hill, dearest....

Your fabricated "foreign policy experience" chickens may well have, um, come home to roost.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Happy Easter!

For a while on Good Friday, however, things were not happy nor did they look so good...and Easter plans and jelly beans were the furthest things from my mind.

That's the day we had to rush John to the hospital, via ambulance, due to what appeared to be a possible heart attack.

Indeed, the Good News is, John is OK -- no signs that it was an actual heart attack -- more a case of angina -- but we kept him in the hospital overnight for observation just in case.

Per the doc, blood pressure medication adjustments, a salt-free diet, and exercise should help ward off any further problems...

Of course, my driving John home from the hospital Saturday probably sent his blood pressure skyrocketing, but he survived that as well!

It's emergencies like this, though, that remind me how fortunate we are to live in a small town -- a small town with not only an EXCELLENT ambulance service, but so many wonderfully caring friends and co-workers who, without fail, rise to an emergency situation with all the 'love-thy neighbor/co-worker" assistance imaginable.

We will never be able to thank everyone enough...

And what a wonderful family we are blessed with, as well. Sister-in-law Pat, who saw the emergency unfold outside the window of the bank where she works, called John's brother, Steve, who notified John's brother, Jerry, who called John's mom and and alerted my sister-in-law Deb, who picked up Daniel and drove out to my mother-in-law's to be with her until I could her from the hospital with an update.

My sister, Mary, of course, was on stand-by in Des Moines, ready to hop in her car and head for the hospital if I needed her.

Another small-town advantage? When we got to the emergency room, who should be the ER nurse on duty but our friend, Tammy. And the x-ray tech? None-other but our buddy, Jim. It's so unbelievably calming -- especially when the hospital is 30 miles away -- to arrive all a bundle of nerves to discover, thankfully, that it's Old Home Week in the ER.

My, my...

Never a dull moment...

In light of John's stressful weekend, I've volunteered to prepare our Easter dinner and give him a well-deserved break from cooking so he can just sit back, read Fish Fur and Game magazine and RELAX...

Oh, crap! Gotta run! The pumpkin pie is burning!

Thursday, March 20, 2008



  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.
(Thanks to my supervisor, Dana, for emailing me this gem)


  • Plan dinner for yourself and family. Even if the food has a "Mc" in front or a "King" behind, it still counts as a dinner you planned. Making reservations is also considered planning as is asking your husband to pick something up on the way home from work.
  • Take a nap if possible, after all, you deserve it. Feeding, cleaning, dressing and running after children all day is hard work. Plus, if you are rested, you are less likely to take off to Vegas like you've threatened to do on more than one stressful occasion. Also to make yourself "fresh-looking", have the hubby watch the kids for you so you can take a nice relaxing bath.
  • Do whatever makes you happy. If you enjoy dancing around the house in your underwear then do it. And do it for yourself not for your spouse. (Acting "gay" merely for your husband's benefit sounds like something June Cleaver might do. And that woman HAD to be a closet drinker.)
  • If you're lucky enough to have a "play room" then you can only hope that the majority of the toys will remain in there. If not, have the kids clean them up at the end of the day before bedtime. There's no point in putting them away while they are still playing. Randomly throwing toys into said playroom counts as cleaning up, as does piling laundry in the corner of a room. If you don't get the opportunity to clean up clutter, it's a sure fire sign that you had something better to do.
  • As long as there is nothing living or breathing in the inch high dust that covers the TV, cabinets or shelves, it can wait. And if your washer, dryer or dishwasher are running when your husband comes home, well it's a sign that you've obviously been busy that day.
  • Building a fire is fun if you have a fireplace. And if you do, try not to "accidentally" knock your husband into it when he picks a fight even though that might bring you "immense personal satisfaction."
  • Children get dirty. If there is even a spec of mud in the backyard, they will find it. As long as their hands are clean before they eat and as long as they aren't smearing dirt on your new carpet or couch then they're clean enough for the time being. If their loud voices drive you crazy, send them outside where they can drive the neighbors crazy. And to fix any hair issues, make them wear a hat. Also, if they want to jump all over their father the minute he walks in the door, let them. After all, they've most likely been jumping all over you all day.
  • Be happy to see your husband, assuming he's on time and in a good mood. Be even happier if he brought home a paycheck.
  • Give him a hug when he walks in the door, if he doesn't smell of another woman's perfume, give him a kiss too. If you missed him, tell him. If you actually want to know how his day went, ask him. And if you love him, remind him.
  • Make a list of all of the things you need or want to tell your husband when he comes home. In the midst of football, ballet, tuba and soccer practice you'll most likely forget. And this way you can hit every topic over dinner. Giving pop quizzes afterwards always helps to drive your points across, although it might make him mad and then he "might" have a fireplace accident.
  • If you had a stressful day, you retain the right to complain about it. As your husband he has the obligation to listen and vice versa. If he goes out after work and stays out late, you also have the right to be upset. And you retain the right to turn off your cell phone the next time you're out with the girls.
  • If you can make one room tranquil and peaceful then do it. You need somewhere to escape and regroup yourself. This is why men have sheds and garages.
  • If he wants to go out for a few drinks after work then compromise. You should be able to go out one night also, it's only fair.
  • If you've both had a rough day then having drinks prepared is not a bad idea, especially if there is alcohol included. Arranging your husband's pillow is a nice gesture, just try not to "arrange" it over his face. Of course if you're speaking in low, pleasant tones while you're doing it, it could still be considered a nice gesture.
  • If something doesn't seem right to you, ask questions. Just because your husband is a man doesn't mean he can do whatever he wants. Remember, where there is a King of the castle, there is also a Queen......
  • A good wife always knows her place, -- on top of her throne where she shall be worshipped by all.
(Found this on the Net by a woman named Nicole)

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Ah...March 9...a day that lives in infamy -- for me anyway. And for a couple of rather ridiculous reasons.

For starters...

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

The forever-perfect plastic fashionista turns 49 today...

I've sort of lost track of what Barbie -- my nemesis -- currently does for a living. Who can keep up with her lengthy laundry list of careers? However, I understand she's driving a brand new flashy, red Mustang, so apparently, whatever she's doin', she's makin' some decent coin.

Lord knows Ken ain't chippin' in on her fancy ride...freeloading boy toy that he is.

Yes, I truly dislike Barbie. Yet every year I feel compelled to call attention to her natal day in some way because, like her or not, she did play a part in my past-fleeting-now-done-flet youth even though I never owned a Barbie till I turned 30 (a gift for my inner child from my high school pal, Linda).

And I also always feel compelled to annually retell the heartwrenching saga of how my childhood best buddy, Valli, not only had a Barbie, she had the to-die-for Barbie Dream House, the Barbie car, Ken, Midge, Skipper -- the whole gang -- while I had only pudgy Little Miss Revlon, a dowdy Barbie wannabe cursed with thick ankles. And to add insult to injury, she wasn't brand new, she was a cast-off from my older sister.

But we still called it "playing Barbies". And like all little girls, we played Barbies all the time.

My favorite Barbie story, of course, is how my Mom finally bought me the cheap grocery store version of Barbie -- her name was Miss Babette -- and she eventually replaced Miss Revlon. However, to the degree that Miss Revlon was a frumpy prude with no real social life, Babs was an absolute out-of-control wild woman who liked to dance the night away to Brazil '66 records...until her crazy dance moves caused her left breast to cave in, hence, her party dress no longer fit properly, and her dance card was never full again.

Enter Babette's replacement, Tressy -- the amazing (blonde, of course) doll with hair that grew if you pushed in a button on her stomach and pulled on said hair. Tressy owned a groovy penthouse, but my mother never bought me one. Valli's older sister, Vicki, however, not only had a Tressy, but she had the damn penthouse, to boot. Oh, and you could color Tressy's hair with special markers which made her really cool.

And then, for my 11th birthday, my Mom gave me Barbie's "mod" cousin, Francie, with the long, brown hair and bendable legs.

Soon after, however, I discovered boys, and

Francie and her friends went bye-bye.

Which leads me to another special March 9th occasion that I still recall every year...

March 9, 1974.

That was the day that my high school beau, Bob, after declaring his undying love for me a month earlier, dropped me like a hot potato because, Bob inferred, I was boring compared to a new (and, apparently, exciting) girl named Shannon, whom (come to find out) he'd been seeing (behind my back) for a couple of weeks.

I can still picture it -- it was a beautiful, warm, sunny early-Spring Saturday in Madeira, Ohio...Bob and I were out walking, holding hands, when we sat down on the steps of the nearby elementary school for what I presumed was going to be a romantic chat. Instead, the jerk dumped me. He handed me back my class ring (which to this day still contains a trace of pancake batter from his job as a Perkins pancake flipper). I ever-so-calmly yanked off his class ring and, because I always handle(d) rejection well, promptly ground it into the cement, and then, smiling through the tears, threw the former symbol of Bob's undying love for me at him, and stomped off toward home.

And that, as they say, was that...except for me and my friends streaking (hey, it was the 70s) past Bob's house that night in my one, last ditch, desperate effort to show HIM who was boring!

Alas, Bob was in his basement chatting late into the night with Shannon, and missed the whole thing...

You know, in retrospect, Bob was not what one would consider even remotely handsome -- he had massively curly brown hair and was missing an upper left canine, as I recall. And when he smiled, he looked something akin to a clown. But by golly, he had a great sense of humor. He made me laugh like no other.

Until March 9, 1974, of course...which may well explain why, even now, while I may dislike Barbie, I hate clowns even more.

Friday, March 07, 2008


If either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton uses the word "vetted" one more time, I am going to scream.

"Obama should be vetted" this. "Clinton should be vetted" that.


We're all far too busy trying to survive our lives to have to drag out the Webster's or click on Wikipedia to understand what the hell the two candidates are saying should be done to (bottom line) disgrace each other.

Yes, I admit it. I am 51 years old, a fairly accomplished, fairly well-read word smith (if I do say so myself), and I had never even heard of the word "vetted" until this neck-and-neck horse race we've all come to know and love as the 2008 Raucous Road To The White House got down and dirty.

Imagine, me, a back-in-the-day-dyed-in-the-wool- sign-carrying- politico/activist having to look up the word "vetted".


And now, as is sometimes the case when one learns a new word, I hear or read the word "vetted" now in just about every news story regarding Barack and Hillary.

So for the sake of Joe Blow newspaper reader who, like me, may not be familiar with the term, let's put "vetting" in simpler layman's terms, shall we?

OK, here goes:

Vetting means appraising, examining, verifying, or checking for accuracy, authenticity, validity, etc.

In the case of our friends Barack and Hillary, of course, it basically means each digging up as much political or personal dirt on the other to prove to the voters before the Pennsylvania primary as to prove that he or she is not truly qualified to become the next president.

Frankly, I'd like to vet Hillary's "It's 3 a.m." ad...or, as I like to call it, the "Hillary In Disguise (With Glasses) scare/spin piece"...

I mean, how authentic is that picture of ol' Hill answering the White House landline at 3 a.m. , fully and professionally dressed, every hair in place, not a trace of smeared mascara ? Will she be sleeping standing up in the Oval Office from Day One?

Oh, well.

Vetting schmetting.

I'm going to bed. (So don't call ME at 3 a.m.)

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Fifteen years ago today, I was hugely pregnant, nervous, and anxiously awaiting my water to break.

My due date was Feb. 27, but, alas, our long-awaited baby boy had not yet arrived. And boy, were we ready...or so we thought...

I had nested till I could nest no more -- the baby's room was painted a comforting shade of blue, the cutsie/cozy Boynton farm animal border (with matching crib bumper, blanket and other accessories) was up, the baby clothes were lovingly washed in Dreft, folded and lay neatly (and all but alphabetized) in the baby's dresser. The hand-made changing table that John designed and built was bedecked with a perfectly fitted changing pad, and a month's worth of diapers were stacked and ready for duty.

Our house in Cincinnati was unbelievably organized and spotless, down to the practically- spit- polished bottom of the tea kettle on the stove. We'd been to childbirth classes, I had my hospital bag packed, the car was full of gas, the birth announcements were stamped and ready to mail. Oh, and have I mentioned that I had read, cover to cover, every pregnancy/infant-toddler care book I could get my pudgy, fluid-retaining hands on (including "What To Expect When You're Expecting" and 'What To Expect The Toddler Years")?

And then, finally, on March 2, 1993, Daniel John was born.

Fast-forward through 15 whirling dervish years.

Daniel's room needs a fresh coat of paint, and he's considering khaki with a U.S. Marines motif (over my dead body). His floor is dotted with piles of clean and dirty clothes (hard to tell which is which), hence, I am wondering why we even bother to offer him a dresser.

Our house in Iowa is unbelievably disorganized because March 1, 1993, was the last time my life was in any sense of order. And frankly, who has time to nest? Who has time -- or the desire -- for spit-spot cleaning? As for the bottom of my tea kettle...don't even go there. My last book read? Can't say that I've read a book from cover to cover for many a moon...I usually fall asleep midway through Chapter One.

However, I now understand why there is no book titled "What To Expect The Teenage Years"...if there was such a book, and anyone contemplating having children actually read it, NO ONE would have children. They would run, screaming, to the closest Planned Parenthood clinic for a lifetime supply of the surest form of birth control available...

But, as usual, I digress.

Truly, though, Daniel has reached his teen years in (yikes-a-roni!) the proverbial blink of an eye. Seems like only yesterday I was softly singing "You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine" to the little nipper as I lovingly rocked him and fed him his bottle. Today I just stand by and watch in loving amazement -- and amusement-- as the now-going-on-strapping-young-man jams out to "Slow Ride" via Guitar Hero III while wolfing down pizza and Gatorade.

In the blink of an eye, indeed.

(Where, oh, where is my copy of "Love You Forever"?)

In a little while, we are going shopping for track shoes. While in Carroll, we're picking up a driver's test study guide. Yes, I am finally facing the the inevitable -- Driver's Ed looms ahead this spring, and the kid is old enough to get his learner's permit. I don't know if they manufacture enough Xanax to get me through these next few years...

However, there are signs that I am actually adjusting, slowly but surely. Why, just last night, for the first time, I did not shed one tear -- my eyes were not one tiny bit moist, even -- when he walked out the front door, got in a car with a friend, and they drove off to a movie.

I prayed, but I didn't cry.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


An extra day this year is such a wonderful gift...

So what are you going to do with an additional 24 hours of life?

Leap into a new hobby? A new career? A new hair color? A new attitude? A new relationship?

My dear friend Suz, on the eve of our launching our own weekly newspaper (The West Central Valley Voice) a few years back, attempted to calm my nerves at the risk we were about to take by offering the Zen-like advice, "Leap and the net will appear".

In other words, take the chance, throw caution to the wind, jump into the endeavor, and it will all fall into place, it will all work out.

And she was right.

Our 2 1/2-year stint as newspaper "moguls" was a couple of the best 2 1/2 years of my life -- what a blast! What a journalistic labor of love! What an extraordinary and fulfilling challenge!

We later took another leap and started a news blog, the late, great Independent Eye, which (go figure) still attracts several readers a week even though there hasn't been a new post since we turned it over to our friend Peggy, and The Eye evolved into The Voices of Stuart (Iowa).

Actually, the Eye evolved from The Home Stretch, which I just sort of jumped into as well, and frankly, I can't remember how or why.... But these days, I can't imagine not blogging...it's helps keep my creative juices flowing...and it's just so darn fun being a part of the ever-expanding blogosphere...

Now, if you scroll down to the very bottom of the blog, you will see the "This Blog Brought To You By Leap And The Net Will Appear Enterprises". It's my little tribute to me and Suz and our Voice days...and to the act of leaping and jumping and trying something new and different and challenging despite the small, scared voice inside us that whispered, "Don't leap. Turn back. Give up. Don't try."

Of course, one does not have to wait for a Leap Year to throw one's self into a new, exciting endeavor, or change an attitude, a hair color or start a new hobby. But having a unique day like Feb. 29 where one is encouraged to delve into something out of the ordinary, makes it even more compelling to, well, just leap.

So what are you going to do with an additional 24 hours of life this Leap Day? Have you given it any thought?

Your net is waiting.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


First Germany.

Now India.

That live traffic widget I added to my blog recently has been more entertaining than a barrel of monkeys! I've had readers from California and Colorado, Mississippi, Florida...

But I gotta tell ya that when the little map of Faridabad, Haryana popped up the other night - WOW-E-ZING ( as my dear departed ol' dad used to say)!

Of course, my very first thought was, "Where the hell is Faridabad, Haryana? So I did what any blogger worth his or her weight in hits would do -- I Googled. Did you know that Faridabad, Haryana was in India? Heck, I didn't.

And to think someone from INDIA just happened to drop by my little ol' blog.

Heck, Schmeck, it's downright mind-bloggling!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Hillary, dahling, you're whining.

C'mon now, dear. Admit it.

If the tables were turned and your supporters were turning out in adoring rock-concert throngs to hear you speak or to just shake your hand, and you had won the last 9 caucuses and primaries, and folks were completely agog at your inspirational oratory abilities, then you'd deem that style of presidential campaigning as all fine and dandy -- the marks of the perfect Democratic candidate for prez.

But nooooooooo...

Since its Barack that's cleaning up at the polls right now, well, then, by golly, it's all just a bunch of pretty prose.


With all due respect -- and not to badger you after your Wisconsin defeat (ba-da-bump) -- but I just don't think voters are buying your petty argument.

I mean, is it so wrong that Barack has a heckuvalotta folks fired up about this election, about the chance to change the hopeless direction the country has been going for years? He's made his stances on the issues known...he's talked about what he envisions accomplishing as president...just as you have.

You both espouse change. His campaign trail stumping is just more inspiring.

You're like, "Yes! We Can!" He's like, "YES! WE CAN!"

Not worth the pout, though, dahling.

Be honest now...wouldn't you agree that if we all settle down a bit and look political campaigning by anyone straight in the eye, isn't every candidate, no matter what level of government, no matter what party, made up of just a little more blow than show? Even you? I mean, yes, theoretically, it's great that you have all that experience (and Bill has all that Oval Office experience to back you as well), and you say you'll be "ready day one" to dig in do all the stuff you're promising.

But couldn't that schtick just as easily be categorized as "empty rhetoric" ? I mean, let's be real...no one's presidency ever unfolds to the letter of their campaign. And yours, should you win, won't either.

My point, Hillary, dahling, is that your whole empty/borrowed word let's-turn-em-against-Barack/try-to-sully-his-speaking -skills campaign strategy does nothing but make you look, well, silly. And jealous. And desperate, dahling. Simply desperate.

And whiny.

And I know a whiner when I hear one -- cuz I am one, too. Just ask my sister. Or my friend, Carol R. Or, come to think of it, any one of my friends...

Anyway, dahling, take heart! It ain't over till it's over...there's still Texas and Ohio on the horizon...

So put on your big girl pants -- or, in your case, pant suit -- and quit whining.

Chin up! Shoulders back!

And remember, dahling, every time you point a finger at Barack accusing him of spewing empty rhetoric, there are three fingers pointing back at you.


Hoodie Hoo!

If, like me, you are absolutely sick of winter -- and who in the midwest/on the east coast isn't? -- then today is our day to rally!

It's Hoodie Hoo Day!

At some point today, everyone is supposed to run out and yell "Hoodie Hoo" and shoo winter away...(if only it were that simple).

If you feel like putting a little extra "hoodie" into your "hoo", make sure and wear a funky hat, colorful stretch pants, vest, and boots (like the obviously fun-loving Hoodie Hoo girls pictured) ...
Hey, don't laugh. Every little bit of Hoodie Hoo funk helps when it's below zippo.
Hoodie Hoo!

Friday, February 15, 2008


natalie dee

Say what you will about CBS Evening News' "silly girl" Katie Couric asking Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton (during the recent and now infamous 60 Minutes interview) if she pops vitamins to keep her stamina up and running...

Truth is, I had been wondering the very same thing...

I mean, how does Hillary do it? My golly, she's on the road or in the air 24/7, giving rousing, articulate "vote for me" speeches , debating our country's life and death issues, yucking it up with Letterman, and attempting to carve a chunk out of my man Obama's armor at every turn...yet her eyes never look tired, her hair always looks perfect, her smile never wanes (well, except for that one teary episode that won her New Hampshire)...

I think she did admit to giving up diet pop...and eating hot peppers or something...

My point -- and I do have one -- is that I'm at least 10 years younger than Hillary, and yet I can barely muster enough luster each day to drag my sorry butt out of bed, throw on a pot of coffe, mumble a few short words to my husband, shower, drive six short blocks to work where I spend my day sitting at a desk secheuling tv and appliance repairs, only to drag myself back home, eat supper, maybe toss in a load of laundry, say hello to my son, and crawl back into bed.

And I pretty much look like hell. 24/7.

I did buy some One A Day Vitamins for women over 50 the other day -- oy -- and I'm hoping they kick in here real soon.

By the same token, how does Hillary get to sleep? With the adrenaline jolts that must certainly come with the wacky world of presidential campaigning, how does she wind down and drift into a decent REM cycle?

I know she can't be taking Unisom at night -- she's too damn perky. I took one of those babies the other night and I was still sound asleep when I woke up the next morning. I suppose she could be taking Ambien, but with that comes all those possible side effects, like eating and driving in the middle of the night or whatever but not remembering it the next day...which would be risky business for a prez candidate.

I dunno.

What do presidential candidates do when they're weary but they can't get to sleep? Count delegates instead of sheep? Throw back a good, stiff slug of Nyquil?

Well, enough pondering. It's time for this ol' gal to hit the hay.

'See ya' in the morning's milk', as my dear ol' dad used to say. "And don't take any wooden nickels.'



Dig the live traffic feed in my sidebar.

Chantilly, VA....Washington, D.C....Rhode Island...Missouri...and of course Des Moines, Cincinnati and Huxley... and now, GERMANY! Whoa, baby!

Who are these folks? (OK, I know who Huxley is and am pretty sure who the Iowa and Cincinnati readers are...and I may even have an inkling about Virginia... but Washington, D.C.? (Perhaps it's GW!) Rhode Island?


Wow! It's like getting postcards from around the country, the world...with no signatures.

On one hand, I'm dying to know who everyone is, how they happened upon my little ol' blog, a blog based on the mental meanderings of a Midwest midlife mom...

On the other hand, I love the surprise and mystery of it all -- takes me back to my CB days (10-4 Good Buddy)...jawing nightly with people from hither and yon that I could hear but couldn't see...but I digress...

Anyway! I am thrilled with the live traffic feed and can't wait to scale more new geographical blogospherical heights! Meanwhile, feel free to leave a comment or two, folks!

Blogging....by golly, Molly, it's a great way to travel!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I swear to you that I really never intended to come home late from my friend Mary B's 50th birthday party, held last night at the posh Chez Coon Bowl III...

However, one's 50th birthday only comes around once, and I can't begin to describe how good it felt to spend, let's see...six hours laughing and singing and regaling each other with various stories from back in the day, including highlights from our formative career years when Mary and I were "cub" reporters in Carroll.

I told John and Daniel I'd most likely be home by 9 p.m. -- wayyy past my usual Saturday night bedtime (yawn) -- but apparently I was the only one of the three of us who actually believed I'd be home early. Shades, I suppose, of the empty "I'll be home by 10" promise I tossed out as I left for the office Christmas party just a few short weeks ago...

John tells me this morning that at about 11:45 last night, Daniel turned to him and said, "It doesn't look like Mom's going to be home by 9...to which John replied, "Did you really think she'd be home by 9?" To which Daniel replied, "No."

And, in my heart of hearts, I probably didn't actually think I'd be home early either...I mean, I don't get out much -- especially in the dead of a bone-chilling Iowa winter. And once my friend Diane A. and I started belting out the oldies -- she always wanted to be a Pip (as in Gladys Knight and the Pips, left) or a Supreme, and boy, does she have down pat the smooth vibes of The Spinners' (above, right, the guys in the funky blue pantsuits) "Then Came You" -- well, I was laughing so hard that I completely lost track of time.

No, that's a lie.

I knew darn well what time it was. But gosh, we were having fun...makes me think that maybe, just maybe, Sing-Along-Day at the raisin ranch (my niece's term for a nursing home) will be OK as long as Diane and I are either sharing a room or are just down the hall from each other...


The only disappointment of the evening was that Love Shack was not on any of the CDs that Dan The Bowling Alley Maestro had at his disposal. So (and I'm not sure whose idea this was...no, that's a lie -- it was my idea) we convinced Mary that at the ripe old age of 50, she just HAD to visit The Northside, the local trendy watering hole (no that's lie, too...the trendy part).

Sadly, there was no Love Shack to be found on that juke box, so we settled for Mary Wells' "My Guy", Cher's "If I Could turn Back Time" and The Eagles' "Lyin' Eyes".

(And since when did jukeboxes become so confusing? I could've sworn we pushed the buttons for John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane" but we never heard it.) I think Diane finally convinced me it was time to step away from the jukebox about 1 a.m.


Anyway, Happy Birthday Mary B! Fond memories, always! And heartfelt thanks to Mary's hubby, Mark, and their all-grown-up kids (and excellent hosts), HannaBananna and Ross, for inviting me!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hurry Spring....

Don't know if it's just cuz it's been a long winter, or because we are the parents of an only-and-almost-15-year-old son....

But as I blog, Daniel is at a basketball game with his friends (John once again allowed him to ride with friends to a game an hour away, and I am like, freakin' out) John is attempting to play Guitar Hero III (Slow Ride) at an ear-piercing level, and I am sipping wine and humming "Sunrise, Sunset"...

And they wonder why I'm a bit goofy at work...

Major confession: I am not growing old gracefully nor am I willingly learning to let go of my son as he seemingly overnight grows into manhood.

God, no one ever tells you about the transition, how tough it is...

I lived several states away from my dad and step-mom when I was but a year or so older than Daniel -- how did my Dad stand it? How did he live day to day not knowing where I was or what I was doing? The house feels so empty when Daniel isn't here....and as much as I complain about the hours he spends on the computer, I can't stand the sight of the computer dark and the chair empty...

(Great...John just came out of the bedroom with a hat and sunglasses -- looking somewhat like John Belushi as one of the Blues Brothers -- and here we go with yet another attempt at Slow Ride....Wait! He's goin' for Hit Me With Your Best Shot...my apologies to Pat Benetar...he's getting booed off the stage...lol

Oh, and by the way, not to change the subject, but...will someone please explain to me how the late Heath Ledger "accidentally" ingested a lethal cocktail of valium, oxycotin, xanax and whatever the fourth prescription drug was?...Good Lord...even my late grandmother in late stages of dementia knew better than to take too many sleeping pills at one time...I'm sorry, but I just don't believe it was "accidental". Sad, very sad...

And what's with Hillary and her $5 million donation to her campaign? And my man Obama was able to raise over $7 million in just a couple of days? Wow. Abe Lincoln could not afford to run for president if he were alive today...

Looks like it's so-long to the Mittster...talk about sinking millions into a lost cause -- and he'll never even miss the money...

Politics Schmolitics...

Hmm...John is really wailin' to Mississippi Queen...

I think it's time for me to say goodnight, Gracie.

Sweet Dreams.

Happy 1st Birthday, Mimi and Pearl!

OK, so neither Mimi's nor Pearl's ears stick straight up, and they are both too down to earth to wear a FUR for cryin' out loud -- even when going out on the town to celebrate their 1st birthday. But I LOVED this pic -- sort've an artist's rendition, as it were, of what The Girls might look like IF they did don a fur coat...So, Angie, how would you describe their first year? LOL Happy Birthday to Mimi and Pearl! You go, girls!

(Truth be known, their actual birthday was Feb. 6...I just couldn't get any 'puter time to post...brother Max, I see, spent his birthday running free and stopping cars on 6th Avenue once again...not sure what brother Nate was up to...yes, half the rat terriers -- Jack Rats, actually -- in this town are siblings to our darlings, Mimi and Pearl. Angie tells me Pearl enjoyed a little bacon grease on her kibbles, and Mimi....well, she got a new bone and some bacon-and-cheese Beggin' Strips...)

Friday, February 01, 2008


Had lunch with one of my colorful and crazy coworkers today who shared with me the following letter she not only wrote, but threatened to send to her three sons' teachers if they didn't shape up...


What mother -- especially a mother of a son/sons -- hasn't felt this way at one time or another?

Omigosh! This letter says it all -- honestly, beautifully and hilariously -- so I had to post this baby immediately upon arriving home from work this evening...

It's even funnier read after a glass Sweet Willey wine -- or a beer -- or any other adult beverage that tickles your fancy after a long week at work/parenthood...enjoy!

"To Whom It May Concern:

I am putting my foot down when it comes to my 3 boys. Until they are able to appreciate what I do for them and realize that I was not put here to make them miserable, I am going on strike.

Please do not confuse this with my love for them. It is because I love them that I will no longer allow them to be lazy, ungrateful and unhelpful while walking around with fewer manners than a monkey. I no longer want to hear all the jokes about bodily functions, or “Hey Mom, pull my finger.” Seriously, for those that have daughters, is that what you want them to marry?

So this is a letter is to prepare you for what you may see when it comes to my boys at this time.

If you happen to see my boys in dirty clothes, it is not because I was not doing laundry, it is because they were too lazy to bring their clothes to the laundry room, or because they were not able to get to their closet or drawers because their rooms are a victim of Hurricane Testosterone and Clean Up Estrogen is not coming.

If they appear hungry it is not from lack of food. I make sure there is a meal each night; however, I quit my job as a short order cook. The tips were lousy, and the thank you is non-existent. I believe I was told as a mom this was my job. I asked for the official job description of Mother. I just got a blank look in return.

My kids also may be surrounded by a cloud of “funk”. This is due to the fact that I am no longer going to verify after each shower that they used soap on their bodies, instead of decorating the shower walls with it. I see this also diminishing their circle of friends.

During the cold season please do not be alarmed when you see one or all of my boys in shorts. I was tired of telling them to put something warmer on and having to explain what happens when you expose skin to 0 degree weather. If a 9, 10 & 13 year old can’t make the connection between winter and cold after 1,000 attempts to explain it, one day of freezing should make them say, “Hey, that lady that lives here does know what she’s talking about.”

I realize that boys are usually covered in bruises due to normal boy games such as football, wrestling, jumping from the roof of the house pretending they are superman. However, you may notice more bruises or a couple of black eyes now. I got tired of intervening in the “He’s touching me” or “He’s looking at me” game. A couple of punches from their brother should end this game.

This may seem extreme to some of you. By some of you, I mean the ones that have no children, or have Dr. Phil as a best friend and aspires to be like June Cleaver. Again, I would like to reiterate I love my boys and as a result of this, one day their future wife (who is probably the girl in their class, whose hair they keep putting worms in) will thank me for raising a son that is so willing to help around the house and appreciates what they do.

I may one day receive a Thank You from my 3 boys, for all that I do for them; however, rest assured, you will know when this day arrives, because pigs will be flying over Coon Rapids."

Amen, Sistah!