Fall is upon my garden of neglect. As I gaze around and wonder where the summer went, I am truly grateful I have a drought tolerant garden, a survival of the fittest assortment placed randomly in my “try- it-three-places” method of transplanting. The greatest surprise this year: the Irish eyes, towering over me and prolifically holding their own against the cup plants. The little redbud tree, now yellow-brown, has hung in throughout another summer, shading the dog in 3 square feet amidst a scattering of withered, renegade tiger lily’s and purple phlox. For now I am happy to gaze at the branches where birds hide and hope they will return to nest someday. I wish to acknowledge all my friends and relatives who have gifted me with plants for my garden and wish them joy this fall.



The heady scent girl-person-human-childThe heady scent after the rain… I stuck my head out the door to let the dog in tonight and the fabulous clean smell hit me and it felt so good.
What is it about the smell after the rain; with all the stinky, dusty moldy stuff in the air before the rain, not to mention dog and cat poop, I would think it would smell worse after being wet. If this could scent could be bottled and sold; I have never had an air freshener like this. I’m going out to breathe again while it lasts!

Someone I know went out to trim their hedges.

Someone I know went out to trim their hedges. Taking proper precautions, and doing a nice job, he/she suddenly cut the heavy duty cord with a loud “pop.” Going to replace the cord was costly, but it had to be done. Upon returning home with the 25 ft. orange cord, while striding toward the hedge, it suddenly became apparent to the worker that this cord was too short. Undaunted, he/she (I’m trying not to name names) returned to the store and bought the 50ft. version. Back home again the work continued, although careful, in a few minutes there was another “pop” as this cord became entangled in the hedge trimmer teeth and was cut too. It was a hard day. Continue reading

Vietnam Vets…Thank you for serving!

I saw posted on Facebook the other day, the anniversary of the Vietnam War ending. It sparked a lot of emotions, remembering all the people I knew who gave their lives for our country: Lester Kerstin, Dave Fitzgerald, Bob Curran, the special forces soldier who stayed with our family for one night as a guest of my college aged brother (whose name I cannot remember, but I can still see his smiling face, tanned skin and blond hair topped with the beret), but definitely recall being told of his ultimate sacrifice.  I also remembered all the soldiers who bore the scars of the military life: the victims of Agent Orange, those who suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, the amputees and all the other effects of war. The emotional scars of public and private rejection by some for answering the draft or volunteering to do their duty for God and country still remain. May God forgive us as a nation for not taking better care of our veterans. There is nothing any of us can do to repair the damage but ask for forgiveness right now and stand up for greater governmental assistance to veterans of all wars and support organizations such as The Wounded Warrior Project.  Continue reading

25 World War 2 Heroes Who Put Their Lives On The Line

Glimpses of WWII  are plentiful on YouTube. The above title gives only 25 of the heroes who saved lives. Here is the link for a quick description of acts of courage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xxe9fcyoDiE

One of these heroes, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty was featured in a movie played by Gregory Peck, The Scarlet and the Black (1983); here is the link to the trailer:


This is one movie I will never forget.

Has anyone seen it? How did you like it? Are there any  other sites you could suggest?



There is a wealth of historical documentaries, movies and shorts concerning virtually any period in history, available on the Internet, especially on YouTube. (Note: “shorts” were shown in the theatres before the general public had television sets as another way to see more news; the kids had cartoons before a kids show and the adults had shorts before the movie.)  People who grew up as “Baby Boomers” may or may not remember the short news broadcasts, fifteen minutes, which chronicled the days events not only in the U.S. but internationally as well. Fifteen minutes of total quiet in front of the television, as parents paused to see and hear the news as an update to their daily newspaper and radio news. This is beyond a trip down proverbial memory lane. For some of us, it is learning history in depth at a leisurely pace. Join me as I pop up interesting links as I delve into history to stimulate discussion. This week’s topic is WWII.

 Don’t’ Be a Sucker Post-WW2 Anti-Fascist Educational Film | Don’t Be a Sucker | 1947


Feel free to leave your opinions and perhaps suggest other links.


Reflections on Father’s Day…Dad was brave!


During the 50’s a man’s job was to bring home the bacon and rule the roost. My Dad was not an exception. He did have a special chair like Archie Bunker, but that is where the similarities ended. A quiet man, and a voracious reader, he read at least 3 and 4 newspapers a day to get all sides of the news stories of Chicago and the world. Every night he would arrive home, settle down with a beer and a cigarette while devouring the news. Meanwhile Mom put the finishing touches on dinner, watching the clock until a suitable amount of time for relaxing had passed, before she would call the family to the table.

After dinner he would usually talk to me, when he was relaxed and everyone else had scattered.  He would move to the front room and watch the news, chain smoke and leave later to get the late breaking newspaper, which he attempted to read over the noise of the family and the television until bedtime. Life was pretty good.

Fast forward, to the late 60’s, when esophageal cancer threatened to leave him without a larynx.  This was a disaster with epic ramifications for a salesman, husband and father of four. He did recover from cancer and was clear for 5 years which the Dr. attributed to prayer because Dad intermittently continued to smoke.

My Mother, with the best of intentions, periodically would corner us (and other relatives) to talk to him about giving up smoking. Nothing anyone could say or do would make him stop smoking, but we didn’t know why. This was before it came to light the tobacco industry planned to keep people hooked. http://time.com/3016961/23-6-billion-lawsuit-winner-to-big-tobacco-are-you-awake-now/

In 1979, he entered the hospital because he could no longer swallow. Test revealed the scar tissue from the cancer treatments had virtually closed his throat off to the size of a pencil tip. After I visited him the call came; he had suddenly passed away. His second wife said he just slipped away while she had left the room and found him with a big smile on his face.

A few weeks passed when Dad’s former hospital roommate phoned to inquire how my Dad was doing after his throat surgery. There was a stunned silence on the other end of the phone as she delivered the news he had suddenly passed away.  The roommate then revealed my Dad had made a pact with him. Dad would stop smoking forever if he would come back to the Catholic Church and the sacraments. My Dad was braver than I can even imagine.



A Great Book…

I wish I had read this book years ago: Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, by Ellen Notbohm. It would have enhanced my relationship with my grandchild who has Autism. Now I get it! No wonder he is uncomfortable and retreats to his bedroom; he probably can’t stand the noise in the room. Now I can sit back, relax and enjoy the moments he chooses to be in my presence, either at the table, or outside in the yard. We can sit in the present moment.

I now understand why he loves Macaroni and Cheese. He takes great delight in receiving a box for a gift and I make sure he doesn’t see it until there is an immediate opportunity for it to be cooked and consumed. I even secretly give the gift to his parents or brother to hide for an appropriate time or even another day. I no longer have to see him open it and disrupt everything. My joy is a lot like being a secret Santa. I know that whenever he receives it he will be as joyful as a Cub fan sitting at the World Series. I want to make this clear to all who care deeply about a child with Autism: do not rush out and by boxes of Macaroni and Cheese. That is not the secret to pleasing your special loved one; that is only one of my grandchild’s preferences.

All children are different, even children with Autism. As a result of reading this book I now observe how he behaves and remember what clues I picked up from Notbohm about Autism. Then I can start to unravel how I can attempt to communicate effectively in the future. This book gives me hope!


I didn’t see it coming…

After dinner I jumped in the car and took the dog with me to the store. I ran into Mario’s to get ground beef, and a tomato for BLT, arriving at the checkout gloating over the Boneless Sirloin Roast at only $2.99 a lb.,  which was cheaper than the ground beef at $3.99!  In my haste I forgot the L, of the BLT’s; I had to cruise the vegetable aisle making a decision romaine or iceberg while my groceries sat on the scanner belt and then I snuck over to get some Italian bread and a single banana. Entering the car, I threw my packages on the seat and wondered how the bill could be over 11 bucks. Mentally I added it up, realizing I had bought extra items however still pulled the receipt out and discovered I had been charged $1.99 for the lettuce. I gasped. Oh no, I thought, did I  pay $1.99 for a head Iceberg of lettuce?  I think it was $1.29 on the sign, I mused. Well that is still 70 cents, I think I’ll go in and check, because 70 cents is still 70 cents. (A Grandchild of The Depression thought process). I jump out of the car and quickly tell the dog I will be right back. Leaving the dog in the car, I realize how really good she is: no embarrassing barking or howling while I’m in the store, no ripping up the upholstery, very trustworthy. As I hurried back in to Mario’s I remembered how I had taken her to the Farmer’s Market that morning to socialize her; to get her used to walking through a crowd.  She does bark at the band as they play but the band had stopped. Even though people ask me if their kids can pet her I always decline, because she is a shelter dog and I’m not sure how she is around all children yet. Even a kind dog can turn from a loving pet into an animal at moment’s notice. I breeze through the store to the produce, and check the sign. Darn the lettuce was $1.99. Oh well, I turn around and leave and the clerk looks at me quizzically as if to say ‘no purchase?” I go out to the car, hit the automatic button and as the light goes on I see my good dog in the front seat, head bent over the bag, and it hits me! Oh no, the sirloin tip roast! My dog has turned into an animal in an instant!!! All this for a 70 cent price check…Lol…#shelter dog#budget#bargain


Has this happened to you…

Last week I was shocked when I went to the Doctor’s office for a very minor procedure (which I won’t tell you what because of HIPA) and as the nurse went to leave the room she asked me a few questions.

Did I have a Living Will?

Did I have a Medical Power of Attorney appointed?

Did I have a “Do Not Resuscitate” directive (the kind stuck on the refrigerator so in case the ambulance is called and I am not breathing they would know not to resuscitate me if I so desired).

I finally asked why you are asking me this. I paused and waited for the answer, because frankly there was not any sedation involved in this procedure, it was that minor. The reason given was the government requires the Doctors’ offices to ask these questions for the “Meaningful Use Guidelines.” If the office does not comply the Doctors get dinged on their payments.

Personally I felt like Big Brother was watching. For those too young to know about Big Brother, it is not a new rock or rap group. Big Brother refers to the government and not in the nicest context. The term surfaced right around the time the world was extremely worried about Communism, the USSR, and being under government surveillance, as was happening in Communist nations in the 50’s 60’s on the heels of the fall of Hitler’s Germany and mass extermination of the Jews ,the disabled, and other groups like Catholics.

In my Baby Boomer opinion, it’s really no one’s business to ask me if I have these things in place or not. I am an adult. I have an attorney. That is my business.

What is really interesting is the control the government is trying to exercise over the Doctors in this country.  That is my business; I am a voter and this is my government. I never agreed to ding my Doctor if they chose not to ask me these questions.

The question is: What is going on in this country? A medical professional is rendering a service, and now they are getting penalized on payments? How is the government going to know who they asked and who they didn’t?

I thought things were private between a Doctor and a patient. Apparently that is not the case if these records are being tracked and scrutinized.

I’d like to hear your opinion!

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