Posts Tagged ‘Walmart’


Lessons Learned from a Pandemic…

I’m sure all of you could write this little post better than I, but here are my observations so far:

  1. I have really bad breath.
  2. Bad breath didn’t use to bother me that much.
  3. Thanks to wearing masks, I now understand why people don’t want to be close to me.
  4. Based on what I’m smelling, I need to brush my teeth…..all waking hours of the day.
  5. I have a really small face.
  6. Most masks are made for giants.
  7. My reading glasses are fighting a war for dominance with my masks because of # 5.
  8. The jury’s out on who will win # 7.
  9. All of the above fogs up my glasses.
  10. Pinching the nose piece on my mask does little to avoid # 9.
  11. I need a new closet in my new home for hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, bleach-based cleaner, masks, and toothpaste.
  12. Make that 2 closets.
  13. Maybe one will do since the store is out of most of the items in # 11.
  14. I need another refrigerator for Pepsi Zero Sugar, distilled water, Skinny Cow Pretzel bars, Diet Coke, Diet Ginger Ale, and Snapple. In other words, if it’s an unhealthy drink, I need an 18-month supply of it.
  15. I won’t need the extra fridge because the store is also chronically out of the above items, as well.
  16. It may be time to stop the auto-refill orders on my sleep aids, heart pills, and arthritis pain control supplements. I have enough to last me until the apocalypse or another pandemic, whichever comes first.
  17. God and I may have to have a discussion about allowing a pandemic the same year as a U.S. election. Oh…wait. Maybe that’s His idea of an apocalypse.
  18. I spend more money at the grocery store when I know I have to stay in my home all the time.
  19. I spend more money when I order my groceries online.
  20. The UPS lady is now delivering dog biscuits to my doorstep.
  21. The dog biscuit recipient can sniff a hidden dog biscuit a mile away and will move large parcels with her nose with little regard for the contents of the parcel.
  22. After getting her dog biscuit, the recipient winds up in her crate because she broke the box contents.
  23. The recipient can now run 2.5 miles in 13 minutes flat in cold weather.
  24. The recipient runs the same 2.5 miles in 22 minutes in hot weather.
  25. The recipient’s owner walks the same 2.5 miles in 40 minutes, regardless of the weather.
  26. Clearly, we need to get the owner some dog biscuits, preferably Pepsi Zero sugar-flavored.
  27. I have now turned naps into an art form.
  28. I have just about completed all the sudoku and fill-it-in books at Dollar General.
  29. I cannot be trusted with phone versions of the games in # 28 because that’s all I want to do.
  30. That’s all I want to do because I have seen everything on HBO at least 10 times now.
  31. I’m beginning to think that perhaps I have been hypnotized and brainwashed by Keith Ranieri after watching The Vow and Seduced.
  32. Where is Survivor???? How more socially-distanced can you be in Fiji???
  33. I now want a facial mask for every occasion.
  34. I don’t know why I want # 33 since I go absolutely nowhere.
  35. I’m suddenly in hot demand for consultations and mentoring relationships. My diagnosis for all of them? Cabin fever.
  36. Cabin fever is very aptly named if you live in a cabin.
  37. A pandemic is expensive–We have upped our data plan; I have subscribed to who knows how many streaming plans; and a Zoom subscription is probably in my future if I can’t connect with some people soon.
  38. Spotify is next on the subscription list.
  39. I have completed 23 reading plans on the YouVersion app, including the “Bible in 90 Days” plan.
  40. I AM going to earn that Advent Reading Plan completion badge to make # 39 tally to 24 by the end of the year.
  41. I don’t think God is impressed by an Advent Reading Plan completion badge.
  42. I STILL haven’t finished editing my book.
  43. I blame the lack of Pepsi Zero Sugar in stores for the failure in # 42.
  44. Therefore, Walmart is keeping me from finishing the book.


My Favorite Things: Keurig Machines



If you followed my posts on FB prior to the start of MIP, then you know that I have been a long-time supporter of Keurig machines. I confess that I’m pretty picky about my coffee in the morning–it can’t be too strong or too weak; I prefer Hazelnut coffee to all other flavored versions; and any syrup or creamer additives can’t taste “cheap.” That last part is a standard offering at most fast food establishments and convenience stores, unfortunately.

Until the Keurig machine I couldn’t find a cheaper alternative to my favorite coffee place: Starbucks. The hubby calls Starbucks “Starcrooks” due to the excessive amount of money charged for a Hazelnut latte and I tend to agree with him. Thus, about the only time I allow myself this luxury is when my darling family gives me gift cards for my “hallowed” coffee shop.

That is, until I discovered Keurig machines.  And I happened upon them unexpectedly. In fact it was an accident. It was probably around 2007, but it may have been sooner, honestly!


What My Cell Phone Says About Me…

Hand holding mobile smart phone

Warning: Get your favorite beverage first. 

I am a relatively recent convert to the whole smart phone concept. I really liked my razor phone. It was pretty and I never once butt-dialed with it. It fit very discreetly in my jeans pocket, so that I could tell when it was ringing, even if I was in the world’s most boring meeting. I was a fairly proficient T9 texter, too, thanks to 3 teenagers who rarely talk on their phones–only text.

But, it finally became a huge inconvenience not to have the ability to access email and the internet on my razor, so I finally gave it up and got an Android smart phone. If the thing could talk (and no, I prefer only to hear the voices in my head and not Siri’s), it might tell you this:

1. MaryAnn likes color-coordinated cell phone cases. Mine is red because I once had a red Explorer. I wanted the phone to match the car. Which brings me to # 2…

2. There are too many blah-colored phones in the world. In a mass of phones I can always find my red one in about 2.2 seconds.


Shopping List for Today’s College Student…

dorm room

In my tiny town we have no Target. We barely have department stores–the ones we have are “economy-sized”. And trendy clothes stores are few and far between. There is no Container Store, to my dismay. And we live in a college town, where the college grows by leaps and bounds each year. To add to my annual shopping misery, we happen to be the county seat for our rural county. Thus, back-to-school shoppers abound at pretty much one store–Walmart. To go to Walmart at this time of year is to invite oneself to a demolition derby of human beings. I learned a loooooooooooooong time ago that one should not get between a mother and the last wide-ruled 3-subject spiral notebook in the joint.

While I can largely avoid the school supply aisle now that my kids are all past adolescence, one college student remains. And if you think it’s painful to shop for 3 elementary or junior high school students at this time of year, wait until you see what a college student now requires!


54 Things You Have to Say Goodbye to When You’re 54…

reading glasses

MIP Book Clubbers: Please don’t take this as permission to club a book. Go here to see the July MIP Book Club Selection and my suggested reading plan!

Warning: War and Peace was shorter.

Last week a hilarious post by Kristen Lee splashed across my FB feed about the things one must say goodbye to once you’re 27. Since my eldest and his compadres are all 27, it just seemed so true of the single gals from his graduating class. Click here to see what I mean. But, after picking myself off the floor from laughing so hard, I realized that Kristen may be even more irritated once she knows what a woman gives up by the time she’s twice that age…which I am. So, Kristen? Here’s my list of what you can look forward to when you’re twice your current age:

1. The original color of your hair. By 54 you’re going to have at least 1 gray hair. Thus, that beautiful ebony, auburn, or bleach blonde hair of your youth is not the same set of hair. Even if you elect to return to the hair of your youth via your hairdresser or the hair color aisle at Wally World, it won’t be the same hair color…trust me.

2. The texture of your hair. What used  to be silky and strong is now replaced by stubborn, weak and dull hair. Yes, Virginia you can use products to slow down this process, if you’re Oprah.

3. Any disposable cash now freed up from your kids being out of the nest. The products in # 1 and # 2 cost big bucks. So, does your kids’ college education, even if their brain surgeons in training, gifted athletes or musical child prodigies. And don’t forget he extra storage building you need for storing all of your kids’ stuff which keeps returning home…often with them.

4. Perky chests. This is one of those things that happens when you give birth. No one tells you that and for good reason. It’s downright depressing. There’s a reason why I moved to the south…to be with my chest again.

5. Bras without underwire. See # 4. I swear a man developed these torture chambers and then put the extra padding in the ones that require a small home equity loan to purchase.

6. Your waistline. Gone forever are the days when you can consume an entire family-sized bag of chips and not have it add inches to your middle region. Which, brings me to # 7.

7. Comfortable underwear. Those cutesy bikini and thong numbers don’t look so hot next to cellulite and stretch marks. And I don’t care how many sit-ups, crunches, or weights you endure during the day, there’s still going to be some lurking around somewhere. Thus, you procure Spanx to stuff all of the above back where it used to be and pray for three things: That the event requiring such attire will move along quickly, that you don’t get hungry, and that the temperature at said event is sub-arctic. This leads me to # 8.

8. Chronically being chilly or comfortable. Thanks to homicidal hormone fluctuations, you get to experience hot flashes and night sweats. Hot flashes would be more accurately described as internal explosions requiring either a team of firefighters or a firing squad. Night sweats are more aptly described as wet jammy alarm clocks.

9. Sleeping soundly. This usually ends around the time the first child arrives, who is hungry and wet nearly non-stop for the first 4 months of his or her life. Once the little dickens finally learns how to sleep through the night, you then lay awake thinking something is drastically wrong because Junior isn’t waking you up every 15 minutes. Then, as you adjust to that little novelty, they introduce you to the nighttime onslaught of all childhood illnesses and infections that generally include projectile vomiting. After they finally get some immunity to some of these horrendous things, they start driving at night and dating. Since you can recall what you did while driving at night and dating yourself, you never sleep again until you get to the homicidal hormone fluctuations. See # 8 for why you don’t sleep after that.

10. Only worrying about yourself. I don’t care if you never marry or never have kids. By this stage in your life you start having to take care of your aging relatives and as a result, you worry about their health, their finances, their sanity, etc., etc., etc.

11. Having a brain. At the precise time in your life when you need to worry about the entire planet (because you’re in the “sandwich phase” of your life) and its well-being, your brain will decide to take a permanent vacation without you. Mine must have gone to Bonga-Bonga-land. All I know is that there’s no decent cell reception in Bonga-Bonga-land.

12. Not having to take any pills. Currently, my rather large plastic basket is overflowing with pill bottles. Why? Because your body starts falling apart after the babies arrive. And if you want to save money on pills, you buy them in the large economy-sized bottles that eventually require an even bigger organizer. I sense a vicious circle here.

13. Being able to fit all of your daily meds into a small pill organizer when you travel. See # 12. This also happens because of # 11. You have to either put all of the bottles in your luggage and pray that TSA doesn’t think you’re transporting drugs to Cartagena or you have to have a “Morning/Noon/PM/Bedtime” organizer that looks like Elfa shelving on steroids.

14. Reading anything without the use of glasses. Hillary Clinton was wrong. The vast right winged conspiracy is that when you hit 40, everything is suddenly written in microscopic, blurry print.

15. Having elastic skin. One day you see Sexy Sandy in the mirror and the next day, Saggy Sue ensues. And it’s hard to find Spanx for my toes, thumbs and face. At least ones I can afford.

16. Being carded. No one under the age of 50 is going to think you’re under 21. If you pull out your ID to buy liquor, they’ll just openly guffaw that you’re still breathing.

17. Going to Disney movies by yourself. If you do, people start checking their pedophile locator apps on their phones while periodically glancing back at you with a very concerned look.

18. Knowing how to operate your TV. About every 5 minutes someone invents an even more complex set of black and gray boxes that need to be tuned, set and programmed with about 5 different remotes with microscopic print on the keypads. See # 14.

19. Knowing how to operate anything involving a battery or charger cord. Again, see # 14 and # 11. Since my generation wasn’t born with a cell phone in our hands, even in the wealthiest of homes, our fast-dying, hormonal brain cells are not helpful here at all.

20. Hearing anything the first time it’s said. Why? We got our music the old-fashioned way by blaring it on our car stereos and by hearing it at rock concerts. Of course, it could have been the fact that I could only afford tickets in the nosebleed section and thus, got a little extra bang for my ticket buck. I got all the peripheral “haze” in the upper atmosphere at my favorite arenas. Those who have been to concerts in the 70s know exactly what I mean. Maybe that is why I no longer have any brain cells? But I didn’t inhale!

21. Joints that work properly. Either because of a sports injury from our youth or just because we picked up those toddlers one too many times, suddenly every joint in your body complains loudly at being still for more than 15 minutes at a time. And if you do move those joints more often than that, they complain about that, too.

22. Snickering about the Depends ads on TV. You are the Depends ad.

23. Being fashionable. What I think is cute my daughter thinks is “grandma-looking.” Don’t know when I lost my fashion sense, but maybe it went with the brain cells to Bonga-Bonga-land.

24. Being cool. Once Aerosmith shows up on the “Classics” station, that “ship” has done sailed.

25. Having a day where all of your body cooperates. The days of going 9 hours between car trip pit stops are gone. So is going without the pain reliever du jour.

26. Having money to spend on yourself. All my money goes for wedding presents and baby presents, too. Why? Because the children of my friends are all getting married and having babies. So, just like Sting, my money isn’t going to my kids, either. It’s going to their friends.

27.  People thinking you’re useful. Around the time you finally learn to do a pile of stuff well, no one cares. Well, maybe the dog. But no one is listening to her, either.

28.  Having only 1 doctor. When the body decays, the health problems multiply. When they multiply, they require specialists. When they require specialists, your insurance won’t cover it entirely.  Which leads me to # 29.

29. Fun telephone conversations. You’re usually on the phone with a doctor, his or her receptionist, an insurance company, a funeral home or a telemarketer.

30. Fun cars. I tried putting a car seat in a Pontiac Trans Am. Once. I tried chauffeuring the entire team to the away soccer game in my sedan. Once. I tried putting my eldest’s entire room in my minivan. Once. Now I just settle for fun SUVs with a trailer hitch and a luggage rack.

31. Evaluating new car purchases on engine size, acceleration speed, and nifty hubcaps. Now I evaluate them on air conditioned and heated seats, wider wheels and better suspensions.

32. Saturdays being fun. Instead you are usually repairing some part of your house that’s broken, remodeling some part of your house that’s broken, getting your oil changed or arguing with one more person on the phone about your lack of insurance.

33. All of your important papers fitting into 1 box. You can thank the U.S. government for that.

34. Being irresponsible. The day they put a baby in your arms at the hospital and tell you to take it home is the day you start thinking about life insurance and wills. You also stop speeding in your new practical car and start eating better. Eventually, you even start exercising. That is probably when I stopped being cool, hunh?

35. Not sounding like your mother. See # 34.

36. Criticizing other people’s lack of parenting skills. About the time your little darling puts your Jimmy Choos in the toilet, you realize maybe you didn’t know what you were talking about anyway when you saw brats in the next booth over at your favorite restaurant.

37. Believing in self-help books. Unfortunately, self-help books are usually written by people who think that all of us are carbon copies of each other. This applies to all parenting books, too. The day I threw out the parenting books is the day I finally became a little better parent.

38. Not screaming at people. Because of your bad hearing and because Junior put the Jimmy Choos in the toilet, eventually you lose whatever composure used to be your style.

39. Not wearing slippers at night. One midnight step on a Lego or Barbie shoe and that’ll end that. Now I wear army boots when I walk into the “combat zone.”

40. Sexy swim suits. Unless made by Spanx, I’m not going anywhere beachy in anything less than a tankini…covered by a really large pair of shorts.

41. Cut-offs. They just look stupid with cellulite. And now you can afford an actual pair of shorts.

42. Spicy food. Sweetie, you don’t want to know. Trust me on this one.  I never knew my 2 mortal enemies were going to be onions and jalapenos in my 50s.

43. Short trips to the bathroom after a dinner of spicy food. I now take a new novel with me every time. It’s amazing how short those things are these days.

44. Living for months on end without having to unclog your toilet. See # 42.

45. Being amoral. See # 34. I actually rejoiced the day the youngest left for college because I could, again, use the s word if I stubbed my toe. Unfortunately, when I did eventually stub my toe, I couldn’t remember the s word. See # 11.

46. Eating dinner at a fashionable hour. See # 42.

47. Pulling all nighters to learn new material. There’s two reasons for this: a) You’ve already learned it. b) You’ve already forgotten it by 8 am the next morning.

48. Having empty closets, drawers, and cabinets. The entire world stores their stuff at my house…rent-free. Actually, it’s worse. I inherited it and foolishly thought my kids would appreciate “collectibles and antiques.”  Note to Self: Call Hoarders Anonymous next Saturday.

49. Laughing at the Life Alert commercials. Now, I’m taking notes and paying attention to when those suckers are on sale.

50. Listening to the TV at a normal volume. See # 20.

51. Thinking that you have to have the perfect spouse. I’ll just settle for being dependable, being brilliant in a crisis and having great health insurance.

52. Thinking you will retire before you die. Have you met our U.S. government?

53. Not caring about who is running our country. See # 52.

54. A good day being getting a raise. A good day now is any day I’m not in the hospital or not spending a Saturday talking to an insurance company.

Friday’s Post: More Points to Ponder

You Might Also Like: Even Web Sites Get Spam; The Effect of “Other Women”The Odd Days of June; Lessons Learned from a Family Vacation and The Odd Days of May


Even Web Sites Get Spam….


Warning: Get 2 of your beverages first.

Thanks to the DSL, you never see all the spam I get here at MIP on a daily basis. Today, so far, I have received 58. And that’s every day of every week of every month. Thankfully, my handsome DSL has rigged up a system that allows me to click just one button and delete them all, but I still have to do that every day of every week of every month.

One of the banes of my existence is that I’m excessively curious, so of course, I can’t just click on the handy, dandy button. No, I actually go and look at this massive file and chuckle at what people/organizations/evil empires think will get past the spam filter to actually make it on my blog as a comment or email to me. They are making some really interesting assumptions about my blog and who I am.  My only fear in posting these themes and assumptions is that my site will now get flagged as spam itself by people who don’t take the time to read my blog posts. As far as I’m concerned, they belong to the evil empires, too.

1. Jewelry stores in Edmonton and Toronto. Ummm…I live in Texas and when I want to buy jewelry, I like to try it on and look at it in person. Call me crazy, but it might be difficult to do that easily in another country thousands of miles from my home.

2. Car dealers in St. Louis and Des Moines. Like # 1, these folks need some geography lessons.

3. Cooking systems. Here’s my cooking system: Make a reservation.

4. Chinese banks. Since the Chinese already have enough U.S. currency, I think I’ll keep my money elsewhere. Besides, I don’t know how to type those funny alphabet symbols into my browser bar.

5. Fashion designers. Yes, I do have a subscription to In Style. How I got it I have no idea. I tend to think it’s due to an April Fool’s Day prank, because what I don on most days comes from the fashion web site called Le Walmarte. What do I do with the In Style magazine? Toss it in my designer waste basket from Le Walmarte Home Couture Boutique.

6. Addiction recovery sites. This one I do understand a little bit. I do make reference to being trained as a counselor. When I worked on my master’s in this area, my classmates and I were continually encouraged to determine who we felt we could best counsel. I concluded, very quickly, that addicts were not my group to counsel. God still has a sick sense of humor.

7. Pirates. Arr, me hearties. Apparently, they know how often I watch Six Days, Seven Nights and Captain Phillips. Excuse me, I need to go feed my parrot. He’s bothering my partridge again.

8. Plaster Companies. Next time I break my leg or my ceiling starts “shedding,” I will…go to the ER or call my local contractor. I’m not sure you can ship contractors and doctors via UPS.

9. Gambling sites. Now, I do confess to occasionally (and I do mean occasionally!) visiting gambling establishments while on vacations, but trust me, I like my money too much. My idea of a big bet is 50 cents. And if my allotted “gambling money” disappears, I go look for getting ripped off in other ways, like paying my taxes and paying off hospital bills.

10. Law sites. While I’m privileged to know good attorneys, I don’t spend my Sundays perusing the legal beagle sites. Sorry. I find getting a root canal done more interesting and less painful.

11. Expensive shades. While I adore having lots of shades (because my future’s so bright), again, I shop at the Le Walmarte Ocular Boutique.

12. Comments telling me how wonderful MIP is using bad grammar. Just because I use it doesn’t mean I like it. Apparently, these folks haven’t met my kids, who would all call Mom the Grammar Police.

13. Free snow. Umm…the snow I like is already free, so why would I need to pay shipping and handling to get something for free. Ohhhhhh….so you’re selling drugs? May I refer you to the addiction sites and the legal sites? Perhaps they can educate you on why you’re part of an evil empire.

14. Oktoberfest sites. Umm…I hate beer and haven’t really followed polka bands lately. Now, if you’re giving away free strudel, maybe we can talk. I’ll get back to you around…November.

15. Tennis shoes. Okay. So I wear a lot of sneakers. But the brand that keeps coming my way is one I cannot stand! Maybe that’s why they need to spam my blog? To sell their awful tennies? How about designing better shoes and selling them at Le Walmarte Foot Couture Boutique?

16. Comments about plugging your site. I have to confess that I understand this idea–it’s a way to get people to notice your stuff and I’ve been tempted to do that myself. It just seems wrong to me, though. I figure if I write good stuff, people will find me. I didn’t say I was smart.

17. Rice depots. I’ve never felt the need to go to a train depot to get rice. Okay. So, my secret is out.

18. Dredging engineering. I don’t even know what dredging is. I just dated engineers. And then married a farmer. I don’t have to look up farmer in the dictionary.

19. Fudge repairing. My fudge has never needed any repairs. Why? Because I buy perfection. Now the weight it adds to my waistline? That needs fixing.

20. DJ sound stuff. Ummm…I have difficulty downloading songs from iTunes.

21. FIFA. I prefer “under 6” soccer games. I think that if you don’t have to yell, “Sweetie, you can’t take a nap in the middle of the field during the game!” or don’t have to make a celebratory parent tunnel at the end of the game for the losing team, it’s just not really soccer.

22. “It” sites. These sites’ comments are blessedly brief, unlike the Chinese sites. But, I think I already have “it.” What I’d like to find are sites willing to take away my “its.”

23. Sites wanting to help me set up my blog. Timing is everything, dear ones. And these sites obviously don’t have an alarm clock. Maybe they can get it at the “it” site.

Friday’s Post: Slow Reader Friday Book Club Time!

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Lessons Learned from De-Kidding the House…

cleaning gloves

Warning: Get a beverage first. 

The last child departed for college last weekend. While I am a little sad about this new phase of my life, I am also excited about his future and the future wedded life of two people who haven’t stopped thinking about parenting since about 1984. My dad had a philosophy about entering his retirement years: “You don’t retire from something; you retire to something.” In other words you make some plans for the next phase of your life and get busy living out those plans. That’s my choice for this empty nest phase of my life.

My mother-in-law, upon entering this phase of her life, took one of her offspring’s bedrooms and converted it into a child’s playroom. Why? Because she was already a grandmother and felt the “grands” (as she calls them) needed a safe place to play when visiting her home. She took the “remnants” of her own children’s playthings and created a haven for her eventual 12 grandchildren. Recently, she and her hubby made the decision that it was time to move in with their daughter and her family and thus, the old homestead, including the playroom, went on the market. However, before it sold, all of us gathered at that home to reminisce about our memories of the house they called home for 43 years. Chief among the “grands” memories are playing in that playroom and that just stuck with me.

It also occurred to me that if I want to invite people over for dinner in this next phase of life, some of them are going to have young children and they are probably going to get bored with adult conversation at some point in the evening. So, having a playroom for them to explore and discover would be an awesome way to entertain them until the day when I have my own “grands”. Therefore, each of my children’s bedrooms are about to be converted. One is already semi-converted–my daughter’s former bedroom is slowly evolving into a writing office for me. My eldest son’s bedroom will revert to a guest bedroom for all of our out-of-town and out-of-state relatives. But, the youngest’s room is about to become…as you probably guessed…the playroom.

I have big ideas for that playroom, probably too many to actually put into one small room, but the first part of creating the playroom means gathering up all the “remnants” of my kids’ childhoods and when you begin to clean out closets, drawers, toy bins, game cabinets and student desks, there are bound to be a few surprises along the way. Their belongings have migrated all over the house, so “de-kidding” the majority of the house is a really interesting process, especially when your kids really like hanging on to things. Here’s what I have learned so far:

    1. Wear a hazmat suit.
    2. A welding mask may come in handy, too.
    3. Bring your own supply of oxygen and put a clothespin on your nose.
    4. Buy a case of hospital gloves. Change frequently to prevent getting bubonic plague.
    5. I now know why we never have any flashlight batteries. They were at the back of the “games cabinet” for the games that do not require batteries. I suppose this is somehow logical in a kid’s world.
    6. We don’t have much in the “safe” toy department. I’m not sure if this is an indictment of my parenting or if this is because the safe toys were all destroyed by ruffian children long ago. I didn’t say my children were stupid.
    7. We have a lot of kid movies, but no VCR to play them on.
    8. We have a lot of kid music, but no cassette player to play them on.
    9. I’m thinking the kid cassettes and videocassettes will make an interesting grandparent story that begins, “When your mom or dad was a little girl/boy, they had to walk 12 miles to school every morning in the snow, uphill both ways and they watched movies on a machine called a VCR. What is a VCR???? Well, your dad was fond of putting apple cores in ours because he thought it was hungry…”
    10. Order a semi-load of garbage bags.
    11. Alert your trash service that you need a dumpster.
    12. Question whether each item is trash or simply something you do not understand because it bears no resemblance to the toys you thought you bought your child.
    13. Throw out all the flattened penny souvenirs on the pretense that they are a choking hazard.
    14. Throw out all the gum wrappers…even the ones with antique status from 1987.
    15. Step around the stain in the carpeting that your children have carefully hidden on the pretense that they wanted to rearrange their rooms.
    16. Be thankful you’re wearing the hazmat suit based on the discovery of # 15.
    17. A kid can pack all of his stuff for college and his room still looks the same. I guess he kept all the “good stuff” under his bed??? I don’t think I want to know. I’m officially scared. Maybe Maizie should come with me for cleaning out under the bed….for protection.
    18. If you ever wondered what happened to the change left over from sending them to school to pay for certain necessary items, it’s in the dresser drawer that will no longer open without a controlled demolition of your son’s room.
    19. What’s keeping it from opening? My guess would be an experiment with gum from 1987.
    20. Dress socks are apparently non-essential stuff for college.
    21. I’m totally amazed the Children’s Story Bible is not essential equipment for a college dorm.
    22. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the purple and aqua frosted pop tarts in my pantry. Oh. Wait. There are probably enough preservatives in those things to last until I have a grandchild old enough to be poisoned by them…around 2020.
    23. I’d throw out more stuff, but I’m pretty sure it would damage the ozone.
    24. You know it’s bad when the dogs won’t even sniff it.
    25. I have found a new reason not to eat….ever. My cardiologist will be so pleased.
    26. I’m not sure Wally World has enough bug killer and Lysol spray for this operation.
    27. I now understand why we had credit card debt for 25 years.


Monday’s Post: Has it been aegis for you, too? 🙂

You might also like: Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower, The Boy Leaves for Lubbock, and Things I Love about the Man I Married


Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 and 4…


Warning: You may want to get 2 beverages first. 

For a little background on why someone like me would wind up in the hospital with heart attacks last Monday, please go here.

The very last thing a cardiologist should do to a writer is strap her down to a hospital bed for 8 days with medical “leashes”, put her on morphine and Xanax, and then think that she won’t use this “quality creative time” to her full advantage. I hope you’re up for a little gallows humor, because I’m about to explode with what I learned.

  1. Two sips of Merlot and I’m in the ER. I always knew I hated red wine.
  2. I think I now have a phobia about Merlot/red wine.
  3. Nurses have amnesia, particularly when it comes to remembering my birthdate. Thanks to them, I can’t seem to forget it. As a token of my gratitude for helping my memory, I’m sending them Merlot wine.
  4. My scooter still works. I didn’t even know I had one.
  5. Don’t hug and kiss the Careflite nurse.
  6. I got to cross off “Ride in a helicopter” from my Bucket List, but I don’t remember putting it on my List twice. Maybe it’s the morphine.
  7. I also got to cross off “Travel down the main thoroughfare of our fair town with police permission while wearing nothing but a hospital gown on a gurney accompanied by 2 guys who aren’t my husband at 1 am in the morning.” Yeah, I was surprised that was on my Bucket List, too. The hubby was even more surprised.
  8. We need to repave the main thoroughfare of our fair town. Remind me to vote for local road improvement at the next election.
  9. If you’re claustrophobic, don’t ride in a Careflite helicopter. If you’re bigger than me, you may need to become a Cirque du Soleil contortionist to fit.
  10. I have an alter ego. Her name is Mrs. Hook.  And apparently, my alter ego has a different address. She’s smarter—she decided to live closer to our local schools and my church. I wonder what illnesses she has. I hope she is okay.
  11. While attaining my counseling degree, I studied nonverbal client behavior. That is not a good skill to have when watching your catheterization team look at your coronary arteries.
  12. My nurses loved my mani/pedi. Note to self: Always schedule a mani/pedi 3 days prior to your next heart attack.
  13. I have “young skin.” This gives me a new reason to stock up on my favorite Bath & Body Works products, right? Think I could be their “Jared”?
  14. I baffle doctors and nurses because I don’t smoke, drink, eat too much, and exercise too little. They aren’t used to patients who follow their instructions?
  15. I now know why I’ve been reading all these books on Heaven and death. God’s sick sense of humor just moved to a whole new level of twisted. Where were the books on resurrection????
  16. Since I had symptoms prior to the gurney ride, my doctor ordered a nuclear stress test, in which they shoot dye into your coronary arteries prior to making you run on a hamster wheel until you fall off. Thanks to the Merlot, that was cancelled. I consider this a good thing since I only want dye applied to one part of my body—the part with the gray hair.
  17. While scheduling the stress test, the receptionist gave me the following instruction: “No funny stuff between now and then!” I guess heart attacks are serious???
  18. Always chew the chicken in your mouth prior to the next morphine drip.
  19. I neglected my children’s musical education—they didn’t understand my Carly Simon reference when I uttered: “I haven’t got time for the pain.” Of course, it could be that I was morphine mumbling it and trying to chew my chicken at the same time.
  20. I can recite the Lord’s Prayer in my sleep, unless the sleep is induced by morphine. Did you know Carly Simon lyrics are part of the Lord’s Prayer? Me neither.
  21. I know night nurses can get bored so I like to keep them entertained with projectile vomiting every so often just to break up the monotony. Let’s just say my capacity to do this means I coat walls better than industrial spray paint equipment. Guess that will teach them to put that little plastic tub too far from my hospital bed, hunh?
  22. My aforementioned little skill requires the contractor size of a Hefty bag to contain the clean-up materials. Maybe I can be Jared for Hefty??? Okay, so that would be awkward, too.
  23. The hubby can conduct business from anywhere. For his next magic trick, he plans to take conference calls on Mars.
  24. The hubby has an interesting career. You have no idea what Morphine MaryAnn does with the conference call term, “cows in heat.”
  25. Morphine confuses my sense of direction. I thought my room was in the corner. That may be because I spent a good portion of my childhood there.
  26. Doctors and nurses don’t believe me when I tell them the truth about my medical history. Of course, I’ve always thought my life story would make a good musical comedy. At least it would be more believable than “Cats.” My theory? “Cats” was dreamed up during “quality creative time” while on morphine.
  27. Doctors are finding more Prinzmetal patients these days. Dang. I liked being unique.
  28. However, few Prinzmetal patients actually produce heart attacks from their vasospasms without other heart disease risks. Guess my over-achiever/perfectionistic tendencies apply to my insides, too. Probably need to work on that sometime, hunh?
  29. If you’re “tied to your hospital bed,” you go to bathroom by “committee.”
  30. I never liked committee meetings.
  31. I missed my treadmill. Yes, I missed my treadmill. Maybe I need to check into Bellevue next.
  32. Last time they put me on Demerol. This time they said I would become too addicted to Demerol. (So, you can get addicted with a 14 year absence of Demerol in your system???? That’s impressive. Must add this to my things to do as an over-achiever.)
  33. They injected morphine ad nauseam (literally) and then told me to get off the morphine because I might get addicted. This little “lecture” came 24 hours after the first injection. You can get addicted to morphine within 24 hours of the first injection? Yay—another way to be unique! And I have so much access to morphine living in small town suburbia. And my favorite way to entertain myself on the weekends is to stick needles into my veins.
  34. Does morphine come in Merlot flavor? If so, I’m sending a case to my new favorite doctor, along with a 6 month supply of needles I found at Wally World on sale. I think they were on sale because they were “reconditioned.”
  35. While attaining the master’s in counseling, we talked a lot about projection. See # 33. Dr. Freud would be so proud.
  36. I’m supposed to endure torturous pain without morphine or Demerol. But, Xanax is fine? They didn’t study the same textbooks I studied. Uh, Doc? Xanax comes in pill form, thus eliminating the inconvenient need for needles from Wally World. (It’s so inconvenient to run there when you’re in withdrawal.) I guess morphine/Demerol addicts never take pills too often.
  37. I think I’m beginning to understand why addiction is such a problem in the U.S.  And why counselors (who generally try to help addicts) so commonly abuse drugs.
  38. A heart attack will bring a couple together more than a marriage retreat. Unfortunately, they’re usually more expensive than a marriage retreat. I personally think the reason why heart attacks bring couples closer together is because heart monitoring electrodes look so alluring by candlelight. They complement the IVs  quite nicely.
  39. A heart attack is not enough for me. I like to throw in migraines, anaphylaxis, non-stop nausea and pericarditis just for grins. You know how I hate boring. My doctors and nurses were not amused.
  40. Want to clear your busy schedule for a while? Have a heart attack. BOOM! Schedule cleared. Even your demanding writing schedule lightens up.
  41. In a unit where you’re encouraged to rest, the nurses and patients are pretty deaf. At least that’s my conclusion after hearing them yell at each other. Either that or morphine and Xanax improve my hearing.
  42. To deal with # 41, ask the youngest to fill up your iPod with inspiring songs.
  43. The same child informed me, after heart attack # 3, that I have now had as many heart attacks as children. He said, “No more children, Mom.”
  44. After heart attack # 4, I started looking around for my 4th child. The daughter always wanted a little sister. #4 is my “favorite” since she never required diaper changes, potty training, “the talk”, adolescent tantrums or enormous college tuition bills. She has good skin like her mother.
  45. It really hurts when you fall out of your hospital bed after hearing the Newsboys lyric: “They Don’t Serve Breakfast in Hell.” What?! No IHOP in Hell???? Geez. I guess I really will have to believe in the Big Guy now. I don’t want to miss breakfast.
  46. The youngest apparently has the same twisted sense of humor as God.
  47. I am blessed to have the best prayer warriors on the planet in “my corner” to make sure I don’t miss breakfast—ever. No Merlot necessary.

Next Post: Lessons Learned from Recuperation…

You might also like: Lessons Learned from Committing a Neatness to my Laundry Room, Lessons Learned from a Routine Examination, Lessons Learned from My Dentist  


These Cookies Aren’t Exactly Nestle Toll House…


It never ceases to amaze me what “intelligent” software (web-ware?) seems to think would be of interest to me in my email inbox and on FB. Supposedly, because of “cookies” (These apparently aren’t my beloved chocolate chip cookies–they’re some kind of cyber chip instead, which I have never found to be as tasty as the homemade wonders.) created from everywhere I visit in the internet universe, the “powers that be” should have a pretty good idea of what I tend to peruse, use and abuse. I tend to disagree. Here’s why I think the cookies are “out to lunch,” since this is a smattering of what I regularly delete out of my inbox and ignore on FB:

1. Enlarging various body parts I have never had and never intend to have. I’m into “shrink wrap” when it comes to my body parts these days. Enlarging things doesn’t usually interest me all that much.

2. Inviting me to become a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Women’s Society…I’m Methodist. I don’t oppose the Lutheran women, but ummmm…since I’m rather delinquent about helping the United Methodist Women right now, I probably won’t be helping the Lutherans much, either. I’ll probably get an ad asking me to come to the Methodist’s Men’s breakfast next Tuesday.

3. Emails in which I apparently have hit the jackpot for scholarships to grad school, should I ever decide to go back to school. Where were these people when I was applying to grad school in 2008? These folks apparently have never read my status statements on FB.

4. Photography software ads – Have they seen the pics I take? Oh. Maybe that’s the point.

5. Forklift ads. Yes, you read that right. Forklift ads. Is this an insinuation that I still need to lose more weight? If so, guess what….I won’t be buying any forklifts from them. Maybe it’s an indication that they’ve seen the messes at my home?

6. Cat Litter Ads. Considering that even entering a home where a cat resides generally sends me to the nearest ER, I think we can safely assume that I have no interest in litter of any kind, particularly the feline kind. I hate to break this to them, but I really don’t care whether it clumps or crumbles.

7. The vendor newsletter from the guy who very rudely insulted me for merely relaying a message to him from my former boss. (I might add that I apologized profusely and relayed the information as tactfully as possible.) He suggested that I didn’t have my act together (Trust me–this is the nicest way to put this.). I would like to suggest that he doesn’t have his act together if he thinks I will patronize his business after the insult. Even Freud (another person who probably didn’t have his act together) would conclude that this man is probably the “poster boy” for projection.

8. The emails from a photographer I’ve never heard of who claims that I have placed an order through their establishment. They’re “concerned” because my “free shipping window” is about to expire if I don’t complete my order with them soon. Note to photographer: If I haven’t responded, you can cancel my imaginary order. When a free shipping window closes, a free shipping door usually opens anyway. And I have always preferred walking through doors and not climbing through windows when shipping.

9. The ads for a laptop I already own. In fact, I’m deleting their emails on the very laptop they want to sell me. How many laptops does one person need? I know I write a lot, but since they makes good laptops (That’s why I bought one!), I don’t think more. Now watch my keyboard die tomorrow…..Maybe I’ll leave that one in the deleted file for a while.

10. The Planet Fitness ads. I’ve spent a particularly large sum of money to have my own indoor gym. And I don’t really like leaving Earth to get fit.

11. Wedding ads. In case they hadn’t noticed, I’ve been married for 30 + years and the DD got married last year. I don’t have any real plans to get married again unless Brad Pitt decides not to stay with Angelina. I think even the PH might forgive me for that one since Angelina would be back on the “market.”

12. Expensive purse ads. My purse collection includes the $ 5 number from Wally World and the $ 7 one from Sam Moon. Don’t think I will be buying Dooney & Bourke in the foreseeable future. Unless Obamacare goes through. If so, I want mine in navy blue.

13. The FB ads for online stores where I must give my email address in order to see if I want to be on their email list. I have to confess that I’ve succumbed to a few of these and here is the kicker: After I discover I really do hate what they have to offer (which usually takes all of about 5 seconds), there is no easy way to extract myself from their incessant emails. This would explain why I have about 1000 unopened emails in my inbox. And it doesn’t matter if I delete them today…tomorrow they will send me 1000 more.

14. The ads telling me I haven’t ordered from them in 2 years. They are greatly concerned that I will be dropped from their email list. I am greatly concerned that I will put a fist through my computer screen. See # 9. Maybe my laptop company is smarter than I think.

Have to go now…my laptop wants to know if I really want to delete the email from its very own company. And one shouldn’t miss out on the 40% off Forklift Sale. Those I do tend to buy online because of the free shipping window. One can never have enough forklifts. What colors do they have? I prefer navy blue. See # 12.

Point to Ponder Challenge: How much money have you needlessly spent this year on items that were clogging your inbox or cluttering your home pages? What better things could you do with this money? Fund a retirement account? Save for college? Save for a wedding? Give to a charitable cause? Buy a new home? What actions could be taken to limit their advertising effect on you? What actions could be taken to minimize the deluge of advertising you encounter each day? Take five minutes today and work on those actions. Your Dooney & Bourke purse and Fossil wallet thanks you.

Tomorrow’s Post: Forgot the invitation?


26 Tuesday: Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung

smiling teacher

Last week’s honoree for 26 Tuesdays was Dylan Hockley. Dylan loved to read and if you read my Poetry post this past Saturday, you know that I have a fierce appreciation for Dr. Seuss, whose birthday was on 3/2. Our family’s Dr. Seuss books have long been donated to our local elementary school, but it’s my opinion that a school library can never have too many Dr. Seuss books.

I “polled” the members of my immediate family and asked them to tell me their favorite Dr. Seuss book while growing up. Here are the results:

PH – How The Grinch Stole Christmas!
Moi – Fox in Socks
Eldest DS – One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
DD – Hop on Pop
DSL – Green Eggs and Ham
Youngest DS – The Cat in the Hat 

I went to our local Walmart and managed to pick up Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish for free. How? I had “leftover” gift cards from Wally World that needed using up. Next, I went off to our local Hastings Entertainment store and found the rest of the books listed above. The bonus? Since it’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday month, you can buy 2 Dr. Seuss books and get the 3rd free! Now, this is the way to shop, friends!

In our little town we have several excellent private pre-school and kindergarten programs. My youngest two children attended one of these wonderful programs and started off their educational lives really well because of it. Not only that, but the program exists on a shoestring budget to try and help as many kids attend this program as possible. So, the Dr. Seuss books have now been donated to this fine program, in the hopes that more children will be exposed to how fun poetry and reading can be.

So, with the other folks also doing their 26 Acts of Kindness, the MIP Kindness count stands at 15 right now. What did you do for your act of kindness to honor Dylan? You can submit a comment below or send a private email to me via the Contact page.  As always, details are welcome, but not mandatory.

This week we honor Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung. Hochsprung was the heroic principal who raced out of her office to investigate the commotion in her school’s hallways. Tragically, doing this very thing resulted in her being shot and killed. Here is a little about Ms. Hochsprung:

Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47

Hochsprung, who became Sandy Hook Elementary School’s principal two years ago, was “really nice and very fun, but she was also very much a tough lady in the right sort of sense,” friend Tom Prunty said. And the students loved her. “Even little kids know when someone cares about them, and that was her,” Prunty said. “I never saw her without a smile,” said Aimee Seaver, mother of a first-grader. Hochsprung lived in Woodbury, Connecticut, with her husband, two daughters and three stepdaughters. The longtime career educator majored in special education for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the 1990s and had just entered the Ph.D. program at Esteves School of Education at the Sage Colleges in New York last summer. “My mom, Dawn Hochsprung, was taken tragically from me. But she went down in a blaze of glory that truly represents who she was,” her daughter, Cristina Hassinger, tweeted.

Tomorrow’s Post: There is nothing routine about a routine examination…