Be Patient and Go With the Flow

Dad and I stopped by Sam’s Club today to pick up four items: Cashews, pretzels, English muffins, and a package of “Fiber One Oats and Chocolate Chewy Bars.”

It should have been a quick easy-in, easy-out, but that’s not how it went down.

The first stop was the bread aisle, and while Dad was looking for the muffins, I strolled by the wine aisle looking to see if they carried one of my new favorite Cabernets. They did not, so I headed off to see how Dad was doing.

I found him enjoying a few bites of cheesecake—just like Grandma used to make. As a matter of fact, when I told the nice Sam’s club woman handing out the samples that it tasted like my mom’s, she told me it was called “New York Cheesecake.” I explained that my mother lives in New Jersey, so perhaps they should change the name to “New Jersey Cheesecake.”

Dad took the opportunity to inform her how I had made him a pineapple-topped cheesecake on our first Valentine’s Day and then followed up by commenting that he believed that I had not made him another one since. (I am not sure if that is a fact-based statement.) This conversation was not part of the quick in-and-out plan, but nevertheless, it was a pleasant interlude.  We were not in a rush.

Next, Dad insisted on stopping by the frozen food department, which I knew was a waste of time. He has been in denial regarding the discontinuance of our favorite egg rolls because he cannot face the truth that they will never return. I silently thought, “I told you so,”  when it was apparent that they were still gone, but I kept those thoughts to myself because I am such a nice wife.

We moved onto the granola aisle to pick up the chewy bars, but they were gone, so we headed off to the snack aisle, where the “Fiber One Chocolate Brownies” are located. We picked up the box of pretzels and cashews, but had no luck in locating the chewy bars. Dad was getting mad, so we discussed renouncing our Sam’s Club Membership in favor of one at Costco even though Sam’s Club is geographically much better.

Dad decided to give them another chance, so he went off to have a chat with Customer Service. After quite a wait, he appeared with an employee who brought him back to the two places we had already visited. The two of them appeared to be having a good time. Dad told her it was his belief that they kept moving their merchandise both to give their shoppers a workout and to make them spend more money by lingering in the store for a longer period of time.

After coming up empty handed, they headed over to the computer, where they learned that the bars were in the building. They needed to head over to aisle 21 and look up. Sure enough, there they were all bundled up in a tower of about 50 boxes of chewy bars.

Dad offered to pull one off the bottom of the stack, and I must admit I had visions of them all tumbling down on top of him. (Concussion by chewy bars.) Fortunately nothing happened, but I told him not to press his luck by trying to grab another box. Incidentally, there are now six less bars in a box for the same price. Like the shrinking of ice cream and orange juice packages, do they really think we don’t notice?


So our trip to Sam’s Club was a much longer endeavor than we had planned, but Dad seemed to have had such a good time on his “Where’s Waldo” hunt. He was enjoying himself so much so that I almost expected that he was going to invite the Sam’s Club employee to dinner.

Sometimes you just need to go with the flow rather than getting all bent out of shape when your plans are changed by circumstances beyond your control.


Yes I Can?

Today, one of the youngest members of the family knocked off the number one item on my bucket list (not his) by climbing a rock wall at the zoo. Although he did not make it all the way to the top; nevertheless, I would call it a success, and he is only six.

I was excited for him, but at the same time, I have been rethinking my recent belief that I waited too long to do it. The thought that the time to be able to scale that wall has passed made me feel sad, so now I am seriously reconsidering attempting it on a day where the audience is small—probably after school begins and zoo camp is over.

Now that I have finally had physical therapy on my new hip two years post-op and am finally feeling little or no pain, I think I should try. I have no restrictions from my doctor beyond extended running. He even told me I could skydive if it was something I really needed to do. (I don’t.)

So I will let you know if I do it, and I will even let Dad take a picture or two.

I think I can, I think I can!


What’s the Point? Are you Kidding?

This is a warning to all of you. DO NOT CALL ME DURING THE DAY ON WEDNESDAY. I may respond to a text, but I will not answer the telephone because Dad and I will be watching the five-hour Mueller testimony.

We both read the 448-page redacted document and have both concluded that anyone who is not troubled by its contents has not read the report. I understand that everyone does not have the time, but if you are a member of Congress, in my opinion, it is your responsibility to find the time. “What’s the point,” as one of my Senators stated, is shockingly irresponsible in my opinion.

For the average busy American such as my adult kiddies, I am suggesting that an overall flavor of the report can be obtained by reading just 42 pages:

  • The 8-page introduction and summary of Volume 1, which discusses Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
  • The 10-page introduction and summary of Volume 2, which addresses obstruction of justice.
  • Appendix-C, which is 23 pages of the President’s responses to written questions.
  • The one paragraph conclusion of the investigation

Like my list of favorite words such as gazpacho, cornucopia, and luscious, I have a few favorite Mueller Report lines (and my own comments in italics) that cause me to question the President’s truthfulness that the entire investigation was “a witch hunt”:

  • “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is in part because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out or accede to his requests.” (I guess it’s he’s lucky his lawyers held him back.)
  •  “The written responses, we informed counsel, demonstrate the inadequacy of the written format, as we have had no opportunity to ask follow-up questions that would ensure complete answers and potentially refresh your client’s recollection or clarify the extent or nature of his lack of recollection.” In the end, Mueller concluded, “We viewed the written answers to be inadequate.”  (Note: Trump and Attorney General Barr claimed he was being cooperative.)
  •  “When Sessions told the President that a Special Council had been appointed to conduct the Russia investigation, the President responded, ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency.’ ” (Why worry if you have nothing to hide?)
  • “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are not able to reach that judgement.”

In conclusion, girls, think about reading these 42 pages and let me know your thoughts. And remember, only phone us near the end of the day on Wednesday. We will be busy getting informed before then.

One Small Step

Tomorrow is the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing: “One small step for man—one giant step for mankind.” I went into my father’s box of old newspapers to see what moon-landing treasures he had saved.

We have the liftoff, which is being recreated by the Air and Space Museum with a projection on the Washington Monument of the rocket which carried the astronauts to the moon. This is a very cool use of technology.


Next is the photo of Buzz Aldrin, taken by Neil Armstrong, as he climbed down the steps of the lunar module onto the surface of the moon.


And the most famous—Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon as the reflection of the American flag and Armstrong are seen in his helmet.

I recall staying up late to watch the landing. Thank goodness is was summer vacation so we did not have to get into a battle with my parents about staying up past our bedtime. That first lunar walk was scheduled to occur at 2:00 am, but they pushed it forward three hours earlier to just before 11:00 pm. Thank goodness for that.

When they returned to earth, the astronauts were quarantined for nearly a month to protect them from any “moon germs” they may have been exposed to during that historic event. Even the astronaut who remained aboard the spacecraft remained in isolation with his luckier moonwalkers.

The ship went through a fiery reentry. Check it out.

What I had forgotten about but learned while viewing those old newspapers was that the astronauts shared their big day with the Ted Kennedy scandal. The day before the moon landing, the senator from Massachusetts was involved in an accident, which left a young woman who was a passenger in his car dead and left his political career in jeopardy because he left the scene of the accident. That news put a slight damper on the excitement of the day, but not so much because I bet most of you youngins know little, if anything, about the scandal. History remembers the joy more than the Teddy event, although at the time, it was a huge distraction.

Americans needs something to get excited about again.


LBJ’s Ranch: A Pleasant Surprise

During our recent trip to Texas, we visited the LBJ ranch, where I learned about the man who became our 36th president after the assassination of President Kennedy.

I was just eight at the time, so my interest in him was minimal. I was much more concerned with my favorite television shows—The Beverly Hillbillies, The Andy Griffith Show, and My Favorite Martian, to name just a few—and staying under the radar from my scary third-grade teacher, Mrs. Darbin.

My memories of President Johnson were mostly of the sad old man who stood beside Jackie Kennedy to take the oath of office on Air Force One during the afternoon after JFK was shot, and the father of two teenage girls who got married during his time in office. I knew a lot of important legislation was passed during his administration, but as a kid, I paid more attention to his family and tragic beginning of his presidency than his job performance.

His ranch had a visitor’s center where his accomplishments were displayed on a big board so that I was able to see all that he had done in one fell swoop.

My initial reaction was surprise in seeing that he was only fifty-five during that first inauguration, and then just sixty-four at his death. I guess any kid that looks at me probably thinks, “Oh boy, is she old!”

Among his accomplishments were Medicare, Medicaid, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, and several environmental acts such as the Clean Air Act of 1963 and the Water Quality Act of 1965. Sadly, his legacy is being torn apart bit by bit.

As Dad and I watched the movie about Johnson and read his positive achievements (not mentioning his inability to get out of Viet Nam at this time), we thought it was so interesting that this man was from the red state of Texas. It turns out that Texas elected primarily Democrats until 1980, when all subsequent Texas presidential elections went Republican.

Now there are two Texas Democrats running for president. While it is increasingly doubtful that either will be on the final ticket in November, I will be watching the results of the Lone Star State.

On a side note to anyone visiting the LBJ ranch: Watch where you walk. Aunt Linda almost stepped on a very big, very scary looking possibly poisonous snake on the sidewalk leading up to the Visitor’s Center. Beware!


Today I’d like to share with you a recent experience I had that is, to say the least, very delicate to discuss. While you all will probably experience this fifteen to 20 years from now, my hope is that medical technology will advance enough to improve upon the unpleasantness factor of what I am about to discuss with you. I have already seen forward-moving changes since my first run-in with this “adventure.” (Puns are intentional) Let me expand upon this.

After the age of fifty, every ten years or less depending upon your genetics or previous experience,  the medical world has advised that we all have a colonoscopy. Since I have already lost two very dear friends to colon cancer, I have reluctantly acquiesced to this recommendation.

One must schedule at least a day and a half on your calendar, so I would suggest a Monday appointment. Day 1 is a time for cleansing, and I don’t mean sitting in a room with soothing music on your playlist so you can purify your soul and mind.

Rather, we are purging our colon—if you get my drift—via consuming nothing but Jell-o, chicken broth, certain beverages from a prescribed list (coffee, tea, juice, water, Gatorade, or lemonade), and a special potion.

Ten years ago the potion was a magic powder of unknown origin mixed into a gallon of water, which had to be consumed in prescribed amounts over a very small time period. It tasted awful and was quite difficult to endure over such a short span of time.

Well, times have changed, and now the prep is merely two 10-ounce bottles of an only semi-awful liquid preceded by some pills. Then you watch television, read a book, or do anything else that does not expend many calories because you will be famished. In approximately six hours you will be doing a great cardio-workout, which involves much running at warped speed toward the ladies lounge.

I am grateful that my hip was in tip-top shape for the cardio component of Day 1 because time was of the essence.

Day 2 was a breeze. I was administered a wonderful sleepy-time dosage of propranolol by an anesthesiologist named Bo. Before I could snap my fingers, Dad was by my side informing me that I will not need to return for another ten years. It is my deep hope that technology has improved enough to enable the results by something less invasive, such as an ultrasound, and that Day 1 will be filled with much less running and a tastier magic potion. That is my wish to you and to me.

I concluded my morning with a lovely breakfast of eggs Benedict, coffee, and fruit.

Stop the Movie Madness!

Dad and I went to the movies recently, and as usual for us, we left early enough to grab our favorite seats, which are in the row behind the handicapped seats. That particular row has the advantage of having a railing in front of the seats, which double as a foot rest. Little did we know that times have changed again. While we still were able to choose our seats, now it had to be done outside the theater in the scorching Carolina heat.

We wondered why the line was moving so slowly, and it was not until we got close to the ticket booth that the reason became apparent. Along with being asked which film we wanted to view, how many tickets we were purchasing, whether or not we were a Regal Cinema member, and what was our mothers’ maiden names and places of birth, we also had to choose our seats.

I admit there are benefits to this, but not at the ticket counter. If you have small children and want to arrive at the last possible minute because you know they are unable to sit through all the pre-movie dreck, then it is worth the minor additional fee to purchase your tickets in advance while in the comfort of your home and reserve your seats at that time. The same would hold true if bringing an elderly friend or relative, whose body cannot endure too long in one seat. For everyone else, either reserve at home or take your chances on a seat once you are inside the theater. Guess what, Regal Cinema? Reverting back to choosing inside will reduce your lines!

Moving on… When I was a kid, I recall that prior to the start of the feature film, we saw cartoons. Grandma told me that when she went to the movies, she would see newsreels of whatever was newsworthy at the time. This was particularly welcomed before there were televisions in every home.

Here is one for locals living in South Carolina:  Dead A-Bomb Hits US Town

If memory serves me correctly, when you went to the movies during your childhood, the feature films were preceded by coming attractions or trivia. Now, before the coming attractions, we must sit through at least fifteen minutes of advertisements for life insurance or job openings at the theater in addition to previews of shows out on cable.

No, no, no! Give me the trivia or upcoming movie previews, but no more Geico commercials!

I guess I just need to watch my flicks at home!

Liberty Science Center: The Next Generation

Today the torch is passing to the next generation as the two kiddies head off to Liberty Science Center with Mommy and Daddy, Aunt Jamie (not sure about Uncle Geoff), and great Aunt El. This brings me back to those days when I was bringing the three of you there.

There was a lot to see, but two specific exhibits stand out in my mind: the touch tunnel and the thingy-dingy which expanded and contracted and was so cool that Aunt Linda bought each of you a miniature version of the display that hung from the ceiling.

I still have two of these playthings. Lily and Bryce use them as bowling balls in my living room. The pins are ten Styrofoam cups. They are quite entertaining. I am surprised none of you ever thought of using them in this manner.

The touch tunnel was probably my first (and forgotten-until-now) time I found a needle in a haystack.

I had gone to this amazing science museum with one of you on a field trip. I recall getting down on my hands and knees to crawl through the pitch-black darkness of the tunnel. It was kind of creepy, but I did not want to be the wimpy mom who refused to participate. Somehow, and I have no idea how I knew, I realized that my contact lens had popped out.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in my memory, I recall calling for help, and somehow I was able to retrieve that lens with the help of a touch-tunnel attendant.

That was the birth of my finding tiny-lost-items gift.

The Elusive Sweet Dreams

It is not uncommon to have occasional difficulties falling asleep. Sometimes we are excited over an upcoming event; other times we are stressed or worried about a situation on the horizon. Perhaps we have had too much caffeine or there are outside sources such as noise or light impeding our transition into dreamland.

I have done a lot of reading on the subject when sleep eludes me and have learned about several remedies: Drugs such as Ambien or Benadryl, melatonin supplements, yoga, white noise, a cup of warm milk and honey, and deep breathing are among the suggestions I found with the help of my good friend Mr. Google.

Dad does not usually sleep past 5 a.m., but I have noticed that when we have been away, particularly sleeping where there is little to no light, he does much better.

Last night I was hit with an irritating red light emanating from somewhere on his dresser. I don’t know why I never noticed it before. Perhaps, Dad suggested, something was moved while I was dusting. After he tried unsuccessfully to block it, I turned on the light and went searching in my nightstand drawer for the solution.

After adjusting my fix, but before turning off the light, Dad caught a glimpse of me and began to roar with laughter. I was not amused.

Allow me to explain. When we went to Paris many years ago, we were given a little sleep package by the airline. Inside was a toothbrush, socks, and an eye mask. I still have the socks and the mask, which gives the wearer instantaneous blackness.

They take a little getting used to, but they do the trick. It solved my problem and off to sleep I went once dad stopped laughing.

I guess they were not as comfortable as I had hoped, because when I awoke, they were no longer on me. But that really doesn’t matter, because they got me to sleep.