Tag Archives: Autumn

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Coloring on the Tablecloth?

thanksgivingtablecloth    thanksgivingtableclothiiO my God, if I’d drawn on a Thanksgiving tablecloth as a kid—“No pumpkin pie for you!” But this tablecloth invited rowdy games of tic-tac-toe and connect-the-dots, and kids, young and old, colored it with gusto. OMG, thanks for that wild, wonderful three-day feast! And for the put-my-feet-up quiet now.

 

Weird Things for Which I’m Thankful

Welcome to my annual appreciation-of-the-odd list.

Wait. Isn’t gratitude against the law during an election year?

Too bad.

Before I dine, I’ll lose the whine and savor what’s extra-fine. Join me, if you’re so inclined.

  • First, I’m thankful the election is over. Enough said.
  • pressurepeachI’m thankful for my Pressure Peach, a squishy, foam rubber peach with a perfect blush. My sister, a weird, wonderful pastor who lives near Atlanta, hoped its therapy would keep me out of jail. Whenever I feel like punting my computer (or a few people I know), squeezing my Pressure Peach restores sanity and makes everything go just … peachy.
  • I thank God for blue jeans that “go” with 1970s T-shirts, button-downs and blazers, sequins or satins. Accessorized with jungle flip-flops or jeweled high heels, jeans go everywhere with everybody. Stains customize their charm. Rips qualify them for designer status. Baggy, saggy or raggy, fitted or faded, yanked from dryer (or laundry hamper in an emergency), jeans are this girl’s best friend.
  • I thank God pens, pencils and paper are still legal. I appreciate computers, especially since my handwriting rivals my two-year-old grandson’s. But my fingers still itch when I spy a freshly sharpened pencil, smell a new notebook, or watch ink flow like dark cream across fresh, untouched paper.
  • I’m thankful gas prices dropped. Sigh. Now they’ll rise a dollar a gallon because I said it. Or because it’s Wednesday. Or because Obama ate anchovy pizza. Still, I’m thankful.
  • I appreciate street lights. They remind me of Thanksgiving cooks — unnoticed until they take time off.
  • I’m thankful for my naked coffee table. No one-of-a-kind knickknacks mar its surface — precious evidence of sticky little grandkid fingers.
  • clocksteveI’m thankful for my mantel clock, all crystal and gold balls that dance in an infinite circle. It keeps lousy time, despite fresh batteries. But my husband gave it to me one Christmas with a note that said his love for me was timeless. So I don’t mind being late to appointments.
  • I’m grateful God didn’t outsource tree creation to me. I would have gotten the fall colors all wrong. I would have used Super-Glue to bind trunk, limbs and twigs in awkward lumps and would have forgotten roots. Winter breezes would have sent trees rolling like giant tumbleweeds, resulting in interesting insurance claims. God, however, engineers elaborate systems to anchor and nurture trees. With an artist’s eye, He arranges bare, elegant, black branches like lines of poetry.
  • I’m doubly thankful God also welcomes the challenge of caring for me and other higher(?) species. Especially during this election year.

What weird things make your odd-Thanksgiving list?

 

 

 

 

Unwelcome Visitor

Something brushed across my arm in the night.

Not my husband’s touch. After decades of marriage, my epidermis recognizes his epidermis, even when I sleep.

spider-1016713_640So I came to my usual semiconscious conclusion: giant hairy spiders had invaded our bed.

Please understand that as a five-year-old missionary kid, I once discovered a tarantula had invited himself to share my covers.

Now, decades later, I slowly wiggled my toes.

Nothing ate them. Whew!

I listened for unauthorized breathing. When our children were little, that sound on the wrong side of the bed indicated our son once again had escaped his crib.

Eventually I realized our son was pursuing a doctorate in Washington, D.C. Probably a safe bet that he wasn’t my brush with the unknown.

A burglar? But our stairs emitted loud cr-r-reaks. I had heard only a quiet swoo-oosh.

Now completely awake, I convinced myself I had dreamed it all.

Until … the next morning, when my no-nonsense husband said he had a similar dream.

That night, I crept up the stairs to our bedroom. A black, shapeless something hung from the fire alarm. I admit to letting refrigerator contents age into anti-matter, but had it been that long since we checked those batteries? Had they disintegrated to black goo?

The “goo” actually resembled a small, folded umbrella … until it shuddered.

bat-868410_640“A bat!” I screamed. “Kill it!”

Men do not understand why women who weep during puppy food commercials expect their husbands to take a flame thrower to all unwelcome home invaders, including burglars, germs and bats.

Finally, Steve persuaded me we could capture it. Armed with a laundry basket, a sheet and a fly swatter, we approached the bat, apparently a sound sleeper. I held the basket over the fire alarm as Steve tried to pry him loose. If Mr. Bat wasn’t a vampire, he certainly impersonated one well, with fierce, beady eyes and snarling white teeth.

My kindhearted husband finally detached him and slapped the sheet over the laundry basket. We carried him, hissing and flapping, outside and released him. Mr. Bat zoomed off into the blackness like a dark angel.

While I admit to a few bats in the belfry, I never expected to find one in our bedroom. If it happens again, we now have a plan.

laundry-basket-59654_640But if I hear unauthorized breathing?

I don’t think a laundry basket will work.

Have you ever shared your space with a bat? Or another unwelcome critter?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer

christyrachaelcornmazeO my God, my grandson questioned my lack of a sense of direction: “Seriously, Grandma? You get lost in Walmart parking lots?” But when his mom, similarly flawed, and I barely made it alive out of a corn maze, he believed. OMG, thank You for guiding our paths, even when we are clueless.

We(eds) Are the Champions!

Our September Garden of Weedin'

Our September Garden of Weedin’

In our September garden, we grow the best weeds in the Midwest.

The hubs and I nurtured this elite crop all summer. Yet — can you believe this? — no one awarded us a grand champion ribbon.

Last spring, my husband, risking vitality and vertebrae, rented a tank-like tiller to prepare the soil. We planted the highest quality vegetable seeds and plants. Why? They attract the highest quality weeds.

I fertilized the garden, nurturing early weed development. Hubby shoveled mulch between rows, providing moisture.

With this year’s bullying June rains, I feared our weed crop would float downriver. But despite such watery adversity, they grew strong.

Our garden in June

Our garden in June

At first, the dastardly efforts of vegetables and flowers were winning. Rain morphed scrawny tomato seedlings into scary green monsters. Lettuce, carrots and peppers crowded out crabgrass and ragweed. Berry bushes actually produced berries.

Insidious squash vines crushed the life out of purslane and poison ivy. Squash — a fitting name for such invaders, don’t you think?

But squash aggression could not match barbaric cucumbers that wound deadly vines around helpless clover and cockleburs. They even turned against their allies, the zinnias, hanging fat-bellied cucumbers around the zinnias’ skinny necks like fifty-pound pendants!

Cucumber reproduction surpassed that of rabbits. I fled through nightmares in which thousands of cucumbers chased me, finally pickling me in a giant Ball jar.

Fortunately, other allies supported the weeds. After record-breaking rains, July drought sucked out the vegetables’ fighting spirit. The brave weeds, however, persevered.

Area animals also came to the weeds’ rescue. Deer sacrificially forsook hundreds of acres of wild food to munch our garden’s green beans, tomatoes, and peppers. Bunnies wiped out berries, saving us from the sad necessity of eating them. Squirrels stole cherry tomatoes. As they could not carry Big Boys in their mouths, they contributed by taking one bite out of all they could reach.

I did question the knee-high weeds’ newest allies: chiggers. But what are a few thousand itchy bumps compared with the joys of paying high prices for store-bought vegetables that taste like Styrofoam?

Despite trials and tribulations, we weed-growers will never give up. When hostile vegetables and flowers multiply, we enjoy the deep-down satisfaction of giving our all to cultivate the finest crop this side of Green Acres.

Even if we receive no purple ribbon — not even a participation one — to hang on our wall.

Even if we never see our picture in the paper.

We will not lose hope.

There is always next year.

 

Which won your garden battle this year? The veggies or the weeds?

 

Stuff I Shoulda Done … before December

ChristmasList BWhat’s wrong with this calendar I bought last March? Perhaps I should expect flaws in 90-percent-off merchandise. But my bargain declares we soon will see Christmas. This cannot be. As of November 30, I was supposed to have conquered the world.

Or, at least, defrosted our geezer freezer. This faithful appliance contains a prehistoric package of meat, the remains of a five-year-old Dairy Queen cake and 2,000 pounds of ice—mainly because I didn’t defrost it by December last year. Soon it won’t close. Then it will do its wheezing, freezing best to turn our junky garage into a Winter Wonderland.  

I shoulda cleaned my oven before December. Yet, why scour if I’m going to grease it up again at Christmas? Turkey-flavored Christmas cookies aren’t so bad.

The kids who formerly helped with raking have scattered farther than the leaves. Now my husband and I hold annual competitions to see who can crack their vertebrae the loudest. This year, some leaves are hanging around for Advent. Maybe delusional oaks think they’re Christmas trees?  

I shoulda renovated my flower beds, too. Bags of bulbs have lingered in my garage since 2003, when I last anticipated conquering the world. Maybe those underachiever bulbs already snoozing under blankets of soil will show up next spring. Raising perennial flowers resembles raising children: parents drown in guilt about nurturing miscues, yet their progeny spring forth in brilliant glory. Other times, when we lavish attention on them, they sulk and refuse to get out of bed for years on end. 

At least, I never left my kids on the porch after frost. My house plants are another matter. I stuck them there last spring, hoping for improvement. (Holiday gift tip: Giving a writer plants is like sending them to a plant concentration camp.) As frost approached, I reminded myself repeatedly to bring them in. But the “improved” plants now resemble greenish hat racks.

I shoulda “winterized” my car by now. (Why do we never “summer-ize” cars?) I detect a few sniffles from my Ford. I’d better let the grease gods give it a flu shot.

I did obtain my shot and tune-ups with doctor and dentist. But repairs on this (ahem!) mature body resemble maintenance on my 1960s ranch home: for every check off the list, five more materialize.

Now, with Christmas coming, to-do items on my list are reproducing like – like – Easter bunnies!

Wrong season! Maybe they bought discount calendars, too?

Feel free to add your to-do list moans and groans. We can moan and groan together.

But please don’t let your to-dos get too friendly with mine!  

 

Ten Weird Things for Which I’m Thankful


ChairBlessPillowLike millions of Americans, I give thanks to God during this season for His over-the-top gifts: my family, my country and whipped cream garnished with pumpkin pie. Sometimes I pinch myself (not too hard) to see if I’m dreaming.

God’s lavishness shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus, who stretched a boy’s lunchbox meal to fill a hungry crowd of 5,000-plus, wasn’t satisfied to provide enough. He served such a feast that his disciples filled 12 baskets with leftovers.

I, too, am stuffed with good things from His hands. I gather blessing fragments, odd little bits and pieces of gratitude, into my blessing basket to share with you. And, since gratitude has no expiration date, never loses its flavor and contains no carbs, I’ll munch on them throughout the holiday season. Here, in no particular order, are 10 weird things for which I’m thankful this year:

  • Weather.com. If this indispensable website were not available, I might have to look outside.
  • My tin measuring teaspoons. They bring back childhood memories of baking with my mother.
  • Our neighbors’ Christmas decorations. When my grandchildren arrive, they will enjoy Christmas wonderland without our stringing one light. Nor will we have to haul the little ones to a light display, enduring multiple coat-hat-mittens-potty-before-we-leave-then-buckle-into-car-seat drills. Thank you, neighbors!
  • All octogenarians. Along with nonagenarians and centenarians. They make me feel young.  
  • Newspapers and magazines. I love the feel, smell and shine of paper, the rustle of turning pages. Will future generations miss the sensation of snuggling up by a fire to read a good book without a power button?
  • Our umbrella stand. We keep umbrellas handy for November Noah days. Unless we left them in the car. Or at work. At church. Or in Hawaii.
  • Our household financial system. I, the math-impaired, write checks, and Hubby balances. Instant excitement in a marriage.
  • Wearing jeans on Thanksgiving. I am not cursed with a hundred layers of petticoats. No smothery long, black dress. No white, starched Pilgrim collars at our house. Just tons of faith, food, fun, and naps in front of TV football.
  • My children’s name choices for their progeny. No Draco or Gaga. At least, not yet.
  • Servers. An Emmy to those who fake shock when I claim the senior discount.
  • Breath mints. The rest of my world is thankful, too.

Ten weird little blessings, and I’m just getting started. Like Jesus’ disciples, I might fill 12 baskets before I’m done.

What weird little blessings fill you with gratitude?