Phone Calls

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit the award winning Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Phone call 1:

Saturday evening, sitting on the couch, reading bits of this and that on the iPad when my cell phone rings. It’s my brother-in-law. I sigh, a deep sigh, I don’t want to answer it. I know he’s going to tell me he won’t be able to come here for Christmas.

Earlier in the week he’d hinted he might be coming. I sent several text messages with food photos to tempt him if only he’d come. The last time we’d spoken he didn’t sound too hopeful.

“Is the Springfield Spa still accepting reservations for Christmas?” were the words I heard when I answered the ring. Immediately my face lit into a huge smile. “Of course,” was my response. He had two conditions that were non-negotiable: 1) we must go out for dinner one night, 2) he will be allowed to fix dinner another night. I didn’t even have to think twice as I accepted his terms.

Christmas holidays just got a little brighter.

Phone call 2:

Monday evening, sitting on the couch chatting with my husband about the girlfriends’ Christmas dinner I’d just returned from when my phone played the ringtone of my son. Eagerly I answered this call since we hadn’t talked the day before. This time he was bursting with good news.

Earlier this fall he’d traveled to Sacramento to take an exam related to his job. This exam is part of extending his certification in his geophysics field. He studied all summer for it. He did not have a good feeling about it after taking the exam. It was hard! However, all the worry was for naught! He had just opened the letter that announced he PASSED! Plus he told us he’d been given a small promotion with his company. The joy in his voice made my heart sing. We are so proud of what he has accomplished!

Two phone calls days apart put JOY into our Christmas holiday. I hope there is joy your Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!

The Best Surprise

The last few months, I get this panicked feeling every Monday evening. I sift through the events of my week looking for a nugget that might be of interest to someone. Thinking, how can I expand a moment into a blog worthy post? I don’t know what has happened, but my life seems to have slowed down. I work at my desk. I fix dinner. I watch TV while reading on-line and interacting via games on the internet in the evening. I go to bed. Repeat, day after day.

Where will my slice come from, I worry. Maybe I will skip this week, I think. But then I read slices and I find myself at the computer tapping out my thoughts. So once again, no thought of a slice until I read an email from Oprah titled 11 Things Every Woman Should Write Down Before the Year Ends. I clicked on the link, curious as to what every woman should write down and found my nugget for today. It was #8 The Best Surprise You’ve Ever Had. The caption under the title said, “There’s no better way to celebrate the rich, full life you’ve lived so far—and the big, bright future ahead—than telling your story.”

An example was given, a 40th birthday party. That brought back memories. I did have a fabulous 40th birthday party. It was a party that included a pina colada in a pineapple with a paper umbrella and hula dancing men wearing coconut bras. But that was not the best surprise ever.

Here is the best surprise, ever:

Mike, my husband, and I were on our way to a Ben Folds concert in June. We had purchased these tickets months before. We only knew Ben Folds from his role on the TV show The Sing-Off. Since we enjoyed his humor and comments, we decided to see what he would do in a live performance.

It was a Sunday, late afternoon, a time when my son might place his weekly call to me. Just as we were parallel parking, my phone rang with the unique ringtone indicating it was David. Since we were in the car, the phone went right to bluetooth, so we could both chat with David.

After a few minutes of chatting, catching up on everyday happenings David said, “I have something to tell you.” My heart dropped, those words often indicated that something was not right in his world. But the next two words were the best surprise ever. Words I didn’t ever think I would hear. “Allie’s pregnant.”

The feeling of worry and dread exploded into joy that cannot be described. We had a baby coming into our life! I cannot wait for this baby girl to arrive! (due date: Jan. 1) So here’s to the big, bright future ahead as our family grows. 🙂


Creation of a List

A few weeks back I received notice from Twitter that I was mentioned in a tweet. Of course, I immediately was curious because I am a wish-I-could understand-Twitter-and-use-it-more-but-I-don’t kind of Twitterer. Terje (Just for a Month) had tossed a challenge my way. Create a list of 100 things I am grateful for. Whew, that’s a lot, but I let the idea simmer in my mind. Then last week Jaana (Jaana’s Writing Blog) created and delivered her list. I knew I had to get started. So here is my list of 100 things I am grateful for:


  1. my husband
  2. my son
  3. a daughter-in-law
  4. a granddaughter
  5. a granddaughter waiting to be born
  6. family near and far
  7. friends near
  8. friends from long ago
  9. a comfortable home
  10. a teaching career
  11. connections through blogging
  12. opportunities for learning
  13. Friends of the Library sale
  14. good health
  15. time to savor life
  16. ocean cruises
  17. wandering
  18. pizza
  19. scarves
  20. picture books
  21. a comfortable car to travel in
  22. sunshine
  23. awesome neighbors
  24. road trips
  25. having an office for my “stuff”
  26. professional books
  27. a son who usually calls weekly
  28. grilled cheese
  29. camera in my phone
  30. nieces and nephews
  31. blue cheese
  32. work colleagues
  33. toasty fires
  34. Italian cream cake
  35. visiting family
  36. new recipes to try
  37. Draw Something friends
  38. iPad with photos
  39. key lime pie concretes at Andy’s Frozen Custard in July
  40. biking
  41. Thanksgiving with family
  42. cousins who cook fabulous dinners (yes, that is you Phillip)
  43. eating out
  44. pumpkin food in the fall
  45. mail
  46. bright colors
  47. husband who keeps everything clean
  48. coffee with friends
  49. some time alone (not a lot)
  50. meeting slicers (17 so far)
  51. anything with coconut
  52. a great teacher retirement system
  53. fuzzy lined moccasin slippers
  54. granite counter tops
  55. comfortable patio furniture where I can read and enjoy sunshine
  56. heated seats in cars
  57. internet connection
  58. surprises
  59. discovering nature’s wonder
  60. bead stores
  61. bead stores with a sale
  62. blog comments
  63. Pandora
  64. Christmas celebrations
  65. diet cherry Dr. Pepper
  66. just picked peaches
  67. pedicures
  68. river cruises
  69. hamburgers
  70. freedoms of our country
  71. down pillows
  72. watermelon in summer
  73. computer techs
  74. teachers who want to learn
  75. pasta meals
  76. juicy berries
  77. cups that don’t sweat
  78. taking my mom out for a meal
  79. on-line shopping
  80. ice cream
  81. hot running water
  82. bookstores
  83. cozy comforters
  84. NCIS reruns (love Gibbs)
  85. Instagram
  86. changing seasons
  87. finding bargains
  88. garden tomatoes
  89. crispy bacon
  90. getting into a sun-warmed car on a cold day
  91. dark chocolate
  92. fleece vests
  93. appliances that make life easier
  94. snow days
  95. snow blower
  96. ice makers
  97. fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm when I type
  98. friendly smiles
  99. All Write Conference
  100. a husband who helped me get to 100 items when my brain shut down


If you made it all the way to the end, I congratulate you. Now I challenge you to develop your own list. 🙂

Phone Call

Last night my son called. He lives in California, 3,000 miles away from me. To the world, he’s a grown man. To me he’s still my little boy.  Sunday is the day he usually calls me and we chat about life in general. It fills my need to hear his voice and know that everything is right in his world. He didn’t call this week. Sometimes that happens. I wait . . .

His special ring began to play on my phone sitting beside me. I smile as I answer the phone. We talk a few minutes. I tell him that his uncle’s house has sold. He is surprised that it has sold so quickly.

Then the words that changed my evening of a pleasant chat to one of fear and dread came through the phone, “I’ve got something to tell you.” Fear grabs my heart, my stomach lurches as I brace myself for whatever, because the tone was not one of good news. “Allie’s purse was stolen yesterday from her desk.” He goes on to explain everything that was in her purse.

The only key to the truck she was driving, her social security card, all bank cards, keys to the house and his car. Fortunately she had her phone in her pocket. He had to leave work to go pick up the daughter from school, then come to get  Allie. Once home, they began the task of calling credit card companies and banks. Someone had to be called to make a key for the truck ($400). A new deadbolt was installed on the front door. There is fear that whoever took the purse will come to their home and steal their car. Unfortunately they do not have a garage.

Allie went to the bank and was told that someone tried to withdraw $5,000 from her account. They do not have that kind of money. Fortunately the teller asked for identification. The person did not have any. The teller asked security questions. The person failed. She was denied access to the account (thank goodness!)

He feels violated. He feels angry that someone has caused their lives to be turned upside down. He is frustrated that they have had to bear expenses that were not in the budget. He is grateful that no one is hurt. He knows that things can be replaced.

No matter how old your child is, you want their world to be perfect. It makes me sick to think of what they have been through these past two days. I wish I could make it all better.

A Guest for Lunch

In early August, my son (who lives in Irvine, California) said, “Mom, I think I might be coming to the midwest for work at the end of the month or first of September.” That news put a smile on my face for a week. It was still a go the next week when we talked. But as time passed the project was postponed week after week, until last week. “I’m driving the company truck and I will leave Saturday. So I should be there by lunchtime on Monday,” he announced.

Was the sun brighter today? Today my son will be here for lunch. If this were a musical, I would be singing as I prepared for the lunch. Monte Cristo au Gratin sandwiches were on the menu and Monster Cookies for dessert. Yum!

Monster Cookies for dessert.

The text sound binged on my phone and the message said, “Got a bad start this morning. Be there around 12:45. Hope that is okay.” What choice is there, of course this will be okay. Not ideal, but he lives 2,000 miles away, so lunch will be later. Everything will be later.

I have to leave after lunch for a 270 mile drive across the state for work tomorrow. My original plan was to be on the road around 2:00, but that didn’t happen.

After lunch we got a short tutorial on geophysics and the projects he was working on. I nodded as if I understood, but it was way over my head. When I looked at my son, I didn’t see the young adult sitting in the recliner, I saw the little boy who would continually drag home a backpack of  “cool” rocks. I know there was a smile on my face which reflected the smile in my heart.

Eight years ago when he drove away from our home to start a life in California my heart was breaking. Today when he drove away to continue his journey for his work, my heart was full of pride for the person he became.