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About this blog

I have friends who have encouraged me to write a little.  When the urge strikes, it will wind up here.

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An Open Letter to Alzheimer's

Dear Alzheimer’s,    You’re just a dirty sneak thief.  You sneak in and steal from people. You don’t even have the courage to announce yourself.  Your nasty cousin, cancer, at least starts with a cough or a pain. But not you, oh no.     You waltzed in, and started taking things. Little things. Things you didn’t think would be noticed; like where the car keys had gone, or the reading glasses. “Everybody remember where we parked!” became a family joke.    You started taking bigger things.  Like conversation. Gone were the days when we talked about so many things over coffee.  Now there were questions asked, and answered, and asked again. Trains of thought, derailed before they even left the station.      But now, everyone notices.  Stolen glances behind backs, eyes rolling like teenagers at hearing the question, again. And, occasionally, “Oh wait, I asked that already, didn’t I?” "You know, I'm just not worth a damn some days." She knows now, that something is missing. But you’re sneaky, she’s not quite sure what’s going on.     And while this is cruel, what is worse is that the past is now crystal clear.  Phone calls and emails to grandchildren to apologize for things that happened 13 years ago.  Knowing for certain, with absolute clarity, what she wore to that Halloween party 40 years ago.     You’re getting bolder now.  Walking, moving, becomes difficult.  You’ve stolen our walks. When we would wander the neighborhood, the park, even the mall.  The shuffling gait leads to trips, trips to falls, falls to fear, and fear, to inaction.    We ask, “What’s next?” There’s a caregiver now.  You’ve taken her ability to feed herself, and care for herself.  She’s like a small child again needing help with daily activities like brushing her teeth, and even going to the bathroom.  Unmarked boxes, full of “incontinence supplies” start showing up with the mail. Like a small child, she lashes out in anger, and frustration.  She knows things are missing.    If that wasn’t enough, you’ve taken her spirit, the very thing that made her, who she is, or was.  She lays on the bed, not knowing anyone, or anything.  There isn’t even any fighting. We know she’s gone, only her body doesn’t realize it yet.  We mourn, but we can’t fully, as we try to care for what you’ve left behind.    You’ve taken so much.  Will you ever be satisfied?    Sincerely,    molly     We all have fears.  When i was a teen, and into my early twenties i lived in a part of the US that has high rates for MS, Multiple Sclerosis.  It was my boogeyman. Now, three people i know, two of which i went to high school with, are battling it. It doesn’t frighten me anymore.    The area i grew up in has been labeled a “cancer cluster."  Talking with classmates from high school, we’re losing parents and each other to cancer and other chronic illnesses.  i deal with this daily, it’s no longer a fear.    But Alzheimer’s.  That’s fecking scary.  My Grandmother had it; her sister had it; my mother has it; my sister's mother in law has it.  My aunt lost her husband to it last year. We’d been saying goodbye to him for three or four years    Losing ME, that’s scary. So scary that it can make me cry.      This month in the US starts a series of "Walk to End Alzheimer's" events.  You'll see commercials for it, hear stories on the news programs, they'll say that "the first survivor of Alzheimer's is out there." If you are so inclined, get a team together, volunteer at one of the events, or find a way to sponsor someone who's walking.  For more information on the Walks check here
      As always, my thanks to tim, @Mikiesboy, for helping me find the courage to do this in the first place xoxo And tonight, to AC, @AC Benus, thank you for looking at this for me xoxo




Poetry Might Not Be my Thing

Back on July 16 @AC Benus posted a status update looking for volunteers to look at one of his poetry prompts.  i thought about it, and decided to try.  (it's here, if you're interested  https://www.gayauthors.org/profile/18130-ac-benus/?status=134349&type=status)     i'll show you the evolution in just a sec, but first i learned a couple of things i wanted to share.    These authors who post poems here are a very talented group.      They also work very hard on these offerings.  It's not like they just spit the words out onto a page and VOILA! it's poetry.  For the ones i know best, it's a long process. It could be days, or weeks before what they've written coalesces into something other than a pile of words.  i've likened it to a painter, who blends the primary colors into just the PERFECT shade to convey the feeling.  Our poets do that with words. Finding just the RIGHT word so their thoughts and feelings come though the page for the reader.  The poets here at GA are also brave.  They've put their hearts onto the page, bared their souls for all to see.  That, my friends, is bravery.    So, to AC's Poetry Prompt.  i really wanted to do it, so i PMd him and said i'd volunteer.  He sent the link and i downloaded it, and read it.  Not just once, but many times.  i started writing, and my first attempt was darn close to the syllable count (57577 is what a Tanka should be):    the lights on the tree 
sparkle and dance bring 
butterflies to my stomach 
waiting for the morning 
was never my strength    But there wasn't anything that tied together why waiting until morning is hard, and there was a hard stop after the third line, so back to the drawing board.  The next attempt is a bit better but the syllable count is still off and there's still that pesky hard stop:     the lights on the tree  sparkle and dance on  on the packages below,  i'm giddy inside  to see what's in them    Whenever i had some quiet, or some downtime, i'd open the document and start to noodle around with it.  i kept in touch with AC and shared some of my work.  He was, as he always is, gentle and supportive in his critiques and his guidance.  i thought a lot about his last email to me where he talked about how a person can say the same thing in many different ways, that blending of just the right words i talked about earlier.  He said that putting the words in one order sounds like "everyday speech" but moving the exact same words around can make it musical.  He went on to say that it takes practice, and that anyone writing poetry has to just write a lot to get a feel for it.    Here's the final evolution:    from across the room  the brightly wrapped packages  reflect the lights from  the tree above and i can't  wait to see what hides inside      i used the "self-check" tool that was in the prompt, and it seemed to check out.  AC  agreed.  He also reminded me not to be too hard on myself as writing poetry takes work, and practice.  Then, as is his style, he invited me to revisit this when the new prompts come out.   Am i glad i did the prompt challenge? Yes, i am.  There were several times when i just wanted to stop, to give up.  i was getting frustrated that i couldn't get it. But it's not in me to do that, so i did the best i could.  Could i keep working at it?  Sure, but i think i have learned what i needed to. And  i gained some insight into the process, and  perhaps a better appreciation for the poets among us.    Will you be looking at the new prompts?          

Yes, Food Bytes, Again -- molly's Update

You all know that tim is a dear, dear friend.  And you may have gathered that was me he was talking about in the blog.   Well, i wanted to update you on some things.   First off, about 3 weeks ago, i was told that i had to limit my coffee to just 2 cups (ok they are 20 ounce cups) and that i wasn’t to have a can of soda with lunch anymore.  i am to drink at least one 32 ounce bottle of water a day, and look to increasing that. i have noticed some changes from just this little change. i’m not snacking in the afternoon, and not falling asleep on the couch as soon as my butt hits it.  i may have noticed a difference in my skin, but too soon to tell on that. At this point i'm at about 1 and ½ bottles a day.   What makes this so challenging for me is that i really dislike water.  It’s sometimes got a funny taste, or it’s got no taste at all so why bother?  There’s also this thing that i can’t drink cold beverages that aren’t like GLACIAL cold. As soon as the water in the bottle, cup or glass has no ice, i’m done.  What’s helped greatly, besides tim’s encouragement, is that i’m adding limes, lemons, mint, and cucumber to my water. i’ve found a water bottle that has a little basket thing in it for just this reason.  Lime and cucumber are so far the winner!   So that’s one change i’ve made.   After talking with tim last week, in a conversation that was the precursor to the blog post, i committed to trying “refrigerator oatmeal” every day for breakfast.  i’m not a breakfast eater, not hungry in the morning. In fact, the thought of food in the morning turns my stomach. i chose this as it would be the easiest thing for me in the morning, as mornings with 17 year olds can be rather hectic.  he and i talked about recipes, his is in the blog, and i looked up several different versions. i bought some nice plastic bowls with tight fitting lids, the old fashioned rolled oats, some good cinnamon, golden and regular raisins.   i’m using ½ cup oats, and about a tablespoon of each type of raisin and a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon.  i shake it up to mix it, then cover it with milk. i’m using 2% lowfat. i’ve found that putting it together takes no time at all, and i’m doing it right after dinner, while the kitchen is being cleaned up.   So, i’m on day 3 as i write this and there are a few things i’ve begun to notice. Most impressive is that i've not forgotten my breakfast at home once. After getting past the whole “But oatmeal should be hot” thing, i'm able to eat it all. i’m also ready to eat lunch at lunchtime. Previously, i wasn’t always ready to eat at noon. Surprising me the most is that yesterday and today, i was actually hungry by the time i got to work. This, y'all this, is big.   Just thought i'd let you know what’s happening, and maybe show you that what tim was talking about, eating real food, doesn’t have to be a big production.     If you missed the original blog post, you can find it HERE my thanks always to tim, he's always been so encouraging and is so very dear to my heart 


Words are amazing aren't they? Are we even aware of how much they can affect other people? The casual use of a nickname. A  kind “Hello” when you’re having a bad day. A softly muttered “Bite me,” when someone crosses you, or you cross someone else!   Words we use to make light of a situation; or that attempt to pretty something up, make a concept or idea less gritty, better for polite company.   Yes, words are powerful.  Think of a parent with a child.  A sharply spoken “STOP” can avert danger, cause the child to not touch that hot stove, or dash into the street. “I love you,” can be the sweetest thing you ever heard!  “I don’t want to see you anymore,” can be the harshest; or could cause a sense of relief to wash over you.   If someone tells you that something was difficult the words that you choose to bring comfort, or support, may sound like you are dismissing their pain or the effort that it took to get thru or past this thing.  It can have the effect of invalidating that person’s experience.   Think about that nickname for the guy you work with, for that friend of yours, whether you’ve known them for 8 years, 8 months, or 8 weeks. What does it mean to them?  That you have christened them with your own appellation, something that only you call them, be it just between the two of you, or out where the world can hear.  Or maybe a nickname that confers some kind of acceptance into a group. Maybe you have taken it upon yourself to shorten their name, Richard to Rich, or Dick, Jonathan to Jon, Victoria to Vicky.   Does that person even like that you have done this? Does he or she grudgingly accept that you have done this, would they rather you didn’t? Was it the name that an old nemesis used as a form of torture or derision?  Does this nickname bring this person joy?  Does it makes him or her feel special? Make them a little giddy that you did this for them?   Words can be truthful or they can be lies. They can help you make wants and needs understood, they can be used to baffle or enlighten.  Think about the proverbial used car salesman, that fast talking shyster, trying to make that old clunker sound like a classic driven by a sweet little old lady to the market, the church, and home. A legal eagle’s contract written with lots of loopholes, the language archaic and full of jargon.  Or those little quotes from someone you admire. A former president, or first lady. A spiritual leader you admire perhaps. A book or an essay that explains that thing you've always wondered about. They can tell you why the caged bird sings, or take you far away chasing a mysterious white whale.  They can transport you to fantastical mythical places, or the corner store.   I believe that words are one of the most powerful tools in all of humanity. Just look at what they do.  They can bring comfort, joy, peace. Or they can wound, deeply, fatally even. Bring about war and division, foster hate and distrust. Because of the inherent power of words, we need to be mindful of them.  Words are forever. Yes, even those spoken, not written, as they will be passed down by word of mouth to become tomorrow’s folk tales, and legends.  So before you call that new guy in the office Jon ask, before you call the short cashier at the market “The Garden Gnome,” stop and think about the power behind what is about to come out of your mouth.  When you finish a poem, chapter, or story, reflect on the power in what you just read.   MacGreg Sir wrote about just that in His poem “Taste Your Words Before You Spit Them Out”   What is the point of communicating with someone If your intentions are meant to maim? Taste your words before you spit them out. Consider the impact of their flavor As they roll across your tongue. For once expelled, they cannot be retracted.   Consider this: Will what you are about to say produce acidity? Or lay a foundation for common ground?
  So consider the power of words, your words.

  With many thanks to @MacGreg Sir for allowing me to use part of His poem. Please look here for the complete poem, and here for more. And as always to tim @Mikiesboy for his never-ending love and support. 

Just what is NORMAL?

After a few rocky weeks, our lives are returning to normal.  Well, normal for us. Two working adults, with one car, mornings starting at 4:45 AM.  Two kids in high school, one with a job, the other with after school commitments until 9 PM. Weekends are full of their events, family time, household chores and on and on ad nauseum.   People are often shocked at that. Well, yes, it seems a lot.  But it’s normal for us.   Normal, now there’s a word I’m not to sure about.  What is “NORMAL?”   We hear about “the new normal.” Kindergarten kids have lock down and active shooter drills.   “Oh, well, that’s the new normal.”      More and more people are utilizing food banks, and low income housing.  “That’s the new normal in this economy.”   But, they aren’t normal.  They’re outside the norm, aren’t they?  So, is normal a fluid concept? What was normal to our great grandparents during the Great Depression wasn’t normal to our parents in the 1960’s.  And it sure as hell heck isn’t normal to this mom in the 21st century! And, the definition of normal is boring, and I mean like BOOORING!!  Merriam-Webster says:   conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle   But who wants to conform to a norm, or a type?  Why? Who wants this? Aren’t we all individuals?  Why do I have to conform to some outdated definition of a word that changes its meaning.  Okay, okay, I know there are societal norms that we all need to follow, you know, like wearing pants when you go out in public, and not talking with food in your mouth.   But really? Who wants to be normal?  I live near Austin. Their motto is “Keep Austin Weird.” There’s a statue going up of a homeless man known as Leslie, who roller skated all over town in a bikini, and ran for mayor 3 times.(He actually came in second once! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Cochran) I raised my kids constantly telling them that normal is overrated.  And who wants lock down drills and not being able to buy your own home “normal?”   Normal sounds like an insult, “Why can’t you like chocolate like a normal person?” “Why don’t you wear a dress like a normal girl?” “Normal boys don’t take dance class.”   Normal sounds so blah. Normal sounds like average, like beige, the four door sedans of the automotive world.  I don’t want to be average, or blend in.   Now, I can understand the concept of NORMAL, as it relates to me and my family. But it’s really an illusion, isn’t it?  Because MY normal isn’t YOUR normal and it’s not HIS normal. So why should this word be applied willy nilly to all things?   Is there anything that is really NORMAL anymore? Was anything ever NORMAL?  And is that good, or not?   I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Letting Go (or the day my heart broke, just a little)

Oh, my heart!   I did something hard today.  I let my almost 18 year old daughter go on a 3 day trip. A trip that will take her some 4 hours away.  OK, it’s a school trip and there are chaperones.  She’s a member of her high school’s culinary team and I am so proud to be her mom!   Her brother has been taking trips with the marching band and indoor drum line groups since middle school.  And there have been some long ones, 16-18 hours! (Texas is a BIG place!)  But neither one of them have done anything like this!   I want them to have the courage to fly, to do things that challenge them.  I want them to be able to take trips like this and know that they can do it alone.  Without a parent there to take the lead.  I know that it’s important they learn these skills.  After all, isn’t that a big part of my job as a parent? To send my kids into the world knowing how to be an adult?   She was so excited last night.  Making sure the right clothes were packed.  That the new pants we had to buy for the awards assembly “worked with the blouse.” She made sure that she had everything ready to go; she had lists! She was packed and ready to go by 7:00 this morning; even though her ride wasn’t due for another hour.  She texted me when she left the house “We’ve left and are going to Starbucks.”  I’m glad she didn’t face time me, I was able to respond with a “Thanks!” A friend asked if she got off ok, and I responded to him with a “yes (sob).”   If letting her go for 3 days is this hard, what is it going to be like when she goes away to college in the fall?  I had been warned about so many little hurdles that I would have to deal with as my children grew.  But letting go?  I don’t think anyone ever mentioned how hard it was going to be seeing my chicks leave the nest.   I’ve been there for so many FIRST things.  First steps, first words, first day of school.  This first, this first trip away, I won’t, I can’t, be there.   How do you do this?  How do you let a piece of your heart, get in a car and leave?  For 3 days?  Almost 4 hours away? Would I feel different if she were, say, going to Grandmother’s house for a long weekend?  Most likely the answer would be “Yes.” Grandmother is, after all, family. There’s no family involved in this trip though.  There are two great teachers who are chaperoning, but they aren’t family.  Her teammates are friends, but that’s not family.  There are parts of this trip she will have to navigate on her own.  I have to trust that what she’s learned at home so far, what she’s seen in our lives, she is able to put into practice.  Without me looking over her shoulder.   She just texted again, “Thanks mom! We’re here and having so much fun!” I didn’t cry, I just asked for a picture.   Today, I took a big step in learning to let go.   Oh, my heart!

Boys Are Odd Creatures

Boys are odd creatures.  Yes, they are. Don’t try to deny it. Let me explain.   i took both my boys shopping today.  (Yes i know you know i detest shopping.  i had no choice in this.  Anyway, that’s a different blog post. )   Boys, make odd noises.  They were talking, and they would accent their conversation with these strange vocalizations. i can’t even begin to describe them. Is there a gene, or other chromosomal anomaly that enables the male vocal chords to do that?  i tried hard to just listen and not react.  It was fascinating.  Truly.   Boys, they smell.  They do.  i know for a fact that both these boys showered.  This morning.  But, they’d walk past me to see something on a shelf and there was a whiff of...something on the breeze. It wasn’t that it was unpleasant, but it wasn’t roses and lilacs either.  It was just “boy.”   Boys, show affection differently.  Now granted these are not boyfriends or lovers, they’re brothers, and that’s its own kind of relationship.  And these brothers are 6 ½ years apart in age.  The physicality of their affection startles me still.  Shoulder punches, high fives and fist bumps that resembled an MMA fight, shoving, headlocks.  At one point, i was concerned about the glass jars and bottles on the shelves at the store.  But these boys were aware of where they were and this tussling affection was measured and controlled.  And the name calling!  Oh good heavens!  If i didn’t know any better i would have thought they didn’t like each other.   Boys, though, still surprise their mom.  They found a movie they both wanted, neither had enough to get it.  They agreed to split the cost. In a most satisfying and adult way.  It was an affirmation that they do like each other.  Even if mom doesn’t understand them!   Yes, boys are odd.  It’s a good thing that they grow up.  Or do they?

unintended consequences

in life, there are unintended consequences. today was full of those for me.   getting ready to leave the house just before noon, i asked Phil if He'd like to go to the store with me, as i had to go to WalMart for this week's shopping, and i know He enjoys wandering around there. miracle of miracles, He said yes. He normally passes as the meandering, slow crowds try His patience.   unintended consequence number one, had to go to a pawn shop to look at a thing, some kind of tool.  unintended consequence number two, He had His own agenda. a trip to Costco to take advantage of a new benefit from the city.  now, our town is too small for a Costco, so we had to go 15 miles up the highway to get there.  so, we got there, listened to the spiel, got the cards, looked around liked what we saw, and grabbed a bite at the snack bar. unintended consequence three, we weren't done! ran back to Georgetown to pick up Number One from work, then back across town to the Costco to shop, then back to our town to get Number 2 and Daughter from the library. unintended consequence number four, with the Christmas Stroll yesterday and today's adventures, none of the laundry got done. so while dinner is being cooked, laundry has been started.   on the positive side of this whole adventure, since Phil was there, and i was not in charge (as i usually am when shopping keeping in mind the given budget) i was able to conquer my anxiety regarding the crowds and the final total at the cash register.  i was talking to a friend who has anxiety in just shopping for two.  he said that shopping for 5 (my little army) would give him palpitations!  i admitted that oftentimes, i do get those.    so, i made it.  i did very well, received a "Good Girl" for my efforts, and just now a thank you and a kiss.   i'm pooped, but i am a happy girl.      




Getting Back On The Horse

Many years ago, I was hit with a horrible bout of depression. During some of the sessions with my therapist, he talked about affirmations.  I keep some on my desk at work, I have several pages of them bookmarked on my laptop, and my husband will occasionally write one on the bathroom mirror.  Reading them, seeing them, is very helpful to me. Well, last week was an absolute disaster at work, and some of that negativity carried over to my home life.  I’m still working on recovering.  In trying to get my head right for the upcoming week, I pulled together some of the quotes and affirmations I have stockpiled.  I’ve used them in my quiet time today; reading through them again and really HEARING the words. Life is hard.  Work, home, relationships aren’t always made up of sunshine and rainbows. So, I’d like to share some of these affirmations and quotes with you.   If and when something goes wrong in your world, you might come here and find a quote  that is uplifting to you .     “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson “Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill “Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” – George Bernard Shaw “Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.” – Malcolm S. Forbes “After every difficulty, ask yourself two questions: “What did I do right?” and “What would I do differently?” – Brian Tracy “Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.” – Leo Buscaglia   I hope your week is successful!




Dreamy and Cheesy

So I was talking to some friends about food the other day, and the subject of mac and cheese came up somehow.   Well I opened my mouth and said, “I have a good recipe for mac and cheese.”  So a few people wanted it. And then they said, you should put it on your blog. So, here it is.   It’s nothing fancy.  And it’s really not good for you.  But it is so good!  So good that people I work with like the leftovers!   I started with my mother’s recipe.  Adapted it with flavors we like.  Took out a little of the fat. The big secret?  My kids think that it’s really hard to make.  It’s really not.  It’s all about the prep.  Once you get started with this, you really can’t stop.   We don’t bake it, there’s no time. See, I’m short, so I need a tall person to come help me drain the noodles.  When I call for help, it’s like ringing the dinner bell!  The kids drain the pasta, then line up like Pavlov’s dogs.   This is a basic recipe.  You can add to it, take away from it.  We add cubed ham and frozen peas.  I add the peas to the colander and drain the pasta over them to thaw them.  I toss the ham cubes into the cheese sauce.  It’d be great with some green chiles, or chopped bacon.   Please let me know if you try it.   Molly   ½ onion finely diced 2 tablespoons margarine, or 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon bacon fat 2 tablespoons AP flour 2 cups milk 1 box low sodium chicken broth ½  pound box Velveeta, cubed, or in chunks about the same size 1 cup shredded cheddar, colby jack, or Mexican blend cheese ¼ to ½ cup parmesan   1-2 pounds macaroni elbows   This recipe is all about the prep, as once you get started, you really cannot stop.  So have all your stuff ready.   Start by filling a pot with water and putting it to boil, have the noodles ready, and once it boils, put the noodles in, adding some salt.   Heat a deep sauce pan, and melt your fat, saute your onions until fragrant and soft. Sprinkle the flour over this, and whisk it well for 3 or 4 minutes.  This is your roux, you need to cook the flour a little but not make this dark at all.     Now add the milk, slowly, whisking the whole time, making sure to break up any lumps of flour you find.  Once it starts to bubble it will thicken quickly. Switch to a spoon now.  Add some chicken broth, maybe a half cup at a time, you want this thick like a gravy, not like concrete.  Let it bubble and thicken for a few minutes.  You’ll need to stir almost constantly so it doesn’t stick and burn.   Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.   Now add the Velveeta a little at a time stirring to get it melted, once all that is in, add the cheddar the same way.  Then dump in the parm and stir until it’s all creamy.   Turn the heat way down, stirring regularly if the noodles aren’t done.   Drain the noodles and add to the cheese sauce.  If it’s too thick, add some chicken broth.   At this point it’s ready to eat, or you can bake it in a 350 degree oven with some buttered bread crumbs on top until golden brown.  





I took a trip recently.  It was not an easy decision to do that but I did it any way. This came out of that trip   family   I recently went to see family   People who birthed me Raised me Taught me   With whom I share genetics Parents siblings   People who made me feel Less than So Wrong   From whom I distanced myself To save myself   I recently went to see family   People who haven’t changed Raised me Taught me   With whom I share genetics Parents siblings   People who still make me feel Less than So Wrong   From whom I distanced myself To save myself   I am saved




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