Friday, June 25, 2010


I've posted before about how my sister, Stephanie, enjoys the games on Facebook. Her newest fascination is an old-timey game called Frontierville. You have to grow crops, build a "homestead", fight bears, beat snakes, get "hitched", etc. Last night, as we were instant messaging, I received a request from her. It was this:

SIS: If you go to Frontierville, would you send me some hammers, I just got married (yes, you missed the wedding) and I am building a chicken coop with the old man.

I had to read that sentence a couple of times to really get the full benefit and full enjoyment out of it. My beautiful, artistic sister wrote the weirdest sentence I'd ever read. I pointed it out to her by saying this:

ME: Stephanie...please read the sentence you just wrote...I'm dying....


Glad I was able to reason with her...

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Tonight, as is typical, Mother and I began our evening watching television at 8:00. We were watching a pretty gory sight: dead cops, blood, bullets, a mob, an angry mob, accusations of racism, street gangs, corruption, and this is in the first 5 minutes. Mother looked at me and in all seriousness said the following, "I don't think this is Community."

So we turned to Wipe-Out and laughed our butts off...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


This afternoon, my sister came over to hang with Mom and I. Mother said, "I want to cut my hair in the back like Debbie's." She went on to explain that she believed her hair was falling out due to her excessive use of hairspray. Stephanie told her that it wasn't the hairspray, it was just age. Old age can lead to hair loss. At this point we both turned to look at Mother.





then this...

"Getting old is sh*t"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Billy Bush, the wacky-haired host of Access Hollywood was interviewing fitness expert Jillian Michaels. He asked her what people "sitting at home on the couch" could do to get fit. Her answer? Sleep more, take vitamins, and have more sex. I'm serious. That was her answer. My mother's response?

"We're in trouble, Debbie."

Amen, Mother, amen.

Monday, June 21, 2010


These are my 2 oldest grandchildren, Alex and Emma. They were sitting in a corner playing with my computer when I snapped this picture. Later, I found a video that Alex made. He's 13. He's in the autism spectrum and he owns a piece of each of our hearts. I found a video that he made on my computer. Anyway, this video was very grainy due to the "effect" he chose; black and white and kind of "stringy", like it was difficult to tune in. You can hear lots of voices in the background because of there were many of else at the house eating and visiting. But, no one knows the context of our just sounds like a kind of imagine my laughter when I hear his voice saying the following:

ALEX: I don't know if anyone can hear this. The zombies are attacking. If the mother ship can hear me, I'm the only one left. I had to kill lots of zombies. I see more coming for me. You can hear them coming *sounds of us laughing and talking*. I've stockpiled firearms. It's getting ugly. Hurry up. Ummmm, it's getting pretty bad.

What a priceless find...I can't wait to show it to him in a few years...if the zombies don't get us first.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Tonight I went to dinner with my Uncle Bill and my mother. They are siblings. They each require hearing aides. They each refuse to wear them. We went to a restaurant. But before that, we had to drive in a car whose air conditioning went out. Therefore, we had to drive with the windows open. When one drives with the windows open, it gets very loud. This did not help with their hearing loss. By the time we got to the restaurant, my reserves were nil.

I pulled the server aside and explained that no one had their hearing aides and that my own ears were ringing. I apologized in advance for any ear-splitting, elevated decibels coming from our end of the dining room.

As it turns out, my uncle and my mother appeared to have their own conversations. They each spoke about their own topics-seemingly to each other, but not so in reality. Uncle Bill was discussing loading typewriters into a truck from an "escapade" in the late 50s and mother was talking about their recent stomach ailments and how all of us should eat more fish. They both thought the other was listening and responding to their respective stories.

I was exaggeratedly nodding and overly smiling between the two. When the server came over, I realized that I was still smiling and nodding when I ordered. I was smiling and nodding when our server, for reasons unknown to me, brought up the BP spill in the Gulf, and I continued to smile and nod when our server explained that if we leave our tip on the table, she doesn't get taxed on it like she would if we leave it on the tab via credit card. I smiled and nodded when Uncle Bill asked me to pull over to a meat specialty store to purchase "orange meat", which is BBQ pork. I was smiling and nodding when I drove him home, then drove mother and I home, and then walked into our cool house.

I'm never going to smile again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of babysitting my twin grandchildren. We had a great deal of fun. One of the things I enjoy about babysitting is allowing my grand kids to "go tribal". This is a particular problem when I am watching children for several days in a row. Ask my daughter Emily. It gets so bad...One time, after watching my grand daughter Mae for about a week, her parents came home to find that she no longer fit into her pants. All we did was eat...the poor thing had put on a bit of a tummy....The last time I watched Mae and her brudder, we were eating in the beds, sleeping on the floors and jumping on the couches. Tribal.

Not to be outdone, Livvy and Charlie and I played and played. We went outside in the backyard and naturally, they went right to the puddle of rainwater on their table and began splashing....good babies....

Going evidenced below....

Livvy said, "No pictures, please...."
Can I just tell you how much a room lights up when Charlie smiles?
Livvy texting....she was updating her twitter account via mobile twitter. She's got it goin' on.
Charlie "Thug-o-licious"... C-dog
I simply adore her little piggies in this photo...and the light on her curls....
And what can I say?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Tonight Mom and I watched the debut of "Hot In Cleveland". It stars Valerie Bertinelli, Wendy Malick, Jane Leeves, and Betty White. Now, while I'm all about promoting the great state of Ohio and even the mistake-on-the-lake, I have to admit that we watched it because of Betty White. We love her...who doesn't?

Before it came on, Mother called around to make sure that the people we love wouldn't miss it. She's sweet and considerate like that.
And because I knew that Mother was going to bust a gut the first time Ms. White got off a good one, I had my camera poised and ready...and GOT IT!!!

Thank you, Betty....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Because I am spending much of the summer here with Mother, we have developed a guilty pleasure. We are watching a couple of reality shows, particularly The Bachlorette and True Beauty. We're a little hooked.

Regarding The Bachlorette-it is simply all kinds of wrong. Obviously, this is not the way an individual finds a spouse, obviously. But you's like watching a train wreck. I just can't turn away. Last night, Kasey (does anyone else have a problem with his voice?) was picked to have a solo date (that, right there, is just a wrong sentence) with the batchlorette, Ali, in New York City. First off, he sang to her. Not just funny singing, but pseudo-soulful, R&B crooning. That would have ended his chances with me right there. No singing!!!! I don't know why I can't have people sing to me. It's almost a pathology. My children's father knew this and one time, in a nightmare of epic proportions, I heard his distinctive voice over the loud speaker SINGING MY NAME in a Sharper Image at a mall. He had found a microphone and started doing a lounge singer act as I was walking around blithely looking at the massage chairs and and other Skymall-type paraphernalia. My blood curdled and I slowly spun around to see him grinning from ear to ear-knowing perfectly well what the effect would be. I strolled out of the store with him smiling and walking behind me, but not after he serenaded me out of the establishment. *SHUDDER*. As it turns out, my father used to sing to my mother while she was pregnant for me and she would smile and then run and barf so maybe it's cell memory or something. All I know is when Kasey started singing, both my mother and myself started moaning and-in a clear case of reality show confusion-began voting him off the island. Mom said, "If he doesn't shut up and kiss her, she's going to throw up". Nice.... But Ali was kind (if only temporarily) and while denying him a rose on their date (which is not good) she allowed him to stay another week). To make matters weirder, he then went out and got a tattoo on his wrist proclaiming his love for her. It's a shield protecting a heart and 11 other hearts representing the other 11 bachelors. Oy. I like this kid, but as one of the other bachelors described him, he's into "hearts, flowers and unicorn love". The weatherman went home, whom I thought was a funny guy with his neurotic Jewish schtick...oh well....

True Beauty is a pretend contest (sure) where the contestants think they're competing to represent the "Face of Vegas". In reality, there are lots of hidden cameras testing their character with "plants" that entice the contestants with opportunities to steal, or peek at their interview questions, etc. The idea being that beauty is inner as well as a reality show?...sure, cause that's where we want to learn about character, because the television networks are paragons of virtue...

But hey! I'm still watching! Kasey, stop singing!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Tonight, as Mom was walking towards her room to go to bed (we watched the Tony Awards because we're cultured and cosmopolitan...sure...), I heard a rhythmic tinkling. I noticed it coincided with her gait. I looked more closely and I realized that she had taken off ALL of her jewelry (a time consuming task) and had cleverly (and apparently with experience) placed the rings and bracelets on a single bracelet and hooked it over the handle of the cane. This freed her hand to hold the cane handle more efficiently. In her other hand, she carried her groovy new silk shantung shoes. I thought it was so clever, I had to snap a picture. When I was done, she said, "now get me in the picture!" When I did, she made that little "pity me" face and when we looked at the picture, we laughed so hard, we both almost fell over.

Please, let me have that good of a sense of humor after telling my family about my funeral program, which is exactly what she was doing tonight with Eli and Abby and I. Puhleese....

Friday, June 11, 2010


The June 9th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study which looked at the possibility that increased injuries COULD OCCUR if little league hockey officials allowed body checking. I would advise you to reread that above sentence because, yes, you read that correctly. The researchers wanted to know if body checking, which is when you use your body as a weapon and run into other skaters to throw them off balance, could lead to increased injuries, as opposed to what the number of injuries would be if NO body checking were allowed. I'm so proud of the scientific method. You form a theory (Body checking will cause an increase of body injuries in adolescent hockey leagues). You have to have a control group (Hey! Let those bozos over there body check each other's brains out and then we'll count their body parts and assess their injuries). You have to have a population that doesn't body check (Let's let these nancy-boys play girl hockey and not allow them to body check each other and then make fun of them so that they grow up to be snipers in church towers). And then you assess the data and publish it in beautiful publications like JAMA.

In other news, the American Academy of Neurologists redid the guidelines for what accounts for brain death. This is good news. This should eliminate a lot of gangsta rappers and perhaps Paula Abdul.

I want to be a scientist when I grow up. Oh wait...

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Today mom and I were sitting at lunch. She leaned over to open her lunch time meds and I heard "Sh*t", I dropped my vitamin D capsule!

I said, "Um, Mom. Language check".

MOM: God knows I'm 90.

ME: What?

MOM: He knows.

ME: Mom, God's only a couple of years older than you and I don't believe He cusses.

MOM: Well.

ME: That's not really an answer, Mom.

MOM: It isn't?

ME: Well, it is if it's the end of the conversation. *PROLONGED SILENCE* Oh...

MOM: I'm going into the living room. Bring me the laundry out of the dryer and I'll fold it.

ME: I'll do it Mom.

MOM: I like to do it. I can do my own laundry.

ME: Mom. You're tired. I'll just fold it and put it away. Go ahead and take your nap.

MOM: Debbie Ruth! Just put it right on my lap. I like to fold it.

ME: Okay Mom. Whatever you want.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I'm trying new and different things to help my mother deal with her chronic pain. This is the main purpose for my being here.

Today, we did castor oil poultices. This is where you saturate an area with organic castor oil (it has to be organic), and then wrap the area (her knees) in pure, clean, non-dyed, wool flannel without any synthetic anything in it. I leave it on for 30-40 minutes on each knee. I feel like a character out of a book when I apply old-timey treatments like this. Or maybe someone that is stuck in time and making the best of it. Sometimes I take it to the next level and develop a wise, home-style accent accompanied by an all-knowing wink. Soon, I will sport a large apron with pockets for when I fetch the morning's first offering of fresh eggs in the hen house.

I could pull it off too, if I wasn't typing about it on this here high techy computer thingy, dag burnit....

Monday, June 7, 2010


Tonight, at about midnight, I was sitting here just scanning various sites on the internet. I was searching for a particular show on, checking facebook, twitter, the usual suspects. Mom was in bed for the night and her room is directly across from me. Her home is small, so I'm virtually right outside her room where I sit here at the table. The weather has been up and down, wet and dry, hot and cool this entire past week I've been here so we've wrestled with the thermostat. I believe that in C-bus, in June, there really is never a good reason to turn on the heater. Simply shut the windows...or turn off the air...but don't turn on your heater. Mother, whose house this is, just does whatever she wants. And do you know why my mother does whatever she wants? Yes. You guessed it. She's 90. That's the best reason for doing anything, I'm learning. So...after fanning myself silly, my mother asked, "Oh! Are you warm?"

Silly me, thinking that perhaps I was having a power surge (what our older sisters used to refer to as "hot flashes"), answered, "Why yes, yes I am. As a matter of fact, I'm about to spontaneously combust right here before your eyes." To which she replied, "Well. Go over and check the thermostat before you do that." Don't laugh. She's not that witty. She doesn't hear well and by "doesn't hear well" I mean she doesn't listen. She doesn't listen because most of the time she doesn't really care. She doesn't really care because....she's 90...she's got other stuff on her to have with deceased relatives when she sees them (this subject occupies our time and often involve recipes).

Anyway, I adjust the thermostat from "insanely and inappropriately hot" to "reasonably temperate" and forgot about it. A few moments ago (Eastern Standard Time), she called me in where she was laying on the bed and said (and I am NOT making any of this stuff up):

MOM: Debbie?

ME: * I walk into the room*

MOM: Come over here. I want you to feel something.

ME: ?!?

MOM: Come here. Closer. Come here like you're going to give me a hug. Bend down. Closer Debbie! Right here. (She puts her hand somewhere on her lower right belly area and hip.)

ME: I bend down and awkwardly lay the side of my head against that area and listen because I have no idea what I'm doing, listening to, or "feeling".

MOM: Do you feel it?

ME: Well. I certainly hear your stomach noises.

MOM: NO! Don't you feel that?

ME: *as I continue laying my head against her abdomen* What am I feeling for, Mom? A bump? A ...a...what?

MOM: That damn draft! I put you right in the line of fire. Can't you feel that cold air?

ME: OH MY GOSH!!! WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST SAY SOMETHING????? Yeesh, woman. I thought you had a lump or something on your stomach. You're slowly driving me crazy! I'll go adjust the heat.

MOM: *chuckling wickedly*

I've only been here a week....I'm much grayer than I was on Memorial Day....

Sunday, June 6, 2010


We came home from church this afternoon, the Mom and I, and had lunch. Now we're relaxing and getting ready for a variety of family members to arrive for Sunday dinner. We're feeding any combination of family that can make it to the house at 5:00 on Sunday evenings. It's an "Open House" kind of thing. We're doing it as long as I'm in town. Tonight is "sgetti & meatballs". Actually, what we're going to do each Sunday is cook a big meal from Mom's youth...starting NEXT Sunday. I don't think she ate spaghetti and meatballs down on the farm in Appalachia. So....that'll be a learning experience...

So anyway, I was straightening up the house and readying my bathroom for company (which is the bathroom that everyone will be using) and I thought it would be nice to burn a scented candle in there throughout the evening. I asked Mom if she had any matches or a lighter. She said, "Sure, there's a lighter in one of the drawers in the kitchen."

Not a problem...there's only a few drawers....I'll just take a look....not here....not there...."Hey Mom. I can't locate your lighter. Could it be anywhere else?"

MOM: That lighter didn't work anyway. I probably threw it out.

ME: ? Then...why?....

MOM: Oh look! Here's some Fabreze!

ME: Okay. I can just spray some of that in there I guess. Where is it?

MOM: Right here.

ME: *walking over* Where?

MOM: Right here.

ME: That's a picture of Fabreze.

MOM: But it's a coupon for a dollar off.

ME: That doesn't help with right now.

MOM: Well.... *said with a tone that indicates that I'M the one not getting it*

ME: *confused and not caring about the bathroom anymore*

These should be interesting gatherings...

Saturday, June 5, 2010


My 90-year-old mom watches a lot of television. A LOT. And she likes it loud. Let me tell you, my ears are BUZZING. You can tell I'm a little affected by it because I TYPE IN ALL CAPS MORE OFTEN DUE TO MY YELLING!

My mother channel surfs quite a bit. And she doesn't just surf here and there. She has it down to a weird, irritating science. She'll locate a program, stay there long enough to drift off to sleep and for me to get mildly interested in the program, then she'll wake up right before the important, pertinent, or revealing moment and then CHANGE THE CHANNEL!!! At which point, the process is repeated. Good times.

If I get up to leave (to avoid getting "attached" to the next program she lands on), she'll say something like, "Oh! You're going back over to the table to play on your computer? You don't want to sit here with me?"

Really? How can that still work on me? To which I respond, "Of course not. Why would I want to check email, blog, tweet, read, research, or have fun when I can get engrossed in a murder mystery at 160 decibels, only to have you switch channels right when the culprit is exposed?" Here, I'll just bring the rocker closer to your chair and we'll sit side by side...and we'll eat dinner here too!

Mom: Oh! That's a good idea!

I'm not gonna win....

Friday, June 4, 2010


Tonight I had the pleasure of going to dinner at my son and daughter-in-law's house where I played with my twin grand-babies. I had a ball. Abby and I got to spend a couple of hours together with the kids before Eli came home. The babies were playing in the pool...then the swings, where Livvy relaxed on my lap (and I mean relaxed like a pro-all sprawled out).

As she was leaning back relaxing, she repeatedly stroked the skin on the inside of my upper arm. I don't know why, but this is a point of attraction for grandchildren and little Eli. There's just something about that skin... Anyway, she lazily stroked my arm for awhile and then folded her arms in prayer and said "amen". Seriously! How cute is that? I guess we shared a spiritual experience there.

Charlie allowed me the joy of chewing on his piggies. Time after time after time. And he giggled each and every time. Heaven.

I saw lightening bugs.

Abby prepared an excellent supper and Eli grilled chicken kabobs. We dined outside. Then the missionaries came over and we had a great discussion on vibratory energy. Wha???? Yea. It was fun.

And still my heart...I had the privilege of watching Eli and Abby put the twins to bed. Each parent stands next to a crib while one says the evening prayer and little voices murmur some version of "amen"; then, while bowing down over their children, Mommy and Daddy sing a hymn. Tonight was "Teach Me To Walk In the Light". On the 3rd verse, they harmonized. I think that room is a sacred space and the veil is pretty thin. I think angels must stand as guards there. I also think I was probably one of the last of the grandparents to witness such a sight...because I have a feeling that both of their late grandfathers have each been in that room plenty...

It was a great evening...


There is a Japanese restaurant in Sydney, Australia that demands, rather emphatically, that its patrons finish all of their food that they order. If they do, they get a 30% discount. If they leave food on their plates, they as asked to go to another restaurant in the future, thank you very much.

I had no idea my mother was running a business on another continent.

But for real, the chef, Yukako Ichikawa, insists that her business is actually IN the business of sustainability...sustaining nourishment of the body, as well as the environment. I'm intrigued by the idea. Here we are bombarded by over-sized this and super-sized that. I, for one, have always had eyes that are bigger than my stomach. Just ask my kids or husband. I'll order a meal that an entire GROUP of people can't finish. I get giddy thinking about portions. One of my greatest delights is noshing on leftover dinner late at night. It's an issue, I realize....

Anyway, this is a strong stance for a business owner-especially because it involves such an "invasive" policy with consumers. Stuff your face, save some money, or go somewhere else. That's pretty clear. I'd like to see that here and see what happens...I'm wondering who would have the chutzpah to do it....

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I was reading an article by Paul Bloom. He's a psychologist at Yale University involved with the "Infant Cognition Center" there. He and his wife ( Karen Wynn, who runs the lab), and a graduate student, Kiley Hamlin, are conducting studies on the moral lives of infants. Actually, I believe that Ms. Hamlin is conducting the study and the Bloom-Wynns are a part of it.

Anyway, Dr. Bloom believe that morality is "bred in the bones". Through a series of videotaped experiences, children innately chose "moral" or kind puppets over mean or unkind puppets-this, after viewing a puppet show where the puppets demonstrated their characteristics. It was fascinating. There have also been studies (performed elsewhere and years before), where children as young a just a few months, demonstrated an innate knowledge of gravity. And many lay people know children's ability to learn languages before the age of six years-much easier than adults are able to learn. This has been called "the innate language module" (Noam Chomsky).

Makes you wonder where our babies REALLY come from...who they REALLY are...and who we're really ACCOUNTABLE for...and to whom...