Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Me:  (checking out at the doctors office):  How much do I owe?

Receptionist:  That will be $113

Me:  If I pay today in full, will I get a discount?

Receptionist:  Yes, you will get 10% discount if you pay today.

Yes! I knew it!  I remembered from last time that payment in full meant a discount of ten percent!!  Christian Healthcare Ministries (whom I will submit my bills to for reimbursement) urges us to ask for a patient pay discount since CHM is not considered an insurance.  I have the receptionist give me a detailed receipt to show the discount.  I am doing my job and doing it well!

So I submit my bills to CHM, very proudly stating that I got my 10% discount for my doctor visit.

Yesterday I get a bill in the mail for $11 from my doctor.



They want me to pay the discounted eleven dollars now?

So I call.  No answer.  Leave a message.

Should I pay the stupid $11 or fight the battle?

Breath in.  Breath out.

I know, it's only a measly eleven dollars.  But.  I am consistently on the phone fighting similar battles with people/organizations/ad reps etc. who tell me one thing and then change the rules midstream.

Stress.  Not worth it.

Writing the check... Now!

Dear Ellie,

My wonderful, beautiful, energetic, annoying, neice:
Well kid, today's your big day.  One year old.  So ya think it's all fun and games, don't ya kid?  Well, well, well.  Does life have a surprise in store for you!  Oh sure, you'll get ice cream and toys tonight and everyone will comment on how cute you are and how they can't believe it's been a year.  They'll even excuse you if you do an accidental poop on the floor.  After all, today is your day.  But tomorrow is the beginning of the I'm no longer a cute puppy I'm now a dog part of your life.  Accidents will no longer be accidents.  Thieving pizza is not without intense punishment, my friend.  You will find yourself in jail more often than not if ya don't change the attitude and buckle up, buttercup.  The ride into adulthood is about to begin.  Oh, and by the way...  just in case I don't make it up your way to say it to your face, happy first year goofball.  Let's see if you can't keep that tail under control now, ya hear?  Gracie.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Dear Child

Dear child without a name,

I would like to introduce to you my granddaughters.  

They look beautiful in their new fairy princess dresses that I recently purchased for them.

I will admit, I spoil them just a bit.  Well, maybe more than a bit.  I have two grandsons that I spoil as well.  They tell me what they want, and just like magic... it appears.  The joys of being a grandmother.

But really.  Deep down inside I know I do not do them any favors by caving to their every whim.  Don't get me wrong...  they are good kids.  Very kind, considerate and appreciative.  


They do not know what it is like to do without.  Food.  Shelter.  Clothing.  Water.  And all the extras.  Their play room looks like an isle at Toys R Us.  

I'm a bit embarrassed to say the same for myself.  I have it all.  

We.  As a country.  Have it all.  Yet we are never satisfied.  Always wanting more, more, more.

Proof of that is something we call Black Friday which has now grown tentacles stretching out into Thursday which was once a day of Thanksgiving for family but now has become a day of shop-till-you-drop and hurry and get that bargain before the next guy gets it.  Yes, the tentacles of materialism have grown into the weekend and into Cyber Monday where you can get even more bang for your buck as well.  

I've probably lost you by now, little one.  You are innocent and unaware of our worldly traditions of self gratification here in the good old USA.  

Kohls - Thanksgiving Day

So lets change the subject.

You see, little one...  you have given me a gift far beyond one that can be purchased with cash.

The opportunity to give such a small little shoebox filled with toys.

You will be thrilled, I just know it.

I have watched the videos.  The ones where you receive your shoebox, tear it open and hold your treasures close to your heart.  

I had so much fun searching for just the right gifts.  I chose you, a girl 5 to 9 and my husband Gary chose to give to a boy the same age.

A prayer goes along with this small gift....  and I ask that you pray for me as well, and for all of us in this prosperous, rich country... that we can know innocence like yours.  That we can be grateful and content with what we have.  That we can learn a love like yours.  That we stop confusing need with want and that we know that true value is in that of the heart, not an accumulation of stuff.  

So in closing, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas...

And thank you from the bottom of my heart for receiving my small gift with such gratification and joy.  

God Bless!

 Dear Doggies in shelters and in homes where you are not allowed to sleep on king sized beds,

I have more than I need.  My toy basket overflows with squeaky squirrels, stuffed wally's, noisy birdie friends and tennis balls.  You can't have them.  But I'm just telling you what I've got that you ain't got.  BOL!  sorry.  Anyways...  what I do have is this huge king sized bed that has plenty of room yet.  I'm guessing we could fit a couple Corgi's, a Labradoodle, and half a dozen smaller sized poodles in there yet.  Worse comes to worse, Mom and Dad can sleep on the couch ... know what I mean, jelly bean?  So come one, come all...  to Gracie's king sized bed...   Reserved space available with just the price of two beef jerkey and a beggin' strip.  Oh, and if you get here before bedtime, I'll even let you play with my toys.   See ya later alligator.  (don't touch my alligator though...  it's mine.  all mine!)  Spoiled much?  Nah.  


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Fad and and Some Other Stuff

Last year on Thanksgiving:

(Awe Jasper...  I missed him this year)

Unfortunately, this year a family separation resulted in holidays without the boys so much...    Divorce...  ugh...   Family is scattered and things are never the same.

But on a high note:  I am Christmas shopping and I will be decorating soon.  Tis the season!!  And it will be one awesome Christmas!

So how was your Thanksgiving?

Did you go Black Friday shopping?  Not me! I shopped early on Amazon and I snagged that hard-to-get item for the grands (FIVE TOTAL!!)  at regular price ..... yep...  the hottest and most sought after toy ~ the one thats all the rage this year!!   Can you guess what that item is?  People are now
 paying five and six times the regular price because their kids just HAVE TO HAVE ONE!    Ha!
I'll let you think about that one.

Today I visited Ellie.  My niece.  My rambunctious, playful, annoying, wild, crazy, doxie/lab black niece.  It was interesting watching the antics of the little trouble-maker.   She'll learn.  She's just a kid.  Gracie.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

It's Different

With #1 son post op and still not feeling the best and the grand-boys out of town with the other side of the family and #2 son working and not able to make dinner and morale kind of low because of the absence of my sister this year.....

This Thanksgiving day is just another day...

And so my daughter, her hubby and the girls (my angels) joined Gary and I for dinner at Rocky Gap Casino.  

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We thought we'd venture out tonight to possibly 'Black Thursday' shop.  Gary for the shopping.  Me for the entertainment.  Upon seeing the lines we changed our minds.   Back home to watch a movie for us!

There are a lot of people hurting right now.  Friends & Family, going through tough times.  It's pretty quiet here.  A lot has changed and we are re-grouping and changing it up a bit.  


Happy Thanksgiving!   Blessings to all!

Dear Diary,
I have absolutely nothing at all to be thankful for.  No turkey here.  No house full of cookie carriers to drop crumbs and play with me. Just an irritating sound coming from the irritating, annoying one...   C'mon Gracie, we have to take our Thanksgiving picture.  Nope.  Nothing at all to be thankful for here.  Except maybe the hotdog I had for supper. And my new squeaky bunny. That's it.   Gracie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's Gone

 Grandma's house was always warm.  

Even on the dreariest of days the sun seemed to find its way through the window-blinds casting the brightest of light throughout that aromatic kitchen of hers.  The smell was that of freshly baked chocolate chip muffins which could often be found cooling on a towel atop the shiny formica kitchen table.    

The living room sat just off the kitchen and was furnished with a couch, a chair, a floor model black and white television set, and a piano which sat in the corner and held lots of framed family photo's.  Kids met there after school for a bible study, though I do not remember if it was once a week or more but what I do remember is that I felt honored that in this house, my grandma lived and that she was responsible for this meeting of many of my peers.

Just off of the living room the enclosed porch housed wicker furnishings, warm sunshine, and a feeling of total peace.   One Christmas our youth group visited there to sing Christmas carols for Gram.  I stood quietly in the back, behind all the rest of the kids on that porch as Gram handed out cookies to all of us.  When she acknowledged me as her granddaughter my heart swelled.  My Gram. 

The cellar was small,  musty and damp and the stone walls were painted white.  There Gram worked on her carpet loom... weaving those rags in and out... working hard.  

The narrow steps from the cellar led to a little room of sorts (or) more like a hallway which had a commode in it.    There was a curtain that separated this 'bathroom' from the bedroom next to it.  

The big bedroom in the back had two double beds on either side of the room.  One was Gram's and the other was for whoever happened to be spending the night.  The room was old fashioned with dated beds and dressers and old quilts.  On a sunny day I remember watching silent dust particles infiltrating the air through the blinds and casting a vintage feel to the place I called Gram's room.  It was clean and neat though,  and always peaceful.  

Gram outside her house

Gram use to sit us kids down on the porch and instruct us on how to cut the rags she had sewn for her rug-making and then she'd give us a dime for our labor.   That dime would go home with me and then directly to Fairdy's store where I would carefully pick out ten cents worth of candy to take home in a little brown sack.  

Gram in the yard, saying goodbye to company

We visited Gram often and when we would leave to go home, she would stand on that porch waving to us until we were clean out of sight.  


Her house and yard was often thick with kids playing and laughing... 

Us again

  There was something about the lattice below Gram's porch that brings back fond memories for me.  Maybe it was that we used to play around it.  Maybe it was our safe place.   I'm not sure...  but I know I've dreamt about being there and the sun warming the lattice and peeking through to the darkness beyond there.  

my dad in front of the lattice

After Gram died the house went to family.  And then, later it was sold.

Gram relaxing on the porch

When it was in between owners, about fifteen years ago I'd say, Gary and I stopped one day to look around the outside.   To our surprise, when we tried the cellar door it was open!  And so we did what any curious, fond memory laden person would do... and we helped ourselves to a tour.

After the other porch was built in...  Gram and Dad

Gram's house was still laid off the same, but something was different.  The aroma of newly baked muffins was gone.  The kitchen seemed smaller.  There was no children's laughter.  No grown-ups joking, teasing, having fun with Gram.  Updated appliances and cabinets had replaced what was Gram's.  The magic was no longer there.  

Gram's kitchen.  Christmas Eve 1972

I'd pass by Gram's house often, usually thinking of days gone by in passing.  The house exchanged hands numerous times but then, I noticed a major overhaul on the place.  The classic look of old had been replaced with more modern curb appeal.  It was looking good and I was happy to know that a new family was making this house their home.

But then.  Sunday.  The fire.  The family was out of town, but two dogs did not escape the blaze.  

 I feel horribly for the family.  To lose their house.  Their dogs.  It must be devastating.  

A house is just a house.  

 But as I watched the updates of the fire on Sunday... and photo's that were being posted on Facebook,  the music of my youth with Gram stopped playing.  The laughter.  The chatter.  The teasing.  The safe place.  All was gone.  And the smell of muffins burned in the oven as a flood of memories returned.  And then ceased.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

My Boy

Today I'd like to talk about my # 1 son, Jack.

Jack and Aunt Lindy
For some reason...  today my heart is back in time.  It could be because, as I type this blog entry, my 38-year old boy is in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins Hospital, an hour into his surgery to have a resection of his intestine, appendectomy, and repaired hernia.  The three-for-one special.  He's always opted for for a good sale.  That's my boy.  

It's the most vulnerable he has been since those childhood days.

Hangin' with Grandma
I was to be there with him, but I woke up sick.  My physical sick does not compare to my heart-sick right now, waiting for updates from many miles away.

 And as I wait, I think of the baby that I watched as he slept in the crib at night, me not being able to go to sleep because I could not believe how lucky I was.  The boy that loved to fish and hunt and tease his sister.  The boy who laughed a lot and liked to make trouble.  The one with the ornery smile and who made race car tracks in the sand.  Who was adventurous and funny.  Who insisted on searching for seashells at the crack of dawn.  Who loved his family.  Who would never give up.  The boy with the beautiful heart that would do anything for anybody.  The boy who is now a man,  a truly good guy with a good heart.     

Another four hours.  And hopefully I will get a call saying it's over and everything went well.  But in the meantime I will try not to worry and I will do my best to trust God.  And I will think about the boy who has grown into one of the finest of men.  

And about how thankful I am for the new generation of boys...

That with any luck will grow up to be good men, just like their dad.

If you think about it, send up a prayer for my boy Jack.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Things That Go Bump In The Night...

or rather things that smell awesome in the night.  or the middle of the night, say...  one, two o'clock.    Night life is the best life.  And when the irritating one hollers out the door into the black of night, "Gracie it's time to come in now!" I just jump up from the cool grass and do a couple laps around the pool.  

Defiant?  Don't know what it means but this is what I am these days...  according to the irritating one (you know who!)

She says, "No Gracie!  No bed at 6 PM or you won't sleep tonight!"

I beg.  I plead.  I give her my 'I don't understand' look.

And then.  I must insist.  Listen, woman!  I'm tired.  Give me access to the bedroom NOW!

And finally she caves.  But not without a lecture.  

You better not get me up at 2 AM or I will never let you go to bed early again!  I feel like I have a newborn baby.  A new puppy.  Just starting out.  You have your days and nights mixed up.  Yada Yada Yada.  

I can't hear you woman...

I'm way too busy resting....

Having sweet dreams...  and wondering...  was it a dream or did I actually witness my entire family turn into creatures from another planet?  I must quit eating oreo middles before bed.  Gracie.