A Good Man

I just had to take a few moments and let the world know what a wonderful husband I have.  After almost 45 years of marriage, he still astounds me with his love, kindness, and consideration.  We have been strong together through many hardships, medical issues, and other devastating times.  I can always count on him to be there for me, for our kids, their families, and our grandchildren.  He has been devoted to my family as much as he has been devoted to his.  He spends a great deal of time seeing to the needs of my mother, who is 89 and my aunt, who is 90.  He takes them to the grocery or goes for them.  He is always there to lend an ear when times get rough.  Even though he is unable to help take care of my mother’s lawn, he helps her in so many other ways.  He is very active in our church and sees to the spiritual needs of those at a local nursing home and also devotes time every week to services at our church.  I just wanted to let everyone know how very blessed I am and have been ever since meeting him.  The beset decision I EVER made was to marry this man and have him in my life forever.


Well, it’s time…I guess…time to realize that we are getting older.  You know when you receive notice that your 50th anniversary of high school graduation is upon you that you are certainly no spring chicken anymore.  That’s what is facing me and my classmates in September…a reunion!  I’ve known that this was coming for a while now and tried to make plans accordingly.  I was going to lose 50 pounds, then it was 25 pounds, then 10 pounds.   Now I’ve decided just to eat and fill out my wrinkles.  Maybe that will be enough to make me seem younger than I am.  I wonder how many of the women will be wearing those “slimming” black pants or dresses; I know I will.   I wonder how many will visit the beauty shop to maximize their assets…doesn’t help me much.  It’s really funny, but you remember your classmates as they were and you know you are NOTHING like you were, so you want to minimize the aging process so that you look better-just like they are going to look.  You just KNOW that your classmates weathered better than you, are going to be much slimmer than you, have fewer wrinkles and more fun stories.  At least that’s what you think before you attend.  Then, you arrive at the reunion and find that everyone has aged 50 years just like you and there’s not a damned thing any of us can do about it.  The guys will probably have “Done Lap Disease”, that’s where their bellies lap over the rest of them…and they were so handsome 50 years ago.  As for me, I will trowel on the makeup, fill in the wrinkles, pat on the preservative and hope for the best.  We women will probably compare our body shapes, apple, pear, triangle to see who is exercising and eating healthy.  I will not be one of those.  I figure at this point it really doesn’t matter much at all, as long as I’m still here.  Rich isn’t too keen on going, but we promised our friends that if Steve went, then Rich would too.  Jackie and I can handle anything, at least up to this point.  We’ll see how we feel the day after.  Lord, I hope they don’t expect us to dance the way we did back when.  If I get all these body parts jiggling too much, I may never be able to stop it…and the image that I have in my mind about that is not to be believed.  Tapping my foot against my cane may be as active as I can manage.  So, I am looking forward to seeing all those lovely girls and handsome guys that live in my spotty memory.  Let’s see how we turned out!

Quiet Mini-Vacation

My honey and I took a mini-vacation last week to the northern part of Indiana.  First stop was Mishawaka to visit Rich’s sister, Sr. Jane Marie.  We spent the night at the convent mother house and enjoyed the company of Sr. Jane and the other sisters.  Although they still wear the habit and would seem to be a bit straight-laced, the Provincial, Sr. Angela, is a hoot and a half.  It sets the tone for the frivolity that they enjoy when they are together.  I’m sure that Rich and I bring out the worst in them though.  I don’t think that I could ever live in that environment however serene it seems.  All I could think of was, “Gee, I wish my house was this clean!”  After a night spent at the convent, we traveled on to Shipshewana in LaGrange County – the heart of the Amish country.  I love the peace and quiet of this small town…no fast food restaurants, no bars, no night life, no movie houses…just small shops and wonderful restaurants that serve Amish cuisine.   We stayed at the Blue Gate Garden Inn, which was very nice.  One of the local gentlemen told us that it had been built with a water park behind it in hopes of attracting families with children as there is really nothing for kids to do there.  It evidently did not take off the way they’d hoped and it was bought by the Reigseker family and is maintained as a hotel.  I’m glad that it didn’t make it because it keeps the atmosphere one of a quiet pastoral community instead of a raucous vacation spot.  The Amish horses and buggies are everywhere and the people are very friendly.  You are even able to take meals with an Amish family if you’d like to.

The terrain in the northern part of our state is very flat and conducive to farm land and horse and cattle farms.  Shipshewana is one of the main horse breeding areas in the country.  People from all over the world come to the horse auctions to buy these splendid animals.  There is a huge flea market that is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the summer months.  We took a morning to look around and buy a few things we really didn’t need.  There is also an antique auction house which is very popular.  Since we are already antiques, we didn’t see any reason to find things older than we are, but checking it out is a fun thing to do.

I read and review many novels for publishing houses and some are Christian novels, written about Amish life.  I would like to try to live that way (for about 2 days), but I’m afraid that I would really miss electricity, wi-fi, and all the things that are necessary to us in our way of life.  I truly think we would all be better off if we lived more simply.  I’m sure we would have more familial ties and relationships with extended family.  However, the Amish are very isolated in many ways, in their view of the secular world, their acceptance of “new-fangled” conveniences, the education of their children (they believe in an 8th grade education, but nothing past that).  However, the vocational training that the Amish kids receive from their elders after the 8th grade is slowly giving way to children who want to further their education.

It was so nice to get away for a few days, relax, and be in another world.  Rich and I enjoy each other’s company and have for 45 years.  Being together, just reading, listening to music, watching a ballgame, etc. are fun for us.  We don’t need the bright lights and constant activity to make us happy, which is just as well…we can’t afford it anyway.  I hope we can get away for few days now and then to rejuvenate ourselves and be ready for whatever life throws our way.

P.S.  To our friends and family in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne…sorry we missed you this trip.  We only had a couple of days and we just wanted to chill out.  Catch you next time!


I have been extremely remiss in posting to this blog.  I think it’s because I don’t know how to approach what I want to say.  It’s easy to write when the mood is good and thoughts flow more freely then.  I’m not sure what is going on with me at this point, but I have had this lost feeling for a few months now.  Perhaps it is because for the past five and a half years, I have been seeing doctors constantly.  Sometimes more than two appointments in a week…every since I was diagnosed with alopecia in June of 2010 and breast cancer in July of 2010.  It’s been a whirlwind of activity, even more so after retiring in June of 2013.  I’m not sure why that is.  Perhaps Rich and I are taking on more activities, but I really don’t think that’s the case.  I almost feel useless or something.  Oh, hey, I have TONS of projects that my house is calling me to do…wash windows, paint the kitchen, dining room, bathrooms, den and master bedroom, deep clean each and every room, stuff that I need to do, but not stuff I really want to spend my time doing.  I do spend time reading and writing reviews, crocheting baby afghans, piecing and quilting baby quilts.  Plus, I have SO many other projects that I’d like to accomplish before I storm the pearly gates, that I will probably have to will them to my kids and grandkids.  It would be interesting to see if they can get them done in a timely fashion.

I think that it’s finally sunk in that I no longer have a daily job…no one is expecting me to come in to work…no job is critical for me to finish.  Also, I am not in contact with that many people in a week.  I think I miss the comaradarie with so many people that I enjoyed in my job.  I sometimes feel as though I have lost my purpose in life.  I guess that’s to be expected at this stage in the game.  I guess I’ll just have to feel fulfilled making sure the house is clean, the bed is fresh, the meals are cooked and whatever else I can think of.

I really need to focus on what is right with my life.  I’m healthy, well…for the most part.  I have a great husband, great kids, their spouses, and beautiful grandchildren.  My Mom is still here and healthy, my extended family is doing well.  Actually, I have very little to complain about.  I just need to get my head on straight and remember that it’s the little things that mean a lot.

I, The Klutz

For some reason, I have been told that I’m a funny person.  Now I was never known for being humorous when I was younger, say, in high school.  I was considered a goody-two-shoes, a brown-nose, etc.  I really wasn’t that, I was just scared to make anyone angry, especially the nuns.  I always had to make sure that my grades were good, that I smiled a lot, that I was neat, you know the drift.  I wasn’t part of the “in crowd”, but I was on the periphery, always looking in.  In retrospect, I’m glad I was who I was, but at the time I felt left out.  I tell you this because I don’t know when I became a funny person.

I do remember my Mom laughing at me for trying to mimic a ballerina.  Now you have to understand that this is when I was at my pre-pubescent chubbiness, with acne, and wearing bobby sox.  I’m sure I was the picture of “ungracefulness”.  However, it did make my Mom laugh.  When I picture it now, I cringe, but I can also see how someone would howl with giddiness at the sight.

Lately I’ve become more of a physical comedian.  Things are happening to me that one might consider funny, but I’m not sure.  I feel almost like Carol Burnett at times.  I always did envy her and her talents.  Maybe I’m just so old that I don’t have that spirit of prudishness that I think was my problem when I was younger.  I really don’t give a rat’s behind what people think anymore.  I am just me.  For example…

Sometimes when I’m out in the yard, say, I find myself falling over the grass.  No kidding, I literally trip over grass.  Then I surreptitiously look around to make sure none of the neighbors are out in their yards witnessing my clumsiness.  I’m not sure if I need new glasses or what.  I almost blush at myself thinking that I look like I’ve had one snort too many.

Then there is the bathing suit fiasco.  We are planning to visit Florida later this summer and Rich insisted that I get a bathing suit  in case I feel like displacing a ton of water in the ocean in order to say I was there.  Anyway, I haven’t owned a bathing suit in over 35 years.  One look at my full length profile would definitely explain my reticence in wearing one.  OK, said I.  I told Rich that if it took me longer than twenty minutes to get the damned thing on, I was sending it back.  Well, I ordered a very large size to accommodate my large following…if you know what I mean.  It was a two-piece.  I got the shorts on ok, but the top was draped with three or four pieces of this slinky material and I had a hard time finding what went where.  I never did find out where my boobs were supposed to go, so I decided to take it off and send it back.  Oh yeah…that went well.  I got the blasted top stuck somewhere between my shoulders and my head.  I gyrated and danced around trying to get the damned thing off my head, determined not to have to call my husband to help me divest myself of the thing.  That would have been the ultimate indignity!  I finally made it, wrapped it up, and sent it back.  I explained why I was returning the torturous garment and I could swear I could hear them laughing all the way from California.  I gave in and ordered a swim dress with a full skirt that actually skirted my posterior pretty well.  Of course I had to order a size that would go around and now the crotch is somewhere just north of my knees.

This next experience is really one for the books.  I had my second sleep apnea test, where they determine how much pressure you need for your machine.  I was not happy about doing it anyway and Rich was there bright and early to pick me up.  I’d not even had time to brush my teeth and comb that crap out of my hair, so he had to wait for me.  I opened my toiletry case and pulled out the tube and unscrewed the cap.  Squeezing a little of the stuff on my toothbrush, I proceeded to brush my teeth.  Wait a minute!!  Something isn’t quite right!!  It doesn’t taste so good!!!  Holy Crap!!  I’ve just brushed my teeth with Preparation H!!  Of course someone blabbed about it and I had friends wondering how much my gums shrunk.  Smart asses!  Next time you can be sure I will check the label.

The latest in my saga of klutziness happened as I was cleaning the house.  I decided to dust the living room floor and had just gotten a new can of Endust.  I could NOT get the spray to work.  I did everything I could to squirt a little Endust onto my floor mop.  I decided that there must be a trigger guard or something that I’d missed getting rid of, so I was looking at the cap trying to determine where that might be hiding.  I guess my finger slipped or something, because the next thing I knew, I’d gotten a full spray of Endust in my face.  Problem with that was in addition to feeling very stupid, I was sure my makeup would slide off my face for a week or two until I got rid of the residue.

I don’t know what’s happening…it’s like I’m a disaster waiting to happen.  I’m afraid to go out in public.  I’m afraid to be with friends.  I’m afraid to be with family, because I know my family would just have the best time reminding me of all my foibles.  That’s just the way they are.  I wish I could have made money with my affliction the way Carol Burnett did.  I always did envy Carol Burnett…wanted to be just like her.





Crowded Calendar

Well, I’ve put this off for too long.  I fully intended to write on this blog frequently and honestly, but time has gotten away from me,  and honesty is sometimes NOT the best policy.  I need to start writing fiction to purge myself of small irritations and frustrations that if written about honestly might cause someone else irritation and frustration…not my intent for this blog.

It’s been a year since Rich and I retired and I must say I agree with others who have stated before me…”I don’t know how I had time to work!”  For some reason, our calendar is more crowded than a year ago.  I guess we’ve both had some health issues that necessitated frequent trips to one doctor or the other, our grandkids are at the age where we are so entertained by them that it’s hard not to see them as much as possible.  Other family members need our attention and help.  It’s just getting harder to accomplish anything when you feel your age in old bones that creak and mis-fire (so to speak) quite often.    We try to get out and about more, but for some reason, shopping for things and checking out new stuff just isn’t a priority for us anymore.  We used to love to dally around on weekends, visiting antique shops, eateries, just anywhere that seemed interesting.  Now we’re more antique thanCrowded the antiques, have obviously invested far too much time frequenting eateries (you can tell by my expanded middle tire) and of course, now that we’re retired, the income level has dropped considerably.  We are forced to pay far too much attention to our pocketbook now, which makes impulse buying impossible and that was one of our most fun things to do.  Rats!

Anyway, we’re settling in.  I haven’t tried to kill Rich but once and that was totally my fault for having a hissy fit and total meltdown.  Well…he deserved it for being so cheerful about me having to use that damned CPAP machine every night.  Granted, I don’t snore and scare the liver out of him by not breathing for 45 seconds twenty times a minute, but I was NOT HAPPY about having to be plugged in every night with a hose hooked up to my nose.  I feel like a mini elephant and I don’t like it!  But I am doing “what I’m supposed to do” and not complaining…much.  At least now we’re both not snoring.  I guess it’s the price you pay for having a BMI that is WAY over the “normal” range.  I keep telling people that back in the 50’s a normal woman was a size 12 or 14.  Now if you’re more than a size 8 or 10 you are considered obese.  More on that in another blog.  Ok, I’m done with this train of thought…time to think some more.


I have been reading a lot of different novels lately.  The latest one, “Sing for Me”, set in the late 1930’s, which I will review on my “I’m Hooked on Books”  blog, really got me to thinking about life’s inequities.  I’ve also read quite a few novels set in wartime Germany during the 1940’s and some novels set in the antebellum south to novels set in the earliest days of westward expansion of our country.  In all these times there have been people who cannot abide something about another’s religion, race, ethnicity, skin color, sexual preference…you name it and someone is ready to kill because of it.  I just don’t understand.  God made us all.  We are who we are and that’s it!

This was brought out in the latest novel I read because a white woman and a black man were in love.  Both were beaten and hated by their friends and neighbors just because they loved each other.  They were not hurting anyone.  They were happy with each other, but could not be seen together because of the threats that abounded all around them.  I abhor the hateful treatment and subsequent wish to annihilate the Jewish race.  I abhor the treatment and “right to own” blacks in pre-Civil War America.  I hated the treatment of black people fighting for their rights in the 60’s and 70’s.  I hate the persecution of people because they have a different religious beliefs than others.  I am opposed to stifling the rights of gay and lesbian oriented people just because they choose to love someone of the same sex.   I hate that people have to fight just to be able to enjoy the freedom God gave all of us.

Will we all ever be really free?  Free to worship, love, live, work and play as we want.  If people are not hurting anyone else by living as they are, then why in the world do some of us judge?  Why do we tell jokes, either racist, or anti-Semitic, or whatever and think it’s funny?  Why do we insist on labeling persons with derogatory names?  Is it just to make us feel superior, or to make them feel like less than they are, or to bring attention to ourselves?  I hope that I will see changes in my lifetime, but I won’t be holding my breath.  As long as mankind has been around, there have been wars fought over nothing but the fact that someone wants to dominate another, or stop them from being free.  I sincerely hope that some day we can all live together happily and freely.


Amy Drown

Writer, Editor & Photographer

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