Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Deeply Concerned

I am deeply concerned for our world.  Everyday the newspapers, yes,  I still read the newspaper, carry horrific stories of bombings, destruction, killings and anti-Americanism.  In the Middle East, burning the American flag is almost a daily occurrence.  Our administration is turning its back on allies we've partnered with for years.  The unrest in the world is becoming more than just the result of economic downslide or perceived injustices.  Throughout the world there is an unsettling instability the likes of which I cannot recall in my 68 years.  I'm afraid we are headed for a world conflict that will have unprecedented consequences.  This isn't an unfounded fear of an aging, retired gal with too much time on her hands.  Rather it is a realistic commentary of what is actually happening in the world today. 

We all need to pay closer attention to world affairs.  We all need to educate ourselves about our country's foreign policies and the decisions being made to not only shape but insure peace in the world.  I know we are all busy about many things, but please take a little time to focus on the the bigger picture that actually is perhaps most important to your life and the lives of generations to come. 

Fear immobilizes!   Education activates!   Now is the time for all of us to become movers and shakers!

Friday, September 28, 2012


In April, 2013 Grammy's Gang will become 7 instead of 6!  That's right everybody, baby #7 is on its way thanks to the efforts of Kristy and Todd.  I couldn't be happier; being blessed with another child is the greatest gift anyone can be given.  All of my six grandchildren are healthy, happy and have the potential to change the world.  I know #7 will be no different.

Forty years ago I would never have imagined the kind of family I now enjoy.  When Joy and Barry were babies, I had a hard time seeing myself someday as the mother of 8 and 9 year olds. Yet, not only was I that mother, but was then pregnant with Kristy.  Those child-rearing years were tough. There were many, many happy times; there were probably as many stressful, conflicting times as well.  There were days when I loved those kids to death; there were days when I was ready to kill them.  Of course I speak figuratively here, but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Despite all the highs and lows and everything in between, my three children grew to be healthy and happy, and realized their potential as they became responsible, productive adults.  Though their techniques may be different, I know they will continue to raise their children to reach for success, use their talents to better themselves, and take active measures to make their world better.

As you might surmise, I am definitely proud of my children and grandchildren.  I believe family to be the most important aspect of everyone's existence. Unfortunately it takes we humans so long to realize this truth.  Most of our adult lives are spent pursuing careers, fortunes, and power.  If only we could see that being a parent is the greatest of careers; if only we could see our children as the greatest fortune we could ever hope to discover; if only we could see the great power we have in the kind of productive adults are children become, perhaps we would be blessed with a peace of mind and spirit that would more than satisfy those fleeting, unfulfilling aspirations we so earnestly entertain throughout a good deal of our lives.

Indeed, I am truly blessed with the coming of baby #7!  He or she will add greatly to my peace of mind and spirit.  He or she, along with the other members of my Gang fulfill all of my aspirations beyond any career, fortune, or power I've had in my lifetime.  I am happy, healthy and complete.

I will be happier, healthier, and more complete when baby #7 arrives!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Calling All Bloggers

Hey Fellow Bloggers,

Where the hell are you?  I've been blogging for a while now and can't get anyone to hop on board.  Hey, I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

Let's get a dialogue going.  The one regret we all have when someone passes is that we can't ask them the questions we wanted to when they were with us.  That's because we've become a society of "doers" rather than people who take the time to communicate with other people face to face.  Now, I know blogging isn't face to face, but at least we're communicating on a deeper level instead of texting each other with "yeah", "where r u" and such inane comments.  They call that "communicating"!

To communicate effectively we must become thinkers.  So many of us move thru life just existing giving little thought to anything of real importance.  Just look at the state of our families, government, the world.  Is what we find the result of responsible thought?  Don't think so!

Let's challenge each other to think more so we can be more!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thoughts on Death

Today is my mom's 7th death anniversary.  She lived to be 93.  During that time, she had 4 brothers and sisters, one of which died shortly after birth.  She married and had me and my brother.  Five years later she endured the tragic death of my dad at age 37.  He was killed in an accident on the job at US Steel in Homestead, PA.  My mom was shopping with her mom, my grandmother, when baba slipped, hit her head on a telephone pole and died shortly thereafter.  My mom's dad died a few years earlier from diabetes complications.  All of her brothers and sisters, mom was the oldest, died many years before.  All of her aunts and uncles and most of her friends were taken before mom's passing, too.

So basically my mom had only her children and grandchildren and one great-grandchild remaining when she died.  Her second grandchild was born one month after she passed.

Recounting these deaths may seem depressing, but death is simply the end of the beginning.  We all have a beginning and an end.  On a continum, birth is on the extreme left; death, on the extreme right.
Everything in between is called life.  Individually we have no control of the extremes, they happen to us.  But, life is within our control, it happens under our direction.  We make choices and then reap the benefits of those choices.  We also suffer the consequences for the bad choices we  make.

In yesterday's paper, the obit section, I was shocked to see the name of a young man I taught in kindergarten in Trafford, PA.  Cameron was only 31 and died from a horrendous fight with cancer.
He leaves behind 4 little girls, a wife, mom, dad, brother, in-laws and many, many friends. He would have gladly lived a long life, but he couldn't determine the time of his death.  That was out of his control.  But he made choices throughout his time on earth that I'm sure benefitted himself as well as everyone he held dear.  And he suffered the consequences of his bad choices, too.  I was very sad to read about his passing.  He and his family are in my prayers.

Death is natural.  It's very hard to embrace this concept when those who die are close to us, too young to leave this world, or have a devastating impact on us personally.  We seem to be able to accept death more when those who leave us have lived long lives, have reached many of their goals, or are in such great pain that death is perceived as a blessing.  Perhaps we need to spend more time contemplating the idea of death as the end of all living things.  Perhaps we need to be more open to the beauty of death as the culmination of life lived as well as could be expected. And then perhaps we won't be shocked when death comes knocking no matter the day or time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Botox, Grammy, really?

It's not what you think.  I'm not receiving botox injections to make me look ten years younger.  Hey, I earned this face, wrinkles and all, and I would never change its character. However, I do get botox injections every three months to temper a condition I've had for over twenty some years.  It's called cervical dystonia with tremor.  Without treatment, my head and neck would constantly pull to the right.  The muscles that control these areas would constantly contract involuntarily making it difficult for me to retain balance, concentrate, and perform even the simplest of daily activities.  There is a high level of pain involved as well.

With said treatment, all the involuntary contractions are eliminated and the pain is virtually non-existent.  Since the muscles are relaxed, some of the tremor is also gone.  Yet some remains.  My grandchildren often ask why I go like this... shaking their heads from side to side mimicing me. I tell them I always hear music and my head is simply keeping the beat. They find that to be an acceptable answer and think it's cool to have a grammy who hears things they don't! Of course, as they get older I will educate them about cervical dystonia, answer their questions as honestly as I can, and assure them that research is being done that will eventually find out the causes and cures for this ailment.

I searched for years to get answers to exactly what I was suffering from.  I went from doctor to doctor and none of them could explain what my condition was let alone offer any viable treatment.  Then I decided that I had to be my own advocate.  I went on the internet and researched until I found answers.  I ended up at the Cleveland Clinic where a fellow by the name of Dr. Benjamin Walters had been treating cervical dystonia with positive results.  That was five years ago.  I now receive my injections at UPMC in Pittsburgh.  Dr. Valerie Suski has taken over where Dr. Walters left off; she's just as capable and a lot closer to my home so that treatment is both effective and convenient.

Whatever ailments you may have or might be in your future, remember doctors are only human!  You know your body better than anyone.  You must become your own advocate!  Take the bull by the horns and change your own destiny.  I did.

Friday, August 31, 2012


It takes a lot to impress me.  Matter of fact, in my 68 years, I've only been truly impressed a mere handful of times.  But yesterday, watching Mitt Romney's acceptance speech for the RNC's presidential nomination, I found myself exactly that:  IMPRESSED!

The first thing that struck me about Mitt was his humility.  Everything he said was prefaced with the word, "WE". Obama didn't stop using the word "I" until, well he still hasn't.

Secondly, his sincerity was refreshing.  He didn't duck from the mistakes he's made throughout his professional career; he addressed them.  He didn't blame the other guy either.  He took responsibility. He spoke about being young and inexperienced when he was involved with Bain Capital.  He admitted that taking risks in life can sometimes end in failure. But he also said failure is a lesson learned and one that can be used to make future successes possible.

Thirdly, Mitt loves this country.  You can hear it in his words, see it in his eyes, and above all, feel it in his heart.  He loves his family more, but eminates a real love for all of us with just as much passion.

This is the first time in a presidential election that I believe in the candidate completely.  I know he will do everything he can to make our lives better.  Perhaps not all that he does will be easy to take.
But one thing is very clear; whatever sacrifices that will be asked of me, I'll be willing to accept because I know he has my best interests at heart and more importantly, he has the interests of my six grandchildren in his heart.  "Grammy's Gang" will reap the benefits of his labors; and for that reason alone, Mitt Romney has my vote in November!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Seems Like Only Yesterday

Two of my six grandchildren are starting kindergarten this year; one today and one next week.  Hard to believe these two munchkins are beginning their formal education already.  Seems like only yesterday...
But then again, a lot of events in my life seem like they happened yesterday when in fact they occurred years ago.  The birth of my children couldn't possibly have been in 1969, 1970, and 1978.  Why the pain of childbirth is still very vivid in my mind and body!  But today all three are grown, living in other parts of the country with families of their own.  They are all hard-working people, attempting to make a difference and contribute positively to their world.  I am very proud of all of them.
My wedding happened in 1968; 44 years ago!  But, we haven't aged very much, at least in our own eyes, and believe the best is yet to come. 
Going back to 1958 when I started highschool.  I can still name almost everybody in my class; I remember their names, faces, and personalities.  Has it really been 54 years?  It seems like only yesterday...
And in May of 1948 when I was just three and a half years old, my dad was killed in an industrial accident.  If I close my eyes, I can still see the man in the black coat and hat who stood in our doorway delivering the tragic news.  I can still hear the screams of my mom and baba when they were told.  And I can still feel the horrific fear I felt but could not understand much less put into words.  That was 64 years ago...seems like only yesterday...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

yard sales

It's that time of year again.  Yard sales are in full swing.  Our neighborhood has an annual August sale with about 200 houses participating.  That's an awful lot of opportunity to find treasures of a lifetime!  As soon as I finish here, armed with $10 in currency, I'll be off to seek my fortune.  My standards are extremely low so just about anything halfway wearable, functional , or usable is a distinct possibility for purchase.  Along the way, a cup of coffee, donut, or a hot sausage sandwich is always in the picture.  A lot of my time will be spent talking with friends and neighbors about everything under the sun none of which is even remoting associated with the wares they are offering.
I know I'll come home with at least a few finds, mostly children's stuff for the grandkids.  In my humble opinion, the day will have been extremely productive; food, friends, and finds!  Happy treasurer-hunting!

Monday, August 13, 2012


It's beginning to sink in, I'M AN AUTHOR!  Now in the process of producing my third children's book, I realize I'm finally doing what I was born to do...WRITE.  I always had trouble trying to say what I thought or felt.  It was so much easier to effectivelly pen my words.  In college, I always received A+s in my writing courses.  In my teaching career, I excelled in written communications.  Because it was so easy, I just kept putting off being an author.  Anybody could write so what's the big deal?  But that's not true.  Yes, everybody can write, but not everybody can write creatively and with conviction.  And those of us who do are known as "authors". 

Everyday, when I check my book ratings (determined by the amount of sales per day), I'm pleasantly surprised to see that they either haven't dropped or continue to climb.  People actually pay to read what I have written.  Astonishing!  But it's not about the money; believe me, unless you reach the pinnacle of Dr. Seuss success, your earnings are meager.  However, it is about becoming who you were meant to be.  It has taken me a lifetime to realize this; my hope for any of you reading this is that you will come to that conclusion long before I did.  Don't waste your time chasing something that doesn't fulfill your passion.  Let go of parental, societal, and yes, even your own expectations that prevent you from reaching your preordained self-actualization.

BECOME who you are!  BECOME who you were always meant to be!  BECOME your self!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Want to feel 10 years younger?

No pills or exercise required.  Just think about what you really love to do.  Find your passion and go after it with all the gusto you can!  I love to write; I always have. Yesterday I published my second children's book, "Dirty Face Liam" on Amazon and I'm on cloud nine!  I've got a renewed energy coursing through my veins; I feel light-hearted, almost giddy!  Mostly, I'm truly contributing again and that allows me to get back in step with living life to the fullest! 

As we join the senior generation we oftentimes join the "do nothing" generation as well.  Why?  We've got so much going for ourselves and yet we believe the ridiculous societal mantra, "sit in your rocker and wait to die!"  Maybe that works for you, but for me this is my time to shine!  Maybe even become famous!

Come on folks, let's show those young whippersnappers what we're made of!  Go for the Gold!  Can you tell I've been caught up in the Olympics.  Love Misty May and Kerri Walsh!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wanted: Grammys to blog about life with

I'm looking for grammys to share their life experiences with.  We've lived long enough to know a few things about navigating this world's turbulent waters and our insights can have remarkable bearing on those we love.  Having lost my mom six years ago, I now realize there are so many things we never talked about and I really wish we had.  Everyday something pops into my head and I know my mom would be able to shed light on the topic, but sadly she's gone and so is my chance to know. 

We think there will always be time for such stories later on down the road.  Well, time is of the essence now; we've got to make the most of it while we still can.  I want my children and grandchildren to know as much about my life as I can tell them, good, bad, or indifferent.  This way they will see me as a real person instead of an ideal they have of what a "grammy" should be.  I've made tons of mistakes along the way and by letting them know that, they will learn to accept their faux pas as just an avenue for making better choices next time.  I also want them to know of my successes as well and how I achieved them.  It takes perseverence and a certain amount of guts to reach any goal; being a little crazy helps, too!  I've wasted opportunities as well.  I have regrets.

Let's get together and not be afraid to reveal who we really are.  I think both ourselves and our families might just be impressed!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Young people need a grammy's wisdom

Attended a graduation party yesterday.  There was the usual crowd, babies, toddlers, elementary, middle and highschool kids, moms, dads, grammys and papaps.  As everybody sat around laughing and talking, I noticed each subgroup gathered in their own area.  Although everyone looked like they were having fun, I decided a shake-up was in order. 

So, though uninvited, I inserted myself in every group under some poor guise of an excuse.  The very young and old accepted me pretty much without any trepidation.  I played peek-a-boo with the babies; I played corn toss with the toddlers or at least tried to get them to play; I played "sling ball"
with the 6-12 year olds.  Having never played this game before, I was sure I would embarrass myself.
But, lo and behold, in four tosses I won the game!  Grammy, "Queen for a Day" of SLING BALL!

The moms, dads, grammys and papaps and I had no trouble communicating since we talk about the same things; kids, money, politics, religion.

It was the the teenagers that were the biggest challenge.  No surprise there!  They were all huddled in the den talking in hushed tones.  I stood in the doorway and announced, "hey, you can't ignore us older folks; we won't let you." They all looked at me with the appropriate perfunctory smiles. 
"We're probably having way more fun than you guys anyway," I continued.
"And you might just learn something while you're having all that fun,"  I insisted.

I left the den without any further ado.  About ten minutes later, the teens gradually migrated to the backyard.  Here and there little mixed groups of all ages began to form and everybody was still laughing and talking and having fun.

I just wonder if they were all laughing and talking about ME!  No matter, I was still "Queen for a Day" of Sling ball!  Nobody else could claim that title at this graduation party!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Insane or just plain evil?  That is the question.  The massacre in Colorado reflects the state of our current society.  I was born in 1944; during my childhood in the 50's, nothing of this magnitude was ever played out at least not in my neck of the woods.  I'm not going to try to pinpoint what spurs this type of aberrant behavior; that's for the shrinks to tackle.  But, I want to focus on the philosophy  of past parenting with today's thinking.

At the age of 3, my dad was killed in a work-related accident.  My mom became a single parent over night.  We lived with my maternal grandparents and a single uncle.  Mom got a job as a janitor, left the house at 5:30a.m. and returned at 5:00pm.  My grandfather and uncle also worked.  My grandmother was immersed in church activities.  So my brother, age 5, and myself were left to take care of ourselves most of the daylight hours.

Today that would be considered criminal.  Then, it was necessary and what was expected was that we accepted responsibility for ourselves and our actions.  Even at such early ages we understood that we had to make good choices.  We didn't always choose to do the right thing and suffered the consequences. But because we had so much practice at making our own decisions, eventually we became good at it.  Thus less punishment.  I was about to say more praise, but we were never praised for doing what was right; that simply was the expectation.

Today's children are not given those opportunities.  They are coddled and shielded from making their own choices, and when they get the chance and screw up, a parent is right there to make excuses for them.  Someone or something is always to blame.  The children never experience the appropriate consequences for their actions and as a result, the only thing they learn is that the bad choices they make give immediate satisfaction without any negative results.  So they continue to do the same thing over and over again.

Think about what I'm saying.  You'll be doing your children, your self, and our society a huge favor!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Grammys, realize your dreams!

    So what if we're in our 60's, 70's, 80's or more!   We still have goals to achieve and dreams to be realized.  Most often we've had to shelf our personal goals to support our husbands and children with their immediate needs.  Instead of pursuing our careers, we've encouraged everyone else to work hard to grab that brass ring. 
     That's fine, that's what makes us the strong, caring women we've become.  But now it's our turn.
Yes ladies, NOW is the time to achieve that goal!  Whether it be to learn to swim, ride a motorcycle, or scale Mt. Everest, go for it!  We may not be getting any younger, but we can certainly motivate ourselves to obtain whatever it is we've always believed we could be or do.
     I've always wanted to write children's books.  I have a great imagination and love to pen stories.  Yet, until 2 months ago, I could never get around to it.  I didn't have the time; I needed an illustrator; I wasn't sure I could be published.  These are only a few of the excuses I entertained for years.  But at 68 yrs of age, I decided to chuck the excuses and just do it!
     Over the years, I'd written many stories about or for my grandchildren.  So, with the help of my son-in-law, Tim, I learned how to use the internet to secure a terrific illustrator, marry my words with the corresponding illustrations, and finally publish my first book, "NO WAY TO HAIRCUT DAY!"
For me, it's a dream come true! 
     I have five more books in the hopper, each dedicated to one of the members of "Grammy's Gang."  My six grandchildren will have a treasured memory of me in a personalized book written just for them.  But, more importantly, even at my age, I am beginning a new career; one I had to put aside for many years.  Now, I've realized my dream.  YOU CAN, TOO!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy to see you; glad to see you go!

     As a grammy of six, I look forward to their visits.  Two of the families live in the Carolinas and one family resides in Ohio.  Having all of them in Pittsburgh at the same time is a rarity, but we usually can get everyone together once in the summer and at Christmas. 
     All three families arrived this week and my hubby and I were very happy to see them.  We swam at the local community pool twice, had a grueling 8 hour Idlewild Park and Soak Zone experience where "grammy" climbed the rope web to the top and then literally collapsed, had an extended family cook-out which included 6 rousing games of volleyball where everyone suddenly suffered from blurred vision when it came to designated boundaries and accused each other of cheating, saw about 50 minute fiery objects moving across the night sky playing follow the leader, and played "5 Crowns" into the wee hours of the morning. 
    Saturday came and two of the families loaded up and headed out.  Bye, bye, glad you came, so glad you're going!!!  Be safe!  The last of the three will leave on Monday, but as of now they are in the city riding the incline, having lunch, and showing their 5 year old the sights.  Our house is totally SILENT!!!  I am just sitting in the recliner with a blank stare on my face---- it's heavenly.
     Again on Monday morning, as we wave good-bye we'll whisper to each other, "glad you came and SOOOOOOOO glad to see you go!  Love ya'll

Friday, July 13, 2012

Are your grandkids more technologically advanced that you are?

Hey Grammys of the world,

I'm curious!  I have grandchildren ages 1-9.  Two of them are already using Kindle Fire regularly and two are wizards on the leap pad.  Until recently, I absolutely refused to even think of reading a book on an electronic devise and had no idea how to play games, e-mail, etc.  But once I started watching them and seeing how much they learn and enjoy the many advantages these devises provide, I am now a believer!  We have to join them; this is a new world and by God, we grammys are not going to be left behind!   So save up your change, steal a few from your SS check, or raid your IRA and let's jump into the age of technology with eyes and minds wide open!