Monday, September 29, 2014

What is Truth And Where Can It Be Found?

I've been reading the newspapers since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. My first exposure was to the comic strips in the Pittsburgh Press. Nancy and Sluggo were my favorite characters. As I grew in body and mind, the stories on the front page caught my interest. They were usually about some hometown happening or national event. I was always struck by how quickly a reporter could turn what he or she had heard about or had actually witnessed into print. I never once doubted their veracity because if it made it to the papers, it had to be the truth!

Fast forward to present day. Now I read the Tribune Review. I still read the comics, but usually wait till the last possible moment. I want to end with a smile on my face and some peace in my heart. The front page almost always presents the latest tragedy, terrorism, or trauma in gigantic headlines. Even if I try to overlook them, the horrors of the day hit me in the face like a Tyson uppercut. Leafing through the rest of the paper is no better. National news focuses on dissidents and warfare from across the globe. My only reprieve is the occasional full-page department store sales ad.

And if all of that isn't enough to make a grown woman cry, the political page rears its ugly head. Column after column is devoted to either elevating the deeds of a current incumbent or bashing the very same person for the very same deeds. Then there are the stories about the challengers who have either led a life of crime, or if elected, are about to become criminals. Starting in late August and reaching well into the last few days of October, the only news is about November elections be they local, state, or national. There are no holds barred. Whether what is written is true or not, it makes absolutely no difference. If it serves to get a preferred candidate votes, that's all that really matters.Integrity and morality have no place in the newspaper world today. Honesty and values don't generate interest and do little to secure political victories.

Please don't think I'm ragging on the Tribune Review because I'm not. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does the exact same thing. USA Today, likewise! And every other paper on the planet!

Unfortunately the truth is low on the list of politician priorities. It has been so twisted that what is true can no longer be recognized and where it can be found is a mystery to me!

Oh, wait, I take that back. Truth does reside in most newspapers. You can find it in the comic strips!

Monday, September 22, 2014


If you know anything about Pittsburgh, you're well aware of the true grit our Pirates and Steelers show in every contest they compete in. This weekend was a barn burner for both teams. The Pirates were losing 2-0 to the Brewers on Saturday night. Yet in the bottom of the 8th, Russell Martin, our talented catcher, hit a three run homer to set the stage for a 4-2 victory. Yesterday he drove in Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the 7th resulting in a 1-0 win. The Pirates are only 2.5 games out of first place in the Central Division. Look out, St. Louie, we're right on your heels for first place and are in it to win it!

Last night the Steelers were in Carolina to take on the Panthers. Their first series was a disaster to say the least. The Cats defense was spot on and it looked like they were going to give us fits for the entire game. However there is no quit in Big Ben and his band of mighty warriors. They kept plugging away and were ahead at halftime, 9 - 3.

During the second half, unbelievable plays and a ton of just plain luck took the team to a 37-19 victory!  In the melee, the Steelers lost Taylor, Shazier, and Jones on defense, yet never thought of quitting. On offense, Antonio Brown made two touchdown catches, Le'Veon Bell ran for 147 yards, and LaGarrett Blount ran for 118 yards and scored a touchdown. Are you getting my drift yet?

Our sports teams are merely a reflection of the people who live and work in Pittsburgh. Far from being privileged, well-heeled elitists, we're simply hard-nosed, hard-working folks who keep plugging away no matter how many obstacles present themselves. When times seem the darkest, and the mountains to high to climb, that's when Pittsburghers are at their collective best. When a neighbor loses his or her job, we offer support with food, clothing, and tips on where to find another one. When tragedy strikes a family, we gather together and help out wherever needed. Nobody looks to be thanked or publicly acknowledged.

I was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area and have lived here for 70 years. It's a place like no other. Once in a while, my hubby and I talk about moving to a warmer climate. Since two of our adult children and their families live in of all places, the Carolinas, it would seem logical we'd consider moving there. But after coming to our senses, we couldn't leave Pittsburgh any more than we could decide to divorce after 46 years of marriage. Just like our beloved Pirates, and Super Steelers,
WE'RE IN IT TO WIN IT for the duration in sports, marriage, and our town, Pittsburgh, PA!

The Pirates are on their way to the World Series,the Steelers to another Super Bowl and the people of Pittsburgh are with them every step of the way!  WE'RE IN IT TO WIN IT no matter what it takes. In Pittsburgh, that's the way we roll!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hi, my name is Flo, and I'm a Kid Lit Blog Hop participant!

This is my first time being involved with Kid Lit Blog Hops. The purpose of the event is to bring children's book authors, bloggers, and publicists together to share their works, ideas, and interesting things in their lives. I am so excited to be included.

I received a comment on my Grammy's Gang blog from @snacksformax informing me that I was to include a specific post instead of the blog itself. I truly appreciate 'snacks' taking the time to show me the error of my ways. I'm 70 and admittedly not a techie whiz. It's folks like 'snacks' that help me to improve my computer skills daily. I couldn't be happier to have made a new friend and plan on following her advice whenever I'm fortunate enough to be a recipient.

I posted the second book in my When We Were Kids series, Puppy Love, on Kid Lit Blog Hops because I think it's the perfect way to introduce myself to all of you. I've been a children's advocate my entire life. My father died when I was three years old. Even though I was so young, I realized then that I was helpless and needed someone to speak up for me. Unfortunately in 1944 folks believed children should be seen and not heard. My brother and I suffered a lot because of that ridiculous mantra.

All the books in this series deal with issues tweens and teens face everyday. Through my words I hope to help them understand what they are experiencing and have the courage to move forward.

We were all kids once. We know what it's like to be bullied, travail the challenges of puberty, and even suffer the loss of a loved one. It is my mission to be that voice speaking to and up for our children until they speak for themselves.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Tomorrow is my birthday. I will officially be 70 years old! So today I can't help but look back over my shoulder to observe the path I've taken. Born in 1944 during the final days of World War II, I think was clearly a premonition that my life would be one of turmoil as well as peace.

Although these two dichotomies are at the extreme ends on the living continuum, I've experienced varying degrees of both throughout my lifetime thus far. Supposedly one would believe that I'd have relished the good times, prayed for them to keep coming, and do everything in my power to avoid the negative ones. And for the most part, that's true. While living through pain and suffering, I oftentimes railed against my God, asking 'why me,' and having the audacity to raise my fists in futile defiance. At other moments I simply bowed my head in grudging submission and allowed the miseries to overtake me. From an early age, depression became my constant companion although since being so young, I was completely unaware of the nature of this hideous malady and what could be done to alleviate it.

And so I lived day-to-day, year-to-year, going about the business of wading through my childhood, being a teen, getting a college education, becoming a teacher, finding and marrying the love of my life, giving birth to three great kids, solidifying a career, reaching retirement, and embarking on a second avocation as an emerging author of children's books at the ripe old age of sixty-eight.

What I discovered over the years is that without the turmoil, my journey would have been quite boring and without much merit. I wouldn't have attained nearly half of my accomplishments without the struggle and defeat I'd endured along the way. There would have been little to no motivation to continue striving for more. Since I would have been at peace with what I'd already done, there would have been no need to pursue much else. Had there only been a continual sense of calm, today I would be a little old lady content to sit in the proverbial rocking chair waiting for the angels to transport me to that heavenly kingdom in the sky.

But because of my struggles, at 70, I'm a vibrant, active, opinionated woman who continues to seek out new ways to reinvent herself. I have no desire to rest on my laurels, I have no desire to be transported anywhere, and  I have no desire to end my journey anytime soon.

Of course, I'm thankful for the peace I've enjoyed over these many years. I wouldn't be the person I am without having experienced the euphoria that comes with the glorious feelings of utter contentment.  Peace has certainly propelled me on my life's path.

But I must give a shout-out to all the conflict and pain I've been privileged to bear. It is precisely the very adversity I've met along the way, and had the strength and courage to overcome, that has made me the happiest and most proud. "I am woman, hear me roar!" When my final day does arrive, even though I plan to be cremated, I want those words engraved on a plaque and hung along side a picture of my smiling, mischievous face.

After having looked back over my shoulder on the past, I've set my sights forward, and am excited about what lies ahead in the future. I'm determined to be around for at least another 30 years, give or take.  So deal with it!

Happy birthday to me!

Monday, September 1, 2014

An Authority On 'Labor Day!'

Since I've birthed three children I believe I'm an authority on 'Labor Day!' Oh, yes, my dear friends, especially those of the male persuasion, I know from first hand experience what Labor Day is all about.

I was in our first apartment sitting on the couch with my mother-in-law about 10:00 P.M. while the men in the family played cards in the kitchen. Suddenly I felt wet. Not knowing for sure what the problem was, I excused myself and went to the upstairs bathroom. Water was flowing out of me like somebody had turned on the spigot. I grabbed a bath towel, stuck it between my legs and yelled for help. My hubby shot up the steps with a look of terror on his face."It's time," was all I could manage and away we went.

In 1969 once reaching the hospital,  I was entrusted to the night nurse, and my husband was led to the waiting room never to be seen again until AFTER LABOR AND DELIVERY!  Imagine that! For the next twelve and a half hours, I experienced the worst pain ever alone and extremely afraid. Occasionally the nurse would come in, check my heart rate and the machine showing the baby's activity and then leave me alone to suffer.

Somewhere in the melee, I was given an epidural to alleviate the pain. Then shortly after 10:00 A.M. that Sunday morning, I was wheeled into the delivery room. At 10:17 A.M. my first born was extracted from my womb, help up by the doctor for me to see, then placed upon my abdomen where she rested while the staff in the room sang happy birthday. Immediately she was whisked away to be cleaned, diapered, and tested.

Since I had the epidural, I wasn't allowed to sit up until 10:00 that night. I'd only seen my hubby for a short while after giving birth. He said our daughter was absolutely beautiful and he was the proudest man in the world. Good for him, but I had yet to get a close-up view of her, hadn't yet held her, and was in a whole lot of pain from the cluster of hemorrhoids throbbing in my posterior. Ain't Labor Day grand!

Finally the nurse presented my baby to me shortly before midnight. As I held her in my arms, tears streamed down my face. She was indeed the most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes upon. Her skin was like that of a summer peach, her body perfect in every way, and she was peacefully asleep. I was supposed to be giving her a bottle, but never did. I just couldn't take my eyes off her. In those moments I promised her I'd be the best mom I could be, and that her dad and I would protect her with our very lives. I promised myself I'd never go through labor again!

However, thirteen months later I gave birth to my son. I was only in labor for about an hour, my husband was with me from the beginning until our boy was delivered after only thirty-five minutes at 12:42 A.M. He was far from beautiful since he had to be removed with forceps and he weighed almost 2 more pounds than his sister. He looked like he'd gone ten rounds in the ring. My hubby was the proudest man in the world for the second time!

Eight years later I found myself experiencing another labor day, On a winter night in February, 1978, we found ourselves headed to the hospital once again. I had a towel between my legs and pains were coming every two minutes. We figured we'd make it just in time to deliver. No such luck. I yelled and for eight hours, this time my dear husband got to see and hear it all. I was supposed to get an epidural, but with a shift change somehow it never happened. Instead I was wheeled into the delivery room where the doctor and nurses began the birthing process. NATURALLY! At first I didn't realize what was going on, and when I did, it was too late for the shot. I grabbed my hubby's hand and squeezed it so hard I could have easily broken his fingers. When the nurse asked him if he needed to sit down, I went off cursing and screaming about the pain I was in and nobody had offered me so much as a 'sorry' for your troubles!  The words I used are not printable, but you get the picture. At 7:57 A.M. our second daughter was born, our third and last child!

Yes, I'm an authority on 'Labor Day!' If you have any doubts, just return to the top of my blog and read it again, this time pay close attention though!