Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Here is another brother of my husband. And another I did not know. What I know of him is mostly from my mother-in-law and husband.

I did not meet Paul until after my husband and I separated. He went to the big city and I wanted my children to meet their uncle.

 Paul was the second son. He had an older brother and sister. He was not tall like his father and older brother.

Paul married and they had a baby girl. She was named Paula after him.

Then he just up and left. He contacted no one for a few years.

Finally he contacted his mother. He was in California. She told him he had a little girl who needed to be taken care of so he sent money for her once in a while.

Paul married again. His wife had a beauty shop and he worked at cleaning and repairing it. Apparently it was a good arrangement. She had a son he helped raise.

When his wife died the son was grown. Paul moved on.

He went to visit his mother at last. I do not know whether he re-connected with his daughter but I hope so.

Paul moved on and ended up in Florida. He also acquired another wife.

I know little else about Paul. He died in Florida in 2005.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What Is Going On?

 I try to stay away from topics in the news. On purpose. It is not my job to report on news items that I am not fully educated about. And my opinions belong to me. You have your own.

But now there is something happening that I must speak about. I am seeing on television and all over the web. It is much too important to ignore.

There are many people, so far only men, who are being accused of sexual assault and improprieties.
It is all over the news. Every day brings new allegations. Some people have one accuser; others have many.

The accused are men in powerful circumstances. They are performers, medical professionals, athletes,clergymen, politicians, members of the media, leaders of industry, military members,and people behind the scenes particularly in the entertainment industry. Unmentioned are people in everyday life like us.

Some of the accusers are also "big" names.  Members of the media, politicians, performers, members of the armed forces. Sexual abuse is the big news item right now.

The thing is that so many people are affected. Men, women, and children. And those are only the ones who have been abused. The people around them (both victims and abusers) are also hurt.

In 1977 Roman Polanski was accused and CONVICTED of "rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child" who was 13 years old. Polanski was a film director who used his position to take advantage of a child. He fled to Europe to escape prison where he has been living and directing movies ever since.

In the UK Jimmy Savile was accused of sexually abusing women and children. Mr Savile was dead before allegations of abuse were widespread. His victims ranged in age from 5 years old to 75 years old. Of the children he abused, both boys and girls were victims. He was known to visit hospitals and mortuaries looking to find his victims. In the children's hospitals the children were told to pretend to be asleep during his visits in hopes he would leave them alone. People knew and did nothing. He died while many of the accusations were still being investigated.

Rolf Harris of Australia was convicted of sexually assaulting at least 12 minors. He was a well-known entertainer, musician, and artist. He wrote some of my favorite songs. He molested children. He was recently released from prison.

For years and years Corey Feldman has been trying to tell people that he and other child actors were sexually assaulted all over the emtertainment industry. People said it was because of his drug abuse that he said those things. Now some of those claims are being corroborated by others. After all these years.

Politicians are now being and have been in the past accused of indecencies ranging from lewd comments, groping and touching, all the way to rape. Some of the victims were male, some female, and some were children.

Churches where everyone should be safe from all harm have been guilty of harboring sex offenders. In most cases of abuse the offendeer is simply transferred; problem solved. Schools do the same thing.

I am not going to go through the whole list of names being accused today. The only reason is that it is too long. Some have admitted to doing wrong and apologized. I do not think apologies are sufficient but that is not my decision. However it is a start. Some swear they did nothing wrong. Some say that it is only "boys being boys" or "locker room" antics.

Often the accusers are being blamed. They dressed provocatively. I have seen few 80-90 year old women who dress in a way that shows their feminine wiles. They seduced me. A two year old does not seduce. A teenager in school is too young to decide whether sex is a good thing for him/her. A woman hurrying home from shopping to pick up the kids at school and get dinner fixed so she can do the laundry before bed is not being seductive.

Sexual abuse is not about desire; it is about power. It is strictly to exert dominance over the victim. If you desire a person you will do everything you can to make the person feel safe. An abuser does everything he can to make the victim submit to his power. It is a way to make the abuser feel more powerful in his own eyes. They know it is wrong so they keep it hidden. They use direct and indirect threats to keep the victim from letting someone else know.

One of the most often repeated phrases I hear today is, "why didn't he/she come forward sooner?" There are a variety of answers.

We have been raised to believe that it is our fault if something like this happens to us. So instead we hold the thoughts inside to keep others from knowing that we were a part of a terrible act.

To have physical proof requires a medical examination. That alone is invasive and humiliating. Then there are questions by professionals. Some can be extremely personal. It takes a special kind of person to submit themselves to that. If there is a trial after all that the victim has to relive everything that happened. Then be called a liar by the accused. Demeaning.

It is embarrassing to allow other people to know what has happened to you and your body. Why put yourself through that?

Now people (mostly men) are trying to put us in our places by letting us know that we have made them feel uncomfortable to even look at someone else. To that I say that we all like beauty. It is a form of art. If we look at an attractive person it is like viewing a lovely painting. The lascivious drooling looks are what is offensive.

I hope that because of the bravery of the people who have said something now it will be easier for people to speak out sooner. Maybe we can stop the perverts andd pedophiles before there are dozens of victims. Better yet maybe the abuses will stop.

I am however a realist. Things like this have happened before. Maybe not on quite this large a scale but they have happened. Each time we hope the problem will finally be fixed. Each time we are disappointed. I want this to be the last one. So everyone must stand up and say "THIS STOPS NOW."

Friday, November 17, 2017


I regaled you with the amusement of our family curse. Soon before before Christmas we always have mechanical failures. Automobiles, computers, and last week our furnace.

I thought wehad contributed our share to the family curse for this year. But Noooooooooooo. Or as they say in those commercials, "But wait! Ther's more!"

We were sitting here watching TV Friday evening. We were enjoying the heat from our newly repaired furnace and catching up on computer things. It was a pleasant evening.

Suddenly we heard that all too familiar "Whoomph" noise. Our furnace had gone out again.

I called the repairman first thing Monday because I did not want to pay overtime for the weekend hours. He came out Tuesday since he had a full day Monday.

When he came out Tuesday he found that the furnace had died an ignoble death.  There was no repairing it and we would need a new one.

Next came other repairmen who took measurements and dicussed what we needed at the lowest possible cost and highest possible value. They would do some research and get back to us.

The dead furnacce was quite old. Some fixtures like the chimney would also have to be replaced. They managed to find a unit that would fit all the requirements.

They came at 7:00 this morning. Tools were in the nice big tool  carriers and the new furnace was on the truck. The dog was safely shut up in my son's room. Remember she is not fond of men.

First they removed the old chimnet and installed the new and larger one. They shut off the gas. They shut off the electrical power to the furnace. The rest of the house had power so I could watch TV or get on the computer. Best off all the electric space heaters were still operating.

Out went the old furnace. They will give it a decent burial. I could not do it myself. Too painful.

In came the shiny new furnace. It is slightly larger than the old one. They bumped the light with it and broke the glass shade that made it more decorative. They nicely cleaned up the broken glass.

With much yelling back and forth they ran a new gas line to the outside. The noise was so they could hear each other. They put the shiny new furnace in place and connected the gas and electricity to it.

When the gas was turned back on I lit the pilot lights for my cooking stove. I tested the burners to ensure that they were receiving gas. A-OK.

They turned on the furnace. It worked like a champ. It took far less than the four hours they were hoping it would take.

The repairman explained that there would be a strange smell for maybe a couple of days. That is from coatings on the furnace burning off. It does not smell good but it is getting better.

I was so worried about the water pipes freezing and bursting. I had to have work done to them a couple of years ago and did not want to have them done again.

So I got a new furnace. It is my Christmas gift to myself. Probably the most expensive  gift I have received.

I sit here now in a cozy warm house. I want to go to bed and luxuriate in my nice warm room. Good night.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

This Little Piggy

When I was a little girl all farms had pigs. Grandpa had pigs.

Pigs were good for many things. Pork chops come to mind of course. And pigs are nature's garbage disposals. They ate all the scraps like potato peels, apple cores, and vegetable leaves. Leftover pancakes or oatmeal from breakfast went into the slop bucket too.

Every day someone would take the slop bucket out and pour it into the trough the pigs ate from. It was a good chore for visiting grandchildren.

The pigs also had grains to eat too. Even a big farm family did not have enough scraps to feed the pigs.

I was fascinated by pigs. The snuffling noises they make and of course the grunts and squeals.

Pigs "wallow" in the mud. We were never allowed to be in the pig pen. They are dangerous at times. But I discovered that one of the reasons the wallow is that the mud keeps them cool. So I would make my own mud puddle to wallow in on hot summer days.

When my children were small my husband bought a pig with the thought of raising it to be butchered. Naturally the children and I made it into a pet. We named her Hortense.

When it came time to butcher we refused to allow it. She lived a pampered life. Then we moved back to the big city. A neighbor took Hortense and promised not to end her life early.

Now they have farmers who raise pigs. By that I mean they build large pig barns and sell them to be butchered each fall. The pigs are kept inside so that they won't run off any of the fat. I have not seen a pig in the 6 years I have been back here.

That is until 2 days ago. I was driving to town. There is one farm that feeds the cows in a yard right by the highway. They have several white calves this year.

As I was driving by I saw a pig!

My son said it was a white calf but I know a pig when I see one. It had those little short legs and was skittering along in the pen with the cows.

I looked for it on my way back but did not see it. I am guessing that they are raising it to be butchered. It probably escaped its enclosure for a little run.

So I have finally seen my pig. I am content.

Friday, November 10, 2017

It's Beginning To Look...

I can tell Christmas is coming soon. How you may ask? Well it seems to be a family curse. Mechanical problems happen right before Christmas.

Cars break down before Christmas. One year all cars went kablooey at the same time. My oldest son worked from early morning until afternoon on the east side of Detroit. My second son was driving truck and often left it in line so it would be the first when a plant opened in the morning. My third son had to come from a nearby suburb to work near where we lived. His wife worked in a different suburb in the opposite direction. My daughter worked in a suburb at the end of suburbia. I worked in another suburb near the end of suburbia.

There was one car running. My second son's wife who had three children to get to school was the de facto chauffeur. That poor thing was in the car from morning till night. I forgot to mention that we worked from around 4:00 AM to 3:00 the following AM.

Somehow for that almost week she managed to get all of us to work/school on time and then pick us up when our shifts were over. She seemed to love juggling all the schedules to deliver good service. It was a horror. Let me tell you we were happy to get our individual cars back.

It seems like each year there are car troubles. Even though we are driving better automobiles than we did back then the glitches still pop up right before Christmas.

Now it seems that the curse is spreading.

My computer said I needed to upgrade. I followed all the directions and waited. And waited. And waited. I had been having some minor annoyances and was anxious for them to be solved.

Unfortunately it was worse after the upgrade. It seemed like everything was trying to run in a molasses lake. Finally my computer froze.

I duly did a shut down. It would not come back up.

Thank goodness my son thinks solving problems like this is a fun challenge. But he was not having much success either. After a couple of days he was ready to throw up his hands and give up. He decided to completely re-install Windows to see if that would work.

It took him another day and a half to get it working. Now we are still finding things we need to load again but it seems to be working good anyway.

While he was busy working on my computer we started hearing strange noises from the furnace. After hours we heard a loud WHOOMPH. And the furnace worked no more.

It has been cold out. It will be slightly above freezing today but not so tomorrow.

We do have electrical space heaters to keep us warm but because under the house gets cold the floors get cold. And there is always the danger of the pipes freezing under the house.

It took a couple of days for the repairman to get to us. They have to come from a town about 25 miles from here. They already had repair jobs ahead of us. We were lucky they came as fast as they did.

He gave the furnace a good cleaning and it relit the first try. Bless his little heart.

He was a nice young man who showed us pictures of the dog his family took in. It had been physically and sexually abused. It is doing well now and is a beautiful animal. He was on his way to pick it up from the groomer when he left our house.

So now my house is comfy and warm. My computer is working as it should. Just remember that Christmas is coming.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


My husband's oldest brother was Dale. Dale was a year younger than my father. As with many families at that time they seemed to have two sets of children. There were those who were born when the parents were young and then the ones born when the parents were older.

Dale was born with the red hair my mother-in-law wanted all her children to have.

Shortly after I met my husband Dale moved away. I did not meet him before he left.

He left behind his wife and 5 children. For a long time they had no idea where he was. He would occasionally send money to his mother to give to the children.

I actually knew his oldest daughter before I knew my husband. She and I went to school together. We were never friends. That has not changed.

Dale came back for a quick visit after my husband I were married. He went into the house to visit his mother for a few minutes. He left the woman who was with him in the car with her two babies. I still do not know if they were his children. I do not think he visited his children.

After many years he moved back to Iowa with a new family. His wife had 4 children from her first marriage and they had 2 more children together.

They all came to the big city to visit us and another brother's families. His son from his first marriage was with them.

It was an interesting thing that each of my mother-in-law's children had a daughter who looked just like my daughter. Dale had 2. The second was around the same age as my oldest son. His youngest son was the same age as my second son.

As you can see I did not know Dale well because I was not around him very much.

He had a sudden heart attack and died around the time that my husband and I divorced. My father-in-law was inconsolable. I see one of his daughters occasionally. Most of his children live far away from here.

Friday, November 3, 2017


The word childish has a negative connotation and it should not. What it means to me is as a child. Some may say that child-like is the more proper term. Child-like means to be like a child. I suppose the difference is minimal but think about it.

To be child-like you must work to be like a child. To be childish you simply are more like a child. So you may insert child-like but I mean childish.

Think of a baby tasting a new food or eating a favorite food. Do they act "cool"? No. Their eyes light up and their bodies wiggle. They roll it around in their mouths and smack their lips. They might put their hands in it and slap it to see what sort of sound it makes. Why they might even share it with other portions of their bodies like their hair. They are not shy about wanting more. Could life be better?

As a quick side note I made sure that all of my children came with a guarantee that they were washable. That way I could clean them easily after a fun meal. Make sure to order your children that way too.

Mud is a great thing for a little one. It squishes in hands. It oozes ever so lovingly between toes. They might get a tiny bit in the mouth before you can stop them. Do not worry. There is the washable guarantee. Besides they do not grow properly without eating just a touch of dirt. I still love to step into the mud and feel it between my toes. (Try it. You will like it.)

A two-year-old child is the perfect age. That sense of wonder is at its fullest. They are fully mobile and they can talk. Best of all they have learned that they are people. What they say and do matters.

These little people have often been referred to as being in "the terrible twos". They have learned to say, "NO!" They have opinions and expect people to listen.

A two-year-old has a completely uncensored imagination. They will tell you some great stories with very little encouragement. Ask them to tell you why the squirrel ran up the tree. With a few well-placed comments from you there might be a monster chasing them or a baby squirrel wanting its Mommy. All that limits them is attention span. They soon need to move on to another activity.

I love to walk with children. It is an adventure. They like to explore because everything is new and they want to see what it is. That is why they want to look under the neighbor's porch or peak into the sewer. Make sure they are safe but allow as much searching as possible. It would not hurt you to peek into that sewer either. There may be a treasure there. You will not know until you look.

Do you ever look at a leaf? I mean really look. Up close. Pay attention. Is it smooth or bumpy? Is it dark green or light green or has the color begun to change in the fall? What color is it exactly? Are the edges straight or striated? Has something been chewing on them? What was it? Is it on the tree or has it fallen off? Why? What do the veins of the leaf look like? Is it a pretty pattern?

See what I mean? We take so many things as normal that we forget the wonder of them. A child can find that wonder in its finger and examine it for a long time. That is childish and beautiful.

I want to experience my life with the glee that a child has. The glorious wonder and sense of awe that cannot be contained is a joy to watch in others. But to have that sense of wonder and awe is indescribable. And the best part is that all we have to do is open ourselves up and feel it.