Inspired by….Ragtag Daily Prompt Quench

I used to really enjoy traveling.

Even when I was a little kid. Despite the fact that I got carsick, I enjoyed the excitement of discovering the unknown. Even if it just meant the next “tourist trap” as my father described Country Stores and such. We didn’t go on many family vacations but they were always memorable for one reason or the other. One was the coin operated vibrating bed in a cheap motel room somewhere. I shoved a coin in the slot, pushed the button and surprise!

Fast forward a few decades. Air travel was exciting then. There was security of course, but we could bring any food and drinks right through all the checkpoints. Family members accompanied us to the departure gate and waved goodbye.  Even 20 years ago, a cross country flight was not the hassle it is now. I didn’t think twice about the process. And I could run without gasping for breath to the gate for my connecting flight.

Now it is stressful – at least for me. My adult children are faintly annoyed by this (well, perhaps more like eye-rolling annoyed). They don’t understand…because they have mostly known air travel post 9/11.  I remember when it was easy. They do not.

So here I am. High anxiety 2 days out. Making lists. Everywhere.

Getting ready to fly to see my grandson – all 2 ½ years of him. And his parents too, of course — who need some childcare help while the daycare is closed for a few days. Grandma to the rescue. So to speak rescue. Well, Grandma is trying her best to get her travel act together. For a 4 day visit. Let’s see….
Make a list –
What will fit in the carry-on….that I can lift and drag/wheel through the airport including the ladies room. Along with my tote bag, purse, computer, etc.
What do I need…what don’t I need….
Back cushion!! Don’t forget that.
Special goodies for the kiddo.

What about the weather! High anxiety 2 days out.


I wonder if this is a sign of advancing age…the inescapable fact that my body is just not responding to my commands as it used to. Sitting. Standing. Stairs. All harder. Trying to find safe foods to eat on the road…gluten free because I have to.
What the heck.

However what I do know for sure (thank you, Oprah) is that I miss the sight of this little one who I last saw in person…walking down my hall in June. It’s the ache in my heart that won’t calm on its own.

So, until his little family moves closer – about 500 miles closer – I will quench my thirst for this bundle of love and limitless energy.
By powering through this travel thing.
To see him. And his parents too.
FaceTime is all very well and good,
But nothing beats a real hug and sloppy 2 year old kiss.

see ya next time Grandma




This post is inspired by:

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #22: Sacrifice


I’ve sacrificed everything for you. Do you know why? Do you?

Angry words hurled into the air.
Exploding like firecrackers.

Over a terrified child
Who doesn’t understand
Except it must be bad.
Mother’s face twisted up.
Eyes slits. 
The child stands mute.
Mouth dry. No words escape. 

Because I love you! That’s why.

The child’s voice finally bubbles up out of a pot of guilt
and confusion and fear.
A mantra for many years.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
My fault. My fault. My fault.

The child was learning what sacrifice meant.


Conscious Sacrifice

We must teach our children its true value.
Its true spirit.
Giving up of something valuable to help someone else.

Someone else.

No matter who they are.
No matter what they look like.
No matter where they live.

To give up time, energy, money or…the ultimate sacrifice.
To help. To protect. 
Without expecting something in return.
Without complaint.
Without judgment.
Without bartering for love.

We must teach our children…
To make conscious decisions
for all human kindness…

With humility and true grace.

tom august 1990 gpc beach





Flower of the Day

My contribution to…Cee’s Photography FOTD

Daylight Saving Time is gone until next year.

Less sunlight means catch it when I can.
Which I did this morning.

My Bougainvillea plant (thanks to blogger AYR for helping identify it from a previous post) plays dead for weeks at a time.
Flowerless for the past month or so.
Despite sitting right next to a window.
No matter what I did.

I fed it some fertilizer a week or so ago and just let it be.

This past week, it surprised me once again by bursting into bloom. Just when I needed some color…
to filter  and bounce shadows in the morning sun.


Tuesday Photo Challenge – Comfort

Here is my entry for this week’s challenge hosted by Dutch goes the Photo

The theme this week is “Comfort”

It can often be a mystery to figure out a 2 ½ year old. Who has a limited vocabulary which does not include “I am sad” or “I don’t understand” or “I need to calm down” or even…”I am lonely.”

But who still needs to feel a bit more relaxed or cheered or settled. I had a little boy like that a few decades ago. A comforting big hug would make all the difference most of the time. Or some grown up attempts at bridging the language divide…”it’s okay”…”you’ll feel better soon”…”let’s read a story together”…”I love you!”

there was something about Pluto Dog – that special stuffed animal buddy that soothed like nothing else did. Held against bare skin, the comfort radiated to where it needed to go. The amazing power of touch.
Many such buddies lined his bedroom shelf and a few were snuggled with every night. When he reached for comfort, they were right there. No need to explain.

tom 1990067

It is no surprise to me that this little boy grew up to be a fine young man…with a smile and a fond eye for every pup he passes on the street. And a special connection to his sister’s sweet dog who jumps & barks with excitement when hearing him at the door.

tom 1990066

(And it also just happens to be his birthday today)


I Voted

ivoted.jpgAs I drove towards the polling location this morning, I was thrilled to wait in a long line of cars to turn in to the parking lot.

Up and down the packed rows of cars I went, looking for an open parking space. Unlike the usual me, I felt no aggravation or need to complain under my breath.

The clouds and misty drizzle didn’t dampen my spirits as I parked. And walked by crowds of supporters holding campaign signs. Peacefully. Democrats on one side of the walkway. Republicans on the other side.

I was smiling as I waited in line behind other voters once I got inside the building…the town’s former high school. Tables side by side divided up voters via the alphabet — first letters of last names.

There were men, women, children, babies – all patiently waiting. Rows of red, white and blue curtained voting booths also waiting throughout the old gymnasium. I made it to the check-in person, showed my driver’s license and received my ballot – yes, here we have paper ballots as long as your arm. A black sharpie also waited inside each booth. To fill in the empty circles beside all the hopeful candidates’ names.

I am always filled with a sense of awe at this moment. At the privilege – and the right – of having my voice actually count. It is only one voice, but it is as important as that guy in front of me in line. And as important as the young mom holding the curly headed baby in the line to my left. The perfect equalizer. That not everyone in this world has.

Just before I turned 18, the voting age was changed from 21 to 18, courtesy of the 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution (which followed the crucial 19th Amendment 51 years earlier…also making my vote possible). When I actually turned 18, I registered to vote at my high school. We had passionately discussed the significance of this change in History class and amongst ourselves. After all, there were 18, 19 & 20 year olds headed to Vietnam who should at least be able to vote.

I haven’t missed an election since.

When my two children turned 18, I took them soon after to our city hall to register. My son registered on his actual birthday – the next day was election day. And we both went together. “Did you get your absentee ballot?” I’d ask each of them every year when they were in college. We are lucky in this country, I tell them. We have a voice.

Use it.

Quote of the Day…

The idea of perfection always gives one a chance to talk without knowing the facts.

Agnes Sligh Turnbull




The pursuit of perfection.
A perfect plot for the impossible.
As the first few words
Slip out flawlessly.
A fateful pause. Phrase suspended.
Cloudy with doubt.

Begin again.

New words form.
Slightly bent.
Frayed. Rough.
Slowly emerge
One by one
Scraping. Sweating.
Squeezing their way out.
And stick this time.
Flying together.


A Photo a Week Challenge: Bridges

Nancy Merrill Photography is hosting a photo challenge:

The theme this week is Bridges


I inherited hundreds of my grandfather’s color slides.
Many of the slides were taken at family events, but many were from his trips to Europe, India and throughout the USA. He documented everything. Business trips. Personal adventures. With 8mm home movies as well. He was an ultra tourist. And thoroughly enjoyed travel. By air. By train. By car.

A few years ago I looked through all of his slides, but was dismayed that most were not labeled.

These are “Mystery Bridges” from the 1940’s (or very early 1950’s) Europe.

If anyone out there in blogging land knows where these photos were taken, please feel free to comment! I am very curious.

Look familiar?


Mystery Bridge #1


Mystery Bridge #2


opa slide bridge065
Mystery Bridge #3