Posted in Jeanne Marie

My Old Pizza Pan

As I stood scrubbing my old pizza pan this morning, I studied the thousands of cuts that ran across it.
I realized that the thousands of cuts equalled thousands of memories from family meals.
As I scrubbed my old pan, I wondered if I would even pick it up at a yard sale.
I thought, well now that I know what all the cuts mean, maybe I would.
It’s not a dirty pan, as it appears to be, it is a much loved family heirloom.
I dried my hands and sat down with my notebook.
I thought about all the times I almost threw this pan away because of the cuts and I thought of how many times my husband had ordered me to throw it away.
I always said, “No, I won’t.”
I had already learned my lesson when he talked me out of my Guardian Service pans because he hated them.
I gave away some of my newer GS pans and he’d bought me a very expensive set of Faber Ware.
Six months later, I sold that set at a yard sale.
I was so grateful that I had at least held on to Mom’s and Nana’s GS pans.
He tried to cut the same deal when he promised that he would buy me a new pizza pan.
I told him that hadn’t worked out very well in the past.
I said, “You can buy me a new one and I’m willing to try it, but if I don’t like it I’m keeping this one.”
Over the years, he tried to bribe me with many new pizza pans and none lived up to the old one.
The day even came when he couldn’t find the old pizza pan and he panicked.
“Where is our good pizza pan?” he shouted from the kitchen as he tossed shiny ones aside.
I let him panic for a few minutes and then, I found it for him. I always keep it in the back of the pan cabinet in case he gets a notion to throw it out when I’m not looking.
As I handed it to him, I asked him if he remembered how many times he’d told me to throw it away.
I’m that kind of woman.
He’d laughed and said, “Just give me the damn pan!”
He’s that kind of man.
Originally, I had two old pizza pans.
When I was moving from Oklahoma to Florida and getting rid of stuff, my daughter Jodie Lynne said, “Mom, give me the pizza pans. Please?”
I looked her right in the eye and said, “You’re going to lose them, so I’ll give you one.”
She couldn’t have been happier if I had given her the moon.
“I won’t lose this!” she promised, and I had the familiar flutter of hope that she would learn to hold on to things that mattered to her.
That was ten years and many heartaches ago.
I know she no longer has the pizza pan and yes, every time I scrub my pizza pan, I’m glad I kept one, etchings and all.
This past summer, I gave her some of my grandmother’s and my mother’s antique Guardian Service pans.
I didn’t give them all to her, even though she had been sober for over a year.
Nope. I told her she has to prove that she can hold onto something before she gets the rest.
After she gave me the finger with her eyes, she laughingly agreed.
Before you judge me, this is my daughter who has repeatedly lost custody of her six kids and her freedom because of drugs and alcohol.
She has lost everything she owned, over and over, including all her baby pictures, the baby books we made for three of her kids, the handmade crocheted blankets that me, my sister and mother made for them and a box full of Christmas decorations that my mother had made through the years.
I’m not materialistic, but I’m obsessive about holding onto pictures, moments and memories.
In fact, I would give away everything I own and walk in rags with bare feet in the snow just to see my daughter stay happy and sober.
And when she is sober, this daughter loves every little bit of the good memory articles that I do and I guess that’s why I give them to her slowly and hopefully.
I’m always hoping, always praying, that this time will be different, that this time she’ll stay sober.
This month, with over a year sober, she quit the job of her dreams, could lose custody of the only child she has left to raise and yesterday, she called to tell us that the car we bought her a year ago, (so she could get back and forth to work) has been impounded.
Given the signs I know so well, my heart is freaking breaking.
I have four boxes in the attic for her.
They are filled with my own special Christmas decorations, knickknacks, doilies and doodads from Nana, Mom and me. Crafts that my daughter made for me when she was growing up.
She gets the stuff either way when I die and I just pray that she doesn’t die before I do because I know I will not be able to handle losing my precious daughter to the family curse. I will burn those damn boxes full of memories.
From washing my old pizza pan to sitting with my notebook, writing, hoping, praying and believing, “Dear Jesus, please save my daughter. Again. Thank you and amen.”
Update: Thank you Jesus, for my daughter’s life, for her strong faith in you and for her renewed dedication to sobriety. 
Posted in Jeanne Marie

Happy 64th To Me! (Last August)

A Tulsa Promenade Dillard’s Birthday
Happy 64th To Me!
Every year since I turned 60, I try to do something special for myself on my birthday.
This year, I spent the entire day at Dillard’s where my daughter, Jodie Lynne, works and we shopped during her lunch hour.
Of course, after she went back to work, I continued shopping!
Luckily, I love the clearance racks but a few full price items did sneak into my pile, lol.
After I wore my feet out shopping, Jodie convinced me to walk over and let the Edge Beauty Tulsa women give me a makeover.
She really did have to convince me because for some reason I felt shy about it…so thank you, Jodie Lynne.
It was an incredible experience!
First of all, if you know me, you know I would not want a normal makeover.
I wanted a pink makeover and my makeup artist Kalee delivered to the max.
The look began as a pink makeover but as it evolved, I decided I wanted to be a pink fairy and Kalee just went with the creative flow, giving me quick peeks and playing with the colors…
She was incredible to work with and so intuitive and open to what I wanted.
She didn’t act like she was working at all because she loves doing makeup so much that it was like she was playing, so we both had a blast and I felt like it was girl’s night out with a best friend.
Of course, the makeover ended with a glitter brush splash.
Kalee said I was like a ray of sunshine and that I had made her day. Wow. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since someone said that to me…
You know, I honestly haven’t been doing a lot of shining so the entire mother-daughter, Dillard’s Edge makeover with Kalee, shopping for myself experience brought out the sun-shiny part of me that’s been hiding.
And there’s a really funny thing about age. Sometimes it shows to the max and sometimes my age just seems to drop away and I become just me, just a woman who accepts herself no matter her age or her wrinkles.
By the time Jodie and I got home, I felt high as a pink cloud in the sky.
I put on one of my new outfits and some of Jodie’s very high heels, even though I had to squeeze a crippled foot into one of them. I also wore my awesome pink bracelet, a present from my best friend, Michelle Marie.
Jodie took pictures of me and I took selfies with her and we had a picture party.
Now, I have proof that I still know how to shine.
All I have to do is let go and play.
Huge thanks to all who were involved starting with Athena, who babysat Cole and Jonas, my grandsons and took them to play laser tag and to McDonald’s, freeing me to play.
Triple huge thanks to Jodie Lynne and Kalee.
And I cannot forget to thank all the wonderful people I met at Dillard’s as I flitted through the Cosmetics Department, meeting Jodie’s coworkers and her managers.

I also was blessed to have two grandsons with me to help celebrate that evening.
My ten-year-old grandson Cole had come to visit his Papa and me in NH for the summer.
He came the first week of June and I brought him home to Oklahoma this week.
We almost made our visit last until our birthdays, but we had to celebrate a bit early. Mine is August 11th and his is August 10th.
Usually we split the difference and eat our  carrot cake at midnight on the 10th.
We have spent the last few days at his Aunt Jodie’s and Athena’s house with his cousin Jonas and last night we celebrated three August birthdays.
We bought enough cake for the two non-birthday people (Jodie and Jonas) because it just seemed like the right thing to do.
I’m glad we did that because I ate the leftover chocolate cake this morning!
Cole’s dad picked him up this morning and they hugged forever.
When I got home to New Hampshire, my husband took me out for a seafood dinner, so all in all…
I never plan my birthday, I just let it unfold and this was one of the best and hopefully, I have many more to come.
Posted in Grandbabies

Taken Down By A Three-foot Mickey Mouse

My vacation nearly finished me off when I was taken down by a three-foot Mickey Mouse.
Here’s how it happened.
My son asked me if I would fly to Oklahoma to babysit while he took his wife on a business trip with him to Las Vegas…
I told him I would love to, as long as he let me borrow a car to go visit his sister, two and a half hours away, before I went back home, and he agreed instantly.
My only concern was getting on an airplane  during the flu season, but I decided to take my chances.
I arrived Tuesday night and spent Wednesday becoming familiar with my granddaughter’s daycare locations and I did a little shopping.
My three-year granddaughter had time to re-fall in love with her Grammy before her parents left and my eleven-year old grandson had just spent an entire summer with us in New Hampshire.
Feeling quite competent as an experienced mom of four with fifteen grand-kids and five great-grand-babies added to my résumé, I watched my son and his wife drive away on Thursday morning.
That afternoon, with a GPS and my grandson’s help, I managed to find my granddaughter’s daycare.
We enjoyed a dinner of macaroni and cheese with bacon on the side. (I let them decide the menu.)
As we prepared to settle down to watch TV,  gathering blankies and pillows, dimming lights and putting away toys, a three-foot Mickey Mouse hid in the walking space between the couch and the wall.
Feeling quite happy as we headed for the couch, my right foot stepped on Mickey Mouse and given the slick tiles beneath him, I was immediately airborne.
My left knee hit the floor first, then the palms of both hands and last, I made contact with the tile with the right side of my face.
It was blackness and silence for about twenty seconds when I assume I was unconscious, and then I heard my two grandchildren screaming, “Grammy, Grammy, are you okay? Grammy?”
The little one also kept asking if I was asleep.
When I could finally raise my head and answer them, I reassured them that I was fine and that I was just going to have one heck of a black eye.
We hammered some ice in a towel for an icepack as I continued to assure them I was okay.
My eye swelled and began to turn black, blue and red. My head pounded on one side and my knee swelled to double its size.
I could barely move my hands.
I had to reassure my granddaughter numerous times that it wasn’t her fault that Grammy fell and I reminded her that I was the one who had brought Mickey Mouse into the living-room.
My favorite thing in the world is spending time with my grandchildren, so giving in to these injuries was not an option.
As we finally settled down to watch TV, I began to thank God because I considered how badly this all could have ended.
I could have split my entire head open with the force of the fall and I could have stayed unconscious and not gotten back up which would have left my two grandkids without anyone there to watch them. I could have died and they would have had that memory burned into their heads.
I asked my grandson what he would have done if I hadn’t got back up and he said, “I would have called 911.”
“That’s great,” I told him, “but in an emergency where you would be left alone, also call another adult to come over, your aunt or your other grandmother.”
I continued to thank God over and over as I relived the fall in my mind and realized just how bad it could have been.
It was definitely a miracle that I hadn’t split my head open. Just one small cut over my eyebrow.
I woke the next morning with the worst sinus headache I had ever met, and all the symptoms of a severe head cold but I was just grateful to be alive.
I had an incredible visit with my precious grand-kids in spite of my handicaps and went on to spend the next week with my daughter and her kids. (All together, I visited with seven grand-kids and two great-granddaughters.)
By then my knee was really hurting and I couldn’t get up stairs without assistance, so I had to swallow my pride and allow my daughter and my grand-kids to help me.
The flight home was a day of hell on earth. Besides my exhaustion from carrying on hurting and sick for two weeks, as the air pressure fluctuated, so did the pain in my head and my right ear.
I saw my doctor when I returned home.
I was still bearing a black eye and limping.
He was so mad I hadn’t been checked out after I fell.
Maybe in a perfect world, but I was functioning and alive and not willing to spend $1200 dollars for an emergency room doctor to tell me that I had a slight concussion and to take it easy.
I had my older sister to warn me to take it easy and now I was home, my doctor ordered a cat scan that told me nothing and he gave me a prescription for the sinus infection. He never even checked my knee but he did pronounce a slight concussion.
As I go through hundreds of awesome pictures from my family vacation, my black eye prominent, I am so grateful that God gave me another miracle.
I was almost done in by a three-foot Mickey Mouse, but God picked me up off the floor, damaged and bruised, but functioning and alive, amen.
Posted in Jeanne Marie


Christmas is the time of year for remembering.
I feel my mom all around me because Christmas was my mom’s favorite time of the year. She is the spirit of Christmas to me.
I’m not sure why it was her favorite because it was also her hardest time of year, with my dad drinking and crazy and hating Christmas.
But, it was and she always made sure…somehow, someway, that there were a few presents and a lot of love surrounding her kids. I will always remember rolling hundreds of Italian Cookies with her, every year.
Sometimes we had family over for the holiday dinner. I always considered their presence a Christmas miracle because Dad would stop his ranting and raving for just a few hours. He would smile and talk like a normal person and it always amazed me how he could turn it off and on.
I guess he must have known the insane screaming was wrong. Why else would he have stopped the moment people came into our house?
Yes, Christmas is a time for remembering and as I move on from my childhood memories, I remember my own babies and how I felt like a child myself when they were young.
I try not to think of where I fell short.
I try to remember where I succeeded.
I miss them. I miss those babies who grew up before I was ready to let them go.
Pampers and pacifiers, Cabbage Patch dolls and Lego’s. Hot Wheels and Strawberry Shortcake. Little hands rolling Italian Christmas cookies growing into teenagers hanging KISS posters.
Far to soon, my children were in the driver’s seat,  grand-babies and weddings and great-grandchildren.
My best chance to be what they needed has been dissolved by time, time I thought was mine.
If you have babies and children still at home, remember that Christmas is a time for remembering.
Create the good memories now, not next year. Next year is not promised.
As the snow is falling outside your windows, and the Christmas lights are blinking on every porch, live the day you’d like them to remember.
When you look back to now from someday in your future, you’ll smile and your heart will be filled with joy instead of tears and regrets.
Christmas is the time of year for remembering.