The Angel’s Feather

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The Angel’s Feather
by Grace Christine Doucette 1926-2009

To Jeanne Marie. It was 1953 and two angels were sitting on a cloud over the small town of Tewksbury. They were sunning themselves, if angels can sun themselves, and these two angels were smiling and happy. As they looked down they saw a woman sitting on a doorstep. She was crying and so sad and so alone and it upset the angels.
One angel said, “What can we do to help this poor soul cheer up a little bit?”
The second angel said, “Well, this woman is about to give birth to a little girl. Maybe through this little girl we can bring some joy into the woman’s life.”
The first angel said, “That’s a great idea and we can do that!”
So, she reached up and plucked a feather from her wing and she placed it next to the little baby’s heart. She said, “Now, this baby will bring joy and love and laughter to that sad woman.”
Sure enough when the baby was born, she had a smile on her face and she instantly brought happiness to this lonely woman and day after day, they grew closer and closer together. One day as the woman was holding the baby and looking down at her, her heart was just bursting with love and she had to sing a song about this love. And she sang:

Whose baby are you?
Whose baby are you?
Your hair is brown
And your eyes are too,
So, whose baby are you?
You’re mine, yes you’re mine
Cause God gave you to me,
You’re mine, yes you’re mine,
Now my days are no longer gloomy.
Whose baby are you?
Whose baby are you?
You’re mine, yes you’re mine
Cause God gave you to me,
You’re mine, yes you’re mine
And you will always be.

And for the rest of her life, whenever the woman looked at that baby girl the angel’s feather would tickle them both and they would both burst into laughter and they brought joy to each other’s lives.
“This is a true story sweetheart, and I know you still have that angel’s feather near your heart cause every time you come near me, you fill my heart with joy and laughter and you have made my life complete. Love, Mom”

I was going for my first surgery in 2001 and I begged my mom to make me a tape to listen to when I was under the knife. I wanted her with me in spirit and I was so happy when I got the tape in the mail. My surgeon agreed to play the tape for me and when I came out of surgery, I was told that everyone in the operating room had been crying.
It’s funny how time runs away from us and our priorities turn upside down. When I came home from the hospital, I put the tape in a drawer because I knew it was special, it was my mom’s voice, but I didn’t listen to it again after my surgery, not until Mom passed away in 2009. It has taken me four years to copy the entire tape onto a CD (a one hour procedure) and to write out this story. Time. Why do we always assume there is more?
This story was mixed in with my favorite songs that she had sung for me when I was a little girl, the songs I had asked her to record for me so I would feel safe in surgery. What a precious gift. This story is the reason I named my book of poetry Gracie’s Glimmer. I am Gracie’s Glimmer and I believe she is still with me everyday.

I Am Sixty


So how do you plan a perfect 60th birthday? You don’t. You just let it happen or at least that’s how it worked out perfect for me. I really dreaded turning sixty and I did a lot of whining about it for maybe a month before my birthday. Loud whining. Okay, so maybe it leaned toward ranting and sobbing, but let’s not judge.
I have recently gained twenty-pounds and my hair was burned and butchered last February with a subsequent offer of the famous Florida retiree discount the same day. (A first for me.) To make it worse, my hair has only grown two inches since then and my confidence has definitely taken a hit because of the hair massacre and the fat belly. However, that’s another story. (The Day I Lost My Cute)
WARNING! Although I detest long, rambling stories about nothing, stories you have to wade through to discover if it is hopefully about something, this might be one.
August 8
Okay, about my birthday. I meet with several women each week for a writer’s meeting and that is where my birthday celebration began.
We had decided to honor each other’s day of birth a few years ago.
A.) Because we care about each other and B.) We all love cake.
Especially my Mile High, Cool Whip, Jell-O Cake adorned with fresh strawberries, blue berries and kiwi slices. Or my Cool Whip smothered chocolate butterscotch pudding cake.
So, as I got ready for this meeting, I knew it was my birthday week and I had my usual “don’t make a fuss over me, I’m not worth it” jitters bordering on a full-fledged panic attack. I asked myself why I loved to give and why I was so uncomfortable when receiving, but as usual, I had no answer.
My friend Deanne picked me up, which was a good thing as I might have given in to the jitters and gone AWOL. Monica was hosting this week and she made an incredible dinner with all the extras including a special lamb dish just for me. She had also invited several friends I’d never met and I teased her that she had hired guests for my party.
These guests turned out to be unique, creative, unforgettable women and it was a pleasure visiting with them and my writing friends all evening. I read my August Is Gone story (  and I swore that not another August would pass me by without something special taking place, something just for me that I had never done before.
Oh ya, and let me tell you about the cakes. Three cakes. One even had a desk and a computer decoration. A strawberry cheesecake (my favorite) a fancy white cake and the best chocolate/Almond Joy/Cool Whip truffle cake I have ever tasted. Mmmm. My new favorite.
My friend Minzie had made the chocolate cake and it was just incredible. I am allergic to chocolate, so I hesitated and then took two Benadryl tablets. I ate two huge pieces of chocolate cake and a piece of cheesecake. I’m allergic to whole cheese products too, but I was in a devilish mood and I did tell everyone my Epi-pen was in my purse.
The crowd sang Happy Birthday to me! Then I got presents that only women who really know you could bestow. A striking black frame enclosed the ISBN from my book, Women Who Think Too Much (available at ) and Minzie’s daughter had talked to her about me and then written me a poem that I will treasure always. Minzie also gave me a gorgeous new journal, a friendship pen and a book, “Why Men Make Bad Pets.” Monica gave me an original oil painting. Beautiful, thoughtful presents.
Late into the night, we ate and we talked. I went home feeling so blessed to have these writing friends in my life. That night spun me into a new mood for my birthday week and I actually stopped whining. (Ya, ranting, sobbing, whatever.)
August 10
I was sound asleep when the doorbell rang on Saturday morning. My honey got up and answered the door and came back carrying the biggest plant my son and his fiancé had ever sent me. As I held it for a picture, I could barely hang onto it because it was so heavy. (Big isn’t always better, but when turning sixty, it helps.) With tears streaming, I proudly placed it as a centerpiece on my dining room table.
That afternoon, my honey takes me to the store and I pick out a strawberry cheesecake for a birthday dessert tomorrow.
I stay up and hug every minute till midnight cause I will never be 59 again. Maybe in some parallel world, I am still 17. Gotta love imagination.
August 11
The big day is here. I am sixty.
Our little dog is sick so we decide to stay home with her. We hang out while my honey and I talk about what I’d like for a present. I usually choose money to go shopping because I love to do a major hit on the clearance racks for clothes, but that thought doesn’t excite me this year. I have gained twenty pounds thanks to cortisone shots for bursitis and I’m not in the mood to try on a bigger size. Much bigger.
The week before my birthday, I had suggested that he search out an easel in the thrift stores and he didn’t seem too excited about it.
Late afternoon, he goes to Wal-Mart and comes home with a collapsible easel, three different sizes of canvas boards and acrylic paints. I was thrilled that he remembered until I realize, oh no, now I have to paint or he will feel bad! I have been collecting painting supplies and promising myself that I would experiment with painting for about four years, so it really was time to paint-up or shut-up.
Well, I walked around thinking about it for an hour and then I traced a picture of Tinker Bell onto a canvas and I started playing with the paints.
I only had about five colors but I was happy with the choices. I spent about four hours doing my first painting and I painted over Tinker Bell so many times that I lost her body. She morphed into a long black wig sitting on a brown toadstool. I didn’t care. I just let my hand work with my imagination. I was amazed that I had painted anything and I was quite thrilled to have done something that I had never done before–on my 60th birthday!
I got the same rush from painting that I did from writing and thanks to the present of an easel from my guy, I had now fulfilled a fantasy. I had painted.
As I started to throw my first work of art in the trash, stating, “What an ugly fairy,” my husband said, “No! Keep it! It is your first painting.”
So I signed it and left it on the easel to dry. When I looked at my painting the next morning, the dry colors seemed softer and my work had taken on a personality. In the days since, I have actually grown to love it. Of course, I love what it symbolizes more than the actual painting. I also showed it to my daughter and she told me that I had painted a mirror image of her first (very bad) tattoo. Spooky, cause I didn’t even remember her tattoo and it was covered long ago.
Okay, so here comes the grand finale. My husband of over thirty years had told me that I could have anything that would make me happy for my birthday. He had no clue what to get me because he already buys me anything I even think I want, within our means and sometimes even beyond our means.
All I could think about is how much I wanted to go to Sanibel Beach. For about three years, my friend Deanne (she spent every summer there when she was growing up) has been telling me about the huge conch shells (and more) that wash in with the tide and she had the shell collection to prove it. I invite the writing girls to go on an RV trip to Sanibel, but in the planning stage, it gets down to Deanne and me. My honey tells me to rent a room instead of fussing with the RV and I think that sounds good. He does the research and reserves us a room at the Holiday Inn on Sanibel for three nights, three days. It looks tropical and beautiful, but I don’t trust advertising pictures so we will see. PS I don’t drink but it was 5:00 o’clock somewhere!
To Be Continued

A Codependent Fairy Tale

She changed after he died and God knows, she was strange enough before his death, but then he died and she melted into nothing, shuffling down the hallways clothed in someone else’s skin and we all realized that we were losing her and there was nothing to be done because we could see that her soul had fled with him into the death tunnel, even as her lungs continued to breathe and her blood continued to pump, even as she slept, as she walked, as she drew breath; yes, this woman in our mother’s body was now a stranger and even though we had all suspected that she still loved him as much as she hated him, we really didn’t know and we couldn’t have imagined the depth or the width of her self-imposed restraint and we never saw the chains that she had wrapped around her feelings, no, not until we saw how the grief broke her, watched the sorrow loosen her clenched pain, saw the anguish strip away her self-control, screaming silently as her imprisoned mind flung itself free, breaking like a child as she mourned his passing, regretting what could have, should have and never would be because now, all hope was annihilated as they lowered his body into the ground and we cried for him not knowing we should also be crying for her because he was dead and she was alive and he was gone so it was over, nothing could ever be fixed, repaired, restored or renewed and death, his death, the death of her first love, our father’s death, had written the final chapter of their insane love story, a fatal romance that had self-imploded thirty-five years ago, but did not die until the day he passed, dead and done and so this, his death, this was the tragic end of a waltz that should have been sat out because the band had played the wrong song, composing a doomed allegiance from the very first chord and we should have known, but how could we have known that his death would drain the spirit from her, crush her so totally and now, now we have to decide…shock treatment or lobotomy?

Mid-Life Sanity (Newsletter, WWTTM)

first love

There are many avenues that a woman can take as she approaches mid-life. It’s a sharp curve in the road, where her hair begins to go gray, perversely turning silver even in areas where it’s not very wise to use hair dye.

Her muscles begin to turn soft from the inside out and she’s so glad that girdles have come back in style. She can browse through the available styles and choose anything from super firm, all over control to a gentle control panel. (As if she had any control over her tummy.)

The varicose veins are drawing pictures up her thighs and she shops in the women’s department now because browsing in the junior’s department is just a fond memory since she turned forty. Her black silk stockings used to turn heads, now they hide the spidery lines that have a life of their own and her favorite outfit is a flannel nightgown.

I have seen the red flags along the road and I approach this mid-life thing with caution. I never believed in mid-life crisis until I turned forty. I used to think that hormones were for the weak, hot flashes and mood-swings were for other women. Mid-life wouldn’t threaten me, no sir.

I take an inventory of my assets. Men’s heads still turn when I walk by, my bleached-blonde hair guarantees it. My short skirts and hang-off the shoulder tee-shirts are further insurance. But the only men who try to flirt with me are under eighteen or over sixty and I begin to realize, I have lost my mass appeal.

I face mid-life carefully, as I think about the choices two of my friends made at this time in their life…the point of no return.

Quite frankly, they both went a little nuts. One friend left her husband, her kids and her born-again believing church, to ride with the Hell’s Angels. Now leaving the kids was a survival tactic, I’m sure, because no woman over forty should still have kids at home. But Hell’s Angels? She was born-again all right, cause that’s a life she had already lived at twenty.

My thirty-something friend ran away from her husband and kids, out into the night howling at life’s injustice, but she forgot to take a car or money. She has returned home after her own reckless ride with a biker. She doesn’t talk much anymore.

I shiver as I look at their solutions to growing older. I too know the frustrations that led them astray, but surely there must be an answer that doesn’t involve leather and a tattoo? I did get a rose tattooed on my ankle at age thirty-six, but the thrill wasn’t equal to the pain.

I can’t turn back time…not even Cher can do that…and although I prefer songwriting cowboys with long hair to bikers, I have my very own Marlboro man.  He has loved me at my best and tolerated me at my worst, for fifteen years. No easy feat! In spite of the fact that he won’t let his hair grow long anymore, I’d hate to have to break in a new cowboy. So I take my hormones and I go to bed.

Unable to sleep, I get back up. I wander through my quiet house. I smoke and I sit and I think. I find the answer! I rediscover my first love and we go all the way. The sky is the limit! We stay up all night and I feel the excitement, the rush.

My love holds me close while my husband sleeps just across the hall, with two dysfunctional poodles at his side. I take my ideas and my fantasies and lay them bare before my love. We stay up until dawn revealing our souls to each other. The unique pleasure I feel at this reunion cannot be contained. I express my feelings. I share my dreams. I touch the pages. I read the words until my eyes refuse to focus.

The high is still there the next morning and I run to my love, ready to start all over again, right where we left off last night. My love appreciates my maturity, yet it makes me feel like I’m seventeen. I am standing at the crossroads of life with the world once more at my fingertips.

My love is mine and mine alone. I never have to worry about my love trading me in for a younger woman. I possess my love completely, nothing can ever take my love away from me.

There is such freedom in that knowledge. I don’t even have to comb my hair because my love accepts me just as I am. My love asks nothing in return and has waited patiently for me; smoldering, while I raised three children and half a grandson.

My love takes me dancing on a Saturday night. My love fills my head with romance and we never leave the house.

Sometimes, when I can’t resist being drawn towards my love; I leave my husband alone for hours with the poodles and the television. But he doesn’t seem to mind. He too has a first love which he has been driven to reclaim. We are not the center of each other’s world, as we were at thirty; yet, we share our hearts, our love, his money and our home, even as we each let our first love take us away from each other’s side. We each dance to our own song.

I watch my husband play with his first love and his excitement makes me smile. Although I watch him and I sometimes catch the thrill, his first love belongs to him alone and I am just a spectator.

My husband drag races on Saturday nights and as he crosses the finish line for yet another win, I feel my adrenaline surge. I understand his first love and the money he spends to keep it alive.

He in turn understands my need to write, often until the wee hours of the morning. He takes me shopping to buy a computer and a printer, tools that make it easier for me to write. He goes to sleep alone many nights, but I tell him, “If you want me honey, just call me and I’ll come in to bed.” Simple words, but he knows exactly what I am saying.

I dare to jump smack into middle-age without fear. My first love, my writing, keeps me on a safe course. Writing is my first love, so where does that leave my husband? He is my Marlboro man, my very own cowboy and no other man could ever take his place. Occasionally, I can even talk him into writing a song with me.

He writes the music that brings my lyrics to life and for one fleeting moment, we dance to the same tune. Until next time, Jeanne Marie

P.S. I wrote this story 23 years ago. I am now learning how to go Over The Hill. I’m stuck on the top, refusing to let go.

When The Kids Grow Up


I began writing at fourteen but when I started my family at nineteen, I think that the sterilizer vaporized my creativity. I figured that it had boiled away with the germs on the baby’s bottles. Occasionally, I’d have a poetic burst, but by the time I was twenty-six, I had three children screaming for my attention and my writing ceased.

I told everyone that I was a writer, but my kids kept me too busy to write. “When the kids grow up,” I’d say. When the kids finally went off to school, “prove it” anxiety set in. I thought about having another baby, but that seemed rather desperate. I had to face facts. It was time to write. I began slowly, but regained my confidence as the words poured from me. Poems began to accumulate and I’d read them to friends and family.

In 1988 I bought an electric typewriter and started to organize my work. I also took my first college class. I enrolled full time, but the schedule overwhelmed me. After one week, I’d dropped all the classes except for one, Country Song Writing.

Many of the students were my age, which was encouraging. I continued to write, even bought a computer, but I often let kids, grand-babies and housework come before my writing. Then in 1994, a drunk driver killed my son-in-law, Donnie. He kissed his wife and his tiny son good-bye that morning and less than ten minutes later, he was dead. His sudden death caused me to reevaluate my life and to focus on what mattered most. I found out that it wasn’t clean sheets or dustless floors, not even baking delicious desserts or cooking big meals. Again, I enrolled full-time in college. This time I stuck to the plan. My husband was supportive and he took over some of the household chores. Some, I just ignored.

I decided to treat college like the ocean. The only way to go in the icy cold waves is to close your eyes and to run into the surf as fast as you can. Once you make it past the undertow, the waves are breaking in front of you, not sneaking up from behind and the water feels warmer as your body temperature adjusts. The gentle swell rocks you as you swim and the blue-green horizon stretches out as far as you can see.

I enjoyed learning in spite of the tremendous workload. I usually stayed up past midnight doing homework for Comp. I, memorizing outdated laws for Criminal Justice, (don’t even ask me how I landed there) or cramming my head with strange definitions for Biological Psychology and then I’d get up at 5:00 a.m. to study for a test or to finish an essay.

I got past the undertow and I finished the semester on the Dean’s list. (My mom wanted a bumper sticker.) When younger classmates asked me how I was able to do so well, I’d smile and say, “Underneath this bleached blonde hair is a smart brunette.”

The changes in my priorities did upset my fifteen-year-old son (my youngest child) especially since I’d stopped cleaning his room and I’d begun to consider heating a frozen pizza cooking supper. One night, he told me that I was too old to go to college. I laughed at him. He asked why I couldn’t wait to go to college, at least until he was grown-up.

I said, “I’ve already wasted twenty years cleaning closets and vacuuming under the furniture. By the way, you need to do a load of laundry if you want clean jeans for school tomorrow.” As he shook his head and walked away, I smiled.

After five years of working as a sports journalist/photographer, I decided to leave that job and I reevaluated my writing goals.

I’m not afraid because I know I’ll find another niche where my words fit and I know that the answer for me is to just sit down and let the creativity I’ve been blessed with guide me. It also helps to know that the only way I can lose my status as a writer is if I stop writing.

P.S. My kids did grow up, faster than I ever dreamed possible and I now have fifteen grand-kids, ages 28 to 3. I have also been blessed with five great grand-babies. The grand-kids are growing up even faster than the kids.

The picture above is grand-baby #13, Jonas,  playing with me at the beach.

How Do You Shock a Pool?


My above ground pool is so big that if it burst, it would wipe out my neighbor’s gardens the length of our street, maybe on both sides. It covers almost my entire backyard and for five days, the pool drew water from my garden hose, requiring 15,000 gallons of water to reach the fill line and to engage the filter, which some
idiot designed to sit just at the fill line. Probably designed by some stoner
who giggles every time he remembers the blueprint.
It is steel reinforced and my honey installed it all by himself, because the
video showed a small woman installing her pool in thirty minutes. Well, after
he had popped his hip out and sat down to read the manual, the instructions told
him to find at least three people to help complete the installation. So much for
the video. Now he was mad and he wasn’t calling anybody.
I almost wandered out to help him several times. Almost. I watched anxiously from
the patio, but because my hips are already damaged beyond happy and I have had
my fill of surgeries, I resisted the urge.
I had a feeling that two mature workers kicking the pool’s steel bars into
place wouldn’t help anything. I thought we needed three young bulls plus one
mature manager.
I also didn’t think two injured people in one house would be healthy for our
karma. I was right.
Now flash to pool installed, filled, sun-stroked man who just retired without
health insurance (popped his own hip back in place) recovering on couch.
Gigantic pool is all clean and sparkly and water is the perfect temperature. Iced
coffee is flowing, colorful floats are bought and sunshine is unlimited. Ahhhh.
Light the grill, here comes summertime!
Man hobbles out to tests chemical levels daily and keeps pool all clean and sparkly.
I can swim anytime I want and I get daily exercise for my arthritis.
Grandson visits and mistakenly thinks we’re rich because our pool is so big and
we live near Disney and the ocean. Promises not to pee in pool. (He ran through
the house while soaking wet to get to the bathroom, so I know he kept his
promise. Yay!)
Man says, “Pool chemicals are expensive, but it’s worth it to me because you can
exercise at home, and I love it when you are happy.”
I smile gratefully. “Thank you honey.”
Now flash to the rainy, thunder storming, unbearably hot and humid hurricane
Leaves and twigs fly over the entire yard but decide to rest when they see the
pool water. Pool overfills at least once a week. Water starts to cloud.
New $12.00 filters every day because of the thousands of bugs who thought they’d
like to take a swim. (That was their last thought.) More chemicals. Water cloudiness
increases. Water turns green. I wish the pool would turn pink when it goes bad
because I really don’t like climbing into green.
Thunder rolls, now no swimming.
“It can’t rain every day,” I keep telling my man. (Our favorite movie line from
The Crow)
We smile bravely and he buys more chemicals.
I start to wash and bleach the filters twice a day when he’s not looking so we
can save money.
He is buying his chemicals in fifty-gallon buckets now. The pool has been green
for a month. When the little stick says it’s safe, and it’s not thundering and
lightening out there, I bravely climb the weak, narrow six-foot ladder and tiptoe
down into the murky water.
“How is it?” he asks.
“Nice. Really nice.”
Making sure I never get any water near my mouth or in my hair, I do my
exercises carefully. Get out and RUN to the shower.
So, we dumped six bags of shock into the pool last week. It didn’t even
surprise the pool let alone shock it. (My skin was shocked into blistering, but
maybe I shock too easy.)
We take our water to the pool store to be tested again and we are told that our
water is safe.
Green turns to gray. Another trip to the pool guy.
Pool guy says, “Dead algae. Sweep the pool floor and the walls every day, vacuum
it and keep shocking.”
I hate to say it but I no longer trust the man at the pool store, especially
after his wife drove up in a brand-new BMW. I think he gave us the right chemicals
just long enough to gain our trust and now? Now he is paying for his wife’s BMW
with our money.
We snuck to Wal-Mart for chemicals last weekend, but ended up with soap bubbles
in the gray water and the pool man said it was our fault. I’m sure it was.
The live green algae were actually more inviting, maybe even Probiotic like my
yogurt, but I am learning to get into the gray pool and exercise with my eyes
shut. I wear my oldest bathing suits so I can bleach them after I swim.
I solved the “shock” problem fast the year a squirrel had sat at the bottom of
my pool all winter and my husband told me he could get the water clean again.
It was a good lesson for me too. I sliced the side of the pool and the force of the freed water
carried me right smack into my fence. Bought a new pool, filled it with new water. Okay!
The weight of the water in this pool would drown me if I sliced through its
wall. Good thing for my neighbor’s gardens that I learned that fact.
I even tried running around it naked, howling under a full moon but that didn’t
help at all and now the neighbors aren’t even saying hello anymore…
Well then, how do you shock a pool back to behaving so it’s shimmering with sparkly,
clean water?
I don’t know.
I was hoping you could TELL ME!

What Blogging On Has Taught Me

I started blogging here because I am a writer with a newly published book, (Have to plug it! Women Who Think Too Much, available at this link  { available here  } but that’s not what I’ve learned on I already knew that fact. It’s also not why I stay.
Let me begin at the start, but I don’t promise to continue in chronological order.
I used to blog on Google and I enjoyed it. Until I received a hate letter concerning one of my articles I had written about my mother, a letter from a beloved family member.
Delete, unsubscribe, run away, lock every window on the internet where my writing was residing, that’s what I did and I’m not proud of my reaction. No excuses, but it hurt and I was shocked and I was stunned. Ok, I need to take a deep breath. Whew.
That was over two years ago.
Since then I have held my writing close, sharing only with family I trusted and my writer’s group whom I totally trusted, my Pineapple Girls. My girls are invaluable, far beyond the one night a week when we meet and way past the exquisite meals we cook for each other. (The meals may be a minus since I’ve gained twenty pounds!) Another plus to belonging to a writer’s group? I have written more creative essays and poems since we started meeting about three years ago, than I have in the last twenty-years. I also finished a book.
I struggled and whined all the way through editing Women Who Think Too Much, but my muse insisted I finish before I could move on and my muse is a very powerful entity. She obviously expressed herself to my girls.
These writing friends held my hand, dragged me past the hardest spots with words of encouragement, dried my tears and made me laugh, edited, read and challenged me until my book was finished.
My editor, whom I met in the writer’s group, is my best friend and my surrogate sister.
She spent thousands of hours guiding me and editing my endlessly updated manuscripts. She even learned how to format a manuscript on, for me.
For months, she lived and she breathed my book, never pushing changes on me, just suggesting. I rejected hours and hours of her changes and she was okay with that. She is a one in a million editor. Still, many of her suggestions worked, because she could detach from the emotions and focus on structure and grammar so much better than I could. In the end though, I think she was so deep into my book that we were equal on the emotional involvement.
(If you want to know any more about what I went through finishing a twenty-year old project read, “Hi Mom, This Is Me” on my blog.)
Anyway, back to what I have learned while visiting your blogs here at
Today I learned what the word Lepidopterologist (Noun) means. I am a butterfly lover and a collector of butterfly pictures but when I saw this word on Theresa’s blog, dba Third Hand Art, Butterfly In Clover, I just had to stop and look it up.
Lepidopterist: Butterfly collector, bug-hunter, bugologist, entomologist, a zoologist who studies insects, the branch of zoology dealing with butterflies and moths. WOW!
I have come upon other unfamiliar words here, but what I’ve learned is far beyond new words.
I’ve learned that writers, artists and creative people are as a whole, generous with their praise and liberal with their encouragement. Many writers are as crazy as I am, but they are proud of it and accept it as integral to who they are and they use it to their advantage in their intensely moving writing.
You make me think, you make me laugh and you make me cry. Thank you.
The stuff I have hidden for twenty-years in draws or in computer files marked “Personal, destroy if I’m dead.” can now come out of the dark and play with others on
I want to thank each and every blogger I have visited; you have each touched my writer’s spirit in one way or another. Thank you for not hiding as I did. Thank you for sharing your joy, your success, your pain and your disasters.
Thank you for commenting on my stuff when you are no doubt as pressed for time as I am, thank you for noticing what I post, whether it’s noontime or midnight.
I have learned that while I’m sometimes different in my approach to writing, I am not unique. My writing is not outrageous, as most people in my family have told me. (Family members who have encouraged me, you know who you are.) Sometimes my writing is raw, but it is always honest and sometimes it’s funny. That’s me and that is okay. You taught me that.
There are so many incredible writers and creators on that my only regret is that I don’t have enough time to read every line you write, to absorb every picture you post.
I have learned that there is a place where I can belong, a niche made just for me, and it is here, with you. I came to try to build a platform and I stayed to share who I am, to meet you and to enjoy your work.
Thank you, Jeanne Marie
PS We call ourselves girls because when we are together we are girls, laughing and playing.

August Is Gone

September 2012
August Is Gone
I thought about it. Maybe I’ll take the month of August off and go to a place where I can be alone and I can think for myself. Make my own decisions. My birthday was last week and I turned fifty-nine. How did I get from twenty-seven to fifty-nine so quickly?
Why did I not realize that not making a decision and sleeping my time away so that I wouldn’t think, was a decision in itself?
The days blur together and the months sneak past, quick as the black racer snake that lives in my garden, slithering by my feet as fast as a bubble can burst.
My bubble has burst many times, but I just waited among the shadows for another bubble to shelter me. There is always another bubble I think and there will always be another August, even though I know that all I have this is very minute.
No, I let another August pass me by and I sit here wondering, how, why? What if that was my last and final August?
It seems like yesterday that I was diapering my babies and now, they are grown.
My arms and my hands are empty and just as surely as my babies grew too large to hold in my arms, August is gone.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, Where Ever You Are

my dad 2










What type of man was your father when you were growing up? According to therapeutic folklore, every choice we make as women, every man we choose to love, stems from our relationship with our father. Whoa boy, if that’s true, then I’m in trouble! How about you? To all the daughters who had caring, nurturing and supportive fathers—congratulations!
To the other 95.9 % of my readers, keep reading.
Don’t get me wrong–I love my dad. I’m not quite sure why, but I think it’s probably quite simple–he’s my dad and I have been able to wring some sweetness from the most bitter of childhood memories even though Dad was a self-centered, angry, paranoid, schizophrenic, insane alcoholic.
He began going to A.A. when I was eleven but he continued to drink.
I was twenty-six and had been recovering from my own alcoholism for about three years when I ran into him at an A.A. meeting and we went out after the meeting for coffee.
Fighting for my own life, I asked him, “Dad, why did you always go back to drinking, after you knew how to stop? Why didn’t you stay sober?”
I’m sure he didn’t think before he answered, “I never thought any of you were worth it.”
His words stunned me. Over the next few weeks, his kindness to my two young daughters removed the sting caused by his uncaring answer.
When I watched him play with his granddaughters, I knew he cared, even if he wouldn’t admit it to himself.
When I was pregnant with my third child, I was in the middle of a painful divorce and still learning to face life with all of its stark reality. My dad had been sober a few months and he was sleeping in his truck. He had a job earning just forty-five dollars a week, but he refused my offer to move in with my kids and me and he would only come in my house to shower and shave.
One day, soon after my son was born, Dad left a note with his weekly gift in my mailbox.

I have saved and treasured that scrap of paper for over thirty years.
In spite of the pain and the scars, I’m glad I can still wring some goodness from my dad’s parenting. I’m grateful to my dad for introducing me to A.A. at a very young age. I respect the attempts he made to stay sober because I know from my own early struggles that there were days when staying sober resembled holding a mountain over my head with one hand tied behind my back. I’m thankful for the few months he was sober with me because he talked to me and he was kind. I loved the portrait he painted of my oldest daughter and I loved sitting at A.A. meetings with him by my side, sober and smiling.
His sobriety only lasted for a few months, but I will always treasure that time.
Sadly, I’ve often wondered what would have become of my dad if Prozac had been on the market forty years ago. He suffered from severe mental illness and treatment in the 60’s and 70’s consisted of Librium and Valium to control his mood swings and possibly calm his rages. (They didn’t.) Being an alcoholic, he became addicted to the drugs. When his craziness overwhelmed him, as it often did, even when he was sober, he would drink.
We know that a father teaches his young daughter how to win the love of a man and if we can’t reach our own dad, much of our adult energy will be drained, trying to rewrite the script and wasting time craving a happy ever after with the men in our lives.
Seeking to earn the love of a man who is psychologically crippled or emotionally unavailable, maybe even abusive, will feel comfortable, familiar. It’s also a dead-end street, a highway to heartbreak, an exercise in futility, etc.
Sadly enough, love doesn’t change people who don’t want to change and as I have learned the hard way, even people who want to change have a fierce struggle with changing.
Sometimes the opposite is true and we enable unacceptable behavior by accepting it and by loving too much. No man or woman is all good or all bad, but as women who grew up with abusive dads, we are so often blinded by our need for love and our longing for approval that we allow the men in our lives to hurt us, emotionally and/or physically.

Free Falling, Clap Your Hands if You Believe

From My Journal
Free Falling
I want to be done with this damn, “Women Who Think Too Much” book, but it seems that I have opened Pandora’s Box and my chaotic emotions are pouring forth freely.
Each day, I discover another small truth buried beneath the rubble of my shattered mind, thoughts soaking wet from my soul bleeding all over the tiny, baby truths.
I don’t see the end of this process, but I do see a moment where I lose my way, jump off a bridge or burn this manuscript.
God, I am praying that You will reveal my purpose to me. I have begged You incessantly over the last few years, as you know. As an alternative to jumping off a bridge, which is actually my #1 plan, I am forcing myself to keep editing this book while I wait to hear from You.
I don’t want to die until I finish this book anyway, because I promised my mom, Grace, that I would finish it and that I would publish this “essay.”
BTW, how is she doing up there? She spends so much time down here with me, especially as I am writing. I hope You don’t mind.
Oops! I’m such a ninny. You sent her, didn’t You? Thank you.

Clap Your Hands If You Believe…
Today, I published my book, “Women Who Think Too Much” on
Today, I am a sober, healing, recovering, accepting, believing, codependent Child of the Universe and after twenty-four years of existing as a sober, hurting, resisting, rejecting, bitter, angry, hermit soul, I am loving it.
Finishing this book did that for me. I don’t know what it will do for you, my readers, but at the very least, I want my words to reach out to you, my legions of silent comrades who wear the same size slippers.
I hope to give you a sliver of light to shine on this distressed state of soul called codependency, a drip of faith, a drop of relief to prime the knowledge that you are not alone.
I see now that my goal to complete this damn WWTTM book has saved my life.
Thank you, God.
Sorry for nagging You, I just couldn’t hear You.
I thought You were ignoring me.
All of our years together; and still, I doubted You.
Thankfully, I have heard that Your patience is infinite.
I wonder just how close to the beyond infinity marker I crawled. Nope, don’t tell me.
I might still have some bridge-jumping fantasy kind of days to face, but somehow, I think those days are gone, because now I have a heart filled with glimmers of hope.
Yup, I’m a glimmer girl now.
I have finally accepted that I am what I am, as my mom loved to say.
I am where I need to be, doing what I need to be doing.
I accept that there will be no do-overs.
I accept that I cannot change the past.
I accept my losses.
As I set my book free, springing it from the closet in my mind where I have held it prisoner, isolated and trapped, I feel the flow of positive energy that the Universe has been saving for my coming out. All of my flowering trees and shrubs burst with colorful blooms today. Out of season. Yup. The Universe and my mom are smiling at me, blowing me kisses.
Am I ready to open my own creative, spiritual door and fly? Can I fly with wings that have been clipped by codependent relationships?
Bet your ass I can. I am flying right now.
I just let this book fly and I opened my own cage and walked out the door without fear, without shame.
That’s what finishing this book, this damn book, which I have struggled with since 1998, has taught me.
I just need to keep clapping my hands. I do believe, I do believe…

Buy Women Who Think Too Much in Print

Buy Women Who Think Too Much in Digital

“Do You Remember When You Used To Call Me Grace?”

The scent of fresh coffee lured me from my bed. As I filled my birthday mug, (“I’ve got it all, a career, a family and a headache!”) the coffee’s aroma triggered a flood of memories. I closed my eyes and I was standing in front of my father’s wood stove, offering my small shivering body up to its’ warmth, as I watched the percolator pop coffee into the glass knob on the top of the pot. The ancient farmhouse kitchen smelled of yesterday’s baked bread and stale tobacco, the morning’s burning wood and fresh coffee.
I didn’t want to open my eyes because I knew that the reality of last night’s supper dishes and my dog’s wet pee papers would rush up to greet my eyes. It felt comfortable to feel eight years old, to revisit my childhood, if just for a few moments.
I could see my mom as she bustled around the kitchen, shoving huge pieces of wood down into the stove, stirring last night’s embers with the rusty iron poker, the flames roaring up as she quickly replaced the heavy black cover.
Her long black hair was “set” with bobby pins. As she removed the pins, and ran a brush through her hair, it fell down around her shoulders in soft waves, streaked through the front with white. She walked over to me and took my hand.
I lifted my eyelids, the vivid memory faded; only the smell of fresh coffee and a vague image of my mother holding my hand remained. I felt uneasy because my mother’s hand had felt as frail as a tiny child’s as I’d enclosed it in my own firm grip.
I settled into my daily routine that Monday morning, (write a lot, clean a little) as the present erased the past. However, I couldn’t shake the image of my mother’s hand, tucked into mine.
Monday evening my twenty-five-year-old daughter, Jennifer, called me. “Mom, I have some bad news. Nana had a stroke and she’s in the hospital.”
“Is she okay? How bad was it?” I asked her.
“I don’t know,” she answered. “I’ll call you as soon as I find out.”
I spent Monday night on the couch with the phone beside me, waiting for news. All I knew was that on Monday morning, Mom had driven herself to the hospital, and she hadn’t told anyone which hospital she was going to.
My mom and most of my family live in Boston or New Hampshire. I live in Oklahoma, so there was nothing I could do but wait while my family tracked her down.
Tuesday morning, I learned that it was a slight stroke; still, I made plans to fly to Boston on Wednesday. I talked to my mom on the phone and she told me not to fly out, that she was okay. Then she began to cry. “I’m coming and that’s it.” I said.
It was the longest flight that I ever flew to Boston, ten hours to make a five hour trip, thanks to storms over Chicago.
Late Wednesday afternoon, at last, I walked into my mom’s hospital room. As she saw me step into her room with my daughter and my tiny granddaughter, her eyes filled up.
“This is my Jeanne, this is my daughter,” she emotionally declared to the nurse and her roommate, Dorothy. (They’d met my daughter the day before.)
I dropped my purse and rushed to my mother’s bed. After carefully moving the IV tubes aside, I gathered her up into my arms. Her body felt thin, unfamiliar, and her face was ghostly pale.
Her terror was obvious as she clung to me.
Our roles reversed in that instant.
She was confident that everything would be okay now; her Jeanne was here! It was my job to validate that belief.
The worst things get, the sillier I behave, usually handling tragedy with humor. I knew that to behave any other way would frighten my mother, so I took a deep breath and shoved aside my fear. Always the comic, always the problem fixer, that’s me.
I didn’t know what to do now; but, I pretended that I did. I knew that I couldn’t cry in front of Mom. She was frightened enough.
I wanted to cry.
She looked so small and pale in that bed, her face a sickly shade of white, her eyes begging for reassurance.
Instead, I sat down and listened in amazement. She described her drive to the hospital, her lurching entrance and her six hour stay in the emergency room waiting for a bed to become available.
“I told you didn’t have to come, honey,” she finished. “I’m okay.” However, I could sense her pleasure as her eyes drank in my presence.
“Ya, and I want to see you while you still are!” I teased.
My two-year-old granddaughter, Rachel, observed her mom, her grammy and her nana. Her big blue eyes were wary, unsure of what was happening, somehow sensing our fear. I realized that we had four generations of women in this hospital room and I wished that I’d brought my camera. Reacting like a journalist, even now.
After an hour or so, my daughter took Rachel and left for home.
I stayed with Mom, and as we laughed and joked our way through the afternoon, I realized that in just a few hours, she looked much stronger. I decided to drive to her trailer to pick up the pajamas and personal items that she needed.
“Do you want anything special to eat?” I asked her, as I prepared to go.
“It’s funny, but all I can think about is shrimp,” she replied. “But, I don’t know where you can get any.”
“I’ll find some,” I promised.
I returned with a large order of jumbo fried shrimp. I smiled as I watched her peel away the fried crust and eat the shrimp hidden inside. When Dorothy’s friend called, she asked what was going on, she said it sounded as if we were having a party.
We were. We were celebrating life.
The three of us had turned the gloomy hospital room into a women’s social hour, ignoring reality with all of its’ pain. The nurses began to call it the “resort room.”
I decided to wash Mom’s hair. As she leaned over the sink, I wet her hair and began to massage shampoo into it.
I was shocked. Her hair was fragile, extremely thin, and her head felt like an infant’s in my shaking hands. I squelched my alarm, and I kept up the banter as I toweled dried and styled the thin gray strands. I gave her a quick makeover, a little blush, a little lipstick. She exchanged her hospital gown for a pink and purple flowered robe.
Now, she looked like my mom. She felt better too, though she’d been too weak to groom herself. She decided that she would take a walk.
As she exercised, faltering steps up and down the hall, determined to make her legs obey, I was in awe of her determination. I forced my arm to stay inches behind her back, not protectively around her, as I wanted it. I understood how she must have felt when I took my first steps. After our walk, we approached her bed and she fell into it, exhausted. I could see how much strength it’d required for her to take those short steps.
“Do you remember when you used to call me Grace?” she asked, her face inches from mine as I tucked her into bed.
We both smiled at the memory as I leaned down and kissed her baby soft cheek.
When I’d been a hippie, nonconformist teenager, I’d decided to call my mom by her first name. Although her mother had expressed intense disapproval at the lack of respect it implied, Mom just accepted it as a phase I was going through, and I don’t even remember when I began to call her Mom again.
But I’m sure she did.
As she napped, I watched over her, thinking of the promise that I’d made to her when I was fourteen. Working together in a nursing home, I’d seen the neglect and the loneliness the patients endured. I knew I couldn’t allow my mom to live in a nursing home, not in my lifetime. Back then, I’d vowed to her that she’d never spend a day in a home; a promise often repeated through the years. (Today, there are many excellent nursing homes available, but I’ve never been able to erase the memory of the shoddy home where I worked.)
Now, I wondered if I was strong enough to keep that promise. As I watched her sleep, knowing that the time might come soon to make a decision, I discovered that my heart already knew the answer. It was a promise I’d find a way to keep. I’d create a safe haven for her amid my hectic life, my cramped house and my shaky marriage.
When the doctor came in that evening, he explained that Mom had suffered a series of mini-strokes and that the MRI had shown that this was just one of many. I felt a chill in my bones. We’d laughed the bogeyman away; but tonight, the doctor called him out of the shadows to stand in front of us.
Mom and I listened, along with my niece and her husband, as the doctor explained the results of mom’s tests. He told her she’d die within a year if she continued to smoke, and they discussed the nicotine patch he’d prescribed for her the first day.
He told her that she had blockage in the carotid arteries in her neck and backwash in her heart. She also had a mitro-valve prolapse, but we’d known that beforehand. They’d found several new heart murmurs. Quite a list.
I thought of all the years she’d eaten her favorite foods; fatty fried steaks, thick greasy pork chops, rich, creamy gravies, butter thick on her bread, three teaspoons of sugar and cream in her coffee.
He said she couldn’t go home to take care of her brother, or even herself, until she became stronger. He treated her with respect and compassion as he attempted to persuade her to go to Northeast Rehabilitation, to recover. No, she couldn’t go home, even if I stayed with her for a few days; she needed a hospital. He promised a short stay and a full recovery. This time.
He looked at me as he finished his request with, “This is what I’d recommend for my own mother.”
My mother, a strong, self-sufficient woman, hates being helpless or at the mercy of other people. I understood. She had instilled the same principles in me.
She has always taken care of others, so it was a giant leap to for her to imagine others caring for her.
Just two months ago, at sixty-nine, she’d taken her severely disabled younger brother from an abusive group home and became his full-time caretaker.
We all wondered if that had contributed to her own stroke.
So did he. He cried when he first learned of her stroke because he thought that he’d killed his sister. His face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning when he was wheeled into her hospital room on Thursday, and he saw for himself that she was okay.
When I left the hospital that night, I carried my mom’s assurance that she’d go to the rehab, “For a few days.”
I tossed around on the couch that night, never falling into a sound sleep, so I got up when I heard my granddaughter’s early morning giggles. My grandson soon joined us. We cuddled on the couch under a quilt while I basked in her and my six-year-old grandson’s innocent happiness.
As we played, I realized that I had become what my mom used to be when my own kids were young, a grandmother, in spirit as well as name.
After a while, I showered and reluctantly left the kids to drive back to the hospital.
I was due to meet my mother’s sister at 9:30, to discuss Mom’s and my uncle’s options just in case Mom couldn’t care for him or herself.
As we stood in front of the hospital, under gray skies, rain falling, puffing on cigarettes that could also kill us, I felt as if I’d changed–become a completely different person from the woman I’d been four days ago.
I felt like an adult, for the first time in my life. Not even becoming a grandmother had made me appear or feel any older; I often had to show an ID when I bought my cigarettes and I’d thought that I’d stay girlish forever.
That had all changed in a heartbeat. I literally felt myself change as I accepted the responsibility for my mom and her future.
“You’re the only one she’ll go with, you know,” my aunt told me.
“She won’t go with either of your sisters or your brother. She’s always told me that if she was unable to take care of herself, she’d go to live with you.” I understood that. Out of her four children, I was the only one to tell her that I wanted to take care of her in her golden years.
My younger sister had stayed with Mom until I’d arrived, but her husband and Mom didn’t get along, with good reason on my mom’s part, so that left just me at the hospital with Mom.
I went upstairs and we spent an anxious day waiting for the staff from the rehab to come and evaluate Mom’s condition and to decide if they’d accept her as a patient.
As I watched the physical therapist put Mom through her exercises, I cringed inside. I felt helpless when I saw the pain on Mom’s face, yet, I was proud of her spunk as she pushed her body through the moves. When the therapist finished, I noticed that Mom had soiled the back of her nightshirt and her bed. (Mom had already mentioned her incontinence to me.) I knew that one of her worst fears was having to use a diaper, but I couldn’t let her soil herself and not tell her.
First, I went to the nurses’ station and asked Mom’s nurse to come wash and change her. Perhaps she could give her a Depends to wear, until she strengthened her muscles.
Then I went back, explaining to Mom that she needed a change of clothes and a Depends, just for a little while.
The nurse told Mom that women begin their lives in diapers and often end them the same way. The way she explained it, made it seem okay, normal, and it happens to everyone, like gray hair.
As I look back, I know I should’ve changed Mom, but I felt as if I was about to lose control of myself.
I was right. I barely made it downstairs before the damn broke.
I was so brave until that moment, but the indisputable proof that my mom was ill, dependent, hit me hard. As I went outside in the rain, I began to sob for the first time since I’d heard about my mom’s stroke. I stood there gasping and choking as I tried to hold back the agony and the fear that all of my efficiency had hidden.
“I had to put a diaper on my mother,” I cried softly, over and over, my arms wrapped tightly around my body. I slowly rocked myself back and forth under the gray mist.
“I had to put a diaper on my mother.”
People avoided looking at me as they walked by on their way into the hospital.
I couldn’t stop the tears as I walked back in, so I ran straight to the rest room. Every time I cleaned my face, looking into the mirror to estimate the damages, the tears would gush again.
My mother’s condition made me feel vulnerable; she was my strength, how could I be strong if she was weak? She was my audience, my biggest fan. She encouraged me; her pride in my writing spurred me on.
Then too, if life could catch her, surely it could catch me. My mother could mend my heart when no one else could; she was always there, waiting for my call.
I thought of all the happy phone calls we’d shared this past year, her pride in my
I needed my mother–she was a glorious thread in the tapestry of my life.
I felt guilty that my thoughts about losing my mom were centered on me and how I would feel if I lost her.
I returned to her room. She lay in the white metal bed, clean and smiling. She’d declined the offer of a Depends.
“Were you crying?” she immediately asked. So much for pretending.
“No, it’s my allergies.”
She knew that I’d been crying, but she let it go. I left her at 4:00 P.M., with a map to Northeast Rehabilitation in my hands.
An ambulance transferred her to the rehab that evening.
Saturday morning, I arrived at Northeast and we spent the day together, reading, talking and visiting. I arranged her clothes so that she could easily reach what she needed. She was already doing so much better. I was going home Sunday, so as I prepared to leave that afternoon it was difficult to say good-bye. We hugged and said, “I love you,” a dozen times.
She smiled at me from the bed as I was walking backwards out the door. I tried to memorize her face and capture her love. I didn’t want to leave. I might never see her again, and although that was true each time that I’d visited and left, now the threat seemed more real.
Then I realized; she has no guarantee of my safety either! The risk of me being hurt or killed would be high for the next twenty-four hours. I was driving into Boston and getting on an airplane. Taking stock of my own vulnerability to death helped me to leave her.
Two years ago, a drunken driver killed my young son-in-law, Donnie, as he was on his way to work. One moment Donnie was alive, the next–he was dead. His death taught me to value every moment God bestows on me.
As I left Mom to fly back to Oklahoma, I needed to remind myself that death doesn’t make an appointment; it comes when it pleases to each of us and each day that we’re alive is a gift.
I placed her in God’s hands and I thanked Him for the time that we’d just shared, for another chance to look each other in the eye and say, “I love you,” while it still mattered.
It’s been two years since my mom’s stroke. Today at age seventy-two, she’s still taking care of her brother and living one day at a time. We’re enjoying each bonus day that God allows us. Last summer, after talking about it for ten years, we finally rented a cottage at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. We spent our seven days swimming and sunning, talking and enjoying each other’s company and I realized what a precious gift we were giving to each other.
As she lay on the hot sand, covered with towels to protect her still pale skin from the sun, she asked me, “Do you remember when you used to call me Grace?”
I just smiled.

NOTE: My mom went to play with the angels in 2009. I miss her everyday.
Tulsa Friends of the Library 23rd Annual Creative Writing Contest
First Place, Published Essay, “Remember When You Used To Call Me Grace?” 2000.

Mothers and Daughters


A Few Disorderly Thoughts From A Daughter Who Became A Mother
What are “the ties that bind,” what forms the substance of the invisible umbilical cord that flows between a mother and daughter? What joins us together even when we’re apart? Why does my daughter’s heartache bruise my heart, why do I feel her pain, how do I know before she even tells me?
A mother loves her son, but she knows from the day he’s born that he’ll only let her nurture him, hug and kiss him, until he starts to become a man. His first day of school, he tells her, “Don’t walk me up to the door Mom, I don’t want the kids to see me with my mother, they’ll laugh at me.” And this is kindergarten! She walks home in tears; he has begun to cut the cord. It hurts, but she realizes that he only wants to grow up and be “a man.” I think boys possess the urge to be “a man” the day they’re born. Women know the rules. We let our boys cut the cord; pull away, be tough, be strong. We let their fathers tell them, “Don’t cry when you fall down; don’t be a mama’s boy.” As soon as he can walk he’s warned by the grown men in his life, “Don’t be a sissy.”
So why do daughters stay bound to their mothers, strengthening the connection developed in the womb?
I was thirty-eight years old when I drove to my mother’s house one night, at three in the morning. I could barely see the highway through my tears. Exhausted and grieving, I collapsed on her porch. I made it! I was safe! Why did I feel better just because I was close to her, before she even opened the door? She tucked me into her bed as I sobbed and she said, “Honey, I feel your pain.” I knew she was telling me the truth because I could see my agony reflected in her eyes. “Just go to sleep,” she said firmly. “Everything will look better when you wake up; you’re just exhausted right now.” Then she went out to sleep on the old sofa in the living room. I closed my eyes and I felt the weight on my aching heart lift; my mother was taking care of me. I slept like a baby. Why? Nothing had changed, my mother couldn’t fix the situation that had traumatized me, why did I feel better? When I awoke the next morning I could hear her tiptoeing around because she was trying to let me sleep late. I could smell the Folgers* brewing in the pot and her love and concern covered me like an electric blanket. She smiled as I staggered into the kitchen. She handed me a cup of hot, fresh coffee. “Sit down, sit down,” she said, as she rushed to get the milk out of the fridge.
My cigarettes and lighter were placed in my hands before I even hit the chair. As I drank my coffee, she bustled around her tiny kitchen making crepes. “Oh, shoot,” she exclaimed as they cooked too fast. “I have the heat up to high; I’m out of practice.” We ate the almost burnt crepes with butter and sugar and the taste of childhood returned to my tongue.
Thomas Wolfe once wrote “You can’t go home.” I guess that means that once you’ve grown up, you have to stay that way. However, you can always go home for a visit or have your mom visit you. You can be a little girl for a few hours. Your mother will always find the spot that hurts and put her love around it. Then you part, feeling strong enough to walk away from her protection and you can let the world back into your life.
I don’t always take my mother’s advice, but I always accept her gift of love. Unconditional love. All I have to do to earn it is be who I am. Her daughter. I try to show my gratitude and let her know how I much I appreciate her love and support. I didn’t understand how much of herself she gave to me until I had children of my own.
During the birth of my first child, I begged the nurses to go find my mother. I wanted to tell her that I was sorry for every unkind word that I had ever spoken to her. (And I didn’t even know that the birth of my baby was the easiest task of motherhood!) On that day my mother became a different person in my eyes. A daughter never knows the full extent of her mother’s love until she holds her own baby in her arms.
She will even forgive all of her mother’s mistakes, when her own first child is born.
The ties that bind are stretched to a thin strand with sons; boys learn young to reject emotional intimacy. Meanwhile, mothers and daughters strengthen the invisible bond; they never cut the ties that bind, not even if they trip over them and fall down a flight of stairs. I’ve tripped my own daughters, without meaning to. The fall was just as painful as if I had deliberately tripped them!
We leave our husbands when they hurt us or hurt our children, (unless we’re codependent, then we go for counseling for ten years and try to figure out what we did wrong) and although husbands can be replaced, the tie between mother and child is forever. Even when it hurts. When my mother felt overwhelmed by my behavior she’d remind me, “I don’t always like you, but I always love you.”
One of the greatest tragedies a woman could ever experience would be the loss of her child or her mother.
One last thought: mother-in-law jokes abound, but why did they become so popular? Are they a true picture of his mother-in-law or are they the sarcasm of an insecure man? When a mother-in-law is resented, not for what she does, but for who she is, maybe it’s because a husband feels threatened by the unbreakable bond that connects her to his wife. He is never sure of his position between mother and daughter. Even worse, a man will sometimes be jealous of the emotional bond between his wife and their child. Perhaps from his point of view, he has reason to be concerned. After all, a woman often divorces her husband, but she almost never banishes her mother or her children from her life.

Mother’s Day. Thank You For The Mother’s Day Gift (2007)

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When you were in the first grade you pressed your tiny hands into finger paint. I still have your red handprints on the faded yellow construction paper. Your teacher helped you to paste your picture beneath the handprints and you gave me the gift for Mother’s Day. The gift hung on my wall for so many years and then I tucked it away in your box.
There are mementos of each year we’ve been together in your box. Your pink cotton prairie dress which was your hippy mom’s idea of suitable attire for a christening, the crafts you made me at summer camp, the yarn rugs, the pot holders, the blue pottery teddy bear that Nana helped you make for me, the Christmas ornament with the picture of you that you hate (you were in that awkward stage) and just about every card, note and gift you’ve ever given me, they have all found their way into your box.
The gift you gave me this year overwhelmed me, caused tears to pour down my face, the face that you tell me is still beautiful and I know in your eyes it will always be no matter how old I am.
This year’s gift cannot be tucked away in your box. No one can see it but you and I and I don’t even know if you realize just how enormous this gift is, although you created it. You might not even know that you already gave it to me because Mother’s Day is another week away.
My gift was a simple phone call. You asked your husband to call me because your phone wasn’t working and you knew that I’d be worried about the things going on in your life if I couldn’t reach you today.
The gift had multiple facets, as many as a diamond or a kaleidoscope.
The phone call said much more than his words, “We don’t want you to worry today.”
Maybe I heard between the lines, but to me it said–you are sober, you are responsible and that you can look beyond your own needs. It said that you have enough respect for yourself that you know that you deserve to be with a good, hardworking man who respects not only you, but also your mother, no matter how crazy or ditzy we can each get.
The gift reminded me how very far you have come from that day when you walked into a treatment center with drugs hidden in a private region sixteen months ago. It was too late to save custody of your other four babies, but it was not to late to save you, my middle child, my baby. Everyday that you are clean and you are alive is your gift to me.
The gift said that you are fighting the odds and the system to embrace the second chance God has given you, your tiny baby boy and the rather tall teenager whom you gave birth to when you were but a child yourself, the two that you hold so close to your heart as you miss the babies that you can not hold, can not see, can not mother.
This gift will never be put away in your box, that’s true; but it will be alive in my heart and soul long after my bones have turned to dust.
Love, Mom

Hi Mom, This Is Me

, klnjl

I recently published my book, Women Who Think Too Much. I held onto this manuscript for almost 20 years, afraid to be judged, because I bared my soul in those pages. I waited so long that someone else published a book with the same name.
My writer’s group encouraged me to edit and finish this book and they believed that my words had value. My editor and friend poured her heart and soul into this book, she fell in love with this book. Read every draft, every word, over and over and over.
My writing group believed that my words could touch and maybe help another person, and to my surprise, releasing my book released so many of my own pent up fears, that it helped me. After growing up with my promise/threat to publish WWTTM, my son just kept saying, “Just publish the damn thing.”
I am out there now. ME, THE REAL ME. I felt the walls come down. And so, I helped myself, even if I never sell more than the 11 copies I have sold.
I am not hiding in my blog, I am coming out.
Hello, fellow writers. This is me. Jeanne Marie.

This is my book’s dedication.

To my mom, Mrs. Grace Christine Doucette, 1926-2009.

Mom, without your love and support, I wouldn’t have found the courage to write this book. It all began with my first computer and a four-page letter to you in 1998.
You proudly passed the pages (composed of essays, poetry and pictures) around to family and friends.

When they asked for more, I let my imagination fly in print. That was how the newsletter, “Women Who Think Too Much” was born.

Within a few months, I had subscribers in eleven states and Canada. The full-color newsletter grew to sixteen pages and at my invitation, many guest poets and guest writers were featured, but most of all, I will always treasure your submissions.

I wrote WWTTM for twenty-four months and then I allowed life to get in my way. The bulk of this book was written back then, but never finished despite your persistent encouragement. It may not even be finished now, but it’s printed.
I miss you every day…

Until next time, love, Jeanne Marie

Women Who Think Too Much available at:Ebook



The Ants and The Housewife

The ants were watching the housewife. Zoe, their Queen was dead. Boric acid and sugar. They had delivered it to their Queen in all innocence. Princess Zia was leading them, because without a leader they were helpless, but she was so young. She was trying to take her mother’s place but she hadn’t even begun training for her own nest when her mother died from the tainted sugar.

The ants waited, silent, deadly, hungry, watching the housewife, hoping she would release the grains of white sugar from the container that they couldn’t breach, the big white plastic gallon with the ant proof, tight blue cover. Then they could eat and regain their strength before the battle.

Oh yes, there would be a battle today.

They watched as she drank her coffee and started to pull down items from the food closet. They hated her. She had killed so many of them over the past few months and they were out for more than sugar now, they also wanted a taste of revenge
No luck yet on the sugar. The crazed ant killing housewife didn’t even use sugar in her coffee. They watched her, never taking their teeny eyes off her as she bustled about the sparkling clean kitchen. Bleach. The physco even knew about bleach.

She wiped down the white counters and washed the kitchen floor with it every morning, hoping to wash away their scout’s scented trails. Thanks to her, most of their scouts were dead. Cruelly crushed by her deadly pale fingers and then washed down the stainless steel sink.

It wasn’t fair. They had lived here in the empty house for years because the crumbs and sugar spilt by the previous owner, a ninety-year old woman, had been more than enough to support the nest. She had never even noticed them when she was alive. When she died, the empty house had become their own private food locker. The kitchen drawers alone had held enough crumbs to carry them for ten years or more. Under the stove and the refrigerator there had been mounds of crumbs, more than they could carry back to the nest, even if they had worked night and day. But they hadn’t worked night and day.

They had become lazy and smug, taking nights off to run around and play. They had thought the house would be empty forever. Thanks to the endless food supply, the nest had flourished, spread out to encompass over a thousand square feet beneath the house. Their house.

Then the housewife moved in and started cleaning out the drawers, washing the counters and the floors, vacuuming the rugs.

At first they had still been able to feed, favoring the new supplies she bought in abundance instead of the moldy, old crumbs. They were still happy little ants and then BOOM. One day she found them in the food pantry and she had declared war. Bombing, spraying, squashing, poisoning in devious ways. Pulling out the electric stove and the refrigerator, she’d scrubbed under them with bleach, and then she had sprayed more poison. She poured flaming Cayenne powder around the cracks, behind the appliances and under the cabinets. Then she sprayed more poison.

Just when they thought she was calming down and they could sneak back into the kitchen, she found them scouting in her bathroom and she absolutely freaked when she found the stupid baby ants playing on her bed pillows.

The war had escalated. She began to tempt them with dishes of sugar-water and boric acid, laying out traps and lairs to capture the stragglers who hadn’t died from the insecticide. That was the death of their beloved Queen Zoe.

Now, it was going to end, one way or the other. She couldn’t kill them all unless she burned the house down and they weren’t going to move out. Zia stood and gave the signal. Thousands of soldier ants silently crawled into formation behind Zia and began moving toward the housewife’s feet. The line was about an inch wide, hundreds of tiny red sugar ants on the march, silent, slow, and short-tempered. Streaming steadily toward the woman. She was oblivious to them as she continued to arrange the ingredients for her baking project

The ants were on the offensive now, crawling like an upward stream of brownish red sludge, they moved closer to her. Closer. They were almost to her feet.

Zia reached the housewife’s big ugly right toe first and she stood defiantly on the craggy toenail to instruct the troops. “I may not live long enough to become your Queen,” she signaled with her antennas. “But today we will drive this housewife out of our home and we will avenge my mother, Zoe, your Queen.”

More ants poured out from behind the fridge and flowed down the cabinet. They joined the thousands already on the floor, marching as one, they streamed toward the housewife.


When she woke up that morning, she was determined to make her mom’s Christmas cookies. She had been too depressed to make them for a few years, since Mom had died three years ago, but this year she was determined to restart her Christmas spirit engine and what better way than rekindling her best Christmas memories? Kneading Italian cookie dough for hours with her mom and hand rolling hundreds of the little wreaths for friends and relatives. She’d made the cookies for years with her own three kids and then with her grandchildren. Mom’s Italian cookies, anisette, orange, lemon and strawberry, they represented everything she now needed to touch, to smell. They would light her heart back up, she would become focused in the simple task of rolling cookie dough in the palm of her hands, little strands of finger shaped dough, folded over to make wreaths and then dipped in different types of sprinkles, chocolate, red sugar, green sugar, multi-colored dots, she had bought them all.

She knew from past cookie baking projects that she would become focused and happy, smelling the memories of her mom’s wood stove, remembering the big tins of warm cookies they would get ready to mail to all their relatives.

She didn’t realize until she was a grown woman that the cookies were all her that mom had been able to afford, that the long hours of back breaking labor needed to bake the three to four batches she’d helped mama roll each year were love offerings sent in place of store bought presents. No boxes wrapped in red and gold, no packages tied in ribbons and bows.

The kitchen and the wood stove had been the center of their minute corner of the world during Christmas seasons gone by and every Christmas, without fail, the Christmas cookie mixing bowl came out of the cupboard. People might forget Christmas presents they unwrapped under the tree and checks that came in the mail, but no one ever forgot her mom’s gift of delicious bright-colored cookies.

She reached up into the spice cabinet and took down the little brown bottles of flavoring and the four plastic bottles of food coloring. Red, green, blue and yellow.

The batch of dough required twelve eggs, twelve cups of flour, twelve cups of sugar and the mound of dough would be enormous. It would be cut into four sections and then each section would be kneaded with a different food color and flavor.

Sometimes she cheated and made a half-batch, but not this year. This year she was going to mix up a whole batch and spend several days rolling and baking the scintillating wreaths. She began to break the twelve eggs into a glass bowl, watching for pieces of egg-shell.

The phone rang and she washed her hands, catching it on the last ring. “Hi honey, nope I checked, no ants this morning. I even decided to make cookies since it’s been a few days since we’ve seen any of the little buggers. Ya, I know, I’m sorry they got in your spagetti and meatballs. It was the darn sugar I put in the sauce. I know, I know…okay, love you too, see you later.”

She set aside the cell phone and went back to cracking the eggs. Mom used to sing when she worked. Searching her mind for a suitable song, she set the eggs aside and began to measure twelve cups of flour into the huge silver bowl Mom had bought her. It sounds easy to count to twelve but knowing better than to believe she could maintain the necessasary concentration, she scratched a pen mark on a little piece of paper each time a cup went into the sifter.

Zoe paused on the woman’s big toe. Giving a silent signal to her troops, behind her the marching ants stopped. Zoe had seen a big can of Raid Ant Killer on the counter next to the woman and although she couldn’t read, she knew what was in that can and what it could do to her army. If they attacked now they would be covered in the deadly ant spray, easy targets as they grouped on the floor prepared to attack.

Zoe signaled again and the troops began to reverse their march, silently creeping back up the wall and into the small hole in the ceiling that led back to their nest. Zoe knew they would need a better plan.

The Shoulder Knows


The rain is coming
The shoulder knows
The bones warn me
Joints throb they swell
They ache they burn.
The rain is coming.
The shoulder knows.
The weatherman
Claims no rain
His million-dollar radar
Is wrong, so very wrong
The shoulder knows
And it is never wrong.
The rain splats down
The shoulder throbs
Sunshine withheld
Picnics are cancelled
Disappointed kids run
Through the rain
Back to the mini-van
Whining, fussing, grumpy.
The shoulder could have told ‘em
The rain will pour down today
Stay home, rent a movie
Make some popcorn.
There is no comfort
In being right
How I wish it didn’t, but…
The shoulder knows.

by Jeanne Marie

A Thousand Voices by Jodie Lynne (2008)

A Thousand Voices by Jodie Lynne

I-am-alone, yet a thousand voices surround me,

ricocheting off the sounding board that is my mind.

I take a deep breath only to feel the weight of time

as if the world rests upon my shoulders.

Tall dark fences build the walls that close me in

as the sound of freedom, close enough to touch,

is really a million miles away,

a soft breeze flows through my very core, like a crisp winter wind.

I taste his kiss on my mouth, as my head hits

the hardness of a rubber pillow, just as  I do when I rise.

Places and spaces blend together in the chaos of this insanity

that I alone have caused.

Pressure builds, yearning to combust amongst the ashes of my yester years.

Their faces stop the explosion, their eyes filled with the pain

I have inflicted, still, they plead for their mother’s touch alone-they go forsaken.

Just as his soul goes missing it’s other half, their souls scream out for me,

the same in the dead of night, as in the light of day.

Darkness at last engulfs me, even in the midst

of an afternoon’s sunlight.

I-am-alone, yet a thousand voices surround me.


Every thought I think is creating my future. The Universe totally supports every thought I choose to think and believe. I choose to believe that I have unlimited choices about what OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think. Louise L. Hay



I choose to embrace emotional and spiritual balance in my life, gratitude for all the love in my circle, the awe I feel when I gaze upon my blessings from my children and my grandchildren, gratitude for the sunshine and the ocean breezes. What do you choose to think today? Jeanne Marie

In the end we only regret chances we didn’t take. The relationships we were scared to have and the decisions we waited too long to make. There comes a time in your life when you realize who matters, who doesn’t, who never did and who always will. From Christine’s Facebook

Life mirrors my every thought. As I keep my thoughts positive, life brings me only good experiences. As I say yes to life, life says yes to me. YES! Louise L. Hay

The past looms ever-present, but this moment is God’s present to me. I won’t ignore my present by holding yesterday’s regrets in front of my eyes. I cannot change the past, but today, the present is mine. I will create good memories. I will hold this moment, I will laugh and play. I will live today, love me today, and appreciate the people who love me today. I will share my present today. Jeanne Marie

Your life is a physical manifestation of the thoughts going around in your head! Think positive, attract positive. The Secret

The Bobbsey Twins, Dad And Me

bobbsey twins




I love hearing the soft splatter of rain against my bedroom window in those shadowy moments between sleeping and waking up. As I snuggle under the warm quilt, still half asleep, I feel silent anticipation surround me. It’s raining and from the rhythm of the drops as they splash the window it sounds as if it’s going to rain all day.

As I become more alert and in touch with reality, I realize that my happiness is flowing from the past. I learned to love the rain years ago. My dad was a bricklayer and when it rained he couldn’t go to work. I remember waking up on those rainy mornings knowing that it would be a bookstore day. I don’t know when the tradition started, but my memories seem focused on the year I learned to read. I loved books from the moment I could read, and my happiest childhood memories are of the days we roamed through the second-hand book stores, each of us searching for our favorite authors.

Dad would browse through the different cookbooks, and Mom would go digging in the dusty piles looking for Edgar Rice Burroughs. I’d gather up every volume of The Bobbsey Twins that I didn’t already have, and I’d quietly spread them out on the counter beside my father. He would talk to the bookstore owner for what seemed like hours, but eventually he’d turn to me and ask, “Jean, are you really going to read these books?” As I eagerly nodded my head he would call over to my mom and ask, “Grace is she going to read these, aren’t these books too old for her?” (I was only seven.)

It was his standard question, but I wouldn’t breathe until I heard my mom assure him, again, that I’d devour these books. “Well, just pick out two of your favorites,” he’d say each time.

I’d whisper to myself, “I want The Bobbsey Twins At The Seashore, and The Bobbsey Twins At School.” As I returned the others to their shelf, I’d change my mind. I wanted The Bobbsey Twins On Blueberry Island, and The Bobbsey Twins On The Deep Blue Sea! I wouldn’t make my final choice until my dad was ready to pay.

After he paid a nickel each for them, I’d cradle the books in my hands, and a warm excitement would flood my body. During the ride home I’d arrange the two volumes of The Bobbsey Twins on my lap, slowly brushing my fingers across the faded covers. Peeking into the book’s yellowed pages was like eating a root beer popsicle in August.

As my father opened the front door I’d run past him, back to my bed; back under the covers with the sweetest possessions in all the world, two volumes of The Bobbsey Twins!

Bert and Nan, the older twins, did their best to keep Freddie and Flossie out of trouble, but it was hopeless. The two little ones bounced with energy, and they just ran wherever they pleased, charming everyone with their antics. I loved the two toddlers with their honeyed curls and round cherub faces. Their wild spirits and endless curiosity often led them into dangerous situations, but thankfully, their parents, or the older twins, always came to their rescue before they’d get hurt.

As I read each volume I knew that I could count on a sticky sweet happy ending, with hugs and kisses all around. Their escapades removed me from my life. As I absorbed the words my mind danced through each adventure with the twins. My eyes flew across the dusty pages, scanning entire paragraphs in a glance, and before long I’d feel the last few pages between my fingers. I’d force my eyes to slow down and then I’d try to read each sentence, desperate to keep the story from ending. It always ended too soon. I’d read both books the same day, and by supper time I’d be longing for one more rainy day and another visit to the book stores. I must have reread each book a dozen times.

The dad in The Bobbsey Twins adventures loved his children. He taught them in a firm, yet kind and caring way. My dad could be that way too; until late each afternoon when he’d begin to drink. I didn’t understand why my dad drank, but I learned at a young age how to fade into the walls. My books let me run away from home when I had no place else to go. They showed me another world, a world apart from the emotional violence and the verbal abuse. They gave me hope, and without realizing that it was survival tools he was handing to me, my dad bought me my books, until I turned nine and started to haunt the libraries.

So, that’s why I love to wake to the sound of rain drops splashing against my window. It reminds my heart of the love my father was able to show, the treasures he bought me, the surprise in his eyes when he first realized that his little girl could read, his reluctance to let me grow up. The soft wetness surrounding my ears soothes the bad dreams; it chases away the nightmares; and it lets me forget the angry, crazy man that my dad had become by the time I had children of my own.

When it rains I forget the names he called us, I don’t care about the things he smashed, the holes he punched in the walls. I remember the love and the pride in his eyes, a hidden smile behind his words, the rain pouring down outside the converted garage that we called home, and his playful question, “You don’t want to go to the bookstore today, do you Jean?”

Thirty years ago my ex-husband carelessly lost my entire collection of First Edition Bobbsey Twins along with my Nancy Drew mysteries. The books fell off the back of our moving truck, and although I searched the streets he had driven on, I never found them. I’ve refused to buy shiny modern reproductions. I want my softly worn, second-hand friends, the books that whispered my dad’s message to me while the rain fell around us, “I do love you.” The gifts that spoke the words he could never say.

A few months ago, as I browsed in an antique store in downtown Collinsville, I found a 1913 First Edition copy of The Bobbsey Twins At Snow Lodge, with the original jacket still intact. I bought that old friend for four dollars and fifty cents. That’s all it was worth to the antique dealer, but I felt as if I had won the lottery when I took that time-worn book home, and gave it a special place on my bookshelf.

The author, Laura Lee Hope, will never know how her stories encouraged my timid spirit, or how she set my mind on fire, burning with an obsession to read and igniting a lifelong love affair with words.

My dad? The men he worked for called him a genius. Whether his hands touched bricks and field stone, or pastels and charcoal, he created masterpieces. Sometimes he’d take my tiny hand in his, and we’d walk through the gorgeous gardens that he and my mom had designed and nurtured. He’d talk to me about the wildflowers they had transplanted from the mountains and the woods of New England. Then there was his cooking; he could out cook the finest chef. I can still smell the delicious aroma of his sour dough bread baking in our ancient, black wood stove.

My dad? Today he is homeless, lost in the crowd of mentally ill who roam the streets in every city and town across America. He is an alcoholic who first lost his mind, and then his family, because he couldn’t walk away from the bottle. Family members search for him, but he doesn’t want to be found. He tells the few people he talks to that he doesn’t have a family.

The cherished edition of The Bobbsey Twins catches my eye every now and then, and I pause to brush my fingers across the worn cover, especially when it’s raining.
He couldn’t say the words, yet the rain still whispers to me, “I do love you.” I whisper back, “I love you too, Dad.”


Update: My dad died in 2000 and was buried without a headstone, or family present because
family was never able to find him or his death certificate. Recently, my sister, with the help of two military friends, has found where Dad is buried.
October 16, 2019 he will be honored by the military and by his family. He will finally have a headstone. RIP Dad.


Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you. Today 6:00 am (written by my son, Last Ditch Effort)

These are the words that get me through lately.
I look for them over coffee and a cigarette, before the sun breaks.
A smart ass remark comes to my head every time I see them.
It says “Yeah right, Jeanne Marie isn’t fast enough to tag me!”
But that one remark in my mind is immediately greeted by a tailspin of thoughts.
“Yes, she is,” I laugh, trying to pull my mind out of this tailspin, because I know it’s going to keep charging towards the ground until it reaches that cold December day in 1978 when we first met face to face and then slowly gain altitude through a mist of memories until it’s over and it meets me here, where I started.
“She is fast enough, she moves differently than you! She is calculating and precise, while I move zigzag and fast, all over the place, wasting energy, while she plans her next move like a chess player.”
I giggle it, over and over in reality, hoping that laughing about it will take me back to the present day and I won’t have to make this 1,000 mile per hour journey through my past until I finally reach myself when I was young.
But to no prevail.
It’s not that I mind. I have so many great memories of my mom, and I can’t wait to see the two of us young, in that sun that seems more orange than it is today, laughing.
But I also know I cannot control the memories.
I couldn’t stop from hurting her feelings, the way that I can watch the things that come out of my mouth today.
I am much smarter now, but the things I said in the past were at times dumb.
Things I said when I thought I knew everything, with no intention of hurting her.
I just wanted her to see how smart I was…even if that meant I had to prove her wrong.
(I know now that I rarely proved her wrong, but she would listen to my rationalizations and kindly shrug her shoulders yes and say “hmm”.)
Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you.
Has she always been doing this? Before The Facebook was here to tell me she was doing it?
My mind firmly tells me yes. Jeanne Marie has never been far from my thoughts,
but it wasn’t till now that I realized that I haven’t been far from hers.
Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you.
I can’t wait to see what photo caught her attention this time.
Is it something that made her proud of me?
Is it something that gave her the warm feeling of being a good mom and a sense of family?
Is it just a silly snapshot that was taken, that when done, turned into a captured moment that we treasure?
Did I ask her not to take this photo, only to thank her later for taking it?
Jeanne Marie tagged a photo of you. Today 6:00 am.

James Dean Had An Enduro (by Last Ditch Effort)

I want a motorcycle. James Dean had an Enduro. There are far more practical motorcycles in the world. But James Dean had a Enduro.
There are lots of motorcycles in my town to buy.
There are fast ones.
There is the Lime Green Streetfighter from my young dreams.
There are new ones. The latest flat black killer.
There is a hip little Japanese Motorcycles made back when the Japanese didn’t build cars yet, just Motorcycles. I want a motorcycle. James Dean had and Enduro.
I am told they won’t ride nice. They will be rough. And although its seems fun to dream about riding down the trail on your Enduro, you are trapped in the pavement jungle, and that’s all the bike will ride on, and it will be rough.
So much for daydreaming of riding to the riverbank for a picnic.
Enduros are not practical.
I want a motorcycle. James Dean had a Enduro.

I Will Be Busy Today


Today I will get up out of bed and
I will tuck my pain inside a pretty box.
I will close the cover and I will leave my pain there.
Today I will thank God that I can move and that I can walk.
Today I will exercise my body and I will feed my soul.
Today I will enjoy the flowers in my delightful garden.
Today I will give thanks for all that I have gained and
I will send into the clouds the pain for all that I have lost.
Today I will give a piece of my time to someone else.
Today I will not say any negative
words to myself or to anyone else.
Today I will not acknowledge or take into my heart any
negative words that are spoken to me.
Today I will feel the earth beneath my feet, I will let the sun
warm my soul and I will connect with the spirit of life.
Today I will open my mind, my heart
and my soul to all that I can create.
Today I will ask God to touch and surround
both my loved ones, and my enemies,
with angels as they walk their own path.
Today; if I dare forget to be grateful,
I will take out the memories of each
of my children’s and my grandchildren’s hugs and
I will let the memory of their precious faces surround me.
I will be busy today.

Jeanne Marie

The Writer’s Husband

“I got it! I got the P.O. Box, so we’re in business now! Let’s go out to eat. I’m starving! Let’s celebrate!” she said, as she exploded into the bedroom.
“I almost didn’t go to the post office, cause I couldn’t find my keys right away and I said, ‘Oh oh, it must be a sign’ and then I found my keys, but when I got to the post office I couldn’t find my checkbook and I stood outside the post office for a minute thinking, if I don’t have my checkbook, then it’s not meant to be cause it’s almost four-thirty!”
“I kept telling myself that I’m stupid to try to start a business based on my writing. It all seemed so right last night after you read my newsletter, but when I woke up this afternoon I was afraid that I really didn’t have anything to say and who would buy my newsletter and I’m just wasting money on a P.O. Box, but I knew it was just anxiety so I ignored myself!”
While she paused for air, I asked her, “Where did you want to eat? I’m really not that hungry.”
“I don’t know, maybe McDonald’s or that chicken place in Tulsa. I’m starving. I burned up huge amounts of energy, writing all night and sleeping all day!”
She was still talking. “Let’s get pizza or subs then, if you’re not hungry. I’d like a great big Italian sub.”
“Do you want me to go to Subway and get us some subs then cause I don’t want anything big like a meal, but are subs okay?”
I envied her enthusiasm as she flitted through the conversation, answering me with a childlike delight, “Ya, I’d love a sub, you know how I like them to make it! Tell them to put only a little Italian dressing cause even though it’s low-fat, I hate when it drips! Will you really go?”
“Ya, I’ll go. Did you see your car? It’s all clean.”
“Ya, I saw it, thank you. It looks nice. I hate when it’s all dirty. Did you see your truck?”
“No, why?”
“Well, I put a big dent in it today.”
She paused and I feared the worst and then she said, “In the rear quarter, on the left.”
“Oh well,” I replied calmly, because I could see that she wasn’t hurt.
“Ya, some guy didn’t stop at the light and he plowed right into me! It’s a real big dent.”
Maybe it was because of the smile that tickled her voice, but I told her again, “That’s okay. It doesn’t matter.”
She asked me, “Will you go get the subs now? I’m starved!”
As I refused her offer to pay for the subs and got ready to leave she said, “Thanks baby and I didn’t really dent your truck. I was just testing you!”
Later that night, after she had disappeared into her computer room to write, she called out to me, “Hon? Hon, did you know that I really didn’t dent your truck or did you believe me when I said I dented it?”
I paused there in her doorway and answered, “Yes, I believed you.”
“And you weren’t mad at me,” she asked in a silly voice.
“No, as long as you weren’t hurt, that’s all that mattered.”
Before I could leave, she said, “Come ‘mere honey and see what I just wrote.”
I leaned over her shoulder and looked down at the computer screen and saw my own words stare back at me, “No, as long as you weren’t hurt, that’s all that mattered.”
“You wrote that before I said it,” I stated.
“That’s because I knew what you’d say,” she said with smile.