When AGMA’s brilliant and witty progeny were growing up, they had very little contact with both sets of grandparents.

Not such a bad thing considering my in-laws and my dad were crazy.  Sort of.  My step-mother was wonderful, but she kinda had be in the line with what my dad wanted.

One set of grands lived in Arizona. Then New York. Then Kentucky. Then Tennessee. Then North Carolina.  Then back to Arizona.  True Amurkin’ gypsies.

AGMA could understand the infrequent visits from Arizona and New York.  But North Carolina and Tennessee were within a pretty easy day’s drive from Cincinnati, where we lived.  And Kentucky was right next door.

But still, their visits were few and far between.  Again, not such a bad thing for a myriad of reasons, but I know the kids would have liked to have seen them more often.

But they were busy doing other stuff.  They didn’t have the time.

My dad and step-mother always lived close – within a 4 hour drive.  But they rarely visited.  We always had to bring the kids to them.

But they were busy doing other stuff.  My dad said that they just didn’t have the time.

I thought it was odd at the time.  I mean, they seemed to always find the time to go other places. But never to see their grandchildren.

Now that AGMA’s a Nana herself, it’s beyond comprehension to me.

But it was all about priorities.

I understood on some level that building a relationship with their grandchildren was not very important to them.  Or at least not as important as other things in their lives.  Not important enough to spend the $$, time and energy on.

And that’s actually a great way to define priorities.

Where you spend the most of your time, $$ and energy?

AGMA is struggling with my priorities right now.  Time, $$ and energy is too damned limited these days!

High on my list are the MAGITW (most adorable grandchildren in the world).  Hubs and I travel to Chicago frequently; lately it’s been once every 4 to 6 weeks.  AGMA’s in Nana heaven.

Another biggie is travel.  After taking some big trips overseas when AGMA was a young woman, my travel bug had to go underground for most of my adult life until we had the time and the means again.  That didn’t happen until about 2010.

Ya’ll know I love me my travel adventures!

Running is another priority.  More than just the physical aspect and the health benefits, it enriches my life emotionally and spiritually.  Plus AGMA can eat and drink a lot more yummy stuff when she’s training and it doesn’t immediately plant itself on my midsection and thighs.

Maintaining extended family relationships is another priority.  It takes time and energy and in some cases $$ to do that.  I’ve been very intentional at building relationships with my nieces as adults, their spouses and their kids over the last 12 years.  And it’s worked!  My great niece and nephews pretty much adore their crazy great aunt AGMA.  And my nieces are more like girlfriends.

But since AGMA grand babies have made their appearances, my visits to said nieces & families have been scaled back.


And maintaining relationships with friends.  That’s important too.  “Friendships are like gardens – they need to be tended or they get overgrown with the weeds of neglect.”  That’s not an AGMA original – I think I read it somewhere…

But it’s true.

AGMA’s new role as an activist is important too.  There is SO MUCH to be done on the local, state and Federal level.  There are phone calls to be made, postcards to write, $$ to donate, social media posts begging to be read and re-posted.


Oh, and I’m still working part-time as a therapeutic massage therapist so obviously my clients are a priority.  They have to be if AGMA wants to keep earning the big bucks (sputter, laugh, choke!)

And AGMA, my blog.  That’s a priority for me.  Most of the time.  I try to set aside the time each week to blog, but it doesn’t always work with my travel and work schedule.

Which brings me to the origin of this post…

Frustration.  It’s been weeks since I’ve made reading your wonderful WordPress posts a priority.  And I hate that.  I tried catching up today with some of you but the volume was so overwhelming that I quit.  Ya’ll are great writers and I hate that I can’t read everything you write, but…

I only have so much WordPress time today.  And I need to respond to comments and write a post.


I know I waste time.   AGMA’s at that point in her life where my candle burns down pretty fast as the day goes by, and by the time evening comes, I’m spent.  So I just fiddly fart around and don’t get anything of substance done after about 7 PM.


There’s a glimmer of hope though.

I’ve rousted my bottom out of bed earlier than normal the past two mornings to do Centering Prayer.  AGMA used to do this on a daily basis and it was important to me.  But it got pushed out by running and travel and work and family and ___________(fill in the blank).  It hasn’t been a priority for me of a while.  And I’ve missed it.  I’ve missed the insight it gives me about myself and the world.  I’ve missed the peace and calm that washes over me when I spend some time with the great I AM, the Lover of my soul.

I can’t figure out how to make everything “fit” into my life, but I think I might be on the right track again.

Two days and counting…









Yeah AGMA did!

I really love this picture.  My fabulous ink artist (Joey) took it right after she finished my tattoo.

The agony and the ecstasy.

I know it looks massive but it’s not really all that large.  I cropped it so you can’t see the flab on my back.  Or all the brown spots.  AGMA had no idea I had so many brown spots on my back.

What’s that all about?

My tat’s on my upper right scapula (that’s shoulder blade to the non-anatomy geek) and the blue larkspur is flowing over my shoulder.  Kinda girly.

I’m so grateful to Joey for pulling together all my crazy, random AGMA thoughts and Pinterest tattoo pictures into a design that I absolutely love.   But I do realize that it’s not everybody’s cup of tea…

I wanted a running theme because I believe that taking up running when I was 59 totally changed my life.  For the better.  For the way better.

But I also wanted to incorporate my family in the design.  They are, after all, the most important thing on earth to me.

AGMA’s getting mushy.

So the flowers coming out of the soul (get it?) of my shoe are my family’s birth month flowers.  I knew you would be wondering…

Holly for December, snowdrops for January, lily and larkspur for July.  And violets for my  sweet, little baby granddaughter…who happens to be named Violet.

AGMA thinks there’s room for more flowers if my son and DIL decide to have a third and he/she’s not born in December, January or July.  That would be fun.

But I think I’m going to go back to Joey to get something else added.  In a couple of months. As soon as I recover from this first round.  It was kinda ouchy.

Beneath the stem, I’d like to add “2 Timothy 4:7”

If you look it up in the New Testament (NIV) 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

AGMA likes that.

Thanks for going on this fantastic journey with me!

Aging gracefully my ass.





As time goes by


“So would I do it again?  Probably.”

That’s how I ended my post “How I spent my summer vacation” in August 2015.

If you didn’t read it or don’t remember it, I’ll summarize…. Our vacation at the beach was 30% good and 70% sucky. Like a lot of family vacations.

But AGMA was right. I did do it again. Last week.

Crazy right?

Miraculously, it was 90% good this year. And everybody knows that 10% is certainly within the acceptable limits for sucky.

AGMA meant to post last week while I was lounging by the pool with a Mai Tai (which actually didn’t happen…)  I was in a beach house basically by myself for the first 3 days. Plenty of time to cobble together a few words.

One would think…

But, as happens so often, time got away from AGMA. And was MIA. One minute it was Sunday evening and the next it was Wednesday morning. Then my kin all descended on me and there was no time to do anything “elective” for the rest of the week.

But AGMA was ready for them.  This year, I was ready for them.

The Pack n Play was all set up for Adorable Grandson. He’s nearly 2. His toy box was ready and waiting, as was his high chair. His stroller and wagon were in the garage as were all of the beach chairs and umbrellas.

Thank God for the trusty AGMA-mobile… My 2008 Prius with 110,000 miles.

After three trips to the grocery store (one in Altanta and two at the beach), the pantry and fridge were fully stocked.

There was really nothing that anybody could want for. And they didn’t.

It helped immensely that Adorable Grandson was a year older. He is walking and talking (“no” and “more” and “mama” and “dada” are some of his favorite words) and understanding well.

It also helped that we were a minute’s walk to my niece’s beach house instead of a car ride like last year. My brother and SIL were there for a week as were my two nieces, their husbands and their kids (5 of them, ages from 4 to 11)

The niece’s house was the house of insanity, activity and craziness. Unless the kids were on their iPads. Then you could hear a pin drop.

But Adorable Grandson loved, loved, loved his second cousins and joined in the fray as much as he could. Between running around with the older kids and running around on the beach, the little critter was exhausted every evening. He went to bed each night with nary a whimper.

My younger son, who can be a bit inflexible at times, was pretty mellow and loved being the “crazy uncle” to Adorable Grandson.

My husband spent the whole time grinning after Adorable Grandson christened him “Bump-pa”. AGMA still has no name other than “nana” but I think Adorable Grandson was referring to an actual banana and not me.

My stressed out, over worked older son and pregnant DIL got some much needed R&R, and were much nicer to all of us this year.

So, I did it.

I feel like Clark Griswold at the end of Christmas Vacation. After many dismal failures, AGMA finally orchestrated a family event that everybody enjoyed.

I’m still dizzy with the feeling of success. Or maybe just dizzy from my new meds – not sure which…

So the question is…will there be a repeat in 2017?  Probably not…  Families, like life, are always in a constant state of change and evolution.

There will be a new addition to our family. Adorable Grandson will be joined by Adorable Granddaugther in November. And my older niece told me her family was planning on going somewhere else next year on vacation to expand their kid’s horizons. So my brother and SIL, and my other niece and her family probably won’t come either.

My sister and BIL couldn’t make it this year because of illness. They probably won’t come next year if my brother isn’t there.

It’s like dominos falling.

But no matter what happens, or where people go or don’t go, AGMA will always have the memory of last week. The week when I saw everybody in my family actually smile and get along and enjoy each other’s company.

We will always have the Isle of Palms 2016.

Play it once Sam. For old times’ sake

Play it Sam.

Freestylin’ it


When AGMA was young, maybe 6 or 7, we went on vacation to…are you ready for this…drumroll…

Lake Erie.

For those of you outside of the US or from other parts of the country or too young to remember, Lake Erie used to be so polluted that it regularly caught on fire.  Part of it.  The part around Cleveland.  Figures…

Nothing says vacation like adding fire extinguisher to your “what to take to the beach” packing list.

But it wasn’t too far from home so we could drive.  And we shared a cabin with my Aunt and Uncle and cousin so it was fairly inexpensive.  My mother was a single, working mom and my uncle worked in a glass factory so any vacation we took – which were very few and far between – needed to be inexpensive.

But to the 7 year old AGMA, it was like Disney World!

The first morning we were there, I was so excited to go swimming in the flammable lake that I ran out of the cabin a la natural.  I think somebody took a picture with their Kodak Brownie.  I’m sure I was adorable.

My mother and uncle had to chase me down to get me dressed in my swimsuit.

That’s how I feel about this post.  I’m going a la natural.  I normally type my posts in Pages then, when it’s all done & edited, copy it to WordPress.  But today, I’m going freestyle and typing it directly in WordPress. Sometime’s you gotta shake things up.

AGMA is out of control.  Again.  But still adorable.  Just not in a naked way anymore.

Gravity is cruel.

Speaking of a la natural, the most adorable grandson in the world who shares genetic material with me came to visit last weekend from Chicago.  It was a magical weekend.  I forgot how darned cute 18 month olds are…  Unless you’re his parents.  Or our cats

He’s still in diapers, but in my opinion, he doesn’t get nearly enough “naked time”.  You know “naked time”, right?  It’s when children get in touch with their ancient hunter-gatherer roots by running all around the house and in the yard in their birthday suit.    When they have the freedom to express themselves through their unencumbered body.   When they learn not to be ashamed of or hide their body.

Until gravity kicks in.

My son and DIL let him run around for like 5 minutes after his bath before they put his jammies on him.  That’s it.  They’re afraid he’s going to pee everywhere.

I’ve got news for them.  That bath he was in….yeah…full o’ pee.  As soon as that warm water hit that sweet little winkie, anything in his bladder immediatley came out to join the  party.

But I have a feeling, in six months or so, he will be getting lots and lots more naked time.  His parents are going to be too busy, too stressed and too tired to worry about him peeing in the house.

The Little Buddy is going to become a big brother in November!

And we weren’t the last to know this time.  As a matter of fact, we were one of the first to know.  Holy cow – miracles do happen…  We’re thrilled for them and couldn’t be happier!

But it’s a girl.  A girl?  I don’t know what to do with girl babies.  I have two sons, one grandson, a husband and two male cats.  The XX chromosome pairing is a rare thing in my world.

I’ll figure it out as I go.  Maybe I’ll finally have an ally who will help me fend off the attacks of the XY’ers.  A Buddette who will understand when I cry at sappy movies and not roll their eyes.  Somebody to pass on my grandmother’s pocket watch and my step-mother’s jewelry to.

Holy crap on a cracker…




The tale of the un-wicked step-mother


Louise was a young, newly married woman. Despite her parents disapproval, she married into a rather well to do family in Ashland, KY. Her husband’s family owned a successful furniture store and she was to be one of their buyers.

The idea of buying trips to Chicago and New York thrilled her. Such a far cry from her upbringing. The oldest of 3 children, her family moved often to small towns in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Her father worked for the railroad and, in the early 1900’s, the railroad was king.

Her middle class upbringing was strict and uncomfortable for her. She longed to see the world and make her mark. She was able to go to college after graduating from high school, and in 1931, that was quite an accomplishment. First, because the country was in the midst of the Great Depression and second, because she was a woman. But Louise was quick, intelligent and curious, and did well in her studies to become a teacher. Turned out, she hated teaching. It happens…

I don’t know how she met her husband or when they were married, but by the 1940’s she was in full blown career mode as a furniture buyer. She was a beautiful woman with impeccable taste, cultured, well read and could have easily been mistaken for a woman who was born into a society family.

But somewhere along the line in the late 40’s or early 50’s, her marriage went terribly wrong. Details are sparse, but somehow her husband managed to obtain a divorce from her without her knowledge. Scumbag doesn’t even come close… She received word from him from some Caribbean Island – he was supposedly on a business trip – that not only were they divorced, but that he had married his secretary.

Talk about your bad, FML days.

Although she gave up her buying job, she kept their beautiful home surrounded by acres of trees in the exclusive Bellefonte neighborhood of Ashland. This is where I came to live in 1965 after my mother died.

Louise was my step-mother. She would have been 103 this week. Yikes!

My father, divorced from my mother a year earlier, married Louise in 1960 after my grandmother died. My father lived with his mother in Pittsburgh, where I lived, but within months of her death, married Louise, and moved to Kentucky.  And he was out of my life for the next five years.

I’m sure that, in 1965 at the age of 52, Louise never expected to have an 11 year old girl as a live-in step-daughter. It must have been an incredible shock. More like a huge, massive earthquake.

Now, when I think back, I thank God that she was such a kind, understanding woman. I was incredibly broken and confused at the sudden loss of my mother and my move to a new state to live with people I barely knew. She was patient and gentle with me, and over the years, I grew to love her. Not the wicked step-mother at all, you see.

And she grew to love me like the child she never had. It wasn’t the same sort of love that I have as a mother for my children, but it was as much a she could love me and still be loyal to my father.

He was always her first priority.

In many ways, Weezie, as I sometimes called her, protected me from my father’s emotional tantrums. He was not a happy man. To this day, it’s still a great mystery as to why she married him. She was much too good for him.

Sadly, my happiest memories of my home are when he traveled for work. Louise and I would just chill, eat pizza (which he hated) for dinner, and totally enjoy the lack of tension that was always present when he was home. It was blessed, temporary relief.

I was thrilled to go far away to college and escape his dark moods and temper. But I felt more than a few pangs of guilt leaving her alone with him. And it took it’s toll on her.

So I moved on with my life, got married, had children. We settled down in one city, and she and my father moved from city to city trying to find a place to make him happy.  I used to call them gypsies. Louise loved my kids, but, to appease my father, kept an emotional and physical distance. They rarely visited. We always had to go visit them.

In the late 1980’s, symptoms of dementia started rearing their horrible, ugly heads. Once a voracious reader and crossword puzzle enthusiast, Louise had trouble finding simple words. She couldn’t pay the bills anymore. She started night wandering.

My father, not surprisingly, could only complain about how she was disrupting his life. Seriously. He couldn’t understand why she couldn’t just “straighten up and fly right”.  I won’t go into details, but she used to call me, sobbing. It broke my heart.

And, as always happened with my father, we had to handle things in crisis mode when everything exploded in 1991. Again, no details, but he went to Chicago to recover with my sister and we moved Louise in with us in southern Ohio.

Eventually, she went to an assisted living facility for several years, then to an Alzheimer’s unit at a local nursing home when she started wandering outside at night. My father eventually moved to our city to be closer to her, but had no intention of letting his life be burdened with her condition. He lived in a lovely senior community.  And, as so often happens, in a strange twist of karmic fate, she outlived him.

Coming from a long line of long lived people, she was 88 when she died. By that time she could no longer recognize me or my family, was in a wheelchair, completely non-verbal and required total care. It was a great mercy when she passed. Yet I still grieved this beautiful woman who loved me second only to my own mother.

Happy birthday Weezie! Your beauty was so much more than skin deep… Thank you for teaching me how to be a woman of substance and for your love that helped heal my broken heart and spirit.

You were one bad ass lady!



She was the second daughter born to Ukrainian immigrants. They came to the U.S. for who knows what reason. To escape persecution of some sort, for better employment opportunities, the sheer adventure of a new country.  I don’t know.

So much I don’t know.

Olga was my mother.  Her real name.  Really.

Her father was a glass worker employed in the glass factories of Western Pennsylvania.  An amateur actor in local Ukrainian theater, he was short and my one uncle looked just like him.  From the one and only picture I’ve ever seen of my grandfather that is.  I know his birthdate, where he was from in the Ukraine and what ship brought him to Ellis Island.  I know when he got married, what faith he followed and where he raised his four children.  He may have been an alcoholic.  I know the date he died and where he’s buried.  And that sums up my knowledge of my grandfather.

I know even less about my grandmother.

Again, birthdate and place, immigration date, wedding date, date of death, burial spot. The “stuff” you can find from doing some basic genealogy research.  I’ve never seen a picture of her.  I know that she died of TB when my mother was only 16.

Olga grew up with her three siblings in a small three room house (with an outhouse) on several acres of land.  Their huge garden and the plentiful Western Pennsylvania wild game got them through the depression.

She was a pretty smart cookie.  Olga graduated from high school at 16 then went off to the “big city”, Pittsburgh, to go to nursing school.  I love that she was ambitious and wanted a career. She wanted a better life for herself. Or maybe her mom’s illness inspired her to be a nurse.  I don’t know.

Again, so much I don’t know.

Olga died 50 years ago yesterday from cancer.  She was in her mid-40‘s.  Way too young to die. After years of dark skies, the clouds were clearing, the sun was peaking through and her life had just started moving forward again.  So unfair.

I was 11 years old.  Way too young to think of asking the questions I would love to have answers to now.  Way too young to realize how my entire life would be changed by her sudden, forced and total absence.  Way too young to know how much I would want her by my side when life threw me curve balls and my own children were born.  So unfair.

From the few pictures I have of her as a young lady, Olga was a real looker.  And evidently turned the heads of quite a few doctors in the hospital where she worked. Sounds as if she could have had her pick of the lot until that fateful night at the frozen pond.

That darned frozen pond.

One night in the early 1940’s, she went ice skating with her friends.  That was the night she met my father and her life went into a spiral.  Now I realize that I wouldn’t be here otherwise, but for her sake, I wish she would have just stayed home that night. For her sake, I wish they’d never met.

Terrible thing to say right?  I’d be like Marty McFly watching my image fade from the family pictures had they never met.  But my heart wants her to have another chance at happiness.

She was 22 years old and fell head over heels in love with the charming, outgoing, handsome young man at the ice skating pond.  They started dating and, as sometimes happens, one thing lead to another…

Their quickie marriage is recorded in another state with a date that is 6 months prior to the birth of my brother.  Oops.

As far as I can tell, at the beginning, she was happy and in love.  My sister has some letters Olga wrote to my father about how happy she was and how she was looking forward to having their baby and how much she missed him.  Again, I’m not sure why they were apart.  Again, I just don’t know.

But unwittingly, she had married a self-centered narcissist who was the only child of an authoritarian, judgmental, doting German mother who had been widowed 8 years before. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when my father told his mom he’d gotten his girlfriend “in trouble” and had to marry her.  That couldn’t have gone well.

Sadly, it was only a matter of time before everything started to unravel in a devastating way…

But that’s another story for another day.  Maybe in the middle of winter when it’s gray and cloudy and spitting snow outside.  It’s simply too glorious out today to tell that part of the story.  The sun is making too big of a fuss shining today.

From all accounts she was incredibly thoughtful, kind and generous. My one cousin remembers Olga for the gifts she used to always bring when she came to visit. And that she was a great cook.  My other cousin said that my mother was the only person, other than Santa, who gave her Christmas presents. He so adored her, my one uncle (her younger brother), used to hitch hike the 30 some miles to Pittsburgh just to visit and talk with her.  I remember his unconsolable weeping at her funeral.

So on this half century milestone, I’m choosing to picture her in my mind’s eye as that young, smart, ambitious woman with dreams of a better life.  The newly graduated young nurse in the crisp white starched uniform.  The beautiful, gentle soul, daughter of penniless immigrants, who saw life as nothing but possibility.  The sensitive and kind sister, aunt, friend and mother who loved fiercely.

I like to think, to fantasize, that, had we been contemporaries, I might have been her friend.  Maybe even a good friend.

It’s a terribly sweet thought…

We put the FUN in dysFUNction


Danger Will Robinson…this is an extra long post.  And it’s my second post this week.  What?  Has AGMA lost her mind?  Kind of…

Just think of it as a little extra to chew on because you’ll probably hear crickets from me next week.  I’m pretty sure I’ll need to go back into therapy.  And I’ll be busy trying to dry out, and jump back on the wagon after an anticipated hard fall off this weekend. Let me explain…

AGMA’s going to the beach tomorrow!

Most people would be really psyched for a trip to the beach .  Yeah – not so much.

It’s really my fault.  A few months ago I Sherlocked that my brother & family – kids and grandkids – were going to rent a house in August at a beach location only a five hour drive away from me.  Perfect!  Since it’s normally a semi-expensive flight and a rental car to go visit part of that crew, I seized the opportunity to see them so “close” to home.  So far so good.

But then I got the brilliant idea to invite my kids along.

And that’s when the trouble started…

I invited my son and DIL to join us and bring my adorable, cute, chubby, happy eight month old grandson along so the rest of the family could meet him.  It will probably be the only time they see him other than at his wedding maybe.  Maybe.  Or my funeral.

Yeah – we’re a wedding/funeral family (WFF).

You know – the kind that never gets together unless somebody get’s married.  Or dies.  Hopefully not simultaneously.

Maintaining relationships with my small, long-distance family has always been a priority for me.  I visited them as often as I could in years past.  I traveled to both of my niece’s graduations, weddings, and baby showers.  Saw each of their babies as soon as I could after they were born – there are five of them – and visit yearly.  I’m known to my great niece and great nephews as “crazy Auntie AGMA”!  I like that.

Sadly, this effort hasn’t reciprocated by that side of the family toward my sons.


So I figured if I wanted them to meet and fuss over my totally wonderful grandson, it would be up to me to bring them together.  And they say they can’t wait to meet him.  As long as they don’t have to make much of an effort that is…

Did I just say that out loud?

Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely adore my nieces and their families.  Really.  They are truly the most “normal” people who share genetic material with me.  I love spending time with them and they act like they enjoy spending time with me.  I don’t get the stink eye from them like I do from my sons and they don’t whisper into their cell phones when I’m in the same room like my DIL.  I honestly think they actually like me.

But a relationship with my family where one actually has to make an effort to connect wasn’t high on the priority list with my brother and SIL, so it just sort of transferred to them through osmosis.


Anyway, in what can only be deemed a miracle, my son (or rather my DIL who pretty much makes all the decisions) gave the thumbs up to joining us at the beach.  The Second Coming has to be close…  Our younger son managed to wrangle some time off of work so he’ll be there too.  And the plot thickens.

So I’ve spent to slew of $$, and invested lots and lots of time coordinating this for my relatively high-maintenance family.  I rented a condo (it’s a very high rent beach area!), bought gently used baby “stuff” for the little guy, and cleaned and disinfected it all.  I’ve also had to deal with my son and DIL, being tightly wound, first time parents, obsessing over every aspect of the trip to make sure the baby’s every need and desire is handled. It’ll be his very first airplane ride so there’s high drama afoot.  And of course there’s the stink eye and whispering to look forward to for the next three days.

This is going to be so much fun.  Like going to the dentist.

Then, the icing on the cake, my sister and my BIL decided they were going to join the party.  Literally.  The last two times (2007 & 2010) my sister has been around my brother and SIL with me present, she has gotten very, very drunk.  And it wasn’t pretty.  ‘Nuff said.

Oh my – the prospects for the weekend just keep getting better and better.

So here’s the skinny on what I’ve got to look forward to (and why I write an anonymous blog…)

My BIL doesn’t like my SIL.  My SIL doesn’t really like anybody in our family.  Or my BIL. My DIL doesn’t care for us very much.  She’d much rather be whispering on her cell.  My older son loves us in his own distant way, but doesn’t really like to spend time with us. My younger son is going through a difficult time and blaming us for part of it, so he’s being distant and judgmental.  My Libertarian brother doesn’t like anybody in my family because we’re all Progressives (although he’s not sure about the baby’s political leanings, so the little guy might get a pass for a few years.)  My nieces have a slightly troubled relationship with my emotionally distant brother – their dad – because he is so incredibly conservative and intolerant that he’s a bit crazy about it.  Their mom, my SIL, just flat out says crazy ass *hit sometimes and has serious control issues.

And my sister lives in a fantasy world where she thinks we’re all one big happy family. Duh.  But remember, she’s usually drinking when we’re all together.

Maybe the drinking thing isn’t such a bad idea and it’s time to fall off the wagon. Starting tomorrow.

OMG – shoot me now.

But as a friend of my said this week, you can “unfriend” friends, but you can’t “unfamily” family.  You only have one family.  There’s wisdom in that…  Somewhere.

So I’m rolling the dice and praying that, in some miraculous way, we might all be brought a little closer this weekend.  That maybe we won’t be a WFF in the future. That the good ju-ju of those of us who do get along and like each other will rub off on the rest.

Call me a crazy and idealistic kid.

But I only have one family.  And I really do kind of love them, warts and all.

Is there a diagnosis for that?

I guess I’ll find out when I get back…

Mama, it’s all about the energy


Over the course of my life, I’ve tried journaling a few times.  I gave it up each time.  I could barely stay awake while I was writing.

ZZZzzzz.  So boring…

So now I’m blogging.

But a blog like AGMA is kinda, sorta like a journal.  Good, bad or ugly, I share life experiences and my reactions to them.  Except this time I’m staying awake trying really hard to make it funny and interesting because you’re reading it too.  Yikes!

Like a journal, my blog is highly personal.  And, just like Throwback Thursday, I can go back in the past and remind myself where my heart and head was at a specific moment in time.

But it’s also all very public.  This keeps me honest.  This is a good thing.

Yesterday, I was half-way through writing a pretty snarky post about how semi-miserable my Mother’s Days have turned out for the last 20 years.  Cheerful.  I thought I’d save it on my Mac – being the creative beast that I am – as MothersDay.pages.  But what?  I already have a file by that name?

Huh?  Oh yeah – last year’s Mother’s Day post.

So because I’m NOT aging very gracefully, and didn’t quite remember what I wrote a year ago, I reread it.

I was shocked.  It’s such a sweet and tender and warm and fuzzy-soft post.  So unlike what I was in the process of writing.  My 2015 MD post was full of briars and sandpaper and scratchy, ouchy, pinchy things.  A nails-down-a-chalkboard-type post.

Holy cow – what’s happened to me in this last year?  Have I lost my blogging innocence?  Am I no longer a blog virgin?  Or am I just getting crankier as I age?

Yes, yes and yes.

I abandoned my snarky post.

As a massage therapist, I know something about energy.  Healing – no matter what kind – begins by addressing whatever the issue is with the proper professional who can help us in the journey to wellness.  And a huge element of that journey is our attitude and “energy”.

What is it that The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, always says?  In training dogs, “It’s all about the energy.”  I think The Horse Whisperer said something like that too…

Dog training, horse training and crappy Mother’s Days…it’s all about the energy.

So instead of whining, on Sunday I’m going to focus my thoughts on higher ground.  On the incredible honor it is to be the mother of two healthy, amazing and successful men. And the indescribable joy they’ve brought into my life for the past 33 years.  And how they taught me to love unconditionally and deeper than I ever thought possible.  On the thrill I get when I see either of their names on caller ID or on a text message.  And the crazy, insane delight I feel Skyping with my four month old grandson.

You know – the good stuff.

We really are what we think.

I know it sounds trite, but I’ve seen it play out time and time again over the years, both negative and positive.  I’ve seen intelligent, gifted individuals emotionally cripple themselves through negative thoughts and self-talk.  And I’ve seen other folks who’ve had way more than their share of sorrow, tragedy and bad luck, rally and come back stronger than ever.

It’s like the story of the optimistic little child digging through the huge manure pile in the barn saying, “With all this horse poop, I just know there has to be a pony in here somewhere!”

FYI, I think it’s a Clydesdale.

Happy Mother’s Day!

My very bad, terrible, wonderful, magical Christmas


Well…I didn’t expect that.

I didn’t expect that two weeks would go by without me posting a thing.  But it was a long week last week.  Crazy.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?  If you’re a glass half-empty person like me, you want the bad news first.  Half-empties always want the bad news first.  The bad news is always going to be much worse on bad news scale from 1 to 10 than the good news is going to be good on the good news scale from 1 to 10. So it just makes sense to get the bad news first, wallow in the misery and get it over with.  Got it?  It’s just how we roll…

But this time I’ll give you the good news first.

I’m a Grandma!

My son’s wife delivered a truly beautiful, albeit alien-looking, little boy a few days before Christmas in Chicago.  All newborns have that ET look about them don’t they?  Mother and son are doing fine.  My son is positively euphoric.  That’s nice to see.

The little guy was late.  Hmmm – I hope he doesn’t make this a habit.  But this was more good news for us because we were able to be there for the birth.  Well, not actually in the room.  Yuck.  But close by.  We had flown up a few days earlier and our younger son got there that morning, just in the nick of time.

Funny story that; I was actually a bit “under the influence” when he was born.  Although I was convinced that he was going to make his appearance the same day my DIL went into labor, everybody else poo poo-ed me.  “Poo poo,” they said, “she won’t have him until tomorrow morning.”  So they sent us all home.  Or in our case, back to our hotel.

More about the hotel later…

Knowing that a baby was coming sooner or later, the three of us celebrated with a few glasses of Champagne.  Okay – not REAL Champagne, but close enough.  It had bubbles.

Wouldn’t you know it, after I downed my third glass, I got a text that she was pushing.  The next text told us to high-tail it over to the hospital.  I don’t like to say I told you so, but…  I hate it that I’m most always right.

Thirty minutes later, I officially became a grandma.  A somewhat tipsy grandma.  It pains me to think that every time the little guy catches a whiff of the scent of alcohol he may have flashbacks to me breathing in his face saying “Hi little guy!” in slightly slurred speech. True story.  I’m kind of a cheap drunk.

Now for the bad news.  Our trip to Chicago was six days of non-stop family.  Her family and our family.  Nonstop.  I like family and all but, seriously?

Since my blog is anonymous, and my family and extended family doesn’t know about it (thank God!), I couldn’t write anything.  It seemed like people were always around me.  Or I was sleeping.  Too much togetherness; I like and need my alone time.  Honestly, the only time I was truly by myself was in the bathroom.  I’m not inspired to write while I’m in the bathroom.  At least not about stuff you’d want to read.

So I couldn’t write any posts last week.  Frowny face.

The other bad news.  We weren’t allowed to stay with my son and DIL, so we stayed in a hotel the entire time.  And even though they came into town the same day we did, her parents were allowed stayed at my son’s place.  What the hell?  They did have to move on Christmas day.  They went to stay with their other daughter who lives about mile away who has two extra bedrooms.  She lived a mile away all along and had extra bedrooms all along.  But we were in a hotel.  We just love being the guy’s parents….

I’ve decided that spending Christmas in a hotel sucks.  My son and DIL brought the baby home on Christmas day, so everybody else was “on hold” until the new family felt somewhat settled.  This didn’t happen until 7 PM Christmas evening.

So on Christmas day, we wasted time.  We went to Starbucks for brunch and coffee.  We went to a movie.  We hung around the hotel room.  We went to dinner at a Thai restaurant.  It was definitely an unconventional Christmas.

For six days, it was non-stop family togetherness, and hurry up and wait.  I don’t do either of those very well.  Clearly.

But I have a picture of the little guy as the wallpaper on my phone and I say hi to him every time I turn the screen on.  Honestly, I hate to sound like a cliche, but it kind of melts my heart every time I see his sweet, alien-like face.  I never thought I’d be excited to travel to Chicago in the middle of winter, but I can’t wait to go back to see him at the end of January.

Okay, so this time the good news outweighed the bad news for this glass half-empty Grinch.  I give it a 10 on the good news scale. Screw the bad news.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays a little late!