Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Tis the season we're supposed
to recite all we are thankful for.
My list is so long that I'd
not only run out of room on this
blog... but also would never
get done saying all that I am
thankful for until New Year's Eve.

Each new year I write in my journal
what I was thankful for the
previous year and my thoughts about events
in my life. I have been doing
this for years. Once I'm outta here
and my daughters come in to sort
through all my useless shit they will
find my journals piled in the
cabinet under an end table.
These journals contain a lot of thoughts
and events in my life that they
have never been told. Hopefully they
won't be so shocked that they will
stash my ashes under the bathroom sink
next to the toilet bowl cleaner.

Okay. First, I am VERY thankful that
I wake up breathing every day. Not unusual
to be thankful for this at my age!

Second, is my family. My girls,
Eva, Anna, and Beth grew up to be
wonderful and independent women
capable of taking care of themselves.
All three are vastly different from the
other (Eva would disagree with this)
but each is a delightful gift in my life.

And for my husband Gene who was my
best friend for 30 years. If there is that
heaven he believed in I am sure he
got a special spot just for putting
up with my shit. Poor man was
stuck in a house with four females
with hormones. Plus the family dog,
Sunny, was a female. He didn't stand a
chance against us. Still, even until the end
he joyfully lived his life without seeming
to have a care in the world.

And for Arthur, the brainey nerd, who
put up with me for 10 years and
accepted that he was my 2nd love
without complaining. We often joked
that we were together because
we were the only two people on earth
who could tolerate each other.

I am not thankful that Gene and Art are
gone but I am thankful for the
happiness that each one brought
into my life.

I am thankful that at my
age I am still in decent shape.
At age 70 and without the assistance
of hair dye, botox, or surgery I
STILL look younger than most
everyone else my age. And that right
now I feel better than I did for
the 20+ years that I was in hypo hell
and undiagnosed. Unfortunately it
took a goiter the size of a half a
tennis ball then cancer to FINALLY get
diagnosed. But so far I have been
in remission for a bit over two
years and my magic Armour pills has
restored my life to feeling "normal".

And last I am thankful that I
have enough to live, buy and do just
about anything I please. Of course I do
not want a lot or live expensive.
It's just not my style.

I am thankful for the time I have
been granted to live, laugh and most
thoroughly enjoy this tiny blue
and fantastically beautiful
orb we call earth placed somewhere
in this never ending creation
we call the universe.

Happy Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2009


This is my Daddy, Mom, brother, and
me when I was 3 years old. Notice
I am in the process of escaping.

I can't say I was a smart kid. Maybe
stubborn, persistent, always off to a world
of my own discovery. Very curious,
and probably a bit hyper-active.
Daddy nicknamed me "Contrary Mary",
which for the rest of my Mom's
life was used as an insult whenever
I crossed her.

I knew how to read by the time I was four.
I do not think it was so much because
I was a brilliant kid. One of my earliest
memories was getting my big blue book
of Grimm's Fairy Tales and sitting on
my Mom's lap while she read all the
stories over and over and over.
I don't know if I actually knew the words
I was seeing or if I had memorized
ever page.

I was also very jealous that my older
brother could read. I wanted to read the
comic books like he did. So I would steal
his old reading work books and sneak up
to the attic to study them.

Sunday morning we were all sitting at the
breakfast table. Daddy used to read the
Sunday comics while we were eating.
Daddy's favorites were
"Alley Oop" and "Li'l Abner".

Being Daddy's little girl I got on his lap
and started reading the words in the
balloons for each character. My Mom
remarked that it was cute that I was making
up words to pretend I was reading the
comics. "No", Daddy said, "She's reading
all the right words."

Of course Mom was in disbelief and demanded
to know who taught me to read. I was only
four, how did I know why I knew how to
read? I wanted to know how to read
so I learned.

I never did mention to Mom that I also
knew what she was saying when she
spelled things in front of me so I wouldn't
know what she was saying.

That was my secret!

Friday, November 20, 2009


I cannot remember ever believing
in Santa Clause. I'm sure I
did before I was 4. Doesn't
every child believe? I
just don't remember.

I have an older brother.
Maybe he told me there was no
Santa. We were always fighting
and no doubt he spilled the
truth to get back at me for something.
Again, I don't remember.

I do remember thinking it was
stupid to think that reindeer could
fly or that Santa delivered
presents in a sleigh when there
was never snow in NJ in the 1940's at
Christmas. Besides I never saw
a reindeer pulling the wagons and
carts for the milk man, bread
man, or huckster. It was horses
that did that. Deer is what Daddy
shot and what we ate. Pretty much like
the chickens, pigs and cows. Did
I mention I was a farm kid?

I also questioned why it was always
god who would punish you all
year long until after Thanksgiving.
Then suddenly it was Santa
who knew if you were good or bad.
I was quite aware that it
wasn't god or Santa who knew when
I was bad. It was Mom.

To add to these doubts there
were always packages hidden under
my parents bed and on Christmas
morning it was only those
packages that appeared under the
tree. Then there were all
the Santa's at stores, at the church
and VFW parties, standing on
street corners in the city ringing
a bell. All in smelly, cheap
costumes with an obviously fake beard.
Mom tried to tell me they were
Santa's helpers and the "real" Santa
was at Gimbles Department store.
His beard was fake too.

Still, every year my Mom would
dress up my brother and I the day
after Thanksgiving for our
yearly trip to Gimbles to tell
Santa what we wanted for Christmas.
I clearly remember my brother and I
fighting and fidgeting while waiting in
line to see Santa.
He was instructed to hold my hand and
of course he kept squeezing it so hard it
hurt. And both of us could not wait
until it was over because then Mom
took us to the fancy restaurant in the
department store for lunch.

I was a Daddy's girl. When ever he was
working in the garden, cutting the
grass, raking leaves, cleaning
out the chicken coop, etc. I was there
following him like a puppy dog.
I could talk to Daddy. Mom was the
rule maker and keeper and whatever she
claimed was truth could not be
disputed. Dad would talk, tell me
to use my head and figure it out for

I guess I was about 4 years old,
I wasn't in school yet.
As usual I was following
Daddy around while he raked up huge
piles of leaves. I told him that I didn't
want to go see Santa. That I
didn't believe he was real. As usual
Daddy didn't tell me if I was right or
wrong. He just said I had a good
head on my shoulders and to use it.
But he told me that it was important
to my Mom to go see Santa because it made
her happy. He warned me that
it was not a good idea to contradict
my Mom. Just go along with what
she wanted. So that is what I did
until I was 7 years old.

On Thanksgiving morning I was in
the kitchen helping Mom. After she
rolled out the pie crusts she
would give me the trimmings and I
would roll them out, cut them
with the cookie cutter, then sprinkle
them with cinnamon and sugar to
to make cookies.

Mom said the big day was coming
when I would get to tell Santa what
I wanted for Christmas. And Mom added,
being her usual dictator self,
that I had better not ask for
too much since Santa knew that I
had not been good all year.

I told her I not only did not want
to go sit on Santa's lap that
I did not, and never believed he
was real. And, stupidly, I told
her that Daddy told me not to tell
that I didn't believe.

Well, this threw Mom into one of
her snits. She called Daddy into the
kitchen yelling at him for telling
me there was no Santa. Daddy saved
himself, and me, when he told
Mom that it was me who told him
I didn't believe. So then she called
my brother. He also denied that he
ever told me there was no Santa
and again claimed it was me
who told him I didn't believe.
Who knows or remembers what
the real truth is?

You might think that was the end of
it? No, Mom went on and on about
what her friends would think
about her daughter not believing.
And that whether I wanted to or not
my brother and I were going to
go tell Santa what we wanted.

I told her that I would NOT sit
on Santa's lap and I would NOT talk
to him. And this only made
Mom angrier and yell louder at
me for being just like my father.
Well, that made me really mad and I
blurted out "I don't believe in
the tooth fairy either!"

So she told me not to bother putting
my tooth that was loose under
the pillow. There would be no money
for any more lost teeth.

Ah, but I won that one too.
When the tooth finally fell out I
gave it to my Daddy. He gave
me a quarter. This made my brother
really mad because Mom had only
been giving him a nickel
for his lost teeth. Ah, sweet
Victory in the brother/
sister wars.

And an additional note to this story.
Our family had moved to our new
home on Kendall Blvd. Eva
was about 7, Anna was 5 and
Marybeth was just a baby.

I never really told my girls if there
was a Santa or not. I guess they
believed, I didn't promote that they
should. We were sitting around
the kitchen table and Eva asked me
if there was really a Santa.
I didn't say yes or no but I did
tell them that Santa was a business and
sold toys to parents just like
they did at the stores. That I had
to pay Santa for the toys and
that Dad and I didn't have much
money that year so we couldn't buy
them every thing they wanted.

Years later Eva told me that I was
a mean mother for telling her
that. Guess that's where I gained
the name "Mommie Dearest"?

Thursday, October 22, 2009


It was the biggest spider I've seen
in years. The orb was at least
three feet by three feet.
It spanned from the patio railing
up to the roof totally covering
a triple planter and the front of
the hummingbird feeder.
I wish I took a picture.
The orb was perfect and

Although the chill of fall has
started for most this is
Southern California and it is still
summer. I was sitting on
the patio having my morning
jolt of caffiene before going out.

One by one the hummingbirds approached
the feeder. Although it is normal for them to do this,
none would fly around the web to reach the feeder
from the other side. The would just keep
buzzing back and forth in front
of the feeder as if they were intimidated
by the size of the spider.

When I was a kid I remember seeing a
large spider snare a small mouse in it's web.
So I guess seeing a spider almost
their size the hummingbirds were afraid
of becoming snared in the web?

I have never seen hummingbirds
cooperate in anything. In fact they seem
to take great joy in constant attempts to
intimidate each other. Especially
for exclusive rights to the feeder.

Then two hummingbirds started to buzz
in front of the web. The male actually
appeared to be buzzing a fraction of an
inch from the spider as if to try to
chase it off. But the spider held it's
ground in the center of the web.

What happened next was totally unexpected.
Together the two hummingbirds
started to take the supports for the
web in their long beaks then flying backwards
to tug at them. First one of the webs attaching
the web to the railing broke partially
collapsing the web. The spider
held it's ground.

The hummingbirds continued to tug
at the web until it totally collapsed and
the spider ran off into the plants.

As soon the as web was collapsed
the male hummingbird chased off the
female to use the feeder first.
Back to normal nasty bird hummingbird

Maybe you find this little story rather
boring. But for me these are
the little things in nature that make
it so exciting and interesting.

Friday, August 14, 2009


(Beach in Northern Oregon)

Limited Time:

I live in an apartment built on the side
of a mountain. I am on the 2nd floor
and my patio faces a retaining wall
so that I am eye-level with the ground
about 10 feet away.

Living among the trees and flowers
on the side of the hill was a brown
salamander. I've been watching it
go about it's life for the past 6 months.
It scurries up and down the shrubbery,
monitors a few ant hills and blooming
flowers looking for insects to dine on.
It is always on the look out for the pair
of red hawks who would find it a tasty
snack. It was as if it had it's own piece
of paradise and it's life meant only for
the pure joy of existence. Sunning on
top of the wall, doing those funny push ups
that salamanders do, it seems to have
the perfect life.

Yesterday I was relaxing on the patio
watching a yellow butterfly coast on the
breeze, the hummingbirds intimidating
each other for exclusive rights to the feeder,
and the salamander streaking across the
space between bushes.

Then out of nowhere appeared a scruffy
black and white house cat. I guess the
salamander did not realize this too was a
predator. In a flash the cat pounced and
ran off with the salamander in it's mouth.

And yet, another reminder that our time
on earth is not permanent.

Presently the children of my neighbor, Mary,
are clearing out her apartment.
She died in her sleep Wednesday morning.

Mary was the nicest, sweetest neighbor
you could imagine. She was the neighbor who
brought me chicken soup and home
made cookies after my surgery and after Art died.
She said I needed comfort food.

Mary did this for everyone in the building.
She was a friend to all as well as sharing
her love of life and joy with living no
matter what her age and maladies did
to slow her down. I never asked Mary her
age. I assume she was in her mid 80's.

And now as her children pack up her belongings
it is as if they are packing up her life.
Soon the apartment will be occupied by a
new tenant and it will appear as if
Mary never existed.

Mary is gone from existence here on this earth
but the spark of her life will forever burn
somewhere in the universe.
She will never be gone from the memories
of her family and friends.
Mary was a lady who made a difference
in every life she touched.

I shall choose a star and name it Mary Caldwell.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Now the secret is out....
How at age 39 could I possibly
have children older
than I am?

Well, here ya go....
This is Eva as she emerged
from my egg.
Like any good mother
hen I was there keeping a
watch over my clutch of "Egg".
Tee Hee


Thursday, July 23, 2009


And sometimes when we touch
The honesty's too much
And I have to close my eyes and hide
I want to hold you 'till I die
'Till we both break down and cry
I want to hold you 'till
The fear in me subsides.

When was the last time I heard that song?
And why was it played that day? Art must
have been listening to the radio too. As
he came through the door to me I was on
my way to him.

We clung to each other as if we were
giving the other our life. We did not
speak, we did not move. Our embrace
was so powerful and emotions so
strong that we burned a permanent
hole in time and space.

We said good bye that day.

We never again discussed the hope
that a new treatment would stop his
cancer. The first surgery three
years ago. A year later two more
surgeries. Then two rounds of
kemo and endless blood
transfusions. Finally two series
of external beam radiation.
No longer to kill the cancer but
just to ease the pain.

The last trip for scans to show
where the cancer was spreading
was the first time I saw Art visibly
upset. He could no longer walk
more than a few steps and needed
a wheel chair to get to and from
the car. Two days later he went
back to the hospital.

I stayed with him those five days.
The last two he was on such strong
pain killers he was unresponsive.

I had stepped out of the room for
a moment to ask the nurse a
question and I heard Art sigh
heavily. I ran back hoping he
was again conscious. Art's
breathing kept slowing and
then stopped. I called the nurse
to note the time of death. She
said not yet, his heart was still
beating. It was exactly 2:30pm.

I placed my fingers on his neck
to feel his pulse in the carotid artery.
It was strong and did not slow at
all for 15 minutes. Then gradually
slowed and then stopped at 3:10pm.
His heart kept beating for over a
half hour... as if he did not want
to take his heart away from me.

That moment will cast a shadow on
me forever.

Like I said.... this would be a difficult
blog to post.... because this is the way
it needed to be said.

The picture is Art and I at Bryce Canyon.
The sun was behind us casting our
shadows on the wall on the other side
of the canyon. You can't tell in the
picture but our shadows were at least
40 or 50 feet high. We were giants!

The song by Dan Hill.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009



Monday went back to Curves.
Hardly made it around all the
machines one time. It's the truth,
especially with old people...

Then to complete the day I paddled
around in the pool for a half hour.
No swimming .... it's a kidney shaped
pool about 25' long.... two or three
swim strokes have do water
aerobics... which makes a person
look like a drowning spazzz.

Tuesday I went to Weight Watchers and
after downing the entire container of
chocolate chip ice cream I didn't gain.
I got a notice from AIM to download a
"fix" to connect to ICQ. Good thing,
my computer is such an antique the
new ICQ download wouldn't work.

While wasting the rest of the day
waiting for the AC repair man
I made a sun dress for a daughter.
So today after 6 months and 19 service
calls my AC is FINALLY working.
Yes.... 6 months/19 service calls!

I finally threatened my land lord I was
calling Turko Files (a TV news segment
that exposes rip offs, bad landlords, etc.)
So what did they say? They would send
a professional. PROFESSIONAL?
ell, that's quite possible,
last Friday the guy tried to tell me the
AC wouldn't work unless I set it for
20 degrees colder than I wanted
the temp to be in the apartment.
So if I wanted it to be 75 I had to
set it for 55. WHAT?

nd today, Wednesday, I went back to
Curves again, worked out for over a
half hour before my legs became
rubberized, then went to Costco and
picked up a new bottle of Happy Pills.
Diva take note! And last... I did my
spazz act in the pool and got some
vitamin D.

It's only Wednesday and I've gotten
my lazy rump back to working out,
doing water aerobics, working on my
tan and have an AC that actually cools.
I haven't gained any weight. I have ICQ
and can chat with my daughters again.
And I have a new supply of happy pills.


Hmmm, at the end of my 1st blog
I said the next one would be about
Art not being here anymore.
Maybe the next blog? It's a
tough story to tell.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This is Baby. The best car
I ever owned. And I kept
her longer than any car.

She was born in Hiroshima
April 1, 1998 and became
my "Baby" April 27, 1998.

She had two seats.. pilot
and co-pilot. 5 speeds forward.
She loved mountains roads
like S6 up Palomar Mtn.
(5000 ft). Oh my how she
could hug those curves!
Poetry in motion.

On the east coast she took
me from Montreal to Miami.
Then across the US of A.
On the west coast from
Canada to Baja. If there
was something I wanted
to see in the Northwest
or Southwest Baby took
me there.

But she was 11 years old.
Showing and feeling her age.
I know that engine light
was her breaking heart.
And in August 2008 I
replaced her.


Not such a good pic of me but don't cha
love this car? We were on a cruise and
found this lovely vehicle in Juneau.
Weather in Ak that week was supposedly
"hot" at 55 degrees. Here in SoCal that's
winter weather. Juneau natives were out
strolling around in shorts and t-shirts.
There were actually kids swimming in
the bay with ice still floating around.
I have never been in the Pacific Ocean
unless I was in Hawaii or the bottom of
the Baja.... weather wimp that I am.

Never pass up an opportunity to go to
Alaska... whether driving or cruising.
Absolute pristine beauty... well except
for the towns and cities. The day we
cruised up Glacier Bay we were the
only ship there and the forest ranger
took us extra close to the largest
glacier. Listening to it crack, groan
and explode and seeing pieces break
off (calve?), crashing into the bay and
causing 10 foot high waves was awesome.
I was amazed at the size. We were
on a large cruise ship and the glacier
towered above us and was at least
a mile wide. I am glad I witnessed
this before global warming melts
it all. A most memorable trip.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Days Gone By

This is the last picture of Gene and I.
Taken Thanksgiving 1996. There's Gene,
as always in a shirt with a statement.
Our grandson, Gregory, daughter Anna,
and me, Mommie Dearest.

I had no idea he was ill. In fact the following
week he played 18 holes of golf. Around
Christmas he seemed to have a bad cold
and was winded.

By New Year's he really looked sick. Like
any man he didn't want to go to a doctor.
But I insisted. He was immediately sent for
xrays. The doctor put it up on the viewing
screen and I nearly fell through the floor.
It was obvious he had lung cancer. One
lung was completely consumed and part
of the other was already shadowed. And he
was only complaining of being a little short

This was the first week of January. He died
February 16, 1997. It was all so fast and so

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

I am Mommie Dearest to three
daughters. Evamaria, Anna Marie,
& Marybeth. Evamaria's blog is "Dailey
Dose of Diva" where I often comment
under anon because until today I had
misplaced and forgotten my pass word.
Today I changed my password and hopefully
I will remember it. Today, as you can see,
I am also starting my own blog.

I am most certainly "lolwa". Not your
average little old lady. I indeed have
"attitude". I was born in 1939 and
consider 39 to be my age. Consequently
all my daughters are older than I am.
Would you believe some people actually
believe me and ask if my three daughters
are step children. DUH. Geez, look at my
wrinkles, of course I'm lying!

I am twice a widow. Gene died in
Feb. 1997. What a shock. I was only 58,
the love of my life was gone and I was alone
and deep in debt. I had retired when I was
49 via a buy out from the RCA/GE merge,
not presently working, and not old enough
for retirement benefits or social security.
I thought I was set for life. Gene and I
would spend our time in our silver bullet
(Airstream) and float around in lakes and
rivers in our little putt putt boat waiting for
a good fishing day.

Now, on his $1200 a month annuity there
was no way to pay the mortgage, utilities,
and payments on five maxed out credit cards.
I knew Gene was a financial disaster and had
been squirrling away money for 20 years just
in case. Now, what I hoped would be future
travel money would now have to be used just
to survive. And those five maxed out credit
cards? I was only aware of two... how did he
hide the other three?

All of the insurance money went to pay
off the credit cards and for his funeral.
So what would be the wisest financial plan?
I found a bag of quarters that Gene used for
his weekly poker games and decided to invest
it in video poker at the Hilton in Atlantic
City. As fate would have it that bag
of quarters hit the grand jack pot.

So I graduated from quarter poker to dollar
poker and kept winning. In the end I was
over 60k ahead. Then I had two loosing days
and quit because I wasn't about to give it all
back. But this had some nice benefits. The
Hilton was intent that I would eventually
loose it all and endlessly awarded me with
free meals, free shows, and free rooms any
time I asked. I was having a grand time on
their money.

Bought some gold jewelry, paid for materials
to build a new porch on the back of my house,
and paid for almost half of my new car and still
had change left so invested it in the stock market.
You ask.... Half of a new car? Okay, so I blew
10K of my IRA on a new car.

During this time one of my daughters convinced
me to buy a computer and go online. What
happened next I am sure still shocks at least one
or two of my daughters. But then they didn't
know what Mom was like before I was married.
Going back to my old habits was far easier than
I imagined. No, I wasn't TOO old. The old me was
there waiting to be reborn back to the younger me.
I even surprised myself.

I started to surf the vacuum of the internet
and discovered meet and date sites. Most of the
men seemed to be real loosers. But there was one,
from NY, who claimed we had previously met
at more than one financial conference.

I had been talking for a few months with this
curious man from NY. He did not meet my
criteria of being single and retired. He had been
separated from his wife for 18 years but still totally
supported them. After he retired from IBM he
went into a consulting business with several
other retired IBMers. And worst, he was living
with another woman for the past 15 years and
they had a mortgage together on their home.
a good prospect. But I was lonely and
bored and finally agreed to meet Arthur at the
Hilton Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City. I told him
we would meet at the bottom of the main
stairway by the grand piano scene with the
dummy. You'd have to have seen it to know
what I'm talking about.

Arthur had never sent me a picture and
although I knew a lot about him and we talked
easily and endlessly, I had no idea what he
would look like. There, at the bottom of the
stairway was this skinny little man, probably
no taller than me, with gray hair and thick
brown rimmed glasses. I asked, are you Art?
He said yes, I am Arthur.

Oh my god, a total nerd!

We went upstairs to a little bistro and over
coffee we talked non stop for at least 5 hours.
I had met a soul mate. How could this be?
Every man in my life had been the he-man
type, sports minded, the strong silent type.
And here I was totally knocked off kilter by
this little nerd... but a little nerd who was
actually interested in what I think, totally
interested in me, and talked. I had lived with
Gene for 35 years and in 5 hours I had more
conversation with Art than in my entire
marriage. We ended up spending the weekend
together. And cover your ears and eyes
daughters.... it's true that nerds are far more
detailed about everything! EVERYTHING!

He went back to NY and immediately left his
girlfriend. The next year is a blur of occurances.
For Art and I it was lots of travel, he sold his
house as well as signed over the mortgage on
his 2nd house to his ex girl friend. Then Art and
his son moved in me. We immediately started
plans to totally downsize and started fixing
up my house to sell.

Then we went to see my adopted sister in
San Diego County. I immediately fell in love
with the beauty of SoCal and the wonderful
weather. We got back and put my house up
for sale, sold my Airstream, the Suburban,
and the boat. Houses in my area were taking
9 months to a year to sell. We thought we had
plenty of time. To my shock the first couple who
saw the house offered the asking price. I had two
months to get out.

And the rest is history. I rented an apartment
sight unseen via the internet, gave most of my
stuff away to my daughters or charity, packed up
a truck, stuck Baby on a trailer and moved to
sunny California. I've been here since.
But unfortunately Art is no longer here with me.

That is my next blog.