More Pie

My father has been struggling with kidney problems for years and is starting dialysis this week. This means he’ll have to make some changes in his diet. The other day I overheard this conversation while my parents where looking over his dietary guideline.

My mom: This says you’ll have to eat more protein.

My father: Protein?

My mother: Yeah, you should try to eat protein with every meal.

My father: Does that mean I can eat more pie?

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s … My Mom?

What’s the perfect activity for a senior citizen with an artificial shoulder and osteopenia (brittle bones)? Skydiving of course. That’s what my dare devil of a mother thinks at least. She went on her little skydiving adventure a few weeks ago. I wanted to post the video she has of it, but my tech skills are lacking today and I couldn’t figure out how to import it to my computer. You’ll just have to settle for pictures instead.

Oh yeah … before I show you the pictures, she wants all of you to know that she wasn’t scared at all. Her arms are crossed the whole time because she has an artificial shoulder and they didn’t want the five million mile per hour winds rushing at her to push it out of joint.

my mother and my sister

my mother and a crazy skydiving guy

my mother and my sister’s girlfriend and some crazy skydiving guys

I would’ve started praying here or maybe three hours before this point.

Oh my goodness!!!

Please let the parachute open.

Please let the ground be soft like the mattress on a Sleep Number bed when set to 3.

Whew! I’m lucky it all turned out okay.

I’m sure that if my mother could get to work like this every morning she would. Will I be going with her next time? No way. I like to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground, but my sister says she’s up for ANOTHER jump.

Side Note:

Why does the crazy skydiver guy have a helmet on? Where is my mother’s helmet? Did she refuse to wear one to up the danger factor? Would a helmet really do anybody any good if the parachute failed?

It Doesn’t All Float Down Here

People notice my fluid movements and think I just lucked up on such grace and poise. Some people move like an elephant stuck in the mud and others have the beautiful movements of a gazelle. I would be the latter, of course. This isn’t luck though it’s heredity. The way I effortlessly guide across the dance, the flutter of my fingers like butterfly wings, the way I pour a glass of water without spilling a drop: all of this came from my mother. Yes, some of us are quite blessed when it comes to heredity. To the rest of you, I’m so sorry, but with some effort and training it is possible for you to overcome your unfortunate lineage.

Late last night, my mother floated into the room on winged feet to ask us to help her solve the kind of problem that only someone like my mother or possibly me would have. Somehow she managed to lodge this …

into this …

It seems that the jar was firmly stuck in the pipe and when she tired to reach in and pull it out it only got more stuck.

Brilliant!! I thought. What an efficient way to stop up the toilet. Even with my all my worrying and thinking I would’ve never thought of a solution to stop all that water and human waste from being flushed down the drain. It is such a waste, don’t you think? We should just keep it all neatly in a porcelain bowl and a special room.

Alas, that wasn’t her goal at all. She explained that the whole incident was an accident that she was desperately trying to undo without waking my father. After some brainstorming we found the perfect tool to fix the problem. It came in the form of this …

Yes, the maligned wire coat hanger. It is the Swiss army knife of non-tool-like objects that can be used as tools but still aren’t actually tools. Wait … did that sentence make any sense?

No, no, no … don’t hate the wire coat hanger. If you don’t want to hang your clothes on it that’s fine, but still keep a few in a closet somewhere because you never know when you might need it to get a jar out of your toilet.

If you haven’t read my latest book yet, maybe you should. People really like it and you might too. Here is what one person said …

[Flying Lessons] is very well written, the story line moves along seamlessly and culminates beautifully. The characters are well developed and it is easy to identify with them. The author shows great talent and I look forward to reading her other books. The book was truly unputdownable for me and I read it in one sitting … Joana James from Book Wormz

Get it on Kindle here. Get it for the Nook here. Get it in all eformats here.

Don’t have an ereader, maybe you should get one. They’re all the rage in Arizona. I hear the Kindle is good. Check it out here.

Hay is for Horses


My mother called me the other night to tell me that her doctor told her that she needs to eat more fiber. The conversation went something like this:

Mom: Fiber–most of my diet is fiber. I eat lots of vegetables and beans. Ever since you were little our diet has been primarily fiber.

Me: I don’t know what to say,  Mom. Maybe you should break out a bale of hay and start munching away.

Mom: I used to eat hay when I rode horses.

You probably don’t know my mother, but that is such a typical thing for her to say. She used to eat hay, yeah right? Maybe she chewed on a piece of hay like a cowboy in a movie, but she couldn’t have eaten it. She lives more than 5000 miles away and is still providing material for The Mooch.

She’ll call me after she reads this to insist that she did eat hay and feign anger. Then my father will call to ask why I don’t write any posts about him.

Photo by aussiegall


Break It Down

We bought a car in to keep in Florida not too long ago. It was for convenience because we go back and forth between the UK and Florida so often. It was also for prestige because we’re all about looking good. That’s why we have 97 Saturn as our Florida car and a 96 Peurgot 106 that sounds like a tractor as our UK car. Nothing says luxury like a car from the late nineties.

Anyway, when we got the car we told my parents that they could use it. They only have one vehicle and our car would just be sitting in their parking lot most of the time. My mother was insistent that they wouldn’t need to use it. “I don’t want that responsibility,” she said. “I can take the bus.”

My father has been driving it occasionally and my sister needed to use it for a while. That’s fine with us, but the other day we got a phone call telling us that the car broke down. When I say broke down I mean serious everything-stopped-working-stopping-in-the-middle-of-the-street broke down. That’s the kind of broke down that I have anxiety about whenever I drive anywhere. That’s the kind of broke down that ends up costing you more to repair than the car is actually worth. Anyway, guess who was driving it. Have you guessed yet? It was my mother.

My mother will probably read this post and never drive the car again. That’s too bad because even though she drives everywhere at 95 miles an hour the needs to be driven.

Pain Management

Pain is relative. I was reminded of this when I went to see my mother in the hospital a few years ago. She’d had an accident on her scooter and shattered her shoulder. She was in the hospital to get a shoulder replacement. While I was visiting her she told me that the nurse had asked her what her pain level had been and she had said it was a four, but later she somehow found out that what she had registered on the pain scale as a four was really an eight to most other people. She told me this in a matter-of-fact tone, but her eyes sparkled with pride.

My mother is tough. I’m sure that if she could’ve figured out how to perform her own shoulder replacement surgery she would’ve. Heck, she does her own dental work. Unfortunately, she had to pay a doctor to do the surgery for her because no matter how many mirrors she positioned around herself she couldn’t see well enough to perform the operation. I’m sure she didn’t have any knives that were sharp enough for the job at home anyway.

On Saturday, my mother had another scooter accident. That’s right. She still has a scooter. Shocking!! Apparently, this accident is some kind of secret, so don’t tell anyone. Or at least, don’t tell her that I told you. She broke her collarbone and several ribs. But wait that’s not all, she also bruised a lung and her brain.

She got out of the hospital yesterday afternoon. When I talked to her she told me that she was planning on going to work the following day. That’s after she told me that the pain was like someone pouring alcohol into an open wound, but she can handle it. There is plenty of work to be done in her office. There are appointments to keep. This level of pain may be a 27 to normal people, but it’s only a 6 to her.

Luckily, she didn’t go to work today. I hope she stays home and rests as long as she needs to, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she called me in a few days and told me that she’s decided to join the local roller derby team. “Practices start next week,” she’d say, “and I’ll be the only member starting out with my bones already broken.”

Early to Bed Early to Rise

Some people like to get up early. They like to see the sunrise. It makes them feel like they’ve got more time in the day. I know some of these people, and I’m definitely not one of them. I don’t have much need to see the sunrise. I see it set everyday. I think that’s pretty much the same thing just in reverse. In my opinion only the clinically insane would want to wake up before the sun comes out. Nobody needs that much time in their day.

My mother has always gotten up very early. I’m not trying to imply that my mother is insane. I’m just saying that she likes to have a lot of time in her day. At 11:30 at night she’d say things like, “I have to get to bed soon. I have to be up by 4 in the morning after all.” She likes to brag about not needing much sleep. My mother’s minimal sleep requirements used to be what I aimed for. I thought this was a pretty good goal. I’d read websites about how to shorten my sleep requirements. Then I’d try these techniques out and always come to the same conclusion. Sleeping less definitely gives you more hours in the day–more hours to suffer for the splitting headache you have from not getting enough sleep.

I used to think it was because I needed 8 hours of sleep, but recently I discovered that isn’t exactly true. I’ve realized that as long as I don’t get up before 8 o’clock  I’m fine. I could go to bed at 7 in the morning and get up an hour later and be totally fine. I would never do that of course because I don’t need that many hours in my day. Ideally I’d like to sleep until 9 or 10 or maybe even 11:32, but life isn’t always ideal.

The saying goes, Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. I’d like change that saying to early to bed, early to rise makes a man unable to get to sleep at night, gives him a huge headache the next day and puts him in a  bad mood. That saying probably won’t catch on, but I think it’s more realistic.

Mrs. She-Thinks-She’s-A-Dentist Pants

The other day I was talking with my mother on the phone and I mentioned something about my teeth. I was having problems with a filling so the dentist took it out and put in a temporary filling. If I have no problems with the temporary, she’ll replace it with a normal filling.

When I told my mother this she said, “I’m surprised you don’t put your own fillings in.”

Of course, I had never heard of such a thing so I laughed. “So you put in your own fillings now,” I joked.

“Yes, I do.” The pride in her voice was evident.

My mother has bought temporary filling stuff (I don’t know what to call it), a dental mirror, a dental syringe (for spraying water to clean out small spaces not injecting pain killers), and a dental hook from the drug store. She uses the hook to clean the tartar from her teeth on a regular basis. If she has a cavity she cleans it out with the syringe and then puts in the filling.

“What about drilling out the decayed part of the tooth?” I asked.

“The drilling is just to seat the filling. It’s not necessary. It’s just for show,” she said.

Needless to say, Mr. Dentist Pants doesn’t approve.

Open House

My mother likes to look at houses. I don’t remember this being the case when I was younger, but since moving to Florida, I’ve noticed. Wherever there’s an open house she’s there. She always notices for sale signs on front lawns and scans the classifieds for good deals. When my parents were actually looking for a condo this was a very good thing. My mother found them an excellent deal in a very nice place.

When my sister was looking for a house, my mother was out looking with her every weekend. Sometimes when my sister was busy she’d go out looking for her on her own. I’d call her cell phone and she’d say, “I’m just out looking at houses for your sister.” She loved to say that.

She took real estate classes when we lived in New Jersey, but for some reason never got her license. I don’t understand why. Real estate seems to be more her field than social work (she’s a social worker).

My mother especially loves open houses. It doesn’t matter what type of home it is. She’ll look in any price range–million-dollar homes to one hundred-thousand-dollar homes. She’ll walk in confidently, look around and ask questions.

Last month I went out with my mother while my father and husband rehearsed for a gig. On the way back home my mother saw a sign for an open house at a new condo complex. She made the right into the complex’s parking lot so suddenly that I thought I was in an episode of Duke’s Of Hazard. “Do you mind if I stop in at this open house?” she asked as the car skidded into a parking space.

There were two model units to look at in the complex. Of course she looked at both. She asked the realtor questions and picked up fliers. She acted like she was sincerely interested in buying a place.

When my husband called to find out why we hadn’t gotten back yet, I told him that we were at an open house. He just laughed.