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Time to Kill. The Hollywood Knights. The Story of Santa Claus. Dennis the Menace Strikes Again. The Story of Us. Bringing Down the House. Your Mommy Kills Animals. The Proposal. White and a former high school classmate this was shortly after graduation sang songs from The Merry Widow on an experimental Los Angeles channel in The Millionaire.
Date with the Angels. The Jack Paar Show. The United States Steel Hour. That's Life. O'Hara, U. The Odd Couple. The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Ellery Queen. The Carol Burnett Show. The Sonny and Cher Show. The Betty White Show. The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour. With This Ring. The Best Place to Be. Santa Barbara. Another World. Chance of a Lifetime. The Naked Truth. Maybe This Time. Ladies Man. The Wild Thornberrys. Intimate Portrait: Betty White.
Episode: " Missionary: Impossible ". Teacher's Pet. The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. I'm with Her. Malcolm in the Middle. The Bold and the Beautiful. Episode: " Stone Mountain ". Pound Puppies. Betty White's Off Their Rockers. And makes me believe. Like a little kid during Christmas. Magical, really. During the first three days of holiday break, I looked up at three different sights — each cheerful in its own way:. Here are a couple of other things that I looked up to in These still speak volumes to me given the plight of our nation and world:.
My daughter Liana found this four-leaf clover last spring. It was a quiet morning, the start of what was to be an unscheduled day for me. In the previous two weeks, my family and I had flown back from our family reunion in California… I had finished up an accelerated summer education course… I had had a routine screening colonoscopy… I had taken my girls to various annual appointments, gatherings with friends, back-to-school shopping, and their school open houses to meet their new teachers.
Having a great time with family in CA! All good. But busy. OK, the colonoscopy prep was no fun. I was planning to head out that afternoon to indulge in some writing which had taken a backseat during the spring and summer to teaching recertification. The door bell rang. A friend of my daughter Liana had arrived to pick up Liana so that they could go for haircuts. And they were willing and, dare I say, eager to chauffeur.
All I can say definitively is that I ruptured a tendon in my left pinky. As I was getting dressed. Yes, I hurt myself getting dressed. More specifically, as I was yanking up my jeans. And laughing about it. Kind of. My husband, Rob, rushed me to the nearby urgent care center owned by one of the local hospital systems. The nurse joked with me that I must have been doing something heroic. I had x-rays taken and my pinky was put in a temporary splint. Good news! I would need surgery. I was given a referral to an orthopedic doctor with directions to call on Monday morning.
I iced and elevated. And continued on with life, disturbed that I could hurt myself getting dressed and sad whenever I peeked at my limp pinky in the splint. Every now and then, I fantasized that it would bounce back to life and not require surgery. I contacted a friend who had had a hand injury last year, inquiring where she had been referred to and cared for. She raved about the UVA Hand Center where I had not been referred to saying that her child had also received excellent care there. The kind person who took my call got me onto the schedule that very day.
Indeed, I received excellent care. It usually heals on its own. Who knows? Wall-E checking out my handy-dandy splint. Rob got a big flat-screen TV ten years ago and I barely know how to work the thing. So, there we are, Rob and I, watching a half-hour of TV together each evening. Often it turns into an hour. While I grew more skilled at washing the dishes and my hair with one hand covered in a plastic bag, my girls started their new school year learning algebra and trigonometry.
They came home with stories to tell and I felt grateful to be a recipient. After dinner Liana pulled the ice cream tub from the freezer. Oh no. This fridge was 14 or 15 years old. It had been a tad too tall to fit underneath the cabinets, and the delivery guy with our OK sawed off the bottom part of the cabinet frame so that it would fit. About 10 years, the crushed ice function had stopped working. More recently, the filtered water had stopped working. And it had started making strange sounds. We had just needed to replace the entire heat pump a few months before. The stove, dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer were all older than the fridge.
Not yet! I left the kitchen table and crept toward the fridge, not wanting to face reality. On the way, I peered into the ice cream tub, and the ice cream resembled soft-serve. I reached into the freezer, touched the chicken, and it sprang back. Water was dripping from the ice container, dribbling down the walls of the freezer and onto the kitchen floor. And yet for the second time since Saturday, I hoped against hope. Rob had had to work late. Fifteen minutes later he came home and was convinced that we had to deal with it.
Well, all right, if we must…. I remembered that our neighbors had a deep freezer in their garage. I called them. Even better! They had replaced their fridge recently and moved their old one into the garage. It was working and nearly empty! They welcomed us to use it. Rob and Liana brought over the food to our kind neighbors. Then Rob went out to get Ready Ice for the freezer where we then stored the essentials. Leaving four dishtowels on the floor in front of the fridge to sop up the dribbling water, I spent the better part of Thursday shopping for a fridge that would fit our smaller space.
On sale! To be delivered on Sunday! We knew we would survive with our food just down the cul-de-sac road. And we marveled at how people in our world live without a fridge and other privileges that many of us take for granted. On Friday morning, Liana raced up the stairs to my bedroom. Everything is frozen! My lunch is frozen! I ran down to the kitchen and threw open the freezer door careful to protect my pinky, of course. It was working! I threw open the fridge door. Working, too! Maybe a mechanical part had gotten clogged with ice, shutting down the machine until the water had drained?
I voiced the possibility of canceling the new fridge, but the other three people in my house vetoed that right away. Yeah, it had become too flaky. And we were lucky that we could afford to let this one go. Bye, fridge. Thanks for all the years! Later that day I was headed home at the start of rush hour. First, I planned to make quick stops at the library and supermarket. The cars were going the usual 60 mph on this stretch of a two-lane highway. I was traveling in the right lane, preparing to exit soon, when I noticed that a line of stopped cars had suddenly started to form.
Maybe an accident? Or an overflow of exiting cars? The-car-in-front-of-me stopped. I stopped. I looked in my rearview mirror. The-car-behind-me stopped. But wait. You know, my car? And then I saw the-car-two-cars-behind-me fly between our two cars and continue beyond the-car-behind-me. I pulled over to the break-down lane and looked around, trying to process what had just happened during the last few seconds.
The-car-behind-me was smashed in the rear and in the front. The-car-in-front-of-me had sustained less damage, but still, it had been hit and was further up in the right lane than the-car-behind-me. The-car-two-cars-behind-me was behind the-car-in-front-of-me, but in the break-down lane. The road was littered with car debris. The traffic behind us had halted. Including the semi who was the first vehicle in the left lane.
Oh, what a scary thought I had when I saw that truck…. Each driver talked to the police officer. I was free to go and got into my car. The police officer waved me forward, my car tires crunching pieces of the other cars that were all much newer and nicer than my year-old car. As I drove, I replayed the scene in my head over and over, trying to make sense of this accident that happened all around me but had left my car and most importantly, my body unharmed. As with my pinky, it happened so quickly.
But given the aftermath and after several mental replays, I think this is what transpired:. After the-car-two-cars-behind-me hit the-car-behind-me in the rear, the-car-behind-me steered into the left lane, presumably to avoid hitting my car, and then steered back into the right lane. The-car-two-cars-behind-me steered between the-car-behind-me and my car, presumably to avoid hitting either one of our cars. However, because it was traveling so fast, the-car-two-cars-behind-me hit the-car-behind-me again, this time in the front; and then went on to hit the-car-in-front-of-me.
I could not believe how lucky I was to be able to go on with my day. If my pinky had been like winning the lottery, this was like winning countless lotteries. I made it to the library ten minutes before closing to drop off some books and take some books off of hold. I picked up a few groceries for dinner at the supermarket and headed home. Rob met me at the door. And wishing the very best for the drivers and passengers of those three cars. We love our new fridge. Well, everyone except for the cats who are wary of it.
Maybe it looks like a gigantic animal.
It certainly looks and sounds different. And probably smells different, too. But unlike the pinky that needed surgery, the fridge that had drawn its final breath, and the car accident that was bound to happen, this new fridge is indeed what is seems to be. Wall-E and Howie trying to decide what to do with that big thing. A LOT. Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend! And everyone.
I like the backstory of both characters, and how it puts them where they meet and how they move forward. That should have been my first sign — I write about guys like him for a living. I was fortunate to be included in the Texas Authors Speed Dating event, in which authors rotated among tables of librarians to share about books. I spent most of my life there and was active in the community. Close Subscribe to this Blog.
The End. Well, in some ways, life is simpler than it was at earlier stages. Quite the opposite, I mean investing my heart. Writing at home — oh Howie, of all places to rest your sweet head. Giving an inservice based on my book at my awesome local public library. Updating my teaching certification; studying in my car while my daughter is doing volunteer work.
Each hat has sub-hats. On the one hand, all of these hats are wonderful. Each is a teacher — no matter the role, I consider myself a student, still learning. Every day. I have to let some stuff go. Hence, this symbolizes what my house looks like. Inside and out. So two friends graciously helped by transporting our girls to places. I see it on social media… and I hear it from friends and family in real time… and I just feel it in our country: we are all so busy. I recently had a biopsy done, and it came back negative.
There is a short story in that, though. I waited for the office staff to put my call through to the nurse. It took a long time before the nurse picked up. Well, maybe a minute or two, but it felt like a long time. On the one hand, the branches looked vulnerable — sitting way up high, extending far from the trunk, bobbing in the breeze.
Whipped around by high winds. Pelted by heavy rain. Weighed down by snow and ice. Those branches had been really good at bending and not breaking. So, as I waited for the nurse, I anchored myself by watching those strong, flexible branches. And I thought about how the news, depending on what it was, would take my life in one direction or another. Would I proceed with my plans for the rest of this school year?
Or would a good deal of my time and energy need to go elsewhere? Whatever the news, I hoped to handle things as those branches do. They keep it simple. They do what they need to do. And they do so with grace. As it turns out, I was lucky. Be it health or something else? Something little or something big? This makes me think of another very short story. When my younger daughter was three years old, she had an accident while under my care. She required stitches, as had my older daughter a few years prior. Both of them. Under my care! Maybe I could have prevented it, if only I had…. That was such an eye opener, and I felt so much better.
What a compassionate response. And what a novel way of looking at motherhood and at life. That awareness makes me feel grateful to wake up each day. That awareness also makes me avoid drama which is different from conflict. I have no time and energy for the former. Or eating chocolate. Those moments, like my phone call with the nurse, feel like reminders from the universe to sharpen that awareness and gratitude and perspective when it may be dulling. Those branches remind me to keep bending.
And more outrageous national news. The same old holiday songs have played in the background, connecting the past to the present. Some people have grown annoyed by the endless holiday music — no wonder, some stores have been playing them since the day after Halloween! And good memories. But I appreciate the lyrics, particularly those of the refrain. My kids are too old now to believe in Santa.
I love this ornament! I love this world. Not in the same place, and definitely not in a worse place. But in a better place. The grown-up in me knows that wishing is not enough. I must act, and do so with commitment and courage.
I spotted this while Christmas shopping. Whichever holiday s you celebrate, I wish you and yours love and joy…peace and hope…and whatever fills your list. I just may keep playing holiday music well into the New Year. Together, we can do anything. My yard this morning. My kids have been back in school for over a month, and homework and activities have kicked into high gear. Leaves are drifting to the ground and blanketing the grass. Summer is behind us although the degree temps have made it easier for my mind to remain there. In the swirl of summer memories, two keep rising to the top.
I think their appeal is due to the fact that each involved two things: kindness and strangers. It was mid-June technically not even summer yet. My girls were headed out of town on a Tuesday, a few days after the end of their school year. They were flying to California to stay with their uncle and aunt, and were planning to visit additional relatives. In the midst of end-of-year teacher-gift-buying-and-making, I had picked up gifts for relatives as small tokens of our appreciation. My closet looked like Christmas in June. These people were planning to take care of my girls for two whole weeks, laundry and all.
They were still sitting on a rack at the gift shop at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. One-and-a-half hours away in Richmond. Oh no! Was this a real problem? Remember: local, national, and world events. My girls were flying to CA. Relatives were excited to see them. My girls were old enough to finish packing while…. I drove to an outdoor mall in Charlottesville in search of something dolphin or cat or unicorn related. It was already 5 pm, so I dashed in. It was filled with cute knick-knacks and accessories. I started to scan the shelves and racks.
She looked like she could have been a runway model. There I was wearing my typical shorts, t-shirt, no make-up, and graying hair. I felt tired and frazzled, and probably looked it, too. She reached for a pair of cat socks; too young. A unicorn stuffed toy; too big. She showed me a few more items, but nothing quite worked. I could tell that she did. And that she was disappointed with our luck so far. Several times during our interactions, she said she was tired and apologized for stumbling over her words.
Each time I told her, in one way or another, to please not worry. I wanted her to give herself a break. She was trying so hard to help me find a gift, and to come across as the perfect professional. I understood this trying-hard-at-life thing. Photo compliments of my sister-in-law. She looked relieved. We chatted as we walked to the cash register. Again, she stumbled over her words and apologized. I told her that I had kids and understood feeling tired. Then she started to cry.
She came around to the other side of the sales desk. She bent down and I reached up, and we hugged. Two strangers in the middle of a store. Keep shining your light. She looked radiant. The evening sunlight was streaming into the store and enveloping her red hair in a warm glow that made her look…well, angelic. After my girls had landed safely in California and I could breathe again, I called the store and left a message for the manager saying what amazing service I had received. Because really, that young woman had made my day. One place was White Oak Lavendar Farm located about 50 minutes from our house, on the other side of a mountain which is part of the Shenandoah National Park.
For a few reasons, I drove my car. We made it there and basked in all things lavender. Guess what else filled the air on this picture perfect day? The sounds of live harp music.
Life slowed down in this heavenly place. It was more than worth the drive. At White Oak Lavender Farm. Then we decided to head back over the mountain to Charlottesville. As I was exiting the parking lot, I heard something metal graze the pavement. A few miles into the drive, I heard the sound of metal scraping the road. I pulled over onto the narrow strip of grass near the guardrail and popped the trunk.