Dragon Herding

I have one of the toughest jobs around. I herd dragons. Believe me that is one tough job. If you ever watched “How to Train your Dragon” or a Harry Potter movie, you know what I’m talking about.

Dragons are naturally rambunctious critters. They fly around when you want them to stay put, sort of like three-year-old children. They fight over who has the shiniest coat and who has the biggest fangs. When they start flame-throwing contests, you’d better hide or at least run for your flame-retardant suit. NASCAR doesn’t own enough suits to keep me supplied. Have you ever tried to lift a fire extinguisher large enough to douse a dragon’s belch? Not easy, I tell you.

If you think that’s bad, you should see them when they begin imbibing. They don’t care whose beer they steal as long as there is plenty of it. If there aren’t enough beer barrels to go around, the dragons begin rioting. They’re fussing and fighting and throwing flames all over the place. That’s when you have to try to herd them back to their gigantic dragon corrals. Herding sober dragons is hard enough, but when they’re drunk. . . . They fall all over the place, singe each other’s wings, and roar loud enough to be heard across the ocean.

On top of that they don’t like to sort themselves out by type and color. That’s something I must do because dragon aficionados, just like horse owners, have their favorite breeds and colors. One problem is that big black dragons don’t want to associate with small green ones or middle size blue ones, but at the same time they don’t want to be separated. They want to mingle so they can fight when they feel like it. One dragon has been in so many fights that he no longer has any hide left. However, that hasn’t stopped him. He’s still in there biting, kicking, snarling and throwing flames.

Thankfully, I have assistants that help. Fairies fly around the rowdy dragons and attempt magic spells to calm them. Sometimes it works, but occasionally even fairy magic isn’t enough. Unicorns assist with round-ups to prepare the dragons for sale. The unicorns surround the dragons, separate them by breed and color, then escort them into their separate corrals. These magical creatures do their best, but even when the dragons are compliant, unicorn magic doesn’t always work. It only takes one hyper-active dragon who skipped his tranquilizer hay to start a ruckus. Then away we go again.

This is a never ending job. Talk about stressful. My doctor keeps telling me to get a quieter job. I suppose she’s right. But – believe me dragon herders are paid extremely well and get excellent benefits. For example, no other company can touch our medical and life insurance plans.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my flight of fancy. In reality I work in the Pot o’ Gold Magic Shop at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Working with magical creatures all day can stimulate fanciful ideas.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, June 8, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

What’s normal? Thoughts to Ponder – May 11, 2015

 “If you are always trying to be normal
you will never know how amazing you can be.”
Maya Angelou*

“Life can only be understood backward;
but it must be lived forwards.”
Soren Kierkegarrd*

Life is filled with contradictions. Last week I was filled with despair because I felt I did not live up to certain alumnae expectations. Of course, by the time I finished writing my sob-story, the despair was gone. Just putting the words on paper gave my thoughts structure and evaporated anxiety’s power it held when flying around my brain hitting this nerve or that sore spot.

Today’s quotes put that angst and recovery in perspective. I am not and never will be normal, whatever that is. Only by looking back can I understand how amazing graduating college at age 47 was.

I began my life by being born with a full head of bright red hair on Valentine’s Day. That put me in the not-normal category before I had done anything more interesting than burp. Since my mother had brown hair and my father had white/blonde hair the predominant question the rest of my childhood was, “Where did she get that red hair?” The naturally related comment was, “Oh, you have so many freckles!” All this was happening when my goal was to get a tan like normal people. Covering up at the beach when everyone else was stretched out in the sand was misery.

The next thing that not-normal thing that happened was my making the honor roll every year until I quit trying. My parents were children of the Depression. School was not high on many parents’ priority list – food and work were the top issues. My parents did not lack intellectual ability, they just lacked education. So the second question was, “How did she get so smart?” I was proud of being smart, but tired of the insinuations that my parents were dumb. Even I thought they were dumb until I was old enough to look back and saw how much they had accomplished.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. I was not considered normal by most adults or classmates. How I longed to be like everyone else. I’ll just say that feeling alienated led me to make some “stupid” mistakes that led to gifts like my children, travel, library cards in many locations and unusual experiences.

Now that I’ve reached the mature age of 25 and have four great-grandchildren, the “other blonde” has softened the red in my hair. People are now aware of skin-cancer and the need to cover-up. So I look more normal. Thanks to public information and television shows like “Scorpion” and “Big Bang Theory” about people who have IQs much higher than mine, I’m considered normal, though an usually young great-grandmother.

Now I can look backward and understand that I’ve had an amazing life and have an amazing future to contemplate. What more can I ask of life? I thank Universal Energy for all the experiences that brought me to where I am today, even though they seemed difficult at the time.

And, so it is.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, May 11, 2015

*Both quotes are from “Inspiration, 5-7-15 Defy Ordinary” by Pamela Harper, http://www.pamelaharper.com

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of “Twins! Oh no!,” one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Fishing exploits

Being an only child I went along whenever my parents took a notion to toss a line in the water. Since we didn’t have a boat our fishing was done from a dam, river’s edge or pier. Fishing was not really my favorite activity. I wasn’t too squeamish even though I preferred artificial bait. My problem was trying to sit and speak quietly so I wouldn’t spook the fish. If I had to be quiet I wanted a book in hand, but that wasn’t sportsman like behavior.

When I was about 10 my mother’s youngest brother, who was my age, spent the weekend with us. Dad decided G. should have an opportunity to go fishing. We loaded ourselves and all the equipment into the car and drove to the local dam. After sitting there, mostly quiet, for some time G. was getting bored.

Then it happened. A fish struck, a big one that pulled G’s line up-river. As we screamed for help, Dad rushed over and helped G. land the fish. Once G. saw how big it was, he fell on the ground, rolling around, screaming, “I caught a big fish. I caught a big fish.” He was in such a tizzy that the fishing expedition came to a halt. So did the weekend visit. G. insisted in going home immediately to show his mom. Dad put the fish on ice and we drove G. home. His mother showered him with appropriate praise. Then Dad took the fish outside to clean it. G. was much too excited to be trusted with a knife.

Years later I married an avid fisherman. I gamely fished with him until the babies started coming. By the time they were school age my husband had accumulated a small tent and a two-person inflatable raft. During the day the children and I hiked or played on the shore while O. fished. At night the girls and I slept in the tent while O. and our son slept in the car.

At sunrise I would feel something jiggling my foot. It was O. waking me so I could enjoy fishing while the kids were asleep. I gamely struggled into my clothes and then into the raft, all the while muttering that I’d rather sleep. I never caught anything on these outings, too sleepy I guess. But, I did enjoy watching the sun climb from ground level, above the trees and into the sky and listening to the birds awaken the other woodland creatures.

My most unforgettable fish story does not involve a hook and line. I had a rare opportunity. Sturgeon swim from the Great Lakes up their favorite river to lay eggs, following the same route to the same location each year. While sturgeon are huge, they are also vulnerable to poachers. Both the meat and the roe are worth large sums of money.

The most dangerous issue is that they are prehistoric fish with nodal cords rather than protective spines. This means that if they are lifted incorrectly their nodal cords will break and they will die. To protect the fish the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources assigns as many conservation wardens as possible to the nesting grounds and relies on volunteers to walk the river banks, just to be a presence and keep poachers away.

We gathered at a lodge near the river we would be walking and had a great supper. Someone brought out a 7” portable television and a video of “Robo-Cop.” About 20 of us gathered around the miniscule TV to cheer on our current cinema hero. Early the next morning we were awakened, fed and reminded to wear warm clothes because the high temperature was to be 40 degrees.

We paired up and drove to our assigned locations. Fortunately, my team mate and I were assigned to an area with a small house boat moored alongside and a narrow plank walkway leading from the bank to the boat.

By early afternoon a few fish couples decided to nest in water only a few inches deep. Males drummed the female’s sides to force her eggs to drop onto the fine gravel. Once that happened females swam away and males ejected semen on top of the eggs. Because their attention was otherwise occupied I was able to sit on the plank and pet those unique fish. Not only was touching them an amazing experience, it also reminded me just how vulnerable these gentle giants were to anyone wishing them harm. This is why caviar costs so much.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, April 15, 2015
energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy”
Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists
Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

All grown up and . . .

When I was a child I was told that becoming an adult not only brought added responsibilities, but also certain privileges such as drinking coffee and alcohol. I concede that the responsibilities part is true, but I’m here to tell you that the privilege part is not reality, at least in my world.

Let’s start with caffeine. Brewing coffee always smelled enticing, but tasted nasty. You’d have thought someone had just given me something disgusting, like liver.

When visiting friends and relatives who offered coffee and I said, “No, thank you,” nothing else was offered. As a young bride I complained to my husband that I would have appreciated being offered an alternative. He asked, “Why didn’t you ask for something else?

“Isn’t that rude? If they had something else, they would have offered it.”

“Many coffee drinkers just don’t think of other options.”

On future visits my husband would intercede for me. When I was offered coffee and declined he would say, “She’d like a soda or water.” The alternative was usually water.

As the years passed I learned to drink tea saturated with lemon. Pepsi was nectar from the gods. One day the doctor told me that to control my blood pressure I should stop drinking tea and soda. Thinking that two Pepsis and two cups of lemony tea a day was not much, I quit cold turkey. Have you ever seen a nice woman turn into the Wicked Witch of the West? After about three weeks, I was me again, unhappy but no longer evil.

Twice I attempted to make coffee, once for each husband. Both endeavors were met with, “Don’t ever touch my coffee pot again!”

Over the years I kept a 4-cup pot and a small coffee container in the freezer for my mother’s visits. A few years ago on a trip to Minnesota my friend and I stopped for gas. She said, “Let’s get a latte. It doesn’t taste like coffee.” I agreed and liked it. We bought another on the return trip.

Sometime later Ohio friends were visiting for a few days. Trying to be a good host, I asked another friend to buy some fresh coffee for them. On the way to the airport I remembered that they used creamer. I stopped at the store to buy some. The dairy case display was overwhelming. I called my daughter for advice. She suggested some options. Selecting one, I approached the checkout and then remembered something else. Frantically calling her back, I said, “I’m on my way to the airport. Won’t it spoil?” She then directed me to the coffee aisle for a non-dairy selection.

After her arrival my friend made coffee and asked if I wanted some. Recalling the two lattes I’d enjoyed in Minnesota I said, “Yes, if you can flavor it.” She did. I added more flavor and enjoyed it. The next day she asked, “Would you some more coffee in your cream?” I did. She then showed me how to brew my own coffee.

I enjoyed my flavored coffee for a couple years until a few months ago. After my big vertigo incident, my doctor advised me that part of the trouble was dehydration and to stop drinking caffeine beverages. She explained that caffeine is a diuretic and had contributed to my dehydration. Is that why coffee drinkers drink so much coffee?

Alcoholic beverages had their own story. The taste was pleasant as long the alcohol was in a mixed drink. My problem was that I was a cheap – and short – date. One drink made me happy, a second sent me to sleepy-by-land. So much for a fun night on the town.

Beer had its own peculiar reaction. One beer sends me running to the little girls’ room, praying to the porcelain god. A co-worker advised me, “Sharon, you are supposed to get drunk first, then throw up.”

So, here I am again, a little girl who can’t drink coffee or alcohol. I know it’s better for my health, but gosh. . . .

© by Sharon D. Dillon, February 5, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com

Time Traveling Adventures

Despite what we’ve all been taught to believe, Time Travel is not a figment of our imagination. “Back to the Future” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth” are true stories. Let me show you what I’ve learned.

This young man made an amazing trip to the dinosaur age and found

With Toothy


that he could actually tame some of them using Jedi skills. He said that this small dinosaur was actually pretty friendly as long as he kept M&Ms in his pockets for treats. Despite the sharp teeth, he convinced his trusty steed to eat only plants. The boy said that his time atop the dinosaur was like riding a pony – and he named him “Toothy.”

Moving forward a few million of years, Capt. John Smith found himself in quite a quandary at Jamestown Fort. Since disease and starvation was rampant, most of the soldiers and other members of the governing council had either died or fled to England on the first available ship leaving Smith in charge. Because of these disastrous events, he recruited younger and younger men and taught them to be soldiers. 0222141152_0001This lad accepted his fate, but wan’t happy when he realized the muskets were longer than he and nearly as heavy.0222141204a_0001

Skipping forward 160+ years the same boy was drafted again. He told the recruiters that he had served before, but they and their commanders doubted him. He appealed his case all the way to Gen. George Washington. When the boy explained that he had already served from 1610-1614, Gen. Washington took umbrage. He ordered punishment1214141107 and a two year enlistment.

Fortunately, the boys made it back to the 21st century and found more gentle steeds to ride.1025141303

Upon their return they found other boys preparing for time travel. 20150101_121211Before they could warn them of the dangers, the new boys were deep into boot camp and almost ready to begin their travels. We can only hope these recruits also return home safely.

© Sharon D. Dillon, January 15, 2015

Critters will get you every time

Earlier this morning I laughed at “AlmostIowa’s” story of the extortionist critters in his yard. This made me think of some of my true critter adventures.

A few years ago I spent a (Tidewater Virginia) winter listening to scritch, scritch, scritch. It was not the hapless squirrel in “Ice Age,” but my very own attic dwelling squirrel. When spring came and I heard no more scritch, I called a repairman who came and fixed my aluminum attic vent so no more critters would invade my home. Or, so he said.

The next winter, I heard heavy duty scratching and movements. Not believing a large animal could get into the vent, I went outside to look. The vent was bent like a Navy Seal had fought his way into the house looking for Taliban. Accepting that as a warning, I put extra security around my inside attic entrance and went to sleep each night to the sounds of giant wildlife walking above my head. At last spring arrived and the invader left. This time I called a different repairman who took one look and said, “You hosted a raccoon.” He completely rebuilt the vent and secured it like a cell at Sing-Sing. Now my attic is quiet. Some friends asked why I didn’t go upstairs and try to shoo the raccoon away. I replied as my dad would have, “I may not be well-educated, but I’m not stupid.”

Back in the 1960s I was a Girl Scout camp counselor and some of the girls came to me with tiny eggs. They were so proud of their find. But, being an experienced Girl Scout I thought that the eggs looked strange and knew the mama would be angry that the girls had stolen her eggs. I asked them to show me where they found the eggs. Soon I was looking at a totally smashed rattle snake. They had surprised the snake with a whack on the head with a huge stick, thus removing their danger. But, wanting to be sure the snake was really dead they continued smashing from head to tail. Just as they reached the end, the tiny eggs squeezed out and looked so cute that the girls had to share their discovery. I hated to disappoint them, but picked up a rock and smashed the eggs too. One thing Oklahoma didn’t need was more rattlesnakes.

About the same time my husband and I were camping on the Fort Sill range, next to a beautiful lake. Having no camping gear, we slept fully clothed on the ground between quilts. Just as the sun rose we heard a gentle snuffling and shuffling. We looked up to see a small herd of buffalo drinking from the lake. We stayed where we were and watched in awe as the huge creatures moved around to let the calves drink. They paid no heed to us and when they were done, wandered back to the hills.

While in high school I attended a local overnight (Ohio) Girl Scout camp which provided us with a large, supposedly critter proof, garbage can to store our food. Before heading to our tents we double checked to ensure that all food was in the can, the lid was tight and our pit fire was banked for the night. Next morning we arose to find our garbage can open and much of the food eaten or hauled away. Luckily, the thieves left paw prints. We dug out our trusty GS guide books to identify the food thieves. As we paged through the track guide, we studied and eliminated each track, until one girl said, “That’s it. The track matches the ones on our food can.” We solved the mystery. Our leader read the description and said, “This track belongs to a Dingo Dog, native to Australia. Keep looking.” We did, eventually identifying the thief as a raccoon and his pals. We went to the lodge and called our mothers for more food, which arrived as soon as they could get to the store and drive to the camp. For the rest of the week we put chains and locks around the can. No more raccoons or Dingo Dogs. BTW, we kept that fire burning for an entire week, even holding a tarp over it during a rain storm.

© Sharon Dillon, December 29, 2014


I must be a squirrel

Before those of you who know me fall down laughing – I admit it. I am also squirrelly. I say odd things at odd times and forget if I’m going forward or backward. I’m out of underwear. That’s okay, the laundry will wait until tomorrow. Having proved my credentials, on to proving my assertion.

I’ve decided I must be a squirrel because it is October and I’m acting like a squirrel. I’m throwing out old nesting materials and bringing in new. Each month local charities collect clothes and other items to sell in their resale stores. Many months go by with nary a donation. But in September, October and November their donation bags are overflowing, sometimes with extra bags and boxes alongside.

The past two winters I was not well and did not do my annual file exchange. Usually, I remove the ending year’s files into my “keep just in case I get audited” box. Then I shred documents more than three years old and recycle them. Since I had a work break recently that project is finished. The shreds filled six paper grocery bags.

Other evidence of my squirrel genes lies in my freezer and cupboard. Outdated food is out and new is in. This often involves something I avoid in warmer months – cooking.

A few weeks ago my daughter gave me a bag of yams, I think. I never could tell yams from sweet potatoes. These had reddish skin with yellowish-greenish insides. During the first week I baked three. Even though the color was yucky, they were yummy with butter and salt and pepper.

Realizing I’d never eat them all before they turned to mush with a rash of white spots, I decided to bake them all at once. I piled them all on a baking sheet and stuck them in the oven. After they baked and cooled I peeled and mashed them without toppings. They filled four 2.5 cup freezer containers.

A couple weeks ago the same daughter suggested we stop at the grocery after my doctor had just given me caffeine, alcohol and driving restrictions for my vertigo. I walked into the grocery store holding on to my daughter’s arm looking like she had just rescued me from the local watering hole. Spying the fall veggies I had a brilliant idea. I’d make my first winter pot of root soup.

My daughter agreed. Why? If I could barely walk alone, why would she trust me with sharp objects? Thinking somewhat sanely I bought the smallest rutabaga and turnips I could find. I staggered my way out of the store feeling proud of purchasing good, healthy food. I’ll not mention the frozen fruit bars that were also in the bags.

Once home, sanity prevailed and I let the veggies sit in the refrigerator until I could walk without holding on to the walls and even walk the ¼ mile round trip to my mailbox.

Two days ago, I decided I could handle a knife safely and began chopping vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, celery, onions all went smoothly. I peeled the rutabaga and turnips with no more trouble than any other year. Chopping now, that’s another story.

I started with the same knife I had been using for the other vegetables. It went in just far enough to get stuck. After I tried wiggling the knife and cursing, the rutabaga finally released the knife. Solution – get a larger chopping knife. Oops, same results. Trying to release it was more scary knowing what this knife would do to my fingers and other body parts if it slipped. Finally, the rutabaga took pity on me and released that knife too.

What to do? I went to my arsenal, er, cutlery drawer and pulled out the heaviest weapon. “Okay, rutabaga, you are only three inches wide and this blade is eight inches long. It is time for you to surrender.” I gently placed the middle of the blade on the rutabaga, one palm on the back of the blade’s pointed end and the other on the handle. Using my substantial body weight, I pressed down. “Take that, rutabaga!”

Soon it and the turnips joined the other vegetables in the pot. I filled the pot with water and all sorts of seasonings and set it on my largest burner. Soon I had delicious soup that warmed my insides. I ate a good size bowl that day and the next. Then I filled four more freezer containers and added them to the yam stockpile.

If this doesn’t prove that I’m a squirrel, let me add one more fact. I eat nuts every day and peanut butter several times a week.

© by Sharon Dillon, October 17, 2014

How to make a Turducken of yourself – and get your dishwasher fixed

Ever since I bought my dishwasher many years ago, it has made a thunking noise and required an extra push to get the door to seal. Assuming it was made that way, I pushed and listened to the thunk. Events conspired to get it fixed last week, and I only had to make a turducken of myself.

My writing group was scheduled to meet at my house the next day and I needed to do a little bit of touch up cleaning. I pulled out my handy-dandy Swiffer© duster and began to dust. I poked that long handled gift from the cleaning fairies under, between and over dusty surfaces. I was so inspired that I even dusted things that had not been touched since the first Bush administration. The remaining dust appears to be from before the Stone Age, so I decided it should continue its progress toward making a new planet.

I had worked my way through the whole house and was finishing with the refrigerator top. I took a step back to better reach what was left. Wham! I was sitting on the dishwasher door and bottom rack. Colorful metaphors ensued. I just knew the appliance would need to be replaced.

Shifting my weight to stand and inspect the damage, I noticed a dinner fork was dangling from my left thumb. I pulled out the three embedded tines and headed for the bathroom to slap on a Band Aid©. There was a bright red trail along the way, looking like I had left melted, cherry popsicle drippings instead of bread crumbs to find my way back home.

Washing off the mess, I applied standard First Aid© and after taking a queasy break, I texted my daughter asking her to stop over when she had a chance to make sure I had bandaged it properly. She agreed to come a few hours later since she was currently babysitting her grandchildren.

I needed a shower badly. I could wash my body one-handed but not my messy hair, just dirt, not red stuff. I worked and worked to get a finger protector on my thumb. By the time I finally rolled it down to the thumb’s base, I was again leaking vital fluids. I cut off the original bandage and the protector.

After taking another queasy break, I rebandaged the turduken thumb. This time I added a vinyl glove and headed to the shower. Somehow I cleaned my body, but let me ask you this. Have you ever tried to shampoo and condition with one hand? I lathered here, then there, then another place, hoping all the hair was clean. Rinse and repeat the procedure with the wash-out conditioner. Toweling myself dry with one hand was another interesting experience. Then – how to apply leave-in conditioner? How much hair was actually covered is another good question.

A few hours later my daughter arrived, inspected the turducken thumb and drove to the closest drugstore and bought me some waterproof Band Aids©. She redressed the wound and prepared to leave. I asked her to check my dishwasher for damage because it was making new thunks and clunks. Inspecting the machine she found that a screw was missing. She replaced it and now the dishwasher closes properly with just a click.

© by Sharon Dillon, September 16, 2014
energywriter@cox.net; http://energywriter.me
Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, one of 14 stories published in The Book of Mom, booksyoucantrust.com, 20+ years experience writing for several newspapers and magazines.

I’m an artist

Having received a one of those eagerly anticipated letters from my Home Owners Association that said my house was lovely, as were my weedy flower garden and my splintery deck. However, they suggested a few tweaks to come into neighborhood compliance. Most of the suggestions required stain or paint.

Dutifully I bought deck stain and door paint and brushes. I have plenty of can openers and stir sticks. In fact I have enough to keep my paint cans open and stirred until I reach the point of hiring the job out to a lesser artist than I.

My largest purchase was a gross of edging tape to help me stay within the lines. I carefully taped anything that was even close to another color. Then I donned my oldest clothes, safety glasses and plastic gloves and began to spruce up my house.

The deck and front porch are now a new color, but close to the old color, as required by the HOA color guidelines. I changed the front door from the dark red that it has proudly worn for the past 12 years to a lovely forest green that matches the house number plaque I purchased at Busch Garden’s Christmas Market a year and half ago.

After a few weeks of work, an hour here and there, the project was complete and I carefully removed the edging tape. This was a sad duty, because I was beginning to like that blue outline. I thought it set off the other colors and made my house more cheerful than the others.

Once that task was completed I stood back to admire my work. I noticed that while my edges were all neat, several drips, splashes and smudges made the siding and door frames look like a Jackson Pollock painting. What an exciting prospect! If Pollock could sell his drips and splashes for thousands of dollars, why shouldn’t I get at least a million for a work of art that included a two bedroom house?

Regrettably, all I got was another letter from the HOA telling me to get some paint that matches the siding to cover up the various drips, splashes and smudges.

Some people just don’t appreciate valuable art!

© Sharon Dillon, July 19, 2014

Be careful what you wish for . . .

My parents used to remind me on a frequent, sometimes daily, basis, “Be careful what you wish for,” with the caveat “you just might get it.” Of course, there were other times when they would say, “Wish in one hand and spit in the other. See which one gets full faster.” Of course, Walt Disney constantly reminded us, “When you wish upon a star . . . .”

What a dilemma of mixed messages to a child! As I grew older I began reading books like The Secret (Rhonda Byrnes) and Law of Attraction (Abraham-Hicks). More confusion. Why didn’t a million dollars show up on my doorstep like it did for the authors? Recently I’ve been learning how to use the power of attraction in small ways, but not always with the results I had in mind.

A couple weeks ago that came to my attention in a startling way.
Two weeks ago I became dizzy and nauseated at work. It was a very hot day and I had not slept well the previous night so was not concerned. After sitting in his office a few minutes my supervisor called Health Services. Envisioning a short nap and back to work, I said yes.

Two hunky young men came, asked a few questions then pushed me up the hill to Health Services. Because the hill was steep and I weigh a bit more than I should, they ran up the hill. Whoo Hoo! This was the fastest ride I’d had in the park for several years.

Once there an aid remarked several times about the puffiness under my eyes. I told her it was a lack of sleep and old age, but she didn’t buy it. After a while they discharged me to my daughter’s care and told me to see my primary provider. I called for an appointment and was told to go straight to the ER. Why? Just go.

Once in the ER I was allowed to don a fashionable, faded gown that had a portion missing. Then a gurney ride down the hall that was more exciting than the wheel chair ride, just as fast and more obstacles. Soon I had a plug installed in my inner elbow, just in case it was needed later. Soon a nice young cardiologist arrived and determined I needed a heart catheterization.

The next evening I was wired to the first plug and another one. The doctor threaded a mini-camera from my groin to my heart. I could see something that appeared about 4” long twitching and leaping. I knew it was an artery or vein moving as my heart beat. Later I told the nurse that I saw something that appeared to be a praying mantis jumping around. She said, “There was no praying mantis. You were drunk.” I guess nurses aren’t into metaphors.

The absolutely worst part was an intravenous bag that kept filling me with fluids but the nurses wouldn’t allow me to use the bathroom. I’d awaken with urgencies and automatically sit up. An alarm blared like I was breaking into a bank vault. Four nurses would run into the room yelling at me to use the buzzer. I’m supposed to break 60+ years of training in five minutes? A little later loud shouting disturbed my slumber. It turned out that a man got up to use the bathroom and wandered into someone else’s room.

Finally, morning arrived and the nurses disconnected me from all the tubes and told me I could actually use the potty. Ahhhh, luxury! After that joy and brushing my teeth I went for a short walk down the hall trying to hold the gown together, hoping the other occupants would not be treated to the sight of my pasty-white nether regions flapping in the wind. Ah, a flash of insight! Back in my room I donned my work shorts that were tucked away for my trip home. New confidence. The second lap was much more fun than the first. The gown could flap all it wanted and I didn’t care.

The hospitalist arrived and said I could go home. No damage to heart, but the new medicine schedule included additions, subtractions, increases and decreases.

When my daughter arrived to drive me home, I whined about my situation. She stopped me short, saying, “Mom, you said you wanted a few days off work.”

July 1, 2014