For Bill

I was facing an uphill battle when, at age 60, I started looking for a husband. I previously had three husbands and was still broken up about losing my third, when part of me started looking for a fourth! I decided since I was divorced, but still young enough to enjoy sex, that I would look for a man I could love physically as well as emotionally. That narrowed the field, because most men my age are old, not sexy.

I was really happy when Bill first came to our little church. There were no single men attending the church at the time, so I was excited when I saw a handsome man sitting by himself in one of the pews. The first thing I noticed about him was that he had plenty of beautiful white hair.

I loved him first because he was handsome. His face was tan and he had rosy cheeks, something lacking in most other men our age. Secondly, his demeanor was calm and serious and he was a Christian. And third, I was interested in him because he was sexy.

I remember after our first date I said, “I really like you Bill. I think you’re cool!”

“I think you’re cool too, Nancy!” I was so thrilled I almost fell on my way in the house.

I soon discovered he took my breath away, something I thought I was too old to experience. It took me a long time to have the courage for that first kiss, but once it occurred, I was madly in love. We married a year later and enjoyed ten years together.

Bill got cancer two years ago. He fought like the ex-green beret he was, but succumbed last Tuesday to the devastating disease. After three rounds of chemo, we cared for him at home with the help of Hospice, and Bill’s last breath was taken Tuesday, February 24th.

I thank God that I was with him at the end. I was talking to him, and although his eyes were closed and his breathing was forced, I could tell he could hear me. I started praying for him.

“Please Jesus, take Bill out of his misery. Send angels to take him to heaven to see his mansion. I love you Bill, and I thank you for taking such good care of me, but Jesus is here and he will take care of me now. Jesus and the angels want to take you up to heaven to see your Mother and Father and your Grandfather.” Bill had a special love for his grandfather, who was a pastor.”

“Goodbye Bill, I love you!”

And he took his last breath.

 

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The Wedding Beefcake and the Beef

Women love weddings. We plan for years for the perfect wedding for ourselves and our daughters and spend large fortunes on dresses, food, cake, flowers, reception halls, a band, and invitations. Why do we do this?

Because we love it! It’s our dream day, the one day in our lives when we can let it all out and do exactly what we want. That is, of course unless the groom disagrees. The groom should be told from the get-go that he has no say whatsoever on anything that happens at the wedding, except when he finally says “I do” at the right time.

I think all women love weddings, even those who aren’t related to the people getting married. We get all sweet and gushy when we see a man who is finally giving up his freedom to take care of a woman because he loves her. Unfortunately, to witness this event, we really need to be accompanied by a man.

Have you ever noticed that more women attend weddings as guests than men? Think about it. When was the last time you saw a group of men telling jokes, drinking beer and throwing peanut shells in the back row of the church during a wedding? Honestly now, never! Men would much rather stay home dressed in their sweats than actually sweat it out in a suit in a church. I know there are exceptions to playing wedding hooky, such as pastors who must be in suits in church every week and don’t seem to mind. But in general, I believe men like to avoid getting dressed up and going to weddings.

What we women need to do is begin early in the season to prepare our man for his eventual attendance at a wedding. That’s why the invitations have those little cards you return, telling the bride who will be attending. Once your man has stood by and agreed to attend, and you have sent back your acceptance card, there is no wedding hooky permitted. It’s now compulsory.

At night while he is sleeping speak to his subconscious about it.

“How wonderful it’s going to be to see Megan walk down the aisle in June.”

He manages to wake up enough to mumble, “Who’s Megan?”

“You know the beautiful blond daughter of Jim and Carol.” During this nightly brainwashing be sure to stress how beautiful the bride will be. You know how men like to see pretty women.

A few nights later, tell his subconscious about the food.

“I hear they’re serving filet mignon at Megan and Chad’s wedding in June.”

“Who’s Megan?”

“You know, the beautiful blond daughter of Jim and Carol. She’s marrying Chad.”

“Who’s Chad?”

“Your friend, the groom, who is very fond of cocktails and steak.” In this case use beef and alcohol as the subconscious prize for attending the wedding.

During the pre-wedding brainwashing be sure to stress the beefcake and the beef! Subconsciously you are implanting the idea that the wedding will be a very gratuitous experience for your husband. Finally when the day of the wedding comes and your husband begins his pre-wedding whining you can remain firm in the thought that he will not be playing wedding hooky. Jim and Carol are counting on him to be there for the beef and the beefcake, and he witnessed you filling out the acceptance card.

This subconscious brainwashing should work unless your married to a man like my husband, who simply says, “I ain’t goin,” and tells you to go by yourself.

I’d love your opinion on this issue. Do women love weddings, while men try to avoid them?

Reblogged from June, 2012

 

Yard Gnome III

gnomeThe Yard Gnome Part III

I didn’t think things could get any worse, when Jessie devised a plan for catching her husband. She had found an old dolly in the shed. It wasn’t a baby doll, it was one of those gizmos men use to move heavy items. She thought we could pick up the gnome and move him back to the house on the dolly. It wasn’t a bad idea, considering the problem.

I wish you could have seen us trying to move that stupid gnome. We had a terrible time getting it onto the dolly, and when we did, neither of us had to strength to push it over the grass. We were groaning and moaning.

“Paul’s fallen off the dolly!” Jessie screamed after the gnome slipped and crashed onto the grass.

“How will we ever get him to the house?”

It was a predicament. The gnome was the heaviest thing I had ever tried to lift and even together we could hardly get him right side up. He was at a weird angle and pretty far away from the bird bath.

“He’s leaning over too much,” Jessie whined. “I hope he doesn’t notice.”

After our dolly folly, neither Jessie nor I could figure out what to do. Since I didn’t really believe Paul had turned into a yard gnome, I decided I needed to spy on him at night. I didn’t mention to Jessie that I thought he was seeing another woman, but she thought he must be moving around at night, doing the yard work by the light of the moon.

The next night we hid outside behind the bushes near the bird bath and watched the gnome. It was back in its original place, with the hose in its hand. Nothing happened for awhile and I almost feel asleep, when we heard a funny noise and something whizzed past us into the woods. The yard gnome had moved!

“Did you see something whiz past us?” Jessie whispered.

“Yes I did, and I heard it too. Do you think it was………could it have been…..Paul?” I couldn’t believe it. How could he move that fast. I must have been asleep.

I couldn’t see Jessie’s face, but I knew she was excited. We began calling out Paul’s name into the darkness, sneaking through the yard quietly. Jessie handed me a flashlight and I lead the way, as we walked round and round the bird bath and through the yard. She was calling Paul in a plaintive voice.

“Paul……Paul, please come in….Here Paul…..I’m sorry I made you do all the housework…” She repeated it like a mantra for awhile. Finally she screamed “Come here you idiot.”

The situation was getting scary. Was Paul a ghost? Suddenly, something touched me on the shoulder and I jumped and screamed.

“I’m sorry I scared you,” Jessie said. “I see something in the woods. Turn the flashlight to the woods.”

“Of course,” I whispered. I pointed the light toward the woods, checking out the trees and the bushes, but no Paul. There was a slight glow coming from behind one of the larger trees, and suddenly I saw the top of a pointy red hat. I grabbed Jessie by the arm.

“Look over there,” I whispered. We both saw the red hat. We moved closer and I turned off the flashlight so Paul couldn’t see us. Then we saw the tops of more than one hat.  My thoughts were running wild. Could there be more of these little men? More yard gnomes? Was this a meeting?

“He has friends!” Jessie whispered.

There was a small fire in the middle of the group and we heard quiet laughter. We slipped up closer to the little fire and counted the gnomes. Six in all, and sure enough, there was a female gnome standing next to Paul. She looked almost the same as the other gnomes, but she had blond hair, no beard and she was wearing a skirt. Jessie was really mad by then, and I hoped she knew better than to make a scene.

I was wrong.

“Paul!” Jessie cried. “What are you doing out here?”

“I’ve met some other gnomes,” he answered. “This is Tiny and this one’s Cutie, and……”

“I don’t give a darn what they’re names are,” she yelled, piercing the quiet night. “Are you coming home to bed, or not?”

“Not!” he said. “I’ve met someone else.” He nodded his head towards the cute little female gnome. “You know what they say, gnome, sweet gnome.”

I was astonished, but I had the sense to make Jessie turn around and leave the woods. Soon after, the glow went out and the laughter stopped.

On the way home, despite her anger, a tear ran down Jessie’s cheek. “I had no idea my husband would become a yard gnome. Do you think I forced him into it? I miss Paul, and I am so lonely sometimes. It’s just not that nice at home anymore.”

I finally had the answer she needed. “Well, at least your yard is beautiful! The lawn seems to be perfectly groomed, and I got you a subscription to Gnome and Garden magazine.”

 

 

My Neighbor, the Yard Gnome

gnome A Three Part story by Nancy DeLaval   Miller

Part I

When I first met Jessica and Paul Yardley I thought they would be great neighbors. They were polite and friendly and their place looked like a picture from Home and Garden magazine. Often, during those first weeks after they moved in, I would see Paul working in the yard – mowing, planting, pruning, watering – he did everything with a pleasant smile on his face. He seemed very happy.

However, I soon learned that Jessie wasn’t happy at all. When we got together for coffee one day, she expounded on her husband’s faults. He was lazy and stupid, shirked his chores in the house, and all he wanted to do was work in the yard. I came away realizing she was very bossy and quite dysfunctional, even crazy perhaps.

Friday, she came rushing over to my house and knocked loudly on the back door. “Can I talk to you?” she asked, pushing her way into the house. I agreed and we sat down at the kitchen table. “Paul won’t come in the house!” I had no answer for this and she went on. “Paul went out to work in the yard on Wednesday and never came back in. He finished the mowing two hours later and I kept expecting him to come back in the house, but he didn’t. I didn’t really care at first. I needed my nap and I had to watch my soaps, plus I had to prepare dinner. It seems like the work never ends.

“When dinner was almost ready, I went out to call him. I saw him standing by the bird bath with the hose.

“Paul,” I called out.

“I’m over here,” he yelled back. His voice sounded a little weaker than usual, but I didn’t think anything of it. He was some distance away.

“It’s time for dinner.”

“I’ll be in soon,” he said smiling at me. I thought his smile was a little stiff, but I was too far away to get a good look. I was tired from a long day’s housework and I went back inside. I called him two more times that evening, but I finally ate dinner alone. I even ate some of his, but I left him some on a plate. Then I did his job, washing the dishes. That made me really mad and I called him several more times to come in, but didn’t get an answer. That evening I fell asleep in front of the TV, alone.”

Unbelievable as it seems, Jessie told me that Paul never came in that night. In fact, he never came back in at all, and it made her very angry. The next day she went out to find him. He was still standing by the bird bath with the hose. She decided she needed to check him out carefully, so she trekked all the way out to the bird bath to see him.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Making sure the flowers and the birds have enough water.”

“I see that, but what about you? Aren’t you hungry?”

“No, I’ve just been sipping a little water from time to time.”

She noticed that he looked shorter than usual. “Aren’t you going to come in soon? I’m sure the birds and the flowers have enough water by now!”

“I stop sometimes and wait for the birds and squirrels to get a drink. A deer came by last night with two fawns and……”

“I don’t really care if the president came by,” she screamed. “I need your help in the house!” She was finally losing her patience with her husband. Didn’t he know that he had responsibilities in the house? The dishes were piling up and he forgot she needed help with the vacuuming. And why would she care if the wild animals had enough to drink?

After an uncomfortable silence she said, “Well, I’m going ahead with my day. If you want to stay out here all day, I guess that’s up to you!” She was mad and stomped into the house.

The next morning she called me and asked me to come over and try to convince Paul to come back in the house. When I saw him I was shocked. He seemed much shorter than I remembered, so I looked down to see if he was standing in a hole. He wasn’t. His white hair had grown longer. His face looked the same but his body was much smaller than it had been. Paul Yardley seemed to be morphing into a little yard gnome. Even his clothes and shoes must have gotten smaller, because they still fit the same way. And somewhere he found a long pointy red hat.

“Take that hat off,” Jessie demanded. “It makes you look stupid.” He just looked at her and laughed. She didn’t want the neighbors to see him wearing it. She grabbed at the hat, but then grimaced.

“Feel this hat,” she said, giving me a direct order. To my surprise, the hat was as hard as a rock. I was taken aback. Jessie and I couldn’t pull it off. We looked at Paul with total bewilderment. Then I touched his shoulder and it was hard too.

“What happened to you?” I asked. He just stood there watering and smiling and didn’t answer. I wondered if he could even talk. Could his mouth move if it was stone? His eyes were still alert and moved around, looking at me and the lawn.

“Quit turning into stone and come in the house,” Jessie demanded, but by noon Paul had turned completely into a yard gnome. All the yard work was meticulously done, but we never saw him move a muscle or a stone arm or leg, or give a toss of his hard head. He was as hard as a rock, and couldn’t talk, so Jessie turned off the hose and went shopping.

“I knew he would figure out a way to avoid doing his chores,” she said.

Stay tuned for Part II of  The Yard Gnome

Throwing Away Women’s Lib

Thinking about our coming holiday, Mothers Day, reminds me of how much women lost because of the Women’s Lib movement. In order to understand my unpopular opinion, we have to look back in history to the role women played before Women’s Lib became popular.

During the fifties and early sixties, most women didn’t work. They stayed at home and were housekeepers and mothers, living useful, comfortable lives. They kept the home looking nice, cared for the children and prepared nutritious meals. And they had time leftover for pleasurable activities. How many women have that today? Are the Housewives of Hollywood the only ones?

Now, women have to be housekeepers, mothers and have jobs. They had idyllic lifestyles and threw them away, insisting women be given jobs that were traditionally filled by men.

The men said, “Okay, then work!” I think at the time women were aiming to get good paying office jobs, and they wanted paid the same amount as men, something that has never really materialized on a national level. I know there are exceptions to this lower pay scale, but for the most part I think men still earn more.

The worst thing about it is that we didn’t only lose our easy lifestyles, where we could spend a little time in recreation during the day, but we lost a lot of respect from our husbands. Women began to feel “equal” to their husbands and insisted they be considered for all kinds of labor intensive jobs, such as factory workers, highway workers and soldiers. I don’t know how these women do it, unless they are in excellent physical condition.

I’m sure there are many of you who believe Women’s Lib was really a great liberation for trapped woman. I welcome your opinions in my comments section. Are you happy with the changes that Women’s Lib made in our country? Or do you agree with me that we lost more than we gained?

Excuses

I apologize for not writing my blog for several weeks. I’m sorry! Life has gotten in the way of blogging. My husband has been undergoing chemotherapy since September, dealing with it’s endless side-effects and symptoms. Last week we went to the emergency room twice, each visit taking all day, and the hospital is 50 miles away.

The first time we went because Bob’s leg swelled up and he was in terrible pain. The emergency room doctor diagnosed him with a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot).  He gave Bob a shot and two prescriptions. When we left the hospital we stopped at the drug store and were told they didn’t have enough of the pain medication to fill the doctor’s order. We went home and Bob decided to take the weaker pain pills he already had, until the prescription could be filled. The drug store is 25 miles away from our home, so we can’t just run up and get something.

Within three days it became clear these pills weren’t working so we called the doctor’s office and asked for stronger ones. The nurse I talked to on the phone was supposed to send us a pain prescription but told me to take my husband to the hospital by mistake, so we spent the whole day at the hospital again, for no good reason.

That is the pathetic story of why I didn’t have time to write my blog.  I know: excuses, excuses, excuses! Thank goodness Bob’s chemo will be over in a few weeks!

From my heart

My husband’s cancer is gone and he is fighting his way through six months of strong chemo-therapy. It is so hard on him. His body is hurting and he is nauseated most of the time, but he’s very strong and I have no doubt he will pull through. He’s a fighter.

As much as it hurts to see him in this condition, I am excited because I’ve decided to go out into the world and speak about child abuse. Having been sexually abused as a child gives me a unique ability to discuss abuse. I am happy to say I have a date to speak to a church women’s group in November. The topic will be “Recognizing the Signs of Child Abuse.”

I was very happy being a writer and I think I could write all the time and still love it. However, every time I read the submission guidelines for a proposal to an agent about MULTIPLE, the agents want a list of my speaking engagements.

“What speaking engagements?” I ask. I spent weeks trying to figure out how writing a memoire would enable me to speak in public. Who would want me to come talk for an hour about me?

So I did what I usually do in confusing situations, I prayed. Sure enough, over the last few months the Lord showed me what I can speak about – child abuse. As I thought about it, I realized there is a market for this information in our society right now. Mothers are scared their children will somehow be abused and they won’t know about it. So I am going to help them by telling them the signs of child abuse. They will find out how to recognize child abuse and how to talk to their kids about it.

I feel so good. I actually have something to say! It was just a matter of looking at it from a different point of view. Thank you Jesus!

I would like to continue blogging, sometimes being silly and sometimes being serious. I’d like to keep writing and I’m hoping you will keep reading. And if you’re a believer, please pray for me. I also want to thank Jane Friedman for her guidance about blogging.

Why Abuse Victims Don’t Leave

People say that children who are abused by their parents or other adults will often seek relationships with others who will abuse them. I don’t understand this syndrome, but I have observed it in my own life.

I was abused by a maid when I was a little girl and my first two marriages were to men who abused me. How can that be? You would think that I would choose someone just the opposite, who would treat me nicely. But no, I chose men who were verbally abusive and one of them also hit me. Why didn’t I see it coming?

On the other hand, child abuse victims sometimes become adult perpetrators. People who have been abused as children often carry their frustrations and pain into their relationships when they become adults.

Leslie Morgan Steiner talks about her marriage to a young man who was abused as a child, and how he slowly seduced her and made her his victim. Her talk, on Ted.com, explains how she got into the abusive marriage and finally got out. It is an eye-opening story of why domestic abuse victims don’t leave. It’s worth the 15 minutes it takes to listen. Here’s the link:

http://on.ted.com/Steiner

As Easy as Pie

I’ve been cogitating on the idiom “as easy as pie.” Apparently this phrase was first used by someone who was eating a piece of pie, not baking a pie, because baking a pie can be difficult and may involve tears.

As a young bride of 21, about a hundred years ago, I had to make breakfasts, lunches, dinners, do the food shopping and wash the dishes, and I didn’t have a clue. I had purposely avoided the kitchen at home because I didn’t like my mother. She always seemed to find fault with me.

I hadn’t been married long when I decided to make an apple pie. In those olden days, one had to make piecrust from scratch and anyone who has done this, knows it is a skill that needs carefully practiced. I started with a stick of soft margarine and some flour and salt. I happily mixed it all together expecting it to become dough. However, it didn’t become dough. It became a wet, gooey mess.

I started over with fresh ingredients, reading the recipe over several times to get it right. This time I got a bunch of crumbles that wouldn’t congeal without adding water, and when I did add it, the same thing happened. Then I cried.

I called my mother, but she wasn’t home. I called my girlfriend and she told me I needed several things I didn’t have. First I needed to use real butter, and I needed a pastry blender. I didn’t have one. I didn’t even know what they looked like. I cried some more. She said I could blend the shortening and the flour with a fork but I had to do it very easily in order to get a good crust. Apparently if you mash the ingredients together too hard, the dough gets tough, and the tough get doughy.

I actually tried to make the crusts again, using butter and a fork to blend it, but it still didn’t work. I cried long and hard after that.  If tears were used to moisten the crust mixture, I could have had the best pie ever made. I’m sure at some point I threw something to vent my anger, but I don’t remember what. What I do remember is the flour was all over everything, there were dirty forks, spoons and bowls and there was no pie.

Whoever said something was “as easy as pie,” has never tried to make a pie crust from scratch. Long live ready-made pie crusts. No tears necessary.

The Wedding Beefcake and The Beef

Women love weddings. We plan for years for the perfect wedding for ourselves and our daughters and spend large fortunes on dresses, food, cake, flowers, reception halls, a band, and invitations. Why do we do this?

Because we love it! It’s our dream day, the one day in our lives when we can let it all out and do exactly what we want. That is, of course unless the groom disagrees. The groom should be told from the get-go that he has no say whatsoever on anything that happens at the wedding, except when he finally says “I do” at the right time.

I think all women love weddings, even those who aren’t related to the people getting married. We get all sweet and gushy when we see a man who is finally giving up his freedom to take care of a woman because he loves her. Unfortunately, to witness this event, we really need to be accompanied by a man.

Have you ever noticed that more women attend weddings as guests than men? Think about it. When was the last time you saw a group of men telling jokes, drinking beer and throwing peanut shells in the back row of the church during a wedding? Honestly now, never! Men would much rather stay home dressed in their sweats than actually sweat it out in a suit in a church. I know there are exceptions to playing wedding hooky, such as pastors who must be in suits in church every week and don’t seem to mind. But in general, I believe men like to avoid getting dressed up and going to weddings.

What we women need to do is begin early in the season to prepare our man for his eventual attendance at a wedding. That’s why the invitations have those little cards you return, telling the bride who will be attending. Once your man has stood by and agreed to attend, and you have sent back your acceptance card, there is no wedding hooky permitted. It’s now compulsory.

At night while he is sleeping speak to his subconscious about it.

“How wonderful it’s going to be to see Megan walk down the aisle in June.”

He manages to wake up enough to mumble, “Who’s Megan?”

“You know the beautiful blond daughter of Jim and Carol.” During this nightly brainwashing be sure to stress how beautiful the bride will be. You know how men like to see pretty women.

A few nights later, tell his subconscious about the food.

“I hear they’re serving filet mignon at Megan and Chad’s wedding in June.”

“Who’s Megan?”

“You know, the beautiful blond daughter of Jim and Carol. She’s marrying Chad.”

“Who’s Chad?”

“Your friend, the groom, who is very fond of cocktails and steak.” In this case use beef and alcohol as the subconscious prize for attending the wedding.

During the pre-wedding brainwashing be sure to stress the beefcake and the beef! Subconsciously you are implanting the idea that the wedding will be a very gratuitous experience for your husband. Finally when the day of the wedding comes and your husband begins his pre-wedding whining you can remain firm in the thought that he will not be playing wedding hooky. Jim and Carol are counting on him to be there for the beef and the beefcake, and he witnessed you filling out the acceptance card.

This subconscious brainwashing should work unless your married to a man like my husband, who simply says, “I ain’t goin,” and tells you to go by yourself.

I’d love your opinion on this issue. Do women love weddings, while men try to avoid them?

Reblogged from June, 2012

 

Napapnea

Usually I am the happy smiling wife, waiting for my husband to come home in the evening.  Besides being a writer and going out several days a week to line dancing class, I am the quintessential tidy housekeeper. I have always been compulsive about keeping the house clean and spotless.

Lately, however, I’ve been slipping, falling short in my efforts to dislodge June Cleaver from her throne as the perfect wife and mother.

Today, when my husband came home from work, I didn’t greet him at the door with a smile in my cleaned and starched apron (which I take off immediately so I don’t get it dirty). He came in and the lights were out and I was no where to be found. However, he found a clean pie pan sitting on the counter with a towel in it, as though it was half dried. I’m so embarrassed. He finally found me, in the study, in my lounge chair taking a nap. I was wearing what he calls my bat-girl mask (which is just an ordinary sleep mask),  and my mouth was hanging open. I’m so embarrassed.

I think I have a bad case of napapnea. It has caused me to fail once again to be the perfect wife. What will become of me? Will I lose my thirty-third bid for housewife of the year? Will I ever dust again? Do we have enough TP? These little details keep me staggering along the path of obsessive-compulsive disorder. And they make me tired.

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them