3/16/2017

Beautiful Boys

Sometimes boys get a bad rap. All the little girls get showered with praise full of the compliments on their girly looks, the clothes, gifts of doll babies.  Left out of all these stereo type cultures we live in are the little boys in the world with their trucks and blue jeans. I will never forget reading Cinderella Ate my Daughter by Peggy Orenstein who was bound and determined when she had a girl, she would fall not fall into that trap. Lo and behold, she did.

Having grandchildren it is different. Each and every child is so special, there is no chance of being smitten by the girls are sweeter and pink is more fun to shop for, at least in my mind. I have gotten past that as I have aged because each little individual brings their own uniqueness to the world and to my life; I love them all beyond words.

Recently, on a trip to my son’s house, my husband and I took two of our grandsons to the park for an afternoon. It was a beautiful day, and as I watched them play, I noticed how much they had grown. It was one of those epiphany moments where you sit back, as a grandmother, and have pride in that your little ones are beginning to be more independent. Yet, as they adventured about, we had to follow them steadfast because they wanted us right behind them to share in each and every adventure! So refreshing to know, even with independence, we fill a spot in their hearts even as they grow up. I hope, long after we are gone, they remember afternoons like this, memories at the park.

I told my husband I wanted to attempt to capture that afternoon, somewhat, in pictures. One can truly never really get the feeling in a digital image, not the emotion but I was going to try.  Truly the boys are beautiful.  Jake and Ty look quite alike in many ways and yet, personality wise, could not be more different! Attached is a video if you care to watch it, done to John Lennon’s song Beautiful Boy. He wrote it for his own son whom he was never fortune enough to see grow up.

May you find those moments in your life when you can sit outside or venture to a park and watch children play. There is such beauty in all young people’s faces and passion for discovery. I am forever grateful for the moments I too can sit and observe the beautiful boys in my life.



2/19/2017

Healthy Kids

One of the reasons I care so much about what is going on politically in regards to healthcare in this country is the impact it has on children. Poor in America have enough trouble feeding their children. If they can’t afford to live they can’t afford healthcare. Without adequate healthcare, they are more likely to have a need for medical care and it needs to be affordable.
There are over 45.7 Million Americans living in poverty.  Can you  imagine a family of four living on $23, 550 and having to obtain medical insurance on a competitive market? An individual in poverty makes a max of $11, 490 annually and if put on a high risk pool would have to pay more in premiums for healthcare. I ask you how, on what? This might be a single father. This is a reality for 13.5% of Americans.

Let’s assume economists are wrong and that no recession is going to happen in the next several years so things won’t get worse for those at poverty level. Let’s assume that no one else loses a job and falls into the poverty level and some come out of it.  We are still talking about 13.5 % of our country’s population.  Currently Medicaid (for those at poverty level and children) combined with CHIP (special insurance program only children are eligible that have parents that make slightly too much for Medicaid and it is administered by State government) have nearly 70 million people on these plans, 1 in 5 people in our country!

Keeping that number in mind, is it any wonder protestors are shouting in the street that a Medical Care Plan in existence can’t be pulled out without being replaced immediately for the poor in society?  Children that are sick deserve treatment. This is not an uncivilized country that we live in that should be calling on the United Nations or Mission Trips from foreign counties to help sick children needing medical attention. There is enough money in America to care for medical care for youth and their care-takers/parents.

What psychological effect does it have on children to see their parents ill and not getting help?  Having a chronic illness is grueling. Not being able to get treated for it is worse. That is a stress on an entire family but on a child, to try to process it is very hard. These children have a hard enough life living in poverty. Our nation should have some sort of obligation to its youth. They deserve at least medical care and a parent that loves them to be around and support them. There are not enough parents to go around to foster these children.

If the issue isn’t addressed, know that there are currently 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States. It is not without its problems finding good homes to foster children. 100,000 of these children are looking for adoptive homes. Thus, the children whose parents need medical insurance, if it is cut and they can’t afford it, Republicans must feel their life has no value. There lies a greater question, are Republicans putting these children in poverty homes into a foster care home?

The foster care system is already well over a $22 Billion dollar program of tax payers money. Even with continued reforms, children that have been placed in this system suffer at least one form of abuse. Many experts say the system is beyond hope and needs to be completely abolished. I was shocked to learn 74% of inmates have been in the foster care system and 80% of all prisoners on death row have been in this system as well!

As a nation with so many youth in poverty-stricken homes, until that changes, knowing health is a major factor in all areas of life, politicians must make healthcare affordable for the least of our brothers and sisters. I am not saying which system is best, which plan, I simply know penalzing those that are chronically ill isn’t the answer. They already are spending money continually on medication. Their life is already lived at half-mast. Why would our government want to knock them down more?  Certainly there are other ways to save money besides making children lose their live, their parents or their grandparents prematurely?  Even middle-income Americans struggle with insurance premiums and drug costs. How in the world can a unwed mother on a minimum wage afford increases on Medical family policies?

We must, as a nation, recognize we have fought wars side by side against enemies. We have waved our flag to stand united during war times and joyful celebrations. To turn our back on neighbors that are fellow Americans simply because they don’t make as much money is not only un-American but cruel. Simply because their lot in life is less does not mean their life has less value in God’s eyes. Certainly we can band together and support that medical advances are for everyone’s benefit, most especially for children. They deserve to have their parents healthy and their lives free from disease. 


We are the world, yes we all are the children. 

2/07/2017

Florida Agrees with Me, Still

I am finding living in Florida quite agrees with me. I am still lost once I leave our community pretty
easily and would be SOL without a GPS and a cell phone. But luckily, with Jim retired, most of the
time, we are together. And yes, we actually find we do get along, better now than ever. Without the
stress of a job, life seems easier to take. And so, here are some updates on our life in the land of palm trees and a much closer drive to the beach!

Jim has been a part of a horseshoe team. He and the guys bond over twice a week practices and then competing with other communities in the area once a week. He started off feeling inadequate as some of these men are quite good!  One of them has won huge prize winnings over the years at nationwide competitions.  His name is Daniel Jack. The way we remember his name is it sounds like a drink, Jack Daniels, Tennessee Whiskey.  He is French and speaks with quite an accent, at times hard to understand.  He has taken a liking to my husband as if Jim is under his wing in the area of horseshoes. Jim says it is because he is so poor at it! But, he is getting much better, the more he plays!

I have gone up before, on an off day, when Jim has been practicing and, as luck would have it, Daniel is there to give Jim advice. At first it made him quite nervous. Did I mention Daniel has been known to throw 298 out of 300 ringers? Well, that didn’t happen the day he was paired with Jim! But Jim played his best 8 games ever so now apparently the advice is paying dividends!  Maybe one day Jim will go on the national circuit and you will hear of him in the news for horseshoe champ! (Don’t bet on it just yet!)

I have been busy volunteering at Thomas Promise. This is a program that packs lunch packs for the needy children in the area to take home on Fridays to help get them thru the weekend. I go up on Mon. and Tues. mornings with a group of women and men to work on this and thoroughly enjoy being a part of this project that started about 4 years ago. If it sounds easy, about the time I go home, I feel like I need a nap! I have never seen so many Ramen noodles, spaghetti o’s, oatmeal packages and cracker snack packs in my life. They get several things, some volunteered and some have to be bought. I wish more folks understood the need for these types of programs.  Some of the schools in this county aren’t served due to lack of funds and space.  But I feel pretty blessed to be able to do my part.

We still manage fun times for just us. One of the beaches we hit one afternoon we had packed lunches to eat.  Our plan was to just sit out and soak up the sun and read. A seagull swoops down and while the sandwich is in Jim’s mouth it literally pulls it out of Jim’s mouth. Another one comes from the other side of his head, honking and screeching at the other bird, extremely agitated because he thought he had eyed the sandwich first. The sandwich hit the ground as did my chair when I bounded out of it flying towards the water screaming. All I could think of was the movie The Birds and running for cover.

Now I have learned, since that day, seagulls, that I use to enjoy on the beach on leisurely trips to Florida, are a pain. Anytime they see food, they want to become your BFF and hang onto you like a
vulture does to roadkill and you literally can’t shake them off. You can wave things at them, and they keep coming back. We eat on shifts, one to flag them away while the other eats, or stay covered. 

I cannot believe our orange tree is showing signs of producing orange oranges, verses green ones! 
They had been green fruit that turned to blackish and fell off up to now. It has proven to both of us
that we were not green thumbs at anything.  We actually have had a few, meaning 2. But it is a start so I am overjoyed! I feel like a fruit tree grower. Don’t burst my bubble; it has taken me 10 months to get here!


In remembrance of our dear Charley, we have a statue out front in our landscaping of him. We don’t
see it, obviously, when we are in the house, but when we come home from anywhere or walk, we spot it. It is welcoming to see the reminder and sad at the same time, that he won’t be inside the door wagging his tail. We needed to let him know that our home is not our home without him guarding it. Our neighbors, even though it is somewhat hidden on the side of a bush, have all commented on Charley out there which warms our hearts that they care and miss him too.

We found ourselves finally at Busch Gardens and bought our annual pass so we will be going frequently, time permitting. It is so much nicer than we thought it would be. I have never been a bird person but the ones there are unreal, types I have never seen, exotic, some making weird noises, colorful, and you’re able to see some birds without cages. 

There were many of other activities, shows, animals too. All the roller coasters were just not going to
go well with my migraine that day.  I can't imagine flipping upside down with a throbbing head pain! We are  going to love being close to the Park with free entry now. Already too, first time in, we got over the experience of getting separated and lost. He calling me, me texting him, missing where we were suppose to meet up, its my fault not describing it well enough, his fault for not being there at the right time, etc and you both land up mad over a half hour or more later! You know the drill, don't say you don't!By the time you do, neither is talking to the other! And then, you land up laughing about it!

Florida is sunny so much of the time that it makes it impossible to go around with a frown on. The weather simply won’t let you do that. So regardless of what is going on, health wise or otherwise, we find the palm trees keep us looking up, the ocean waves keep us looking outward and the warm weather keeps us moving forward with happiness.

1/26/2017

Vote for a Diamond!

What makes a dance studio great? What compels one to vote and say it is the best in the 
city, perhaps one of the best in the country?  I would easily say the definition is one where
the child that comes through the doors and participates in the art of the study of dance there walks out a more confidant compassionate human being more capable of being able to handle life’s hurdles.

Thus it is with that in mind I have to say Diamond Dance Academy in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee fits the bill. Anyone who has followed the circuit of dance studios knows the focus is winning, putting on stage the best costumes, the best routines and highlighting the studio. This is the hallmark of a successful Dance Studio and Dance team.

All of these matter very much at Diamond Academy.  I am an out-of-town grandmother to one child on the dance team. I watched a little girl happy to put on a tutu and stand center stage several years ago. She needed prompting from a teacher off-stage. Now, when I attend, I see the same girl on a competitive dance team, sometimes front and center, beaming, dancing her heart out and, at times, unrecognizable, in dance and in many other ways. Diamond Academy has given her maturity, confidence and room to explore her identity.

I have had a close up of the dance studio’s philosophy from a co-owner Justin Jenkins, married to the founder Tracy. Justin has painstakingly worked with me on two large scale functions helping raise awareness and donations for Breast Cancer for Nashville’s largest walk in October for the past two years. Several of the mothers of the studio’s dance team have given of time, money and sacrifice towards this as well asking nothing in return.  The reward for the Cancer Walk was huge as the added attention they brought, I am certain, increased sizeable donations.

What I have learned has shown me the focus of not only Diamond Academy but of Justin, a leader in the Studio’s mission. To give you an example, when he asked his wife’s hand in marriage, of all places, he chose the end of the year dance recital, at the final act during a dance number he choreographed to Bruno Mars, I Want to Marry You.  His reasoning, he and his wife care passionately about the children they teach as people, as family and are teaching these children supporting each other in life is what matters most. It is not about just what goes on while on a stage, infact that is secondary. Love truly does make the world shine, like their love for each other.

As I watch him work with children, I see smiles, embraces, happy reinforcements.  These children and even the mothers socialize together, not just dance together. With all the practices, you would think they would be sick of seeing the same faces but no, they lift each other up, in all ways. When one is hurt, they feel it and encourage their teammate to take a break and heal and the hurt team mate still shows up to cheer everyone else on!  They come together as one, as their coaches and instructors mandate no matter who is on that stage, no matter who wins, who loses, or what class is being taught, everyone matters and is treated as such by everyone that walks through the doors.  And it is recognized they have a life outside of dance that matters very much too!

Justin Jenkins was supposed to be interviewed locally by a radio station and a TV station during Making Strides against Breast Cancer. Time slipped away but I am hopeful in the future it will happen because his story is quite interesting.   Justin use to dance professionally and toured with a group Southern Movement, hip hop and is extremely talented at both dance, choreography and as an instructor. Growing up in Memphis, TN I am sure he has plenty of interesting stories too!  Getting to know Justin has been an honor and a personal blessing.  What he adds to these dancers’ lives is priceless. His wife and all of the teachers embrace each individual right where they are at and tap into their unlimited potential as a human being trying to bring it all out to the surface so they can have confidence in reaching inside in the future.  


What makes a dance studio stands out is not what they put on the stage but what each and every student walks off the stage and continues carrying with them on their walk through life. Join me and vote on Diamond Academy of Dance for Best in the Business on this link Click Here to Vote

1/08/2017

Training Grandma on the Cell

 My granddaughter got all she wanted for Christmas this year,  a cell phone!  She was ecstatic when she saw it, more like in shock! We were blessed to be there this morning to see
her face. And now I am learning much about what it is like to have a 9 year old granddaughter who owns a cell phone….
  • Kids raised in honest loving homes become confident children that tell it like it is with those they trust. As my granddaughter sends me occasional selfies, I decided, much as I hate mine, to send her one. Proud of me for actually hitting the button correctly without my son’s coaching, sitting in our car, off it goes without any photo editing. Note with no makeup either. Did I mention no make-up nor much time spent messing with my hair as a trip to Wal-Mart doesn’t necessitate doing that Follow up: “Grandma, what is wrong with you?”  Next message: Grandma, are you okay? 😞😟😭 You look different?”  Next day “ Grandma do you feel better today?” Next time we talk on a live phone call: “Grandma (laughing) what the heck did you do that day to yourself when you sent that picture. 
  • Kids inherit the sense of humor of their parents and like to have fun with their siblings at their sibling’s expense.  One day, my granddaughter is talking about her doggie she 
    is loving on. She sends me cute pictures telling me he is not feeling well. πŸ˜¨πŸ• I then get a
    picture of her hugging him. Then, I get the picture of her darling brother looking like Chewbacca. πŸ˜€πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜„ Yes, his head is monster size for the size of his neck, his mouth is as big as a  dinosaur 😈and he looks rather grotesque! Apparently she has learned how to modify pictures and though she can send princess images of herself she prefers to make her little brother look like this!
  •   She prefers pictures to long texts.  I don’t get answers back to long questions or get back “What Grandma?”  No way am I retyping it. I am bored rereading it, my own stuff, now that’s bad to even have to admit!  She just wants short stuff anyways.  She even asks me sometimes simply “Send me an emoji back”😍 Okay, my passion for writing is wasted on her. And she tires of my wordiness. But she loves pictures so pictures it is but no selfies, at least of me!  She is realizing now I am getting old in those pictures.  One day those tough questions will come.
  • Then I get the occasionally text out of the blue at any time of day or evening “Grandma what are you doing right now?” πŸ’­πŸ‘‚πŸ‘€ I discovered quickly she didn’t find it that funny to say “Reading your text.”  Sometimes I am doing something I don’t really want to say in a text so just  I make something up!  I just find these texts the best. I think to myself, wow, I am so blessed! She is bored and we’re going to have a long distance conversation and as soon as I exchange a line or two she says “bye, love you”. I am dismissed, like that with an emoji.πŸ’“πŸ’‹ She is  onto another text session with someone else! The life of a nine year old! Grandmas aren’t all that thrilling actually (insert sad emoji here)
  • When I visited with her, it was funny to see that she found it easier to talk to me on the cell when I was in the same room than talk. Was that because it was noisy? Nope because as I looked around, everyone else had their cell phones or ipads too. We are a technology savvy family but so little time to talk live anymore its actually sad. I barely talk to my kids anymore, only texts. But, on the plus side, I must admit, living hundreds of miles away from her, these texts from my granddaughter are like the sun rising in the morning!
  • A 9 year old has trained a 58 year old to carry her cell phone now to look for pictures to take.  I want to show her exciting things she likes so she feels she is with me. I hate the texts that say “Grandma I miss you” but yet I love them. So I need to share my life with her. So I look for parts of my world that will excite her teach her, and things I think her parents will want her knowing.   She keeps me young and I try to keep her knowing she is beyond loved, treasured no matter where I am.

Amidst a world full of turmoil and hate,
a little girl brings me into a happy state!

With a sound of a tweet,
I jump to my feet.
 I grab my cell
and pound the keys like hell.
Knowing she is waiting a while,
and when she receives it, she’ll smile.


Yeah, that cell phone was a gift. ☝πŸ‘ŠπŸ˜ŽWas it for her or for me?

1/04/2017

Push Your Body Good


I have found Florida has taught me I am lazy! I need to get outside more in the wintertime. This was my time of the year to use the weather as an excuse to sit on my rear and do as little as possible. The excuse is gone as the forecast most days is sunny, nice breeze and 80’s. Oh hell, now I am forced to do all the things I couldn’t do in the summer heat down here!

So now I have to get serious about that kinda New Year’s Resolution I swore I would not make. See I don’t believe in those stupid resolutions, I believe in making steps towards changes, permanent ones. Unfortunately, in the case of the change I am talking about, it involves getting out of a chair and taking physical steps, repeatedly and for long lengths of time.  The physical activity can’t stop there. Though I am too old to train for the Olympics I have been kidding myself saying I am too old to be I shape. B.S.!

One week before Christmas I was in the ‘body shop’, which cost a lot more than my last car repair. I was given a new pipe, or as my cardiologist called it, the newest style stent. He called it a word I didn’t understand. I always try to act smart around them so they don’t talk down to me. Works well most times but other times, they leave the room and I am wondering “What the hell did he just say” like it is their fault and not mine for pretending to understand. Can any of you relate?

Apparently,  along with my new pipe in place I need to ensure my lifestyle is  very  healthy. After careful review, I doubt I qualify as great in some areas and I am competitive enough to still want to get the”A”. 9 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a rare type. At that time, my lifestyle was extremely heathy.  Somewhere between then and now, I fell from the healthy body stature.   And now it turns my chemo drug is hard on the heart.  I will be fine from here out but the best drug along with the ones I a on for life is healthy living.  Oh shit, that means I better get busy!  Yes, there is room for improvement and honestly, no I am not sharing my bad habits.  But they would make you feel better about some of yours!

My eating habits are great and my diet is excellent. It is the other areas that need, let’s say improvement! I don’t do selfies so if I pump iron, you won’t see me snap pics of me. Gosh, I look horrible in a selfie without sweating!  And why do they call it pumping iron? Does that mean I can simply lift my iron up and down a few times?  And my bike is beautiful, relatively new so that is incentive to ride. I can show it off, right?  Hopefully that feeling won’t wear off.  Actually, I am excited to feel more in control of my body than it in control of me. I prefer to be the Control-Freak.

With a New Year, I recognize at any age, I can focus on fitness. I can quit using my age as an excuse to let myself go to hell. When you do that, too many other issues develop.  Oh, I am listening to my body from here on out. I should never have ignored those chest pains for so long.  Doing the body good will help everything else fall into place. It is no guarantee of not having health issues but it does make it easier to overcome them. 


So for the New Year, my advice:  Be good to your body! Whatever you do, do it in moderation so you don’t become obsessive and get burned out and then quit! Create the plan that suits your personality and lifestyle but don’t say it, like I have a million times and not change a thing.  
Be here to celebrate next year! 

12/31/2016

Lesson from 2016

A new year is upon us! What I have reflected on more than anything this past year is that my life has not played out as a fairy tale.  Many times, I did not like the story line at all wishing I could change many of the chapters and characters.  Yep, sometimes I had a one on one with God requesting a do over but then realized, mid-prayer,that would be too exhausting knowing what I know now about living. So 2016 cemented the knowledge that I am indeed, like it or not, walking God’s plan not my own.

Taking responsibility for my own actions but with the knowledge it is all part of a Master plan gives me a greater sense of purpose.  I had two choices to make, roll with his plan or fight it. This year showed me that rolling along with His plan, praying more to understand it, gave me a heightened sense of awareness of what it was and a greater sense of peace. Getting in touch with my Master Plan I forced me to make some difficult choices through-out the year. Some decisions were difficult and I procrastinated. Prayers and reality set in eventually making me see God’s vision as I prayed more than this year than in many years and it helped me gather strength.  

Doing what is right is not always easy but is best.  I had to recognize what was and was not healthy in my life.  I suppose I had done this before but needed to do it again as I felt my soul unrest. My son use to remind me of something in the serenity prayer that if you can’t do anything about it let it go. I began to notice a few things consistently causing so much distress in my life, pain and unhappiness that I had no control over.  He was right and so was the answer to my prayers let go. If it is meant to be, it will come back and if not, peace of mind is priceless and part of God’s vision for me now. I am in the last few chapters of my life. I do not get do-overs.

The price I pay for being in places unhealthy or relationships over the years was and is too high. If one can’t control a situation, be it a job, marriage, relative, etc.…the stress permeates your being.  . I could no longer let as much stress and anxiety in my life, it affects my health too much and well-being. I enjoy peace and serenity and drama-free existence. That is God’s plan for me now.

I also found God still wants me to use my voice to speak out for others in need or myself, wherever it is best served. Even in writing my blog, at times they seem silly, as if what nerve could it possibly touch?  Then someone writes me privately and I am pleasantly surprised. Each of us have a voice and should use it till the day we die.

2016: My parting advice I learned this past year:
If you desire peace and serenity in your life, walk in the light of God and stay smiling as much as you can. This will help keep you in the happiness mode more often than not. Stay in situations that keep you in the driver’s seat and are emotionally healthy. If your gut makes you feel compromised or unhealthy repeatedly, distance yourself from this people or situations.  Your overall Master Plan is beautiful.

Happy New Year Everyone! Be blessed.


Veronica Gliatti