Everything I know about medicine, I learned on the Wrong Side of the Stethoscope is now available in print on Amazon! Only $14.99!
The book is also available on Kindle for only $3.99. It is a practical, informative and entertaining guide to navigating health care. Read it before you need it!
Click on the cover to buy or read excerpts from the book.
If you like my website, you may enjoy Life is more fun when you live it . . . Jest for Grins. The 171-page print edition, priced at $14.95, is sold out, but you may purchase the Kindle edition for $2.99.
Click HERE to purchase or read more about this book.
Life is more fun when you live it . . . Jest for Grins is the first compilation of my Jest for Grins columns. The columns are divided into nine sections, among them: Kid Stuff; Critters, Furred, Feathered and Scaled; You Have to Travel to Get There; If I wanted to be a Housewife, I'd have Married a House; and Men (and the Women who Love and Tolerate Them). As a bonus, I also have included two longer and previously unpublished articles, "Licorice: A New Twist" and my favorite, "A Short Jog Over the Hill." (I gave you the latter story as a freebie on this website.)
Available now on Kindle. A Crazy Plan: Darby's Rangers' Heroic Last Stand at Cisterna is the story of one of WW II's most heartbreaking battles, told by those who fought it. Only eight Rangers out of two battalions escaped; the rest were killed or captured. The book is quite short, but it contains information that has not previously been available. I originally planned for it to be longer, but one of the Rangers I interviewed was very ill and I wanted his story out there while he was still living. RIP Carl.
On Kindle NOW: Human Nature Calls. This book is my second (and much longer) compilation of columns, a few sections of which are: Critters (the quick and the dead); Family Twists and Ties; Fears, Phobias and Things that Give You the Heebie-Jeebies; and Keepin' Home Fires Burnin'.
Minnows better watch out!
It was cool enough yesterday that Ray and I walked in the Wetlands. Not much shade in the Wetlands so we walk the shady paths around nearby Mary's Lake when it is really hot and it has been hot a lot lately.
The lilypads obscure the muskrat huts that we know dot this large Wetlands pond, but from the windows in the man-made observation hut that extends over the water, I took this photo of minnows blissfully unaware that they are being watched.
Ray saw the snake first. It startled me when he pointed it out, but snakes always do startle me. It was much smaller than the five-foot blacksnake that crossed the path ahead of us at Mary's Lake one day, but I'm sure it was deadlier to the happy little minnows. Snakes gotta eat, but why do they have to eat happy little minnows?
"Marsha, come quick!"
I almost didn't hear Ray's stage whisper calling me from the solarium on our lower level. I scurried down the stairs and saw a mother skunk and her twin kits.
They were there because Ray had thrown some leftover Burger King french fries off the deck for any wandering dog, cat or coyote that passed by. He didn't expect a trio of skunks, but one little skunk found the world's longest french fry and was, according to Ray, "happy as a clam."
I ran upstairs to retrieve my camera and returned just in time to see them running toward the rose bush. I guess they like the way roses smell.
Blue lives matter . . . a lot
we'll be in a store or restaurant and someone will come up and say how he helped them (or gave them a warning ticket for a first traffic offense instead of the genuine article).
Are there bad policemen? Of course there are. Just like there are bad teachers, bad doctors, bad mechanics, even bad preachers (remember Rev. Tom Bird who was convicted of killing his wife and soliciting the murder of his mistress's husband?). Every line of work has a few bad apples.
But the fact is the vast majority of any profession consists of good men and women. That is especially true of law enforcement. Our leaders should be emphasizing that, but they're not. Most of the time when elected officials open their mouths, they exacerbate the problem. Recent exceptions are the Dallas police chief and mayor who have handled a difficult situation amazingly well.
I have never forgotten the academic who sat in our living room when Ray was on the police force and said, "When a black calls you a M-F [sorry, I can't make my fingers type out those words, but you know what they are], it is really a compliment."
"Really?" said Ray, "I've been called that many times, by whites as well as blacks, and it sure never felt like a compliment."
I think that communication is the answer, but first we have to be speaking the same language.
At least until I lose 20 pounds! Kevin Groenhagen, who owns Senior Monthly and who quarterly inserts in it Amazing Aging, the newsletter I edit and primarily write for Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging, did a great job explaining what the book is about and how it will help almost anyone navigate the healthcare system. That certainly was my goal when I wrote the book.
Bandits strike in the still of the night
Ray's trail cam caught this coon trying to raid the birdfeeder near the birdbath. To watch the short video, click here. This thievery isn't unusual. One night a couple of coons teamed up to shake the seeds out of the feeder. Another time, they bent a shepherd's crook to the ground, making it easy for them to chow down on sunflower seeds. There's a reason God gave these guys masks.
Snakes gotta eat . . .
For 15 years, I wrote a humor column titled Jest for Grins for my local Lawrence, KS Journal-World newspaper. While I stay busy with speaking engagements, writing articles and books and serving as editor and primary writer of a newspaper for a nonprofit agency, I really miss writing about the funny things life throws my way. This website allows me to do that.
I freely admit to being a control freak who wants to do things on my own, but my new friend Ruth has been a tremendous help to me. I kept trying to make this website perfect before publishing, but finally decided that was like waiting to have children until you can afford them: it will never happen. So here it is; you'll get to watch it improve.
If you develop into a frequent Jest for Grins visitor, you'll quickly become familiar with my usual cast of characters: husband Ray, sons Ray, Jr. (aka Butch) and Greg, daughters-in-law Linda and Valerie, grandchildren B.J., Gabe, Sammi and Zoe, sisters Lesta, Bette and Vicki, as well as a host of family and friends (not one of whom is boring). If the topic has the potential to be embarrassing to them, be assured that they read it and gave it their OK (otherwise, sister Lesta has threatened to sue me).