A Love So Big It Hurts and The Gift of A Dream

One of my granddaughters fell ill over the weekend. REALLY ILL.

What Matters Most

Saturday night I received a frantic call from my daughter that one of the twins, Harper, who had just been to see the pediatrician on Friday for a mysterious fever and an unusual bout of lethargy, lack of appetite and not wanting anything to drink was much worse. Unable to find an obvious issue, the doctor diagnosed her with an oncoming cold.

He was wrong. REAL WRONG.

By the time my daughter called me Saturday night, my granddaughter was pale, screaming in obvious pain, barely able to focus or function at all and was in dire need of immediate attention. I stayed with the other two girls while she and her husband rushed this terribly sick fifteen month old baby to the emergency room. I’m going to name the lousy hospital emergency room too – Harbor Hospital in Brooklyn, MD. It’s the closest one but by far their emergency room fucking sucks!

My seriously ill granddaughter and her desperately frantic parents sat for THREE HOURS waiting to see a doctor! How do you leave a baby as sick as this sit in a waiting room for three hours?! You fucking assholes all need to go jump in the Baltimore harbor! I hate you and I wouldn’t take my cat to you if you were the last emergency room on earth!

To be honest, I’ve always hated this emergency room. I have been there twice now with one of my granddaughters and both times have waited no less than three hours. The hospital itself is not my problem, just the ER. I gave birth to my son there and had an excellent experience. I’ve known others who have been admitted there who have had good experiences but they can shove their emergency room right up their asses.

My granddaughter was so severely dehydrated that she required three IV’s before she could even wet a diaper. She was misdiagnosed with a bladder infection according to the house pediatrician who saw her this morning and claimed her tests for bacterial infection came back normal. Apparently, they never did find out what was wrong with her and labeled it a virus of unknown origin. However, my daughter will follow up tomorrow with her pediatrician because a baby who was perfectly healthy on Thursday night, somewhat sick on Friday morning and completely dehydrated, lethargic, disoriented and screaming by Saturday evening needs a fucking diagnosis!!!

Thank GOD she’s better. She was released this afternoon as her fever was gone, she was eating and drinking and had wet her diaper several times. Could the three rounds of antibiotics have cured her? Could her little body have cured itself? Maybe one of these so called medical professionals who will send out an exorbitant bill for her care will magically figure this out.

Oh, and please don’t come at me with how wonderful the medical profession and physicians and nurses are. I KNOW how wonderful they are and have far more great experiences with them than bad. I’m speaking on this one emergency room and this one situation with one of the loves of my life. I’m sorry but you can’t touch this.

My opinion is this: If you can’t figure out what is wrong with a child who cannot tell you what hurts, go back to medical school or send her to a pediatric specialty hospital! A virus of unknown origin is NOT a diagnosis! If anything like this ever happens again, we are going straight to Johns Hopkins!


The gift of the dream is something directly related to this but a supernatural experience I will never be able to forget.

You can believe me or not. As you can tell, I’m in an “I don’t really care what anyone thinks” mood tonight.

Saturday night I was up very late. Harper’s twin, Scarlett and my eldest granddaughter, Esme were wound up and wide awake until after midnight due to the chaos and stressful evening prior to my arrival and my daughter rushing out to ER. They’d heard their sisters cries and seen the pain in their mother’s eyes and were difficult to settle down but somehow my grandmother magic kicked in and I had them both tucked in fast asleep by 1:00AM.

They conveniently live right next door so my husband had checked in on us allowed me to run over and make a coffee and grab my phone charger so as not to miss any updates from my daughter. Once he went home and the children were sleeping, the house fell silent except for the purring cat near my head on the back of the love seat.

Not that I slept. I was worried sick. I woke to every sound. Scarlett was fighting a cold and coughed a bit and whined. The cat leaping down and then her subsequent crunching on dry kibble in the kitchen. The occasional car driving by…you get the picture. Scarlett awoke at 4:30am for a bottle and At 5:00am, I received a text message from my husband asking me if I needed anything. He came over and checked on us and then went out and brought me breakfast and a well needed coffee.

I could see he hadn’t gotten any sleep either so I whooshed him back out the door and within minutes, that delicious sausage, egg and cheese bagel, a text from my daughter that Harper was resting in her room with medical attention, the knowledge that the other girls would most likely sleep until 10:00am, and the coffee, dropped me into dream land at last at around 6:45am.

By 9:15am, I woke, sobbing.

The dream started out horribly. I was in my daughters house and I opened the front door and a strange looking animal was trying to come in. At first, I thought it was a skunk as it appeared to have the while stripe down it’s back. I tried pushing it with my foot and closing the door but it got past me. I was screaming “No! No!” and suddenly behind it, chasing it were all kinds of cats. All different colors, racing past me so fast I couldn’t stop them and behind them were my children and some other people, chasing the cats!

I turned around and joined the chase but I was screaming at them to get the animal. My son yelled out, “Mom, it’s a big rat!” and I screamed back, “Well get it!” I turned back to the front door which I had finally managed to slam shut and the wall started to crumble away at the front of the house and a giant hole appeared and through the hole came more animals! All kinds, shapes and sizes and I screamed to run for the girls to get them out of the house and was shouting, “Help Me! Someone please help me!” when suddenly, everything went white.

I was sitting up on the love seat I was sleeping on and standing there in front of me in my daughter’s living room, was my husband’s grandmother. She was the matriarch of our family. We lost her last September. She was 93 years old. She was our rock. She was our light in the harbor, our adviser, our revered and precious elder. Her word was the gospel in our family and her loss was felt so deeply we are all still recovering.

Granny June Bug

Oldest Baltimore Ravens Fan!

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I have had no dreams of her since she passed. I think of her every day. I remember how she would scold us and discipline us and then take us in her arms and hug us and kiss us and make it all better.

She was wearing one of her signature light blue sweat suits with the flowery embroidery on it. Her hair was perfectly coiffed as it always was and she glowed. She looked so pretty. That’s what I told her.

I stood up and said, “Gran! Oh my God Gran! You look so pretty!” She held out her arms to me and leaned down and hugged her. She looked like she did the first time I met her over twenty years ago. I could feel her hands stroking my hair like she used to. She held me back away from her and said,

“Everything is going to be alright.”

I replied, “But Gran, we miss you so much. We all miss you.”

I grabbed her again and hugged her tight.

“She stroked my hair again and said, “I know honey I know. I miss you all too. Give them all hugs and kisses for me will ya? And tell them I’m wonderful. My beautiful girl. Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be alright.”

She started to pull away from me and I held onto her.

“No Gran, please don’t go!”

“Honey, I promise. Everything is going to be fine. Now I have to go.”

I was sobbing. She was gone. I was standing there in the middle of my daughter’s living room, sobbing.  I kept saying to myself, “This is a dream but everything is exactly right.”

What I meant was the room was EXACTLY as is really was. I can’t remember having a dream where the room was perfect. The stockings hanging on the mantle. The cat sleeping on the ottoman. The light on in the kitchen. The Santa clause on the ledge in the foyer. The baby socks on the floor. The blanket balled up on the love seat. It felt so real it scared the living daylights out of me.

My eyes flew open. Tears were running down my cheeks. I sat up and could barely catch my breath. I got up and opened the front door and stepped outside to somehow snap out of it but I was shaking. My hands were trembling and I started sobbing again. I texted my husband but he didn’t answer so I called him and told him I needed him right away. I told him immediately that my sobbing wasn’t about the baby so that he wouldn’t worry. Then, I told him about the dream.

I know she was there. She was there either as her soul, her spirit, her energy or some inexplicable image from my subconscious, that just happened to be able to replicate my daughters living room down to the baby socks on the floor.

The day before, my husband and I went to a fabric store because the eldest granddaughter decided she wanted her bedroom at our house completely redecorated in Disney Frozen, so I needed to make her all new curtains. When we were looking for the fabric, a family was picking out some fleece and the mother said, “Oh look at this. Granny June will really love this.”

I’m sorry but again, not a coincidence. You can say hearing her name in the store the day before triggered the dream but I believe in signs. Had we stopped to eat first like we’d planned, we’d have never heard that woman say what she said.

Last night, I was reminded of a similar dream I had…again, over twenty years ago. Almost the exact same situation. I was going through a terrible traumatic time in my life. My sister Barbara was always my rock prior to Granny June. She died very young at only 53. She was 19 years my senior and was like another Mother, as were most of my older sisters. I could always turn to her when something bad happened. She too came to me in a dream. Again, I woke up sobbing. Again, the room was exactly as it really was. Again I was embraced and told everything would e alright, which it was. The only difference was when I woke up from the dream with my sister, My clothes smelled like her.

Yesterday, after my dream about Granny June, I instinctively smelled my shirt. However, I only smelled a clean, fresh smell for a few moments and then I smelled like me. Then I thought…

My sister was known for her perfume. My Dad used to say you’ll smell Barbara coming in the house before you’ll see her.   I don’t even think Granny wore perfume but she always smelled fresh and clean. 🙂

Our little angel Harper is home safe and sound. Smiling, giggling and although she’s definitely not herself after having been through such an awful ordeal, everything turned out alright…again.

Goodnight my lovies.

Sweet dreams.


Sometimes…it’s not the song…

The other day whilst driving from work, I heard a song that took me back twenty five years or more and I got a tear in my eye. Not because the song is sad but because I miss my sister Sheila so much it hurts.
She was like a bright shining sun that could warm you with love and yet burn you to a crisp if you crossed her.
Struck down in the prime of her life by cancer.

The song is, “I Want To Know What Love Is,” and the memory has nothing to do with the lyrics but with the fact that my sister was notorious for changing the words when she sang them.
We were out one snowy Friday evening for a few drinks and lots of dancing together in Baltimore and she didn’t like to drive in the snow. I was designated driver so I enjoyed watching her having fun as always.

Sheila and Me

Not sure what I was wearing for this outing but hey, the 80’s..don’t hate. I’m on the right.

On our way home rather late, in my little Chevy Chavette, that song was on the radio. I chose a road less traveled. It’s a two lane road that I take to and from work everyday. The same road where I heard the song,
My Chavette drove beautifully in the snow. I don’t know why but it did and since there was no other traffic, as my sister sang at the top of her lungs, “I want to go where love is…” I drove, weaving down the road, crossing the invisible center line at 2:00AM, making beautiful waves in the freshly fallen snow. In my rear view mirrow, I could see the wavy pattern. It was lovely and strange and sparkling in the glow of the road lights.

Just Sheila and I in my little silver Chavette. She’d be so proud of me. What I wouldn’t give for one more night, driving on a deserted road through the snow listening to her sing that song.


Is there a song that does this to you? Tell me about it.

Blaze Starr, #Baltimore #Burlesque and White Go Go Boots!

This story is 100% TRUE.

Mixed in with the pictures I dug out of the closet tonight were some handwritten stories. There was no date on them but I’m guessing the 80’s and I think I wrote them for a book of crazy family stories I was working on or as submissions to the local newspaper.

Here is story #1

Being born in the mid-sixties and spending the earliest part of my childhood surrounded by hippies and miniskirts, my mother attempted to instill in me some form of old world culture. So, at the age of four, I began taking classical ballet classes at the Estelle Dennis Ballet School in Baltimore.

Mom didn’t drive so we usually took a taxi and at the conclusion of class, we’d hop in a cab and go visit my sister Barbara, who worked in a burlesque club near the notorious Baltimore Block as a bar tender. It was around three thirty in the afternoon so way before actual business hours.

I was in awe of the big stage and mesmerized by the scantily clad women in their elaborately bedazzled costumes and platform boots and would sit on the side of the stage and watch them as they rehearsed for the evening shows. I remember begging my mother for a pair of those boots. She reluctantly agreed but I ended up with more the Brady Bunch white marshmallow style or something similar to what the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders wore back in the day.

This was burlesque folks. Not naked chicks swinging upside on a pole so no, CPS didn’t need to get involved–not that they would have back then anyway. These were the days of the red haired bombshell Blaze Starr. If you don’t know who she was, look up at the feature image or hit up Google.

Fiery Blaze

My sister insisted my mother allow me to go up on the stage. I could be remembering this from hearing about it but I’m telling you, I remember standing on that stage and shaking my hips with the dancers.

After our visit, back into a taxi we went and off to the shoe store to find those white marshmallow boots.

Gogo boots While we were in the store, a very sweet lady chatted up my Mom. I insisted on wearing the boots home and got my way (as usual).

So there I was strutting around the store in my awesome boots when the nice lady turned to me in all of my four year old ballet dancer adorableness and said, “Well aren’t you just the cutest little girl in your ballet tutu. I’ll bet you’re going to be a famous ballerina when you grow up!”

Picture this innocent girl right here…well okay yes, I’m wearing one of my sister’s falls but anyway…

Barb and me
There I stood, all three feet or so of me with my pixie cut blond hair, shoulders straight, head back, hands on my hips as my mother took a deep breath and I replied…

“No way lady! I’m gonna be Go Go dancer!”

Tonight I’m Getting Personal and Sharing my Amazing High School With You

Life is made up of choices. One of the best choices I ever made was Western Senior High School in Baltimore, MD.

Western High School: A National Blue Ribbon School

Western High School, founded November 1, 1844, is the oldest all-girls public high school in the United States and is one of the city’s and the nation’s most distinguished institutions of learning. The programs at Western have been designed and are implemented to provide opportunities for our students to develop and enhance their academic and artistic abilities. As our students are challenged during the school year, it is our greatest hope that they will accept responsibility, grow intellectually and be successful. With the guidance, assistance and direction of our staff, we believe that they will acquire the necessary skills to continue their education so that one day they will effectively lead this powerful nation and become viable citizens of the community.”

Tonight, a fellow alumnae shared a new video about Western and I had to share it with all of you.

My years at Western were some of the best years of my life. I blossomed, explored and evolved so much as a person during my time there. I cried my eyes out on graduation day. Not because I was happy but because I didn’t want to leave.

The friendships I forged during those years live to this day. The diversity and strict, accountability for your own education was such a blessing. It is a blessing of sisterhood that I still carry with me. My eldest sister Barbara attended Western and she was by far one of the most intelligent women I ever knew. It was an honor to be accepted and an even greater honor to attend classes, sing in the choir, participate in many clubs and activities and most of all, get to know young women from every walk of life throughout Baltimore.

I’m so proud of the woman I have become. I know the education and encouragement I received during those crucial teenage years at Western, play a tremendous part in who I am today.

If you live in the Baltimore Metro area and have a daughter who is about to enter high school, I strongly encourage you to check out Western. The benefits last a lifetime.

If you have a few minutes, check out this video.

Western High School Alumnae Trailer from Markim Multimedia on Vimeo.