Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cloud Watching

My attempts at meditation have been, for the most part, unsuccessful. Admittedly, part of the problem is my lack of sticktoitiveness. I much prefer immediate results in everything I do. Which is why I don't do anything. Ha!

However, I have decided to continue down the mediation path and, in that effort, I have been following a (sort of) daily meditation guide. The book simply gives me something on which to reflect or a simple exercise to clear my mind...that kind of thing.

I react to some of the suggestions/reflections with a WTH is she talking about. Other times, I'm intrigued. Always, I try it out. Sometimes, it ends up being quite worth my time. Like the day she reflected on her childhood lying on her back watching the clouds pass by and, yes, that Joni Mitchell song popped into my head...though that's the one song of hers I never liked.) She asked: What can the clouds teach us?

So, I headed outside to search the clouds for an answer. Amazing. Here's what I discovered (after a couple of hours because I really got caught up in watching the darn things. I hadn't done it YEARS and it was fantastic! I saw a surfer surfing a huge wave; a Saint Bernard grow from puppy to adulthood; my dog; lots of faces- people and animals; a man's face change from a man to a mountain lion to a tiger; myself...)

What can clouds teach us?

  • Not everything is as it seems so, try not to make assumptions.
  • Take life slow and easy and reflect on the positives. We miss too much speeding through each day.
  • Be gentle with others.
  • Recognize approaching storms. Take shelter but appreciate what they have to offer.
  • Be aware of, and willing to, change.
  • Move forward softly, slowly and in awareness.
  • Change is not to be feared.
  • Change can be fun, funny, interesting, adventurous, scary, creative, motivational, thought provoking, encouraging, calming, comforting, freeing...
  • Change is something we can do.
  • Stalling is ok, as long as we move with the next breeze.
  • It's ok to change directions when we don't like the path we're on.
Do you meditate? When was the last time you took time to watch the clouds? 

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Art That Comes Out Of Tragedy

For those who do not follow Empty Nest:

This is a sample of one of my favorite pieces of art that has come out of the tragedy. It was created by one of my favorite people- our neice, April. She is offered prints of this piece on her site and ALL proceeds go to Mother Emmanuel AME Church, where nine people lost their lives last week.

Just click on the picture to go over to April's site, April Knight Worship Artist, to see the print and for ordering information.

This piece was inspired by the chain of love created by over 10,000 who gathered and walked the bridge last night. (The pictures are from WCBD except the last one which is credited in the lower right corner)

I'll leave you with the sermon from Mother Emmanuel AME Church yesterday, given by Reverend Goff. It was quite powerful.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sales People Suck

Ok, not ALL salespeople suck. But some of them certainly do. Some of them are so motivated by profit that they could care less about the customer. And, often, they insult those interested in buying a product that the desire for said product goes away speedy quick.

Like some used car salespeople. I've been in need of a car for over one year now and I've put it off for several reasons. One of the top reasons is the salespeople at the car lots. I'd rather look on Craigslist. But I'm not a fan of being murdered.

Then there are the people on a website where I entered some info in searching for a cleaning service. They baraged me day after day to choose their companies that I finally reached the point where I refused to repsond at all. I hadn't even recieved all the estimates before that crap started.

I was trying to decide about using a certain product- I had been mulling it over for months- and made the mistake of asking questions to someone who sells the product. When I decided to try a lesser version of the same product, said salesperson goes into all sorts of pushy and insulting tactics to get me to buy the more expensive package in an effort to pocket more money. It didn't work. I ended up going a completely different route.

I have, seriously, walked right out of a store. And, not without comment.

I much prefer shopping online just to avoid salespeople. Even the ones in the department stores. Some of those women (and I say women because I've only dealt with the female of the species in this situation) follow you around like you're about to steal them blind or to constantly shove their opinion on what you need down your throat. Others will ignore you even at the checkout.

Of course, there are exceptions. Like Lowe's. Where you couldn't find a salesperson to help you if you danced naked on top of the paint counter (which is located center front of our Lowe's).

Now, I understand that people in sales need to make a living. I totally understand that. What I resent are the rude, pushy, insult filled tactics that some of these people use. It is an instant turn off and I have never made a purchase from someone who makes use of these tactics.

The people I will buy a product from are nice people who, after offering their help, leave you to your own devices but are readily avaialbe should you have questions or need help. They may ask questions but only in an effort to discover what your particular preferences are as opposed to pushing a product they will make a high commission from or one they simply need to get rid of.

And so, the search for a car continues. I want a used one. And I'll be buying from the sales dude or dudette who respects me as a fellow human being.

Perhaps I should send out a survey of salespeople first. Ha!

Do salespeople bother you?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Keeping Time

When I was trying to run again after all these years, I used a pacer to keep time and distance. It helped but, what with all the recurring injuries, I had to give up on the running. I haven’t really considered using one for walking mostly because, when I use the pacer, I tend to set it faster and faster and then, I’d be running again and injured, so…

I have, however, given thought to the use of a pacer to get through the daily routine. I think this would be a fantastic app to have on hand. Instead of slowly drudging through my daily chores, I would set the pacer and get through them with diligence and within a reasonable time. No more letting those books that call to me interrupt my mission. No more Hulu or Netflix crying out for me to catch up on those series that I cannot stay up late enough to watch during the school year. Nope. Those things would have to wait until after the necessaries were complete. Ok, except for ‘THE BLACKLIST’. NOTHING stands in the way of me catching up on that one.

I would pace myself through the dishes and the laundry. Through the cleaning of the bathrooms and the vacuuming. Even through cooking and all that outdoor work that I am so easily distracted from doing. The pacer app would set my pace and I would work my way through the grueling tasks in record time and then be able to do activities on my want-to list.

Or maybe I'll just hire that maid. 

Do y’all think a pacer would help you get through your daily routines? 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Toilet Paper

Don't laugh. It's way more important than you may have thought. Or, mayybe you've never given it a thought.

I never really did until I started teaching at school. When we were at the old school, we had to use kid size toilets and, well, we just got used to it. We didn't love it, but we adjusted.

At the new school, which is about 5 years old now, the adults have adult sized toilets. But, the toilet paper is absurd.

Have you ever seen this skit?

Well, that's exactly what it's like trying to get the toilet paper out of the dispenser at school. Only worse. Because they supply us with the cheapest, thinnest paper ever made. It's like rice paper, only thinner. WAY thinner. So, every time you do get a hold of a piece and pull, you're lucky if you retrieve one WHOLE square.

Now, imagine having to deal with this situation when you have about three seconds to go to the bathroom before your next class.

Ellen, my sweet, you nailed it.

How's the TP where you work?

Monday, May 4, 2015

A-Z Reflection

This is the real last post for the A-Z Challenge. It's the 'reflection' post. And so, upon reflection, I have come up with the following:

  • The challenge is much more difficult when I do not have prepared posts ready to go and have to write them on a daily basis. While teaching technology to 705 students every week. Yeah, that was fun. However, it is a CHALLENGE and I did accept said CHALLENGE. So I did it. No regrets.
  • I got stuck several times for words that began with certain letters. This is not new. It's happened before when I participated in the challenge on Empty Nest
  • I enjoyed combining some letters. But I left out 'U'. Good grief. How does one leave out a letter? I've been familiar with the alphabet for over half a century now. Sheesh.
  • I did not have time to read nearly the number of posts I wanted to read and, when I found out about the Road Trip linky, I was so excited. Until I discovered that the linky was closed. WTF? So, I shall go through on my own and continue reading blogs because, the ones I did have time to visit, were inspiring, entertaining, thought-provoking...Well worth the time.
  • Perhaps posting Monday-Friday and having BOTH Saturday and Sunday off for writing would be beneficial to those of us who work outside the home as well as enjoy the challenge of blogging. But that would probably throw the count off so...

All in all, it was a good time, as always. Will I do it again? We'll see, when April rolls around in 2016. :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Yelling Zone

Do you work with someone who yells? Do you live with someone who yells? Have a friend who yells? A relative?

I do. Granted, some of them aren't actually 'yelling', as in fussing at someone, rather, they talk loud. Really loud. Really, really loud. They talk so loud your ears ache just trying to listen without passing out or telling them to tone it down. Or smacking them. 

But I am around people who do yell, as in fussing at someone, as well. And I have decided that, regardless of the reason behind the yelling, these people should have to be silent unless they are in a yelling zone. 

Yep. I am suggesting that every place of business, every home, every wherever/whatever, have a yelling zone for loud talkers and fussers. This way, they can say what they need/want to say without making others suffer. 

Imagine this: you know people who look like wild banchees when they yell. They go off and the ridiculous rant makes them look like wild monkeys at a frat party. How freaking hilarious would it be to watch them carrying on while in a yelling zone?! You wouldn't have to hear them, but you could see them. 

I vote, YES!

I also vote that these loudmouths get videoed while ranting in the yelling zones and posted on YouTube. 

It's either a yelling zone or they have got to quieten down. 

And that, friends, concludes the A-Z Challenge! And, yes, I am a day late. But y'all wouldn't know it was me if I was on time. Ha!

Lawd have mercy!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

X-ACTO Words

The way we choose to use our words makes a difference every time we speak. Words are one of the most powerful tools we humans possess. We can, with one simple utterance, lift someone up, tear them a new a$$ hole or crush their spirit.

Sometimes, we do can do two (or all three) of these things within seconds of one or the other leaving the recipient of our tongue lashing confused, hurt, down and maybe even questioning their own self worth. Imagine that. Uttering a word that makes a fellow human being question their value as a human being.

Let's face it, when we tear down and lift up in nearly the same breath, it's the demeanng part that others remember. That's the part tha make the biggest difference. That's the part that destroys.

And we know it.

And we do it anyway.

Words can cut with the quick accuracy of an X-acto knife into our hearts and minds. Sometimes even making a slow, deliberate cut deep into our souls.

Have you ever stood in a checkout line and heard someone cut the cashier for something so trivial that making the scene is worse than the infraction? Have you done it yourself?

Once those X-acto words are out there, the first domino has been pushed and, quite possibly, the rest of the reciever's day will be spent feeling so bad tha they may be inclined to share this sad/bad feelng with everyone with whom they cross paths.

When we choose to use words that cut with the precision of an X-acto knife, we affect many more than one person. We may start the process with only one person but, by the time the day is over, we've actually caused hundred to be affected.

Yes, we may be having a bad day or we may have just been cut by someone else and find ourselves sharing that pain. The reason, whatever it may be, is unimportant. The fact that we do it is mean no matter what the motivation. Mean. Hateful. Callous.

I find it particularly cold-hearted when words are used that cut children. When I see this happen, I bring out my own X-acto knife on some jerk adult who knows better. I know, I know. But I will seriously go off on someone who does this to a child.

Ok, let's hear it. What are your stories about words?

This is day 23 (and 24) of the A-Z Challenge!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

WTH Happened to U?

The letter 'U' has been upstaged. Though it cannot be ignored by the letters, 'T' and 'V' as it is forever sandwiched between the two, it was certainly snubbed. Given the cold shoulder.

How in the world one can pass by such a useful letter, I have no idea.

Without our friend, 'U', we would:

  • live in the Nited States of America
  • never be able to undo anything
  • never know unrequited love (we would miss out on some great poetry but we would lose some pretty good murder mystery movies/books)
  • not be able to go/move/look up, only down. Not cool.
  • have ants instead of aunts and no uncles
  • only know conditional love

People would live in Tah instead of Utah. There would be no more mysterious underground anything. We wouldn't laugh like idiots every time someone said, "Ranus" as opposed to, 'Uranus.' 

And, NO UNICORNS! What?! Then people wouldn't be able those ridiculous cookies shaped like unicorns that poop colorful stars. 

No. Forgetting the letter 'U' was not nice but, it happened.

I just hope it wasn't an unforgivable act.

This is Day 21 of the A-Z Challenge!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Traveling Vacations

Wait. That sounds like the vacations are traveling. I had to get the letters, 'T' and 'V' in one post so...

Traveling to vacations? Traveling to go on vacation? Vacations worth the travel time and money?

I'm pretty sure I'm either giving too much thought to this post or, not enough. Or I'm reaching. Or out of ideas. Or unmotivated. Dang. The challenge is quite difficult this time around.

All that to say, I'm not a traveler or a vacationer. We vacationed all the time when I was growing up but, when I was raising my daughters, we did not go on vacation and our only traveling was to the beach. Which is only 3.1 miles from our house so...

Living that close to the beach, one really doesn't need to go on vacation. Why spend all that money to go to another beach and still have to do all the chores when you can stay home and do the very same thing. Ha!

Seriously, I took my now grown up daughters and their significant others on vacation for the very first time just this past December. We went to the mountains. It was glorious.

But it wasn't enough to put the travel or vacation bug in me. I'm still more of a home-body. And I'm ok with that. I can always go visit the daughters who don't live close if I want to get away.

I'm interested in seeing Maine and Montana and Alaska. And that's about it. I have met some amazing, wonderful friends via blogging that I would love to visit in Europe. But I'd be just as happy if they came over to this side of the pond and visited here. And that's all the traveling or vacationing I care to do.

With ONE exception.

I'd go here in a skinny minute:

That's right. I'd go to Finland, stay in one of those igloos and appreciate the hell out of the northern lights.

Now, THAT'S a vacation worth the travel time.

This is Day 20 (and 22) of the A-Z Challenge!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I don't have any. I have three brothers. But I have four daughters and they are great sisters.

That's me and three little devils..I mean my brothers. This was taken eons ago.

When my girls were growing up, they fought like...well, sisters. Not like I fought with my brothers. With brothers, you can just punch them without all the arguing. Of course, you have to be careful in case they decide to punch you back. But then you can run and tell and they end up getting in trouble so...

Anyway, while the girls were growing up, I used to be concerned that they would not be close when they were all grown up.

I've heard the stories about the sisters who were so angry after a falling out that they never spoke to each other again. It's true! They went to their graves without having made amends. This has always been so disturbing to me. I never wanted anything like that to happen to these sweeties.

I must say that my worries were (as most worries are) unfounded. My girls have grown up and they are all close. They will do anything for each other. Anything. I've seen them drop what they're doing on the spot and go help another one out. I've seen them come to each other's defense without asking a single question. They have each other's backs. I like that.

I like knowing that, should anything happen to me, I don't have to worry about my sweet girls. They have each other. They are wonderful sisters.

Even if they are a bit loony. 

This is Day 19 of the A-Z Challenge!


I'm a day late with this one but, here it is anyway:

Are you good at witty replies? I am quite good at them. About three days later. You know, after my brain has time to process and weed through all the possibilities before I finally have just the right one. Of course, the moment has passed. I always tell myself that, next time, I'll be ready. But I rarely am.

I've certainly had my moments, few though they are. I'm so proud of myself when a clever quip is accessible in a flash. I feel so dang smart. Intelligent. Mensa qualified.

There are times when my daughters and I have healthy, hilarious banters. Though quite often I find myself laughing hysterically at their repartee filled conversations, as a bystander. A wannabe. It's the same with my closest friend. He is almost always one up on me.

Where is the witty part of my brain when I need it?

Again, when I have access to my witty abilities, I am queen of the world.The most intelligent woman ever born. Pitty it's such a short-lived rarity.

I'm quite envious of those who have instant access to this ability. I am in awe of how clever they are. I'm not talking about being mean. Just clever. Anyone can be mean. It takes smarts to be clever. The latter is the sort I enjoy and appreciate. And found lacking.

I never give up, however. Because, even though I often come up short, I do so relish the times when I'm on my game.

How are y'all at repartee?

This is Day 18 of the A-Z Challenge!

Monday, April 20, 2015


I love quilts. I've posted on Empty Nest about my love of these wonderful creations a couple of times. I love the history behind them and the stories they tell. I enjoy looking at the designs and I greatly appreciate the art and effort behind the making of quilts.

I've never attempted to even try to learn the craft of quilting. Mostly because I don't have the time or patience. And then there's the whole thing about me not quite getting the design part. Not that I am not talented. Just not in this area.

I come from a long line of women (not sure about the men) who had quite a gift when it came to a needle and thread. But this ability completely skipped over me. Luckily, it found it's way back in one of my four lovely daughters.

When DD3 headed out to Texas a few years ago for grad school, she taught herself how to quilt. That's right. She taught herself. Amazing.

Her first one was for her cousin's new baby:

Baby quilt when it was in progress. 
Then she made quilted wall hangings for her then boyfriend and one for her younger sister and I can't find those pictures anywhere.

She followed the wall hangings with this one for her oldest sister:

Which was followed by this one for me!

My Christmas quilt!

Here's a close up of the front and back of my Christmas quilt.
This past Christmas, she made one for her other older sister. She took some of her sister's t-shirts from college and made this one: 

Here are two who are also good with needle and thread checking out the handiwork. 
She also just finished one for her now husband of the Mario Brothers...well, one of them, I think it's Mario. But I don't have a picture of that one.

After receiving my Christmas quilt, I mentioned that I would love to have one for each season. She's working on my spring quilt now.

Don't you love it when your kids pick up on hints or things you say as a joke and they know you'd really like it? Ha!

The spring quilt will have some of my grandmother's handkerchiefs in it since Grandmother was a spring person. The squares will be reflective of her love for spring. And, the daughter who makes these glorious quilts? She's named after my grandmother. See how the stories can be woven into the pattern, the fabric, the design...the motivation?

I love quilts. Even if the talent skipped me. It's still in the family, and that's good enough.

This is Day 17 of the A-Z Challenge!

Saturday, April 18, 2015


How I hate them. No matter whether it's people playing politics to determine who makes what team or gets what job or a political election, I am not a fan.

It's not so much the people who are running. I have opinions about them and I make my decisions all by myself. Yep. Imagine that. I don't need to listen to what other people have to say to make a decision about how to cast my vote. For any election.

No- it's the negativity. And not just the mud slinging from the candidates, it's the negativity from friends and family who put their opinions out via social media with an air of, 'If you don't think the way I do, you're a moron.'

I don't like that. I don't want the opinions of others shoved down my throat. I do not appreciate that people think I should not only listen to their opinions but follow their advice. I fear for those who actually do listen to these forced, unsolicited influences because they cannot think for themselves. Or they're too lazy to do so.

If someone wants to share their opinion with others in a mature, interesting discussion of opinions, that's fine. I'll even jump right in. But when the insults start flying, I'm out. This is so unnecessary and it makes me feel like people are trying to force their opinions upon me.

It doesn't work. As a matter of fact, when I do not have a clear idea of how I will cast my vote, I tend to vote for the candidate that these people stand so adamantly against. And I tell them.

Yes, we all have our opinions but to thrust those opinions upon other people is not nice. And so begins my daily 'hiding' of all friends on social media who are 'sharing' their political opinions.

This is also a good time to break yourselves of the television habit. Those ads are already driving me nuts and the media is pushing people to put their judgement out there. I am not a fan of anyone who encourages discord.

Vote for whomever you choose. But don't get offended when I do the same and my candidate is not the one you support. Even if we are in agreement, that does not mean I want to read your thoughts on social media.

Will y'all be keeping friends off your feed or turning off the television?

This is Day 16 of the A-Z Challenge!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Olfactory or Ooooh, That Smell

Summers in the low-country are anything but enjoyable. The oppressive heat keeps me inside most of the time even though the beach is only three miles from our house. But it's not all bad. Every so often, there will be something during the summer that sparks a memory or two about summers during my childhood. And many of those sparks are brought about due to summer smells. 

The smell of suntan lotion and Noxzema cause me to follow my olfactory sense right back to the beach vacations we took every year. My grandmother and my parents would slather Coppertone lotion on us every morning and we would still get sunburns. So, at night, they would slather us with Noxzema to take out the burn. The next day, we would get our slathering of Coppertone and a t-shirt. 

There are honeysuckle bushes along the path where I walk the dog down to the marsh. Honeysuckle has a distinctive smell that rushes me back to my childhood backyard. The honeysuckle was located on the back side of the clothesline and every time I had to go out to bring in the wash, I inhale the smell of that honeysuckle as I ran in and out of the sheets hanging on the line. 

The smell of impending rain also transports me back to my youth. It seemed that an afternoon thunderstorm paid us a visit every single day during the summer. They only lasted about thirty minutes but they were amazing! The feel and smell of the air became cooler and thunder rumbled in the distance. It was glorious. 

And whose summer memories aren't stirred up by a cookout? Anything cooked on the grill smells divine and takes me back to the days of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. We have a neighbor behind our house that does something when he's grilling that, as soon as I smell it, my mouth immediately begins watering. One of these days, I'm going to hop that fence when he goes inside and grab some of that deliciousness! 

My list of summer smells could go on and on as some of you who read Empty Nest know. But these posts are supposed to be short and I want to hear what your favorite summer smells are and where they take you.

This is Day 15 of the A-Z Challenge!

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I am a note taker.

I take notes at meetings. I take notes while reading books. I take notes when thinking. I take notes all the time. And these notes are all over my house.

I find them in obscure places as well as all over in wide open places. They're in books, pockets, drawers, under the bed, in the closet, in baskets...everywhere. There's even an app for that. The one I use is called: Note Everything. It's like the app is luring me to take more notes as well as affirming the fact that I should be taking notes.

Yes, some of this need to jot down everything is due to the aging brain. But, at the same time, it's not like this is something new for me that I decided to start when my brain stopped remembering as well as it did before it decided to be a stereotypical brain and forget things because I got older. Sheesh.

I'm always taking notes about blog post ideas and random thoughts that could be turned in to a blog post or two but not a single one of those thoughts or ideas helped me when trying to write this post for the challenge that had to begin with the letter, N.

Thus, the blog post entitled: Notes.

This is Day 14 of the A-Z Challenge!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


It was, without a doubt, the worst subject in school for me. I hated it. It was hard and it required me to sit still and think. I was not a sit still kind of kid. I enjoyed/appreciated and was good at English (I was the Queen of diagramming sentences) and history (I still love it and my love of history was part of the reason I ended up living in an historic city).

But math? It gave me a headache then. It gives me a headache now. The difference? Now, I almost get the logic behind it. And that's quite scary. And confusing. Thus, the headache.

Whenever a student in my school says that he/she hates math, I tell them to think of math as a mystery to solve. They are the detective and the problem is the mystery. It's amazing that a statement so simple makes such a difference in the effort they will put forth.

I don't teach math, and that's a VERY good thing. I teach computers. To elementary students. I teach them how to use computers and computer programs and I also teach coding.


We will be branching out into robotics this summer.


I have no idea what made me thing THAT would be a good idea.


Anyway, one of my addictions is, Ted Talks. Check this one out. Yes, you'll probably have to read subtitles. I did. But, trust me, it's way easier than working out a math problem.


This is Day 13 of the A-Z Challenge!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Leverage can be a good thing when you need help moving a heavy object from point A to point B or when you need a hand up. But it's not that great when people use it against you in an effort to make you do something their way.

One thing about people having leverage over me makes me do is realize when I have done it to others. It also makes me so aware that I keep myself in check in order to not do this in the future. So, that's a good thing.

However, it is quite frustrating when people, especially people close to you, use it as power over you. Let's say, hypothetically, that you depend on someone for transportation and, all is well. You enjoy carpooling together and the time spent with each other can be a great bonding opportunity. Or they let you have full use of the car which is also nice so that you can get to work or run errands or whatever. A car is nice. It provides a certain amount of freedom.

One day, for whatever reason, you discover that you should not express your feelings about living situations, for example, without that person using the transportation situation as leverage against you.

You end up with a relationship in which you had better not utter a complaint or suggestion or wish unless you want the other person to hold something against you. Leverage.

I won't help you  if you do/don't__________ do....
I won't take you anywhere or let you use my car if you do/don't do...
If you don't _________, I will remind you that it is MY car you are using.
I won't continue helping with bills if you don't do things my way.
I won't do anything if you do/don't...

And just like that, someone has power over you.

How nice it would be if everyone just helped out others because it's a nice thing to do. Not because we might get miffed and hold it over their heads.

What motivates us to get and hold leverage over others? Fear of not being in control, perhaps. I almost hope it's more fear related than just being mean or manipulative.

Do others use leverage against you? Do you use it against others?

This is Day 12 of the A-Z Challenge!

Monday, April 13, 2015


Families are interesting. They can be helpful and supportive or back stabbing and cruel and all things in between.

My family is nuts. That’s right. We’re a bunch of crazies. And I like it that way. LOVE it, as a matter of fact.

My nutty daughters. 

We know how to laugh at just about everything. We would rather find the humor in a situation than get all depressed or angry about it. Not that we don’t deal with what life hands us, we are responsible, but we love laughing.

My two oldest with my dad. 
We've also got the supportive and helpful family which is always a blessing. Though it can be a curse- when one person feels like they give the help and support all the time, but, that’s just what we do.

The four daughters with my dad and my step-mom. We do love  a photo booth. 
One of my favorite things with all of our kin is the family reunion in August. We don’t make it every year but, it’s always good to see everyone when we do. These have been going on since 1934.

The tree from which the silly fell.
And everyone is still just as crazy (in a good way) as ever. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Are there a bunch of nuts in your family tree?

This is Day 11 of the A-Z Challenge!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Don't JINX it!

I am one of those superstitious type folks who believes that if you say something or do something (especially something veering from the norm) that you will jinx the outcome of an event or your entire day.

I always- ALWAYS- put my right shoe on first. And take it off first. Always. I've tried to switch it around but I cannot make myself do that. The thought that passes through my mind when I do try to put the left shoe on first is something like, "No. Something will go very, very wrong today if I do that."

I know it's ridiculous, but I still put that right shoe on first.

During football season, I'm the same way. If a sports announcer makes just the right negative comment about a team, that team is jinxed and they will lose. And they do.

During the summer months (which span way more than three months) I NEVER ask, "Can it get any hotter?" because, if I do, I might jinx it and the answer might be in the affirmative and that would be worse than the unbearable levels the heat already reaches.

Basically, if it's going to be jinxed, I am not the one who's going to do it, if I can help it.

This is me, during football season:

The rest of the year, I'm focusing on the shoes and not asking if it can get any hotter.

This is Day 10 of the A-Z Challenge!

Friday, April 10, 2015


Does your imagination ever get out of control? Mine has always done this. I can remember so many times, as a child, I was nearly terrified by things that were not happening or did not exist. My imagination was over active and quite vivid.

This remained a problem even into my college years. Alhough, seeing HALLOWEEN my freshman year and living in an old dorm with wide hallways dimly lit with antiquated light fixtures hanging on the walls, was not helpful.

I could talk myself into just about anything. And I often did.

Why in the world I was so drawn, and still am, to books written by Stephen King is a mystery to me. I was reading one of his books while my first born daughter was napping and someone knocked on the front door. I jumped up, threw the book across the room and screamed like someone was attacking me. Good grief. How ridiculous.

This was about the time that I decided I had better get my imagination under control. So I did. I conditioned myself to block that out-of-control thinking as soon as I had a mere glimmer that it was going to start up. And it's been working fine. Until it invades my dreams, of course.

However, when I am walking the dog before the sun comes up and it's a cool, windy day (and no, it doesn't have to be near Halloween for this to happen) and the leaves are blowing around---they sound like footsteps no matter what I tell myself. Sometimes, I guess, the situation is just right and there's not a darn thing you can do about it.

I will tell myself that it's just the leaves and that I don't need to turn around and look. And then I'll have the conversation about what if I do turn around and look and something or someone IS there? Then what will I do? I'm too old and overweight to outrun whatever it is. So do I want to be surprised by the attack or watch it come?????

I always turn around. There hasn't been anything or anyone there.


Does your imagination get the best of you?

This is Day 9 of the A-Z Challenge!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Haunted House Humor

One of my favorite things our family did when I was growing up was go camping on the weekends. Most of the time we would go to the mountains and just have a nice relaxing time. One of the most memorable weekends involved a haunted house and my oldest brother.  

When we got to the campground it was practically deserted --as it was the off season—with only 3 campers in the whole place. Not a problem since there were plenty of us to have fun and go exploring. Once we were set up, it was time to go exploring. 

Once we hit just the right spot in the dirt road, we saw an old house looming ahead on the left. There has never been a better haunted looking house in a Hollywood movie. This place was two stories high with a widow’s walk on top. The siding was old and gray looking with some slats hanging down at an angle from the rusty old nails that could no longer hold them in place. There were steps leading up to a porch that spanned the front of the house. Several of the boards curved up at the edge of the steps and the porch and there were holes where the wood had given up and rotted away. There was a porch swing hanging at one end of the porch and it creaked, just a little, in the breeze. Most of the windows had been broken, leaving half panes of jagged glass and, those that were intact, were covered in a film of dust and age. Through the windows, we could see old, tattered curtains hanging limp. The walkway leading up to the wide steps was no longer level and was cracked in places with weeds growing up through them. The front yard was overgrown with weeds and dead bushes and was surrounded by an old, gray picket fence that swayed in places and had more leaning slats than straight up and down ones. To enter the walkway leading to the house, we had to pick the gate up, that was hanging by only one rusted hinge, and place it to one side. Several old trees that had already shed most of their leaves were on either side of the house reaching out with their spindly arms. It was coming on dusk; there was a slight breeze; and not a sound was heard other than the ever so slight creaking of the porch swing and the occasional rustling of dead leaves.

There were seven of us kids altogether and we decided that perhaps going up to the door and going inside that house was not the best idea we’d ever had. We discussed this in quiet whispers all the while keeping our eyes sharply focused on the house. Finally, my brave brother, Tony, said- in his best 11-year-old manly voice, “I’m not scared. I’ll go in.” The rest of us stood statue still in a bit of shock at hearing his words and Tony had an expression on his face that clearly indicated he, too, was wondering who the hell said that. 

Mere seconds passed as my courageous brother realized that it was indeed his voice and that now, because of his impulsive bravery, he was going to have to go into the haunted house. His steps were shaky and slow as he proceeded up the worn path to the first step. He slowly and carefully placed one foot up on the step and looked back. We were all still standing there with wide eyes and opened mouths. Tony walked up each step with uncertainty and paused to look back again when he stood, nervously, on the porch. We had not moved a muscle. Tony took small, careful, baby steps all the way to the front door and stopped. He gingerly reached out his hand to open the old door. At that very moment that insignificant breeze that had caused only slight movement of the porch swing and a gentle (albeit creepy) rustling of the leaves became a wind. And that wind was strong enough to blow the tattered curtain hanging at the broken windows. that ran vertically beside the front door, out just far enough to brush my brother’s arm.

To this day I do not think that my fearless brother’s feet touched any part of that house or the earth as he spun around and took off! He was beside us and then past us within a millisecond and there was dust behind him as he flew down the dirt road. The expression on his face illustrated terrified quite well with the eyes bugging out and the extreme paleness of his color. As soon as we realized what had happened (and it took a few seconds), we laughed hysterically- half from my brother’s reaction to the curtain and half from sheer relief. 

Of course we had to go off after him because he was running in the opposite direction of our campsites. Along the way we met our parents’ friends who were driving out to visit- complete with Tony on the hood of their car. 

I've told this story quite a lot over the years and I've posted about it on Empty Nest. I never tire of it and the visuals in my head are still vivid. We discussed this particular trip over Christmas and my brother still recalls the haunted house too. 

He's still not laughing as hard as the rest of us though.      

This is Day 8 of the A-Z Challenge!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


One thing our family has always enjoyed is playing games. There is not one single time when our family gathers that we don't have, at the very least, one night devoted to some intense game playing. You may wonder how we can possibly be intense when the games include Pictionary, Canasta, Spades, Hearts, Mad Libs, Trivial Pursuit, Yahtzee, Farkle... 

Well, it's like this: if it's fun and we can make some noise- we're playing it and we're playing it BIG! 

The card games are hilarious for the most part.  Until people start getting competitively nasty and playing cards on their spouses that they have no business playing.  "I can't believe you played that card on me.  That's totally unfair!"  

Trivial Pursuit is fun until a certain couple starts acting like smart asses all "High-five Baby! Way to go!"--just because they win. Every. Single. Time.  

Pictionary is one of my favorites. It gets crazy when one family member has her turn to draw and people are guessing and she suddenly decides to help them out by using gestures, like Charades"You can't use gestures Maw-Maw!" But she just can't help herself and she continues to use the gestures every time her turn comes around. When it's a certain man's turn to draw and people guess wrong, he talks. "No, it's more like..." And everyone yells, "You can't talk, DAD!" And then there's the inevitable conversation when one partner does not guess the drawing correctly. "How could you NOT get that?" "Why would you think that that looks like a bicycle?! It doesn't even remotely resemble a bike!" "I can't believe you said hot. NOTHING in the drawing has ANYTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH BEING HOT!" "I can't believe that's how you draw!" "It's better than the way you guess!" Meanwhile, everyone who isn't on the bickering team has fallen out of their chairs laughing. I'm telling you right now you've never seen so many people raise such a ruckus and have so much fun without the aid of alcohol. 

We've even started playing the game Cards Against Humanity with two stipulations: we don't play it around the grandparents and it's called 'Sorry, Mom' around here (it was dubbed that the first time I played with them in December. That has gotten more laughs than the game itself.)

It doesn't matter what we're playing, our family just really likes to have fun. If y'all could be flies on the wall during one of our game nights, you'd probably swear we were all nuts!  

Which we are. But I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

This is Day 7 of the A-Z Challenge!