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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bff Combination Ketchup or Relish

Since I am so far behind on the BFF posts, I thought, why not just cover them all, right?  Not as easy as one might suspect, but I'm up for a challenge today and so here it is or here is comes as I haven't actually written anything yet. Topics or prompts will be bold italics for clarification.

There are a bazillion posts about life lessons and I enjoy reading every one of them and usually agree with most. I also find every now and then, life has taught me a few things maybe everyone else already knew.

Like:
1) "I love you"  isn't always unconditional and isn't always forever.

2) "You can count on me" doesn't really mean you can.

3) Being a friend is forever and you can count on that.

All the other ones you've already read, yep, they're good and yep, I believe they are true and these can be added to any list you wanna make. Being an acquaintance is much easier, by the way, than being a friend.

Focus on this~~~~~~~~~

Shoes~Over there is the pair of shoes I bought for my granddaughter's wedding and I absolutely love these shoes! When I wear them I am such a lady and feel so girlie and good inside and out. Great shoes do that for me! These are great girlie shoes. Deep chocolate brown with gold crystals twisting up the top of my foot, who wouldn't feel like a dressed up girl in these?

 Silly~A lot of my silly times are compliments of these two furbabies. Top shot is Sadie Jayne who just turned 11 this month. Notice the large well padded bed and even homemade blanket with her name? She pushes them all aside to lay on the hard bottom of the bed and uses the edge as her pillow. She is such a princess. I woke her up for this picture just a few minutes ago. It's nap time for princesses.


This guy is always up for a swim or a walk or a toy toss or a belly rub or a cuddle. Jake turned 12 a week after Sadie turned 11. He is almost always somewhere near me. Right now, I am in my office and  he is curled up on the bed behind me. The dog bed, pillow intact for him, please. He was right behind me when I snapped the pic of Sadie, so I turned and took his, as well. We must be fair, mustn't we?
They are my silliest moments, for sure.


Looking at the calender a minute or so ago I noticed June is tomorrow! Holy Cow, May is gone already. *sigh* I wanted my summer to drag on and on and here one month of it has passed already. It just reminds me TIC TOC the clock is indeed ticking. I will not miss even one day of this long anticipated season. It is my mission this summer to be part of every single summery day and not miss one opportunity to enjoy and savor the sun and warmth. I'll even enjoy the rain this summer because my flowers do enjoy a nice shower!
As time passes, I know that we have worked hard for a long time to be where we are today and I plan to reap the benefits at every turn. I love summer.

Good Deeds are easy enough if you keep your eyes open. Are they worth bothering about? Sure they are. If you make one person smile or laugh out loud once a day or once a week, you'll be a better person. If you remove an obstacle for one person this month, you'll feel better about who you are. Every good deed pays dividends immediately directly to your heart. The best ones are the ones you don't even think about. You just do what seems to be the right thing at the moment. It's really an exercise in good judgment. Giving of yourself feels good.

All right, there we have it.
Focus on Shoes, Silly, done.
Tic Toc. done
Life Lessons. done
A Good Deed. done

All ketchuped and relish made!   :)

Jo

Ethos~Pathos~Logos

The prompt took me immediately to "Public Speaking 101" a class I attended as a drop-in student to better help me with my communication skills. I was in no position to pay for college courses and a community college in Flint offered these classes at no charge, no credit given, supplies only basis and I jumped on it. I was looking for the education not the credits. I had no clue what any of those three things were and I had no clue what to do with them or about them. It was the first class and my first EVER college course, when the instructor laid it out on the board. Big letters of what I assumed were Greek words all over the front board.

ethos~speaker's credibility
pathos~emotional connection to your audience
logos~logic of argument


She then explained that if we mastered these three areas, we would be successful speakers. We would be able to win over our audience and impart our message with skill and humor.

Okay, I was in at that point. I got it.

Digressing here for background information~~~~~~~~~~~~
My job as an instructor to hairdressers all over the state of Michigan who were customers of the Nexxus Product Company, required that I speak sometimes to small groups and other times to hundreds of people. I went into salons for one-on-one introduction of our product line and also spoke at corporate meetings to all employees. I held workshops for a dozen or so at a time and I also did huge hair shows in other parts of the country and Canada where I would be the MC to the star cutters and stylists. Sometimes I was the star cutter or stylist. I enjoyed the MCing more. I loved talking to people about my favorite product line and imparting real and usable knowledge to them for everyday use in their careers.
Done digressing, back to class~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The class was only 6 weeks long, twice a week. I loved every minute of it. I gained such basic knowledge and then such incredible confidence, I cannot possibly explain to you how valuable this quick and info packed class was to me. Just learning the ethos, pathos and logos part of speaking to groups made all the difference. It is the basis for all GOOD speech makers.

Now on to how I used this information.

Introducing yourself, which you sometimes are expected to do, is fun. It is the place where you can impart your credibility, your history in their chosen field and your expertise. I used to say I had been a hairdresser since Jesus got his first trim.  Or that my first 'request customer' was Mary. It allowed the audience to chuckle a little and stop guessing how the hell old I was. I gave it to them, very old. It also tells them I might know something about being in a salon and trying to make a living. I then would explain where I had worked and throw in a story or two about the "Unique Client" which every single hairdresser has encountered. A little blue hair humor or maybe the child who requires you to walk 10 miles in circles around your chair while bending at the waist with your head upside down while you get each and every stray hair from this continually moving target. That child's mom will require perfection from you, if not from her child.  "ethos"

My second part of every class (or lecture) would be to talk about product introduction. How do you get your client to want the product you know they need. You identify their need, you offer the product and you hand it to them to read, smell or actually try. You talk about its benefits for THEM and its affordability. You never offer to remove it from their hand.  You continue with your work on the hair or you move on to another product you would love them to use.  The idea being, you give them the product and the information and then allow them to keep it or put it back on the shelf.  Their choice. "pathos"

Now that the client is holding and sort of owning the product, they are more likely to buy it. Good job. Client now owns the product you want them to use because they will be your best advertisement in the world and with the right product and styling knowledge, you will look good.  They will be happy with their look and most likely will buy the product again.

The next step is, a little tougher one, getting the product out of their bathroom closets and onto their hair.

On any return visit to the salon it is imperative to follow up with questions about how the products are performing for them. You have to know if they are using them or not and if not, why not. If the answer is that they had something else to use up, suggesting they use that for the children or the dog is the way to go. Professional products absolutely change the hair on your head. The right product for the right hair equals perfection. Drive it home. Make them 'get' it. Follow through and care about their needs. "logos"

I always ended my classes and lectures with Q and A and learned a great deal about my audience from those. Every class was better than the last because I listened to the questions and made the next class address those. This also added to my "pathos" because I was intuiting their questions and they knew that.

Just for the record...this entire page is equally appropriate to writing. Writing is nothing more than public speaking on paper and your audience is free to click off at any point. You do not have a captive audience when you write, so using these tools will undoubtedly increase your readership and probably your comments.

Now go practice your ethos, pathos and logos and reap the rewards!

Jo








Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sense of Self

As the sixth decade of my life unfolds, I am  comfortable with who I am. I can't do many of the physically challenging things I used to enjoy and running is something my knees prefer that I forego. A couple of years ago, that bothered me, a lot. Today, I am fine with it. I do what I can as often as I can and I accept that some days, I may not be able to do much of anything. Things hurt longer now, chores take longer now and wonderfully enough, I have more time now. So that all works out just fine. Aging is a matter of believing you can, accepting it might not be as easy as it once was and it will take longer with more breaks. I'm there.


All the moral questions I used to have are gone. I feel confident in my judgment now and I never doubt right from wrong. I know what I should do and almost always do so. When I choose not to do the right thing, I know I will pay for that choice in one way or another because karma will never allow that to go unnoticed. I see a lot more gray areas now than I did 20 years ago. I find no pleasure in or need to judge anyone else. I find empathy for people I don't even know sometimes, people who have lost their way in spite of many others trying to help. Any lost soul is sad to me now. As a younger person, that wasn't something I really thought much about or if I did, I would think they were just idiots. I understand now about addiction, about losing the ability to see a sense of one's self. I understand now about being blind to reality in order to do what feels good or removes all feeling. 


My own sense of self is very content. It is very solid and I now know me. I know what I should do; I know what I will do. I know how I feel about almost everything and I don't feel like I need to share all of my opinions with everyone. I will, if asked. I will, if someone might benefit from hearing it.


This aging thing isn't so bad, really. Some days I cannot believe how good life is now. Not every day, but most of them are filled with goodness. When the sad days come, they are difficult and they are heavy. My sense of self isn't questioned, it is what gets me through those days. 


When I write now, I just write what is in my heart or on my mind. I don't worry that it will be perfect. I don't write for the reader as much as I write for the head clearing mental health of the author with a hope that one or a hundred readers will find something they can use or needed to hear in my words.


The sixth decade of my life is a wonderful, comfortable and serene place. I'd like to stay a while longer. It's been a rough road and now it's nearly all paved. 


Jo

Saturday, May 26, 2012

MEMORIAL DAY 2012

Paying respect to the fallen military is second nature to many. A bowed head, a hand placed over the heart or a moment of silence at the cemetery. Nothing is quite as touching as a military funeral. Honors, well deserved, are part of every service given to the fallen.

The fallen. Isn't it odd that we use that term? Military personnel who have died doing a job they volunteered (now they are all volunteers, wasn't always the case) to perform. The basic training lead them to schooling for their specialty and then to active duty somewhere doing whatever they have been trained to do to the best of their ability and giving everything they have in service to their country. Their country, by the way, is you and me. The freedoms they serve to preserve are our freedoms as well as their own. The limits to their dedication are nonexistent. They give all. They stood for freedom. Now they are 'the fallen'. The 'fallen' gave all.

Memorial Day, is especially meant to honor, remember and salute the military men and women who died in service to the United States of America. Over the years, however, we have expanded it's meaning to cover all deceased military personnel. I believe this is as it should be. Whether a veteran died while in service or many years following, every veteran gave this country all or a large piece of the only life she/he had. At some point each became property of the U.S. Government and belonged to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or the National Guard body and soul. An agreement to be all, do all and if necessary, give all was entered into and fulfilled. Each deserves to be honored today and everyday that we walk in freedom on the lands of America.

The families of the dead are forever changed. Changed by the dedication of their loved one; changed by the loss of their loved one and changed by the support or lack of from their fellow Americans. 

Imagine sending your fresh-out-of-high-school child off to the service. Imagine attending their graduation ceremony with such pride and love as to be indescribable. Imagine writing back and forth about your everyday life and the everyday life of the enlistee. No comparison. The everyday life of the enlistee is not a day  which belongs to them, it is a day in which they belong to their unit, their assignment, their duty. All day, everyday this is their life. They are proud, families are proud. 

Then imagine getting that visit, or call. Imagine, if you possibly can, that your child has given up her/his life for his/her country. An explosion, a bullet, an accident, something has taken your child. The U.S. Government has notified you and now you have to deal with your loss. I cannot imagine. I have a son who served proudly in Iran. His ship, the USS Independence returned without incident. Thank you, God. I cannot imagine. 

Imagine loving a Veteran who returns to his life after his service is complete. Living the remaining years in marriage with children and your Vet. Through the years you see and feel the effects of the time served. You see the nightmares or deal with medical issues that stemmed from time served. You love through it all. When you lose your spouse you know it is from something that occurred many years prior, but you carry on and remember. Imagine you also have to pay the price. I cannot imagine.

My own father was an Army Veteran and maybe his early death as age 56 was somehow related, maybe not, but it doesn't matter, he is gone and my mother was widowed at an early age. She is one of so many widows of veterans who served proudly and left this earth far too soon. I cannot imagine.

Today, though I continue to honor and respect the proud men and women who have served and are now receiving and enjoying their rewards in the hereafter, I also with all of my heart and all of my soul honor, respect and admire the families they left behind.

Thank you Veterans all for your service and your dedication.  Thank you mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for your strength and your contribution to the freedom of these United States. 

The price of freedom is too high for some. The price of freedom is more than anyone should ever have to pay, but as long as it is necessary, may we each remember to pay proper respect.

As we play and do yard work and celebrate another 3 day week-end, please take a moment of silence or a trip to the cemetery or say a prayer for those who served and gave their lives for your free life.

God rest the souls of all who served.  Amen

Jo

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BFF Focus on FLOWERS

My favorite beautiful yellow rose bush. A gift from a neighbor who became a very dear friend. He gave me a shoot off his mother's rose bush just a year before his own passing. I love him and I love my yellow roses.  ♥

HAPPY 1st BLOG-AVERSARY

"My Wandering Mind" is 1 year old. On May 20, 2011, I wrote my first blog on GBE2 and pushed the publish button.



I also had no idea how many friends I would find here. How many people I would connect with on a writing level and how many would enter my heart as people. I feel like a kid in a candy store every time I visit any of the three groups I have joined. BFF has three topics a week, though I don't write on all of them, I write on most of them. I read everything posted on them.  The Writer's Post has one topic a week and I usually write on that one and read all who do. GBE2, my first group, I write on every week and I read all the posts on topic. I love my fellow writers and I love the support they have given me for this year. I adore the fact that my real life friends and some family have found my blogs fun or interesting or well done or whatever often enough that they come by to read quite often. I even drafted a few friends into GBE2, though they aren't writing now, I hope they'll be back. They all have something to offer and I enjoyed reading their work.

Thank you, each and every one of you who have read, commented or even pm'ed me a line of encouragement or criticism. I appreciate your time, your opinions and most of all your love and support. I am so blessed to be in the midst of such talent and good souls. Oh sure, there are some stinkers out there, but that's life, isn't it? Nine hundred ninety nine wonderful people and one not so much. It's a reality check.

So for kicks...here's the link to my first blog...May 20, 2011.  I remember clearly writing it. 


I had 40 views and 4 comments. Two of them were me replying.  One was Beth, the group's originator and one was my sister.  Thank you Beth and Pat for starting me off with something.
I was so happy, seriously.  ♥

Jo

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

CLOSE CALL, SOMEBODY'S WATCHING ME, WHEN I GROW UP

The ultimate combo feature...three in one.


Walking out of the library with both arms loaded with some good week-end reading, Myrnie's mind went to how much she was craving this time alone with her books and a recliner on her back porch. A week-end with no obligations, no plans and no intrusions. It had been months since she had real quality personal gratification time. It was now within her sites. 


A stop at the local pizza shop would provide her dinner for one and a second stop at the deli downtown would fulfill her culinary desires for the entire two days of solitude. The deli sold the best old fashioned smoked turkey she had ever eaten and a few slices of Swiss Lorraine cheese would top it off nicely. She would also select a couple of different salad offerings to round out her meals. Oh, and a small but wonderful cake. The deli owner had a gift for baking the most delightful of cakes and offered them in small sizes perfect for a single diner.


Myrnie had no plans to touch her keys or go near the front door once she arrived home this evening until Monday morning when she had to return to her workplace. She loved her job and never felt like it was a chore to go to work, but right now, that job didn't matter at all. Nothing mattered except that she needed, and hadn't had in a very long time, a couple of days all to herself. Just time to completely relax and thereby re-energize her inner being. Stress had taken its toll and always being there for everyone who needed her had exhausted her finally and now, it was her turn.


As she pulled into the parking place for the deli stop, she noticed a very attractive woman entering the same door she was going to enter momentarily. She took an extra minute to secure the pizza box on the back seat, it didn't seem very stable on the front seat. Then she entered the deli. She ordered her turkey and cheese from Mr. Novak and headed over to the cake display. The attractive woman was holding a box from the same display. Mynie's favorite cake was not in the case. It was a red velvet with cream cheese frosting and it was the one she could already taste. The last small version was in the attractive girl's hands. Drat! Next choice would be the devil's food with peanut butter frosting, also good, but not red velvet. 


"Mr. Novak, do you have any more red velvet?" She asked, knowing they would all be in the case.


"Not if there aren't anymore in there, Honey. Sorry."


"It's okay, I'll have the devil's food, I guess." Her voice may have shown some disappointment.


The attractive girl looked directly at Myrnie and said, "Here, please take this one. I just picked one up, I also love devil's food with the peanut butter."  Her outstretched hand offered the prized cake and Myrnie didn't give her a chance to change her mind.  She accepted the gift.


"Thank you, so much. This is my very favorite and I'm sure you'll enjoy this one, it's fantastic, too."  They both smiled and the attractive girl went back to shopping the other cases for crackers and whatnot.  Myrnie went to the counter to collect her meat and cheese and then on to the salad.
Her thoughts, "Whew, that was A CLOSE CALL, nearly messed up my perfect week-end."




All the errands were complete and Myrnie drove along the winding roads to her small but cozy home in the middle of a little neighborhood south of the downtown rush. Though she was less than 2 miles from the hub, her house and neighborhood felt very countryfied and very private.  The best part for her was that although she had a nice privacy fence around her backyard, which she loved, she also had people all around her, which she also loved. This house was her retreat from the real world sometimes and this week-end was all about retreating into herself.


A few minutes after arriving home and carrying in all her purchases, she took her pizza and an ice cold beer out to the back porch and started one of the several books. She found herself looking out over the back fence repeatedly, was there someone outside behind her? The yard backing up to hers had not been occupied for months. The owner was not able to walk outside safely and hired a neighbor to mow for him. He could sit on his porch, but the uneven lawn was too hazardous for him to navigate alone and he was alone all the time. Was she hearing something or just feeling something? Was someone watching her through the fence? 


Only one way to know. She lifted herself from the chair and leisurely strolled around the fence line looking down at her rows of flowers as she went. All along the back fence she raised her eyes to any spot where one might be able to see through. Nothing. Nothing. Then something. A pair of eyes were looking through at thigh height. She bent to see more clearly. It was the face of a beautiful German Shepard Dog looking, tail wagging and silent. 


"Hi Fella. What's your name? Who do you belong to?" She spoke softly and the dog responded with silent mouth movements. The tail moved faster. He was very friendly. She stood and returned to her own porch. The old man had gotten himself a dog and SOMEBODY WAS WATCHING HER with soft brown eyes. She liked the idea of the old man having this sweet and beautiful dog by his side and inside his fenced lawn behind her. She didn't mind thinking the dog might always watch over her yard, as well.  What a nice addition to her neighborhood.


Her perfect week-end continued and every moment of it felt just like she knew it would. The hours passed very quickly and yet, she felt relaxed, refreshed and got completely lost in her books. She managed to read cover to cover 4 excellent books and had 2 more to read later. She had enjoyed her turkey and swiss sandwiches and the cake. Oh, the cake! This week-end was coming to a close with a long steamy bath and one more book to take to bed. She would start it, but knew it would be laying beside her Monday morning when she awoke for work.


Exactly the week-end of favorite foods, solitude, no phone, great books plus the new friend behind the fence, she had longed for.


Drifting off to sleep Myrnie thought to herself, "WHEN I GROW UP these week-ends won't exist anymore. I might even have children and a husband with whom I will want to share my down time, but for now, what a wonderful choice I made. My time for me to just be me."


Jo







THE LAST STRAW

Thinking of yesterday, maybe last year
Wishing I had or hadn't done that
Promising never again will it happen
Knowing it might, but hoping it won't.


Looking back doesn't help
The past can't be changed
So why visit at all?
To learn, to improve, to be better.


Today is what matters 
Right now most of all
This moment won't come back
So live IN it with everything you are.


When anger attacks
No need to fight back
Give it over to God
Live in peace.


When it all falls on you
When no one can help
When there isn't enough time
Take one bite, do one thing.


When the LAST STRAW is drawn
Is yours big or is it small?
When the last breath is taken,
It won't matter at all.


Jo



Monday, May 21, 2012

Pick a Line From a Book and start writing...

The full moon always made her anxious. As she stepped out of her car onto her winding sidewalk, she again wondered why she thought it was a good idea to obscure her front door with these shrubs. The landscaper had been certain she'd love the privacy. She didn't. She was never comfortable coming home after dark and with that full moon, her legs were just slightly unstable. Her eyes darted left and right and she walked with determination to that yet unseen entrance. Key in hand, she extended her right arm as she approached the small raised landing directly under the door in preparation for scurrying in and locking the door behind her. 


Her hand never touched the door knob. Something grasped her wrist at the exact moment she tried to slip the key into the lock. Her breath stuck in her throat and her eyes flew wide open and though she thought she was screaming, it was only in her head. Searching the semi-darkness for a face, her heart had stopped, surely it had. Her lungs were just about to explode as the face came into view and his voice broke the silence. The loudest silence she had ever experienced. He was just off to the side of the door and spoke in a low and soft tone.


"Relax. I'm not going to hurt you. I just need to go inside with you. Open the door or hand me the key. Come on! We need to go in!" The voice was quiet, but urgent and edgy. She didn't know it's owner, of that she was certain.  She handed him the key without speaking a word. What in the world did this man want? Why was he here? Why? She felt herself exhale and walk forward through the now opened door.


They entered the house where one light was lit. She always left it on and the porch light, as well. Since the landscaping job, the porch light was not enough. The door itself was lit, but the walkway remained too dark.


"I need your phone." He demanded, very quietly.


"My phone? For what?" She was really confused. He didn't feel threatening; he didn't appear to be armed in any way, although much larger and stronger than she, he wasn't imposing at all. She felt her initial fear beginning to wane.


"Because I need it!" His tone changed and caused her to quickly hand over the phone.


He scrolled through her contacts and pushed a button or two, she couldn't tell. Then he began to text. He was no longer looking at her. He was full face into the phone. She backed herself away from him.  He appeared to be lost in the texting process. She made a quick dash to the back door and slid the lock open and ran with all she had across the backyard in the darkness and made a sharp right turn to the empty lot next door. She ran behind an old oak tree and stood very still.


He wasn't coming. Was he?


The full moon was the only light. She stood totally still, listening and trying to adjust to the light or lack of, she waited for any inkling that he was approaching or searching for her. It was completely quiet and after several minutes she felt able to slip out from her hiding spot and move away from her home. Away from him. If he was still in her house, she didn't want to be anywhere near it. 


The Storm's house had lights on and she started quietly and quickly to move in that direction looking over her shoulder the entire way, nothing to see or hear. They were her closest neighbors and friends.


Once at the door, she knocked and announced her name. 


"It's Kaelee,  I need to call the police, please let me in?"  Her voice was very loud and she feared her intruder would hear her and her neighbor would not. She tried the knob. It was not locked. She opened the door slightly, looking in as she entered slowly talking the entire time. "Jerry? Janet? I need to use your phone, someone is in my house! Hello?"  She had locked their door the second she was in.


She grabbed their phone and dialed 911. 


"911, what is your emergency?"  The line went dead. A shot rang out. Kaelee fell to the floor and crawled to the other side of the wall. Hidden from the front window which was now crashing in a million pieces all over the living room floor. The shot had come straight through the center of the large window. 


She crawled to the basement doorway and ran down the stairs to the storm shelter she knew existed in the southwest corner. The door was camouflaged with decor imitating a large book shelf. The "book shelf" was a sliding door and when closed very difficult to detect. She hoped it locked, she didn't know.


Grabbing the edge she pushed it left and slid herself into the hidden room. For the first time, she could feel her heart racing and hear herself breathe. Panic began to set in. She would not be able to see or hear anything from inside, but she would be safe. She turned to find the light switch which she thought she remembered being on the right side of the door. Feeling the wall she located it and immediately wondered if she should or shouldn't turn it on. Why was she hesitant? There were no windows, no way for the light to show through the sliding door. What was her hesitation about? 


"Don't! Kaelee! Just come forward about 4 steps." The whispering voice directed her.


"Janet? Is that you? What is going on? Where is Jerry?" Kaelee did as Janet had instructed. They couldn't really see each other, but held hands.


"I don't know if this room is really sound proof or not, so whisper. There is a signal light upstairs if this light is turned on, remember? It's in case we are locked in here and someone needs us or needs to get in. I told you in case you ever needed it, remember?" 


"Yes, yes, I do. Where ..."


"I don't know where he is. He was in the kitchen and then he wasn't. I don't know." She put her face in her hands and sobbed. "He might have gone out the door, I hope. Someone knocked on the door and Jerry went to answer it. I was in the bedroom. I heard some muffled voices and I heard Jerry open the refrigerator and then I heard a really loud thud. I don't know what it was. It might have been someone dropping something or someone being hit with something. I just ran down the stairs in the closet of our room and have been here since. I wish we had put that lock on that slider last summer. I so want that door to be locked now. I thought I was going to die when you came through it. Then I smelled your cologne. Thank God you were wearing it. i might have screamed otherwise. That's all I know."


"You don't have your cell?"


"No. You?"


"No, he took it. There was a guy waiting on my porch and he took it and I ran out the back while he was texting someone. What the hell ...?"


"This makes no sense to me. I just don't know. We are stuck here for tonight though. We can't take a chance on opening the door or going up the stairs. We can't tell if they are here or gone and the nearest phone is 5 feet outside that slider and dead, anyway. "


The girls huddled in the deepest corner of the room under the stairs from the closet. They were undetectable unless someone literally crawled under these same steps with a flashlight. Praying and holding each other's hand, they got as comfortable as possible to endure a night of terror. Who? What? Why? No answers.


At some point they drifted off into a light sleep leaning on each other with heads touching.


A pounding above them awakened them suddenly. It sounded as if someone was stomping on the closet floor. Could they see the seams in the stair cover? It was cut perfectly into the hard wood and should be very hard to detect, but why else? They clung tightly to each other, silently.


Glancing at her watch, barely able to see it, though it had a slight illumination to it, Janet saw it was 5:30 a.m.  What to do? The last time she had looked at it, it was 3:35.


"Who do you think that is? Do you think it could be the police?" Janet so hoped it was, but how would they know?


"I dialed 911, before the line went dead, I made a connection. They have the address. Oh, I don't know what to do! I have never been so afraid in my life. I'm so glad I found you." The tears were falling on both faces and the whispers were barely audible to each other. Deep, to the bone fear had taken them both hostage.


Without any warning the slider flew open. Completely open and flooding the room with light. They stayed perfectly still and hidden.  They could not see anyone. Then suddenly and very loudly, 


"Janet? Kaelee? Are you here?" 


They both jumped at the sound of Jerry's voice and they crawled from their corner. Janet pulled herself up and then extended her hand to Kaelee and both ran to Jerry full force.  He nearly fell over when they reached him. Steadying himself, he saw both girls were fine and other than obvious stress and a lot of tears, all was well here.


It would be a couple of hours before the whole story was known. The intruder was a lone man looking for Kaelee. He had come to the Storm's house by mistake and Jerry had feared for both his and Janet's safety because the intruder had pushed his way into the house. At the first chance Jerry had run out of the house to get this man away from Janet and he knew she would head to the shelter at the first sign of danger. The man had followed Jerry for nearly 15 minutes until he finally lost him. Jerry had walked to the nearest gas station to call police. His cell phone was on the charger in the kitchen. The police had been on the way when Kaelee's call came through to 911.  Extra cars were then sent to cover the area. It was feared that Janet had been making the call and was now nowhere to be found. Jerry was not allowed back to the house for fear the intruder was hiding and they didn't want him in the way. He had given direction to the shelter, but the police had not been able to find it. They finally searched the entire house and then brought him out to assist. 


The intruder was caught at Kaelee's house. Apparently he returned there after chasing Jerry because her address was in Jerry's phone. He then pretended to be the owner when the police knocked on the door and asked if he had seen anyone. He had not. Another neighbor expressed concern for the gal who lived alone across from her and the police were immediately alerted to the gentlemen NOT being the resident.  He was taken into custody and found to be carrying a pistol which was the same caliber as the spent shells on the Storm's sidewalk. The bullet had not been removed from the living room wall, yet, but it would also match when retrieved. 


Turns out his sole purpose was to get Kaelee's phone and contact info on a co-worker of Kaelee's. She happened to be his ex-wife and he had a score to settle with her. He had been calling her all night and threatening her. Kaelee, Janet and Jerry were nothing to him. The shot was just out of anger and not meant to kill her, just meant to keep her away from the house so he could stay there. He was arrested for breaking and entering, kidnapping, firing a gun in a residential area and a host of other charges.


As for Kaelee, she called the landscaper as soon as she finished with the police and ordered him to open up the front of her house and make sure the walkway was well lit from car to door and no hiding places. She had all her locks changed and then spent 2 days at her sister's house just for safety sake.


The full moon always made her anxious.


JO


"The full moon always made her anxious." (Angela Parson Myers, "When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing").







Friday, May 18, 2012

UPDATE from previous post!


My Spring List of Things To Do 2012

1) Finish re-painting 2 levels of the  Deck.    CHECK


2)  Make table top with tiles.   CHECK


3)  Paint table and chair frames.   CHECK


4)  Get out Deck Furniture   CHECK


5)  Opening the Pool    CHECK


6)  Finishing the cement work.   CHECK


7)  Re-painting the pool deck.   CHECK


8)  Planting annuals.    CHECK


9)  Cleaning perennial beds.   CHECK


10)  Adding new set of steps to the deck.   CHECK


11)  Getting out Pool Deck Furniture & Toys  CHECK


12)  Lay in the Pool and Enjoy My Summer    READY!  SET!   GO!

Yessiree....everything is done from my list!  It's officially summer in my mind! Let the fun begin.

Just thought I'd update y'all on my progress.   ♥

Oh yeah, it's happy time at my house.  :)

Jo
  




Thursday, May 17, 2012

GUILTY PLEASURE

I, of course, don't have any of these. This will be a very short blog.


Oh, well, now that I think about it, maybe one or two.


1)  Dark Chocolate. With hot creamy coffee. 


2)  Elvis music. Doil Smith music. Anytime, playing in the background of my life.


3)  Curling up in my bed with a really good book for how ever many hours it takes to read cover to cover. No TV and no conversation. No phone. No computer.


4)  Sitting on the deck, sun shining, coffee in hand, just looking and maybe thinking. Maybe planning my next project, maybe enjoying the hummers coming and going and resting on my clematis.


5)  Alone time with any of my grand children. One on one, no other people. 


6)  Having someone else color and cut my hair. Sure, I can do it, but it is oh, so lovely to just sit while someone else pampers me.


7)  Pedicures.


8)  Laying on a raft in the pool. Shades on. Alone. Total quiet, except the soft tones of Elvis and Doil alternately singing just for me. Possibly dozing off.


                                             This is Doil Smith~♥♥♥♥♥♥


All of these are things I love doing for myself. Things that make me feel pampered and relaxed and even guilty. I always have something I should be doing, but these are the kinds of things that I allow myself to do because they make me happy. These things make me feel like all the work I do, when I do some, is worth while and I maybe even deserve to be pampered. 


Deserve it or not, we should all give in to our guilty pleasures every now and again. It's good for the soul, don't you think?


Jo

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day or Week-end

Another holiday to celebrate with and for Momma. A day to gather her three children and their spouses, all 3 of whom she loves, with food, gifts and a lot of love. It's a day to honor the many years our momma has given us all she had to give. A day to remember a lot of days we have shared as a family under her wing. Memories of our childhood will be discussed and laughed about and plans for our summer reunion will be talked about with anticipation. 


I have prepared some of Momma's favorite foods for our party because I know she loves when I do that. She always appreciates a home cooked meal and does very little cooking for herself. She still makes a mean pot of chili and some decent tuna and noodles, but she leaves most of the real cooking to me and she's happy to come join us for a meal. I love cooking for her. 


We (Roomy and I) took her to the theater Thursday night to see a childhood friend of mine's granddaughter in a production. It was her first professional performance and she was amazing. Momma enjoyed the show and we did as well. On the way home she said, "That was a nice Mother's Day gift, thank you."  I'm glad she enjoyed it and I'm extra glad we get to share good times like this with her.


I believe that Mother's Day will always be all about Momma as long as we have her. I will get to be THE mother on Mother's Day in due time. I am a daughter first. When my kids were little I used to think I'd enjoy being in my mother's position, being THE mother. I never thought I'd rather stay home on that day than be with my mom, but I did think I'd just take another day and call it MY Mother's Day. So I did. Then my brother started coming on Saturday from out of state to celebrate and we just made THAT day Momma's day. We all got together and had Mother's Day on Saturday and then Sunday was my day with my kids. 


When Dad died, it became Mother's Day week-end. I couldn't stand for her to be alone on Mother's Day so we just started spending the whole week-end together. Sometimes my kids are busy and don't make the trip to see me on Sunday, so Momma and would go shopping or just hang out here and eat left-overs and maybe watch a movie or two. If it's nice outside we sit out there and talk and enjoy the day. If my boys come over, that's wonderful, but as the years pass, that's becoming very rare. I get phone calls from Tennessee and I love talking to everyone on that day and wishing happy Mother's Day to them as well. I miss them so much on holidays. I miss everything I used to love about the holidays. The only constant in my holidays is that Roomy and  Momma will be part of them. Celebrating with them, cooking for them, laughing or just hanging out with them is what our holidays have become, for the most part. I miss my kids being here. I miss having a house full of grand babies on the holidays. 


I have been thinking this over since Christmas. I think I am going to give my kids a new calendar with MY holidays marked in red.


Christmas will be the Friday after Thanksgiving.  I would love to have the Tennessee kids here for that one so we could have a real family Christmas.


My birthday is fine, a call to remember me on that day is good enough. 


Mother's Day will be the Sunday following the traditional one.  Father's Day will be the Sunday following the official one. The gift I am going to ask each of them to give us is their families time at my home for a few hours. The other holidays are not a big deal to me, but those three, I really, really miss my family gatherings for those days. I would NOT expect the Tennessee families to be here for Mother's Day or Father's Day. 


We also host a family reunion for my small family in July and my daughter and her family come for that and my son and his family come, the other two boys do not. I'd love for them to come. I'd like them to get better acquainted with my sister's family and my brother's and my mom would enjoy seeing them as well.


Raising independent children was a mistake. I'm sure of that now. They are wonderful people with successful lives, but they do not seem to need 'family' and I can't imagine that. They all think 'family' is under their own roof, mostly. That's good, but the extended family time creates so many memories for little ones. The grand babies barely know their cousins. I guess the rush around life style makes everyone want to just stay home on their days off. I get that. I really do. I wish they would all slow themselves down and find time for each other and for me. I know that sounds selfish, it is selfish and I think it's okay to want to be special to my kids a couple times a year. It's also okay if they don't agree. I'll enjoy this week-end with Momma and Roomy and Roomy will spoil us both. ♥


The world has changed so much in the last 20 or so years and I am just not sure I will ever understand all of it, but I do know that I am loved by all my kids and grand kids and really, what is more important than that?  Absolutely nothing.


Happy Mother's Day!


Jo





Monday, May 7, 2012

My Aloha (The Hawaiian Wedding Song Parody)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j32sFbRicKs

Sing the following to the tune of the Hawaiian Wedding Song, which you may hear, if you like, by clicking on the link above.  :)
Sorry Elvis, it was Beth's idea.  ♥

This is the moment
I've waited for
I can now see the glowing
Soon words will be showing
This is the moment
my sweet Aloha
I will write here longer than forever
Promise me that you will leave me never
Here I write now and
You're my own
I need you.
Promise me that you will leave me never
I will write here longer than forever...
Now we have that straight
I may not be great
But the words they will flow untamed
On this my Facebook page.

I do...(I do)
Love you...(Love you)
Oh, this my Facebook page.



Friday, May 4, 2012

HOPE

A life without hope is incomprehensible to me. More than once in my past it was hope for something better that kept me plugging away. Knowing that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long that tunnel looked, was reason enough to carry on.

I am not one to give up on anything, but I am also not one to live in fantasy. I can give up and walk away from something or someone if all hope for a better result eludes me. It takes me a long time to get there, but I can. That kind of giving up seems healthy to me. Not hopeless, just not fruitful.

Every week or several times a week, I hope someone will read what I write. I hope someone will post on what I've written and I hope no one will stop half way through from boredom or because it was just too poorly written to continue. 

I hope they might leave here and go to my author's page.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Authors-Place-with-Jo-Heroux/175429849199125?
Maybe even "like" it.

I hope that someone might click on the Audio Book Sales to the right of this blog and maybe buy a book. 

I hope that anyone who has purchased an audio or ebook which I have written will enjoy it and maybe go back and buy another title for themselves or one they enjoyed for a friend.

I hope that blogging is not always just to clear my head, but actually lead to something else, like book sales!  :)

(ebooks are available from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble by searching Jo Heroux, you will find all titles. Those links are available on my author's page)


I hope that you aren't mad now because I just took a cheap shot at self-promotion. I hope that you will pm me any comments you have on anything you may have purchased with both good and constructive critiques.  I hope that the next book I write is the best book ever written.

I hope every reader who isn't following, chooses to follow today...right column of page.


I hope that all of my children achieve their dreams and their children become the best at whatever they choose to be as adults. I hope I am healthy until the day I die and can enjoy seeing each of these things happen.


I hope that summer is long and hot and has enough rain to keep grass and flowers green but not so much that we can't enjoy the summer sun, as well.


I hope each of you who are still reading have something to smile about today and come back and visit again, real soon.


Jo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

OPPORTUNITY

Life sometimes hands us opportunities. Sometimes we have to work really hard to get them. Either way, when they come along, it's exciting. Even if we don't take them. Just to know that we could have done something is enough sometimes. 


I have taken many and passed many. No regrets. Sometimes, though, I think about what I might be doing now if I had not passed on a few of  them.


I always feel like I am where I am supposed to be; doing what I am supposed to be doing. But it is fun to take different choices from my past and then try to play it forward.


When opportunity knocks, at least give it the consideration it deserves and then move forward with conviction, either way.


Oh, and that little voice inside you?  Listen to it. It's always right.


Jo

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

IT'S MY PARTY...

Certainly if it's your party you can do whatever you'd like. If it's your party and you want to cry, you can. The song says, "It's my party and I'll cry if I wanna, cry if I wanna. You would cry too if it happened to you."  


I don't wanna cry. I cry a lot, but never because I want to. I never even remember wanting to cry ever. I am just one of those weepy types who cries at touching stories, cries if someone else cries, cries if you are nice to me, cries if you are mean to me, cries at Undercover Boss, cries at any movie involving a parent and child,  cries if I start thinking about any of the above and no doubt will be crying before I finish this post. I cry for really good things and really bad things and a lot of in between things. I don't like that I cry, but I give up trying not to cry. 


I have mentioned before that I have only had a few (3 to be exact) birthday parties ever. One when I was 8 and had a sleep over party. One when I was 30 and my kids and neighbor Nancy Cech made me a cake with candles and sang Happy Birthday ♫♫ and the whole 9 yards and one when I turned 50 and my husband and daughter threw me a 'surprise' party. It was a surprise until the day before when my husband told me about it.


I was born on December 26. Enough said?  


Okay, well not a day anyone wants to go to a stupid party and no one wants to eat cake. No one wants to even see a cake or wrap another present or go visit someone you just saw the day before. It's really hard to share your birthday with Jesus or even the day after. He gets all the attention, you get your gift on Christmas BUT not wrapped in Christmas paper.  I put my foot down about that one! 


As I was growing up I did feel shorted and I did want a birthday like everyone else. I did not want my gifts and cards on Christmas. My momma knew that and she made sure that I had a birthday dinner and gifts in birthday paper and tried to make something special for my day. It was okay, but I always felt cheated, a little. I did not have a cake. 


The 8th birthday party was awesome. My friends came for cake and ice cream and stayed the night. It wasn't ON my birthday, but it was so special, I didn't care. I loved my first real party and I remember it now, clearly. Thank you Momma, for giving me that special day.
Christy, Leigh and Jayne


My 30th was so fun! My wonderful neighbor, Nancy, helped the kids bake me a cake and frost it and write on it and then carry it from her house to mine...all a surprise to me.  They had some gifts and they sang to me and they basically did it all by themselves under Nancy's watchful eye and loving heart. I so loved that they went to all that trouble for me and I have pictures of this day and Nancy's banged up knee! She slipped on the ice coming over for the party. She was NOT carrying the cake.  :)  It was a wonderful way to turn 30.  Thanks babies and Nancy and Nancy's babies for a really good birthday.
(That's two of Nancy's daughters and mine with my cake on the left.  Sorry it's little!)


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My 50th cake
Now, the big 50. Roomy made all the arrangements and apparently made a zillion phone calls to friends and family. He got food from the deli and a beautiful cake. My daughter was here for Christmas (she lives in Nashville) and went shopping with him before Christmas and they conspired to finish the planning while on their shopping trip.  


On Christmas afternoon they learned that the oldest son would not be attending because he had to work. They wanted him to be here when I got my special 50th birthday gift from my Roomy, so he decided after all the Christmas gifts were opened, dinner was eaten and everyone was relaxing, would be the perfect time to give me my birthday gift and then explain why. 


He handed me a gift in birthday paper. Very small. I looked at it and said, "No, tomorrow is my birthday. Not today." Handing it back toward him, he pushed my hand back and said, "I want Gary to be here when you open it and he won't be here tomorrow."  


I said, "No one will be here tomorrow, so what?"


"Well, yeah, about that. Everyone, but Gary, will be here. I mean everyone."


So I opened my beautiful diamond earrings and cried a little and put them on and felt just a little sad that he had told me. Just a little. A surprise party would have been okay with me, but  now I had to make sure the house was company ready the day after Christmas. I might have shed a tear or two over that part!


Jayne, my daughter, would not allow one finger to be lifted on my 50th. She took over everything. Roomy did his part, setting up chairs and tables and taking orders from her as to how things should look. I was not allowed downstairs and they decorated and set up and oh, it was just wonderful. I spent the day with my month old granddaughter...alone!  Woo Hoo!!


So many people came, I couldn't believe it. I mean the entire family both sides, friends from all over took time from the day after Christmas to celebrate my 3rd birthday party with ME. My son, John, bought me a bottle of wine with a note attached, "The best way to face being 50 is in the bottom of this bottle."  I concurred.  It was delicious.  The whole day was delicious.  I turned 50 with a huge smile and heart filled with love, overly filled with love.  Such a blessed life I live.


So, yep, it was MY party and yep I DID cry.  But such happy tears and mixed with so much laughter and love, I do not have words to describe the day this old broad turned 50.


Jo