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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Favorite Movie

I am not a giant movie buff, not by any means. The last movie I saw in the theater was either Titanic or Shrek, I'm not even sure.  But I do watch some on Sunday afternoons in the winter months on the great cable channels. A lot of westerns (Roomy is addicted) and I will watch any Elvis movie that's on. I really enjoy all of those.

As for a favorite movie, if I were forced at gunpoint to choose one, it would have to be  Blue Hawaii.  It is not only probably Elvis' best performance, it has music that I can sing along with and my favorite all time song, The Hawaiian Wedding Song.  The scenery is nice and I have actually frolicked in the bay where Elvis first donned his white very snug bathing suit coming directly from the airport upon his return to his home island following his Army stint.  He then played in the bay with his beautiful co-star, what's her name. (who cares?)  I walked in the same sand and I swam in the same water as Elvis. Very cool. Then he goes home to see his momma and daddy (very southern folk) and the story begins to unfold.

I have seen this movie many times, have it on VCR and DVD and I never get tired of seeing my idol as Chadwick the rich ex-service man trying to find his new life back home on the island.  It's a nice story, nothing deep, nothing socially redeeming, but a nice love story.  A story of a good man trying to do good things for people he loves. No one would even make this movie today; there's no nudity, no swearing, no blow 'em up scenes and it contains a lot of kissing and hugging with clothes on.  There's a lot of singing and dancing and silliness and I love it.

I would say if I had a second favorite, not saying I do, but if I did, it would be Dirty Dancing. Patrick Swayze.  Nuff said.




Sunday, February 26, 2012

Simplicity & Gratitude

Combining Simplicity and Gratitude prompts today.  Gratitude for BFF  Friday and for Sunday’s GBE2, Simplicity.  Let’s see where this takes us, shall we?

Almost every young family or couple that I know today is way too busy. What does that mean?  Well, they work full time jobs or maybe 2 or even 3 part time jobs in order to pay their bills and they have children and hobbies or friends and family that require some of their time away from those children or each other, in some cases. 
The jobs these young men and women have secured in this crazy economy, might require long drives daily or perhaps they are required to travel, either regularly or now and then.  Point being, that a job isn’t usually 9-5 anymore. It’s longer regular hours, or it’s nights instead of days or it’s two days off but not together.  Some jobs require week-end gatherings or maybe they have to host parties for clients or co-workers in their own homes or at some meeting place.  Meetings, there’s another time consumer.  Meetings used to be on the clock during business hours and some still are, but many are now events at some hotel or conference hall located near or far from the usual work place. Those can take a day or two away from home.  It’s obvious that jobs steal a lot of family time from today’s young parents and couples.  I think that’s a shame and I wish they would all step back and reassess their life choices.  A good job is very difficult to find right now, but these days of raising one’s family or building a foundation for their lives together are days they can never get back. It is a part of their history that forms their future and the ties that are not formed now, cannot be formed later. The all-encompassing jobs are better left to later in life when time away isn’t such a high price.

Being so busy day and night and not having real connection time becomes a way of life for so many people and they never realize what they have missed out on until they are living with teenagers.  Teenagers they hardly know and who don’t know their parents; they just share a house and maybe a car. It’s a recipe for disaster. Teenagers are very difficult to get close to if they don’t have a background of closeness.

Simplicity in your life while you are creating your family is an excellent plan.  Time for grandparents and time for siblings won’t be so difficult to work out. In the long run, the job is a job and can be lost in a moment. Your family is forever, if you allow them to be that important in your life. If you don’t simplify your life now, it will be way too simple one day.
Fewer obligations in your everyday life will allow you to grow and develop a good foundation for the rest of your life and the biggest prize for having simplified now is that you will have much to be grateful for in your senior years.  You will have family who knows you and loves you. You will have people you genuinely care for and whose company you actually enjoy. They are the people who know you and share your history. The people you will tell stories with and about for the rest of your life. They are the top of your gratitude list.

Simplicity = Gratitude.

Live your lives with your priorities intact. You don’t have to be rich before you hit 50, but you do have to bond with people long before that to have a close and loving relationship for your lifetime.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Being All That I Can Be

The Writer’s Post #36 ~ Writer’s Choice

Winter means staying in much more than is healthy. It means I am house bound by choice. I do not like being outside in the cold or the snow or the wind. The sunshiny days are better than the gloomy ones, but for me, they all pretty much present the same challenge. How do I get through until summer returns? One more day. Then one more. That’s the only way.

Life goes on pretty much as usual except that I don’t smile as much and I don’t enjoy as much. I don’t even think that I care as much.

I’m talking about the every day things that I really love in the summer. The clean house with the sun shining through it always makes me smile and cleaning it so that can happen, well, that just makes me happy. Cooking healthy and nutritious meals is fun when the grill is handy and not requiring a parka to enjoy standing outside cooking something yummy. Making a big ole salad with freshly grilled chicken or steak from the grill sliced over the top makes me down right giddy.  Getting laundry done early in my day so that I can have lots of time outside in the afternoon and evening, oh yeah, I love doing that.  I’m talking about little things like, coffee on the deck in the morning sun or even a light rain with the awnings opened.  The warmth and the freshness of the morning air always gets me going in a good direction.

Those are the things my life thrives with. None of those things exists here from November until at least April.  That’s tough for someone like me.  And I know there are many like me.
That’s why I write about it now and then. That’s why I write about it at all. It helps me to think maybe someone who is like me, will read one of my blogs and feel just a little less odd. That is how I feel almost all winter. Not sad, like many people think. Not suicidal, just odd and out of sorts. Blah, without any joy. If anything bad is going to happen, I feel like the winter and fall is when it will happen. I don’t look for it. I don’t wait for it. I don’t even think about it. I just know that anything bad will be much more likely in the fall and winter months.  Not logical since I have suffered some very sad and heartbreaking things in the heat of my beloved summer. More than a couple of them and yet, I never associate summer with loss. 

There are happy days in the fall and winter, don’t misunderstand, but they are the oddity rather than the rule. Summer is full of happy days with the rare off or even sad day.

Being the best I can be, means I have to trudge on and look for, yes actively look for, happy things during the SAD season.  I find them, too. I make some of them happen by choosing not to be alone.  By choosing to be with people I love and who make me laugh. It’s such a difficult thing to do sometimes because what I really want to do, I mean totally want to do, is stay home and sit or nap or curl up on the couch and do nothing. Some days I let myself do that and others, I have to take control and drag my butt up and outside for fresh air and human contact of the non-roomy kind. He indulges me way too much. He’s an enabler. If I wanna just stay home, he says, “Okay”. He works hard and staying home is good for him.

Being the best I can be, means I can’t be what I feel like being, I have to be what I know keeps me going. It means I have to convince myself to get out in the cold and do something even if it doesn’t sound fun. It will be fun. It will make me feel better.  It will help make this day pass because that gets me one day closer to my blooming and shining season. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Back when the kids and I were living on our own, I used to watch the clock until it was their bedtime. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy talking with them or playing games with them, I did, sometimes. As a single working mom, I would get home from work and make dinner. Following our meal there were dishes to do, I did them while the kids finished their homework. Laundry would be done most nights immediately following the dishes and a little arguing often was involved. Oh, you know, “Where are your dirty clothes? I’m going to wash clothes, is there anything you want to bring down from your room?”  That doesn’t sound like arguing to you? Oh, I will fill you in then.  Those are the questions I would pose while doing the dishes and they would be about 5 feet away. Their responses would nearly always be, “No, nothing. Mine are all down here. I brought mine down this morning,” or similar things to that. No one ever ignored me or got up to go get something, EVER.  I don’t even know why I bothered to ask these angels such ridiculous questions. Such a silly mom!

So the laundry would get done, folded and laid on the stairs for them to carry up when they went again. On the fourth trip up, I would say something like, “Wanna take those clothes?” That question would float into the air, apparently unheard by anyone other than the speaker. (This would eventually lead to my loudly suggesting they get theirs lazy butts back down here and pick those clothes up or I would be tossing them in the garbage in 5-4-3-2-1 damned minute!)

At bedtime, not a moment before, one would say, “I need my navy pants tomorrow for band.” Or some other piece of clothing for some other activity. “I can’t find them!  Moooooooooooom!  I can’t find my navy pants (or whatever)! Where ARE they (or it)?”

I would take a deep breathe and say, “I didn’t wear them (or it) so I don’t know.”  Sarcastic, you say?  Yes, I am.


Well, of course, I CAN, but I’m not going to. “No, I am done washing for the day.  You may put them (or it) in to wash and in the morning put them (or it) in the dryer while you shower. That is why I ask you every night to bring me your damned dirty clothes!”  My voice may have raised a few octaves while making my point.

Did you notice the slight arguing there? Repeated several times a week, it’s memorable for me. 

That is why I watched the clock.  They would go to bed and I would have it.  I would have SOLITUDE.  Me, alone with myself time. Time to think about me and my life. My life was making a living for my babies and me. Paying bills and trying to find a little extra cash here and there for some fun things. It was far from an easy life, but it was a good life.

Yep, they drove me nuts with their irresponsible behavior and their inability to see what needed to be done around our house. I wished day and night that they would, just one time, pick up something BEFORE I asked or shouted at them to do just that. I hoped they would make good decisions and was often disappointed with their choices. BUT they were my purpose. I lived for these little people and I prayed that I would be able to mold them, just a bit, into independent and confident adults.

We all look back at our “No, we cannot afford that~who do you think I am, a Rockefeller?” days as some of our best ones.  We did a lot of simple things. Things we did, we did together as a family. I saved a few dollars here and there until we could go to Detroit to see the Tigers. It was our favorite ‘get away’ and it was always a big deal day.  On the way to the park I would always remind them that we could each have one hot dog and one coke.   Or peanuts instead of the hot dog. I was always too full to eat a hot dog, but peanuts could be shared, so I opted for those. They knew and understood our limited budget. Maybe I shared too much, but they knew what was realistic for us and they accepted it without much whining. We all loved that day at the ball park and I managed one every summer while I was single. 

I remember the solitude of the later night very well and in fact, I have never given that up.  I am now married nearly 30 years and the chitlins are long grown and raising their own fams , yet I still love my solitude and probably will always.  My alone time to write, read, watch TV, nap, play games, browse the internet, knit or even just sit outside and enjoy.

The most perfect solitude for me, sitting by the pool with a nearby umbrella just inhaling summer in Michigan. I try to fill my body with summer heat, sun and green plush grass so that I won’t be too horrid in the winter white of the usual Michigan winter.  It never really works, I miss summer the very first moment I feel fall in the air.  But my solitude is still mine and still very precious.


Monday, February 20, 2012

The Tears of a Clown

It would seem that you can look someone in the eye and know with whom you are conversing.  Ah, but that just isn’t true. Behind the façade many people show to the world is a broken or wounded human. One filled with such pain as to be unbearable and possibly irreparable.  You won’t know that though; not unless they choose, at some point to stop laughing and making you laugh, long enough to allow you inside. Inside to the heart that hasn’t healed. Many people refer to these folks as the clown hiding the tears. Laughing on the outside while crying on the inside.

What would make someone, anyone, want to bottle up their pain and show the world only the happy and carefree face of a clown? Love. Wanting love, wanting to be able to give love and needing not to be the sad one, the broken one, the one who never got over the loss. There are losses one cannot get over. There are heartbreaks that last a lifetime and there are things one can never, ever forget or release. What one can do, however, is hide it and move on. Hide it from friends and sometimes even family and just smile. Look for the sunny side of everything and keep the darkness for alone time. Keep the sadness for the nights and the tears for the pillow. Pray daily for strength to really accept and move on while pretending to do that. Pretending so hard that everyone believes it has happened, if you are the clown. And if you are the one who always brings the sunshine into every room you enter. You always have a smile and you always have a deep, from the toes laugh to share with everyone you meet. No one walks away from you without feeling just a little better than when they walked in. That’s how it’s done. Oscar worthy acting.

Behind the antics of most clowns, I believe, lies the heart of a tender and easily crushed soul. I find the life of the party people are the most easily hurt and those hurts are often much deeper than an onlooker would imagine. The clown will not let you see that. The smile will hide from you any pain you may have caused. Be wary of the clowns in your life and treat them with care. They are truly fragile and needy.

The tears are never far beneath the surface, waiting for the night.



This is a wonderful idea.  Thanks so much for including me and here is what I have to offer, sell, talk about, brag about, fill this page with or otherwise put out there for y’all to consider.

My name is Jo Heroux and I blog at a spot called My Wandering Mind.
If you’d like to visit me there you’ll find it at:

I have written 3  books and all are available from my blog site on CD with payment through PayPal.

The Island Princess and the Legacy of the Island Princess 

Beautiful Betsy*

Summer in Martinstown*

The Island Princess is the first part of the story of a young woman I met on the internet several years ago. The story is based in truth, however does contain some fictional details. She was the daughter of migrate farm workers in California. As a child she was neglected, abused and eventually sent into foster care. The story follows her to her forever family in Hawaii. 
The second part of the book is the Legacy and is completely fiction. It simply follows all the family members into the future.  The future I hoped each would have.

Beautiful Betsy takes place is small town USA which is based on my hometown of Durand, Michigan. You meet her parents as they fall in love and then stay in Betsy’s life until she has her first grand child. She is an amazing woman with some trials that would send many people over the edge. Not Betsy, she is the woman we all wish we could be.

Summer in Martinstown is all about the southern life of a family who has done well financially and has a brilliant future. It is just one summer in their life. You will know this family by spending just one summer with them. Madeline will become your friend and you will cheer her on as she plans and develops the future she’s determined to have.

Betsy and Summer are available from both Kindle ebooks and Nook ebooks.

You can find them by searching Jo Heroux in the ebook section of Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

If you’d like to read excerpts from any of these simply go to my author’s page and check the notes page:

The Barnes and Noble page:    ~   Nook

The Amazon page:     ~   Kindle

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Real Story Behind Jane’s Scar

Saturday night is usually a night for some quiet writing in her plush little girly office.  She has set aside this time for the last few years as her “alone time” for writing or editing or enjoying the works of her fellow writers.  This week, however, she had plans; big plans.

Jane’s main squeeze was otherwise occupied with business so she had invited her very dear friend Claudia to accompany her to a black tie affair to which Jane had scored tickets by doing some freelance work for one of the corporate big wigs associated with the fund raiser. Money was being raised for Aids Research by the Dowager Insurance Company and Jane had done some articles for Mr. Dowager’s Assistant concerning Aids research and how the money has made a difference.  Medications are now available to everyone early in treatment which once were given only as a last resort. The meds, it seems, work much better if given at the onset of symptoms, than if given once a decline has begun.  This is the kind of information that makes donations soar. Her articles had inspired everyone who read them. Besides being well paid for her research and writing, they had sent her tickets for this ultra formal and exciting benefit.

Claudia and Jane had shopped for the perfect dresses on four separate occasions and each had purchased their own perfect dress and shoes and jewelry. 

Jane’s wearing a fabulous body hugging ankle length gown in a very deep, rich green brocade fabric.  It is gathered into a waist synching sheering, culminating in a tasteful crystal buckle on the left side of her waist band. The neck is a low square cut revealing just enough cleavage to be demure, but not sleazy.  Her shoes are silver with crystals across the toe. She’s also wearing a triple string of crystals around her neck in a choker style and simple drop earrings to match. Her bag is the perfect match with her shoes and just large enough to hold her keys, lipstick and breath spray. Her hair is in curls that are very structured and very feminine. She looks perfectly elegant and not over the top. Claudia could not believe her jeans and T-shirt pal had transformed into this stunning lady in just a few hours.

As for Claudia, she is wearing a basic black expertly fitted sheath. It falls just at her knee. Her shapely legs drop into her black leather 4 inch heels which sport a round buckle of sparkling beads on the side, just below her ankle. Her clutch is a little larger than Jane’s, being about 8 inches long and 4 inches high and is made of the same shiny leather as the lovely heels. She wears a cross hanging from a single chain around her neck and the cross is resting just above the v-neckline of her sheath. She wears no earrings because her hair is down and covering her ears completely. She had curled it in big soft casual curls and then pulled a small amount back and trapped it on the crown of her head with a simple silver clip. The over-all look is pure class.  Jane is equally impressed with Claudia’s transformation.

Arriving at the benefit is an event all on its own!  The valet opens the door and takes Jane’s hand to help her out of her car.  He then helps her step up to the curb and returns to release Claudia from her side of the car.  Both ladies carefully sent on their way to the next escort, the car vanishes.

Once inside, the ladies are greeted by the hostess and announced to the attendees.  How cool is that? 

Now they are free of expectation and ceremony and begin to wander through the crowd and take it all in.  They see all kinds of elegant!  Everyone looks so classy and some of these dresses surely cost more than either of these gals made in a month. Some of them may have cost more than a year’s salary for them. Crazy? Yes, but gorgeous.  A once in a lifetime experience for the girls and they didn’t want to miss a thing. Claudia spies the food table.  They make their way towards it. It is amazing. Truly, amazing! They each take a plate and choose a little snacking fare and head to the bar area. The bartender was a bit standoffish, but delivered each of their drinks as requested and then quickly busied himself elsewhere. “Whatever” they thought.

Finding a spot to sit and people watch, they walk across the bar area and daintily sit themselves on a small settee. The perfect place to see and be seen by nearly everyone in the three rooms has been procured and they begin munching.

It’s hard not to notice the stares they are getting from time to time. Several people have looked at them and then turned quickly away to converse with their friends. Of course, they are wondering why, but since they know only each other here, there isn’t really anyone to ask.  In just a few minutes they learn what everyone else apparently knew.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the dining room is now open and ready for service.  If you would like to proceed to the north end of the room, the buffet line is now open. If you need anything, please ask a server.”  The announcement came from a tuxedoed man who had to be the butler. He was very proper. 

Red faced, red necked and feeling very inept, the two girls looked at each other and of course, broke out into unbridled giggles.  OOPS.  No one told them and they had no clue there would be servers for finger food at a benefit. How were they to know?

A very proper looking lady approaching them goes completely unnoticed because they cannot stop laughing and both have their hands over their faces trying to be quiet, but not succeeding.

“I see you, er ladies have already helped yourselves to the canapés. You are aware that the help is to stay in the kitchen when taking a break, I assume.  The little party dresses are a nice touch, but please remove yourselves to the help quarters immediately. I do not wish to make a scene nor do I wish to call security.” She clipped the end of her sentence in a very dismissive note. She half turned to leave when Jane rose from her seat.

“I am an invited guest madam. This is my friend who also holds a ticket. I admit we did not know the canapés would be served, but assumed we could just help ourselves. Not a big deal, in the grand scheme of things, right? But you madam, are rude and discourteous and I shall speak to Mr. Dowager about this incident. You see, our tickets were from him.”  Jane puffs herself up just a bit as she speaks. She notices that Claudia has risen beside her.

Ms. Society says, “Yes, he is known for handing out tickets to riff raff. Enjoy yourselves dears. And by the way, an actual dinner will be served in two hours. There will be another announcement made about ten minutes after you two start eating that meal.”  With this statement of disdain, she takes a step forward.  Jane cannot stop herself she ‘accidentally’ sticks one of her beautifully shoed feet out just a few inches and Mrs. Society looses her balance.  She makes no effort to catch herself and falls flat on her face! Splunk!

Claudia gasps! Jane pulls her foot back immediately. Ms. Society screams! An earsplitting sound emits from her mouth and everyone turns to look.  Everyone. What they see is two younger women trying to help Ms. Society up and her swinging wildly at them and screaming, “Get away from me!” over and over until she is nearly hoarse. A gentleman, maybe her son, comes over and gently lifts her to her feet. The very second her feet are firmly under her, she swings and catches Jane completely off guard. Jane has her drink on its way to her lips when the connection is made. Glass flies everywhere and Jane jumps back as Ms. Society falls again!  She apparently isn’t as firmly planted as she suspected. Blood is gushing from her face and Jane is beginning to feel the sting. Claudia grabs a stack of napkins, the cloth kind, and presses them to Jane’s check. She pulls them back to peek and sees a deep and fairly long cut.

“Come on, we gotta get you to a Doctor. You’re gonna need a few stitches.” Claudia takes Jane’s elbow and begins to escort her from the party.  Ms. Society rolls to her side and again is being helped up by the young man.  She reaches out and finds a glass. Grasping it tightly she pulls back and lets it fly.  Claudia is at the front door with her charge and leans forward to open the door just as the glass hits the wall to her right. Crash!! Broken glass every where and out the door they go.

What happened inside the party? Who knows? Our girls laughed all the way to the hospital about Ms. Society and her poor beaten ego.

Twenty-seven stitches later, Jane is no worse for the wear and now has a scar she can proudly display as the permanent souvenir of her first and possibly last, high society black tie fund raising benefit.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I was fired back in 1973 or thereabouts and I set out to get another job just a few days later. I scanned the paper for want ads. Back in the old days that's where jobs were posted and people would actually circle the ones they thought they were qualified to do. Then a call would be placed to set up an appointment and hopefully an interview would be set for the same visit. I would make at least 3 calls each time so that I could have a day of dressing just
 right, make-up just right, hair just right, shoes just right and off I'd go after depositing the kids with their sitter.

Dressing just right meant, a business suit of navy or black with a white or light pink or blue blouse. Make-up very lightly applied, but definitely there and the hair would be fresh and not too big. Shoes for an interview were navy or black plain heels of no more than 3 inches with nylons, even in the summer with bronzed brown legs, nylons were required. Jewelry would be minimal. A small pendant if the blouse didn't come to the neck or a string of matching beads under the collar, if it did. I never went to an interview in anything else other than the occasional navy dress instead of the suit. It was the appropriate attire for interviewing.

I arrived at every interview 15 minutes early. I knew the company I was interviewing with. I tried to know what the exact job was, I didn't always know. I would fill out the application, have the appropriate identification ready and then sit straight and tall until my name was called for the interview. I almost always got the interview. Often I had to take typing tests. I could type about 70 words a minute error free. I could type 90 words a minute, but the errors would jump in then. Most of the tests did not allow corrections. In those days corrections meant erasing or white out, both took too much time and you would fail the required number of words if you tried it anyway. I never failed a typing test.

Face to face interviews I thought were my strong point. I always felt like I had the job when I left. I felt that way for the first month. That would be a total of about 25 interviews. I thought I aced every one of them. No one was hiring me. No one was calling me back, I had to call every one of those companies to see if the position had been filled. It always had been filled and  no explanation was given even when I asked, why I had been passed over. One woman told me that there were other candidates that were more qualified. I knew that wasn't the case because the job was for a file clerk and I had several years experience at that and knew everything about the company I was applying with and that job should have been mine. I began to get a bit of an attitude.

I believe the next several interviews I blew. I think I had lost all confidence and of course, that shows when one is being interviewed. If you don't believe in yourself, this person who is just now meeting you isn't likely to believe in you either.  I took a week off. No interviews.  I decided to look, instead of for A job, MY job. A job no one could do better than I and maybe something where I could even advance in time. A job with a future became my goal.  New confidence bloomed as I searched the paper now with a plan and determined to find MY job.

I was strangely attracted to a job listing which I ordinarily wouldn't have thought my qualifications fit, but somehow, this one felt right to me. I circled it and did something else I hadn't done before. I stopped looking. I made the call. I had the appointment and it included the interview with the district manager they informed me. I say they, because I actually talked with two different people.
One was the receptionist, very pleasant an d well informed and then the office temporary manager who would not be there for the interview because the district manager would be covering that day.
The job I was applying for was the Office Manager for a propane company.

This interview went so well that I can't even remember one thing that I hesitated about or one moment when my interviewer seemed not to be totally into starting me on this very day. I had this job. I knew it. He told me the interviews were over and that he had to make some calls and check references and then I would hear from him, not someone, HIM in about 3 days.  I left and he actually said as I left the building, "See you next week?" I smiled back at him and said, "Great."

He called me in two days. He said he was sorry but I didn't get the job. I nearly cried. I was so disappointed. This was MY job. I knew it was.

I said, "Can I ask why?"

He said, "I hoped you would. One of your references is saying a good many unkind and I suspect untrue things about you. Our reference checker wrote down his name and everything he said and we think you could possibly have a law suit. I'll send you her name, number and a copy of her notes, if you'd like them."

"If you think he's lying, and he is, why not hire me anyway?"

"I work for a huge corporation, as you know and I am not a big enough cheese to jump over these kinds of statements. They would fire me, for sure. He has stated that you were habitually late and left early often. You didn't have any friends or even try to be social with your co-workers. That you never got things right the first time and they were just unable to afford your mistakes. He was not accusing you of stealing, but said your drawer never balanced.  These are all big things to this company and most others, I imagine. He has these things written somewhere because our gal said he just rattled them off one after the other as though, her words here, 'he had done this many times' and I think he has."

I was now in tears. These things were coming from the man who fired me for not staying after work and dinner and desert with him. The same a$$hole that propositioned me was now keeping me from working at all. In those days, I was basically helpless to fight this man. I couldn't afford an attorney and there were no free ones then unless you had been arrested. I'd have to assault him and get arrested to get representation. I considered that for a moment or ten. 

"So, what am I going to do? I have to find a job and soon. I can't just keep paying someone to watch my kids while I interview. I'm pretty good at it, but it doesn't pay. I feel like a professional applicant. What am I going to do?"

He listened and then said the simplest thing to me. "Jo, forget you ever knew this man and that you ever had this job. It was only 2 years and with little ones, simply imply that you stayed home for a while and now need to work again.  It's far better than having this jerk spewing his venom."

"Thank you Mr. Whatever, you've been a blessing to me. I never would have known. I really appreciate your telling me and also your advice. I think I'll take it."

I did and I got the next job for which I applied and I have never forgotten what a Godsend this man was to me. We needed for me to have an income and for 6 weeks I was out there practically begging for any job at all. 

Words are so powerful. Sure what you wear matters when interviewing. What you look like in terms of professional behavior and make-up and hair and jewelry and shoes, all of that matters, but not more than the words you say and the words that are said about you when the references are checked.

Retirement is a very good thing. I don't want to interview again, really I don't.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Playground

The monkey bars, my personal favorite. Climb up the ladder and then swing, hang and hand-5walk across or climb to the very top and crawl across. I suppose the boys liked the monkey bars because they could get a glimpse of the girls panties as they climbed and hung out there, but that never occurred to this little girl.

I did enjoy watching the boys try to out-do each other from the relative safety of the railroad ties surrounding the equipment area.  A few of them got hurt. A broken arm one time when a sixth grader jumped off the top of the slide because someone said he couldn't. I guess he could, but it really hurt.

We would walk around a lot talking about anyone who wasn't walking with us, girls do that. It's why the smart girls never miss the walk around, not ever. 

Back in the day, my childhood late 1800's, we didn't have rubber or even wood chips under our playground stuff. If you took a header off a swing, you hit gravel. OUCH
If you forgot to put your feet down at the end of the slide, I may or may not have done this several times, you fell on your butt in stones or a mud puddle if it had rained in the last week. The monkey bars? Deadly if you slipped off the very tip top, which I also might or might have done once.

Today's little girls don't wear dresses so much, so the boys don't get a glimpse, that's a good thing. Not sure any of the playgrounds have stones or gravel anymore and that's surely a good thing. But  I bet some little girls still walk around talking about all the girls who aren't taking that walk! Some things don't change.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Love Letter

Dear Life,

Time has been kind to me in many ways. I have had great friends to share my good and not so good times. I have seldom felt alone. I have lost great loves and felt the heartbreak of never having them in my life again. I have given birth. Twice. I have fallen in love with a man I hoped to have sharing my forever with me. Three times. Maybe four.

I was given an older sister and an older brother to pave the way for me in so many ways. I learned a lot from each of them. I have not always appreciated what they brought to my life, but I have always had it, nonetheless. In more recent years I have come to know that having them has always been one of my big blessings. They have known me every day of my life and they have loved me that long. (Except maybe a few years in the middle.   :)   Maybe not so much.) Their children are additional blessings to me. Like the other kids I didn't have, but got to love just the same. Their girls are so special to me. It's like the gifts beyond your own making.  I made my kids. (And I did a great job!) I didn't make my nieces, I just got to have them. If you're really lucky, you get that bonus and THEN those girls have babies and just like your grandchildren, they are born loving you!  It's such a good thing. Siblings are very good at adding 'already love you' people to your life. Oddly, you already love them before birth, as well.

The man I share my life with now is not my first love, he is my last. I don't imagine I would ever have another love in this life even if I out last him. It wouldn't be because I think it would be unfair or because I think it would be disloyal, it would be because I don't think I could do better nor could I settle for less. I think I would live alone with my family and friends nearby and my memories alive and well. It's not possible to predict the future, but today I believe this would be the case.

Divorce was painful. My children's father was a very good man. A good husband and a good father. He loved us and we loved him. Our family was happy for a few years. Then things changed and things fell apart. I was the daughter of an alcoholic who finally quit drinking and spent the last years of  his life making up for the pain he had caused his family. He more than made up for anything he had done by loving his wife and children and grandchildren with everything he had. I was not able to imagine living the years my mother had lived to get to that point of happiness. I got a divorce. Even now, some 35 years later, I wonder if I walked out too soon. I don't regret that I did, I regret that I felt I had no choice. My children lost their father ultimately because of that choice. I regret that, also. I didn't make it happen, tried hard to keep it from happening, but I will always wonder if I could have done more. I now appreciate the love and marriage I am part of because I know it isn't always this way. Without the experience of my first marriage and the dissolution of the same, I would have no idea how wonderful this life I am living really is.
 All in all I think my life has been a good mix of heartache, happiness and of good, bad times. I've had a good ride, so far. Though I lost my dad at an early age, he was 56 when he passed on, I still have my mom. I had my grandparents until well into my adulthood.  I had only 8 cousins growing up and I believe 7 of them are still with us. They all live in other states and I only have contact with one of them. (Thanks FB) So I am only guessing the others are still well.  It would be a good thing to know. One of my dad's sisters is still alive and my mom's only sister is also.  It's really quite a blessing when you think about it all. 

I'm not ready to give it up yet, but I did want to take a moment to tell you how much I have loved living this life. How much I have learned and shared. How often I wonder why God has given me so much and what else can I do in His service. I am sure there are areas I need to work on to be a better person. I am sure I am not doing all I can or should. I am so grateful for every piece of love that I am holding right this minute on this Valentine's evening, that I literally can get overwhelmed if I dwell on that long. 

So Life, my life, let's just keep this streak up, shall we? Let's live and learn and get better every day; it's the least we can do.

I will always love you.

To Whitney...♥ Your music has touched my life in so many ways and so many times. Your voice was magical and transformed any song into a true work of art. You shared your God given talent with all of us for so many years and now we accept that gift for the rest of our lives.

May you find peace and may your new wings fit perfectly because God will always love you, too.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Yes, MORE Awards!

First on the list of thank yous is........drum roll, please..........My dear friend,
Kathy, the giggling trucker's wife.
I have never been certain if the trucker is the giggler or the wife, but regardless, I adore this woman.  Her blogs are humorous and informative and interesting and once in a while, touching. She makes me smile every time I visit and I believe we are related somehow, maybe way back in time.  You would do yourself a big favor if you visit her blog on a weekly basis, at least.

She has given me the 7 x 7 Link Award       

Accordingly, I will tell you 7 things about me and pass it along to 7 worthy bloggers.  So here goes the 7 boring things you might already know.

1) I love dark chocolate. (for breakfast with hot creamy coffee)

2) I will always have a furbaby in my life and as long as it's possible, in my home.

3) I've been married to my roomy for 30 years next month. ♥

4) My sister lives 7 minutes from me, my mom lives 3 minutes from me, my brother lives 4 hours from me, 2 of our boys live 25 minutes from me, 1 son and 1 (only) daughter live 9 hours from me.

5) I have (my side of the family) 5 nieces. No nephews.  Roomy's side, I have 17 nieces and 3 nephews.

6) I have (including steps) 9 granddaughters and 1 grandson.

(Anyone seeing a pattern here?)

7) Our nieces have done much better producing boys. Currently on my side we have 4 great-nephews and 2 great nieces.  On roomy's side, I couldn't even begin to count!  LOL  There are many, many and a bunch of them are boys!  One day, not today, I will count them all.  I believe I could name most of them, although I only see most of them once a year.  I can tell you that they are some of the cutest little people you might ever see.  Good genes.

All right, so that's that.  Now the nominees are"

1) ~ (because I love reading this woman's work)
2) here is a wild and fun read)
3) I always learn something or smile here)
4) I am missing BestDadEver so much)
5) I love sitting on her stoop and sipping)
6)DancesWithVodka~(because her poetry speaks to me every time and she is a delight)
7) (because she makes me laugh out loud)

There ya go!  Hope each of you grab your awards and wear the badge proudly. I also hope each of you readers stop by each of these sites and enjoy!

Again, thank you Kathy for this honor and also for adding so much laughter and joy to my life.  ♥


Part 2 or the Encouraging Heart Award! 
Thank you so much for this award Kat Taylor.  It's such an honor to receive an award that signifies your appreciation of your fellow bloggers. It's wonderful to find the kind of support these groups show each member. I am proud and pleased to be part of each group and I am also beyond proud to accept with great humility, this lovely award.  If I have helped you in any small way, it was indeed my pleasure.

 Kat is a wonderful blogger with great ideas and a wonderful way of taking you with her on her journey.

I am sure you will enjoy visiting her blog anytime you have a few minutes to relax and maybe giggle or wipe a tear.

This award carries no rules or obligations. A no strings award.  I love this kind and for now am not going do anything except enjoy that Kat gave it to me and think about who I would like to pass it on to.  Or better yet....

It is, she says, given to someone who encourages or supports you in your writing efforts and there are so many of you who do that for me.  Where would I even begin? 

So,  if you like this award, like this blog site, visit it often and leave comments....please feel free to lift this one and paste it on your blog site. 
Each and every one of you keep me typing and posting with your kind and  loving remarks week after week.

♥ to all of my followers, new and old.  I hate being the only one who reads my work.  :)   ♥


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Do Overs

Today is my only grandson's 3rd birthday. In a big way, our grandchildren are our do overs.  Whatever parenting mistakes we made or whatever good things we did as parents, we get to do over with their babies. I had a lot of challenges raising a son and his son is very much like he was. An out of the box thinker, others told me. I enjoy this in my grandson, Jackson, much more than I did in his father.  Isn't that odd?  *snickers*

I think of other do overs now that I have begun this little wandering mind chain of thoughts.

I find as I age, I get a lot of do overs. I forget so much that I think I am doing things for the very first time and am excited about that, until someone tells me that I have actually done this before. If they take the time to remind me of that experience, there's a 50/50 chance that I'll remember having done it.  That takes a lot of the fun out, though. I rather like doing things for the first time again.

I've gone back very recently and read all of the blogs I have posted here.  I gave myself some do overs.  I edited several of them. I found lots of things that didn't sound right, didn't look right or were not spelled right!  Yikes, Jo! I used to be a pretty good speller and was careful not to put anything out that I wasn't pretty darned sure was correct. I guess I've lost that 'eye' or I am just too lazy. Either way, I made a ton of corrections to old posts and I felt better about saving them, corrected.  You won't know, but I will.

Life doesn't really give you many do overs, so I guess I would suggest that all of us slow down a bit and think things through just a little longer before taking action. I imagine had I done that in years past, I might not have made some of the same decisions I made. I might have had an easier life or I might have made it more difficult, but I can't help but believe it would have been different. Do overs might be fun to think about, but I don't really want any as far as my life is concerned.  One little change made 40 years ago might have altered my entire life today. I'm not interested in going down that road!  

There is one thing I would do over, if I could. Three years ago tomorrow, February 13, 2009, a very dear friend of mine passed on. I would like one more long visit with him. I would like one more lunch date with him. I don't have unsaid things that he needed to hear nor do I have unanswered questions for him, but one more long lunch filled with conversation would be awesome. I know we will have time, one day. He was my writing mentor and my favorite author and my client and my friend. He was brilliant and like so many other veterans, carried emotional scars that only God could heal. It makes me happy to know those scars are now healed. He is whole and at peace with his Savior. But still, one more lunch date would have made a great do over.

Live your life every minute knowing there are no guarantees and no do overs.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


How often have you wondered why the rose is the flower of love? Never, you say you have never wondered that?

Just me, again, the only one who wonders stuff like that?

I am equally touched when I receive a pink rose or a white rose or my absolute favorite yellow rose from someone who loves me or appreciates me.  It surely doesn’t need to be red. Red, the color of blood which fills the heart, maybe that’s it?  If so, I must be jaundiced. The yellow flowing through my veins to my yellow heart most certainly would be diseased, right?  

But back to the promt.


The bud is bundled up, it’s tight.
It seems alone and sad.
The brilliant redness
Yet to show it’s light.
The bud must open now.

As the petals slip apart
One from the other
The true beauty of the heart
Emerges slowly and with grace.
The rose in full bloom, wow.

One solitary flower
Standing in the vase.
One lonely bud no more
An American Beauty
Took its place.

Love is being shown.
Love is being felt.
The rose has always known
The heart will always melt.
This rose is always meant.

Breathe her scent.


Sunday, February 5, 2012


November Rain has honored me with this award!  How cool is that? here are the rules...
Feel free to disregard.

  1. In a post on your blog, nominate 15 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
  2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award. (not possible on Blogger, but they can come and get it from the page!)
  3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
  4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
  5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
  6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.
So first, I am not doing 15 nominees!  Holy crap!  But I am passing this on to the following...

Faith in Ambiguity
 Bright Blessings
My Distant Husband

Seven things you might not know about me~

1) I change my furniture around 4 or 5 times a year. I love a new environment.

2) I do not like talking on the phone.

3) I have a horrid singing voice, but I love to sing.

4) My best friend has been my best friend for over 40 years.
5) We have never had a fight and are on the opposite side of almost every fence.

6) I love cooking when I want to cook. I hate thinking I have to cook.

7) Some days I have a key board under my fingers for 10 or  more hours.

Elizabeth Grace has also nominated me for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award~

1) I have lived in Michigan since I was 4 years old, but was born in Ohio near the WV border.

2) I have 2 children to whom I gave birth and 2 whom I inherited with my marriage.

3) We have 9 grand daughters and one (1) grand son.

4) My favorite activity, actual physical activity, is bowling.

5) My favorite decorating colors are browns, blues and yellows.

6) My favorite clothing colors are pink, black, white and yellow. 

7) My towels have to be in color pleasing stacks. I have 2 colors and they have to be stacked alternately i the linen closet.

My nominees for this award are...

November Rain                                           
Anna Warner
Elaine Kehoe
Joyce Lanksy 
Sylvie Branch
 Karen Williams Taylor 




My life was recently upset. My daughter had a stroke 2 weeks ago and at age 42, not what anyone expected. Her blood pressure had been normal, her cholesterol was excellent and she isn't obese nor did she have any of the other warning signs. These things happen and this one happened to my baby girl. I was a wreck here in my safe little world a 9 hours drive from her. I just returned from a couple of days of 'mothering' my recovering daughter and my life is no longer upset. She is doing well and in a couple of months, she will be herself again. She is a remarkable woman and I know her recovery is on track. What else could a mom ask? Nothing.

I left our home for 4 days to be with her and I imagine I upset the whole routine here while I did that. Roomy was working out of town and had to drive over an hour every night to return to the furbabies for feeding and bonding time. He also had to feed himself. I might not be necessary for their well being, but I am appreciated.  Having Mom out of the house for a few days reminds them how much they like having me around. That's just not a bad idea! The home front is not upset now and everyone is settled back into our usual routine one day after my return.

Being upset is one of the most uncomfortable feelings I ever experience. I can handle sad, I can handle hurt and I can even handle chaos, but I have trouble with upset. For me, upset means things are not right and out of my control. Things happened that I didn't see coming and I cannot do a single thing, but pray. I pray, I wait and I learn. I learn that what God has planned is possibly not for me to know, but I will have the strength and the will to get through it, whatever it is. I might also be given the ability to help someone else through the upset, maybe not. I'm glad I never have to face upset on my own.

Of course, there is always the good upset! The one where you are not expecting a good thing in your routine day to day and all of a sudden here it is!  Like an old friend who was passing through town and just decided to stop in!  How nice is that? Upsetting? In a good way, yes it is.  How about the unexpected delivery?  I've had flowers for no reason, very nice.  I've gotten boxes from FedEx that I didn't order, gifts from someone, unexpected and very nice!  Upsetting my regular routine yes, but in such a nice way.  Out of my control and wonderfully so!

And finally, the team you cheer for every game is not expected to win, in fact being from Michigan that could be every Sunday for the last 50 years, has a great game and wins.  This year they had an upset season!  Being a Lion's fan has not always been easy and it was nice this year to hear other teams called the underdog, but the season still had a couple of upsets.  

Everyone's life has upsets and everyone has their own way of dealing with the aftermath. For me, it's just a matter of time. Time to evaluate, adjust and pray.

For, with God in your life, all things are possible and His will shall be done.



There is hardly anything that will push me away from someone faster than a negative attitude. If a person can only see the dark side of anything, I will be moving along. I don't believe in living in denial, by any means, but I do believe in looking for the good. Is there always good? Nope. But that doesn't stop me from looking. It keeps me from being swallowed by negativity and drowning in the aftermath. It is my duty to seek the positive.

Do you do the same? I know  many do not, but for me, it can be a life saver.

My sense of "everything has a purpose" has lead me to the more positive side of life. It has also kept my mind occupied so it can't dwell on the negative.

The few negative people I know well are the same people who seem to have lives filled with drama and problems. They are the same people who never seem to make good choices. They also are the people who jump in and out of relationships with great abandon. Jobs often come and go for them. I have noticed many times these problems and circumstances are often self-inflicted. Of course, I mean they are brought about by the choices the person made. The people they choose for their companions and even for their life mates. They choose negative things. They choose people and jobs and even things that have more problems or difficulties which they can't control, than the person already had in their own life. I also find these people, for the most part, to be the kinds who take no responsibility for anything that happens in their own world. The world they filled with negative things and people.

The opposite seems to be true of positive people.

The person who concentrates of the positive aspects in their life usually have less complicated lives and much more easily achieve success as defined by the person who is living this life. Success is such a difficult concept, but I think it's a personal thing to define. The one thing that isn't up for debate is that people who view life from a positive, not Polly Anna, but still light attitude will find happiness. They will find it because they will look for it. Realism should be included in the mix, facing what is real doesn't mean you can't also stay hopeful. That is the balance we should be seeking. 

Out with the nay sayers and in with the yes we canners!



Accidentally I came into this world. Yep, I am one of those "OOPS" babies. I don't really think anyone considered putting me up for adoption, but I wasn't able to hear the conversations following the diagnosis of  "positive for pregnancy" either. So, I can't be sure of that, but I am reasonably certain I was a welcomed baby based on the stories I hear about my early life. My sister and brother were less than excited about me, but coming out looking like my mom was a good plan. Or was that an accident?  I don't know, but lucky one for me, if it was.

Life is unpredictable and accidents happen daily. I never meant to spill anything in my life, but with hindsight, I know that not paying attention to what I am doing caused almost every spill for which I have been responsible. So accidentally spilling things is actually an example of carelessness.  Which I believe explains a lot of accidents.

Car accidents are almost always carelessness on someone's part. Some, of course, are road conditions or medical emergencies or other unforeseen or uncontrollable issues, but many of them are simply not seeing, not taking enough time, not paying attention or not having enough experience behind the wheel. Someone pulls out in front of you, you hit them. Why? Were you driving too fast to stop? Or were you just thinking of other things and didn't notice the car begin to proceed in your path? We don't have a rewind in our real life, so we can't ever be sure. 

I'm not sure I believe in 'accidents' at all. I prefer to think that all things happen as they should. That's just me.