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Monday, April 30, 2012


Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

This letter is overdue. I should have written it long ago when you began this Facebook idea and sucked me in with the ease of the pages and moving my MS friends list here and all the other things I first loved as I made my way through the unfamiliar but common sensical pages.

Thanks to you from the bottom of my heart for bringing old high school and grade school friends, people who influenced the woman I became, back into my everyday life. Almost like we were never separated by miles and life style changes and contributions to work places and families. Friends on the other side of the country, friends who live hours from me are now on my home page almost every day. I talk with them and we catch up or I leave a message and they answer when they have time. It's wonderful.  Want to share pictures of my kids or my grandkids with all the old friends? Clickity click and it's a done deal. I get to see all their fun stuff and hear all about what they do some 45 years later, as if we still lived in the same town.

New friends, oh, the new friends I have made. I am a writer and up until I got involved with Facebook, I was a lonely and solitary writer with the exception of a very dear friend who has passed now and my family, who would read my stuff and tell me how great I am.  Not that I don't like hearing that, but I love being part of a writing group. A group that supports, encourages and teaches by their own writings what works and what doesn't. A group that moved to Facebook from My Space and I am so glad I found them.

I have written 3 books without a clue how to write a book. I have learned and I have developed some as a writer just from being part of this group and my next book will be so much better. If I can stay off Facebook long enough to actually write a next book, that is.

I imagine a lot of people have written to tell you how much they hate this or hate that about anything you have changed or anything you need to change, but this letter is not about what I would restructure, but just about saying Thank You, Mr. Zuckerberg for putting this idea into the universe and allowing me to reconnect and branch out and really bloom in my relationships with people who are just too busy to be hanging on the phone or even to find each other.

Thank you for keeping us relatively safe here in cyber space and providing such an incredibly simple tool that even those who have little computer knowledge beyond checking email and forwarding jokes, can navigate through the pages and enjoy their friends old and new.  I have friends on here that hardly know more than how to turn on their machines, but they are safe here and will explore and learn and I love that.

Now about the timeline thing..........................


Sunday, April 29, 2012


When this prompt appeared I immediately thought I would write some fiction. I haven't done that in a while and I'm a little bored with telling you all about me and my life,  though I do enjoy reliving moments in time thorough the written word. Then it occurred to me there was a "stranger" story I could tell and not the one I just told in "Oh What a Night". So with that being said, why not tell another Jo story.

We bought this little house in 1999 and it was perfect. Didn't need anything more than a coat of paint on the inside and new carpet. That lasted for a few years and then, as houses do, it began to ask for some repairs and some updates and one thing leads to another and before you know it, you have re-done most of the house. We re-did the downstairs, basement, because it wasn't finished at all and we wanted to use it as a family room. Roomy painted the walls, I painted the floor and we added a fireplace. Next a couple of years later, we added carpet to the kitchen and family room area. That we hired done. The we added a bedroom. That our son and Roomy did. They also created a tanning room for Roomy's tanning bed. He gets great relief from the warmth to his arthritic joints. I prefer the real sun.

At the completion of that job, Roomy advised me that he was done with remodeling of any sorts. He declared that we would be hiring someone else to do the fix-ups I deemed necessary henceforth.  So when the front porch began to pull away from our house, I deemed something needed to be done about that. I searched around for someone local that could do this and maybe some of that, at a reasonable price and would also be able to put up some new gutters while reattaching our front porch.  I would be searching for a stranger to entrust with my home and hoping that all future repairs might be done by the same person or company.

I selected a man named Ron. I had never met him. Didn't know anyone for whom he had done work. I learned later that our pool boy is friends with him, but didn't know that until after I hired him to attach the porch and put up gutters. His prices were moderate and he won my heart over at our first meeting. He knew his stuff and immediately detected that the porch was only the beginning of a much larger problem, on the first day of work. The roof had been re-done about 5 years prior and had a 10 year warranty. The boards on the front of the house, which Ron exposed in order to fix the porch, were rotted. Not rotting, rotted. There was nothing to which he could attach our new porch roof. He stopped working so that I could pursue the roofers and get that taken care of.

I won't go into the long story of how long it took to get my roof fixed correctly or how I had to see an attorney or any of the hours of talking and writing I did to get a well reputed company to stand behind their own warranty, but eventually I got a new roof, boards and shingles at no charge and they did an outstanding job.

Ron then finished his work on the porch and Roomy and I decided to have him also re-side the house in vinyl. It had aluminum and was looking pretty shabby. Then he added a vinyl railing to our deck. He also replaced a couple of windows we had no replaced yet.

We got to be great friends during these projects and I learned how truly versatile his skills are and again, long story short, this is "MY GUY". You know, the guy you call when things break or need updating or you get a brain storm? Just me? Okay, well, he's the one I call. 

This stranger has become almost family in that I really trust him, care about him, went through a divorce with him, lean on him, use him and would do anything I am capable of doing to make his life better. That name in the phone book became a stranger giving me an estimate and then became "MY GUY". 

Whenever anything needs done now that I think I can't do, Roomy will say, "Call Ron, he'll do it for ya."  And so far, he has.

This year, he will be building those new steps off the deck that we (read I) have determined we need. I think I have a couple other little things for him, too. Don't tell him though because I like to surprise him with these things when he comes to measure for materials and give me a price.
It keeps him on his toes and gives me a chance to decide if I really want those other things done or I just want MY GUY to hang around a bit more.

This whole story could have turned out much differently, but for me, this stranger was a treasure.


Saturday, April 28, 2012


Born to Donald and Dorothy Settle on December 26, 1949 I was the third child and second daughter. As the final addition to this family I would forever be the baby girl. I was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio and moved to Highland, Michigan in 1955. Our next move was to Gaines in 1958 and I attended the Gaines School until it was annexed with a larger nearby school in 1962. I graduated from Swartz Creek High School in 1967 at the age of 17.

The fall of '67 I married the boy I had dated on and off all through high school and together over the next 10 years we bought a home and had 2 children, Jayne and John. For 7 of those years we were quite happy and had a fairly normal life and very few problems. Then the bottom fell out and the life I thought I would have 'til death do us part' ended. I took the kids and moved out of our home and into a borrowed house of an old family friend who conveniently enough wasn't using it at that time. 

I was making $60.00 a week. I found a mobile home in a park to rent for $180 a month. Yep, 3 full checks to pay the rent and one to pay everything else. There would be no support for 2 years. For 2 years I would manage, barely, to provide for my kids and myself with the help of some friends who dropped off bags of food from time to time and by adding to my own income. The food  was so appreciated and if there were snacks of any kind, it was like a holiday for them. 

I tried to find a second job that could pull us up a little but not interfere with the full time job I was already working. My boss offered me a second shift. No overtime would be paid, but I could punch in on a separate time card and get two checks. Legal? Nope. The second check would not be a payroll check and would not be taxed. I took it. I would be working a day shift Monday thru Friday. I would also be working the closing shift Tuesday through Saturday and have Sundays off with the kids. I had a high school neighbor who babysat and somehow, it worked. I came home for dinner with them all everyday and then back to work. Saturday I didn't go in until 6 p.m. so we had all day together. Monday night, of course I was home with them. 

I can't say it was a good time. I can say it was maybe the most important time in my life. This was the time that I learned who I am. This is the time that my children learned what matters. We all became different people during this time because we had to. We had to make do with what we had and we did. I suffered from an eating disorder which I apparently developed by working a lot and not eating the food I bought for the kids. I didn't really know that I wasn't eating, but I wasn't. Unlike normal people, I don't ever feel hunger. I eat because it is time to eat or because something sounds good to me (I do like food) or because I am cooking for someone else. I eat because I know I need to fuel my body in order to be a healthy human. When I was under the stress of trying to provide a good life for my family on less money than I had ever done in the past, by myself, I forgot to make myself eat. Maybe I subconsciously didn't want to take the food from the kids, maybe I just didn't think about it, I don't know. But it became an issue and for nearly a year I had to battle my way back to being a normalish eater. That taught me a great deal. It taught me that there is such a thing as too thin and I was there. It taught me that taking care of me was vital to being able to take care of my babies. It taught me that I was not invincible and my children needed me to be strong and healthy. And we all survived. We all came out considerably more capable and appreciative.   

It also taught us all that family is what matters. That 'things' are temporary and love is eternal. We learned to value each other and depend on each other. Today as adults I see them depend on each other and still on me for the support they expect from no one else in their lives. I want them to develop that with their partners and their own children, I am certain they will if they haven't already. That isn't something an outsider can see. I am now an outsider. I don't live with them and I am only included in what they choose to include me. I'm good with that. I want them to live their own lives and never forget who will always give them unconditional love. I want them to know that their families are also my heart. Whatever they need or want from me will always be theirs for the asking. That's what moms do. That's who moms are. 

I married Roomy in 1982 and inherited 4 children with that wedding. He and his first wife had a son, a daughter and then twins, a boy and a girl.  So along with him co-parenting my 2 who were 12 and 13, we also now co-parented his twins who were 12. The older two were 18 and 20 so their parenting was pretty much over. I did inherit all four, but parented part-time only the twins. 

In the years following our wedding we worked very diligently building a blended family. It was wonderful for several years. Again, the bottom fell out and I have always believed it was me who caused the problem, but I am not aware of what the problem actually was. The two girls just cut us out. We were no longer any part of their lives and their children would not even know us. We would miss out on the lives of 4 of our grand children and to this day, do not understand why or how it all happened. Communication did not happen between us so no answers could be given. I can tell you that my heart was broken and Roomy was at a loss. His girls were just gone. Not interested in him. They didn't want him in their lives. I don't know even now how he handled this as well as he did. We talked so much about what we might be able to do to fix this, but no calls were answered and no messages were acknowledged or returned. We actually showed up at one of their house one day and no one answered the door. Both cars were home.
We took the hint and never reached out again. It still makes me very sad to remember or retell this story. But it is part of our history and part of why we hold the four remaining children at an arms length so as not to interfere in their lives, but still remind them how much we love them and want to be with them often.

So now here we are in 2012 with our oldest son living in Tennessee, his daughter living an hour away from us with her husband. Our daughter living in Tennessee with her fiance and her two daughters and our other 2 boys living a half an hour away from us in opposite directions, one with his wife and 3 daughters and one with his wife and son and daughter. We also have 2 step-granddaughters from our daughter's first marriage. Total to date....9 granddaughters and 1 grandson.  More to come?  Who knows?


Friday, April 27, 2012


Long before I had all the time I need to do all the things I need or want to do, I used to want more than almost anything, rest. These days, when I need a rest or want to rest, I just pretty much do that. Take a break from whatever or take a day
And get some


My head sits softly
Turned to the side
My eyes flutter down
It’s time for good night.

My pillow is cradling
My heart is at ease
My mind is near empty
My face feels the breeze.

Now off into slumber
A pup in my lap
Eyes closed and mouth open
Rest welcome ~ my nap.


April 26, 2012
TWP 45

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Recently I realized something that I believe is inherent in all of our lives. The need to be someone's priority. A basic human need to be the most important person to someone. It opened my eyes to the way I approach some of my relationships. Who are the people in my life for whom I need to provide that vital component? Am I doing a good job? And who is providing that for me?

The most obvious answer to the 'who' question came quickly. My mother and my husband need me to give them top priority. My mother wins if there is a conflict. I do this. I think I do it well. There is nothing that stops me from seeing to my mom's wants and my husband is pretty much my full time job since I retired.  Well, I mean, the new role he has bestowed upon me. I have become the picker-upper of all things he leaves lying around. I have become the doer of all things he doesn't see that need to be done. While he used to be a Mr. Clean kind of man, now he is a she'll get that later kind of guy. Not sure how I allowed this to develop, but I imagine it is because I do pick stuff up and I do throw stuff away and it does bother me. It apparently doesn't bother him. That is a change in him, not me. It has always bothered me, used to bother him. In any case, I do feel Roomy is a priority to me and the things I do for him, I do because I want him to be comfortable and relaxed in his home. I do them because I want to do them. I want them done. It is important to me that anything he needs or wants gets done or given or purchased or whatever because making his life good is part of my job. I like my job.

Mom asks for basically nothing. She seldom says, "Do you think we can....", but when she does, we do it. I have to intuit most of her needs and wants because she doesn't want to put me out or take advantage of me or add to my work load. That's a blessing and a curse. I have to be on my toes at all times so that she remains my priority. There really is nothing in my life more important or vital than seeing that her life is as good as it can be. Her children are an important component in her life and getting us together a few times a year is one of her favorite things. We do that. There are only three of us and it isn't that difficult, but at all costs, it happens a few times a year. My brother lives out of state and so based on his visits, my sister and I arrange a lunch of some sort so she can have us all together at Mom's, my sister's or here. It makes her happy and that makes all of us happy. I love getting together with my siblings and Mom and I imagine they do also. 

At the beauty salon last week, our appointment time needed to be changed for next week because our hairdresser had booked someone else in our time spot. She forgot, she said. I don't care, we have a lot of flexibility in our schedules, Mom and I do. I don't care what time we go and was fine with it. Mom was not. She was upset. It took me a while to figure it out. She wants to be too important to this hairdresser to be 'forgotten' and moved around in her book. Light bulb moment!  Mom wants to be somebody else's priority, too. I'm sure that is it. She wants to be a priority to the person she is now paying to make her beautiful each week at 1:00 on Friday. A standing appointment that is not moved to accommodate someone else. 

It occurs to me now that we all need that. If we are in a relationship, our significant other MUST be the one to give it. If we are not, maybe a lot of other people need to provide that absolutely vital recognition. 

I can only hope now that I am aware, I will be able to provide this for Momma and Roomy. I also hope that someone will always provide that for me. 


Sunday, April 22, 2012


When I take my last breath and move onto my next chapter, I see everything as I believe it could be. I am one who believes Heaven may, in fact, be different for everyone. Your heaven may vary greatly from mine, but I know we will all experience Heaven.

My first step will be recognizing my escort. I will be unsure if I am leaving or arriving. I will feel complete faith and comfort with whomever has been sent to walk with me. It will be someone who has gone before me with whom I share great love. I don't know who it will be, only that I will be very happy to be in his/her company. I will be so happy to see him/her again. My grandmother, Mom-Mom, my dad, a dear friend~who knows?

We will walk through the light into a large area of flowers all shades of yellow and purple with deep green foliage as far as I can see.  To the sides there are small pools of the bluest water I've ever seen. There are white benches along the path for sitting and talking. We hear each other's thoughts. I know that this walk will lead me to my reward. Whatever I have earned while living on earth, will be showered on me here in the next life. Good and bad. For this is judgment time and I will face my sins as well as be rewarded for my good heart.

I will cross the Rainbow Bridge and find waiting for me every furbaby I ever loved. They will all run to lick, rub, jump and smile at me. The same unconditional love they each showed me in life, they will show me now in Heaven. My heart will nearly burst with joy at touching these loves again.

I will be reunited with every person who's life I touched in one way or the other. Some I will remember and other's I will learn how I helped or hurt, unknown to me until now. I will be given the chance to ask forgiveness. I will meet the people who affected me through the years and be able to thank them or remind them of my own hurt at their hands, if I wish. I can tell them that I don't wish to relive any hurts and whatever happened then, is over and forgiven.

My eternity will be quiet. It will be filled with books for reading and for writing. It will be filled with my family and friends and many souls I never got to meet while here, but now will be accessible to me , enjoying their talents or their intelligence and they will know that I enjoyed their work.

I will meet my God. He and He alone will judge my life. He and He alone will set my course from there and I will know all. I will sit at His side and feel the most all-encompassing love. The same love I felt while living as Jo, the sinner and child of God. 

I will learn of my purpose here. I will learn of my successes and failures. I will be judged. I will be forgiven every sin and I will know my God. Really know Him.

I will learn what eternity holds for me and what He has laid forth.

Death comes to all who live. We do not usually get to choose where or when. I am ready to die, but not in a hurry to do so. When my time comes I pray that at my funeral at least one person will smile because they knew me and one will cry because they will miss me. That is my idea of a life well lived.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Oh What a Night

Trying to think of any special night that I might want to share here and might also still be accessible from this oh so NOT efficient memory bank I call my mind. At this age, I have had some fabulous nights and a few that I remember vividly, but they aren't for publication. They are for cherishing and mentally reliving from time to time. I've probably had way more of those than I can actually recall and maybe that's okay. I mean I am not glad that I can't remember a lot, but I have to deal with what I have at hand, so here is one of the nights I can recall and I can share.

It was a typical day in the life, so to speak, nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I had worked all day. The kids, who were about 9 and 10, I believe, had gone to school,  had eaten dinner and were already in bed. My phone rang. Half irritated, it was 9 p.m. and I didn't want my kids up again, I picked it up quickly. 

"Hello?" Yeah, I answer the phone like a question.

My best friend says, "Hi", little giggle. "It's late, I know, but I'm downtown having a couple of drinks and I seem to be alone now."

"Where's your husband?"

"He went home. He might be mad at me." (Sounding completely unconcerned about that possible state of her personal affairs.)

"Maybe you should go home, need a ride?"

"Yeah, will you come sit with me while I finish my drink and then take me home, please?"

"I will if one of the neighbor girls is still up. Let me check and I'll be up shortly or I'll give a call back." I knew the bar, her fave, so no need to ask.

The neighbor's daughter came over and after reapplying some make-up and putting on some good jeans, I went to rescue my best friend. (Still today is my best friend.)  

She was well into her glass when I got there so I decided to just have one and let her go crazy. She drank more and I stopped and we talked and giggled and just completely relaxed for almost an 3 hours. I thought we were going home, but she had a different idea.

We ended up across the street at another bar for last call. We had 2 hours until closing, but she thought it was time for last call and I wasn't arguing, I was on diet coke by then.  

This bar was hosting karaoke and there were a lot of people both singing and dancing so of course, we danced. A guy I hadn't met before, asked me to dance several times and I enjoyed dancing with him a lot. He was a really good dancer and not too hard on the eyes either.

While the last 2 hours of bar time elapsed, we both danced almost non-stop with friends and strangers alike. She, with a lot of different people and I, mostly with my new friend. It was so much fun and I was absolutely exhausted when we started to gather our stuff to head out. We were both still laughing and having such a good time when Mr. Good Dancer leans over our table and asks,

"Will you be here next week?" He was making direct contact with my eyes and smiling really nicely, not creepy smile, not pervy smile, a nice decent pretty smile.

"I have no idea, I have kids and I can't always find a sitter. We come here now and then though, maybe we'll see you again." I was also maintaining eye contact and smiling. He was a nice guy, I thought. And I was sober.

He said something like, "Hope you can make it" not sure exactly. I was thinking about how his body moved on the dance floor and how mine just seemed to know how to move exactly with him. Not something I learned, something I just felt immediately while he held me song after song and we swayed and gyrated and dipped and twirled.
It was a very good night.

We didn't go back for a few weeks, the kid thing and paying for sitters on top of paying for drinks, not usually a weekly activity for us.  Monthly, maybe.

He never showed up again and I asked several of the regulars if they knew him and no one seemed to know or remember him. Mysterious and maddening. I wanted to know who he was and I began to romanticize this stranger into the perfect man for me! 

 I still remember the night and I remember his face, sort of, but mostly I remember that my friend needed a ride home and I got a really unforgettable two hours of dancing with  a totally great dancer. Whoever he was, I'm glad he was hanging out in Durand just that one night. He wasn't the perfect man for me, by the way, because my perfect man would have come back every week until I showed up again.  

And besides, I wasn't ready for my perfect man at that point and I probably would have done something to make him dump me in a few weeks.  I needed time to become self-sufficient and gain some self-confidence.  He did add a little of that to my hope chest. 


Sunday, April 15, 2012


If you speak obscurely, you may well be misunderstood. Communication requires clarity and precision in order to be effective.

That seems simple enough doesn't it?

Yet, we all wander through life misunderstanding each other. Almost daily something will pass through your mind that isn't clear. Did that person mean this? Or was it that? You may have thought one thing was said, when the speaker meant something completely opposite. Words make the difference along with tone and application.

If you need to be understood, take your time. Think about your meaning, first. Think about your tone next and finally formulate the words and rethink the whole thing. Avoid obscurity, avoid being misunderstood and don't try to speak with such eloquence as to dazzle, but rather with such clarity as to be understood, as you wish.

If you need to tell someone they have hurt you, say that. If you need to tell them how they hurt you, say that. Don't tell some made up story about someone else to make your point, too obscure. Be direct and be honest and be as kind as the situation will allow. But make your point. Clearly, make your point.

When listening to someone who is trying to tell you something, listen carefully. If you aren't totally clear on their meaning, ask them for clarification. You owe it to yourself to hear things as they were meant and you owe it to others to say things without obscurity.



This might be the most perfectly timed prompt I’ve had in quite some time. I am not quitting anything, but I am reorganizing my priorities. Everyone needs to do that now and then, don’t they?  Doesn’t life just get jumbled up sometimes and things that shouldn’t be taking a third of your life are doing just that while the really vital things are slipping into second or third place on the “to do” list? 

I always have a “list” of some sort lying around. It might be my Spring list which is a long term goal kinda thing. I have however much time it takes to accomplish these, but have set a light weight done date at Mother’s Day weekend.  We will have some company that day I would like to be done with those jobs by then.  I will do flower planting and lots of other fun things after that, but the basic things on that list, I hope are finished by then. If not, I will just keep plugging away until they are, in fact, donito!

The other lists I keep are usually for this day’s activities or non-activities. You know the kinds of jobs or chores that you would like to do, will probably try to do and might or might not be completed by the end of the day. I have no problem with things being carried over to the next day because I probably will get at them that next day. If I don’t, they probably don’t really have any priority attached to them. Many of my chores don’t really have priority, but I wish they were done. My mood determines whether or not any of them get done. I keep a mental list of the jobs I need to do “someday”.  Now and then, I just write one or two of those on the “today” list and make a big effort to wrap one of them up and put it away, off all lists
Today and maybe all week-end, I am going to make an effort to accomplish a really big list. I am going to prioritize my thinking. Yep. My head needs to be prioritized so that my actions will follow. It’s a big job in a cramped space. (My mind isn’t very big, but it is so packed with stuff that I might qualify as a hoarder, mentally.) Purging the useless time wasters while maintaining some fun time wasters is my challenge and one that is long overdue.

So I am actually quitting something; I am quitting the procrastination of changing some of my every day habits into new ones that make me happy and content.

Yep, another mind numbing and cleansing blog from



I considered writing about living in the “now” and then realized that I have done that so many times under other topics, it would be overkill, sorta.

Looking back, looking ahead and living in the moment. All things in moderation, right? That’s how I live, I guess. Remembering, looking toward our future and appreciating exactly where I am in any given second of my life. ‘Nuff said about that.

Instead of rehashing all of that, I’m going here ~

The world in which we live is not the world I ever envisioned. When I thought of my future, back in the day, I imagined a laid back kind of golden age period. I imagined being content with very little and owning everything free and clear. I wanted an early retirement so that we could leave for the winters and enjoy the summers. I saw that in my dreams for many years. I would only see snow winter when we came home for the holidays and it would be a short visit.

That isn’t my now. We are happy with our life, but my roomy is still working 40 + hours every week because he isn’t ready to retire. He isn’t ready to enjoy the benefits of having worked for 55 years. I retired, for the second time, a year and a half ago and I have not looked back. I love having my own time to do what I please as well as my own time to do what needs to be done. When he’s ready, he’ll wonder why he worked so many years, I think. He could retire anytime now and I’d be good with that. For now, he’s content to work and I’m content to enjoy.

I also never imagined how children would change in a generation.
The children that are being raised now aren’t going to have the sense of responsibility that our generation’s children have. They have no place to learn that being a participant isn’t enough. They won’t know that sometimes, you need to win. They don’t even know that they haven’t won, because they got the same reward as those who excelled just for showing up. They are not accountable for their actions or their words. As adults they will be looking for recognition for mediocre work because that’s what they have known. It’s so sad to me that tomorrow’s leaders will not have the background to make their own way and won’t know how to make decisions. How would they know? They weren’t allowed to learn.

Parents are so involved in their kid’s school activities or sports or dance or music and both parent and child are running somewhere three or five nights a week after school and all summer. Everything is structured and planned and if today’s children aren’t attending some ‘program’ they are playing with electronics. This is certainly not true of all kids, of course, but it’s true of way too many. Just going outside and finding something to do with no guidance, using one’s own imagination to create a game of some sort, isn’t done much these days.

That’s the world we live in now. In many ways it’s so much better than when I was raising kids and in some ways it’s so much worse. I think some big giant steps backward wouldn’t really hurt, but that’s just an old lady talking.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


BFF #183

With Easter just passed most people have plenty of chocolate in their homes to satisfy even the most voracious chocoholic appetite. Not so in this house. I didn't buy any and no one brought any in. There is only the delightful European Dark Heaven that I bought a couple weeks ago to stave off my cravings. Or satiate my cravings, is more accurate.

I don't have or even want dark chocolate every day. I do, however, have it a few times a week and I am very fond of having it with my morning coffee, second cup.

Hot rich coffee and a little chunk of Dark Heavenly goodness; what a wonderful way to start off your day.

Since I started dancing for a few minutes every morning to keep myself moving and doing something close to physical activity while I wait for the pool to be open, I feel zero guilt enjoying my little guilty pleasure now.  The dancing isn't pretty and I imagine it is rather side-splitting to watch, but no one is watching and I am feeling good about moving my big ole butt 4 or 5 days a week. And I am enjoying my chocolate just a little bit more now.

There are some health benefits to dark chocolate; that's good news, but I am far from a health nut. I also enjoy wine, but it's red wine that is suppose to be healthy and I prefer the fruity wines and white wines. Then there is that smoking thing, no brand claims any health benefits only that I will give birth to smaller babies. I'm okay with that particular risk, the others, I just ignore. I'm very narrow minded about that particular subject. I'm also an addict.

I am addicted to caffeine, nicotine and being a happy girl.  So save the lectures and know that intellectually I already know that I should not be indulging and if I were a stronger person, I would have tossed those things years ago, but alas, I have failed and even failed hundreds of times. I'm okay with that, one day I will smoke my last cigarette. One way or the other and that will possibly be the last day I eat dark chocolate, too.


Sunday, April 8, 2012


Home. A place, an emotion, a dream or is it just a word?

I've lived in 2 mobile homes. An apartment. Five houses. All of these since I moved out of my parents' house into the grown up world. Were each of these a home or were they just where I lived?  I think I have been extremely lucky because wherever I have hung my hat since I was a "grown up" has been my home. Each of them was filled with love and even the very temporary apartment also housed my children and what few possessions we had, so it was certainly our home. We did have to leave our dog with my girlfriend for a few months, no dogs in the apartment, but she came with us the very day we moved into our house. For me, it's a home when love lives there with you.

My house never feels as much like a  home as when the kids are here. My favorite time is when they can all be here together.  This almost never happens, but it used to happen a lot. I really, really miss those times. I feel so complete and so happy when they are all together at my house for a day, an evening, whatever they can make happen. It is my happiest time. 

Years ago we had a neighbor who used to say of her children, "They don't have much time for me. They're all so busy with their kids and their jobs, but you can be sure they'll all take the day off to come to my funeral! They'll send flowers, too."

Think about that.

I used to laugh at her saying that. Now that I am older and my children have grown up and don't live very close, I understand. If I need them, they'll come. If I invite them, they might or they might have a counter offer. I am always welcome in their homes, but I feel if they are so busy, I would be interrupting. I always think, if they are too busy to come here, where I do all the work like make a meal, clean the pool, whatever else needs to be done, how can they have time to entertain me? I'm taking time from their busy lives which apparently they don't really have. That seems not to be a good thing to do, so I seldom do it.  When I really need a grand kid fix though, I just have to do what I have to do.  

I am ready to sell this house soon. It's lovely and we have really enjoyed living here the past 13 years, but it's a lot of work with the pool and 3 acres. I would like now to be in an apartment with a pool and let someone else do all the work while I enjoy the property. Maybe a couple more years, maybe sooner. All the updates and outside landscaping we are doing is in hopes of keeping the value up in a poor housing market. We want to update the main bathroom this next winter and possibly add a bathroom to the basement level and that will be it for our updating. The end of that list.
Thinking we'll be ready to vacate in 2014, probably.

Since we moved in here we have:
*replaced the bedroom carpets
*replaced the kitchen, baths, living room, dining room and hall floors with laminate
*re-sided the outside
*replaced all windows except living room and kitchen, they were newer
*carpeted the basement
*added a 4th bedroom in the basement
*transformed wood burning fireplace to gas and added 2nd gas fireplace downstairs
*resurfaced deck
*replaced pool liner and purchased 2 new covers (this one is automatic)
*replaced the roof...twice
*rebuilt the front porch
*added Sunsetter awnings to the back decks

Those are the big things. Of course, we have painted and maintained everything inside and out and replaced garage door openers when they croaked and the furnace and a/c has had some work done, but that's all home ownership stuff.  Just maintenance.

In an apartment, we'd just call someone to get those things done.  ☺

Wherever Roomy and I live with our furbabies is home. No question about that.

Sounds kinda good to me.  ☺


Friday, April 6, 2012


Have I lost my mind?  #180
Little question there, it's on its way out, I fear. My memory of long ago is so haphazard so as not to be very helpful.  I can sometimes be prompted into remembering and sometimes, no clue. I seem to remember strange things. Maybe things that hurt me or confused me or made me giggle. I seem to not remember a lot of things that made me happy. I seem not to remember a lot of things my sister and brother remember, though I might once they begin to tell the story. Or perhaps, I remember them reminding me another time, not sure. It's annoying though and I try not to dwell on this short coming because it makes me think ...
Never mind, I don't want to even write it out.

The short answer: I haven't lost it exactly, but it does wander off quite often.

No Particular Place To Go  #181

I love a good road trip with no particular place to go. I can pack up and drive for hours and find a place to sleep when I get tired and then start the next day. Something along the way may or may not catch my eye. If it does, I'm stopping and maybe staying. If I see a sign heading in another direction, I'll go there now. It's fun and I always see new things.

I like to travel a new and different route even when I have a destination in mind, if time is not an issue. You never know what you might see and what might beckon you to pull over and have a look. I enjoy that a lot.
I do that when I am coming home from Nashville; on the way, I am too anxious to see my family to mess around with unnecessary gawking stops, but coming home, I have time!  Love doing that.

In my life, I have a path, always. I know where I am going and how I'm getting there. I like my life to be that way, but when traveling, I have no rules. Well, just the ones that keep me relatively safe.

Patience #182

I have this now. I have NOT always had this. I was once quite short tempered. I believe that came from stress. My period of no patience was when I was raising my kids alone. When my life had disintegrated right before my eyes. When the man I imagined being with til death do us, part was gone. When I made the decision that to be on my own was better. When I then doubted, for a short time, if I would ever be sure of that decision. I had taken on such responsibility and had no good plan as to how to support all of us and had no time to prepare because I just packed us up and left. I had a minimum wage job and secured a 40 hour schedule which paid my rent with three full checks. One check for everything else. Oh boy. I had no patience then because I made another decision. I started working a second shift on top of my first shift. At the end of the week I was logging 75 to 80 hours on two separate time cards, no overtime allowed on this job, and then could barely make the bills because now I had to pay a sitter for all those hours. It was very difficult and I was very stressed and very thin and was not eating. I mean not eating. I drank coffee, it was free at my job. I smoked a lot, they were cheaper then. I nibbled at the kids leftovers now and then, but the food I bought had to feed them. I was fine.

Until I wasn't. One day I bit into a cheeseburger my co-worker had made "by mistake" (she knew I wasn't eating and I was seriously stick thin) and I found I could NOT swallow it. I was literally choking on it. I drank some coffee and got one bite down with great effort. I wrapped it up to take home. She thought I had eaten it.

I went to the doctor thinking I had something wrong with my throat or my esophagus. The problem was that I had trained my body not to eat. It was a long road back to normal from there. I had to start with broth. Add some crackers. Add some noodles.  Add shredded veggies. Move to oatmeal. On to peanut butter. Then beans. Finally able to eat a burger, no bun. It took almost a year before I could eat anything like meat or even bologna. I now call it my financial anorexia.

I never decided not to eat.  I just fed my kids first.

I had no patience until I had a semi-normal life again. One job and a decent paycheck and my patience returned.I managed to buy a house and even save a small bit. My kids finally learned that tuna sandwiches and chips was NOT meat and potatoes. I gained patience with security and self-confidence.

I think I am quite patient now. I don't think very many things in life are worth getting all freaky over. I am pretty good at holding my temper~if not my tongue.

There we go...all caught up and back to reading.


Thursday, April 5, 2012


Financially speaking we will likely never have a fortune. Family wise we have a fortune and have lost a fortune. It's a mixed bag with people, isn't it usually? 

We do love to imagine what if, you know that game I'm sure. If we ever find ourselves with a million or more buckeroonies, what would we do?

We'd pay off anything that we might owe. We'd buy a new truck and a new car and a motor home. We'd put most of it away safely because we lost a ton of money after 9-11 and now have a healthy and strong fear of losing our security again. No stock market or mutual funds for us. 

We'd pay off our kids homes. No reason for them to have mortgages. Otherwise, their bills are their bills. We would invite all of them on another family vacation. We took one a few years back and I would love to do that again except this time the grand kids would be going also.  Disneyland or Disney World, their choice, I suppose. We wouldn't want to completely remove all of their financial obligations because we feel our children should handle their own lives. Handing out that kind of help would not really be the best thing for any of them. They would expect it again even if they didn't think they would. When we are both gone, they would get it anyway and could then do whatever they chose. Waiting would be a good thing. Being given too much too soon can be devastating to ones life. I watched those reports about the lottery winners lives being ruined by the money and their choices so I don't wanna set my kiddos up for such horrid happenings.

Ya know, being a parent can be a really tough job even long after your babies have flown the coop and have babies of their, one of whom has also flown the coop!

But money of the fortune variety is the root of all pain and suffering according to that TV show, so we have planned ahead to avoid most if not all of the possible disasters to which others have fallen victim. 

So no huge charitable donations. Just modest ones, often anonymously. No handouts to friends. No lavish life style changes. We wouldn't be happy with that anyway.
Just a debt free retirement with a motor home, 2 new vehicles and the security of knowing our kids have a home for as long as they want them. That would be a good thing.

An old couple has to have something to dream about when all their other dreams have already come true.  ♥


"Elizabeth Grace is a slave-driving pain in the ass." :OD

Eleven months ago I was introduced to a group called GBE2 by my friend Gary Smith. (Thank you Gary) He was a member and his friend Elizabeth Grace (yep, one and the same) was the administrator of the site for bloggers. I was expecting to write my little mind numbing blogs and maybe a couple of people would read them and maybe I'd learn a thing or two about proper writing techniques or at the very least, I'd learn not to write sentences that could easily be broken into 5 or 6 sentences if they were being written by anyone other than long winded and wordy me with no thought as to how normal people breathe.  Obviously, I learned that!

Okay, so now here we are 11 months later and I have made so many friends in this group that I sometimes forget that I don't know them at all. Except maybe I do because they are writers. Writers open up their laptops, sit at their desk tops or grab a notepad or tape recorder and tell their stories. Then the bloggers share them. With each other. We really do know each other very well. We know the essence of each other very well.

That is what qualifies me to take on this subject even though I am NOT participating in the a-z challenge thingy because I don't like that kind of commitment. It feels like work to me. I'm not into work anymore.

I have known Ms. Grace for 11 months and though we are virtual friends, she has shown me her heart a hundred times or more. She has shown me her strength an equal number of times. I know who she is.
She is a slave-driving pain in the ass. Oh, sure, she's cute. She inspires me often with her writing. She moves me with her words or makes me giggle like a 5 year old whose favorite uncle is tickling her, but she is a pain in the ass.

Every week she posts topics or prompts or pictures and we are supposed to get inspiration from that prompt and go out to our own pages and write awe inspiring posts. That's all, just go out there and make her proud!

How's that working for most of you?

I'll tell you as a regular reader, it's working really well for a whole big gigantic bunch of you! These posts are so well done, so well thought through and sometimes so damned funny that I can hardly get through them.
You are without question, as entertaining a mix of humans I could imagine in one place.

She is a slave-driver. She is a pain in the ass. "Put your stuff here, not there."  "I'll post that for you cuz you keep putting it in the wrong spot." "I'll be dropping by and commenting, so be careful what you say about me." 'That was an interesting post." (That isn't good, btw.) "What an unusual take on the prompt." (Also not good,)

Then as if that wasn't bad enough, each week she posts her own blog offering. Of course, it's always (nearly) fantabulous. If it isn't, she'll tell you it is crap in the first paragraph. If it doesn't have a warning label, it's going to be good. Week after week after week. She sets a high standard and I have to admit here, don't share this with her, she doesn't read my blogs, I totally love and admire this woman I have never met. She holds my utmost respect and admiration. Not for doing it all, as she sometimes feels she has to do, but for doing what she does better than anyone expects. I admire her good heart and kind soul and I (tribute here) lovity love love her to pieces!

Have I personally learned anything from hanging out with her virtually?  Hell no, I already know it all. There is nothing I could possibly learn from a young 'un like her. I've got mascara older than she is! Good grief! I am still writing my mind numbing blogs and reading my comments, but I do have a lot more than a handful of readers. That makes me so happy. I don't think she made people come read my blog, but maybe she did!

But you less aged ones might learn something from her. You might learn how to construct a sentence or spell check your work or maybe even write a blog that makes sense!  Oh, not that anyone in this group would ever do any of those things, that would be an example of hyperbole. There is, however, a point in there, if you look hard enough.

Bethie should take a big ole bow and then pat herself on the back because truth be told, she just rocks the writing world all the way around. I am proud to be a part of this group and very proud to call the pain in the ass my friend.

*Raising my glass of raspberry-chocolate wine* Here's to you Miss Beth with my respect and gratitude for a job well done day after day after day.


Sunday, April 1, 2012


I imagine everyone who knows me expects this one to be about Dancing With the People You May Have Heard of Once or as more commonly known, Dancing With the Stars. They would be wrong. I do enough talking about that every Monday and Tuesday night.  This will be about dancing.

Is there a better full body workout than dancing?

I mean all out, full blown, gettin' down with yer jiggy self, legs up and down, arms up and moving, hips gyrating dancing.  The kind where your heart pounds, your legs ache, your arms nearly throb and your feet are begging you to sit your butt down for 10 minutes.  That kind of dancing.  Every major muscle is used and abused. The best part?  It's fun and will make you laugh while you work away your caloric intake and build muscle tone. 

Core strength is vital to aging bodies maintaining the ability to stand tall, lift moderately heavy objects and stay healthy as well as mobile. As the human body ages, it loses strength quickly and without some kind of workout regime, it soon loses it's ability to do the simplest things in day to day life. The easiest and most beneficial exercise is walking. Once walking is relatively effortless, a little light dancing is the next step. When the dancing is easier and can be done longer, adding a few more moves until that all out dance is just 10 minutes a day and as routine as your morning coffee, coke, milk, tea or whatever you might like to start your morning.  It will become addictive.

That is the key. Movement every day and routine. In thirty days whatever you are making yourself do will become routine. So why not give a month to dance?  Give a dance for good body tone and good core strength. 

I think I have talked myself into this one. Dang, I'm good at this!