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Friday, June 29, 2012


Is there anything in life harder than endings? Something you loved or liked and thought you'd always have in your life is suddenly or gradually gone. Simply gone. No longer part of your everyday life only a memory now. You can cry non-stop over your loss or you can remember how good it was to have it, but in either case, it's over. It's always difficult.

Recently, well, a few months ago, I suffered a gigantic loss. One I am only now beginning to get past. I still miss it and I still wish I could see it daily. I long to settle in for a close two hours of our special time. It's really hard to go through my daily routine now and not have that time of pure relaxation and enjoyment. It's gone and I am sad because a multi-decade of days together are history. I'm glad I had it once, but haven't reached the happy memory stage of my grief yet.

Oh sure, General Hospital is still on and I never miss it. I DVR it if I'm busy at 3 and then enjoy that hour later in the evening. But I will miss All My Children and One Life to Live for a very long time. I have spent many years enjoying Erica Cane and her children and their children. I have loved some of the Buchanans and hated others. Wonder what Blair is wearing today? Oh, and did Vickie marry her ex and father of some of her kids, Clint? I'll never know. I have cried when someone died or had a child. I have laughed at some of the ridiculous plot line, but through it all, I have loved those shows. They were good acting, usually well written and always entertaining. I was never one who lost myself in friendship with the characters like many soap fans did, but I was a fan. I was very sad when they ended.

So for now, I just watch my GH daily and follow the few OLTL cast members who crossed over and call it good. They've been renewed, for now anyway.

Endings are almost always hard. Oh, not when they mean something bad is ending, but otherwise, usually hard.  

The End

Did that make you sad?


Sunday, June 24, 2012


Strength. Where does it come from? Why do some people seem to always have it when needed and others can't muster it, ever? Is physical strength more or less important than emotional strength? Are they mutually exclusive? Or mutually inclusive? Can you learn emotional strength like you gain physical strength?

Emotional strength seems to come from surviving pain or loss in your life. The more times you are faced with a trial, the more strength you seem to be able to develop. Not to say that loss or pain isn't still there or that it doesn't still tear away at your heart, but you are stronger because you KNOW you will live through it.

The ability to move forward while wiping tears and picking up your broken self is the definition of strength. The more times you need to do it, the more times you survive it, the stronger you feel. 

Emotional strength is all about having survived, something.

(morguefile photo)

Physical strength is in part, genetic, but mostly a matter of working muscles into their peak condition and developing flexibility. This is usually done by working out regularly and sometimes with assistance to target certain areas, but also sometimes just a regular workout routine. The key to building strength is resistance training with weights of varying sizes. If this is done with regularity, muscles will be strengthened and developed. One will see results in both bigger muscles and greater endurance. Since muscle weighs more than fat, sometimes a weight gain accompanies a good workout routine. Eventually, though, inches will be lost and pounds will usually follow. 

To maintain physical strength, the workout must continue. Stopping for a prolonged period will result in the muscle being lost or lessened.

Emotional strength seems much longer lasting. Once your heart has been hurt, it remembers always. It hardens a little more each time and doesn't forget. 

The two can reside in one body, for sure. It's just a matter of understanding that emotional strength is learned and physical strength is earned.

You most definitely learn to be strong emotionally. You also most certainly work to achieve physical strength. Clearly, both are great qualities. Life is better with both of these in your world.

There is no comparison, in my mind, between the two. I will never be physically strong again and I will never be emotionally weak again. My life has taught me that I need the emotional strength because no one else can carry my hurt for me, but if I need something heavy moved, someone can do that for me.  

I am not trying to say that I have had an horrendous life filled with pain and torture. That is simply not true. I have had a life filled with love and many more happy days than sad. Many more happy years than sad. I had a few years of difficulty and survived them. I lost my dad much too young and survived. I have been fired and sexually harassed and survived.  Nothing a million other women haven't had to face and survive. 

Those things do, however, add up to a heart that has been beaten and bruised and yet because my life was peppered with things I had to overcome or learn to live with, I am stronger than I once was, emotionally. I can do whatever I must do. I still feel pain; I still feel defeat; I still ache, sometimes. But I always know that I will survive. I will live to write about whatever it is that is trying to win. It will not. It will be in the lead for a while, but it will not win. I cannot be taken down through my heart, just slowed down momentarily. I also believe my own emotional strength is faith based. I know God will see me through whatever I am facing.

Yep, the sun will come out tomorrow and I will be there to soak it up.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

I Dreamed That I Had A Rainbow Connection

BFF 202 and 203

Waking up at 5 a.m. is not something Mel usually did. She was one to sleep late in the day whenever possible and this day, it was possible and yet she was wide awake. Looking at the clock on her night stand she slowly tossed her legs over the edge of the bed and sat upright. Rubbing her eyes and lifting her body to a full stand to begin her trudge to the bathroom. In her head, kind of hazy was the thought that she needed to be awake now. She needed to get this day started, but in her head was no reason for this to be.

A splash of water on her face, a kidney drain and she was off to the coffee pot. The house was very warm. Had she not turned on the A/C when she went to bed? Maybe not. As the coffee was dripping into her cup she went to check the thermostat. "A/C, heat" or "off", is what she saw and the indicator needle was on the word "off." Well, okay. She was going outside anyway, she left it off.

Freshly brewed coffee in hand she slid open the patio door and stepped out onto the cement pad on the north side of her house. Scurrying between her feet meowing with some conviction, Timi her 5 year old cat ran full speed out into the still dew covered grass. The sunrise was breathtaking and not lost of Mel as she eased herself down onto her favorite patio chair. Since her recent car accident, the aches and pains were less annoying when relaxing out here in her thickly padded rocking chair. She could and some days did spend most of the day right here.

The injuries were minor and yet she still ached most of the time. Had it really been 3 weeks ago? Shouldn't she be well now? Her body had taken a mighty jolt when her car was struck from behind. She was stopped and the speeding driver following her was lost in thought, or so he said, and didn't see her brake lights. He slammed into her at a full 45 mph shoving her through the intersection and striking a fire hydrant on the other side. She believes she held the brake to the floor the entire time. The skid marks indicated that was probably the case. The other driver was ticketed and seemed equally banged up, which gave her some satisfaction.

Mel had retired just a few months prior to the accident and had not anticipated sitting on her patio day in and day out because she was in too much pain to really do much of anything else. Oh, she had medication, but it really didn't do much except take the edge off so she could walk and do minor chores. She had not driven since the accident because her car was still being repaired. She had no fear of driving nor did she think she would be incapable of driving, she simply didn't have a car. Walking to the grocery store 3 blocks away was difficult, but she was sure it was good for her, so she made herself do that almost every day. She had a small cart she pushed or pulled to carry the bags home. It all worked for her and each day she hoped would be the day she woke up feeling stronger and suffering less pain. A few days that had been the case. Today she was very stiff. More stiff than sore.

Her mind was busy this morning. She was thinking about the dream she had and was trying to recreate it all now. She remembered that she had seen a rainbow and it seemed to be calling her. Yes, calling her. Like, "Walk closer. Look at me. No, really look at me, keep walking." In the dream she had walked toward the rainbow and felt it almost tugging her ever closer. She had walked miles and could see the bottom of the beautiful brilliantly colored arch actually touching lightly on the grass just ahead of her. She stretched her hand out and touched the colored band. The rainbow made a soft, but audible noise. A sigh of sorts. She patted it and then ran her hand down the arch. It quivered a bit. She smiled and continued to touch it gently because it felt very fragile and she wanted no harm to come from her curiosity.

It was mesmerizing and she finally dropped her hand to her side. The rainbow whispered, "Thank you. I have never felt a human touch, it was nice. You are now blessed with hands that will heal. Not yourself, but others. Your hands will hold the rainbow connection I just shared with you forever." With that, the rainbow became inanimate again. It was still there and still beautiful, but not alive. She felt honored and saddened in one seconds time.

The dream ended when she awoke to the feeling of needing to start her day. Did the dream have anything to do with that? How silly.

Sipping her coffee she let her mind drift and took in the view of her small backyard. She saw her adorable cat rolling in the damp grass and smelling everything in sight and maybe stalking a bird here and there. She wasn't the best hunter, Timi just liked to stalk not pounce. Her gaze went away from Timi and was held on the tree in the corner. She saw a Robin with a worm hanging from it's beak and then flying up into the tree apparently to feed some very noisy children. Mel smiled.

As she rose to go back for another cup of coffee, Timi came up behind her and Mel saw she was noticeably limping. One foot seemed to be hurt. She reached down and picked her precious baby cat up while setting her coffee cup on the counter. Timi meowed and pulled the leg away from her. She stood the cat on the counter and wrapped her hand around the leg Timi was holding up in a bent fashion. She whispered to her baby that she was sorry she hurt herself and kissed the top of her little head right between her ears. Nothing felt broken and Timi didn't mind that she was holding the leg so she gently put her on the floor and Timi scampered off on all four.

She had obviously been awakened at such an early hour because remembering that dream mattered to her. Maybe mattered to Timi and she was very thankful for such a lovely memory.

Mel smiled to herself and thought, "Thanks Rainbow, the healing hands are a good thing."

She had a Rainbow Connection, or at the very least, she dreamed she did


Monday, June 18, 2012


Once again the prompt is asking me to look back. Oh, 2 days, okay maybe I can easily do that. Then again the short term memory is the first to go, isn't it? (Looking up at the title again to remind myself of the prompt.)

Today is Monday, June 18, 2012 so two days ago would have been Saturday, June 16, 2012. I am quick like that!

Saturday was a very hot and very humid day here in mid-Michigan and Roomy and I had a few yard chores to tackle as well as enough time allocated to relax and enjoy the day. The morning found us sipping coffee and chatting while we watched the bazillion birds drop in and out of the back yard gathering worms or pieces of straw or whatever and flying off with their treasures. The sparrows who have nested and laid eggs under my petunias in the window boxes on the barn, flew in and out a hundred times, maybe the eggs are not eggs anymore. We watched a couple of bunnies, ummmm, doing what bunnies do often right in the middle of our yard and then just hop away. I think I muttered something about them being exhibitionists or something and of course, my favorite, the hummers flying in for a sip or ten and then zooming off to the next feeder or flower.

Roomy re-seeded the area of the lawn that isn't wanting to grow back from the cement work and I did some weeding and some moving around of the potted plants. I treated the pool with some stain remover and skimmed it and took a dip. We took a lot of breaks and puttered the afternoon away. 

Dinner was the D-Railed Bar and Grill in beautiful downtown Durand for a really good sammy and pepper balls and sweet tater fries. I also enjoyed the best, yes the best, Mojito I have ever had!  Delish!  Good service and really friendly place to hang out for a quick meal or just to hang with friends, I imagine. If we ever get some friends, we might take them there.

Two days ago I was younger than I am now and I will be older again tomorrow than I am today, maybe. No guarantees about that, of course. Every day I seem to be reminded that time is rushing by and life needs to be lived out loud. I spent some more time trying to convince Roomy to give his notice and officially retire NOW. I find time almost every day to work that in to some conversation. He really needs to be done working, it's too much for his feet and I would love for him to be more mobile and have much less pain. He could do that by NOT standing in a cherry picker bucket all day 5 days a week. Not good for the old and severely messed up feet!

That's it!  Two days ago was just as boring and just as wonderful as today has been so far. Summer is here and I am not missing any of it.  ♥



BFF 200 prompt

As we each pass through this life we reach, miss or touch many hundreds of milestones. Our own birth, rolling over, sprouting teeth, that first step so many more 'firsts' that it would fill a book to list. I shall not do that to you, my dear and precious readers and friends. Instead I'd look lovingly (?) at some of the common milestones we don't necessarily talk about with just anyone.

Do you, for example, remember your first pimple?  Blemishes are often associated with teenage years but for some it's a 30 something issue. As the hormones shift gears and prepare for senioritis, some find spots and splotches and some find big ole whoppin' ziteroonies on their once porcelain-like face. That's a milestone. The first zit that looks like a crater on the moon surface is something many of us may have erased from our memories.

Your first car 'incident'?  Were you involved in an accident? Your fault? Not? Did you forget where you left your car? (Just me? Okay, moving on.) Did you buy a lemon or get the perfect deal on a car you loved? Our cars, either our first car or our first 'perfect' car is a milestone to rival the actual awarding of the driving license. Owning your own wheels is HUGE and most of us have a story about that. 

How about the first, very first, meal you made in a kitchen by yourself? Was it a good one, a decent first attempt or a disaster? Was it followed by more of the same or some combination of good tries and total failures? Did it make you love or hate cooking? It's a milestone for a lot of us and for some of us, it was our first attempt at being an adult. 

Not all milestones are life changing and not all are even celebrated, but all change something in our lives. Like the first house, apartment, mobile home or whatever that you lived in without one of your parents or guardians. Do you remember every single detail of that place? Do you often remember your life there? Is it a horrible memory or a delightful one or maybe and most likely something in between? It's a milestone we almost all share. It's a time in our life when we entered adulthood and for some of us it is a giant milestone and for some of us, a vague memory. 

So many small and possibly insignificant things throughout our lives change something fundamental inside of us and in reflection, are the true milestones though not celebrated like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings or any of the obvious milestones. 

In fact, our lives are made up of milestone after milestone.  Kind of creating one big milerock which is our history.


The Journey

Fresh out of a deep sleep, eyes opening slowly and a bit blurry, the day begins. Another journey in a long line of journeys begins.
Coffee, more coffee, shower, make the bed, straighten up the house on the way to the coffee maker for third coffee and fresh air on the deck and the journey continues.
The pool needs attention. Skim it, check the chemical balance, check the filter basket, backwash, add chlorine and smile as feet touch the water in the top step.
Flower beds need weeding and watering. Potted plants need dead-heading and watering.
Check Facebook and blog comments and emails. Hang out on FB a little too long.
Lunch of cottage cheese and fruit of some sort, berries today.
Paint the planter that hasn’t been painted in a couple of years.
Clean up that mess.
Replace the latches on the back gate. Drill, screws, new latches fairly quick job. Put stuff away and get inside to clean and plan dinner.
Vacuum, dust and file some papers.
Watch General Hospital with a nice tall cold water.
Take a quick dip in the pool with Jake. A dog needs his exercise.
Prepare dinner and take care of last nights dishes.
When Roomy gets home have dinner and clean up the kitchen.
Settle in for an evening of FB and TV.
Bedtime is 2 or 3. Beauty sleep is needed.
This is the journey of one of my days.
And some are even a bit more exciting.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our Journey

You move through it; you take a journey to happyland.

It was done. I had left my husband of nine years.

He came home from a few hours at the bar with his friends after work and a very small amount of his paycheck left. He had cashed it and spent a large percentage of it with his friends at a bar near his work place. This had happened many times recently and I could not abide anymore of it. I normally wouldn't start a discussion while he was under the influence, but I had had enough at this point so I began the conversation. It wasn't fun. It wasn't what I expected. I expected to tell him what I needed and for him to understand that I was serious and things had to change. I expected him to love me enough to make that happen, whatever it took. I expected this time to be the last time.

I told him that I could not pay the bills and put food on the table with less than half his paychecks. I told him I did not want to raise our children with an alcoholic. I reminded him that my own father had been an alcoholic and had quit drinking to save his life and I reminded him what a wonderful father and husband he had become since. I clearly told him this was the last time I would ever have this discussion. It was not the first. I clearly told him if he couldn't stay sober, I was leaving.

He yelled. He threw a heavy glass ashtray at my head. I ducked and slid down the wall. Out of the corner of my eye I saw our 5 year old son standing just outside the doorway. Horror on his face. Just as I was about to turn to my son, his father struck my face with his hand. It was a slap with the back of his hand, I think. It startled me and hurt like hell. Again I hit the wall, remaining upright this time. I said, "You will NEVER get a chance to do that again." It was just above a whisper.

I stopped speaking and so did he. He walked past me and put his fist through the kitchen cabinet on his way to the back door which he pushed so hard it hung from only one screw in his wake. The hole he left in the cabinet was terrifyingly big and all the way through. 

The minute he was out of the driveway, the very second he was gone, I ran to the kids rooms and grabbed enough clothes for a few days. I told them each to get a favorite toy while I threw some things in a bag for a little vacation. We left the house in less than half an hour. I was terrified and angry and brokenhearted and the saddest I have ever been in my life. The kids were nervous. They asked repeatedly if I was okay. The red mark on my face upset them and it was beginning to turn color within the hour. They asked if their daddy was going to meet us there, more than once. I repeated the same thing over and over, "No, Daddy isn't coming. He has somethings to work out and we're gonna just take a little break while he does that." I knew they didn't understand; I didn't want them to understand. I just wanted them to love both of us. Always. I just wanted my marriage to get back on track and my life to go on as it had before their dad decided drinking with friends was a lot better than hanging with us. Before he didn't care how much money he brought home. Before he started promising me weekly that he would not go to the bar this week with his friends at all; he'd be home every night right after work. Before I stopped believing him. Before I stopped being the most important thing in his life. Before I began to fall out of love. Way before I didn't care what he did anymore. Before it was too late. A short 2 years prior we had a good life. Now we had separate lives and there was no room in this new life of his for a wife and 2 kids. 

The next two years of our lives were beyond difficult. I made enough money to pay rent using three of my paychecks and the fourth had to pay all the other bills and buy food. I got no support from their father until the divorce was final a full two years and 6 months from the day I ran out of that house. That house that I once loved and believed we would grow old in, together.  From that I moved into a mobile home in a mobile home park with good neighbors and close to my work. I managed to double my hours at work and have a small amount of cash for clothing and school needs. My children learned about budgeting and they learned about loving each other through everything. We did without a lot of things they were used to having, but they really didn't seem to suffer except they missed having a TV, so I planned to get one as soon as possible and started asking around about a used one. A customer of mine and a friend of my boss offered me a TV while having lunch one day. No charge, he just wanted the kids to have one. Said it wasn't a great TV, but his wife had been wanting a new one so she had offered this one for the kids. I cried and thanked them a million times. I was so happy for them. It was the kindest thing anyone had ever done for us. A friend of mine brought a bag of groceries every now and then and just put them in the cupboard. My sister and her husband did the same. We had good friends and family. My parents were there with some cash I desperately needed and refused when I tried to pay them back. They made sure my holidays were something to be celebrated and not worked through. I was not alone. I had to keep reminding myself of that. My babies needed me to carry on and I was not alone. Some days that wasn't enough.

Their dad didn't show up for his scheduled visitation very often and then when he wanted to spend time with them, he would just show up and expect to be able to take them for a day or two or whatever suited his needs. I had a problem with that. I had a problem with him not parenting or calling or showing up for them. I had a problem with him hurting our babies and not being affected at all. I had a problem with him refusing to help me support them. He thought and said that he didn't give me money because if I needed help, I could come home. He didn't understand how much I wanted to come home. I could not. That life would never be MY life again.

Our journey, the one my children and I began the night we ran from our home, was difficult and valuable and memorable and probably the most precious of all our lives. I learned how to do whatever needed to be done and they learned that I would always be there. Always. I would be the one constant in their lives. They learned how to survive when life gets crazy and unpredictable and they learned that their dad was not a man they could depend on or trust. They could love him for who he is, but never expect anything more than what they had. A casual relationship. You can't make children understand that concept. They have to learn it by being hurt, more than once. 

To some extent we are still on that journey. I know my daughter has never really adjusted completely from her father simply divorcing her along with her mother.  Her job now is to protect her daughters from ever going through that kind of loss and sadly, she can't because their father is doing the same to his children. Divorcing his daughters to be with someone who doesn't need or want his children in her life. My daughter  loves her step-dad with all her heart and I am grateful, but it still saddens me that she doesn't even know her father. Once upon a time, he was a fabulous daddy, before ...

I also know that my son would have loved to rekindle as an adult a real father-son relationship. He tried. He reached out and made several attempts, but he failed to really reach his father. It could have been a "drinking buddies relationship," but that wasn't what my son was looking to have. He also loves and respects his step-father, but I know on some level, it hurts him that his father doesn't know or care about his grandchildren. 

So our journey does go on and for all the days of my life they will be my babies and anything they ever need or want from me will be done in some way. The end of this journey will not come until I am at the end of my journey. 

You mend a broken heart by living through it and coming out the other side, stronger.


Father's Day 2012

Though I have never been a father, I had one and I live with one and I divorced one, so I have some experience with what makes a good one and what makes a sperm donor just a sperm donor.

Having donated sperm, even if it's through direct deposit, does NOT make you a dad. It makes you the legal father and nothing more. If the laws were written truly with the child's best interest in mind, as they say they are, sperm donors would have zero rights. The reward for their donation was given at the time of the direct deposit. Nothing more is owed to them, in my opinion.

Now a dad is a whole different story. The man who holds the child to comfort or just to show love, the man who listens and advises, the man who teaches a child what a man is and how a man should behave, the man who didn't have to love yet chose to love is the dad. In some cases, this is the sperm donor, in some cases, not. It doesn't matter. In both cases, the dad is the man who loved the child unconditionally by choice.

My favorite childhood memory of my own dad is such a simple thing, one has to wonder why it stands out in my head. I was about 9 or 10 and got a giant chalk board for Christmas. My dad had written on it..."Merry Christmas to Joansy Lee Lee Settle". I don't know why that was such a big deal to me, but it was. I still recall the excitement of seeing those words written by Dad on my new chalk board. Silly? Probably, but it said my dad loved me. It said I was important enough to warrant his time and the sentiment was all for me. Only he ever called me that silly name and I loved it. I loved my daddy as most little girls do, but I was a Momma's Girl and still am. The outstanding things about my dad were not big deals; rather common everyday things. Long car trips would find us eating in diners along the road where trucks were parked, the best food would be found there, Dad said. The ever repeated, "If you have to use the bathroom, use it now, I'm not stopping in 5 miles!" meant nothing. If someone needed to stop in 5 miles, he would do so with a proper amount of grumbling and moaning about how he told us to use the bathroom and he wasn't happy now.  Every trip included backseat arguments because 3 kids in one bench seat for 7 hours to the grandparents house is going to include arguments. He would usually yell, "Shut up and enjoy this trip!"  That still makes me smile.  Somehow, shut up and have fun seems good advice, but maybe a different delivery would have been good!  Dad wasn't known for his finesse. 

Through most of my teenage years he was an absent dad. He drove truck and was gone most of the week. I have some memories of trips to town with him on week-ends to run errands. He didn't stop at the dime store, like Mom did, he just did what needed to be done and maybe got me a coke or candy bar, but no side trips. I liked going with him because he didn't treat me like a kid, exactly. It was more like I was his buddy for those few minutes that we were on the road. Hard to explain, but I liked it and I remember it. He sometimes let me drive home at age 14, but I couldn't tell Mom.

Unlike me, my kids were not raised most of their lives by their father. They were raised by their Dad. He chose to help me parent my children and I chose to help him parent his. We have no regrets about that. He is the man both my children refer to as their dad. He loves them the same as his own, they are his own now.  He walked my daughter down the aisle and he loves the grandchildren his step~children have given us exactly the same as he loves the grandchildren his genetically related boys have given us. I do, too. Our grandchildren are all our grandchildren.  It's a choice we made years ago with the birth of our first who turns 23 this fall.  (omg...23!)

I am eternally grateful to this man who shares my life and loves. Everyday he lives is a blessing to each of us in one way or the other. He has taken into his heart two children he didn't have to 'own'. He took on a very difficult job because he wanted to and he did the best job anyone could have done. In return, he has gained more love than he ever could give. He is respected and admired and honored for all he has given and all he is as a man, father and husband to their mother. He has earned this by being a good man with an unlimited capacity to love.

Happy Father's Day to him and our sons and to our father's who have gone before, our respect and love eternally.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I survive every winter just waiting for the spring signs. The first little spring green to pop its head out of the snow or the frozen ground makes me smile and gain hope that yet another summer will be coming. Some days in February and March, I doubt spring will ever get here let alone summer. This past year, that early March warm up was so welcomed by this winter hating human. Two weeks of superb weather right in the middle of what is usually my least favorite time of the year. I was sooooo happy and got sooooo much yard work done and such a big jump on my season. I wasn't even crushed by the return of colder weather which followed. It was a lovely break in the bleak.

Now summer is nearly here, calendar wise. In my heart of hearts, it IS here. It's warm and we have more sun than clouds and I can sit outside and breathe anytime I want. This is what I thrive on.

Yes, I love swimming and I love flowers and I adore the warmth. I love the green grass and the smells of summer. The birds singing or chirping and the hummers humming around the feeders and stopping mid-flight to look me in the eye and then dart away. The butterflies flitting from flower to flower and looking the Oriole feeders and Hummingbird feeders over and passing on to the next flower bloom for a sip, all make me smile.

The kids bring their kids more often in the summer to swim and cook a dog or burger and share a few hours with us. I love that more than anyone without grand children can even imagine. Splashing around with those babies is what life is all about for this old gal.

I am completely solar powered. When the sun shines, so do I. I get things done and I am just smiling all the time. I don't mind the heat and I don't mind the humidity because for me, this is so preferential to being cold and seeing gloom when I look out the window. Weeding the flowers, cleaning the pool and watering everything is not work, it's love. Then sitting and admiring the yard, the pool and everyone who shares this world with us, that's the payoff. There is nothing about summer that I don't like. Even the bugs and animals who share our space are okay with me. I'd prefer that they stay out of the pool, but now and then one of them commits suicide and I am the one to discover the body and remove it from my pristine water.  Not my favorite thing to do, but it must be done and I'm elected.

The raccoon that insists on emptying my bird feeder in two nights visits is a bit annoying, but he is also very cute and very friendly.  If I open the window and nicely ask him to leave, he just looks around the feeder and shovels 'handfuls' of seed while looking right in my eyes.  He is not afraid of me, at all. I call him Charlie. He is now almost a pet. Hoping he doesn't bring a gang. There were three, he's the only one remaining. I think he's a thug 'coon and has run off the others.  I guess I'll just feed him.

Here is the best shot I got of Charlie because it's so dark when he comes to visit and I had to shoot this one through the screen...but there he is!  Caught white-handed!  Little stinker.

(He will stand with his feet in the lowest feeder and look in the window while he eats. While I say, "Seriously Charlie? Are you going to empty my feeder?"  he just stares at me while shoveling.)

I find my entire life is just better from April through September.  Then in October I begin to feel the veil of fall leading to winter covering me. It's not something I can ignore. It's real and it's strong. The best I can do is fight inside my head day in and day out and once in a while, give in to it and just be sad and unhappy for a day or two. Sun deprivation is difficult, but manageable and I have suffered with it for years. I do not have one single day of that in summer and I am oh, so grateful for that.

I love, love no really  L O V E  every single day of  S U M M E R.

Here is the latest flower area Mike thought I needed. Last week-end was dedicated to this.

Two purple climatis' one yellow rose bush and a million bells tinytunie in the middle.

And three solar birds ~ just cuz they're so cute.

This is just one of a million wonderful moments of kids in the pool....Hailee, Jennifer and Chloe just hanging and posing for Grandma Jo and her camera!

Nothing beats a day of kids and water!



I have had the honor of being selected by someone who has nothing better to do than stop in and visit blogs; read them and then anonymously comment with rude or hateful things. While I am not so fragile as to crumble at this stupidity, I don't like it and I don't understand it. 

I will continue to blog. I will continue to delete anonymous comments intended to hurt or embarrass me. They don't do either. They just annoy me. They are personal and mean and indicate the writer has a lack of interests and apparently very limited vocabulary. I have decided, since I also received email from this same person, to publish that email address and share some of the comments with you here.  The lack of education and originality of the writer is clear and the intent is obvious.

I was also aided in tracking this email to Ireland. Really? Someone in Ireland finds me so ignorant and uninteresting that they must devote themselves to adding idiotic commentary on my simple and honest posts? Okay. Knock yourself out. I will not leave them on my blogs, but I will periodically copy and paste them on another blog for all to see how creative you are, Mr/Ms Troll.  I am very sorry you have nothing of value in your day to day life, leaving so much time to devote to all this fantastically well thought out writing you have done on MY posts! You have my condolences and I shall publish them for you, here.

This is the troll Celeste warned us about on BFF and within days, these appeared.  Brendan, Susan...whoever.

I have been revisted lately by this same person, but I think these will suffice to show you the love.

A quick note to my real friends who comment anonymously, please SIGN YOUR NAME or your comments will also be deleted. 


These were posted on  4/12/12

There are more....these are just a few.

on 4/12/12
We don't have swimming pools like that in Latvia. Jo the GOD loving fake. Keep removing my comments. on HOME
on 4/12/12
Jo: Once upon a time when I was a younger version of me... When did this happen, back in the great depression, you look that old. on MY EYES ADORED YOU
on 4/12/12
Mirror, mirror on the wall Who's the fairest of them all? It's not Jo, that's for sure. on MIRROR
on 4/12/12
What a load of nonsense. You are as interesting as a bucket of water and as deep as the goldfish it in. Keep trying. on It's Always That Way
on 4/12/12
And if anyone would like to email this person....followed by the email he/she sent.  Sometimes calls himself/herself Brendan.
The two following have the same IP address

"I am a God loving retired hairdresser. Why are you as interesting as a bucket of water and as deep as the goldfish it.
Now I'm going to have some fun with people who comment on your blog"


on 4/12/12

Monday, June 11, 2012


Who says we can't? 

Well, if I could, I might do some things differently in order to save my children some unnecessary pain. I might have eliminated a few of the heartaches I endured or caused. I might even have spent more time with some people and less with others. I might have said something to someone that would have changed their life. Those things might have made my life easier or less painful, but then where would I have gained my strength and my experience. How would I have known NOT to cause pain to others if I had never felt it? Would I appreciate my life today if I hadn't lived that life yesterday? 

This person, right here, this one writing, is the person I was meant to be and she's an okay girl. She isn't perfect and still makes big mistakes, but she is aware and she works at not repeating the same mistake. I like making new ones, instead. Making mistakes means I am doing something. I am learning something. I am growing.

I may be wrong, but I think you only go 'round once and if that's true, I'm okay with the ride I've been given.
No changes needed. No real regrets. Some things I wish I had done better, but don't regret. 

I'm all about looking forward because where I've been is already done, but where I'm going is the road untraveled, by ME, at any rate!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Focus on FOOD BFF

Here is what WAS for lunch at my house today.  I needed the boost of the fresh fruit and the protein of the cottage cheese. Oh, and I love this combo.  ♥

Sorry, it's a little hand was shaking with anticipation!  :)


Sunday, June 3, 2012


I am going to reminisce about the 'boys' in my high school life. I was not a wild or rule breaking kind of girl, I gave my parents very little reason not to trust me. I went where I said I was going and I was home by curfew, midnight. I did, however, have a few boyfriends, though one I couldn't seem to get over. 

In 1962 our small village school, Gaines Area School, was faced with going from a K-12 school to an elementary K-6th grade because we were annexing with a huge school some 8 or 9 miles away. Our class D school would now be a Class A school, which is very hard to imagine if you're 12. Our 7th through 12th grades would be traveling to Swartz Creek and mixing with all those thousands of students in that gigantic building. I would be entering the 8th grade in the fall of '62 and changing class rooms for each class for the first time. I would have a locker and a schedule and would be expected to navigate those halls and show up on time for each class. I was not secure nor was I petrified. It seemed such a big deal to me and I believed it would be an adventure, of sorts. I think I always believed I'd figure it out in short order and I guess I did. I do remember my first day, kind of, I remember being tingly all day. I loved this big gigantic building and all the new faces mixed with all my old friends, so very exciting.

Back in third grade I had my first crush, Tim. But now in Junior High, I met Barry. Ah, my first real boyfriend. My first boyfriend was from Swartz Creek, the big giant school and he has chosen me. He was so cute and he gave me my first lip lockin' kiss in the hall by my locker between classes. It was awesome. He was a really good first boyfriend. When we broke up, I have no idea why, we remained friends. I liked him all through high school and still today think of him now and then with fondness. I saw him at our 25th class reunion and the planning for it prior and I still find him to be a really good man. Someone with whom I could and would be friends, if we lived closer. His wife seemed very nice and I assume she is also good people, he wouldn't have chosen her otherwise.

In March of 1963, I had my first date with John. My first date, period. He was my sister's boyfriend's brother and my parents allowed me to go on a date with him because they knew his family, I guess.  I was barely 13 and we went to a basketball game and the dance following. It was a nice date and I liked him very much. He didn't kiss me or dance too close or make me nervous. My first date was pretty good. I wanted and hoped we would have a second date.

We did. He wasn't much for using the phone, so he found me at lunch time at school and asked me to go to the movie with him and his brother and my friend Kathy. A drive-in movie with my friend and his brother, they had just started dating a few months prior to our first date. My parents allowed this date also and we went to see "Splendor in the Grass". My parents did NOT know that was the movie we'd be seeing. It was a little, umm, inappropriate, but I think we handled it okay. This relationship was not a smooth ride. We dated on and off all through high school. During our lengthy break-ups, and there were MANY, there were other boyfriends and dates. I honestly don't know if he dated anyone other than me, if he did, no one told me or I choose not to remember. I really don't know. John was a Gaines boy.

I dated a neighbor of Barry's, Guy, during one of our break-up periods and this was a boy I always thought broke my heart. He has recently informed me that I was the heart breaker. I don't remember. I don't remember us breaking up at all. I do remember being with him. I remember how he made me feel. Very differently than John. Guy made me believe I was a pretty girl and he always made me feel special. His family treated me like one of them from my first meeting with them. He was my 'mature' boyfriend. He was so good to me and as I recall, tender and funny. Funny mattered to me and affectionate mattered to me. It was a special relationship for a lot of reasons and what I remember of all of it, I was just as special to him as he was to me. We are in touch again, thank you FB, and it's good to know he is married and has a family and all seems good in his world. It makes me happy to know he is happy and that he remembers with kind thoughts as I remember, us. Guy was a Swartz Creek boy. I remember seeing him off for the Air Force, I don't know why I went to send him off, I just know I did. He was (and is) special.

I had a date with Bob. One was enough. Also a Swartz Creek boy.

I had a crush on more than one boy without success. Meaning, no dates. I learned years later one boy had a giant crush on me, but I didn't know and thought of him as a friend, always. I would have gone out with him, had he asked, but now, I am glad I didn't because he maintained the friend status throughout high school and I really loved being his friend. This Bob, was a great addition to my life.

I went to a prom in a neighboring town, Durand, with another friend. He didn't have a girlfriend and I was happy to go with him. It was a fun night, but totally no sparks and totally no thought of a real date with this Johnny. He was completely friend material, only.

I went to four proms in high school. Three at Swartz Creek and the one I just mentioned. My first prom I was a freshman and Tim invited me and I was happy to attend with him. He was a friend and we had a really good time. I wore a pink knee length formal (my sister's hand me down) and he was a fun date. Tim was a Gaines boy.

The third was my sophomore year and I wore a mint green knee length, strapless formal (another of my sister's gowns). Here's the sad part, I remember my hair, my corsage and my dress and shoes, I do NOT remember my date. OMG! Serously, I cannot at this moment remember with whom I attended prom in my sophomore year. It might have been Tom, I dated him a couple of times. A Swartz Creek boy. I will have to dig through some olden days pictures and see if I have one of that prom. *sigh*  

Apparently I was meant to be with John. Every single time we broke-up and made up again our relationship seemed better. Almost like breaking up made us stronger. I don't know. I was sure I loved him and I was equally sure he loved me and that this was forever.

We went to my senior prom together and it was a perfect night. I wore a floor length light yellow gown with pearls all over the bodice and I loved the dress and my date.

Four months after I graduated I married my high school sweetheart of 4 years. i was 17 years old and walked down the aisle to my future with a smile. I believed we would be together til death do us part. No doubts. 

The marriage lasted 10 years and produced two children and many, many happy memories. Seven of those years were very happy and very much the life I wanted to live forever. What I couldn't live with forever was a bottle of anything being more important and being more necessary than me. I took my babies and left. Waiting for him to need us more than he needed that. It didn't happen.

Oops, that had nothing to do with high school, the marriage part.  

There were other dates and other crushes, but these are the ones I remember something about and the ones I still think about sometimes. The others, I am sure were fun or interesting at the time, but now, I have no recall.

Let me just say that many of the friends, boys and girls, from high school or even grade school have stood the test of time and still remain people of great importance in my life. The entire Gaines Group and so many Swartz Creek friends are still part of my everyday thinking. Most of my memories, the relatively clear ones, involve some of these wonderful old friends and our good times.

Thank you one and all for being the reality with which I exist today and relive my yesterdays, now and then.

♥ Jo

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ten Things for Journey of My Life

1. What is your life philosophy?
I want to live so that at my funeral one person will cry because they'll miss me and one will laugh because they knew me. 

2. What was your childhood's dream? Did It come true?
I always dreamed of children and love everlasting. Yes, it did, but it took a while!

3. Name one person that has inspired you the most in your life
That would have to be my momma. For more reasons than I could list.

4. Who do you love the most in your life?
I don't know. I love many people in many ways and at different times, it would be different people. I love a lot and I love with my entire being.

5. What is your most memorable moment in your life?
The birth of my children. I can recall every minute 43 and 42 years later.

6. Where is your favorite vacation spot?
The Caribbean ~ any island.

7. Where is one place that you must visit before you die?

8. What is one thing that you must do before you die?
Live my life with gusto and appreciation.

9. If you know tomorrow is the day that you would leave this world, what would be one advice that you would behind?
Whatever you are doing, be there 100% and always love someone.

10. If tomorrow is the day that you would die, who would be the person that you would like to spend the rest of hours with?
Again, many. My family. I could not choose one.

 These are my answers for Journey of Life's 10 questions....I'm not IT anymore.  he he he


Eleven More Things....

In response to Mojo's questions....and because I'm just that nice...the following is more stuff you probably didn't want to know.

1 - What is the first book you remember reading as a child?
Reading myself, it was about Lassie. I have no idea the actual book title.

2 - Have you ever owned a fad toy - such as a Tamagotchi?
Had a pet rock!

3 - What was your favourite childhood game?
Make believe. I would just make up a story and become part of it, alone, usually.

4 - Can your body do anything strange - such as ear wiggling?
It can do amazing things, but nothing strange, that I'm aware of anyway.

5 - If you had to spend the rest of your life in a single room, who would you take for companionship?
My dogs.

6 - Do you have a friend who knows to wipe your computer should you suddenly die?
I have a son who would make sure you all knew and then back up all my blogs ~ again ~ and then take custody of my computers for the legacy!  Nothing to hide here. Honest.

7 - What is the worst grammar peeve you have?
The simple ones, your, you're, your, their, there, they're...

8 - You can go back and change one decision in your life - would you?
9 - You're coming back to this world as an animal - which one?
A small lap dog...maybe a maltese/bichon mix? Def a mix breed.

10 - Would you  ever confront someone you saw doing something illegal - such as dropping litter or cycling on the pavement when there are signs forbidding it?
Probably not...if it was something that could be harmful to another, then yes, for sure.

11 - What one sound can make your heart miss a beat and a smile break out unbidden?
The sound of any of my grand children laughing or calling my name.  Every time.

There ya have it G....I'm all in!

Friday, June 1, 2012

TAG You're IT, now.

Another 'tell me about yourself' I'm gonna do it, but I don't blame you if you click out right now.
No hard feelings, you already know all of this, most likely OR you don't give a poo.

The rules are that I tell you 11 things about me and then answer KAT's questions at the end and then select 11 other bloggers to TAG...I have agreed to the first two and the 11 taggees, not.  If you would like to play, by all means copy my 11 questions at the end and have at it, if not, good deal.

You can find KAT at My View Through Kat Eyes~

 1) I am my Momma's last born and arguably favorite child.

 2) I have 2 children from my first marriage and 2 sons were inherited with my marriage to Roomy.

 3) I have married 3 times.

 4) I never want to live without a dog in my home.

 5) Yellow and Purple flowers always make me smile.

 6) A clean house is not an option for me, it's a necessity.

 7) Eating out is not really a treat for me, but I go because Roomy likes it occasionally.

 8) My fourth book is my current WIP and I have only finished one chapter.

 9) Money is NOT my motivation. Happiness and Peace are.

10) Pink is my favorite clothes color. Yellow is my favorite everything else color.

11) When I am mad, I am not a nice person.
Karen's questions for me:

1.  Why did you start a blog?
I have written for many years, but when I saw that Beth was starting a new blogging group, I thought, "I would love to do that!" So I did, just over a year ago.
2.  When watching a movie, do you prefer comedy or drama?
Comedy but, I do enjoy a good drama, too.
3.  What author, dead or living, would you most like to spend an afternoon with?
George Ed Dodge
4.  Describe yourself in 3 words.
Obsessive, talkative and empathetic.
5.  What book are you currently or have recently read?
As The Sun Turns Black
6.  Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Total night owl
7.  What would be your fantasy dream job, excluding writer?
Motivational speaker.
8.  If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Caribbean Island...any of them
9.  Favorite childhood memory?
Summers at my grandparents in Ohio
10. What one word could change the world if more people believed in it?
11.  What is your biggest pet-peeve?

My questions for YOU~
1. What makes you LOL?
2. Who is your all time favorite human who has NOT ever been in a room with you?
3. From your own blog list, which one really touches you?
4. If I wanted to see you cry, what would I have to do or say or show you?
5. Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?
6. Family? Good?  Bad? Indifferent?
7. Define love.
8. What is your favorite meal?
9. Speaking of food, dine in, take out, or dine out?
10. Sports fan? Which one(s)?
11. If you were choosing the writing prompt for this week, what would it be?

So.......there ya go......if you want to answer these or if you wanna play in any way shape or form, PLEASE do and be sure to let me know you're playing so I can check out your answers and your 11 things you wanna share!


There ya go Kat....sort of!  ♥