Sunday, April 19, 2015

Well it seems as though I missed throw back Thursday again.  On Fridays I really enjoy looking at the old photos that my friends share on Facebook.  I have a scanner but I haven’t quite gotten the knack of messing with Photoshop.  I don’t think I even have a Photoshop.

One of my very first memories in life was at our little house where we lived when I was born.  I don’t recall how old I was but I was potty trained and in panties.  My mom told me one day as I was heading out to play, that if I went to the outhouse, not to let Bobby Jones go with me.  I wondered why but didn’t ask.  I was an obedient child.

Later in life I thought about Bobby Jones for some reason and this memory came back to me.  I told my sister after my mother was dead and she told me that Mother had told her the same thing but she wasn’t as obedient as I was.

When I was about ten or eleven, I was already maturing.  My first bra was a 32 A.  How fair was that to the world’s worst tomboy?

My brother had sort of a friend who lived on the corner of our block.  One day I was outside playing when this friend of my brother’s asked me to come to his house as he had something for my brother.  I went with him innocently.  We went into the house and back to a bedroom.

He told me if I would show him mine, he would show me his.  I turned and ran out of that house as fast as I possibly could.  I didn’t tell anyone about this until adulthood.  I confessed it to my brother who told me he wasn’t surprised.

These are traumatic childhood experiences that I remember.  I sometimes wonder if I have suppressed any others.

My sister, me, Mother, Russ and Daddy.  Love Daddy's hair in this photo.  As you can see, I had none.

I was late in posting for TBT because our stupid computer system keeps shutting down.  What's with that?

Monday, April 13, 2015

This morning’s Zazen was interesting.  I was sitting quietly and my breath had relaxed to the point that there was little noise.  Suddenly it began to rain.  And it began to rain hard.  I imagined being outside in this rain and I realized I could not handle that.  It was pouring.  I lost my concentration and got up from the floor.  I was really relaxed and so I picked up the quilt off the futon.  I lay down and covered myself and got comfy.

The rain was so tranquil and calm.  Of course, being the queen of brain worms I began to think about all the songs about rain.  Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain from my teen years popped into my head.  Then I thought of Listen to the Pouring Rain  by Jose Felliciano.  Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was the next one.  Rain by Breaking Benjamin came into my mind.  Of course, I was singing these songs in my mind.

You and Me and Rain on the Roof haunted me for quite some time.  I had to look it up when I got up later.  The Lovin’ Spoonful did it.

Rain, Rain, Go Away was not one of my favorites.  I have personally always loved the rain.  I like to walk in it.  I like to sit on porches and listen to it pound the roof.

I remember in my first year at college, lying on the bed and looking out the screened window, watching the rain and listening to A Rainy Night in Georgia.  Thank you Benton Brook.

And thank Sting for After the Rain has Fallen.  Cold Rain by Crosby, Still and Nash is one of my all- time favorite songs.  As is The Ashes the Rain and I by James Gang.
I had to surf Rain in I Tunes and Rainbow came up.  I had to play Stone Cold because it is stuck a kick ass song.  Not about rain but rain in the band’s name.  Queen of brain worm, Princess of digression.

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall – Ella Fitzgerald
Singin’ in The Rain – Gene Kelly
Early Mornin’ Rain – Gordon Lightfoot
Who’ll Stop the Rain and Have you Ever Seen the Rain – CCR
Rainy Days and Mondays – the Carpenters
Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain – Ricky Nelson
Purple Rain – Prince or &$@^
No Rain – Blind Melon
The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin
Rainy Day Women – Bob Dylan
Here Comes the Rain Again – Eurythmics
November Rain – Guns & Roses
I Wish It Would Rain – the Temptations
Let it Rain – Eric Clapton
Rain on Me – The Who
Fire and Rain – James Taylor

You know, as I look back on this list I think a few of these song were plays on the word “reign”?  What do you think?

If you know any other good rain songs, please let me know.  I’m just glad I’m not collecting snow songs any longer.

We have this thing for goofyass socks in this family.  Aren't these to die for.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Today, a story of intense magic.


            Baxter McClellen was an only child, and as an only child he was spoiled quite rotten from day one of his life.  Not until the age of three did his unusual talent emerge. 

            Staying with a sitter while his parents went out for an evening of dinner and dancing, Baxter asked the sitter for more popcorn and to stay up later than usual.  Baxter’s parents would have easily given in but his sitter was intent on spending the evening making out with her boyfriend who was scheduled to arrive in less than an hour.

            The sitter hurried the screaming Baxter to his bed.  With a quick story and a glass of milk, the sitter tucked in a fighting Baxter and turned the light out before leaving the room.

            An hour later the boyfriend arrived and the sitter decided to check on Baxter before settling in on the couch with her young man.  A scream was heard from the bedroom and the boyfriend ran to check on the situation.

            “Baxter has disappeared!” the sitter exclaimed.  Turning back the bed covers in horror the two teenagers discovered only a small gray kitten where Baxter had earlier been tucked into his bed to sleep.

            Frightened and panicked, the sitter ran to call the parents.  The boyfriend called to her, “Baxter is right here and nothing is wrong.”

            Sure enough, Baxter was safe and sound and was lifted into loving arms and spent the rest of the evening between the two young people, happily watching television and eating popcorn.

            Baxter had discovered that turning himself into a cat at opportune times could get him anything he wanted.  He turned into a cat at the grocery when his mom refused to purchase a certain breakfast cereal.  He turned into a cat if his father refused to buy him a toy.  His grandmother was appalled when Baxter turned into a cat at the movie theater and quickly she gave in to see a PG movie.

            Preparation for pre-school began with a conference with Baxter’s future teacher and an explanation of his unusual skill.  The school explained they simply would not tolerate Baxter’s behavior and so Baxter was home-schooled by an aunt who would tolerate his feline apparition.  Baxter learned well but only what Baxter wanted to learn.  He was frequently a cat in his aunt’s lap being fed treats to try and coerce him into reappearing as a normal boy.

            Inquisitive as he was, Baxter wanted to intermingle with other children.  Gradually, his parents allowed him to attend a local nursery school but were always on call to pick him up if the need arrived to take their catboy home.

            When Baxter turned five he was told he should start Kindergarten. His parents took him to a counselor who discovered Baxter’s little secret within minutes of his arrival.  The counselor had seen many manipulative children but this one was really something bizarre.  With only a few months to go before the start of Kindergarten, the counselor had his hands full.

The counselor and Baxter talked about lots of things like learning to share and how to tell the difference between needs and wants.  Baxter liked the counselor and especially liked the ball of yarn that the counselor let him play with while he was a cat.

Unfortunately, Baxter began to grow hairballs while grooming himself as a cat.  He had a horrible cough and was totally disgusting to those around him.  The counselor recommended seeing a vet and the vet gave Baxter’s parents some medication to help alleviate the hairballs.

Baxter’s first week of Kindergarten went pretty well.  He was getting to know the other children and his teacher was really pretty and smelled so nice too.  The second week did not go as well.  Baxter was forced to live with a routine that did not suit him.  He hated being forced to go to the bathroom when he did not need to go.  He disliked snacking when it appealed to his teacher and not to himself.  He especially hated having to sit at a table and be still for minutes on end.  Baxter decided to become a cat.

When Baxter’s teacher discovered a cat in her classroom she immediately picked it up and threw it out a nearby window.  Baxter’s teacher was allergic to cats and could not stand them being around.  Baxter discovered himself outside the school and alone.  He decided to go play on the playground.

Unfortunately, the lady across the street from the school saw the cat being tossed out the window of the school and called the animal control people.  Baxter had turned back into a little boy and was happily playing on the playground swingset when the Principal came out and forced him back into the school.

No sooner had Baxter gotten back to class than snack was being passed around.  It was chocolate cake, which Baxter did not like.  Back to being a cat, Baxter was again tossed outside the school building by his allergic teacher.

Imagine Baxter’s dismay when a net was thrown over him and he was pitched into a cage in a dark Animal Control wagon.  He began to cry and turned back into a boy.  The driver of the van heard the young lad crying and stopped the vehicle to investigate.  He was amazed to find Baxter in one of his animal cages.  The driver returned to school with Baxter where an onslaught of distraught parents, teachers, students and faculty all seemed to be on Baxter’s case.

“If you want to be a cat, you will be treated like a cat,” the Principal told him and Baxter found himself in a different Kindergarten room in a cage.  He was given catfood at lunch and taken outside for bathroom breaks.  Baxter was beside himself with anger and rage.  His parents came running when they heard of Baxter’s trouble.

Baxter’s parents huddled around him and tried to console him.  The Principal told them they were responsible for Baxter’s actions and that they should be ashamed of themselves.  How was he ever to survive living behind this fa├žade of being a cat whenever it was appropriate to him?

Baxter was suspended from school and his parents took him home to try and sort out this predicament.  The counselor was called in.  The aunt was brought back to continue Baxter’s learning.  The vet was called again because the hairball problem had once again emerged as Baxter spent more and more of his time being a cat.

Many methods of approach were tried to get Baxter to give up his changing into a cat.  Doctors, psychologists, therapists were all called in to try to help alleviate this problem.  One therapist suggested getting Baxter a puppy but the puppy chased Baxter when he turned into a cat and the two animals tore up the house so badly that Baxter’s parents immediately got rid of the puppy.

The next thing they tried was asking Baxter if he would like a brother or sister.  Baxter stayed a cat for almost an entire week.  The Baxter’s reassured Baxter that they would not have another child.  And so, in the end, the Baxter’s got the boy a cat.

Cat and boy and sometimes cat and cat, got along quite well.  One day when the cat was eating catfood and the boy was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the cat walked over to Baxter and said, “you know, being a cat is not all that it is made up to be.”

Baxter asked the cat what it meant.  The cat explained to Baxter that he did not want to eat catfood; he wanted to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  When Baxter offered the cat his sandwich the cat refused.  “I’m a cat and I eat catfood.  That is just the way it is.”

“What else is wrong with being a cat?” Baxter asked his pet.

“I hate using that stupid litter box.  It is just so degrading and it stinks to high Heaven.  I’d much rather go outside but that is just as degrading because people watch you while you ‘go’.”  Baxter offered to help the cat use the toilet like he did but the cat just sighed and said, “I am a cat.  I use the litter box and that is just the way it is.”

“Anything else troubling you?” Baxter asked his friend, the cat.

“Sometimes I don’t like being petted.  Sometimes I just feel like lying in the sun and dozing but people come along, pick me up and start petting.  That noise I am making is not a purr.  It is me trying to keep from growling at times.  Why don’t people realize when you just want to be left alone?”

“And another thing,” the cat continued, “I really hate going to the vet.  He pokes and prods, and pinches you up and zaps you with a needle.  Would it hurt him just once to ask what is the matter with me?”

“Oh, well.  I am a cat.  I get petted and I go to the vet, and that is just the way it is.”

The next day Baxter was up early.  He told his mother that he was ready to go back to Kindergarten.  His parents got him ready and took him back to school.  The principal asked Baxter if he was going to give up his old habits and Baxter told him, “I am a little boy and I go to school.  I do the things other little boys do, and that is just the way it is.”

To this very day, Baxter has stayed a boy and not turned into a cat.  But on occasion he does give his pet cat a bite of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  He leaves the cat alone when he is snoozing in the sun.  Baxter keeps his cat’s litter box spanking clean.  And Baxter always stays close when the cat has to go to the vet to be sure that the cat is asked what is the matter with him.

I am certain that I don't have a picture of a cat on my computer.  It is almost asparagus time.  I cannot wait.  We grill our asparagus with sesame oil and seeds.  Love it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I have always been a creature of habit but in retirement, I think I am loosening up a bit.  I try to get up by 5 am to do my yoga, stretching, Pilate's and sitting Zazen routine.  I usually take from 20 to 40 minutes depending how into it I am.  Some days I’d rather go back to bed for “just one more dream”.  Other days I believe I have found nirvana.

If I stay up I open up my computer and see if I have been offered to publish as yet.  I haven’t won the lottery either.  Probably for the same reason.

I then check Facebook and see what my girls and my friends have been doing since the last time I looked.  Have you ever noticed that I usually”like” stuff or comment?  I just always have something to say.  Or do I just want to get in the last word?  Take your pick.

I get myself some breakfast.  I try to stick to fruit but the leftovers call my name.  I had two ribs, baked beans and cole slaw for breakfast this morning, as I had for dinner last night.  What can I say?  I like warm food for breakfast.

I have to do the daily crossword puzzle on line and then sometimes I also do the USA Today crossword.  I like puzzles.  I have jigsaws on my computer and when I take breaks during the day I like to do one.  Or at least set it up.  I like the puzzles with millions of pieces.  The more intricate, the better.  I did have one puzzle that I gave up on.  It was entirely the same color and the pieces were shaped weird.  I blew that puppy away.
I don’t usually eat lunch but I like some fruit.  And a couple of glasses of water.  I really do like water and ours is just delicious.

Outside is where I go next.  I have a huge vegetable garden, a small herb garden and several flower beds that I take care of.  My schedule is going to change here in a few short weeks.  When it is hot I like to do my gardening early in the morning.  I may just take up yoga at noon, outside and near the beach.  Sounds like a plan.

Around 3:30 to 4:30 I go downstairs and do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.  My friend, Garnet, gave me a Zumba dvd for Christmas and I find it very fun,  I also have an old Jane Fonda aerobics VCR tape that I enjoy doing.  I also have a “Jamaica me sweat” VCR tape that is so fun I find I smile through most of it.  I think I am a better Jamaican dancer than Latino dancer.

And if you didn’t know before, I am one of those people who dance like no one is looking.  I enjoy dancing and I could really care less if anyone wanted to look at my chubby butt bouncing around the floor.  Life is short.  Dance!

In my two year almost retirement I have come down to this.  I enjoy it.  I take days off once in a while.  I have many adventures.  I have been a movie star, a master gardener, world traveler, hot air balloonist, rock star, scuba diver and mother of two of the best ever.  Life is good.

Sam, Eric van Est and Addi.  This is the balloon that we crewed with.  Summerset Balloons if you are interested in getting a ride.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I thought I had lost my favorite sports bra.  I looked in my underwear drawer, I looked in the laundry basket, and I looked in the laundry.  My heart was broken.  It is one of those bras that are made out of double thick material.  It doesn’t ride up and it doesn’t really allow your jelly beans to show through.  (That’s hard nipples to those who don’t understand.)  My hubster usually says, “Your headlights are on.”  I prefer to call them jelly beans or belly jeans whichever comes out of my mouth first.

I get a Jockey catalog once in a while and they had this sports bra on sale for $20. Or some low price.  I ordered it and was surprised.  Other than being grey and purple it had little pads to cover your jelly beans.  I love it!  It is comfortable and quite supportive.  I may just have to get another.

The funny part about the new grey and purple bra is that when I wash it the little jelly bean pads swim around and change places.  Once I thought I had lost one but it had scooted over to the other side and joined the other one.  How cute!  The more I wear the sports bra, the more I find I am adjusting the little jelly bean pads.  I may just have to baste them into place.

I read an article recently that said if you wear an underwire bra it was killing you.  I have to wear an underwire bra or I’d be picking my boobs up off the floor. I guess these folks against underwire bras (FAUB) believe that metal against your skin is bad for you.  Then Levis had better quit putting those rivets in their jeans.

I once had a bra that was so very annoying.  I came home from a long day’s work pulled it off through my arm holes, threw it on the floor and commenced to jump up and down on it.  My girls were doing homework at the table and laughed at me.  “Just you wait until you have large American breasts!  You will hate stupid bras too.”

And so, back to the original sports bra.  I was just in the basement putting in some clothes to wash and there, hanging in plain sight, was my favorite sports bra.  These senior moments keep happening more and more.

At least I found it.  And no, I’m not posting my photo wearing it!  

Jessie dog went to the groomer last week.  Can you believe this fru fru ribbon bow they put on her.  She was so embarrassed.  At least she didn't have to wear a bra!

Monday, April 6, 2015

I had just finished my yoga and sitting Zazen session about quarter to six this morning when I realized that I was totally awake and was not going back to bed to try for one more dream.
I opened my computer and to my surprise I had an email from one of my favorite people.
  My daughter, Addi, had the greatest roommate at college for a while.  I just adore her.  ZD is from Seattle but currently living in Columbus, Ohio.  She was doing a tea house for a while but has moved on from that.  Her hubby is in med school.

ZD started a blog and I read it for some time.  And it made me want to have a blog also and that is the reason I started this venture.  I eventually want to make a book from my blog.
When I read ZD’s blog I always have to comment because I seldom do not have anything to add to someone’s writing.  I always have something to say.  I suppose it is because I was born a smart ass.  I try not to hurt feelings but I do tend to be a smart ass.

In ZD’s blog she talks about her dreams and how she writes stories from things that she dreams.  I have always done the same thing.  I have had some outrageous dreams in my day.  I believe ZD’s favorite of my dreams was the one where I went to the hairdresser for a new hairstyle and she placed a fried egg on top of my head.  ZD sent me the greatest card once for my birthday and it had a lady on the front with the most outrageous hairstyle with a bird in it.

I must say that my day has just been made.  I can’t think of anyone who could have made me happier this morning.

Oh, and read ZD’s blog at

Until the next time.

This is my really bad selfie.  My new hairstyle minus the fried egg.  (I think I can see my nosehairs!)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

This morning I walked the dog in the campground.  It was deserted, quiet and peaceful.  Well except for the few cars that drove by.  We saw a squirrel and Jessie dog loved that.  She gets so excited.  I heard the cardinals singing and the robins chirping.  I couldn’t identify one bird song that I heard.  It was quite lovely though.

I noticed that the campground maintenance crew is taking down a bunch of dead trees.  They are just everywhere and a big orange “X” on a lot more.  I thought to myself that I hoped they would be planting some new trees to take the place of the old ones.

Last year I worked with Master Gardeners during Arbor Day and packed up pine trees for every kid in third grade in Stephenson County, Illinois.  We had lists of all the classes and how many were in each class.  There were quite a few, to say the least.  I believe it took us nearly 3 hours to accomplish this task.  At the end of bagging we were all given the option to choose a tree to take home and plant.

I chose a white pine tree that looked very healthy and I took it to the campground and planted it near the entrance in memory of my good friend and hairdresser, Terry Vecchio.  Terry had succumbed to cancer the previous February.  I knew of her love of the outdoors and gardening and I thought it appropriate to plant the tree to remember her.  I got two big limbs and put them next to the tree so the mowers would not mow it down.

I found out that fall that the campground supervisors had discovered the little tree and had watered it all summer long.  I was so thrilled.  The tree was growing strong.

That fall I surrounded the tree with leaves and stick to protect it a little during the coming winter.  My first walk this Spring I uncovered the little tree and talked to it.  I was so glad it had survived its first winter in the campground.  Again, I took a couple of large branches and stuck them in the ground by the tree to mark its place.

I visit the tree at the end of each of my walks and give it more encouragement to grow into the beauty that it possesses.

My daughter, Jess, planted her tree from 3rd grade next to our house.  It is now taller than our house and I really wish I had planted it a few more feet further out.  It is a pain in the butt because I have to rake my entire truck bed full of needles a couple times a year to keep it maintained.  I love the white pine in my yard and will try to maintain it until we move from this place.

I’m going to help with the tree bagging again this Arbor Day.  I’m proud to be a tree hugger.  And this year I want to ask the Lake Management if I can plant some more little trees from the bagging effort. Will follow up on that at a later date.

These are not white pines but aren't these just the loveliest trees?  Taken last fall on one of my walks.