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“Me Time?” Why it’s not my ideal Saturday morning? It never is…

What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?


Why not?  Well, let’s see…the answer to that involves a ride in a tow truck.   Not that there is anything wrong with wreckers–in fact it’s sort of fun when the ride is on the turnpike when the truck can go really fast and the driver likes to lean on the horn.  Scares the bejeebers off of me if I’m the motorist riding along minding my business, but sitting there riding shotgun in the tow truck cab is…..well, empowering. 

It had warmed up to about nine degrees with the sun streaming down on the tundra.  The van had stopped in the middle of the driveway, facing the road, a bonus for the tow truck driver.    The two rear tires were beyond flat, they were flapping off the rims as they  dragged up onto the flatbed.

Thank golly for the AAA club membership that includes towing costs, or I would be lamenting with comments involving dollar signs $$$.   As long as I’m on the subject, the club only pays for the towing. not the tires…which set me back a few bucks.

To get to the actual WordPress Daily Prompt question about “Me Time”…

My ideal Saturday morning would be to get up at 8:00 a.m., make coffee, feed the inside cats, feed and water the outside cats without having to retrieve the one who got inside when the door was open. Then toast a couple of strawberry PopTarts without burning them.

Then sitting down at the computer, and settling down to work.  Ideally, there would be a wireless signal, and yahoo has my email ready. So far so good, but if the Windows decides to update, that is an issue.  The myriad computer connection issues will not be present this morning.  Ah…at last, fingers on the keyboard, web site working well, its time to get to work.

Then, keys clicking away, a feeling of contentment arrives.  The computer and printer and all other things that could possibly go wrong take a day off, and cooperate happily.  The telephone does not ring.  No one rings the doorbell.  Peace and quiet reign.

OK, that’s the ideal Saturday morning for me.

Then the interruptions begin.   A tentative voice whispers “Mom…”  Followed by any combination of sentences beginning with
“I need, We are Out of, The ___ won’t work.  The cat threw up…, Will you take me to ____.   I need twenty dollars–.”

The tow truck not withstanding, any number of Murphy’s Laws are applicable to cut into Me Time.

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Last Post Forever? Thanks for everything…I’ll keep in touch.

[This is a suggestion in an assignment for TheDailyPost, at the end of a blogging101 class.  Hope it isn’t really my last post, but it is not far from the truth.]


Dear Universe…I have submitted my more or less official life story through a series of blogs, similar in some ways to a written journal or diary, for only a few months.  Having had enough “formal” training in setting up and maintaining a blog, it has proven to be THE best possible form of meeting my goal…which is to “tell all” to the world.  To the Universe, in fact.

Yes, I do know that the actual published blog reaches a relatively few readers.  The information is of genuine interest to some, to others of no consequence except as casual readers.    MOST people in the world have no knowledge, interest, or concern about my life.  In fact only  a handful of my actual flesh-and-blood relatives, in-laws, friends…pets (theoretically?)  will ever have come into any contact with me in my lifetime.

Exceptions to this rule include readers who have read my written works, such as they are, in newspapers, term papers, email messages to various lists, and now…a few bloggers, mostly people who have been my classmates in assorted WordPress courses.  I have been a Tarot card reader, traveler, student, university instructor, politician, Girl Scout leader, patient.  Some of the people I came in contact with in those capacities may remember me–for good or bad.  Or not.

Through most of my life my single purpose, or dream, has been to write.  The very best venue I have ever found is Blogging…writing my thoughts and experiences, and attempts at entertainment, onto the computer monitor.

With full knowledge that these words that I am typing and saving to the internet will become part of cyberspace, the vast network of human knowledge and experience.   Out there, in theory, the things that I write and submit to the masses of the universe will go on and on…forever.

Who knows how long into the future an electronic Search will take these posts, making them available to countless potential readers.

Once the Blog posts leave me, they are thrown out into cyberspace for anyone, anywhere, any time, to read.   IF they want to, if they are interested.  The point I am making is that my work published on the internet wil be available indefinitely.

If no one reads it…that’s fine, no one has to read it, the point is that it will still exist at some level some time.

So anyway–thanks WordPress for the opportunity to post to infinity!

To any Martians out there… hi and good luck.

Please note: this image is from public domain files.


Who am I to have an About Page? Part 2: Me and the War

In the first installment of this feature, Who Am I to have an About Page?   I started out as a newcomer to the world on a Friday the 13th, and by the end of Part One I had been to California and back, eaten part of a persimmon and part of a gourd, and had finished Kindergarten.  Which pretty much sets the stage for the second part of my life story.

Part Two:        ME AND THE WAR

That would be the Second World War, WWII, The Big One– the catalyst for the rise to world dominance of the United States.  I was eleven when the war ended in 1945, and I must say that I was one patriotic little girl.  I was so proud of the accomplishments of my country, in which we had emerged mostly safe and sound (those of us who had not been killed during the war years, of course) and had the distinction of being THE leader of the Free World.

But let me skip the rhetoric and get on with MY part of the War, which began in 1941…along with the arrival of my baby sister when I was eight and a half years old; my brother was six.  It was just us three until near the end of the war in 1945, when another sister joined our merry band.

One thing I recall about grade school is that there was a Congresswoman who regularly was permitted to leave fliers advertising her prowess in the U.S. Congress on our school desks.  She would come in and talk to us about how important it was for our parents to vote for her. Despite having been told, on my very first day of first grade,  by the teacher to “go home and never come back again,” as I explained to my parents when they picked me up walking home from school about an hour after classes began,  I did indeed continue with my education.  I remember well the adventures of Dick and Jane, Baby, and Spot, the stars of our first level readers.

The main thing going on everywhere was THE WAR.   We went to the movie theaters, and were treated to black and white newsreels showing bombs dropping from airplanes, Hitler’s marching troops in huge showy choreographed formations, and in-coming shipments of USA- flag-covered coffins.  We recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, and read The Weekly Reader, a newspaper produced especially for school children at various levels. My grandfather taught me about television.  He had a floor-model radio, which had a large window area for tuning various stations on the radio, and he said that some day, after the war, we would be able to look at windows like that and see actual movies and real people talking and singing and the like.   I was properly impressed…this was undoubtedly the source of my great love of electronic stuff.

Then the newspapers, The Cleveland Press, The News, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer told us every day how many soldiers had been killed in battle, and kept us well informed about the terrible evil enemies of the United States on all areas of the world.   Toward the end of the war there was news about Hitler’s atrocities, and the Japanese cities evaporated by TWO atomic bombs.  The pictures were everywhere in magazines and newspapers. The newsreels at the movies were relentless in presenting the horrors of war, and these were incomprehensible to American kids, who had thankfully never had bombs dropped on them.

Movies themselves, presented on monster screens in huge movie theaters that always reminded me of palaces (not that I had ever been in a palace) also presented the great block-buster films of the 40s…complete with horror stories about the war. So this brings Me to the end of the Great War, and the beginning of the phenomenon known as THE COLD WAR.

The newspapers treated us to daily headlines screaming of annihilation and pending doom.  A particularly horrible series presented by the newspapers contained in part a huge bulls-eye, with segments indicating the extent of the death shadow that marked Cleveland…with its four NIKE missile sites forming at once a horrible defense capability of retaliation.  The center of the bulls-eye, of course, meant instant end to everything…out in the suburbs the threat lessened sequentially until by a distance of thirty miles out some percentage of life might survive.

BUT that survival would depend on bomb shelters, which might delay death by radiation by a couple of weeks. As children we were conversationally proficient about hydrogen bombs, pros and cons of including guns amongdbomb shelter supplies, and just how bad radiation poisoning was. So that was pretty much what one little girl knew about THE WAR… The next era of MY ABOUT PAGE    will be coming up soon:  THE 1950s

please stay tuned…


Mad Woman Searching for Lost Things

I already looked there, Sister.

I already looked there, Sister.

When I lose something…or more accurately have misplaced it…there is no rest for me or anyone near me, until the missing item has reappeared.  I do believe in the old prayer to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, or is he the saint of the people who have LOST something?

Either way, I am not ashamed to say that the quickest way to recovery is to recite some version of the verse:   This one was told to me by a stranger at the flea market when I was out there selling books:

Tony, Tony, Tony…Something’s lost and can’t be found,

Please help me find it when I turn around.

Many things have been recovered soon after pleading with St. Anthony for help.  Finding lost keys are a specialty of the Saint’s, and various and sundry other missing things have been recovered….not only by me, but by various other believers.

Once I even found a silver bracelet that I had lost in the garage.  I had been sorting books and must have caught the edge of the cuff bracelet, causing it to slip off of my wrist.  That was a mad search, which included a grocery store, pharmacy, restaurant, and several other places.  My evil twin even suggested the possibility that some unscrupulous clerk had pocketed my bracelet.  (I didn’t really believe that myself, as I have a basic belief in the goodness of people.)  The bracelet turned up after several calls to St. Anthony…and an email friend who is a Tarot card reader of some note, and also has a reputation for finding lost things.

Hmm… maybe that’s why it took the Tony, Tony, Tony thing so long.   I found the bracelet under a chair, behind a stack of picture frames, under a few boxes of flea market stuff…and a plastic red tablecloth, which may or may not have been key.  Just sayin’….

THE CURRENT EMERGENCY SEARCH was one that I have entirely too often.  I mentioned in an earlier post,  about how I handle my book inventory.  Although I was bragging about how well my alphabetical inventory system works, I did include a caveat that IF a given book was not where it was supposed to be… in this case #1746–which should have been between 1745 and 1747, but was not.

No, Baby, it's not outside.

No, Baby, it’s not outside.

Now, this has to be a case of Murphy’s Law of Inventories, because this was the exact book that a customer ordered.  It was a book about making Art items from Buttons (the kind on shirts,) and I distinctly remembered  being in the book room holding the book and thinking “how mundane.”  Yes, that’s what I forget for being judgemental.   I also recall my son coming in with his current emergency, pinning his church “Usher” badge to his shirt, and I  had to leave the room–with the book in hand–and debating where to shelve it temporarily.

As luck would have it, the very next order that came in was for THAT VERY BOOK.  Thus the mad search was on.  I have books all over the house, some already inventoried, most not.  To cut to the chase, I found the Button book within two feet of my left arm, on a shelf where I keep books that for one reason or another are in a “waiting” status.

I had looked in the very spot several times.  It was much smaller than I had remembered it, and had slipped partially behind two neighboring books: one on Tai Chi, and one on Ribbon crafts.  The inventory numbers matched several books in the immediate space.

This whole situation where a given book is not readily located happens too often to be coincidental.  There are nearly three thousands books in my inventory, on shelves, in order.     WHY is the one on order frequently misplaced?

I guess I’ll have to ask St. Anthony that question.


The Aztec Calendar meets Thoth & the Sacre Couer

My walls are adorned with an eclectic collection of art. There is no plan or theme, except for the empty-space-on-the-wall school. Many of the treasures in my gallery are the works of various kids and grands, who inherited the strong strain of artistic talent that runs through our family…I personally did not.DSC02151

A large framed replica of the Aztec Calendar (sometimes called the Aztec Sun Stone) hangs on one wall of a small alcove behind the television. One Christmas my youngest daughter and son-in-law won the Best Mom Gift Prize with this gorgeous circular carving of malachite, in an octagonal shaped wood frame. Son-in-law bought the Aztec Calendar in an antique shop, and said “I don’t know what this is, but it looks like something your Mom would like.” Indeed.

There are two large oil paintings, both featuring Paris street scenes with the Sacrè Couer in the background. These paintings were special gifts that I gave to my late husband, who had a deep interest in Paris, and he enjoyed these paintings very much. These paintings do not really match my personal interests, but they need to stay where they are safely on the wall until some day other arrangements are made for them.

DSC02149 DSC02148

Moving down the hall, a collection of small water-color drawings of Arizona desert cactus, mountains, cave drawings and the like, adorn the walls, including a large painting with mountains and Sajuaro cacti with snow on them.

Also in the T-shaped hallway are: a lovely drawing of an apple tree, signed by the artist, whom I don’t know. A vintage Coca-Cola tray, a painting of some sunflowers, and three clay masks of Meso-American groups including the Tarascans and the Olmecs.  I’m not sure of the one in the middle.


At the end of hallway, in the place of hall-way honor, is an enormous acrylic painting in reds featuring a grey wolf or dog, a star, and the words “you will not catch it.” This painting was done by a grandson-in-law, who has achieved some local renown for his brightly colored paintings. (There is another, smaller painting, also reds and yellow, featuring a key, in my bedroom, by the same artist.)

In my room also is an excellent painting featuring the god Thoth, which is painted by a grand-daughter who has proven to have the family artistic touch…although her forte is as a guitarist in her rock band, which has also earned a following in the area. That painting features greens and blue, with the subject in yellow.


Oh, also on the bedroom walls are a fine tapestry or wall hanging featuring an oriental looking woman with a mandolin; at her feet is a man with a flute, holding a cup into which the woman is pouring a liquid from a pitcher. There is also on the opposite wall an embroidered wall-hanging with red poppies on it. That originated in I think Poland. Both of these items are intended for eventual sale.

Last but not least is my Family Wall. Photos of my grandparents as newlyweds; a four-generation picture of my Great-grandma, Grandmother, Dad, Brother, and Me. I am three in the picture. Then there is my late-husband in his fire chief cap, assorted grands and in-laws, and a small embroidered picture of a green and blue basic colored garden night scene with a red embroidered moon.  In the lower right corner is a quilt block from a quilt my great-grandmother made for me when she was 93.   The bottom photos are my grandparents, and the large portrait is of my great-grandmother at age 16 with her BFF (best friend forever) in their fancy hats.  This was about 1860.  (The girls were indeed BFF…I have a snapshot of them together when they were about 80.)




If I could clone myself…well, I’d be outta here!

The  prompt for blogging101 today asks what I would do if I could clone myself into several of Me, how would I assign responsibilities.   So this is my answer to that good question.   I am creating  five copies, or clones, of myself.  (I suppose it is too much to ask that one or more of the clones get a complete make-over…make-up and new wardrobe and all that …)

Clone 1 — The Housekeeper.   Her job is to clean the house, bake cookies and make grand meals like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, etc.   (She may or may not be the Nutritionist, that’s up to her individual job description.)  Her uniform will include an apron at all times, and decent shoes.  This Clone will also be The Gardener, but she will have the option of hiring laborers.

Clone 2 —  The Care-giver.  This Clone will do any administrative duties, make doctor appointments, and run interference when needed.  She is the Mother, party-planner, grocery-shopper, and must be prepared to handle ANY situation.   She will wear a shirt that says “Let Me Put Aside What I am Doing and Tend to Your Needs.”

Clone 3 — The Business  Manager.  She will run the online bookstore, the ebay store,  and anything to do with bill collectors, payment due dates, and the bank.   On her door the business manager will have a sign that says KEEP OUT, APPOINTMENTS NECESSARY, CLOSED ON WEEKENDS.

Clone 4 — The Technician will deal with the camera, tablet, computer, printer…and all interaction with the Geek Squad, any and all Customer Service or Support people.   The Tech will have the right to be left alone when unpacking, setting up, studying instruction manuals, or speaking on the phone.  She will at no time be required to reply to questions like: “are you sure its plugged in? ” or “maybe YOU did something wrong?”

Clone 5 — The Trouble-shooter will be responsible for anything that goes wrong at any time, with any appliance, machine, car, tractor, snow-blower, toaster…this is an open-ended job.  There is one exclusion here…the computer room equipment, which should NOT come under the jurisdiction of Clone 5.

OK…that takes care of the Clones.

As for ME, the original model….I’m moving to Tucson.


Hey, news anchors…how about talking to US?

This thing about being left out during news broadcasts has bugged me for a long time. Some are more blatant than others. These are the choreographed news shows in which there are two anchors: let’s call them George and Mabel. They have correspondents out in the rain…or snow, or hurricane winds, or war zone…just standing there holding onto their microphones and trying to look chic AND warm (at the same time) in their parkas and rain gear.

George: well, here we are covering this gigantic snow storm, Mabel.

Mabel: yes, George. It is a gigantic snow storm. Let’s go to our correspondent, Tiffany, standing out there in the parking lot to show us what its like out there.

Hello Tiffany…are you there?

Tiffany stares into the camera for a few seconds, then:
Hello… Mabel and Geoge…yes, this is a really gigantic snow storm. Traffic is just about stalled out here.

(Traffic is seen behind Tiffany, moving slowly but steadily along.)

Geoge… yes, we can see that Tiffany. Mabel, can you see it too?

Mabel…well thank you for standing out in the blizzard there, Tiffany.

Tiffany…yes, thank you Mabel and George. Over to you in the studio…

George…thanks Tiffany, that is some storm out there. Try to keep warm.

Back in the studio Mabel says to George: that was some report on the storm out there which Tiffany has reported is bringing traffic to a standstill.

(More footage of vehicles moving along in the background. Tiffany is still standing there staring rather impatiently into the camera.)

Following the commercial break, the Nightly News With Mabel and George continues.

Mabel: here we have some great footage of some animals suffering out in the storm. Check this out, George.

George: yes, there they are…they seem to be having fun out there playing in the snow.

(Both laugh.)

THE AUDIENCE, AT HOME, WAVING…. “Hello, I hope Mabel and George don’t object to us sitting here at home listening in on their talk during the show.”.”

Well….I resent this feeling that I have every time I watch Mabel and George that I am just a fifth wheel, sitting at home watching the news as a spectator sport. The news is seemingly private conversation between the news anchors, with occasional input from the reporters out in the field.

I wish it was just as easy as switching the channel, but there are cooky-cutter teams of newcasters like Mabel and George chatting away to each other on all channels. We might as well be listening to an exchange of conversation among some strangers in an airport waiting room. The strangers are chatting away and bystanders…for lack of something better to do…listen in with blank expressions. Those sitting nearby the conversationalists rarely contribute any opinions or comments of their own.

In the past, before the nightly news became entertainment, the audience was included in the show. The anchors would address the “folks” out in the audience instead of each other. “So, take a look at this footage Folks.”

And while the Folks are listening in, the correspondents with the microphones included them in their report. “Good evening everyone, it is really raining up here on Capital Hill and these people walking by are really all wet. Back to you Mabel and George…”

Weather forecasters, who are often almost deliriously excited as a particularly interesting cold front approaches, tend to be more inclusive in addressing their reports. They still say the obligatory “Thank you Mabel and George, hope all the folks at home are battened down for the cold. You listeners over there in Hickburg should be especially attentive.” I appreciate that, Weather Person.

News anchors…please consider including us watchers in your conversation. You are not putting on a show (well, maybe so) and we really like to be included.

… and another thing, Tiffany, stop acting like you correspondents work for Mabel and George. You don’t, you work for us, out here in the audience.


Snow on the cat shelters


Quoting Lines from the Silver Screen–Will Smith

One of my favorite movie quotes is from INDEPENDENCE DAY, which has several comments worth quoting. In the scene when the heroes have just taken off to destroy the alien mother-ship, watching a super fast alien fighter plane doing impossible maneuvers, Will Smith says: “I have GOT to get me one of THESE!”

Yeah, I know, this movie was the one that had the TV advertisers declaring that “THIS IS THE MOVIE THAT WILL MAKE YOU PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN.” I was skeptical at first, and that advertising line really had nothing to do with anything except to point out that if and when the world is called upon to fight aliens from outer space and save Earth, it will of course be Americans who lead the charge, as all nations of the world (especially real current enemy nations…such as Russia and Iraq) rally around at the battle cry of the American President.

Did they save the Earth? With Will Smith flying the space craft? On the outside chance that readers never saw INDEPENDENCE DAY, I don’t want to ruin the surprise ending. 🙂


Never say never…if it doesn’t work forget it?

No, just kidding. A task begun not always turns out as expected. But I have tackled some impossible things, and some of them didn’t work…maybe many of them didn’t work. But running an idea or plan past a bunch of nay-sayers is counter-productive sometimes. A task is not necessarily impossible just because I can’t do it.

The first example that comes to mind is my recent building of a cat shelter on my back deck. The thing consists of a picnic table and a swing–both encased in plastic tarps and tablecloths and the like. There is a big umbrella over the feeding area. This year’s plan was to build a roof, and the progress got to the point where a pergola-type frame went up over the 17-foot by 8-foot deck. So far so good. However lack of funding limited what I could pay to have built…and for various good reasons I resisted trying to do it myself…oldness, fear of heights, etc.

The solution seemed to be putting up a giant tarp. This would have worked well had it not rained. So I put it up another way–weaving over/under the two by fours. The first plan resulted in a huge balloon-like air pocket that threatened to lift the whole deck and carry it away. The second worked nicely except for the rain. Sigh. So…back to the drawing board, Plan B having failed…the giant tarp folded up and now shelters the swing-shelter and even forms a tent-like cover, along with the umbrella.

The key is straw…which some people insist on calling “hay.” Cows eat hay, they rest and stay warm with straw.

The point of this post?

In a nutshell the point is: keep true to your own plan. 1) Ignore anyone who says anything like “that won’t work.” 2) Remember J.Paul Getty’s motto–“Always know what you will do if your first plan fails.” (In other words, have a Plan B at the ready.) 3) If it REALLY doesn’t work…well, make a new plan.

[NOTE: The original version of this post was published in November of 2014. The title was altered, the last paragraph was eliminated, and the picture was added. The scene in the picture is exactly as described except for the snow drifts. Photo by me Feb. 8, 2015.]