He Was My “Big” Brother

My nephew, who has handled almost everything up to this point, has been patiently waiting. My niece and her adopted family, they too are waiting. Relatives in Oklahoma, more in Port Angeles and Forks, all waiting. Me, my family, all of us waiting. The Marines. Yes, I have even kept the United States Marines, waiting for my decision on a date to have this memorial.  Because we have chosen to have the Marines handle the Memorial, only they can remove him from the funeral home directors care. Someone from the US Marines will go to get his urn and carefully transport him from Colorado to us here in Washington State where he will be given a hero’s buriel  at Tahoma National Cemetery.

The wait was because I’ve had two back surgeries this past year, the last one in December, and needed to have some recovery time. Now, the word recuperate no longer has a place in my vocabulary,  I’ve set the date, which moves the event a little more forward than what I was thinking, to approximately six weeks away.  We will need confirmation from the Marines that this date, April 6,  will work.  So now it’s my turn to wait for that answer. There is so much to do to prepare for this. I have two beautiful guest rooms and both are piled high with Christmas things waiting to be put away. The living room has piles of things waiting. The computer room, everything is waiting. Crafts, bills, taxes, sewing, the room is full of things, waiting to be handled while I took time to recuperate. Many other projects are in half done stage and need to get finished. Then there is the yard. We won’t even start on that. I need to sell my car. Sad yes, but I won’t be able to drive it. Maybe someday, I’ll have another one, but that’s another story.

I should know in a day or two I would think since this is the United States Marines we are dealing with. I was told that once there was a date there would be no waiting.  Now, I must move quickly, no matter how many times my body says no. No matter how tired the walking and the lifting make me. It’s time to get in shape. It’s been nine months since the neck surgery and it’s been two and a half since the low back surgery. I must remind myself often what my goals are and why.  It will bring back some much needed good health and strength to my body. I then can attend my brother’s memorial on my own two feet. April 6. That’s not long. I can’t forget about emotional strength. That matters most of all. I must be emotionally strong. I know others will be watching me to make sure I don’t over do but this isn’t for them. This is for me. I need the strength to carry on, I need to know I can do this, that I won’t have an anxiety attack. I won’t fall apart. I will hold up and speak of him with pride and tell how proud I am of him and his achievements. Oh, not the achievements he got in the marines which are great. All the medals he got are wonderful and they need no explanation.

What I see, what I’m talking about aren’t achievements. I guess it is more about his qualities as a person and the things he did for me as we grew up that made him seem so great. He was my brother.  MY BIG BROTHER. The one that took me fishing at the creek and showed me how to find and put periwinkles on a fish hook. The brother that “let” me carry his news paper bags and go with him to deliver the papers. The awesome one who waited for me to find all thirteen of my new baby hamsters when they chewed out of their cage one one morning and then walked to school with me because we were late and missed the school bus. He taught me checkers and marbles and go fish. He brushed my hair sometimes when it got tangled, and  it got tangled often.  Yes, he was my big brother.  He is also the one who made sure he got around to going to see my art work when my seventh grade teacher featured me on the main hall bullitin board.  We all had to take turns feeding the dog his evening meal which was served to him in the garage. In the winter when the darkness came early, knowing I was afraid to go get the bowl, Jerry would wait at the back door for me. Sometimes, I would cry because it scaired me so to step into that dark garage to retrieve the dog bowl. Jerry would take it back out for me. There were times I struggled with my homework and he would sit with me at the kitchen table explaining  it over and over until I got it.

The last time I saw him before his death was in 1998. He came home for Christmas. It had been years and he just showed up one day. He stayed at mom’s for a bit and at my brother Darrell’s home. Then he came to stay at our house. We had a chance to talk a little bit. I found out we shared the love of photography. He would have loved to be a professional photographer. Nature was his ideal medium. He also loved trying to find gemstones in the mountains of Colorado. I found that interesting because I am a jewlery designer and am awed at the beauty of the many gemstones mother nature provides for us. We found that we shared the Amethist as our favorite. We spoke of things but never about us. Not about the growing up years and how the death of our mother affected us. Even then, just as it was when we were young, it was a forbidden subject. I didn’t know how much he remembered or knew nor did he about me. Neither of us brought it up. I’m sad about that. That was the last time I saw him. I tried to find him when Dad died with no result and then again when Mom was ill and it was evident that her time with us was limited.  Still I found no clue to his whereabouts.

Time and distance, however, make no difference in the fact that we were family and that I loved him for the brother that he had been to me. As we give him up to God it breaks my heart not to have had more time with him. Time to talk and share feelings that we both kept inside for so  many years. I know though that now he can know his mother and re-unite with Dad and mom Ernie. The pain he kept inside all his life will now be gone. He will know peace.  He was my big brother and I’m glad he’ll be able to let it all go as he enters the kingdom of God.

































Grief: The Next Installment

I am not sure tonight that my plan to go through and describe the stages of grief with everyone was exactly the thing to do. Just because you have been through it before doesn’t make you an expert. Another thing, every one is different, every heart is different, and in my case we are talking about a death and every death is different. I wrote a full-page on Anger last night and this morning. Throughout the day today I anguished over how another family member was going to take this news. It was just almost more than I could bear to know she would be told tonight. I love this child as if she is my own even though I have never even laid eyes upon her. She is my niece. I didn’t even know she existed six years ago. But since that time of finding out about her and talking to her regularly I’ve grown realize her as my blood.

One more thing I realized today. I’m not finished with Stage One. No, not finished with talking about it,and I must admit  I’m not finished  going through it either.  We started out with Denial. Think on that. You can deny your loved one is dead. You can make yourself not believe it. You can argue the point but when there is a body, doesn’t that pretty much end the denial part?  Seems there are no more threads there to hang on to now is there. But still that word nags at me. Denial, what else is one in denial about if not the death? How about the fact that one is doing okay, fine, pretty good. What ever words you use to tell others how you are  really. I came to the conclusion today as I went through my worries about other things and other people, that like I originally thought, I am not doing okay, fine, pretty good or any other descriptive word that means any thing close to those.  I was almost falling to pieces today. Steve was in the family room watching our football team take down their opponents. I was in and out, still in my pj’s and not really watching but more like just pacing the floor. I got a shower at about four p.m. and then dressed, put on a little make-up making a true appearance in the kitchen at about five. I finally, get the call that she will be told tonight. She’s too far away. I want to be there. I want to hug her but her mom had asked if it were alright for her to call me if she wanted to and of course that would be fine. I hung up the phone and cried. She at least would know tonight. Her parents must have handled it well. She was sounding fairly pulled together. There were some questions, some regrets, some worries but mostly she was sounding OKAY. We all know in private she will have her time to cry, to grieve, to start the process. Meanwhile, we talked and we both listened. That’s a  good thing.

Where do we both go from here?  I don’t know. It’s fine to say there are five steps but are they really in a cut and dry formula, or could they possibly be in a random bag of apples for us to come upon when we are least expecting? My day-to-day is up and down.  Some good days, a lot of barely here days. Yes, those who know say there are five steps and if you want to you can google that and you will come up with what I have told you. Me, I can’t tell you anything that has any studies behind it, or anything figured out by scholars. All I can tell you is what I have experienced, what I am experiencing and hope you get something out of it. I’m also hoping that by writing about this thing called “GRIEF” I too will have a better understanding and be able to put to rest some of the issues that have plagued me for a good part of my life.  To end tonight I have a short little story for you.

My mom died in January 2013. The reason being, she simply didn’t want to go on. She was eighty-one years and had spent fifty-six of those years with dad. He passed in 2009, She fell  in 2012. We found her on the floor of her little house next door to us and after that she lost about six years of her life, the six that she and dad had been living there. She had full-blown dementia. After a couple more things and a surgery on her toe she got worse. We had tried to keep her at home but I couldn’t pick her up if she fell. I couldn’t take care of her. But when she was still well, she and I would go putter around her yard look at her plants and flowers. We talked of many things. We sat on the porch and talked to the birds and drank our morning coffee. One morning in 2015, I took my cup of coffee to the family room and as I started to sit down I looked up and out the window. The sun was shining so beautifully and without thinking I said out loud, “Oh, I think I’ll call mom and we can ……..”   That day all the pain, all the memories, all the days and nights sitting with her in the nursing home as she slowly withered away because she refused to eat anymore, all the grief that I thought I had dealt with came rushing back into my life for more than just a moment. I was totally pulled back into the clutches of dispare and sadness and held hostage there for the next several months. Yes, grief is a funny thing. Don’t take it lightly and please don’t try to get through yours alone no matter what stage you classify it in.


Oh how I long for the olden day

when you always considered what you’d say

took into your heart what others would feel

told of only feelings real.

no arguing about what was right or wrong

you knew it already, your upbringing strong

your parents taught you morals and how to love

and you learned about and believed in God above

yes that is how I was brought up

but for me that was not enough

I taught all  my children the very same

and they teach theirs not in vain

it will be passed along for generations to come

all because of just one

many years ago in the family line

I’m glad that family was, is, and will be mine.


Kezzah 1776-1860


From my Grandmother Kezziah of many greats back,

to  my youngest grandchild          20170808_135525 Black and White Jaden for WP

 Love, patience, family, & God

has been our way of life.

Privacy…the state of being free from…

Privacy.  Let’s see here, Google my friend, what do you say about privacy?  Ah yes, “the  state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.” says,” The state of being apart from other people or concealed from their view; solitude, seclusion…the state of being free from unwanted or undue intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs; freedom to be let alone.

However, neither of these definitions included, “unless you have children or pets.” If either of those are a part of your life, you generally have no clue to the meaning of that word, at least, not for many a year.

It began with the dog, you know. He was your dog. Only  three months old but totally bonded to you. You had picked him out of a group of rescues that were up for adoption. He was one of many tiny puppies from a puppy mill and had barely made it out alive. The rescue group came just in time. You adored him and he you. He stayed by your side for everything and you didn’t mind it at all. In fact, you thought it was wonderful.

Recently though you found someone else you adored and invited him over for dinner.  You and your friend were looking forward to a quiet evening on the couch watching movies. You made popcorn, sat down, started the movie and just as the opening scene came on, so did Rover.  Up,on the couch and in between the two of you. If your new friend looked at you or made a motion towards you, the dog gave that look that says, “Just try it.”  Rover just won the key to your private space and he is never going to give it back. You and your friend get through it, everything goes well, friend  becomes your Partner and in doing so  accepts that you, Rover and he  will be a threesome from here on out. Now, “here on out” quickly moves onto, yes, marriage and a baby. Yep, baby. Privacy  is starting to sound like a foreign language at this point. You and Partner often have laughed and questioned if the two of you would ever have any. Meanwhile,  Rover is hot on your heals as you go to get the crying baby from the crib that you just put him in sound asleep. Partner had popped the popcorn, and the opening scene was just beginning, with you, Rover, and Partner all in your respective spots (that’s with Rover in the middle you know) and as soon as your rear end hits the couch the wailing begins again. You bounce, you feed, you cuddle and sing but to no avail. The movie team just became a foursome. Baby on your lap, Rover in the middle, and the popcorn somewhere out of your reach.

Time goes on, the foursome together through it all. Rover whines at the bathroom door, sits by the tub as you take a bath, comes in from outside onto your lap to wipe his dirty feet on your apron and then smiles at you just before he runs to wake the now two-year old from the nap you just put him down for. The rest of the afternoon, Rover on one side, baby hanging on to your strings, you vacuum, dust, do laundry, all the days activities, including those few and far between bathroom breaks when Rover whines and Jr wiggles his fingers under the door saying, “Mommie,  mommie,”

You’ve given up the evening movie and try to work in a bit of news but you aren’t sure whether the police caught the bad guy, the bad guy ran off with the nun, the corner store is having a once in a lifetime sale on police clothing or the nuns are collecting donations for the inmates. All you know is that all those people were somewhere, somehow, involved in that broadcast  but so was Rover and Jr. who both needed a drink of water, a cookie, potty, and had an argument between the two of them about who got the nine by seven piece of baby blanket that had not been shredded through play and use in the two years they both claimed ownership of it.

The years go on and as it always has the privacy you looked for once Rover and Jr were tucked into bed each night escaped you because like clock work the minute you wrapped your arms around each other upon your sliding into bed, you felt the slithering of a little body up through the blankets right between you and heard the whisper of, “I’m cold, can I sleep with you?” as your feet became a pillow for the faithful Rover claiming his spot on the bed. Jr got old enough to handle the night by himself but  Rover took a liking to your feet and never left your bed.

You and partner grew used to the foursome, forgot about privacy, and learned the joys of the togetherness as a family through thick and thin, sickness and health, vacation, school, work, until the word made a comeback during Jr’s “teenage years.” Now the whole world revolved around “privacy.” Can’t I have a little privacy? I’m on my phone, I’m getting dressed, we’re studying, why do you need to know where I’m going, they are just friends, gee what about a little privacy.” You hear it all and wonder where this word came from. It certainly wasn’t one that stirred any remembrance of such a thing. Why, even Rover, knew nothing of what this strange word was about and Rover knew Jr like he knew every hair on his tail, which by the way, had begun to wag rather slowly these days. Rover, still stayed by your side, night time, day time, bath time and yes still even at toilet time. It had gotten to the point you had to stay by his too, especially at toilet time. Privacy wasn’t an issue between the two of you and Partner who welcomed Rover in the middle every chance he got.

Jr had just had his eighteenth birthday and had asked to have a party  just for he and his friends. Would you and Dad let us just have some privacy to play music, dance and have a good time in the basement room and you guys not be in and out like you always were. “We aren’t doing anything, we just want privacy,” he said.  Saddened but understanding, you let him have it.  Even Rover was banned from the festivities, which he had always been a part of, usually getting more than his fair share of attention because of his cute antics that Jr had taught him to do so well over the years.   You and partner and Rover  retired to the couch upstairs to watch a movie and eat popcorn and occasionally listen for the sounds of the party downstairs. It seemed to be going well.

Now, it was two days later, Jr was in his room  on his telephone with a friend, Rover laid on his blanket underneath your chair at the table while you busied yourself preparing dinner. Partner would be home in about fifteen minutes. Dinner just had to be set on the table. This was a good time to take Rover out for his walk. You got your jacket and turned saying, “Come Rover, let’s go boy. Rover?”   Rover didn’t budge. You stood frozen for a moment then rushed to his side. Nothing, no breath, no breathing, nothing. You gathered him in your arms as you sat on the floor. You yelled for Jr. who, although coming to answer your call, responded with, “Geeze mom, can’t you leave a guy alone for a minute? I said I needed some ……his words trailed off into silence.  Partner walked in the back door and they both stopped suddenly, seeing you on floor with Rover in your arms. Partner helped you up. Jr took your other arm trying to help you lift Rover as you rose. Partner supported your shaking body to the couch and helped you sit, still with Rover in your arms.

“Mom, what can I do? How can I help? Mom?”

Partner, took Jr by the elbow, tears in both their eyes, and guided him out of the room. The room with the couch where you had sat with Rover in the middle, almost every night for the past twenty years.

As they left you heard Partner whisper softly, ” There is nothing we can do now Jr., except  give mom and Rover a little,  privacy.”



Donuts or Simply True Love

Finding something to post about lately hasn’t been easy for me. I’ve not been well and I am not the kind that likes to talk about it much. Posting when you are feeling at your worst, worse than you have ever felt in your life,  is just not acceptable. However, the Doctor finally hit on a medication that helps and I have made a big change for the  better today. I finally was able to tie my own shoes and brush my hair, and I can turn a door knob. These are just a few of the things I’ve been unable to do for quite some time now. Hallelujah for this much. I think we are on the right road now. Tests have been ordered and we will find the root of my problems hopefully soon. In the meantime, I have finally found a little relief.

Now let’s get back to why I really sat down here to write. Since I am feeling so much better I wanted to do something with Steve and since he has wanted to make donuts and donuts sounded good to me, I told him to go ahead and as soon as I finished taking care of the dogs I would be there to help. I have four dogs of my own and babysitting my daughters two for the weekend, so needless to say, it took a few minutes to get them all petted and loved on, fed, put outdoors and back in again with treats for their good deeds and then tucked in for a morning nap all in their respective areas. Wookie and Mo sleep in the guest room where our daughter came home to stay with us just until she could get on her feet a little better, which was supposed to be about three months in her plan of things and its now been about seven but that’s another story in itself so again, back to my original subject of  Steve’s donuts.  After finishing the dogs I mosied on into the kitchen where Steve was hard at it. He already had the dough for the cake donuts in the fridge in a waiting stage and was mixing the dough for some raised donuts which we were going to do maple bars out of. My job was to make the glaze for the cake donuts and the maple icing. I guess this is about where I should tell you, we have never made donuts before. What the heck. We are both good cooks and can follow a recipe, right?  Well, I hadn’t looked at the recipes that Steve had picked or I would have known right from the start that this wouldn’t be some that I would especially like.  Not knowing that, I followed along listening to his instructions to use the additional recipes that went with the donuts we were making. As I put the ingredients to the glaze together, I thought to myself,” I’ve never made glaze like this before. Oh well, time to learn something new.” I went on to the icing and as I got the ingredients all rounded up Steve was ready to cook the cake donuts.  He carefully put them in the hot oil and we both watched them closely to make sure we got them out in the right time.  While I watched him pull each one up out of the oil and placed it on the cooling rack, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. “They look too done.” I said, as nicely as I could.  ” I think we are cooking them to long.”

“Yes, I think maybe you are right,” he replied with a true frown, a look you rarely see on his face.

We tried getting them out of the oil quicker but something still wasn’t right.

“The oil isn’t hot enough.” I told him. “I’m sure of it, it’s just not hot enough.”

We placed the last of the cake donuts on the cake rack and stood staring at them as if they were some strange object dropped in front of us out of no where. I was the one to speak first, breaking the silence, as I picked one up and told my husband.

“Only way to know is to either break it in half and look at the inside or go all the way and just taste it.” I smiled and held it out to him. We both laughed as he took it and, after waiting another minute with one of those, I don’t know about this looks on his face, he took a bite. He chewed, I waited. No comment.  He held it in his hand looking at it then handed it out to me.

“You try it.”

I reached across the island to take it and said,  “Well, what do you think?  “Is it okay?”  “Do you like it?”

“Just try it and tell me what you think.” he replied,  and at that, I laughed, and took a bite.

“Cooked to long in the oil, no, I think the oil just wasn’t hot enough. They taste like the oil.” I said to him.

“That’s what I thought too but it was up to the right temperature so how does that happen? Steve was looking at the temperature dial as he spoke to me. As he looked back up with that frown on his face  I, just as perplexed as he, said quietly,

“Maybe we should check the oil temp with a thermometer, thinking to myself , “why didn’t I think of that before we started cooking.”

As we both suspected the temp was low, the oil wasn’t hot enough, and the donuts soaked up oil as they cooked. Yuck.

I began dipping the donut’s, or “Doughnuts” as they were originally spelled if you want to get particular about it,  in the glaze I had made for them exactly by the directions on the recipe. My thought was it was too thin and so I double dipped hoping for better coverage but still not getting the desired effect. We laughed again.  At least we were having fun, I think partly just because we were both happy that I could take part in something again. It was nice just being together, doing together and enjoying it. It’s hard on a couple who have done almost every thing together for twenty-five years to suddenly have one unable to take part. Not only that, the other one has the responsibility of taking care of you as if you were a child which is just frightening to them, as they think that this could be a permanent situation. Not that either wouldn’t do it for the other but it is still a very frightening thought to both of you.  So you both do what needs to be done, but don’t talk about it much because neither wants to upset the other. However, today was good.  We were together, we laughed a lot just like we always have and it really doesn’t matter about the donuts.  Now, it was time for another taste with the glaze on them.

“You go first,” he said.

I broke off a piece of one and slowly put it in my mouth. I chewed and tasted slowly. I took one more bite, you know, to make sure of my, well, my taste buds I guess, and again chewed slowly as Steve watched and waited.

“Seriously, they still taste like oil and my gosh the glaze is awful but you have to taste too. I did, so you have to,” I blurted out not holding back one bit.

“Okay, okay you don’t have to be so truthful you know. Just give a guy a little break.” all said as he took a bite. “Okay, you are right, that glaze is awful.  I’ve got to get the raised dough out and cut out the other ones. It’s past time.” was his next remark as he quickly got the dough out of the warming oven. Moving swiftly with purpose and speaking not a word he went to his business of rolling the dough and cutting the donuts, placing them carefully on the pan and back into the warming oven to raise for the last time before cooking. Watching the care he took in every step made me happy.  He has always put all his effort into what ever he does and takes pride in his work be it working on the car, building a piece of furniture, making the yard look as if a professional landscaper had been there, or yes, making donuts for the first time.   I got out some ham and eggs. We had worked all morning and hadn’t had anything other than our coffee and a bunch of tastes of some really not so great donuts. It was time for food. Steve cleaned up some of the mess,  I cooked and we sat down at the island to eat.

“I wonder if these are going to turn out any better,” he said looking across the island at me with a smile on his face.

“Probably they will,” I said, and then added quickly, “didn’t this book say they sold these donuts every where and that they were in big demand?  You followed the recipe and have done everything just like they said so why shouldn’t they turn out?”

“Yes, and I followed the other recipe too, didn’t I?”   We ate the rest of our eggs in silence but each of us could see the laughter in the others eyes.

Now we’ll cut some corners here and just tell you, no, these raised ones didn’t turn out as hoped either and to me, they had a funny taste. As I surely must have had one of those looks on my face as I tasted, Steve looked at me and said, ” Well, give it to me straight. What’s the outcome?”

“Well, not raised enough for one, still taste a bit like oil, and then there’s a flavor I just don’t know what it is or how to explain it.  It’s just weird and not a flavor I like for sure.”

“Maybe it’s the mace.”

“Mace! The recipe called for mace? That’s it then because I just don’t like mace or nutmeg.” I said.

“Well then that explains part of your dislike to the other batch because it had nutmeg  in it and I don’t care for either of those myself.” Steve said as I brought the icing over for this new batch.

“Taste this. I don’t like it so see what you think.”                                       scan_20170114-donuts

“Nope, you’re  right”

“Mind if I try a little of my own ideas for maple icing?”

“Nope. You have at it and do what ever you like. Can’t make them any worse.”

So I whipped up a little icing the way I know how, simple and easy, and went back to Steve for another taste test.”

“Go for it babe, put that on them. That’s pretty good icing.” he said and he helped me pour it into a flat bowl for dipping the donuts.”

“Okay, babe. This is it.  One last taste before we toss it all.” he said as I finished the last one. I cut one in half, and we each took a bite. We decided the mace took over all the flavor and they were not good. We’ll let  our daughter Mary, who lives next door, try one in the morning, but we are pretty sure she will be in full agreement with us. However, we also agree that there are probably some little raccoons or squirrels and birds out in our woods that might like the flavor. We also agreed that we’ll just call this a learning experience, neither of us care for nutmeg or mace, and practice makes perfect. So Steve is going to be up early in the morning and will be off to the grocery store to buy another jug of oil. We have everything else all ready to start over and give it another try.  He came in a bit ago, kissed me, and said he was off to bed. I told him I’d be there just as soon as I got my computer shut down, knowing that all the while I had this in mind to write about. I think he knew it too. My minutes sometimes turn into hours and I believe that’s just about how long I’ve been at this. My dog Ziva  is laying faithfully here at my side but has sighed several times in hopes I would say  “let’s go to bed girl” because she won’t go without me. I guess it’s time.

I don’t know if this post was all about donut’s or more about

two people (and a couple or so dogs)

who love each other dearly.    s-s-donut-fun-1-17Either way, it was about fun, laughter, sharing and love.

What is better than that and with that, I’ll say, ” Goodnight folks and I hope I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Another Post on Finding Time

A subject that I have been seeing a lot about on WP lately is “Finding time to write.”  Most days there is just not enough time in my day to actually sit down and write. Finding time just doesn’t happen. Right now, I have laundry in the dryer waiting for me to get it out, laundry in the washer on hold waiting for me to add to the load because I only brought out part of it, three dogs waiting for a bath which they need desperately, a daughter working on her “first house” which is a twenty-two foot travel trailer that she is remodeling to make herself a tiny home because she can’t find a place to rent that she can afford, who is in and out with questions and ideas running them past me for my input on what she is doing, a wall in the family room waiting to be painted before we finish moving book cases and furniture into a different but more effective arrangement which was mainly brought on because of a desire to make the music room a little more spacious by moving the piano which is waiting to be done yet too. Along with all the above I still have outside things that need to get done before we get any further into the cold season, a jewelry project on hold, two quilts on hold but I finally did get my sewing machine replaced so I can sew again and, and by the way, have two other sewing projects that I’m working on hold because my machine had failed me, one of which is a skirt for me and the other a jacket. Find time to write, no. Take time to write is the only way I can get it done. My daughter and husband are both outside at the moment and I’m sure they would question why I’m sitting here at the computer when there is so much to do,if they were to come in,so this post is going to be “short but sweet” as they say, because they could come in at any moment. The sweet part being that I did sit and I did write. Maybe it’s not too interesting to most but this is the way a day goes around here and I think I hear them coming. Looks like it might be lunch time so I’d better get to it and then get on with the rest of today. Oh yes, and that also means to be cleaned up, looking vibrant and full of energy by five o’clock with dinner over with and the mess cleaned up so we can go to open mike tonight at six. I guess what this post is about is that you may not be able to readily find that special time to write so the only thing to do is “TAKE IT” or it may never happen

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I guess “Multi-Tasking” in this case really isn’t an option. Okay, no, I wouldn’t put my dog in the washer so I think we’ll stay home tonight and skip open mike.  Maybe I can get the dogs bathed and write another post too.

Along With Writing……Living Our Dreams

My Dad passed away in March 2009.  For as long as I can remember he played the mandolin. Many of those years, as a youngster, I would hop up on the kitchen counter into the  corner where the two came together  and listen to him, my uncles and my aunts play and sing on Saturday nights. Of course, that was after we all took in the Grand Ole Opry program on TV. While all the other kids, and there were a bunch of us, ran off to play I was always hanging out to listen to the music.   I was really quite shy as a youngster and although I wanted so badly to play guitar and sing, I just simply didn’t have the courage to ask anyone to teach me. I loved country music. I loved the twang of it and the songs that spoke of so much about life. I could picture myself on that Grand Ole Opry stage singing my heart out to a Patsy Cline or Kitty Wells song.  Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette  were two more of my favorites. The songs telling stories of such tragic heartache could bring me to almost tears and reached way down deep into my soul pulling at a heartache I had never understood.  I identified with the singer and the songs as if I had been right there during each  and every hopeless love loss or as if I were the bearer of the news that would tear their world apart. Yes, I loved it all. This love stayed with me throughout my life but I never did get a chance to do anything but listen. However, sometimes, if you wait and keep your dreams in your heart, things can change.  About the same time I took up writing, I mean really writing for others to read, I also started singing, out loud.  Like everything else I did, although I sang often, I kept it to myself. I didn’t sing if anyone could hear me or if I even suspected that anyone might be listening.  Now though, music is a part of our lives. We have a “Music Room.”  Well,  sort of music room.  I guess I should fill in a little here with how that came about.  My husband, Steve, has always had guitars but they stood in the closet and it seemed he never had time to play. When we married, between the two of us, we had six kids in the house, his two three of mine, and our grand daughter.  We also had numerous dogs and soon a small farm, with chickens, ducks, sheep, rabbits and oh, so much more through the years. Eventually Steve was working two jobs.  By that time we had switched to horses and all the activities included with them. He called this time of our lives a “study in intensive manure  management.”  Once in a while he would drag one of his guitars out, sit on the edge of the bed and strum some part of some song and then put it away again. He often thought back to the day when, while working at a clothing store, he met Bonny Guitar and was actually offered a chance to go on the  road and play bass with her band. Because of his situation at that time, he wasn’t able to take her up on it. I know he has dreamed of what it would have been like to tour the country and be in a band.  I tried often to encourage him to get his guitar out and play. Still, he played about as often as I sang.  Then, before my Dad passed away, he gave me his mandolin and I had decided I was going to learn to play it.  That idea didn’t last long because my brother came to go through a few things after dad passed and said he  wanted the mandolin. I didn’t argue. Not wanting to make a big deal out of it or cause hard feelings, I gave it to him. But I still wanted to learn and I bought myself another mandolin. So now I had to work at it, no excuses and if I was going to, so I thought, should Steve. Logically, my next thought was,  if we were going to work at it we needed a place to keep our instruments handy. I looked at him one day and said, ” I need some help moving furniture.”  Like he usually did, he pitched right in without question and helped me. Then it dawned on him that I was moving all the dining furniture out of the dining room and into the living room.

“What are you doing?” he finally asked.

“Well, I think we need a place to play our instruments so, I’m making one. Can you and I move the piano by ourselves?”

“Not easily, but we can if it’s not too far.” he replied

So with that we got  the piano moved around the corner and into the dining area. We rearranged the stereo equipment, the record and CD cabinets, and brought in a couple of chairs, the kind you can sit on to play. It was almost done. We brought out the couple of old guitars and stands that we had and sat them among the chairs.

“TA DA!”  I was overjoyed with myself .  Then we actually started playing something every day.  After all we had done, how could we not.

It was shortly after he retired and one day while out and about  we went to the music store as I had picked up a saxophone for our grandson and it needed reeds. Just planning for his future in music, I said to myself. While I was getting the reeds, Steve busied himself looking at guitars. He really wanted a bass. His had been sold long before I came into his life. So I told him, I hadn’t gotten him his retirement gift yet as I wasn’t sure what was best. “What about a bass guitar?” I asked. “What about that “Fender” up there?”

“No, that’s too much money for one guitar.  At my age, I don’t need that expensive guitar but how about this bass over here and then I could get this Telecaster too?”  He was on a role and enjoying this moment to the max.

“Okay with me,” I said

“But I don’t have a bass amp,  so maybe just the Tele  for now.  No bass today. ” he replied quietly, his face showing the disappointment behind his words.

“So how much is an amp? Let’s just do this and get one. I want you to be able to play music. You’ve wanted to all your life and it’s time for you to do something that has been in your heart to do.”

As I was speaking the salesman was rounding up amps for him to choose from and we walked out of that store that day with two very happy men grinning from the purchases made. Steve, thrilled with his retirement gifts and the salesman from the commission he would get for that sale. It should have been a pretty nice one.

We continued  setting up our, so-called, “Music Room”  both of us excited with each new idea. We made wall coverings to put hangers for the instruments on. We found a few more instruments for extremely good prices on some on-line auctions. I ran across a round back mandolin and managed to jump into the auction at the last-minute and get it for almost nothing. Just for fun we purchased an old bugle to add to the atmosphere of the room. Steve cut out music notes which I painted black and white to go with the rest of the decor in and we hung them around the guitars and mandolins. I had taken a picture of Dad’s mandolin which we hung center stage of everything else. Then, we played together, we sang and we were having fun. More guitars, a drum set and some antique instruments came as we developed our interests deeper into the music. The drums were for our grandson and this year he will be able to start lessons.  I also picked up, over several months time, a ukulele for each of us ( that’s six to be exact)  and I  am determined to learn and teach this to the kids too.

Now, earlier I mentioned how things can change.  That change came, for me,  with all these instruments, the room change, and the desire to inspire my husband and grand kids. The real change came, not in our surroundings, but in me.  I have opened more windows in my life. I am letting others see who I really am.  We are now having a jam session at our house on Saturday nights. Friends come over and we play and sing. I’ve started taking mandolin lessons. Steve and I have also recently started going to the Senior Center. At first it was so he could play with the band there. Ah, but then, we sang. Now we go to an open mike on Wednesday nights where Steve has been playing the bass. But this coming week will be different. This coming week we plan to sing. We are almost ready. If my nerves don’t  get the best of me we will do this. Never having been a very open person, dealing with anxiety most of my life, fear of crowds and numerous other things has kept me pretty much in the background of everything going on. But this week….if everything goes right, well, not if, because it’s going to go just fine. Putting  this down on paper, having actually said it out loud, sorta seals the deal, right?  I have to do this. I will do this, and although it’s not the Grand Ole Opry and I certainly cannot compare myself to Patsy or Tammy,  I am singing, out loud and others will be listening. It’s taken many, many  years for me to fulfill this dream but I figure, it’s never to late to do something that has always been in your heart to do. Of course, my suggestion to others would be to find out why you aren’t fulfilling your dream and make some changes while you are young. Had I known the things I know now, I sure would have and who knows, could I have been up there on that stage? I’ll never know but what I do know is I am enjoying myself and being myself. Not only that, other people are liking what I am doing but more important than anything else, I like what I am doing and who I am becoming.


Part of our "Music Room" including the picture of Dads mandolin, hat & clock. My "go to" Mandolin is the white Washburn.

Part of our “Music Room” including the picture of Dads mandolin, hat & clock.   My “go to” Mandolin is the white Washburn.

I’m a little nervous, but anxious for Wednesday to come and see how this all turns out.

Wow, I may not be able to take another breath until it’s over.


There is that word staring at me from the top of the page again as if it is just daring me  to put something there. Title, hmmm, what should this one be? Why is it so boldly printed at the top? Why not at the bottom? Far to often I have no  idea what I’m going to write about until my fingers hit the keyboard. From there it seems as if they take on a life of their own, free of me, free of my inadequacies, free of my fears of rejection and humiliation. They type quickly as if racing against my mind to get ahead before I think of some reason not to put thoughts to paper. It’s been a long time again and the notion has been floating in the back of my mind nagging at me to do something.” Just sit down for a minute and it will come to you,” I hear in my head as I’m tending the garden trying to prop up the plants the deer only trampled over rather than eating, of course, only to get to those they obviously love better. The squash, the strawberries and the pumpkin plants all chewed right down to the last few leaves. Maybe, they have time to grow again. The squash still has one flower but hope for the strawberries is all but gone. Still, I fed the beautiful doe and her fawn very well. Why must they smoosh my gladioli and the lilies? Why knock over the frog in the fountain leaving him bottoms up and drowning? Is it because they know that all too soon big dog in the back yard will sound at their presence. She has never been out of that yard or after the deer, but that sound of hers would wake the dead. That is probably my answer right there. The little doe is smart and has connected big dogs boisterous beller to the lights in the kitchen and my presence at the front door. She knows all too soon I will be outside to see what the ears of big dog have heard in the early morning hours even before the birds have started their songs.  She and her fawn must move swiftly to get their breakfast even if it means the death of some of my favorite beauties. Now I’m faced with yet one more question. Which is it that I love more? The sight of the ever so beautiful doe and the amazement I feel in side every time I see her and her youngster along with the excitement of possibly seeing once more the  stout and stately buck that has forbidden me his company except for the one time  when I had emerged from the garage to see him grazing on the front lawn?  All at once our eyes met and we both  froze. He looked me over for a minute then turned and walked off into the woods as if disgusted that I had interrupted his breakfast. I still couldn’t believe that I, totally engrossed in the results of an early morning project, happened upon him standing so proudly not ten feet beyond me. Is it these beautiful wild animals, or, is it the gorgeous flowers  I took so much time to pick out and hours upon hours to plant in my strategically planned out garden plot, which for the first time was really beginning to resemble a true garden, that I love more?  Oh how on earth would one ever choose between the two?  The pleasure that each brings me cannot be measured. Each has its own convincing promise of the joy of future life and beauty around me.  Each moves gracefully  with the breeze across the threshold of my sight and leaves permanent picture embedded in my heart. To choose is impossible so, for now, I will keep my hopes of seeing the buck,  let the little fawn and her mother enjoy my harvest, and while some may be a bit trampled, there are still plenty of flowers blooming all around in my gardens.  I will finish my propping, get my morning coffee and go sit in my rocker on the porch to watch for whatever may come to enjoy my yard with me. Oh, yes, big dog is fed and is napping happily in the early morning sun beating down on her ever so full belly oblivious to anything and everything, for the moment any way.

Now, where was I?  It had something to do with a title. Oh yes, this is the point in my story when it usually comes to me and this one shall be, “In the Eye of the Beholder.”  YepDSCN6344 - Copy, I like that.

Just a Thought

I haven’t published much lately, partially due too so much going on around here, and partially just because of a lack of things to write about. How many times do you want to hear about how the tractor broke down again, or the truck is still dead and sitting in Eastern WA or…..well, you get it, the same ole stuff, just more of it. I tired of these subjects long ago and I would have imagined any one who follows me has too.

Okay, lets tackle a new subject. I’ve been working out in my yard as much as I can, which isn’t a great deal, just kind of slow and steady. I find that is how I have to manage, with having had a life long history of Fibromyalgia and degenerative Disk disease.  Not to worry, I get plenty done and there is plenty to keep me going as long as I do it right.

I decided to clean the outside shed out the other day. I had some pieces of furniture that Emmy could use in the little house next door.  Hannah also had some things stored in the shed that she wanted out too. Wow, what a difference it makes just to get a few things  out. Let’s see, three chest of drawers, a table, a bed frame, and a small shelf. What went back that wasn’t in there before? A small table. That’s all. Holly cow, we did good! But back to my original story. I was cleaning away, sweeping, and moving things when I came upon rat droppings, a lot of rat droppings. At least I attributed these to rat droppings. We had chipmunks in the shed before but these droppings looked different and bigger. Suspiciously and a little more cautiously, I moved on with the cleaning. Then I found a nest on top of a chair in the corner, having used all the stuffing out of the chair seat. No sign of activity though but fairly sure it was from a rat.  Continuing on I started moving bags of stuff.Suddenly one of the bags started moving. Rustling came from within the bag and was quite aggressively restless. I sat it back down. Oh, my gosh, it stopped moving.  I picked it back up. Again, extremely agitated movement came from within. Holding the bag just inches off the floor, thinking I was safe because he was in the bottom of this extra-large, black garbage bag, I and my daughter, Hannah, watched him run back and forth across the bottom of the bag.

“What do I do with it?” I asked Hannah,  but before she could say a thing, that critter ran up the side of the bag, me watching the whole thing unable to move, and suddenly flew out of the hole in the top where it was tied. Seeing the next few moments take place must have been a funny sight if anyone had been watching. I dropped the  bag, screamed from the startling movement and the sight before my eyes. 20160517_170146Yes, out of that top hole he came, large and gray, and as he did he jumped, flying straight at me, his eyes as big as saucers, his hairless front feet sticking straight out,and  fingers spread wide. I was backing up as fast as my feet would move. Why he must have flown at least four feet in the air before he started his decent. He hit the floor,evidently unharmed and took off out the door headed to the brush next to the shed. I had to sit down on the old deacons  bench that still had to go back in the shed, to catch my breath. Hannah, stood there laughing.

“You wouldn’t be laughing if he had been flying at you ready to grab into your hair with those long fingers and not let go.” I exclaimed to her. Then we both laughed and got back to work.

Now I was in the back of the shed, no signs of any other critters, while Hannah was standing outside the door poking the broom underneath the shelf unit, when she let a holler loud enough to wake the dead.

“WATCH, HERE COMES ANOTHER ONE!” I turned in time to stick my broom down in front of it making it switch directions.  It headed for the door. Hannah screamed and jumped backwards, whilst the little guy (little for a rat) jumped out the door and took off.  We both laughed for five minutes.

“Do you think that’s all of them?” I asked her.

With no more incidents we got everything back in the shed and I’m happy to say we reduced the amount by about half. Today I have to go back, make sure there aren’t any critters that got in over night, nail covers over the chew holes in the wood and then finish straightening up. Next cleaning, lets hope for no rats and a place for most of my crap stuff to go, away. I’m trying to clear this stuff out a little so the more that goes away and not back in the shed the better. Now if I could just apply this same principle to my sewing/art/dog care room and my computer room, I would be ever so happy.  I think too that if I didn’t have so much clutter to deal with, I might be more inclined  to write more.  Just a thought. Yes, just a thought. A thought, to give considerable consideration to.


Treasures From the Past

It’s been two years since my mom’s death. I’ve had a hard time going through some of her things. My second born daughter came to help me with her clothes which was indeed the biggest help ever. I had dealt with the household stuff but just couldn’t do the clothes.With my daughters help, we donated most of it to a local shop that sells at lower prices to needy people and all the proceeds from the sales goes back into our community. After that things kinda came to a stop. We’ve had various problems here, mostly health, so we haven’t been taking on any extra. That meant some of mom’s things went into boxes and into the closet. Several days ago I stood, heart in my throat, and feeling a little queasy, at the closet door, starring. Standing quite still, almost in a daze, I thought to myself, “It is time.” I slowly took a step, then another and finally was eye to eye with one of the boxes. As I reached for it something else caught my attention. Off to the right on a lower shelf was another, smaller box with the words “go through,” written on it. I had forgotten that it was there. Mom had given it to me just before she got ill and asked me to look through it one day when I had time. But when she got really ill, I had tucked it in the closet for safe keeping to get back to when she was better and we could look together. That didn’t happen. Now, here it was before me, drawing me to it as if it had some kind of spell on me. I pulled it off the shelf and stood silently with it in my arms, holding it close to me. It was the last thing mom had ever asked me to do.”Today,” I said, to no one there, “Today I will see what is in this box.”  I sat down on the side of the bed and slowly opened the top. Just stuff. Nothing special. A few cards, a box of penny’s, some hankies, and in the bottom, a cigar box. It was an old cigar box. The cigars only cost .05 cents. but it was the treasures inside that were amazing to me. Who had collected these. They didn’t really look like anything mom would have collected. It’s interesting to take a peek at what is  special to someone else. I found buttons. Old buttons. I love buttons myself and use them in various projects so I could see how these could be useful to me. Jewelry. Someone must have thought that the stones in it were valuable, because most of them were gone. The jewelry itself is interesting. Such tiny little pins, brooches, and an old purse. Now this was truly interesting. I would guess it to be from the early 1900’s. It is mesh, silver, and has a matching coin purse. Oh yes, this was the kind of things I like to find.  In it were three coins, five cent pieces, dated 1905 and two dated 1908. There were also two razors, wrapped in tissue and labeled in the bottom of the cigar box. One said Grampa Medley, and the other one was  marked Grandpa Smith. I have to figure this was my mom’s box. because it says, “Granmpa’s.” However, she always called my grammpa (her dad), “Daddy.” so  I also have to figure these belonged to my Great Grandfathers who, of course, I never knew.  Heck, I didn’t even know my Grandfathers let alone great grandfathers. My grandpa Smith (Mom’s dad) I saw two times in my whole life.We lived in Washington state and he in Texas. My Grandpa Medley was in Missouri and died before I was five as that was the year we made a trip to visit with them. So what a find I had here in my lap. Something that actually belong to someone in the family. A connection. Then there was my dad’s cribbage board along side the other things, I guess because it wouldn’t fit in that little cigar box. Neither would the shaving strap but it didn’t make any a difference as it was labeled Grampa Smith. This alone made it special to me. Some of the things in this little cigar box  must have been stored in there a long, long time. I may never know who had been the owner of most of the rest of the stuff. For now, I will put them on a display board and lock them in one of my glass cabinets for everyone to see. As I have time I will try to pin point from what time era they came and exactly who treasured them enough to save them away. Excitement is rippling just under my skin as I think about, what is now, my box of treasures. Most people would probably toss the whole works but me being the “collector” that I am, and always filled with curiosity, will try to search out the origin of each item. Maybe that is why mom entrusted this box to me. She knew, I would never be able to let it go without inquiring and finding out the background of the stuff inside.I’m not sure how to do that now with all the parents and grandparents gone but whether I find out or not, I am thankful to have it. I know at least part of it came from family. The rest, someone thought enough to hold on to it and therefore, so will I.   Thanks Mom. I love you. What ever these things meant to you, what ever secrets they might have,  I will hold each item dear to my heart, simply because you left them to me. Maybe one day, I will understand the meaning they had to you.