April 29, 2010

Hubby's Blue Balls

Hubby really enjoys his balls.

Even more if he holds them a certain way. I tried holding them, but they are too big for me.

The blue balls weigh three pounds each and they were part of a package deal long ago when I ordered a walking tape. I could never really get my hands around them and they would fall each time I tried using them. For some reason, they were in a box and moved from place to place with me for a very long time. Now I know why. Hubby loves these blue balls.

We exercise every day to a new walking tape we ordered online. Hubby holds the blue balls through the entire tape. The blue balls fit his hand perfectly! Oh joy!

April 27, 2010

The First Mow Of The Year

Yesterday was the first mow. Hubby found the lawn rake out in the mess he calls the garage and raked the leaves that had been hiding under all the snow for months. Then he serviced the lawn mower. This is a guy thing I think.

There is a shop a few blocks from here on a fairly busy street that looks like a car repair shop. Only it is for lawn mowers and snow blowers. That place is always busy. Hubby stopped there last week to ask about servicing our lawn mower. When he came home he had a bottle of oil for the lawn mower and he was ready to perform surgery, er I mean a check up.

With a big smile on his face, hubby pulled the cord and the lawn mower roared. It worked great. One tiny little oopsy though. Hubby had neglected to adjust the level. So on the far end of the back yard he mowed and pulled and mowed and pulled, up and down the slope, worked up a sweat. The lawn mower frame was sitting on the ground so he was pulling more weight. Oh well, he noticed the low sitting frame when he brought the lawn mower up to the main yard, adjusted the mower level and things were smooth from there. Front and back yards had their first hair cut, grass cut, whatever. The back yard looks pretty good after so many months under so much snow. The picture tells it all.

Each house in the neighborhood has taken a turn with the sounds of lawn mowers and leaf blowers this past week. Yes, spring has sprung and the guys are in lawn heaven!

April 24, 2010

One Insider's Vietnam Experience

He was a Marine. A grunt serving in Vietnam. In and out of leech infested muddy water and the strain of the constant noises were taking its toll. Hunched down in the bunker, he was calmed by memories of the hobby that had carried him through high school. There were rough pieces of wood splattered everywhere. He used his knife to whittle small animals. Then he needed more material to work with. It took work, but he pried a wooden post holding up his bunker without the whole thing caving. Back home he used whole telephone poles to carve tiki statues. It would take much work to transform corners into round and tiki god details. This eight foot beam would be his best tiki statue ever.

He was awarded a purple heart and shrapnel is still in his hand and neck. The award that meant more to him was a letter from the Smithsonian Institute. The tiki statue he carved and the story of how it came about was on display at the Institute.

This is a true story about my first husband. We had one baby at the time and he carried a picture of her inside his shirt every day he was in Vietnam. The tiki statue was on display throughout the Vietnam war and is now in storage at the Smithsonian Institute.

April 21, 2010

Tantalizing, Tasty, Tauntingly Delicious

Tear open the small package
Remove the contents
It even smells good

The color is pleasing
Crayola named a color this
It even looks good

Place it in your mouth
enjoy the sensation
It even tastes good

As it softens it is better
More manageable
It is so fun

Work it around your tongue
form it into a zero
It is fun to blow

Nothing quite like bubble gum.

April 19, 2010

Food For The Soul

We each have our own ideas what feeds our soul. Mine is not religion or love, although I am a spiritual being and I give and receive love freely.

When I was younger and would listen to music and be transported to some place safe and cozy in my innermost being, I didn't have words to describe what happened. I just knew it was clean and shiny and pure. Nothing else in my life was that way so all the more reason this "place" was enticing.

As a baby I was christened in the church and given a Christian name. That name was in honor of the patron saint of music. Ironic that a name that was given to me was associated with music even if I was not actually called that name.

Because of the meager circumstances while I was growing up, a small AM radio was my opportunity to escape my surroundings. It was electric so I listened to the radio every time I was in my room. Which caused a dilemma for me. I loved being outside playing in the dirt, working with the plants and weeding even though I didn't know what I was doing. It seemed to come naturally to me and it was exhilarating to save a plant or flower from extinction.

I was ten years old when I attended a piano concert for the first time. I remember the feelings of elation and ecstasy the moment the first chord was struck. I stared and did not move the entire time. I was so thirsty and could not get enough of the beautiful music. My eyes were bugging out of my head but more than that, my heart was singing and my soul was being fed. I could feel it from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. I was hooked. For life. And I knew it absolutely.

After the encores and the curtain closed, I jumped from my chair and ran out the side door. I had never been there before and I had no idea where I was going, but I was sure in a hurry. I ran and no one stopped me. I found a way to get back stage and I swung open a door to the dressing room of the person who had just left the stage. He was standing in his dressing room trying to light a cigarette and his hand was shaking so much he could not light the cigarette. I ran up to him and held his hand and helped him light his cigarette and I beamed at him. I was not in love with him, but I was in love with his music. And he knew it as he stood looking at my soul. I still have the program from that concert and it still means so much to me. I have been to many many concerts of all types, some at wonderful places like John F. Kennedy Center For Performing Arts in Washington DC and The Opera House in Paris, France. But that concert in an auditorium at a city college in our town was my most precious gift of all time.

April 17, 2010

Unexpected Friends

So many people have already seen this video. I think it is a remarkable lesson for all of us to get along with each other, even if we are very different from each other. Usually a cat and a bird would not be friends in nature, but hey, there aren't set rules.

All my life I would find friends in unexpected places. The cast offs. The not good enoughs. The ones with the huge giant loving hearts and deep passionate aware souls. Not much to look at on the outside but substance enough to share for a lifetime. Many people spend so much time concentrating on what they look like on the surface, their appearance, they neglect to nurture the divine substance. When I look at a true friend of mine, I see a glow, not just a humble body. I see all they are. And that is so very very much. I strive to be more like them. That is what a friend is.

April 16, 2010

This Tag Isn't As Strenuous As Tag- You're It! When I Was A Kid

Jana at The Little Black Book tagged me. If you have been here before, you know how much it warms my heart to interact with other bloggers. Thanks, Jana.

To play this tag game, I have to reveal seven things about myself that are not generally known, and then pass it along to other blogs.

Here are some things about myself that are not known to everyone:

1. I used to own rifles and guns and I was pretty much on target every time. Target practice was done out in the desert during the years the kids and I lived in Nevada. We would line up cans and aim and shoot and have a picnic lunch out there. I think I could have been a cowgirl back in the old western days.

2. There were times I would get so caught up in playing tennis I would play eight hours. There was a wonderful tennis court behind our condo and my kids were either inside with me or if there was a neighborhood tournament going on, they were outside on the bleachers or riding their bikes and they were always within sight of me or my neighbors. I wouldn't play tennis every day for so many hours, but at least once a week if I could find other people to play tennis with I would be there. I kinda know how some people get about playing golf and time goes by and they are so content to play and play.

3. When my kids were quite young, I fell off my bicycle and broke my left elbow. I rode the bike home, fixed dinner, did the usual bedtime things and in the morning I got the two older kids off to school, packed some things for the youngest one and she and I took my car to the hospital for x-rays and sure enough the elbow was broken.

4. Many years after the left elbow was healed, I walked out front of my condo in a totally different state, slipped and fell and broke the right elbow and the left wrist.

5. I have been exercising to a walking tape every day for two months now. My hubby and I exercise together to the tape. We discovered this was better than using the machines with headphones on during the winter months, and we talk together and laugh and it turns out to be more fun than exercising alone.

6. I was never able to do the hula hoop. My kids could do several at once and all sorts of fancy shmancy tricks. Dang. I could never get it to stay up. It twirled around lower and lower and splat! fell on the ground.

7. I have moved at least a hundred times in my life. Lived in that many different houses or apartments. I am tired of moving. When I was a kid, we lived in at least six different places by the time I was nine. That set the pace for the years to follow. I think I should write a post about all the moves some day.

To keep this fun little game going, I will tag some interesting blogs and if the bloggers choose to join the tag game, they will give us seven things to know about them too.

Dave at Big Dave's Blog

Ronda at Ronda's Wonderland

lisleman at A Few Clowns Short

Betty at A Glimpse Into Midlife

Have fun, enjoy the game, and pass it along.

April 14, 2010

Teachers Can Make Such A Difference

This story is widely circulated as true. Some versions list Teddy's name as Stoddart.
This was sent to me in an email and I checked it out.

The story was written by Elizabeth Silance Ballard and published in Home Life magazine in 1976. It was not represented as being a true story but rather as a piece of fiction. It was later republished in the magazine with the notation that it was one of the most requested stories in the magazine's history.

"As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very
first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most
teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all
the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row,
slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and
noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his
clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition,
Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would
actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making
bold X's and then putting a big 'F' at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was
required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off
until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is a bright
child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners..
he is a joy to be around..'

His second grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is an excellent
student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his
mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.'

His third grade teacher wrote, 'His mother's death has
been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show
much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps
aren't taken.'

Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, 'Teddy is withdrawn
and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends
and he sometimes sleeps in class.'

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was
ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her
Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper,
except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown
paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs... Thompson took pains to open
it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to
laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones
missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she
stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the
bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her
wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to
say, 'Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.'

After the children left, she cried for at least an
hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and
arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid
particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed
to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By
the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in
the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the
same, Teddy became one of her 'teacher's pets.'

A year later, she found a note under her door, from
Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his
whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from
Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his
class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying
that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had
stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of
honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and
favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter
came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he
decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still
the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little
longer.... The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet
another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was
going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of
years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at
the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the
groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that
bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made
sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother
wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in
Mrs. Thompson's ear, 'Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank
you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could
make a difference.'

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back..
She said, 'Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me
that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met

April 11, 2010

Wizard Of Aaahs and Oohs

For over four years I have been blessed to participate, albeit in a small way, in making music. This has been a life long dream.

As a child I was envious of classmates and neighbors who were fortunate to own or rent musical instruments. I would sit just outside the circle at their homes and witness a strange phenomenon. Family. Some of those families incorporated music into their special sphere. Sometimes I felt as if my eyes would bulge from my head and my heart would jump out of my chest. Growing up in poverty, I was used to hunger, but the true hunger didn't have anything to do with food or clothes. My secret desire was for music in my life.

Recently I watched my hubby send seven of his tunes on discs to CD Baby. Hubby composed the background tunes and played guitar parts to all seven songs. I may be prejudiced, but I believe his songs are awesome. You can decide for yourself and hear snippets of his songs here.

The name of the CD is Bipolar Shaman. The name is meant to arouse interest if someone is curious enough to want to learn about the long road hubby traveled to get to where he is today.

This is so exciting. I have watched as the sound wave forms wiggled and danced on the computer monitor and lights dancing on the various components, and even though I don't know the technical whatchamacallits, I have learned so much just by being in close proximity during the composing and mixing and playing. The tunes being assembled, drums on one track, oohs and aahs on one track etc.

Sometimes it was grueling work, but hubby persevered and the finished product proves his impressive talent. Living with a composer/musician has many advantages. Not only do I witness the frustrations of starting up new equipment and the inevitable hardware problems, I also see the many successes. Watching someone working diligently on something he believes in is a blessing to behold. For the musician, this is an enjoyable chore. For the musician's wife, watching and listening as he plays the guitar is the dessert.

Music has definitely been a major part of my life since I met my hubby! By the way, his name is James.

April 08, 2010

Some Of The Things We Left Behind

He growled "If you try to leave me I will kill you." He pointed a rifle at her head to show he meant it.
A couple hours before, he had some more visitors who knew their way out to the garage.
There was a large cardboard box on a shelf, nondescript, ordinary, but evidently worth a great deal of money. No one bothered to seal it closed. She was surprised and saddened to look in the box and see pounds and pounds of marijuana.

Most of the men who drove their cars to the front of the house and walked to the oversize detached garage were scruffy looking. Actually that would be a description of a person cleaner and less scary than these men. It was just not acceptable to have these strangers in the vicinity of the children.

The drinking and drugs were evidently more important to him than the family. The confrontation ended with the rifle pointed at her head and his telling her "If you try to leave me I will kill you."

The plans for the escape began discreetly. A visit to the childrens school determined the date they would be able to leave school and meet the requirements for days attended. The teachers and coaches were disappointed they would be losing some of their favorite students. The wrestling coach had plans for her son to participate in Junior Olympics and pleaded for the mother to continue the boy's involvement in wrestling. This was one of the dreams they had to leave behind.

The two older children were informed of the plan. They didn't want to live with fear each day, but the thought of moving so far away and starting over brought its own fear: The Fear of the Unknown. It was necessary to keep up the appearance of a normal life while they plotted and planned and took steps necessary to leave in a hurry on the last day. A yard sale provided money away from his pockets.

He left for work early as usual. As soon as he was down the street, the mother and the children started packing the car. So many things had to be left behind. Four people in a mid size station wagon leave little room for their belongings.

Within two hours they were headed out of town. They drove in silence, leaving each to their own thoughts. Feeling compelled to put as many miles between them the first day, they only stopped for gas and take out food when necessary. When they finally felt they could rest for the night, they were in Tennessee and it was late at night. Paying for a small motel room for one night, they slept on uncomfortable beds and in sleeping bags on the floor.

When the mother visited the bathroom during the night, she found her son sitting at the door in the motel room, holding his baseball bat, standing guard. They had to leave a lot of things behind that day, but they brought so much more with them.

April 05, 2010

Not All Piano Playing Is Enjoyable

When I was a young mother of just two children (one more was a twinkle in my eye), I enjoyed craft classes provided by the military for the spouses. Childcare was also provided, which was in the same large room in the back area with boxes of games and toys and an old piano.

One class in particular I was sitting with some neighbor ladies I was acquainted with and we were enjoying working on our project of the day. We were chattering and laughing and enjoying ourselves.

The sound of someone pounding on the piano at the back of the room found its way into my consciousness. None of us mentioned it for awhile. It started interfering with my good time and then it was downright annoying.

Finally, I spoke up in an irritated voice, "Someone's kids are making so much noise on that piano. Why doesn't that mother take care of her kids???"

The ladies at the table with me started laughing. I looked up and said "WHAT?"

My friends told me to stand up and look in the back of the room. I did. I saw my two kids on the piano bench pounding on the piano! Yikes. The little darlings.

Note: Photo is Nora at the piano found on Google.

April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart." ~~Helen Keller

Warmest wishes to all the dear bloggers who share the blog experience with me and hubby for a superb Easter! Many hugs to all, especially if any of you are not getting enough hugs in real life right now. Caring for each other in the blogosphere can transform hard times in our real lives into warm smiles, soft sighs, and hope.

April 02, 2010

My Favorite Nickname

We all have nicknames. Some are given to us by family and some by friends.
Some we like and some not so much.

At birth I was given a formal first name, middle name, last name like most babies.
I was not called my first name or my middle name.

I was called a nickname derived from my formal first name by my mother. She still calls me that. Sometimes she calls me Hippie Girl.

As a little girl I was called Persimmon by neighbors and friends. I would climb the persimmon and fig trees and throw the fruit down to the neighbors.

In school I was called a spin off of my last name by fellow students. They turned it into a goofy sounding bird.

There were some who attempted to call me Four Eyes when I started wearing glasses in fourth grade. I said attempted. I had a way of discouraging them quickly.

Of course, there have been some not so nice names along the way, especially by ex-husbands. But they don't count.

Hubby started the nickname of TechnoBabe. So it is special to me.

But the one nickname I cherish is when Hubby calls me Darlin'. I melt. I am putty.
No one had ever called me Darlin' before Hubby. No one. So I didn't know how much I would like it. Funny, huh. I don't know if he even knows how much I like it when he calls me Darlin'. He will now!