As the mind wanders…

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. ~ Mark Twain

I know there’s such a thing as adult ADD but I’m wondering if it gets worse as we get older.  It seems that I can’t focus very well these days.  I’m getting excited about my upcoming trip so I know that’s a factor but I can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time lately.  What’s going on?  Hell if I know!

If you read my blog even occasionally, you probably know that I’m going to Peru soon.  I’ve been reading until my eyes are bleary.  As you can see by the title of this book, I’m trying to learn as much as possible about Machu Picchu.  A friend who’s going with me on the trip told me about this wonderful read. The moment I heard the title I thought, “Now this guy is funny.”  Happily, I was right about that.  He’s very funny indeed.  It isn’t often that one finds a travel book as entertaining as this one.  Ah, but I’m not writing this post to sell books.

I’m laughing at myself as I try to figure out why I am writing it.  I have found these past two years that if I write it out, whatever it is, I can begin to make sense of what’s going on in my life.  It’s rather like thinking aloud, but in print.  I hope it still works.

Back to Peru.  Most of my life I have wanted to see Machu Picchu.  I saw a photo of it in my Spanish book when I was about fifteen.  I think that explains why I have pored over materials about that particular site.  Now that the trip is coming at me like a downhill snowball, I realize that MP is only a small part of the trip.  It’s time for me to pay attention to Arequipa and Cuzco and the Colca Canyon.  I’m starting to get excited now about the magnificent textiles I’ll see and buy there, as pictured in the top photo.  Aren’t they gorgeous?  A feast for the eyes.  Heavenly to touch.  I’ll have to make some tough decisions.  I can’t buy all of them.

This will be my first journey to the southern hemisphere.  I must say my emotions are all over the map.  (Groan.)  You name it, I’ve felt it over the past few weeks.  I’m elated, nervous, a little scared, very excited–so many things bouncing around–no wonder I can’t concentrate.  I’ll be happy to get on the plane.  Then it’s too late to worry about leaving something behind.  That’s when I’ll let it go and relax.

And so I hope my wandering mind is calming down for the night and a good night’s sleep now that I’ve typed it out of my head.  One more thing I will mention, though, and that is that my grandson DW moved to a new apartment today.  He had stayed with me for the past two weeks while he awaited his “moving-in” day.  A couple of weeks doesn’t sound like enough time to get settled in and I doubt that it was for him, but I became accustomed to having him here and I miss him.  I guess I’ll set the alarm tonight since he’s not here to accidentally set it off.  He was three years old in this photo.  That was twenty years ago.


Words, words, I love words.

All my life I’ve looked at words as if I were seeing them for the first time.   ~  Ernest Hemingway

I’m with you, Papa.  Me too.  And even before I could look at words and read them, I loved them.  Sometimes, at a very young age, I would hear a word and adopt it right away because I liked the sound of it.  I would roll it around in my mind and silently repeat it over and over.  I guess I was a bit OCD early on, wasn’t I? 🙂  And I would have repeated it aloud except that my mom would say, “Honey, could you please just not talk for a little while?”  I understand that now but I didn’t back then.  I did, however, want to make her happy, so I would try very hard not to talk–no easy task for a three- or four-year-old would-be wordsmith.

I wish I could say I have always used my words wisely but I haven’t.  I have not-so-jokingly said that when my genes were figuring what goes where, they should have had some sort of thingy to put between my brain and my tongue.  Unfortunately, that piece disappeared like an important piece from a grandchild’s Lego set.  Whenever a notion enters my brain, it almost instantly exits my mouth.  Sometimes that “quality” makes me look outspoken but honest, which I am.  Other times I look and sound like the horse’s ass who forgot to consider my words a little before I voiced them.  And once spoken I can never get them back.  I have worked on this issue for years and I will give myself credit for being much more modulated and moderated than I once was.

I’ve been thinking lately about my written words.  Writing gives me an opportunity to weigh my words before I pass them off to a receiver.  I like that.  I usually proofread and edit my posts several times before I hit publish.  I’m not usually checking for spelling and grammar.  I’m looking for tone and how I will sound to my reader.  But here’s the problem:  When I’m speaking I have many tools at my disposal that I don’t have when I’m writing.  I have a very mobile face and a voice that changes tone and emphasis and mood.  The person I’m communicating with can see and hear if I’m making a joke or if I’m crying or if I’m angry.

When I’m writing I have to use words to convey those messages.  You who have been writing seriously for a while have probably figured out how to do that.  I think I am slowly learning but it isn’t easy for me.  I’m thinking maybe I will take a writing class.  Have you had experiences, good or bad, with writing classes?  If so, I would love to hear from you.  I’m sick of smiley faces and I really don’t think they’re very effective.

Birthday fun on April twenty-one.

April 21st is a special day in our family.  My eldest daughter whose birthday is that day gave birth to her son some 27 years later on the same day.  Double the reasons for a family party and this year was no exception.  We started with “Ronnie’s Chocolate Sheet Cake” which is our family’s favorite special occasion cake.  (One day I’ll tell you about Ronnie.)

As the younger generation grows up  these parties start to have more significance than ever before.  Two of our family had to drive some distance to be here for the festivities.  We very much appreciate their effort.

It’s fun to watch the gift-opening and to read the funny cards.  Often in our family we say “I love you” by finding the funniest card in the store and trying to make the celebrant laugh.  Does your family do that?

My birthday grandson gave these lovely cut flowers to his birthday mom because he knew they would make her smile.  They fit right in with the quirky colors on the cake and we didn’t even compare notes.  ( You probably noticed in the top photo that I’m not a decorator of cakes, just a baker.  To make it look festive I find candles and ribbons to fake it for me.)

Here you see the honored birthday folk with smiles on their faces right after blowing out the candles.  (They are deliberately in shadow because I failed to get permission to publish them.)  May all their wishes come true.

Meanwhile I’ll pack up the 9 x 13 cake pan and look forward to June when we will have another cake that will look eerily similar to the one pictured here.  But more important than the sameness of the cake will be the sameness of the faces and the laughter and the silliness and the dogs and the children–our family!  How lucky we are.


The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.                   ~ Andrew A. Rooney

This slightly fuzzy photo is Gus.  He didn’t really want to pose for me and that’s my excuse for the less-than-focused image.  I had the privilege of caring for Gus over the weekend.  He’s my neighbor’s dog and his usual “sitter” wasn’t available.

I could tell that K was a little hesitant to ask me to keep him, but I’m betting my enthusiastic response quelled any concerns she may have had.  “Of course, I would love to have Gus for the weekend!”  Here’s the deal–I’ve thought about having a pet again because I sometimes get lonely.  This was just the opportunity I needed to make up my mind.  Do I want a dog?  Or not?

For two nights Gus slept on the floor beside my bed.  He was a very good boy.  No noises during the night.  He doesn’t need to go out during the night.  He gets two meals a day, morning and night.  He will play fetch as long as his human will, but when the human gets tired and says, “OK, Gus, sit.”  Gus sits.  And grins.  And drools a little.  Of course he doesn’t sit for long because he wants to get as close to his human as possible.  He even tried to get in my lap once or twice.  Not a good fit, though.  Still, the effort on his part is endearing.

You’re probably thinking by now that I’m getting a dog.  I’m not.  Having him next door is just enough of a doggie fix for me.  He helped me to realize that I truly don’t want the responsibility and the inconvenience.  I can visit Gus when I want.  I can visit my granddogs Wilson and Charley.  And I can get up and go whenever I choose and don’t have to worry about vets and kennels, etc.  I can also change my mind at a later date.  For now, I choose to remain pet-less.

Getting to know me a la MRI.

I had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scheduled this  morning.  They told me I should fast at least four hours before coming in, so I figured the best time would be early in the morning.  I would go to the facility, have the test, go home and have coffee and breakfast.

Before I continue this saga, let me say this:  I am a good patient.  If I need tests I bite the bullet and carry on.  No whining.  Just do it.  Get it done.  I’ll be their pin cushion.  I’ll take their potions.  Mind over matter.  Get on with it.  I’ll be fine.

A little past my scheduled time, a friendly and apparently competent young woman came to the waiting area to take me back.  She introduced herself.  Let’s call her Mary.  Mary explained the process.  I asked a number of questions.  I think my most important one (to me, anyway) was “Why, if we  now have open MRI machines, do we still use these dinosaurs with their noise and that tiny enclosed space?”  Mary knows her stuff.  She explained in some detail why I needed this machine.  I was satisfied with her answer and appreciated her taking the time to reassure and educate me.  Then she continued to strap me in and gave me ear protection to blunt the noise of the process.  I had my call mechanism in hand and I was ready to roll.

I went in the apparatus feet first, just far enough to get my head inside.  There I stopped.  I felt weird.  My heart rate increased.  I tried deep breathing.  Timidly I said, “Mary?”  No answer.  I had entered the space with my eyes closed.  I opened them.  I closed them again.  I started to sweat.  My heart started to pound.  I squeezed my call bulb and called, “Mary!”  I squeezed again and yelled, “Mary!”  And she responded, did Mary, my angel of mercy.  I looked up at her with tears in my eyes, “I didn’t know I was claustrophobic.  I’m sorry.”

Happy Easter aka Holidays are more fun with children.

It takes a laundry basket to hold all the eggs.  Inside each egg is one piece of candy, one small toy or one quarter.  Something for everyone.  It’s really fun to watch the children, large and small, barter for something another child has. 

Little S and I love reading about Peter Cottontail, Easter or not, so it’s a special treat to unwrap him at Easter and display him in a prominent spot.  When she’s older, I should give this to her. 

I love the pattern the pergola makes on my Easter tablecloth .

This colorful bunny basket from days-gone-by makes a cheerful statement on the mantel.  I love her cheery smile.

On the left is a basket of “special” treats which all children present have to divvy up.  They must have done it fairly because I didn’t hear one iota of bickering.  Have I mentioned how sweet my grandchildren were this year? 🙂

Notice here that Little S has found lots of eggs.  I think she had quite a bit of help because she’s the youngest.  We had to get her a back-up basket so she could start over.

This last image is my latest “project” which I did for the Spanish service at church.  I posted a photo of it in progress a while back.  Here  is the finished version.   It’s now hanging in the church.  It makes me smile.



I’ve had a lovely day!  I hope you have, too.  Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.

Today I mowed my lawn…okay, my weeds.

Her lawn looks like a meadow,              And if she mows the place,             She leaves the clover standing           And the Queen Anne’s Lace.             ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

I could tell you this is my lawn and you might believe me, but I’d be lying and I would eventually start to worry about deceiving you.  This is my neighbor’s yard (I’ll call him Left Neighbor).  I think it looks pretty good even though there is a good-sized weed pictured here.  Or is that just a clump of grass on steroids?  Those pretty little pink blossoms did not grow there.  They fell from a tree on my side of the boundary.  I don’t charge him a decorating fee. ; )  Actually he’s a fairly easy-going type who doesn’t spend a great deal of time on his lawn; and he doesn’t seem to care that mine is more weeds than grass.

Here you have a photo of my yard (I don’t think I’m allowed to call it a lawn.) before I mowed today.  I just love the little yellow flowers.  I don’t know what they’re called but they grow profusely when there’s no grass to impede them.  Notice they are thicker looking and quite nice at the top of the picture.  I’m thinking that the neighbors have just enough distance to get the best view and they surely must love them.  If you look closely you can see some spots that look brownish.  Those are little yellow flowers gone to seed which means I’ll have even more of them in the next cycle.  Then maybe they’ll fill those other little brown spots which are bare ground.  Given time, Mother Nature will take care of all obvious flaws.

Now here is Right Neighbor’s lawn with its lovely river birch which drops little dead branches on to my side of the invisible boundary so that I have to pick them up before I can mow.  I would prefer pretty little pink blossoms like the ones I donate to Left Neighbor’s lawn.

I mentioned that Left Neighbor is laid back and doesn’t get overly excited about lawns and boundaries.  Let me introduce Right Neighbor who is the opposite.  She pays great attention to boundaries.  Shortly after she moved in she told me one day that I was mowing on her side and I didn’t need to do that.  Last summer she put little marker flags across the yard where she perceived the boundary to be.  Her lawn is beautifully verdant and the part of my lawn that adjoins hers is the most green and lush part of my yard because it reaps the benefit (?) of her lawn-service chemicals.  Doesn’t it look nice?

I don’t mean to make RN sound like an ogre of some kind.  She isn’t.  In fact I’m quite fond of her.  She’s the same age as my oldest granddaughter.  Young!  She works very hard to have an ideal little family and a perfect home.  She is the one who takes care of the lawn–always.  And she wants it done right.  I’m sure she doesn’t want any little yellow flowers on her side of the boundary.  I think her thick, strong grass will choke them out if they try to migrate.

God bless the American Dream and all its dreamers!