Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zee End

This is Zee End
 of the A to Z Blog challenge for me!

Thank you for sticking around to zee end if you did.

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Thank you for following my blog.
 I went over zee 100 followers mark
during zee blog challenge.

You guys are zee greatest!

Until next year, this is ...

Zee End

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for .... another rant I am afraid

Here is another letter that doesn't have enough respect.


Y doesn't have its own sound. 
Y sometimes sounds like a "u" - like in "you."
Y sometimes sounds like an "e" - like in "carry."
(Don't get me started on the double r.)
Y sometimes sounds like an "i" - like in "cry."

Why (sounds like an "i") does the letter "y" not have its own sound?   Who the heck made up these crazy (sounds like an "e") rules?  Don't you (sounds like a "u") just want to smack someone for doing this to the lovely (sounds like an "e") letter Y?

I think Y should boycott (sounds like an "e") our alphabet!

Certainly (sounds like an "e"), Y should get an apology (sounds like an "e"), don't you (sounds like a "u") think?

Oh wait!  How about "yikes" and "your?"  Y does have its own sound!!

Forget I said anything.

I'll stop now!!


Oh my ... tomorrow is Z ... *sigh*

Friday, April 27, 2012



The English language is so darn frustrating.  There are so many examples of words that just don't make sense when said or spelled ... the person (or persons) who created this language should be shot!

This post is dedicated to one of these frustrations:  English words that sound like they begin with the letter X but don't - like:


You get the idea.

So ... If you didn't know how to spell "exactly" (for example), and you said the word out loud, your ear would say to your brain  "it must begin with x" and then you open a dictionary and look under the letter X - you won't find "exactly" ANYWHERE!  Tell me.  Is that fair?  Am I the only one who finds that frustrating???

Drop that darn letter e off the front of the word "exactly" and it works!!  "xactly."  See how much better that is. Each letter has a sound and makes it in turn xactly the way it should.

Who the heck thought the silent e in front of the worthy x was a good idea ... I want to know.

X supporters!
  Stand up and unite!
  X has rights!
  X deserves respect!!
 X should stand ahead of A in the alphabet!!

Ok, maybe not that last part, but you see my point, right?

Ahhhh, Thank you God. Got past the letter X. Now what the heck will I do for Z.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Waco (Texas)

Only in a state as big and flat as Texas, can you get such a breath-taking sunrise.
  These beautiful views were sent to me by a long time friend, Lorretta, who now lives in Waco, Texas.

But the story is not quite so simple as that.

Long ago - almost 45 years - I worked with Lorretta at the University of Maryland.  I was a full time student looking for a part time job, and she was the supervisor of an on-campus periodical collation service.

I clearly remember that first meeting with Lorretta.  As a new employee, she gave me the typical tour of work site.  Moving towards the printing presses in the back of the office, Lorretta cautioned me that the lead printer, Mike, was a very quiet person.  I shouldn't feel put off if he didn't talk to me.  In fact he talked pretty much only to her and Mr. White, the manager of the unit. I shouldn't take it personally.  He was really a nice person, just very quiet.

Being only 20 years old at the time, and being an outgoing drama (queen) minor in college, ... I decided in that instant that "quiet Mike" would also talk to me!  He would talk to 3 people in that office. You know ... in my mind, he was kind like a "mountain to climb."

Well, the rest is history.  Lorretta's casual comment changed my life.  She introduced me to the man who I would spend the next 44 (and counting) years with.  She peaked my interest to know him better.  Mike did talk to me (mountain climbed), and we did get married (other stuff happened between the talking and the getting married - but you get the idea.)   Lorretta and I became friends, and she and her husband were part of our wedding party.

Now here is the really AMAZING part.  

Our lives took us in different directions in the early years after Mike and I wed.  Lorretta moved back to Waco, Texas, her home town, and our friendship faded away.

But this month I got a Facebook "friend" request from a "Lorretta" in "Waco" - the last name was different.  I accepted the request.  I did once know a Lorretta, and I knew she called Waco her home.  I took a chance that this was the same person.

After a few emails and a wonderful phone call, we are thrilled to be once again in touch with each other.  I am happy to find Lorretta to be the same giving person I remember, and to have her friendship back is a gift.

A Waco Gift,
of course, 
along with that magnificent sunrise!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Valentines (Nutcracker)

Many years ago I collected imported German Nutcrackers.  I have quite a collection.  One of my favorites is this Valentine Nutcracker.  I have no idea who he is supposed to represent, but the heart on his staff and on his hat, as well as his label identifies this guy as a Valentine Nutcracker.

Now he and all his companions are packed away, wrapped in tissue.  They are no longer displayed in my home.  My nutcracker collecting days are over.  It was a very expensive hobby (many ranged $200 to $300 a piece.)  They were also hard to display well, taking up a lot of space.  And as with most "collectables" they did not rise in value.  It is true that collections should exist for the love of it ... not as an investment.  These gentle men were loved.

It makes me a little sad that so many of my handsome wooden men are packed away (probably permanently), but it does give me pleasure to spot light one of these guys on A to Z.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Underwhelming

Underwhelming ...

That is Grimace.

He is a pug.

He is an "old pug."

He is a "love bug" pug.

He is a devoted pug (obsessively devoted - to the point of scary at times -apparently typical of the breed.)

He is a "special needs" pug (needs Pooch Pants, sometimes call Camp Trousers, or doggie diapers, to prevent ... well ... you know.  (Also typical of the breed, I am afraid.)

But a dearer, sweeter, more underwhelming pooch you will never find.

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Too Cute

Although Milo has cornered the market on brattiness (see previous postings,)
he has also cornered the market on cuteness.

He is just too darn cute.
At least that is what the humans think.

But Meathead is not impressed.

And Grimace is not impressed either.

This "too cute," "too appealing," "too sweet" thing ...

It must only work on humans.

Does the "too cute" thing work on you?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Seniors

One day recently I went for a walk around a local lake.
There were many visual delights that day,
but one lingers in my memory and touched my heart.
An elderly couple was sitting on a bench
quietly enjoying the lake view together.

They seemed perfectly content to sit companionably.
There was no pressure to converse,
no sense of urgency to go on to the "next thing."
Time didn't seem important.
They were very comfortable in each other's company.

Of course the obvious assumption
is that they are a long married retired couple
spending a quiet afternoon together.
But maybe not.
Maybe they are just close friends or affectionate siblings.
The one thing that need not be assumed ...
they know each other well
and are able to spend quality time together in restful repose.

I love this picture
even though I had to sneak around behind them to take it. :-)
To me it speaks of the possibility of a perfect senior relationship,
one that is refined by the passage of time
and clarified by life's pot holes.

It can be one of the rewards of being a senior.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Rascal

Milo is a rascal!

When Milo was a puppy his "rascal nature" was evident. We just didn't recognize it at the time.

For example, now as an adult, we have come to understand that all bones belong to Milo. I mean ALL bones. No other dog may be chewing on a bone in front of him because ALL bones belong to Milo.

In this picture we see Milo as "baby rascal," carefully studying the Meathead's jaw action required to chew a bone. Milo was a very good student. He watched very carefully. Took notes. Learned from the "master".

You will noticed that another bone (Milo's bone) is located right beside his left front foot.

But Meathead made a strategic mistake. He took a breath. He stopped for just a moment to pause, and to breath, and to rest his jaw muscles. He let the bone drop, and ... well ... Milo quickly decided that Meathead's bone was better than the one by his own foot (you know, pre chewed, juiced up and all ... just better, because it was Meathead's bone.)

Hmmm ...

Today ... all bones are Milo's (or so he thinks.) No one chews except Milo.

Nothing has changed after 2 years.

He is a "grown up rascal" now.

His full name is Milo Speedie Rascal Shanks.

PS - Speedie was the name he came with.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quiet


The quiet of a single runner,
The quiet of an infant spring,
The quiet of the early morning,
The best that life can bring.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Peace


The nearness of quiet water has always
settled my mind and given me a sense of peace.

The perfect body of water for me would be a large lake.
A body of water that is smaller than the restless ocean,
but big enough to have a distant shore in view.
is a quiet body of water.

Maybe if everyone lived by something that gives them peace,
would be the norm rather than an anomaly in our world.

What gives you peace?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Outstanding Dog Mom

My daughter is outstanding at everything she sets her mind to ...
and so it is no surprise that she has made an Outstanding Dog Mom.

She has done it all ... lots and lots of love, special foods, prescription medications, regular vet visits, urgent vet visits, careful examination of vomit and poop when needed, thorough ear cleaning, nail clipping, regular baths, dog park visits, long walks, a generous collections of dog toys, dog beds, dog training, fancy leashes, warm sweaters ... (he is a pure bred French Bulldog ... they are high maintenance, after all.)

And now she is looking to buy her own condo, and Milo's needs are part of the search criteria. Finding just the right place must include a dog friendly environment with neighboring dogs (Milo likes to have friends) and windows with interesting views (to keep Milo occupied during the long work days.)

Oh, yes.
This little dog named Milo has such an Outstanding mom!

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for a Note

I have so little of my father but memories that were not always happy. But of the few things I have, I treasure this letter that he wrote one morning before going to work.

On that day I was to go on a girl scout camping trip. The night before I had collected several items that we were assigned to bring - primarily eating utensils. I had gathered these items on the kitchen table to pack with my other things in the morning. Before dawn on that day, my dad took the time before leaving for work to write me this letter - to tease me about bringing these things from home and to remind me to bring them back. But he also expressed heart felt affection for me and wanted me to have a great camping trip.

My dad was not a letter writer. He was not a reader, or a great family man, or one to have hobbies, or even many friends. He worked and that was pretty much all he did.

This 51 year old letter remains a treasured piece of paper. These were words he wrote only to me, on a morning when he was his normal self and he was a loving father.

I have so little of his beyond unhappy memories, but in these 2 yellowing sheets of paper ... I have much.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Mom

Mom has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. In my early years she was my protector and guide. In the last 5 1/2 years she has lived with me in my home and I was her protector. In December 2011, however, she moved from my home into Assisted Living. It was a jarring and painful change for both of us.

But life moves on. We both adjusted.

The mother-child relationship can be a fluid one with many twists and turns. Initially the mothering parent (male or female) is the critical link that keeps an infant alive and safe. Later that role expands - helping the developing child, teen and young adult to fit successfully and purposefully into the society they inhabit. Even at end of life, the mother has a role to play - sharing and educating her children to the rewards and struggles at the conclusion of a long life.

These last lessons are sometimes missed or discounted. What can a senior citizen, an elderly mother or father teach you?


But these lessons are there to absorb if you keep your eyes and ears (and your heart) open.

Thanks, Mom.

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Love of ...

(Fiber ready to spin.)

The word Love is typically used to describe an strong affectionate emotion related to living things.

I want to share a different kind of Love.

(Finished sweater made for me.)

Love of all things fiber, knitting, weaving, spinning!


(Rigid Hettle Looms)

I see you getting ready to click that "next" button.

(Two hand woven scarves.)

Not a topic that tickles your fancy?
Not an interest that holds your attention?
Not an activity that seems worthwhile?

(Samples of just a few of my knitting needles. Some of my grandmothers are in this picture.)

Shame on you for having such a closed mind!

(Poncho for my daughter.)

Just look at these lovely pictures of my passion, my love ...

How can you click the "next" button and just move on
without seeing this through to the end?

(A finished knitted blanket created for my niece - the first person to ask for anything made by me.
Thank you, Robin.)

This activity might not be for you,
but you can't help but admire the colors, the product, the skill, the tools,
the beauty of this craft.

(Hand looms by Hazel Rose Looms.)

Thank you for sticking to the end to see the things I love!

(One section of one shelf of knitting, weaving, crocheting reference books.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for the King

There is only one King in our house.
King Meathead.

He has his own crown.
It blinks flashing lights when you flick a switch.
It fits his head perfectly ... because he is the King.
It matches his King-ly countenance.
It make a statement.

And the statement is???

Don't mess with the King!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Joy

Joy can be found in the simplest things.
My feet feel joy at my warm soft slippers.
I feel that joy every time I slip my feet into them.

My eyes trigger joy when I look past my feet to the ocean outside the window.
That view settles my brain and relaxes my eyes as I gaze out at the great expanse of ocean.

Joy is found all around.

Look for it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Individuality

The diversity and individuality
of life on earth just blows me away at times.

It can be seen all around us.

Nothing is the same. Everything is different.

Even tree bark,
something that is usually ignored or overlooked
displays a striking array of individuality.

It is the way our world is supposed to be.

And, yet, we humans seem to resist that which is different.

We make note of things that are too far outside our own opinion of normal.

We make fun of,
pick on,
and sometimes make war on
things that are different or
beyond our understanding.

We fail to see the beauty of individuality!

It is not one of our best traits.

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Halloween

So with the title "Halloween," I bet you thought you would see some cute little trick or treaters, or maybe a scary lighted Jack-o-lantern or maybe just a cute little ghost cartoon on the outside of a big bag of candy.

These are some of my kids - actually the "kid" on the right I gave birth to 38 years ago, and the "kid" on the left will become mine on May 19th - the day they will marry.

I really like the purple hair!

And the green thing-ys on their heads? Those are "brain slugs" I made (at their request) for their costumes. I thought I left making costumes behind 25 years ago.

Guess not. :-)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Gazing

Nothing on earth can "gaze" better than a cat.
Those eyes focus on you,
without passion or expression
stare deeply into your soul
without even a single blink.

Their face shows nothing
of what is going on behind those green eyes.

This gazing fellow is Wally, one of our cats.
He is smart.
He gets bored.
He gets into trouble because is smart and bored.

It is a dangerous combination!

Change to Mileage Tracker for 2012

I have removed the "walking lady" ticker from the top of my blog. It has been a problem. Sometimes it didn't recognize my pass word and sometimes it wouldn't take my additions. So I have removed the visual and put the totals in a small box on the side bar.

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for Fall

I love everything about a Fall.

The changing colors of nature.
The cooler more refreshing temperatures.
The coming holiday season.
And most especially
the promise of winter with the beauty of snow.

Fall is nature's flashy way
of getting your attention
to announce
"Winter is Coming."

Winter is my favorite season.
Fall is the anticipation.
Winter is the main event.

Works for me!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Engagement

Our family is about to grow in a most wonderful way.
Our son is engaged to be married to
his love,
his best friend,
his long time companion
this coming May
May 19th - the same date as my 86 year old mother's wedding anniversary of 1946.
How cool is that?

We are all thrilled at this logical and long expected step in their relationship.

My mind frequently rests on the upcoming union
of these two wonderful people.

Its a good place to rest.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Dad

This picture is beginning to show its age,
just like the bride in the picture who is now 42 years older.

My dad had the opportunity to be the Father of the Bride the year before he died. Not every dad gets that experience. But despite the smiling faces, this picture always makes me a bit sad.

Your wedding day is supposed to be a joy filled day. Mine was filled with anxiety for him. He had problems in his life that spilled out daily onto his family. And my wedding day was no different. But on this day he tried ... tried really hard to be the father of the bride for me. And I know it was a major effort for him.

We looked happy there.

And although he didn't live long enough to see his own grand children, to give his other daughter away on her wedding day or to retire, he did get the chance to walk his daughter down the isle. This time he got a chance to be normal.

I know that meant a lot to him!

I don't recall ever saying this ... it is long overdue.

Miss you dad!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for a Copper Countenance

Lame ... I know, but I loved this copper leaf face the moment I saw it on the side of a neighbor's house. I took this picture a year ago and just never found the right time to use it.

Guess this is the right time to use it!!!

It is such a life-like face that I am often drawn to it on my walks. The eyes seem to follow you, seriously watching. The lips look like they could speak ... not too thin, not too generous. The nose is so perfectly formed.

A little less brow and a little more chin would make this face perfect, but ...

A serious face - not threatening.

Just a gentle warning that "Cooler weather is coming ... prepare".

It is the face of fall!

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Bulldog

The bulldog who holds our hearts without raising a paw is Meathead.

Actually his full name is Meathead Augustus Shanks. And like the Caesars of the old Roman Empire, he also holds a high position of honor among the humans, fellow dogs and resident cats.

He is a typical English Bull Dog. He loves his comfort and his exalted position. He snores, and farts and passes wind and flaps his jowls when he eats and drinks. Sometimes food can be found on his eye brows as well as the floor around his dish. But it is no matter. He has eager servants who can clean his face and the floor.

He spends many sleep over nights at his grandma's house - looking just like this picture. He knows his own mind and he probably knows the minds everyone around him - but he just doesn't care about other minds! His mind is the only one that counts!

And, if you ever want to share your life with a bulldog ... you need to know all these things.

But you also need to know that sharing your life with an English Bull Dog is the best of the best!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

A for dear Annie

Hello and Welcome.

You might be new here. So am I.
My name is Annie and I am a young African Violet.
I have the most striking beautiful flowers.
Really ... take a closer look.
I am a pretty face for sure!
Don't you think?

I am very new to this home. And it is a strange home, indeed, for a little plant like me. First of all there are no other plants to share my space with. Very lonely.

I discovered as well that the light in this home is very poor for plants. I do have, however, my very own light. How many plants have their own personal light!!!

And then there is the real reason why I am so alone. The other non-human beings in this home ... the resident cats ... like to eat plants!

This could come to a very bad end for me!

Oh well - those felines have not yet discovered me and I am loved right now. Keeping my fingers (uhh ... leaves) crossed that I continue to "bloom where I am planted."