Archives for the month of: February, 2014

Going on my grammar soapbox for today. I have some cred on this subject because I’m an English major and taught composition briefly as a graduate student. Mostly, I had very, very good teachers who drilled it into me.

When using me and I, please do it correctly. “Me and her are going to the movie” sounds ignorant. First of all, quit putting yourself first, even in this Me, Me, Me world. Then take one of the people out of the sentence and see how it sounds. “Me is going to the movie.” “Her is going to the movie.” Try “She and I are going to the movie.”

Mostly, I hear things like “Me and Joe and are hanging out,” rather than “Joe and I. . .” I cringe. If I were interviewing this person for a job, I would make a note.

I gave up changing the world, but I would love to have one person make the effort to correct their speech. Please. We all make grammar mistakes sometimes, but we can always keep trying to sound a little more educated. Let’s start with me and I. Please.

Stepping down. . .thank you, thank you, thank you to all those great teachers.


It’s no secret that I keep a lot of things. An enormous amount of what is here is sentimental, my biggest weakness in keeping things. Some stuff is here because I am the daughter of depression parents and grandparents and just know that I can recycle something for another use and can’t just throw away something that is perfectly good just because I’m not using it now. Some things just get put in a drawer or a closet for no good reason. Maybe someone is coming over and I don’t take the time to properly store the item. Maybe I was lazy and threw it in a drawer or closet, knowing myself well enough to realize I wouldn’t really get back to it in the near future.

Anyway, I have a new plan for clearing out. I’ve tried to come up with strict rules, but I know myself better than that. I learned that raising four kids. . .don’t set expectations that will make you frustrated when they aren’t done right.

Here’s my plan. When I open a drawer, closet or cabinet that looks cluttered, I see if I can take 10 things out of it. I did this with my spice drawer and threw out at least 10 bottles or cans of spices that had been in there way too long or that I had never used. I did it with the drawer in my bathroom and got rid of old makeup, lotions, samples. I need to get rid of some clothes I never wear that other people would love to have. I can throw away, toss in the recycling bin or take things to someone who will use it now. Sometimes I choose more than 10, but 10 is a good rule.

Now I need to move on to my shoes, clothes, garage, desk, linen closet, hall closet, book case, kitchen, bathroom, and so on. There is stuff everywhere that I can get get out of my house and my life if I put my mind to it. I started to say that I wouldn’t ever put anything else in a space until I took 10 things out of it, but that was a little obsessive.

Anyway, I figure if I do this at least once a week, that’s 520 things out of the house in a year. I can do more than 10 easily, as well as more than once a week, but let’s get real here. That’s a reasonable goal to start with.

Sigh. . .now to get started again.


Nine years ago, I looked at my aging dog and thought I might want to get another one. On a whim, I called an ad in the newspaper and drove to look at a Labradoodle puppy, four months old. When I got there, she was sitting in the lap of the owner. I sat down on the lawn and she came over to me, I talked to her for a few minutes, and then she walked over to my car and stood there. Let’s go. I don’t think I’ve ever been picked by a dog before. I didn’t have much choice, did I?


Good Golly Miss Molly is 9 years old today, my faithful, adoring friend. She is bigger than they told me she would be, sheds more than I thought, and is too smart for words. I have no idea the depth of her understanding of what is going on with me at any time, but it’s way more than people give her credit for.


She’s the head of my menagerie, all who came after her. She has a little Westie for a sidekick, Annabel, an older friend, Wanda, who really belongs to my daughter-in-law, and two cats, Mickey and Guy. They all love her and follow her everywhere. Except Guy, who is a little more aloof.



Today, I wish Molly a Happy 9th Birthday. I’m not sure I deserve such unconditional adoration. Does anybody? That’s why we love our furry families.



I was amused, and slightly annoyed, listening to someone bash Facebook, calling it a complete waste of time. I understand that not everybody likes everything in the modern world, including television, movies, email, computers, smart phones, etc., but there are those of us of all ages who embrace every bit of it. So, this is my rebuttal on Facebook, in no particular order of importance.

1. The photos. It has replaced the brag book for parents and grandparents. When I first became a grandmother, we all carried books of photos in our purses, which quickly became obsolete as the babies grew up so fast. Now, we all see everything in our friends’ family lives. If you don’t want to see it, don’t look, but the rest of us are delighted to share the greatest of happiness with you. And, use the privacy settings if you don’t want everyone in the world to see them.

2. More photos. I love the travel photos, which give me new places to dream about, and the everyday photos, which take me with you. I love the weather photos, the food and coffee photos, and any photo you share! Again, if this isn’t your thing, don’t look. Scroll down for something else.

3. The videos. I love seeing what videos amused you or moved you, or seeing videos of your baby’s first steps. It saves me going to YouTube to search for them myself and I get an inkling of your sense of humor or your compassion or your life.

4. My own group of friends all in one place, sharing together. I am happy to have friends of all ages, from my grandchildren to elderly friends on Facebook. There are friends from various places I have been, friends from previous jobs, friends from school, which was a long time ago, old friends and new friends, friends of my children, and mere acquaintances. I get to choose which ones are there. And, I like that I can sort them out into groups and see only the posts of my family or a certain group or my close friends without having to search the site each time.

5. Private messages. Facebook messages have replaced emails in many cases and I’m for any way we can reach each other.

6. Businesses or groups I “Like.” I’m cautious with this because I don’t want this to end up like my email which is now 90% business ads. I do like to check on a restaurant or store to see what is going on there and Facebook is an easy way to do that.

7. Links to articles. It seems I find more information than ever on very interesting and timely issues due to the links my friends post. Once I read that one, I find more and keep reading on. Sometimes, these articles are linked to sites I have never heard of, so it’s a shortcut for me. If a friend posts it, I am likely to check it out.

8. Sharing important moments. When my son died, I was so touched by the tributes to him on Facebook and the messages to his family from people all over the country. We still keep his page so that his friends can post photos they run across or send a message when they are thinking about him. Facebook also lets people share when their friends are sick or going through rough periods in their life or having a happy moment, such as a wedding or graduation. We are all a community at those times particularly.

9. Deepening friendships. Through Facebook, I have learned so much more about people I knew at work or through my children or hadn’t seen in awhile or just met, or have known my whole life. Through their sharing, I feel much more involved in their lives and understand them much better. Sometimes, I admit, I don’t like what I see so much, but that helps me understand them better.

10. Sharing the news. When something happens in our world, I’m sure to find political comments, quotes, articles, and observations, whether we are discussing gay rights, elections, religion, entertainment news, commentary on television programs or movies or art or sports. I learn so much about you this way. Sometimes we don’t think alike and the discussions get lively, but we are discussing some serious issues and it’s always great to look at all sides of everything.

I understand that younger Facebook users are turned off because their parents and grandparents have taken it over and they want their own space with their own friends. Boy, do I remember that feeling well and I respect it. They have turned to Instagram, which is fun and makes us all art photographers, but is limited in scope as they don’t have to use words very much. They like Twitter, which has its limits also. And there are other sites. I hope that they come back along the way because, until something new comes along, Facebook seems to be the best community for those of us who value relationships and want to stay in touch. If I could be with all these people in person every day. . .well that’s not possible. This is my thank you to Mark Zuckerberg for his enterprise.

Nobody has to join Facebook, but it’s sure fun.


I love you, my oldest daughter, because you were the first and you were the only one with blonde hair and blue eyes and you were somewhat patient with me while I figured out how to be a mother. Oh, you did roll your eyes and I knew I was “doing it wrong,” but you hung in there with me until you were old enough to boss your sisters and brother without any help from me. I always knew that you would be happiest when you had your own children and I was right about that. And I love that you are my frilly girl and became a boy mom. I love you because you are loyal to your friends and picked the best husband and are always there for all of us. And I love all your accomplishments. You are a beautiful woman, inside and out!

I love you, my middle daughter, because you were second and never let us forget that you were different from your sisters. I love that you got your Daddy’s dark brown eyes and hair. I love your stubbornness and your unrelenting competitiveness and even your inability to make a shopping decision. I love seeing you be a boy mom and then getting a girl that you really weren’t sure what to do with. I love your pride in your children and your determination when you start something and your talents with a camera and writing. I love that you found the best husband for you. I love that you know yourself so well and can laugh at things that used to bug you. I love that your favorite look is athletic wear. You are a gorgeous woman, inside and out!

I love you, my youngest daughter, because you were the baby girl and followed the other girls around until you got a little brother to boss around yourself. I love that you had that streak in your hair and were “Temper Tantrum Turtle” sometimes, but mostly you were a sweet little girl. I love that you found your true love in high school and keep that love as fresh as it was when you were just a kid. I love your mathematical mind when none of the rest of us have one and your frustration in understanding how we just don’t get algebra. I love that you too are a boy mom and love their sports and love teaching preschoolers and exercise classes and are a runner of races and marathons. I love that you have your own rockin’ look and can hold your own with the big girls now. I love that you are compassionate and caring. You are a stunning woman, inside and out.

I love you, my daughter-in-law, because my son brought you to us and you were the perfect person to spend his last decade with him. I love that you loved him so much and took care of him and “got” his sense of humor. I love that you appreciated the things about him we all loved so much. I love that you are now one of my girls and that you are such an incredible mother of your uniquely wonderful daughter and that you hold your own with my strong daughters and we all love you so. I love that you are accomplishing so very much with your life while raising your daughter. I love that you let us all share in her life. I love your intelligence, your love of crafts, your humor and your determination. I love your devotion to your friends and your family. You are an incredibly radiant woman, inside and out.

I love all four of you for being the role models that your sons need to learn how to treat women and that your daughters need to become the best of our fair sex. I miss that you aren’t little girls any more, but I love that we are friends and can talk and laugh and share with each other. Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweeties!


We’re not supposed to tell lies. Simple as that. Don’t lie.

Of course, we all tell lies, from the simple lie to the phone caller that you’re busy and can’t come to the phone to making excuses for not going somewhere. Parents trap their children in lies when they ask “Did you do this?” in a voice that screams punishment.

I’ve been trying to think of the worst lies I’ve ever told, but I can’t think of anything that actually hurt someone. Sometimes we tell what we call white lies to protect someone. I’m not sanctimonious about this. I’ve told a lie or two or three in my lifetime. Not big ones though.

I’ve been confronted with a lot of liars in my life. One guy was such a liar that he couldn’t answer a simple question without embellishing it with more lies. A compulsive liar. I never understood the need to do that. The truth was right there and easy to find, so why tell lies that you know would be known as lies?

There are people who live lies. Cheaters, unfaithful spouses, sports cheaters. I’ve known all of those, too. There are those who make their living off of lying to people, taking their money, ruining their lives.

I become more fascinated with the truth, the truth as we see it, the older I get. Everybody sees an incident from their own viewpoint and it becomes their truth. Watching and reading the news coverage of the Woody Allen vs Mia Farrow battles, you can see how it tears across families and lives. I can’t tell whose truth is the real truth.

During the past week, I’ve heard several stories of people I know who have had their lives turned upside down by lies. People of all ages in all parts of the country fooled by people with lies fueled by anger, hurt, drugs, alcohol, and plain stupidity. I have no answers.

Trying to make sense of lies, I’m struck by the people who have believed the lies more than anything, people with good, believing, loving hearts who want to see the best in people, not the worst. The greatest danger is the damage, the disillusionment of those whose trust is destroyed. The damage is if they cannot put the lies in perspective and keep trusting people. Common sense caution is always good, but we need to always feel like we are doing the right thing, that helping someone, loving someone is a natural response to need, to the human condition.

I choose to believe that humans are basically good at heart. If I can’t believe that, I can’t be me. No lie.

Along Route 66, south of Vinita, Oklahoma, a sign caught my eye and I turned in a little cemetery, bordered with a new white fence along the highway.


Driving part way down the worn grass drive, I stopped to survey the site, bordered on three sides by Oklahoma fields.


A trickle of a creek ran through it and there was a bridge although you could walk over it on the drive. Back in the corner were a couple of fenced sites.


Coming in, I passed the larger monuments in preferential spots and headed for the smaller graves at the back. Walking on icy grass with bitter cold, I tried to get a feel for this resting place. Birth dates went back into the 1800s, some of our state’s first settlers.

The lamb graced the grave of a child.


Benson Pack died a young man, his life counted in years, months and days…


This caught my eye. A child’s grave obviously.


When I walked around to the front, I was deeply touched that a child who lived only two days was so missed almost twenty-eight years later.


Maybe there is a record of who lies here, over by the fence, under the worn monument.


There’s a quiet dignity and sweetness in this homemade marker.


The cold wet weather drove me back to my car and back to the highway. I’m all for cremation for many reasons, but I appreciate the people whose stories I will imagine from the worn tombstones by Route 66. Peace.

On a dreary, freezing rain morning, I found myself driving from Tulsa to Vinita along historic Route 66. I chose this road rather than the turnpike on purpose. For awhile I worked in this area and loved being out in the rural communities and there is a lot of what makes Route 66 famous on this stretch. Usually, I don’t have time to stop and take pictures or double back to check something out or travel down a side road.

Here’s what I found…

A little movie theatre in Vinita. I love old movie theaters.


A flea market along the road.


I wonder what baby things they have.


Their yard art is incomparable. They have a dinosaur, Statue of Liberty, gargoyles, a dolphin, angels, cow and what else?


In Chelsea, there is this motel. You have to picture it when the first travelers on Route 66 saw it.


On the other side of Chelsea is the park with the merry-go-round and swings. I bet everyone in town has gotten dizzy on this. I gave it a push although the seats were coated in ice.


This house sits there by the road. I guess until it collapses. Wonder what its story is?


I turned down a road and found llamas and cows, which always makes me stop. It’s Oklahoma.


The historic Totem Pole park, home of the world’s largest totem pole, is a true Route 66 landmark. I hadn’t been here in years and it was very retro on a drizzly morning.


On the way back to the highway, I passed this colorful skull signage on the fence.


I love the irony of the Top Hat in Foyil. It was or is a dairy bar. In the country.


I turned around to see what was going on with the ape at Kong’s Korner. Looks like vandals got to him. What can you say?


Crossing over the old bridges near Catoosa.


And a final wave to the Blue Whale, patiently waiting for summer.


Route 66 always brings a smile.