Friday, February 28, 2020


Thought for the day: Patience is a virtue; keep it if you can. Seldom found in women, and never found in men. [unknown]

That thought for the day is something my mother used to recite fairly often. Whether or not that helped me become as ridiculously patient as I am now or not, I don't know. But maybe. Or maybe it's simply because of my training. You know...kinda like a dog who's forced to sit still with a treat sitting on his snout until his owner gives him permission to eat it? When there is no other option, you darned well learn how to be patient.

My mom was fairly patient, but my father was always a gnat hair's breadth away from exploding in indignant fury. He didn't want to wait for anything... ever. I do remember one kinda funny result of that, though. One year, my mother bought him an electric razor for Christmas, and when he opened it on Christmas morning, lo and behold, there were already whiskers in it! He'd found the hidden razor weeks earlier and had been using it right up until my mother wrapped it. (I guess he musta liked it, huh?)

So are you the patient type? I think most mothers pretty much have to be, what with all the countless hours of waiting they have to do for their kids' appointments and activities. We older folks, too, what with all our trips to various doctors. Smarticus was never the patient type, but since his medical stuff started, he has little choice. When you've got all those appointments and procedures, week after week after week, you either learn to be philosophical about the endless waits and the not knowing, or you do yourself more harm by letting it get to you. We've learned to be more patient together. Right now, we're patiently waiting (And I ask you, why isn't HURRY THE HELL UP  a virtue???) until we finally get results. Maybe next week... maybe not. At any rate, why focus on what's yet to come? It's better to make the most of THIS day, dontcha think? Que sera sera. 

                               How do you think you'd do with THIS test of your patience?

                             Let's take some more looks at the funny side of impatience, shall we?

Do you suffer in silence? We don't. We might be patient, but we're also yakkers, and we usually get the people around us talking, too. And the little kids giggling.

We never had to push (or slingshot) our kiddos out of the nest, but I'm not surprised by the number of parents who do. I mean, when Johnny's old enough to invite his lady friend... and her children... over for the weekend, he's old enough to get his own place.

This one reminds me of a poster Smarticus used to have in his office at work. It showed a couple of buzzards, and one of them is saying, "Patience, my ass! I'm gonna kill something!"

Hmmm, come to think of it, Noah must've had the patience of Job...

                                     Okay, so let's give it up for patience!!! Gimme a P...

Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things... with resignation, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope. [Carazon Aquino]

                                     Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Shall We Dance?

Thought for the day: Dance like no one is watching, love like you'll never be hurt; sing like no one is listening, and live like it's heaven on earth. [William Purkey]

[image courtesy of unsplash]
I've never been all that great of a dancer. Not that I didn't love doing it... but let's just say no one ever tried to recruit me for a touring dance troupe. For the most part, what I lacked in talent, I made up for with enthusiasm. I did manage to take first place in a jitterbug contest a million years ago, but I attribute that entirely to my dance partner. Bobby reeeeeally knew how to lead.

And about forty years ago, believe it or not, I actually took belly dancing lessons. It was a lot of fun, but it was more of an exercise class than a genuine dance class. The instructor lured some of us into continuing with her "advanced" class by promising we'd make costumes and perform at a local nursing home. We did neither, which, in retrospect is probably a good thing. Not the costumes part. The part that would've had a handful of silly housewives jiggling and wiggling in front of a bunch of captive seniors.

In more than fifty years of marriage, Smarticus and I have done a lot of dancing. We even belonged to a club for a few years that gave us lots of opportunities to dance. But it's been a while. I still sway and clap or snap my fingers to the background music that's playing while we shoot pool, but I suppose my days of getting out on a dance floor may be near an end. (Maybe at one of our grandchildren's weddings...?)

But wouldn't it be nice... I mean, really really nice... if we could all dance with the reckless abandon of a child? To simply bubble over with the infectious feel of the music and the explosive joy of moving...  without a single shred of self-consciousness? Without the self-doubts that tell us I don't know how.

Why can't we? What's stopping us? I say... nothing is stopping us ... but us.  I say forget about that dance like nobody's watching stuff. I say dance like a child. They don't even need music.

Matter of fact, I think I'm gonna go dance around our bedroom.(AFTER I take a couple of Aleve...)  Pretend I know what I'm doing. Why the heck not? Nobody will be watching but the cats. And they might even join in.  And, hmmm, if I'm not mistaken, I may still have some belly dancing music around here... THAT should be a REAL hoot! I may even scare up one captive senior who might appreciate it...

Talking about dancing with reckless abandon, I'm gonna share a portion of  one of my early... way early... blog posts, back when I only had a handful of followers:


Do you remember Shirley Temple?

She was an amazing child star, and the absolute epitome of golly-gee-whiz cuteness, with her bouncy blonde curls, chubby cheeks and deep dimples. In the '50s, after she was already a grown woman, my friends and I were still watching her old movies, still watching her sing and tap dance across our tiny TV sets. Most of my friends hated her, but me? I wanted to BE her.

How I longed for my limp straight-as-a-stick hair to magically turn into those bouncy sausage curls. How I longed to sing those sweet songs as sweetly as she. And, oh! How I longed to tap dance!

In reality, my hair was worn in one of two styles, and I use the term loosely. Either it was straight and looked like Prince Valiant's do, which can be approximated by sticking a mixing bowl on your head and cutting around it, or it was tortured into a Little Orphan Annie frizz by virtue of a smelly home permanent. No sausage curls for me, bouncy or otherwise.

The singing I did okay. Never American Idol quality, but I could carry a tune. But dance? I could make my way around the neighborhood by walking strictly on top of the chain link fences, could climb the tallest trees, and could ride my bicycle down the multi-flights of concrete stairs by the elementary school without quite killing myself, but let's just say that I was never the most graceful kid on the block. I had two over-sized left feet, and my favorite aunt called me Lurch.

But one magical day, during one of our huge extended family gatherings, I made an amazing discovery in the shadows behind my uncle's cellar steps... my older cousin's long-forgotten and bee-yoo-ti-ful sparkly red tap shoes!

[image courtesy of morguefile]

Believe you me, it took quite a while to squeeze into those tiny shoes. But I did it, and then in the shadows behind the cellar steps, I began to dance. Not sure it would've qualified as anything close to tap dancing, though. It was more like a Snoopy happy dance. If Snoopy had his feet shoved into shoes that were two sizes too small. Then, of course, I had to sing...  On the Good Ship Lollipop.

[image courtesy of unsplash]

I was having a grand ol' pinch-toed time until some of my relatives found me. And laughed. Laughed until they almost wet themselves. (Did I happen to mention that my relatives were terribly rude?) Nah, it was all in fun, and once my mother helped pry my poor feet out of those shoes, the family continued to tease me about that adventure for many years to come.


Even after all these years, I still remember how happy it made me to find those shoes and to dance with the sheer joy of dancing. We should all try to do that more often, don't you think?

Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering. [Steve Maraboli]

It's no secret that some dark health clouds have been hanging over our house for a while, but I think that's an even bigger reason to dance. To sing. To laugh. None of us get to live forever, so we've absolutely got to make the most of each day.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain.

How about you? Who did YOU want to be when you were a kid? Besides Shirley Temple, I also wanted to be Dale Evans. That didn't work out so hot, either. I remember going horseback riding one time, and carrying a nice apple to feed my horse. Poor ol' thing didn't have a tooth in her head. Not positive, but I'm pretty sure Dale Evans' Buttercup had teeth.

                           Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

[image courtesy of unsplash]

                                            Embrace life. This may be the only one we get.

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Whole Lotta Lovin'

Thought for the day:  ♪♫ I wish you bluebirds in the spring to give your heart a song to sing... I wish you health, and more than wealth, I wish you love...♫♪ [Rachel Yamagata]

Happy Valentines's Day, y'all! So how do you like my love monkey? I'm not talking about Smarticus; I'm talking about that cute little stuffed monkey in the picture, which he gave me for Valentine's Day a number of years ago. If you squeeze his belly, he gives a wolf whistle, and says in a dirty ol' man kinda voice, I go bananas over you!  Again, I'm talking about the monkey, not Smarticus, although come to think of it, it's exactly the sort of thing he would say. That's why it's such a perfect gift. Forget about jewelry and furs, and all that jazz. A gift that makes me laugh wins me over every time.


Then again, chocolate ain't bad, either. After all, a box of candy is never the wrong size, right? Although it came darned close to being too large one year. Smarticus gave me a box of chocolates big enough to cover the entire top of the coffee table. I kid you not. Whew! Talk about a LOT of candy! It took me almost a whole hour to eat it all. (Just kidding. It took more like seventy minutes.)

I'll never forget some of the romantic cards and gifts Smarticus has given me over the years. (sigh) We were all of twelve or thirteen the first time he wrote a poem (just for me!) in my autograph book. It went like this: Roses are red; violets are blue. You've got a shape like a B-52. I mean, doesn't that send shivers of sheer delight up and down your spine?

We weren't much older than that when he extended a lovely decorated box toward me, smiled seductively, and told me to open it. When I did, I found a barf-worthy severed finger lying atop a fluffy bed of cotton. It was his finger, of course, stuck through a hole in the box bottom and doctored up to look as disgusting as he could make it. Yeah, I know. Smarticus was a bit of a farticus in those days.

But, what can I say? I married him anyway. How could I not? He's a gen-u-ine original, and even after all these years, he still knows how to make me laugh, and still knows how to make my heart sing.


Talking about original, have you ever wondered who this St. Valentine fella was and how he came to be associated with a feast day devoted to love? Or why we associate the day with the color red... with red roses in particular... and why we exchange Valentines?

Well, then, you've come to the right place. I've shared this information before, but just in case you missed it or need a refresher course:

Our man Valentine was a priest in Rome during the reign of Claudius the Cruel, an emperor with an unholy affinity for declaring war. In fact, this wacko's wars were so frequent and so unpopular, it got to where very few men were joining the military. The emperor, who was evidently just as stupid as he was cruel, decided the only reason men weren't rushing to fight his wonderful wars was because they were too darned attached to their wives and family. So he came up with the perfect solution. He banned marriages.

Oh, but fear not. Our hero priest continued to perform marriage ceremonies in secret. That is, until the mean ol' emperor found out about it, and had him killed. By beating, stoning, and then beheading. (Talk about overkill.) Valentine died on February 14, 270. (Ah, HA!)

Legend has it that he left a special note for the jailer's daughter, and signed it... from your Valentine. 

So, why the color red, you ask? For obvious reasons, blood red is the color of martyrs. And thanks to the martyred St. Valentine... it also became the color of love. Red roses represent Venus, the goddess of love. And if legend is correct, Valentine himself sent the first Valentine card. St. Valentine's feast day was established in 496, but it didn't become recognized as a lovers' holiday and big day of romance until ten centuries later, when popular belief held that the fourteenth of February marked the start of mating season for birds.


So, if you consider Valentine's Day to be for the birds... you aren't entirely wrong.

At right is an example of a 1909 Valentine's Day card, which I found on Wikipedia. As a young girl, I remember buying big fancy cards for my mother... complete with scented satin hearts on the front and lace around the edges... for the exorbitant price of thirty-five cents. My sweet Smarticus has sent me a bunch of beautiful cards over the years, but he'd still probably be more comfortable with one that said: Roses are red; violets are blue. Sugar is sweet, and so are you... The roses are wilting; the violets are dead. The sugar bowl's empty, and so is your head.

Just kidding. He's actually quite the romantic. (But I sure am glad he didn't know about St. Valentine losing his head over love when we were kids. The finger was bad enough.)

I'm pleased to say he's outgrown sending the shape like a B-52 kinda messages, but he isn't above laughing at them. Neither am I. With sincere thanks to our friend and fellow amateur radio operator Bill, who sent these cards to me, I present to you cards some of the world's most notorious despots might have sent, because ya know... even bad guys need love.

Trying to forget someone you love is like trying to remember someone you never met.

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in muddy boots.

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile. [Franklin P. Jones]

You can't blame gravity for falling in love.  [Albert Einstein]

Lots of things are considered aphrodisiacs... like big red juicy strawberries, and rich dark chocolate... or better yet, big red juicy strawberries dipped in rich dark chocolate...

Um, where was I...?

Oh, yeah. I wanted to tell you guys about one of the best aphrodisiacs of all time. Wanta put your lady love in the mood? Do the dinner dishes. I tell ya, nothing is as sexy to a woman as seeing her man tackling a load of dishes  while she's in the easy chair with her feet propped up... eating strawberries dipped in chocolate. Or if ya reeeeeally want to make her weak in the knees... clean the toilet bowl. 

Put a lotta love in your heart

Anyhow, whether you celebrate in a small way, reeeally BIG, or not at all, I wish you love. Today and every day.

Wouldn't it be nice if we celebrated love...  every day?

                                          Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Why Fix it if it Ain't Broke?

Thought for the day:  My grandma always said God made libraries so people didn't have an excuse to be stupid. [Joan Bauer]

Yep. It's that time again. Yet another month has slipped through our fingers, and it is once again time for our IWSG monthly posts. For me, today isn't just about the IWSG, though. It also happens to be Smarticus' birthday, so I won't be spending much time on the computer. Maybe before he gets up, and during his nap, but other than that, the day will be all about him. I've got some fun plans up my sleeve if he's game... if he is, I'll tell you about it later.

Anyhow, back to today's post. As always, thanks to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and thanks to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. I'm telling ya, this group offers better support and lift than the world's most expensive bra. (No pesky underwires, either!) To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

Per the thought for the day, I dunno if Ms. Bauer's grandma was right about libraries, but I have a sneaky feeling all of you are long-time library lovers, like me. I wasn't a fan because I was trying to avoid stupidity, but simply because... I love the very idea of them. Their smells, the sounds, all those BOOKS, just free for the borrowing. As a young girl, I had library cards for a multitude of libraries. Where we grew up in Maryland, there were soooo many wonderful libraries, so... why limit myself to only one? My favorite was the Enoch Pratt Library, on the outskirts of Baltimore city. That place is HUGE! Multiple -storied, it had broad sweeping wooden staircases befitting a southern mansion, and a whole bank of card catalogs. I imagine the place has long-since been modernized, so I doubt if they have any of the old card catalogs any more. Too bad. I loved the simplicity of looking through those cards to find a book by title, author, or subject. Then again, I miss the simple way of stamping a due date on the card and book, too. I reckon I'm just a dinosaur when it comes to libraries. (And, yeah, a bunch of other things, too.) Another cool thing about Enoch Pratt is they had a small room filled with Edgar Allen Poe's desk and other stuff. Reeeeally neat!

Then in 1971, we moved to our sweet little town of Norcross here in Georgia. One of the first things I did after settling in was to visit the local library.


Okay, so maybe it wasn't quite as small as the little lending library in the picture, but it wasn't much bigger. Really. It was ensconced in a tiny home, and the books were on the shelves all helter-skelter, and... they didn't even use the Dewey decimal system!!! Books were more or less alphabetized, but the librarians weren't exactly anal-retentive about it. Some were... some weren't.


I kid you not. I cried. Then I joined two by-mail book-of-the-month clubs.

I'm not sure why the library was in such a disorganized unprofessional state when we moved here, but it wasn't always the case. This adorable little brick building was our city's first library. The Norcross Women's Club was founded in 1905 with the express purpose of supporting the National Library movement and to establish a library here. Norcross had the FIRST library in the region, and it was located in a local school in 1907. Then this sweet little building was built in 1921, and it housed our library until 1966. I'm not sure why they vacated this building to move to the tiny house with maybe six parking places, as I found it in in 1971, but at least the old library still houses something. The Norcross Women's Club. It kinda came full circle.

I'm not sure what year our current library was built, but it's a huge improvement. Even won a Library of the Year award once. They've made a lot of changes since it opened, some I like, some not so much. Checking out is like space age magic. Just pile your books any which way on this high-tech  scanner thingie, enter your card number, and it gives you a print-out of all your books and when they're due.

NOW, a newer, bigger, even better library is being built to replace this one. There's gonna be a big multi-tiered parking deck next to it. I'm looking forward to seeing what the new library will bring, but here's the thing...

Our library was closed for a few days in January. You'll never guess why...

They're eliminating the Dewey decimal system!


Instead, they're going to sort books by subject matter.

I hate it.

The fiction section was already shelved by subject matter... or genre... and I hate that, too. I mean, some books simply don't fit neatly into their limited assortment of categories, so if I'm looking for a book by a particular author, it could be shelved in any one of several places.

Where's a good ol' card catalog when ya need it?

So I'm curious.

About YOUR libraries.

Have they kicked the Dewy decimal system to the curb, too? If so, how do you like it?

I don't mean to be an old fuddy-duddy, so I'd love it if you could explain to me why the new system will be better.

End of rant.

Okay, let's move on to this month's question, shall we?

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

Well, I'm sure a photo or work of art has served as the inspiration for many stories. Just none by ME. (How do ya like THAT? Short and sweet. It really IS possible for me to answer in less than 500 words....)

                          Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.