Category Archives: Family

Want A Beautiful 1.25 Acres in the Country?

A few years ago Vince and I purchased five acres of beautiful property, and subdivided it into four parcels. Three have sold. Two have beautiful homes, and my favorite remains.  We thought it had sold to one of my former fourth grade students, but financing fell through. I was so sad – instant grandchildren came with that sale. But maybe there is someone else just as lovely that wants to build a home there.

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Two days ago the weather was so perfect, I had to do a photo shoot there. It’s on a cul-de-sac and has a pad already cleared for building. This is the house across the private road.

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It was about 4:00 pm. The full moon peeped out of the clouds in broad daylight. I see a rabbit. What do you see?

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The lot has five or six oak trees that are probably between 50 and 100 years old. They are indigenous to this area, but are not protected like the Visalia Oak. The cute little house across the street is ours.  It is small, but very I think very adorable. He’s getting ready to redo our master bathroom. His son is coming to help him today, and I’m going out of town. (Whew!)

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The trees have many birds, mostly owls, woodpeckers and vultures. They are camera-shy. I waste so much time trying to capture them with my camera.

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I almost missed this one, and it’s not clear. I’m probably spinning as I follow it. I shot using my telephoto lens, which gets really close, but it sticks out so far, I can’t hold it steady. You are looking at the underbelly of a woodpecker. They love telephone poles. Every pole stores thousands of acorns. They like to put them in our gutters as well, up under the edge of the roof.

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This is probably a vulture in the top center of the maze of limbs.

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He doesn’t want to even land.

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To the east beyond the foothills, you see the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range on a clear day.

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There is a vacant lot right across the street next to our house. Vince has always wanted to plant a vineyard, but there are many regulations, and neither of us knows what we are doing, so it sits fallow.

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You can see that the trees will bloom any day now.

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The young couple that planned to buy the property asked about snakes. Mama Kitty ate one the other day. I think it was a garter snake. She made the funniest screaming noise while she was playing with it. After munching it down, she later gave it back, but  was no worse for the wear.

2015 BV March115We have seen about 2 tiny rattle snakes in the 15 years we have lived there, so they are there. We had Kalev rattle snake trained, so she is alert. The cats just eat them. They also catch gophers. The squirrels are too much for them, so we have help catching them and the raccoons. Scardy Kitty got stuck in the trap one morning. He was quite irritated as he waited patiently for me to figure out how to open it.

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Country life doesn’t appeal to everyone, but city slickers, Vince and Marsha wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

 

 

Notes on Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – funniest book ever.  I can hardly get through this.  I’m 17% done.  I have written something since I was old enough to write.  No pressure to publish, just love to write.  Can’t help myself really.  It just flows out. Anne Lamott can tell you exactly what happens.

Marsha
What should I write today? the autobiography of my childhood, or a book about the history of – oh say – women?

 

“You sit down to write… what you have in mind is…a history of-oh say- say women. …Then your mental illnesses arrive at the desk like your sickest, most secretive relatives.  … After a moment I may notice that I’m trying to decide whether or not I am too old for orthodontia, and whether right now would be a good time to make a few calls, and then I start to think about learning to use makeup and how maybe I could find some boyfriend who is not a total and complete fixer upper, and then my life would be totally great… Then I think about all the people I should have called back before I sat down to work and how I should probably at least check in with my agent and tell him this great idea I have and see if he thinks it’s a good idea, and see if he thinks I need orthodontia-if that is what he is actually thinking whenever we have lunch together…”

Maybe you will be better at finishing this book than I am so far.  As soon as I start reading, I have to write the same thing that happened to me only in a different way.

So I’m trying to get through at least one more chapter without stopping to write any more of her funniness.

HOWEVER, I’ve been on a writing roll since 12-27, but husband told me yesterday.  I thought he meant 12:27, but that’s another argument. (minor, minor one folks)

The other day after rewriting Girls on Fire for at least four hours, I took a break to take the dog outside.  The good news is that I had dressed.  Many days I don’t change out of pajamas until I know I have to go somewhere, and now I hate to leave the house for any reason.  But that day, I did throw on some jeans and a t-shirt I’d been wearing for a day or two.

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My hair was still rumpled in a way only women with hot flashes understand.  The straight bangs that used to be thin and straight are now fluffy in all directions.  The back of my hair sticks out about an inch from my head then falls limply leaving a huge part the size of my  hand in the back.

bing car

So I walked out on the front porch and waited for the dog, who I’ve ignored all morning, and who drives up but the Bing car.  Maybe you’ve never seen the Bing car.  It’s white with a black sign on the side that says Bing.  On the top is a 5 or 6 foot pole, and on top of the pole is a camera(s).  The Bing car drives down your road at about 30 miles an hour shooting pictures from all angles from the camera(s) perched on top of the car.  The result will be pictures you can zoom down to see your street at any angle.  I’ve always worried that one of these cars will shoot through the fence in the backyard when I’m skinny dipping at midnight so no one will see me.  So far, until last week I’ve been safe, but last week the Bing car drove down my street.

Road Trip
Road Trip Yes, it took plenty of gas.  

I wouldn’t worry as much, but the picture that is up on Google has been there since we had our GMC motor home, which was about 6 years ago.  So I’m obsessing that this horrible series of shots of my bad hair day will be up there for everyone to see for the next 6-7 years. What if I become famous?  Will newspapers pick this up and publish it?

Now do you see why I’ve only read 17% of this wonderful book?  You’d better read it yourself instead of waiting for a book review from me.

How are you today?

Weekly Travel Themes: Noise

Vince and I come to Avila Beach in Central California to escape the quiet tranquility of our country home in the hot Central Valley.

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At the Friday night street fair this band attracts a crowd.  Nobody could resist  “Sweet Home Alabama,” no matter what their age.

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People moved out of the way to let this couple dance.

Street fair6They didn’t inhibit others from doing something different.

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Vince noticed the mature gypsy queen.  I tried to get close to her, but people kept crowding in between us as they danced their way across the street.

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First one and then another, and my camera has a bit of a delay.  So I would get her all lined up , snap the picture, someone walked in front of me, and click, the shutter opened.   The results were interesting at times.

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Sometimes they were downright laughable, but it was so noisy that you couldn’t hear yourself laugh.

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I can’t hear her, can you?  I hope you enjoyed the music we heard at the Avila Street Fair last Friday night.  Tomorrow’s Friday.  Want to go?

To see more entries about noise or to see other themes visit Where’s my backpack?

WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue

Talkative Marsha struggling with dialogue?  In this case what I think the creator of this challenge wanted us to catch is a bit of fashion designing with our pictures rather than strict dialogue – odd things that sort of go together because of color or texture similarities or differences.  They just work.  I like fashion and decorating, so I wanted to pursue that angle.

First, I started with dialogue in a more literal sense.  Puppy Girl dialogued very clearly with Vince.  He worked on the computer, when clearly he could have chosen to pet her tummy.  So she grabs his hand and pulls.

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It’s endearing, but altogether annoying to him when he has an offer to submit.  Generally she wins.

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Next I considered animals dialoguing with each other, and establishing their pecking order.  The queen here stands alone not deigning to even look at her lowly subject.  No worries, the subject, like the jester, simply enjoys the ride, laughs at the queen behind her back, and moves on, untroubled by the queen’s weighty problems.

Mike and statue

When I took this next picture, I looked at the sculpture, then Mike walked up.  Back and forth I looked at one then the other until dizziness made me shout, “Stop Mike!  Is that statue YOU?  Let me photograph the two of you together.”   Mike obliged.   I think it was the cheeks that spoke, but maybe it was the mustache. What do you think?

Then I thought about art work I had seen in which many pictures placed together made a collage that spoke as one picture.  When I see them, I think, that would be easy.  How can you call that art?  But since I can’t draw very well, my pictures kept their mouths closed, uncommunicatively.  Then I remembered the grapes leaves I photographed last fall.  As I moused through them, they started speaking.  All at the same time, “Pick me, pick me. I want to go in the picture.” So I created a collage.

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Then another.

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Finally I remembered the Woodlake Botanical Gardens.  I missed the show this year, but last year I happened to walk around Bravo Lake on the day that all the roses decided to bloom their brightest blooms.  One of them said, “I am the beautiful one, take my picture.”  So I did.  Another  group of roses playing and giggling together attracted me.  The last rose said nothing.  She turned her face to the sun and spoke to God asking nothing more than to be a blessing to others. I thought she was the prettiest of all.

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If you enjoyed these take a gander at how other bloggers interpreted the challenge of dialogue.wordpress-20141

What Kind of Animal Are You?

People love animals.  Popular picture book writers use this adoration. Children and adults alike identify with real and stuffed animals.  One of my writing groups asked the question, “If you were an animal, what kind would you be? Why?”

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I love dogs, cats, and guinea pigs because they have been my favorite pets.

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This prompt reminded me of teaching strategy called Four Corners we practiced in a teacher training seminar.  Each corner had a white piece of poster paper with the name of the animal written at the top.  Participants went to the corner that represented the animal with which they most closely identified:  gorilla/monkey, lion, snake or rabbit.

I chose rabbit because none of the others appealed to me.  As we defended our choices with other participants who had chosen the same animal, I developed an affinity with the rabbit.

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First we listed characteristics of the animal we chose, real, stuffed and pictures. Here are my random thoughts today.

Rabbits:

  • reproduce prolifically, so it is doubtful they will be endangered.
  • are soft and fuzzy
  • are cute
  • usually make good pets (I hated mine.  He was “wrascally.”)
  • make good stuffed animals
  • make good stories – The Velveteen Rabbit as an example
  • kick hard
  • Bugs Bunny
  • have good luck feet
  • are not dangerous to humans compared to a venomous snake, gorilla, or lion
  • have their own year  I was born in the year of the rabbit.
  • are in the moon
  • are sensitive to the underworld, to vibrations and sensations humans can not detect
  • don’t need light to guide their way
  • are symbols of the earth, and are close to it
  • easily camouflaged, and therefore safe
  • are “wrascally,” and therefore intelligent.
  • travel in complicated zigzag patterns  Don’t try to catch one!
  • always know an escape route
  • defend their territory against other pets
  • are tucked in and self-composed

In the next part of this exercise we determined which of the other three animals would be OUR most fearsome enemy and why. Our group determined that lions were probably most dangerous to the rabbits since they are avid carnivores.

Finally we decided which animal would make the best ally.  I can’t remember which we chose, but personally I would prefer an alliance with a monkey or gorilla and not a snake.  Snakes can travel on and under the ground as well as hang from trees.  If I am enjoying my underground home, I don’t want a snake slithering in on me in the middle of my private family moments.  I’m not sure that I would trust a large hungry snake not to mistake me for a mouse, and try to eat me for dinner.

I hate to admit it, but I am prejudiced against reptiles because they don’t have fur.  Mammals are more my type.  I identify better with critters with feet, since mine are so lucky.

A monkey, however, is crafty and smart, like me, but has the agility of swinging from trees.  The monkey could help me watch out for dangers from above, while I protect him or her from things on the ground.

As a girl with a harelip, I couldn’t help but choose the rabbit group.  As a child, I never felt ugly because of my mouth unless some rude stranger pointed it out.  I had far more serious physical failings that caused me great pain as a young teen.  I wore a triple A padded bra.  :)  I didn’t need my harelip to feel insecure.

So if you too have had physical failings, I’ll leave you with a famous quote from the Velveteen Rabbit, that I find heartening.

“Once you are real, you can’t be ugly except to people who don’t understand.”

Margery Williams

Which animal would you be, or would you choose a different one altogether?

Introducing the Three Guinea Pigs

I’ve been working on this story for years.  Since I started the Australian Writer’s Centre class on picture books, I’ve rewritten it 5 times and gone from 1700 words to 686.  This is my 5th draft. See what you think.

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Three guinea pigs, Piggles, Tedlet and Buster, loved their human, Sandi.  Every day she fed them carrot curls and lettuce on a paper plate in the back lawn.  They chortled and squeaked gleefully when they heard her walk outside.

One day when she brought treats, a puppy, named Bud, lumbered out of the house.  After Sandi went inside, Bud raced around the corner of the house, ate their treats and went in the house.  The guineas ate grass near the bushes.

They hid under the bushes and squealed their high-pitched guinea pig squeal.   The grass around the bushes was getting brown. Sandi heard them and came out to check.  Their food had disappeared.

“You’re hungry, poor babies.  I’ll bring you more food.”

Sandi set a fresh plate of lettuce and carrot curls near the bushes.  Buster, Piggles and Tedlet began pulling the plate into the bushes.  Bud sneaked around the corner and grabbed the plate.

Three guinea pigs tugged against Bud.  The plate ripped.  Lettuce flew one way and the carrot curls flew another.  Bud ate the carrot curls.  Piggles ate one lettuce leaf.  Tedlet ate one lettuce leaf.  Buster ate three lettuce leaves.  Bud ate the rest of the lettuce after he finished the carrot curls, and went in the house.

The guineas ate the grass a little farther from the bushes.  They hid under the bushes and squealed their high-pitched guinea pig squeal.   Sandi heard them and came out to check.  The food had disappeared.  The grass farther from the bushes looked like Sandi had mowed it extra short.

“You’re hungry, poor babies.  I’ll bring you more food.”

Sandi set a fresh plate of lettuce and carrot curls near the bushes.  Bud appeared around the corner.

“Brrrr,” rumbled Piggles.

“Drrrrr,” rumbled Tedlet.

“CH CH CH CH,” chattered Buster rubbing his teeth together side to side.

Bud ignored them and ate their treats.  He rolled over and over in the grass, and fell asleep.

The guineas waddled over Bud.  They nibbled grass by his feet.  Bud didn’t wake.  They nibbled grass by his stomach.  Bud didn’t wake.  They nibbled grass by his nose.  Bud snorted, and rolled over.  The guineas hurried back to their bushes and hid.  Bud slept a long time, and awoke hot.  He wanted some water.

He tried to find his bowl.  It wasn’t on the porch, or the grass, or under the lawn chair.

Bud was thirsty after his nap.

“Rarrf,” said Bud at the door.

Sandi opened the door.

Your tongue is hanging out, Bud.  Where’s your water bowl?”

“Rarrf,” said Bud.

“Let’s look.”

Sandi looked on the patio.  The bowl was gone.

She looked in the grass.  She found an outline of Bud.

“This is odd.  How did this outline of you get on the grass, Bud?”

“Grrrr,” said Bud.  He walked over to the bushes.

Sandi walked to the bushes, too.   Bud stuck his nose under the bushes.

“Brrrr,” rumbled Piggles.

“Drrrrr,” rumbled Tedlet.

“CH CH CH CH,” chattered Buster rubbing his teeth together side to side, and bit Bud on the nose.

“Raaaaaaaaarf!  Raaaaaaaarf!” cried Bud.

Sandi laughed, gathering Bud’s upside down bowl from under the bushes.

“Buster, did you take Bud’s bowl?  Piggles, did you guineas eat the grass around Bud?

“Brrrr,” rumbled Piggles.

“Drrrrr,” rumbled Tedlet.

“CH CH CH CH,” chattered Buster rubbing his teeth together side to side.

“I think I see the problem,” said Sandi.

Sandi fixed more lettuce and carrot curls and put them in Bud’s water bowl.  She set the bowl in the grass near the bushes.  Bud came out to eat the lettuce, but Sandi sat down on the big lawn chair.

“No Bud.”

Bud whined.

Sandi turned Bud’s bowl upside down. Lettuce and carrots dropped on the paper plate.  She filled Bud’s bowl with fresh water.

Bud drank the water, and then licked Sandi’s hand.  The guineas purred as they ate their treats.

“Apologize to the guineas, Bud.”

Bud licked each guinea pig on the head, and lay down beside them to watch them eat.  The three guineas kept eating.  They didn’t hide in the bushes.

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How to Play Croquet with Kids

This was the most fun New Year’s Day I have ever had.

IMG_1293 Paula and the kids came over bringing the croquet set with them.

Setting up

Vince and Edward set it all up before lunch.

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Here are the rules.

  1. If you are the youngest and littlest, you get twice as many shots as everyone else.  (Chloe won and got bored and took pictures the next time.)
  2. If you get too far behind,  move the ball a little with your feet.
  3. Never swing too hard like you are hitting a golf ball 250 yards.  Croquet mallets break when you miss the ball and hit the ground.
  4. Choose the winning color.  Yellow is the color that wins because everyone hits your ball through the hoops for you.
  5. If you hit a person, you get to hit again.  If you go through a hoop, you get to go again.  If you are little, you get to go again.  If you don’t get to go again, hit it again anyway.  You’ll catch up faster.
  6. If you get bored playing, you have to be the photographer.

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What did you do on New Year’s Day?  Or, was that day a complete dud, and you’ve had better days to discuss?

Manny Here

Dear Friends,

I am writing for Mom this morning cause she has her nose in her book all the time.

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I’ve been making some resolutions as I sit here on my travel blanket and have all my gear around me.

Manny studies his options

  1. I want to go somewhere else.  Mom wants me to write my own blog, but that’s her resolution.  Do your parents make resolutions for you?
  2. I am going to resolve not to get so mad at her for making resolutions for me.  After all she did send me all over the world with her friends.  I can’t complain or you will all revolt instead of resolve.
  3. I’m going to have more fun in 2014 without landing on my face doing it!

M & J in Frankfurt

What are your resolutions for 2014?

M & J landed

P.S. This was Justin and I in Frankfurt.  It was a blast!  I love Mom for letting me go.  Thanks Carol and Glenn, and of course, my friend, Justin.  :)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

Light makes me bubble with joy.  Let there be light!

STL lights on icy fountain

When I was a child, we had family December light-viewing rituals.  From early in the season to a few nights before Christmas our parents drove us around different Indianapolis neighborhoods to see all the light displays.  We would stop whatever we were fighting about and pile unhappily into the car.  A family of self-appointed judges, we debated which homes were the most beautiful.  Every year we returned to one house in the country with a dizzying amount of illuminated displays, our winner’s choice.

Another special treat for me was when Mom and I dressed in our warmest boots, coats and gloves and took a bus downtown to the Circle.  The two major department stores, L.S. Ayres and Block, decorated their display windows, with new animations which competed for our viewing pleasure.  My great-grandmother walked us next door to her neighbor’s who decorated under her tree every year adding some little thing until her entire living room became the winter wonderland.  I was enthralled as only a small child could be.

Lights are musical and theatrical.  They represent putting yourself out in the open, and once you’re out there others can see and judge your performance.  The History Girls loved Wicked.

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Lights represent joyousness and fun and are good year round.

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As I wrote this I realized that lights and judgement are interchangeable.  When we look at lights we generally make a positive judgement.  We judge the lights when they make an impression on us, and lights also make judging possible.  Artists highlight positive attributes, and dim less desirable areas, making the good seem better by contrast.  When there is too much light, we get overwhelmed and confused even if we think the lights are fabulous.  We can’t appreciate details when everything is equally bright.

SF with Mary080r

As an adult, I become that small child once again, excited when I see beautiful lights.  Just over a week ago, my social studies buddies from around the country met in St. Louis for the National Council for the Social Studies Conference.  Two friends of mine from San Diego and I had dinner, then took ourselves on a guided tour of the lit Sculpture Gardens in downtown.  Lights create magic, and make us festive and playful.

Cheryl and Marsha

I hope you enjoy your season of lights as much as I am already enjoying mine.  To see other light displays click here.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Two

Many things come in twos.  I find it hard to be original here.  I’m using two hands to type these words, two ears to hear the dishwasher churn away, and two legs waiting to carry me on a walk with Sally at 3:00.  So I looked in my photo collection to find pictures of two.  You guessed it – there wasn’t much to choose from.  Here are a few.

2 Dogs

This pair of opposites posed at a craft fair in Palm Springs with their owners.

2 windows

For these two windows life is a bed of roses looking out at the picturesque town of Solvang.

2 birds

These two fellows fought for prime real estate on Santa Monica Pier.

two rows of fruits

Seattle, Washington’s Pike Place Market merchants added brightness to the gray November weather at last year’s NCSS Conference.

For more ideas see Cee.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

I walk every day at least two or three miles.  It helps me eat more sweets, which is what I really love.

Bob Jones Trail from Ontario Road to Avila Beach
Bob Jones Trail from Ontario Road to Avila Beach

When we travel, my husband walks with me and Puppy Girl unless he gets a phone call for work.  Then he stops and talks business.

Do you see that butterfly over there, Mom?
Do you see that butterfly over there, Mom?

Puppy loves to do both.  Walk and talk, and I think she could chew gum at the same time if we gave it to her.

Could I please have some gum, Mom?
Could I please have some gum, Mom?

Should we?

I don't mind the wait, Mom.  I mean really, look where I am, and look where you are.  You can go on if you want.  I'll wait with Dad.
I don’t mind the wait, Mom. I mean really, look where I am, and look where you are. You can go on if you want. I’ll wait with Dad.

She sits or stands patiently as Dad talks on, and on, and on. Deal closed?

Could I ride, Mom?
Could I ride, Mom?

At home we walk around Bravo Lake, and meet the locals.

Hey Mister, can I ride your horse? No hablo perro, Senorita.
Hey Mister, can I ride your horse?   No hablo perro, Senorita.

You never know who will be walking that three miles.

What do you do as a habit?  Click here to find out what others do.

How to Be Attractive at Any Age

My father actually told my mother that the reasons, among others, they divorced was because I was ugly and she was fat.  Many years later, when I my brother, his wife, and my first husband, Mark, and I visited him in San Diego, he sat across from me wiping his nose and pointing at me, then laughing and nudging my brother conspiratorially.  He wouldn’t tell me what it meant, and it felt threatening. Finally his girlfriend saw him do it, and told him to stop.  I asked her what it meant, and she said, “It means, ‘You’re ugly.'”  To say that I had a complex about appearance might be a mild understatement.

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Over the years I have worked hard to overcome the flaws that are beatable, and live with the ones that aren’t.  I don’t think Dad’s estimation of me being ugly is or was an accurate one, but I have worked, to the best of my ability and interest level, at being physically attractive over the years.  During this past extended vacation with my brother, a comment he made opened my eyes to what makes a person attractive.  I told another friend about the story, and she said I needed to write a blog post about it.

A beautiful woman in her 60s then gave me three tips to help any normal person stay attractive even into their later years.  When she was 80, she looked younger than I did at 40.  She looked better than both of her daughters who sort of spurned her advice, and weren’t overly interested in maintaining their good looks.  Her simple advice was:

  1. Keep your figure in shape.  If you have a good figure, it doesn’t matter what clothes you wear, they will always look good.
  2. Take care of your face.  Use sunscreen, and learn how to use make-up.  You can cover up a lot of flaws that way.
  3. Always make sure your hair looks nice.

That about sums it up for most people.  As you age these three tips become more difficult, but they are all doable.  On a purely physical level, I’ll add three more of my own tips.

  1. If you can afford medical procedures, maintain what you need to keep healthy.  This includes teeth, eyes, joints, skin, internal organs, and whatever else shows undue aging.
  2. Take vitamins, but don’t overdo it on medicine.  Everything has a side effect.
  3. Watch your diet.  You may not be overweight, and might not be consuming too many calories, but eating the right foods will help maintain all of those items mentioned in both #1 tips.

That about sums it up for everyone.  But none of those will make you really attractive.  The next part of this story will explain what opened my eyes about BEING attractive.

My brother and I were not close even though we were only two years apart.  We didn’t do much together.  I was older, bossy, and lived my own life.  He was younger, angry much of the time, and developed insights I didn’t have.  I don’t think I was any meaner than any other sister would have been, but I was disinterested.  As the years went by, nothing much changed.  I moved first a hundred, then a thousand miles away from him with my first husband, and never went back except for infrequent visits.  After our first move, I coaxed my mom to come live with us by finding her a job.  It was the first time my brother had been separated from her.  He was 26.

She remained in that little town long after I left, and eventually moved back to Portland, where Randy lived, and lived there comfortably many years.  When she had to go on dialysis, she moved to California so I could take care of her.  Randy was livid, and wrote a 20 page hateful letter to me recounting all my past sins, and became very uncooperative in getting her settled.  After three years, he finally visited her, and admitted that she was better off than when she lived by herself.  When she died, he came down to California.  Mom didn’t want him to come.  “I’m coming down to support you,” he told me and came anyway.  He was a tremendous support to me at that time.

Randy just turned 60, and I wanted to do something special for his birthday.  I told him about 8 months ago what I had in mind, and he was excited.  During the trip we played, laughed, shared memories, and didn’t criticize each other, except maybe for a few comments about stopping smoking.  (Add that to the physical tips!)  I called him endearing terms.  They just came out naturally, and believe me, that was not part of our family upbringing.  The picture above is the ONLY adult picture I can remember where we had our arms around each other, holding tight like people who care.

At the end of the trip we were looking at old pictures, and there was a very unattractive one of me at about age 23.  I remarked that I thought I look better now than I did in my 20s.

He said, “You’ve always been a very attractive woman, but you do look more attractive now.”  His comment blew me away, because in 60 years he has NEVER told me I was pretty.  His compliment inspired my last tips on being attractive.  If you follow these suggestions I think anyone can be attractive no matter what their age or physical condition.

  1. Smile often, but especially when you first see a person.   Of course, don’t smile when they are telling you they are dying of cancer or something devastating to them.
  2. Really care about people around you.  Show this by doing nice things.
  3. Be genuinely interested in their lives, their children and grand-children.  Show this by listening and asking questions.
  4. Be kind to them.  Use kind words, never sarcasm.
  5. Be appropriately affectionate.
  6. Don’t criticize, unless you are VERY concerned about their well-being.  Even then, be guided by kindness and respect.
  7. Have fun with them, and take time to do the things they want to do.

If you do these things you will be the most attractive person in the world.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wheels

Wheels have many uses, and a few useless jobs.  One of the less important tasks is to take you up in the air.  Patrick Meehan, an engineering student, published an article in 1964 about the first ferris wheel, and I linked to it at the end of the paragraph.  Chicago began preparing for the 400th anniversary celebration of Columbus’ discovery of the New World in 1890.  They wanted a tall structure for the event that would rival the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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George Ferris drew his model during a dinner, and the first Ferris Wheel was constructed from that sketch.  He was known as the man “with wheels in his head.”  The structure, completed in 1893, took 20 minutes to complete its first revolution without the cars.  Eventually, this engineering feat of the century, the ferris wheel had 21 cars.   Each weighed 26,000 pounds and held up to 60 people.  Three thousand of Edison’s newly invented light bulbs illuminated the famous wheel when it opened.  After the Exposition closed, the Ferris Wheel quickly fell into disuse.  It was moved twice, once in Chicago and once to St. Louis, before being blasted into bits.   For more information on the original Ferris Wheel click here.

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There was easily room for 4-6 people in the bright red car Randy and I rode.  From our perch on high we looked down at the other two wheels we wanted to ride next.  Randy wanted to go on the carousel, and I wanted the wave ride.

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However, as he freaked out while looking down, his ticket blew out of the car, never to be seen again.  We discussed who would get to ride the ride of their choice the rest of the way down.  It was his birthday, but he wanted me to ride.  As we exited the car, I asked the attendant what we could do about our lost ticket.  She took us to the front of a huge line, and got a replacement picture, so we both had the rides of our choice.

She was a big wheel at the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel Ride!  :)

For more fun wheel pictures click on Cee’s icon.

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Wordless Wednesday: Family Friendly Notre Dame

In the heart of South Bend, Indiana lies the famed University of Notre Dame, home of the fighting Irish.

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Two days ago on the tour my brother and I stood wordlessly in the Grotto.

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We stood respectfully off the grass in the God Quad.

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Unlike the disrespectful chipmunk.

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We silently admired the largest collection of French stained glass anywhere in the world, including France.

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It was a relatively quiet tour of respect and admiration.

Randy sat wordlessly tired out after three hours of touring – some before the tour began.

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I ended up being late for Wednesday, but if you’d enjoy other Wordless Wednesday posts click here.

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The Accidental Vacation: Chapter 10

Chapter 10  Going Home… Or Not

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The debate continued for over 100 miles assisted by cell phone research.

Clear Lake is huge.
Clear Lake is huge“

HowmuchfarthertoClearlake?What’s the ETA?  What about Willits?  I’d almost like to drive all the way home, but I’m uncomfortable towing the trailer in the rain.”

As usual Vince asked Marsha several questions, so she managed to answer all of them, just not at the same time.  “The ETA to Willits is 5:40.  OK, let me figure Clearlake.” A few clicks using the navigation app brought up the mileage and the estimated time of arrival quickly.  Marsha liked Vince’s new iPhone 5.  “And the ETA to Clearlake is 7:05.  I think you could make it to Clearlake, then it would be an easy drive home tomorrow.”

Marsha was not pulling the trailer up the mountain, through the trees, and around all the curves.  The most she was doing was keeping the dog company, and snapping a few pictures.  “You know, I’m ready to stop.  I think we’ll go to Willits.”

Where is that place, anyway?  GPS says it's where the lumber yard is.  RECALCULATING!
Where is that place, anyway? GPS says it’s where the lumber yard is. RECALCULATING!

In the past, the general rule was to drive till you get there, don’t stop to look at the historic markers, just plow on through.  Vince could almost feel himself changing as he pulled the trailer every mile.  He pulled over frequently to let long strings of traffic pass by.  They stopped at vistas.  This was a different way of travel than driving by car to go see someone.

Willits KOA_0112a “That’s fine.  There’s a KOA there, and we should be there in an hour.”  Marsha was not opposed to stopping either.  They had been on the road five hours already, and would travel a little over 200 miles altogether that day.  Considering the late start they had, that was not a bad goal.

Willits KOA VPP_0239a The KOA at Willits was more like an amusement park than an RV park.

Awwww
Awwww

There was a full-fledged petting zoo, trailer spaces with spas, wifi, two ponds, one of which was for sport fishing.  You had to throw the fish back once you caught them.

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The large heated pool was busy as they drove into the office at 6:15.

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After they registered and set up, Marsha explored taking a hike up a large hill to the path into the redwood forest on the property, but when it started to drizzle, she and Puppy Girl returned to the campsite full of news.

SFW TAV Klamath to Willits119a After a brief visit with the neighbor, and a few minutes to watch the weather on TV, Vince said, “I think I want to spend another night here.  I just want to relax tomorrow.”

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Marsha could see that they would have plenty to do.  There was miniature golf, a little western town, each building set up with it’s own entertainment.

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“Sure, that sounds like fun,” she agreed.  It was settled.  Vince went over and registered another night.

Willits KOA_0123aThe next day they woke up to light rain.

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After a leisurely breakfast at the Lumberjack Restaurant, they headed out for a drive.  “I want to see what the road to Clearlake is like,” Vince told his wife.  It rained off and on the entire way, winding through the trees to the last town in the Redwoods before the mountains turned into foothills, and quickly into the flat, Central Valley that went on for 450 miles.

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“I’m glad we didn’t try to do this today,” Vince told Marsha.  It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow, and I know we can get home.”  They turned around and drove back to Willits, and spent the rest of the day enjoying all that the RV park had to offer.

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They might go home tomorrow.  Would Vince be able to resist the call of his house for one more day?  Was Puppy Girl anxious to get home?  Would they EVEN leave the next day?

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Why wait to find out?  The adventurers had a great time at the Willits Campground, but aren’t you anxious to get home at the end of your trip?  They drove the whole way the next day, got home to find a huge tree limb blown over in the driveway.  Nothing was damaged, so not even a downed tree limb could dampen their spirits.  They had a great Accidental Vacation.  Thanks for reading.  :)

 

Weekend Relaxing #2 Gardening

I have decided that picking most fruits and vegetables is best done by children who love to play games.  I think that fruits and vegetables get their jollies by playing hide-and-go-seek with humans.  You know they are ripe.  There are a few tantalizing veggies peeking out behind their leafy clothing.

Think there are any more tomatoes in there?
Think there are any more tomatoes in there?

Green beens are the worst.  I went out yesterday.  I picked all the beans I saw that were ripe.  I got quite a few, but to look at the plants, there were only little bitty beans.  You think – mistakenly – they’re not ready yet.

How many beans can you see?  Would you pick them or throw them back?
How many beans can you see? Would you pick them or throw them back?

What I found out is that you can’t let them be modest.  You’ve just got to pull their leafy clothes away from them.  Mothers that are used to changing diapers are accustomed to that.  They just whip off those clothes, get the job done, and bingo, the kid’s back in business, and Mom is on her way to the next chore.  No pretend modesty,

Weekend Relaxing #1 Gardening

But back to beans.  I guess I was too prissy the first, second and third picking.  After just picking beans two days ago, look what I found – the ones I missed – LAST WEEK!

They played hide and go seek long enough to be bean seeds.
They played hide and go seek long enough to be bean seeds.

And look who else wanted my beans!

"I'll find those sneaky beans!"
“I’ll find those sneaky beans!”

I kept him from getting some of them as you can see below.

See you tomorrow.  I got a great question from Benzeknees.  Thanks so much for asking!