Daily Prompt: Vigor

via Daily Prompt: Vigor

We are going to be moving to Florida in about a year. There is a lot going into this move. We have to downsize all the stuff we have. That is worth a daily prompt in and of itself! But the hardest part of the move will be that, not only will it be the first time I’ve ever moved farther from my childhood home than an hour’s drive, I’m going to be relocating to a completely different environment. I’m a mountain girl, here in the Central Valley of California. I love the changes in the seasons, the cool spring and fall air, the colder winter, the rain and even the possible snow that I can drive to within a short time. I’m giving all that up for a lot of sand and hot, hot, hot weather. Not to mention Santa in shorts and a tank top!

Yes, there will be a lot of rain in Florida, but it will be muggy because of the humidity. I’m not so vim and vigor here in the summer heat when it’s humid. I might as well be a limp piece of lettuce for all the energy that I can’t seem to muster. It’s dang hot out here in the summer. There’s no vigor in most everyone I see. We are all lethargic, hanging out in our houses, in the air conditioning. The mall and the movie theaters are packed because they offer a reasonably inexpensive means of keeping cool.

So the real question here is, why am I moving to Florida in the first place if I don’t like the heat and the humidity and I’m giving up so much of what I love in other ways? I have a three month old great grandson living in Tampa, Florida who beckons my love. I met him officially in October, at a time when the West Coast of Florida isn’t that bad, weather wise. We discovered the small town of Dunedin and fell in love with it. Dunedin is only 20 miles or so away from Tampa where my little guy lives.

We’ve decided that if we moved during their cooler climate and I work into their heated time, I should be able to endure it better. I’ll just have to stay inside when it’s really bad in July, just like I do here. They have trees. I don’t go to the snow that often. I’ll just watch Hallmark movies at Christmas time and get my ‘real’ Santa fix. I think I can figure this out. And as long as I can get my sugar fix from my little grandson every little while, it will be all worth it. I might even be able to work up a bit of vigor in my old age!


Purging the Monster, Preparing for Reality

They say time flies when you are having fun. I suppose that was true when I was young. I don’t remember. What I know today is that this year has flown by, not because it has been of particular merriment, but because it’s been a blur of one crisis after another. Or so it has seemed. Honestly, I can’t remember them all, I just know that this last one has sucked me dry…

Sunday, my 72 year old aunt passed away from a vicious battle of spinal bone cancer. Over the past nearly eight weeks my husband and I have spent an inordinate number of days between two hospitals helping her through her ordeal. [SPOILER ALERT: Graphic medical descriptions to follow] It started in her home town hospital with the diagnosis of a rare form of diabetes with her blood sugars close to 800 and severe dehydration. Then, things quickly warped into the discovery of a sac of fluid attached to the outside of her lung causing breathing problems and rushing her down to a training hospital. Inside that sac of fluid was some blood. The fluid was drained, and we thought the problem resolved, however, a search began for the source of the cancer. Within days the sac had filled again, this time completely with blood, causing immediate surgery to have it removed from her lung. Pathologies were revisited and the original fluids containing traces of blood were found to also contain some cancer cells, however, the kind and the source were unknown. So a search began for the source of the cancer cells because there was cancer in her somewhere.

After several days of heaven only knows the number of tests, it was determined that there were markers of cancer but the source still remained a mystery. The specialists began to call my aunt the Mystery Woman. What was conclusive, however, was a tumor encasing her spine in the middle of her back, causing fractures in her spine. Surgery was out of the question because she was too weak to withstand it. Chemo was most likely a moot point in the bigger picture. The only thing they thought might be of some value was one heavy dose of radiation to shrink the tumor to help with the pain she was about to endure because she only had a few months to live. She did have back pain, but miraculously, not a tremendous amount at that moment. That was the long and the short of it.

She was in the first hospital about two days and then transferred to the teaching hospital for three weeks and then back up to the original hospital in her home town for the remainder of her life, about three more weeks. Her disabled husband saw her a total of maybe five times, because he could only get into certain cars to travel because of his arthritic condition. He stayed in contact via telephone and on conference calls with all of us and the doctor whenever possible using one of our cell phones. It was a terrible time for him, to say the least.

My husband would go up every few days and care for his needs – the ones my aunt had spent the last four years of her life doing religiously for him herself because he was too stubborn to apply for help from the county. We lived an hour away from each hospital and spent a lot of time on the road either way. Uncle began to exhibit signs of dementia and other aggressive behavior problems, which only added to the already stressful situation.

In spite of our health care system taking their sweet time in processing paperwork  here and there, my aunt received exemplary care at both medical facilities by professionals who took their jobs very seriously – from the certified nursing assistants to the best surgical staff in the area, and everyone in between. She received Hospice care because a doctor cared enough to make sure she was placed in a bed that allowed appropriate care. So in the end, while this monstrous disease ate up her spine and caused pain beyond one’s worst imaginings, my aunt sedated sufficiently so that she was able to die peacefully with her best friend from childhood by her side, and auntie whispering “I love you” to  her husband one last time. My husband and I had spent a good few hours with her earlier in the day and we have a fond memory of her to cherish in our hearts, as well.

I’ve written the obituary and will be writing the eulogy tomorrow. The roller coaster ride through hell has come to a stop at the bottom of the rails, yet it still rocks back and forth before letting me out. I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to get off. I don’t know what normal is. I have wandered around this house for weeks not being able to accomplish a darn thing. I can’t focus. I’m on a regular regimen of Xanax to get me through not only the day but the night as well. I’m depressed,  my sleep pattern is a mess, I sleep too much, I’m over eating. My knitting is continually a knotted up mess and has to be taken out again and again. I’d love to be able to start writing on a regular basis again, heck to be able to do anything on a regular basis again.

Our granddaughter had a beautiful baby boy, praise God! but we have yet to see him because he’s clear across the United States and we are here in this God forsaken valley. We are hoping in a month or so, we will be able to take a trip to Florida to visit, clear the cobwebs, hold the precious little miracle of life who came in the midst of all this summer horror.

I’ve lost every member of the family on my mother’s side – to cancer. All my father’s side of the family are gone. It’s just my sister and me and first cousins on my dad’s side. We are the Next Generation. We are the next to go.

I am a Christian, so I have faith in the promise of a future without pain, suffering, and sorrow. But I have to say, right now, that time cannot come soon enough. The Monster must not only be purged but destroyed.

One last thing I need to mention, well, two. Do not discount your health, people. Don’t wait until things are so bad, it’s too late. I don’t know if getting my aunt in to see the doctor a year ago would have made a tremendous amount of difference in the Big Picture, but I do know that if she had been seeing her doctor regularly, this bone cancer might have been caught early enough to have been treated in such a way that she wouldn’t have spent the last two months of her life scared and in terrible pain.

The second thing is, get yourselves organized right now with your finances, your legal matters, whatever it will take so that no one is going to be scrounging around at the last minute trying to figure out how to take care of you. And I don’t mean just an Advanced Health Care Directive. I mean, your funeral arrangements if you are going to have any, what you are going to do with all your ‘stuff’ you own – who gets what and how are they going to get it. If you are in your mid to late 50s, start downsizing your belongings. Start getting rid of the things that have no sentimental value to you; give away the things you want family members and friends to have, now, or at least clearly mark them and make a list of the items and keep them with all your other important papers so that when the time comes, those items can be easily and fairly distributed with no muss or fuss. The more you get rid of now, the less your spouse, children, or friends will have to deal with later.

Make it clear who you want to be your Health Care Advocate and I mean make it clear to not just your family but your spouse, too, especially if you decide not to have your spouse be that advocate. I just went through hell in a hand basket because my aunt chose me to be her advocate because she didn’t feel my uncle was capable any longer of making appropriate decisions for her, but she failed to actually say those words to that effect, and it started World War III in what is left of my little family. Severe wounds are still being licked, let me tell you, on me and him. And this was in spite of the Living Trust they had in place. It was a real mess, believe me.

And please don’t ask someone in your family or a friend to be your caregiver – that’s a 24 hour/7 day a week job that in all fairness takes a team of at least 10 to 12 people to manage the patient. My aunt wanted me to take care of her, and I would have loved to because I loved her, but realistically, with my disabilities, and even with my husband’s help, there was no way the two of us could have done it by ourselves without doing ourselves in. Burnout is real. The social worker was very concerned about that. The best place for your care is in a skilled care facility. You are at your safest there, all the way to the end. Had my aunt been in our home, and even if we did have help, should any one of us who might have been caring for her at the time have tripped or slipped or someone dropped her or in some other way caused her injury, we would never have forgiven ourselves and she would not have wanted us to have had that guilt on our shoulders. I know because I asked her. When I told her I couldn’t take care of her, it broke my heart and was a great disappointment to her, I know, but after we talked about it and other alternatives were found, she realized she was in the best place she could be.

I can’t stress enough the importance in making these decisions sooner than later. We think we have plenty of time, when in fact we have no idea how much time we have. Don’t put it off so that it ends up on the shoulders of someone else. It isn’t fair to the ones who end up bearing that weight.



How Are We Feeling Today?

On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst, how is your pain? On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best, how was our service? How is one to put a number to something that can rarely be quantified in those parameters? I mean seriously, folks. When you are hurting, you are hurting. Do you care what level of pain you are in? Does your pain care whether it deserves which kind of facey-poo gets drawn on the chart before it gets a feel better pill? I have been in emergency rooms where my pain level has been off the rector scale and there hasn’t been any amount of feel better stuff OR smiley faces that’d make a dang bit of difference. So spare me the number code. Who thought that thing up, anyway?

And what’s with the scale for “How was our service?” Would they not wish to use the number one to be the best instead of the worst? The number one in this country figures in to being pretty much top dog, last I checked. And would it not be better to have a few lines on the bill where you could actually write in some adjectives about the waiter/waitress, like “too slow”, “nice smile”, “very polite”, “expedient service”, “needs a personality.” Wouldn’t those be more helpful to the employer than a “3” or a “7”? I know, we aren’t supposed to be so “personal” these days, but I just can’t see how numbers are good for anyone who is trying to get ahead.

I sure remember my employee evaluations. There were some where the number system was used and it was downright disheartening to come out with a an overall “6” out of “10” with no narrative and only a verbal comment of “Better step it up.” Mmmm, step what up exactly? Where? I felt like I’d been judged at the local band review!

We place too high a value on rank and file. Who cares who is the best or second best? In God’s eyes we are all the same. He made us all in his image, yet we are all different. He doesn’t judge any of us to be one better than the next. Thank you, Father! How is it that we do? Where did this all come from? If I remember my history correctly, I think it started back with the Olympian games and their competitions. Look how many years that has gone on, and what has come out of it. Competitions of every sort, good, bad, and ugly. Some are just for fun, of course, but these days, there are some that are downright ugly.

I suppose one could say that competition, or even a ranking system can be good in some areas because it creates drive, determination, desire to excel. And for businesses, it can, if used effectively, reveal where company dollars can be better spent. Personally, I’m not too keen on them, and I’ve been in and won some competitions before. I just like to be fair. If I can see that something can be done where it can fairly affect the majority, I’m pretty happy. That’s what God wants, too. I don’t think it was his idea to rate anyone first through third in the bust of Caesar throwing contest, or  give every kindergartner a star on their paper whether or not they got the right answer just so they grew in esteem. It was his idea to treat each other with loving kindness, just like we would treat ourselves. There would be no need to rate the food server.

But I still haven’t figured out what to do about how bad my headache is.


Pfffftttt! – Spit! – Ouch!

Day 9 – This is being some kind of transparent here. I wouldn’t normally be talking about this because this is something I don’t talk about, but I have to set the scene. If I don’t tell you what I was doing, this won’t go right. So please don’t think that I’m being self-righteous or zealous or anything like that. What I was doing I take very seriously and is very private to me. There was only one other purrson in the room with me and she is the culprit. You will see what I mean in a minute. But I just wanted to get that out on the table here. Thank you.

So last night I was praying on the floor in my bedroom. I had a candle lit a little ways in front of me and Morgan The Maine Coon, The Most Curious of All The Cats We Have Ever Had, was laying on the floor about three feet away from it, totally mesmerized by it’s flame. I can’t blame her there. Fire totally captivates me as well. Scares me to death on a grand scale, but is one of the most beautiful of nature’s elements. The flame had burned down quite a bit – the candle was a little finicky as it was and I figured it was going to sputter out pretty soon on its own.

Suddenly, I felt a movement in front of me. Oh, I guess I should tell you I was pretty deep in prayer (this is the part where you aren’t supposed to do any judging) and my eyes were closed, so I wasn’t aware of anything going on around me. Hence the feeling of movement in front of me. It was sufficient enough for me to open my eyes and see Morgan receding back to where she had been laying but now she was sitting. I heard a sizzling “pfffffft” and then a “ssssssss” Maoooooow” and put two and two together rather quickly when her head reared back from her paw. Apparently, Miss Inquisitive had decided to put out the candle herself. As she did that, her paw had also swiped up the hot candle liquid and that burned the hair and possibly the pad of her foot as it began to form around her shape. She bit back as she had been bitten and made contact with her mouf and that created yet another pain source. All in the span of about five seconds. Poor baby! I knew better than to approach her because she is so danged independent with her owies, so I let her tug and pull at the cooling wax and figure out how best to get that beast off of her. I eventually bent my way over towards her to see what I could see, but she had done a pretty good job, plus, her paw is white, so there wasn’t much I could see at best.

In the meantime, I had slowly moved the candle over to my left side, out of sight. Once she had licked her wounds, she came over in great stealth, creeping up on the Burn Monster, seeking a way to find out how she could Kill It. She extended the Burned Paw, almost as though she wanted It to see what It had Done To Her. Then she swatted the side of the candle a couple of times and walked off. Take that YOU.

I checked her paw later and she didn’t seem any worse for wear. As for praying on the floor with a candle with Morgan near by, I don’t think that will happen again. At least not in that combination. Amen.

What to do about Zeke?

Day 8 – We have housed more cats than I can count now after more than 30 years of marriage and living almost 30 years in our house on Kansas. We started with two kitties when we moved here and it wasn’t a year until the cycle began when we were to begin either fostering or adopting the strays who were to come our way. One time, we had as many as eight  fur babies living with us, because we had adopted a mama and her three baby boys. That was an exciting time for our house!

We are quite comfortable right now with our two. We recently laid to rest our Lacey, so two is where we are. Until a few days ago. Dang it! An adorable black and white kitten somewhere between nine and ten months of age came squabbling at our door looking for love and food. My oh my did this fellow have some vocal chords on him! We really had hoped he belonged to the new neighbors who were just moving in catty-corner to us across the street. I had seen the little girl just loving on the little guy like they were long lost friends. But no, after speaking with Mom, Dad hates cats, so that wasn’t the case. Yeowler kept coming back to our house desperately wanting in. After seeing him standing in the street while traffic whizzed by, I talked with my husband and we decided the little fellow would be much safer in our back yard than risking it out “there.” it was clear he had belonged to someone and knew absolutely no fear. Which was terribly disturbing to us. Someone had to have dumped him. Or he had just somehow gotten lost. he was SUCH a loving little guy, and of course, he was…a LAP CAT. Wouldn’t you know it. Rarely had we had a lap cat in all of ours, and the two we have now aren’t much of such. But THIS one, OMG!!!! But I get ahead of myself.

Ron opened the side gate and told him to come in. He walked through as though he owned the placed and had only been waiting for such an invitation. I had gotten him a bowl of dry cat food and clean water and that boy chowed down like he hadn’t eaten in a week. And well he may not not. The poor little boy, he was shaking all over purring so hard and gobbling up the food, hitting his mouth on the bowl. I took it away at once point, thinking he should rest his stomach a bit, but he found where I had put the bowl and ate the rest. So much for that idea. He drank some water and then started yeowing at me. I couldn’t think he wanted more, so I sat down in one of the patio chairs, as that was where we decided to camp him for the time being. He jumped up in my lap and the rest was history. He was ALL over me, loving on me, giving me kisses, crawling around my neck, turning and turning around in my lap, the motor in his throat going so loud I thought the cats in the house could certainly hear him. They were certainly captivated with every move he made, especially Morgan, my Maine Coone. She is ‘my’ girl and I am ‘hers’ so I didn’t think this was going to go very well. He finally settled down in my lap and fell asleep. I petted him awhile but I couldn’t stay there forever, well, I could but not really, you know what I mean. So I picked him up and he settled back down in my chair and cuddled down in the warmth I had left. I had arranged pillows and a blanket on the porch swing, thinking he would find comfort in that little cave, but at the moment he just needed to sleep right where he was. And sleep he did. For hours and hours.

Skip ahead about four days. Zeke, yes, Zeke, had adapted to quite a little routine, most of which included a very loud yeowing when he wanted something – either food or me. I always name the cats a human name and why this one was Zeke, I’ll never know, but it seemed to fit for the time. We had arranged a couple of patio chairs around with pillows and towels and a blanket to make a little fortress because there had been a hefty storm and we wanted him protected. He seemed to appreciate it. He slept through it without a problem. He seemed to go out and about during the night and come back for breakfast, and then sleep til about 1:00. Toby didn’t seem to be bother by him at all, but as Zeke was well “in tact” he would soon be spraying Toby’s domain. We were going to have to do something about Zeke pretty soon. Morgan, on the other hand, was not at all happy with his presence. No surprise there.

Ron called the local rescue organization and they were great. They instructed us to take Zeke to the local shelter and the organization would pick him up and find him a home. It might be local, but it also might be a case of shipping him out to another state where kitties where in need of adoption. So, last Saturday morning, we gathered Zeke up, with tears in our eyes (how to people foster animals and not get attached to them?????) we took him out to the shelter. NOT without a huge conniption fit from Zeke. Holy cow! For as much of a love as he was OUTSIDE the carrier, he turned into the cat from hell INSIDE the carrier. Boy was he mad.

I placed him on a counter when we got inside and had gone into another room because I couldn’t calm him and I was crying like a baby anyway. When I came back, he was really quiet. I asked one of the people there what had happened and she said that he must have seen the dog pass through. Ha! Yes, that would do it. From then on, he was himself, although not happy to be in the carrier. For all I knew, the last time he had been in one was when someone had taken him to dump him on our street. Who knew.

After Ron had filled out the paperwork, the shelter worker came out and asked if he was sweet, and I told her that he definitely was. I took him out of the carrier and he glommed onto me, arms around my neck. I hugged him and kissed him and handed him over to the lady. He took to her right away, so I knew she really liked animals. She said that he was going to go up front, so I thought “wow, maybe he will be adopted right away before he ever goes to New Beginnings!” There wasn’t much use hanging around, so we thanked her profusely and said good bye to Zeke. We got out to the car and I just broke down.

I just fall in love with these guys and saying good bye just kills me. And not just me, I come to find out. My dear husband called out to the shelter today to find out how Zeke was doing! New Beginnings already picked Zeke up, so he is on his way to some new home somewhere!


Day 7 – It is now the last day of the first month of 2016 and the word that can describe me is INCOMPLETE. My writers’ group on Facebook was asked last week what one word would describe us for the month and then challenged us to write about it. Well, there it is. Incomplete.

It seemed that everything I touched in any way did not get finished. My sister’s Christmas gifts are still in the sewing room. Incomplete. As are several of the small projects I had cut out to sew while I was watching Christmas movies. Then I thought I could just whip those out during January while I was watching my favorite oldie reruns. Nope. Incomplete they are as well.

The challenge I took up to write 500 words everyday for 30 days has been a bust. This is supposed to be Day 7 if I am to stick with the number of days I have been involved in the plan. Not only have they not been 500 words, I haven’t written every day. So that assignment has been…Incomplete.

I would even settle for inconsistent, at least that meant I had been making some effort in some areas, but no, to be honest, I can’t even claim that word. My goals for the year – incomplete. I don’t even have a bucket list – my bucket has so many holes in it, whatever might be on a list wouldn’t last a minute in it.

So what gives, huh? The only thing I’ve been good at all month is sleeping. Morgan and I have been great nap-mates (she is my Maine Coon, for those of you who haven’t read other posts). I’ve managed to gain weight, gone gray, and acquire trigeminal neuralgia since the first weekend of January. It was a great New Year’s let me tell ya! I don’t know if it’s the medication or what, but my hands have begun to twitch intermittently, so doing anything that requires any kind of steadiness has been a challenge.

If I were a Fortran test sheet in high school, I would be incomplete. There wouldn’t even be erasure marks on me. My answers would have just been skipped. Test returned as incomplete. I’m hoping for a do-over, but February isn’t lining up to look any better. I worked on my personal calendar today and I’m already so booked, there are few white spaces left. And it’s not like I’m really that busy. I’m just going to have to give up sleep, I guess. How else can I fit in the things on my “to do” list that I haven’t gotten to yet? Even that is incomplete!

Morgan has just placed herself in front of me, actually between me and the keyboard. That means serious business. She has a few things to add here. She is quite the typist. Oh, you are actually in luck. She just jumped down and is searching out something to do. She wants us to go to bed. It is way over our time to be working in here.

The wind is howling outside. I love the wind as long as I don’t have to be in it. But that doesn’t help me here. I told my husband that I felt really empty from my incompleteness. January is an off month for me, but I don’t recall that I’ve ever been in this kind of rut before. Since I’m a glass half full kinda gal, I’m going to end this on a positive note with the thought that tomorrow is a new day in a new month and I can only pray that it will be a darn sight better than January was for me. I’m going to continue on with my 500 word a day  challenge. By the way, I’ve hit over 600 words here, just thought you should know. I’m going to see what I can do about my darned schedule to make it better. There are things I should be doing that I haven’t been and things I have been doing that I could put on the back burner, so that’s something. It’s a matter of priorities. Always.

I just don’t like this feeling or even the word so much. Incomplete. Where is my eraser?




Art Scene – Psalm 46:10

Day 5 – The oak framed print hanging in the office above our desk has been in our collection for many years. I don’t know who painted it, but it has always caught my eye wherever it has hung in the house. It’s about 18 x 24 framed and has a lovely pine green and cream double mat. The print itself is of a buck and doe standing near a rushing creek side in the early autumn. The doe has her head down and is snuffling through the leaf-scattered ground looking for what might be left of any food for the season. The buck stands very near, in close protection.

All around are large pine trees dwarfing them both. I can barely see the tip of a black tale on the doe and there is a full white throat on the male; his rack is a nice set, four pronged. The scene couldn’t be more peaceful – so much like the one in  Bambi, right before the fire broke out. Not a bird is present in any of the branches, but the rushing of the water can be heard even through the print of the paper. “Be still and know that I am God,” it swooshes, swirling off left and right as it hits the boulder it passes.

Twilight is coming. Only a swath of light is left making a feeble attempt to be the Glorious Sun it was earlier in the day. Shadows are cast, elongating the deer, huge buck horns, giraffe necks. “Be still and know that I am God,” says the creek. No one is there to disagree.

Our Homes, Ourselves-My Favorite Room

It was 1986 when this ‘place’ became my family’s home. We had looked for houses to buy for some time and blessedly, one day, my husband talked with someone at a vacant lot that led to our purchase and building of the house we have lived in since. It has been amazing the evolution that has taken place over the years in this structure. Even my favorite room has seen some considerable facelifts.

When the house was designed, I had many options and one of them was to include a window seat and bay window in a library. We had a teenage boy on a football team who we encouraged to invite his friends over on the weekends, so I needed somewhere to “go” that provided solace when I wasn’t in my sewing room. So those options were included and a beautiful structure was built in. Avid readers all, my husband, son and I, we had to have a lot of book space, so “L” shaped bookshelves lined either side of the French doors and up half way along the length of the long room. Every bit of space was filled in those shelves. I loved this space and used it so very much as those boys and girls grew up and away.

Even when our young granddaughter came to visit, the same setting existed, providing hours and hours of imagination-filled games and stories and daydreams between Jama and child. The room even served as a home office for five years in the midst of all the wonder/chaos. Business did not dampen the fun to be had with stuffed animals and child’s books even so!

Alas, time marched on, granddaughter grew up, Jama aged, business closed, I went to work, was laid off, went back to work, retired. It was time for a facelift. Hubby and I ran into an old friend who was in the carpentry business and we asked him to build us new book shelves. Hubby hired someone to tear out the window seat. We went antique shopping. I had acquired my great-grandmother’s antique piano. One thing led to another and wha-lah! We have a whole new look to our library and it’s simply mahvelous dahling!

In place of the window seat sit two very different chairs – one medium pea green leather mid-century (oh, my! I have a mid-century antique! “I” too am mid-century! Ha!) with a very high back. It is very narrow, just wide enough to sit it for someone who was average back then. It is very, very comfortable for conversation and reading for a while. The other chair is a gold cloth and wood chair, a bit overstuffed at present. It will be very comfortable for reading and conversation as soon as it has some of the stuffins removed from its seat. It, too, is probably a mid-century-ish chair. Betwixt the two is a contemporary round oak end table with a 1930-40’s lamp with glass bead fringe – an absolute favorite piece of mine. My husband stripped the contemporary chalking off a coffee table to reveal the most beautiful grain.

Of course we have the turkey feather-style upright piano that was my great-mother’s. It was too beaten down to have it fixed, so an acquaintance of mine gutted the keyboard and replaced it with an electronic keyboard, so I have the outside of the piano and the workings of a new, beautiful sounding piano on the inside. (He did this with a baby grand once and you couldn’t even tell, I might add! Ingenious idea, me thinks!) In the center of the room stands a drop-leaf table that extends from the original four foot square to a fabulous NINE feet with two extension leaves! I adore it for my sewing/quilting days when I need to cut out lengths of fabric. I have four accompanying chairs. We got the set for a song at an estate sale.

In each corner of the room are special prizes of themselves – sewing machines that belonged to my two grandmothers reside on either side of the French doors. One is a White in a square cabinet. That sewing machine is secured within its home, but sitting atop the box is a 1956 Spartan. My other grandmother’s machine is the familiar treddle style older model Singer and is open for viewing.

But the piece de resistance (sic) is the huge solid oak three piece bookcase center stage on the long wall of the library. Rising nearly to the ceiling and expanding equally three feet shy of each wall, this masterpiece will withstand most anything. It’s bolted to the wall, but will come with us wherever we go. The three tall cases sit atop three pedestals which include drawers hiding a myriad of greeting cards, old bibles, and who knows what. Not only is it beautiful, the shelves are adjustable!

I had found yardage of a dark forest green background with ferns in tans, creams tossed hither and yon. Falling in love with it, I made drapes for the bay window. It was nice, but they just seemed to drag down the look of the room. One day I was in a store looking for a change when I landed upon the most luscious of off white lace curtains. In my mind’s eye, I just knew they would work. I brought them home and oh my goodness me! Yes, indeed, they are perfect. The morning light filters through the lace in the loveliest of ways and the room is now absolutely perfect. Morning coffee, afternoon tea, evening devotions. It all works. My favorite room. God has blessed it and me.




Pallette of Place – Stovepipe Camp

The narrow dusty road rising to the mountainside kicked up plumes of dryness coating my skin, making my eyes water. Turning off into the campground, we left the eye squinting sunshine into an amphi-theater of shaded mystery created by glorious pine trees. A canopy of darkness made by the tops of these embarkened soldiers standing sentry to the vastness of the above. Only slashes of daylight cut through here and there on the ground of a multicolor canvas. Squishy copper lengths of pine needles carpeted the floor of the grounds. Center-stage was a large ashened black stovepipe regally seated admidst its circle of minion stones serving as campfire, gaping hole where healthy chunks of wood disappeared keeping many a hunter warm by evening starlight. Gathered behind the pines, as though little children hiding behind skirts of mamas were thick luscious mini jungles of the most lavish of mountain ferns. A crayon box was named for all the shades of greens, browns, grays and blacks evident in this cornicopia of color.

My Childhood Bedroom

I had several bedrooms as a child, but my very favorite was the one that overlooked the field in front of our house. This particular house was the house, the last house I would live in before I left home. There were many rooms in this house that served as my bedroom, but the one that started as my room and ended as my room, was indeed my heart’s treasure.

My childhood room was built as an extension to the house at some point, or at least it seemed like it to me. I am directionally challenged, so I can only describe my room as I am standing facing toward the field, my north.  Out that large window I could see the hillside of lilacs over to the left, the driveway leading down to the mailbox and our bus stop and the road leading away from home. The field in front of the house was where we played softball in the summer, picked wild blackberries in the small creek in the late spring, messed with the frogs and toads in the pond hidden within the blackberry bushes – all to the right of that window. I could sit on the sill of the window and daydream for quite a while before my butt got tired and I had to get down.  The best part of the window was that there was an old oak tree standing sentry to the right at the corner of the house. It was taller than the house, but since the house was kind of built on a slant and the tree was too, it was hard to say just how tall the tree really was. But what was so cool about that tree was that when it was windy or raining, the acorns and leaves on the branches would brush against the house and on top of the house, which hapened to have a tin roof. It would be thundering in my room like my own drum corp. I just loved it.

The second window was to my east and faced out to the wooden deck that encircled the back of the house. I could see a bunch of junky stuff that Dad had ‘stored’ out in that part of the ‘out in the back’. There were a lot of placees that were ‘out in the back’ wth a lot of junk ‘stored.’ That was not a favorite window by any means. In the summer I would open up the windows and let in the fresh air until it  would get too hot and then we used an air conditioner to cool the house. I don’t remember my room gettig all that cool. The sun never beat into the room that much – I didn’t see it come up or go down, but in Mariposa, summers are hot and dry. I don’t think my room was all that big but it was just the right size for me.

My childhoold room was a lot of colors because my mom liked to paint the house a lot. I think it was yellow, pink, white, lavendar, blue. Not all at once, but at different times. I think the last color was a light blue. I was, am, an avid reader, so I spent a great deal of time in my room on my bed reading. I remember specifically being on my bed throughout one summer pouring through Gone with the Wind, cussing under my breath at Rhett and crying my eyes out as I chomped through rosy red apples in the heat of the balmy afternoons. I grew up with Marmy and her girls in Little Women, turning my small closet into a small prayer chapel as closely as I could to the one like Amy had. I had stacks and stacks of books in my room, even though I had a bookcase and nightstands full of them, as well.

My childhood room housed sleepovers with school friends, witnessed fights and resolutions between my little sister, heard my secrets and fears, even became the canvas for all the David Cassidy posters I plastered all over the walls and doors for years. My childhood room saw a child of nine grow into a young woman of 18. On one horrible day, my childhood room was ravaged of the personal contents, drawers torn open and clothes haphazardly thrown about; hangers tossed empty on the closet floor; cherished books, photos, and toys left to the wayside without a second thought. My childhood was over and I was leaving home, very angry and in a hurry. I didn’t even turn to say good-bye…to my childhood room.