Friday, December 29, 2023


 There is nothing more beautiful than hoarfrost. All the world looks like it is made of powdered sugar.

Hoarfrost forms when moisture in the air skips the water droplet stage and appears directly as ice crystals on an object. The visual effect is stupendous.

Winter here in Iowa is always surprising and usually gorgeous.

Yesterday I was glorying in the beauty of the hoarfrost. Today was a new scene. 

Overnight ice formed on trees, bushes, and prairie grass. It was not an ice storm. Just a frozen form of dew. When the sun shines as it does today they all look like they have been plated with silver. It is close to the beauty of hoarfrost.

In the winter we often get snow. A new snow is pretty falling to the ground, Just as pretty is the snow on the ground before it has been walked on. 

There is a sense of quiet and calm in the winter that you will not feel any other time of year. Hoarfrost is still best.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Sewing Project

When you are cooking and your hands need a quick clean what do you do? Most of us give them a quick swipe down our hips. It leaves the side of our hips dirty. I have a solution for you. 

If you have a sewing machine this is easier but can be done without.

You need a yard of cotton cloth. Cut a 3 inch piece from the length of one end. Put a small hem on all four edges and set it aside. 

Hem all 4 edges of the large piece. Then fold about 6 inches of the cloth. If you iron a crease then it is helpful. Sew a strong hem to hold the folded piece to the sides only. Then make three big pockets by sewing two lines between the sides. If you want to be fancy you can use double lines.

At the other end fold about three inches of the cloth. Sew it to the width of the cloth. Then you will insert the original piece you cut off and hemmed. That is your belt.

 You have just made a wide apron to wipe your hands on.

Monday, December 18, 2023

It Isn't Any Trouble

 I am going to give you something that costs me nothing. It will make you feel so good that you will want to give it back. Then you can give it to others. At the same time you will keep it.

You will have a wonderful feeling once I give it to you. You might develop a spring in your step. Maybe you will even do a little dance. Either way you will be just a little happier. 

Let me stress again that it costs me no money at all. Not even a penny. But it is one of my most treasured assets.

I am going to give you a nice friendly big smile. 

Give it to the next person you see. Then you will both feel better.

It isn't any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E
It isn't any trouble just to S-M-I-L-E
So smile when you're in trouble
It will vanish like a bubble
If you'll take the trouble just to S-M-I-L-E
                                                     Written by Charlie Chaplin with a large assist from 
                                                                                                      David Raksin                                                                                 

Tuesday, December 12, 2023


Most of the United States is back on regular time after several months of Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time has always made me wonder. 

I understand the reasoning for it. The most productive day of a farmer is during the day. The sun gives light for him to produce crops and care for livestock.

My question is why can they not just get up an hour earlier?

Now there are those who would like daylight Saving Time to be the normal time all the time. There is science measuring the time zones. I would like them to stay the same and adjust myself to any changes that need to be made when they need to be made.

Which brings me to the subject of the alarm clock. An alarm clock makes a noise to wake you up at the assigned time. If I wish to awaken at 7:00 AM I set my alarm for that time. These days most alarms have a snooze button.

A snooze button allows you to go back to sleep for five minutes. Then the alarm sounds again. I have been told you can hit the snooze button for an infinite number of times. I would not know.

I have never used the snooze button... not once. If I do not get up right away I will try the infinite number of times. I know better than to start doing it.

I set the alarm for the time I need to get up. If I wish to sleep five minutes longer I will set the alarm for five minutes later. I know me. If I used that snooze button I would never get up.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Pass It On

Hand-me-downs. Since I am the oldest of seven children you would think I never had any. 

But as I have told you so many times our family did not have a lot of money. I had a lot of hand-me-downs. 

There were a lot of families in our little town who were able to buy nice clothes for their daughters. They were often expensive clothes that were not worn too often because there were so many of them. They shopped often.

Several of these families had daughters slightly older than me. When they tired of their nice clothes or outgrew them they would box them up and come knocking at our door. 

Those huge boxes contained nice wool skirts with matching cotton blouses. There were pleated skirts and circle skirts. There were straight skirts that show off the beautiful flat stomach of a young girl.

I usually loved the clothes. What girl would not like a new wardrobe?

What I did not like was the way they were given. Believe me I knew even at the time that the clothes were given because the people cared. But they would tell my mother, "If Emma can't use them just throw them out."

The statement made me feel as if the clothes were cast-offs only for someone as lowly as me. Again I do know that is not what was meant but it was hurtful.

I have passed usable clothing on to someone who might be able to use them. I am very careful to say, "If you can't use them perhaps you know someone who can."

Friday, December 1, 2023

You Know 'Em When You Hear 'Em

There are certain singer's voices you can recognize right away. Johnny Cash comes to mind. His voice is not quite gravelly but it is not smooth. It makes him extremely popular among common folks.

 I also think of Bob Dylan who has a nasal slur that makes him difficult to understand sometimes. And Della Reese had such a powerful beautiful voice. Leslie Uggams was another powerful voice. 

Perhaps Whitney Houston should be considered by herself. She had so many hit songs. I Will Always Love You was a huge hit for Dolly Parton who wrote it. Whitney made it even bigger.

Then there are the 'crooners'. My personal favorite is Sam Cooke. It is so easy to fall in love listening to You Send Me. Julio Iglesias has the same quality but he is no Sam Cooke. Smokey Robinson when he sings Ooo Baby Baby melts my heart. Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby also fall into this category. I think I will place Elvis Presly here too although he probably deserves his own category.

In the early days of Rock and Roll we had some distinctive voices. Big Mama Thorton sang Hound Dog before Elvis. As far as I am concerned Chuck Willis does the best version of C C Rider and of What Am I Livin' For. 

La Verne Baker brought fun and bounce to Rock and Roll with songs like Jim Dandy. Theresa Brewer followed in like manner. Their voices and songs just filled me with happy energy. Brenda Lee and Tanya Tucker could do it too. 

There were early groups that are memorable. The Platters are high on the list. The Coasters are in my memories along with The Temptations and The Miracles. The Beatles are also deserving of their own place. Prince is special too.

There are the screamers like Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith has screamed so much he has ruined his vocal chords.

Sarah Vaughn, Kate Smith, and Ethel Merman have memorable voices. Sarah Vaughn had a tinier voice than the other two but they are all memorable.

When I think of Big Bands I think of Louie Prima. He not only had good music but he was not stuffy. He and his band had fun together and with the audience. Brian Setzer has the same energy.

The singer of many western movie theme songs was Vaughn Monroe. You know his voice the moment you hear it.

I have omitted a lot of musicians. Michael Jackson has no category for instance. Jerry Garcia is known for being part of the Grateful Dead but he has one of the scariest voices I have heard. And I mostly stayed with American voices so those from other countries will just have to wait.

Who are your memorable favorites?

Monday, November 27, 2023

Grammar. Folks

I have a pet peeve. It is something that drives me insane. I am constantly yelling corrections at the person on TV who has offended me.

People who earn a living by speaking should be able to do it correctly. The words establish, ask, escape, especially, escort, escalator, espionage, and espresso (to name but a few) have no "x" in them. Look at them. Not an x in the bunch. Yet people who should be educated enough to know better constantly say "extablish, ax, excape, expecially, excort, excalator, expionage, and expresso". As Lucy would say in Charlie Brown, "AAAAARG!"

Problems with pronouns is another peeve. For instance usage of I/me are constantly confused. You would never say Me have a necklace. That is not a problem. I have a necklace for me is also not confused. Why then do folks insist on saying, "I have a necklace for he and I"? I is subjective while me is an objective pronoun. I is the doer of a sentence. Me is the receiver of the action. Try it with he/him. He has the necklace. The necklace is for him.  Easy enough to remember.

Then there are what my teachers used to call modified oaths. Rather than say Hell we would say Heck. What we said were not considered to be "bad" words. But they replaced bad words. The most annoying word I hear is Fricking. If you mean to say it then SAY IT!

I am not above grammatical faux pax. You may notice that I do not use punctuation in most places. That is by design. I know proper punctuation. I choose not to use it because my typing skills are so poor that punctuation takes me a lot of time. 

How about calm. People have begun to pronounce it as call-mm. It is pronounced com. Look it up. Often is in the same category. It is pronounced off-en. The t is silent. 

And do not get me started about nauseous. If you are nauseous you are causing nausea. In other words you are making me sick. If you have an upset stomach you are nauseated. Someone else has made you sick!

I have a major grammatical flaw that drove my mother crazy. I say things like "A whole nother thing." Mom corrected me every time she heard me say it. I have no idea why I say it and I know it is wrong but say it I do.

Thursday, November 23, 2023


I only had one child at the time. My baby boy was one year old. We lived in the big city in an unsavory part of town. Our apartment was on the third floor. It was a medium sized building with approximately 25 apartments.

Directly across the street from us was a small hotel. It was used by the friendly ladies for short times to entertain their gentlemen friends.

It was a hot summer and none of the apartments had air conditioning. We spent a lot of time gathering on the front steps trying to stay cooler. 

Of course we had to see the ladies. They stood on a corner to let men know they were available for a quick visit. They wore  lovely dresses. One I remember in particular was a beautiful yellow. The ladies looked much nicer than some I had seen on other corners,

Because we were doing nothing we watched the women. A game was to time how long a particular woman stood on the corner before accepting an offer of companionship. Then we timed how long the visit to the hotel lasted. 

In the meantime my adorable baby boy was playing outside which was good for him. I did not allow him to be too far from me. After all it was a seedy neighborhood. I did not worry too much. He was a leg child. He never got too far from me.

Then came the day that a couple of the girls had enough extra money to walk up to the fast food restaurant on the next corner. My shy little leg child saw their legs and started to follow them. I waited for him to realize what he was doing.

I was right behind him for his safety. It finally dawned on me that their legs were more appealing than mine. I decided that it was time for his nap.

That evening when I told his father what had happened. He was so proud.  ?????

Thursday, November 16, 2023


My coworker's son was arrested. The crime he was accused of was a heinous crime. 

It was embarrassing for my coworker because he worked the same place we did and the police arrested him in the shop. Eventually he went to trial and was found guilty.

This lovely woman had always been kind and friendly to everyone. Suddenly she walked hunched over and looked completely dejected. She stayed to herself. 

One day I caught up to her as we were all going into the break room. I asked how she was doing.

She told me she was totally embarrassed and knew no one wanted to talk to her. I tried to convince her that was not the case. She again told me how ashamed she felt. She wondered if she should act like her son does not exist.

Because I had a son who was in prison I knew a bit of the way she felt. The first thing I explained was that she did not have to like what her son did. She had nothing to do with it. 

The second thing I told her was that he is her son. She loved him. A person does not have to stop loving someone simply because you do not like something they did. The two things do not necessarily go together.

And I will not dislike someone simply because someone they care about has done something I do not like. 

Sunday, November 12, 2023


 I did not learn to read early. I am like most other children. Reading did come easily to me. I enjoyed the stories.

My parents both liked to read and we children read a lot too. Mom liked mystery novels like those of Agatha Christie. Daddy liked cowboy books like those written by Zane Gray. They did not limit themselves to just those books though. Any story was welcomed.

Now that I am grown I will read almost anything. My favorite books are biographies. I like to know how the person's environment was and what influenced them to make the choices they made.

One of my brothers immersed himself in ancient Chinese history. Everyone seems to have different tastes.

One town we lived in for longer than a year had a library. As a family we would go once a week to return the books we already enjoyed and choose more to check out. The only limit on number was that we be able to read them in a week. There were a lot of us. We checked out a lot of books. 

Eventually we had read all the books in the library at least once. As soon as new books came in the librarian would call. So periodically there were new books to read.

Of course my parents made sure the books we wanted to read were appropriate. That is one of the things parents are supposed to do. I did the same with my children.

So now there are those who want to ban some books. I am totally against book banning. I do not worry about what our little ones are reading. We oversee that. As an adult I will read whatever I wish to read. 

I want to know the true stories of history. Maybe I want to know how slaves felt. Maybe I want to know how and why people owned slaves. Maybe I want to know how they became slaves. The real lives of kings and queens could not all have been easy. I want to know about explorers lives and what they discovered. I could go on and on. There is so much to learn. Those who would ban books would deprive me of that.

Some things do not belong in books or anywhere else. Crimes against children, how to commit crimes. But no publisher should put them in print to begin with. So there you are. NO BOOK BANNING!

Saturday, November 11, 2023


There are three songs that always make me cry. They make me hurt inside.

Willie McBride by the Irish Rovers. This song is based on the true story of a young man who died in World War I. Another young man had been walking through the huge graveyards all day and sat down to rest for a moment beside the grave of Willie McBride. The young man wonders about Willie's life and death. Willie McBride was a real person who was killed in the war. The whole song is heart-wrenching and tells of the circle of war but the ending always does me in.

The American Trilogy by Elvis Presley. It is both patriotic and full of pathos. When the part comes where another mother gives birth to a child she cannot afford I am in tears.

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Liam Clancy. It tells of a young soldier returning from war. As his broken body comes down the gangplank of the ship the Australian Military Band plays Waltzing Matilda which is Australia's anthem. It will break your heart.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Dance Songs

I cannot dance anymore. Since I had a stroke my legs do not want to cooperate and I would end up on the floor. But I can "chair "dance. I may look silly but I do not care

So what dances do you enjoy? They might be dances you can dance or maybe you just enjoy waching others do them.

The first that comes to mind is the easiest to do. It is the twist. It was easy to do so anyone who wanted to dance could twist. About that time came the fly and the pony. Again easy to do and just a bit of versatility.

In the 40's and 50's we had the slop, the hucklebuck, the jitterbug, the shimmy and the jive. These were the popular dances at sock hops. Sock hops were held in the high school gymnasium. To make sure our shoes did not scratch the finish of the floor we had to take shoes off and dance in our socks.

We lived for a time in a Polish neighborhood. My daughter was in a Polish dance class. She learned the Polonaise and troika along with ither ethnic dances. 

In the roaring 20's The Charleston and black bottom were among the favorite dances. I do not know how to do the black bottom but the Charleston is fun.

There are country dances. Square dancing is fun. Line dances are country versions of the stroll. 

I love ballroom dancing. I watch Dancing With The Stars faithfully. With the proper partner I can do a lot of the dances... not well but I can.

.Do you like to dance? What dances do you do?

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Time For Class

 Did you realize that every conversation you have is a learning opportunity? All that is needed is the ability to listen. 

For instance when a child is telling a story you can learn the things they are interested in, what things make them afraid, or make them happy. Often they will talk about their dreams for the future. These things might change by tomorrow but many times there is a common thread in there. 

In an adult conversation differing opinions can be discussed. As long as it is done respectfully you might come away with a different point of view. There is not one person in this world with whom I totally agree about everything. I do try to respect their thoughts. If nothing else I learn a bit more about the person.

Did you know that each walk in your neighborhood offers something new? All that is needed is to actively pay attention to your surroundings. 

How many houses are on your block? What colors are the flowers? Who owns a dog? Is it friendly or more protective of its yard. Are there any fruit trees? Can you smell honeysuckle?

Do you notice if one house needs a bit of work? Who lives there? If it is an older person perhaps they can use a bit of help with yardwork in the summer or shoveling snow in the winter. Do not just offer. Do it.

My feeling is that you can learn if you are open to it. Everything that happens is a learning experience. 

Try exchanging recipes and trying something new to eat. 

Read a book someone recommends.

Listen to a new song someone else likes.

See a movie they say is good.

Go to a different church. You need not change your religion of course but you may understand another better.

The more we know about someone or something the better we can understand. Understanding leads to tolerance. Tolerance leads to peace.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Broken Peach

My son introduced me to a new music group. They are called Broken Peach.

Broken Peach is four talented women. They have a back-up band consisting of guitar, bass guitar, and drums.

At the present time I only know how to access them on YouTube. I look them up quite often. 

My favorite videos are their Halloween videos. They dress like Halloween characters.When they sing they move I am reminded of those huge blow-up dolls you see at car dealerships. They are amazingly nimble.

They also have Christmas songs. They cover many popular American songs. They do such a good job.

Because all the women are from Spain and record in Spain they usually also have Spanish versions of their songs too. 

I have been told that Broken Peach occasionally competes in contests similar to American Idol. In one such contest the judges stopped Broken Peach from performing because they thought Broken Peach was lip-syncing. They were not. Their voices blend together so well. And they are so well rehearsed that they look flawless.

If you enjoy music take a look at Broken Peach.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Horror Movies

Keeping with the spirit of the season we have been watching horror movies. I love a good scary movie. I do not like bloody gory movies. They are not scary; they are just icky.

When they were small my children would stay up late with me watching scary movies. Consequently they like scary movies. They even like some of the icky ones/

When I was a teen-ager our drive-in theater often showed horror movies. There would be three different movies in a single night. Teen-age boys loved these nights for dates. They used a teen-aged girl's fright as an excuse for a quick snuggle or more if they could get it.

I had one boyfriend who fell asleep during the second movie every time. He never made those"moves" on me. I eventually married him.

I am not saying that he did not appreciate a good scare. We had four children. The youngest was still a baby. We had been watching a vampire movie on TV. 

When the movie was over I realized I had no milk for breakfast. My parents lived next door so I ran over to borrow some milk. I knew my husband was going to try to scare me but I went anyway.

As I was going back home with a gallon of milk in my hand I suddenly saw something flapping toward me from between the houses. I knew it was my husband but...VAMPIRES! I screamed like I was in a horror movie. When we got in the house I threw the gallon of milk at him and he laughed at me. My loving parents next door heard me scream and went to bed.

When we were but children my sister and I wanted to see The Blob at the theater. We were never allowed to see scary movies even with our parents so they would not let us go. We pleaded until they finally gave in. After all I was working and would pay for everything.

About halfway through the movie my sister was so scared she begged to leave. I was afraid too and agreed to leave.

It was nighttime and we were afraid to walk home in the dark. We went to the bowling alley where I worked. My uncle was working that night. He laughed at us then walked us home after he got off work.

 So now we watch the movies on TV. No vampire movies. I am afraid of them. I do laugh though. The dog does not like the sounds from these movies. She moves over to sit close to my son for safety. We all need safety at times.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

I Was A Pumpkin

As I have said many times my family did not have much money.  I may not have mentioned that my mother could do almost anything. She was artistic and creative. I wish I had inherited some of that. Mom also had the ability to make things. I am still in awe of her.

When Halloween came Mom often made our costumes. The ones in the store were much too expensive.

My favorite was the year I was a pumpkin. Mom used orange cloth and a lot of wire coat hangers. I even had a little hat that looked like the stem of the pumpkin. 

I was the roundest pumpkin you ever saw. When I went to school the day of the Halloween party I could barely get through the door. Sitting at my desk was impossible. 

The thing is that I looked like a real pumpkin. The year that I was an angel I looked like an angel. It was that way every year. And she did that for all of us so Mom had a lot of work.

It has long been a family tradition that costumes are homemade. For several years my youngest brother and his friends dressed up as KISS. They did their own makeup and clothes. They even used blocks of wood painted black to simulate the high boots that KISS wore.

Various grandchildren have also dressed as KISS from time to time. As a matter of fact there are three different live KISS videos in which my grandchildren appear. 

One of my younger brothers dressed as a cheerleader for a party one year. He was a huge hit. I did noy realize he had such pretty legs. 

Halloween is for having fun. Go overboard and have a good time.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Friday The Thirteenth

 My aunt and uncles went to school in a one room schoolhouse in the country. On the last day of school there was a picnic and we always went. The more the merrier, you know. One year it was held on Friday, the 13th.

We set out for the picnic with Mom at the wheel. Daddy had to work. Mom was running late as usual so she was driving a bit faster than she should have. She came to the top of a hill and saw the police car at the bottom. Instead of slowing down she panicked and stopped. When she restarted and drove down the hill she was pulled over. Luckily the cop recognized the car. Daddy was the town marshal and worked with the state police on occasion. Mom received a warning to be more careful and we went on our way.

The car was low on gas so Mom pulled into a station along the highway. In the 1950's the pumps often had big glass globes on the top with the name of the gasoline company on them. They were pretty. When Mom pulled in for gas she realized that she was too far away from the pump. She pulled forward a bit and then backed up a bit closer... whoops! a little too close. She bumped the pump. That beautiful glass globe began to wobble, wobble, wobble, wobble... it seemed to be slowing and coming to a stop. Whew. Then it just fell right off and smashed into millions of pieces.

The man at the station was very kind. Of course we did not have to pay for it; it happens all the time. (Right!) We got our 2 dollars worth of gas. That filled it up back then. And we were off again.

We turned off the highway to the county road on the way to the picnic. We were merrily driving along and Mom missed the turn onto the next county road that led to the school. Not to worry... she just backed up so she would be in position to turn. Somehow we ended up in the ditch. Some of the ditches in Nebraska were like valleys. We were rear end down with the nose of the car pointing up. Now what was she to do?

Here we were with a car full of children sitting in a deep ditch with no chance she could drive it out. As luck would have it a neighboring farmer came by on his tractor. Mom waved him down and he of course was happy to help. He was so happy to help that he could not stop laughing as he hooked the chain up to the car and his tractor. Laughing as he had Mom steer the car while his tractor strained to pull us out of that ditch. He was so happy when we were completely clear of the ditch that he kept laughing. Mom had made him so happy that he was still laughing as he drove off.

Off we went again. Mom successfully made the turn. Believe it or not we made it safely to the picnic. Of course we were extremely late but there were still a few games left to be played. After that Friday, the 13th, was a day that we no longer let Mom drive. As a matter of fact we would not even allow her in the car.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Sing Along

 After the car accident my son and I were in in 2010 one of the things that happened to me was that I lost my ability to sing. By that I mean that even though I felt like singing the words did not come out.

Now as anyone who knows me knows I cannot really sing. If you put a tune in a briefcase and locked it I still would not be able to carry it. I admire and envy those who can sing. Music is important to my life.

Therefore I gave it no thought after I had a mild stroke a couple of years ago. I was not even concerned with not being able to sing along with a favorite song. I thought it was lost to me forever.

Recently I realized that I have been singing with the music I am listening to. Hooray! 

I do not know when it began. I still stop throughout a song. It is not because I do not remember the words. My ability is still spotty. But I can sing again.

It may seem like nothing to a lot of people but I am ecstatic. O sole mio......

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Leg Children

I have long said that my four children were leg children. By that I mean that often when we were in public or an unfamiliar place they would grab my leg and hold on. They were never far from me in most instances.

I must say that at times it was annoying trying to move around with children constantly under my feet. At the same time it was comforting to know that they trusted me to protect them.

As they grew and discovered the outside world of school and other activities they gradually moved away from my legs. At the same time I tried to always be available if they needed me.

Now they are all grown. Most have children of their own and one even has grandchildren. They are good parents with not a leg child in the bunch. All are very loved.

One day at lunch with my sister-in-law I was chuckling about my leg children. She began to chuckle too. Then she told me that my husband was one of all the leg children of my mother-in-law. I guess my children inherited it from their father.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

End Of The Season

There are only three days left. I am speaking about Major League Baseball. Most of you know that the Detroit Tigers are my team.

We have not done well this year. However it looks as though we will be in second place in our division when it ends.

We have a young team now. And it looks like we have some really good players nnow. Going into next season my hopes are high. Barring any major injuries we will have a winning team.

The sad part of the year is that Miguel Cabrera is retiring. If you have not seen Miggy (as we fondly call him) play you really missed something special.

Miggy became a baseball player because his mother was a softball star in their home country of Venezuela. Baseball scouts began to notice him when he was still a child because he was such a good player.

He was chosen by the Florida Marlins. He was still a rookie when he hit his first home run which won the game.

The Tigers pulled off a fantastic trade to obtain Miggy. All Tigers fans were happy but we had no idea that were looking at one of the best players ever.

Any time Miggy comes up to bat I smile. He always has a big grin on his face. He knows he is a man playing a kids' game and he enjoys himself.

Over the years he has racked up a lot of impressive statistics. He has hit 511 home runs, 3168 hits, 624 doubles, 17 triples, and 510 runs batted in. He has been MVP twice and the batting Triple Crown winner. To win the triple crown a batter has the most home runs, highest batting average, and most runs batted in for the season. 

Now Miggy is 40 years old. His knees and back hurt. He has decided it is time to stop playing. He will certainly be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible. Hopefully the Tigers will find a place for him in their organization.

I will miss him.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Watermelon Day

 I have so many happy memories of being a child. This is one of the best.

During the summer Saturday nights were special nights. The farmers came to town to purchase what they needed from the grocery store and the feed (for animals) store. It was a small town so there were not many other stores there.

What we did have was the free show. The free show was a big movie screen with a bunch of benches set up for us to watch. And it cost absolutely nothing.

I got 25 cents each week for allowance. Five cents went into the collection plate at Sunday school but the rest was mine all mine. Before the show started I would stop at the store and buy a bottle of pop and a candy bar. It took half of what was left but it was worth it. Besides I would get back a penny when I returned the bottle for the deposit. That penny was worth two pieces of bubble gum.

I loved sitting outside watching those movies. It was just like being at the theater. Except we had the stars above us.

The reason the free show was there was to keep the kids busy while their parents shopped and socialized. The fire station was where the men would gather to play cards and discuss manly things. The women stood off to the side talking about children and whatever else they talked about.

We lived just a block and a half down the street from the free show so I always went. Unless it rained. Then us kids would join the adults in the firehouse.

At the end of the summer came the best day of all. It was watermelon day.

On watermelon day all the farmers brought part of their harvest to town. Someone donated a cow and someone else donated a pig. They were both roasted in a huge pit dug in the ground. They started cooking a day or two before.

Then there were tables set up. They held cooked potatoes, corn on the cob, fresh salads, vegetables, fruits, homemade breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, homemade jams and jellies... you name it, it was there. And watermelon.

After eating more than you could possibly eat, you had to go back for a huge chunk of watermelon, then another one, and so forth. It was everyone enjoying the bounties of the harvest.

There were games like sack races and other fun group activities. When the sun went down there was the free show.

The very nicest thing about watermelon day was... IT COST NOTHING. It was just people getting together and enjoying each other and the offerings from the land. It is one of my favorite memories.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Halloween Songs

 Halloween will be here soon. It is a celebration of the time when the earth and the afterlife are supposedly so close that sometimes spirits cross over. Some religions believe Halloween to be evil. Other folks (like me) believe it to be a time for fun and imagination. 

A lot of Halloween songs are not scary. They can be silly and even goofy. Some are normal with a surprise ending. And some are scary. Take your pick. As always they can be found on YouTube.

The Witch Doctor by David Seville

Little Ted Man by Ugly Kid Joe

I Put A Spell On You by Broken Peach (also the three witches in Hocus Pocus and by Screamin' Jay Hawkins}

The Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Fiddler's Green by The Irish Rovers

Long Black Veil by The Band

Teddy Bears' Picnic by Jerry Garcia (trust me it's scary)

Season of the Witch by Donovan (the Joan Jett version is good too)

Grim, Grinning Ghosts is from Disney's Haunted Mansion

Vampira by Bobby Bare

Monster Mash by Bobby "Boris" Pickett ( Boris Karloff did it too)

Laurie (Strange Things Happen) by Dickey Lee

Shudders and Screams by Ben Colder

Ghost Riders In The Sky by Marty Robbins (and many others)

The Martian Hop by the Ran-Dells

The Theme Songs for The Addams Family and The Munsters

Ghost Busters by Ray Parker Jr

The Blob by The Five Blobs

The Danse Macabre Op. 40 by The Philharmonic Orchestra

Miller's Cave by Bobby Bare

This House Is Haunted by Alice Cooper

Joe Bean by Johnny Cash

Can you tell I like Halloween? Feel free to let me know what I left out.

Monday, September 18, 2023

The Big C

I have not given you an update on my daughter in quite some time. She has had a really rough time of it as you can imagine.

For those who are new or just do not remember my daughter was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy for what seemed like forever. Of course she lost all her pretty blonde hair. 

The chemo left her weak and tired. On top of that the shunt they put in to make it easier for the nurses administering the chemo was installed wrong. They had such a hard time using it that my daughter considered stopping it after a couple of months. She said it was just too painful. Finally the doctor did surgery to put in a different one.

My daughter needed a special drug for her chemo. Her insurance would not cover it. One of the nurses was kind enough and tenacious enough to find a program that paid for it.

My daughter decided to have a double mastectomy because the odds of it traveling to the other breast were high. She just wanted to be done with it.

The surgery went well but she did not seem to recover very fast. Maybe I expected too much. She usually heals quickly.

After the surgery there was more chemo along with radiation therapy. The radiation burned most of the skin from her armpit. 

When they removed her breasts they fitted some contraption under the skin to prepare for transplants eventually. They caused so much pain the doctor had to remove them. My daughter said it felt good to be able to breathe pain free again.

So finally after a few months she had surgery to put in the implants. What they do is remove tissue from the abdomen and place it in the breast. 

During the surgery and recovery she received 14 units of blood, 2 units of plasma, and one unit of something else. On average an adult has around 10 units of blood circulating in their system.

On about the third day of recovery someone finally took a look at one of the 6 drainage tubes that my daughter told her was bothering her. My daughter was lying in a pool of blood. When the woman went to gently move the tube to one side it exploded outward similar to an erupting volcano. It sprayed the woman, my daughter, and all over her bed. The only thing it missed was a little stuffed animal that was wearing the St Benedict medal my daughter was not allowed to wear but wanted close.

They covered the implants with folds of skin that had been saved from her breasts. After the first examination by the surgeon she was told that one flap of skin looked like it was dying. They would watch it for progress.

 It seemed to be getting better. Instead it died. Another surgery removed that flap of skin. My daughter insisted on going home. She felt she was not getting the care she needed at the hospital. She felt more comfortable at home.

She has kept her doctor's appointments and is doing what they prescribe. 

One day she noticed that the implant was exposed where the bad flap had been. She notified the doctor. He immediately performed another surgery because the implant actually fell out.

There will be another surgery in a couple of months to either make another implant or somehow pull a muscle from her back around to use as an implant. I do not understand.

Internally and emotionally my daughter is so much better. Physically she still has huge limitations but she is no longer afraid she is going to die.

I am not looking for sympathy and it drives me insane. I only wished to let you know how she is doing.

Saturday, September 16, 2023


 When I was a child westerns were what we watched when we got home from school and all summer. Cartoons were only available Saturday mornings. 

Of course I had some favorites. The Cisco Kid was special. He and Pancho righted all the wrongs they encountered. At the end of each show they had a little conversation that ended with "Oh Pancho Oh Cisco". Then they rode off to the next adventure.

Hopalong Cassidy was another. He and his horse Topper took care of many bad guys.

Roy Rogers was a favorite of most of us kids. Dale Evans and Pat Brady were sidekicks. Did you know that Dale Evans wrote the theme song Happy Trails one day as they were on the way to film the show? She was a talented author and song writer. Pat Brady was known for his Jeep Nellybelle and provided comical behavior for the show. He also a singer in The Sons Of The Pioneers which was co-founded by - you guessed it - Roy Rogers. Roy Rogers was well-known as a horseman too. You will never see anything more beautiful than Roy Rogers riding Trigger at full gallop.

Gabby Hayes was the ultimate sidekick. He mostly appeared in western movies so whenever he was in a television cowboy show it was a real treat. He even had his own TV show for a time. He did not star in any of the features but he played the host of the series.

I vaguely remember Wild Bill Hickock but I do remember his sidekick Jingles. His real name was Andy Devine and he had a strange voice and usually was reluctant to enter an adventure that might be dangerous. He later had his own children's show on television called Andy's Gang sponsored by Buster Brown Shoes. It had Midnight the Cat and Froggy the Gremlin.

Annie Oakley was a female western star which was almost unheard of then. She could ride and shoot with the best of the men.

The Lone Ranger will end my list. It is the story of a man who rode with his brother and other Texas Rangers into an ambush. All were killed except for him. He was found half dead by a young Indian who nursed him back to health. Tonto remembers that the ranger had befriended him when his village was wiped out. When the ranger recovered from his injuries he and Tonto travel the Southwest helping people who are the victims of outlaws. He is called the Lone Ranger because he was the lone ranger to survive.

As a side note the Lone Ranger's brother left a son named Dan who spent a lot of time with his Lone Ranger uncle. Dan became a father to Britt Reid. Britt Reid was the Green Lantern.

Hi-Yo Silver.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Old Gadgets

Have you ever used old gadgets that younger people have not even had access to? I will talk about some that I have used. 

Can openers. I have used the old can openers that you punch into the top of the can and use the sharp blade to cut around the top to create the opening that allowed you to get the contents out. There were the punches that opened beer cans by pushing the point through and making a triangular hole to drink from. They were called church keys. They could also be used several times around a can to remove the lid but it was not easy to do. Then they invented a small opener that was placed at the top of a can and had a handle to twist. As you twisted the two attached parts slid together to fasten it on the can. By twisting the handle the opener would travel around the top of the can to open it. Later they made an opener with long handles that were squeezed which punctured the can. A wheel-type handle being turned moved the opener around the top of the can causing it to open. Both of the previous openers were especially hard for us lefties. And all of them left sharp lids that I cut myself with many times. Thank goodness for new electric openers that do not leave sharp edges.

Washboards are a wooden frame holding a corrugated metal piece. To wash your clothes you stood the washboard in the edge of a washtub filled with hot water. When the clothes (one piece at a time) were soapy you scrubbed them up and down on the washboard to mix the soap with the dirt so it will leave the clothes. Then you wring the water out by hand and drop the clothes into a tub of rinse water. Diapers get two rinse tubs. Again you wring the water out and put the clothes in a basket to take to the clothesline to be pinned up and dried by sun and air. There were wringers you could attach to the tubs and hand crank them to get more water from the clothes. They were clumsy and more trouble than they were useful. It was not unusual for the tubs to tip and spill when using the wringers. 

Then came wringer washers. Electricity was a wonderful addition to doing laundry. The tub of the washer was filled with hot water and soap. There was an agitator in the tub that swished the clothes around in the soapy water. When the allotted time for washing was over you turned off the agitator and put the clothes through the electrically operated wringer into a tub of rinsed water. Often the wringer was rotated to wring rinsed clothes to another rinse tub. Then the clothes were put through the wringer again . With the water wrung out the clothes fell into a basket and were taken to the line to dry.

Clothes did not dry with no wrinkles. They had to be ironed. When they came off the line clothes to be ironed were sprinkled with water and rolled to evenly distribute the moisture. Ironing day was also an all day affair. The first irons (besides hot rocks) were heated on the wood stove. They needed to be replaced often so there were often two heating while one was being used. Along came electricity and some nice person found a way to heat the iron that way. Eventually irons had dials to regulate the amount of heat. Next was an iron that sprayed steam on the clothes. No more sprinkling.

I was going to talk about wood stoves and cleaning rugs. I have run out of space. Next time. Do you have an odd gadget that you find interesting? Please share.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Songs For Children

 I love children's music. I have ever since I was a child. I have happy memories of my mother singing to me. My father would whistle and once in a while fancy that he sounded like Bing Crosby. Music was a staple in our house.

Here are some favorites. At least most of them can be found on YouTube.

Pineapple Princess by Annette Funicello

Daddy What If by Bobby Bare

I'll Stay In The House by Jimmy Boyd

Scarlet Ribbons by The Browns

Hula Hoop Song by Theresa Brewer

Cuban Pete Sally Sweet by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball (the video is fantastic_

Mr Sandman by The Chordettes

Que Sera Sera by Doris Day

I'm Gonna Knock on Your Door by Eddie Hodges

Happy Trails by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

At The Codfish Ball by Shirley Temple and Buddy Ebson (really anything from Shirley Temple)

The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens

My Boy Lollipop by Millie Small

All of Schoolhouse Rock

Swingin' On A Star by Spooky and Sue

Bug That Tried To Crawl Around The World by Johnny Cash

Your Nose Is Gonna Grow by Johnny Crawford

Centerfield by John Fogerty

This Land Is Your Land by Woodie Guthrie

Little Bitty by Alan Jackson

Pretty Irish Girl by Sean Connery (from Darby O'Gill and the Little People)

Witch Doctor by David Seville

High Hopes by Frank Sinatra

Tippy Toeing by The Harden Trio

Iko Iko by The Dixie Cups

Bimbo by Jim Reeves

Minnie's Yoo Hoo by Carl Stallings

Ragtime Cowboy Joe by The Rank Rangers

The Marvelous Toy by The Chad Mitchell Trio

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window by Patti Page

Oh my goodness. Look how many there are already. I have so many more but I must stop. If you have a favorite I left off the list please let us know.

Monday, August 28, 2023

More Remodeling

 My son and his friend came to visit again. Lots of work was done. I will bore you with it now.

My front steps were deteriorating and breaking. The very center seemed to be sinking. Since I am still using a walker it was becoming more and more difficult for me to maneuver. I needed help to lift the walker into the house. Then I would hook my elbow inside the door to help pull myself in as I stepped into the house.

They rebuilt both sets of steps into the house with nice solid cement. Now I will not have such a big step to deal with. I like it.

They also put a small awning over the steps so rain would not come down and straight into the house. Now I will not get a shower every time I walk into the house as it is raining.

The plan was to shore up the threshold of the back door which they did. But in the process they discovered that the wall on one side of it was ready to fall off. What a job that was.

Basically he tore the whole wall away and rebuilt it... all in one day. With the temperatures well over 100 degrees it was miserable work. But now the wall is solid and safe. Two windows on the wall were completely replaced.

In my room the window is brand new. They made some repairs to the walls in my room. They also mounted my television which gives me a lot more room. I had a large space rug which they put under my bed and across half the room. No more cold tootsies when I step out of bed in the morning.

In my son's room one window was replaced. Half the floor was reinforced. 

Moving on to the hall the floor was reinforced. It is nice and solid now. Quiet too.

Off the kitchen my ex-husband had built a small block house around a big wood burning stove. The heat came in through the window which he had sealed inside metal. The problem was that it leaked a bit. The window was replaced and looks beautiful. The light it lets in is so nice.

On top of all that my son took us all out to a nice restaurant for my birthday. We all had a good time. 

In less than a week all of this was done. Of course we paid for it. That kind of work is not cheap. But if we had hired a company it would still not be done and would have cost many times more. I am happy with the results.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Who I Am

 I am a baby boomer. After World War ll, there was a huge increase in new babies. The servicemen coming home from the war married and started their families. My father was in the navy. His younger brother was dating a nice girl who had a sister who was not attached. A blind date was arranged and my parents met. Soon after, they married and a whole 10 months later, they had a beautiful baby girl.

My daddy had always wanted a daughter. When he came home from overseas, he had a kimono for his wife-to-be and his little girl. He wasted no time getting both of us. I have always felt very special because I was the little girl my daddy wanted. I have 4 brothers and two sisters. It was great being part of a large family. We never had much money but there was a lot of love.

My mom was the most intelligent person I have ever known. She was a quiet, nurturing woman. Daddy could make or fix anything. He loved being a family man and we all adored him.

Daddy was always looking for something better so we moved a lot as I grew up. I went to 9 different schools before I graduated from high school. He still kept moving until they moved to Detroit. I think he finally found his home.

Mom just packed and moved to where-ever. I don't think she liked Detroit and as soon as she could after Daddy was gone, she moved to warmer weather.

Today is Mom's birthday so she is very much on my mind. Daddy's birthday is in a week and a half with me plopped right in the middle. 

My parents are both dead now. I miss them both so much. 

Emma is not my real name. My family have not given permission to having the world know them. So I made up a name. Otherwise any facts I give about myself or my family are true.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Silly Songs

 I have yet another group of songs. These are my special passion.  I love anything that makes me laugh and silly songs certainly do that. See how many you know.

Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah by Allan Sherman

The Ballad of Irving by Frank Gallop

I'm A Lonely Little Petunia by Arthur Godfrey

My Boomerang Won't Come Back by Charlie Drake

Dead Skunk by Loudon Wainwright III

Wasn't That a Party by the Irish Rovers

Lily The Pink by The Scaffold

My The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose by Little Jimmy Dickens

Mule Skinner Blues by The Fendermen

Mahna Mahna by The Muppets

Snoopy vs. The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen

Wild Thing by Sen. Everett McKinley

Oh Lord It's Hard To Be Humble by Mac Davis

Charlie Brown by The Coasters

The Little Nash Rambler by The Playmates

Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport by Rolf Harris

Disco Duck by Rick Dees

Mister Custer by Larry Verne

Daffy Duck's Rhapsody by Daffy Duck

It Came Out of The Sky by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Boa Constrictor by Johnny Cash (The whole album named Everybody Loves Nut is good for a chuckle)

The Doo Hickey Song by Ben Colder

Chug-A-Lug by Roger Miller

The Streak by Ray Stevens

I have hundreds of them. Like I said they are my favorite kind of music. All of these should by on YouTube if you want to hear them. If you know any silly songs I welcome them.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Are You Happy?

 So many people have had unhappy lives. I read about them on various posts. I see them on the news. I hear them from folks I know. 

I have been mostly happy all my life. There have been unhappy moments... deaths, illnesses, and so on. But my life has been good otherwise. 

So I was pondering happiness recently. What makes a person happy? What makes you happy?

I think I was born happy. I was my parent's first child and the first (of many) babies in close proximity to other various family members. I received lots of attention and love. My parents also gave me the gift of six babies they called brothers and sisters. Boy did they love me.

My father worked hard. There was never a lot of money. That is the reason I have little use for money. Too many other things are more important.

So I have narrowed happiness to two categories. Things I need and things I want.

I need a roof over my head. I personally NEED an indoor toilet. I need healthy food and water. I need and want my children. I need clean air to breathe. I need my medication (darn it). I suppose I need clothing and (ugh) shoes. I cannot think of anything else.

I want my favorite baseball team to win more than they lose. I want my dishwasher so I do not have to do dishes. I want to be able to walk again without my walker. There are little things that I want from time to time but the pleasure from them is temporary.

I am realistic enough to know that the whole world will never be at peace. I wish for it even so.

Think about it. What makes you happy?

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Sad Songs

 As promised here are some sad songs. Some will tug a bit at your heart. The first one makes me cry every time I hear it.

Willie McBride by The Irish Rovers

The Winner Takes It All by ABBA

Yesterday by The Beatles

Hurt By Timi Yuro

House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me by Culture Club

I Will Always Love You by either Dolly Parton or Whitney Huston

What In The World's Come Over You by Jack Scott

I'd Love You To Want Me by Lobo

Don't Just Stand There by Patty Duke

Massachusetts by The Bee Gees

Detroit City by Bobby Bare

Teddy Bear Song by Tanya Tucker

Ruby (Don't Take Your Love To Town) by Kenny Rogers

HaveYou Ever Seen The Rain by Creedence Clearwater Revival

One Of Us by Cher

Three Stars by Eddie Cochrane

The Ballad Of Ira Hayes by Johnny Cash

Walkin' After Midnight by Patsy Cline

Stormy Weather by Keely Smith

Cool Clear Water by The Sons Of The Pioneers

This Time by Troy Shondell

So Sad by The Everly Brothers

Tracks Of My Tears by Smokey Robinson

Great Pretender by Freddie Mercury

Who's Sorry Now by Connie Francis

Wasted Days And Wasted Nights by Freddy Fender

World Without Love by Peter And Gordon

Where Have All The Flowers Gone? by Peter, Paul, and Mary

I'm Sorry by The Platters

She Cried by Jay & The Americans

As usual by Brenda Lee

Return To Me by Dean Martin

Lonesome Town by Ricky Nelson

Cryin' by Roy Orbison

And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Liam Clancy

That should give you an idea. You should be able to find all of these sad songs on YouTube. As always I left out a bunch. Is your favorite missing?

Thursday, July 27, 2023

A Mother's Love

My mother could not swim. In fact she could not stand water on her face. But she tried to make sure all of us could swim. Of course Daddy was a Navy man so he had to be a swimmer too.

One year after I was married they all went on a camping trip. There were some problems with the car but Daddy knew he could fix it.

There was a small lake just over the hill so my father helped them all get settled there so the kids could swim. Mom was the 'lifeguard'.

They had been swimming for some time when suddenly a brother and sister began screaming for help. Mom told them they were not funny and to stop it.

When she suddenly realized that they were actually in trouble she acted instinctively. She told my little sister to keep my baby brother from following her. She grabbed the only stick she could see and headed into the water.

As she got closer to them she saw that myy brother was trying to help my sister. Mom told him to get out of the water and to tell our other brother to go get our father from the other side of the hill.

In the meantime Mom waded out as far as she could. Her foot caught on a root or something under the water. She used it as a anchor because the water was up to her mouth.

She stretched as far as she could and calmly said, "Becky grab the stick." Of course my sister was panicked. She was flailing around and not listening.

She went under water but was able to kick herself back up. Mom could see my sister was getting tired. She kept telling her to grab the stick.

After another trip under the water Mom could see that another time my sister would not come back up. 

She stretched farther than she felt safe and sternly told my sister to grab the stickstick.Somehowister took hold of the stick and Mom jerked it hard toward her. The stick was old and broke but it did what was needed.

Even though Mom was losing her footing she grabbed my sister and tried to propel them both toward shore. Daddy and my brother came running over the hill just as Mom and my sister were getting out of the water. 

It goes to show that even though there was good chance that my mother could have drowned she needed to save her child. A mother's love is special indeed.

Sunday, July 23, 2023


 My sister was 16. She had a good pat time job. She wanted to buy a stereo of her own.

Off she went to the store. The stereo she wanted was expensive... more than she had saved. She tried to buy it on time and was informed that she was too young to make a legal deal. Could she have someone co-sign for a loan? 

She went home extremely disappointed. Our mother said that of course she would co-sign. Back to the store they went. Mom was told that because she was only a wife she could not be held legally responsible for her daughter's debts.

Of course Mom was furious. She handled the family's finances, she was an adult, and her credit was good. She was still complaining when Daddy came home. My sister was unhappy. 

Daddy took them both back to the store. He explained that he would co-sign for his daughter. But not there. 

They went to another store. My sister bought her stereo. My parents both co-signed to guarantee the payments. My sister happily set up her new stereo as soon as they got home.

Mom had a meeting to attend and Daddy was working in his back porch workshop. I was visiting and extremely pregnant. 

As I was alone in the living room I heard an awful noise. My sister was moaning and groaning making the most awful sounds. I yelled up the stairs that I could not climb because of my pregnancy. No answer.

I went and got my father. He thought I was overreacting and went to the bottom of the stairs to call my sister. 

When she continued that horrible noise and did not answer Daddy rushed up the stairs. I was terrified. Then Daddy came down laughing/

My sister's new stereo had headphones so she could listen to her music without disturbing anyone else. She was listening to her music and 'singing' along. Her singing sounded like she was in unbearable pain.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Happy Songs

 Have you ever listened to a song that just made you feel good? I have a list of SOME of my favorites. I would love to see which songs I left off the list. All the songs on my list are available on YouTube if you want to smile.

Happy Go Lucky Me by Paul Evans

The Chicken Dance by Werner Thomas  ( I first heard it on Lawrence Welk)

Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger (see if you can keep your body from moving)

Little Bitty by Alan Jackson

Singin' In the Bathtub by John Lithgow

Tippy Toeing by the Harden Trio

Bimbo by Jim Reeves

I Know An Old Lady  choose an artist

Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor by Lonnie Donegan (He sings several different versions)

Lah Di Dah by Billie and Lily

Lucky Ladybug by Billie and Lily

Rubber Ducky by The Muppets

Mahna Mahna by the Muppets

Mr Bassman by Johnny Cymbal

I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts by Merv Griffin

The Marvelous Toy by The Chad Mitchell Trio

Frog Kissin' by Ray Stevens

Boa Constrictor by Johnny Cash

Jump In The Line by Harry Belafonte

Choo n Gum by Theresa Brewer

Potato Chips by Phil Harris

Jump Jive and Wail by Louis Prima (Brian Setzer is just as good)

Centerfield by John Fogerty

The Motorcycle Song by Arlo Guthrie

Daydream by The Lovin' Spoonful

Chug-a-lug by Roger Miller

The Hamster Dance   I cannot find the artist

Pheasant Plucker's Son by the Irish Rovers

Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba

YMCA by The Village People

Give up? There are a lot more but this is a good start. If you have a favorite that makes you feel good I would love to know.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Good Reads

 I love to read. I even read junk mail. I will read any book or magazine I get my hands on.

My mother loved the Lord of the Rings series. On January first every year she treated herself by reading it again.

Usually if she liked a book I would read it and enjoy it as well. For instance I loved the Mrs Polifax series. And I introduced her to Silence of the Lambs. She was not impressed. But usually we liked the books together.

I have tried to read Lord of the Rings at least half a dozen times. I cannot get past the first chapter. I have no idea what the problem is. So I have never read this iconic series.

I would be interested to know if there are books others have a problem reading.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Wake Up!

 I wake up slowly in the morning. I watch the trees from my window as I lounge in bed. Usually there are birds flitting around just to make my life more enjoyable.

Then I watch the morning news and some other programs that I regularly watch. I then get dressed and go into the kitchen for breakfast. 

It is the way I like to start my day. I feel awake and a bit pampered.

I also know that not everyone is such a slow starter. My youngest sister actually growls if you so much as speak to her before she is awake in the morning. Slow starter.

My siblings and I learned when we were very young not to shake my father or get too close if we had to wake him. He had served in the Navy during WWII. Aboard the ship he had to get up and be ready to go immediately. That training never left him. 

When Daddy woke up he jumped straight up to his feet and stood at attention. If you were too close he might knock you right over!

As I said we learned to stay far away. He was an immediate starter.

That training came in handy for me. I married a man who had 4 brothers. All 5 of them were full of vinegar. They loved to pick on each other.

I already knew not to get close when waking a sleeping man. My husband would wake up swinging his fists to ward off whatever foolishness was coming his way.

So my children also knew not to get close to a waking person. Do you wake up fast or slow?

Saturday, June 10, 2023


 What kind of music do you listen to? 

I listen to all kinds of music depending on my mood. I do have favorites. I do love music.

For instance if I am in the mood for a light-hearted instrumental I might pull up a minuet. Franz Joseph Hayden composed some lively minuets. 

Music played for barn dances is fun. We usually think of square dancing when we think of this type of music but there are also slower dances for couples. My grandparents played at barn dances. When I was young a couple I knew used to take a couple of us girls to square dances.  My favorite to watch was "Swing Em Like Thunder".

There are a lot of fun songs and dances from the Roaring 20's.  The Charleston and Black Bottom come to mind. And Bety Boop's "Boop-oop-e-doo" is still well-known.

Big Band music has a lot of favorites for me. Some bandleaders were Lois Armstrong, Count Basie, Les Brown, Cac Calloway, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Phil Harris, Bennie Goodman, Dizzy Gillespi, Louis Jordan, Guy Lombardo, Glenn Miller, Vaughn Monroe, Ozzie Nelson (Ricky's dad), and so many more. Louis Prima is my favorite. And Brian Setzer is the newest member.

 Many famous singers came from Big Bands. Doris Day and Keely Smith popped into my mind right away. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra began as singers for Big Bands.

Big Bands played some of the smoothest music ever. They ushered in the age of Swing which led the way for newer sounds.

Country Western Music has existed since early times. The original Jimmie Rodgers was also known as the singing brakeman. He sang early Country Music and could yodel with the best of them. He is not to be confused with Jimmie Rodgers who sang "Honeycomb". Both are favorites of mine.

The Carter Family sang early American folk music. They began in 1927 and descendants are still singing today. June Carter eventually married Johnny Cash who is a famous singer too.

Early Country singers were the singing cowboys like Tex Ritter and Roy Rogers. Dale Evans who married Roy Rogers was also a prolific songwriter. She wrote the theme song for their television show one day on the way to filming their television show.

A lot of the early Country singers were the first Rockabilly performers. Bill Hayley and the Comets performed perhaps the most famous song of the fifties with "Rock Around the Clock".

At the same time religious music was popular. Depending on the religion a person followed music was a way to help a person worship' Some hymns were more sedate while others worshipped with more effusive joy. What was called Negro spirituals were also a precursor to our next step in music.

These spirituals were used during slavery to send messages that the owners would not understand. Some gave instructions to escaping slaves while others let them know what was safe and what was not. 

Anyway music in the Black community consisted of spirituals and raucous and sometimes raunchy music. Often there was a strong background of drums or pounding piano that was so attractive to young people.

We entered the age of Rock and Roll. Singing groups like the Platters were popular. Single performers like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Ricky Nelson. I remember them all. This is my favorite music.

In cities young men would gather on street corners to harmonize. Thus were formed the Doo-Wop groups we all loved.

We have since experienced Heavy Metal, Hair Bands, Grunge, Rap and Punk Rock. All have their own merits. 

As I said it depends on my mood what I listen to. My favorites are music from the fifties and sixties and The Irish Rovers. I also have a passion for silly songs. What do you like?

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Ear Worms

 I have read several posts lately referring to popular songs and people commenting that the song gets stuck in their heads. It is called an ear worm.

It is so annoying to have a song running over and over in your mind. When the song Poison Ivt was popular It stuck in my brain whenever I would hear it. As a matter of fact I can feel it starting right now. I should have stayed away from this topic!

There is a way to rid yourself of an ear worm and you will be surprised how easy it is. Just look directly at a person near you and sing a catchy part of the song. That transfers the song from your brain to theirs.

Late at night while you're sleeping Poison Ivy comes a-creeping around.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sgt. Floyd Monument, The Biggest Gravestone in Sioux City

 This is an article from The Sioux City Journal. The Floyd Memorial is just one of the historical monuments in the area.

Sgt. Charles Floyd got very sick in the summer of 1804. 

On July 31, 1804, Floyd wrote in his diary: "I am verry sick and has ben for Sometime but have Recovered my helth again." 

Floyd's improved "helth" would not last, however; he had only three weeks to live. 

The explorer, a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, was stricken with what was described as "bilious colic." His condition was consistent with what is now known as appendicitis. There was no doctor available in this uncharted spot, at the time part of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. 

He was probably just as well off without a doctor. Medicine in that era was primitive and unscientific at best, and often cruel and counterproductive.

Floyd died Aug. 20, 1804, in the area that is now Sioux City. He was the sole member of the Corps of Discovery to die during the hazardous journey. William Clark wrote in his diary that "We buried him on the top of the bluff 1/2 Mile below a Small river to which we Gave his name, he was buried with the Honors of War, much lamented," according to the Sioux City Public Museum. 

Fellow Corps of Discovery explorer Patrick Gass described Floyd's burial as being conducted "in the most decent manner our circumstances would admit."

A cedar post was used as a grave marker, inscribed: "Sergt. C. Floyd died here 20th of August 1804."

Fifty years after Floyd died, a city sprang up in the area near his grave. By 1857, according to the museum, the grave itself had fallen into disrepair; Sioux Cityans gathered what remained of his remains and re-buried them in a walnut coffin. 

By the 1890s, a decades-long, nationwide historical monuments craze was intensifying. In the eastern states, scores of monuments were built to commemorate the Civil War.

In 1894, Floyd's journals from the expedition were rediscovered, according to the Sioux City Public Museum. In an era when community leaders everywhere itched for something important to immortalize in stone and bronze, the memory of Charles Floyd sprang back to life. 

Unfortunately, in the decades since his 1857 reburial, cattle had trampled the grave and (as was common practice in those days) souvenir seekers took whatever they could get from the gravesite. Eventually nothing was left above ground; no one knew where exactly the grave was. 

On Memorial Day, 1895, after a lot of searching, Floyd's grave was rediscovered. His remains were placed in two earthenware urns and reburied again on Aug. 20, 1895, according to the museum. A special re-interment service was held, and a more-permanent grave marker was installed -- a four-foot-by-eight-foot marble slab over the grave. 

That same year, the Floyd Memorial Association was formed to see that Sgt. Floyd would get an even more substantial grave marker. 

A decade earlier, the Washington Monument -- which had been under construction in fits and starts since 1848 -- was at last completed and dedicated. An enormous Egyptian-style obelisk was used to honor the first president; obelisks, and Egyptian-inspired decorative arts in general, were very popular at the time. 

Sgt. Charles Floyd would also be honored with an obelisk. Floyd's obelisk, however, would be less than one-fifth the height of the 555-foot Washington Monument. 

Help poured in from all around: $13,400 was secured from the federal government, the state of Iowa, Woodbury County and from private sources of funding. Colonel Chittenden with the United States Engineer's Office in Sioux City offered his services, according to the museum. Materials for the monument were transported free of charge by the railroads. 

The foundation of the monument was laid May 29, 1900. On Aug. 20, the cornerstone was ceremoniously laid, 96 years to the day after Floyd died. The obelisk's capstone was placed on April 22, 1901, and the finished monument was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1901. Thousands of people attended the ceremonies. 

Sgt. Floyd's remains are entombed inside the Floyd Monument, in its concrete core. The exterior of the monument is built of Kettle River sandstone; like the Washington Monument, its pointed cap is made of aluminum, a relatively innovative element at the time.

(The aluminum tip, depending on the ambient light, doesn't always have the shiny, bright appearance of other aluminum objects; often it has a rather darkened appearance. This likely contributed to the "big pencil" moniker the monument eventually garnered, as the darkened aluminum point does bear some resemblance to the graphite point of a wooden pencil.) 

In 1960, the Floyd Monument would become the first-ever National Historic Landmark in the U.S. 

Though the monument outwardly looks like the sort of thing that lasts forever with little or no maintenance, it is in fact showing its age. For more than a year, the Sioux City Parks and Recreation Department has been keeping an eye on the monument's condition; spalling, a phenomenon wherein pieces or flakes of material break away from a larger body, has been noted on the south part of the landmark. 

The obelisk last underwent repairs in 1998. 

Visitors can see the monument at 2601 S. Lewis Blvd. Also, details about the Lewis and Clark expedition can be found at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, 900 Larsen Park Road, at the Sergeant Floyd River Museum, also at Larsen Park Road. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

What To Do If Someone Has A Seizure

It has been a long time since I have reminded people of what to do if you see someone having a seizure. They are awful to see and worse to experience. Do you know what to do if someone has a seizure? Read further and you will.

When I was 16 I took a summer job babysitting. It was a family of 5 children. They lived in a trailer park on a lake. Their trailer was a very large nice home.

They had four boys and one daughter. I would sleep in the same room as the daughter because I would stay there all week. On weekends I would go home.

Both parents worked so they needed someone who could take care of the children, do light housework, and cook at least two meals each day. No problem. Remember I have six younger brothers and sisters.

The children also had an aunt and uncle only a few trailers away. The aunt was only a few years older than I. I was asked to never leave the children alone with her because she had epilepsy. She had been in a car accident and there was a bruise on her brain that caused seizures.

She was a very nice person and we got along very well. She would come down a couple of times a week just to visit while her husband was at work.

One day she had a seizure. She was just sitting and quietly watching television when she began to act strangely. She yelped a couple of times and slapped her leg repeatedly. It took me a few beats to realize what was happening but I had no idea what to do for her.

I had promised the children I would make Johnny cake for breakfast one day. What I call Johnny cake is just hot cornbread with sugar and milk poured over it. It is delicious if you want to try it. So one Monday morning I got up early to start baking.

I did not know that the parents had broiled steaks the evening before. They decided to leave the oily aluminum foil on the broiler and clean it after work Monday.

I lit the oven and started making cornbread batter. The oldest son of the family came in rubbing his eyes and trying to wake up. As we were talking we saw the flames flare up from the broiler.

I am good in a crisis so I was going to go out and turn off the fuel tank. When I got to the door I suddenly felt myself turning to the left and spinning uncontrollably. (I was not. It only felt that way.)

Then I was waking up on the couch with the mother of the family hovering over me and the children looking so frightened. She wanted to know if I was okay. I felt fine. Maybe just a little sleepy.

The oldest son had the good sense to run outside and turn off the fuel. Then he ran down and had his aunt come up. She called the mother who came right home. It was about a 45 minute drive.

The mother decided to take some time off work so I could go home. My parents had me rest and stay calm even though I felt fine. After one week I went back to take care of the children again.

I was there for about a week and a half. I was up before the children once again. As I moved through the living room toward their rooms to wake them up I turned and saw myself walking slightly behind and to the left of myself!

Once more I woke up to see the mother there as I was lying on the couch. This time my mother was with her. I was still so scared from what I had seen. The mother of the children of course needed someone who was not passing out all the time. She had made arrangements for a friend of mine to finish out the summer. That was fine with me. I wanted my mommy.

Mom took me home and we were relaxing again. That same day I passed the television as I was walking to a chair. Mom was in her bedroom folding clothes.

There was some sort of art program on television. The program was flashing from one painting to another and the lights changed with each painting.

I felt dizzy and was able to sit down. Then I felt myself reach up and tear the whole left side of my face, jawbone, teeth, and all, completely off. Then I felt that same hand reach down and tear the muscle from the top of my left leg. Of course that did not happen. I passed out.

Mom said she heard a funny noise and came into the living room to see me sitting in a chair with everything on my body trying to fold into itself. I am not a limber person. She said my hands were sort of palm up with my fingers almost touching my wrists.

I went immediately to the doctor. I do not remember much about the doctor visit. He admitted me to the hospital.

I had never been in the hospital before. I thought it was kind of cool to be served my food in bed. I did not like the testing they did as most of it involved drawing blood.

The second or third day I was there (I do not remember how long my stay was) I was lying there and I began to think about epilepsy. I remembered hearing my grandmother talk about two sisters in town who had "fits". That and the aunt of the children I had taken care of was the limit of what I knew on the subject.

My parents came in that morning and stood at the foot of my bed. They told me that the doctor thought I might have epilepsy. I said, "I thought that might be what it was."

When I got the chance I asked the doctor what this would mean for me having children. He said not to worry about it. But I did worry about it. So he assured me that the chances of my children having seizures was not even 1 in a million.

I was put on the medications that they used to treat seizures at that time. Now I am not a medicine taker. Two aspirin will knock me out. The medicine that I was taking made me so sleepy all the time. I do not know how I got through my senior year of high school that year. And with my A average to boot.

I have grand mal seizures (now called something else). Those are convulsive seizures. They are extremely painful. Each one a person has is a bit worse than the one before until they can be so bad that a person can die from a seizure. In fact I have almost died three times. I feel very fortunate to be here.

I am also very fortunate that I am very well controlled with medication. It has been so many years since I had a seizure that I cannot remember when the last one was.

I am still taking the original medications that the original doctor prescribed. One of them is a controlled substance. After sixty years I am physically addicted to it. That means without it I will go into withdrawal and the classic symptoms that accompany withdrawal. It does not mean I am constantly craving more. I just need it to live.

A dear friend of mine was on the city council of the big city we lived in. She was on President Carter's epilepsy commission. She asked me to go through the information she had and give her a synopsis. No problem. Until I saw the research. It was five books. Each one was about four inches thick except the last one. It was about three inches.

What I read was a real eye-opener for me. While epilepsy, like many other maladies, is not inherited the predisposition is inherited. That means that my children might have a weakness that they inherited from me that would make them more disposed to having seizures.

Also they used an example of a parent with four children (I have four children). If one child has seizures the likelihood of another having seizures multiplies (not adds up, multiplies). If three children have seizures the fourth will have seizures.

I learned that an uncle of mine had epilepsy. He died before my father was born. He was in a home for juvenile delinquents. My father always thought his brother was "bad" because that was better than being "defective".

My mother suffered terribly from migraine headaches. They are a first cousin to epilepsy. Many of the workings of the brain are the same in both.

Two of my sons had migraines when they were about 8 years old. Testing showed some brain activity but I would not allow them to be put on medication until there could be a definite diagnosis. Neither has had any further problems. My daughter is fine. I recently discovered that my other son has been having petit mal seizures for about three years. He did not want to worry me so he kept it to himself.

Two of my grandchildren have migraine headaches. So does their mother, my daughter-in-law. Two of my grandchildren have had seizures. One was placed on medication for a year. The seizures stopped and the medication was also stopped. He has been fine for several years now.

If anyone needs to know anything about seizures feel free to ask. I am almost an expert. And if I am not certain I have the right answer I can probably guide you to the place to find it. In the meantime I am going to tell you what steps to take if you are with someone having a seizure.

1. If they are upright, lower them safely to a prone position. That will help keep them from injuring themselves in a fall.

2. NEVER, EVER, EVER, try to force anything into their mouth. Fingers have been bitten off. Tableware and wooden sticks are either broken or cause damage to teeth.

3. The human tongue is a muscle. It sits in a particular spot in the body. It is physically impossible to swallow your tongue. However the tongue like any muscle can fall to the back of the mouth and block the air passages. Gently position the person on their side. That way the tongue falls to the side instead of the back of the mouth.

4. If the seizure lasts for more than three minutes or if there are repeat seizures call for medical help immediately.

5. When the seizure is over often the person will lose consciousness or maybe just be confused. When they awaken the body and brain are busy trying to re-establish connections. They have no time to answer questions like "Do you know me?" Leave that for professionals. Simply say, "hi, (insert name, it is important). I am (insert name, it is important). You just had a seizure. You are safe and I am right here. Everyone is taken care of. You need to rest so go to sleep. I will be here when you wake up." If an ambulance is on the way or the doctor is on the way let them know that too. That way they can let their body heal itself without wondering what is going on.

In the beginning  I was up and full of energy after a seizure within a couple of hours. As time went on it took me at least two full days to be able to even get out of bed and stand on firm feet. Each person is different.

Epilepsy is nothing to be ashamed of. No more than diabetes, heart disease, or asthma. If you were ever to see the list of famous people and world leaders throughout history who had seizures you would be amazed.

But it must be treated. By a doctor who knows what he is doing. Not many do. Most of the "maladies" are only mentioned in medical school in passing. I hope I have enlightened you a bit. I hope you never need the information. But if you are confronted with a situation you now know what you can do.