I’m not buying a toaster.

What do you truly want out of life?

When you were young, did you have dreams of growing up to be a “certain something”? Are you that something now?

If you could have anything… anything at all… what would you want it to be?

I’ve been thinking about these things, as you may have suspected from reading this intro.

So then, when I sat down to write… I reviewed  “Today’s Date in History”.   And,  I learned…. that on September 21, in 1897, The New York Sun ran an editorial answering a question from an 8-year-old girl that included the line, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”  How about that?

So, although it is very personal, I think tonight, I will give my answers to all three questions.

To the first… this has remained the same for me… for a long time. I want to be a good person. I want to be kind, and loving. I regret that I am not always successful at this ambition And if I were, I wonder if that is really good enough.

The second question. When I was a little girl, I was certain I would be the first “girl” baseball player on the Cincinnati Reds. I told this to my grandfather one day. He didn’t discourage me. He just smiled, real big, and said he would buy the very first ticket. I also wanted to win seven gold medals at the Olympics. Like Mark Spitz.

As it turned out… I didn’t do either one of those things.

The third. If I could have anything I wanted… it could be encompassed with one word. Guarantees. You may think less of me for saying so, but that is what I would wish for if the genie spewed out of the tea kettle tomorrow.

Yes. Guarantees. Assurances that everything would be all right. That the ice cream would stay frozen. That kittens would find their mittens. For the grass to stay green and for the birds to keep singing. An oath that the world would keep spinning on cue, and happiness would abound. I want that New York Times editorial to be right…. yes…. there really is a Santa Claus.

But the reality of the matter is…. there are no guarantees.

Clint Eastwood once said, “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”

Maybe it would be wiser of me to give up this desire for guarantees, and trade it in for some “Faith In Possibilities.”   Yep. Maybe trade it in for a little bit of Hope.

Undoubtedly….. I don’t need another toaster…. unless Santa Claus brings it.

“In all things it is better to hope than to despair”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Hope is the dream of a soul awake.”
– French Proverb

“Those who wish to sing always find a song.”
– Proverb

The little changer.

Oh what a world we live in. We have so many incredible things coexisting with us…. Take butterflies for example. I think they are pretty Neat-o Guido.

I spotted this one a couple of days ago.  I watched it fly around kind of whapper-jawed… like it was putting on its best old-school Charlie Chaplin moves. Watching butterflies maneuver through the air, is often times reminiscent of seeing a fall leaf caught in a swirling breeze.  You just never know what they are going to run into.  But they do it so dang gracefully.

We could learn a lot from these very fashionable little beings, really.

Various cultures regard the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive process of metamorphosis. I mean, the massive amount of transition it undergoes is quite amazing. They start out as a tiny egg, then to larvae (caterpillar), to pupa (the chrysalis or cocoon) and finally, from the cocoon emerges the butterfly. (This information….I had to look up!)  An evolution of beauty and grace.

And, such an extreme transformation takes place in a very short period of time. We are talking about a short span of about a month… that’s how long (or short) the butterfly life cycle is.

So what is the symbolic lesson of the butterfly? Wouldn’t it be great if we humans could accept the changes in our lives as easily as the butterfly does?  It seems to embrace each and every change that it experiences.

And just when you thought all of that may be spectacular enough… Many butterflies migrate over long distances.The Monarch butterfly migrates from Mexico to northern USA and southern Canada, which winds up being a distance of about 2500–3000 miles.  Seriously.

It is a tag team journey. Each one continues on…. where the one before left off. A fabulous combined effort. Seems like another lesson.

Yes. The butterfly. Amazing. Beautiful. Nature’s Transformer.   I think the name should be changed to SuperFly.

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”  –  Richard Buckminster Fuller

Sophie’s Big Day

It was a day unlike any other. A red letter day indeed.

Sophie Blalock had always dreamt of getting her very own pickup truck. It was all she wanted in life, from the time she was a little girl. When people would ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer was always the same: “Makes no never mind to me what I turn out to be. Just so long as I can get me a truck someday.”

Turns out she got a job at the Toll Booth on Route 83.

And…. after years of scrimping, and saving… going to car show after car show…. reading every issue of  Car World Magazine…. Sophie finally bought her Dream Vintage Truck.

That pickup was perfect in every little way. It was everything she always wanted.

People came from all around the neighborhood to admire those wheels. She was so happy… she ate a chocolate ice-cream cone in the bed of that truck.

Assuredly… a truly great event.

Her Mamma always told her…..“Success is not the key to being happy Sophie. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

Sophie knew such great happiness on that day…. she tasted the triumph of years of hard work and perseverance.

A girl and her truck.  And an ice cream cone.  For the first time in her life, Sophie felt alive.


Every person has their own hopes and dreams.

“Hope is the dream of a soul awake.” (French Proverb)  …. ….I am thinking Sophie’s Grandmother was French.

Au revoir.

…praise for the morning

We shouldn’t live in the past. Nor is it a good idea to worry too much about the future. A profound quote by Dodinsky: “Do not let your shadow walk you.”

But sometimes, it is a good feeling to look back and remember. To use the past as a tool… to guide us… to learn from.   Maybe… to appreciate those experiences as an instrument for growth.

If we weren’t supposed to have memories… well… we just wouldn’t.   But as it is…. we do.   As James Matthew Barrie so aptly observed, “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”  Yep.

Today I was thinking about my youth and a couple of my very best pals. There is a movie called “Stand By Me” which is a fabulous story about four boys who are great friends. The last line of the movie, or nearly the last line, muses…  “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?”

Yep again.   Strit and Tuck were those kinds of friends.  We rarely used our first names. Krony. Tuck. Strit.  Dang, we were politely audacious…and always on some important and perilous feat.

We played fastpitch softball together. North Riverdale Little League at the amazing Fenner Field Park. I don’t think the league or the park exist any more. But back in the day, playing there was as big as the wall at Fenway.

We ate gummy fish from the concession stand… dared each other to crawl through the sewer pipe at the edge of the park…. laughed at everything… and managed to be three good little ball players all the while. Those were excellent days and we were truly breathing in each second.  Yet, at the same time, we just couldn’t wait to be older.

Look what happened.  Now, I am older. Much older.

Sometimes glancing back will make you feel melancholy.  I really miss those old friends. We lost touch over the years. But I will always have a special place in my heart for them.

But the thing about life is… with each sunrise, we can start the world anew. On this morning, the sky was full of wonder… and brimming with new memories…. waiting to be made.

“Old Times never come back and I suppose it’s just as well.  What comes back is a new morning every day in the year, and that’s better.”  ~George E. Woodberry

It’ll come back to me…

My mind has a tendency to wander. Or wonder.

There are times when I should be paying attention to the task at hand… and there my brain goes… far, far away…. wondering…… about anything and everything.  Why are Moon Pies called Moon Pies. Does Stephen King have nightmares?  Who came up with the idea for roller coasters?

Yep. The old gray matter goes technicolor sometimes… on its very own.

Some things will come to mind… and then bug me. For instance, I have a lot of friends and family who own kitchens… and they cook in those kitchens. I have YET to meet anyone, friend or foe, who actually OWNS a set of those Amazing Ginsu Knives. That tells me one of two things. Either my friends don’t buy things from the Shopping Channel… or none of them have ever taken advantage of “Call within the next ten minutes…” or “Act Right Now!”

But wait. There’s more.

I wonder if  there has ever been a misspelled word in the dictionary.   And if so…. how would we know?  Speaking of which… did you know the word gullible isn’t in the dictionary?

Here’s another thing that troubles me.   I bought some REAL Lemon Juice in a bottle today.   The label said it contained “artificial ingredients”.    Same dang grocery trip…..  I picked up dish soap.  Now THAT contained real lemon juice.   Something is terribly flawed in this scenario.

People kiss all sorts of things. Each other. Frogs. The ground. Their butts goodbye. But why don’t we kiss flowers? We smell them, after all.  I think that if I ever kiss a flower… tulips will be better than one.

In spite of all this shrewd mental activity…. sometimes I forget things.   The other day…. I couldn’t quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.

Well, I will keep it short this time around. I am looking forward to getting off to bed tonight. I am reading great book about gravity. I am having a hard time putting it down.

On the rocks… or in between.

Tonight, I watched 127 Hours.

For those of you who are not familiar with it,  127 Hours  is a movie, which tells the true story of an adventurous, thrill-seeking young man…. who was forced to cut his arm off to save his life. In my opinion, this could have been avoided. But the guy made some big mistakes if you ask me.

I see them as follows.

He went hiking (mistake number one)…… in the desert (mistake number two)…. by himself (that’s three)….. without telling anyone ( & four)….

The errors in judgement continued to spill forth. He climbed high on a ridge top, fell through a crevice, after grappling a boulder. That boulder rolled with him…. downward… downward… tumbling into the aforementioned fissure…. and pinned his arm against a solid rock wall. He was there for 127 hours before making the decision to remove that stuck arm… yes, remove it….. with a dull pocket knife. True story.

This is one shining example of why I am not an adventurous person, contrary to what the title of this project suggests.

I grew up in the House of Anxiety. Pretty much. Everything was dangerous. We had a multitude of slogans to live by… which were repeated on a daily basis. “Safety is no accident.” “Better safe than sorry.” “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” “Safety First.”   And, every time before we headed out the door, we heard “Be Careful.”

With seven kids in the family, in spite of all these suggestions…. my parents spent a fair amount of time in the Emergency Room at Good Samaritan Hospital.  I can’t say I blame them for issuing these cautionary remarks.

Needless to say, my adventurous streak was tempered… probably in the womb. As many of you know, my idea of roughing it is a black & white TV at a Howard Johnson’s motel.

Adventure for me these days… is trying to order from a menu without my reading glasses….. OR…..maybe….. drinking regular coffee after dinner. Two cups would just be plain wild and crazy.

I probably had my most dauntless era during the decade of my 20s. But back then, I drank a lion’s share of alcoholic beverages.   Yep.  The old noggin probably wasn’t firing on all eight cylinders most of the time.

Some people may call me unadventurous and boring these days. Well…. I call me stable. Anchored. Steady. Yes, if I were some kind of a comic book superhero, I would be Captain Sensible.

At any rate….. I better turn in early tonight.  While I won’t be doing any rock climbing tomorrow… I do have a basket weaving class at nine.    That’s right.   Game On!

Do overs…. and don’ts.

I know there are a lot of young people that will argue this statement with me, but here it goes anyways…

The older you get… the wiser you become.

Nope. Now that I think about it… that is not true of everyone. I better recant that one. It has now been disavowed.

Let me try again…..

The older you get, the more times you’ve been around the block.

If you keep making the same mistakes each time you go around that particular block, well, you haven’t learned much. You’ll probably run the bus in the ditch, time and time again.

But if you ease on down that road… decelerate to a stop every once in a while… look both ways…. and then move forward, slowly and surely… chances are…. you will be okay.

I always wonder about those people who say they don’t have any regrets. Whew. I have a ton of them. There are things I wish I would not have done, other things I wish I would’ve… . and still others that I’d still like to take a Mulligan on. Do overs. There are certain life events I feel contrite about, and others just make me slightly sully.

It seems that in our youth, we make those types of mistakes honestly. But with time and experience, we start to figure out better ways…. if we are paying attention. And still other times…. we run that dang car back into the ditch.

For instance.  I finally learned to unplug the toaster BEFORE I stick the knife in. My head-twitch is permanent I think. But too many electrical shocks will do that to a dope.

So today, I had another reminder of this lesson.

First thing this morning, we took a nice long walk. It was raining ever so slightly. The air was cool, still, and crisp. All three dogs went along and the five of us took full advantage of the beauty of the morning. The prairie we explored was teaming with life, and blessings, and grace. Dogs frolicking… a slight drizzle…. and an alluring light filling the sky. It could have been a scene right out of a Disney movie. That is…. until our youngest dog found something dead or….something recently defecated from the nearly dead. Not only was this “found object” a thing of joy for the young Ollie…. it also became a full-body spa treatment.  This event gave new meaning to the word “rub”.  And odor.

Yes, our happy scene went from Zippity-Do-Dah…. to Old Smeller.

So now, that I am older and “wiser”… what lesson did I take away from all of this?

Well…. At first I was upset about the incident.  Then I realized that I would rather wash poop off a dog for five minutes….. than to miss an entire hour of prairie dancing in the rain.

“Be happy. It’s one way of being wise.”
-Sidonie Gabrielle

I guess I need better glasses.

I am getting dull.

In a lot of different ways. Some times I really feel boring and uninteresting. Those are the days when I don’t write about much here. Seems like it happens more often than not. This is the second year of this project. I have about 215 days under my belt for this stint.  Only 153 days remaining.  Then I will probably wrap it up for good.   That’s 21 weeks, or 220,320 minutes…..  and not that I am counting the seconds… but it is roughly 13,219,200 of those.

But you know the days… I’ll try and try…. and then end up writing about Gertrude McCormick, my fifth grade science teacher… and how we dissected a pig fetus… and I went home and cried for 3 hours. And then how Mom made me feel better…. she fixed us BLTs at dinner, which was one of my favorites.  Man,  how I loved bacon.  Ham too.  Biscuits and sausage gravy….

Yep, dull. Stale, bland, lackluster…. stodgy.

Not only that… but my senses in general are getting wearisome. Take my horrible fear of spiders, snakes, bugs, anything gross or creepy.  I would jump right out of my skin at the mere mention of them.  Yeah… well…. that fear is now…. pretty much… non-existent.   I’ve become numb to these things.  Heck, I will even pick up dead insects these days.   Inspect them…. shoot them.   I lost my fear of bugs… but the truth is… I gained a WHOLE bunch of things that bug me.  Super.  Dull AND cranky.

I don’t see as well as I used to either. Can’t see the nose on my face.  But speaking of which…. I can still smell like crazy.   With a nose this big… well… let’s just say I am well-suited for the odoriferous. Other than the schoz-thing, I am getting absolutely blunt.

Yep. Dull as dishwater.

So to that, I will reference an anonymous quote:

“We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.”

Perfect.  I can’t see for crap, and my abilities are only limited by my vision.  Tomorrow, I am going to get a strong pair of glasses.

Yet… another hairy tail….

Advanced Animal Communications:


Yeah, Ollie.

You are the best sister EVER!  When I grow up Frances, I want to be just like you.

That’s sweet Ollie.

No.  I mean it France.  You are smart.  You are kind.  You are brave.  You take care of me and Max and the humans.  You seem to know exactly what to do… inside the house.  And out here…. well, out here…. you are just awesome.

That’s sweet Ollie.

France… okay that’s it.  Woooooooo!   I can’t stand it another minute longer…. sitting here and acting like you…. not another minute more, I’ll tell you.  I gotta’ go run into something and jump into the air and chase my tail now.    Can I?  Can I, huh?

Yes, Grasshopper.  Go forth.

Did you say there was a grasshopper?  I LOVE those things France.  They are delicious.  Where?  Where is the grasshopper?  Wanna’ go sniff butts?  Let’s race France!  Hey… is that my tail back there?  What the heck… wooooo….  I’ll get it, get it, get it…….



Yes, Melvin?

Dogs are stupid Pierre.

You can say that again Mel.


“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.” – Socrates

It is a real pain in the…..

Presently, there is a product on the market … called Lipo-Flavonoid Plus. It is for the relief of ringing in the ears. Now, I don’t know about you…. but I think this might be the worst name for a product ever. I see the commercials frequently on TV. The lady in the lab coat comes on and says….“If you have ringing in the ears, Lipo-Flavonoid provides nutritional support to improve circulation in the inner ear…. blah, blah, blah…..”

If I were on the marketing team at the Lipo-Flavonoid Company, I think I would have raised my hand during that particular meeting concerning the naming of the product. I would have cleared my throat, or shifted uncomfortably in my chair…. at the very least.

The whole marketing deal is a mystery to me sometimes. I can’t imagine which audience some of these companies are trying to target.

There is a Swiffer commercial now… with a little tiny cowgirl piece of dirt, dressed up in her little soiled cowgirl outfit… trapped in a crack in the floor. Yes. A little piece of dirt… that looks like Annie Oakley meets Pigsty. Along comes the Swiffer mop… which sucks her up and whisks her away… all smash-faced against the Swiffer… and she is as happy as a clam with this outcome.

Which group of people…. are those good folks at Swiffer…. trying to reach?  I wonder.  Or maybe I should ask how many Martinis they are drinking at lunch?

The pain medication commercials tend to irk me too. It is always the same. Some poor schmuck grimaces, then grabs his back, or his head. But just one little dose of the miracle pill… and presto, change-o…. the pain is gone.

I would make commercials much differently. Much. This photo would be the kind of campaign I would pick for…. say… Tylenol, or Bayer Aspirin… Advil.  Something like….. “Bob was working away at the construction site… when out of the clear blue… the pain hits him in the temple… like a mean-spirited archer from long ago…. shot him right in the old hard hat…. with a rusted iron arrow.   A big dull rusted arrow… and at close range.  It wiped that stupid grin right off his face.  But have no fear.  Tylenol stops your Medieval pain right in its archery stance.”  Yeah.  Something along those lines.

Now… that would sell some pain relievers, I think.

Or maybe not.

Think it would sell any hard hats?  Arrows?