Fly on the Wall

If you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere and at any time in history, where and when would you choose?


The very first thing that came to mind was to be a fly on the wall when God created Eve.  But I don’t suppose they had walls yet, so maybe that won’t work.

Second thought?  I’d love to have been there when our American Constitution was ratified and became the law of the land. What a momentuous time in history! Or maybe even better, to have been there when all those brave men signed the Declaration of Independence.  Knowing they could (and many did) lose everything, including their lives, they believed so strongly in personal freedom from the tyranny of monarchy and totalitarian government that they were willing to sign what, for some, turned out to be a death warrant!  Brave men.

We need some like that today.

Our Town

What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?


I love my town because it’s not a big city.  In fact, the downtown area is pretty small. Of course we have the requisite shopping malls and a whole string of fast food restaurants. We also have three Wawas! For those of you who aren’t from here, that’s a gas station/convenience store that majors in coffee. They do a booming business.

Anyway, we’re far enough away from Philadelphia to be considered “out in the country.” We’re only minutes away from farmland, lots of trees and undergrowth, rolling hills and beautiful views. Yet we have all the conveniences of the city, in my opinion at least.  We have a local theater, we have some big-name stores, and if that isn’t enough it’s only 45 minutes into Philly.  You don’t even have to drive if you don’t want to. You can pick up a train in Lansdale that takes you right into center city.

Our neighborhood has been completely trouble-free for over 20 years now.  It’s quiet, friendly, and healthy for families.  We have an abundance of trees and things that will be bursting into bloom soon, and the town will be turned into a fairy land.

What would I tackle first?  Well, the roads are awful.  Truly awful.  they are tire-bursting, wheel-breaking awful.

Seriously.  And I know a lot of it is not the town’s responsibility, but the state’s.  I get that.  But there is no safe way right now for me to leave my house and get to work.  I have to weave through the worst of the potholes and go very slowly where I can’t weave.  And we all pray that no one will be coming from the opposite direction at 70 mph, because that would just not be good. So yeah, I’d figure out a way to fix the streets.

School taxes continue to rise.  It’s out of control. I’m part of the baby boomer generation, with a retired husband on a fixed income.  I’ll be working for a long time yet, believe me!  We live in a very modest little rancher on about 3/4 acre, and our taxes are reaching stratospheric conditions.

Other than those two things, I guess I don’t really know much about town politics or problems. What few dealings I’ve had with the local police have been courteous and helpful. We don’t have problems, that I’m aware of, with gangs.  Of course drugs are ubiquitous, but no one’s offered to sell me anything lately.  I’m sure there are things that go on in other neighborhoods.  I’m not naive.  Can’t be, doing the work I do.

I’m happy in my town.  I’m thankful for that.

I’m not a good joke-teller

Tell us a joke! Knock-knock joke, long story with a unexpected punchline, great zinger — all jokes are welcome!


Honestly, I’m not very good at telling jokes.  I forget punch lines, mix things up, just don’t have that particular gift.  I love a good joke, love a funny story.  The funniest stories I have are of some of the ridiculous things that have happened to me over the years.

But that’s not the point here today, so I cheated.  I went to a “funny clean jokes” site and found a wealth of humor.  I’m in a hurry, so I copied the first one I saw, and here it is:

• Have you noticed that all bottled water has the “best before” date printed on it? The water has circled the earth for thousands of  years … 
but now it’s ruined?   Ismo Leikola, Finland

I suppose the “best before” date is there because the water is bottled in plastic, which actually does deteriorate eventually–like in a gazillion years 🙂


Vanilla, chocolate, or something else entirely?


(Here’s a P.S on this post. I’ve had some interesting responses to the chocolate bit, so I did some research.  Chocolate lovers, Unite!  There IS a reason we ladies love our chocolate! And smart men know that the way to a woman’s heart is through her chocolate gene 🙂

Chocolate is a food group, you know.  However, since I’ve written about chocolate before, I’m going in a different direction today.  Sorry, chocolate.  You’ll always be my first love, but you have to admit that variety is important.

When I was 10, in 1957, my family moved to Oregon. For the first year, we lived in Milwaukee, which was a delightful suburb of Portland.  I’ll always remember that summer.  It was truly idyllic.

Sometimes, in the evening when things were beginning to cool down, Dad would pile us into the car and drive out to another suburb. I can’t remember the name, but it was another little town that I would have enjoyed living in. He would drive to an ice cream shop that advertised 24 flavors.  That was a remarkable variety way back then!

He always ordered butter brickle.  It was the only ice cream he ever liked, and he enjoyed it for many years.

I don’t remember what Mom liked.  Seems to me she would change it up now and then.  And I don’t remember my sister’s favorite, either.  Maybe she’ll remind me if she reads this.

Me?  I loved lemon custard.  Nothing was so refreshing as the sweet-tart, rich custardy flavor of that ice cream; and I’ve never found anything just like it again. It was so good that I made it last as long as I could, savoring each little lick as if I’d never have another.  Of course, I had to take care of drips, but I could make that cone last most of the way home.

I still love lemon.  My daughter makes the best lemon curd cheesecake.  In fact, it reminds me of my lemon custard ice cream cone. Whenever she asks me what I’d like for a dessert, she knows that’s going to be one of my top choices.

Lemon.  First God created woman; then, to make her deleriously happy He created chocolate.  And finally, to round her out (in every sense of the word 🙂 )  He created lemon custard ice cream.

It’s a wonderful thing.

Beach, Please :)

Beach, mountain, forest, or somewhere else entirely?


If I really have to choose, and can’t choose all of the above, then it’s the beach. Why?

This is where I’m going next month with two close friends:  Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Any questions?


A House Divided

Pick a divisive issue currently in the news. Write a two-part post in which you take on two personas and approach the topic from both sides. Bonus points for a creative format (roundtable discussion, debate transcript, etc.)


“Childhood sexual abuse is rampant around the world. We’ve all heard about human sex trafficking. We all know that children are involved. We also all should know that molesting a child is a felony in all 50 states here in America.

“What we don’t always know is that the results of being molested can change a person forever; being sexually abused as a child often results in the sexualization of a child who has no clear understanding of the power the offense had. I submit, therefore, that any child who has been sexually abused needs to be in some kind of therapy that will help dispel the terrible after-effects, and help that child not to act out in a socially inappropriate way.”

“Okay, Linda, so what’s the big deal here?  I don’t think any right-thinking person would disagree with what you’ve said.”

“Sadly, Pumpkin, that is not the case. My issue for this post is that there ARE people out there, people who claim to love God and to care about the children, who dismiss the troubling results of sexual abuse.  They don’t believe PTSD really exists, but is made up by people in my profession simply to create something else that needs therapy.  Sometimes, they even go so far as to say that soldiers, for instance, don’t really have PTSD.  What’s wrong with them is that they just don’t love God enough, and they have made an idol out of their wartime experiences.”

“Oh, you have to be kidding! ”

“I wish I were.  I’ve worked with too many adults who were traumatized by sexual abuse as children, and too many vets who can barely function in civilian society, to be unaware of the belief out there that it’s all bunk.  Do you remember, Pumpkin, how our soldiers who fought in Viet Nam all those years ago were vilified?  Not only did they see horrendous things over there, but when they came home they often faced a barrage of rotten vegetables and screams of “Baby Killer!” thrown in their faces as they deplaned. Trauma there, trauma back home. No wonder they’ve struggled all these years just to survive.”

“Linda, you started this post with the topic of survivors of childhood sexual abuse.”

“You’re right.  I got off on a rabbit trail there that upsets me just as much. Back to sexual abuse. Did you know that there is still an attitude out there that if you were abused, you were probably asking for it?”

“No!  I thought that kind of thinking went out with the cave man.”
“I wish.  Here are just a few of the things survivors hear:

♦ What were you wearing?  Was it revealing or immodest?

♦ Why didn’t you scream or run away?

♦ I don’t see any bruises or anything. Why didn’t you fight?

♦ Didn’t it feel kind of good?  Is that why you never told anyone until now?

♦ Are you bitter or angry at the person who touched you?  Have you gone to that person and asked forgiveness ?

♦ You know, the “abuser”  didn’t touch your soul.  He just touched the throw-away parts.

“Wait!  What?  Who would say such an awful thing?  What in the world are “throw-away parts,” anyway?  Come on, aren’t you making some of this up? ”

“Pumpkin, my friend, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.  I am appalled at the way we re-victimize the victims, blaming them for the abuse, accusing them of “asking for it,” letting them know it wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t wanted it to.  I know of someone, for example, whose own father abused her for nearly 20 years. She had no idea that what was happening to her was abnormal. She hated it, but her father convinced her she needed to obey him or God would punish her. And he also told her never, ever to talk about it, because what happens behind closed doors stayes behind closed doors.”
“So you’re saying that children are victimized, then threatened so they won’t tell.  But why do they just allow the abuse?  Wouldn’t you want to scream or try to run away?”

“Sure I would,  But pedophiles are crafty, and most of them take the time to ‘groom’ a child. This is a process of getting the child’s trust; of getting the child used to his (non-sexual) touch.  It often includes establishing himself as an authority figure in the life of the child, and it is often someone the child’s family trusts–a youth worker, a teacher, a pastor,  the friendly guy next door, or the athletic coach. Evil comes packaged very attractively.”

“So you’re saying that the child accepts the sexual touch because he’s basically been desensitized.  Then he’s threatened, and he’s afraid, so he says nothing. But, Linda, you mentioned sexual acting out.  What did you mean by that?”

“Little children who are introduced to sexuality before they can understand its importance will do all kinds of sexually-oriented behaviors.  Masturbation, self-exposure, trying to look at another child’s private parts, drawing pictures, and sexualized play with toys are all included. Then, of course, there are the long-term results. These include self-harm like cutting and anorexia/bulimia, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, even attempted suicide. These are all common behaviors in the population of sexually abused children as they become adults. What really elevates my blood pressure is that, again, we blame the victim and not the perpetrator.  We tell these people that they “just need to put it behind them now, and move forward.”  But we do nothing to help them get unstuck. We don’t help them rid their minds of the pictures imprinted there by what has happened to them.  We dismiss it as if it were nothing more than a mosquito bite, and we even try to protect the perpetrator. This is especially true if the perp was a pastor, youth pastor, children’s worker or community hero.  And of course, when we protect such a person, we enable that person to continue his behavior with full confidence that he won’t be caught or stopped.”

“Wow,  I can see why this upsets you so much.  It’s hard to believe that people are so blind.”

“I know, Pumpkin.  I know.”

What is Love?

We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?


Because I’m feeling very silly today, and not at all deeply philosophical and wise, I’m just going to go with a song  I remember from when I was a young teen.

Why am I not going to tackle this from a more mature perspective?  Simple.  I saw nineteen clients this week who all needed me to be deep, wise, and abnormally intelligent.  I’m not working today–well, not at that.  What I’m doing is catching up on finances, which doesn’t require philosophical brilliance.  It does, however, wear out my non-numerically-oriented brain.

And that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

No Z

There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)


I’m too tired and too much of a chicken to try writing anything without one of the vowels.  I’m taking the easy way out and leaving “Z” out of my post.

I wrote the other day about my license being expired (whew!  I almost chose to leave out “x”!)  and promised you an update.

The first couple of days were frustrating, as I was shunted from pillar to post in my quest to find some help.  I wrote emails to several different places, and everyone seemed to just want to pass the buck.

Finally I found a teeny weeny little “contact us” on the website where I took the course for the required Ceu’s. Practically needed a magnifying glass to find it.  I wrote to them, got a nice note back that they were forwarding my email to their help desk. The help desk, in a very timely manner, informed me that they were re-uploading my information to the state that afternoon, and they think they know why there was a problem.

This absolutely kills me.  The problem?  Well, the name on my registration wasn’t the same as the name on my license.  On the registration, I neglected to put down my middle initial. . . . . .So I guess it’s all my fault.

In spite of the fact that the addresses are the same, the birth date is the same, and the license number is the same.

The problem?  Computers, of course!  They’re only as smart as they’re programmed to be, and the idiot computer didn’t reconi_e (first Z so far) my name without the middle initial.  Brother.

So they resubmitted my info yesterday, and I’m hoping that’s going to solve the problem. I’ll know in  a couple of days, once their computers have had a chance to figure out if my name is my name.


If you were asked to spend a year living in a different location, where would you choose and why?


This would be a very tough choice between the UK and the South Pacific.  Both have so many of the things I love.

However, I think I would be more inclined toward the UK.  Probably Ireland.  Preferably a small village, where I would get to know all the people, shop every day in the local markets for the wonderful fresh produce, and enjoy the rolling green countryside. Ireland has always seemed like a paradise to me, in spite of all I know of its bloody history in its fight to stay Irish.

I love the ancient mythology.  I’d want to explore every ruin, every castle, every protected site.  I’d want to spend time wandering the shores and the cliffs above the ocean.  I’d want to live in a cottage with a thatched roof that somebody else would be responsible to maintain.  Of course I’d want all the modern conveniences.  I’m not fond of outhouses! But I’d really like to experience living a simple, quiet life.

I’d want to go to a ceile–I think that’s how you spell it–which is just an old-fashioned Irish hoe-down. I’d want to taste, and probably bake, Irish soad bread, along with other Irish dishes.  I’d want to become part of the bonhomie in an Irish pub, which is so much a central part of the village experience.

Maybe I’d run into a leprechaun or two.  Who knows, maybe I’d even find that pot of gold at the end of an Irish rainbow.

I’d enjoy long walks in the lush green fields, and get to know the farmers and their families. Maybe I’d even get a dog to keep me company. I’d probably visit a city or two, just to say I’ve been there, but it’s the countryside that appeals to me.

Maybe I’d even decide to stay.

Set It To Rights

Think of a time you let something slide, only for it to eat away at you later. Tell us how you’d fix it today.


This one is fresh on my mind, and I’ve already taken steps to fix it.

This past year, a requirement was made into law that all mandated reporters in matters of child abuse have to do three hours of training in continuing education in order to have their licenses renewed.  I found an online training through Penn State that fulfilled the requirements.  I took care of this in January, and upon completion of the course, I was sent a Certificate of Completion online which I printed and placed in my CEU files, never giving the matter another thought. The provider had said that a copy would be sent to my licensing board.

Our licenses expired on Feb. 28 this year.  Because I’d been so sick, it had slipped my mind to check on my status. This morning I did that check, and found my license status as “expired.”

This is very bad.  My heart dropped and my palms got sweaty. Image result for nervous cartoon face

So I emailed my licensing board, explaining the situation and offering to fax my copy of the  certificate to them, since apparently they never received one from the school.

There’s nothing more I can do until I hear back from the licensing board. Should I have been on this sooner?  Well, I was, actually.  I checked a couple of times in February, and each time was told that a copy would be sent to the appropriate board. Then the flu or whatever it was came thundering down on me and I lost touch with reality. This morning, scanning my email inbox, I saw the email I’d received early in February that my board had not received the certificate.

Yikes.  Immediate action required.  So while I did inadvertently let this slip, I didn’t let it slip very long!

I’ll keep you posted.  If this isn’t remedied very soon, I’ll be asking for handouts to support the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed 🙂