Neither, Thanks

Can’t Stand Me

What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?


A video of myself just embarrasses me.  I know I’m fat, but seeing it from outside myself is just  a total bummer. I don’t like pictures of myself, either.

A voice recording isn’t so bad.  It’s just that  my voice sounds different to me than it does to you, and I have a hard time reconciling what I hear on a tape and what I hear in my head. People have asked me to be in all different vocal groups, so I’m assuming that they don’t find my voice unpleasant.  I probably should have written that last sentence in past tense.  Women’s voices fade earlier than men’s do. Not fair, but that’s life. These days, my voice is unreliable at best, creaky and croaky at its worst.  Every now and then things clear up and I can actually sing, but even then my register is much lower than it used to be, and I’ve always been a low alto. These days, I could sing bass. 

Surely there are more interesting things to discuss.



Nothing has Changed

Reason to Believe

In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?


I went back to my post from May 5, 2014 on this prompt.  Nothing has changed, except that Terry and I are now going on 47 years. Other than that, there is nothing I would change.

Learning Problems

Learning Style

What’s your learning style? Do you prefer learning in a group and in an interactive setting? Or one-on-one? Do you retain information best through lectures, or visuals, or simply by reading books?


Mia Stroud set her jaw, straightened her shoulders, and strode into her principal’s office. There was the fire of determination in her step, and in her eye.  Mr. Avery was startled as he glanced up from the work on his desk.

“Miss Stroud!  I didn’t know you were coming in.  Is there something I can help you with?”

“Oh yes, yes indeed!  I need to talk to you about three of my students. Everyone else seems to have consigned them to the Dumb Pile, and I resent that so much!  They’re NOT dumb! They simply have different learning disabilities, and need some help to get them through what is normal for most kids.”

“Ah.  You’re talking aboutRandy, Pam, and Charlie.  You know, Miss Stroud, many other teachers have tried to bring them up to the mark, but they just won’t work.  I don’t think they’re dumb, either.  I do think they’re lazy, though, and stubborn. They simply won’t be helped.”

Mia paused to control her temper.  Taking a deep breath, she said, Mr. Avery, with all due respect, I disagree.  I think they have some learning disabilities.  I’ve recommended to their parents that they be tested by the district school psychologist, and those appointments have been made.”

Mr. Avery was silent, clearly displeased.  “Don’t you think you should have gone through this office, Mia?  At the very least, you should have told me before you set up the testing.”

“Mr. Avery, you would have told the parents it was a waste of time. I need to help these kids. You would have stood in the way because you don’t really believe in learning disabilities.”

Mr. Avery looked down, seemed to be thinking. Finally he looked back at Mia, nodding his head. “You’re right, I don’t.  I believe it’s a matter of character, not some supposed lack of connectivity in the brain.  You have to look at my nearly 40 years of experience, Mia. You’ve been teaching for five years. Don’t you think you’re being a little presumptuous?”

“No, Sir.  I think you’re refusing to listen to and learn from the research out there, to bring yourself up to date on this issue. I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to be disrespectful.  I’m just not willing for these kids to fall through the cracks like so many others have.”

“Well, Mia, I have to commend you for your plain speaking.  All right.  Let me know how the testing comes out, and what you plan to do to help your students.  I’m not really a dinosaur, you know. I’ve just never seen any convincing evidence that this whole learning disability thing really exists.”

Two weeks later, Mia was back in Mr. Avery’s office.  The testing had shown several areas of difficulty:  Dyslexia, dysgraphia, executive function disorders, auditory problems, and dyscalcula. Armed with specific treatment plans for each student, MIa won Mr. Avery’s support.

Her students were the clear winners, though. With some special arrangements for meeting their specific needs, they began to bring their grades up and to feel so much better about themselves.  It was a winning situation for everyone.


Write about what you did last weekend as though you’re a music critic reviewing a new album.


An interesting combination of high notes, low notes, sour notes, sweet notes.  Life.

Friday, I went to our church’s home school co-op to begin teaching an eight-week session on writing a research paper.  It was wonderful to be back in the classroom after nearly 20 years.  I’d say that was an A+ for me, although I imagine some of my students weren’t so dazzled.

Saturday was a D-.  Terry spent the day working on my car, in the rain, and by the time he was finished he was worn out. He didn’t feel up to going out as had been planned. He went to bed.  With several hours of unexpected alone time, which I usually love, I was really bummed about missing the party and I ended up hitting the ice cream. Not a good day.

Sunday helped restore my balance, though.  It always does.  Being in church, hearing good Bible teaching and preaching, seeing the grands and enjoying friends ?  Give it another A+, and that pretty much eliminates the D-.

This too shall pass.


So I decided to mix up a DIY recipe for an all-purpose cleaner.  Simple ingredients:  cleaning vinegar, water, and a little baking soda mixed with  water.

What I forgot was that was the same kind of recipe we used to make volcanoes for science projects.

Everything went great until I poured the water/baking soda mixture into the  vinegar I had already poured into my spray bottle.


All OVER the place, including all over me!  What a mess.  I’m glad I hadn’t put in my aromatic essential oils yet.  But at least my kitchen floor is clean 🙂

The second try was more successful.  Mixed my ingredients more slowly, waiting for the soda to dissolve before adding it to the vinegar. Slowly.  In the sink.


New Prompts?


Language evolves. The meaning of a word can shift over time as we use it differently — think of “cool,” “heavy,” or even “literally.”

Today, give a word an evolutionary push: give a common word a new meaning, explain it to us, and use it in the title of your post.


I have realized this week that the prompts being offered to us were first used before I started doing the Daily Prompt. That means, so far, they’ve been new to me, with only a few exceptions. Those exceptions, I’m sure, have now been trotted out at least three times.

So when Word Press says they offer us a “new prompt every morning,” that’s not really what they mean. And so they have given me the perfect example of how language changes, meanings change, and words morph into something completely different from the original usage.

There are actually two words involved. The first one is “new.”  New  used to mean a lot of things it does not mean in our context. It meant novel, different, fresh; or it could mean something never before used; brand new, fresh out of the box, never worn, never touched. It could mean an idea that no one has ever voiced before, something so unheard of that it immediately goes viral and becomes the latest new fad or fetish out there.

Here on the Daily Prompt, it means none of the above. It simply means that people who weren’t doing the prompt three years ago will find some fresh ideas, while people who have been here long enough to have gone through the cycle at least once will soon  become bored, disillusioned, and disgusted. They could leave, looking for that which is truly new.

The other word is “prompt.” Originally, in English at least, the word meant “timely, on time, reliable to be useful at the appropriate time;”  then it became used to mean “to start Word Press writers thinking along a different line, to give them an idea to write something out of their usual genre.”  Okay, that works fairly well when it’s an imaginative prompt.  I’ve written little vignettes on everything from sci-fi to mystery to romance.  It’s fun

 when the prompt actually does stir my creative juices.

Now, however, it just means recycled, tired ideas  that everyone but the newbies has already seen. Below is a recycled chair.  I think it’s completely unattractive and I would never consider buying or making it.  It’s droopy, bland, and worn out.  Like old prompts.



I enjoy reading what other bloggers come up with.  I am amazed at how creative some people are, with minds that must keep them awake at night with all the creativity that pours out of their synapses.

This one, today’s prompt, sadly is not one of those creativity triggers for me.  Maybe it will be for some others.

Stranger Alert!

Ripped Into the Headline

Write about something that happened over the weekend as though it’s the top story on your local paper.


An unknown man walked into a local church in Somewhere, PA during a homeschool co-op meeting yesterday. Headquartered at Such a Church, the group meets bimonthly and offers classes in a variety of subjects including art, science, writing, and photography. There were about 35 students present, along with teachers and some parents. 

The man simply walked into the building and began handing out take-out menus from a local pizzeria while the students were eating lunch.  The teachers were so startled at first that they simply accepted the menus.  However, one mother noticed that the man then turned and went down a hallway toward the offices.  Uneasy with his behavior, she followed at a safe distance, holding her cell phone ready to call for help if necessary.

It seems that the man was there only to hand out the menus, drumming up business for the pizzeria. The incident ended with no further cause for alarm.

However, new safety measures have been established to prevent anyone from having easy access during these co-op meetings.


Now You See Me

You have a secret superpower: the ability to appear and disappear at will. When and where will you use this new superpower? Tell us a story.


“Oh my.  What on earth have I done now?” thought Sadie.  She couldn’t see herself. Not her hands, not her feet.  Not even her clothes.  She was gone.  She tried looking into a mirror, but there was nobody there.  It was not a happy feeling.

“Hello?  Is anyone out there?  Can anyone see me?  HELLO!”

No response.  Apparently she was not only invisible, but also inaudible. Well. This was a fine mess.

Sadie often forgot that what she wished for usually came true.  Over time, she’d learned not to even think thoughts that would immediately change her life.  One time, when she was still a child, she’d wished for a bathtub full of chocolate ice cream.  It still made her stomach hurt to remember how she felt before she’d eaten  halfway through that one.  She’d let the rest melt, washed it down the drain, and turned her back on chocolate ice cream for a very long time.

This time, she’d been frustrated when her so-called friends left her out of a big secret. She’d thought, “I wish I were invisible so I could hear them, but they wouldn’t know I was there!”

And bingo!  She got her wish.

Well, she may as well make use of it. She walked over to where her friends were eating lunch together, chatting and laughing.  It made her invisible cheeks blush to imagine that they were talking about her, laughing at her, keeping secrets from her. She really didn’t know what she’d done to deserve it. She’d been working in the same office with these women for a couple of years now, and she’d thought their friendship was mutual.  Apparently not.

She stood behind the group, listening to their chatter.

“So, what do you think we should get her?  Should we all buy a separate gift, or should we go together for something really nice?”  That was Ruth.

“Well,” said Kate, “I think we need to find out what she really needs.  She’s had her own place for a few years now, so she probably already has a lot of kitchen equipment.”

“I know!  Let’s give her a lingerie shower!” piped up Cheri.  “You can never have too much of that, and most of us don’t buy the really nice things for ourselves.”

Sadie’s cheeks continued to burn as she realized they were talking about her, for sure, but not in the way she’d thought.  She twisted the brand new diamond engagement ring on her finger, feeling foolish for thinking that her friends had turned on her for no apparent reason.

“Hey, does anyone know where Sadie is?  She always comes to have lunch with us,” said Kate, looking around the cafeteria.  As she scanned the room, she saw Sadie coming in through the main door, stopping to look for them, then wave and smile as she crossed the room to sit with them.

“Sadie, you’re late. We wondered where you were,” said Cheri.

“Oh, I had an errand to take care of, but I’m here to stay now,” Sadie replied. “What were you guys talking about?  Looked like you were having fun.”

We Can be Heroes

“Okay, people.  Pay attention!  We can be heroes. . . .or we can just die.  I know you’re afraid.  So am I. But we won’t die of fear.  We’ll die of inaction. Myself, I’d rather die trying than just give up, right?

“So here’s the plan.  They can’t hear us.  They’re all in the forward cabin, and they think we’re helpless. We’re going to show them we’re not.  Everyone, check your pockets, purses, computer cases, anything you have. Anything sharp or heavy, or pointed. Anything you can throw, spray, or use like a knife.

“We may be doomed, but we’re not helpless!”

We can be heroes – 100WCGU#180

I Wouldn’t

If I Could Turn Back Time

If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?


Another one I’m pretty sure I’ve already written but couldn’t find.  Maybe the first time around I didn’t understand the pingback thing.

Anyway, no.  I wouldn’t want to go back and relive anything, even if I also had the supernatural power to change it. See, then I wouldn’t be who I am.  I’d be someone different, and different isn’t always better.

Enough of that.

I started swimming for exercise back in the early part of October.  The first time I went, standing at the shallow end and looking miles and miles down there to the deep end, I didn’t think I was going to be able to go ten feet.  It’s amazing what determination and perseverance can do. That first day must have been just pitiful for the lifeguard to watch.  I’m sure she was pacing the sides of the pool, waiting to have to jump in and rescue me. I sidestroked, crawled, and backstroked my way to the deep end.  Then I did the same thing back to the shallow end, and then I got out.

France's Camille Muffat dives in to the water during women's 200m freestyle final

(This is NOT me! )

But I went back, twice each week.  After Christmas was over, I had some appointments that kept me out of the pool for two weeks. Yesterday I went back, and I did 24 laps.

I thought I would die.

I add a lap each time I go. A mile is 33 laps, and once I reach that goal I’ll work on speed. But yesterday, after two weeks off, I really didn’t know if I could do ten, then 15, then 18, then. . . . .just one more, I kept telling myself.  Just one more.

And finally I backstroked that 24th lap, and if I’d had the energy I’d have done a happy dance!

It’s the small things, these days.  I have some sore places today, one shoulder in particular, that remind me not to let my routine get bumped again. Stay on track. Stay disciplined. I gained back a couple of pounds last week because I simply lost my discipline.  It takes two weeks or more to lose two pounds, but only a couple of days to gain them.

No real point to this ramble, so I’ll stop now.