My Advice is. . .

Day 1 One Piece of Advice

June 1, 1926. American actor Andy Griffith was born. He played the role of the sheriff of Mayberry in The Andy Griffith show. He was often shown giving fatherly advice to his deputy Barney Fife (played by Don Knotts) and his son Opie (played by Ron Howard).

Share one piece of fatherly (or motherly) advice.

It can be about anything!

What one piece of advice would you give your teenage self? What would you tell a couple about to get married or have a baby? What one piece of advice did someone give you that you’d like to pass on to others? What one piece of advice would you give a new blogger

Share the wisdom!


Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Laugh a lot.  Cry when you must. Be firm, be strong, be flexible, but above all  laugh a lot. Doing so may keep you from committing acts of violence 🙂

June 1 Challenge


Clowns and Calliopes


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I have been to only one genuine three-ring circus in my lifetime.  When our oldest son was 10, he had a paper route. There was a contest to get new subscribers, and he won. The prize was a free trip to the Barnum& Bailey and Ringling Brothers Circus in Philadelphia.

He was so excited to have won this special prize for all of us.  Back then, we couldn’t have afforded to go as a whole family.

I loved every minute of it. I was just like the kids, wide-eyed and amazed. The entrance parade was wonderful, a magical stream of color, music, and amazing animals. The costumes were gorgeous, and the trick riders and other performers never stopped showing off for us. 

My emotions went from amazement to fear to laughter to shock at what the performers offered us. It was truly a spectacle.  Terry told me he had more fun watching me than he did watching the circus.

I was terrified when the trapeze artists  did their amazing flying act without a safety net. I was amazed when the lion tamer walked into the cage, ringed by several huge animals who could have killed him with a swipe of their mighty claws. I loved the clowns, never realizing how talented they really are. The elephants are so enormous, it’s hard to understand how they could be trained to do such amazing tricks. And the horseback-riding event?  I could have watched all night.

All I have to do to bring it back is close my eyes and hear the calliope inside my head.

Thanks, Mike.

Sean’s Bad Day


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Audrey gave him a blank look. She had no idea how to respond to what he had just said.


Sean didn’t understand why she was silent.  He’d expected something-anything–but this blank, silent reaction.  Audrey was never at a loss for words, and he’d been prepared for a barrage of unfriendly fire at his announcement.

“Well?   Aren’t you going to say anything?  I figured you’d have plenty to say. You usually have more to say than anyone, including me, wants to hear. So, what’s the problem?  Cat got your tongue?  Did I finally find a way to shut you up?  Wow! Maybe I should have it printed in the newspaper, “The Day Audrey Had Nothing to Say!”

He sat there smirking at her, obviously feeling he’d accomplished something astounding. He was clearly pleased with himself.

She still did not speak. Slowly, carefully, she stood, still looking at him with no expression. She gathered her purse, her keys, and her sweater.  As she headed toward the door of the cafe, he didn’t see the tears that began a slow trek down her cheeks. She never looked back. She opened the door and walked out, leaving Sean to pay for their coffee. As he handed the cashier the bill and some cash, he shrugged. “Well, that didn’t turn out the way I thought it would,” he said. He was pretty sure he’d get some sympathy.

So when the cashier, who knew both Sean and Audrey well, leveled a disgusted look at him, he was surprised. “What?  What did I say now?”

“You are a complete waste of time, Sean, and I hope that girl never gives you another moment’s thought.” She dropped his change on the counter and stalked off, leaving Sean standing there with a blank look on his face.

The Best of the Best


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So when I was maybe 19 or so, this kid who was 18 informed me that he thought I was the epitome of pulchritude.

Epitome I  understood.  Pulchritude?  Nope.  Never heard that one before. So without reacting in any way because I didn’t want to show my ignorance, I went and looked it up.

Does is sound like something you would want someone to say about you?  It didn’t to me, either.

To my surprise, it means beauty. Really?  How could such an unattractive word mean that?

But it does. Comes from the Latin root pulcher, which means, well, beautiful. 

Don’t worry, I didn’t get the big head. The guy was just working on his vocabulary, I think, and anyway he wasn’t my kind of  heartthrob. He was also very busy squiring several other pulchritudinous young ladies around campus.

Anyway, this is supposed to be about epitome.  I’ve always like that word.  I like that each syllable is pronounced. Ee-pit-oh-me. Comes from the Greek epitemnein,  which means to cut short. According to Merriam-Webster, it first appeared as epitome in print around 1520.

When I googled  for an image for epitome,  I got a whole slew of pictures of a car called a Laraki, whose links I was not allowed to reproduce.  Then I found this, which was billed as the epitome of elegance.  Yes. I can see that.


So how did it come to mean the tiptop example of anything?  Well, originally it meant quite literally to summarize something by picking out only the highlights, as in a critique of a book or play. A critic, for instance, would mention only the best part, using it as a come-on for people to read a book or see a play or hear a piece of music or view a work of art. And so it morphed into the way we use it now. An example of the very best.

For those of you who dislike this sort of academic wandering into etymology, I do apologize. I can’t help it. I was an English teacher.  I love words.

I found a new one today in my search for all this fascinating information. Foozle. It means to manage or play awkwardly.  He foozled that play and lost the touchdown. She foozled her routine on the floor competition and lost the gold medal in gymnastics.

Gotta love a word like that.  Foozle. Say it ten times in a row, fast. If you’re not laughing, you foozled it.



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Well, now I’m totally befuddled.  Earlier, the daily prompt came up “Music.” On my laptop, not here on my PC. So I went to a little trouble to search out the many posts I’ve done on music and posted the links and thought I was done.

Then, an hour or more later, after getting a shower, starting the dishwasher, throwing in a load of laundry, folding what was in the dryer, and ironing a shirt, I came in here to my PC to do my Friday Counseling issues post, decided to check the stats first on this blog, and found out that the prompt was “Fork,” not “Music.”  Hmph.

So frankly, folks, I don’t have a clue what happened. Gremlins, maybe.

I’ve come to a fork in the road. I need to get some things done before I go out to lunch, forking in the food with my daughter and granddaughter. It’s our annual Teapot Day, so christened by my granddaughter when she was about six. My daughter does this every year as my Mother’s Day gift. We’re going to a doll factory after lunch. Should be a fun afternoon.

I always thought this dude was a little creepy.  He is one of the many gods in Greek mythology, the son of Poseidon, for whom he acts a messenger. His bottom half is fishy, which I guess makes him a merman. His fork is called a trident.

My dishwasher has a basket on the door for forks, knives, and spoons.  We tend to run out of spoons first.

I have a meat fork that was part of a set of knives given to us as a wedding gift. I can’t even begin to imagine how many fork loads of beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, and fish that fork has lifted.

And speaking of forklifts, have you ever wished you could drive one?  I think it would be loads of fun to lift up huge heavy loads of whatever and move them to a different location. Maybe that will be my next career.

My piano could use the guy who comes with a tuning fork.  It’s been about 1 1/2 years, and I think I need to call him.

But before I do, we need to fork over some money on a couple of other bills.

I try never to speak with a forked tongue.  Reminds me of snakes, and if you’ve been with me for a while you know what I think of those slithery fork-tongued horrors. Which leads me to wonder whywhywhy on earth anyone deliberately has his tongue forked. Yikes.  Yuck.  Ick.

Okay, I’m done.

All My Music Posts


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Really? 210 responses already, and it’s only 8:50 a.m. ?  Wow.  Lots of people must care a lot about music!


Seems I’ve done some extensive writing before on this topic, because music is an integral part of who I am.  So excuse me for a minute while I see if I can find it.

Okay, there’s actually quite a bit. I’m going to give you the links, and you can take your pick or read them all 🙂

Well.  I had no idea I’d titled three different posts exactly the same 🙂  And now I suspect that this may be an old prompt, and possibly one of my links is already there. Anyway, you’ll see a common thread running through all these posts. I love music.

How Many Times?


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Amy wondered how many times more this would happen as her feet hit the cold floor and she searched for her slippers.  How many more times would she be yanked rudely from sleep to go and tend a fussing baby?  How many times would she have to leave the warm nest of her bed to take care of a child with a belly ache, or leg cramps, or a coughing fit?

“This is our last baby,” she thought. “No more infants demanding 24/7 attention. I wonder how long before I’ll get a full, uninterrupted eight hours of sleep?  Ha!  Probably never happen.  I’m so much in the habit of tw0 o’clock feedings, I’ll probably be waking up Tom over there to feed him a sandwich!”

She smiled to herself as he belted the robe around her still-post-pregnancy waist. Well, for all the countless times she’d done this,  she figured she could do it a few more without going bonkers. She always managed to make it through the nights and the days, sometimes napping in her chair when the littlest ones were getting their afternoon sleep. She did dearly love her four munchkins.  It was just that sometimes she was. . . . well, just tired.  Tired to the bone.  Felt as if she’d never been anything but a mommy, on call all the time.

And then the years whizzed by in a blur of activity, work, teens, weddings, grandbabies–and she could sleep the night through except for those dratted calls of nature that seemed to beset women her age.

Well. It gave her some time to remember, as she drifted back off to sleep; to remember, and to be thankful.

Oh, Beautiful!


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So. The very first thing that came to mind was “amber waves of grain.” from America the Beautiful. 

I grew up in southern Minnesota, We trekked to Colorado now and then to visit relatives, so I was very familiar with the endless fields of corn, wheat, sorghum and other things I can’t remember. I do remember the smell of pea silage when all the farmers in the area were doing that task.

Grain is such an important food source, as well as having many uses in manufacturing and scientific research.  But that’s all not very interesting if you’re not a farmer, nutritionist, or scientist, so I’ll move on 🙂

Grain fields are truly beautiful. The color of the ripe wheat, ready for harvesting, is truly golden.  My sister and I used to spend a couple of weeks on an Iowa farm  in the summer, and I remember the distinct aroma of the grain as it poured down a chute from the harvester. An endless stream of gold, with chaff blowing in the wind, it had an earthy smell.

For the 47 years of my marriage, I have baked our bread. For a while, we bought whole wheat which I would grind in my KitchenAid with a special attachment for the purpose. I was rewarded, during the grinding, with that same earthy, summery smell. And then again, when the bread started to rise and bake, a rich yeasty smell would make my mouth water for the first slice off the new loaf.

America has long been a breadbasket for other parts of the world. We have been blessed with our abundance. One of the most devastating things about the Depression era in the 1930’s was the drought and the terrible dust storms that devastated the farmers, followed by swarms of locusts that ate every tiny bit of greening wheat from the fields. I was born in 1947, so I don’t remember all that. My parents did, though, and they never quite got past the need to know that there was food in the pantry and water running freely from the faucet. If you’ve ever wondered why many of the people who lived through that period of our history turned into hoarders, it’s really not that complicated. They had so little, and it was necessary to preserve anything they did have. You never knew when you could get more.

Oh beautiful, for spacious skies; for amber waves of grain. For purple mountains’ majesty across the fruited plain. America!  America! God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!”




Philosophical Phase


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“Oh, he’s just going through a phase. He’ll get over it.”

“That situation didn’t phase me.  I couldn’t have cared less.”

“What phase is the moon in right now?”

Words.  I’m sure there are many other ways to use this one, but it’s early and even though I’ve had my coffee, my brain is still telling me I should be asleep. Must be a phase I’m going through.

You know, I don’t remember my parents ever being impressed with that idea–kids going through some sort of phase.  They expected us to do what we were supposed to do, no matter what our particular phase may have been. This, of course, was back in the day when parenting wasn’t emotion-driven.  They didn’t worry about being our friends. We had kids our own ages in the neighborhood to fill that need.  Parents were for safety, provision, teaching, training, and security.  The friendship phase–there’s that word again–comes after the kids are adults.

There was a time in this country when a teenaged phase would have been highly questioned. Young people, young adults, were expected to engage in profitable activity as well as the fun things all kids enjoy.  They  had household chores (non-negotiable) and were an important part of the smooth running of the household. If some kid had a phase going on, in a well-run family, he could indulge it all he wanted somewhere apart from everyone else. The drama king or queen of the family did not have the privilege of upsetting everyone else.

A “phase” was not an excuse for poor behavior, or for making others miserable.

And now I’m going to phase out, because I have to go to work.  It’s a pretty high probability that someone I see today will be going through a phase, or have a kid or spouse going through a phase, and they’re going to want to know what to do about it.

Best advice? Ignore it.  This too shall pass.



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I tried to run, but it just wasn’t happening.  I couldn’t lift my feet from the ground. Or, if I did manage to move my legs, it was like walking fast through deep water. You just can’t do it.

I didn’t know what was chasing me.  I just knew I didn’t want it to catch me.  I would run and run, moving in slow motion, trying to get away from whatever was behind me.

And then, suddenly, I realized I could fly!  I would just lift my face and look at the sky, and if I waved my arms fast enough, I would rise off the sidewalk and soar above the tall buildings of the city, free at last from the  danger behind me.

And that’s about all I remember of that recurring nightmare.  I was very small. We had no television, no scary programs to put such ideas into my head.  I don’t remember if we had a radio.

Maybe there were other kids in the trailer park who talked about their dreams.  I really don’t think many people we knew had a TV yet.  It was 1950, and a TV in every living room was a couple of years down the road.


Also, we didn’t live in the city yet.  That would come a couple of years later, so I don’t know where my ideas of tall buildings came from, either.

The only thing I know for sure is that those dreams were awful.  I was terrified, and I remember sometimes waking up in a sweat because of the fear.

I rarely dream these days.  I sleep deeply, for which I am thankful.  But sometimes, at the edge of waking up, I have a dream that someone or something is crawling into my bed and I am helpless to stop it.  I dream that I am screaming, that my calls for help come out sounding as if I’ve had a stroke that affected my speech.  And then I wake up, or Terry shakes my shoulder.

He’s confused that I would have such frightening dreams. He never does.  I’m a bit confused about it myself. No idea where that one comes from, either.  Sometimes I can stop it without actually waking up. Other times, I wake myself up up with my yelling. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I have a hard time going back to sleep.

Dreams. Half awake, half asleep, when I’m in the land of dreams all reality fades.

The human mind is a fascinating place.