Seasonal Scents


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It snowed briefly last night. I opened the back door to dump my coffee grounds, and sure enough, there was a wet, earthy scent outside.  Same thing when it rains, only this time of year there’s something else underneath the wetness that I can’t quite describe. It’s colder, but not as frigid as it was back in Minnesota.  You couldn’t smell anything out there when it dropped to 30 and 40 below zero, because your nostrils stuck together 🙂

Image result for cartoon Calvin and hobbes so cold your nose sticks together

Weather always has an identifying scent. When I was a kid, we lived in Minneapolis. When it rained hard after a very hot spell, the streets and sidewalks gave off a scent I’ve never noticed anywhere except in a city.  There were big old trees along the sidewalks, and their leaves added a smell of their own.

In the fall, of course, the air is just delicious. Falling leaves, heaps of them, have a scent all their own.  Before so many places put a ban on burning, everyone piled up their leaves and burned them. We all waited for a still day, and the smoke would climb straight up into the air. If you burn leaves quickly after you rake them, they don’t have time to begin rotting. That’s a different smell altogether.

Winter snow and ice?  You’d think there would be nothing to smell when everything is frozen. If you grew up in a cold climate, though, you are familiar with the smell of wet mittens, gloves,  and other snow gear. If you’re old enough, you remember what that all smelled like as it steamed dry on the radiator so you could put it back on and rush back outside where all the fun was.

Spring, of course, is a festival for the nose. Wet, snow-soaked earth has a very recognizable aroma as it begins to warm up and dry out. Grass grows like crazy, and the smell of freshly-cut grass fills the air. Spring flowers come out like popcorn, and if you’re really lucky you have onion grass nearby.  One of my sons, always curious, smelled onion grass one morning. He pulled it up and popped it into his mouth.  Pleased with the flavor, he ate some more.  He had onion breath for several days 🙂

Are there still farmers out there who can tell you what the weather’s going to be just by sniffing the air?  I’m sure there are, but I don’t hear people talk about it much.

I’m losing my sense of smell.  Too many nasal sprays to relieve the swelling in my sinuses, I think.  It makes me very sad. I’ve always loved so many wonderful smells, and now some things just smell funny, not right. You don’t think much about being able to enjoy all the scents around you until you can’t.


A Map Would Help


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Change always seems to cause upheaval, whether it is a minor change or a major change.

When we remodeled our kitchen, a lot of things changed. We completed the replacement of all the old cabinet with brand new, light-colored ones that make our kitchen look much brighter. We took down a wall between the kitchen and dining room and replaced it with a short bar. The bar has storage space and it’s great for serving, as well as sitting down for a quick snack.

Image result for doing demolition of the kitchen

(This is how a remodel starts!)

We moved the refrigerator to a different wall. We replaced the flooring. We even replaced the window over the sink.

All this replacement has created some confusion, though, because now I can’t remember where I put things. I’m slowly learning, and I do tend to be an organized person. I like to store things in the same area where I will use them.  Seems obvious to me that dishcloths and towels should be next to the sink; that ingredients and equipment for baking should be near my work station. It’s the odds and ends that a driving me crazy.

Add to all that the fact that Terry has been cooking for the last four months, and he tends to put things anywhere he can find an empty spot. That makes for some very interesting scavenger hunts.

Replacement can be an excellent thing. I just should have made a map 🙂

Wringers and Automatics


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I’m old, and we’ve been married a long time, so I don’t remember some things very well. One of the things I don’t remember is why I started married life with a wringer washing machine.  I don’t remember if we bought it or if  someone gave it to us.  I didn’t mind, really. My mom used one when I was a little kid.  My mother-in-law used hers most of her life.  She maintained that automatics just didn’t get the clothes as clean as her beloved wringer washer.  Maybe she was right.


Anyway, I used my wringer through four babies, and back then we didn’t use paper diapers. Too expensive.  We kept soiled diapers (after rinsing out the contents into the toilet) in a diaper pail filled with water and detergent of some kind until wash day, and then the diapers were put through the first load in the washer on laundry day. I always dumped the water after the diapers were done and refilled it with fresh hot water and detergent that was used for the rest of the laundry:  whites first, light/delicate next, dark next, and really dirty work clothes last. By the time I was done, the water was black. Each load was put through the wringer into a tub of rinse water, then  again into a second rinse before being put through the wringer again to be put out on the clothesline or, if you were lucky, into the dryer.

This was routine for me.  I really didn’t mind. I had friends who had automatics, and they felt sorry for me. Finally, a family friend bought his wife a new automatic washer, and offered us their old one.  Worked fine, he said; he just thought it was time to get his wife a newer model.

Well, sure.  Why not?  And I loved it!  I could put in a load, go back upstairs and tend to whatever else I was going that day along with my four kids,  and get more than one job done at a time.

Well, the years went by and at one point, when we owned a small motel, I was back to a wringer washer because that’s what came with the motel. Again, I really didn’t mind. It took care of four sheets at a time, so often, during the busy season, I was doing laundry into the afternoon. We had a nice backyard with clothesline already strung. Our guest loved the fresh, air-dried sheets.

Now I have a fairly new front-loading automatic, and I really am thankful I don’t have to contend with the wringer any more. Back in the day, though, a lot of women were delighted to graduate from a laundry tub and scrub board to a wringer washer!


Think Before You Speak


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“She has no filter” has become a widely used way to indicate that someone says exactly what she is thinking, with no concern as to who may be hurt, embarrassed, angry, or horrified by her words.

Please don’t be offended by my use of the feminine pronoun. Men are equally guilty. This is a human foible, not a gender problem.

It takes some time to learn to monitor what comes out of one’s mouth. Small children are capable of bringing their parents to blush furiously by their innocent statements.  I will never forget the time my little brother, then three or four years old, stated loudly in a crowded room, “Mr. Smith, my daddy doesn’t like you!”  My dad was completely embarrassed. The gentleman involved, though, found it amusing and took it with good grace. I don’t remember if there was any further communication between him and my father.

Image result for child's words embarrass parent

Growing up in the parsonage was often difficult. There were certain people in the church, in any church, who are willing and able to pump information from the children of the pastor. My parents warned us about this, admonishing us not to tell people things that weren’t any of their business.

One time a particular woman approached me when I was about 14 and asked me a pointed question about the family finances.  I was taken by surprise, had no idea how to respond, and blurted, “I’m not supposed to answer people who pump me for information!”

Again, my memory fails me. I have no idea what happened after that.

There’s a lot of unfiltered speech floating around in our current political atmosphere.  It’s too bad. Once words are written or spoken, they can’t be undone. If one has been injudicious and spoken or written incorrectly,  apologies can be made; the words remain, however, and will not be forgotten.  I’m thinking of the young woman who commented publicly that Barron Trump will be the first home-schooled shooter.  I believe she lost her job on SNL, which she should have, but the words are there.  Maybe that woman will develop a better filter, and not take shots at children.

I believe that anyone who targets specific children, whether their parents are liberal or conservative, should pay some kind of consequence. I’m completely bipartisan on this issue. Adults should just know better. Period.

“Simple” is Relative


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Emily’s face was a picture of frustration as she pulled books from her locker. Stuffing them into her book bag, she slammed the locker door and stomped toward the exit, making a point to look at no one. She didn’t want to talk.

“It’s simple,” Mr. Leitner had said. “You just have to know the Periodic Table, which we started memorizing months ago. Then you need the basic formulas, and the interactions of one substance with other substances.  It’s not that hard, people. This test covers five chapters, and we’ve gone over them all more than once.”

He seemed a bit irritated, as if he couldn’t understand why anyone was having any trouble in his “simple” chemistry course. It made Emily furious. She was usually an “A” student, getting a “B” only in gym–which she thought was totally unfair. Being graded on your ability to run fast or make a basket from the free-throw line had nothing to do with studying, and everything to do with natural ability! She was delighted that, as a senior, she didn’t have to take gym any more.

But chemistry?  That was another thing entirely. She had to have it to get her science credits in, and it was driving her crazy. Most of the symbols on the periodic table didn’t seem to have any connection to the element itself. Why, for instance, was antimony denoted as “sb”?  She had memorized it all, but to actually understand it didn’t seem to matter.

Emily liked to understand. She hated memorizing just to pass a test.

So she decided to do some research, probably losing valuable “memorize this” time, but she really needed to understand.

Her first search was “why is antimony identified as sb on the periodic table.” She found out that the word was based on two Greek words:

Origin of name: from the Greek words “anti + monos” meaning “not alone” (the origin of the symbol Sb comes from the Latin word “stibium“).

Okay, things were a bit more clear. Stibium, she learned, rarely showed up alone in nature. It was usually found in a compound.  Emily still had questions, but at least the “sb” made some sense.

The next day, Emily approached Mr. Leitner before class. “Mr. Leitner, I have so much trouble remembering the  letters for each element. They don’t always seem to be connected to the word itself.  Last night I did some research, and I discovered that the letters are based on Greek or Latin words.” She went on to tell him what she’d learned about antimony.
Mr. Leitner listened, but there was a quizzical expression on his face. “Emily, if it helps you, then learning all that is great. But it just seems easier to me to memorize the table. Simple.”
Emily sighed. “Mr. Leitner, it’s NOT simple if it makes no sense!  I need to understand what the words mean. Then, yes, it’s simple. I’ll always remember antimony, stibium, and sb.  I just wish you could teach it to us so that the words make sense!
Mr. Leitner paused, looking thoughtful. “Emily, I think you just created a job for yourself!”

Those Were the Days!

Photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers:



It’s so humiliating to be towed along behind these young whippersnapper machines that call themselves cars. Nothing but boxes, and they all look the same.

We had elegance, style, and pride in our appearance.  We  could go  twelve miles per hour!  We were amazing. People along the roadside would point and wave as we flew by.

Our owners were gorgeous, too! Large, shady hats that the ladies tied just under their ears, and dusters to cover their delicate summer gowns. The gentlemen wore dusters, too.

Those were the good old days!

Counting the Days


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Ten days from now, I will go back to work.  It’s been four months. I used to look forward to the three-month summer break when I was teaching, but this was different.

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This was not really a vacation. The first couple of months were just pain. It got better as I remained inactive, but it was never gone. I had surgery two weeks ago, and I’m happy to say that the surgery seems to have done its job on the pain it targeted.

So now, after some recovery time and some time to regain some strength after being inactive for so long, I’m looking at going back.

I don’t know for sure how I feel about that.

I’m 69.  I should have my student loan paid off by June or July. The temptation to retire is very strong.

I missed my clients, though, and I do love my work.

I’m just tired. I discovered that it was pretty nice to be home all the time. As I continue to regain muscle and energy, there are so many tasks I would love to tackle here at home that I know won’t get done any time soon.

Ten days. Counting down to being back in the work force is a good thing. I have a job I enjoy. It is not just drudgery for me. I’ll be fine once I get under way.




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Their are other words that immediately come to mind with today’s prompt.

Devastation:  The Great Depression, dust storms, grasshoppers, drought, thirst, soup kitchens, hobos, joblessness, flour sack clothing, financial poverty. BUT:  strength of spirit, hope, perserverance, charity, a fighting spirit, victory!

Image result for The Great Depression

Devastation:  War, destruction, death, greed, hatred, guns, tanks, power,  rape, terror, flight.  BUT:  Determination, hope, human inventiveness, the Underground, never giving up, courage, overcoming, victory!.

Devastation:  Domestic violence, pain, fear, love gone wrong, evil, selfishness.  BUT:  a broken spirit that revives and heals, standing for righteousness, determination, seeking help, leaving the abuser, victory!

Devastation:  A country divided, hatred, slanderous words, immoral behavior, destruction of property, fear, violence, a sense of hopelessness.  BUT:  Steadfast hearts, love overcoming hatred, working across the aisle,  determination, compromise, seeking what is best for all, victory!



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Back when I was young and full of juice, I had the oversight of a lot of things. My little kids, my house; the grocery shopping, bill paying, and so on. I did some substitute teaching in those years, and enjoyed it. Later, when my own kids were grown enough that I felt good about doing so, I began to teach full time.

At that point, I had the oversight of my classroom, which changed every hour. All those young people under my eye for teaching, and for training in other ways as well. As time went by, I had the oversight of the yearbook, as well as the elementary music programs.

I was very busy in my church, too, always teaching. I was heavily involved in the music program, and women’s ministry. I loved it all. There was rarely a dull moment.

Fast forward. Not so full of juice these days.  In fact, since the first of October I haven’t had oversight of much of anything.And that’s okay with me.

Today, I get the staples pulled out of my incision. In two weeks, I’m finally going back to work.  I work only three days a week, which is just fine with me.

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I never thought it would happen, but I am content to not be in charge of everything. This is odd for me, after a lifetime of always having some kind of responsibility.  I’m not saying I’m ready to be put out to pasture, although that picture isn’t bad at all. I can still teach, and I suspect I’ll be doing that in some way for a few years yet.  I am, though, quite content with my life as it is.

The old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be 🙂

Yes, Indeed


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I certainly can’t claim to have been overworked since early October. My sit muscles have been overworked, for sure, but that’s about it.

I’ll tell you what I do think is overworked.

Rhetoric.  Liberal and Conservative alike.

I’m so tired of it, and I’m afraid all the accusations and mudslinging are going to go on for a very long time.

I’m tired of the name-calling and the vitriol. I’m tired of people accusing other people of “playing the___________________ card” (you fill in the blank).

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I’m tired of being lectured by the other side that I’m ill-informed, uninformed, willfully ignorant, bigoted, and a “phobic.”  I’m tired of whiners who refuse to accept the reality that Hillary couldn’t quite pull it off.

I’m especially tired of the overworked “She won the popular vote!” whine. I’m tired of people failing to understand the elegantly structured Electoral College that, much like our bicameral Congress, keeps the most densely populated areas from ALWAYS winning. It is not outdated. It’s a perfect way from keeping the most populous states from beating down the less populated states on every single issue. It’s fair and balanced. Pardon the use of a well-known news organization’s not-always-absolutely-true slogan.

I’m tired of the threats against the inauguration day activities. The overworked use of protests and threats of stopping the whole thing. The overworked shrieking from Follywood, whose denizens seem to think they really are the cornerstone of American culture, and that if they stop working the world will end.

Sometimes I just want to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep.