Always Hope


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


Today this word takes me right to my own self.  I never thought much about how it would be to be physically broken at this stage of my life.  Never thought it would be such an effort just to go up and down a flight of stairs, or take a short walk, or climb up on a bed.  Getting in and out of a car can be a challenge.  Partly, it’s my height.  Or, rather, lack thereof.  I’m used to having to climb up on stools and ladders to reach stuff. It continues to be slightly annoying, but it’s nothing new.

But the weakness, the slowness, the uncooperative muscles?  I wasn’t expecting that.  Not yet. Most of it is due to the back problems that started  about three years ago.  If you’ve never had serious back issues, be thankful.  And please don’t think that those who suffer are just faking it, for goodness’ sake, or using it as an excuse to get out of work. While I know there are those who do that sort of thing, most of us would LOVE to be able to put in a full day’s work without the accompanying pain and debility.


Image result for back pain is real

I took a lot for granted before all this mess started. Bending to pick up a baby, to make a bed, to clean a toilet or tub, to scrub a floor–never thought about it.  I had the strength and energy I needed, and I guess I just expected it would always be there.  Sure, you slow down a bit as the years go by, but I truly didn’t think that at nearly 71 I would be in this condition.  Maybe by 85 or 90.  Not yet.

But, lest I leave you on that gloomy note, I have NOT given up or given in. There is a lot that can be done to restore strength I lost while I really couldn’t move much at all. Working on it.  Hoping to improve. There’s always hope.



PHOTO PROMPT © Connie Gayer

(Note:  We’re in South Dakota, visiting family and looking forward to the graduation of our oldest grandson.  I have infrequent access to wifi, so I probably won’t read all your posts this week.  I’ll miss that, but it’s the way things are.  In the meantime, here’s my contribution for this week’s Friday Fictioneers.)


(Note #2:  I forgot to do the link-up when I wrote this on Wednesday, finally got the opportunity today.  So sorry to not have the opportunity to read all of your stories!)



“Dadburned old pipes!” muttered  Jem, up to his knees in muck.  A connection had broken, or rusted off, or been chewed by varmints. His garden would die without the irrigation pipes that kept it green. Water dripping from the pipe made a foul-smelling mudhole, but he had to keep digging to see how far back the damage to the pipe had gone.

He threw each shovelful into his small front end loader, which would save time refilling the hole later. He wondered why the ground kept getting smellier. Terrible stench.

The he saw the human skull.


Life Without Wifi


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 



To place next to something else for the purpose of contrast.  For instance, my two grandsons here in South Dakota are both very nearly six feet tall.  I am 4’11”  so  if I juxtapose myself between them, there is a very strong contrast 🙂

Usually, though, this is done in an artistic sense.  Placing black and white photos next to colored photos of the same subject creates interesting contrasts and comparisons.

Image result for juxtaposing black and white photos with colored photos of the same subject

This iconic photo, originally done in black and white (which I think is more effective, actually) creates a whole different sense when placed next to the colored version.

Have you ever wondered if that poor girl  was shocked out of her mind by this experience?  It is my understanding that they were complete strangers.  I don’t know, some people think this is romantic.  Not me.  I think I’d have wanted to smack him up alongside the head 🙂

Anyway.  You haven’t heard from me in a few days because we’re on vacation, and I don’t have  access to good wifi.  Ken brought me here to the library this morning so I could do some catching up.

I’m not sure when I’ll be back online. And I’m finding that, while I do miss writing my blogs, I’m able to exist quite happily without the internet 🙂

Evil Twin?


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


This is a German word, literally meaning double-goer.  It generally refers to either an apparition or a real person who is a double for someone else.


Image result for doppelganger

It’s always fun to match up people you know who look like famous people. Sometimes the resemblance is pretty amazing.

In literature and movies, a doppelganger is usually considered an omen of bad luck, and capable of mischief or even of violence.

Here’s a link that describes what I’ve always thought doppelgangers were:

I’ve never thought they were friendly or helpful, but rather ominous and usually leading to a whole bunch of trouble.

I’ve never seen one of these paranormal types.  It’s surprising how often, though, people have mistaken ME for someone they know.  “Oh, excuse me!  You look just like So-and-So.”

It’s rather disturbing to have such an ordinary face that you remind everyone of someone else.



Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.



From the Greek root arkhe, beginning, this word has come to mean very old or old-fashioned. 

Younger folks today, for example, often think that the music I love is archaic. Maybe, but at least it has a melody consisting of more than four or five notes repeated endlessly until the song is finally over.  I’ll take archaic to what passes for some types of music today. Here’s one example of what I mean:

If you’re a fan, then enjoy yourself. If  you’re bored after the first 60 seconds, feel free to move right along. You are not required to listen to the whole thing. You’re welcome.

There are some things, of course, that truly are archaic–and that I’m thankful have passed off the scene. High-button shoes.  Bustles.  Foot-binding.  Hoop skirts. Corsets. Layers and layers of petticoats. That list is endless.

I’m also very glad that I don’t have to deal with a wood-burning kitchen range; that my water is available at the turn of a knob or lever; that I don’t have to use an outhouse or a chamber pot;  that I can luxuriate in a daily shower or bath. That list could go on for a long time, too.

There are things about the “olden days,” as they are sometimes called, that I think we should bring back.  No public displays of affection. That’s a big one.  I’m not a prude.  No, I’m NOT!  But I really object to having people make out Right.In. Front. Of. Me. in the grocery checkout line.  Good grief.  Get a room.

I also think it would be a good thing to just turn off all our electronics for a few hours now and then. Civil conversation has become a lost art, which is one of the reasons I do so much marital counseling in my office. People just don’t know how to communicate with each other any more. Listening?  Yeah, that’s a thing of the past.  We need to learn to listen in order to understand, not just to respond.

However, when I think of some other archaic practices, such as blood-letting or the use of leeches in medicine, I’m very thankful to be living in the present.  One archaic practice that I wouldn’t have minded  was that women were expected to remain in bed for two or three weeks after giving birth.

I think we should revive that one.



Unrealistic Guilt


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


Here’s another huge counseling issue.  Yesterday’s prompt, assumption, took me to marriage counseling.  Today, this word takes me to the ugly realm of abuse.

I understand why victims of abuse feel guilt.  At least, I think I do.

The woman whose husband beats her for no discernible reason accepts the burden of guilt for his abuse. “I just need to be more careful,” she’ll say.  “It’s my own fault.  I aggravate him, and I need to try harder.”

Wrong at every level, but it’s nearly impossible to convince her that she is NOT guilty. Only when she “gets it” that he doesn’t beat up anyone else will she begin to question his right to knock her around whenever he feels the need of a punching bag.  He can control himself at work or anywhere else but all his anger and aggression gets unleashed on her.

She is not the guilty one.

Image result for unreasonable guilt

Victims of sexual abuse often feel guilty. “I must have done something to make him/her think it was okay,” or “Well, I shouldn’t have been wearing shorts” (when I was three or four!) or “I was flirtatious” (when I was too young to know what that meant).

Unreasonable guilt. Sexual predators do what they do because they can. So, so many times I have told a suffering adult, molested as a child, “You are not defiled by what someone does to you against your will.  You are NOT impure. The offender is.  What he did is a felony!  You are not to blame. No matter what a demented society may say or think,  a predator ALWAYS has the choice NOT to sexually assault or abuse someone else.”

It makes me crazy when a woman who was raped becomes the guilty person in the eyes of so many people.  “How was she dressed?  Was her skirt too short, her pants too tight, her top too low?  Where was she?  Why was she alone?  She was probably asking for it.  She probably enjoyed it.”

Good grief.  Rape is a crime of power, not lust.  It is a violent assault, and it makes a woman into nothing but a piece of meat.  Rape has been perpetrated on NUNS,  who are totally modestly clothed and, I promise you, were not “asking for it” nor “enjoying it.”

It shocks me, every single time and even though I’ve lived long enough to know better, that when a woman is raped, she has to endure the torture of being put on the witness stand and being exposed in her most personal, private life if she dares to report the crime and bring the predator to justice.

And please don’t give the tired old argument that sometimes women lie and accuse innocent men. Yes, that does–rarely–happen, and it’s appalling. The topic here, though is not the innocent man who is accused;  it is the innocent girl or woman who is assaulted, and then assaulted again when she reports it; the one who lives with a burden of guilt that society gleefully allows her to carry.

I hate it.  Really hate it.


Marriage Counseling


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


This is a word that takes me right to the marriage counseling I often do in my office.


Image result for counseling an angry couple


To assume anything, in this context,  is to believe, not always with a factual basis, that another person thinks, feels, or reacts negatively toward you because he has nefarious motives.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard one spouse say to another, “No, that’s not true!”  “No, that’s a lie!” “That is NOT what happened!” and so on. The assumption is always there that the other person  has negative motives, and is trying to win at all costs.

Sometimes she is.

However, both individuals are equally frustrated, equally angry, equally quick to assume the worst of the other.

I often wonder how that happens to two people who profess to love each other.  Does it start before “I do”?  Or does it come along with the very first disagreement, and just slowly escalate into such venomous behavior?  There is a point at which so much anger and hatred have developed that I don’t know if there’s any hope.

Many times, I point out to a couple that if one person always has to be right, then the other always has to be wrong. That’s a really terrible imbalance of power, and the “wrong” person is going to become bitter, hopeless, and angry.  That person will eventually leave the relationship, emotionally if not in physical reality. There are more couples than you would believe who share a house, but nothing else.

Assumption is a dangerous thing.  It is NEVER true that you know what someone else is thinking. When you assume that you do, you’re making it impossible for that other person to convince you that he/she doesn’t actually have those thoughts at all.

Very rarely do I believe that divorce is the best option. If the one who always has to win, though, refuses to leave that position, there really is no hope.

I hate that.

That Pretty Bowl

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

He gave her the bowl for Valentine’s Day one year early in their marriage. She treasured it because he wasn’t much of a gifter. Not that he didn’t care; just that he didn’t think of it. She understood, and valued any gift he offered all the more.

It came to be known as “That pretty bowl.” It had celebrated with the family over the years, holding fruit, or vegetable salads, or concoctions of Jello and whipped cream. Sometimes she filled it with the flowers of the season.

Now she was gone. Her daughter has the bowl.



Disappear to Lie/Lay


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 




Maybe you’re old enough to remember this 1954 television series, maybe not.  It was quite an innovation at the time.  It concerned a couple who were killed in an automobile accident, but who came back to complicate the life of their friend Topper.  They could appear and disappear at will, which made poor Topper crazy and created a lot of laughs for the loyal viewers.

I’ve often wished I had the gift of being able to disappear, haven’t you?  There are times when I’ve wished I could simply vanish, without making an awkward entrance or exit. Perhaps during a long, tedious, and excruciatingly boring lecture of some sort, it would be nice to just POOF!  Or maybe you happen to be on a date with someone who makes your skin crawl. POOF!  You’re gone, and the nasty guy has no clue where you went.  (It was a blind date, of course. No one who has any sense would choose to go out with such an unpleasant sort.) (I don’t remember ever going on a blind date. If I did, I’ve shoved that memory into oblivion.)

Or maybe you’d just like to make PART of yourself disappear, like however many pounds you’re overweight.  Now, that would be  a vanishing cream that anyone would pay money for, wouldn’t it?

Are there some people you’d like to POOF! out of your life?  I don’t have many of those these days.  The older you grow, the more selective you become–at least, that’s what has happened for me.  The annoying types I run across now and then aren’t really a part of my life, so I can comfortably ignore them.  Like the guy last Sunday who was riding our bumper down the main street of a small town.  We were looking for a particular restaurant, found it, slowed down to make a left turn. Idiotman behind us (way too closely behind us, driving way too fast)  layed/laid on his horn so hard and long you could still hear it after his truck had disappeared.

Layed?  Laid?  Hmmm. After giving myself a short remedial course on the principal parts of these irregular verbs, I’ve come to the conclusion that neither is appropriate, and that this  is an American colloquialism that  isn’t grammatically correct no matter which verb you use.

Aren’t you glad you know that?  You’re very welcome.  And no, I’m not quite sure how I got from disappear to lie/lay.  It probably doesn’t matter.

Turned the Wrong Way


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.


This word is a great example of onomatopoeia.  It kind of sounds like what it means.  Awkward, backward, perverse, clumsy.
I’ve had many awkward moments in my life, which I won’t embarrass myself by repeating here.  Anyway, I’ve shared plenty of them in the four+ years I’ve been writing this blog 🙂
I can tell you that I’ve been good at very few sports.  Some, but not many.  I’m not fast, and I’m not a good strategist.   But I loved volleyball, and I was very good at tetherball.  And hopscotch.  And the hula hoop.  But no one wanted to pick me for their basketball team, or softball, or football.  I wasn’t disappointed to be chosen last, because I didn’t expect anything else. That’s life.
Image result for awkward at sports
This would have been me
I think being socially awkward is more difficult, though, than being physically unathletic.  Some people just seem to be  born with social grace, and others have to learn it the hard way.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve blushed after realizing I’ve just said something stupid, hurtful, or inappropriate.  Or, perhaps, failed to respond to the whole “how are you” ritual because my mind was elsewhere.
I was a teacher for many years, and teachers talk a lot.  When you talk a lot, you easily get into trouble with your words.   Now, in the counseling office, I’m still doing my share of talking.  I’m thankful that I came to this career later in life, and had learned a few things about how to listen, what to say and how to say it.  Sometimes you really need to be tactful in counseling others.  Sometimes, my innate tendency to bluntness is actually the best tool I have.  It may seem awkward at the time, but often, blunt words are exactly what is needed.
Here’s a favorite video of mine that I like to show clients who are worry warts by nature. I hope it makes you laugh on this lovely (here in Pa) Monday morning.