Horror in the Bathroom

It had been such a normal night. Lynne had dropped into dreamless sleep.  Waking, she paused  to enjoy her doll collection ,  and then stepped through the half-open bathroom doorway.  Flicking on the light, she turn toward the toilet.

She blinked, looked again.   Please, please don’t let this be real! She squeezed her eyes shut, opened them; afraid to look directly into the toilet, she let her gaze drift there slowly.

It was still there, only now its ugly, sinister head was resting on the rim.

Screaming, mindless, she slammed the bathroom door and ran.

“Snake!  Snake! Snake in my toilet!”




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There is a popular brand of ice cream that touts itself as the best, natural flavors, no artificial ingredients, etc. I don’t like it. The texture is grainy, and I like my ice cream smooth. They did put out a different line recently, though, and I have to admit it’s pretty delicious.  Smooth, rich, and totally satisfying.

I don’t really care much for small pieces of nuts in my ice cream, like in pistachio.  I like the flavor, but the nuts make it gritty.  Grainy.

Isn’t it interesting how textures of food make such a difference in how we perceive them? Lots of people really dislike pulp in their orange juice. I love it.  Makes it seem more like fresh-squeezed.

I don’t get too excited about granola-type cereals, because it’s like chewing a mouthful of seeds.  Not my thing.  Oatmeal, cooked until it’s nearly smooth, is much better. Add some brown sugar and raisins, and you’ve got yourself a great breakfast.

Here’s a grainy photograph. Sometimes the photographer does it on purpose, for a particular effect:

Image result for grainy


Changing direction:  Wood that is of inferior quality is often too grainy, with no real beauty.  We use words like coarse-grained and rough-hewn to describe it.  Sometimes we apply those same words to people who tend to be abrasive, even crude.

Anything that is supposed to be smooth but has particulate in it, like lumpy gravy, is unappealing.  Took me awhile to master the gravy thing, but I’ve got it now. Always smooth, and I don’t even use my Tupperware doo-dad any more to shake the flour and water together. I do it the way my grandmothers did it.

Words are so interesting. One word, like grainy, can have so many different applications. I love words 🙂


Will I or Will I Not


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This interesting term comes from the Old English will I–nill I, meaning whether I want to or don’t want to. 

The meaning has changed with time, as words often do, and now tends to describe a random or haphazard way of doing things.  So, if  Junior is told to make his bed and clean his room, he’s probably going to go about it willy nilly. He doesn’t want to do it, so he will do the least possible in order to satisfy his unreasonably fussy mother.

Three of our grandkids are with us for a couple of days. They set up  a bunch of stuff in the living room yesterday that needs to be cleaned up  this morning, and the youngest is definitely doing it willy nilly.  He feels a bit overwhelmed, I think, at the size of the task. But then his big brother got involved, and now things are going swimmingly.  It’s amazing how a job can seem impossible until someone comes along and lends a hand.

So–in a little while, I’m going to work, whether I want to or not.  Willy nilly.


Vive la Difference!


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I’m not a neat freak.  There is no OCD in my DNA 🙂  I do, however, like things to be orderly and organized so I don’t have to search through messy cabinets, drawers, and files to find what I need.  I know where my stuff is.

My mom thought it was hilarious that I organized my herbs and spices alphabetically.  I don’t understand why everyone else doesn’t do it. My search time for any particular thing is .01 seconds.  My mom, on the other hand, had to do some digging.  She always knew right were she had put it, but things tended to go topsy turvy on her.  I like it the way I do it.  She liked it the way she did it. Vive la difference!

My clothes hang in color groups in my closet.  My drawers are organized –lingerie, socks, sweaters, tees–everything has a place and is usually IN its place.

I live, however, with a man who has ADD (seriously, he really does) and can’t stay organized to save his life. When he (frequently) can’t find something, I’ll think for a few minutes and ask him, for instance, “Did you check in the pocket of the shirt you wore yesterday?”  It’s like playing 20 questions–is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?  I can usually figure it out in a few minutes while he’s ransacking the whole house and finding dust bunnies, but not the item he needs. He always makes me think of the Family Circus cartoons in which Billy covers miles and miles  before he gets from the house to the school bus or whatever.


Terry’s gifts, however, far outweigh his tendency to follow Billy’s meandering paths.  There’s nothing he can’t fix.  If he doesn’t know how, he looks it up on You Tube.  It’s amazing what you can learn on You Tube!  Especially since Terry is not particularly fond of the computer,  it surprises me that he has become quite expert at finding what he needs. And, as is typical of people with ADD, he can focus intently on whatever he’s doing, to the point of my needing a pair of cymbals to clash over his head to bring him back to earth. When he’s on a project, he can go all day without eating and never realize how many hours have gone by. He’s a detail person and a perfectionist when he has a project.  It will be done right, no question about it.

He loves to work. My idea of relaxing involves music, books, tea, and chocolate.  His idea of relaxing involves  taking apart  the blender or whatever isn’t working and fixing it.

The only place I tend to allow to become messy is all that surrounds my chair in the living room.  Books, handwork, remotes, coffee cups, my own projects–yes, it’s often quite a mess.

But I know right where everything is.







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Did either or both of your parents have THE LOOK?  You know there would be no more words if your behavior didn’t improve. You knew the next step would make it uncomfortable for you to sit. If you had any brains at all, you didn’t push that line.  It just wasn’t worth it.


I got that silent glare on more than a few occasions. Not from Mom. She tended to just look sad or disappointed unless she was truly furious, and then her whole face changed. But my dad?  Yeah, the face didn’t change so much; just his eyes–and the set of his jaw.

My husband can do the same things.  With just a look, the offending child would know that he was only seconds away from doom.  And my kids have told me, as has my husband, that my eyes go smoky when I’m angry. Huh.  Smoky eyes?  I’ve never really understood that, and of course I’m not usually angry when I’m looking in a mirror 🙂

I like the photo above. We need more of that–a stern father making it clear to his kid that the nonsense had better stop.  Too often, these days, it seems to me that it’s the kid who is telling the parent how it’s going to be.


I can’t even imagine looking at either of my parents like this little princess, obviously  mouthing off and not looking cute at all. None of my own kids tried that one on me, either. You deal with this kind of attitude before they’re two years old, and you won’t have to deal with it later.

I will acknowledge that parenting can be a real trial, but being persistent, consistent and in charge, tempered with a lot of love, pays off in huge dividends. I’m always startled when a parent says something like, “Well, I don’t know–I’ll have to check with my kids and see if they have a problem with our being away that night.”

What?  REALLY?  You have to ask your kids’ permission to go out without them? Make sure they don’t mind? Yikes.

Someone said, long ago, that  American children have the most obedient parents in the world. I sure hope that’s not true.  I don’t remember who said it, or if they had any authority to say it. Whatever the case, that person clearly saw a shift in power from the parents to the children. Sad.



What is It?


Time:  Prehistory

“Father,  what is this?”

“It is a god-stone, sent to remind us that the gods are watching. Do not touch it. Always respect it”


Time:  the Present

“Hey, Dad!  What’s this?” asked Billy as he climbed all over it.

“It’s probably a meteorite, Son. It’s what’s left of a meteor as it comes through our atmosphere.”

“Cool.  Just a big space rock, then. Really old, I’ll bet!”


Time: Long after the nuclear holocaust that sent people underground. 

“Father, what is this?”

Father was entranced with the sky he’d never seen before. “A skystone. Don’t touch.”



Variety is the Spice of Life!


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I love the wonderful variety of ethnic foods that has become available to us here in America over the last 20 years or so. Spicy is fine with me, as long as my head doesn’t melt. I’ve enjoyed Thai, Indian, true Mexican–not the Americanized version–and Japanese. So much wonderful flavor, aroma, and visual enjoyment.

Terry?  Not so much.  And I’m feeling deprived these days, because he’s doing all the cooking.  He likes plain chicken, plain vegetables, plain potatoes or rice. Plain fish, plain beef.  “I just like the flavor of the food.  I don’t need all that junk you like to put on it!”

Alas!  And how can I complain, when he is so willing to take over for me while my creaky old back is keeping me down and out.

When we were in California in April, we went to a Thai restaurant.  First time ever for us, and I honestly couldn’t get enough of the unique flavors. I had a sandwich, can’t remember the name of it, that tickled my taste buds into delerium.  It looked a lot like this:

And here’s a Vietnamese version:


Vietnamese Viet Banh Mi Steak Sandwich Sandwiches

Then there is a dish from India that my son-in-law, who grew up in Kenya, has introduced to us. Chicken Tikka Masala.  Oh my. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Image result

When my son Dan went to Thailand, he learned to make a non-spicy dish that even Terry likes. Pad Thai can be made with just about any meat, fish, or poultry.  This one features shrimp, and again, my mouth waters with the memory of all the different herbs used in this dish:

Image result

Not that there isn’t a lot of wonderful American food.  Nothing beats our annual Thanksgiving dinner, and who doesn’t love fried chicken, apple pie, or pot roast?  All delightful and flavorful when correctly prepared. But I have to admit, I’ve loved expanding my horizons to enjoy the ethnic cuisines of countries I’ll probably never see.

Image result for pot roast with potatoes and carrots



The Perkasie Carousel


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There is a carousel in a little town near our own little town, in Perkasie, Pennsylvania.

We last visited  the carousel at Christmas time, when unlimited free rides are offered. Also, you can meet Santa, buy some wonderful Pennsylvania foods, and just enjoy the community.  Our grandkids rode several times.  You have to go to the end of the line each time you dismount, but apparently they felt it was worth the wait.

A nearby restaurant, The Perk, offers the Carousel Burger.  I hear it’s pretty tasty.

You can call (215) 257-5460 for information.  There’s also a schedule of times it will be open  right here: 


Walking Around


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To amble is to walk, from the Latin ambulare.  What I didn’t know is that it originally was applied to the gait of a horse. So does that mean that if you’re ambling, you’re walking like a horse?

I hope not 🙂  Today, we tend to think of it more as just leisurely making our way down a sidewalk, a country lane, or a beautiful beach.  We’re enjoying the weather and the scenery, and we’re not in a rush.

What about the word perambulator? It’s not a word that we hear much these days.  It was first widely used  around 1856, and I always think of a proper British nurse or nanny pushing a rather fancy baby carriage.

Widely referred to simply as a pram,  it was a familiar sight in parks or on walking paths.

Per is a prefix meaning around or through, so one can easily see why it was attached to ambulate. 

These carriages were called baby buggies when I was a kid.  Remember trying to say rubber baby buggy bumpers  five times, really fast?


We lived in a neighborhood in Minneapolis in which you could always see a busy mom pushing a buggy from here to there, sometimes with one or two older children hanging on to her pockets or the handle of the buggy.

I had a little pink toy buggy when I was pretty young.  I dressed up my dolls, put them in the buggy, covered them up with whatever blanket I had, and took them for walks when the weather was good.  I talked to them, and of course they smiled and cooed and gurgled back at me.  I had quite a vivid imagination 🙂 Mine was similar to this, but it was pink, and the sun shade was flexible plastic that folded up or down.


Today we call these baby carriages strollers. Forty-eight years ago, they were simple affairs.



Today, the simple stroller has morphed into a multi-purpose piece of furniture:


It does just about everything but teach the baby to talk.

And finally, I’ve seen a picture of my husband in one that was just like this:

He would have been about two years old, so we’re looking  at 72 years ago, maybe 1945.

I hope you enjoyed my perambulation down memory lane 🙂


My Partner


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I think the first clear memory I have of hearing this word a lot was in the cowboy westerns of the 50s and 60s.  “Howdy, Partner!”  says on cowpoke to another, both of them chewing on a stalk of grass or hay or whatever, hitching up their gun belts and shoving their hats up a fraction of an inch with a cocked thumb.

Of course, John Wayne used the word Pilgrim instead, and no one else has ever said it quite the same way.

These days, partner has multiple meanings and is used in many contexts.  I think I’m going to opt for the one I know best–my husband.  My partner, biggest fan, biggest encourager,  best caregiver, hardest-working, godly and prayerful man I know.

We’ve been married for 48 years.  That’s longer than many of you have been alive.  In the early years, we both had a lot of adjusting to  do. It was sometimes difficult for both of us, but we married for keeps. We were committed, no matter what.

As the years slip by, and your body begins to show wear and tear, the significance of the “One flesh” principle becomes more clear.  When he hurts, I hurt.  When I’m in pain, so is he.  We may not feel the actual pain, of course, but whichever one of us is in need, the other steps up to the plate.

It’s been close to five years now since Terry took that fall and  smashed his heel bone. He’s still in pain, although it is helped somewhat by some fascinating technology.  The day I brought him home from the hospital, and as the nerve block wore off after surgery, his pain grew in such intensity that he says, now, that he thought he might die of it. I had to leave him alone to get a stronger pain prescription for him, and it nearly broke my heart.  Had to be done, though, and when I got back, and after maybe an hour on the new medication, he began to get some relief. One flesh?  Oh, you betcha!  My stomach was in knots, and the tears rolled for both of us as he suffered.

Later, when my back started falling apart and up to right this minute, Terry moved into “my” jobs. He won’t let me do anything!  I hurt terribly if I bend over, so I just don’t. He’s been doing all the laundry, shopping, cleaning, cooking. He won’t even let me help him make the bed.  This is very hard for me.  I’m a rather traditional woman, and all those jobs are supposed to be what I do. Surgery coming up on Aug. 22, and I can’t wait.

He hurts when I hurt. I see the pain in his face, and I understand his sense of helplessness that he can’t do anything to stop the pain.

We are indeed partners. The longer we live, the closer-knit we become.  I knew an older man years ago whose wife had died of leukemia.  He was in his 80s when I met him.  I was talking with him one day, and he said this: “I never understood the one-flesh principle as well as I did the day my wife died.  I felt as if half of me had been cut right off.”

So, is it worth experiencing that kind of pain and loss?  Absolutely.  In spite of  the high divorce rate in America, I believe most people marry with forever in mind.

From Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam:27, 1850:

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all