April 2016 Blog Archives


April 28, 2016

The compliments that matter…..


My friend, Lori, who might just be the only person who reads my blog, kick started me into getting it back together after I took a not-on-purpose month long absence.  I’m really glad she did.  It helps my constantly working brain to put things down on paper.  She said something I have been told before and it rings true:  “When I read your blogs, it’s like talking with you.”  I love that.  It resonates with me and I hope everything I write comes out just that way. 


I don’t take all compliments to heart, only the ones I believe are valid.  We all sort them out that way I think.  I have an Aunt who has always said if someone tells you, “That’s a pretty dress.”, it means nothing.  They have to say, “That’s a pretty dress on you.”, for it to really matter.  I never thought about it that way until she said that.  I’m know I’m really picky about parenting compliments.  They have to come from someone I consider a good parent to matter to me.  And so it goes…..


We all have a way of taking something in and determining whether or not it is valid.  How we do that matters and the why matters, too.  The reason I do my blog is because I want to capture what I am thinking, or something is brought to my attention that needs to be said.  I truly hope that something I say will matter, make someone think, help you understand a little slice of life better, or just simply make you smile.  And it would be exactly what I would hope to do in person, too.


Thanks Lori!  You’ve inspired me, you rock, and I appreciate your attention to detail.


April 27, 2016

A landslide on the highway?  Seriously?


On the way north up I-75, in Tennessee there was a rock slide that totally closed the major highway down.  On this side of the country we don’t think much about landslides, but a couple of months after this one there was still a whole lot of work to be done.  One lane was opened, but slow because everyone had to check out the whole thing.


It was interesting.  Tons of big land moving equipment, trucks to take it away, and in the name of safety, they were clearing it way back to prevent it again.  The landscape through that part of the country is just beautiful and the rocks are an integral part of the scenery.  It must have been a massive slide to create such a blockage, proof that nature really can have the last word.


I couldn’t help but think about how nature speaks to us.  And if we choose not to listen, nature gets our attention anyway.  Sure the traffic was a hassle, but I loved how many people were actually having to look outside the car window and figure out that life lesson.  We stopped at a local restaurant just north of there and one man said, “I never thought it could happen here.  I thought landslides were just a California thing.”  Well, he’s an old dog that had to learn a new trick…. 


And I think I heard Mother Nature laugh right out loud!


April 26, 2016

I want a ‘See Rock City’ birdhouse……


But I seem to be the only one.  My husband and son think that is a crazy idea.  Actually my husband fears it means I am becoming some old woman who buys gnomes and flamingos for the yard.  But it really has nothing to do with it.  I just have wonderful memories of visiting Rock City and the birdhouses make me smile.


They call them iconic symbols of our time, these things like ‘See Rock City’ on the roof of a barn or the crazy things that make Route 66 so much fun to traverse.  That trip north through Georgia into Tennessee is filled with bits and pieces of Americana that just scream home to me.  I always ask my family if they want to go to Ruby Falls as soon as the signs begin to appear.  It only takes about an hour and is pretty cheap as roadside oddities go, but they actually went once and they thought that was enough for a lifetime….  Good grief!


It is true that things are never the way you remember them as a child, but the wonder can still be there.  Sometimes the simple things are the best.  I tried to put the idea of a birdhouse to a vote, but since I was the only one who voted for it, I overruled the vote and ordered one anyway.  I decided I can put up with the teasing that will inevitably go with it and for that sacrifice, I will always have something right outside my window that makes me smile.


April 25, 2016

I saw Amos again…..


Driving back north through Florida, the last exit before you hit the Georgia line there is a service station with a small, but neat shed.  In that shed is a man named Amos and he’s been there since the beginning of time, at least for me.  I can’t remember when Amos wasn’t in that shed selling Indian River oranges, grapefruits, boiled peanuts, and candied pecans he made himself.  They are simply delicious, but pricey.


Amos calls me Miss South Georgia, because a long time ago he asked me where I was from and I said, South Georgia.  He seems to know me no matter how much I’ve aged since the last time we visited.  He always gives me a sample of the oranges, but is stingy with the pecans, so I tease him about that.  He teases me because I never want to taste his boiled peanuts.  This trip I asked him when he was going to retire and I loved his reply.  He said very seriously, “Where would I retire to?  I sit here in the shade, in a comfortable chair and talk to people from all over the world.  I eat fresh oranges and pecans and do a little bartering with people so they can, too.  I make enough money to have a comfortable life and I keep the family busy helping around the shed.  All in all, how can I beat this?  I intend to be right here and the day you come and don’t see me?  Well then you will know I’ve gone back to God.”  


I wish it was as simple for most people.  I love that Amos holds that energy and shares it with so many people.  I love that he clings to the basics of life and makes the most of them.  And I especially love knowing that when I don’t see him anymore, he will be trying to talk God into tasting his boiled peanuts.  Everything in life doesn’t have to be complicated.  Sometimes you can find all the answers in a little shed by the side of the road.


April 22, 2016

When you think you see someone you know……


Our tabby cat with the striped tail was in the backyard chasing chipmunks and made a totally new friend.  He has a striped tail, too.  He is supposed to be nocturnal, but apparently didn’t get the email.  He is about the size of the cat and seems to believe they are friends.  Problem is, he’s a raccoon.


He comes to sit in our backyard and waits until the cat comes out to play.  They never get really close to each other, but they are definitely not stalking each other, the raccoon is just a little guy and very curious.  Now before you panic, we know they can’t play together.  We know the raccoon is dangerous to the cat and so we make sure he maintains a distance, but the raccoon just really does seem to want to hang out.  Of course, his mother is out there somewhere and if she were awake, would be furious I’m sure!


Thankfully, long about 10 or 11 in the morning, he wanders off to sleep.  But affords us all many longing looks back as if to say, “I’ll be back, please don’t leave.”  The cat looks for him for a while and then takes a nap of his own…   


During the night, the raccoon cleans out all the suet feeders and the hummingbird nectar, so it won’t be long before he outgrows this little moment of ‘who are you and who am I?’.  But until then?  We are reveling in the wonders and intrigue of nature.


April 21, 2016

I met someone today who was all about electricity…..


He’s an electrical engineer and when I asked him what that means exactly, he began to explain how awesome electricity is and how the possibilities are endless about it.  He said he was a troubled kid, who couldn’t seem to get his act together until someone introduced him to the field of electricity.  I may be amazed about him forever.


And I couldn’t help wondering….  Is this how Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin felt?  Is that what drove them to change the way the world works with electricity?  And just for the fun of it, is this guy reincarnated from those guys? 


I asked him what he hoped to accomplish in this life time.  He was quick to tell me that the opportunities were endless and he only knew he hoped to be developing new frontiers in electricity until he dies.  I asked him if he was afraid of it in any way and he said, “I believe I have the technology to handle any issues.”  Well alright then!  (I’m daunted by the electric panel in our house and it’s under control……I think.)


I am delighted that there are people who are passionate about things in our universe.  They are critical to our wellbeing.  I love that they are continuing to change this big teaching center we live in and I look forward to the new frontiers they will surely uncover.  And one of these days, I am going to find one who will tell me who they really are and exactly where they came from and learn more about a passion of my own.


April 20, 2016

What makes you feel splendid or crummy?


Do you ever meet someone or have something happen to you that just makes you want to go take a shower and wash off all the crummy?  Well that’s the other side of the euphoria coin.  You know that feeling you get when you meet someone and you want the day to last forever?  Did you ever think about it that way?  Maybe it’s time…..


When you get those feelings, pay attention!  If you are talking to someone or engaged in something that makes you want to wash your hands or take a shower, unless you are severely OCD, you need to get out of there.  And we all know that while euphoria is wonderful, it doesn’t last forever.  If either of those things are present know that life lessons are in the house.  It’s time to look around you, assess where you are and why, see it for what it really is and LEARN FROM IT.

It's perfectly okay to enjoy the throes of first love or friendship, but have some sense.  I talk to way too many people who ignored warning signs.  They happen for a reason and if you have the sense to have them, have the sense to pay attention to them. 


And just for the record?  Crummy never turns out okay.


April 19, 2016

I learned a life lesson on the way home…..


A friend I’ve known for a really long time, decided to take advantage of me yet again.  It’s a pattern and it’s been going on forever, but I’ve mostly ignored it even when it hurt my feelings.  This time was no more prevalent than others, but apparently it was just one time too many and I learned that I have a breaking point, even with those I love.


I was surprised about it.  But honestly, when I really paid attention, it was about 30 years in the making.  He was incredulous that I would balk at how things went down, but I was not.  My feelings were hurt, but it was so much more than that.


I often get clients who come to tell me they just can’t stay in a relationship anymore.  Sometimes that relationship is marriage, family or often it’s friends.  They say they just don’t have anything left in them to make it work.  I’ve always understood the reasoning behind it, but I’ve always believed that if you truly wanted to restore it – you could.  Now I’m not so sure…..


I have more yet to learn, but true bone weary is hard to overcome.  And the shine of all the possibilities in a relationship can, and does, wear off.  A lot of people who know me have no idea what I do for a living and they never ask.  Do they just think I’m not that capable of something worth asking about?  Or do they think anything I’m doing couldn’t possibly be that important?  I often wonder.  How can you say you care about me if you don’t know what my passion is?  That’s a conundrum. 

Either way, life lessons are hard, but I am grateful to get them. 


I’m still working this one out, but I will never look at it quite the same way.


April 18, 2016

When the party is over…..


I’m really bad at leaving Disney or any vacation for that matter.  And leaving Florida for Michigan where I knew it was cold and at least a month away from spring, was grueling.  I think it’s fair to say I was not very gracious about it.


I’m a smart girl, but as it began to rain, hail, sleet, then snow in earnest, I was unable to reason out a positive approach to going home.  And I was not the only one.  My yankee husband said, “Okay, this sucks!”  Hallelujah!  He finally gets it!  Mentally, I began to pack…..


But just like watching your boy march down Main Street colors the whole world with a magical brush, in a month or so, even the hint of a beautiful day and buds trying to come out will do the same thing for Michigan and all will be forgiven.  And then in October, I will have to make the case all over again for a reasonable winter.


But some of us never forget!  I guess my best defense is to go at spring and summer with gusto savoring every single good, warm moment.  And maybe begin to plan another warm vacation soon…….



April 15, 2016

A little bit of one of my soapbox items….


We picked up our tuba player at Disney World and he was exhausted.  We took him back to our hotel and he slept an entire day away!  We were going to whisk him off to yet another adventure, but he was all adventured out.  And rightly so.


Those kids had a whirlwind 5 days filled to overflowing with concerts, marching, resorts, swimming, and chaos, but not a whole lot of sleep or food.  Sometimes I think we think they have never ending energy.  Sometimes I think when we plan for them we go way overboard……  He said, “I don’t need to go back to Disney for a really long time.  I’m over it.”  That’s exhaustion talking.


In this world of instant gratification and trying our best to keep them occupied, we often overschedule our children.  If you liked this, we can do that!  If you like that, we can do this!  Whatever happened to down time?  Doesn’t is sometimes seem like life is all out of proportion?  I wonder if when they become adults, will life challenge them enough anymore?  Or will they just be recovering from their childhoods?


All in all, he slept for the better part of three days.  He did have a wonderful time, but the recovery time was pretty significant and his friends fared about the same.  So here’s a shout out to all you parents who worry that your child is bored or not accomplishing enough:  Remember you need to teach them to be calm and collected as well.  Life will not always have a cruise director for them.  They will need to become their own cruise director.  And sometimes those days that you just refill your soul?  They are the most important ones.


April 14, 2016

What does magical really mean?


I stood in line for 1.5 hours to secure a spot to see my son march down Main Street USA playing the tuba with his high school band.  I met three other mothers from Wisconsin, who were waiting to see their children do the same thing.  We instantly bonded and had a great time sharing our similar experiences with each other. 

In the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle, it was hard to contain the excitement.  We met 3 Disney cast members in charge of keeping the street clear and soon came to know them and their stories as well.  They were from Australia, Miami Beach, and Massachusetts.  We even saw Miss Black Georgia and her head was totally shaved!  It was shaping up as a night to remember for sure….


And then, out of the night came the band with that red headed handsome boy marching across the back line carrying the sousaphone and it seemed like I was living in a dream.  There is only one word to adequately describe it:  Magical.  And we will never be the same again.


He said, “Mom, I looked up while I was marching and saw Cinderella’s Castle!  I couldn’t believe I was actually there!”  Magical!  I said, “Did you see me?”  He said, “Mom!  It was a sold out crowd!”  Oh well.  That’s fair, it was wall to wall people and he was playing and marching.  And there was fairy dust everywhere, it made me cry!  Magical does that you know….


And just like that, all the hassle, money, traveling, scrambling, and months of planning fell away and only memories remained.  It was over all too fast, but it was magical in dog years (7 minutes per real minute), so it’s okay.  All is forgiven, my boy marched down Main Street! 


Apparently there really is a fairy godmother….. 



April 13, 2016

Did you know Walt Disney also built a hospital?


Well, I do now!  After a full day of not riding roller coasters with my husband, I agreed to do a ride about landing on Mars.  Right from the beginning there were warning signs for pregnant women, people with heart conditions, people with high blood pressure, but I’m none of those things, so not a problem.

At one point in the half hour wait, they asked us if we wanted to do the easy ride or the intense one.  My husband took the intense one for us, like the father and his 6 year old son beside us.  I thought I could deal with it….


When the four of us were seated and closed up in a very small clam shell together, I was pretty sure I was terribly wrong.  Hello claustrophobia!  But the little boy was to my right and doing well and I didn’t want to alarm him.  How bad could it be?  The answer for me at least:  Really, really bad.

The pressure changed immediately in the clam shell and it began to spin laterally.  It got really hot, then cold, then the pressure changed again and all the while I was just hoping to survive.  After the ride, I barely made it to a bench.  Next thing you know there were paramedics and apparently, my heart rate did not appreciate the ride, nor did my respirations.  It wasn’t a heart attack, but it wasn’t fun either.


And that’s when I found out Walt Disney had designed a hospital just moments from Walt Disney World, for all the medical issues that can and do arise.  The ambulance staff were awesome and all but one said they couldn’t have ridden it either.  If they were saying that to make me feel better, it worked.

About 3 hours later, we were taken back to our hotel by taxi courtesy of Disney, as was the ambulance.  The hospital ER wasn’t free, but I was grateful to get the help that brought my mind and body back to good old earth.  They said they would have me back in the parks the next day and they were correct.


Lesson learned:  Claustrophobia is real.  Your body will make you listen to it.  You are capable of more than you think.  And in my opinion, Disney has the best customer service, even in a crisis, of anywhere in the world.  Oh and I have no idea what Mars looks like, I had my eyes shut tight.



April 12, 2016

He was leaning on the lamppost…..


At the corner of the street, in case a certain little lady comes by.  Oh me.  Oh my!  If you are old enough, you know who did that.  It was Herman’s Hermits, the 60’s band.  And we were strolling, okay eating, our way through Epcot and who do you think was performing later that night?  First question:  Are they still alive?  OMG!

We heard teenagers saying, “Who is that?”  And, “Why are all those old people waiting in line for a concert?”  Well, it’s because they used to be teenagers, too.  Albeit a really long time ago.  And every one of them knew all the words to, ‘Henry the VIIIth, I am’.


I remember falling in love with the lead singer and his british accent until I read in my ‘Tiger Beat’ magazine that he was just a little over 5 feet tall.  At just under 6 feet tall, I could not see how we could ever make a go of it, but I still bought their records.


They still perform over 200 gigs a year, proving a lot of us from the 60’s and 70’s are still alive and dancing.  Most importantly, we can’t see as well as we used to, so as long as we don’t pause to do the math, the fun can still be had.


‘She’s wonderfully marvelous and fabulously beautiful and anyone can understand why, I’m leaning on the lamppost at the corner of the street in case a certain little lady comes by!’ #nostalgicatdisney


April 11, 2016

About that no kid thing…..


My husband and I missed the characters.  He is a huge fan of Donald Duck and I just love them all, so we decided a character breakfast was in order.  The lady making the reservation said, “How many children?”  We said, “None.”  And to our surprise, she smiled huge and said, “Okay!”  Whew!  Apparently, we are not the only ones. 


But something interesting happened as we sat there watching the characters get closer to our table…. We became kids again and before you know it we were telling each other stories about which character we love and why.  By the time Goofy got to our table, we were laughing and hugged him with all the childlike wonder we possessed.  It was magical.


Minnie was beautiful, dressed in polka dots as usual and impeccable.  She never seems to age.  Donald was absolutely delightful and my husband had the biggest grin on his face I’ve seen in a while.  Those pictures are priceless and proof that my Marine isn’t always so serious.


We all have a little kid in us, who can still experience awe and wonder.  We get all grown up and don’t let them out to play very much anymore, but we should.  They fill up our soul and remind us of who we really are, what we really love, and why a little whimsy can go a long, long way. 


Here’s the deal:  Genuine smiles come from genuine people and genuine people are uniquely in touch with their soul.  Think about it.


April 8, 2016

I was sitting outside the Rockin’ Roller Coaster……


And a little boy about 7 was sitting beside me with his mother.  I said, “So you aren’t riding the roller coaster either?”  “No”, he replied, “they scare me”.  I said, “Yeah, me too.”  He asked me if I’d seen Mickey or Minnie and I replied that I had seen them riding the train just that morning.  He was happy to know they were around somewhere and told his mother they should probably plan on riding the train.  He explained that the train did not scare him.  I admired how he knew what did and did not scare him at such a young age.  I said, “Did you see the Star Wars show?”  And his forehead went into a scowl to match his narrowing eyes.  He said is a low menacing voice, “I am your father Luke”.  Then laughed loudly when I looked so serious. 


I said, “Wow!  You scared me!  I’m afraid of Darth Vader.”  To which he replied, “Then you should have brought your light saber”……


And all I could think was, how brilliant is that?


April 7, 2016

OMG it’s Darth Vader……


I confess.  I’ve seen all the Star War movies and I enjoyed them, but Darth Vader still scares me.  Maybe it the imposing huge darkness or the exaggerated breathing, but the man really gets to me.  So when my husband and I were walking through Disney Hollywood Studios and happened upon a live show about Star Wars on an outdoor stage I was a little concerned. 


We stopped about 20’ from the stage to watch.  R2D2 and C3PO came out and were delightful talking to the audience.  Everyone was loving it.  But when they left, all of a sudden the music changed and I swear the sky got cloudier.  Smoke filled the stage and Darth Vader came forcefully striding out on the stage.  I know it’s just theatrics and I know he’s just a character in a movie, in fact I was saying that to myself.  But I got behind my husband just in case. 


Peering over his shoulder, I watched as Darth Vader addressed the crowd and encouraged people to come to the dark side with him.  He asked if anyone had seen a representative of the force and some of the kids yelled out that they were in fact Jedi warriors.  I was secretly hoping they were correct, just in case.  He strode around the stage and ended up in a mock fight with Obi Wan Kenobi.  I’m happy to report Obi Wan banished him from the stage and I think that’s when I could finally breathe.


So the answer to the question is:  Yes.  Grownups get scared, too.  About all kinds of things.  Some real and some not so real, but the fear is still there.  So thank God there are Jedi, no matter how old they are or where they come from….    


April 6, 2016

Yes, birthdays really do still matter……


Our son turned 15 at Disney World with all of his band friends.  We were not scheduled to see him that day, but we had some great intel about where he would be and when.  So we stalked him and got birthday hugs!  In our defense, we’ve always been with him on his birthday, no need to change that now.


His friends knew all about his big day and they were sure to commemorate it, in fact they sent some awesome pictures our way.  They even managed to find another band kid from Georgia who also played the tuba and his birthday was the next day.  We have pictures of the two of them together.  It is amazing what you can learn about people when you are standing in line to ride something for the better part of an hour.


We caught up with him at a 50’s restaurant with his friends just in time to sing Happy Birthday and watch him blow out the candle on his cupcake.  Somebody said, “Make a wish!”  And he said, “What else could I wish for?  I’m at Disney World with my friends!”  Good point, but do it anyway.  And so he did.  With a huge smile on his face.


All of his life, we have celebrated his birthday the entire month of April.  Absolutely anything goes and we have made the most of it.  His birth changed us in so many wonderful ways and we are so thankful.  It wasn’t easy to find him in this world, but he was sure worth waiting for.  Every year I think and say the same thing:  There are miracles and he is living proof.  We are blessed.


Thank you God for Benjamin!


April 5, 2016

When you’re married for 27 years….


You can say, “I’m exhausted and just crash.”  That’s what my husband did for the first two days we were at Disney World.  He woke up for lunch and dinner, but that was about the size of it.  He was flat out exhausted and at Disney, you don’t have chores to do, phone calls and emails to answer, errands to run or anything!  So sleep is not only possible, it’s incredible.  The ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign was on the door for two days and the maid asked me if we had just gotten married!  Ummmmm sadly no, he’s just really tired.


But on the third day he woke up and recognized me, so it was off to the Disney parks to explore and figure out the critical question:  What exactly do parents do at Disney without their children?  That took some imagination, but in the end, we rode the rides we love, saw the shows we enjoyed, and spent a little time scouting out the hordes of people for a glimpse of our boy and his friends.


At dinner the first night, my husband said, “We are not going to talk about our son or our jobs!”  So it was pretty quiet.  But pretty soon we came around and figured out how to communicate.  It was lovely really.  After all, he was my playmate for about 12 years before our son came along.


I think we often forget who we were, what we enjoyed, and how we communicated after we have children.  They always come first, so a lot of the conversation and concerns go by the wayside in favor of what their needs are.  It was good to come back around and revisit our old selves.  And it was all the sweeter, because we knew our boy was still close by somewhere.


April 4, 2016

When chaos rains….


Well when you take over a hundred students to Disney you can rest assured there will be chaos.  Over 30 percent of the band had never flown before, so just that experience alone was huge.  Getting to a hotel where Disney is the order of the day, is a little overwhelming.  They began their journey at 2 am in the morning, took two planes and a bus to get to a water park, then to the hotel.  Of course sequestered in Michigan did not prepare them for adequate sun protection, so there was burning.  Exhaustion, fear, and sunburns make for cranky kids.  Best get them to bed pronto.  Fortunately for my husband and I, we were staying in a different hotel…..


There was a Pizza Hut in the lobby of their hotel – talk about catering to teenagers!  The place was slammed with business and it appeared as though there would be no let up.  Pizza at your fingertips?  It IS a vacation!  The hotel had a huge heated pool.  Those kids left 34 degrees that morning.  They haven’t seen water without ice in it for over 6 months.  They had to go swimming.  What if the pool was closed the next day?  Talk about seizing the moment…


As always, they scooped up our kid into their fun and he barely looked back as we said goodbye.  And then, we were off to 4 days alone!  The first time in 15 years – may the force be with us.


April 1, 2016

Driving south proves my point…..


As a transplanted girl from the deep south, you cannot tell me that people in other places are still experiencing winter dreariness when I know better.  I have pointed out way too many times that, “It’s still snowing here and flowers are blooming in the south!”  And the ever popular, “Everyone doesn’t live like this!” 


Driving south, we began to see buds on trees just north of Indianapolis.  I was giddy with excitement and made sure my yankee husband saw them all.  Driving into Kentucky, we began to see the dogwood trees blooming throughout the woods and by the time we got to Tennessee, spring was sprung and gorgeous!  Atlanta was filled to overflowing with azaleas, almost ready to stop blooming and Disney was a wonderland of flowers, trees, sun, and life.  See?  Other people actually experience normal winters that were over a LONG time ago…..  THAT’S the kind of girl I am!  My poor long suffering husband…


But there was more…..  I was not cold that night in Orlando.  Other natives were wearing light jackets because it dropped down to the high 60’s.  But for me?  It was balmy!  I left 34 degrees and shivering behind.  But no worries.  I speak the language here and I SO got this!



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