Friday, December 25, 2020

Time For Joy, Time For Cheer

 Christmas, Christmas time is here,

Time for joy and time for cheer.

We've been good but we can't last,

Hurry Christmas, hurry fast!

It's heeeeeere!

This Christmas will be different than the past 25, as my son is spending the holiday with his fiance's family. This takes me to my first of Ten Things of Thankful this week:

I now have until mid-January to shop for my son and future daughter-in-law's gifts, so I can take advantage of after-Christmas sales.

I'm thankful that the caramel corn factory that has been my kitchen is winding down. Only have to make a batch when my son comes next month and one for my husband's sister's family for whenever we get to see them.

I'm thankful for warm flannel shirts.

And sleeping with kitties at my feet.

For homemade peppermint marshmallows (shout out to my brother - I. Ate. Them. All.).

Holiday cards from friends.

Clothes that fit again.

As of Tuesday of this week, the days are now getting longer! 

Extended family Zoom call scheduled for this afternoon and for my cousin Delaney for setting it up.

Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating!

Lewis on the second floor, Finn in the basement.

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Sunday, December 20, 2020

You Are My Sunshine

You know that feeling when you start a new job and you're more than a little overwhelmed and maybe a little lonely from leaving your former work friends for your new adventure? That was me just over a year ago, when I started my new teaching job at the university child care center, and while I had no regrets about making the change, and I was surrounded by little humans and college workers and all sorts of commotion, I was still kind of lonely.

Enter Annie.

One morning, I was in the office area when a college student walked by the window, saw me, and began wildly jumping up and down and waving. To my joy, I realized it was my daughter's friend from high school, and she was coming to work for us. I immediately claimed her to work in my classroom, and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

It wasn't easy telling them apart during
show choir performances (Annie on the 
left, Emma Kate on the right)

For the past fifteen months, we have worked together nearly every day. Annie opened in my classroom, arriving every morning at 6:45 (okay, make that 7:00, maybe 7:15) and started the day off for my little nugs. When I transitioned this summer from teaching one year olds to two and three year olds, Annie came with me. We quickly developed a pattern and were a well-oiled machine. And did we ever line those little houligans out! They went from feral to reasonably domesticated in just a couple of months.

The downside to working with college students is they, just like the littles in my preschool class, grow up and move on, and sadly (for me, anyway), that day came this week for Annie. She will be doing her student teaching starting in January, followed by her college graduation in May. 

I knew this day was going to come, but as FREAKING SLOWLY as this year has progressed, these final two months have flown by. Whyyyyy???

This week, my Ten Things of Thankful are for Annie (I could list a hundred more, but I won't). Thank you, sweet girl, for:

~finding my phone countless times a day. Also my big cup, my glasses, my whistle, the pointer, the remote, stray preschoolers (just kidding), my face mask, and numerous other items.

~seeing what needed to be done and doing it.

~endless hours of potty time duty, so I could spend more time in the classroom rather than spending it in the bathroom.

~singing duets with me - we especially rock Hamilton songs

~encouraging me when I felt I was failing.

~being both my second daughter and my friend.

~random texts, funny photos, and memes.

~handling dozens of duties throughout the morning that made my job easier.

~all the tech support.

~the laughter. SO much laughter.

~being my daily dose of sunshine.

Good luck, Annie! I will miss you, but I know you are going to do Great Things and be an amazing teacher. I love youuuuu!!! 

I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying.
(It was me; I was crying)

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Sunday, December 13, 2020

I'm Late, But I Got Them Done!

 I've gotta get my shit together.

Yes, it was a busy weekend. Yes, I could have gotten my post written, like, Thursday and been ready.

No, I did not do this.

It's as if I invited people over for dinner, but after I let them in the house, I disappeared upstairs and then didn't come down again until my guests had completely given up on me and started rooting through the cabinets and refrigerator for something to eat.

Here are my thankfuls, LATE....

The weather was GAWGEOUS most of the week, especially Thursday, when it got up into the 70s. We stayed out on the playground forEVER, since Friday it was rainy and yucky and today it snowed. SNOWED.

It snowed all. day. long. But no accumulation. So you got to see pretty snowflakes float past the windows, but the roads remained completely clear. Not that I went anywhere, but still.

We went to the lake house Friday evening, and on our way, we stopped at Red Racks, where my husband (and by virtue of this, my DAD) was the big winner with the bargains. I found nothing.

Friday evening, we went through the drive-thru at Zaxby's and got chicken finger plates, then sat in the car and ate them (last time I did this was in May and I dropped the fork I was using to eat coleslaw. Oh, and I had a big ol' forkful of coleslaw at the time - the fork with the coleslaw fell between my seat and the console and disappeared for months). It was the first time we had eaten fast food since early June, and it was darn good.

My dad turned 86 on Saturday. He requested taco salad and scalloped potatoes for supper. Interesting combination, but I made both and they were delicious.

Hmmm. Camera or stove crooked?

Taco salad requires a crap ton of dishes.

For his birthday cake, my dad wanted chocolate cake. I made it like my mom always did, with a cooked brown sugar frosting, and it was perfection.

Bonus thankful: he neither spit on the cake NOR lost 
his teeth when he blew out the candle.

I bought a pair of Allbirds Tree Runner shoes from Poshmark, and they arrived Friday morning. I LURRRRRVE them! I have two pairs of wool runners, and I think the tree runners are even better! They were used, but not much, and I only paid $30 for them, rather than the $95 they are when new.

They are so prettyyyyy!!!

We left the cats home when we went to the lake this weekend, so we could stop on the way and shop at Red Racks. All was well when we got home. I'm always just a little afraid that I will come home to the final scene of Eugene Field's "The Duel" where the gingham dog and the calico cat ate each other up. There was evidence of some kind of rave in the upstairs hallway and under the Christmas tree, but the three of them were unscathed.

Chiefs clinched the AFC West title today. 

Five more school days and then Christmas break. Wahoooooooo!!!

Did you write your thankfuls? Did you link them up? Do both, please! Oh, and wear your mask.

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Menu: A Six Sentence Story

Rudy's All-The-Time Diner was fairly quiet from 10:00 pm until midnight, and the waitresses took advantage of the lull to fill ketchup bottles and salt and pepper shakers, and they wrapped silverware in clean white napkins while gossiping and giggling. Mimi enjoyed the comraderie, but she would rather be waiting on tables; with two small children at home with her mother and sisters and secretarial school tuition to pay for, she needed the tip money more than she needed the fellowship.

As the neighborhood bars began closing down, the doors to Rudy's began to swing open, booths and tables rapidly filling up with drunks, some quietly downing coffee before facing the reality of home, others boisterously shouting across the dining room to their drunken cronies while jovially shoveling in eggs and pancakes and sausage. Mimi worked her way through the tables, refilling coffee cups, carrying plates, and dodging the gestures of wildly animated diners while dropping tips into her apron pocket and wiping up spills.

As she paused at a newly seated table of exuberant drunks with her coffee pot poised to fill their cups, the man nearest her looked hungrily at her, his face leering, and he slurred, "I'll have a piece of you a la mode, baby," as he reached out and squeezed her bottom with both hands.

"I'm not on the menu," Mimi replied as she poured the contents of the coffee pot into the diner's lap and walked away.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "menu"

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Overly Long But Overly Thankful

I was a liiiiiitle worried the Ten Things of Thankful wasn't going to come off this weekend. I had a dreadful time getting the whole linky thing to work out, but thanks to Kristi coming to my rescue (repeatedly), I did it! Now on with the show!

I thought it was going to be hard to go back to work after Thanksgiving break, but it was good to get back. Don't get me wrong; I believe I was born to be a woman of leisure and unlimited means, but as rest of the world is not in agreement with this, work it is!

My classroom is decorated for Christmas. There is no picture to show you how cute it looks. Why didn't I think to take a picture? My little humans were so excited! Candy canes and gingerbread boys and girls on the walls and windows. Christmas lights. It's festive without going overboard.

I bought a small Christmas tree at the Salvation Army thrift store that is preschool-height. It was supposed to be $8, but the lights didn't work, so they let me have it for $4. Grab bags of ornaments (hopefully, non-breakable ones, but time will tell), garland, and a new string of lights, and we are in business! The kids just love it! They get to decorate it and un-decorate it to their hearts' desires, unlike at home, where they are most likely not allowed to touch the tree.

I'm really thankful that my assistant teacher painstakingly cut all the old Christmas lights off the new tree. It was not a fun job, but she never complained once. To me, anyway.

Another thrift store score, only this time at Red Racks: I found a cute lamp to use as a nightlight in my classroom during nap time that was marked $5.99, which is a terrific price, considering it also included a decent lamp shade AND a light bulb. I also picked up three Santa hats for the dress up center; one was 97 cents and the other two were $1.99. In the checkout line, a rude man pushed his way in front of me when a second register was opened, so when it was finally my turn, the checker apologized to me. I said it was fine, but as she rang up my stuff, she said she was going to charge me 97 cents for all three Santa hats, plus give me 50% off. Then she asked me if I qualified for the senior discount, to which I answered WHY YES, I DO! 25% off the total. I'm not sure what she charged me for the lamp, but my whole bill was just over $5.00 and it would have been $11.00 without all the discounts. Happy dance!

It was cold this week, with threats of snow flurries one morning that didn't actually materialize, but there was some rain and cold wind. And then, by some miracle, this weekend has been warm and sunshiny and gorgeous. Welcome to Missouri weather!

When I saw the forecast for the weekend, I told my husband that we were going to take a little trip to Roaring River State Park and hike on the trails and hopefully see some eagles (we did not). He tried to talk me out of hiking, because he had been on those trails before when camping with our son many years ago and said they were pretty rugged trails, plus he was having flashbacks of the last time I insisted we go hiking, which was on his birthday, immediately pre-Covid shutdown, when, among other fiascos, he had a serious chafing issue which caused him to complain that his balls were on fire for half the hike (read about it here). Guess who won THIS showdown? MEEEEE!!!

We only hiked on one trail today, and neither of us fell off the bluff that we were following and rolled down the hills into the river, so I'm calling it a win.

The trail was not a loop, but THIS time, we both knew it. It was an up and back 

I didn't hit my head on a tree that leaned dangerously across the trail and that I didn't see because I was watching my feet instead of looking ahead.

I didn't hit my head on the same tree when we came back through. Can you tell it was a narrow miss?

I think that's more than ten. Isn't it terrific to be overly thankful?!

Link up your thankfuls with us, this week and every week! Read. Comment. 

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Beam: A Six Sentence Story

You always knew where you stood with my grandma: she had no filter and pulled no punches.

If she didn't like your hairstyle, or what you were wearing, she would tell you, very matter-of-factly, and while it may have caught you off-guard, you weren't really that insulted by it; it was just her.

If you were out in public with her and she saw a stranger with a hairstyle she didn't like or an unflattering outfit, she would point that out, too. Not directly to them, mind you, but certainly loud enough that they most likely heard her.

"Those pants make that woman look broad in the beam," she would say while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store as you looked around for a hole in the ground in which you could quietly disappear.

Grandma has been gone for 12 years now, and I miss that shoot-from-the-hip, unfiltered woman, while at the same time, I think it's for the best that she was gone before the trend of people wearing their pajamas to Walmart began....

With my grandma, 1993

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "beam"

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Thankful For These Gems

Ahh, Thanksgiving! The family. The food. The weight gain.

I was lucky enough to get to spend the holiday with both my kids, my son's fiancee, and my dad. Oh, and my husband. We ate. We talked. We napped. We played with cats.

The best part, the VERY BEST part, is my dad had found boxes of slides in the basement, dug out the slide projector that he bought in 1958, along with a projector screen, and we watched slides for HOURS. 

Y'all, I saw pictures I had never seen in my life. OF ME. 

It was bittersweet. Pictures of loved ones, either long gone or more recently departed. Places and events remembered (future post on one of THOSE). Some of the slides were badly damaged from age and from water damage (I have written before that that basement has seen more than its share of flooding, from rain water to broken pipe water to broken SEWER pipe water).

One box was of photos my dad took when he spent almost a year in Korea from June 1957 to May 1958. He remembered all the places, all the people. Oh, the stories!

For my Ten Things of Thankful this week, I'm going to post ten of the photos I am most thankful to have discovered. In all honesty, I could do this format for months and months, because each photo is such a treasure, but I will spare you. 

Nah, probably not. You will see more of these in the future.

My daddy, South Korea, near DMZ

Taken from his camp, that mountain is North Korea.
The white spot is an observation area. 
They were watching each other....

Easter, maybe 1965. In the background is my great aunts
Ecie and Daisy's car (which once belonged to my mom)

My first birthday, sampling cake with my mom in the dining
room at my great aunts' house. I have that cake stand. 

Christmas 1965, I believe. Pat-a-burp doll in new stroller.
Baby Kissy on the floor next to me. Christmas apple and
orange from stocking on coffee table.

My grandpa on the farm outside Urich. That's a dairy barn
behind him and a contraption my dad built to take feed into attic.

My mama, Easter, maybe 1965. She 
reminds me of Jackie Kenendy.

With my brother, 1964-ish, standing in the driveway of our
Ruskin Heights house, in front of our Falcon station wagon.

I think my brother must have still been staying with my 
great aunts when these newborn photos were taken.
Check out my poor club feet! Took years of casts
and corrective shoes to straighten those babies out.

Because the "new and improved" Blogger won't let me
organize the pictures, this one is more grossly out of order
than the others. Field training camp, South Korea.
8" Howitzer pointed up and at the ready in middle of camp.

Count your thankfuls and link up with us!

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Oasis: A Six Sentence Story

This is my family's lake house.

I go here to spend time with family.

I go here to relax.

I go here in pandemics.

I go here to heal.

It is my oasis.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "oasis"

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sugary Thankfuls

I started this week's Ten Things of Thankful post, and you'll be happy to know that I chucked it, because you would have died of boredom before you got to the end. I probably would have died of boredom before I even GOT to the end.

Then I was making cookies this evening, and not just any cookies, but an old family recipe that are a tradition in our family on Thanksgiving. They are big and cakey and have sugar sprinkled over the tops, and my extended family finds them heavenly.

My great aunt Edith (called "Ecie" by all of the cousins) got the recipe from a neighbor, and my mom grew up calling them "Josie Barth's sugar cookies." We call them "Ecie's sugar cookies." 

Here are the reasons why I'm thankful for these cookies:

My great aunt Ecie and her younger sister Daisy were like grandparents to me. I've written about them before, but suffice it to say, when visiting them, my brother and I never heard the word "no." Ecie always made the cookies when we came to spend the weekend.

Ecie, on the left, and Daisy, ca. 1973

The recipe has been in the family since probably the early 1940s.

I have Ecie's cookie cutter.

My cousins shout with joy when we get together and I bring the cookies.

I taught my cousin Delaney how to make them. It may not seem to you that making cookies is that complicated, but when I tell you there are two CUPS of buttermilk in them, you might then see why they might require training to make.

When the Great Stomach Plague went through the family last Thanksgiving while at my brother's house, my dad was the first one to bite the dust. When he finally returned to the side of the living, the first thing he wanted to eat was one of Ecie's sugar cookies.

The recipe yields about 7 dozen VERY LARGE cookies. You can feed a lot of people on that.

They leave your lips dusted with sugar.

Folks outside the family, or new to the family, don't always have a taste for them, leaving more for the ones who do!

Eating them reminds me of loved ones, both here and gone, and that makes me feel warm and sweet and tender, just like an Ecie's sugar cookie.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Stay safe! 

Ecie's Sugar Cookies

3 c. sugar

2 c. shortening (part butter)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. buttermilk

1 tsp. baking soda

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

4 c. flour or enough to make a dough* 

Cream sugar and shortening. Add egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. I use my Kitchenaid mixer. My great aunt used a wooden spoon, a very large bowl, and muscles I don't even possess.

Refrigerate at least an hour before rolling out and cutting with cookie cutter.

*It will take a minimum of 6 cups of flour to get past the liquid stage, or as my mom's friend Betty said when she once tried to make them and called my mom in a panic, "I have SOUP!"

Flour the work surface thoroughly and work more flour into the dough before attempting to roll them out. All in all, you're probably talking 8 cups of flour.

Sprinkle each with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes for a cookie that's 4" across. Makes about 7 dozen cookies of this size. Not kidding.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wax: A Six Sentence Story

Amelia nervously laid back on the pillow, reminding herself that this is what she had been wanting for months, maybe even years.

"Move your legs apart a little bit. That's right, just like that."

Amelia felt something warm brush against her thigh and closed her eyes, torn between wanting to continue and wanting it all to end.

Feelings of panic overwhelmed her, and Amelia could take it no more, raising her head from the pillow and shouting, "Stop - I can't!"

"Too late, sweetie," said the aesthetician as she gripped the strip of now-cool wax and ripped it off Amelia's thigh before applying a cool compress to her newly groomed bikini line.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "wax"

Saturday, November 14, 2020

The Week That Wasn't A Total Loss

It's been quite a week at work. Covid is knocking at our door. We are stuffing towels in the cracks and hammering boards across it, and leaning against it, but Covid is pushing hard from the other side. We are armed with masks, soap, and hand sanitizer. Let's hope our stronghold doesn't fail.

These are the times finding thankfuls is most important. It's easy when life's highway is smooth. When the road is rocky and full of potholes and dead armadillos, we have to search harder. But they exist. They always exist. Here are Ten Things of Thankful to prove it:

1. The week went by really fast. 

2. I had a long visit on the phone with my Person. I was supposed to get to see her this weekend, and that didn't end up panning out, but the long phone conversation helped a little.

3. I scored some cute clothes at Red Racks during a half price sale.

4. My husband and I went to a local conservation area to take a walk. It's in the middle of nowhere with a small lake (or big pond) and with a lodge built by the WPA. We were the only ones there, and it was quite peaceful.

5. Part two of the walk: the last time I was at this park was when the med school student was in about 4th grade for a field trip. I had charge of a group of kids, and the teachers had activity centers all around the grounds (including catch and release fishing and identifying trees). Our group was walking around the small lake/big pond when one of the kids pointed out a GINORMOUS black snake on a tree limb that was hanging over the water. As we walked, I found out there were MANY tree limbs with ginormous black snakes draped over them, and I was afraid I was going to faint dead away by the time we made it around the pond. I can state that there were no snakes on our walk last weekend, and for that, I am SOOOO grateful.

My husband is leading the way because (a) snake 
potential and (b) I was annoying him by singing
the Lumberjack Song from Monty Python

6. I know there is a very real risk of obliterating these from the planet by my very mentioning of them, given the Grape Propel Fiasco that continues to this day, but peach Outshine Frozen Fruit Bars are making my mouth and tummy very happy. It's like eating a frozen peach without the yucky parts, like the fuzz, the hard, stringy stuff around the pit, and the slippery texture. Side note: I also love peach Propel water, but it only comes in bottles and not in packets. Side note #2: my husband says I don't love peaches, I love peach flavoring.


7. Speaking of grape propel, one of my wonderful preschool mamas sent me a little gift today with her son's birthday cupcakes: GRAPE PROPEL PACKETS!!! WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS IT NOW?! Yeah, still her son's, but how thoughtful is that?! 

8. We played in a big pile of leaves at school this week. There were leaves in hair, leaves in clothes, leaves in shoes, leaves in diapers, and it was totally worth it! And no, there's nothing wrong with your eyes. I blurred the video (keeping those sweet babies safe!).

9. My poor, old iPhone 6S+ is still hanging in there. It takes hours to charge it, because the pie hole spits out the charger, and it's given to seizures where it vibrates violently for no reason and sometimes completely blacks out, but every day it holds on to life is another day when we don't have an iPhone payment to make. 

10. One of my daughter's roommates tested positive for Covid. The roommate's symptoms have been mild, and my daughter has both tested negative AND not had any symptoms. Cautiously optimistic here.

See? Ten thankfuls in a week that might have otherwise been chalked up as a loss, had I not sat down and listed them. You can do it, too. Link up with us below!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Clip: A Six Sentence Story

By day, he was a less than ordinary man, the kind you wouldn't particularly notice even if you had ridden next to him on the bus all the way downtown. His short sleeved, white dress shirt was wrinkled, not in a pulled-it-from-the-dirty-clothes-hamper style, but in more of a thrown-on-the-hanger-carelessly kind of way. His trousers were a little too short and showed a little too much of his socks, the non-descript clip-on tie had a stain on one of the stripes, and his shoes were run down at the heels. A lock of his dark hair fell over his forehead, and the lenses of his horn-rimmed glasses bore fingerprints and smudges. He was, in a word, forgettable.

But by night, with the stage lights in the tiny, dark club dancing across his silver sequined gown as he laid gracefully across the piano, he was nothing short of extraordinary.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "clip"

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Time Change Hasn't Killed Me Yet And Other Thankfuls

This week. It's been a rough one. Covid cases are at an all-time high. The presidential election is still up in the air. Those poor people who have to count all those paper ballots must be getting ulcers from it. Imagine the pressure of trying to make sure you were as diligent as possible at this! I hope they are able to dig deeply and find some thankfuls. I did and here's my Ten Things of Thankful for this week:

1. Beautiful weather this week, which was much deserved after the dose of winter we were delivered last week.

2. The time change means it's light in the mornings when I leave for work. 

3. Part two of the it being light in the mornings when I leave for work is that deer don't observe the time change, and most of them are back home in the woods or thicket or wherever they go all day and not running out in the road when I'm driving by.

4. Afternoon naps, because time change.

5. Early bed time, because same.

6. No more campaign ads.

7. An almost-three year old boy in my class reached up and touched my hair the other day and said, "Your hair is pretty!" True love!

Me and my shaaaaadow!

8. A nearby Walmart Neighborhood Market had grape Propel packets AND I BOUGHT ALL OF THEM. I scored 11 boxes. That'll last me a few weeks!

9. MSNBC's Steve Kornacki and the fact that Kornacki's khakis are trending on Twitter.

10. I'm especially thankful for Kristi of Thankful Me. She is taking a much needed break from hosting the Ten Things of Thankful, and I am going to do my level best (bearing in mind that I am a low achiever) to pick up the torch and try not to set the entire place on fire because I dropped the damn torch and it rolled under the couch and caught the dust kittens on fire. Make sure you let Kristi know how much her leadership has meant! She deserves it!

It's been a tumultuous week. But I spelled "tumultuous" without having spellcheck scream at me, and if I can do that, then you can write up YOUR thankfuls and join us!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Tender: A Six Sentence Story

"This cake is amazing!" exclaimed Marilyn, pressing the back of her fork onto her nearly empty dessert plate, gathering up every tender crumb and sighing with pleasure as she slid the fork into her mouth one last time. 

"I'm so pleased you enjoyed it," replied Patricia as she lifted the tea pot next to her and, after raising her eyebrows at Marilyn and receiving a nod in return, refilled her guest's cup.

"There was a flavor I couldn't quite place," continued Marilyn, sipping her tea, and Patricia answered, "Nothing unusual, maybe nutmeg?"

Marilyn closed her eyes lightly, breathing in the fresh cut oleander that Patricia had arranged in a vase on the little table; a whisper of a smile appeared on Patricia's face, and she leaned back in her chair and waited.

Marilyn opened her eyes suddenly and reached for the linen napkin in her lap; failing to locate it, she grabbed at the tablecloth, pulling it toward her and frantically dabbing her forehead.

"I don't feel well," Marilyn managed to say as Patricia gathered up the tea set, threw it into the rubbish can, and walked out through the garden gate, closing it carefully behind her.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "foundation"

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Cue The Great Pumpkin! It's Ten Things of Thankful!

I'm going to be real honest here and tell you that I am not a big fan of Halloween. I don't like to dress in costumes. I don't like to trick or treat, either as a kid or as the parent of a kid. I don't like to hand out candy to trick or treaters. All of it makes me uncomfy. I also don't like all the excessive decorations outside houses (a few years ago, our  next door neighbor put a 15 foot tall inflatable black cat in his front yard with the cat's butt facing our house....) I'm with Linus, who believes the Great Pumpkin is going to bring presents and great joy to good girls and boys. Let's think about it: the Easter bunny doesn't make us go door-to-door to fill our Easter baskets. Why do we do have to do so at Halloween? Maybe I'll start a revolution....

Here are my thankfuls for the week:

1. As a teacher, I cannot express how thankful I am that Halloween is finally over. The little humans that I teach are not old enough to fully understand what Halloween IS, but they know it's something to be excited about, and excited they have been for the past two weeks. I'm hoping to stave off any talk of Christmas until after Thanksgiving - wish me luck!

2. My iphone is 5 years old, which is, like, 142 in people years. Its latest quirk is that it spits out the charger, and it's not just one particular one; it's EVERY charger. I googled it and found a suggestion to use a toothpick to dig out lint and dust from the pie hole, and by golly, it helped! According to the information I read, keeping your phone in your pocket is the cause of this, but I've got news for whoever wrote that: the inside of my purse is far worse than the inside of my pocket.

3. Old Navy jeans, specifically, mid-rise power straight jeans in 12 Long if you're thinking about buying me a pair. They fit me oh, so well.

4. Yasso bars. Frozen Greek yogurt in delightful flavors and 100 calories or less. Unless you eat the whole box, but WHO DOES THAT?! **cough cough**

5. I'm thankful for the return of fall weather. For four days straight, we had rain, rain, rain, and temps in the 30s. This is NOT fall weather in the Ozarks. My car was even covered with ice one morning, and I had to chip it off the windows to drive to work. Not fun, Mother Nature! Not fun!

6. I received a sweet card from my cousin Delaney this week. We are fighting the good fight.

7. My son and his fiance are coming home so my son can vote. Yes, he should have taken care of this by requesting an absentee ballot a month ago instead of driving three and a half hours each way, but the upside is that I get to see him, as it's been since the end of May since I saw him last. 

8. I'm thankful for sweet Finn, who is daffy, easily amused, and in love with drinking from the faucet. In the following video, he was amusing himself by sitting on the top of my dad's recliner and swinging at the pull cords for a ceiling fan (ignore the "Parks and Rec" audio playing in the background):

9. Parks and Rec, especially the episode where Leslie Knope meets her hero, Vice President Biden:


10. This is me, when I got to meet Vice President Biden in 2014. I'm thankful that I got the opportunity, and that my reaction was not unlike Leslie Knope's:

Count your thankfuls every day, then write 'em up and join us at the Ten Things of Thankful!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Foundation: A Six Sentence Story

Clark was an excellent make up artist, and it was obvious he took great care with his work as he sponged foundation on the woman's face. He contoured her cheekbones, plucked stray hairs from her eyebrows, and carefully filled in her lips with a delicate pink lipstick a few shades lighter than the pink of her dress; getting her hair just right had been more of a challenge, but the end result was a soft wave around her face that was quite becoming to her.

As he stepped back to check his work, the door to the room opened and a man in a navy suit leaned into the room, saying, "Is she ready?"

Clark nodded his head, and the two men gently lifted the woman, Clark slipping one arm under her neck and shoulders, the other under her lower back, being careful not to muss her hair or make up, and the other man sliding his arms beneath her hips and knees, and they laid her in the waiting casket; Clark smoothed the woman's dress and with one finger pushed a lock of hair off her forehead before quietly bringing down the lid.

"You spent a lot of time on her when she didn't even have any family or friends that would claim her," said the man.

"Maybe so," Clark replied, rolling the casket towards the doorway and the waiting coach, "but once, she was somebody's baby girl," and the other man nodded solemnly as they processed slowly out of the mortuary.

Linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge's Blog for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "foundation"

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Forgotten Passwords And Deadbeats Can Still Lead To Thankfuls

That I haven't been participating every week in the Ten Things of Thankful is not for lack of thankfuls but is for lack of motivation to write them down because the little humans I work with every day are FREAKING EXHAUSTING. 

On with the show:

1. I am thankful for my weather app on my phone. I use one from a local(ish) tv station, and it's pretty darn reliable. Again with the little humans, but the success of our day often hinges on our ability to go outside, and being able to check the forecast and look at the radar is quite valuable. It is not fun to put jackets on 16 2-3 year olds only to have rain start pelting down as you get to the playground door.

2. I had a migraine on Tuesday. I don't have them very often anymore (sometimes having your hormones take a hike is a GOOD thing), but when I do, I have textbook ones. It always takes me a few minutes to comprehend that I'm getting the aura because (a) it's hard to see at first and (b) I'm usually in deep denial, but this time, I got some ibuprofen and caffeine down me quickly, and the headache turned out to be fairly mild (nothing makes the aura go away any faster - it just has to run its course).

3. I'm thankful that my reinforcements came quickly when I sent a group text to the staff and said I had a migraine coming on. I love my co-workers!

4. Okay, so in the midst of having this migraine, I remembered that I needed to change my work computer password and I thought I had to do it while on the university system (still don't know the definitive answer to that), so I called IT and found out what I needed to do to change it, which I did, then promptly forgot what I picked for the new password when I tried to log into my email from home. I'm not sure what the number of stabs at guessing the password you get before you get locked out of the system, but it's at least 20....

5. I'm thankful to the poor, patient fellow in IT who not only walked me through changing it in the first place but was also the unfortunate person to answer the phone when I called back the next morning to say I immediately forgot the new password THAT I PICKED and needed to start all over again.

6. The electric mattress pad is on the bed and has been utilized several times this week.

7. My daughter came home from college for a couple of days so she could vote absentee in the presidential election. It was good to have her home, and she even helped me write messages on postcards for the Postcards To Swing States campaign that I volunteered for, not realizing that writing a message on and addressing 200 postcards is a pretty big project. (In all fairness, they sent me the postcards WEEKS ago, but it truly never occurred to me that it would take so long to do this, or I would have started sooner*)

Finn giving me very little help with the postcards.

*this is a lie - I still would have put it off

8. Pumpkin snickerdoodles.

9. The background story to this thankful is long and dull, but the nutshell version is that a warehouse that our family owns was leased by a deadbeat tenant who was going to run a tire recycling business there and who paid exactly one month's rent, trashed the building, stole thousands of dollars worth of tools from my dad, and was finally evicted in July of this year, 15 months after he moved in and stuffed the warehouse full of tires. The first thankful related to this is the Department of Natural Resources disposed of the tires, and with any luck, they will be able to get their hands on the deadbeat's scrawny neck and get him convicted of numerous felonies.

10. The warehouse was, of course, left filthy from the thousands (THOUSANDS) of tires that were stored in it (did I mention the deadbeat cut a 4 ft. by 6 ft. hole in the floor and filled the basement with even MORE tires...?), plus the trash he left (disgusting trash), and remains of walls and other parts of the building he literally destroyed or dismantled. The second thankful is that two of my dad's fellow Rotarians decided to take on the cleaning up of the building as a service project. My dad rented a couple of ginormous dumpsters, and Saturday morning, the Rotarians descended on the warehouse and cleaned it up. One of the men even brought his quite large tractor to help (my dad used to have a tractor, but the deadbeat stole it....) What a relief for my dad and for the rest of us! It had been weighing heavily on us about how we were ever going to be able to clean everything up. "Many hands make light work." My heart is full!

Always, always be thankful.

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