A place where I can share interesting ideas and maybe get a few things off my chest

Archive for November, 2013

Marilynn, Your Avon Lady


I know it’s the day after Thanksgiving, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how thankful I am to my in-laws, Marilynn and Herb, for the great job they did in raising my wonderful husband. They are lifelong entrepreneurs, and even though they are well into their retirement years, Marilynn can’t really bring herself to retire and is currently an award-winning saleswoman with Avon. Now matter where you live, you can order Avon on-line and have it delivered to your door. Click on the photo array above to go to Marilynn’s Avon page and see what fun stuff you can get delivered for Christmas. And no Black Friday crowds, either!

Respite For All

In Tampa, Mother attends the Adult Day Care program provided by Pinellas County’s Neighborly Care Network three times per week. Since she has attended at three different locations over the past 4 years, we just call it “The Senior Center” rather than trying to remember a new name each time. She loves going, loves the activities, and I love seeing her look forward enough to it to take the initiative to set her alarm and get herself up and medsed and coffeed and cookied in time for their van to pick her up around 8:00 a.m. on the days she attends. At home, since she attends while I am at work, it is less a respite for me than it is an enrichment for her. If she were just left alone at home all day, she would do nothing but lie down on the couch, dozing and watching the Encore Westerns channel, until it was time to make her sandwich for lunch. After lunch – back to the couch. Even though the physical therapists told her that lying down all the time is what contributes to her poor muscle tone and poor balance, she will not sit up without me being on her all the time about it, and life is too short for either of us for me to have to be the couch/pillow police all the time.

So, 3x per week at the Sr. Center is a definite help and enrichment for all of us. When she’s at home, she is on top of all of her ADLs (except bathing, and the bath lady comes every Tuesday) and since she watches the evening news, is generally more informed on local and national events than I am. When we got on the road for our Thanksgiving trip, however, all that structure and memory support was removed and it was like every day was a new day. She had a hard time realizing that while we were spending Thanksgiving Day at my niece’s home, we wouldn’t be there all week, and wouldn’t be sleeping there at all. She had a hard time remembering what day Thanksgiving was on. Every time it’s time to get back into the truck, she asks what side she’s supposed to get in on, even when Steve is standing beside the open door with the extra platform step set up beside it. She asked several times how long we would be staying in our hotel, and seemed surprised and amazed every single time she learned the answer was “six nights”.

The day before we were planning a busy day running around, one that I knew would be challenging for her, Steve and I were reading in the hotel room (with the tv muted and closed-captioned for her) when she said to me, “Look at all this money!” I looked up to see that she had gotten Steve’s wallet off the desk, opened it up, taken out all the credit cards, and was then marveling at our travel cash. At that point, I realized our plans for the following day were really beyond what we could reasonably expect for her and I started looking for some kind of respite placement. An internet search led me to the Scenario Adult Day Services near Bachman Lake in Dallas. I called and spoke initially to Ricky who was very helpful and encouraged us to come over that afternoon for a brief tour. We met with Miss Elizabeth (I forgot to get her card, so I don’t know her last name) who had us fill out some paperwork, had the nurse perform a brief health assessment, and helped us set up for a respite day for Tuesday.



They have two buildings with separate programs, one for the elderly, where Mother attended, and the other for younger adults in need of daycare services. We were concerned Mom would object, but it has been pretty cold here this week, and when we said we would be doing a lot of walking around, and then referred to it as “The Dallas Senior Center”, she didn’t seem to have any objections. We dropped her off, and after running several errands and having lunch with a friend, we got back to the center in the middle of Bingo. She didn’t even notice we were there until that Bingo game was over. Later I asked her if she had enjoyed playing and she said yes, but she was disappointed they didn’t have any cookies for prizes. Oh, well.

Thank you, Ricky and Elizabeth and Scenario, for providing Mother a safe, fun place for the day and a bit of respite for all of us in the middle of our 9-day Texas Thanksgiving Odyssey 2013.

Yes. Yes, I am.

My bedroom writing space

My bedroom writing space

Yesterday, I was in the lobby area of the hotel having coffee with my wonderful husband and doing my Morning Pages (aka therapeutic journaling, aka daily brain dump), and a woman stopped at our table. She apologized for interrupting and asked if I was a writer. I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Yes. Yes, I am. And one day I plan on being a professional writer”. She noticed my Florida Writers Association t-shirt and commented on it and I was glad I had worn it.

She asked about my projects. I told her I had a blog that I was trying to pay more loving attention to, and an idea for a non-fiction book that I have established a URL for with the idea of blogging it into existence. She told me she had a screenwriting idea for a complete story arc for a current television show that has had a poor storyline into its latest season. I wrote down my blog URL for her. We exchanged the titles of a couple of books each thought the other might enjoy.

It was so cool!

I would go on and on here for awhile, but Mother keeps looking at her watch and asking when we’re leaving for Wills Point and our family Thanksgiving get-together. I guess I’ll stop making her wait.

Texas Food (So Far)

Waffle made with the Texas-shaped waffle iron at the Dallas La Quinta breakfast area

Waffle made with the Texas-shaped waffle iron at the Dallas La Quinta breakfast area

How nice to be back in Texas, even if only for a visit. Even the food is welcoming me home.

Biscuits & Gravy 11.26.13

Biscuits with white cream gravy, also at the La Quinta breakfast bar. Very southern. Very yummy.



And what trip back to Texas would be complete without a stop in at Whataburger! A Texas tradition since 1950!

Burger sign 11.25.13

Avocado Bacon Burger? On Texas toast? Yes, please!! (Although I did pass on the jalapenos – I’m a kinda sissy native Texan.)

Actual Burger 11.25.13

Well, okay, the actual sandwich is not quite as pretty as the one in the ad on the wall, but it was still pretty tasty.

Steve, too!

Steve, too!

And look – all this food photographing behavior is contagious!

WUSF and Public Radio and Coffee



I am a sustaining member with WUSF here in Tampa. That means I contribute a little bit each month, and allow them to automatically charge it to my credit card. My commute to and from work is only about 12 minutes, so during the week, I only listen about 1/2 hour each day. Sometimes I listen on the weekend, depending on what’s on and if I happen to be in the car at the time.

I like public radio. I like listening to the BBC broadcasts that let me feel like at least sometimes I get something closer to truth and clarity in regards to U.S. and world news. I like Diane Rehm, who invites people with opposing ideas onto her show so I feel like I get a fuller understanding of current topics. I like All Things Considered, with its interesting range of topics, and Fresh Air, which always has really great interviews. And, specific to WUSF, I like the All-Night Jazz show that starts at 9:00 pm every night. If I’m still driving around at 9:00 pm, I need a little bit of mellow music to drive home by.

As a sustaining member, I don’t have to call in during the pledge drives because my contributions will continue until I call them and tell them to stop. If they have drawings as part of the pledge drive, they make a point to say that sustaining members are also included. But the donation premiums are only for the people who call in. When I heard that this was their 50th anniversary year and they had coffee mugs, I sent an e-mail requesting one. I like coffee and I like coffee mugs and I was very happy when this one finally arrived in the mail. Right now I have it at work, but I’m thinking since it’s heavy plastic, it just might be the perfect coffee cup to keep in the trailer.


Morning Pages



Every morning, I write Morning Pages. It’s something I’ve done off and on for almost two decades, starting with the first time I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. A couple of years ago, I reread it and went through all the exercises and endeavored to make Morning Pages a daily practice. At first, I spent $10-12 on each ruled, wire-bound journal, purchased from the bargain table at Barnes and Noble. When I got to the point where I was actually writing every day and going through one blank book per month, I decided that the $1 composition books from Target or Office Depot worked just as well, and when I watched for the Back-To-School sales, I could pick them up for half-price or less. Now I have dozens of them stashed around the house, ready for me to fill up with what is essentially a daily brain-dump.

Sometimes I sit at an antique secretary in the den, sometimes at my sewing machine/desk in the bedroom, and on the weekends when I feel the need for extra solitude and quiet, I take myself out to the travel trailer that is parked on the side of the house between camping trips. I have taken my current journal with me to early morning doctor’s appointments so that I could stop by the coffee house afterwards and do the writing I hadn’t had time to do before the appointment. As I’ve progressed in this daily writing habit, I have found that I am able to write with more focus in what at one time would have been unbearably distracting conditions.

Some people refer back to their journal/diaries for reference or as a memory aid. I have almost never done so (as if I’d be able to decipher my handwriting anyway). Others keep theirs as some kind of gift to the future or a legacy for their children. Since mine act as both a writing lubricant and therapy tool, I don’t believe that I would want anyone reading them, nor do I think anyone would find them particularly interesting. I do keep them, although I’m not sure why, but I only have them dating back about 6 years, as shortly after I moved to Florida, I had an amazingly cathartic bonfire in my backyard, burning all the pages I had written up until that time.

But, I digress. The original direction I had for this post was that it took me about three years to fully integrate Morning Pages into my daily routine and make it something that I anticipate as I know how it enriches my day. My next step is to make regular blogging so much a part of my routine that it is just the next step in a natural progression after coffee and Morning Pages. Maybe one day, I’ll get yoga in there, too.

What To Name The Baby


Ina Mae Pepper

My second grandchild is due to be born any moment – last Friday was the actual due date – and as far as I know, s/he still doesn’t have a name ready for his or her arrival. My granddaughter, Eva, is 7 years old, and when she was born the name field was wide open. But since then my daughter’s many friends and cousins have had many babies and she doesn’t want to duplicate any of those names. And some of the names she likes, she doesn’t like the probable nicknames. Patricia is pretty, but not Patty. Joseph sounds respectable, but not Joey. Some of the names Dad put on the Name Board were from anime shows – Mom doesn’t want to tell the baby that his/her name came from a cartoon.

If the baby is a girl (they didn’t want to be told, so that part is still going to be a surprise), they have chosen the middle name Ruth, shared by both of the baby’s maternal great-grandmothers. But as far as I know, that’s as far as they’ve gotten. When my daughter and I talked about family names, we quickly discarded most of the ones from my side of the family – Etta Olivie, Dorcas, Dortha, Edna, Alta Mae, Geraldine, and also Elvis, Tillman, Mott, Jefferson, Terrell, and Augustus.

Then we talked about my grandmother’s name – Ina. Ina Ruth has a nice ring, doesn’t it? None of my daughter’s friends have used that name, and my cousin named after our grandmother is over 60 and lives in California, so there’s not too much room for confusion there, either.

And then I heard the playground talk in the back of my mind. Not something my cousin had to worry about 60-ish years ago as it was not a word in common schoolyard usage at that time, but I could clearly hear small, munchkin voices making the rhyme “Ina Vagina” and I knew that if I had thought of it, there would surely be at least one 7-year-old, and probably more, who would think of it, too. *Sigh*

Maybe Etta Ruth wouldn’t be such a bad choice, after all.


Awhile back, I saw this on the grocery shelf and took a picture just for grins:



I didn’t buy it at the time, and had no real intention of doing so, but then a couple of weeks ago, I saw it on the sale table in the back of the store:



Seeing the photos side by side, I now realize that it was only 17 cents less than the normal price, but I guess I was in a mood because I bought it, again, just for grins. Then, yesterday at work, I had nothing for lunch and remembered that this was in the cabinet. Okay, then – time to try it. 



My co-workers commented on my courage and/or foolishness – it was a little bit of a toss-up which one it might be. While reading the heating instructions, I carefully avoided reading the ingredients list. I did photograph the lot number, just in case medical intervention might be needed.





Well, now – that doesn’t look too bad, does it? Not really, right?




Unfortunately, it tasted like rice in a sage sauce. I couldn’t even taste the Spam for the overwhelming taste of sage. I had to stop after only a few bites.





It’s a good thing I still had the package of cranberry bagels in the fridge or I would have had to lunch on the last of the leftover Halloween candy.



While I did get $1.50 worth of entertainment value showing the package at work and laughing about it beforehand, I really did NOT get $1.50 worth of enjoyable lunch out it. I did, however, get a fun blog post. Not a bad investment, overall, I guess.




Oldsmar Library Cafe’


I have a couple of nice writing spots at home – my closed sewing machine cabinet/desk in the bedroom and the antique secretary in the den – plus the travel trailer when I need to have quiet on the weekends, but sometimes I just want to get away from the house. I had heard that our library had a little cafe’ space so last week I decided to check it out.

I had already had my morning writing session at Nosh!, so I just stepped in to take a few pictures before heading into the library proper. There was one other person there studying, but I thought it would be rude to interrupt her or take her picture without asking, which is why you don’t see her in these photos.

There’s a vending machine:


and free reading material:


a few tables and lots of natural light:


and you can even get buy a bottle of water to help support the library!


They said they’d like to attract a vendor to have an actual cafe’ there, but it might be hard for them to compete with the local Starbucks. Although, come to think of it, it is a lot easier to get to and has a lot more parking. Even without scones and cappuccino, though, it looks like it might be a good place for a quiet writing session.


I installed this program several weeks ago. It changes the colors and intensity of your computer screen based on the time of day and level of sunlight so that if you’re at the computer in the evening, your brain doesn’t get overstimmed by the extra light and make it difficult for you to fall asleep. (For those who do artwork, it has a toggle for when you need to see the true colors of what you’re working on.)

I can’t tell if it’s had a direct effect on me sleeping better, but it does seem like my eyes aren’t as tired after my on-line time in the evening.




Tag Cloud