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Showing posts from February, 2010

Gone Fishin'

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Clarkie comes from a techie household, so it's not surprising that his early years began with a little virtual fishing.  Are you feeling sorry for the poor, hungry little guy?  Relax.  That pic was taken several years ago.  Today he weighs in at 20 pounds.  Probably more, but he's too embarassed to reveal the exact number. LOL.





Check out more great animal pics at Camera Critters

Barely Conscious

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Today I'm having a little fun with free associations. The association prompts were provided by Unconscious Mutterings. My answer follows the "::" marks.

Harm :: hath charm.
No? Tell me you've never been attracted to a bad boy. Grandma knows better.

If :: only.
If only I had a nickel for each time I've heard that phrase.

On my own :: without my phone
Enough said.

She said :: "Want some chocolate?"
Now that you mention it, yes I do.

Illegal :: immoral or fattening.
Remember that one? The quote is attributed to W.C. Fields and begins "Everything I do is either "

Broke :: "busted, disgusted, agents can't be trusted"
from Creeque Alley by The Mamas & The Papas.
Too young to remember? Check it out Creeque Alley

It’s a :: Kellermangapuss.
I have no idea where that came from or what it is. But that's what first came to me. Must be some kind of cat. Perhaps one who kills mangoes?

Chatting :: Refer to "On my own"

Cotteg…

Convictions - Installment #7

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New to Convictions?
Full story:  Index
Quick Story: In a Nutshell Beth opened the parole office door and walked into a small reception area. A woman in street clothes sat behind a glass window. Two rows of straight back chairs were nearly filled by men and women of varying ages. Some in sweats, others in jeans, a few in dresses and business suits. Beth approached the window and the woman slid it open.

. . .
“This your first visit? Sign in here. Then check that table. There's a visit form that must be filled out each time you're here. There's another to accompany your monthly fee.”

“Fee?” No one had mentioned that.

“The parole fee is $30 per month. Don't worry about that today. You can discuss a payment arrangement with your parole officer.”

She found a chair and completed the short form. There was steady traffic in and out of the locked entrance to the offices. An officer would appear at the entrance and call a parolee's name. Their visit was usually…

Friday Skies #1

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My balance, or lack thereof, makes it difficult to take photos.  So I decided to share this Memphis sky that my daughter captured moments before the sun sank from view last night.


I couldn't resist playing a bit. I don't think it's possible to beat nature, but I did think that this version, created with a PSP Chalk effect, accentuates the details on the ground and gives a different perspective to the sky. It's lighter and made me wonder if that was how the sky had looked a little earlier.




Regrets

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Dear Grandma,
You are one of the most outstanding people I have ever known. Still, I wondered if you've ever looked back on your life and had any regrets. I hope to learn from your wisdom and experience.

Respectfully,
Young and Foolish

Dear Y and F,
You may be less foolish than you think.  Your  letter certainly shows a great deal of insight. Congratulations on being so perceptive. I've given this question all the thought it deserves and you'll find a complete list below:

I regret I didn't start this advice column earlier in life. This is so easy. And think of all the folks I could have inspired.












That about sums it up.  But if anything else comes to me, I'll be sure to hide it let you know.

Your humble role model,



Grandma is delighted to be a participant in the Thursday Thirteen meme. You should check it out.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Th…

Stacked

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Yesterday was National Pancake day.  Hope you enjoyed some.  If not, it's never too late.  This versatile food tastes great and costs little to make.  That's reason enough to celebrate in the current economy.   We frequently enjoy them as an evening meal.  My granddaughter calls it "breakfast for supper".  Give it a try.

Rumor Has It

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There is no humor,
in spreading a rumor.
They cause so much sorrow and pain.

Still like a tumor,
a tenacious rumor
will surface again and again.

I claim that I hate it.
But do I abate it?
Stop it or just hear it through?

And what if it's true?
So I share it with you.
How do they spread? We haven't a clue!

Reprieve

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Darkness all around me. I'm cocooned in warm blankets and the silence that envelops our house. I snuggle deeper in the blankets and close my eyes again. Suddenly panic strikes and sleep flees. I didn't post, I missed a day of posting. How could I let that happened?

I'm not usually a superstitious person. I don't avoid black cats, stress over broken mirrors or avoid cracks in the sidewalk. Posting is different.

I tried blogging once and lasted for two weeks. In retrospect, I could see that the subject matter was narrow and required a substantial amount of preparation. The blog might have been better suited to a weekly or monthly format. Daily posts consumed all of my time and became quite stressful. After two weeks, I made a decision to limit posts to twice a week. I felt stress flow away as I enjoyed a well deserved day away from the blogging world. And then another one. Days turned to weeks and then to months. I never posted again.

My decision to…

Cat-astrophic Predictions

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We have a weather forecaster cat. He's probably more accurate than most. But he's definitely not into long term predictions. This morning he was basking in the sun that streamed through the windows, contemplating the fluffy white clouds that slowly drifted across the sky. Now he's shoved his 20+ lb. frame under a living room chair, a sure sign that he's predicting the worse. He's not wrong. The sky has turned gray and there's the persistent rumble of thunder. Rain sprinkles intermittently and threatens to turn into a real downfall. Calico and Muffin had planned to get some sunset pics of the Mississippi today. Clark's predicting that's not going to happen.

Convictions - Installment #6

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New to Convictions?
Full story:  Index
Quick Story: In a Nutshell Beth lay on the narrow bunk, exhausted, but unable to sleep. How could it be less than a day since she walked out of prison? So much had happened. She swayed between hope and fear. This was a stepping stone to freedom. In six months, she could apply to live on her own. At the moment, that seemed like an eternity. But failure meant a return to prison. Her chances for this parole had been slim. Another would be impossible. She had to find a way to survive here. She had earned Pastor Bob's distrust before she walked in the door. It wasn't going to be easy.

“Stay below the radar, girl. Just stay below the radar.”

. . .
Hannah's voice came clearly to her. Beth did not remember much about those first days in prison. In shock from loss and the sudden changes in her life, she was oblivious to most of her surroundings. But she did remember Hannah, a tiny lady in her fifties, who had spent over twenty years in prison f…

Ashes and Soap - The Conclusion

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Miss the beginning? You'll find it here.

As an adult, I never gave up sweets for Lent. I never gave anything up. Times had changed. More emphasis was placed on doing good and making positive changes. I embraced the new philosophy, happily donating to charity and volunteering for good causes. Until one year . . .

I had started watching a soap opera when my daughter was young. It was a little quiet time for myself. I'd put her down for a nap, fix myself a snack and spend a blissful hour away from reality. When I switched to a day shift, I used a timer to turn on my TV and record the show. In those days, it was only an audio tape. But I had little difficulty identifying the characters by their voices, their problems or the music that preceded their scenes. I was thrilled when my employer developed a flexible hours policy. I chose an early schedule and skipped the lunch break, which allowed me to be home in time for my show. I'd race into the house and turn on the TV. During …

Unlimited Cash

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You've won a multi-million dollar lottery. But there is a catch. You have to spend it on yourself. You can't donate to charitable causes, establish scholarship foundations, give gifts to family and friends, place it in trusts or fund research to cure cancer. You get the idea. The money must be spent on yourself. If you live with other people, you can purchase things that they would enjoy, but it must be something that you would also like. Using that premise, I challenged myself to come up with 13 things I'd buy for myself.

Good Health
I know that money can't guarantee good health, but I'd be willing to spend money on the best specialists and treatments that money can buy. I'd like to know what could be done outside the limitations of health insurance and meager finances.

A Motorized Scooter
If money can't buy perfect health, I'd enjoy some things that make living easier. I'd love the mobility that those scooters provide.

A New House
Custom built…

Ashes and Soap - The Early Years

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It's Ash Wednesday.

As a child, I greeted this day with mixed feelings. It was fun to miss the first couple hours of school, even if that meant attending a church service. I even enjoyed the service, if they were burning a lot of incense. I just loved the smell of that stuff. I liked the idea of running around all day with a dirty forehead too. But how could any of that compensate for six weeks without sweets? I'd have been perfectly content to wear sack cloth and ashes for that period, but my mother knew what would really make an impact. And it did. I gained expert negotiation skills, convincing friends to trade cookies for an apple. Became a skilled magician too. Candy dishes and cookie jars were in plentiful supply at my grandmother's house. But during the Lenten season, the contents would magically disappear. If my grandmother noticed that these disappearances coincided with my visits, she never said a word. I even used these skills at home occasionally, although it t…

For Medicinal Purposes

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I remember an old Buck Rogers episode. He's traveled to the future and is offered a heavily marbled steak, cream puffs and candy for dinner. Unlike the doctors of his time, medical professionals had discovered that these foods are very beneficial to health. Such are the dreams of science fiction. Right?

Maybe not. Dark chocolate is starting to sound like the new miracle drug. Many of us have experienced the mood enhancing properties of chocolate in any form. Dark chocolate has a lot of additional benefits:

Aging and Heart Disease
Dark chocolate contains a large amount of antioxidants. According to one article, nearly eight times as many as strawberries. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, which cause all kinds of damage and can lead to heart disease. Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce bad cholesterol by up to 10 percent.

Cancer Prevention and Treatment
Dark chocolate joins berries, soy, parsley and red wine as an anti-angiogenesis food. That'…

With Thanks

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We've really got a holiday overload in progress. Yesterday there was Valentine's Day and the Chinese New Year. Today we celebrate Presidents Day.

I'm happy to honor our first president and each of his successors.

Whatever their political views.
Regardless of moral strengths or weaknesses.
Whatever their domestic or foreign policies.

Being president is a tough job and a dangerous one. It's a life of continual scrutiny and criticism. I cannot imagine living that life for even one day.

So today I give my respect and thanks to each of them.

Love in the Air - Conclusion

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Miss the beginning? You'll find it here.

The ambulance drove down Oakland Street without lights or sirens. There was no need to hurry. Several police cars remained and there seemed to be a steady flow of officers in and out of the house. On the sidewalk, Amanda Cook's vociferous wail could be heard for blocks.

“She was my closest friend. My very dearest friend. Why only yesterday . . .”

Kevin stood on the sidewalk silently berating himself. Earlier that day, he had delivered more valentines for Miss Ward. She hadn't come to the door and he had left them in her mailbox. On any other Saturday, he would have knocked on the door to be sure she was alright. But Valentine's Day had caused his normal mail load to double. He'd continued his route, knowing that he'd be returning later. The thought of his little surprise had brought a smile to his face.

On his return, he found that he had company. Crystal Delwood was standing on the porch. Kevin delive…

Convictions - Installment #5

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New to Convictions?
Full story:  Index
Quick Story: In a Nutshell Beth had half expected that the barred door leading to Redemption House would be locked. Instead it had opened easily. The tiny foyer held two doors and an elevator. One door was marked as a stairwell. It was locked, as was the second unmarked door. The elevator was obviously the only means up. A directory was posted next to it. Redemption House - 10.

. . .
She exited the creaking elevator on the tenth floor. The tiny lobby was paneled in badly scarred wood and barely covered by a threadbare gray carpet. The door marked Redemption House was locked. Beth pushed an intercom button and a voice asked for her name. In a minute, she was greeted by a tall thin woman.

“I am Lord's Servant Margaret. Pastor Bob will meet with you first. Please follow me.”

Without waiting for a response, she headed down a long hallway. Beth followed, relieved at not having to return a greeting. Was “Lord's Servant” a desc…

Love In The Air - Part 2

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Did you miss Part 1? You'll find it here.

On the morning of February 12th, Janet peeked out the window. No new snow and the sidewalk was clear. Good. She continued watching until Crystal, a single mother who lived two houses down, passed by. She was walking her daughter to school. After that, she would head to her job at the local supermarket. It must have been tiring to work at the checkout for so many hours each day, but Crystal never complained. When she saw Janet in the window, she smiled and waved. Such a sweet girl. Thoughtful too. She frequently dropped by with a small casserole or an invitation to dinner. In the summertime, she sent Jamie over with flowers from the beds she tended daily. Janet loved receiving them and she loved Jamie even more. The bright and engaging 6 year old regaled her with stories and Janet's refrigerator was covered with her artwork. She looked forward to warm weather when Jamie would visit more frequently.

Janet would be …

Romance By The Numbers

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'Tis the season for romance. February 14th approaches and in it's
honor I've stretched the list to 14 and added lots of love.
chance encounterpeople saying, "Don't I know you?"minutes of remembering wherehours of reminiscing in a coffee shopdays of waiting for him to calldays before the first datehours of flirtationweeks of putting their best foot forwardmonths of getting to know and love the real personroses and a diamond ring months of planninghours of celebrating with family and friendsdays of honeymooningmonths pass and there's a new little person to love


Grandma is delighted to be a participant in the Thursday Thirteen meme. You should check it out.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!
Trackbacks, pings, comment l…

Two Hearts Beat

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If you'd like a story as well as a picture, check out my short story,  Love In The Air. I enjoyed writing this Valentine's  love story and hope that you will enjoy it too. It will be posted in three parts.   The second part will be posted on Friday and the conclusion, quite appropriately, will appear on Valentines Day. 
Wishing you a Happy Valentine's day and much love in your life.

Chain Of Events

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I believe in baby steps. Have a project that's too big? Break it into baby steps. Don't know how to approach a problem? Try something. Try anything. A single step can trigger a chain of events that produce results exceeding your wildest hopes.

Check the link below to read the first part of Love In The Air, a short story about love and an unexpected chain of Valentine events.

Love In The Air

Love In The Air - Part 1

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It was February 2nd, when Janet Ward heard the sound of shoveling and peeked out the window. As she had expected, it was her mailman, Kevin. He was such a thoughtful young man. Whenever it had snowed, he would take a few minutes to clear her front steps and the short path to the sidewalk. She hurried to the kitchen and got a small bag that had been filled with heart shaped sugar cookies, iced with a pink glaze. She reached the door just as Kevin was returning the shovel to it's hook near the door.

“Good morning, Miss Ward. How are you doing today?”

“Pretty well, thanks, Kevin. Thanks so much for clearing the path.”

“Can't have you falling, Miss Ward. Better stay inside until it warms a bit more. If you need anything at the store, just let me know. I could go after I get off from work.”

“I don't have plans to go anywhere, Kevin, but thank you for your kind offer. Oh, wait. Here's a little something for you.”

Kevin peered in the bag and grinned.

“Thanks, Mis…

Machines

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What is it about machines?

They look like inanimate objects. But I'm positive they are possessed by evil beings that sense when we need them most. Then they choose that moment to break down. Consider the copy machine before any presentation with a lot of handouts. The oven while you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The car when you're headed to the “can not miss” appointment.

Today, while Calico and I were trying to boost our virtual pet club ranking before the 2pm cutoff. We were working feverishly, when suddenly my browser came to a near standstill. When Calico was not using her PC, I did OK. But when both of us were working, my internet speed made that tortoise look like a speed demon. We generally use our computers at the same time without a problem. My granddaughter frequently joins us to do online school work. It still runs smoothly. So why did it come to a halt today? Because we needed it.

Some say that the stories about evil computers and robot…

Convictions - Installment #4

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New to Convictions?
Full story:  Index
Quick Story: In a Nutshell Beth stood near the steps at the back of the church, wishing that she were still inside. Gran was in the basement, preparing buffet tables with most of the other ladies. In cooler weather, the men would have been there too, unfolding racks of tables and chairs to create a dining area. Today, however, they were playing a game of horseshoes at the side of the church. Soon everyone would be filling their plates and carrying them outside to enjoy the fine weather. Beth had sat in a corner watching the preparations until Gran had shooed her outside to play.

. . .
There were plenty of children outside, but none to play with. Some clustered in small groups talking. Others played tag or Red Rover.  A couple of teenagers kept younger children entertained at the play gym and sandbox. No one seemed to notice her. She usually wasn't shy and made friends easily at school. Children from diverse backgrounds attended Adamston's…

Grandma's Lost

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Anyone out there follow Lost?  It's a TV series where a few people survive a plane crash and live on an island.  Not just any island, but one with special magnetic properties that cause all kinds of strange things to happen.  A guy in a wheelchair survives the crash and walks.  Lots of dead people appear and  have chats with some of the survivors.  Rival groups who have inhabited the island before the crash fight for control of it. The survivors learn the history of the island when they are transported back and forth through time.  And when some of them finally get off the island and return home to the present time, what do they do?  Decide to relive the crash and do it all over again.

A bit surreal?  Talk about understatement.   Even as I give this recap, it sounds so weird that I wonder why I watch it.  Calico recorded the 2 hour opening episode that aired earlier this week.  Tonight we watched the first half.  Evidently time travel has become a bit boring.  Now the characters a…

Translatable

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The best language courses go beyond textbook English and teach idioms as well. Even so, I've found that some of the most important ones are missing. Here is a list of common sayings and their translations: I don't mean to be rude, but . . ..
Prepare to have your feelings hurt

Thank you for being a valued customer.
Prepare for a sales pitch.

With a 90% chance of precipitation.
It's going to rain

With a 90 % chance of blue skies and sunshine
It's going to rain

Number 3 and 4 are particularly tricky.  In areas of extreme drought, they mean unremitting sunshine.

I'm sure you'll have better luck next time.
Come on. Spend your hard earned money on more lottery tickets.

Left lane closed in 500 ft.
The right lane will now be filled with bumper-to-bumper traffic that would rather wreck their car than let you merge.

Time limited offer
You will be listening to this ad for months

Critic acclaimed movie
Most of us will neither understand or like this one.

Download for…

Life In The Sunny South

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Talking To The Wall

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I began blogging last December, so I'm pretty new at it. Most days I enjoy it, but I can't say that I'm immune to caring about the number of comments that I receive. Blogging without comments is like talking to a wall, a person playing a virtual game or a sports fan watching the big game. After a while, it feels very futile. Most days, I see enough comments to assure me that someone is listening. But sometimes, I really want more.

Here's a list of 3 posts that I wish had more comments. Come on, take a look. It will make my day.

1.The first installment of my novel, Convictions.
If you like it, there's more.

2.The Best of Times
It's a Christmas story that has a lot of meaning in difficult economic times. Christmas may be gone, but I hope this warms your heart.

3.Stop Thief
A humorous, but true, confession of how little things come back to haunt you.

Convictions - Index

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I thought it was time to get a bit of organization. Links to the current installments follow. I'll be adding new links as the installments are released. Hopefully, it will make for easier reading.

1. Released

2. Rick

3. Treasure

4. Church

5. Redemption House

6. Beginning

7. Parole

8. Radar

9. No Big Deal

10. Annie and Jake

11. Secrets

12. Wanting More

13. Searching

14. Employment

15. Friends

16. Romance

17. Fear