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cattle guard crossing… You will love this one, I haven’t stop laughing yet. For those of you who have never traveled to the west, or southwest, cattle guards are horizontal steel …rails placed at fence openings, in dug-out places in the roads adjacent to highways (sometimes across highways), to prevent cattle from crossing over that area. For some reason the cattle will not step on the “guards,” probably because they fear getting their feet caught between the rails. A few months ago, President Obama received and was reading a report that there were over 100,000 cattle guards in Colorado . The Colorado ranchers had protested his proposed changes in grazing policies, so he ordered the Secretary of the Interior to fire half of the “cattle” guards immediately! Before the Secretary of the Interior could respond and presumably try to straighten President Obama out on the matter, Vice-President Joe Biden, intervened with a request that…before any “cattle” guards were fired, they be given six months of retraining. ‘Times are hard,’ said Joe Biden, ‘it’s only fair to the cattle guards and their families be given six months of retraining! ‘ And these two guys are running our country, Passed on to you without further comment… I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING – – – – OH LORD HELP US!!!!

Thanks to my sister-in-law for forwarding this to me in an email, I needed the laugh. Thanks, Janet!

I have been wrestling with this question off and on for years. Having grown up in a dysfunctional family I’m starting to question a lot of things I never really thought about when I was younger. Don’t get me wrong, I was raised by loving parents and had a good childhood. Since I have become an adult I have begun to understand there is some mental illness in the family.

small_2500644518One person in particular has taken on the role of family bully. I’ll call this person “bully”. Bully has always been a bit different but I have never really had a problem with this person. I have been told bully is very jealous of me and I could never understand why. Years ago when my husband and I got married I asked bully to be in our wedding. At first bully said yes, then wound up backing out and didn’t even come to the ceremony at all.

Bully had a way of turning things around, like claiming a thank you was never received for a gift even though I know for certain it was. But it never really came to the front burner of my mind because this was petty stuff I didn’t choose to dwell on.

Over the past few months bully has escalated the attention-seeking and manipulative efforts. Bully tried to reel me in to help with attacks on other family members and that is when a light bulb finally came on for me. I refused to be reeled in but kept trying to be friendly with bully. Bully then started buttering me up with things like cards in the mail and a very generous(for Bully) Christmas gift to my daughter. In retrospect I realize I was being “Hoovered” (Sucked in). The other family members started breaking off contact with bully, but I hung in there determined not to give up on the relationship. Finally I got tired of listening to the constant voice mails belittling the rest of the family and decided it was time for some tough love. I let bully know I would not be a part of any sick games and told bully to take responsibility for bully’s own actions.

Then bully turned against me and sent me a very nasty email saying my husband should leave me and take our daughter with him, among other things. At that point I, too broke off all contact with bully and I have to say things have been a lot more peaceful. Bully then tried to reel my husband in and recruit him against me but that didn’t work.

Still, I was left with some grief over the loss (temporary or not) of what I had thought was a good relationship. I know it takes two to make any relationship what it is. But I also understand the Bible’s teaching of shaking the sand off your shoes and moving on when there is nothing else you can do.
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small__7023672563My husband has been on vacation this past week and we mostly stayed home to get caught up on some long neglected household chores. Today we decided to go do something fun. I had noticed a sign up at nearby Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park advertising their annual Family Estuary Festival so we went to check it out. This was our first time attending and we really didn’t know what to expect.

The first booth we came to was the wormery-making tent for the kiddos. They put a small bottle of water into a larger plastic bottle with the top half cut off then filled it full of dirt. It was set up production line style. The last thing to go in the bottle were two unsuspecting, squiggly worms. They even gave us instructions on how to care for them. I figure they will be pretty happy when we relocate them to our compost pile.

Next, my daughter got to make a leaf design by using a mallet to pound on a piece of paper laid over the top of some leaves. A very brave volunteer held the edges of the paper for her while she pounded. (Not a job I would have volunteered for.)

Then we watched some kids steering remote control vehicles underwater in a large pool. Apparently college students had made the vehicles in one of their classes.

The highlight of the festival for us was getting to make fish art t-shirts. They used actual fish (no longer living but not yet smelly) to make the designs. The kids got to paint the fish and when they were done, the volunteer pressed a t-shirt over the painted fish for a few seconds. When he pulled the shirt up it made a unique, one-of-a-kind design on the shirt. Pretty cool idea. My husband said you would probably only see something like that here in Florida. Anywhere else they would think it was crazy.

After that we had fried chicken at one our favorite restaurants for lunch. It’s been a nice family day,now I’m ready for a nap.
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small_2927504572Does this scene play out in your neighborhood too? Your child could be listening to Nicki Minaj through headphones turned all the way up in a sound proof room but THEY ARE GOING TO HEAR THAT ICE CREAM TRUCK COMING! Nothing gets them out the door faster than, “Oh no, now it’s stuck in my head…all the little fishes do the hoochie coochie dance” song. Never mind the fact they have no cash on them, Mom will catch up and come to the rescue with dollar bills in a minute or two. Then they begin to wait. And wait. And wait. You can hear the bloomin’ thing all over the neighborhood, but when is it coming down OUR street? All of a sudden it appears around the corner and like Danica Patrick it whizzes past leaving a trail of destruction that looks something like this:

Are all these drivers on the lamb or something? Maybe that’s what you get to do when you’re on the witness protection program. I guess it’s better than being six feet under.

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to be driving this particular truck I can possibly understand why you’d be breaking the sound barrier:
Don’t drop the soap, er…change!

Miraculously, in his rear-view mirror the driver suddenly sees you waving frantically as he passes by. Maybe he has kids too and knows you are trying to avoid an impending meltdown. He stops so fast you wonder how he didn’t get plastered in the back of the head with frozen heath bars. Finally, he pulls up and all is right with the world again. The kids get their strawberry crunch. Mom gets her chocolate with peanuts and with that, peace is restored to the household. At least until the pizza delivery guy shows up with the wrong order.

Little Girl Photo Credit
Photo Credit Ice Cream truck handing ice cream to lady
Photo Credit Big Gay Ice Cream Truck

small_3263771903Funny, one of those coincidental things happened today. I was pondering writing about bra burning for my next post and my husband told me about this article he had read on a French study which found that bras are actually bad for us. Go figure.

I decided to quit wearing them because they are so damn uncomfortable. My main problem is with the straps constantly falling down like a piece of hair in your eyes that drives you nucking-futs. Add boobie sweats to that in the summer and you have a recipe for a grumpy woman. In addition to these issues, I’ve been having trouble with the range of motion in my left arm and putting on a bra is no longer an easy matter.

Still, there are times when you need to be respectable and can’t go around with your headlights on. My answer to that is wearing an easy to pull on tank top or something similar under a regular sweater or shirt. At least I don’t look like Miley Cyrus that way. Wait, what am I saying? I’d give my right arm to look like Miley Cyrus. Oh crap that’s my good arm, can’t do that.

My apologies to Victoria’s Secret but under-wire bras are instruments of torture,plain and simple. Sure, guys like to look at those 10 women in the world who actually look good in them but at what cost?

Incidentally, actual bra burning came about when the feminist movement of the 1960’s got into full swing, though there is some debate over whether or not bras were actually burned or just thrown in the trash can. Word has it some hapless boulder holders were found smoldering.

In all honesty, I have gone sans bra for months and I don’t miss them one little bit.

Don’t even get me started on thong underwear.

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Brainy Quote of the Day

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

Isaac Asimov

small_95757299So I want to continue doing this blogging thing for real. I was reading that I should get my own domain so it will look more professional. OK, I’m good with that. The least expensive name brand domain for sale place I found was Go Daddy. Oh daddy it was a pain in the butt! It said .99 cent domains but when you clicked on the purchase button it came up $9.99 roughly. Why? They were hiding the button for a 1 year domain, but I found it.

OK…now I’ve read getting your own hosting is also recommended so you truly can do what you like without having to worry about your blog being shut down. That would suck. I got that from Go Daddy as well. I persevered through redirecting name servers and some other crap, even though they make it sound like you can have,”Word-press up with just one click”. I finally called and they were very helpful. They even spoke in plain English. I told them what I was wanting and had it taken care of in no time. When in doubt, ask for directions. My Dad would never do that, either.

Well, I still had a few hairs left in my head so I decided to shoot the moon and apply for Google Ad-sense, who knows, maybe someday I’ll have thousands of readers. Stop judging me. They emailed me that it could take up to a week to be approved. Meanwhile, I started messing around with different free word-press themes. It’s like window shopping for your bloggers. Let’s try this one on…no. How ’bout this? Marvelous! Now make the background pink. Anyway, I checked my email and Ad-sense had already turned me down. They said the blog was hard to navigate. I wonder if they checked it while I was in the dressing room?
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Lady at computer photo credit

Beach Haiku

small_8647021106White sand between toes
pelicans fly overhead
boat disappears-free.

Photo Credits

small_4351777133A year ago my 17-year old unwed daughter was pregnant. Some would say that is every parent’s worst nightmare.

However, on the bright side, the father of her child was her best friend and he wanted to be part of my daughter and his baby’s life. He was also 17. They met in Junior High and had been friends ever since.

I took them both to her first doctor’s appointment to confirm the pregnancy. I really didn’t believe it was true until I saw the ultrasound picture. There, in black and white, was my first grandchild.

Several months later when my daughter turned 18 she and her boyfriend moved out-of-state. She called frequently to give me updates and let me know everything was alright. Sometimes she texted me and asked pregnancy questions only a Mom could answer.

One day she called and said a test had been done and they were concerned the baby might have downs syndrome. It was alluded to that if the doctors’ suspicions were right, they might have the option of having an abortion. They talked it over and decided they would not have an abortion no matter what. Thankfully, a couple of weeks later another test was done and the baby was healthy.

Meanwhile, they were thinking of giving him up for adoption. Their reasoning was they were both so young they didn’t feel they would be able to give their baby the kind of life he deserved. I asked her if that truly was her decision or if someone else was pushing her into it. She said it was her decision.

Because of the baby’s size there was some concern she would not be able to deliver naturally so she was scheduled to have a c-section the beginning of December. Two days before Thanksgiving she called and told me she was going in for a c-section the next day. Not only that, they already had the adoption set up with a young couple who lived in their area.

I had been planning on going to visit them in January after they’d had time to settle into parenthood, not knowing they had officially decided on giving their baby up for adoption.

Thanksgiving came and went. The next week I was in a craft store shopping with my 9-year old daughter and I accidentally knocked over a display of decorations when I walked around a corner. At that moment it hit me like a concrete wall, “I’ll never get to hold my Grandson.” We left the store and I cried all the way home.

I know their decision was the best thing they could have done for their baby boy and I am proud of them for making that tough choice. It is an open adoption so if and when his parents decide to tell him about it, he will be able to meet his biological family.

I wish for you, my grandson, a life full of love and happiness. I may never get to bounce you on my knee but I pray many knees will have that honor.
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Flower photo credit

small_5818320872One of the great things about homeschooling is being able to take advantage of learning opportunities outside of a traditional classroom, and even outside of the home for that matter. We recently got to do just that; we attended a sea turtle class on one of our area beaches.

We belong to several different homeschooling groups. A lady in one of them has been part of the local turtle watch volunteers for 13 years and she decided to put on this class for home-schoolers. A number of interested people showed up and she began by asking the kids some questions to test their knowledge of sea turtles. She also shared many interesting facts. I learned;

1. Only the female turtles come onshore to lay eggs
2. There can be 170 eggs per nest
3. After digging the nest, laying her eggs and then covering it up, the mother turtle leaves and never returns
4. Nesting season in our area (Northwest Florida) is from late May through October

I glanced around at the group of children and parents enjoying this unique opportunity and once again felt grateful to have made the choice to home-school. Children were smiling while listening and doodling in the sand.
After class the kids got to play in the sand and at the water’s edge.(It was still a little cold to get in the water unless you belong to the polar bear club.)The parents got to share stories, compare curriculum and soak up the sun. The instructor also brought some sea turtle books for the children to look at, along with coloring books and additional information to take home for further study.

It was great to get out and relax on the beautiful beach, watch pelicans fly overhead, dig our toes in the sand, and mostly to see the kids actually enjoying a learning experience.
Sea Turtle Photo Credit
Kids playing on beach photo credit