Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween...and Little Mary Sunshine Will Continue Her Musings

Well, this is the last post for October. My daughter encouraged me, as some of you know, to join the NaBloWriMo group for the month of October. I was to post something every day. I gotta say that this has been fun, and I will continue to write on this blog because I like writing stuff, general stuff, not too mind boggling, but sometimes thought provoking. I tend to get preachy if I get on subjects like politics or government, so I pretty much steer clear of it. As the election here in America gets closer, though, I may just have to "speak up."

Today is Halloween. I like to have fun on this day. But, heck, no pumpkins are carved anymore since my children are all grown, and my grandchildren live in the middle of the state. It's not just a hop and a skip to Grammy's house. I didn't really even decorate for Halloween like bring out the ceramic pumpkin my husband made or his other ceramic creatures. I didn't hang any Halloween mobiles either since nobody is going to see them. We live in the country and don't have trick or treaters. We drove our children into town for Halloween fun. I may just do that anyway, next year. I miss pulling the guts out of a pumpkin and saying, "EWWWWW."

But...I did have fun today, anyway. I love to dress up on Halloween, to create a costume. Today I was Jenny from the movie "Forrest Gump." I pulled out my long blond wig I wore in the play "Dearly Beloved", brought out my last remaining hippie dress that I wore at a wedding in 1975, wore my earth shoes and put an ancient shawl around my shoulders. My big white dog, Carley barked at me. She actually didn't know who I was until I spoke. Many of my students didn't know me either.

Looking in the mirror at my get up, it took me back, back to another time and place. Back when I was young with long blond hair and a care free life. The gauzy tiered long dress made of a thin cottony crinkly type of material fit me pretty well. Oh, it was a little snug across my chest, but no place else. I didn't have the 3 inch platform sandals I used to wear with it. I loved those sandals even though I fell off them regularly. I weighed around 105 pounds back in 1975 and had not one smile or frown line. My skin was smooth and tanned. I was a young mother with a good looking husband, living on a farm with a house surrounded with pastures, rolling hills, and forests. It was a lovely life.

It has continued to be a lovely life with a few set backs, tragedies, and heartaches like life is. But I have had four beautiful successful children. In 1997 a wonderful son-in-law came into the family, and in 2003 a beautiful daughter-in-law joined the tribe. In 2002, I witnessed the birth of my first grandchild, a boy named Jeffrey. I didn't think I could ever feel so overwhelmed with love, but I was wrong. In 2007, I witnessed the birth of my second grandchild, a girl named River, and I thought my heart would burst with delight. With each birth of my own children, the joy was so great that I didn't think I could feel such utter bliss so many times. I was again, wrong. The human spirit has the capacity to love and continue to love in so many ways as I have learned throughout these many years.

I have a job that I really enjoy most times. I am writing now on a regular basis. I am acting in and directing plays. My husband is still with me and although I sometimes want to wring his neck, he truly has been the love of my life. I forget that on occasion.

I appreciate my daughter's encouragement for me to create and write this blog. I am thankful that as a smartass teenager, she started calling me "Little Mary Sunshine" because that is what I was...and still am.

That's okay with me.

So I will continue to write this blog with the hopes that others will enjoy my thoughts and musings. Although I'll probably not write every day like I have this past month, I'll write often.

And for those who have found me...thanks for your comments, suggestions, etc. I enjoy reading your blogs, too.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It was brisk, really brisk as I walked my big white dog, Carley this morning. My nose felt frozen and my finger were icy. I liked it. A lot of folks my age (I'm in the first couple of years of the Boomer generation) don't like cold, but I'm not one of them. Oh, I'll admit that toward the end of the winter, I'm ready for spring, but I like weather changes.

I secretly, well not now, wish that we here in the Northwest Georgia hills had gotten some of that snow that the Northeast got yesterday and is getting today. It looked like perfect snow--fluffy and wet, great snowball and snowman making stuff. We had snow last Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was magical, especially at Christmas since everyone knows that Christmas snow is magical snow. For some people, especially children, 2010's snow here was the first they'd ever seen.

I am amazed at how much snow fell to the north of us. As much as two feet fell and some was still falling. That's a lot of snow for this time of year. It almost never happens, even up north, but it did. The news stations are having fun showing snow covered Halloween decorations. I remember one Halloween when we were stationed at Schilling AFB in Salina, Kansas, my friends and I went trick or treating in the snow. It was cold, but not bitterly as it tends to get out that way. One year, that one I just mentioned to be exact, we had snow on the ground from October until April. I loved it. I loved Kansas, even with its tornadoes, floods, and blizzards.

So I will anxiously await our first snow this season. For many years, we didn't get snow here other than the Blizzard of '93, and that was a real blizzard with over 3 feet of snow right here in the South. It was wild, and I loved it. We had a ball being snowed in. I fixed the best steak I have ever eaten on our Grandpa Fisher Bear wood stove. We didn't have any power.

Of course, I don't necessarily want that much snow at one time. The wealth can be spread out, but it would be fabulous to have two white Christmases in a row. Don't you think??

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thanks, Benjamin. Where Did the Time Go?

It's early on a Saturday...dark thirty as I like to say. I can't believe that October is almost over. In our neck of the woods, we'll be changing our time back to Eastern Standard Time next weekend. I'm never happy about that even though we supposedly get back the hour we lost when Daylight Savings Time started back in the spring.

EST always messes me up. Instead of automatically waking up at 5:30 AM, I'm wide awake at 4:30 AM! And no matter how much I try to doze back to sleep, it doesn't happen. And then I'm falling asleep by 8 PM. It's very disconcerting.

All this time changing is supposedly traced back to Benjamin Franklin. He decided that because it took so long to travel to and fro to shops (horse and buggy days back then, but you knew that), it would be a good thing in the spring to jump ahead an hour. This way the shops could stay open longer and take advantage of the extra light.

I try not to think about this logic too much since it's taxing on my brain, and I don't like taxing my brain this way except with crossword puzzles and word searches. In truth, I'd just like the "powers that be" to keep it one way or another. When we were on a western road trip a few years back, Arizona had so many time changes, we never knew what time it was. Of course, it didn't really matter because we were on vacation, and time on vacation is a null and void condition.

It used to be really difficult back when our children were young. When we'd say in the spring before school was over for the year, "Time for bed," the kids would say protestingly, "But it's still light outside." Of course, we'd always answer that it didn't matter, but it really did matter. Going to bed when it's light outside is just unnatural, unless you have a 3rd shift job. Then all bets are off, and that's another story entirely.

Of course, we never ate supper until 9 o'clock during Daylight Savings Time, and the dog and cat would be at the door waiting for their food with puzzled looks around their muzzles because I was still in EST mode. Of course, with no young children at home anymore, this is pretty much a moot point. We do have pets, however. Poor things.

I really haven't decided which is worse...driving to work in the dark or driving home from work in the dark. It's rare that I drive to and back in the dark, but it happens.

This weekend is the last for DST once more. I'll gird my loins and prepare for even earlier mornings. Thanks a bunch, Benjamin.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Oh, the Guilt! I Missed a Day.

Yep. I missed posting yesterday, the first time all month. But I was exhausted. After a day of work and play directing, my body and mind were screaming for rest. So I crashed, on the couch during "Grey's Anatomy." I like that show, but it wasn't great enough to keep me awake. I slept through it and whatever else was on afterward including the news. Jay Leno woke me up, but I don't remember why. I think it was laughter or applause or something along those lines. I like the sound of applause.

Guilt is what I felt when I realized that I had not written a blog yesterday. Some time ago my daughter encouraged me to get involved with the NaBloWriMo group, but it was mandatory that I write something every day. I was going along fine, posting one blog after another, every day in October until fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks. And that was all she wrote!

The thing is, I love to write. I'm a professional writer. My second job is a feature writer/columnist for a local magazine. It's so much fun, and when I retire in 2 or 3 years, I hope that I can continue writing on a larger scale.

But for now, I'll work on my book about my dad, send early morning greetings on facebook, write for "Calhoun Magazine" and continue writing on "Little Mary Sunshine."

So I missed a day. I won't beat myself up, and I may just write a second blog on here this evening. In the meantime, I'm going to drink a cup of coffee, eat some cereal, shower, get dressed in my jeans and's jeans day on campus for a half a day, take my mom for a medical test, go home, and....who knows?

I may just crash again. I'm not as young as I used to be.

Wait! Do I really want to admit that?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Loved That Little Pinto, but The Van from Hell.....

For some reason earlier today as I was driving home, I started reminicing about a dear friend and her brown Ford Pinto. We called it the Pinto Bean and it was a fitting name. We'd pile our kids in that little car and head out to all kinds of places. Were the kids in car seats? Did they have on seat belts? Nope, nada, did not.

This was in the late 70s early 80s when laws protecting children in moving vehicles were not even thoughts. That Pinto had been labeled a dangerous car. If someone happened to not be paying attention and plowed their car into the back of that particular model, it (the Pinto) could or might likely burst into flames. Did my friend and I give that a thought? Nope, nada, did not.

Back then, we were young mothers with little kids. We had the world by the tail. Nothing was going to touch us. And it didn't. The kids and we survived just fine. That little brown car, and I gotta tell ya, it was pretty ugly, served us well. She had that car for 12 years before it finally bit the dust. She got a Granada, and that car wasn't near as good as the Pinto. It began to fall apart not too long after she and her husband bought it. They moved on to a brown Chevy van. They liked brown. That was a big old van, and we could put the kids way in the back and not hear their arguing and chatter. By then, did we have car seats or were they belted in? Nope, nada, did not.

My first van I renamed "The van from Hell." Because I firmly believed it was. It was a Plymouth Voyager, bought used from an unscrupulous used car dealer in our little town. I didn't know he was unscrupulous, but I found out quickly. My kids still like to point out places where that van stalled out on occasion as I drove them to school. We lived in the country, and they attended the city school system, so we had no school buses. I don't like to remember that vehicle too much. It brings back painful memories. By then, the kids were belted up because I wasn't sure that sucker would round a corner without tipping over. Somebody t-boned me one time and it bend the frame. I drove it anyway because we were financially challenged at that time and couldn't afford anything better.

Thank goodness, I don't have to drive vehicles from Hell anymore. I think of all the awful cars I drove when our youngsters were growing up taught them how to be strong and resourceful. It taught them to appreciate the little things in life like how great it is to walk in a cold rain with the wind blowing to get to a destination. Oh wait, that wasn't so great.

At one time, they did request that I drop them at the corner so that they could walk the rest of the way to school. They thought that they were fooling me into thinking that they wanted the exercise. Psssshawww. They just didn't want anyone to see them get out of a questionable blue station wagon with a cracked windshield and a smoky exhaust pipe. But that's another story.

I do miss that little Pinto bean, but as for the other disasters I drove, I hope they went back to where they came from....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kids...All the World's a Stage

I am involved in my community little theater. It's just something I really love to do. Tonight, I took over for the director while he and his family are on a cruise. He had asked me to help him with this particular play, and I told him I would. It's "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" about a group of rag tag kids who teach the world and learn themselves what the true meaning of Christmas is.

The last children's Christmas play I directed was back about 5 or 6 years ago when I did "Babes in Toyland." I had forgotten what a treat it is to direct kids. They are like enthusiastic puppies, all energy and not much discipline, but so much fun. I'm also in this play portraying this dreadful woman who was the director of the Christmas pageant for ever, but broke her leg this particular year and can't direct.

I don't really know any of the kids who are in this play. Most are home schooled and very talented well rounded youngsters. Some have been in plays while others have not. Of course, there are the stand outs, but all of them have their moments. I was afraid when I took over this week that they would think I was like my character I portray.

I am very passionate about what I want of the actors in plays I direct. Kids are like sponges. They soak up the knowledge and I learned a long time ago, that if I just show them what I want, they'll do it. They lose the inhibitions and start to understand the characters they're meant to portray. I love to see this transformation. I think this is going to be a really good play, but then again, I'm a bit prejudice. Oh, and the adults also do a bang up job.

And thank goodness, the young folks accepted my enthusiastic directions and followed my lead tonight.They're a great bunch, and man oh man, I'm having fun. I can't wait until it opens and the first time actors hear their first sound of applause.

It's music to the ears. They'll see.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Aging Parents...Just love them

Busy busy day today. Worked, then took my mom to the doctor for possible kidney problems. It looks to be nothing super serious, and the doctor was very thorough. He talked to her, not at her which she appreciates. I have noticed that people tend to treat elderly people like they're children. That just pisses me off when they do that to my mom. She is an educated intelligent woman who has made her mark on this world. I want to say something awful to someone when they say, "Oh, isn't she cute?" to me as if my mom isn't even in the room. My mom is not cute. She is a beautiful woman with a great mind. She should be treated as such. She deserves respect, not a tweak on the cheeks. Gad!

She is 88 years old and is remarkable. She could pass for 65 or 70. She lost her husband of 67 years (my wonderful Dad) back on Dec. 2. It has been a most difficult year for her, and I wish I could erase the sadness in her eyes.

But that probably will never happen. My dad was the absolute love of her life. Their story reads like a movie. In fact, I am working on a book about my dad's life and part of it has to do with their long running love affair. Not too long before he died, Dad and I were talking about Mom at the dining room table. He said, "We were so crazy about each other. She was such a pretty little thing. And smiling even broader, he related with a sparkle in his dark eyes, "She's still a pretty little thing."

Despite it all, Mom has prevailed, and she is an inspiration to me. I try to make her life as happy as possible now. She certainly did that for me as I was growing up and for my sister and brother. I try to ease her loneliness.

We go out to eat together. She laughs at my silliness. Man, I adore this woman.

If your mom and dad deserve it, love them and help them as they age. Don't abandon them. It isn't easy, but it is worth it.

And count your blessings every day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happily Ever After...Are Fairy Tales Real?

I just watched this new show "Once Upon a Time", and it was good, really good. It's a show about fairy tales...with a twist. Right now it has to do with Snow White, an evil witch's curse, and the return of Snow White and Prince Charming's baby girl after 28 years of no happy endings. She, named Emma, is going to save them all, and Rumpelstiltskin has something to do with all this, too. I found it pretty intriguing and so did my husband. He's generally a NCIS, Criminal Minds kind of guy.

I love fairy tales. I have all my life. My favorite is Cinderella. I like all the handsome prince rescuing the damsel in distress stuff. Call me a hopeless romantic or just a little silly. Of course none of that stuff really ever happens anyway. Life is no fairy tale.

But that's okay.

I'm not sure where this new show is going, but the premise is really different. Of course, there's another show premiering sometime soon called "Grimm." Grimm's fairy tales were...well, pretty grim.

So my knight in shining armor didn't ride up to my castle on a mighty white stallion. He did drive up to my blue and white trailer (I was a young teacher, and the little southern town I chose to teach in had very few apartments available over 40 years ago) in a white Corvette. He was quite dashing (our first date was really a blind date) with black curls, black eyes, a killer smile, and was far away from the typical college boys I had previously dated. He was a man, a Vietnam veteran who had seen more than he should have. And sparks flew at our first meeting and have endured for 40 years with a few missteps along our journey together.

I had the first cocktail ever on our first date. It was some kind of fruity concoction called a Singapore Sling. I was merrily drinking it down through a straw, and he warned me that I should maybe drink it a little slower. He was probably quite correct in telling me that. I was a neophyte drinker and became just a tad tipsy. He did tell me that I had pretty hair. It was long then and very light blond, Nice'nEasy's extra light ash blond, to be precise. Anyway, I looked at him (God, he was cute!), and said, "Oh thank you. It glows in the dark."

And then I giggled, and I think hiccuped a bit. Lord have mercy. I felt like an idiot. He just laughed at me.

Three months later, we were married. We've had four absolutely gorgeous children, a daughter and three sons, all college graduates. We now have a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law we adore and two precious grandchildren, a boy and a girl. We are very blessed.

So maybe Snow White's daughter Emma really does exist, and she made our life as "happily ever after" as possible in this day and age.

Who knows? It could happen...really.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Paula Deen Kind of Breakfast

I'm going to do something tomorrow morning that I haven't done in a while. I'm going to make my Sunday morning breakfast. This used to be an every Sunday morning thing, but once the kids started leaving home, I pretty much stopped except when they came home for a visit bringing along their spouses, grandkids, and various friends. Then, I decided that all that food wasn't all that good for a body EVERY Sunday. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't believe in denying yourself the foods that you love in the name of a diet. In the long run diets don't work unless you change your whole lifestyle, and the foods you eat on a diet become the foods you always eat. Generally, that doesn't happen. People are people and, I don't know about you, but every once in a while, I gotta have a piece of CocaCola cake, warmed, with vanilla ice cream on top. I never finish it, but I usually eat half. Lord have mercy, it's good.

I believe in using common sense and exercising. I like to dance and walk my dog. I do try to eat healthy, but sometimes I just don't. I just can't beat myself up over this indulgent activity. I do read labels and have gotten away from eating high cholesterol, trans fat, or high fructose corn syrup laden foods. But sometimes I just have to have something not good for me.

It's been months since I fixed my breakfast. I fry bacon and sausage, sometimes country ham. I scramble eggs, fix hash browns or grits or both. Tomorrow, it's both. I usually have some kind of fruit or fruit salad. And I make homemade biscuits from scratch. My dear sweet husband actually asked me to fix the breakfast today. He said he missed my biscuits. Oh, I'll make gravy from the sausage leavings, too. I wish all my family could be here to enjoy it. I won't do this again until probably the holidays.

No, it's not the healthiest of breakfasts. A high fiber, low sugar cereal is much better for one's body, but I'm not feelin' the need for that high fiber cardboardy tasting stuff tomorrow. I want grits...with butter and salt on them. I want some scrambled eggs, not boiled and not just scrambled egg whites. I want those eggs all mixed together with a little cream, some salt, and scrambled with a little butter. Paula Deen would love this breakfast. I want maybe 4 pieces of bacon, but I'll probably settle for two. I want that milky sausage gravy that my daddy taught me how to make slathered over my biscuit. I want a fruit salad with a little sugar sprinkled over it.

My mom is coming over for this breakfast along with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. My youngest son will be here to indulge in the decadence also. It will be a bountiful breakfast, indeed.

Is my mouth watering? By golly, I believe it is. I can taste those fluffy biscuits already.


Friday, October 21, 2011

The Outdoors...On My Terms

It was a gloriously beautiful fall day--bright sunshine against a sky so blue it seemed unreal like one of those brilliantly colored acrylic paintings.

Only it was real.

No clouds of any kind dared to mar this sky's stark beauty. I had come home from spending time with my mom and was out in the pasture walking my big white dog, Carley. She was loving the cool weather. It was around 65 and a breeze was whipping up. It wasn't uncomfortable, but I liked it better in the sunshine. I love the sun's warmth on my face and shoulders on a cold or even cool day. It's comforting like a warm blanket or shawl.

At the edge of the woods, I noticed a large bird gliding just above the trees. I figured it was a buzzard. It was too big to be a hawk and the coloring wasn't right. We have two hawks that grace us with their presence every so often. I love to watch them soar and swoop down looking for prey. They are lovely birds. Sometimes I try to imitate their shrill whistle, and sometimes one or the other will answer me back like Bobwhites tend to do on occasion.

On closer inspection, the bird was not a buzzard. It had to be an eagle! I knew there were eagles close to our area released around a large lake to the north, but I wasn't really sure any had made it down our way. I thought I had seen one a couple years ago, but I was never truly convinced.

I just stood very still and watched this stately bird with its wide spread wings hover in the distance. It was breath taking. I love these moments of happen stance, of unexpectedness.

Truth be told, I love the outdoors, but on my terms. Camping is not one of my favorite activities. I like to be comfortable, in a bed, not on the ground in a sleeping bag. I like room service. But I'm also perfectly happy lying on the hood of a car gazing up at the heavens on a spectacularly starry night watching for a meteor shower. Or I have no problems tromping through a snowy field on my way to a nice hill side to try out a sled. Honestly, we don't have too many snowy days in our region, but when they come, I like to be ready. I also like to go back inside a toasty home to sip hot chocolate next to our Grandpa Fisher Bear wood stove. Yes, I like my creature comforts.

I was the first up at four in the morning back in '97 (I believe) when the Hale-Bopp comet first made its appearance in our eastern sky. I told my family that I was getting up and they said to get them up if it was worth it. I got them up. It was so clearly illuminated against the dark sky. Its tail clearly trailed behind it. Oh goodness, I was just thrilled. I had never seen anything like that before. The first siting was just so utterly stunning. The Hale-Bopp was around for several months, and I looked for it every day. Of course, some days were cloudy, hiding it from view. I felt disappointment on those days. When it finally disappeared to continue its journey in space, I missed it. That comet seemed like an old friend. I guess that's silly, but I watched its journey in our skies on my terms. In the end, though, it left our Earth's sky on its terms.

So now I will watch for the eagle. I started to write "my eagle", but it is not mine. It's part of the fields, woods, and sky. I hope to see it again whether it has a back drop of an incredibly clear blue sky or its feathers glisten with snow flakes.

Yes, it was a gloriously beautiful day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

God Help Us All

It was not a good day for the former dictator of Libya. Not a good day at all. He died. And he died a violent bloody death. Did he deserve this kind of death, being shot in the streets of his hometown (I think)? Probably so. He was a bad man. He was responsible for the deaths of many many people. He supported terrorists. He hated America. He was so full of himself, especially in his younger years. He ruled with an iron fist for 42 years. Citizens of his country grew weary of his relentless cruelties to them and others. People eventually rebel against such drastic rulers. Think of Hitler, Mussolini, and Saddam Hussein.

No, Momar Khadafi was a bad man. But when I walked in the door after play practice tonight and CNN was showing the video of his death, I saw a bloodied wounded human being with a look of utter surprise and shock. He was dying and the expression of his face was that of utter despair. He deserved to die. I do not doubt that, not in the least. But...

Why did the media  choose to show this violence? What was the purpose? Khadafi was brutal. He was barbaric is so many ways, but isn't what was shown across the world just as barbaric?

I know that some people have become so oblivious to violence that nothing bothers them. If humans are bombarded every day with violent movies, video games, and the news, pretty soon that violence become common place and basic human feelings are lost.

When I go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow morning, I truly hope that I don't still have that vivid picture of a dying man, even as horrible a man as he was, in my head.

God help us all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blasted Cold Air...Oh Wait, A Blast of Cooler Air

This morning didn't start out so bad. It was raining, but not too unpleasant. I don't mind rain. It's liquid sunshine. That's how I look at it, unless it were to rain for...say...forty days and forty nights. Then, I might not like it so much. I was out earlier than usual on my way to be a guest speaker at an area high school. It was going to be a little different than my normal day of teaching adults. I was going to be with young folks, and I was looking forward to it.

And they didn't disappoint me. They were bright, articulate, and contrary to popular belief that no teenager has any manners, these kids were quite mannerly and polite. Some even came up to me and thanked me for my words and even shook my hand. I was impressed and hoping that I would be invited back next year.

When I went outside to make my way to my car, I noticed that it had gotten decidedly cooler. The wind had picked up and the air felt raw. Somehow, the hot sweltering days of July and August had given way to just a tad bit cooler than chilly. But it wasn't really what I'd call cold.

I went back to my real day job and almost immediately stepped into a math class with adults, but not too many because a lot of my students thought I might not make it back for my afternoon class. I fooled them, and they will pay tomorrow. Mwahahahaha! Oh goodness, I think I'm tired.

Anyway, after the class I went to my local Kroger to get some lunch. I like their deli sandwiches. They're made with really good whole wheat bread with little crunchy seedlike thingies throughout it. Gosh, I hope they're seeds. Ahem...As I got out of my car to make my way to the store, a gust of wind slapped me in the face. My very chic, purple with sparkly beading scarf was just about jerked from my neck and cold air blasted down the front of my new silky purple blouse. I was cold. No not just cold.

I was freezing. Teeth chattering, goose bumpy, lip quivering frigid. I had forgotten with this summer being hotter than four hundred hells that when it's cold, folks walk faster, me included. My gate bordered on full throttle run, but at my age, full throttle run is kind of like a little skippy trot.

I readily admit this. I'm not really ready for cold wintry weather yet. Of course, I wasn't too crazy about the tropical desert of late summer we experienced...was it only a month and a half ago??

This is what I've decided. I need more money than what I have because if I did, I could jet to the Sahara when I'm wanting some climate bordering on hades for a few days. Then I could jet to the Himalayas and be in a snow storm for a while. Then I could take a leisurely cruise, but not on one of those Ryan's on the water foody cruises that promises onboat surfing. It would be on my own yacht, of course and I would lay anchor near some tropical island that isn't the home to pirates. I would eat fruit off the trees and drink coconut milk, only the milk would have to be cold because I don't like warm coconut milk. In truth, I don't like it at all.


Since I'm pretty certain that I won't ever have that kind of money, I'll just settle for changes of season in my own back yard. I just wish it wouldn't sneak up on me quite like it did today and bite me on the butt.

Can snow be far behind, here in the almost Deep South again this year? Oh wow! I get so excited at the thought of snow.

Is it almost the end of October? Oh lordy, the "Eatin' Season" is about to commence.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not Profound...Just "Cool."

I've been trying to write something profound, but it's just not happening. I'd like to give everyone some kind of life altering philosophy so intensely deep that everyone would just have to stop what they are doing and just think, "Wow! That's heavy, man." Oh, wait, that's another time altogether. I don't think anyone says, "Man, that's heavy" anymore unless they've picked up a 150 pound rock. The slang I used in a much earlier time is no longer used, like something being "swift" for something good. Something that was knarly (probably not even spelled right and I just don't feel like looking it up) also meant something good, sort of. Remember, "that's rad"? Nobody says that anymore.

Back in the 20s and 30s, folk said stuff like "bee's knees", "cat's pajamas" AND " the cat's meow." That cat got around.

"Bodacious"-- remember that guy in "An Officer and a Gentleman" saying, "She has bodacious tatas" No politically correct, but even "tatas" is slang for really nice breasts, but what kind of military guy is going to say, "She has really nice breasts"? Nope. I'm a military brat. No soldier would come close to saying that. I think he would say "boobs" now instead of "tatas", but no matter. It's all the same.

 "Cowabunga", "Eat my shorts", and "Don't have a cow, man" are products of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Bart Simpson.

I loved it when John Denver said, "Far out, man." I think George Carlin said this, too. Stuff was also "radical" and "tubular" at one time.

If someone "got" someone, they "siked" him.

Then everyone started saying stuff like, "I just love beets.....not." "That's such a pretty dress...not." "That movie was great...not." That drove me nuts, well nuttier.

There is one slang word that is ageless--- "cool". Things have been "cool" forever."Wow! That's a cool car" works just as well now as it did in the 50s. I still say something is "cool" if it is, indeed, cool.

And you know what? That's cool, man, not profound, just cooooooool.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Little Yellow Fairy...Me Being Me

So I just got back from play rehearsal for "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." I was in this play several years ago and thought it was so much fun that I decided to do it again, only this time I'm performing and also helping to direct. I'm a sucker for Christmas plays with kids anyway. I started thinking about the first time I ever performed in front of an audience and it had to be when I was in the 2nd grade.

I was a yellow fairy.

My mom constructed the costume of yellow crepe paper ribbons wrapped around my body like a mummy. She made my wings out of coat hangers covered in yellow tissue paper. I had yellow ribbons tied around my ankles. They wouldn't have shown up in my hair because I was a cotton topped blond, so Mom rigged me a yellow crepe paper and tissue crown. I thought, for once in my young life, that I was pretty awesome looking.

The event of my first performance was on May 1, May Day. It used to be celebrated, but not so much anymore except maybe in Russia. I think I read that somewhere. Anywho, a tall pole was stuck in the ground and long pastel streamers were attached to the top. The object was for little fairies, lady bugs, butterflies, and such to dance around the May pole.

Let me just explain here. I have always loved to dance, even as a little bitty girl. I did, not just around the pole, but around the playground as the audience of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends watched their little darlings perform. You have to understand that I was the only one who broke rank and left the playing field.

But I was in the groove. I swirled, did cartwheels, hopped, ran, swooped down on the ground and just flew. And as I was doing all this interpretive movement, my costume that my mother had so carefully created began to come apart. The first to go was the crown. Crowns and cartwheels don't mix. Then the crepe paper began to unravel. Soon, I was down to my underwear and yellow wings attached by shoe laces to my scrawny little shoulders.

Did that stop me, you might ask? Heck, no. I heard people clapping and laughing. It was great! They loved me. Little did I know that my mother, who was pretty much mortified, was desperately trying to catch me as she collected my leavings of yellow paper scattered all over the school yard.

Finally the wings yielded to my wind swept frolicking, and I left them behind. So here I was, a tiny dancer, performing to an audience who was laughing hysterically. By then, I was dressed only in my white underwear with yellow flowers. I loved every minute of it and was not happy when my mother finally caught up to me. You see, I was a really fast kid. Mom was out of breath, and I could pretty much tell that she wasn't happy.

"But why, Mommy? Why do I have to stop? Everyone likes me. Don't you hear them?" I told her as I wiggled like a little puppy to get away from her grip. And do you know what she did, this wonderful mother of mine?

She let me go. She let me finish my dance as we made our way to the car. She let me savor my moment. She never let on that I shouldn't be dancing around in just my underwear. I was eight years old, and I was a beautiful yellow fairy. She let me be me.

And she has always allowed that all my life. She has always let me be me. And sometimes, I know, that wasn't easy for her.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Big White Dog Fills a Hole in My Heart

When my dad died back on Dec. 2 almost a year ago, I had a hole in my heart so big, I didn't think it could ever be filled. I was a Daddy's girl. He was my hero, my maker of the greatest mayonnaise sandwiches, and then, he was gone. Now, I'm no spring chicken. I am a "boomer" of the earliest years, so my dad lived a long and mostly wonderful life. But even as he reached the age of 88 and so very ill with kidney cancer, I wasn't ready to let him go.

But he left me. And he left my mom, my sister, my brother, his siblings, cousins, and so many friends, they are uncountable.

My heart simply ached. I needed something, but I didn't know what. I had a loving family, but they didn't really know how much I hurt. I didn't talk much about it. In truth, I'm really not one to voice my innermost feelings. I just felt lost and empty. My daughter was concerned because I seemed to be in a bad mood all the time which was totally against my nature...hence my blog title "Little Mary Sunshine."

Then a stranger came to our home in the form of a white dog, a young white female Lab. Now, we live in the country. People are always dumping their unwanted pets along our road, thinking that all folks in the country will want one more dog or cat. This is simply not true, and most of the bewildered animals that have outgrown their cuteness become road kill or food for the coyotes or other wild animals. It's the sad truth.

No matter. I tried to chase her away. I tried...Really.

But on about the third day of me trying to run her off by yelling, throwing sticks, whatever, she simply refused to budge. She just put her head down and took my abuse. I stopped immediately. She looked at me as if to say, "Please don't send me away. I don't know what to do. I don't know where I am. Please don't hurt me anymore." It was at that moment that I knew this dog belonged to me. I knew that I must keep her, that she was what I needed to fill that hole in my heart. I would never hurt her again...ever.

I don't know how I knew this. I just did. So this was when I started to try and win her trust. It wasn't easy. She had been mistreated by her previous owners, I could tell. She cowed when anyone came near. She just simply cowered at my feet. She wouldn't go near my husband who wasn't feeling the same feelings I had for her. He didn't want her, but for once, I ignored him and any arguments he had to say about not keeping the dog. He knew it was a useless disagreement anyway. He knew he had lost this one.

During a horrible storm, she refused to come in the house. She scrunched as close to the house as she could get, but she would not come in the door. Soon, I bought her a collar, red, because it looked so pretty next to her white fur. Then I bought her a leash, red, to match the collar. Finally, she was in the house. She'd walk up to me and lay her head in my lap, her tongue barely licking my hand. She has the most expressive golden eyes.

Well, to make a long story shorter, she was checked out by our vet. She was "fixed". She is healthy. She is even finally beginning to accept my husband. He's trying to like her. He even bought her some special doggie treats to coax her to him. He's trying because he knows I love this dog. Her name is Carley. I wanted to name her Maggie May, but I let one of our sons name her instead. Carley suits her better anyway.

She really adopted more than we her. Even our cat Moxy loves her, and Moxy doesn't much like anyone or anything unless she really wants to. She and Carley actually play together and groom each other. It beats anything I've ever seen.

So my big white dog, Carley is beginning to fill that hole in my heart. She brings joy to me that I haven't felt in a while. I surely am glad that she found her way off the road, through our yard, and to our front door. It was just meant to be. It really was.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

He'd Hate This, but He's the Pizza King

I have this son who makes the best pizza I have ever eaten. I'm not kidding. The crust is to die for. It's crispy where it should be and soft where it should be. He makes it from scratch and adds his own secret ingredient. I know what it is, but I'm not telling. He made pizza for my mom, his Uncle Mike and Aunt Susan, and his dad and me tonight. What a treat! We always love it when he says he's making pizza. And it's not just cheese or pepperoni. It's different ones made with different toppings like mushroom, green and black olives, onions, bell pepper, whatever. scrumptious.

Everyone he has ever made pizza for knows that it will spoil them for all other pizza. He just has the touch. He even experimented and made a calzone the last time he made pizza. Yummy. I really think that he could have a business with his pizza making, but he's in grad school studying for a Masters in International Affairs and a PHD in political science. All he's have to do is make some of his pizza for  countries who are opposing each other and there would be peace. They'd be too busy scarfing down that heavenly crust topped with cheese, veggies, and maybe some kind of meat. At least he's going after the right degrees. He has the perfect weapon for peace.

Thank goodness that he only makes it occasionally. If he made it too much, I'd be in clothes 4 sizes up. I'm already fighting to get rid of some extra poundage. He didn't help me tonight, but I don't care. He's the pizza king.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Home...It's in My Heart

So I'm sitting here at my trusty Dell, totally exhausted from a very busy week at our annual literacy conference. I'm trying to conjure up something really profound or inspiring or funny or even a little interesting to add to my blog log for my NabloWrimo promise of writing something every day for the month of October. Sometimes it just doesn't come. Sometimes I'm just plum wordless. I think Pete Seeger sang a song that has the words, "My get up and go, got up and went."

Of course, it could be that I'm not as young as I used to be and I simply can't boogie as long and as hard as I used to.

But I'm not ready to admit that yet. Nope...not ready.

It could be that those comfortable beds advertised in the better hotels are still, no matter what, definitely not the bed I have slept in for years while my husband softly snores or sometimes loudly snores beside me. I never sleep well when I'm away from home except if I'm at the beach listening to waves crash on the shore. I do love that sound.

It was good to get home. I miss this old rambling wreck of a house when I'm away. It's been my home for over 40 years. My babies grew up here. They ran in the pastures and played on the hay bales and explored the woods. It's really true that home is where the heart is, and my heart is here in Northwest Georgia on what was once a 800 acre farm. Only around 50 acres are left, but it's family acres and that's what makes it special.

I bid all a resounding good night. My big old bed with it's wonderfully soft mattress awaits. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Plastic Surgery--"Getting a Little Work Done"

At dinner tonight, we all started talking about plastic surgery because I said that Cher doesn't look very good. And she doesn't. I have no problem with plastic surgery. If someone wants to "have a little work done" that's just fine. It's just that sometimes folks who have had this done just don't look like themselves anymore. Take Kenny Rogers. Whoever did the surgery on him really botched it. Kenny Rogers used to have the most marvelous crinkly bright smiling eyes. Whatever was done made his eyes all round and sad. He doesn't even look like himself. Can you imagine what he must have thought when he saw himself in the mirror? I picture a grown up Macaulay Culkin (only it's Kenny) with his hands on the side of his face yelling like Mr. Bill "Oh No." He looked pretty bad a couple of years ago, and I have a feeling that he doesn't look much better now. I don't think that type of operation can be reversed.

Cher had this interesting rather exotic kind of face. Her nose was the first to go. I noticed that several years ago, but she still looked like herself, only maybe just a tad better. I gotta admit that. But the last round of slicing and stitching and pulling just doesn't seem to fit. Of course, none of this is any of my business, but her smile is not the same, and she always had this great smile. Maybe she likes it, though. So, who am I to say what looks good to her? I'm trying to be nice here and not too judgmental.

Dolly Parton is just a smidgen of her former softer self. She looks all angles and ridges, but she makes jokes and pulls no bones about her surgery. One time she said on The Tonight Show, "Hey, it takes a lot of money to look this cheap." I loved it, and I think she is just great. I don't care how much she gets "done." She's still Dolly and my 5th cousin. No, I look nothing like her in so many ways. I'm serious on that. She's just a brilliant business woman and artist and has done so much for the community of her birth. She's a good woman.

Joan River is another one who jokes about her surgery (ies). She is also a facsimile of her original self and also jokes about it. The woman can't really smile anymore. She used to laugh this huge guffaw. Oh, wait, that was Phyllis Diller. She is about 90 years old now, I think, and finally gave up on trying to look younger.

This is the thing. Having plastic surgery when someone is a bit older is fine as long as it makes you look better. A face should still look like the person, only the lines and wrinkles are smoothed away. A person 70, though, isn't going to look 25 (or even 30 or 40) no matter how much surgery. She (or he) is just going to look unnatural. There, I said it.

I've actually thought about having something done to get rid of my wrinkly chicken neck or my smile lines. In truth, my face could very well wind up on the back of my head. Now, that folks would be unnatural, indeed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It's always so good to see old friends, to reconnect. And that is what I have done here at the conference I am attending. We got together this evening and ate together, drank a little of "the juice", ate some really good food along with some really good desserts. Laughed a lot and carried on like school girls. It felt kind of like a "Sex and the City" scenario. I cherish all these friends. Some I have known for many years, others not as long, but no less dear. I'm going to settle down now, read a little, watch a little TV, and get ready for another busy day. I'll be in touch tomorrow. Until then, bonne nuit and buenos noches, and to all a good night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adult Education...It Can Change a Life

Hello everyone out there in the Land of Blogs. I'm packing. Tomorrow morning I will pick up my three colleagues, and we will head to our annual literacy conference. We will stay at a really nice hotel, eat good food, hook up with old friends and, hopefully, learn something new to pass on to our students. I teach in the land of the GED and English as a Second Language.

I'm into my 20th year of teaching adults who fell through the cracks of our educational system. I was a public school teacher at one time many years ago. I loved my students, 8th graders, ready for the world, just a few years away from adulthood, but still such children. The boys voices went from a high octave to a low octave in a matter of seconds. Most were shorter than many of the girls. They hadn't quite reached the gangly stage. The girls were losing their baby fat and getting slender, figures becoming more womanly. But, lord have mercy, they were a giggly lot. I know, I was 14 at one time, and EVERYTHING was funny. My original babies (as I like to call my first ever students) are in their mid 50s now. I wasn't much older than they were when I began teaching. I jokingly tell folks I was 12 when I began teaching. But the bureaucracy got a hold of public education too much. I left it behind along with the wonderful students.

Many of the students I teach now, from 16 years old on up, come from the school of hard knocks. Many of the older adults had to leave school to help out their families financially. Many were encouraged to quit by fathers who thought 16 year old boys needed to be working. With all the layoffs in our area in the textile business, these people who have given 20 and 30 years of their time to the company find that without a high school diploma, they can't get a job. Experience means nothing. I really don't agree with that in so many ways, even as a life long educator.

But I have witnessed lives changing because of a layoff. My instructional assistant and now a good friend was my student once. She came back from vacation after working for a company for 16 years and found the doors padlocked. I like to say she came to us kicking and screaming. She was really scared of failure like so many of our students. But she had a spark. She was a great organizer. She became the president of the student council. She began volunteering to answer our phones when we were swamped with other things. I noticed. When she did pass her GED, I immediately got the ball rolling on getting her hired. She has been with me for 9 years now and is invaluable. She was Student of the Year in our state in 2002 and has been an inspiration to others. She came from a family of 12 kids and lived in the poorest neighborhood. Her children are college graduates, one from Georgia Tech.  I forgive her for that. :)

So I will teach until I tire of it probably in a couple years. Then I'll write. I've told my friend that if I ever become busy enough in writing, she can be my right hand man. She already is anyway.

We brought in some new students today. They had the look of so many of those who want to succeed, but are so afraid. I love to watch the transition of these special students who find out that they really can do fractions, algebra, and geometry. The really can write a decent essay. They really do have intelligence.

So I will get back to my packing. I'm looking forward to going away for a few days, to network with others who feel the way that I do. So here's to Adult Education--it can change a life.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Thing Is, I Love Dancing

Okay, I admit it. And I'm not ashamed of it. I like "Dancing with the Stars." Are the stars really stars? Not so much. David Arquette (sp?)? Chaz Bono? Carson Kressley? Ricki Lake? The soccer player named Hope? Rob Kardashian? Various models? Chynna Phillips? Probably Nancy Grace is the most well known person simply because she's this abrasive woman on CNN that everyone seems to like because "she tells it like it is." I gotta say that the model who was George Clooney's girl friend was a really unlikeable person and was voted off early on because everyone recognized her for what she is, a jerk. Then there's the war hero turned actor name J. R. Martinez who has overcome devastating war injuries to become an almost star. And he is really good. He's got a chance to be a real star. It seems like he's fearless. Come to think of it, maybe he already is a star.

The thing is that I love dancing. I love to dance although I don't know if I could ever master a quick step. Carson Kressley, the guy from the "Queer Eye" show is just a hoot. He doesn't give a flying fig what he looks like. He just dances, and I just have to laugh. He has so much fun. So I don't watch it for the "stars." I watch it because I love to watch the dancing. I like to watch people work hard at something they may not be so good doing. Whether they are true stars or not doesn't matter. I like to watch the improvements in performance.

I really like this little movie made in Australia called "Strictly Ballroom." It comes around on some of the little known stations on satellite every so often, and I watch it. I've probably seen it 10 times. It's about dance competition. If I was a little younger and had a good dance partner, I may just have been a competitor. But then again, I probably have illusions of grandeur.

So, I'll watch my dancing shows and enjoy the heck out of them. "So You Think You Can Dance" comes on in a few months.

Waltz anyone?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oh No! Squatters are in the Driveway!

Lord have mercy, I have worked today. I don't mean piddling around. I mean hard, constantly lifting, dragging, hauling, digging, pulling work. It was physical labor in the most physical labory way. I worked in my yard, an atrocious catastrophe. From the road, our yard was so unkempt that had it not been for my lovely flower boxes full of blooms, the whole place had the look of an abandoned homestead. I was expecting squatters to show up any day.

You have to understand. I grew up with a father who kept a really nice yard. Oh, it wasn't all landscaped, but it was mowed, raked, weeded all the time. And when I got old enough, I helped him. Daddy was an Air Force officer, so we moved a lot, but that didn't matter. Our yard was always neat and tidy no matter where we lived. Now, I married a man who could care less about how the yard looks. I didn't know this when I married him. Oh, he keeps a great garden, but the yard???.... It's an issue.

He's retired now and I'm not, my choice and the fact that we're digging ourselves out of helping four children go through college. You'd think that he'd get bored and mow the lawn. Nope. He has a great garden, though, so I don't want to make him out to be so bad. He keeps us in veggies throughout the winter, and I don't do any canning, freezing, or anything else so domestic as that. In fact, my husband found out I wasn't very domestic six months into our marriage. My daughter, Heather, on the other hand, is a domestic goddess along with being a top notch photographer.

In the past couple of weeks, though, our yard has looked awful- branches everywhere, high grass, weeds. From the road, it looked even worse, and even though we live in the country, we do have neighbors, and they keep their yards mowed and neat. Even the pasture next to our house is kept mowed. When the guy is out on his tractor mowing, I stay inside if I'm home. I'm too ashamed to go out, plus I may get lost in the jungle which was once a playground for our four children.

Anyway, I decided that I could take it no more. I figured my dad was looking down from wherever he is after he passed away last December and shaking his head. First, I was going to tackle the branches strewn all over the front yard, then I'd lop off some low hanging greenery that smacks me in the face as I go out to the car every morning. I got my wagon and commenced to gathering. Lo and behold, out comes my husband. He said he thought he'd mow a while. Guilt! I made him feel guilty. (Snicker) It works most times. He even got the pick-up truck and helped me load branches on it. It's a straight shift, and I can't drive it. I don't want to drive it, and I make no apologies.

Then my youngest son came home, and he helped me also. He probably felt guilty too, watching his poor old mama haul heavy branches and sawed up apple tree logs. (The tree was hit by lightning and died) Last, I did a little more mowing. Now, my husband is a man who believes in rigging stuff in order to make it work. He doesn't necessarily get things fixed. Our lawnmower is the subject of his rigging. He's wired up the grass shoot, you know, the place where grass shoots out during mowing. The flap doesn't stay up anymore. I have to put a little piece of wire around another couple of thingamabobs so they will be close together. Once that's done, I can start the mower. It's supposed to be self propelled. It was at one time. Well, let me tell ya. It was not self propelled enough for me. Of course, mowing through grass three feet high is a challenge for any mower.

So, I'm finished for the moment. I have scratches all over my arms, like I've hacked my way out of some tropical rain forest, but the yard is shaping up.

I don't think I'll have to worry about squatters any time soon, thank goodness. Well, at least for another couple of weeks.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


It was an absolutely glorious day here in Northwest Georgia. My mom, husband, and I went to the little town of Ellijay, Georgia and bought us some apples, ate some fried pies (I only ate half), drank some cider, and sampled stuff in this wonderful store there. Later in the day, I walked my big white dog, Carley out in the pasture and just savored the bright sunshine and cool breezes. Carley was friskier than usual, so we even ran a bit although running in a pasture can be hazardous. No, I don't mean THAT kind of hazard. There are no cows in this pasture, but there are ruts. No matter. I think I may have run off that half of a fried pie. That's a good thing.

Now, I'm going to get my football loving self, along with some leftover pizza and watch the Georgia Bulldogs play the Tennessee Vols. I'm all for the Tennessee Vols EXCEPT when they're playing my Bulldogs. I've lived in Georgia over 42 years. My feet are firmly planted in this red clay. I speak Southern drawl and even turn it up a bit more when I'm above the Mason-Dixon line visiting relatives or when I'm out West visiting my brother and sister. Denny's out in Washington state even tried to pass off Cream of Wheat as grits. I wasn't fooled. Grits is (are) made from corn. Everyone knows that, at least everyone in the South. We're just not sure if grits is/are singular or plural.

So, I'm going to blog off now and watch my beloved team. Afterall, three of my children graduated from there and my son-in-law did also.

I know. I know. I'm pathetic.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mayonnaise Sandwiches and Icing in a Can

I just finished eating a little cup of Jello Dulce de leche pudding, sugar free, 60 calories. It was really good, so good I'd like to eat another five or six of the little suckers. Of course, that would kind of be defeating the whole purpose of eating sensibly. It's kind of like when you eat one of those Healthy Choice meals and an hour later, you're starving to death. I had a friend who ate two or three of those meals at lunch or dinner. She never lost a pound. In fact, she gained a whole gob of weight eating Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine. It's kind of ironic.

When I was a kid, my daddy made the best mayonnaise sandwiches in the world. I didn't want Mom to make them because Daddy would glob on the mayo between two pieces of gushy soft white bread, like the old version of Sunbeam or Wonder bread, not the kind that now has a shelf life of over two weeks. What do they put in that bread?? I'd mash the two pieces of bread together enough so that the mayonnaise squished out the sides; then I'd lick it off all around the sandwich. It was heaven. My kids, adults now, have always been horrified that I like mayo so much. They think it's disgusting except in potato salad or chicken salad, and only a small amount should be used. Of course, I don't eat mayonnaise sandwiches anymore. I buy the "light" now and it doesn't taste anywhere near as good as the real stuff.

The thing about getting older is that foods you ate in your youth are just not healthy enough for your today's body. Truthfully, they never were healthy, but what did we know back then?? Sugar, white bread, icing out of a can (I used to keep it in the refrigerator and snack on it a little at a time---Lord have mercy!), Mounds candy bars, full blown mayonnaise, hot dogs or any kind of processed meat--I still love bologna sandwiches...Well, they're just awful. I often wonder how I stayed so skinny before I hit my mid 40s. I didn't even gain a whole lot of weight throughout my four pregnancies except for my second one when I craved Peppermint Patties. Then, I gained 40 pounds, but lost it quickly. With my last pregnancy, I only gained 12 pounds.

I think I weigh more now than when I was nine months pregnant with any of my four precious darlings. So...I'm trying to go on a self improvement kick...again. I dance some mornings and have even started doing crunches again. A couple of years ago, I lost around 30 pounds and felt wonderful, even attractive. Then, my dad got sick and I helped care for him until he passed away. During that time, I just didn't give a fig about what I ate or how much. But, really, it's time to quit blaming my dad's illness for gaining all that weight back. Dad's been gone nine months. It's pull out the old weights and get out the snug t-shirt so that I can witness it becoming looser as I reclaim my waist line.

I used to dance to Bon Jovi's "It's My Life". I'd watch the video at five in the morning as I moved to the beat. He was easy on the eyes and I loved the music. So, it's time to revive ol' Bon Jovi and Donna Summer and the music to "Saturday Night Fever."

If I move enough, I may just be able to eat a piece of chocolate cake every once in a while and not feel guilty.

In the mean time, I'm up to 25 quick crunches. That's good, but I used to do a quick 100. I'll get there again. Yes I will.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Smell of Grease Paint, The Sound of Applause

Whew!! Long day today, but a good one. I just got in from rehearsal for the next play I'm doing "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" for our Little Theatre. It's the second go round for me with this play and the same character, but no matter. It's a play about children, so the adult characters' roles except for the mom are not big. This is what I needed after doing Neil Simon's "Rumors" and "Dearly Beloved" back to back. And I'll be helping direct this play also.

I do love being involved with the theater whether it's acting or directing. There really is something to be said about how a theater has a distinct smell. Stage make-up doesn't smell like regular old drug store make-up. It's a bit heavy and cloying, and I love to just breathe in the dressing rooms. Costumes take on the perfumes, aftershaves, and, well, body odors of the actors who wore them even after they are cleaned ( the costumes, not the actors.) Some older stages are polished with lemon oil after each performance or they have a waxy feel. Many have the marks and ruts of countless stage productions. Yes, indeed. I love the smell of the theater.

Acting is in my blood. My grandfather was a dancer in Vaudeville and my grandmother was a Ziegfeld girl. My father was a master guitarists and knew how to hold an audience in his hands. My daughter Heather and my son Hartwell are fantastic performers on the stage although my daughter hasn't acted in quite a while. Sons Heath and Hayden are guitarists in their own right and are also singers. And I have to add that Hartwell has a great song on YouTube called Transitions. I can already tell that my granddaughter has that acting gene. She's Little Miss Drama Queen at four. She can cry on cue! Maybe I'll get to direct her in a play some day. Wouldn't that be a trip?

 So, it was a fun night. All the kids are adorable and most have some acting under their belts. They are having fun with this. They're talented. Yes, this is going to be fun. Ah, I can hardly wait for the applause.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

50 years working and going strong

I made a casual comment to one of my sons today telling him that I had worked for 50 years. That means that I have been paid for doing some kind of job or another for all those years give or take a year or so when I stayed home with our first child. From the time I was a teenager, someone other than my parents paid me for a job. Every summer throughout my high school years, I took care of four kids while their mom worked. It was an all day job, and I was paid $35 a week. I worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. You can figure out how much an hour I made. Heck, I thought I was rich! In college, it was a $1.35 an hour working in the infirmary. The head nurse had been a missionary nurse in Africa, and she had all kinds of unorthodox ways to break a fever, none of which I will describe in this blog. Let's just say that my 19 year old virginal mind (yes, it's true) was horrified more times than once. I learned a whole lot about human anatomy. Lawsy!

I really wanted to be a star on Broadway or somewhere, but I just didn't have the drive or inclination to do all that it took to accomplish that goal. I became a teacher instead and have loved this profession. No, I have never gotten rich, but it doesn't matter. The thing is, you have a captive audience as a teacher, so you can sing, dance, spout poetry, act out Shakespeare. There's no limit to the performances! In between having children (I was pregnant from 1973 - 1983--four little darlings), I did leave teaching for a bit and sold art for Archie Campbell (yes, that Archie) in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and worked as a reporter/columnist/photographer for our local paper (now defunct).

For the past 20 years, I've worked with adults in our local college who need to get their GED. It has been a most rewarding job. I love these people. I even taught English as a Second Language for a time. An artist, I am not, but I did a lot of drawing on the white board. My first student was from China and she spoke Mandarin. I had no clue as to how to speak the language, but we somehow communicated. I came to love her and her husband. Wonderful people, indeed.

I'm also a writer. Writing is just in my blood. It's good for my soul.  Plus I direct and act in plays for our local Little Theater. I'm a pretty busy woman.

So, I worked for 50 years. I'm hoping to retire someday from my "real" job and write for the next 50 years. Well, let's be least for the next 30 years.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Who are these people?

I was a movie magazine fiend when I was a teenager. I mean, I bought anything that had anything about Fabian., Bobby Rydell, Troy Donahue, Connie Stevens, Natalie Wood. I read them all. Anyone who needed to know anything about the stars and teen idols of the late 50s/early 60s could come to me, and I could spout off everything about them from their birthdays, birth places, parents, name it. I had a major crush on an actor named Peter Brown from the "Lawman" television series and later, on David McCallum of "The Man from Uncle" series. Connie Stevens and Hayley Mills were my idea of what a real girl should be. I wanted that long blond hair and blue eyes. I've never had the blue eyes, but I did get the long blond hair via Summer Blond and beyond. But I was never cutesy poo like Stevens. She started to seem way too much like her character's name, Cricket, which was just too too. Hayley Mills on the other hand has always been great to me. And well, David McCallum is now Ducky on NCIS and just as cute as ever.

Okay, I now buy "People", "Entertainment Weekly", and "Us" magazines although I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I buy "Us".  And I gotta be honest. I don't know half the celebrities in them. I mean, who is Molly Sims, Emily Blount, or Lauren Conrad? And it seems like all the guys look the same, messy spiky hair and six pack abs. And, well, they all look about 14. This shouldn't be important to me really. I shouldn't care that I don't know who these people are. So why do I? Maybe I'm missing being a teenager...gad, no!.. not in a million years. I think it's just that I feel detached somehow from the world of celebrities, and I was the "know it all"about celebrity queen. It's hard to give up a crown, but being on the far side of 60 and not really caring that I never made it as a star on Broadway, I have to admit that these folks are just not important in my life anymore.

I just don't have crushes on gorgeous male stars like I used to. Maybe there just aren't any Michael Landons anymore although George Clooney is still the epitome of male stardom. And what's considered glamorous is skin and bones, gobs of bizarre make up, really really ugly gowns and a seemingly lack of social graces. Oh, and the ability to speak without saying "like" every other word is...well, like maddening.

Holy mackerel, I'm beginning to sound like, gasp!, my mother! But, I gotta admit. Brad Pitt is really really cute!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Computer challenged and overwhelmed

Yes, I admit it. I'm computer challenged. I could go ahead and just not even be politically correct and call myself computer stupid. It's a fact. Oh, I can do the usual stuff like going on line, facebooking, emailing, sending  copy to my editor. But when it comes to doing computer activities like copying and pasting, cutting and moving things like writings and pictures from one place to another other than email, I'm dumb as mud. I don't want to be like this. It's just that my brain seems to get cloudy, or it just shuts down when it gets more complicated than sending an email. It seems that this blog has been having problems being seen by folks, something to do with the feed. Heck, I don't even know what THAT means, but I know it has nothing to do with chickens, cows, or horses.

My daughter, bless her imnothannah blogging self is so patient with me. When did she get so patient? When she was a teen-ager, the looks I'd get from her when I didn't know what she considered simple stuff were withering. Now, don't get me wrong, she wasn't mean and rarely disrespectful. She was just 16 and had the world by the tail. Now, she's way beyond 16 with a husband and two darling children. When she was explaining to me about how to get this blog going on nabowrimo (or something like that), she was so calm. She was not condescending. She didn't even take too many deep breaths. I was impressed by that. She was as patient as my friend, Anne who helped me get my electronic profile up for a course we're both taking. I had to send it through Windows 2003 instead of Windows 2007. Let me tell you, that was just about as complicated as I want to get!

Now, I know there are those of you who are snickering and thinking that I've got to have some dead brain cells from the 60s and 70s. Not true. I was pretty straight-laced, but not really a goody two shoes. In other words, I wasn't perfect, but I wasn't into LSD, either.

So I'm continuing to learn and if Heather and Anne will continue to be patient, I may just get this computer business. I just hope they don't file down their teeth from gnashing them too much.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ahhhhhh.....fall in the South.

It has been a splendifurously glorious day here in the Northwest Georgia foothills. The sky was this deep blue that can't be replicated anywhere on anything. No clouds, not even the typical wispy feathery kind could be seen. It was cool with a breeze to beat all breezes. I absolutely loved it.

Besides it being so lovely, I had the privilege of helping to celebrate the 80th birthday of one of the finest women I have ever known. She was one of the first black teachers to be hired in the local school system after integration was implemented. She has touched the lives of so many students in such a positive way,  including two of mine. Her voice is easy on the ears, soft, yet strong. She has a regal quality to her being. In fact, when I walked in the room where her party was already going on, she sat front and center in a chair with not one, but two corsages adorning her shoulders. She looked like a queen. I brought her a Georgia Bulldogs ball cap as a gift because most times she's in comfy clothes, and she likes to wear a ball cap. As I was getting ready to leave, she said, "Wait a minute. I have something for you." It was a goofy orange pen with a grinning face and a pineapple head. I loved it, not only because this is typical of her, but because it was significant. She had been the subject of my feature article in the last edition of "Calhoun Magazine." The pen signified the writer in me which means she was happy with the article. Goodness, I adore this woman. She is the epitome of class, dignity, and gentility.

Then, I took my mom to the library and to the Dairy Queen for what was going to be a small ice cream cone a piece, but ended up being medium milkshakes for us. So, Ill be dancing a little longer and doing a few more crunches to reverse all that luscious thick creamy chocolatey drink with that blasted cherry on top. Groan.

And in ending this second day of my adventures in blogging, please note that I tend to make up words. It's something I've done for a long time. In fact, when I worked for the newspaper, my editor would ask me on occasion if a word was real or if it was my word. I was never quite truthful on that....And that's okay.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why am I blogging?

I started a blog some 4 years ago by the name of Grammy Water. This was what my grandson called my Perrier water that I drank and still drink continually. The title was cute at the time, but somehow, it lost its cuteness as my grandson grew older than two. I felt like I had to write about all things grandmotherly, and although I love being a grandmother, the material was kind of limited. Soooo....I posted for a while, got bored, and that was the end of that.

The thing is, I'm one of those folks on the far side of 60. My daddy came home from WWII and before too long, I made my appearance along with a gagillion other babies. I figure that all those soldiers who came home to wives and girl friends had seen so much death and horror, that they wanted to make sure that life went on, that they were alive.

Of course, in time, someone labeled us as "Baby Boomers", a nomenclature that has been used so often that it causes me to groan---out loud. Yes, there are a bunch of us. Yes, we did actually change the world in the 60s. Yes, a whole bunch of us will be around until the last of us are dragged kicking and screaming to our grave sometime in the next 30-50 years. We post WWII babies are former hippies, bra burning, draft dodging, liberal minded, Beatles loving, cult following, tripping folks who simply refuse to believe that we are getting older. We have just mellowed into our own skin and have learned to accept stuff we would never had accepted in our youth. And, let's face it, many of us grew up to be responsible adults who occasionally revert to our 1960s and 1970s mentality.

So, I decided to start a blog again with the coaxing of my daughter who has a wonderful blog herself called imnothannah. Talk about a wonderful writer! This girl is good, really good. She has a way with words that borders on brilliance. Of course, she's my daughter and I'm a bit prejudice in her favor, but her blogs have made me laugh, cry, and get pissed off.

I've been a writer all my life. Even when I was a freshman in high school, I wrote a book. It was all teen-aged angst, but it was still a book and I saved it. I've been a newspaper reporter and columnist, and even was awarded first place in the Georgia Press Association Best Serious Column category. I now write for a local magazine and get paid for it, so I can really say that I'm a professional writer.

My real profession is that of an assistant director of the Adult Education Department at our local college. I also teach adults who have fallen through the cracks. When the ones who really put forth an effort finally pass their GED, it is just about as satisfying to me as it is to them. I've worked with adults for over 20 years, so the moments of glory for them and me have multiplied throughout the years.

So why did I name my blog "Little Mary Sunshine"? I have four children, all grown. For some reason or another, I am generally cheerful most days. I look at each new day as an adventure. When the children were small, being the morning person that I am, I'd wake them with the words..."Get up. Get up. Get uuuuup! Thinking back on this practice, my non morning person youngsters probably hated my guts at the sound of those words at the crack of dawn. Come to think of it, they were loud and decidedly obnoxious sounding.

My daughter is the one who started calling me Little Mary Sunshine several years ago when she was a smart assy teen-ager, so I figured this blog would honor my other name. I want it to be upbeat most time. Optimism is what I try to practice with pessimism taking a back seat.

So, here I launch my Mary Sunshine blog. I hope those who travel over the web and stop to read for a while will find some redeeming value in my words.