No Orcs, Just Daffies, Please

Last week at this time the local weather people said we had a chance of flurries for the next day. I had a tennis match at 9:30 a.m. last Tuesday. Sure enough, woke up to light flurries.

After our match, my tennis partner, Susan, and I decided to go out to lunch. It was sunny when we left the rec center. While we were sitting in First Watch the light outside started to change. It grew darker as the clouds thickened.

Susan exclaimed, “Oh wow! Look at that snow coming down!”

I looked out the window to see what the weathermen and women would later that night refer to as a “snow squall.” Here’s the scene at the shopping center we were at. My windshield got covered in less than 10 minutes.

Petco Snow SquallSnowy windshieldThe crazy thing about the weather last Tuesday was we’d get these “snow squalls” for anywhere between five and thirty minutes, then it’d clear up, get sunny, the snow that had just accumulated would melt, and then it’d repeat. Wild!

I thought about that on my walk today, which I took in one of my favorite places: Lenox Village.

I don’t know why I like it over there so much, but I do. Part of it is because I do a nice, flat loop. (The neighborhood I live in doesn’t always inspire me to walk due to all the hills. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a wee bit lazy when it comes to climbing hills.)

I also like the architecture and the vibe in general. There’s even a mystery bookstore I pass on my strolls.

But perhaps the streets have something to do with it? I mean, they have cool names. The main one I walk on is Sunnywood. How can you not feel good walking on street with such a happy sounding name?

But there’s also Bienville, Sugar Plum Road, and, my personal favorites, Tolkien and Hobbit Lanes.

Today I switched up my loop and turned left on Sugar Plum Road rather than following Sunnywood all the way down and wrapping around to come back up Sugar Plum. That’s when I saw this lovely creek I always pass from a different perspective.

I’m glad I did. It’s pretty from the way I normally see it too, but today I noticed the daffies (daffodils) in a new light. It was such a beautiful day I decided to have some fun snapping pics to capture a place that always gets my Muse’s juices flowing.

Sunnywood DriveLenox Village townhomesLenox Village HouseHobbit LaneBienville DriveTolkien LaneShoppes on Sunnywood SignMysteries & MoreSugar Plum RoadDaffies by a CreekExpanded view of creekside daffies

 

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It’s official!

Today I got an email from the editor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home book that my story, “The Bubble Bath”, was officially selected to appear in it!

Congratulations! Your story The Bubble Bath   has been selected to appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home. The book is now on its way to the printer! Thank you for helping us share happiness, inspiration, and wellness in this book by allowing us to publish your story.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home is scheduled to be available in bookstores May 27, 2014.

I’m over the moon!

I’ve been trying to get something accepted there for years. Finally did it.

Even better, I originally wrote that story for the Washington Centerville Erma Bombeck contest. It didn’t win, place or show, but I thought it was a pretty funny story. And a good one. I wasn’t going to give up on it. I just needed to find it the right home.

Done.

Just another example that you really do have to have a “never give up, never surrender” attitude in this writing business, a.k.a. persistent tenacity.

And that, my friends, is one thing I excel at. I’m definitely a stubborn little monkey! (Mostly that’s not a good thing, but there are times, like now, when I’m thankful for my stubborn streak.)

 

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What a Turkey!

In February, Wayne and I took a vacation. On our way home from the airport we stopped at a light. I looked to my right and was taken aback to see a turkey on the side of the road.

I quickly whipped out my phone and snapped a pic. It’s not unusual for us to see turkeys by our house. We don’t live in the country exactly, but it’s more rural than urban for sure.

However, we were on Harding, a fairly busy road not far from the airport. Not a usual place to see a turkey. And not one looking so alert just hanging out on the side of the road.

Dead End Turkey

Dead End Turkey

It wasn’t until I posted the photo on Facebook that I realized there was a Dead End sign in the background. Oh the jokes that could be made about this.

I keep trying to concoct one that involves the turkey not knowing why the chicken crossed the road, but the turkey did it to avoid the Dead End.

Lame. I know. I can’t seem to come up with the perfect punchline.

Oh well, that’s not what’s funniest. What is is that a couple of days later I was watching the news and guess what they had as one of the stories? This doggone turkey!

Which was good. Of course as we drove away I was worried the turkey was going to get hit. You might be able to tell from the picture that dusk was falling. Plus it was rush hour. I was afraid someone rushing home from work might not see the turkey and cream him.

It was a relief to see him on the news. Apparently he’s been hanging out on that corner for a while.

I had to take Wayne to the airport the other day. I looked for the turkey but didn’t see him.

Maybe he got his 15 minutes of fame and moved along?

 

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Late Winter Ice Storm Ghost Trees

In the pre-dawn hours this past Monday, Middle Tennessee experienced a late winter snow and ice storm.

Ah, the winter of 2014. Will it ever end?

We’ve had our fair share of the Polar Vortex-induced frigid weather here in Nashville this year, too. However, we haven’t had the kind of snow or ice people in northern states have endured. (Or Atlanta or Birmingham’s bad traffic-stopping icy conditions from a month ago. Boy did we dodge a bullet then!)

I can deal with the cold. I have many warm and comfy sweaters, plenty of snuggly throws on the couches, and a cupboard stocked with a variety of teas.

I actually like a little snow. I do not like what it does to the roads and prefer when it falls overnight, treats us to slow-starting mornings, then the sun comes out, warms things up, and melts ice from pavements so driving isn’t treacherous.

However, I like how snow days slow the world down.

Such days also seems to fuel my creativity. I write better and have more enthusiasm for it. Maybe because I know I can’t do much else outside and I have no excuse not to sit behind the computer and bang away at my keyboard.

Plus, few things bring my heart the kind of peace that looking out the window and seeing snow do.

Since we really haven’t had any measurable accumulation where I live in Tennessee this year, I’d also forgotten the beautiful transformation snow bequeaths upon the landscape.

Well, Mother Nature treated us to a very pretty sight this week. No one really went much of anywhere Monday. The governor declared a State of Emergency and urged motorists to stay off the road. I happily obliged.

But Tuesday road conditions had improved dramatically. I ventured out for a tennis game at the Y and found myself driving along breathtakingly beautiful streets.

The trees were all frosted in ice. The hillsides looked surreal. Ghostly. Haunting. It was magnificent!

I  tried to capture the essence, but, try as I might, I’m a terrible photographer. (Didn’t help that I was trying to take pictures as I was driving. I wasn’t joking about #39 on my 100 Things About Me post. Thankfully avoided any accidents though.)

Still, I tried to enhance some of the better ones I took using the Camera+ app on my iPhone.

Here’s the result.

Frosty Trees

This is a scenic road anyway I often find myself on, but when it’s lined by frosty trees? Whoa! (This pic does not do it justice. Should’ve stopped to try and get a better one.)

Rural Winter's Kiss

Rural Winter’s Kiss

Frosted Trees and an Old House

Frosted Trees and an Old House

Ice-laden dancing evergreens

Ice-laden dancing evergreens (They’re bent under the weight of the ice, but doesn’t it look like they’re bowing about to do a waltz or something?)

Rural Rear View

Rural Rear View (This was snapped as I zoomed by and hoped I got something. I didn’t quite capture the winter scene I’d wanted, but I liked how the road looked in the rear view and thought it made for a neat pic.)

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Anecdote Published in Woman’s World

I’m very excited to share that a submission I sent in to the “Circle of Kindness” section of Woman’s World was published in the March 10, 2014 issue, which went on sale yesterday.

WW Mar 10, 2014Circle of KindnessI’ll never forget the day that kind stranger bought my hot chocolate. There’s a little more to the story, though.

I kept seeing him eyeing me in his rear view mirror. I was touching Murph’s collar, which now hangs from my rear view mirror. I figured he must be wondering why I kept doing that. Murph had only died just 2 days before. My heart was super heavy with grief. It needed some comfort and warmth, and a Starbucks tall hot chocolate seemed to be the TLC I was craving.

When the man kept watching, I got a little self-conscious and stopped touching Murph’s collar. The line was long that day and moving slow. Then I noticed the woman in the car behind me was quite attractive. I decided the man in front of me must be looking at her, not me.

But then I pulled up to pay and the cashier said the man in front had paid for my order and told her to tell me to have a happy day and I burst out crying.

I wish I would’ve thought then to pay for the car behind me’s order, but I was too overcome. I’ve paid for stranger’s drinks before. Heck, I even paid for a veteran and his wife’s dinner one night. I’ve never been the recipient of a random act of kindness like this though.

I really felt Murph’s presence and “paws” in it. Oh, and the “Ho hey” song by the Lumineers had come on as I’d headed to Starbucks. The first time I ever heard it Murph was in the car with me. I don’t know what we were doing. Maybe just going for a walk. But the lyrics made me think of how I felt about Murph and ever since I’ve always thought of him when I hear that song.

I really think that day he was trying to tell me, “Hey, mom, I miss you too, but even though I’m up in Heaven I still got your back, okay?”

Thanks, Murph. You keep proving to me what an amazing pup you were really were.

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Easy Homemade Valentine “Bon Bons” for Less than $1.25 Each!

I love giving little presents any chance I get. (Thank you Valentine’s Day!)

Tomorrow is my NALTA team’s weekly clinic, and on Friday I’ll be playing a pick up game at the Y. I decided to bring all my tennis friends little homemade (well, okay, mostly homemade…home-assembled) Valentine “bon bon” goodie bags.

Pink and White Valentine Bon Bon BagsI thought it’d be a fun thing to share here because who knows? Maybe you’ll be looking for an inexpensive way to give a lot of people presents one day too.

MATERIALS

  • Two different colors of napkins or tissue paper (I used guest-sized napkins. You could also stick with one color. I was just trying to make my gifts look a little more festive.) Pink and White Guest Napkins
  • Candy (I chose 4 different kinds: Hearts, hugs, kisses and Sweethearts. But you could also bake something and wrap them in these too if you’re talented that way.)

    Assorted Valentine's Candy

    Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts, Hershey’s Kisses and Raspberry Hugs, Sweethearts

  • Ribbon White ribbon
  • Time (They’re not hard to put together but they did take me about 45 minutes to assemble them all. Of course, I was also distracted watching the Olympics at the time so I’m sure that slowed me down.)

STEPS

  1. Place napkins so one is laying at an angle on top of the other. Pink Napkin Catty Corner Napkins
  2. Put candy (or baked goods) in the middle. Candy in the middle
  3. Gather up the sides and tie together with ribbon. Valentine Bon Bon

So easy right?

COST

  • $14.27 for the candy (I didn’t buy any on sale. This was sort of a last minute decision so I had no coupons on hand. I’m sure I could’ve spent less if I’d put more thought into it.)
  • $6.00 for the napkins (Again, if I’d thought to go to the dollar store I’m sure I could’ve scored a better deal.)
  • I already had ribbon on hand. That cost me $0!
  • Total = $20.27

TOTAL BAGS MADE

17

For a grand total of $1.19 per bon bon bag!

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

 

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Tennis Superpowers

Last season, Fall 2013, was my 1st season to be captain of a NALTA (Nashville Area Ladies Tennis Association) team. That’s bigger than USTA leagues here in Middle TN. (In some places, USTA is the thing.)

But I have also been a captain of a USTA team here in Nashville. In fact, in 2012 we won our local league, went to State, swept it, then went on to Sectionals where we finished 3rd. Not too shabby for not really knowing what I was doing. (Story of my life. I always seem to do better that way really.)

Anywhoo…with any job, including being captain of a ladies tennis team, there’s always paperwork. I had a handy USTA folder I got when we went to Sectionals. I keep YMCA league score sheets, schedules, player and sub lists in it. (And of course kept USTA stuff in it too.)

For NALTA last season I just used the manilla folder our division’s coordinator gave us when we got our schedules and such.

The captain of the first team we played last season gave me a great tip: keep stamped, addressed envelopes on hand. (We email our scores to our division coordinator, but also mail in the hard copy score sheets.)

That was some very good advice.

I noticed a few of the other captains we played corralled all their paperwork with binders. Kept everything neat and tidy.

Most of them had their team names on their binders. But one also had a picture of their home tennis court.

That gave me an idea. One I finally acted on the other day.

I created a Servivors team binder. (That’s our name, the Servivors. One of our clever teammates, Susan, came up with it because it has a double meaning. A few of us are cancer survivors. But we also need to earn a certain amount of points as a team to stay at our level, which is B4. We’re always just barely earning the minimum to “survive” and stay in B4.)

I went out to Flickr Commons and stumbled across a great photo. I paired it with one of the many amusing sayings I’ve seen on various tennis merchandise on Zazzle, put it all together in Word, and voila! The Servivors now join the ranks of teams with organized paperwork holders!

Servivors SuperpowersI also created a graphic using just the photo.

Servivors Superpowers Graphic

 

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2014 Off to a Great Start!

2014 marks a big year for me. Or, at least, I hoped it would mark a significant milestone. I had my yearly CT scan on January 17, 2014. I had my six month oncology check up on January 21, 2014. The results of my CT scan and blood work were {insert drum roll here}…

NO CANCER!

That means I made it to five years in remission!!!

HUGE!

High Fiving to Health with My Awesome Oncology Team

High Fiving to Health with My Awesome Oncology Team

Except…

There always seems to be a “but” with my health tests anymore.

Dr. Patton, my oncologist, came in and I immediately bombarded him with the question, “Was my scan clear?” because I had been having some issues that made me worry the cancer was back.

He was pleased to report my scan looked great and my blood work was fine, but… (here it comes) he had a shocking question: “Have you ever been diagnosed with congestive heart failure?”

Speaking of hearts, mine fell right about then.

“Pardon me?” I asked.

He went on to explain the CT scan had showed something weird with my heart. Blood backing up into my liver or some such thing.

The trouble was, I’d had a heart attack-like incident on December 14, 2013. I was playing tennis with Wayne and suddenly felt this seizing pain in the left side of my chest. I couldn’t run, I felt like I was either going to pass out or throw up, or both. I feared I was having a heart attack but if it was going to happen, what better place than with my husband on a tennis court? If I didn’t survive, I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather die.

Plus, it was December. No way I was going to the hospital voluntarily. Bad things happen in December, and one already had. (I don’t think I wrote about it here, but on Haunt Jaunts I did. We lost our beloved dog, Murphy, on December 1, 2013…after he suffered a heart attack of all things.)

December is when my mom kicked my dad out of the house, took me to Nutcracker the movie for what I thought was a nice mom-daughter afternoon outing but instead was when she told me I’d be joining the ranks of school friends with divorced parents. And then of course in December 2008, New Year’s Eve to be exact, I officially learned I had cancer.

Nope. I consider December a jinx full of misery. Wasn’t going to add to it if I could avoid it.

But I couldn’t escape the fact something really had happened on December 14, 2013 with my heart now. Dr. Patton said he needed me to go see a cardiologist and have some other tests done.

Crap.

That put a damper on celebrating five yeas in remission.

Although, I consoled myself with the fact that there was some excellent news besides being cancer-free that came out of it: Since I made it to five years I wouldn’t have to endure yearly CT scans anymore. Halleluiah!! I thought cancer helped me lick my needle phobia, which in part it has. I can have my blood drawn without having a reaction and I can get small shots like a flu shot a-okay, but anything where the needle has to be left in my arm in IV-ish form? (I have to get contrast for those CT scans so they give me an IV.)

Fuggedaboutit!

Anyway, so I tried not to stress all week about the cardiologist visit. I knew the tests they’d give me there did not require needles. I could do it! Better they could find what was wrong. (Couldn’t have been that bad. I was still walking, playing tennis, actually feeling better than ever, but…maybe something was really wrong and I just didn’t know it yet.)

So I had a EKG and an echocardiogram and…100% a-okay!

Dr. Humphreys, the cardiologist, was super nice and funny. He told me, “You don’t need me! You have a great looking heart. Super young in fact.”

SHAZAM!

So NOW the five year celebration can start in earnest!

But that wasn’t the only good news to come this January. After 14 years of submitting various things to Woman’s World magazine, I finally got an acceptance! It’s for a little tidbit I submitted to their Circle of Kindness section. It will appear in the March 10, 2014 issue, which goes on sale February 27th.

Rock on!

2014 is off to a freaking awesome start!!

Hope you can say the same.

 

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100 Things About Me

Several weeks back my friend Alice Sullivan shared a post with me she wrote called 30 Things About Me. She wrote it when her friend, Alece Ronzino, posted an article called 100 Things About Me and asked others to do the same.

Alice was pressed for time so she decided to only do 30. (She lives the life I’d love to live but have realized I’m too lazy and not disciplined enough for. She’s a full time freelance editor and writer.)

Alice then shared her link on my FB page with the following message:

A friend inspired me to make this list…I want to see yours :)

I was super flattered, but as I read Alice’s list I thought, “I don’t think I could come up with 10 things about myself much less 30 or 100. But even if I could, how could I ever match Alice’s clever and witty list?”

Well, once I started thinking about it, I couldn’t stop. I started jotting notes every time something I could put on the list hit me.

Here’s the result of what I came up with.

One of my favorite childhoods photos.

One of my favorite childhoods photos: Marching with my slide whistle after a Potty Inspection stop in the mountains. (My family often went camping in the mountains or even just for day trips up there. We all loved being outdoors.)

  1. I never graduated kindergarten. (I missed too many days playing hookie. I’d pretend to be sick so I could watch TV at the babysitter’s, specifically Blinky’s Fun Club, a local clown show that used to be on in Denver circa 1970s.)
  2. When I was little the doctor asked my mom to find me another doctor after I (a) two years in a row had them chasing me all around the office when they needed to give me a penicillin shot when I had strep, and (b) screamed bloody murder the third year when they decided to lock me in a room to give me the shot and I was so loud and obnoxious they ended up with a waiting room full of upset, crying kids and disturbed parents.
  3. My sister once stood naked on our front lawn holding me by my ankles over the sprinkler.
  4. One summer I went to visit my cousins in Indiana, who taught me about throwing a glass of cold water on people in showers.
  5. That’s why #3 happened.
  6. I’m a slower learner. (Maybe has something to do with #1?)
  7. My sister also shoved me butt first into a trash can once…
  8. …after I repeated #4 on her a second time. (Refer to #6.)
  9. My family used to call me The Potty Inspector because every single place we went the first thing I had to do was go check out the bathroom.
  10. When I was 9 a talent scout came to my school and picked me as one of the girls they wanted to audition for the part of Molly in the movie version of Annie.
  11. The night before that happened I asked my mom to put my hair in “rags” (strips of cloth she’d roll my hair in to make it curly). I also made sure my favorite dress was clean. It was red with little flowers on it.
  12. I rarely paid that much attention to my appearance back then (and still don’t now), but something inside told me I needed to look nice the next day.
  13. I was just sitting in my 4th grade class when our principal opened the door and peeked in with a blond-haired lady who pointed at me and my arch-nemesis. We were both asked to come audition.
  14. I’ve listened to my hunches ever since.
  15. I took drama and voice classes to prepare. (My arch-nemesis did not.)
  16. I was called back three times. I started out being 1 of 400 girls in the state of Colorado auditioning and made it down to the final 27. (My arch-nemesis ended up not auditioning.)
  17. My dancing (or, rather lack thereof) blew it for me. I nailed the acting and singing, but when they asked me to dance I threw my hands in the air and jogged in circles in place. (Picture how the Peanuts gang dances on Charlie Brown cartoons.) After the casting directors stopped laughing, they politely said, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
  18. That was the extent of my showbiz career.
  19. But I’ve always secretly hoped to be discovered as a voice actor.
  20. I was actually surprised I didn’t get the boot for my singing.
  21. Before they got rid of our music program in my elementary school, Purple Parsons (our music teacher) would often single me out as being off key and ask me to mouth the words.
  22. I’d sing when she wasn’t looking, but would abruptly start mouthing again when she’d shoot me a dirty look.
  23. My dad gave me my first diary when I was 10.
  24. I have been journaling ever since.
  25. I have separate journals for separate things: thoughts, dreams, gratitude, quotes.
  26. I probably have at least 100 journals. (If not way more.)
  27. Some of my favorite reading is my old journals.
  28. The diaries from my teenage years and early 20s break my heart and make me want to reach back in time and hug the girl I was back then, shower her with love, and let her know everything will turn out okay in the end.
  29. I inherited my hunches from my dad.
  30. For my 11th birthday I desperately wanted a 10-speed bike but my family didn’t have the money for one.
  31. Right before my 11th birthday my dad took me to the fishing contest that was part of Huck Finn Days in Denver. He told me to sit in a certain spot and said, “That’s it. That’s where you’ll catch it.” (The prize for catching the biggest fish was a 10-speed bike.)
  32. I won my own birthday present that year.

    Me and my prize winning trout

  33. When I was 12, I was addicted to Nancy Drew books so bad I sent in a King Soopers comment card detailing why they should hire me to be their Nancy Drew. The store’s manager called me and said he admired my enthusiasm but they had security covered and to please not use comment cards like that in the future.
  34. I went through a punk rock phase when I was 14 and died my hair blue.
  35. I figure skated and performed in ice shows from the age of seven until thirteen.
  36. I was on a precision team (a.k.a. Synchronized Skating) and was always the last skater to complete wheel formations because I was small and fast and a bit of a ham. (I ate it up when the audience would gasp and hold their breath watching me try to catch on.)

    My favorite precision team outfit

  37. I hate, Hate, HATE talking on the phone.
  38. I hate it so much I would probably text or email 911 in an emergency rather than pick up the phone if I could.
  39. If I was to get in a car accident while using my cell phone it would not be due to texting and most likely wouldn’t be while I was talking on the phone (refer to #37) but because I was trying to use my camera phone to get a picture of something.
  40. I love scary movies and haunted places, but I absolutely meltdown with terror and panic if I try to go in a Halloween-style haunted house.
  41. I’m convinced I’ve beaten any world records in the 100 meter sprint a few times in my life (almost all of them having to do with trying to go in a haunted house and racing right back out again).
  42. I learned to swim fly when I was 32.
  43. I say “Blessings on your life” to every roadkill animal I pass. Even the super smooshed, unidentifiable ones. (Maybe especially those.)
  44. There is something about herons that speak to me. I feel a soul-soothing peace whenever I see one and take it as a good omen because good things always happen after, especially when I spot ones in flight.
  45. I brake for turtles and help them cross the road.
  46. Turtles also happen to be my favorite reptiles.
  47. I’m addicted to Angry Birds.
  48. I cheat at Words with Friends and use a website to help me figure out words to play.
  49. If I spent as much time trying to make money in real life as I do trying to get high scores in Bejeweled, I’d be a very, very wealthy woman.
  50. I believe in reincarnation
  51. and am pretty sure I’ve lived before, circa the Gilded Age.
  52. I’ve always had an unnatural fascination with hookers
  53. and suspect I may have worked in a brothel in my past life.
  54. I’m very hard on jewelry.
  55. I lost the diamond in my wedding ring and decided to replace it with the biggest, most glamorous, yet realistic-looking fake diamond ring I could find since we didn’t have insurance to replace my original. The second ring cost $200 and ironically got compliments every single week for the four years I had it (I’ve since broken it too), whereas my original maybe only got complimented the first week I had it.
  56. I was heartsick when I lost my first diamond. I expected to be buried with that ring.
  57. Which is weird because I want to be cremated.
  58. I also don’t want to be embalmed or have a viewing.
  59. I just want to be burned, boxed up, taken on a cruise and dumped in the ocean.
  60. Along with stationery stores, the hardest place for me not to buy something in is a soap shop.
  61. It’s amazing I ever make it anywhere.
  62. I’m forever getting in the car and forgetting which way I need to go.
  63. Needless to say I’m a master U-turn maker.
  64. I often try to unlock the front door of my house with my car’s keyless remote
  65. and stand there wondering why the door won’t unlock until I eventually figure it out. (Again, keep #1 in mind.)
  66. I was an accident.
  67. That’s always stung.
  68. I wish even just once my parents called me a surprise.
  69. My mom never once signed any of the cards she gave me “Love, Mom”
  70. I wasn’t my mom’s favorite child.
  71. But it’s okay. She wasn’t my favorite parent.
  72. My dad has never sent me a birthday card on time.
  73. My mom only dared take me with her to vote twice. One year I bit her on her leg. (For no reason. I was very young, maybe only four, and vaguely remember just feeling like taking a chomp at her all of a sudden.) The next time was when I was 7 or 8. In school we were learning about the election and voting process. Our teacher said something about picking a candidate was a private matter. It became my mission to get my mom to tell me who she was voting for. Which she did. When we got to the polling place I announced as loud as I could, “My mom’s voting for Carter!” As did the chomp, I got a swift backhand to the face before being escorted to the car and taken home.
  74. I moved my mom in with Wayne and I when she was dying because I wanted to be a good daughter.
  75. I hoped she’d finally see I was a good person and would tell me she loved me.
  76. Thanks to the dementia she didn’t even know who I was at the end. (But she never once forgot my sister. That also stung.)
  77. Right before my grandma died she spoke of her parents and sister coming to get her. My mom did the same thing. That scares the hell out of me.
  78. I don’t want my mom (or dad) to come guide me to the Great Beyond when I die.
  79. If my husband passes before me, I want him to come for me. Otherwise, I want my pets to come lead my way.
  80. I hated baby dolls growing up but loved stuff animals.
  81. When I’d play house I never pretended I had any children but instead took care of a zoo-full of (stuffed) pets.
  82. I never yearned to have kids and be a mom but I always looked forward to being an aunt.
  83. Neither my sister nor my husband’s brother ended up having kids either, though.
  84. When my parents got divorced it was super ugly. The judge asked me who I wanted to live with. I told him I didn’t care but wherever I went, so did my dog, Mackie. That was written into the divorce papers.

    Mackie, my dog, on the left and mean old Mikey, my dad’s dog, on the right. (Mikey was the meanest old cuss. In many ways I can’t believe this picture was even taken. I don’t know how he didn’t bite me or Mack!)

  85. I can’t watch movies about animals (think Free Willy and the like) without bawling my eyes out. Nothing bad even has to happen. I just feel a great swell of emotion whenever animals star in movies.
  86. Getting cancer and Type II diabetes have both been among the scariest but ultimately best things to happen to me.
  87. I used to have such a bad needle phobia I would get hot, sweaty, dizzy, and then throw up and get diarrhea (yes, often all at the same time) just seeing a needle.
  88. #86 has pretty much cured #87.
  89. I suck at yoga. I am not made to be physically flexible.
  90. I don’t like my feet being touched.
  91. I’ve never had a mani or a pedi. (A pedi would be particularly traumatizing due to #90 so I have no intention of ever getting one either.)
  92. Growing up my beloved blanket’s name was Minky. I couldn’t sleep without it. It went everywhere with me.
  93. I still have my Minky, but it’s in a drawer next to my bed. I don’t need to sleep with it anymore.
  94. I spend as much (if not more) on Halloween than Christmas.
  95. I try to be a Coupon Fairy whenever possible.
  96. Golden Girls is my go to when I need a pick-me-up. (I am so Rose, but wish I was as snarky as Dorothy, as sassy as Sophia, and as openly sensual as Blanche.)
  97. I was once kidnapped. By Wayne. I went on a date with another guy to a lacrosse game to make him jealous. It worked. He threw me over his shoulder and dashed across the field. Then we jumped in his Bronco and went to get ice cream.
  98. I was a LaxCat in college. (I played goalie for the University of Arizona’s women’s lacrosse club team.)
  99. The love and loving home I longed for growing up I have found as an adult.
  100. I have no interest in living as long as possible. I’m striving for quality, not quantity.
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Guest Post on LiveDoGrow.com

A couple months back I saw a post in one of my LinkedIn Groups from Elena Sonnino looking for people wanting to be a part of her “Why Do You Travel?” series. I responded and she sent me the details, which were basically as straightforward as that: write a short piece explaining why you travel. If you get a chance, I’d love to have you stop by and check it out: http://www.livedogrow.com/travel-to-cope-with-cancer/.

Cancer was the reason I began Haunt Jaunts, even though I’d been haunt jaunting long before I finally started the blog. But would it surprise you to know that even for all the travel I do, I never aspired to be a travel blogger or run a travel site? Or that travel used to scare me?

That’s what I wrote about in my post for Elena’s LiveDoGrow.com blog. To my surprise, Elena used some of the words from my post to create this really snazzy graphic. I love it!

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