Right in my own backyard.

The adventures husband Peter and I used to have are part of my memories and photo albums. His increasingly confused state — dementia has gained on him — keeps us home now. He has no memories of our trips, nor do my pictures help him remember. Last fall, for the first three days of an eight day visit to daughter Carolynn and husband Bill, Peter didn’t know where he was. We’d lived in that same little village for seventeen years.
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Daffodil in snow.

The first week of this month, Carolynn and her friend Robin traveled to us with inflexible determination to give me a special week “in my own backyard.” The bumper sticker on Carolynn’s new car said “Rescue Mom.”

Before the two left upstate New York early on a snowy Saturday morning, they’d issued orders for me to list anything they could do to help with during their week. Not wanting to look a gift-horse in the mouth, I did start a list, but lost it amongst the clutter in my office. I really wanted to just enjoy them, not put them to work on the pesky tasks that had piled up. That idea didn’t fly.

They arrived  Saturday evening. Sunday was family brunch, cards, and dinner out, but Monday they were all about the chores. Granddaughter Samantha was in town, so they appointed her secretary to their two-woman crew. And then they set to work.

Coincidentally, Leslie provided work shirts for the family crew. From left, Carolynn, Sam, me, Leslie.

They fixed nearly all the meals, grocery shopped, baked bread, cookies, muffins; organized files, cookbooks, kitchen cupboards, and my office; surprised me with muffins at breakfast on my birthday, and planned a birthday feast. (Leslie, around as much as she was able during her busiest time of the year, reminded them about my requirement for tin roof sundaes instead of cake.) Since Sam likes a clean car, I suggested she clean mine. She did,

Twice they shoved me out of the house, once to get a pedicure, once, a massage. I didn’t protest too much.

They gardened and washed windows, we shopped and played cards, watched movies and read, they made multiples of sock bunnies and we fit in “Beauty and the Beast” their final evening.

All in all, that week was a “trip” anyway I look at it. And I’ve got the pictures to prove it.

Over the week the list expanded to two pages. By the end, everything was crossed off, even ‘bake chocolate chip cookies’ that Sam added for herself.

Fluffle of sock bunnies.


Appaws! Appaws!

To my mind, there’s no better place to watch a fun little movie than on our couch, and no popcorn better than what I make myself.

While browsing Netflix offerings one evening I settled on “Family Movies.” Husband Peter laughed at me when I clicked on “Pup Star,” the July 2016 AirBud release. But, added to the comforts of home and my own special popcorn, when he saw that one of the stars, Charlie, was a ringer for our Nobby, well, there was no doubt home was the best place to be.

Oh sure, “Pup Star” is geared to children. True, the plot is a rather predictable And, yes, maybe the name of English bulldog judge Simon Growl is a bit too clever, but we childish oldsters really enjoyed the movie. Oddly, Nobby lay down in front of the television when he heard Tiny sing “Wherever you are.”  He seemed to enjoy watching the talented canines, and he thumped his tail enthusiastically. He loves to sing too, but he’s not in their class.  Those dogs could sing and their fancy four-legged footwork was fantastic.

What’s not to love about a movie in which “butt” is the naughtiest word in the film, a sinister dognapper is as scary as it gets, and the only hint of lovin’ is  the tender glances between rocker Charlie and country singer Emily Rose?

Dare I say, those 92 minutes were just plain fun unleashed?


Any place we go is some place.

When I began writing this blog three years ago I planned to write about our travels and other topics that could fit, however loosely, under the heading wherever you go, there you are.  The scope of that plan has narrowed as if I were looking through the wrong end of  my binoculars. What used to be limited only by our wallets, is now limited because going anywhere at all is an upset to my husband’s worsening dementia.

Nowadays, going to the grocery with me, a meal at a favorite restaurant, a movie at the Lyric, a walk through a different neighborhood, are “trips.” I tell Peter, any place we go is some place!

Travel these days is so difficult that I don’t mind. Peter would like to go like we once did, but knows it wouldn’t be the same. So I show him photos and remind him of the funny things that happened on our travels, our final trip for instance. We headed southwest to the Canyons, with a piggybacked week at Yellowstone.

Yes, there was a big scare, but also events worth remembering and laughing about.

I had to be helped in and out of the vans we traveled in because of my bum knee. Hiking was painful, bone grating on bone. Plus, I huffed and puffed like the magic dragon. I’d trudge a few yards on a trail, then rest. So much for telling our guide that I was conditioned and could hike several miles easily. There were only five in our group and I was the drag, the lead weight, the anchor scraping bottom.

After we got home, I saw the doctor for a follow-up to a stress test I’d had earlier. He asked where we’d been. I told him and said that between my aching knee and my breathlessness I wasn’t able to hike like I used to. “Why didn’t you tell me where you were going?” he asked. “That altitude is tough for anyone not used to it. I could’ve given you something to help.”

“It never occurred to me to call,” I said. “I’m in good shape, except for my knee, and we’ve hiked a lot over the years…”

“But I could have prescribed something  — Cialis probably— so you wouldn’t have a problem…”

“Um-m, excuse me, but why would that have helped me?” 

He explained that the med reduces pulmonary artery pressure at high altitudes, and thus increases ability to exercise in low oxygen conditions.

Oh how we’ve laughed over what might’ve “cured” my breathlessness.

2014: a backward glance.

Compared to other bloggers, my piddly fifty-seven posts in eighteen months don’t amount to much. Some bloggers post five to ten times a day! 

Of my thirty-five posts last year, “We may or may not remember” (May 9) had the images-3most views. And on the busiest single day, February 6, sixty-nine people viewed “Elephants and lions, oh my.” The post most commented upon was “What new car smell?” (April 14). I learned these and other statistics thanks to the WordPress 2014 Annual Report. Who knew statistics…numbers…would be a barometer for my writing?

There are various ways to find any blog, and my readers found me primarily via Facebook, MailYahoo, and webmailComcast. One connection thrilled me beyond measure — humorwriters.org, the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop site. Editor Terry Rivzi published the eight posts I submitted from October 2013-14. Each time, I happy-danced around the house, hooting and hollering as if I were at a Virginia Tech football game, score tied, two seconds on the clock, inches-to-goal, VT’s ball.

A month before I published my very first post, September 13, 2013, I submitted three draft ideas to the writers’ critique group I belong to. Their enthusiasm encouraged me. I floated out of the meeting with Andrea who had two successful blogs running already.  She asked what my goal was —recognition, readership, awards, writing for the sake of writing? Easy answer — to write regularly and to be published. I knew that putting myself out there would keep me writing. And it has. I’m obsessed!

My most active commenters last year — CJ, Carolynn, Leslie, Linda, Andrea, and Joanne — brightened my days with their remarks, as did the others who took the time to read, write, and follow.

I’m still feeling my way along this blogging road that, for me, has been a lot like a logging road…bump bump bumpity. Sometimes the bumps are so jarring they bring tears to my eyes and curses to my lips.

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For those who don’t know, WordPress (WP) is a free blog web-hosting service provider owned by Automattic. Their statistics are beyond amazing! For instance, there are nearly 60 million WP sites that receive more than 100 million pageviews per day. This tells you how insignificant my two blogs are in the grand scheme. But I’ve achieved my goals. I’m happy.

Additional WP statistics from 2014 blew my mind: every second, nearly six new posts are published on WP blogs. That averages out to 342 posts per minute, more than 20 thousand per day, some 7.49 million annually. What those figures mean to me is, in a few minutes I’ll click “publish” on this post and I will join five other bloggers that very second, 341 bloggers that minute, to say nothing of the 20 thousand bloggers this day!Screen shot 2015-01-03 at 4.44.54 PM

Even a numbers-hater like me appreciates those kinds of figures!