A Budding Blog…

Budding Flower_01

Well, it is with a fair amount of fear and trepidation that I’d like to make an announcement.
Before your mind starts to wander too far, I am not pregnant. That would cause mind-boggling fear and trepidation, and would, in fact, be a miracle.
This is “Not That Big a Deal” which is also the name of my new blog. Yes, friends I have “bitten the bullet, jumped in with both feet, leaped into the breach” and it scares the crumbs out of me. But, I¬†enjoy making people smile and laugh and forget, even if just for a little while, their troubles. I think it’s something we all need now and then. I really do believe that “a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” So, here I go…
My blog link will be posted on facebook and twitter tomorrow and, hopefully, every Friday after that. I hope it does its job. I hope it makes you smile. 


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Life With Charlie ~ What’s That Smell???

It was a peaceful morning. Now that we are fairly empty-nesters most mornings are. I say fairly empty because, though there are no children in the house some of them are right across the street and we have a dog, Phoebe, and a kitten, Charlie Cat. Charlie Cat is not the name we gave him, but our 3 year old grandson came up with this and it stuck. Fortunately, Charlie Cat is very cute because…


As I was saying, it was a peaceful morning and I was sitting in my chair drinking my coffee, reading my book with Charlie in my lap, and wondering; not about my day, not even about what I was going to be eating that day; I was wondering what exactly I was smelling, because whatever it was, it wasn’t good. I sniffed around and discovered the source, Charlie’s cat box. It’s a pretty cat box, one that looks like furniture so nobody really knows what’s in there, unless it is befouled. When I opened the doors, I was greeted with said befoulment.

My morning had new purpose, not one of quiet repose with my coffee and my book, much as I wanted that. This morning was one of war. A battle to clean the befouled, putrefied, “liquid” in the box that somehow did not make it into the litter, a bigger battle to not toss my coffee in the process, and the constant battle for a good attitude when you haven’t finished your coffee and it’s only 4:00 am. And so I thought about my predicament.

I was grateful that the stink and it’s source was inside the box and not on my floor. Then I remembered that I had just bought a pair of new rubber gloves and opening new things is always fun, so that was a plus! Attitude in check, I got started. My first step was to gather all I would need, put on my new rubber gloves, and go to war. I had plastic bags, paper towels, a bucket of hot water and disinfecting wipes. As I prepared to don my new gloves, I realized that my right hand glove was fine and so was the other right hand glove. Wait. What? I had TWO right hand gloves. So, fortunately, I am in fact, right-handed and quite literally, singlehandedly got to work.

The clean up was actually not that bad. I did not toss my coffee. The befoulment was neatly packaged in multiple plastic bags with everything that had touched it. My house smelled good before my husband woke up. I cleaned the two right-handed gloves and put them back in their bag for a return. And then I had the funniest thought! I rarely watched “Friends” but my daughter would often share funny parts of episodes with me. My favorite was Phoebe singing “Smelly Cat.” Our dog is Phoebe, our cat is Smelly…Get it! If not, it’s really not that big a deal!


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Gratitude = Attitude

Not something new but, it is amazing how much easier life is when you have an attitude of gratitude; something I recently learned for the umpteenth time in my life. It started like this…

Our church had been studying the book of Genesis. A book that I sometimes feel I’ve read so many times that it’s easy to zone out during the message and have an “I already know this” type of mindset. I have to say that that was impossible as each week’s presentation was both thought provoking and applicable to my life. Especially one story and teaching on the life of Joseph.
In case you are unfamiliar, the life of Joseph goes something like this…

Joseph at 17 years old was his father Jacob’s, favorite. So much so that Jacob gave Joseph a beautiful coat. Now, Joseph had eleven brothers, eventually the twelve tribes of Israel. They had different mothers, but still, lots of brothers. Joseph had dreams first that his brothers in the form of sheaves bowed down to his sheaf and then that the sun, moon and eleven stars (his parents and eleven brothers) were bowing down to him. His brothers were not fond of Joseph, for obvious reasons, and they were kind of put off by his dreams, so they sold him into slavery, killed a goat dipped his beautiful coat in the goat’s blood and brought it to their father. Jacob assumed Joseph was killed when he was, in fact, taken to Egypt. He was bought by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, in Egypt. The Lord was with Joseph and Joseph finds favor with Potiphar and was made the overseer of Potiphar’s house. Potiphar’s wife “wanted” Joseph, but Joseph repeatedly turned her down. She grabbed his garment, he ran out of the house and she accused him of trying to “lie with her.” Joseph went to jail.
While in jail, the Lord was again with Joseph and he found favor with the keeper of the prison. Joseph was put in charge of all of the prisoners that were in the prison.
The cupbearer and the chief baker of the King of Egypt made Pharaoh angry and end up in prison with Joseph. They both had dreams, Joseph interpretted their dreams, one favorably the other not so favorably. Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him when he was released, which of course he did not do until…Pharaoh had a dream that nobody could interpret. Joseph was called up and interpretted Pharaoh’s dreams so well, that he was put in charge of all of the land of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh.
As per Pharaoh’s dreams, there were seven years of plenty of food and then seven years of famine. Joseph, now 30 years old, had prepared Egypt for the famine by harvesting and saving food during the seven years of plenty. Joseph married, had two sons, and lived as an Egyptian. His brothers came to Egypt to buy food and long story short, he forgave them saying, “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” In case you’d like to read this for yourself, it can be found in the Bible in Genesis chapters 37 – 50.

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Creepy Technology

My husband tells me technology is a good thing. An important thing. Something we need to move forward with. Personally, I think technology is a questionable thing on many levels and a creepy thing on some.

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Posted in 2020, Alexa, appliances, Books, Cats, Cell Phones, Challenges, Change, Conspiracies, Dogs, Friends, girlfriends, Humor, Husbands, Life, Marriage, technology, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Good Friends on Both Ends

Married friends can be a curious lot. The wife of a couple can be a good friend of mine, but the husband of that couple may not necessarily be a good friend of Cliff’s and vice versa. The dynamics, when friends are only on one end can be somewhat strained for the spouse on the other end. We are fortunate to have quite a few married friends who are good friends on both ends. Last week we hosted George and Theri, two of our very good friends on both ends.

When good friends on both ends come for a visit, it’s always fun and always busy. When fun and busy join forces, people can get tired and when people can get tired they sometimes can forget things. Things that should not be forgotten, as you will soon see, but I digress.

Our time together began on Wednesday night, well, not really. George and Theri arrived on Wednesday night. We were already asleep. We gave them the door code and left the light on in their room. Very good friends can do that, which is part of what makes them very good friends. We were asleep because Thursday was going to be busy. A full day, open to close, at Epcot. Can I tell you that I can’t tell you the last time I was at a Disney park at night in the dark? In fact, I can’t really tell you the last time I was awake at night when it was dark. We were once at a park so early in the morning that it was dark, but I don’t think that counts.


The full day at Epcot was perfect. The weather was beautiful. Epcot was, and still is, hosting their Food & Wine Festival, so we ate and talked our way around the world a couple of times making the day almost fly by. We were waiting for the closing fireworks show that was to start at 9:00. We found our “watching spot” at 8:00. We were ready, we were willing, we were all still vertical and then they announced that the show would begin at 9:45. Since we are all fairly well into our 60’s, we were not really that ready or willing and some of us, okay me, would no longer be vertical at that time; so the men went on one more ride and the ladies went to shop a little and use the restroom one more time. We also stopped for a hard cider flight, hence the need for one more restroom trip, then we all went home.

Friday and Saturday were easier days full of hiking and family and food.

Sunday we fought the Halloween crowds at St. Augustine. The most crowded we’ve ever seen it with little kids and adults in all kinds of costumes, some of them deep inside a costume that was blown up around them so they looked like the air-filled ornamentation people put on their lawns. It was kind of weird.

Monday George and Theri were going home. I was beginning to think that I might make it through an entire visit without doing something funky to myself or anyone else. The key word there would be “might”.

They didn’t have to leave until 1:30 or so in the afternoon, leaving plenty of time for a game of Scrabble, a nice lunch, and a visit with our youngest daughter and the youngest of her sons. A nice day, a relaxing day; but, I was tired and sensed a cold Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino bottle in the fridge calling my name. It was a call I should never have answered.

I took the bottle from the fridge and decided that I would only drink a little bit of it, enough for a quick pick-me-up. I shook the bottle, loosened the cap, and put it down, temporarily distracted by I don’t know what. I came back to the bottle, post distraction, and that’s when I forgot. I forgot a thing I should not have forgotten and I shook the bottle, again. This time with a loosened cap.


You know how people look when they walk into a room and a bucket of water falls down on them from the door frame drenching them from head-to-toe? Picture that with a cold Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino. It was in my hair, on my face, covering my glasses so I couldn’t see, on my shirt, dripping down my chest, and on both of my arms. It was on the floor, on the wall, and on the pantry door. It was everywhere. I stood in a state of shock trying my best to fathom how and what I had just done. Theri was in hysterics laughing, almost to the point of tears. I joined her and then changed my clothes. We mopped up the mess together. And there it was. The joyful, hysterical, culmination of a very good friends on both ends visit! There was even a little bit of Starbucks left in the bottle for my quick pick-me-up.

Very good friends on both ends, they’re a Very Big Deal!


Posted in Attitude, Blessings, Board Games, Christians, Disney, Disney World, Family, Florida, Food, Friends, Happiness, Home, House Guests, Humor, Husbands, Husbands and Wives, Life, Men and Women, Senior Moments, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life With Charlie

Though I have always considered myself more of a “dog” person, and aside from the fact that we have never in all of our 42 married years owned a cat before, I have owned cats before. In fact, we both have. Cliff had outdoor cats that lived in a little “cat house” in the backyard that they would heat in the winter. One cat was name Shnooky, which they thought was a boy; but then Shnooky had kittens. They were named…Butterball, Snoopy, Porkchop, and other names that are long since forgotten. Perhaps that’s for the best.
I also had two cats as a teenager. Pippi Longstocking who was actually given the entire Pippi Longstocking name of Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking. Yes, I was a book nerd even then. We called her Pippi for short, that is until we found out she was a he. Then I named him Pepe Le Pew after the debonair cartoon skunk.
Pepe enjoyed the simple things in life, like attacking my sister’s feet and lying in the middle of the street daring cars to hit him. And then one did. I was devastated. My sister, not so much.
The second cat we owned was named Smoky. Not a very imaginative name and he wasn’t grey, so I don’t know why. He was black and white, what they now call a tuxedo cat. He ran away one day. He didn’t return for quite some time. When he finally did return he looked kind of chubby and after awhile he had five kittens in our basement. If you haven’t guessed by now, determining the sex of cats was not either of our family’s strong suit. The kittens were adorable. Adorable and covered in fleas. We went to the basement to see the kittens in our cute little white socks and came out of the basement with socks that were brown…and moving. It was pretty horrible and our house had to be flea bombed. After that, we mostly had dogs with nice big flea collars.


Lots of years and at least 6 dogs later, we have Charlie. Of all the cats either of us has ever owned, Charlie is the best. He’s clean, he’s calm, he’s entertaining, and he and Phoebe get along just fine. Mostly. Phoebe at 45 pounds and not the sharpest tool in the shed, seems to think that Charlie is an odd looking dog. In her defense, the only other dog she ever lived with was a chihuahua, so it is kind of understandable. Charlie at 5.25 pounds, is not having it. Fortunately, Charlie is much faster and can easily take the high ground, which Phoebe can’t reach.
Charlie also inspires songs in us. Really! He does! I’m dating myself here, but remember the “Choo Choo Charlie” song? It goes like this…ahem…

“Choo Choo Charlie was an engineer
Choo Choo Charlie was his name we hear
He had a little engine and he sure had fun
He used Good and Plenty candies to make his train run
Charlie says, “Love my Good and Plentys”
Charlie says, “Really rings the bell!” (Ding, ding)
Charlie says, “Love my Good and Plentys”
“There’s not any other candy that I love so well!””

There you have it. And that’s what we sing. Both of us. It’s weird, but kind of fun!
So far, all of having Charlie is kind of fun! Watching him jump after a feather that is attached to a wiry thing. Having him attack our feet in our bed. Cleaning counter tops and the table because you can’t really stop him from walking on them. Paying exorbitant vet bills for an animal that weighs less than ten pounds. Cleaning litter boxes more than once a week…The things we do for love!

There has been one problem that Cliff and I have both had to deal with. There are very few things in life where our thinking is alike, but we both have this innate idea that cats are girls and dogs are boys. Since our animals are the opposite, this has posed a problem of sorts. We are constantly referring to Phoebe as “he” and Charlie as “she”. Before Charlie, we never had a problem referring to Phoebe as a girl. But now, we call her “him”. Maybe someday we’ll get it straight. But then, in the light of all eternity, it’s really not that big a deal!

Posted in Animals, Blessings, Cats, Chihuahua, Childhood, Christians, Dogs, Encouragement, Family, Home, Humor, Life, Love, Memories, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Phoebe and Charlie Chaplin

42 years.

That’s how long we’ve been married and in all of those 42 years we have been blessed to have raised 3 children and seen them married. They then blessed us with 7 grandchildren, all of them living within a 30 minute drive of our home.
We have owned two homes, one in New Jersey where we lived with family we love and now one in Florida. We have owned 6 dogs Jake, Ralph, Buffy, Stella, Haven, and now Phoebe. We have also owned two miniature hamsters, both named George, and a fish named Fred. But, never have we ever owned a cat, until now.

“Why did we suddenly decide to be cat owners this late in the game?” you might ask. And, I might tell you. It’s because of the dog, Phoebe. Of all of the dogs, in all the world that we’ve owned, only two have suffered from separation anxiety, both of them hounds. Ralph, our German Shepherd-Beagle mix and now Phoebe, our Lab-Walker Coonhound mix, which makes me wonder about the psyche of hounds. But, I digress.

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Sometimes It’s Not the Dog That Needs Training…

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about our dog Phoebe. In that post, I shared that Phoebe was a “reactive dog”. Reactive meaning, that while on a walk if Phoebe happened to see another dog, pretty much any other dog, she would go berserk. She would lunge and pull, whine and howl, and make a very embarrassing display of a dog that has not been properly trained. We would apologize to the neighbors and move on as quickly as we could. It was bad.

All of the above prompted me to do some research with the all-knowing, Google. I found some videos that shared a few tips and steps, which we tried. Step one was to carry treats that Phoebe loves, which wasn’t difficult since she loves treats, and every single time she acknowledged me by looking at me, I was to give her a treat and say, “Good Girl”. Since there was food involved, she caught on to this very quickly. Step two was a little more “invasive”.

Step two involved something called a head collar. A head collar is a contraption that goes around the dog’s nose and clips behind its head. The dog can breath, pant, eat, drink, and play and Phoebe would wear it and do all of those things…inside. When I tried to take her outside, even in the backyard, she planted herself and refused to move. Evidently, Phoebe is very self-conscious about what the neighbors might think. In my own weird way, I can relate.

When I was a little girl of 9, I had an abundance of adult teeth and an itty-bitty mouth in which to house them. Needless to say, my mouth was a mess. And so, I began wearing braces on just my top teeth at the ripe old age of 9. They weren’t nice, clear braces like they are now. Back then they were all metal. Hard metal. Metal bands that dug into your gums and metal wires that ripped up your cheeks. It was fun. Adding to all of that fun, it was decided that I needed to wear a lovely little torture device called “head gear”.


Now, head gear wouldn’t have been so bad if I could have just worn it to bed. I probably wouldn’t have minded that, too much. But, wearing it to school, well, that was something else entirely. As you can see in the picture, head gear is exactly that. It has bands that go around your head and behind your neck that attach with a metal rod that is plugged into your teeth. It wasn’t very attractive. Not that I thought much about it at the time, but looking back…
Picture a toddler-size 9 year old with a head full of short wild auburn hair, my mother refused to let it grow because it was wavy and hard to control, and a face full of freckles that floated on the whitest skin you can imagine. Now picture all of that with head gear. It was an awkward time for me. I was oblivious for the most part, but still. Obviously, this is not a picture of me. Fortunately, I have no pictures of myself in my head gear. Moving on…


When I continued to see Phoebe looking dejected whenever I put on her head gear, it brought back memories and I really could relate. I began to question whether or not this was a good idea for Phoebe. I’m sure it might work for other dogs, but, strange as it may sound, I’ve always treated my dogs like the individuals they are. I am not looking for a dog that walks slightly behind my left heel. Nor do I want a dog that plops her bottom down the minute I stop moving. I want Phoebe. A weirdo dog that lives for her walk and the opportunity to smell anything and everything in her path. A slight disclaimer: She does walk on my left side and is not allowed to cross back and forth in front of me, but that is for safety sake. Her owner is a klutz. However, I have no problem with her having her nose to the ground in anticipation of finding the next perfect smell of the day.

So, we were back to Step 1 and the treats and though she was doing well with this step, the frenetic behavior remained.

Enter the Dog Whisperer and his mantra that it is not always the dog that needs training. Cliff saw it first. A couple on Cesar Milan’s show sharing about their dog that was very reactive with other dogs. Whenever the couple would walk their dog and see other dogs they would tighten up on the dog’s leash and wait for the inevitable. This was the first thing Cesar addressed and his words were life-changing.

If a dog owner seeing other dogs tightens up on their dogs leash, their dog perceives danger and reacts accordingly to protect its owner. Wait. What??? I not only tightened up on Phoebe’s leash, I wrapped it around my hand and held it with a death grip against my chest waiting for the onslaught. I was telling my poor girl that there was danger with every single dog we saw, large or small, near or far. I was the one making her crazy. The advice given was to relax the hand that holds the leash and walk calmly by. I was skeptical, but we tried.

On our next walk when we saw another dog, I let my leash toting arm hang relaxed at my side. She started to whine. I remained calm. She started to pull. I called her name. She looked at me. I gave her a treat and told her she was a “Good Girl”. The other dog moved on and Phoebe went back to her smells. The beginnings of success!


And so, I am now fully trained and have given Phoebe a new “leash” on life. It’s a good life but in the light of all eternity, it’s really not that big a deal.

Posted in Americans, Animals, Challenges, Childhood, Christians, Dog Personalities, Dog walking, Dog Walking Tips, Dogs, Embarrassing moments, Faith, Gratefulness, Humor, Life, Reactive dog, Uncategorized, Walking | Leave a comment

Weird Science

For the past 36 years, in one form or another, I have been a teacher. I began this journey when our now soon-to-be 40 year old son was 4 years old and carried on from there to our two daughters, various nieces and nephews, and culminated with my working as an English and History teacher at The Regent Academy for more than a decade. I retired from TRA last year, kind of. I am now teaching a class consisting of three of our seven grandchildren. It is wonderful!

Classes here in Florida begin in August. I don’t know why. Here, like most everywhere else, August is the hottest month of the year. In New Jersey, we at least waited until the beginning of September, right after Labor Day. September makes more sense, but when in Rome or in this case Orlando…And so, this past July I was asked by a former fellow TRA teacher and friend if I would consider substitute teaching four of her classes on August 17th. My first thought is not always very practical and I tend to think things will be fun because I don’t really “think” much. Always being one who enjoys helping out, I said “Sure”!

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Me And You And a Dog Named…Phoebe?

This September Cliff and I will celebrate 42 years of marriage. We have been blessed with a wonderfully happy marriage and for that I am extremely grateful. For 31 of those blissful years we have owned at least one dog. This has not been Cliff’s preference, but he’s an easy going man and though he doesn’t “love” dogs, like I do, he has “liked” most of them well enough.

I believe the Lord has blessed Cliff for his many years of dog tolerance. First, the dog he liked the best, Stinky Stella, the chihuahua, lived the longest, 17 years! About 6 years ago, after my big beluga white boxer, Haven, passed away; I told Cliff I felt like I had at least one more dog in me. In fact, I promised that this dog would be my last dog. (Disclaimer: As horribly morbid as this may sound, I made this promise with the idea that if Cliff dies before me, since he is 6 years older, I would get another dog. I told Cliff my plan and he’s okay with it, so it’s not completely horribly morbid. Right?) You may have heard some of what I’m about to share before, but hang in there. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel!

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Posted in Animals, Attitude, Blessings, Chihuahua, Christians, Compromise, Dog walking, Dog Walking Tips, Dogs, God, Hope, Humor, Husbands, Life, Lord, Love, Reactive dog, Uncategorized, Walking, Wisdom, Yellow Lab and Treeing Walker Coonhound | Leave a comment

The Necklace…A Story of Faith

I know a lot of people that are going through difficult times right now. All of us have been there in some form or another. Whenever I feel like life is overwhelming, I like to remember what the Lord has done for me already and realize He is capable of so much more…

This is one of those stories, it is an old post. I have not changed it. I hope you enjoy it. I hope it boosts your faith. Thank you for reading my blog…I appreciate every one of you!

Grandma Moon lived with us for all of my growing-up years. In fact, I never remember a time when she didn’t live with us. Gram was the only grandmother, really the only grandparent, I had. I remember her clearly and fondly and often. Gram loved to read and be read to. She loved watching Merv Griffin at night and she always had a stash of Vanilla Wafer cookies hidden in her room that my siblings and I would, occasionally, loot.  She helped me learn how to sew, her mother had been a seamstress. She shared my love for fabric and we’d go on outings to the fabric store that would thrill nobody but us. She taught me how to crochet and tried to teach me how to knit. When I dropped more stitches than I knit, she’s the one who told me plainly, “Roxanne, I love you. You cannot knit.” Grandma and I shared a lot things…

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