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. 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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”.

wp-1631698269046.jpg

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…

wp-1628066270853.jpg

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!

wp-1623152060716.jpg

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”!

wp-1630008550926.jpg Continue reading

Posted in Challenges, Change, Childhood, Children, Christians, Compromise, Courage, Embarrassing moments, Encouragement, English Teacher, Family, Florida, Forgetfulness, God, Grandchildren, Gratefulness, History, Humor, Life, Math, Memory, New Jersey, Science, Scientific Research, Substitute Teaching, Teachers, Teaching, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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!

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading
Posted in Humor | 1 Comment

Pop, Crackle, Snap!

Contrary to the title, this is not a dyslexic commercial for Rice Krispies Cereal. This is the story of cauliflower, a microwave, a couch cushion, and a very patient man. Fun fact, the word “cauliflower” derives its name from the Italian word cavolfiore , which means cabbage flower; it is also listed in Ancestry.com as a last name. Aren’t you grateful that you weren’t born into the Cauliflower family? If you aren’t grateful, maybe you should be because in this story the cauliflower is kind of the bad guy.


wp-1625737376260.jpg

More Photos like this here…

It was a Sunday morning and, like almost every morning, I asked Cliff what we were doing for lunch-supper. I’m very food oriented. We had decided to cook a simple meal of marinated flank steak, roasted potatoes, and cauliflower. Cliff would take care of the meat. He enjoys cooking now and comes up with some pretty tasty recipes. This marinade was one of his best! I would take care of the roasted potatoes and cauliflower, because how much harm can someone do with an air fryer and a microwave. How much indeed.

I tossed the potatoes with a little olive oil and some spices and dumped them in the air fryer. No problem. I placed the frozen cauliflower in a bowl with a little water and placed it in the microwave. No sooner did I turn the machine on than we heard a loud “POP” and then everything went black. Our 13 year old microwave had crossed the magnetron bridge and was no more. The cauliflower had killed it. We don’t know how. Maybe it was the freezer burn or the lack of a plastic wrap cover? Whatever it was, it was a quick death and for that we are grateful. It took me a few minutes to remember how to cook vegetables in a pot, but eventually it all came back to me. We ate our lupper and contemplated our plan of action.

The next morning, we went shopping to Home Depot and Lowes and Home Depot again, because they had the microwave in stock and we had a 10% off coupon. Cliff was confident that he could install the microwave himself. He’d done it before with couch cushions stacked on the stove and felt he could, successfully, do it again. What he forgot was that I didn’t help him last time and that would be our undoing.

We came home and Cliff prepared for the “install”. We cleared out the kitchen, he removed the deceased microwave, and placed it in the garage. He retrieved the sturdy couch seat cushions from our somewhat decrepit, but still usable if covered sleeper sofa stored upstairs in a room nobody sees. He strategically stacked them on top of our stove and he was on his way. At least, that’s what we thought. I asked if he needed my help. He didn’t so I retreated to the adjoining dining room to work on a puzzle. I did periodically check on his progress and ask if he needed my help. At one point, when trying to place the seemingly gargantuan sized new microwave on the itty-bitty clips that were on a metal strip that he’d attached to the wall, he said yes. And so, I did my part. I got my step stool, because well, you know, and I leaned into the cushions to hold up the microwave and tilt it onto the clips. I thought I was doing a great job until I smelled something weird and heard a “CRACKLE” sound. I jumped off my stool and we pulled off the cushions.

wp-1625734097948.jpg

So, evidently, while leaning into the cushions to hold up the microwave I turned on the front burner of the stove and cooked my cushion. It wasn’t on fire yet, so that was good! I put it outside because burning foam does not smell good. Since the somewhat decrepit sturdy couch cushions were no longer useful, we decided it was best to pull out the stove and work from the ground. Knowing we needed someone less vertically challenged and much stronger than myself, we called our son-in-law, Thomas, who lives across the street. He said he’d be right over, I told him to wait about half an hour because the house was still smoky and smelled pretty bad since I almost burned it down.

We had been working on this installation for quite some time now. Thomas showed up as promised and eventually, the microwave was tilted and landed on the itty-bitty clips with a “SNAP”. The screws, which had to access the microwave from inside the top cabinet, were another matter entirely and telling their tale completely, would take a small book. Suffice to say the entire install was not done in a “SNAP”. Suffice to say the entire install took 6 hours.

SIX hours and not once did my husband lose his cool. Not once did he seem frustrated with the install or with me, even when I almost burned the house down. Not once. He just kept plodding along, thinking about what he should do next, finding new ways of measuring impossible holes for obstinate 4″ screws, and developing a renewed appreciation for the handyman who does this kind of thing for a living. It was a hard job, but in light of all eternity, it was really not that big a deal!

wp-1625734156417.jpg

Posted in appliances, Attitude, Challenges, Family, Food, Gratefulness, Home, Home Improvements, Humor, Husbands, Life, Marriage, Short People, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I’m Not Getting Older, I’m Getting Bolder

Remember the old Clairol Loving Care hair color commercial back in 1971? It told women everywhere that if they used hair color they wouldn’t be “getting older” they’d be “getting better.” Obviously women (and men) have to get older, because if we don’t there’s only one alternative and most of us aren’t quite ready for that yet. But personally, I feel like as I’m getting older I’ve gotten bolder and I don’t think it’s because I color my hair.

In fact, I’ve narrowed down my boldness to three adventurous moves for me so far this year…

First and foremost, I retired! Yup.
At 67, Cliff had decided to sell his UPS Store and retire and he wanted me to retire with him so we could do things together. At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to retire. I really do love teaching, but he asked me to think about it and pray about it and I did. It wasn’t an easy decision, but once I made it I found myself looking forward to not correcting papers and preparing for class every week. The many cherished memories of “my kids” (my students), many which will never be forgotten, are mine to keep, but laying down the responsibility is kind of nice. And so, since April 27th of this year I am a free woman. Could this be the motivation for my increased boldness? It could! Read on, my friends…

Second on my list of brazen moves…I bought a bright orange purse! How about THAT?!!!
Now, I do realize that this may not be high on everyone’s list for breaking the rules of propriety or anything, but there’s a reason this is a bold move for me. All of my life, I’ve been very aware that I have a “bull-in-a-China-shop” type personality. I am loud and sometimes, I think, I’m a little bit hard to take. Not just my opinion, I’ve been told this a few times.

wp-1624524993497.jpg

That being said, I have always been fairly understated in my wardrobe color choices. I figure a loud personality in loud clothing is just way too much. I’m also a pale, freckly, redhead, so my color palette has been kind of limited anyway.

I cannot “wear” bright orange, but I can if it’s a purse! And so, I bought one. It’s actually a little brighter in person and I love it! It’s small, compact and has a place for everything. It’s a small place for everything, but everything has a place.

It’s actually much brighter than this in real life, but I didn’t turn on my flash because I didn’t want to blind you. I’m nice that way. You’re welcome.

On to my third and most daring of bold moves. Brace yourselves…

wp-1624524967169.jpg

Yes. That is my pale, freckly arm. Yes. I got a tattoo!

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I have a thing for words. And, though I’m not overly fond of tattoos, I love tattoos that say something, one’s that have special meaning to the person they belong to. Years ago, I asked Cliff about getting a tattoo. He told me to wait until I retired and that would be something memorable to commemorate my retirement. I didn’t really want to wait, but I also didn’t really know what I would want as a tattoo. I’d thought my favorite scripture verse, but I love so many of them I couldn’t pick one. And then, my daughter gave me this idea.

This is my Dad’s favorite saying. If he isn’t telling one of us that he loves us where we are at, he’s telling us we should love others where they are at. In other words, he loves us unconditionally and we should love others that way, too. He wrote it down for me and I brought the paper with his writing to the tattoo parlor. They put it on my arm so I will remember it always. I feel like it’s a way to have my Dad with me forever.

I think it’s a very big deal…

Posted in Aging, Blessings, Challenges, Change, Christians, Courage, Dads, Fair Skin, Family, Fashion, Freedom, Humor, Husbands, Husbands and Wives, Life, Love, Marriage, Memories, Personalities, Personality Tests, Teachers, Teaching, Tribute, Uncategorized, UPS Store, Words | 7 Comments

Our Genealogy of Dogs…

Our dog journey started when our youngest daughter was 4. Our youngest daughter is now almost 35. I am currently reading through the Bible and have discovered that our list of dogs is almost like a biblical genealogy. It goes like this…

Continue reading

Posted in Animal Kingdom, Animals, Bible, Children, Compromise, Courage, Death of a dog, Dog Personalities, Dog walking, Dog Walking Tips, Dogs, Embarrassing moments, Grandchildren, Humor, Husbands, Husbands and Wives, Life, Marriage, Old Dogs, Uncategorized, Veterinarians, Yellow Lab and Treeing Walker Coonhound | Leave a comment

The Week That Was…

Hello, my friends ~
It’s been a heck-of-a week, but that’s another post for another time. Suffice to say, I am recycling a blog from days gone by. A blog of another week, that was a heck-of-a week. I hope you like it. I hope it makes you smile. I hope it makes your week, just a little bit better!

You know that kid?  The one who is never quite paying attention to things. The daydreamer in school. The one that’s told to go to the kitchen and get the salt at dinner and they comes back with a glass of water? You know the type. Well, it may or may not surprise you  to know that I was that kid. I am grateful to say, I’m not quite that bad anymore, the Lord made sure I married a practical man; one that I love with all my heart, who truly is my saving grace. But, before he came along there was a week, “the week”.  Continue reading

Posted in Children, Family, Humor, New Jersey, The Human Spirit | 1 Comment

Painting…Old Lady Underwear…Full Coverage Friends

There’s nothing like company coming to get projects done around the house. We have two rooms that desperately needed a fresh coat of paint and a nephew coming to visit in a few weeks. So, we painted. Two rooms. About 6 hours. Done. Since I’m fairly cheap, I chose a color I like (which is actually already in three rooms upstairs) and bought a 5 gallon bucket of it on sale. It’s called Silver Drop by Behr. It’s the prettiest color grey I’ve ever seen, which sounds like an oxymoron even to me, but it is.

I used to like to think that we were decent painters. I don’t think that anymore. We do work well as a team. I cut in. Cliff rolls. I start in one corner. He starts in the opposite corner and serenades me with his favorite painting song, “I’m working my way back to you, Babe” by the Spinners. Of course, that is the only line he knows. So, he sings it over and over until he actually does work his way back to me. I don’t mind. I love the man and his goofy songs.

I also love that he can paint an entire room with nary a spot of paint on him. Unfortunately, he’s not real good on coverage. It’s not the paint, because I always buy the one that is like a good pair of old lady underwear, full coverage. He just somehow misses big spots of wall that have “some” paint on them, but not nearly enough. Evidently, I do that, too and I am very messy. I wear more paint than I paint and I end up having to use a dish scrubby to get it all off of me. I also have an uncanny way of getting paint in odd places. Unmentionable kind of places, if you know what I mean. I have no idea how it gets there. It just does.

Like most people, we have friends. One of our dearest and oldest friends, George, can paint an entire room in his street clothes and go out to eat in the same clothes immediately afterwards without even washing up. No paint on his clothes, no paint on his hands, no paint anywhere but the intended wall, AND, he is a great full coverage roller! There’s an old saying that familiarity breeds contempt. I don’t think that’s true but; I’m fairly certain that familiarity does not breed capability, otherwise we’d be able to paint like George.

About twenty years ago or so, Cliff and I were in the process of painting our entire downstairs, about 1700 square feet total. Cliff was at work and I was finishing up. I was tired and had decided to let the paint dry and then touch up the spots that were less-than-full-coverage with a brush when George walked in.

The walls were Champagne Gold which is a fancy name for pale yellow. George was wearing a red and white striped shirt, like Waldo. You know, the guy who is perpetually lost. He told me he liked the paint color and then, as I was about to take my roller off to clean it, asked what I was doing. When I told him I was done. He just looked at me, took my roller, and began painting. Guessing that he’d seen my less-than-full-coverage touch up spots. I told him I’d just get the spots with a brush later. He didn’t listen. When he was done, in less than an hour with not a spot on him and full coverage on my walls, he cleaned up my paint roller and left.

I’ve never forgotten that day. We all need friends like George, full coverage friends, the kind that step in and step up when we’re tired. The kind that can clean up our messes without getting anything on themselves. Full coverage friends, they’re a very big deal!

wp-1619208265388.jpg

Post Script ~

These are my painting clothes from our most recent endeavor. Now, in my defense, I did not accomplish this in just one painting day. Except for the pants. The pants I did in one day. My top is an accumulation of painting days. Not many but, not just one.

Posted in Caring, Christians, Friends, Gratefulness, Home, Home Improvements, House Guests, Humor, Life, Marriage, Painting, Renovations, Uncategorized, Where's Waldo, Women's Underwear | Leave a comment

An ‘Unmasked’ Theory

In the past, I have made a concerted effort to write my posts with as little controversy as possible. However, I have a bone to pick, an ax to grind, a score to settle, a crow to pluck, call it what you will…I have a theory to ‘unmask’.

I think we can all agree that 2020 was an ‘odd’ year. When, in all of our lives to that point, did we ever think we’d be pondering about how cute a mask was, what mask went best with our outfit, or what mask we should wear for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, or Easter? The answer is easy. Never. We NEVER thought about wearing a mask before except maybe for Halloween.

wp-1619687542372.jpg

Hopefully, the day is soon approaching when we will all be unmasked and what a lovely day that will be! But, in the meantime, here is a thought.

When we enter a store, we wear a mask for as long as we’re walking around in the store. I do this mostly out of consideration for others, not because I think I need it. When I go into any public building, I also wear a mask for the same reason. However, when I go into a restaurant, I only have to wear a mask as I walk the path to my table. Once I am seated, I’m allowed to remove my mask. Now, while I am seated, I am talking, I am laughing, I am sometimes coughing because something went down the wrong pipe. I am spreading a ton of germs when I am seated, but somehow, I am magically not contagious while sitting in a restaurant. So, here is my theory.

Covid is only contagious in the higher atmospheres, when people are walking and at their full height. Therefore, it stands to reason that Covid is, obviously, only contagious the higher you are in the atmosphere. I think restaurants already know this. And so, my feelings are that short people, who when standing are the height of most people that are sitting, should not have to wear a mask. We never touch the higher, germ-filled, atmosphere. We dwell in the lower, germ-free, spaces. Even the people at Disney, who are experts in all things masks and physical distancing, say that while sitting you can remove your mask. Of course, you’re supposed to be eating or drinking, but they have areas where you can be doing neither and still remove your masks. Maybe it’s the act of sitting that renders one free of contagion? Maybe the air is just cleaner down here? The world may never know and though it’s fun to think about, it’s really not that big a deal!

Posted in 2020, America, Americans, Challenges, Disney, Disney World, Encouragement, Face Masks, Fashion, Hope, Humor, Life, Short People, Uncategorized | 1 Comment