Randomly Thinking: My flowers are blooming, weird family stories, and my invisible son

First of all, our flowers are starting to bloom or are blooming. It’s so exciting to see our yard come alive each year. Prepare yourselves for way too many photos of wild roses and peonies over the next couple of weeks. Here are a few until then! (Also, my life is very sad. Watching my wild roses bloom is one of the highlights of my year. It’s close to watching grass grow.)

***

Just before we hung up one night last week my mom told me she’d been reading a book where a man didn’t like crowds because he had PTSD from something. His wife wanted him to go with her to a store so he did and while he waited he went to a bar and started drinking so he didn’t have to think about the crowds.

“Then he had more to drink and then he got home he shot his wife.”

I was like, “Mom! Why are you telling me this! What books are you reading?!”

She continues without answering, “So anyhow, I was thinking about my uncle. You remember me talking about him, right?”

At this point I am trying to figure out what this has to do with the awful book.

“Well, anyhow, I think he had PTSD. They always said he was dishonorably discharged from the Army, but I don’t know the story there. Anyhow, he used to go on these drinking binges and then he wouldn’t drink for a while and then he’d go on another binge. I wonder if that was what happened to him. Maybe he drank to forget what he had seen overseas. Maybe he had PTSD like that man in the book. Well, anyhow, everyone always said he married his niece but he didn’t really marry his niece because she actually was Uncle William’s daughter from another marriage so she wasn’t related by blood and —”

“Mom…seriously, how did we get here? How did this conversation even get here?”

“What? I was just saying that that book reminded me of my uncle and —”

“I appreciate the happy story Mom, but I should go now.”

There is only so much information about my extended family I can take in during one conversation.

***

A woman on Instagram commented a few weeks ago that she kills plants very easily. I left this comment for her: “You’re not alone. A flower threw itself off a shelf when I walked by it in a store one time because it figured it better just kill itself before I got a hold of it and slowly murdered it.”

***

My son says that people forget he is there all the time. He said someone will tell him a story and he’ll say, “I know. I was there. Don’t you remember?”

Or one of us will tell him something we heard and he’ll say, “I know, I’m the one who told you!”

Or a friend of his will say, “I was talking to some friends the other night on the phone and —”

“I know! I was there!!!”

He said his grandfather and dad are always telling him stories that he experienced with them, like he wasn’t there.

I’ve tried to assure him that it isn’t that he is forgettable, it’s just that we are all getting old and we forget a lot, like who was with us when we went somewhere, who we told what, and sometimes even where we are at the moment.

***


 Another day The Boy said to me, “Wait. Wait. This will be funny,” and then proceeded to do something dangerous and stupid.

I told him that are a couple of sentences people say right before the ambulance is called.

One is “watch this.”

The other is, “Wait. Wait. This will be funny.”

***

Here is a corny dad joke from my dad:

I told my dad I’m allergic to Tide laundry detergent a few years ago. If I remember right, he is too.

“My dad always washed in Tide, though,” he told me.

“Oh, did he?”

“Yeah, I mean, doesn’t everyone wash intide? It would be embarrassing to wash outtide.”

***

We were watching Shakespeare and Hathaway and the one actor said he was doing an American accent. “Yeah, it’s American. It’s from Nebraska.”

I said to The Husband, “Oh my gosh. Nebraska. Until he said that I completely forgot we had a state called Nebraska. Whatever happens there anyhow?”

My husband says they grow corn. I’ll have to take his word for it.

***

I was reading with Little Miss the other day and came across the word umbrage. I told her it was a very British word because I couldn’t seem to say it without a very British accent.

Try it. It’s true. You have to say it with a British accent.

***

I finally watched a couple episodes of The Office with my family recently and wow — as a resident of Pennsylvania, that show is creepily accurate about the people of Pennsylvania.

When they go out on sales, I swear I do a double-take and think the people they are talking to might be one of my neighbors or the boss at one of our local companies. I’m not very far from Scranton and have lived here my entire life, so trust me, people in PA really are that down to earth. Sometimes we are a little weird too. *wink*

***

So how about you? What random events have been going on in your life? Let me know in the comments.

Randomly Thinking: Pot photos, horses in the street, and other craziness

When your husband works for a newspaper, it is not unusual to receive photographs or texts others might consider unusual. For example, a month or so ago I looked at my phone and there was a photo of pot (marijuana) in jars waiting for me.   Under it was a photo of bills of various amounts and a handgun spread out on a large table. No explanation was offered for either of them.

This was around the same time we were dealing with some financial strains so I shot back a text to my husband telling him the financial situation would work out, he didn’t need to turn to a life of crime.

Of course, I had a feeling there was something more to these photos, and indeed there was. They were from a press conference my husband was attending in his capacity as a reporter/editor where the police were talking about a group of college students who had been busted for running an illegal pot manufacturing business, as well as possibly some other illegal drugs.

After that press conference, he called me to assure me he had not turned to crime (although all that money spread out on the table was a bit tempting, he told me as a joke). We chatted for a bit because he was stuck in traffic. He thought traffic might be moving slowly because of an accident, but instead, he said to me, “What in the world are all these horses doing in the road?”

I can’t see what is going on obviously so I’m asking, “What’s going on? What do you mean?”

He tells me he’s going to hang up and let me know later and while I’m waiting my mind races through all the weird scenarios which could have occurred. There was an accident with a horse trailer and the horses escaped. There were a bunch of rednecks at a bar whose licenses had been taken away so they had to ride the horses home. I didn’t know.

Turns out the reason for horses riding down the road was much nicer. A local horse farrier had recently passed away and the horses were part of a funeral procession to escort his body to the cemetery. That photograph was much nicer than the one of the illicit drugs and weapons.

****

I was pouring honey into my tea the other day and the kids were watching.

“That’s too much honey,” my son informed me.

I looked at him in confusion. “I don’t know what those words mean. ‘Too much honey.’ I’m confused.”

I then poured some more honey in.  

***

My mom called on a Saturday night and asked if we wanted chicken for lunch the next day (we usually go over there on Sunday afternoons). I said chicken would be fine and she asked if we wanted, chicken breast, drumsticks, or thighs.

I told her any was fine but that our family liked chicken breast.

“We’re breast people,” I said with a mischievous snicker.

Mom holds the phone away from her mouth and says to my dad. “She says her family are breast people.”

She comes back on the phone and says, “Your dad says he’s a thigh man himself,” and then sighs.

Poor Mom. She has to put up with our weird humor.

***

One morning two weeks ago all three of our animals were crowded by the back door, waiting to be let out into the sunshine. I decided to take a photo of them all together so I made them wait. Bad idea because that’s when the older cat reached over and smacked the younger cat.

This resulted in me posting the photos to Instagram stories with some funny captions.

***

Our kitten (who isn’t technically a kitten anymore) has been a killing machine lately. She’s been carrying dead mice and moles to us for a while now. Last week she killed three moles but the week before that she came running up the sidewalk with something in her mouth and at first I thought it was a bird. As she got closer I realized it was a baby snake and about passed out.

She dropped the snake on the pavement and my dad scooped it up and laid it under the pine tree by our driveway to let it die in peace since it didn’t seem to be in very good shape.

I guess Scout wasn’t done with it because she wandered over there a few minutes later to try to finish it off. This resulted in my husband grabbing a shovel, scooping up the snake again (which was hard for him since he hates snakes so much), and tossing it over the bank across the road.

I also took a photo of the snake so we could decide if it was poisonous or not, even though we assumed it was a garter snake, which we have a lot of in this area. As far as we could tell it was a garter snake, thankfully.


***

I felt really nerved up the other day and my husband said, “Shut your laptop. Get off social media and I’m putting Dick VanDyke on for you.”

He knows what helps to calm me.

***

My dad was trying to be deep the other day at dinner and asked me who could hear a tear fall.

I said, “Hank Williams can hear a tear fall in his beer. That’s what he said in that song anyhow.”

Dad sighed. “I was going to say that only God can hear a tear fall but thanks for that.”

Oh. Oops.

***

The Boy and I were recently talking about how much we actually like the cooler weather and are not really looking forward to warmer weather. He likes being able to wear sweatshirts and I like being able to huddle under a blanket while reading a book or watching a good show. Of course I wanted some warmer weather and some green trees but I’m not a fan of sweltering temperatures and muggy days.

He decided that spring is his favorite time of the year while I decided that my favorite seasons are both spring and fall because they aren’t too cold or too hot.

***

So about you? Any random thoughts or events happening in your life? Let me know in the comments.

Randomly Thinking: Talking to cats, losing my mind, memories of Christian music festival

Welcome to my Randomly Thinking post where I ramble about, well, whatever.

***

Recently my daughter was reveling in the fact that she has soft, lovely, young skin. This was after I was lamenting about my old, dry, scaly skin.

“My skin is soft, isn’t it?” she said with a thoughtful expression.

She sighed and rubbed her hands against her cheeks, then said, “Do you know what calms me? Rubbing my hands across the baby-smooth skin of my face.”

Yeah, yeah. Rub it in, kid. Also — enjoy it while you can.

***

Anyone who reads Erin’s blog at Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs probably knows she listens to true crime podcasts, but maybe you don’t know she actually listens to them while falling asleep. I was laughing about this a few weeks ago and she told me, “The people’s voices are so soothing as they say the worst things.”

It totally cracked me up, but my son said he totally understood what she meant because sometimes he listens to similar podcasts, though not quite as dark as what we adults listen to at times.



***

A recent post from The Babylon Bee referencing an old song by the Veggie Tales reminded me of the time I was at a Christian music festival and over 80,000 people (some estimates had it at 100,000) sang Where Is My Hairbrush at the top of their lungs. In case you aren’t familiar with this song, I am leaving a clip of it below.

All of those people singing this child song at the same time was surreal.

There was a guy in front of us who sang it as if he was in an opera, with an amazing voice and all the gestures to go along with it.

Up until that point, I had never even heard of Veggie Tales, let alone the song.

The video was played while we all waited for Amy Grant to come out on the stage. This was shortly after the success of her song Baby, Baby, which by the way I never liked that much.

During her concert, the power actually went out. Eventually, they were able to get the sound back, but not the lights, so she ended up singing by flashlight and candlelight for part of her performance.

***

I went to this music festival, Creation, a few times over my life and always seemed to have a story to bring back with me. One year I ended up with a bladder infection and almost passed out from the heat. I was in pain all the way back home (about three hours) and we had to find a doctor immediately to get me on antibiotics.

 Another year we took a friend and she passed out and she was taken to the first aid tent but then by ambulance because she was extremely disoriented. She was extremely dehydrated and may have had some other health issues because years later she was involved in a horrible accident and could never remember what happened. She suffered massive head injuries, but we do wonder if she might have blacked out before the accident like the day at the festival. She’s doing very well now, by the way. She’s a miracle, quite frankly.

The first year we ever went I lost my first Teddy Bear somehow. I was in the back of a pick up which my dad had stretched a tarp canopy over (it was the 80s, peeps), Dad pulled over to adjust something, and when we got to our campsite (yes, you camped at this festival), my bear was gone. There is a long story after that about meeting my aunt somewhere to conduct a type of drug deal so my grandmother didn’t find out I had lost this expensive bear, but I’ve either told that story here before or I’ll tell it again another time.

One other time I was at the festival with my brother and sister-in-law and their friend, Chris. My sister-in-law disappeared for a brief time and Chris, my brother, and I stood in one place and looked around for her. We couldn’t see her for a long time until Chris said, “I don’t know. Maybe she’s down there somewhere, getting a cold cup of iced tea, fresh brewed, with just a squeeze of lemon and the perfect amount of sugar, wearing a —”  Yeah, Chris has found her and was using a creative way to tell us. That was Chris though, funny, smart, and a jokester. He’s a blog post in himself, but not by me, by my brother who knew him best. Hint, hint, brother.

***

A couple of weeks ago I was in the kitchen when my podcast stopped playing while I was cooking dinner. I looked at the phone and it said our Wifi was out. I went to the living room to investigate. Soon my children were standing next to me as we all stared at the modem, which was dark.

We were like lost little puppies without our internet. It was very sad, actually.

There is usually at least a power button blinking on the modem. Not this time. The modem looked dead.

We pondered this predicament for a few moments and then I looked at the power strip behind the TV. It was also dark. It usually has a glowing red light.

I pointed this out to my son who turned it back on and just as I started to wonder how it had been turned off, I looked up to see Pixel, who I also call Fat Cat, watching us from the windowsill. I knew then how the power strip had been turned off. She had apparently put her foot there when she jumped up into the front window.

Our investigation seemed to entertain her and sometimes I wonder if she does this stuff on purpose.

***

A friend of Little Miss’s, who is a year older, says the most interesting things sometimes. For one, she loves to be outside, loves to have fun, and is full of a confident spirit that matches Little Miss’s, which either strengthens their friendship or creates friction between them.

I told the little girl we had a playground near us, but it wasn’t very exciting. It’s very small without many things to play on.

“I don’t care what kind of playground it is,” she told me. “It doesn’t have to have a lot of fun things. I’ll make it fun.”

I wish more of us adults had her attitude.

***

I have been forgetting things lately, mainly because I am distracted when I am doing them. Or maybe I still have Covid-brain. I don’t know. Anyhow, one day my husband placed the ibuprofen on the counter in front of me but a few minutes later I went to the medicine cabinet to retrieve it. He told me it was in my purse, where I had tossed it. I didn’t even remember doing that. Well, I vaguely did, but I was also talking at the same time and thinking about the fact I had to get our daughter to gymnastics on time. It was also PMS time (I know. Too Much Information.)

Later that night my daughter asked me to open a water bottle. Apparently, I did and handed it back to her but five minutes later I told her to get a water bottle so I could open it for her. She reminded me I already had.

Two nights later I reached for my toothbrush, brushed my teeth, and went into my daughter’s room to read to her. The Boy came in a few minutes later and asked me why his toothbrush was wet.

“Did you use my toothbrush?” he asked.

I told him I used mine but when I went in to look, he was right, his toothbrush was wet and mine was dry. By this time, I was starting to freak out a little. Was I losing my mind?

I’m still not sure and it is possible. I do have hormone and thyroid issues. For all of the incidents, though, I was pretty distracted at the same time I was completing the task.

I told my husband about the toothbrush incident and said I was talking to Pixel, who likes to jump up on the sink and drink out of it before bed, at the time.

“She must have distracted me,” I said.

I said I was asking her if she was going to take a drink or not because I needed to get to bed and while I was talking to her, I was reaching for my toothbrush. I must have simply grabbed the wrong one. This made me feel better because then I could be assured I wasn’t losing my mind. That was until my husband looked at me in confusion.

“You have conversations with the cat?” My husband asked. “I never talk to our cats.”

I shrugged. “That’s why they like me better than you.”

And it’s true — I do have conversations with our cats. Very often, in fact.

They also seem to communicate back with me, even if it is a leg rub or a nose bump or a good, long, hard stare.

Then again, I have been having brain fog issues. Maybe I just think they’re communicating with me.

***

When my son shows me a gaming-related meme, I am torn between telling him I have no idea what the meme means and just smiling and nodding. If I smile and nod at the Gen Z humor, then he laughs and moves on. If I tell him I have no idea what that is referring to, I may be trapped for 20 minutes while he explains to me what the meme means. I usually just smile and nod.

***

Earlier this week, I told my son I thought I might try my hand at meatloaf again for dinner. I’ve only tried to cook it once before — three years ago — and apparently the experience was so traumatizing to my son he couldn’t bring himself to admit to me how bad it was until now.

He said it was a hunk of meat with crushed bread inside and no flavor. It was so awful he couldn’t eat it, so he took the plate upstairs and hid it under his bed for two days until I left the house and then dumped it in the trashcan. I asked him why he didn’t just tell me, and he said it was because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

He honestly looked quite pained telling me this story. He had backed himself against the wall and was rubbing his face, as if the memory of the wretched meatloaf had left him scarred for life. I was waiting for him to hug himself while rocking back and forth.

“Okay, then,” I said, turning to go back down the stairs. “Tonight we’re having tacos.”

***

My son decided he would have stuffed rabbit for Easter dinner this year:

***

I forgot about this hilarious moment from the Fall but found it in some notes this week:

One of Little Miss’s friends tried to call her early one morning, but Little Miss was barely awake. She reached for the phone anyhow. I told Little Miss she needed to be awake before she could talk to her friend, so to take some time to wake up and then answer the call.  Little Miss looked at me for a second, slammed her head off her pillow, face-first, twice, looked back up and me and said, “Okay. I’m ready now. Hand me the phone.

***

Those are my random thoughts and events for the week. How about you? What random events have happened to you recently? Let me know in the comments and maybe I’ll share it in my next post. 😊

Randomly Thinking: Hair in the crack in the wall, wisdom in your teeth, and other random thoughts

Welcome to my Randomly Thinking post where I share random tidbits from my life. Read on at your own risk.

***

There is a crack in the wall at my parents that has grown some and now a part of the wall has chipped off. The last time I looked at it, I noticed there was hair poking out of it.

“Uh, Dad? Did anyone from your family ever go missing?”

Dad sighed. “No. I would assume that’s when they added horsehair to the plaster to make it sturdier.”

Of course, this took me to the internet, not to look for a missing family member, but to read about horsehair mixed in plaster.

So, yes, back in the old days of construction they used horsehair in walls.

According to the National Association of Realtors, plaster walls constructed before the 1950s were “sometimes called “horse-hair plaster” because it was common to mix horsehair into the wet plaster to add strength, and to prevent cracking with minor flexing. Heating and cooling a house will cause plaster to expand and shrink slightly, so the hair helped keep the walls a bit more flexible.”

Huh. So that probably is horsehair in there and not the decomposing body of Great-great-aunt=so-and-so after all. Hopefully anyhow.

***

The crack in the wall made me think of Doctor Who and that first episode with the eleventh Doctor.

***

I have a bit of an issue with those videos popping up all over the internet of the grooms crying when they see their bride coming down the aisles. The romantic in me would love to say it’s because they are so moved by the beauty of their bride they have been brought to tears. Or maybe it is because they simply can’t believe their bride has chosen them. I would also love to say it is because it means he has decided he will devote his entire life to this woman. Really, though? A crying groom could mean anything.

I once watched a groom cry and hoped this would mean he was turning his life around, going to be a better husband than he had been a boyfriend, be a real father to his girls. Instead, a year later he was cheating on his bride, a few years later she’d taken him back and he was still cheating. Then a year after that he was in jail for various offenses.

Eventually, he was divorced, his children adopted by another man, and he was in jail for manufacturing and trafficking meth. Sometimes tears mean everything. Sometimes they mean nothing at all.

I still choose to think the crying of the men in most of those videos means something, though, and that something is very special. The romantic in me isn’t dead yet.

***

Can’t remember if I ever shared this photo of my shocked pickle on here. It looked this way right before I ate it.

***

I don’t know why this was on my mind last week (gee, I have no idea why) but I was thinking about when I was in elementary school and our teachers had us do drills where we had to hide under our desks in case of a nuclear attack. Apparently, they believed that those old metal desks along with our trapper keepers placed over our heads we’re going to protect us from the apocalypse. We also had to do tornado drills where we went into the hallways and crouched down together so if a tornado ripped the roof to our little school off, we’d all go up in the air together, I guess.

***

I spent the one day a couple weeks ago, editing Beauty From Ashes more and finding all my overused words or phrases. For example, my characters have eyebrow and chest problems. Their eyebrows are often “furrowed” and their chests are always “constricting.” Oy.

I went in and changed a lot of those, if not for the readers’ sake then for mine. I’m also removing a lot of “sighs”, “eye rolls” and “nodding moments.”

***

Little Miss just told me she wants to keep her wisdom teeth when she gets older because “I think that’s where your wisdom is, and it keeps you from talking stupid later.”

I suggested wisdom is found in a person’s brain instead and she said, “Maybe, but I think there is a little wisdom in both places.”

I told my dad her theory and he said, “Well, I still have my wisdom teeth and I still say stupid things all the time so I don’t know . . .”

***

I was raised by a very nurturing woman, so it has been a challenge for me over the years to live with men in my house who don’t want to be nurtured when they are sick. If I offer to make them tea or soup or anything I often get rebuffed with, “I’m fine. I don’t need anything. I’m not hungry.”

They walk around the house talking about sore throats or their heads hurting or how they think their nose is going to explode, but when they’re offered some help they deny being sick enough to need assistance. If I don’t pay attention to them, though? Well, then there is simply a lot more sighing and comments about how bad they feel and the cycle starts all over again.

***

On Monday of last week, I went back to that bank where the crazy car accident that I mentioned in a recent Sunday Bookends post. To give you the shortened version, a woman pulled up next to me at the bank, hit her accelerator instead of her brake and drove the car straight into the curb in front of the bank a few times, ripped the car into reverse without taking her foot off the accelerator and the car shot back, past my van, somehow missing it and a stop sign, did two doughnuts, then turned around the right way and slammed into the front of our local newspaper office. Somehow, neither she or anyone else was injured.


I have to admit that I was pretty nervous about going back to the bank two days later to cash a check, but I figure lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice so I should be good. This, of course, is a fallacy that people toss around all the time since this summer a man came into my husband’s newspaper office to tell my husband how he, indeed,  had been struck by lightning twice. Luckily, this did not happen to me and I was able to complete my business and leave without incident.

The ladies at the bank and I still don’t know how the woman avoided my vehicle when she yanked that thing into reverse, and we chatted about that as I cashed my check.


The woman who works there, a family friend, said it was nothing other than “God’s protection on me.” I think she’s right and I’m thankful for it.

***

We finally received some warmer weather this week and yesterday the kids and I went outside, swooping our caps in front of our faces and screaming, “The sun!! The sun!” because we felt like vampires after being inside for so long.

Our animals went out with us and as is common with them all three of them followed us up and down the street. We look like some weird animal trainers or something, the way they follow us up and down. Of course, when I try to get the kitten back in the house (so she doesn’t get hurt or climb up a tree again) she takes off on me. She’s not even a kitten anymore, but I still call her the kitten because she is younger.

***

I’m sure I’ll mention this in my Sunday Bookends post this week (because I really have nothing else very exciting to write about) but this week we went from snow on the ground on Monday and the kids playing in it, to 60-degree temperatures and going for walks with thin jackets. Spring in the north can be so weird.

***

So those are my random thoughts for this week.  How about you? Is anything random going on in your world? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

Randomly Thinking: I couldn’t be a 911 dispatcher, my tea needs more honey, and tomato soup cake

I don’t know about you but I certainly need some silly or funny this week. It’s been a brutal one for me emotionally. Loss and heartache. It took a lot for me to even push through and post this, but sometimes we just have to push through to survive, right? (I know. I’m such a downer this week!)

Anyhow, regular readers know the drill. These are my random thoughts for the month (or two weeks or whenever I get around to writing them). Read on at your own risk, but don’t worry, I tried to keep it cheerful.




A friend recently decided she wanted to go for training to be a 911-dispatcher. She told me she’s good in emergencies, just cries afterward. I said I used to be calm about emergencies — I covered fires and car accidents during my reporting career, and it didn’t phase me most of the time. Now since seeing my kid in an ambulance and my stay in the hospital I am a basket case. I told her the patients would be trying to comfort me while I cried into the phone.

The people who need help would be like, “It’s okay, lady. It’s just a bullet wound. I’m sure I’ll be fine. You can stop crying now.”

***

When I make tea, I think of that SNL skit with Christopher Walken (back when the show was funny) where he says, “It needs more cowbell.”

 I look into my tea and say, “It needs more honey,” in Walken’s voice.

***

I recently told my son that he has the attention span of a gnat and can’t handle watching anything more than 30 seconds because of all the TikTok-like videos he watches. (He hates TikTok so doesn’t actually watch that.)

He countered by showing me this video about how to make a tomato soup cake and told me he’d watched the entire nine minutes and thirty-five-second clip. I said, “fine, your attention span is longer than a —”

And I was hooked and watched the whole thing too.

Seriously, though, did you know there was such a thing as tomato soup cake? Ew.

***

The other night my dad was looking for a quote from General Jim Mattis.

My mom recited it to him: ‘Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.’

Then she let him know she had that one written down a couple of places.

I’m sure she didn’t mean it as threatening as it sounded, but it was still pretty funny.

***

Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, sent me this hilarious story about a man who rescued a cat out of a tree and went viral, not because of his good deed, but his good looks.

Here is a sample:



https://filterfreeparents.com/man-rescues-cat-from-tree-and-the-pics-go-viral-but-not-because-of-the-cat/

***

Here is a fun photo my husband recently had to take for his job.

Photo credit: Warren Howeler, The Rocket-Courier

9-year old Lillian and her rooster (Ron Weasly), a one-year-old English Gamer Bantam, recently took second place in the youth division at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Lillian lives near us and I don’t know why I love this photo so much. I guess because it just represents our area and our love of our farm animals well.

***

Thanks to that nasty virus, peanut butter, onions, and garlic smell and taste like a mix of chemicals and something that died. That means anything that has those ingredients in it tastes and smells the same.

Last weekend, though, a former classmate made a peanut butter cake for a memorial service I attended and the peanut butter frosting actually tasted normal, but that could be because it was mixed with a ton of sugar and milk.

Hopefully, that is a symptom that will gradually get better.

***

My brother suggested this guitar player named Luca Stricagnoli  and now I can’t stop watching him

***

I’ve also been watching The Dead South cover The Doors. For those who didn’t like their rendition of You Are My Sunshine, you probably won’t like this one either.

***

So there are a few random thoughts for this week. How about you? Has anything weird, unusual, or fun happened to you recently? Share in the comments and if it is okay, I’d like to share it in a future Randomly Thinking to cheer us all up.

Randomly Thinking: Horses with gas, new haircuts, David Hasselhoff in Berlin.

Last month I mentioned Knight Rider and David Hasselhoff but forgot to share with you this awesome video of David singing in Berlin the night the Berlin Wall came down. Did you know that he is beloved in Germany? Well, he is and after hearing some of his songs, I think they should keep him.

***

A representation of my son’s new haircut.



Hey, at least he got his hair cut.

***

This is what the news is like for me now:

Politician complains about other politician and then other politician tweets rude comments about another politician. Wash, rinse, repeat.

***

A horse farting. I don’t know what else to say.

***

I sent this message to Erin @ Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs earlier this month:

You know that whole thing I was doing to keep posting because WordPress was telling me I posted so many days in a row? And I thought I could get to 15 days in a row? Well, apparently last week when I re-shared something on my blog they decided that wasn’t a real blog post or they lost count or something because now they say I only posted three days in a row. Gasp! I have posted 14 days in a row! 14, WordPress!!!!! Give me my little award thing!

Like, whatever. I don’t need them. I know what I did and I know that I am….well . . .

A loser.

***

Republicans and Democrats have had one thing in common for the last two presidential terms – almost every day they could answer the question of “Did you hear what the president said” with “Oh gosh what did the idiot say this time?”

***

You know it’s been ridiculously cold in your area when you look at the weather app on your phone and say “oh, it’s 25. That’s not so bad. Maybe we don’t need three blankets tonight.”

It is 1 degree while I am writing this and this morning when my husband when to work at 8 a.m. it was -6.

***

My husband bought me a huge, soft blanket for Christmas last year. This blanket is so big our family of four can sit on the couch and be covered by it. This winter I have loved sliding under it and rubbing my feet against its softness. Focusing on how good and soft it feels has helped take my mind off the trials of life many times. Do you have something like this in your life? Maybe a favorite sweater, coat, or pillow?

Those are a few of my random thoughts for this week. How about you? What are some random things that happened to you recently?

Randomly Thinking: Honest homeschoolers, friendly only in winter, overused book tropes

Welcome to my random thoughts. Read on at your own risk.

***

As many of you know,  I am a homeschooler and shortly after becoming one, I figured out there is an entire homeschooling community, a good portion of it on social media. Many of those on social media, sharing their journey, are simply sharing their journey to connect with other homeschoolers so they can learn from each other. There is another segment, however, that has made a business out of homeschooling. They are homeschool influencers, I guess you would say, many of them posting photos on Instagram of pristine areas of the home where they conduct their learning, homemade school desks carved from wood by their father/grandfather/amazingly talented uncle; elaborate field trips, children wearing perfectly matched clothes, perfectly organized shelves, and large, almost mansion-like homes.

I was telling a friend this week that I’d love to see some more honest posts from these types of homeschoolers. Something like kids with their hair uncombed and their faces dirty. Photos of children in cute little matching outfits covered in mud, chocolate, or poop while the mother — her hair sticking out in all different directions  — drags them to their cute, little homemade desk. Maybe a photo of Mom trying to teach the 15-year-old math while in the background the 7-year-old spills a container of Legos all over the original hardwood floor and the 3-year-old drags a screaming cat by its tail across the kitchen linoleum.

***

My 7-year olds favorite word right now is “ineffective” and I don’t know where she heard it. Last week she told me that my tricks to get her to take her allergy medicine would be ineffective on her.

No idea.

I don’t use that word often and I don’t even know where she heard it. I’m glad she’s reading and learning more words, but I do wish she’d stop using them correctly and against me.

***

Here is a character attribute I am tired of seeing in books: A female main character who absolutely loves to read and spends three paragraphs telling the reader of the book she is in why she loves to read. Yes, I get it, writers like to read so they think their characters should too. Yes, I did this in my first book, but no, I don’t want to keep reading about main characters who love to read and hide themselves in corners to read and ignore other people so they can read.

It’s cliché and completely over done and I will most likely do it myself in a future book. Also, I like to read, but I don’t fall in love with the characters to the point I am completely out of touch with reality so if the author is trying to help me relate to his/her characters, it’s not going to work.

***

Our older cat Pixel is very aloof in the warmer months. She comes in from outside for a pet, eats some food, and heads back outside to hunt then repeats the process every couple of hours. In the winter, she goes outside for a much shorter time and when she returns, she often crawls up on my lap for a pet and a brief kneading session on my chest. Then she curls up in a chair the rest of the day and at night she’s back on my chest for a cuddle. It is for this reason that I sometimes favor winter more than the warmer months.

Our kitten (Scout), on the other hand, is affectionate at the most inopportune times, like at 5 in the morning when she walks up onto my chest and lays down under my chin, cutting off my air.

The kitten has also spent much of the last couple of weeks finding the best sprawl pose near our woodstove.

***

The other night my husband turned on Knight Rider for old time’s sake. I have to admit that I watched it very little as a kid and hadn’t seen it in years but it brought back a memory for me of a poster of David Hasselhoff I saw at a yard sale near our house and bought after begging my mom for it.

My mom finally agreed with a big eye roll, asking me, “Are you sure you want that?”

When I insisted I did, she let me buy it, and then there he was — David Hasselhoff with his shirt unbuttoned several buttons, wearing a leather jacket and leaning on Kit. I hung him on the wall right next to my bed. The poster looked a little like this:



My brother says he doesn’t remember this at all, but I swear he came into my room after it was hung and said, “What the heck?! Why do you have a poster of a grown man on your wall? MOM! WHY DOES LISA HAVE A POSTER OF A GROWN MAN ON HER WALL?!”

My brother says this never happened, but he is getting old so he probably forgot. *wink*



***

A former friend once bragged about how much better Australia was than the U.S. Lately I wonder if she thinks the same thing now that they have no freedom left to speak of.

***

Last Sunday an ice storm moved into our area so we decided not to drive the five miles to my parents for lunch like we usually do on Sundays. I didn’t want my mom to think we didn’t want to come, but I wanted us to be safe so I called her and she said if we did come she’d be worried about us driving back in the dark.

We finally agreed we would stay home. She said, “okay, good. I just didn’t want you to think I was rejecting you.” Then I said, “I didn’t want you to think I was rejecting you.”

And that’s when I realized, yet again actually, that this family needs to see a therapist. We worry way too much about offending each other and other people.



***

I thought I’d share a couple of humorous memes I came across recently. I find them humorous but my son says they are “so 2016.”

***

So those are my random thoughts. How about you? Share your random thoughts in the comments.

Randomly Thinking: No, I haven’t started smoking pot, I’ll probably never be a potter, and other random thoughts

Welcome to my random thoughts. Enter at your own risk.

***

As most of you know, I was in the hospital with COVID on Thanksgiving and stayed there for five days. During that time I had a family member who was wonderful and helped me through by talking to me all hours of the night. She is a 911 dispatcher in a rural county so she was already up. She only messaged me between calls so one night I didn’t hear much from her for a while and that was fine. I knew she’d message me on breaks or when things calmed down. When she did message me she told me that the weekend had been absolutely insane.

At one point there was a man who locked himself in his basement, set the basement on fire, and then cut his own throat with a knife. I actually heard about this one from a nurse in the hospital I was in because that man was transported to the same hospital. The nurse was talking to other nurses about how crazy the emergency room was. My relative said this man wasn’t the only man to cut his throat that weekend either.

In addition to the crazy basement man, the dispatch center had a call about a seizure in a barn and then a PennDOT driver who choked on beef jerky in a snow storm, which triggered an asthma attack.

It all made me very glad I am not a 911 dispatcher. My nerves are shot just from going to a store for groceries (yeah, I know I’m crazy. Hush). Having to dispatch an ambulance while someone is on the other end of the phone screaming into it about a bleeding family member? Nope. Could not handle that.

***

I have been taking CBD oil for some of the side effects of COVID. For those who don’t know, CBD is from the hemp plant but it does not have the part of the marijuana plant that makes people high, which is THC. It is used to help people with pain, anxiety and sleep issues and it’s become quite popular. And yes, it is helping the internal tremors and anxiety I have dealt with since COVID, as well as some aches and pains I had before COVID.

So my 89-year old aunt knew about the internal vibrations and asked me how they were going. I was talking to her at my parents house and I told her that CBD oil was helping. She is hard of hearing so she asked what I was saying. I slowly spelled CBD for her and then she said, “Now, tell me about this. What is it?”

I started to tell her what I wrote above and my dad leaned toward the phone and said loudly, “It’s pot, Doris! Pot!”

I quickly assured my aunt I was not smoking pot. My dad knows what CBD is. He just thinks he’s funny.

***

This CBD thing has been a huge source of enjoyment for my family, who like to tease me that I am doing drugs. This wouldn’t be funny in some families but it is funny in mine because we are a family who doesn’t even drink wine let alone do any drugs.

We don’t take a lot of medicines and treat many of our ailments naturally. I don’t drink for a variety of reasons and have never done drugs. My parents do not drink and also do not do drugs. I guess that’s why joking about drug usage is allowed in my family? I have no idea and to be clear I don’t mean we make light of addiction or what drugs do to a person, just the hilarious idea that one of us would use them. My mom and I can’t even walk straight after a small dose of NyQuil.

Anyhow, I was taking D-mannose, a natural supplement, for a bladder issue at the same time we had to live with my parents for two weeks when we first moved to the area I live in now. For those who don’t know, dmannose is a natural supplement that can be taken in a capsule form or comes in a white powder that can be mixed with a liquid. I had purchased the white powder so I could mix it with water.   I had the D-mannose in a baggie (I don’t remember why now) and I misplaced the bag and asked my mom if she had seen it.

“You mean your cocaine?” Mom asked. “It’s over on the counter.”

“Mom!” I cried. “It is not cocaine.”

Mom responded, “Did you need a spoon and a candle to melt that down?”

I scowled. “I’m not an expert but I think that’s what you do with crack so no, I don’t need a spoon and a candle.”

My mom just grinned at me.

With all this CBD usage, I told my mom I was nervous about one of the oils because I wasn’t totally sure it was THC free. It wasn’t labeled very well and was made on a small farm. I was going to use while I waited for a more high quality one to arrive in the mail.

“Well, just take it and see if you get high, I guess,” she told me, then snorted a laugh.

If you knew my mom and how anti-marijuana and alcohol she is, that comment would crack you up even more.

***

My son has been enjoying harassing me about the CBD oil too. He asks me from time to time if I am high yet.

Before Christmas, my dad bought a fruit cake and was taste testing it. My son said, “Well we know she (pointing to me) might be high but are you high too? Who actually buys fruit cake?!”

***

A super sweet cat showed up at my parents the week before Christmas. We don’t know if someone dropped him off or where he came from but he hung around the house and when my family pulled in the drive he was waiting and jumped up on his hind legs, bumping his head against our hands to get us to pet him.

Our dog immediately fell in love with him and kept trying to go outside to check on him. Usually Zooma chases cats she meets outside, but this time she just stood and sniffed the cat and let him rub himself all over her.

We have two cats so we knew we couldn’t take him home with us. The whole family immediately decided we needed to put a notice on Facebook to see if anyone knew who he belonged to.

A few minutes after my dad posted the notice, people said they didn’t know who the cat belonged to but they wanted him. Two days later he had a knew home on a farm with horses and two dogs. My dad hopes he didn’t give someone’s cat away but he was just too sweet to take to an animal shelter or let stay out in the cold all winter.

***

My husband posted this gem on Facebook Christmas Eve:

My wife wrapping presents:

An elegant tribute to the sculptural nature of bows and ribbons, a warm embrace in paper form

Me wrapping presents:

A thousand angry thumbs fail to understand the concept of paper, a monster held together by tape and hubris

***

Speaking of my husband, we were reminiscing this week about this past summer when he took our daughter to a local carnival. He took her on a ride where you sit on a rug and slide down a long slide. He sat her on his lap and the person manning the ride said, “Okay, now let’s get your granddaughter in place.”

Like he said at the time when he told me the story, “I have to get rid of the gray in this beard.”

***

We bought Little Miss a pottery wheel for Christmas and I thought I’d give it a go. It is pretty little and just for kids so I can handle it right? That’s what I thought anyhow. This thing was flying at like 80 mph while I tried to mold a lump of clay into a bowl. What resulted was thirty minutes of me saying, “oh! Oh my! Slow down! This is going to fly off. Why is this going so fast? I thought this was for kids? I need a slower wheel! This is making a mess! What was I thinking?”

My failed attempt at making a bowl and Little Miss’s tools trying to remove it from the pottery wheel.

We spent two days wiping clay off anything within a 20-foot radius of the wheel and have learned to put plastic or something down from now on when using it.

Little Miss had no interest in using it. Instead, she just wanted to carve and shape her creations out of the clay. It was a much safer choice, trust me. I do, however, still want a bigger wheel of my own.

Even though the wheel seemed fast and I didn’t know what I was doing (although I once saw a local high school teacher teaching students and knew to wet my hands as I went along), it was strangely relaxing and mesmerizing. I guess I know what to tell my husband and children to get me for Mother’s Day.

***

My daughter recently made this portrait of me in mustard. I don’t know what else to say.

So those are some of my random thoughts. Share a few of yours with me in the comments. 

Randomly Thinking: My quipping 15-year old, my 7-year old is sending me texts, and purses.

I’ve been trying to finish one of these for a couple of months now. Something always seems to interrupt or distract me, though. So this might not be the most exciting randomly thinking ever, but at least I’m finally getting one done.

Recently my son and I have been watching videos for science and he likes to let me know subtly that they aren’t the best produced things every by pausing them and adlibbing.

“Look at that lion. He looks so depressed. He looks like his wife just left him.”

The women on the video then asked if the lion had a backbone so they could discuss what category the lion would be placed into.  

“No,” my son responded. “He doesn’t have a backbone. That’s probably why his wife left him.”

“That word sounds like a disease. Is it a disease?”

“Yes, he’s slimy he left the Denny’s without giving them a tip.”

Finally, he said, “I have to stop doing this or we’re never going to finish this video.”

Exactly. He was simply dragging his lesson out even more, so he finally stopped.

***

One night my son and I were watching a documentary about the various palaces the British monarchy live in. The first part of the series was about Buckingham Palace and among the many features the woman was talking about was a statue of a naked Mars and Venus. Before we knew it she was touching the bare right buttock and upper thigh of Venus and telling us how supple and soft it looks and how smooth it feels. She then pointed out a small space between the two statues and called that space a “erotic space.”

Needless to say, that documentary took a very weird turn.

At one point The Boy used his adlibbing again and said, while speaking like the female host, “When the queen sits on the throne, she just sucks the life force out of us. That’s how she stays alive and why I look so old. I’m actually 20.”

***

The other night my son said, “You know people who were born in the 90s are in their 30s now? That’s totally crazy.”

“Um…thanks for that reminder,” I said, my voice full of sarcasm. “Most of them are actually in their 20s, but okay. And I was born in the 70s you know.”

My daughter looked at me in horror. “You were born in the 70s?!!”

My son. “Yes, she is old.”

So, anyhow, if you want to be humbled, have children.

***

Have you ever thought maybe you should see what the other “theys” in the world think before you tell everyone you’re doing something because “they said I had to”? And maybe you should ask why some “theys” are censored and no longer experts while other “theys” are the only experts you’re allowed to listen to. How different the world might be right now if more people did that.

***

I’ve had to cut back on milk to try to lose some weight and I reminded my son of this as I had him pour me half a cup the other night.

He deepened his voice and added a gravelly rasp to it.

“I had to cut the milk. After that guy came after me and told me he wanted the money I’d taken off him and I didn’t remember it because you know — the milk – it messed with my mind.”

Then he had me in a milk anonymous meeting saying, in the same low voice, “My name is Lisa and I’m addicted to milk. It’s destroyed my life. Don’t start drinking it. It’s a slippery slope.”

***

At the end of last school year, I was worried Little Miss wasn’t going to learn to read. Now I get messages like this on my phone from her:

***

Little Miss and I are reading a book called Freedom Crossing for school. It is about the Underground Railroad. In the first chapter, the main character, a 15-year old girl, is hiding and listening while her brother and another young man talk about her. She finally steps out and tells the boys she has heard every word.

Little Miss and I agreed to continue the story the next day and then she announced, “Yeah, she’s probably going to kick them in their weak spot because all boys have a weak spot.” She grinned at me. “Right between the legs. That’s what I’d do. I would kick them because I’m feisty. I wouldn’t let anyone talk about me and what they think I’m going to do.”

Yes, we did have to have a little conversation about violence after that, especially since she has tried this tactic on her brother and now I know she’s doing it on purpose more times than she admits.

***

Run, don’t walk, to get a copy of all the books of the Rembrandt Stone series. I just finished the last book in the series and oh gosh. Wow. Blown away by the whole series. Cried like a baby while reading the final book not once, not twice, but three times. And I mean outright sobbed. I’m sure that had nothing to do with the fact I had a 102-degree fever and was completely exhausted. Okay, it might have had a little to do with that, but mainly it was because the ending hit all the spots a time travel/romantic suspense book should. I felt empty when I finished it. Lost even. How could I read anything else that captivated me the way those books did? I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll eventually find something.

The books are by David James Warren.

***

I posted this on my Instagram earlier this week and thought I’d share it here too so my blog readers can’t let me know what they think too.

Ladies, tell me about your purses. I should probably explain that I am not really a “girly girl” so shoes and purses are not my usual thing to talk about but recently I purchased a purse that was small and cute and I thought I would love it. I haaaated it! I couldn’t fit all my stuff in it. Where was the space for my planner and my Kindle and maybe a paperback book? Not to mention my essential oils, bottle of ibuprofen for the days Aunt Flo shows up out of the blue, and a pocket for snacks for the kids because they didn’t eat their breakfast when I told them to and now we’re out somewhere and they are “hangry”. In other words, I didn’t need a purse I needed a bag. Yes, a big bag to apparently put everything but the kitchen sink in and carry around on my shoulder so that I pinch that nerve in my neck yet again and have to find a chiropractor, yet again.

How about you?

Do you like small, cute purses that are unassuming and you can carry to your dinner date without knocking ten people out on the way to your seat? Or do you need a “bag” that you can fit everything important in? Or do you have more than one purse that you switch back and forth? Maybe you’re much fancier when it comes to purses than I am. 😉

***

Well, those are my random thoughts for this time around. Do you have anything random that happened to you or a random thought? Let me know in the comments.