Why is it when you look your worst you get unexpected visitors? I worked in my yard for three hours recently, trimming the hedges, pulling weeds and pulling even more weeds. After the first hour in the sweltering heat, looking less than presentable, the pest guy, who was spraying the house next door, caught my attention asking the status of my children’s book. I let him know it was out, and of course I have copies, to which he said
he wanted one. I went in, washed my hands, retrieved the book, and signed it for his three children. It just goes to show that I never turn down a chance to sell or talk about any of my books!
I went back to work on the yard, and after about an hour the neighbor kid drove up and
decided to come over and say hello. This is rare, as he normally has blinders on and goes straight from the car to the house and back again, without a doubt still numb from the blare of his stereo. But not this time, no this time he walked over to say hello. Keep in mind by now I’d been working in the heat for over two hours. He told me the yard was looking good and I told him no, it is looking less bad. After chatting several moments he went inside and I got back to work kneeling in the dirt pulling weeds.
Two separate people stopped to ask me where the yard sale that was, three houses down, closed for the day, back open in the morning. At the three hour mark I am now totally covered in dirt, the sweat is causing the dirt to run in streaks down my legs. On a scale of one-ten I am pretty sure I was a minus seven on the sexy meter. I looked up and another neighbor who’d purchased a Goblin book the day before, had seen me outside and decided to bring the kids by and let me know they loved the book! The kids had a ton of questions and comments about the book. I answered them all, told them I was
happy they loved the book, and made further small talk until they were ready to leave.
I have few friends in the area so it is rare that I get company, yet today when I looked the worst I’ve probably ever looked I had plenty of eyes upon me. It is funny that even though I looked as though I had walked through a garden hose and wallowed in the mud, not one person made any comment about the state of my appearance. Were they just being polite or were they afraid if they made mention of how hard I was working that I might ask them to help? I guess I’ll never know…
I don’t remember exactly how old I was but from the picture in my mind I would guess my age to be around ten. My parents had taken us to a farm. I am sure it was a farm belonging to a distant relative, but again just who that may have been escapes me. So you may be wondering why I would chose to write about something I don’t remember that well, but that is the thing, while I do not remember my age or where precisely we were, I do remember what happened that day so many years ago.
My brothers and I were watching the farmers harvest the crop. They were using a machine which had a long shoot and loading a semi with soybeans. After they were finished they shut down for a bit and all of us kids got to climb right up into that semi trailer and play in that bed of beans! We had such a grand time. I firmly believe that the inventor of the air filled bouncy house must have got the idea while playing in a semi bed filled with soybeans.
Oh what fun it was walking on that bed of beans, our feet sinking, and disappearing, into the tan colored pellets. Often our shoes would slip off and we would have to dig to recover them. That in itself was fun because as we dug the beans would cave in around the hole, in such a way of playing in a sandbox of loose flowing sand.
After digging for shoes lost its allure we finally took them off and tossed them unceremoniously out of the trailer. After that we discovered a new joy. Oh what fun we had sinking our toes into the countless tiny balls. They were warm from the heat of the sun and kept their heat when poured into the large steel trailer which was covered to help contain the beans. It was open at the end which allowed for the hopper to spray
the beans into the truck and also the route we traveled to climb down into the
In a time before cable, or video games, there was no better time than we had that day.
Unfortunately that joy was short lived. The chute appeared in the opening and
started filling the truck. At first it was fun getting pelted with the tiny
balls but soon the fun nearly turned deadly. As those beans flew into the truck
a whirlwind effect started, and soon we found it very difficult to breath. Our
lungs were filling with husks, dust, and whatever else was being forced into the
truck. I think that is the first time in my life I actually worried that I was
going to die. For what seemed like forever, however in reality probably only
lasted a few moments, I had a fear of being buried alive. I don’t know if they
suddenly remembered there were children playing inside of the trailer, or if we
just got lucky but we all survived. I remember not being able to breathe very
well for a couple of days but in that era you didn’t run to the doctor just
because you inhaled a bit of soybean dust.
My husband has always said children grow up in spite of us not because of us. I am not sure where the quote originated but looking back, I think the statement is so very true…
Yesterday I decided that the weeds in my yard were
causing me too much anguish. While I felt guilty not being in the house writing,
I felt that the stress each time I looked at what needed to be done in the yard,
was not doing me any good.
So I decided to allow myself one hour of weeding. Well I
enjoyed myself so much that the one hour turned into 3.5 hours. I got a lot
accomplished and can now look out the windows without cringing.
One of the other things I have been neglecting is my
exercise routine. It is not that I do not want or need to exercise it is just
that I get so caught up in the editing/writing mode that I have blinders on,
and feel guilty when I do anything not related to writing.
The problem is if I take an hour to pull weeds and an
hour to exercise then that is two hours out of my precious editing time.
Well this morning it appears I may have found an answer
to this, a way to cut that time in half. You see while I was pulling weeds I was
squatting, bending, reaching, and pulling (some of those buggers require a bit
of muscle to remove). I did not realize is at the time but I was getting a full
workout doing what needed to be done. I know it was a workout, as today I have
winced more than once at the pain from yesterday’s “workout.” Surely knowing I
am completing two tasks at the same time it will ease my guilt at being in the
yard for an extended time.
That new revolution has changed my outlook on simple
tasks that I have on my “to do” list. I can now mop the floors, scrub the
counters and clean the bathrooms all while knowing that I am indeed multi
tasking. Not only will I get my exercise in, but my house will look well kept in
the process. Instead of mopping the floors I can hand scrub them, bathrooms will
now be cleaned while squatting, not bending and kneeling. Scrubbing the
counters will be done in long deliberate motions. Yes, the possibilities are
I hope to
get to the point where my neighbors think I have writers block. Surely if I have
so much time to maintain my yard and house I could not possibly be getting
anything else done!
Yes, that is the plan, but for now I am going to get back
to editing as all of this talk of house work and lawn care is really wearing me
After seeing recent photo of my blinding white legs I have decided I am in need of a bit of sun on my lower extremities. So for that reason I have taken to lying out for an hour a day. I have found that if I lay out early in the day it is a bit more tranquil and I can toss around storylines
in my head. In case you didn’t know a writer is always writing, even when they look like they are not.
Today was no different. I was laying there enjoying the suns warmth when my tranquility was interrupted by the sounds of the neighbor’s dog. “Quiet you beast,” I called from the recesses of my mind. He continued to bark, and bark, and bark. What an annoying little brute I thought, wishing him to be more like my Oliver. My good, quiet little boy who was lying at the base of the shed, quietly willing one of the new little bunnies to come out and play.
Once again the neighbor’s dog started blaring a round of
woof’s when suddenly I realized that my Oliver, my quiet little gentleman had
joined in on the tirade. I called to him but he ignored me. This was not like
him. After several moments and many more woof’s from both sides of the fence I
decided it was time to investigate. I slipped on a shirt, so as not to frighten
the neighbors, and made my way to the back of the property.
As I approached the fence Oliver, who until this time had
played the spectator, grew bold and began lunging at the fence. What had gotten
the two into such a state, but a tiny little opossum who was clinging to the
top of the fence, holding on for dear life!
My first thought was to try to help it make it to a
nearby tree. My second thought was to look around for the little guy’s mother as
it was without a doubt too young to be on its own.
As Oliver lunged once more the baby bared its teeth
leaving no doubt that it would use them if further provoked. Gone were the
thoughts of picking it up and helping it along its way. Besides growing up in
the country I have seen the damage these little buggers can do when cornered,
which is why I did not follow my maternal instincts in the first place.
Still I could not just leave it there quaking in its grip
on the fence post. So I reached through the fence and picked up a long, thin,
log from the firewood pile, and was able to maneuver it so that the baby would
take hold of it.
My thought was to get the baby onto the log and then move
the log close enough to the neighboring tree for it to get out of harms way. A
plan that worked well for the first few seconds as the opossum decided it would
much rather be on the high end of the stick, you know the end where my fingers
were. At that point I had no choice but to quickly lean the log against the
fence post, which once again allowed the baby to climb up to the top of the
fence. Luckily though this did take it several posts away from its original
position, and a bit further from the clamoring dogs, who by now had seemed to
tire of this game. I retreated to the house, sun and tranquility forgotten, and
the dogs followed suit. Once again the neighborhood is quiet, and the baby
opossum has lived to see another day.
It seems to me that the newest catchphrase is “bucket
list”.It seems as though everyone I speak to has one. I have even seen several
news posts on Facebook of late referring to bucket lists, so much so that it
made me wonder if I am the only one left that has not made a bucket list of my
own. I had to ask myself, what exactly does one put on a bucket list? I have
been accused of over thinking things and this bucket list problem is no
different, as I worry about what to add to my list. I wonder about the outcome
of reaching the end of your list. Do you keep things simple so you are sure to
achieve everything on your list? If that is the case then what happens when you
reach that last item on your list. Can you add to it or is that the end of the
road for you and your list? I am not sure I want to find out.
In order to prolong things do you reach for the stars and
take the chance of leaving this world with unfinished business?
Could that be worse than accomplishing everything on your list? These are
just a few of the questions that are plaguing me as I contemplate starting a
bucket list of my own. As I sift through the cobwebs in my mind and determine
what things are significant enough for me to add to this very important “to do”
list I would like for you the reader to weigh in and tell me do you have a
bucket list of your own? Did you keep it simple or reach for the stars? Are you
making a valiant attempt to cross off everything on your list or are you
constantly adding to it? Do you keep your bucket list private or do you share it
with others? If so what is the most outlandish thing you have on your list?
One day last week while I was out I had a craving for
Plaza Azteca, a local chain of authentic Mexican cuisine. I looked at my watch,
decided I have been behaving so I could afford a splurge, and pulled into the
parking lot. It was fairly early in the day so I got there just before it
started getting busy. I walked into the restaurant, held my chin up high and
with as much bravado as I could muster said “only one.”
I must admit it took me a long time to get to this place
in life. There was a time when I would have opted for something from the
drive-thru, not having the courage to dine alone in a family restaurant. Still,
as I followed the hostess to my table I had this thought in my head, look
at the loser eating alone! Realizing what direction my mind had taken I got
angry and shot back um, no I am a
confident woman who has the courage to eat alone. Yes, that is right folks,
not only was I dining alone I was also arguing with myself. Yea, sure, that
shows you how sane I am!
As I sat there eating my chips and salsa I started
counting the benefits of dining alone. I wrote them down so that I could share
them with you.
You get to pick where
you get to eat.
You do not have to
share the chips and salsa (of course if you are limiting your starches, this
could also be listed under cons)
You don’t have to
worry about double dipping.
You can check your
cell phone without worrying about being rude to your dining companion.
They serve you in a
hurry. (I think that is to get you out of there so that they can give your table
to a larger party. Larger party=larger tip)
When you are finished
you get to leave. (No waiting around for others to
If you make a mess on
your shirt no-one will notice.
The waitress will
keep checking on you. (Surely you must look pitiful to her sitting alone at a
booth designed for four)
You get the pity
party invite. (um no, just because I am eating single does not mean I want to
sit at your table)
Drum roll!!!!!!!!!!!! The best
advantage or eating alone is….
When you eat too much
there is no-one there to chastise you!
So the next time you feel like eating out and wish you
had someone to go with you, go by yourself. You might just enjoy it. If not… at
least you will be able to waddle out to your car in silance!
I have a love hate relationship with my dashboard navigator. On most days I love her and appreciate the ease in which she guide me to where I need to go; I turn her on and trust that she’s got my back. On the rare occasion that she drops the ball I find myself talking to the screen asking “are you kidding me?” Okay I normally insert a major expletive between the you
and the kidding but hey, this blog is rated G.
On one occasion my husband and I were looking for a Home Depot when right smack in the middle of the interstate she -my navigator- announced “you have arrived at your destination.” Um…unless there is a Home Depot truck follow us on the interstate I don’t think so.
Yet another time on our way home from North Carolina, my husband had a taste for chicken. So I hit the search button, punched the go button and we were off. Once again She
took us to a field out in the middle of no-where and said “you have arrived at your destination.” My husband and I both started laughing as we realized there was no chicken in that field and if there was it most certainly had not been cooked!
Today my navigator dropped the ball yet again however, to be fair, it was not really her fault. You see the drawbridge was closed for repair so the exit she wanted me to take was blocked. Normally if you miss a turn she will re-route you and today was no exception only each time it was her goal to re-route me to the same exit which I could not take.
This happened three times before I decided to try and take an alternate route. The problem with taking an alternate route is, I had no idea where I was going. I had an address
but having never been there I did not know where the school was. I only thought
I did. So I took my own route which nearly gave my navigator a nervous break
I will give her credit though since, even though I was not listening to her, she never lost her
cool. Sadly the same could not be said for me. At one point I realized I was speeding and all I could think of was good maybe I will get pulled over and I can
ask the police officer for directions!
If I wasn’t heading to a book
signing today I would have been content to return home, curl up on the couch
and have a pity party but alas, I had promised myself and others I would attend
so I continued on my route. The long way that I decided to try did not work and
I have to admit to screaming obscenities and laughing out loud when, after
taking a forty minute sightseeing excursion, my navigator announced yet again
that she wanted me to exit the highway at the closed ramp. Seriously how did we
get back here?
I am happy to say that after I finally pulled over and studied the overview of where she was trying to take me that I was able to make it to my book signing, albeit 20 minutes late! My
navigator was also pleased as she shouted in triumph “you have arrived at your
destination.” She was so proud of herself… bless her little heart…
I have been trying to behave, really I have. I’ve been holding my tongue and pointing to the
sign on my door that reads No Soliciting, as people continue to ignore the sign
and step brazenly on my porch, their nimble fingers pressing the doorbell,
waiting for me to come. It would not be so bad if my sign were somehow hidden
from view. I would assume that perhaps it was an oversight, and maybe I should
relocate the sign so my “visitors” could see it better, but I assure you that is
not the case. You see, much to my chagrin, my husband, being the diligent man
that he is adhered the sign right above the door handle of our full length glass
storm door. At first I thought it an eye sore but he assured me that was the
best place to place it as it is in everyone’s direct line of vision. Everyone
but the people who are supposed to heed its warning it seems because this week
alone I have had not one but four unsolicited and unwelcomed dings from my
Okay the first one was a lady from the city confirming
information for assessment purposes. While unwelcomed, she could make our lives
miserable or at least costly so I answered her questions.
The second was a neighbor girl and I did give her
permission to return when I bought grapefruit in the fall, so she gets a pass as
Then there was the lady handing out religious pamphlets
who I watched walk right up to the door, peer at my no-soliciting sign over her
horn rimmed glasses-do people really still wear those- and rang the door bell.
I was sitting on the couch with my laptop at the time and I took my time
getting up thinking she would take the hint. I guess she has learned to be
patient on her mission because she just stood there waiting for me. When I
approached the door I pointed to the sign, which she had already read, and said
“it says no-soliciting.” To which she informed me she is not soliciting she is
just handing out these pamphlets. I don’t mean to state the obvious lady, but
handing out pamphlets for your church is still soliciting…
My final, I have had enough, point came earlier this
week. I was sitting in my office, working on my latest manuscript, when out of
the corner of my eye I saw a young man walking down the street. From my vantage
point in my office I could see him but he could not see me.
Oliver, my standard poodle, likes to sit with me in my
office. At times he will just sit and stare out the window. This happened to be
one of those times. We watched to see what the man was up to and sure enough he
turned to come up the driveway with papers in his hand. Seriously, you can see
my sign from the road! It is that big and that noticeable. Having had enough, I
turned to Oliver and highly encouraged him to “go see.”
Being thus encouraged, Oliver turned and took off down
the hall in a hurry. I did not see what happened next but I could visualize the
whole scene. Oliver is 70 pounds and jet black. I could hear him racing down
the hallway, nails clicking, in a dead run. By the time he attempted to round
the corner to the front hallway he was moving so fast that I heard him sliding
around the corner, his legs shuffling out from under him, struggling to regain
By this point the guy was already on the porch and
heading to the glass storm door. He probably even had his finger extended,
hovering over the sign, reaching for the doorbell. Oliver made it to the door at
that very second and was so worked up he was barking and growling. I am sure
even though there was a glass door between them seeing a 70 pound dog racing
toward you, doing his best impersonation of Cujo, is bound to cause your heart
to skip a beat. I heard Oliver’s
nails hit the front door mere seconds before I saw the guy zoom past my office
window in a panic. I think it is safe to say that is one solicitor who won’t be
knocking on my door anytime soon…
My name is Sherry and I can’t sleep. There that is my
confession, my dirty little secret if you will. On the other hand maybe it is
not such a secret. Maybe when people look at me and see the dark circles under
my eyes they know. My insomnia has been sneaking up on me over the last few
years. A sleepless night here, a partial night there, but lately it is getting
worse, holding me hostage, and sometimes keeping me awake for the majority of
the night. On nights I do sleep it is intermittent, an hour here, a few hours
there, but not nearly enough to keep the circles at bay.
I am a light sleeper. The slightest noise and I am awake.
I have always been like that. I think at first it was the mom gene, listening in
case the kids needed me. Then, when I owned my day care and offered 24/7 care I
was listening for those kids as well. I wouldn’t have been able to live with
myself if something had of happened to a little one in my care. I guess that is
where it all first started but having developed those listening ears I have
never been able to turn them off again. My hearing is so keen I now have to
sleep with a fan on to muffle the outside noise. A fan that does not always
work when you live in a close knit community where car doors slam, dogs bark
and stereos thump and once awake, my mind takes over and thus the sleepless
Last night I was woke by a sound that at first I could
not identify. As I lay there, in my too tired to get up but too awake to go back
to sleep stupor, I listened intently trying to identify the sound a sound which
I was still hearing over the swish of the table fan. The noise was familiar but
not. Steady, but interment at the same time. As I strained to identify the
sound, I suddenly realized it was the soft gentle snore of my dog, Oliver, who
was sleeping soundly just feet away snuggled in his bed without a care in the
world. I listened to his steady breathing and gentle snore for nearly an hour.
I listened as he had a doggy dream, making little growling sounds and innocent
puppy dog whines. I lay there wishing I could trade places with him. Wishing I
could sleep so contentedly until it finally dawned on me, there is no way I
would ever be able to fit into his doggy bed…