I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Thank You for the Blog Awards

I want to thank all of the people who have visited my blog over the past year, read my ramblings and stories, and have left comments. Thank you to all the people who’ve decided to follow me.

There are times when I have let regular posting fall to the wayside because of a busy schedule and some personal issues. I’d rather be writing something, whether it’s a blog post, a comment, or a book. This is not always possible as daily life goes on. Sometimes I wonder how all of you manage to post so often and think you must live in a different environment than I do. My house is usually one big tumultuous place.

I apologize for not reading your lovely posts and commenting more. Always meaning to, I seem to run out of time or am called away to handle another issue. Maybe someday, my daily life will be different.

In December, I was lucky enough to have three of you give me blog awards for my efforts. I do appreciate them tremendously and am almost embarrassed because I’m responding to you so late. I hope you will accept my apology. I’ve been working hard to finish a crime novel, finding it difficult to get time for that with all the holidays and other things going on at the end of the year.

Without further a due, I want to thank you for my blog awards.

James Osborne bestowed the Influential Blog Award to my book blog site:

Please visit his blog here for wonderful short stories: http://JamesOsborneNovels.com

I want to thank Jeanette Andersen and Sharla Shults for giving the Blog of the Year Award to my cat and family story site surviving life.

Please visit their sites for stories and poetry:


I have enjoyed reading all of your stories, book reviews, writing tips, cat antics, daily life happenings and all the other stuff posted over 2012.

One thing about the blog awards is that most of them contain lots of rules and different things and right now I don’t have the time to “play by the rules,” so I hope you’ll forgive me. I will just list some of the sites I’ve enjoyed over the last year. There are so many that I hope I haven’t left anyone out.


Good wishes go out to everyone for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Helpers

I’d thought I’d share a bit of the holiday with you and what it entails when you have purr-fect little helpers to pitch in. My furry babies enjoy the holiday season more than we do.

I don’t think I need to go into the fact the cats love ribbon and wrapping paper and anything else you drag out during the holidays. They are always happy to get in the middle of things and lend a helping or hindering paw.

The curling ribbon is an all time favorite. I’m afraid they will choke on it one day because they can’t leave it alone. Of course, over the years, I have had so many cats with crazy fetishes that nothing surprises me anymore. They have eaten plastic bags, elastic, and rubber bands with no ill effects. We even had one that loved to eat those sparkly silver icicles off the tree so finally I quit putting them on. They would show up in the litter box eventually, not seeming to hurt any of them in the process. I wonder why I’m fretting over a little curling ribbon. So far, I’ve just been lucky I tell myself and the day is coming when a trip to the vet is in order.

Here are a few pictures for you cat lovers out there.

Koki - Sunni's Photo's

This is what I go through when trying to put ribbons on packages, especially the curling ribbon, which is an all-time favorite.

Koki - Sunni's Photos

Sukie - Sunni's Photos

The little rascals camp out under here having great kitty dreams I’m sure. At least they are off the bed and there is room to turn over at night.

Koki - Sunni's Photos

Koki - Sunni's Photos

Of course, they love to climb the tree, which is something no cat can turn down. However, this can be disastrous for ornaments. Most of them don’t last long so I don’t put my special ones on there anymore.

I’m sure they are singing out, “O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, your ornaments are history!”

Sukie - Sunni's Photos

Koki - Sunni's Photos

My little fur balls dread the day the tree comes down and everything goes back in the box. They pout and get very disgusted with us. Feeling sorry for them one year, we decided to leave the tree up awhile, but we moved it to the bedroom where we placed a sheet under it to catch all the needles. It was in bad shape by then anyway because, as stated above, they will destroy it quickly, just all in the name of kitty fun.

Of course, this would end up being the year that we had our patio door shot out by New Years revelers. This had never happened before, and was a one-time occurrence, thank goodness. When the sheriff came out with a deputy to take a statement, he just eyed us quizzically, probably wondering what a half-dead, bedraggled tree was doing in the bedroom. I’m sure we were probably the talk around the station that night.

Happy Holidays to all of you, however you may celebrate this season.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Fascination for the Unusual and the Creative

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Okay folks, this has been me from the very beginning, or as far back as I can remember. I have always been interested in the unconventional or different way of thinking, or looking at things, as well as anything of a creative nature. This is so much a part of my makeup that I can’t help myself and must go down this path.

I guess that is why I let my girlfriend in fifth grade drill mythology into my head with no complaints. I still have mythology books in my library to this day, although I can’t recite it from memory anymore, as I used to when she gave me tests everyday at recess. I went from that to King Arthur books, and other fantasy tales and legends, although I personally think that King Arthur was a real man that lived in medieval Britain, but perhaps didn’t go by that name at the time. Who are we to say since no one really knows, or will ever know? However, you may feel about this, his life and times are fascinating. I have at least thirty books on his life in my library and my husband and I debate the fact of his reality, him taking the opposite stance, of course, the same as he does with ET’s and UFO’s, something else I find very interesting., as well omens we receive by animals and other things in nature. This me dipping into my craziness, he says.

Learning new unusual things seems to be paramount for me. I have to watch myself, or I’ll while away my creative time on Google reading something fascinating I came across while looking for something else I was researching for my latest WIP.

In high school, my love of art won me over, especially the lives of the artists themselves and not just the creative angle of the whole thing, although I’ve always had a creative side and used to say I was born with a pencil and a sketchpad. But who can’t be fascinated with people like Van Gogh where madness led him to cut off his own ear? Being born with a creative spirit can be a blessing and a curse.

I have always thought how remarkable it is, too, to be the kind of person who can pick up any kind of musical instrument they have never seen before, and they can play it as if they’ve practiced all their life. I personally know people like this. Art is like that for me. Hand me the medium and I’ll make something out of it.

For me it is all about involvement in something creative, which has been writing in the most recent years, although I did some of that early on too. The creative spirit is a restless one, having to keep busy all the time, and not feeling fulfilled until achieving something remarkable every day.

This kind of thinking can wreak havoc on family life, as most art can; including writing, which is a solitary job. In all honesty, it is hard to flip the switch on creativity, and very hard to balance out your life if you don’t. After assessing this, my feeling is that it is best that these people live alone, although aloneness breeds madness as we can see with the Van Gogh example. However, it is very hard to keep everyone happy all the time.

I imagine it is either lunacy, or work yourself to death in your craft because the older I get the more I begin to realize there is never enough time to accomplish it all in this lifetime. This thought only makes me work harder and at a frenzied pace, so I can get in as much as I can before time is up. Perhaps, I’ve already reached some form of insanity, and I just don’t know it yet.

Does anyone else wrestle with this?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thoughts on the Mayan Calendar

There are many views on this subject, the end of the world or just a change in consciousness? I wanted to touch on this briefly because I’ve been aware of this for at least two decades, remembering when 2012 seemed like a long way off. Now, all of a sudden, here we are and still alive to see what this is all about for ourselves.

I have read dozens of articles on this, as I suppose many of you have over the years, especially if you’re interested in things like this. The unusual intrigues me and always has. The end of the Mayan calendar is one of those once-in-a-lifetime events.

I find it amazing that the Mayan were so smart, being able to work out so much without the use of computers, or even simple technology like a common calculator. I have great respect for them, making use of their minds more than most of us do today. Some of the things they accomplished seem almost unimaginable. To the Maya this date (2012) only starts a new “baktun,” or 394-year century, which is how they kept time.

Do I believe it’s the end of the world? No. I don’t think it’s the beginning of the end either. I’m not worried at all and look forward to a new era, if indeed we will see one when the world is rampant with greed and corruption.

Of course, many people think this will be doomsday, but there was no mention in the Mayan prophecy about doomsday. There are many rumors about how Earth will meet its demise. Some of them being: maybe hit by an asteroid, or sideswiped by another planet, a comet is headed toward Earth and will dispense poisonous gas, the sun is in a frenzy with major solar flares, what about a pole shift that is in the news so much, or a black hole swallowing us up? People get crazy with worry about things like this, but I tend to agree with the scientists on this matter. People have worried about all this stuff for thousands of years. One day any one of these things could happen, but I would say we are more likely to destroy ourselves by blowing each other up because we can’t agree on anything. The world’s people have been fighting since the earliest days and will continue to do so. Eventually we will have bombs sophisticated enough to blow the planet to smithereens. I think this scenario is more likely. When this will happen is anyone’s guess, so it’s just best to be prepared and live each day to the fullest.

Now if you’re still worried about any of the theories above, briefly, this is what NASA and some scientists have to say.

There is no planet (Nibiru) headed our way to sideswipe us. This is a rumor from ancient Sumerians and comes from a Wisconsin woman who claims to have contact with aliens who told her about this planet. Any planet large enough is way out beyond Pluto and in that “planet’s” orbit.

At some point, an asteroid will hit Earth, but that is way out there within the next 100,000 years, not this month. There the 4700 asteroids close by and of a good size (330 feet wide), but they would likely threaten a city if they landed here, but not destroy the whole planet. These 4700 asteroids are in a neighborhood that is 5-million-miles in size.

People have been worried about a comet hitting the Earth since Haley’s Comet, discovered in 1910, caused them to hide in basements and hoard oxygen cylinders in Chicago and New York, hoping to save themselves from poisonous gas.

As far as pole flips go, this happens every 400,000 years and not all at once. It is a gradually change, taking many centuries to be completed and this is due to changes in the planets iron core. It would not bother navigation in any way because we don’t use compasses for that today, but instead global positioning satellites. There are no extinction events known because of the shifts.

We get solar flares all the time. The next maximum activity from the sun comes in 2013 and scientists say it will be mild. We can predict them now, so electric utilities and satellite owners can batten down the hatches beforehand.

There is no need to worry about being sucked into a giant black hole in the middle of the Milky Way when the sun, Earth and moon all line up on Dec 21st. This sounds spooky, but it has been happening every year on this date for the last century. Remember gravity still comes into play; it won’t turn off the switch just because of planetary alignment.

So there you go no need to worry just yet. Remember we have already survived several events this year: droughts that affected 80% of the farmland, blackouts in India that left millions with no power and the super storm Sandy that the northeast has just gone through that flooded much of NYC. Nobody predicted any of this stuff.

There is no real evidence the world is ending.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Be Careful Out There

I’m not sure what the world is coming to with all these shootings lately, but there are bunches of crazies running around. Clearly, these are sick individuals wanting to kill others. This is two days in a row now, not to mention the other recent episodes of mass shootings.

There are so many theories as to why this is happening, such as guns are easy to get and screening methods should be better, in hopes of not giving a psychotic person the okay to buy a weapon. They always see the warning signs in these killers after the fact. Things come out about the individual that someone must notice beforehand, such as personal changes in attitude, etc. Relatives and friends must just pass this off instead of reporting it, if the person possibly needs help. Maybe we can avoid some of these horrendous tragedies, if people would start reporting any kind of odd behavior changes that they notice.

I don’t think gun control is the answer. As we all know, criminals will always have guns, finding a way to get them if they are planning a crime. These people ignore laws. If we let the government dictate gun control, we won’t be able to defend ourselves, if things come to that, when as stated above, the criminals will still have guns, along with all the others who go off the deep end. On top of that, if the government is successful in this regard, they will only want to take more freedoms from the people until eventually we won’t have any left. There will be scanners everywhere to protect us from ourselves. We won’t be able to order a hamburger at a fast food joint without passing through a scanner first, making sure we are no danger to the others already in the place.

I think the better answer lies with parents teaching their kids the rights and wrongs and how to get along in society without resorting to violence. There are too many kids out there left to their own devises these days. They fall in with the gangs, or the wrong crowds, these people becoming a big influence on the impressionable mind. The parents, or guardians, allow these kids to watch destructive shows on TV and play too many violent video games instead of doing something constructive. Some parents don’t know how to parent and of course, there are one-parent households where the adult is always working to make ends meet. In this case, these kids need some healthy after school activities like playing ball, etc., somewhere to hang out except the street.

If kids have mental problems they need treatment, realizing again of course that money may be an issue here, but they should get as much treatment as the parent can afford instead of ignoring the situation.

Exposing kids to violence only puts ideas into their idol minds. Maybe they just want to get their fifteen minutes of fame on TV, they have a vendetta against someone who they thing wronged them in some way, or it may be deeper than that and they just want to see “what it’s like to kill someone.” Anyone who doesn’t believe this last statement needs to think again. I’ll share a short story with you.

The best friend of one of my nieces met her demise this way a couple of years ago. The teen boys shot her to death and buried her in a shallow grave at a new apartment complex. Naturally, they found her fairly soon when a bulldozer, doing groundwork for a new building, dug her up. The two teen boys went to her school. They took off going north, captured a couple of weeks later in Minnesota, their intention to cross over into Canada. When asked why they did it, they both said, “to see what it’s like to kill someone.” Clearly, these boys must be disturbed in the first place. No one in his or her right mind would do something like this. They are now in jail.

Anyway, the world is one big scary place these days. If we all stay aware at all times we may avoid some tragic events, but sadly, most things like this happen so suddenly and randomly that it is impossible to prepare yourself, so that you can avoid the next area to be targeted.

Thoughts anyone?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Up to Your Ass in Alligators

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Does anyone else ever feel like this?

I’m afraid this will be a venting post because there is no one to talk to at my house - not “really talk to” that would understand at all.

Lately there has not been enough time to do everything I want to do. Of course I must confess that I feel like that a lot of the time, but especially around the holidays when there is lots of extra stuff added to the “to do” list. That’s when I feel like the one-armed paperhanger and wish I had octopus tentacles so that I can accomplish everything.

All of this holiday stuff seems to fall on me at my house, shopping, wrapping, getting the tree put up, cards sent out, going to the post office, etc. etc. There are times when it crosses my mind to forego the whole business wishing it wasn’t that time again already.

Every year it seems like the holiday season gets here quicker. I find myself not wanting to spend the extra hours to do all this stuff because I simply don’t have the time. One of my sisters is feeling the same way this year. When you’re constantly on the run, it is hard to squeeze everything in and keep everyone happy at the same time while also accomplishing something each day. Are we being selfish by wanting to work other things in that we want to do that are important to us? My husband thinks so. That should go on the back burner. I don’t know what other people think, or if it even matters one way or the other. Perhaps I can’t see the forest for the trees.

I am still amazed that I was able to complete the NaNo I involved myself in with everything else that goes on around my house on any given day. Now, of course, I’m trying to polish that out and actually make it sensible. I would rather put my efforts there since my goal is to enter the manuscript in a contest the middle of January. This is important to me, yet no one seems to understand how I feel about this. I suppose finishing this is an unrealistic assumption again on my part and all this other stuff needs to take preference over my desire to get this labor of love done. I know that is the way my husband sees it anyway, him not having any passions at all in life.

I wonder why, when and how all this holiday stuff became a woman’s work? My husband is retired with plenty of time on his hands, usually looking for something to do, as seen in my point of view. I can’t even enjoy this season anymore because I’m under too much pressure by the time I take all this and add it to the regular household chores and daily life, along with my deadlines. I don’t even have time to sit and read a book, something I really like to do.

Besides finishing my book, I’m also working on some freelance projects that have deadlines. Deadlines are things most people can’t understand unless you’ve had to work under them. There is no time to take a deep breath, and relax. It is constantly running from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning, not stopping until I crawl back into bed in the wee hours. Ugh! If it wasn’t for my insane positive attitude that I can always somehow accomplish everything on my plate, I think I would have thrown in the towel by now. I’m not sure where my optimism comes from exactly, but I’ve always been that way even though I know deep down there is no hope of completing all that I have on my list. I’m like the little duck paddling madly in the large pond staying just one-step ahead of the alligators, yet seeming all calm and joyful on the outside.

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So the alligators are swimming all around me, nipping at my rear. Am I winning or will they win?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Shout out for the Best Rock and Roll Band of all Time

Pic Courtesy of Photo Bucket

Okay people, this is very different than most of my posts, but I had to write this up because this is really the truth, as I see it. What prompted this post was a concert I watched on TV on Dec 1 – the Rolling Stones live during the Steel Wheels tour in 1991 performing in London, Berlin, and Italy. A friend in CA called me to tell me it was on and to tune it, saying it was fantastic, and he knows I like the Stones. I’m glad he did call me because I had no idea this was on. I don’t watch a lot of television and usually not concerts. This show didn’t disappoint me, but the Stones never do.

The Rolling Stones - Public Domain

I’ve seen them live three times so far. The first time was 1972, the last time was 1998, and they hadn’t changed at all. I was shocked and not let down in any way, which is a good thing because my husband had never seen them perform, ever, and I really wanted him to. For me, it was worth standing in the rain for two hours. This is because the crowd in San Diego was so excited that if you wanted to see anything you had to stand up. They didn’t have a venue big enough for all the people wanting to go to the concert, so they held it outdoors at the stadium and put on two shows. Of course, this was in February, hence the rain and it was rather chilly as well, especially after you got soaked, but I just went home and took some extra Vitamin C for awhile and we were both fine. I learned that early on from all my wild jaunts in the rain to watch concerts in the wintertime.

We had to stand in line for over an hour for tickers the week before the show. Actually, I did that, my husband is not happy about standing in line at the grocery store, much less to obtain concert tickets.

What made this concert even more fantastic was that the Stones kept performing in the rain the whole time, running around jumping everywhere from one end of the stage to the other, even down long ramps that extended into the audience. They had such a grand lightshow going on that I was afraid somebody could possibly be electrocuted, or slip right off those ramps in the rain and break something, but thank goodness, that didn’t happen.

Yes, in my younger days I used to be quite the concertgoer, waiting in line for tickets, sometimes for hours. During that time, I was really into rock and roll music; I still am, but usually listen to calmer things these days, unless I’m in a wild and crazy mood. Even though I’m from TX, I don’t care for western music and never listen to it, if I can help it.
Mick Jagger - Public Domain

Now, I do have to confess that, besides about every big band performing in the 60’s and 70’s, I have been to a Willie Nelson concert and it was good. However, the thing that stands out about the Rolling Stones is all that energy and enthusiasm; you really get your money’s worth because those guys can perform two hours straight going non-stop. Not only do they put on a great performance, but also the guitar playing by Keith Richards is some of the best I’ve ever heard and Mick Jagger has to be the best showman around, prancing from one end of the stage to the other while he belts out their tunes.
Keith Richards - Public Domain

That is why it is so great going to one of their concerts. These guys don’t just stand around and strum guitars; they really get into the tunes big time and evidently love what they do. They are an inspiration because they are still going strong after fifty years of performing together. I think that is so awesome and such an encouragement to me that you can still get out there and do what you love to do as you age. How many of us could put on a performance like that at 70?

The old saying “finding what you love to do, and you won’t work a day in your life” must be true.

I realize that this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but in my book, it definitely deserves a mention.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Remembering John Lennon

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

An open-minded, peaceful soul and great songwriter met his premature demise when Mark David Chapman shot him to death on the day on 1980. I hope this lunatic and deeply troubled human being rots in jail.

All John wanted is a peaceful world as we all do, but unfortunately, that is too much to hope for on this planet. The world is a place in turmoil. There have always been wars and always will be because we have never learned to settle things in a peaceful manner.

Here is his song "Imagine" if you care to listen.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

School Days

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When I think of school days, the first thing that comes to mind is getting up early. I learned at a very young age, this was something I really hated to do and that I must have been born a night owl.

In our house, you got one chance to get up after told to do so, after that Daddy would come in, grab us by the ankles, and drag us out of bed feet first. When your head hit the floor, you knew you didn’t dare crawl back in bed, no matter how bad you wanted to.

The whole time Daddy was waking us up he would say “Up and At’em boys - Rise and Shine - Time to hit the bus line.” All of us remember this quite well and we hated it.

Mama and Daddy would always take each child to school on the first day in the first grade. After that, we had to walk up the dirt road to the highway to catch the yellow school bus, which was about 3/4 of a mile.

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In the wintertime, when we were all small, if it rained a lot Daddy would put on his knee high rubber boots and carry us over all the mud puddles. When there were too many of us, he would load us all up in the trailer they used to take the calves to auction in, and drive us through the pasture to Mamaw’s house. Our driveway would always be under water a lot in the winter months.

Before we left the house on our journey to the bus stop, Mama would often put a package of cinnamon rolls in the oven and warm those for us. Each of us would get one as we headed out the door, or on some days we would have toast. If we had to wait a long time for the bus, Mamaw would give us a bowl of cereal since her house was near the highway.

We would also entertain ourselves while waiting on those cold mornings by pretending we were smoking cigarettes because you could see your breath when you exhaled.

The kids from many farm families rode the bus, some of them had two kids, and some had seven or eight kids like us. Naturally, it didn’t take long to fill up the school bus with laughing, talkative children.

My sister Scherri liked it when the bus driver, Mr. Kelly, used to let her talk on the microphone and tell the other kids to get back in their seats when they used to act up on the bus. I’m not sure what the others kids thought about this, but they would return to their seats and be good for a while.

We always caught the bus the whole time we were going to school, were never driven there like today’s kids, except on the very first day of school as mentioned. I guess after that first day, we were supposed to have a little confidence in ourselves that we knew where to go and could show up for class on time.

All of us had to stand out by that highway come rain or shine. We had those clear plastic raincoats with hoods on them to put on if it was pouring down rain.
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In the second grade, I had my first boyfriend. His name was Johnny. We would sit on the floor of the bus and play jacks on the way to school, so that made the ride a bit more fun. Looking back, I had many boyfriends all named Johnny, which was somewhat odd; it must have been a popular name for boys back then.

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  I had a girlfriend named JoNell during grade school. She was very tall and an only child. She taught me a lot about mythology and we would pretend we were some of the characters from Roman or Greek mythology at recess. She would also give me tests on all the gods and goddesses to see if I remembered anything that she was telling me. I learned a lot from her and I still have mythology books in my library at home. Sometimes I wonder what ever happened to that girl. She would have made an excellent teacher because she was very determined and relentless that I should learn all about mythology. I’ve always had an interest in unconventional things, more so than most people have, so actually it was easy to learn all that stuff and recess went by fast.

When I was in the 5th and 6th grade, I went to the same school that Daddy went to as a kid. It was a white block building three stories high and with very wide, wood staircases that took you up to the next level. It became very loud at times with kids running up and down those stairs. It saddened me when they tore that old school down years later and built a grocery store there. I wish I had taken a picture of it, but of course, we didn’t have a camera back then.

We had posture as a class in the 5th grade and I will never forget my teacher, Mrs. Stalcup, who would make all of us sit up straight as a board and stare straight ahead. We would have to keep this up for 45 minutes and if you didn’t have your homework or you cut up in class, she made you stay after and practice good posture. Now, think about a room full of nine-year-olds doing this. It was a challenge to be quiet and still for that long. Mrs. Stalcup had excellent posture herself, was tall and thin, and always wore her auburn hair up in a French twist.

And of course who can ever forget those amazing field trips that were a part of school.  I remember going to a paper factory once.  It was very stinky and something you just never would think about.  I suppose it was all that water and gunk in those big vats that caused that smell. 
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I started high school in the 9th grade. This is when I started sewing most of my clothes and I would come to school with some strange outfits sometimes. One of my teachers, a young woman, really liked my designs. She would keep me after class sometimes and we would talk about my outfits and fashions in general. She wore some unique outfits herself for a teacher. It was around this time in my life when people started telling me I should make things and sell them. Of course, this never occurred to me at all, but would play a part in my life years later.
When we were teenagers, we would always try to get out of the house, without Mama seeing us when it came to our clothes for the day. If we wanted to wear a short skirt, or whatever else came to mind that she wouldn’t approve of, we had to be sneaky. I remember having to go to the office several times during the course of high school for my skirts being too short. They would take a ruler, in those days, make you get on your knees and measure from the floor to the hem of your dress. One time, they even sent me to the office for having my shirt tale out because it was almost as long as my skirt. They were strict in those days about clothing. I can’t believe the way they let kids dress today. Things have really changed.

All the boys were crazy about a young teacher named Mrs. Boone. She had blonde hair and looked like one of the high school students. She taught English and they all wanted to be in her class.

During my junior and senior years in high school, I already had most of my credits to graduate, except for the math and English, which everyone had to take four years of, so I had to pick two electives to take to make up my half-day of school. I worked in the afternoons.

I decided to take French and of course art class, which was my favorite and the reason I got up to attend school everyday, other than I had to. I still have an oil painting I did when I was a senior that hangs in the library of my high school. My French teacher, Mr. Storrs, was a short, stubby, middle-aged man with graying hair and a mustache. Everyone was taking Spanish, but I always wanted to do something different so I took the French instead. I could read, write, and speak it when I left high school, but I haven't used it since. In hindsight, it would have been a wiser choice to take Spanish, but I was always the one going against the grain, being a bit eccentric even as a kid.

I hated PE in school and I probably would have flunked it, if you could do such a thing. I know this will sound very odd to most people, but I never have liked any sports really and still don’t, although I was in the pep squad for the football team for a couple of years. I think I tried out for the pep squad because I liked the little blue and gray outfits they had and we got to travel around with the team to different towns on Friday nights, so I really enjoyed that. You have to remember I lived on a farm, so this was very exciting, especially to a teenager.
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My jobs after school gave me my first real taste of being out on my own. In my junior year, I worked as a nurses aide in the local hospital and then for an interior design company in town in my senior year. We also got credits for doing this. Both jobs were quite an experience and someday I’ll have to share some of my adventures at those places. Naturally, this post is getting excessively long again.

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Overall, I was glad to see graduation day come because I really didn’t care much for school although I was always a good student. I actually enjoy classes more as an adult than I did back then. This is because I can pick what I want to study and that makes all the difference in the world.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

NaNo – Well I did It!

I’m writing this today because my thoughts have always been – nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’ve always wanted to enter the NaNo since I heard about it three years ago, yet time seemed to get away, as it always does, and I didn’t prepare myself for the challenge ahead of time. Not this year, I thought it’s time I try this, whether I succeed or not – at least I will have tried.

Being the optimist I am, there wasn’t a lot of doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t make it to the end because as I’ve said before, I am stubborn and relentless and sometimes that is the only way I ever accomplish anything I set out to do.

Of course, daily life goes on and many things have gone by the wayside in my house that I now have to catch up on, except for some immediate needs where I had to drop everything and take care of them. If you only knew what happens around here in my daily life to drag me away from writing, some of you may throw in the towel, if you’re not committed.

About anything that could cause a problem this November had to rear its ugly head. This ran the gamut from the usual catfights, repairing blinds, the TV, the smoke alarms, and other things, which, mind you, I know nothing about, so my good friend Google had to step in once more as I did my research to fix these problems. Somehow, I still managed to get my 50,000 words in for my NaNo. Of course, I don’t dare tell you how little sleep I’ve had over the last month.

However, all this stuff aside, I feel victorious and it was worth it! So, whatever your dreams, go for it, at least you made the effort and tried.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Quiet of the Desert Speaks

Desert Behind my House - Sunni's Photos

How nice it is to sit outside in the quiet as night settles on the desert. The bluff behind me is quiet and yet undisturbed by man, the red rocks glisten in the setting sun – all aglow with golden-red. Away from the noise of the TV and internet and other workings, just quiet to reflect and watch the wind gently stir the leaves in the trees we planted years ago. They almost touch each other now – a gentle quiet caress branch to branch – the idea to bring shade in the hot summer months.

The mournful calls of the quail make me realize how much of a lonely place the desert is. Other animals call to their families, the rattling of the chipmunks, the cooing of the doves as everyone reunites for the night before the day ends and the sun once again sets over the bluffs. I can’t help but think of the Crystal Gayle song, the melody in my head.

I sit on the park bench on my patio and I enjoy the gentle breeze because I know it won’t be long and cold will be here and I hope the trees are rooted to their foundations to fight for life when the cold threatens their very existence.

No, I don’t complain it is hot –and it is – because in the blinking of an eye it will be too cold for me – my body succumbing to the dreariness of nature and the cold season settling in all around us. The winter killing my very soul and I’ll be screaming within to let me out – PLEASE – and wishing it were summer once more. I can never get warm in winter –no matter how hard I try. That’s how I am I can’t change that.
Desert Behind my House - Sunni's Photos

As people, we are here to suffer while we enjoy the beauty all around us. We live in the time that is for us, a time we’re supposed to learn what we need to know right now. So I desperately try to find something good about winter I can rejoice in. After all these years I still don’t know what that is, but I know it is a time of rest for the plants so they can rejuvenate themselves to put on the display they do for us every spring and summer. That is the only joy I can find in winter, other than it makes us appreciate not having to shiver once spring arrives once more. If we were never cold, I suppose we could never really truly appreciate the warmth of a summer day. Although I question that thinking as I write this, knowing how thankful I am for every nice day, when it is warm enough to walk once again in the desert and enjoy the amazing nature untouched by human hands.
Desert Behind my House - Sunni's Photos

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Most Unusual and Frightening Events I Experienced as a Child

Actually, these are two different events so we’ll take the unusual first.

Cow pasture - Free clipart

I grew up on a farm in rural southern Texas, as you know already if you’ve been following this blog. We very seldom left the farm except to attend school. I was too young to recall this unusual event, so I had to enlist the help of my mother for this one. The things she told me about I don’t even remember because I wasn't even walking yet. This is what led up to that unusual incident.

During my first year, we lived in an old farmhouse on the other side of the pasture from my grandparents. We referred to this place as the Chernosky house, for the people who owned it. Daddy leased it from them before I was born. Mama said it was awfully run down, an old wood house with 2 x 4’s on the walls. There was no sheetrock or plywood, and no running water. Daddy ran a pipe to the kitchen from the well, which was about 20 or 30 feet from the house. The floors were bare wood and put splinters in my knees and hands when I was old enough to crawl.

I honestly don’t know how my mother put up with some of the things she had to with farm life, being the city girl she was. She told me they used a hot plate for cooking and an ice chest as a temporary refrigerator. There was no heat, so Daddy got a space heater for the bedroom. They would keep that door closed to keep it warm. Mama and Daddy even ate their meals in there because the daytime temperature in the kitchen was 40 degrees in the wintertime.

The roof had leaks all over it, so my parents placed foot tubs and buckets around to catch the water. There was a terrible ice and snowstorm that year, so they took me and went to stay with my grandparents until spring.

Mama and Mamaw (grandmother – Daddy’s mother) were going out to the corn barn one time to get corn to feed the cows. The corn barn was a small, wood building on stilts that was located in the middle of the cow pasture. It had holes cut in the walls to serve as windows and a door. In later years, we would all have to spend our time out in that barn, shoveling corn from a wagon, to fill it up every year after the harvest. The cows would always gather around trying to get at the corn and none of us particularly liked that part of the job.

Mama had me in her arms that day and, Vergie, one of the milk cows, came along and stuck my whole arm in her mouth thinking it was an ear of corn. Mama screamed and she and Mamaw got my arm out of the cow’s mouth before any damage could take place. Mama said, “I forgot how slimy cow’s mouths can be.” I can only picture the expression that must have been on her face that day, because of course I was too young to remember that.

That following summer we moved into a travel trailer that my Daddy bought from a trailer park in Houston. He parked this trailer next to the milk house, which was across the driveway from his parent’s house. It was a palace compared to the Chernosky house, I guess, but it still had none of the modern conveniences we have today. This small, silver trailer also got awfully tiny and crowded with four kids and two adults living in it. However, you have to manage with what you have when you grow up on a farm.
Similar to trailer we lived in - Free Clipart

We lived there for five years doing all the things kids would normally do growing up and then we moved into the sharecropper’s shacks. Kid number six was on the way and we definitely needed more room. It is when we were living there that life got more exciting and my first sister and I experienced the most frightening event in our lives.

When I was about ten or eleven my sister, Scherri, and I were out fooling around in the cornfield when a Brahma bull got out of the pasture and started chasing us. I can’t remember a time in my childhood that was more frightening than that. Of course, we had many bulls while we lived on the farm because Daddy would change them out every few years, but the others did not compare to this creature.
Brahma Bull - Free Clipart

We tried not to let panic set in as we were running across the rows of corn. It was almost harvest time, so the stalks towered above our heads. We were down toward one end of that field and the bull was at the other. We could see him keeping up with us as we crossed the rows and there was a clearing in the field. We ran and ran as fast as we could; darting around the corn stalks and wondering if we were going to make it to the house alive.
Corn Patch - Free Clipart

That bull was a very terrifying sight to a kid, white and big with large horns and a hump on his back and he always looked particularly mean. At that point, it was each man for himself, so we did our best to keep the fright at bay. The only thing to do was to keep running. The house never seemed so far away! I was out of breath and my heart was pounding. My legs felt weak and tired, but I knew I didn’t dare stop until I got in the door. I kept trying to run faster.

I made it home before Scherri and I was still panting when she got to the house. Her face was beet red and she was shaking like a leaf, so Mama put her in a tub of cold water to cool her off and calm her down.

For a few years after that, we kept looking around behind us every time we went out to the cornfield.

Does anyone have a frightening experience to share?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This is probably my favorite holiday because I think we should be thankful for all our blessings and I’m glad a day is set aside to remind people to be thankful, if they need reminding. I really get upset today when I see all the Christmas decorations out way before Thanksgiving has arrived. Every year this gets earlier, and has almost squeezed Thanksgiving out of the mix altogether.

When we were growing up, Thanksgiving was the only holiday that we all got together to eat and make merry. By all, I mean our first cousins, aunt, and uncle who lived on the same farm with my daddy’s parents and us. It was a day we could put all of our feuding with each other on the back burner and just enjoy all that life had to offer. This great feast always happened at Mamaw’s house every year, but of course, this all changed once we started growing up, moving away to lead our separate lives, and our grandparents passed away.

Rosenberg Mamaw (daddy’s mother) would always cook the turkey and dressing every year. We were all too young then and not allowed in the kitchen, so I’m not sure if all the adults would contribute to this dinner other than taking part in all of the cooking that went on and there was lots of that.

Mamaw was a terrific cook and was always baking something. She would start out a couple days ahead making the pies and cakes, cookies and kolaches. I remember very well going into her big dining room and there on the buffet against one wall would be all the desserts lined up for Thanksgiving.

My aunt and mama would be in the small kitchen with Mamaw most of the morning getting all the food prepared. Of course, once we got over there, the house smelled like turkey and made all of our mouths water. Mamaw had gotten up around 5 am to get that big bird in the oven. With that 24-pound turkey almost done, they would start preparing all the other side dishes. Every time we kids would go in the kitchen, they would chase us out in the yard to play until it was ready.

Growing up in southern Texas, the weather is still very nice at Thanksgiving, sunny with leaves still on the trees, maybe just starting to turn color in places. It was definitely warm enough to play outside without wearing coats. As kids, we took full advantage of this.

Mamaw’s yard was huge and we would get into playing all kinds of games: tag, hide-and-seek, red rover-red rover, Simon says, jump rope and many other things. We could spend hours out there. Most of the yard was green lawn with a narrow cement sidewalk splitting it in two. The garden sat in an area off to the left of the house. The rest of the yard surrounded by trees growing next to the fence, large sprawling paper shell pecans, crepe myrtle, mulberry, with fig trees across the back of the house that faced the main highway into town. A large peach tree grew by the sidewalk about midway between the house and gate that led out to the chicken coop, the barns, and “jelly man hill” by the pump house.

The milk house was also out there across the road, a place where we’d like to go in the hot summers because it was very cool in there, once used for processing milk, as my grandparents used to run a dairy before we were born. When we were growing up the diary had long gone, except for milk used by the family, which Mamaw cooked on the stove and bottled, the cream skimmed off to make homemade butter, which each of us got to experience as part of growing up in the country. Mamaw now used this small block building for a washhouse and usually kept it locked to keep us out of there.

The fenced off cow pastures lie beyond that with farmland off to the other side. We made use of most of these places to play our games, but on Thanksgiving generally sticking close to the yard. We wanted to hear that call to dinner, which was usually around 2 pm. We had all worked up quite an appetite by then.

Mamaw had a large dining table, but not big enough to seat 6 adults and 13 kids, so she sat up card tables that stretched from the dining room into the living room. This is where most of the kids had to sit, the privilege of sitting at the grown up table left to the oldest kids. After fixing plates for all the younger kids, we could sit down and serve our own.

Her dark brown table, always dusted to a high shine, was barely visible under all the plates, platters, and bowls of food. Everything smelled terrific and we dug into out turkey and dressing with gusto. There would be several vegetables and of course, the usual green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberries, home baked rolls with homemade butter, and plenty of iced tea in mason jars.

With a sufficient amount of turkey and all the trimmings consumed, it was time to cut into the delicious baked goods. It was really hard to make up your mind on this, being pretty stuffed already, but I usually always had to have a piece of homemade apple pie and of course at least one homemade kolache. The chocolate cake was hard to turn down as well, so we usually ended up so stuffed it was a wonder we could go back out in the yard and play, but we did.

The ladies would chase us kids out of the house and the men would sit on the porch “chewing the fat” and watching us, or lie down for a nap. We always seemed to have boundless energy and Thanksgiving was one day when we all got along.

It was wonderful to be out there playing and not having to face that enormous cleanup that we helped with, as we got older. As I reflect back on my childhood, it really didn’t seem fair at all to make the women do all the work while the men sat around. I guess that’s the way it was in those days, what a man expected out of a farm wife. Not only did they do all the cooking and cleaning, they did many chores and worked the fields along with the men. Farm women had long days and never stopped until long after the men folk were able to relax. I made up my mind back then that I didn’t want that kind of life for me. I would have made a terrible pioneer woman and I’m glad I didn’t grow up in those times, which were rougher than our farm life.

Today, all of us do our own thing for Thanksgiving. All of the family doesn’t get together anymore, but some of us live in different states now. The married ones still living in TX usually get together with the in-laws. Occasionally, they take Mama out to eat separately. Daddy passed away in 1980, so Mama lives with one of my sisters now.  Of course we'll all remember Daddy this year as we eat our feast because it would have been his 88th birthday.

My husband and I usually enjoy a quiet Thanksgiving meal, on a small scale, staying home with the cats, occasionally getting together with friends where everyone brings a dish to share.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving all; no matter how you celebrate this important holiday.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Entering NaNo

From National Novel Writing Month Website

Well this is my first time to enter the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) contest, held every November. This is something I say I’m going to do every year and I’ve never gotten to it. I do have it on my “bucket list,” so I thought I’d just face the situation this year and take a shot at this.

I’m writing a mystery/thriller book this time instead of my usual fantasy and so far, it’s going petty well. I had some notes on paper here and there and on the computer. I have posted snippets from time to time. So far, things are off to a good start, and I’m ahead of schedule on word count, however this is only day three, as I’m writing this post ahead, so not sure where I’ll actually be on the 18th when this will be posted to the blog. I feel like this is a good thing, to be ahead, because you never know when those unexpected moments in life crop up. Curve balls always seem to head my way where everything derails and I’m not able to keep up my routine.

I really have no idea what to expect from this adventure, but I’m so positive with my attitude that I really think at this point that I’ll finish with my 50,000 words, time will tell. I’m sure it will have moments when I want to pull my hair out, but it will be an accomplishment to finish.

That is just the beginning of my plan. I will be taking that novel, rewriting, editing, polishing, etc to enter in the ABNA contest in January. I’ve entered everyone since its inception and I’m not about to stop now. I don’t expect to win, but it is fun and a great learning experience, also lots of camaraderie with the ABNA, not unlike what we have here on the blogs.

If anyone else here is entering the NaNo, good luck to you. Remember when it gets tough, you must keep going and not give up. We really have to put forth everything we have into everything we do.

Good luck all. Happy writing.