Bowing my head in praise to Dads & Fathers:

schlepping sticky car seats

waiting for calls that never happen

wearing Lilly Pulitzer dresses

taking car keys away againFathers Day 2016

hauling bicycles state to state

counting missing quarters

driving dilapidated trucks

thinking their heads will explode

buying snow globes at the airport

singing kikker songs to the radio

paying for everything- every time- everywhere

100 degree camping with mosquitoes

never seeing their kids – missing them

reading the newspaper out loudMy Dad b

baking at the beach

sleeping on the chaotic couch

building soap box derby tracks & cars

handling the bossy orthodontist

fighting wars near and far

judging idiot boyfriends & girlfriends

living with a ticking clock

burning oatmeal, sandwiches to order

washing the red sweatshirt with the whites

dropping a panic stricken kid off at camp

creating furniture from nothingMy Dad

teaching art appreciation, writing stories

covering up a multitude of kid mistakes

sharing laughter at inappropriate times

wishing they were single-knowing they’re not

polishing old shoes

working second side jobs

giving up the Harley

listening, smiling, giving hell

shoveling tons of sand Dad-Joe-Jerod

vacations at Disney instead of Vegas

loving us, mine, theirs, ours………..

kites prominently up-swept

Kites-  you think of me
 when clocks are
 near your morning
 and sheets are tangled
 in between your legs
 shanghaied firmly
 the other
 of the bed

 you think of me
 when the
 keyboard is
 clicking your
 dives and highs
 in rapid fire
 promises of

 you think of me
 decorating your
 tree with brilliant
 adjectives and
 hyperboles star struck
 on powdery gauge
 strings harbored
 with silvery

 I think of you
 in the caliginous
 corners of my
 reposing eyes
 at dawn’s
 waiting for the
 email ping on
 my phone

 I think of you
 creating rules
 to your whim
 and heart as you
 and mechanically
 direct me to
 call you

 I think of you
 when I’m in
 need of
 your wisdom -
 modernism –
 literary philosophy
 to finely dress my
 infatuation in
 haute couture
 until the
 next heady

 I love the
 and wonder why
 your actions speak
 differently than
 your unspoken fears?
 your honesty,
 while admirable,
 is a consternation
 to my knowing

 the introspection
 keeps all of
 up-swept 2016© – all rights reserved. may not be reprinted without permission.

Wasp spray is only as effective as the operator

While relaxing on the back patio of Ponderosa North, a huge flying beast – wasp, hornet, massive stinger capacity animal, chased me out of my chair. It sounded like a Lear jet trying to get entangled in my naturally frizzy hair.

With the determination of ass on fire, I ran to the garage and returned to the patio armed with a fly swatter, a broom and a can of wasp spray. To be specific – Spectracide Wasp & Hornet Killer with a 27 ft Jet Spray. I’m thinking this product is aptly appropriate for the project at hand.

The flying, stinging vulture was trying to nose dive me while I was getting the lid off of the Spectracide! The fly swatter was a waste of excellerated energy. I almost hurt myself swinging madly into the air. Making sure the nozzle of the wasp spray was aimed at the designated target, I pressed the button and sure enough that stuff jet sprayed at least 27 feet!

It sprayed the length of the patio, the glass top table, my coffee cup, my Hostess HoHo’s and a darling unlit candle. It missed the hornet and he was really pissed now.

Monuments, wedding bands, grave markers & everlasting love

- Mik Everett

– Mik Everett

I have been postponing the purchase, creation and permanence of a monument for my precious husband’s grave. It is funny how your mind doesn’t work properly when half of you is missing. I have a fear of not being able to find his grave. I have a fear of being sorry I made the wrong choices. He wouldn’t approve of anything other than the marker provided by the VA. I heard many times, over many years, ” put me in a wooden box and throw me in the ocean when I die. Don’t be spending all that money on stuff that doesn’t matter.” I would then inform him, “Don’t worry about it. I need to die first because I wouldn’t be able to live without you.” Sad fact, I am existing without him.

There is a deja vu in making choices for things you will have hanging around for decades. It took me the better part of a year to say yes to my husbands wedding proposal. He didn’t actually propose. He told every human being he came in contact with that we were getting married. Choosing wedding bands summed up the same mind dilemma I am having now with the grave monument. It had nothing to do with how I felt about my future. Married or not, I was going to be with the love of my life till “death do us part.” Those words really had no meaning to me until the “death do us part” actually and unexpectedly happened. Wedding rings are something you have to live with day in and day out. They had to be just right. Not too wide and not to gaudy with a reflection of who we actually are. They’re a proclamation to society. That part always bothered me because I picture a cave man dragging his cave woman by the hair and screaming to the other cave people, “this is my cave woman!”

Always marching to the beat of a different drummer, it was important to us to know we were together forever with everlasting love. The wedding rings were part of the permanence. It made for memorable events. We learned a lot about each other in the transaction of choosing styles and price. It was a surprise to know what was truly important to him. A diamond engagement ring was included in the ring round-up of dancing from jeweler to gold and diamond retailer. I came to know my happiness superseded finance, though my taste was simple. Joy and being proud of the achievement radiated from my prospective husband. It was as though the “deal was sealed”. I was elated in sharing the symbolic time with him. Writing about this remembrance in our lives has evoked a moment of happiness in me.

The grave monument will be the “forever” in my life time. It is evoking a similar correlation to the purchase of the wedding rings except I am doing it alone. I say, I am doing it alone but his voice is in my head. His feelings are in my heart. I still feel him walking beside me but then reality kicks in. Learning to be just me again has not been an easy endeavor. It’s a good thing my preferences are usually simple and minimalist in nature. Preliminary research has presented some examples of extreme grief exhibited in multiple ways and means. It is not my intention to leave all of my feelings and price tag hanging from an over-extravagant exhibition at the graveyard. My precious husband would surely be “rolling over in his grave.”

We never discussed epitaphs except the famous one, probably presented from a Facebook passage, that said, “I told you I was sick.” My husband was an award winning writer. It creates a need to put a poignant phrase on the granite. Do I write something myself? Do I put a quote on it from a song? His most famous saying was, “Now, here’s the deal” which was used many a time for problem solving purposes and to teach life lessons to our kids. In fact, our oldest daughter created a sign with that verse on it as a remembrance for her Dad.

It has been a compromise to appease the rest of the family during this turbulent and trying expedition. He was a part of their lives, but he was my world. I will not be asking advice or opinion for this decision. It may rock some hemispheres if a quote from a Led Zeppelin song appears on the marker on the Oklahoma prairie. This resolution is personal and mine. Just like the wedding bands, the grave monument will be there a long time. It’s a symbol of everlasting love.



Complaint-Lamar County Tax Assessor/Collector office

Recently, I went to the Lamar County courthouse in Paris, Texas to conduct changes on vehicle titles. I also had a registration that had expired in November 2013. The reason this specific registration had not been updated was due to Haskell Maroney – I take it is the person as the named Lamar County Tax Assessor-Collector, returned my check to me because the bank or credit union does not appear on their list as being “local”.

I asked the “representative” behind the counter, what specifically constitutes a local bank. Said “representative” told me if the bank wasn’t on their list, they could not accept the check. I asked how this policy or rule got instituted. She informed me the county lawyer made the rule because he was unable to collect on bounced out-of-town checks.

I think an attorney who knows how to collect bounced out-of-town checks needs to replace an attorney who does not know how to collect on insufficient out-of-town checks. For pennies per item, the checks can also be validated at the counter from an out sourced system. So, to save this “attorney” from conducting due diligence, the citizens of this county are subjected to being treated like a deadbeat. The assumption is every check not written on a local bank is bad.

If you use a debit or credit card, you are charged an extra percentage above the transaction. Without being privy to their merchant agreements, I don’t know if this percentage exceeds the amount the financial institution is charging. There are not any disclosures displayed at the counters.

Your choices for paying for the vehicle registrations are:

1. Get back into your car, find an ATM and obtain cash to pay the registration transaction.

2. Use your debit or credit card and pay an additional fee.

3. Get back into your car and drive to a bank, listed as a “local bank”, open an account, drive back to the courthouse, and wait to see if the bank is still on the local list and your check is accepted.

I did #3. When the local check was presented for the registration, I was then asked how many tickets did I receive for driving a vehicle with an expired registration. I informed the “representative” that the vehicle had not been driven with an expired registration. I had just paid her for title changes on two other vehicles with current registrations. Again, being treated like a deadbeat.

One of the title changes I requested was for an antique plate. The original antique plate registration was paid for in March 2013. This plate was good for 5 years. The “representative” told me it was expired. I informed her it was less than a year old and expires in 2018. She told me it was too late, she had already entered into the system to reissue a new one in my name only. The previous owner was my deceased husband. Because she read the expiration date as 2013 instead of 2018, it cost me more money to issue the new antique plate. When I questioned the transaction, I was immediately dismissed, again with “it’s too late, I already put it in the system”.Auto Registration 01-2014

There seemed to be little to no interest in looking at the insurance verification I presented at the window. It makes me wonder who is insured around here and who isn’t.

Word to the wise – don’t change the titles until the registration expires. Know who your elected officials are and what they won’t do when you go to the polls. Mail your “local bank check” to the Lamar County, Texas Tax Assessor/Collector so you don’t feel like a common thief, deadbeat, low life when doing it in person.

Customer service is non-existent when there is no competition. It takes training, common sense and effort to convey respect and “delight” to serve from behind the counter of a public office. Even if the policies were made by someone uneducated in the means to create fair and non-discriminating practices to the majority, the message could be relayed in a professional and positive manner. I’ve goggled this specific office and have found this situation is not new or recent. The solution to the problem is someone speaking up, providing the information necessary to rectify the adverse actions and implementing the personnel willing to practice the golden rule.

I have volunteered at a local food pantry. The clients utilizing the services of the food pantry are treated with higher regard and respect than at the courthouse where we pay all of the salaries.


Building a fire

My resume does not include fire building as a high priority or emphasized line item. It is a good thing and bad thing, to know it takes some effort to create fire in a fireplace or wood burning stove.

If I didn’t want something to burn, it would catch in a second. Intentionally creating fire is an art to behold when needed. I have learned the equipment list and supplies are as important as the task.

Keep all junk newspaper items received from the United States Postal Service. If you have a newspaper subscription, keep them handy. You are going to use them. This is integral to getting an inferno blaring. Unless you are handy with a hatchet, chain saw, DeWalt saw, or are willing to walk your legs through the woods to pick up kindling that won’t infiltrate your chimney with scum – talk nice to your cousin-in-law who is kind enough to share his kindling with you.Those long handled butane lighters are important for spark so as not to burn your hands, arms, sleeves, eye lashes and hair. Those incidental necessities will catch fire immediately. It is a good idea to have a working fire extinguisher nearby. Knowing where it is and being able to see it could be a life saving measure.

A rack to stack tons of wood on will keep it off the ground outside. You still need easy access when it is snowing, pouring down rain or the outside temps are freezing. The backyard neighbors have seen it all when I engage in obtaining a new wood supply for inside by going outside in my leopard slippers, exotic night wear, knee length red and blue striped sweater, rust color ski jacket and wrapped in the blanket with the coffee latte’ motif on it. Try carrying a fourth of an oak tree while the wind is whipping your butt and the chill factor is filling your orifices.

Different size logs will determine the internal temperature of the inside the house environment! One skinny log, half a ton of kindling and the Sunday Houston Chronicle will maintain a temperature of approximately 62 degrees for a short period of time. That is, if the fire catches on. A split medium log, a skinny log and a weekday newspaper will get the ponderosa up to 70 degrees. A bunch of piping hot coals, left over from the initial fire starting attempts, a split medium log and 2 fat logs may get the temp up to a toasty 80 degrees. If you intend to keep warm throughout the night, as my friend Frances refers to it, a huge “night” log is necessary. Depending on the size of your stove or fireplace, you still may be getting your cold tired ass out of bed around 4:00 am to throw more logs on the fire. Important Note: make sure the log fits into the wood burning stove BEFORE shoving it into the fire storm. You certainly don’t want a burning log hanging outside of the stove door!Building a fire 01-2014 a

Designate tons of time to this activity unless you have a house boy named Sven to assist in taking care of your every comfort. Building a fire will lead to contentment and a coziness few electric heating units are able to replicate. Practice and patience will accomplish the task.

A life changing event

Apology is extended for the lapse in time in posting to this blog.

Your normal self walks around with striking confidence, a cocky attitude, omnipotent disposition and wham – the earth falls out from under you. A life changing event is truly a “life changing” event. You are shocked. You are afraid. You have now become someone else. The crazy cloud surrounding you makes everything a daze. It is unkind but oddly protective.

Through my walks in life, I hear or know someone who has lost their partner or spouse. If it has never happened to you, and it will, you extend sympathy, condolences and prayers. Your expectation is for the person with affluent loss to bounce back into their own true selves. Everyone else is in their comfortable routine of work, kids, family, hobbies, activities and even the mundane of watching Lockdown at 1:00 am. It is understandable they do not grasp the internal panic the grief-stricken party is experiencing. We are not them or in their moment.

So we walk on eggshells and try to be sensitive to selective subjects. We don’t mention the precious conversational tidbit recently shared with our own spouse. Conscientious effort is made not to even mention a squabble. The lone surviving wife or husband views someone else’s fight as a cherished event they wish they could have had – always wishing for those “few more minutes”.

Extreme turnabout is the oblivious asses asking what you’re going to do with the partner’s personal possessions. It isn’t small talk or an extension to assist. They want the cowboy boots they saw on the back porch or the lace tablecloth that is on the table. It is self-serving and greedy. It is usually someone not in the inner circle with no ties to sentimental journey.  Concrete comparison is required to know the genuinely good from the classless bad.

When any of this, from either side, happens to you – keep in mind we are each human. There is no right or wrong. Unless someone has lost multiple spouses to death, they have no experience with what is happening to them. Losing a partner in your twenties may be very different from losing one when they are fifty. Life plans for the survivor instantaneously evaporate. A solitary passage of doing everything for one instead of two.

Please understand a smiling face, a gracious greeting and a brave face may be veiling extreme sadness and grief. Fill their lives with new experiences, fanciful flashes and be open to share a memory or two down the lane when that special door is open.


East Texas Radio

It is a very long drive from Houston to Powderly, Texas. The entire world changes after the first hundred miles outside of the metro-plex. The skyscrapers and freeways appear to melt in the rear-view mirror. The concrete turns to no man land prairie and fields. And then, all of a sudden there is hardly a billboard and you are stuck with the minute array of radio stations.

Knock me in the head, sideways, but I could swear I heard someone on a station in Crockett, Texas reading the obituaries for the week, on the air. Each obituary, in its entirety, line by line, including pall bearers was relayed. I am still not sure if I view this as blasphemous or having the fear of my obit being read out loud on a radio station. It was the same feeling as finding out you have been wearing your panties inside out all day. Not a good feeling.

I have the steering wheel controls to switch stations. They must have a thousand switches on them now. There was a multitude of religious preaching going on. I could almost tell the size of the church. Bet it was painted white and there were wildflowers in mason jars around the altar. A few of the sermons were quiet and subdued. One particular preacher was yelling. Either the congregation was hard of hearing or no one was there and he was trying hard to reach out to them.

There was a nice surprise being able to zone into NPR contact  for enough time to hear the TED Radio Hour. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. I love this program. I watch it on the Roku quite often. The episode this Sunday afternoon was, “Where ideas come from”.  Elizabeth Gilbert, the writer of “Eat, Pray, Love“, conveyed her theory on “A new way to think about creativity.” Shortly after Elizabeth’s 18 minutes of eloquence, the station buzzed out. It was like having lost a good friend to hear the static.

During the five and a half hour adventure, I heard the Beatles sing, “I Will“. At his wedding, I danced with our youngest son to that song  The words to this masterpiece was also printed on our sons’ adoption announcements. What would the odds be of hearing this never a top 10 billboard hit on a radio station driving North on Highway 19 in Texas? Immediately following was Frankie Valley and the 4 Seasons.

There was no heavy metal, headbanger, rap,coffeehouse songwriter hits, or classic rock and roll anywhere to be found. I would’ve settled for a few polkas and a couple of ditties from Yoko Ono. An abundance of kikker music and gospel tunes were swiftly switched, some back and forth, out of frustration, through the car speakers.

Small towns do not have budgets sufficient to provide a vast variety of contemporary and up to date programing. Most of it sounds like it is being produced from someone’s back porch. Advertisers cater to large populations. Bigger bang for the buck. Lack of funding is going to dictate availability. I am extremely spoiled with previous access to world-class programming and a gazillion choices. I am not to sure if satellite XM would have been accessible where I was driving. Fortune permitted the sound of any human voice.

I have since learned to sync the IPhone on a regular schedule to have current podcasts and tunes to entertain my soul, no matter where I may be. My own singing gets on my nerves. God forbid, I’d be left to my own solitary thoughts for more than a few minutes.