This time last year…

World Calendar

World Calendar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…I had just finished posting three essays on gifts. Lot of folks liked them, so, here they are again, easy to find, for you to enjoy.

Be a Gift

The Gift of Peace

The Gift of Poverty

The Gifts of the Magi

Then, the year before, a similar series, including the following:

The Best Gift Ever

The Gift of the Blue Mailbox

The Gift of Laundry

The Gift of Joy

So grab a gift and have a wonderful life!

Y’all enjoy, now, y’hear?

What to do…what to do…

…And how to decide…

Once, long ago, my adorable grandchildren spent a week with me while their mother steam cleaned carpets throughout their house.

I had many plans for fun activities and the first day went marvelously.

Until bedtime.

At bedtime, one of my sweeties began noticing the unfamiliarity of everything, and how Mom and Dad were at home, where she was beginning to long to be, also.

In other words, at the most contemplative time for most children, my granddaughter grew homesick.

She was serious about it, too, complete with tears.

After a short conference with Granddad, I offered her to call home. She was eager, and visited with Mom and Dad for a bit. We assured them we would try to make staying with us work but would call before we came if it didn’t.

At that time, the ball was back in my court.

I thought about times I’d had a tough decision to make. This was a tough decision for a little one: Do I want fun with Grandmother or do I want my mommy?

My tough decision days are mostly over, but I remember them. I know we second-guess ourselves into a state of shock sometimes, because I’ve been there. I also know it’s not too hard to hurdle indecision and arrive at a good choice.

Here’s what I told my granddaughter that night, that made her decide immediately and happily for the right thing:

Sweetheart, whenever Grandmother has to choose what to do, I think about what will happen if I do each choice. I think about how I will feel about it after the choice.

For you, the choice is to stay here with brother and sister and have fun with us, lots of rides, special treats, places to go, making cookies, and many other fun things. OR you can go home right now; I will take you and you can be with Mom and Dad in your own home and in your own bed.

English: Mohov Mihail. Grandmother and grandda...

Mohov Mihail. Grandmother and granddaughter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She listened intently and I could tell she was liking what I said, as if it was lining up her tortuous thoughts for her, in itself a great help. I continued:

If I take you home, though, you will stay home the whole week. I will not come back and get you again, if you change your mind again. You’ll just be at home.

Nothing fun is happening at home. Daddy is going to work every day and Mom is spending all the time you are gone, with house cleaning. It’s hard work and she will not have time to play with you. In fact, she probably will ask you to help with all that work.

If you decide to stay tonight and play with us tomorrow, and if you still don’t like it then, I will take you home, to spend the rest of the time working with Mom.

But if you decide to stay until tomorrow, we will make beanbags, sample the apple juice popsicles we made today, bake cookies, and barbecue for supper.

I saw her tense up again, which told me I was describing the entire dilemma accurately. Lastly, I talked about her feelings as they would be on the other side of her decision:

So tell me how you will feel tomorrow, if you go home tonight. You will wake up and find no one to play with and only mom working all day long. You’ll have nothing to do but help her or play by yourself. And you will know brother and sister are here, playing, doing lots of fun things, but you will not be able to come back here because I cannot keep driving two hours every day because you changed your mind. So you’ll go to bed that night in your room without Sister there and you’ll know she’s here having fun.

And think how you will feel if you stay the night here, tonight, and you wake up tomorrow ready to play and make cookies and help granddad start the barbecue fire and all the new sand toys we got you will be waiting for you. And then the next day we do the camping , remember? And something special for the day after that, that you don’t even know about, yet.

Which do you want?

Well, I can tell you, she had a smile and a hug and she was all relieved of all those horrible second guesses. She knew what to do, at least that one night, for sure.

Would this method help you make a few decisions?

If so, the main things are:

  1.  List all the pros and cons. Do this on paper unless you just do not have time.
  2. Ask yourself how you will feel after each possible choice. Ask yourself about a month later or even a year later: How will you feel about the choice?

That’s all there is to it. Some decisions are too tough to fit into this simple exercise, but those that are a good fit will become SO much easier! You’ll have brain cells left over!

This post was my first, ever, attempt at the weekly writing challenge.

Ode to a Wringer Washer

genuine Kenmore wringer on tub

Genuine Kenmore Wringer on Tub

The second-most-viewed post on my site. I cannot figure this, but have loved seeing nearly every week, someone else coming to read this.

Have fun.

My gramma had a laundry wringer. And for a while, so did my mom. I always loved these machines that squeezed the water out of clothing so graphically and intriguingly.

click to view water running off

Click to View Water Running Off

Back then, washing used only one load of soapy water, beginning clean, with white clothing, and proceeded to gradually dirtier and darker clothing and water, until the last thing washed was the dingy dungarees worn to protect the good clothing from animal chores.

no longer dripping

No Longer Dripping

After washing came rinsing, or some said, “wrenching,” which surely they thought referred to the old way of removing extra water, by hand wringing, making the arms and hands feel nearly wrenched out of socket. My gramma put bluing in rinse water to make whites look whiter. I never could understand this substance, bluer than a computer screen, that made things white.

Gramma used homemade soap on clothes. I mean: natural lye made from last winter’s wood ash combined with natural trimmings from natural meat, and yes, she made it herself, on the wood stove in her woodshed, and stacked it everywhere in there to cure. Then she grated it for flakes. It all smelled so fresh and good.

To this day, aroma from homemade soap makes me think of birds calling and locusts scritching combined with comfy sloshy sounds of laundry done during warm laundry days. And my gramma’s voice explaining . . .

The washer, and its accompanying rinse tubs on platforms, rolled creaking out onto the bumpy concrete porch around Gramma’s woodshed. A hose ran first to fill rinse tubs, and later to empty them onto the enormous strawberry patch.

Only large pots of scalding water went into the washer, itself, and yes, heated on that wood stove. All the concrete porches got a scrub-down with used laundry water splashed on, pure and natural.

There were manual and electric versions of the wringer. My gramma had the kind she had to crank and disdained the electric, which could swallow up an arm or break off buttons. She fished clothes out with a stick; the water was that hot. My auntie had one and I didn’t like the noise of it. Besides, cranking the wringer was an honored chore because you had to be old enough to reach and strong enough turn it without let-up.

The wringer and its tray were rotatable to provide also for two tubs of rinse water. Every article of clothing went through the agitation in soapy water, wringing, pouring and dribbling, to kerplunk into the first rinse, and then into the second, before finally being wrung into a laundry basket for hanging on the line.

It seems like so much work, and it was. No wonder laundering was an event with its own day set aside. Imagine dragging all that production outdoors on a daily basis for just one load! Yet, all this was such an improvement over lugging all the laundry to a stream, or boiling it in a huge pot over an open fire.

Yes, it was good, honest work, but that woodshed and that porch were my gramma’s gym and she stayed fit, even into old age. And although she belonged to a gene pool that proved a tendency to plumpness, she always remained trim.

Unlike me.

One Mom’s Description

Ballpoint pen writing. Streaks of ink are visi...

I couldn’t believe my eyes and my mouth hung open while I read this. Then the chuckling began and grew until I was laughing too loudly for the library. This is great!

Found on the Internet:

A woman named Emily, renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk’s office, encountered a woman recorder demanding to know her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

“What I mean is this,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job, or are you just a . . . “

“Of course I have a job,” snapped Emily. “I’m a mom.”

“We don’t list ‘Mom’ as an occupation. ‘Housewife’ covers it,” said the recorder.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high-sounding title: Town Registrar.

“What is your occupation?” she probed.

What made me say it, I do not know. The words simply popped out. “I’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.”

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair, and looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words.

Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement appeared in bold, blue ink on the official questionnaire.

“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself replying, “I manage a continuing program of research, in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said ‘indoors and out’.) I’m working on my Master’s, and already have four credits (all daughters.)

“Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) (any dad care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it.) But the job is more challenging than most careers and the rewards are more of a certain satisfaction rather than mere money.”

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, my glamorous new career buoying me, three of my lab assistants – ages 13, 7, and 3, approached to greet me. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model (the 6-month-old baby,) in the child-development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!

And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable, to many, than “just another mom.”

Motherhood – what a glorious career! And what fun to have a title on the door!

Does this make grandmothers “Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations” and great-grandmothers “Executive Senior Research Associates?

I think so.

I also think it makes aunts “Associate Research Assistants”.

May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart!

Please forward this to anyone you want.

And what about you? Can you make up some clever response for this age-old competition/comparison?

How do YOU answer when they want to know if you work, where, or your work phone number? Later, I will post my usual answer(s).


photo credit: Wikipedia

I have a confession to make . . .

 . . . I didn’t watch the Olympics.

Olympic Games 2016

Olympic Games 2016 — See what I mean!

At all.

Oh, well, one night while we enjoyed fajitas at the local restaurant, their T.V. was on and we saw a couple of guys dive.
They were good.

But . . .

. . . I felt my blood pressure rising and just decided to be cool. Why spoil a wonderfully fresh meal with nearly naked guys getting wet for fun and/or profit,
albeit very skillfully?

They say everybody who was anybody was watching. I don’t know.

WordPress says those who were not watching are rare.

I am one of the rare ones.

I was busy.

I was enjoying really good food with a really handsome guy.

Other times, I was mowing, blogging, counseling, bathing, cleaning house, sleeping, washing clothes, baking, wrapping gifts,  ironing, helping my grown son move.


I already have a life.

I already have something to do.

I also did not blog about the Olympics.

Really, some kids competed and somebody won?


Rumors that it was rigged?

Nothing new.


Happens all the time.

When they killed a bunch in Germany during the Olympics, that was news.

I really never wanted to watch much, after that.


To care.

To dare.

To admit I wasn’t there.

I don’t do football, either.

Nor baseball, unless my grandson asks.

The only sport that really interests me, anymore, is volleyball.

If I get to play.

Your serve.


photo credit: hops_76