Tuesday, May 8, 2018

KSA... a Monogram.

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week... a little piece of my writing from a long time ago.

My second assignment in my first writing class ever was to write an essay about a significant person in my life. And even though I could have probably chosen a thousand other people to write about... I didn't...
~ July 25th 1995

Her name was... MRS. SCOLDMAN!.. and the name fit her like a glove!

I thought she was the oldest, meanest looking person I'd ever laid eyes on! My sister, who was four years my senior had warned me well to keep a distance at all cost and if that couldn't be avoided, to do whatever I could do to not draw attention to myself in her presence. That was difficult for me, standing several inches taller than most of my 5th grade classmates. I had heard stories that would chill one's blood. Stories about her dragging some kid through the halls by his ear. She had pulled on it so hard that the ear was never quite the same and forever appeared larger than the other. She also kept a paddle in her desk drawer, or so I'd heard, and if a kid crossed her she'd keep him after school and paddle the livin' daylights out of him. There was even a rumor that one or two children had disappeared over the years and though no one had actually ever known them or even knew their names, we were all fairly sure that SHE did. Still, everybody knew somebody who she'd sent trotting off to the Principal's office or who'd been made to sit up against the brick wall at recess. Both fates worse than death in Elementary School.

I would do everything I could to remain inside the lunchroom, long after the other kids had scattered to the playground, to lessen my chances as being the one to secure her wrath for some innocent act of youth. Because there she was everyday, like clockwork, pacing up and down that blacktop during lunch recess. The whistle she wore on a chain around her neck never seemed to leave those creviced lips. Creviced, no doubt, by all those years of whistle blowing.

Her grey hair was cut in a short bob with a bit of a wave on each side. I suppose it was fashionable in those days but to me it didn't suit her. Witches were suppose to have long, frizzy hair... Her steel blue eyes shifted constantly, watching... looking. I'm not sure what color the eyes in the back of her head were because I'd never seen them.. but everyone knew they were there.

The long, pleated skirts and starched blouses that she wore on her thin frame made her appear much taller than she probably was, although once, while being reprimanded, I remember noticing little wisps of nose hairs and at 5'4" I was already head to head with most adults. The white cardigan she wore was anchored over her narrow shoulders with a four inch chain and butterfly clips. As long as I knew her the arms of that sweater dangled freely.

The shoes... black oxfords, obviously chosen for comfort and nothing else, were what I noticed the most... as if looking down at the ground when she passed would make me invisible to her. It didn't, and I spent a good share of time scrunched up against the red, brick wall in solitary.. wondering what I had done.. or at least how she had known.

I had greatly anticipated 6th grade, which would culminate in my completion of Elementary School. All the older kids I'd known had loved that special place they'd held and the added privledges that came with being the older kid on campus. But for me a wrench was being thrown into the picture. There were four 6th grade teachers to be had and I had all summer to agonize over which one of them was to be my fate. And of course, if it had been any other, I would have had no reason to be writing this retrospect.

Her postcard came two weeks before school was to begin saying that she was looking forward to meeting me and being my teacher. "Yeah, I'll bet!" I thought. What kinds of evil things she had stored up her sweater sleeves for me, I could only imagine. Visions of caldrons danced in my head or at very least a year spent with a very warm fanny. My decision was made!.. and I announced to my mother my intent to drop out of school. She assured me that it would be over her dead body and asked that I "give it a chance." The walk to school that September morning was possibly the longest one I'd ever made.

My suspicion escalated with the smile that greeted me at the classroom door, topped only by the name that was printed on the chalkboard.


So, she'd dropped the "D" over the summer in an attempt to fool us..

Rows of desks lined the walls, leaving a big open space in the center of the room. It was odd. I'd never been in a classroom like that before. It almost seemed as though she wasn't ready for us.

She walked back and forth in that area all morning, expressing the hopes and expectations she had for us that year... and then we played some games to get our minds, which had atrophied over the summer, back into working order. I saw "the smile" quite a few times that first day and wondered how that stern, chiseled face I had seen so many times in my nightmares could have transformed itself into one that appeared almost soft... and caring. I was sure it was a trick. After all, I had heard things.. and at least SOME of them had to be true.

The first few weeks went off without a hitch. We definitely knew what was expected of us, as she had made that clear up front. For the most part we rose to the occasion. There were rules to be followed, it was a simple as that. Rules that had to do with or safety and courtesy and respect for each other. It was in those early days that I discovered what she really DID have up her sleeve. It was a little white hanky which displayed her monogram. She must have had a dozen of them as she carried one every day, tucked neatly into her shirt cuff. Without missing a beat, she would pull it out, do her little routine and then back into the sleeve it would go. At first I was appalled, but after a while it got to where I didn't even notice. It was just part of her.

It didn't take long to realize that the center of the classroom WAS our classroom. We did sit at our desks occasionally, but the majority of learning was done in our circle. It was there where we would do our reading and discussing, spelling bees and history lessons. She would tell us stories.. and when we least expected it she would turn it into a mathematical story problem asking who could figure it out first and then show us all on the blackboard.

She would talk about her adventures in Mexico City, where she had lived for many years when she was younger. She'd paint pictures so vivid that you felt you'd been right there with her. Thought quite American, she loved the Mexican culture and language. She would speak to us in Spanish much of the time, at first words.. then phrases. In time we came to understand what she was saying.

She also loved square dancing and everyday during the last 15 minutes of class, we'd move to the center of the room and promenade our hearts out. Dresses were the mandatory code in those days and our skirts would billow out as our partners, who were becoming gentlemen, would spin us around. She'd stand on the sidelines clapping her hands to the music, or filling in when somebody needed a partner. We all got to be pretty darn good at it. I always looked forward to that part of the of day.

I also learned to play the "flute-a-phone," a little plastic contraption that faintly resembles a clarinet, which we had each been assigned at the beginning of the year. We sounded just awful, and squeaky at first, but after hours and hours of practice we were fine-tuned enough to pull off a "concert" for our parents, which actually ended up sounding okay.

My class put on a Spring Production under her direction and I was given quite a large part. It was the first play I'd ever done... the first time I'd ever "acted." We would perform it during an evening assembly for our parents. I worked so hard to memorize my lines and practiced at home daily in front of the mirror. I don't think I cared about what all the other people who would be watching would think. I wanted to do good for HER. After the performance she pulled me aside and told me what a wonderful job I had done and how proud she was of me. I believe I went home that night knowing what it was I wanted to be when I grew up.

I don't have a memory of a textbook in her classroom. Academics is not a word I associate with my 6th grade year. I do have a report card however, which clearly displays all the subjects, and they are eached marked with a passing grade. Furthermore, I never fell behind in any of the 3 R's in my future years so I assume she had educated me adequately. For years I have been trying to figure out how she managed to teach us without our knowing we were being taught.

I have also often wondered why I had been so deathly afraid of her. I wonder if she knew that she inspired fear in every student who would never have the blessing to have her as a teacher. I think she did. Perhaps a certain feeling of respect must precede in order for someone to be truly taught. She definitely had our attention, before the fact and with that was able to reach us more effectively. I believe she really did love each one of her students... and that smile, which I had become increasingly accustomed to was reserved specifically for us. I didn't let on. I was a member of a secret society. I assume those who had come before me had felt the same allegiance.

I returned to see her on a regular basis after I had moved on to Jr. High. I could always tell that she was happy to see me by the look in her eyes. She'd give me a hug and ask about everything I was doing and then go off on a story about something that had happened recently. She was always a wonderful storyteller.

When we moved to a new school district, I could no longer visit, but I continued to think of her nonetheless. As I grew up and went on with my life, she would cross my mind from time to time and I'd wonder if she was still teaching, and then later, if she was still alive.

One Saturday, a few years ago, while visiting my parents in California, I took my children on a tour of my childhood. One of our stops was my old elementary school. It was warm out and while they played on the playground I sat in the shade against the cool bricks of the building and watched them. Finally, I walked through the halls and pressed my nose up against the window of room #12. All I could see was an ordinary classroom filled with rows of desks.

Her name was Kathryn, and I guess she touched my life. I don't know how and I don't really understand the special quality she possessed to inspire me to want to learn and succeed. But she did. Now, later in my life, I wish that I could tell her how much it had all meant to me. But then again, somehow I think she knew. I think it was her plan all along.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

And Then There Were Eight...

Hard to believe I've only posted once in nearly two years. Kind of lets you know how very busy my life has been lately. Ok, not so much busy.. as it's been "complicated,".. as in an "I wouldn't even know where to start" sort of way. So now you know you'll most likely have THAT blog to eventually look forward to... :)

But I have to finally pause on this Sunday afternoon to put all craziness aside to finally document the birth of this beautiful little girl who was born just a little over 2 months ago. On the 4th of July to be exact. And though names like Liberty (Libby for short), America, July and other sundry patriotic suggestions came in from all sides of the family, this sweet little girl was given a name that her parents had been tossing around (backwards and forwards) for many months...

And it fits her just perfectly.

And now coming from a Grandma who has never (ever) before been able to hold a newborn grandchild on the actual day of its birth... or to see it grow from day to day, week to week, month to month... wow!. this has been just such an incredibly special experience and blessing and I am so very thankful to be right here in this exact place and time!

And she has the best brothers and sister who absolutely adore and would do anything to protect her!

Perhaps her parents should have named her Lucky... :)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Smule... what a VERY funny name.

It's been years since I last updated this thing! Ok, so maybe only a year and half but still...

I just felt that I needed to post this now before I totally forget to (as well as completely forgetting HOW to!) And then after this, I will seriously have to try and also share what's been going on with me over the past year and a half.

But enough about me... :)

I think it must have been about two years ago that Whitney ran across this app and shared it with me and I've been a little more than obsessed with it ever since! And though I've been able to skim the surface and sing a bit as well, that's not at all why I'm sharing this ;)

I'm sharing this because there is just so much amazing, undiscovered talent out there!!!

I have to admit that I have been a total sucker for reality talent shows over the years. I can still remember sitting in my living room in Brooklyn New York back in the 80's cheering on my favorites in "Star Search" and crying when they didn't win and then, "America's Got Talent", "So You Think You Can Dance", "Dancing With The Stars", "American Idol"... Ok, so we're not even gonna go there, except to admit that I probably ended up spending over 10K (after all was said, sung and done) following Clay Aiken around the country...

And that was all so great and so much fun! But if I'd only known...

That there is just SO much MORE talent out there that possibly no one will EVER know about.. and that is what I call a DING DANG shame!

So I'm just going to share this amazing find with you (along with just a couple of key bullet points...)

* Not everybody on this site is amazing, in fact there are probably A LOT more un-amazing voices on this app than otherwise... and so I sort feel bad for people who just stumble onto this app accidentally on their own...

* Although everyone is still having fun! *winks to Whitney* haha

* But if you do want to find the amazing ones you can always check out Whitney's Smule page and see who's she's following and singing with because she's already done ALL the work and she sings with some of the best, and in fact, IMHO, exceeds the best in many cases.

* And since it can STILL be pretty complicated and overwhelming I've tried to whittle things down even further. Unfortunately there is only a 100 song playlist limit per person.. so I am now two people. ;)

Playlist 1

Playlist 2

Feel free to choose a couple of songs to listen to, I promise you won't be disappointed! I would also love to hear your thoughts!

And then, if you DO have a comment you'd like to post it would be really great if you would post it in the song comments on the actual Smule app itself.

Thanks so very much! And please enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2015

It's Stitch Fix Day #4!...

I wasn't expecting it until tomorrow, but look what was on my doorstep when I got home from work today!!!


Yep, almost like Christmas!

My last Fix was SO great and so I just couldn't wait to rip that tissue paper off to find out what my personal stylist Ashley had picked out for me THIS time!

In case you haven't heard of Stitch Fix... it's a personal styling service where they send you five different items to try on in the comfort of your home and you decide what you want to keep and what you want to send back. And you get a couple of days to try everything on with every single thing that's in your closet, which is what I think I love the most about this service! Plus, I never fail to receive some really fun and unique items that I would never find just browsing the racks at the mall (which I absolutely hate doing anyway!)

Anyway, it's pretty much all explained in my first Stitch Fix Review if you want to check out all the details (and also take a look at some of the fun things I've already received!)

**I do feel that I should make a disclaimer here that everything you receive will definitely NOT be the absolute perfect style for you (especially at first) but the more feedback you give your stylist (which Stich Fix strongly encourages) the better your next Fix will be! And you can also post your fashion "wants" on Pinterest which your stylist will always take into serious consideration and do hers or his very best to accomodate.

But without further ado, here's what was beneath Fix #Four's tissue paper!... Ta-Da!

The Giana Open Drape Cardigan by RD Style - $68... Honestly this drapey cardigan felt so incredibly soft and snuggly and I really wanted to love it, but sadly it hung on me like it didn't have any idea which way it wanted to hang. On the plus side, it did keep me really, really warm for a couple of minutes.

Verdict - Back It Goes

The Queensland Dolman Jersey Top by 41Hawthorn - $48... Just no. This one didn't have any idea how to hang on me either, plus I have enough drab colored tops in my closet already to last me the rest of my life.

Verdict - Bye Bye

The Anita Skinny Pant by Liverpool - $78... Oh my goodness!

Ok so I think this is probably the 3rd pair of pants they've sent me and each one of them I have absolutely loved! How is it that I can't ever seem to find a pair of pants that ever fit me at the store yet somehow Stitch Fix always gets it right?!! What an wonderful pair of skinny's... and in the most amazing "fallish" shade of dark olive green!

Verdict - Don't even try to talk me out of keeping these!

The Ackley Houndstooth Print Blouse by 41Hawthorne - $68... Perfect example of how your stylist checks out your Pinterest page because I pinned this exact blouse a couple of weeks ago! First of all, I don't dress like this...at all! Anyone who knows me knows I'm a total jeans and t-shirt kind of person. But StitchFix is helping me one tiny step at a time to break out of that mold. And anyway, who said you had to wear a blouse like this with professional business wear in mind?

I think it'll work just fine for me paired with jeans, boots and a lovely mustard, brick red or chartreuse cardigan. So many possibilities!
Verdict - It already has a hanger with it's name on it!

And now, for one of my toughest decision of the day... (heh)
The Zelli Split Back Tee by Market & Spruce - $48... Please humor my first experience with selfie photos because I'm not very comfortable with these! But anyway... I absolutely LOVE this top! Love it! No seriously! And it feels so incredibly comfortable on that I think I would probably want to sleep in it every night if it weren't so expensive.

And seriously, I wouldn't even question keeping this one if it didn't have the odd and funny split back thing going on back there and I'm honestly not sure if I love that or hate it. I guess it would be a whole lot easier to decide if I had eyes in the back of my head...

Plus, I already have something similar (see up right in photo). Except that THIS aztec print is a really deep dark purple (which you can't probably see) so it's actually quite different from the black and white racerback from Fix #3. :)

Verdict - Jury's still out. Help?

And so anyway, you can have just as much fun with this as me every month... or every other month... or every six months!.. or however often you choose to do it. I absolutely love the "no obligation" thing!
Meanwhile, thanks so much to my friends who read my last blog and used MY REFERRAL LINK to order their first FIX because by scheduling your first Fixes I got a $75 credit off of this one! So maybe I can afford to buy that cute and cozy Zelli Tee afterall!.. :)

And yes, once you sign up you will get your own referral link too! :)

Anyway, I've never been much of a salesperson but when I find something that works well for me I have a much easier time selling it. So I would just say give it a try!

And if you do, please don't forget to come back and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Third Time's A Charm! (My #3 Stitch Fix Review...)

You may remember me mentioning Stitch Fix a couple months ago when I first signed up for it.


Well Stitch Fix is a personal styling service for women. With Stich Fix, you tell them about your personal style, size and budget preferences, and they will send you a package of really cute goodies to try on in the comfort of your own home. You pay only for the items you keep. Of course there is a $20 styling fee which is applied to your order but it goes towards anything you decided to purchase. If you don’t keep anything, you don’t receive a refund of the fee, but I personally can't imagine not wanting to keep SOMETHING because everything they send is so very stylish and unique. Like all those things I see other people wearing but never seem to end up picking out for myself when I go to the mall. (Which I don't go to very often btw because I absolutely hate shopping!)

But BONUS, if you keep all of the pieces, you get a 25% discount on everything! Unfortunately I am not able to keep everything and always have to end up choosing just one or two items. :( Anyway, you have a couple of days to try everything on and decide, and then you just put anything you don't want back in the prepaid USPS bag and drop it at any place that accepts mail.

It couldn't be easier!... or more fun!!!

So anyway, yesterday was Stitch Fix Day! You can choose to have a package delivered as often or as little as you want. Anywhere from twice a month... to once a month... to every other month... or even every three months. Regardless, it always comes with five outfits/items to choose from.

I always love bumping into this little box on my front porch!

It's like Christmas!

But first... I want to go back and show you some of the items I've snagged from my earlier Fixes! Which, mind you, there have only been two others because I've opted for the every other month plan... But just check these out!

The Emer Printed Straight Leg Pant by Margaret M from Fix #1

The Abourne Split Neck Top by Renee C from Fix #2

And of course these two items were never meant to go together. But they TOTALLY COULD! :)

I also grabbed these adorable edgebeaded teardrop earrings from Fix #2 as well...

And just look how perfectly they'll go with the Renee C top!

But anyway, back to the present.. haha.. because the anticipation is killing me!!!

So what came in Fix #3?

The Alexi Stud Detail Tote by Octavia - $48... a quirky little (I mean really huge) tote that I could probably stuff my entire life into and would be absolutely great for traveling. I know it's hard to see from the picture but it is a really lovely shade of olive... and softer than heck too!

Verdict - Undecided

The Hancock Racerback Top by Skies are Blue - $44... Oh my goodness, I just love this little top! So cute and the fabric is just incredible! I get so excited just thinking about all of the endless possibilities with this one!

Verdict - Keeping For Sure!

The Abrianna Cardigan by 41Hawthorne - $48... This little sweater is so lightweight and comfy and would be perfect to throw on in the overly airconditioned office! Plus, I seem to be acquiring a lot of navy stuff lately :).. I love it!

Verdict - Undecided

The Collen Straight Leg Jean by Liverpool - $78... Ok, wow. Hands down these are the best pair of jeans I've ever tried on in my life! What an unbelievable fit! Only problem is that I just bought another pair of jeans last week that were somewhat comparable.. but just not QUITE as fabulous! What to do... what to do? Can you ever have too many jeans?

Verdict - I want these jeans so bad BUT...

And finally, the Corinna Striped Dolman Top by Market & Spruce - $48... I love this top! So soft and comfortable! But I really had my eye more on the dark olive one which I pinned on Pinterest. (Yes, you can actually have a Pinterest Board that you can share with your stylist to show her/him your exact tastes and style preferences.) Maybe they didn't have the green one available in my size? Maybe I'll send it back and request the green one again? But still, I like this one too... and it would definitely go with the cardigan.

Verdict - Unsure

So what do you think? Which one(s) should I keep. If I keep them all it will cost me $179.50 with the all items 25% discount. If I keep the two that I'm mostly leaning towards it will cost me $122. But if I keep my three favorites?... $170. So really, why not just keep them ALL, right?

Or, I could just choose one.

I should really just choose one...

I hate this.


This is still so much fun and I love having somebody else do the shopping for me!.. in my case Ashley!

She really hit the nail on the head with this last one!

I also love how they send you these little cards with each of the items to help give you ideas about how to pair them with other things you might have hanging out in your closet.

So do you want to give it a try? There is absolutely no obligation and you can end your membership with a click of a mouse if it ends up not working for you.

But in the meantime, if you sign up and schedule your first Fix using MY REFERRAL LINK I will get a $25 credit towards a future Stich Fix purchase and just how sweet is that??? (And thank you in advance!) But don't worry, because once you sign up you'll also get your own referral link to share with your own family and friends if you choose.

Anyway, hope this works out for you and hope that you end up having as much fun with it as I do.

And if not?...

Well, you still get to keep this awesome box!!!


Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Six Reasons I Fly Out West Every Chance I Get...

Make that Seven...

Or Nine...

And that just scratches the surface...

Friday, July 24, 2015


Yesterday this little guy walked home across the Rainbow Bridge.

I know he must have been ready to go because he went so quickly and without hardly any fuss at all.

I wasn't sure what the outcome would be when I took him to Thornwoods yesterday afternoon. I guess I was hoping the vet would be able to do something miraculous to help him get comfortably through the rest of the summer, at least.

He hasn't been well for a very long time...

On Wednesday he walked out into the yard and just stood there for a few minutes... as if he'd thought that going out there would make him feel better somehow. But when he started back towards the house I could tell that even walking for him had become such a struggle and I think that must have been the moment I realized what I was going to have to do.

I had never seen him quite that bad before.

The vet took one good look at him.. and then at me.. and said he thought we were both finally ready. We'd been down this decision making road a couple times before but there had always seemed to still be some quality of life left.

Even though he hadn't been able to jump on the bed to sleep with me for a number of years and then began having such a hard time even climbing the stairs. I had little kitty beds placed all over the house so that he'd have some comfortable places to lay down on every floor. But still his favorite place in the house was that sunny landing right at the top of the stairs... (which he always had to painstakingly climb to.)

I honestly don't know what I was feeling. I think a part of me may have been feeling relief but mostly I was in a state of denial.

I was cradling his head in my hands at the moment they gave him the shot. It had been sort of hanging off the edge of the table and I really wanted to scoot him back further to make him more comfortable, but at the same time didn't want to disturb anything. So I just held him and looked at that little face and I swear that less than 30 seconds later the vet confirmed there was no heartbeat left.

What a very sad, and yet in a way beautiful moment. He went so very peacefully after what I think may have actually been several months of who knows how much discomfort.

This was actually a shot I took of him of him laying on the cool garage floor just before I put him in his carrier. (And shoot I really, really wish I hadn't had that crazy filter set on my camera when I took this picture, because he really didn't look green like this.) :(

We got him from the Cascade Animal Hospital in September 1997. I'd always remembered it as being 1996... so all of this time I thought he was nearly 20 when in actuality he was ONLY 18. But still!
And we named him Marzipan because he was the color of honey and almonds and also because my daughter Whitney once had a stuffed animal named Marzipan that she'd loved so much that she'd picked all the fur off, so she needed more fur to pick... JK

Even though I'm sure she had a TON of fur to pick off of this black sweater afterwards...

Whitney with Marz (at a year old in 1998)

Here's Daryn with Marz shortly after we brought him home.

She loved that kitty so much! In fact she was the one to officially give him his full Christian name... Marzipan Milton Maude Vonya Milroy Moranz.

Don't ask, just smile...

And he was always such a trouper, surviving a number of accidents and maladies over the years including having his neck cut open on a barbed wire fence with ensuing stiches and a case of ring-worms that was so severe that he had to be completely shaved from head to tail!

Not to mention the traumatic day when little brother Riley came along and the terrorizing began!..

But through the years they truly became the very best of buddies and companions.

And right now I can tell that Riley misses him so much!

Daryn with Marz in 2005 (10 years ago!)

And with both of them during a visit back home in 2007.

He was always such a pretty boy!

He came to us in October at around three months old... which makes his birthday probably in July. So he was just almost exactly 18 years old...

I actually made this as a little birthday card for Whitney several years ago but it seems appropriate now as well I suppose. See what a little trouper he was? Thanks for humoring me little man! :)

I was looking for an appropriate poem to post, but you have to admit that most of the Rainbow Bridge poems are pretty darn corny (sorry)... or at least I think so. But this one works for me and somehow gives me peace.

We miss you Marz and we will always remember you!

And in our minds we can see you RUNNING home across that bridge... just as light as a bird and free as the wind!

And we know we will see you later...