Saturday, May 30, 2015

I usually post only three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but this was too good not to post early. I wrote it just to share on Facebook, but decided to put it in my blog as well.

I had planned to buy a pair of cowboy boots when I visited my son, Andrew in Amarillo. We went to a few stores to look, I was appalled. One store carrier boots for men in purples, greens, oranges, and red. These were for men, with the Tony Lama brand on them. The colors were bad enough, but they were made in CHINA... Cowboy boots from China? Can anyone see anything wrong with this?
Then he took me to a place that made custom boots. Interestingly enough, the shop was named Beck's Boots from Amarillo. I have wide feet, 10.5 EEEE. They measured to be sure. There was nothing in stock and Mine would need to be custom-made to the tune of $400.00. I said no thank you and bought a turquoise and silver ring instead.
I say all of this to tell you that I ordered a pair of brown cowboy boots at Jerry's Western Shop, Champion, PA. My daughter is getting married in October and wants the wedding attendants to wear boots.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Today Was Unusual, Which Is Usual for Me

            No wakeup call this morning, but had the call last evening to sit with the friend's father. I had things that I had to do and declined. I finished the half of the lawn that I left from Wednesday. After putting the lawn mower away, I went shopping for a few things that I needed.
            I tried writing, but each time I decided to actually work on some ideas, they became jumbled and that I a time to let things alone and let them perk and sort themselves out. My words seem stiff and forced if I don't let them come out naturally.
            I spent some time watching the helicopter land in the field behind my house, take off, and land again. The helicopter has a long cable with a cutter bar that must be at least twelve feet to fifteen feet long. The helicopter flies along the electric power lines and trims away intrusive bushed and tree limbs that could interrupt the flow of electrical energy.
            There was a ground crew that would service the helicopter and the sickle bar when the helicopter would land. I was able to snap a few photos on my cell phone before it finally disappeared over the horizon, hidden by the tree tops.
            In the mail today, I got a postcard from a lady that knew I was sharing postcards each morning on Facebook. I will show it on Facebook at my next posting.
            Earlier, I bought a pizza earlier and managed to finish it off for supper, washed down by my diet orange soda. I was thinking about taking my nighttime medications and going to sleep. Sometimes my jumble of words will pour out in the morning and actually make some sense, when the phone rang.
            If you guessed it was a request for my services to sit with the friend's father. I am glad that the next day is Saturday. No school and that means no babysitting for me. Teachers don't have to go to the job on Saturday.
            It's not that I dislike the gentleman or the job of sitting. It is the whole retirement thing. I have turned down offers of employment, because I financially can and because I don't want to work anymore. Writing is what I want to do and even though I haven't made money, I like doing it. I like using my creativity. I like to call myself a wordsmith rather than a writer or author, even though I am both. In my novels, I try to inject subtle humor or play with double meaning names.
            I named a murder victim Jake Farmer, because he had been wearing khaki pants. He is in my new book. It is a series of murders that Tommy Two Shoes and his partner Duffy solve. Each homicide occurs at or near the Christmas holiday. It is in the process of being edited and should be on the market before Christmas time. I am not sure of the title, my editor didn't like Homicide For the Holidays.So we'll see what the two of us can come up with.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


A Wake Up Call

I retired to avoid those early morning calls because someone had called off and I was phoned to see if I could come into work. Not so, I got a call at 0635 asking if I could come and sit with a neighboring teacher. Her father has had some problems with pneumonia and a stroke. He couldn’t be left alone.
I gave in, after I shook the cobwebs from my head. I needed to be at their home by 0730. I threw together a quick microwave breakfast, ate, dressed, and brushed my teeth, before I gathered the book I was reading, a pad, and several pens. (A writer always has some story in mind or needs something to note if an idea should it occur.)
The daughter left to work once she showed to me the bathroom and the father’s bedroom. She was out the door and I was there with him. He was weak and could never be left alone for more than ten minutes or so. He was in his wheelchair and we got along fairly well, unless I tried to do something that he felt he could do without assistance.
He nodded off quite frequently, head nodding onto his chest. Nasal oxygen prongs hung from his nostrils almost looking like the body piercings on a person who enjoys that and thinks it enhances their appearance.
Coffee making was an ordeal. He had to measure the water and the coffee grounds. I got the half and half from the fridge. He claimed a premade sandwich and asked me to get out the bottle of ranch dressing for him, which he applied liberally or should I say generously. I have seen people dunk cookies or donuts, but this is the first time I saw anyone dunk a meat and cheese sandwich in their coffee.
His daughter returned after three rums to the bathroom, where I assisted him in and out of the wheelchair, helped him stand to wash his hands, and then back into the wheelchair. Pushing out to the kitchen table where he had his glass of water and paper towel waiting for his return. Once the oxygen was reapplied, he would speak a few sentences, then wander back down the lanes to sleepytown.
It was time to head for home, lunch, and to wait for my appointment with EverDry to return to evaluate some of concerns with lingering dampness.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Family Campfire

            Saturday evening, I had my daughter Amanda, her husband Eric and their daughter Hannah to share an evening with my other daughter Anna and her betrothed James. I went to the grocery store for the makings for mountain pies. White bread is versatile and with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and cheese, a person can cook a personal pizza in a mountain pie maker in the heat of the campfire coals.
            White bread filled with the choice of cherry or apple pie filling and baked in the pie maker creates a personal, portable pie. Finger-burning, hot, and delicious delight is cooked in the fire.
            I also had the rye bread, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, corned beef and dressing to make Reuben's in the pie maker. I love the flavor of a Reuben with the outside grilled.
            For those who have never seen or used a mountain pie maker, let me explain. The maker consists of two hinged, metal pockets, approximately 4.5 inches square that are attached to two long handles. Buttered bread is laid into preheated pockets, the fillings are placed on one slice of bread, and the hinged pockets are closed. The pockets then are inserted into the campfire's hot coals. It's wise to turn the pie maker over at least once and to occasionally check the brownness of the pie before it becomes blackness.
            I bought hot dogs and three types of sausage, smoked sausage, with and without cheese, and a chorizo sausage. There were larger buns for the sausages and regular sized buns for the hot dogs. Chips and condiments competed for space on the table.
            We had a few pies that almost crossed over into the nether regions. What campfire would be complete without the S'mores. We had those as well. Amanda was courteous enough to bring the makings for those sweet endings to the evening.
            It was time to relax, except for Hannah who still wanted to play. We tried to allow our food to digest with our feet toward the heat of the fire. Too soon the sun dropped low on the horizon and a chill wind caused us to pack up and head inside.
            My son Andrew, his wife Renee, and my other granddaughters Celine and Moriah live in Amarillo, Texas. They couldn't join us, but you were remembered and we all wished you could have shared the food and fun around the fire.

Friday, May 22, 2015


And Now the Fun Begins

            Last evening, my editor sent back the first story in my new book for me to revise. She will make suggestions and look for errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. I will make corrections, reword, or rewrite until we are satisfied that the manuscript is the best that it can be. Then she will have someone create a cover for the next in the Tommy Two Shoes series. Since the other covers are photos of Pittsburgh in sepia colors for the other two books, I have suggested that the new cover have a photo of one of the past downtown Christmas tree on it. Once the cover is decided, she will send it off to be printed.
            The reason for the Christmas tree is that the entire set of stories are crimes that Tommy investigates that have occurred near the Christmas holiday and have wonderful names like "What Child is This," "Slay Bells Ring," "Under the Mistletoe," and "Over the River." Each story is an independent, stand-alone tale, but has a gradual progression of thought.
            Since all of the tales occur near the yuletide season, I suggested to her that we name the book "Homicide for the Holidays." She seems to like it, so we will see.
            If other authors can do it and plug their books on FaceBook, so can I. The following are the books that I have had published so far. My editor calls them cozy mysteries and I have been told by some of my readers that they are page turners. When I finished my first book, it ended in a bit of a cliffhanger and I was forced to write the second. Those who read the first kept asking, "What happened to Tommy's abducted brother?" So to answer them, I wrote the second and have been saddled with this retired homicide detective telling me what to write.
            I know some people will laugh, but these characters take on a life of their own. I have thought of an ending and have ended somewhere else, because Tommy says to go elsewhere and changes my mind somewhere in the middle of the story.
            It's time for me to stop with the blog writing for today and get busy with the new book. If you haven't read any of my scribbling, the titles are "Tommy Two Shoes: Form Mountains to More" and "Tommy Two Shoes: Entangled." They are available on Amazon.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Small Acts of Kindness

            As I look back on life, I have trouble remembering the acts of kindness or the words of kindness that I have done for others, although I am sure that I have given them out. At times, someone will say I remember this or that about you and quite frankly, I don't remember it.
            Maybe it is supposed to be that way. Accounts of kindness shouldn't be like an inventory or some people would be puffed up and vain. Isn't it enough that the person on the receiving end remembers? Isn't it enough that we have the pleasure of doing it? Isn't that reward enough?
            Small acts of kindness can go a long way in another person's life. My future son-in-law mowed my grass last evening, because my one knee was very painful. I said that I was going to mow today, but he went back to his house, brought his mower, and loped off the grass for me. God bless you for that. It allowed me to see what kind of a man my daughter is marrying. It allows me to be more comfortable in giving my daughter to him as a wife.
            I must have some kindness in me somewhere. I was a nursing supervisor for nearly twenty-eight years. That can be a hard position to fill and has the capacity to make many enemies, but Monday, I was invited to a luncheon for retirees of Frick hospital. It wasn't a management function, but rather an employee get-together and I was invited. I wouldn't have been invited if I hadn't made friends.
            I have a very liberal friend. She tells me that I am too kind to be a Conservative and so far, I am too kind to tell her that she's too intelligent to be a Liberal.
            There are a few times that I can recall acts of kindness and have written them down in my memoires as they come to mind. Many of the stories from my job are past posts on my blog. Some acts of kindness are placed there I am sure, but I am not adding them to this post, I just want to remind everyone, do small things for someone else. Don't expect a thank you or repayment. Be observant for chances to do things FOR others and not do things TO others. If we were as kind to humans as we are to our pets, the world would be a much, much better place to live.

Monday, May 18, 2015


A Wonderful Evening

            Last evening at church, we had a group from the Indiana Bible College visit. They shared a testimony, sang, and gave a sermon. It is part of their ministry and chance for them to grow in their confidence and expertise.
            The hymns were beautiful. They harmonized quite well. I was sitting with a good friend Kathy and one of the hymns caught her off guard. "The Old Rugged Cross" was her father's favorite. It wasn't announced that they were going to sing it. When they started, she began to cry. I got up and fetched several tissues from the back of the church.
            One young man gave his testimony. It is remarkable how the Lord works in lives. He was saved in Germany, moves to Texas, and was led to attend the Indiana Bible College. I shared that my ancestry was from Huttendorf ,Germany and that my so lives in Amarillo, Texas. That wasn't part of his testimony, but just that it was a nice coincidence that made a connection between the two of us.
            The young man, who preached the sermon, combined his testimony as well as the scripture. It was taken from Joshua.  The message centered on the phrase, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. It was a very moving and thoughtful message.

            Two other "coincidences" occurred. We were having a celebration for our pastor emeritus' 81st birthday and were able to share the food and have a time of fellowship with these young men and women. I sat beside the chaperone's son. He was only fourteen, but was an excellent pianist. It was fun sharing jokes with him. He told some that I hadn't heard before. (I know that is hard to believe.) And I told him some that he hadn't heard, pulled from my vast repertoire.
            The second "coincidence" was that we finished our yard sale Saturday. Tables in the gym were still filled with clothing, purses, and other items. Our church was able to allow these young men and women to "shop" to add to their wardrobes. Students often need three things, food, clothing, and money. We were able to share all three: food, clothing, and a love offering. Thank you, Indiana Bible College for sharing.