A Day In The Life

What Are They?
May 29, 2007, 6:41 pm
Filed under: Nature

I have always called these beautiful flowers amaryllis, but I was looking up when to divide them in “The Ultimate American Gardening Book” and, much to my suprise, they aren’t amaryllis. In fact, I couldn’t find a picture in any of my gardening books that looks exactly like these flowers.   My guess is that they are some sort of lily.  Regardless, they are lovely, aren’t they?  A friend gave me the bulbs.  She called them amaryllis, too.  She said they never did very well for her which is why I inherited them.  I must have the perfect soil for them because they really put on a show for me beginning around the first of May.  They are only now fading away. 




Plans For The Evening
May 25, 2007, 1:26 pm
Filed under: Matthew McConaughey

It’s been a long, hard day. I just want to soak in the tub when I get home.


Oh, please let this be my tub.  Please?  Pretty please?  Plllleeeeaaassseee…….

On Developing A Thick Skin
May 23, 2007, 9:17 pm
Filed under: Odds and Ends


When I was the store director for Toys R Us in Salisbury, Maryland, my employees asked me to sponsor a softball team for the local adult softball league.  I thought it was a great idea.  Good community relations, publicity and all that jazz.  Most of my employees were in their late teens or early twenties.  Heck, I was still twenty-something at the time.  We even had the Maryland fast-pitch softball all state pitcher working at the store.   Of course the adult league played slow-pitch softball, but who cared?  We still had an ace pitcher and a lot of good, young athletes so we figured our team would be one to contend with.

I played softball in high school.  I was an okay athlete.  Definitely nothing special because I didn’t work at it.  I always viewed sports as well….games.  Nothing serious.  Games are for fun, right?  At our first team practice in Salisbury, I deduced rather quickly that my TRU team meant business.  They weren’t getting together to have fun.  Their goal was to dominate and win, win, win.  I didn’t mind.  It was great to see all that enthusiasm and athletic prowess in my employees.  Quite frankly, I wasn’t good enough to play on the team so, with a little persuasion from my managers,  I decided to become an umpire.

I got the official softball rules book and the league rules book and began to study.  I wanted to be a good umpire.  Fair, impartial and confident with my calls.  I practiced hand signs and called a couple of scrimmage games.  My TRU team and the teams we scrimmaged with were complimentary.  They bolstered my confidence.  I was ready for the league games.

The first couple of games I was assigned to ump at second base.  Things went well.  Oh, I got a few comments about needing glasses, but all in all it was a very positive experience.  Then I was assigned to ump behind home plate.  Oh. my. gosh.   My very first call was met with boos and hisses.  It went downhill from there.  The opposing team and their fans attacked me like a pack of hyenas fighting for a wildebeest carcass.  I was vilified, taunted and, in general, ripped to bloody shreds throughout the entire game. 

I stuck with it and finished out the season.  I even umped behind the plate several more times and was treated with respect.  We never had to play the hyena team again.  If we had, I might not have made it.  They were vicious. 

My Toys R Us team finished the season in second place and immediately began to make plans for the next year.  I volunteered to be the bat girl. 

Support Your Local Cat House
May 21, 2007, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Africa, Family

I have a magnet on my refrigerator that proudly proclaims “Support your local cat house”. And, no, I don’t live in a red light district. The picture on the magnet that sports the slogan is that of a fat, tabby cat. I’ve had a cat or cats wherever I’ve lived since the age of five.

Santa brought me a yellow tabby for my fifth Christmas. I promptly named the cat Sunshine. Next in line was Kitty Blue, a beautiful smoke-blue longhaired cat that I also got for Christmas when I was thirteen. My piano/voice teacher gave me fluffy, white Jim Dandy (I was a Black Oak Arkansas fan as a teen. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Jim Dandy was the lead singer for Black Oak Arkansas.) I found Squeezy by the side of the road. Blue, Jim Dandy and Squeezy were the cat trio of my teenaged years. I left the trio behind when I began my studies at Northeast Louisiana University. I spent my freshman year in a dorm so I actually lived an entire year without a cat in residence. Then I moved into an apartment and adopted Mr. Nixon, a sleek black cat with a white spot on his nose and one white foot. Three years later, I transferred to the University of Colorado and added Muffin to my cat history.   We now enter some murky years in which I finished my degree, got married and moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Mr. Nixon and Muffin stayed in Arkansas with my parents.  The marriage didn’t last long and I moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, to lick my wounds.  I found my beloved Rudy abandoned in a cardboard box on a grocery store parking lot in Little Rock.  Rudy stayed with me through thick and thin for seventeen years.  He moved with me back to Virginia Beach where we rescued Miss Scarlett.  Rudy and Miss Scarlett lived with me through my Toys R Us tenure in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and back to Roanoke, Virginia, which is where this picture was taken.  Rudy is on the left and Miss Scarlett on the right.


In 1990, Rudy and Miss Scarlett moved home to Arkansas with me where we bought a house that came with a beautiful calico cat named Emily.   Emily liked to  curl up and sleep in my wooden bowl.


We soon added Punky to our family. Punky was abandoned, half-starved and pregnant when she joined us.   Sadly, Punky’s kittens didn’t live, but we got her healthy and she thrived.  Rudy is in the foreground of this picture and there is Punky doing a little cat cha-cha-cha behind him.  


Not too long after Punky joined us, I found Africa abandoned outside the local library.   She was a tiny black ball of fluff with a big mouth, but we welcomed her to the cat house where she grew up sleek and beautiful.  Here Africa is posing with some pink tulips. 


Africa is the sole remaining cat in the cat house, but she and Jasper, the miniature Dachshund, are great pals.  They curl up together to sleep and Africa frequently washes Jasper’s face.   This concludes my little cat house history.  Hope you enjoyed the tail 🙂

Growing Up Country
May 20, 2007, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Books

I had a very special group of senior choir students this year.   Some of them were born and raised right here just like I was and I went to school with some of their parents.  I found a great book that I am giving to those students called “Growing Up Country”.  The book was put together by Charlie Daniels.  It is a collection of essays written by folks who grew up country.  There are eight different topics that the essays are organized under including family, faith, hard work, starting out, stars and stripes, the great outdoors, music and home.  Each person who contributed to the book has a short introduction written about them.  A lot of the content was contributed by country music stars like Dolly Parton, Clint Black and Carrie Underwood, but some Southern rock artists, athletes and former President Jimmy Carter also wrote for the book. 

As I read through “Growing Up Country”, my heart was touched by so many familiar memories and I was amazed at how these famous people grew up in circumstances so similar to my own.  I shed a lot of tears as I read.  I think this paragraph by Dolly Parton really sums up the spirit of the entire book. 

“I guess most people can’t imagine being anything other than what they are.  And in my case, that’s country.  I can’t imagine what my life would have been without peaceful days, mountain streams, homegrown and home-cooked food, country church, and all-day singing with dinner on the grounds with family and friends.  It is all that keeps me sane in an otherwise crazy world these days.”

Pete Seeger
May 17, 2007, 8:06 pm
Filed under: Music

Singer song-writer, Pete Seeger is one of America’s best loved folk artists. He has been at the forefront of the labor movement, the struggle for Civil Rights, the peace and anti-war movements, and the fight for a clean environment.

Seeger was called before the House of Un-American activities in 1955 and questioned about his political associations. He was blacklisted in the U.S. and kept off radio and television for seventeen years.

In the sixties, while enjoying a good amount of success due to the folk revival, Seeger continued to travel, playing the campus circuit and benefits for civil rights, peace and labor movements. He was also in the forefront of the anti-Vietnam outcry, joining forces with young folksingers like Joan Baez to oppose U.S. involvement in the conflict. During this time, he also turned his energies towards the environment. In 1969, he formed the Clearwater Organization, a group dedicated to environmental awareness.

In 1994, Pete received the Presidental Medal of the Arts and a Kennedy Center Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 for his contribution to the development of rock. In April of the same year he received the Harvard Arts Medal. In February of 1997 he won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.

One of Seeger’s best loved songs is “Where have all the flowers gone?” written in 1955. The song is a moving reminder of the futility of war. (Mark G. Sirrett)


Where have all the flowers gone long time passing? Where have all the flowers gone long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone? Young girls picked them every one. When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone long time passing? Where have all the young girls gone long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone? Gone to young men every one. When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?


Where have all the young men gone long time passing? Where have all the young men gone long time ago?
Where have all the young men gone? Gone to soldiers every one. When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?


Where have all the soldiers gone long time passing? Where have all the soldiers gone long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to graveyards every one. When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?


Where have all the graveyards gone long time passing? Where have all the graveyards gone long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone? Gone to flowers every one. When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?


When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

May 15, 2007, 8:49 pm
Filed under: Africa

I rarely am able to get pictures of Her Imperial Majesty Queen Africa. She is far too busy doing queenly cat things to pose for my camera. But the other day I was roaming around taking pictures of flowers when I noticed her basking in the sun on the back porch steps. I quickly went into spy camera mode…..Vicki and Julie aren’t you proud of me?!!  I managed to snap two shots before Africa gave me one last withering look and walked away.


The real sneaky shot. She is watching some birds at the bird bath and isn’t paying attention to me.  The sun is really bringing out the red tint in the fur on her chest. 


She caught me snapping pictures. Oh, that royal glare. How dare I disturb her peaceful repose!  Try not to be too jealous Willow Tree.  I know you covet my beautiful cat.  🙂