Traveling Gently

My love for driving fast is well-known around the little circle I call home.  So are the results of that fast driving:  speeding tickets.

But the thrill of taking those curves, the quick arrival time — well, that last one is a bit of an oxymoron.  I realize that.  Me… quick arrival time.  That seems to indicate that I arrive in a timely fashion.

Therein lies the problem!!  Or joy!!!  All in the perspective.  My love for the furious and fast delivery has been predicated by my lack of punctual ability; therefore, I must go fast. Ah, yes.  That sounds so much better than, “I’m always late because I can’t get it together.”

Back years ago there was this little number that I drove around.  A fun little ride.

But now, post-Steve, I have come to appreciate the joy of traveling gently.  Driving casually down the road, enjoying the view, noticing my surroundings.  He has helped broaden my horizons, to see the forest instead of the tree.

I like that.  A lot.

The Amazing Pixie Find

As we sat in the bed and eyed the pixies, Ava whispered, “They’re asleep.”  I, of course, agreed.  So we continued our whispered conversation about why they were here.

“I think they came back for Valentine’s Day,” says the caught-off-guard Gigi.

“Maybe they came to watch us,” says the spied-upon-by-Elf-on-the-Shelf Ava.

Since that was not my intention at all with the pixies, I insist they are not here to spy but to make Valentine’s Day fun.  So we whisper some more about the pixies and how we think they must come for every holiday (groan), and then we whisper reading our books because we don’t want to wake them, and then I finally say, “They aren’t waking up; let’s just talk normal.”  Whew

Probably, knowing that Ava is a lot like her Gigi, she would have forgotten all about the Big Pixie Find by the next day, but I couldn’t chance it.  I had to drag out the heart stickers and the glue and the markers and the stamps and stamp pads (good thing because Kate showed me how to use them) and we made Valentines for people.

Yep.  That Kate is pretty slick.  She said, “If you would let us use your stuff more, I could show you how to use all of it.” (Because I have a treasure trove of goodies in the basement.)

She also said, “I think you do all the stuff for the pixies.”

Eight…  and she’s already way ahead of me.

The Amazing Pixie Find

My sweet, little Ava who is five this year, soon to be six as she reminds me quite often, loves to come over and play.  Kate has already left me.  After all, she is eight now!  Her playing with Gigi days are now a thing of the past, replaced with the evil ipad.  She would much rather make rooms and animals and other odd-looking creations on Mine Craft or construct homes and make families on the Simms.  I have to say, she has me looking pretty buff and in a very nice home in the Simms village.  Occasionally I get a tour.

It started with Maddy actually, the playing that is.  I think, somehow, I didn’t get the playing thing out of my system as a child which is the catalyst of my love of playing now.  So when I met Maddy so many years ago, we played and played.  Sometimes we would let her uncle in on the fun, but mostly it was just us girls.

not-so-little Maddy

not-so-little Maddy

It was for Maddy that I started the Sunflower House.  Now they have become a tradition for those that follow in her footsteps.

Kate, Ava, Maddy

Kate, Ava, Maddy

There was Brittany, Brooke, Jack, Sam, Kate, Ava, Owen, Maci, Emily and the other “church kids” and several pop-in-and-outs.  I have had a ball with all!!

Of the regulars, I am down to Ava with her big imagination.  So this past Christmas when the Pixies (click on Pixies to see the story)  happened upon Gigi’s house, she and Kate loved them.  Since Ava is the one who is over here quite often, she kept track of when they were flying around looking for things for us to do and people to cheer or help.  I had hidden them away when I took the tree down, but had them lying on a dresser in my bedroom ready to put away in the Christmas tubs when Ava spied them.

We were sitting on the bed, reading, when her eyes got big and round and she pointed and whispered, rather reverently, “the Pixies!”

Oh no!

(to be continued…)


This Christmas we are going to be visited by three very cute, very small, Christmas Pixies.  I got the idea from the blog the imagination tree.  Click on Kindness Elves and you can see what I’m talking about.

Since the girls already have Elf on a Shelf at home, I wanted something different than an elf but the same concept of kindness.  Without something watching them all the time!  When this blog popped up on my News Feed on Facebook, it was perfect!

So the search began for the just-right pixies.  They had to be able to fly and be cute as buttons.  They had to have a sweet, caring face as well as a mischievous look… because, after all, pixies are full of fun and want to spread joy.  I finally found the little darlings on Amazon, ordered them, and now they are waiting to leave their notes for the girls, full of kind ideas and activities they have planned for us to do this Christmas season.  Each day they fly around the neighborhood, seeing the needs of people, and come back to tell us things we can do to bring joy and happiness throughout the month.  Of course, they pretend to be toys if we get near them. They immediately stop their whispering and giggling and become hard toys.







The little stinkers!

Each of them has a job to do.  Joy looks for things to make the girls happy during the Christmas season.



Hope looks for ways to bring hope to the lives of people in need, sad, worried, alone… you get the idea.

Faith has the job of telling the story of Jesus.  She has already gotten Bibles to give away and is planning on having the girls read the Christmas story.

All the pixies are excited about Christmas, and the girls are excited about them.  We have already found a note from Joy to start the season off right.  Since the girls love making gingerbread houses, Joy found a whole village for them to make.  It was a little harder than the big ones, so next year I’m putting in a request for bigger houses.  But we had a great time making the little ones.IMG_8479

making a gingerbread village

making a gingerbread village


Hope has a great idea!

Here are some of the ideas our pixies are planning for the girls:

Hope is on the ball... I mean cookie dough roller.

Hope is on the ball… I mean cookie dough roller.

making cards

baking cookies

visit Grandma

making gingerbread ornaments

go to a movie

give away hugs

Check back on what they are up to this season.  And leave your own ideas on here.  Let us know what you and yours are up to for the holidays.

And remember:IMG_8489

The Hogbottoms Have Turned Into Wild Boars

The usually meek and mild, sweet and sugar, grown-up Hogbottoms have shelved their mellow ways for the fast-paced, furious and frantic wild run made for the boars.  Yes.  You heard it right.  Wild boar run!

Hogbottoms on the run!

Hogbottoms on the run!

Our normal Hogbottom  activity is, well, something like this:

hogs at the trough

hogs at the trough

It all began with the elevator ride with a bunch of drunken beachgoers.  We had already gotten on the elevator, and if we had just pushed the floor button instead of standing there like a herd of dumb hogs, we would have missed the whole incident that has resulted in our boardom.

The door opened and the surprised group (after all there stood three women) began to enter.  The drunken surprised group I should say.  Three men of varying ages and one woman.  The older man was subdued; the next young man was only throwing out some bad French occasionally, but the gal who stepped all over Terah’s feet and the youngest guy were putting on a show.  Rubbing her cheek, the young man was speaking French to her as the woman laughed and spoke English, then some French.

Since none of us speak French, it could have been the song lyrics of Frere Jacques for all we know.  I do know they were not French.

The lady was speaking to the older man about his son, and the older man was apparently just trying to hang on to the wall.  So we have surmised all sorts of scenarios of the relationship between the lady who was much older than the amorous young man and the rest of the group of men.  I’m sure the truth would be much less interesting.

They are on our floor.

The young drunk very obnoxiously jerked and jerked on the outside security door instead of using a key until it came open.  Maybe they didn’t have one, but we were right there standing with them.  They could have asked us if we had a key.

No.  He proceeds to tear up the door so that now it is more difficult to get into.  We now usually have several tries before the key opens it.

This made the Hogbottoms slightly perturbed with the neighbors down the hall.  And their room just happens to be the door on the right as soon as we walk in that outside door.  And every once in a while Dar gets a little frisky.  So……

The first time it happened we were all surprised!  Scared the snot out of us.  Dar was in the middle of the group meandering back down the hallway to our room.  She put out her arm as we passed their door and knocked!

You have never seen those Hogbottoms move so fast!  We were bumping into butts and using elbows to push each other out of the way.  Lisa was looking back at the group (oh, yeah, she got the lead that night.)

That night?!!!!

It happens often now.  The running and laughing down the hall that is.  Since the first two or three knocks by Dar and Terah (if I name one I have to name them all), we are now trained to just take off running at the first whiff of a potential knock.  One Hogbottom smells the threat and begins to run; the rest of us take off too.  Butts and elbows and backward glances abound.

And the laughter.  The hilarity is more contagious than the running, and because we are laughing so hard, it’s all we can do  to get to our apartment and flatten ourselves against the wall and door to not be seen by the occupants of knocked door.

As I have thought on our knocking on the door of the drunken elevator riders, I have decided the joke is probably on us.  Not once have we heard the door open to see who knocked nor has anyone yelled out anything.  I imagine the only people we are bothering would be the poor souls on the floor below us who have heard the wild boars running.

Princess Ava

getting started

getting started

Ava turned five this past April, so as is the custom we started just three years ago when Kate turned five, we were all going to pack up and take the girl’s first train trip to Chicago to the American Girl doll emporium.  Stay a couple of nights in the big city.  Cost Giggy a lot of money. But since Queen Keely (Momma to the little princesses) has a birthday only two days later than Princess Ava, and her birthday fell on a weekend this year, Momma wanted to do something on her own.  Like big girls do sometimes. So we have postponed the big trip and instead I decided to give her the big birthday party Ava has been wanting since Kate’s pool party this past summer with the awesome “fish” cake that I made.  That cake was totally not awesome in the eyes of any professional or novice cake maker, but it was a BIG hit with the little people crowd!  And Ava wanted one just like it for her princess party.

Ava and cake

Ava and cake

I talked her into a princess cake instead, but I think she would have rather had the fish cake.  The poor little princess had to go into  semi-cooled layers of cake causing her beautiful dress to melt… just a little.  She looks about like the fish cake:  a definite DIY!

partying it up at Pirate Pete's

partying it up at Pirate Pete’s

The crew didn’t care if our little cake was melty or not.  They ate it the way cake is supposed to be eaten!  After they had played laser tag and climbed and tumbled and gamed and got tickets out the wazoo. But that was the second party!  The first one was the one with the castle!

Castle Ava

Castle Ava

with the drawbridge down

with the drawbridge down







The little princess at the party had a great time playing in the castle, letting the drawbridge down and pulling it back up, posing for pictures in the windows.

I’m not all that creative, but it turned out just fine.  If you are into those DIY projects, click on castle to make your own.

And happy princessing!

Stirrup Day


a-trip-to-the-gynecologist (

Thank goodness my dear, sweet Dr. Garwin does not go into detail about the logistics, so to speak, of pap smears.

ride 'em cowgirl?

ride ’em cowgirl?

Instead, she just has me hop up on this table and start talking about everything I can think of to talk about.  And I can think of a lot of things to talk about… while I pinch my finger when that whatever-it-is hurts for that hour few seconds.

Doc is why I don’t really mind going every year.  And, let’s see, I’ve been going for over ten years.  Right around thirteen.  Right about the time my life fell apart.

Good ol’ Dar decided I needed a pap test because it was time for hers and she had heard of this new doctor she wanted to try out… so she made appointments for both of us.  She’s like that.  And then told me what day and when.

The big day came all those years ago and off we went.  To meet the most awesome doctor ever.  With the most awesome nurse ever.

Dar went in first (of course) and then it was my turn.  When Doc turned and looked at me with that sweet smile and that sweet face and said, “How are you?” well, she just shouldn’t have asked like that.  She probably wishes she hadn’t asked at all.  I couldn’t tell through all the bawling and babbling, but I imagine she went from this:

doctor with female patient

doctor with female patient

to this:



Ever since that day, on a yearly basis, she and Sandy have been my tell-it-to gals.  They lived through all the problems and heartaches over the years.  And they’ve shared in my health problems, too.  Making them more endurable, more palatable to the psyche.

Oh, yeah, there were some moments when I had the hysterectomy.

That’s for tomorrow.

When I Grow Up I Want To Be…

… a quilter.

Those handmade quilts with the beautiful designs in them are awesome pieces of artwork.  I have some that are probably 100 years old.  And I love them!

Which is why I want to quilt.  Which is why I want to be just like these ladies.

hard at quilting

a quilt like mine

… a horticulturist.

When I become a horticulturist, I will know every plant by its Latin name.

cannabis sativa or cannabis indica

cannabis sativa or cannabis indica

See?  I have already learned there is a difference in the cannabis plant.

I can't even say it's name!!

I can’t even say it’s name!!

EEEEEEEEEK!!!  How did that thing get in this blog?  Am I going to have to deal with those to be a horticulturist?

The real story of my horticulture endeavor shall be growing plants that will have color names because I can’t even remember the common name for them; thus, I will have blues and yellows in my gardens.  Perhaps chartreuse or salmon or — well, the list is rather lengthy.  

my kind of plants

my kind of plant

… a traveler!

traveling down life's highway

traveling down life’s highway

From east to west in our little home on wheels (when we get it) we shall travel the country, meeting people and making friends, seeing all the sights, living in warm weather when it’s freezing-your-butt-off temperatures at home.

The plan is to have a little more horsepower than this RV with perhaps an added amenity or two or three.  Plusher pleasure is my goal.


… an actor at Universal!

Darla at Universal

Darla at Universal

Yes.  This is the plan for my sis and I.  We are going to drag our husbands down to Florida in the winter months so that she and I can work at Universal.

We can’t wait to see you all there!

… a sleeper.

(Yawn.)  A goal that’s been a lifelong goal is to sleep at night.  To just go to bed, lay  my head on the pillow, and start snoring.  I’ve seen people do this, and I’ve heard it’s quite common; however, my dear father passed the no-sleeping gene down to me. (Thanks, Dad.)

But while I wait to grow into that, I’m going to count all the things I have grown up to do so far.  Sort of like counting sheep.

garden… scrapbook… play piano…….. (yawn)……. bake… cook………(yawn)………….paint/maintain pools…..wire houses…………(yawn)(yawn)….nap in the car…………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

My Class History

This summer I am planning a remodel for my Sunday School room at church.  The third and fourth graders that have traveled in and out of that room over the years have helped with the necessity of a remodeling.

The door won’t shut and is covered with graffiti.

And I love it!  Well, not the no-shutting part.

The door to my Sunday School class is covered with the names of many of the children that have come through that door on Sunday mornings for the past years.  One of them made me a happy sign for our door.  A happy sign because we have a happy class.

Quite a few years ago I started measuring them up against that door and then putting the date of the measure.  For the two years that they are with me they get measured and marked.  And as the door below shows, the kids come back and continue to measure and mark.

Some of the names of "my" kids over the years.

Some of the names of “my” kids over the years.

The door tells the story of their growth… or their art work… or just the fact that “Nick was here.”

Brock and Ansley

Brock and Ansley

Some of my Third-Fourth Grade Class wannabes come up and leave their names with hearts or in circles or just written across the door.



It’s always a treat to have my “old” class alumni come back for a visit.  Some of the alumni are getting married this year.  That’s how long it’s been.  I think I have been teaching for a long, long time.  And my room is in dire need of an update.

Date and Height

Look how much Emily grew in the two years she was in my class!

Emily and Others

My heart swells with love and appreciation when I look at that door.  For each child.  For their excitement in putting their mark on our door.  For the fact they come back and visit me.  For the salvation of many of them.  For the stand some of them take for their Savior.

For the privilege God gave me to teach these treasures.


It’s a New Dawn! It’s a New Day!



It’s 2014!!!!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I can’t express my attitude toward the new year any better than Nina Simone!  A great great song.

Click on  It’s a New Day! if you want to start the New Year off great!

“Feeling Good”

Birds flyin’ high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.
Yeah, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, ooooooooh…
And I’m feelin’ good.

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel
River runnin’ free, you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me,
And I’m feelin’ good

Dragonfly out in the sun, you know what I mean, don’t you know,
Butterflies all havin’ fun, you know what I mean.
Sleep in peace when day is done: that’s what I mean,
And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me…

Stars when you shine, you know how I feel
Scent of the pine, you know how I feel
Yeah, freedom is mine, and I know how I feel..
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me
And I’m feelin’… good.