Awesome Blog Content Number Three

I have been nominated for the ABC Award for the third time! The ABC stands for Awesome Blog Content. And this glorious nomination was passed on to me by Dr. Angela of A Kiss of Bliss. Thank you, Angi, so much for this awesome award, for reading my blog, and finding me worthy of this humbling recognition. I am truly grateful, as well as honored!

Here are the rules for this award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. There is no limit to how many fellow bloggers you can nominate so go wild. He-he.
  3. Share some things about you but alphabetically just a word or two about you starting with each alphabet. (Or alternatively, just write the first word you think of.)

My Awesome Blog Content Award Nominees:



Five Reflections

Assia’s Kaleidoscope

♡ The Tale Of My Heart ♡

Baker Bettie




Lea & Jay

My A to Zzzz’s:



























These ten bloggers do have some awesome things posted on their blogs! In following my food theme, some of them have great recipes, but some of them are great for other reasons. Can you guess which is which? If not, the answer lies within a simple click!

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Johnny Mathis

Oh my! The memories that this man’s voice brings me back to. I woke up this morning thinking of my mother. This ended up being a cue for me to think of music from a different time in my life that I have enjoyed or that has meaning to me.

My mother loved country music, as do I, though I love almost all music. We had a radio/record/cassette player exactly like the one in the picture above, and when I was young, my mother would play records on ours on Saturdays while we did our chores. I can’t remember all the albums she had, I’m sure, but I do remember some. She had Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, and one of my favorite at the time, Johnny Mathis.

It has been a really long time since I have thought of him, and so when I got onto my computer this morning, the first thing I typed into YouTube was Johnny Mathis. I recognized the songs that are strongest in my memory right away; It’s Not For Me To Say, Chances Are, and Smile. I kept going back and forth, trying to decide which one I would include in this post, and in doing so, I came across another song that he sang.

This song has been a favorite of mine for a long time, but was originally sung by Roberta Flack. The song, as Roberta sang it, was Killing Me Softly With His Song, while Johnny sang it as Her Song. Well, since I am more of a her person rather than a he person, I found this  version to be quite delightful. But now I had a dilemma. Instead of three songs to choose from, I now had four. What to do?

What am I thinking? There are no rules that say I can only post one song per post. Why not post all four songs? Ok, so sometimes I am a little slow, but better late than never, yes? I will even give you two options to listen. Either click on the link in the written part of this post, or scroll down a little farther and click play. I have also linked Roberta Flack to her version of the song, for those of you who are more a he person than a she person. Go ahead! Sit back and listen to some sweet, sweet music.


“Tell Me About Yourself” Blog Award

I have received another really cool award that I would like to honor some blogger friends with. Carla from Seasons Change, and Change… has nominated me for the Tell Me About Yourself Award. I am happy and excited that she wants to know more about me and is affording me this opportunity to post these things on my own blog for others to get to know me better also. Thank you so much, Carla!

Do you have people who you enjoy the exchange of reading each other’s blogs every day? I do and I learn a lot about who they are and I like that. I also like the people who are reading my blogs and getting to know me as a real person. So, I am going to present the nomination of this award to 7 of my blogger friends whom I think are very interesting people and I would love to know more about them.

  1. You will need to Thank the person that nominated you first (me) and link the blog to that person before you start.
  2. Then you will have to tell the world 7 things we might find interesting about you.
  3. Then you add your 7 nominees.

Seven New Things About Moi:

Ooooo! This is going to be good! I have come up with some really old and unique memories to share with you. And a few that you may never have seen coming. Are you ready?

  1. I think I was about five years old when my father started teaching me how to bowl. He coached me for quite a few years. When I was eight, he entered me into a youth tournament and I made it to the state championship, where I won first prize with a score of 188. I still have my little bowling shirt which is covered in patches I won through those years of bowling.
  2. Do you remember when you learned how to ride a bike? I do. At first, I had a bike that was mostly plastic, had training wheels, and looked like a little motorcycle. My friend, Polly, and I rode that thing up and down the street all the time. When the training wheels came off, we both tried to learn to ride it without them, but we were not very successful. When I was eight years old, I received a pink Huffy for Christmas (ok, so I was almost nine, as my birthday is in February). My aunt and uncle and two cousins were coming to visit us in Florida, all the way from Michigan, for the holidays. My poor mother spent two hours (in her robe, since I absolutely could not wait a single second, not even long enough for her to get dressed) working with me on being able to ride that beautiful two-wheeler before my cousin got there. I learned, finally, and when they got to my house, my cousin, Dawn, borrowed my mother’s 10-speed and we went for a ride around the block. A great day and a great memory for me!
  3. On July 4, 1953, my Aunt Teresa was born. Tragically, on July 4, 1978, a short 25 years later, she was killed by a drunk driver. It was her 25th birthday and she and her husband, my Uncle Kyle, and my sweet baby cousin, Ryan (18 months old), were on their way to my Memaw and Pappy’s house to celebrate her birthday. In the few miles from their house to my grandparents house, they were struck, on my aunt’s side of the truck, by another truck driven by a 15-year-old girl, accompanied by two other 15-year-old girls, all of whom had been drinking. The girls had blown right through a stop sign, side swiping my aunt and uncle. Aunt Teresa died less than two hours after arriving to the hospital. I was only seven years old when this happened, but remember it like it was yesterday. Aunt Teresa was my mother’s younger, and only sister. The cake my mother baked for her that day was an owl, as my Aunt Teresa loved owls. I don’t remember her very well, but I do remember that she was very sweet.
  4. My very first pet, at least that I remember, I received when I was about four, and shortly after we moved from Michigan to Florida. He was a “mutt” dog, but I remember he had white, super curly fur. His name was simply, JJ, and was very playful. Then one morning I woke up and he was gone. My father had to tell me that JJ had run away. The only other thing I can remember about JJ and his running away was when my father showed me a newspaper clipping that had a picture of JJ running across some street somewhere. I never say JJ again.
  5. When I was in my early teens, my Pappy agreed to let me clean his house once a week, so I could earn some money. First let me tell you that my Pappy served a million years in the Air Force, so clean for him was so far out of my league, that this was quite the challenge for me. Also, my mother had told me, on more than one occasion, that she and My Aunt Teresa would spend the entire day on Saturday, every Saturday, cleaning the house and putting all they had into it. They wanted to please and impress their father. He would come home after spending the day at the base, and say things like, “What have you girls been doing all day? I thought I told you to clean this house.” And this was seconds after walking through the door. My poor mother’s heart was broken week after week. Fortunately for me, my Pappy had mellowed quite a bit by the time I came along to try to fill my mother’s shoes. He would actually say that I had done a good job, “…but let me show you something…” he would tell me. He would then find one thing that I had cleaned and showed me, himself, how to do it better. That turned out to be a good thing, as I am much more thorough in cleaning than I might otherwise have been. (Whew! All of that and I have not yet come to the part I want to share. I better get to it then, wouldn’t you say?) Pappy paid me $25 every week for cleaning his house and I would take the money home and stuff it under the pads that lined the frame of my water bed. One day, I decided to look and see how much I had saved. I was shocked to have counted over $500 and showed my mother immediately. After some discussion, she asked me what I wanted to do with it. I chose to redecorate my bedroom. I got new sheets, pillows, throw pillows, comforter, blinds and curtains, books, cassette tapes, garbage can, and other stuff that is eluding me at the moment. And I had money left over! I was very proud of myself for not only having earned and saved the money, but spending it in a way that I had something to show for it for a very long time.
  6. Here is something very few people know. My real, birth certificate name is Cynthia Lynn. My sister’s was Virginia Renee. Our last name was Riemersma. My father has been a police officer his entire adult life (he retired in 1998); eight years in Michigan and another 23 years in Florida. When we moved to Florida, south Florida in Homestead which is about 40 miles south of Miami, he would answer the phone, “Officer Riemersma” (Ŕē-mer-smŭ—best I can do), and, because so many people in that area were from Cuba, they thought he said, “Ramirez” and would proceed to speak to him in Spanish. This became really frustrating for my father, so to fix the situation, he petitioned the court for a name change. His full name was Clark John Riemersma, and he elected to change it legally to C.J. Clark (the last name changed for all of us). My little sister spoke right up and said she hated the name Virginia and wanted my father to also change her name to the one we called her, Ginger. This name change occurred in 1980, when I was in the fourth grade.  I got married in 1992, taking the last name Messer, and when I divorced in 1998, I requested that I could return to my birth certificate surname of Riemersma, rather than go back to Clark. Now, backing up quite a bit, followed by jumping to quite a few years later, I will tell you the boy names my mother had picked for myself and my sister, and then the girl names I had picked for both of my boys. Had I been born a boy, my name would have been Nicholas Wayne, and had my sister been born a boy, she would have been named Benjamin Dwayne. The first names are cool, but I would not have been too thrilled with either of our middle names. For my first-born, Jeremiah Claybourn, I had chosen the name Monica Mae if he had been born a girl. I like the name Monica and Mae is the name of the best friend I left behind in Florida when I moved to Oregon. For my youngest son, Zachariah James, I had picked out the girl name of Lela Mozelle. Lela was Jeremy and Zachary’s father’s paternal grandmother’s name, and Mozelle (don’t you dare laugh!) was the name of my Memaw, my mother’s mother. I still think it is a beautiful name!
  7. This last one is a doozy! When my parents divorced, my mother had to return to work, and to ensure she could support my sister and I, she pulled us out of our private school, which we had attended since kindergarten, and placed us into public school, Avocado Elementary School. I was in fifth grade and my sister was in second grade that year. One morning when my sister had walked to school (I cannot for the life of me remember where I was that day), as she came to the edge of the property, she cut through a small field that led to the parking lot. As she was walking through the field, she tripped and fell. What she had tripped over was none other than a women’s dead body! Naturally, she freaked out, and ran all the way back home. When she got through the door, she picked up the phone and called my mother at work, but she was so hysterical, she couldn’t speak. Finally, when my mother could get nothing more than screams and sobbing out of her, she told my sister to stay right where she was and then drove like a maniac to get home. Again, I cannot remember where I was during this insanity, but I vaguely remember cops being at the house to interview my sister. She had nightmares for many months after that.

Is that enough about me???? Yeah, I think that’s enough for one day! (I am going to borrow this, Carla, as it seems appropriate after all I have written. Lol I hope you don’t mind?)

My Seven Nominations are:

      1. Raw Recovery
      2. Rockdweller’s Blog
      3. Ladywithatruck
      4. I Am Not Lost, Just Weird
      5. iamnotshe
      6. Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary
      7. Bluebird Blvd. This last blog is written by Courtenay, a sweet and amazing woman, with wonderfulness throughout her blog. Now, I must acknowledge that she has requested not to be nominated for any awards. As a matter of fact, I have all the blogs I follow listed in a Word document for easy access when I post my awards and she is listed like this: Bluebird Blvd.— No awards, please! I have done really well in honoring and respecting her wishes, and in no way expect her to post this as a result of my nomination. I nominate her for two reasons. First, this is my way of letting her know, as the award implies, that I would like to know more about her, whether through the award or by other means, as we have been doing through comments. And secondly, I would really like anyone who reads this post to go see her blog, if you haven’t already. It truly is amazing!

Now, don’t get me wrong; ALL of the blogs I have listed, including the one that nominated me, are just as amazing, very insightful, and ones I read regularly and cannot seem to get enough of. But don’t take my word for it. Give them all a click and a read and see for yourself.

Bring It On!

Ahhh… Bring on the Rain by Jo Dee Messina is a great song with a great message, in and of itself. This song really resonates with me in that I am not one to give up or let life beat me. Because I am still here, still alive, and still growing and learning, I can see that I am a fighter.

This song also has special meaning for me because my oldest son, Jeremiah, and I decided a few years ago that this was our theme song. Yes, we may feel like we sometimes want to hide away somewhere and lock the door, and that is ok. We also recognize that at these moments, we may have lost a single battle, but not the war. We look to tomorrow as another day, a brand new day, putting the struggles of yesterday behind us and ready to face what is ahead of us with a clean slate and renewed strength.

One year, I took Jeremiah to see Jo Dee Messina in concert, just the two of us, and we had an amazing time. The memories from that night will be with us both for the rest of our lives. It was my only my second concert, and his first. We danced, we sang, and we took turns looking through a monocle, actually a child’s toy, but it was strong enough to see her on the stage from where we were. We were inexperienced as far as concerts went and left after her supposed last song. We had no idea that she would return for an encore, but as we walked down the long hallway, we heard her start another song, so we grabbed the first door we came to and entered into a section of seating that was completely empty. We had the entire section to ourselves for the last hour of the concert! I will never forget that wonderful night with my sweet boy.

I wanted to post the official music video, but it was the shorter version of the song, so instead I am posting this video. Though it maintains a still picture throughout, and is accompanied by lyrics, it is the extended version. In the full extra minute at the end, Tim McGraw’s voice is highlighted and the runs they do together, for me, is mesmerizing. I really love this song and I hope you will too!


UPDATE: Louise brought it to my attention that the video I posted was not working; therefore, I have replaced it with the official music video afterall. It is shorter, but still very good!

Just Me, #9

Hello Friends and Fans,

A lot going on in my life right now, as you may have read in some of my previous posts, that is once again preventing me the time to respond to comments, post 4 more awards (since the last I have posted), return emails, read my wonderful blogger friend’s posts, and of course, write all that I have building up in my head that will, eventually, fill pages. I am still looking for a job while keeping up, barely, with my school work, and lately, my anxiety level has been at an acutely diabolical height that is unusual, even for me.

Yesterday, hours before the onset of my panic attack, I had a very productive day. Yes, you know me, there is always a bright side, and here is one facet of this chaotic time in my life’s bright side. I completed and caught up a lot of my homework, and then Mary took me to the bowling alley for more research on my English class ethnological, subculture study. I took a lot of great pictures, found someone not only willing, but eager to talk to me and I learned a huge amount of information from this gentleman including being introduced to several people who will be willing to give me an interview. Having turned in my Literature Review, the interviews will be the last leg of my study, before I will piece it altogether into one final report. Not only that, but I had a really nice time hanging out with Mary.

My Panic Attack post that I wrote very early this morning, I did from my WordPress app on my Blackberry, so I know how that works now. This is a very good thing, because it will allow me to post when I cannot be near my computer and can utilize time when I am also away from my school work. I will, of course, edit that post to include category (Poetic Detours), tags, and a picture of some sort. I have also been taking pictures, other than at the bowling alley, with my Nikon CoolPix digital camera, and when time permits, I will figure out how to upload the photos to my computer so that I can post the best of the bunch here on my blog. There you go, something for you to look forward to!

A quick note in regards to my panic attack—first I want to say thank you to all of you who posted comments and for the words of encouragement and support. I am, once again, very touched by how much you care about me and am very grateful for you! One common thing that was mentioned was how well I worked through the attack. I want to give recognition to three women who have made it possible for me to do this. The first is my treatment counselor, Kathy Ward, in 2005/2006 who encouraged me to seek a doctor in regards to severe depression when I first started experiencing panic attacks, roughly four months after I got clean. In taking her advice, I did seek a doctor and that led me to getting into therapy, along with a medication that helps balance both my anxiety and depression. I was dead-set against it at first, not wanting to replace one drug with another, but the attacks were becoming debilitating and I finally conceded. It was also explained to me, by Kathy, that I had done a lot of deceitful manipulation to my brain and the normal functions of the chemicals therein, so the medication will help repair and replenish those chemicals to the level they are intended to be at. Between the medication and the therapy, and staying clean and healthy, I felt much better and could function again. And the panic attacks subsided considerably!

The second woman was my second to last therapist (the last was her replacement, but her style was so basic it did not work for me), Dr. Kerri in 2008/2009. Being a therapist, she gave me different exercises to do. We would first do them together in her office and then I would take them home, work on them during the week, and then share with her how well or how little it worked. We would either add it to my “tool box” or discard it and try something new. There are two that I use regularly for panic attacks. One is deep breathing. The technique that I use is to count to eight while slowly inhaling. Not only am I counting to eight, but I am visualizing clean, positive light and energy coming in through my breath. I then hold it for two seconds, and then exhale through pursed lips, slowly but deliberately, again counting to eight, while visualizing dark, negative, energy leaving my body. This works really well. Aside from the physiological aspects that accompany deep breathing, I am also disengaging my brain from not only focusing on the thoughts that may have kicked the panic into motion, but also from focusing on the attack itself.

The second is another exercise of visualization. I close my eyes, see a bright blue sky, and see my every thought written into a balloon and drifting away from me, releasing my focus on those thoughts. This one takes a little more effort, but it does work. I generally go with the breathing, but depending on the intensity of the attack or how quickly it hits, I latch onto the first technique that enters my mind. In having made it a habit to do these exercises as soon as I think of them, I have learned to get through them without potential self-harm, which is how they were when they first started occurring in 2005.

And last, but most certainly not least, my very wise and intelligent best friend, Cherie. Through the course of our friendship, which began in 2009, I have developed a trust in her that is unbelievable to me, even now. I have opened up and shared so much of what goes on in my head, and what I have endured throughout my lifetime, that along with her support, insights, and deep understanding, has allowed things that have been broken inside of me for years, to come to light and to begin to heal. This healing and growth has resulted in my panic attacks to be very far and few between. The do occur, but on the rarest of occasions and I am able to pinpoint exactly what set them off, whereas before, I could never be sure. In opening up to her, I have opened myself up to me. Please believe me when I say, that is a rare and lovely gift!

That is all I can do for now, folks. I have an exam to prepare for and several assignments due this weekend, so, though I will try, I may not be back for a few days. I am sorry I keep getting behind, but such is life. {sigh}

Happy Spring,


Panic Attack

Nerves crackling like a wild-fire out of control
Stomach churning so fast, the motor is going to burn out
Head spinning like a top on the edge of the table
Feet pacing deep grooves into the carpet
Sweat pouring down my back like a waterfall
Body trembling so hard, it triples my vision
Fear claws its way up the back of my throat with razor sharp talons
Walls closing in quickly, nowhere to go, nowhere to hide
Can’t think or feel or breathe or move
This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass
Why isn’t it passing?
Eternity threatens and tortures me with no mercy
Silence and stillness for which I have prayed for comes
I am now left broken, exhausted, and shadowed by shame
But I have survived and made it through, yet again

Let the Games Begin

Another Wednesday night and I am once again on my way to Summit Lanes Bowling Center to do more research. The weather is a nice 40 degrees with not a hint of a breeze here in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. It is February 15, 2012 and it is also my 41st birthday. I know I should be taking the day off to celebrate, but I have work to do and I have already had a wonderful day full of surprises from the most unexpected places. Tomorrow, my roommates, Cherie and Mary, will be making homemade broccoli-cheddar soup, fresh biscuits, and my favorite—carrot cake! Such a delicious meal will be well worth the wait.

Mary and I pull into the parking lot right at seven o’clock and I quickly get out of the car and go in while Mary finds a parking place in the packed lot. As I enter, I am greeted with many sights, sounds, and smells that I have become familiar with. As soon as I come through the entrance, I turn left and head down one side of the alley. I immediately notice that the first 12 lanes are empty and it appears they will remain that way throughout the evening. I stop and make a note to ask why. I spot a team that is second in from the empty lanes, putting them at lanes 15-16, and am drawn to the fact that they are wearing team shirts. They have the same logo that reads, “Rockin’ Willy’s Tattoo and Piercing,” but one is a muscle shirt, with no sleeves, another a t-shirt, and a third is a hooded-sweatshirt. The other three bowlers on this particular team are wearing normal street clothes. The first sight of team shirts, of course, piques my curiosity, so I decide I will observe this team as they bowl their first game.

I grab a seat at one of the tables that is just behind the bowling area, open my notebook, and then sit, listen and watch. I do want to take notes on what I observe, but I need to first observe something of significance. One of the team members, a jolly, round man about my age, is sitting at one of two scoring tables in the bowling area, the one on the left from where I am sitting facing the lanes. He is wearing a pear green shirt, has a bald spot starting in the center of his head, and a mustache that is kind of reddish, which is odd because his hair, what little there is, is more brown. Two of his other teammates join him at the table, though they remain standing. One, a woman, is wearing a tight taupe colored shirt, her hair pulled back into a pony tail and she smiles as the other member, a younger man covered in tattoos and with large wheels in his stretched out earlobes, sets down a pitcher of beer. I later learn that the woman’s name is Wanda, and she is the only female on this team. She is also the only one I actually spoke to. In my notes, I referred to her young teammate as “tats and rings” as I was unable to get his name. This guy spent as much time talking on his phone and texting as he did bowling.

As Wanda pours herself a cup of beer, she and “tats and rings” begin to discuss the handful of bills in the balding man’s hand. They are making bets on tonight’s games amongst each other. What he held in his hand were several twenty dollar bills, so it will be a good take at the end of the night for whoever has the highest combined score, “…with handicap,” a condition that was readily accepted by the other teammates. As I make note to remember to find out what a bowler’s handicap is and how it is determined, I have a vague recollection that has something to do with their personal average, but little more.

Mary suddenly appears, taking a seat next to me, pulling me out of my daydream of bowling as a young child and trying to draw into my memory what a handicap is. I glance over at her, giving her a nervous smile, and she says, “Don’t worry about me. Just relax and take your time. Do your best, as you always do. I am in no hurry.” With that , she pats my hand, then points my attention back to the bowlers and the activity on the lanes. I have no idea exactly what it is I am looking for, but I figure if I just watch, it will come to me. And so it did.

Though I was staying focused on this one team, when I noticed that they seemed to stand in line, each waiting their turn, I looked to my right, down the length of the alley, and noticed that this was common of all of the teams. The bowlers have a certain way in which they prepare to throw their ball. There are little arrows on both the approach and the lanes that look like geese in a flying V formation. The bowler looks down at his feet, places them precisely on the arrow that will guide their approach to the exact spot, just before the lane, they need to be in order to hit the exact same spot on the lane arrow. For each bowler it is different. The weight of the ball, the force in which they throw, the arc that their arm follows, and the number of steps, swivel of the hips, and whether or not they pull their right leg up and back once they let go of the ball; all of these things combined determines how soon and how much the ball will hook, or curve, toward the pins as it reaches the end of the lane. How much of a hook each bowler has determines where he or she needs to stand.

One of the bowlers stands all the way to the left, approaches the lane in a diagonal line to the right and when he releases his ball, his right hand twists to the right. The result of his throw is that the ball remains on the far right side of the lane, hooking sharply at the very last second, into the pocket. The pocket is the area of the pins that you want to hit in order for all, or at least most of them to fall. The pins are set in the shape of a triangle, one pin in the front, two directly behind the one, three behind the two, and four pins closing the back, for a total of ten pins. If you hit them just right, they have a domino effect, knocking each other down. When all of the pins fall on the first throw (for each turn, a bowler gets to throw their ball twice), it is called a strike—quite the opposite of a strike in baseball, where three strikes and you are out! In bowling, when you get three strikes on three turns in a row, they call it a turkey, and a turkey is a very good thing.

If you only hit some of the pins, or none of the pins, in what is known as a gutter ball, then a second chance is granted. The machine behind the lanes reaches down with its unusual claw and grabs the pins that have remained standing. A long plastic “arm” drops down and sweeps the fallen pins out of the way, the machine setting the standing pins down gently, as not to knock them over, and the bowler’s ball is sucked into the underground tunnel, very similar to the tube that takes your cash and checks from the drive through at the bank to the teller inside, and deposits it back into the ball return for the bowler’s retrieval. The bowler then repeats his ritual of finding his stance, but this time, he adjusts it to match up with where the remaining pins are placed. Again he throws, and this time he knocks down all the pins. Because they went down on the second, rather than the first throw, his score will reflect what is called a spare.

The next bowler is up, this time the balding man. He places his feet near the center arrow, takes three giant steps forward, and as he releases his ball, his right leg crosses behind his left leg, his right arm arcs far to the right as he throws his ball and then crosses over to the left in front of his chest in what is called a follow through. As he watches his speeding ball rush down the lane to conquer the army of pins, the balding man tilts his head, as if willing his ball to curve in the same direction, walking backwards with little careful steps over the same ground he covered in three strides just seconds earlier, and as the entire set of pins come crashing down, his right arm, hand in a fist, shoots straight above his head as he turns on his heel with a huge grin, looking for praise from his team. Wanda claps and gives him a high-five, as “tats and rings” takes his place on the approach.

As I sit and watch the bowlers go through this process, I think of how it is similar to a golf game and how the golfer also carefully places his feet, grips the club in just the right way and looks back and forth from his ball to his target on the green. Because I am not a sport loving person, I find it amusing that I keep making references to other sports. I am eager to do some research and learn about the history of where this game of bowling started, when, and why. My concentration is broken by the only team to my left. Interestingly, the team I have been observing happens to be a local business, while the team to my left is a family. Grandma, grandpa, dad, two teenage boys and one teenage girl seem to comprise this team. They are not the only family members there that night, as there are also a couple of older children, sitting at tables in the empty bowling area to the left, doing homework and three smaller children—the youngest girl appears to be about four years old—running around and having a good time with each other.

My attention is diverted to this other team when the father walks over, standing almost directly in front of me, and speaks to one of the teenage boys on the team. “Who is up first?” the father asks his son, who is wandering back over to the bowling area from either the arcade or the grill.

“She is,” the boy replies as he points to his older sister.

“Exactly! Who is up next? You saw her throw her ball. How long do you think she is supposed to take? Come on…you are holding up the game.” At this request, the son quickens his step and grabs his ball. The father was direct, but calm, and I caught the hint of a grin on his face as his son whisked by. This entire exchange took less than a minute and I turned my attention back to my focal team, never giving the family team another thought, until later that evening on the ride home.

Just as I looked, “tats and rings” was making a bee-line straight for me. Much to my relief, considering the frustrated grimace on his inked face, he went over to his bowling bag, one of the nicer ones on wheels with a handle, and reached in, producing another ball, while he said out loud, “I don’t know what is going on with me tonight, but I am getting very, very angry,” the last few words forced out between gritted teeth. He nearly stomped back over to the lane. He took his spot on his chosen arrow, shrugged his shoulders a few times while twisting his head from side to side, as if to break his muscles from the tense clench they were in. He stood there for several seconds, leaned forward, swinging his ball behind him, and then let the weight of the ball pull him toward the lane. It was fascinating to see how he slowly set the ball in motion almost without throwing it. The ball didn’t THUD this time, rather, you could hear the smooth shell of the ball sliding very methodically down the oiled lane, colliding with the pins in an unexpected crash and clatter. Before the pins could settle and quiet themselves, he let out a loud, “WOOOOO!” clearly satisfied with the end results of this ball’s performance. Wanda stood by the scoring table and clapped her hands above her head before heading over to take her turn.

The team continued to take turns, switching from the first to the second lane. This rotation of turn-taking allows the game to move along smoothly. Bowler one bowls on the left lane, followed by bowler two. While bowler two is taking his first turn on the left lane, bowler one is taking his second on the right lane. When bowler one finishes his turn on the right, bowler two then rotates over to the right lane, while bowler three is up on the left, and so on. As I mentioned before, each bowler gets two chances per turn, and these turns are called frames. There are a total of ten frames per game. Fortunately, technology has advanced to the point that a computer system keeps score for the team, but it was not always this way. Yet even with the computer scoring system, it is important to know how your score is calculated.

In the first frame, the number of pins knocked down is calculated in the upper left corner of a box; this main box is called the frame. If some pins are left, then the number that fall on the second chance is calculated in a separate, smaller box located in the upper right hand corner of that same frame, while the total of the two throws is placed on the bottom center of the frame. All ten frames are connected in one long row, and all of the team’s players are listed in a column, three or four names, depending on how many players are in the team, on each of the two lanes’ screens. (Remember, each team uses two lanes in a rotation to keep the game moving). The second frame is organized in the same fashion, but the score in the bottom center of the second frame is the combined scores of frame one and two.

Now, here is where it gets interesting. If all pins are knocked down between the two throws, the second throw is calculated with a diagonal line through the little upper box in the right corner of the frame, but in this case, the total is not yet calculated. For a spare, the next throw, which would be the first chance on the following frame, gets added to the ten pins of the former frame, added again to the running total thus far, and then the score is placed in the bottom center of the frame with the spare. In the next frame, the first throw gets counted again, along with the second and the new total goes in that frame. If that is not complicated enough, when all pins are knocked down on the first throw, thus eliminating the need for a second throw, it is a strike and a large X is placed in the mini box of the frame. For a strike, the next two throws are calculated with the ten pins of the strike to determine the score for the frame with the strike.

Imagine getting strikes for your next two throws. Your score would be the first strike, ten pins, added to two more strikes, which is 20 more, a total of 30, added to the running total and recorded in the frame of the first strike. Yes, it gets very confusing. The highest score that any bowler can achieve in a single game is 300—that is a total of twelve strikes in a row! I know, there are only ten frames, so why twelve strikes? Well, the final strike in the tenth frame needs two more throws to add to its total, and therefore, two more throws are granted.

As the game continues to play out, I notice other behaviors that are characteristic to bowlers. They do talk amongst themselves, but keep a close eye on the others in the team who are bowling. The conversations are mostly centered on skill, inconsistencies in their approach, what they could do better next time, or in some cases, how it was not their fault, but that of the lanes, the shoes, the lighting and a myriad of other rationalizations.  The facial expressions and body language of the bowlers depends on how well the ball connected with the pins. If they are happy with their throw, they will return to the group with smiles, confident looks accompanied by a nodding of their head, a number of silly dance moves, and or reaching out for their high fives. On the other hand, if it was a bad throw, they come back with slumped shoulders, rolling eyes, pouty lips, a fist being socked in to the opposite hand, or they just shrug their shoulders as if to say, “Oh, well, no biggie.”

The reactions of the other team members are also similar. Good throws elicit claps, high fives or high tens (two high fives at the same time, using both hands), and hollers of “Alright!”, “Way to go!”, “I knew you had that one!”, or just flat out screams that resemble different vowel sounds, but are not in any way words that are identifiable in the English language. If the throw is not so good, encouraging words are spoken, yet in a much less enthusiastic tone, followed by a sympathetic pat on the back. Those who have the most fun are those who can laugh at themselves and others. It is clear, though, that far too many of the bowlers, have very high expectations of themselves, and it is not the other teams, or their own teammates they are competing against, but rather themselves.  One woman, several teams over to my right, maintained absolutely no expression on her face at all. Whether she got a strike or a gutter ball, her face was always blank, and her body movement was both stiff and flowing.

The most common thing I saw my team do was to tag each other. The bowler walking away from the lane would hold his hand up, fingers together, while the bowler taking his place, palm down, would tap their fingertips. This was done not as a full slap of “give me five,” but more of a sliding of hand over hand. If you have ever watched team wrestling, where they tag each other in and out of the ring, you know what I am talking about. It was a supportive gesture, but because it happened every time the bowlers would trade places, it appeared to be more of a signal that one bowler was finished and the other was free to take their turn.  Some of the bowlers used the fan on the ball return or towels or talcum pouches to dry their hands, while others used none of these things.

Wanda is up next. In an attempt to guarantee that nothing interferes with her approach and release, she first adjusts her pant legs near her ankles, pulls her shirt down over her waist, makes sure any loose strands of hair are behind her ears, then takes her ball out of the ball return. She steps up to the arrows and takes her place, double checks her grip on her bowling ball, and then looks forward at the pins to make sure her visual and mental focus are in line with her physical stance. One, two, three, steps and a slight slide to the front of the lane, more gracefully than her male teammates, she leans in and releases her ball. It rolls down the center of the right side of the lane, barely hooking into the pins and hitting between the far right pins of the second and third rows. Four pins on the left of the lane remain standing. Her score for the first throw of this frame is six.

Wanda is not at all fazed by her inaccurate throw, but instead is concentrating on her next move as she waits for her ball to arrive. She once again goes through what I am beginning to see as her own personal ritual, and when she releases her ball, everyone watches to see if she is successful. The ball strikes, and it is clear that three of the four pins are definitely going down, while the fourth one wobbles round and round on its haunches, trying to catch its balance. Wanda turns for a moment as she is walking back to the score table, but then turns her head and again looks at the lane just as that final pin loses its battle with equilibrium, and slides off the lane and out of sight.  The cheers ring out all around her and she laughs. Really impressed with this accomplishment, I say to her, “Good job!”

She turns and looks at me with a look of bewilderment, and while she fixes her pony tail for the umpteenth time, she says, “I thought it was going to stay up,” shrugging as if to say, who knew? I feel I have an opening and begin to talk to her. I tell her my name and why I am watching and taking notes. I then ask her how long she has been bowling. “Not long, really. I bowled a few times as a kid, but didn’t really learn how to bowl until my boyfriend taught me. His shop needed one more bowler for this league and I got roped in.”

“Oh, you don’t like to bowl?” I ask.

“No, no, I do. It has been a lot of fun. None of us are really good enough to win the grand prize, but it doesn’t seem to matter to these guys. They do it for the fun, and to boost their ego.” Wanda laughs as she says this.

“Grand prize? What is that?”

“There is a fee to form a league, and most of it gets pooled together for prize winnings. This league started with 22 teams and is down to 18 or 19, I think. The grand prize is for the highest scoring team overall, but they also award second and third place.” This explains the empty lanes. As teams fall of the grid, less lanes are needed.

“Wow! Do they give trophies too?”

“I don’t think so. They should though. I think they used to, but I don’t know about this alley.”

“How much is the grand prize?”

“I don’t know. No one here [her team] expects to win it, so I never bothered to ask.” Note to self—find out what the different winnings are for each of the three top places. Also inquire about trophies.

“When my parents used to bowl on leagues, they wore team shirts. I see you guys are, or some of you at least, but not many of the other teams are wearing them. Why does your team?”

Wanda chuckles before saying, “Ah, no, those are what they wear at the shop. They come straight here after closing up. They are for the league.”

So, how does the league work? How are the winners determined?” This conversation is going really well, although she is new at bowling and does not seem to know a lot of the semantics. She is watching the screen, but she answers, as it is not her turn yet.

Again, she shrugs and says, “Sorry. I really have no idea.” Just as I suspected. I will have to go and ask the woman at the front desk a few of these questions in order to get more accurate information. Wanda is done talking to me anyway. She gives me a polite smile and nod and then walks over to the man who I assume is her boyfriend, judging by the kiss he gives her before grabbing his ball and moving over to the right lane from the left.

The balding man sits between turns. “Tats and rings” is continuously on his phone—if not texting, then standing off to the side talking. Maybe that is what is wrong with his game. If only he would put his phone away and concentrate more on his bowling. Wanda always returns to the score table in the bowling area, fixes her pony tail, and drinks beer poured from the pitcher. The others stand around the ball return, watching intently and waiting for their respective turns. Another point of focus that the bowlers give a lot of their attention to is the scoreboard.

The scoreboard is a show in and of itself. There are, of course, the scores; all names in a column on the left with five frames showing at a time to the right of each of the names.  At the very top, the person who is up, or rather, whose turn it is on that particular lane, is listed in a red banner. This visual is helpful to the bowlers in that they can see, at a glance, when and if it is their turn. As soon as a ball is thrown, if all the pins are knocked down, the screen changes to a cartoon of pins and balls illustrating the strike. What is interesting is that the cartoons are always different. If the person knocks down only some of the pins, the screen will change showing an animated lane, the exact pins that are left standing, and a bowling ball positioned at just the spot that will ensure all pins will go down. For the less experienced bowler, this pictorial suggestion gives them a guide on where to aim their bowling ball. If on the second chance, all pins do indeed go down, an animated array of star, lightning bolts, and fireworks graphics comes up on the screen, celebrating a “star frame,” meaning that the bowler “picked up” the spare. I wonder if anyone is getting as much of a kick out these graphics as I am.

As the final frame is bowled by all members, the score board gives each bowler’s individual scores. At the top of the screen, where the names were, until now, announced to alert bowlers of their turn, it now has a scrolling message that says, “The game is finished. Roll a ball to begin a new game.” The bowlers take a few minutes to take care of things such as replacing empty beer pitchers with full ones, ordering snacks, or going to the bathroom. I see that it is now 7:50 PM and make note that one game takes roughly 45 minutes to complete. I have had my fill for one night and realize that I forgot to eat before I came, so I look over to Mary and say, “Let’s go. I have enough for tonight and I am starving!”

Crossing My Fingers

I received some bad news yesterday. It is not entirely bad, and as my mother always said, there is a bright side to it all. The news was that I cannot attend the summer semester at Penn State University. The reason why is that apparently, universities do not disburse financial aid funds in the way that community colleges do, and they only provide aid for fall and spring semesters, leaving little, if anything at all, for summer. The part of this that is bad for me is that what remains of the financial aid funds after all classes are paid for and books are purchased was just enough, barely, to pay my bills. Without financial aid for the summer, I not only cannot afford to pay for classes and books, I will not receive the excess to cover my bills. This means that I most definitely need to get a job. I do not have a problem with this, but in this economy, even getting called back for an interview is very slim. So, all I can do is hit the pavement and do the leg work, make follow-up calls, and then cross my fingers and hold my breath. If I am unable to get a job, I will be in world of financial hurt…but who isn’t these days, yes? The bright side is that I have not had a summer off in four years, so this will be quite a treat. When (I am being positive here) I get a job, I will go, work, and then leave. No due dates or deadlines or tests to study for and lots more time for writing and for sunbathing! Now, that is something to look forward to.

Stress Relief

I do not want to make it a habit of posting music, as my main objective on keeping a blog is to write, but I really needed a stress relief today and this truly did it for me. With school, comes stress, but I have two major assignments I have been struggling with for weeks and today, I gave myself permission to put them both away and just relax! Don’t get me wrong, I love a challenge, as this is how I learn, but I also have a tendency to be a bit of a perfectionist and become frustrated when I can’t get it just right. So, learning will have to wait and breathing with a smile is what is in store for me today.

This song is my all-time favorite, by far! Not only have I faced many of the situations that are in this song, I have also adopted this very attitude. The music is uplifting to me, gets me to wiggle in a dance-like fashion, puts a smile on my face, and just makes me feel good inside and out.

I remember the first time I heard this song. I was in high school working at Burger King, and one of my co-workers, who was also my friend, invited me to her and her husband’s house for dinner. She had three young boys and a beautiful baby girl. After dinner, they turned on the radio and everyone started dancing. I am not one to dance, so I sat alone for a while, just watching this happy family enjoy each other. I finally reached a point where I couldn’t not join in, so to help diffuse my discomfort, I picked Makaylah, the baby girl, up from where she lay and held her in my arms while dancing…to this song!

I have loved the song ever since and was especially surprised and pleased to learn that this song was made with only Bobby McFerrin’s voice—no instruments. How very cool is that? Another thing I love about this song is that it has a very reggae feel to it which is one of my favorite styles of music.

Music makes everything better! It can change your mood, help clear your mind, and be very inspiring and motivating. For me, music is the medicine for my soul!

Crank up the volume, go to full screen, and enjoy!


Molly is my roommates’ precious little girl. She was born on July 25, 2000. Over the past year, her age is really starting to catch up to her, but she is still as lovable as ever. This photo was taken one day on a ride into New York. She loves to travel, especially in her basket bed with her favorite pink and green paw pillow. I can’t help but to show her off!

Pretty as a Peacock

I am so glad some of you wanted to see this photo of me with turquoise hair! As I look at it, I realize just how much weight I really have lost since then! Yea, me! This photo was taken this past summer. I am on my way into the S.E. Campus of Portland Community College to join several others in being inducted into Phi Theta Kappa. PTK is an International Honor Society of junior colleges and my membership will follow me through life. I am eligible for exclusive scholarships (though sadly, I am clueless how to apply), have their golden seal on both of my degrees from PCC, and can obtain letters of recommendation from them for future college endeavors or job prospects, just to name a few perks. A 3.5 GPA is required to be a member and I left PCC with a 3.71 GPA—my final average after four years of classes there.

Back on topic, I have never done anything foreign or drastic to my hair, other than a miserable mistake with a perm when I was in sixth grade. So, why did I do it? My best friend, Cherie (with whom I now live with), dared me to do it. She, herself, keeps her long locks purple and has for most of her adult life. She didn’t think I had the guts to do it. Ta-da! I had no fear and, of course, I thought it would be fun. It was, I assure you, and the best part was all the compliments I received from everyone who saw me. Yes, this summer will be purple, but I am holding off until I get a job. I don’t want to scare any potential bosses!

Has anyone else done something way out of character or extremely out of their comfort zone, but ended up having a positive experience? I want to see your true colors!

Like Looking in a Mirror

Zachariah James, my youngest son, riding the city bus a little over two years ago. This photo is a bit fuzzy, but it is one of my favorites of Zachary. You can still see the little boy in him in this photo. They grow up so fast—cliché’ or not, it is the truth! Just as the title says, it is like looking in a mirror, we look so much alike!

My Handsome Young Man

I tried to upload two photos of my oldest son, Jeremiah, but this is the only one that would cooperate. I wish you could see his piercing green eyes under his dark eyebrows. Definitely one of his best features! This photo was taken several months before I left Portland, so it is about a year and a half old. He gets his stunning good looks from me, of course!


I mentioned Yoda in a comment banter and just came across this photo of him. He was one of three kittens of his momma’s first litter. She was very uncertain and seemingly abandoned all but Yoda. Though he survived the longest, was playful and energetic and brought smiles to our faces, he only lived to be five weeks old. What a beautiful creature who left many happy memories in a very short time.

My Top Recent Commenter Award

The Top Recent Commenters Award

What goes around, comes around! This cliché’ couldn’t be truer than this, my first Top Recent Commenter Award! Kellie Seeis one of my own top commenters and I am one of hers as well! How cool is that? Thank you, Kellie, for passing this back to me. I am very excited to answer the questions I set forth for this award! If you go see Kellie’s blog, you will immediately understand why I often comment on her work! She really inspires the artist in me!The Top Recent Commenter’s Award! This award is a little different from the norm. Instead of awarding others for their own blogs, you will be giving recognition to those who visit your own blog regularly, take the time to really read your posts, and provide you with feedback via their comments. The nominations are the easiest part. You should nominate the six bloggers who comment most frequently on your blog. How do you know who does this most often? Good question!

You will find your Top Recent Commenters on your site stats page on the bottom, right corner. If you do not see this, click on the Screen Options in the top, right corner and be sure that “Comments” is checked. If you are good about responding to every comment, then you will be the first one in the list. It is the next six commenters on the list that you will nominate and pass this award to. But wait! You may nominate one more person. This person can either be a brand new commenter on your blog, the very last comment you have received (most recent), or the one who has posted your most favorite comments. This seventh nomination is your choice, but please do tell us why you have chosen them as your seventh.

The rules are relatively similar to most other awards, but the questions will be a bit more personal so that we may get to know YOU a little better. The rules include thanking the one who passed the award to you and linking them back to your post; nominating your six top recent commenters and one more blogger of your choice, and notifying them of your appreciation and their award, and then answering the questions that follow:

      1. Tell us about one of your most cherished childhood memories.

My most favorite childhood memories were hanging out with my Aunt Bunny, who called me “Ladybug,” listening to her hum, and letting her pamper me by doing my hair and nails.

      1. Tell us about one of your most cherished memories with your child(ren). If you do not have children, then share one of your pet(s). If you do not have pets either, then one with niece(s), nephew(s), or any combination thereof.

Since I have covered a few of these about my youngest son, Zachary, in my post My Little Boy, I will share a couple of my best memories of my oldest son, Jeremiah. One such memory is that when he was little, about the age when he was moving from his crib to his first big boy bed, he would get scared when I turned out the light. He would say, “Mommy, please turn on the light. I can’t see my eyes!” I would turn on a night light and ask him, “Can you see your eyes now?” He would then say, “Yes, Mommy. That is much better. I can see them now.” Another memory I have with Jeremiah is when he would bring rocks to me, present them to me as if they were the rarest and most precious gem, and the pure joy on his face when I agreed that it was the best one yet. If only you could see his little face!

      1. Tell us one thing you have learned from one or both of your parents that has stuck with you throughout the years.

This is an easy one. My mother always told me, “There is a bright side to everything. Sometimes you can’t see it, so you may have to look for it, but it is there, and it always will be.” I have thought of that many, many times over the years, and in fact, it was the one thing, when nothing else could, that kept me going and hanging on during my darkest days loaded and living on the streets. And it has always been true for me. There were times that I could not see it for days, and sometimes weeks, but because I believed it was true, I didn’t give up before it came to me, giving me hope. Thank you, Mom!

      1. Tell us one thing that you have taught (or intend to teach) your child(ren) that you are hopeful will stick with them throughout their lifetime.

Honesty! Absolutely at the top of the list. I have told them that lying always hurts more than the truth. I have taught them that if they are honest with me, no matter what the situation, then we would discuss it, that I may be disappointed, and that I will be a lot more mindful of their actions, but if they lie to me, then they will receive a double punishment (by that I mean no TV or no friends over for two weekends in a row); one for the bad behavior and one for lying about it. My youngest son would come to me and say, “Mom, you’re going to be mad, but you said I could always be honest with you…” Whenever it was possible (meaning if he hadn’t broken the law or hurt someone or potentially put himself in danger) I would stick to my word, have a conversation, listen to his take on it, tell him how I felt, and then let it go, because he came to me and was honest! However, they knew that did not mean they could “get away” with anything. The pain I have suffered throughout my lifetime due solely to being lied to by someone I loved and trusted is why this was the most important things I could teach my boys.

      1. Tell us about your favorite job, whether it is one you hold now or one from the past, and why you enjoy(ed) it.

I had a job at a company that made and repaired eyeglasses. In the beginning, I had my own cubicle, made decisions on the orders that came in, and then was singled out to help in the office just two weeks after I got there. I had the most fun on that job and it is still my favorite. Unfortunately, it was during a time when I was actively using drugs and I lost the job two months after I was hired.

      1. Tell us what you are doing in pursuit of achieving an attainable goal.

I am, as patiently as I can, waiting for my hair to grow longer. It is about four inches shy of my goal. I am keeping this blog which keeps me writing and helps to improve my writing. This is towards my goal to write a fiction novel that will get published. I am attending classes fulltime to work toward becoming a Psychologist. And I have just applied for four jobs. Thit last is a biggie, because I have not worked since I returned to school in 2007. The money I earn will help reduce the stress of my own bills, allow me to send money to help my boys out, and also, I will finally be able to contribute to some of the household bills where I live. So far, I have been living here rent free and I eat like a monster!

      1. Tell us about one person who had the best influence on you in your life (teacher, neighbor, friend, etc.).

Just one? Oh, yeah, I created this award and decided on just one, didn’t I? That’s ok. I may get this award again in the future, so I will pick one this time and save the four or so for another time. Dr. Kerri Perisich was my therapist for one year, 2008/2009. I had tried therapy several times before, but this time it was my choice. I had decided and told her in the first session, that I would “keep it real” and be honest without omitting or exaggerating anything I told her, and if ever I did, I would no longer come to therapy. I told her that I had realized that if I cannot be completely honest with her, I wasn’t being honest with myself, and I would be wasting both of our time. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, so I stuck to my word and was 110% honest with her in every session. I did a lot of the talking, as you can imagine, but when she was aware that she would be leaving and going back to school to get her PhD, finish writing her book, and open a non-profit mental health facility, she began to share with me how astonished she was at my progress. She said I had no trouble articulating what was troubling me, but that I also continued with speaking out loud a variety of solutions and then systematically narrowing things down to the right solution for me. She was also very proud that I not only came up with my own solution, but I followed through with it and could see the results. She told me that she counts me as a success and believes I had great potential of being a therapist myself. She is the one who inspired me to believe in myself and is she is why I am on this journey to becoming a Psychologist. Thank you, Dr. Kerri!

My Nominees:

Because I have recently sent this award out, those I previously nominated are still among some of my top commenters, so instead, I will nominate those who have been commenting more regularly on my blog. Thank you all so much for your comments. They really mean a lot to me, and I promise, I will get back to reading blogs daily and I will comment as well. I have gotten a little behind, so I may likely begin reading current posts and, if time permits, I will go back and read the many I have missed over the past week or so. Nominees for this award are:

if i die before i sleep



Louise Behiel


Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary

I Am Not Lost, Just Weird

Keep writing, keep reading, keep following, keep liking, keep rating, and keep commenting. The blogosphere is rich with energy! Don’t miss out!


ABC-Deuce Award

I have been nominated for the ABC Award for the second time! The ABC stands for Awesome Blog Content. And this very kind and generous nomination was passed on to me by a, Certainly not lost down under. Thank you, Steph, so much for this wonderful award, for reading my blog, and finding me worthy of this amazing recognition. I am sincerely honored!

Here are the rules for this award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. There is no limit to how many fellow bloggers you can nominate so go wild. He-he.
  3. Share some things about you but alphabetically just a word or two about you starting with each alphabet. (Or alternatively, just write the first word you think of.)

My Awesome Blog Content Award Nominees:

Words Fall From My Eyes

The Dissemination of Thought

Heifer 12X12

Ordinary to Extraordinary

Limebird Writers

Reveg of the Nerd

the doodle house

My A to Zzzz’s:






F—FLATULENT (yes, you read that right!)




















Z—ZZZZZZZ (getting sleepy)

These seven blogs do have some awesome things posted on their blogs and it would be really wise of you to see for yourself. Well worth the time to click and look; such a loss for you if you don’t!

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My Inspiring Blog Award

Seasons Change, and Change, and Change is the name of the blog who has honored me with this award. Thank you so much, Carla! I am stunned and surprised that anyone would think of my blog as inspiring. I feel very humbled…and very motivated to keep doing what I am doing. What a thrill to be given this particular award.

The Infamous Rules:

Pick seven bloggers who have blogs that inspire you and then tell us how and why you are inspired.

Once you have done that, all you have to do is tell your readers 7 things about yourself that probably would not come up in one of your Blog entries.

7 Inspiring Blogs, in no particular order:

This first blog, The Musings of a Jewish Stay-At-Home Father, inspires me because it is not often you find a father who is so dedicated to his children. Since the father of my children is very much the opposite, reading the many things that father shares and adores about his children gives me hope.

The following blogs all inspire me for much the same reason. All of these bloggers write about their experiences with their struggles in life, whether it be mental illness or addiction, or victims of a loved one’s addiction. I, too, suffer from addiction and mental illness and I learn so many things from these blogs and gain strength and hope from what they go through, have gone through, and what it is that keeps them going. Thank you all so much!

News of My Bipolar Brain

Passive Aggressive Abuse

Raw Recovery

Rockdweller’s Blog

It’s Just One Aspect

Step On A Crack…Or Break Your Mother’s Back

7 Unknown Facts About Me:

  1. Whenever I take a glass down from the cupboard, I blow in it, subconsciously removing any dust that may have settled into it since it was placed there. I vaguely remember doing this at my aunt’s house when I was in my very early teens and babysitting my cousins. This makes no sense, as her house was always spotless!
  2. When I go to bed at night, my shirt must be pulled down over the waistband of my pajama bottoms, or I will toss and turn is discomfort until I fix it.
  3. I have one biological sister and three African-American sisters whom my father adopted from his second marriage. All four of them are younger than I am.
  4. I am obsessed with my hair. Last summer, I died it turquoise (should I post a picture?) and this summer it will be purple. Prior to that I always kept the natural color of my hair, which turns really blond in the summer, and has more of a deep butterscotch color throughout the winter. And it is long, but not nearly as long as I want it. For me, longer hair makes me look thinner.
  5. When I first signed up with AT&T over four years ago, I began with  Blackberry Pearl, upgraded to a Curve, and now a Bold. Between the Curve and the Bold, I tried a different brand of phone because it was a Windows phone that I thought would be useful for classes, but I could not operate some of the most basic functions that I use many times a day and returned it for the Bold within 4 days. It is almost time to get a new phone and I am afraid I will not be happy with anything other than a Blackberry.
  6. I have a fascination with time and when I first started thinking of dissertation ideas, I had considered the many different perceptions of time and what was at work in the brain to shape those perceptions. For example, why does it “seem” to take forever when we are anticipating a vacation, and then once we get there, it “seems’ like we blink and it is over? Time is constant, so why does it feel so different from one circumstance to the another?
  7. Ok, now for my biggest secret of all time! As many of you know, I am a recovering drug addict. However, prior to finding recovery, my drug use did a number on my teeth. (Eeek! This is what I should have written for my TMI Award!) So, at the age of 38, four years after I got clean, I had to have all—yes, every single one, a total of 27—teeth pulled and replaced with these awful false ones. Why so awful? Let me just say that it is much harder for me to eat with these than with my real teeth.

Congratulations to the blogs I have nominated and for those of you reading this post, and want to be inspired, you not only have the seven nominees to check out, but don’t forget the one who nominated me—also very inspiring!

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TMI Award—Who, me?

The TMI Blog Award honors those blogs that discuss everything in detail and do it well. These bloggers aren’t afraid to discuss their most awkward, embarrassing and intimate experiences with honesty, humor and little to no filter.

Considering this explanation, I am very pleased to receive this award. Thank you bipolarmuse, for thinking of me as fearless, awkward, embarrassing, intimate, and honest. The humor comes and goes, but I am glad you can chicken pick it out when my garbage filter is absent and has been sent to the cleaners. Seriously, it feels good to be recognized as someone who is honest and doesn’t hold anything back. I try not to, as I believe my life experiences are a large part of who I am today, which I do not mind saying, is a pretty strong and amazing woman! What a victory for me to be able to admit that publicly and believe it! If you really want to see how it is done, go to bipolarmuse and read some of her poetry—some of the most moving words you will ever read! I not only learn so many things from her, but I adore her raw truths written is such a way as to take your breath away. Thank you so much!

Here are the rules:

Thank the person who presented you with the award.

Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.

Share an awkward, embarrassing and intimate story in 100 250 words or less. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.

Present the TMI Blog Award to 5 – 10 deserving blogs.

Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

My most awkward and embarrassing moment is the one I will share in light of this award. I could tell you many different moments that may be very typical or one’s you may find yourself relating to, but where is the fun in that?

When I was still a senior in high school, I had a few friends who were army wives and who lived in base housing. One evening, I went to see my friend Paula, but she was not yet home. I decided to sit in the backyard and wait for her, as I knew she would be there shortly. It was a nice summer evening so I sat, in my skirt, in the grass. I had been there for about 15 minutes and I had an itch right on the inside of my right butt cheek. I tried to ignore it, but it got worse and worse with each passing minute. Finally, I reached behind, under my skirt, and just as I began to scratch that insistent itch, I thought to myself, “It will be just my luck if Paula comes around that corner and sees me scratching my butt under my skirt…” and, of course, at exactly that moment, she did walk right up behind me and asked how I was. I jumped nearly a foot off the ground as I quickly, with the reddest face, removed my hand and stood up! If that wasn’t bad enough, I now had to follow her inside and visit for a while before I could escape and allow my very bruised ego and deflated self-esteem to heal. She never mentioned it, but every time I saw her after that day, I had this mental picture and my face would once again turn red.

There you have it and in 250 words exactly! Anyone else caught scratching their butt by someone who never should have seen you doing so?

Now for my nominations:

Seasons Change, and Change…

Mystery Coach

Thypolar’s life



I now have only three awards to complete, so if you have not been nominated here, never fear! And I will not nominate anyone one blog for more than one award, as I know it a time-consuming task to post, but it is oh, so much fun!


Update Blogroll: Check!

I did it! I have successfully updated my blogroll! I have added 38 blogs to my blogroll and it was not as hard as I had anticipated. I will list the newly added blogs in this post, but here are a few things that I would like to note.

First, I had so many that it was difficult for me to categorize the types of blogs. I had already established a Psych blogroll and an LGBT blogroll, but did not want too many categories, so I will let you decide. The ones that come to mind as the most common of the blogs I have added are Recovery, Writing/Writers, and possibly Art. If there is a specific category that you would like your blog associated with, let me know and I will be happy to edit.

I also did not take the time to write in a description of each of these blogs, so again, if you would like a description when someone hovers over the name of your blog, post one in the comments and I will edit this also.

And finally, if for whatever reason, and you do not, of course, have to disclose this reason or lack of one to me, you do not want your blog displayed on my page, please let me know and I will remove it and honor your privacy.

Why these blogs? Because they are magnificent and the ones I visit the most! If you choose to check out any one of them, or even better yet, All of them, you are in for a real treat. I give you my word on this!


A Kiss of Bliss



Bluebird Blvd.

Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary


Freedom to a Full Life

I Am Not Lost, Just Weird


Keep Writing…Keep Writing…

Kristy K. James



Limebird Writers

Live to Write—Write to Live

Louise Behiel


Mortal Hearts with Immortal Souls

Mystery Coach


Our Little Home


Raw Recovery

Reflections…By Kathy

Rockdweller’s Blog


Seasons Change, and Change…

Shannon Howell

Sober and Sexy for Life

Soy Luna y me expreso

Step On A Crack…Or Break Your Mother’s Back

The Idaho AgendaThe Musings of a Jewish Stay-At-Home Father

The Write Transition


Vinyl Eraser

Writer’s Manifest

Written Words Never Die

Sworn In

Welcome to my 100th post! The following video shows my step-son, Joshua, being sworn into the Army. Please know that I am not wild about the military, for reasons I do not wish to divulge, but I am very proud of Josh! The father of my boys and my ex-husband was married once before me and had three children from that first marriage. I have mentioned Jacob, the oldest, in my post, Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss. Joshua is the second son, followed by Anna, and then my two boys, Jeremy and Zachary. As you watch this video, you will see Joshua and his mother, along with my oldest, Jeremy (the skinny kid in the background), and another woman whom I do not know.

I am proud of Josh for the obvious reasons, including, as you will see in the video, that he is among the only 1% who has volunteered to participate in the military. But I am also proud of Josh for another reason: he has Asperger’s Syndrome. To give you just a little background of what that entails, KenCrest describes it this way: “Asperger’s Syndrome is the mildest and highest functioning end of the Autism Spectrum. Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome experience problems in social interaction and often have restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities.These difficulties may include eye contact, facial expressions, and social gestures; poor peer relationships; lack of spontaneous sharing with others; lack of social or emotional give-and-take; preoccupation with certain interests and subjects; inflexible routines or rituals; repetitive movements.” Though there is no cure for Autism, as of yet, Josh has learned to overcome some of the social and emotional symptoms, and has become a better son, a better brother, and a better friend as a result. What a man he has grown into! Yea Joshua! Way to go!

Without further ado, please take a few minutes to view the video and share in this grand moment with me.

Just Me, #8

Hello Friends and Fellow Bloggers,

As some of you already know, I have had a rough couple of days. I am now back on an even keel and feeling much more like myself. I want to thank those of you who commented and shared your concern with me. I am feeling quite blessed, as through this experience, I have gained a few friends. Fellow bloggers are those in which we admire each other’s work, relate to each other’s experiences, enjoy each other’s humor and talent, and appreciate each other’s insight.

Friends, on the other hand, are those who touch our lives in ways that go beyond our blog postings and connect us on a much deeper and more personal level. I am fortunate to have both in my life know from experience that it is true friendships that carry us through our darkest times, if we let them. Thank you ladies, for reaching out and extending genuine love and care when a familiar pain came knocking at my door.

I have so many things to do to catch up on my blog. My list for updating my blog roll is becoming quite long and it will take some time to post all the new links. I may on some unconscious level be avoiding that task or putting it off, as I have other things I want to accomplish that are not as time-consuming. I really need to do the update though or I am afraid you will all get tired of hearing about it, waiting for it, and may come to believe that I am just blowing smoke…well, you know what they say.

I also have four awards that I have been nominated for that I need to post, but before I do, I have to tell you that for some reason, a lot of my comments have been going into your spam and in some cases are never received. At some point, I will have to contact the customer service at WordPress and inquire as to what can be done to fix this. In the meantime, I will post my awards, nominate those I want to pass them onto, but will not post notifications in your comments. That is what takes the longest time and if they are all going into spam, I would rather not take up the time to post these comments that are not getting received. In short, check my blog often (what a way to get hits, yes?) and see if you appear as a nominee on these and future awards.

The thing that is causing me the most stress in regards to “catching up” is not having read new posts for the past two days and though I will try to get to them all, I anticipate that it may not be possible. If this is the case, please do forgive me for missing a few posts and know that I will be back on track in this regard by Monday (3/12/12), as I am going to New York tomorrow. It will be a very good get-away-from-everyday kind of break for me. I am really looking forward to it and the weather is supposed to be really nice tomorrow as well!

Aside from getting behind on my blog, there is one other thing that has my anxiety far above what is comfortable and manageable to me. One of my four classes is Religious Studies. I chose to take this class because I felt it would be important to have knowledge and some level of understanding of the many religions that people follow, as it may come up or even be a factor when I practice Psychology. Well, I was sadly mistaken. This class is in regards to when, how, and who formed these religions as far back as 5000 BC, and the instructor’s lectures and exams are so ambiguous that it is difficult to follow and understand what it is she is trying to teach.

That being said, 10% of our grade is for participation, which I will get full points for. There are three total exams, each worth 20% of our grade. On the first, I received 90%, which is good and acceptable to me. On the second exam, I received a 70%, which I have Never gotten on any test or assignment in the five years I have been attending college! I was devastated, but I knew I had studied for hours and I had a 20 page study guide that I had typed up and reviewed often. We are allowed to use our notes and study guide for the exam, which I had available if I needed it, but the questions were about things either not covered, or did not have the right answer as a choice given. So, I asked some of the other students and I learned that they too felt the test was not conducive to the material we had covered.

The final 30% of our grade is for a major semester paper we have to write. Again, I am not the only one who is struggling with understanding the guidelines and expectations of this paper and not the only one who has written numerous emails to the instructor asking for clarification. Yes, she responds to the messages, but her responses only further confuse the situation. The bottom line is this; it is a possibility that I will get a low grade, or God forbid, fail this class. The main problem with that is that it will drastically lower my GPA, which could likely destroy my chances of attending Yale or Cornell, as is my goal to do. The sad thing is, it won’t be due to my lack of trying or inability to achieve, but do to a class that is poorly taught and implemented.

I’m sorry. I did not mean to bore anyone with this issue, but clearly it was one that I needed to put out there in order to take some of the power out of it. Bleh! I work so hard in school and it is frustrating to have this kind of thing to have to face. But, I am done with this rant and it is time to move on to something much more pleasant.

This will be my 99th post and I have something special I want to share for my 100th! Please stay tuned as I will post it later today. Thank you all so much for reading, supporting, following, liking, and commenting on my blog! I truly feel like a super star as a result and you are my biggest motivation to continue.


Top Recent Commenter Award

PRESENTINGThe Top Recent Commenter’s Award! This award is a little different from the norm. Instead of awarding others for their own blogs, you will be giving recognition to those who visit your own blog regularly, take the time to really read your posts, and provide you with feedback via their comments. The nominations are the easiest part. You should nominate the six bloggers who comment most frequently on your blog. How do you know who does this most often? Good question!

You will find your Top Recent Commenters on your site stats page on the bottom, right corner. If you do not see this, click on the Screen Options in the top, right corner and be sure that “Comments” is checked. If you are good about responding to every comment, then you will be the first one in the list. It is the next six commenters on the list that you will nominate and pass this award to. But wait! You may nominate one more person. This person can either be a brand new commenter on your blog, the very last comment you have received (most recent), or the one who has posted your most favorite comments. This seventh nomination is your choice, but please do tell us why you have chosen them as your seventh.

The rules are relatively similar to most other awards, but the questions will be a bit more personal so that we may get to know YOU a little better. The rules include thanking the one who passed the award to you and linking them back to your post; nominating your six top recent commenters and one more blogger of your choice, and notifying them of your appreciation and their award, and then answering the questions that follow:

      1. Tell us about one of your most cherished childhood memories.
      2. Tell us about one of your most cherished memories with your child(ren). If you do not have children, then share one of your pet(s). If you do not have pets either, then one with niece(s), nephew(s), or any combination thereof.
      3. Tell us one thing you have learned from one or both of your parents that has stuck with you throughout the years.
      4. Tell us one thing that you have taught (or intend to teach) your child(ren) that you are hopeful will stick with them throughout their lifetime.
      5. Tell us about your favorite job, whether it is one you hold now or one from the past, and why you enjoy(ed) it.
      6. Tell us what you are doing in pursuit of achieving an attainable goal.
      7. Tell us about one person who had the best influence on you in your life (teacher, neighbor, friend, etc.).

NOTE: To Anyone and Everyone who is reading this, I have one small problem. I am not computer savvy, and though I have tried, I have been unsuccessful at superimposing “Top Recent Commenter Award” onto the graphic that accompanies this post. I would appreciate any help I can get. If you are able to accomplish this task, so that I may come back and edit this post with the actual award logo, please do help. Thank you in advance. By the way, do NOT include this message in posting your award.

My Top Commenter Nominees are:

      1. Kellie @ Kellie See has recently posted 16comments. Thank you, Kellie!
      2. Eric @ Written Words Never Die has also posted 16 comments. Thank you, Eric!
      3. “Coach” @ Mystery Coach has recently posted 13 comments. Thank you, “Coach!”
      4. Carla @ Seasons Change, and Change… Has recently posted 11comments. Thanks, Carla!
      5. Dolly @ allaboutlemon has recently posted 9 comments. Thank you, Dolly!
      6. Dr. Angela @ A Kiss of Bliss has recently posted 7 comments. Thank you, Dr. Angela!
      7. Tasi Alabastro @ Kreen of the Crop posted the very first comment on my blog on 01/01/12. Thank you so much, Tasi!


Not only are these wonderful men and women great commenters, but they have amazing blogs just as worthy of your comments, so please, do go read some of their posts and don’t forget to comment!

On a final note, if you are interested in what my answers are to the questions above, you will just have to wait until I am one of a future nominee’s top commenters!




Check This Out—Creative Chaos Award

Yip-Yip-Yippee! I am the very first nominee of the very first blogger created blog award. This award is called the Creative Chaos Award and was cleverly designed by I’m Not Lost, Just Weird. Thank you, thank you for this very fitting award!

Welcome to the Creative Chaos Award! This award is for those who think outside the norm (thought I was going to say “box” didn’t you). This is much more difficult than it sounds since “Abnormal” is the new “Normal.” But I digress. Here are the requirements for this prestigious award:

1. You must tell 3 completely weird things about your habits. If you claim to have no weird habits, you’re lying and we’ll have to send an investigative team for further analysis.

2. You must tell why you look at the “glass half full” scenario and ask “what? No coffee?”

3. Complete one the following essay questions:

A. You find yourself in a desolate place when your car breaks down. You have no cell phone service, no Walmart (I know, GASP, right?), and only a candy bar for food. It is 150 miles to the closest town. What color are your pants and why?

B. You find yourself having to ride an elevator quite frequently. How do you pass the time to show off your creativity?

4. Then you are to nominate 5 random people.

5. Make sure to show proper gratitude to the person who nominated you whether that is to shower them with gifts, prizes, and cash or to see that they are put into a clown costume and photographed for internet mocking.

6. Make sure to post the award somewhere other than the underside of the toilet seat.

Number 1:

Three of my habits are: drinking coffee, smoking, and bathing rituals. What is weird about them is the following:

I drink a lot of coffee, but it is very common that I do not drink the entire cup before it gets cold, so I am constantly “topping off” and reheating my coffee. While it is heating, I make a quick trip to the bathroom to drain the coffee already consumed, and then I return to my room…forgetting to retrieve my cup from the microwave!

Yes, I am a smoker (I hope I haven’t just lost a bunch of my blog followers because of this nasty little aspect about myself), but I am working diligently on quitting. When I arrived in Pennsylvania, June 2010, I was smoking 30 cigarettes a day, but am now down to 8 a day…consistently. When I step out onto my deck for a smoke, I take only 4 puffs, put it out, and come back to it next time. Doing this has taken me from smoking 3 cigarettes in a span of a couple of hours to smoking only one in the same amount of time. My next goal is to cut it back to 5 a day. I am not a cold turkey kind of person, so I see this as being a very successful journey thus far.

Bathing rituals? I know! What the heck could I possibly be talking about? Well, here is the deal. I wash and condition my hair, exfoliate my face, shave my legs, apply Noxzema to my face, all while in the shower and in a very specific order. Once I am out and dried off, it is astringent on my face, putting on deodorant, brushing my teeth, Q-tipping my ears, slathering Dove Cream Oil over all of my skin, and combing my hair. What is so strange about that? I have tried to take a Quick shower, thereby illuminating the shaving or the Noxzema or even the lotion, but I can’t do it. If I do not do each and every thing in the exact order that I have grown accustomed to, my anxiety goes through the roof and my mind gets kicked into super spin cycle. I know it is ridiculous, but it is what it is.

Number 2:

Ha ha ha!!! I am pretty sure I answered that with my coffee habit above. However, to be more specific to this question, I see the glass as half full because I view life as some is better than none, therefore, I am much more grateful for what I do have than I am disappointed in what I don’t have. Except when it comes to coffee…I do ask, when there is none in the house,  “what? No coffee?”

Number 3:

I choose essay question—A. You find yourself in a desolate place when your car breaks down. You have no cell phone service, no Walmart (I know, GASP, right?), and only a candy bar for food. It is 150 miles to the closest town. What color are your pants and why?

This is an easy question! I would be wearing button-fly, black jeans, absolutely without a doubt! How could I possible know this? Well, one of the luxuries of taking my Penn State University classes online is that I get to stay in my comfy pajamas all day. Now, if I was going to be traveling to the corner store, I would most likely go in my pajamas; however, if I were going somewhere that I could possibly be 150 miles from civilization during any part of the trip and there is a possibility of no Walmart, I would get dressed for the ride (yeah, well, guess what? I don’t drive). The most comfortable pair of jeans I have which look good on me, are my button-fly, black jeans. Because these types of trips are far and few between (once a month—maybe) I always grab for the comfy ones I love and yes, they are always clean and fresh when I put them on.

Number 4:

My five nominees are…

Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride—Wild Ride! Need I say more?

allaboutlemon—Another rollercoaster of a blog! Lots and lots of things here to see, read, and DO!

Seasons Change, and Change…—This woman’s chaos is not only creative, but it is straight-up honest! Who doesn’t like honesty?

mosesjunkyard—He is the man! He creatively harnesses his chaos into music and video. Very talented and clever!

Mystery Coach—The most creatively chaotic blog I have come across yet. This wonderful woman holds back Nothing. She tells it exactly how it is!

Number 5:

Did you see that creatively chaotic parade? It was amazing! What?! You don’t know what I am talking about? What do you mean, you didn’t see the parade? It was spectacular and in honor of I’m Not Lost, Just Weird for both creating this fun and fancy award, but for nominating ME! Come on, people! Pay attention and keep up!

Number 6:

I would really like to know what is so wrong about posting this under the toilet seat? Huh? Will someone please fill me in? Relax! Don’t let your ears get so hot they melt the wax right of their drums! You are reading this, aren’t you? And unless you are lying on my bathroom floor, I would say that is sufficient evidence that it is posted someplace else, yes?

HA! You thought I was done, didn’t you? I am not. Just in case anyone is wondering how this award came about in the first place, her is the detailed explanation: An Award Challenge. Feel free to check it out and meet the challenge, if you dare!


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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

Though his passing has been over 20 years ago, and that is sad indeed, I want to honor Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel on this day, his birthday, and share what impact this wonderful, brilliant man has had on my life. First, here is a very small amount of history of the great, late author and illustrator from Wikipedia.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, published over 60 children’s books over the course of his long career. Though most were published under his well-known pseudonym, Dr. Seuss, he also authored over a dozen books as Theo. LeSieg and one as Rosetta Stone. As one of the most popular children’s authors of all time, Geisel’s books have topped many bestseller lists, sold over 222 million copies, and been translated into more than 15 languages. In 2000, when Publishers Weekly compiled their list of the best-selling children’s books of all time; 16 of the top 100 hardcover books were written by Geisel, including Green Eggs and Ham, at number 4, The Cat in the Hat, at number 9, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, at number 13, and Dr. Seuss’s ABC. In the years following his death in 1991, several additional books based on his sketches and notes were published, including Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! and Daisy-Head Mayzie. Although they were all published under the name Dr. Seuss, only My Many Colored Days, originally written in 1973, was entirely by Geisel.


I have loved to read for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest childhood memories is practicing my reading with many of Dr. Seuss’s books. There were many and I loved them all dearly, but my favorite was, of course, Green Eggs and Ham. Though my artistic abilities, or rather desires, did not come to light until I was in my 30s (see The Artist in Me), when I reminisce those younger years, I remember that the brightly colored pictures are what lured me to know what the words said. It was through his books that I found a love of color as well as a love of reading. I can recall the many coloring books I had and how carefully I colored so they would be as dazzling and happy as the pictures in my favorite books.

One of the things my mother said all the time was that there is always a bright side in any situation. I have found that to be true throughout  my life and one very good example of that involves Dr. Seuss. During some of the darkest days in my marriage to my children’s father, we also had custody of his three children from a previous marriage. My oldest was about four and I was still pregnant with my youngest. Jacob, the oldest of my step-children, was having trouble reading his fourth grade reading assignments. He would read out loud, as it was easier for him, and I would hear not only a very monotone consistency in his voice, but he did not pause for commas or at the end of sentences. He did not enjoy reading and struggled through his required homework every evening, but he was trying. I decided to help in out, but to do so in a way that would not hurt his self-esteem.

I went to his room, sat him down and told him that I needed a huge favor. I said that I had not been reading to Jeremy (my oldest) as much as I should be and just did not have the time. I handed him a stack of about seven Dr. Seuss books and asked him if he would read them to Jeremy and that I would sign his reading slip, confirming that he did indeed read for 20 minutes. I explained to him that he did not have to continue reading the book he chose for his homework because in reading to his brother, he would be reading and that was what mattered. He looked at me like he was waiting for the catch. I assured him that I was serious and that it was very important to me that he help me out.

I explained to Jacob that one of the most important things to do in helping a young child learn how to read was to read to them. I opened one of the books and showed him how I wanted him to read the books. Loooooooong words were to be read drawn out, BIG words were to be said in a loud and deep voice, and little words were to be read in a higher pitch voice, but spoken quietly. I demonstrated and said that this was key in holding Jeremy’s attention and keeping him excited about the story. I asked Jacob if he understood and he shook his head yes. I said to let Jeremy pick which books and then to make the reading as fun as possible, looking surprised or happy or confused or sad depending on what was happening in the story.

Once I had convinced Jacob that he really would be helping me and that he would get full credit for doing his reading homework, he started right away. A few weeks later, I was passing by his bedroom door and could hear Jeremy giggling and Jacob making a big show of the story. I truly hope that my intentions would pan out. They had. Even more than I had expected. I was almost done cooking dinner one night and went to get the children to come to the table. When I reached Jacob’s door, I could not believe my ears! He had, without being told to, picked up the book he was reading before I asked him to help me Jeremy, the one he had struggled to read and was now reading again from where he had left off. His articulation had improved dramatically and as a result, he was reading more smoothly and the hesitation and forced effort seemed to have nearly disappeared.

Just as I had suspected, by incorporating the emphasis that is so strongly integrated in Dr. Seuss’s rhymes and illustrations of the words, into Jacob’s daily reading, had in fact improved his ability to read and much to my surprise, he was reading because he now wanted to. That was not the only proud moment that came out of this adventure. Jacob went on to graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA and is now in the Navy, serving our country. Thank you, Dr. Seuss!