What's in your iPod?

It wasn't very long ago, that I thought I would have no use for an iPod. I used to see people walking around on the street with their earphones on and wonder why they would choose to shut out real life in that way.

But...eventually...the techno-geek inside of me had to have one. (I have such a weakness for electronic do-dads!). So, I got a pretty pink one and loaded it up with some of my favorite music, and I got a couple of external docking things (I'm not sure what they're called) so I could listen to my favorite tunes in the kitchen when I was cooking dinner, and in the bathroom while I was getting ready for the day.

(On a side note, there's nothing like listening to Pavarotti perform "Nessun dorma" to get the day going!)

Recently I discovered a use for my iPod that's much more my style. I've got it loaded up with Story Circle Network podcasts (shameless commercial....I'm actually on the January 2008 podcast) and NAMW teleseminars and I've got great material to listen to on my commutes to and from work. I am inspired by the wonderful writers who share their stories those who teach memoir writing.

Now this is what my iPod is really for. Oh yes...and Pavarotti.

Phantom pain

When my Dad had his first leg amputated he described to me something that was called phantom pain. While it was referred to as pain, in his experience it was more like an itch. I remember him telling me of the frustration of feeling his foot itch and, of course, not being able to do anything about it since there was no longer a foot to scratch.

I have begun to think about the experience of being separated from one's family of origin as a sort of phantom pain as well. Is it possible to miss something that you have never had? Is it possible to long for something or someone whom you have never met?
I have a fulfilling life and a wonderful family; I am blessed beyond what I could have dreamed for. Yet, there is still this pain, this longing, for something that I can't explain. The truth is that it is easy to bruise my fragile sense of well being, and I spent much of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop in a sense.

I hurry throughout my day and try to keep busy because in that stillness is an ache, a sense of loss and rejection, in a place that I have not yet been able to reach. For now, I am calling it phantom pain.


I've long been frustrated at the number of choices we seem to have in almost everything in our lives. A trip to the grocery store can be a nightmare as one wades through all the different varieties of things like toothpaste (gel or paste, whitening or sensation, tarter control or breath freshening) and toilet tissue (double roll or single roll, quilted or not).

Nothing has prepared me for the task of choosing a new cell phone, though. We are switching carriers and seriously considering doing away with our home phone to rely exclusively on our cell phones. Yesterday I logged on to our account and prepared to make the switch. As I scrolled down the first page, past phone after phone I quickly became discouraged.

I don't need a camera in my phone, I don't plan to send text messages, I just want a PHONE! It really shouldn't be this hard. I feel like I need to do some research into the different phones now so I don't make a mistake. Just what I need, another item on my "to do" list.

Help me out if you can! Tell me what kind of phone you use!

Spinning out of control

It starts innocently enough.....a meeting runs late....then you have to leave before it's finished to run off to the next...then you spill your water at your desk when you're trying to grab your laptop....then you can't get it booted up for the meeting that you've called...then you get it booted up, but can't get the display to show up on the screen....then you FINALLY get it on the screen and it's the wrong resolution...and you realize you've lost control of the meeting.....


So you do the best you can....finish the meeting....rush back to your desk to write up the meeting notes and send them out while you can still REMEMBER what in the world was discussed....then you're late leaving work.....and you have to be home on time to make dinner because your husband is going out that night....


Then you get home...feeling frazzled....and the dogs are just so darn happy to see you that all you want to do is play and snuggle, but you have to make dinner....and clean up some puppy messes.....


Now it's not even 7pm...dinner is finished...kitchen is cleaned up....hubby has left for his meeting....dogs are chilling.....and you're going....WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TODAY?!!!!

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ March 24th Edition

Have you heard of the The Simple Woman's Daybook ? I've seen entries on a few blogs of late and decided to join this morning.

I am thankful for....my husband who blesses me every day.

From the kitchen....a pot of ham and vegetable soup in the slow cooker.

I am wearing....black dress pants anda sweater

I am readng...Jodi Picoult's latest

I am hoping...that they fix my computer quickly at work today.

I am creating...memoir stories.

I am hearing....the clack of my keyboard.

Around the house...it's quiet. Gerry is having devotions, and I'm sure the dogs are curled up next to him.

One of my favorite things....is that first sip of coffee in the morning.

A few plans for the rest of the week....work, work, and work.

Here is a picture I am sharing with you...(it HAD to be a baby picture!)

Seasons....and Sunday dinner

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." This afternoon I have been thinking about the different seasons in my life with respect to Sunday dinner.

A few years ago we lived in the same city as two, sometimes three, of our children. I cooked Sunday dinner, and whoever could make it did. Those were rich times in my life.

This afternoon, Gerry spent some time at his office, and I was working on a few projects at home. None of our children are expected, in fact none of our children are in the same country that we are in!

I have just come upstairs from preparing something in the slow-cooker that I will put on for tomorrow, and I put a casserole in the oven for us to eat tonight. Gerry is reading a new Clive Cussler that we picked up at Costco yesterday, and I'm just preparing this post.

Our season has changed. Still, we rejoice in the blessings we have now, have much gratitude for those that we had in the past, and anticipate the wonderful things that God will do in the future!

The gift of books

As I was looking over the list of books in my previous post, I was struck with the fact that with some of the books I could recall what was happening in my life as I was reading them. I took a trip down memory lane as I recalled some of the titles.

For example, I remember sitting in a hotel room reading Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees because I was working out of town. I remember a hot summer afternoon on my deck reading Mistry's A Fine Balance. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett takes me back to the beach in Cozumel, and Steinbeck's East of Eden recalls a Saturday morning spent reading in bed and telling my husband that this was the best book that I had ever read.

Books have been a constant throughout my life. Not only have I enjoyed so many wonderful books, I also have many touch points to life experiences when I recall those that are most special to me.

One more reason that books are truly a gift.


Every once in a while, I hear a song that speaks to me deeply and personally. "Finally Home" by MercyMe has done that recently. Sometimes the longing within me to be home is just overwhelming. I think about seeing those who have gone on before, so many questions answered, and love. Mostly love. I suspect that many of the questions I have now won't matter at all when I see His face.


Gerry and I are both home today. It seems we have a touch of food poisoning or some such thing. Looking on the bright side, the day has provided me with some unexpected time to catch up on blogs. I happened across this post from Therese. The idea is to bold the books you've read and italicize the ones you want to read. I took it one step further and enlarged the ones I have read that I really enjoyed.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) - Had I not seen the movie already this one would be on my list of "to reads".
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) – It’s on my bedside table just waiting
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella) – tried to read it to see what all the fuss was about but I confess I didn’t finish it. Not my style.
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) – in my bedside table waiting
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) – also in my bedside table
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)

83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

What would your list look like?


There was a corner store at the end of the street that I grew up on. It was just a little wooden structure built onto the house of a family from China. The store was called "Tom's" after the owner.

I can still hear the "clop clop" of my shoes on that wooden floor as I entered the dark little store, which I did many times over the years. Tom knew me, and most of us, by first name.

There was a small section of grocery items, a freezer full of Popsicles, and a fridge with bottles of pop. What drew most of the kids to the store was the glass counter into which we could peer at the assortments of candy. There were many that were five for one cent, or three for one cent, in addition to the more expensive one cent each items. I can remember going into that store with a quarter and coming out with a bag full of candy!

Every so often, my Dad would have a craving for a candy bar, and he and I would walk down to the store together for treats. We usually got the same things; a Cherry Blossom for my Mom, an Eat-More for Dad, a Mackintosh Toffee for my sister, and a Jersey Milk for me. The cost for all of these treats? Forty cents!

Simpler times....

My protectors

Last evening Gerry was out at a meeting and the dogs would just not settle down until he came home. I've noticed that when he's not home and if I am upstairs they, Maya especially, sits at the top of the stairs where she can look out the window. I can get annoying as she barks at everyone who walk by the house, but I know she feels that she's doing her "job".
Last night I crawled into bed early planning to get in some good long reading time. Usually Gerry and I go to bed at the same time, and the girls settle in with us. Last night they were having no part of settling down without Gerry. They stood on the end of the bed looking at the bedroom door. Every few minutes they would jump down and go to the top of the stairs and wait for a few moments before running downstairs to the back door to see if he had arrived yet. Then, back up the stairs and on to the bed where they resumed their post at the end of the bed. Back and forth, up and down, all evening until Gerry finally got home and they were able to settle down and sleep.
My yorkies...my companions....my protectors!!

More questions than answers

The world is changing, and with change comes a new set of questions.

I have started using those reusable bags for my purchases when I get groceries. (well...when I remember to bring them in from the car!). I have a few from two of the places where I shop most often, but I find myself with a dilemma. If my reusable bag says "Fred Meyer", is it okay to use it in "Top Foods"?

If I get to the point where I am using the reusable bags exclusively, what am I going to use for garbage bags?

We use disposable "pee pads" for our yorkies. Are they just as bad as disposable diapers as far as spending eternity in the landfills?

We're trying to print documents only when absolutely necessary at work. I find, and I'm not alone in this one, that a printed document is easier for this fifty year old brain to process than trying to read from a computer screen. Is the potential for decreased comprehension worth the price of a piece of paper?

Do I have to take my own cup to Starbucks in order to feel environmentally conscious? I really like those disposable cups they give us - its part of the Starbucks experience for me.

Despite warnings to cut back wherever possible, are we helping or hurting the economy when we stop doing things that support small local business? I think of all the nail salons that are lost business lately because women are cutting back on manicures and pedicures. Are we making things worse by driving people out of business?

I certainly don't have all the answers. I'm just thankful that I know the One who does. It's true that some of these questions are tongue-in-cheek but I really have spent time thinking about these things.
Do you every have questions about our ever-changing world?

On vacation.....in my mind....

It snowed again today. Sigh. I wish Gerry and I were sitting in these chairs on the beach in Playa del Carmen where the picture was taken a couple of years ago.

Gerry would have his book of Suduko and would be working on a puzzle. I would be reading one of the books that I had saved just for this vacation.

Now and then I would look out at the water or I would put my book down for a few moments and just watch the people walking by on the beach.

Before too long, Gerry would suggest a dip in the ocean to cool off. I would follow him, somewhat reluctantly, as there would be small fishes that would come near us when we entered the water, and I wouldn't like their proximinty. I would also be somewhat uncomfortable with the waves, but Gerry would hold on to me and we would explore the waters.

After our swim, we would take a long walk on the beach, holding hands and talking. Eventually we would return to our sanctuary on the beach and perhaps close our eyes for a nap. No phone calls to return, no work needing to be done, no emails to answer.

Did I mention that it snowed today?

Cause of death

A number of years ago, I received a letter from the agency that handled my adoption. This letter contained non-identifying information about my birth family. It was the first opportunity that I had to date to learn anything about my family of origin and I devoured the information looking for clues to fill in the blanks of who I was.

Lately I've been thinking about my maternal grandmother. The letter stated that she died of menopause! It's kind of interesting to speculate about what her real cause of death was given that, as far as I know, it's not possible to actually die as a result of menopause!

For the past couple of days I have felt a kinship to my grandmother. If it actually were possible to die of menopause, I think that I must be getting close to that point. I am so tired of not sleeping well, of hormone-related mood swings, of sleeping in Lake Michigan as a result of night sweats, and other things that I won't even write about. (probably already TMI!)

Yuck...yuck...and more yuck.

Reading aloud

There is an interesting article this morning on the WOW! Women on Writing Blog about reading our work aloud. When I am working something I always take some time, often more than once, to read it out loud. I find that reading a piece on my computer screen, reading a hard copy, and reading aloud work together in the editing process.

I'm curious. Do you read your work out loud?


I am so tired of hearing doom and gloom everywhere I turn lately. It's hard not to get caught up in the stock prices, bankruptcies, business closings and such when it seems that we're bombarded with bad news constantly.

A few weeks ago our pastor gave a message on Relying on God, which he coined Rogging. I like that term and I've thought of it many times since then. When I sense myself being drawn into the negativity, I try to step back and do some rogging.

I know we can't keep our heads in the sand about the current situation, but I'm not sure we need to be exposed to it 24 x 7 either. That just can't be healthy. I think back to the Great Depression, which was much worse than this current economic situation, and they just didn't have the instant access to news like we have now. I wonder, in some ways, if that allowed those dear people to get through those years in a way that would not be possible now.

I'm thankful that our TV news feed has been turned off at work this week due to technical difficulties. It's nice to walk into the lunch room without hearing CNN. I am also considering taking a TV news fast for a while. One can still stay current by checking the news online in about ten minutes in the morning.

Today as we go about our daily activities, let's go rogging all the way!

Four sentence book review

I was delighted to find out yesterday that my four sentence review of Anne Rice's Called out Of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession was selected as the January winner in the SCN HerStories Memoir Challenge. Pop on over and check it out!

I couldn't resist the temptation to share another picture of Makiya Rose, whom I'm now referring to as my "Strawberry Shortcake Girl" due to her red hair. We don't know where that came from but it sure looks
good on her!

We have also noticed that she looks quite a bit like her grandma as a baby. What do you think?

Book orders

One of my favorite memories from my school days, was when we woul get to bring home the Scholastic book order forms. I would spend days poring over those order forms trying to make the right choice. It was similar to the way that I pored over the Christmas Wish Book every year, only better, because it involved books!

Once I made my final selection, and Mom approved, she would fill out the order form on the back and I would return it to school with the money to pay for the book. Then the waiting started!

I remember the excitement I felt when the books came in. Those of us who had placed orders would receive the books in plastic bags with the order form we had filled out attached. Oh how happy I was to hold a new book!

I still remember many of the titles of those books fondly. I fact, I still have some of the books. My children enjoyed reading them, and I hope that little Makiya will some day too.

Do you remember any of these books?

The Ghostly Trio by Nancy Woollcott Smith
Old Charlie by Clyde Robert Bulla and Paul Galdone
Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors by Lavinia Derwent, Joe Lasker, and Eva Moore
Barrel of Laughs by by Edna Mitchell Preston
The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder