Onward to the weekend…

The pandemic that will never end rolls on day by day while the world’s people argue themselves and their children into early graves over it. Since I have no words left and it’s not my job to save people from themselves, my focus has turned more and more to the ones who want to stay alive and be in harmony with other humans.

It isn’t easy to keep showing up for a world that’s crumbling beneath your feet, with people who despise everything you stand for. But keep your head up and keep on walking through the muck and ugliness – and LOOK!… fall is here just in time to help with that.

Things happen every day that make us question our very existence and how long it can be maintained, so thank you to the smilers, the laughers, the lovers who don’t let us forget where the good stuff is.

There’s nothing there for you… move on.
Vitally important…

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Leaving this here because it makes me inordinately happy…

Thank the universe for people with loving hearts and a lack of harmful ego. For those whose sense of humor heals us. For the ones who hold us together when we’re coming apart. For the people who look us in the eye and tell us the truth… and love us thereby. The world’s a mess and ever shall be, but facing it together makes it doable.

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Choose kindness and laugh often…

An interesting discovery: Once you own what you’ve always known – that approximately half your world finds you insufferable – the next step is to laugh! And here’s where I’m grateful to people in my life who’ve shown me how to laugh at myself, sometimes at painful expense as the butt of the joke. I grew up among people whose approach to living included plenty of laughter, a grace when all else fails… so here I am, left laughing at the asshole who turns out to be me, and it’s ridiculously freeing.

There, that was a freebie this morning while I absorb the fact that it’s Friday again. I will feel no surprise one day when it’s revealed that we were part of a colossal Truman Show – won’t shock me at all, in fact by now I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what’s going on. It’s okay, Friday means weekend, and the weekend means favorite foods, so keep the cameras rolling, Mr. Director.

Sudden thought: We can be overwhelmed and underwhelmed, but what’s the temperature of the room if we’re simply whelmed, anybody know?

A sweet thing for end-of-the-week from a Twitter contact:

Bless the rescuers, the caretakers… the lovers.

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Since it’s clearly bits & pieces day, here’s a quote I’ve always loved. I stumbled across this well-worn copy yesterday…

Which brings me to an online conversation that happened yesterday, resulting in the following conclusion:

And my goal is to go out laughing.

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Not my job, man…

Liberating thought of the week: It is not my job to save you from yourself.

Thank you, universe, the answers always come if we can be patient enough.

So here’s the thing: when you’re the firstborn, it’s all on you in ways you don’t get until much later… but it’s a fact that when you’ve been an only child ’til close to five, you decide you know everything and are large and in charge. The role fit my justice-driven little mindset and I owned all the bossy responsibility, except for the hard work – that was Rita’s job. And now in my dotage, I’m still trying to order my personal world the way I like it. Is that misguided or what? Who does that?? The things we absorb in childhood soak into our DNA and take up residence as part of us… so sorting it all out isn’t an assignment for sissies. But if what you really want is for life not to continue along the same deepening rut, you have to change something… the only thing I can change is me, and I’m old, boys and girls, so wish me luck. Except for the obvious negatives, I don’t mind being an Old, I just don’t want to exemplify the stereotype, so I’m patiently sifting through the wreckage for the answers to life. It’s okay, I wasn’t really doing anything anyway…

It’s a beautiful September morning here and Kim’s enjoying it on the PickleBall courts while I perform that trick called waking up, even though I crawled out mere minutes after 7am. Despite, or possibly due to, a lifetime as a farmgirl, I’m this person:

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The following thought from Charles Blow has stuck with me all week, because how often do we do this to each other? Let’s be honest, it happens daily. We’re full of our own thoughts, plans, and woes, putting one foot in front of the other, and we miss the fact that somebody felt unappreciated because of our lack of attention to their own essential thoughts, plans, and woes. Full disclosure, I made Rita feel that way last week and did not have a clue that I’d done it. Every one of us is miserably human and centered on where we are, you know why? Because much of the time, WE’RE ALL WE’VE GOT. Man, if not for our inconvenient emotions we’d be… well, animals. So…

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What I know is that I will call fire & brimstone down on my head ’til I die, for one simple reason:

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Remind yourself today: I HAVE POWERS

Go out there today, September 16, 2021, and use your powers. Do yourself right.

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It’s just Tuesday…

Saturday was a beautiful day so we spent a lot of it on the balcony. Sometime mid-afternoon, Kim said “What’s that fluttery noise I keep hearing?” And then he stood up, looked over the north railing, and muttered “Oh, shit. Oh, holy shit.” My ESPN told me right off we were in trouble but I didn’t know what I’d see down on ground level. Muddy water was gushing out of the ground on both sides of our entryway and from several spots in the parking lot, rapidly coating everything in its path with sand, clay, and silt. When I first looked over the railing I thought the water was pouring out of our lobby doors, and I could imagine it sluicing down the elevator shafts into the parking garage and storage cages, among other thoughts. Kim got our building manager here ASAP and it turns out it was the city’s fire line that broke, which isn’t good but does let us keep our house water on – fortunate, because this will take a while. There was a broken pipe earlier out by the street, so since yesterday we’ve had guys here running fun-size machinery to trench out the whole line, and Pa is entertained. Even with the jackhammering it isn’t all that loud, so we have to wonder how big a sponge the parking lot has become and we hope no one drops a backhoe into a sinkhole.

Down to about half-force at this point.
Kim & Kevin Cheney (bldg mgr) deciding how to handle the mud piling up against the garage’s overhead door.
Waiting for the City to come shut the rest of it down.
The entry’s boarded up like there’s been a bank robbery, and all the concrete has been dug out of the walkway, so progress. There are bad pipes in there somewhere, and something wonky out in the parking, so hey, free entertainment while it lasts

Speaking of “free” and “entertainment,” I stole a bunch of stuff from my friend Steve Gelder this morning because I can use the smiles and he just carelessly leaves it all lying around on Facebook anyway…

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Seriously.
It’s all in there, I just need a system for accessing it when I want it!
Who of us cannot say the same thing?

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Happy Tuesday! Steve did the work, I did that thing I do (theft), and we can all just smile for a while…

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… and that’s when the fight started!

What a night! Things were rockin’ and a’rollin’ and ALL the answers were blowin’ in the wind, my friend. Everything broke loose here around 2am when our balcony furniture started doing the shimmy, with the greenery and blooms taking the worst end of it. Kim headed out to referee but changed his mind when the wind and rain slammed against the partially-opened door. The chaos was multiplied on the roof, with tables and chairs tumped over, sodden cushions blown against the walls, tomatoes and peppers slammed to the floor, trim boards torn loose, destruction in all directions. At some point during the party, neighbor’s big rattan sofa blew over the railing, off their 3rd-floor balcony, and landed in front of the parking garage. It was a spectacular event accompanied by 5.5″ of rain and at least 6′ of wind… and Ms Can’t Hear What Yer Saying missed the whole damn show. This crazy life.

Our summer babies have the sadz.
But whatever this is, we’re siding the building with it next year – it’s impervious to everything.

By the time Kim got me woke up this morning, he’d been over to Mass Street for a haircut and brought back my fav Starbucks extravagance – an Iced Brown Sugar Oatmeal Blonde Espresso, a subtle reminder that he’s glad I’m still breathing. It’s the little things. And now I’m chasing it with Iced Kim Smith Fresh-Ground Beans. This crazy life is okay.

John’s in the Bahamas with friends this week for some much-needed decompression, and I’m entirely more relaxed knowing they’re getting to enjoy that. There’s much to be said for vicarious living, just ask me. Saves a whole lotta wear and tear…

And now, after a week of dental appointments and other intentionally-scheduled pain and suffering, I’m primed for a weekend of being nothing but my lazy self. This crazy life is really good.

We made a spur-of-the-moment lunch choice today and tried the new BBQ place a block south of us – Gold Medal BBQ, owned and operated by, and I quote “Olympic Gold Medalist Kyle Clemons and World Class Wife. Specializing in Memphis style smoked meats.” They’re athletes with ties to KU and the community, and the very personable young Mr. Clemons stopped by our table to chat, so that was fun. His mama was in the kitchen making the cole slaw, making Kim an automatic bona fide fan, as it’s the real deal. We’ll be back, with friends in tow. The food and service were terrific, and this non meat-eater would happily consume entire pounds of the pulled pork on just about any medium you can name. We had it as beignet appetizers, with sugar, darlin’, yes. And then I had the Wild Hog, a generous baked potato with choice of meat (pulled pork, you guessed it), cheese, and sour cream. Okay, yeah, they’ve got me. The dam on the COVID food desert in my brain is showing giant cracks. So happy…

This crazy life is so good on a daily basis that it’s insane to complain, but we all know how people are…

Hello, weekend, doin’ great so far…

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Bits and pieces…

The past week has been quiet and weird-feeling, so I’ve been quiet and weird too, and it’s… frankly, getting old. Just in time, there’s a party on the roof this evening to “celebrate summer and get acquainted.” And if that doesn’t shake me out of the doldrums (what are the odds?), I’m determined to catch up with Rita before the week is out. Meanwhile, I hoard to share…

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Humor nails us most accurately.

Distressing realities continue, so just the facts…

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Sufficient unto the day is the existence thereof, and this one looks stellar – sunny and still, and calling my name. Brighten the corner where you are today, boys and girls, the world will thank you. Or nah, it won’t notice, but you’ll feel better.

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Oh, I love a rainy day…

The last thing I remember is Kim saying in my ear, “I’m leaving to play PickleBall. It’s raining, so keep sleeping…”

Two delicious hours later I’m awake to gray skies and pouring rain, the quintessential way to start a Thursday in July. There’s even lightning and thunder, bonus for the girl who misses all the nighttime storms without her ears connected. Time is racing since we unquarantined – we’re already at the end of another week and the middle of yet another month and I can’t point to much of anything as a mile marker, but a still, wet, thunderous Thursday morning, with a faint glow on the forest from the sun that’s up there somewhere… is memorable. And thank you, by the way, universe, for gravity.

It’s 10:45 am and some of the streetlights are still on as the skies keep pouring down. I peeked at the weather map and it looks promising for a nicely socked-in day to start the weekend, which here in #LFK traditionally starts at 5pm on Thursday. Or 5Am, whichever comes first.

Since feeling good makes me feel good, I saved some silliness to share, plus a smidgen of seriousness…

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Barns & Stable… Michael Hors

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For Kim, who as a Navy man started in the ship’s galley as a cook and sailed back into port on the bridge as a navigator. It ain’t ALL glory, baby.

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Friends are for fun…

My clever and erudite friend Steve Gelder keeps me in material when I’m looking for smiles.

To wit:

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HAVE A GOOD DAY!

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Life Force

An established habit, good or bad, is hard to break, so my first impulse every morning on my way back from the bathroom is to put something in writing. That starts my clock, shapes my mood, and sets the day in the starting blocks. Today feels like the Friday it is – the sun’s dazzle has prevented us from opening the blinds yet and it’s a good omen when the future’s so bright you gotta wear shades! 😎

I managed to toast a bagel to perfection this morning and didn’t burn my fingers getting the veggie schmear right… it’ll be 50s and sunny today… the laundry’s caught up except for a little stack of leggings and t-shirts to fold… and I have only one daunting phone call to make, telling a medicare entity “I do not owe this bill. Thank you.” Easy slide into the weekend…

It isn’t telling someone to “back off, Jack” that’s daunting, it’s the talking-on-the-phone part because I have a mental block about it since losing my hearing, even though bluetooth puts the conversation directly into my ears/brain. I dread encountering an accent that I’m slow to grasp, making me sound like a finicky white-woman. I assume that people will talk too fast, too muffled, too dismissively… but those roadblocks seldom actually occur. I’ve simply turned into a social chicken – it’s a lot of work, I’ve been there done that, and couldn’t we handle this via more advanced technology? I like my comfort zone, but my access is being noticeably tampered with this month. When Kim was trying not to die recently of what may have been extreme food poisoning, I made three trips to Stabby Dillons in as many days – the girl who hadn’t been in a store in an entire year – and lived to tell the story. There’s the occasional business detail that can’t move forward without my say-so, thus requiring an appearance or an assurance via phone call that I am indeed ME, which is a definite Comfort Zone Violation. But… I will make that call today and I’ll finesse the shit out of it, and won’t even miss the comfort I’ve sacrificed. Then, as conditions improve and people can mingle again, the Zone will shrink further, perhaps even to a healthy level at some point (?) making social interaction a no-brainer… and that’s when I’ll really miss the ol’ CZ. 😂😷

Twitter’s a complete minefield today, the Jayhawks don’t play until tomorrow, it’s too chilly for balcony time… what to do, what to do. It would be just darling if I accomplished something, so I’m giving that some thought…

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March, dun-dun-dun-D’oh… page 224

Day 353 – 03/03/2021

It was Saturday a minute ago, and not only is it somehow Wednesday, but we’re into a whole new month! Just when you think there’s nothing going on, so you fall out for a nap…

Sunshine RULES and we’re scheduled for a lunch meeting in Cielito’s courtyard today. I’m pretty excited about wearing real clothes, sitting (distanced) among #lfk peeps, and eating hot food straight out of a restaurant kitchen. It’ll be worth writing home about.

Tomorrow will be a landmark, with our second shots happening. I felt every day of the year it took to get here, no embellishment needed – I’m ready for the freedom of spirit the vaccine will eventually provide. And I hope someday there’s a test that will tell me what’s been going on inside my system all year… but this is my theory:

We voluntarily sheltered on March 12th of 2020, and sometime within that first week I got sick with body pain, chills, sweats, nausea, and a cough that wouldn’t quit. After three weeks, most of the symptoms fell off, but the cough has persisted all year. When I got sick again the day after Christmas, all the symptoms came back gangbusters, and I lost my sense of taste and smell that time around, both thankfully back now. My first coronavirus vaccine made me ill for three days with symptoms identical to the previous two cycles, which makes me think I had antibodies standing at the ready to fight the invaders because I brought the ugly-ass thing in here with me when we locked down.

The week before we came inside, there was an incident at the indoor pool involving both the water and the dressing room, which had been “taken care of” before I went there the next day. Coronavirus was already in town so my ESPN tells me I picked it up somewhere inside the facility and brought it home with me, because I’d been almost nowhere else – we were already being careful.

I have questions:

  • If the virus (or SOME virus) has been living in my body for a year, WTF has kept Kim immune to it, with his asthma?!
  • Testing wasn’t really a thing here yet when I needed one the first time, and the test I got after Christmas came back negative versus Rita’s positive, yet we had all the same symptoms, down to the oddest details. I didn’t cry or even think about it when the tech swozzled my nose and I’m pretty sure she didn’t get to the goods, so will the past twelve months remain a mystery?
  • If the clear thick stuff that comes up (sorry, Diary) is out of my lungs, what are the future implications? Am I coming to the end of something or the beginning?
  • So okay, something’s not right, will there be a way to right it? Will there be a way to even know definitively what this is? If it isn’t COVID then I should probably see what else they got, ’cause this doesn’t seem inclined to let go. It’s cunning… hits hard for two or three days and then hides again. Taunts me… “Feeling great, huh? Gonna do all sorts of stuff, huh? We’ll see… “

I was more than ready to shelter last year because I GET EVERYTHING, I really didn’t want this one, and I was terrified of Kim getting it. Irony is everything… he zips in and out of places all year and breathes free, while I play church mouse through the whole thing and get the ‘rona or its evil twin anyway. But a thought occurs… since I do tend to attract gremlins, staying out of the social bloodstream has been the best thing I could have done for everybody, me included, for every reason. I instinctively knew it at the outset, but didn’t know all the reasons, not by far, and I’ll never regret taking the guidelines seriously – what if I’d been out there freely shedding virus amongst those I know and love, for months on end? What if? Even masked, I would have been a menace because the coughing does not stop. In hindsight, I’m likely the one who gave it to Rita – she’s almost the only person except for Kim that I’ve had extended closer-than-six-feet unmasked contact with in the last twelve months. And you, Kev – stay well, dude. Wow, small circle!

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Feeling funny… page 189

Day 305 – 01/14/2021

I’m in the mood for a humor infusion this morning, so thanks to my friend Patty for the material!

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HISTORY NOTE: The House of Representatives impeached Donald J. Trump yesterday, for the second time in his term, on charges of “incitement of insurrection” against the U.S. government and “lawless action at the Capitol.”

It’s a gray day, and a spa soak sounds exactly right.

 

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The weekend… page 185

Day 300 – 01/09/2021

Misty Saturday morning. Saw a runners’ group go down the street earlier and a few stragglers are still loping past on their way back west. Almost inspired me to reach over and close the blinds.

For an hour or so last night I felt like me again and then the rollercoaster fired up and disabused me of that optimism, and this morning I’m ready for a nap after all the coughing. An RN I checked with, who’s been treating and testing for coronavirus all year, said this:

I’m afraid they didn’t test you properly. If it’s done correctly, you’ll know it’s been done. It hurts, causes your eyes to water and occasionally causes bleeding. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of instances where people are “tested“ and come up negative, then start showing severe symptoms and turn up positive later – after exposing people for days. Personnel need to learn how to test correctly: the Q-tip is to go well up into the nasal cavity and has to be maneuvered around for a bit. The fact that you didn’t feel it tells me that it wasn’t done correctly, and I would assume, as should you, that you are positive until further notice. I’m out of patience with people who do not test correctly – they’re putting other people at extreme risk. Tell everyone you know that if it doesn’t hurt when they’re tested, it wasn’t done correctly. It should hurt, and you should cry tears.

It’s a moot point, there’s nothing to do for non-respiratory COVID but rest, hydrate, and wait it out, and I’m not interested in the uproar of getting a real test just to verify its existence in my system. Someday baby sistah and I will both feel like real people again. Or Kim can hang a tag on my urn that says I TOLD YOU I WAS SICK.

I just realized I can smell the potatoes Kim’s cooking for breakfast!

We just ate that breakfast and I could taste every bite for the first time in weeks – the potatoes, the eggs, the bacon, the coffee.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Miss Emily Dickinson

Maybe I’ll try to table all the outer turmoil for the weekend. Maybe I’ll sit here inside myself and focus on health and wellbeing. Couldn’t hurt.

This guy’s story doesn’t cause turmoil for me. I nominate him for the 2021 Darwin Award.

Poor lil’ wannabe dicktaser.

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Friday smiles… page 169

Day 278 – 12/18/2020

I slept through the sun’s bold appearance this morning and by the time I opened my eyes everything had faded to gray – early bird gets the pageantry. Kim came in after his walk and threatened me with icy fingers but this lump of Zen was not having it. He played PickleBall outdoors at SPL yesterday and they’d planned to do that again today, but the wind’s coming up so he might be trapped… yikes. We may be forced to have another nice soak just to put the day on track.

It’s Friday, which is always fairly stunning now… the days are sometimes endless but the weeks and months disappear like smoke. So… the weekend. All the same stupid, scary shit that was out there yesterday is still there today, only more so, having bred and multiplied overnight… but I’m deciding to subtract it from my conscious existence until Monday morning. I’ll see things, I’ll read things, they’ll simply be none my bidness ’til I say so.

The Jayhawks won last night… by 1 point. They’ll forever be the Heart Attack Kids – they’re like Mr. Patrick Mahomes, who undoubtedly did ALL his book reports on Sunday night before the school quarter ended. Energizing, to say the least.

We finished The Queen’s Gambit… reluctantly… last week, and I’m ready to watch it all over again NEXT week. Stellar production, best overall series in a long time, just too brief.

In the interest of strengthening my resolve to keep on the sunny side, I raided my California-by-way-of-North-Dakota friend Steve’s timeline again…

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Hello, #lfk weekend… let’s do this.

Photo Credit: Kim Smith, Kaw River, 12/18/2020, no editing

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Grabbing for the good… page 162

Day 271 – 12/11/2020

Our weather change has arrived in temporarily-benign form… high of 45º today, in the 30s tomorrow, and 20s on Sunday, with chances of rain and maybe snow throughout. The good-idea man decided that on a wet chilly morning, making the Saturday breakfast on Friday would be just the ticket, and that man was so right. It was perfect, and he knows how to keep me quiet for a while…

Last night we watched the 2010 remake of “True Grit” with Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld, et.al., which neither of us had ever seen. Wow, what fun. Can’t go wrong with Coen Brothers! And Kim thought he’d seen ALL their stuff. Hailee Steinfeld was luminescent in this one, the writing is stellar, and, well… that cast.

After my usual foray into Facebook and Twitter this morning, and catching up on the headlines, I’m already taking evasive measures against the Blue Meanies, lest they crash my day for me. Cousin Michael passed this along…

Helpful…

The asparagus ferns on the balcony finally succumbed to cold temps and the fact that we forgot to water them, so we cut the planters free this morning and Kim hauled them down to the bin. They went above and beyond this year, and the balcony looks naked without them. Don’t think we’ll be spending a lot of time out there in the immediate future, though, so we’ll get over it.

Borrowing some inspiration from my North Dakota friend Steve Gelder this morning because despite what I’ve seen and read in my first hours awake, I can’t afford to spend today crying.

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A progress report…

My good clean non-sparkly reboot for 2020 is going along pretty well so far, disregarding, as one must, what the world at large chooses to do with theirs. Attitude…good. Outlook…okay. Energy…looking up. Less sarcasm…it’s a reboot, not a makeover.

Happily, I’m back to the nice warm therapy pool, on my own schedule, with my own routine, since things just seem to go better when I’m the boss of me. Spending time in the pool again takes me back to water aerobics classes, so while my muse and I canoodle fresh ideas for the new year, here’s a little repost from that time a few years ago…

Summer water classes started on Tuesday so this chicky is in the swim again. It’s more exercise-y and less dance-y than my initial plunge at another facility, so this could work out. The instructor is easy to like and it’s all friendly women plus one shy husband. Other than a few younger women we’re all approximately from the same era, including our badass teacher, so there are Susans, Paulas, Lindas, Nancys, Judys…

Other commonalities include hearing loss, bad backs, arthritis, shaky balance, a laundry list of challenges. There’s a certain comfort in knowing I’m not the only person my age who’s falling apart, but it’s even better to know that everyone in the class, including Token Man, cares about her/himself or they wouldn’t bother showing up. I see it on all the faces.

Humor is how boomers roll, because without it you stop rolling. I advise maintaining a healthy personal space between yourself and humor-challenged people – they’re too tiring, and if you happen to be a *feeler* like me, you’ll haul the sand from every encounter until it all finally sifts out through your sandals. Our class is populated by people who like to laugh at themselves – how does anybody keep putting one foot in front of the other without that? Yikes.

Okay, imagine you’re out of school for the summer and you’ve signed on as a lifeguard at the aquatic center to impress babes. And then you draw the short straw to work during Senior Water Aerobics. 

Their little downcast faces are enough to break your heart.

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