Sunday, January 24, 2016


One snow day is better than none.

You can use popcorn to make nachos if you're out of taco chips.  But...

Some days a fleece sweatshirt and a fleece afghan just aren't enough.

January is a month of bare beauty.

A still house makes lots of noise.

Mr. Man may be back.

A pile of fruit in a lovely glass bowl on the kitchen counter doesn't mean I eat right.

You can "not" eat purple hulls peas for New Year's and live to tell.

The Beatles left from Liverpool.

Homemade spiced tea is one of my favorite things.

A cat might be crazy, really.

A ticking clock is not conducive to a power nap.

In the grade school of the computer world, I'm being held back in 1st grade.

Having to stir my tea with a fork means start the dishwasher.

I'm all about strings - piano, acoustic guitar and cello.

Some people cannot live without Coca Cola or Chocolate or Frozen Pizza. 

January. Cold and bleak.  Only five inches of snow and I'm not complaining.  Can not even imagine folks with over two feet.  My Grandmother used to say "Just like an old horse to die in the winter."  Last year we traveled to Texas for a funeral.  It was bright sunny but bitterly cold with whipping wind.  We couldn't open our eyes.  This January doesn't involve traveling to a funeral but still people we know leaving this world.  We couldn't travel north because of weather.  My grandmother and Daddy both died on January days.  Makes the whole process a little bit harder.  Weather can really stand in the way.  On the most vulnerable day in your life, trying to plan a service for your loved one.  Thinking about the cold.  Or it could be a spring flood or a looming hurricane.  Life doesn't stop when your world does.  It just has the gall to keeping on moving.  January seems an unusually busy month for not going gently.  Here's to tip toeing through the next week.


The Winner of My Favorite Things in 2015 is Deb A.  Her name was randomly chosen from a hat by an able bodied RANDOMONIUM staff member.  She also has a blog "Stop Her She's Knitting!"
Some of her favorite things in 2015 were S'Well Bottles, Star Wars: The Force Awakens,  Brunty Farms Poultry, CSA,  Pistachios,  Mystery Sock Yarn Year,  Pepperplate,  My little back patio,  Kindle,  High School Wrestling,  Cleaning out her house,  My neighbors,  Fried Eggs on toast and Evernote.  

She will be receiving Kiehl's Creme de Corps Body Butter, PaperMate Clearpoint Mechanical Pencils and Pure Natural Honey, Bemis Honey Bee Farm.   

Thank you for your participation!!

Start working on your list for 2016 The Best I've Seen! List of Favorite Things


Monday, January 18, 2016


This post originally appeared August 28, 2013.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the first people I want to meet when I get to heaven because he dared to have a dream.  The God-given hope and direction of a man who was a gifted preacher and prophet filled the nation’s Capital fifty years ago today.  What a wonderful world it would be if we could all have even a sliver of that same hope. 

The walk on Washington was not a particular memory for me at the time.  I was too young to understand.  My mother does remember watching it on television.  However, the event four months later would become my earliest, defined memory.

In my earliest years, I do remember watching riots on the television and seeing dogs attacking people and water being used to subdue and disperse crowds.  These images were disturbing for a child.  One of the best gifts my parents gave me was a love for all people and a living example of The Golden Rule.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot, I asked my mother what a “negro” was.  She told me that M. was a negro.  M. worked for my grandparents and I had known her all of my life.  “Oh, her skin is just  a different color.”  I was already being raised to judge a person by the content of their character.

Although it was not for good, I have been judged by the color of my skin.  Neither were pleasant experiences and both were desperate attempts to gain power.  One was to make sure I was white and the other was because I wasn’t black.  This was at a time of great racial tension in the education system, when integration and busing were struggles in every community.  I was living in a different state each time.

In this day and time, I think most people have been judged by the color of their skin.  Our country has a rainbow of colors.  A few years ago, my family toured The King Center in Atlanta.  For me, it was a reverent time of reflection, reminding me again of the importance of Dr. King’s message.  I felt the same feeling of reverence when I went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  These places stand as more than a monument to persecuted people but also as  twisted monuments to the human soul when hate takes anchor, pulling a nation downward.

I stood in line that day in Atlanta, waiting to sign a book of reflection.  A young African-American woman was in front of me, writing a few sentences.  She stepped away from the book. Imagine my shock when I looked down and read her racist comments.  I wrote a few words and came away, amazed that she didn’t get the message which was all around her.

But now, thinking about it, I should not be surprised.  So many things have not changed, especially in the South. 

Every Sunday morning, fine Christian men tuck their shirts into their pants, held up by the Bible Belt of the South.  I have heard their ugly whisperings, directing their hate at an image on the television, judging a man by the color of his skin.  However, their judgments are made impotent by the lack of content in their character.  These same men and women lifting their praises to God on Sunday and  whispering their racist bitterness at lunch the next day.

Many years ago, a senator from Illinois came to town, stumping for a fellow politician.  My Daddy had been following the politics of this young man.  We sat on the steps of the Capital, at the foot of the casual podium, listening to this brief speech.  When you are close enough to hold eye contact with a man, in that brief second there is a bond of relationship.  My Daddy began the last year of his life watching this Barack Hussein Obama take the oath of office as President of the United States.  My father cried tears of joy.  He carried a New Testament in his briefcase and The Prayer of St. Francis in his wallet.  And Jesus in his heart.

Hate is easy because it is natural.  Love is not easy.  But love is the answer today just as it was fifty years ago.   And every day is an opportunity to act on the dream where all are created equal.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


I promise to keep writing my blog even if I do win tonight's lottery.  Why should numbers printed on white ping pong balls change my life?  At 1.5 billion or $930,000,000 in cash value anyone's life would change.  An unnamed family member said she didn't want to get a ticket because it would ruin her life if she won.  She has now purchased the life ruining ticket.

If the magic genie grants my wish, there are a few things I would like to change.  And I am very shallow in this concept, mostly.  I would first spend about three or four days living under the bed.  You never know what might land on your head.  And I will look so silly it will take a few days before I can go out in public, even to acquire my legal, tax, security and beautifying teams.  I can promise you I will have my hair done daily even for just hanging out in the mansion.

I will buy a house up on the ridge overlooking the river and have Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV Fixer Upper come and do their thing.  With a pool.  On the way to my newer house, I would like to go jewelry shopping for a long strand of pearls like they wear on Downton Abbey and maybe a diamond bracelet.

As soon as we can share our secret, we will fly all of our family and friends in for a big party.  I want the big floating moon balloon hanging over my pool.  We've already nixed the idea of buying our own plane.  A charter seems to be the best way to go for those kinds of things.

To remain anonymous, I can't list my donations but my church, institutions of learning and local charities would be high on the list.  I really am not into having my name plastered everywhere.

I would definitely give my family a fair share so we could all have a blast sitting around the pool in Palm Springs saying "Look at us now, just folks from Arkansas."

Do dreams really wrap themselves around a slim piece of paper?  We will find out tonight.  Don't you hope a bunch of people win, share the wealth?

Taking a chance for $2 on $1.5 billion.  But we take chances everyday.  What are the odds that the complete stranger wearing tube socks and running gear sitting in front of you will become your husband?  Or the little spit of a pup covered in seed ticks will grow up and fill out to become a love in your life?  Or the mewing lamb you're handed, who's arrived three weeks early, and someone tells you "it's a girl" will take away your breath and heart instantly?

Or the car will flip and you will be able to climb out of it?  The loan will go through on your first tiny home?  The 104 fever will break with the first hint of dawn's light?  The surgical odds will be defied time and time again and surgeons will shake their heads in awe?

What are the odds for personally seeing every President in your lifetime, nine minus one?  What are the chances for you, the biggest fan, being able to greet Olivia Newton John to your city, spur of the moment, in a quiet southern airport?  Or having a spring dress you made worn to the White House?

What are the chances of symphonies being written by a man losing his hearing?  Or bright, beautiful paintings created by a man losing his mind?

What are the chances you will be born into a loving family who spends vacations camping around the country and singing to the radio?  Or the roof won't leak with the weight of a record snow?  Beds are warm and dry with fresh linens?  The kitchen is always busy with a pot roast cooking and merginue being spread on chocolate pie?

Maybe the white balls bouncing down the plastic tube can't touch us.  The details have already played out in our lives.  Maybe all the chances are blessings unaware.  

Monday, January 11, 2016


This post first appeared two years ago.  In memory of a wonderful Daddy.

He wasn't a beer drinker.  But he loved a good commercial and in the past couple of years, he'd spent more time accruing a file of 30 second spots that peaked his interest.  From his teenage years, he had  been fascinated by products and sales, influenced by two glamorous older sisters and their love of fashion and life, during and after the war.

Four years ago today, after his doctor's appointment, he wanted an Oyster Po-Boy and a Bud-Light.  At the time, we all got a kick out of the request which he said was fueled by all the beer commercials during the NFL play-off games he watched with my mother.  She was the football fanatic and he just went along for the fun.

The birthday feast began when I picked them up in a parking lot.  I didn't even have a present because Christmas had just ended but I did run and get a card.  And he said his new Christmas Charcoal merino wool vest was so nice it could count for birthday too.  And he was wearing it for his birthday, number 76.

The oyster po-boy was okay but he said he'd never get another Bud-Light again.  He didn't.  It was a bright but very cold January day when I took them back to their car.  We got out and exchanged hugs.  We had enjoyed a brief but fun lunch, talking about commercials and such.  And three days later, he left us in a quick and peaceful ending.

I wrote the following piece on my first Father's Day without him.   Thank you for indulging me this happy birthday tribute.

Photo by my brother-in-law, James Bingaman

My Daddy was born in a log cabin and started school in a one room school house. He moved to the "city" in the 3rd grade and went to school barefoot the first day but not the second day. City folks wore their shoes year round. He graduated from the University of Texas. As a senior project, he developed the Raid Bug Commercial - Raid, Kills Bugs Dead! A professor snatched it up. He married my mother! Then the young man from a land locked state almost immediately began Naval Officers Candidate School where he jumped off the side of a ship and thankfully passed Astronomy. His naval career sent him to Morocco, where my parents lived for two years, traveling Europe on vacations in a red VW Bug. I grew up knowing about minarets, veiled women, cos cos, and mirages in the desert. They sailed back to America on the U.S.N.S William O. Darby (General born in Fort Smith). Texas called their name and that's the country of my origin. Texas O' Texas. We saw much of the U.S. on camping vacations. We always had a "vacation song." One year it was the Carpenters "Close to You." Another year, Paul McCartney and Wings "Hands Across the Water." He loved all kinds of music and liked to play the piano in a very grand manner. He sung in the church choir almost all of his life, faithfully. "The Majesty and Glory" was his favorite and I cannot sing it anymore. Someday. He carried the Prayer of St. Francis in his wallet and a New Testament in his briefcase. He was a talented whistler and a random clapper ahead of his time.  He loved to sing around the house. He worked hard in the retail world and knew his store and every product. He was fun to shop with! He was faithful to The Store and took care of his employees, ferrying little old sales ladies home on icy roads. He could do a mashed potato dance that made mean mashed potatoes. He loved butter. He taught us the Golden Rule in a time of great racial unrest. He kicked his house shoes down the hall just to make little girls laugh. His daughters were his joy. His wife was his best friend. His loved being a Granddaddy. Even when he was sick, he made lemon meringue pies to take to "shut-ins".  He defied all odds and lived through surgeries that gave us 13 more years. He always tried to look at the positive side or a new direction when facing difficulty. He was the baby of the family and the favorite cousin. He wasn't perfect. I called him nozella due to his penchant for picking up mail or receipts at my house. He was the designated shrimp police for the wedding reception. He could get on my last nerve when I was a teenager but he encouraged me in every endeavor. There are endless little things I could tell you. This is my father's day tribute. He rests a few miles from where he started out but I hear him singing "Alleluia, alleluia, the majesty and glory of Your Name."