Posts Tagged With: fun


Bicycle Heaven

It’s Gratituesday! I’m grateful that I’ve rediscovered my bicycle.

About four years ago I told myself I wanted to “access my inner twenty-year old.” I didn’t think that’d be very difficult, since mentally I mostly feel twenty years old anyway. In fact, when I accidentally catch a view of myself in a mirror I’m always surprised by the older face staring back at me. I sometimes don’t even recognize who it is.

Now I’m thinking I should have stretched a little further and tried to reach my inner sixteen year-old. That chick could haul herself up a two-mile hill on her ten-speed bike and still ride another twenty miles. A fearless, nearly worry-free young woman zipping around traffic, taking a break at the local college campus duck pond, she could eat three Dunkin’ Donuts with no concern whatsoever for their calorie count or nutritional value. She didn’t care what anyone else thought about her either.

What a life. What a woman!

Where did she go?

She’s still in here. I found her a few weeks ago when I bravely strapped on my bike helmet, hefted my leg over my mountain bike’s seat and set out on a short two-mile ride. She and I rode four miles instead and felt amazingly free and energized.

Then we rode the next day, a bit further, a bit faster.

Last Friday that inner sixteen year-old and I went almost nine miles and had energy to spare.

A short break to admire the view.

A short break to admire the view.

We prefer trails and winding paths to roads and sidewalks and will search those out in the weeks and months ahead. Will she and I attempt any mountain trails? Nah, probably not. I do, after all, still have the body of a middle-aged woman, one that hasn’t been very well cared for or pampered. But it’s healthy enough that it can take me and the inner sixteen year-old out on some adventures, beyond the walking paths of the local bird refuge, beyond strolling the city park.

Something crazy happens when I’m sitting in the seat of a bicycle. I can’t define it or decipher it. Freedom, maybe. Youth, perhaps. Self-sufficiency, could be. Whatever it is, I don’t feel like I’m “acting my age” when I’m pedaling a bike. But that’s not important. Who says I can’t ride? No one.

Oh, and don’t worry. No spandex is harmed or used in the making of this wondrous experience. I go more for the rugged-mountain-biker-who’s-been-lost-in-the-woods-too-long look. And I do slow down when I’m in the vicinity of rabbits. They seem confused by humans on bicycles and can dart in front of you with no warning. (A very similar experience to driving a car around Phoenix.)

I’ve had people laugh at me on my bike.Yeah, it happens. I don’t have a svelte biker’s body, hardly. (Hence, no spandex.) But I have the soul and heart of a young girl on her aunt’s hand me down 1950’s bike. That girl discovered something wonderful when the wind blew her hair out of her eyes as she propelled herself anywhere she wanted to go.

That young girl, that teenager, this middle-aged woman, we’re all grateful for two wheels, a well-oiled chain and pedals to take us anywhere we want to go anytime we want to go there.

Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Categories: Exercise, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Will Your Mom Let You Come Outside and Play?

Do you want to build a snowman?

photo 1.PNG-2 copy 2My youngest shared this photo of a snowman she and her husband built on Christmas day. Looks picture perfect doesn’t it? Looks like he could come alive. He brings a smile to my face in a big way.

photo 2-4 copy 6Then my favorite three-year old created this work of art and her Mom sent me the picture. A different flavor than the real snowman, wouldn’t you say? I think the furthest one on the right finds its roots in the movie Frozen, where the snowman dude, whatizname, gets repeatedly discombobulated.

That’s the closest I’ll get to a snowman this winter, unless I take a trip north, which I haven’t any plans to do so far.

Sandcastles seem more likely. I see sliding and swinging in today’s forecast as well.

We’re flirting with record high temperatures this January, which I don’t mind after a week of babysitting my frost sensitive plants earlier in the month. I always feel a little silly tucking sheets around my tomatoes, peppers, flowers, herbs and a couple of shrubs. About thirty tomatoes survived, so I figure the work paid off.

I’ve got important company coming to visit for a couple of days. My agenda’s pretty full.

I plan on working on some epic sidewalk chalk drawings in the backyard with two of my favorite tiny people. Maybe we’ll try hopscotch, too. And cookies. We have to bake up something scrumptious together. I’m sure we’ll take time for a walk around the ‘hood, maybe say hello to a few dogs while we’re at it.

For sure we’ll pop in our favorite DVD, “Animusic” and dance around some to that. And we’ll try to follow along to Dance Party 2. We might look up Dance Party 1 and really go crazy. And playing the piano needs to happen for sure.

And maybe we’ll get out the glue and glitter, construction paper and random bits and pieces and see what we can create. The one year old will probably just eat the cereal, but that’s half the fun, isn’t it?

If it rains some while they’re here, even better.

I’ve stocked up on Sruit Snacks and chocolate milk and Goldfish crackers. And there’s always some banana bread handy. And we’re having spaghetti for dinner, with some braided garlic bread. Don’t you wish you could come over to play with us?

Do you want to build a snowman?

I sure do.

I can hardly wait!

Categories: Fun | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Secret Code Words of Sanity

Dear J, J, L and L,

It’s Friday. Time for another letter to the four of you. And I’m blank as a chalkboard on a Saturday morning. Do they even use chalkboards anymore, except as memes on Facebook and for coffee shop signs?

Oh, wait. I just thought of something.

There’s a few sayings or specific words we share as a family or at least as certain family members that almost always make my face bust open into a smile.

Not the actual hairbrush...

Not the actual hairbrush…

For instance:

Watch out for the hairbrush!

Tan Van.

The Grasshopper.

It’s a sign!


Israel and Palestine.

Praying mantis.


It makes you feel alive.


Is everyone in the car?

Apples to Apples, lots of laughs.

Apples to Apples, lots of laughs.


Remember the beanie baby.

Peace on earth, good will toward siblings.

It’s either men or a cheap motel.

This is the life.

Organize the garage.

Keep your hands and feet inside the ride…

And probably a couple dozen others you could add.

Not one of these phrases or words mean the same thing to other people that they mean to us. And I love that. They’re like code words that unlock secret doors of laughter.

No restrictions.

No restrictions.

They evoke, at times, noteworthy stories of endurance, hilarious memories and weird happenings that we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. Some of them serve as coping mechanisms to keep insanity at a safe distance. All of them define our weird sense of humor and unique family chemistry.

I like us. I mean I really, really like us.

I like our family history, as painful, silly, nonsensical, weird and tragic as it occasionally turned out. If I wrote it out as a novel, no one would believe it. You had to live it to see how really strange a group we were/are.

And yet, if you look around you, and listen to a few people on occasion (or watch any reality TV at all) we have the most normal, boring, typical family on the block. Seriously.

And that’s a little frightening, don’t you think?

If we’re normal, is there any hope for the rest of the world?

I hope so.

I hope other families laugh as much as we tried to. I hope other families have their inside jokes and silly pranks or strange movie quotes. I know one family who has a plaque by the front door that reads, “Have fun storming the castle.” That’s a good sign…

I hope you have your own secret code words and phrases that no one else gets. If you do, you’ll be just fine.

Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.

I love you tons!





Categories: Family, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Laughing at the Lemons

I’m a proponent of the lemons => lemonade way of thinking. I must have learned it from my Mother. Since her stroke she’s been incredibly optimistic and downright hilarious at times. Now that I’m not hanging out with her on a daily basis, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I know I’m missing out on some great laughs and I-can-do-this kind of thinking. As role models go she’s been the best, but now she’s added new dimensions to what I admire and strive for.

mother quoteOne of the best lemons turned sweet is her sense of humor. Here’s a few humorous things Mom’s said since her stroke:

While still in the hospital, two of my sisters who shall remain nameless, and my Mom in her wheelchair, got into the elevator. The door closed. They waited. And they waited. Finally, Mom, the one who had suffered the stroke a few weeks earlier, and at the time was still struggling with basics like walking and talking and eating, piped up and said, “Shouldn’t we push the button?”

Mom lauded that one for all it was worth. My sisters swore each other to secrecy about the incident. I think Mom was the one who told me about it. For the record, my sister who teaches second grade was NOT involved in that incident.

Always looking out for and concerned about the other person, Mom was talking about how many hours Dad had spent at the hospital, which is an hour and half drive from their home.

“Your poor Dad! While I’ve been in the hospital he’s had to sleep at your Aunt and Uncle’s house, and your brother’s house and at your sister’s house. He’s just been sleeping around.”

Then, a pause, followed by her giggling at how funny her last sentence was.


Sunset (Photo credit: armisteadbooker)

Shortly after she got back home we liked to sit out on the front porch at sunset. One evening while sitting on the porch swing, Dad joined us. Not long after sitting down on the swing he started getting a bit irritated at Mom for making the swing rock back and forth. He likes to sit still. Finally he gave up when she couldn’t keep herself from moving the swing. As he got up to walk away Mom thought a minute and then hollered after him, “I guess I’m just a swinger!”

Her giggle turned into a laugh this time. Dad just shook his head and grinned as he stepped inside the house.

Lest you think my Mom has all the wit and wisdom in that duo, here’s an interesting bit about my Dad.

I had plugged my iPhone into Mom’s charger since her iPhone and mine are nearly identical and my charger was upstairs. When I went to unplug it I couldn’t get the plug out. I pulled and tugged and tweaked and got aggravated. Then I gave up for a while. When Dad came in the room I told him my dilemma. He said, “Here, let me see it.” He’s not much into technology, so I thought, fine, he’ll get out some tool and pry it out of there and then we’ll have to buy something to replace what’s broken. He took the phone from me and said, “Have you tried this?” He squeezed the outside edges of the plug and gently pulled the charger out of my phone.

Apparently, Mom’s charger has a couple of release buttons on the side, which mine does not. Outsmarted by the older not-so-tech-savvy-guy again! Dang it. He always had the answers when I was growing up, too.

You can see I’m a lucky girl, raised by such smart, witty, optimistic and persevering parents.

I hope they know how wonderful they are!

Categories: Family, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not Really a Blog Post, More Like a List

Things that have put a smile on my face this week

Dog Joy

Dog Joy (Photo credit: CaptPiper)

1. Hand wind surfing out both sides of a car window.

2. Dognose wind surfing out a truck window. What a way to experience the world.

3. Mom’s giggles.

4. The physical therapist’s jokes.

Hummingbirds at the house

Hummingbirds at the house (Photo credit: niclindh)

5. Hummingbirds at the feeder, zipping around the yard.

6. My sisters surrounding and serving and loving.

7. Seeing Chicken and Waffle flavored potato chips for sale. What the heck???

8. Kid History YouTube videos, bizarrely funny.

9. Watching my brothers rock their worlds with new directions and smart choices.

10. Fifty two degrees overnight, eighty-eight degrees daytime. Can you say “mmm….”

Black Eyed Susans

Black Eyed Susans (Photo credit: Rachel D)

11. Black-eyed Susan’s blooming like crazy.

12. Fresh trout, fried up in lemon butter, with fresh corn on the cob and watermelon. Oo la la!

13. A cat that can’t be tuned. Did you miss this story about cat tuning? Click here 🙂

14. A panoramic mountain view out the front window.

15. Buttery, chewy, warm chunky chocolate chip cookies baked by my nephew.

16. Some new ideas about organizing and bringing order to my life.

Holding Hands With a Newborn Baby

Holding Hands With a Newborn Baby (Photo credit: storyvillegirl)

17. A kind, thoughtful remark by a twelve-year-old boy.

18. Seeing a newborn babe sleeping in his mother’s arms.

19. A new season of “Burn Notice” available on Netflix. Hooray! Now I can find out what happens next.

20. Dad’s Wiley ways and his extra vigilant and protective attitude about Mom.

21. Figuring out when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Just noticing some of the good stuff.

There’s plenty of attention paid to the hard things, the challenges, the break your heart moments. I’m just trying to balance the scale a little here.

It kinda works. I’m smiling, at least.

Are you?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’re The Fun One | (Reblogged Just for You)

I read a blogger who also happens run a gig as Superdad. He disguises himself as DorkDaddy.  He’s got some Super Kids with Episode monikers which I find endearing. And then there is SuperMommy which he affectionately refers to as UnDorkMommy. This post of his which I’m reblogging for your reading enjoyment explores the subtle nuances of parenting in a way I’ve never encountered. I am certain you will finding it charming, funny and delightful. Please visit his other posts as well and let him know how much you appreciate his hijinks and writing.

You’re The Fun One |

Categories: parenting, People | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My ABC’s of Gratitude

Authors. What would I do without all those books they write?

BIRDS… my favorite morning musicians.


(Photo credit: Jim Davies)

Color. Can you imagine living in a black and white world? Or missing even one color? Imagine no reds. Bizarre.

Dancing. It’s a big reason I fell in love with MSH. He’s good at it and makes me feel all dizzy and ditzy and graceful.

Erasers. Do overs. The chance to try again when I mess up. Most of the time, life is full of second chances, and thirds, and fourths. And luckily, I’m surrounded by patient people.

Friends of all flavors and styles. They have gotten me through some sticky situations, made me laugh and kept it real.

Gardening, another way I manage to stay in touch with nature, feel self- sufficient, de-stress and marvel at life’s miracles.

UWM alphabet

(Photo credit: 2fs)


Home. The one place I most want to be. It’s where I feel safe, known, cared for and accepted no matter how unreasonable I get.

Ice cream or frozen custard or gelato. I’m an equal opportunity frozen dessert imbiber. One of the pure delights of life when I was a child and still delectable as an adult.

Immediately I think of my two oldest kids, whose names start with J.  There is true JOY.

That’s the first letter of my name, one I’ve always been proud of for its quirkiness, its double meaning, and its spelling. The word Kami in Japanese is 神 which means diety, God, Spirit or even force of nature. Powerful! I like it!

Alphabet Blocks

(Photo credit: PMillera4)

My other two kids names start with L. Ah, sweet Love. And MSH’s name starts with L, too.

Music, music, music. Every kind, loud or soft, kicky or lulling. Life without tunes is gray and stark.

Nature is my balm and cure, my link to sanity. Time spent outdoors will bring me more peace in less time than almost anything else I can do.


Oklahoma. I lived there almost five years The weather was a bit scary at times. I wasn’t a fan of the tornado warnings, but the people made up for it. They’re some of the nicest I’ve ever known. Made me feel like family.

Parents, mine specifically. Were they ever patient and long-suffering. They never gave up hope, at least not that I know of. Lucky me, lucky siblings, too.

Quiet time. Solitude. Opportunities for my mind to wander and for clarity to settle in.


(Photo credit: Khalid’s Work)


Relatives. Yup. That big spreading family bush, as a friend of one of my kids called it after visiting a family reunion. In-laws, parents, cousins, crazies, sisters, grandparents, nephews, brothers, uncles, nieces, grandbabies, seconds, twice removeds, the uncertains. What a party!


Smiles. I especially appreciate those shared smiles, similar to inside jokes or you-had-to-be-there-moments. Those smiles remind me I’m not alone, that someone “gets me” and that they understand my quirkiness and worries.


Time with my best friend. No telling how much of it there is left, so every minute, every day, feels like grace and mercy and hope rolled into one.


United States is my homeland. Call me dorky or naïve. But people keep wanting to be here, in spite of all the nonsense. We’ve got it pretty dang good and I feel blessed to be a US Citizen.


(Photo credit: james.swenson13)

Volunteering, serving, sharing, caring, paying it forward. It’s all the same package that gives back more than I put into it. Puts a song in my heart and puts my own life in perspective.

Words. Words are my favorite artistic medium, whether in writing or reading or talking or listening. Words rule!


When treasure hunting, X marks the spot where the good stuff is hiding. My life’s map is dotted with intangible, priceless treasure.


Yard. I have a yard, a space for gardening, trees, a patio table and chairs, a patch of grass and some privacy outdoors. If I want to wander out back in my PJ’s in the morning, no worries.

Zany, silly, nonsensical behavior, coupled with a few good belly laughs, makes nearly every day an adventure and a joy.

Categories: Gratitude, Joy, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Few Fun Words to Play With

Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Chips

Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Chips (Photo credit: jeffsmallwood)

In all my reading I often run across some new word that catches me unaware. I used to write the word down and look it up later. Now that I listen to books, instead of reading the hard copy version, it’s trickier to catch the unfamiliar word. It’s not as easy to stop and reread the word, or capture it for later look ups. So I haven’t been picking up new ones as well as I’d like.

I do have a few lists around with words I’ve found over the years. Some of them are “old-fashioned” words that are seldom heard, but ought to be used more. Some are nonsense words like those often created delights hidden in the writings of  Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein or Lewis Carroll.

This short list isn’t so much new words as it’s words I like the sound of. The way they bounce off your tongue, or imitate the thing that they are makes them especially appealing. Sometimes it’s a word I’ve heard often enough but was uncertain of the definition.

They’re easier to appreciate if you say them out loud.

Humdinger –  somebody or something exceptional

Snog – to kiss (doesn’t sound all that wonderful, does it?)

Snickerdoodle – a crisp cookie with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top

Scooch – moving a small amount or distance

Smooch – kiss (this version sounds much more inviting)

Diddle – to cheat, swindle or hoax “hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon, the little dog laughed to see such a sight and the dish ran away with the spoon.”

Dillydally – to waste time by loitering or procrastinating

Chortle – a breathy, gleeful laugh

Scrumptious – splendid and delectable, like a snicker doodle

Bumptious – noisily self-assertive

Do you have any favorite words? How about a new word you’ve heard recently? Please share if you do!

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

“There’s Rain in My Head”

It’s another delightfully gray, wet day in the desert. To celebrate I thought I’d share this lovely poem by Shel Silverstein. He’s always been one of my favorite writers for his unmatched, quirky perspective on everyday things.
I also found these unusual photos of rain that seem to match the poem quite nicely. I hope you find joy in unexpected places today!
Rain days

Rain days (Photo credit: @Doug88888)


I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.

Shel Silverstein (1930 – 1999)

Rain camera

Rain camera (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Categories: Outdoors, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Peeling Off the Layer of Years

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am grateful for the bicycle I have. It was a gift  a year or two ago from a friend who was clearing out her possessions for an anticipated move overseas.  I’m sure she had no idea how much her gift would bless my life.

That bicycle has been one of my essential forms of transportation. Four drivers and sometimes only two cars has necessitated some juggling. Having the freedom to hop on my bike for a run to the library or the post office or to visit a friend has freed up my schedule and saved me hours and gas money and frustration.

The build of this particular bike lets me sit in such a way that my back doesn’t tire out and get sore, which I thought was simply one of the sacrifices bike riding required until I met this bike. Now I can ride for miles and still feel relatively young and agile in spite of the often harsh realities of my aging body.

Roger on Richland Avenue with Schwinn Bicycle

My first bicycle looked much like this one. It was a hand-me-down from my aunt. (Photo credit: roger4336)

There’s nothing else I know of that brings back the joys of childhood as readily as a bike ride. Such a sense of independence grabs hold of you when you throw your leg over the seat and set the wheels of a bike in motion. Feeling the wind blowing past peels off layers of years mentally and emotionally.

There’s the added bonus of being able to take off in the early light, helmet on, breezing through an exhilarating morning past some of my favorite sights and sounds. Getting my heart pumping and my lungs filled with fresh oxygen by pushing those pedals starts the day off with a burst of energy and joy. What a wonderful way for a day to begin.

I celebrate the bicycle every time I ride. In fact, I’m celebrating life as I ride, feeling youthful, free, energized, grateful. What joy!

Surely someone has created a worldwide holiday in honor of the humble, practical, fun-loving bicycle.

Categories: Exercise, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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