Swatted and Savored

He ran back toward the fence that protected him from entering a dark, murky pond. I am sure there are water monsters that live deep in that three foot shallow pond. Beneath the scum and the murk and the sludge and the slime and all the other stuff that floats on top and wallows quietly beneath the surface.

There are hatches of small flies coming to life above the surface and to the south of that pond. I got caught up in a few today. So did he. I was swatting at them as I walked through the army of fish bait. And spitting out the ones I missed. As I looked over at him, he was laughing. A two-year-old’s belly laugh. Before I knew it, I was too because there are endless things this two year old does to cause you to smile and make you laugh, but this… this was the topper so far.

After batting a few more flies, I look over at this laughing boy and I see him running deliberately, determinedly, purposely, willfully into the multitude of small white creatures whose wings are just learning their purpose a bit too late. Because this boy – my little monkey grandson – has decided to see what makes fish like newly hatched little cream colored flies. And so he runs – his little ‘run on his tippy toes run’ – and as he runs, he opens wide his mouth and hopes for success.

I stand laughing. Because if that isn’t entertaining enough, after he runs through the swarm, he stops, closes his eyes and rubs his belly as if to say, “Yum!!!”

And then he does it again.

I literally have to go after him to get him to stop.

And then I wonder why. Why a two year old would want to catch flies in his mouth? What prompts him to do it? Perhaps it’s the fact daddy comes home tonight. He knows it. He is excited from head to toe. And daddy loves to fly fish so undoubtedly there have been conversations about flies and how the fishies try to get them, yum yum.

Who can know what goes on in the mind of a two year old? I don’t.

*First published April 23, 2017.

Fig Leaf Gardening


If you’re anything like me, there’s something about gardening and pulling weeds, about pruning back and watering seedlings. It calms your spirit, draws you closer to your Maker, and soothes your soul. However, given information I just uncovered, I think I may have finally found something about gardening that I just can’t get into. Or maybe I should say, get out of.
Did you know that tomorrow has been named a world day of observance for gardening in the buffWorld Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) has come to be celebrated by some (and denounced by others) since 2005 by the help of Mark Storey.
It has become quite a thing at the Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Great Britain where clothing is optionalPersonally, I can’t imagine doing such a thing. Just think of the situations you misn’t encounter: the briar patch, the poison oak patch, the rose thorns, the neighbors’ cat’s gift in your flower garden (one like  you stepped in yesterday,but then you were wearing your garden togs)…
Well, you can imagine for yourself. Not only does the unexpected visitor get to see unbecoming drops of sweat run down your face, but also they get to see your, well, you can insert whatever you like. And, for much gardening we do, we’re bending over. If you thought that was unattractive before…
Usually, (for me at least) you go into the house at the end of the day and realize you forgot the sunscreen again. Can you imagine forgetting the sunscreen tomorrow? Ouch.
So, now, I have alerted you of tomorrow’s significance. It’s up to you to decide what to do about it. My advice?
Don’t forget the sunscreen. Oh, and the hat. And I heard gloves are okay to wear on this special occasion. I would also suggest a fig leaf. Please…don’t forget the fig leaf.

Stupid Cat

I wrote this a bit ago, but thought you might like a laugh today…
I am usually not one to look down on people who use bad words. ‘Swear’ words. I don’t myself don’t make a habit of using them.
I grew up around bad words. I had an uncle I adored who swore with the best of them. He was really a sailor at one time, too. Go figure. He just wasn’t Uncle Dave unless 1 out of 5 words were cuss words. A ‘colorful language’ he had, some called it.
I never said bad words as a kid. I knew better. Uncle Dave could do it. I couldn’t. When I got married, I heard my mother in-law say bad words. The first time I heard her say them, I laughed. She had burned herself, I think, and this is what she said when the pain got the best of her…
“Bad words, bad words, bad words.” Literally. She really said those words. (And you thought I was going to tattle on my mother in-law, didn’t you?)
My granddaughter is learning to say bad words. She’s almost two now and the time has arrived for her to learn all the things you don’t want her to know. Like bad words. She likes to say the word stupid. It’s pretty sad because it’s one of the only ‘bad words’ the adults in her life say (besides the word dumb). You don’t realize how often it’s said ‘til you try to not say it.
Stupid cat.
This is stupid.
Stupid cat.
Look at this stupid mess.
Stupid cat.
Now Boo thinks the cat’s name is ‘Stupid’.
“No, Boo. We don’t say stupid.”
Actually we do, but we try not to.
My son couldn’t find his phone the other day so he asked me to call it. I did and when he answered, I was climbing into the car to take Boo home and my neighbor to the store. They were already in the car waiting for me.
“Hey,” I heard my son answer on the other end.
“Did you find it?” I asked my son over the phone.
“What?!?” he asked as if I were stupid or something.
Then I realized what I had asked him. “Never mind.”
I closed my phone and closed the car door.
“That was a stupid question,” I said as my neighbor laughed.
“Stupid question, gamma,” I heard a little voice perfectly pronunciate from behind me.
I did it again. Ugh. I wish I could quit saying that stupid word. I’m going to get Boo in trouble.

Tips On Writing Christmas Letters

Everyone’s received the infamous and truthfully, often dreaded yearly Christmas letter. Dreaded? Face it. You don’t want to hear about how cousin Bill is doing in school and how he’s still the star quarterback on the football team (Aunt Marge never confesses that her little Billy has taken tenth grade over five times) and yes, he’s also dating the current head cheerleader. And – you don’t want to hear – again – about how every other person on the planet is doing great while you’ve been unemployed for another year, your dog ate your carpet, your roof leaks, Joey Jr. was arrested for stealing a package of Nerts from the corner gas station, little Suzy needs braces and your spouse spends his or her spare time on the couch.

So, what do you do? What is there to write about? While you want to be honest, people can’t take a depressed-sounding greeting that exposes every little detail of your humdrum life. So put your rose-colored glasses on and see the humor in some of what life dealt you this past year. Not only will it be more enjoyable to read, but you will probably get a positive response from someone you haven’t heard from for a while. Also, you might be cheered up as well from looking at circumstances from a slightly different angle.

How about a poem? One year I wrote a poem of key events/highlights of our family’s last year to the ‘tune’ of The Night Before Christmas poem. It was a hit and using that method kept it fairly short (a good thing to keep in mind).

Another way to keep it brief is to write your Christmas letter chronologically and hit the high points of family life, month by month. If you keep ‘history’ jotted down on the calendar, use it to write your letter. For example, “in the month of June, Ariel acceptted Dan’s proposal of marriage but then ran off with Steve in July. In August, Katie came home from her visit to the local jail and grandma had a successful hemmoroid surgery.” You get the idea.

Of course, there’s the old stand-by of going through every person in the family and writing a little blurb on each one. But why be like everyone else? Why not add some spice and write a little blurb making it a mystery? Make your reader have to guess who you’re talking about. Make it multiple choice with answers on the back and give your fans, friends, and family a workout.

Have the whole family contribute by writing a few sentences answering the question, What was your favorite part/thing about this past year? Compile them all and send it off with greetings and blessings for a Merry Christmas and your readership will thank you for going out on a limb and being different. Trust me on this.

And, whatever you do, if at all possible, include a family photo because honestly this is the best part of the whole letter. Hands down!


The Horror of Re-Gifting

Horror is relative. It can mean you're scared out of your mind, or it can mean the remembrance of a mishap you'd just as soon forget.

I'd define the following three incidences as horrific…

Everyone says your mind begins to go after the age of 40. I can testify to that fact. However, before I turned forty and entertained my own misadventure of 're-gifting', I found myself quite disappointed when it happened to me.

I had given a family member what I had considered, a very nice desk set. It was from Hallmark, illustrated by Marjorie Bostien. Beautiful spring scenes enveloped a matching set of pen, note pad, address book and something else that I can't remember. Two years after giving it to this family member, guess what I got for Christmas? My daughter, who was with me when I purchased it and remembered what I had given this person, was, shall we say, 'horrified'. Her mouth dropped open and I tried to signal to her that it was okay. I re-gifted it to Goodwill. I didn't want the reminder, but as you can see, I still remember.

The next story comes at Christmas as well. I had given a family member a cute little 'designer' (Debbie Mumm) set of holiday ware. Guess what I got for Christmas the next year? My daughter's jaw dropped again and I made another trip to Goodwill.

A few years later, it was my turn to re-gift. We were short on money, so I spent the summer thrift shopping and going to garage sales. In fact, we even had a yard sale of our own that summerand a couple of friends cleaned out their closets and donated their items to my cause of raising money for Christmas gifts. Imagine my ecstatic surprise when one friend donated a brand new sleeping bag of high quality, mind you, in its original box with a smidgen of wrapping paper stuck to the side.

It was an answer to prayer. After the yard sale and before Christmas, I took out that box, tore off the previous paper and rewrapped it, so proud that I had been given such a find.

Before we knew it, Christmas day had arrived and everyone waited as the gifts were passed out. I was anxious for my son to rip open that box and see that he got what he really wanted. I asked him to save it for last. He complied and as everyone watched, he unwrapped the box.

“Awesome!” he announced for all to hear. “It was the one I wanted, too!”

He opened the end to pull out the bag and what did he find? It was filled with pieces of scrap fabric. I had never checked inside the box before wrapping it up.

“Oh, it's a do-it yourself sleeping bag,” someone said.

“Don't tell me you bought this from someone at a yard sale and never checked it,” my son said.

You can guess what I was out shopping for the day after Christmas and it wasn't a sale on wrapping paper.

A Funny to Share

Recently in a large French city a poster featuring a young, thin and tan woman appeared in the window of a gym. It said:




A middle aged woman whose physical characteristics did not match those of the woman on the poster responded publicly to the question posed by the gym.


To Whom It May Concern:


Whales are always surrounded by friends (dolphins, sea lions, curious humans). They have an active sex life, they get pregnant and have adorable baby whales. They have a wonderful time with dolphins stuffing themselves with shrimp. They play and swim in the seas, seeing wonderful places like Patagonia, the Bering Sea and the coral reefs of Polynesia. Whales are wonderful singers and have even recorded CDs. They are incredible creatures and virtually have no predators other than humans. They are loved, protected and admired by almost everyone in the world.


Mermaids don't exist. If they did exist, they would be lining up outside the offices of Argentinean psychoanalysts due to identity crisis. They don't have a sex life beause they kill men who get close to them not to mention how could they have sex? Therefore they don't have kids either. Not to mention who wants to get close to a girl who's skin is all scaly and smells like a fish store?


The choice is perfectly clear to me… I want to be a whale.


Out of the Mouths of Babes

20130511-212617.jpgPhoto by Sherri Woodbridge, 2013


Clara loves to pretend. Yesterday we were pretending “God and Elijah”.

“Grammy, I'm God and you're Elijah.”

“Uh huh,” I said half-heartedly, trying to photograph a hummingbird, all the while wondering why she gets to be God. She always gets to be God or the mom. I never get to be the important person. It's not fair…

Anyhow, after I threw a tantrum and while I was hunting hummingbirds, she was playing God and making it rain with the shower setting on the hose nozzle.

“Look Grammy, God is making it rain.”

“Yea, that's cool.”

“You're supposed to say 'Praise the Lord' when God makes it rain.”

“Oh,” I replied. “Sorry. Elijah wasn't aware of that. Praise The Lord.”

“Not yet Grammy. It stopped raining.”

Where is that hummingbird?!

I glanced over at a six-pack of strawberries we had leftover from planting and saw they were wilted.

“Clara,” I asked, “would you take the hose over by the porch and water those strawberries, please?”

“Sure I can, Grammy,” she answered cheerfully. I love when she does that.

When she was done, she took the hose back over to where she – er, I mean 'God' – was making it rain. She pushed the handle of the sprayer down and continued playing with the water, all the while informing me in regards to asking her to water the strawberries:

“Grammy, you've got to remember that God's in charge and Elijah shouldn't tell God what to do.”

You're right Boo – you're right.