Music in my head

Approximately 96.2% of the time when I wake up, there is a song in my head. Sometimes I can trace it back to something (listening to a new song I like 900 times in a row) or something a dream triggered. Sometimes it is crazy random… Like the Girl Scout song I learned in camp six life times ago or the theme to Sesame Street. More often than not there is a song. I have wondered if this is normal…but part of me thinks it is just me normal than universally normal.

Most of the time it fades by the time I have coffee and a shower… Some days… those very unfortunate days, it becomes an ear worm. No amount of radio listening in the drive to work, or iPod playing at work will change the outcome … I am destined to have a day of “Angel of the Morning” or “Ring of Fire” play in my head All Day Long.

This morning I woke and had an idea for a post on dreams… And it is in there still … starting to find a shape… but the phrase Sleep to Dream would not leave my head… no music… I knew the song, I could sort of picture it … but no tune, no more lyrics… Just that… I googled and that was not satisfying, I didn’t have enough parameters for a good search. Today was crazy, as days will be, driving home I mulled it again, in the same way you try to get that piece of corn out from between your back two teeth. Nothing.

I finally found a moment to sit. Just sit. And I finally pulled out the rest of it from the vast archives of my mind. Listening to the song again, made no sense at all in the path my mind was taking for the dream post… And yet two things hit me 1) the lyrics in their own right are powerful 2) 1997 isn’t ten years ago 🙂

I got my feet on the ground, And I don’t go to sleep to dream ~Fiona Apple

Hannah’s Bench

There are probably 3-4 Pokestops close to our house. Not a lot in the way of interesting Pokemon to capture but you can replenish supplies fairly easily. When we first started to play and were walking around the neighborhood, we kept noticing things that had been there for 6+ years but we had never really looked at before.

One was a bench by the trail system that is used constantly by walkers, runners, bikers and quite a few dogs. As we drew closer to the bench and thought to take a small sit, we noticed a name plate with a picture and memorial dates. Who was Hannah? my son asked. I didn’t know. We sat there a moment and noticed a tree in a pot next to the bench. It has been Summer in the Midwest with No Rain Hot here for three weeks… that tree looked at us with much sadness and despair.

When we got home, we filled some water jugs and went back to water the tree. In the last few weeks, a few times a week we fill up a milk jug and take it with us when we walk to replenish our Pokemon supplies and water what we have come to think of as Hannah’s tree. I noticed last night it has buds on it.

I did find out about Hannah and what happened that someone would want a bench in her honor. Tragic accident that in reading all the memories that friends and family wrote, caused a domino effect of loss in many lives.  A lovely young lady, who touched many lives.

I hope Hannah’s tree blooms this summer, in her memory and so others smile when they walk by.

Oh… You’re Back

Our middle school is 6th , 7th , and 8th. Beginning 7th grade, the child said, I want to be in Band. And I said, I don’t think you can, think you need to join in 6th grade… if you want to join you need to hunt down the director and see what you need to do to make it happen.  And then I smugly went back to doing what I was doing, knowing THAT was not going to happen. Two days later he is back, he has spoken to her, has a name of a person he can get lesson with over the summer and for $50 I can rent a baritone for the summer for him to use and practice. He tests the first week of school and if he passes, he is in. I was impressed both with her setting the solid expectations and him actually following through. And slightly stunned, if truth be told.

We now enter into our 3rd season of High School Band. It is a world I had no idea even existed. And except for one small reason, I am so very glad he found and joined this tribe. It helped him make the switch from middle school to high school. By the time first day of classes rolled around his freshman year, he had already spent 135+ hours with 300 kids he would see in the rabbit mazes of the halls. He could head nod to juniors and seniors, he fit. Band, I learned, is like a family… you cannot pick on my brother; I however can pick on my brother. Makes it handy as a freshman finding their way. He has grown as a person and a musician. He has experienced euphoria and disappointment and has come out the better for both.

However, we have this small problem every year at this time. The infestation. My great nemesis … turf. Season runs from about mid-July to mid-November. In this time period, I sweep, mop, vacuum and pick up by hand more turf in my home that you can ever imagine. I step on it in the kitchen on the tile floor. I find it on the couch or in the carpet. Once I even found it in what I thought were my clean sheets! I have threatened to save it during the season and give it back to the band directors at the last pot luck dinner. The above picture is what I discovered when I went into his bathroom. WHY IS THERE TURF IN THE SINK, I yelled. At least it isn’t on the floor, was the reply. Sigh.

Don’t be That Guy

I am probably going to need a new category for this one… like maybe soapbox ranting…

Manners matter. Respect matters.

My drive to and from work takes me by a cemetery. It is a lovely sprawling old cemetery with winding paths and large beautiful trees. It is also an active cemetery. Probably at least 4 times a month in my either going to or coming from work, a funeral procession is traveling to that location. And I stop. And a great deal of the time the people in front of me have stopped and the people behind me stop and we sit. Perhaps people in the stopped cars are quietly paying respects or reflecting on losses in their own lives or even checking email … but we stop.

Because honestly, how long does it take 2 minutes? 5 minutes? I am sure that the wait is longer in the drive thru line at Starbucks.

And that quiet show of respect, that stopping for the person who has died and for those people in mourning, it means something to those people in those cars in the somber parade. It means you care in a small way about your fellow humans and what they are going through. It can boost them up for that final moment at the grave site.

So you weasel-faced, slime-filled, jerk-a-saurus, who honk your horn for us to move or pull out and fly around us gunning the engine, tires squealing…I have no patience for your  horrid manners and myopic view of life.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou


That might be me, not so much a fear… but an extreme dislike. I can normally think of about 10,000 things I would rather do than talk on the phone. For instance cleaning the oven or sorting socks. Grocery shopping or ironing. I would probably call someone rather than scrub my bathtubs, but that is probably where the line is drawn.

I’d be happy to write you a snail mail letter. Or perhaps send a text. Even an email. But please don’t make me pick up the phone and call.

The irony being that the above picture… yeah that is part of my desk at work. And oddly I don’t mind calling the participants or answering their calls and questions. I tend to I put on a costume of Helpful Person on the Phone with them. Bless their hearts, they have even complimented me to my boss over and over again about helpful and nice I am. Apparently, the costume is working!

IRL, I have been putting off a call I don’t want to make for 13 hours and 36 minutes…38 minutes. Now that I think about it… I may need to sort my socks.

Saving for Tilly

I don’t know who Tilly is. I have never known who Tilly is/was. But growing up, that was the saying, “Don’t save (fill in the blank) for Tilly.

And it is good advice. Don’t get me wrong, you should save for a rainy day and have back up plans. (Let’s be honest, my back up plans have back up plans). But if someone gives you something…use it; enjoy it. I have friends to whom I have given pretty candles and they take it, sniff it and say “oh this is too pretty to burn!” What? It is a candle; that is its purpose in life. Burn it and enjoy it.

A million years ago (give or take a few days), my mother worked for the Council on Aging as a case worker. She would visit people in their homes and help them make the decision if they could safely continue to live in their home or other options needed to be explored. She would sit and get to know them, explore their houses with them to see what might be able to be adapted to allow them to safely stay in their home for longer. There was one woman in her late 80s who opened up the drawers in her dresser. The bottom two drawers were full of nightgowns that had been given to her over the years as gifts but were “too pretty to wear for every day”.  She was essentially saving the nightgowns for Tilly.

Here is the other reason not to save for Tilly. And it is selfish. I have cleaned out my share of houses that people have lived in for very large parts of their lives. All were normal homes… not talking the hoarders nightmare of TV land (and IRL because I have seen those too), but normal lived in homes. They had so many things in them that tend to paralyze the Cleaner with indecision. Keep? Recycle? Trash? Endless decisions. Exhausting decisions. There were things I wanted to keep for the memories (see the fork at top of the post) and things I thought I should keep for the memories (shirt my mother made for my first day of first grade that might actually fit my left arm these days). And it is a very difficult process, doable but difficult… and it becomes even harder when you find the Tilly Stash.  Those precious things that the person was saving for just the right time, just the right moment… and were never used or enjoyed.

Plan for tomorrow, but live in today. Tilly (whoever she is) would want that.


As a family, we have done four escape rooms. The one in Paris was our first; we didn’t make it out. We have since done them in Fort Wayne, Chicago and Pigeon Forge…and have been much more successful at these locations. The first time you don’t really know what to expect. When we did the first one, this type of experience was unheard of in the states except for in major cities. Now they are springing up all over the place. One of the first things I check when we go on vacation… is there an escape room nearby we can do?

I think what we didn’t understand in the first one (besides what to expect) is that the three of us have strengths and to let the person who is good at that part… do it. If not, it becomes a “too many cooks making a stew”. One of us has really nimble fingers and is great at working locks and hieroglyphic puzzles. One of us is strong spatially and can see things that are not quite right; false bottoms, openings for new rooms, things that just look off. One of us is super good at reasoning, the slot A in tab B type of stuff, remembering things and any math that is involved (yes, you guessed this is NOT me!).

What we also have learned as a group: we over think things. There was one room we had the code to get out… and yet we didn’t think we did so we kept hunting. There was one room that we had a yellow and red thing to find an orange clue; and a red and blue thing to find a purple clue. We made a yellow and blue thing (out of the first two things) to find a green clue… but that didn’t work because you just really needed to just find the yellow and blue thing… again… made it too hard.

These have been good for our family. It makes us work together as a whole and appreciate the strengths we each bring to the table. It has been funny and frustrating and I think we learn something about ourselves and each other with every single room we have done.

Hello Stranger

You sat in the booth in front of me last night. I was early, my friend was running late. I had had a less than stellar day at work. Ok, I had a really bad day at work. Your back was to me. Your hair reminded me of a friend whom I have lost touch with due to lives coming to forks in the road. Your top reminded me of my maternal grandmother, it looked handmade down to the tiny zipper in the back (and as we all know, zippers are  PITA to get placed in flat in any sewing project).

She was a very independent woman, my grandmother. So creative… made amazing quilts from scraps of clothes that she would find in second hand stores. Some of her projects were bold colors, other simple known patterns (there was one amazing one … flocks of geese squares) She crocheted and made most, if not all of her own clothes. Each fall, she would make us new mittens for the winter. She was a first class hoarder… way before it was TV show popular. Her craft supply room (that oozed out into other rooms) had bags and bags of Pringle cans and those Legg Eggs that nylons use to come in… and fabric… oh my, the amount of fabric in her house.

Her husband died when she was 62, she sold the family home as she never learned to drive and moved to town (with all her fabric and other craft supplies of course). He died in 1971, pre ERISA, which meant even as a life long worker for a company with a retirement plan, there was no spousal death benefit. In 1974, more regulation came into the pension world to fix that problem. But she thrived and grew and embraced her new life. She died 26 years after he did and was always a solid, quiet, creative person in my corner.gmaSo Stranger in the booth in front of me, I grabbed our mutual waitress and I paid for your dinner. When the waitress brought you a box, for what will probably be your lunch today, she told you the bill had been paid, smiled and said “you know, pay it forward”. You asked three times if she was sure and she patted your shoulder and said, yes.

You got up and walked out with your box of leftovers and as you almost got to the door you glanced around the room to see if you could see anyone watching you or get a hint about who did it. And then you smiled and quietly said “thank you” to the whole room. My grandma would have done that too. Thank You Stranger, for giving me the opportunity to change how my day was going and some wonderful walks down memory lane while I waited.

Little Library

I love them. Such a super idea. It is RAOK at its finest and cutest. It makes me smile when I go for a walk in a new neighborhood or new town and see them. I gander inside to see what book options are provided. Looking at their Facebook page, I am amazed by the pictures of the creativity in making each library personalized.

From the Wiki page:

The original goal was the creation of 2,150 Little Libraries, which would surpass the number of libraries founded by Andrew Carnegie. As of January 2014, there are over 15,000 Little Libraries worldwide. As of February 2013, all 50 U.S. states and 40 countries worldwide have been involved in the program. An estimated 1,650,000 books were donated and borrowed from 2010 to 2013.

When a friend’s mother passed, she asked for in lieu of flowers if donations could be made so she could set up a Little Library in her mother’s name. She received such an outpouring of support she made two Libraries and frequently does drives at her church to help stock them.


Unfortunately they are a huge target for vandals. The library at the top of the post should have a bulls-eye on it. This little blue library sits outside of an elementary school. When I go today on my lunch hour, I will have fixed it 4 times. The first time, I really took my time and re-painted it and cut plexi-glass, caulked the edges. I stocked it with kids books (elementary range). It lasted 2 weeks. Now I use a clear shower curtain, cut to size, stapled in and duct taped. I think, the vandals and I are in a chess game to see who gives up first. I have news for them, I can be tenacious when I want to be. Plus if I can touch one child with the gift of a book, the gift of escape reading, prod their imagination, give them a gateway to dream… then vandals, Checkmate! because I can fix this library every three weeks for years.

PS Karma gives a hat tip… the little blue library was empty of kids books when I fixed it today and my stock pile is low… but the library is having a Friends of the Library book sale… all books .25. My stock pile runneth over!


These are in my parking lot at work. Big Purple Rats. (not sure if that is in some way a reflection on my work environment or not… we will save that post for another day). I will be honest, I have caught quite a few of them along with worms, bats and some fuzzy purple dust ball. They have names, the 17 year old tells me.

PokĂ©mon Go. You have heard about it… you might even be playing it. I think it is brilliant. This weekend, I played about 20+ miles total. (Prior weekends, maybe range 8-10 miles; I was outside so much this weekend… I never even made it to Target! ) In this period of time, I ran into all types of groups of people. Teens, who look like they have not seen the summer air at all this year, had someone yell out a window “catch em all!” as they drove by,  husband and wife standing by a bridge while he cheered her on at the gym battle.  It seems so simple and yet it works… getting people outside, chatting and smiling. People would mention Pokestops or that they caught (insert name I cannot remember here) over on that corner. Smiling at strangers and laughing. Infectious.

I walked in a park that I have walked by many times, but this time I stopped and read the plaques about its history (the plaques were Pokestops) and learned so much. I discovered one of the playgrounds in my neighborhood was a group effort of some families to make it a better spot. I went back and  watered a parched planter after I sitting on a bench to rest (a Pokestop). After a long few weeks of lots of sad and horror over senseless acts, this was such a refreshing weekend to join my fellow humans in the sun to laugh and smile.

I said to my companion trainer as we hunted the elusive bear like blob, I wish They would give us a month of this before They ruin it with bad stuff and stupid decision. I am not Pollyanna… I know it will happen… heck it has started to happen. And it is not perfect (is anything?), people are doing it while driving (not smart), people are walking into things and They are using it to lure others. I get it, the game is not perfect by any means, churches that have been made into private houses are unfortunately gyms, apparently one Pokestop involves a strip club… etc. I understand, nothing is fool proof.

But this is fun and it is getting people outside and smiling and moving and talking. I’m going to enjoy it for as long as I can…