All Winding Roads Lead to Nausea

All Winding Roads Lead to NauseaOn the way home from critique group the other day, Hubs mentioned he wanted to take a drive. A drive, I thought, smiling inwardly. Visions of the open road and lovely spring vistas tiptoed through the recesses of my mind. Deep and meaningful conversation punctuated with loving side glances.


We’d taken a lot of drives over our shared three decades together, from dating days to early marriage and parenting years and beyond–although our excursions in the beyond category had been few and far between as of late. So imagine my delight when he suggested it–until  he added the part about wanting to drive the route for his upcoming fondo. (That’s cycling lingo for an organized endurance ride.)

SIGH. Road closed and barricaded.

“Did you want to go alone?” I asked.

“No, you can come along,” he said.

Sigh. Road reopened.

So the next day we headed to Defiance–town, not attitude–to the location where the fondo would start. Open road–check. Inspiring view–check. Soul-baring conversation with occasional nods from mostly attentive husband–check, check.

Finally we arrived at our destination, a parking lot that would serve as starting point for the fondo. Still conversing, I looked over at him midsentence, waiting for his knowing glance. He stopped and took in the area, then his eyes met mine.

“Here’s the route,” he said, thrusting a paper with street names toward me. “Keep up.”

Aha! It all made sense now. He needed me along to navigate.

SIGH. Okay, good attitude, good attitude. Sigh. “Sure.”

He drove on as I fed him the directions. The roads were curvy and hilly, winding in every which way. I took in the scenery between downward glances at our itinerary. This was fun.

Until a sick feeling descended upon me. Nausea. Me and winding roads have always had a temperamental relationship.

I dug into my purse for a peppermint. Out. SIGH. “Can you slow down? I feel sick.”

“Don’t look at the paper,” he said. “I can do it.”

He slowed down and opened the windows. I stared straight ahead and breathed in the cool spring air and let him know we’d need to stop for some peppermints.

“I don’t know where we’re going to find a place that has peppermints,” he said. “By the way, what’s for lunch?”

SIGH. “Cooking is about the last thing I want to do.”

After several more miles, we hit the interstate, the winding roads finally behind me. A few more miles and he turned off and took another highway, heading into a small town. I spotted a drugstore–peppermints. He pulled into a barbecue restaurant next door, the smell of grilled meat permeating the air. I gave him a questioning look.

“You said you didn’t want to cook. We can get the peppermints after we eat.”

Oddly, at that moment, I wasn’t sick anymore. After a plate of pulled pork, cole slaw, and baked beans, I was a new woman. Call it male intuition, but the man gets me. Sigh. We headed over to the store for the peppermints, anyway.

Just in case.

Update: A couple of pics from Mike’s (Hubs) fondo.

Cyclists line up for the Vino Fondo 2017.                   Mike’s bike taking a break.

All Winding Roads Lead to Nausea. Image from Vino Fondo 2017.

All Winding Roads Lead to Nausea. Image from Vino Fondo 2017.












Seedlings: The Sequel

posted in: Simple Garden | 0

Seedlings: The Sequel. Help for leggy seedlings.What a difference a week makes! While I ended up losing many of the previous seedlings, I was able to save most of the tomatoes and some cilantro. I also managed to learn a few things in the process.

1) Follow the instructions. By placing the grow light three inches above the tallest seedling and leaving the light on for eighteen hours, the plants did much better. Some new sprouts have even popped their little heads through the dirt to take the place of some of the dead ones.

2) Try new ideas. I had read that running my finger over the leggy seedlings would simulate the wind, which triggers the plant to grow stronger stems. I had my doubts this would work, but I was pleasantly surprised! By the second day I noticed a difference in those seedlings that had survived. Yes, you read that right! By the second day!

3) Keep at it. While that tray of seedlings was discouraging, a little TLC can go a long way to bring plants back to life.

And not just plants.

More garden adventures to follow!

Related posts: Leggy Seedlings: Don’t Let This Happen to You

My Adventures Growing Zinnias

The Useful Art of Daydreaming

The Useful Art of Daydreaming.

A writer friend and I went out to lunch one day, and the topic of daydreaming came up in the conversation. She told me how growing up her mother often scolded her for daydreaming because, from her mother’s perspective, she was wasting time. Not doing anything productive. I had to admit that as a child I frittered away many an hour lost in my own thoughts.

Still do.

Being a writer I have every reason in the world to daydream. For one thing, it’s important work.

What, you ask? Daydreaming?

Yes, I said it’s important work for a writer to daydream. Where else do ideas come from? Thoughts allowed to drift in every which direction help me write stories and poems. And blog posts. But more than that, it transports me from the everyday mundane to the land of possibility. In a real, practical sense, it stretches me to believe for what could be in my life and the life of others. Often, daydreaming sparks prayer.

Important work, indeed!

So next time someone in your life startles you from your reverie, kindly tell them not to disturb you. You’re working. Chances are your loved one will chalk it up to another one of those crazy things and promptly leave you alone!

Related posts: Gifts of an Introvert

2 Links for Introverts and Detailed Thinkers

Leggy Seedlings: Don’t Let This Happen to You

posted in: Simple Garden | 2

Leggy seedlings from starting seeds indoors.I was thinking of an alternative name for this post, like “Friends don’t let friends garden badly,” but the cautionary warning won out instead. These leggy seedlings look awful, don’t they? I’m embarrassed to even post this. I’ve been growing my own garden for how many years? Twenty-six seasons. And that doesn’t include my childhood spent learning from the voices of gardening experience–my grandparents.

The truth is I haven’t had my grow light out for a while–a couple of years now. When I did use it, I just sort of planted stuff and hoped for the best. Coming off of hard winters, a few of those fighting depression, those little seedlings gave me hope. So whatever I did worked then–and thankfully so!

I’m in a better place these days. Life is pretty good. But when it comes to gardening, what once came easily is a challenge. Time for this girl to read up on leggy seedlings and grow lights.

The problem with leggy seedlings is that they are reaching for the light, and the farther the light source, the quicker they grow toward it, resulting in a spindly plant that won’t usually make it. My light was about a foot away from the tray. What I learned is that the grow light should be positioned about three inches above the tallest seedlings.

The duration of light exposure is also important. From my research, gardeners recommend the light be turned on for about eighteen hours. Mine was on for about fourteen.

So what do you do with leggy seedlings? Gently running a finger over the seedlings a few times a day to simulate wind actually causes some of them to adapt by growing thicker stems. I’m trying this out to see what happens. Some seedlings, tomatoes in particular, can actually be planted deeper and often survive it. Most seedlings don’t.

Though it’s late for starting seeds, I’ll plant another tray and see what grows. I’ll keep you posted.

Related posts: Seedlings: The Sequel

My Adventures Growing Zinnias

My 3 Essential Tips for Growing Strawberries


My Adventures Growing Zinnias

posted in: Simple Garden | 6

My adventures growing zinnias.

Last year I grew the most amazing zinnia bush ever. “Bush?” you say. Okay, I know that zinnias don’t grow as bushes, but this particular plant looked like one. I tried to contain it by using a tomato cage, and it ended up busting out the sides and growing in every direction. I added a few stakes and still couldn’t contain it!

But let me back up the story. I had been growing cabbage and cauliflower in a bed next to my compost pile, and after quite a disappointing crop, I spaded under what was left of the plants to break down into the soil. Being in close proximity to the compost, I thought I ought to work on building up the soil in the cabbage-cauliflower bed, so I added a few spadefuls of decomposed garbage gold and resolved to work on it again soon.

A few weeks later I noticed a lone zinnia growing out of the bed, and I didn’t have the heart to pluck it. So I let it grow. And basically ignored it.

The “little zinnia that could” grew like most zinnias I’d grown before, so I didn’t think much of it. The seedling got water when I set the sprinkler to hit the strawberry patch, but I didn’t go out of my way to do anything special. Before I knew it, the plant bloomed, resulting in a large, beautiful maroon flower.

As the days of summer passed, the blooms kept coming furiously and the plant kept pushing toward the sun until I had to slip a tomato cage around it for support. By then the stem of the plant was more like a stalk, and blooms shot out in all directions, providing a gorgeous show of color with dozens of large flowers on that same lone zinnia.

And it kept going all the way until frost. “Be sure and save some seed,” Mom said one day, admiring the hardiness and beauty of my once lone zinnia. So I did. Honestly, in all my years of gardening, I’d never seen anything like it.

So do I have any practical tips for growing zinnias? Oh, I imagine turning the less than spectacular cabbage and cauliflower crop under fed the soil as did the spadefuls of compost. But I’m thinking there was a lesson designed specifically for me in this lovely floral show I enjoyed all summer long.

The truth is, I didn’t plant it, nor did I do much to care for it. In fact, I’d been nurturing other plants in the garden, and the season was rather lackluster for me as far as gardening years go. One of the worst I’d ever had.

Except for one lone zinnia.

Perhaps the lesson for me is that we are given gifts we neither requested or earned. Blessings undeserved.


We can accept these gifts, cast them aside, ignore them, or appreciate them with a grateful heart.

I know what I’m going to choose.


P.S. Several of the seeds from this super zinnia have sprouted. I’ll keep readers posted as to what develops! 

Related posts:

My 3 Essential Tips for Growing Strawberries

Life is Like a Garden

Leggy Seedlings: Don’t Let This Happen to You

Seedlings: The Sequel 



Yackety-yak and other interesting Y words.Note: Yackety-yak is from the A – Z Blogging Challenge

Upon scouring the dictionary for possible Y-word topics, I found an interesting pattern. Quite a few words dealt with the topic of talking:

Yak – to talk persistently and meaninglessly.

Yammer – to complain whimperingly or loudly.

Yap – to talk noisily or stupidly.

Yawp – to talk loudly, raucously, or coarsely.

The Aussies add another to the list: yabber – to talk rapidly, unintelligibly, or idly (our “jabber”).

Basically, you don’t want a Y word attached to the way you talk. And as if that isn’t enough, there are more words to describe the way we express ourselves:

Yell – to utter with a loud cry.

Yelp – to utter a short, sharp bark or cry. (Might only be used for critters, but the dictionary didn’t distinguish.)

Yowl – to say or utter with a long, loud, mournful cry.

Yes – used to express affirmation.

Yep – informal yes.

Yoo-hoo – used to call someone at a distance or gain someone’s attention.

Then there is you-all or, more commonly, y’all. While it doesn’t necessarily fit perfectly in this discussion, I love the uniqueness of this pronoun, particularly when traveling in the South. In Missouri, that’s below the Missouri River. I reside above it, so I don’t often hear the term in my neck of the woods. But I love it just the same.

So, today, I add my contribution to the Y discussion taking place in the blogosphere on this the second last day of the A-Z Blogging Challenge:

Yakety-yak – prolonged, sometimes senseless talk.

No yammering, please!




Xer: Talkin’ ‘Bout my Generation

Xer. Generation X. Talkin' 'Bout my Generation.

I am an Xer as defined by being born between 1965 – 1979, though some demographers argue the range to be 1961 – 1981 because, when asked, those born after1960 typically self identify as Generation X. If I were making the rules, I’d say 1960 – 1979, and, really, that fits nicely in with one of the aspects of being an Xer–not conforming to convention.

Sandwiched between two larger demographic groups–Baby Boomers and Millenials–we don’t seem to get as much attention these days, and that tends to suit us as we like to “just quietly do our thing.”

I found it interesting to do the research for this post. At times I read about my generation and nodded my head in recognition with such descriptions as private, self-reliant, and unimpressed by authority. I hasten to add that the latter doesn’t mean a lack of respect, but rather a lack of hero worship. Mike (Hubs) and I had a major discussion about what mentorship meant, with my intense dislike of the term, whereas he didn’t necessarily view it negatively.

Some points that didn’t fit me personally: edgy, skeptical (at one time I was, but a relationship with our Lord and Savior can work wonders in that respect), latchkey kid (my mother didn’t work outside the home), child of divorce (my parents were married for 54 years when my dad passed away), bleak, cynical, disaffected. Culturally, I don’t identify with MTV–we didn’t have cable tv growing up–or Friends. In fact, I found the cast of that tv show irritating. They certainly didn’t speak for me, nor did I hang out with people like them.

I liked (and still like) Seinfeld, though, and some grunge tunes found their way into my favorites when I was in my twenties. Some of the movies from my younger days bring back fond memories–Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  comes to mind. Bueller, Bueller. . .

Although once considered aimless and unfocused, our generation is responsible for an entrepreneurial spirit, creating many start ups and small businesses. Also dubbed Generation 1099, more Xers found themselves filing form 1099 rather than a W-2 when paying taxes, a fact I totally identify with as being self-employed most of my working years. I love being my own boss, not having anyone trying to micro-manage me or direct my life.

Oddly, when reviewing the different generations, I also discovered aspects of the Silent Generation that formed the person I am today. Growing up in rural America, on a farm with parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles of that generation, some of those good qualities were bound to rub off. Hard work, reverence, loyalty, responsibility, caring for your neighbor.

So what does that make me, a Silent Xer?

Washin’ the Old Way

Washin' the old way. Old recipe for washing cloths.

I found this in my files from roughly thirteen years ago when folks routinely forwarded little snippets of interest from around the Internet. I have no idea where it originated, but what follows here is the message exactly as I received it.

When we build our new home with designated laundry room, this will be framed and hanging over my washer.

Image courtesy of


Years ago a Kentucky grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe
for washing clothes. It appears below just as it was written, and despite the spelling, has a bit of philosophy. This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook (with spelling errors and all).

1. Bilt fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water.
2. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert.
3. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in bilin water.
4. Sort things, make 3 piles. 1 pile white, 1 pile colored, 1 pile work
britches and rags.
5. To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down
with bilin water.
6. Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and then
bile. Rub colored don’t bile, just rinch and starch.
7. Take things out of kettle with broomstick handle, then rinch, and
8. Hang old rags on fence.
9. Spread tea towels on grass.
10. Pore rinch water in flower bed.
11. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
12. Turn tubs upside down.
13. Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea,
sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

* * * Paste this over your washer and dryer and next time when you think
things are bleak, read it again and give thanks for your blessings!


Volunteers: A Silly Rhyme

Volunteers: A Silly Rhyme is a poem about volunteer plants.



Cheery sight these are to see

though not planted by me.


Popping heads through soil

not by my toil.


Reaching for sun

the volunteers come.


Taking up space

in the wrong place.


But I haven’t the heart

to tear them apart.


Yank from their warm bed

despite what gardeners have said.


So they stubbornly stay

to grow another day.


Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Unlikely Friends

Unlikely friends, cow and pig.

My brother snapped this picture, probably a decade ago by now, from my cousin’s farm, adjacent to our property. (Part of the original farm our grandfather owned.) My cousin, who shall remain nameless to protect his reputation, was so embarrassed of these two unlikely friends who spent so much time together.

Unlikely friends, pig nursing from cow.

This picture reveals why they became friends. My guess is after her own calf was separated from her, she adopted the pig to nurse off her and be her new baby. So the cow got her mothering needs met and the pig enjoyed fine dining.

I have kept the pics all these long years because, upon seeing them, they still make me smile.


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