Marriage Old Fashioned? Just Throw a Kegger!

I have just been told that my marriage of 35 years is old and obsolete! Wow! I was also informed that the marriages “now days” are shorter no longer than 7 to 11 years. I was shocked to say the least. If you are going into this short term then delete the vows “Till death do us part”. I am in my marriage for the long haul. I am growing old with the man I love, my BEST FRIEND.

I recently read and article in CNB News “First-time marriages: probably 20 to 25 percent have ended in divorce on average,”  according to Shaunti Feldhahn in an article written by Paul Strand http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2014/May/Divorce-Shocker-Most-Marriages-Do-Make-It/ . This is much lower than we are led to believe. I have been told it is as high as 50%. So glad to see it is much lower.

So if this relationship you’re in is for the short term then why have the expensive dress, cake flowers, wedding and reception? Just throw a kegger and put up a banner that says “Together until we find someone better”, gifts optional!

No matter what the statistics are and what the naysayers are chanting, I am in my marriage for the long term, say 200 hundred years or more!

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What in the world is a “Play Date”?

I hear parents talking about “Play Dates” for Susie and Bobby.  What in the world is a “Play Date”? 

When I was young we did not have to book a play date with another kid.  We walked across the street or next door and played with Billy, Joyce or Yolanda.  It was spontaneous, it was fun and we had many adventures.  Our moms always knew were we were.  All they had to do was lean out the back door and yell our names.  If we didn’t hear them one of the neighbors did and let us know to get our butts home, pronto!

Our “block” was five miles long and we use to ride our bikes around that “block” at least once a week.  My sisters and I would pack a few PP&J sandwiches and some Kool-Aid and take all morning or afternoon exploring the farmers fields, the woods and some of the small streams.   My sisters and I would crawl through culverts and play in the mud!  We would even stop and visit some of the folks that attended the same church, like Roger and Gladys or George and Dorothy.  They loved kids and we were part of their family too, so yes they spoiled us.  Our parents never had to worry about us.  They knew where we were and knew the neighbors along the way would keep an eye out for us.

I feel sorry for the kids today, they have no imagination and their day is planned for them with “Play Dates” and computer games.

Go outside, smell the fresh air and get a little dirt on those designer clothes!

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My Summer at Camp

With a title like this, you would think that this was a writing assignment for a kid between the ages of 6 and 16 during their first week back at school. Instead this little rambling came from a 50ish adult. Yes, I spent my summer at camp!

It all started when the high school where I was working laid some of the staff off because of a budget crunch, this was on Monday. The next morning, Tuesday, I drove up to the mountains just outside Prescott, Arizona. My daughter, a counselor at the camp, had forgotten to take a copy of her shot records and besides I now had plenty time on my hands and heavens knows Prescott is much cooler than Phoenix any time of the year. When I arrived at camp it was a nice cool 72 degrees and I, being a long time Phoenician felt a chill in the air. Ah, how nice!

I had timed my arrival to coincide with my daughters break. She showed me the camp, which involved lots of hiking up and down steep paths as this camp is on the side of a mountain. She was quick to point out that I had already broken two camp rules, no sandals and always, always carry water. Of course being the Phoenician I was, I had on sandals (it was summer after all) and carrying not a drop of water. She then took me to the camp director’s office, introduced me and left. Uh oh, something was up. The director sat me down asked me about my tour of the camp and then attacked! She understood I was unemployed and surprise; there was an opening at the camp as the Business Manager. Their current Business Manager had just given her notice and walked off the job and they needed my help. My daughter and her cousin, who was also a counselor at camp, thought I would be wonderful as the business manager, so they conspired, prior to my timely arrival, with the Camp Director. I said yes to the job, as I thought it would be a great opportunity to spend quality time with my daughter. Little did I know this was not the camping experience of my childhood dreams?

By Sunday, I was packed with all the essentials (chocolate two bite brownies and Starbuck’s Frappuccino), I kissed my husband, cat and turtle good-by and I was on my way to camp for the summer. When you think “summer camp” you think of lazy days having fun, taking naps, hiking and sitting around the campfire singing. Well, did I have a lot to learn? By the end of my first hour in camp I was handed my job description shown to a table in the lodge and was busy checking in 120 girls between the ages of 6 and 17. I hadn’t even had time to find my cabin or unpack. The cool weather of the past week was gone, really gone. The temperature was approaching the mid-nineties, the air conditioning in the lodge wasn’t working and I was sweating bullets. Not only did I have 32 staff member names to learn but an additional 120 girls. Well I would never learn all the girls’ names at each camp for the rest of the summer but I will never forget some of them.

Dinner the first night was quite an adventure. Counselors sat at the head and the foot of each table of eight girls with the idea to keep them orderly. Even before it was our turn to line up for our food I had learned that one of the girls wanted to go home as we did not have Starbucks coffee and another little girl announced her brother had been kicked out of three high schools. More information than I needed to know. Each new group of girls was like this, eager to share family secrets.

Your usual job is eight to ten hour days with some overtime. Not camp. We were “on” 24 x 7 through the whole summer, whether it was a three day camp or two weeks. There were few breaks and when you did get that precious break you spent that quality time taking a shower or catching much needed sleep as those little darlings usually kept you up all night.

We had little girls that spit up just for attention. We had little girls that were genuinely home sick and then we had the pretenders. The “pretenders” had “sprained” ankles or wrists and they whined and cried buckets but when they thought you weren’t looking. Then, what a miracle, they were just fine, running and jumping around, having all kinds of fun. I for one, have never before witnessed miracles such as these.

During our two-week long camp, which I have decided is too long for most kids especially when the parents fail to tell the child it is a two-week camp, we were graced with The Drama Queen!! Now she wasn’t in drama, she was in dance, but she was definitely THE drama queen. Everything that happened to her was tragic, sad, or devastating. And if you didn’t notice her performance the first time, she was more than glad to do her whole act all over again. Her counselors and I decided that she would definitely be an actress when she grew up and she would make some poor director pay dearly.

Because I was the newest member of the team, the other staff members delighted in telling me the camp ghost stories. This was ok until my cabin flooded because the water heater sprung a leak and of course I was put in the Big House, which was rumored to be haunted. My first night in the Big House was something I hope to never go through again. Right before I went to sleep, I heard echoing laughter, OK, I was sure that could be explained some how. Then after I did go to sleep I had a nightmare where someone was trying to push me out of my cot. I couldn’t wake up to stop the nightmare and when I did, I was terrified enough that I put myself into a panic attack. The next day I begged the resident manager to fix the water heater so I could move back into my cozy little cabin. He, by the way, was one of the people delighting in telling me about how the camp was haunted. But being a great guy, he fixed the water heater and I went back to my ghost-free cozy little cabin.

By the end of the summer I was five pounds thinner, this was from hiking up and down the mountain to and from meals and for once in my life I had a tan. I had also learned that a golf cart when going at full speed and hitting a bump just right would leave the ground and become airborne! I also now had 30 more daughters I adored and will miss and always remember very fondly.

We never got that campfire. For most of the camp we were in a draught and the last two weeks of camp it rained so much the wood was too wet to burn. The only s’mores we ate came out of the camp microwave oven. I learned lots of new songs; and some of the music and words will haunt me till I die. I hear them over and over in my head. I did learn a lot, I did have fun, and yes I would do it again, even with the ghosts.

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DIY Make Your Own Black Ink

For those die hard re-enactor fans, here are two ways to make black ink for your feather quills!

Making Black Ink

  • 1/2 tsp lamp black (which you can buy or can make by holding

a plate over a candle and collecting the soot or from collecting

other char)

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp gum arabic
  • 1/2 cup honey

Mix together the egg yolk, gum arabic, and honey. Stir in the lamp black. This will produce a thick paste which you can store in a sealed container. To use the ink, mix this paste with a small amount of water to achieve the desired consistency.

Making Charcoal Ink

  • Barbecue grill or metal fire pit
  • Kitchen scale
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Distilled water
  • White vinegar
  • Glass jar
  • Glass bowl
  • Wire brush or metal whisk

1 Burn a handful of charcoal briquettes in a barbecue grill or metal fire pit until they turn to ash. Wait until the ash has cooled completely. Use a kitchen scale to measure 1 oz. of charcoal ash. Place 1 oz. of charcoal ash in the glass bowl.

2 Measure out 1 oz. of distilled water and add it to the bowl containing the charcoal ash.

3 Stir the charcoal mixture with a wire brush or metal whisk. As the water and ash combine, the mixture will become very dark. Continue to mix it until the clumps of ash disappear. Be careful to not splash the ink because it will stain your clothing or counter top.

4 Add one drop of white vinegar to the mixture and carefully stir it in. The vinegar adds stability to the ink and makes it more permanent once it has dried on paper.

5 Pour the ink into a glass jar that has a tight-fitting lid. The ink will last longer if it isn’t exposed to too much light. Keep your glass jar in a dark place, or you can wrap paper around the jar and tape it to hold it on tight.

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My Best Friend Forever!

BFF

My Best Friend in all the world is a girl/lady (I still think of us as girls)  I grew up with in a small town in the Mid-West.  We laughed and cried together and we even shared a boy friend, once.  Then I moved across the country, but that did not end our friendship.

It has been many years and I have changed and so has she.  Some would think because of the differences in our lives that we would have grown apart.  That has never happened.

I have taken a whole different path and she has stayed steady on hers.  Even though I have gone a different way in my beliefs she still loves me for what I am and never has she been disapproving.

In some ways we are still the same; husbands, children and grandkids.  But in other ways we are like night and day and still she is my Best Friend.  Sometimes we don’t talk for long, long months, but when we do it is like we were just together yesterday.

I love you My Best Friend Forever! (she knows who she is)

 “Best friends are people you know you don’t need to talk to every single day. You don’t even need to talk to each other for weeks, but when you do, it’s like you never stopped talking.” Unknown

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Brain Freeze

Brain Freeze

This morning, while brushing my teeth, I could think of a dozen topics I wanted to write about.  I could even write them in my head.  They were glib and sometimes profound.  AND the words flowed…..in my head.

So when I finally sat down and faced a blank sheet of paper (yes I still write on paper, no technology for me)  my mind froze!  The space between my ears was once again One Big Empty.

Yes I have thought about carrying around my journal for those moments when I am brilliant, but you can carry just so much in your purse before it gets so heavy your arm drops off.  I have been know to write ideas while at a traffic light.   I had a friend that use to write while she was driving her car.  WOW I am betting that is more dangerous than texting.  (Please don’t text and drive my friends.)

So here I am once again with I am sure lots of good ideas in my head and the words are stuck somewhere!

“writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski

Musings on a Hot Day

It’s hot here, then again Arizona is usually hot.  April through October you can count on it being hot.  But seriously I am tired of temperatures over 110 degrees every day.

I haven’t always lived in Arizona.  I came from Ohio, a small farming community when I was in high school where you actually had four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.  Here in Arizona you have Mildly Hot and Really Stinking Hot.

We moved her when I was in high school and I left behind my boyfriend and my best friend Judy.  Judy was and is a great and understanding friend.  She is not judgmental and was my friend even though I was on the shy side and geeky!  I envied (I was actually jealous) of Judy’s ability to make friends and talk to just about anyone.  Groups of people then and now scare me.  I would rather be making my journals, on the computer or reading a good book.

But I am rambling.  Yes although Arizona is HOT, really HOT  this is home and I love it here.  Think I will stay!

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