I love planning things–trips, parties, what I’m going to say. The other day, I said to Bake (my hubs) that I hope I don’t die suddenly, because I’d rather have a chance to plan it well. OK, you get the picture.

red roses close up photography

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So — our 50th anniversary is coming up in January. Let me digress momentarily. That fact is a miracle all on its own. I’m from a divorced couple, Bake grew up with beatings that kept him from going to school some days–broken folks. I never expected, ever, to make it past our 14th year, but God. So, here we are, anticipating our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

The kids did us a bang up party for our 40th, so I’m thinking I can plan this one. Hipdewoops. We’re going to dance. And dance some more, to songs that put the lyrics to our life. We’re going to renew our vows. (Over that I am sweating blood because Bake can say some of the sweetest things to me, and I so want to do the same for him.) And we’re going to eat cake, and toast every good thing we can think of in life and marriage. People we love have already agreed to help us put this shindig together and now I am purusing (incredibly expensive) invitations.

Back in the day, 1969 to be exact, I planned my wedding on a shoestring. Bake was headed for Vietnam, so we had two weeks to get ready. I used the leftover of what my dad had paid for my dorm room to fund the wedding, since we would be moving into our $75 a month apartment, the second floor of these old people’s house (criminy, they must have been about our age now). Their only stipulation was that we take our shoes off when we came in at night.

Back then, we had a dorm friend who agreed to take photos. Tuesday, my buddy Leslee, graphic artist turned prize-winning photographer, will take our anniversary photo.

My mom made my dress, knee length. The dress I wear to our 50th will be floor length. I made my cake. Our pastor’s wife, Heather, is going to make us a cake on the theme of a rose garden, and it will be a doozy because she’s talented beyond belief.

At our wedding, sisters who sang well rendered One Hand One Heart. At our 50th party, my buddy of years will sing a beautiful song about soul mates, and her voice is honey.

My grandmother played the piano at our wedding, and my dad flipped the lights off because he thought candlelight would be nice. Good thing my grandmother could play by ear. At our 50th, there’ll be a sound guy.

Bake’s dad, pastor and heroic POW, officated at our wedding. He’s gone on to live with Jesus. Our pastor, Jim, who explains the Gospel better than anyone in the world, will introduce our vows at our 50th.

There were no written invitations to our wedding. The guy who ran the dorm cafeteria stood on a chair and invited everyone, and the little mission where I first understood the Gospel overflowed with folks. They were even looking in the windows on a snowy day. There may be no invitations to our 50th if I don’t find some that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

We decorated my wedding with pine trees, silk ribbon and a set of candlelabras. My family lived in the Sierras then. My bff, Georgia, who can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, will head the decorating team for our 50th.

The love Bake and I shared back in the day has blossomed and deepened, and I sure didn’t plan that. But I’m glad God did.


OK, get ready. I’m feeling hinky.

feet rain wet puddle

Photo by Alicia Zinn on

May, as in May I …

  •  have another frozen yogurt, please?
  •  watch Steel Magnolias every year?
  •  play football with my grandsons, or attend a graduation?
  •  go barefoot in your house?
  •  explain how to paint with oils? How about the Gospel?
  •  go outside and only come in when it’s dark?
  •  tell you a story?
  •  hug you?
  •  plant Swiss chard in your flower bed?
  •  smell your roses, or better yet, honeysuckle?
  •  eat corn on the cob like a typewriter?
  •  drive through the alfalfa fields sucking in the aroma?
  •  stroke your labrador retriever’s ears?
  •  show you out.



I discovered there’s a new word among the younger set this week. Funny how things happen.

I’m a woman blessed with dutch legs, short and sturdy. Sometimes they come in handy, but they didn’t do much for a little girl who wanted to be a ballerina. Mom said, “You can’t be a ballerina, your legs are too thick.” So I took a few tap dancing lessons. Not my style. The end, well not exactly.

I was telling this story to a group of ladies at my church the other night, and one of them said, “You have it made.”

“I do?”

“Yes. The new word for really great, terrific, awesome, is thicccc, and the more cccs you put on the end, the better it is.” She wrote it on a 3×5 for me, and I have posted it on the mirror.  I am thicccc, and I’ve come a long way, baby.

I Don’t Feel Serious

And when I don’t feel serious, I write stories that I don’t plot. They just …

What if I were thin and could get a wet suit on without major surgery, and I just happened to be on Kauai.

She slid her right arm into the wetsuit, grabbed her board, and ran down the beach to the water’s edge (and for a 68 year-old woman with a knee replacement, that’s sayin’ somethin’). She dropped the board into the surf.

A golden-skinned surf bum yelled from beyond the ten-foot breakers. “You don’t know what you’re doing, do you?”

She yelled back. “First time.”

“You don’t need a wet suit in Hawaii. Water’s warm. Sharks will take you for a fish.”

She peeled the wet suit off. Man, she could have done this, thin or not. Think of the frozen yogurt she’d missed for nothing.

The surf bum scanned her granny swimsuit. “Lady, this is Hawaii, you don’t have to wear all the clothes you’ve got.”

She pushed her board out to knee-deep water and lay down on its shiny surface. “Hey, if you’re so smart. Teach me to surf.”

“Start paddling. Where you from?”

She was coming into the breakers. “California.”

“Duck your head, make sure your mouth and eyes are closed, and just hold onto the board.”

The breaker passed over her.

“Keep paddling. North, not south, right?”


“California, north, not south.”

She paddled up next to where he sat on his board, legs hanging in the water. “Central, but the water’s pretty chilly.”

“Ok, first get on your knees.”

“I can’t, one of them’s artificial and won’t bend that far.”

“Man, you got a lot of guts, lady.”

“You only live once. How about if I just stand up?”

“OK, your funeral.”

She grabbed both sides of the board and hoisted herself up. And lost her balance and fell off. Eighteen times.

The surf bum laughed so hard he had to take a swim to keep from embarrassing himself. I won’t go into the details. (You may be wondering whether this story has a point, I certainly am.)

“If at first you don’t succeed.” She climbed back on the board, and lo and behold, wait that doesn’t sound like Hawaii, and hang loose, baby, she stood and didn’t fall, though she wobbled like a weeble.

“Hurry, hold your arms out for balance and bend your knees a little. You can do that, right?”

She really wanted to tell him what she thought of that remark, but she didn’t want the lesson to end abruptly. She stuck out both arms and kind of waved them the opposite direction of the way she felt she might fall. She stayed on the board and standing, until …

A wave rushed her high, and she was flying. Dude, she screamed toward shore, literally. A 68 year-old speed demon. “Kayabunga!”

The beach was nearly at her feet when she realized he hadn’t taught her how to dismount. So, she recalled when she learned to ride a bike as a child that she just ran into the neighbor’s Japanese gardener who happened to be pushing a lawn mower down the sidewalk  when she needed to stop. (Yeah, that’s a true story.) Maybe she could just run right off the board, hoping to land on the couple making out on beach towels.

The End (I be laughin’)



Once Upon a Time, in a Galaxy named for a Candy Bar …

Yes, children, it is time for a story. I love stories, don’t you? Must be the Irish in us. At any rate …

This young girl named Jenny who had dimples and auburn hair skipped toward the neighborhood grocery with $2.50 in her hand. The $2 was for milk her mother needed and the $.50 she could spend on whatever she wanted. Being a responsible youngster, she put the milk in her cart first. In those days you could enter the store in bare feet, but it was a bad idea. Somebody had spilled sticky something on the floor. Jenny felt it pull at the bottom of her feet as soon as she stepped into the liquor aisle.

She sat down and turned her foot up to look. What was that aroma? Her mother definitely would not like it, but she touched her finger to the bottom of her left foot and then to her tongue. Ummm, it tasted like caramel and something else. Jenny looked around her at the floor. There was quite a puddle of this stuff. She noticed where someone had shoved broken green glass under the counter. A label on a piece of the glass said, “ish Cream.” Jenny put her palm right into the sticky puddle on the floor and slurped up the yummy stuff, several times. After a while, she began to feel warm and the liquor aisle got a little fuzzy looking. She looked at all the bottles on the shelves to see whether she had enough money to get some Ish Cream, but she couldn’t find any.

About this time, a clerk came into the aisle. “Honey, are you all right?”

“I’m wondering whether you could show me where the Ish Cream is?” Why did her words slur?

“I’m not familiar with that product.”

“There’s a broken bottle of it there on the floor.”

“Oh, my dear, that’s Irish Cream. Here it is. But you aren’t 21, are you?”

She didn’t know what how old she was had to do with it, but clearly, she didn’t have enough money. What would be a good substitute? How about a Milky Way? She headed to the check-out stand, but her balance was off and she teetered into a display of pancake syrup. The bottles swayed crazily, there was a loud crash, bottle tops flew off the plastic bottles, and syrup went everywhere. Little kids, who had been obediently holding onto their mother’s carts, shouted with joy and came skidding into the syrup. The boys lay down and flipped themselves over and over, mouths open, tongues licking. Little girls sat at the fringe, scooping syrup into their palms. Mothers screamed and came running. Jenny tottered in the other direction.

The loudspeaker said, “Clean up on Aisle 4! 911!”

Jenny uturned around the end of Aisle 4 into Aisle 5. However, her trajectory was a little off and she ran smack into an old lady waiting for a prescription.

“Well! I never!” The old lady grabbed the end of the counter to steady herself, but missed and sent rolls of toilet paper flying through the air. One of them bopped a bald-headed man right on top of the head. Jenny had to laugh or explode. He picked up the toilet paper and threw it at the old lady, but he missed and hit a teenager with a nose ring. The battle was on. Jenny sneaked quietly away. She still had to figure out how to spend her $.50, after all. Her tummy was feeling a little woozy, so she nixed the idea of the Milky Way. How about a toy?

In the toy aisle a mother argued with her toddler about a toy he clutched.

The mother shook her finger at the child. “I told you, it has to be less than $1 or you can’t have it. That’s $3.50. Pick something else.”

“Me want this one.”

Mom attempted to wrench the toy from the toddler’s grasp, but instead her elbow flew back and cocked Jenny in the chin. Jenny did a face plant right under the spinwheels.

The toddler pointed at a spinwheel. “I like that one, too.”

The mother checked the price. “Good, I’ll trade you. Thank you, young lady, you just saved my life.” She merrily rolled her cart, toddler spinning the wheel, away, leaving Jenny to pick herself up. Jenny rolled to her left, but couldn’t find her balance. She rolled to her right, same thing. She rolled onto her belly, and just then her stomach heaved and she threw up on a clerk’s shoes. However, she did feel a little better and was able to get up.

Once she did, she noticed a young girl, maybe about her age, but thin and scraggly. Her hair hadn’t been washed in an eon, her clothes were dirty and torn, and her shoes didn’t have bottoms. Now you’re expecting Jenny to give the girl her $.50, aren’t you? That would tie up the story in a neat little bow, like on Facebook. However, that is not what happened. Jenny looked the girl up and down and said, “There’s some Irish Cream on the floor in the liquor aisle that will make you feel a lot better. I left you some.” Jenny bought a bag of Takis, and hot-footed it home to tell her story before the store could call.