One of my favorite blogger friends, woodlandgnome, has invited me to participate in the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge.  The rules are to post a photo a day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo.  It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph.  Oh yes,  and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.  Today I nominate Cindy of Photos from the Loony Bin.  This should be fun!


Magic SandalsMabel did not have a death wish.

She was getting old though and things were starting to show and tell.

First off people were opening doors for her as if she might be too weak to open them herself.

Then her doctor was the same age as her son and he had to keep “looking things up” to verify treatments.

Fast food clerks offered her senior citizen discounts on coffee.

Police excused her from speeding tickets if she said she was rushing to use a bathroom (from drinking too much coffee).

But that wasn’t all.

Mabel was actually beginning to witness the ravages of age.  It began with her hair which she was losing.  What used to be thick voluptuous locks were now thin limp strands.  And though she used to be a glossy brunette, she was now a dull mummy look-alike.

Then Mabel received a magnifying mirror for Christmas.  She could not remember who gave it to her (she was forgetting things too) but if she knew, she would now mail that person a poison pen letter.

She could see wrinkles!

And little hairs on her chinny chin chin.

And spots.   Many many many spots.

Mabel was depressed until she stumbled upon some magic slippers.

Actually they were magic sandals.

The sandals were magic because they made Mabel’s feet look young!

And every time she looked down at her feet she smiled.

“That’s the real me,” Mabel thought, and “I haven’t changed a bit.”

And her gait lengthened and her posture grew proud and tall, and she no longer lamented new spots and wrinkles.

She just looked down for the magic to begin.

“I want to go out feet first,” she said to herself.  And that was not just a death wish either.

It was really Mabel’s Living Wish that her new sandals would not fray or fade like the rest of her as they grew old.


Book Now Online

lady at computer clip artBill said we needed an oil change (before driving to Jessica’s graduation) and he finally remembered to call our friendly auto repair folks.  They were “closed from Thursday to Monday.”  Time was tight but  he waited and called again.

“We are all booked up today,” they said. “Bring it in and leave it overnight and we’ll work on it tomorrow.”

Ho hum.  Nothing new.  Frustrating.

But, that got me thinking.

I keep forgetting to call my hair dresser too, even though I am beginning to resemble Big Foot. 

And now it is late at night and the salon is closed.

I wish I could book an appointment right now, while I am on the computer writing this post.

Or I wish I could have done it earlier from my mobile phone, when we were out to dinner.

But of course, that’s just dreaming  because after hours around here, everything in town is closed.

Ah – but it turns out, I can book appointments after hours.

I can actually do all that.

Or I could – if my favorite businesses had online appointment options. booknow button

Actually, there is a world of instant online appointment scheduling out there.   Many businesses across the country offer it, and many people like me are enjoying it.

Only I’m not enjoying it yet!

I did find an interesting site/service for business owners though, called ScheduleYa.

I’m not a business owner of course, but I sure would like to share this site with my hairdresser.

It’s a Book Now system offered to local businesses anywhere in the country – for free.

The ScheduleYa website promises it only takes minutes for a business to set up an online Book Now button for easy appointment scheduling.

The thing is, where I live, near the magical town of Lexington, Virginia, most businesses do not have online reservations.

Do you have online booking options in your town?

Have you ever used a Book Now button to make an online appointment?

The whole thing is new to me, but I know I wish we had it.

So, I plan to share ScheduleYa (via this post, FB, and Twitter) with some of the places around here that require appointments:

  • beauty salons,
  • massage therapists
  • reflexologists
  • chiropractors,
  • pool maintenance companies,
  • electricians,
  • plumbers,
  • lawn service contractors,
  • auto repair shops,
  • local realtors,
  • dentists.

Maybe they will check out the free ScheduleYa option and will see the great value in service to their customers, a time-saver addition for their staff, and even a marketing tool for their businesses.

And maybe if only one of my favorites begins, the others will follow and we will all “be in business”.

A working ScheduleYa “Book Now” site:

JBC Tire -ScheduleYaSample


As long as our storms are sans lightning and thunder, I love the rain.  A little thunder and I head for the closet.

I love the sound of rain though – the harder the better, and the sweet clean scents afterward, and the way plants perk up so happily refreshed.

Our Hosta in the front garden has grown to enormous proportions the way certain things do around here in rural Virginia.

Due to black thumbs, if we plant something, our expectations are minimal.   We expect an early demise.   But if it surprises us and actually lives, we know it will grow by mega leaps and  never stop.

Jack of the Bean Stalk would feel right at home here, and I’m sure he was observing when we had to climb a step ladder to trim a little burning bush that  had grown so tall we couldn’t see the top anymore.

And now the Hosta (which lives right next to that gargantuan Rhododendron)  is the size of a Volkswagon!  Well yes, the Hosta does need dividing – someday.

Her leaves are REALLY big and catch the  raindrops for a sparkly show even when the rain has stopped.

I am experimenting again with a free online  photo editing program.  It wasn’t really raining but I tried that effect and the caption was added that way too.

The raindrops are real though.

More storms expected tonight or tomorrow to keep my world emerald green.

I love the rain.

Don’t you?

3 Grandgirls II

D Jess n BIt was an auspicious ending to four years of dedicated study/parties/friendships/and fun.  Bill and I, our son, and our three grandgirls celebrated the night before with dinner at the Sheridan Livery Inn in downtown Lexington, Virginia.

Then yesterday Jess graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VA Tech)!

The Graduate

We all staggered awake at 6:00AM to get Jess to the stadium field on time (by 9:00 AM).  As it turned out, 6:00 wasn’t early enough.  It was stop and go traffic backed up for miles, all inching toward the same parking lot.  At 9:05 Jess jumped ship and walked ran the rest of the way.

Would we miss the ceremony?  Talk about stress!

Safely parked, we then attacked the bleachers of Mt. Everest (I mean Lane Stadium).   In a high altitude breathing vacuum, we managed to find seats high above “the madding crowd” where, surprisingly, natural breathing eventually returned.

We actually spotted Jess and her cap in the thousands of graduates below.

Can you see her in this crowd too?  She’s the one in the white cap – front row right across from the boy/or maybe a girl in jeans.1st white cap across from man in jenes

Anyway – Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, gave the commencement address.  I thought he was truly inspiring as he urged graduates to positively change the world with open minded interpretation of technology and  innovative thinking.

Miraculously, after all was said and done, we were able to find each other again in an atmosphere of general chaos.

It was then I knew what Mr. Schmidt meant about changing the world.  Our family would never have connected without cell phone communication.   And Bill and I would never have found our way out of the parking lot without a GPS system in the car.

But Congratulations again Jess on all your accomplishments.  We wish you well as you head for the graduate school program in Human Resource Management at Michigan State University!  I have a feeling you will change the world.

We were a tired crew arriving back in Lexington yesterday afternoon.  Hungry too.  But it was a beautiful day filled with beautiful smiles and a whole lot of pride.Kitchen Rampage

Animated Visiting


Our Rhododendron is 26 years old.

When Bill and I first moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia the little “Rhodie” was a house warming gift from our friends, Terry and Barbara.  An avid gardener, Barbara actually planted it in a corner of the front yard.  “It will be protected there,” she said.

Barbie was right because the Rhododendron eventually grew and bloomed and surprised us with some amazing displays.  And then she burgeoned into a giant beauty, almost touching the eaves of the house and spreading wide and well beyond her expected corner boundaries.

“Time to cut things back,” I thought,  “Maybe with a trim she will thrive and be renewed.”  And though I really hated the idea, I clipped away to slim her down.

Rhodie’s big displays promptly stopped.

We were lucky to see one or two flowers in a season.

She must not have liked my pruning because season after season there were only one or two flowers on display.

She was on strike, so I decided to leave her alone – no more pruning, only watering and mulch.

Years later and Rhodie has grown to enormous proportions once again.  She is reaching for the eves and spreading beyond her rightful place, and she is big and fat and happy!  And just look at all the gorgeous flowers!  But is there such a thing as too big?

Rhodie Top Good one

Help!  So many of you,  my blogger friends, are extraordinary gardeners.

To prune or not to prune.  That is the question.

Rhodie Close Up

Rhodie 2


All Our Dreams

Father & Daughter

It seems like yesterday a child arrived 

and my son was smitten with great pride

Look, a moment captured,

when all our dreams were in their eyes.

She is our oldest grandgirl, Jess

now graduating from Virginia Tech.

Graduate school is the next step

and our dreams are in her eyes.



2015 Bouquet

Here came a beautiful glorious floral bouquet

to help me celebrate Mother’s Day.

Am I the only one who can see

everything this means to me?

Thank you!


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