Archive for May, 2014


The Real Memorial Day…

Memorial Day

For those born after the 1960s this little statement may come as a shock: Today is really Memorial Day. Yes, today. Once upon a time (before 1968) Memorial Day was always celebrated on May 30th (at least in northern states). This little factoid was drummed into my head because it was part of an inside family joke. My dad, the naval officer, knew he would forget his wedding anniversary and thus, chose (with the permission of his bride–aka Mom) Memorial Day as the day to get married. Unfortunately, for Dad, the U.S. government chose to make Memorial Day the last Monday of the month in 1968.

If Mom and Dad were alive today, they would be celebrating anniversary # 72. They made it to # 61 in 2003, but Mom passed away a short time after that final anniversary. They accomplished that despite the odds. Both of them grew up in the Great Depression. Mom became a war bride, marrying her handsome naval chaplain less than 6 months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Dad traveled the world at the behest of the U.S. Navy and was assigned to some significant posts–becoming the chaplain for an all-African American Seabee unit (a rarity for a white officer in those days) and ministering to those who were on troop transport ships going from Seattle to Korea in the Korean War. In the former post he discovered that many soldiers in the unit were unable to read. Dad, who always maintained that God loved everyone, took it upon himself to teach them to read.

Meanwhile back at home, Mom had more gas rationing stamps because of her husband’s status in the military. She took it upon herself to take people to the doctor, to the store, to church and for other errands just so they wouldn’t have to walk. Some of her “hitchhikers” were pregnant military wives themselves and in Washington, PA (where Mom lived in the beginning) where hills are frequent and steep, this was a real help.

When Dad finally made it into the reserves in the mid-1950s he resumed his studies and while working full-time, managed to acquire his Ph.D. in Christian education. This, too, was a feat, since Dad had grown up in a humble country home with no indoor plumbing. Mom was always his faithful, supportive wife and helped out at the churches he served in whatever way was needed. If the church needed a Sunday School teacher, she taught. If it needed a President for the women’s group, she served. If they needed an organist, she played. If they needed a choir director, she led. One of my earliest memories is of my mom (who would tell you readily that she had no artistic talent) painting a brightly colored-mural on the walls of an elementary classroom in our church. Such things were rather novel in those days. When it was time to pay for two boys to go to college, Mom returned to work part-time to help meet the additional financial need. But, home was not neglected–she taught me to cook and clean and always had a “menu” with instructions for dinner ready for me when I came home from school. She even got one of those new-fangled microwaves (Anyone remember Amana Radaranges with an actual dial?) to make the dinner preparations a little easier for me.

Even after Dad retired and they moved to San Antonio, Dad still preached at various churches when the minister was on vacation or had a family funeral to attend. He managed to pass the IRS tax preparer’s exam and helped people prepare their tax returns each year, often without any compensation. He converted the Navy Retirement Center’s newsletter to a computerized process–again, a rarity for retired military personnel at that time.

Mom always kept her home immaculately and one afternoon, late in the day, she was informed that a military couple needed to marry before the groom needed to “ship out” the next day. Mom quickly put away the Sunday paper, changed into dressy attire, lit some candles and created a nice ambiance for the couple in less than an hour. The couple was absolutely stunned at how Mom made her home special just for them.

In between these activities Mom and Dad still managed to spoil my three children as they grew up. Mom would “hide” toys around her house for my kiddos to find when they visited and made “napping nests” for them on her living room floor out of blankets and couch cushions. Dad was always willing to cart them off to museums, movies, Sea World and Fiesta Texas when they were around. A child’s wading pool was always in the back yard for the early years.

The examples of “servanthood” and sacrifice go on for “miles” for this couple and I am proud to call them my parents. So, if my eyes mist up a bit a few days after our nation celebrates Memorial Day, you’ll have to forgive me. May 30th will always be my Memorial Day. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Monday’s Post: What’s the definition of this week’s word?

You Might Also Like: The Anniversary; Eulogy for a Brother; We’re Still Losing this War; Why I Stopped Writing; and Another Kind of WOW


Lessons Learned from A Family Vacation…


Warning: War and Peace was shorter. 

I just finished a trek to the lovely state of Washington with my hubby, daughter, the DSL, my brother-in-law and my father-in-law. While I adore both my own family and the one I married into, there are always little surprises along the way, even though I’ve been to this destination before and have been on vacations with this same group of people.  Here’s what I learned this time:

1. I don’t pack well under pressure.

2. The final episode of Survivor is more important to watch than packing.

3. I proved # 1 true yet again.

4. When # 1 occurs, I always forget something. Even if I make a detailed packing list.

5. I forgot my PJs.

6. Workout clothes make a good substitute for PJs.

7. I worked out once while on vacation.

8. I wore street clothes to work out because I was too lazy to change into workout clothes.

9. Glad I packed 5 sets of workout clothes.

10. TSA pre-check status rocks.

11. The hubby who surprised me with a TSA pre-check status rocks even more.

12. When going through TSA pre-check, I have flashbacks to trips I took in the 1990s.

13. I have more circles under my eyes than I had in the 1990s.

14. I’m pretty sure TSA put those circles under my eyes after 9/11.

15. I don’t respond to TSA instructions well under pressure.

16. Did I mention I like TSA pre-check?

17. We would super-glue the DSL’s belt to his pants to help him through security, but TSA wasn’t laughing when we suggested this.

18. Someone needs to get TSA agents a sense of humor.

19. Belts to hold up pants are lethal weapons and that’s why no one wears them in Seattle. See # 17.

20. I didn’t know there was such a diversity of boxer shorts in Seattle. See # 19.

21. Anyone under the age of 30 in Seattle shops at Goodwill and purposely puts polka-dots, paisley and plaid together. Color coordination optional.

22. If I go through Pike Place Market 10,000 times, I will still feel like I’ve never seen it all.

23. Beecher’s Cheese Mariachi Mac ‘n Cheese is da bomb. Next time I’m getting the large, economy-sized helping even if 4 wheelbarrows are required to carry me out of the place afterwards. Even if I have to make use of 1 set of workout clothes for something other than PJs.

24. The beautiful bouquets of flowers at the Market are way under-priced. And yet I walked away empty-handed because I had no place to put them.

25. # 24 is cruel and unusual punishment.

26. The Underground Tour never disappoints even if the new tour guide is…well…new.

27. Did you know “Lincoln” was a superhero and had a cape and everything? See # 26.

28. In the 25 years plus since my last Underground Tour my allergies have made it nearly impossible for me to go on the Underground Tour. Grr.

29. Pioneer Square is still one of the prettiest parts of Seattle.

30. I can play in a wind-up toy store for a solid half an hour. Maturity went right out the window.

31. Chocolate pasta and sweet potato orzo are just too difficult to resist in bringing home in crumbs in my suitcase.

32. The flying fish never disappoint, even if no fish are flying.

33. I am in awe of tea sets that are in the shapes of peacocks, phoenix (What is the plural of phoenix??? Phoeni? Phoenixes???), hummingbirds and other assorted fowl.

34. I’m not in awe of the price of # 33….at least not enough to bring it home in pieces in my suitcase.

35. O’Asia is not an Irish Asian restaurant, but the food there will make you feel lucky to visit.

36. When forced to choose between an interactive music museum and a world-renown glass artist, MaryAnn picks the glass artist.

37. When the hubby is forced to choose between an interactive music museum and a world-renown glass artist, the hubby picks the interactive music museum.

38. Neither one of us felt cheated.

39. Dale Chihuly is a genius.

40. The Hamilton Middle School string orchestra and jazz choir will make you wish your kids were raised in the Seattle public school system.

41. I don’t do Kenyan curry well.

42. I do potato chips and yogurt much better.

43. The daughter is as giddy as a kid at Christmas when taking new forms of transportation. Let’s just say Ms. Master’s Graduate liked the ferry ride.

44. We adore the houses on the shore at Bainbridge Island. We doubt the owners of these houses adore the ferry still coming into the nearby dock at 2 am.

45. The drive from Bainbridge to Sequim is breathtaking.

46. MaryAnn needs to quit saying the phrase, “Pretty, pretty.”

47. When the hubby needs a GPS holder, he recruits his wife.

48. The GPS holder has a lot of arthritis that doesn’t do well holding a GPS for 2 hours straight.

49. Sequim is pronounced, “Skwim.” I’ll remember that the next time I order my skinny latte.

50. There’s no fish and chips like the fish and chips prepared by a Kiwi.

51. They do xeriscaping in Sequim. Ummm….why? Is there a shortage of lawn mowers or something?

52. I lost count of the number of lead changes in the Indy 500 at lap 50.

53. I lost count of the number of drivers leading laps at lap 100.

54. I shouldn’t go 7 days without an allergy shot.

55. I went 9 days without an allergy shot.

56. If I go 9 days without an allergy shot, I should bring my Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Beta Carotene with me.

57. I get terse when I forget Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Beta Carotene.

58. There is nothing quite like fried raspberry cheesecake when I forget Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Beta Carotene.

59. The worst cup of coffee I had in “Starbucks Central” was in Seattle.

60. They don’t even give you pretzels on a 4 hour flight anymore. What is my $ 50 for a checked bag going for???

61. The EPA has decided that having a non-oil smelling airplane is good for my health. I now know what the $ 50 is going for.

62. I think I will invite the EPA to fly with me the next time I go to Seattle.

63. I will not invite the EPA to go through TSA pre-check with me.

64. When you get 5 seasoned fisher persons together with 2 rookies. the rookies will score the big fish.

65. If you want to avoid starvation, go with the rookies.

66. Because of # 65, I’m now divorced.

67. Did I mention I like TSA pre-check?

68. There’s no place like home and still no better family.

Friday’s Post: The Real Memorial Day…

You Might Also Like: Lessons Learned from and Lessons Learned from 7 Years on Facebook




Word of the Week: mien

dictionary picture

Howdy, Word Lovers! Last weeks’s WOW was risible. Risible means, according to Merriam-Webster Onlinedeserving to be laughed at or very silly or unreasonable. If that is the case, then my whole life is probably risible. Today’s word is mien. My years in French class are ringing in my ears for this one. Here goes for definition guesses for mien:

mien: 1. when I’ve been very, very good 2. the French way to spell Mayan 3. a very fancy average

What’s your guess for mien?

Wednesday’s Post: Lessons Learned from a Family Vacation…

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: risible; Word of the Week: pettifogger; Word of the Week: hoise; and Word of the Week: orotund 


Slow Reader Friday: Killing Jesus…

stone cross

Book Club Lovers: Go here to see the Book Club Selection for June!

Warning: Get 2 beverages first.

Because of the writing hiatus, few MIP readers will probably remember that the January MIP Book Club Selection was Bill O’ Reilly’s and Martin Dugard’s Killing JesusWritten like a reporter on the scene, Killing Jesus reads like a fast-paced, yet meticulously-detailed and intriguing tale. Unlike many Christians today, I chose not to go and see The Passion of the ChristI felt I wouldn’t be able to handle the outright gore of Jesus’ death. After reading Killing Jesusthat was the right decision to make!

I had some reservations about reading this book and in making it the January MIP Book Selection. First, both of the authors are Roman Catholics. Would they rely too heavily upon Roman Catholic tradition and books from the Apocrypha? Would they try to “convert” people to Catholicism? While I’m sure some of the Apocrypha is factual, the books were determined too unsubstantiated to be a part of the Protestant Bible by scholars well-versed in all matters of that era of human history. Second, this book would follow (on the Book Club List) another book talking extensively about Catholicism, And Then There Were NunsI feared that my readers might think this was my only area of interest! And lastly, Bill O’Reilly can make me rather uncomfortable with his obvious confrontational grandstanding and self-promotion.

I shouldn’t have worried. At the outset of the book, the authors clearly admit that they are both Roman Catholics, but they do not wish to convert anyone to some “spiritual cause”–they merely want to tell the reader as much factual truth about Jesus’ death as they can possibly find. At the end of the book, their very detailed notes about their research and sources show that they did consult multiple scholarly works both recently and in the past to make sure they were truthfully reporting what is known about his death. Yes, they do rely, rather heavily in my opinion, on Josephus’ book in the Apocrypha, but keep in mind that, unlike their previous books, Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincolnthey were unable to consult, journals, newspapers, biographies and other more modern sources for information! I just choose to discount some of Josephus’ accounts to a small degree as a Protestant. If anything, their sources are now on my reading list, based on their own impressions of the sources! And as a kid I was raised in Indiana, so my readers will have to forgive me if I am sometimes on a “Catholic bent.” I was surrounded by Catholicism in a state that is home to Notre Dame University!

Instead of giving you quotations today, I will list some facts I learned from Killing Jesus that I didn’t previously know. And as a preacher’s kid, that is rather remarkable, in and of itself!

1. Herod suffered from lung disease, kidney problems, worms, a heart condition, sexually transmitted diseases, gout and gangrene. He was so disabled he couldn’t even leave his palace.

2. Caesar’s death was so vicious that the senators stabbed each other.

3. Marc Antony was a pedophile.

4. The roads to Jerusalem were so dangerous that the pilgrims going there for Passover traveled in huge groups to protect themselves from criminals.

5. Crucifixion was such a bad way to die that Roman citizens could not be executed this way.

6. The Roman teams of soldiers taking care of crucifixions were vigorously trained on how to make the condemned suffer the longest, most agonizing death possible.

7. As part of this torturous process, the condemned’s legs are broken and the condemned person would most likely wind up urinating and defecating in full view of those watching.

8. The taxation of Jewish citizens was so high that many citizens suffered from malnutrition.

9. Joseph’s death most likely occurred sometime between Jesus’ 13th and 30th birthdays, making him head of the household and responsible for supporting his mother and siblings.

10. Tiberias often swam with “tiddlers,” naked young boys who “nibbled” between Tiberias’ legs.

11. Pilate’s appointment to Judea was not considered a “cushy assignment.”

12. During Passover, the Temple courts would have reeked from the smell of blood from the slaughtered animals needed for the ritual sacrifices that had to be offered.

13. The 4 million Passover visitors meant big bucks to all involved in this huge industry of supplying unblemished sacrificial animals. The “industry” not only involved money changers and livestock providers, but also the Temple aristocracy and Roman leaders of the area.

14. Tiberias actually liked the Jews and scolded Pontius Pilate for behavior that invoked a riot.

15. The behaviors that actually were more troubling to the “industry” were not Jesus’ so-called blasphemous words, but his rampages through the Temple, overturning tables of coins and letting out the animals that were there to be bought for the sacrifices. And he did this twice!

16. The only reason to try and trip up Jesus as he preached was to find a way to be able to execute him without it looking as if money was the motive!

17. The people sent to trip up Jesus were considered very knowledgeable about Torah law and had so much “intel” that they often beat Jesus to his next destination.

18. Caiaphas allowed Pontius Pilate to loot the Temple funds.

19. Because of Passover, the timing of Jesus’ arrest, trial and death became a huge problem.

20. 30 silver coins was the equivalent of 4 months’ wages. Think how that might sound to a man who has been malnourished for a long time.

21. Each crucifixion death squad was composed of 5 men, including an exactor mortis who oversaw it.

22. One can actually sweat blood and Jesus did.

23. High priests were appointed for life so that the money pipeline flowed unimpaired. Thus, Annas, a high priest, was wealthy and powerful.

24. Everything about Jesus’ trial and death was illegal.

25. One member of the death squad held an abacus to count the lashes given to a prisoner.

26. In some ways Jesus’ crucifixion was much less severe than other crucifixions, yet Jesus died in a shorter amount of time than most condemned to this death.

27. Usually, a crucified person would be left on the cross for days so that wild animals can eat the deceased or so the body decomposes before everyone.

28. Deceased bodies were kept in tombs for a year. The bones were then placed in a stone jar.

29. Trees were carried in from many miles to handle the large numbers of crucifixions.

30. Cleopatra died from opium and hemlock, not from an asp’s bite.

31. Jesus had 4 brothers: James, Joseph, Judas and Simon and several sisters.

32. The dove appearing at Jesus’ baptism appeared after his baptism and was a real dove.

33. Women in Jesus’ time were considered the equals of men.

34. Legend suggests that Jesus’ exactor mortis became a Christian.

35. Jesus may have called Simon “the Rock” to poke fun at his unstable personality traits.

36. Jesus was 36 when crucified and probably was born in March during lambing season.

So, if you have read Killing Jesuswhat stood out to you?

Monday’s Post: WOW time!

You Might Also Like: Slow Reader Friday: And Then There Were Nuns; Slow Reader Friday: Undaunted; and Slow Reader Friday: Life Interrupted


The Odd Days of May…

Mother Goose?

Mother Goose?

Warning: Get a beverage first.

Normally, I would do an “Odd Days” post at the beginning of the month, but with my winter writing hiatus, I’m a little behind. So, since I just know you can wait no longer (yeah, right) for my commentary on the weird holidays of May, here goes:

May 1st – Mother Goose Day -This holiday celebrates fairy tales and does not celebrate goosing mothers, right?

May 2nd – Space Day – I’m sure we’re supposed to be focused on NASA, etc. on this day, but my mind fervently wants to put “Cadet” between Space and Day here

May 3rd – Lumpy Rag Day – I’m so relieved they finally made this a holiday–Smooth rags are just no help at all.

May 4th – National Candied Orange Peel Day – Since most December fruitcakes are composed of this stuff, why is it celebrated in May???

May 5th – Oyster Day – Since I’m not too fond of oysters, could we insert “Cracker” between Oyster and Day??? If so, I’m in.

May 6th – No Diet Day – Probably because I ate too many oyster crackers on May 5th.

May 7th – National Tourism Day – The ever-traveling hubby despises any day that encourages tourists to be tourists–just visit any airport from May to September and you’ll understand why.

May 8th – No Socks Day – Texans stopped wearing sox in April. Thus, this one must be for Midwesterners. It’s way too early for the northerners who might, emphasis on might, get to go sockless by the 4th of July.

May 9th – Lost Sock Memorial Day – Shouldn’t Lost Sock Memorial Day come before No Socks Day just naturally??? And memorial suggests the sock is not only lost, but also dead. I didn’t know that socks could be alive. But that just gave me an idea for a Mother Goose fairy tale.

May 10th – Clean Up Your Room Day – Because your mother is tired of your offensive alive socks all over your room

May 11th – Twilight Zone Day (Actually this is the correct labeling for May 9th–either that or having Star Wars Day on May 4th made the Twilight Zone fans a little jealous.)

May 12th – Fatigue Syndrome Day – Please note that this day came right after Mother’s Day.

May 13th – Frog Jumping Day – Is this the only day frogs should jump? Are you supposed to pounce on unsuspecting frogs? Are you supposed to play leap frog this day?

May 14th – Dance Like a Chicken Day – Had to be invented by a Texan since random Texans will instantly get in a circle to do the Chicken Dance when the appropriate music is played. No inebriation necessary…but probably helpful.

May 15th – National Chocolate Chip Day – I celebrated this day by consuming an entire large-sized bag of chocolate chips. It was my duty, right?

May 16th – National Sea Monkey Day – Because there just aren’t enough artificially colored brine shrimp in the world

May 17th – Pack Rat Day – Let’s not tell Hoarders about this day.

May 18th – No Dirty Dishes Day – Either this was invented by a mom who got tired of doing dishes after Mother’s Day or is an evil Communist plot by the paper plate industry.

May 19th – Boy’s Club Day – Ummm….and where, oh where is Girl’s Club Day??? Hmmmm….another evil Communist plot.

May 20th – Be a Millionaire Day – Is this when Bill Gates finally makes good on paying all of us for liking some status on FB?

May 21st – National Memo Day – To: Millionaires: From: MIP Date: May 21st, 2014 Re: We Hate You and Your Stupid Holiday on May 20th

May 22nd – Buy a Musical Instrument Day – Why? Because a pile of parents are tired of paying rent for their band kids’ instruments all year

May 23rd – Lucky Penny Day – The Unlucky Penny Union will be wanting equal time.

May 24th – National Escargot Day – I’m sensing a seafood theme here. See May 5th and May 16th.

May 25th – Tap Dance Day – Wear ear plugs?

May 26th – Sally Ride Day – Now, I’m sure this refers to astronaut Sally Ride, but my warped mind goes immediately to Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett. You just sang, “Ride, Sally, Ride”, didn’t you??? 😉

May 27th – Sunscreen Day – This would have been more helpful on the day (earlier in May) when I endured a TCU graduation for 4 hours in the hot Texas sun. May 27th will probably still be “Recover from Sunburn” Day at my house.

May 30th – Water a Flower Day – I’m thinking that if you only water one flower on this day (and no other?), you won’t be seeing flowers at your house for very long.

May 31st – National Macaroon Day – I guess coconut is under-appreciated???

Friday’s Post: Slow Reader Friday & Book Club Announcement Day!

You Might Also Like: The Odd Days of January 2014, The Odd Days of December,  and The Odd Days of November



Word of the Week: risible

dictionary picture

Last week’s WOW (Word of the Week) was pettifogger. Merriam-Webster Online says that pettifogger is: a lawyer whose methods are petty, underhanded, or disreputable or one given to quibbling over trifles. Ouch. I think that last part could apply to me when I’m insisting my kids keep their elbows off the dinner table!

Today’s WOW is risible. Here are my guesses for risible:

risible: (ˈri-zə-bəl) 1. the ability for bread to rise 2. the ability of a woman to be Stockard Channing in Grease 3. the factor for developing Reye’s Syndrome after taking pain relievers

What’s your guess? Remember that the most accurate guess gets 5 points. The most creative guess gets 3 points and the second most accurate guess gets 1 point. Use this page to submit your guess. Those with the most points at the end of the year gets an MIP one-of-a-kind t-shirt! You know you need yet another t-shirt!

Wednesday’s Post: The Odd Days of May

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: pettifogger; Word of the Week: hoise; Word of the Week: orotund; and Word of the Week: stichomythia


Lessons Learned from…


One of the unfortunate “side effects” of the last 2 heart attacks is that I can no longer take ginkgo biloba to help with my chronic memory problems. Anyone reading this blog has already probably concluded that I need more brain cells and thus, not being able to take this anymore did not help! Add to that being a little sidetracked by grief and it’s amazing that I’m even typing this right now.

So, to try and stave off the genetic heritage of dementia, I elected to join While some may call it pseudo-science, the reality is that I do think I might be making some small improvements here and there. I’ve only been a member for less than a month, so the jury is still out, but at least I’m actively trying to use my brain each day, which is more than I can say for the “Barney years” when I was only knowledgeable about Arthur, Oscar the Grouch, and Blue’s pal, Magenta.

But, here’s what I’m learning so far:

1. I am a good problem solver. Tell that to the diabolical level Sudoku puzzles I’m trying to complete.

2. I am pretty flexible. Ummm…I raised 3 kids (who couldn’t be more different if they were adopted), worked with college students who don’t know how to sign their names in cursive and counseled people who dream about doing nasty things to other people…in their dreams. Yeah, I think I already knew that.

3. I am lousy at speed tasks. Could that be because game systems came out when I was in the Barney years and I was too busy picking up those game systems??? Hmmm….To this day I have yet to play more than 1 computer game, unless WiiFit counts. (I suck at that, as well.)

4. I’m not much better at memory tasks.

5. Naming your web site “” doesn’t improve my memory. Why? Because it’s not a real word. And I confuse it with other words that are in the dictionary, such as illumine, luminescence, etc. Please note that I can spell those!

6. What is my name? See # 4.

7. I don’t do much better at attention tasks. Why? Because I’m still trying to answer # 6.

8. I’m improving at attention games. Why? Because I finally remembered my name.

9. I kick tail at games involving words. Go figure. Especially if you have to create words beginning with the stem “ill” or “lum”. See # 5.

10. I’m pretty speedy at answering simple math facts. This apparently improves my problem-solving score. I hate to argue with Lumosity, but I’m pretty sure that has to do with memorizing them as a child.

11. Memorizing is usually about employing your memory, right?

12. Since I’m already strong in the problem-solving category, could we up my memory score instead??? See # 11.

13. I am now processing better than the 70 and older age group. I guess I can delay reserving my room at the rest home until tomorrow?

14. I also seem to be remarkably smarter than the 16 to 20 age group. Would Lumosity send an email to my 19 year old to tell him that? Oh. Wait. Send him a text instead. He doesn’t do email anymore.

15. The only area where I don’t kick tail with the aforementioned age group is in the speed area. Perhaps that’s because I wasn’t born with a game controller in my hand like the 19 year old???

16. I have no sense of direction, particularly when it involves the arrow keys on my keyboard.

17. I seem to have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to the arrow keys on my keyboard.

18. I now hate all Lumosity games involving the arrow keys on my keyboard.

19. I think has failed to address one part of my brain–the part of my brain with no hand-to-eye coordination. Where are the games to work on that and measure that??? Oh. Wait. Maybe there are no games where a negative brain score is possible. That’s a glitch in their programming, right?

20.  More of my to-do list gets done if I “reward” myself with playing another Lumosity game.

21. Based on # 20, Pavlov’s dogs are laughing their heads off.

22. Based on # 20, I start addiction therapy next week.

Monday’s Post: Are you a pettifogger?

You Might Also Like: Lessons Learned from Counting Quarters and Lessons Learned from Completing a Hospital Survey



An Eclectic Bookshelf…

Stack of books

As many of you know, MIP has a Book Club. On Friday, May 23rd expect the Book Club to “rev up” again. The Slow Reader Friday post that day will be for our last Book Club selection and an announcement will be made for the June Book Club selection. Consider this your invitation to join those of us who already read the selections each month, if you haven’t joined us so far! We have even had an author join in on the discussion!

A lot of you also know that my operating budget for running this little blog is a big fat zero. Thus, I often rely on Amazon gift cards, gifts, hand-me-downs, and “leftovers” for book selection fodder! I’ve recently rearranged my MIP bookshelf, adding some of my brother’s books to the collection. As I surveyed the rearranged shelf, I realized, “This is one eclectic collection of craziness!”

I am about to reveal how illiterate I am and that I’m way, way behind in reading books by great writers. Do I get to plead busy wife, mom, career woman and student for this???  Also, as you can see, I will read just about anything…once!

Thus, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts and comments about such a bookshelf and which books should be an MIP Book Selection. Are there any I should avoid? For instance, I’m not into blatant Christian bashing, cussing, gratuitous sex, horror stories or over-the-top violence! As old as some of these titles are, all of them, except one (which I removed from this list) are still alive and well on Comment away!

  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Art of the Steal
  • Raving Fans
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • To Fly Again
  • Op-Center: Acts of War
  • Op-Center: Balance of Power
  • Op-Center: Line of Control
  • Power Plays: Cold War
  • Net Force: CyberNation
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • George’s Marvelous Medicine
  • Three Guardsmen
  • Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
  • Fields for President
  • The Final Helping of “You Might Be a Redneck If…”
  • Ocean’s 11
  • Snickers from the Front Pew
  • A Different Kind of Christmas
  • Between Sisters
  • How the Scots Invented the Modern World
  • The Journey: Forgiveness, Restorative Justice, & Reconciliation
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
  • Alex & Me
  • Presbyterians & the American Revolution: A Documentary Account
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • The Happiest People on Earth
  • One Was Johnny
  • Texas High School Football Dynasties
  • The Unlikely Spy
  • A Grace Disguised
  • Get Off Your Knees & Pray
  • Charlotte’s Web


Friday’s Post: Does Really Illumine???

You might also like: Slow Reader Friday:  And Then There Were Nuns; Slow Reader Friday: Undaunted; and Slow Reader Friday: Life Interrupted



Word of the Week: pettifogger

Picture picture

Picture picture

Last week’s WOW was hoise. Merriam-Webster online says that hoise is the same as hoist! So, why do we even have this word??? Apparently, it’s an older version of hoist. Someday I have a feeling hoise will be replaced by some abbreviation on FB or Instagram.

Today’s word is pettifogger. One reader (very near and dear to my heart) is saying, “Hallelujah!” She suggested that we make pettifogger a WOW a long, long time ago when she heard it in court. She is an attorney and someone referred to her as a pettifogger. Since she didn’t know the word, she wound up looking it up and sent me an email suggesting it should be on WOW. I didn’t know it, either, but since I pick out a long list of WOWs at one time, it took a little while to get it into the WOW line-up.

Oddly enough, a few days later, I watched the movie Lincoln and pettifogger was used in the movie! So, perhaps it’s a word we should all know! Here are my guesses for pettifogger:

pettifogger:  (ˈpe-tē-ˌf-gər, –ˌfä-) 1. a small fog machine 2. a person who blurs arguments by picking on small, irrelevant details 3. municipal spraying of neighborhoods to get rid of tiny mosquitoes.

What’s your guess for pettifogger? Submit your definition to put you in the running for a one-of-a-kind MIP t-shirt at the end of the year! Remember–creativity and accuracy count for points!

Wednesday’s Post: An Eclectic Bookshelf…

You might also like: Word of the Week: hoise; Word of the Week: orotund; Word of the Week: stichomythia; Word of the Week: styptic; and Word of the Week: pinchbeck



The Anniversary…

chocolate cake

The post right after announcing my writing “sabbatical” would have been quite different, had it been published. It would have marked the one year anniversary of the first MIP blog post! I would have announced the Top 10 MIP Posts of 2013 in that post and thus, even though it’s delayed, I am posting it now. Beginning with # 10,  here are the posts that you read the most this past year:

10. Slow Reader Thursday: 20 Books – This “Slow Reader” post is a little different from the rest. This one listed the 20 books that have most influenced my life or at least intrigued me the most. If you’re a reader, then you probably love such posts, since you may encounter books you haven’t read yet that you want to add to your own reading Bucket List. If you’re new to the blog and wonder about the “Slow Reader” name, I’m the slowest reader in history! I keep myself accountable about reading (Supposedly, it makes one a better writer–I’ve yet to see evidence of that!) by posting book reviews here and have even started an MIP Book Club. Because of the Book Club and my slow-reading nature, the Slow Reader post now comes on the last Friday of the month and has been changed to “Slow Reader Friday.”

9. Word of the Week: roseate – This WOW (Word of the Week) was written in late August. I don’t know why so many read it as opposed to the other WOWs this past year, but I guess you liked the silliness I put for my definition guesses of roseate??? The WOW posts are some of the easiest and most fun to write, plus they don’t take much time for me to write. I generally thank God for this small amount of brilliance on my part, because the hubby is usually home only on the weekends and thus, many home improvement projects, dates, and celebrations take place on the weekends. Because of the brevity of the WOW posts, I can usually whip one out sometime over the weekend in between hanging with the hubby and sleep in on Monday mornings, thanks to a well-designed web site that allows me to schedule my posts ahead of time.

8. MaryAnn’s Hospital Survey – Most of my dear readers know that I have a rare heart condition and suffered two heart attacks in June of 2013.  It takes quite a while to recuperate from these and part of why it takes so long is that my hospital insists on bugging me by phone and snail mail regarding my impressions of their care. After finally getting around to giving them some feedback on one of the snail mail surveys, I decided it was time to exact revenge of the sort that my new little career permits me–creating a rather tongue-in-cheek survey of my own. Occasionally, my past posts still make me burst out laughing. This would be one of those posts.

7. Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower –  This post is probably in the top running for longest blog post title. If it weren’t for the limitations of the web site, they’d probably be even longer. Since I’m so verbose, I adore long titles for some sick reason. It may stem from writing 151 papers for my master’s a few years ago. Apparently, journal article titles are supposed to be 12 to 14 words long. Don’t ask me why–if flies in the face of all other usual writing tips. But, once again, this post still makes me smile and giggle just a little.

6. You 3.0: Mindset, Part I – I took off 33 pounds without joining a diet program or buying a gym membership. I didn’t buy new exercise equipment. I just got “real” about who I am and how I eat and how I live. Probably because I’m a trained counselor, I knew that dealing with my faulty thinking patterns were the first battleground for my waistline shrinkage. And so, I dealt with that and gradually, over a couple of years, changed a lot of my habits. I fell off the wagon several times, but this time I got right back on the wagon and didn’t let a bad day, week or month deter me. The result? My own brother didn’t recognize me when I walked down the aisle at my daughter’s wedding and he was impressed. If I can do it, so can you.

5. Word of the Week: nepenthe – You’ll probably notice, right away, that this is one of the earlier posts. There are a lot of references to some early MIP abbreviations and no “You also might like” links at the bottom. Again, I have no earthly idea why you liked this WOW post so much.

4. Why Should Obama Have All the Fun – This was my inaugural post that came right after Obama’s inauguration. Because it yielded the most comments from my readers, it’s still on top of the “leader board” in the “Popular Posts” banner at the top of my web site and I think that is why it continues to be a post that many new MIP fans still read.

3. Lessons Learned from Committing a Neatness to My Laundry Room – This post is a “leftover” from the FB posting days, where my writing career started to blossom. In reviewing it today, I reminded myself, yet again, that I should get busy and put up some more “Point to Ponder Challenges.” Do I get to claim that it’s been a hectic, weird year for me and that my challenge has been just completing a post and publishing it??? Hopefully, things will simmer down this year and I can give you more “food for thought.” My over-riding goal for this blog is for you, me and the rest of the planet to become the best versions of ourselves that we can be. And those Points to Ponder are a part of my crazy “plan” for that goal.

2. “MaryAnn-isms” or Caution: Read at Your Own Peril – This was the 2nd post on MIP. It is the most often-referenced post of all my posts, simply because it explains some of my quirky abbreviations and style of writing (I’m pretty sure I link to it at least once in every post, even in this very post!). Honestly, I need to update it. While some of the abbreviations developed in the FB days, others were ones I thought I would use here this year and based on reader feedback, chose to stop the others. So, expect a version 2 of MaryAnn-isms sometime in the near future. If you read it again, you’ll realize how much the blog morphed this past year–just part of MaryAnn’s progress! 😉

1. Word of the Week: meretricious – Are you wondering why a WOW post wound up being # 1? I’m not. Why? Because I think spammers first discovered my blog when this post first published and tried to hack the site via the post. Thanks to the DSL, my site’s protective features blocked all of this nonsense and kept it from harming any of my readers’ computers. The nonsense continues and the spammers still try to get into the site, but all to no avail. Even FB recently proclaimed my site’s content as safe. So, I’m okay with this post being number 1, because it means people outside my friends and family are starting to notice MIP. Maybe not the right people, but it’s slowly gaining steam and that’s all an amateur writer can hope for from a beginning blog. Thankfully, there are other, more positive signs on the horizon!

To all who have been here from the beginning: You have my undying thanks for your loyalty and encouragement. To those just now discovering MIP: Welcome! We’re glad you’re here. Stick around. Explore. Read when you can. And to all of you: I hope you are already the very best version of yourself and need no “in progress” qualifiers after your name. 🙂

Monday’s Post: Have you submitted your guess for hoise?

You might also like: The 12 Days of MIP: 10 & 9;The 12 Days of MIP: 8 & 7: The 12 Days of MIP: 6 & 5; The 12 Days of MIP: 4 & 3; and The 12 Days of MIP: 2 & 1