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Giraffes

Somehow, I got wind of a live feed on Facebook last night…a mama giraffe about to give birth to her calf. I love giraffes and so I clicked on it and spent the better part of the last fourteen hours watching and waiting with thousands of people around the world.

The first time I noticed giraffes was in my twenties. My sister-in-law was visiting for a few weeks in the summer. I took her to the zoo and we spent most of the day there, taking our time watching the animals. When we tired, we went to the snack bar and got hot dogs and sodas and sat down to enjoy them. The area where we were sitting overlooked the giraffe exhibit. We sat and talked then took note of the majestic animals so close to us. They are so graceful and so unique.  From that day forward, giraffes became my favorite animal. Later, when my son was a toddler, we took him to the zoo on a hot summer day in Los Angeles. However, I had recently had knee surgery so I couldn’t do much walking. I would follow them to one area, hobbling along on my crutches then I would “park” myself on a bench and watch the world go by as my son got to explore the other animals in the area with his dad and auntie. When we got near the giraffes, I parked myself in front of the giraffe area and watched them. Again, I was smitten.

When I have taken trips to Winston’s Wildlife Safari, my favorite part is the giraffe area. They walk across the road, blocking cars for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. They get so close to cars that one could reach out the window and touch them. I love that they block the road because it gives me a great excuse to sit there and watch. When my son and I went to Australia, one of the highlights for me was getting to feed the giraffes carrots! We got to do a behind the scenes early morning visit before the Toronga Zoo (in Sydney) opened. Then we were allowed to enter the keeper area to watch them up close and personal. Wow! I was in heaven!

So that’s how I am spending the rest of the day, popping in and out of the live feed to try to catch the birth. I’m on baby watch!

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At Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon

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Tony and giraffes.

Wake Up, Little Susie

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photo by Sarah Potter

Susie headed toward the door. She had allowed just the right time to run across the street and through the yards five blocks down to her house. She would climb up the tree and into her bedroom window with just enough time to get into her nightgown before her mother came in to wake her. Susie always had perfect timing.

Opening the door of her boyfriend’s apartment building, Susie couldn’t believe her eyes! It couldn’t be. It hadn’t been in the forecast. Now her secret outings would be uncovered.

If the snow didn’t, her mother was going to kill her!

100 Words, Fiction

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#FridayFictioneers is a weekly blog link-up hosted by Rochelle and dedicated to 100 word stories to go along with a photo prompt. Check it out and give it a try!

Expectations, Part 3

As she stood just outside the motel door, she thought about the last time she had seen him when they had both been seventeen. His family was moving away. He came in on the last day and got his things and left. He had looked at her for a long time and, turning is head, had said goodbye to her and walked away. Now, all these years later, he was coming toward her, not away from her and she was there to meet him. She wasn’t sure if she would even recognize him. The car drove up and she was sure, yet not, that it was him. Once he stepped out of the car with a big smile on his face, and began to walk toward her, she knew it was him. He had a distinctive gait and this was it, coming toward her. They embraced quickly and headed to the room.

They talked. He asked her a lot of questions and asked her to read to him from some of her journal. She did so willingly and yet, as she did it, she got the feeling that she was performing for him. He sat on the bed and watched her in a sort of detached way. It made her feel as if he was sitting outside a glass wall watching her; not participating; just observing. It was a little creepy but it was all she had.

After a while, they went for a walk down the street for sodas. Just a walk. A special walk. He took her hand as they walked and that was special to her. Never in her life had she had a man take her hand as they walked; not even the man she had been married to for so many years. This was was full of promises for tomorrow and regrets of the past.

That was the most special thing that night; a special walk, holding hands in the brisk November night.

There was a slow down in the talk as the time for him to leave arrived. All in all, they had spent about five hours together. Not a lot but so much more time than they had spent together in the past. She asked if she would see him again the next day. It was only Friday and she had the room through Sunday afternoon. He said he wasn’t sure but he would call her and let her know.

When he left the room after a long embrace, she couldn’t walk him out. She had that memory of him walking away from her all those years before. She didn’t want to watch him walk away from her again. That couldn’t be the last thing she remembered of him.

The door closed, and she listened to his steps as he walked away.


I think this is the last part. There’s more but I think I’ll write those bits and pieces as another series of short clips.

Expectations, Part 2

She was nervous. She was anxious. Another look at the clock and she realized it would be at least another six hours before she heard from him. She looked at the little map next to the phone and found an area a few blocks away where she might be able to shop and get some coffee. She knew she would be better off killing time there than in the room.

The bookstore yielded a new deck of Tarot cards on clearance, and appropriately enough, it was the Tarot of Love! She bought a new writing journal and headed for the coffee shop to get some coffee. A quick look at her watch and she figured she would head back to the motel and take a long relaxing bath before dressing for his arrival.

Before long, his call came saying he would be another hour or so but he’d call her when he was on his way. She dressed and tried to relax. She had brought beer and a few snacks but she didn’t know what the plan was and didn’t want to ruin anything. She laughed at herself when she thought about how she had called the motel to make sure they gave her a room that had a couch. Not just a bed, chair, and desk. She specifically told them she was expecting friends and didn’t want the bed to be the only place to sit on. Silly maybe but she really didn’t know what to expect.

The phone rang and he said he was on his way. It would only take less than ten minutes. Would she wait for him outside? She told him which driveway to take and that she would be waiting outside. Taking a big breath and checking her hair in the mirror, she headed outside.

The stage was set.

Two Fer #WeeklySmile

Life has been hectic and full of emotions for the past couple of weeks. I’ve not been feeling well so I owe some smiles. Here’s two for you.

Last week, the baby came home from the hospital. I had the boys and my daughter asked if I could keep the boys until they got home and settled. When she finally called to bring the boys, I brought them over and found her on the couch with the baby sleeping on her. The boys took a look. Anderson is not into the baby so he left right away. Spencer was smitten. When I finally got my turn to get up close to her, I saw that under the blanket Maya was wearing a red and pink outfit. I held my breath. Could it be? I asked Tina what she was wearing and she said, “Let me show you.” She unwrapped the blanket and turned her around to face me. Just as I had guessed. It was the same outfit that Tina wore home from the hospital in 1985! I had saved it for years but had lost track of it. Tina had it. And she had thought enough ahead to take it with her to the hospital. Along with the tears and the lump in my throat, there were smiles.

The next day, I went over to get Anderson for school. Spencer was trying to help his mommy and he kept trying to put the breast pump on her. She kept saying no. So he grabbed it and put it on his dad! Dad had to explain that he doesn’t have any milk to pump. Spencer looked at me and I immediately shook my head and said I didn’t have any milk either. He was a little confused and kept saying the baby needed milk. We were all laughing then. Kids!

#WeeklySmile is a blog link-up hosted by Trent. Go on over and share a smile or two.

It’s a sick weekend for me so our coffee would absolutely have to be virtual this weekend.

On Saturday I babysat the boys and the girl! Not for long. They’re mom and dad had to go get some food so I stayed with the kiddos! The baby is absolutely precious. Hardly a peep out of her. Anderson was actually still asleep most of the time then got up and went to his dad’s office to play Minecraft and I didn’t even know it, he was so quiet. Spencer on the other hand is always some kind of trouble. Nothing terrible yesterday but he kept me on the move.

I came home and went to bed. I’ve had a sharp pain in my side for almost two weeks. At first it was intermittent but the last more than a week it has been non stop. I didn’t know what it was. My daughter, after watching me move hunched over and grimacing, asked why. I told her why. In fact I had told her several times but in the commotion of the baby’s arrival and her post op troubles she didn’t take note. So I explained where the pain was and what kind of pain and she showed me her scar from her gall bladder surgery and said it sounds like that’s the issue with me. The type of pain and the location, that is. And it also reminded me that when I had my big surgery in 2015, my gall bladder was inflamed but they couldn’t remove it in the same incision because the don’t have good end results when they do that, too many infections. So now I think maybe that’s it. She told me to drink apple cider vinegar mixed with apple juice. I don’t have apple cider vinegar and I am not up to going to the store. Early this morning I decided to try the apple juice. It helped tremendously. Its a lot better now. Yay!

Emily over at Nerd In the Brain is hosting #WeekendCoffeeShare for the first time this week. Her post this week was about a bothersome safety incident at her daughter’s school in which the school did nothing to notify the parents of the issue. If you haven’t done so, go take a look. She asked if any Readers had similar experiences. I do. Instead of commenting there, I am writing them up here. I think I may have written about one of them previously but in a different context.

When my son entered middle school, it was kind of a scary time. Up until that point he had been in his neighborhood school with students that I knew; teachers I knew; and parents that were very involved, as I was. When they moved on to middle school, there were kids from three other elementary schools, one of which was not the best in the area. My son, I figured, would do fine. He was a model student and had not ever gotten into trouble. We had the talk about being careful to trust kids that we didn’t know and taking it slow in making new friends. The first week was fine. He was happy at the new school and had retained most of his old friends and made a couple of new ones. Then the first Friday of the school year I picked him up and he wasn’t himself. He said he had a note for me from the Principal. I asked what happened and he said it was better if I took car pool home and we talked about it at home. Finally at home, he took the letter out of his backpack and handed it over. Apparently, some boy had taken a gun to school in his backpack and although he had not brandished it, the backpack had fallen out of the locker during P.E. and had discharged. No one had been hurt. The boy had been taken into custody by Police. A search had been made of the locker room and everyone had been questioned. There were no other guns. No one else was involved. That was the note to everyone. It had happened about 60 minutes before dismissal and they had handled it beautifully, including the letter to all parents. There was an additional note asking me to call the Principal. I asked my son if he was involved and he said yes. It was in his P.E. class, just a few feet away from him. I called the Principal, shaking as I dialed, and I was afraid to hear how my son had been involved. No need. He wanted to praise me for raising my son to be honest and forthcoming, even when it might not be a popular move. It appears that my son was the only one that identified the boy with the  gun in his backpack, even though many others knew who it had been. My son was the only one to speak up and say what had happened and whose backpack it was. Yay! Yay for my son! But also I think it was a wonderful move for the Principal to notify all parents immediately.

The second incident was years later. My son was in college and his sister had been having a lot of problems at school so I pulled her out to do homeschooling at the end of the first semester of grade twelve. I had her at home with me when I got a phone call from another parent. She thought I might know what was going on. She said the whole school area was surrounded by police and there was a helicopter circling the area. The streets were closed. It had been this way for hours. I didn’t know but I told her I would make some calls and find out what I could. I had worked in the district and knew a lot of the people at that high school. One friend in particular would tell me what was going on, I was sure. I called, dialing her extension directly because the switchboard was not putting any calls through. My friend, whispering during the entire call, confirmed that something was going on. There was an armed woman in the apartment building directly across the street from the school entrance gate. She had appeared when school was starting, gun in hand, threatening to shoot students. When school security arrived, she ran back to her apartment and barricaded herself. School gates had been locked and police called. School continued as if normal, with the kids being allowed to move freely on campus throughout the day. No notice had been given to parents. It had been kept off of television. But my friend said all kids were safe and would be dismissed at regular times, even if police escorts were needed. The school day ended and all was okay. The woman was finally taken into custody hours later. But the school had done nothing to notify the parents. Not a phone call on that $75,000 auto-dialer that PTA had paid for. Not a letter home with students. Not a note on their webpage. Instead, the chose to ignore it and the parents. Even days later, there had been no official statement from the school or the school district office. As I no longer had a student there, I didn’t make the call to the Superintendent whom I knew personally. Instead, I signed a letter of petition to the school district along with hundreds of other parents in the area. All we got was an assurance that policies and procedures would be reviewed and revised as necessary. Not very reassuring.

That’s my story; my involvement with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Other than that, I don’t have much more to say. I’ve not been reading. I finished the entire West Wing, again for the 8th time since January of 2016. And yesterday I binge watched Call the Midwives. I am not sure what I will watch next. Oh, I also watched an excellent movie that I recommend highly. It’s called Taking Chance. It stars Kevin Bacon in a role very different from others he has played. It’s the story of a military escort bringing the body of a deceased soldier home to his family for burial. It is deeply moving and if you are not afraid of shedding a few tears, I urge you to watch it. It’s free on Hulu.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog link-up hosted by Emily at Nerd In the Brain. Head over and take a look!

Expectations, Part 1

The smile on her face could not hide the excitement inside of her. She was racing three hundred miles to see him. She had talked to him and written to him but she had not seen him in almost thirty years. They had reunited online…through and email he had written to her. And just like that, their relationship was off and running.

This long weekend would be perfect. Her kids were with their father, visiting his parents. She had spent the holiday with family but all her obligations were over and the rest of the weekend belong to her…and to him…to them. They had both written a variety of scenarios for this meeting and shared them with each other. If the weekend turned out anything like those scenarios, it was bound to be the most perfect weekend.

The closer she got, the wider the smile. And when she checked into the motel room she had reserved for herself, she couldn’t contain herself. She knew she would have to wait until he arrived and it would be hours but the wait would be so worthwhile. As she entered the room, full of expectations, her body buzzed with excitement.