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Originally published on this blog on October 17, 2007, this is my post for the first #ThrowbackThursday Link Party which asks bloggers to post a blog post that is more than 30 days old. Go check it out!

When I was a little girl, my mother would take us to all the parades in town.  My mom didn’t drive so we’d all walk together, all seven of us kids and our mom.  Downtown was about two miles away but we didn’t mind because we all loved parades.  Sometimes there were programs at the civic auditorium after the parade.  Those programs were always even more fun than the parades plus we’d get to sit down instead of having to stand up out in the cold.

One of my favorites was the Christmas parade.  It was the longest and the most fun and Santa Claus always gave out candy at the end of the parade.  After the parade, my family would go to the civic auditorium for the show they always put on after the parade.  There was music and little skits and at the end we got presents.  My mom would get tickets for the show and the presents ahead of time.  My dad didn’t make a lot of money working at the cannery and there were nine of us so we got to be one of the families that got to go to the special program and get the presents.

What was it about parades that made me eager to go?  I think it was mostly because it seemed to me that everyone was happy at the parades and I liked to be around happy people.  There were clowns, too.  I loved clowns and balloons and crowds.  Sometimes, if my mom had extra money, we might get a treat to share.  Usually, if we did get a treat, it was popcorn or caramel corn.  She’d get two of whatever she could afford and we’d all share.

Another thing I liked about parades was the music.  I loved to hear the bands coming down the street and leaving, going away from us.  But the one thing I didn’t like about parades was also the music.  When the bands were right in front of us, the big round drums that the boys carried in front of them, hanging from their backs, those drums made loud booming sounds and when they boomed, the boom was in my stomach.  It made me feel like my stomach was the drum and someone was beating on my stomach.  It made me want to cry.  I remember I’d try to hide behind my mother when the drums got close enough for my stomach to boom.  My sisters would cover their ears but that wouldn’t help me.  It wasn’t my ears that were booming.  I couldn’t explain to my mother why I didn’t like it when the bands got right in front of us.  She couldn’t understand why covering my ears didn’t make me feel better.

I wish there were still parades in towns where everyone could go and see each other and eat popcorn and caramel corn and watch the bands go by and the clowns and balloons.  If there were, I could just walk toward the back of the crowds when those great big booms came to my stomach.  That just might help enough.

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Today I am reminded that a friendship is a friendship. It doesn’t matter if it is a “virtual” or real life friendship. The emotions and the attachments are the same. And when my friends hurt, I hurt.

I have a friend that I met online around 2006 on a site called Gather. Her moniker there was The Little Fluffy Cat. She was one of the most supportive, loving, friendly, and welcoming people I have ever met. Later, she and her family came to the Portland area on vacation and I got to spend a few hours with them. There was instant recognition and the feelings were as if we had always known each other in the real world.

She’s a very private person. Her name is Lydia. Last week, she allowed her sister to post on her Facebook page about her health issues. She had kept everything secret. If I understand it correctly, she has a problem with the “connectors” in the cerebellum, or blood vessels in the brain. Her sister told of how Lydia has been in the hospital since July when she underwent a couple of surgical procedures to solve the problem but then developed other complications which have caused some loss of brain function, mimicking a stroke but has not actually had a stroke. She has not been home since July, except for being allowed to go home for a weekend here and there. During the last weekend that she spent at home (Christmas weekend), she caught a cold which made her main health issues worse. Since then, she has become gravely ill and had to be resuscitated a few days ago then put into a medically induced coma. The doctors are out of options. They are stalling and hoping that they can solve some of the minor problems which might alleviate the major ones. She has asked her friends for prayers and a miracle because she’s not ready to die. She’s 57 years old. She has a 17 year old son and one that is 14.

My heart aches for her and her family. I have been praying for her. We used to say that one day we would get together and have a slumber party complete with pjs and talking/giggling all night. I want that chance for us to have that long sisterly talk. I want her to see her sons grow. I want her to hold her grandchildren in her arms. I want her to grow old with her husband who loves her so much and has not left her side in months. I want her to recover and live a long and happy life.

If you are a praying person, please hold Lydia up in prayer. Send her positive vibes…healing thoughts…anything that might help.

 

 

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I was lucky to have smiled a lot this past week! Some of the things that made me smile were text messages that I either sent or received.

The day we had snow here, my daughter and I went out early to get some errands done before the weather got worse. We got gas, ate breakfast, went to Costco, the finished up at Kohl’s. I didn’t have to do any of those things (except eat breakfast). They were all her errands. She wanted company so I followed along. I didn’t have anything to look for or at so I meandered until I found a very nice place to wait for her. Here’s the text message I sent her so she would know where to find me at Kohl’s:

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Then, when I was gone to Seattle, I got this message from my daughter that made me smile and go “Awww”:

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And yesterday, on the way back from Seattle, I got this message from her:

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It’s good to feel wanted! Of course, when I walked in the door to see them, he smiled at me but he wouldn’t come to me. Anderson, however, not only came to me right away but he also said, “I missed you too, Nana. Every day I missed you and I wanted you. I wanted a sleep over with you!”

What made YOU smile this past week? Share your smiles! Check out Trent’s blog and join the weekly link-up to share your smiles and enjoy other smiles!

 

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  1. The look on Spencer’s face when he brought me the bottle of bubble solution. It was a big smile. He knew his Nana would not say “no.” He loves bubbles. I blow them and he chases them and smashes them.
  2. Another huge smile on Spencer’s face when he realized that he could put his hand in the candy bowl and pull out a candy at each store where we trick-or-treated. He usually has to wait to be handed one but this time he could actually walk right up and stick his hand in the bowl and take what he wanted. He was all full of two-year-old-smiles.
  3. “Don’t take Nana home. I want to keep Nana forever. Please don’t take her home.” That was Anderson (5 years old) on Halloween.
  4. Being included in the plan to move to Omaha and buy a house. And another smile when I found that they were looking only at listings for houses that have a separate apartment or Nanny unit on the property so that I could have my own space. I didn’t even ask and that’s what they are planning.
  5. The cat finally figured out that if she stays at my feet, she can sleep in my room with me. If she comes up to my chest or face, she gets kicked out of the room and I shut the door. She seems to accept that now.  Yay. Finally!
  6. A little boy playing peek-a-boo in line at the grocery store. I think he must have been about three.
  7. Making my NaNoWriMo word count for the first two days of the month!
  8. After about ten tries, I am one step closer to making the NanoPoblano graphic show up on my sidebar. It’s still not working but I am a little bit closer than I was yesterday. Maybe tomorrow.
  9. Finding a blog that will help me with my NaNoWriMo project research.  Yay! I won’t be going into this project totally blind.

There were other smiles but these are the ones that stand out at the moment. I’m tired. I’ve been either writing, researching, or with the boys since 7 am and it is now after midnight. So for today…that’s all she wrote!

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Last Friday I participated in Friday Fictioneers, a weekly blog hop that asks Readers to write a 100 word story inspired by the photo that is posted. It’s a great little exercise in word efficiency and it’s also fun to hop around to visit all the other blogs that participate in the challenge.

While visiting blogs, I came across this blog by C.E. Ayr. He had a wonderful little story written for the challenge. I commented on it and he came to check out my blog. He looked around and left a comment jokingly asking why his books were not on my reading list. We had a brief exchange which led to my purchase of a novella written by him, The Second Request, which I read yesterday.

I will review The Second Request on Monday but I thought I would just write a quick post pointing out one of the things that I love about blogging. It’s a community where one short comment leads to another and before you know it, you’ve been introduced to something new: a book, a song, a movie, a destination, or a person!  Friendships begin and the net of the blogging community stretches in welcome!

I love blogging!

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Momma seems to be giving me a lot to write about. There was yesterday’s Sassy post and today’s post. Last week, she tagged me to do the Love It! Hate It! meme in which the blogger is supposed to list ten things they love and ten things they hate. There was some discussion as to the use of the word “hate”. I agree with the other bloggers that it’s a strong word and, for the most part, I don’t use it. In fact, I wrote about it here. I use the word/s dislike/strongly dislike. That said, I thought I would use today, Tuesday, to post the list as I am sort of posting lists on Tuesdays anyway.

Ten Things I Dislike
1. Saying “no” to anyone but especially to my grandsons
2. Flying…from the time I leave for the airport until the time I get into my seat on the plane
3. Being alone on holidays
4. Saying “goodbye” at the end of a visit with my kids/grand kids
5. Interruptions when I am writing
6. Going to the doctor
7. A bottle of wine when it is empty
8. Answering the phone when I don’t know who is calling
9. Answering the door when I don’t know who is knocking
10. The end of the day on December 25th

Ten Things I Love (because I like to end on the positive)
1. My two grandsons, Anderson and Spencer.
2. My three kids (they’re grown), Tony, Tina, and Susie
3. My siblings and my parents, both the ones no longer here and the ones still here
4. Traveling, except the part covered in #2 of the Dislike list
5. Me, Myself, and I
6. Writing, including blogging with which I could not be without
7. Reading, which means my Kindle
8. Any holidays in which I am with my family
9. Kisses from the grandsons, even when they are sticky ones
10. Hope

I am not tagging ten people. I am just letting you rise to the challenge, if you so choose.

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Blogging From A to Z

I was home alone that night; my children were with their father. That was the worst I have experience. I remember the initial jolt that woke me then there was a rocking motion followed by the earth just rolling for what seemed like an eternity, then another jolt. I knew it was a bad one because of the intensity and the length of the quake. We had previously experienced a 5.7 (Whittier Narrows) but this one was so much more severe. I could hear branches breaking on trees outside, things falling off of shelves and glass breaking and I couldn’t stand straight to walk (because of the quake’s motion and several almost immediate aftershocks). I estimated it was at least a 6.2.

My first thought was for my kids’ safety. I tried calling to see if they were okay but the phone lines were down. There was no electricity. It was still pitch black out in the night. I felt around for my keys and jumped in the car and drove to my ex-husband’s apartment just as they were getting in the car to leave because they had no power and their water heater had ruptured and the apartment was flooding. At least they were safe. My son came with me but the girls were already in their dad’s car so they stayed with him. We tried to drive around to find some place open to sit and watch coverage of the earthquake but all businesses were closed and there was no power for a long distance. We finally found a fast food place where we sat having breakfast and trying to get information about the earthquake. It was hours before the power was restored to our house and before the news started to come in of all of the devastation the Northridge quake had caused. Aftershocks continued throughout the day and the following weeks. The beginning of each aftershock brought on another rush of adrenaline until we all realized that it was an aftershock and not its own earthquake.

Although having lived in California all of my life, that early morning earthquake was the worst one I had ever experienced. It was the Northridge quake of 1994. It struck on a holiday weekend, in the wee hours of the morning (4:30 am), waking everyone up for more than 220 mile radius (felt very strongly in Las Vegas 220 miles from the epicenter). That was the worst I have experienced. It was a killer earthquake, claiming the lives of 58 people and responsible for over sixteen thousand injuries. It also left an estimated 80-120,000 people homeless due to damage to their homes and/or apartments.

Earthquakes are probably the scariest of natural disasters, at least to me, because they come with no warning and no idea of how severe it will be. They could tiny ones that no one feels or in the mid range where people are aware of the shaking or the jolt but they laugh it off (at least in California). Those are usually maybe 3.8 to 4.3. Then there are the one that everyone is aware of and the ones that cause tremendous devastation. You don’t want to be in one of those. Trust me.

I now live in Portland, Oregon and in the 7 years I’ve been here, I have yet to feel an earthquake. We have them but they are so small that I haven’t felt one.

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I think we are all winners. Winners of blog awards, that is. You know about those blog awards, I’m sure. They typically are given from one blogger to another, obligating the “winner” to answer some arbitrary set of questions and then the clincher is that the winner has to bestow the same award on a number (also arbitrary but usually upwards of 10) of other bloggers who also have to follow the same rules, etc. They are meant to drive traffic (readers) from one blog to another so that all the blogs get more viewers, more readers.

I’ve received a number of these awards in the past (I’ve been blogging since the late 1990’s) and I continue to receive them. In fact, since this past January, I have received no less than seven such awards. I haven’t passed them on to anyone and haven’t fulfilled the “rules” because I am not one to put others in a situation where they feel obligated to name their followers to fulfill the rules and then name their followers to repeat and send them on. To me, it’s like a chain letter. It just keeps going on and no one is a winner.

Then there is the fact that the “awards” are arbitrary. There are, usually, no criteria for nominating people to get these awards. Winners basically have to have a blog and followers and that’s it. It’s like playing “hot potato” where you are given something and then pass it on to someone else as quickly as you can, before the hot potato burns your hands! Remember that childhood game? One of my favorites but I don’t like it when it comes to blogging.

So instead of accepting awards and fulfilling the rules and passing the award on to my friends and bloggers who are usually too busy to fulfill the rules themselves, I will thank the people giving me the award and then I will let it sit. From time to time I will fulfill the part of the award where I have to answer questions or list blogs to visit but I WILL NOT pass the awards to anyone else and that’s because I value my readers and my friends and won’t put them in that position.

If you have awarded me some kind of blogging award, I thank you for thinking of me! However, the award will stop here, on my blog, as I won’t be passing them along. And you might have to wait awhile before I answer the questions or make the list or write the poem. But I will get to it eventually.

And if you have a different kind of blogging award that has real reasons behind it, you know like maybe I wrote the funniest post you have read, or the most inspiring one, or the most thought provoking post, and you can back it up with a specific post and reasons, well then by all means send it my way. I love hearing when I make a difference in someone’s life or when something I write brings a smile to someone’s heart or a (good) tear to their eye. Just don’t ask me to post the name of ten or fifteen or twenty, or even just one, of my Readers, Followers, or fellow bloggers because I won’t do that to them.

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I have been reading lots and lots of blogs over the past three months and I keep coming up with blogs that aren’t very Reader friendly or sometimes even inconsiderate…not that the blogger is doing these things intentionally. I think they just aren’t aware of it.

One thing that would help, and I realize it isn’t possible on all blogging platforms especialy if you have a free blog, is changing the font. I have to increase the view size in my No Squint plugin to about 150% in order to be able to view the font without serious eye strain. I know some blogs have a variable font size where the Reader can pick the font size. I love those blogs but I think it’s probably a feature available only on pay blogs. However, if there is anything you can do to improve the size or the crispness of the font, that would help your Readers.

Another thing that would help is to keep in mind that your Followers probably follow a lot of other blogs. When I follow a blog, I read every single post as soon as I am notified of the post. Each day I spend upwards of three hours reading and commenting on blogs. So, when a blog I follow post five, six, seven, or more times in one day, that’s a bit much, especially when a lot of them are just reports of what the Blogger is doing at the moment or is about to do. Some Bloggers seem to run to publish a post every hour to report on every detail of their lives. Too much. And often too much information, too! Be considerate of your Readers’ time or you may lose those Readers.

And that brings me to commenting. Why would you make your Readers jump through hoops to comment on your post? First I have to enter all of my identifying information, then I have to prove I’m not a robot, then I have to post my comment and then I have to preview it before it publishes and then it will finally publish. It often takes me longer to comment than it does to read the post and by then, I’ve lost interest in commenting. Then there are a couple of blogging platforms that make you join their platform before you can comment. Not going to happen with me.

I often tweet the urls of blogs I enjoy so that others can visit them, too. However, if there is no Share button available or if it is there but not configured, then I have to copy the url, open Twitter, paste the url, type in any hashtags I want to add, type in a comment, then post. Takes too long. I’m not doing it and you are missing out on shares and visits. So get that Share Button up on your blog and get it configured so that all Readers have to do is hit the button and share it!

These are the top things bugging me about reading blogs today. There are others but these made it to the top of the list today. It may not apply to all of you, in fact I know it doesn’t apply to most of my Followers. However, when you have just spent the last three hours reading, commenting, and sharing blogs, these things are really aggravating and they keep me from coming back to your blog!

To those of you who are nice to your Readers by not being guilty of any of these pet peeves, thank you, thank you, thank you!

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I really want to go back to bed. The pillow and blankets are calling me and it’s really tough not to listen to them today. I’ll put it off for a while though. I want to get a little caught up with blogging. I need to read a lot of blogs that I didn’t have time to visit during the latter part of the week. But I look forward to a nap in a couple of hours.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today is my 120th day of a streak of writing at least one post for this blog! That’s the longest I’ve ever gone. I’ve done 60 days but this is twice that many! Yay me! It’s funny because I started out in October to try to revive the blog as I had not posted in over a year and a half. That month I managed to post 9 times. I had wanted to post at least 20 times. So then for November I signed up for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and blogged every day then did it again in December. January rolled around and I kept on blogging and before I knew it, it was February. At the beginning of the month I told myself it was okay to miss a day as the blogging habit had been established and it would be easy to miss a day and jump back in. However, on the two or three days that I almost didn’t post because of lack of energy, illness, or busy-ness, it drove me crazy and I ended up posting anyway. So I guess the blogging habit has really taken hold! Let’s see if I can make it through March!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my grandson turns 5 next Saturday so this week will be spent helping my daughter with all of the stuff that has to get done for the party…Lego party. Anderson is already asking if his birthday is “tomorrow”. So I think later today we will make him a countdown so he knows. He loved advent calendars this year so I may make him a mini one for his birthday. We’ll see what I can come up with.

I would also tell you that Monday is Read Across America Day and also Dr. Seuss’ birthday. When I was teaching, I planned an entire day of reading for my class. We did nothing but read. We covered all the academic subjects but through reading. I also invited adults to come read to the kids. We had a couple of parents join us and we had the Principal and two of the Teacher Specialists as well. The kids loved it. I miss those days and I’m thinking that next year, when Anderson is in Kindergarten, I will see if I can help the school plan some events and readings for the day.

And speaking of kindergarten, we just found out that this school district is changing to a six hour kindergarten in September! So instead of being in school for just a half day, Anderson will be gone for the whole day and the bus will pick him up and drop him off…no having to drive him over and back. Times they are a changin’.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge this year for the first time. I have a theme and have managed to list each post. However, I still need a post for the letters U and X. I’ll think of something. I’ll let you know the theme in a couple of weeks. I think it will be a fun one. There’s another blog event I want to participate in but I’m afraid it might be biting off more than I can chew so I’m not sure yet. It’s the Great Villain Blogathon. I have my villain picked out but I haven’t committed to it yet. We’ll see how I feel about it in a day or two. This Monday I will also be posting my second monthly “Introducing” post in which I introduce my readers to an indie writer. So I hope you stop by and take a look at that post.

So how has your week gone? What is on the schedule for you in the coming week? In March? Are you a planner that has it all scheduled out way in advance or a “pantser” that flies by the seat of their pants, often typing the last word two seconds before the last minute? I’m kind of like the second one but I’m finding that I am changing a bit and planning things out more. Old age does strange things to us! 🙂

Thank you for stopping by. I’ll come around to visit all the blogs on the linky over the weekend. And I’m not sure if coffee will be Saturday or Sunday next week because of the big birthday party but it will happen, one day or the other. See you then!

If We Were Having Coffee is a weekly blog share and link up hosted by Part-Time Monster. You can join in the fun too! Just write your post and link it up at part time monster.

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