Friday, October 31, 2014

I Still Hate Halloween

I probably have told you the stories about Halloween when I was a child. Because we lived out in the country, we did not have a neighborhood in which to trick or treat. We would get in our costumes and go to the neighbors across the road and to our great aunt and uncle down the road. And that was it. So Halloween was pretty much a bust.

But I also hate Halloween because it is supposed to be a scary thing. And I don't like scary things. I don't like witches or ghosts or things that jump out or go bump in the night. I hate that there are bad people out there who think it's fun to do bad things on Halloween like throw eggs or break into houses or whatever bad Halloween prank they can think of.

I hate Halloween because of the costumes. Some of the ones that are in stores are cheaply made but cost big bucks. Of course you can't wash them in the washing machine, so your child has to wear them until they disintegrate, which then causes major Dr. Phil trauma.

I hate Halloween because if it's not scary, then it's about the candy. Invariably, if I buy the cheap candy, nobody comes to my door and I'm stuck with the cheap candy. If I buy the good candy, then I will still have some leftover, but I will eat it all. And when I had little kids at home, I hated that they had candy and wanted it eat it and I had to regulate it. Usually by eating all the good candy so all they would have left if the bad candy, which they didn't like and therefore could be thrown away.

There was a period of time that I did not have to consider Halloween. My own children were grown and did their own Halloween thing. I could leave my house or turn out the lights and not have to deal with any of it. It was great.

And then these two came along. And Halloween came back. Along with costumes, although now I know where to get them (good price, sturdy, machine washable). Along with candy, although now I know how to handle it (send it home with their parents or to work the next day with Molly). Along with the scariness, although now I have two little allies who don't like scary either (unless you're talking Jake and the Neverland Pirates kind of scary).  So maybe Halloween isn't so bad after all ...

Today is a gift because: picking up Maribeth, Mathieu, and Everley at the airport with Molly; Everley and Lindley time; trick or treatersj

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dancing and Sports and Lessons


These are my tiny dancers. I think this may have been the one and only year they danced (different years). I don't know why one looks like she's dancing "Swan Lake" and the other one looks like she's dancing at Hooters. And I don't remember if dance lessons were their ideas or mine.

And therein lies one of the dilemmas of parenthood. Exactly what do you involve your child in? And exactly what do you force your child to participate in? And exactly how long do you force your child to participate in an activity that he or she may not want to be a participant? My daughters probably have strong opinions on these questions, but I think they're saving them for Dr. Phil.

Sam played baseball and basketball, all on his own. He also took piano lessons for a few years until we moved cities (he might have taken longer had I bothered to find another teacher, but by that time I had a lot going on and he didn't appear to be a piano prodigy, so I focused my attention elsewhere).

When Maribeth was in kindergarten, she told me she wanted to play soccer. Which was great, except that (a) I knew nothing about soccer, and (b) I didn't even know if girls played soccer. But I found the sign-up place (and asked the people if girls played soccer and they said yes) and signed her up. She was happy. She was not so happy when we signed her up for softball. She hated it even though she was good at it. We finally let her quit when she nearly passed out from the catcher's outfit and the heat. Pretty much after that, we let her decide what she wanted to do.

By the time Molly came along, we just let her decide. It was a lot easier on everyone. The worst part about dance was getting the picture above. All my children learned to play an instrument in the band, but only Molly kept her flute (and may still be able to play "Mary Had A Little Lamb.")

Anyhow, I never did learn if I made the right decisions about what to put them in and/or push them in (I'll let you know when that Dr. Phil episode airs). I'm just glad those days are over - and that two of them have their own children to consider these decisions for!
Today is a gift because: taking Lindley to school and picking her up; Sam Southwest saga

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Farmer Sam

I grew up on a farm. It was a small dairy farm. My father milked cows and then sold the milk to a dairy. He also farmed the land, made silage, raised beef cattle, and various other farm things. I was not a farm girl. Although I did do a chore now and then related to the cows like putting out the feed when they were being milked, I stayed pretty much clear of any farm-related things. Possibly because my father thought it was in the best interest of the farm-related things.

When I got married and had a family, we lived in Florida and Tennessee (after a brief stay in South Mississippi). We would go back in the summer and for holidays. By that time my mother had passed away and my father no longer used the dairy farm. He had a job at the local college. But the farm still had lots of fun things around for my children to consider. Like the tractor below. Did they actually run? Perhaps. Would Sam know how to (a) start it, and (b) drive it? Probably not - not because he was not a capable driver, but because who knows how my father had rigged the tractor so that it would indeed actually run.

It's fun to imagine my children growing up as I did. Would they love the farm and want to stay around? Or would they want to leave and find new adventures? Would they love the remoteness and quiet and animals? Would they ride the horses I shied away from and gather eggs from the hen house, hoping there were no snakes snuggled in the nest? Would they grow a garden and milk cows and raise some pigs?

I'll never know because that wasn't to an option for them. But it was a fun place for them to experience, and I'm thankful that they had that opportunity, even if it was just for a funny photo.
Today is a gift because: picking up Lindley at school and having a sleepover

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Davidson Family Trio

Once upon a time, our family had a singing group.  We traveled from gig to gig in our horse and buggy, because we lived off the land and did not want to contribute to the carbon footprint. We home-schooled and made our own clothes and planted a garden in another wagon that was pulled by our cow Bessie, who gave us fresh milk every day. Wait - that was a television program that I saw on TLC last week. The actual story of this picture is that it was taken during the picture-taking part of Sam and Lynnette's wedding. Do these three sing? No they do not. Do they play musical instruments? That would also be a no. But it certainly would have made for a great publicity picture.

My children have always been great at taking group pictures. Like the Christmas that I told them I wanted a group picture of them. They were teenagers and hadn't had a group picture made in years. So they went to JC Penneys and had some legitimate ones made. And then there was the one they made with props, which were actually items of clothing found in our house. Like in my closet ... This probably could have been a publicity picture for some TLC show like "We Dun Growed Up." Although I'm not sure why Molly does not seem to be participating in the fun ...

Anyhow, my favorite picture will probably always be the first one - when Molly came home from the hospital. None of us had any idea of the life that lay before us. There would be good times and bad times and happy times and sad times. But the thing we knew for sure is that we were a family. Now that's a great publicity picture!

Today is a gift because: picking up Lindley at school; December trip planning

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cat People

Because I am so horribly behind, I'm going to devote the next several days to photo essays.  In other words, I will be posting photos and perhaps the story behind them. Or at least what I can remember. Or maybe even a fabricated one. Nevertheless, I will get caught up ...

Today's exhibit is why we are cat people and not dog people (although we crossed over to dog people later in life. Well, sort of. Maybe that will be a photo essay later this week).

The photos below are of our cats from about 25 years ago. Their names might have been Bert and Smoky. Or maybe Simon and something else. As you can see, they were Maribeth's and Molly's best buds. Yes, they slept with them (or sat on top of them). Did the cats care? Apparently not. These were smart cats, since they would do their bathroom business outside and not require a litter box (somewhere I went wrong with subsequent cats).


When we moved from Mississippi, these cats went with us. After the movers had packed us up, we headed to Nashville. I think I had a car with three kids and two (or maybe three) cats in the car with me. Steve was driving the other car. Alone.  We stopped to spend the night along the way. Steve got there ahead of us and checked us into the room. When I arrived with the Ark, I did not know the room number (this was way ahead of the cell phone era). I went to the desk and asked for Steve's room, to which the clerk asked me who I was (I guess they get a lot of women with three little kids hanging on them, asking for a man's room). Anyhow, after some discussion and a phone call, the clerk gave me Steve's room number. I think later we smuggled the cats in. Or maybe left them in the car.

Anyhow, I consider these our "middle" cats. We've had many before and after. Steve says our current ones will be our last ones (they are very needy). We'll see - after all, cat people don't die out - they just find a better litterbox ...

Today is a gift because: starting on projects and accomplishing some tasks; picking up Lindley from school and making a Sonic run

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I Hearted Roger

This is a picture of one of my favorite albums from when I was a teenager. I had quite an eclectic collection of albums - from Roger Williams to Three Dog Night to Chicago to Julie Andrews. I would also go to my grandmother's house so I could listen to her multi-record set from the Reader's Digest collection. I'm pretty sure I was the only teenager who even knew what the Reader's Digest record collection was.

This record was in my regular record rotation. I thought Roger was the absolute best. He played piano like I knew I never would, and he played songs that were popular (to me anyway) and not from the classical era (which was one of the issues I was having with my piano teacher - her love of the classical and my preference for playing anything else). And yes, my sister seems to remember that whenever Roger came on the television (I think maybe on the Jackie Gleason Show), I would kiss the television. I probably did - I really liked him.

Anyhow, the point of all this is that during this time of year, as I watch the leaves turn colors and fall to the ground, the first thing that comes to my mind is the song "Autumn Leaves." I'll hear it in my head and hum it and sing (in my head) the lyrics (or at least what I think and remember are the lyrics). Even sitting in absolute quiet, I can hear Roger play this song and the tinkling sounds as he touched the piano keys to make it sound just like falling leaves. Hearing that song is just a part of the fall season for me. It's a reminder of a simpler time when a guy played the piano and made me smile. It's fall and it feels like home.
Today was a gift because: taking KB to the airport in the dark; Cracker Barrel breakfast with Steve and Phil; Steve's burgers on the grill for dinner; pictures from MB at Legoland and the MK

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Walk Away

The other night Everley and Lindley spent the night at our house. The next morning we had breakfast, got dressed, got hair brushed (Everley got pony tails and bows and Lindley got five headbands), and went off to school. Upon arrival, we had to decide who was going to whose room first. Needless to say, the wrong decision was made and the good life ceased to exist.

Here's how it went down: Lindley suggested that we take Everley to her room first (which was my choice, since it would be easier to drop her off than keep watch while I checked Lindley into her class). However, Everley took issue - GREAT ISSUE - with that decision and promptly began to express her opinion on the matter, namely wailing that she did not want to be first.

Lindley decided rather wisely that going to her room first would be better than witnessing the meltdown in the hall. Once the change of plans was announced, Everley's frown turned upside down and the sun came out from behind the clouds and started shining again.

That is until after we had deposited Lindley and we ended up in Everley's room, or as she had decided it had become - The Doom Room of Horror. In other words, there was no amount of cajoling or talking or bargaining that would convince Everley that today was going to be just like all the other days of school where she had fun. No, she was convinced that if she were forced to stay at school, her life was probably going to end. And with that in mind, she proceeded to scream and yell and wrap her arms and legs around my leg, protesting my leaving and her staying.

And so, having raised three of my own children and spending countless hours in various childcare situations for the past bazillion years, I knew what I had to do. I had to tell her goodbye and walk out the door. And as I listened to her pitch a fit as I walked down the hall, I knew she was in good hands and was going to have to stay - any other action would have made it even worse. As it turned out, although it was not her best day at school, she did indeed survive the day without losing life or limb.

So today's lesson was to learn to walk away when one needs to. To walk away from a situation in which staying around makes things worse. Like to walk away from the chocolate pie or sitting on my rear watching the "Law and Order" marathon on television. Maybe I understand Everley better than I think - guess who's kicking and screaming trying to walk away from those things!
Today is a gift because: Steve and Phil's safe trip home from the game; Lindley and Everley time; MSU wins again!!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nosing Around Online

I'll admit it - I love a good story.  I prefer real-life stories because I find them worthy of touching my heart. So the question for today is - where is the line between nosy and getting in someone else's business versus concerned about someone else's welfare, when it comes to people you don't know?

Here's the situation.  I am a Facebook stalker (I think I've already covered that). I'll be perusing my Facebook, and I'll see where a friend has liked or commented on somebody's page that I don't know. So then I just scoot over to that page (if it's open for anybody to read) and catch up on this new stranger's situation. And if I really enjoy that stranger's situation, I'll bookmark it and keep going back to it.

However, I do not know these people personally or directly. Many of them have relatives with medical issues, and I return to read to see if they've gotten better - or not. And it's not just with Facebook - I do the same if someone references somebody's blog. I read as if it's a news story or a chapter book. I often pray for the person, sometimes because I feel guilty about cyber-peeping, but mostly because his or her story does indeed touch my heart.

The difficult decision is when a Facebook page suddenly goes to "closed." Then I have to decide if I'm going to "join" the group or not. Join a stranger's group, someone who doesn't know me in the least, who wants to join their page so she can read more about them.

I don't know if it's concern that I feel for these people, or if I am simply enjoying their story. I feel a tad bit guilty, but I feel antsy not knowing if the person came through the surgery, or is breathing without a tube, or can feel their legs again.

So I have to wonder if I'm just being a nosy voyeur or not. On the other hand though, if it allows me to feel compassion and then pray for another person in need, is that maybe why I was led to that person in the first place?
Today is a gift because: I got Everley and Lindley dressed, fed, and to day care; bloodletting at the Red Cross; 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - I Think Maribeth Threw This Dress Back ...

I think there's a time when you stop dressing your daughters in look-alike clothing.
And I'm pretty sure this was that point.
Oh well, at least Sam was dang proud of his tie ...
Today is a gift because: taking Everley to school; slarty with Everley and Lindley; David playing with Everley and Lindley

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Politeness Gone Awry

Because I am generally a nice person, and a Southerner born and bred, I try to be polite.  I try to remember to say please and thank you and will add a "sir" or "ma'am" when appropriate.  And by appropriate I mean most of the time, no matter the age of the recipient. However, lately I have been missing a step - which would determining the gender of the person to whom I am speaking.

Granted, these faux pas have occurred when I was speaking in the order box of an eating establishment or a telephone conversation involving a possible service situation. What has been happening is that the conversation is moving, and a point arrives when I need to express my gratitude, which I do, complete with a gender-specific salutation. And then I arrive at the pick-up window or my current telephone companion dispenses with a name, and I have found out that I used the wrong gender-specific salutation.

In other words, I said, "Thank you ma'am," and drove up to find James handing me my Egg McMuffin. Or I said, "Yessir," and Brenda said, "You're welcome. My name is Brenda."

So, now I am faced with yet another dilemma. Do I continue my politeness and possibly offend the sexuality of a person? Or find new ways of being polite like, "Thank you pal," or "Yes, kind person." Or maybe I should just ask up front, "Are you male or female," like they do when I order a Happy Meal for Lindley or Everley.

I don't know either - maybe I'll just use the tried and true Southern affectionate nicknames as in "Thank you honey" or "Yes sweetie pie." I just got to use my manners, y'all!!
Today is a gift because: Taking Everley to school; picking up Lindley and Lynnette at the airport; Lindley and Everley time

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hellooo - Your Front Bumper Is Perilously Close To My Car!

This morning KB, Molly, and I managed to get out and wog four miles. After we parted ways, I headed towards Molly's house to take her home.  On the way, we stopped at a four-way stop. It was one of those stops where it would seem that you stopped at the same time as the person on your right. But you're really not positive so you look at them. Usually they look back and one of you motions for the other to go ahead. Yes, I know the person on the right has the right of way. But what if that person continues to just sit there?

Today, we waited for the "right side" person to go. And we waited some more. Since we had waited long enough, I decided to proceed through the stop. And just as I was in the center of the junction, Mr/Ms Right Side decided to proceed through the stop. And not stop. At all. Luckily for us, no one was in the left side of the street as we drove through, so I could swerve into that lane and avoid the huge SUV from plowing into my car, and Molly in the passenger seat. We kept going - and so did the SUV. Somehow we managed to avoid a collision - and I'm not sure if the SUV driver ever saw us at all.

So what's the moral of this story? Maybe it's to always wait for the right side car to go. Even if you have to honk your horn to get his/her attention. Maybe it's to zoom through intersections, just in case there's some nut who also wants to get through the intersection, and your car. Maybe it's to drive a little car like mine, so there's not much to get through the intersection and therefore not much for the big SUV to plow through. Maybe it's to get off your stupid phone and/or whatever it is that is keeping you from focusing on your crummy driving skills (bitter, much?).

Anyhow, I am extremely grateful today that God was watching out over us, and our guardian angel helped push my car through the intersection. Poor thing, she does get a workout some days!!
Today is a gift because: Four miles with KB and Molly; Everley school pickup

Monday, October 20, 2014

Beauty and The Beholder's Eye

"The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful
is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason."
-John Cage-

Yes, sometimes I make judgments. On people's physical attributes, on their actions, on their attitudes, and just about anything I can possibly judge. I'm not sure why I, or anybody for that matter, chooses to judge. Maybe it's a lack of confidence or pride in one's self. So we think if we belittle someone else in some way, it makes us better. But instead, it makes us worse.

So I wonder if the next time a thought comes to mind that would somehow would reflect in a negative way on someone else, if I could change that. Could I instead find the beautiful in that person and that situation? Could I express that beauty and walk away from the negative? 

In light of my current lack of conviction about doing anything on a routine basis, this seems like a difficult task. But like a regular routine of working out, jogging, eating sensibly, and assorted things like that, I believe I would feel better if I adopted this new thought pattern.

Maybe people would even see me differently. After all, we all have beauty within us - it just sometimes takes one person to see it and bring it out.
Today is a gift because: travel planning complete; a teensy bit of cleaning done

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Meet Evelyn

No, it's not Mother's Day.  Nor is it my mother's birthday or the day she passed away.  As par for the course, it's catch-up day.  With that in mind, I thought I would introduce you to my mother, Jennie Evelyn Morgan Lewis, aka Evelyn, Miss Evelyn, Aunt Evelyn, Mama.

I think this is my favorite picture of the two of us, because it pretty much sums up much of our relationship. I gave my mother a headache and I preferred to not listen to much of what she had to say. See, we each had the same goal in life - we each believed we knew what was best for my life and pretty much thought the other person's idea was bonkers crazy. I had wild ideas that made her uncomfortable and she had conservative ideas that made me want to throw up. I solved the dilemma by graduating high school a year early, graduating college a year early (mainly because I still lived at home), and getting married three months after that graduation (in case you're trying to do the math, I was 19 years old, four days away from being 20).

My wedding was probably one of the biggest wild ideas I had - I got engaged in May and told my mother I intended to get married in August - three months away.  Being a good Southern Mama, she knew what was expected of a Southern Wedding.  And even though she was under a deadline (and I was not about to budge on the date - I was getting married!), she managed to pull it altogether - along with a few mother-daughter thunderstorms along the way.  Thankfully my sister Marilyn served as a go-between, calming those thunderstorms as they popped up.

Most of our married life, we lived away from my hometown of Starkville, Mississippi. However, any vacation was spent going back home. After my children started arriving, she would call everyday on her lunch break (she worked at the college campus phone office).  Her calls would come just about the time I had the kids (two at the time) were asleep.  And just about the time I was ready to nap. But I knew to wait for her call, and the proceed to grumpily tell her that my day was the same as yesterday - boring as usual. This pattern continued until I found out that I was pregnant with our third child - and six weeks later she found out she had stomach cancer.

Life changed because I realized that our time together, which sometimes held its share of conflicts, could be limited. And sure enough, six months later and six weeks before Molly arrived, Mama passed away.  We all had been with her, but Marilyn was living in Chile and needed to return to get her children ready for school.  I had to return to Florida to check in with my OB.  My brother John was two hours away, and on call to get back home as needed. And once Marilyn and I had both returned to our homes and families, we got the call that she has passed away.

At this point in my life, I've lived longer without my mother than I did with her.  I felt that at the point of her death, we had just begun to understand and accept each other for who we were as women. It's taken a bit of therapy to get through a lot of feelings both good and hurtful about our relationship.  I have a lot of regrets and wishes. But today, in case you never met her, I would like to tell you the Top Ten Things about my mother.

1. We called her Mama.  Not Mom (we lived in the South, y'all), not Mother, not Mommy.  And she was your born and bred Southern Mama.

2. She was a great seamstress.  She made our clothes and sometimes let us pick out our own patterns. She made curtains and tableclothes and lots of other sewing projects.

3. She was a great cook. My father was a farmer, so she always made a full dinner (that's lunch for some of you folks, but in the South, dinner was a full meal with meat, several vegetables, corn bread, salad, and of course, a dessert - supper was all those leftovers, plus some more fillers in case something got 'et up).

4. She took classes later in life, like cake decorating and painting (she painted the picture in the photo above). I wish I had asked her why, and what she would have done with her life, had she had the chance. She also finally learned to swim later in life. Clearly she was not finished living her life.

5. She was a protective mama. Once we were at the beach, playing in the waves. My brother and I somehow got in the undertow. I remember nothing except my mother pulling us up out of the water. She was also probably fussing at us, but I can only imagine her fear - and determination that the ocean was NOT going to get her babies! Another time, I was in grade school and decided I needed to call my mother at home (at that time she was a stay-at-home mom). There was a phone on the counter at the principal's office, and my friend and I decided to go use it. Well, the principal heard us and picked up the phone and promptly told my mother that we did not have permission to use the phone. To which she told the principal that her child had permission any time of day to call her. I still think I got in trouble, but I believe if the principal ever saw me on the phone again, he looked the other way.

6. As best she could, she encouraged me. She took us to swim lessons and later to swim team practices (I'm not sure this was all our idea, but she consistently took us where we needed to be). When my piano teacher and I declared World War III and one of us was determined that the other one was not coming out from our next lesson standing, my mother found me a new piano teacher. When I wanted to join band, she consented when the band director said apparently the only thing I could make a sound on was the saxophone. When I decided to become a majorette (when you quit laughing, you can continue reading), she found somebody to teach me (and yes, I did indeed twirl through my brief high school career). Sure, there were things that she did not encourage, but those get lost in the things she did encourage.

7. She kept a clean house. Sometimes we had a maid and sometimes we didn't. But the house was always spotless, no thanks to us kids. Of course, there was a living room that nobody dared enter. As a kid, I remember cleaning off the leaves of some houseplant. She also ironed a lot, including pillowcases (oh, you do too? I would, but I have to catch up on my blogging). She dusted, she swept, she washed, and when it was all done, she started over.

8. She was a lot of fun, I believe.  I didn't always see this. But from the stories of her friends and family, she was indeed fun. I see pictures of her smiling and believe this.  And I believe we would have had those fun days, had she been able to have more days.

9. She was a proud Mammaw. She loved her grandchildren, those she got to meet. She was proud of them and loved to show them off. And I believe that those she didn't get to meet, she somehow met them on their way down to Earth (spare me your theology). I think she would have enjoyed them as they grew up, and been that kind of Mammaw that would have loved them without reserve.

10. She loved all three of her kids the most. Once I became a mother, I realized what mother love was all about. It's about being willing to give up your life for your child's. It's about being willing to stand up for your child, even if they might be a little bit in the wrong. It's about protecting your child however you need to. It's about letting your heart be broken, if somehow it makes your child happy. I was blessed to be loved that way - I just wish it could have lasted a little longer on this Earth.

Today is a gift because: breakfast with Everley, Molly, and KB; Everley's play time with Miranda; Publix-ing with Molly; safe travel home for Steve; Mathieu airing up my tires

Saturday, October 18, 2014

At Least I Have A Cheering Section ...

I have a "race" at Disney in a few weeks (try not to look shocked).  By race, I mean I will join around 14,000 other people who have paid big bucks to run (by run I mean waddle for me) the streets of Disney World and hopefully finish in time to receive a finisher medal.  Of course, I haven't trained the way I should - still hoping for the day that habit gets ingrained in my life. Or even started in my life.

Anyhow, I figure writing about running may help me focus on training.  Because three weeks of training is better than no training - right?
Today is a gift because: airport run for Lindley, Sam, and Lynnette; Everley time; Maribeth cooking dinner at the Doik; safe travel to Columbus for Steve and GDizzle

Friday, October 17, 2014

One Dilemma Down

Today around noon I decided that I had had enough. When I finally recognize the fact that my main style of hairdo is to wad it all up in a ponytail, I know it's time for a haircut. So I grabbed my wallet and keys and headed to the beauty shop (wishing Truvy  and Ouiser were there).  Did I have an appointment?  Of course not. Did I remember the name of who cut my hair the last time?  Actually I did, but figured since I hadn't made an appointment, there was little chance of my getting her at the last minute.  Besides, I sort of like the "Russian roulette" method of choosing a stylist.

Anyhow, I walked up to the receptionist and asked how long the wait was for a walkup (because there were several people sitting around in chairs at the front - now I'm wondering if they were stylists waiting for takers).  The receptionist said that there was no wait and handed me off to Tamantha who took me right back to her station.

The first thing I always do for a stylist that I don't know (which is basically every time) is tell them that I have a lot of hair and that it is naturally curly (although by the time I get there and unknot the pony tail, it is more like crazy and frizzy). I also tell them that I want it cut, which they usually interpret as I want a trim.  However, Tamantha and I appeared to be on the save wavelength. I told her I wanted it cut and in layers (don't get all 1970s on me and think I wanted a shag 'do).  She seemed to indicate that she understood, and got out her big shears.

After a lot of cutting and water-spraying and combing and measuring, Tamantha was done. My new 'do is just a little bit shorter than my jaw line and has enough little layers to suit me.  It can be worn curly (which means crazy) or it can be flat-ironed to make it straight.  And while it did not take years off my appearance or pounds off the scale, I am happy with it. And no, I have not taken a picture - mainly because I'm not sure if it looks good to the general public.

Now, what to do with all these photos ...
Today is a gift because: picking up Lindley and Everley at school and having a slumber party at the Doik; much-needed haircut via Tamantha

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Yes, today I was thinking about poop.  And how everybody does it.  Sure, everybody has different standards of when, how, etc., but sooner or later it happens.  Sometimes poop needs a little help to happen, and usually the help is welcomed.  Because unpooped poop is not a good thing.

What is poop?  It's the stuff that our bodies doesn't need.  It's the stuff that our body says to get rid of.  It's not always that pleasant, especially for our olfactory sense, and especially if it's somebody else's poop.  But still, it's a necessary part of cleansing our bodies.

So why all this poop talk?  Because today as I was thinking about poop, and the fact that physically getting rid of poop is important, I thought about our emotional poop.  I thought about how, if we were as diligent about getting rid of our emotional poop as we are about our physical poop, how much better our emotional selves would be. What if once a day (or whenever you do it), we got rid of all the hate and mean thoughts and inconsiderate actions that we have done that day?  What if we purged ourselves of all the emotional nastiness?  Wouldn't then we feel fresh and clean once again?

And then I thought a little more, and realized that's what prayer and confession are - to get rid of the things that displease our Creator.  The things that make us less a witness of love to others.  The things that corrupt our very souls and poison the love and compassion that is inside us.

So the next time poop happens, think about emotionally pooping out all the unpleasantness, too. After all, maybe there's more than one cleansing our body needs.
Today is a gift because:  dinner with the family at the Doik

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


So going through pictures has created two dilemmas:

1) Should I cut my hair? As in short? But how short? Shorty-short? I have pictures of every sort of hair I've worn. Short, long, medium, curly, straight, colored, streaked, regular. Some I like and some I do not like. Since I do not have a miracle-worker of a regular hairdo person, I am pretty much on my own. Which is not such a good place to be.

2) What should I do with all these photos? Those that are stored are on my computer, that is. I have bagillions more that are stored in boxes, but those can certainly wait for another time. Should I attempt to organize the ones on the computer? And should I organize them all? Even the ones that are pictures of next-to-nothing? What if I need them one day?  How should I organize them?

Yeah, I know with everything that is going on in the world, hairdos and photographs seem pretty darn trivial, and they are.  But at least it got me out of clearing off my desk and filing coupons and paying bills and stuff.

Meanwhile, the hairdo and photograph dilemmas still go on in my head ...
Today is a gift because: Bus duty for Everley; spending time with GDizzle; Wal-Mart shopping

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Joy. That's All!!

About the only good thing in being behind in blogging is that you go through your pictures, hoping for some sort of inspiration. And so I have. Maybe not for a brilliant blog post, but inspiration to remember what's truly good and perfect and wonderful and awesome about my life. About what has changed my life and made it so much better. About what really matters in this life. About true happiness and unconditional love. About blessings and how thankful I am to have such undeserved joy. And so with that, I leave you with two of my favorite people in one of my favorite places on Earth!!

Today is a gift because: GDiz's safe arrival in Nashville for a visit; picking up Lindley and Everley at school; beef medallions dinner with Steve, GDiz, Mathieu, Everley, Lindley, and Sam

Monday, October 13, 2014

For Your Halloween 5K Pleasure ...

Once upon a time, Lynnette and I decided to do a Halloween 5K.  We also decided to dress up. Lynnette wore a ginormous Minnie Mouse witch hat and I wore a ghost costume (no, it was not a sheet with holes cut in it for the eyes - it was a specially made costume which took months to design and create.  Never mind that a bed in our house lacked a top sheet for awhile ...). Anyhow, since some of you may be considering a fall 5K, I thought I would inspire you.  Like to not wear a ghost costume.  And Lynnette would probably ditto the witch hat.

I do not know why we have two bib numbers on.  Nor do I know why I was wearing Goofy ears.
And no, this was not at Disney World.  It was in Nashville.  In the afternoon.

In case you need perspective on the ginormity of the hat ...
And yes, at some point, the eye holes became one big neck hole.
Otherwise I might have ended up on I65 ...
Today is a gift because: I completed a task or two; catching up on travel plans, GDiz's good report from the doctor; accomplishing a few tasks; Taco Bell for dinner; fall rain

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Heart Fall!!

The leaves are beginning to fall from the trees.  It's been raining for the past few days, and more rain is predicted for the next several days. The days are getting shorter with a slight dip in temperature. The season is changing, and I love it.

Apparently fall officially started on September 22. Since I was on a boat in the Southern Caribbean, the first official day of fall went unnoticed. But now that I'm back home, I am cherishing the dropping of every leaf.

I think I like fall because it represents a slowing down and shedding of parts of yourself.  It's getting rid of things so that you can produce new things.  It's calming down for a winter's rest before you start over in the spring.  It's crisp air, and beautiful foilage, and holiday festivities.

Now it's time to get outside and spend some time appreciating and relishing in the beauty this season brings. Fall is a gift, wrapped in beautiful packaging. You just have to unwrap it and enjoy it!
Today is a gift because: airport pickups for Lindley, Lynnette, and KB; Lindley and Everley time

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Go Dawgs!!

I am not a super-duper football fan.  Nashville has its own pro football team, the Titans, but I have yet to attend a game (although I do watch them play sometimes on TV). I am also not a super-duper college alumni. Steve goes to all the home Mississippi State football games, and decorates his car as well as donning his maroon and white togs (based on the dress code for a particular game). I participate in none of this. But today, I have to admit, I for a few hours, I was that fan. And I was sort of sad I didn't have my Mississippi State jersey on!

Today Mississippi State (ranked #3 in the nation) played Auburn (ranked #2) at home.  Before the season started, MSU wasn't even ranked.  In other words, nobody expected much out of the team. But in the last few weeks, the team has defeated two top-ten teams, and today they were facing their third. ESPN Game Day was even coming to Starkville for their pre-game show (or whatever ESPN Game Day does).  In other words, today was going to be a big deal.

I started watching the game at home and then Molly and I decided to get our tootsies did. I left at half-time, figuring I would catch up with the score on my phone.  However, when I got to the nail place, guess what was on every TV?  THE GAME!!! This was so surprising, considering most of the time, The Food Network is showing.  Anyhow, I was able to watch the exciting second half and the eventual WIN over Auburn - HAIL STATE!!  And to add to the excitement, now MSU is ranked #1 in the nation - for the first time in the history of the school.

I know, all this may seem like a little much, especially for me. However, my enthusiasm is pale in comparison with the euphoria that exists in my hometown tonight. Today's game set records for attendance at a football game in the state, even with the rain that came down during the game. It is an exciting day to be a Bulldog. And in case I had forgotten, today I realized that my blood does indeed run maroon.
Today is a gift because: Everley time; mani-pedis with Molly; exciting MSU football game on TV and watching it during the mani-pedi

Friday, October 10, 2014


Today I made several airport runs to take and/or pick up people.  For once an airport run did not involve my packing a suitcase or getting on a plane.  And for that, at this time, I am particularly grateful.

Even though I am not a fan of flying in airplanes, I do like airports.  I like watching other passengers and wonder about their stories.  I wonder why they're there, where they're going, and what's waiting for them at the end of their flights.  I wonder if they like flying.  I look at the pilots and wonder if they're having a good day. which I hope will result in my having a good flight.  For me, the airport is like a giant storybook, full of open-ended stories.

Sometimes I'll talk to fellow travelers and get their story.  If the people are going to Disney, I ask about their vacation plans, sometimes putting in a word or two (although I do try to constrain myself - really).  Sometimes fellow travelers will talk to me - like the woman who took a nap during takeoff and then asked if she snored and seemed rather surprised when I said she didn't. Sometimes we don't talk at all, and just wonder about each other.

It's always fun to land in Orlando and watch the people there.  You will see people just arriving, full of excitement with huge grins.  And then you'll see the people who are leaving, full of fatigue and sporting tired smiles - and carrying Disney shopping bags.

But the best part of airports is watching the people who are waiting for those flying in.  The anticipation on their faces is palpable, erupting into utter joy when their person walks through security.  Those are the stories I like the most, because I know whether that traveler is coming or going, I know they're actually truly home.
Today is a gift because:  Airport runs for Lynnette, Lindley, KB, and Sam; Lindley and Everley time; Everley spending the night

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Heading Home

Too soon we were off the boat. Our rooms will be cleaned and somebody else will be sleeping in them tonight. Our server Chris will entertain new diners with his jokes and dancing and riddles. Our rainforest room chaise loungers will be warming the butts of new patrons. And there will be no towel animals waiting for us on our beds. True, it is sad to be leaving.  But at least we will have all the happy memories to remember and get us through those days when we wish we were elsewhere.

After waiting through the seemingly endless line at Customs (please people - you've been waiting in line for 20 minutes - couldn't you have retrieved your customs form and passport at some time during that period, rather than wait until you get to the desk, then shuffle through all your belongings in an attempt to locate them? Sorry - just a little venting here ...), Emily went one way to wait for her ride to her son's and daughter-in-law's house and we went the other to get in our car.  We then drove to Tampa (after a stop at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast), deposited Jeanne at her house (and visited with Bea), and then headed to the Tampa airport (because the flight was cheaper than from Orlando).  Just a few hours later, we were back in Nashville.

We went out for burritos and most of the family came over to eat.  I had some Lindley and Everley time and considered unpacking the suitcase, but decided to put that off another day.  Of course I had to assure Maggie and Minnie Cat that I would not be turning around for another trip.  I'm not sure they believe me.  It's supposed to rain for the next several days in Nashville, to which I am looking forward.  I could use a couple of days to stay inside. Maybe I could actually accomplish some of the hundreds of tasks I need to complete.  Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

It's nice to be home again.  It's about to be holiday season, so I've got to get my act in gear. Now if only I could figure out what my act is ...
Today is a gift because: safe and fun ride to Tampa; Bea visit; safe flight back to Nashville; Lindley and Everley time

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sea Day!

Today's the day to relax.  And also the day to eat at Palo for brunch.  Our foursome did both, along with napping, rainforest rooming, and a drink of the day thrown in for good measure.  Jeanne got a massage and met us for the last show (to which Molly actually attended, thus confirming her intention to not attend another).  We spent our last night with Chris, our very animated and hilarious dining room server, who entertained us every night with his antics.

It's been a fun, albeit quick, cruise.  We've had time to relax and catch up.  We've had a table to ourselves at dinner, so we didn't have to have awkward conversations with strangers.  We've laughed and napped and eaten and sipped drinks of the day.  Altogether, it's been a great reunion.

Tomorrow we will have to get off the boat and return to our lives.  Jeanne will get caught up at work and Emily will pack for her upcoming trip to Israel.  Molly will get back to work and I will return to whatever it is that I do (maybe I will figure that out).

It's a blessing to have friends. But it's a special blessing to have the kind of friends that will always be there, no matter how much time passes and life's circumstances change.  I have that with Jeanne and Emily, and am so grateful for their love and friendship.  We'll see where our next reunion takes us!!

Today is a gift because: Palo brunch; naps in the rainforest room; our last dinner with Chris

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Castaway Cay

Today we docked at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island.  If you've never been here, you should. If you have been here, you know what I'm talking about - a little piece of paradise! As we got off the ship, the clouds were out suggesting rain. However, the sun was also out, suggesting heat, which wasn't what I would have preferred for the Castaway Cay 5K.  Yes, a dang 5K ... Let me explain.

Disney Cruise Line/Run Disney sponsors a 5K on the island.  I've done it a few times, the last time being this February.  It's not a bad 5K - it just can be hot, as in sweltering.  It usually starts at 9am, as soon as all the 5K-ers get off the boat and to the start line.

Molly and I were ambivalent about doing it (Emily and Jeanne were not - it never even crossed Jeanne's mind and Emily hadn't brought her running shoes, although I'm not sure if that would have been a deciding factor).  Anyhow, last night after dinner, Molly and I decided to go ahead and register for the race.  We had talked to Camille about doing it, but were unsure if she had signed up or not.  This morning, Molly and I met up with the other 5K people, but didn't see Camille.  However, once we got off the boat and were waiting on the dock, out came Camille!  She was in!!

More royalties I owe Cheryl.
Soon we were all at the start line.  Molly took off and left us, but Camille stayed back with me.  It got pretty hot pretty quickly, and around Mile 1, we found Molly, who had decided that running wasn't going to be all that fun and had decided to walk and wait for us. After another two miles, we were done, and I have a finish picture, thanks to Cheryl who was waiting at the finish line!

We then caught the tram to Serenity Bay (the adult beach, therefore aptly named) where we found Emily and Jeanne - sitting in their chairs that were sitting in the water.  Emily also found the drink dude and procured Konk Koolers for us.  After eating lunch, Molly and then I decided that the heat was too much, and headed back for the ship.  Eventually Jeanne and Emily returned.  Although at times the sky looked dark and possibly threatening, no bad weather ever materialized, and the day turned out quite perfect!

Maybe Minnie will convince her!
Today's race is for Cheryl, whose photos I have been stealing (not only because I didn't take any, but also because hers are much better than any I would/could have taken!). Now that she is a bonafide Disney Cruise Line convert, could Run Disney be in her future? Will she be influenced by her daughter who just completed her first Run Disney 5K? Will she be influenced by the fact that if Lumbering Lu can do it, she can do it much better? Only time will tell - see you at the start line, Cheryl!!

Today is a gift because: great weather at Castaway Cay; finishing the 5K with Camille and Molly; Konk Koolers on the beach; watching water spouts on the verandah

Monday, October 6, 2014


Today we are in Nassau.  Usually I don't get off in Nassau, since I've already been here several times. But today Emily, Jeanne, and I decided to get off the boat.  Of course, after a little rainforest room time ...

I didn't take this picture - I stole it from Cheryl,
who is an excellent photographer, which I am not.
We planned to go to the straw market, which I thought was right off the ship (it isn't). We then decided to wander about town, and eventually ended up at the real straw market. There were many vendors there, many selling straw bags (hence the straw market).  Of course I bought two with Elsa and Anna stitched on them (just in case I never return to the straw market, at least I can say I have been there/bought that).  After wandering around there, we found our way back to the boat. Our biggest entertainment (if you can call it that) was observing the profoundly drunk young woman attempt to walk back to the ship (which we hoped was the Carnival cruise ship docked beside ours). We were pleased that she was able to walk (or perhaps led/carried) to the nearest trash can, where she deposited possibly much of the contents of her stomach.

Cheryl also took this picture.  I probably owe
her some picture-using royalties ...
Anyhow, once back on the boat, we found Molly and then found the drinks of the day. We also found Camille and Cheryl and had some quality time by the pool.  Which may or may not have included french fries.  Because drinks of the day are always better with french fries? There was probably some rainforest room time and napping before the evening show and dinner. Somebody might even have a massage scheduled ...

Tomorrow is Castaway Cay.  Rain is predicted, but I'm hoping it stays away. So far, it's been a great reunion!!


Today is a gift because: finding the straw market in Nassau; Chris at dinner; chatting by the pool

Sunday, October 5, 2014

And I'm Back On The Boat ...

Yes, I'm on another cruise.  Yes, I'm on another Disney cruise (whaddaya mean, there's other cruise lines?).  Again, I'm only on these cruises because of other people (whaddaya mean - you don't buy that?).

This cruise is our Three Amigos reunion cruise.  Except that it's actually a Three Amigos Plus One cruise (did you think Molly would allow herself to be left out?  I think not!).  My pals Emily (who lives in North Carolina) and Jeanne (who lives in Florida) try to get together every so often.  Our last reunion was two years ago, when we cheered on the 3-Day Walkers in Tampa (where Jeanne lives). This time we decided to do a Disney cruise (wondered who suggested that).  Since Emily and Jeanne had never been on a Disney cruise (although they had been on others), it seemed like a nice way to reunion.

Jeanne came over yesterday with her husband Ken and spent the night, so this morning the three of us (that would be Molly, Jeanne, and me - Ken had to return home) headed for Port Canaveral, where we met up with Emily.  We timed it just right, because once we had checked in, it was time to board the ship.  And eat lunch! And order the first drink of the day! And tour the ship! And get rainforest room passes! And find our rooms! And take a nap!

Let the reunion begin!!

Today is a gift because: fun ride to the port and meeting up with Emily; all things Disney Dream; meeting up with Cheryl and Camille at dinner and our server Chris

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Dawn to Dusk Wogging

We started today with the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run.  It started at 7:30am, a pleasant time of day, considering most of the races at Disney start at 5:30am.  Anyhow, we boarded the bus and were soon at the race venue, Wide World of Sports.  The morning threatened rain, but we were prepared with our ponchos.  We (that would be Molly, Katie, and me) split a muffin and a drink, donned our ponchos, and headed out to the race.  Soon we were off, through the back trails of WWoS.  The rain held off, which meant we were spared the possibility of a mudfest. Soon we were done, hoping the person being attended to at the finish by medical personnel, would be okay.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Disney race without seeing my pal Aisling, who is the best Disney race volunteer ever! I first saw her yesterday at the expo at the race shirt pickup, and then at a water stop this morning. She always makes me laugh. And act cray-cray. And keep going!! Clearly Molly and Katie thought it was pretty funny.  Or totally cray-cray!!

Once we finished the race and got our pledals (that would be plastic medals to you novices), we decided to head for the Magic Kingdom.  The quickest way from WWoS was to take the bus to the Polynesian and then the monorail to the MK.  We proceeded to do this, and upon our arrival at the Poly, who did we see but my childhood friend, Suzanne!  She and husband and daughter are here for the race weekend.  All three did the 5K, and the daughter, Jessie Elizabeth, will be doing the race tonight.

After saying our goodbyes, our threesome headed off to the MK, where we quickly headed for, and subsequently quickly consumed, the loaded waffle fries in Frontierland.  We ended our visit by paying homage to the race by riding the Haunted Mansion Ride, and then returned to our hotel for an afternoon nap.

All too soon, it was 8:30pm, and time to walk over to Hollywood Studios so that we would be in our corral by the designated time of 9:00pm.  So we would be ready to start the race at 10pm.  Several hours later, I finished - well after Molly and Katie had finished.  I trudged back to the hotel to find the other two showered and in their respective beds.  I showered, shoved all our dirty clothes in the washing machine, and got into bed, all by my goal time of 2am.  After all, I need at least a few hours sleep - I have big plans tomorrow!!

This morning's race is for my friend Sarah O, who is also Lynnette's mom.  Many moons ago, somebody (I'm not saying who - for potential legal issues) convinced her to do a Disney 5K.  She agreed to do so, and did so, on a very hot and muggy day.  She finished, and I believe as she crossed the finish line, she pinky-swore, promised, and uttered an oath that she would never do that again. Which doesn't matter, because she did this one.  This race is for her because I admire the fact that she entered, she participated, and she finished, proving that you can do that which you think you can't - especially if you have your daughter by your side!!

This evening's race is for my nieces, Lucy and Rachel, who have also done a Disney 5K many moons ago.  I think they were talked in to it with the promise of a Disney trip (they were much younger then). Anyhow, this is for them, in hopes of talking them into doing another Disney race together again, although I will have to start the race the day before if I have any hope of finishing anywhere close to Rachel (she's done the NYC marathon and I think her running shoes were smoking when she crossed the finish line). Anyhow, ladies, so how's your 2016 calendar looking?

Today was a gift because: the rain held off for the morning race; 5K-ing it with Molly and Katie and seeing Aisling on the course; seeing the Shifalos at the Poly (another God-sponsored random encounter); waffle fries; afternoon naps and errand-running; chatting with Ken and Jeanne before the race; great night race weather; finishing the race; getting in bed by 2am

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Gang's All Here!!

At least the gang for now!  Katie's plane arrived and she got to the hotel about the same time as Molly and I were at the race expo picking up race bibs and shirts and stuff.  And maybe a little race expo shopping.  Katie went in search of purchasing her park ticket while we returned to the hotel to dump our expo stuff and meet Katie in Epcot. We had a lunch reservation at LeCellier, but Katie and Molly decided to have a few Food and Wine tastes as an appetizer. I decided to check out Mouse Gear.

Poutine - 'tis yummy!!
We convened at the restaurant and proceeded to order our food.  Probably too much of it, since most of it consisted of potato products and cheese.  Here was our order:  two kinds of poutine (a Canadian dish that Molly loves) which were regular gravy/cheese poutine and "farmhouse" poutine which had (among other things) tomato relish, soft-poached egg, bacon, and cheese - all served over french fries. We also had a cheese plate (Katie's choice), loaded mashed potatoes (my choice), and potato/cheese soup. Oh, and scallops. We somehow managed to waddle out of the restaurant and to Starbucks for an after-lunch drunk (tea and frappuchino) and waddle back to the room for a cheese/potato nap. I think we are assuring ourselves that we carbo-loaded.  We delude ourselves a lot, like thinking doing a 5K and a 10-miler all in one day is an excellent idea.

Anyhow, that's all tomorrow.  Today we will rest up so we can go sample some more around Epcot tonight.  More carb-loading?  Sure - and think of all those calories we'll be expending tomorrow ...
Today is a gift because: race expo with Molly; seeing Aisling at tshirt pickup; new running skirt; meeting up with Katie for Le Cellier lunch and more; afternoon nap; shopping and covert actions with Molly and Katie; more eating around the World at Epcot

Thursday, October 2, 2014

And We're Off Again!

Well, I am, anyway.  Today (after packing at 2pm), Maribeth took me to the airport at 2:30pm (my choice, since I was running late and wanted a shower), in time to get through security (thank you, TSA Pre) and get in line for boarding at 3:05.  A few hours later I arrived in Orlando (full flight, thanks to Metro's fall break) and met Molly (who had arrived from Las Vegas) at the car rental counter. (I love parentheses, don't you?)

Anyhow, we're here at Disney World (shocking, I know) for a couple of races (Halloween 5K and Tower of Terror 10 Miler).  Both take place on Saturday - one at 7:30am and the other at 10pm (yup, 10 PM).  Katie will be arriving tomorrow to join us in our endeavors.  And possibly some good eating at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. After checking in to our hotel, Molly and I walked over and had a few preliminary tastes, which were very delicious!

Of course, it's supposed to rain for both races, so we'll see how that develops.  For some reason, I am actually prepared for the rain with plastic bags and duct tape to cover our shoes and ponchos to cover the rest of our bodies.  However I did forget my pajamas.  Anyhow, here's hoping that the rain is very light, since the 5K is technically a "trail run" which would equate to mud.

Anyhow, it should be a fun weekend, especially if one concentrates on the good eating and not the 10 miles at night.  At any rate, it will be done by Sunday, when I'll meet up with Emily and Jeanne for a Three Amigos (Plus One) reunion.  Which will not be at Disney World, but will be Disney-related. But we'll leave that for Sunday.  I'll need a blog topic for that day!! Bon appetit!!
Today is a gift because: safe flight to Orlando; time to read on plane; nice seatmate who retrieved my bag from overhead; meeting Molly at car rental place; finding change for tolls; eating at Epcot

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What Lies Beneath The Couch??

For the past few returns to my house lately, I would walk in to a different "aroma" in my den. Nothing horribly terrible, but also not something extremely pleasing.  It was something akin to the smell of spoiled food (think leftovers way too leftover or days-old milk left in a cup somewhere).  I had not been able to identify any smell culprits, but remained convinced there was something afoot.

So today I had to do the inevitable - look in earnest for the source.  And that meant moving the couch sectional apart and away from the wall.  Of course, even that probably would have been avoided, except that last night, when Sam became aware of my iPhone plight, his comment was, "Are you sure it's not in the couch?"  Of course I was sure, just like I was sure that I had not left it in the refrigerator when I got Lindley some milk.  However, just like I checked the refrigerator anyway, I needed to check the couch. And so I did.

About an hour later, and many Swiffer wipes, and several vacuum cleaner container dumps, and a lot of sweeping and picking up of crayons, crackers, giblets of various types, and lots of other grossness too gross to mention, the couch was back in place.  No offending odor-creator was found, but neither was my iPhone. Thank goodness.

Since I am leaving tomorrow, I will not know if cleaning/mopping under the couch has remedied the aroma dilemma in the den. But at least I know what parts of the den are clean.  Now, if somebody will just claim the earbuds I found - or maybe they might not want to ...
Today is a gift because: picking up Steve at work; thinking about packing but doing other stuff instead; cleaning under the den couch