Crazy is as Crazy Does

The Road Trip Has Always Been DIY—These Experts Are Here to Change That |  Condé Nast Traveler

First I am going to tell you never to do this. Then I am going to tell you that we decided to do it again.

We got up Tuesday (October 27) at midnight and hit the road at 2:00 a.m. Our goal was to get from Dewey, AZ to Riverton, WY before dark. That didn’t happen. Wasn’t even close.

It took us 18 hours.

We made a lot of stops to switch drivers and take our little dog, Maddie, for walks. She was a real trooper. She slept in her doggie bed in the back most of the time. But she sure was excited every time we stopped somewhere. I think Wendy’s was her favorite stop because she got some of an unsalted, all-beef patty. It was Bernd’s favorite stop because of the baked potatoes.

Page Arizona | Gateway To Lake Powell Page, AZ, Gateway to Lake Powell

We have made the drive to Flagstaff, AZ from our home in Dewey quite a few times and know the scenery is pretty so doing it in the dark wasn’t a disappointment. It was just getting light when we made it to Page, AZ so we got to see the Glen Canyon Dam. Pretty impressive topography in that area. Pretty impressive dam.

Hike the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook, Page, Arizona Glen Canyon Dam overlook

From there it wasn’t much longer until we entered Utah. Utah is pretty. Lots of meandering rivers. Great mountains. Nice people.

Provo and Salt Lake City are horrid to drive through though. The freeway is every bit as nasty as the freeways in Phoenix, AZ. We don’t go to Phoenix much. Way too scary.

As in Phoenix, there are at least five lanes each direction, the speed limit is posted at 70 miles per hour and everyone seemed to want to go faster than that. I was so happy to switch to the I-80 and start heading east to Wyoming. Both times, going and coming, I did the driving through Provo and SLC, and I’m going to have to do it at least one more time. Not really looking forward to it.

We had decided to move to Wyoming. Riverton to be exact. And the trip was to find a house to buy. Which we did. That’s another long story.

It’s a small town. The people are nice. I think we are going to like it there very much. It is still much the same as the Prescott area was here in Arizona when we moved here 27 years ago. Quiet. Laid back. Very little traffic. Low population density. Clean air. Friendly people. All that good stuff.

File:Main Street S 400 Block, Riverton WY.JPG - Wikimedia Commons A piece of the 400 block of Main Street in Riverton

There are no Costcos in Wyoming. And Riverton doesn’t have a Home Depot. But there is a Walmart Super Center that is very nice and a Sutherland’s for home improvement stuff.

Based on how we felt when we finally arrived in Riverton, we thought that maybe we would take two days to drive home. We discussed it and we discussed it some more and finally decided to do it in one piece again. Our reasons were many and good, even if not entirely sane.

The return trip took 19 hours instead of 18 because we took an unintentional detour. And it was studded with several deer encounters that were unnerving causing us to drive a lot slower than the various speed limits.

We were passing through a small town north of Kanab, UT. I was driving under the speed limit. We were enjoying the scenery. It was getting on toward dusk and the lowering sun was casting shadows and making dramatic lighting.

Out of the blue, something slammed into the rear quarter panel on the driver’s side of my car. Scared the you know what out of all of us. I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a deer running off. Apparently, it had bounded onto the road and run right into the side of my car.

I pulled over and went in search of the deer and Bernd checked out the car. I couldn’t find the deer anywhere and Bernd found no damage to the car. I was happy my car hadn’t killed the deer. Bernd was happy the deer hadn’t damaged the car. Win-win. Bernd decided to take over the driving figuring I was shaken up. Maybe I was. I don’t know. But a little while later, he sure was.

Just north of Kanab, UT, a deer jumped into the road right in front of us. Bernd slammed on the brakes. Everything in the back slid forward (and we had a lot of stuff back there) including Maddie. But she stayed in her bed as it came forward and landed on the center console.

We did not hit the deer. None of us were hurt.

We pulled over as soon as we could and straightened out the cargo area and continued on into Kanab.

In the town itself, we had another deer jump into the road in front of us. But this time it was not as close and Bernd did not have to slam on the brakes. Not 100 feet further, there was another deer standing beside the road. And this was in downtown Kanab, early evening, with lots of people out and about. Maybe they are all used to it. The people, I mean. I’m sure not. Goodness only knows what the deer think about it.

Luckily, this deer stayed put. Also luckily, that was our last deer encounter the rest of the way home. Didn’t stop us driving really slowly though.

On this trip, we saw more of our home state than we’ve seen in 27 years of living here. We also saw more of the United States. We are not big travelers. We prefer day trips and then getting back to our cozy and comfortable home.

It was interesting and educational. It was scenic. But I don’t recommend trying to drive 875 miles all in one day.

Nope. Not at all.

Blind Devotion

TOP 25 DOGMA QUOTES (of 527) | A-Z Quotes

A woman walks up to her local 99 cent store. She has been there at least a hundred times before. She pushes on the front door to enter the shop and the door does not open. In the past, it has always opened when she pushed on it. She pulls out her cell phone and checks the time. Yes, she is there within the shop’s normal operating hours, so why isn’t the door opening? She thinks that they must have locked it for some reason.

Oh look, there comes someone now to unlock it for her. But as the man approaches the door, our woman sees that he is a customer who is leaving after having made his purchases. Then she thinks that is okay because now someone will have to unlock the door and let him out and she can go in. But the man pushes on the door from the inside and it moves. She steps back out of the way and stares at the door in some puzzlement as it closes once more and the man walks to his car. The man wonders to himself what is up with the woman who is just standing outside of the door. He wonders why she doesn’t just go in; there must be something a little wrong with her.

She pushes again on the door and it does not open. Now she is really confused. She does not know that just yesterday, the old door and door frame which allowed the door to swing both out and in had been replaced with a door and frame which only allow the door to swing out. Will our poor confused woman realize that she has to let go of what she knew about the door in order to enter the store?

You can probably guess where this is going. But I’ll meander a little more.

Once, when I was in high school, my mother was in the process of doing something I had seen her do a thousand times. For the first time, it occurred to me that there was a more efficient way to do it. Please don’t ask me to remember what it was, that is lost to me, but not the principle I learned that day. When I explained to her a way that would save her time and effort, she looked at me and basically said that her way was the way her mother always did it and that she had always done it that way and that was good enough. And that may well have been the case. But in my teenagerly way, I told her that I would not be doing it her and her mother’s way. That didn’t go over all that well. There were more than a few, “Oh you think you’re so smarts” thrown into the ensuing, rather heated, soliloquy.

Ideally, my mother would have looked at my suggestion, considered how it might fit into her regimen and adopted it or discarded it based on its inherent worth or lack thereof. But she did not. She dismissed it out of hand as not being the way it was done. And that was the turning point for me.

Still, I fell into the same trap of the familiar that we all do. When Bernd and I were first married, I set up our kitchen in much the same manner of organization as my mother’s kitchen. It took quite a while before I found that it wasn’t really working for me. But eventually I began a process of moving things about, changing what was in which drawer and cabinet, until it was much more efficient; at least to my way of thinking.

We can be blindly devoted to a lot of different things; not just a way of doing something. We can be devoted to a particular world view, ideas about values (what is good and what is bad), morals (what is right and what is wrong), thoughts about how others should best be spending their time, a spouse who is mistreating us but that we just can’t seem to leave, what is and is not appropriate to eat for breakfast, and how others should treat us and we them. The list is endless.

The world and our situations are changing all the time. This has always been true, but is especially evident right now.

We can either change with it, adjust our viewpoint and throw out the blind devotion, or get left outside of the local 99 cent store while some passing stranger wonders about our state of mind.

Dont be trapped by dogma... | Inspirational Quote by Steve Jobs


Thich Nhat Hanh on The Practice of Mindfulness - Lion's Roar

Mental Health

In the mental health field, most often mindfulness is described as an integrative, mind-body based approach that helps people to manage their thoughts and feelings and mental health. It is becoming widely used in a range of contexts. It is recommended as a preventative practice for people with recurrent depression.

It is most often laid out this way: (a) some form of paying attention; (b) an ability to engage with, yet not react to, physical (including emotional) and mental experiences; and (c) a mind oriented towards non-judging, acceptance and nurturing.

Let’s All Be Jedis

“All his life he looked away. To the future. To the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. What he was doing.” -Yoda

“Don’t center on your anxieties … keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs. Be mindful of the future, but not at the expense of the moment.” -Qui-Gon Jinn

I’ll be honest, when I first learned about the Jedi Way, I wanted to be a Jedi. I’ll be a bit more honest, I was 25 years old when “Star Wars” first hit the theaters. Possibly a little old to be thinking like that. I mean, it was a fantasy. Right? Manipulating the Force and all that.

I’m not sure exactly when the concept of mindfulness became a part of the Jedi Way in the movies, but when my husband jokingly asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I told him I wanted to be a Jedi (so okay, this was around age 53, I’m ever the optimist, about growing up that is), he told me I would have to practice mindfulness. I took his advice to heart. Here was, I thought, something I could actually accomplish. And it might just bring me closer to being a Jedi.

Truth is, I was on that path before the “Star Wars” movies ever came out. At the very tender age of about two and a half years old, my dad tired of my incessant questions. One day he told me that he would answer any question I asked, but only once. He told me to pay attention and remember what he said because he would never answer that same question again. It should be said that he, himself, had a phenomenal memory and never forgot any question I asked him. Not even years later.

In any case, it scared me. The thought that my font of wisdom and knowledge was limited to my limitations terrified me. At the time, I couldn’t have put it into those words, but I remember the feeling very distinctly. It was very visceral.

My dad trained me to notice, observe, focus, and, most importantly, remember.

The other day, my husband lost his touch-up paint brush. It’s a unique brush. Small head, pink glittery handle, off-white bristles. Like a kids art brush.

I said to Bernd, “I’m pretty sure I saw it in the garage.”

He said, “No. I wouldn’t have left it in the garage.”

I said, “I think you did. I remember noticing it lying on the pile of drop cloths and thinking ‘Oh look. It’s Bernd’s touch-up brush.'”

He said, “No. I wouldn’t do that.”

I gave him a look and he went out to the garage to find it where it was lying atop the pile of drop cloths.

For me, mindfulness is about being aware of what you are doing. So I always keep my focus on my current task to the end of it. Bernd has a tendency to move on in his mind before he has finished his current task. So I could easily imagine him washing the brush, setting it down, thinking about something else he had to do, and never bringing the brush back into the house. Chances are good that he wasn’t even aware of having set it down. He’s always “losing” things shortly after using them.

I usually say to him something like “Where were you when you last had it in your hand?” He usually says something like, “You really expect me to remember that?”

Mindfulness is also about being aware of what I am thinking and feeling. I’m one of those women who will probably have hot flashes for the rest of her life. They started around age 51 and I’m 68 and still having them. Most often, the heat is preceded by a panic attack. This is not all that common, but a fair percentage of women experience this. My mom did so I guess there was always a good chance that was in my future. Oh well.

The panic attacks range from indistinct feelings of doom to very specific fears. They’ve taught me a lot about paying attention to my feelings and how they affect me. They’ve taught me a lot about how to manage my feelings and fears. I’ve learned how to remain calm in the face of adversity as a result. When adversity strikes you a couple of times a day almost every day, you learn to cope or you go crazy. Dark cloud, silver lining.

Mindfulness is also about being aware of how others are feeling. Compassion and empathy are important components of the Jedi Way. Ultimately, being aware of one’s own feelings can help you to be more aware of other’s feelings.

So, have I become a Jedi? Nope.

Am I on the path? Yup.

Will I ever get there? Maybe if I live long enough.

In any case, a little mindfulness never hurt anyone. And it might just help.

7 Top Mindfulness Quotes and what they reveal - Brilliant Living HQ


Citrus & Peach Rose Reviving Moisture Bar Soap - Soapbox

Bar soap is a great invention. It changed how we wash, when we wash and what we wash.

But it’s also a nuisance in a way.

What do you do with that little thin sliver of soap when it is mostly all used? Do you throw it away? Kind of wasteful really. Do you try to weld it to a new bar of soap? Not always easy.

By turning a new bar of soap end over end in your hands, instead of simply rubbing it without thought, you can wear it down into a shape that can be used for a longer period of time. It is also then in a shape that is easier to weld to a new bar of soap.

There are those who tout living in the now, focusing on this very moment, and ignoring what was and what might be.

Too much looking forward or backward can be a problem.

However, a certain amount of looking forward can help you to get through your life with a little more grace and ease. As in the case of a bar of soap.

Life is like a bar of soap - Love, Fun and Romance | Bar soap, Funny soap,  Soap

Not Letting Go

Taken with my Fuji Fine Pix.

There is a very good chance that by a year from now, we will be settled (mostly) in a new home in a new state.

We have been cleaning out the basement with an eye toward moving. We ask ourselves these questions frequently:  Do I like it enough to move it 875 miles? Do we need it badly enough to move it? Would it be easier to simply buy this new?

A lot of things have gone into the garage sale pile. A few things have been tossed out. More items than I care to think about have been boxed for the move.

In recent years, I’ve adopted a more minimalist esthetic. The less stuff I have sitting around seems to lighten my spirits and lift my mood. The more stuff sitting around seems to weigh on my mind and distract me. So why am I keeping a plaster of Paris piggy bank?

Realistically speaking, it’s an ugly thing and bigger than you might imagine. My father’s mother bought it for me when I was two years old and had my nickname painted on it, “Dee Dee.” She spelled it wrong. Because Grandma thought my mom couldn’t do anything correctly regarding me that also applied to not spelling my nickname “Deedy.” So my name on the pig is not right.

In a fit of thrift, the first time the pig was full enough to empty, instead of letting me smash it with a hammer as I wanted to do and as was meant to be done, my dad drilled out a hole in the belly of the pig so that it could be used and re-used indefinitely.

Because it is basically ugly and because I lean toward minimalism, that piggy bank will probably never be set out on display and will live in a box for the rest of my life. So why do I keep it?

To answer that question, I have to tell a story.

When I was very young, one of the highlights of my day was when Dad got home from work. After kisses and hugs and happy hellos, Dad would get the thermos from his lunch box and we would sit at the table in the kitchen.

He’d pull all the change out of his pocket and put it on the table. He’d pour the last couple of sips (which he had saved expressly for the purpose) of coffee from his thermos. While I sipped on cold coffee heavy with cream and sugar, we would add up all the change. The end of the ritual was putting each coin, one by one, into my piggy bank. When my sister came along, the coins were divided evenly between us. Grandma had also bought her a plaster of Paris pig when she turned two years old.

I can remember the smell and the taste of the coffee. There is a taste peculiar to coffee that’s been in a thermos all day. I loved the stuff.

I can remember his hands on mine as he helped me to count the coins. I can still feel him crouching beside me as I put the coins into the pig that sat on the floor of my bedroom.

I’m 66 years down the road from when I first got that pig, but the memories it helped to create are still with me.

And that’s why I’m keeping that ugly, old piggy bank.

I call him Pigus Porkii. He’s a very happy, ugly, old pig.

Garage Sales

20 Tips to Help You Have a Profitable Garage Sale - Clark Howard

Twice a year, the small community where we live hosts a community-wide garage sale. It’s advertised in all the local papers and draws people from miles and miles away. It’s a big deal.

The second one is always on the first Friday and Saturday in October. The first one was cancelled this year due to Covid-19. But ordinarily, it would have been held on the first Friday and Saturday in May.

It’s been two years since we last participated in the community garage sale. It’s not something we enjoy doing. The reasons are seemingly endless and yet we find ourselves participating once again. I offer a few of the reasons.

  1. You put what you think is a fair price on all your items. It takes days’ worth of work to get it all priced (that doesn’t count the time taken to sort it all out) and yet someone wants to low-ball you. You expect a certain amount of haggling. But when you put a price of $25 on a nice metal, four drawer filing cabinet and someone says they will give you five bucks for it, you just want to punch them in the nose.
  2. People seem to want to park on your landscaping. That’s just rude.
  3. It’s really hard to eat lunch. Lunch is an important feature of our lives, especially my husband’s.
  4. People drive through our community like it’s a speedway. And they are so involved in rubbernecking that they often don’t see the jaywalkers (garage sale shoppers who are rubbernecking while walking) until it’s almost too late. Makes me very nervous.
  5. And if we don’t happen to be participating, shoppers tend to use our nice, big driveway to turn around (when we participate, the driveway is too full of stuff for them to do that). They start doing this at 7:00 a.m. while we are trying to enjoy a nice, quiet breakfast after taking Maddie for the first walk of the day. Very annoying.
  6. Taking Maddie for walks on the garage sale days is like taking your life in your hands. Very risky because of said rubberneckers.
  7. Inevitably, not all you offer for sale will be purchased. So you either have to put it back in the basement or take it to Goodwill. Either way, it is more work.
  8. It takes at least one day, typically Wednesday, to clean up the garage and drape all of the things we do not wish to sell.
  9. Then it takes another day, typically Thursday, to get it all set up.
  10. We have to park both our vehicles alongside the garage for several days leaving them open to the depredations of the local horde of pack rats. So we have to take measures to dissuade them from getting inside our engines and chewing the wiring to pieces. Very inconvenient. Of course, I just recently dismantled a huge pack rat nest in the juniper hedge that borders one side of our driveway. So maybe the pack rat threat won’t be as severe this year. They had been collecting prickly pear cactus fruits. That wasn’t much fun. The spines on those things are very small and fine, hard to see and real bother to remove. Plus they hurt quite a bit.
  11. We usually start working on the sale a month in advance. And believe me, it takes us that long to go through all the crap … ah, uh, items … in the basement. It’s a big investment in time.
  12. We know some people that make close to a thousand bucks each time they have a garage sale. But that’s not us. Last time we made enough to buy a new battery for my car.

So you might be asking yourselves why we do this at all. I do also sometimes wonder.

The main reason is that there are some things you just can’t throw away … well, according to my husband, Bernd. Originally, I told him I’d like to rent a dumpster and fill it up and have it all hauled away. He couldn’t wrap his mind around it. His thought was that some of the stuff was too good to throw away. So then I said we should take it to Goodwill. He said it was way too much stuff to do that. Rock and a hard place, right?

When we finished the last garage sale, we said we were never doing that again. Ever.

So much for resolutions.

Garage Sale | Funny Pictures, Quotes, Memes, Funny Images, Funny Jokes,  Funny Photos

The Many Misadventures of Tall Guy and Short Gal: an Update

I’m very close to finishing my first proofread/edit of the manuscript. And yes, I know that you should not try to do both of those things at the same time. Doesn’t stop me trying.

This time around, I have decided to order a proof copy (maybe two if they will let me get more than one) and sit with it, taking my time, to really go through it. I know that even then, there will be errors I will miss. That’s why I want a second copy, so my husband can go through it too.

I ordered a proof copy of my previous novel, “The Alien Visitation Chronicle,” and it helped immensely with the proof reading. There is something more compelling about the words on an actual piece of paper as opposed to looking at them on a computer monitor, phone, or tablet.

So, hopefully, in another month or so “The Many Misadventures of Tall Guy and Short Gal” will be ready for publication.

Even though this will be my third novel, it still excites me to think about it. I hope never to lose that feeling.


Science Matters: No use crying over cut onions | The Armidale Express |  Armidale, NSW

Cutting onions can be a bother.

Sulfur compounds are released when you slice through them.

They mix with the tears in your eyes to form an acid. More or less.

The acid irritates your eyes even more. You close your eyes. You blink a lot. It only seems to make it worse.

The more tears you make, the more acid there is to hurt your eyes.

The trick is not to blink and to keep your eyes wide open.

So much of life is like that.

TOP 25 ONIONS QUOTES (of 211) | A-Z Quotes

Weird Words, Part 13

My trusty but ancient (1972) edition of this dictionary did not have any of the words I used in this installment of “Weird Words.” I am so disappointed.


Just the other day I had this clue in a crossword puzzle: “not completely whack-a-doodle.” The answer they wanted was “sane.”

Until that moment, I’d never heard that word before. I know, you are probably thinking I’ve led a sheltered life. In some ways, I probably have.

I checked out the definition online and had this to say: “Wackadoodle describes someone or something as eccentric, wrongheaded, bizarre, or foolish, generally in an amusing way and with a mildly dismissive tone.”

Every now and then, I run across a word that I think must surely be a relatively recent addition to the English language. If you are talking about “blog” or “MacGyver,” “manspreading,” or “butt-dial,” you’d be right.

I thought for sure whack-a-doodle would be on that list. However, also had this to impart:  “Wackadoodle ultimately comes from wacky. In the mid-1800s England, a wacky, or whacky, was a fool, simpleton, or left-handed person (how rude). It might be from whack, “a blow or strike,” implying the person has been hit over the head a few too many times.” I love a sense of humor in what would ordinarily probably be considered a staid publication.

So it seems wackadoodle has been around for quite a while. Who knew?


That same crossword puzzle also had the clue: “Whoop-____-doo, one word.” I thought for sure the answer was “tee,” but they wanted “dee.”

Apparently, there are a lot of different ways to spell it and not all are hyphenated: whoop-t-doo and whoop dee doo are just a couple.

The Urban Dictionary had this to say:  “A sarcastic way to express joy or pleasure, when truly your [sic] feeling the exact opposite.

Merriam-Webster says that whoop-de-do is noisy and exuberant or attention getting activity. says it (same spelling) is lively or noisy festivities or merrymaking.

And defines it (also same spelling) as a commotion or frenzy of activity or excitement.

The last three seem to agree that it’s all about getting het up about something.

Sometimes origins of words can be unclear. Well, I guess it’s actually more like frequently than sometimes. had this to say:  “whoop (v.) mid-14c., houpen, partly imitative, partly from Old French huper, houper “to cry out, shout,” also imitative. It is attested as an interjection from at least mid-15c. Spelling with wh- is from mid-15c. The noun is recorded from c. 1600. Phrase whoop it up “create a disturbance” is recorded from 1881. Expression whoop-de-do is recorded from 1929. Whooping cough (1739) is now the prevalent spelling of hooping cough; whooping crane is recorded from 1791.”

I really like Etymonline … most of the time. But honestly, this one is kind of all over the place and not really very satisfying. And none of the other discussion panels or sites claiming to know the origin were all that enlightening.

So my best guess is that the dee-doo was added to whoop (to cry out, shout) as an intensifier. That’s all I’ve got on that.


I don’t know when I first came across this word. It’s been in my vocabulary for quite a long time. I don’t use it often, but I like the sound of it. My husband never hangs up his bath towel neatly so maybe I’ll have to try this on him: “Hey, sweetie. Fix that bath towel. It’s all whopperjawed.” Maybe not.

There are so many sites online wherein you might find the definitions of words. I thought I had found them all but when looking into whopperjawed, I found a new one: They had this to say:  “(Adult / Slang) 1) Askew, crooked, off-center, sideways, not right, messed-up. 2) Having a projecting lower jaw.

The Urban Dictionary looks at it two different ways, sort of. For the spelling whopperjawed, it says crooked or off-center. When spelling it with a hyphen (whopper-jawed), they define it as “Anything misalligned [sic] or moved out of or away from where it is supposed to be. Usually two objects that normally fit together in one manner that for some reason no longer do so.” [the hyperlinks are theirs and not mine]

Most of the references I found mention things being out of alignment. Only the one defined it as a projecting  lower jaw. But if you think about it that would most likely be the literal meaning of the word. So the origin of the word really shouldn’t be much of a mystery if you go with the last definition. But how did we get to askew? indicates that the origin of the word is fairly elusive. But it offers this:  “As you’d expect with such an elusive word, the origin of “whopperjawed” is a bit hazy, but the key appears to lie in what is evidently the original form of the term, “wapper-jawed.” This was pretty clearly a development of a much older (16th century) term, “wapper-eyed,” meaning someone who either blinked a lot or whose eyes rolled indicating dizziness.

Wapper-eyed,” in turn, rested on the obsolete English dialect verb “wapper,” meaning “to blink” or “to move unsteadily” (“Wapper-eyed, goggle-eyed, having full rolling Eyes; or looking like one scared; or squinting like a Person overtaken with Liquor,” 1746). The verb “to wapper” may be related to the Dutch “wapperen,” meaning “to swing, oscillate, or waver,” and may also be related to our modern English verb “to wave.””

It all seems a bit loose to me. But it’s like that with so many words. We take them for granted. We often think we know what they mean. And then someone comes along and explains how that’s not what the word originally meant. Take awful for example. It used to mean something that filled a person with awe.

So I guess it’s about time I took my whackadoodle self in hand and finished up this whooperjawed post. Oh whoop-de-doo.